Day 181: Gaurābda 532, Mādhava Māsa – Caturdaśī 04 Feb 2019 – Monday

Bhakti Bullets

Bhakti Bullets

[Śrīla Gurudeva speaking on the topic of Ekādaśī—a fortnightly day of fasting and increased
devotion:]
We should not engage the 11 senses or organs of the body in anything other than Kṛṣṇa. All senses
should be engaged in serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Don’t engage in worldly talking
and sense gratification. By observing Ekādaśī, gradually all kinds of diseases will go away. All kinds
of urges of the tongue, along with other sensual lust, will gradually go away and gradually you will
have attachment to Kṛṣṇa and to His associates. Ekādaśī is the mother of bhakti. If you are observing
the real process of Ekādaśī, then bhakti must come.Spoken by Srila Gurudeva, February 04, 2001 Bali
Prema Flame

Prema Flame

Rasa Varsa

SRILA GURUDEVA’S DIVINE APPEARANCE FEB. 7 1921

In the brāhmaṇa (priestly caste) village of Tiwārīpur, situated in the Buxar district of Bihar, India, near the banks of the holy Gaṅgā, the liberated soul, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, renowned as Śrīla Gurudeva and Bhaktabāndhava (the friend of all devotees), appeared on this Earth in the Vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa family of Paṇḍita Bāleśvaranātha Tiwārī and Śrīyuta Lakṣmī-devī.

The Tiwaris were initiated in the Rāmānuja-sampradāya and are descendants of the śāṇḍilya-gotra (a brāhmaṇa lineage). They faithfully engaged in bhakti-yoga (devotional service which connects one to God) and, as religious householders, regularly hosted traveling sādhus (holy men). Many such sādhus visit Tiwārīpur in the months of January and February, where they dwell on the banks of the Gaṅgā to worship God and practice austerities. In the early morning these saintly people bathe in the Gaṅgā and absorb themselves in meditation, kīrtana (devotional songs), hearing hari-kathā (holy discourses), and, on occasion, perform fire ceremonies.

Since devotees experience profound elation during discourses on the glories of God, every evening the sādhus, local brāhmaṇas, and devout people of nearby villages gathered to perform kīrtana and to hear scriptural discourses at the home of Paṇḍita Bāleśvaranātha and Gurudeva’s grandfather, Śrīman Dhyānacandra Tiwari, who were respected Vaiṣṇava scholars. When prominent Vaiṣṇavas or sādhus were present, Paṇḍa Tāiwrī requested them to speak to the assembled guests.

On the evening of the new moon in the late winter of 1920, on the holy day of mauni-amāvāsya [when Lord Śiva awoke from his meditation], a revered Vaiṣṇava sādhu arrived at the Tāiwrīs’ home, where hundreds of people were assembled to hear hari-kathā. Śrīman Dhyānacandra invited the sādhu to address the crowd.

“I will speak hari-kathā,” the sādhu announced, “on the condition that, after hearing my words, everyone will endeavor to follow my advice.”

Eager to hear his discourse, the guests agreed, and the sādhu began by glorifying the devotees of the Lord:

“Whenever one glorifies Lord Rāma, Hanumān comes to listen; when one praises Kṛṣṇa, great souls like Prahlāda, Bhīṣma, and Janaka are present. Wherever Rāma’s pastimes are narrated, Hanumān sits in the back of the audience and leaves last.
One day, Tulasī dāsa went to hear rāma-kathā and to receive Hanumān’s audience. He desired to see Lord Rāmacandra and was informed this would only be possible by first attaining the shelter of Hanumān. Gradually, as everyone began to leave, he recognized Hanumān who was sitting in the back, disguised as an old man. Catching hold of Hanumān’s feet, Tulasī dāsa took Hanumān’s foot dust and begged for mercy. By Hanumān’s blessings, Tulasī dāsa later saw Lord Rāma and received His mercy.”

The sādhu continued, “In this life  is not possible to directly meet Bhagavān, but He is very kind and sends His dear associates to this world. One must pray like this: ‘Lord, how may I develop a relation with Your associates? How will they become my dear friends and guardians?’ Relations with saintly devotees will connect us with God; but how can one understand who is truly God’s devotee? If one sincerely prays, God will grant the spiritual vision and knowledge to be able to recognize saintly personalities.”

Just as Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī tirelessly recited the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the sādhu spoke the glories of saintly devotees throughout the evening and late into night. Meanwhile, the congregation listened with rapt attention, just as Parīkṣit Mahārāja and the assembled sages once had. The sādhu told the story of the origin and importance of mauni-amāvāsya.

The sādhu said, “In ancient times, after Satī-devī burned herself at the sacrificial arena of her father, Dakṣa, because her husband Śiva was disrespected, Lord Śiva thought that there was no longer anyone qualified and eager to hear the glories of Lord Hari. Only Satī-devī had been eager to hear such hari-kathā; therefore Lord Śiva considered her his dear friend. After Satī-devī left her body, Siva absorbed himself fully in samādhi (a profound state of meditative trance).

“Śiva’s duty is to relieve the burden of the universe by purifying the wicked desires and sins of living entities immersed in the darkness of ignorance. This task can only be accomplied by hari-kathā and harikīrtana, but Śiva was left to himself and thus sat in trance. Without the ambrosial near of hari-kathā, the entire universe became covered in darkness. Inauspiciousness filled the world, and all religious ceremonies subsided. No one performed bhakti-yoga, nor would anyone even speak the name of Viṣṇu. Eventually, Satī reincarnated as Pārvatī in the Himālayas. The demigods prayed to Lord Śiva to accept Pārvatī as his wife and return to his universal duties, but he remained deep in trance. Finally, Śrī Viṣṇu and Brahmā arrived to break Śiva’s trance. They requested him, ‘O Bholānātha, someone has come to hear hari-kathā. Accept Pārvatī as your companion and renew your universal responsibilies.’”

The sādhu concluded, “Mauni-amāvāsya is the day Lord Śiva­­ awoke from his trance by the intervention of Lord Viṣṇu and Brahmā. Lord Śiva broke his silence to receite the glories of God. Taking Tulasī leaves and Gaṅgā water, he promised, ‘I will accept Pārvatī after one month.’
One month later, when the fourteenth day of the dark moon arrived, Lord Śiva accepted Pārvatī as his wife. That day is known as Śiva-rātrī.”

When the sādhu finished speaking, Paṇḍita Tiwārī invited him to stay at his home. Paṇḍita Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī were apprehensive to beget offspring. Their first child had died in infancy, causing them great sadness, and they knew that their spiritual lives would be disturbed if an ordinary soul entered their lives. Paṇḍita Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī humbly asked the sādhu, “What should we do? Our relatives are pressuring us to have children. But we fear that if an ordinary soul comes to our home, we’ll become entangled in worldly life.”

The sādhu advised them, “When Śiva-rātrī comes, bathe before sunrise in the Gaṅgā, then return and worship Lord Śiva. Śiva is the greatest devotee of Viṣṇu and has excellent relations with the Supreme Lord. If he is satisfied with your worship and prayer, he will petition God to have a pure devotee born in your home.”
The sādhu continued, “You should pray daily to Śrī Kṛṣṇa while reciting the holy Gītā, which is the treasure chest of Kṛṣṇa’s merciful advice and teachings. Kṛṣṇa is present wherever the Gītā is honored; and wherever Kṛṣṇa is present, so are His devotees, just as a king is never without his entourage. You should also serve all devotees who visit your village, for it is the easiest means to please Kṛṣṇa.”

Paṇḍta Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī faithfully accepted the sādhu’s instructions and they vowed to serve the devotees and to regularly recite the holy Gītā. They prayed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa for the association of His pure devotees while meditating daily on a particular verse that especially attracted their hearts:

 

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mam namaskuru

mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo ‘si me

Bhagavad-gītā 18.65

Offer your mind to Me; become My devotee; worship Me and offer obeisance to Me. In this way, you will certainly come to Me. I promise you this truthfully because you are very dear to Me.

Śrīla Gurudeva’s parents went to the Gaṅgā everyday with a saṅkīrtana (congregational singing) party. After bathing, they returned home, applied tīlaka (sacred clay) on their bodies and worshipped the Lord. On the day of Śiva-rātrī in the early spring, Paṇḍita Tiwārī and Lakṣmī-devī served Bhagavān throughout the day and stayed awake all night to worship Śiva. They prayed to Śiva that they would be blessed with a son who was a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. On Śiva-rātrī, the custom is to stay awake and perform worship four times: from six to nine in the evening, nine to twelve, twelve to three and, finally, three to six in the morning. Pleased by such worship, Śiva will fulfill all desires of the worshiper. Paṇḍita Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī sat in the Śiva temple and recited the Bhagavad-gītā and Rāmāyaṇa. Next, they performed a fire ceremony and then bathed the Śiva-liṅga. They prayed to Śiva, “By your mercy, may the nativity of a great devotee of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa take place in our family.” They thought, “Many devotees of Śrī Rāma are in our family, now  would be a great blessing upon us if a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears. Having a son who has pure love for Kṛṣṇa would enable us to always hear Kṛṣṇa’s glories in his saintly company.”

After Paṇḍita Tiwārī and Lakṣmī-devī concluded their prayers and worship in the early morning, they dozed off and had a vision. Thousands of effulgent devotees were singing the holy names of the Lord while dancing in ecstasy. They had glowing golden complexions and long arms, which they held high in the air as they danced along. As they approached the Tiwārīs’ home, Paṇḍajī and Lakṣmī-devī gazed at the divine personalities and thought, “We usually have kīrtana here in the evening. How is it that this kīrtana is happening in the morning?” As the congregation approached the house, the dancing and singing increased in fervor. One of the divine beings came forward and, with a sweet smile on his face, entered the hearts of Paṇḍita Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī. They awoke suddenly, imbued with joy and attraction towards the divine being they had just envisioned. From that day onward, Paṇḍita Tāiwrī and Lakṣmī-devī always remembered the personality in their dream.

In due course, Lakṣmī-devī prepared a suitable maternity room in preparation of childbirth. On February 6, 1921, the Tiwārī’s family guru, a brāhmaṇa named Paṇḍita Miśra, who was initiated in the Rāmānuja-sampradāya, visited their home from his village of Majariya-gaon. Paṇḍita Tāiwrī welcomed his guru, offered obeisance, gave him a seat, and washed his feet. After speaking together for some time, Paṇḍajī offered his guru some prasāda (pure foodstuffs offered to God) and a place to rest for the night. In the early morning, Lakṣmī-devī went into labor. She rushed to the household maternity room and, with little pain or difficulty, gave birth to a beautiful boy. It was a few minutes past four in the morning, on maunī-amāvasyā, February 7, on the junction between the auspicious Vedic months of Puṣyā and Māgha.

The family guru had already awoken and gone to the Gaṅgā. Upon returning, he heard a boy had just been born and went immediately to bless the infant. Many sādhus were residing at the Tāiwrīs’ household, observing vows of silence on the day Lord Śiva was petitioned to arise from his meditation. But when they caught sight of the effulgent baby boy, they gathered and began to spontaneously sing in loud voices, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa Nārāyaṇa Hari Hari, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa Nārāyaṇa Hari Hari!” The sweet sound of the holy names filled the atmosphere in affectionate welcome of Śrī Hari’s beloved devotee.

The family guru, Paṇḍa Miśra, examined the infant and saw he had remarkable blue eyes, a golden complexion, and a wide forehead adorned with a distinct mark of tīlaka, the sign of a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. The auspicious signs of a jug, lotus, flag, and urdhvā-rekhā
(a line signifying an exalted soul) were on the boy’s feet, and there were ten cakras (auspicious lines forming the ape of a disc) on his fingertips. Observing all these markings, Paṇḍita Miśra told Paṇḍita Tiwārī, “You are extremely fortunate! This boy is not from your small village. He is a great devotee of God. I will draw up his birth
chart immediately.”

Upon the birth of the boy, Paṇḍajī and Lakṣmī-devī realized their son must be the same personality who had previously visited their dream. They rejoiced, “Now a saint has appeared in our home!” All the guests were pleased and said they had never seen such an amazing boy.

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