Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan dina
So kachhu dev na mohi nihora
Nij pan rakheo jan man chora
Vallabhacharyaji says “Surrender to the Lord.” Sharbhang muni expresses the same idea in the Aranyakaand of his Ram Charit Maanas. I shall be speaking to you on the same topic in Champaraanya. Let me precede my narration with a small introduction.
Sri Ram, after his stay in Chitrakoot passed through the ashram of Atri and Anasuya. Later he killed a demon called Viraadh in a spot which was a few miles away from the ashram of Sharbhang Muni.
Puni aaye jahan Muni Sarbhanga
Sunder anuj Janaki sanga
The incident about Sri Ram visiting the ashram of Muni Sharbhang may be short but it is very important, because it has relevance to the teachings of Mahaprabhuji. Though Bhusundiji has narrated the Ramayan in brief, he has not left out the above incident.
Kahi biraadh badh jehi bidhi
deh taji Sarbhang
barani suti chhan priti puni
Prabhu Agasti satsang
However humble you are in your spiritual saadhana, the ego will obtrude to a certain extent, and it will be an obstacle to your inner advancement.
Actually there are two types of ego. Maybe you will be able to appreciate this fact if I explain to you the different types of spiritual introspection
- A solemn resolve (sankalpa)
- Uncertainty or ambiguity (vikalpa)
- A thought or an idea (vichaar)
- The ego (ahankaar or/and abhimaan)
Abhimaan is a disease but ego represented by it has a remedy. When one feels that one is doing something for the Lord, there is abhimaan in it; but when the same act is considered a service of love and therefore a joy ,that ego here has a different connotation and not to be considered.
The Subtle Ahankaar
Whatever means we may employ for spiritual practices, I believe that the ego in a subtle form can take a hold of us. If you do not want to talk about the amount of time or energy you spend in your saadhana even though you are urged to do so, then, maybe, you have escaped from the clutches of ahankaar. But sometimes a dear friend ,asks you,about your saadhana or devotion and ,in order to inspire him, you tell him: “I chant or pray for so long” here the ‘ I’ that you use becomes the ahankaar (ego) with a subtle form and it is difficult to get rid of.
It is worth noting that both Mahaprabhuji and the Maanas (Ramayana) lay stress upon Nisaadhanta. The reason is that whenever one undertakes any means to achieve the Lord-the ego in a subtle form always obtrudes. Then what are we to do? Let us think of Sharbhang who after having done japa and tapa (spiritual practices), surrenders everything to the Lord and speaks thus:
Oh Lord, I have no means to reach you!
There are three opinions to understand Nisaadhanta. The Ramayana makes it clearer.
Nisaadhanta and Karma
Both Vedaanta and Saankhya (branches of Hindu philosophy) seek to establish that a man’s actions depend upon his character. This is simple to understand .If your thoughts are good , your desires and actions will also be good and vice-versa. Most great teachers have affirmed the above according to their own experiences and understanding.
However Acharya Devarishi Naarad who believes in the Bhakti Marg (the path of devotion) observes: ‘No man consciously does any karma (act) that is good or bad, it is the Lord that makes him do so.’ (i.e. man is only an instrument of God’s will).
My dear brothers and sisters, if you were to hold fast to the above belief you would achieve unshakeable faith in the Lord. Sometimes people argue: “Do you mean that it is God who makes us do even an evil deed?”
This is an important question. Since nothing happens without the will of God, then whatever we do, must be according to His will. This is the common argument of people. Yes God does make you do His will! Without a doubt He makes you do it.
Take the example of an industrialist who establishes a factory and an office. His subordinate, the manager takes care of the day to day work. Now, think carefully. Who will reap the profits, or suffer the losses? The boss or the manager? The manager does his work but the profit or the loss is the concern of the boss. We must also, like the manager perform our actions, and surrender our profits and losses to the Lord, who is the big Boss. The Lord says: Give me all, because I have made you act. Why do you chose to be the doer and get bound (by the karma)
Mahaaprabhuji and all true spiritual pilgrims believe that all evil acts result in sorrow. Now, if you surrender all your actions to the Lord including your evil ones, then you would be inflicting sorrow on the Lord! And a truly religious person will not want to do the above. The solution to the above dilemma is to be found in the Ramcharit Manas. Surrender your good deeds-Be conscious of your base ones.
The spiritual person must, with all humility, say to the Lord, “There are so many evil tendencies in me, I am not going to offer these to you, because they will give you pain and I cannot accept that, so I will offer you my worthy deeds. However I will keep before you my sinful ones too. If I place my sinful deeds & thoughts before the world, they will make my life impossible. Therefore I have come to you and place them before you.”
Mahaprabhuji speaks of three faults. He claims that a truly religious person should be free from the above shortcomings. These faults are:
- Mukharta dosh
- Anyashraya dosh
- Anivedit dosh
Mukharta dosh is the harm that arises from excessive chatter that is abusive. There is not much difference between a Mukhar person (a man who talks too much) and a Murkh person (a half-wit, a fool) One given to excessive talk is a fool. Of course in order to interrelate with others (or with the outside world) everyone needs to talk, but gossip or fault-finding is another matter and must be avoided at least in a place of worship. In a temple have darshan of the Lord!
Amongst the members of Sri Vallabh, the words are used sparingly and very carefully .How much hurt do common people cause others by using unnecessarily harsh words! Such people cannot truly be spiritual .As a matter of fact, it is better to communicate with gestures than with words. There would then be less cause for disputes and misunderstandings.
In order to listen to a spiritual lecture you require a kathakaar. (a story-teller or a narrator) If you go to a temple, the sanctum must be open- so that you have darshan of the deity; but to chant the Lord’s names, all you require is yourself and a will to do so. So sing the Lord’s names and if you feel the urge to talk, speak about Him.
Anyashraya dosh: Not to have implicit faith in the Lord is considered a shortcoming for the spiritual pilgrim.
Ekai dharam,ek vrat nema
Kaai bachan man pati pad prema
Recite the Lord’s name in whichever way, and in whatever form you like and that will enhance your faith in your own Ishtadeva (personal deity)
Anivedit dosh: A devotee is guilty of the fault, when he accepts anything without its first having been offered to the Lord. The Ram charit Maanas claims:
Tumhi nivedit bhojan karhi
Prabhu prasad pat bhushan dharahi
Mahaprabhuji followed the above rule to the letter. He would first offer food, clothes, jewels, etc to the Lord, and then accept them as parsad (an offering blessed by the Lord) Such a practice reminds the devotee of the fact that everything belongs to the Lord and instills in him a certain humility which is very beneficial during his religious journey.
Mahaprabhuji and Krishnadas
Mahaprabhuji had a very dear friend called Krishnadas. Whenever Mahaprabhuji met Krishnadas, all that he would say is: “Sri Krishna sharanam mama ” (a chant)
One day Krishnadas said to Mahaprabhuji, “You are obviously asking me to chant the Lord’s name, but why would I need to do it since I am always with you. You are always chanting the Lord’s name so I am receiving His blessings automatically.”
This is Nisaadhanta: when one has faith, and takes the humble attitude that I am but a child and I need not do anything on my own. My Lord and my guru will take care of me. Krishnadasji, however had second thoughts and said “It may not be necessary now, (for me to chant the Lord’s name) but what if at some time in the future we are separated?”
Once when Krishnadasji was out in a forest, when he saw a tiger coming towards him. Frightened he climbed a tree and started chanting “Sri krishnam sharanam mama “
The tiger looked at him for a moment, then went to a water hole and drank some water. Krishnadas chanted again, and again the tiger looked up at him and drank some water. This happened three times. The tiger then quietly went away.
Later Krishnadas met Mahaprabhuji. The latter knew what had transpired and mentioned it to Krishnadas to his amazement. Explaining the incident Mahaprabhuji said “The tiger in his previous incarnation was a spiritual man, who had in his present birth become a tiger for some reason. He had made a promise to himself that he would not partake of water until and unless he heard the Lord’s name chanted. Thus my dear Krishnadasji you were saved from your fear by chanting the Lord’s name and as for the tiger, it fulfilled its promise of drinking water only after he had heard the chant!
The Ram charit Maanas and the Nisaadhan bhakta
Chitvat panth raheo din raati
There are many characters in the Ram charit Maanas who did not do anything great to attain to the Lord, but they had unshakeable faith in Him and knew how to wait with devotion for His grace. Ahilya who had turned to a stone due to a curse, did not do anything but wait until the Lord Rama redeemed her. She did not undertake any pilgrimage, nor did she chant or pray. The boatman who had the good fortune to ferry Lord Ram across the river had only one quality: that of honestly carrying out his duty to earn his livelihood; apart from an intense longing to meet and serve Sri Ram. Jatayu fought with Raavana. He was confident that Sri Ram would come that way; so he waited and waited until Sri Ram did come and Jatayu had the good fortune of dying in His arms. Shabri waited her whole life, looking into the path that would bring Sri Ram to her. When at last Sri Ram did come, all she had to offer was some berries which she had tasted to make sure they were sweet. Sri Ram lovingly accepted her token of love. The Gopis of Vrindaavan also waited and waited for Krishna to come to them and, while they waited, they felt His presence in every tree and leaf of that place.
Man ka Chor
The One who steals your heart
You have spent 60-70 years of your life chasing fantasies, losing your heart to one desire after another. Now urge the Lord to steal your heart. Get attached to Him!
When the Lord takes possession of you, He becomes a robber. And does one pray to a thief?.
Supposing you were sent out on a journey and you knew that you were on the robber’s hit list ,would you not hesitate to leave your home?
The difference in your attitude to the two robbers – the one who robs you of your possessions, and the one who steals your heart – is that you will welcome the latter. This is one method of Nisaadhanta . There is another way. Be child-like.
A child has full faith in his mother and is totally dependant on her. Even when the child is ill, it is the mother who decides on the doctor to be sent for, what medicine to administer. Have faith in the Lord and in your personal guru, as you have faith in your mother and leave your problems to Him. This is also called Sharanaagati.
Let us once again remember the words of Sharbhang:
Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Sharbhang says that he knows no means by which to attain the Lord. Does that mean that we should not make an effort? No! Man was meant to act! But then Naaradji claims that the Lord is actually responsible for all our actions and we are but His instruments. The Lord is like the owner of the factory, as I mentioned in an earlier discourse, and we are like the manager who submits to Him the profit and loss account. So offer your good deeds to the Lord and be conscious of your unworthy ones.
Gun arpan karen , avguna nivedit karen
It has already been discussed that you must offer all your actions to the Lord. But then a devotee feels hesitant to offer his evil deeds. The truth of the matter is, that even if you offer your unworthiness to the Lord, He takes it upon Himself. When a new government takes over, it inherits the assets as well as the debts of the previous government. So when you offer yourself to the Lord, He accepts you in totality with your good and bad aspects. The truth is that when the Lord wants to make you His own, He becomes the inspiration for you to chant His name and love Him and then finally surrender to Him.
Suppose a king were to be enamored of a village belle and marries her, it would be his responsibility to make her fit to be a queen. She herself would have to do nothing. Similarly if you were to adopt an orphan, you would provide for his clothing, shelter, food and education. So, when the Lord chooses you to be His own, He inspires you to follow His path that ultimately leads you to Him. But you have to choose to be chosen.
When Bharatji went to the forest to urge Sri Ram to return to Ayodhya, he said :
Paahi Naath kahi paahi Gosaai
“Even though you have bestowed upon me the kingdom of Ayodhya, I feel like an orphan without your accepting me as your own” Such words sprouting truly from your heart, speak of a true service rendered unto the Lord.
Service in the Vallabh commune
The flowers that are lovingly woven by the devotees into a garland are symbolic of a string with which the spiritual pilgrim hopes to bind the Lord unto him. The garland reaches down to the Lord’s feet. It is as if the devotee tells the Lord “Now you are bound to me and you cannot escape from me”
The flowers of the garland, offered to the Lord are separated by two knots. One knot represents “the one who sings the praises of the Lord ” and the other knot represents the “listener”. Interestingly both these knots are placed near the Lord’s heart.
God is mercy
Another way of serving the Lord, is to regard Him as your friend and to know that He will never let you down when you are in need. Know in your own heart that you are not capable of doing any service unto the Lord, yet continue to serve Him in the same way as Bharatji served Sri Ram.
Suppose a great man singles you out for his attention, his relationship is bound to create a controversy amongst the people. So he allots him some work, like fetching his puja utensils or some tea.
Similarly, when the Lord wants to make you His own, He bestows upon you the inspiration to chant His name, or to be of some service to His great work.
Sharbhang has performed many prayers and penances and yet he claims that he has done nothing. You may be spending a little time in your prayers and serving the Lord but who do you think is awakening you to do it? The Lord is the inspiration behind it all.
Mahaprabhuji is seen standing with one hand raised. He seems to be saying, “I have been calling you since such a long time . Now come! I am tired of waiting for you.” His other hand is placed on his waist. Maybe, he is saying, ” I am weary of waiting for you, and you keep lingering. Come to me ,I promise that I will save you from the ills of the world. I will not allow you to be drowned in the ocean that this world is.”
To achieve the Lord
Naath sakal saadhan main heena
kinhi kripa jaani jan dinha
The words “kinhi kripa” means “by your grace” The devotee says to the Lord, “It is only because of your grace that I have bee able to come to you”.
There is a story that Sharbhang was invited by Indra (the king of paradise) himself to go to heaven. The point I am trying to make is, that it is possible to reach heaven respectfully invited by its king- But to reach the Lord one requires His grace.
I am repeating the example that I gave during my discourse in Kurukshetra: You may want to speak on the telephone with someone -But if the person on the other end, does not want to talk with you , there is only one thing that you can do. -give him your telephone number and ask him to call you back.
Your telephone number should have 8 digits (the 8 aspects of devotion) :
- Shravanam (Listening to the Lord’s name )
- Kirtanam (Singing the Lord’s praises)
- Vishnu smaranam (Thinking of the Lord or remembering Him always)
- Paad sevanam (Worship of the Lord’s feet )
- Archanam (Worship through ritual,puja)
- Vandanam (Prayer,prostration)
- Saakhyamaatma (Making the Lord ones friend)
- Nivedanam (Making offerings to the Lord)
The number given to the Lord for Him to call you has many digits like the telephone numbers of people in big cities. Tell Him “Call me when it pleases You, I will pick up the receiver ” What I am trying to say is this: , whenever one makes an effort to reach the Lord, the ego in a subtle manner, does appear in the aspirant , so serve the Lord with the belief that ” I am doing nothing-whatever. It seems I am never accomplishing the task given to me by the Lord.
Bharoso in charnan kero
Sri Vallabh nakh chandra chhata bin
Sab jag maahi andhero
Saadhan aur naahin ya kali mein
Jaso hot nibhero
Surdas prabhu dwividh andhero bina mol ko chero
A dialogue between Janaka and Yajnavalkya
There is a passage in the Upanishads where King Janak asks Yajnavalkya ” What light does a man require in order to be able to live in this world ?” Yajnavalkya answers “Any child would know that answer. Man is able to live and work because of the light of the sun “
Janaka then asks “What happens when the sun sets or when there is no light emanating from the moon and stars ?”Yajnavalkya answers” Then one lives by the Atmajyoti (the light of the Self ) Janaka asks again “How to recognise that light ?”Yajnavalkya answers ” Every one walks on Mother Earth in which lie buried precious gems, minerals, etc, only one who makes a study, (a serious seeker), would be able to find them. Similarly, in order to find the light of the Self one requires a Sadguru (a true Master.) The Shiv Sutra by Surdasji, confirms the above statement:
Sri Vallabh mukh chandra chhata bin
sab jag mahi andhero
Surdas prabhu dwividh andhero
bina mol ko chero
Why has Surdasji called himself “Bina mol ko chero?” which means that he is a servant of the Lord without any merit, and as such he has no value.-Surdasji believes that he is worthless, and hence, if the Lord were to consider selling him, He would get nothing. So it is better for the Lord to keep him at His feet.
Tulsidasji says in his ‘Vinay patrika” that a man’s actions are like trees and their fruit is effort and fatigue. To enjoy the fruits of your tree you would have to work hard. You would have to plant the seed and water the sapling, and care for it for many years. It may be that you will not be alive, when the tree starts bearing fruit.- This does not mean that you do not perform your duties towards your wife, family and children? NO! Fulfill your obligations to your family, and then tell them,” Come to my heart where my Lord resides and have His darshan!”
One day as I was returning from Nagpur I was asked by a devotee “It is so easy to get attached to one’s family. How to have similar attachment to the Lord?” I answered :
Prem prem se hota hai
aur prem nem se hota hai
It means: You receive love from love, and you receive love from performing regular religious rites.
Tulsidasji has said the same. If you cannot stick to your regular practices then bring the ones you love into your heart, but with the condition that they can enter into your core only to do the darshan of the Lord who resides there. I am trying to say that Tulsidasji also believes that he does not trust anyone else occupying his heart for any other reason.
Naahin aavat aan bharoso
yeh Kaalilaal sakal saadhan taru
hai shram phalani pharoso.
Tulsidasji has lost faith in the happiness that the world and its pursuits bring, because he believes : Actions are trees and its fruit sheer weariness.
However one must remember that trees give shelter and allow you to rest. Similarly your good actions also reduce the pain that you might have to suffer because of your previous bad deeds. Sometimes a good deed might even destroy the result of a bad karma, but the final verdict lies in the hands of the Lord. So stay under the shelter of the tree – Sometimes it gives solace to your tired bones and you feel peace. Your good acts may lead you to Heaven; where you may be surrounded with comforts with very little to do and that may turn out to be dull and boring. The best solution therefore is to offer all your actions (fruit) to the Lord. Sometimes when one travels abroad, one sees a new fruit, and the label informs you that its consumption will supply with this or that vitamin.-But what to do with fruits (results of your actions) that you know nothing about?
OFFER THEM TO THE ALMIGHTY . OFFER THEM TO MY KRISHNA!
The Lord Your Foundation Stone
One must destroy the source through which the desire to sin arises. But our seeds of desire are still intact, and hence they are bound to sprout. The only way is to have unbroken faith in the Lord.
.You have heard about Draupadi. When Dushasan dragged her by her hair to the court to disrobe her, -It was Krishna who saved her from dishonor by adding 999 saris to the one that she was wearing. Draupadi saw the form of Krishna in the heap of saris. She fell to her knees and massaged the Lord’s feet with her hair. It was like she was purifying the hair that had been defiled by the touch of cruel Dushasan as he had dragged her to court. Touching a lady’s head in the form of blessing by her elders and guru is appropriate but to pull her hair is disrespectful and a kind of malediction. That pain Draupadi healed by the soothing touch of Krishna’s feet.
What I am trying to say is this: Before Krishna came to miraculously save Draupadi ,she cried, prayed and cajoled; it was only when she felt helpless and defeated that she handed over her difficulty to Krishna; and her Krishna did not let her down. He came in the form of saris and saved her from dishonor. So take the refuge of the Lord.
Saadhan aur nahin ya kali mein
Jaaso hot nibhero
which means there is no other way to achieve the Lord except:
Krishnam vande Jagadgurum
Take the refuge of your Satguru or that of Guru of gurus- Lord Krishna.
I have recited the Lord’s katha for years, I have seen the world, done so much! Yet I must say that all this doing does not get you the Lord. Because having knowledge and people around you can give you an ego. If you say that I will not talk despite having knowledge or I will not share the gifts that God has given me then also you will be accused of being egoistic.
So then what is the solution? Like a child fall at the Lord’s feet, until He picks you up and makes you His own!
Naath sakal saadhan main heena
Kinhi kripa jaani jan dina
1) Vairaagya and Sarvadaan which means Renunciation and giving. If you want to learn about renunciation in depth then you should read Shankarachaaryaji . I like the way a sage explained it : He said ” If you have something that someone else wants, give it away to him “The above is easier said than done . However that is vairaagya and sevadaan.
2) Vipatti mein vachanpaalan which means to honor your word even when you are undergoing hardships.
3) Gyaan aur sthaan mein vinamrata which means that you must have humility knowledge and/or wealth and therefore enjoy a certain status.
To believe that you are incapable of offering any service unto the Lord without His inspiration and help, is Nisaadhanta. To believe that you own nothing, (intellect or attributes) with which to endear yourself to the Lord is Saadhan-hinta or Sharanaagati.
A child when he learns talk or walk needs to learn certain rules but later it comes naturally to him. It is similar in your Spiritual travel. Initially you may have to follow certain rules but once you have the gyaan or knowledge it will become a second nature to you.
A lady sister once asked me :”Whenever I used to previously hear your discourse , I would cry with sentiment but now-a-days I don’t feel the same emotion.”
I answered her ” Give the pose according to the angle from which the Lord wants to photograph you , which means you cry with emotion that’s fine, you do not, that is also alright. The Lord wants to see you in your different hues and colours”
Devotees usually implore to the Lord “Make me a tree, a bamboo stick or even a rock of your beloved mountain Giriraj; I only ask that you are pleased with what I become”
So I tell you, you just continue on your path, cry sometimes and laugh sometimes and allow your heart to be purified and the rest will be taken care of by the Almighty.
A Spiritual lecture (Bhaagwad katha)
Listening about the Lord, bathes and cleanses the heart and thereby purifies it. Without a katha your heart cannot blossom. I have already told you that the Lord keeps the speaker and the listener near His heart!
Now-a-days when I look at my listeners, I. do see glimpses of more devotion, more joy.
The Lord is considered the “Uttam Shloka” or the “Ultimate Word” What is there to consider beyond Him?” No wonder people run to Katha (lecture ) after katha! Listening to kathas your heart gets purified, joy escalates in your life. Remember what I told you yesterday, that if you let go of good thoughts for even a fraction of a second, adverse thoughts conquer you! So keep your heart clean .
Would’nt you like to keep your room spotless even though you had no one to help you? So you make the attempt to keep your heart clean. Remember to hold on to His feet knowing that you are worthless and He will provide you with the inspiration on how best to serve Him! and He will groom you like a king would, a village belle that he would want to marry.
Remember that the gopis , Shabri, Bharatji reached a point where all the means that they had employed to achieve the Lord failed ,yet they continued to love and wait,- and the Lord came to claim His own.
Chitvat panth raheo din raati
Just gaze at the path through which the Lord comes
Let us sing the Lord’s name for a while:
Sri Vallabh Vithal Giridhaari
Yamunaji ki Balihaari
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