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Thus Spake Lord Sai - 3 (on the power of God's Name)

Updated on October 8, 2015
Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam
Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam | Source

Today is a day before Guru Poornima 2012. On this day, I am reminded of Swami's first message to humanity -

Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam Dusthara Bhavasagara Tharanam

As World War 2 ravaged the earth in 1940, a 14-year old in a tiny hamlet called Puttaparthi sang out to the world,

"Oh mind! Take refuge at the feet of the Guru (preceptor). That will take you across the ocean of worldly existence."

It also brings to mind a spontaneous discourse that Swami delivered to the boys in a casual manner. The manner might have been casual but the message is pure deliverance. Recorded below is the enlightening Divine Cascade of words.

The conversation on 24th April 2001

The vacations were in effect. And yet, many students had stayed back to receive cool showers of Divine Grace of Swami during the summer. Swami came gliding outside into the central hall of Trayee Brindavan ( at Whitefield in Bangalore) where all the students were seated.

Swami: Which is your place?

Student: You.

Swami: This Vedanta is ‘Jhoota Vedanta’ (false philosophy). You speak as a lip service alone. Modern education makes you like that. Modern education does not show the path to fulfillment. It only shows path to attraction and show. It doesn’t show the path to cross the ocean of samsara (worldy life). We don’t know how to cross it and instead learn many other useless things.

(And then, Swami narrated a very interesting story.)

Once there was an educated businessman. He wanted to cross the mighty river Ganges to go to another place. He called a boatman and ordered him to ferry him across the river. The boatman agreed with humility. This businessman, on the other hand, was very arrogant and it was seen in his speech.

“Hey lazy fellow! Clean the boat and get it ready in time for me.”

The boatman cleaned the boat. Ensuring that the businessman was comfortable, he began to ferry him across the large river. The businessman kept talking. That is the case with educated people! They just can’t keep quiet. Since there was none other but the boatman on the boat, the businessman started a conversation with the boatman.

Businessman: What is the political situation in your village?
Boatman: I didn’t know.
Businessman: Don’t you read newspapers and keep up to date?
Boatman: I am illiterate and I don’t know how to read.
Businessman: Even if you don’t know how to read, you must keep a newspaper under your arm, at least to show off. Understood? Without newspapers, quarter of your life is a waste!

(Again, after a while, the businessman starts talking)
Businessman: You must ferry faster. We are not even midway yet! What is the time now?
Boatman: I don’t know how to see time.
Businessman: Aha! I see. You are really dumb! However, even if you don’t know how to see time, you must at least tie a plastic watch on your hand. If you can’t see the time, half of your life is wasted.

(A few minutes later, the businessman starts to speak)
Businessman: So, what movies are on in your town?
Boatman: I don’t know. I don’t have money to see films.
Businessman: Even if you don’t visit theaters to see films, you must at least have a TV at home.
Boatman: I don’t have money for that.
Businessman: Oh my God! How will you get education then? If you don’t watch the TV, three-fourths of your life is wasted in the Ganges.

The businessman continued to taunt the boatman about his ‘lack of education’ and illiteracy. As the reached the middle of the river, a sudden storm brewed up! The boat started to rock. As rain and hail pelted down, the winds increased and it became certain that the boat would topple. The boatman was not able to control the boat. He now asked,

Life is a boat ride across the river of worldly existence. The Divine name is akin to the knowledge of swimming.
Life is a boat ride across the river of worldly existence. The Divine name is akin to the knowledge of swimming.

Boatman: Do you know how to swim?
Businessman: No! That I don’t know.
Boatman: Then, your whole life is about to be wasted!

Saying thus the boatman jumped into the river. While he swam to safety, the businessman drowned in the river.

While traveling in a river, one must know how eeta (Telugu for the art of swimming). Similarly while traveling in samsara one must know Geeta (the nuances of Bhagwad Gita). Each person must learn swimming. It will come to use some time or another. This swimming is Daiva chintana (Thinking of the Lord). It will be useful whenever there is trouble. Any time one can think of God. Your pen, paper, and watch will not protect you. Only Daiva chintana will protect you. If you learn swimming, then you can travel safely in life.

The boatman was saved but not the businessman. As we are born in this samsara, we should learn the education, which will help us swim across and not only go to what we consider as higher positions in life. The name of God will help to you to reach the true higher positions in life.

Once Sage Narada went to meet Lord Narayana.

Narayana: Are you fine, Narada?
Narada: I am fine and am traveling as usual, to all the three worlds.
Narayana: With what thought do you travel the three worlds Narada?
Narada: Lord, I travel only with thoughts of you. I keep chanting the name - Narayana, Narayana. But Lord, I don’t understand one thing - what is the reward of chanting your name?

Narayana: Oh Narada! You do namasmarana (chanting of the name), but you don’t know its taste. Go and ask that crow sitting on that tree.

The great devotee, sage Narada, approached Lord Vishnu with a burning question...
The great devotee, sage Narada, approached Lord Vishnu with a burning question...

Narada went to the crow and asked,
“What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?”
Just hearing this, the crow fell dead. Narada immediately rushed to Narayana.

Narada: I asked the crow as you said. But it immediately fell dead! Is this the reward of chanting your name?
Narayana: To find the truth one must know how to use one’s time well. Narada, go to the poor brahmin’s house. There, in a cage, is a beautiful parrot. It has a green body with a red beak, (That is what the parrot wears just like our boys wear white and white!) Go and ask it the parrot about the efficacy of the name.

Narada went to the parrot and asked,
“What is the reward of cleaning the name of Narayana?”
Hearing this the parrot immediately fell down and died. Narada went back to Narayana in deep shock.

Narada: I will not leave until I learn the truth. Oh Lord! Is this the reward?
Narayana: One must be determined until one knows the truth. Go to the brahmin’s home. A calf has been born only yesterday. Go and ask it.

Narada went to the calf and asked,
“What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?”
The calf raised its head, saw Narada and fell dead. Narada was now stupified and really scared of saying the Divine name any more! He went to Narayana again.

Narada: I will not leave until I learnt the truth. Oh lord! Is this the reward?
Narayana: Don’t be in a haste. Haste makes waste and waste leads to worry. So do not be in a hurry. Be patient. A son has been born to the king of this land just yesterday. The king is very happy for the child has been proclaimed by the sages as a great heir. Go and ask the child the same question.

Now, Narada was afraid. He thought,
”If the child also dies, the soldiers will arrest me. I will also die. The kingdom will become heir-less! Is this the reward”?
Narayana: Don’t be hasty. Go and ask the child.

Narada went to the king. The child was brought on a golden plate. Narada asked the king,

“Oh king! Can I ask the child a question?”
The king agreed.

Narada: What is the reward of chanting the name of Narayana?

Hearing this the baby prince spoke.

Prince: Oh Narada! Is this all that you have learnt? You chant the Lord’s name for 24 hours, but don’t know its taste or effect. First I was a crow. You came and asked me what is the reward of chanting Narayana’s name. Hearing that Divine name once, my life got fulfilled. I gave up my life. Next I was born as a parrot. Where is a crow and where is a parrot? A parrot is nourished in a cage. You again came and asked me the same question. Next, I was born as a calf. This was an even better life. Bharatiyas worship cows. I heard the Lord’s name and was liberated again from the calf’s body. Not I am born as a prince. Where is a crow, parrot, calf and where is a prince? By chanting God’s name, we go to higher states. I have become a prince. This is my fortune. This is the reward of chanting Narayana’s name.

But our boys keep asking what is the reward of chanting Sai Ram. This is because you don’t have faith and devotion. Therefore you don’t get any reward. You keep passing and failing. You just follow the March-September-March cycle. If you have faith, love and devotion you can reach higher states in life.

Hearing the name of Narayana, the crow became a parrot, calf and finally a prince. It got a human life. See the difference in the lives it got. If hearing the Lord’s name has so much power, what about the power of uttering the Lord’s name? Therefore namasmarana has great power.
Swami: Is the story good?
Students: Very nice, Swami...

(Well, I shall stop here for now and conclude later. But one point - Swami's use of small stories or Chinna Katha as He called them inspires in us profound truths and great inspiration. Stories have a great transforming and illumining effect. Little wonder that the Bhagavatham is appreciated more than the Bhagavad Gita!)

to be concluded in Thus Spake Lord Sai - 4.

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    • profile image

      kavita dantala 

      7 years ago

      small and sweet stories gives us great meaning nice anna. sairam

    • profile image

      RAJAKESAV 

      7 years ago

      ADHARAM MADHURAM VADANAM MADHURAM

      NAYANAM MADHURAM HASITHAM MADHURAM

    • poornimasrinath profile image

      poornimasrinath 

      7 years ago from Midrand, Johannesburg, RSA

      It was interesting!

    • profile image

      An Impressed Reader 

      7 years ago

      'Jhoota Vedhantha' :) ha ha ..

      How well Swami knows our follies !! We are all guilty of speaking Jhoota Vedhantha in one way or the other ..

      As for chanting Swami's name, what a soothing effect it has !! It can really calm any kind of turmoil in the mind - anger, sadness, noise ... Anything. How easy it is to practice yet how little of it we do ..

      These 'Thus Spake Lord Sai' posts are really good .. They are simple yet so profound .. Keep them coming!!

    • profile image

      p s (from shimla) 

      7 years ago

      @ Sai Student!

      Yes brother, we too want that all Sai Students like you should share with us your precious wealth of experiences that you have with our dearest Lord SAI...

      ..teachings of lord that he delivered to us through such conversations are much more interesting as well as they are easy to grasp....

      also "HAPPY GURU POORNIMA" greetings to all SAI family members... :)

    • aravindb1982 profile imageAUTHOR

      Aravind Balasubramanya 

      7 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Sai Student!

      Wow! That is such a beautiful and 'coincidence'! All of us would be grateful if you could share anything else that you remember about that Trayee session! :)

    • profile image

      Sai Student 

      7 years ago

      I was the one to whom He narrated this story..never thought that I would read this again...memories well up and that date somehow makes my eyes moist and my heart heavy...

    • profile image

      Pam Singh 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful way to GuruPoornima celebration.Easy simplyfied and short stories with clear massage and meaning.I also remember when I was about 8years old in our small village temple after reading ramayana we sang the same song Manasa bhajre guru charanam and something unusual happen and we first time came to know about swami and wearing orange robe.That is why this song is also so significent in my life.Makes me understand more.

    • Sonyaki profile image

      Sonyaki 

      7 years ago from Palm Bay, Florida

      Happy Guru Poornima!

    • aravindb1982 profile imageAUTHOR

      Aravind Balasubramanya 

      7 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      @ Shruti - Yes! That is what thrilled me into sharing them. Makes spirituality so easy and intuitive...

      @ Sonyaki - Thank you for dropping by. :)

      Hope you enjoy the other Swami hubs as well...

    • Sonyaki profile image

      Sonyaki 

      7 years ago from Palm Bay, Florida

      Wonderful Swami stories!

    • profile image

      Shruti 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful....

      Small stories conveying such great meaning!

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