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Posted at 11:40:32 IST on Mar 25, 2010

The final session of the Bhagavatha Saptaaham was exciting and had the climactic touch with Sudhama, Bhagawan Sri Krishna’s school time friend meeting up with His Friend and Lord!

Referring to Sudhama, the Maharaj said, for a person who lived with self-respect, who taught children Sanskrit and Vedas without any charge, Lord Himself would come to accept such a person, his devotion. Sudhama was poor, but would never relent to the King’s desire to glorify him with his writings, rather preferred to sing Bhagawan’s glory. Despite being poor, Sudhama would give free Sanskrit training to poor children from his area. He always believed that his friendship with Krishna should not take him to Krishna seeking any favours.

With children growing up, family continued to be in dire circumstances in terms of food, clothing and shelter, with mounting pressure from his wife, Sudhama was in a fix. Though he never wanted to go and take undue advantage of his “holy friendship” with Krishna, his wife’s relentless pursuit to go and meet Krishna was pushing him to the edge.
The Maharaj gave a sensational narration of the conversation between Sudhama and his wife prior to his setting out for epochal journey. His hapless wife, who never had any complaint about anything till that day, wanted Sudhama to go and meet his old time friend, as for the family, it was a “do-or-die” situation. She advises not to seek any favours, but cautions him not to refuse to accept if offered by Krishna, as their life was in His hands…Being poor, struggling to make both ends to meet, she had nothing to offer to Bhagawan, and thus borrowed two handfuls of rice grains, tied in a torn sari piece to take as an offering, to their beloved Lord.

Sudhama sets out with mindful of apprehensions as to whether Krishna would ever recognize him and whether he would be ever let in to meet his Krishna. He never wanted anything and kept on praying that nothing should be given to him, but recognize him, call him by his name…”Sudhama…”

…And came the moment…The Lord who was resting, upon hearing the name “Sudhama”, jostled Himself, rushing towards the entrance. Embracing the old friend, Krishna brought him inside, washed his feet, bathed him, and made him to wear new clothes, finally feeding him sumptuously. Ever playful Krishna wanted to know what ‘Bhabhi”, sister-in-law had sent for Him. After lots of persuasion, to a Sudhama who was still not relenting, Krishna tickled his old friend to grab the “love” offering sent by Sudhama’s wife. The Lord who would give everything to his righteous friend, ate two handfuls of the offering and when He was about to have the third one, His consort caught hold of His hand restraining Him from doing further, praying Him to keep something for Himself.

Sudhama continued to stay there for some more days before returning to his hometown. He was more than a satisfied person as his final desire had been fulfilled. Upon reaching his hometown he could not locate his mini-hut, but could see big palatial building in its place. …He could not even recognize his wife and children as everything has undergone sea of change.

Sudhama, who was derisively called Kuchela by all as he was always wearing clothes in tatters and ever entertained only one concern, His selfless Love for Bhagawan Sri Krishna, is the recipient of Divine Blessings. To an astonished Sudhama his wife says, he who gives by seeking he is human and He who gives without asking, He is Bhagawan!
Raja Parikshit heard the entire Bhagavatham and it was time for him to leave as per the ‘curse’. Sri Shuka, upon listening to the nectarous stories for seven days, as advised by Sri Shuka, left his mortal coil through Pranayama, by releasing his “life-force” through Sahasrara Chakra, the seventh energy channel. Takshak came and touched the body and it turned into ashes.

In an emotional final narration, the Maharaj offered the entire seven days’ Saptaaha Yajna at the Feet of “Divine Parents” of Bhagawan, Mother Easwaramma and Pedda Vankamma Raju, whom he credited to bring The Divine Form into physical frame. Opining his simplicity and greater good fortune, the Maharaj went on further telling that, the preceptor of the Devas, Brihaspathi himself would have come at Bhagawan’s command, but Bhagawan has chosen him, bestowing upon him the opportunity, a unique opportunity that redeems many a birth. Offering “Koti Koti Pranams”, millions upon millions of salutations, the Maharaj prayed for Divine Forgiveness for any errors that he would have committed, most inadvertently.

Talking about the bliss that he was enjoying, the Maharaj said, even liberation would not grant you this feeling that he was enjoying. How the Lord recognized Sudhama, similarly Bhagawan should recognize him also… (all who assembled).  Offering the entire Saptaaham to the Feet of “Divine Parents” Sai Gayathri was changed, en mass, five times before bringing the curtain down.

Earlier the session began with usual invocations and offerings the Maharaj hailed the epic to be a rarity, a phenomenal story as nowhere else one could find any such reference like the epic, which would happen in every age…Bhagavatham is the means to reach Vaikunta, but in the immediate Divine Presence of Bhagawan the Bhagavatham is happening in Vaikunta itself.

Man emerges from God and finally merges in Him alone. God comes in every age. Quoting the Gita verse,

Sarva-dhaman parityajna
mam ekam saranam vraja
ahm tvan sarva- papebhyo
moksayisyami ma suchah

meaning, all forms of different religions and self-imposed duties should be given up and the only shelter and resort should be His Lotus Feet, the Maharaj emphasized that God alone is the creator and God alone is filled the entire cosmos.

God can be reached through Saguna or Nirguna (with and without form). Saguna Bhakti is superior and difficult to follow. Liberation is not a big deal. Devotion comes first. Between Liberation and God comes Devotion. So, one need to aspire for God Himself when everything else will be added unto him, exhorted the Maharaj.