Author Topic: Stories  (Read 32605 times)

Ravi.N

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« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2012, 12:36:46 PM »
Nanda,the Pariah saint continued...

"Kill a hundred sheep," continued the oracle,"and two hundred fowls" and offer them with pots of toddy to god karuppan and his brothers,and they say that Nanda will at once be cured.The great gods are extremely angry with you for having neglected them so long."The oracle ceased and immediately a large dancing group of middle aged pariahs was arranged and they sang.

PidAri great,the guardian dev
of all our fields,poor nandan save!

Nanda added:
None but natesan(nataraja)has that power
For he's my chosen lord and lover.

They sang
O vira dark with turban Huge
Beneath thy feet we seek refuge

Nanda said:
No turban could you make for one
who filleth all these worlds alone

They sang(admiringly)
IruLa fat with aspect Brave,
Thy belly is of Goats the grave

Nanda:
Trust not ye fools!to demons base,
But Him who is all love and grace.

The enthusiastic dancers heard not Nanda,or at any rate heeded him not;but the dance was followed by a more serious affair-the butchering of inncent fowls and sheep.Nanda rose and vehemently protested against it,but in vain;he eloquently preached to them about the grace and glory of the creator,invited them to throw away their wicked gods and barbarous sacrifices and exhorted them to join with him in the worship of the beautiful,eternal Nataraja,but all his words were as pearls cast before the swine;nay worse than that,they tended to strengthen the current notions about his madness.

Nanda turned away from that ignorant multitude in sorrow and filled with pity for them,prayed to God that they might be saved.With every moment of prayer,the longing to visit chidambaram gained new strength,till it grew irrepressible and forced him to apply to his master for leave.After considerable hesitation,the Brahmin landlord was asked;but in the meantime ,the pious devotees of pidari and company,finding that their gods had no power over nanda,had carried their appeal to the more powerful tribunal of their visible agricultural landlord,who unlike the invisible gods vouchsafed a prompt enquiry.Nanda appeared before his master just a little after the above deputation had gone from there and made his application.
"Eh,you going chidambaram,you pariah fool!You want to become a B r a h m i n???" jeered the landlord.Nanda was thunderstruck,he felt himself undone and returned weeping without speaking a word.He went to the shade of his favourite tree,and there wept in Torrents."O God."he said to himself,"How cruel art thou!I have no right to blame the Brahmin,he ofcourse spoke under Thy prompting,for not an atom moves save at Thy bidding.I am a poor pariah too low for Thy Grace,Ah!how cold art thou!Thou hast no pity on this wretched,miserable forlorn creature.I have nothing to be proud of-no wealth,no beauty,no fame,no learning and as if these were not enough I am born a low caste bondsman.All this was nothing to me,so long as I had hope of Thy Grace,and now i have been deprived of even that.Oh God,How then can I live?".
But hope,that most wonderful of all things,again asserted itself and he thought:"God knows what is best for me,infinitely better than I do.I shall resign myself to His Will in all things great and small.The Brahmin master may relent and I am sure when I am fit to enter His Presence,i shall be allowed to do so."

A few days later,a second application was made for leave and with a similiar result of refusal combined with rebuke;but the disappointment this time had a different effect on him;he consoled himself with the idea that he was not yet fitted for the Holy Presence,and that therefore he should strive to be more pious and god-loving and purer in heart.He redoubled his meditation that there might not be in his waking state a single moment in which God was forgotten,curtailed his hours of sleep,danced in a wild and ecstatic way both morning and evening,and at other times wept for God's grace or rejoiced over his illimitable glory.In the stream,in the bird,in the tree,in man,in short wherever he saw life,there he felt the presence of Nataraja;and under heavy sway of this strange fancy,often played with the stream,embraced the tree,ran after the bird and did a thousand wild things which positively confirmed his kinsmen in the idea of his lunacy.

continued....

Ravi.N

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Re: Stories
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2012, 12:39:50 PM »
Nanda,the pariah saint continued,,,

The poor folk tried all sorts of remedies,even bound him by fetters and tortured him,but all in vain.To him,everything in the world was divine,and his love and tenderness to living creatures was simply boundless:he would feed the ants with sugar,would take up the worms from the roadside lest they might be scorched by sun or crushed under the feet of passers-by,play with the children and enjoy the music of the birds as if he were himself one of them.
In the meanwhile however harvest time had come and ,his kinsmen being desperately engaged with him,work in the fields suffered.The landlord got enraged and sent for his men.all of them came,except nanda,and related everything that happened.The Brahmin angrily dismissed them and sent for nanda.Nanda came and bowed to his master and stood.The Brahmin was greatly surprised at the remarkable degree of joy and calmness and humility that shone in his face.It clearly struck him that nanda was no ordinary man,and that what was misconstrued by the ignorant pariahs as madness was nothing but an extravagance of piety and fervour;but he did not want to encourage him,and got really angry when the request to go chidambaram was put forward;yet he was moved at the extremely piteous,sincere and imploring way in which it was urged and the quivering and suspense with which his reply was awaited,as if a soul's destiny hung upon his one word;and so he gently replied:"nanda,you are really a good fellow,but you have fallen into wild ways;you have not been doing your work properly of late.This is the harvest season,the corn has to be reaped,after all the harvest is gathered in,I shall grant you leave to go to chidambaram!".

No sooner was this said than Nanda sprang into the fields like a wild deer,and a few hours later ,again called at the landlord's backyard.When the Brahmin asked why he was wanted,Nanda replied:"Do me the favour sir,to go into the fields," and led the way followed by his master;and what was the latter's wonder when he found that the whole of his vast paddy fields has been reaped and the harvest gathered in like a mountain of gold-all the work of a single man,and that in a space of a few hours!

The landlord could hardly believe his eyes,and struggled to know if he was not dreaming:what he saw was no vision but a concrete and thorough reality,and when convinced of this,he could only say:"Nanda,you could not have done this work,not all your kinsmen together ,what a miracle has God worked in my fields through you.This is the reward of your devotion-the proof to us,incredulous fools of your greatness.Nanda,you are the Holiest,and purest man that I have known,God's dearest Bhakta,Ah!what a sin have I commited by treating you as a slave,-from this moment,I am thy slave and this whole estate is yours.Bless me and recommend me to that High God who is so near and dear and kind to you."

Nanda's feat was at the same time a miracle and not a miracle-not a miracle in the superstitious sense generally attached to the word,but a miracle,a genuine miracle in that it was beyond the power and comprehension of ordinary men.Most of us are ignorant of the resources of love.Its intensity,its abundance and its wonderful possibilities are foreign to our mediocrity and when measured by our leaden standard,appear legendary.Love rolls the hills,leaps over the seas,annihilates the elements and shakes the universe.what can it not do and what has it not done?it is the energy of the soul,nay it is the soul itself and when nanda threw his whole soul into work on which hung the fulfillment of his life's objective,the result was what it was.The astounded Brahmin fell at his feet;and here by the way,it may be said to the credit of our caste system,that however rigorous it may be on the social plane,it has ever been liberal on the religious one.Many of the saints worshipped in our temples are men of the lower castes,some of them being of the very lowest;and the Brahmin is as ready to-day(Rajam iyer) as he was in the days of Nanda to fall at the feet of any man irrespective of caste,if any high religious merit be at least plausibly claimed.

Nanda ran to his master,and raised him up,repeatedly fell at his feet and with tears in his eyes said:"My Lord,what a sin you have commitedby bowing to your pariah slave",to which the Brahmin replied:"You are no longer either a pariah or a slave,you the holist of men;Go to chidambaram,but bless me before you go,forgive mefor my treatment to you and recommend me to God's High Grace." Saying this,he took nanda's hands and placing them on his head(our heads as well-ravi)implored him to give some parting advice. "This is all that your humble slave could say,my lord," said Nanda, "Love God as well as you love your wife,children,lands and wealth.What more does this uncultured slave know?".

The Brahmin looked at the radiant face of Nanda and worshipping him once again reluctantly let him go.With great many kindly exchanges they parted;but hardly had nanda gone a few yards,when the Brahmin ran upto him and asked :"Nanda,dear Nanda,O my Guru,when may I see you back?When will you return?" Nanda replied:"Now,O Master,we part once for all.O my Lord,who really goes to Chidambaram and comes back?I loathe again to enter into this mortal coil.My master,I hope no longer to return." The Brahmin did not understand what Nanda said,but we may perhaps do from the sequel of the narrative.


Ravi.N

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Re: Stories
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2012, 12:42:13 PM »
Nanda,the Pariah saint continued...

No deer that newly escaped from the hunter's toils,no barren woman just blessed with a male child,no blind man that newly received the gift of light,was more rejoiced than Nanda the pariah who was relieved from the work which stood between him and God.His heart sang:
The Drug that cures my grief,the fear-not-drug
The Drug that spreads through all the worlds alike
The Medicine of Grace,the wondrous drug
That grows within,the drug that feasts my love;
The Drug of growing light,the drug that cures the ill
of life,the Drug great and ineffable.
The story goes that the Earth shook with joy,the grasses waved with delight and a few rain drops of joy fell from the Heaven.Nanda sang and jumped like a veritable deer.He jumped with delight.His eyes and ears were hardly his.From Adhanur he reached colladam.The river was in full flood.The waves were rolling forth one after another for very joy as it were.Nanda looked at the river,saw the deep water yet clear,saw the Living Flood and claimed eternal kinship with it.A boat came;a black boatman steered it,and with a sunburnt face,with his sweat ,covered all over the body,but bearing the traces of the white ashes it wore and smelling of sweet camphor.Nanda saw him and worshipped him,for he was Nataraja in his eyes;and getting into the boat for hire sang to a surprised audience about the unfading glory of the Prince of Dancers.He said:
The drug which made me him,the dancing drug
That dances in wisdom's sphere,the silent drug
The poorman's friend,the rarest drug,the drug
Both First and last,The Drug that seeks out those
That seek it not,that which my hunger soothes,
The Loneliest Drug,the pure man's help,the Light,
The Drug that cures false loves and avarice kills,
That which Earth-hunger soothes,the drug which plays
Hide-and-seek,the Drug which is all within
The Heart that Loves,that is my strength and Joy.

NatarAja Guru,NatarAjA,NatarAjA,...

Nanda dancedon the Boat.The people in the boat danced with nanda.The sun-burnt boatman forgot his oar and danced with the people.The boat dancing this way and that,dragged itself to the shore.Nanda leapt on the ground-sacred it was,it was the territory of NatarAjA,put his hand into his lap searching for a few copper coins,the fruit of his toil,but the boatman wept and would not take the hire.
Ten minutes were the interval for crossing the river and within that time the Bhakta was recognized and worshipped by a band of men who became his Bhaktas.The Boatman left his boat;The man of business forgot his business;the ploughman left aside his plough.A dancing group formed itself.They danced for very joy.The Tower of Chidambaram ,grand,majestic,loomed from a distance and beckoned Nanda.

Nanda looked at the tower of Nataraja,bowed before it and worshipping it,covered the ground with the other devotees until the base of the tower was visible.The temple gate was in view.And Nanda sang:"Here is the Gate of the Kailas,the gate that opens to the good alone,the gate from which no good man ever returns,that through which Saint mAnikkar entered and sang to the echo of these High walls his divine anthems of ecstacy,the Gate through which that poet of poets appar entered and sang his majestic vedas,the gate through which Sundarar entered and enjoyed the secret nuptials with the prince of Lovers.my brothers and friends and kinsmen,here God is and is not.Here he is both form and no form.Here he dances and is quiet.Here it is that the ignorant are blessed with wisdom and the wise lose their senses.Here he is space and Light.And here he is both the creator and the destroyer." And that is why appar sang:-
The tillai Dancer,wrapt by watery fields
around,this helpless slave to forget and live!

Walking further they reached the sacred precincts of Chidambaram.The associates of Nanda,though of higher caste would not go into the town and enter the temple without Nanda.For 3 days,Nanda sang praises of the Lord and waited along with the other devotees.
Tradition rich in legends and folklore asserts that all the Dikshitars(priests of the Chidambaram temple)on one and the same remarkable Night,dreamt that NatarAjA appeared to them in their vision and directed them to take into their Brahmin fold,the purest of his Bhaktas,Nanda ,the pariah saint.It was a beautiful morning,when the sun had just risen,and the Dikshitars had returned from their bath with sacred ashes besmeared all over their bodies and Rudrakshas hanging loosely round their necks,assembled a miscellaneous council in the devasabha,their general meeting place within the temple.
Appiah Dikshitar,the eldest of the group,rose and told his wonderful dream-how Nataraja appeared before him,and related the possibility of purifying Nanda by means of a fire -bath.Kuppanna Dikshitar ,his immediate successor confirmed the dream by his own experience.Subbah dikshitar saluted the two previous speakers and expressed his surprise at the coincidence of his dream with those related;and all the Dikshitars simultaneously rose and expressed the uniformity of their dreams.at once,when the wind was blowing fiercely and the sun was burning hot,arrangements were made for a sacred fire being reared.
Meanwhile Nanda had just risen from a long trance and was singing:
My Mind,Go tell my Lovely Lord that I
Bow to His Golden Feet that dance on High.

Just then,the Dikshitars appeared in a body before himand bowing to him,to his great surprise,related to him their wonderful dreams,and took him over to the corner of the South mAda Street where the Fire had been prepared.The pious devotee at once sprang into the fire joyfully singing:"My father Isa's feet are cool like the effulgent evening moon,the faultless Vina,the Breeze that unceasingly blows,the spring that swells,a tank round which bees hum and swarm."
Nanda passed through the crucible unhurt.He was taken by the admiring Dikshitars from the South mAda street through the Eastern Tower gate broad like the vedas and speedily led on by the side of kambattuadi mantapa(Subramanya's shrine)and the square tank,and across the deva sabha into the common platform,midway between Sri Govindaraja Perumal and the Dancing NatarAjA.

continued...

Ravi.N

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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2012, 12:44:34 PM »
Nanda,the pariah saint continued....

Where once stood appar singing his famous hymn:
"He is my Lord,He who is rare,He who lives in the bosom of the Gracious,He who resides in the temple of the vedas and in the atom,the true god yet unknown,who is sweet like honey and milk,the abounding light of heaven,the God of gods Brahma and vishnu,the Great invisible spirit that pervades the Rolling sea and the Mountain chains.the days on which I forget to sing His Praise are days in which I did not live."

Where stood mAnikkar fainting with Love and pouring forth his remarkable upanishads;and where great men have left the dust of their feet to inspire noble and pious souls that may come after them.There now Nanda stood and on both sides of the Kanaka sabha (the Golden mantapa)huge ocean-voiced bells poured forth their joyous chimes.appiah dikshitar entered into the shrine and made puja to the Lord waved the lighted camphor before the Lord.Nanda rushed to the sanctum sanctorum and disappeared ,singing his swan song:
Nataraja my Lord,Nataraja my Love,
My Lord,I come,I come my Love,
We both are only one from now;
Thou art I,and myself art thou.

concluded.

Subramanian.R

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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2012, 04:53:02 PM »
Dear Ravi,

Nice to read the story again about Nandanar, tiru nALaip pOvar.  It is one of the finest stories of  63 Saints, though in such
detail Sekizhar did not say it. Later when Gopala Krishna Bharatiyar and a few others made some of these stories as 'dance
dramas' - sangeetha nAtaka kirtanams, the glory of Nanda and other saints became more popular.  Recently I witnessed one
video that is running for about 15 minutes, about Tiru poR chuNNam of Sri Manikkavachagar.  There the heavenly damsels
pound bathing powder for Siva's bath!  When this was seen as a dance drama, it was more entertaining. It came in
www.Shaivam.org.     

Arunachala Siva.   

Ravi.N

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« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2012, 07:27:21 PM »
Subramanian,
Yes,the nandanAr charitra keerthanai of Sri Gopalakrishna bharatiyar is a wonderful work that is full of  moving songs.To see  Dance Drama performance of the story of these Great saints is indeed a delight.The Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai staged a performance of KaNNappa nAyanAr story-it was absolutely rivetting,especially where thiNNanAr goes into the Forest and comes across kudumi thEvar among the KALahasthi hills.How Love fathomless gushes out and how he feels a deep compassion for the Lord and decides to feed and Protect the Lord!It was very well performed by all the artists.
I will check out what you have referred to in shaivam.org.Thanks very much.
Namaskar.

Jewell

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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2012, 08:06:28 PM »
Dear Ravi.N, You were right,i ADORE this story!:-) It is very beautiful and inspiring,and i am reading it with tears and joy in my heart in the same time. Love it! Thank you for sharing it. Even,i feel like dansing right now.:-):-) And yes,i am from Serbia and,like you said,really is wonderful how love of God is bringing us all close to Him,to Sri Ramana,Arunachala,and eachother. I really feel blessed. Those are all His workings,and ways. And how wonderful is that! This world is He,and everything Is by Him only. What a beautiful play! Thank you for the kind words. I wish you too Very Best dear Ravi.

Ravi.N

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« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2012, 09:09:08 PM »
Jewell,
You are Blessed with Deep Devotion.Thanks very much for your Blessings.
Namaskar.

Jewell

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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2012, 12:30:13 AM »
Dear Ravi.N, Thank You sooo much!

Ravi.N

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« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2012, 06:51:35 AM »
Jewell/Friends,
You may be interested in the talks on the devotees of Sri Bhagavan, by Sri V Ganesan that has been brought out in book form.It is quite an absorbing account.you may download it here:
http://www.thewizardllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/The-Human-Gospel-Sharing-Western-Version2.pdf
Namaskar

Jewell

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« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2012, 04:08:21 PM »
Dear Ravi,

Thank You for the link. I am downloading it now,and cant wait to read it. Surely,i will enjoy it.

Jewell

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« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2012, 04:27:04 PM »
O,there are all devotees! And pictures too! Great!

Thank You Dear Ravi!!!

Ravi.N

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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2012, 07:48:30 AM »
Friends,
For sometime I have been thinking of Sharing the life story of one of the Great householder disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, Durgacharan NAg or nAg MahAsya about whom Swami VivekAnanda had said: "I have traveled many places in the world, but nowhere have I come across such a great soul as Nag Mahashay"
I intend posting his life story in instalments here.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2012, 01:55:02 PM »


Nag Mahasaya 1846-1899

Ravi.N

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« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2013, 04:53:27 PM »
Life of Nag Mahasaya,Householder disciple of Sri Ramakrishna:

There is a saying, 'Gurus are available by the thousands, but real disciples are very few.' A real disciple is one who translates the teachings of his guru into the actions of his life. Durga Charan Nag was one such rare soul. Once he overheard Sri Ramakrishna say, 'It is very difficult for doctors, lawyers, and brokers to advance on the path to God'. Referring to doctors in particular he said, 'If the mind dwells on tiny drops of medicine, how can it conceive of the Infinite?' Durga Charan was then practicing homeopathic medicine. He noticed that most of the time his mind was reflecting on them faces of his patients, and this disturbed his meditation. He therefore thought that the advice was meant for him. Immediately he resolved, 'I will not make my living from that procession which is an obstacle to the realization of God'. He returned home and that very day threw his medicine box and medical books into the Ganga.

According to Vedantic tradition, the life of a householder is based on spirituality. He should follow the path of truth and dedicate the results of all his actions to the Supreme Being. It is not an easy path. 'He is true hero', said Sri Ramakrishna, 'who can perform all the duties of the world with his mind fixed on god. None but a very strong man could stop to admire a bridal procession moving by while carrying a load of two maunds[164 pounds] on his head'.

It was because of his extraordinary personality that Durga Charan Nag came to be known as Nag Mahashay.

Swami Vivekananda once said about him, 'I have traveled many places in the world, but nowhere have I come across such a great soul as Nag Mahashay.'

He began studies in the Campbell Medical School but, for some unknown reason, discontinued them after a year and a half. Later he studied homeopathy under Dr. Behari Lal Bhaduri, a renowned physician of Calcutta. His success in his profession was immediate. He had a rare intuition in diagnosis and even as a student performed some remarkable cures. He refused to set any fixed fee for his services. Whatever people offered he accepted, than what he considered just. He treated poor patients free of charge, sometimes even giving money to them for food and medicine. Some unscrupulous people took advantage of his kindness, but he did not mind. He served men as God.

The lives of the mystic prove that when intense longing for god dawns in a soul, God responds and makes everything favourable for the devotee. One morning Durga Charan was seated on the bank of the Ganges when his family guru arrived there, unexpectedly, on a boat. When he was asked the reason for his coming to Calcutta, the guru replied, ` I have come at the special command of the Divine Mother to initiate you,'. However, the initiation only created in him more hunger for God. He was carried away by the divine intoxication and often lost outward consciousness. Once, while he was meditating on the bank of the Ganga, the flood tide rose and swept him into the river. It was several moments before full consciousness returned to him and he was able to swim ashore.

People read about God, talk about God, hear about God, but how many really want to experience him directly? This desire completely possessed Durga Charan. One day his friend Suresh came to him with news about Sri Ramakrishna, the saint of Dakshineswar. They both decided to immediately to Dakshineswar and see him. They arrived there about two in the afternoon and inquired about the Master. Pratap Hazra, a strange devotee, informed them that Sri Ramakrishna had gone to Chandannagore and asked them to come back another day. They were terribly disappointed and about to leave when they noticed someone inside a room beckoning them to enter. It was Sri Ramakrishna.

The Master received them cordially and asked them about themselves. During the course of the conversation he advised: ` Live world like a mudfish. The fish lives in the mud but its skin is always bright and shiny. Similarly, remain at home unattached and the skin of worldliness will not touch your mind'. He asked them to mediate into the Panchavati grove for some time, and then he took them too see the different temples. As they were leaving, Sri Ramakrishna said to them: `Come again. A relationship grows through frequent visits.'

It was a few months after his first meeting with Sri Ramakrishna that Durga Charan gave up his medical practice.

When Sri Ramakrishna passed away on August 16, 1886, Nag Mahashay quit eating and remained in bed. Hearing about this, Swami Vivekananda went to his house along with two of his brother disciples. After repeated requests he got up from bed, and Swami Vivekananda told him that they had come there for lunch. Immediately Durga Charan went to the market, brought back groceries, and cooked for them, but he would not eat anything himself. When they urged him to eat, he said, 'Alas, how can I offer food to this wretched body which has not yet been blessed with god-realization?' It was with great difficulty that Swami Vivekananda finally persuaded him to take some food.

continued...