I came here to sing Sri Rama bhajans for you. My voice is not cooperating due to my travels in the hot sun. My voice has changed a little, but your ears are fine, are they not?
Bhajan: gaṇa gaṇamunaku patiyaina
This next Bhajan was composed about 15 years ago for the devotees from Regade village who requested a song for their folk dance on Sri Rama Navami.
Bhajan: daṇḍālu daṇḍālu rāmayya
Understand the meaning of every stanza. The more you study Srimad Ramayana or Potana Bhagavatam, the more you benefit. Same holds true for bhajans. The entire Ramayana is in this bhajan we sang. Even the uninitiated will understand Ramayana through this Bhajan. It is written in clear, simple Telugu.
The bhajans in the Bhajan Mala app are great for your study. Instead of idly waiting for the bus or train, you can listen to the bhajans. Time is ruthless. It does not wait for anyone. Devotees in America have this app. They click on a bhajan and find the answer to their question.
This is a beautiful bhajan. Close your eyes and listen to the bhajan, you will see Sri Rama near you. You will see him on the swing just the way you see Swamiji on a swing on the concluding day of programs.
We lead happy lives today because Sri Rama incarnated for our sake. The Lord protected the world for the 10,000 years he was the king. It is incorrect to say he ruled over the world. He served the world. He served every being on the planet. Who can rule over whom? Which Atman can rule over Atman? That is a sinful way to talk about it. That is why we are cursed in India. The one in elected office should have the mindset of being a servant and a soldier for the people. That is when the country will prosper. One who thinks he has power over people will destroy himself and the nation.
Sri Rama’s kingdom was prosperous. Everyone lived happily. There were no lies, no cheating, no fighting, no disrespect for spouse, no disrespect for Guru. The weather was favorable and there were timely rains. No one became an orphan in his kingdom. Everyone worshiped Sri Rama. Their lives were fulfilled. We were alive even then. We committed some unfortunate sins back then and are here today as a result. But in Sri Rama’s time, the sparrows, the crows, the eagles, the donkeys were all taken to liberation. Those who did not want liberation sat at home. That is why you are here. If you went then with Sri Rama, you would not be here. Dwapara Yuga was around the corner. So, people began looking after their own selfish needs. They did not let go of Sri Rama and Sri Rama did not let go of them, but their karma let go of Sri Rama. Those who stayed behind were peering at Sri Rama from their windows. All animals and birds including his horses followed Sri Rama. But some of those who had surrounded Sri Rama did not go with him as they could not let go of their family. Some were newlyweds and some had newborns at home and some could not let go of their cattle. If people were so fickle in Treta Yuga, imagine how fickle people are in Kaliyuga. Listen to the 11th and 12th cantos of Pujya Swamiji’s Srimad Bhagavatam narration to understand the influence of Kaliyuga.
Now, listen to this bhajan with your eyes closed.
Bhajan: raghuvara! śubhakara! śrīrāmā!
Whenever your mind is troubled sing bhajans to find solace. Troubles are not permanent. Worrying about troubles does not give us liberation. Attachment should only be an act you put up for this world. But you must never let attachment into your heart. It does not take you to liberation. This is all a drama. Caution yourself and be careful.
Saint Tulasidas was born in the family of ardent devotees of Sri Rama. He lived alone as he lost his parents and relatives at a young age. A businessman who knew him gave his daughter in marriage to Tulasidas. The daughter was as beautiful as she was virtuous, pious and devout. Once Tulasidas was married, he gave up all contemplation of Sri Rama. He would sit staring at his wife. He would always follow his wife so he could keep looking at her. He would walk backwards up the stairs so he could keep looking at his wife. All people in the town would heckle at him as he could not be separated from her for even a second. He would keep staring at her face while eating and while going to bed. He would go crazy if he did not see her face. He was extremely infatuated with her. He had employees taking care of the gems and pearls business that the father-in-law had set him them with. So, all he would do was worship his wife and keep staring at her face.
One day, he set out on a business trip, promising to return that afternoon. Before he returned, the wife’s brother came to take her home since their mother had taken ill and was on the death bed. Tulasidas returned from his trip and learned his wife had gone to her mother’s house. Unmindful of the torrential downpour and strong currents in the river, he immediately set out to see his wife. He swam across the river that was in spate. His parents-in-law lived in a fort like mansion. He found what looked like a rope dangling from the balcony of the wife’s room. The bloodied Tulasidas climbed up the fort to enter his wife’s room without even noticing that the rope that was cool and soft to the touch was in fact a live snake. His wife was astounded and asked him how he managed to swim in the waters and get up the fort in such adverse weather. She went out to the balcony and realized what he used as a rope to climb up was now a dead snake.
Disgusted at his infatuation, the wife reprimanded him, “If you had this devotion towards Sri Rama, you would attain liberation by now. You have no control over senses. Why do I need such a husband? You are always staring at my face even when I got to the temple. You learned to walk backwards up the stairs just so you can stare at my face. You have no sense. I married such a lustful man. If you had this devotion towards Lord Rama, how great that would be!”
Immediately, Tulasidas’ past life came flashing back to him. He remembered his childhood. His wife had become his Guru. He set out to contemplate on Sri Rama. His wife supported him. Today, we are chanting the Hanuman Chalisa that he composed. This story took place in the town of Kasi. This is not a made-up story. Even today, every stone in the town echoes this story. Tulasidas was so lustful. But he let go to Kama (desire) and caught hold of Rama. We also have a bhajan, “rāma nāmamē nādu garjanaṁ”. That bhajan reminds us of the life history of Tulasidas.
Let go of attachment and infatuation. They will not go with you. Shower your love on God who is everything. Wake him up in the morning with your Suprabhatam and put him to bed in the night. Put him in the cradle. Let people call you insane, no problem. You will find happiness as you continue offering worship mentally like this. It costs you no money and your difficulties and poverty will vanish. Your entire house will be filled with divinity.
Bhajan: dharma marma sāravēdi rāmanu
Many are still continuing to write Sri Rama’s name and bringing the books to Nama Mantapa (Mysuru Ashram). Continue writing. It is wrong to stop writing. Make a resolution about the count you want to write – whether that is 20 million or 50 million and keep bringing the books to Nama Koti Mantapa every time you visit. Instead of coming to the Ashrama with empty hands, bring books filled with the name of the Lord.
The saints of Maharashtra sang the glory of the Lord in abhang style. The name Rama is formed from the syllable RA from the nārāyaṇa mantra and the syllable MA from the śiva pan̄`cakṣari mantra (om namah sivaya). When you open your mouth and chant RA, your sins fly away. When you close your mouth and say “AM”, the sins are kept away. It is okay to append the ‘a’ at the end and chant “Rama” during bhajan singing, but otherwise, we chant the Lord’s name as “Ram”. The bad odor is let out with “Ra” and is kept out when we chant “am”
Bhajan: dāsacī sampatti rāma sītāpati
What is a spiritual seeker’s treasure? For us it may be the homes, bank account and agricultural fields. This bhajan says that the treasure for seekers is Sri Rama Himself.
A devotee of Swamiji Professor Krishan Kumar bequeathed his wealth to his children. They were surprised to even see a will as he did not have much to bequeath. The children were happy to discover that what he left behind was in fact 10,000 cassettes of Swamiji. I had christened the kids when they were born. The closets in their homes are filled with Swamiji’s cassettes and books. That is what he left behind for them. It is wonderful that Swamiji has such devotees. Similarly, the wealth of great souls is nothing other than Sita and Ram alone. We have friends who cannot live without their spouse or children or pets. But for noble souls, Sri Ram alone is the object of attachment – jīvācā saṅgati rāma ēka.
rāma ēka mātā rāma ēka pitā
Who are the mother and father of these great souls?
Sri Rama is my relative, Sri Rama is my father, mother sibling, wealth, knowledge, glory. Sri Rama is everything to me. If I am a scholar, Sri Rama is my knowledge. This bhajan is so beautiful.
I use every part of this body for you. What do I need to do? I can just rest in one place under a tree or on a mountain. I can go to the Himalayas. If I wished to stay in the ashrams in Himalayas for a month each, the Swamijis of the Ashrams will enthusiastically welcome me. I am here only for you. As long as your devotion is firm, I will be with you. If you loosen your devotion, you will lose Swamiji.
I did not need to sing. If I told you I had a bad throat, no one would force me to sing. But I wanted to sing for you. I wanted to narrate the Ramayana today, but I had to make house visits to keep my promises from a long time ago. We are constructing Hanuman temple that is costing over seven crore rupees. This will be the last construction in Mysuru Ashram. Everyone come forward to help and participate. The temple is being built per Swamiji’s sankalpa with three Hanumans in one temple – Akasha (sky) Hanuman, Bhu Loka (earth) Hanuman and Patala (nether worlds) Hanuman. It is rare to see the three Hanumans in one place. You are making this happen. The devotees who I visited are helping with the construction of the temple. You are as special as they are. I am here for you. This (Ashram) is your house. Let Swamiji always be in the home of your heart.
Swamiji is going to the Chennai ashram for the Tamil New Year. From there, I go to Dubai.