Katha Chopais

Kaha angad bichaari mana maahin | Dhanya jataayu sama kou naahin ||
Ram kaaj kaaran tanu tyaagi | Hari pur gayau param bada bhaagi ||

Angad said after thinking about it ‘Glory to Jataayu !, There is no one like him,
Who has laid down his life in the service of Shree Ram and most blessed and ascended to abode of Shree Hari.

Katha Translations

No details.

Here, in Ferozpur, we have all gathered for Ramkatha and to pay homage to our martyrs, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who laid their lives for the freedom of our country at this place. The main subject of this katha would be the character of Jataayu in Shri Ram Charit Manas who also laid his life for protecting Ma Jaanaki. Jataayu’s character comes in Aranya Kand when Raavan is abducting Ma Sita and she cries for help. At that time, Jataayu hears her cries and tries to help her out- Seeta kai bilaap suni bhaari | Bhaye charaachar jeev dukhaari ||, Geedh-raaj suni aarat baani | Raghukul tilak naari pahichaani ||.

There are three types of cries – aalaap, vilaap and pralaap.

  1. Aalaap is a sober form of cry, usually in musical notes sung by vocalists. It might sound good to some but not necessarily to everybody.
  2. Vilaap is the cry of an individual, usually coming out due to inner sorrow. It normally leads to the melting of the hearts of the listener.
  3. Pralaap is hue and cry about useless things. Avoid getting involved in such futile arguments or discussions.

QuestionIt is said that God’s grace flows for all, then why can’t I experience it?
Bapu’s answer – Mud/soil cannot contain anything, but if a potter uses it and creates a pot from it, it gets transformed into a container. Similarly, a person may not be able to experience God’s grace; but if a Sadaguru treats him/her, he/she gains that receptivity to feel God’s grace. Katha/satsang helps a lot in forming the receptivity of the speaker as well as the listener. Sadaguru works on the aspirant’s mind with such an expertise that his spiritual journey becomes a reason of joy. The aspirant is not even worried about the destination; he/she finds saadhana (path of spiritual efforts) itself blissful.

When an aspirant’s inner-self (antah-karan) becomes absolutely pure with no trace of malignity, then whatever she/he aspires for materializes for sure.

Jataayu had four prominent features that are essential for an aspirant who wants to help others:

  1. Aankh (eyes)- he had a sharp vision.
  2. Paankh (wings)- he used his actions to implement his vision.
  3. Chonch (beak)- he had a sound sense of discretion (ability to make responsible decisions) as to where to get involved and where to not.
  4. Saanch (truth)- he was sincere in his duty.

The one who decides to lay his life for others does not go by what the others say or do; he just does his own efforts with sincerity. Jataayu was full of such courage when he confronted Raavan.

Bapu says, “If you ask me personally, I would say that ‘Ram naam’ is the ultimate for me. All other spiritual efforts are also respectable, but for me there is nothing like ‘Ram naam’; it is the essence of all other efforts.”

“kaha angad bichaari mana maahin” – Angad says that Jataayu’s indeed blessed, but he says this after thinking well. An aspirant should think thrice before speaking anything. He describes Jataayu as ‘dhanya’. Dhanya means what? The one who lives in ‘dhan’ (wealth) can be called as dhanya, but dhan here refers to ‘Ram rattan dhan’ (wealth of Ram-naam ), ‘santosh-dhan’ (wealth of contentment) and ‘tapo-dhan’ (wealth of penance). Jataayu is the possessor of these three types of wealth, so he’s truly called dhanya.

“karma phal hai, kripa rasa hai.”- every action, leads to some kind of fruit and if the grace of God is experienced, then one can actually feel the ‘rasa’ (essence) of that fruit. But, an aspirant should be careful that there should not be any negative element such as hatred or jealousy in the mind, as they spoil the rasa of every fruit.

If you really want to be happy, never blame anyone for your problems, accept the problems as the will of God.

In Shri Ram Charit Manas, Tulsidas jee says Angad and Hanuman jee are ‘badabhaagi’, who are fortunate enough to be in service of Bhagwan Ram. He calls Ahalya jee as ‘Atisaya- badabhaagi’ , who gets the blessing and grace of Bhagwan Ram and goes in the duty of her husband. But, Jataayu is called ‘Param- badabhaagi’ who leaves for the abode of The Lord instantly.

The characters of Shri Ram Charit Manas like – Bharadwaaj jee and Ma Parvati, doubted the existence of Lord in human form. But, they never doubted the one they asked. Bharadwaaj jee did not doubt Yagnavalkya jee and Ma Parvati did not doubt Bhagwaan Shankar. Never ever doubt your Sadaguru; doubt is a big hurdle of spiritual path.

Aranya Kand is predominantly highlighted by the element of illusion (maaya). Jayant, Raavan, Maareech, Ma Sita, all of them illusionary forms but it was only Jataayu who remained genuine and free of any illusionary forms.

Bhagwaan Ram lived the path of dignity (maryada), but at the same time he also showed that the life should not become dry with rules; rather it should be full of ‘rasa’, music, dance, joy and spontaneity. Dignity should not be harsh and should not make an individual heartless. It should not become a binding and snatch away the innocent joys of a person. In fact, Bhagwaan Ram generated ‘rasa’ (nectar of life) in the stone-turned Ahalya jee also. Shri Ram Charit Manas gives a new message everyday; it is an evergreen shastra.

Yesterday, it was said that even if you doubt the existence of the Lord, don’t doubt the speaker of the Lord’s katha. But, the speaker should also possess certain qualities according to shrimad Bhagwat. They are as follows.

  • Virakto – It is an inner state of detachment. The speaker should not be possessive of his own principles also; there should be complete detachment from any kind of reservations.
  • Vaishnavo – It refers to large-heartedness of the speaker.
  • Vipro – Speaker should be free of materialistic tendencies (vigat-prapanch). He should have a sense of discretion (vivek-pradhaan) and should be capable of fulfilling the listener with devotional feelings.
  • Veda – shastra vishuddhi-krit- He should be able to convey the thoughts of Vedas and scriptures in a pure form with their actual sense intact.
  • Drishtaant kushalo – A speaker should be able to support and simplify the principles with appropriate examples.
  • Dheero – A speaker should be mentally balanced to contain the reactions of listeners.
  • Nihspriho – He should not be fond of crowds.

If anyone criticizes someone else scornfully in front of you, and you can neither stop him nor close your ears, then the best thing to do is close your eyes. By  closing your eyes you can prevent the negativity entering your life to an extent. Closing of eyes in favourable as well as unfavourable situations helps a person to Keep up mental peace. Ma Jaanaki uses this practice in Pushpa vatika ( after the first glimpse of Bhagwaan Ram)and also in Ashok Vatika (in the middle of  demons).

If you have the provision of open space, the please sow the trees of Banyan (vada), mango (aam), paakari and peepal. These four will help in controlling environmental pollution. If an aspirant does some spiritual efforts under them, then he/she can also save oneself from mental pollution.

Bapu says, “Somebody told me that a great scholar calls life itself as the master (Sadaguru), but if I was asked I would say that my Sadaguru is my life.”

The two brothers Jataayu and Sampaati contributed with their calibers to help Bhagwaan Ram. Sampaati helped with his words in search of Ma Sita and Jataayu fought hard to save her from Raavan. The two birds give the message that one should use the calibre in the best possible way to serve Bhakti (devotion).

Question – People criticize a lot if I listen to katha. What to do?
Bapu’s answer – People’s reaction is natural; don’t expect anything exceptional from them. Practice silence (maun) in such circumstances. Just accept everything with silence and indifference; keep your focus on satsang.

Question – Does interaction with people create new debts according to karma philosophy?
Bapu’s answer – It’s hard to give one decision in this matter. Shri Ram Charit Manas says-‘Firat sadaa maaya kar prera | Kaal karm subhaav guna ghera||’. A human being is surrounded by four elements of kaal (time), karma (action), swabhaav (own nature) and guna (inclinations). But the doors of satsang provide solace in such tight surroundings. Let us discuss the four.

  1. Kaal – It can refer to three things- time, change of seasons and death. All these are not in control of man. But, you can prevent their effects by cultivating tolerance or by using the available equipments in the best possible way.
  2. KarmaAction is upto you to decide. Positive actions come out of affection (raag) towards someone and negative actions are a result of hatred (dwesh). Action and its fruits lead to pain where our desire gets attached to it. Desire (kama) tries to place itself first in the senses (indriya), then in the mind (mana) and finally in the intellect (budhhi). Please beware of it!
  3. Swabhaav – Sometimes, the nature of a person becomes the primary reason of pain/ sorrowfulness. The nature can only improve with satsang.
  4. Guna – There are three inclinations of Satva, rajas and tamas. They should be practiced in accordance with the time, space and situation. For example – In a temple, one should be saatvik (calm and serene), at work one should be rajasik (in action).If the wrong guna is used contrary to the need of the situation, then it may lead to problems.

The above listed four can become supportive if a person follows satsang. Satsang/katha helps a lot in freeing oneself from the negative repercussions of the above four.

Jataayu’s wings were chopped in the dual with Raavan, but he had two qualities of humbleness and eagerness in his eyes. These two helped him reach the Almighty.

The qualities of a katha listener are showed by Ma Parvati when she goes to Bhagwaan Shankar for katha – ‘Paarbati bhal avasaru jaani | Gayi sambhu pahin maatu bhavaani ||’. When all the circumstances are favourable, don’t miss going to katha. Listen with the mentality of a woman as women are naturally blessed with faith (shradhha), forgiveness (kshama) and acceptance (sweekriti). Don’t cross your limit of dignity. Take care that your questions are not borne out of unnecessary reasoning but faith.

Question – if the creatures’ life (jeev) is subject to ‘karma’ (action and its fruits), then what is the basis for the creator. Does any rule apply to him?
Bapu’s answer – the Lord is constrained only by kripa (grace). And this kripa is based on the humbleness (deenata) of an aspirant. Kripa is extremely sensitive in nature; it shies away if it witnesses negative elements like hatred, jealousy and scorn in aspirant’s life. Kripa also gets withdrawn when the aspirant does not live according to what he says (if there’s no coordination between speech and action of aspirant).

According to Shrimad Bhagwat, an aspirant is unable to experience the grace of God if he/she is not ready to leave ‘maatsarya’ (envy). Maatsarya is a strong feeling of competing and defeating the contemporary people in every field. But, when this feeling of envy enters in the spiritual path of an aspirant, his bhajan becomes weak and he’s unable to feel the divine grace. So, please be very careful of feeling of competition, always remember that spirituality is a path of faith in the Lord and not of racing with people around you.

There are some experiences that indicate that the Sadaguru/Lord is coming closer to you.

  1. Khushbu (fragrance).
  2. Paraag (pollen).
  3. Makrand (nectar of flower).
  4. Rasa (essence).
  5. Anuraag (devotion).
  6. Jhaanki (a faint glimpse of the Lord).
  7. Sannikata (Close encounter).
  8. Sira par haath (when the Lord blesses with hand on the head).
  9. Nirvaan/Bhagawata (aspirant feels freedom from every sorrow, only bliss remains in life)

Question – what is the difference between prem and kripa?
Bapu’s answer – Usually, prem (love) is offered by the aspirant towards the beloved Lord and kripa (grace) is bestowed by the Lord upon the aspirant.

Please try and avoid negative feelings (durbhaav) towards anybody. But avoid especially keeping negative feelings, even towards enemy, during certain times of day – morning, bed-time, at the time of eating food and at the time of bhajan. The negative feelings pollute the inner self (antah-karan) and prevent the grace of God from being felt and digested in life.

If you get negative feelings toward anybody, then just do one mala at that moment for the welfare of that person. Pray heartily for that person; this is true spirituality.

There are 3 types of hindrances in bhajan:

  1. Taamasi baadha – At the time of bhajan, when an aspirant experiences feeling of revenge or insulting anybody, it is taamasi badha.
  2. Raajasi baadha – When an aspirant wants to be called as religious and wants to be known for his good deeds, it is raajasi baadha in bhajan.
  3. Saatviki baadha – At the time of bhajan, an aspirant gets stuck to a sutra, a shastra or even remembering some good person, it is saatviki baadha.

The remembrance of sadaguru is not considered as a hindrance; it is rather an auspicious to occur during bhajan.

The person who makes a soft spot in the heart of an enemy also, is said to be living in salvation (jeevan-mukta). Khalil Gibran has described salvation in the following ways:

  1. “When all my sheep gather at a safe place at the right time is salvation.” Here sheep refers to the senses that rest in peace.
  2. “Salvation is like a sound sleep of a child, where child is the mind that becomes calm and tranquil.”
  3. “Salvation is the remembrance of the last verse of my poetry”. It means that there is permanent remembrance of the gist of a shastra.

Today, the family of Shaheed Bhagat Singh came for RamKatha. Bapu expressed his regards and best wishes for families of all the martyrs who have laid their lives for the nation. He also conveyed his good wishes to everyone on the occasion of Holi festival.

Human beings can be classified as following types:

  • Khanij maanav – A person who is always focused on acquiring material goods from wherever possible just like people are on a look out for metal from mines.
  • Vanaspati maanav – a person who takes inspiration from plants and trees.
  • Jal/pravaahi maanav – a person who does not lead a stagnant life’ he reaches out to people.
  • Chandra maanav – a person who soothes others with his serenity.
  • Pashu maanav – a person who has some understanding with intellect.
  • Vaanar maanav – a person who is loyal to the master just like Angad, Nal-Neel etc.
  • Nar maanav – a person who is educated, thoughtful and compassionate for humanity.
  • Naaraayan maanav – when the Lord comes in the form of human being.

At the end of his life, Jataayu transformed into Naarayan maanav, the ultimate for any creature.

Jataayu did ‘stuti’ (prayer in praise) of Bhagwaan Ram in four stanzas. The four stanzas represent the four elements of the Lord in human form:

  • The first stanza is for the ‘roop’ (form/ physical appearance) of Bhagwaan Ram. When an aspirant meditates on roop of the Lord, he gradually moves towards the realization of one’s own actual inner form (swaroop).
  • The second stanza is about the holy name ‘Ram naam’. The remembrance of the name of the Lord frees the aspirant from the cycle of rebirth.
  • The third stanza indicates about the divine works of Bhagwaan Ram (leela). The leela of the Lord becomes a source of inspiration for aspirant’s conduct.
  • The fourth stanza is about the ‘dhaam’, the abode of the Lord. An aspirant thinks about the abode and then aspires to build his heart as the Lord’s abode in himself.

“Ram kaaj kaaran tanu tyaagi” – ‘Ram kaaj’ can be defines as welfare of others in some way or the other. According to Shri Ram Charit Manas, it is denoted in three ways.

  1. Seeta ki khoj – search for bhakti (devotion), shanti (peace), shakti (inner strength). Tulsidas jee saw Ma seta as his mother, so Ram kaaj is also searching the motherly feeling in oneself. All these searches are to be taken out within oneself, as these factors are inherently present in human beings, they are not to be searched outside
  2. Setubandh – Youngsters should use their energies to build bridges between people. In a country, young energy can be use more effectively if the seat of political power is healthy (swasth) and clean (swachchh).
  3. Santaap dene wali shakti ko samaapt karna – to eliminate the negative elements that create problems for common man.

Aspirant should use (upayog) the material goods, but should also be careful not to get too attached (anuraag) to them.

For youngsters, following three things should be important in life:

  • Khud ki khoj – self-introspection (self discovery)
  • Samaaj ki seva – social service.
  • Hriday se Parmaatma ki bhakti – devotion in the Lord’s feet from the bottom of your heart.

Katha also comprises of questions of listeners, but the questions are classified into four types:

  • Uttam prashna – question that comes out of true eagerness to know and readiness to accept the solution in the right manner.
  • Madhyam prashna – inspite of knowing the answer, the question is asked just to show self-knowledge of the listener.
  • Nikrishta prashna – question is asked just to test the caliber of the speaker.
  • Heen prashna – question asked with an intention to insult the speaker, to damage the dignity of the katha or that is totally away from the topic of katha.

Bapu expressed his extreme happiness and good wishes for our Army Jawans, who are efficiently carrying on their hard duty for the safety of out country. He said that let us all offer the fruit of virtue of this katha in the feet of our martyrs as a respectful hearty homage to them.

“Rashtra Devo Bhav”