Katha Chopais

Jo yeh padhe Hanumān Chālisā | Hoi sidhi saakhi Gaurisā ||
Tulsidās sadā hari cherā | Kije naath hriday maha derā ||
जो यह प़ढै हनुमान चालीसा । होय सिद्धि साखी गौरीसा ॥
तुलसी दास सदा हरि चेरा । कीजै नाथ ह्रदय महँ डेरा ॥

Whosoever recites Hanuman Chalisa will be successful, Gaurisa (Bhagwan Shiv) is my witness.
Tulsidas who is forever servant of Hari prays that Bhagwan enshrines in his heart.

Katha Translations

Bapu began with a very severe introspection, kathor atma parikshn. He raised the question about his own adhikar, and his own competency, patrata, to understand, to interpret and to explain the deeper meaning of and real implications of scriptures – especially Manas which he has been studying and discussing for about 50 years.

He welcomes and appreciates the importance of emotions, shraddhā, and bhāv. Shraddhā and bhāv are very useful but shraddhā should not become andhshraddhā and bhāv should not be adoration of a person. Bapu now wants to lift his shrotās to a higher level and he is now waiting for at least one shrotā who would understand him critically and accept his opinions only after a rational and logical analysis. Do not go only by emotions, use your reasoning and your own intellect.

That is why Bapu has turned to Hanuman for the seventh time and named this Katha as Manas Hanuman Chalisa bhag saat. Hanuman is buddhi matam varishtam and gyani nām agraganyam. Hanuman combines shraddhā and buddhi in a proper balance and Bapu wants us to follow this example and combine shraddā with buddhi.

Hanuman Chalisa would be presented on the basis of Manas at a higher level. This is not a mere Hanuman Katha and Bapu would explain Hanuman as a tatva. He then chose the four lines out of the forty lines of Chalisa – as 1/10 of the total – as the essence of it all, as the sārtatva which are very well known to the audience. Bapu agreed that he is now devoting more and more time to discussion of tatva. He again and again advised us to think for ourselves and referred to Ganesh who would not write a word of Mahabharat dictated by Vyas without understanding. If a sholka was difficult, Ganesh would take the time to understand it first and then write.

Bapu answered two questions. Bapu had defined dharma as a behavior according to our svbāv. The question was: My nature is full of krodh, kama, and īrshā, passions, anger, and jealousy. Would this also be my dharma?

Bapu explained that your svbāv is something which is permanent and unchanging. Your anger, passion, and jealousy come and go; they are not a permanent part of your nature. Our normal svbāv is happiness. We all have an illusion about existence. We all feel that ‘I am’. It would be best if we can drop “I” and only exist, but to remove “I”, to be free from “I-ness” is very difficult. And therefore Bapu gave the example of Ram whose svbāv was always joyful and obliging, so Rama was dharma as a person, dharma that was personified – ramovigrahavāndhrama.

Bapu said that all the evils, like ghamand, to be arrogant, and to be jealous is the outcome of idiocy, mudta. But be guided your real svbāvnot by impermanentvrutis.

The second was not a question but a statement of a problem: I feel sleepy in katha. Bapu said in his katha, there are no rules and there are no restrictions. If you feel sleepy, go to sleep. But please remember that such sleepiness is a sign of tamsīprkrutibeing more powerful. In such a situation, your stvais covered up and overshadowed.

Bapu then resumed his discussion about Hanuman being everywhere and he quoted references from RamcharitraManas. Hanuman always stayed behind whenever there was a group, so Hanuman is behind us. But whenever there was work to be done, or any mission to be carried out, Hanuman would be at the forefront, thus Hanuman is also in front of us. Bapu gave the example that Hanuman is also in the middle whenever it is necessary. He was the middle man between Rama and Sugriva, between Rama and Vibhishana and between Rama and Bharata. In Valmiki, Hanuman is sent by Rama with a message of his arrival. He was also the middle person who brought and gave the messages between Rama and Sita, Rama and Bharata. He is a messenger. In the Arabic language, message is known as pegham, so Hanuman is also known as peghambar.

In all the temples of Gujarat and North India Hanuman faces South, but in all Southern temples, Hanuman faces North. So he is on your left and on your right too. Hanuman is everywhere. He is pavanputra; he can moves in all directions. Hanuman jumps to the sky, thus he is his above us all. To kill Hiravana, he visited Patara and was underneath us. In Mahabharata, he sits in the flag of Arjun which is known as kapidvaja. Hanuman holds no office, but he controls all centers of power.

Bapu quoted Chalisa and interpreted it in quite a different way. Bapu said that by Hanumantjaap, we can be free from disease and free from all pain. Hanuman is a great dispenser of medicines and brought special medicine for Lakshmana but he also consulted a doctor. Our faith in Hanuman is very limited, so when we are sick we should also consult doctors and take medicine accordingly. But Hanumantjaap is very effective for mental sickness and spiritual malice. Hanuman is a psychotherapist as we can see by the way in which he informs Rama about his seeing Sita by using the word drustafirst and Sita later on.

Images and idols of Hanuman inspires us and gives us peace of mind. Spiritual experiences makes us nish-kama (devoid of desires) but bhaktascan turn even God into sa-kama as was done by the Gopis in RaasLeela. Our scriptures, especially the Bhagvad, are great literary creations. A poet may reject realities of life but he ought to have poetic imagination and a charming presentation. Literature satisfies our cravings for impossible experiences. Bapu appealed to the audience to recite Hanuman Chalisa without any petty demands and expectations. Chalisa is not a tool (sādhan) for getting things. It is a sadya by itself and if you recite it without expectations you will get unlimited blessings. Hanuman Chalisa would help us to control our anger and our passions but such things cannot be done for strict controls. What force could never do, can be done by love. But when ideas turn into institutions there are problems and struggles. That is why Bapu believes in being neither a Guru, nor a chela. Even the best of persons have to face calamities and false allegations. Vashista was charged with cannibalism and Krishna was denounced for theft of Semantakmani by several persons including Akrura.

Bapu does not believe in ghost and goblins and for him bhoot is past and pretis future. A person would be free from past and future when he is recognized and accepted by Mahavir, But who is a Mahavir? Bapu quoted Vallabhacharya to say that he who has conquered pride, conquered passions and conquered jealousy is a Mahavir. Hanuman is so great and so strong but he prefers to sit at the feet of Rama.

Bapu was very happy that scholars have described Hinduism not as a religion but as a way of life because Hinduism teaches unity of bhāv (bhāvadwet), unity of action (kriyadwet) and monism of nothingness (kevaladwet). Hanuman, being an incarnation of Shiva, always works for the good of others. His tail is an emblem of shraddhā. He did not burn the houses in Lanka, but incited dormant shraddhā in every home.

Bapu pointed out that a mere cursory reading is not enough to understand a book, it takes a prolonged tap to understand the essence of scriptures. That is why we put pothi on our head and we take out books on pothiyatras. Bapu quoted Gita to say that scriptures are not meant for easy goers (atapskāya), for those who are not bhakts, or for those who do not want to listen.

Bapu reminded us about great writers like Bholabhai Patel, Tagore and Vinoba. Bapu then turned to Manas and explained all the great importance of nāmjap. Bapu explained in great details and with great emphasis that continuous and conscious recitation of name of any God we believe in or even of any person whom we love, would produce great and miraculous changes in our life. Nāmjap helps us in facing all the problems in life. Nām jap turns poison into amrut and helps us to patiently suffer all the travails in life. God is known by millions of names but each name is conferred by God and everybody loves his own name. There is no restriction in choice of nām because religion is freedom, not confinement or bondage.

Jai Siya Ram.

The number three is an auspicious number. The third day of Ram Katha was a day of discussion and dancing, a day for meditation and music and puzzles. Dancing and music can be experienced but can be neither described nor translated.

Bapu said that continuous, deep and intense avlokan or darshan shāstras and nāmjap, gets ingrained in the person. He have examples of Bādshah Rama whose every body part spoke out “Ram, Ram” and of Gangeshwaranandji who was a walking encyclopedia of Vedas. Such Gurus are flowing rivers and cannot be diverted or manipulated by people around them. They flow in their own way.

Tulsidas, in Hanuman Chalisa, has given a long list of what you can get by reciting pāth of Hanuman Chalisa, but he himself demanded nothing. His only request was that Hanuman with Rama within his chest should live in his heart. For such spiritual progress we need a Guru, a guide, who is absolutely necessary.

Bapu picked up a few letters and was very, very happy that the writer was able to control his anger, krodha, by regular attendance at Bapu’s Kathas and his daughter was one step more advanced than her father. He wanted to totally destroy his krodha and his kama. But Bapu advised him not to be totally free from kama and krodha. A little kama and krodha would continue so long as we are alive. Only a dead person can be totally free from kama and krodha. Bapu again explained that svbāv was as natural as a flow of the river, as the shining of the sun or the ripening of fruits. So be true to yourself, to your own niijta.

Bapu then raises the question about the name and the family of Hanuman who is know by several names in the Manas. Mahavir himself has told Bharat at Nandigrām that his personal name was Hanuman, whose mother was Anjana and his grandmother, on the maternal side, was Ahalya. Bapu referred to the story of Ahalya as told by Valmiki and expressed his desire to do a Katha on Manas Ramayana. Bapu pointed out that in Hanman Chalisa, the name Hanuman is used only in four places and this has a significance that Bapu will explain later.

Bapu then referred to nāmjap. Nāmjap is very important because name is the most important part of a personality. Nām is the only way to grasp and understand roop and by doing jap for a long time and with proper devotion, we would realize our own svroop. And then, what is within us will emerge before our eyes in a concrete form. By doing jāp for a long time, Bapu could concretize Hanuman in the form of an idol that he had experienced within himself.

Such ātmadarshan requires constant efforts. Bapu mentioned Mahatma Gandhi, whose goal in life was ātmadarshan and he experimented in a variety of ways and activities in political, educational, social, spiritual, economical, and medical fields and in his own life style. In this connection, Bapu mentioned several other celebrities and stalwarts of the Gandhian era during his lifetime. He deeply regretted that the netas of today have fallen to a very low level of stature in comparison to the leaders of those days.

Bapu traced the development further from nām to roop to svroop leading to samādhi and the cycle begins again. Nām, roop, svroop, samādhi, nām. This completes the circle and the yatrā goes on and on.

This happens in the life of even the best and Krishna also does nāmjap after attending the highest achievement.

Bapu referred to the War in Mahabarat and Krishna in control of the situation with a whip in his hands, and the reins of the horses of Arjun’s chariot. But the best horses in Mahabharat belonged to Vamdeva. King Sal cheated Vamdeva, borrowed his horses and insulted him.

Bapu returned to the War in Mahabarat and to Gita. But surprising Gita begins with blindness, personified by Dhutrashta. Bapu pointed out that as Krishna is Giridhari for lifting Govardhan, and so is Hanuman. Both Krishna and Hanuman are Giridhari because both lifted mountains.

Bapu narrated at length the visit of Krishna to Duryodhan as a last attempt for peaceful settlement. But he was insulted and showed his Virath Svroop to the Kouravas. On this occasion, Krishna rejected the hospitality of Kouravas and chose to stay and eat at the humble home of Vidhur. Bapu advised us to choose simple, humble, loving host, rather than comfortable luxury of the rich and the powerful who are arrogant. Bapu described five types of relationships – business relation, social relations, blood relations, quality relation and the fifth and best type, spiritual relationships. Spiritual relations are based on love and Bapu quoted Bhakit Sutra of Narad as a definition and explanation for the nature of love.

Krishna, while leaving Duryodhan’s darbar, chose Karna as his escort and tried to persuade him to change over to Pandavas. But Karna proved himself to be a superior and wiser person in his choice. Ending the discussion of Mahabharat, Bapu pointed out that in war between Ram-Ravana all the moral rules of warfare were observed by both the sides, while in Mahabharat War all the rules were neglected and violated.

Bapu returned to the cycle of nām – roop – svroop – samādhi – nām and described three types of shrotās as described in Manas. Shortās are compared to village, town and city – or satvaguni, rajoguni, and tamoguni. For satvaguni, or village shrotās, nām is the beginning of first step to roop, svroop and samādhi.

For a rajoguni shrotās, he is more interested in his own name (nām). It leads to sangya, to fame, as nām pahechan. Then to nām-vhepar where our name is the basis of business and power. Such a person has intense desire for getting known or nām kāmna.

For a tamoguni shrotā, his name should be an authority and an assertion; other names ought to be wiped out and destroyed. This leads to arrogance and self praise, nām-badāi, and finally to nām-nāsh or total destruction.

In this connection, Bapu defined samādhi of sadhu as one who does not create any disturbance (upādhi) for others. Bapu narrated his own experience of smelling good (sugandha) from the samādhis of saints in Saurashtra. Bapu ended the discussion by insisting that nām jap should be done truthfully (satya) for self, with love (prem) for others and with compassion (krupa) for all. This would be the best way of defining sastras that are undefinable.

He then picked up the question he had left aside: Is Rama a symbol of truth in Ramayana? Bapu very emphatically and with some pain in his voice totally rejected the theory of symbolism in Ramayana. Rama, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman are not mere symbols, they are real persons and living personalities. Symbolism, is defined in Sankhya as a representation of one who is not present or real. He quoted definition of pratik from Sankhya, Ram is real and eminent. He is not a symbol; he is here, there and everywhere, as real as anything else although we may not be able to see him. The sun does exist even if the owl is not able to see or feel it.

Jai Siya Ram

Bapu’s katha is always a free flowing river and Bapu himself does not know how and where his katha will flow because his katha is not arranged (gothvaieli nathi) but is inspired (mokleli che). Yesterday the flow was rambling over vast and varied regions. Yesterday was a postal day and Bapu answered lots of questions from many writers. First was: Why was it that Tulsidas made a personal request to Hanuman but a general request to Rama to reside in the heart of bhakts. Bapu explained that Hanuman is a permanent dās, a kaayamidās, of Rama, while our dāsbhāv is impermanent. Hanuman loves and respects the entire family of Rama but his devotion is focused permanently and exclusively for Rama. There is no space for anyone or anything else in his heart. Bapu referred to Vaisnav tradition of devotion to only a part of the body, usually the feet (charana), but it can be eyes, it can be arms, it can be only the face. Bhakti is so intense and pointed that cannot be spread over the entire body.

Bapu quoted Tulsidas to say that a good shrotā ought be panchguni – sumati, sushila, suchi (pure), katha rasikar (interested in katha) and a bhakt, a haridās. Sumati implies a shrotā is intelligent and is devoted to goodness. Sushila implies that a shrotā is of good character.

Bapu further explained that character (shila) is located in the eyes, ears, and tongue of a person. It can be expressed by the way in which a person looks at others, the way in which he speaks to and about others and by the types of things he enjoys listening. We get upset if neighbors throw garbage in our driveway so why should we spoil our ears by listening to evil thing about others? Bapu, during katha, clears out all such garbage but we go out and collect new and fresh heaps of garbage again and again. Shila can be judged even by the way one walks. Gangasati has advised that such shilavān sadhus deserve all our respect. Shila is a tremendous moral force. Hanuman has both bal and shila. He has both the physical strength and moral authority.

Devotion to the physical side of our beloved may often lead to strange experiences. Sita was devoted to the bottom side of the feet of Ram wile Krishna loved to caress the bottom side of the feet of Radha. Krishna, said Bapu, is gnyan svroop while Radha is bhakti svroop. Gnyan gets fulfilled only when it serves bhakti. Krishna as gnyan svroop is without mādhuria, he is often called the enemy of madhur and in order to get some mādhuria, he requested Radha to give him a passionate and intense kiss, sushta chumbetam. Krishna argued that if he secures such sweetness, he will spread it all over the world through his flute.

Radha is the alhadini shakti of Krishna and as Bapu said, that mere gnyan without prem is a rudderless boat without a sailor. Mere gnyan, like such a boat will never reach its destination.

Bapu pointed out that in Manas, different areas are associated with different leelas of Rama. Ayodhya is his sanskar leela, Mithila is his shungār leela, Chitrakoot is his vihaar leela and Lanka is his samhār leela. Tulsidas has given a long and detailed description of Ram’s wedding and also Ram-Rāvana War. Bapu in this connection described various marriage customs and rites that still prevail in Mithila. Bapu compared the marriage of Ram-Sita with Krishna-Rukhmani’s wedding. Rukhmani was much more bold in expressing her desires, while Sita was more bashful.

Bapu declared that he is so engrossed in Manas that he is never able to say all that he wants to say and he is still explaining only the preface, bhumika, while the real story is yet to begin.

Bapu took up the next question and advised that Ramayana paath should be done without disturbing others in the family.

Bapu was asked to explain the concepts of āstha shiddhi and nav nidhi. He said that for him, siddhis means shuddhis and therefore 8 types of shuddhi, clear body, clear mind, clear chitta, etc. are aastha siddhis. Navnidhis, for him, are the nine types of bhakti. Navdha bhakti as described in the Bhagvat. Bapu considers that a clean, normal and simple life is the best bhajan for us. When we are told that Guru would fulfill all our kāmnas, he understands that sadguru would take all our kāmnas to perfection where kāmnas end by themselves because perfection (purnata) is the end (nāsh) of all cravings.

There was a question about being cursed by an angry tapasvee. Bapu drew a distinction between a shāp and a shrāp. The word is often used in the sense of abuse. Bapu rejects the idea of curse, shrāp. how could a tapasvee ever curse anybody? A tapasvee is one who has mastered his anger and therefore he can never get angry.

Bapu then tried a novel method of writing the name of Hanuman and explained the meaning of each letter in the name. “Ha” stands for positive approach and positive attitude to life. But as adviser (sachiv), a guru and a doctor (vaid) should he be ready to refuse, to be negative otherwise the kingdom, the soul and the body would suffer. “Nu” stands for negativity. What is not good should be rejected with vivek and politeness but very firmly. “Ma” is mānprad who respects and honors all who deserve respect. The last “n” stands for nrmatā or humbleness. A great mind like Hanuman is always strong and humble. Hanuman gives respect to everybody.

Bapu quoted Vinay Patrika to explain the meaning of Mahavir. Mahavir is one who is respected and worshipped by all people. But Bapu gave a warning that Hanuman should be worshipped in his soumya form and not in the bhishana forms described in bhaivatantra and others tantrik texts.

Bapu said that Hanuman Chalisa is the first such Chalisa and was then followed by several other Chalisas. In this connection, Bapu classified nine types of leaders, netas, – symbolic leaders, intellectual leaders political and administrative officers, social reformers and activists, leaders who are elected or selected by people and finally the despotic leaders who use violence to capture leadership.

Bapu added two more types: religious leaders and spiritual leadership. Hanuman is a spiritual leader par excellence, a spiritual leader at his best. Hanuman is charming, a reformer, a supporter of truth, he rules over his group, he is humble with Ram and he is assertive with Rāvana.

Bapu explained that the best way to worship Hanuman is to anoint him, not with oil, but with love (sneh) and to clothe him, not with sutras, but with gnyan sutras. Let us study and understand scriptures and other texts in the presence of Hanumana. Mahavir is one whose worship will purify us and he should be worshipped with full and unflinching devotion (ek nishtha). Nishtha and sharanagti is always one time and to one person only. Changing nistha or wavering, unsteady nishtha is absolutely useless.

Mahavir is pavanputra and as such he is everywhere. He has to be worshipped by everybody because nobody can exist without air. So Hanuman is everywhere touching us and entering our bodies. Though we cannot see him, we can experience him. Mahavir is guru svroop just as Lakshman is jagruti svroop. And Sita is kshama svroop. Hanuman rejects animal sacrifice (bali). He does not need blood but only requires renunciation (virakti) because puja without love is a futile labor (shram). Ram also needs nothing and expects nothing except our love.

Bapu then narrated eight reasons of sankhya when we cannot see the existing things and when my home use pratik. Ram is not a not a pratik, Hanuman is not a pratik but a life giving vital force.

Bapu then narrated Shiv Katha and mentioned three types of shrotās. Āyojaks who organized katha, ālochaks who criticize even the best and āsvadaks who really enjoy katha.

While narrating Shiv katha. Bapu pointed out that the holiest laces in India – Himalaya, Ganga and Kashi are āghipuān of Shiv. He said that God is not a subject for intellectual or logical analysis. Everything happens as desired by God but we can reach God only by pure means, sādhan-shuddi.

Jai Siya Ram

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.

Bapu expressed his great happiness about the sahitya sangoshti and congratulated Shri Balwantbhai Jani, Shri Sumanbhai Shah and the venerable Shri Gautambhai Patel for the excellent and scholarly presentations. Bapu compared the program to a musical symphony which blends loka sangeeta, suman sangeet and shastriya sangeet. Bapu was immensely happy.

Bapu then turned to katha. For him, katha is a samvād—a dialogue for understanding hanumant tatva. Nothing, not even a pāth of Hanuman Chalisa is compulsory and nothing would be imposed on anybody. Bapu quoted Narad to say that we should hear and think only about what is proper to be heard (shrotavaya) and proper to be thought about. There are many ugly things and ugly persons in this world, but we should focus on only the best and overlook petty things. He mentioned Esardān-ji who was so absorbed in writing that he was unaware about the absence of salt in his food.

Bapu advised young shrotās to read all the great literature but most especially poetry which has a motherly approach for all of us. Bapu said that his vyās gādi is also his pyās gādi. His sādhan for eternal search for the supreme. For Bapu, searching is far more pleasant than getting because travelling is more thrilling than arriving.

Bapu replied to a query as to why Hanuman is a vānar. Hanuman is Shiva who became a monkey because Brahma had ordered all the gods to be monkeys. Monkeys have an advantage. They can sit on trees, which is higher than even Rama. And from this position on the tree, he can always have a better darshan of Rama. There are no distinctions once you reach the peak of spiritual progress.

Physical life, our bodies, has its own craving and its own necessities that crave for several things, but our goal is to progress from sharir-anand to Brahm-anand. This can happen only if prem reigns supreme over the world and all rules, regulations, ceremonies, rituals and restrictions are discarded and thrown in a dungeon. Raise your arms not to strike but to embrace.

Bapu cited the examples of a Sufi saint Ballusha whose follower was beaten up because he chose to be a Muslim rather than Insān. We should strive to become first and above all a true human being. Bapu wondered if there was any existence of heaven or hell. He said that the presence of a good man is heaven and presence of evil is hell. Bapu advised us to avoid violence in all situations, even in the case of an attack. We should never be first to strike. Tolerate evil things and even abuses as long as you can. Krishna tolerated Shishupal and all his abuses for a long time before striking him down.

Tulsidas has great empathy for the poor and the downtrodden and uses the words garib nawaaz many times. Bapu says, aishwariya of Ram consists of his great love the lower, downtrodden, poor people. Ram was very straightforward (sarala), very strong (subala) and very good natured (saral svabhāva). He was always contented (santoshi), a sāhil, a sāhib and raghurāj.

Bapu quoted a Gujarati idiom “katha suni suni futya kān” and inverted its meaning to say that it is only by listening to katha again and again, that we develop our ability to hear.

Bapu then allotted months of the year to navda bhakti. Two months each to shravan and kirtan and the rest of the months to various types and stages of bhakti leading ultimately to atman nivedhan.

Bapu then turned to Hanuman Chalisa that declares that Hanumant tatva cures all diseases and removes all the pains (peeda) and aches. Each disease has its own pain and only by curing the disease can we give relief to patients. Tulsidās has described several natural diseases with physical symptoms produced by vāt, pith, and kaf. Anger is comparable to pith and Bapu advised us that the best way to control anger is to see our face in the mirror whenever we are angry. Pāth of Hanuman Chalisa helps in several mental diseases and in lessening our sufferings (peeda).

Bapu mentioned a writer from Kachha who writes very brief stories that tell messages. Bapu narrated some of these stories. We should try to get rid of all sufferings (peeda) but we should never try to give up empathy for others (peeda padai) who are suffering. In this connection, he sang Vaishnava Jana To, the favorite hymn of Gandhi. Bapu described several diseases both physical and mental. Bapu then mentioned that Tulsidās has suggested a remedy for disease that he calls bhavroga. We should find a sadguru who would be our physician (vaida) and trust (vishvās) his diagnosis. Ram bhakti is the medicine and shraddha is the anu pān to make the medicine more effective. Physical diseases are described as mental sicknesses that can be cured by devotion to Hanumant tatva.

But the most important condition is to find a sadguru. Bapu quoted Rumi to say that the devil has sent his agents who pose as dharma gurus but who block and misguide people by drawing a curtain to keep people away from truth. Only a sadguru as described by Kabir can help us out of all such troubles. Kabir has laid down several qualifications for a sadguru. Bapu quoted Gita to say that even the best amongst us need to purify ourselves by yagna, tapa and dān. Bapu said that satya is a great tapasya while prem is dān and s best of all donations while karuna is yagna. Such purification is easy if we cultivate satsang. A sadguru may completely transform our life to such an extent that he may feel dead and are reborn with all our past life destroyed.

Bapu pointed out that the spiritual path is a lonely path and not many people would choose it. He quoted Voltaire to say thinkers are always very explosive in their thinking. Self purification is the best and most effective way. Bapu narrated a parable of the two groups of painters–one who used to work hard on material paintings while the other group cleaned the wall and made it reflective of the original. The image of God is reflected far better in our hearts if our hearts are pure and simple (sarala). Bapu advised us to appreciate the capacities and qualities of all others and not to be jealous of them.

Bapu then turned to narration of katha. He said Ravana is an incarnation as much as Rama is but he misused his siddhis. The narration ended with Ram Janma festivities.

Bapu then advised the audience to turn to Ram Charit Manas all the time and for facing any situation that was either good or bad. But Bapu clarified that by Ram Charit Manas he implies any holy book, any scripture, be it the Manas, the Bible, the Gita, the Koran or the Guru Granth Sahib. To Bapu all religions are siblings because they all are from the same womb. Superfluous differences apart, the basic teachings of all religions are the same and are of equal importance. Bapu quoted the vedic sutraahou sat. Truth is one and the same but it is presented and expressed by scholars, vipra, in different ways. Bapu quoted Kabir that different women use different types of vessels to draw the same water from the same well. So we must rely on scriptures under all circumstances and situations because such books like mirrors show us our real form and face.

Tulsidas makes Angad describe the reason why Angad calls Ravana dead when he is still alive. Angad calls Ravana a living dead , a jinda lāsh, because fourteen different types of people are already dead before they die. The vam margi shastras, i.e. those who deliberately violate social rules and norms of behavior and ethics and go against all morality should be treated as dead. Two, those who are miserly, krupan, in the physical as well as moral values, also come under the category of dead as also the people who are slaves to their passions, kamvash. Those who totally lack in understanding, vimudh, who like fools rush in where angels fear to tread, those who are steeped in intense poverty and infamy, aupyashi, who suffer from senile decay, ativrudha, who are terminally sick, rogi, both physically and mentally, and those who always lose their temper for trifles or for no reason at all are to be considered dead. Bapu mentioned, inter alia, that our weaknesses lead us to be over assertive. People who have a missionary zeal to preach their religion and convert others do not realize that a strong religion spreads by itself and on its own. A religion that needs the support of propaganda and publicity is a weak religion. Bapu quoted Krishnamurti as saying that a person who keeps weapons and is afraid to be without a weapon is a weak person. The strong do not need weapons. A healthy body does not need medicines or drugs.

Some people always shout victory to truth, satya ki jai, and some people go to the extent of shouting victory for Morari Bapu. Bapu does not like such slogans and he does not like adjectives like vishva sant; he feels such adjectives and such slogans are cruel jokes. He is happy to be a simple straight forward Morari Bapu, nothing more and nothing else. Bapu argued that he does not like the very concept of victory because victory implies the defeat of someone else. He does not want anybody to be defeated. He wants all and everyone to win in brotherhood. He wants to give the message that man to man should be brothers; there should be universal brotherhood. Let us remember such slogans of victory and such belief that we are spreading dharma and we are making dharma strong is sheer arrogance. It is to be like the cock, sure that only when I (the cock) crow, will the sun rise.

Reverting to the court of living dead, he quoted Tulsidas that those who are opposed to Vishnu are dead while alive. He explained that Vishnu means broadness. Those who oppose broadness, those who are narrow minded are actually dead though their bodies are living. Those who reject scriptures, shurti virodhi and sant virodhi, who as a nihilist negates all scriptures and all saintly people is a dead person. He disclaimed being a vishva sant because sant tatva needs a prolonged and difficult ordeal. To be a sant is not easy. You have to pay a very, very heavy price of saadhana to be a sant. A hedonist, tanu poshak, a person devoted only to physical pleasures and passions, who has no glimpse of superior or higher sight of life, is a cadaver. Those who are always malicious, nindak, of all and everybody, who could not see anything good in anybody are already dead. Bapu explained that malice, ninda, and jealousy, irsha, are conjoint; they are related. Malice is spoken by tongue; jealousy is felt in the mind. Lastly, a person who is steeped in sin, pāp khani, who continuously lives a sinful life, is also a living dead.

<Ravana, an embodiment of death, carried nectar, amrut, in his stomach and therefore he had a spark of divinity. He was a cheater and gambled in abducting Sita. But let us remember that in the Gita gambling is also a vibuti of bhrama and he was known as Jaya in his original life. Gita has declared Jaya also to be a vibhuti. Jayosmi vijigushinam. 

Bapu concluded the long argument by saying that Ravana has many vibhutis but Rama, of course, is a vibhu, continuing all the vibhutis. Rama represents life while Ravana is death. Rama was a life-giving force as can be seen in case of Ahalya and Shabri. Ravana needs to be awakened by Shurpanakha and Trijata.

Bapu, after analysing Ravanatva, turned to katha and resumed from yesterday. Shiva and Parvati were married, had a son, Kartikeiya. Shankar is a symbol of quietude, shantras, and is prasanna. So Parvati took this chance and requested him to narrate Ram katha. Shiva started by saying that activity, leela, of Chaitanya is spontaneous as Tulsidas calls the Universe as chidvilash. Chaitanya prevails everywhere, even in the centre of evil. Prahalad was born in the family of Hiranyakashyap and Vibhishan was a brother of Ravana. But even there are five factors leading to the birth of Rama. He narrated how earth and Gods and Brahma requested the supreme, param tatva, to help them out and Brahma enjoined on the Gods to participate in the divine programme to eradicate evil like Ravana.

Bapu then turned to Ayodhya and narrated the family life of Dasharatha and his wives. Bapu commented that the Dasharath family has a message to give to the modern world. He expressed his anguish that somehow as civilisation progresses, family life is deteriorating, is getting disrupted and is losing its charm. Marriage can be rejuvenated and revitalised by a simple remedy as seen in the family of Dasharatha. Husbands should give love to wives and wives show respect for husbands. Such a family life can provide the emergence of Rama, a solace and happiness, vishrama, to all around. Dasharatha faced one problem of not having an heir and successor and he turned to his guru for a solution. We should all turn to our gurus for seeking solutions. Vashistha advised a yagna and after it was duly performed, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeiyi became pregnant. Then, at the auspicious moment, Rama was born. Bapu extended congratulations to all and the audience broke into joyful festivities.

Bapu started by clarifying that his katha is not a sermon (updesh) neither is it any directive or commandment (andhesh) it is only a dialogue. It has no purpose, it has no goal except to understand the reality. He reverted to the discussion of pain and pointed out that every disease has a peculiar pain of its own. All pains can be overcome by continuous jāp, which should become as effortless as breathing.

He referred to the discussion of dukh as the only fact in Buddhism, and also in Bhagvad. Bapu spoke about dukh (misery) the cause of dukh, the remedy of dukh and freedom from dukh (mukti). Bapu does not accept this approach because if there is dukh in the world, there is also sukh (happiness). How can a world created by God be ugly and miserable? This world is beautiful and full of happiness.

Nature is beautiful; human life is full of happiness and charm. He referred to Krishna forgetting to blow in his flute when he saw the beauty of Radha. He said beauty depends on the eye of the beholder. An eye can venerate, an eye can inflict a wound and an eye can beg. We need a sadguru to cultivate a proper eyesight and he quoted Rumi’s description of a sadguru which is similar to Vaishnav by Narsinh. One intensely misses a sadguru and in his absence, one feels a void which is different from shanti (inner peace). We need continuous smran and firm, unshaken faith (dradhashray) in guru to feel him around us. Bapu mentioned how Amir Khusbu could smell his guru from very great distances.

Dukh and sukh depends upon our view point, depends on our eyes. He quoted Nanak, Kabir and Tulsi who say that they have felt immense happiness (parāmsukh, purasukh).

So our vision of sukh and dukh should shift according to our understanding. Divine grace is ever flowing on and fills up the pot holes along the way before flowing onwards. Let us fill up all such pot holes in the lives of others who are less fortunate.

Bapu then further analyzed the causes of peeda (dukh). He said that the lack of material comforts can be one reason. Another reason is absence of necessary resources. It can be the result of one man’s jealousy arising out of competitiveness. It can also be the outcome of our hatreds and our contempt for others. Dukh can be caused by our own nature (svbhāv).

We should not try to crush or destroy our svbāv but shape it by satsang and by close contact with sants. In this connection, he mentioned how contact with ShrimadRamchandra changed the very lifestyle of Gandhi. We should pray to God to put us in touch with a person whom God loves and if we have such a contact, then there is no need of God for us.

A sadguru is like a mother for us. In fact, a guru is even better than a mother; a mother puts us to sleep whereas a guru wakes us up to the ultimate reality.

Bapu presented out the tremendously important role that a mother plays in our lives. He said earlier incarnations of God had no mothers and therefore are not worshipped. Ram and Krishna both had mothers and therefore are worshipped. He then gave a detailed and very charming analysis of Meghani’s song of a sailor’s wife and he was happy that immense literature has grown up around mothers and around motherhood.

Bapu returned to the concept of dukh and said we need not contemplate only about dukh. We are the children of ānand and we are destined to get sukh. In fact, sukh is our birthright and get it we shall.

Bapu said that sukh and dukh are relative terms and by changing our concepts and our approach, even Hell can be converted into Heaven. Let us pick up the good and the truth from wherever we got it. If we find a jewel in the mud, we should pick it up, clean it and use it. We should learn to accept every situation and every aspect of life. All arts are oriented to find destination and cultivation of music, literature, painting, dancing and every such activity.

Bapu said that he is happy with his own svbāv. He has no complaints with life. The only thing which gives him great joy is the company of sant. If we can cultivate the svbāv of saints, we need nothing else. That is why Tulsidas again and again demands the unshakable devotion of God and appeals to God to overlook his deficiencies and demerits.

Bapu was asked where is the goal of your life. Bapu said I have no goal, I just want to flow and keep flowing. I do not want moksha, svarg, gnyan or darshan. He just wants to enjoy. He said he has experienced great and true love from children. He said childhood is satyuug. When you are an adult you live in tretayuug. As you age, you enter dwvāpar and most of the people in old age become as troublesome as kalyuug because they demand too much and lose their temper on petty occasions. That is why Vinoba used to say that only kids are pure and sucche, others are raw (kucche). Out of 24 gurus of Tattraya, a child is one of them

In Bapu’s opinion, the only perfect remedy to be free from pain is to contemplate on the life and mission of Hanuman tatva and to continuously recite his name. Verbal recitation has great potency because words has all the qualities of mahabhoots. Each has a form and a luster of its own. But the key to feel and understand words is with the guru.

But we should be careful about choosing a guru. A false guru can be a killer. He can cheat and misguide and exploit us. Rumi has spoken at length about guru. A guru is much more vast than an ocean and the earth because guru is limitless. A guru is continuously in ecstasy, not of drugs but of the divine. A guru is an emperor (shahenshah) in tatters (santhara). He is a treasure trove (khajana) open to all and approachable to all.

A guru has no form because a guru is not a person, he is a vrutti (an approach). Guru has no form because guru is only a concept (vichaar) and guru helps us in understanding and accepting truth from wherever we get it.

We should cultivate discrimination (vivek) by which we can have a balanced approach and become indifferent to either sukh or dukh.

Bapu made a personal statement and said that his experiences in life have taught him that there is a balance, an equipoise between sukh and dukh. We get as much happiness as unhappiness however we emphasize our dukhs. Like a society of blind people, we cannot see our happiness and if there is a one-eyed man in a society of blind people, he would be forced to become totally blind because nobody would understand what eyesight is or what an eye is. Bapu regretted that very often we are blinded by so called religions and religious leaders. We often seek out misery in the midst of happiness by yearning for what is not there instead of enjoying what we have. That is why the Gita places great emphasis on samatva or equipoise.

Bapu then turned to katha after the birth of Ram and told funny stories about Shiva and Parvati getting darshan of Ram by passing as an astrologer and a toy vendor. Bapu explained the statement that day was prolonged to a months in Ayodhya. Bapu said yesterday is gone and tomorrow is unknown so enjoy today and live in today. It is today that is joy and that is truth. Seeking such truth should be the purpose of all our activities.

Jai Siya Ram

A question was asked: Why is it that mānas is to be told, sung and listened to, while chālisā is to be read and recited (pāth). Bapu explained that mānas is a charitra, a biography, that is required to be told and listened to and to be approved, but the chālisā contains only a few elements of the biography. Chālisā is mostly a commentary, a text, and a vision which will need careful reading (padnā) and repeated reciting (pāth). Sundarkānd is a bhashya of mānas and chālisā is bhashya on Sundarkānd.

The vision of chālisā is universal, it is for all, not only for Hindus or Indians. Hanuman is an ocean, he is not the Indian ocean or the Arabian sea, he is an ocean of thoughts (vichār sāgar). As pavan putra, he is like air, he is for everybody; he is universal. Hanumant tattva is needed for several sādhanās as it implies breathing and harmony.

Bapu classified three personalities. Some are tan jeevi, who are concerned only with body and physical pleasures –eat, drink and be merry. They are only concerned with food, sleep and sex. Some are vachan jeevi, who are devoted to a word or a concept. Bapu cited the example of Jogidas Khuman, an outlaw, though Bapu does not support any lawlessness or any criminal. There are people who by their very nature are cunning. The third category is mann jeevi—these are people who are guided by mental approaches and who act according to their nature. Bapu extolled such a life as a life lived according to vivek (discrimination) because mind is an attribute, a vibhuti of God. Some people are buddhi jeevi or intellectuals. Some are chitta jeevi, who lead spiritual lives. Some are arrogant (ahankar jeevi). There are people who are shram jeevi or workers and karma yogis. Bapu mentioned Bulesha who had no guru but achieved siddhis by self-efforts. When he went to see his guru, he found him working as a laborer in the fields. Bulesha plucked mangoes by his mental force but was rebuked for diverting attention from the Divine to do mundane things. Some are bhāv jeevi, living by emotional attachment and some are dhirga jeevi who live a long life.

Chālisā gives darshan of all such various personalities in one: Hanumān. Hanumān is tann jeevi because he became a monkey to please Rām and adopted a life of servitude (dāstava). He keeps his promises (vachan jeevi), he is intellectual (buddhi jeevi). He is a yogi and therefore a chitta jeevi. In short, Hanumān is all and all inclusive. Through Hanumān, we can approach Rām and by devotion to Hanumān, we can achieve proficiency in all arts and crafts. Hanumān is pavan putra and as air, Hanumant tattva purifies everyone and everything. Bapu advised that for the gift of oratory, we should turn to Hanuman instead of Kali because Kali gifts the oratory that can kill rather than save the listeners.

Bapu discarded the traditional belief that women cannot worship Hanuman or cannot sing chālisā. Bapu has campaigned against such a belief and now several women do worship Hanuman. Bapu always rejects all traditions supported by andha shraddhā.

While all Gods reside in heaven, Hanuman was ordered to stay on the earth when Rām returned to his swadhām. Hanuman is of Earth and he is our constant companion because he is our breathing.

Hanuman is humble and has described himself as insignificant, as a mere animal (pashu) and sensual (kāmi). But in a sense, Hanumān is ahankār vādi. The word ahankār has two meanings: ahankār is arrogance and ahankār is our being conscious of self. In this sense Shiva has been described as the ahankār (conscience) of the universe and since Hanuman is an incarnation of Shiva, he is ahankār vādi – as conscious of his asmitā (selfness).

Bapu very vividly described the incident of Hanuman carrying the mountain with the medicinal plant, sanjivani, and Bharat shot him down. Bharat never did anything without consulting the pādukā of Rām. But this time being very late night, he did not want to disturb Rām. But Sitā did advise Bharat to shoot with a blunt arrow and shoot at his feet, not the heart of Hanumān.

Hanumān, while falling down, handed over the mountain to his father, vāyu who held it aloft. This is an allegorical way of saying that Hanumān is willing to lift up all the burdens of life and give relief to his bhakts. Hanumān is an ananya (eternal, unchanging) devotee of Rām. He is not an opportunist (avsar vādi) like several other devotees. Bapu declared Tulsidās as an expert psychologist who knows that dreams are our suppressed desires and yearnings. That is why Tulsidās often mentions dreams to testify to the purity and steadfastness of faith. It is in dreams that reveal our true selves.

Hanuman is a holistic personality because he is inclusive of all the different human personalities. He represents life and as such Hanumān helps us in getting a jivan darshan. Chālisā is a darshan one must everyday read and recite Hanumān Chālisā because Hanumān is sarva svaroop (inclusive of all forms & types of life). Chālisa is not merely an art of living, but an art of loving and an art of dying. Chālisa should be recited often, again and again. Chālisa is a permanent and panoramic view of life.

From analysing dukha (pain), Bapu passed on to the analysis of sukha (happiness). He referred to Buddha’s vision of giving primacy to dukha and mentioned that birth, death, old age and sickness as major forms of dukha. But the same occasions and situations can be viewed from a positive side. Birth is an occasion of intense pain for the mother and the child. However, the mother is immensely happy in giving birth to a baby and the newborn enjoys the gift of new life, a new consciousness (chetnā). If birth was dukha, nobody would celebrate birthdays. We celebrate because we enjoy birth. Death is a deliverance from all cares and responsibilities. Death is a certainty—it is unavoidable and why mourn for the inevitable? But it requires a lifelong sādhana to welcome and enjoy death. He mentioned the custom in his sadhu community when the dead is taken to crematoriums with music and kirtan.

Old age certainly involves weakness and several diseases, but if we lead our life properly, old age is venerable. The elderly are respected and if you cultivate detachment, old age gives you a dignity of its own. A wise old man is the source of information, advice and guidance for all. Sickness (vyādi) produces discomfort but it is not dukh. Bapu quoted Kripā Shankar Shāstri to say that rog and vyādi are companions of Shiva. A disease can become an austerity (tap) and produces a new energy. But such austerities should not be torturous and tāmsi.

He asserted that basically we are all entitled to happiness because we are a particle (ānsha) of God, who is ānand svroop. We should seek happiness in every situation and every condition of life. Even misery (gam) has joy of its own for sukhis and sants.

The cause of sukh, said Bapu, is our relationship with God and happiness is in our own hands but we do not see it or seek it. The source of happiness is to get devoted to Hanuman tatva as chālisā advises us to get sukh from Hanuman by reading shāstras and by enjoying all arts and by bhakti.

Sukh leads to mukti, salvation. It takes us beyond all dualities. There is no sukh which can equal the satsang or association with saintly persons. Every situation in life can be a source of sukh. He referred to a song of Narsinh advising us to disregard both sukh and dukh.

Somebody asked Bapu about end of the world in 2012 and Bapu rejected and even ridiculed this belief. He advised his shrotās to be free from fear.

Bapu then turned to katha and narrated various ceremonies in Ayodha like naming and thread and schooling. Bapu expressed his wish to be free from enmity. We should not hate anyone because we all are related. Ram and Lakshman went with Vishwamitra to destroy evil, to protect yagna and to rouse Ahalya to life once again. Ram then arrived at Janakpura.

A question was asked and an important issue was raised. Is it possible to love all at every time and everywhere? If yes, how can this be done? What are the way and methods?

Bapu’s answer was an assertive yes. Yes, it is possible to love all. If we understand and use the word love properly. Love is not a selfish, limited feeling for getting something or for gaining an advantage. Love is multidimensional and can be expressed in several ways. For example, to serve the old and the sick and disabled is love. To extend sneh for those who are younger or lower than us, to give pyar to these who are our equals and to respect and serve those who are older is also love.

Search for self but love all. Satya, prem, karuna, said Bapu, is a spiritual triangle. Develop your bhāvgranthi. Love has been described as melting down of your heart by seeing or touching or even by mere remembrance your beloved. Enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature. We love to see (darshan) him who helps us in development of self. Everything about our beloved feels good and makes us happy and we feel that all his vrutis get integrated in ours.

Love is a vast bunyan tree and Rama was loved even by Ravana through hatred. Love surpassed even God because an instrument (upakarana) is more useful than the object (sādhya). That is why Kabir said that only those who understand love are the only knowledgeable persons (pankit).

There are many ways to express love. There are many words and many languages but the best expression is silence (moun). Prem is yagna and we should ever flow in and with prem ganga. Prem is the middle of a continuum of satya, prem, karuna and if we hold from the middle we can hold it better and more firmly. Everyone has experienced love. Love even those who dislike you, who hate you. Expression of love depends upon the occasion and the person concerned. To help, said Bapu, the needy is prem. God is love and Love is God. There are two types of love: satya, prem and kapat prem. Satya prem is a love that wants nothing, needs nothing and expects nothing, not even a response to love. Kapat prem that is known as ketav prem is to love with expectation, to love in exchange for love or money or power. If you expect anything in return for your love, you might face disappointment. If your love gets a response, good. If there is no response it is your luck. Kapat prem is planned, organized and well set.

But then we cannot but love. Our love gets distorted when we become opportunist. Bapu gave the example of Prtaapbhaanu who was spoiled by bad company and Bapu emphasized that our companions, our associates play an important role in shaping our character. Stay with persons whose love is unchanging and eternal.

Bapu spoke and sang about the love of Gopis who felt lonely without Krishna. They felt a void; a variety of nothingness.

When love is extended to God, not only we feel a melting down in our hearts, but God also feels a melting down for us. Mundane, worldly love is with expectation and all our expectations cannot be fulfilled if we are focused on worldly affairs but if we turn to the Divine, all our expectations get fulfilled. In mundane life, more and more expectations emerge and overpower us and world is incapable of giving us everything we want. Only Divinity can satisfy all our desires and wants.

Bapu explained the meaning of each letter of Bhagvat and quoted Bhagvat to say that we would get everything from God.

Bapu said that we should insist on our own abilities. Vibhishan wanted to see Ram only with his eyes, while Arjun needed divine sight to see God. Instead of seeing the world directly and as it is, we see the world through several screens and layers. Ever be attached to satya, prem and karuna and pāth of Chālisā would fulfill and your desires and expectations. Even the minutest particle on Rama, even the dust on his feet (charan raj) does wonders. His charan raj revived Ahalya.

Bapu returned to Chālisā and said that all our sufferings (peeda) would end by smrana of Hanuman and we should get devoted to Mahavir. A continuous jāp, even jāp in reverse can lead to great relief. Shiv also recites Ram nām as a maha-mantra. Everywhere jāp is given great importance. Jāp are of various types and can be achieved by stages vaachik jāp is verbal, mānsik jaap is mental recitation. Ajapā jāp is a stage where jāp continues without your being conscious about it. Bhakti, said Bapu, is a slow process and requires several stages of stations. But our bhakti should not disturb or trouble others. Jāp and kirtan ought to be done in a quiet way. After ajapā jāp, we reach the stage of smruti jāp when jāp continues as a smranan. If jāp after a long time becomes our memory. Just as we keep remembering everything from everyday life, so jāp keeps going on and on.

Jāp is very important in the age in which we are living, in fact jāp is the only way to spiritual progress but jāp is to be done with involvement, with shraddha and vishvās. Vinoba Bhave laid great emphasis on shraddha. He used to say invoke shraddha in the morning, afternoon and evening to be aware of shraddha by shraddha. Shraddha is different from andh-shraddha and from ashraddha. Shraddha is very important in bhakti which is the main theme of manas.

Bapu then took up the narration of katha and advised us that puja should be done by your self, by your body and by your mind. Puja cannot be done by a proxy. Bapu pointed out that every incident in manas is both a leela for external eyes and deeper message for those who understand.

Ram entered vatika and saw Sita who had come for puja. Bapu pointed out that Ram moves everywhere, he is not confined only in temples. Tulsidas needs to be studied in his various aspects because manas deals with sociology and psychology. It is thought provoking, it has rules of family life, and a discussion on bhakti.

Sita recites a prayer to Parvati and the each adjective used for Parvati is tripled, pointing out that Parvati is also a tripur sundari.

Jai Siya Ram

On the final day of Ram Katha, Bapu reversed the order. He began with the narration of Manas and ended with the analysis of Chālisā. During the course of this narration, Bapu pointed out certain basic principles. As he said, Bharata was offered the kingdom, he said that the kingdom did not belong to an individual, but to a dynasty; to a tradition.

Secondly, the coronation of Rama, or the coronation of any good principle, is possible only in a village and only Kevat can be the first citizen. Bapu referred to several sabhas and compared it to the sabhas that are taking place in the politics of today.

The most important point that Bapu raised, was about Draupadi in the midst of Kauravas. He said that so long as Draupadi appealed to her husbands, nothing happened. But only when she appealed to the final Divinity, was she rescued. So we should never try to seek the support from any worldly persons.

One more point that Bapu made was that the ultimate result of love is renunciation; the act of giving up. He referred to Rama Gita which consists of five questions asked by Lakshman and answered by Rama.

He made a very important statement, that Rama considers himself the son of three parents. Dashratha, of course is the physical presence. Jatayu is his father because he supported him. And Rama considers Agni as his own father.

Another point made was that Lankakand was not the burning of Lanka, but Hanumana’s effort to rouse the conscience of all the people of Lanka by faith, symbolic of his tail.