Ram Katha London Day 1: 12/8/17

Ameet Jogia, by young Rudra and Rishi who described a touching experience of his own.

Shri Harishchandra Joshi described a series of disasters that India and especially Gujarat experienced recently. Bapu laid down a time bound program to collect the relief fund and handover the collected amount to the chief minister of Gujarat on or before the 22nd of August. He began by donating 125,000 rupees on behalf of Chitrakut Dhaam.

Bapu then welcomed a large group of scholars, litterateurs and musicians who have responded to invitations and who have come here because of their devotion to Bapu.

Bapu then choose the theme on which this katha will be focussed linking the month of Shravan with Shiva. Bapu will be speaking on Mahimna khant Ramcharit manas. Mahimna is the longest, most poetic and highly philosophical stotra.

Bapu explained the linkage between mahimna and manas in a two-fold manner. Manas itself is Mahadeva and secondly manas discusses the mahima of the 27 vital elements of existence. Bapu then turned into a story teller picking up the famous story book Simhasan Batrishi of Shamal. He chose one of 32 stories and mentioned the adventure of King Vikrama sitting on a pillar rising from the lake of mansarovar and reaching up to the sky. He was burnt to ashes by the sun rays but was revived by the Sun god who gifted him the divine kundala. But when a brahman demanded it Vikrama was generous enough to give the kundala away.

Bapu inter alia referred to Mahabharata advising us never to undertake pilgrimage in company of those who eat too much, who sleep too much, who talk too much and are lazy enough to get easily tired. Vikrama is a symbol of one who is adventurous who is ready to sacrifice himself and is generous by nature.

Bapu compared manas with lake manasarovar and he finds everyday a new chopai rising like a pillar going up to the sky. Ramcharit manas makes us free from our arrogance which is burnt by the rays of the sun. Ram is the sun god of manas and he will revive us. Kundala represents the art of listening and one who has achieved this art should pass it on to the others. Listening is the first of 9 different stages of bhakti.

Bapu said that Mahadeva has 7 types of majesty (mahima) because he is a guru of the universe. Tribhuvanpur Bapu mentioned 6 types of gurus: guru, shri guru, kul guru, dhrama guru, sadguru, Tribhuvan guru.

Shiva as Tribhuvan guru (guru of the universe) and therefore shiva has 7 qualities - tapa, tej, tirth, tarunya (internal youth), Tivrata (intensity), tyaga (renunciation) and Trupti (contentment). Bal kanda is the story of tapa and several characters do penance. Ayodhya kanda is the story of tyaga, renunciation of Ram and Bharata. Aranya kanda contains the story of several munis who are the holy places (tirtha). Kishkinda kanda mentions several characters who were eternally young Vail, Sugriva, Angada, Hanuman is the best of them all. Sundar kanda is the story of Tivrata, Ram’s intense yearning for Sita and intense efforts of Hanuman. Bapu then mentions Bhakti Vardhani of Vallbhacharya in which he has listed the stages of bhakti, first is love (prem), second is attachment (ashakti) and third is addiction or vyasan. Lanka kanda describes tejasvita (brilliance) and whatever we may say about Ravana he had a brilliance of his own. Uttar kanda represents contentment of Tulsidas Paramvishram.

Bapu would discuss all these issues based upon his studies depending upon listening others. He advised us to keep all the windows of the mind open so that we can learn from others. Bapu welcomes people of all ages to his Katha, but his main target is the young, and especially the children because it is the young people who are going to contribute to the new century of unity of the world and a peaceful world. He compared manas with Mansarovar. Mansarovar has holy waters, manas has holy words of Mansarovar. One is difficult to approach but manas is accessible to all. Mansarovar has a fixed location while manas is mobile. One who gets drowned in mansarovar is dead, one who get drowned in manas can swim and he can make others swim.

Manas has 4 ghaats of knowledge, of upasana, of karma and of surrender. Manas is a scripture of dialogue but it has been made a scripture of debate and quarrels. Manas like sun or wind belongs to all. It is not sectarian.

Bapu then turned to the description of manas and explained the meaning of 7 stanzas of Mangalacharan and he said guru alone has all the qualities of Ganesh, Surya, Shiva, Durga and Vishnu. He then advised people to recite Hanuman Chalisa as and when they can do it and to repeat it as many numbers of times that they can.