Katha Chopais

Satya-mool sab sukrit suhaaye | Beda puraan bidit manu gaaye ||
Prem bhagati jal binu raghuraai | Abhiyantar mal kabahun na jaai ||
Jehi bidhi prabhu prasann mana hoi | Karuna-saagar keejiya soi ||

Truth is the root of the all noble virtues as the vedas and puranas declare and as stated by Manu (the first law giver of the world, the author of manusmiriti).
So, Raghunaath, only by cleansing with the water of love and faith can the impurity accumulated within be washed away.
O ocean of compassion, do whatever is most pleasing to yourself.

Katha Translations

Bapu began with his characteristic grace and humbleness offering felicitations to his visible and invisible audience and made a special reference to the message sent by Prime Minister Tony Blair and to the area MP Right Honarble. Keith Vaz who brought that message.

Bapu then by a common consensus chose Satya (Truth) Prem (Love) and Karuna (Compassion) as the major themes for his Katha and all the three will be the specific angles from which he would discuss and explain Shree Ram Charit  Manas on this occasion.

Bapu discussed that Truth, Love and Compassion are eternal, age old values; the principles that have been the base of many philosophical thoughts. Bapu clarified that he does not want to impose his ideas and his opinions and is offering them for discussion and understanding and we are free to differ from him.  Ram Katha is a process of thinking and clarity of thoughts.

Bapu says the three values (Truth, Love, Compassion) are intertwined – these qualities and virtues are found in the characters of Bhagwaan Ram, Bharat Ji and Ma Sita in all of them, but Bhagwaan Ram predominantly represents truth, Bharat is mainly an embodiment of love while Ma Janaki is the personification of compassion.

Bapu explained life of Jalaram Bapa and discussed that Bapa’s activities were inspired by all these virtues in modern times.   While Bapa was extremely truthful in all his dealings and doings, he concentrated on feeding the hungry, which is an act of love because only love can sustain such a practice for long.  His wife Virbai, out of unbound compassion or karuna joined him and supported his activities.

Satya says Tulsidas is the root of every thing good.  A root out of which good actions (Sukrit) develop.  Prem-bhakti/ devotion full of love (Prem bhagati jal binu raghuraai | Abhiyantar mal kabahun na jaai ) is like nourishing water which is used to nourish the roots of truth and as a result huge shady tree of karuna grows. The tree that grows so fast offering shelter to birds, food to the animals and shade to humans. Satya, Prem and Karuna are complimentary to one another and would balance the life of an individual and make the nations prosperous and benevolent.

Bapu says that his intention is not to preach (Upadesh) or issue orders (Aadesh) to anyone.  Bapu says he is just trying to spread the message (Sandesh) of Tulsidas jee and would bring the message of  Shree Ram Charit Manas as a postman brings the letters. Bapu says that his purpose is to explain according to Shree Ram Charit Manas, which has been the major, the most important and the most authentic scripture for him. Bapu says his source of inspiration has derived the conception of the trinity of Truth, Love and Compassion.

Spiritual field is an area that has neither victory nor defeat but each factor and phenomenon is just in the nature of things, only a being: just as it is, it exists.  Bapu does not feel comfortable with the Bhagwaan Ram carrying a weapon even after Ramrajya was established.  Ramrajya is a domain of love and an abode of peace.  Why does anybody need weapons in such a polity after Ramrajya is achieved and established?  Bapu says that mankind has been using violence for millions of years and is still using it to spread destruction and terror.  Let us give up weapons (shashtras) and give a chance to shaastras or ethical values and activities.

Bapu described that Manas consists of seven sopans (chapters) and mainly described the five characters of Bhagwaan Ram, Ma Sita, Hanuman jee, Bhagwaan Shiva and Bhushundi jee.

Tulsidas jee praised and saluted Ganesh, Surya, Vishnu, Durga and Shiva in the beginning of Balkand as they represent intellectual and emotional phenomenon.  Ganesh represents judgement and of balance; and to live a balanced life is the best way to worship Ganesh. Sun represents enlightenment –it connotes an aspirant’s search of light and an effort to avoid darkness of any type. Worship of Vishnu can be in the form of being broad-minded and large-hearted. While Bhavani personified faith (shradhha), which is not blind; because blind faith (andh-shradhha) is as dangerous as total lack of faith (ashradhha). Bhagwaan Shiv is kindness.  An effort to desire and work for the welfare of others is to worship Shiva.

Bapu says that some persons suffer from Dwesh (jealously)  and Bapu advised all to beware of and avoid jealously. Other passions like Kama (lust), Krodh (anger) Lobh (greed) and moha (infatuation) are obstacles for spiritual progress but nothing is as harmful and as self-consuming as Dwesh.  Bapu reminded that Gita says that he who is free from Dwesha is a real Sanyasi.

Bapu says that we all need a guru, a guide, who leads us in the spiritual journey. Bapu explained that Guru Charan (feet) as ‘Acharan’ – life style and conduct of guru and declared that an enlightened person feels that entire creation is a form of Rama and Sita. We must accept the totality of existence, and Bapu pointed out that Tulsidas has showed his broadmindedness by respecting even the evil forces likes demons. Bapu says that everyone should recite the Hanuman Chalisa, preferably eleven times a day or as often as we can.  Hanuman is Prana an element of life as important as breath.  He is the son of vayu.  Hanuman is to be worshiped in his mild form and not in his aggressive posture.  Bapu insisted that our religious practices and our Sadhana should not be a cause of harassment or a disturbance to others; a true practitioner of spiritualism takes good care of people around him/her.

Bapu began by saying that he does not want to be a Guru and needs no disciples (shishyas). He has people who are listeners (shrotas). Bapu explained that in Indian tradition to repeat a statement three times to establish it as Truth (Tree-satya).  He mentioned Shrimad Bhagwat where there were nine such repetitions.  But Bapu says, that he personally feels that Truth needs to be stated only once and that should be sufficient. Truth lies deep-rooted in the inner-self (Antah-karan) of a human being and it needs no gadgets or instruments (Upkaran).  Truth does not need any demonstrations, any processions or crowd activity.  Truth does not need any externals and it stands alone and by itself. Truth is light-weight, and easy; it is a simple and as effective as nature itself.

Some people are ‘Satyaa-grahis’ and use social activities and social pressure to enforce Truth on others.  There are some clever people who are ‘Asatyaagrahis’. They are convinced that Truth never works and is totally useless in all our mundane actions and relations.  They use lies and falsehoods to get their way in this world.  But Bapu pointed out that a real sadhu – a seeker after Truth and spiritual progress is ‘Anaagrahi’ (free of bias). He knows the Truth and practices it but he does not make any show of it and does not force others to accept it.  He will proclaim the Truth once and leave others free to accept or not to accept it.

Bapu discussed the Indian Tradition of truth being threefold

  1. Truth in thought (vichaar),
  2. Truth in speech (uchchar)
  3. Truth in action (aachaar).

Truth must be consolidated in our mind, our speech and in our behaviour. This is Bapu’s concept of Truth but he does not want to teach nor does he want others to forcefully accept it.  Such truth implies a capacity to take boldness, Courage and above all patience to wait till truth prevails and is accepted by others.  He mentioned a short story of Hitler, Mussolini and Churchill betting on getting a fish out of a swimming pool without using net or hook.  After the first two failed, Churchill patiently started ladling out pool waters with his teaspoon.

Bapu says that each one of us has the truth in own heart and we know it to be true but we do not dare to speak our mind.  He mentioned the famous story of Mahabharat.  The most Respected Bhishma knew the truth when Draupadi was being stripped in public but he did not raise a voice against it. Instead a young person Vikrant got up to boldly protest and then walked out of it.  He defied his powerful arrogant elders.  Very often, it is seen that we compromise with the truth under social pressure.

Bapu pointed out that Bhagwaan Ram is the epitome of Dharma and Dharma is nothing but the truth. Bhagwaan Ram was truthful in his thoughts (vichaar), he was bold enough to speak out the truth (uchhar) and he always acted upon truth whenever there was occasion for it (aachaar).

Whatever a truthful person wants to happen, happens and Bapu quoted Patanjali Yoga Sutra.  Bhagwaan Ram did not want to be a king and he did not become a king.  When he was told about his going to the forest, he was happy and spoke out about the benefits of his exile.  He cheerfully prepared to go alone to the forest for fourteen years.

Bapu pointed out that path of spiritual progress is a lonely path. A person of this path feels isolated in a crowd and has great company of himself when he is alone.  He enjoys by renouncing everything and he seeks no publicity because all his activities are for self-purification and for internal bliss.  Such a person follows Dharma, which is unchanging and eternal and cannot be fixed into any frame of prevailing social norms.  All renunciation is an internal experience and should not be external showmanship.  Such a person is free of all bonds.

Bapu says that we should not impose anything on children.  He wanted children to enjoy all the fun (masti) so that children can develop all their potentialities.  During youth and maturity we should do bhakti, in the sense of service of others.  In the old age we should seek freedom from burdens and responsibilities.  He who gives up everything gets everything.

All our activities must lead to internal joy and progress, not for publicityWe should serve the living gods in our family – our elders and relatives and children before we go out to worship gods in temples and if this is done so many quarrels will disappear.

Multiplication of Police stations and hospitals are not the good signs of a society but the symptoms of ill health of society. They show the presence of evil in our personal life, in our family and in our society.

Bapu emphasized on the importance of Ram naam.  Bapu pointed out that in Kaliyug religious practices, Sadhanas and ceremonials like yagnas are very difficult while continuous recitation of holy name is enough to give us peace of mind and help us in our spiritual progress.  Some people will praise you and some persons will denounce you for whatever you do but we should not worry because truth always stands between critics and admirers.

Bapu said that Mahadev is the God whom he loves the most and whom is considers to be an ideal family man, a benefactor of society, a patient husband and a great sanyasi

Satya is a very complicated subject and has been debated for ages by several great thinkers who wrote volumes about Truth.  All such discussions and books are like food put on our plates after being cooked and served.  Unless we chew and digest the served food, it is of no use to us.  If for some reason food leads to vomiting, it may be prove to be harmful and disgusting.  Similarly Truth, Love and Compassion must be internalised in our system. Only then, these principles will give us strength and energy.

Truth in fact raises very awkward and serious issuesIf everyone insists upon his perception of Truth as the only Truth (Mam Satyam) then there will be quarrels and conflict among them.  Jesus insisted on saying that I am the only light and follow me.  This created problems and troubles between Christians and non-Christians.  But if we are ready to welcome, understand and respect the Truth of others, then there should be no problems in life or in the world.

Every religion supports Truth but each religion insists upon its own version of Truth as the only Truth.  This is the outcome of our arrogance.  Bapu quoted a Gujarati poet Narsi Mehta who said that out of sheer ignorance, everybody says that I am doing everything to move and maintain the world but very few realise that the world is run by divine force.

One must be firm about his Truth but he should not be stubborn about it. The respect for each other’s truth makes a cordial atmosphere in society. Just as we have lamps in our home, the neighbours have their own lights in their homes and there is a universal light of sun shared by all of us as the supreme source of light. Similarly Truth can be personal Truth, it can be another person’s Truth and there is a universal, supreme Truth.

Tulsidas jee in Shree Ram Charit Manas always describe Bhagwaan Ram as a universal, all prevailing eternal Brahma.  Those who restrict Truth would themselves become shallow and small.  Universality and all pervasive character is the philosophical (daarshanic) aspect of Bhagwaan Ram. After describing the philosophical aspect of Bhagwaan Ram, Tulsidas jee immediately turns to its practical application. Since Bhagwaan Ram is universal, the entire universe is the form of his supreme power, we should respectfully bow down to everything and everybody in this world

“Seeya ram-maya sab jaga jaani | Karaun pranaam jori juga paani ||”

There are several religions and sects today that do not universalise Truth.  They insist upon their own single version of Truth and hence they are fighting with others and use violence to crush and control others.

Bapu says that he is a great admirer and a devotee of Shree Ram Charit Manas and he finds teachings of Tulisdas jee very profound and very true, but Bapu at the same time adds that he does not accept everything and every opinion of Tulsidas jee.  He said that when we go to shopping mall, we don’t bring home everything it contains, we purchase only those things that we need or those things we like.  Similarly we should pick and choose the best and the most useful ideas from Shree Ram Charit Manas. Honeybee collects nectar from number of different type of flowers.  Similarly a Sadhu should seek and secure the best from everyone and every place and every religion.  God has endowed each individual with full potential divinity but the masters are able to cultivate and express the divinity within them, while ordinary persons like us are not able to do so.  Bapu expressed his opinion that all rituals and ceremonials become secondary and useless when we have a firm and abiding faith in truth.

Bapu quoted an unknown poet who sang that Dharma like Shiva has three eyes of Truth, Love and Compassion.  Prem (love) is the middle eye. The middle eye of fire of Shiva is also the eye of Love.  Bapu explained this contradiction of Love and Fire by pointing out that Love thrives on separation between the lover and the supreme beloved and both suffer the intensity of fire in yearning for one another.  Moreover, Love like fire burns away all the impurities and aspirants become purified by such an experience.

Bapu then presented a fable of four candles of peace (shaanti), faith (shraddha) Love (preeti) and Truth (satya).  The first three candles flickered and faded out as very few people want peace, faith and true love. But Satya – the light of truth reveals reality and would revive and rekindle all of them and establish their importance and efficacy in this world.  Truth is based upon and closely related to love and compassion.

Bapu said that people get scared by superstitions and do not know where to turn to. A true religion would make people bold and brilliant, self reliant and bubbling with life and energy.

Bapu says that we fail to understand the true nature of divinity, though we do experience divine activities all around us.  Just as we use electricity in several ways and for many purposes but nobody even today knows or understands what that energy actually is.

Truth is as universal and omni present (Vyapak) as Brahm but each one of us sees it and feels it differently so that there is my truth, your truth and a reality (vaastvikta) of truth.  Truth is often realised and felt only in adversity.

Bapu discussed a few definitions of truth and mentioned in Patanjali sutra of effortless achievements of those who absorb truth in their personality.  Practical truth (vyavhaarik Satya) is different from its theory and Shankaracharya’s sutra of the world being an illusion and unreal cannot be acted upon in practical life.  Truth is as vyaapak (omnipresent) as Brahm but in Shree Ram Charit Manas, Shiv ji has described his own experience that Vyapak Brahm can be seen in practical form through Prem (love).

Ques: What do we mean by ‘all’ and how many numbers and how many varieties are involved in the concept of ‘sab sukrit’ in the chaupai- “Satya-mool sab sukrit suhaaye | Beda puraan bidit manu gaaye ||” ?

Bapu’s Answer: Tulsidas jee is not referring to the number but to an attitude and very often in spiritual life all can be and is included into only one.  In Bhagwat Gita, Bhagwaan Krishna explains that you should be to devoted to me only  (“mamekam sharanam vraj”) One who wants spiritual progress must devote himself to one and only one sadaguru and get completely devoted to him.    A devoted disciple finds not only enlightenment but also fragrance in the teachings of his Guru.  Amir Khusrau has written that he used to feel the presence and smell the fragrance of his Guru.

Satya (Truth) can only be realised by inner experiences. External gadgets like spectacles can help the eyesight but do not enable an illiterate person to read as the capacity to read comes from within you. Such internal experiences – intuitions – are not possible with out a total surrender (samarpan) to a guru or to God.  Such a total surrender is the outcome of Prem – love.

If we feel in tune with the entire world, if we feel the empathy towards one and all, we can realise truth through love. One way to feel such unity is to share whatever you have with others.  Give as much as you can give, give as often as you can give, give to as many people as you can give.

Bapu emphasised the virtue of Charity and explained that giving does not mean only money, giving food, giving knowledge, giving good ideas – is also charityWhat you give is not important but the desire to share is important because sharing is love. Charity (Daan) and total surrender (samarpan) are necessary conditions of love and will help us in realising Satya.

Bapu discussed in detail the second principal subject of this Katha – Prem (love) and he said love is the only purifying and cleansing fluid that can help us in removing all the dirt (mull) and all the evils in our mind.  We clean our body but Prem is the only fluid, which is effective for internal purification.

Spiritualism is not something external; spiritualism is not clothes that we can change everyday.  Such external show of piety is not religion; it is merely a show off – of religiousness.  Religion or spiritualism is our skin, it is our personality, and it is totally internal. It is not a ceremony or rituals.  That is why Bapu calls Ram Katha as Prem Yagnas.  Katha is to awaken love in all of us.

Bapu then discussed various definitions of love and chose a very simple definition because love is very simple and straightforward.  Love has the capacity to manifest the invisible power of God (Prabhu) and it is love that can also bring out the divinity within individuals.

Bapu pointed out that knowledge has been described in our scriptures as the eye (gyan), eyes which can see and perceive. Bapu went a step forward and said that if knowledge is an eye then love is the fluid that keeps the eye moist and healthy.  Eyes will dry out without fluid.  A dry eye is a dead eye.  Similarly without love (prem) knowledge (gyan) becomes ineffective.  Love (prem) can transform desire (kama) into divine (Ram); it can convert anger (krodh) into enlightenment (bodh); it can change greed (lobha) into aversion/indifference (kshobha).

Bapu said that he will resume this discussion next day and he took up the narration of Katha. He described Shiva is a great orator. An orator should be totally relaxed, he should be quite light hearted and witty, he must have a prolonged study of the subject, he should have generosity and softness to present his point of view without offending others.

Bhagwaan Shiva is a house-holder (Grihastha) and Bapu mentioned how a false tradition was prevalent in India that only Sanyasis can speak about Ram Katha. Parvati wanted to hear the katha in order to get answers to 9 questions and Shiva took a day to answer each one of them.  Therefore Ram Katha is organised for nine days.

In the reference to the reasons for Ram-janma, Bapu said that he does not like or accept the idea of cursing because curse is the outcome of anger and spiritually advanced people must overcome and control their anger.

Bapu narrated how God was born to Ma Kaushalya and she taught him how to be human. He said that we all should learn how to be good human beings and he pointed out that it is the power of Bhakti, efficacy of love that can persuade God to assume proportions of human form.

Bapu began the Katha by describing that katha is not a teaching or lecturing session, Katha is a dialogue (samvaad); a talk.  Such discussions and dialogues ought to be based on scriptures (shashtra) and must be an expression of mutual love and regards.  Discussion will be more useful if it is based on personal experience (swa-anubhav). It ought to be brief as well as factual (tathya). In Manas the discussions are between enlightened teachers and listeners and therefore such dialogues are full of wisdom and are real (vastvik). 

Bapu mentioned a letter from a Muslim devote who raised a question if there should be a limit in donation and charity? Bapu explained that elements of nature (Sun, wind, trees, rivers) continuously serve us without any fixed time schedule.  So we also must give continuously, we must give to whoever needs it and whenever it is needed. Jesus said that he who gives shall receive more and more and he who does not, will lose all that he has.  Bapu also mentioned Bhagwad Gita that says Charity purifies even the most pious persons.

Bapu says just as Ram represents Truth, Bharat jee personifies love. Tulsidas jee emphasizes that Bharat jee is the only proper factor that can lead us to become devotees of Ram.  It was for the sake of Bharat jee, that Bhagwaan Ram had to go the forest for 14 years.  This exile of Bhagwaan Ram was like the churning of ocean from which the nectar could emerge, in the form of purest and most intense love of Bharat jee.

When atomic fuel reaches the point of total transformation and bursts into energy it is called a point of criticality.  Vanvas of Ram is such a turning point – the criticality in his life and Bharat jee is transformed into Love.

Bapu raised an issue that is very original and very interesting.  It is often said that for true and intense lovers’ separation leads to instant death, as happened to Dashrath jee.  Such a death is considered to be the proof of real love.  But Bapu did not agree with such a traditional view.  He reasoned that Love is a nectar (Amrit) and how can anyone die of Nectar?

Rather, Love is the force of life; it leads to salvation, not death.  Intense lovers like Bharat jee or Gopies did not die. For Tulsidas jee, the epitome of Love is Bharat jee, not Dashrath.

Bapu said about himself that he can stand any other thing but if he gets cut-off from Manas and Katha he may not be able to survive because Katha is his life, his breath (Pran).

In Bapu’s opinion separation between lovers intensifies love into a blazing fire and lovers and Bhaktas continuously shed tears to extinguish that fire (virah-agni) – mere verbal declarations of love shows the artificiality and shallowness of love. It is said that love is blind.  Bapu believes that love is never blind.  It gives a continuous awareness.  Real love like the one that Bharat jee had for Bhagwaan Ram is as patient as a chatak (a bird) and as discerning as a Hans (swan). Bharat jee waited for 14 long years.  Bharat jee had the immense capacity to deserve and hold that love for long.

All great prophets have given the message of Love but their followers are continuously fighting amongst themselves.  Bapu explained that we may not be proper containers (paatra) and therefore, cannot receive and hold that divine love.  Bapu mentioned Bhakti Sutras of Sage Narad jee who describes love as a feeling that is incessant; it gets more and more intensified every moment.  Love has no purpose (Hetu); wants nothing, expects nothing and it is totally focussed on the belovedA true lover lives immersed in love. Any laws of society or words of morality cannot restrain such a love because love has its own scriptures (Shastra) and as Tulsidas jee says, it cannot be described in words.

Bapu advised the devotees of Bhagwaan Ram to also absorb the qualities of other brothers. Aspirants should fill and nourish as many persons as they can, they should wipe out enmity and serve and support the best elements in the world.

Bapu said that Anger should be avoided all the time but especially when you get up, when somebody is coming home or going on a journey, at the time of eating and when you go to sleep.

Ques: Can you define swa-dharma (one’s own religion), and par-dharma (religions of other’s) in context of Bhagwad Gita, which declared that it is better to die in and for one’s own religion because religion of others is dangerous?

Bapu’s Answer: Religion for all of us (Swadharma) is Truth, Love and Compassion and anything which goes against this – falsehood, hatred and cruelty – is dangerous and undesirable as they would lead to conflicts and violence.  The world today seems to be dominated by such persuasions but all such evils are short lived; while ethical concepts survive for a long time.

We are not able to perceive the reality and see the world as it is.  Bapu explained that anyone can see the outside world through the glass panes of a window but when we stand before a mirror we see only ourselves and nothing else.  Both the mirror and the panes are glasses but mirror has a coating at the backside.  This coating blocks our vision.  The coating of arrogance (ahankaar) makes us so self centred, that we can see nothing except ourselves.  Even a little of arrogance, even a thin coating would result in only a self-portrait in the mirror.

Bapu discussed that if we are able to look out and if we try to understand the world and other people, we will realise that throughout the world every person has some merit and positive qualities (guna).  Every herb and tree has its own medicinal value.  Every word has some effectiveness as mantra and every heart is full of love and friendship. Our Upanishads have declared that this world is a manifestation of God and the supreme God (paramatma) is everywhere in nature (prakriti).  Generally, a person is not able to see and realise the presence of God. But a sadaguru points out and explains the presence of omnipresent divine power. Therefore we should always seek the company of those who are spiritually advanced and enjoy the satsang.  Bapu once again emphasised that for him Truth, Love and Compassion is Swadharma – Truth of Ram, Love of Bharat jee and Compassion of Ma Janaki..

Bapu pointed out that to write about Love is quite different from facing and experiencing Love. Just like one can write volumes on philosophy of death but when we have to look directly into the face of death, it is entirely different and we feel the chill of fear. But those who are totally devoted to God have no such fear and can face it cheerfully. We have forgotten our true nature and objectives of life and Bapu said that his Katha is a nine-day camp for reminding people and to make them remember and understand the reality.

Bapu explained the concept of Love and based his presentation on Bhakti Sutras of Sage Narad and Shandilya as well as on a text known as Prem Pattanam – The City of Love.  Bapu says according to Shree Ram Charit Manas there are 24 elements (Tatvas) of Prem.

Of the 24 elements, first eight elements are symptoms and experiences of Love:

  1. A Lover first of all experiences immobility (stambhit).  He becomes transfixed as if he is struck by a cool and pleasant thunderbolt.
  2. Secondly he has profuse perspiration (sweda).
  3. His voice gets husky and words tumble out of his mouth in a haphazard way (swar-bhang).
  4. He has an experience of tremor as if his body was shaking (kumpan).
  5. His appearance undergoes a change (vaivarna),
  6. He gets goose flesh (romanch) all over his body and
  7.  Tears swell up into his eyes (Aashrupat) and
  8. He may swoon (moorchha) and sometimes, even die.

The next eight elements which should be avoided by Lovers:

  1. Lovers would be negligent about joy (harsha) and
  2. sorrow (shoka) as also of
  3. happiness (sukh) and
  4. misery (dukh).
  5. Lovers do not stick to logic (buddhi) to mind
  6. (mana) to conscience
  7. (chitta) and
  8. pride (ahankar).

The next four elements that should be given up by lovers:

  1. There should be no hiding of cheating between lovers (kapat).
  2. They should not allow any fixed prejudices that can become obstacles.
  3. There should be no crookedness (vakrata) and
  4. They should avoid sharp words and actions that pain and injure their beloved.

The lovers should try to be free of the next three elements:

  1. Tamoguna
  2. Rajoguna
  3. Satva-guna.

The supreme love goes beyond these three elements, as they all are the bindings and true love never tries to tie up the beloved; rather it gives total freedom.

The total elements discussed today are 23, the last element would be discussed tomorrow.

Bapu says that worship is easier than Love and Bapu requested youth to avoid bad company.  He was happy that many young boys and girls are responding to his appeal as many of them are trying to abstain from the immoral and thoughtless life style.

Katha is a precious medium and that is why he does not give his Katha to everyone merely because they are ready to spend money.  He aims to give this life-nourishing source only to those who are genuinely eager and can benefit from it.

Bapu continued the discussion about the 24 elements of Prem.  Bapu quoted Bhakti Sutra to say that Lovers must avoid 3 elements because Love should be free from gunas.  He described the characteristics of Rajoguna, Tamoguna and Satvaguna.

  1. Rajoguna is the over activity of mind and body leading to continuous running around and restlessness.  Such a person keeps on rushing from one point to another and is never steady.
  2. Tamoguna is the exact opposite. It makes a person suffer from total lethargy and he avoids all physical and mental activities.
  3. Satvaguna is midway between the two and such a person is balanced and does not go to the extremes of over-doing and not doing anything.

Bapu would like to put a new interpretation of Guna.  Bapu pointed out that Guna also means a string/rope that can tie up a person. But, in Prem (Love) there’s total freedom (moksha) and there should be absolutely no bonds and no conditions between Lovers. Imposing restrictions on the beloved under the pretext of Love is not Prem but only an infatuation (moha). A true lover gives complete freedom to his or her beloved to do whatever the other person wants to do and readily agrees to all that makes the other person happy.

Bapu quoted an incident from Shree Ram Charit Manas when in chitrakoot, there was a serious debate on future course of action. Bhagwaan Ram said that whatever Bharat decides would be final and acceptable and Bharat said that Bhagwaan Ram should decide whatever pleases him best and all of us will do it.  In Love there is no self-assertion but there’s self-denial (Tyaag)God loves all of us very intensely and deeply, but has given complete freedom to every creature to choose his life style and his objectives.

Bapu mentioned about the criticism he faces for his efforts to build a bridge of peace, amity and brotherhood between various communities in India. But, he expressed his view that as a Sadhu it is his duty to spread the message of Love in midst of all hatreds and misunderstandings.

He then mentioned the last and the most important Tatva, the 24th element is mutual Trust (vishwas).  Trust is the presiding deity of Love.  Trust is never blind because Bhagwaan Shankar is personified trust and he not just two but an additional eye of knowledge and understanding; therefore, trust is full of awareness. Bapu has absolute faith in Manas and regarded it an incarnation of God in the literary form as a scripture (Granth-avataar).

Tulsidas jee says that devotion is the outcome of knowledge.  Faith without knowledge is void. Shraddha is based upon Samadhi (total awareness).  Bapu said that our life runs on the wheels of faith (vishwas) and thought (vichar), both moving on the axle of discernment (vivek).

Tulsidas jee refers to his three gurus in Shri Ram Charit Manas.  Narhari was the guru who taught him Shastras and Ramayana.  Bharat jee took him to Bhagwaan Ram, but his sadaguru is Hanuman jee. He has mentioned four entrances to approach Bhagwaan Ram.  One is for those who seek material benefits, one for those who seek salvation, one for those who have attained spotless mind and fourth door is the door of Bhakti.   Where even the rouges and crooked can be saved by the kripa of Bhagwaan Ram.

Bapu concluded the discussion about Prem (Love) by narrating several incidents from Manas that expressed deep love of Bharat jee for Bhagwaan Ram.

Bapu then took up the third angle– ‘Karuna’ for this Katha.  He did agree that Karuna (compassion) is most often used for Bhagwaan Ram and very rarely for Ma Sita. But Bapu pointed out that Ram and Sita are so closely united there is such a communion (sayujya) between them that their qualities intermingle. Ram is the inner self of Sita and Sita reigns supreme in the heart of Ram.   Moreover women have much more compassion (karuna) than males.

Bapu says that Satya is the tree, Prem is its fruits and Karuna is its shade.  Satya makes us fearless (Abhaya) and gives us peace of mind (Shanti). Prem leads to tyaag (surrender) which produces peace of mind and Karuna leads to non-violence & finally to Shanti.  Satya Prem and Karuna create such threefold peace and therefore in our vedas every recitation is followed by Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Bapu pointed out that Bhagwaan Ram is always described as ‘Karuna-nidhan’ (full of compassion), but he has taken very hard decisions also.  Bapu gave examples- he went away when people of Ayodhya who followed him were sleeping, he sent an arrow to destroy Jayant. His eradicator form – ‘Kaal-swaroop’ – was shown in his determination to kill Rakshasas (demons) and when he fought against Ravan and his associates. His harshness was also revealed when he decided on fire ordeal for Ma Sita.  Another incident of his harshness is the going in exile of innocent and faithful Ma Sita. The very presence of weapons in hands is a symbol of strictness.

It is quite usual we judge and see people in the same colour as we areWhen Ma Sita describes Bhagwaan Ram as compassionate (Kripa nidhan), she is actually revealing her own character.  Tulsidas jee uses the word ‘Karuna’ for Ma Sita when in Chitrakoot she meets queens of Dashrath after his death –‘Tehi avasar karuna mahi chhaai’. Moreover Bhagwaan Ram and Ma Sita are always united (Nitya yoga) into one and qualities of Ram automatically apply to Ma Sita and vice versa.  Moreover, Ma Sita is the daughter of compassionate mother earth and she herself is a mother and it is true that mothers are always kind and compassionate.

Ma Sita faces troubles all her life but she could face them because she used to seek happiness by making other happy.  In this context, Tulsidas jee has presented an original idea not found in other scriptures. He says that without inner personal happiness, the mind can never become stable-“Nij sukh binu mana hoi ki theera|”. It is only when we share our wealth and happiness with others, we can attain peace and stability of mind.

Sage Patanjali has said that the whole world bears four inclinations of Paap (vice), Punya (virtue), sukh (happiness) and Dukh (misery). But by cultivating the following attitudes, an aspirant can deal with each of them.

  1. PaapWe should always neglect or be indifferent (upeksha) to sins of others and be careful in never cultivating anger or hatred for the sinners.  Bapu mentioned the famous examples of Jesal and Toral. A sinner should always be given a chance to improve.
  2. PunyaWe should always be pleased (mudit) wherever we find good activities being carried on or religious activities being undertaken.  It is our Dwesh (jealously) that prevents us from freely congratulating those who are doing good. Bapu said it is easy to feel miserable when others are suffering but it is difficult to be truly joyful when others are happy, as jealousy cannot tolerate the progress (Utkarash) of others. 
  3. SukhWe should learn to be happy and friendly (maitri) at the happiness of others and fully participate in their joy. We must not reject happiness.  We must enjoy the good things in life if they are morally good Do not get affected by criticism of others; just carry on with your bhajan.
  4. Dukh – Lastly we must have compassion (karuna) whenever we find others are suffering or are in trouble. We must cultivate compassion in our heart to such an extent that no space is left for enmity. 

QuestionHow Katha is to be delivered or spoken, how should others listen to Katha and how can we live Katha in our life?

Bapu’s Answer: Katha should always be recited with confidence (Vishwas) arising out of faith in the Almighty, the scripture, the words of sadaguru, the main subject of katha and self-experience. But at the same time, he should not impose his confidence on others, they should be free to decide for themselves. A Kathakar (speaker) should have total faith that every chaupai is a mantra. Anything said with confidence has truth in its base. A listener should listen to katha very thoughtfully (vichaar). He should analyse Katha and if there are any doubts, he must raise and fearlessly ask questions.  Bapu said that sometimes, listeners of his Katha take his jokes seriously without thinking and even his gestures are misinterpreted.  Listening is an art and a science and it is rather difficult to listen properly and correctly.  Katha is to be implemented in life with discernment (Vivek), balancing various principles.

Bapu mentioned a serious social problem, where female foetuses are aborted on a massive scale.  Bapu advised people to celebrate the birth of daughters in the same way that we celebrate for sons.

The important day of sadaguru is the ‘guru purnima’. It connoyes that a sadaguru is a ‘poorna-Ma’ i.e. a perfect mother for an aspirant.

Bapu reverted to the analysis of compassion of Ma Janaki and mentioned that just as 14 jewels (ratnas) were churned out the ocean, the sea of Karuna also generates 14 qualities.  He listed them and briefly commented on each one of them.

  1. Kripa (grace) – it has to be done by someone on someone else.
  2. Daya (mercy) – it is rooted and connected with an incident or an occasion.
  3. Anugraha (benevolence) – without any reservations/prejudices.
  4. Anukampa (empathy) is a physical experience when we share the suffering of others (Samaanubhuti).
  5. Sudrishti (clear vision) – compassion is expressed through eyes.
  6. Suvachan- compassion helps in cultivating the habit of  polite and truthful speech.
  7. Suvichar – A compassionate person always gets good and benevolent thoughts
  8. Suvyavahaar – Compassion leads to a behaviour that is straight forward and simple.
  9. Unbiased flow – A compassionate mind is never rigid or restricted.  It has a tendency to flow and its fluidity keeps it fresh but this does not mean fickleness.
  10. Commitment – A compassionate person is devoted to principles of kindness and generosity.
  11.  Transparency of inner self – His heart gets constantly purified (Antah-karan Shuddhi) and there is not blemish or impurity in his life.
  12. Maun – A compassionate person is often a man of few words and his compassion is reflected more in his conduct than in speech.
  13. Nirantar sumiran – A compassionate person continuously remembers the divine and constantly thinks about it.
  14. Utsaah (the zest for life) – A compassionate person is enthusiastic and strives for happy and long life.  He enjoys his bhajan, which joins him to divinity, and for him even the earth is not enough to contain his bliss.

Bapu finished the katha (story of Ramayana) narration yesterday. Today, he concentrated on the three basic principles, of Truth, Love & Compassion, which are basic ingredients of the Ramayana as he sees it. Bapu said that ‘Karuna’ has no limits, as it is the supreme strength (alhaadini shakti) of Bhagwaan Ram.

Question what is the meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Vivek’?
Bapu’s Answer: Vivek does not refer to mere manners or etiquette. Vivek means the actual perception of a thing- ‘as it is’. It is the discernment, the capacity to distinguish between the right and wrong in every field of life, whether practical, intellectual or spiritual. The more we get the capacity to discern, the more we understand the world in which we live in; it also helps greatly in the spiritual world in which we want to progress. Even the religious thinking requires the study of discernment because if religion is accepted as customary system of beliefs (without discernment) then it is not a religion in real sense. Vivek is the result of satsang. An aspirant should be careful in preserving the vivek that he gets from satsang. Bapu said that he did not intend to give deeksha (ritual of spiritual initiation) but only wanted to show a path (disha) through satsang of Ramkatha. A katha listener should listen to sutras of katha in the way they are said; in their actual sense. Wrong interpretation can create many problems.

While discussing Shankaracharya’s theory of world is a illusion, Bapu humbly put forth his view that when we understand that the creation is the form of the Almighty only, then the creation is as true as the Almighty. It is not an illusion; Considering the world and God as different is not right; they are one. Rather, the thought of differentiation between the two is an illusion in itself.

There are people who claim to be prophets & teachers of a religion and try to snare the innocent and the unknown.  But a sadaguru is spiritually aware and he helps aspirants in making sense of circumstances. The mantra given by sadaguru has to be put in practice; one has to believe and become aware and to escape the snares, which are laid by the false ‘so-called religious’ people.

A saadhu’s effect is such that the people around him never feel any binding but at the same time, they remain every inside the moral limits. A sadaguru is like air; he is the life source for the aspirant but he is beyond anybody’s reach. For a committed aspirant, the sadaguru and the Lord are the same.

Katha listeners should listen with awareness and should not be blind followers. Katha should not only be heard but it should be remembered again and again.  You should bear in mind as long as you can and try to practice whatever the principles suit you.

Truth, Love and Compassion is the trinity of every religion and Bapu said that they are fit to be inscribed on the main building of the United Nations situated in New York.

Bapu said that he tries to beautify his audience not physically but spiritually, emotionally and mentally with chaupais, shlokas, mantras, poetry, short stories or thoughts and quotes of saints
. He concluded by offering the fruit of virtue of this katha in the lotus feet of Bhagwaan Shankar in the advance, for the coming ‘shraavan maas’.

Pavan tanay sankat haran mangal moorati roop |
Ram lakhan sita sahit hridaya basahu sur bhoop ||