The Vaani, or Gospel or Yuga Purusha Anant Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, Derives from His personal experiences, gained in the course of life- long and continual spiritual practice. It has been made available in the form of some small and some voluminous books, and hundreds of letters, journals and periodicals, all calculated to achieve the welfare of mankind. He adds force to his spiritual experiences with the help of wisdom well- versed in the Shastras. The bouquets and garlands of his writings are conspicuous by the rare synthesis of scriptural learning and spiritual attainment-Shabdaarthau iva (Blended together like the word and its meaning)
However, there is a dearth of both time and competence, to thoroughly pursue all the collected works and letters of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, stretching indeed to vast proportions. But to cross over to the other shore of spirituality, We have no other way than the companionship of the precious garland of thakur Omkarnath’s gospel.
Having deliberated upon this, Sri sitaramdas Omkarnath’sconstant companion and worthy heir of his spiritual treasure, and universally reversed, the late Tridandi Swami Madhya Ramanuja Ji Maharaj, Dived deep into the ocean of Sri Sri Thakur’s Spiritual compositions like an adept and brought out a thousand rare gems and pearls, each extremely apt and beneficent. These are published as Cloudburst of a Thousand suns. I hope, with Swamiji’s benign and benevolent efforts, all spiritual aspirants will find the most difficult spiritual path scattered with thorns become easy and strewn with flowers.
It is only after great deliberation that the host of Arya rishis described the difficult path of spirituality in the words Kshurasya dhara nishita duratyaya. This Path is undoubtedly deep and intricate, but it’s not impassable. Its call is irresistible and has been attracting devotees, age after age, to renounce everything and answer the summons. Seekers of all times are known to have stepped out with deep longing in quest of the Supreme. Those who were unable to find the ultimate have secluded themselves behind closed doors, in the lonely precincts of temples or monasteries, or uninhabited banks of rivers and sat down in meditation with great longing for the Supreme. In the lives of even those who could not do this; those who were forever caught in the complex tangle of worldly existence, those who never felt the slightest desire to propitiate God’s even in their hearts, at some propitious moment, a cry has arisen that can best be expressed in the words.
These words epitomize the eternal misfit who is in constant search of his/her abode and perhaps never finds it on earth. The heart finds not the abode of the Self anywhere here….it longs to discover its true destination . That’s the reason this cry is an eternal cry. Just as the authorities on spirituality have classified the seekers into four categories: lowly, average, advanced and superlative; evaluating the degree of their longing and their individual state, or the hierarchies of disciples, the preceptors have offered different types counsel.
Their advice to the common householder will surely differ from that offered to a brahamachari; there is similarly a difference in counsel to the renunciation. Thus, even on the face of it, it is clear that even a practical minded person will find that Swamiji, with his keen intellect, has carefully divided the Omkarsahasravaani text into different headings such as ‘The Ground of Spirituality’,’Human Birth & Its Import’,’Nature of Guru’,’Guru Mantra’,’ Guru Protocol’,’ Nature of Mantra & Japa Ego’,’ Me & Mine refuge/ Surrender’,’ the state of Kundalini awakening’ etc. ‘Food is the foundation of all spirituality. Bhojan (dietary control) is inextricably interlinked to Bhajan (worship).’ This is Thakur’s Mahavakya (great scriptural edict). By merel taking recourse to pure, sattvik food, one can succeed in attaining to the eternal reminiscence of the divine. That is the reason one notices that Swamiji has covered purification of diet extensively.
After crossing over the inaccessible water of spirituality, characterized by inexplicable blows and counter blows, strife within and without, crests and troughs, hope and despair; incomparable service to the Guru together with rigorous asceticism, have helped him come closer to the goal, Madhava Swamiji Maharaj is siddha who has been a companion, nay an eternal companion of the worldsanctifying and divine sport of Nitya Siddha Sri sitaramdas Omkarnath. Thus, along with constant endeavour toward the welfare of all beings and severe austerities, excellent study of scriptures has never left his side. No Wonder he has perfect understanding of both, the principal impediments to spirituality as also the methods of over coming them. But naturally, he lays emphasis on Naam , is therefore a testimony of the supreme refuge. Whether it’s bhakta or jnani; yogi or bhogi; a brahmachari or a householder; a sinner or saint, Naam is the supreme recourse for all and sundry.
Consider the following
‘Keep chanting Naam always, and blow away the frenzied tensions of the mind, and difficulties on the path spirituality. With the help of the Naam-cannon.’
‘Ananda (bliss) is in one’s own fist. Naam of God is nothing but bundled mass of ananda; there’s as much bliss in store for the Naami ( chanter) as he chants it.’
‘Naam is the wish-yielding tree. Whatever you desire of it, you will get it. You will surely get it. If anyone sings Naam with on wish in mind, a hundred are fulfilled.’
“Sadhan, bhajan etc. are not mere mental concepts; they are not figments of imagination. There is unbounded joy in sadhan and bhajan; they liberate one from old age and death.”
We are astounded to observe how revered Swmiji has for the most part, compiled Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath’s advice pertinent to the common mass of people. For those who are excellent among seekers and absorbed in abstract meditation, we find in the repository of Swamiji an account of the remarkable internal world of Divine Light and Divine Sound Accessed exclusively by those who have entered the sanctum.
‘When the Kundalini (Serpent Power ) is activated, unbroken Naad (Divine Sound ) goes on; it is beyond the powers of the spiritual aspirant to stop its momentum. Naad Brahma (Absolute in the form of Sound) sports sometimes I higher and sometimes lower (Spiritual centers of the body).’
‘When the spiritual aspirant forsakes all company and dwells in solitude, at that time Naad (Divine sound) manifests in varied aspects. Whether the seeker listens to it or not, the sound does not cease! Sometimes the (rumbling of) clouds, sometimes the (Humming of) the bee, sometimes (chugging of) the engine, sometimes (gurgling of) the waterfall and sometimes (intoning of) ‘Jai Guru’,’ or ‘Om Guru’ or ‘Guru Guru’- she plays in this manner.’
Just as spiritual aspirants are of different orders, so are the preceptors. Deliverer of this age, Sri Thakur Ramakrish;na, fond of parables, classified the (spiritual) physicians, who can help cure the malady of worldly existence, into three categories: lowly, middling and excellent. Even in practical life one observes that a lowly physician asks the patient to have the medicine and goes home; the middling one shelters and entreats the patient repeatedly; but the excellent physician shoves the medicine down the patient’s throat, he does not rest until he has ensured that the patient has had it.
Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath belongs to the category of excellent preceptors, which is why we find, when it comes to spiritual and devotional practices, religious regulations and restraint and related issues, he is a puritan and such a strict disciplinarian. He never shirks away from pointing out the harsh truths that could be in the long-term welfare of the spiritual aspirant.
Hence we find the Omkarsahastravaani (Cloudburst Of A Thousand Suns), a stern and relentless aspect Sitaram. We discern in the words of this composition of Sri Sitaram’s gospel, a note of rebuke, and sometimes love and affection mixed with scorn and sarcasm; he roars every now and then, but despite all this, the seasoned spiritual aspirant is only benefitted, for he enjoys at any rate, the unblinking and benign glance of the Supreme being whose love knows no bounds.
Thousand is a sacred numer. In the RigVedic hymn on Primal Man-Purusha-Sukta, we hear of thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed, primal person who spread all over the world and exceeded it by ten fingers. The so-called non-Vedic Dravida Veda of Nammalvar, the low-caste Shathakopa , the first teacher of our Sri Sampradaya lineage, consists of a thousand heart-melting songs about Krishna. These thousand Tamil songs are called Thiruvaymodi. In Sanskrit, these songs were loved by both our divine speaker Sri Sri Thakur, as well as by Srimat Madhava Ramanuj Jeeyar Swami, our compiler. We were instructed by Sitaram to recite the thousand names of Vishnu daily. And thanks to M.S. Subbalakshmi, the recorded version of those beautiful names of the Lord now reverberates throughout southern India in numerous temples and households But the most mystically important place where the secret of ‘thousand’ is preserved inside our body, is right on top of our brain. The chain of six lotuses strung together by the subtle energy-channel, called the holy sonorous sushumna is crowned by the thousand petalled Sahasrara. This is a special lotus with a thousan white petals, where the Guru sits, embracing his Shakti to his left.
With each of these ten hundred memorable message of our Sri Guru, we could consecrate each of these petals of the lotus our cranium. In a verse of RigVeda, X.164, Quoted copiously by Sitaram in his writings and speeches, where the Vedic verbum- gaurir mimaaya salilam…. Is described most explicitly, from one, two, three, four, or more twenty-four syllables (of Gayatri), The extent of cosmic speech is announced. The limit of that description is in metre –a syllabic syntax- which is said to be of a ‘ thousand-syllables’ in the supreme Sonic Space. May these thousand messaged of our Master Omkarnath, resonate in the space of our hearts in that cosmic rhythm of ‘sahasrakshar vaak’ in param vyoma.
Many of these messages are culled from the Master’s writings, although they could often be heard rolling out from his mouth too. Most vividly do I remember that mouth which spoke or read out these original words in Bengali! Those lips were thin , nearly invisible under the silky white fascial hair. Thin and slightly upturned, the lower lip would start quivering sometimes with infinite love for Mother Durga, or Sri Krishna or Sri Rama. Sometimes it would be firmly pursed when he would assume the first person and thunder forth:
‘Do not imagine distinctions between what is possible and what impossible for Me! I can tie an elephant with the fiber of a lotus-stem. I can drown a mountain in the puddle made by a cow’s hoof! Just chant my name, and I shall save you. Fear not, from sin, from death, disease, poverty or the scary cycle of rebirths. I am there for you, I am yours, I am there, My Dear!’
This was his ‘fiery assurance’- the fireworks of fearlessness spurting out of the most delicate pair of lips, crafted as it were, for only playing the flute.
And when it came to writing, those small frail-looking, tender hands, gripped the pen in a firm but worshipful offering pose. Here, I am torn between two incompatible similes ;for the words which would issue forth from that blessing blossoming right hand of our tireless writer. Some of those words were like sharp arrows flying straight to the target, while some were delicate exquisite flowers making us, their addresses feel really like images of God, as he would call us –Sribhagavad Virgaha! Or should I mid the metaphors and call them ‘flower-arrows’, for indeed , which Love-god could compete with the sureness with which Sitaram’s love would take aim at our poor, unworthy hearts?
As Sitaram would answer thousands of complaining beseeching, pestering, hurting, quarreling letters, in hand-writing like rows of pearls, his head-crowned with messes of matted hair-would bend down in perfect pin-pointed concentration over the sheet of paper, his left hand lovingly hugging the corner of the desk. He would be so lost in the act of writing that even the slightest breathing on his shoulder or a faintest noise next to him would startle him nearly to jump, Thought his annoyance would soon melt away into a self-mocking giggle. Brief, to-the-point, humane, and deep, those written letter would often contain gems of wisdom, later collected by Srimat Madhav Swamijee in a different collection ( A Thousand Letters of Omkar), Not just at the time of daily letter- writing service (‘patra-seva’ as he termed it), even during his long yearly stretches of vows of silence, out of his pen would flow not just streams, and waterfall, but full oceans of time-transcending writing divine elixir of life. Some sun-kissed waves of those seas of writing are translated here by Raj Supe aka Kinkar vishwashreyananda.
In the original title of these collected messages, vaanii, we must realize, covers both oral and inscribed words. So, as we read them, even in translation, we should imagine also hearing them, especially as the Names of God-Ram, Krishna, Hari, Shiva, Durga, Kaali, messages with their mantra-like potency that, through the reader’s phonetic imagination, could’ enter straight into the heart through the doors of the ear’. Shruti, after all is ‘to be heard, reflected upon, and then meditated on.’
In his Abhaya-vaanii (translated as ‘Hope Abounding’), Sitaram described himself, not as an author but s scribe (lipikara). He would literally ‘hear’ these authorless words, sometimes in the unstruck sound rising from his heart, the unforgettable words of krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: ‘Yada, yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati Bhaarata!’ for example, and would simply write them down for us.
So, just as he works do not make him a worker (‘Kartaram api mam, vidhi a kartaram’-Bhagavad Gita), doing so much he remains a non-doer, his books do not make him an author. His sentences remain authorless shruti.
One of the running themes of Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath’s philosoph is: that the Name and the Named are One. For a few moments, therefore, let us meditate on the name of the original author of these authorless sentences. What an uncommon name it is!
Sitaramdas Omkarnath! What is the secret of this Co-presence of daas (servant ) and naath (master)? What does Sitaram have to do with Omkar? A name like “Sitaramdas’, by itself is quite common in the RamanujaRarnananda lineage (samprndnya), marking Vaishnava bhakti, servitude, and surrender to Sita and Rama. And a name like Omkarnath - originally a name given to Sri Sri Thakur by Swami Dhruvananda Giri, of the Shanknrite Aduaita trad ition - is understandable from the opposite jnann-centered point of view of Advaita Vednl1tn. But their combination is not just rare; it is unique. It breaks age-old barriers and transcends divisions between [nan a and Bhnkti, Vaishnava and Shniua, self-humbling and self-expansion. It is by being a humble slave of Sri Sitaram, incarnated in the name Sitaram, that Thakur attains the spiritual height of recognizing his intrinsic identity with Otnkara. There is a grammatical trick with which, in one place of his writings, Thakur interprets Omkarnath as: 'One whose Lord is Omkar '. But here and there, we get hints that even the straightforward interpretation: 'The Lord of Orukar ', is meant by Thakur when he assumes that name. There are messages in this book which explain briskly how the path of repeating the Name of the Divine, leads one from servitude of God to complete non-dual merging with God and even to a status beyond the audible Om, into a sound beyond sound, self beyond self - a state which can be described as 'Mastery over Omkar', Hence the two parts of the name, though apparently incompatible, fuse into one.
Some major themes from the text of these messages are:
- Spirituality for the crisis of Kali Yuga
- Human birth and death
- Fragility of life
- Goal of life
- The search within
- Need for resolve and optimism
- No need to renounce this world
- What is dharma
- Depression versus dispassion
- Essence of spiritual practice
- Practice of God's omnipresence
- Suffering is auspicious
- Perils of fault-finding
- Essential oneness of all: reason for not criticizing others
- Sufficiency of chanting the name of God (Naam)
- Power of Naam
- Divine Name satisfies all desires
- Not a single Naam is lost And so on.
Of course, at the heart of it all is Thakurs central teaching of the simple two-fold path: of repeating the Name and bowing down to everything, living and non-living, treating them as God or Guru.
We must say a few words about the compiler. For more than 25 years, Kinkar Omananda was literally the closest monastic disciple of Sitararndas Omkarnath. He followed him like a shadow, taking care of the Master's frail frame, cooking all his mea Is ... and of course, cooking for Sitaram meant, on an average, cooking for hundreds daily, reading out scriptures under the Master's guidance in the afternoon reading sessions. But somehow, through this stormy routine of sleepless work under the cyclonic Omkarnath, Omananda managed to practice the severest of concentrated [apa and tapnsyn. He received the esoteric inner initiation in the supreme numtra, 0111, which is called brohmi diksha. Later on, in Srirangam, in 1976, the Master arranged for him to be formally ordained as a Tridandisuranii (a holy master with a three-stick staff), of the Rarnanuja order, when his name was changed to Sriman Madhav Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami. He has been an author of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath's memoirs and biography in his own right.
Sitararn's relationship with his own spiritual teacher was a strange one. Himself a very witty, refined, musical, poet in Sanskrit, his teacher Srimad Dasharathi Dev Yogeshwar was not only a famous teacher of scripture and rituals, he was also an advanced yogin and a devotee of Lord Krishna. But the teacher himself was puzzled about who his mysterious young disciple was. Dasharathidev called Prabodh (Sitararn's given name at birth), his younger
brother, his friend, his disciple, and also his advisor. In an inspired Sanskrit verse, Dasharathi asked Sitaram: 'I don't know if you are my teacher or my pupil. If you are my preceptor, then 1 am taking refuge in you as a humble disciple, please teach me. If you are my pupil, then tell me what are you made of?'
We shall try to understand the historical background of Sitaram's own thousand-faced philosophy, in the light of three simple assurances or messages that his teacher Dasharathi once wrote down for him. For the rest of his life, on each occasion of advising people in distress, Sitaram would recall these three messages.
The three vaanis of his own Guru that Sitaram used to recite and re-write countless times were:
1.'The world is subject to change (jagat paribartanshil).'
2.'Such days will not persist (aisa din nehi rahega).
3.'What the supreme Lord of the world does is for the good (jagadishwar [a koren mangaler janya). So, how to stick to the original intent, without slipping into repetitiveness?
I have worried about this for many years. 1 would suggest, now, that we take all three statements to be warnings against three varieties of rajas - rajoguna - functions. Remember the Gita (recalled in Sudhur Dlzara): the two inner enemies of man are kama and krodha, both raio- guna samudbliaua,
1. Overpowered by sattva-mixed rajas, a person perceives the world as full of frustration and suffering and begins to blame his destiny, his own past karma, and God, for making his life such hell. To such a person - who is proud of his intellect (sattva) and is plagued by pure anguish of intellectually analyzing life and finding it empty of any joy, the cautioning message of optimism is: 'Whatever the world-ruler God does, is for our own Good (happiness + virtue), who are you to think that you understand it all, when you cannot know how much goodness/happiness all this evil/pain is going to lead to? (Jagadjishwar [a koren monagaler [ansp»).' This cheers up and gives us hope.
2. Overpowered by rajas-mixed-rajas, the success-drunk, arrogant, enterprising, restless constant wealth- gatherer thinks: (as described in the 16th chapter of the Gita): 'I am the best, look at my achievements, no one will ever be equal to or better than me, the world is in my control!' To such a person, the second message says: 'The world tends to reverse fortunes, it works like the rolling wheel, the up goes down, and the down comes up (Jagat poribortanshiii, Paribartan in Sanskrit literally means 'going round in a cycle'. So, this does the opposite job, shatters overconfidence and makes the proud humble.
3. Overpowered by tomos-mixed-rajas, the fatigued, bored, zestless seeker says: '0 well! What's the point of trying anything? It has always been the same, one day is the same as another, this mixture of wisdom and folly, of pleasure and pain, evil and good is it just going to continue for ever? So why bother?' To such a deluded loser, the third message says: 'Prepare yourself for a surprise, such a day as today is not going to last, something new, something dramatically different may happen, so don't give up, keep up your effort, miracles do happen (Aisa din nehi rahega).'
SATYAM - the Bottom Line
When Thakur would end a written message addressed to one of us, he used a variety of signature styles. Formally, in early life, he used to sign with a flourish as 'Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, servant of the servant of Bhgavan Dasharathi Dev'. But later on, he experimented with informal and simpler formulations such as, 'Yours Sitaram' and 'Yours Omkar'. Sometimes, in a deep intimate and suggestive way, he would end the letter with, 'Yours I' (Tor ami). The signal was that his relation to the addressed person was one of total oneness; he was the self of the person he was writing to. But once, going even further into the depths of the wonder that is the Self, he ended a note to someone in a mysterious, Endearing, tantalizing fashion :< p> As we read these thousand jewels of love and wisdom, let us meditate on these two personal signatures: 'Yours l' and 'Yours Tell Me Who?'
Let the Master of Omkar, through his vibrant messages, make us servants of Sitararn, sucking us back into his ubiquitous self-essence, and thereby awaken in us the most blissful inquiry of all: 'Tell me who am I?'
|Foreword by Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja||11|
|Introduction by Dr. Arindam Chakrabarti||19|
|1||The Ground of Spirituality||31|
|3||Omnipresence- Everything is God||69|
|4||Dosh Darshan-Fault-Finding & Para Nindaa-Critixcising others||81|
|6||Nature of the Guru||107|
|8||Nature of Mantra & Japa||159|
|9||Dehatma Bhava-Body -Consciousness||173|
|11||Obstacles to Sadhana: Ahara Shudhi, Sattvik Ahara & Restraint||199|
|12||Swadhyaya-Self- Shashtra Pathan-Reding of the scriptures||207|
|13||Pleasure of Senses-Limitation & merits||225|
|17||The State of Kundalini Awakening||269|
|18||A Divine Prophesy||283|
|19||Abhay Vaani-Message of Hope||285|
|20||Chant The Name||286|
|23||Ramanandiya Sri Vaishanava Jai Guru Sampradaya Parampara||289|
|24||Afterword by raj Supe ( Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)||291|
Item Code: NAE067 Author: Raj Supe Cover: Paperback Edition: 2011 Publisher: Celestial Books ISBN: 9789381115626 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 292 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 265 gms