The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Hari kirtan is itself the sadhan for mukti. In Satya Yuga, through long tapasya, sadhana used to lead the way to mukti. But in Kaliyuga, people are unable to do tapasya and penance; hence Hari kirtan, taking the place of tapasya and penance, taking the form of Hari himself, leads a person to mukti..

Q. You have said that Hari kirtan itself is tapasya. Well, I hear so often of tapasya, but what is tapasya?

A. All vrata and the observance of the rules of conduct and rituals laid down by the shastras in order to attain a permanent happy state of mind constitute tapasya.

The word tapah means Jnana (knowledge) of Brahma.

Various vratas like Santapana, Chandrayana and Prajapatya, fasting on various tithis like Ekadasi constitute tapasya.

There is no better tapasya than fasting. To concentrate the mind on one spiritual object and to control the senses for the same object constitute the greatest tapasya. These constitute the greatest dharma, greater than any other. In the Bhagawad Gita, Bhagawan Shri Krishna mentioned three types of tapasya. Paying reverence to Gods, Brahman, Guru and the learned and self-realised sadhus; purity, straight-forwardness, Brahmacharya (observing continence) and Ahimsa (non-violence) — these constitute tapasya of the body.

To speak the truth and sweet words which are helpful to others and which do not cause any anxiety to them, to study the Vedas regularly and according to the rules, to repeat stotras, all these constitute tapasya by words. Contentment, not being crafty, restraint in talking, not to allow the mind to rush towards worldly things, to be straight in one’s behaviour towards others, these constitute tapasya of the mind.

Q. If a person does Hari kirtan, will he be doing all these forms of tapasya?

A. In this world, Hari kirtan is the best form of tapasya. In Kaliyuga, if you want to get blessings by pleasing God, you must do Hari kirtan with devotion. The purpose of any tapasya is to gain satva guna. By Hari kirtan, this satva guna is achieved. The shastras say that through tapasya one can get satva guna. Through satva, one can gain control over mind and a controlled mind leads to self-realisation.

Q. If a person is of bad character and observes no restraint about his food, can he also gain satva guna if he starts doing Hari kirtan?

A.If he continually sings Hari Kirtan, what to say of satva guna, he will realize God Himself.

Q. Then does it follow that however fallen a man might be, even if he has no capacity to perform other acts of dharma, he can still attain God by Hari kirtan alone? You see, you have replied to the same question many times and you are doing so even now, yet I like to hear from you time and again that does kripa to even the greatest sinner.

A. In reply to your question, with raised hands and in a loud voice, I am announcing that a singer of does attain God — I repeat it thrice. So long as I have strength to talk, I shall go on declaring that by kirtan only even the biggest sinner gets param gati i.e., mukti. I declare it again and again.

Q. Oh, your words bring new life to my body and give me new hope. Please tell me more about it.

A. Therefore in Kaliyuga, kirtan of Vishnu’s naama is good for the bhaktas and it is within their power to achieve.

Q. The giver is naama and the gift is also naama - according to you. How is this possible? I want to cross the Ganga by a boat. The boat is my means for crossing the Ganga. My object of crossing is to reach the other bank. Then how can these two things be the same? Please explain this clearly to me.

A. The other bank of the Ganga and the boat are two different objects. In their case, there is difference between them. But with naama both are Hari and are essentially the same. Hari is the means and Hari is the object of naama. Hari which is naama comes as Hari Avatara. So, both are the same.

Q. Then there remains no difference between the sadhaka and the siddha (i.e., who has attained). The anyone who sings naama kirtan for a few days will be called a siddha - is that not so?

A. No, it is not so. As long as Hari does not destroy all his sins and makes him one with it, the singer of naama cannot be called a siddha.

Q. I do not quite understand how naama samkirtana and the object of naama samkirtana are the same.

A. All right. You think there is some difference between the sea at Puri and the sea at Waltair?

Q. No, both the seas are the same.

A. Then the sea at Rameshwaram and the one at Kanyakumari must be different?

Q. No, both are the same. They have been given a different name because the names of the places are different.

A. Right. Similarly, there is no difference in the four sounds: Vaikhari, Madhyama, Pashyanti and Para. Compare the sea at Puri with Vaikhari, that at Waltair with Madhyama, the sea at Rameshwaram with Pashyanti and that at Kanyakumari with Para. Therefore, Hari is the same as the object of naama samkirtana — which is also Hari. Have you seen a tanpura?

Q. Yes, I have.

A. A tanpura has four strings. In these four strings all the seven melodies have been incorporated. Therefore, it is called tan-pura, or pura-tan i.e., full of all the tanas (melodies). Similarly, Hari-kirtan is a tanpura or pura-tan. In Hari kirtan, all the four melodies of Vaikhari, Madhyama, Pashyanti and Para play simultaneously. The bhaktas sing in the four melodies of tanpura. ‘Ram’. This sound ‘Ram’ disappears in the sound of the soundless.

Q. Let me understand this properly. Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari are all incorporated in one melody — they are not different. Para is the object of Naama Samkirtana and Vaikhari is the means. When the Para and Vaikhari are stringed together, then there is no difference between them. The superficial difference that is seen is due to the ignorance of the seer (person who sees).

A. Yes, that is so.

Q. Who is a sadhaka and who is a siddha?

A. As long as the bhakta sings with ego in himself, he remains a sadhaka. But when he completely destroys his ego, he becomes a siddha.

Q. Then a siddha indicates that he has no independence; he is completely dependent on God?

A. Yes, that is the aim. God is the player and the kari is only the instrument. I had once heard a beautiful song of a sadhu:
“If you are the yantri (player), and I the yantra (instrument), then why does the Veena not play the proper tune?”
It only means that the Veena has not yet been tuned properly. Once it is tuned, it will play properly.

Q. How can the Veena be put in tune with a particular melody?

A. There is no song except that of Sri Krishna. All that is required is to sing ceaselessly. That will accomplish everything. One does not have to see, hear, understand or think of anything else. Even if he runs with closed eyes, there is no fear; there is no other place to fall except in His lap which is full of peace and bliss.

Q. Oh, when shall I be able to attain this state?

A. Sing incessantly — Jai Sitaram, Jai Jai Rajaram. Then you will soon get Jai Sitaram, Jai Jai Rajaram.