Here is a translation of a beautiful pravachana by Swamiji. It takes around 20 minutes to read through this, please do spend this time. Translation mistakes are mine.
Pravachana of Sri Samyamindra Tirtha swamiji, on 10th November 2013, at Kashi math Bangalore, at the end of Chaturmasa vrita.
Our samsthana devu is Vedavyasa, Raghupati and Narasimha.
Lord Vedavyasa is no different from Lord Rama and Lord Narasimha.
This is our tattva. Lord may behave differently during His avataras, but there is no difference in His avataaras.
Throughout Mahabharata and Bhagavata, we see that Lord Vedavyasa comes to the place where there is problem, all by Himself, without being called. For example during the episode of Draupadi’s marriage with all the 5 pandavas. Kunti asks the Pandavas to share the bhiksha. What to do now? Lord vedavyasa comes over and explains them the right thing. Then they all get married.
The story of worm
Lord Vedavyasa also gives kingdom to a worm. “krimiyinda raajyavaaLiside..” (From ‘Madhvaantargata Vedavyasa’ by Sri Vadirajaru). There was a worm which was running very fast and Lord vedavyasa comes to the worm and asks what is the reason for it running. The worm replies saying that it hears some rattling sound of bullock carts coming on that way and it wants to escape getting killed under the feet of the bulls or under the wheels of the cart and that it wants to save its life. Lord Vedavyasa replies ‘you are just a worm, you have neither good sense of smell, nor hearing, nor any other special things in you. Why do you want to live?’ The worm not knowing what to do, asks Vedavyasa to help. There is a detailed conversation between the worm and the Lord. Lord gives it a boon, to become a king and to enjoy all the pleasures that it is missing in this life of worm. (This story comes in Mahabharata Anushaasana parva chapter 117-119 and Mahabharata tatparya nirnaya chap.10)
Importance of Human life and proper study
It is so difficult to get the life of a human being. Imagine being born as a worm, not knowing what to do, just taking birth and dying. This human life is indeed rare.
janmaanam shatakotishu manushyatvam
tatraapi janma shatakotishu brahmnatvam
tatraapi janma shatakotishu vaishnavatvam
says shaastra. ‘janmaana brahmanaa’ –brahmanism is not just by karma, it will be wrong to just credit karma for Brahmanism. Yes, that is true, but not just that. We read so many things, unwanted things are read, unwanted are heard and unwanted are written (“meL-meLLale aikkataati, meL-meLLelle vajjitaati, ani meL-meLLelle baraitaati”). Shaastra needs deeper study – not just reading the translations written in English or Kannada -no, not even konkani. We should read and study only in Sanskrit.
Our elders, rishis had seen God. They had the jnana, intellect given by Lord Himself. They had the required anushtaana. We have nothing these days. What does Gayatri mantra say? ‘Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat’. ‘Lord, give me jnana, buddhi’. If your intellect is right, rest will be taken care of.
Its only through Lord’s blessings, anything can happen. Brahmana janma is the biggest and only through this do you get moksha. Not now. But, it needs 10 more janmas after paripakva bhakti (ripened devotion), says Lord
Vaasana and sanskaara
Coming back to the keeta story. This keeta gets the janma of a King. But he does not remember the previous lives. No vaasana of the previous janma. One of the biggest tattvas of us Maadhvas is about this vaasana. We dream, and when we dream, is it true or false? We say it is true!
‘Om Sandhye srushtiraaha hi Om’ (Brahma sutra III.2.1)
sandhyakaale srushti aaha hi “We spoke about srushti during sandhyakala” What does it mean?
It is said we should do sandhyavandane during sandhyakaala. One should do sandhyavandane 3 times. ‘aharaha sandhyamupaasita’. But what is this srushti during sandhyakala? Here it has a different meaning. Jeevana is sandhya here. Man has mainly 3 phases in his life Jagrata – our current state; sushupti – deep sleep; This sushupti is where this mind gets complete rest and remains with the Lord. In between this jagrata and sushupti is one more avastha – svapna avastha. This swapna is referred as sandhya.
So this sutra says ‘We have spoken about srushti during the sandhyakaala’. Lord’s one more special shakti is noticed here (in swapna). There is need for ‘padaartha’ for everything. For example, flower, sandal paste, they are all padaarthas/vastu. Without any other padaartha, Lord just pulls out this ‘vaasana’ padaartha and creates dream. Vaasana is samskaara, in poorva janma. We do many things in dream, see, feel, hold, eat.
For example, somebody dreams about having gone by flight. He has not gone by flight in this life. Then how did he dream? Probably he has gone in his previous life. The question that comes is: This John Wrights invented airplane only some 100-110 years back. Then how is it possible? One way to answer that is: This is just one manvantara (the 28th). Earlier to this there were 27 manvantaras. We have something similar to an airplane earlier in these manvantaras. The jiva was there born in those manvantaras. Jiva is sanaatana. This jiva has registered this samskaara – vaasana and Lord wants to manifest it in the dream today.
This vimana shastra was there earlier in our shaastras too. We have lost all that now. We have heard that there are still a lot of manuscripts in Sanskrit lying in Germany – much more than what is there in India.
It once happened like this: a person from India, surnamed Chaturvedi was invited to a university for a lecture. Chaturvedi surname came from ‘a person who has learnt all 4 vedas’. Similarly, Trivedi,Dwivedi. This Chaturvedi who went to the university did not know it! When he started his speech there in English, the students there asked him to speak in Sanskrit! He said he didnt know sanskrit! The university must have thought that since he is a chaturvedi, he would have studied 4 vedas and must be knowing sanskrit.
Alas! This is the ‘avagaNana’ we have on our own things. Apparently, a lot of works on dasasahitya is available in British library. We read this incident yesterday. There was a person who had found a unique manuscript and had donated it to a university in Kerala. He went to London and found that his book was found in British library there. Surprised by this, he wrote to that university asking about the book he had donated and the reply that came was ‘they dont have this book anymore’! It was figured out that the university folks had sold this manuscript along with their old newspapers! This is the story of our sad affairs.
Coming back to vaasana.
This is what Lord does. He pulls out the vaasana from the previous janmas and creates objects in our dreams. This is what is said ‘om sandhye srushtiraaha hi om’. So this vaasana was not there in that King who had his earlier life as a keeta. Lord Vedavyasa came there and the king remembered his previous lives. Now the king asks the Lord – what should I do? Lord asks him to do his duty – that of taking care of his subjects and the kingdom. ‘kshataat traayate iti kshatriyaH’ ‘Do yajna, support the noble, protect people from miseries’ (Later this king gets to be born as a brahmana and gets moksha.)
Programmes during Chaturmasa
Lord Vedavyasa is very kind to His devotees, He loves them. Such a Lord was found in panchaganga ghaat by Keshavendra Swami. Found means – Lord blessed the samsthana. Lord Ramachandra was given to Yadavendra Swamiji by Vijayindra Tirtha. Lord Narasimha was pratyaksha to our Raghavendra Tirtha, at Kashi.
Thus, this chaturmasa has happened here in Bangalore, the capital city and with grandeur. Every person should get chance for serving the Lord. This has happened. Many programmes were planned and executed. This was all done by the Lord.
We are Rigvedis. GSBs are all rigvedis. Rik samhita yaag was done here bhajana saptaah was done in a special way here. One more special things is Pavamana during this chaturmasa. A lot of paarayana of Pavamana has been done here. We check in other temples too, mostly Pavamana parayana is done regularly.
Narayana, Lakshmi and Mukhyaprana
Pavamana is one important part of Veda. In fact, there is nothing more or less in Veda. Everything in Veda is praising the Lord. All suktas are praising Lord in the superlative sense. Nobody can understand Veda completely. Veda itself says this. None can comprehend Vedas completely.
Pavamana is regularly chanted by us. We are Vaishnavas, and particularly Maadhvas. Our God is Lakshmi Narayana. Lakshmi and Narayana are never separate. They are always together. If somebody tries to separate Laxmi from Narayana, he cannot, he goes to andha tamas. We have ‘Lakshmi Narayana hridaya’. Here again, one cannot say, I will do parayana of only Narayana hridaya. Or that I want only Lakshmi and I will do parayana of only Laxmi hridaya. No. Lakshmi will be angry. Lakshmi will never be separated from the Lord.
But, She does not understand the Lord completely. She has no complete knowledge of the Lord, says Veda. Lord has taken Virat rupa. Veda only says. It is not just His form that was virat. (like in Trivikrama avataara), it is also His attributes that are virat. One can count all the sand particles on the bank of ocean, but counting the attributes of Lord is impossible. Not even Mahalakshmi can count His gunas. But, Mahalakshmi, by the grace of Lord, knows a lot about the Lord. She does not forget unlike us mortals.
After Mahalaxmi, it is Mukhya praana. As we mentioned earlier, Vedas in their superlative meaning refer to the Lord. They also refer to Mahalaxmi and then to Mukhyaprana. But not all the vedas refer to Mahalaxmi and Mukhyaprana. All vedas refer to the Lord. Excluding suktas like Purusha sukuta, all other suktas in Veda, refer to Mahalaxmi. Excluding suktas like Sri Sukta, Ambhrani Sukta, all others can be understood to be referring to Mukhyaprana. Pavamana is one such sukta. One of the main meanings and fruits of Pavamana sukta is asking the Lord to purify us – Paavayati iti pavamaanaH. We need to ask the Lord and Mukhyaprana to purify us.
Sorrows and sufferings
We take birth to enjoy the fruits of our karma. Happiness and Sorrow are the results of our noble deeds and sins (merits and demerits). No person asks the Lord to give us sorrow. Still we get sorrow. It is the result of our sins – knowing or unknowing. Only special jivas and devotees like Kunti ask for sorrow. She was asking the Lord for sorrow! When His devotees ask for sorrow, does Lord give only sorrow? No!
‘ananyaschintayanto maam ye janaa paryupaasate
tesham nitya-abhiyuktaanaam yoga-kshemam vahamyaham’ (Bhagavadgita 9.22)
Lord does not let His devotees down when they are in sorrow. He takes care of their ‘yoga’ and their ‘kshema’. He will never leave them. Whenever Panadavas were in trouble, Lord has Himself come there. One in the form of Vaasishta Krishna and the other as Yadava Krishna. We see in Bhagavata, first Vedavyasa was named as Krishna – Krishna dvaipayana. He got the name of ‘Vedavyasa’ because dividing the Vedas. Lord Vedavyasa was born in Kalpi. Krishna is black. Lord is not dark in complexure. It is called as ‘neela varna’. It is somewhat similar to the colour of cloud which is about to rain during the day time. Amara kosha says ‘ krishna neela shyaama’. Lord was born in an island, dvipa, and hence called Dvaipayana.
Such is Lord Vedavyasa. We should ask Him to bless us, take care of us. ‘Lord, You have taken care of Kunti and Pandavas, when they were suffering, when they were in sorrow. Similarly, bless us’
These sorrows are because of our sins in past life – our bad karmas from our past life. What happens when these sorrows come? A part of our bad karmas are getting burnt! So these devotees while asking for sorrows are also asking for their sins to be burnt- Fruits of bad karmas/sins from the past life and from this life too.
Bhagavata says, when in the womb, the child asks the Lord to get rid of this janma. The child remembers the Lord, prays to Him to get rid of samsaara, to give him moksha in this life, that let this life be his last life. But, when the child touches the ground, he forgets everything. His maaya, blinds the child.
Thus, these devotees who ask for sorrows, ask for burning the effects of bad karmas. Not only that, the devotees high up in the order, like Rishis, live multiple lives in one life.
Story of Soubhari
This story of Soubhari comes in Bhagavata. Soubhari does penance – a severe one. He does it by sitting in water inside river Yamuna- not on earth. His body is debilitated; he has grown old inside the water with the severe penance. There he sees fishes enjoying familial life. Seeing that, he desires to have a family too – samsaara. This sage Soubhari comes out of water and goes to a King. This king has 50 daughters. Saubhari goes and asks the king to get him married to any of his 50 daughters. The king is in a dilemma – this sage is very old, how can he get his daughter married to him. So the king tells Saubhari that he is fine with any of his daughter marrying him, but, only if they agree.
The daughters are sent one by one to see this old sage. Before this, Saubhari takes the form of a young handsome man, using his tapas-shakti. Looking at this handsome young man, all the 50 daughters agree to marry him. Surprised by this, the king gives all the 50 daughters to Saubhari. After the marriage, Saubhari lives in 50 different bodies with each of these 50 wives simultaneously! That is again the power of his penance. He leads familial life with each of his 50 wives at the same time in 50 different dehas. What Soubhari has achieved by this is – he has lived his 50 more janmas in the same janma. He had 50 more janmas before getting moksha. But by doing this, he cut short his 50 lives.
How to get rid of sorrows?
Everybody has to have dukha/sorrow in this samsaara. You can get rid of sorrows of this life, only when the Lord comes in front of you! When you ‘see’ the Lord!
‘Om upamardam cha Om’ (III.4.16) is a sutra (all our sanchita karmas are destroyed upon having the direct-vision -aparoxa darshana of the Lord)
Lord does not come to you easily. You cannot get rid of sorrows just like that. Lord does not remove your sorrows just like that. You have to serve the Lord- follow few things. Follow your sva-dharma. Stop doing sins. Get rid of paapas. We do ‘paapa purusha visarjana’. You should get rid of this Kali.
This paavamana is the one which can help us to get rid of these sins. It will purify us – paavana, puneeta. Not only that. It will also protect us from the paapas “raksho paapaath..”‘Lord protect me, and purify me’. Our elders always used to ask only this. ‘There will be dukha, but Lord protect me always’
We do 24 rounds of reciting (aavartanas) of Pavamana. It will easily take 45 minutes for doing paarayana once properly. Many Laghu-vishnus have been performed. Kanakaabhisheka has been performed here. Every kanakabhisheka is again one pavamana parayana. Now it is ati-vishnu. More than 3000 parayanas have been made. (24 times recitation= one laghu vishnu, 24*12=288 is one maha-vishnu and 288*12=3456 is one ati-vishnu) It is very rare. (this has never happened for the last 40 years in any of the branches of Kashi math). We had 1000 pavamana abhishekas to the Lord, recently. Lord has taken all these seva from everybody.
Our aacharas and sampradayas
This chaturmasa, may have happened in Bangalore. But the blessings of the Lord are not only for people of Bangalore. When things happen at the Math, it is for everybody in the community. Swamiji does not belong to any particular place. So, all the blessings of the Lord are for everybody in the community. Again, there are some things which we have been following from long. Some may feel they are incorrect now. But, let us follow them. Does not Krishna say ‘sa-doshamapi na tyajet’? Though, we need to understand the ‘dosha’ in a different context in Gita; the point here is, there may be few things, which people may not understand. But it does not mean we should not follow the aachara.
During this chaturmasa, we received a letter from a person. He has asked few questions in the letter. One of them is, ‘why are we removing our shirts, while having food? what kind of sampradaaya is this?’ He says that he has visited chaturmasa in Hemmadi, Mangalore and other places, but he has never seen this anywhere else. He says that only in Bangalore, people are asked to remove their shirts!! He even goes to the extent of asking, what about women? Why are they being spared?! And he writes in the end, that he needs a response to his letter!
Probably, he is not aware of any sampradaya. During samaraadhane, people remove their shirts and pants and wear proper clothes. Even in South Kanara, this sampradaya was followed earlier. We are just not eating. We are having the prasaada of the Lord. We are paying our respects. We might have missed at places and forgotten all of this. But this is to be followed. Our elders have followed it. If we have not been following it at places, we have to correct it, fix it; and not say that it is never being followed anywhere. At places, before and after food, there is ghanta-vaadana made. Stotras are sung during, before and after food. And when this samaradhan is done, we make sure that everybody has had food. There is Lord seated in every person – one should make sure that the food reaches all. And moreover, eating food is a yajna. It is an aahuti we give to the Lord.
‘Aham vaishvaanaro bhootvaa praaNinaam dehamaashritaH’
praNaya svaaha, apaanaaya svaaha, udaanaaya svaaha..
We are giving aahuti to the praNaagni in our stomach. svaaha is used for devatas, and svadhaa is used for pitrus. So this intake of food is an aahuti to vaishvaanara agni, the Lord Himself. We also give chitraahuti. These are all aacharas we need to follow. There may be mistakes – doshas. But dont stop these things. Dont leave them.
Today, our samaaja is going towards worse. Enjoyment has taken priority over everything else. If somebody says that something is wrong, the other person says ‘who are you to question’. It may be good, but people dont want to listen to anybody – they want to enjoy their freedom. People are not aware of even small simple things. Like visiting Swamiji; we see many times how people come to see Swamiji. There is sampradaya, but nobody wants to follow. This new generation, a new communist-kind of mentality has befallen our people. They only want to speak against everything – oppose everything. Be it good or bad; first oppose it. We are not speaking about communist party, but just the mindset, which is increasing. ‘Where is God? Is he there? If he was there, why is not visible?’ These are the questions which are generally asked by these people. They do not want to follow any aachara, which was followed by their parents, their grand-parents, and dont want to listen to all the good things that had happened to them because they beleived in God and followed our sampradaaya.
Experience is one of our important tattvas/tenets
Our ancestors have struggled in the past. They took their deities, family and left their native places; because they wanted to keep their dharma, their sampradaaya. They didnt want to give up on them. Money was not important for our elders. GSBs have roamed around earlier too for the sake of business. But they were never giving up their dharma, their deities. Be it kuladevata or ishta devata. They held on to them. But now, we dont want any of these. We only question ‘where is God, if He is there, let Him come in front of me’ There are so many things which are not visible. Atoms! Are they visible? What about Love and faith? Are they visible? There are many things that are only experienced. Experience is again one more important tenet/tattva. Nobody can negate their own experience. One has to experience the Lord.
First have faith in the Lord. Only then will you experience His presence. He is everywhere.
“nambi keTTavarillavo rangayyana
nambade keTTare keDali..”
Our elders/rishis have experienced Him, and they have asked us to have faith. Good things have happened to them. Why do we not believe and follow their words? They have put out a sampradaaya, some aacharas, some dos and donts. Why do we not follow? First follow them, and then teach your children. There is a saying in Malayalam, which means ‘elders at home can be gauged by looking at the children’. How are you can be measured by seeing how your children are? Have you taught them samskaaras? Have you shown them the right path?
Show your children what is our aachara, our sampradaaya, give them good samskaaras. They will definitely grow up to be good. Even if there is a chance later on to lose track, they will come back to the right track, if they are taught good things.
(‘naasti Vishnu sadrusham nanu daivam na asmadukti sadrusham hitarupam’: There is no God similar or equal to Lord Vishnu, there is no better advice than our words – says Madhvacharya; Madhva-vijaya 6.47)
Every town, village we visit, we keep telling these things. First learn and start doing sandhyavandana. Go worship your home deity or visit your temple in the town. Learn what our sampradaayas are, what they mean, how it is to be followed. Here many of you have gathered; from different places, from different towns and villages. There are 200+ bhatmams here – from Goa, from Kerala, from dakshina kannada, from uttara kannada. We feel like telling this to this gathering. We are first brahmins.
We are shat-karmis. We have 6 things to do: Giving dana, taking dana, doing yajna daily, making others do yajna, reading scriptures and teaching these scriptures to others. These are the primary duties of a brahmin.
For some reason, some centuries back, the community got separated into bhatmams/vaidikas and non-vaidikas. These duties were followed by bhatmams, since then. What should our bhatmams do?
We have guru-peeTas, swamijis. It may not be possible for swamijis to meet every person in the community and explain to them everything. But bhatmams should play this role. Bhatmams who listen about devu-dharmu from swamijis, should go and tell this to their ‘yajamaanas-grihastaas’, whom they are purohits to. Similar to how Swamiji is a guru, bhatmams will now act as Gurus to the common folklore.
Now, neither the bhatmams tell, nor do the yajamanas/grihasthaas listen. Anyway, it is our duty to tell it to everybody including bhatmams, in turn, you should go and tell this to others. It is our duty; duty of Guru-sthaaniya.
This advice is not just for the bhatmams. Non-vaidika Grihasthaas also have duty. They should listen to the bhatmams. Go and ask them the right/wrong thing, get inputs about our devu-dharmu and follow it. Follow the shaastras and do exactly as told by Swamis, bhatmams. Our elders were following something; find out what needs to be followed. Talk to your bhatmams, listen to them and follow their advice; never come up with your own versions of how things are to be done. It is not only going to do good to you, but also for your family, for your children. Similarly, younger bhatmams, should talk to the older bhatmams and find out what is the procedure for various activities to be performed. Check with them, listen to them and follow them.
We have hit a phase, where if a person says something to another person, the second person questions, as to why he should listen to him? Everybody thinks that he knows everything.
We will end our talk, with this small analogy. You all have seen the rainbow. It has 7 colours – red, orange, yellow, green etc., It so happened, that these 7 colours in the rainbow, started fighting amongst themselves as to who is the best. Green colour said, ‘all the jivas on this earth live because of greenery. There is no life without me. I am the best’ Red colour replied back, ‘ look at all the animals. Most of the animals survive because of the blood in their body which is red in color. So, I am the best’. Like this, all the colours started talking about themselves and claimed that they are the best. Suddenly, it started raining, and the rainbow with all its colours, just vanished.
What we need to learn from this is that everybody is dependent on the Lord and nobody is greater than the Lord, All we need to do is follow our duties, our dharma. A simple rain is sufficient to clean up all the fame of the colours in the rainbow. Leave out your ego, follow the elders; dont forget your sampradaaya, your aachara. Learn our aachara, our tattvas, our tenents, teach it to your children. The idea of chaturmasa is the same. Dharmaaviruddho kaamosmi, says the Lord. Let this chaturmasa lead to such a kaama which is not against the dharma.
Let us all learn our sampradaaya, our aachara, our philosophy, our tattva and follow them. Let us identify what is dharma and follow it, let the Lord help us identify what is nyaya-anyaya, wrong-right and lead us in the right way. Let our samaaja, follow the right path always.
With these prayers to Lord Vyasa-Raghupati-Narasimha, and with all our loving blessings to you all, we stop.