Sri Maha Ganapate Namaha
Sri Saraswatyai Namaha
Sri Padavallabha Narasimha Saraswati
Sri Guru Dattatreyaya Namaha
It is a great fortune for the town of Akiveedu that we are observing Pradhana Anaghashtami here today. Thousands across all Ashramas and many more across the world are observing Anagha Vratam in their own homes and temples. People are fasting for three days, cooking Sattvic food, and engaging in verbal penance while observing Anagha Vratam. The people of Akiveedu are fortunate to have Darshan of Pujya Swamiji here.
“Anagha” is the one who removes sins. Mother Anagha Lakshmi removes the sins that we commit knowingly or unknowingly through our mind, body and words. We inflict injury on other creatures. We inadvertently step on ants while walking. We spray insecticides to kill countless bugs, insects and flies. We kill animals to eat them. Some believe that the one who eats meat does not incur sin if he is not the one killing the animals. But that is not true. Why is the butcher killing the animals? Because there are people who eat the meat. Neither the one who kills nor the one who eats is spared of the sin. They have to fall into hell and continue this cycle of birth and death with tremendous suffering.
As stated in Srimad Bhagavatam, we are first born as aquatic creatures 8 million times per Lord Brahma’s determination. This has been clearly stated in Datta Darsanam. King Yadu was taught the secret of birth by Datta Avadhoota. Learning the secret of our birth will help us live like humans. Otherwise we just live like animals. We must live like humans. We must have compassion. We should understand the secret of this birth; understand what the purpose of this birth is, how many births we took, what kind of births we took before, what births we will take in the future, what is our karma, what is our path. We should not lead a life without purpose where our life is limited to waking up in the morning, making money, having children, being part of different communities and interest groups and engaged in gainful employment. Regardless of whether one earns a lot or a little or can afford only one meal a day, everyone does a job depending on his/her karma. Even Swamis (spiritual leaders) are also doing their job according to their karma. From the Prime Minister and President of the country to the daily wage worker, the young and old, men and women, every one does work in line with his/her duty. Everyone should be faithful to his/her duty. We are just living mechanically. But we must understand how we attained this birth.
Brahma is relating how we attained this birth. O human! You fell into Brahma’s creation starting with 8 million births as various aquatic beings. From prawns to fish to crocodiles to sharks all the way to the smallest beings in water - we have all take birth in those forms. We do not know how many beings hunted us then. We are killing and eating them now because they killed and ate us in the past. And because of that, they will kill and eat us again in the future. That is an endless cycle. The Lord has programmed this perfectly. After 8 million births as aquatic beings, we were born as terrestrial beings - buffaloes, cows, jackals, donkeys, dogs, pigs - all quadrupeds. We were born 8 million times in those forms. We took birth in each one of the species of the quadrupeds. Some people declare that they are not themselves when they are angry. True, they are forced by their past tendencies and behave like animals. They also eat like pigs and sleep like donkeys. We carry those characteristics since we were previously born in those forms. So, we took 8 million births in all species of quadrupeds.
Then, we took birth as avian creatures. We took birth 8 million times as various beings that fly in the sky such as crows, owls, sparrows, eagles, parrots etc. We had thousands of births as a crow, thousands as an owl and thousands in each of the other avian species. It is only after that, that we take birth as humans. We take birth 8 million times as humans. We are born in different households in different births. We sometimes notice features that resemble those of people that passed away. We see the late grandfather’s trait in some new borns. We might notice the same intellect or walking or speaking style. We have been born 8 million times in a human form. Thinking about this makes us shudder. A real human being gets afraid. Some are not afraid because they understand nothing. The have the intellect of a donkey and do not even understand what I am saying. Their past life’s tendencies dominate. They only know to eat. “When can we eat Prasadam? Swamiji’s message is running long. We did not eat anything since morning. When will you serve Prasadam? Can you serve some tamarind rice now?”. This is a donkey’s intellect, not human intellect. “How long will this take? I cannot sit very long. My legs hurt”. Please leave, someone else can sit in your place. Many people are constantly uncomfortable. Why did you even come to see Swamiji? You got stuck here. You can leave whenever you want. A few people may curse you as you inadvertently step on them while making your way out. That is okay, they may have to do the same at other times.
We have been born so many times in different wombs, in different cities. We underwent so much pain in every birth. We have had so many births and so many mothers, fathers and grandparents in each birth. We have no idea what our next birth will be. We do not have the address from our past life nor do we have the address for our next life. Chitragupta, the celestial accountant, sits on our shoulders and calculates to determine if you led a Dharmic life and served the Guru, served God and were useful to others. He keeps count of each birth we take. Human calculations like those done by CPAs and tax accounts are utterly insignificant compared to these divine calculations. They Gods are watching all our activities and all our sins even when no else is watching. The five elements and the conscience are always a witness to every lie and sin. No one else needs to judge and deliver a verdict. Your conscience alone is enough. The five elements of Nature are always watching. That is why, due to all our actions, we are endlessly taking birth again and again. But if in the midst of all this, if we stumble upon some spiritual lessons, there is an opportunity to break this cycle. Say you live with compassion, purity and Dharma starting at least now by the grace of Guru who transforms you, you may be able to save one million births. How wonderful would that be! You can only gradually reduce the number of births. You cannot attain liberation immediately. You committed too many sins to attain immediate liberation. Liberation is not a package you can buy in a store. You cannot buy for money or get volume discounts on liberation. Liberation is like catching hold of the sun. Merely staring at the sun can make you blind, let alone catching hold of the sun. Liberation is not a child’s play. You think it is easy, but it is not. We should only engage in good deeds. We should always be truthful and pure. That is when we understand the secret of our birth. We should have fear of Dharma. People live selfishly for their own happiness and do not care for Dharma, “I am happy if I can eat and be well and profit in this world”. They do not care for others. They accumulate enough wealth for ten future generations. Do you know if you will have ten future generations? You never know when your lineage will end. The wealth accumulated by ants in ant hills are in the end usurped by snakes and hens. The wealth of great kings and other rich people of the past have already been lost. Dishonest earnings are easily lost. People gamble to make more money, but lose everything in return. These are the things happening in your world. Greed is bad. Desires need to be limited.
There was once a Guru who wanted to uplift a disciple called Ramayya. Ramayya who happened to be relatively wealthy in this birth had done some sadhana in a prior birth when he was poor. The Guru went to the disciple’s home and offered to initiate him into a mantra. Ramayya said “I am not ready for it yet. I will have to sit in a corner and meditate on the mantra. But I am still training my children and looking after the agricultural farms. Please come when the kids are grown up so I can hand over everything to them”. The Guru returned when the kids were a little older. The Guru insisted that the disciple get initiated. “I am still teaching my children scientific farming techniques. When they are capable of adopting these techniques and taking care of the farm on their own, I will take initiation. Please come then”. The kids learned the techniques and the yield from the farms was good. They earned good profits. The Guru returned. The disciple said, “The kids need to get married”. The Guru returned when the kids got married. He did not give up. The disciple said he wanted to see his grandchildren and play with them. The Guru left. Ramayya’s two young children always noticed the Guru and their father talk although they did not know what they were talking about. In the meanwhile, the disciple passed away. Everyone has to die. No one is permanent. So, per the secret of birth/death and because he had done no good deeds, Ramayya had now taken birth as the family’s dog “Tommy”. The dog was beloved in the household. The family pampered the dog excessively, letting it sleep on their bed even. The Guru did not give up even then. He came back and asked for Ramayya. The family informed him that Ramayya had died. The Guru then went to Tommy and whispered in its year. The dog shook its head in refusal. The Guru left and the dog subsequently died. The family was angry attributing the death of their beloved dog to the Guru. The family was waiting to punish the Guru for this loss next time he came back. For some reason, the Guru was insistent on giving him mantra. Ramayya was born as an ox and was working in the family’s own farm. The Guru came back whispered in its year. The ox said it had to till the soil because the tractor was not working. See how much attachment Ramayya had for his children. The ox subsequently died. The Guru came back again looking for Ramayya. The furious kids were ready to beat him up because as soon as he whispered into the ear, the father, the dog and then the ox died. They now wanted to whisper in his ear. The Guru said, “Stop! There is a big pit in your backyard in which is a snake. I need to talk to that snake”. The kids were amused he wanted to talk to a snake. “Yes, I want to talk to the snake. That snake is your father”. He had regressed in his births. “He earned a lot of money for you and hid that in the pit. He came back as your dog and then as your ox to till your soil. He loves you very dearly. He is guarding that money. I need to initiate him into a mantra”. The kids did not even wait for him to finish what he was saying. They destroyed the pit and pounded on the snake’s head against the fervent pleas of the Guru and the snake. The family got totally absorbed in retrieving the wealth from the pit. The snake, now half-dead, said to the Guru, “I thought my kids were everything to me. I understand now that I need to take care of myself. Everyone has to follow his own karma. You kept reminding me to get mantra initiation. I did not listen to you. My children did not care that their father was born as the snake. They broke my head into two. Please help me, please initiate me into a mantra”. The Guru walked away saying, “I cannot give you mantra now. I will give you mantra when the time is right. I waited a long time for you. Now, it is your turn to wait for me. I do not know how births you will need to wait”. We think getting mantra initiation is like buying a fruit in the market. It is not easy to get mantra initiation. We have make a lot of effort and pray hard to get initiated. There is something called “Nama Upadesha” that is given in an assembly. But Upadesha is what the Guru gives the disciple one-on-one. Only one or two people in a million get it. Today is Pradhana Anaghashtami. Read Datta Darsanam. It has many such enlightening stories. What is Omakara? Who is Guru? Who is a disciple? What is the relationship between Guru and disciple? How does one recognize Guru? To understand all this, read Datta Darsanam.
We leave everything behind when our time is up. We leave this beautiful body and its jewelry behind. I do not know if people in your town take their possessions with them when they die, but people in my town do not. They neither can take their glasses nor their favorite earrings, nor wrist watch nor even spoon nor shirt. Do living beings take anything with them whey they die? I saw many people die. No one takes anything with them. They leave even their good bodies behind. What is your next birth? How long will you live? Ninety years in this body, and you are done. Finished! Within that lifespan, as long as you have strength, do your spiritual practice (sadhana). You are all sitting now while listening to me. That is asana siddhi (sitting still in one asana for an extended period of time). I know you are all used to sitting on sofas and couches. Many people cannot even sit in one place for long. What you are doing now, sitting and listening to me is Yoga Sadhana. All this adds to your life. You are coming to the temple. It adds to your life. You are here performing Anagha Vratam, that adds to your life. You are listening to Swamiji, that adds to your life. You are having Darshan of Lord Hanuman and Lord Datta - all this adds to your life. Chitragupta is taking note of all these good deeds. All this adds to your good deeds. You chanted slogans of victory to Lord Hanuman several times last night. The more you chant, the more you benefit. Each person gets the benefit of the entire group chant. That is why group chanting is very important.
Sri Rama’s incarnation did not happen until 333 crore gods came together to pray. Group chanting is so powerful. If you chant Jaya Guru Datta once, the power of the chant will hover around you for 40 years and will benefit you. If you keep chanting divine names all your life, the power of each chanting will keep accruing for 40 years from the time you chant. It will be your protective armor. Your chanting alone will protect you. Your earnings or your money will not save you when you are sick. Eventually, at some point, even the doctors give up. Even a wildly lucrative offer of money to the doctors cannot change your situation. They may keep you alive a little longer to run more tests on you so they can make more money. Finally, the money is gone and the patient does not survive either. I am proud of my devotees who declare in their will that they do not want to be put on artificial respiration. “Do not admit me to a hospital if I have serious illness. Just give me simple medicines. Take half the money and give the other half to Mysuru ashram”. No amount of money will help when your time is up. If you have a serious ailment, it means you have received Yama’s call to go. Someone in the first stage of cancer may survive for sometime. Diseases are caused due to our thoughts, speech and actions. This is a vast subject that deals with how diseases are caused and how we can be careful to avoid diseases. A body always invites diseases. Lord Yama draws us to him in different ways. That is his nature.
We had a good program today. Hanuman Chalisa MahaYajna yesterday was wonderful. Akiveedu Ashram was not well prepared last time. I did not say anything then. But now, it is like a new Ashram. I cannot forget the service that the MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) has rendered. He wants to help renovate the Ashrama and Annapurna Mandir. He came forward on his own to offer this service. The neighbors also want to donate some land where we can build a few rooms. This is a pilgrim place (kshetra). Lord Datta temple here corresponds to one of the 16 stars. Akiveedu is lucky to get this Datta temple. The names of the 16 towns containing the Datta Kshetras are narrated in the (Datta Shodasi) prayer. Lord Datta temple in many other towns does not have a star associated with it. They only get Swamiji’s Padukas. Swamiji built 77 temples in India. There are twenty temples across the United States, Australia, Europe, Caribbean etc. I do not even have a visa to go to those places. Those devotees want me to live there. They are such good people. Dallas has a beautiful temple. 30 sculptors are working on Indianization of the temple which will see Orissa, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka style decoration. The temple gets a lot of visitors. There is an Agraharam (rows of devotee homes) of 200 homes around the Hanuman temple. This is perhaps the first modern day Agraharam. There are many fourth and fifth generation devotees living in those homes, which means that I saw their great grandparents or great great grandparents in the last 50 years. I drew them close to me and am having them learn the Bhagavad Gita. Most of them come from Kamma, Reddy and Kapu families. There are only two or three Brahmin families. They are all completely transformed due to their devotion to Swamiji. They are all devotees that traveled from here to settle down there. They are now training their future generations well. They are happy that they can be in close proximity to Swamiji there. Their lives and their children’s lives are transformed. Swamiji goes there every year.
Use this temple in Akiveedu well. Have Darshan of the deities in this temple. Swamiji has consecrated a powerful Yantra here. It is good for you. It is good for your health. It will increase your fame. Tailabhishekam removes all sins. It is an important ritual today.