Great Bhakthas such as Purandara Daasa have composed Bhajans based on revelations of scriptures received by them through constant and sincere practice. Singing such bhajans of bhakthas or devotees elevates the singer. It is not enough if one sings the bhajan. One should understand the meaning expressed through such songs and devotees should then tell one another and discuss their implications.
For instance, there is bhajan in Kannada, which says “If I sing I will only sing the praises of my Lord. If I beg, I will only beg of my Lord”.
What it implies is that one should surrender only to the Supreme Lord and to none else. What is the meaning “If I beg, I will only beg of the Lord”? Why should one beg ? Is the Lord who created us in the first place, no aware of our needs ? If at all you decide to beg, beg only of the Lord. Where is the need of begging others, who themselves have to beg of the Lord ? The Lord knows best what to give, whom to give it to and when to give. He is the Supreme and all-powerful. We should simply surrender to Him.
People gathered here are from different age groups, different backgrounds and different vocations. But all of them have one thing in common i.e., the need to search for God. Everyone has this need; some may not readily feel this need, others may.
A child will readily believe what it is told, but have complete faith only in the mother. Parents have to instill in their children Dharma prajna – the urge for religious practices, from young age, before it is too late. Many parents say the children have heavy schedule in school, tests, games, homework, etc. and hence have no time for God or spiritual matters. Don’t we take time off for food, sleep, entertainment, etc ? The decision to take time off for God has to be a conscious one.
Once, in an assembly of Gods, when Daksha entered, Mahadeva one of the Trinity and son-in-law of Daksha did not rise. Daksha felt slighted, got angry and scolded Mahadeva. Later when Daksha conducted Yajna, he deliberately did not invite Mahadeva. Sati, daughter of Daksha and wife of Mahadeva, against the advice of Mahadeva, attended the yajna but was completely ignored by the father. Thus humiliated, Sati burnt up her body through yoga, saying this body of mine, which is a gift of the father is unworthy of being preserved. This was followed by disruption of the yajna and violent behavior by the angered followers of Mahadeva. We can draw many lessons from this episode.
Mahadeva never got angry with his father-in-law or his wife even though the latter disregarded his advice. Mahadeva wanted to avoid showdown with his father-in-law. His act of not getting up was never intended to show disrespect for his father-in-law. Wives should heed the advice of their husbands, which is always in their interest. For the wife, husband is the master, not the father. In the final episode, Vishnu advises all; never to differentiate between Himself, Mahadeva and Brahma, the Trinity, who have sprung from the same source.
By a delightful coincidence when Swamiji was reading the above episode during Paaraayana, devotees outside were singing the Bhajana “Kailaasavaasa Gaurisha Isha, Tailadhareyante Manasu Kodu Hariyalli Shambhu”, which translates as “O Mahadeva, resident of Kailasa and Lord of Gauri, Bestow on me a mind with uninterrupted devotion to Vishnu”. Mahadeva is the presiding diety of the mind and we should always pray to Him for giving us devotion to Vishnu.
The efforts on the part of the Karnataka Government to support training programme for Haridasas is laudable. Trainee Haridasas need to learn skills in communication besides having a sound knowledge base, which comes through reading and listening. Over and above this, most importantly, they need probity in their personal lives. Their personal lives should be exemplary, free from blemish and worth of emulation. This alone will make their Harikathas effective in the minds of the audience. Haridasas should derive pleasure from giving Kirtanas, and not use them merely for earning a livelihood. If done only as a means of livelihood, it leads to commercialization as some of the present day keertankars doing shows on television and charging in lakhs. Haridasas should project the Katha in a way which is attractive to the present day audience which is college educated, and project our Sanathana Dharma.
Shankaracharya did yeomen service in stemming the anti vedic teachings of Buddhism by intelligently differentiating the principles or tattvas.
Visitaadvita and Divaita are only fine tunings of the principles. Shankaracharya’s contribution in this regard is exemplary. Present day Shankaracharyas have continued the tradition of simplicity and transparency.