The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja
(Excerpts from Shri Vithhal Uvaacha)

You will find an example of what true bhakti should be in the Ramayana.

Once when Bhagavan Shri Ram and Lakshman were at the Pampa Lake, they saw a bird on the edge of the lake. It would go close to the water, incline its beak as if to drink the water and then let go and recoil. Same thing happened again and again. Lakshmanji was amused. “Ramji, is this bird sick? Is it suffering from some kind of disease?” he asked.

Ramji laughed. “No! This bird is perfectly healthy. It’s no bird actually. He is a great yogi. The reason he comes so close to water and decides not to have a sip is because he does not want to let go of the Naam that’s playing on his lips. If he drinks water for that moment, he would have to forsake Naam, and that’s precisely what he would hate to do. That is true bhakti peculiar to an ananya bhakta (exclusive bhakta) who will not let go of Naam even for a moment. That is sharanagati. “Bhakti is like the freezing of water to ice and knowledge in like melting of ice to water in sunshine- similar yet different at same time. One is travelling upward to know It while the other is getting down and realizing all to be one ‘सर्वंखल्विदंब्रह्मम् - Sarvam KhalvidamBrahmam’, as told by Shastras and reiterated by Sri Ramkrishna Dev himself.

Pralaya: Last Stage of Bhakti

“Last of the eight sattvic states is pralaya, it leads to samadhi. Narada says, once you’re into it, you give up all karmas such as sandhya etc. Actually, all karmas drop off, you don’t drop them, they drop you.

Some fool may think, 'I have attained high state, now I must drop everything' and he might pee on the asana (laughs), that’s not the way. You have to take some food and do the ablutions as long you have the body.

Thakur had reached that high stage. The rites like sandhya dropped off. He couldn’t even eat. He said,
“तुमलोगोकोक्यालगरहाहै, मैनाटककररहाहु, लाओपानी. (What do you think I am staging an act here, now go and get some water!)”

And he would put water in his mouth, and it just wouldn’t go in, he had to throw it out. He said:
"खानापीनासबपंचप्राणसेहोताहै, प्राणअपानव्यानवगैरा।लेकिनजबपंचप्राणमहाप्राणमेंचलेजातेहै, महाप्राणसहस्रारमें… जैसामेराहुआहै, तोखानापीनाशरीरमेंरहहीनहीसकता."

“Consumption of food and water intake is an act of panch prana: prana, vyana, apana etc. but when pancha pranas merge with mahaprana, and mahaprana merges with sahasrar as you can witness here now, then even a morsel or a drop of water can’t stay in this body.”

That was Thakur’s state.

Even I had a few experiences in Uttar Kashi. When I sat on the asana for dhyana. Time would pass, hours rolled on, but I simply couldn’t rise from my asana. Om Baba used to be there. An old sannyasi, very high soul. He would tell me, ‘हरचीज़ टाइमसे करनी चाहिये (Everything should be done at the right time.)

He didn’t like me hanging on to the asana at two in the night. Little did he realise it wasn’t in my power to stop the dhyana.”

Two Kinds of BhaktiBhakti is of two types. Sa-kama bhakti and Nish-kama bhakti. If you are a householder, there is no harm in expecting material things. That’s not a problem as long as you don’t overindulge and stay within limits. When you pray and ask for worldly objects, God grants them. This is called sa-kama bhakti. But a sannyasi or a sadhu should not ask for material things. When there is no material fruit attached to the prayer, it is called nish-kama bhakti. That is meant for the sadhus.
Sitaramdas Omkarnath didn’t ask for anything from God. He led a very tough life. He would teach in the Sanskrit preparatory at home. The students who came to him were poor. They wouldn’t give him anything, even if they did; it was too little to take care of household expenses. But Sitaram didn’t bother. He never asked anyone. He treated his samsara as Brajanath’s samsara.

Take this instance. The Narasimha Chaturdashi. Recitation of Chandi Paath is underway. Everybody has spent the day fasting. But some arrangements of prasad (food) will have to be made at least for dinner. There’s no provision at home. What’s to be offered if four or five people drop in? Giribala, the mother, comes and stands at the door of her Bambhola (naive) son.

Giribala: “It’s necessary to make sooji (sweet semolina) for prasad. Oil is needed for the lantern. The shopkeeper is refusing to extend credit. There’s not a penny at home, my dear, what’s to happen now?”

Sitaram: “Boil some moong.”

Giribala: ‘What? Have you ever heard of boiled moong as a prasad offering?’

Sitaram: ‘But there’s no alternative. What can we do?’

Giribala: ‘What about the oil?’

Sitaram: “We will manage by the light of the lanterns which the people who come to hear the kirtan bring with them.”

That is Sitaram.

Look at another instance.

A day when there was absolutely nothing at home. Nothing to offer even to the God! That day immutable Sitaram was busy teaching the students. Ever-smiling mother Giribala came there with a mind full of worry. “Pebo! My dear! There’s nothing in the house.”

“Absolutely nothing?”

“Absolutely nothing!”

“Well, if Brajanath has decided to fast, what can you and I do, Mother?”

Sitaram returned to his teaching.”

“There are two types of bhaktas in this world. Those who will close the door and relish the sweet mango lest someone drops in and deprives you of a part and then there are those who will go on distributing the sweet mangoes to one and all. Be of the second type.”