To the Arjuna-devotee within every true seeker.
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
by Melissa Jadoonanan
I sat down to undertake Bhagavad Gita Chanting. Three chapters in and the task was proving insurmountable. I was not in good shape.
The immortal dialogue between soul and spirit- and I didn’t speak the language! I began to identify with the despondency of Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurushetra. I had all the usual excuses, concluding that this project was probably not for me. I had a late start, Sanskrit was not my mother tongue and I didn’t have a gift of languages or the merit from other lifetimes. What I did have was all the excuses to quit!
I was struggling to keep abreast with the newness of the content of the class. My brain didn’t work in those parameters, I felt my eyes betray me, and well my mouth could not make the shapes that, my understanding of the thing was dictating. Vowel consonant rule, where a vowel is followed by two consonants we double the first consonant …with the exception of ….R and H were vowels!!” I was overwhelmed.
This was English translation of Sanskrit verses-shlokas and it was the most challenging course I had ever undertaken. I had heard people say that this class was going to be a transformation of sorts, a life changing experience. I buckled down and tried to retrain my mind and to focus on the reason for the interest in Bhagavad Gita. A time to spend with Lord Krishna, and the opportunity to follow an instruction given by Appaji.
What flowed from that was instructive.
The churning started. From the outset the Bhagavad Gita demanded commitment; discipline and perseverance. Your time was not yours and if you squandered your time you paid the ultimate sacrifice-a chance to meet with dissatisfaction. Bhagavad Gita, in turn gave of love so redeemingly. The Song of the Soul sought you when you were down, comforted you when you were lost and consoled you when you grieved. It separated you from of the worldly plain. It provided you with solitude and solidarity. That chance to read Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna felt like the Gift of Love itself. And like day into night, the virtues of patience, humility, and forgiveness were seeding into divine possibilities. Bhagavad Gita showed the example of Sacrifice, twin born out of love and devotion.
The teachers and mentors gave freely of their time, in the name of Guru Seva. Work-life balance and other priorities were rescheduled to facilitate the process of Bhagavad Gita Chanting. The kindness of the mentors and their and willingness to assist and the determination to see each student achieve their best is an experience that remains closest to my heart. With Appaji at the helm, every devotee was set to become a better version of himself/herself.
The elements of love, service and unity came together like prasad to offer at the feet of Sadguru in the form of Bhagavad Gita Chanting. Each devotee was silently put through his/ her own test as the Silent teacher knows what to teach and to whom.
Pranams to our Sadguru Deva who knowing our challenges both in the physical and metaphysical, in this lifetime and past lifetimes gave to us the and Divine opportunity to make better ourselves in line with the teachings with Lord Krishna. Appaji is always giving, knowledge, gems of wisdom, experiences so we may know ourselves, opportunities for heart-to heart communication; seva opportunites; giving to us methods to strengthen mind to experience our karma. Appaji, the Prince of Peace sitting on the throne of our hearts, directing our kingdom of activity! How fortunate we are to be on His ship
Appaji, who is the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, an Avadhuta, is also always testing. Appaji gives us the experience first. Then the knowledge. When this knowledge is experienced we get the divine opportunity to have heart chakra blossom. In that moment, if you have completely surrendered to Sadguru, your heart overflows with gratitude and opens with love. I am still learning. I accept I know nothing. Bhagavad Gita taught me how to treat life experiences like the teachers they are meant to be. I learnt the value of silence and how to inwardly retreat. I learnt how to redirect; I learnt that failure was an experiential platform to evolve spiritually. There was no cheating in life experiences. This was a chance to put it to the test. I had read on SGS post, “failure is a road to success”. I read it but paid no mind to it. However, after the experience of not being able to progress with Bhagavad Gita class, I had to look for the opportunity to turn the experience into a teaching point.
The disappointment leads me to the story of Kartaviryarjuna who experienced dejection and rejection at the hands of the serve tester-Lord Datta. How blessed I felt on reading that Kartaviryarjuna’s steadfast devotion and focus held him in high regard of Lord Datta. So pleased was Lord Datta at his devotee’s ability to raise above disappointment and failure, that He blessed him with the Dharshan of Lord Datta and granted him several Boons. I learnt that it was because of Kartaviryarjuna the world was blessed to have opportunity to perform Anaghaashtami.
Oddly, I felt blessed to have been given the opportunity of a test! The same Lord Datta who tested Kartaviryarjuna was testing me on the same playing field of disappointment. Well, I didn’t have crippled arms, but I did have crippled dreams. This is probably why I was allowed to meditate on Chapter 5- the yoga of renunciation.
Allow me to me explain. At the conclusion of Christmas Camp I was not successful in my undertakings. I felt dejected and defeated. I thought how could my efforts produce no result? Worse, not the result I had hoped for; what I had sacrificed and worked for. The fruit of my labour seemed spoilt. This felt like an indictment on all my progress. Self righteous indignation was fierce and causing me bodily pain. I wrestled with myself. Hindsight would show me that I was given the divine opportunity to work out chapter 5 on my own. A chance to live what I had been chanting.
I was not able to view the situation with clarity in the red-hot moment of being removed from the class. So I sat for many hours in silence trying to work it out and one evening during Anaghavrat, I would read at the end of the pooja, “I offer the effects of all the activities of my body, mind, words, senses, intellect, intuition and natural tendencies to Narayana” _Guru of the Universe! Then, it synapsed !
I remembered a dream I had, weeks prior to the being cut from Batch 5, Appaji had appeared in a dream, saying “Narayana, Narayana”.
I had come full circle. Immediately on realizing my wrong thinking and obscure perspective I asked for forgiveness. I was being urged to learn the art of surrender and or the art of trust. Surrender onto me, the Guru of the Universe all the effects of the activities of my body, mind, words, senses, intellect, intuition and natural tendencies. Appaji’s compassion and love for us is beyond what meets our senses. Appaji was asking me to let go of the burdens I was carrying, in thought word and deed. The burden of expectation- personal, societal, professional. To let go of the milestones I had set for myself. Let go of what I thought I had not achieved and or accomplished. Let go of where I thought I faulted in my roles in this life. Deep down this is what resonated. This is what came thorough in the silence. It was through failure I was being ushered, to learn the practice of surrender.
Pranams to the Guru within, to that inward stirring. The Teacher of the three worlds had come to teach us, seekers of truth. Whose silent explanations remove the doubts of the disciples; the treasure trove of knowledge, I bow over and over to the form of existence, consciousness and bliss embodied in Sadguru Deva. I bow to Sadguru Deva. May we be deserving of Sadguru’s Dharshan.
The timing and setting to expound the glories of Lord Datta is perfectly poised with Appaji’s upcoming visit. All Datta devotees are preparing for this visit in various ways.
Our Bhagavad Gita Family and in particular our memorisers must be given the proper mention and complete respect and honour. For it is due to their sacrifice, love, devotion and unwavering efforts to undertake memorization of the Bhagavad Gita that has brought Appaji to our shores with specific intent to Perform a Mahayagna. I am reminded of Lord Krishna’s words in Chapter 10- Of Labour, I am Effort! To these courageous souls may Appaji continue to bless their efforts and see them to fruition. Appaji makes the impossible possible!
Lord Datta who is an ocean of compassion and is the giver of whatever is needed by the devotee. May our memorisers maintain clarity of thought, ease of expression, may peacefulness flow, may they be endowed with divine powers of recall so that the shlokas find them in divine order. Calm their minds to be pristine receptors of the wisdom of the Gita. Allow their tongues to be obedient foot like soldiers, marching towards the finishing line, guided by the command of the intellect!
My heart opens and is filled with immense gratitude for all blessings that would undoubtedly flow to each and everyone on account of a Mahayagna.
Students of Bhagavad Gita, hailed from all stations of life, different age groups, varying health status; different capabilities – all came together to execute an instruction from our Sadguru.
The dedication and willingness and sacrifice to learn this sacred text are indeed a true testament to the Arjuna devotee within every true seeker! Appaji knows the heart of every devotee! it’s heart-to-heart communication!
Keep going, allow failure to teach you where you have reached in your inward journey to know who you really are. Embrace the life experiences; sit with yourself and do the hard work of introspection. Appaji will help guide you. For these experiences help propel you to resonate with Sat Chid Ananda-your true self! Let nothing silence the song in your heart. Let us use these unpleasant life experiences, to assist us in transformation of ego. Let us try to develop the divine art of acting in this world with unselfishness and non-attachment.
The opportunity to receive this gift, we offer profound salutations to the lotus feet of our Sadguru His Holiness Dr. Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachidananda, Swamiji Ki Jai!