As it Strikes Me

A man once set out to the temple. On the way, his slippers tore. He did not find a cobbler to fix them. He was skeptical about leaving them outside the temple, for fear of someone stealing it. He removed his slippers, and put them inside the bag he was carrying.

As he entered the temple, he was very disturbed thinking if he was doing the right thing by taking the slippers inside. As he reached the sanctum, the priest asked him for the bag, assuming that it contained the offerings for archana. Guilt gripped him.

Holding the bag in his hand, he received theertham. His mind was in total unrest.

He circumambulated the Lord, and when he was given prasad, he received it with the bag in one hand. Guilt gripped him further.

He finally prostrated in front of the temple pillar, and was torn between keeping the bag down, and holding it. Holding the bag in one hand in a manner that it does not touch the ground, he half heartedly prostrated, and walked out.

He was left with the feeling that the bag tuned out to be such a burden and such an obstacle that did not let him pray in peace at the temple. He was so guilty that he did not even have darshan of the Lord properly.

This scene applies to us too.

Carrying the baggage of our past, will only leave us with guilt, regret and remorse. Let us unload the baggage before stepping into the new year. Let us begin new. Let us forget the past and leave it behind. Let us move into the New Year with positivity. Let us march enthusiastically towards a successful year, where only joy and peace will prevail and we will celebrate our Lord whole heartedly every single day.

We all know what Dharma Sankatamis. When there are two Dharma-sor righteous acts that need to be done, and if a confusion arises as to which needs to be done, then that goes by the name Dharma Sankata’! In Srimad Bhagavatha, King Ambarisha undertook the Dwadashi Vrata in Mathura. Sage Durvasa arrived there as his guest at that time. Ambarisha Chakravarthy welcomed Sage Durvasa very courteously with pleasing words. He said he would come to have his lunch after a dip in the holy Yamuna river and left. According to our Dharma, one must not eat without feeding the guest who has agreed to have a meal. At the same time, Dharma also states that one must finish his paaranaor mid-day-mealon a Dwadhasi day even when the Dwadashi thithi is there. Since both of these are Dharmas, now arose a confusion as to which one Ambarisha must follow. This is precisely what is known as Dharma Sankatam’.

Similarly, I was recently faced with something new which I named as Apachaara  Sankatam’ (Apachaaram is an offence to god). In my pooja, along with my RadhaKrishna Yugala, my Gurus Padhuka is also present. Once when I happened to take a garland in my hand to offer to the RadhaKrishna Yugala, it suddenly slipped and fell on the Padhuka. When I went to lift that garland and offer it again to the Yugala, a slight doubt crept in my mind if I can offer this garland to the Yugala which has slipped and fallen on the Padhuka. ‘’ I only look upon my Guru as god himself very earnestly, and also tell the same to others too. Then what is wrong in me offering this garland to the Yugala?’’ – I thought. Not only that, I felt shameful about this doubt having arisen in my mind and I also detested it. My mind sneered at me saying,’’ Oh! Your Guru Bhakthi is only this deep!’’. ‘’Alright! Will my Guru like it if I offer this garland to Bhagawan?’’, this question too rose in my mind. For sure, he would not accept the garland fallen on his Padhuka go be offered to the Yugala. ‘’Will it not then become an Apachaarato do something that he doesnt approve of ?’’ – my mind reasoned. Finnaly I put an end to the oscillation in the mind thus, - ‘’It befits my Guru not to accept that, but these thought processes should not have been there in me if I had possessed strong faith!’’

This indeed is my Apachaara Sankatam’!

The path shown by great sages and bhaktas like Prahlada, Narada, Parasara, Pundaleeka, Vyasa, Ambareesha, Shuka, Saunaka, Bhishma etc, is the path of Bhagavatha Dharma. A river takes its own course as it flows towards the infinite ocean.

Some people come to the river to quench their thirst. Some sit by its banks to enjoy the cool breeze, some set up their home in the banks, some use its water and current for agriculture, some play in the current and end up drowning themselves, while some take a boat and travel safely from one side to the other.

The life of a Mahatma in the path of Bhagavatha Dharma is similar to this river. Few come to them seeking a solution to their problems or questions, and thereby quench their thirst. Few come and take what they want for their personal benefits just like those who use the river for agricultural purposes. Few come and stay with the Mahatma and enjoy His Divine Company just like those who sit to enjoy the cool breeze. Some try to play with the Mahatma and meet their end just like the ones who drown in the current. Only a few follow the Mahatma everywhere till the end and reach the infinite and get liberated, just as the river reaches the ocean.

Two brothers ran towards their home, after work. One ran at such a fast pace since he was being chased by some thieves. The other ran because he was longing to see his parents after being away from them the whole day. 

Similarly, there are few who are extremely frightened of the worldly pleasures entrapping them, and hence, want to attain God. While others, want to attain God, just because of their intense devotion and love for Him.

 

It is human nature to expect recognition and appreciation for the smallest good deed. In such a situation, if one feels there is no one watching his deeds, one will not feel like doing anything good, since that may not be appreciated or even noticed. One has to realize that God is constantly watching him. God would reward him at the appropriate time in an appropriate manner. This is the best appreciation or recognition that one can ever receive.

As per modern medicine, a person is considered to be in good health if parameters connected to the various systems in the body are within normal range. If any other parameters go out of range, we consult a doctor to restore normalcy, failing which the body becomes diseased. Likewise, the mind should be full of good thoughtsWhen bad thoughts set in, the only way to cleanse the mind is by surrendering to the Guru and following His upadesa. If we do not do that, the mind gets corrupted

Every living being, including humans, do not function just because there is life in the body. From that life, arises the consciousness of I and Mine’. It is this consciousness that makes us associate with the world constantly and develop happiness, sorrow, jealousy, comparison, pain, grief, hatred, joy, so on and so forth. If life remains in the body without the consciousness of Iand Mine, one would not experience happiness or sorrow. But that is a dreadful state similar to a medical coma.

 

Instead of trying to control the Iand Mine, if one expands his consciousness to this entire cosmos, that is verily Viswaroopa (Cosmic Form)! Bliss! Supreme Bliss!

1.      There is a boy who is dull headed and does not perform well at school. His teacher who is his true well-wisher gets down to his level, trains him with utmost care and tunes him to attain success in examinations. After doing all the hard work, when the boy emerges with exemplary grades the teacher happily gives all credit to the student.

When we hear about the highest states of devotion to God, we desire for the same. We understand very well that we are nowhere near such exalted states. The more we try, we understand that such devotion can only happen by Gods Will. The one thing that is practically possible for all of us, is to mechanically chant his Divine Name. But there are many in the world who are unable to chant even mechanically. Or, will not chant even if they can. It is Gods will that makes us chant mechanically too. Like the teacher who elevates the dull student to glory, it is Gods will that makes us chant His Name even if mechanically and bestows prema bhakti ultimately. Although everything happens by His Divine Will alone, and we have no right to credit, like the teacher, God compliments the bhakta and celebrates him.

Narada the foremost among devotees is always engaged in singing Hari Kirtan (glories of Hari) and narrating His stories. From this we can conclude that devotion or bhakti manifests only through these two, that is kirtan and Harikatha.

Dakshinamoorthy the foremost among the gnanis (enlightened ones) is always observing silence. From this it can be seen that gnana (wisdom) in a person is manifest only through silence.