Posted in festivals, mythoughts

Devshayani Ekadashi – Day when the Gods are put to sleep

On the 11th day of the month of Asaadh, the Gods are put to sleep. This day is widely celebrated across India as Devshayani Ekadashi. (Do they sleep? Can we exist without them? is another question) But it is such a beautiful concept of “Sagun Bhakti” (Idol worship). As I sleep, so does my God.

Our rishi’s have given a thought about people’s pshycology. The agrarian people will be busy with their work in the fields and will not be able to take care of the rituals associated with God’s. So the best way is to put Them to sleep. In this way, people can just concentrate on their work and give it 100% and at the same time do not feel bad or gulity about not doing their regular rituals and religioupractises.

It is being celebrated today on 19th of July, this year, without any fanfare, in every simple manner, at Pandharpur, the residing place of Lord Vitthal or Pandurang. 

The saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Namdeo, Eknath, Gora Kumbhar, Chokha Mela, Muktabai and many others have done a tremendous work through this Bhakti movement in Maharashtra during the Mughal rule. They have visited hut to hut and touched the hearts of many a people and taken their Pandurang unto the last person of the society.

Who is this Pandurang?

Who is this Vitthal?

Why does He stand with Hands onto his waist?

He is none other than Krishna who has travelled all the way from Dwarka to meet His Devotee Pundalik. Pundalik is the only son of two parents who have taken utmost care in his upbringing. Pundalik is a “ananya bhakt” of Krishna. He is spreading the word of Krishna to the people around him. His karmayog (work) is very big, but sadly lost today to history. When Shree Krishna hears about Pundalik and his work, He feels an urge to meet him. He rushes to Pandharpur in His chariot. The dusty roads make the dust stick to the skin of Shree Krishna. The already ‘Shyam’ (black) Krishna gets a new skin colour due to this dust. Hence He is called “Pandurang”.

When Krishna reaches the doors of Pundalik, He calls him out. It is said that Pundalik is busy with taking care of his parents, so throws a brick (eint) towards Him and asks him to wait. So Lord Pandurang puts His hands on His waist and waits for Pundalik to come out to meet him. Now this sounds a little weird to us. A devotee would never make his God to wait. Even the parents of Pundalik would have rushed out to meet Him. But due to poverty, there was no proper place to make Him sit, so they must have offered Him the brick shaped stone to sit on or stand on. We see Pandurang still standing on that stone at Pandharpur.

Jagadguru Shakaracharya gives us the meaning of this whole episode in his stotra “Pandurangashtkam.”

प्रमाणं भवाब्धेरिदं मामकानां
नितंबः कराभ्यां धृतो येन तस्मात् ।
विधातुर्वसत्यै धृतो नाभिकोशः
परब्रह्मलिङ्गं भजे पाण्डुरङ्गम् ॥ ३॥

Pramanam bhavabderidam mamkanaam,

Nitamb: karabhyaam dhruto yen tasmaat,

Vidhaturvasatyay dhruto nabhikosh:

Parabrahmalingam bhaje Panduranagam. ।।3।।

The God through this form of Pandurang wants to explain to His devotee thus:

For those who are mine and reside in my heart, the waters of the Sansaar sagar, the Bhav sagar, are only upto the waist. So there is no question of drowning. One just needs to walk through these waist deep waters to meet me

My dear readers, isn’t it big thing? It is generally, the devotee who goes to meet his God. Here it is the God, Himself, coming dow to meet His devotee. Namakaars to Pundalik and his karmayog. And so Bhagwan Shankaracharya calls this place the “Mahayogpeeth“.

Let us all today promise our Bhagwaan that we will do your work and spread your message hut to hut and heart to heart so that you may sleep at ease for the next 4 months.

Let us all read the lives of the saints, understand what they have taught us and try to imbibe those things in our lives.

Let us pledge to see God in everyone, living or non-living and slowly develop an out of reverence for the same.

Will end with an ovi which is one of my favourite written by Sant Dnyaneshwar…

देवाचिये द्वारीं उभा क्षणभरी । तेणें मुक्ति चारी साधियेल्या, हरि मुखें म्हणा हरि मुखें म्हणा । पुण्याची गणना कोण करी, असोनि संसारीं जिव्हे वेगु करी । वेदशास्त्र उभारी बाह्या सदा , ज्ञानदेव म्हणे व्यासाचिया खुणें । द्वारकेचा राणा पांडवां घरीं,

Posted in festivals

Do Gods sleep?

On the 11th day of the month of Asaadh, the Gods are put to sleep. This day is widely celebrated across India as Devshayani Ekadashi. (Do they sleep? Can we exist without them? is another question) But it is such a beautiful concept of “Sagun Bhakti” (Idol worship). As I sleep, so does my God. And our rishi’s have given a thought about people’s pshycology. The agrarian people will be busy with their work in the fields and will not be able to take care of the rituals associated with God’s. So the best way is to put Them to sleep. In this way, people can just concentrate on their work and give it 100% and at the same time do not feel bad or gulity about not doing their regular rituals and religious practises.

It is being celebrated today on 1st of July, this year, without any fanfare, in every simple manner, at Pandharpur, the residing place of Lord Vitthal or Pandurang. Otherwise, normally, Lacs of waarkari’s converge at the banks of Chandrabhagaa river and visit the deity residing in the temple. The waari ( वारी) as called in Marathi begins some 15/20 days before the Ekadashi. The devotees carry the Paduka’s (wooden sandals) of the great saints Tukaram from Dehu and Dnyaneshwar from Alandi, their birth places to Pandharpur for the Darshan of their Lord.

The roads are filled with the chants of

‘DNYANOBA MAULI TUKARAM”

“NIVRUTTI DNYANDEV SOPAN MUKTABAI,

EKNATH NAMDEO TUKARAM”.

All of them converge at Pandharpur on the day before Ekadashi. It is a divine trip from home to the temple, signifying the upliftment of the physical body to the spiritual soul. There are many waarkaris who have been taking this trip for years or from generations now. Their zest and enthusiasm irrespective of age and gender cannot be appreciated, but we can just offer them our ‘Namaskaars’.

The best thing about Warkari’s is that there is no distinction between caste or creed, rich or poor, King or layman and male and female. Not even between the child and the older people. They call each other ‘Mauli‘ and bow down to everyone whom they meet. It is a heartening picture to see a husband bowing down to his wife and a father bowing down to his son. The basic thought behind it is that I bow down to the God (Mauli – Mother) within you.

The saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, Namdeo, Eknath, Gora Kumbhar, Chokha Mela, Muktabai and many others have done a tremendous work through this Bhakti movement in Maharashtra during the Mughal rule. They have visited hut to hut and touched the hearts of many a people and taken their Pandurang into the last person of the society.

Who is this Pandurang?

Who is this Vitthal?

Why does He stand with Hands onto his waist?

He is none other than Krishna who has travelled all the way from Dwarka to meet His Devotee Pundalik. Pundalik is the only son of two parents who have taken utmost care in his upbringing. Pundalik is a “ananya bhakt” of Krishna. He is spreading the word of Krishna to the people around him. His karmayog (work) is very big, but sadly lost today to history. When Shree Krishna hears about Pundalik and his work, He feels an urge to meet him. He rushes to Pandharpur in His chariot. The dusty roads make the dust stick to the skin of Shree Krishna. The already ‘Shyam’ (black) Krishna gets a new skin colour due to this dust. Hence He is called “Pandurang”.

When Krishna reaches the doors of Pundalik, He calls him out. It is said that Pundalik is busy with taking care of his parents, so throws a brick (eint) towards Him and asks him to wait. So Lord Pandurang puts His hands on His waist and waits for Pundalik to come out to meet him. Now this sounds a little weird to us. A devotee would never make his God to wait. Even the parents of Pundalik would have rushed out to meet Him. But due to poverty, there was no proper place to make Him sit, so they must have offered Him the brick shaped stone to sit on or stand on. We see Pandurang still standing on that stone at Pandharpur.

Jagadguru Shakaracharya gives us the meaning of this whole episode in his stotra “Pandurangashtkam.”

प्रमाणं भवाब्धेरिदं मामकानां
नितंबः कराभ्यां धृतो येन तस्मात् ।
विधातुर्वसत्यै धृतो नाभिकोशः
परब्रह्मलिङ्गं भजे पाण्डुरङ्गम् ॥ ३॥

Pramanam bhavabderidam mamkanaam,

Nitamb: karabhyaam dhruto yen tasmaat,

Vidhaturvasatyay dhruto nabhikosh:

Parabrahmalingam bhaje Panduranagam. ।।3।।

The God through this form of Pandurang wants to explain to His devotee thus:

For those who are mine and reside in my heart, the waters of the Sansaar sagar, the Bhav sagar, are only upto the waist. So there is no question of drowning. One just needs to walk through these waist deep waters to meet me

My dear readers, isn’t it big thing? It is generally, the devotee who goes to meet his God. Here it is the God, Himself, coming dow to meet His devotee. Namakaars to Pundalik and his karmayog.

From that day onwards till today, Pandurang through His various forms and lives, has guided His devotees to carry His word from heart to heart and hut to hut. It is through this thought, the saints came up with the thought of Dindi, or Wari, where devotees on their way to meet their Lord, walk from village to village. Visit hut to hut. Touch heart to heart. And spread the message of the Lord.

And after seeing, the work taken up and being done by His devotees, the way He wants them to, He goes to sleep. Why so? Is another topic which we will discuss and dwell upon when He gets up 4 months from now, on Prabodhini Ekadashi day.

PUNDALIK VARDE HARI VITTHAL.

SHREE DNYANDEV TUKARAM.

PANDHARINATH MAHARAJ KI JAY.

Today is also National Doctors Day… Wishing all of them a very Happy Doctor’s Day and expressing my gratefulness for taking care of the nation and its citizens….

Today is National CA Day… The Chartered Accountants look after the economic health of our families and society at large. Expressing gratitude towards them as well….

Posted in Uncategorized

Martyrdom – 3

Date : 3rd May, 2020…

As Lockdown 2.0 comes to an end and Lockdown 3.0 begins, am appalled at the situation where the Corona warriors (Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics and Police) are being beaten up in some places. It is not a story of one place, but many places in India.

Yes, India did stand in unison, a few days back to appreciate them too. But the way a few people are treating them is not only bad but goes to show how ungrateful, a certain class of people are.

Readers, I want to ask a few questions which are constantly coming up in my mind again and again. And I am sure they would be in your mind too.

Soldiers give up their lives guarding and saving our borders, and are called martyrs. And rightly so. But are the Corona warriors who are putting themselves at maximum risk in this situation to save us, to save Humanity, being rightly recognised and appreciated? For me personally I feel that those who have given up their lives are martyrs too. What do you feel?

The pictures of the kids looking at their father, who has just returned from duty after 20 days, but cannot go near him, hug him, are heart wrenching. He too is sitting outside the house, waiting to be serve the food. The longing for hug in both the pairs of eyes makes me numb. How can we be so cruel? But this is the time for Social Distancing. Do we realise the importance of our father, our family in these situations ? Isn’t giving up an opportunity to hug ones own children, martyrdom?

The nation may not consider them as martyrs, the society may not, their own families may not, but for me they are giving their lives so that humans can survive. They are doing much a bigger work then the soldiers at this moment. So I repeat, they are martyrs and they all should be honoured.

I would end with a a few lines… (have tried to write from the perspective of a policeman’s child)…

I spend my days waiting for you,

Mom tells me that you will return…

I would like to share my things,

Am waiting for the tide to turn…

The fight with this virus, we will win,

Promise me, God, will not see an urn…

Cause you have given up on all of us,

Just to see the neighbourhood not burn….

Posted in Uncategorized

Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharyaji… (Reblog with changes)

Proponent of the Shuddhadvaita (Pure Nondualism).

Founder of the Pushtimarg.

Devotional Philosopher.

One of the five main acharyas in India, the other being Aadi Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbakacharya and Ramanujacharya.

Vallabha means “dear one.

Born today, that is the 11th day of the dark half of lunar month of Chaitra at Champaranya.

Son of Illamma and Lakshman Bhatta.

People say that His was a still birth so his parents left Him under a tree wrapped in white clothes. Later Shree Krishna appeared in their dreams to tell them that it is He who has arrived in this form and is well alive. The bewildered parents rushed back to the place to find the kid alive.

Studied Vedas at a very young age and earned the title of “Baal Saraswati“. Participated in many debates and earned the titles of “Acharya” and “Jagadguru” at the age of 12.

Later travelled throughout India, not once, not twice but thrice to explain Krishna bhakti and spread Vaishnavism.

He gave discourses on Bhagwat at 84 different places known as “Baithakji” (seats of learning) today. These “Baithakji’s” still have a relevance for all the practising Vaishnavas even today and a visit to any Baithakji is a divine experience. Every Vaishnava wishes to visit all the 84 places once in his life time.

Later, in Gokul he initiated his first disciple and laid the foundations of what we know today as Pushtimarg (Path of Grace). He made the first Vaishnava by giving / teaching him the important “Brahma Sambandh” (Realisation of a person’s relation with the Almighty).

He gave the mantra, “Shree Krishna Sharanam Mamah” (श्री कृष्ण शरणं ममः) to Surdasji and initiated him to the Vaishnavaite fold. We all know Surdas through his devotional songs which he has sung for the Lord Incarnate. The mantra itself explains complete devotion to Lord Krishna.

“SHARANAM” means to offer oneself to the wish of God. To believe that it is only Krishna who can take care of oneself. To believe that He operates our life and full submit oneself to Him and become His instrument.

He took Samaadhi at a very young age of 52 into the waters of the Ganges at Kashi.

His work “Madhurashtakam” is a lucid yet romantic version for Shrinathji, the deity at Nathdwara. In it, He glorifies Shrinathji and all His activities, ending every verse with the line “Madhuradhipate Akhilam Madhuram” (every act of the Lord is madhur). Madhur as a noun means sweet, tender, full; as an adjective means melodious, beautiful, sweet.

Many of His works are still being read and His followers are still trying to understand what the Acharya has written.

He talks about God being in the form of a child. He has hence asked Vaishnavas to worship the “Baal Krishna” (Krishna in child form). And treat the Lord as a child. As we fulfill all the wishes of the children, we should fulfill all the wishes of the Lord. The devotees express their love for the Lord by acts of giving Him a bath and feeding Him and making Him sleep. The tradition of 8 Darshans, from Mangala (Rising) to Shayan (Sleeping) are started by Vallabhacharyaji. The significance of these 8 darshans is that the Lord is just like us. He is no different and so we need not be afraid of Him, rather as He is a child, shower Him with all the love we can.Such a personality is called the Mahaprabhu.

Our seer’s called him so meaning He is the greatest amongst the Gods. Revered Pandurang Shastriji Athavale explains it in his own simple way that “Jo Bhagwaan ko milne bulaaye aur Bhagwaan ko aana pade, aise jo log hain unhe Mahaprabhu kehte hain”, (the Lord upon being called, is compelled to come to meet, such is a Mahaprabhu)

On this day of Varuthini Ekadashi, I bow down to this anshavataar and during these days hope that we all will chant the mantra he gave to this world “Shree Krishna Sharanam Mamah”.

Astu.