Tuesday, July 11, 2017

सद्गुरुं तं नमामि


                 ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll 



Yet another Guru Poornima to remind the Jiva, to wake us up from slumber, the over-powering tamas.... A reminder to seek the grace of Ishvara, to awaken to the only goal everyone really has, to be able to surrender at the feet of the Guru, to be able to pursue Brahmavidya unhindered.... commit to Sravana-Manana-Nididhyasana! .... all this, as precious time flows by, as the body ages, as the senses wear out and one is slowly, then acutely aware of the advent of the evening of life! 

Mahamaya has her total sway, powerful sway. 

'बालस्तावत् क्रीडा सक्तः, तरुणस्तावत्  तरुणी रक्तःl 
वृद्धस्तावत्  चिन्ता-सक्तः, परमे ब्रह्मणि कोsपि  न सक्तःll', says Shankara, exhorting the Jiva to seek Ishvara - Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam....', he shouts, trying to awaken us, our clouded minds (मूढ-मते). 

The Sadguru, exemplified by Adishankara, overcome with compassion, relentlessly prods the Shishya; for, who can love us more than the Guru? 'Uttama Vaidya', Sri Ramakrishna calls him rightly -  He doesn't give up! 

शान्ता महान्तो निवसन्ति सन्तः, वसन्तवल्लोकहितम् चरन्तः l 
तीर्णा स्वयं भीम-भवार्णवं  जनानहेतुनन्न्यानपि तारयन्तः....ll



But for these compassionate ones, where would we be? With our dull initiatives and feeble moves, where indeed??

Grateful salutations again and again at the Guru's feet - that grant liberation....

Prayer, and more prayer... to endow us with that unwavering commitment to freedom!!


-- 
Swami Sheshadri

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

शुद्धा बुद्धिः

ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll

"..शुद्ध-बुद्धि-दायकं तं ईश्वरम् देवेदेवं रामकृष्णं नमामि !" says Sri Swami Virajananda in his Ramakrishna Tunakam.


Well, all our problem seems to be due to absence of this ​
शुद्ध-बुद्धि . An intellect that discriminates, one that is one-pointed towards the goal... is almost untraceable in us! "व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः is indeed one," says Bhagavan, एकेह - it is single and well ascertained, clear and unambiguous understanding - with respect to Moksha. The notions of those who lack discrimination are many-pronged and innumerable. Almost everything looks desirable, worth chasing, an endless wild goose-chase... till you are exhausted and old age overtakes you.. and you are done with one more precious birth! ... Possibly hoping that that you will hit the jack-pot in the next life ... and samsara goes on!

व्यवसाय means निश्चय, clarity with reference to what I seek and how I am to gain it - it is शुद्धि in the बुद्धि ! To see clearly that Moksha is the destiny or goal of a human being, which is exactly what I am seeking for, that it is in the form of freedom from the sense of limitation, and that it is centered on myself only and is not outside me - is शुद्ध-बुद्धि.

It is easy to discern how rare that seems to be. How many do we see endowed with this clarity? You need grace for this! From the very opening upadesha in the Kathamrta it is relentlessly made crystal clear - the aim of human life is to know Ishvara (non-different from the self). Sri Sri Guru Maharaj seems to hammer this truth in, coaxing and cajoling, sometimes endearingly and sometimes harshly, throughout - as if saying 'अन्यां वाचां  विमुञ्चथ !' This identifying the core of one's life's pursuit is THE most important step! And it needs कृपा  as Swami Virajanandaji reveals to us.


Clad in white, in the whiteness of His Sattva form he seems to point to this ! May Sri Thakurji grant us just that​. 
May this heart turn into a temple of worship to thee, where, at your feet, I may set my seat to behold you!


Having known only the outer world of
प्रवृत्ति , of endless seeking after security and pleasure ... and both consistently denied to me there, may I come to understand, as Swamiji's mellifluous verses sing to us the fact.. यस्मात् अहं तु अशरणो, for I am without any support here - helpless and hopeless, जगदेकगम्य - O Lord, (who is the only possible destination for all). It is clear to me hence, that thou art my sole support  तस्मात् त्वं एव शरणं मम , O friend of the helpless हे दीन-बन्धो !​


​May my heart become the offering of
Japa Pushpa at thy feet... grant me  शुद्धा  बुद्धिः !
-- 
Swami Sheshadri

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Lion Roars!


ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय ll नमो विवेकानन्द सद्गुरवे ll

रामकृष्णप्रियं नित्यमुक्तं ऋषिं,  युवतापसोत्तमं सद्यस्कमेव l
वेदान्त-केसरीं तं ब्रह्मचारिणं,  शक्तिरूपं विवेकानन्दमाश्रये ll



नूतनं शङ्करं मायाssशु-नाशकं,  दीन-नारायणस्यार्चकं सेवया l
भारतोद्धारकं  विरजं नरेन्द्रं,  चिदानन्द-रूपं  यतीन्द्रं  नमामि ll

The roar that woke us up, the echoes of it that continue to prop our staggering selves, still emanate in the immortal words that instill hope and power for us Indians steeped in Tamas, and for humanity at large!

Such unshakable faith had he in the future of India, and in even the hapless Indian of then, and 'free' Indian of today, that none else but the vision of a Rsi could have beheld it!

Did anyone in the recent past love us so 'fiercely'? Had anyone concerned Himself so intensely about us? He did, for He was a condensed Bhaarata himself. He is the voice of India, nay the roar of India, that the world unmistakably heard! 

Does our bosom swell in 'legitimate' pride when today the West 'celebrates' India and Indians; haven't we shared those golden moments when for the first time the world stood up to applaud our Prime Minister and now does it every often.... a sense of National Identity fills us and the Indian diaspora all over. Can we then not imagine the scene where the lone Indian Lion roared about a Century and a quarter ago? 

All alone, in an absolutely unfamiliar land... He thundered enough to be called a 'Cyclonic' Monk! That roar shook the 'civilized' part of the world like an earthquake, and subsequently our sleeping selves... like a Tsunami that follows!!
The maker of Modern India, the embodiment of Ancient India, our beloved benefactor - Swamiji.



Is it without reason that He was 'Ramakrishna-priya'? His very bones worked out His Guru's will!
Who but He could say this, "My life's allegiance is to this my motherland; and if I had a thousand lives, every moment of the whole series would be consecrated to your service, my countrymen, my friends."

Bhaaratoddhaaraka indeed. How may my little self salute you, O Hero of Heroes! You have no parallel.

The words of fire that emanated from your lips, "Strength is life, weakness is death," infused in us the strength to throw off the oppressive foreign yoke, and hold our heads high.... they still do, and we need them more than ever before. 

We are also able to see the plight of the Country today, that instead tread for over seven long  decades in pursuing 'education for employability and money.'

May the Lord let Bharata see that the only panacea lies in what you have taught us..."Man-making, Character-building Education";
नान्यः पन्था विद्यते भारताय ! There is no other way, no other way... for it is character energy that we have lost in our selfish material pursuits!


-- 
Swami Sheshadri

Monday, January 2, 2017

ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय कल्पतरवे


ll ॐ नमो भगवते रामकृष्णाय कल्पतरवे ll 



धर्म-हानि-हारकन्त्वधर्म-कर्म-वारकम् ,
लोक-धर्म-चारणञ्च   सर्व-धर्म-कोविदम् l
त्यागि-गेहि-सेव्य-नित्य-पावनाङ्घ्रि-पङ्कजम् ,
तन्नमामि   देव-देव-रामकृष्णमीश्वरम् ll

Dear Bhaktas,

If one were to seek from the Lord one's wish, which would have a guaranteed fulfilment, what would one choose? Actually, it is a boon we are talking about!

We would, of course, first want to be sure that it would be fulfilled, for it is too good a proposition, and thus, hard to be so sure of these days!

Which wish must take precedence over the others crowding up, would be difficult to say. I would have chosen something yesterday, which I would not do today, but would ask for something different now in the light of my present understanding! And I can scarcely predict what I would ask in future, may be, feeling also that I had asked for something not so worthwhile previously!

Does my mind clearly know what is the most prudent thing to ask? Perceptions seems to change , complicating  matters! Can I seek help and guidance in asking, or is desire more personal and individual, than can be generalized?

Bhagavan Himself declares something interesting, in the Geeta : 'I am desire itself, but that which is unopposed to Dharma.'धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोsस्मि  भरतर्षभ !'

Sri Ramakrishna came to establish and uphold dharma, not allowing it to slide down..., teaching jivas to desist from actions that are not in consonance with dharma. He set a personal example to the 'Dharmis' in order that there is never a compromise. Like Rama is celebrated as 'विग्रहवान् धर्मः ' (embodied dharma itself), in this Kaliyuga Sri Ramakrishna was the same, against odds!! Such amazing dharmanishtha, "if I dance sixteen steps, you will at least dance one!" he would say to all; Swamiji called him  'सर्व-धर्म-स्वरूपिन् ' in salutation.

If such is the Kalpataru, what should we be asking Him for? Well, we have the famous incident from the life of Swamiji, wherein Sri Ramakrishna sends him to ask from Mother Kali whatever he desired, and the Kali 'Kalpataru' would fulfill the same without a shade of doubt. We know how impossible it turned out for Swamiji to beg for anything material and menial, and that he could only ask for Jnana, Vairagya and Shuddha Bhakti - in the three attempts encountering the benevolent Divine Mother, even in dire penury. He set the standard, the ideal, of what should be sought from the Lord. You can not be as foolish as to ask for a brinjal when you meet the King, was Thakurji's point!!

So then, from Kalpataru Thakurji, should we ask for Jnana-Bhakti-Vairagya? Today, for most of us, they are not more than unassimilated words, with unclear meaning, and even really not something which is our heartfelt-need. Do we actually want them? What do we do then, if we are not to ask what we really want and are not sure we honestly want what should be asked for? 

Why not do something honest and sensible, by following what our most benevolent Rishis taught us... that most relevant of all possible prayers - the gift of Rishi Vishwamitra to humanity:

O Lord, धियो  नः प्रचोदयात् ! May you illumine our intellects, so that we can think correctly. Endowed with right thinking, we may even know what to ask of you. You - who are all-knowledge, all-power and is all-pervading!

हे कल्पतरो, श्री राम-कृष्ण भगवन् , नो धियः प्रचोदयताम् !!


​So sings the lone Kite perched on the Shikhara of Sri Thakurji's temple, on Kalpataru day.... yes the Kite we call
mind!!

-- 
Swami Sheshadri