Episode # 206 – How does Bhagawan “end” our “Sanchita Karma” & “Prarabdha Karma” differently? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the culmination of the discussion on the criteria to attain “Moksha” through the divine “Krishna-Leela” that involved Chintayanti, an ardent devotee. As we had witnessed, there are two intertwined criteria for us to attain “Moksha”. The first condition is that our “Paapa” and “Punya” accounts should get nullified completely, which is totally uncontrollable in our hands. This is because, we do not know how much of “Praarabdha” Karma is left in our account for us to neutralize. There is no opportunity for us to know the account details either. Since this condition is totally not in our hands, we head into the second condition –  To seek for Bhagawan’s unending grace. This seems a possible way out for all of us, isn’t it? This is where Chintayanti sets an example – Her unconditional surrender to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna ensured that her “Karma” accounts were neutralized. If we surrender to Bhagawan thus, it becomes His responsibility to take us through isn’t it? This is what we’ve to ultimately understand through this episode. 

This is clearly illustrated in the Upanishads too. The Upnishads clearly explain how our “Sanchita Karma” and “Praarabdha Karma” are destroyed by Bhagawan if we surrender to His divine feet unconditionally. The Upanishads explain that our “Sanchita Karma” – The Karma which we have accumulated for over infinite births in the past, which is totally not in our control is completely burnt down by Bhagawan as we surrender to Him. However, the “Praarabdha Karma” doesn’t get burnt away in the way that the “Sanchita Karma” gets burnt down. As we know by now, the “Praarabdha Karma” is something that we start experiencing the fruits of, in this current birth of ours. In other words, when we take each birth, one small segment of the “Sanchita Karma” gets removed and gets converted into the “Praarabdha Karma”, and we start experiencing the fruits of it. This “Praarabdha Karma” doesn’t get burnt like that. If such a thing happens, then all of us would attain “Moksha” today itself, isn’t it? It would become such an easy task and we would start “negotiating” with Bhagawan thus, “Oh! If we surrender to Bhagawan, we would immediately get “Moksha”! This is not going to be such an easy process like how we go to a grocery store to buy things for money. If such a thing happens, all of us would also start saying thus, “Oh! If that’s the case, I shall finish experiencing all my worldly pleasures, family life, etc. and come to surrender at the age of 70!” 🙂 

Bhagawan obviously is not a fool to keep giving us such loopholes! He ultimately has the checkpoint in His hands. He tells us thus, “Oh Jeevatman! Now that you’ve surrendered to my feet, I’ll ensure that you will attain “Moksha” at the end of this birth!” By doing so, Bhagawan is trying to “get rid of” our “Praarabdha Karma”, so that we would be able to attain “Moksha” at the end of this birth. There is a difference between “burning” the “Sanchita Karma” and “Getting rid of” the “Praarabdha Karma”, isn’t it? This is the difference that we should understand in today’s episode. 

In fact, we had witnessed in our earlier Ramayana project as to how Bhagawan Rama had illustrated this point beautifully. In the “Bala-Kaanda” we had witnessed how Bhagawan Rama takes on two Raakshasas Shubaahu and Maareecha. Bhagawan Rama kills Raakshasa Shubaahu, but “chases away” Maareecha and pushes him into the deep oceans. Why is Bhagawan Rama doing that? He could have killed both the Raakshasas at the same instant isn’t it? He killed one and chased away the other to illustrate to all of us how the “Karma theory” works. The killing of Shubaahu illustrates the burning down of the “Sanchita Karma”. The chasing away of Maareecha illustrates “getting rid of” the “Praarabdha Karma”. 

This is where we’ve to understand the intricacies of each and every act of Bhagawan. We might just read Bhagawan Rama’s and Bhagawan Krishna’s “Charitras” at the surface level and understand just the story part of it. But, only if we dig deep into why Bhagawan Rama or Bhagawan Krishna performed such acts, we would be able to understand the various aspects of our “Sanaatana Dharma” being subtly explained by Bhagawan Himself. So for today, let us understand this important point on how we attain “Moksha” and how Bhagawan Rama and Bhagawan Krishna had explained this point through their divine “Leelas”. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 205 – Complete surrender to Bhagawan is the ONLY way to neutralize our “Karma” accounts!!!

We’ve touched upon an important point in the previous episode wherein we’ve witnessed how Chintayanti had attained “Moksha”. In this, although Bhagawan Bala-Krishna played an important role seemingly, her “Karma” accounts played a bigger role. Chintayanti was able to attain “Moksha” only when both her “Papa” and “Punya” accounts were nullified. This is an important concept often explained in various places in our Sanaatana Dharma Literature, and here in this case, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is once again trying to re-emphasize this important point. In fact, later on He does it big time in His Bhagawad Gita when He’s going to talk in detail about what is “Karma” and how “Karma” plays an important role in the birth-death cycle of the “Jeevatman”. 

In fact, as an extension to this point, Bhagawan Krishna explains in His Bhagawad Gita as to how can a “Jeevatman ” come out of this birth-death cycle. The context comes wherein Arjuna asks an important question to Bhagawan Krishna, whether there is no end to this birth-death cycle at all. Bhagawan Krishna explains to Arjuna thus, “Oh Arjuna! It is very much possible that the Jeevatman can come out of this vicious cycle. All that I’m saying here is that you, as a Jeevatman, do not have the power to come out of it. However, if you surrender to my divine lotus feet, I can pull you out of this birth-death cycle. Hence, the extent to which the “Jeevatman” can come out of this completely depends on how much he / she surrenders to Bhagawan!” 

We can see a practical illustration of this answer of Bhagawan Krishna in the case of Chintayanti. In fact, if we have a closer look at Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation, all the illustrations would be given first, and finally the theory part would come! 🙂 Normally in science and mathematics subjects today that we read, it is the vice-versa isn’t it? That is, the theory would be explained first, followed by the practical experiences and illustrations. However, Bhagawan Krishna is quite different in His approach and hence, He illustrates the practical aspect of things first, and then follows them up with the theory explained in detail through His Bhagawad Gita. In the Chintayanti episode thus, we’re witnessing how much of deep surrender to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna did she have in herself. Even though she wasn’t able to come out of her house to search for Bhagawan’s divine presence, she imagined Him in herself and got absorbed totally in His divine flute music. Moreover, we’ve also seen how Chintayanti used to wait every passing day to listen to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine flute music and how she used to have complete surrender towards Him. 

Thus the point to understand in today’s episode is that, of course it is important that our “Karma” account, inclusive of our “Papa” and “Punya” accounts should be nullified. However, what is more important here is that this “account maintenance” mostly isn’t in our control. For instance, if we had done some small sin of killing an ant or a fly in some birth that we would have taken 500 years ago, what would we be able to do about it today? This is a totally uncontrollable situation at our end, isn’t it? Moreover, we don’t even know what kind of “Papa” and “Punya” Karmas we have accumulated over the past hundreds of births that we would have taken so far. Hence, such things are uncontrollable factors, isn’t it? Given this situation, how on earth would we be able to liberate ourselves? This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna explains – The moment He says that we do not have the power to liberate ourselves, Bhagawan intends to explain to us that the only option that is available to us is to seek His divine grace for pulling us out of the “Karma” cycle. This is exactly what Chintayanti did too, when she surrendered completely to Bhaagwan Bala-Krishna. We’ve witnessed a similar experience with the fruit vendor earlier and how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna granted her the ultimate “Moksha” immediately then and there! 

So for today, let us understand this important point – Complete surrender to Bhagawan is the only way to neutralize our “Karma” accounts and it is only through this, we would be able to attain “Moksha”. Hence, let us channelize our efforts in this direction and let us not worry about our “Praarabdha Karma”. Let us exhibit surrender to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine feet, and let Him take care of the needful! We shall wait till the next episode to move on with the next important “Krishna-Leela” as narrated by Sage Paraashara! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 204 – Chintayanti attains “MOKSHA” with Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine flute music!!!

We’re at the midst of an important event as part of the divine “Krishna-Leela” wherein we’re witnessing what happened to “Chintayanti”, who was Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s ardent devotee, engrossed in His flute music. As Chintayanti was working in her kitchen one day, she was ardently waiting for her Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s flute music, however, on that particular day she wasn’t able to listen to it. She was thinking within herself that perhaps Bhagawan Bala-Krishna had deserted her and with this hard feeling, Chintayanti was continuing her work in the kitchen. Suddenly from nowhere, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine flute music reached her ears. From the sound intensity that was hitting her ears, Chintayanti sensed that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna was somewhere close by. He was not sitting on the Yamuna river bank on that day, but He was somewhere in the neighbouring street. As Chintayanti found out thus, she started rushing out of her house to have the divine “Darshan” of Bhagawan, but however, her in-laws were an obstacle to leave the house. They were sitting at the entrance of the house and Chintayanti couldn’t step out of the house. In those days, a woman couldn’t step out of her house if her in-laws were at home. This was a norm. However, we cannot expect such things today! 🙂 

Thus, Chintayanti was in a state of fix. On one hand, she was happy that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna was in the vicinity and was enjoying the sweet divine sounds from the flute. However, on the other hand, she was extremely sad because she wasn’t able to obtain His divine darshan. She was thus caught between two feelings! What would Chintayanti do now? She was just standing at that very place enjoying Bhagawan’s flute music and eventually she entered into a state of “Trans” or complete bliss. She fell on the floor unconscious! 

In our Sanaatana Dharma, it is clearly outlined as to how does a “Jeevatma” attain the highest “Moksha”. There are two pre-conditions for it – Firstly our “Paapa” (Sin) account should be nullified. Secondly our “Punya” account should also be nullified. If our “Paapa” account has too much balance, we would have to take repeated births and experience sorrow and sufferings. Similarly, when our “Punya” account has too much balance, we would again take repeated births to enjoy all the pleasures and good benefits for all whatever we’ve done. This “balance” that we’re talking about in this case is what we call as “Praarabdha Karma”. Everytime when we take a new birth, it is a section of this “Praarabdha Karma” called “Sanchita Karma” that we would start experiencing. This is how the birth-death cycle continues to happen in this world with regards to all “Jeevatmas”. 

In this case of Chintayanti too, she was almost a “Muktaatma”, but there was a little bit of balance of “Praarabdha Karma” left in her. Bhagawan Bala-Krishna knew this perfectly and He wanted to take her to “Vaikunta” as she was His ardent devotee. How does He do that? He makes her enjoy both the pleasure and the suffering together at one stretch! As she enjoys the pleasure of the divine music, her “Punya” account balance becomes zero! However, on the other hand, as she experiences the sadness and suffering of being away from her Bhagawan, her “Paapa” account also comes to zero! As both these accounts hit the “zero” mark, Chintayanti becomes eligible to attain “Moksha” and Bhagawan Bala-Krishna promptly grants her the highest status then and there! Thus, as Chintayanti attains the state of “Trans” due to the divine music of Bhaagwan Bala-Krishna’s flute, she straightaway attains “Moksha”! 

From this instance we can clearly infer how music can elevate us to the highest state of “Moksha” or “Vaikunta”, isn’t it? Thus, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna proves this point through His divine flute and for today, let us enjoy and experience this event, as we wait for the next episode to continue with the divine “Krishna-Leela” further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 203 – Can music elevate us to “Moksha”? Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s flute has an answer!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the culmination of the discussion on how to increase our involvement on the “Bhakti-Maarga” and what did our great Aachaaryas do for it. The best and easiest way to do so is to imagine and internalize Bhagawan as a child. This is exactly the reason why we’ve seen a great emphasis being laid on the Krishna-Avatara by all the “Aachaaryas”, including the likes of Sage Shukaachaarya, Sage Paraashara, the Alwars, etc. We’ve also witnessed in the yesterday’s episode as to why Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is under prime focus as compared to other incarnations like Bhagawan Rama, Bhagawan Varaaha, etc. The reason is very simple – If we’ve to internalize Bhagawan as Rama or Varaaha, these incarnations are complex for us to digest and imagine. For instance, Bhagawan Rama was an epitome of “Dharma”. Given this fact, there would automatically arise a “fear” factor within us that what if Bhagawan would punish us for all the wrongdoings that we do? Moreover, Bhagawan Rama was a king! Can we imagine a great king of Bhagawan Rama’s stature to come down to our level and mingle with us? It might be easy for spiritually realized souls like Hanuman to internalize Bhagawan Rama in that way. But for ordinary people like us, it might be difficult, isn’t it? This is why, Bhagawan Himself felt this ardent need to bring His devotees closer to Him and this is the reason behind which Bhagawan incarnated as Bala-Krishna. The moment we say “Child”, all of us would have that zeal and urge to go near Bhagawan quite easily, isn’t it? This is why Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s “Leelas” are extremely important and this is why Sage Shukaachaarya and Sage Paraashara spent a great deal of time in explaining each of the “Krishna-Leelas” in a great deal of detail. 

Moving on thus, we’re going to witness the continuation of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna playing the divine flute and how the music emulating from the flute was responsible for a young woman by name “Chintayanti” to attain “Moksha”. We’ve witnessed in a few of our previous episodes as to how music is a great methodology for us to attain closeness to Bhagawan isn’t it? Now in this episode and the coming one, we’re going to witness a proof for the same. As Bhagawan Bala-Krishna sits on the river banks and keeps playing his divine flute, all the cows come and gather around Him. We’ve seen this earlier too. Sage Paraashara beautifully describes this scene with tears in his eyes. He explains thus, “Oh Maithreya! This particular scene of Bhagawan Venugopala captures my heart! Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is now getting surrounded by the cows and calves. As Bhagawan Bala-Krishna was very small and stout in size, the cows seem to be taller than Him. Hence, to listen to the divine music from the flute, the cows are bending towards Bhagawan Bala-Krishna and lending their ears to the divine flute. What a divine moment! Even cows are being attracted to this divine music!” 

Notwithstanding the divinity that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s flute is producing, all the women in Gokula too aren’t spared! As they start listening to the music, all the women leave all their work then and there and start enjoying the divine musical experience. One such woman was this “Chintayanti”. She was a young woman living in one of the houses in Gokula who used to sell milk, curd and other milk products like butter, etc. She was a great devotee of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna and every day when she used to prepare the milk products for sale at her kitchen, she used to literally wait to listen to the flute music of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. As she listens to it, she gets so engrossed into it in a way that she would fall on the floor unconscious! She would go into a state of “Trans” and ecstasy as the divine music pierces through her ears! On one occasion, as Chintayanti was working in her kitchen, she didn’t hear any music from Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. She was so eagerly waiting for the same, but for some reason, Bhagawans flute music didn’t reach her ears. Hours and minutes passed by, but of no use! She was losing her patience and couldn’t resist her urge to listen to the divine music! 

All of a sudden from nowhere, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine flute music pierced her ears, from a distance unusually close to her! The moment she heard the music, Chintayanti was excited beyond words and she knew that Bhagawan had answered her prayers and longingness. She immediately rushed out of her house to check where Bhagawan Bala-Krishna was. Was He closeby somewhere? Was He waiting outside her house to see her? As she rushed out of her house, unfortunately for her misfortune, her in-laws were sitting at the entrance. In those days, it wasn’t a good practice for a daughter-in-law to bypass her in-laws and walk out of the house. This means that the woman is very arrogant and disrespectful towards elders. Since she couldn’t do that, she was totally disappointed! Her Bhagawan is in the vicinity but she couldn’t really go out and check Him out! Tears flowed out through her eyes, out of immense despair and longing towards Bhagawan Krishna on one hand, but on the other hand, His flute music was soothing her to comfort! 

Thus, Chintayanti was caught clearly between two contrasting feelings – The sadness because of her inability to worship Bhagawan, and the happiness due to the music that is emerging from Bhagawan’s divine flute! What happened next? Was she able to see Bhagawan Bala-Krishna? Was she able to attain “Moksha”? Let’s wait eagerly for the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 202 – Why is Bhagawan Bala-Krishna described in more detail than Bhagawan Rama in the Puraanas? A discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the important discussion on why it is the easiest to internalize Bhagawan as a child. We’ve seen an interesting conversation between Alwar and Bhagawan Vishnu with regards to this. Of course, Bhagawan is an embodiment of the entire universe, but being so, it is very difficult for normal people like us to internalize and imagine Bhagawan. This is what Alwar is trying to convey here – He wants Bhagawan to come in front of him in the form of a child, because a child is an embodiment of pure love and innocence. We would also agree to this point that when we see a child, irrespective of we being a male or a female, a sense of motherly love and affection automatically gets born within us, doesn’t it? We would immediately want to have the child in our arms and lap and to pamper it with all our love, isn’t it? This is the reason why the great ardent devotees of Bhagawan always prefer to see Him as a little child. By doing so, their motherly love overpowers them and this in turn transforms into “Bhakti” and unconditional surrender to Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet. This is exactly what is happening in the case of Sage Shukaachaarya, Sage Paraashara, etc. as well. When they narrate the Krishna-Leelas one after the other, they get so engrossed into imagining Bhagawan Bala-Krishna that they automatically shed tears of “Bhakti-Bhaava”. 

In these lines, there is yet another important question that might keep lingering in our minds. In fact, I’ve answered this question in a different angle in one of our previous episodes, but I feel that it’s worth revisiting that question in this context again. We’ve witnessed the entire Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana in our previous project, and now we’re witnessing Shri Vishnu Puraana here. In both these Puraanas, there is not much of a mention of the “Rama-Avatara ”, isn’t it? Although Sage Paraashara and Sage Shukaachaarya are giving a detailed accord on the various incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu, starting from the “Koorma-Avatara”, “Varaaha-Avatara”, Bhagawan Vaamana, etc., when it comes to Bhagawan Rama, both the sages are very brief in their description. They quickly tell their disciples Sage Maithreya and King Parikshit that if they want to have a detailed accord on Bhagawan Rama, they should go and read the Ramayana text authored by Valmiki Bhagawan. They just tell this one sentence and give a jist of how Bhagawan Rama takes birth in this world as the son of King Dasharata and that’s it. They move on into the “Krishna-Avatara” in the Dwaapara Yuga. Whereas, when it comes to the “Krishna-Avatara”, both these “Aachaaryas” spent enormous time in describing the length and breadth of what Bhagawan Krishna did. We’ve seen that in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, Sage Shukaachaarya had dedicated the entire 10’th Skanda for describing Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. Here too, we’re witnessing the third “Amsa” for the past 100 episodes or more, wherein Sage Paraashara too is talking at length about Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. 

We might wonder here as to why these “Aachaaryas” were so partial towards Bhagawan Rama! In other words, we might be wondering why the same strategy wasn’t adopted to Bhagawan Krishna as well. For instance, Bhagawan Krishna has been described in detail by Sage Veda-Vyaasa in the Mahabharata text, isn’t it? All of us know that very well. Yet, why is Sage Paraashara and Sage Shukaachaarya taking all their time in describing Bhagawan Krishna at length? Moreover, since Sage Shukaachaarya was Sage Paraashara’s son, Sage Shukaachaarya could have easily said to King Parikshit to refer to his father’s Shri Vishnu Puraana text for a detailed accord on Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, isn’t it? Why didn’t he say that?

These are questions that might be lingering in our mind for a long time now. The answer to all these questions is very simple and straightforward. Imagining Bhagawan as a child, performing all His childhood pranks is the best way to increase the “Bhakti-Bhaava” in a spiritual seeker. We should always remember that the ultimate aim of both these texts (Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and Shri Vishnu Puraana) was to instill the “Bhakti Bhaava” in the minds and hearts of King Parikshit and Sage Maithreya. Of course, both these texts talk about how the world was created, how Bhagawan Vishnu performed the “Srishti” with the help of Bhagawan Brahma, King Svaayambhuva Manu, etc. We’ve also witnessed all that in our earlier episodes too. However, the real “Bhakti-Bhaava” doesn’t come there. All that was just pieces of information that one can learn and grasp. The real “Bhakti-Bhaava” begins only when Bhagawan Bala-Krishna takes birth and starts playing in Gokula. 

This cannot be done even with Bhagawan Rama. This is because, Bhagawan Rama is an epitome of “Dharma”, as all of us know by now. If one has to be an epitome of “Dharma”, He has to demonstrate to the world through His actions, which is exactly what Bhagawan Rama did all through His incarnation. For someone to exhibit and practice “Dharma”, one should be an adult, isn’t it? Only then the person would have the maturity to follow “Dharma” principles. With this, the spiritual seeker might get an impression that if Bhagawan Rama is following the “Dharma” as per the book, He might be a very strict person. If we’ve to go in front of Bhagawan Rama, and if we’re epitomes of “Adharma” (Which we actually are), won’t Bhagawan Rama punish us and take us to task? This is a fear that lingers in all of us, isn’t it? Whereas, this fear doesn’t arise when we go near Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, as He’s a child! 🙂 We would automatically have that confidence that although we might be epitomes of “Adharma”, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna would still forgive us and accept us as His ardent devotees! 

Thus, the point is very clear here – The central focus of both these “Puraanas’ ‘ are Bhagawan Bala-Krishna and the reason behind it is to instil the Bhakt-Bhaava in all of us. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us try and internalize Bhagawan Bala-Krishna in all our hearts, as we move forward with the next important “Krishna-Leela”. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 201 – Internalizing Bhagawan as a child – Easiest way to attain Spiritual Growth!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on how Sage Paraashara demonstrates an important characteristic of a “Guru” or a “Spiritual Master”. Sage Paraashara, along with Sage Shukachaarya and others are highly revered and respected as great Spiritual Masters because they have internalized Bhagawan within them and whenever they talk or narrate something about Bhagawan, they enter into a state of deep “Trans”, which automatically brings tears of “Bhakti” from their eyes. Now upon seeing this, what is the message that goes out to their disciples, Sage Maithreya and King Parikshit? The important message here is that, we would be able to experience Bhagawan deep within us only if we internalize Him completely. This is the perfect way through which a “Guru” enlightens the “Atman” of the disciple. We had witnessed a famous sloka in this context which clearly explains this important characteristic of a “Guru” – To remove the darkness (“Agnyaana”) of the disciple by instilling the light (“Gnyaana”) in him / her. Thus “Gnyaana” starts blooming in the disciple as he / she internalizes Bhagawan more and more within. 

Of course, having said thus, this process of “internalization” isn’t an easy task. It might be easier said than done. Now the question might arise amongst us as to how do we internalize Bhagawan within us? This is the reason why we’re experiencing Bhagawan as a little child in the form of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. If we’ve to imagine Bhagawan as the entire universe or the entire ocean waters or the entire set of rivers that flow through various parts of the world, etc. or if we’ve to imagine Bhagawan in the form of His huge “Vishwaroopa”, it is not going to be easy for us to do all this. In fact, Alwar explains this beautifully in one of his “Paasurams” in the ‘Divyaprabhandham” text. I shall convey the message that this “Paasuram” explains. This is an interesting conversation between Alwar and Bhagawan Vishnu. One fine day, Alwar, while performing his daily “Nitya-Anushtaana” (Routine prayers) talks to Bhagawan thus, “Oh Bhagawan! I understand that you’re omni-present (“Sarva-Antaryaami”)! You are an embodiment of mountains! You’re an embodiment of rivers! You’re an embodiment of the oceans! You’re the embodiment of the entire universe!” 

As Alwar says thus, Bhagawan replies back to him – “Oh Alwar! I’m very happy that today you’ve got this great realization about me! From now onwards, you may imagine me in the forms of the  mountains, oceans, rivers, universe, etc. and I’m not going to appear in front of you anymore! Once you’ve got the enlightened knowledge, there’s no purpose in coming in front of you every time, isn’t it?” Bhagawan talks this way purposefully to kindle Alwar’s Bhakti Bhaava more and more. Stunned by Bhagawan’s “seemingly cold” reply thus, Alwar replies back! He’s almost in tears upon hearing what Bhagawan just said to him. Alwar says thus, “Oh Bhagawan! I think you’ve grossly misunderstood what I was trying to say. I just said that you are the embodiments of the mountains, rivers, etc. But I never said that I would be able to imagine you in these forms! I’m totally incapable of all what you’re asking me to do. You’ve to come in front of me in the form of a child. Only then I can imagine you and internalize you within me!” 

Alwar continues thus, “Oh Bhagawan! It’s a known fact that you’re an embodiment of the entire world and universe put together. Nobody is denying that. But, we as normal Jeevatmas in this world are highly incapable in seeing and visualizing you in the form of the universe. For our small minds, we would be able to experience you only if you come in front of us in a form that we can grasp and imagine, isn’t it? Hence, Bhagawan! Please do not deny this devotee’s ardent request! You’ve to come in front of me in the form of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna! Only then I can enjoy your divine company!” Saying thus, Alwar was in tears of Bhakti and upon seeing the condition of Alwar, Bhagawan appeared in front of him as Bhagawan Bala-Krishna! 

So what do we understand from this conversation? The message that Alwar is trying to convey here is that, yes, Bhagawan is an embodiment of the entire universe. But to experience Him, it is grossly difficult and virtually impossible for us to imagine Bhagawan in such forms. For our little and immature minds, the easiest thing for us is to imagine Bhagawan and internalize Him as Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. This is exactly the reason why Sage Shukaachaarya spends so much of time in explaining Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine “Leelas” in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. This is precisely the same reason why Sage Paraashara spends such a lot of time in explaining about Bhagawan Bala-Krishna here as well. 

We might easily ask a question here – When Sage Maithreya asked about Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation, Sage Paraashara could have easily skipped this part because his son, Sage Shukaachaarya has already explained all of this in his Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. Sage Paraashara could have easily told Sage Maithreya to “refer” to the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text for “more details” on Bhagawan Krishna, isn’t it? Why didn’t he do that? The sole reason for this is that, more than the storyline, the experience and internalization of Bhagawan can best be achieved only when we witness Bhagawan as a child. This is why a lot of emphasis is given to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine “Leelas” in both these texts. This is also the reason why we’re spending so much time talking about Bhagawan Bala-Krishna for so many episodes as part of this blog series. 

So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of the “Bala-Krishna-Leelas” as explained by Sage Paraashara! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 200 – Importance of “Experiential Learning” in Spirituality – Sage Parashara illustrates!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on how Sage Paraashara describes Bhagawan Bala-Krishna sitting on the banks of the river Yamuna, with His divine flute in His hands, with a yellow dress spread across His divine physical body which is black in color. For His black color, the yellow dress that He’s wearing, gives an appealing look. Along with the yellow dress, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna wears a set of divine ornaments around His neck and around His waist. This also adds to the beauty of Bhagawan as He sits blissfully over a tree trunk that kisses the gently-flowing waters of the River Yamuna. As Bhagawan Bala-Krishna sits thus and plays the flute, all the animals, birds and His friends flock around Him, enjoying the divine music that emulates from the divine flute. Meanwhile, we had also witnessed how the river water slowly caresses Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet and how the tree upon which He’s sitting is feeling ecstatic that Bhagawan is using the wood from it in the form of the flute. 

As Sage Paraashara imagines this form of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, he’s moved into tears and for a moment, stops the narrative as Sage Maithreya looks on. We should remember that this entire “Shri Vishnu Puraana” is being narrated by Sage Paraashara, in response to the questions asked by his disciple, Sage Maithreya. As Sage Paraashara starts his discourse, we’ve witnessed in our earlier episodes of this project that he never stops in the middle for any form of break anywhere. However, at this juncture, Sage Paraashara stops his narrative for a few seconds to compose himself again, as he was totally engrossed into Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine form. As he was getting into a “Trans” state, tears automatically started flowing through his eyes. Upon seeing this, Sage Maithreya was also moved to tears of joy and “Bhakti”. Here we are witnessing how a “Guru” teaches Bhakti (True devotion) to his disciple, along with the spiritual contextual knowledge. Sage Paraashara could have easily gone on narrating about Bhagawan Bala-Krishna without a gap like this. However, he made sure that he gave this gap, so that his disciple also gets an opportunity to imagine the divine form of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna and internalize it. This is yet another greatness of a “Guru”. 

Thus, through this narrative, we’re witnessing a very important point here about the significance of a “Guru” or a “Spiritual Master”. We’ve been talking about this for the past 2-3 episodes as well, and today, we’re witnessing one more important point in regards to this. One of the main responsibilities of a “Guru” is that, more than teaching the mere subject or bookish knowledge to the disciple, a “Guru” should also make sure that the disciple gets an “experiential learning”. In today’s context too we’re seeing this quite a lot in our normal education system, isn’t it? Especially in science and mathematics-related subjects, we have a separate component for theory and another component for laboratory practice (Practicals). This gives the students an opportunity to try out things that they learn in the classroom as theory. Similarly for management students, we have various components of practical learning such as internship projects, application-based assignments, case studies, etc. These methodologies ensure that the students get an overall understanding of the subject, including the theory and experiential learning. 

Similarly in spirituality too, the theory is all what we’re witnessing here in this blog, episode after episode – How was Bhagawan Bala-Krishna born, how He grew up in Gokula, how He killed Kamsa, how He relocated to Dwaraka, etc. This is the theory part. The role of the “Guru” shouldn’t stop at this point wherein the disciple only learns the bookish stuff. In fact, to learn the bookish stuff, we do not need a “Guru” at all. Anybody can read through and learn stuff quite easily. However, the real contribution of the “Guru” to the spiritual growth of his / her disciple comes in the experiential learning aspect. The moment a disciple learns how to “internalize” Bhagawan within himself / herself, is when the value-add of the “Guru” comes in. This is why we often keep saying that if we’ve to have this experiential learning part in spiritual education, we require the divine grace of the “Guru”. This is why we have the famous sloka thus: 

“Agnyaana thimiraandasya gnyaanaanjana shalaakayaa!

Chakshurunmeelitham yena tasmmaih shri gurave namah!!”

This sloka clearly explains that the “Guru” is the one who brings out the disciple from the state of darkness (“Agnyaana”) and transcends him / her to the state of complete knowledge (“Gnyaana”). Now let us relate our discussion with this sloka – How does a disciple transcend from the state of “Agnyaana” to “Gnyaana”? It can only be with the experiential learning component, isn’t it? As we begin to internalize Bhagawan more and more within ourselves, we slowly get transformed from darkness to brightness. This is exactly what Sage Paraashara is doing to Sage Maithreya. As he is explaining the Vishnu Puraana content, he is making sure that he’s making Sage Maithreya slowly internalize Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine form into himself. 

So for today, let us understand this important point as the primary responsibility of a “Guru” or a “Spiritual Master” towards his / her disciples. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 199 – Sage Paraashara describes Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s beautiful divine form!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of an important discussion as to how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting on the banks of the River Yamuna and happily playing His divine flute, which is attracting all the living beings towards Him. We’ve already witnessed how this brings about unending bliss to the spiritual seekers of Gokula, and along with this, we’re currently witnessing some important subtle spiritual messages that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is trying to convey. We’ve witnessed how the flute can be compared to a “Guru” or a “Spiritual Master” wherein, the “Guru” is a medium between the Jeevatman (Bhakta) and the Paramatman (Bhagawan). The biggest responsibility of a “Guru” is to bridge the gap between Bhagawan and the Bhakta. Similarly, the flute is also serving as a medium to bridge the gap between the two entities via music, which is one of the most divine ways in attaining proximity to Bhagawan. Secondly, we had also witnessed in yesterday’s episode as to how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting along the banks of River Yamuna, wherein the river waters have a beautiful opportunity to caress Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet. Upon seeing / imagining this beautiful sight, the great “Alwars” and “Aachaaryas” were in tears of joy and “Bhakti” and thus went into a “Trans”! 

We might think why these people are shedding tears for just a mere imagination. We might also wonder why aren’t we getting even a single drop of tear from our eyes, even though we read and listen to so much about Bhagawan every day! The difference is the level of involvement in them and in us – When the “Guru” listens about Bhagawan, He / She gives 100% into it and thus enters into a world wherein He / She couldn’t think of anything else other than Bhagawan. This is what we call a “Trans” moment. If one enters this stage, automatically we would also get tears of Bhakti as we imagine Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. In fact, this is the highest level of Bhakti that one can exhibit. This is why we’re seeing such beautiful descriptions and explanations given by Sage Paraashara, Sage Shukaachaarya, Sage Veda-Vyaasa, Valmiki Bhagawan, etc. If one has to compose thousands and thousands of slokas, compositions, etc. on Bhagawan, we can infer the level of imagination that these great “Aachaaryas” would have. This is why, in our Sanaatana Dharma, it is mentioned at various occasions that this is one important characteristic of a “Guru” or a “Spiritual Master” – Only if the “Guru” is able to experience Bhagawan in a “Trans” state, he / she can guide the disciple in that way. This is an important point that all of us should understand here. 

Moving on with this discussion further, we shall witness how Sage Paraashara has experienced the “Trans” state upon imagining Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. We’ve witnessed till now how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting on the banks of River Yamuna and playing the divine flute. Continuing with this further, Sage Paraashara imagines the divine appearance and form of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. As He is black in colour, the dress that He wears on top is suiting His colour excellently well. He’s wearing a yellow “Pitambara” (A type of dhoti with an overcoat), which is glittering like gold. Around His neck, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is wearing a couple of necklaces, which serve as divine ornaments (“Aabharna”). Near His forehead, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna has a small peacock feather that adds to His beauty.  We might even today be able to see all these in almost all portraits of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. With all these on Him, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting on the banks of River Yamuna and playing the flute. 

Now that we’ve got a clear picture of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, we shall also start trying to imagine Him in this divine form. We might be thinking that it might be difficult to imagine Bhagawan like this. Yes, in the initial times it would be difficult to imagine this and sustain this in our mind, as we’re into so many disturbances in today’s world. However, we should take that effort to get into this. There is no point in just keeping on grumbling that it is difficult. We should atleast take one step forward towards Bhagawan isn’t it? This is the reason why the Alwars and Aachaaryas are extremely successful in visualizing Bhagawan Krishna. 

Moving on further thus, Sage Paraashara explains beautifully a small conversation between the River Yamuna and the tree bark upon which Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting and playing the flute. The River Yamuna talks to the tree bark thus, “Oh tree! Look at the divine opportunity I’ve got here! My waters are caressing and brushing through Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet! Who on earth would get this divine opportunity that I’m getting on a daily basis?” Upon hearing this from River Yamuna, the tree bark is replying thus, “Oh Yamuna Devi! Yes! You’ve got a divine opportunity! But look at what I’ve got! The flute which Bhagawan is playing upon is also made up of one of the blocks from my tree only, isn’t it? With this, I’m getting a divine opportunity of being amidst Bhagawan’s divine lips. Bhagawan is blowing air through the holes in the wooden block that is made out of me, isn’t it? So, both of us are immensely gifted, isn’t it?” 

Isn’t this an interesting conversation? This is of course an imaginary conversation here, but through this, we can see the level of the “Bhakti-Bhava” of Sage Paraashara. So for today, let us immerse ourselves into this Bhakti-Bhava of Sage Paraashara and enjoy this divine experience of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna sitting in front of us with the divine flute. We shall continue this further into the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 198 – The “GURU” (Spiritual Master) – A person who is deep-rooted into Bhagawan at all times!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important discussion on why Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is playing the flute to generate the divine music, and why is He not singing directly through His mouth for the same. We had witnessed an important reason for this – The flute that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is using is acting like a “Medium” through which music is propagated. This “Medium” is what we refer to in our Sanaatana Dharma as the “Guru” or the “Spiritual Master”. Just like how the flute acts like a medium between Bhagawan (Paramatma) and the Bhakta (Jeevatma) to propagate music, the “Guru” or “Spiritual Master” acts like a medium between Bhagawan (Paramatma) and Bhakta (Jeevatma) to propagate Bhakti and all His spiritual guidance and messages. If we hear all of it directly from Bhagawan, we would only get confused as whatever comes directly from Bhagawan might be extremely complex and might be difficult for normal people like us to comprehend. The best example is the Bhagawad Gita – Neither Arjuna himself, to whom Bhagawan Krishna explained, nor others could understand the full essence of what Bhagawan is trying to convey. This is why till date, research scholars across various countries are still conducting innumerable researches on the Bhagawad Gita. Only He knows what He has said! 🙂 

Another example of this is the Vedas. We’ve witnessed in our earlier episodes as to how the Vedas were born. Since the Vedas too have come directly from Bhagawan, it is extremely difficult or nearly impossible for all us to comprehend till date. This is why we have the “Guru” or “Spiritual Master” in the form of Sage Veda Vyaasa, who took it upon himself to compile the Vedas and segregate the complex text into the four sects – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharvana Veda. Even then the Vedas is complex for us to understand and implement. This is where we have the “Ithihasas” and Puraanas” complied by Valmiki Bhagawan, Sage Veda Vyaasa, Sage Paraashara, Sage Sukhaachaarya, etc. who are all in the lineage of the great “Gurus”, who have simplified the Vedas and given to us for easy understanding. This is where the role of the “Guru” or Spiritual Master lies – The main responsibility is to act as a medium between us and Bhagawan and bring both of them together. This is exactly the flute’s role here. Thus, we should understand that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is trying to convey the important message through the flute that the “Guru” is a very significant person in the “Bhakti-Maarga”. 

Moving on thus, Sage Paraashara explains how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna sits and plays the flute on the banks of River Yamuna every day. As He comes to the banks of the river, He sits in such a way that His divine lotus feet brushes through the fast-flowing waters of the river. He sits over a small bund and His feet get drenched in the water. Upon seeing and describing  this scene in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana,  Sage Sukhaachaarya feels bad that had he be born as the water of the Yamuna River, he would also have had the divine opportunity to caress Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s feet gently, isn’t it? If we look into the “Divyaprabhandham” text compiled by the “Alwars” and the “Aachaaryas”, we would be able to witness their “Bhakti Bhaava”, wherein they would be in tears as they imagine this scene. 

We might be wondering why are these people in tears just by imagining scenes like these! It is only because they are getting tears, they are considered as “Aachaaryas” and it is only because we do not get anything while we read through all these, we’re considered “normal people” without any spiritual knowledge! This is yet another characteristic of a “Guru” or the “Spiritual Master”. A “Guru” is a person who experiences Bhagawan every minute and second of their divine incarnation. Because they are able to experience Bhagawan every minute, they automatically shed tears of “Bhakti” and this characteristic is what makes them revered and respected. From their outward appearance, we might easily tend to conclude that such people have gone mad or crazy, but the reality remains that the “Guru” is a person who is deep-rooted in Bhagawan all the time. In fact, it is only because great Spiritual Masters like Sage Veda Vyaasa, Sage Paraashara, etc. and the present-day Spiritual Masters like Shirdi Sai Baba, Bhagawan Ramana, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, etc. are such deep-rooted souls towards Bhagawan, they have a huge following with lot of respect. 

Thus, for today, let us understand from this episode, this important characteristic of a “Guru”. Thus, from this episode wherein Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is sitting aside the banks of the River Yamuna and playing His flute, let us also imagine that we’re sitting alongside Him and listening to the divine music that is emulating out of His divine flute. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of this discussion on the various characteristics of a “Guru” that Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is illustrating further. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 197 – Why is Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s divine flute a “GURU” (Spiritual Master)?

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a different way through which the “Govardhana Leela” of Bhagawan Bala-Krishna could be viewed. Although Indra’s folly is quite evident in the way he exhibited his arrogance towards Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, one way of looking at it is that, by doing so, Indra performed the “Govinda-Pattabhisheka” for Bhagawan Bala-Krishna. This is a significant event because, Bhagawan Krishna never had any sort of a grand “Pattabhisheka” henceforth, even though He was the king of Mathura for a short duration after the demise of Kamsa, and also the king of Dwaraka henceforth. Hence, if we look at it in this way, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna was crowned a leader even during His childhood days. The divine names of “Govinda” and “Gopala” are exclusively meant for Bhagawan Bala-Krishna which signifies that He’s the leader of the entire cow community. We’ve seen this earlier too as to how Bhagawan Bala-Krishna drew all the cows around Him with His divine flute. Thus, this “Govinda-Pattabhisheka” assumes a lot of significance. 

Moving on thus, when we had discussed Bhagawan Bala-Krishna’s flute playing, I had missed out mentioning an important point pertaining to it. We’ve witnessed this important question previously – Why did Bhagawan Bala-Krishna play the flute? We’ve seen that music is one of the most divine and easiest ways through which we can get closer to Bhagawan. But there’s an offshoot to this entire discussion. We might wonder why Bhagawan Bala-Krishna isn’t singing through His mouth, and why is He using an instrument to propagate His divine music to the world? This is a very important question for us to understand here. This might sound a bit silly outwardly, but there is a deeper spiritual meaning to it. Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, by playing the flute, is using the flute as  “medium” to propagate His divine music. This “medium” is what we refer to in our Sanaatana Dharma quite often as the “Guru”. Bhagawan’s “Upadesha” (Teachings) shouldn’t come directly from Him. They should come through an intermediate medium called the “Guru”. Only then we would be able to get the essence of what Bhagawan wants to convey. 

For instance, why do we have a filter in the middle, when we’ve to obtain water for drinking and cooking purposes at home? If we draw the water directly from the pipe, we might have many impurities in it, isn’t it? So as to clear those impurities and get the pure form of water, we have a “medium” in between called the filter. Of course, I’m not saying that Bhagawan’s divine teachings would be impure. I gave this example of a water filter just for our understanding. Let us not bring this example to Bhagawan. The point here is that, through the flute, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna is driving home the importance of a “Guru” or the “Spiritual Master”. We should always remember that even if we’ve to approach Bhagawan for anything, we shouldn’t directly go to Him. We should always go to Him through the Guru. I’ve spoken about this important point many times in the past, under many occasions. We’ve also seen this point during our Ramayana project as to how Hanuman was considered as the “Guru” who played the perfect mediating role in between Mother Sita and Bhagawan Rama. Thus, the Guru is someone who serves as a bridge between the Jeevatma and the Paramatma, and helps the Jeevatma in attaining the highest “Moksha”, which is in turn referred to as attaining the divine feet of the “Paramatma” (Bhagawan). 

We might have a counter question in mind here – Why shouldn’t we directly go to Bhagawan? What would happen if we bypass the Guru and approach Bhagawan? This is exactly what we saw during the Bhagawad Gita – While listening to it, Arjuna was totally confused! 🙂 In fact, the entire Gita-Upadesha began with a note of clearing Arjuna’s confusion. However, after hearing the full Bhagawad Gita, did Arjuna come out of his confusion? The answer is a big “NO”! 🙂 The fact is that his confusion only increased further! Thus, if we go to Bhagawan directly, He wouldn’t like it that much. Hence, He would make sure that He confuses us to the extent that we would have no other option but to go to a Guru to clear it off! For instance, now all of us are witnessing this “Shri Vishnu Puraana” text for the past 195 days or so. We’re witnessing how clearly and beautifully Sage Paraashara is explaining things. We’ve similarly witnessed Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana before this. We’ve again seen how clearly Sage Shukachaarya had explained things. However, if we’ve to sit down to understand the Bhagawad Gita in this way, it is going to be very confusing for us, with the way Bhagawan Krishna had explained things. In fact, Bhagawan Krishna has also explained the same thing in the Gita, which Sage Shukaachaarya and Sage Paraashara had explained. However, if this message comes from the “Gurus” like Sage Shukaachaarya, Sage Paraashara, Alwars, Aachaaryas, etc., the clarity that emerges is more than when it comes directly from Bhagawan. This is why we require the presence of a “Guru” or the “Spiritual Master”. 

Thus for today, let us understand the importance of this “Guru”, through the medium of the divine musical instrument called flute. Thus, Bhagawan Bala-Krishna played the flute, because He employed the flute as a “Guru” (A divine intermediary) to propagate the fact that music is one of the best ways to get closer to Bhagawan. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂