Category Archives: Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Geeta

Essence of Bhagavad Gita!

A disciple once asked his Guru, “Guru Maharaj, we have heard your exposition on all the great scriptures. But when it comes to the Bhagavad Geeta, we feel that it occupies a more special and significant place in your heart?” The teacher smiled and said, “My son! In life, whenever we meet anyone, the first thing we do is to get introduced to each other. But do you realize, we have never got introduced to ourselves at any point of time in our life. Bhagavad Geeta is the text that first introduced me to myself! Self-introduction is the first step towards self-discipline and spiritual life. Hence the Geeta has a very special place in my heart.”
It is the style of the scriptures that the entire contents of the text is indicated by a few specific and significant words.

In the Bhagavad Gita: the first chapter, the first verse, the first line and the first word is DHARMA. The last chapter, the last verse, the last line and the last word is MAMA. The entire contents of seven hundred verses of the Geeta is between these two words. If we put the two words together it becomes DHARMA MAMA. On interchanging, it becomes MAMA DHARMA. MAMA means ‘my’. The word DHARMA is derived from the root “dhri” which means “to uphold, sustain or support”. Therefore DHARMA denotes that which holds together the different aspects and qualities of an object into a whole. DHARMA represents “the law of being”, meaning “that which makes a thing or being what it is”. It indicates the essential nature of anything without which it cannot retain its independent existence. So, MAMA DHARMA means ‘my law of being’. If we are to live as true dynamic beings in the world, we must live faithful to our true nature as human beings, and the Geeta explains to Me “my Dharma”. It is not pointing out to someone else’s Dharma, but pointing out to each one of us – our own “my” Dharma.

The Bhagavad Geeta through the seven hundred verses across the eighteen chapters is significantly pointing out to each one of us our own Dharma to be followed in all places, at all times, in all situations, irrespective of who we are, where we are, what we are and how we are, in the materialistic or in the spiritual realm. Dharma takes care of not only individual well-being, but includes collective well-being also.

After understanding what exactly constitutes our Dharma, what is the next step? The first two opening words of the first chapter gives us the instructions. “Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre” can be further split into four words. Dharma – Kshetre – Kuru – Kshetre. ‘Kuru‘ means ‘to do‘. ‘Kshetre‘ means ‘field of activity‘. Therefore, if the words are reassembled it becomes: “Kshetre Kshetre Kuru Dharma“, which means “in each and every field of activity do your dharma“. This is simply aligning ourselves every moment of our lives in and through our daily activities with the Higher Reality, with the Lord.

"Geeta: it is a call to each one of us to get up and fight the battle of our own life, according to our own vasanas (swadharma)"~ Swami Chinmayananda

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Manjula: Devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan

Manjula was a great devotee of Lord Guruvayoorappan. Every day she would collect flowers and make a beautiful garland and late in the evening she would go to the temple with her offering. The priest would adorn Lord Guruvayoorappan with the garland, and she would feel very happy and fulfilled. After having the Lord’s darshan and singing his glories she would return back home. This was her ‘nitya mala kainkaryam‘ to Lord Guruvayoorappan. 

One day, however it became late and by the time she reached the temple with the garland the temple was closed for the day. She felt very sad that she could not offer the garland to the Lord. Slowly she walked upto the banyan tree near the temple and sat down there. With tears filled in her eyes, she started singing Sri Krishna’s glories. Poonthaanam, another great devotee of Lord Sri Guruvayoorappan who had also come for the Lord’s darshan was going back home. He heard the Lord’s song and came there only to see Manjula crying. He asked her what the matter was. She told him about the daily garland-seva to the Lord. That day since she was late, the temple was closed and she could not offer the garland to the Lord.

Poonthaanam realized the deep and sincere devotion of Manjula. He smiled and told her not to worry. He asked her to place the garland on the stone under the banyan tree because the Lord is All-pervading, and exists in every ‘thing and being’. Hence, the offering would reach the Lord. On hearing the words of the great Krishna Bhakta, Manjula placed the garland on the stone and went back home.

Manjulalthara – Banyan tree

Next day early in the morning, the main priest opened the doors of the temple, walked into the sanctum and started removing the previous day’s garlands that were adorning the Lord. One by one he removed all the garlands, but he could not remove one garland. Try as much as he can, the garland simply stuck to the Lord’s Vigraha! The priest and all the devotees gathered there were surprised. At that very moment, Poonthaanam came to the temple. Seeing the priest perplexed, he asked him what the matter was. The priest told him what had happened. He was unable to remove one garland adorning the Lord’s Vigraha. Poonthaanam was overwhelmed. He immediately remembered what had happened the previous night. He joyously cried out, “That is Manjula’s garland. If it is so, let it fall down”. And lo! the garland immediately fell down! All the devotees including the priest realized the complete surrender, total devotion and loving service of Manjula to Lord Sri Guruvayoorappan. Everybody went and offered their prostrations to the banyan tree which came to be known as “Manjulalthara”. A majestic and beautiful deity of Sri Garuda was later installed under the banyan tree.  

Even to this day, devotees who come to Guruvaayoor offer their salutations to this banyan tree!

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Sri Krishna and Parijatha

Lord Krishna

Sage Narada once visited Amaravati, Lord Indra’s kingdom. There in the heavenly garden called Nandanavana, he spotted a tree with tiny beautiful flowers with an orange stalk and pure white petals amidst the green leaves. They were looking like stars and they were spreading a divine fragrance all around. They were Parijatha flowers. 

When the devatas and the rakshasas together churned the milk ocean for “amruta”,  many rare and unique things, plants, animals and beings emerged out of the milk ocean. Parijatha Vriksha was one amongst them. Not only the flowers are beautiful and have an unearthly fragrance, but the flowers also have great medicinal value. Indra, the king of the gods took the tree with him as a gift to his wife Sachidevi and planted it in his garden.

Narada asked Indra if he could take a few flowers with him and Indra agreed. Narada collected a few Parijatha flowers and reached Dwaraka. He met the Lord and gave the heavenly flowers to him. Narada told Krishna to give it to anyone of his queens whom he thought worthy of the flowers and added that whoever adorned themselves with these flowers would be immensely benefited. They would become more beautiful, keep good health and endear themselves to one and all. Krishna immediately gave it to Rukmini.

Narada was mighty pleased. He then went to the palace of Satyabhama, another consort of Krishna. He narrated the whole parijatha incident that had happened, and told her that though Krishna talked about Satyabhama being his favourite queen, in truth it was actually Rukmini who was his favourite, because the Lord had given her the flowers. Satyabhama became extremely angry with Krishna and even refused to meet him when he came to her palace. However, Krishna managed to console Satyabhama and told her that he would get the entire tree for her. She was very happy and decided to accompany Krishna to Indraloka. 

Krishna and Satyabhama went to Indraloka and asked for the tree. The arrogant Indra refused to part with it, even though the Lord himself asked for the tree. To teach Indra a lesson, Krishna plucked the tree by its roots, placed it on Garuda’s back and was about to start from there when Indra stood against the Lord ready to fight with him. Krishna and Indra fought but Indra was defeated. He then realized his mistake and sought forgiveness from the Lord for waging a battle against him. The Lord forgave him. Krishna brought the Parijatha tree and planted it in the courtyard of Satyabhama as per her wishes. 

Parijatha flowers

Satyabhama went to Rukmini and boasted about the Parijatha tree in her courtyard and how the Lord had fought with Indra for the same. Rukmini smiled and very calmly told Satyabhama that she did not desire or long for anything when the Lord of all the worlds was her constant companion. However Satyabhama walked off, still revelling in the priceless gift that she had just then obtained. At night, the flowers bloomed, but the wind (Vayu) carried all the fragrance to Rukmini’s courtyard. And in the morning when Satyabhama went to the courtyard, she saw all the flowers fallen over the compound wall into Rukmini’s courtyard. Krishna had planted the tree in such a way that the tree was in Satyabhama garden but the flowers fell into the courtyard of Rukmini. She now realized that the Lord was teaching her a lesson and completely rid of pride and arrogance, with utmost devotion Satyabhama prostrated to Lord Krishna and Rukmini.

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Sri Krishna Janmashtami – Significance

Lord Krishna’s birth

Mathura represents the State of Bliss which is our own inner inherent Nature. Devaki represents the mind with divine and noble traits and Vasudeva represents the intellect which is the master of the sense-organs. Though well-integrated, the mind and intelllect are in the prison of their own bondages in their own Kingdom of Bliss. The reason is the ruling tyrant called Kamsa, the ego. Kamsa: Kah Sah – represents “one who questions the principles of the Higher Reality”. Every child born to this couple represents spiritual sadhana which the ego immediately destroys for its own survival. 

It was midnight on the ashtami day (the middle day) of the dark fortnight of the dark month of Shravan during the six dark months of the year, the Dakshinayana Punyakala. The whole of Mathura was asleep. Only Mother Nature was awake and was sending down showers of joy in the form of rain heralding the birth of Lord Krishna. In the thickest of this darkness, Lord Krishna was born. The darkness represents the spiritual ignorance with which the whole world of things and beings is enveloped. The birth of Lord Krishna represents the “birth of spirituality” in an individual. Lord Krishna represents the ‘Light of Knowledge’ which alone can dispel the ‘darkness of spiritual ignorance’ and lead the seeker towards liberation. When an individual chooses to walk the path of righteousness, he is automatically aligned to the laws of Nature and Mother Nature in turn reciprocates back. This is indicated by the joyous showers! The month of Shravana represents ‘sravan’ or ‘listening’ (to scriptural texts). Krishna is born under the Rohini Nakshatra. Rohini means to move upwards (higher). Rohini is the consort of Lord Chandra (Moon) who is the presiding deity of our mind. Therefore ‘rohini’ represents the noble spiritual desires in a pure mind. Ashtami is very significant. On this day, the moon has the least influence on the oceanic waters. Moon being the lord of our mind, on the ashtami day, the mind is least disturbed by the agitation of thoughts. When do we start our spiritual journey? Today! What about the auspicious time? Right now! Hence when Krishna was born all the planets were in their most favourable positions!

Krishna has to be protected from Kamsa and therefore he is taken to Gokula. In the initial stages of our spiritual journey, our mind which is pursuing the spiritual sadhana has to be protected from our own ego and therefore has to be protected and strengthened all around by noble and virtuous thoughts. This is represented by Krishna growing up amidst the Gopis, the Gopas and the cows in Gokula. They represent sattvic and divine thoughts. ‘Go’ means ‘knowledge or virtues’ and ‘kula’ means ‘family’. Gokula represents the perfect conducive environment for our spiritual growth. Therefore, ‘Krishna Janmotsava’ represents the birth of spirituality within oneself. Krishna stands for Sachidananda, the GOAL to be reached, and all His divine leelas represent the PATH to be pursued by the seeker.

On the Krishnashtami, little foot-prints are drawn starting from the main door upto the altar of Krishna in the puja room. They represent little Krishna’s foot-prints. We invoke the Lord to enter our house and sanctify our home by His auspicious presence. The house represents our body and the puja-rooom represents our heart or the innermost core of our being. The foot-prints starting from the main door upto the puja-room represents a mind turned “within” in devotion unto the Lord or a mind in contemplation upon the Higher Reality. Therefore, this little ritual signifies the Lord entering into our heart and making it His permanent abode. It also signifies the merger of the mind with the Higher to reach the State of Enlightenment.
Sri Krishna Saranam Mama!

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