Ram Katha London Day 7: 18/8/17

Bapu was extremely happy with the pure and sattvik music presented by Kaushiki and he also expressed his happiness at the dance theme presented by Meera. Bapu requested that very long questions in English language ought to be avoided. He picked up one question protesting against his statement of Krishna being a Kathiavadi. Bapu considered that Krishna was born in Mathura and passed his early life in Vraj. He quoted Surdas, where Krishna is saying that I cannot get over the memories of Vraj, but Bapu pointed out that personalities like Krishna cannot be put into any narrow frame. Krishna belongs to all and he is a supporter of everybody.

In that connection Bapu sighted an example of flowers in your garden. Flowers are your property but its perfume will spread all over the world. Bapu quoted manas to say that God pervades the entire universe in the same way and no one can claim him as his own. Bapu quoted Rumi to say that love is whole and it is only we who are the pieces. Bapu expressed his anguish that a recently established sect in Gujarat claims that their God is much superior to Krishna. He said the generosity of the Vaishnavas should not be misunderstood as their weakness.

Bapu doesn’t believe in establishing a group of his followers. The entire mankind is one humanity. Bapu then picked up Ramcharita manas and said that Ram himself proclaimed the mahima of Ganga, explaining the same to his minister Sumanta, Lakshman and Sita. Ganga is not a mere river, it is the representative symbol of Indian culture. Numerous stotras of Ganga have been written from times immemorial. Ram had been told about the mahima of Ganga by Vishvamitra and Bapu vividly described the emergence and arrival of Ganga in the Himalayas. Bapu not only visualises the katha himself but he also makes us see his katha by his elaborate and vivid description of Shiva encapsulating Ganga in his jata.

He said that it was the arrogance of Ganga which was responsible for her being entrapped in the jata of Shankar. It was the humble request of Ganga that Shiva allowed her to flow again. Bhagirath who brought Ganga down has become the symbol of tireless efforts -  purshartha. Bapu then recited the stuti of Ganga as given in manas. He then turned to the spiritual interpretation of this incident. He says Ganga represents devotion – Bhakti, which is always there in the mind of Shiva. Shiva is the teacher of both bhakti and mukti. Bapu gave a wider interpretation to the word bhakti to include all learnings, all arts and all achievements, and advised his audience to spread whatever they have for the good of the entire society.

He then told the story of the doll. Vikram Aditya faced deadly situations and damages but brought the medicine for a sick girl. Bapu said that katha is also a life-giving medicine (sanjeevani). Bapu is often asked how long he is going to do his kathas, he said he wants to keep Hanuman on this earth and he would never stop doing his katha.

After mahima of Ganga was described Bapu picked up the mahima of Chitrakut as described in manas. Chitrakut was holy and beautiful with river Mandakini flowing nearby, with beautiful forests full of a variety of animal life. Valmiki on being questioned described the real nature of Ram, Sita and Lakshman. Valmiki suggested 14 different places where the divinity can and does reside. Chitrakut was the abode of Ram and river Mandakini was a branch of Ganga brought to Chitrakut, by tapasya of Ansuya. Mandakini has been described as a dakini which eats away all the sins of the people. Turning to the story of Ahaliya, Bapu said that we can grant total freedom of thought but we cannot allow total freedom of action. There is nothing wrong in searching beauty, but a misdirected search for beauty may lead you astray. Indra in search of beautiful things tried to seduce Ahaliya. His search was pure but the means that he had adopted were sinful. He dressed himself as a sadhu. We should not go by dress, what is more important is the vrutti rather than the vesha.

Bapu then turned to Ramcharita manas. He explained the names of all the 4 brothers and gave the spiritual interpretation that one who wants to approach Ram and develop spiritually and must never try to exploit anyone. He should destroy the feelings of revenge (shatrutva) from his heart and he should be supportive to everybody. Bapu then explained how Ram went with Vishvamitra and how he protected his yajna. Bapu said that faith without knowledge easily turns into blind faith. Bapu then narrated the story of how Ahaliya was revived and he ended with Ram arriving in Janakpur.