– By Anant Narayan Pai, Mumbai
Charanam Sharanam Ramambike
Charanam Sharanam Trayambake.
This is the second article in the series on Shravan Bhakti.
1.The Guru is not different from God. There is no Vaikunta, no Goloka, no Kailas and no Brahmapuri greater than the Guru’s Feet. That is why some cadre of bhaktas do not covet moksha. On the other hand, they pray that every time God incarnates, they should also be reborn to serve His Feet again.
“Gheyeen me janma, yajh sathi deva! Tujhi charan- seva, sadha- vaya!” We have sung this abhang so many times to our Mother in our Sunday satsangs. Have we not ?
2.Yet at human levels, these are easier said than done. The choice of re-birth and its timings are not in our hands. And even if we are born during the tenure of the Guru’s incarnation, what is the guarantee that we shall recognize Him again in His new form as the same Guru of our past life? This is because with the dawn of the new life, the jiva ‘forgets’ his connection with the old life in his memory..
“Janam janam ka nata, hai tera mera! Yaad raha prabhu tum ko, mai bhoola bisera!
“Sadguru teri ichha hai to, janam lu mai sav baar! Ho har janam me teri, bhakti aparam paar!”
How true and significant are these lines, I hear sung in a Sad guru’s arti !.It is only through the Guru’s Grace that we can get the fortune of being reborn during the tenure of His incarnation and the privilege of doing His bhakti..
3.Though we may forget our Guru in some moment of indiscretion, it shall never happen that the Guru will ever forget us for even a moment..
Though the disciple, on his rebirth, may lose track of his Guru of past life, it shall never happen that the Guru will lose track of his disciple.
Once a Guru accepts a disciple, as far as the Guru is concerned, it is a relationship for all times and lives of the disciple to come thereafter. The Guru will maintain this relationship faithfully – even unilaterally without a single break. The Guru will never shed his role for even a single moment.
Therefore, if devotee fondly prays that he should be reborn every time his Guru re-incarnates and enjoy the blessedness of His company- how can the Guru, the Mother refuse ?
4.Nothing that we see in our dream is a new experience. Every object, person or scene that we see in our dream is something which our mind has seen in the past and registered in memory.
Even what we have seen in our past lives get retained in our memory at the time of rebirth. This is because when a person dies, he only cast away his gross body (sthool sharir), but not his mental being.
Thus, sometimes we may notice that when we see a stranger for the first time, we feel happy on seeing him, even though we don’t know him. Some of us are scared of water; some have fear of heights, or darkness, etc. All these have some relation with our past lives. Children are seen with some habits right from birth. For example, a four month old kid is found to be very short tempered. So much so that once angry, it stops breathing and turns blue while crying. Why does this happen? It is because in this childhood, there are mixed memories of last life’s childhood and old age.
5.All of us have dreams. Sometimes, it is claimed that we saw Mother in our dreams. But there is a significant difference between ‘dreaming of Mother’ and ‘Mother coming in our dreams’.
Dreaming of Mother is a product of our own egos. We flaunt to our own selves that we are great devotees of Mother and therefore, a ‘preferred one’ for Her Grace. And this flaunt may translate in to dream in which we see Mother blessing us.
But Mother coming in our dream on Her Own – without any effort from our side- is a different matter. It is only when the jiva’s mind is shed of ego, bereft of flaunt of intelligence and in state of child- like surrender, that it can see this Mother coming in to his dream. Such dreams are “Apourusheya” – i.e. derived sans human effort.
6.In fact, saints have unique spiritual experiences of divine revelations in their dream. The sacred Ram Raksha Stotra was written by Buddha Kaushika Rishi after it was divinely recited to him by Lord Shiva in dream. That is why Ram Raksha stotra is also ‘Apourusheya’.
The sacred Sri Sai Sat Charita cites several stories in which Sai Baba had transacted with his devotees – even imparting spiritual instructions.
Therefore, when Mother comes in a dream, let us know that that it is not an idle event. It is conscious and deliberate effort of Mother to impart some spiritual instruction to the dreamer.
Our own independent capacities to transact with Mother have human limitations i.e. it is highest in our awakening state, lesser in our sleep state and least in our dream state But, there is no such limitations for Mother to transact with us in any of or mental states. Nothing is impossible for Mother and She is fully capable of instructing us effectively even in our dream states.
7.Most of us cannot profess to be devotees of such high order with egoless minds, to whom Mother come in dream.
Then, what use is the above discussion? Yes. We are not saints, but we can definitely profit by hearing of leelas of Mother, of some good devotee, to whom Mother came in his dream.
Shravan Bhakti of this leela with definitely translates in to spiritual enlightenment for us too.
8.The ‘Sadguru Shree Rama Devi-Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961)’ is not an ‘advertisement souvenir’. Have you seen any advertisements in it- as you see in any souvenir? None at all!
The Golden Jubilee Souvenir contains inspired writings by devotees of their spiritual experiences with Divine Mother. Since, the devotees are inspired by Mother; there must definitely be Her purpose behind the inspirations. We must know that Mother is delivering some message to us as our Guru in these writings. The devotees’ experiences are therefore mediums of Mother’s instructions to us.
The Golden Jubilee Souvenir is, in reality, a “Granth’ containing the leelas of Divine Mother – imparting specific spiritual instructions to all of us – both individually and collectively. Mother talks to us in these stories. Each word in it is inspired by Divine Mother only. For disciples, it is the ideal material for Shravan Bhakti – for exploring the instructions imparted by their Great Guru.
In the above connection, certain excerpts from the Preface to the Souvenir are reproduced below (with emphasis in bold underlines):-
“ This volume is an attempt to present in a convenient form the influence of Sadguru Sree Rama Devi upon the lives of her devotees, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of her auspicious birth. The devotion she has inspired finds expression in these pages”
“Though the experiences herein narrated, are personal, they will be found to possess interest, as feelings and happenings which are intimate and spiritual. They may have inspiring power beyond the individual lives in which they occurred, It is hoped that this souvenir will prove not only interesting but helpful to lovers of devotional literature, to seekers of spiritual guidance, and to students of the esoteric of religion which remain largely hidden and not easy to access.
An effort has been made to present the articles in this volume in a sequence and continuity dictated by the special character and dominant atmosphere of the individual contributions”
“The volume is not an attempt to give a précis of Mother’s teaching. The article, herein presented, are like represented passages from a larger book of devotion. Here is raw material for profound thought and more competent creation.”
9.One such article called “The Precious Secret…. by Smt. Uma Rao in this Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961) – Page nos. 59-60 is reproduced below for a Shravan Bhakti case study. Incidentally Smt. Uma Rao was a part of the publishing team that compiled the Golden Jubilee Souvenir.
The article reads as under …
“Africa, perhaps, brought to humanity, no art or science, no civilization worth the name. But, it was the place where my three-year-old son had a dream in 1943, which brought upon me the blessing of spirituality. Children because of their innocence are found capable of drawing the divine force, into the sphere of earthly existence, more often, than adults. This may be because; childish candour is nearer than mature wisdom, to deeper realities.
What to the child was a pleasing dream, is today still a mystery to me, its mother. He described, upon waking, that he had the dream of a beautiful woman. That dream, vividly narrated by him, though in the few words of his baby speech, allows to me, who first heard the narration, and has preserved carefully its details, in tenacious fondness of maternal recollection, its interpretations, as the projection of Mother’s gracious person, across space to distant Africa.
While in Africa, and even after our return to India, on many occasions, I have coaxed my son, to visualize the dream, in order to identify the features and aspects, with any one person of our acquaintance. His recollections of the dream continued fresh, even after the lapse of eight years. But, its identification with a person in real life was not possible. The dream, thus, to have persisted even in to boyhood days, unobliterated by succeeding waves of emotions that must have swept the little heart, is quite remarkable. It must have been one of those experiences, embedded in the centre of personality.
The interesting probabilities as to who may be the replica in life of the lady of my son’s dream – if at all such an interesting dream could have had its correspondence in outer reality – vastly intrigued me. Today, time has clarified the issue; the dreamer has found the corresponding reality, in the person of Mother. But, the animation and wonder of the dream, are only brightened by the circumstances, leading up to the recognition, which revealed the mystery.
Deeply entwined with the mental life of the child, should have been this dream – ever present, in his memory and consciousness. I have observed him, attempting to find out an approximation in real life, an actual person, corresponding in appearance, to the lady of his dream. Every attempt failed.
Eight years passed. My son and I were in a gathering of devotees at Mangalore, for darshan of Mother. Mother appeared. Recognition, on the part of my son, was instantaneous. He pressed my hand and whispered into my ear the precious secret : “ Here is my dream”. I stood tiptoe, in joyous amazement, literally, at the very starting point of my own spiritual career.”
End of article of Smt. Uma Rao.
10.We have now read the above article called “The Precious Secret” by Smt. Uma Rao.
What is “the precious secret” that can be extracted by us from Shravan Bhakti of this article?
Just as a precious mantra is imparted in secret by the Guru to each of his disciples at time of initiation into the discipleship – may each reader discover the secret instructions imparted by Mother to each of them individually in this experience related by Smt. Uma Rao.
11.We know that our Divine Mother undertook a twelve year tapas from 1927 onwards – which culminated firstly, in her experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi in 1939 and secondly, in the receiving of a divine directive to assume the role of a World Teacher. Her spiritual ministry as the World Teacher can be thus assumed to have started in 1939-40. In short, the outside world started the facility of darshan of Mother in her role as the World Teacher only from 1939-40 onwards.
The child in Smt. Uma Rao’s article was three years old when he had the dream in 1943. Logically, the child was born in 1940.
We have seen above that dreams can carry connections of our past lives. Did Mother come in his dream in response to some fond wish of this child from past life?
“Gheyeena me janma, yach sati deva ! Tujhi charan- seva, sadhavaya !”.
Does this abhang have any connection with the child’s dream?
Are any ‘hidden’ answers to these questions, the ‘precious secret’ that the author, Smt. Uma Rao was referring? Readers will have to answer these questions themselves.
12.Guru’s eternal relationship with disciple for lives to come; the capacity of Guru to come in a dream to instruct a disciple; the difference between ‘disciple dreaming of Mother’ and ‘Mother coming on Her own in one’s dream’; the essential condition of egoless mind is required by disciple, to derive the benefit of ‘Mother coming to his dream’ (i.e. child- like innocence mental state and the analogy of residing in a ‘Africa-like state’- a continent where there was no flaunt of knowledge or intelligence – so well described by Smt. Uma Rao) and the benefit of spiritual advancement even by third party (i.e. Smt. Uma Rao herself) from Shravan Bhakti of the dream graced by Mother – are the ‘precious secrets’ that can extracted from the story.
Now, after Smt. Uma Rao, we are the subsequent beneficiaries of Shravan Bhakti of Mother’s leelas.
The Golden Jubilee Souvenir, which heralded 50 years of Mother’s life in 1961, has resurfaced today after another fifty years as a ‘Granth’ through which Mother talks to us. It is therefore a golden opportunity for all of us to access this Granth and absorb its essences. Let us repose faith in our Guru and all his strategies will be taught to us.
13.Though there is a commitment to write a series of articles on Shravan Bhakti, I am clueless on what to write in the next. But, when we have a Great Guru in our Mother -who is capable of instructing us even in our dream, why bother? Let us just relax.
Such is our Divine Mother, who come to instruct us for all times and lives to come. Let us just love her for all times and in all lives to come.