Force of Mahan’s Compassion
Everyone is aware that the Brahma Sutras, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita are the three grantas (holy texts) that have to be read and followed by those who desire moksha (Liberation). These three holy texts together form what is popularly known as Prastaana traya. Sri Adi Sankara has blessed us with a Vedanta granta titled Viveka Choodamani. The erudite declare that Viveka Choodamani forms the very essence of the Prastaana traya.
In Viveka Choodamani, at the very outset, Sri Sankara says that human birth, desire for Liberation and the company ofmaha purushas (sages) is attained only due to punya (merits) earned over crores of births. The company of maha purushascan be deemed as satsang, as also Guru sang (the company/association of the Guru). Srimad Bhagavatam, which we always quote as the testimony for anything, also speaks only of the glory of sadhu sang (company of holy men). Therefore, should we not make full use of such ‘rare to find’ but ‘blessed to attain’ satsang or Guru? One must certainly attain the fruit of satsang.
What does attainment here mean? And how can we achieve it? We should by all means try to live in the shadow of our Guru’s Lotus Feet. If we do so, then we will become perfect very soon, i.e. attain Liberation!
When a just-born child is in a motionless state, the mother yearns for the child to come out of this coma-like state; she thinks it would suffice if only the child would open its eyes. Once this happens, she feels that even if the child were bedridden it would be okay if only he would speak. Once the child begins to speak, she thinks that it would be good if the child could sit. Once the child is able to sit, she hopes that the child would get up and walk. Once it begins to walk, she feels that it would be good if the child could learn to read and write. If this happens would she not desire the child to study well, earn well, earn fame like others, marry, beget children and run a family like others do? Do you see to what level the thought has grown though in the beginning the desire was only for the child to come out of the ‘coma-like’ state? The mother’s desires are justified as they are due to her love for her child.
Mahans’ compassion for the jivas (souls: human beings and others) is also similar. When they see innumerable people living without any purpose as per their own whims and fancies, the Mahans yearn, “Will they not utter Hari Nama (the Divine Name of Lord Hari) at least once? Will they not visit a temple at least once and worship the Lord?”
When they see those who do these, they yearn, “Why can’t they do more Nama sankirtan (sing/chant the Divine Name and the Lord’s Lilas)? Can’t they visit the temple daily”’
Once the person begins to do Nama sankirtan in this manner and also begins to visit the temple daily, the Mahans yearn, “Will he not do all these with a clean physique (sarira shuddhi)?”
Then they yearn, “Along with physical cleanliness will he not shirk bad company and take up good habits and good company?”
They then yearn, “Will he not give up desires and hatred and do bhakti with a clean mind and heart (shuddha hrudaya)?”
They then yearn, “Will he not work towards attaining the vision of the Lord (Bhagavat darshan)?”
Don’t we sympathize with others in their sorrows? That very sympathy will do good to them. Mercy has got force. Likewise,compassion is verily the longing or the aching of the heart felt by Mahans that we should turn over a new leaf and be devoted to God. If the little sympathy felt by us—whose hearts and minds are filled with desires and hatred—has the power to work, then what to speak of the Mahans’ compassion? We will become perfect merely through the compassion of suchMahans. Hence all we have to do is to somehow attain the satsang of such a great Mahan.
(Based on Sri Swamiji’s article in Tamil, Madhuramurali magazine, October 1995)