Krishnarayapuram: JUNE 8-9, 2012

The Qualities of a Bhakta

In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that Bhagavan has described the qualities of a true Bhakta in the Bhagavad Gita and everyone must strive to cultivate them. If one brings flowers, milk as offerings and worships Bhagavan, that alone does not make him a Bhakta. When the qualities of being a Bhakta are present, the Lord will be pleased with a simple offering of a single Bilwa leaf or a Tulasi leaf and bless abundantly. However everyone must make oneself eligible first.

The first quality mentioned for a Bhakta is that he must not hate anyone. He would consider everyone to be his own. Sri Neelakantha Deekshitar says that if you have to really become angry, show your anger upon anger. Hence without harbouring hate and anger towards anyone, a devotee will really live with the attitude of “सर्वे जनाः सुखिनो भवन्तु”. There is also the prayer “सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः । सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु । मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।” that everyone live without diseases, let everyone come across his or her welfare and not be subject to suffering. Our ancestors have passed on such a noble thought. Hence why should we hate anyone? That is why Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada has said “त्वयि मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णुः, व्यर्थं कुप्यसि मय्यसहिष्णुः । सर्वस्मिन्नपि पश्यात्मानं सर्वत्र उत्सृज भेदज्ञानम्” – The same divine Consciousness pervades you and me. So why do you become intolerant and get angry with me

A devotee must have the quality of alleviating the suffering of another by rendering assistance. This is what the Shastras call as दया – परदुःखप्रहाणेच्छा. – Compassion is the desire to remove the suffering of others. Even the Lord exhibits compassion for it is only out of compassion that He incarnates to bring about the welfare of world. The Jagadguru then quoted a Shloka that brings out this fact beautifully –

परोपकृतिकैवल्ये तोलयित्वा जनार्दनः ।
गुर्वीमुपकृतिं मत्वा अवतारान् दशाग्रहीत् ॥

The Lord weighed Paropakara against being indifferent, and realizing that Paropakara is heavier, took the ten incarnations.

The Jagadguru then explained the Upanishadic story where the gods (devas), demons (asuras) and humans approached Lord Brahma for Upadesha. Lord Brahma gave them all the same Upadesha – a single syllable – “द”. The Devas understood this as “दाम्यता” (the quality of controlling the senses) – As the gods are always immersed in happiness, they will never have the inclination to engage in Brahma Vichara (enquiry about Brahman). Whether one is a god or a human, liberation comes about only on engaging in Brahma Vichara. Hence the Devas understood the Upadesha to represent the quality of controlling their senses and engaging in enquiry on the Truth.

Lord Brahma next asked the humans as to their understanding of the Upadesha, the humans replied “दत्त” – engage in charity. This is because humans have a tendency to accumulate wealth and rarely does man get inclined to engage in charity.

Sri Neelakantha Deekshita describes this attitude of man thus – If Man has sufficient wealth, he does not hesitate to lend a lumpsum amount for high interest rates, but when it comes to engaging in Karmas prescribed by the Shastras, he asks, “Is it not enough if I spend a little amount?” Once a priest was called to do a Puja in the house of a Grihastha. The priest had to offer various items during the Puja to God but due to their unavailability offered them all using Akshata – वस्त्रार्थम् अक्षतान् समर्पयामि (I offer Akshatas in order to offer Vastram) – उपवीतार्थमक्षतान् समर्पयामि (I offer Akshatas to in order to offer the sacred thread). At the end of the Puja, when it was time to offer Dakshina to the priest, the Grihastha came to the priest and said – दक्षिणार्थम् अक्षतान् समर्पयामि (I offer Akshatas to represent the offering of Dakshina). This attitude is undesirable. People believe in documents and lend money on the basis of documents. However people refuse to have belief in the Shastras that state that you get back tenfold when you engage in charity. Once a man came to another and asked for a loan of Rs. 100. The second man agreed but said he would only give Rs. 90 and would need Rs. 110 the next month along with interest. A third man saw the agreement happen but was surprised to say both of them in a happy mood. When he enquired the second man, the latter said, “I am happy because I have earned Rs. 20 in an instant.” The first man upon enquiry said, “I have earned Rs. 90 in an instant for I have no intention of paying of paying back.” The Jagadguru thus pointed out that man’s greed and said humans understood the Upadesha of Lord Brahma as a directive to engage in charity.

When the Rakshasas were asked, they replied that they had understood the Upadesha to mean “दयध्वम्” – “Be compassionate”. Rakshasas by nature do not have compassion hence this instruction.

This account appears in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. When writing His Bhashya on this Upanishad, Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada has said, “Those talked as gods, humans and demons actually represent humans of different nature. The instruction to control senses is for those humans who are always engaged in the pleasures of the senses. Those men who do not have an iota of compassion are equivalent to Rakshasas and it is for them that the instruction to cultivate compassion was given.” So it is not right for us to think that only the instruction of engaging in charity was meant for us humans. The other two are also meant for humans if they have the respective attributes.

Hence just as a devotee of God will not have harbour any hatred towards anyone, he must have compassion for the other.

A devotee must also cultivate tolerance. Most quarrels are the result of the absence of tolerance. They can be solved in a trifle. However, because of the lack of tolerance, two people cultivate enmity towards each other and go to the extent of desiring to harm each other. Hence one must develop the attitude of tolerance, for everyone does a mistake sometime or the other. Lord Krishna has shown us an example by tolerating the insults thrown at Him by Shishupala in front of a big assembly. While He did punish Shishupala, it was only after the latter had crossed his limits.

Hence cultivate compassion, shed hatred, be tolerant and maintain equanimity in joy and sorrow. A person with such qualities will be a man of God. Only then will the person be a Bhagavad Bhakta and Guru Bhakta.

The Jagadguru then praised the devotion of the residents of Krishnarayapuram and recalled that His Guru, Paramaguru and Parameshti Guru had graced Krishnarayapuram.


At Ayyampalayam

On 9th June, the Jagadguru gave Darshan to devotees at Krishnarayapuram. In the evening at around 5 pm, the Jagadguru started from Krishnarayapuram and had Darshan at the Simhapureeshwarar temple at Karuppattur. The Jagadguru then went to Ayyampalayam to the temple of Lord Dandayudhapani. The large temple has a unique history associated with the Peetham. It had been built in the late 19th century by Sri Thandavaraya Pillai, an ardent disciple of the 33rd Acharya of the Peetham, Jagadguru Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji. The Mahaswamiji had laid the foundation stone for the temple in 1893 and had performed the Prathishta Kumbhabhisheka in 1895 and consecrated the images of Lord Dandayudhapani, Sri Prasanna Parameswara and Parvati as well as of the image of Lord Srinivasa. A Murti of Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada was also consecrated inside the temple later. In 1908, during the Mahaswamiji’s Vijaya Yatra, Sri Thandavaraya Pillai had requested that the Murti of the Mahaswamiji Himself be installed in the temple to mark the Mahaswamiji’s fiftieth year and the Mahaswamiji’s Murti was installed by the then agent of the Math, Sri Srikantha Shastri. Another noteworthy fact is that, having consecrated the shrines for Sri Adi Shankaracharya and Goddess Sharada at the birthplace of Sri Adi Shankaracharya in Kalady, the Mahaswamiji had continued His Yatra and had observed Chaturmasya in Ayyampalayam in 1910 (Sadharana year).

The Jagadguru had Darshan of Lord Dandayudhapani and then went to the nearby shrines for Sri Adi Shankaracharya and Sri Abhinava Shankara i.e. His Parameshti Guru Jagadguru Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji. The Jagadguru offered flowers and Vastram to both the Murtis and revererntially held the silver Padukas of His Parameshti Guru after Mangalarati was performed to them. The Jagadguru then blessed the devotees and proceeded towards Mahadanapuram.