Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan dina
So kachhu dev na mohi nihora
Nij pan rakheo jan man chora
Let us once again , proceed towards the hermitage of Sharbhang, where Sri Ram along with Seetaji and younger brother Laxman have arrived.
Dekhi Ram mukh pankaj , munivar lochan bhrang
Saadar paan karat ati,dhanya janam Sharbhang
Yesterday we were acquainted with the scene, where Sharbhangji looked upon the face of Sri Ram which was as beautiful as a lotus flower. Tulsidasji could not help exclaiming how lucky Sharbhangji was to have had the privilege of looking upon Sri Ram’s face. Tusidasji sings devotionally:
Nav kanj lochan, kanj mukh kar
kanj pad kanjaroonam
Which means: O Lord! Your face, eyes, feet are all as beautiful as the lotus.
A point to note, is that the place for the lotus flower is not the cupboard. Keeping it in a vase to enhance the beauty of your home may be alright, but the adequate place for the lotus flower is on the feet of the lord! But then you will enquire how to find the feet of the Lord? For that you will have to keep waiting….keep crying….Keep looking upon the path from which the Lord will come!
Chitvat panth raheo din raati. It would be wonderful if we could reach the lotus flower to the lotus feet of the Lord–but since that is not such an easy task–there is another solution–and that solution is to bring the Lord to your lotus heart, which is called: Mama hriday kunj. How wonderful to bring the lotus to the lotus!
But then, how will the Lord find His way to our ‘hriday kunj’ (heart).? Through our ears! By listening to anecdotes connected with the Lord’s life (A katha). But there is one condition. As one listens to katha after katha, our ego which is like an unshakeable rock must melt away and allow the Lord to enter our heart.
Nisaadhanta does not mean to drop all your practices to achieve the Lord, it is rather to drop your ego, which claims “I pray”, “I fast”, etc. But even when one tries to drop the “I” and the ego that goes along with it, I feel that it is still the Lord’s own Grace which is required in order to achieve Him.
Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan dina
‘Jan dina’ means to be ego-less, to have no false pride in all that you accomplish. Sharbhangji speaks rightly when he tells the Lord :” Until you come to us we are orphans.”
My dear brothers and sisters, make the prayers, anecdotes and instances that occur in the Ramayana, a guide to your Spiritual life.
Nisaadhanta of Vibhishan
When Hanumaanji met Vibhishan (Raavana’s brother) then the latter said:
Taat kabahu mohi jaani anaatha
kari ahi kripa bhaanukul naatha
Which means: “Since I am an orphan, I know that the Lord will one day think of me”. The above tenet is similar to ‘Chitvat panth raheo din raati‘.
Hanumanji asks Vibhishan “How come you believe that the Lord will have mercy on you when you have never even met Him?”
Vibhishan retorts that he has full faith in Tulsidasji who says:
Sunder saajan kripa-nidhaan anaath par.
which means that it is the Lord’s nature to take care of one who depends on Him.
Once Bharatji was asked whether he knew how to run a kingdom. Bharatji replied that even though he had been taught, he had not paid much attention to it. (Probably because he knew that Sri Ram would ascend the throne. Besides he had full faith in Sri Ram) He claimed that he knew ‘Raghunaath subhaau’ ie Sri Ram’s nature which was:
Apraadhi par koh na kaahu
Dev dev taru samish subaahu
Which means that His nature is to be merciful and love those who totally depend on Him. Vibhishan considers himself an orphan even though he has brothers like Kumbhakaran and Raavan and a nephew like Indrajeet! Vibhishan understands that he belongs to the demon (Rakshasa) race, and he asserts that he is not going to keep the above a secret! He is certain that the Lord is merciful, and the above will make no difference to Him. After all if the Sun can rise in Lanka (the city of vice) as brightly as in Ayodhya ,then why would Sri Ram not accept him even though he belongs to the Rakshasa race.
Vibhishan knows that he is not able to reach the sun—but the Sun’s rays do fall upon him……..similarly he may not be worthy of the Lord but he is confident that the Grace of the Lord will descend upon him! Now Vibhishan says something similar to what Sharbhangji says:
Taamas man kachhu saadhan naahi
Which means that I have no means to achieve the Lord as I have a mind with negative tendencies.
When Sharbhangji says the next two lines he seems more dejected.
Priti na pad saroj man maahi
He claims that has neither the tendency to love nor the wisdom to pray. In such a case what can help but the Lord’s Grace?
Suddenly at this point it seems like Vibhishan cheers up when he says the following lines :
Ab mohi bha bharosa Hanumanta
Binu Hari kripa milahi nahin santa
Which means that now I have full faith in the Lord and His Grace as He has sent me a messenger in the form of a saint who is Hanuman himself. The Lord generally introduces himself to his devotee through a saint, a guru ,a teacher. Hanumanji then gives further confidence to Vibhishan when he says: “Why are you worried about the fact that you are born in the demon race ? after all I belong to the monkey race which is restless and insignificant.” Hanumanji stresses that even though he, and Vibhishan both may have no particular merits to achieve the Lord, they must at least pray and take the Lord’s name.
Vibhishan had to survive spiritually midst great odds and temptations (He lived in Lanka midst so much luxury as he was the brother of the ruler). Yet, when the time came to chose he opted to run towards Sri Ram. We also, at a time of adversity run here and there ,but we mostly move towards the wrong direction and not where Sri Ram resides.
I have told you this anecdote before. A certain saint went to Japan to give a lecture. Japan often experiences earthquakes, so there, they build houses which remain safe during such times. While the saint was giving his discourse, there was an earthquake. The people ran hither and thither while the saint remained in his seat undisturbed. When the earthquake subsided, the saint was asked how is it, that he remained unperturbed. The saint answered, “I also ran!” When the people claimed that they had not seen him go anywhere, the saint explained that while the people had run here and there, he had rushed within himself.
Similarly when Vibhishan found himself in trouble, he could have gone to Kuber, where he would have been well-received. But, he chose to go to Sri Ram. Vibhishan went to Sri Ram not desiring anything, and yet Sri Ram gave him the Kingdom of Lanka. Remember when you go to the Lord wanting nothing, He will embrace you and keep you close to His heart. He will fulfill you emotionally, materially and spiritually.
You might say that you are too materialistic to run towards the Lord. Then what to do? Then become little like Hanumanji did when he went to Lanka. To become small, symbolically would mean to become ego-less or to reduce ones ego. By becoming little, you will be able to enter Ravan’s Lanka as well as the Lord’s Heaven. Hanumanji met Seeta in Lanka. Ma Seeta said to Hanuman: “You are so small, how will you be able to fight against these big warriors?”. Immediately Hanumanji’s stature grew! This means that you may be little and ego-less, but you must at the same time remain big and strong to fight your enemies!
It is easy to hold a stone whereas it is difficult to retain a mustard seed. This means that when you become little, because of lack of ego and attachments, no temptation or desire will enslave you. You will be free!
Darkness remains inside a room if you keep the windows closed. The minute you open the windows and allow the light to enter, darkness cannot stay! Similarly even though you may have materialistic desires and tendencies, go for pilgrimages, move towards positive spiritual company, proceed towards the light! Your desires and evil tendencies will burn away when they are exposed to the benevolent blaze of the Lord.
Mahaprabhuji says: “If you pray for material desires, it will take you, away from the spiritual world.” In fact one desire when fulfilled, gives rise to a thousand more. But to say ,that we have no desire would be a falsehood– So what to do now? Surdas sings:
Avguna chit na dharo
Which means that “O Lord! I will accept the fact that You do not think of me, but then You must not think of my misdeeds either!”.
Surdasji adds that a ‘paaras’ ( a philosopher’s stone which has the capacity of changing any baser metal that it touches, into gold) does not make a distinction as to what it comes in contact with, it just converts it into gold–Then what to say of the Lord? Isn’t He greater than the ‘paaras’? It follows that He would not discriminate between a sinner and a saint! Who-so-ever goes towards Him would become purified by His touch! Does not a dirty drain become the magical, clean, Spiritual Ganga (river), the minute it merges into it?
As I was saying, the fulfillment of one of our desires gives rise to so many more! There just seems to be no end! Mahaprabhuji provides another solution, he says:
Kaamna ko nishkaam
ya purna kaam mein lagaado
Which means: Make your desires move towards selflessness or towards complete fulfillment. The above seems to be an impossible task unless one gets attached to the Lord, who has no ego or desire, and is yet the perfect embodiment of ‘complete fulfillment’. For example: The gopis burnt with desire for Krishna, yet their desire posed no problem! After you merge your desire into the Lord what other desire can arise? So once you become desire-less there is no problem, and if you have a desire then, like Vibhishan run towards the Lord!
‘Mercy’ looks for an excuse to visit. Hanumanji told Vibhishan, “Learn to serve! you may have a tulsi in your garden and the name of Sri Ram written in your house, but you do not perform service! Seetaji has been a prisoner in Lanka for some time and you have done nothing about it!”
Vibhishanji then said “I am becoming aware of my faults as you are bringing them to my notice. But then please tell me why you have been kind enough to grace my home?”
Hanumanji answered, “I have come to you, because your wife and your daughter often go to Seetaji to give her courage.”
‘Mercy’ looks for an instrument through which to flow, and is as impatient and loving as a mother who seeks her child when her breasts are full. Similarly God in His form of Mercy loves us and looks for excuses, despite our base nature, to make us His own.
The great battle in Kurukshetra was an instrument through which the world received the Sublime Song of the Lord in ‘The Geeta” The Bal-kaanda (chapters in the Ramayana are called Kaandas) in the Ramayana gives us the birth of Sri Ram. The Ayodhya-kaanda is an excuse to show to the world the love of Sri Bharat. The Aranya-kaanda is an instrument through which we get acquainted with ‘Nisaadhanta’. Kishkinda-kaanda teaches us the fact that one achieves the lord through faith in one’s guru. Sunder-kaanda gives us an insight into Bhakti (Devotion). Through the Lanka-kaanda one learns, means of salvation. The Lanka-kaanda and the Uttar-kaanda are an excuse to give the world, great knowledge through ‘Bhushundi Bhagvad’, Ramayana , Upanishads and ‘Geeta Gyan’ The curse of the Rishi was an excuse for the world to receive the ‘Shrimad Bhagvad’
It is therefore clear that ‘Mercy’ looks for an instrument through which to appear. Hanumanji also found an excuse, to come to Vibhishan to take him towards the Lord. Hanumanji said: “I have come to you because I feel that you are capable of great service.” When a child fails in his examinations, he only gets courage from another student who has similarly failed in the past and has eventually been successful. In the same manner Hanumanji gave confidence to Vibhishan , by telling the latter that he was even less worthy than him. Hanumanji said: “If you feel inferior because you belong to the demon race, then think of me! I am a monkey!”
At this point :
Bhare bilochan neer
Which means that Hanumanji’s eyes filled up with tears. When Khagraj Garuda felt inferior because he was only a bird, Kaagbhusundi who belonged to the crow race said: You are unhappy because you think that you belong to a low caste, but you look at me! I am the lowest amongst birds and yet the Lord in His mercy, has made me ‘world-known’.
Sabhi vidhi heena
Hanumanji continues to tell Vibhishan, “I do not even have great qualities. Because I am a monkey I cannot even remain still, and in the Spiritual path that is one of the most important requisites required. I am no great devotee, neither do I know how to pray. I do not know how to perform sacrifices, nor how to meditate– yet the Lord ‘Kinhi kripa’ (showered His grace) upon me. Thinking of the large heartedness of the Lord my eyes fill with tears of gratitude”.
Hanumanji decided on:
Ram kaaj kinhe binu
Mohi kahan vishraam
Which means that unless I serve the Lord I cannot rest! How could Hanuman rest until he had accomplished what he had set out to do; which was to meet Mother Seeta and hand over to Her Sri Ram’s ring. However, sometimes one does feel rested when one meets a fellow pilgrim on the Spiritual path.
Ram Charit Maanas yahi naama
Sunat shravan paeeye vishraama
Which means one feels rested when one listens to the Ramayana. One feels at peace when one listens to any katha (a Spiritual lecture). The fruits of listening to a katha is to feel rested. All of you have visited 5-star-hotels, clubs, and yet you experience no peace. Your mind is in turmoil.
But in a satsang, I see serenity on your countenance! Peoples’ illnesses disappear in a katha.
Sri Raghuveer pratap se Sindhu tare
Which means that stones were made to float, by the Grace of the Lord. You can experience the same sense of peace that saints do. In a katha! When you flip the pages of the scriptures, you will feel the Breath of the Lord. The Scriptures are alive, that is the reason why they are able to grace you with peace and contentment! Some people ask me: “You have been doing the katha for years, do you think that people have changed their lives?” The truth is that I cannot do much about that. I personally do the katha or sing the Lord’s praises because it helps me, on my Spiritual journey.
A woman went to a palmist. The palmist conjectured that her husband may die consuming poison. She asked, “Will I be caught?” Just that one sentence reveals so much about the state of mind of the woman and her life. Similarly sometimes a mere sentence heard in a satsang or in a katha reveals so much about our lives, that it proves to be very useful, in our changing for the better. We have exhausted enough of our lives running here and there. It is time to take stock of the time spent, and rest! Rest in a katha!
As I was saying that Hanumanji felt that he could not rest until he had executed the task that Sri Ram had entrusted him with. Hanumanji told Vibhishan that even though he was full of short-comings, the Lord had showered His Grace upon him. The main point to consider is that if one eliminates ones ego, which is as hard and heavy as a stone, then:
Kinhi kripa jaani jan dina
Which means: The Lord showers His Grace on the humble. The word ‘Kripa’ (grace) has been used with meticulous care, and in the appropriate places.
Ab mohi bha bharosa Hanumanta
Binu Hari kripa milahi nahin santa
Which means that : I am now convinced, O Hanuman, that without the Lord’s Grace one does not come in contact with His messenger (a saint).
The Lord’s Avtaar of Grace
Whenever the Almighty incarnates on this earth, how many people have ever been able to recognize Him? In the case of Sri Ram only 9 or 11 were able to know Him as the Lord. One realizes that an elephant has passed through a desert, by the sand that has risen due to the movement of his feet. Similar is the case with an Avtaar. When an Avataar descends on earth, most people are asleep. But when they notice his foot-prints after He is gone, then they lament and cry out in grief, “Oh! the Lord came and left and we did not even recognize Him!” Very few people realized the value of Mahaprabhuji or Shankaracharyaji while they lived in our midst.
If one were to ask a fish to describe the ocean, it would be difficult for her to answer because while she is out of the water, she is not able to breathe to talk; and while she is in the ocean, she cannot explain. Similarly, those who by the Grace of God are able to recognize the Incarnations, find it difficult to convince their brothers and sisters of the magnitude of their understanding. If you ask me, even today an Incarnation of the Lord lives and moves amongst us! That is the Incarnation of Grace! I see Grace flowing freely everywhere today.
Earlier one did not see too many young people attending kathas, and interested in religious matters. While today one finds them attending Spiritual discourses in great numbers. So I say, feel the ‘Grace Avataar’ around you. Without Grace you will not be able to accomplish anything. Grace is ready to pour over you, but first, you will have to remove the stone of ego that is blocking the entrance from where Grace must enter.
Naradji says: Take refuge only in the Lord! Some take refuge in people. They feel: “I know that person who is so influential, so why should I worry? All I have to do is write him a letter, or make a phone-call and my work will be done!” How can you depend on a man, who may be there for you today, but not here tomorrow?
Some people become very egotistical about their wealth! They should remember that the Lord sends you His wife Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth) to pamper you, to hold you in Her arms and give you some milk. Since it is by the Grace of God that you enjoy some wealth, then how can you become egotistical about it?
Some take refuge in their own strength, and some in the amount of rituals/prayers that they may have performed. I am not asking you not to perform rituals or sacrifices, what I am saying is do not become egotistical about it!
The ocean became proud, and its result was that it was punished! It turned salty!
Nisaadhanta means that you continue to do everything; but do not take credit for it. Believe that the Lord is doing everything through you.
A father teaches his child to pronounce his (the father’s) name; and then takes great joy when the child repeats it– So does the Lord!
Kahat Kabir suno mere sadho
Sharan gayo soi bhaayo
Which means that: Kabir claims that who-ever surrenders to the Lord is loved by Him!
Priti Ram naam so, Pratiti Ram naam so
Riti Ram naam so, Pratiti Ram naam so
Arth Ram naam ho, Kaam Ram naam ho
Ghar mein Ram naam ho,Moksha Ram naam ho
Riti Ram naam ho, Vibhuti Ram naam ho
Raag Ram naam ho, Viraag Ram naam ho
Maan Ram naam ho, Dhyaan Ram naam ho
Mati Ram naam ho, Sumati Ram naam ho
Which means: Bring the Lord to your heart and surrender to Him, your faith, your knowledge, your experiences, your customs, your mannerisms, your wealth, your desires, your efforts, your renunciation, your likes, your meditation, your intellect, your thoughts and the praises showered upon you.
Come let us take refuge in the Lord and sing His praise for a short while.
Sri Vallabh Vithal Giridhaari
Jamunaji ki Balihari
The Ultimate type of Peace
I believe that listening to ‘kathas’ confers upon you the ultimate type of peace. Even if you go to the Himalayas looking for peace; there your senses will wander. Whereas when you listen to a katha, your senses become centered. Here your very breath lives through your ears!
I personally like the following anecdote very much :
Shukdevji told Parikshit: “Once you start the katha, even if you keep it going for 360 days, the curse of the Rishi will be rendered useless, and I will not die, because the power of the katha will keep me alive! If you stop the katha after 4 days, then also the curse of the Rishi will be proven false because I will die as soon as the ‘katha’ stops, and not after a week as he had predicted. But I want the Rishi’s word to be proven correct”.
This is the power of the ‘katha’!
I believe that once you surrender totally to a sadguru, you need no further means to achieve the Lord. He will pick up the Giriraj (mountain) for you. During the deluge Sri Krishna held the Giriraj on His little finger to protect His beloved cowherds. Yet the gopalas (cowherds) held a stick under the mountain Giriraj to try and help the Lord–when actually the whole burden was being carried only by Krishna’s little finger! We do the same! We hold the stick under the mountain. We think that we are performing this or that act, when in effect the whole work is being accomplished by the Lord!
Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Sri Vallabh Vithal Giridhari
Jamunaji ki balihaari
Om namah Parvati Pataye, Har Har Mahadev
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