Many Forms of Devotion

Live Q&A from Germany
Shree Peetha Nilaya Ashram

Today's Satsang from Paramahamsa Vishwananda answers questions about avoiding pride while giving a performance, who Radha really is, being attracted to the form of the Guruji, and what are His thoughts on astrology, numerology, and tarot.


Jai Gurudev! Welcome again!

I have something to tell you. Nothing really happened today, but yesterday night some funny thing happened. 

You see, yesterday I was out of quarantine, so I went walking around a bit. And as we were walking, I went to the temple and, of course, I went to visit the Babaji Cave where the museum for the saints of India have been kept. I was looking at all the relics that have been collected, because I like go and look around, and check if Swami Keshava who is in charge of the saint museum has kept everything properly. So, as I was going around, there was one corner which intrigued me. And that corner was the unknown saint’s relics. I was drawn towards that.

I went to this unknown saint's relics and I was looking [and thinking] maybe I would recognise some of the relics and I ask Swami Keshava what they are. As I was looking, I saw some clothes, very nicely, neatly packed and on it was written ‘unknown saint’s relic’. I was looking at that robe, looking at those clothes, and I said, ‘Those clothes look very familiar to me.’ And I was wondering where did I see this clothes? Then I asked Swami Keshava, ‘Please, can we open these clothes?’ Then we opened the clothes (actually, it is these clothes which I’m wearing right now!)  It was a clothes that a devotee from Kenya had sent in January with Swami Paranthapa together with one shirt, and I said, ‘How can you think that this is unknown relic?  Actually, I have not even worn these clothes.’ And he said, ‘Yes, there was no name, and I got it with the bag with the relics!’

Somehow that bag was in January when we came back from India, and the bag of the saints relics was with me, so these clothes were put there by mistake and Swami Keshava thought, ‘Okay, this is also a relic, but I don’t know whose name it is.’ When I saw that, we had a really great laugh. I’m wearing these clothes, because the devotee asked me in Vrindavan, ‘Did you find those clothes?’ You know, I think Swami Paranthapa asked me. And I said, ‘Yes, yes, it’s in Germany.’ But I didn’t know that it would already go into the saint museum, so that was funny!

Another thing, When I came back from India, Drishti and Jaigopalananda were thinking to start an Online Darshan. They were asking me how we could do it, and I think soon we will start to have Darshan online also. You see, for the Master it's not a problem, no matter where you are, wherever you are in the world, to have that. I’ve been talking with the media team about how we will do it. Energetically that is not a difference, that is not a problem. So that’s what we’ve been discussing today.

When we play an instrument, sing or dance, how do we ensure that we are coming from a place of servitude to guru and God and not from a place of pride, and how do we avoid pride arising in the first place?

The whole aim of you playing an instrument or singing, what is the aim of that? When you are singing for example just for your pleasure, for your happiness and you are playing an instrument, you feel proud about what you are doing, of course. That comes from a place where the ego is exalted. You are doing it for pleasing yourself. How long does that happiness last? It doesn’t for a long time.

When you are singing in bhajan, for example and when you are playing an instrument for the sake of pleasing the Lord Himself, it’s a different attitude. In that you completely forget about yourself. You see, when you see somebody is singing and dancing for the Lord, he is not thinking, ‘How am I dancing?’ You see in the temple here or in Darshan or wherever, you see people dancing all kinds of dances, but they are not thinking about themselves. They are absorbed in saying, ‘Yes, I am singing for the sake of the Lord!’ They are not thinking, ‘Yes, now I will sing like this and God will be happy.’ The moment you think like that, then it is ‘I!’, ‘I am singing!’ It is, ‘How I am singing’, ‘What I am singing’? That changes the whole thing.

But when a devotee sings, the devotee doesn’t think. Of course, the devotee has to practice, of course; you can’t sit there and start singing like a frog, you are not a frog! If you want to please the beloved Lord, you have to train yourself and sing in a nice way also. This is your seva, this is what you bring forth towards the Lord. So do you want Him not to have an ear problem and do you want to please Him? Imagine you start singing and He has to put His hands on His ears, blocking His ears and say, ‘Oh my goodness, it is beautiful, I appreciate your devotion, but it is painful for My ears.’ It’s a different mode.

It reminds me, there was a lady who lived in Switzerland. A very rich lady and that lady would have gala parties in her place, and she would sing and she was not good at all, but everybody would clap their hands and everybody would praise her, ‘Yeah, you sing so nicely, so wonderfully!’, because they all wanted favours from her and she was rich, well known, and of course she was proud of her singing. But no one ever told her that she was not singing nicely and she was killing the ears of the people. They had to run away!

I don’t think Bhagavan will. Bhagavan will appreciate what you are giving to Him even if your singing is like a frog, but from your point of view, when you want to please somebody, you give the best of yourself. Because for whom are you doing it? You are doing it to please Him. Inside of your mind when you are singing, you are not thinking about yourself, you are thinking about Him. A devotee when he is singing a bhajan, playing music or dancing to a tune, it is to please the Lord Himself, not his own ego or her own ego. This is the difference when one sings for one’s own pride, one is so aware of every moment, ‘How am I singing?’. Even when they are there, ‘Am I singing right or wrong, am I singing this tune proper or not?’  But a devotee doesn’t. The devotees train themselves and they pour out their hearts to their beloved Lord, to please the One to whom they are singing.

So, it’s not about watching oneself, or judging oneself, it’s about what is your aim in singing. Are you singing for yourself, or are you singing to please Him only, not singing to please yourself firstly, then Him? Like I said to you, when you sing, you give your best.

It’s like when a child is singing. Of course a child when sings, whatever they hear they will just sing it out. But they are singing without thinking. Yesterday somebody sent me a beautiful YouTube where a child is reading the Bhagavatam, and the child was just saying whatever word was coming from her mouth, just saying, and at the end she took the Bhagavatam and was going around. But this is a different innocence in itself, because what the parents have taught the child, the child took from the parents. Like that but it is in pure innocence. 

The same way when it is devoid of your mind itself, even if you are singing not in a right way or the right tune or whatever, Bhagavan will appreciate it, because that devotion with which you are singing, that love with which you are singing, that’s what He longs for. He doesn’t long for the word, He doesn’t long for how much you are praising Him, with beautiful words and all that. Many people praise Him with beautiful words, but those words of praise don’t reach Him. If a word of praise doesn’t have that longing and the love inside of it, it doesn’t have any effect. It doesn’t have any power in itself. But [it does] if it has that longing – when you are singing, dancing, playing music, whatever you are doing in life – if it has that yearning for Him, that love for Him and you know that it is for Him that you are doing it, that in your daily life whatever you do, you are doing it for Him. You are singing, you are singing for Him. So, when this becomes clear for you, then you will see that it comes to Him.

You know, take me for example. I am not a great singer, I have never learned music, I have never learned how to sing. Whatever I listen to, I sing. Sometimes there is mistakes in it, sometimes it’s beautiful, I don’t know, but I sing for Him. Like that, people should open up their hearts and pour it for the Lord, and sing for Him. Always know that whatever you do: dancing, singing, music, whatever in life you do, it is to attain Him.

My spiritual path in the Vaishnava tradition started in ISKCON. Now I am Your devotee. Please answer: Who is Radha, and is She Lakshmi? And who is more ‘Supreme’? If it is possible to even say it like this.

Actually in the Sri Sampradaya, we don’t have Radha as an aspect. In the Sri Sampradaya we talk about Rukmini and Satyabhama. When we look for Radha, for example, She comes later with Jayadev Goswami. You know, in Gita Govinda Jayadev Goswami wrote about Radha. This is the first time Radha’s Name was mentioned. But in Bhagwat, of course, there is aradhana. That word ‘aradhana’ symbolises bhakti, devotion. But not just superficial bhakti, not just superficial devotion, but single-pointed-mind devotion, a devotion without any equal. And this is aradhana, this is Radha itself.

Whoever comes to that state of consciousness, and they rise above, then Radha awakes inside of them, aradhana awakes inside of them: that devotion, a single-pointed mindedness awakens inside of them. So, this is the reason why in South India there is no temple for Srimati Radharani.

But you see, everybody has their own understanding of things. It can be that devotion is pictured in the form as Srimati Radharani. Like often when we look in Hinduism, all the divinity, all the saints, which incarnate very often are aspects of the Lord Himself. Some incarnate as the sword of the Lord incarnate, or the Sudarshana-chakra of the Lord incarnate, or the Gada incarnate or any aspect of the Lord incarnates.

So it’s not that Radha didn’t exist. For sure may be She existed, but in the Bhagavatam it’s not mentioned that She existed. But there is a story in the Bhagwat itself, Canto 10, where one of the gopis is mentioned, and that she had a special relationship to Krishna and she served Krishna in a very special way. Her name is not mentioned, but they knew that she was the daughter of Vrishbhanu. They used to call her Vrishbhanuja, and from that as you know very well that Radha’s father was Vrishbhanu. So on that context, Srimati Radharani is there, and serving Krishna in a special way. Who else would serve Krishna in a special way if it is not Her? Throughout history many things have been changed, and Vrishbhanuja became Srimati Radharani.

And the second part of the same question, whether Radharani is Maha-Lakshmi. You see, to be near to the Lord, of course, we know that Maha-Lakshmi in Her incarnation during Krishna’s time incarnated as Rukmini. Rukmini Maharani was the incarnation of Maha-Lakshmi. But Maha-Lakshmi has many aspects of Herself, you see? It’s not one aspect. We have the Ashta Lakshmi, the eight aspects of Maha-Lakshmi which manifest into the eight aspects of the queens also. But does She have only eight aspects? She has multitudes of aspects. So, to be with the Lord, of course, Srimati Radharani is also an aspect of Maha-Lakshmi. Next to Sriman Narayana there is always Lakshmi, in all incarnations, whenever you see, there is no other. She comes in the form of Sita, and here She comes in the form of Srimati Radharani. For sure, there is an aspect of Her also in Her. Like that, that potency of Her did manifest there also.

Is it wrong to be attracted and attached to Your physical form? Also, is it possible that Your Giridhariji could give us His Darshan? We all miss Him.

Well, this physical form one day will go away. Of course, as much as you can be attached to it, you have to bear in mind that it is not permanent. You see? Of course if you have found your Master in your life, you have to consider that as the most important thing. If you are not attached to your Master, to whom would you attach? You will not attach to somebody else’s Master. Your teacher, your guru, is yours; of course, you have to be attached to your guru. And also one thing you have to bear in mind is that the guru is not the same as normal people. You see, the aspect of the guru is also similar to the aspect of the Divine itself. So, attachment to the guru and attachment to the Divine in a form is not the same as being attached to the worldly aspect of the outside. You see, especially the satguru doesn’t come on Earth whenever the people come. No. There must be an aim for that. When the aim is that, Bhagavan said, in Chapter 4, ‘I come into this world for the sake of My devotee.’

You know, when He said in Chapter 4, verse 7 and 8 you know, ‘yada yada hi darmashya’, one of the most famous verses, ‘Whenever there is the uprising of unrighteousness, I incarnate Myself.’ It is not just something which just happens like that. But for what does one incarnate itself? ‘For the upliftment of righteousness, to destroy the wickedness and to save dharma. Then I come forth into this world, I take a form.’ Bhagavan, who is the Supreme Lord, which dwells in everything, He manifests. Like yesterday I was saying, if He has created the whole vast universes, and He has created the Earth with colours, forms and everything, do you think He can’t take a form for Himself? But that form which He takes for Himself has a specific purpose itself. That specific purpose is to bring that righteousness again, that righteousness which people have forgotten about they have. They forgot about their true aspect, they forgot about their true identity. So when you forget about your true identity being parcel of the Divine itself, then a reminder, the teacher, will come. Bhagavan Krishna came, and, of course, many Masters have come as a reminder, reminding their people who they are. It’s nothing to do with the Master. The Master has come in full Realisation.

You see, it’s not like a teacher who has learned something and then said, ‘Okay, I have learned something, then I want to give you something.’ No, an incarnation is different. A descent is different, let’s call it like that. A descent is different. It comes with its full knowledge of everything. It comes as a reminder of humanity itself. So being attached to that principle and really understanding that you are attaching to something which is beyond your comprehension, beyond the mind to comprehend, beyond this physical realm, something which is eternal, that essence which resides within the Master itself, to that you are attaching yourself. Understanding that true knowledge, of course, you can attach to the Master also. You have to know that this physical aspect will disappear one day, but what will stay is that essence which the Master has taught you and has given you.

Today we were talking with Swami Revati, just after lunch, and yesterday I was looking at some of the old pictures, like 15 years ago, when we were in Steffenshof, and I was looking at Swami Pritala and I was laughing because he has changed a lot. And even yesterday when I was saying to Jiva, ‘This is Swami Pepe’, and he said, ‘Oh, wow, he aged a lot!’ Sorry Pepe if you are listening to that, but… it’s true. And I was looking at even Swami Revati and everybody else, I said wow, everybody's changed. And I was looking at myself also in one of the pictures, said, one thing, apart from my hair, I don’t think anything has changed really. And it’s true. Then he was saying, yes. Somebody else also asked him this question. I think it’s only that I am losing hair and it is becoming white. Apart from that, I don’t see the difference.

So changes do happen. One day this form will not be here, but what I have teach you, what I have given you, that will always be with you. And when that attachment to the physical transforms into the attachment to that Supreme, what I want you to be attached to is the Supreme Lord’s Feet. And if you don’t see the difference between the two, then be attached to that, it’s fine.

Dear Guruji, what is Your opinion of astrology, numerology, tarot, angel cards or divination in general?

Astrology. What is my point of view on that? You see, astrology is a very old science. I don’t how many people can really do the astrological chart nowadays, as truly how it used to be, but astrology is a very old science. When you look at the Hindu tradition, for example, we see that everything is based on astrology. People will do things like, when you have to build a temple, you build a house or you start a business, for example, they will always consider when is it a good time to start something? You see, in that perspective, this knowledge, this science itself, shows that there is always a good time which will bring you auspiciousness. It will be favourable for you if you start something on that day.

Like for, example, soon will be Akshaya Tritiya, no? On the 26th of April. And Akshaya Tritiya is one of the best days to start anything, whether you want to start business, study, or anything that you start on that particular day, it bears complete positiveness.

So, you see that on certain days or on certain times, it can be very favourable for somebody. In that context, astrology helps in understanding. It’s not about telling you about your life, because everything is irrelevant: it all depends on how you are living your life. If you live your life like a dog, of course, you can’t expect that tomorrow you’ll be an angel. First the change must happen, then you can transform into that angel. But if you have faith in what you are doing, truly, and really move in a nice way, of course, things will be nice to you. Everything good will happen to you.

You can’t expect that because astrology has told you something it must be like that. It all depends also upon your ideas of things, how you think about things. When you are thinking negatively, you cannot expect positive to come out of it even if the astrology said, ‘No, positiveness will come out of it.’ First that transformation must happen for positiveness to come out from it.

Very often you see people who go to astrologer and they expect a miracle to happen, because they think that the astrologer will tell them. Of course, in this world nowadays you have all kinds of people who will tell you what you want to hear. You want to hear about your astrological chart. This has happened: I’ve been to some, like for example, palm readers, you know, in South India when I was young. I wanted to know, really, if they were right or not, you see. I’ve been to a palm reader. First they ask you hundreds of questions. You see, be clever about that. First, by asking you so many questions, they know about your life completely. Like it is said, ‘Tell me who you keep the company of and I will tell you who you are’? They ask you a hundred questions and through that, then, they are very clever. They ask you, but you think that, ‘Wow’. Then they will go and after some time they come back with the chart, they say, ‘Yes, we have found the chart.’ And it’s all in Sanskrit. You don’t understand anything what is written on it. And, of course, you are so mesmerised and they start telling you everything that you told them already. There is nothing new about it.

You see, very often I like to go around and test all these things, also, and they told everything that you already told them. Of course, they don't use the same names. They tell you, ‘Oh, your father’s first letter is written. It starts like this.’ But already before they asked you about that. You already forgot about it because there were so many questions asked.

I don’t say that everybody is like that. There are some good ones. Once I went, when I was young, to one Indian person who was from south - from Varanasi. He came to Mauritius. Actually, now he lives in Mauritius. He was the only person who really told me, without asking anything, about me. And, yeah, of course, not everything about me, because the only things he could tell was what he could see, so that’s what he would tell.

Once, one of my aunties went to one temple in the middle of Mauritius and she was so impressed with the priest and what the priest was telling her. And I said, ‘Okay, fine, I would like to go and see also.’ I went there and funny, that priest was from south India. He checked everybody, he could tell. But he came to me and he said, ‘I cannot see anything. I can’t see anything. This is completely strange.' And that’s how I knew: Yes, he couldn't see because I didn’t want him to see.

Like that, astrology can tell you certain things and can put you on a certain direction in life and, of course, it can inspire you also. If you believe in that, then it can help you.

Then, the next thing is… Numerology. Of course, numbers, the play of numbers, there are certain people who can truly read about numbers. But not everybody can tell you about numbers. You have to be a really good numerology person. Then you can calculate the destiny of somebody. Because your life is not based on numbers. If your life was based on numbers, then why are you living your life? Then count numbers. if somebody is really good, then they can tell you good things about certain numbers of your life. Because each number holds a certain secret. I’m not well-versed in these numbers things, but very often you will notice a certain numbers which are good for some people and certain numbers which are not good for some people.

For example, number 13. Very often people say it’s a very bad number in the West, especially. Number six is terrible, that's the number is for the devil himself. Poor number six, what has this to do with the devil? It has nothing to do with it! 

Numbers, of course, on the psychological level, hold a certain strength and power. And, for example, in India we believe very much in number nine. But we have to see why we believe it as number nine: because this number nine is a full number. It’s a number which, multiplied by itself, will give you always nine. It is always coming back to the source. It represents that where you come from, you will go back there again. You know, it’s about life itself. Like 108, again it is nine. Like that a certain number can represent certain things. Like I was saying, number 13. In the West, people say it’s very bad and brings bad luck. But for example, for me, number 13 is great. I like it. It is very lucky whenever I use number 13.

And, Tarot, this is a bit different than numerology and astrology. Tarot comes from a saint, saint Bernard of Clairvaux himself who created the Tarot cards. It was created in a good way, you know. Actually, it was created during the time when they were going for the siege of Constantinople and to take back Jerusalem, which was captured by the Saracens, all this stuff. Tarot cards were created to give a certain direction. Actually very often you will see that people, let’s say they have a question, and then they write on a piece of paper if yes or no, or they will have several yeses and several no’s and then they will put it in a bag and they will shake it, and then they take one out. If it is ‘yes’, they will have a certain courage inside of them and they will do it. And if it is ‘no’, then they will not do it.

Tarot was also an interpretation of what can be. It is an estimation of probabilities. Due to that estimation, people used to do it in that way. I’m talking about in 13th Century. I’m not talking now.

Of course, throughout time Tarot card have changed why it was created. It has become a thing to divinate, to predict the future, and to tell people about what will happen. But you have to see, throughout time, this has come to a certain notion of having certain energy into it. Actually, this energy, it can be good or it can be bad energy. 

Utilising this, you are working with a world that is unknown to you. Very often people who work in that, if they don’t know about it, maybe they have just done a course, and said, ‘Yes, it’s so beautiful, I will do it.’ You see, if you don’t know what you are doing, and which energy you are working with, it can be very dangerous for you and for the people who you think you are helping. So what and how you are interpret it also is very important. Sometimes people interpret it in a positive way, if you have that positivity inside of you. But if you don’t, and you have a person who has negativity inside, they will interpret it also according to what they have inside. People view things according to what they see. Like I said to you, very often with these games there is also a spirit attached to it. And that is one thing that one has to be very careful pf, because if you adventure into that, like Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Verse 25, ‘Those who worship the ancestors, go to the ancestors. Those who worship the ghosts, go to ghosts. And those who worship Me come to Me.’

So this is a reminder, also: what are you playing with, which energy are you are playing with? Bear in mind when you create a certain attachment to things, you will go back to that. Very often people become so dependent upon that, these things, that they get stuck in it. You see, like Krishna said, those who worship ancestors, they will go to the ancestors, because you have that faith into this ancestry way of things. Those who worship the ghosts, automatically, spirits and entities, all this stuff which is linked very often to that, you will go back to these, because you have built a relationship to them. When you build a relationship to these entities and spirits, of course, they would like to have you.

But those who build a relationship to God, they will attain God Himself. So, bear in mind that this can be also very dangerous, you see? It depends upon how one is using it. And very often people use these things, for what reason? For material gain?

Again, in the Gita itself, in the same verse, Krishna said, ‘Those who worship the Devas, go to the Devas.’ The Devas imply everything that is material, everything which is built upon something which is tangible. Those who long for that, who believe in that, they will go to that sphere of the Devas, they will go back again into nature, back again into this plane, whether it is a lower plane or other plane. But this is not permanent. Due to this aim which you are focusing upon, that will become your reality.

You see Tarot cards also give that kind of attachment and reality. Understand that, first.

Tarot cards, Angel cards, it’s the same, Angel cards are just mostly more positive, you see? It’s not much different from the Tarot cards. When we talk about angels right now, very often the Angel cards give you nice and positive affirmation. That's what you call Angel cards: positive affirmations. It starts to make you think positive and give you a certain direction in life, which is in a positive way. An Angel card will not tell you tomorrow you will die, so you will not have this hanging man, like in Tarot cards, but it gives you mostly a positive affirmation about your life itself.

And divination in general…everybody would like to know about their future. Who would not like to know what will be tomorrow? Everybody would like to know, but does somebody really know what will be tomorrow? No. You know, last year did you know that today you would all be sitting inside your houses and you would not be able to go out? No, you didn’t know!

It is how it has to be, you see? Some people have the gift to perceive things, and to see things. Of course, these people are quite rare, if you ever find somebody who will not just tell you things that are pleasing to you. Because very often people like this. They go to people who like to tell them things which make them feel good. But that will not help you, because as much as you think that this will help you, it is putting you in a trap. And that trap is you are getting more dependent, because they are beautiful words, telling you what you want to hear. But they can’t give you protection for that. Of course, they will tell you, ‘Yes, if you do this and that.’ I have met many people like that, but why do they do that? Very often nowadays, they do that because they want your money, because people pay a lot of money. And they will tell you many stories.

It happened to me. Once I was in San Francisco and we were passing (I remember telling Pepe about it) by this [alley]. On the main road there was this sign ‘Oh, come, we’ll read…’, these people are clairvoyants, or whatever they are called. I said, ‘Pepe, I want to go inside.’ And he said, ‘Okay, fine.’ I went in, and the lady was very nice lady and very sweet. I sat there. I was dressed normal. And the lady started and said, ‘Oh…’ She said, ‘Where are you from?’ First, I said Mauritius. She didn’t know where Mauritius was. Then she said, okay. I said India. Okay fine. ‘Ah yes, I can see you work in a computer field, and you are engineer.’ Whatever. And I was looking and said, ‘Me? Computers?! I have no idea about computers.’  If Pankaja doesn’t help me with electronics, it’s very difficult for me. Even my phone itself. I was so happy to learn very much about the remote control for the TV, so that was my latest learning about that. Because I don’t have any interest in that. 

Then she was saying that I was a great computer freak. I said I don’t know anything about computers. And then she was saying, ‘Oh, you will marry. Your wife is beautiful and you will have three children.’ And I said, ‘You are sure you are looking at me?’ And I said, ‘I don’t have only three children, I have thousands of children.  Maybe you don’t see that.’ 

But people see what they project, and what they have inside of themselves. They are not telling you about you. They are telling you about themselves. So, just be careful.

Like I said to you, when the saints tell you something, have full faith in that. Even if the saints tell you your future will be like this and like this – which often the saints don’t do, because they let things happen how it’s meant to happen. They will not go and tell you about your future or your past. What’s the use of staying in the past or having anxiety for the future? No, you have to be in the present moment. When you live in that present moment, you can really appreciate what God has given you. That’s why the saints and the gurus don’t talk about these things. If it is meant to be, if you say okay, something I can change, then I will do it. But not for the sake of, yes, go against the law of nature.

I’ll tell you a beautiful story. You see, two days before the Mahabharat war, the Kurukshetra was a forest. They had to uproot the trees, to remove the trees, to make places [to battle]. As they were uprooting the trees, they used the big elephants and everything. The elephant would come and with its trunk, uproot the tree and just put it away.

When they were doing that, on one of the trees was a sparrow who had four little babies. When the tree was uprooted, the nest fell down and luckily the babies were all fine. The mother sparrow seeing that said, ‘How can I protect my babies?’ And she saw Krishna and Arjuna inspecting the area and the mother felt, ‘He is the Supreme Lord, let me take shelter of Him.’ She flew to Krishna and praised Krishna, said, ‘Krishna, You are the Lord of the universe, You are the Supreme Lord Himself, please help me, help my babies, help us, because the tree has fallen down and soon will be the war and we will all be crushed down and, finish, we will be dead.’

Krishna said to the sparrow mother, ‘No, I can’t help you. I have to let nature carry on the way it has to be. If it’s meant for you to die, you will die. If it’s meant for you to live, you will live. But I should not interfere into the realm of Mother Nature itself.’

Then the sparrow said, ‘You are the Supreme Lord, You are the saviour and I have come and taken shelter of You. You do whatever You want. You want me and my children to die, we will die. If You want to save us, it’s all in Your hands.’

Krishna was pleased with the faith that this sparrow had in Him, and Krishna said to the sparrow, ‘Collect food for the next 21 days.’

So when that sparrow was in front of Krishna, of course, Arjuna saw just a sparrow and was trying to push the sparrow away. Krishna was smiling. But the sparrow collected the food. And after two days the war started.

Before the war, before they started blowing the conch, and making loud noises, Krishna asked Arjuna for his Gandiva and said, ‘Please, Arjuna, give Me your Gandiva, give me your bow.’

And Arjuna said, ‘What do You want the bow for? Tell me, I will do it for You. If You want to shoot something or someone, I’ll do that for You.’ 

He said, ‘No, no, no, no, just give Me.’

He took the bow from Arjuna and He took the arrow, and He shot. He shot an elephant. Not to kill the elephant, just shot the neck of the elephant where the bell was hanging. He shot that arrow and the bell fell down, covering the nest and the babies. And He gave back the bow to Arjuna. Arjuna was laughing, saying, ‘Okay, if You wanted to shoot the elephant, You could have just asked me, I would have shot it. You shot, but You missed the target.’

Krishna didn’t answer.

The war carried on 18 days. After 18 days, Krishna and Arjuna were walking and they were inspecting all the many bodies laying down there. Everywhere were bodies and dead people. Arriving on the spot, Krishna saw a metal thing, a bell, and He said to Arjuna, ‘Arjuna, lift that bell.’

And Arjuna looked at Krishna and was wondering, ‘Why do You want me to lift that bell?’ ‘There are so many things to do, and You want me to lift that bell.’

And Krishna said, ‘No, lift that bell’, He insisted.

Arjuna went there and tried to lift the bell, and it was so heavy. As he lifted a little bit, four little birds flew out from under the bell and the mother sparrow also flew out. And the mother flew around Krishna in gratitude that Krishna had saved her and her little baby birds.

Then Arjuna recognised that bell and said, ‘Ah, this is the bell from the elephant.’

Krishna said, ‘Yes, that is the bell from the elephant.’

‘You were protecting these birds.’

And Krishna said, ‘Yes, she came and asked Me for My protection.’

And he said, ‘What about the elephant?’

He said, ‘Well, that elephant was the elephant who uprooted the tree, that’s why I hit it, but I didn’t want to kill him.’

Like that, when you take shelter at the Feet of the Beloved, even the impossible He will make possible. Even how your life used to be, even what it is meant to be, it is not in your hands: it is in His hands. When you take shelter of Him, when you surrender to Him, you are in His grace. He looks after you, He cares for you, He protects you, He transforms everything in your life. 

This is a beautiful story of surrendering. Don’t surrender to these things, but surrender to the Supreme Lord Himself who is there for you, so that you can attain Him and really be free from this cycle of birth and death.  Otherwise, everything else will keep holding you here, because everything else is held by maya.  But those who surrender to the Beloved Lord, transform into Divine. You attain that ultimate freedom, not a freedom which a deva will give you, but the freedom which only the Ultimate Lord Himself can give you.

Jai Gurudev!