Kochi: APRIL 12 -13, 2012

The Quality of a Mahatma

On arrival at Mattancherry in Kochi, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji had Darshan at the Dharma Shasta temple. In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that people may be classified as Astikas and Nastikas. An Astika has faith in the existence of God, Dharma, reincarnation, and the Vedas. One who has neither of these beliefs is classified a Nastika. We belong to the category of Astikas since time immemorial.

A Nastika cannot easily be taught. Even a man who is completely ignorant can be taught. One who knows everything can also be told. But a Nastika is one who is like a man with half-baked knowledge.

अज्ञः सुखमाराध्यः सुखतरमाराध्यते विशेषज्ञः ।
ज्ञानलवदुर्विदगधं ब्रह्मापि नरं न रञ्जयति ॥

The Shruti (Veda) says – पुण्यो ह वै पुण्यः कर्मणा भवति पापः पापेन । – one attains joy by performing Punya and falls by sinning. It is our Dharma Shastras that decide what constitutes Punyam and what constitutes Papam (sin).

Duryodhana tried to cause trouble to the Pandavas even after sending them to exile. But he himself was caught in trouble as he was captured by Gandharvas. At this juncture, Yudhishthira sent Arjuna and Bhima to help Duryodhana. Though his brothers were reluctant, Yudhishthira persuaded them to help their cousin, Duryodhana inspite of what he had done to them. It is natural to help those who have helped others, however the tendency to help even those who have caused us harm is the quality of a Mahatma. Mahatmas such as Yudhishthira are our ideal. They would be ready to sacrifice anything for Dharma, but never sacrifice Dharma. Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada in His Bhashya writes thus about a Mahatma – यो हि इष्टादिलक्षणं कर्म आचरति, तमाचक्षते लोकाः धर्मं चरत्ययं महात्मा – People call him who adheres to the path of Dharma as Mahatma.

It is not sufficient to say our ancestors were such people. They lived such Dharmic lives and fulfilled their life’s purpose. One has to reflect if one is following in their footsteps and not merely say that one has come in such a lineage.

On 13th April, the Jagadguru had Darshan of Janardana swamy at Amaravathy. Enroute to Alappuzha on the 13th evening, the Jagadguru graced Bhagavata Saptaha, Turavoor and blessed the thousands of assembled devotees with an Anugraha Bhashanam. A public function to honour Princess Ashwati Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bai was held in the Jagadguru’s divine presence. Speaking on the occasion, Princess Ashwati Tirunal said she was blessed to be in the presence of the Travancore Royal Family’s Kulaguru – the Sringeri Jagadguru.