MAHANS

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has been described as a mahan. The Gaudiya vaishnavas believe that He is an avatar of Krishna Himself. Do you also believe in the same?

We believe so too.

Why are most of the Mahans men and not women?

This notion is not right. We have so many mahans who were women – Meera, Andal, Avvayar, Karaikkal Ammayar, Janabai, Chakkubai, Saradamani, Anandamayi Ma and so on. There have been quite a few women saints in the past who have not opted come to limelight because of the customs that prevailed during their time.

You have, in your speech said that we cannot see God and can only feel His presence. But it is taught earlier that Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda have seen God directly and got His blessings. I beg for your clarification.

We see because God is in us. So how to see him who is ‘behind’ the vision! Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ‘saw’ God not with eyes. They experienced Him and to make us understand it can be expressed only as ‘seeing’. Like you say, I saw in my dream. Did you see through your eyes? It was in level of mind – which is a level deeper than physically seeing, right? Likewise, God Realization is in a level deeper than mind.

I read about Mahans taking up the sufferings of their devotees when they pray in distress. There is no question about the credibility of such incidents. But is it advisable for devotees to pray in such a manner especially when they know that their Guru will undergo suffering on their account? Would not this end-up in incessant sufferings for the Mahans when many such devotees pray? Instead, would it make a difference if the devotee ardently beseeches the God or Guru to give them the strength to go through the suffering? Is this not a better way of serving them by ensuring that no pain is caused to them on the account of the devotee?

Knowingly or unknowingly, throughout history, Mahans have taken up the sufferings of the devotees. Saints like Sri Ramakrishna and Bhagavan Ramana got cancer.
Yogi Ramsuratkumar was afflicted with cancer in His last days and suffered a lot. Then a devotee asked him, ‘Bhagavan! You have led a pure life. Then why such a suffering?’ Yogi replied, ‘to bring about a cosmic balance!’
Any Karma, whether positive or negative cannot be vanished; it has to be undergone. If one person does not undergo it, someone else should.
The moment a Mahan blesses a devotee, He takes their karma. Sins of a person who comes to a Guru will go to the Guru, provided he is a Uttama Guru. We see this not only in Sanathana Dharma but also in other faiths, and it happens according to the beliefs in each faith.
When the devotee is in real trouble, s/he prays earnestly to the Guru in just the same way as they would, to God, and an Uttama Guru never reveals that he is suffering on their behalf, for the cognizance of this very fact might upset the true devotee and make him/her feel guilty. It is the duty of the Guru to keep happy his devotee, who loves Him so much.

Can you throw some light on the life of saint ‘Arana’?

Arana was a great Bhakta who lived in the recent past. He lived in New Delhi in the early days of his life and was holding a high office. Once, in his dhyana, Saint Meera appeared in front of him and blessed him. She gave him the nama ‘Arana’.
Soon he moved to Chennai and his devotion to Lord Krishna grew multi-fold. He sang songs on Krishna in different languages. His satsang was always a calm and pleasant one – that is just about performing Kirtan towards developing love for Lord Krishna. The satsang does not criticize or hate anybody or anything, for they believe that everything is a ‘lila’ of Lord Krishna.
Arana lived for a short period after which he attained the feet of Lord Krishna.

I was raised to believe in God and the scriptures. But, I have never seriously done any meditation or pujas. Of late, I have been reading some of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s works. I desire to pursue the path of liberation. But, the ‘concept of bhakti’ versus ‘the concept of truth’ is very confusing to me. I am not sure which the right path is for me and how I should go from here. Please help!

Once Jiddu Krishnamurtiji was asked by a tradition loving person, why he is chastising tradition and scriptures so much. He immediately said, ‘This place is only for those who have lost faith in the scriptures. If you still have faith in them, this is not the right place for you!’
The central theme of Jiddu Krishnamurtiji teaching is that one has observe and be a light unto one’s self. So in short, one has to help one’s self for finding the truth. He termed Truth as pathless. If you want to pursue a path, then Krishnaji’s teachings are not your cup of tea. He has not prescribed any path. Any path supposes a tradition and discipline.
Bhakti is love for the truth. Truth is what that exists here, there everywhere, now and forever. Truth and love can’t be different. Love leads to Truth, and when established in Truth, love blossoms.
Doubts cease completely only in that final experience of truth. So, trying to get rid of doubts by intellect is to only multiply them. It is like plucking leaves of a giant tree one by one, by the time a complete cycle gets over, already new leaves have sprouted!
You used to trust our scriptures, now you tend to trust Sri Jiddu Krishnamurti. That is the only difference!
Path of liberation is really simple. Chanting Divine Names incessantly leads us there in due course of time, as pointed out by great Mahatmas.

It is said that “Madhava Swami was an attendant of Bhagavan Ramana. He was born as peacock in his next birth. But, isn’t this in contradiction to the statement of Bhagavan to another devotee? Specifically, the devotee who wishes to have initiation from Bhagavan only and says “if you do not give me initiation, even you have to take another birth, as only you will be my guru” — to this Bhagavan says, “Once you come here, where is the question of another birth?” I am unable to reconcile these two statements (assuming both are factual and correct). Kindly explain

Bhagavan Ramana Himself never uttered that Madhava Swami being reborn as a peacock, nor did he confirm the statement.
It is only the belief of the Bhaktas that Madhava Swami was reincarnated as a peacock.

I heard from your lecture that Lord Krishna came to rescue Senanayi. He was a great Bhakta indeed and would have chanted the Maha Mantra thousands of times a day. I am not so great as Senanayi and I don’t do as he did. Will Lord Krishna come to rescue me in the same way?

The Lord is equal for everyone. He showers the same compassion and kindness to everyone. He does not distinguish based on caste, creed, religion, color, geography, gender, wealth or status. All He longs for is love and devotion. If you have total faith and devotion to Him, He will definitely come before you some day.

In the book Jnana Yoga, Swami Vivekananda says that every thing that has a shape is a part of Maya. Then what about Gods? Are their shapes (idols) mere Maya or did the supreme lord Vishnu takes His shape by his power of Maya?

The answer for your question is in the book itself.
Go through the book completely – once, twice and many more times, until you find the answer.

Who are truly Sri Ramakrishna, Saradha Devi and Swami Vivekananda? Are they incarnations of God?

Sri Ramakrishna is considered as the avatar of Lord Vishnu and Saradha Devi as Mahalakshmi. Vivekananda is said to be a rishi from the Sapta Rishi Mandala.