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In Srimad Bhagavatam, the tenth canto starts with King Parikshit requesting Sage Shuka to expound on the

exploits of Lord Krishna. Suka being enthralled by King Parikshit’s request confers on him the title of
“Rajarshi” and embarked on the discourse of Krishna Leela. If we see how the Tenth Canto ends it is indeed
very beautiful. The festival of Holi is talked about in the Tenth Canto. The Lord is “sthiracharavrijinagnaka”. He
is all powerful and His Names can destroy all misfortunes [yannaamamangalaghnam] and the Divine Names of
the Lord can destroy the sins of all living being [‘sthira’ and ‘chara’]. His Divine Names and explois are all
powerful and will absolve the sins of everyone. One should do incessant chanting of his Divine Names and listen
to His glories. The Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam closes with this beautiful message.

Nishaji from Houston beautifully delivered a lecture on Nava Yogi Charithra from the eleventh canto. The
eleventh canto is an important canto since it talks about the greatness and importance of Bhagavata Dharma.
Srimad Bhagavatam is just not the work of Sage Veda Vyasa. It is verily Lord Krishna himself. –

“Srimad Bhagavthakyoyam prathyakshah Krishna eva hi”

The various cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam can be visualized as different parts of Lord Krishna. The eleventh
canto is the crown of Lord Krishna’s head. One of the reasons for the eleventh canto to be known as the crown is
because of the innumerable discourses and Upadeshas which are embedded in the eleventh canto. Swami
Vallabacharya beautifully expounds the uniqueness of this canto. He lucidly explains that the eleventh canto
talks about liberation to both the Lord and the common people [jivas]. The Lord became Srimad Bhagavatam to
play in the hands of normal mortals and in the due course liberate the jivas. The Yadava clan who represent the
jivas also attain liberation as shown in the eleventh canto. The eleventh canto lucidly delineated on Bhagavata
Dharma for normal mortals. It starts off with a curse that was cast on the Yadava clan which is elucidated in the
first chapter of eleventh canto. From second chapter onwards Sage Sukha embarks on the journey of expounding
Bhagavata Dharma. Mahans explain great precepts referencing another Bhagavata. In this context, Sage Shuka
elaborated on Bhagavata Dharma by narrating the discussion between Sage Narada and Vasudeva. Sage Narada
used to frequent Dwaraka. During one such visit, Vasudeva confided to Sage Narada and told him that even
though he was living with the Lord, the Supreme Being of the universe, Vasudeva admitted that he was deluded
by Maya. He added that even though he knew the Lord in his previous three births, he asked for a boon to bestow
him with a child, instead of requesting for emancipation and liberation.

So the Lord granted his wish and the Lord became Vasudeva and Devaki’s son. The Lord only maintained a
father-son relationship and did become a guru to Vasudeva. He sent Sage Narada to give Upadesha and in the
process free him from Samsara. Vasudeva took refuge in Sage Narada and earnestly requested him to elaborate
on Bhagavata Dharma. After having heard the request put forth by Vasudeva, Sage Narada was immensely
pleased since when somebody speaks about Bhagavata Dharma, the Lord is very happy. So sage Narada was
very happy since he now had a chance to make the Lord happy. He started to explain Bhagavata Dharma by
reproducing the dialogue between King Nimi of Videha Desha and the Nava Yogis, who are the sons of Rishabha
Yogishawara who is verily the incarnation of the Lord. The nine sons were Kavi, Hari, Prabuddha, Anthariksha,
Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumila,Chamasa and Karabhajana. The nine yogis are great Mahans and devotees of
the highest order. They have completely won over the Lord and hence simply roam around without any
limitations. They once arrived at a place where a sacrifice [spiritual austerities] was being performed by King
Nimi. When the king saw the nine yogis, he was overjoyed and extended a warm welcome with all the
paraphernalia. After having seated the guests, he put forth a set of questions to them.

He said that the human birth is indeed very rare and even if one is bestowed with a human life it is very short.
Having said this, rarer than human birth is satsang amidst great devotees of the Lord. He was so pleased with the
Nava Yogis presence and thought that he was indeed blessed by their visit and hence requested them to elaborate
on Bhagavata Dharma.

The Yogis were very excited on hearing King Nimi’s request and each one of them started their parlance on
different aspects of Bhagavata Dharma.

The first Yogi, Kavi started off his discourse. His upadesha which contains eleven slokas contains the entire
quintessence of the scriptures. Mahans lucidly convey the beautiful precept that the fruit that one reaps by
reading these eleven slokas by Kavi Yogishwara is equivalent to that of reading the entire Bhagavad Gita.

Kavi Yogi embarked on his discourse.

“manyaekuthaschithbayamachyuthasya padambhujopasanamaatra nithyam |

Udvignabudhaerasamathmabhavadhvishwathmana yatra nivarthathae bihi ||” [11.2.33]

Here go the maxims of Kavi yogi. The only way to free oneself from the fear of samsara is take refuge in the
Lord’s lotus feet. Whatever actions one performs, one has to finally take shelter in the Lord’s lotus feet. This is
verily the crux of Bhagavata Dharma. Kavi added that when one follows the path of Bhagavata Dharma, all the
obstacles in the path of the devotee will be absolved. He goes one step further and said that even when one
follows the path of Bhagavata Dharma in a blind-folded manner, he will be taken to the lotus feet of the Lord
even if he is devoid of any knowledge in the scriptures. Kavi Yogi also elucidated as to how one should follow
the path of Bhagavata Dharma. One does not need to renounce his family, friends and can continue to do what he
was doing. The one and only thing that one needs to modify is one’s mental outlook [mano bhava].

Kavi says –

“Kayena Vacaha manasendriyaiva bhudyathmana vaanusruthasvabhavath|


Karothi yaad yath sakalam parasmai narayanayaethi samarpayaethat||” [11.2.36]

Whatever one does with his mind, whatever one does utters with his mouth, all the actions emanating due to
one’s senses [vasanas] which manifests itself as one’s swabhava should all be offered unto the holy feet of the
Lord. The result of any action should be offered to the Lord. One should clearly come to terms with the fact that
it is verily the Lord who is behind every action and everything in this world has the Lord in it. With this precept
well understood one should then realize that whatever deed one performs does not matter as long as one offers
the fruit of that action to the Lord. When one thus performs actions with a feeling of service mindedness [Seva
Buddhi], it instills more dedication and as a result one derives happiness in doing whatever work one does. Seva
Buddhi is verily viewing every action as the work of the Lord and that everyone has the Lord in them. This
mentality will dawn in one only if he offers the result of his actions unto the holy feet of the Lord. This beautiful
precept is called Karma Yoga. It can also be paraphrased as offering the fruits of one’s actions to the holy feet of
the Lord.

By adhering to the path of Karma Yoga, it will instill the taste of Bhagavata Dharma and then one starts to enjoy
the paths of Shravanam and Keerthanam which are the direct paths to reach the holy feet of the Lord. So Kavi
Yogi says, -

“Shrunvan subhadraani rathangapanaerjaanmaani karmaani cha yaani lokae|


Geethani naamani thadarthakaani gaayan vilajo vicharethasangahah||” [11.2.39]
In Prahalada charithra, Prahalada expounds on the nine different ways to perform bhakti. Kavi Yogi picks only
Shravanam and Keerthanam out of the nine different paths because the other seven paths might require
extraneous sources to aid that path. To substantiate, archanam might need flowers. The path of Atma nivedanam
cannot be practiced by one and all. Only people who have completely surrendered to the holy feet are indeed
eligible. In the age of Kali, there is lot of predicament in following the other seven paths. So Kavi Yogi picks the
two easiest ways – Shravanam and Keerthanam. Our Guru Maharaj very beautifully conveys a fact that by
following the path of Shravanam and Keerthanam, the other seven paths of bhakti will be bestowed on us. The
other seven paths are artifacts of Shravanam and Keerthanam.

The path of Keerthanam is easier than Shravanam. Keerthanam is verily calling out the Lord’s name without any
inhibition. Nama Sankirtan is singing aloud the Lord’s names and Nama Japam is doing penance on the Lord’s
name. By incessantly complying in the path of Nama Sankirtan and Nama Japa, one will reach the exalted state
of Nama Smaranam where the Divine Names of the Lord reverberates in one without any effort and that is bound
to take one unto the holy feet of the Lord.

kalau kalmasHa chittAnAm pApadravyOpa jIvinAm |


vidhikriyA vihInAnAm gathir gOvinda kIrtanam ||

In this Age of Kali, where the mind is impure and where living by prescribed rules is difficult, the only way to
liberation is singing the Holy Name of God!

It is a fact that the Lord grants liberation [mukti] to one and all, but instills bhakti for only a chosen few. The only
way for the Lord to bestow bhakti on one is to follow the path of Namasankirtan.

SO Kavi says,

“Evamvratha svapriyanamakeerthya jaathanuraago druthachitha uchaihi |

Hasathyatho roditi routhi gaayathi unmaadavannruthyathi lokabhahyaha||” [11.2.40]

Kavi Yogi requests one and all that if one chant the name of the Lord in a mechanical manner akin to the path of
vratha, that will take one to the epitome of prema bhakti. A prema bhakta’s mind will melt away when he hears
the divine names of the Lord and will have tears rolling over his eyes and also experience horripilation. There is
only one eye through which one can see the Lord. It is verily the eye of bhakti.

When the Lord incarnated as Rama and Krishna, everyone had a chance to see the Lord. But the key take away is
nobody viewed Lord Krishna in the way Gopis of Brindavan did. It is not important if the normal mortals got a
chance to see the Lord, but it is the vice versa. It is only through the path of Nama Sankirtan that will make the
Lord see his devotees. When one reaches that epitome of prema bhakti, then one will see the Lord everywhere
says Kavi.

“Kam Vaayumagnim salilam mahim cha jyotimshi sathvaani dhisho dhrumadin|


Sarithsamudhramcha hareha shariram yath kincha bootham pranamedhananyaha||” [11.2.41]

One will see the Lord in all the five elements of the universe [sky, wind, water, agni and land] and by reaching
this state of bhakti, one will automatically be relieved from the fear of samsara.
Kavi Yogi thus expounded on the Bhagavata Dharma in a succinct manner. To summarize, one should offer all
the results of our actions to the holy feet of the Lord. By doing this, it will instill the taste of Bhagavata dharma in
one which will eventually bestow the path of the divine name chanting in one. By practicing the path of Nama
Sankirtan, that will take one to the highest state which is the state of viewing everyone and everything as an
embodiment of the Lord. One we reach this state, the fear of samsara is absolved and one will remain in the joyful
state forever.

The satsang ended with prayers and Nama Sankirtan.

The eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam can be viewed as the crown jewel of Lord Sri Krishna since it contains
many profound Vedantic truths which are expounded throughout the eleventh canto. In the first upadesha of the
Nava Yogi’s, Kavi Yogi gave the beautiful precept of surrendering all the fruits of one’s action to the Lord’s holy
feet and in the process relieve one from the fear of samsara. One needs to take refuge onto the holy feet of the
Lord. One should perceive everything and everyone as Lord Krishna. This is called as Karma Yoga. Practicing
the path of Karma Yoga will instill in one the taste of Bhagavata Dharma which is verily singing the divine
names of the Lord and listening to His divine stories. This discourse was beautifully delivered by Kavi Yogi to
King Nimi.

After listening to the discourse by Kavi Yogi, King Nimi said, “Oh Nava Yogis, among all men, what are the
characteristics that differentiate these Bhagavatas from other men. King Nimi requested then requested the Nava
Yogis to expound on the characteristics of Bhagavatas. He was very eager to know about their dispositions and as
to how they conduct themselves. In reply to King Nimi’s question, Hari Yogi started to expound on the
characteristics of Bhagavathotamas.

Sarvae Bootaeshu ya pashyeth bhagavathbhaavamathmanaha |


Boothani bhgavathathman yaesha bhagavathothamaha || [11.2.45]

Gruhithvapi indriyairarthaan yon a dvaeshti hrushyathi |


Vishnormaayam idhampashyan sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.48]

Na Kaam karma bhijanam yasya chaetasi sambhavaha |


Vasudevaikanilayaha sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.50]

Na yasya janmakarmabhayam na varnashramajaathibihi |


Sajjathaesminahambhavo daehae vai sa harehae priyaha || [11.2.51]

People in general can be classified into three categories on any level of comparison. They are verily Uttama,
Madhyama and Adhama. Sage Suka lucidly elaborates that one should not use the term Adhama when describing
any Bhagavatas. It is verily because even though he might be in the lowest step of the ladder in his life, as long as
he prays the Lord for anything in his life can only be called as a blessed soul [bhagyawan]. Sage Suka coined a
new term for the third category of the Bhagavatas as “Prakrutha”. The three categories for Bhagavatas are
Praakruthan, Madhyaman and Uttaman.

Shri Sridhara Swamigal in his dissertation very beautifully describes the term Prakruthan. It implies “Prakrutha
Prarambhaha” which means he is in the very early stages of bhakti. The next category of Bhagavatas is called as
Madhyama. They are in a little advanced state in the path of bhakti. They don’t feel jealous of others and don’t
wish bad for others. They however pray to the Lord to satiate their mundane needs. The third category of
Bhagavatas is Uttamas. They perform bhakti for attaining liberation from the cycle of samsra [mukti]. The Lord
classifies this kind of Mumukshus as Satvikaas. The Bhagavatotamas are the rarest of all Bhagavatas. They
perform bhakti for the sake of bhakti. They enjoy the divine plays of the Lord and derive happiness in chanting
the Divine Names of the Lord.

The devotee of the highest order sees the Lord in every living organism in this world without an iota of
difference. They celebrate everyone with love. There are infinite examples to substantiate this precept. Sant
Jnaneshwar saw the Lord in a wall which is achetanam (insentient). He made the wall move.

In Bhagavad Gita, it is said that a humble devotee of the highest order sees a brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog
as the very Lord and does not show prejudice to anyone. He adheres to the path of Samadharshanam

vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi hastini


sunichaiva sva-pake cha panditah sama-darsinah [Bhagavad Gita 5.18]

Mahans go a step further and say that to see the Lord in a Brahman who is self effulgent and is an embodiment of
peace is not that great. Mahans paraphrase the term Samadharshanam as to one who sees the Lord in a
poverty-stricken man. It show universal love to all living beings is indeed Samadharshanam, proclaim the
mahans.

If we see the episode of Priyavrata, he took an ever-lasting vow to show love to everyone. Even when somebody
came to slain him, he was still loving to the killer.

Namazhawar in his pasurams “vaada malar kondu vaarir adhan naamam veenae tharalamae”

Vaada malar connotes to a flower that has not lost its fragrance. Namazhwar in his above hymn refers to that
eternal Lord who is ever compassionate in everyone has the vaada malar . To perceive love in everything and in
everyone is one of the main characteristics of a Bhagavathotama.

Now, how do we know that someone is really exhibiting true love? There is a quick test and it is known as
Paropakarartham. Having the very thought to be of some help to others constantly is a clear trait of exhibiting
love, akin to how each and every part of a tree is useful to everyone.

In the life-history of great devotees of the Lord Panduranga, Sant Ekanath saw the Lord in a donkey. Sant
Gnaneshwar saw the Lord in a buffalo. He made the buffalo speak Vedas. Let’s start to reminisce another
incident from a great Bhagavata in Puri kshetra. This great devotee took a vow to consume his meal everyday
only after serving a sadhu. Puri was filled with sadhus and there was absolutely no shortage for sadhus. One day,
the Lord of Puri, Lord Jegannatha decided to play a small prank on this devotee. There was no sadhu present in
Puri and so this great devotee of the Lord could not feed anyone and hence was quite upset. His family was also
waiting to be fed but this devotee was eagerly waiting to feed a sadhu before his family consumed the meal for
the day. As he was patiently waiting, he heard someone on the street calling out the divine names of the Lord
“Narayana Hari”. Hearing the sound of the divine names, he rushed outside and saw a sadhu. He was however
inflicted with leprosy and was not in a presentable state. This devotee on seeing the sadhu in such a condition did
not hesitate to welcome him. His family left the house once the sadhu entered the house. But this great devotee
provided a warm hospitality. When he just touched the feet of the sadhu, the sadhu disappeared and there stood
the Lord of Puri, Sri Jegannath Swami. That is verily how the Bhagavathotamas see everyone as the Lord
himself.
Gruhithvapi indriyairarthaan yon a dvaeshti hrushyathi |
Vishnormaayam idhampashyan sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.48]

He who sees the whole universe as the very creation of Lord Maya is indeed a Bhagavathotama. He only
perceives the mundane world because of his senses, and he neither experiences delight nor repulsion. There is
one connection between all the different creations in this world and it is the Lord in each and every creation.

Another classic characteristic of a Bhagavathotama is that they are not affected by happiness or sorrow. The
testimony to this is the life-history of Jadabharatha. He was in tranquil state even when the tribal folks were about
to cut off his head.

Na Kaam karma bhijanam yasya chaetasi sambhavaha |


Vasudevaikanilayaha sa vai bhagavathotamaha || [11.2.50]

Bhagavathotamas are not attracted by fame, money, women is another outstanding quality in them.

Let’s reminisce another incident from Sri Vedanta Deskiar. He was contemporary with that of Krishnandevaraya
who was the king. He wanted to have Vedanta Desikar in his ministry and hence sent a word out through his
assistants. Vedanta Desikar was an epitome of knowledge and led a very simple life. The king had sent a
palanquin to bring Vedanta desikar to the court. The ministers upon reaching the residence of Vedanta Desikar,
told him that they had come to let him know that the king wanted him to be the minister in his court and that they
have come to take him along in the palanquin. At that very moment, after hearing the news, Vedanta Desikar
composed “Vairagya Panchakam” containing five verses. He nicely folded the verses and placed it inside the
palanquin and asked the ministers to take it back to the king.

One of the five verses of Vairagya Panchakam is mentioned below -

na me pitrArjitam kinchit na mayA kinchidArjitam |


asti me hastishailAgre vastu paitAmaham dhanam ||

In the above verse, Bhagavatotamas know that their ancestors are none other than the children of the Lord and
that it is the responsibility of the Lord to take care of them. They don’t go out and ask for support from anybody
since they consider it as a shameful act not for them but for their father who is none other than Lord Krishna
himself.

That is the feeling that the Bhagavatotamas carry with themselves.

After the beautiful discourse, the satsang concluded with prayers and Namasankirtan.

The eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam is known as the crown of Bhagavatha Purusha who is verily Lord
Krishna. In the previous lectures we enjoyed the first two Nava Yogis Kavi and Hari Discourses to the king of
Videha, King Nimi. The first Yogi, Kavi in his concise discourse of eleven slokas, conveyed the beautiful
precept that the path of Bhakti Yoga. He expounded the Bhakti yoga in simple terms which is chanting the divine
names of the Lord and listening to the glories of the Lord and that will indeed lead one to the holy feet of the
Lord. He gave the essence of Srimad Bhagavad Gita in just eleven slokas. After the discourse of Kavi Yogi, Hari
Yogi started to discourse on the characteristics of Bhagavatotamas. Who are Bhagavatotamas? They are verily
the devotees of the highest order. Prahalada, Hanuman, Azhwars to name a few are Bhagavatotamas. People in
general can be classified into three categories on any level of comparison. We have seen earlier that the devotees
of the Lord are classified into Uttama, Madhyama and Prakruthas. Another way of classifying the devotees is by
the gunas, namely Sathvikas, Rajasika and Tamasika based on the deity they worship. That will lucidly show the
qualities they possess. People who possess the tamas quality mainly perform sacrifices [bali]. People who adhere
to the path of Rajasika path follow the Karma Anushtanas and worship the fore-fathers [pitrus] and perform
vedic austerities. Devotees of the Lord who worship the Lord with sheer love and perform bhkati with
unconditional love possess the sattvika quality in them.

In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Sri Krishna talks about yet another way of classifying the devotees of the Lord.

chaturvidha bhajante mam janah sukrtino ‘rjuna


arto jijnasur-artharthi jnani cha bharatarshabha

Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, and they are the distressed, the seeker of knowledge, the
seeker of wealth, and the wise, O, greatest of the Bharata lineage.

The first of the kind is Arthis. They are the ones who are distressed in lives and have some afflictions. They pray
to the Lord to absolve all their problems. The second clan of people is the Jijnasus. They are the ones who always
have a quest to learn. They offer their ablutions to the Lord to bestow them with more jnana. The third factions of
people [Artharthis] are the ones who are not contended with their wealth and pray to the Lord to be bestowed
with more riches. The fourth class of people is indeed the rarest of all. They are the Mahans [jnanis]. They have
realized that there is nothing outside the Lord and everything is verily the Lord. They offer unconditional love
and perform bhakti because they derive happiness by doing bhakti. They are verily the Bhagavatotamas like the
Gopis of Brindavan who had immense love for Lord Sri Krishna. One great quality of Bhagavatotamas is that
they perceive a great misfortune to be a blessing of the Lord. A fitting example is one of the incidents from Sage
Narada’s life. He had lost his parents when he was five years old. In spite of doing service to great
Bhagavatotamas he lost his mother to a snake bite. One who wonder how cruel was the Lord. But Sage Narada
only took that has a benediction. Our Guru Maharaj beautifully says “Dukkam varuvathum iraivanin arulalae
virakthi varavae undi para”. He lucidly says that it when one is in deep misery or misfortune, it is also an
indication of the Lord’s grace to make one dispassionate and turn his focus unto the Lotus Feet of the Lord. When
one is in grieving about a materialistic loss and he feels depressed, then that is a clear indication that the Bhakti
that he performs to the Lord is not enough. On the other hand, if the Lord thinks about his devotee then that it is
a hint that the devotee’s Bhakti on the Lord is complete.

Na yasya janmakarmabhayam na varnashramajaathibih |


Sajjathaesminahambhavo daehae vai sa harehae priyaha || [11.2.51]

A great quality of the Bhagavatotamas is that they are devoid of any ego in them. They are not affected by the
religion they belong and they are least bothered about the money they earn to make a living. They see the Lord in
everything. A fitting example to substantiate this fact is from the life-history of Tiruppan Azhwar, a famous
azhwar from the southern part of India. He hailed from a town known as Uraiyur. This town is famous for the
Goddess Mahalakshmi fondly called as Uraiyur Nachiyar. Tiruppan Azhwar was from a lower caste in the
society. They are known as Panchamar. People born in the Panchamar caste were not allowed to go inside the
temples. Tiruppan Azhwar never had the darshan of Lord Ranganatha. He was however a very devout person and
was in constant reminiscence of the Lord. One fine morning, he was lost in the deep thoughts of Lord Ranganatha
on the riverside of Cauvery. At that very moment, pundits from the temple came down to the riverside to take
fresh water to wake up the Lord. Since panchamars were not allowed to come in sight of these pundits, they
requested him to move out but he was oblivious to their requests. One of the pundits then pelted a stone on the
forehead of Tiruppan Azhwar and that is when he realized where he was. He started to bleed profusely and sat on
the road feeling bad for his actions. He felt remorseful for not being pelted by stone, but for making the pundits
irritated. It was however no fault of his. Humility, that is verily one of the great qualities of Bhagavatotamas.

The pundits then proceeded straight to the temple carrying pots of fresh water from the riverside to wake the
Lord, Sri Ranganatha. As they went inside the temple and looked at Lord Ranganatha, they were shocked to see
the Lord’s face bleeding in the same spot where they pelted a stone on Tiruppan Azhwar . Lord Ranganatha came
out of the idol and requested them to summon Tirupan Azhwar in front of him. –

“Bhanasya mama bhaktasya laanathae bhava sambhavaya”

The pundits ran in all directions to find Tirrupan Azhwar and after locating him, they requested him to come
inside the temple premises and briefed with all the incidents that took place inside the temple. Hearing this
Tiruppan Azhwar was even more inconsolable and refused to come inside the temple as that would be a violation
of the shastras, because a person born in an untouchable caste cannot enter the temple premises. The pundits
carried him straight to the temple premises and he was bestowed with the darshan of Lord Ranganatha. At that
very moment he sang ten pasurams on Lord Ranganatha admiring his beauty from his head to foot.

koNdal vaNNanaik kOvalanAy veNNey


uNda vAyan en uLLam kavarndhAnai
aNdar kOn aNi arangkan en amudhinaik
kaNda kaNgaL * maRRonRinaik kANAvE

I have seen the Lord whose color is like dark clouds and he is indeed the one with the beautiful mouth who
swallowed the butter of cowherds. He is verily the Lord of the Devas and he is He is Lord Ranganatha, who is
my life!
In his final verse, he says that “My eyes have seen my Lord and will not see anything else!”

After singing the ten pasurams, he instantly merged with the Lord. It is said that Tiruppan Azhwar and Andal
were the two great Bhagavatotamas to merge and united directly with the Lord.

The Lord and the Bhagavatas do not differentiate between the castes and the life-history of Tiruappan Azwar
stands as one of the testimony to the sloka mentioned below:

“Na yasya janmakarmabhayam na varnashramajaathibihi |


Sajjathaesminahambhavo daehae vai sa harehae priyaha ||” [11.2.51]

Even in contemporary lives, one can clearly see that the saints exhibit the same love and compassion for all jivas
irrespective of their caste, creed and the position they hold in the society.

“Na yasya sva para ithi vithaeshvatmani vaa bidhaa |


Sarva bhoota samaha shanthaha sa vai bhagavathothamaha||”

The above sloka conveys yet another great quality of a Bhagavathotama. He who is the foremost of the devotees
sees no distinction between his and others in the matter of his possessions and body. They see everything has the
very property of the Lord. Their mind always ponders to do service to the Lord. When they need money to render
some service to the Lord, they would not hesitate to ask others for money. One classic example is from the
life-history of Bhadrachalam Ramadas. He built a magnificent Rama temple using the money that verily
belonged to Nawab of Hyderabad. For bhagavatotamas, they do not see any difference in the wealth that people
possess. They are of the thought that the entire wealth in this world belongs to the Lord.

The qualities of Bhagavatotamas are infinite. One could keep reminiscing about them for their entire
lifetime. Calmness [Shantah] is another great quality of Bhagavatotamas. Let’s delve into this a little deeper.
When does one become angry? Lord Krishna beautifully replies to this question in Bhagavad Gita. A person who
has desires in his life becomes angry when his desire is not fulfilled. Bhagavatotamas are devoid of any desires
and hence they are always calm and happy. There are lots of examples to substantiate this beautiful precept. If we
look into the life-history of Sant Ekanath, we can see that he was immensely calm and composed when a person
was profusely spitting on him for hours together. However, Ekanathar did not even look at that person and
questioned him once. He went to the river and took a dip every time that person spit on him. Such is the greatness
of Bhagavatotamas. Even if a Bhagavatotama is bestowed with the sovereignty of all the three worlds
[thribuvana vibhava hethavae] he would not desire for it and would only desire to admire the Lord’s lotus feet for
all his life.

Visrujathi hrudayam na yasya Shakshad ravasa bihithobhyagouganaashah |


Pranayarashanayaa dhruthangripadmaa sa bhavathi bhagavatha pradhana ukthaha||

It is verily the Lord who comes running to reside in the hearts of his devotees. The people in the mundane world
run behind the Lord, but the Lord runs behind the heart of the Bhagavatotamas and becomes an eternal servant of
that supreme devotee. That is one of the foremost qualities of a Bhagavatotama.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

Following this Nishaji discoursed on Nava Yogi Upakyana which forms a part of the eleventh canto of Srimad
Bhagvatam. We have seen the Upadesha’s of the first two Yogi’s Kavi and Hari. Kavi Yogi expounded on the
Bhagavatha Dharma. He lucidly explained that the ways to overcome the fear of samsara is take refugee on the
Lord Achuta and one can accomplish this by chanting the divine names of the Lord. The next Yogi, Hari
discoursed on the characteristics of a Bhagavatotama, who is the devotee of the highest order. A Bhagavatotama
sees the Lord in everyone and everything. He is also devoid of any desires [kaama] for lust, wealth, education
etc. He sees everything in this world is a result of the Lord’s Maaya. When one perceives everything to be the
play of the Lord, then it can be clearly said that the Lord’s maaya cannot affect him. The crux is that a
Bhagavatotama has overcome Maaya. Maaya has no effect on him.

King Nimi who was listening to the discourses of the Nava Yogi’s requested them to explain about Maaya. King
Nimi, the ruler of Videha says, “I am not satiated by listening to the divine stories of the Lord. I want to keep
listening to them again and again. I don’t want it to end”. Maaya is also a creation of the Lord. It is verily talking
about the glories of the Lord. In the process of overcoming Maaya, it is important to know what the term Maaya
connotes. Having said this, one cannot easily comprehend the term Maaya. It is invisible. Sureshwaracharya in
his Dakshinamoorthy Ashtrotram, says that searching for Maaya is akin to searching for darkness with a
torch-light in hand. We cannot say that there is no darkness if we have a torch-light in hand. Similarly, we cannot
perceive Maaya directly but one can feel its presence by its mere acts.

When King Nimi asked the Nava Yogis to expound on Maaya, the next Yogi Anthariksha embarked on the
discourse of Maaya. In his discourse he explained about Maaya which is verily the Lord’s power of creation,
destruction and preservation. In the first two verses Anthariksha expounded on the term creation. In his next
three verses, he talked about preservation. In the last nine verses, he delineated the destructive powers of the
Lord. One can feel the prowess of Maaya through its works. It is akin to the magnetic powers of a magnet. One
cannot see the magnetic powers of a magnet. When a magnet is taken near a bunch of iron fillings, they get
arranged in an orderly fashion based on attraction or repulsion of the magnet. So by this we can say that the
magnetic powers exist even though we cannot perceive it directly.

“Aevirbhuthani Bhootatma mahabhutairmahabhujaa”|


“Sasarjochavachanyaadhyaha svamatrathmaprasidhayae”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.3]

Anthrikshar says that originally it was only the Lord who existed. From him sprang the five elements. He in turn
created the world from the five elements. So why did the Lord do this? He did this for Bhoga and Moksha. We
need to first come to terms with this beautiful doctrine that the Lord is perfect and hence the world created by
Him is also intact. He has made a lot of entertainments which our senses can enjoy. The Lord never asks anybody
to come behind Him. If we decide to enjoy and revel in this mundane world, we need to understand that it comes
with a package as well. Life in the mundane world is coupled with joy and sorrow. They go hand in hand. As we
continue to enjoy the materialistic world, then one takes birth after birth forever and finally it will be the time for
destruction [pralaya], where Antharikshar explained destructive power of Maaya.

The earth will be dissolved in the water where the ocean water engulfs the land and dissolves the water. The
water gets burned in the fire of pralaya. The fire in turn gets consumed by the wind. The wind merges with the
sky [akasha] and the sky coalesce with the Maaya. Finally Maaya becomes one with the Lord. In the end only the
Lord remains. King Nimi after hearing the prowess of Maaya was totally shaken and earnestly requested the
Yogis to describe paths that will lead one to not get affected by Maaya and also asked for ways to get out of it.
After King Nimi posed this question to the Yogis, Prabuddhar started his discourse to King Nimi.

A sleeping person cannot wake up another sleeping person. Only a person who is already awake can wake up the
rest. It is to be noted that the names of the Nava Yogis are related to the discourses they delivered to King Nimi.
Prabuddhar refers to one who is a realized soul. He delineated the greatness of a Guru to King Nimi. A Guru is a
realized soul who has already woken up and has come to wake up the normal mortals from their sleep.

Prabuddha did not embark on the significance of a guru right away. He first talked about the difficulties that
every human encounters in his life. He explained this in three slokas. Only when one is cognizant of the
difficulties in life, he can then realize the greatness of a guru. When a person is going through difficult times, he
hopes for some relief from it. A guru knows what is best for his devotees. This fact cannot be well understood by
his devotees until one is well acquainted with the difficulties in life. If we look into the perspective of life, one
can see that it is filled with more sorrows than joy.

“Karmanyaarabhamaananam dhukhahathyai sukhaya cha |


Pashyaeth paakaviparyasam mithunichaarinaam nrunaam||” [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.18]

Prabuddha, in the above sloka, talks about people getting caught in karma. We do karma as a panacea for getting
rid of sorrow when one is going through a difficult phase in his life. One can do karma when one is very happy
and prosperous and yet he wishes to gain more happiness and wealth and is caught in karma in the process. When
we go and try to seek happiness it only ends in more sorrow. In the second sloka, Prabuddha beautifully says that
the world is built in such a way that when one does not have wealth, people would not respect them. Every human
undergoes so many obstacles on a daily basis to earn wealth. There is so much hardship involved to earn money
and when one earns money, he is in a quagmire as to how to preserve the wealth. Life is a package of sorrows. He
added “Oh my friend, don’t think that it is only this world which is filled with joy and sorrow. It is the same case
in heaven and swarga.”. So then where should one go?

Prabuddha gave an elixir for everyone to free themselves from this world of sorrow –

“Thasmath gurum prapadyaetha jignasuhu ksheya uttamam” |


“Sabdae pare cha nishnnatham brahmanyupashamaashayam” || [ 11.3.21]

It is verily the path of surrendering unto the holy feet of a sadguru. It is the best way to alleviate from the cycles
of transmigration . Prostrate unto the guru and be a servant of him and do not be a slave to the senses in this
mundane world. Surrender unto the guru as he is verily the one who can bestow the highest state, the lotus feet of
Lord Vasudeva. What are the characteristics of a Sadguru? The guru should be learned in the Vedas and the
scriptures and he should be one who has realized the Lord and has experienced the Lord. He should have the
experience of the essence of the Vedas. Sadguru is one who can verily see and be in communion with the Lord.
Only such a great realized Mahan can bestow the highest state on his devotees. A Sadguru can only bestow the
highest state of bhakti to his devotees.

Prabuddha in his next sloka continued to expound on the characteristics of a Sadguru in which he says, a sadguru
is one who should adhere to the path of Bhagavatha Dharma.

“Thatra Bhagavatan dharman shikshaeth gurvathmadaivathahaa” | [11.3.22]

When one follows the path of Bhagavata Dharma then one no longer needs to depend on one’s capability to reach
the holy feet of the Lord. Bhagavata Dharma is completely dependent on the Lord and it is the easiest path as
there are no eligibility criteria to follow this path. The other paths need a lot of strenuous effort to reach the Lord
but in Bhagavata dharma there is no such effort that is required and we need only the Lord’s grace. The grace of
the Lord is abundant and the sadguru is the conduit to get the Lord’s grace. Prabuddha then advises on the steps
that one should do after attaining the guru. He requests all the devotees to perform service to the sadguru. One
should serve the Sadguru with humility and that will lead one to the highest state of bliss. A sadguru verily knows
what is best for his devotees.

There was a devotee of Mathanga Maharishi by name Sabari. One day Mathanga Maharishi summoned all his
devotees and asked them what they desired and asked them to enlist their wish list. All the devotees shared the
wish-list with their sadguru. Then it was Sabari’s turn. She said that she did not have the skill-set to know what
she wanted and she earnestly asked her sadguru to bestow what was right for her. It was then the sadguru initiated
her into “Rama Nama”. She asked about it to sadguru. He asked her not to worry about it and just asked her to
chant it and told her that one day the essence of this mantra will stand in front of her. As we all know it was due
to her Sadguru’s grace that she was bestowed with the darshan of Lord Rama and Lakshmana and she attained
the holy feet of the Lord.

When one does service to the sadguru, then the Lord is indeed very happy. One should see the Lord as “Eshwara
Swaroopam”. He is verily the Lord and pay our due respects to him.

“Guru Athma Deivatah”. Guru is the atman himself and worship him as Lord Hari and do service to him. Lord
Hari likes Bhagavat Kainkaryam. He disguised himself as a small boy and did service to Sant Ekanath for twelve
years. It was because Ekanatha did immense service to his guru.
Mahans say that when the Lord sees something very beautiful, they want to experience it themselves. The Lord
had not seen any beautiful women at all. In the eight canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, in the Amrutha Mathanam
episode, the Lord saw Lakshmi Devi. He was so attracted by her beauty that he wanted to experience of being a
woman and he took the incarnation of Mohini.

When the Lord saw his devotees doing humble service to their sadguru he also wanted to experience it and hence
did service to Sant Ekanath. If our actions are oriented in the direction of sadguru, then that leads us to eternal
bliss [anandam].

Adishankara is known to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva himself. He himself was a realized soul. However he
still went in search of a guru when he was young and surrendered himself unto a guru and undertook the tutelage
with his guru. Adishankara in his Guru Ashtotram elaborated on the significance of a guru.

In his first sloka in Guru Ashtotram he says, -

Sareeram suroopam thadha va kalathram,


Yasacharu chithram dhanam meru thulyam,
Gurorangri padme manaschenna lagnam,
Thatha kim Thatha Kim, Thatha kim Thatha kim.

Sri Adishankara says in the above sloka that one may be blessed with good appearance and one may be bestowed
with a good-looking wife, lots of riches as huge as Mount Meru and one may be all famous throughout the world.
Having said all this, what is the use of all these good attributes in life when one’s heart and mind does not fall
under the holy feet of a guru.

Even though all Mahans and scriptures clearly outline the significance of a guru, it is our ego [Ahankara] that
refuses to surrender unto a guru.

Sant Kabir in one of his dohas says –

“Kaun padaave paat guru bina kaun padaave paat “

In the above verse, Sant Kabir says, “Other than a guru who else can show you the way!”.

When we need a guru to educate the normal mortals in the worldly plane which are all well-trodden paths, then
don’t we not a need a guru for attaining the highest state of eternal bliss.

Mahans give a beautiful analogy between bhagawan and a guru. A child knows its mother has the first relation. A
mother gives birth to a child, takes care of the child and spends all the time with the child. She is the one who later
shows the father to the child. Our Lord Vasudeva does not give himself to everyone. He has some eligibility
criteria. The criteria is any spiritual path but for people following the path of Bhagavata Dharma , only the person
who is the epitome of prema bhakti can reach the highest state of being one with the Lord. To paraphrase, only a
devotee of the highest order can see Bhagawan.

A guru however goes behind people who are ineligible. A guru’s heart is filled with compassion for every single
person. Guru is akin to a mother and the father is akin to the Lord. The Lord seeks eligibility whereas the guru
seeks ineligibility. A mother does all the hard-work right from giving birth, cleaning the child, feeding him,
teaching him etc. When the child grows and is well placed, the father then proudly talks about his child. Similarly
a guru cleanses all his devotees and makes them pure and then throws them unto the holy feet of the Lord
Vasudeva.

Prabuddha very beautifully explained the greatness of a Guru and it is verily a Guru who wakes his devotees
from the sleep of life and takes his devotees to the lotus feet of the Lord.

The satsang ended with prayers and NamaSankirtan.

Prabuddha, the fourth of the Nava Yogi’s discoursed to King Nimi on the path that one needs to follow to relieve
from the ocean of samsara and that path is verily taking surrendering [Ashreya] unto a Guru and that Guru should
verily unite all his devotees with Lord Narayana. As soon as King Nimi heard about Lord Narayana, he requested
the Nava Yogi’s to expound on the Swaroopam of Lord Narayana. The next Yogi Pippalayanar started to
expound on the characteristics of Lord Narayana. He starts off by saying that the swaroopam of Lord Narayana is
verily Bhagavat Swaroopam. Our Vedas say that –

“Narayana paro jyothir atma Narayano pareheh”


“Narayana param brahma tattvam Narayanah parah”

Narayana is that Param Brahma tattvam. An Azhwar says that – “ Aadiyum jyothi urvai angu vaithu ingu
pirandhu”. This means that the para Brahman is in the form of divine Jyothi. This Jyothi takes incarnations after
incarnations akin to lighting lamps after lamps. When the Lord incarnated as Lord Krishna he was verily present
in Vaikunta as well. He was one Jyothi and one lamp was lit from that Jyothi and was brought down to the earth
in form of incarnations. This goes to show that the Lord is omnipresent and the Atma Swaroopam is akin to the
divine Jyothi.

“Narayana param brahma tattvam” – The Brahma tattvam is verily Lord Narayana himself. So what is this
Brahman? Is it something that can be perceived by the senses? The Upanishads have an answer to this question.
They say that Brahman is something that cannot be perceived by the senses. The Brahman does not refer to the
Upasana deity.

Brahman is an experience [anubhava] and can only be experienced. To substantiate this, in a way, this is akin to
joy and sorrow. These cannot be perceived by the senses but can only be experienced. Brahman is similar to this
and is not a sensory perception. It is indeed true that the Brahman who is the ultimate does exist. And how can we
prove that?

Brahman is something that cannot be proven [Aprameya]. So one may ask, why should we believe on Brahman
which cannot be perceived by the senses and also something that cannot be proven. Here comes Pippalayanar to
expound on the characteristics of Brahman. He lucidly explains that while we cannot see Brahman, it is verily the
Brahman that makes one see the world and this applies to all other sensory perceptions. This Brahman is the
chaitanya that is present in each one of us that makes us enjoy all the sensory perceptions. The Atma Chaitanya or
consciousness is the very proof for the existence of the Brahman. As long as this chaitanya is present in
ourselves, we are able to dance, sing move around. The moment chaitanya leaves our body, we fall dead. The
sense organs of the dead man might be intact but he is not able to use them anymore. It is the key inside every
human and it is this that makes the sense organs do what they are supposed to be doing.

This Atma Chaintanya connotes to the Swaroopam of Lord Narayana, Pippalayanar says. When this is present
everywhere [akandam] it is called as Paramatma. This Paramatma is responsible for the creation, sustenance and
dissolution [Shrusti, Sthithi and Samharam]. The Chaitanya that is present in each one of the living beings is
called as Jeeva Atma. This is verily responsible for the three states of consciousness – waking life, dream and
deep sleep states of a living being [Jakrath, Swapna and Shishupti]. This is the very evidence for the Atma
Chaitanya residing in every living being.

Pippalayanar says that this is Brahma Tattvam.

“Stithi udhbhava pralaya hethu ahethurasya yath swapna jaagara sushiptishu sad bahischa”|
“Dehendriyaasuhridayaani charanthi yena sanjeevithani thadhavahi param narendra”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam
11.3.35]

He also advocated the path to gain knowledge on this Brahman. The path prescribed by him is to develop bhakti
and devotion to the holy feet of Lord Padmanabha.

“Yaeryabjhanabhajacharanaishanayoorubhaktyaa chaethomalani vidhamaeth gunakarmajaani”|


“Thasmin vishuddha Upalabyadha Aatmathatvam Sakshath yathamaladrushoho savithruprakashaha”|| [Srimad
Bhagavatam 11.3.40]

The knowledge in scriptures and other Vedic knowledge will not help one gain knowledge on Brahma Vidya.
After Pippalayanar completed the discourse on the characteristics of Lord Narayana’s swarropam, the next Yogi
Avirhotrar started to expound on the Karma Kanda. The term “Avirhotra” translates to one performing Vedic
ritual [homam]. Karma is either Karma, Akarma or Vikarma.

“Karmakarmavikarmaethi vedavaadho na loukikakha”|


“Vedasya cha Isvarathmathvaath thatra muhyanthi soorayaha”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.43]

Karma is defined as the good actions or duties enlisted in the Vedas and Shastras that one needs to perform.
Akarma connotes to the Sanyasa karma. It refers to the duties that one needs to perform when one embraces
ascetic life. Vikarma is defined as the bad deeds that one should not do. When one does good karma, the Sanyasa
Karma is bound to follow. When one performs the duties not desiring to reap the fruits of his actions and instead
offers the results to the lotus feet of the Lord, then that action will not count as karma but will only refer to
Akarma. The transition from karma to Akarma will happen on its own accord and there is no need of an external
force to make this happen.
The next Yogi, Dhrumila starts his discourse by explaining the ways one needs to perform Karma by offering the
results of it to the lotus feet of the Lord. For one’s karma to yield fruit, one needs to perform Bhakti [devotion] to
Lord Narayana. So how does one get Bhakti? It is verily by reading the life-histories of great bhaktas and
Bhagavatas. By being inspired by the divine exploits of the Lord bhakti be instilled in all the jivas. This is exactly
what Dhrumila says in this sloka-
“Yova Ananthasya gunananathanaukramishyan sa thu balabuddhihi”|
“Rajamsi bomargunayaeth kathanchithu kaalaena aivakilashaktidhamnaha”|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.4.2]

In the above sloka, Dhrumila uses a beautiful word, Anantham [infinite]. He beautifully describes the Lord as
infinite. There is an alias name to the Lord as Ananthan, which is infinite.

The Lord has –


Anantha Nama, Anantha Leela, Anantha Gunas, Anantha vaibhavam, Anantha Moorthis, Anantha Charitram
and Anantha Bhaktas.The list is endless.
The characterstics of the Lord and his divine exploits are endless. Sage Suka who wrote Bhagavatam says,
“Yatha dheetam yatha mathih”. He says to King Parikshit that he will discourse on the divine exploits of the Lord
to the best of his knowledge. This goes to show two facts. Firstly, it shows Sage Suka’s humility. Secondly, it
goes to show that Srimad Bhagavatam is infinite [anantham]. Even the Lord himself says in Bhagavad Gita, that
he himself does not know about his greatness.
hanta te kathayishyami divya hy atmavibhutayah pradhanyatah kurusreshtha na ‘sty anto vistarasya me
[BhagavadGita 10.19]

He says “Oh Arjuna, I myself do not know the full extent of my manifestations and I will expound on the ones
that are prominent to the best of his knowledge, since my opulence is limitless”.

Vedas themselves say, -


“Yo Angavae yadi vaa na veda”

Vedas are also not sure if the Lord is knowledgeable of all his manifestations.
So the question then arises whether the Lord cares about people who have very limited knowledge about his
opulences. He answers this in Bhagavad Gita,

In Bhagavat Gita, the Lord says, ‘svalpamapi yasya dharmasya traayate mahato bhayaat’ [bhagavad Gita 2.40] –

A very small dharma can allay the greatest of fears. Even a little knowledge on the dharma or scriptures will give
a taste of that whole dharma or dharma. And what is that small dharma- Nama Sankirtan. By chanting the Divine
Names of the Lord and listening to the Lords’ divine exploits will lead to purification of the heart, and
consequently lets the Lord reside permanently in our hearts.

The next question that King Nimi asked the Nava Yogis was about the nature of Ajnani. The next Yogi,
Chamasar discoursed on the Ajnani. The Ajnani hates Bhagavatas. It is said that in the age of Kali, people are
reveling in the mundane world and their spiritual health is very poor. It is also said that in the age of Kali, people
will mock at people who chant the divine names of the Lord. The Lord accepts the people who performed bhakti
whole-heartedly. He does not see if his devotee is a Jnani and Ajnani and only goes behind his devotee for the
bhakti performed by his devotee. He has accepted the Brahmanas like Sage Vyasa, sage Suka, Kuchela who
performed bhakti. Kshatriyas like Ambarisha, Rukmangada also reached the holy feet of the Lord. Birds like
Jatayu and Sugreeva being a monkey reached the holy feet by performing intense bhakti to Lord Rama. All
Asuras who did bhakti to the Lord attained liberation, to name a few Vrithrasura, Vibishana, .Tiruppana Azhwar
and Nandanar being born in a low caste reached the Lord. The devotees of the Lord are endless and the Lord sees
no disparity between the devotees. He showers his grace on all his devotees unconditionally as long as they do
bhakti to the Lord.

The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtan.

The Nava Yogi Upakyana gives the complete essence of Bhagavatha Dharma in very few chapters in the
eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. It looks at every aspect of Bhagavatha Dharma and it is very important for
people following the path of Bhagavatha Dharma to read the Nava Yogi Upakyana. The names of the Nava
Yogis are related to the discourses that they deliver. The first Yogi is Kavi. Kavi connotes poet. It is only a poet
who can explain and articulate things in a beautiful manner. He expounds on the path of bhakti. The next Yogi is
Hari. Hari refers to the name of the Lord. It is verily the lord who can talk about the characteristics of a
Bhagavotatama. Hari Yogi expounded on the characteristics of the Bhagavotama. The third Yogi is
Antharikshar. He elucidated about Maya. Maya is related to sky [aakasha]. Anthariksha means Aakasha. The
next Yogi is Prabuddar. The term Prabuddar means one who is a realized soul. He explained how it is imperative
to take the shelter of a guru. He outlined the need for doing Bhakti to a guru. A sleeping person cannot wake up
another sleeping person. Only a person who is already awake can wake up the rest. The next Yogi Pippalayanar,
whose name refers to a Jnani, delineated the characteristics of Lord Narayana and also portrayed the greatness of
Jaagrath, Swapna and Sushupti. It is only a Jnani who can bestow knowledge [Jnana]. The sixth Yogi is
Avirhotrar. Avirhotrar means one who performs spiritual austerities [homam] and hence he explicated Karma,
Akarma and Vikarma. The next Yogi is Dhrumilar and his name translates to a Dravidian/Pouranika. He
explained on the characteristics of the Lord and the innumerable incarnations taken by the Lord. The eighth Yogi
is Chamasar. Chamasar means Ajnanam. He expounded about the atheists [Agnanis.] His discourse was a very
powerful lecture as he lashed out the agnanis who make fun of people who follow the path of Bhagavatha
Dharma. The last of the Yogis is Karabhajanar and his name signifies to someone having a vessel in his hand. His
discourse is all about the essence of the eight Yogis and finally gives on our hands what one needs to know.
Karabhajanar embarked in his discourse by talking about the four Yugas. We all know that there are four Yugas,
Krita [Satya] Yuga, the Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga. In the Krita Yuga, the mind set of people was
pure and pristine. They were Suddhaatmas. The prescribed path for Krita Yuga was dhyana [meditation]. In the
age of Treta Yuga, the people’s mind was not as pure as in Kreta Yuga. The path of worship in Treta Yuga was
sacrifices. In the Dwapara Yuga, the mind and hearts of the people deteriorated even further and hence the
spiritual path advocated for Dwapara Yuga was Archanam [pooja], one step easier than the Treta Yuga. Finally
in the age of Kali Yuga, which is the present Yuga, people are reveling in the mundane world and their minds are
tainted with the sensual pleasures and they do not possess the strength to do meditation/spiritual austerity or
pooja. So Lord Sri Krishna advocated a dharma for all the people living in the age of Kali. That path is chanting
the Divine Names of the Lord. Karabhajanar, the last Yogi discoursed on the path of Nama Sankirtanam. He also
elucidated as to how one should chant the Divine Names of the Lord,

“Krishna varnam Tvisha krishnam Saangopaanga astra parshadam”|


“Yagnaih Sankithirthanah prayaih yajanti hi sumedhasah”|| [Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32]

Karabhajanar in the above sloka says how one should propitiate the lord in the Kali Yuga. He lucidly says adore
the Lord who is black in complexion but brilliant as a sapphire. The worship of the lord should be filled with
recitals of the divine names of the Lord. This however does not mean that one cannot reach the holy feet of the
Lord by doing penance or Yagna in Kali Yuga. One can definitely adhere to these paths, provided they have the
strength and capacity in the age of Kali by scrupulously following to the dictates of Dhyana and Yagna dharmas.
We do not have the time to do even our daily ablutions in this fast-faced life as prescribed in the Vedas. All our
scriptures advocate the path of Nama Sankirtan for the age of Kali. The efficacy of Nama Sankirtan has been
clearly elucidated in all the scriptures.

“harer namaiva namaiva mama jeevanam


kalau nastyeva nastyeva gatihr anyata”

Compared to the other ways of purifying the mind, the path of chanting the divine names of the Lord is one of the
easiest and most pragmatic paths in this age of Kali.

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita explicitly delineated as to when he takes an incarnation. The Lord descends on
earth in order to protect the virtuous people and restore the path of dharma when adharma rises.
Paritranaya sadhunam vinashaya cha dushkritam
Dharma samsthapana arthaya sambhavami yuge yuge (Bhagavad Gita 4.8).

Lord Krishna’s incarnation at the end of Dwapara Yuga and as soon as Lord Krishna left the world, it was the
onset of Kali Yuga. So one may ponder as to why Kali Yuga was the worst of all Yugas even after the incarnation
of Lord Krishna before the advent of Kali Yuga. Mahans give a beautiful explanation as to why Lord Krishna’s
avatar happened before the age of Kali. The avatar of Lord Krishna is a panacea for all the jivas in the age of Kali.
It is only after this avatar that one can chant the divine names of the Lord and enjoy his divine exploits.

So ‘Dharma samsthapana arthaya sambhavami yuge yuge’ refers to the path of Bhagavatha Dharma that the lord
established before the onset of Kali Yuga. This was only possible due to His immense compassion since he had a
vision of the quality of life of the people living in the age of Kali.

Srimad Bhagavatham shows how Sage Narada was petrified when he came down to earth during the advent of
Kali and he eventually returned back to Vaikunta. The lord was very surprised as to why he returned very soon. It
should be said that Sage Narada went to Kamsa and all Asura’s court yard’s and chanted the names of Lord
Narayana without any hesitation. Such a person was so scared looking at the people in the Kali Yuga. Sage
Narada upon his return to Vaikunta confided in the lord that while in the court of Asuras he would for sure know
who is good and who is evil, he was not able to differentiate the same amongst the people living in Kali Yuga.
Such a dreaded Yuga is Kali and it is only due to the immense compassion of the Lord that he has advocated the
path of Bhagavatha Dharma for the Kali Yuga.

One may now ask that as per our Vedas and scriptures, lots of daily ablutions are enlisted that every Brahmana
has to stringently follow. So why should one just chant the Divine Names of the lord without adhering to the
Vedic rituals. In order to explain this, let us consider the following example. A mother has three sons. She
ordered the first son to finish all his homework before he had his dinner. So the first son implicitly obeyed his
mother’s orders. He completed all his home-work and then ate his dinner. She also had a similar regulation for
her second son. He was asked to tidy his room before his dinner. He also met his mother’s expectation by
cleaning his room before dinner. However, her third son is sick in cradle and is always crying. The mother cannot
order this child since she is cognizant of the fact that he will not be able to do anything due to his age and ailment
and all he knows is to only call out his mom’s name. So she does everything for him, right from his diaper change
to feeding and all the way to putting him to sleep by showering love on him. So we, the ones living in this age of
Kali are akin to this child in the cradle. Our minds are tainted and we are not adept and agile to do mediation or
any spiritual austerity. In spite of all our short comings, the lord who is an epitome of compassion only wants us
to chant His Divine Names and that will bestow bhakti and devotion in all of us.

All our scriptures explicate the greatness of Nama Sankritan.

kalau kalmasHa chittAnAm pApadravyOpa jIvinAm |


vidhikriyA vihInAnAm gathir gOvinda kIrtanam ||

In this Age of Kali, where the mind is impure and the living is earned through sinful means and where living by
prescribed rules is difficult, the only way to liberation is singing the Holy Name of God!

This is the crux of Karabhajanar’s discourse and it is verily Namasankirtan – Chant the divine names of the Lord.
Kali Yuga is indeed great in two aspects. Firstly, by following the path of Nama Sankirtan in Kali, one can reach
the holy feet of the lord. Secondly, the lord will take infinite incarnations in the guise of Mahans and Jeevan
Muktas to propagate the path of Nama Sankirtan. In the age of Kali, it is said that there is just not one avatar of
the lord. The Kalki avatar is said to happen at the end of Kali Yuga which still has about four more lakh years. It
is hence said that the lord will take infinite [asankeya] avatars in Kali Yuga to spread the sweet fragrance of
chanting the divine names of the lord. Sage Veda Vyasa was cognizant of this when he wrote Srimad
Bhagavatham. This was lucidly depicted by Sage Suka to King Parikshit about 5000 years ago as well. Srimad
Bhagavatham also highlighted the places where the Mahans will take birth.

“Kruthadishu praja rajan kaalavichanthi sambhavam”|


“Kalau Kalu bhavisyanthi Narayanaparayanaha”|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.5.38]

“Kvachith KvachinMaharaja dravidaeshu cha boorishaha”|

“Thamraparni nadhi yatra KruthaMala Payasvini”|| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.5.39]

“Kauveri Cha mahapunya pratichi cha mahanadhi”|


“Yae Pibandhi jalam thaasaam manujha manujaeshwara”|
“Praayo bhakta bhagavathi vasudevaeamalaashayaaha”||| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.5.40]

Sage Shuka when expounding Srimad Bhagavatham to King Parikshit mentioned that people who lived in Kruta
Yuga possessed pure mind and manas and they will seek birth in Kali Yuga again and again. It is said that Lord
Rama and Krishna incarnations are complete [poorna] and they did both good [anugraham] to the mankind also
destroyed [nigraham] their enemies. However, in the case of Mahans, they descend on the earth, only do for
doing good [anugraham] to everyone. They don’t even have an iota of bad intention and there is no negativity in
them. Such is the greatness of Mahans and Jeevan Muktas. Karabhajanar in his discourse lucidly elucidated on
the banks of the rivers where the incarnations of the Mahans will happen. Prime importance is given to Dravida
Desa [Tamil Nadu]. He mentioned the rivers on whose banks the mahans will take avatars. The innumerable
devotees of Lord Hari have descended on the banks of Tamaraparani river. Who are these devotees of Lord Hari
who incarnated on the banks of Tamaraparani river? They are verily the Azhwars who first propagated the path
of bhakti. They descended first and it is only after them that other devotees of Lord Hari took avatars.
Karabhajanar does not say that the devotees of Lord Narayana will incarnate only in Dravida Desa, and he goes
to say “Kvachith Kvachin Maharaja”. In this verse, it refers to the myriad of Lord Hari’s devotees who will be
born in rest of India aswell. Namazhwar and Madhurakavi Azhwar were born in the banks of Tamaraparani,
PeriAzhawar and Andal in the banks of Vaigai, Poigai AzhwAr, Phuthath AzhwAr, PeyAzhwAr, and
Thirumazhisai AzhwAr were born on the banks of Paalaar river and Thondaradippodi AzhwAr,
ThiruppanAzhwAr, Thirumangai Azhwar on the banks of the
river Cauvery, the best among the rivers. He says that one who takes a dip in the river Cauvery will be instilled
with bhakti and devotion to Lord Narayana akin to how a dip in river Ganga absolves all the sins.

Bhakti Devi herself explains this in Padma Purana. She was born in Dravida Desa and grew up in Karnataka.
This substantiates that the Azhwars were the first and foremost devotees of Lord Hari who incarnated in Dravida
Desa. They preceded all the devotees of Kali Yuga. After the Azhwars came all the Dasa devotees in Karnataka,
Purandara Dasa, Kanaka Dasa and Govinda Dasa to name a few. Maharashtra is the home ground for all the
numerous devotees of Lord Panduranga, Sant Namdev, Sant Tukkaram and the list goes on. In Gujarat, we have
Narsimha Mehta and in Rajasthan we have Meera Bhai. Going to north, in Uttar Pradesh, we have Kabir Das,
Tulasi Das and in North-East part of India, we have Krishna Chaitanya who himself moved around in Assam and
Bihar. In Orissa we have Jayadevar and in Andhra Pradesh we have Bhadrachalam Ramadas. If we do a Bharatha
Pradakshina and come to Tamil Nadu, we have Bodendral, Sridhar Ayyaval. We can clearly see that the holy
hand of Bharat grows Mahans after Mahans to help the people. The lord indeed takes incarnations after
incarnations as Mahans out of his sheer compassion to help the people. All the Mahans propitiate the path of
Nama Sankirtanam as shown below:

“Yatra Sankeerthaeniva sarvaha Swartophi Labyathae”

NammAzhwar in his pasuram in Thiruvazhimozhi says-

kaNNan kazhaliNai naNNum manamudaiyeer!

eNNum thirunaamam thiNNam naaraNamE! [Thiruvaaymzohi 10.5]

In the above verse, he urges the devotees of the lord to chant the name “Narayana Narayana” in order to reach the
holy feet of the Lord.

PeriyAzhwar encouraged all the devotees of the Lord to name their children with Lord’s divine names. By
calling out their names, one will reach the exalted state that Yashoda attained. The entire Naalayira Divya
Prabandham expounds on the greatness of Prema Bhakti and Namasankirtan.

Purandara Dasa in one of his kirtans sings –


“kaliyugadali hari naamava gati” – In the age of KaliYuga, the only panacea is the chanting of the divine names
of the Lord. All the mahans lived in different instant of time but propagated only path and that is verily
NamaSankirtan. He further goes to say, that he doesn’t know how to do meditation, or any spiritual austerities
and all other practices and all I know is chanting the Divine Names of the Lord.

The verse is mentioned below -

“ snAnava nEriyenu mounavanariyenu


dhyAnavaneriya nendhalaiyya bEdA
manthravaneriyanu yanthravaneriyanu
thanthrava neriyanenthu alaiya bEdA”

He goes one step further and says- Oh Lord, I don’t need You nor Your form. I only need to chant your Divine
Names.”

neen yako, ninna hang yako, ninna namada bala ondiddarey sako

Sant Tukkaram in one of his abhangs says-


“Kaliyinchi kaama managathae Raama Naama”, translates to chant the divine names of the Lord in this age of
Kali.
Kaalavela naama ucharitha nahi, sings Sant Jnaneshwar. There are absolutely no restrictions to chant the divine
names of the Lord. Just keep chanting the divine names of the Lord and the Lord will come running behind the
devotees.
Meerabai went one step ahead and requested even birds and animals to chant the divine names of the Lord in this
verse- “Radhe Krishna Bolu thotimaina Radhe Krishna Bol”
The main crux of Ramacharitamanas, is to chant the divine names of the lord Rama.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah [From Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Siksastaka]

In the above verse, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu hails the greatness of chanting the Divine Names. He says that
chanting the Divine Names can alone render benediction to all the mortals in this world.

Purandara Dasa says, “narajanma bandAga nAlige iruvAga krSNA ena bArade”- When one is bestowed with a
human birth and a tongue, can you not say Krishna?

The Lord has thus given all the strength and prowess to His Divine Names and has gone to take rest. Our only
refugee is to chant the divine names of the Lord. Chanting the Divine Names will also bestow dharma,
artha,kaama and moksha. Purandaradasa says that there is no other greater dharma other than chanting the Divine
Names of the Lord. If we see how NamaSankirtan can bestow Artha, it is clearly seen in the case of Pandavas and
Sugreeva. After they chanted the Divine Names of the Lord, they regained their kingdom back.

KArabhajanar in his discourse says, -


“Devarshi bhootaatma nraunaam pithrunam na kinkaro nayamruni cha rajan|
Sarvathmana yah sharanam sharanyam gatho mukundam parihruthya kartham| [Srimad Bhagavatham 11.5.41]
Svapadamoolam bhajatha priyasya thyakthanyabhavasya harih pareshaha|
Vikarma yachothpathitham kathanchithu dhunothi sarvam hrudhi sannivishtaha|| “ [Srimad Bhagavatha 11.5.42]

He says that one who has surrendered everything to Lord Mukunda, the Lord himself takes care of all his
responsibilities and absolves him of all the sins of his duties. He does not have to indebted to any of the deities,
the Rishis or any other living creature since the Lord will now take care of his devotee. And for a devotee who
has the Lord residing in his heart, the lord by sitting in the heart of his devotee will completely erase all the sins
of the devotees past birth.

The essence of Nava Yogi Charithra is the chanting of the divine names of the lord and Karabhajanar extols the
greatness of Kali Yuga by having the benediction to chant the Lord’s Divine Names in this yuga, which is also
the path shown by innumerable Mahans.

Finally Sage Narada requested Vasudeva not to worry since the lord himself is born as his son. What to speak of
you to whom Lord Narayana himself is born to you as your son. Can there be anything greater than this? Ajamila
attained the holy feet of the Lord, by just calling out the Lord’s Name in his last moments of his life.
The satsang ended with prayers and Namasankirtanam.