The Glories Of Shravan Bhakti

July 5th, 2015

Charanam Sharanam Ramambike
Charanam Sharanam Trayambake

 – By  Sri. Anant Narayan Pai, Mumbai

1.Recently I came across our Mission’s report on  Kannada Sadhana Sibiram held from 2nd to 4th January 2015. The report read as under:-

The programme commenced with the lighting of lamp. In the inaugural address, it was expressed what Divine Mother stressed regarding Sadhana. Mother had simplified the sadhana so that every one can follow it. There are contributing and supporting aids to main sadhana. (1) Nama Sadhana – if an aspirant clings to God’s name with full faith he can reach the goal. (2) Singing bhajans – By this practice also many have attained the goal (3) “Listening to the glories of God, one can rise to the peak of spiritual height. King Parikshit, listening to the Bhagwatha attained the highest within 7 days. This is Shravan Bhakti.  If a devotee persistently follows Mother’s principles taking any path prescribed by Mother, he will definitely reach the goal.”(emphasis supplied in bold underline).

From this came the  inspiration to write an article on ‘Shravan Bhakti”.

2.Dear Readers. Even if we browse randomly through the experiences of  Mother’s first generation  devotees  cited in Shanti Dipam or Golden Jubilee Souvenir, we will find that very few of them came across Her through  unsolicited encounters. In fact,  most of them  came to Her,  after hearing Her leelas from somebody else’s mouth . Also prior to this, they had heard leelas of other incarnations and found matching characteristics of these leelas in our own Divine Mother’ ones.

Shravan Bhakti was therefore the channel through which we are connected to Divine Mother’s Lotus Feet.

Tava namachi kirti aikuni ! Dhaavat aalo mi tav charanhi ! Leen jhalo tav padakamali! De  aasra charnahapashi !” – we have heard these lines so many times in our Sunday bhajans.  This quartet should aptly sum up the common journeys taken by  most of us to Divine Mother’s Feet.

3.Shravan is not the same thing as ‘hearing’ or  ‘listening’. A Punjabi and a Tamilian may listen to or hear   each other  speaking in their native languages. But, they will not understand each other. Shravan is listening and understanding the ‘listened’ content by using our  intellects. It involves paying attention with interest  to what you are hearing.

4.Reading of Mother’s stories is one mode of Shravan Bhakti. When we read carefully with love, we print these stories in our mind and a collection of these stories can become a book in our brain. Soon, a library of such books will assemble in our hearts and the stories become beacon lights in our life journeys.

5.Shravan Bhakti involves  bringing the same story of Mother again and again in our minds for contemplation. In each such contemplation done ardently, the story will unfailingly teach you something which was either not known or missed by you in the prior contemplations. One should learn this technique from Hanumanji. He is ever eager and never tired of listening to the same Ramnaam or Ram Katha again and again. Therefore, whenever there is chanting of Ramnaam or reciting of Ram Katha, He will  come to listen even before others have come.

6.Shravan involves active participation of  our intellects (Buddhi) in the listening process with a view to ultimately learn or understand the subject matter heard.  Though ‘understanding’ is an intellectual exercise, one must know that the ways of our Guru are beyond the ken of our intellectual capabilities and they will be revealed to us only when the Guru Himself teaches us. Hence, in practice of Shravan Bhakti, it is vital that we don the role of a humble disciple in full measure.

Mother is our Guru and She wants to teach us something through Her stories. This is a rare privilege  for us to learn from the voice of the Divine. Let us therefore pay utmost attention to every aspect of Her story as much and possible and discover Her instructions.” This should be our bhava.

Shravan Bhakti is therefore not a one-way exercise of merely listening to  Mother’s leelas. It is a two way communication channel between the Guru and the Disciple.

7.In Shravan Bhakti, we must try to understand Mother’s leelas in the manner in which She, as our Guru, wants us to learn the story and not in the manner, we want to learn. This will ensure that  we will recite Her story to someone else later in its  authentic content – bereft of our own conceptions and interpretations.

8.The entire exercise in Shravan Bhakti  must be focused in identifying the Sadguru Tatwa ( i.e. functional characteristics of the Sadguru)  in Her leelas and affirming it as the Eternal Truth. This  will increase our faith in Her. That She is Ever-loving, Ever-forgiving, Ever-present, Ever- protective, Ever- compassionate and Ever- reaching out with open arm to uplift us –  are some of the characteristics of Her Sadguru Tatwa.

The most important characteristic  is that She is Ever-perfect and Never- failing  in Her functions. There is no such thing as ‘impossible’ for Her and  She will go to any extent to protect Her children. Believe that  Mother can truly snatch us even from the jaws of death.

9.It is true the same Mother interacted in different ways with different disciples. But the common plank underneath all Her methodologies was always one thing – Her  Krupa.  Krupa is Her  unconditional Grace to the devotee – without differentiating whether he is saint and sinner. However, hard we have sinned, let us know that the road of redemption is always open with Mother. And our faith in this Krupa will act as antidote in situations, where no remedy is otherwise available to us in distress.

Let us know that through Her stories, She communicates and instructs on how to avail this  Grace in future situations.

10.Talk to Mother in our pursuit of Shravan Bhakti. Know that she always talk to you and her reply will be stored  in our shravan kendras so as to  take effect later. Carry faith that it will never happen that we will not receive Her reply in the due course.  Mother has Her own inimitable and outstanding way in teaching the essence of Her stories by granting it as a real life experience to the Shravan Bhakta. The wonderful  thing about Shravan Bhakti is that  story relating one devotee translates in to a real life experience to another. It now becomes his story also.

11.In fact, Nama Sadhana and Bhajans are also modes of Shravan Bhakti. After all, we listen to  the Naam or the bhajan with love and connect ourselves to the characteristics of Mother described in the Naam or the bhajan. Don’t we ?

Jai Mata !

Bhajans – A Thought

February 8th, 2015

JAI MATHA

My Devout Pranams at the lotus feet of Divine Mother Devi Sri Ramambika.

I am Smt. Geeta Kamat, secretary of Rama Sakti Mission Mumbai.  I feel fortunate to make a humble  attempt and  share my thoughts on Bhajans,  and how they are helpful in promoting and attracting new generations.

Bhajans are devotional songs.  Music is divine, which can confer upon us an elevated  state of ecstasy. Divine Mother used to sing  bhajans when She was  in Tellecherry. Women from  neighborhood came to Her house. She taught them bhajans & explained them that these songs are praises of Lord, so should be sung with heartfelt devotion. The human Life is a gift from God and the aim of life is to attain God realization. Her teachings and bhajans attracted a lot of people over there. While singing bhajans Divine Mother would enter into sublime state of Samadhi. She always insisted on singing bhajans  in Classical style with perfect Raag and Taal. If we sing with devotion and dedication we can reach the culmination of Joy, oneness with God Aatmaikya Bhava. When we sing with deep devotion, we can experience an elevated feeling of happiness.  We will forget all moods of life & go beyond this ephemeral world.

When Divine Mother came to Bombay many people became Her devotees  There used to be bhajans and discourses in  public places. Divine Mother plunging into bhava  Samadhi and in different  divine  Bhavas. A few devotees started composing poems in praise   of Her and sing those bhajans in beautiful raagas. Mother showered Her blessings on them. She said Maharashtrian people have got blessing of devotion. BHAKTICHE  VARADAAN.

Mother never made any distinction between caste and creed, rich and poor, educated or not, all are equal to Her. It is true  that maharastra  has a great tradition of Bhakti. A lot of saints were born there. To name a few   St. Tukaram, St. Namdev.  These saints  have written countess bhajans and the culture of devotion is still alive.  Even the utmost lower caste of the society Sant Chokhamela, whose duty was to dispose of the dead animals was composing songs and sing them with great love for Lord Vittal and the compassionate Lord came to his rescue during his calamities. A prostitute by profession Saint Kahnopatra by name was a great devotee of Vittal. She was singing praises of lord  day and night devotedly and at last attained Moksha at the lord’s feet. These are a few examples of devotees who could visualize God. They could converse with God as  Mother, MAAULI,   VITU- MAAULI,  and prayed to him with achild’s innocence. Sometimes they even fight with Lord craving for His Darshan. There are several incidents of miracles happening in their lives.

Bhajans have very significant meanings. The mystic knowledge is hidden in these poems. That is why we have to understand the meaning and sing them with Bhava then the bliss we experience cannot be expressed in words. Hence Divine Mother wished, bhajans are to be sung with utmost devotion, perfect Raag, Taal and bhava;  so that more and more people will join us and enjoy the satsang.

It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam: “Naaham  Vasami  Vaikunthe, Yogina Hridayiro, Madbhakta Yatra Gayanti, Tatra Thishtam”

Lord Sri Krishna said these words that He is dwelling in the midst of His devotees and not in the heaven nor in the heart of yogis. We the devotees of Divine Mother are fortunate to have in our midst the All-pervading, Almighty Lord Himself in a Divine human form.

Divine Mother established Bhakta Mandalis for our sake. She has blessed us with Rama Sakti Mission for our spiritual uplift. In return She need our ego, Ahamkara as Guru-Dakshina.

Divine Mother in Her discourses always stressed on devotion, Bhakti. According to Narada bhakti sootra there are 9 forms of devotion: Nava Vidha Bhakti Shravanm Keertanam etc.

In all these nine forms SHE lived and practiced Dasyabhakti in Her life. Dasya  Bhava just as Sri Hanuman to Lord Sri Rama. Dasa is a servant. He is all surrender to lord. Servant does not have his own will. It is merged in the owner’s will. Divine Mother has preached what She practiced. At the just thought of God She could enter into Samadhi for hours together. Those devotees who have seen Mother in Bhava Samadhi are blessed. A celestial aroma would fill in the atmosphere. But Mother is always dutiful, who never failed to discharge Her duties to HER consort  Sri Bhagavan.  In Her personal life as She is an ideal Graha laxmi who took Avataar to regenerate Grihasthashrama Dharma. Yet She was so humble.

When children excel in their career mothers of children will feel proud and happy. Likewise,  we the children of Divine Mother should make Mother feel proud by our love and dedication to Her and Her cause. She never expected any material things from us. She the Almighty has bestowed on us the highest knowledge even though we are not eligible   for the same. We are not regular in our Sadhana. We lapse and err every now and then. Yet She is so kind to bless uis with the highest aatmajnana and the simple way to attain the highest Paraavidya.

Divine Mother conducted classes for young children to teach them what’s spirituality, love for each other. Understanding between each other is the main principle of spirituality. So now it is our turn to repay the debt. We have to try our best to widen our thoughts and outlook to unite in large numbers.

My father Sri. Narsimha Kamath was a great devotee of Mother. He was singing  Bhajans in Mandalis and also used to sing them at home. He taught me bhajans and to sing them with devotion. So we were singing bhajans, slokas,  stotras,  praises of Lord every evening at our home. People who were passing through on the road used to stop and hear the same. They were asking my father whose disciples  are your children ? Certainly  my father told them about Divine Mother. So it is our foremost duty to communicate affectionately with each other  which will attract  more and more people.

In Bombay mandali a lot of devotees attend Sundays and Ekadashi  bhajans. Our bhajans are well disciplined. So during festivals many other organizations invite our Mandali for singing bhajans during their  programmes. We do go to the suburbs, traveling by local trains,  or city buses and the people appreciate our  bhajans.

As Divine Mother’s children it  is our duty to teach the younger generations  how to get peace of mind. How the real happiness can be attained etc. Mother is the first guru of  child. She should teach her children to say the prayers, to chant japa and be obedient to elders. The mother also has to practice and show the children by her own example. The best samskaras given to children in younger days will last forever. Where ever they go whichever situation may come Divine Mother’s children will face them with courage-  Aatmashakti.

Thus with these few words I conclude with a humble prayer at the lotus Feet.

MAY WE STAND AS ONE FAMILY,  BOUND TO EACH OTHER WITH LOVE AND RESPECT. MAY WE SERVE AS A COURAGEOUS ARMY,  EVER READY TO FIGHT AGAINST ALL LOWER TENDENCIES AND FALSE VALUES WITHIN US. MAY WE LIVE HONESTLY. THE NOBLE LIFE OF SACRIFICE AND SERVICE, PRODUCING MORE THAN WHAT  WE CONSUME AND GIVING MORE THAN WHAT WE TAKE. WE SEEK DIVINE MOTHER’S GRACE FLOW THROUGH US TO THE WORLD AROUND US.

OH GRACIOUS MOTHER

WE KNOW OUR RESPONSIBILITIES GIVE US THE ABILITY AND COURAGE TO FULFILL THEM

JAI MATHA

A new lease of life through Her Grace

September 15th, 2014

-T. N. Gopinathan Nayar (Trivandrum)

Once I suddenly fell ill with severe pain in my stomach. I found it difficult to breathe properly. Immediately my sons, Ravi and Nandan, took me to my brother-in-law Dr. P. V. Nair. Fortunately, his son, Dr. T. V. G. Nair, was also present there. In their presence, I vomited. Dr. T. V. G. Nair sensed that the root cause for the stomach pain and the trouble in breathing was something serious.  Immediately he brought an expert Dr. P. P. Joseph from the Medical College. It was nearing midnight.

As per his advice, I was removed to the Medical College Hospital that night itself. Fortunately, my pain subsided and I slept. The X-Ray photos indicated a slight shade at the bottom of the right lung.

A portrait of Divine Mother was placed on the table and I derived much strength and consolation. Whenever I was free of visitors I used to chant Her Nama Manthra. One day, during my afternoon siesta, I had a dream. It was a scene from Shaktinagar Campus. I saw my aunt Mrs. T. N. K. Nayar, and Tarakka, the respected President of the Mission. I saw my aunt rushing to Tarakka and telling her: “Tarakka, Gopi is very ill, undergoing treatment in the hospital. Please inform Divine Mother.” I heard clearly the words of Tarakka: “Don’t you know? Mother is not here. She has already gone to Trivandrum.”

Dream gave me immeasurable strength. That afternoon, a T. B. expert pierced needles in my chest and later ruled out the presence of pleurisy in the lung.

Next day I was put to special tests. What baffled the Doctors was the temperature in the evenings. It would go up to 102 degrees and persist for a couple of hours. The Doctors had a discussion about it and decided that it might be due to cancer. They did not inform me about their inference. My brother-in-law was told. My son Ravi also came to know of it. The agony of the poor boy was intense. The Doctors told me that I would be taken the next day to the operation theatre for a test. Dr. M. R. S. Menon who is a friend of mine, was to do the test. A tube with a light attached to it would be inserted through my throat right up to the interior of the lung to know whether there is any malignancy there. Dr. Menon assured me that I would be completely free from any pain. Without knowing the significance or seriousness of the experiment I readily agreed to it. Except myself all knew the seriousness of it and all were anxious.

My son Ravi was trembling with distress and fear as I was taken to the operation theatre. In his agony, for some time, he was praying intensely to Divine Mother with his eyes closed, and tears streaming down, when he suddenly had a vision of Matrunilayam, the residential abode of Divine Mother in Shaktinagar. He saw my stretcher being taken in. Divine Mother suddenly appeared, emerging from the “Elevator Room”. It was all dark and he saw Mother with a grave look bending over me and blessing me. The vision vanished as abruptly as it appeared. My son was comforted and calmness came to his mind, by the impact of the vision.

All my relatives were there to know the result. Since I was not aware of the seriousness I was comparatively calm and unperturbed. My mind was incessantly chanting the powerful Mahamanthra. With extraordinary thoroughness and skill Dr. Menon did the experiment. I did not know even a pin prick. When I woke up from the effect of anesthesia I saw beaming face of my son. Dr. Menon, to the relief of all, categorically proclaimed that I was free from cancer.

Streptomycin injections were given to me and that proved effective. Since the condition remained normal consecutively for the next few days, the Doctor allowed me to return to my home. Thus after spending 45 days in the Hospital I came back to my sweet home.

When I regained enough strength to travel, the first thing I did was a pilgrimage to Shaktinagar for the darshan of my beloved Deity. Among others, there were many devotees from various parts of Kerala camping at that time in Shaktinagar. Observance of Kerala’s harvest festival, Onam, was going on in Shaktinagar. I had the glorious darshan of the beloved Ma, my Saviour, whose gracious intervention in my destiny had given me a new lease of life, thus enabling me to visit Her abode and to bask in Her grace again. Feelings of grateful love surged up in my bosom. Those were the moments when my heart whispered to me in supernal language that in this world I had none else but She whom I can call my own, who alone offers the purest love, who alone can look after me here and hereafter. The omniscient Ma must have divined my inmost feelings, and at once, Her benign and gracious look fell on me. Oh, what an experience it was!  That smile which bloomed in those eyes, the smile of utter simplicity, seemed to have also profounder depths and mysterious realms which human intelligence cannot reach. Mother called me near, made me sit near Her Feet and blessed me profusely by sprinkling ‘Theertha’ on my head. With Her own divine Hand She applied on my forehead sandalwood paste ‘Tilak’. My son was asked to garland me in Her august presence and the entire audience applauded and wished me many happy returns of the day. Though my 60th Birthday was not observed early because, I was in the hospital, the celebration took place at Shaktnagar in Mother’s divine presence, in the company of the pure-souled devotees. I cherish that enviable thrill in the innermost shrine of my heart, wherein I had installed my beloved Ma long long ago.

Though the beloved Mother has become the Formless Reality, Her luminous, love-inspiring Image of love will continue to shrine radiant in my heart and in the hearts of thousands of devotees like me. O Mother Divine, the beloved Mother of all, let the life of this child become a fitting homage to Thee.

Dropping Flower

August 23rd, 2014

 – Smt.K.Vimala Nanjappa

I had not heard about Divine Mother till 1958. It is really my fortune that no sooner I came to know about her, she entered into my life. She works changes in her destined devotees and disciples, to bring them nearer to her, with increased faith in the divine sakthi.

For a very long time, I was suffering from acute stomach pain, which could not be cure at Mercara, in spite of the best medical attention. So I was taken by my husband to Bangalore, where I was advised to undergo a major operation. The operation was over and I returned to Mercara. But I was no better. My condition had worsened.

One day I was very serious and my husband had lost all hopes of my survival. I was shifted to the Civil Hospital, Mercara, where I was advised to undergo one more operation. My mother, who was attending on me in the hospital, told me that regular Bhajans are being conducted by Sree Rama Devi Bhakta Mandali in Mercara and that I should determine to attend a bhajan and offer a pooja there on my getting completely cured. Meanwhile, one staff nurse, who is a staunch devotee of the Divine Mother, came to my room to give me medicine. Seeing her my mother told me that the nurse is also attending the Bhajans. When the nurse heard this, she too began to talk about the Divine Mother and impressed upon me about the sakthi of the Divine Mother. After about 15 minutes she left the room on duty. To my great surprise, no sooner had she left the room, I felt completely relieved of all my pain. My curiosity to know more and more about this great Sakthi increased. Next time when the nurse came to my room I got more information about the Mother. The kind nurse, the true devotee of the Divine Mother, used to come often to my room to talk about the greatness of the Divine Mother.

After three days I was taken to the operation theatre to undergo another operation. The doctor once again examined me and to my surprise they told me that the operation was not at all necessary and that I would be discharged from the hospital within a week. The nurse had taken me, in spirit, though not bodily, very near the Mother. I was getting better and better day by day. I was not taking any medicine that was prescribed for me in the hospital. Talking about Mother, hearing about Mother and thinking about Mother were my medicines.

On the fourth day of my discharge from the hospital, accompanied by my mother, I went to Smt. Shantakka’s house, with fruits and flowers as offerings to Divine Mother. There was no bhajan on that day. But when the fruits and flowers were placed before Divine Mother’s Photo as offering by me, a flower dropped down from Divine Mother’s photo. Smt. Shantakka assured me that it was a sign of Divine Mother’s grace and I was going to be perfectly alright soon.

A few days after this, suddenly on one day, I became seriously ill. My husband and children gathered round me in a sorrowful mood. Seeing the plight of my husband and children, suddenly I uttered the words ‘ Oh Sadguru Mata.’ To the surprise of my husband, within a few minutes I was completely alright. Seeing this my husband was convinced about the Sakthi of the Divine Mother and he himself advised me to attend the bhajans regularly. He was not allowing me to go for Bhajans, before this, to prevent strain on my weak body and because the bhajan hall is two miles away from my house. I was overjoyed at his change.