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First Discourse
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Second Discourse - Pg. 2
Third Discourse - Pg. 1
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Fourth Discourse - Pg. 1
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Fifth Discourse - Pg. 1
Fifth Discourse - Pg. 2
Fifth Discourse - Pg. 03
Sixth Discourse - Pg. 1
Sixth Discourse-  Pg. 2
Seventh Discourse - Pg. 1
Seventh Discourse - Pg. 2
Seventh Discourse - Pg. 3
Eighth Discourse - Pg. 1
Eighth Discourse - Pg. 2
Eighth Discourse - Pg. 3
Ninth Discourse


Eighth Discourse
Page Three

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 various circumstances.

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 Vraj.

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 narrates:

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.

Sarvasva samarpan
Surrendering all

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
Hari sharanam
Bhagavat sharanam

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

Which means:
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 elucidates

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
karaao nahin

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 blessings.

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

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