Vanara Gita 11: Importance of upāsana and of Guru darshan

In Maharashtra the quote- ‘dhanya dhanya o pradakshina’- is often heard. Pradakshina (circumambulation) to the Guru is considered to be very auspicious and sacred!

People of Maharashtra do not go to bed until they have remembered the Lord and sung bhajans praising Him. They consider circumambulating a Guru very sacred.

Great saints have often said that remembering our Guru smaran itself is Pradakshina (circumambulating) to Him! Remembering Him is itself the holy bath (snana)! This itself is penance (japa)!

Having Guru darshan is a sacred pilgrimage! Each visit undertaken for Guru darshan is a sacred pilgrimage! No other pilgrimages are required.

This is not some rule that has been incorporated so as to benefit the sick people. Even when a person is fit and fine and is capable of undertaking pilgrimages to holy centers, he should opt for Guru darshan only!

In Maharashtra people believe that sleeping in His sacred presence is meditation. Even sitting for an hour in His sacred presence is akin to visiting Vaikunṭha (abode of Lord Vishnu). In fact the person should spend a greater part of his time in such sacred premises such as temples.

It is very essential to sit in a temple and meditate or chant divine names. Japam performed in a temple or in Guru’s presence is turns very powerful provided it is performed with concentration.

Similarly, to Gandhamādana, recollection of Hanuman’s name is itself a holy bath as well as a penance. Hanuman is his upasana.

Our scriptures state that along with the physical body the mind is also purified during bathing and that it ultimately brings mental peace. Many people wonder about the necessity of bathing in daily life. The truth is that we have not evolved to a state wherein we are able to achieve absolute purity purely through chanting divine names. Bathing ensures that along with the physical body, the subtle body is also cleansed.

Bathing and Sandhya vandana have been mandated by our scriptures for the same reason. Sandhya vandana also means recollection of the divine names. While it is easy to understand that bathing cleanses our physical body, we wonder as to how the mind is rendered pure with bathing. The trick lies in reciting names of the Lord during bath. The power that exists in divine names cleanses the mind. Ultimately the mind is rendered peaceful.


Om namo Hanumate namaha.

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