The Glories Of Shravan Bhakti

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 !

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