Katha Chopais

Ram katha key teyi adhikaari | Jinha kein satsangati ati pyaari ||
Gur pada preeti neeti rata jeyi | Dwij sevak adhikaari teyi ||

Whosoever dearly love being in the company of truth and holy people, are worthy of hearing Ram Katha.
Whosoever are devoted to the feet of their Guru and live with morals and values, they are the ones who are wothy of doing seva of realized souls (e.g. Sadguru)

Katha Translations

Katha is not a ritual, but a purely spiritual experience.

Bapu says, “ I want to ask you all some questions:

Q1. Do you want pleasure (sukh) in life?
Yes, everyone wants comfort in life with an exception of some. And those who have said that they do not want it, please stick to your decision.

Q2. Do you want enthusiasm (Utsaah)?
Yes, comfort cannot be experienced in real sense, if a person is not eager about it.

Q3. Do you want love?
Yes, it is a basic need of every creature.

Q4. Do you want love that is everlasting?
Yes, temporary emotions cannot be described as love. Love should grow every moment.

Q5. Do you want to fulfil your wishes?
Yes, everyone wants to fulfil his or her wishes.

Q6. Do you want to cross the cycle of birth and death effortlessly?
Yes, most of the people would want it.

Q7. Do you want success (vijay) in the struggles of life?
Yes, success is important for all.

Q8. Do you wish to have suitable knowledge (vivek) to understand success?
Yes, without proper insight, one cannot understand the value of success.

Q9. Do you want the ultimate peace (param vishraam)?
Yes, everybody wants to experience it.

The above are the basic wants of any person, therefore to have them all fulfilled, one should listen to Ram katha. I have experienced in my life that all the above become accessible by the grace of katha alone.”

In Uttar Kand, Tulsidas jee mentions some characteristics of true aspirants who are rightly suitable (adhikari) for the grace of Ram katha:

  • He/She is extremely fond of satsang.
  • He/She has deep love in the feet of sadaguru.
  • He/She follows the ideals and morals given by elders.
  • He/She serves the realized souls (dwij).

Once, a person becomes adhikari of Ramkatha, all the wants of his/her life are satisfied.

  • Try not to keep anyone’s debt on yourself. Repay as soon as possible. Though it may be in the form of goodwill, behaviour or something even in kind.
  • Youngsters should recite Guru-vandana in the morning, Hanuman chalisa in the afternoon and Kaag-Bhushundi Ramayana at in the evening or at night. Guru vandana can purify a vision of a person. It can change the entire viewpoint towards life. Once the vision becomes pure, mind also follows suit.
  • A sadaguru does not work on a crowd but on some chosen aspirants who spread the forum of his love around. He does japa on a Mala to control the inclinations (vritti) of his aspirants. His mala is like a steering wheel. A sadaguru protects an aspirant but at the same time never curbs his freedom.
  • Salvation is gaining freedom from fear that lies in wealth, desire and even religion.
  • To smile or to sing to someone is a form of worship.
  • Nature gives signals (ishaara) but sadaguru gives shelter (sahara).

Ram katha is accessible to all; anyone can go and listen to katha, but only suitable (adhikaari) aspirant gains from it, as he makes himself receptive to the sutras. The person who recites with appropriate comprehension is the caretaker of katha, but the person who always listens with firm faith and high regard is the adhikaari of katha. It is not necessary to attend each and every katha, but one should have fond feelings for it wherever he/she is.

Bapu says, “let us discuss some more questions today.

  1. Can disease be cured without medicine?
  2. Can a body get energy without food?
  3. Can money and material goods give comfort and peace?
  4. Can one acquire knowledge just with the help of studies of scriptures?
  5. Can the relatives become yours forever?

Now let us talk about each question in detail. All the above are misconceptions that need to be cleared.

1. Can disease be cured without medicine?
It is a fallacy that disease can be cured by medicine. One should take medicine in case of physical problem, but it cannot be guaranteed that only it can cure. Actually, a disease is cured by the basic life source lying in every living being, it can be called ‘jeevan shakti’ or I would call it ‘Ram shakti’. When there is friction between the disease and life source, it results in pain. One who supports this energy of life wholly is able to get rid of the disease even without taking medicines. A medicine helps to subside the disease, but it is only the life source that destroys it completely. A person who is full of excessive desire, anger and greed becomes prone to diseases. One should take medicine if required, but at the same time support and believe in Ram-shakti.

2. Can a body get energy without food?
Only food cannot generate energy, as it is seen that many obese people are stamina-less. Therefore, the basic source of energy in a person is the presence of soul.

3. Can money and material goods give comfort and peace?
Material wealth cannot grant peace and pleasure to a person until it is shared by others.

4. Can one acquire knowledge just with the help of studies of scriptures?
The study of scriptures cannot become a reason for knowledge. Adi Shankaracharya had said that excessive study could take a form of addiction. Scriptures give a lot of information but the ultimate Truth is actually beyond words.

5. Can the relatives become yours forever?
One should serve the relatives and make them happy, but be sure that you can never make them your own.

Ram katha is so powerful that it removes all the above misconceptions.”

The darshan (coming face to face) of the Lord is not the ultimate, it is only a medium. The ultimate spiritual experience is self-realization.

Tulsidas jee says:

Mum darasan fal param anoopa | Jeev paav nij sahaj saroopa||

Faith is bhajan (devotion). Faith can produce such results that that can even overtake the rules of this world. Faith rejuvenates the energy of a person, efforts like fasting etc. make a person tired. Therefore bhajan is most important for life.

Satsang is not just restricted to some kind of discourse. Truth in speech, thought and action is satsang. Any incident that increases one’s faith and love towards God, is satsang. According to Kabir, one should always remain connected to Sat-naam (Lord’s any name on which one can place trust), Sat-saahib (The Lord), Sat-guru (The master) and Sat-shastra (Scripture). Helping the needy is satsang. Help your servants to make their lives better. Wiping the tears of poor is satsang. Observing silence (maun) is also a type of satsang. It is not possible to accompany your sadaguru everywhere, but one can remain with him through vibrations. He sends waves of his grace and the aspirant can feel him at any given place. The only guru dakshina one can offer to a sadaguru is to keep faith on his words. This way, one can remain in satsang forever.

Bapu says, “ I cannot understand how the people who chant Harinaam can lie. How a person who goes to katha can have hatred towards others. If you really want to be adhikaari of this katha, then you should be able to take care of your behaviour and become responsible.”

Once a question was asked to Khalil Gibran. What is sukh (pleasure)?

In the answer he said that pleasure is an announcement of freedom, but it is not freedom in itself. The youngsters who are in a race for gaining happiness are not wrong but they should be careful that the pleasure they are striving for has seven sisters that have to taken care of. Bapu says, “Khalil Gibran does not elaborate on the seven sisters, but I want to discuss about them.

The seven sisters that complement the basic pleasure of life are as follows:

  1. Prasannata -If one is able to feel happiness even in a deprived state, he is experiencing the true pleasure. Adverse situations do not affect the real happiness.
  2. Pavitrata Purity is a pleasure in itself. A person who is pure at heart can be truly happy.
  3. PramaanikataSincerity becomes a kind of security for one’s happiness. Even in a spiritual journey, only a sincere person can actually surrender in the feet of the Lord.
  4. Prauddhata – Happiness lies in maturity. A fickle person cannot experience long lasting happiness.
  5. Priyata – When a person can maintain goodwill towards all, it creates a lot of inner happiness.
  6. Pravritti paraayanataDuties should be performed with interest for experiencing happiness.
  7. Paropkaarita – Working for welfare of others can grant happiness.

In the presence of the above seven, a person can be called ‘Sukhi’ even if he/she does not have material comfort.

Do not get afraid of the Lord. He is like a sea; small pebbles of our petty mistakes do not disturb Him. Do not be afraid of negative thoughts also, keep chanting HariNaam. One should not indulge in vices, but if already committed, do not be scared but open yourself in Lord’s feet and take refuge in HariNaam. This is the only remedy for ordinary people like us.

There are three types of sukh (pleasure/comfort):

  1. Sukh (The basic pleasure)- Most people want comforts of life while they are alive and also seek the pleasures of heaven after death.
  2. Nij sukh (mental comfort)- Many people seek the pleasure of remembering the Lord. Good thoughts give them comfort and they ultimately wish for salvation.
  3. Swaantah sukh (pleasure within self)- Aspirant gets absorbed in devotion and does not demand anything.

Satsang can be described as three kinds:

  • Mukhar – when a disciple shares a talk with sadaguru.
  • Manan – when a disciple thinks about the sutras given by sadaguru.
  • Maun – when a disciple becomes absolutely silent and experiences grace of sadaguru wherever he/she is.

Satsang is :

  1. Getting a glimpse of your sadaguru.
  2. Meditating for sadaguru.
  3. Being receptive to feel the waves of sadaguru.
  4. Talking with sadaguru.
  5. Looking in the eyes of sadaguru as his eyes denote vairaagya (detachment) and gyaan (knowledge).
  6. Smiling with everyone.

There are three types of Adhikaari in katha:

  • Sarkaari – The officials of government, police etc.
  • Sahkaari – The committee or volunteers that offer services in organizing katha.
  • Sanskaari – The listeners who attend katha with sound faith.

If you are not able to control your untruth (lying) while doing japa, do not stop japa. Try to abstain from lying instead.

For a spiritual person, the biggest grief is not being able to attain God. This grief is an indication of an adhikaari (a worthy aspirant). The greatest happiness is when he/she is able to meet the sadaguru who is capable of taking one closer and closer to God.

Once a saint was asked, ‘What is nitya niyam?’ He replied that living with a constant consciousness of omnipresent God, truth and nature.

If a sadaguru is not physically present, but aspirant surrenders whole-heartedly in front of his image, all the responsibility of his actions is taken care of by sadaguru. The only important condition is that the surrender should be absolute.

One should not try to obtain freedom from death, as it is inevitable. A person should try to get rid of unnecessary beliefs, customs and habits in life that have become out of date and are no more useful.

Let us discuss one question today- “ How can we guard bhakti, which is satsang according to Shri Ram Charit Manas:

Pratham bhagati santanha kar sanga | Doosari rati mum katha prasanga ||

The answer to this question is also mentioned in Shri Ram Charit Manas

Seeta keri karahu rakhavaari | Budhi bibek bal samaya bichaari ||

Four features help an aspirant to guard his devotion:

  1. Wisdom (Budhhi)- Wisdom chooses and decides the subject of devotion. The efforts in the path of devotion should be supported by the intellect.
  2. Discretion (Vivek)- A devotee develops his understanding and grows spiritually. He does not have a feeling of revenge or complaint towards anybody.
  3. Strength (Bal)- Only brave can enter and move in the path of devotion. A devotee is humble by nature, but this humility becomes his strength that makes him secure. Inner strength is more important than physical strength. The power of tolerance of listening to the taunts of people is a devotee’s asset.
  4. Time (Samaya)- A devotee has to be practical so that he can adjust the time of his saadhana in accordance to his worldly duties.

An aspirant should be extremely alert that any kind of doubt about any person or incident does not enter his psyche. Vivekanand jee had said, “ Trust is life and suspicion is death”. If doubt enters one’s mind, peace is lost.

Faults can be curbed by the efforts of aspirant, but they can be completely destroyed by the grace of God.

A student studies and gets a degree, but to get a designation he has to apply at some place. After applying, he gives interviews and if he succeeds in that, he is made an officer.

Similarly, there are stages for becoming an adhikaari of Ramayana. When a person listens to katha, he gets a degree. Calling out to the lord is one’s application. Then comes the stage of realization which can be said as the interview. If one passes through successfully through all these phases, he gains an authority in Ramayana.

Bapu says, “In Upanishad, theory of nature (swabhaav-vaad) is described. It says that whatever is happening around you is because of your nature. Nobody can hold anything or anyone else responsible for the happenings around oneself. Anything done due to spontaneity of own nature (sahaj swabhaav) does not bind one in the web of Karma.”

Attachment towards satsang makes an individual an adhikaari of Ramkatha, so let us discuss three kinds of satsang:

  1. Seva (service)- Serving and helping people according to one’s capability, without showing off, is a form of satsang. The service can be described as five types:
    • Prabhu seva- worshipping the Lord of your choice, taking care of the place of worship etc.
    • Parivaar seva- taking care of the family members.
    • Padosi seva- Helping neighbours and spreading goodwill amongst them.
    • Praant seva- cooperate in welfare work to make your area/to a better place.
    • Prapanch seva- View everyone as the forms of the Lord and try to help everyone, wherever you are.
  2. Samaya (time)- Dealing positively with time is satsang.
    • I. Bhoot kaal (past)- Forget the bitter experiences of past and learn to grow out of them.
    • II. Vartmaan kaal (present)- The present should be used to remember the Lord, do not wait till old age.
    • III. Bhavishya kaal (future)- Be prepared for death in future. Don’t be afraid but think about it to remain careful about your deeds.
  3. Suvrat (positive resolutions)- One should make noble resolutions like keeping silence (maun) for some time or fasting on selected days when you are inspired by your own discretion (vivek). Make a resolution to bring a smile to at least one person on a day.

Bapu says, “ Let us discuss one more question today. Does one need to wander around the world, if he/she has become free of desire and delusion and has experienced bliss?

Most people would say that there remains no need to roam around anywhere. But In Shri Ram Charit Manas, a different viewpoint is given. In Bal kand, Tulsidas jee states, ‘Chidaanand sukh-daam siv bigat moh mada kaam | Bicharahin mahi dhari hridaya hari sakal loke abhiraam || (75)’. Bhagwaan Shankar is an epitome of bliss without any trace of delusion, desire or arrogance, but still he roams around the world only because of remembering the devotion of Parvati jee. It means that in the absence of supreme love, even a yogi like Bhagwaan Shiv is incomplete.

In the life of Vivekanand jee, there were some incidents that made him cry. He was asked that in spite of being a sanyasi, why is he affected so much. He replied that it is true that he had adopted renunciation as way of life, but he had not turned into a stone. He added that renunciation without love is not just insignificant but also has no value.”

Yoga connects one to the supreme. Knowledge gives a know-how of the supreme. Devotion brings down the supreme to our own level.

Shriguru charan saroj raj nij manu mukuru sudhaari |
Baranaun raghubar bimal jasu jo daayaku fal chaari ||

In the beginning of Ayodhya kand, there is a remedy prescribed to cleanse the mind i.e. by the dust of Sadaguru’s feet. The question is how does the dust clean the mind. But the answer can be understood through an example- just like a feels good inside if he uses perfume on the body, similarly, if the dust of Sadaguru’s lotus feet touches a person, his/her mind gets purified.

Satsang can be done with the following three:

  1. Deh – One should learn from the body that nothing is everlasting here and thus be careful of trivial materialism.
  2. Dev – One can learn from the deities.
  3. Divya – One should respect divinity wherever it is seen.

One satsang is of ‘mohan’ i.e. a name of Lord Krishna. It also means moh+na = no delusion.

A person should try to be in the company of such people who are free of delusion and have a clear viewpoint about life.

When one grows spiritually, he has to be prepared for criticism of the world. Just like slush around a lotus helps it grow, aspirant can use the criticism to develop one self.

Let us discuss one more question today. How do we eliminate pain and experience pleasure in life?

According to Shri Ram Charit Manas, there are – doubt (sanshaya) and sorrow (vishaad). If a person is free of these two, one can experience mental comfort.

Doubt takes one to downfall at some time or other. In a state of sorrow, one becomes unable to decide the best for him and also cannot realize his duties. Bali says to Bhagwaan Ram, that only now that his doubts are cleared, he is able to know the form of joy (sukh swaroop) of the Lord. In Bhagwad Gita, Arjuna’s sorrow was destroyed by Bhagwaan Krishna’s words.

Both doubt and sorrow are eliminated by the grace of sadaguru.

A sadaguru should be viveki (full of knowledge). He should never exploit but encourage the spiritual anxiety of his disciples.

A disciple should be vinayi (modest) in his behaviour and be free of false pride.

We have been discussing the first character of adhikaari of Ram katha ( Ram katha key teyi adhikaari | Jinha kein satsangati ati pyaari) i.e. Satsang.

Now let us discuss the second

Gur pada preeti neeti rata jeyi | Dwij sevak adhikaari teyi

i.e. devotion if the feet of sadaguru. The question can be, ‘Whom can we identify as a sadaguru?’

A sadaguru has infinite qualities, but some features are mentioned below:

  1. Gyaani – A sadaguru is an epitome of knowledge, which he has experienced himself. He may not be a great literate, but he has realized the divine completely. He himself is awakened; therefore he is capable of awakening others from the delusion.
  2. Dhyaani – A sadaguru lives in a natural state of meditation. He takes care of all disciples in spite of their weaknesses.
  3. Nirmaani – A sadaguru is free of ego as he knows well that there is nothing to be arrogant about. He is the master of learning and meditation but does not feel proud about it.
  4. Samaani – He has equal amount of respect for all. His behaviour may seem varied according to the need of time and person but his inner feeling is same for everyone. Just like a flower spreads its fragrance equally, sadaguru spreads his goodwill to all, as there is not a trace of any selfish motive in his mind.
  5. Daani – A sadaguru grants refuge, knowledge, security and tears to aspirants. He may not have material goods but he is capable of giving everything

Let us discuss the third feature of adhikaari of Ram katha – (“Gur pada preeti neeti rata jeyi | Dwij sevak adhikaari teyi ||”) i.e. following the prescribed morals and values

Another question today- Do we need a moral code or love for God?

Everyone would agree that love is most important, but in Dohaavali, Tulsidas jee says

Preeti Ram so neeti path chaliya raag rasa jeeti |
Tulsi santan key matey ihai bhagati ki reeti ||

In this Doha, he prescribes three spiritual ways:

  1. Devotion in the feet of Bhagwaan Ram.
  2. Walking on the path of morals.
  3. Getting beyond attachment and hatred (raag-dwesh)

There should be a way of devotion towards God where an aspirant should try to be free of dual of regard and contempt while walking on the path of morals. Morals make a path but not the destination. Morals may vary but devotion should remain stable. Morals may be many but devotion should only be in the feet of one Lord.

There are many values in Shri Ram Charit Manas. Some are discussed below:

Shankar neeti – Bhagwaan Shankar’s morals can be called ‘Shruti neeti’ or morals of Vedas. As He is beyond birth and death, his values are also timeless. One of the most important sutra for today’s youngsters is ‘ Satyam vada, Dharmam char, Swaadhyaya pravachanaabhyam na pramaditavyam…’

Try to desist yourself from speaking untruth as much as possible. The one who speaks only truth may face some problems but it definitely makes him/her totally fearless. It is said in Vedas that where there is truth, there is success (Satyamev jayate). But it is not necessary that where there is success, there may be truth. Because people manipulate in many wrong ways to succeed by hook or crook!

Put religion in practice. One need not show off religious activities, as they should be used to make better person of oneself.

Never be lethargic in doing your studies.

Ram neeti – Bhagwaan Ram goes out to those who are not able to reach him, for instance Ma Shabari. He picks up those who are downtrodden, Like Shri Ahalya jee. He never breaks the rules of a place and takes permission of the authorities, like he asked first and then only entered the Pushpa-vatika in Janakpur.

Bharat neeti
– ‘Bharatu neeti rata saadhu sujaana…’ Bharat jee does not compromise on his ideals at any cost. He believed that he has no right to head Ayodhya, it is the right of Bhagwaan Ram. So, he stuck to his values, looked after people like a caretaker and finally handed over the throne when Ram jee returned.

There are many morals mentioned in scriptures – Chanakya neeti, Vidur neeti etc., but most important is above discussed shruti neeti. Do not bargain for your values in any kind of adverse situation.

The cycle of pain and pleasure is constantly moving. Pleasure gives birth to pain and pain leads to pleasure at some time or other
. Therefore, condition your mind equally for both. And the only way to condition is continual remembrance of God and sustaining patience in hard times.

The question for today is – Who is the main reason behind Bhagwaan ram’s vanvaas (exile in forest)?

If seen outwardly, the primary reason can be Ma Kaikeyi, who in spite of being mother of saint Bharat and her extreme fondness for Bhagwaan asks for the exile. This happened just because she fell in the ill company of Manthara-‘ KO na kusangati paai nasaai…’thus, Manthara can be held more responsible, but if seen deeply, it was Goddess Saraswati who influenced her mentality. So, the reason may shift to Saraswati jee. But if seen with a spiritual insight, she is not absolutely free, as she is controlled y Bhagwaan Ram. Therefore, actually it is Bhagwaan Ram himself who wanted to go in the forest-‘ Ram keenha chahai so hoi…’.

Another question rises from this as to why did Ram jee choose to go in forest? Raavan could be killed in any other way, but the reason behind all this leela was just to spread mangal (festivity) in the lives of people all over. He wanted that joy should not be restricted just to limited people around him but to all those who could not come to him like Kevat, Ma Shabari, Kole-Kiraat, monkeys and even demons.

The fourth factor that makes a person adhikaari (suitable) for Ramkatha is dwij seva (service of the realized souls)-
“Gur pada preeti neeti rata jeyi |
Dwij sevak adhikaari teyi ||”.

A dwij is a person, who has experienced a second birth in one life by the grace of sadaguru as he has renewed his inner self. A Brahman (who is called a dwij) wears a sacred band made of nine threads (Yagnopavit/Janeu). In Sunder kand, Bhagwaan Ram describes nine threads of a spiritual band for everyone who wants to become a dwij.

He says:
Janani janak bandhu sut daara | Tanu dhanu bhavan suhrid parivaara ||
Sab kai mamata taag batori | Mum pada manahin baandh bari dori ||

Oneself can make the threads of this band by serving the parents, maintaining goodwill with colleagues, not pressurizing the children unnecessarily, loving and respecting your spouse and using your wealth and property for welfare of others. Finally, the band made from these threads can be offered to God and a person can become a dwij.

In Bhagwad Gita, Bhagwaan Krishna also mentions nine characters of a dwij:

  1. Sham – who is at peace from inside.
  2. Dama – who takes care of his senses with appropriate discretion.
  3. Tapa – who tolerates every adversity to uphold truth.
  4. Shauch – who tries to maintain inner and outer purity.
  5. Kshaanti – who always forgives others.
  6. Aarjavam – who is simple in body language, mind and speech.
  7. Gyaan – who is knowledgeable.
  8. Vigyaan – whose knowledge is not just in theory but also in the practical life.
  9. Aastikyam – who has faith in the doctrines of vedas and basically Hinduism.

An adhikaari of Ramkatha is the one who does not keep dwij as a servant but the one who serves a dwij with respect. True service of a dwij would be to follow his command exactly as told, without arguing and worrying about own comforts.

Questiondo you believe in Re-birth?
Bapu’s Answer – Yes. I do, as it is explained in Vedas

Bapu says, “Treasure these sutras. They will help you to pass through the turns and ups and downs of life…let us offer the virtue of this katha in the feet all the saints in this Adhik maas.”

Rang..rang..Pandurang..rang Vitthala…

Jai Siya Ram and Pranaam.