Baikuntha ki kalpana
The Vision of Heaven
As kahi jog agni tanu jaara
Ram kripa Baikuntha sidhaara
Which means that, Sharbhangji with the Grace of Sri Ram, ascended to heaven. Is
heaven a place where one goes after death, or is it a state where one feels
"full of grace?"
Kahi mati-manda log baikuntha
Laabhati Raghupati bhagati akhanda
The above words are addressed by Angad to Raavana. Angad calls Raavana "mati-manda"
or "one of slow intellect". Angad informs Raavana that foolish people
understand heaven to be a city full of mansions, whereas it actually is a state
of mind, full of grace. So it follows that wherever you feel a state full of
bliss, a state of contentment and grace, that place becomes heaven, whether it
is your home, or a temple or the company of saints. The inhabitants of Vraj
considered Vraj their heaven. If you feel grace in the company of your guru, or
while reading a scripture, then that is your heaven. That is your Baikuntha!
There are people who have visions of heaven, well, I consider them blessed. But
then their heaven may be dependant upon how and where they live and their
People who burn in "jog agni" (the fire of union), ascend to heaven
never to return. However in this case, Sharbhangji dies with the desire for
bhakti (devotion) and the desire to look upon the Lord in a manner that he
wants. When Sati, the wife of Shivji burnt herself in the sacrificial fire, she died
with the desire of being with Shivji again, and hence she had to reincarnate.
Sati marat param bar maanga
Janam janam Shiv-pad anuraaga
Bhakt Bhagwan ka sambandh
The relationship of the devotee towards the Lord
Tulsidasji claims that Dashrath did not achieve liberation because he desired
"Bhed-bhakti" i.e.. the type of devotion when one desires something from
the Lord rather than to unite with Him.
Taate Muni Hari leen na bhayau
Prathamahi bhed bhagati bar layau
Sharbhangji also desired for "bhed-bhagati" i.e.. he desired to play
games with God. He wanted to tease the Lord, by not offering Him any food, and
have the Lord tease him sometimes. Sharbhangji wanted the Lord to
sometimes pine and cry for him, like he sometimes does for Him. Sharbhangji
wants to adorn the Lord, and have Him do like-wise to him. Sharbhangji wants to
gaze in ecstasy at the Lord, while he sometimes wants the Lord to lovingly look
at him. The above is "bhed-bhagati" Sharbhangji here considers the
Lord a thief, and has Him imprisoned in his heart.
The Lord's ways are really strange! He strikes the pose that the
photographer wants Him to. If the photographer wants him to smile in a certain
way, He does. This is the "leela" or game that Sri Krishna played in
Karuna ke Saagar
Ocean of Mercy
Sometimes the gopis would desire to see a picture of Krishna with tears
in his eyes. Krishna would then agree to be caught by the gopis, who would tie
him up and take him to Mother Yashoda. The latter would take a stick in her hand
and scold him about his habit of stealing. Then Krishna's eyes would brim
with tears, and the gopis would get to see their Krishna the way they had
desired for. Krishna is ready to be seen by His devotees the way they want to
look upon Him, gracious, angry, complaining, generous. The above is
also a glimpse of "bhed-bhakti". Sharbhangji wants to see Sri
Ram imprisoned in his heart, hence he could not achieve a complete union with
the Lord. What happens while Sharbhangji is ready to renounce the body? Tulsidasji
Rishi nikaay munivar gati dekhi
Sukhi bhaye nij ridaya biseshi
The demons that had troubled the sages had been killed by the grace of God.
These wise men moved hither and thither to spread the good tidings when they
arrived at the hermitage of Sharbhang. There they saw him upon the funeral pyre
having parted company of all his distracting companions, while harboring Ram,
Seeta and Laxman in his heart. Looking upon this tremendous spiritual leap of
Sharbhang, the sages were
delighted. Tulsidasji continues to narrate:
Astuti karahi sakal muni branda
Jayati pranat hit karuna kanda
Which means that the sages praised the sublime state of Sharbhangji , and
glorified the Lord by saying that He is All-merciful, and always takes care of
His devotees. We should also glorify the Lord, then He will surely take care of us, by helping
us to rid ourselves, of the enemies that constantly trouble our minds.
Today we shall be completing the narrative of Sharbhangji. In the "Bhusundi
Ramayana" Kaag Bhusundi summarizes the whole episode of Sharbhangji in the
words: "Deh taji Sharbhang" which means that Sharbhangji renounced his
body. He further explained that this is not really the renunciation of the body,
but of the ego. The real pilgrims of the spiritual path should take note of the
above. They should unite their "I" with the Lord. Sharbhangji gifted
the Lord his mind, eyes, ears, body and all spiritual efforts performed by him,
and what did he get in return? A feeling of total completeness! My
dear brothers and sisters, while we might be materially abounding, our mind is
not under our control. Learn to surrender your mind, and if you cannot do so,
ask the Lord to steal it from you.
Kasauti Dinanaath ki
Assessing the All Merciful
Vibhishan hesitated when he came to Sri Ram, as he felt that he was not
worthy enough to be accepted, but then he realized that it was not a question of
how deserving he was, but of how much the Lord measured up to the fact that He
was called "All Merciful". The scriptures claim that the Lord accepts
sinners who come to His door-step. While Vibhishan hesitated due to these conflicting thoughts, Sugreeva
asked Sri Ram to have Vibhishan bound like a prisoner as he was Raavana's
brother and therefore belonged to the enemy camp. Sri Ram agreed to imprison
Vibhishan, not with ropes but with His own arms! Vibhishan, being a Rakshasa
(belonging to the demon race), could have loosened
himself from any other form of captivity, but how would he be able to escape
from the love of the Lord?
The above is"nisaadhanta". You surrender to the Lord, and He
gathers you in His arms! This does not mean that you renounce all efforts, but
that you embrace a spirit of renunciation. Let us remember once again the inmates of
Vraj. They did nothing and yet the
Lord did not forsake them even for an instant. Krishna told Udhav, "I may
not physically reside in Vraj. But look at my body, the whole of Vraj resides in
Me!" The above is only possible when the spiritual pilgrim becomes more and
more "nisaadhan". A person who is competent, will walk himself
and reach his destination. But one who is not proficient enough, one who falters
and falls, is picked and led by the Lord Himself.
Katha khula swayamvar
Katha-a place where you get to choose your mate
The place where the Lord's name is praised-- a "katha" is a "khula
swayamvar" (a place where a damsel is totally free to choose her mate). In
a "katha" the Lord sometimes sits in the form of Sri Ram or Sri
Krishna or Shivji. The devotee can choose and garland the Lord of her choice. In
a "swayamvar" the father of the girl has no control over who she is
about to select. And in a "katha" the spiritual pilgrim comes in
the form of the "to be bride" to choose the Lord of her preference, to surrender to him and become totally His.
I have been speaking for the last 25 years and I shall continue to talk, but one
thing I want to make clear to you: The only solution in this path, is to
surrender. I have through the years, put in my efforts here and there, you also
try. But I have come to one conclusion, and that is that unless you become
"nisaadhan" like Sharbhangji, unless you surrender like the inmates of
Vraj, until then your base nature will not improve.
Ek hi aashray hai
Which means that one must accept only the support of the Lord.
Once a saintly man blesses you, all your negative instincts will dissolve, and
in its place utter bliss will fill your being--only one great effort is
required .....that of "nisaadhanta". The inmates of Vraj have their
Krishna tied to them only by one means: that of total surrender.
Bharoso dridh in charnan kero
Sri Vallabh nakh chandra chhata bin
Sab jag maahi andhero
Saadhan aur nahin ya kali mein
Jaaso hot nibhero
Surdas prabhu dwividh andhero
Bina mol ko chero
Surdas, your worthless servant,
who is blind physically and spiritually,
finds this world enveloped in total darkness,
except for those who have staunch faith,
in Sri Vallabh's refuge, which illumines
this otherwise gloomy world,
In this Iron age there is no other
means to achieve You, O Lord!
except by implicit trust and belief.
Mahaprabhuji ki vyaakhya
Mahaprabhuji has explained in the "Subodhiniji" that the one to rob us
of our purity, time and again is "Putna" (The demoness who tried to
poison Sri Krishna). It is important therefore that we seek the support,
of love for the Lord and His name. As explained earlier, in matters of
worshipping the Lord, it is a "khula swayamvar". To propagate only one
form of worship, is a form of aggression.
Param Dharam shruti bidhi na ahimsa
Do not influence or force your child to pray in any particular manner. Let him
get to love the Ishta of his choice, and then let him take refuge of a saintly
person. Sri Vallabhaachaarya says :
Krishna ki seva karo
Which means that one should allow the other, to follow the dictates of his own
heart. Introduce your child to the different methods of worship, but give him
the right to choose. We live in a modern world, where youngsters prefer to
remain single rather than to marry someone they do not fancy. If they are
coerced to marry, chances are that a divorce will follow soon after. Tulsidasji claims:
Jaane binu na hoi partiti
Binu partiti hoi nahin priti
Which means that first one must make acquaintance, and get to know the other,
then a rapport has to be created between the two. Once that happens , love
follows close behind.
My experience of the world, teaches me that revolution is born out of the
frustration that arises when one is under control of the other. Sri Vallabbhaacharya believes that you must not influence your family in the
mode of their worship. You continue to pray in the manner that most appeals to
you. By observing you, they might just follow in your foot-steps. Allow them to
choose their Ishta and their form of prayer. Your mission is to shower your
I repeat that a "katha" is a "khula swayamvar" That is why
we find that people from all corners of the world have gathered here. Devotees
have come from Ahmedabad, Raipur, Nagpur to unite with the Lord of their choice.
Perform your service in such a manner that youngsters may feel inspired to
follow your example. That service may be in the form of chanting, or worship of
your Ishta, or love for a pilgrimage centre. This path is the path of love and
tears. Why should we cry for a world who does not appreciate our pain? Let us
instead take our anguish to the Lord, who knows the price of each drop that
falls from our eyes, and it is believed that each tear of a devotee becomes a
flower which is threaded into a garland which is used by the Lord, and remains
close to His heart. Tulsidasji claims:
Naahin aavat aan bharoso
Tulsidasji who lived beyond a hundred years, stated that while he observed the
world, he realized that there was no other refuge for him but that of the Lord.
Now, let us sing the Lord's name. It is believed that any food offered to the
Lord is not accepted by Him unless accompanied by a tulsi (basil) leaf.
Similarly a "katha". You may give a scholarly talk for hours but it is
not accepted by the Lord unless you top it with "Hari kirtan" (singing
the Lord's name and praises). So come with me and let us offer Him in the dish, the "katha"; with
the topping of the "tulsi" in the form of the "Hari kirtan"
Let us remember the name of Sri Vallabh.
Sri Vallabh Vithal Giridhaari
Yamunaji ki balihaari