(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6thbatch)
Kaate kaanta dhana gata chinta, vaatula kim tava naasti niyanta
Trijagati sajjanasangatiraika, bhavati bhavaarnavatarane nauka || 13 ||
Meaning: Why are you worrying about your wife & wealth? Don’t you see that it is the Supreme Truth that is governing everything? In all the three worlds, company of the good people (Satsang) is the only boat that can take you across.
The first verse that we saw (Bhaja Govindam) is sung in chorus. From the 2nd verse to the 13th verse was given by Shankara himself when he saw the old man studying Panini’s grammar. These 12 verses are called Dwadashamanjarika Stotram (a bouquet of 12 flowers). The 14 verses that will follow were given by his 14 disciples (one verse each) who (were standing next to him when he gave out these verses) in a mood of inspiration. Those 14 verses are called Chaturdashamanjarika Stotram (a bouquet of 14 flowers).
Bharateeya culture is a Guru-Shishya parampara. Because, many a times the subject matter is very deep and have subtle philosophies in it. To make it simpler, it may be explained using simile or metaphor. But without a Guru, one can easily misinterpret the knowledge and go astray. That is why many people have misunderstood and see flaws in the teaching of the scriptures. Most of the verses we have seen are of such kind. They carry deep philosophical thoughts in it. At the first glance, we may get a different meaning. It is here we need a Guru, who has walked the path and understood it clearly, to lead us deep into its philosophies.
Here, by the word ‘wife’ Shankara refers to all the relatives & friends and ‘wealth’ refers to all the material possessions. What he is trying to tell us is, “Do you think you are the one who is controlling everything? Do you think things are going to stop without you?” We can see this attitude clearly in many cases. Say the case of an employee who has worked in a company for many years in the same department. Out of his experience and expertise in the same company, he may think he is indispensible. Seldom people realize that the work will go on even if they are not there. A father, being the head of the family, might think that without him the family cannot survive. Nobody can protect them as he does. But don’t families survive even after the head of the family passes away? Many a time, the children in those families who were irresponsible till then, suddenly realize their responsibilities and start getting into their father’s shoes.
Shankara is trying to tell us that we all have come with our own bag of Prarabdhas. Prarabdha Karmas are those that we are entitled to receive in this birth. It is a result of some of our earlier actions of this birth or any of the earlier births. It’s the same Cause & Effect Theory. Results of some of our actions in the past were not due then. It is due now. And that is what we receive in this birth. It can be good results or bad results, depending on our earlier Karmas. An interesting story of Sant Kabir will explain this better.
Sant Kabir was a sufi poet. He was very poor. When his followers started increasing in number, one day some of the people in his village who were jealous of him planned to insult him. They spread a false message to everybody that Kabir is going to donate food on a particular day to anybody and everybody who comes there. This message spread across the village and even to nearby villages. Kabir also got the news that someone is donating food. So he also came to the place on that day. The people who got this message thought, “What a great person Kabir is! He is feeding everyone who’s coming there. We should also take some fruits and give it as an offering to the saint”. Thus, everyone who came brought some food for charity to the saint. And everybody who came got enough food to eat. Along with the Kabir also age food and went away without realizing that these people had come thinking that it’s his act of charity.
If we are entitled to riches, we will be rich. If we are not, no matter how much ever we try, we can’t be rich. We might earn money but there will be some expense which will take away the money.
When a child is born, he comes with a bundle of Prarabdhas which he has to undergo. It is already written in his fate how much love he is entitled from his grandparents, how many luxuries he can enjoy, etc. He cannot escape it. Prarabdha is a scientific law of Cause & Effect which cannot be broken. So, is everything pre-determined? Can’t we change our future? Yes. We can, through Self-Effort (Purushartha). Let’s try to understand Prarabdha and Purushartha in a common example.
A boy didn’t study well till the 1st semester exam. As a result (Prarabdha of his own Karma), he scored 50%. He realized his mistake and worked hard for the 2nd semester exam and got 70% (Purushartha – Self Effort). However, when he saw his average marks, he became sad. He had got only 60%. In the same way, one has to suffer the results (good & bad) of Prarabdha. But the intensity can be changed according to our Self-Effort.
There is a Controller or Controlling Law that governs everything in this world. So Shankara tells us not to worry over various issues and to be focused in our personality unfoldment and evolution. And the ONLY way to evolve is keep the association of the good – Satsang. Listening to the talk of Bhaja Govindam was a Satsang to me. There was a thinking process that was initiated by the talks which made me pen down these notes. The readers of these notes will think over these points which can further lead to a Satsang when they discuss these topics with someone. Thus all the while when Satsang is happening, we all are evolving slowly as human beings of better clarity.