The Divine Name Muralidhara

Plava Aippasi Swathi (Deepavali day) of this year marked the auspicious 60th tirunakshatram of our beloved Guru Maharaj. When an avatara purusha descends, everything in the cosmos aligns perfectly. Our Guru Maharaj was born aptly in the Plava varsham (the year of the Boat), as the boat to take us across the ocean of misery. He was born on the new moon day of Deepavali as the brilliant lamp to dispel our darkness of ignorance. And He was born as Sri Muralidhara, to attract us all to His divine lotus feet with His sweet music of prema.

‘Muralidhara’ that wonderful divine name of our beloved Master is the sweetest of all the infinite names of Bhagavan. Because it stands for Bhagavan as a Guru; as one who intends to attract us all to His lotus feet. 

Sri Swamiji himself speaks of how the Venu Gitam of Bhagavan Sri Krishna signifies His role as the Guru. It signifies Bhagavan taking the first step towards the jiva, as a Guru. The first call towards divinity originates, not from us, but from the Guru. It is Sri Krishna who played the flute and attracted all the Gopis, cows, calves out of their houses and away from their mundane worldly activities to His divine presence. Bhagavan’s name ‘Krishna’ means one who attracts people. How does Bhagavan pull people and hence justify the svarupa (intrinsic nature) of His own name? Only by wielding the flute! Only by being Muralidhara! 

Devotees praise Bhagavan as ‘akhila gurO bhagavan namaste’ and ‘Krishnam vande Jagadgurum.’ When can Sri Krishna live up to this exalted position? Only when he is ‘Muralidhara.’ Only when he takes out his flute and starts playing the melodious, attractive notes of prema through the prema sukha pradam mantram, ‘Radhe Radhe.’

Hence Bhagavan was born with the same name in this age. With the name that itself signifies the ‘Guru-tvam’, the quality of being a Guru. And just like how Bhagavan played his notes of prema and pulled all lovely Gopis to His feet, our dear Guru too, uses the same prema through his prema vachanam and prema svabhavam. 

But the difference here is that, in the form of our Guru Maharaj, His krupa has multiplied manifold. Bhagavan Muralidhara attracted only the great Gopis who were indeed the very form of prema themselves. But here, our Guru Muralidhara Swamiji is pulling us all, no matter whether we have prema or not, no matter if we are ignorant and egoistic, no matter if we are devotees who seek something from him, be it solutions to problems, fulfilment of desires, or moksha; he still attracts everyone with the same prema of His murali. The same divine nectar that Bhagavan Sri Krishna spread with his murali, Sri Muralidhara Swamiji is also spreading in the form of his madhura vachanam and madhura pravachanam, calling all walks of people in, and bestowing on everyone the same gift called ‘Sri Krishna charanam.’ 

It is this same comparison of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s prema-filled murali ganam and our Sri Muralidhara Swamiji’s prema that is sung of in this beautiful sloka:   

prEmAmritam yo muraLIninAdaihi shri krishNa rUpENa purAvavarsha 
adhyApi sOyam muraLIdharAkhyo pushNAti prEmnA bhuvanam saharsham

Just like how Bhagavan Krishna spread His prema by playing His divine flute, that Muralidhara’s name has been taken by our Sri Swamiji and he is spreading the same prema, joy, happiness everywhere throughout the world.

Blessed are we indeed to celebrate our Guru Maharaj’s auspicious descent, in His very presence, in this next Plava year that marks sixty years of his reign of love in this world. Prayers to our beloved Master that he also rein in our minds, into His own divine name, form and qualities, through the divine music of his causeless prema.  

Based on Sri Ramanujamji’s discourse on Mangalaalaya Mama Gurudevaaya
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