Monthly Archives: October 2014

Jada Bharata

King Bharata was a very illustrious King. When he became old he passed on his kingdom to his sons and went to the forest to meditate. He wore only deerskin, his hair grew and become matted and head always looked wet because he took bath three times a day. For food he collected the edible roots and fruits, first offered it to Krisna and then ate it as prasadam.

Rest of the time he dedicated to meditate on the Supreme Lord Sri Krisna. Soon he was so happy that his heart overfilled with love and so tears would wash down from his eyes unbridled.

such day he was in such a state when he heard the sound of an arrow ‘twang’ and the cry of a deer. His meditation was broken. He opened his eyes to see a deer with her fawn. The deer had been hit by a hunter’s arrow. The deer died, the fawn remained.

Taking pity on the fawn, Bharata raised her with affection. He became so much attached to the deer that when he was about to die, he was wondering about what would happen to the deer. He should have thought about Krisna but he thought about the deer and so the next birth he got was that of a deer.

Bharata the deer knew that he had committed a mistake, if he had thought of Krisna at the time of quitting his previous birth; he would now have been enjoying serving the Supreme Lord. And so to correct his mistake he went to various ashramas in the forest to hear about HIM.

Hearing about the Lord increases our love and attachment to Him.

And so when the time was up, the deer died and again got a human body. But now he was smart. The whole of his life he dedicated to listening and meditating on the Supreme Lord. He would not talk much and spent his days talking to himself about Krisna. People thought of him as mad and so called him as Jada Bharata. Jada means ‘fool’.

Once he was asked to help in carrying the carriage of King Rahuguna. Because Jada Bharata would not even harm a single ant coming near his footsteps, he would jump here and there. This would disturb the King. When this happened many times, the King ordered his ministers that he wanted to meet the Person who was causing the disturbance.

Bharata was brought in front of the King. The King was astonished on knowing the reason and asked some questions. His answers astonished the King some more and he realized that Jada Bharata was not an ordinary man but a very intelligent scholar on spiritual science. He took Bharata with him to his Kingdom and both spent their life hearing and narrating the glories of the Lord. Thus they perfected their existence.

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In the Bhagvad Gita Krishna says

anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah

And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

The perfection of life is when while quitting the body; one remembers Krishna. which is tough if you have lived a life full of material enjoyments. And is possible only when you have practiced it the whole of your life. Because isn’t it said, ‘Practice makes a man perfect’.

*images courtesy Google images and Krishna.com

** shloka translation courtesy asitis.com

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Gowramma

An old story reblogging here. It is a story of an old woman and her faith. May this Diwali strengthen your faith and make you steadfast.

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Gowramma lovingly checked the flowers before plucking them. Everything had to be perfect for her Krishna, isn’t it? Her flower basket full of flowers, she moved slowly to her house and then to the deity room. Sat down slowly taking support of the walls and began making a garland.

At 82 years of age, Gowramma was quite active. Mornings were devoted to tending her little patch of land which had some flower bushes and some vegetables. Cleaning the house and then the altar room. Looking after her Krishna, making garlands for Him, some simple food for Him and looking after Surabhi. Surabhi, her cow and her companion for many years. She looked after Surabhi and Surabhi looked after her.

‘Mayi..Mayi…’, it was Harish, her neighbor.

‘Harish, I am in the altar room’, she called out.

‘Mayi, I am dirty, cannot come in, can you please come out’, he said

Gowramma slowly got up, again taking the support of the walls.

‘What happened Harish, you fell down somewhere, why are your clothes so dirty?’

‘Mayi, it  is because of the urchin Madan, he was stealing some milk from the kitchen when I found him and chased him away.But the scoundrel was too fast for me’.

‘He must be hungry Harish’, said Gowramma

‘ He can ask, Mayi, why steal?. Anyways here are some roses from my garden, use it for your Krishna, so saying he waved a bye and left.

Gowramma stood there for some time. ‘It was good that Harish failed his 10th. See he is such an enterprising farmer. And look at my son he was good at studies no doubt but then he became a software engineer, left to USA and sold our acres of land to Harish. Yes, yes he had taken me with him but I could not adjust there. Is it a place worth staying where even if I offer aarti to my Krishna, the fire alarms ring. Nah, US is not for me’.

Surabhi heard her patiently mooing her yes and no at the appropriate places.

It was in the evening when she was going to the grocer’s that she saw a boy hiding behind a cart near her house.

‘Are you Madan?, she asked.

‘Speak in a low tone or Harish will listen’, he said

‘Come to me and he will not beat you’, she said

But he refused to budge. after a lot of persuasion and a bribe of milk payasam he agreed to come out.

From then on, Gowramma nurtured him. Madan was an orphan. No one knew from where he came, but he always loitered around Harish’s farm, more precisely the erstwhile land of Gowramma. Harish always saw to it that he was given food and clothes and yet Madan loved to steal from Harish’s kitchen.

But everything changed after Gowramma started taking care of him. She even started teaching him. He would help her in all the chores but never in the altar room. He would look at her fondly when she cleaned the room, made garlands or made prasadam but never took part.

‘Madana, why don’t you join me. The Lord will be happy if you help me’, she would say.

‘Nahh, that is your job’, he would say with a mischievous smile.

Gowramma would back off. Bhakti and Seva  are qualities that should  not  be forced on anyone.

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Gowramma was tired. She could not string the flowers. She knew her end was near and she was worried. A tear flowed down from her eyes.

‘What happened? Why are you crying?’, it was Madan.

‘I am going to leave you soon, my dear’, she said

‘So why are you crying? You will be freed of this body’, said he.

‘I am worried for my Krisna and Surabhi’, said she.

‘Harish will look after Surabhi and your Krisna, he can look after himself , don’t worry’.

She looked at him then, taken aback by the sharp tone of his voice and then she smiled.

Harish came running. He was tilling his land when Surabhi’s mooing reached his ears. It meant that something was not right. He found tears running down Surabhi’s eyes, he rushed inside to find Gowramma bowing down at the altar. He touched her to find that her life breathe had gone away.

The idol of Krisna was missing.

Neither did he see Madan ever again.

* fiction

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Glories of Lord Hari-The deliverance of Manigriva and Nalakuvera

You can read the first part here

Krishna stood for some time fuming. He looked at the rope which tied him to the mortar and fumed some more. ‘First she doesn’t feed me and then she ties me to this mortar, huh…….I should do some mischief which makes her realize her mistake’, he thinks.

And so saying he starts dragging the mortar.

He goes a long way crawling in the backyard dragging the mortar when he looks up and sees two Yamala Arjuna trees and then he smiles

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Long long ago, when Narada is airborne to one of the celestial planets, he chances upon Manigriva and Nalakuvera; the two sons of Kubera, the treasurer of Heaven.

As Kubera is dear to Narada, he rushes down to meet his sons. But the sons heavily intoxicated and surrounded by apsaras; the celestial girls  are having a jolly time in the lake.

While the girls try to cover themselves with their hands, bow down in front of Narada in respect and then rush off in shame; the two young men remain standing without bothering to cover themselves or offering any respect to the great saint Narada.

Narada is torn apart looking at the two brothers. ‘Their father is such a saint with so many noble qualities and here are his sons, intoxicated no doubt with alcohol and their father’s wealth’, he thinks.

‘So you are so fond of remaining upright and that too without any clothes, is it?’, he says pointing to their nakedness and to their refusal to bow down at his feet, ‘so let me fulfill your wishes…..from now on you become trees. Then there is no need to cover yourself or to bow down to anybody’.

These words of Narada jolts them out of their intoxicated selves. And they fall at Narada’s feet asking for forgiveness.

Narad being merciful, says to them, ‘ I can’t take back my words but yes I can make it into a benediction. Go and become trees in Brijdham. In Dwapar Yuga when Krishna appears in Nanda Baba’s house, he will only release  you.

The two listen to Narada’s words and do likewise and so they stand as trees for hundreds of years meditating on Krishna

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And so Krishna looks at the twin trees and smiles for he remembers his pure devotee-Narada’s words.

And so he comes near the trees. There is only a tiny gap in between the trees which only a child can cross. He edges across but the mortar is stuck. Krishna looks back and then gives a tug to the rope and so great is his might that the two trees topple down and the two celestial beings step out.

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The bow down and sing beautiful prayers and then Krishna blesses them and says, ‘Now that you have learnt your lesson, go back to your place’.

Meanwhile the Gopas; the friends of Lala are in shock looking at the happenings and stand agape.

Yashoda and Nanda hearing the loud voice rush to the spot. Yashoda immediately takes Krishna on her lap while Nanda unties the rope. Nanda starts chastising Yashoda for punishing Krishna when the Gopas come running and narrate what all that has happened.

‘You and your imagination’, Yashoda says, ‘two celestial beings stepping out of the trees and what not… It is definitely someones evil eye which tried to harm my lala. I must go to the Devi’s temple near the Yamuna in the evening and thank Her for saving my son’s life’.

Such is Yashoda’s love. The Lord lies in her lap and she takes care of him as a small defenseless boy.

Krishna meanwhile smiles and winks at his friends.

*pictures courtesy google images

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Glories of Lord Hari-Damodara

It was the morning of Deepavali. Yashoda had her oil bath, dressed in new clothes and ornaments and adorned her hair with fresh flowers and hurried to churn.

She had sent all of her servants away either on errands or on leave. That day she wanted to churn herself. For long she had heard complaints about her Kanha stealing butter from the neighbours maybe the servants at her home were not churning properly and so Kanha was stealing butter. She had seen to it that her choicest of cows had eaten the best of grass. And from the milk they gave, she had set curd the previous day and today she would churn herself for her Kanha.

As she churned, she sang the glories of her son, his beautiful face, of his footsteps tinkling with anklets, of how he had slain Puttana and so on.

She was not used to such hard labour. Beads of sweat broke through her forehead. Th flowers adorning her head were now all strewn here and there. Her combed hair were now all array. Her whole visage looked as if dark clouds had clouded on an otherwise sunny day and tiny droplets of water had started falling.

Hearing the sound of the glass bangles on her hand and her sweet songs, Kanha got up from his sleep and demanded to be held and fed.

Yashoda took him in her lap and lovingly started feeding him. Kanha kept looking at her and she stared at his beautiful face……

At that moment she heard the sound of milk about to boil over.

She put Kanha on the ground and said, ‘The milk, the milk…..’ and rushed off.

Kanha was angry, ‘How dare she leave me with my stomach only half-full’ and in his anger he took a stone and broke the churning pot.

But no, his anger had not yet abated and he looked for more mischief.

And so her ran to the other room where the previous day’s butter lay in a pot hanging from the ceiling. As he ran his feet stepped on the spilt curd and butter and he left a trail of white footprints to the other room.

There was a big mortar lying on the floor. He pushed it so it was just below the hanging pot and had butter to his heart’s content and if that was not enough, called upon the birds, the monkeys and the Gopas to have their fill.

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Yashoda came to the churning room to see the mess and laughs. ‘So Kanha is angry that I left him hungry…but no he is becoming too impudent. I have to teach him a lesson.’ And so saying she picks up the churning stick and follows his white footprints.

And then what she sees, stuns her. Her Kanha is eating stale butter and if that is not enough has invited all of his friends too. ‘Kanha…you have had it today’, she screams and runs at him.

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But Yashoda is a bit old and a little hefty. Kanha is young and agile.. He jumps from the the mortar and runs.. He runs across rooms, stairways, balcony, and the open ground just in front of their home when he glances back to his mother to check, how far she is. And then she sees the sweat on her brows and notices her heavy breathing. And out of intense love for her, he stops and allows to be caught by her. Who can catch the Supreme Lord? It is only the love of devotees like Yashoda which attracts him.

‘So here you are’, says Yashoda, ‘you have made me run quite a bit today and today for the first time I am going to beat you for your mischievousness’. As she raises the churning stick to beat him, Kanha starts crying. As tears flow down mixed with the kohl of his eyes, he looks so beautiful and adorable that Yashoda cannot beat him and throws away the stick.

‘The child is scared I cannot beat him and yet I have to teach him a lesson’ and she thinks of a plan.

‘Kanha, I will be back in a minute, don’t move’, she says.

She goes inside the house and returns with the big mortar and a rope. Kanha awaits patiently. And then Yashoda makes him stand in front of the mortar and tries to tie him to it with the rope but whats this …. the rope is two fingers short. So she brings another rope and ties the two ropes and again attempts to tie the Lord but then the rope is two fingers short. Again she adds some rope, again it is short. In no time all the rope in Nand Baba’s house and their neighbours are used up but still the rope is two fingers short.

How can we attain the Lord? By our constant endeavors and His mercy. That is what the Lord wanted to show to us with the rope always being short of two fingers.

And then He notices how tired his mother is and allows himself to be tied up and thus he got the name “Damodara”. For Dama in Sanskrit means Rope and Udara means the stomach.

Damodara Bhagvan ki Jai!!

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For Vaishnavas a sacred month begins tomorrow-Damodar Month. The month when the Lord performed his Damodar Leela. It is said that the one who offer the ghee Lamp to the Lord in this month eradicates the sins of all his previous karmas and gains the love of the Lord.

What happens after the Lord is tied up to the mortar is matter for the next post. Stay tuned.

*first picture courtesy Google images. The rest courtesy Krishna.com

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