Raji P Shrivastava
Mythology tells us that we are living in the Kali Yug, an era where sin and falsehood dominate. Is there hope for us — enveloped as we are in delusion and desires?
Saintly figures have dwelt at length on this question. Mira, the Rajput princess-turned-saint, was the quintessential image of Bhakti (devotion) and Tyaag (renunciation). She sang, “Satsangat maan mahaasukh paami, baithe thikaane Hari” (In the company of saints, I derive great bliss and feel as if I am in your abode, O Lord). Satsangat or the company of the virtuous is an important mean to realise God.
At the core of Bhakti philosophy is the belief that even in this Kali Yug or vice-dominant age, one can reach God through Sat-sangat and Naam-smaran (evoking the name of God). Elaborate rituals, sacrifices and displays are not only not necessary, they are frowned upon as wasteful or ‘aranye rodanam’ i.e. akin to crying in the forest where there is nobody to listen.
The celebrated philosopher-saint Adi Shankara wrote a beautiful song called the Bhaja Govindam, whose moving refrain is, “Praise the Lord in simple ways. Complex rules of grammar will not help you when the end is near.” “Nama-smaranaat anyam upayam nahi pashyamo bhava taraney.” Shankara says, “Apart from resolutely fixing the name of the Lord in one’s mind, I do not see any other way out of the ocean of desires, delusions and miseries.”
His central message is, keep Hari (God Almighty) close to your heart and right on your lips at all times : geyam gita nama sahasram, dhyeyam shripati rupam ajasram; neyam sajjana sange chittam, deyam dinajanaya cha vittam (V.27, Bhaja Govindam). “Sing the Bhagavad Gita and the thousand names of Hari. Meditate on the scintillating form of Shripati-Vishnu. Revel in the company of noble and virtuous people. Give freely of your wealth to the poor.”
Spending some time in meditative contemplation of the Lord or singing His praises, seeking the society of good people and more important, shunning the company of evil elements are recommended as ways to please God. Above all, to give selflessly to the under-privileged is the surest way to reach Him.
It is said, “The greatest truths in the world are the simplest.” God may be closer than we realise.