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Lord Vishnu

Worshiping of Vishnu as Prime God is very widely practiced in Hinduism. Followers of this sect are known as Vaishnavaites. Vaishnavaite believers will consider Brahma and Siva either as “part of the Whole” or as “Gods of lesser significance”. Vishnu, the protector is worshiped along with his divine female counterpart (wife) Lakshmi or Sri. Vishnu’s abode is Vaikunta. Vishnu the dark skinned and handsome God, with 6 hands and carries Sangu Chakra and Gatha (Conch, Wheel and a Maze) and he lies in the bed of a 5-headed snake.

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and she is the holy mother who is very compassionate. She is the one who recommends to Vishnu to bless his devotees irrespective of their limitations and sins. Goddess Laksmi resides in the lotus heart of Vishnu. Vishnu in association with Lakshmi is called Sriman Narayana. Vaishanavaite temples have a separate Sannadhi (Sanctum Sanctorum) for Goddess Lakshmi. Worshiping Goddess Lakshmi alone as a stand-alone deity’ is not generally very prevalent (except in some specific holy places and occasions). Vishnu is a God of thousand names and every name of him is holy.

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Getting rid of our likes and dislikes – only after self-realization?

Satsang with Amma…

10th Dec 2012 – At Amritapuri Beach

Q: “Amma! We all know that our likes and dislikes are essentially due to our egos. To get rid of our ego, we have to get self-realization and only when we get self-realization, we will be in a position to love one and all equally without any reservations. It is quite a long drawn process and maybe advanced sadakas will be able to attain that state after quite some effort. But how about ordinary worldly people like us? Is there any quick mode of transport ( “a Concorde plane”) for us to reach such a state of self-realization?

The gist of Amma’s reply was as follows:

“It is true that one can reach the ultimate state of loving all only after self-realization. But a lot depends on our mental attitude. It does not mean that we can neglect our shortcomings and need not take any efforts to eradicate our ego-based likes and dislikes. If one says ‘I will take bath in the sea after all the waves subside’, he is never going to have a sea-bath.

“We are all essentially Atman; it is our true nature. But our ego is a product that we created. Our ego is like a bubble in the sea that thinks it is different from the sea.

“Satsang (company with the holy) is very important for us to develop the right mental attitude and to get awareness about what is right and what is wrong. We should shun bad company. Take the example of Kaikeyi. She was in possession of such a good heart that she rewarded a servant maid with a diamond necklace when the maid brought the news that Rama was going to be crowned as the prince. But what happened to the same Kaikeyi when Mandara stated giving her evil counsel? Kaikeyi’s heart totally turned negative towards Rama and she went to the extent of forcing her husband King Dasaratha to send Rama on exile to forest for 14 years.

“Qualities like love and compassion must be cultivated by effort. Once there was this young girl of a rich landlord, who was always found playing with the physically handicapped little daughter of the servant maid.

“The landlord did not like to see his daughter playing with a lowly servant maid’s child. He scolded her several times on this issue, but to no avail. In order to wean her away from that habit, he brought to home a nice child from the family of another rich landlord befitting his status. His daughter exchanged pleasantries with the new girl just for while, but she went back to playing with the handicapped child again.

“This infuriated the landlord and he asked his daughter why she was bent upon doing it. The daughter replied: ‘Father! This nice, rich girl whom you brought to play with me can get any number of friends to play with her. But what about this handicapped little girl? No one except me is willing to play with her; she finds so much of joy when I spend time with her; that’s why I play with her always’. “It is developing such a mental attitude that one can gradually get over with likes and dislikes on others.

“Yes. It is true that getting self-realization is a very long drawn process. It requires lots of patience and effort. One cannot afford to slack efforts and abort one’s goal midway. Once two spiritual aspirants were doing ‘Sadhana’ under a banyan tree for quite some years. The Celestial Sage Narada happened to pass by one day. As Narada had his daily contacts with the Lord Narayana, the aspirants were eager to know from God when they would attain God-realization. They appealed to Narada to inquire about it when he would meet Lord Narayana the next time. Narada agreed.

“A few days later, Narada came by. One of the aspirants eagerly asked whether Narada spoke to Lord Narayana and got the answer. Narada said that he did and what Narayana told him was that this person would require as many births as the number of leaves found in the Banyan tree to attain his self-realization. The person who heard this was devastated. He felt highly infuriated. “I have been doing severe sadhana for so many years and still Narayana says I will require so many births? Oh! Then its all a waste of time. It’s all a mere humbug then; I would rather go back to the world and enjoy it instead of wasting my time here” . He left the place fretting and fuming.

“Now the other aspirant posed the same question and Narada gave the same reply. Upon hearing it, the second aspirant was full of joy and started dancing in ecstasy! “O! Is it true that Lord Narayana indeed said that I would get my salvation after these many births, for sure? Oh! I am really lucky then! I am indeed blessed!” So saying, he continued to jump around and dance.

“At that very moment, the second aspirant got his self-realization instantly. Such was the reward he got for his mental attitude and patience.”