Nisaadhanta – Eighth Discourse

Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan deena
So kachhu dev na mohi nihora
Nij pan raakheo jan man chora

Before we complete our discussions, I would like to point out to you that the name “Sharbhang” has a symbolic meaning in “Nisaadhanta”.  “Shar”means “arrow” and it is a means to shoot. “Bhang” means “to break”. Therefore “Sharbhang” means “one who has broken the arrow”, “one who has renounced all efforts”.

While Kaagbhusundji calls him “Sharbang”, Tulsidaasji, though a great scholar calls him “Sarbhang” because he speaks in the village dialect. However it also has a symbolic meaning. “Sar” means “chita” or “the funeral pyre and therefore the last resting place”. “Bhang” as mentioned before means ‘to destroy or to break”. Sarbhang means “one who has destroyed his funeral pyre” and therefore “won victory over his own death” thereby achieving immortal life.

Sri Ram broke the Bow of Shivji. In other words it means that the Bow was defeated in the hands of Sri Ram. The result was that He won victory over death and achieved immortality.

Dinta va Kripa
Humility and Grace

Humility does not imply to become a coward or a beggar. In front of the world there is no necessity to project such an image. In front of the Lord it is however, another matter. Become so humble in front of the Lord that He is compelled to shower His Grace upon you.

Try to understand the following: While you possess wealth, you possess power, but if you are not wealthy, you have less command, therefore you become more humble as far as money matters are concerned.  Give away your mind and intellect to the Lord. Become poor and humble as far as these two are concerned. Your mind is the reason for your joy and sorrow. If you experience happiness, be sure that you will perceive its opposite.  When you give something away to a beggar, you generally part with something which is of no use to you, but if someone were to steal something from you, you can be sure that it will be something of value. Similarly you might become clever and try to give the Lord a useless mind, but remember the Lord will only steal a good and priceless one.

Udhav man na bhaye das bees

When Udhavji asked the gopis to perceive Krishna in everyone and everywhere as He is God incarnate; The gopis said, “We have only one mind which has already been stolen by Krishna. We do not possess ten or twenty of them to give them away here and there. Now that Krishna has stolen our heart we have become ‘deen’. Which means that they are empty, they possess nothing. When this kind of humility takes place, then you are truly fulfilled.”

Santon ki charan dhuli
The dust of the Enlightened ones feet

Mahaprabhuji believes that: Man is base by nature. It is the company of saints that elevate his character.

Sahaj paap priya taamas dehi

Which means that the human body is naturally drawn towards vice.  Sri Ram who is Life of Life, and Bliss of Bliss, states that His heart is the embodiment of the saint.  We may not remember but we have been a victim of sin for lifetimes, and yet it does not loosen its hold over us. Evil is destroyed primarily by the company of saints.

Main santon ke peechhe jaaoon
Janh janh sant sidhaare
Sant charan raj ang lagaai
Sant mohi praan piyaare

Which means that; (The Lord states):
I move where my beloved saints dwell
I anoint my body
With the dust of my saint’s feet
Who are dearer to me
Than Life itself

Udveg samarpan 
Surrendering your anxieties and worries

This body enamored to negative tendencies cannot be rendered pure, unless it comes in contact with the dust of the feet of the Enlightened.   Mahaprabhuji says: “Do not entertain anxiety”. Someone asked Mahaprabhuji, “We are humans, what to do when worry invades us?” He replied, “You have surrendered your mind. So now it belongs to the Lord. Despite the above if you feel anxious, then believe that this foreboding has been sent to you by Him. Consider it His prasad (gift), whatever it is that He sends you, be it joy, sorrow, bondage or liberation. When you are totally surrendered, where is the question of choice? The cool breeze during the night, and the warmth of the sun during the day are all gifts from the Almighty. Accept them. Mind is the cause of joy, sorrow, bondage, liberation. While the mind remains with you, all the above also does. So ask the Lord, the Master of Thieves to rob your mind.

Udhav man na bhaye das bees
Ek huto so gayo Syaam sang
Ko aaradhe Ees

The gopis say: “We had only one mind, which has been stolen by Krishna. Now we have nothing left with us with which to perform any kind of worship.”

My Sharbhangji is also totally empty because he does not possess a mind. I believe that man is truly totally fulfilled when the mind is in possession of God. The Ram-charit-Maanas claims that there is no experience of joy and sorrow if the mind is not there. When your mind is totally involved in something, you are not aware of people coming and going, this is because your mind is totally concentrated on something else.

Sharbhang is truly fortunate that his mind is stolen by the Lord. Some people feel sorry that once the mind is gone, one would feel no joy. But the point to remember is that one would feel no sorrow either. You may not be full of virtue, but then you will not be a sinner either. All pairs disappear.

Sharbhangji is such a nisaadhan pilgrim. He burnt away his achievements and degrees. He renounced all his efforts. The Lord stole his mind and he flowed  towards the Lord.  When one reaches this stage then he can truly sing:

Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan deena
So kachhu dev na mohi nihora
Nij pan raakheo jan man chora.

Nisaadhanta ki charam-seema
The supreme peak of nisaadhanta

The powerless sometimes wins over the powerful because of their love and sincerity. However mighty the father may be, his child is able to stop his father on the spot when he holds on to his legs.

Sharbhangji tells Sri Ram, “Now I have only one desire, and that is that you stand right there where you are, until my entire body merges with you.” Sharbhangji continues “I know that I cannot order you not to move, but I can implore and cry, and I know that the powerless do sometimes win victory over the powerful in this manner”.

Jab lagi milo
Tumahi tanu tyaagi

And what is the body? The body is the “saadhan-dhaam” i.e. the house where all the efforts take place. Sharbhang has renounced all the efforts, so shouldn’t he give up the “house of efforts” which is the body?

Saadhan dhaam bibudh durlabh tanu
mohi kripa kari deenho
Hari! tum bahut anugraha kinho

Sharbhang wants to merge with the Lord like water does with water. He wants to give up the body because he knows that while the body remains, a certain amount of desire is bound to be there. Hence he requests the Lord to stop where He is, until Sharbhang’s body unifies with Him. Sharbhangji is the ultimate summit of nisaadhanta

Sharbhang ka atma samarpan
Sharbhang surrenders his soul

Suneu shravan ban ehahi Rama

Sharbhang first surrendered his ears by listening to the Lord’s katha. Then

Chitvat panth raheo din raati

By gazing at the path through which the Lord was to come, he surrendered his eyes. Then maybe he was unable to surrender his mind so the the Lord stole that from him, and now he is ready to surrender his body while he asks the Lord to wait on the spot.

Tab lagi rahahu deen hit laagi
Jab lagi milou tumhahi tanu tyaagi
Ehi bidhi sar rachi Muni Sarbhanga
Baithe ridaya chhaadi sab sanga
Jog jagya jap tap vrat kinha
Prabhu kaha dei bhagati bar linha

Sharbhangji had surrendered his ears, eyes, mind and body and what does he ask the Lord for in return? He asks for Bhakti (Devotion)

Prabhu kaha dei bhagati bar linha

Sharbhangji is a jewel of wisdom. He surrenders everything that is bound to be destroyed at one time or another and asks for bhakti in its place.  After having received devotion from the Lord he proceeds to build a funeral pyre for himself.

Ehi bidhi sar rachi Muni Sarbhanga

Sharbhangji himself went to gather sticks for his pyre. The Lord offered to collect the sticks for Sharbhang but the latter refused saying that he did not want the Lord to be criticized on the count that He was helping a bhakta burn himself.

Jo ghar phoonke haath se to chale hamaare saath
Kabira khada bazaar mein liye mashaali haath

Kabira says that he can follow him, who is ready to burn his own house, that is one who has surrendered his all, in the altar of love. This is the kind of intoxication that prepares you for such a state of fearlessness that one is ready to carry ones own head on ones hand.  To burn oneself means that one is ready to burn the ego that resides in the body: i.e. the “dehabhimaan”. The latter can sometimes be the ego that arises when the body attempts spiritual efforts. Thus when one undergoes great physical penances, one can acquire the ego that proclaims, “I am a great tapasvi”, or when one becomes a great scholar in spiritual matters then one can believe oneself to be a great “gyaani” or a great “yogi”.

As we were saying, Sharbhangji has prepared the funeral pyre and is ready to sit on it.

Ehi bidhi sar rachi Muni Sarbhanga
Baithe ridaya chhaadi sab sanga

Tulsidasji describes how Sharbhangji sits on the funeral pyre. He sits having left the companions of his heart. And who are the companions of ones heart? A spiritual pilgrim should understand the following carefully, and slowly like Sharbhang drop the friendship of these companions.

The companions of the heart
Vichaar or thoughts

If one could achieve the Lord through “vichaar” or thoughts, then great pundits or scholars would have attained liberation. That does not seem to be the case. The above does not mean that one must not indulge in sublime thoughts, but it surely implies that, there comes a stage in the spiritual path where one must renounce all kinds of thought, be they lofty or mundane.

When one is ready to give up ones life, one renounces all desires, attachments, and therefore sorrows. When a “nisaadhan” pilgrim is ready to burn on his funeral pyre, then why should he cling on to even the gems of good thoughts.

The fact however is that it is not so easy to renounce all thought. Ironically sometimes thoughts trouble the most when one sits down to pray. When that happens Mahaprabhuji advises, not to worry. He says, “Believe that all thoughts come from the Lord. Do not be disturbed by them. Let go of all responsibilities and drop all burdens!”.

Vikaar or Imperfections

Why should imperfections remain in the heart where the Lord resides? Because there is no understanding of the Lord and His ways.

Hriday mein Brahm hone se
Dukh ki nivratti nahin hai
Brahm-gyaan se dukh ki nivratti hai

According to Tulsidasji, the Lord that resides in the heart can be compared to a Light. Whatever occurs under its brilliance, whether you pray under it or you steal, the light will neither complain nor interfere, It will just not influence your actions. This light is the Unmanifest Lord. Sharbhangji understands that since the the Lord in Its unmanifest form is not responsible for actions, he calls upon the manifest form i.e. the Saguna-roop, Sri Ram. Sharbhangji accuses the Lord of having stolen his heart, and since the Lord in His manifest form is subject to punishment, Sharbhangji wants to imprison Him. Where does he want to lock Him up? In the cell of his heart! And not only does he want to confine Sri Ram alone, but he also wants to imprison along with Him, His younger brother Laxmanji as well as Seetaji.

Sunder anuj Janaki sanga

Just like darkness is dispelled by light, so do sorrows disappear as one worships the Sublime Physical Form of the Lord.

Vishaad or Grief

The third companion of the heart is grief. Arjuna felt dejected in the battlefield. He felt weak and cowardly. In the Ramayana Guh felt sadness, and in Lanka Vibhishana felt pain.

It is a matter of astonishment that despite the fact that so many spiritual leaders have roamed our land, so many interpretations were recorded of our different scriptures, yet the heart has not been able to shake itself of sorrow. The Bhagavad Geeta itself starts on a dejected note, but ends with the descent of Grace. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Drop your delusion and grief , it is easy to remove your worn clothes and smear your body with ash, but to renounce sorrow and dejection is what  real “sanyaas” (renunciation) is made of. This kind of renunciation is the work of a true ascetic.

Look brother! It is only when one feels dejected and disappointed with the ways of life, that true renunciation happens, and not the other way round. From disenchantment comes non-attachment, and from thence arises renunciation. If one does not understand the above correctly then for lifetimes one remains confused and lost, and one is not able to achieve liberation. If medication is not correctly taken, then there is the possibility of the illness increasing not decreasing. One will never be able to aim a machine-gun correctly to kill a mosquito. For that sprinkling the correct powder is enough. Also one does not have to shake the tree to make a dry leaf fall from it. To do that, a gentle breeze is enough. By wearing ochre robes, one does not automatically become a saint who has renounced his negative tendencies. Krishna considers him, a true man of God, who has renounced all his negativities. What is the use of changing your outer garb when your inner being is full of adverse tendencies? If you then pretend to be an ascetic, you are cheating yourself as well as the world, when your goal as a human being is to be true to yourself.

I have heard a story. Gopichand, Bhanunath and Bhatrahari (who was an ascetic and had renounced his home), were staying in the same ashram when Mainavati the mother of Gopichand arrived there. The latter decided to test the quality of renunciation of Bhatrahari. Mainavati approached Bhatrahari and requested him for a little space to sleep on. Bhatrahari was confounded and embarrassed. How was he to allow a woman to sleep next to him in such a crowded place? He explained the above to Mainavati. The latter laughed and said: “You have renounced your home and town and you are not able to give up a little space for me?”

When true renunciation happens, you do not need to give anything up. Every  vice gives you up.  When you are ready, all impurities just drop. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Cowardice need not be your element. You are a man, a soldier and a part of Me!”

Vibhaav or Ill-feelings

One must renounce ill-feelings. One must forsake bad conduct, ill temper and an evil disposition towards others.  This body has been provided to us as a gift from God, and it is able to prove its worth when one discards all the above negative tendencies.

Virodh or Aversions and contradictions

Renounce the temptation to oppose. It seems that it is man’s nature to contradict. If you are walking on the road, and your friend points out to someone passing by and says that he is a nice man; you will somehow tend to oppose the above statement by feeling that he is probably connected to the man who praised him. On the other hand if your friend states that the man who just passed by was a thief and a rogue; you would somehow tend to agree with him whole-heartedly. Let go of these negative tendencies. He is able to prepare for his own funeral pyre who has severed company of these evil companions of the heart.

Tulsidasji says:

Baithe riday chhaadi sab sanga

Sharbhangji is ready to renounce his body along with its companions. In him, there is no more trace left of “vichaar” (thoughts), “vikaar” (imperfections), “vishaad” (sorrow), “vibhaav” (ill-feelings), and “virodh” (contradictions)

When you invite someone into your house, you have to make space for them. Sharbhangji has invited three very noble and distinguished personalities i.e.. Sri Ram, Laxmanji, and Seetaji into His heart. So He has to clear this place of all imperfections.

Seeta anuj samet prabhu
Neel jalad tanu Syaam
Mama hiya basahu nirantar
Sagun roop Sri Ram

Sharbhangji requests Sri Ram, Janakiji and Laxman to lodge themselves in his heart, in their physical form. Sharbhangji has kept his heart empty for them so that they are not inconvenienced in any way. There are no more any evil tendencies there to disturb them. This room has been kept clean and ready for their welcome.

Sharbhang ka bhakti-bhaav
The devotion of Sharbhangji
Seeta anuj samet prabhu
Neel jalad tanu syaam

Sri Ram asked Sharbhangji why he had invited His “Neel Syaam-roop” i.e.. His dark form to reside in Sharbhangji’s heart. The latter replied that he had opted for the Lord in His dark form because the Lord was a thief who had stolen his heart. The clouds steal the waters from the ocean and become dark, so does the Lord! Not only does the latter steal His devotees’ hearts but also their impurities. In the process while the Lord’s form becomes darker, His devotees are left cleaner and purer.

During the summer one tends to wear light colour clothes, as  they reflect back the heat, whereas dark colour clothes retain it. Similarly the Lord is dark, hence He tends to attract His devotees rather than reflect them back to the deluded world in which they live.

Since the Lord is a thief, Sharbhangji believes that a punishment is due to Him. His wife Seeta should have stopped Him from this robbery, but she did not. So she also deserves a punishment. Even His brother Laxman was in league with Sri Ram. Therefore all three deserve to be locked up according to Sharbhangji.

Seeta anuj samet prabhu
Neel jalad tanu Syaam
Mam hiya basahu nirantar
Sagun roop Sri Ram

When Sri Ram asked how long was He to be imprisoned; Sharbhangji answered “nirantar” i.e.. forever. Speaking thus, Sharbhangji renounced the body and ascended to heaven.

As kahi jog agni tanu jaara
Ram kripa Baikuntha sidhaara

Sharbhangji burnt his body in “jog agni” i.e.. the fire of union. Now, the heart is part of the body, and the Divine Trio are present there, then, wouldn’t they be affected by the fire too?, and was that the right thing to do, to allow Them to burn? Sharbhangji’s answer to that question is: “Thakurji mujhe viyog mein jala raha tha, to usko main jog mein jala raha hoon“. Sharbhangji says that the Lord had made him burn in the pangs of separation, while he makes Him only kindle in the joyous pain of union.  Even the inhabitants of Gokul echo the same sentiment. The had also deeply felt the separation pangs for Krishna.

Nisaadhanta – Preface
Nisaadhanta – First Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Second Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Third Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Fourth Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Fifth Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Sixth Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Seventh Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Eighth Discourse
Nisaadhanta – Ninth Discourse