Janak suta jag janani janaki | Atisaya priya karunanidhana ki ||
Take juga pada kamala manavaum | Jasu kripa nirmal mati pavaum ||
Janaki, daughter of Janaka, mother of the universe, the most beloved consort of Shree Rama,
The fountain of mercy – I seek to propitiate the pair of Her lotus feet, so that by Her grace I may be blessed with a refined intellect.
Bapu chose Ravana as the theme for the katha and reminded the audience that his first katha on Ravana was in America and this, the tenth and the last katha on Ravana is also in America. Ram Charit Manas as sadguru gives , updesh and aadesh. But Bapu never gives advice, updesh or directions, aadesh. He only gives a message, sandesh, to his listeners whom he enjoys meeting through katha.
Bapu has his own unique approach, vishishta darshan for Ravana and for him Ravana provokes us for introspection or aatma khoj. The tenth katha of Ravana is the last katha about Ravana because Ravana had ten heads. He had twenty ears and twenty eyes. Such as person can see a lot and hear a lot and become wise and good. But Ravana never used his heads, he only used his twenty hands and did a lot of things. He had great achievements; he did a lot of saadhana. We should not bother about various forms and replicas of Ravana like ahi Ravana and mahi Ravana. We should search for the real Ravana, sahi Ravana, and sahi Ravana is not a villain in Ramayana. He is only a counter hero. Rama is naayak and Ravana is prati naayak. They are poles apart like positive and negative poles. Ravana represents the evil that we all carry in our hearts.
Bapu would concentrate not on the story of Ravana but the approach that Ravana typifies and represents so that we can end that evil within from within. Rama and Ravana are the two distinct and different poles in Ramayana. Ram represents eternal peace and quietude, vishraam, while Ravana represents incessant and fruitless labor, shraam. Ravana labored and toiled forever and ever and did a lot of saadhna secured enormous wealth, unlimited power and out sanding position, but failed to get peace as also he failed to be at peace with himself. Rama also worked very hard and was continuously active but he was at peace within, vishraam, and gave peace and serenity to all others which Ravana could never do.
The difference between Rmama and Ravana is not about work and exertion, but about the results, the fruits there of. Rama always gave away; he always distributed which he achieved. Ravana acquired but never distributed. Rama was a generous giver, a donor, while Ravana was merely acquisitive.
Bapu quoted a Hindi poet who passes on the message of a Neem tree, a tree that modern botanists call a “tree of gold”. The Neem tree takes only a minimum amount of water, just enough for sustenance and growth, without exploiting nature. It suffers the hot sun, but provides shade to people. The Neem tree takes in air but converts carbon dioxide into life giving oxygen, making others energetic and lively. Every part of the tree, its skin, its leaves, its fruits and its seeds has medicinal values. The Neem tree is bitter in taste but is a health giving tree. Even if the tree is cut down, its wood is used for housing, for furniture and for fuel. Bapu reminded the audience that ancient Indians valued trees very highly and often compared trees with saints. Let us learn from the trees; work hard to become prosperous but then distribute your wealth, spend it for charities, spend at least ten percent of your wealth for others.
Bapu remembered that he has been severely criticized by orthodox people for focusing on Ravana. But lets us remember that Rama was born to the family of the Sun, Suryavanshi and represented light and brighter side of life. Ravana was born in the nocturnal family, Nishichar, representing the darker side of life. But then there can be no light without darkness, we all have to grope our way from darkness to light, tamso maa jyotir gamya. Without Ravana we can never approach Rama.
Bapu told the episode from the life of Buddha. When his father protested that family traditions prohibit begging, Buddha’s reply was that he discards old tradition and establishes a new tradition, a tradition of Buddha. This was also Bapu’s reply for focusing on Ravana, Bapu breaks away from the old to establish new routes and new traditions of his own.
So Ravana is going to be the focus of the discourse, katha. But before taking up the subject matter, Bapu wanted to introduce the volume, Ramcharit Manas, which is going to be the basis of this discourse. He gave a unique interpretation by pointing out that Ramayana is an idol of femininity, of maternity and in the Gujarati language, Ramayana Katha, bhaasha, chopai, naouka and naadi, are in words of feminine gender. Not only this but, Tulsidas has emphasized all the feminine qualities as described in the Gita, shree, vaak, smruti, meegha, kirti, kshma and dhruti. Bapu gave examples and the context where and how these words care used by Tulsidas. These are the seven vibhuti’s of maternal instinct and these vibhuti’s are mentioned and illustrated in Ramchrit Manas. He then quoted Bhikshu Akhandanand Ramayana that he used to study in his youth and he mentioned seven types intellect: childish (kaachi buddhi), matured (paaki buddhi), cunning (luuchi buddhi), innocence (bholi buddhi), perverted (dur buddhi), benevolence (sutt buddhi), and intense (saatvik buddhi).
Bapu then quoted mangla charan and vandana of Ganesha, Hanuman, Sarasvati, Shankar, Vishnu and Surya. Tulsidas has devoted himself to guru vandana and Bapu emphasized the importance of guru for spiritual progress and enlightenment. He explained that the instruction, vachan, of guru works in five different ways. Instructions of guru, vachan, controls our evil inclinations, shaaska, it dries up what is evil in us, shoshka, are often the expressions of his love and his care about us and it fulfills us and gives us bliss, toshak. Bapu summed up the attribute of guru. Guru is on who has only Rama in his heart and there is nothing evil, haram, in his personality.
Bapu nearing the end of the day, explained his happiness at the qualities of his shrota’s who listen, not only listen but understand and they also make a conscious and deliberate choice. That is why whatever is spoken or advised by guru is of great importance. Bapu mentioned the Sikh’s respect their guru’s but they do not worship human individuals but the words of guru, guru vani and treat the books, granth sahib as their height veneration. Bapu insisted that no man can ever be perfect but vichar, especially vivek vichar, can give us perfect guidance and can be our best guru.
Bapu quoted Yagnavalkya on the timely birth of Ravana and others, commenting that every event and incident involves four factors, what philosophers call causation. The first is time; nothing happens before the proper time, nothing is delayed. We cannot hurry the process. Even instant happenings, kshirop bhavati, require long time processing. The second factor is karma both in the sense of action and in the sense of destiny. Our actions lead to good and bad results. Third is our svabhav, our own nature and habits, our approach to life that makes or mars the existing situation. Lastly events are shaped by what sankhya calls guana of prakrati, satva, rajas, and tamas.
Bapu chose six names from Ramcharit Manas: Ravana, Kumbhkarana, Vibhishana, Lakshmana, Shatrugana and Hanumana, all ending in ‘ana’ or ‘na’. Three are from Lanka, and three are from the side of Rama. All of them play important roles in the unfolding story of Ramayana. The Western culture does not attach any importance to names and Shakespeare even ridiculed name – “What is in a name?” But we from the Eastern Culture, attach great importance to names and would say that naam is all and everything. Changing divine name, naam jap, is of great importance in purifying our mind and our intellect. This does not happen every time but may happen anytime. Bapu keep on telling his beads and very often participates in launching books in the hope that some beads and some books may purify his mind and his hands. But he advised that naam jap is effective only if you have a liking for it. Otherwise it may become just show.
Tulsidas has extolled the importance of naam jap. Even a great and reputed scholar like Chaitanya threw away all his books and resorted to naam jap. One who is devoted to naam jap can overcome all difficulties.
Yagnavalkya calls Ravana very powerful and brave but Angad knows better. He is a prince and grew up in a royal family. He was chosen and sent to Ravana for negotiating peace. When Ravana tried to impress him with all the pomp and show of his strength, Angad reminded him of his three earlier humiliating experiences. Children at the court of Baliraja caught him as a prisoner and tied him down in a stable of horses. Sahastrarjun treated him as a mere insect and shrugged him off. Vali caught him and kept him in his armpit for six months.
Bapu then explained in great detail the allegorical interpretation of these three events. Vishnu had overcome Vali, and when Ravana tried to compete with Vali (which also means “mighty”) Ravana suffered humiliation. Ravana is our infatuation, our moh, but the doors of Vali were guarded by Hari himself. Moh cannot enter our mind if every entrance of our body is guarded by god or by guru. Ravana had twenty hands, but Sahastrarjun had a thousand. Ravana approached out of jealousy and was therefore worsted; jealousy is the product of our ego, ahankaar, and to humiliate persons who are better than us, more powerful than us, richer than us, would result in our own disgrace.
Bapu explained that real Ravana is our moh, our arrogance and both can be controlled by recitation of Rama naam. If Ravana was arrogant so was Vali, but there is a difference. Vali confessed to Rama that he was arrogant, while Ravana never confessed his defect. Confession or awareness of our limitation is the beginning of purification. Vali had that purity and therefore he could conquer Ravana. Angad reminded Ravana of such experiences and advised Ravana to give up his arrogance, ahankaar, but Ranava rejected his advice. He boasted of his strength and told Angad about his victories at Kailash and over all the gods and digpals.
Bapu also explained that the twenty hands of Ravana, the thousand hands of Sahatrarjun and the six hands of Kartikeiya worshipped as murgan in South India. This implies so many weapons and so many strategies. But moh and ahankar destroys even the bravest and the strongest. If we get enlightenment from a proper guru, if we give up our infatuation, our arrogance and our jealousy, we can be a better person. Anything that takes us nearer to our goal is our nayan, our eyes.
Bapu said that every limb in our body: our hands, our feet, our stomach, our tongue, our nose have their own individual function and each one of these is important. But if Bapu was given a choice, he would prefer the eyes. Bapu talked at length because eyes are not to be taken only in the physical sense. Eyes imply sight, a proper darshan, a proper understanding, a proper approach to life. The Gita has mentioned millions of eyes of God. One can see God himself in the eyes of a child resting on the lap of its mother. Bapu’s Catholicity was revealed when he mentioned the eyes of Jesus on the cross when he forgave his tormentors, the eyes of Hussein at Karbala when he saw children all around him dying of thirst, the eyes of Mohammad when he released his mortal enemies, the eyes of gopis when looking at Krishna, the eyes of saints like Ramkrishna Paramhansa or Raman Maharishi, eyes of Surdaas, the eyes that help us visualise the beauty of the rising sun, the eyes of Jesus freeing the erring girl from those who wanted to stone her. Eyes, eyes, eyes everywhere.
Fresh eyes and free vision would take us to divinity but our vision is blocked by hypocrites who call themselves religious leaders and preachers and teachers. But Bapu warned that eyes can hunt, shikari, can be greedy and vicious, vikaari. Bapu advised us to admire better persons who are more powerful and richer than us, because the modern world suffers from arrogant and infatuated competitiveness.
Bapu then clarified his vision of Ravana which is different from that of Angad. Angad sees only the uglier side of Ravana, but he did not see Ravana as a great saadhak; his great victories and achievements. But Ravana could not give up his moh and therefore developed ahankar and passions, kaamna. Tulsidas considers moh to be the root cause of all evils, and such moh can be overcome by guru krupa and by naam jap. We do not have to destroy the evil, we have to control evil and regulate evil. We should follow the middle path of Buddha with his eightfold path of propriety, samyak.
Bapu said knowledge, gyana, can be of great help and we can get such gyana from studying and reading, adhyayan swadhaya, from personal expereinces, anubhav, from satsang, from purification of our internal senses, aatma vishuddhi, from guru seva, from pure and pious, saatvik shraddha. Bapu defined satsang in very broad terms; any contact with anything good, anything noble, anything beautiful is satsang.
What counts in the spiritual path is not what you do, but why you do it; not your actions but mentality and motives of action. He gave an example of donations and charity; now charities can be for social service, samajik daan, for nation building, rashtriya daan, for sectoral benefit, sampradaik daan, for dharma daan, spreading satya, prem and karuna. But charity can also be of lower categories when donations are given for personal glory or for securing power and prestige.
Bapu emphasised the best gyana is only by grace of our lord, Isvar anugraha, and frees us from moh and from ahankar. Let us understand the real Ravana, sahi Ravana in this sense.
Bupu then picked up the narration of katha and mentioned nine stages in which Tulsidas has extolled the benefits of naam jap. Rama naam gives us light like sun, coolness like moon and burns the evils within us like fire. Rama naam creates like Brahma, sustains us like Vishnu, and destroys evil like Shiva. Rama naam is the essence of Vedas, the soul of Vedas and like the soul, the essence is invisible. Rama naam is the basic foundation of all religions because it gives us vishraam. A religion that does not give us vishraam is no religion at all. It is only as sham religion. Rama naam is beyond all gunas; it is gunaatit, and Shiva himself chants Rama naam as a maha mantra.
Bapu advised his listeners to develop a positive attitude; never be negative, never denounce others, never interfere in what others are doing. Why waste our energy in criticising others? Religion is not for money, not for power and not for prestige. The one and the only purpose of religion is the realisation of Divinity, ishvar prapti. Rama naam is even more potent than Rama himself. Ram naam purifies, it destroys ego, it sustains and builds bridges across enmities. Bapu made a startling statement that Ravana was the greatest one doing Rama naam jap because at the moment of death he uttered name of Rama. This is possible only for a person if he has done naam jap all his life. Bapu gave the example of Gandhi. He emphasized that criticizing others only leads us to our own decline and downfall, adhamta. Naam alone leads us to identify with god. By naam, we can reach roop, or form, the visualisation of god-hood.
On the third day of katha, Bapu began by referring to the law of causation – that everything in this Universe, every event and every effect, must have a cause. The only exception is God. God exists and acts on his own free will and there is no reason and no cause for his krupa, his grace.
Bapu asked the audience about the cause or reason for the emergence of Ravana and got a variety of answers from his shrotas. He answered his own question by pointing out that the origin of Ravana was in Vaikuntha, which is not a geographical region, bhumi, but a stage, bhumika, which is the highest stage and because it is highest, there is a possibility, a danger, of falling down. Ravana is both an individual, a vyakti, and also a vrutti. Ravana is far away from us as an individual, but as a vrutti he is quite near us, he is within us, in fact, he is we ourselves. Vaikuntha is far above Time and is beyond all the four yugas. But every day in the katha, we can experience all the four yugas. The prayers and the chanting at the beginning of katha creates sātvik mood, an experience of peace and quietness that is satya yuga . Then follows a longer period of discussion and discourses, a sort of prem yagna or gyana yagna, which is treta yuga. The pāth of Bhushundi Ramayana, and ārti etc. is similar to puja and archana of dwaper yuga and finally, we go back to age of action and everyday struggles which is kal yuga. The bliss we experience by sankirtan is also a symptom of kal yuga because nām jap is the only effective sādhna in kal yuga.
Bapu went one step further and said that in our everyday life also, we experience the cycle of four yugas; the peace and joy in the morning, the activities and routine of life, the evening core and finally the sleep that symbolizes kal yuga . Our body has been described as a kshetra and an enlightened soul is kshetragna but Vaikuntha is beyond such rotating cycle of Time. It is kālatit. The story of Ravana, who fell down from devatwa and became a rakshasa and once again attained his status by merging in to Rama, is a story of decline and development.
Jay and Vijaya became Hiranyāksha and Hiranyākashyap in sat yuga and counted gold, hiranya. Ravana and Kumbhakarana reached nirvana after being killed by Rama in treta yuga. Shishupal and Dantvkra fought with Krishna in dwapar yuga. But in kal yuga Ravana exists not as a person, not as a vyakti, but only as a vruti, as moh with ahankar and passions, kamana. Ravana as moh is ever comatose, unaware of reality, Kumbhakarana as ahankar, slept for six months but in one moment when Kumbhakarana was awake, he created chaos and havoc all around. Ego, ahankar, is very destructive and is never satiated. He demands more and more; his ears are big as kumbha on which wants to be continuously praised and extolled. Bapu said that kāma and krodha are limited by time. They are temporary, they come and go but lobh is eternal and ever expanding. Kumbhakarana eats a lot but he can never digest. He puts the monkeys in his huge mouth but they exit from his ears. Our hunger for prestige is so great that we never can digest it, and such a person always indulges in self praise.
Such a Ravana, very brave, a great achiever but suffers from feeling of void within. He has so much but never feels enough. Compare him with Kevat who had nothing and yet felt happy and fulfilled in the presence of Rama and proclaimed that all his blemishes, dosha, all his sufferings, dukha, all his yearnings, dava, have vanished by mere darshan of Rama. In midst of luxury and power Ravana is a great sufferer, he is an unhappy man. Bapu gave two reasons; one Ravana could never open his heart and confess the miseries he was feeling. He was a lonely person, a prisoner of his own power, his own wealth, and his own pomp. The second reason is that Ravana and entire Lanka suffers from lack of fluidity. Lanka has so many wells, so many step wells and so many ponds but it has no river, no flow of life. Life in Lanka and the life of Ravana is narrow, sankuchit and stalled, bound in limits. Ayodhya has a river, a flowing bubbling, ever fresh flow of life. So, even the poorest in Ayodhya were happier than the richest in Lanka. Before, life was ever fresh, ever changing and ever new.
Bapu advised us to enjoy every moment and every experience of life. Do not waste your joy in merely acquiring and hoarding. A person who enjoys a painting, enjoys a piece of music, a line of poetry is the real owner of it all. A thing of beauty is a joy forever and the joy, ānand, makes him the master, the possessor, of everything around. Enjoyment of life does not need a lot of money or power or prestige. The smile of a child is enough. We should not merely collect things, but use them, bhog. In trying to possess so many things, we lose the joy of life. A man with nothing of his own can be happy and contented.
Bapu exalted those who are staying far away from homeland to preserve the best traditions of India, preserve the unity of family life, preserve our culture, and preserve our own mother tongue.
Bapu reverted to the meeting of Kevat and Rama. Kevat took nothing from Rama and yet felt that he has got everything. Rama gave him supreme joy but felt that he has given him nothing. In Indian tradition, the donor feels uneasy for not giving enough and the receiver is happy by whatever he gets.
Bapu is strictly against begging or taking anything from anybody. He considers that taking or receiving from others is dosh forever and ever. But there are a few exceptions. Donations for social service, gifts, dakshina, prasād and honorarium are such occasions where accepting from others is not a dosh. Let us remember that the world is a mixed fare of good and evil and therefore we should always be alert, saudhan, cultivated non-attachment, sakshi-bhav. World and society always try to degenerate the prophets; the entire society disowned Jesus, Socrates was condemned by entire city, Mohammed suffered banishment from his own people.
The leaders of Lanka were Ravana (moh), Kumbhkarana (ahankar), and indrajit (passions). Ravana and Kumbhkarana were asleep, unaware of the situation, not able to see or understand Rama, but Indrajit could never sleep. Our passions never allow us to relax, never allows us any peace.
Bapu clarified that he is not trying to idolize Ravana, but what is good in Ravana deserves to be praised, what is bad in Ravana should be condemned. Ravana is to be pitied because moh always makes us blind to the needs of time, requirements of our country and makes us forget the worth, patrata, of our fellow beings.
Bapu then reverted to Katha and traced its evolution. Ram katha was composed by Shiva. After a long time, he narrated it to Parvati and then to Kag Bhushundi. Bhushundi told the katha to Garud. Ram katha, in this way travelled from Kailash to Nilgiri. This katha was explained by Yagnavalkya to Bharadvāj and was taught again and again to Tulsidas by his guru in Varahghat. At the mature age of seventy seven, Tulsidas composed Ram Charit Manas for self awakening, prabodh, not for suppression, nirodh, of self. This Katha has four aspects: gyanghat of Shiva-Parvati, upāsna of Bhushundi Garud, karmaghat of Yagnavalkya-Bharadavāj and sharnagatighat-prapatighat of Tulsidas reciting it to his own self for swantaha sukhaya.
Tulsi Raghunāth gatha bhasha prabandha ati manjula aatnoti.
Tulsidas writes the story of Raghunath in soft style for his own internal bliss.
Yesterday, most of the time was taken up by questions that were picked up by Bapu. The first question was about the distinctive features and differences, if any, between the four versions of ghats and their teachers. Bapu said that the first ghat is gyan ghat where Shiva himself is a teacher. Shiva has 3 eyes that are wide, vishal, and are respectively gyan-bhakti and yoga drushti. The eyes, drushti, mean the vision. Shiva is a speaker with a broad vision and he is equally the master of gyan-bhakti and yoga which are different aspects of spiritual growth. Such a broad vision can be cultivated by studies, swadhya, adhyayan. But mere studies are not enough; studies must be supplemented by listening, shravana, to those who have experiential knowledge. A good orator needs to be a good listener and must listen to as many teachers as possible. The orator must be an expert in his field, yogyata, and he must have the technique, kaushalya, of conveying his views.
Listening to teachers like Shiva helps us in 3 different ways. One, all our illusions, bramah, are removed. Bapu said that there are many other remedies for removing misery, dukh, or deprivation, abhavagrastata, etc. but illusions, branti, can be removed only by awakening in the spiritual sense. Such awakening takes time and one must be focused, nisthavant, on to guru or subject. Such focused avyabhichari, faith can produce wonderful results. Two, by teachings of Shiva, all perverted logic sophistry, dushta tarka, are destroyed immediately and completely. We need logic but we do not need perverted and misused logic. Three, a teacher like Shiva, confirms our adoration, preeti, at the feet of Rama. Such adoration ought to be firm and unwavering. It should be based upon deep conviction, pratiti.
The second version, ghat, is when Bhushandi teaches Garuda. Bhushandi, said Bapu, has not only a vision, ankh, but he also has wings, pankh, and symbolizes upasana. Bapu warned against misinterpretation of his words what he said does not mean that Shiva is incapable of flight or has no pankh. All spiritually advanced teachers have all the capacities which all others equally share. But each teacher has his own specialty. Bapu strongly insisted that we must try to take a wholistic view. Teachers and principals ought not to be broken up and split in parts. Partial vision might lead to false vision and dissensions and even hatred. Bapu gave examples of how false faith of various sides divides people into hostile groups. Every path to spirituality is whole, purna, and each path has all the ingredients, factors found elsewhere. Bhushandi is a crow and traditional belief is that crows only have one eye, meaning that Bhushandi has concentrated, ekagra, vision of reality. Second, a crow is never tamed or put into a cage like other birds. A teacher with wings will be in midst of the crowd but he will never come within the cage of money or prestige or power. A crow is a free bird and Rama bhakts are always free. A true Rama bhakt is not confined to any one sect or one path. He flies all over and where ever he wants. Three, Yagnavalkya is the most outstanding teacher of bhrama vidya in Upnishads and Janak gave him a hundred thousand, one lakh, cows when he proved himself to be the most learned and superior to all the scholars at the court of Janak. His great discernment, param vivek, is very well known. He insisted on driving straight to the goal, lakshya.
But Tulsidas has nothing. He calls himself dumb-witted, mati mand, and does not claim to have either a vision, or a flight. But, Tulsidas is an embodiment of total surrender, sharnagati-prapati, total dependence on the grace, krupa, of Rama.
The second question raised the issue of the difference between Rama and Ravana. Bapu answered that Ram and Ravana share many similarities but there are also very important and vital differences between them. Both Rama and Ravana are great devotees of Shankar, both worship with lotus, kamal puja, but Rama was both in Suryavaunshi and stands for light and brightness. Ravana was born in the nocturnal family and stands for the darker, uglier side of life. Rama builds bridges, Ravana breaks them, Rama accepts everybody, Ravana discards his own brother, Rama is a giver, Ravana is a taker.
The third question was whether there was any Ravana in Ayodhya or any Rama in Lanka. Bapu replied in the affirmative. Manthra embodies, Ravana-ness, Ravanatva in Ayodhya using the policy of divisiveness, bhed niti. Bapu agreed that divisive policy, bhed niti, is needed in politics and is widely used by all politicians everywhere. The names of Rama and Manthra contained the same syllables ‘ra’ and ‘m’ but for Rama, spiritual values are more important than mundane benefits. For Manthra, it is the other way around. But Manthra, the embodiment of divisiveness, would not dare to go to Kaushalya who represents enlightenment. An enlightened person is never divisive, because his approach is wholistic. Manthra could influence Kaikeyi because Kaikeyi herself was ambitious, rajaIsi, to get and grab whatever was available. Bapu added a very interesting episode; mother Kaushalya was asked about her age. She said she is of the same age as Rama or a few moments younger than Rama. This was so because her real life began when Rama was born and she attained motherhood a few moments after the child Rama was born.
There was a Rama in Lanka and she was Trijata, who at great risk to her life and her job as a servant protected and solaced Sita out of sheer compassion, karuna, and Rama is karunya murti.
After answering the three questions Bapu resumed his analysis of Ravanatva. We speak of Jaya and Vijaya of Vaikuntha but Tulsidas in a series of rhetorical questions of Angad in the court of Ravana has denied the very existence of Vaikuntha. Tulsidas is often being criticized without a proper study of his books and his views. There are some who out of malice for Bapu criticize Tulsi. But Tulsidas as a thinker is far more radical in his opinions.
Angad raises a series of rhetorical questions; is Rama a mere person or a mere warrior? Is Vaikuntha a mere lok or a space for residence? Is Ganga a mere river? Is kalpavruksh a mere tree? Is Shesh Naag a mere serpent? Is Garuda a mere bird? Is chinta mani a mere pebble? The answers to all these questions are No. Rama is much more than a mere man or a mere warrior.
Bapu led sankirtan and then picked up the katha. The story of Rama begins with Shiva, and Tulsidas tried to bridge the gulf between shaiva and vaishanavas of his days.
Shiva went to Kumbhaj and very attentively listened to Rama katha. While returning home, Sati saw Rama weeping and searching for Sita. She failed in her testing Rama, told a lie to her husband, Shiva, and was discarded in separation. She went uninvited to Daksha Yagna and burnt herself to death. She was reborn as Parvati. She did her penance to regain Shiva as her husband and Shiva was persuaded by gods to get married as his son, Kartikei, alone was capable of killing Tarkasura.
There are some evidences (pramaan) or results (parinaam) of purified intellect (nirmal budhhi).
- Person never loses patience.
- Person never disassociates himself from religion. Religion refers to truth, love and compassion
- Person never sees anybody as enemy in the world.
- Person gets over the distinction between a man and a woman. He sees everyone as elements of the supreme Lord.
Every individual should have highest regard for one’s own mother, motherland and mother tongue. Never disrespect them.
There is no certified uniform in religion, it is a matter of heart. In Bapu’s words, ‘universe does not have any uniform’.
Living in one’s own basic nature without any kind of hypocrisy, like a child, is natural spirituality.
If you blame someone (doshe) for anything, remember that you are not in your proper senses (hoshe). Do not indulge in such behaviour.
Bapu says, ‘ I had mentioned 6 chetanas in Talgajarada Katha with whom I share a special mental rapport. Continuing I would like to say that
- 7th chetana is Ma Ganga, I have not chosen Ganga jal just like that for myself, I’m attached to it.
- 8th chetana is samadhi at Senjal, saurashtra (Bapu’s ancestors place).
- 9th chetana is Shukdev maharaj (The saint of Shrimad Bhagwat).
- 10th chetana is my fire of Yagna kund. I have a bond with it and I’ve learnt a lot from it.
Bhaja mana shri Raadhey……
God’s grace descends on everyone, not due to individual’s devotion (bhaav) but due to His nature (Swabhaav). Individual’s devotion may flicker between doubt and faith, impurity and purity etc but God’s nature of flowing grace is stationary.
A significant feature of a purified intellect is that how much ever difficult circumstances strike us but we remain absorbed in
- God’s leela (divine behaviour, actions)
- roop (form)
- Naam (name)
- dhaam (place where he lives)
Janaki jee took care of all the four in her time of crisis.
In practical life,
- when we involve ourselves in auspicious activity for the welfare of others, it may be like participating in his leela.
- When we see beautiful creations of nature, it may be like looking at His form.
- When we call out anybody’s name with positive intention, it may be like chanting His holy name.
- When our inner self feels pure, it becomes like his dhaam.
Poet Majboor says, “Maanana bandagi hai, Manavaana gandagi hai….kuchh bhi”. Bapu says, ‘ I request all the listeners that if you believe in anything, it may be your subject of interest, but remember do not impose your viewpoint on others. Do not force anything on anybody, if you do so I feel it is a form of hinsa (cruelty).”
Do not try to imitate anyone, be satisfied in your self qualities. One can never find happiness anywhere outside, until one is contented (happy) within himself/herself.
Question– what does Satsang do?
Answer– Satsang establishes a human being in inner-self. It makes a person look into his conscience.
There are five ways which help in getting connected with the Divine according to Yoga philosophy. These five features also help in the path of devotion. They are as follows.
- Do not speak much. Use words with care and do not waste them.
- Do not collect material things unnecessarily. Use them wisely without getting attached to them.
- Do not expect anything from anyone, even from God.
- Be free of desires. Remember they are endless.
- Stay away from crowds.
If you are devoted to someone and you receive love from the beloved and then you know that the beloved loves others also equally.
In such a situation understand that the intellect is purified if your mind
- mind remains free of jealousy and hatred towards others
- mind remains free of doubt and complaints towards the beloved
Janaki jee never ever felt jealous towards Hanuman jee, Sugreev, Vibheeshan etc. who received Bhagwan Ram’s love. She was so cordial with them that she even granted boons to Hanuman jee.
Don’t try to interfere with or disturb the natural process of destiny (niyati). Lao-tse had said that the one who tries to interfere in nature, he does not gain anything and is left nowhere.
Nature works on an echo system. If an individual lives with a positive or negative attitude towards others, he would receive the same in one form or the other.
There are several definitions of “Saadhak” (aspirant).
- He is the one who strives for his goal with sincerity.
- He is not satisfied until he becomes a Saadhu (virtuous person) in real sense.
- He listens to katha or satsang and his life becomes simple, devoid of any artificiality (seedha-saada).
- He never becomes a hurdle (baadhak) for anyone.
- ‘Saa’- He is careful (saavadhan) in all his endeavours.
‘Dha’- He takes care of his religion (Dharma).
‘K’- He involves himself in welfare activities (Kalyaan) for others.