Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj - Jin Guru Diye Milaye

Dark-hued Krishna Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

guru govind dono khade kake lagu paye
balihari guru aapki govind diye milaye.
[Sant Kabir]

Kabir asks, 'If both, Guru and God in the form of Govind were to appear at my door, whose feet should I worship first?'And then answers, 'It has to be the Guru’s feet first, because without him, how would I have recognized (known) God?'


The instant one is born on earth the ease with which one gets one's parents without making any effort and chooses them, similarly I met Shri Maharajji when I was merely seven years old. Neither did I know the meaning of  a guru nor a saint in that age of innocence as a young child. I would just sensitively feel in my inner mind that this figure sculpted in affection from head to toe seemed as much my own as any other member of the family.


Drawn to Shri Radhe-Krishna by Maharaj ji

When Shri ji would drop in to our house I would run around and frolic about in joy to express my delight. Calling me, he would make me sit in front and urge,"Yes, sing that Marathi pada of yours,'Kalindi che doha!'

With the course of time, this question kept arising in my mind that everyone chooses a guru so who would be my spiritual preceptor! One fine day on guru purnima, highly revered Sri Maharajji told me in my dream, 'Give me a dhoti' and kept two white flowers on the palm of my hand. Since that very day I grasped that I had found the wealth which I had been looking around for so long.


Shrai Manohar Baba

Revered Shri Manohar Dasji Baba was my chacha and we shared the bond of a blood relationship. Fortunately he is the author of 'Charit Vaibhav' and one of the close members of Shriji's  inner circle of devotees.



Naam Sankirtan

A young saint named Shri Kripalu ji Maharaj had propagated Naam Sankirtan with great fervour and created a furore in Madhya Pradesh. Using this saint as a medium, Shri Banke Bihari ji Maharaj, the Thakur (deity of Vrindavan) passionately drew Baba to His abode in Vrindavan.



Drawn by the Lotus Eyes of Krishna to Vrindavan

On reaching Vrindavan Baba Manohar Dasji met Shri Maharaji,a rasa-siddh saint who had experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing Shri Radha-Krishna's madhurya or sweet romance. He held Baba's arm and bathed him in affection. Baba stayed like a shadow by his side for a long time period and attained unprecedented benefit. He kept putting down the incidents and truths of Shriji's life in writing. With extraordinary common sense he took pictures of the bhava aveshas or trance like states of emotional frenzy, which have become a priceless treasure for his close adherents. He was so addicted to the divine attraction of revered Shri ji that he began to feel that nothing else needed to be attained compared to the ecstatic joy of his company.

Now came the turn of :
'tivra-tapa-dhutasubhah '

Shri Manohar Baba with His Beloved Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

Intolerable separation from his beloved Shri Maharajji caused an intense agony that burnt away all impious karma. He had to bear the anguish of separation for a considerable period of time. So far Baba had been living in perfect harmony with Maharajji's soul. Shriji's suddenly becoming indifferent led to his profuse weeping. Lamenting in separation, Manohar Baba went and fell on a tangled thicket of brambles on the sands of the Yamuna. He strongly felt that dark-hued Krishna was holding him in His arms but ended up asking Him the same question,"Where is Maharajji?'                                                                                                                                                

Several times Baba tried to give up his body but the very same ray of mercy saved him every time.  Baba's age was around eighty years at this time.Several ups and downs cropped up during this time span, and he went through the toughest stage of passing the test of his guru. But Baba's implicit faith in the feet of his spiritual preceptor remained unshaken and resolute.

What more should I write?During thirty-two years of my studies I had wasted so many sheets of paper and ink, and squandered away my time. It is my great good fortune and a purposeful use of time that I got a chance in helping out a bit in the writing of revered Shriji's 'Charit.'


Shri Maharaj ji, My Supreme Guru

"Doing pranam at the the auspicious feet of Baba who made me meet my spiritual guru: 'jin guru diye milaye,' the following lines are dedicated to the lotus feet of revered Shri Maharajji, my supreme guru:

'shat shat vandan! shat shat vandan!!
us shyam tamal praneta ko !
us saras vallari-roop ko !
us venu kunj bihari ko !
us alijan yuth swamini ko !
shat shat vandan, shat shat vandan, shat shat vandan  !'

'us shyam tamal praneta ko !
us saras vallari-roop ko !
us venu-kunj bihari ko!
us alijan yuth dulari ko  !
shat shat vandan, shat shat vandan, shat shat vandan! '

'Hundreds of times I salute the composer of that dark-hued tamal tree, that charming form of a creeper, that Venu Kunj Bihari who sports in Venu Kunj, the swamini  of the swarm of capricious black bees, I salute you hundreds of times.'


'Hundreds of times I salute the composer of that dark-hued tamal tree, that charming form of a creeper, that Venu Kunj Bihari who sports in Venu Kunj, the  darling of the swarm of capricious black bees, I salute you hundreds of times.'



Recipient of Your Grace
Shashikala


Monday, May 1, 2017

Spiritual Calendar: May, 2017



1st May, 2017: Shri Ramanujacharya Jayanti


 Shri Ramanujacharya

He is one of the four main Acharyas known as Ramanujacharya. Seen by Vaishnavas as the third and most important teacher of their tradition (after Nathamuni and Yamunacharya). Ramanujacharya is regarded by Hindus as the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita.

His philosophy combines advaita (oneness of God) with Vishesha (attributes). In Ramanuja’s system of philosophy, the Lord (Narayana) has two inseparable prakaras or modes, the world and the souls. These are related to Him as the body is related to the soul and have no existence apart from Him. Matter and souls constitute the body of the Lord whereas He is their in dweller and controlling Reality. They are termed Viseshanas or attributes while God is the Viseshya or that which is qualified.

2nd May, 2017: Shri Ganga Saptami


 Maa Gange

 Vaishakh Shukla Saptami is known as Ganga Saptami. People come to take a holy dip in the Ganges and relieve themselves from their sins and agony. Mother Ganga cleanses them and absolves their sins. The river covers a distance of 1500 miles and keeps the adjoining areas green and fertile. Ganga Saptami is celebrated to make people know of her significance on the spiritual plane.

4th May, 2017:Shri Sita Navami


Shri Janaki, Wife of Lord Rama

 The day is observed as the birth of Sri Sita or Janaki, the wife of Lord Ram. Sri Sita is considered an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi just as Lord Ram is Lord Vishnu Incarnate.

In the Ramayana, Sri Sita Devi is best remembered for her penance to find a perfect marriage partner. It was her father, King Janak's condition that whoever could lift the divine bow and arrow gifted by Lord Shiva would marry his daughter. As destined, Sri Sitaji's choice was made after years of austere penance to goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.

Sri Sita Naumi is not celebrated with as much fanfare as Sri Ram Naumi is in the month of Chaitra. However without Sita, worshipping Lord Ram's would be incomplete because she is Sri Ram's divine feminine energy or shakti. Sri Sita Devi is also remembered as setting a role model for Hindu society, particularly in her devotion to Lord Ram during the 14-year exile in the Ramayana.


King Janak Unearths Sita Who is Born of Goddess Earth

Sri Sita was born as Janaki or daughter of King Janak but later renamed as Sri Sita Devi by Maharishi Narada Muni.She was actually given to King Janak by the Earth Goddess or Bhuma Devi whilst he was ploughing a piece of land during a prolonged period of drought in the Treta Yuga. He unearthed a golden casket in which he found a beautiful baby girl. Overjoyed, he named her Sita because land ploughed by a yoke is called sita.

6th May, 2017: Shri Mohini Ekadashi


 Lord Vishnu Incarnates as Mohini

 This is the day when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Mohini to take away nectar from the demons. Mohini is the name of the only female avatara of Lord Vishnu in Hindu mythology. She is portrayed as an an enchantress, sometimes leading lovers to their doom. Mohini is introduced in the narrative epic of the Mahabharata. Here, she appears as a form of Vishnu, acquires the pot of Amrita (elixir of immortality) from thieving asuras (demons), and gives it back to the Devas (demi-gods), thus helping them retain their immortality.

8th May, 2017: Som Pradosh Vrata


Lord Shiva

Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight for propitiating Lord Shiva.

With His blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment.It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble on Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva.

When the Pradosh Vrat falls on a Monday, it is known as Som Pradosh and all the desires of Lord Shiva’s devotees are fulfilled.

9th May, 2017: Bhagwan Narsimha Jayanti


 
Bhagwan Narsimha 

Lord Vishnu became Narsingh Bhagwan to kill Hiranyakashipu and save Bhakta Prahlad. One of the ten famous incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Narsingh Bhagwan appeared on earth to kill Hiranyakashipu, the king of asuras. If Lord Rama and Krishna are hailed as Purnavtars or full incarnations, the rest eight of them are, Narsingh Avataras.

Sri Narsingh Bhagwan was the family deity or ishtdev of Sri Manohar Baba who used to keep a fast in celebration of His Deity's appearance day on Narsingh Jayanti. He along with all his devotees used to visit Sri Narsingh Temple in Vrindavan. Its location is near the temples of Sri Banke Bihariji and Radharamanji. In this honour, a book of letters written by Sri Manohar Baba may be launched in celestial Vrindavan.

10th May, 2017: :Shri Radharaman Prakat Utsav


  Shri Radharaman ji

In the Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tradition, Shri Radharamanji's lotus face is like Shri Govindaji's, His chest is like Shri Gopinath's and His lotus feet are like Shri Madanmohanji's. On beholding Thakur Radharaman one simultaneously receives the darshan of these three primary deities. The deity of Sri Radharaman manifested from one of Gopal Bhatta Goswami's salagram-silas on a full moon day of Vaisakha (April/May) in 1542.

This event is celebrated every year by bathing the Deity with 100 litres of milk and other auspicious items. Gopal Bhatta Goswami's other salagram-shilas are also worshiped on the altar.

10th May, 2017:Shri Kurma Jayanti


Kurma Avatara

 Kurma, the second avatara of Vishnu belongs to the Satya Yuga like the Matsya avatara. Vishnu manifested in the form of a half-man half-tortoise, the lower half being a tortoise. He was normally resplendent with four arms and sat on the bottom of the ocean after the Great Flood. A mountain was placed on His back by the other gods so that they could churn the ocean and find ancient treasures of the Vedic people.


10th May,2017: Vesak (Buddh Purnima/ Buddha Jayanti)


Gautam Buddha

 It is a Buddhist festival that marks Gautam Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher who founded Buddhism. In most Buddhist traditions, He is regarded as the Supreme Buddha.:

11th May, 2017: Shri Narad Jayanti



Shri Narada Muni

Shri Narada Muni, a great devotee of Sri Radha, is a disciple of Sri Sanatkumara (four Kumaras) and the guru of Sri Nimbarkacharya. He is known to play the veena while he sings. Narada is a divine sage from the Vaisnava tradition, who plays a prominent role in a number of Puranic texts, especially the Bhagavata Purana, and Ramayana. Narada is the author of the Pāñcarātra, a standard text for Vaisnava's priests. The sage is portrayed as a travelling monk with the ability to visit distant planets or lokas. He carries a taapura or musical instrument, which he uses for singing of hymns, prayers and mantras in devotion to Lord Vishnu.

12th May, 2017: Van Vihar

Van Vihar, Parikrama of Vrindavan

A visit to the forest groves and parikrama or circumambulation of Sridham Vrindavan at night with Temple Musicians (Samaj) plus singing devotional songs in attendance, is performed with great serenity on the day Van Vihar.

14th May, 2017: Sankashti Chaturthi


Lord Ganesha

The fast is kept to please Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is called Vighanharta and a puja begins with the worship of Lord Ganesha.

Each lunar month in the Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha as per the Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Puranmasi or full moon during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi. 

22nd May, 2017: Achala Ekadashi


Lord Vishnu

Achala Ekadashi falls in the month of Jyestha (May-June) and is also known as 'Jyestha Krishna Ekadashi'. Achla Ekadashi is the giver of good deeds, destroyer of sins and one who observes the vrata with a full fast on this day attains great esteem in this world.

23rd May, 2017: Bhauma Pradosh Vrat


 
Lord Shiva

Pradosh means dusk and this fast is kept on the 13th day of each lunar fortnight for propitiating Lord Shiva.

With His blessings all desires are fulfilled and one attains spiritual enlightenment.It is said that on this day all gods and goddesses assemble on Mount Kailash to worship Lord Shiva. The Pradosh which falls on a Tuesday is known as Bhauma Pradosh.

24th May, 2017: Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj's Gaulok Gaman, Union with the Supreme Being


Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj

Maharaj Bal Krishna Dasji was a saint who lived in Vrindavan and experienced the highest ideal of religious rapture by relishing Shri Radha-Krishna's madhurya or sweet romance. He propagated the Mahamantra and experienced various stages of religious rapture because of his love for the Divine. His biography 'Charit Vaibhav' is worth reading.

25th May, 2017:Vat Savitri Vrat


Sati Savitri Saves Satyavant

 Associated with Sati Savitri and Satyavant, the legend reveals how Satyavant got rid of death and regained his kingdom with the dedicated devotion of his wife Savitri. The Puranas propagate that the story of Savitri is an inspiration for every married woman.


Women Worshipping the Vat (Bargad) Tree

The Vat Savitri Vrat falls either on the full moon day or the new moon day of the month of Jyeshtha, around May-June. Married Women observe this fast with the intention of preserving their husbands good fortune.On this day, women fast and worship the Vat (Bargad) tree to pray for the growth and strength of their husband and families. All Hindu women observe this festival worshiping and propitiating Savitri as a Devi. On this day, early morning the women take bath and wear new clothes, new bangles and apply vermilion on their forehead and hair-parting line. Then Ma Savitri is worshipped.

25th May, 2017: Snan Daan ki Amavasya


Vaisakh Amavasya

The day of conjunction of the sun and moon, on the fifteenth day of the dark half of a lunar month is known as Amavasya, the last day of the waning moon.

25th May, 2017:  Shani Jayanti


Lord Shani

Shani Jayanti is observed to mark the birthday of Lord Shani as per Hindu mythology. According to astrology, Shani is referred to as Saturn which is known to have a strong influence upon people. According to believers, it is necessary to celebrate Shani Jayanti to ensure that bad omen stays away to the maximum extent. Ardent devotees belonging to different communities of Hinduism are known to offer their prayers to please God Shani.

Shani Jayanti is celebrated on Vaishak Vadya Chaturdasi Amavasya and it is believed that God Shani was born on this day. It is celebrated in a very noble manner and all the rituals related to the God Shani are strictly followed given his furious nature –

28th May, 2017: Vinayak Chaturthi


Lord Ganesha

Each lunar month in Hindu calendar has two Chaturthi Tithis which belong to Lord Ganesha according to Hindu scriptures. The Chaturthi after Amavasya or new moon and during Shukla Paksha is known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and the one after Purnimasi or full moon and during Krishna Paksha is known as Sankashti Chaturthi.

The most significant Vinayaka Chaturthi falls in the month of Bhadrapada and is known as Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world as the birthday of Lord Ganesh.