Ram Katha London Day 2: 13/8/17

Yesterday was the day of music and story-telling, Bapu took us over a very large area of ideas and incidences and he mentioned many sutras in the course of his observations which are the pearls of wisdom based upon his experience and thinking. Bapu explained the origin of mahimna and about the author Pushpadant. Pushpadant used to steal flowers from the royal garden and worshiped Shiva with those flowers. His intension was good but the means he used were impure. He was caught red handed and composed the mahimna stotra. He was very confident about the poem that he wrote and described his own creation as the best and one which was very dear to Shiva himself.

Discussing the relations between the end and the means, Bapu gave the example of Shurparnakha and Ravana. The end purpose of both was to secure the favour of Ram and Sita but the means they used were polluted. They were brother and sister, and they are equally denounced in Ramchrita manas. Tulsidas has called Shurparnakha and Kaikeyi as venomous serpents. Both pretended to be what they were not and therefore they suffered the punishments. Kubja was deformed but she never tried to hide her defects and therefore was rewarded by Krishna. As a poet says even nectar, if stolen from somebody can give you immortality but will never give you freedom from fear (Abhay). Bapu then said that bhakti is not externalism or ceremonial. Bhakti consists of devotional singing (bhajan) but then karma is also bhajan, jnana is also bhajan.

Bapu then picked up a question about who are the successors and heirs of Ram. Bapu said that the question can be answered in two ways. If Ram is the supreme divinity then we all are his legitimate heirs. Ram in human manifestation had Luv and Kush. Luv means the smallest unit of time, it means humbleness and humility. And Kush refers to a very hard type of grass with sharp edges. One who can pick this grass without getting bled was known as kushala or one with awareness. Bapu said those who have both these qualities of continuous awareness and humility, seeking satsanga are the real heirs and successors of Ram.

The second question was that there are many people who do their mala without concentrating, is this proper? Bapu advised that whatever may be the type of your mala, there is japa of Ram naam and Tulsidas has said that in Kalyug the japa of Ram naam is the most effective way to salvation. At least we should not criticize those who are doing their mala. Bapu then picked up another story from Simhasan Batrishi. King Vikrama had a dream in which he saw a huge and divine palace and he wanted to visit that palace. He travelled far and wide in the forest and at night heard an old woman waiting. Her son was a woodcutter and he had not returned form the forest for a long time. Vikrama traced that person who was threatened by a tiger. Vikrama killed the tiger and brought the woodcutter home. The old woman informed the king about that palace but warned that only a real bhajanik who sings god’s name day and night can alone enter that palace. Vikrama called his priest but his devotional singing was not acceptable to the guardians of the palace. They considered Vikrama to be more qualified for the entrance in that palace because he was doing the work of Ram. Bapu said every action and every work done with devotion and sincerity is bhajan. It may be music, it may be literature, it may be dance, it may be anything, we should not understand the word bhajan in a narrow, restricted meaning. Everything that is done with purity of means is devotion, is satsanga.

Bapu said that our life is our sadhana, as Rumi used to say, I’m myself a prayer, God is only accepting it with a blessing. In this type of sadhana the best language is silence because silence is the language of gods. The second-best language is truth, the third would be to speak the truth without hurting the feeling of others and the forth will be to speak as briefly as possible. We all should be like the trees because the trees give their fruits to others and Bapu advised people that if others don’t understand you then you should keep silent. We should not be arrogant about our uniqueness.

Pushpadant sang about the majesty of Shiva. When such majesty is gunatita it must be praised. Ravana has his own majesty (prathistha) which was tamoguni (darkness), one cannot praise it. Majesty which is rajoguni (highest lightness) also should not be praised. Bapu said that every Buddha is gunatita (pragnya) and therefore must be properly praised. We should not waste our time in rituals and ceremonies because if you are devoted to god you don’t need them.

Bapu said that Brahma is the guru of intellectuals, those who are philosophical have Shiva as their guru and Hanuman is the guru of those who are ready to serve others, those who are devoted to Ram and those who do the work of Ram. Jagdamba is the guru of all mothers and Bharata a guru of all devotees but Shiva alone is the universal guru.

Bapu said that if shashtras do not give full freedom of thinking, of thoughts and expressions they become merely the weapons because the religion which make people afraid is no religion. Gunatita by nature is simple, straight forward and humble. He has the habit of renunciation.

Bapu quoted Rudrashtaka from manas and said that just as tandava of Shiva, the flute of Krishna and Garuda of Vishnu are natural and quick, Pushpadant also wrote a mahimna. Bapu said that maya affects everybody but charan and sadhus are free from maya (hallucinations). He quoted manas to say that in chitrakuta when Indra spread his maya Bharata, Janaka, the Munis, Suchivas and Sadhus stayed free from it. Bapu said that he is very greatly impressed by some idols in some of the temples. He agreed that there are too many temples. He doesn’t want the temples which are perpendicular, he would advocate temples which are horizontal. Horizontal temples are the bridges that unite communities, linguistic groups and different religions. Ram is credited with establishment of Rameshwara but he never built a temple. Bapu is totally against communalism. Bapu reverted to the incident in Chitrakuta and said that maya cannot misguide Bharata who is a devotee, Janaka who is jnani, Munis who do the tapa the suchjivs devoted to truth and renunciation, and sadhus who has awareness.
 Bapu quoted the popular saying that sadhu should be continuously on the move (Sadhu to chalta bhala). Bapu added two more qualities of sadhu. He should have continuous awareness (jagta bhala) and he should be continuously singing devotional songs (bhajata bhala).

Then Bapu quoted mahimna to say that upasana does not need any gadgets. Shiv lived a poor life. There is no mantra equal to Ram naam, there is no god like Mahadeva and there is no stotra like Mahimna. Bapu then remembered the episode of Krishna being served by Lakshmana, his daughter in law. Even Krishna must have got old with all the infirmities of the old age.

Advice of Krishna was not accepted by his society, even his wife Rukshmini stayed away. There is no escape from fate. One can be free from Jnana, one can be free from religion, one can be free from relations but one cannot be free from fate and it is the fate of every awakened person to suffer. All the prophets have suffered at the hands of their society. One was nailed on the cross, one was poisoned in prison and one was exiled from his city. When Krishna got old, Lakshmana served the old father in law with great devotion, Krishna had given shocks to the citizens of Mathura but Lakshmana gave him only service and she refused to demand anything in return.

Bapu had declared that manas itself is Shiva and he described manas as Shiva. The chopais are ganga of manas Shiva, his jata are the dohas, the tripunda are the soratha. The slokas in manas is the crescent on the head of Shiva and truth, love and compassion are the three eyes of Shiva. And charanas are the snakes. Bapu said that our dependence on manas should be purposeless and frank. Trishula of Shiva is not a weapon but for removal of agonies the poison in the throat of Shiva is the sufferings and difficulties in life.

Bapu mentioned the pilgrimage of Ramanuja, when a poor farmer brought to him an old and tattered copy of Gita. The farmer could never read it, could never listen to it but he loved this Gita. Ramanuja was touched, he said we have commented on Gita but you are really in love with Gita.

Bapu said that manas is not for popular entertainment, but it is something for our self-awakening. Bapu said that manas contains the mahima of 27 elements. The first mahima is of satsanga. Satsanga is not merely religious activities, satanga implies to be merged with sat (truth). Secondly manas has described the mahima of sadhus and Bapu gave a number of definitions of sadhus. The other mahima would be discussed later on.