On Monday, I had the occasion to meet and hear Swami Satyamitranand Giri Maharaj of Haridwar speak at the Brahmarishi Mission in Kitchener. Funny how you go around the world to meet people who live just next door. But then, I don't get out that much in Rishikesh.
As usual, when listening to sadhus speak, I feel the great gulf of difference in the quality of speech of a native Hindi speaker and my own stumbling and bumbling mode of expression. I know I say this every time, but I had just spoken the day before--stumbling and bumbling.
I was extremely please to hear Maharaj begin his mangalacharan with a verse to the Holy Name--
pātheyaṁ yan mumukṣoḥ sapadi para-pada-
prāptaye procyamānam |
viśrāma-sthānam ekaṁ kavi-vara-vacasāṁ
bījaṁ dharma-drumasya prabhavatu bhavatāṁ
The name of Krishna
is the fountainhead of all auspiciousness:
it is the destroyer of all the ills of the Age of Kali;
it is the purifier of all purifiers,
and the provisions the pilgrim must take
on his quest for liberation;
it can instantly give the supreme attainment,
on simply being properly uttered;
it is the one place
where all the finest words of the poets find refuge;
it is the very life of the pious and saintly
and the seed of the tree of religion.
May it forever bring you all good fortune.
Of course, he said Rama-nama instead of Krishna-nama. But that was no less a source of joy.
The subject of his talk was sat-sanga, which was the way that Didiji introduced him, thanking him for bestowing his saintly association on the devotees.
He quote many other favorite verses from the Gita and Bhagavatam, though he was mostly citing Goswami Tulasidas. Nevertheless, on the whole he was very bhakti oriented.
Some other verses that you don't hear very often that I will remember here are:
tasyāhaṁ sulabhaḥ pārtha nitya-yuktasya yoginaḥ
I am easily obtained, O son of Pritha, by the yogi who is always disciplined and unceasingly remembers me without deviation. (Gita 8.14)
Also, Swamiji used Gita 3.11 in a way I had never heard before, using it as a description of the relation of devotees: By mutually nourishing one another, you will attain the supreme good." (parasparaM bhAvayantaH zreyaH param avApsyatha) This verse is actually on quite a different topic, so perhaps he was thinking of these sweet slokas from the Bhagavatam, 11.3.30-31:
mitho ratir mithas tuṣṭir nivṛttir mitha ātmanaḥ
smarantaḥ smārayantaś ca mithoghaugha-haraṁ harim
bhaktyā sanjātayā bhaktyā bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum
Devotees talk to each other about the sanctifying glories of the Lord. They find pleasure and satisfaction in each other’s association, teaching each other about how all their distresses can be brought to an end, remembering and reminding each other of Krishna who takes away all sins. From this devotional service in practice they develop a higher devotion which makes them ecstatic and the hairs on their bodies stand on end.
In any case, it certainly brings great pleasure to the ears and heart when one hears Hari katha nicely done, and it certainly inspires me to try to do better myself in glorifying the Divine Couple.