March 19, 2010 – Day Three of Bhagavatha Sapthaham

The morning session of Bhagawatha Parayanam on March 19 was different from the previous two days with respect to Swami's physical presence. Bhagavan did not come out in the morning but His presence could be felt in the beautiful exposition by Sri Rituraj Maharaj. The commentary that day dwelt upon two stories which are told in answer to Parikshit's questions, "Is there 'meaning' in 'waste'? Is there 'Divinity' in 'selfishness' too?" 

King Vena grew proud after misunderstanding the statement that "God does everything." He thinks that since there is no difference between him and God, he should be worshipped in temples and scriptures be written on him! On the other hand, his son Prithu did everything for the welfare of his people. Unlike his selfish father, he recognized the unity of the Self and thus did great sacrifices!

The next story was that of Bharatha - a great king and later a renunciant who became very attached to a baby deer. So intense was his attachment that he was reborn as a deer! Finally when he got his next human birth, he had realized the totally futility of worldly love. Thus he was in permanent silence, earning him the name, Jada (inert) Bharatha. With this story, bhajans began and aarthi was taken at 11a.m.

In the evening, as usual, there were summary presentations from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. after which Sri Rituraj Maharaj began. The evening's session was dedicated to the power and redeeming Grace that the Lord's name brings about. Sri Rituraj recounted the story of Ajamila from the 6th canto of the Srimad Bhagawatam.

Ajamila was a virtuous Brahmin living in the city of Kanyakubja. Once, while he was returning home from the forest, he happened to see a woman in the lustful company of a Sudra. Enamored by her, he gave up his duties to his wife and parents. This story stands as a testimony to how circumstances and bad company can totally wreck a man. Ajamila changed completely thereafter.

He married this unchaste woman and to please her, he even started thieving and killing innocent people. One day, a group of saints were passing by that village and they wanted to take shelter in a righteous household. When the saints actually met Ajamila’s wife, they came to know that Ajamila was a thief. In spite of that, they insisted on staying there for the night.

 
Ajamila had atoned for all his sins just
by Mere uttering the Divine name

When Ajamila returned, he was perplexed about their presence.  It was the first time that an idol of God was installed in their dwelling and the whole environment sanctified by the presence of saintly people. When the saints were finally about to leave, they requested the lady to name their next son as “Narayana”. A son was born and being the youngest, “Narayana” was very dear to both the parents.

When it was finally time for Ajamila’s death, as the messengers of death approached, Ajamila called out to his son Narayana. Though the child could not respond, the compassionate Lord did. Since Ajamila seemingly remembered Lord Narayana’s name in his final moments, Vishnudootas (messengers of the Lord) arrived immediately and prevented Yama’s attendants from taking Ajamila to hell. The Lord of death then explains that Ajamila had atoned for all his sins the moment he uttered the Divine name.

It was in between the Ajamila story that Swami arrived for darshan at just after 5:00 p.m. Taking a detour after the ladies' side, Swami moved straight to the stage. Blessing Sri Rituraj as he bent at His feet on His arrival, Swami sat at an angle facing both, the speaker and the audience.

The noted speaker went on to narrating the story of Vritrasura. Viswaroopa, the son of Thwashta Prajapati, was slayed by Indra for stealing a portion of the sacred offerings. Twashta, then performed a sacrifice to get a son who would take revenge by killing Indra. As Twashta did not chant the mantra correctly, he instead begot a son Vritra who would be killed by Indra.

When Vritra realized that Indra’s weapon Vajra actually embodied the prowess of Narayana because of the penance of Dadhîci, he invited Indra to use it. Vritrasura prayed: “Just like a small bird looking for its mother, just like a calf being hungry looking for the udder, just like a wife waiting for her husband, just as eager is my mind to see You, O lotus-eyed One.” When he was finally struck by Indra, a light emanated and merged in Lord Narayana. Indra got back the rulership of the heaven, but it was Vritra’s victory which was greater as he won over the Lord’s heart.

Swami was involved in His narrative and in between, He leafed through some of the many letters He had collected. At 5:40 p.m., the narration concluded and Swami raised His right hand in blessing for Maharaj. Then, Swami signaled for the boys seated down to begin the programme.

Swami had taken keen interest in this songs' programme that the students had planned. He had in fact called over these students to the building next to His residence for the rehearsals! That is the beauty of God. He plans, He directs, He corrects and finally, He enjoys the creation! The last part of the preceding statement was to be executed in the next few minutes!

As the students got ready, Swami made a last minute change! He told all of them to come up onto the stage. As all the singers and instrumentalists moved up the stage, the audio department got into overdrive, quickly making changes to accommodate this change in venue! Soon however, everything was set and the programme began.

The presentation was a collection of poems and songs of Swami, on Swami! Even as the singers were singing, Swami gave each of them a Vibhuti packet from the bundle that He had in His hand. The songs brought out the similarities between the Krishnas of two different ages! The beautifully decked stage with the Lord and the singers presented an impressive sight. Due to the space crunch, the keyboard and sitar remained off stage and they were played from below.

The entire programme lasted about 50 minutes at the end of which Swami gave padanamaskar to all the participants. As the students playing the sitar and keyboard went up the stage, Swami asked them, "How were the songs sounding (down there)?" It was such a sweet query. In one statement it showed His involvement in the singing and at the same time He let it be known that He knew these two boys were down and playing their instruments.

Swami then began to introduce some of the evening's performers to Sri Rituraj. He told him that all were post graduates and that they had stayed back for Swami. He asked some of them their ages and the answers were 37 and 40! Swami exclaimed and said, "See how elder they are!" Maharaj seemed so pleased to meet them and he folded his hands in namaskar to them.

It was such a profound moment. It showed that all that we need to do is to be with the Lord. With the Lord, one gets the world too. Blessing the Balsant, Swami asked for aarthi. It was 6:50 p.m. when He returned to the residence.

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