Power of namasmarana

Value- Faith

Sub value- Devotion, conviction

akbar-birbal

One day, Emperor Akbar and his minister Birbal, with a few soldiers, went on a visit to a nearby province. On the way, as they galloped on their horses, Akbar noticed Birbal moving his lips constantly. When asked, Birbal said that it was the divine name “Rama” that he was constantly repeating, which he had inherited from his parents. Emperor Akbar was impressed and was proud of his minister.

A little later they realized that they were separated from the soldiers and had lost their way in the woods. Both of them were really exhausted and hungry. Akbar wanted Birbal to accompany him in search of food. But Birbal settled down under a tree with his japa mala and requested Akbar to excuse him for a hour to do his Rama nama japa.

Akbar was surprised and annoyed. He said, “Will this Rama nama bring you food? We need to put some effort and not just sit under a tree and chant.” Birbal quietly continued his japa. The angry king stomped away by himself in search for food.

After walking a while Akbar found a small hut in a clearing. The moment the occupants knew that it was the Emperor himself, they welcomed him with all respect and fed him well. The king offered them a few gold coins as a token of appreciation. Before he took leave, he also had some food packed for Birbal.

Akbar then triumphantly went back to the place where Birbal was chanting Rama nama. After finishing his japa, Birbal happily greeted the king and asked if he had been able to find anything to eat. The king nodded proudly and handed Birbal the food that he had brought, saying sarcastically, “Only effort has brought this food. This was not fetched by Birbal who sat here chanting Nama.”

Birbal did not utter a word, but ate the food with tearful eyes. Once Birbal finished his dinner, he turned to Akbar and said in a choked voice, “Only today have I directly experienced the power of Rama Nama! Though you are a great emperor, you had to beg for food today. But do you know what this Rama Nama has done for me, who did nothing but simply chant it? Rama Nama has made the king beg and bring food for me, a poor nobody! I have been blessed with food although I was only simply sitting here under the tree. This is verily the glory of Rama Nama!”

Akbar was dumbfounded!

Learning

Chanting the name of the Lord with full faith and devotion can make miracles happen. It does not mean that we dont work and just chant the name of the Lord. But we must remember that only our efforts may always not necessarily get us positive results. Everyday if we take out some time to remember and thank the Lord; He will always be with us and take care of our needs. One needs to have faith and devotion.

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 9 with story and essence

Verse 9

Satsangatve nissngatvam

nissangatve nirmohatvam

nirmohatve nishchalatattvam

nishcalatattve jiivanmuktih

Through the company of the good and wise people arises non attachment. Through non attachment arises the freedom from delusion, when there is freedom from delusion, there is unchangeable reality. On experiencing this unchangeable reality, there comes liberation or freedom. Seek Govinda.

Story based on verse 9

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A master; a guru taught his disciple all that he knew. Having taught all the scriptures, he told the disciple that for the final teaching he would have to go to a nearby ashram. He told the disciple to go to another guru there for the final teaching. The disciple was wondering why his guru would send him to another guru. He was much more knowledgeable than the other guru.

guru-ashram

Though in a dilemma; he decided to obey his guru and went to the nearby ashram to meet the other guru. To his surprise; the other guru had stopped teaching. He was engrossed in serving food to his disciples with love, clean up the left overs as well as wash the dishes.

The disciple saw this and learnt what it meant to serve out of love. Later he noticed something profound. The guru himself washed the dishes and kept them in order before he went to sleep.

Next morning, he used to take out the dishes, washed them again and started cooking. The disciple was wondering as to why the guru should wash the dishes all over again in the morning while they were already been washed thoroughly earlier in the night and that dishes were not dusty either. He observed all such details and came back to narrate to his earlier guru.

He narrated, ‘I cannot understand this strange fact of why should the guru in the ashram wash the already cleaned vessels again in the morning, why should he do that?”

To which his guru replied, “Yes, this is the understanding that I wanted you to observe and get totally.”

You cleanse your mind regularly but your mind starts collecting dust along the way in the form of a clutter, foggy and unclear understanding. Please do not say that you do meditation once and stop at that. So long as your mind gathers dust it has to be cleansed. It is a constant process of cleansing and purifying our mind.

Essence

Goal of every human is to realise his/her true self and finally merge in Him or the source. When we are so much entangled in our daily duties, relationships and other activities of the world; we seldom have time or even bother to ponder about our actual self. We always associate ourselves with our body and relationships we have built around us. Later when we lose these relationships or even when this body suffers we are so unhappy. This is because we chase after something which is impermanent. True, it is no easy to understand this and it is easier said than done. But ‘satsang’ or company of good, wise people at least propels us to think about who we are and what is the ultimate goal of life? Without a Master or good company it is not easy for one to proceed into this self inquiry. So company of good is the first step towards the path of self realisation. If we begin now; we know not when or in how many lifetimes we will achieve our goal. But we would have at least begun the journey on this path.

Story adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 8 with story and essence

Verse 8

Kaate kaantaa kaste putrah samsaaro

ayamatiiva vichitrah kasya

tvam kah kuta aayaatah

tattvam chintaya tadiha bhraatah

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Very wonderful indeed is this samsara. Who are you? From where have you come? Oh, Brother! Reflect on that truth here. Seek Govinda!

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Story based on verse 8

The story of Mahabharata war

When Krishna drove Arjuna to the battlefield to fight with the Kauravas for the cause of righteousness and halted the chariot right before his opponents; Arjuna was trembling and in a deep state of anguish seeing all his relatives and gurus with whom he was supposed to fight. Turning to his friend and charioteer, Arjuna cried out; ‘O Krishna, I see my own relations here anxious to fight, and my limbs grow weak; my mouth is dry, my body shakes, and my hair is standing on end. My skin burns, and the bow Gandiva has slipped from my hand; my mind seems to be whirling.’

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Arjuna was the most valiant warrior known. Why was he not willing to fight?  This was because Arjuna was not sure whether he was doing the right thing. He and his Pandava brothers wanted a minimally fair share of their material inheritance, but the devious, stubborn, and unjust Kauravas rebuffed them repeatedly. Though his cause was righteous enough, Arjuna felt miserable. He continued, ‘O Krishna, I have no desire for victory, or for a kingdom or pleasures. Of what use is a kingdom or pleasure or even life, if those for whose sake we desire these things—teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, in-laws, grandsons and others with family ties—are engaging in this battle, renouncing their wealth and their lives? Even if they were to kill me, I would not want to kill them, not even to become ruler of the three worlds. How much less for the earth alone? We are prepared to kill our own relations out of greed for the pleasures of a kingdom. Better for me if the Kauravas were to attack me in battle and kill me unarmed and unresisting.’

Krishna tells Arjuna that his sorrow is misguided. Those who grasp the true nature of reality, he says, ‘grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. There has never been a time when you and I and the kings gathered here have not existed, nor will there be a time when they will cease to exist. … The body is mortal, but he who dwells in the body is immortal and immeasurable. Therefore, Arjuna, fight in this battle.’ It is out of ignorance of the true nature of reality, he says, that we call one man a slayer, another man slain. ‘There is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die.’ 

Even without your participation, all the warriors gathered here will die. Therefore arise, Arjuna; conquer your enemies and enjoy the glory of sovereignty. I have already slain all these warriors; you will only be my instrument.’ The war hasn’t even begun and Krishna says, ‘Bhishma, Drona, Jayadrata, Karna, and many others are already slain. Kill those whom I have killed. Do not hesitate. Fight in this battle and you will conquer your enemies.

Essence

It is said; “Manushya janmam durlabham”; it is only after great and good merits done in many past lives one gets chance to be born as a human. Human being is the only creation of the Lord; who has the capacity to realise and attain Him. But being born as humans we get entrapped in attachments, our sorrows, joys etc which we think are real. Upon self enquiry and learnings from the great Masters we will know that all these worldly existence are all a delusion. These are unreal and temporary. The only reality is that we are not this body; we are the Brahman or supreme self. Great Masters and Jnanis have realised this truth. Hindu scriptures often use the lotus flower and its leaf as metaphors. The plant though thriving in water, its leaf never gets wet. This symbolises the nature of a Jnani or a realised person who is ever blissful, untouched by the sorrows and the changes which is characteristic of the world.

It is not easy to realise this. It is a long process. Each of us may take many births to understand this. But once we atleast know about this we can begin the process of self enquiry by taking baby steps towards this. Each of us are in different levels of spiritual journey and ultimately each of us will reach that goal. A wise seeker will take this opportunity of learning from his Master/scriptures and progress towards this path of self enquiry rather than being pulled in the mire of delusion and attachment.

Story adapted from http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/12/the-bhagavad-gita-revisited-part-2.html

 

 

Bhaja Govindam Verse 7 with story and essence

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Baalastaavatkriidaasaktah
tarunastaavattaruniisaktah
vriddhastaavachchintaasaktah
pare brahmani koapi na saktah

During childhood one is attached to play, during youth one is attached to women. In old age one is attached to anxiety. Yet no one is attached to the supreme brahman. O foolish mind !! Seek Govinda

Story based on verse 7

mango-tree

 https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/the-mango-tree/

Essence

It is a misconception that prayers and religious/spiritual activities must be undertaken only when one retires or gets old after their family responsibilities are over. The person who never has prayed or engaged in thoughts of God during his younger age; how can he/she be expected to suddenly chant or remember the Lord? It is not easy. That is why great Masters have said that values and love for God should be inculcated from a very young age. Children absorb and retain whatever taught at a young age. Swami (Sri Sathya Sai baba) says that ‘a young plant can be moulded but a tree will break when one tries to change it’. It is seen many times as children grow into teens and youth they get so caught up with the world, career, family etc; but the children who have been given a good value system and taught to love God will definitely get back to the core though for a brief period they may seem to be distracted. So one must make it a daily habit to remember and thank God. Those who develop these qualities from young age are generally more balanced, calm and can handle the pressures of life better. They will be successful materially as well as spiritually.

The Upanishads offer us two paths namely Shreyas and Preyas. Preyas is the path of deficiency ie samsara (material world) and path of shreyas is the path of inner freedom- nirvana. Great Masters have discovered this path of ultimate good shreyas to finally achieve moksha. The steps prescribed to be undertaken are brahmacharya, grihasta, vaanaprasta and sanyaasa.

One has to get the right knowledge when young- brahmacharya-and put that knowledge into practice in the grihasta (householder) stage; mere acquired knowledge is not enough. Then after the duties are discharged as per the dharma; choose to be alone to contemplate on the self- vana prasta which will automatically lead to sanyasa and finally to moksha.

Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

 

Bhaja Govindam Verse 6 with story and essence

Verse 6

yaavatpavano nivasati dehe

taavatprichchhati kushalam gehe

gatavati vaayau dehaapaaye

bhaaryaa bibhyati tasminkaaye

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As long as there resides breath in the body, so long they enquire of your well being at home. Once the breath leaves, the body decays, even your wife fears that very same body. So O foolish mind! Seek Govinda.

Story based on Verse 6

Indra as a pig

Once, Indra, the king of all gods, came to earth seeking pleasure. He chose the form of a pig because generally, in terms of physical pleasure the form of a pig is considered best. He found himself a beautiful female pig, married her and produced dozens of piglets with her. Over time, he got very deeply involved and attached to them.

The gods waited patiently in heaven thinking it was a short pleasure trip but when Indra did not return for a long time, they came down and saw this whole pig-business in progress. They tried to reason with him to give up the pig’s life and return to the heaven. But Indra was so deeply involved and attached to all this, he just grunted and left!

pigs

The gods then decided to kill one piglet hoping that the tragedy would make Indra realize his true nature and return. For every piglet killed, Indra clung to the remaining ones harder. Eventually, the gods killed all the piglets.

But Indra got busy producing more children. Then the gods thought that Indra’s real attachment was his wife so they killed her. Now he was greatly distressed. Soon, his pig friends and relatives suggested he take another wife. And the whole pig-business started again.

The gods were now completely at a loss with this and Narada, the wise sage who was passing by and happened to see all this said, “Why did you kill his wife and kids? His attachment is to his body. Destroy the body”. So, the gods cut his body into two halves and Indra came out and said, “What the hell am I doing here?” and returned to heaven.

The bondage with the body is deep. That is the source of all attachments.

Essence

We get so attached to our body despite knowing that it is but temporary. The body which we cater to so much is valued only till there is breath in it. Once the ‘prana’ life force leaves us; the body starts decaying. The very body which was taken care so well; which had all the relatives and friends surrounding and attached to it; once there is no life force; immediately becomes unwanted to all. When there was life in it; it was ‘Shiva’ (presence of divinity) was there in it but when that prana leaves the body it becomes ‘shava’ (dead body). So we must remember this and not get attached to the body so much. That doesn’t mean we don’t take care of the body and neglect it. Yes, we should take care of the ‘vehicle’ (our body) for living a meaningful life and use that as a means to understand and realise the truth; but not get unduly attached to it. We have to pray to the divine to give us that understanding to dispel the ocean of ignorance in which we are drowning slowly day by day. So Shankara through this verse reminds us of the temporary nature of the body and advises us to chant the name of the Lord who will ultimately guide and help us to realise our true self.

Adapted from Bhaja Govindam by Swami Sukhbodananda

Story- http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog

 

 

 

 

A warkari’s faith

vitobha

 

Value- Devotion

Sub value- Faith

One journalist asked a warkari ( devotees who walk long distances from their place of residences to pilgrimage centres; may a times bare foot enduring all hardships on the way) devotee of Vittal who goes to Pandarpur , what’s your age?

wari

Warkari: 80 years

Journalist: Since how long you are visiting this Pandarpur

Warkari: Since 70 years.

Journalist: Have you seen Vithoba once, At least once?.

Warkari: no beta, not yet.

Journalist: then why do you come every  year, do you believe He is there?

Warkari: Can I ask you a question, from where you have come

Journalist: from Pune.

Warkari: do people keep pet dogs in Pune, have you seen any?

Journalist: ya, each house has a dog

Warkari: in village also we keep dogs, that follows us to our farm to protect from thieves. At the dead of night one dog sees the thief it starts barking, by hearing this dog another starts barking, like ways all around surrounding 100s of dogs starts barking but among the hundred dogs 99 have not seen the thief but keeping the faith in this 1st dog they start barking.

Likewise Tukaram ji, Sant Jnaneshwar, Namdev,they have seen the vithoba so I have faith in them.one day I can also have darshan of vitthal. If animals can keep their faith in another animal, being a human  being why can’t we have faith in another human  being?

Learning
Faith is ultimate! The entire world revolves around Faith! Hold on to the faith. It is said that ‘Faith can move mountains’

Love for father

Value- Love

Sub value- Concern, respect, filial

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/eight-year-old-chinese-boy-puts-on-10kg-in-2-months-to-donate-bone-marrow-to-dying

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