God’s Name not only destroys the effects of past actions, but continuous chanting purifies the Antahkaran too !
|Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj (called ‘Baba’ by His devotees) is the Guru of Sanatan Sanstha’s Founder Paratpar Guru (Dr) Jayant Balaji Athavale. Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj is the Seat of Faith for Sanatan Sanstha.
On the occasion of His Prakatdin (Day of revelation – Magha Shukla Paksha 5 – 5th February 2022), we present some unique aspects of His life and teachings. Even now, 26 years after Baba renounced His body, His devotees all over the world and Sanatan’s seekers experience His presence or have spiritual experiences associated with Him. Such is the Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience of a Saint of the highest order in our times.
May this brief article on His Divine words about chanting God’s Name inspire the readers to embrace Spirituality, perform spiritual practice and fulfil the purpose of human birth – of reaching Moksha (Final Liberation) – this is the humble prayer unto His Holy feet.
1. Significant events in His Spiritual life
* Birth : 7th July 1920 at Manasa, Madhya Pradesh, 7.10 a.m.
* The first Darshan (Vision) of His Guru, Shri Anantanand Saîsh : 9th February 1956.
* Shri Guru giving the Gurumantra to Him : 15th February 1956.
* Shri Guru naming Baba as ‘Bhaktaraj’ : 16th February 1956.
* Mahanirvan (Renouncing His body) : 17th November 1995 at Indore, Madhya Pradesh, 2.45 a.m.
2. Bhajans (Holy songs)
Singing bhajans was Baba’s favourite form of relaxation. In fact, Baba is identified with bhajans and bhajans remind one of Baba. As a disciple, singing bhajans was His spiritual practice as well as seva. Standing before His Guru, He would sing bhajans for hours together. After reaching the level of a Guru, His bhajans became a medium of teaching and guiding His disciples in becoming one with Chaitanya (Divine consciousness). Detailed information on Baba’s bhajans is given in the Holy text – ‘Bhajanamrut : A composition by Saint Bhaktaraj’.
3. Bhraman (Travel)
In these modern times, it is doubtful if there is any other Saint like Baba, who travelled millions of kilometres. Every second or third day, Baba used to visit a new village or town. The motive of His travel was to provide the disciples maximum contact with the Guru, which is essential for their spiritual progress. Due to worldly responsibilities, disciples could not visit Baba regularly; hence Baba visited them Himself. Another reason for this travel was that instead of the disciples having to spend their time and money in travelling from Dhule, Jalgaon, Nasik, Pune, Mumbai, etc. to meet Baba, all of them from a city could meet Him when He came to these places. Thus, they automatically got the benefit of His Darshan, His satsang and seva unto Him.
4. Bhandara (A festival of serving food)
Since food is considered to be one of the superior offerings, Baba organised bhandaras at thousands of places. This helped develop closer ties amongst disciples.
5. Baba : An image of Priti (Spiritual love)
Just as sugar is characterised by its sweetness, Baba’s chief characteristic was His loving nature. He loved for the sake of loving without any expectations. Often He was seen tucking His devotees into blankets or serving food to one visiting Him at any odd time. It was because of this loving nature that He liked having people around Him all the time. When there was no one around Him, He used to get restless; who would He, then, shower His love upon ! Devotees too, were attracted towards Him because of this very singular quality – Priti.
6. The best Guru
Baba used to teach His disciples verbally as well as non-verbally (meaning, through spiritual experiences). At times, however, when Baba would speak, one did not understand what He was teaching because the mind would go blank; the devotee would go into a meditative state. Hence, Baba did not merely teach Spirituality or ask someone to perform spiritual practice, He saw to it that spiritual practice, meaning, chanting, got done by the disciple. How Baba played the role of a Guru is described in the Marathi Holy text – ‘Saint Bhaktaraj : Biography’.
7. His teachings on chanting God’s Name
1. The sun not only destroys excreta, but also its odour. Similarly, the radiance generated by chanting God’s Name destroys the impurities of the mind.
2. Namasankirtan is an easy method to burn off sins of one’s previous births. ‘The Name of Shriram is mightier than Shriram Himself’, He would say. God’s Name not only destroys the effects of past actions, but continuous chanting purifies the Antahkaran (Subconscious mind) too and makes it fit for receiving the seed of Knowledge.
One cannot reap a good harvest unless one ploughs the ground well and works hard; similarly in a human being, the seed of Knowledge cannot sprout until the Antahkaran has been purified. Hence, action, worship, prayer, kirtan (Singing the praises of God), bhajans, etc. are necessary to achieve this.
Destruction of destiny
1. If we (remember to) chant God’s Name at all times, it becomes easier to face destiny, its severity reduces.
2. Chanting also destroys destiny.
Development of devotion and faith
By chanting God’s Name one acquires Anand (Bliss) and Shakti (Divine Energy) increases. When this happens, devotion and faith develop automatically.
Where should one chant ?
Chanting while performing daily activities is a superior spiritual practice to sitting in one place and chanting. In the former, continuity of spiritual practice is maintained. Also, despite living in Maya (The Great Illusion) the person who chants continuously while performing worldly tasks, is beyond the Maya. Maintaining communion with God in all circumstances is called Sahajasthiti.
Concentration, contemplation and chanting
When one consciously tries to chant, some effort is required for concentration. In the process, an element of grossness develops. In comparison, when chanting is continuous, it gets impressed on the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind gets purified and one becomes aware of the constant presence of God’s Name. This is called contemplation and can be considered a spiritual experience.
Signs of spiritual progress
Ritualistic bathing, worshipping, etc. reduce automatically as attachment to the body reduces. Similarly, chanting, etc. reduce automatically when tendencies of the mind diminish.
As one continues to chant while breathing, one notices that chanting has gradually ceased and concentration is only on the breath. At this point, one is able to observe the breathing and only be aware of one’s own existence.
Actions, chanting and God
Chanting while performing actions is better than offering the result of an action to God. However, thinking that God Himself is getting the action performed according to His wish (meaning, thinking that everything happens according to destiny or God’s wish) is the best.
Jnanyoga (Path of Knowledge) and God’s Name
The very first introduction to Parameshwar is through His Name. The subtlemost aspect of the Name, which is its uniqueness too, is the attraction it creates in us towards Parameshwar. Getting drawn towards the Name means ‘remembering’ it.
The True nature of Parameshwar is to attract us towards Himself by making us remember His Name off and on. The Name only creates attraction for God. Thus, the ‘doer’ and the ‘one who gets it done’ are one and the same.
Ghosts & demons and God’s Name
Doubts are ‘ghosts’ and repetitive thoughts are ‘demons’. One is able to get rid of these only by chanting God’s Name.
(Excerpts from Sanatan’s Holy text : ‘The teachings of Saint Bhaktaraj Maharaj’)