On this auspicious day, Namadwaar is excited to start a series of articles - "Weekly Blossoms" - that will blossom on our website every week!
Sri Swamiji's messages on spirituality are always practical, clear and simple, easy enough for anyone to read, follow and practice. The blossoms that shall flower every week, shall carry the sweet scent of Sri Swamiji's message, for all of us to enjoy, relish and assimilate.
Faith and total faith in what we do alone results in success of any endeavor or profession. Sri Kanchi Maha Periava graced a lovely story to illustrate this point!
In a town there lived a famous police inspector and a well known 'spiritual mentalist' who practised foretelling by intuition. Many people used to visit his place to get advise on retrieving lost property and the like.
And then one day it happened!
A common thief, robbed from two houses in the town - and the houses happened to be those of the police inspector himself and the house of the foreteller!
Imagine their shocks in the morning!
The first thing the police inspector did was to immediately go to the foretller's place to get his intuitive insight as to where his stolen property was!
As he walked towards the foreteller's house, he was pleasantly surprised to find the foreteller himself walking towards th inspector's house.
After the exchange of pleasantries the policeman told the foreteller his problem. Hearing this, the foreteller started to laugh hysterically! The policeman was a bit offended and asked him as to why he was laughing like this!
Wiping the tears from his eyes the foreteller said, 'I also lost some property yesterday night and I was coming to meet you to assist me in searching for the lost property as you are a policeman. now I find you coming to me for the same reason. You lacked faith in your work and so did I. now I know I cannot get any result from appealing to you and I guess it wouold be the same in your case too!'
Hence until we have total faith in what we do, how can we scale the heights of success and achievement?
Why does God not appear before us? Why are we unable to realize God quickly?
Why not now?
Does this mean that God is not compassionate? Are we not God’s children? Can the Lord not appear before us immediately on our crying out to Him, “Oh, Lord! I desire to see you!”?
Several reasons may be cited for God not blessing us with His darshan, such as lack of devotion on our part, God lacking the power to appear before us or His unwillingness to appear before us due to pride! But none of them seems true. The mere status of us being His children overrules all other criteria like bhakti, faith, etc. A father feels bound to his child for the very reason that it is his child and bestows everything on him turning a blind eye to all his shortcomings. Likewise, God can bless us, His children, with His darshan as soon as we call out to Him, for He does possess the power, desire, compassion and kindness. However, in Srimad Bhagavatam we find that even the greatest bhakta, Prahlad, faced persecutions – he was thrown into the fire, rolled down a mountain, poisoned, trampled upon by an elephant, thrown into the mouth of a lion, etc. Hence the question "Should one earn the darshan of God only after undergoing such troubles? Should God persecute a bhakta to this extent before blessing him with His darshan?" does arise.
All bhaktas – be they of Itihasa-Purana Age or of this Age – have practiced some kind of sadhana and earned the darshan of God only at the end of hardships. (Well! What does the term ‘sadhana’ mean? Great ones have attained the everlasting bliss of Moksha by following a certain path. To follow such a trodden path is verily known as sadhana. To follow a path as per our whims and fancies will not form ‘sadhana’.)
We know not if we are capable of sitting quietly - even for a few minutes - in a place that lacks the comfort of an air conditioner or fan, or in a place infested with mosquitoes. But in the Bhagavatam, we find that a little boy of five years sat in a forest for six months without food or water: it was only after passing through such hardships did he succeed in having darshan of God. Take the case of Narada. In his earlier birth God eluded him with the words ‘avipakvakashAyANAm durdarshOham kuyOginAm’ – ‘I do not give darshan to the immature. Come to Me in your next birth’.
In the case of the great Muchukunda, Lord Krishna led the wicked Kalayavana into the cave where he was; after Muchukunda burnt down Kalayavana, the Lord gave His darshan to Muchukunda. We deem that darshan of God would bestow Moksha on us, don’t we? In Bhagavatam we find that when Muchukunda asked of God, “Will I be blessed with Moksha?”, the Lord said, “Take another birth!”
Bhaktas have undergone severe hardships before attaining Realization of the Lord! Why?
Let us say that a student who is not good at academics and has got a low score, dreams of a medical seat in a renowned University. Though wholly aware of his limitations he desires the lofty career of an expert surgeon. Let us say that through some divine blessings he secures the desired (surgery) certification in a flash!
Would he really feel elated? Would it not unsettle him to think, that even though he managed to get the certificate, how he could operate on a patient when he could not use even a stethoscope or feel the pulse?
He has been given what he sought but it proves to be of no use to him.
In the same way, what would you do if God does bless you with His darshan? What do you know about God? God might bless you with His darshan but will you be able to appreciate it? We know nothing about God. Just as this incapable student suffers the certificate earned (that proves to be of no use to him), so too, darshan of God that may occur suddenly would prove to be of no use to us. God blesses His darshan on a sadhak only after helping him mature. This is a process. This does not certainly mean tormenting the bhakta. The Lord is continuously leading the bhakta to a higher level. God had declared that He will not give darshan to the immature (‘avipakva’). Can one then decipher the term ‘avipakva’ to be torment? Certainly not! So, it is only to help the bhakta progress spiritually that he undergoes such hardships. Only in a truly matured state can a devotee truly appreciate and make the most of the darshan of Bhagavan.
Why not now?
God says,"Wait! Be patient! I am already working on you to make you mature for My darshan!"
Once there lived a Mahatma on the banks of the holy Ganga.
He was one of the fewest saints of the highest order living at that time and as bees are drawn to pure nectar, genuine spiritual seekers took refuge at his holy feet in a bid to progress in their spiritual disciplines. The master that he was, he guided every spiritual aspirant in a path that was best suited for him. He was an embodiment of love and affection.
There lived an young man in Southern India who wanted to attain the highest state of spirituality. He had listened to many discourses and read scriptures widely. He genuinely felt an intense urge to seek the guidance of a self-realized Guru. Every day this was the constant prayer that he made when he performed pooja at his home.
"O Bhagavan! I may be an undeserving person; I may not have accumulated great merits; I may not have the dispassion or commitment that is required to attain God Realization... I myself am aware of all my drawbacks but I wish to realize you. You are full of compassion! Please take charge of my life in the form of a Guru! Please show me the way!” Day and Night he pleaded with God with this only prayer in his heart.
God does listen to all our prayers, does he not? The day came when God decided to reach out to him. He came to know of this Great Mahatma who lived in the banks of Ganga. The joy and thrill that he felt was indescribable. He ran to the Pooja room and prostrated again and again thanking God "Bhagavan! you are so kind to this undeserving soul - I only beg thee that the Guru must accept me, He should at least cast a momentary glance on me, He should guide me, this is my only request to you Bhagavan!"
The very next day he set out with the blissful thoughts about having dharshan of the Mahatma. At the same time he was also trembling in fear within that he may not be accepted as he felt that he did not deserve it in this lifetime. Along the journey he offered mental prayers to God that he should be accepted by the Guru.
He reached the ashram finally and rushed to the abode of Guru. He fell at the Master’s feet overwhelmed with emotions. He did not even have to utter a word to the Guru, the Guru picked him up and looked him in the eye most compassionately. That very look said it all. Our friend attempted to say few things. The Guru simply said " My son! say no more... I know where you come from, I know why Bhagavan has led you to me, I know what your destination is, you are finally home where you belong!” The disciple was in tears. He finally understood the actual meaning of the words ‘Compassion’, ‘Love’ and ‘Mercy’.
He use to go around telling everybody he met "Have no doubt that our Master is the personification of Krupa! How else can someone like me find a place here?"
Years rolled by and just as the lotus blooms at the sight of the Sun, the mere presence of the Guru blessed the disciple with tremendous spiritual progress. He became well versed in the scriptures and also progressed in his spiritual practices.
At one point the Master directed him to go out in to the world and narrate the glories of The God.
The disciple was very hesitant. He said – 'I myself have not realized fully... I know where I came from. How would I fit into the role of a teacher? Only you can teach, Guru Maharaj!' The Master said – 'do not think that it is by your effort or capability; but do it because your Guru has told you, God will take care of you.'
Thus began the journey of the disciple, back into the world, he became a famous 'Pravachana Karta' (one who delivers spiritual discourses). His spiritual lecture became the talk of the town. People did not see him as just as a speaker but looked up to him for spiritual guidance. Thousands of people thronged to have his dharshan and to get his counsel. His fame in the world shot sky-high. He used to tell everyone that the only way to God realization is the destruction of the ego and that can happen at the holy feet of a True Master.
Many years rolled by, one day with the huge group of his own followers and disciples he happened to visit Varanasi. As he was interacting with his people, he heard a distant frail yet familiar voice call out his name in a manner that would otherwise be considered disrespectful. He turned in that direction angrily and so did his followers. He was the world famous teacher now; who would dare to address him disrespectfully? What he saw was most shocking and unexpected - His own Guru was right there, calling out to him with the same love and liberty as he did many many years ago when he first saw him!
For a moment he felt overjoyed at the sight of his Master but he also felt "if I acknowledge him now before all these people, what would they think of me? My master could have at least considered the context before addressing me by my name... should he not thought of this before? it is very embarrassing for me".
These thoughts were racing in his mind as he wondered if he should prostrate before his Guru. The Guru too smiled at him in the same manner that he did on the very first day. The smile said "I know it all my son". The Guru quietly walked away.
How deceptive the sense of Ego is! Just when we think that we have a grip over it, it pops up in the most unexpected manner. This truly is the hidden secret that Guru’s grace alone can help, decipher and conquer.