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Aug 22 2017

Srinivasa Kalyanam 26: Varaha gives land to Srinivasa; Vakula-devi recollects her past birth as Yashoda

This Venkatachalam is famed across the three worlds. This is greater than Vaikuntha. It is dearer to me. I will stay here till the end of Kaliyuga. Hence, in this age, Lord Srinivasa is our only God. We must worship him as the sole God on earth in kaliyuga. Expressing His fondness for the region, Lord Srinivasa, requested Varahaswamy to give him some place on the earth, which Varahaswamy has salvaged.

Land is one fourths of the earth. We are surrounded by water. An apocalyptic wave in the waters that will submerge the land mass is imminent. Even today, several calamities occur across the globe where small landmasses are getting submerged. Land is disappearing.
Since you are the one that has protected it, I request you to give me some space here, said Lord Srinivasa. I shall be witness to the happenings during Kaliyuga and will protect my devotees. There is so much mystery in the ways Gods speak. It is confusing at times. Maybe such words are a test for us. For example, though bewildered by the all-pervasive Maha Vishnu’s request, Varahaswamy proposes to sell a piece of land to Lord Srinivasa.
Since he has assumed human form, and it is important for us to understand that we cannot take anything from anybody free of cost, Varaha Swamy asks Srinivasa. Srinivasa then replies that his bank balance (Lakshmi Devi) has left him. He has no money or any kind of wealth to trade in the land. Instead of wealth, Srinivasa proposes that the first darshanam and first naivedyam will be offered to Varaha Swamy in the temple to be built. Will you agree with this deal, asked Srinivasa?

What is there to say, said Varahaswamy. This is your land. Do as you please. You are on my southern side. This land of 100 feet is yours. But will you do me a favor? Srinivasa thinks – it is my duty to oblige the one who has sold me his land and hence I shall oblige.

VarahaSwamy tells him that He an old woman named Vakula Devi has been serving him as a cook devoutly for a long time. Now that he will be offered the first naivedyam, there is no need for any separate cooking for him. Hence, Varahaswamy request Srinivasa to take care of Vakula Devi. I feel you will like this idea, says Varahaswamy. Listening to this, Srinivasa agrees readily saying that the two are avataras of the same divine power. We are no different from each other, he says. If a person cooks for you, she is cooking for me as well! It shall be done as you say! After discussing several other details, they retired to their places. Other details such as calamities and happenings in the future in that region.
As per Varahaswamy’s instructions, Vakula Devi goes to Srinivasa. She is shocked and surprised seeing him as he looked just like Lord Krishna. She was bewildered and unable to recover from that shock- why am I seeing Krishna in Srinivasa? Srinivasa gently seated her on a seat addressing her as mother. She was shocked.

He reminds her,that she was Yashoda in her previous birth and he was her little Krishna. When I was leaving Gokula, you said, “O dear one, no amount of viewing you is giving me satisfaction. Please make it that I see you all the time.” But I told you that it will not be possible in that birth. This birth, I have made it happen. Can you recollect?” asked Srinivasa. Then Vakula Devi happily agrees.

She reminds him of another desire of hers. Though Lord Krishna married 8 times, Yashoda Devi never had the opportunity of witnessing any one of those weddings. I was not even invited. I don’t even know if I existed then. Now I feel like seeing your wedding. Then you promised that I would see in my next life, reminds Vakula Devi. Srinivasa not only agrees but also hands over the entire responsibility of conducting his wedding to her.
The lord fulfills the wishes of his devotees, however big or small. It just must be born in the heart and he will eventually fulfill the desire even if it may take several births for that. That is why, maybe it is better not to have any desires. Else, in the process of realizing them, we are causing difficulty to the Lord and to ourselves as well, by being born again and again. We may feel in our later births that we don’t want another birth but having made a commitment to fulfill our wishes, the Lord will make us be born again so we can see our wish fulfilled. Now the blessing has become a curse. Mere thoughts will make us desire things. That is why we must only think about God. Even if we wish for something, it must be something good.
Listening to this, Vakula Ddevi was beside herself with happiness. Those are the words of my son. This is my son. I am so lucky, she exclaimed. She felt like her life was blessed and continued to take care of Srinivasa just as she took care of the little Lord Krishna and swelled with joy seeing that beautiful form.

Vishnudavu krishnudavu venkatesha…

Meanwhile, in the beginning of Kali Yuga, in Chola lineage a king called Suveera ascended the throne. He had two sons- Akasha raja and Tondamana, both of whom were ardent devotees of Srihari. Akasha raja became the king of the Tonda kingdom and ruled righteously. HOwever he was childless for a long time. Saddened, he called the learned scholars and enquired. they replied, “It is not a big problem. Many have obtained progeny with the help of Yagna. Based on their suggestion Akasha raja decided to perform a Yagna. He began to till the land for the Yagna. All of a sudden the plough stopped moving. The oxen could not move further.

we are reminded of Sita’s birth. The baffled king checked the reason. He saw a thousand petalled lotus illumining brightly. It was illumining the entire area. Akasharaja was stunned. He peeped into the lotus. A small girl was located in the lotus. she was glowing brightly.

Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/srinivasa-kalyanam-26-varaha-gives-land-to-srinivasa-vakula-devi-recollects-her-past-birth-as-yashoda/

Aug 22 2017

Srinivasa Kalyanam 21: Brahma becomes cow, Rudra becomes calf

Bhajana: Govindudu Sundarudu Indira Ramanudu !

Lakshmi Devi in karaveeravam kept yearning for Srihari and chanting His name. Srinivasa, meanwhile inside the anthill had not eaten anything in days. Knowing this Lakshmidevi realized her immediate responsibility and transformed herself into a cow herdess . This wonder brought great joy to Brahma and Shiva . They understood Lakshmi devi’s intention and transformed into cow ( Brahma ) and calf ( Shiva ) and reached Lakshmi Devi . This way Brahma’s desire to coming to earth was fulfilled . Rudra is obviously there in every of Vishnu’s avataras and here he came in the form of a calf . Lakshmi Devi looked at them adorably . The calf was very playful as it is the form Rudra . The cow was watching out for the calf but the calf was jumping in excitement . Goddess Lakshmi approached the King Chola Raja and poured her story of her losing her wealth and that she is left with only the cow and the calf starting from her palatial residence till even her husband . She explained how the fateful turn of events rendered her thus . After discussing this , she left the cow and calf in charge of the king who then handed over their responsibility to a cowherd . The king gave special instructions to the cowherd for the cow and calf to be well taken care of . The two were taken along with a large herd of cows to plush pastures for grazing . Then, unlike today where cows are tied down and fed stale food , the cows enjoyed grazing freely in green pastures . Thus these two blended into the massive herd of cows . The calf was playful and was drawing attention . Occasionally Brahma, in the form of cow got a little frustrated because he was unable to control the dynamic shiva in the form of a calf and wondered why Shiva in particular, instead of one of the celestials, took form as the calf . Leaving the cows to graze , the cowherd relaxed under a huge tree . Seeing the sleeping cowherd , Brahma and Shiva slipped away and directly reached the anthill. As all the cows were grazing , the Cow reached the anthill and stood on the anthill which was covered by a huge tamarind tree . Milk trickled down into the anthill from the cow’s udder . It was like Ksheerabdhi Abhishekam . Srinivasa, who forgot what hunger was, was alerted with the trickling milk . Srinivasa started drinking that milk . In reality celestial like Lord Srinivasa and saints do not have hunger . They pretend hunger and other human like qualities to reach out to people . In this incarnation , for the first time we witness union of the Trinity . Brahma’s four faces like four Vedas poured down milk . Hence this therefore can be interpreted as Vedic oblations to Srinivasa as opposed to oblations with mere milk. The cow, as an embodiment of four Vedas , extolled as sarva Veda rupini , worshipped lord Srinivasa , an Avatara of lord Vishnu .

Bhajan :

Sarva Veda Rupini Gomata !!

Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/srinivasa-kalyanam-21-brahma-becomes-cow-rudra-becomes-calf/

Aug 16 2017

Bhagawatam 160: The principles of Yama and Niyama and their importance

Maharishi Kapila continued,

“Abhisandhāya yo hiṁsāṁ dambhaṁ mātsaryam eva vā

Saṁrambhī bhinna-dg bhāvaṁ mayi kuryāt sa tāpasaḥ

The devotee who with strong feelings of separateness (dualism), worships Me with feelings of envy, pride or anger, or who worships Me with the view to display his greatness or in order to show off his adherence to the principles of dharma, then such devotee is known as a tamasa-bhakta (devotion coupled with ignorance/ darkness).

Viṣayān abhisandhāya yaśa aiśvaryam eva vā

Arcādāv arcayed yo māṁ pṛthag-bhāva sa rājasa 

The devotee who, with feelings of separateness (dualism), worships Me through the medium of idols with a view to obtain material fame, wealth and prosperity, is known as a rājasa bhakta (devotion coupled with passion).

Karma-nirhāram uddiśya parasmin vā tad-arpaṇam

Yajed yaṣṭavyam iti vā pṛthag-bhāva sa sāttvika

 The devotee who, with feelings of separateness (dualism), participates in puja and other related activities so as to wash away his sins or considering it his obligatory duty, to offer the action to the Lord, then such devotee is a sātvik devotee (devotion coupled with goodness).

Nirguna bhakti refers to pure devotion unaccompanied by any clauses. Just as Ganga eternally flows towards the ocean, the mind of such pure devotee flows towards Me upon listening to My qualities. Such devotee’s love and devotion are free from any form of expectation! It is pure! He perceives Me nothing but his inner Self! This is the characteristic of a supreme devotee.

Such supreme devotees focus totally upon offering services (seva) to Me. They do not accept Sālokya, Sariśti, Sāroopya, Sāmeepya or Sayujya types of liberation even when offered! Sālokya means to live with Srihari in the same world (plane). Sāriśti means to have the same levels of prosperity as Srihari. Sāroopya means to be identical in form to Srihari. Sāyujya means to merge totally into Srihari. Such form of bhakti is the ultimate!

Due to such devotion, the devotee will be free from the shackles of these worldly bondages, that arise from the three attributes of Nature (trigunas) and will merge into Me.

Without any form of expectation, the devotee should strictly abide by his own dharma (swadharma). More important than plucking flowers for puja, is adherence to the principle of non-violence! He should practice Karma-yoga (yoga of action) without causing injury to any living being. He should regularly see My idol, touch My feet, offer Me worship, sing My hymns and offer obeisance to Me.

He should see Me as the Self which exists within all living beings. Courageously he should practice detachment. He should respect elders, show compassion to the needy, be on friendly terms with equals. He should strictly practice non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing and celibacy. In addition through practice of Aparigraha vrata (vow of non-acceptance) he should not be desirous of material comforts. These 5 disciplines, known as Yama, are a must!

In addition he should also practice the 5 Niyamas viz., inner and outer purity, contentment, penance, Self-study and Self-surrender.

He should read or listen to spiritual texts and chant My holy names. He should maintain friendship with holy beings. He should give up pride. Through practice of these disciplines the mind of the devotee will be rendered totally pure. By listening to My qualities, effortlessly the mind attaches itself to Me.

Divine fragrance travels through the medium of air and reaches the nose. Likewise through the medium of bhakti yoga, the mind that has been purified reaches its original source i.e. the Self (atma). It means, it merges into the Self.

Ahaṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu bhūtātmāvasthitaḥ sadā

Tam avajñāya māṁ martyaḥ kurute ’rcā-viḍambanam

I remain eternally within every living being in the form of the Self (atma). Rejecting this idea that I am all-pervading, if the person worships Me as an idol then it amounts to mockery. It is deceitfulness.

Realizing that the Lord exists everywhere and in everyone is a sign of knowledge.  We have to be immersed in such thinking process.

Yo māṁ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram

Hitvārcāṁ bhajate mauhyād bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ”

Trivikramāya namah.

Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/bhagawatam-160-the-principles-of-yama-and-niyama-and-their-importance/

Aug 08 2017

Bhagawatam 156: Maharishi Kapila begins to teach Ashtānga Yoga

Third Canto Chapter Twenty eight

In this chapter Kapila Maharishi teaches Ashtānga yoga (eight fold path of Yoga) to mother Devahuti.

Kapila Maharishi said, “O daughter of Manu! O Mother! I am now going to teach you the path of Yoga. The mind experiences happiness due to accomplishment in this Yoga. It will be focused purely upon God.

Sva-dharmācaraṇaṁ śaktyā vidharmāc ca nivartanam

Daivāl labdhena santoṣa ātmavic-caraṇārcanam

 O Mother! By listening to this attentively, people can obtain liberation while living (jeevanmukti). They will understand the essence of spirituality. Hence be attentive.

To the best of one’s ability righteousness (dharma) should be followed. It is imperative to distance oneself from unrighteous activities, while abiding by righteousness. Continuing those meritorious activities which grant good human birth, he should be content with whatever he earns.

This is very difficult to practice, but yet one should strive for it. It implies that whatever the person earns through his hard efforts, he should be happy and content with it.

He should revere and worship the feet of Self-realized beings. Simultaneously he should distance himself from those activities which increase inclination towards material comforts. He should have true dedication and desire towards śravana (listening) and other spiritual activities. At all times he should eat only pure food that too in limited quantities. He should practice to spend time alone in solitude”.

Here lies the catch. Often we eat impure food. It is imperative to eat pure satvik food! And in limited quantities. Only a pure satvik diet can give rise to a pure mind!

Eating stale, heavy, tamasic food only increases traits of inertia and ignorance (tamo guna). Such food propels feelings of lust and other desires. It instigates anger. The person loses control over himself. Driven by extreme desires he now eyes wealth that legally belongs to others. He devices ways in which he can acquire ownership over them. He will suffer with extreme jealousy and greed. All these are the outcomes of eating tamasic food.

The more you eat satvik pure diet, the more you become pure and clean. Here the emphasis is on both purity and limited quantity of food intake. These are the words of Maharishi Kapila, who is none other than Lord Mahavishnu.

Ahiṁsā satyam asteyaṁ yāvad-artha-parigrahaḥ

Brahmacaryaṁ tapa śaucaṁ svādhyāyaḥ puruārcanam

 He should not inflict injury on any living being i.e. he should practice Ahimsa. He should practice truthfulness. He should not steal others’ wealth”.

People in general cannot resist from eyeing property belonging to others. They find this discipline very difficult.

“He should possess only those many comforts and materials as are needed for living”.

Coming across people who abide by this discipline is very very rare. I have just seen two or three such people in so many years. There is one gentleman in Andhra, who lives in a big house but that house is sparsely furnished. I was very happy to see this. In his house were two tiny shelves, one to keep his belongings and another for those of his wife. In his kitchen were about 20 small containers to store required grains, two vessels for cooking, 4 tumblers and 2 dinner plates. They cooked on small charcoal stove. There was one small suitcase in which other household items were stored. This was the furniture in his home! He maintained two bank accounts each of which had about Rs. 15000/-. One was for their expenses and another for their children.

When I questioned him about his lifestyle he began to explain his life’s principles. I felt he was explaining Bhāgawatam. He said that it is essential to possess only as much materials as are needed for survival. He also said that one should eat only as much as needed. He emphasized on the need for contentment and solitude. I was deeply impressed with the disciplines that this person was abiding by. After all, he was a householder, but yet he had such appreciable values. Later on he even trained his children in these principles of detachment and eventually they gave away even that home in charity.

Similarly once in Kashmir I came across a person who abided by these similar disciplines. He was a high official but his lifestyle was simple. In his house there was not even a chair. Guests were offered mats to sit on the floor. It’s amazing that even in Kali Yuga, there are such people!

Govindāya Namah.

Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/bhagawatam-156-maharishi-kapila-begins-to-teach-ashtanga-yoga/

Aug 08 2017

Bhagawatam 154: Disciplines to be practised while simultaneously treading path of bhakti-yoga

Maharishi Kapila continued,

“Indra, together with energy to hold objects entered into His hands; Vishnu together with power of movement entered into His feet; deities of rivers together with blood entered into His blood vessels and the Lord of ocean together with hunger-thirst entered into the abdomen of the Universal Lord. But still the Universal Lord did not wake up. Moon together with the mind; Brahma together with intelligence and Rudra together with egoism entered into him but to no avail.

But when Kshetragna, the presiding deity of consciousness (chitta) i.e. the seer who perceives this body as a different entity, entered into the Universal Lord together with consciousness, the Lord instantly awakened! He arose from the waters.

Just as energy, mind, intelligence, egoism etc., fail to wake a sleeping person, no matter how hard they try, the presiding deities failed to awaken the Universal Lord, without the help of consciousness.

The human being should, with feelings of absolute devotion and through understanding of the principle of Prakriti-Puruśa, develop total detachment. Then through single focused intellect (buddhi) that arises from Yoga he should see the Lord who resides within his body in the form of individual Self.

This fundamental principle has been explained in the form of a story. Otherwise, how can God sleep? What is the meaning of presiding deities entering into Him and trying to wake Him up?

It is spiritual knowledge that should be awakened within the individual. This is the meaning of waking the Universal Lord. How should this spiritual knowledge be awakened within the individual? What is the process? How should the human being enter into every limb of his own body? This is being detailed.

The goal for the individual being is to have the darshan of the Supreme Lord who resides within him as his individual Self!

With this the twenty sixth chapter of the third canto comes to an end.

Third Canto Chapter Twenty seven

Attaining liberation (moksha) through the knowledge of Prakriti-Puruśa (Nature-Self) is being explained. The method in which illusion is destroyed through the means of Bhakti-yoga is also explained.

Kapila Maharishi continued to preach, “O Mother! The Self (Puruśa) is not subject to any transformation (changeless). He is devoid of action. He is also devoid of traits.

Just as the Sun does not associate with its reflection in the waters, this ‘Self’ does not attach himself to dualities such as joys-sorrows or merits- sins which arise from the trigunas, even though he takes shelter in this body which is created by Nature (Prakriti)!

Only when the intellect of this Self (Puruśa), due to feelings of I-ness (ahamkara), is clouded with infatuation (moha), and when he develops inclination towards the three attributes of Nature (trigunas), then the feeling ‘I am the one performing the action’ arises in him!

With this rise of I-ness, he begins to reap the results of the good and bad actions done by this gross body! He loses his freedom and acquires good, bad and mixed births. Taking on human, animal or celestial births, he gets trapped in this cycle of repeated births and laments. He distances from real happiness.

This samsāra which consists of repeated births and deaths has no real existence. Yet, the bonded soul who is totally inclined towards material comforts, cannot escape from this cycle of re-births and the suffering contained therein.

How should a spiritual aspirant behave? The rules are specified:

Ata eva śanaiś cittaṁ prasaktam asatāṁ pathi

Bhakti-yogena tīvreṇa viraktyā ca nayed vaśam

As such, the mind which is deeply attached towards these wicked sensory pleasures should gradually be brought under control through the medium of bhakti yoga and intense practice of detachment (vairagya).

The spiritual aspirant should, with love devoid of selfish expectations, listen only to My stories. Along with it he should tread the path of Yoga with disciplines such as Yama, Niyama etc.

Sarva-bhūta-samatvena nirvaireṇa-aprasagata

Brahmacaryeṇa maunena sva-dharmeṇa balīyasā

With feelings of total harmony towards all living beings, the spiritual aspirant should see the Supreme Lord who exists within all beings as Pure Consciousness. With such outlook he should eliminate feelings of enmity. He should develop dispassion towards worldly matters. Practice of celibacy and silence (mouna) are imperative! Without having excessive friendships, he should maintain a calm, happy mind. He should be diligent in the execution of his duties.

He should be content with that which automatically falls into his lap as a result of his past good and bad deeds. He should be moderate in eating. Contemplating upon the Supreme Essence, he should live alone.

Giving up likes-dislikes, he should love everyone equally and should have feelings of compassion towards everyone. He should firmly believe that he has attained fulfillment and should stop lamenting ‘I could not complete that action’. He should give up such fear.

The truly knowledgeable person (Jnani) who has understood the principle of Prakriti-Puruśa, frees himself from the false knowledge of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ in respect of the body or in matters pertaining to it! He realizes that waking, dream and other stages apply only to the intellect and not to the Self.  He has the understanding that there is nothing apart from Iśwara in this creation.

Sun is the presiding deity for the eyes. Just like seeing this presiding deity through the eyes themselves, the Jnani through the medium of his pure mind sees the Lord who resides as the Self within. He totally self-surrenders to Him and attains liberation!

He realizes that the individual being is nothing but the reflection of the Pure Consciousness upon the inner mind! He also understands that after leaving the body the being attains oneness with this Pure Consciousness and that this consciousness pervades the entire false universe and illumines it. He understands that it is non-dual”.

Keshavaya namah.

Permanent link to this article: http://puttugam.com/bhagawatam-154-disciplines-to-be-practised-while-simultaneously-treading-path-of-bhakti-yoga/

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