Posted at 21:28:34 IST on Mar 22, 2010
Storyline for the 10th Session delivered on the 4th day of the Yajna, on the evening of 21st Mar 2010
It bespeaks of the mindset of the revered speaker when he began the evening with a bhajan tuning the mind of the congregation towards Lord Krishna before his exposition on the Srimad Bhagavatam. It set the tone and mood for a talk filled with Tatwa, the knowledge of the subtle. Sage Suka had specifically advised king Parikshit to pay utmost attention to the 10th Skanda of the Bhagavatam that narrates the story of Lord Krishna.
Referring to the Shad Darshanas of Nyaya, Vyseshika, Sankhya, Mimamsa, Jnana and Yoga, that represent the essence of Bharat’s philosophical thought, the learned speaker said all external appearances and experiences are transient and ephemeral. God,he said is a state of Total absence of Thought – that means the total absence of mind.
Everything happens for a reason. Even the advent of the avatar is the consequence of an intention of the Formless, Attribute-less, Brahman in his Attributed endowed Form of Eshwara. The lord incarnates to confer ananda on his devotees. As many forms as the devotee wishes. Forms are many but God is one. The avatar is the only principle that can affect transformation of the jivatma. All gurus may show the path, but only the Avatar can transmute human to Divine.
The physical form of the Lord needs a physical womb. In which context the speaker rhetorically questioned, “How great must the Divine mother be to give birth to a God Son?
Expanding on the qualities of the Chosen Mother, the erudite speaker narrated the story of Karmabai, daughter of an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. Her father left on a pilgrimage and instructed his daughter to offer Prasad to Lord Krishna and only then partake of her food. Her simple, innocent, implicit love for Lord Shyam Sundar, was such that she was able to have the Lord of Lords, sit on her lap as a little boy and feed him with her own hands. Consider the instance of pure hearted Nani bai. In response to her prayers and the prayers of Narsi Bhagat, the Lord Himself went to offer nuptial gifts to Nani Bai’s in-laws.
Such pure love for the Lord is the hall mark of a true devotee and confers the first right over the love of God. The speaker opined that Great jnanis, men of wisdom and intellectuals like Panini, who wrote the treatise of Sanskrit grammar, the ashtadhayi are endowed with the gift of analysis and understanding. But not true devotion. Love for God cannot be attained through the intellect. When thoughts cease and one surrenders unconditionally to the Lord, God is drawn towards oneself.
Rani Meera, the queen of Mewad had offered herself to Lord Giridhar Gopal. When the populace of Mewad pleaded that she should return to the palace, she wrote a letter to her guru Tulasidas. He advised her “Lord Ram is your support, offer yourself to Him and all obstacles on your path will be removed.” She then approached her Lord Krishna and placed the query before him. Giridhar came forth from the idol held her by her hand and merged her into Himself.
Expanding on the quality of devotion, the speaker referred to the instance of Sant Eknath and Sant Tukaram. Both were great devotees of Lord Vittala. Sant Tukaram’s wife, a shrew, once told her husband to bring home a stalk of sugarcane. He purchased a stalk and was returning when he saw a poor man and gave him half the stalk. His wife enraged that her husband had brought only half a stalk hit him on the back with the same cane. Sant Tukaram went to Lord Vittala and thanked the lord for giving him a wife whose temperament helped him to learn the virtue of Vairagya.
Sant Eknath on the other hand had a very loving, understanding consort, who helped him on his path towards the Lord by arranging all the items required for worship and serving him in many other ways.
The speaker explained the common factor of Devotion – accept everything that comes your way as the Will of the Lord.
Another instance form the life of Sant Eknath portrayed his recognition of Purusha in Prakriti. Sant eknath wanted to perform abhisheka of Lord Rameshwara with Gangajal and so journeyed to Gangotri, collected the sacred water and reached rameshwaram. A few minutes away from the temple he saw a donkey in the throes of death. Faced with a conundrum, he chose to pour the sacred gangajal into the dying donkey’s mouth instead of offering it to lord Shiva, conscious of the Truth that The Lord is the indweller of all creation. He was immediately blessed with the darshan of Lord Shiva. God always blesses his devotee who is able to see God in his fellow beings.
Coming back to Vrindavana, The Gopikas were filled with love for Krishna. The revered speaker emphasized that saguna bhakti – devotion to the lord with form is easier than Nirguna Bhakti – devotion to the formless, for the latter is tough. One would have to traverse the path of ashtanga yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi. According to the learned speaker, a misstep on this path could have harmful effects on the sadhaka. The simple pure love and devotion of Gopikas to the form of Krishna is indeed worthy of emulation.
The speaker then narrated the episodes of Kaaliya Mardhana and Govardhana Giri. Bringing out the inner significance of both the episodes as “destruction of ones ego is necessary for one to realize divinity”.
Kaaliya dwelt with his family in river yamuna poisoning the waters making them unfit fro any one else. More so, out of self interest for his own creature comforts he was causing undue harm to many innocent beings. Sri Maharaj pointed out three types of people in this vein. One, those that help others at their own cost – the mahatamas; two, those that help others and help themselves too – good people; and three, those that harm others for selfish gain – evil people.
Kaaliya belonged to the third category. A Sage had cursed Garuda Kaaliya’s natural enemy, never to be able to come to Yamuna. So Yamuna became a refuge for Kaalia and his entire family. After narrating the story of how lord Krishna entered the waters, challenged Kaaliya, fought, defeated and humbled the serpent king, Sri Rituraj maharaj pointed to the inner significance of the episode – destruction of the Ego. The lord danced on the hoods of the Serpent of Ego, humbling it. He then commanded Kaaliya to leave Yamuna. When kaaliya expressed his fear of Garuda, Lord Krishna replied, ‘your hoods are marked with my footprints. Garuda will never touch you’. Meaning - when a devotee bows down in humility to the feet of the Lord, the Lord takes him forever as His own.
The next episode was the humbling of Indra. It was the custom of the residents of Vrindavan to perform a ritual offering gratitude to Indra for blessing them with prosperity. Little Krishna convinced Nanda that Govardhan Giri deserved the offerings more than Indra, and Nanda accordingly worshiped Govardhana Giri. Indra enraged on not receiving the offerings sent powerful rainclouds to deluge and wash away Vrindavan. Indra considered Krishna to be an insolent cowherd and failed to understand that Krishna was in fact Sri Maha Vishnu. He was blinded by his EGO to the true nature of the Lord.
In order to protect the folk of Vrindavan, Krishna lifted the entire mountain of Govardhan on his little finger and held it aloft for seven days. Seeing their Krishna bearing a huger burden, the gopikas approached their menfolk asking them to help Krishna. The gopalas offered to support the mountain with their sticks apparently to reduce the burden and Krishna allowed them to help him. Bringing out the inner significance of this act, Sri Rituraj Maharaj pointed to the Truth that God as the in-dweller in all of us is the real doer, we are but instruments. God grants us an opportunity to perform the actions but is actually doing it himself. All the efforts of Indra to destroy Vrindavan were in vain. Finally Deva Rishi Narada made Indra aware of his folly and Indra apologized profusely to Krishna and brought with him the Divine Cow Surabhi. The lord being the ocean of compassion forgave Indra. The learned speaker quoted the poet Amir Khusro saying, those that drown in the ocean of love called God, are the ones blessed to cross it too. He offered a common prayer to the Lord to protect, guide and guard us for all time.
The speaker then narrated another episode from the childhood leelas of lord Krishna. On one occasion the cowherds while grazing the cows were hungry and came upon some Brahmins performing a ceremony and requested them for some food. The priests refused and the boys returned to Krishna empty handed. Krishna then smiled and told them to approach the wives of the priests. Out of their motherly love they fed all the boys and were blessed by Krishna.
The learned speaker then spoke of the instance when the Gopikas performed the Katyayani vrata. Each Gopika prayed to Mother Katyayani to grant her Lord Krishna as their husband. This desire was not to be interpreted as a physical need but as the spiritual yearning of the soul for God. The speaker then explained the true significance of Raas Leela as the union of Prakriti and Paramatma.
As a prelude the next morning’s parayanam which would be on Lord Krishna’s Mathura Yatra, Sri.Rituraj Maharaj concluded his evening session with a prayer to the Lord that we all find refuge at His Lotus feet.