Chennur: DECEMBER 29-30, 2012

Essentials of a Dharmic Life

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji reached Chennur on December 29th to a devoted welcome. After the Dhuli Pada Puja was performed and Swagata Patrikas were read formally welcoming the Jagadguru, the Jagadguru blessed the gathering with a Anugraha Bhashanam.

The Jagadguru began the Anugraha Bhashanam noting the Telugu saying – దీపం ఉన్నప్పుడే ఇల్లు చక్కగ పేట్టుకోవాలి – literally meaning “One should clean-up the house when the lamp is still burning.” This means that we have to practice Dharma which secures our welfare, when our body is healthy. We can practice Dharma only when our body is fit. What can be done once the body becomes infirm due to the onset of old age? An old man cannot even sit for half-an-hour and do his prayers. He cannot fast on Ekadashi due to old age. Similarly, he cannot keep vigil on Mahashivaratri. He cannot take bath and do his prayers during the time of eclipse. These cannot be done at an elderly age.

However, if we practice all the necessary Dharma when our body is firm, our future births will be nobler. We can enjoy further comforts. We will attain a body that is qualified to enjoy comforts. What do each of us desire? To be happy and comfortable, in every lifetime. Nobody desires unhappiness in any lifetime. Isn’t this what we all feel? Even a layman will never wish that he does not need happiness, or that he experience sorrow.

How can we get this happiness? By the practice of Dharma. By being a Dhaarmika (a practitioner of Dharma, or one who is on the side of Dharma). Then your wish will be fulfilled. The Shaastras have indicated the kind of a lifestyle a Dhaarmika should lead. Instead, if we live as we like, without adhering to any rules, there will not be any difference between us and other creatures. Those creatures do not have any rules. If we also live as we like, we will become equal to them. It is not to be so. Human life should have some rules. These rules are called ‘Dharma’.

What is the first among such rules? The first one is: ‘As a general rule, I will not trouble anybody under any circumstance.’ In Shaastric parlance, it is called ‘Ahimsa’. It does not merely mean not killing another. One should not hurt others’ hearts, either. One should not talk hurtingly, degradingly or insultingly. If we talk insultingly, another person’s heart will experience distress. This amounts to troubling and sinning. We have to be very cautious when we speak. We should not hurt another person. Everybody has self-respect. Just as we think that nobody should hurt us, the other man will also think likewise. This is told in the Shaastra as: आत्मनः प्रतिकूलानि परेषां न समाचरेत् – Do not do to others what you feel is not good to your own self. Just as you think nobody should scold, hit or abuse you, you should also not do the same to others. This is Ahimsa, i.e., not hurting others physically or emotionally. This rule applies to every single human.

The second Dharma enunciated is – ‘to utter only the truth always.’ You should never speak lies. Some people speak untruths to secure their goals. By doing so, sin is accumulated. You may accomplish your goal, but you will be responsible for the sin that has occurred. In today’s world, we see a lot of people who behave as and how they like, without any fear of sin. Saying anything to anybody, stealing somebody’s possession, speaking untruths frequently, etc. will result in sins. In our next births, it is but we who will experience the result of such sins, nobody else.

सुखस्य दुःखस्य न कोपि दाता ।
परो ददातीति कुबुद्धिरेषा ॥

Only your merits and sins cause your happiness and sorrow. Nobody else is responsible.

Thus, by your uttering untruths, you will accumulate sins, thereby paving the way for sorrow. We should speak only the truth as far as possible in our lives. It is for this reason that our ancestors never used to speak much. In order to speak only the truth, they used to speak very limitedly. Kalidasa, while describing the line of kings in the Raghu dynasty, says of them: सत्याय मितभाषिणाम् – They who used to speak limitedly to protect truthfulness.

Therefore, even we should be prudent in speech and use the time available to utter the name of the Lord. Utterance of the Lord’s names is the loftiest of all Dharmas. It is suitable for everybody. When Dharmaraja asked Bheeshma, “Grandsire, please tell what is the noblest of all Dharmas”, this is what Bheeshma replied:

एष मे सर्वधर्माणां धर्मोधिकतमो मतः ।
यद्भक्तया पुण्डरीकाक्षं स्तवैरर्चेन्नरस्सदा ॥

Meditating on the Lord with devotion and uttering His name is the highest of all Dharmas.

Why so? The other Dharmas require a lot of rules to be followed and involve financial and physical strain. Uttering the Lord’s name on the other hand, does not require any of these. It is extremely simple. That is why it is said:

नमः शिवाय मन्त्रोऽयं वागेषा वशवर्तिनी ।
अहो मोहस्य माहात्म्यं नरकं येन पश्यति ॥

It is not at all difficult to utter the Lord’s name. What is tough about uttering ‘Namah Shivaaya’? You cannot say anything is tough, as all the syllables are easy on the tongue. Similarly, you cannot say you are dumb, as you continue to speak unnecessary matters. We thus waste our invaluable time. This is called ‘Mahamoha’ (the great delusion) or ‘Aviveka’ (lack of wisdom) of humans. Even though there is such a simple way to make one’s life meaningful, people tend to waste their lives. Considering this trait, our predecessors have used the expression ‘Aho! (Alas!) Mohasya maahaatmyam (The power of delusion)‘.

Thus, with reference to Dharma, speaking the truth is Dharma and to ensure this, one has to speak prudently. One should spend the rest of the time meaningfully by chanting the Lord’s name.

The third among the list of Dharmas is not coveting somebody else’s possession. We should not eye another’s possession. It does not belong to us. If we do covet such a thing, it is a big mistake and we will accrue sin. Therefore, everybody has to keep “not coveting other’s possession” as an ideal.

Another Dharma laid down is to keep your mind clean. Ensure that there are no impurities in it. What are the impurities of the mind? Kaama (Lust), Krodha (Anger), etc. Coveting everything and getting angry at every instance, are both wrong. Is there any end to desire? If you do get the object of desire, will your desire stop? No. Another springs up. Will there be a stop after that desire is satisfied? No indeed; yet another desire springs up. A man will initially wish for a Rupee. Upon getting it, he will wish for ten, thereafter a hundred, then a thousand, ten-thousand, a lakh, a crore and so on. There is no end for desire.

Therefore, the Lord has described the nature we must cultivate in the Bhagavad Gita as:

I am content with what God has willed that I attain.

Our elders have said: ప్రాప్తంబగు లేశమైన బదివేలనుచున్. The meaning of this is: “Whatever has come to me in whatever measure, I deem it valuable.” Thus, contentment is very essential. Otherwise, even if you travel the entire world, nothing can make you happy.

Thus, we should not touch what is somebody else’s. We should keep our mind free of impurities. As for Krodha one must reflect on what an angry man can achieve? You will only repent later for your words and actions. Why this attitude? It is better to ensure you don’t get angry, in the first place. So, for your mind to be clean, it should be free of lust and anger.

In summary, we should cultivate these aspects of Dharma – non-violence, truthfulness, not coveting another’s possession, and keeping the mind pure. These are the rules upon which our lives should be led. Then our life will be meaningful. Thus, as we discussed in the beginning, we should clean our house whilst the lamp is still burning; we should practice these Dharmas while we are healthy. We should thus strive to add meaning to our life. In this endeavor, God’s grace is of utmost importance. Without it, one won’t even be motivated to lead a Dharmic life. For this motivation, God’s grace is needed. Hence, we should pray God to grant us this. God is the epitome of compassion. He will accept our prayers. By attaining His grace, we can lead a Dharmic life, by which our life will become pure. This is the message given by our predecessors. We must obey and practice it. By doing so, we lead a purposeful and happy life. We have to inculcate this good behavior in our future generations. We have to ensure that they also live like this.


The Jagadguru then described the reason why He decided to camp at Chennur.

I grant you all my wholesome blessings. The reason for my coming here is my beloved disciple, Sri Gattu Narahari Avadhaani. A devotee will have a sense of liberty with God. He will even quarrel with God. My disciple (Sri Narahari) too enjoys the same liberty and relationship with his teacher, as a devotee has with God. Sri Narahari has fought with Me to ensure this camp at Chennur! Initially, a Chennur camp was not on the agenda; not because I did not wish to, but because there seemed to be no proper time or opportunity. Sri Narahari Avadhaani came to Srisailam and asked me, “Swami, how can it be that you are not camping at Chennur? If you are not camping at Chennur, then I do not wish to stay in that place hereon!” I asked, “What is this? Why don’t you want to stay in Chennur just because I am not coming there?” He answered, “No, no, Swami. If you do not come to Chennur, I cannot stay there. You are not allowed to bypass Chennur! If you do not come to Chennur, I will lay in front of your car! Let your car go over me.” I said, “Oh my! What a thing to say! You shouldn’t speak like this. I will come to Chennur. I will definitely come.” Only then did he seemed to regain his lost life! Why this behaviour? Because a disciple has that liberty with the Guru! He can ask for anything he wants of his Guru and accomplish his goal. Is he being selfish? It is only so that people can have Darshan. By my coming to Chennur today, he has arranged for Darshan for thousands of people. He keeps following me, has Darshan and seeks blessings. But if the thousands who reside here have to get Guru’s darshan, it will happen only if Guru comes here. It is for this that he strived so hard and has brought the Guru here. So if the Guru has come to Chennur today, all the credit will go to your Sri Narahari. I am saying this to illustrate the kind of devotion a disciple should hold for his Guru. You are all so devoted. The minute you heard that the Guru is coming to your town, you have all come with great enthusiasm to welcome the Guru, get His darshan, hear His words and to witness the Puja He performs. I am extremely happy with all this. I convey my complete blessings to all of you. May God grace you and protect you always. May He wipe away all your troubles, grant you comfort, make you tread the path of Dharma and ever grace you. So praying thus, I convey to you my remembrance of Narayana and end this speech.


Anugraha Bhashanam at Chennur




A Simple Ending

The Jagadguru had graced the small town at the invitation of Vedabrahmasri Gattu Narahara Avadhani and gave His special blessings to the Avadhani for creating the opportunity for the residents of Chennur to have Darshan of the Jagadguru and witness the Sharada Chandramoulishwara Puja. On December 30th, the Jagadguru gave Darshan to the residents in the morning, as devotees performed Bhiksha Vandanam and Pada Puja. After blessing the devotees, the Jagadguru departed Chennur in the afternoon and proceeded to Mancherial.