Saturday, November 7, 2020

"Guru's debt is unrepayable" - (By Mohana Garu)

In Chinchinada, a devotee was feeling very sorrowful. Nannagaru asked her the reason for her sorrow. “I have been chanting Sri Vishnusahasranama for the last 35 years. I have the desire that the Pushpaka Vimana (A plane sent from Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu) should come and take me like it did for Tukaram (great Maharashtrian saint). Some devotees told me that the ego, world and God are all creations of the mind. Now, would that mean that the Pushpaka Vimana will not come to take me?” she said. Nannagaru told her, “Who told you that the Pushpaka Vimana will not come? You just continue chanting Vishnu Sahasranama. The Pushpaka Vimana will come for you. I am assuring you. It will come. Just believe in what I told you.” The lady, who came with a heart full of sorrow, went back smiling. After she left, Nannagaru turned towards the devotees and said, “Who told her that ego, world and God are created by the mind? Whoever did, do you have these words in your experience? Bhagavan could say that because it is in his experience. He spoke out of his own experience. You must speak only that which is in your experience. If you tell them what you yourself do not have the experience, you will end up confusing them. They will lose whatever devotion they have.”

 My friend brought her granddaughter from America to India. The child was two years old. She had started developing some skin condition in America. The doctor there had expressed doubt about the skin condition. Worried by this, they brought the two-year-old with them. We all reprimanded her for bringing a two-year-old. When you cannot take care of her, you should not have brought her here, we told her. A month later, Nannagaru came here. He spoke to her and said, “You are taking very good care of your grand-daughter.” We cannot speak with that much care and love. We lost our minds and felt that this is indeed the way to speak to anyone. We cannot assure anything. So we do not take the responsibility either. Just because we do not take the responsibility upon ourselves, nothing stops. If these very words were spoken by someone else, we do not like them. They seem appropriate only when Nannagaru speaks those words. Because he has it in his experience, we like whatever he speaks.

Once, in Jinnuru, while sitting on the verandah, a devotee asked Nannagaru, “How can one express his gratitude and repay the Guru’s debt?” Nannagaru replied, “Whatever supreme state the guru is in, you also must achieve and stay like that. That is the way to repay the guru’s debt!” “The guru himself takes this ego and dissolves it in the self. Then who will be left to feel gratitude or repay the debt? And to whom will the debt be repaid?” I asked. Nannagaru replied, “Mohana! You have asked a practical question. Here is your answer. When the ego is dissolved in the self, then who will repay was your question. In practice that is what happens.”

Once, Vizag Ramesh Garu approached Nannagaru and said, “I have read the Bhavadgita from top to bottom, missed nothing, but I did not find the deep sleep state (in waking) reference of Bhagavan anywhere.” Nannagaru said, “Read the second chapter!” Ramesh Garu started reading- "Aatmanyova aatmanaha". Immediately Nannagaru asked him to stop there and said, “When you are able to abide as the Atma (self) and not Anya (different) from the Atma (self), it means that you are in deep sleep ( in waking) state. In Bhagavadgita, every letter denotes a different path. You need to have an extremely subtle intellect to understand this. Today I am telling you something important. A lot of great souls (mahatmas) have come on this earth and will do so in the future too. Whatever paths they may teach, whatever words they could use will be in the Bhagavadgita. It will be there with certainty.” I have not heard anyone speak these words with this kind of beauty and grandeur. From that day my respect of Bhagavadgita multiplied manifold.

Once, after a visit to Balighattam, we came to PSN Raju Garu’s house. It was only the three of us there. In those days there was not much of a crowd, so I used to speak freely with Nannagaru. He asked me, “Tell me Mohana! Where is Balighattam?”I did not answer. “Is it on the way to Narsipatnam?” he asked again. I did not answer anything. “Balighattam also is in the mind.” Saying so, he got up from his chair, stood next to me and continued, “The responsibility of this world is borne by God. You just throw yours too on him and everything will just clear away.” He always spoke with my problems in mind. Not just me; whenever he spoke to anyone, it was always with reference to their circumstances. He never left anyone behind.

Once, in Jinnuru, we were all sitting on the verandah of his home. He looked at me and said, “ Mohana! If you think you are born, you will not get liberation!” “I think I was born, and I know I will not get liberation. To be able to say that I am that which is not born, we need the Guru’s grace, isn’t it Nannagaru? We are able to get glimpses of that great state now and then, and it is obvious that it is not due to our sadhana (spiritual practice). Then why should we do sadhana (spiritual practice)at all?” I asked. “Because the mind cannot stay without doing something or the other. That is the reason why the wise tell us to do sadhana.” He said. “What I mean to say Nannagaru is that whatever experiences I have had, it is clear to me that it is beyond the mind’s involvement. The mind too seems to crave this state. Then it should be called the grace of God, and not sadhana. Isn’t it?” I said. “If one understands this, then the reason for his taking birth on this earth is fulfilled. Everything is God!” Saying so, he folded his hands in a Namaskaram and said that he would retire for the day as he was feeling sleepy. He added, “Mohana! The subject that we are discussing, does not try to gather people around. It tries to make us closer to ourselves. This subject does not even give space for the thought for impressing people with bhajans.” That means his teaching is supreme and topmost. We are all contemporary witnesses and heirs to this supreme teaching.

Once, I told a devotee that I would accompany her on Giri Pradakshina (circumambulation of the holy hill). But she left without informing me. I was still at the Ashram when I noticed Nannagaru seated outside. As he was going back into his room all of us stood around. He beckoned me and said, “To attain Jnana we do not need the help of other devotees.” That means to attain Jnana we need the help of the Guru alone and not anybody else’s.

The first two years after meeting Nannagaru, he used to call out for me in whichever nook or corner I was, and ask me to sing. I took pride in the fact that I could sing well. Once, we all went to Arunachalam with Nannagaru. As it was Christmas time, some devotees brought a cake for cutting in the hall. Then they said someone needs to sing songs. I was asked to sing the previous year. I assumed I would be asked to sing again. I used to like to sing in public because of the praises I received. I did not even go to Ramanashramam to have dinner, because I was waiting for my name to be called out by Nannagaru. But that did not happen. Though I was smiling, inwardly my mind kept wondering how is it that there is so much desire for praise and appreciation in me. There was also sadness that Nannagaru did not call me to sing there. We all went with Nannagaru on Giri Pradakshina and stopped at Kubera lingam to take rest. I sat somewhere in the back of the crowd, and Nannagaru said, in a voice loud enough to reach my ears, “If we sing a song so as to please God, it is called Sangeetam (classical music). If we sing because somebody is going to praise us, it is market music.” This shows us that our Guru removes our tendency of pride by just one word. After this I never even got a single thought to sing in public. Even if I did sing it was out of love, it was not out of a desire to be appreciated by people.

Whether I did some Sadhana or not, after meeting Nannagaru I realized that the way I used to lead my life was not correct. I felt strongly that I should lead my life the way God told us to. Nannagaru’s teachings slowly brought in me the determination to do so. By Nannagaru’s grace, I came in contact with so many devotees. Looking at Nannagaru’s devotees and seeing the love they have for him, I feel that even though I do not have that Bhakti (devotion), it suffices to have the joy of looking at them. If I am able to rejoice to look at their devotion, quietness, naturalness and purity in this life, it is because of the attributes bestowed upon me by my Guru’s.

Even though I do not understand big words like devotion, Jnana or self, listening to Nannagaru’s speeches and filling all my memories with him, I am able to withstand the hardships that life is throwing at me. Had I missed Nannagaru, there would not be a bigger gain/wealth to lose in this life.

Nannagaru’s gaze is beautiful, the conversation is beautiful, love is beautiful, naturalness is beautiful… everything about him is beautiful. Of Nannagaru’s words, those that have made more impact and lead me in my life are (1) whatever has to happen is bound to happen. Whatever must not, how much ever effort one may put in, will not happen. This is certain. (2) Without Bhakti there is no Jnana. Bhakti is Jnana’s mother. (3) Whatever is in you, you see outside.

After Nannagaru’s darshan, my way of speaking and my way of thinking have changed completely. For changing this dry driftwood (modu in telugu) into a thing of beauty (Mohana in Telugu), there is nothing that can be offered to repay my Guru’s debt.

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