Volume 15 - Issue 08
August 2017
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Posted on: Aug 18, 2017


Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

Quizzes have been a part of Radio Sai journal's offering for over 10 years now. Initially it was Multi-faith quiz and soon we had quizzes based on Bhagawan’s discourses, and later, on His writings. In July 2016 we began this new series wherein we have quizzes on specific themes.

The Theme for the Current Quiz is “SAGES AND SAINTS”.

In the Gita Vahini, Bhagawan quotes Krishna explaining the concept of pure (satvic) listening to Arjuna. He says, “Pure (satvic) listening is listening to the stories, experiences, and messages of sages and saints who aspired after God and realized Him.”

Let’s have a little satvic recreation through this quiz which brings out some instances from the lives of the illustrious sages, as narrated by Swami. The clues for this quiz are given in the popular crossword format. Let’s go…

Quiz 01 || Quiz 02 || Quiz 03|| Quiz 05 || Quiz 06 || Quiz 07

|| Quiz 08 || Quiz 09 || Quiz 10 || Quiz 11



A quiz with Crossword clues

1. Saint Pundarika:

Swami says: Pundarika was the one who was devoted to the service of his aged parents. In doing so he was adhering to a self-imposed rule. He would not take any food until the parents had gone to sleep. Once he was massaging the feet of the parents. To test Pundarika's love for his parents, Lord Panduranga came to his residence in a disguise and stood behind him.

Pundarika went on with his service to his parents who had not gone to sleep. The new-comer asked Pundarika to look at him. Pundarika said that he was seeing the visitor. The latter asked him: "In what form are you seeing Me?" Pundarika said, “I am seeing you as my mother." Meanwhile Pundarika's Guru came there and told Pundarika that the visitor was none other than the Lord Himself. Pundarika said that the parents whom he was serving were also God.

Devotion to ____________ makes the Lord reveal Himself.

What is the lesson we learn from Sage Pundarika’s life?




2. Sage Markandeya

Swami narrates: You all know the story of Markandeya, the boy who was granted a life span of only sixteen years. Markandeya did not know about this but his parents did. They spent fifteen happy years in the company of their son. The sixteenth year started, and the day of doom approached. The mother and father were seized with gloom and began weeping bitterly. Puzzled, Markandeya asked, “Mother, why are you suddenly so sad?”

Calling the boy near the parents said, “Son, today is the last day of your life. It is our misfortune”. They then narrated the story that explained why his life span was curbed.

Markandeya was shocked. He instantly understood the situation and declared, “Thus far I did not know this secret and I frittered away my time. From now on I shall not waste a single moment in unsacred action. Whatever is left of my life will be spent entirely in worshipping Ishwara.”

So saying he ran to the local Siva temple, hugged the Lingam in a tight embrace and called upon the Lord in various names.

Meanwhile, the hour of death approached, and Yama, the Lord of Death, came to the temple armed with the yamapasa (noosed rope) he uses for dragging away life. He saw that Markandeya was locked in a tight embrace with Siva and began to wonder: “How am I to cast the noose of death on Markandeya alone?” It was not easy to bind the boy alone but the moment of death had arrived and something had to be done immediately.

So Yama cast the noose and it circled both Markandeya and the Lingam. Siva manifested instantly and said, “O Yama! You have now dared to cast the noose of death on Me too?!” On the spot Yama was cursed and Markandeya was granted Immortality.

Swami chooses this tale to drive home an important lesson: Grace received is in proportion to the intensity of one’s _______________.




3. Sage Gautama and Sathyakama

Swami narrates: The sage Gautama one day called together his disciples and said, "You know that the drought that has afflicted this region is heightening; it shows no sign of abatement; it is spreading fast. The cattle belonging to the hermitage are suffering hunger and thirst; I cannot look upon those dumb animals in distress and calmly carry on my duties of teaching and learning. Some one of you must take them out, to some country, where there is ample pasture and bring them back when the calamity has rolled over."

Many students shuddered at this task, they hung their heads and hid behind others, in order not to attract attention! But, Sathyakama stood forward and offered to take the cattle out, quite happy at the chance. The others gathered around him, with their sympathy but Sathyakama would have none of it!

They told him that he would be alone in the wilds, away from the comforts of hermitages, and even from the sources of good food for an indefinite length of time. He replied that the good wishes of the Guru will provide him enough safety and sustenance; that he was his best companion! He refused the offer of some friends to accompany him, for the Guru had not mentioned the need.

While leaving with the 500 herd of cattle, Sathyakama asked for the blessing of the Guru; he enquired when he could return, and got the answer that he could think of returning, as soon as the herd had increased to a total strength of 1000!

He lived up to his name, Sathyakama (he whose sole desire is to preserve and propagate Truth), led the cattle to a charming valley where he camped with them. He rose with the morning star, recited prayers, performed prostrations to the rising Sun and was lost most of the time in Japa and Dhyana, though the tending of the cattle was not neglected in the least. He did not evince any anxiety to return home, but bided his time, patiently.

One morning soon after the morning rites, Indra, the Chief of the Gods, appeared before him, for the gods were watching over the solitary cowherd! He told him that the tally was 1000 herd of cattle, and so, he could return. Indra offered to take him back, safe and sound.

Swami then narrates how Indra bestowed on Sathyakama the knowledge of the Vedas. He describes this as a reward for his humility and ________________.

What do you think is the quality which Sathyakama displayed in his conduct towards his Guru?




4. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

Swami has narrated the story of a thief who was transformed by the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Having unwittingly joined the devout group around Sage Chaitanya, the thief sought initiation from him, but with a plea that he would be unable to give up his profession of thieving. Agreeing to this, Sage Chaitanya in turn placed a condition that before breaking into any place, the thief should chant the holy name 108 times. The saint then imparted the holy mantra to him.

The thief then broke into a house of a rich man. To continue in Swami’s words:

The thief broke into the house and entered the safe-room in which all the valuables were kept. He saw gems of all kinds. He was resolved not to touch any of the valuables till he had completed recitation of the mantra given to him by Chaitanya. But before he completed the mantra japa (recitation of holy formula), the master of the house and others arrived there.

The lady of the house, who had gone with all her jewels, wanted to replace them in the safe. She saw a stranger in the room engaged in deep meditation. She thought it must be some great sage who had come into the house in their absence and was meditating on God. She called her husband.

The stranger continued to be immersed in meditation. He did not appear like a thief. They thought he must be some saintly person who had honoured their home by his visit. All of them began to offer worship to him and prostrate before him. They thought that in the wake of the saint Chaitanya other saintly persons were also visiting their village.

Meanwhile, on the completion of the recitation of the mantra, the thief opened his eyes and to his astonishment found a large group of people standing reverently before him. The master of the house asked him: “Oh sir! Who are you? Where from have you come? We have been sanctified by your visit. Please take your food in our home and redeem our lives by doing us this honour."

A great change came over the thief. He thought: “If the mere recitation of the Lord's name can bring me so much honour and respect, although I had come here only to steal, how many greater things may be in store for me if I genuinely recite the Lord's name for its own sake? I may hope for the highest position by the grace of the Lord."

That very moment he decided to give up stealing. He prostrated before the master of the house and his wife and said: “Mother! Let me tell you the truth. I am a thief. Let me go to a forest. I shall spend the rest of my days contemplating on God and leading my life of a true ascetic."

What do you think enabled the transformation in the thief?




5. Adi Shankara

Swami narrates: Adi Shankara, after his triumphant march all over India, reached the city of Benares. He went to the temple of Vishwanatha and prayed thus:

“O Lord! I have come here to redeem myself of the three sins I have committed. It is said ‘Yatho vacho nivartante aprapya manasa saha.’ Though I know that the Lord is ineffable, beyond the ken of thought and word, I have dared to describe You. I have committed the sin of not practising what I have known. This is my first sin.

Though I have professed ‘Easwara Sarvabuthanam, Easavasya Idamsarvam, Vasudeva Sarvamidam,’ I have come for Your darshan. Though I declared that the Lord is everywhere, I have come to seek You here. I have committed the sin of saying one thing and doing another. This is my second sin.

In spite of making the statements ‘Ekatma Sarvabhutantaratma, Ekameva Adwitiya Brahma,’ I have come for Your darshan. In spite of my declaring that there is only One entity in the world, I have come for Your Darshan. Thereby I have considered You to be much different from myself. This is my third sin, O Lord!

Redeem me of my three sins and bless me with the Bliss born of non-dualism.”

The first sin that Shankara identified in himself was the disharmony between his thought and deed. The second sin was the disharmony between word and deed. The third sin he identified was the flaw in his thinking (considering the Lord as different from him) arising from the fact that his deed did not measure up to his __________.

Identify the mismatched measure.



6. Uddalaka and Svetaketu

Swami describes: Mention is made in one of the Upanishads of a great sage by name Uddalaka, who sent his son Svetaketu to another guru for his education. Svetaketu took twelve years to acquire proficiency in all the branches of learning. Puffed up with pride, he returned to his father and told him about his profound scholarship.

Then the father questioned him, “Oh my son! Have you known that, by knowing which you would be knowing everything?” The son was baffled by this question which gave a shattering blow to his pride of learning. Of all the kinds of pride, the pride of learning is the worst.

What do you think would make one know everything if only it were known?




7. Saint Ramadas:

Swami narrates: Ramadas of Bhadhrachalam used to write on palm leaves hundreds of songs on his favourite Deity, Rama; the leaves accumulated into a gigantic pile.

One day, Ramadas stood by its side and wondered, "Am I the fellow who wrote all this? Did I write them for my satisfaction or for pleasing Rama?" He carried the whole pile and threw them into the Godavari River; Only 108 songs floated above the waters; the rest sank and were lost for ever.

Swami says that only those 108 came from the _________, the rest were products of intelligence and cleverness.

Where do you think the 108 came from?





8. Sage Ashtavakra and King Janaka

Swami narrates a story: Once upon a time, King Janaka sent round a message inviting scholars, sages and yogis to teach him the knowledge of Atma. He announced: "In the time it takes me to climb on to my horse, one should be able to give me full Brahma jnana (knowledge of the Absolute)." The sages and scholars were worried, as they felt "This is going to be a severe test for our scholarship and learning." No one dared come and offer to satisfy the King's demand.

It was only Sage Ashtavakra who came forward to impart the knowledge to the king, accepting the challenge thrown. Accompanied by a few soldiers and horses, he led the king out of the kingdom to a lonely spot.

Ashtavakra told the king, "I am now going to teach you the knowledge of Atma. I am the preceptor and you are the disciple. Are you ready to accept this relationship? If you agree to this, then you have to make the offering the shishya has to give to the Guru (preceptor). Only after you have made your offering will I start my teaching." King Janaka told Ashtavakra, "I want to attain Brahman and I am therefore prepared to give you anything you want."

Ashtavakra then asked for and accepted a particular offering from the king.

Then the Guru brought a horse, made it stand, and asked the King to sit down on the ground in the middle of the road of his kingdom. He left the king there and retired into the forest to sit quietly under a tree.

The soldiers waited for a long time for the return of the king but neither the king nor Ashtavakra came. They wanted to know what had happened to them, and one by one, they went to find out. They found their king sitting in the middle of the road with a horse standing nearby. The king had dosed his eyes and was absolutely still. Ashtavakra was nowhere to be found. They were rather afraid that this Ashtavakra had cast some magic spell over the king, making him lose his consciousness.

One by one, the soldiers, the prime minister, the courtiers and even the Queen tried to rouse the king to some response, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, the soldiers went in search of Ashtavakra into the forest. They found him sitting under a tree in total peace. They took hold of him and brought him to the place where the king was sitting. Ashtavakra said, "The king is saved, he is all right. You may see for yourself."

The ministers, the queen and others told Ashtavakra: "He has not opened his mouth or eyes." Ashtavakra went close to the king and called him, saying, "Maharaja." Immediately the king opened his eyes and replied, "Swami." Ashtavakra told the king, "The ministers and the queen have come; the soldiers and many others have come and all have tried to talk to you; why did you not answer them?"

The king replied that thoughts, words and deeds were all associated with the offering that he had made to the sage. He therefore had no authority to do anything without the command of the sage.

What do you think was the offering that the Sage had asked from the king?




9. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his disciples:

Swami narrates: Ramakrishna's disciples had to go by boat across the Ganga to get whatever was required for his ashram. Ramakrishna used to assign different tasks each day for the young disciples in the ashram.

One of them was a gentle youth known as Brahmananda. Vivekananda was an aggressive and short-tempered youth.

One day Brahmananda went by boat to bring provisions for the ashram. As soon as they saw an ochre-robed person in the boat, the other passengers got very indignant. They started abusing Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in various ways. They remarked:

"He is a pseudo-sanyasi. He is spoiling all young men," and so on. Brahmananda silently shed tears, remembering the teachings of the master. During the trip he was apprehensive about what might happen. On the return trip, the earlier story was repeated. He listened silently to the abuse levelled against Ramakrishna and did not venture to quarrel with them.

After his return, Ramakrishna asked him to narrate all that had happened. After listening to Brahmananda's pathetic story, Swami Ramakrishna burst out: "How could you remain silent while your guru was being reviled? You have committed a sin. You are not fit to remain in the ashram".

Narender (Vivekananda) who was standing nearby, listened to the angry words of the Master. Brahmananda fell at the feet of the Master and pleaded for forgiveness.

The next day, it was Vivekananda's turn to go by boat to buy provisions. As soon as they saw an ochre-robed youth in the boat, the other passengers started abusing Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in the similar manner.

One rich man accused Ramakrishna of spoiling young men by his teachings. Narender remembered what the guru had said the previous day, so he rose from his seat and gave a slap on the cheek of the reviler. Narender was a strong, powerful person. He told the traducer: "Will you keep your mouth shut? You may have your likes and dislikes and we have ours. What right have you to condemn us? If you do not keep silent, I shall hurl you into the Ganga."

Everyone in the boat got alarmed that the irate youth might actually carry out the threat. All of them became silent. Vivekananda brought the provisions and returned by boat to the ashram. On the return journey no one ventured to open his mouth.

Ramakrishna asked Narender to relate what all happened during his boat trip. Narender related everything and said: "All of them kept their mouths shut after I had slapped one of them for criticising the guru."

Immediately Swami Ramakrishna observed: "Chi! Chi! How unbecoming of you to dishonour the robe you are wearing by losing your temper, exhibiting hatred and causing hurt to a person. You are unfit to stay in my ashram. What does it matter what anyone says? How does it affect us? Their praise or censure will not touch us.”

Why do you think the Master gave such contrasting advice to his two disciples?

The Masters give to each disciple according to their ______________.




10. Self-Sacrifice, Self-Confidence, Self-Satisfaction and Self-Realization

Dakshinamurthy was one morning walking in slow steps along the sea- beach. He looked at the waves and drew a lesson therefrom. He saw that the waves were slowly but systematically, carrying towards the shore a bit of straw, passing it on from one crest to another, until it was deposited on land!

The sea is a broad expanse, it is deep and mighty. But, yet, it is constantly engaged in clearing itself from all extraneous things. It knows that, you must not neglect a desire, for the reason that it is a straw. Force it back, on to the shore, where it can do no harm. Eternal vigilance is the price of peace and happiness.

Dakshinamurthy exclaimed, "Wonderful! The Sea has taught me a great lesson - the lesson that danger lurks, when ___________ raises its head.”

What do you think Sri Dakshinamurthy said provokes the lurking danger?




The Completed Crossword



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