Sri Sathya Sai on Meerabai: Part 2

Bhakta Meerabai praying to her Lord Krishna

... Continued from Part 1

Significance of Chanting the Divine Name

Spiritual attainments shun publicity. Spiritual practice is to be done in silence, away from public gaze. The name and form of God are extolled by Meera as precious gems; precious gems are not brought out as wares to the market place, only vegetables are so exhibited for all to see.
- “Faults and Failures”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 10, November 21, 1970, Prasanthi Nilayam

Meera chanted Krishna’s name at all times wherever she went. Alarmed by her condition, Maharana in many ways tried to cure her of the madness. As she made no distinction, she had neither attachment nor pride. She had neither ego nor ostentation. She walked on, chanting Krishna’s name among the royal peers and Sadhus, in public and in the streets. Singing the words, ‘Ram Ratan Dhan Payo’ (I have received the true wealth in the form of the name of Rama), she used to walk through the market places. Maharana saw this scene and thought, “I am the king and my wife is behaving like a mendicant strumming her Tambura (musical instrument) and singing among Sadhus and royals alike. Is it not a matter of dishonour to me?” On several occasions, Meera tried to explain to him thus, “Honour and dishonour do not matter when it comes to chanting the Lord’s name. In fact, it is always honourable to take God’s name. Not taking His name is indeed dishonour. If you give room to conceit and be overly concerned of what others will think about you then your Atmic nature diminishes. Be bold and courageous, give up your pride and attachment, declare that it is your duty or that it is your wish and take to chanting of God’s name”. When the bold and courageous Meera refused to change her nature (Swabhava) inspite of pressure from others, Maharana tried in vain to counsel her. He pleaded to her, “Meera! If you go on singing in this way, you will be branded as a mad woman and you will be scandalized by the crows among people”. To this Meera replied, “Maharana? Does the cuckoo stop its sweet singing threatened by the voices made by the crows? Crows are known for their offending cries. Why should a cuckoo be scared of them? Offenders are comparable to crows and chanting of God’s name is like the sweet song of a cuckoo. Similarly, dogs keep barking at the stars but that does not force the stars to drop to earth. Where are the dogs and where are the stars? Similarly, God’s name is up above the world so high! And the silly, ignorant and egoistic people of the world cannot deter us from chanting His name”. The king did not take kindly to her arguments. He was angry. Raja, the king embodies Rajasic nature. A devotee embodies pure Satvic nature. Rajasic and Satvic natures cannot get well. How can water and fire coexist? Where there is water there cannot be fire and vice versa, even though fire emanates from water. Such realities and relativities were brought out by Meera not only for the benefit of Maharana, but to serve as an eye-opener for all people.

Exorcise the fear of ghost and be fearless!
Have fear of sin, rather, why are you afraid of the world?
Afraid of all and sundry if you refrain from God’s adoration
You only deceive yourself.
When it is time to die and Yama comes to pull you away ruthlessly,
Who on earth will intervene for you and plead with him?
- “The Power of Chanting God’s Name”, Discourse 08,
My Dear Students, Volume 01

(Here Swami narrated the story of Meera, where her husband, the Maharana, was upset with her behaviour and devotion towards Krishna) Meera’s nature was as sweet as nectarine dates, whereas Maharana had the nature of a tamarind. Once you taste dates you don’t feel like tasting tamarind. In the same way, the person who likes the taste of tamarind does not like the taste of dates. One who has indigestion does not feel hungry. One who has a very good appetite does not know anything of indigestion. One who does not like God is like the one suffering from indigestion.
One who likes God and takes any amount of pain for Him is like, the one whose hunger is never satiated. There cannot be any compatibility between the two. Meera and Maharana were like that. 

Maharana realised that it was not possible to change Meera’s behaviour and that he would continue to suffer insults as long as Meera was alive. So the king decided to end Meera’s life. He, along with his sister, mixed poison in the milk and sent it to Meera. Meera used to offer the food to God before she partook of it. Unaware of the poison in it, Meera offered the milk given to her to Krishna and drank it. When the poisonous milk was offered to Krishna the idol became blue and the white milk, free of poison, became the share of Meera. At that moment Maharana came inside and shouted, “You can’t stay here anymore. I am the king and you are defaming me. I got this palace built. You can’t stay in the palace built by me”. But Meera was sad and was thinking about the change that had happened to the idol of Krishna. She gained courage and told Maharana, “It is true that you got this palace built and you got this idol installed here. But the temple inside my heart for Krishna is not built by you. It is built by my Krishna. He is inside me. No one has the right to tell the Krishna in my heart not to be with me”. She said, “Oh mind! Why do you have so much attachment? You suffer grief and sorrow only because of that attachment”. She then started singing a song telling the mind to go to Prayag, the place where the rivers Ganga and Yamuna meet (Chalo Re Man Ganga Yamuna Teer). She did not mean the geographical location. She meant the place where the two rivers merge in her, between the two eyebrows. The nerve ‘Ida’ is Ganga and the nerve ‘Pingala’ is Yamuna. The nerve between these two is ‘Sushumna’, which is Prayag. She fixed her mind on the place between the two eyebrows. Her mind remained steadfast at that place and that very moment she merged in Krishna. Meera gained such a pure position only because of ardent faith and chanting of God’s name.
- “Chant the Name of the Lord”, Discourse 17,
My Dear Students, Volume 04

The name has the association of all the special fragrance of the Leela (Divine play), the Mahima (Power) and the Upadesha (spiritual instruction). Each one has a special attachment to one Name out of many, suited to the temperament and the Samskara, the inherited instincts and tendencies shaped in previous births. Meera loved the name Giridhari (mountain-holder). To her, that Leela appealed as the most significant, as the most symbolic of the Lord’s glory. The name that pleases you, that arouses the sweetest and the purest love, is best for you.
- “Shivam, Not Shavam”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 03,
April 29, 1963, Prasanthi Nilayam

The woman Saint, Meera said, “Braving all hardships, I dived deep into the ocean of the worldly life and at last got hold of the precious pearl in the name of Krishna. If I lose hold of this pearl, I may not get it again. Therefore, Oh Lord! You are my sole refuge”.
- “The Mysteries of Creation”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 25, May 26, 1992, Brindavan

The name undoubtedly brings in the grace of God. Meerabai, the queen of Rajasthan, gave up status and riches, fortune and family and dedicated herself to the adoration of the Lord, Giridhara Gopala. Her husband brought a chalice of poison and she was ordered to drink it. She uttered the Name of Krishna while she drank it; it was transformed into nectar, by the grace the Divine Name evoked.
- “The Revelation”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 08, May 17, 1968, Mumbai

Whatever work you undertake, do it conscientiously. Develop purity of mind. If you undertake the work with that purity of mind and then pray to God, surely you will achieve the result. Meera did the same thing. She prayed to the Lord, “Swami, I delved deep into the ocean and could get the pearl of Your Divine name. Let not this valuable pearl slip from my hand and drop back into the ocean. Having been born in this world, let me sing the glory of the Divine name constantly and make my life sanctified”.
- “Akhanda Bhajan – Continuous Namasmarana is the Goal”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 40, November 13, 2007, Prasanthi Nilayam

Realise that God is not separate from you. Strive to strengthen this sense of oneness with the Divine. This was the way Meera experienced the presence of Krishna in her heart, when her husband, the Maharana, expelled her from the Krishna temple built by Him.

The light of the Divine is within you.
Why go seeking for it elsewhere?
This is the light of love and of bliss.
Never forget God, whatever may happen to you.
There is no greater form of meditation than constant remembrance of God at all places and on all occasions. God is the indweller in the heart. When you experience this you will lack nothing and will be ever blissful. You will commit no wrong and will fear none. Your conscience will be your guide.
- “Manifest the Divine Within You”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 30, July 20, 1997, Prasanthi Nilayam


Message for Humanity 

If in the Adhyatmic path we wish to attain the bliss of Brahman, we generally go to a pilgrimage centre or meet elders and learned people. It is not to be sought in a pilgrimage centre nor is it to be looked for in the teachings of elders. It is within you and can be known by controlling your own mind.
It is in this context that Meera sang:

Oh! Mind, travel to the banks of Ganga and Yamuna.
(Ganga and Yamuna represent the two Nadis (nerves), Ida and Pingala)
Move on to where these two Nadis, through which one inhales the
Breath and exhales the breath meet.
Move on and Locate yourself in the clear, clean and pure place,
The centre of your forehead.
“Brahman is Within You and is Realizable by an Unwavering Mind”, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1974, Brindavan

The Vedas have declared that in observing Dharma and doing one’s duty by (in the name of) the Divine, the opposing words of no one; father, mother, preceptor or anybody else should be heeded. Bharata, Prahlada, Meera and others are examples of those who went against the injunctions of mother, father, husband respectively in adhering to their devotion to the Lord. No one is entitled to be a barrier between the devotee and the Lord, whatever is his relationship with the devotee.
- “Experience Oneness with the Divine”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 22, September 12, 1989, Prasanthi Nilayam

Many devotees go on pilgrimages to Benares, Prayag or other sacred places in the hope that thereby they will be absolved of their sins. Pilgrimages are not the means to wipe out sins. What is required is purification of the heart and the mind. If the mind is cleansed through Sadhana (spiritual discipline), Divinity will reveal itself on its own accord. Saint Meera gave the same message, when she sang a Bhajan calling upon the mind to go to the Ganga and Yamuna. The Ganga and the Yamuna she had in mind are not the rivers in Northern India but the inhaling and exhaling breaths in each of us-the Ida and Pingala Nadis. The central spot between the brows is the Prayag, the place where the Ganga and the Yamuna converge and by concentrating on this spot Krishna can be discovered. This spot is described by Meera as cool, pure and undisturbed. Inhaling and exhaling symbolise what one should take in and what one should reject and the holding of the breath (Kumbhaka) signifies what one should hold on to namely, Divinity. One should take in the pure things and reject the impure.
- “Why the Avathaar Comes”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 16, August 31, 1983, Prasanthi Nilayam

(Bhagavan sang a Meera Bhajan and explained how Meera in this song, directs her mind towards Krishna and appeals to him to enter her heart and experience her pure love). It is only by fostering love you can win the grace of God. The Prema Rasa (sweet juice of love) will be drained away if you have holes in your heart (spiritual heart) in the form of bad feelings and evil thoughts. If you plug these holes by curbing the evil qualities, the juice of love will be retained to some extent.
        - “Time is God: Make Best Use of It”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 27, April 14, 1994, Kodaikanal

Prema (the highest Love) transcends the ego; it is pure; it is sweet, it is sacred and sanctifying. Prahlada had that Prema; so, whatever befell him; pain, grief, torture, disgrace, he bore them all, for he was unaware of anything except God whom he had enshrined in his heart. Meera too was so hungry for God and so agonised by separation from Him that she was always singing only of His charm, His might and His mystery. You must yearn to be blessed with that earnestness, that dedication and that devotion shown by Prahlada and Meera. That alone can give you the Supreme Bliss.
-“He Sings Ever”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 12,
June 10, 1974, Prasanthi Nilayam

Contentment gives all spiritual aspirants the enthusiasm and vigour necessary for treading the path that leads to realisation of God (Sakshatkara). Contented, the aspirant can ignore the dangers and difficulties of the path. The aspirant treats all the impermanent things of this life as poison and discards them as trash. Discrimination, renunciation, and the spirit of inquiry develop through contentment. The story of Meera is an example of this.
- “Innocence, Purity, and Humility”, 
Dhyana Vahini

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