QUIZ on

Bhaagavatham

(Based on the Divine Discourses of

Bhagavaan Sri Sathya Sai Baba)


1. What is Bhaagavatham?

Bhaagavatham is one of the greatest of the eighteen Puraanas.

2. What is the essence of 18 Puraanas?

"Paropakaraha Punyaaya, Paapaaya Parapeedanam." To do good to others is merit. To hurt and cause suffering to others is sin.

3. What is the main theme of Bhaagavatham?

It is the story of the Divine glory of Lord Hari and His devotees.

4. What are the subjects dealt with in Bhaagavatham?

It gives a description of the creation of the universe, the story of the Avathaars, the story of Naarada, a detailed narration of the Avathaar of Krishna and many other episodes.

5. Who wrote Bhaagavatham in Sanskrith?

Sage Vyaasa.

6. Who inspired the Sage to write Bhaagavatham?

Sage Naarada.

7. Who narrated Bhaagavatham even before Vyaasa?

Brahma narrated Bhaagavatham to Vyaasa, Sage Vyaasa to Shuka.

8. How does Vyaasa begin the Bhaagavatham?

Sage Vyaasa begins Bhaagavatham as a narration by the Sage Shuka to king Pareekshith who was on his death bed because of a curse.

9. What is the curse?

King Pareekshith was cursed that he would die of a serpent bite on the seventh day commencing from the day he was cursed.

10. Who cursed the King Pareekshith?

Thapasvin Shringi.

11. Why did he curse?

One day king Pareekshith went for hunting. After some time he was very thirsty and was in search of an Ashram. He caught sight of one and entered. He called aloud. But no one answered. He saw a Sage deep in meditation. There were signs of people moving about, but none came to him. He got angry because he did not receive the honour due to him as the ruler of the country. He saw a dead serpent on the ground, he lifted it and put it round the neck of the sage and went his way. When Shringi, the son of the Sage (Shameeka) came to know about the sinful act, he cursed that the man who committed the sin would die of a serpent bite within seven days.

12. What was the reaction of Shringi's father to his son's hasty action?

Shameeka did not approve of the hasty action of his son. He should not have cursed the ruler of the country because it would affect the entire country. Pareekshith had been a righteous and a kind ruler, but for this one impulsive act, yet he could not do any thing, but asked his son, to see that the king was informed about the curse.

13. How did the king receive the curse?

King Pareekshith was sad and sorry for his impulsive act and welcomed the curse as a boon, because he was given a chance of involving himself in holy activities before his death.

14. What do we learn from this episode?

Whether one commits a sin, knowingly or unknowingly, one has to suffer the consequences, but repentance would absolve him of the sins committed.

15. What do we learn about the life of Sage Naarada from Bhaagavatham?

Naarada was the son of a servant maid. She was serving some Rishis who had come to a forest, to stay for four months (Chaathurmaasya Vrata). Naarada was a small boy. He would often sit and listen to these sages. When they were about to leave after four months, he wanted to follow them. But they advised him, to chant the name of Hari, and to take to the path of devotion. He was made to realise, that God alone is the dearest to an individual and none other. One day when Naarada's mother died of a serpent bite, he left the forest in search of his goal. One day he heard a divine voice warning him to give up the desire of having the vision of God too. Then he took to "SOHAM" meditation and gave up his life only to take a new life form.

16. What is the special name given to each chapter in Bhaagavatham?

Skandha.

17. How many chapters are there?

Twelve.

18. Who is the famous writer of Bhaagavatham in Telugu?

Bammera Pothana.

19. What is an Avathaar?

Avatharana means descent. Avathaar is the descent of the nameless and attributeless Divinity in a form suitable to execute the task of destroying the wicked and protecting the good.

20. How many types of Avathaars are there?

Avathaars are many in number. There arc some Avathaars that appear on earth only for a short time, fulfil the Avathaaric mission and disappear, Matsya, Kuurma, Varaaha, Narasimha and Vaamana (fish, Tortoise, boar, half-man-half lion, Dwarfman). There is the Avathar of Raama who is called an Amshavathaar because he shared the divinity with His three brothers, Krishnaavathaar is an example of Puurnaavathaar (total).

21. Mention the 10 Avathaars of Vishnu.

The ten Avathaars in sequence are Matsya, Kuurma, Varaaha, Narasimha, Vaamana, Parashuraama, Raama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki.

22. What was the purpose of the advent of these Avathaars?

a) MATSYAAVATHAAR

The purpose for which the advent of Matsyaavathaar took place was the restoration of the the vedhas from the hands of the demon Somakaasura, who stole them from Brahma and hid them in the sea. Dharma is based on the Vedhas, so the protection of the Vedhas was the Avatharic task.

b) KUURMAAVATHAAR

The gods and demons desired to acquire Amrith, (elixir of life) that would confer immortality and prayed to Lord Narayana. He instructed them to churn the ocean of milk having the mountain Mandhara as the churning-rod and Vaasuki-serpent as the rope. When the mountain was about to submerge in the ocean creating a vast deluge, Lord Naaraayana assumed the form of a Tortoise and bore the mountain on His back. While they were churning poison emerged out of the ocean.

Both the gods and demons grew panicky. Then Lord Shiva came and swallowed the poison. Several things emerged from the ocean both living and non-living. When at last Amrith was brought by a celestial being, gods and demons fought for the possession of Amrith. Then Lord Naaraayana had to assume the form of a beautiful celestial woman to distribute the Amrith. Of course the demons were deprived of their share because if demons were to be immortal what havoc would result no one need to be told. So the purpose of the Tortoise Avathaar was to protect the good and bad as well and grant immortality to gods (Dhevatas).

c) VARAHAVAATHAAR

Lord Naaraayana assumed the form of a boar to bring back to the surface, the earth that had gone to the bottom of the sea. While the Divine boar was carrying the earth on his tusks and was still in water the demon Hiranyaaksha attacked him. But the Boar clawed and pierced him to death. Thus the purpose of the Varaaha Avathaar was to restore the earth safe and fix it firmly in its place.

d) NARSIMHAVATHAAR

Lord Naaraayana had to assume the form of half lion and half man to kill the demon Hiranya Kashipu. Hiranya Kashipu was bent upon taking revenge on Lord Naaraayana because He had killed his brother Hiranyanaksha. Hiranya Kashipu did penance to Brahma and obtained a boon that he should not die in the hands of any one of the beings created by Brahma. Death should not occur to him either during day or night, on earth or water or sky nor by any weapon, indoors or outdoors. Hiranya Kashipu grew all powerful and arrogant after obtaining the boon. His son was a born devotee of Hari. The father tried his best to dissuade him from praying to Hari but in vain. He subjected him to many tortures, yet, Prahlaadh would not give up chanting the name of Hari. At last Hiranya Kashipu had to challenge his son to show him his Hari who is said to be omnipresent in a pillar. He struck the pillar. It split into two. Lord in the form of Nara-Simha (Man-lion) emerged and tore him to pieces by his claws. The main purpose of this Avathaar is to prove his devotee's faith in the omnipresence of God.

e) VAAMANAVATHAAR

When the demon Emperor Bali became all powerful desirous of conquering all the three worlds, Lord Naaraayana decided to curb Bali's pride of strength. So Lord Naaraayana took the form of a Divine Brahmana boy and approached Bali while he was performing Visvajith Yaaga. He demanded a gift of three feet of land from Bali. Bali agreed, even when his guru Shukraacharaya warned Bali not to gift and that the Brahmana lad was none other than Hari come to bring about his fall. Vaamana grew to such a stature that with one foot he covered land, with another the sky and questioned where he should keep his third foot. Then the emperor Bali bent his head and asked Him to keep His foot on his head. Hari pushed Bali down to the under-world. Emperor Bali was not in the least sad or sorry because he had the privilege of giving away a gift to the Lord of the three worlds. Lord Hari purposely did this only to proclaim to the world the total surrender of Bali to God. It is indeed strange to understand the ways of the Divine. He might seem to be punishing one externally but the punishment would be only for the redemption of the punished.

f) PARASHURAAMA AVATHAAR

Parashuraama was the son of Renuka and Sage Jamadhagni. They had with them the celestial wish fulfilling-cow Kamadhenu. Once Kaartha Veeryaarjuna the ruler of the region visited the aashram after a day's hunting. The Sage received the emperor and his retinue, fed them well with the help of the celestial cow. Veeryaarjuna became envious and drove the cow and her calf, disregarding the feelings of the Sage. When the party were proceeding, Parashuraama accosted them and attacked them. After a fierce fight chopped off the head of the emperor. Later the sons of the emperor beheaded Jamadhagni Rishi when Parashuraama was not in the hermitage. Hearing the loud cries of his mother Renuka, Parashuraama returned only to see his father's head on the ground. Incensed he rushed to the city of Maahishmathi and killed all the hundred sons of Kaartha Veeryarjuna. He took a vow to exterminate the Kshatriya clan out of existence. The purpose of this Avathaar was to warn and punish the arrogant rulers (Kshathriyas) who did not give respect due to the Rishis.

g) SRI RAAMA AVATHAAR

Lord Naaraayana was born as the son of Dasaratha and shared His divinity with His three brothers. The purpose of the Avathaar was not only to destroy the wicked and to protect the good, but to set an example to the entire world, how man should observe truth and righteousness in life. He was the very embodiment of Sathya and Dharma.

h) KRISHNAAVATHAAR

Krishnaavathaar is an Avathaar of love and peace. His mission was to protect the good and punish the wicked. But His main mission was to preach the Gospel of life through the Bhagavad Geetha.

i) BUDDHAVATHAAR

By his own example Buddha proved that, every man can attain the Buddha-state, the enlightened One by taking to the eight fold path. His main gospel was to conquer desire and to practise love and compassion.

j) KALKYAVATHAAR

The Kalkyavathaar is none other than Sai Avathaar. It is indeed a Yugaavathaar. Sri Sathya Sai is engaged in carrying out the Avatharic mission of the nine Avathaars through love and love alone.

23. What is the inner meaning of the 10 Avathaars in sequence?

When we study the advent of the Avathars in a sequence we realize that it is the story of evolution of species-from fish to tortoise, from tortoise to boar then to half animal and halfman, the dwarfish boy then the man in whom Rajasic tendency dominated. Finally the avathars of Raama, Krishna and Buddha, the ideal man endowed with virtues of Truth, Righteousness, Love, Peace and nonviolence.

24. What is the relationship between Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu, Prahlaadha and Emperor Bali?

Hiranyaaksha and Hiranyakashipu were brothers. Prahlaadha was the son Hiranyakashipu. Bali was the grand son of Prahlaadha.

25. What do we learn from Prahlaadha's story?

God would always come to rescue His devotees. God would do anything to prove the faith of His devotees. Prahlaadha believed and preached that Hari is Omnipresent. The Lord proved his verdict to be true.

26. How could Prahlaadha become a devotee of Hari even as an infant?

Prahlaada's mother Leelaavathi was in Naarada's Aashram when Prahlaadha was in the womb of Leelaavathi. She would constantly listen to the glory of Lord Vishnu sung by Naarada. This sacred listening (shraavana) had an impact on the child in the womb.

27. What was the Mantra always chanted by him?

Om Namo Naaraayanaaya.

28. What is the difference between Prahlaadha and his father in their attitude towards the existence of God?

While Hiranyakhashipu believed GOD IS NO WHERE, Prahlaadha proved GOD IS NOW HERE.

29. What are the other episodes in the Bhaagavatham?

The story of Dhruva, Ambareesha, Gajendramoksha, Ajaamila and Sage Dhadheechi, Dhaksha, Jadabharatha, Sunakshepa.

30. What lesson do we learn from Dhruva's story.

Dedication, devotion, discipline, discrimination and determination can make one achieve anything related to this world or spiritual world.

31. What was the Mantra that he chanted during the penance?

NAMO BHAGAVATHE VAASUDHEVAYA.

32. Who taught this Mantra to Dhruva?

Sage Naarada.

33. What do we learn from the story of Ambareesha?

Even when sage Dhuurvasaa sent a demon to kill him, Ambareesha never prayed to Lord Hari to save him. He left every thing to the will of God. This is a supreme example of total surrender co God.

34. In which chapter do we have the story of Krishna?

IN THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER.

35. Where was Krishna born?

Mathura - In the Royal Prison.

36. What are the details related to his birth, date, month etc.?

Month - Shravaana, Thithi - Ashtami, Star - Rohini, Krishna Paksha.

37. Why was he shifted from Mathura?

Krishna's uncle Kamsa was determined to kill the eighth child born to his sister. To avert this calamity, the Divine child was taken away from Mathura, It was declared by a voice from the sky, "The one who will slay you will be born as the eighth child of your sister".

38. Why did Kamsa hate Krishna?

For fear of being killed by Krishna the eighth child of his sister Devaki.

39. To which place was Krishna taken?

Repalle.

40. Who were the parents of Krishna?

Devaki and Vaasudheva.

41. Who were the foster parents of Krishna?

Yashodha and Nanda.

42. Who gave the name Krishna to the Divine child?

Sage GARGA.

43. How does Swaami explain the meaning of Krishna?

Krishna means one who attracts. 'Karshatheethi Krishnah'.

Krishna means one who cultivates the heart of devotee. 'Krishyalheethi Krishnah'.

Krishna means one who is always in bliss and confers bliss. 'Kushyatheethi Krishnah'.

44. Who is Balaraama?

Brother of Krishna.

45. How did Kamsa try to kill Krishna?

He sent several demons under the guise of several animals to kill Krishna.

46. Who was Puuthana?

She was a demoness, who wanted to kill Krishna by suckling him with her poisonous breast.

47. What was her past history?

Puuthana, in a previous life was Rathnaavali, the daughter of emperor Bali. The Lord came as Vaamana to Bali, and asked him to give Him just three feet of land in his kingdom. Vaamana appeared so charming, shining with all divine effulgence, that Rathnaavali felt how much she would have enjoyed, rearing him, if he had been her son. All of a sudden she saw Vaamana, placing his foot on Bali's head, enraged at the sight, she was filled with a desire to kill him. Rathnaavali desired at once to fondle Vamana as a mother, and also to kill him..So she was born as Puuthana, who suckled him only to kill him. In the end she was killed.

48. Why is Krishna called 'Giridhaari'?

Because He lifted the mountain, Govardhan.

49. Why did he lift the mountain?

To protect the people of Repalle and all living beings from the terrific down pour of rain. Every year the cowherds in Repalle used to offer worship to Lord Indhra for Rain. But Krishna advised them to worship the mountain that gave food to man and pasture to animals, rain as well. God Indhra got angry and cursed them with terrific down pour of rain.

50. Why did he not stop the rain?

It is not proper to go against the laws of nature. When any natural calamity occurs, God may protect His devotees and give strength to withstand but not avert the calamity.

51. What is the story related 'Govardhana' hill?

Govardhana hill was one of the hills chosen to be hurled in to the sea, for the construction of the bridge by the monkeys in the epic Raamaayana. When the particular mountain was about to be thrown, the bridge was already completed. It was deprived of the joy of serving Raama. Then Raama assured the hill, that He would bless the hill in the next Avathaar.

52. Who were the Gopikas in their former lives?

Gopikas and Gopaalas in their previous birth were Rishis in Kritha Yuga. They were able to get only the darshan of the Lord. In Thretha Yuga they were born as monkeys and were able to enjoy the darshan of the Lord as well as Sambhashanam (talk). In the Dhwaapara Yuga they were born as Gopikas and Gopaalas to enjoy darshan, Sambhashan and Sparshan.

53. Who was sent to bring Balaraama and Krishna to Mathura by Kamsa?

Akruura.

54. Why did Krishna kill the royal washerman?

When Balaraama and Krishna were proceeding towards the palace of Kamsa, they saw the royal washerman carrying a bundle of royal robes. Krishna snatched the bundle opened it, gave one robe to His brother and dressed Himself with another. The washerman got angry and entered into a quarrel. Krishna gave him a hard slap on the cheek. He died on the spot. Balaraama could not understand and asked Krishna to explain. Krishna replied that He had killed the washerman because he wished to die in His hands. He was the same washerman who had been responsible for mother Seetha's exile (reborn). Later he regretted and requested Raama to kill him for the unpardonable sin he had committed. Raama assured him that his wish would be fulfilled only in the next Avathaar in Dhwapara Yuga.

55. Who is the Guru of Krishna and Balaraama?

Sandeepani.

56. What was the Gurudakshina that the brothers offered?

Krishna and Balaraama on hearing the inconsolable grief of their Guru over the loss of his only son, assured their Guru that they would bring back his son. They went to the Prabhaasa theertha where the lad was drowned and searched for the demon who swallowed him. They could not find him. They were told by the king of the Sea that the lad had been handed over to the Lord of Death. They approached Yama and demanded him to hand over the lad to them. Yama at once handed over the boy to the brothers. Krishna and Balaraama took the boy and entrusted him to their Guru with folded arms and said "Guruji accept our Guru Dakshina". Even Avathaars revered their Gurus to set an example to the world.

57. What is the name of another boy who studied with them?

Sudhaama.

58. Why was he destined to live in poverty for some years?

Once Balaraama, Krishna and Sudhaama went to a near by forest to collect twigs for the sacrificial fire for their Guru. They did collect some twigs. After some time Krishna said that he was tired and would like to rest. Sudhaama opened the packet of parched rice he had brought and began to munch. He presumed that Krishna was really sleeping. Krishna all of a sudden questioned Sudhaama what he was eating. Sudhaama replied "nothing". So was he blessed with nothing. One should never utter lies even for fun. He was destined to live in poverty by his own act of uttering lies.

59. Why did Rukmini prevent Krishna from eating the third morsel of parched rice?

Rukmini wanted to have her share of the parched rice, it being the favourite food of her Lord. She was His better half, no wonder she claimed her share.

60. Who was 'Uddhava'?

Uddhava was the friend of Krishna.

61. Why did Krishna send Uddhava to Gokulam? What happened there?

Krishna sent Uddhava only to make him realise the devotion of Gopikas, their pointed devotion and total surrender to Krishna.

62. How did Krishna teach Naarada about Gopikas' devotion?

One day Krishna pretended as though He had been suffering from severe head ache. His wives were very much worried. Just then Sage Naarada entered. Naarada enquired. Krishna said that the dust of the real devotees of Krishna if applied would cure His head ache. Naarada asked Krishna's wives to give the dust of their feet, since none could be as devoted to Krishna as they. But they exclaimed in one voice that it would be a sin. They requested Naarada who always chanted the name of Hari to give dust of his feet. He too said it would be a sin. Krishna asked Naarada to go to Brindhaavan and ask the Gopikas. At once Naarada went to Brindhaavan and told them he had come from the Divine presence of Krishna. At once the simple women surrounded him and enquired how their dear Gopaal was faring. On hearing that their dear Gopaala was suffering from head-ache and that He had sent Naarada to fetch the dust of their feet, they brought a blanket, spread it to collect the dust of their feet. They bundled it up and gave it to Naarada. They requested him to proceed to Dwaraka at once. The moment Gopikas collected the dust of their feet, Krishna's headache disappeared. When Naarada approached Krishna, Krishna said that He had already been relieved. The true nature of a devotee is to obey the command of the Lord, not to question or discriminate.

63. What is the difference between the devotion of the cowherds of Brindhaavan and that of the Yadhavas - the kinsmen of Krishna?

The Gopikas always declared, Krishna. "We belong to you" While the kinsmen of Krishna and the Yaadhavas said "Krishna you belong to us".

64. Who was RAADHA?

Raadha was the cousin sister of Nandha.

65. What is the relationship between Raadha and Krishna?

Raadha is the embodimenet of Prakrithi and Krishna, the Purusha.

66. How did Raadha describe to Uddhava that where Krishna is - there she would be?

Raadha described to Uddhava how she could never be away from Krishna in the form of a song and asked him to convey the message to Krishna:

"Were you a tree fully grown, I would wound round you like a creeper".
"Were you a blossoming flower I would hover round the flower like a bee".
"Were you the mountain, Meru, I would cascade like a river".
"Were you the boundless sky, I would be a star in it".
"Were you a bottomless sea, I would merge in you like a river". (Baba)

67. Describe the end of Raadha?

Raadha lost all interest in life, she gave up food and water and was surviving only by chanting the name of Krishna. She knew that her end was near and wished for the darshan of her dear Krishna. The mere thought brought Krishna to her side. She requested Krishna to play once on His Murali. (flute)

Listening to the Divine music she gave up her life. Krishna threw away the Murali and from that moment He never touched the Murali again.

68. How did Krishna prove the devotion of Dhraupadhi to Rukmini and Sathyabhaama?

Rukmini and Sathyabhaama often used to wonder why Krishna should make much of Dhraupadhi's devotion. They expressed their doubt. Krishna waited for an opportunity to make them understand Draupadhi's devotion. Krishna along with Rukmini and Sathyabhaama went to Draupadhi. She was combing her long tresses. Krishna asked Rukmini and Satyabhaama to help His sister to comb her long tresses. They readily agreed. They parted the hair, one half was taken care of by Rukmini the other by Satyabhama. The moment they started combing, they heard the sound of "Krishna" "Krishna" from every hair's end of Draupadhi's long tresses. They could realize the devotion of Draupadhi.

69. Why did Krishna try to encounter Narakaasura so many times?

Krishna purposely planned to encounter Narakaasura several times. He pretended as though He ran away in fear. The real reason was to make Narakaasura more angry and hateful. These two would make even a very strongman weak. Krishna's plan was to make Narakaasura's weakness responsible for his fall. It would be easier to kill him then.

70. Why was Sathyabhaama made to kill Narakaasura?

Satyabhaama's one weakness was envy. Krishna did not desire that Narakaasura should meet his end in His hands (of divinity) but of envy. Moreover Narakaasura had abducted many a princess and molested them. It was really most proper that a woman should kill him.

71. Who was 'Poundraka Vaasudheva'?

In Bhaagavatham there is a character by name Paundraka who sought to become a possible imitation of Krishna. He called himself as Paundraka Vaasudheva. He got made an imitation conch and a wheel and carried them about in the two artificially made hands. He tried to imitate Krishna in every way. He wore yellow dress, walked just like Krishna and imitated his gestures. Some fools gathered round him mistaking him for the Lord. However he was put to shame by Krishna.

72. Who were the rival kings of Krishna?

Jaraasandha, Shishupaala, Dhanthavakthra.

73. How was Garuda's pride pricked?

Krishna hearing about the mischievous pranks of a strange monkey directed Garuda to proceed and scare the animal out of the city limits. Garuda failed even though he took with him the entire army. His pride was humbled. Krishna sent a message to the monkey who declared himself as Aanjaneya that he should come to His palace. Aanjaneya replied he would obey only the orders of Raama. Krishna again sent another message that Raama was inviting him to His audience hall. Aanjaneya hurried to see Raama. Krishna gave him the Dharshan of Raama Himself. Sathyabhaama had offered to change herself into Seetha and stood by the side of Krishna.

Aanjaneya could not see Seetha in the form Satyabhaama. He replied that he longed to see Mother Seetha and wondered who that lady was. Thus Sathyabhaama's conceit was broken. Then Krishna asked Rukmini to stand by His side, Aanjaneya at once recognised in Rukmini, Mother Seetha.

74. Why did Krishna fight with Jaambavaan?

Jaambavaan was a close friend of Raama. He had a fantastic desire. He wished to fight a duel with Raama. His wish could not be fulfilled. In Dhvaaparayuga when Krishna was accused by the king Sathrajith of having stolen his Shyamanthaka gem, He had to go in search of the gem. He went to the forest and followed the spoors leading to a lion's den. There He found the Shyamanthaka gem in the possession of a bear - Jaambavaan. He challenged him to a duel. The duel lasted for 28 days. At last by a sudden flash of illumination Jaambavaan realised that His adversary was his friend Raama. At last his wish was fulfilled. He gave to Krishna not only Shyamanthaka gem but his own daughter in marriage.

75. What was the constant prayer of Queen Kunthi?

Kunthi constantly prayed to Krishna that she should always be made to experience sorrow and grief - that would induce her to think always of the Lord.

76. What is the greatest command of Krishna?

The greatest command of Lord Krishna was "Be my instrument".

77. How did Krishna meet with his end?

Krishna realising that He should give up His mortal coil, one day went and sat under a peepul tree. He reclined on the ground and leaned against a tree, and assumed the form of Vishnu. His left foot looked like a red lily. A hunter Jara by name mistaking the red foot for a deer's mouth struck this red foot with the arrow. The arrow was a piece of iron remnant of the accursed mace of the Rishis with a sharp point. Krishna was fatally wounded by the arrow.

78. What is the symbolical significance of the following : a) Lord Narasimha emerging from the pillar split into two; b) Gajendra Moksha; c) Kaliya Mardhana; d) Raasakreeda; e) Gopika Vastrapaharana; f) Navaneetha Chora; g) Krishna having 8 queens and 16,000 Gopikas; h) Kshirasaagara Manthana.

Inner significance of certain episodes :

a) Lord Narasimha emerging from the pillar broken into two: Lord Narasimha did not hide Himself inside the pillar. The pillar here stands for Dheha or Human body. The Lord will manifest Himself only when the pillar or the human body - consciousness (dheha - thathwa) - is gone. The moment Hiranya Kashipu hit the pillar and split it into two the Dhehi revealed himself. The I-am-the body consciousness of man should go. "I am Aathma consciousness" must emerge.

b) Gajendhra Moksha: The story in short is an elephant bathing in a lake was caught by a crocodile. The elephant struggled hard to free itself of the clutches of the crocodile but in vain. At last it prayed to God for help. The Lord comes and kills the crocodile with His wheel. The inner significance is: The lake is symbolic of Samsaara. The individual with a mind-like that of a wild elephant enters the lake which is in the forest of life. The mind is thirsty for sensuous pleasures. The moment the man (elephant) steps into the lake of Samsaara, the crocodile (attachment) catches hold of the man. The man struggles hard to free himself of the bondage. When he becomes weak, he prays to God and asks him to save. When an individual caught in the bondage of Samsaara, if he prays to God in complete surrender then God will certainly release him from bondage.

c) Kaaliya Mardhana: A serpent by name Kaaliya was poisoning the atmosphere and the waters of the Yamuna with its breath. All those who approached that area-men, cattle and birds fell dead. Krishna, the blue boy of Brindhaavan jumped into the depths of the river forced the foul snake to rise above the level of the river and leaping on its hoods danced upon them. The pressure of His tender feet was enough to force the deadly poison out from the fangs of the monstrous cobra, and render it harmless for ever. The inner significance: In the mind-lake of man, there lurks a poisonous cobra with six hoods lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and hate. The name of Lord when continuously chanted, dives into the depths of the mind-lake and forces the sixhooded cobra to come to surface, so that it may be destroyed. Allow the Divine Name to dance, on the six hooded cobra in the mind-lake. Then the cobra would be tamed and made Saathvik.

d) Raasa Leelaa or Kreeda: This indeed is a much misunderstood and misinterpreted episode. The blue boy of Brindhaavan dancing in moonlight with the cowherdesses, each Gopika dancing with a Krishna. The Lord multiplied Himself into many and stood beside every cowherdess. The inner meaning of the Divine sport is: The entire Universe is verily a Brindhaavanam. All Gopikas are the Jeevas. Every Jeeva longs to be with the Lord, and await the call of the flute. The sport is the joy the Lord the Parmathma shares with the Gopikas or the Jeevaathmas.

e) Gopika Vasthraapaharanam: This is yet another misinterpreted and misconstrued episode by ordinary people. Not recognizing the Divinity, they revile Krishna as a philanderer, and a thief, who stole away the saris of Gopikas when they were bathing in the river. Krishna gave away the saris the moment the gopikas lifted their hands in total surrender and prayed to Him to save them from shame. The meaning is that unless a spiritual aspirant loses his body consciousness and prays to God for grace. He would not win the grace of God. In fact Dheha means that which is worn, a Vasthra. When the Gopikas questioned Krishna whether it was Dharma (righteous) on His part to steal away their dress, Krishna said it was the Gopikas who were not observing Svadharma (Aathma dharma or their true nature) but observing Paraadharma (Dehadharma or body consciousness).

f) Navaneetha Chora: Krishna is described as a butter thief. Krishna did not actually desire butter - but He desired the pure mind kept in the heart-pot of the Gopikas. Navaneetha means pure mind. Mind made pure by constant churning that is the Saadhana of Naama Smaran (remembering Lord's name).

g) Krishna, the husband of eight queens and sixteen thousand Gopikas:

First of all one must understand the meaning of (bhartha) husband: One who is the over-lord, the one who looks after. Who else can truly be called a husband than God. Here body is the residence for Divine Consciousness or God. In the body there are six spiritual centres through which the Kundalini shakthi (the coiled 'serpent' power the Divine energy) rises from the Mulaadhaara chakra (basal energy centre,) to Sahasrara, (the thousand petalled lotus centre) on top. In between, there are four centres. When the Kundalini awakened, reaches the Sahasrara, enlightenment takes place. The Kundalini reaches the Hridhaya Chakra (lotus of the heart with 8 petals). The 8 petals stand for 8 spirits, 8 directions and 8 guardians. Krishna being the husband or lord of these eight queens representing the 8 petals. The Kundalini Shakthi rises again to Sahasrara, a thousand petalled Lotus, each petal having 16 Kalas or rays. So 16,000 Gopikas are these 16,000 Kalas, then the Illumination takes place.

h) Ksheera Saagara Manthan: Ksheera means milk, Saagar means ocean, Manthan means churning. Once the Devas (gods) and Asuras desired to become immortal for which they should obtain Amrith to drink. Lord Naarayaana instructed them to churn the milky ocean, having Mandhara mountain as the churning rod and Vaasuki serpent as the rope. The Devas and the Asuras began to churn. All of a sudden the mountain began to sink; they were frightened. The Lord assumed the form of a tortoise and bore the mountain on His back.

The churning continued. Poisonous fumes emanated and the churners were scared. Then Lord Shiva came and drank away the poison.

They churned and churned. Many things emerged-living and nonliving, human and Divine. At last they got Amrith but this Amrith was only given to the Devas.

The inner meaning:

The ocean of milk is the human heart filled with Saathvic, tendencies (kindness, purity and goodness). An individual in whom are present both the good impulses (Gods) and bad impulses (Asuras) contemplate on God.

This contemplation or Saadhana is the churning process. At times desires (poison) will over take him. If he prays to God, He would chase away the desires and the individual continues his Saadhana. All of a sudden he might feel he might die without tasting the immortal drink. Once again his prayer will win for him God's grace, till at last God gives him strength and courage to subdue bad impulses and continue his Saadhana. Once again he might be tempted to pray for worldly things but he should churn and churn on to secure Amrith that would grant him immortality. Here Amrith stands for liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

79. What is Uddhava Geetha?

Uddhava Geetha as the name indicates, is the teachings of Krishna to Uddhava. It is considered to be an amplification of the Bhagavad GeethaThe main emphasis is on the Yoga of Renunciation and of course the other yogas of Karma, Bhakthy and Jnaana (work, worship and Wisdom) are also explained. The same lesson of total surrender is taught and the extinction of the 'I' and 'MY' sense are also emphasised.

80. How does Swaami explain the meaning of the following: a) Bhaagavatham b) Gopaala c) Raadha d) Murali e) Kleem Krishna, Govindaaya, Gopijanavallabhaaya - Svaaha.

Meaning of Certain Terms : a) Bhaagavatham: Bha + Ga + Va + Tha + M. 'Bhaa' stands for Bhakthi (Devotion.) 'Ga' stands for Jnaana (wisdom), 'Va' stands for Vairagyam (detachment), 'Tha' stands for thathvam, (That you are) 'M' stands for Mukthi (liberation).

Bhaagavatham enables one to attain liberation through devotion, wisdom, detachment, and Aathmajnaana (knowledge of Athma).

b) Gopaala: 'Go' means not only cow but all beings, Jeevas. So Gopaala means one who is the Lord of all beings.

c) Raadhaa: This word when spelt from the otherside is AADHAAR then it also becomes AARADH and then into 'Dhaaraa' and then 'Dharaa'. 'Raadha' believed that Krishna is the 'Aadhaara', or the basis. She did 'Aaraadh' worship to Krishna in a continuous Dhaara or stream. In fact she herself is Dhara or Prakrithi while Krishna is Purusha.

d) Murali: The flute has 9 holes and it's hollow Melody emanates when one breathes through the hollow reed. Human body is verily a nine holed instrument and if it is rendered hollow devoid of all passions then the Lord will make one His Divine instrument of Music.

e) Krishna is the Lord of the five elements and is described as Kleem Krishnaaya, Govindhaaya, Gopijana Vallabhaaya-Svaaha. Kleem refers to the earth; Krishnaaya to water. Govindhaaya to Agni; Gopijana Vallabhaya to Vaayu (air) Svaaha to ether. Thus Krishna Principle is embodied in the 5 elements. Divine is immanent in all the 5 elements.

81. What are the different types of Saadhanas prescribed for the four Yugas?

The Yugas and Saadhanas prescribed : Krithayuga - Dhyan and Thapas (Meditation & penance)
Thretha Yuga - Yaaga and Yagna or vedic sacrificial ceremony
Dhwapara Yuga - Archana or Worship Kali Yuga - Nama Smaran (remembrance of Lord's name)

82. What are the nine types of devotion?

Nine types of devotion are Shravanam (listening) Smaranam (contemplation and chanting) Keerthanam (Singing) Archanam (Worship) Vandhanam (Namaskaar) Paadhasevanam (Pressing the feet of the Lord) Dhaasyam (Seva) Sneham (Friendship) Aathmanivedanam (surrendering of body, mind and every thing to God).

83. Who are the exponents of these types of devotion?

The exponents of these types of devotion:

King Pareekshit - Shravanam (listening)
Prahlaadh - Smaranam (chanting)
Leelaa Shuka - Keerthanam (singing)
Shri Lakshmi - Paadhasevanam (pressing the feet)
Akrura - Vandanam (obeisance)
Prithu Chakravarthi - Archanam (worship)
Arjuna - Sneham (friendship)
Hanumaan - Daasyam (service)
Emperor Bali - Aathmanivedanam (surrender)

84. What are the six types of devotion?

Six types of Devotion: Shantha Bhakthi (Balanced and Peaceful) Sakhya Bhakthi (that of friend) Daasya Bhakthy (that of a Servant) Vaathsalya Bhakthi (that of a mother) Anuraaga Bhakthi (affection) Madhura Bhakthi (Supreme love eager to merge in the Lord).

85. Who are the exponents of these types of devotion?

Exponents of these types: Bheeshma, Arjuna, Aanjaneya, Gopikas and Gopaalas, Yashodha, Raadha.

86. What according to Baba, the fifth purushaartha?

The fifth Purushaartha according to Baba is Parama Prema (Bhakthi).

87. What was the question put by Yudishtthira to Naarada when Shishupaala met with his death in the hand's of Krishna?

How could the sinful Shishupaala who hated Shri Krishna from his boyhood days, deserve the unique favour of the Lord, the Lord caused the Aatma Jyothi of Shishupaala to merge in Him.

88. What was the answer of Naarada?

Sage Naarada said that thinking constantly of the Lord even through hate will earn for one God's favour, because the individual who hates the Lord vehemently will be thinking only of his enemy thus diverting his mind from sensuous objects. Concentration on the Lord is important even in hatred.

89. What was the secret of the birth related to that of Raavana and Kumbha Kama, Hiranyaaksha and Hiranyakashipu, Shishupaala and Danta Vakthra?

Hiranyaaksha, Hiranya Kashipu, Raavana and Kumbkarna, Shishupaala and Dhantha Vakthra were none other than the gate keepers of the Lord's abode, Jaya and Vijaya. One day they did not permit the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanathana, Sanandhana and Sanath Kumaar) to enter Vaikuntha mistaking them for small children. The Kumaaras cursed them to be born as mortals. The Lord appeared at the gate apologised to the Brahmana-Sages for the treatment meted out to them by His servants. The Lord asked Jaya and Vijaya whether they would prefer to be born seven times as devotees or three times as enemies. Jaya and Vijaya preferred to be born as Asuras (enemies) so that they may return to Lord's abode soon. They were assured they would remain firmly united in thought intensified by anger and return to His service.

90. What is the incident that proves women are more devoted?

The incident that proves that women are more devoted is that of the wife of Kuchela or Sudhaama who induced her husband to go to Krishna for help. There is yet another incident. Once Krishna was in the forest with His friends. The Gopas told Krishna chat they were very hungry. Krishna asked them to go to a particular place where some Brahmanas were performing a Yagna and request them to give some food. The Rithvicks (priests) were very angry with these boys and said they would be given food only after offering it to God.

The Gopas ran to Krishna and told Him what had happened. Krishna asked the Gopas to go and request the women who were busy cooking in the kitchen to give some food. When the women heard that Krishna and His friends were hungry, they immediately made arrangement to carry all the food to the place where Krishna was. They served food with delight to all the children. This shows that women are more devoted. It is their instinctive selfless love that gives them the right to enter the mansion where Paraamaathma lives.

91. Why did the Gopikas perform the kaathyaayani Vrata?

The Kaathyaayani Vratha was performed by Gopis on a particular Monday in the month of Kaarthika. They desired to realize the unchanging and permanent aspect of Krishna through this Vratha (vow offering). They considered Krishna as their NAATHA. Naatha does not mean husband but one who takes care of one and all. The Gopikas aspired to realize this aspect of Krishna as a result of their Vratha (Vow).

92. What is the story that illustrates the power of uttering the sacred name?

The story of Ajaamila. Though a brahmana by birth and pious by nature suddenly fell in love with a mean woman and gave birth to many children and thus became a sinner. At the time of dying he called endearingly his last son of whom he was fond of 'NAARAYANA' and breathed his last. Since he died uttering though unwittingly the sacred name of the Lord NAARAAYANA, he was taken to heaven and not to hell. Of course, the story is only to inspire us to always chant the name of God because we do not know when death will come to us.

93. Comment upon Daksha Yagna?

Daksha Prajaapathi married the last daughter of Manu and gave birth to 16 daughters. The last one Sathi was married to Shiva. Once he performed a great Yaaga to which he invited every one except Shiva. Against the wishes of her Lord, Sathi visited the Yaaga. She was not only not welcomed but ignored completely. Unable to bear the insult, Sathi sat in Yoga to give up her breath. Her body caught fire. Lord Shiva became indignant. He threw down a piece of His matted hair. There arose a fierce human form. He was Veerabhadhra. He went and did havoc in the Yagna hall of Dhaksha. Swaami says the Yagna of Dhaksha turned into a battle because he ignored Lord Shiva (God), whereas the battle of Kurukshetra was transformed into a dharma Kshetra and a Yagna because it was led by Lord Krishna.

94. What does the story of Dhadheechi illustrate?

Lord Indhra wanted to destroy the demon Vrithraasura, who had become very powerful. Lord Naaraayana asked Indhra to request Sage Dadheechi to gift his body so that a very powerful weapon may be made from Dadheechi's bones. Dadheechi's bones acquired such great potency because of the constant recitation of 'Naarayana Kavacha'. Dadheechi, a self realised individual did not care a bit for the body, agreed and gladly cast away his body. Indhra extracted a powerful weapon from the bones of Dadheechi and Lord Naaraayana sharpened it by His own power. Dadheechi's spirit of sacrifice is indeed very great. "There is nothing greater than parting with one's own body for the good of all".

95. Reference to context:

a) "Do the cows have shoes, I too will not have"
b) "In this world Krishna is the only Purusha, all the others are women".
c) "Oh Murali: How fortunate you are, you are very near and dear to Krishna. What is the secret behind this?"
d) "We can also become Muralis in the hands of Krishna".

Reference to context:

a) These words were spoken by the boy Krishna to Yashodha. One day Krishna asked Yashodha for permission to go with other Gopaalas and with the cows when they go for grazing. Yashodha said that till she got a pair of shoes for him lo wear, he should not go because his tender feet would get hurt while he walked in the forest. Krishna replied that his mother always addressed him as Gopaala meaning one who is the leader of the cows. Being a leader he must set an example. Since the cows do not have any shoes nor his comrades, he should not wear any shoes. This is how he set an example for all leaders.

b) These words were spoken by Raadha to the watchman of the Brindhaavan. One day Raadha wanted to enter Brindhaavan. There was a watchman who did not allow Raadha to enter saying that Krishna instructed him only to allow men to enter. Then Raadha replied "Oh you poor fellow know the truth, in this world Krishna is the only Purusha all the others are women". Krishna knew how Raadha would reply and so He had asked the watchman to behave like that, so that the entire world may know Raadha's attitude towards Krishna.

c) These words were spoken by a certain Gopi in a soliloquy to the Murali that was lying by the side of Krishna while He was sleeping. They wanted to know how it enjoyed the breath of Krishna, the touch of Krishna and always the company of Krishna.

d) This is Raadha's reply to the Gopika: "Examine the Murali carefully, you will see that it is hollow and has no pulp in it; hence the sweet breath of Krishna flows through it freely producing melodious music. We must also render ourselves hollow getting rid of all desires. Then Krishna will make us His instrument of music".

96. "Krishna and Balaraama are considered to be the patrons of the twin occupations necessary for the sustenance of human beings". Explain it.

Krishna is always referred to as the cowherd of Brindhaavan, so He is the representative and the caretaker of the cows that are responsible for cultivation and dairy farm. Balaraama who is always depicted as 'holding a plough' - which is the representative of agriculture and farming - another important occupation for man to engage himself for his sustenance.

97. What does the sudden arrival of the Sage Shuka, when king Pareekshith was awaiting death, signify?

The unexpected arrival of Sage Shuka signifies that Lord would certainly fulfil the genuine desire of a sincere spiritual seeker by sending a Guru at the appropriate time to enlighten him.

98. Explain the meaning of "Hridhaya Brindhaavan".

The devotee's heart itself is a Brindhaavan. The Jeeva (resident) is verily Raadha along with the Gopikas in the form of ideas performing Leelaas with Aathma-Krishna.

"Regard your heart as Brindhaavan, yourself as Raadha and surrender yourself to Krishna (Aathma) the Lord. Your thoughts must be like the thoughts of the Gopikas" Baba.

99. Why is Lord Krishna considered "Leelaa Maanusha Vigraha"?

Leelaa Maanusha Vigrahaah means the Divine manifesting as man for performing His Leelaas (miraculous deeds). He is Puurna Avathaar subduing and transcending Maaya, manifesting His Divinity to the world in full, though at times He might behave as if He were subject to Maaya" (or worldly illusion).

100. How does Baba describe Bhaagavatham?

Bhaagavatha is a huge tree. Lord Naraayana is verily the seed of this tree. Brahma is the plant (that emerges from the seed as a sprout, sapling, a plant and then into a tree). Naarada is the trunk. Sage Vyaasa is the branches. The sacred story of Krishna is the fruit filled with sweet juice.


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