Posts Tagged ‘The Glories of Shravan Bhakti’

The Glories of Shravan Bhakti – Part 4

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

Life or death, Mother is our only companion

This is the fourth article in the series on Shravan Bhakti.

  1. The pre-requisites for writing any piece on the life of Mother are humility, faith and pure bhava.
  1. Humility is necessary because it is beyond our capacities to describe accurately the life of an incarnate. Even the Rishis could not comprehend Lord Ram and expressed their inabilities with folded hands by saying that ‘O Ram, we only know you as Dasharatha’s son”.

The story of an incarnate is one, continuous and unbroken story- the origin and end of which is not determinable. The life of an incarnate is known to us only from the start and to the end as manifested to us and to the extent captured by our intellect. We are unaware of the incidents culminating to its start, those following its end and also the aspects which escaped our intellect.

It is for this reason that we should approach the task of writing a story of Mother with humility- for we can never fathom its length, breadth and its depth in full.

  1. Faith should be that her story will get written by itself – if She wills it and not otherwise. We are merely the pen (instrument) in her hands.

Faith should also be in the power contained in her story. For example, we have all heard with faith, the story of Mother saving her consort in Telichery home from the noose of Yama, the Lord of Death. This story should instill faith in us that Mother has capacity to likewise save any devotee, including us. And if such a moment arrives in our life, the same incident shall come true to us too. The story of Mother saving her consort from Yama, when heard by one devotee translates in to a similar lifesaving experience to him and when such stories are heard by us, be sure that we can also likewise be saved. The story of Mother is thus one long non- ending story – enlarging with every progressive experience of devotees.

These are the merits of Shravan Bhakti- listening to the tales of Mother. An experience of Divine Grace by one devotee will become a matching experience in the life of another – who absorbs this story with faith.

  1. The bhava in our hearts, while writing her story, should be pure and of selflessness. The story should be written not with the objective of displaying our so-called argumentative or writing skills – but to share genuine experiences of Mother’s Grace for the benefit of mankind at the large. It must be remembered that Mother is fully Self-accomplished and requires no external support or publicity from us to carry out Her Mission. On the contrary, by writing her story, we improve our own learnings and attain self-purification in the process. Therefore, let us expel any thought in our minds that Mother stands to profit by our writing her stories. It is we who stand to gain.
  1. We had heard that if the life story of Mother has to be written, Veda Vyas himself must come to do it. But, for that reason that we are not Rishis, we need not feel diffident in writing a piece on Mother’s life. All of us have descended from the gotra of some Rishi or the other and therefore, there is gene of this Rishi existing unfailingly in each of too. When we invoke our Mother in moments of pure devotions, this Rishi in us will also surface to write a piece on Mother.
  1. Obeisance to Rama, the Mother of the Universe. Obeisance to Thee, our Guru and Sole Refuge.
  1. There is no difference between Mother and Her Naam. The Name can protect the devout with equal tenacity as She in person.

I remember hearing an episode related to an audience by Jyotiben Hirani in Mother’s Thane Mandir. An evil person was stalking a female devotee of Mother on a street and in state of sheer desperation; the lady entered some nearby premises to hide. The man followed her there too. Just when the man had come in her vicinity, the lady shouted Mother’s name loudly – just once. There was nobody else in the premises to hear the shout and help the lady. But, the man took to his heels and ran by the sheer impact of the Name. God only knows what he saw or felt on hearing Mother’s Name. But, he ran away in fright.

  1. Therefore, great is the merit in reciting the Naam- whether it be Vishnu Sahasranaama or Ram Naam or Sadguru Naam. Invoke any of them – for they are the same. The Shravan of the Naam has capability to defeat any adversity in the life of the chanter –be it a calamity, a debacle or even death.
  1. The sacred Sri Sai Sat Charita describes in Shirdi Sai Baba’s own words – the efficacy of reciting Vishnu Sahasranaam.

Baba says –‘Naam’, has the power to liberate one from sorrows and cares. It can smash mountains of sins and sever bondage of the physical body. Naam can eradicate and destroy crores of passions. Naam can break the neck of Death. It can avoid the pull of birth-death cycles.

 Naam, when chanted with conscious effort, is indeed excellent. Chanted without a conscious effort, it is not bad either. Even if it comes to the lips unexpectedly- it will reveal its power. There is no other means easier than Naam, to purify the heart. It is the adornment of the tongue. Naam nourishes spiritual life. 

To take the Naam, a bath is not necessary; Naam has no precepts, no rules – laid down by the Shastras. By taking the Naam, all sins are destroyed; Naam is sacred, always. No other means need be practiced. One can attain Moksha with Naam.

On the greatness of Guru-Naam, Baba says: – “He, who repeats my name all the time, will at once have all his sins washed away.  He who is murmuring my name, all the time, is to me more meritorious than the most excellent of men”.

  1. Similarly, great is also the significance of chanting Ram Naam as cited by the sacred Sri Sai Sat Charita. It is through this Naam that Self-Realization comes. The two letters ‘Ra-ma’ chanted even in the reverse order [ ‘Ma-ra’] by the wayside robber, Valya – made him Valmiki and he acquired such Siddhi that all his utterances came true. Chanting the Naam in reverse order as ‘Mara-Mara’,  the Name of Ram appeared, in effect, on his tongue and the life story of Rama got written  by him even before Ram was born.                                                                               `Where Ram- Naam is proclaimed loudly, there revolves Shri Vishnu’s disc, ‘Sudarshan’ – to destroy innumerable obstacles. Such is this Naam- the Protector of the Meek and the Poor.”
  2. We shall see in the forthcoming paragraphs how the Name of our beloved Sadguru Mother also works similar wonders.
  1. Taking the Name with full faith is equivalent to surrender to God. There is an interesting connection between Name and Death. Sri Sai Sat Charita cites it with precision. Do hear this with care.

“As is their thought at the time of death, so is the next birth to the creature. Out of fear, an insect becomes a bee. And out of love for the young deer, Jadabharat was born a deer in the next birth. 

Whatever the form before the (mental) eye in the moment of his death, it is that same form in which  next birth comes. But he, who has surrendered humbly at the feet of God, has no rebirth.

And it is for this reason that devotees were encouraged to cultivate the habit of ceaselessly chanting the Name. So, that when the end comes, they may not be bewildered, but remember to take the Name.

But, what happens if the devotee is in slumber, when Death approaches him? How does he get the opportunity of taking the Name then for his protection? It is therefore essential that one should be simple and guileless and entrust oneself to a saint (Guru). For the Guru knows our fate of rebirth or otherwise and He alone shall stand as your companion at the hour of death.”

  1. To elaborate – just as we don a physical body, we have also don a sheath of mental body on ourselves. This sheath is image of what we have made ourselves mentally. If we are frightened, we are a ‘deer’; if we are aggressive; we are a ‘lion’. In reality, very few of us are a ‘complete man’ in life- because there is always some animal or other in us – say a deer (fear), a lion (anger), a hyena (deceit), a fire fly (prone to fatal attractions) and so on.  The animals in us are the baggage which we have carried forward from our past lives and also what we have reared in the present.

If, we attack a mouse with a stick and it is cornered, it leaps on us like a lion in a last moment attempt to survive death. We have heard of a saying –‘Fear gives one wings’ and that should explain how an insect frightened in face of death become a bee in the next life.   To the insect facing death , the only mode of escape possibly in its situation was to ‘fly’ away like a bee and this wistful self-conception at the time of death become his form for the next birth.  Which particular mode of fear, we will inherit at time of our death, will be decided by our Karma.

In fact, the law of karma should explain the theory of evolution of species more appropriately than the Darwin’s theory.

  1. But, to the devout, who ceaselessly chants the Guru- Naam; this Naam will protect him from all his karmas at the time of death. Taking the Name with faith is equivalent of surrender at the Guru’s Feet. In taking the Name, the devotee confirms that he is convinced that he is under the Guru’s protection. Therefore, when a devotee is faced with death, he invokes the Name of his Guru and his mental form becomes that of an entity protected from Death. This is veritably what happens next. Death goes back empty handed – for over such a devotee, Death can stake no claim as he belongs only to the Guru- who is deathless.

To the devotee, who relentless chants the Guru-Naam, the Naam will unfailingly protect him. Even if the devotee is in slumber when Death is approaching in stealth, the Naam will awake the devotee on some pretext and cause him to take the Name.

  1. What are the advantages in participating in bhajans? Bhajans are praises of the Guru arranged in a lovely garland of flowers of musical words. We have noticed how we feel ‘light’ and ‘tension free’ after singing bhajans. It is as if all the heavy worries and calamities sitting on our heads have suddenly become feather-weight.

Sing bhajans soulfully. Mountains of calamities may fall on us in our lives- but they will fall harmlessly and pleasantly as flowers on our heads. This is the merit in singing bhajans. We shall not feel pains at all.

  1. Great is the merit in listening to words fallen from the Guru’s lips. No word uttered by the Guru will ever come false. The Guru’s Word is the ‘Sound-Form’ of the Guru. Let no one think that the Guru’s Word heard by us will fade away in our memories. Once heard and absorbed with faith, the Guru’s Word will reside in our minds in ‘silent form’ to guide us in calamities. If Death happens to attack us in stealth -while we are in slumber, this ‘silent form’ will wake us up and guide us instantaneously with the most appropriate option of countering Death. Invoking the Guru by his Name is always the most appropriate option. Guru-Naam will protect us from Death. Yes! It shall do this unfailingly.
  1. Similarly, great is the fortune of enjoying the Satsang of the Guru. To the devotee, the Satsang may seem momentary i.e. he is enjoying the companionship with the Guru only when the Guru is in his vicinity and the Satsang ends, when they part ways, But, as far as the  Guru is concerned, the Satsang is Real, Permanent and Eternal for all lives to come. The Guru is the Only, Real, Reliable and Constant Companion in not just this lifetime- but also at the time of our death and for all times and lives thereafter.
  1. By the way, a question for the readers? When we see a picture of Mother and her consort Bhagwan in a Telichery background, which leela of Mother crosses our mind first and immediately? Each one of us will answer unfailingly with the same answer. ‘The leela of Mother saving the life of Bhagwan from Yama’s noose’

Blessed undoubtedly are the eyes that have seen the leelas of the Guru. But, those who have not seen the leelas need not feel dejected. It is suffice if they heard the leelas of the Guru with faith and devotion. Shravan of the Guru’s leelas will translate in such leelas coming real in our lives also. Such is the power inherent in the leelas.

  1. Therefore, fortunate indeed are the devotees of our Mother- who enjoyed her company in her abode in Telichery, basked in her darshan, lost themselves in devotional bhajans and heard her ambrosial discourses.

One such fortunate devotee is Shri M. R Prabhu- whose article called “Earnest Prayer” by Shri. M.R. Prabhu  appearing in Golden Jubilee Souvenir, 1961 has attracted my attention.

The article reads as follows –


“ I was a frequent visitor to Mother’s house every day and used to leave the house at eight thirty in the night after bidding farewell both to Shri Bhagwan and Mother – who used to retire at 9 p.m. every night. Disciples visited Mother’s house every day for darshan. Mother gave them welcome with bewitching smile. In the peaceful atmosphere of her home, these disciples listened to elevating discourses and participated in many a thrilling bhajan.         

During the day, I used to spend not less than six hours daily in the company of Mother and Bhagwan. I had come across multifarious wonders and miracles. To deal with all will involve me in a lengthy narration. I am going to detail in this article only one of the most memorable incidents. It was a harrowing experience. The miraculous happening and the abatement of my pain almost immediately thereafter- the experience and the miracle which is part of it –stand out vividly in my memory. 

I am a man who used to take only one main meal a day in the noon and my usual night repast was almost light. Some eight years back, I as usual took leave of both Bhagwan and Mother at 8.30 p.m. and had sound and good sleep. At about midnight, I felt a weakness. Total exhaustion ensued. I was unable to speak or move; I felt tired and sinking; I feared life would become extinct within a few months. When I opened my eyes I was very much frightened to see before me a tall black figure with something in his hand stretched against me and he was on the verge of throwing it at me and I really felt that my death had approached. At this juncture, realizing my helplessness and gathering all the strength I could command I shouted on the top of my voice to Mother for coming and helping me in this calamity. The efficacy of earnest prayer was proved. Mother stood before me in answer to the prayer. I knew I was safe in her divine presence. I sat up, rid of my pain, weakness and fear. The black figure that stood before me some minutes back, to my surprise, had vanished. I found only loving Mother before me and no one else, and the next moment she vanished as if in vision. I had a sense of relief, difficult to describe and I felt as if nothing had happened to me and woke up in the morning quite hale and hearty. 

 On the ensuing morning, I prostrated at the lotus feet of Mother in full surrender and she received me in a way as if she knew nothing of the happenings of the previous night. Even today, while writing this article, I shudder to think of the happening. I will be remembering it to the end of my life. I have placed before you this miracle in order to convince you of Mother’s extraordinary protection and certainty of her protection.” 

  1. The article by Shri M. R. Prabhu should put the readers beyond doubt about the fortunes that visited him from keeping Sastang with Mother, hearing and seeing her leelas, taking part in her bhajans and hearing her discourses. Shravan of this article will assuredly give us the same fortunes.

Mother is our only reliable companion – not just in our life time, but also at the moment of Death and thereafter.

In this Kaliyug, for us who are Mother’s children- taking Her Name once full heartedly is equivalent in merits to chanting the entire Sahasranaam of any Deity.              

       What to write in the next article in the series, Mother will be the Guide. 

Jai Mata!

Date: 12th December 2016

The Glories of Shravan Bhakti…. 3

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Guru Mata, Guru Pita, Guru Amuchi Kuladevata…

Dated: – Gokul Ashtami, 6th September 2015.

Charanam Sharanam Ramambike
Charanam Sharanam Trayambake.

This is the third article in the series on Shravan Bhakti.

1. Shraavan is month of religious observances – festivals, vratas, parayans of granths, namasmarans etc. This is the month of ‘shravan’ of  the Parmatma’s glories for the devout   and hence, it has come to be known as ‘Shravaanmaas’. The ‘shravan’ performed culminates in enhancement of satva gunas in our vritis and unique spiritual experiences.

Of all religious performances, ‘Shravan’ of the Guru’s ‘Mahimas’ absorbs the highest spiritual vibrations.

What better blessed opportunity  can there be than to write for an article on ‘Sharavan Bhakti’ in this month  and that too on the auspicious day of Gokul Ashtami ? Because it is on this very day more than fifty years ago-  a devotee of Mother called Smt. Sharada Mallya of Udipi derived a unique experience, which is covered in this article for case study.

The devotee’s experience appears in the ‘Sadguru Rama Devi, Golden Jubilee Souvenir (1961)’  in story  called ‘Conflict Resolved’ on page no. 78 therein.

While ending the previous article in the series on Shravan Bhakti, it was remarked  that the author was clueless on what to write in the next article and it was resigned to Divine Mother  to instruct on the same. The author had some time  thereafter randomly opened the Golden Jubilee Souvenir and this experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya  confronted him at the first glance.

Hence, the experience of this devotee has come selected in this article for a case study on the subject of ‘Shravan Bhakti’.

Readers may please patiently bear with a short prelude, which shall enable us to understand the style of Mother’s functioning as the Guru in this experience. The prelude (in para nos. 2 to 7 ) to will be followed by the experience cited by Smt. Sharada Mallya (in para no. 7).


‘Guru Mata, Guru Pita ! Guru Aamuchi Kuladevata !
Thora Padata Sankade ! Guru Rakshi Maage Pude !@
Kaya Vaacha Ani  Mana ! Guru Charani Arpana !
Eka Janardhani Sharana ! Guru Eka Janardana!

This hymn was composed by Sant Eknath in dedication to his Guru Janardhan. We have sung and heard this bhajan so many times in our Sunday satsangs.

It’s core meaning is that  the  Guru, ( being the Creator), is both our father and mother. He also shares intimacy with us in our family life as our own  Kuladevata. In this manner, the Guru positions himself  in our proximity to protect us from all calamities – both unseen (that which sneak on us behind our backs) and seen  (that which is  manifest to our comprehension).

Having realized this, let us offer ourselves with absolute certainty – (kaya, vaacha ani mana)- at his Feet, fully knowing that the  Guru is none other than Janardhan.

The compositions of saints are a class by themselves. Saints compose the songs out of their own actual experiences and hence, every word in the same is a reality. They do so with a fond wish that ordinary devotees should also derive such experiences. Matching experiences can therefore be found in lives of ordinary devotees of True Gurus.

In the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya, one will experience every word of this hymn as Truth. Mother’s role as Guru and experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya as disciple -will be found matching in the same format and tenor as related by Sant Eknath.

3. Just as there is day and night in creation, there are periods of light and darkness in our lives. The Guru is the dispeller of darkness in our lives. He comes in the form of light in the periods of darkness in our lives.

What is the darkness in our life? The periods of sadness and calamities are the dark periods in our lives in which we do not find exits out of the same. The darkness may come in any form- prolonged diseases, family problems, financial debt, loss of prestige in society etc.

At one time, in several sections of orthodox male dominated societies in India, widowhood was one of the worst darkness that plagued lives of womenfolk. Widows had to face seclusion in homes and also exclusion from the mainstream activities of the society. The plight of the widow is so acute that she is driven to conclusions that there is no place for happiness in her life and God has forsaken her.

We will see a reality of this in the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya.

4. Why does God accept services or offerings from his devotees – when he is fully self-sustained, self- reliant and requires no external support for his existence? The truth is God ‘deliberately’ accepts services from his devotees – even though he does not need it. There is a clever strategy behind this act. God, by his nature, also does not accept anything free and returns whatever is given to him, manifold times the value of what is received. By accepting a service, God thus gets an excuse to become ‘indebted’ to the devotees and cause welfare to the devotee by repaying him much more than what he received.

God also reserves to himself the best time to repay the devotee. He repays the devotee when he is in most need of assistance from God i.e. in his calamity- so that the repayment is most useful.

We shall also see this truth in the forthcoming experience of Smt. Sharada Mallya.

5. The merits of congregational worship ( samoohik upasana) has always  been emphasised by Mother in her     discourses. The vibrations emanated in congregational satsangs and absorbed by devotees are several times multiple of the sum of the same -if the worship conducted individually by the devotees in their private chambers.

In the process, a devotee who participates in satsangs reaps spiritual experiences far beyond his individual capacities.

Taking of a single name of Ram has total redeeming effect. Therefore, stretch your imagination to reckon the efficacy of Akhand Ram Nam Jaap performed in congregational gathering.

It is for this reason that many devotees got unique spiritual experiences of Mother, – even when they had visited for first time- a site of congregational worship or bhajans conducted by Mother’s devotees.

6. Many are the diverse ways by which Mother imparts specific, instructions to individual devotees. She does so – according to the specific   need and life situations of the devotees. To some – she may impart instruction by words, some by gestures, some in silence, some in dreams and some even in visions and so on.

The vision granted by the Guru specifically caters to the devotee’s specific need in life. For example, to a devotee passing through a dark phase in life – without any solution in sight, Mother may show herself  to him in a vision as a Lamp. The visions granted by Mother are therefore symbolically realistic and not randomly meaningless.

7. Why do we celebrate anniversaries like Ram Navami, Gokul Ashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi ? What are the gains to the devotees from these observances?

We have seen above that God does not accept anything free  and returns any devout services manifold the value received.

By observing these anniversaries as auspicious events, be sure that we shall be rewarded by some auspicious experiences in return on that very  day itself.

8. With the above preludes, let us take up the experience related by Sharada Mallya in the Golden Jubilee Souvenir and one will see all the aspects described in the above preludes as clear features and realities in her experience.

The article of Sharada Mallya called ‘Conflict Resolved’ reads as under …

“The passing away of my husband who was throughout his lifetime pious and devoted and with whom I had shared a peaceful life for two decades compelled me to draw two conclusions. They were (1) all earthly pleasures are transient. (2) To me God is not merciful.

A friend of mine in order to console me took me for a bhajan which was conducted at a devotee’s house under the auspices of Sree Rama Devi Bhakta Mandali, Udipi.

A twelve hours’ akhanda ram nam yajna was in full swing. I felt that I had come to a new world. The atmosphere of devotion, the melodious notes of Ram Nam sung in chorus, had a marvellous effect of me. The lighted lamp adorned by a garland of multicoloured flowers attracted my attention. Charmed by the grandeur of floral decorations on the lamp, I was staring at it when I had a singular experience. The lamp was suddenly transformed into the blissful form of a very divine being, a venerated mother in a sitting posture, which was the exact resemblance of Sri Rama Devi’s photograph worshipped by the devotees. My body vibrated to the thrill of the experience.

My friend gave me an interesting narration about the various supernatural powers of Mother and how she was widely acclaimed and worshipped as a divine incarnation. The singular experience which I had on the first day lent support to her view but within me was lurking doubt because the tutelary deity to whom our entire family was devoted was Ganapathy. The very thought of the captivating form of the Mother which was imprinted in my mind would be sufficient to transport my mind to a region of exaltation. But the idol of my chosen deity whom I have been regularly worshipping for years together was equally evoking love, reverence and adoration.

In such frame of my mind I was sitting, one auspicious Gokulashtami day in my shrine room, just before starting the midday worship. My mind drifted into meditative mood. With closed eyes, I was concentrating on my ishta devata when in a powerful beam of light I beheld the radiant form of Mother, her hand raised in benediction. In that I visualised the beautiful form of Ganapathy, indicating thereby, that Mother was identical with supreme being manifesting various aspects of divinity including Ganapathy.

The experience granted to me by Mother intensified my longing to have her darshan. By this time I had no doubt about her divinity. In fact my chosen deity and my sadguru was identified with the Mother whom I saw in my visions.

My first darshan took place at Mangalore during a flag hoisting ceremony. She looked exactly similar to the Mother of various earlier visions. I felt safe in protection of universal Mother who had descended in our midst taking on herself the role of sadguru. The inner path which she prescribed to me appeared to be smooth and easy because it was illuminated by love. As against the customary life of seclusion imposed by widowhood, I now courageously associate myself with all the activities of the mandali with new strength and determination.”

End of article by  Smt. U. Sharada Mallya

9. Readers should find all aspects discussed in the prelude (in para nos. 2  to7) as features and realities in the experience cited by Smt. Sharada Mallya (in para no. 8). Therefore, for sake of brevity, the same are not repeated again in the  conclusion.

Readers will  also find their own experiences  by doing Shravan Bhakti of Mother’s leelas in the experience of this  devotee

10. Such is our Divine Mother, who has come as our Guru  for all times and lives to come. Let us just love her for all times and  in all lives to come.

Jai Matha!

The Glories of Shravan Bhakti…. 2

Monday, August 31st, 2015

– 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.

Jai Mata!

The Glories Of Shravan Bhakti

Sunday, 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 !