Srinathji - 9

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mani noopura vaachaalam vande thacharanam vibho:
Lalithani yadheeyani lakshmani vraja veethishu.
      Krishna roams around the Vraja lanes with tinkling anklets on His Feet. The sound of the anklets is accompanied by the tinkling of bells on the neck of the cows.  Those feet are soft like lotus flowers. They make beautiful marks of the conch, disc and the lotus on the dust of Vraja bhumi while He walks. I worship those lotus feet with all my heart, says Leela Sukar in Krishna Karnamritam.
Radhekrishna! The very same Lord saved the people of Brindavan from Indra’s wrath by lifting the Govardhana hills. He is their lovable Srinathji. Daily 8 pujas are done for Him. Morning mangala arathi is done. During this time Srinathji is woken up. He gets up late during summer and gets up early during winter. Vittalnath’s followers take turns and sing songs to wake Him up. They wipe His face with warm water with great care and love. He is offered bhog after that. Then comes sringar arathi. It is the time for Him to play. So they give flute in His hand. All play things are kept in front of Him and again singing is done. Dry fruits are offered for Him at that time. Arathi is done in the end.
        Then Gwal arathi is done. Time for Srinathji to take the cows and calves for grazing. Light tiffin is offered for Him then. Arathi is done.
Then noon it is time for Rajbhog and arathi. Numerous varieties of food items are offered for Him at that time. Arathi is again done now. After a tiring day and a heavy meal Srinathji will get tired and prefers a light nap.  He has to be waken up from the nap so afternoon by 3’ O'clock, uddhapan arathi is done.  He is gently woken up and arathi is done.    
         Next comes the time for Srinathji to have discussions with all the devas  who come to Him with various problems. It is said that whatever we wish at that time will be fulfilled by Srinathji. It is also said once Aurangaseb lost his eye sight.  Having heard about Srinathji’s miraculous powers, he prayed to the Lord at this particular time and got his sight back. Again a variety of food is offered to Him at that time and arathi done. Then evening arathi is done when He reaches back from the forests with the cows and cowherds.  Finally the sayana arathi is done when He is put to sleep. Lullabys are sung during that time. At that time after food pan (betel leaves with nuts) too is offered to Him.This system of puja was organised by Vittalnath, the son of Sri Vallabhacharya.  It has been followed for the past 600 yrs without much change. Vittalnath considered Srinathji as his own son. He considered himself as Yasoda matha. He guided many disciples towards bhakthi marga and corrected them. 
       There was a brahmin called Shreedhaswamy who had enimity towards Vittalnath due to jealousy. He couldn’t bear Vittalnath’s fame spreading far and wide. He used to say Vittalnath was only showing off bhakthi and he did not have real devotion. One day he took a coconut, removed the kernel inside stuck the two shells together and took it to Vittalnath. He asked him to offer the coconut to Lord Srinathji. He also prayed that he was devoid of devotion like Vittalnath and let Srinathji give him that much devotion.  
         Vittalnath innocently tried to take the empty coconut. Srinathji held Vittalnath’s hand and told him not to take the coconut. He said there was nothing inside and the man was trying to cheat him. Vittalnath smiled at this and said:- ‘True mylord! His inside is devoid of bhakthi and so empty. Why don’t you fill it with devotion? Then he will definitely change!
Srinathji:- What do you want me to do?
Vittalnath:- Fill it with what is needed.
Srinathji:- But how is it possible?
Vittalnath:- If at the age of 7 You can lift the Govardhana hill, then is this impossible for You? Put the kernel back in the shell please.
Srinathji smiled and accepted his request.  Vittalnath made the offering and turned to Sridhaswamy. He told him to consume the kernel inside so that he will get devotion.  He laughed aloud sarcastically and broke the coconut to show that Vittalnath was wrong. He was stunned to find the coconut full of kernel. He broke down and fell at Vittalnath’s feet begging pardon, ‘I am a sinner who came to cheat you. But you have showered me with divine blessings. How can I ever atone for my sin? I am really sorry now.’
       Vittalnath was moved with his tears and said he is not a sinner since he has uttered the name Srinathji.  Unless Srinathji desires, one cannot utter His name. That means he is lucky to get Srinathji’s blessings to utter that name.  Then he gave him nama upadesha. Sridhaswamy kept chanting the nama and attained the Lord ultimately. Guru kripa combined with bhagavath kripa can do wonders!  Radhekrishna!



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