Sri Rama Paduka Pattabhisheka

Sri Rama along with his consort Seeta and brother Lakshmana went to the forest in exile for 14 years to keep up the promise king Dasaratha, his father had made to his wife, Kaikeyi. Unable to bear the seperation from his son, Dasaratha breathed his last. At the unusual turn of events, Guru Vashishta urgently summoned Bharata who had gone to visit his maternal uncle. Bharata returned to Ayodhya only to find the city of joy absolutely silent. People looked lost and sad. Strange! The situation in the palace was no better. He quickly made his way to his mother, Kaikeyi’s chamber. On enquiring, she narrated everything to him, and finally said, “the throne awaits you, my dear son. Get ready for your pattabhisheka!”

Bharata was stunned. He was overwhelmed with grief and pain. In a fit of anger, he totally disowned his mother. Because of her, he had lost his father. His brother Rama whom he loved, adored and worshipped had been sent to the forest, along with Seeta and Lakshmana. He wept bitterly and cried his heart out at the feet of Rama’s mother, Kausalya. The gracious mother of Rama was sad and grief-stricken at the loss of her husband and seperation from her son; but felt happy to see the devotion and loyalty that Bharata had towards his elder brother, Rama. 

After the final rites of his father, Bharata was called upon by Guru Vashishta to ascend the throne and take up the responsibilities of the kingdom. In the royal assembly, Bharata with tears in his eyes, yet, surely and firmly, told everyone, that Sri Rama alone was the rightful heir to the throne and there was absolutely no question of him becoming the king. He pleaded innocence and said that he had nothing to do with his mother’s devious plans. He requested everyone to accompany him to the forest to convince Rama to return to Ayodhya. He made all the necessary arrangements to crown Rama as the King of Ayodhya in the forest itself and bring him back! Kaikeyi understood the devotion and reverence Bharata had for Rama, and repented sincerely for her wrong doings. 

Bharata and his brother Shatrughna, Sage Vashishta, the queen mothers and the people of Ayodhya proceeded to the forest, and reached Chitrakoota where Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana had settled down. The moment Bharata saw Rama, he ran forward and fell at his brother’s feet, weeping profusely for all the hardships that Rama had to undergo in the forest. He totally blamed himself for it. Unable to reconcile with what had happened, he was just inconsolable. Rama tenderly lifted him up and held him in a tight embrace. That hug was enough to pacify, console and calm down Bharata’s agitated mind. Yet, in his mind was the fear whether Rama would accept his proposal and return to Ayodhya. 

Next day, an assembly was arranged in the forest. Along with the others, King Janaka was also present. All eyes were on Bharata. Every one was anxious to see the outcome of the meeting. Bharata put forth his humble request and tried to convince Rama to return. When Rama did not yield, he respectfully pleaded, later he gently argued and even lovingly debated with Rama! Sri Rama was equally firm on his decision to keep up his words. All those present were overwhelmed at the love and affection that Rama and Bharata had for each other. Guru Vashishta and King Janaka put forth their views on the duties and responsibilities of a King. Kaikeyi stepped forward and unconditionally withdrew the demand she had made. But for Rama, there was no question of going back on his words.

Not losing hopes, Bharata pleaded, “How can I ever sit on the throne that belongs to you, dear brother? You alone are the rightful heir to the kingdom and can handle its huge responsibility, I simply cannot.” He even told Rama that he would substitute for him and stay in the forest for 14 years on his behalf, and that Rama should go back to Ayodhya. The Lord understood Bharata’s feelings. Rama replied, “Alright! I accept the kingdom from you. As the King of Ayodhya, I now declare you as king-in-charge. You will rule and look after the kingdom for 14 years on my behalf. After the completion of the exile term, I promise to come and take back the kingdom from you.” 

Bharata was sweetly adamant! He said, “O! Rajendra, give me your PADUKAS, which shall be worshipped in the kingdom. I shall serve both – your padukas and the people till you return. In your absence, they shall adorn the throne in your place, not me! I shall as a mere sevak of yours, execute and discharge my duties and responsibilities towards the people of the kingdom as best as I can, keeping in mind your honour, dignity and glory (paduke dehi rajendra, rajyaya tava pujithe; tayo sevam karomyeva, yavath agamanam tava ~ Adhyatma Ramayana).”

Rama’s heart melted in the warmth of Bharata’s love and devotion, his steadfastness and loyalty. Overwhelmed with joy, the Lord exclaimed, “Bharata, I am indeed fortunate and blessed to have a brother like you!”. The Lord agreed to Bharata’s loving insistence and readily handed over his Padukas to him, with an assurance that he will be back in Ayodhya exactly after 14 years. Still not satisfied, Bharata added that the very next moment, after 14 years, if he failed to see the divinely charming face of Sri Rama, he would consign himself to flames. Rama assured him that he would be back exactly after 14 years.

Carrying Sri Rama’s Padukas reverentially on his head, and the Lord’s loving assurance in his heart, Bharata returned to Ayodhya along with the others. The people of Ayodhya witnessed a unique and grand PADUKA PATTABHISHEKA! Sri Rama’s Padukas adorned the throne. Ayodhya without Rama was unthinkable for Bharata. He stayed in Nandigram on the outskirts of Ayodhya. He gave up all the royal luxuries and lived a life of tapas, and discharged his duties from there, ably supported by Shatrughna. With Bharata in-charge and for full 14 years, SRI RAMA’S PADUKAS ruled over the kingdom of Ayodhya! As promised, exactly after 14 years, the Lord came back from exile. With a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, Bharata handed over the kingdom to its rightful heir. Bharata’s kingdom was verily at Lord Sri Rama’s lotus feet!!

“O Rama, clarify this doubt of mine. Which is greater? Your lotus FEET or your blessed PADUKAS? The rishis who worshipped your FEET gained your abode; but to Bharata who worshipped your PADUKAS you gave Yourself!”~ Thyagaraja Swami

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GURU ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from talks and commentaries by Swami Chinmayananda]

GURU — its sweep of suggestiveness is so vast as to even replace at times the sacred syllable – OM !! What do we know, in our present state of imperfection, about the super-subtle qualities of a great teacher? Truly great souls are indeed, at any given period of history, very rare, and, therefore, it is not always possible for all people to come into contact with such perfect masters. And even when we come in contact with them, it is extremely difficult to recognise their greatness and to tune ourselves fully to them. In case we meet and recognise a master and learn to diligently come under his beneficial influences, they are unerringly infallible.

One who has realised in himself the great “awakening” and has come to experience the one unconditioned Truth beyond the causal, subtle and gross bodies and who, thereafterwards, continues to teach the same Truth to others is the Teacher – the GURU, who helps the disciple to experience the Truth. The great ones, the grand teachers, are those who have realised fully their oneness with the Supreme. When the time is ripe, the Lord in a mysterious way brings about first the communication and ultimately the communion between the teacher and the taught. GURU is that equipment through which we perceptibly hear echoes of our own heart’s Divine Message as though from outside! One who has the “ears” can recognise the foot-steps of the Tandava Dance, that is constantly going on in the heart of the Master!!

If the world is peopled by a generation that requires the service of a Master, the total demand of the community works through him and he comes down to serve. Each seeker must remain where he is, and with true devotion progressively purify himself, keeping constantly a deep and consistent inner demand for a teacher. To such a seeker, living the honest life of a Sadhaka, the teacher will appear to guide him. Whoever be the person, let the seeker understand that the teacher is none other than Sree Narayana in that particular form. No individual mortal is ever a preceptor. The Lord alone is the Teacher, everywhere at all times. Meeting your Guru is a mystery! —- is a miracle!! Guru’s grace itself is God’s grace, since Guru is none other than Narayana Himself. 

Guru is a personality, not a person. He is an institution, not an individual. It is the Sastra that is the Guru, and the Guru is the one who taught you to learn it. He made us understand how to study Sastras and understand it.The true preceptor to all of us is the Lord, and the Lord of our heart talks to us very often through His chosen deputy among us and we revere Him and worship Him as manifesting through that individual. In your attempt to LIVE the Divine Life, your Guru, be he far or near will each time save you from the after-effects of falls and encourage you to continue the sacred pilgrimage towards God-head. Such a living guide alone is a true Sat-Guru. 

To come under the protection of a Mahapurusha……. you can order everything…. you can’t hunt a Guru. None of you can know who is the Guru. The qualities of the Guru are so subtle….greater the Guru, smaller he looks, humble and simple. Real Mahatmas, they always secretly live, nobody knows that he is there. How am I to know….? There is no question of you running after a Guru. The Guru comes to us. Never can a disciple go to the Guru. Guru always comes to you. First you open up yourself. Stay where you are, where the Lord has kept you…. Never mind, stay where you are…open up…..open up……. purify your mind. The right time the Guru comes to you as the bee comes to the flower! In case a Guru takes you in his hands, takes you under his wings, to protect you, guide you, to lead you – that is the Greatest Blessings!

“HIMAGIRI STATION” – it is a 24-hour-relay Broadcast-station! The Mahatmas in Samadhi are even to-day sending out, day and night, Spiritual Waves of Light Power, Wisdom and Grace! Even today, it is an unwritten tradition in the Himalayas, that all Mahatmas there, during the Brahma-muhurtha time, meditate facing South and the seekers in the country are expected to meditate at the same auspicious hour, sitting down, facing North, towards the Himalayas. The Supreme Reality Itself is the Guru. This Truth is Itself conceived as Sri Dakshinamurthi. The Teacher and the Lord are thus considered as one. Thus, the Guru is the manifest symbol of the primordial Truth and to Him our prostrations.

ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम् ।
मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरोः कृपा ॥  (Guru Geeta)

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Raja Rishi Sri Narahari Tirtha

Shyama Shastri (13-14th century) was an erudite scholar, statesman and the minister of King Gajapati of Kalinga (Orissa) State. When Sri Madhvacharya reached Orissa while returning from Badrikashrama, a Vidvat Sabha was arranged there. Among the galaxy of scholars, pandits and philosophers, Shyama Shastri also was present. Acharya Madhva defeated all the scholars and upheld the supremacy of Dvaita Philosophy. Inspired by the Dvaita philosophy, Shyama Shastri became the disciple of the Acharya and followed him to Udupi. He was initiated into the sanyasa-order and was given the name NARAHARI TIRTHA. 

Narahari Tirtha engaged himself in spreading the doctrines and philosophy of Dvaita. At the time, Madhvacharya sent Narahari Tirtha to Orissa to propagate the Dvaita Philosophy and also to bring back the ancient gold vigraha of Lord Rama known as MOOLA RAMA, along with the vigraha of Seeta. The deities were a part of the Kalinga State treasury. Narahari Tirtha set out to Kalinga and stayed in a remote cave on the outskirts of the city.

Around that time, the king of Kalinga died and his son who was to be the successor was very young. As was the custom prevalent those days, the royal elephant was given a garland and left free to move around. Whomsoever the elephant garlanded would be accepted as the king. The elephant headed straight towards the cave where Narahari Tirtha was residing. Hearing the commotion of people and the elephant’s trumpet, Narahari Tirtha came outside. The elephant immediately placed the garland around Narahari Tirtha’s neck! The people were surprised but happy at the same time because they recognised their own minister, Shyama Shastri in the Sanyasi! Accepting it as the Lord’s Will, Narahari Tirtha ascended the throne. He beautifully integrated his SANYASA DHARMA along with RAJA DHARMA – verily a “RAJA-RISHI”. He diligently and efficiently ruled over the kingdom and its people for a period of twelve years. There are innumerable stone-inscriptions describing the religious as well as the welfare programs undertaken by Narahari Tirtha for the community. When the prince was capable of taking charge of his responsibilities, Narahari Tirtha, the “personification of dispassion”, handed over the kingdom to him and made preparations to leave for Udupi. The young king wished to express his reverence and gratitude to the Acharya who had ruled and looked after the kingdom all these years. He requested Narahari Tirtha to ask for anything that he wanted as a gift, and it would be his fortune and privilege to offer it to the acharya. The Acharya told the king that he did not want anything for himself, but requested for the idols of Moola Rama and Seeta which were in the royal treasury. The king willingly handed over the idols to Narahari Tirtha. 

A contented and fulfilled Narahari Tirtha reached Udupi. He had been able to carry out his Guru’s words and bring the divine idols to Udupi. Sri Madhvacharya was overwhelmed to receive the beautiful Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s. The rare and unique idols were crafted by the celestial architect, Viswakarma at the behest of Lord Brahma himself. Through the ages, they reached the Kings of Kalinga and were safely kept in the State treasury. Sri Madhvacharya intuitively knew about the idols and wanted to revive the worship of Moola Rama and Seeta. On receiving the idols from Narahari Tirtha, Sri Madhvacharya placed the idols alongside Sri Krishna and worshipped them. From then onwards, the pontiffs of Madhva Matha have been worshipping the idols. Sri Moola Rama and Seeta vigraha-s were worshipped by Sri Raghavendra Tirtha of Mantralaya who also belonged to the same parampara and the tradition of worshipping and offering services to Sri Moola Rama and Seeta continues to this day by the present Acharya-s. 

Narahari Tirtha was one of the foremost amongst the Haridasa-s of the Bhakti movement. He composed beautiful kirtan-s in the kannada language under the signature of “Narahari” and “Raghupati”. He wrote commentaries on various scriptural texts as well as on Sri Madhvacharya’s works. He built many temples and was instrumental in extensively spreading the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya. It is said that the well-known Art-forms known as “Yaksha Gana” and “Bayalu Aata” (open theatre drama) were introduced by Narahari Tirtha, as a part of Vaishnava Bhakti Movement.

ससीतामूलरामार्चा कोशे गजपतेः स्थिता।
येनानीता नमस्तस्मै श्रीमन्नृहरिभिक्षवे॥

“Prostrations unto Sri Narahari Tirtha, the Great Ascetic, who brought the icons of Moola Rama and Seeta (to the Madhva Matha) from the treasury of King Gajapati”.

“Sriman Moola Ramo Vijayate! Sri Guru Rajo Vijayate!”

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Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada ~ Swami Chinmayananda

[Excerpts from talks & commentaries of Swami Chinmayananda]

Let the SANKARA JAYANTI be an occasion for the Nation to feel the necessity to make a close and serious study​ of the Bharata Culture. Let this be the sacred occasion, the auspicious hour, in the cultural history of our country, that when we, the self-exiled children, decide to come back home to the Bharata view of life. To achieve this, will be the greatest tribute that we can truly pay to Sri Acharya Sankara the first mighty Missionary in Hinduism.​ To such a self-dedicated Teacher nothing can be more satisfying than to see the harmony of Oneness lived in society – let him be our guide, our Ideal.

Sankara is not an individual, he is an institution. No single person could ever have achieved what he had achieved in his short span of life. Sankara is a majestic entity striding over the total achievements of ordinary folk. His works represent the total turnover of a highly competent person, working intensively every hour of the day, under conditions of the highest mental and intellectual efficiency. The life and work of Adi Sankara are indeed an inspiration to this country to relive the glorious Hindu Culture. The more we learn to adore him, not as a divine incarnation but as a sincere man inspired to serve the country and reconquer the Nation from its slavery to alien ideologies, the more we shall successfully pay our tribute to our own culture.

Bhagavadpada Acharya Sankara was not only a great thinker and the noblest of Advaita philosophers, but he was essentially an inspired champion of Hinduism and one of the most vigorous missionaries in our country. He showed himself to be a great organiser, a farsighted diplomat, a courageous hero, and a tireless servant of the country. Selfless and unassuming, this mighty angel strode up and down the length and breadth of the country, serving his motherland and teaching his countrymen to live up to the dignity and glory of Bharat. Sankara was indeed pre-eminently the fittest genius who could have undertaken this self-appointed task as the sole guardian angel of the Rishi-culture. An exquisite thinker, a brilliant intellect, a personality scintillating with the vision of Truth, a heart throbbing with industrious faith and ardent desire to serve the Nation, sweetly emotional and relentlessly logical, in Sankara the Upanishads discovered the fittest Spiritual General !!

No seeker can walk the path of self-unfoldment in himself without drawing upon the fund of information regarding this great pilgrimage, which lie in the bulk of Sankara’s works. Be he in the halls of the Upanishad commentaries or in the temple of the Brahma-sutra expositions, in the amphitheatre of his Bhagavad Gita discourses, or in the open flowery fields of his devotional songs, his was a pen that danced to the rhythm of his heart and to the swing of his thoughts — Sankara, the poet blended with Sankara, the philosopher! He has a special niche in the “poet’s corner” and will perhaps be remembered as the noblest poet who ever wielded a pen to bring about a cultural revival! The charm of Sri Sankara must be sought in his kirtans and bhajans, and having first met him there, you may seek an interview with him either in his studio — the Upanishad commentary; or at his house — the Sutra Bhashya …..the Geeta annotations!!

Sankara, the redeemer of Hinduism, shall eternally shine out through the clouds of time and space because of his superhuman perfection and experience of the Self, and yet he could face his opponents along the length and breadth of India, as he did in his time, and carve out of a decadent Hinduism, a renaissant India crowned with the best of its culture because of his staunch and unquestionable faith in the Goddess of Learning, Mother SARADA.

Jaya Jaya Sankara! Hara Hara Sankara!!

Hara Hara Sankara! Jaya Jaya Sankara!!

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