There are three grades of devotion, one is worshipping the Lord in an idol. The second is fostering four parallel attitudes in which you only extend love to the Lord, not even a flower, nothing you give, only love. And in the third, make a cord of your love in your heart, and softly and gently bind the feet of the Lord so that he cannot escape from your heart.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Yesterday I actually went to my poorvashrama birth place. Some two-three days back, I had gone to a place called Paingulam. There, there was a saptaham going on. That saptaham was conducted in a family of ten children. The mother is alive, the father is not and one of the brothers died. They are eight sons and two daughters. They belong to a community called ezhuthasshan. Actually it means, they are the people who were teaching. Ezhuthasshan, the father of literacy, that is the meaning. Generally, they are cultured people, though they are considered to be a little low in their caste etc. Somehow, I have found these people very cultured and very nice to deal with.
Right from the beginning of our Naimisharanyam, Srimad Bhagavata Tattva Sameeksha Satram, they used to come there and speak very good words. Their children learned the Sanskrit and Malayalam shlokas which I recite. Somehow, I have liked them. They used to tell me about their profession, primarily running railway restaurants. They wanted to conduct a saptaham in their house last year. They wanted me to go there and inaugurate it. I could not, I was not here. This time, they came with a lot of devotion and humility and said, “Swamiji, you could not come last year. This time you are here, please pay a visit.” I naturally felt I should go. So I went there.
Before that, I knew that somebody in Parlikad was conducting a Srimad Bhagavata Saptaham, primarily as a part of griha-pravesha. The owner has constructed a very good, nice building, retaining the traditional architecture. It is a house worth visiting. Inside you find the traditional elements kept and still the architect has made all the modern facilities. When ‘Y’ master and the mistress of the house came here and said, “We are conducting a saptaham. Actually we were told that we should read Srimad Bhagavatam. Instead of reading we thought we will have a saptaham, inviting all people and giving them food and all that. But we have no courage to ask you to come there, invite you because of your health.” I heard them. Later on this Paingulam people came and I decided to go. I rang up ‘X’ and told him, “I am going to Paingulam, so coming to know that I have gone there, they may feel, why did Swamiji not come here. So, you please talk to them and let me know, what is the day in which I have to come.” I don’t know what ‘X’ did. Subsequently, the master of the house along with ‘Y’ master came here and mentioned about the saptaham and sought blessings, but they never invited me. They never expressed a desire that I should go.
Then I asked them, “Did ‘X’ tell you anything?”
“No they did not say.”
“I had told him that I would like to come there and fix a day for it.”
They did not know. So finally it was decided that yesterday I would go.
So, I was beginning my talk referring to all these instances and then said, “I have come here uninvitedly. It is my poorvashrama birth place. Naimisharanyam event is going on very well, and all the people in the village are fulfilling a great role in the matter of feeding and hosting the people. I have got two places almost belonging to me. One is Parlikad which I had left and where I perhaps return only for conducting these functions. Purushotthama Swamiji wanted me to be the president of Hind Navotthana Pratishtan. I agreed, from there the second connection started. Actually, I wanted to leave my birth place as well as blood relations. That is why, I had gone. Now Purushotthama Swamiji was bringing me here. Ever since, I had almost a second connection with this village. I also have another village where I live, that is also my place you can say. So, I have got almost two birth places now.”
Then I started speaking about how my life has been moulded and shaped by the village called Parlikad. There is a Devi temple, there is an Ayyappa temple, there is a Shiva temple, there is a Mahavishnu temple. My life is very much interwoven with all these four temples, the primary focus being the Devi temple, Devi and Ayyappan are close to each other. One unique feature about this Thachanathukavu Parlikad is that there are two swayambhu vigrahas there. Swayambhu means self-born. There are two swayambhu deities close to each other. And our Devi temple has got a tradition that she cannot tolerate elephants. So, our elephant festival is not for Devi but for Ayyappa. At the same time, this Devi’s younger sister is in Kuttingavu about three kilometers away, there is elephant festival there, but our Devi cannot have.
One day, we were all standing nearby the temple, one mahout and elephant came from the southern side and he made the elephant climb the steps and cross the temple to go to the north. The elephant was not willing, so he forced the elephant to enter. The elephant almost placed one of the front legs, then people from behind, maybe I also said, shouted that the elephant should not be entered there, should not enter there. You know, by the time we said all these things, the elephant quickly traced back. That sight is very much in my memory. I am just saying this.
I was born and brought up in a very good tradition. In the tradition, the village tradition is there, the type of place we used to have, how we use to spend our vacation, how we used to practice word spelling and word ending and all that while walking to the school. We used to play perhaps inside the temple compound. But by evening, we will take away our nets etc. and go, take our bath, sit in the mandapam, and start chanting Vishnu Sahasranama and other hymns.
Parlikad itself is surrounded by a belt of hills all around. There used to be something like a ceremonial performance where all the people used to say, “o, o” and then go around all the hills. It was a very austere job in the dry heat of summer. It is very difficult, but they were doing it. We have oracles in the temples and there are many legends related to oracles, how they were devoted to the Goddess, some of them were drunkards, but drinking was different, their devotion was supreme. Many, many instances. So I said, “I have a lot for this village. I grew up here, so when following the thread of Naimisharanyam, a family decided to hold Srimad Bhagavata Saptaham, inviting all the people, making arrangements to host them and feed them, I felt I should come here. That is why I have come.”
When my talk was in progress, there was such a heavy downpour with thunder. Sometime I used to stop and said, “Are you able to hear?” pointing to the back rows. It was a very good mike and I pulled the mike closer to my mouth and started speaking.
I spoke about the uniqueness of Srimad Bhagavatam, how it is a text to be read, to be learnt. The learning may not be easy and the message of Srimad Bhagavatam is always knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. Every word is an idea, every sentence is a proposition, every paragraph and chapter is a message. You have to read it, read it, read it. There are eighteen thousand Sanskrit verses, maybe at least one lakh words are there. Hardly there is anybody perhaps in Kerala, or may be one or two, who know the meanings of all the words. Then comes the question of knowing the meanings of sentences and the message of the whole chapter and the text.
Then I explained that Srimad Bhagavata contains twelve skandhas. The nine skandhas are in general referring to cosmology and what not! But in the tenth skandha, Sri Krishna’s birth and the whole exploits of his life are described. When we enter into the eleventh, it is primarily the last message of Krishna before he left his body. Brahma came and entreated him, “You have already lived instead of 120 years, 125, but you seem to be having no mind to come back. But your chair is lying vacant and we are missing you, my dear Lord. So please stop and come back.” My dear souls, I was mentioning that all of you should understand that we have to finish and pack our life. That packing is very important. Let us not die unknowingly, undesiredly, unwantedly, unpreparedly. Live well, well, well, beautifully, fulfilling the genuine and orderly desires of any human life, but the life should progress through dharma, artha and kama for moksha.
So, Sri Krishna completed all his assignments so to say which Brahma himself had enjoined on him. But he said, “Everything has been done, but by virtue of my life and exploits, Vrishni-kula, which was little known has become very famous and proud. As long I am there, they will be under control. The moment I leave, leaving them, like oceans overflowing the boundaries and destroying the entire land, they will destroy. So, I would like to destroy them and then shed my body as a part of it.” This is why Krishna’s life is considered to be a poorna avatara. Let us not, let us not be afraid of leaving our life. We should live, live, live and everyday of our life is leaving, leaving. We have left yesterday, we have left day before yesterday, we have left the still day before. Today as I talk to you, I am leaving every moment. One day, my body also has to be left and let it be left knowingly with a preparation.
Na hi pramanam janthunam uttarakshana jeevane. There is no pramana, there is no background or what do u call it, precedent, there is no precedent by which we can determine when we shall leave the earth, when we shall stop our life. Therefore, every time you think of God.
Na hi pramanam janthunam uttarakshana jeevane
Charamashvasavedayam yatkrtyanta sada kuru
What you will do at the last breath of your life, do it every time. What a wonderful statement! Then I said, before, before describing Krishna’s last message to Udhava, Vedavyasa has introduced that Nimi-navayogi samvada. The holiest of performance you can think of vedically is a yaga. That yaga was being performed. Unexpectedly, not like we coming here, all of you eighteen, nine yogis stepped in. The moment Maharaja saw them, he got up, stopped the performance, received them, washed their feet, sat before them. After giving them some milk or drink and said, “I would like to know Bhagavata dharmas by virtue of which Bhagavan himself will sell himself out to us.” Now where is yaga? And what about the visit of the nine yogis? You should know how to relatively assess the truth, assess the truth. Yaga is the highest performance. It was stopped suddenly seeing the nine yogis and then the Ritwiks also sat behind the king and the king was asking them, “Please let me know what are the practices by virtue of which the Lord will be pleased, the self will be realised and liberation will be achieved?” Now understand that this is what everyone should have. All performances are far inferior to this kind of a communication that you get from the great and the wise people.
Then I read a portion, explained, there are three grades of devotion, one is worshipping the Lord in an idol. The second is fostering four parallel attitudes in which you only extend love to the Lord, not even a flower, nothing you give, only love. And in the third, make a cord of your love in your heart, and softly and gently bind the feet of the Lord so that he cannot escape from your heart. This much I said and stopped. I just wanted to share with you. This will give you some idea about how I look at things, how I carry a gratefulness in my mind to where I was born, what was the atmosphere of the place, how cultural indebtedness has grown in me, all these things.
Similarly, when I came here, I understood that we are living on the slope of Pandavagiri, the land belongs to the Devi, so I feel a sense of indebtedness to her and Mataji Sulabhadevi told me, “Father, we are living here in an Ashram, but the temple apparently is languishing. Why don’t you do something about it?” That is why I picked up, even then I did not do anything. I said it is a running institution, we should not interfere. When they ask me, I shall do. When they asked, then we took up and we are all involved in doing something about the temple. I am very much interested in making the temple more and more known, I want this Devi to be a Universal Devi where people from other states, other countries and other places will come. I don’t know, how long my body will live. I have some ideas of covering, people cannot stand on the sun, so we must have a tall covering for elephants and umbrella also to be accommodated. This will require multi millions. I don’t know how it can be done, But I have it in my mind. If it is not fulfilled, I will be the least affected.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.