Lingannapeta: DECEMBER 19-21, 2012

The Jagadguru arrives at Lingannapeta

On December 19, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Lingannapeta. The Jagadguru in His Anugraha Bhashanam had words for praise for devotion of the brothers, Sri Radhakrishna and Sri Gopikrishna who had studied at Sringeri and had set up Sri Bharati Tirtha Vedic Foundation at Lingannapeta. The Jagadguru also blessed the Vidyarthis and Adhyapakas of the Pathashala of the foundation.



Simplest Way to Attain Liberation: Think of God & Chant His Name

On the evening of December 20th, a Guru Vandana program was organized by the devotees of Lingannapeta. Dr. Dorbala Prabhakara Rao read a Sanskrit composition on the Jagadguru while poet and lyricist Jonnavithula Ramalingeswara Rao expressed his devotion through poetic verses. The Jagadguru then blessed the gathering with an Anugraha Bhashanam.

In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru referred to the question posed by Yudhishthira to Bhishma in the Mahabharata. It was a time when the war had ended and many lives had been lost. Yudhishthira performed the final rites for many of his kith and kin and elders, and came to Bhishma to question him on matters of Dharma. Bhishma, who had the boon of choosing the time of his death, was lying on a bed of arrows and was awaiting the arrival of the Uttarayana. When questioned by Yudhishthira, Bhishma responded thus – “What do I have to say in matters of Dharma when you have Sri Krishna Paramatma Himself near you?” However, when Sri Krishna Himself gave permission to instruct his grandson Yudhishthira on Dharma, Bhishma offered his prostrations and began to instruct Yudhishthira on matters of governance. After hearing everything, Yudhishthira realized that all of Bhishma’s instructions referred to his duties as a king and were directed towards the welfare of citizens. Having understood his Dharma as a king, Yudhishthira proceed to ask, “By adhering to which Dharma does one get liberated from Samsara?”. Bhishma said – “Always mediate on the Lord. Engage yourself in chanting His divine Names. This is the path to Liberation.”

This answer and instruction – to meditate upon the Lord and chant His Names – given by Bhishma is applicable to all. The Shastras do instruct us to adhere to various kinds of Dharma, inclusive of the performance of Yagas and construction of temples for the welfare of all. However, these cannot be adhered to by everyone. One needs to have a number of prerequisites such as wealth or be a king for adhering to these. It is the Dharma prescribed above by Bhishma that everyone can adhere to with ease. Even the dumb can adhere to it by chanting the names mentally.

While it is true that sins and sinners abound in the Kali Yuga, chanting the names of Bhagavan removes one’s sins and fetches Shreyas:

कलेर्दोषनिधे राजन् अस्ति ह्येको महान् गुणः ।
कीर्तनादेव यत्सद्यो नरः पापाद्विमुच्यते ॥

This opportunity is not available in other Yugas. One has to engage in tapas, perform yagas, and a number of Pujas. Just as some university accepts those who are unable to get admission into other prominent universities, the Kali Yuga offers a way to Shreyas that other Yugas do not have. In other Yugas, man would not be able to erase his sins by merely chanting the Bhagavan’s name; he would have to perform sacrifices, practice the state of Samadhi, perform various rituals, etc. Man can have all his sins destroyed by the utterance of the Divine name. The Jagadguru further elaborated with an example:

वपुःप्रादुर्भावादनुमितमिदं जन्मनि पुरा
पुरारे न क्वापि क्वचिदपि भवन्तं प्रणतवान् ।
इतीश क्षन्तव्यं तदिदमपराधद्वयमपि ॥

“O Lord! I did not offer my prostrations to You in my previous birth. Hence I had to take a birth again. That I have acquired a body (in this birth) is enough to infer this. This is the first sin (of not having prostrated in the earlier birth). In this birth, as I am offering prostrations to You, I will get liberated. And hence, I will not be able to offer obeisance in future for I will never be born again (as I would get liberated). This is the second sin (of not being able to offer obeisance in the future). Forgive me, O Lord, for both these sins of mine.”

However, sincerity and belief are essential; else there will not be any benefit. We find this to be the case, even for worldly affairs. Did not people pay money at the post office so that it reaches the destined person via the postal facility of Money order? Did not people have faith in this system? Did they refrain from sending money doubting the facility? Do not people deposit money in the bank today and draw it from an ATM in a different city? Do people refrain from depositing money in a bank disbelieving the ATM system? People do have faith even here. No one leads a life where faith in one thing or the other is completely lacking. If people do not have faith in anything, and doubt everything, they are sure to meet their doom. Bhagavan Himself says:

“संशयात्मा विनश्यति”.
A person who doubts everything will perish.

When we attach such importance to faith to even matters in worldly life, what needs to be said of faith in God. God does not need all external paraphernalia. He does not look at education, age, gender, status – He only looks at the devotion of the seeker.

The Jagadguru then spoke about the infinite mercy of God by stating how Lord Rama gave asylum to Vibheeshana and even promised to crown him the King of Lanka! Even though Vibheeshana was His enemy’s brother, the Lord did not hesitate to grant him refuge. We should not think that God has not blessed us, or that will He will not bless us or that He will neglect us. This is because He is an ocean of compassion. It is our fault if we do not seek Him with steadfast devotion. Even a Tulasi or Bilva leaf offered with devotion will please God.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः ॥

The Lord has said, “I will accept whatever is offered with devotion, be it a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water.” Hence devotion is paramount.

Shankara Bhagavatpada has stated that even a common person can become elevated through devotion:

भक्तिः किं न करोत्यहो वनचरो भक्तावतंसायते
What cannot devotion achieve? Even a hunter (Kannappa) who lived by killing creatures had become elevated merely by having great devotion.

The Jagadguru again emphasized that while God is not partial, we should not forget that He blesses according to one’s devotion. Thus all of us should follow Bheeshma’s advice and make our lives meaningful. There are no rules, qualifications or specific times for this – we can chant the name of the Lord at all times and in any situation.

The Jagadguru added that there is one more reason to always chant the name of the Lord. According to the Shastras, a man’s next birth will depend on his thoughts during his last moments in this birth. If we chant God’s name during our last breath, we will attain salvation. Some people might ask, “Is it not enough to chant the Divine Name even as we take our last breath? Why do so from now itself?” However unless you train yourself now, you will only have other thoughts when death comes knocking. So always chant the name of the Lord. Bhagavan Himself has said in the Gita:

अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन् मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् ।
यः प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशयः ॥
“One who chants My name and leaves his mortal coil, will attain salvation. There is no doubt about this.”

Thus let us chant the name of the Lord always and heed Bheeshma’s advice to Dharmaraja, and make our lives purposeful.

The Jagadguru ended his Anugraha Bhashanam, blessing the brothers, Sri Radhakrishna and Sri Gopikrishna (alumni of the Sringeri Pathashala) who had established the Sri Bharati Tirtha Vedic Foundation at Lingannapeta, their fathers Rama and Lakshmana and the people of Lingannapeta. The Jagadguru also blessed the Vidyarthis and Adhyapakas of the foundation’s Pathashala.



Anugraha Bhashanam at Lingannapeta


Kumbhabhisheka at Harihareshwara Temple

On the morning of December 21, the Jagadguru performed the Kumbhabhisheka at the Harihareshwara Swamy Temple. The Jagadguru offered worship at the Sannidhis of Chandramoulishwara Swamy and Sri Venkateshwara, after which Shikhara Kumbhabhisheka took place.