Katha Chopais

Mahabeer binavaun Hanumaana | Ram jaasu jasu aap bakhaana ||
Pranvanun pavan-kumaar khal bana paavak gyaan ghan | Jaasu hridaya aagaar basahin ram sar chaap dhar ||

I bow to Hanumaan Jee, The great hero, whose glory has been extrolled by Bhagwaan Ram himself.
I greet Hanumaan, the son of the wind-god, an embodiment of wisdom, who is fire as it were for the forest of the wicked, and in the abode of whose heart resides Bhagwaan Ram, equipped with a bow and arrows.

Katha Translations

Jai SiyaRam and Pranaam to all.. There is a special bend towards the worship of Hanumaan jee in this part of the world. So, we’ll discuss about Hanumaan jee and other ‘mahaveer’ of Manas in this katha.

Tulsidas jee has expressed his humbleness in the feet of Hanumaan jee and asked for the permission to offer reverence; but he has not demanded anything from him. This is a true form of devotion. and true devotee never demands anything from his Lord and the Lord never leaves his any wish unfulfilled. Only a person who is free of demands can experience and understand Hanuman jee’s grace in actual form. Hanumaan jee is not just close to Bhagwaan Ram, but also remains around those who try to live on the sutras of Bhagwaan Ram.

Question – How to avoid struggle/frictional situations (sangharsh) in life?
Bapu’s answer – One can avoid struggle if he/she tries to give satisfaction to others’ expectations according to own capability. One should use personal ability in the best way to satisfy others around him.

Just two days back, we all celebrated Guru purnima. It is also called as ‘Vyas Pooja’ – ‘Vyas’ signifies enormous and ‘pooja’ means worship. Thus, when a person feels that everything, everywhere is sacred and a form of Lord, then everyday is a guru purnima for him.

A question comes to mind that who is a Sadaguru? The answer can be explained in discussing the following five characteristics of a Sadaguru.

  1. Dhaaran kare – A Sadaguru bears his every shishya with care. Just like a child sits on the shoulder of his father and father takes his care personally; and Sadaguru looks after every shishya with care.
  2. Indriyon ka chaaran kare – A Sadaguru guides our senses towards their ideal use. He provides right vision to the eyes, right words for the ears, right thoughts to the mind, right speech for the tongue, etc. He completely changes the attitude of a person towards life.
  3. Vikaaron ka maaran kare – A Sadaguru destroys all the negativities of a shishya.
  4. Kaaran bane – A Sadaguru becomes the purpose of life. For a guru-devoted shishya, he is the base of his existence.
  5. Taaran kare – A Sadaguru takes a shishya across the ocean of materialism/worldliness (bhav-saagar).

Knowledge may seem difficult for everyone to understand in spite of its greatness. But, for a common man, living with truth, love and compassion and also being able to help others is a form of knowledge.

Fear has no place in spirituality. Any kind of fear (even due to any religious practice) is not permitted in this sphere.

The word ‘mahaveer’ denotes several features of a person who is entitled for this term. It points to the one who has a lot of strength, the one who is extremely humble, the one who is able to destroy the harmful elements around etc..

In Shri Ram Charit Manas, Tulsidas jee indicates the characteristics of ‘mahaveer’ in the sorttha -“ Pranvaun pavan kumaar khal bana paavak gyaan ghan | Jaasu hridaya aagaar basahin ram sar chaap dhar||” .

Mahaveer is the one who is able in destroying the ‘khal’ (evil) elements outside as well as within oneself. Let us first understand the nature of a ‘khal’ person according to the opinions of various saints.

  • The one who keeps on eating and fighting with others.
  • he one who is deceitful with his provider also.
  • The one who keeps thinking without any action and keeps uttering non-sense.
  • The one who asks about the wellness of others but does not help anyone.
  • The one who lies blatantly without being capable and claims to ape Bhagwaan Krishna.

A wise person should not waste his time and energy in destroying the above mentioned ‘khal’, but just be a witness to the fact that he gets destroyed by his own negativity.

Mahaveer is the one who is able to eradicate the faults of within. And this becomes possible mainly with the grace of the Lord. The efforts of an aspirant help 20% and the grace of God contributes 80% in destroying the faults of within. Grace is like an escalator which takes one to his destination without much efforts. But , when a person starts walking the steps of the escalator (the efforts of the aspirant), he is sure to reach more quickly.

The lord’s grace can only be felt and cannot be proved in the literal way. Even if a person tries to explain the grace in words, the listener would not be able to understand it in the actual sense as grace is only profound for the one who experiences it. There are four ways to feel the grace of God.

  • Shravan – Listen to katha of Lord’s grace without any prejudices.
  • Samarpan – Try to give and sacrifice for others.
  • Shradhha – After experiencing the pleasure of giving, put faith in this path.
  • Saboori – Keep patience and wait for the grace of God as it works on His will and not ours!

The main reason behind why a person is not able to experience grace is hypocrisy (dambh) is like an overcoat that prevents grace from touching you.

Desire (kaam) is required for the continuation of life in the world. Anger (kroadh) should be used sometimes to maintain discipline in the surroundings and Greed (lobhe) is alright if it is used to make provisions for your family/dependents. But censure (ninda), jealousy (irshya) and ego (ahankaar) are absolutely useless. One should sincerely try to remove them for a better life.

Question – Which is the best character/incident of Shri Ram Charit Manas according to you ?
Bapu’s answer – Every character and incident is like a distinct flower in the garden of shri Ram Charit Manas. But for me the greatest element in Manas is Ram naam. Nothing is as precious as the holy name of God.

Bapu began today’s katha by saying, “my aim is to address the youth. I bow down to the elders, but I want the youngsters to come in katha, whenever convenient.”

Tulsidas jee depicts the inner faults of an individual through the characters of Shri Ram Charit Manas. Raavan represents ‘moha’ (delusion), Indrajeet represents kaam (desire) and Kumbhakaran represents ahankaar (ego). Until these three are removed from inside, an aspirant cannot feel the presence of Bhagwaan Ram in himself.

An unaware/foolish (mooddh or agyaani) person is unable find peace within; he can be recognized by following features:

  1. Creates bitterness in the family – to experience real happiness, one should try to maintain cordiality in the family at any cost.
  2. Has pretense (kapat) in the heart – a person who deceitfully lures others for personal gains, who uses others’ name for raising self-prestige, who exploits the weak points of others’ etc. can never feel the presence of the omnipresent God in himself.
  3. Remains in bad company – one should be extremely careful about the company he keeps as it may influence his whole personality.
  4. According to Chanakya – an aspirant should keep relations like the following.
    • Truth as the mother – Who ever is truthful should be loved and regarded by you, just like you take care of your mother.
    • Knowledge as the father – Any knowledgeable person or an artist should be respected like a father.
    • Dharma as the brother – A person who performs his duties sincerely should be considered a brother.
    • Mercy as a friend – A merciful and compassionate person should be befriended.
    • Serenity as the wife – A homemaker needs to be peace loving by nature, only then can be build a happy family.
    • Forgiveness as a child – One should take care of the person who is forgiving.

Thoughtfulness is a symbol of a human being; thoughtless-ness can be equated to an animal. Thought is the raw material of the conduct of any person. Thought is so powerful that it can work as medicine as well as poison for a person’s health. It should be complemented with faith for a balanced lifestyle. Faith is like closing eyes with trust and thought is like opening eyes to see it in practical. Always think properly before taking any action.

One should always follow the ancestral customs that are beneficial and harmless, but one should discard those rituals/customs that are no more useful. This will appease your ancestors also!

Air (pavan) has no form, but it still it is omnipresent. Hanuman jee being the son of pavan, he does not give any form to his ego. Thus, he is free of ahankaar (pride).

Mahaveer is the one who is able to destroy the inner faults. But, it is seen in the nutshell that if the faults are eliminated then many hurdles of spiritual path of an aspirant are removed making his way a lot more smoother.

Let us discuss the originating reason behind faults. The main cause of all the inner faults is ‘dwait’ (twosome/encounter with the other). A person usually gets angry at the other person/ thing. Similarly, a person desires the other person/thing/situation. But, in case if an individual lives in complete isolation with a balanced mind, he can become free of faults.

Hanumaan jee is initiated (deeksha) in this kind of isolation by Bhagwaan Ram- ‘So ananya jaakein asi mati na tarayi Hanumant | Main sevak sacharaachar roop swaami bhagwant||’ (kishkindha kand). Bhagwaan Ram says that an ideal devotee is the one who only sees the omnipresent power in all creation and thus he can remain free of faults. After getting this kind of deeksha by Bhagwaan Ram, Hanumaan jee’s devotion is ascertained when he saw Bhagwaan Ram in Raavan’s form also. He calls Raavan as his master saying- ‘Khaayau fal prabhu laagi bhookha’ and ‘ Sab key deh param priya swaami ‘. Another incident that shows Hanumaan jee’s perfect commitment is when Bhagwaan Ram is stationed on Subel mountain and when he asked Hanumaan jee about the stain on the moon, Hanumaan jee replied that the stain was there as the moon worshipped you. Therefore, it can be seen that in every kind of situation Hanumaan jee’s devotion is extremely focussed only on Bhagwaan Ram (without any dwait) and thus he if free of faults.

Another reason behind faults is ego (ahankaar). It encourages/breeds even the smallest weakness of an individual. Hanumaan jee is free of ego as he continually feels the presence of Bhagwaan Ram in his heart.

Any comfort that is dependent on the other is never ever lasting. One should feel content in himself.

An aspirant should be careful in donating for charity also. He/she should not donate blindly to religious leaders or institutions, as it may not be used appropriately. One should rather donate directly to the needy or poor.

Question – what should be done to make a human life successful?
Bapu’s answer – Birth as a human being is due to supreme grace, so distribute love to all. Worshipping the Lord is good, but one should try to see Him in everything /everybody and spread love everywhere. ‘Bhaav’ (goodwill) towards all would remove every ‘abhaav’ (inadequacy) from your life.

A spiritual person should be joyful. Joy (aanand) is the form of God. Be God-loving and not God-fearing.

Five sutras to cultivate happiness.

  1. Try to remain pure (in the heart) as much as possible.
  2. Try to maintain the joy that comes with purity.
  3. Try to uphold the faith in your subject of devotion.
  4. Try to retain the sincerity in your conduct at every cost.
  5. Try to help others whenever possible.

By following the above five, you may come across adversities, but you won’t feel the pain. All the situations will come as Lord’s Prasaad.

‘Pranavaun pavan-kumaar khal bana paavak gyaan-ghan’ – Hanuman jee is described as mahaveer and Tulsidas jee indicates a particular trait of him in the sorttha as gyaan ghan (rain cloud of knowledge). Hanuman jee showers knowledge like rain like a cloud and he is not partial towards anyone/anything. He maintains equality (samata) which is the main sign of true spiritual knowledge.

Knowledge is not recognized by impressive speeches or religious symbols; it is recognized by a person’s developed mentality of experiencing the omnipresent in all creation.

A gyaani (knowledgeable) may be called a veer/brave but Hanuman jee is the utmost gyaani as he puts his knowledge in practice; therefore, he is aptly called as mahaveer.

One should respect every individual’s viewpoint as everybody has own inclination and thinking. An aspirant should ignore the weaknesses of the other and appreciate and learn from others’ qualities.

Question – why do you look different on Vyas-peetth?
Bapu’s answer – I’m just the same otherwise also, but you may feel the difference due to your bhaav (mind-set) and the different surroundings of Ram katha.

Question – How do you sit continually for 4-5 hours in katha without getting up?
Bapu’s answer – it is a matter of practice of many years. For me sidhhi (any accomplishment) is not so important, but I prefer that shudhhi (purity) should be there.

Every creation is a result of the inherent presence of supreme power everywhere. Every form is the expression of the form less omnipresent authority.

Possessiveness of anything can result into stressful mind. Don’t be too possessive about anything to remain light-hearted.

Question – What is more important- destiny (praarabdh) or self-efforts (purushaarth)?
Bapu’s answer – Both play their parts in life, but I feel that the most dominant factor in an aspirant’s life is God’s will. It is seen in Hanuman jee’s life that only God’s will played the most significant role in every circumstance. To understand the God’s will better, following four can be helpful for an aspirant:

  1. Shradhha – faith that whatever Lord does would be for my best only.
  2. Samarpan- Surrender in God’s feet with sincerity.
  3. Samajh- Wisdom and willingness to understand the situation.
  4. Samaya- Patience to wait for the time to give results.

Tulsidas jee mentions three major ‘khal’ in Aranya kand – “Taat teeni ati prabal ati kaam kroadh aru lobhe”. Hanuman jee fights with all the three and it is depicted through the incidents of Shri Ram Charit Manas. For example- Indrajeet, Raavan’s son represents ‘kaam’ (desire). He is shown to be such an element that creates unrest in everyone’s life. It is important for an aspirant to be extremely careful of these three. If an aspirant takes refuge in Hanuman jee’s feet, he can be safe as Hanuman jee is able in controlling the khal.

According to Vedanata, there are two ways to see the world. One is ‘Brahm-satyam’- it is a positive approach that propagates that the supreme power is truth. Second is ‘Jagan-mithya’- it is a sign of a bit pessimistic attitude towards life that connotes that the world is false. Swaami Vivekanand chose the positive approach and led people towards optimism.

A person should live a wholesome life. Earn well till a certain age till your children grow up to carry the responsibilities. After a certain age use your wealth for welfare of others. The more you spread yourself materially, the more difficult it would be to wind up from all directions. Thus, spread your material life wisely in the initial years only.

Religious leaders should not baptize small children forcefully. Children should be given freedom to enjoy their childhood. Religious rituals should not burden anyone. No religious institution should try to forcibly implement their pattern of worship in the society.

Question – Some religious speakers on television prescribe meditation as the path of spirituality. Kindly share your opinion on that?
Bapu’s answer – Meditation is one of the many paths of spirituality, but it is not the only path. One can choose any path of spirituality according to own nature and inclination. But it is not right for anyone to criticize others’ path to propagate own path.

An aspirant who goes on the path of thought (vichaar) has to do efforts to reach the God. But, if an aspirant chooses the path of faith (vishwaas), the Lord comes to him through Sadaguru.

Sadaguru is not recognized by a particular symbol or attire. He is the one whose slight remembrance, even miles away, creates purity in the heart and tears in the eyes of an aspirant. One should not use many words with the Sadaguru; there’s a dialogue through heart between a Sadaguru and shishya.

The three main ‘khal’ (desire, anger and greed) that are parts of any human being’s life. They are tolerable to an extent provided they are in the prescribed conventional limits. If they remain in the small proportion, then they are called ‘sanskar’. Bhagwaan Krishna called ‘kaam’ (desire) his form in Bhagwad Gita, but the condition being that it remains in the limits of Dharma. But, if the ‘khal’ become out of control, then they are termed as ‘vikaar’ and have to be curbed.

Hanuman jee dealt in the unique way with unbounded desire, greed and anger. We can see that and learn through the conduct of Hanuman jee in the incidents of Shri Ram Charit Manas.

In Lanka Kand, Meghnaad, who represents Kaam , hurt Lakshman jee and he became unconscious. At that time, Hanuman jee took him in his lap and brought him near Bhagwaan Ram. Later he also brought Sushen, the physician of Lanka and Sanjivani, the medicine.

If seen in today’s perspective, if a saint like Hanuman jee comes across helping the unconscious aspirant, he can take care of his required treatment. A saint introduces the aspirant to a Sadaguru (represented by Sushen), who cures us and makes us conscious of truth. Sanjivani is the medicine of ‘bhakti’ (devotion), which should be taken before life ends. Path of spirituality is not just for elderly; it can prove to be more useful for youth.

Hanuman jee’s behaviour with greed can be seen in Sunder Kand. When Hanuman jee went to Lanka, Mainaak mountain offered him to rest on its ground. But Hanuman jee just touched it and proceeded forward in his mission. Mainaak denotes materialism; material comforts may lure an individual but an aspirant should politely use the wealth wisely and not get greedy about it.

Further on his way, Hanuman jee faced Sursa, symbol of fame. But, Hanuman jee passed that hurdle also skillfully. An aspirant who overcomes the greed of wealth may be caught in the longing of fame. Therefore, he/she should be extremely careful and try to remove it from the spiritual path.

In the same journey, Hanuman jee came across Lankini, who stands for anger. Hanuman jee used his fists to toss her. An aspirant can also try to gain control over anger by tightening the fists the moment anger takes over. It is psychologically true that at the time of anger, washing the face with cold water, looking in the mirror, closing the eyes etc can also be helpful.

It is neither right to condemn the past and brood over it nor to worry about the future. An individual should make the best of present available moment.

Pavan works incessantly without a fail of a second as a life source of creation. Hanuman jee being his son also works on the same line and provides his continual services to Bhagwaan Ram. Thus, Hanuman jee is a ‘param karma yogi’, who masters in working non-stop.

Hanuman jee is ‘param gyaan yogi’ as he burns away the faults (khal) like a fire burns away forests and then showers knowledge like a rainy cloud (gyaan ghan) for an aspirant.

Hanuman jee is also a ‘bhakti yogi’ because the supreme power resides in his heart in the form of Bhagwaan Ram and he feels the divine presence constantly.

There is an amalgamation of the three paths of spirituality in Hanuman jee. His presence as air provides ‘swaas’ (life-source) in the whole creation. His devotion denotes ‘viswaas’ (ultimate faith) and his knowledge signifies ‘vivek vichaar’ (wise thought).

Wherever, you see this kind of integration, try to be in company of such a person. Be careful in keeping company (sang) as it influences anybody very quickly. Company breeds attraction/desire and when the person tries to justify his attraction, it leads to anger. Anger is gloom; it is a seed of violence. Love serves as a seed of compassion. Ultimately, this results in making an individual’s intellect corrupt and he is not able to see the reality of life.

A shishya should be completely dedicated in the feet of his Sadaguru. He has a choice to respect other saints but his heart should be faithful only toward his Sadaguru. If the allegiance is not perfect then he may not be able to receive the required satisfaction (samaadhaan) in life. ‘Nishttha’ (focused commitment in the feet of one Lord) should be extremely precious for an aspirant.

Sometimes, it is seen today that nishttha of a person is like a dancing woman which is used to appease many people. One may get prestige in the society by this kind of conduct but he/she can never experience true joy.

Gyaan (knowledge) is the state when every form merges into one- ‘me‘; the whole existence is into oneself, thus, a person becomes absolutely self-content.

Bhakti (devotion) is the state when all creation merges into the supreme beloved. The beloved becomes the whole existence. These are two distinct paths; an aspirant should choose the one that suits his nature.

Question – what is meant by ‘bhakti’?
Bapu’s answer – according to Shrimad Bhagwat, there are nine kinds of devotion:

  • Shravanam- listening to God’s glory with fondness.
  • Kirtanam- reciting the chaupais/bhajans/God’s holy name vocally or in the heart.
  • Smaranam- remembering the Lord or satsang with affection.
  • Paad sevanam- worshipping the feet of the Lord or Sadaguru. But it also means to follow the footsteps of Sadaguru and implementing his sutras in life.
  • Archanam- ritual worship of God and it also refers to providing relief or encouragement to the people who are in despair or feel defeated.
  • Vandanam- respecting all by seeing the omnipresent in all creation.
  • Daasyam- living as the caretaker of the family and not as a master.
  • Sakhyam- befriend the Lord; one is free to make any kind of relationship with the Almighty.
  • Aatma-nivedanam- whole and soul surrender in the feet of the Lord.

Bhajan is:

  1. Remembering the supreme beloved with true feelings in the heart and tears in the eyes.
  2. Creating a relationship with the God.
  3. Doing sincere efforts to reduce your vices.
  4. Creating cordial atmosphere in the family.
  5. Abstaining from saying lies.
  6. Sharing your resources with the needy.
  7. Stopping yourself from blaming others.
  8. Trying to fill the deficiencies of life by bonding with the Lord.

There are two temples in India where the name bears gold connotation. One is in Ayodhya – Kanak Bhawan (Bhagwaan Ram’s palace) and second in Amritsar , Punjab – Swarna mandir (Guru granth sahib’s place).

Hanuman jee is another golden temple ( Atulit-bal-dhaamam hem-shailaabh-deham ) where Bhagwaan Ram resides permanently. No one could harm Hanuman jee due to the constant presence of Bhagwaan Ram in his heart. On the other hand, even Lanka was all of gold, but it got burnt into shambles as it served as a residence of Raavan. Gold represents wealth; it is not bad if it has Bhagwaan Ram’s blessings. But, if it is used like Raavan, it may not prove to be everlasting.

The more one gives, the more one gets! Don’t be miser in sharing your wealth for the welfare of the needy.

Troubles may chase a person more if he/she tries to escape and run away from them. But, if an aspirant bravely faces them, the troubles shy away from him. Satsang creates courage in the aspirant to face problems.

It is a sure fact that Hanuman jee will remain on this earth in one form or the other till the day Ramkatha is recited. Presence of Hanuman jee can be felt, if not seen.

Tulsidas jee says from his experience that whoever garners even a few chaupais in the heart will feel stress free.

Yogis curb their inner faults by self-control, gyaanis become like a witness all happenings with the help of their knowledge. But for a common person, the faults can be controlled by the rod of bhakti (devotion) and a flag of satsang over it.

Let us offer the fruit of virtue of this katha to all the people of Africa.

Bapu says, “With guru-kripa, I never feel tired on the vyas-peetth. Also because I’m watching the results of my katha when the listeners try to adapt the sutras and aspire to lead a truthful life.”

Pavan putra Hanuman…lalla..lalla..Pavant putra Hanuman…………