The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Q. Please tell me more about the greatness of the Naam of Narayana.

A. Sri Bhishma had said — It does not matter if a person is bereft of all Achara (rules of conduct) and of Bhakti and also if he is detestable by all; by uttering the word ‘Narayana’, he will be completely cleared of all sins and will gain immortality.

Q. Then there is no need of Achara, Bhakti and other forms of good work?

A. Of course, there is. “Even the Vedas cannot purify him who is bereft of Achara. By observing Achara, one’s life span increases and one gets a good son which he desires; Achara gives unlimited wealth and destroys all misfortunes. A person of evil conduct becomes detestable in this world, suffers from sorrows and is short lived.

Q. Are sorrow, illness and short span of life caused by the non-observance of Achara (codes of conduct)?

A. Certainly that is the cause. The fact that so much sorrow and illness prevail in the world today and people are short lived is due to the non-observance of Achara. If a person observes Sadachara (right code of conduct), he is not troubled by sorrows or illnesses and he enjoys a long span of life.

Q. What is called Achara?

A. The purification of mind, intellect, body, the ten indriyas (senses), material objects, the land and all actions is called Achara.

Q. How are the mind and the intellect purified?

A. By constant truthful behaviour, the mind is purified. Similarly, by acquiring Jnana (knowledge), Buddhi (intellect) is purified and by Vidya (learning) and Tapasya (Penance) the Atma is purified. By water and earth, one purifies the body; by not deceiving or cheating and not stealing or doing wrong acts to make material earnings, the use of pure sattvika materials leads to the purification of material objects. By living in a place inhabited by good men one acquires Desh-Suddhih — purification in respect of land and, by not indulging in action prohibited by the shastras one attains Karma-Suddhi i.e. purification of one’s actions. One who observes these Achara does not have to bother about the consequences either in this world or in the next. Sadachar alone can take him along unconsciously to the feet of Sri Bhagwan.

Q. Well, you have said that even the Vedas cannot purify the person who does not observe Sadachar. If the Vedas fail, how can the four letters ‘Na-ra-ya-na’ succeed in purifying him?

A. ‘Narayana’ had kindled the Vedas in the heart of Brahma, who gave birth to the Vedas. Therefore, the Naam of ‘Narayana’ has the power to do even what the Vedas cannot do. The proper interpretation of the statement that ‘Narayana Naam’ can relieve even a person who does not observe proper codes of conduct, from his sins is that if a person becomes devoid of Achara and Bhakti due to his earlier mis-conduct, even he is lifted up by ‘Narayana Naam’. What to speak of the person who is a bhakta and who observes sadachar, they are already liberated. It does not mean that they are being told to give up Achara and Bhakti. One thing more you should remember is that Ajamil uttered ‘Narayana Naam’ at the time of death possibly due to the sadachar which he had observed in his earlier life.

Q. Well people talk about Bhakti. What is this Bhakti? What are the signs of that Bhakti by which even the Bhagwan melts?

A. Bhakti has many signs. Sri Narada said — Absolute love for God is Premarupa Bhakti. To have deep attachment for God is Bhakti. To have liking for stories and Leelas of Bhagwan is called Bhakti. This was said by Gargacharya. Mahrishi Angira has said — “Due to abundance of Sraddha, to have extraordinary devotion to God is called Bhakti. Sri Vyas Deva has said — To have liking for puja and other rituals is called Bhakti.

Q. What is Anuraga?

A. Attachment is Anuraga. The child has attachment to its mother’s breast, the lustful man has attachment to woman, the miser has attachment to wealth, the thirsty has attraction for water, the hungry has desire for food and the person without Jnana, is attached to his body. Similarly, when a person is attached to God or feels attracted towards Him, he has Anuraga for God. That is Bhakti.

Q. So it follows that though Bhakti is a small word, it is not all so simple. Exclusive attachment to God is called Bhakti, is that not so?

A. Yes, any action or thinking relating to God i.e. His puja, to hear and sing His Naam-Kirtan and His Leela Kirtan, to meditate on His image, to be full of prema, all these are included in Bhakti.

Q. Are there other signs also of Bhakti?

A. Of course, there are.

Q. Please describe them to me.

A. After being completely freed from all feelings of difference between man and man or man and Atma, and with the help of indriyas purified due to complete devotion to God, to serve the indriyas of Hrishikesh, i.e. the God who is situated in the lotus in the heart, is called Bhakti.

Q. Please explain how are the indriyas rendered pure due to devotion to God?

A. The indriyas get subdued by seeing or hearing of various objects beautiful or ugly, likeable or detestable. But by seeing God everywhere, hearing God’s words in every sound, by tasting Him in every kind of juice, by smelling His scent in all the scents of this world, by feeling His touch in every form of touch, by directing all indriyas to God, they are purified. To serve dearest God with the help of such purified indriyas is Bhakti.

Q. But this is very difficult. Is not a person who is fit to do all this rather rare?

A. Though rare, such persons exist. The sadhus say that, though it is difficult to find chandan, yet it is available. No one is deprived of his dues from Bhakti Devi. She has divided her body in nine sections and she is calling people to herself day and night.

Q. What are these nine sections?

A. Sravan (to hear), Kirtana (to sing), Smarana (to think), Padasevana (to serve the feet), Archana (to worship), Vandana (to sing Stuti), Dasya (to serve like a servant), Sakhya (to behave like a friend), Atma-Nivedana (to completely offer oneself) — these are the nine divisions of Bhakti. Out of these nine kinds of Bhakti, if one holds on to even one e.g. Sravan or Kirtana, all the rest will slowly follow.

Q. Well, please tell me which is better - Sravan or Kirtana?

A. Sravana is the first requirement. It is from Sravana i.e. hearing, that the desire to do Kirtana i.e. to sing, is kindled. Yet Kirtana is better than Sravana because by Sravana only the indriyas of hearing and the mind can taste the Rasa of the singing of Bhagwan’s Naam, Leela and his manifold qualities. But by Kirtana, all the three indriyas of hearing, speaking and tasting are simultaneously satisfied.

Prabhu says that the shastras have laid down that Sravana and Kirtana are the real sadhana for attaining love for Krishna. By Sravana and Kirtana, one develops love for Krishna!

Of these the greatest is Naam-Samkirtana.

It is from innocent Naam that the treasure of Prema (love) comes.

Q. It follows then that if Sravan or Kirtana are done with faith and reverence, then hearing of Naam- Kirtana also is acceptable as Bhakti.

A. Naam does depend on shraddha (faith) to produce result.

Even if you have no Bhakti, do not let doubt grow in your mind. By repeatedly uttering His Naam, Bhakti will come and you will get that priceless treasure.

The tremendous power of Naam is never dependent on Bhakti. If one goes on singing Naam incessantly, Bhakti is bound to come running to him.

Q. I feel happy; I was apprehensive about myself as I had no Bhakti.

A. Do not fear. Go on singing Naam.

— The shastras have proved, the Sruits have laid down that ‘Narayana’ is the essence of all forms of japas.

Narayana, Narayana, Narayana.
Narayana, Narayana, Narayana.