Complete translation of Sri Sri Swamiji’s annual Mass Prayer talk on Jan 1, 2022 (online)
Here is the link to the video of the Kalpatharu Day Mahamantra Mass Prayer lecture (in Tamil): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc3diEUhNxw
nADi nAL thorum vADA malar konDu
pADIr avan nAmam vIDE peralAmE – (Thiruvaay-mozhi 10.5.5)
Mass prayer is not a new concept. Mahatma Gandhi has conducted such mass prayers many times. When people gather at a place and pray to God with one goal and one thought, the result is multifold.To give an example for a better understanding of this, if we bring a single flower of jasmine here, it’s fragrance won’t fill this entire venue whereas if a basket full of jasmine flowers are poured here, even people next door will inquire, “where is this fragrance coming? Where is this jasmine fragrance coming from? It is so pleasant”. As a basket full of jasmine gives more fragrance than a single flower, prayers done by a group of people are more powerful than a prayer done by a person individually.
Mahatma Gandhi has conducted such mass prayers several times during his lifetime and hence similar thought occurred in our minds too. While thinking about when to do a similar mass prayer, we were reminded of Bhagavan’s avatar in recent times as Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He bestowed all His devotees with everything they sought on the 1st January. His devotees celebrate that day as Kalapatharu Day. We also decided to conduct our mass prayer on this Kalpatharu day (1st Jan) from 2007 to till 2020 across many cities/towns starting from ‘Kamarajaram Arangam’ in Chennai, then Thoothukudi, Thirukoshtiyur, Chennai, Tanjore, Coimbatore, Vellore, Theni, Chennai, Madurai, Kalattupettai, Dindigul, Tiruttani & Pondicherry. Last year, we conducted the mass prayer online and this time as well we are doing it online.
‘Time’ – the universal effect
Over the past two years, all around the world COVID pandemic is the topic of concern repeatedly spoken by the people and by the media. While several people attribute different reasons from astrology to planetary positions to nature, some say such contagious diseases are very common from time to time. Whatever be the case, the impact of this has brought fears to everyone around the world as it caused many deaths and families are suffering having lost their loved ones. The reason for this has to be “time”.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavan Sri Krishna tells Dharmaputra, “I am going to meet Bheeshma who has been lying in the bed of arrows. He has a boon from his father that he can decide when to leave his body. For the external world, though it looks like he is waiting for uttarayan, he actually desires to see Me before that. So, I am going to see him. It is a blessing to witness such a gnani before leaving his mortal body, because all the devas will be there, the chariot will be waiting to take him to the other world. The messengers from that world will be there. Even though they are invisible, their presence will bring an aura. It will create a new chemistry within us and bestow us with blessings.” Saying it is a great blessing, Krishna takes Dharmaputra, Arjuna, Bheema, Nakula, Sahadeva, Draupadi and Kunti along with Him to see Bheeshma. They all stood around Bheeshma, and he was shedding tears looking at Kunti, thinking about all the sufferings she had to undergo as no other woman would have undergone in their lives. Even Kunti says, in her stuti in Srimad Bhagavatam, “Krishna, while it is natural that everyone faces difficulties and happy moments alternatively, in my life, there were many challenges all happening at the same time from several directions.”
For Kunti, challenges came from several places across all directions and attacked them (pandavas) all at once. She suffered by losing her husband; she was responsible for raising the children. She suffered so much. They (Kauravas) tried to kill Bheema by poisoning his food, tried to kill the Pandavas by burning down the wax mansion they were staying in. They were made to live in exile and in spite of being the princes, they were forced to eat on alms. They disguised themselves and lived in the Kingdom of Virata, by force, lost everything in the dice game and were forced to gamble on their wife, Draupadi. Under such circumstances, Draupadi was humiliated in the courtroom. They endured countless sufferings repeatedly and all of them came together. Bhishma thinks about all of their sufferings. When we look at someone struggling in life, we say “Aiyo Pavam”. It means that the person has committed sins and as a result of which they are suffering now. Someone may say that he deserves this for all the unrighteous things he did and for staying away from Dharma. When such a person suffers people think it is justified. But (in the case of Pandavas), righteousness itself has taken a form and is living in the world as Dharmaputra, Kunti’s son. That apart, when a person is struggling, people would say that he is afraid and has no courage which is why he is suffering in life. But the strongest Bheema, is Kunti’s son. Can we compare anyone to the valor of Arjuna? Can anybody be fiercer than Bheema? The difference between strength and fierceness can be related to elephants which have strength while lions demonstrate fierceness.
Although many animals live in the forest, the lion is called the king of the jungle because the lion knows no fear. Each animal has a unique trait. For example, a dog is loyal; a fox is cunning. Similarly, the unique characteristic of a lion is that it has no idea of fear. Also, the lion never attacks from hiding but attacks its prey head-on. The lion possesses courage while the elephant has strength.
Bheema was strong while Arjuna was valorous. Nakula and Sahadeva were highly knowledgeable and great Yogis, who could predict the future. They have studied many shastras. Despite being with all of them, Kunti faced many challenges in her lifetime. Even if one has righteousness, strength, courage and intelligence, people finally conclude that there is no divine blessing. God is not favoring them, they say.
But in this case Bhagavan who incarnated as Sri Krishna was always with them. He sat, ate, spoke and slept along with them. Became a messenger and a charioteer for them. Sri Krishna was everything to them. In spite of that, they suffered. Recollecting this lying on the bed of arrows Bheeshma says, “sarvam kAlakrutam manyE” – everything is bound by “Time”.
Humankind has to submit itself to time. What does time mean? We have not seen any older person saying that he or she is 300 or 400 years old. After reaching a certain age, people realize that they are nearing death and they anticipate it. There is an average lifespan for human beings. When a lady is pregnant the delivery date is not known but it is calculated that the delivery would be in the 10th month. Even that is time bound. The sun rises in the morning and the moon rises in the evening. This is bound by time. The rotation of earth and other planets is bound by time as well. Nature itself is bound by time. Similarly, everyone’s life occurrences too are bound by time. We see that a mango tree ripens with mangoes during the appropriate season, similarly at the right season jackfruits ripen, chrysanthemum, and jasmine flowers come to the market during their season. We see that everything is time bound.
When I think about it, once Kamakshi Amman temple in Mangadu was in a dilapidated state and suddenly it became very popular with herds of people flocking to that temple and nowadays it has slowed down to normal crowd gatherings. That makes me wonder if temples and God are also bound by time. Thiruverkadu Karumari Amman temple went through a similar phase as well.
When we travel, we notice a huge bungalow. It would have housed a famous personality at one time but now only a watchman standing at the front of the house. But during the famous personality’s lifetime, one could witness hundreds of cars parked and people waiting to meet that person but now it is left with no one around It. This mansion is also bound by time. A person’s life is bound by time, it is also bound by the laws of the country in which they live. They are also bound by the people with whom the person lives.
So, if we contemplate whether God is greater than time or vice versa, the answer is that God is greater than time. However, God has allowed Himself to be bound by time. The time (as an entity) is also created by Him. Then, how is God bound by time even after creating it? When we form a Trust, we decide the objectives, we put forward the goals of the Trust and we bind ourselves by those goals. Similarly, God created Time and He binds himself by it as well.
Faith is the key
If God himself is bound by Time, then we get a question, “What is the use of praying to Bhagavan?” Though God is bound by time, when we make a heartfelt prayer to Him with faith, He would bestow His blessings beyond the clutches of time. When we speak about the humiliation that Draupadi endured in the court, though Krishna is the one within (antaryami) and is the witness to the whole world. He did not interfere when she was humiliated in the court. Though He had immense compassion towards the Pandavas and Draupadi, He remained unbiased. But the moment Draupadi called out, Govinda, He came running to support her. Bhagavan is unbiased which means He does not segregate people as wanted and unwanted or liked and disliked. He doesn’t consider one’s wealth, education, language, religion, caste; nothing matters to Him. The only thing He is looking for is if you have belief in his compassion. More than whether “do you like Him”, what matters the most is “do you believe in Him”.
It is because Draupadi believed in Him that she called out to Him there. Since she called with the belief that even in such circumstances, He can come to protect her, Bhagavan came there. Such a belief should come to us when we are in deep trouble.
Generally, we hold onto the faith at normal times and lose it at the time of extreme difficulties. We say “What is the gain from the worship done all these days? What did we gain by visiting temples all these days?” and lose courage. Only during times of difficulty, we can hold on to Bhagavan tightly.
To understand this let us see an episode. Say, it is a person’s wedding anniversary, and he visits a temple along with his wife to do archana (worship). However, as the Deity’s screen was closed. He inquired how long it would take to open the screens. They said it would take about 15 minutes and asked him to wait patiently. He said that he couldn’t stay for that long as he had booked tickets for a movie and had to leave. He gave the coconut, bananas and betel nuts to the priest along with some money, requesting the priest to perform the archana in his name and left in his two-wheeler to watch a movie. On the way, he collided with a truck resulting in a head injury to his wife. After admitting her in the hospital, he cries and laments in front of Bhagavan requesting him to somehow save her life. Earlier, he who could not patiently stay for 15 minutes at the temple, is now crying, lamenting, and creating havoc at the hospital. So, did he believe in Bhagavan while at the temple or in the hospital? His belief was more when he was in hospital than when he was in the temple due to his misery. A commoner cannot call out to Bhagavan in the same vein on a normal day similar to the way he does during difficult times.
Even in the puranas, when Parikshit was about to die in 7 days, he listened to Bhagavatam. After the crocodile held Gajendra for 1000 years, it realized that neither its individual strength nor the herds of elephants, can save it. Then, he called out “Narayana akila gurO bhagavan namaste” and Bhagavan came. Thus, to receive Bhagavan’s blessings, one needs to believe in Him and reach out to Him by calling out His name. How do you know if you have faith or not?
A person comes to me and desires to be blessed with the job. I advise them, for 10 minutes every day chant the Maha Mantra, and you will get a job.
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Do you know when he would actually get the job? While chanting Mahamantra daily, there would be a thought at the subconscious level, “How will I get a job by saying Hare Rama every day? What is the relation between Hare Rama and getting a job? Anyways, since he asked me to do it, let me chant.” When such underlying thoughts are removed, then only the belief manifests. Instead, if he has to think, “Nama would certainly get me a job. If he has said so there would be a significance in it”. But there is an underlying negative thought. “How will it happen if we keep saying nama?”
A husband and wife were separated. They were asked to light a lamp in the morning and chant nama. “By just chanting nama, without any efforts from their end, how will they come together?” is a question that arises in our mind, right? Only when that question vanishes from the mind, faith firms up. When we go to temple, at times, we shed drops of tears miraculously. we immediately look around seeking attention if someone notices us. Only when such thoughts leave you, can you attain wisdom and devotion. Why? What is victory?
When a king is winning in hunting by killing several animals, he is declaring victory. Similarly, when he wins a war, he declares victory. In another perspective, victory to the king implies defeat of several animals. Behind anyone’s victory, there is defeat for several others. In a war between two countries or even in a sport, celebrating one’s victory also implies the other’s defeat.
So how is it possible to say, “I am a successful person”? It is understandable when speaking about countries, sports or the hunting situation, what is victory and what is defeat. However, on what basis is a person considered as successful or a failure in his life? If one has to win, then that person has to defeat a few. Only then he is considered a successful person. So, “Who should one defeat in order to become successful? A competitor? Who?
When the self-doubts and thoughts like “I can’t, it is impossible, it is not suitable for me” which repeatedly arise are defeated, one can become successful. So it is that faith which changes a person. Therefore, that belief needs to come in one’s mind. While saying so, we also have to carefully consider that we are not in control of the thoughts that arise in our mind. Sometimes we are astonished by the kind of thoughts we get.
How to influence our thoughts?
Let me tell a story that people say about this. A wanderer was going about on a sunny day. Since he had walked for a long time, he felt like lying down somewhere and taking a rest for some time. He rested under a tree but he did not know that it was a wish fulfilling tree (karpaga vruksham). He thought it was an ordinary tree. As he was lying down, he felt hungry and thought it would be nice if someone brought good food there. The moment he thought so, a few people came with the variety of dishes and served him a feast. He ate some sumptuously. Since he had walked a long way, he was tired and wished there was a bed to lie down on. Immediately a sandalwood bed with a mattress appeared and he slept on it happily. Then he wished for someone to massage his legs. Immediately two men appeared and massaged his legs. When he woke up, it was 6 to 7 PM in the evening and it was dark. He looked around and there were bushes all around. He was worried that a tiger or lion would appear there and eat him. At once, a tiger and a lion came and ate him. Whatever he thought did happen, didn’t it?
So, everything that we think should not materialize. Then, how to channelize one’s thoughts as we don’t want everything that we think to happen, isn’t it? There is a beautiful method to channelize thoughts. First, repeatedly say aloud the thoughts you want your mind to think. For instance, we have said if one desires to see God in his life, repeatedly say like a mantra,
“No name, No fame, No self-interest Only Krishna”
“No name, No fame, No self-interest, Only God”
Making good sentences and repeating them aloud will turn into positive thoughts; these thoughts will manifest into actions and will eventually become their inherent nature. Words are powerful, and positive motivation is key to overcome any self-doubt.
If we keep repeating these sentences like a mantra, after a few days it will transform the thoughts. By this, we can tune our thoughts the way we want. This method will work for any kind of thought. So, as a starting step, form some good sentences. When we keep repeating those sentences aloud, that will turn into our thoughts. When these become your thoughts, they will manifest in your actions. When they manifest in your actions, that will become your inherent nature. You will start living like that. Then, it will spread to the genes in your body and motivate you to achieve your goal. When there is a big task, first believe that you can do it. Self-belief is key!
Prayer and Faith
When we talk about prayers, we say there are prayers for the self and prayers for social welfare. What are they? For instance, praying, “I need a house”, “I want to get married”, “I want to have children” are all selfish prayers. We have never prayed that everybody in my apartment should be fine. But COVID has made us pray this way. With COVID around, we have started praying that none in our neighborhood should contract it. If so, they would also contract it. Then, our road will be blocked, and we will also be taken for testing. In such circumstances, we pray to God that not only us but none in our street, apartment or neighborhood should contract the disease. Here, in public interest, there is a self-interest as well. But self-interest is never inclusive of public interest.
Just like how we started doing prayers during COVID, we should always start prayers with social welfare in mind. First, never utter negative words. Words like, “I don’t want to live”, should be shunned. As mentioned previously, positive words become positive thoughts. Similarly negative words become negative thoughts. Always choose an optimistic approach. This is what Puranas call faith. To create awareness about something is different from scaring and creating self-doubts. On any topic, an awareness is needed. But scaring and creating self-doubt is very dangerous.
During COVID pandemic, we hear, “definitely take two vaccination shots”; “wear a mask”; “maintain social distance”; all these are said to create awareness. It is a MUST-DO.
However, when someone contracts COVID, say, “everything will be all right, so many people have recovered from it”. Instead, saying, “Is it COVID? You are dead” such words itself will kill them.
So, we should refrain from spreading self-doubt and fear. We should also keep away from people who spread them. These are not new concepts.
Words have power
In Mahabharat, there is a beautiful episode. King Shalya was a great warrior and an exceptional charioteer. There was no one else like him. Knowing about the battle between Pandavas and Kauravas, he wanted to participate in it. His intent was to support Pandavas and he came with his large army. To take advantage of Shalya’s competence in charioteering, Duryodana devised a clever plan. At strategic locations en-route of King Shalya, Duryodana establishes guest houses. The king Shalya was very pleased with the hospitality with a variety of food, drink and entertainment. He thought that such lavish hospitality like treating Indra was organized by Dharmaputra. At the end, when he was to meet the Pandavas to offer his gratitude, the servants told him that these arrangements were done by Duryodana and not by Pandavas. Duryodana arrives there and King Shalya says, “ I have not seen such a royal hospitality in my lifetime. Enroute, at all the places where I needed to rest, you made grand arrangements in large mansions. You took care of my troops. I had a golden throne, dance, and music. I doubt if Indra would be as delighted as I was. You delighted me. What boon do you need?” Duryodana was waiting for this moment. He said, “King Shalya, you have to be on our side in this battle”. He accepted the demand as he had given his word. He added that he would return after meeting Dharmaputra. He tells Dharmaputra, “You have suffered so much in life. All this while, you stayed in hiding and suffered a lot.” Adding to this, he also shared his promise to Duryodana. Further continued, “I was planning to join your side but on the way here, I enjoyed the hospitality arranged by Duryodana. Without my realization, I offered Duryodana a boon and he asked me to join his side during the battle. I have to be with him.”. He told the truth. Dharmaputra says, “That’s fine. They will use you as a warrior. But you are an exceptional charioteer. Duryodana would most likely ask you to be a charioteer for Karna. Karna is a great warrior while you are a great charioteer. When both of you join together, it will be as powerful as the combination of fire and sun. So, Duryodana would prefer that option. If that happens, you should do me a favor. You should always demoralize Karna by your words.” King Shalya thought for a while, “I came to support you. You are the rightful owners of the kingdom. There is no justice or righteousness on their side. But to repay the hospitality provided by them, I will fight alongside them. In case I get an opportunity to be the charioteer for Karna, as suggested by, I would continuously demoralize him”.
Actually, that opportunity arrived. Karna says, “If Shalya were my charioteer, it would be equivalent to Krishna as the charioteer for the opponents”. Duryodhana convinced King Shalya to be the charioteer for Karna. When that happened, Shalya criticized Karna in many ways and continued to demoralize him. One of the important reasons for Karna to be weakened was such demoralizing words that were uttered to him. Positive motivation is key.
Words have power. In life, we should only motivate a person positively and never negatively. To a child at home, if we repeatedly say, “Charu, don’t go there”; “Charu, don’t do it”; at school if the teacher asks, “What is your name”? the child will say, “Don’t Charu”. We should keep saying, “Do” instead of “Don’t” all the time. We make many such mistakes.
I once read an English book written after a lot of research by the author. He has written that the words we utter have power. He wrote that “Whatever you utter, even if it is once, it has power”. A friend who handed this book to me told me to read it as it would be interesting. He also added in a lighter vein, “Sir, in YouTube when the videos are published, they mention, it is going viral. Would that (that the usage of the word ‘viral’ is so widespread) also be a reason for this pandemic? :)” I responded, “I don’t have an answer to this, Sir”.
So whatever sentences and words we use have a lot of power. When we see the life histories of many people, we would know how much they had suffered because of negative words and negative thinking. A successful person will always be optimistic. Even when faced with challenges, they look for learning lessons and growing from it. They won’t be demoralized. You should always have a fighting tendency, whatever might be the situation. Our biggest strength in life is that belief. When a lion wakes up in the forest, it believes that it can hunt a good prey that day. The potential prey of the lion also wakes up believing that it won’t become a prey to the lion that day. That is how the world is.
The Basis of Faith
Life of every human is based on faith. The moment one becomes mentally weak, that person would become physically and intellectually weak too. We should never let our mind become weak. We should never be a reason either directly or indirectly for another person’s mind to become weak. We should always be encouraging. The persons to be avoided are the ones who stay close to us and demoralize us or the ones talking with disinterest; “I don’t like anything; “Why should I live?” We should mainly get away from such a person. Otherwise, after a few days, we would start talking like them inadvertently. Life is like a poem; a golden opportunity given by God. We have to be thankful to Him for the wonderful life given to us. We can enjoy this life and do many good deeds. Then, why should we then lament, worry or utter reckless words? So, the basis for everything is faith.
Whom should we place this faith on?
If we place our faith on someone who is transient, we will wonder how to trust them. So, it has to be someone who will remain forever and be our well-wisher. That person should also be very merciful and must be willing and capable of doing anything for us. We should be able to share anything with that person freely, knowing that it will be kept as a secret and not be divulged to anyone. That person should attain happiness by seeing us happy and should immensely be pleased upon our surrender. If you call that person’s name briefly, it should instill joy in them.
The only person possessing all these qualities is none other than Bhagavan Himself.
“How do we make Him happy”
“By chanting Nama”
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare |
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||
Chanting His name relentlessly is enough to keep Him happy and to have the entire universe become conducive and favorable to you. Chant His name with faith and happiness, and think to yourself that it is a blessing (bhagyam) to chant.
Chanting without faith will also bear fruit, but it will take longer and be less fruitful. I won’t say that it won’t bear any fruit (if chanted without faith). However, you are in a hurry and expect returns immediately. Not only do you want the fruit immediately but also in full (100%). For this to happen, you need faith. Chanting with faith provides the fruits not only immediately but also in full. If you don’t have that faith, pray to Bhagavan Himself to instill faith in Him. The moment you start believing in Him, everything else will be easy. Faith is most important. Once there is faith, Bhagavan will come there.
There was once a fickle minded person. He once attended an upanyasam. That day, the speaker gave scintillating details of Vinayagar Agaval (a composition by Avvayaar on Lord Ganesha). He went on saying, “Is there any other deity like Ganesha? Be it in a bus stop, auto stand or anywhere else, Vignesh is seated there! He does not expect any grand worship. One just needs to knock on their temples and salute Him. While on a bus journey, just remove the footwear and pray to Him. He does not require a big front pillar or an elevated altar. He sits amidst the dust that comes from the bus. He talked so much about Lord Ganesha and this person felt very happy. Impressed by the upanyasam of Lord Ganesha, he bought a Ganesha vigraha the next day and started worshiping Him. Nothing worked for him. After a month, he attended another upanyasam on Lord Karthikeya and the speaker sang Kandar Anubhuti and Thiruppugazh (Compositions of Saint Arunagirinathar on Lord Muruga). He mentioned that there is no other God like Lord Muruga. Muruga sits on the top of hills in many places like Palani, Thirupparangkundram, Tiruttani. The reason for He sitting on top of the hills signifies symbolically that if you surrender unto Him, He will raise you to greater heights. He immediately bought His vigraha to worship Him.
The worship of Muruga at home happened in all splendor. He bought flowers, honey and chanted the ashotra. Nothing happened to him. About a month later, he attended a prayer and listened to Tiruvachakam (composition of Saint Manickavasagar on Lord Shiva) including the glories of Lord Shiva. He bought a Shiva Linga and started worshiping. He worshiped with a lot of samba rice, bilva leaves, and thumba flowers. For a few days, this devotional worship was going on. He attended another lecture and the person discoursing the lecture said, “our main obstacles in reaching Bhagavan are our desires, anger and fear”. Until these 3 resides in us, we cannot attain bhagavan. If these 3 attributes have to be quelled, we should worship God as a mother, Devi, Shakti or Ambal”. Then we can easily win over desires, anger and fear.
Any child feels most comfortable with its mother, as there is no fear, no desires and there is no anger in that love. Even though all other animals frighten when they see a lioness, a lion cub would walk to its mother courageously. So, “if you want to win over fear, desire, and anger all you need to do is worship the goddess as a mother; You’ll easily be able to attain God”. Upon hearing this, the next day he bought a Rajarajeshwari vigraha and started worshiping Her.
One day, he was offering a sweet Pongal dish to Devi and stared at all the other vigrahas who he was worshiping earlier. He said to himself “I have been worshiping all these deities for so many days, you did not bless me with anything earlier. So, why should I offer this sweet Pongal to you all?” With that thought, he brought a box and covered those three deities because he didn’t want them to consume this sweet Pongal. “Even after praying to you for months, you did not bother to look at me; why should I serve you the sweet pongal?” he said. At that instance, all the three gods appeared in front of him because he now believed that the gods were present there and that they would consume a share of the sweet Pongal. That belief was missing all along, and the moment he believed, they all appeared in front of him. Faith is most important. When there is faith, Bhagavan Himself will come there.
Where is God?
Where do we pray? So, where is God? In a temple, Vaikunta, Ksheerabdhi, or in the photo frame in our pooja room? No, not in any of these places. God is in our faith. He is present wherever you are calling Him with faith. If we encounter some difficulty while walking down a street, do we run to a temple to make a prayer? No – we call out His name from wherever we are, right? Instantly Bhagavan, in some form and means, sends help. So, Bhagavan is everywhere. He is all-pervading and omnipresent. In whatever language you call Him, He will know. He understands your mind. There is no need to think if you are “eligible” for His blessings as only faith and heartfelt prayer is required. In whatever language you call Him, He will know. He understands your mind. From wherever you call Him, He has the power to help you in some form. There is no requirement for a separate place to offer prayers. Faith and heartfelt prayer are very important.
You should not wonder, “Am I eligible for His blessings according to my horoscope?” We do not check the horoscope of a child if it has the prospect of a good education before admitting to primary school, do we? We admit the kid in school and punish the kid if he doesn’t study well, right?
Only when we are disinterested, do we look for lame excuses. A person with the desire, will work to convert their obstacles into opportunities for reaching their goal. Even if you say, “Sir, you are always inconsistent”, he will laugh at this and reply, “I am consistent with my inconsistency”. Everything is in the way you take it. So always have faith.
If a negative thought arises sometimes, nip it in the bud. Your enemies are the ones who cultivate freight and self-doubt. The people who give you confidence are your best friends.
Greatness of Sadhus
All mahans have appeared on this earth only to reinforce faith in humankind. They were born to elevate humankind. They were not just born for one family but for the world. That is why even after several years, such mahans have retained a place for themselves in history. People follow them even today because of their selfless love.
They may differ in their educational background, nativity, or language. But what is common to them all is that they would never wish any harm for anyone. They gain happiness by making others happy. That is the very purpose of their life. That is how they have lived. That is why people are attracted to them. People feel very close to those mahans because they truly love all and shover that love on all. Mahans wish for the welfare of all and derive happiness from everyone’s well being. They are not competitive or jealous. They take everything to be Bhagavan’s will. They feel that Bhagavan dwells in the hearts of everyone and operates through them. Thus, it becomes easy for them to see Bhagavan everywhere.
Keep the faith
Do not lose faith during testing times. In this situation of COVID, over the last 2 years, so many doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, hospital security persons, sanitation workers and many more have made enormous sacrifices. Many have lost their near and dear ones. Even in these difficult times, we should not lose faith.
While walking on the road, if a dog chases us, we increase our pace to reach a safe place quickly. Likewise, during testing times like now (COVID), each and every individual, with conviction, must make a prayer for this pandemic situation to end and chant nama for the world to return to normalcy. We should be fearless and also not allow others to scare us.
We should not permit anything to tamper our faith. We should always be enthusiastic and have faith. Faith is life. If we see any person with such a conviction, the whole world will be at his command.
With that conviction, if each one of us chant nama and pray from our homes, the pandemic situation cannot harm anybody. Once in a while, we face such tough times. At one point in time, the world suffered because of the Tsunami that lasted for just a few seconds. Suddenly earthquakes occur. Such things keep happening. At any stage, without losing faith, we should chant nama relentlessly. This way, we crossed 2020 and 2021. We are now stepping into January 01, 2022.
For vaccines to be invented and delivered to the masses, it used to take at least 10 years. However, this pandemic has accelerated the research in various places and has made vaccines available in quick time. It is a miraculous achievement in the medical field. It is effective and that is a good thing as well, isn’t it? It is making us think sharply and act fast.
For 2 years, many people have struggled without food, with inability to commute and without employment. Even in this situation, Bhagavan has ensured, we live without difficulty for food, shelter, or employment. We should remind ourselves of His compassion. At this juncture, let us remember the efforts of the people who selflessly served others affected by the pandemic and pray for them. Where there’s no selfishness, Bhagavan certainly resides there. Our prayer for the front-line workers is only a way of expressing our gratitude. Bhagavan is already there where selfless service is done.
For instance, we may find some people on the street, crying for food. Someone would buy fresh food from a nearby restaurant and offer them. When I witness both of them, I see Bhagavan there. I am not sure if I searched for Bhagavan in the temple. But in that situation, I can feel Bhagavan. When there is empathy, there is Bhagavan. Where there is selfless love, there is Bhagavan in such a love. That is how the frontline staff have selflessly worked to help the affected people. If they had succumbed to fear, how could we have surpassed that period?
Chant Nama and Pray with Faith
For 2022, let us do the only thing we know – prayer. Someone said pray whether you have faith in God or not. He gave an example for this. You carry an umbrella with you expecting that it might rain. If it rains, the umbrella will protect you and there is no loss if it does not rain. Likewise in our life, we keep talking about many things all the time. Along with that, what will happen if you just chant nama 10 times? If God exists, you will be blessed. If not, there is no monetary or any other loss. A person explains this logic to get people to somehow chant nama in this way.
But we chant nama with faith. We have faith in the presence of Bhagavan. When called with heartfelt prayer, He would come. Beyond that, we should pray for everyone affected by the pandemic and for the return to normalcy. We have seen Tsunami, earthquakes in the past. Now, we are seeing this pandemic. Whatever be the reason for this in terms of time, planetary influences, viruses, humans, or unrighteous actions, instead of analyzing the reason, we should focus on the remedy.
It is said, ‘bhava oushadham’ in Srimad Bhagavatam. Oushadham means medicine. This medicine called Bhagavan nama is a huge protection. With that being the case, we should chant relentlessly. If you’re not able to nurture faith, pray sincerely, seeking that faith in Him, Bhagavan does not require you to sing Thiruvasakam, Thevaram, Prabandham, Tyagaraja kritis or slokas in Sanskrit. Mahans who had that capability, composed them during their time.
Just converse freely with Bhagavan about your feelings. That is natural. Devotees stand in long queues at Tirupati for darshan. After traveling long distances in traffic, climbing up the mountain and then waiting in the queue, when we approach the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum, we get distracting thoughts; “Did I lock my cottage room properly?” At that time, we should ask the Lord, “the fact that my thoughts are getting diverted to the material world after I have taken all the efforts to come here to have your darshan, makes it clear to me that I cannot bring my mind to you. Only you have to drag it towards yourself.” “gAndham irumbu pOl kavarndhu enai vidAmal ”, says Sri Ramana Maharshi. Just as a magnet attracts an iron, Bhagavan should attract our consciousness towards his direction. He did not bestow it so far, because you did not ask for it. You ask for it. Pour your mind out to Him freely. “I have come to see you, from Chennai, navigating all hurdles, and finally when I stand before your Holy presence for 2 minutes, my mind is getting diverted. It is sure that I cannot turn my mind towards You by my effort, only You should bind my wandering mind towards You.”
In the same way, ask for faith in Him, faith in His Nama. Ask for it repeatedly, not as a mere information to him, but as a heartfelt prayer.
What is prayer?
When a child wants to watch a movie, asks, pleads, begs, cries, and makes a ruckus until the wish is fulfilled. Similarly, we should offer our prayers to Bhagavan and remain uncompromised till it is fulfilled. Will power and patience are outstanding qualities.
Once I was traveling in a train. I was accompanied in the same compartment by a wealthy family and a poor family on the opposite side. As we know, snacks keep coming from the pantry. People like to eat while sitting idle or having a conversation. One person might ask, “Where are you from, Sir?” to start a conversation. Some might respond while some others would reply, “How does it matter to you?” The questioner would feel offended wondering, “What will he lose if he makes a conversation!”. Some would read a book; some would fall asleep. As I said in my coupe, there was a rich family on one side and a poor family on the other side. There was a 5 years old boy in the rich family and a girl of similar age in the poor family. Whenever the pantry came, the boy asked for the ice cream and his father bought it. The boy threw the asking as it was not the flavor he wanted. His parents pacified him immediately. The rich kid got what he wanted – juice, snacks and many other eatables. The boy was throwing tantrums and his parents were trying to console him and get him whatever he wanted. The poor family girl kid also asked her father but he refused to buy as they could not afford the cost. However, the rich family offered the items they purchased to the girl from the poor family too. The girl refused everything. Be it ice cream, snacks or cool drinks. I was observing for the entire journey as it was a long one from Delhi, if I remember correctly. I thought that this girl would refuse in the beginning but will accept later on. However, until the end of the journey, the girl from the poor family did not take even one item from the rich family. Her father was not in a position to buy. They brought some food of their own from home, and they just ate that.
She remained uncompromised, did not get tempted. The willpower and self-esteem of that girl was a learning experience for me. She took a stand at the start of the journey and stood firm on it until the end. Similarly, in devotion, we should hold firm without compromise and remain uninfluenced. We should remain firm in our stand until the end. We should not yield to temptation; we should not change our minds.
Prayer for 2022
The year 2022, will be an all-round exceptional year, I feel that way as an intuition. In this year, lots of good things will happen to our country. In all fields, India will reach greater heights. In 2022, India will be among the Top 10 countries in the whole world. Businesses will improve. General living standards and quality of life for the people will improve. Health will improve and love towards one another will improve. Everything will flourish, and the new year will not be just another year but will mark the beginning of a Golden Era for all of us. 2022 will be a year that will make us all happy. This is my belief, and I will pray to Bhagavan for the same. Let us all pray together from wherever you are.
I have often repeatedly emphasized that prayer should be specific. It should not change. If a word is changed, the whole meaning would change. First, we should be specific. Second, we should be clear in what we want. Lots of people are getting confused because they do not have clarity in what they want. Decide what you want, remain clear about it and think about it. All of you think about a prayer like that.
I will join with everyone who is watching this online. I have no powers; I am an ordinary person like you. I will wholeheartedly pray to Bhagavan that your prayer is fulfilled. Like I said in the beginning, mass prayer has power. Let us pray together. First, we will pray for the welfare of the people across the globe; then pray for the welfare of our country, our state, our city, and our family, and then if you have a specific prayer for yourself, think about that. We shall have no hatred towards anyone. We shall be affectionate to all. In whatever way possible, we should extend our help to others.
There is satisfaction in that help; We should consider it as a service, an opportunity to be of service to others. For 5 minutes let us pray together from your respective places. I will pray to Sri Premika Varadan on behalf of every one of you. Like I said in the beginning, Bhagavan is our closest friend, He is merciful; He likes to see us happy; there is nothing that He can’t bestow. So, let us pray together and your wishes will soon be fulfilled, you will be bestowed with peace of mind. Our community, our family and every one of us in the world will prosper and with Bhagavan’s grace, we shall live happily. With this prayer in mind, let us welcome the year 2022.
I will now chant the Nama, and all of you, please repeat from wherever you are.
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Our dear Premika Varadan, who is beyond Kamadhenu, Karpaga vruksha will fulfill all your prayers. This year, many good things will happen in everyone’s family. At the same time, I wished that lots and lots of people should chant the Maha Mantra. Just for my wish to be fulfilled, many have sacrificed their life, money, and time; some have remained unmarried. Many from various countries around the globe across India, America, Indonesia, Aus, Lond, SGT,London, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway and more made several sacrifices. Primarily to fulfill my wish, they generously offer money, spend all their time for my purpose and service by sacrificing their lives and engage themselves in reaching out Nama to everyone with the sole motto that “May everyone in the world experience the same joy that I experience”. This is not a course or teaching. It doesn’t involve money. We let people know about this simple prayer and ask them to pray. Why?
Even if we go to a temple, we meet people and engage in chatting about worldly matters like politics, world news, neighborhood gossip. We hand our offerings to the priest and stand there with our eyes closed. In all this, how are you truly connecting with Bhagavan? There are formalities in such places, but how are you connecting through your mind with Bhagavan? It is a prayer only if we connect with our mind. To connect that way with Bhagavan, there is no requirement to be in a specific place. It can happen from anywhere. We are reaching out this simple truth to all.
All divine names are the same, all Gods are the same. There is no difference. At the same time, if we adopt multiple paths, we cannot achieve our goal. We should all chant the Mahamantra and tread the path shown by our respective Gurus. This Mahamantra has been specifically stated as the mantra for this era. So, we spread this to all. Just because I have this desire, many have sacrificed their livelihood, money, time and have taken this up as their life’s mission. This is a great service by them. I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to them. May Bhagavan bless them in abundance.
Sadgurunath Maharaj ki Jai!! Gopika jeevana smaranam Govinda Govinda!!
– HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji