How am I to know, if you are Shiva or Madhava: Thyagaraja Story
Puttaparthi, Sai Kulwanth Hall (1996 Special Discourses )
Thyagaraja said, “O lord, how can I decide who you are?! How am I to know if you are Shiva or Madhava? ‘Ra’ is the primal letter in the eight lettered Madhava mantra ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ ” Without the ‘ra’ syllable the mantra becomes ‘nayanaya’ which means ‘chopping’ and so the mantra loses its significance. Tyagaraja further says, “In the mantra ‘Om namah Shivaya’, ‘ma’ is the primal and life letter” And its absence makes the mantra ‘om nah shivaya’ which means inauspicious. “I pay my respects to the one who knows these details. How am I to know if you are Shiva or Madhava?” In Shiva mantra ‘ma’ is the life letter and in Madhava mantra ‘ra’ is the life letter. These two letters make the word ‘RAMA’ and so Thyagaraja says that he salutes the word Rama. So there is none in this world who does not chant the Lord’s name. One thinks of God in one form or the other.
Power of thought, word and deed; Dhruva story00:05:52
The character of Dhruva in Maha Bhagavata is familiar to all of you. He is a five year old boy who does not have any worldly knowledge. By his mere strong faith instilled by his mother and strengthened by the Divine sage Narada he went to the forest and did serious penance for seeing God. We have to have faith in elders’ words. Dhruva’s faith in the divine sage Narada has resulted in his having the vision of God. But he is a child. When Lord Vishnu appeared before him and asked what does he want, he said” Oh Lord! You could know where I am and you came to this thick forest. Do you not know what I want? God is not unwise. He is the wisest of the wise. God said ‘I know where you are and what your wish is. But I have a definite method. The proper study of mankind is man. Thought, word and action should be in conformity. Only then I can fulfill your desire.’ You at your home said that you would pray and ask God to bless you so that you can sit in your father’s lap. Accordingly, you did penance. But you are not asking for what you thought first. I need to put you through the test to confirm what you are aspiring for. Dhruva said “Oh Lord! My original wish is like asking for a valueless glass piece. But the vision of yours is like a diamond. How fortunate I am to get a diamond while searching for a glass piece! So I do not want a glass piece”. God said “In your thought, word and deed, two are on the same line but you’re asking (word) is different. OK two in majority are same. So I give you the boon to go and rule the kingdom”. For everything God sees the unity in thought word and deed. Otherwise He does not like it. See! Even after doing such a rigorous penance and getting the vision of Lord Vishnu Dhruva could not obtain liberation. This is because of his word being different than thought and action. So, speech is to be used very carefully. Word is the son of mind. Mind tends to be with many impurities. Son may get the qualities of parent. Actually mind should have got the qualities of divine nature. Sometimes the child does not get the qualities of the parent. Prahlada is a great devotee. Father Hiranyakashapu is the evil one. Prahlada is devoted to Lord Narayana whereas Hiranyakashapu hates Narayana. Hiranyakashapu is the one who believes in external form and name whereas Prahlada is not the one who is misguided by the illusions of the external world. Forms and names exist. But we have to see beyond those. This body is mortal.
Surdas and Krishna's Conversation: Chinnakatha00:01:33
Once upon a time, Lord Krishna approached Surdas and said, “O Surdas, would you like to see me? I will give you sight.” Surdas said, “Swami, people have eyes, but are they able to see you? “Kannulundi gruddi ayi, Kalyana karamaina, Nee roopa darsimpa nerarairi” Though they have eye sight they are blind to look at the auspicious form of yours!! “Chevi undi chevatulayi, atimanoharamaina, Nee gaana maalakimpa nerarairi” Though they have ears they are deaf to the melodious music!! What is the use of the ears that are like big plates? Can they hear your divine flute? They have eyes like the cotton balls; are they able to see you? No!! I want eyes that can see you. I need the ears that can hear the divine music from your flute. I do not want the physical, bodily ears and eyes.” That is the real wisdom, ‘Gyanam’. That is true renunciation.
Padmapada Guru Seva; Story from Bhaja Govindam00:04:00
Shankaracharya had five disciples. One is very pure hearted. The others came there to learn Shastras and Upanishads and other knowledge. They were going through logic and grammar. One day Shankaracharya was teaching this logic. One student wanted to attend to the personal duties of the teacher. He would collect all the clothes of the guru and take it to the river when he would go to bathe. This disciple got completely involved in these duties in attending the personal needs of the guru. Thinking, chanting and and repeating the name of the Guru, he started washing the clothes and he finds that the water of the Ganges was rising. The water reached his neck when he noticed this. He was not fear stricken because he would drown, he thought he may not be able to survive. "By evening time it may not be possible for me to handover the clothes to my Guru" that was his main thought. " I should handover these clothes to the Guru. It doesn't matter even if I lose my life". He kept the bundle of clothes on his head and started chanting the name of his Guru. Wherever he kept his foot to step ahead, there arose a lotus flower from the stone. The student was named Padmapada. The guru summoned him and blessed him. "Service to Guru is greatest. You considered Guru as your God. God is not separate from your Guru. Guru is Brahma, Guru is Vishnu, Guru is Shiva. Do not get carried away by today's interpretation of Guru. God is only Guru. The creation, sustenance and annihilation are divine qualities. Consider God as your Guru. Don't take individuals as your Guru". Thus, he blessed Padmapada. The other four disciples used to make fun of Padmapada. At a moment of time he could chant all his lessons learnt. In fact, he was much better than all those who had studied everyday. Shankaracharya asked, "How are you chanting all these things?" He said Guru, "You are my everything, I surrender myself to you". Who is Shankara? The one without doubts (Shanka) is Shankara. Shankara has no doubts. I surrendered to such a person.
Cry for God; Ramakrishna said00:02:30
Many went to Ramakrishna and asked him. Vivekananda also was there. They asked him, 'Swami have you seen God?' Yes I have seen he replied. Where have you seen him? Just as you see me or I see You I saw God in the same way. Yes, I have seen God. Then why cant you show him to me? You too can see God. Why is it that I cannot see him? Oh mad cap, you see God but still you say that you haven't seen him. There cannot be greater fool than you. You see the world using the worldly vision. I see the world with a divine feeling. Feeling is very important. But one thing here. The man in the world cries for children, cry for wife, for money, for food, but we can't find anyone crying for God. When you cry for God, you can see him. If you cry for the world then how do you expect to see God? How is it possible? It is impossible. The thing which you pine for you will get that. Pine for God. That was the teaching of Ramakrishna to Vivekananda. Child, you are crying for so many things. You should shed tears for God and not for the worldly things. Cry for God and he is sure to manifest himself to you. Everything is within the mind not outside. So, when you want to see and experience God, dedicate yourself to God.
Swami on the life of British Prime Minister James Mcdonald: Lead life with good thoughts00:03:00
There are innumerable people, not only in Bharath but also elsewhere, whose lives are examples of transformation into virtuous persons by inculcating good thoughts. Long ago there lived a person in England who earned his livelihood by writing the addresses on envelops. His heart was filled with the continuous remembering of the Lord’s name. Every time he returned the envelope after filling the address he would say, “God bless you!’; and at other times he would say, “God is great!” or “Trust in God!” His life became miserable day by day. His life took good turn and improved overtime as he had always nurtured good thoughts. In due course he became the prime minister of Britain and he is James Mc Donald! There are many such people all around the world. But some do not have the good fortune of even believing in such happenings. Belief too is a kind of good fortune!! Only fortunate ones have faith in such good things. There are people who believe in history as it is written. In today’s world too, there are innumerable people whose lives endorse the fact that good thoughts are basis for noble life.
Who is a true devotee00:11:26
Embodiments of Love! Be it any place, any state, any country, any region, any gender, any person the human quality of the human being must be fostered. One must not waste one’s time by indulging in selfishness. God sent Narada in search of a true noble soul spending its time and life in a sacred way. Narada said, “Swami, whom should I select?” God said,” The one who repeats and chants Lord’s holy name whole-heartedly, that person is truly a human. The one with a pure heart is a ‘human being’ and from that pure heart the sacred name of the Lord must emanate. Such a man is true human. One can involve in the matters of the world, those are worldly tendencies. One should not prioritize them. They are temporary happiness. The one who does not chant the glory of the Lord on such sacred festivals is not a human. “ Narada pondered on this and said, “Swami! I repeat your name, “Govinda, Narayana” incessantly; in fact I do not see a time when I have stopped chanting your name! Is there a greater devotee than me?” There the ego started in Narada. To consider oneself as the only devotee is a sign of ego. God said, “There are lots of such devotees, son! Every home has one as does every inch of earth. That is not true devotion. True devotion should rise from the heart, spread all around and sanctify every deed performed. The food eaten reaches the stomach, gets digested there and the essence is supplied to all the parts. Similarly, the chanting of the holy name rising in the heart should reach the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the nose, the limbs, the feet—the divinity should manifest in all the body, then and only then can one say that one has chanted the Lord’s name. When the essence of digested food reaches the eyes, the eyes get the qualities of the food taken. That is to say when the chanting reaches the eyes, one’s sight becomes sacred. When it reaches the tongue, one utters only sacred words; when it reaches the ears, one hears only the sacred sounds. When it reaches the feet, one goes only to sacred places. When it reaches the hands, they indulge in sacred and fruitful deeds. He, whose body parts indulge in sacred activities prescribed for them, is a true human. So search for such a man.” Narada searched all around but he could not get rid of the ego in him. On the way back, while he was passing through a forest, he saw a tribal wood cutter sitting at a place, chanting the Lord’s name with closed eyes. Narada approached him and said, “Sir, who are you?” The tribal replied, “Swami, I am a hunter and am an ardent devotee of the Lord.” Narada was astonished hearing the tribal‘s words, “Are you an ardent devotee? If you are such an ardent devotee why do you have knife in your hands? You have kept it to kill somebody.” The tribal replied, “No. No swami, it’s not for that purpose. I intend to do four tasks with this knife.” Narada: “What are they?” The tribal: “First I want to kill Draupadi.” Narada: “Draupadi is great devotee. Draupadi contemplates on Krishna always. Lord himself came to her rescue. Why do you want to kill her?” The tribal: “She is, no doubt, a devotee, but at one time she called out to Krishna for help as he was eating his food and he left his food to go to her. He could not finish his meals because of her. Since she made the Lord forsake his food, I want kill her.” Narada proceeded further and saw Prahlada. Prahlada was chanting the name of the Lord, “Narayana!” The Tribal: “Son, no doubt you are chanting the name of the Lord. But what is the consequence of your action? By calling out the name of the Lord you are depriving Him of food and sleep. When your father was torturing you by trampling with elephants, you called out to Lord Narayana and the Lord allowed himself to be trampled by the elephants to save you. Is this the help that you rendered to Lord Narayana? So I will kill Prahlada.” Narada: “So who is the third person?” The tribal: “There is a person by name Narada, who has a stringed instrument in his hands and goes on calling out, “Narayana”. His devotion is not spiritual; it is mired in selfishness. So I want to kill him.” This made Narada scared. He thought, “This fall is all due to my ego.” The Tribal: “Then there is Meera. She always repeated the name “Giridhara nagara”. In spite of all that repeating she could not experience the bliss. When she called out “Giridhara” all the slaps rendered to her by her mother-in-law were found on the Lord’s cheeks and this amounted to hurting the Lord. Therefore I want kill her.” Narada reached Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Narayana. Narada said, “Swami! I searched everywhere and investigated all. I found that people who repeated the Lord’s name were considered as wicked.” The lord said, “No, no Narada you are mistaken. One thinks that the Lord is subjected to suffering by repeating the Lord’s name out of one’s love for the Lord. You think that you are depriving the Lord of food and sleep. You think that God’s happiness is your happiness. Lord should be happy and blissful at all times and under all circumstances. He should not be put to any inconvenience either physically or mentally. You are a true devotee if you can give happiness to the Lord.” Then Narada realised, “Swami you gave me this task to kill my ego.” There are many such sacred stories in the history of Bharath which have spread the message in the whole world. One must not cause even an iota of inconvenience to the Lord though one may have great devotion. One will be hurt if the Lord is displeased with one. So one should think that Lord’s happiness is one’s happiness and vice versa. One should have the spirit of oneness in both. “I and God are one.” One should recognise and experience the harmony of the two. What is the path followed by the modern devotees? They merely follow their selfish devotion. They are obsessed with their self interest. But God is the embodiment of love and it is present in everybody and one should not obstruct the divine love. One must share the divine love and that is the will of God.
Do what you like; Chaitanya Maha prabhu story00:01:19
Sachi devi scolded her son Chaitanya. "You must marry, then I will be happy. If you do not marry according to the mother's wishes it is of no use". But Chaitanya said, "Mother, I do not want to marry, but I will do it to fulfill your wish. But you will not be happy. If I am not happy, how can you be happy". Then he married. He married Lakshmi. He went on his journey to Bangladesh and Lakshmi died fasting. Sachi devi felt very unhappy. "He did not want it but i got him married and ultimately we had to face this". So she felt very unhappy. Chaitanya came back from Bangladesh. "Amma, you should have listened to what I said". If we do something against our wishes, what is the use.