The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj

Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj (Right) with his Guru Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath (Left)

Sharanagati Yoga:  In the body of work on bhaktiyoga and in the practice of bhakti, the taking of refuge with the Divinity is described as a superior practice. In the Treta Yuga, Sri Ram proclaimed the practice of vrata or penance, which would give deliverance to the devotees from fear. In the Mahabharata, Krishna advises his dear friend Arjuna to give up all religious practices and to take refuge with him (Krishna) alone. Only then could Arjuna be rid of all his sins (Bhagavad Gita 18/66). In Kali Yuga, Bhakti Yoga is the easy, simple and non-controversial method, which unites all the streams of practiced religion. The Yugapurusha Sitaram attained the pinnacle of achievement, by adopting this royal path of refuge; Sitaram exhorted the followers on innumerable occasions and in his books, to do the same.

Among the 200 or so works penned by Sitaram, it is Sudha Dhara (Streams of Nectar) which contains the essence of truths presented in all the other works. The sadhana as described in the hoary treatises, and as practiced down the ages, are presented along with answers to the questions and difficulties raised by practitioners of bhakti yoga in particular. The volume, Sudha Dhara, is a deceptively small one. It would be no exaggeration to declare ‘Sudha Dhara’ as the pocket Gita in the modern age. The ones who have read it shall surely subscribe to this idea! ‘Sudha Dhara’ may also, without use of a hyperbole, be described as a ‘Song of Refuge’.

In the final stanza of ‘Sudha Dhara’ Sitaram impresses his words on the hearts of the readers:

That which is conducive—adopting firmly; rejecting firmly that which is not;

Conviction in refuge with Him; casting Him in role of Protector;

Placing one’s self at His feet; egolessness; are six ways seeking of refuge. (Sudha Dhara)
Sitaram facilitates the readers in understanding and remembering, by composing his thoughts in rhyme and meter. All the facets of the philosophy of ‘refuge’ have been expressed in ‘Sudha Dhara’. The prayer seeking refuge is oft-repeated; the concept of refuge is dealt with thoroughly.

Sharanaagatoham: I seek refuge exclusively with You” is repeatedly proclaimed.

‘I seek refuge with You for all time’…there is no mantra such as this! Engaging body and mind to the fullest, reiterate that you have taken refuge in His feet. The One who grants fearlessness will bless you and you will be victorious on the difficult path of sadhana’.

As he performed sadhana in the cave of Omkar Math in Omkareshwar, as and when the inspiration arose, he worked on ‘Ujjivan’ and ‘Premgatha’. These books were written under the shade of the holy  Bilva tree where he would be seated, overwhelmed by sattvik emotion.

In one of these books, the firm resolve of Japa on Ram Naam and resulting experiences have been described. In the other, the various sadhana states have been described, along with the frequent proclamation of ‘Sadanandamayi Ma Karunamaya Guro’. The Ramayana gives two mantras for seeking refuge, ‘Tavaasmi’ and ‘Sharanaagatoham’. These succinct statements of seeking refuge too have been much highlighted by Sitaram in his preaching.