śrī mahāganapate namaha
śrī pādavallabha narasimha sarasvati
śrī guru dattātreyāya namaha
We are all lucky today to be doing Divya Nama Sankeertana together. Divya Nama Sankeertana is the easiest method to attain God and gain knowledge of the Self (atma-tattva) in Kaliyuga. It is very difficult to study Vedanta, Upanishads, Vedas etc. in Kaliyuga. People these days do not have the time to allocate 20-25 years to study Vedanta. That is why Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada sang “Bhaja Govindam” prodding us to chant the names of God. Srimad Bhagavatam and Devi Bhagavatam also teach us to do Divya Nama Sankeertana. People variously refer to Divya Nama Sankeertana with different names such as bhajans, keertans, sant-keertans etc.
We are busy with desires, anger and other vices in Kaliyuga. We are completely occupied with hunger, thirst, earning money, giving birth to and taking care of kids, house, money, possessions, fame etc. We are forgetting our real purpose. While following the duties of a householder (grhasta dharma), we can still continue our spiritual practice (sadhana). But we do not, because we have more desire for worldly life due to which devotion dwindles. We have neither devotion, nor faith, nor the time to offer worship to God. We listen to Srimad Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavatam as mere stories. We have no time to learn and understand who we truly are. That is why, all enlightened souls have advocated Divya Nama Sankeertana to realize the Self in Kaliyuga. There is no question of liberation here. Liberation cannot be attained in one birth. We are not even eligible to utter the word “liberation”. Practice devotion. As you practice devotion, you will slowly gain knowledge (jñāna) and then dispassion (vairāgya). So, practice step by step. It is not possible to acquire them all in one go.
For example, we are teaching kids the Bhagavad Gita. So, you are slowly following the spiritual path and are following a good Guru. You are only now beginning to understand who God is and who you are. So, this is only the beginning. Very few households strive to maintain good tradition. But even those households are attracted to worldly life. That is why, all great souls have advocated just Divya Nama Sankeertana. With Divya Nama Sankeertana, you can gain knowledge as well as dispassion.
Divya Nama Sankeertana is an art. It is like a friend. It improves concentration. That is why a lot of Indians practice music – either vocal or an instrument – because music is a good friend. Music is very near to God/Atman/Knowledge. Practicing music or dance consistently makes you a good student for gaining knowledge of the Self. That is why every day, people in rural Maharashtra and Gujarat sing Vitthal bhajans before going to bed. In Andhra, we like to watch movies late into the night before going to bed. You fall into the bad habit of watching horror movies and crime stories before going to bed and have difficulty falling asleep after. We have even stopped laughing at home. There are always fights, doubts and suspicions about each other at home. Maharashtrians tie anklets, hold khartal in their hands and sing bhajans. People in powerful positions such as IAS officers for example, also sing bhajans in joy. We are very happy singing film songs, but are too embarrassed to chant God’s names or sing bhajans. That is a bad habit. Few people are only now beginning to wake up to Divya Nama Sankeertana. I think this will slowly grow. We need this. In Maharashtra and Chennai, every Hindu in traditional households learns a music instrument. They do not even need to take a music exam, they just practice on their own. Music is a good friend that helps with gaining knowledge and dispassion. That is why they practice music. When the mind is troubled, sit by yourself and sing, or listen to music or play an instrument, and you will find great solace.
This world is a big illusion. Everyone is going through ups and downs and suffering. Music is a good friend. Get involved in music. That is why Maharashtrians compulsorily train their children in music instruments. You can see how small children are calculating rhythm for the songs they sing. Nearly 90% of Maharashtrians play the rhythm while singing bhajans. I have seen even doctors, IAS officers and other people of repute and power sing bhajans. But Telugu people do not want this. They want to only pursue worldly studies. Sing Divya Nama Sankeertana on any deity of your choosing for at least 30 minutes daily. If you practice singing, you get good health. Elderly people of 90-95 years sing with very good voice due to their continuous practice. They are also learning instruments. We have an 85-year old student learning Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita program has students from the ages of 5 years all the way to 85 years. They learn the Bhagavad Gita out of love for Swamiji and a connection they share with Him. That makes me very happy.
What is the meaning of getting close to God? Learn the Bhagavad Gita or the short Guru Gita or practice Divya Nama Sankeertana. That will get you very close to Swamiji. Money or power will not bring your close to Swamiji. But if you show some interest in our Dharma, you can get very close. I inquire about such people, their health and their progress in life. You need no influence or no one else to convey your problems to Swamiji. Present to Swamiji your kids learning the Guru Gita or Bhagavad Gita or Divya Nama Sankeertana and you will automatically get close to Swamiji. I appreciate the donation of money, but that friendship lasts only a couple days. Sure, your name will be displayed as a donor. But if you learn the Guru Gita or Bhagavad Gita or Divya Nama Sankeertana, you gain very good association with Swamiji. You get very close to Swamiji if you listen to Divya Nama Sankeertana daily. That is such an easy way to get near Swamiji. If your child is learning music, Swamiji will inquire about the child and her future. You get very close to Swamiji. If you come to Swamiji with no spiritual leaning, that friendship will only last a few minutes. My relationship with you is through music and spirituality. Bhajans, music, prayers, dharma are all easy ways to gain good friendship with Swamiji. I am very interested in those who listen to Swamiji’s speeches daily. Even if you keep coming repeatedly to Swamiji and getting interviews there is no connection. Many do not care about the worship, bhajan, meditation and other activities Swamiji is doing. They take special VIP interviews and leave. They do not know about Swamiji. They are not involved in Swamiji’s mission. How can I bless and protect them and pray on their behalf? Someone influential comes and asks for his mother to be healed of her illness, but he has no connection with Swamiji. I am not a doctor. You need spiritual healing. You need to be involved with Swamiji. Practice devotion and love with Swamiji. I am talking about pure love, not your human kind of love. Failing that, I have no medicines to give. My presence, gaze and vibrations are the medicine. The prayers I do on your behalf are your medicine. I pray to Mother Goddess for you. If you come to Swamiji, donate some money and ask for the healing to happen, Swamiji will put the money to good use, but the healing will not happen. You must connect with Swamiji. Before going to bed, you must listen to Swamiji’s music and offer prayers. You must learn and understand who Swamiji is. You must get that energy. It is not just about transferring energy like it were a commodity. Energy needs to blossom in your heart. I am in every heart sitting here devotionally. Sometimes, I leave those hearts because they are fickle. Where the heart is pure, I stay. That is healing. It is not based on physical contact with Swamiji. Swamiji does not need to touch you, feel your pulse, examine you and whack you for you to get strong blessings. A Guru is once said to have gotten a donkey who would upon command from the Guru kick the devotees as a means to give “strong blessings” to the devotees requesting them.
What are strong blessings? Meditation and connection with Swamiji are your strong blessings. There is no need to give Upadesa (initiation) to everyone. Your Atman becomes your Guru. If you have faith in Guru, your Atman will teach you lessons. Practice that faith. That is why Swamiji does so many activities to enable you to improve your concentration. Whether Swamiji offers worship, does healing, sings bhajan, gives speech or does social work, it is to draw you to Him. Why did we have boat trip yesterday? Did I want to go on a boat ride? It is to connect with you and let you slowly develop a relationship with Guru. It is to benefit you. The kids enjoyed and danced. It is a familial feeling. Today, will I get liberation from doing Divya Nama Sankeertana? No, you are the one who will benefit. I need neither money nor people. I can go away and live in the Himalayas. Why do I need all this? Do I need to travel such long hours to come to the US so many times? Do we not have people and money in India? Mammoth crowds flock to see Swamiji in India. I am here due to a connection with you from a previous birth. You must realize that Swamiji is here for you. You are not here for him. Why should I come here and do Divya Nama Sankeertana for you? Do I need to work hard here? I can simply do all this India. I am here for you. It is your good fortune. Make good use of it. There are people around these cities who have been devotees for several decades in this country. I travel to these places to give them the opportunity to see Swamiji. If you still cannot come the small distance on a weekend despite Swamiji’s physical presence in this country, there is nothing I can do. I am working hard for you, but it is a sin to think you are working hard for me. Remember that you are here for yourself, not for me. I happily take care of thousands of beings – serving cows and birds, taking care of people and feeding them. – when I am in Mysuru. But, why is Swamiji coming here from Mysuru? I am here to get back some devotees and bless and protect them and their families from difficulties. This is my service to Mother Goddess. We have Divya Nama Sankeertana today. I am using the term “I” because I am fortunate to be here and singing praises of the Lord. You just happen to be here and singing along.
Bhajan: pāhi pāhi gajānana
Bhajan: ammā ammā rammā rammā kāpāḍā
Bhajan: ambā bhavāni śāradē
Bhajan: āghanāśana anaghāpriya
Bhajan: kr̥ṣṇa dēvanē nanna kāvanē
This is a Kannada bhajan sung by Pujya Jayalakshmi Mata and is one of the innumerable bhajans Mother sang on Bhagavatam. I recalled the bhajan 45 years later and wrote it.
Bhajan: ēḍukoṇḍala sāmi gōvinda
Bhajan: jyōti veligindi sadguru jyōti veligindi
This bhajan was composed 65 years ago.
Bhajan: allū rāma illū rāma
Each bhajan was composed on a special occasion such as a festival. Forget yourself and sing bhajans to foster a good friendship with God.
Bhajan: pāvō śaraṇa sāmba śaṅkarakī
Bhajan: hē hanumān bahu balavān
Bhajan: laṅkā śāṅkari pālaya māṁ