Bhishma Stuti – Sloka 1:9:33

September 13, 2009 at 2:50 pm (Bhishma Stuti, Dallas Study Circle) (, )

Sloka 1:9: 33

tribhuvana kamanam tamAla varNam

ravikaragauravarAmbaram dadhAne |

vapuralaka kulAvRutAnanAbjam

vijayasakhe ratirastu me anavadyayA ||

In this  sloka, Bhishma talks about Lord’s face. He says may I cherish the beautiful curly hair that adorns on the face, that sticks on his forehead because of the sweat in the war (Vapuralaka kulAvRutA). Bhishma envies Arjuna by addressing Sri Krishna as “Vijaya Sakhe”, who in all the three worlds has the perfect Thirumeni, adorned with the Pitambaram that shines likes the golden yellow sun with the hue like the Tamala tree.

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Bhishma Stuti – Sloka 1:9:32

September 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm (Bhishma Stuti, Dallas Study Circle) (, )

Sloka 1:9:32

Sri bhIshma uvAcha

iti matir upakalpitA vitRushNA

bhagavati sAtvatapungave vibhUmni |

svasukhamupagate kvachid vihartum

prakrRuti mupeyushi yad bhava pravAha: ||

Bhishma Stuti appears in the First Canto the Adhikari Skandha chapter 1, Slokas 32-42

In Kurukshetra, after the Mahabharata war was over , Yudhishtira questioned Bhishma who was lying on a bed of arrows, on various Dharmas (duties, sacred obligations, conduct) and their secrets in the presence of the assembled sages. While Bhishma was expounding on the various duties, that sacred time UttarAyana(when sun changes its course towards North) came to ascend- Time that Yogis, who can give up their body at their will, await for.

Bhishma stopped his speech and fixed his mind free from any attachment on Lord Sri Krishna who possessed four arms and was clad in yellow silk and was standing right in front of him. He looked at this form without winking his eyes. By meditating upon the pure form of the Lord, with fully controlled senses, Bhishma, while casting off his body, loving extolled the Lord.

While departing from this mortal world, in the first verse,  he says ‘I offer my intellect (Iti matir), the intellect that is free of desires, at the Lotus Feet of the Lord ’He also defines that Lord as the one who has all the righteous qualities and is Complete by Himself, without having to search for happiness from an external source.  It is only at times when the Lord feels like performing a Lila (divine sport) that he creates the Universe through the Prakruti.

Now, why would Bhishma offer his intellect to the Lord, if the Lord is not in need of any external source for His happiness?  It is not for Lord’s happiness, but for his own pleasure that Bhishma desires to offer his intellect to the Lord.

This may sound contradictory to the initial statement that Bhishma was free from all the desires – for, he now ‘desires’ to offer his intellect to the Lord!   If there is ever a chance to nurture a desire, the best desire he can nurture is to offer himself to the Lotus Feet of the Lord.  Indeed, that is the supreme desire one can ever nurture!

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Summary of Srimad Bhagavata Purana

September 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm (Dallas Study Circle) (, , )

The September 9th session started with Mahamantra chanting by Vidhyaji followed by Dhyana slokams.

Thiaguji gave a brief outline on last week topic – the story of Atma Deva and Gokarna which is explained in detail in Padma Purana.

Sankarji from Charlotte had the opportunity to talk about the summary of Srimad Bhagavata Maha Purana.

He mentioned that this purana is called as “Paramahamsa Samhita“, meaning a collection of stories about the supreme God. ‘Samhita’ refers to a collection of stories.

What is Srimad Bhagavatam? The scriptural texts of Sanatana Dharma can be divided into three main categories – the Sruti, the Smriti and the Purana. Srimad Bhagavatam, being actually the Bhagavata Purana, is a Maha Purana and so belongs to the category of Puranas, and it is written by  Sage Veda Vyasa (Badarayana). The word ‘Bhagavatam’ primarily means the revelations of the Lord – Bhagavan Himself, (Bhagvatah Idam) or, “that, which relates to the Lord”. It also means the glory of the Lord’s devotees (Bhagavatas).  It is such a valuable treasure of many a Stuti – .  Some of them are Prahladha Stuti, Gajendra Stuti, Dhruva Stuti, Kunti Stuti, Bhesshma Stuti and it has Pancha (Five) Geethams similar to Sri Thiagaraja Swamigal’s pancharatna Krithis. Above all, like the crown gem the Vedas themselves have rendered a Stuti on the Supreme Lord SriHari.

In this aspect HH Muralidhara Swamigal says:

What is the reason (behind the birth of) Srimad Bhagavatam?

Bhagavan reserves some work for a big ‘Avatara Purusha’ (Incarnation) who comes down to earth. Until the completion of this work, the ‘Avatara Purusha’ is extremely restless; just as an ordinary man undergoes restlessness in some matter like the marriage of his daughter, so does the ‘Avatara Purusha’ undergo restlessness. Until such time they (the ‘Avatara Purushas’) complete the work for which they had come down to the earth they experience such restlessness.

Sage Vyasa was one such ‘Avatara Purusha’. He had given the Upanishads, Brahma Sutra, Mahabharata that contains the Gita etc. to the world. Yet, he experienced no peace. Why did he not find peace? He had not come down for giving these. He had not come down to the earth to give the Vedas or the Upanishads. Why then did he come down to the earth? – Only to spread the fame of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Why should he illumine the Bhagavatam? It is because only Bhagavata dharma would be of use to people who were to come later in this Kali Yuga. (It is) A very easy dharma. A Dharma that can easily be followed by all. If Sage Vyasa had left the earth without doing this ‘Granta’ (Holy Text) people of Kali yuga would have had no ‘gati’(way out). People would know no way out.

The 10 Lakshanas

Great sages have listed the qualities of a purana as Lakshanas. They are 10 in number. Among the 18 Puranas Bhagavata Purana is the only Purana that has all 10 Lakshanas.

10 Lakshanas found in the purana are Sarga(creation), Visarga(Subsequent creation), Sthanam, Poshanam(grace/compassion of Lord), Uthayah(Latent impresions leading to Karma), Manvantaram(14 Manus/Rulers), Ishanukatha(Incarnations of the lord), Nirodha(returning to Godhead), Mukti(Liberation) and Ashraya(the Lord himself).

The formula is that if one can follow through the first nine Lakshanas , that will  lead us to the TENTH.

How many cantos?

Bhagavatam consists of 12 Cantos, 335 Chapters and 18,000 verses.

The first canto is the Adhikari Skanda, Pariskhit being the first Adhikari for listening to this great Purana and Sage Suka being the first narrator.  The second canto talks about the glories of the Lord, the paths to attain Him and a brief of Srimad Bhagavatam as narrated by Brahma to Narada.  The Third Canto speaks about Creation (‘Srishti’), Varaha Avatar and Kapila Avatar.

The fourth speaks about Daksha Yagna, Druva Charitra, Pritu Charitra and the story of Prachinabarhi.  The fifth speaks about the avatars of Rishaba and Jadabharata, and also speaks about geography, astronomy and hellish planets The sixth canto comprises of Ajamila Chatira, Vritrasura Charitra and Chitraketu’s Charitra.

The seventh canto comprises of Prahlada Charitra.  The eighth canto talks about Gajendra Moksha, Amruta Mathanam, Vamanavatara, and Matsyavatara.  The ninth canto talks about the lineages of the Surya and Chandra Vamsa.

The Tenth canto talks about the birth and divine plays of Lord Krishna.  This is the ‘Ashrayam’.  In Padma purana, where the Bhagavata Mahathmyam found, in the story of Atma Deva, his son Gokarna advises his father to recite the tenth canto alone, in order to attain the lotus feet of Lord Sri Hari. It is the biggest canto with 90 chapters.

The eleventh canto talks about the supreme Vedantic truths in the form of Nava Yogi Upakhyana, Avadhoota Gita and Uddhava Gita.  The twelfth canto talks about the Kali Yuga and the greatness of Nama Sankirtanam – the easiest way to liberation in this Kali Yuga.

All these cantos can be seen as different parts of the LORD’S form as Bhagavata Purusha too.

The session wrapped up with 2 slokas from Bhishma Stuti and Namasankirtan.

Radhe Radhe !!

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Srimad Bhagavatha Mahatmyam- Story of Atma deva

September 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm (Dallas Study Circle) (, , )

Bhagavatam Mahathmiyam-  Story of Atma deva.

The  September 9th session started off with Umaji chanting the Mahamantra followed by Dhyana sloka.

Nithyaji beautifully rendered the last 13 slokas of the Kunti Stuti.

Mayakoothanji lectured on the significance of Srimad Bhagavatam as seen in Padma Purana.

He gave a beautiful outline on the last week topic: Bhakti ,Jnana & Vairagya. He concluded his explanation with a beautiful  paasuram rendered by “ManavAla MAmunigal” on the deity Mannargudi  Sri Rajagopalan. The Paasuram starts as:

Unnithhu matrroru theivam thozhaagh

avanaiyalaal nin michha sollinum

kozh kulaikkapadum annamin

mannappadu manavaalanai mann

dhuvarapathi mannanai ethuminn

ethududhalum thozhuthadume!

This paasuram shows the amount of Bhakti Swami had. Imagining himself as the ‘Nayika’ (beloved) of Lord Sri Rajagopala, he falls unconscious owing to pangs of separation. ‘If only someone came and sang ‘Gopala! Dwarakapathi!’ would I wake up’, he says.  This is compared with respect to the sons of Bhakti, the Jnana & Vairagya. When they both had lost their strength, they are revived by merely listening to the Mahatmyam of Srimad Bhagavatam. That is the Glory of Srimad Bhagavatam.

The story of Atmadeva was also narrated to glorify Srimad Bhagavatam.

On the banks of river Tungabhadra, lived a well learned person by name Atmadeva. He was good natured person, while on the contrary, his wife, Dunduli always liked to talk about others and cause chaos in other families. The fact that he was not blessed with a child made Atmadeva a very sad man.

Atmadeva lived with a ray of hope that someday he will be blessed with a child. However, as years passed by, his hopes started to diminish and one day unable to control his emotions, set out of the house. He didn’t know where he was going and finally reached a jungle.. In the jungle was a great Sadhu who was in meditation. His eyes caught sight of Atmadeva and seeing him in a very depressed state walked towards him and enquired about him. After hearing his desire to be blessed with a child, he started to perceive if he was fortunate to have a child in that birth.

The Sadhu could foresee that Atmadeva was destined with no progeny not only in his present birth but also in all his future births. Hearing this from the sage’s mouth, Atmadeva broke down and the sage was unable to console him. The sage tried to advise him that as the number of relationships (like the father-child/ husband-wife) increases, they are accompanied with joy and sorrow as well. The sage advised him to take the path of an ascetic. The only relationship that an ascetic life has is that of a Guru-Sishya and that path has only eternal happiness.

Atmadeva was not ready to listen to the Sadhu’s advise. He still insisted on being blessed with a child.

Seeing Atmadeva in that state, the sage gave Atmadeva a fruit and ordained that he would be blessed with progeny if his wife ate the fruit. Mahans have divine powers that they can even change the fate of a person as seen above. Atmadeva was destined to not have a child in all his births, but the blessings of a Sadhu changed his fate.

Overjoyed by this, he thanked the sage and came back to his house and asked his wife to eat the fruit. His wife was not very happy to hear this. She did not want to have a child as she was not prepared to bear the pain during the child birth. She devised a plan and asked Atmadeva to go out on a pilgrimage tour before the child was born. Atmadeva agreed to this and happily set off. In the meanwhile, she threw the fruit in her cow shed. She was curious to see the outcome of the sage’s prediction and so she waited to see if the cow gave birth after eating the fruit. In the meanwhile, her sister also gave birth to a child and having  already decided to adopt that child, she lied to her husband that it was indeed their child who was born after eating the fruit. Meanwhile, the cow also gave birth to a human who had cow’s ears.  Sri Sri Swamiji says Gokarnan had ears of cow, just because the ears of cow are designed to listen to only good things.

Atmadeva returned from his tour and was very excited to hear the great news. He named his first son as Dundukari, who was born through his sister-in-law and named the other son who had cow’s ears as Gokarna. As expected, Gokarna had all divine qualities while Dundukari had all the vices.

Over time, Dundukari started to abuse his parents and this really worried Atmadeva. One day he kicked Atmadeva from his home. At that time Gokarna was reading the tenth canto of Srimad bhagavatam. Atmadeva cried to Gokarna , ‘My son kicked me out of the house..I am not able to bear the pain.. please  help me!’ Then Gokarna advised him about the unfortunate family bonding that he had with the very person who abused him, and explaining the futility of material life, requested his father to renounce the world and go to forest to and read the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam everyday.

It is interesting to note that this was exactly what the Sadhu had earlier advised him!

Sadhus and Mahans speak very little. Their actions are only for our well-being. So one must obey the Sadhus’ orders without questioning them. Atmadeva promptly abided to his son’s words and left the house and set out to forest and subsequently attained the lotus feet of the Lord. Gokarna left his house after his father’s departure. As years passed by, Dundukari started  commiting more and more sins by bringing home women of illicit character. Eventually those women killed him and fled..

In the meanwhile, Gokarna, after going on pilgrimage that included a visit to Gaya where he performed ‘Pinda shrardha’ for his brother Dundukari, returned to his home town.  As he sat on the pyol of his house, he was haunted by a terrible voice. He sprinkled water to eventually find out that it was indeed his brother Dundukari’s ‘preta sharira’ who was in such a terrible state.

Dundukari told him that the suffering that he was currently undergoing was inexplicable and was due to the sins that he had committed and requested Gokarana to find an elixir for his sufferings. Gokarna decided to help his brother. He went around asking people on the remedy and everybody told him that the final rites which he performed in Gaya would suffice and if that didn’t help then nothing else would help! But Gokarna was not dithered by this and he continued asking many learned scholars and one of them advised him to ask verily the Sun God. The next morning, Gokarana went to Lord Surya(Who was then google search engine )and asked him for the remedy. ‘ Perform Bhagavata Saptaham’- came the reply. That is the only resort for the soul to attain Moksha. So he immediately made all the arrangements for the Saptaha.

He bought a bamboo shoot with seven nodes and installed Dundukari’s ‘preta sharira’ onto it. At the conclusion of everyday’s Parayana of the Saptaha one node would burst open, signifying that each and every day of the Saptaha bestows good merits. At the end of the seventh day, all the seven nodes burst open, Vishnu Dhootas arrived in a vehicle from Vaikunta and took Dundukari along with them.

When the Vishnu Parshadas were questioned as to why it was only Dundukari who attained the holy feet of the Lord and not the others who listened to it (and not even Gokarna who recited it), the answer was that, it was because Dundukari listened to the whole Saptaham with full devotion and concentration.

Such is the prowess for Srimad Bhagavatha Saptaham.  Thus Sanatkumaras narrate this story on the glory of the Bhagavata Saptaham to Sage Narada.

The study circle ended with Namasankirtan.

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