Article by Niyati Uppal
Free Public Talks by Swami Shrikarananda on ‘SankatMochan’ Yagna 6-11th July 2020
We all want one thing in life – permanent infinite happiness. All pursuits we take up in our life are to 1) increase our experience of happiness, and 2) decrease our experience of sorrow. So why is it that we still experience sorrow?
On a little closer inspection, we find that it is because we are seeking for our happiness in the wrong place. Vedanta shows us that the nature of our Self is Infinite Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. When we forget our own true nature, we try to seek happiness in our interactions with this world, which has manifest from our ignorance. We become identified to our equipment – namely our body, mind and intellect – and the objects of experience – namely things, beings and situations – and project our happiness onto these.
But the very nature of the world (including our equipment) is finitude. They change, meaning they came to an end. Objects of our experience which once gave us joy, may only bring sorrow from here on out. Worse still, we have competing desires and thus sabotage our own happiness. How can expect to find permanent and infinite happiness in this changing and finite world?
Our scriptures give us many paths that lead us to the Infinite – either to know the Infinite as one’s self, or to recognise the Infinite as the Lord of Creation and to merge with That. These paths can be difficult and trying, and take incredible inner strength as well as peace and clarity of our minds. The ego, born out of ignorance, catapults all of its devious expressions at us – delusion, temptation, past karmas, and deep rooted tendencies. To know how to walk these paths and find the happiness we seek, we look to the One who has removed not only His sorrows, but the sorrows of others as well. That One is our Guru.
The Guru is none other than The Lord Himself, who out of love and compassion for the seeker, expresses himself in a form that bridges the illusory gap between Jiva and Ishwara, our ego and our Self. Thus the Guru removes the great sorrow of all, the cause of all of our sorrows – being separated from the Lord, which is the same as being separated from our True Self, due to ignorance and limitation.
One of the greatest forms of the Guru we see in our scriptures is Shri Hanumanji – the ultimate devotee of the Lord, who allowed all other devotees to experience the Lord’s grace and unite with Him. Shri Hanumanji brings joy to all of our hearts, but none quite like Tulsidasji’. Tulsidasji was a great saint who lived his life devoted to Lord Rama – naturally, Tulsidasji was incredibly devoted to Shri Hanumanji too. Tulsidasji’s life from the time he was in the womb was full of misfortunes.His faith in and devotion to Shri Hanumanji not only brought him much peace and fulfilment, but also gave him the Divine Vision of Lord Rama – thus, the Guru unites the devotee and the Lord.
Out of his love and gratitude to Shri Hanumanji, Tulsidasji composed “Hanuman Ashtakam” – also known popularly as “SankatMochan”. Through heartwarmingand seemingly simple stories of Shri Hanumanji with deep and powerful symbolism, we come to see the causes of our sorrow.Shri Hanumanji, symbolises the Guru, is our shining light on our journey to realising our Self and frees us from our sorrows of our ignorance.
The Guru compassionately gives us the love, reassurance and guidance we require to unite with the Lord who lives in our Heart. Having developed the mental qualifications of a true dedicated seeker, we approach our Guru with humility. We serve the Guru, allowing us to ‘tune up’ to Him. We learn from the Guru and practice His teachings. Finally, we surrender to Him, knowing that only He can lead us to the Lord in our Heart, our True Self.
Our humble pranams to Swamijifor blessing and inspiring us with the profound knowledge of this beautiful devotional composition by Tulsidasji, to learn about the blessing of having a Guru we can serve in our lives, and the causes and solutions of our sorrows.
Click on this link to access all the 6 days of “Blast Away Your Sorrows Video talks on SankatMochan; Click on this link to download the Audio talks. This is a great opportunity to revisit the talks you may have missed or wish to revise, at your convenience.
Chinmaya Mission Australia offers many avenues to explore, learn and live the timeless knowledge of Vedanta. The above summary is from the recent free yagna talks online on “SankatMochan – Blast Away Your Sorrows” by Swami Shrikarananda, the resident teacher of Chinmaya Mission Australia (NSW, ACT, QLD, SA). These talks are also available on the Chinmaya Sydney Channel on YouTube. Please visit www.chinmaya.com.au for more information about classes, public talks, camps and other events.