Conversations with Sri Sathya Sai on Varalakshmi Vrata, Yajna and the Story of Parashurama

Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Swami gave Darshan at around 6.50 am. After speaking to some of the doctors, He came to Prof. Radhaswamy, Associate Dean, School of Business Management at Swami’s University…

Professor : Swami, You have to take care of the children, especially the Ph.D. boys, like Niranjan, who is doing research on Mahabharata. He is also studying the Mahabharata by Munshi, Rajaji…

Swami : Don’t do like that; have one ideal. We have to see everything, but for us (for the research work) Vyasa is the main.

Professor : Swami, I will go and come on Sunday.

Swami : Good Bangaroo, go and come. Afterwards, also study the leadership qualities of Krishna.

After finishing the evening Darshan, Swami came to the second block and asked for the Institute Warden, Dr. Siva Sankara Sai. Then in the first block, Swami called three guests and told them about Varalakshmi Puja arrangements. In the second block, Swami called some boys for measuring the distance between the pillars in the fifth block.

Swami : (Referring a doctor, to Prof. Anil Kumar) For anything, either fever or cold, he will check head, heart and kidney. He is brainless like you!

Prof. A. K. : Yes, Swami, I am brainless because I am eating too much.

Swami : In Sweden, the suicide rate is very high. In America it is 5%, because they have only one work to do, eat and sleep. So, they develop laziness, get disgusted and have tension.

Prof. A. K. : Yes, Swami.

Swami : Like you, eat and sleep.

Prof. A. K. : Yes, Swami. I am thinking of reducing them.

Swami : On 11th, for the function (Varalakshmi Puja) 300 ladies are participating. 

(In the meantime, one of the students came back after taking the measurements.) What is the measurement?

Student : 15.5 m in length, Swami.

Swami : How many feet are required for people to sit comfortably?

Warden : Two feet Swami. (Swami asked the student.)

Student : Two and a half feet, Swami.

Swami : (To the student) Dunnapotha! Ladies wear saris and Puja (worship) material will be around them, four feet will be ideal. (Meanwhile, other students who were also measuring came and told Swami about the diagonal measurement as 56 X 42 ft.) What cross? You are always cross. No need of diagonal measurement. I know that the distance is 42 ft. Boys made mistake. It is 42 ft and 3 ft is needed for a lady to sit and so calculate how many ladies can sit?

Student : Swami, 14 ladies.

Swami : Now, for that check the distance between the four pillars. (Swami pointed the four pillars.)

Student : (Busy calculating) Swami, about 400.

Swami : You engineers always get it wrong. It is actually 300.

Student : Yes, Swami, 300.

Swami : (Pointing to ladies side) Along this carpet and from that end to these steps, ladies will sit for Puja. See how fast I am and what engineering you all did? Go and sit. (To the Warden, Dr. Siva Sankara Sai) Why are you sending all fever cases to the Super Speciality Hospital? May be because they give food there, but what about charges for transport? Simple cases can be sent to General Hospital. (To Prof. Anil Kumar) Last night, when the Hostel car was coming from the Hospital, an auto came from the other side. It seems the auto driver was drunk. The car and auto collided and the car was damaged. Whose fault is it?

Prof. A. K. : Swami, obviously the auto driver’s. He was drunk and was coming fast.

Swami : Who knows? Nothing happened to the auto. Auto is a small vehicle, made of canvas. If it collides with car, which is made of metal, the auto should be damaged. If the car’s headlights were damaged and bumper got bent, then the car must have also contributed to the collision.

Warden : By Swami’s grace, nothing much has happened. All are safe.

Swami : Yes, that is there. But why should there be an accident at all? Start early, drive slowly, reach safely. (To the Warden – Dr. Siva Sankara Sai) What are you doing tomorrow? 

Warden : Lalita Sahasranamam, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Gayatri Japam, Ashtottaram and also Rudra Homam. 
(All these different kinds of worship to different deities were planned to be done by the students themselves as an offering to Bhagavan. This programme was called as Nava Hridaya Pushpanjali – Heartfelt offering of nine flowers of worship.) 
Nava Hridaya Pushpanjali - different kinds of worship to different deities  done by students in the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam
Swami : All fine. But better be careful about doing Homam (the ritual fire sacrifice). It should be done with all rituals. There should be no mistake. You should also have Dharma Patni (wife) along with the main person doing the Homam, like in Dasera functions in Poornachandra. All other types of Puja can be performed. But don’t do Homam.

(Editor’s Note: Swami is very particular that all the rituals should be done as prescribed in the scriptures of the Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas have prescribed that a Homam/Yajnam – the fire ritual, should be done only by a householder along with his wife. They symbolise the Purusha and Prakriti, masculine and feminine principles of creation. They are symbolically referred to as Brahma and Saraswati during the Vedic rituals. As seen over the decades, in all the Yajnas performed during the Dasera functions in the Poornachandra Auditorium, a couple would take the vow (Deeksha) for the Vedic ritual and perform it for all the seven days. Hence, Swami advised the Warden that in the Hostel, as only the students, who are Brahmacharis or celibates reside, a Vedic Homam should not be performed as it would go against the injunctions of the scriptures. Also, a fire ritual has to be performed based on the meticulous scriptural guidelines; and the students may not have sufficient knowledge of these. Therefore, they should not perform the Homam in the Hostel.) 

Warden : Yes, Swami. As per Your command and blessings.

Swami : (Calls a student. To Prof. Anil Kumar) Who got the ‘All Round Gold Medal’ last year? (Every year, during the University Convocation, Swami, as the Revered Founder Chancellor would award this medal to a student from any of the three campuses, who has completed five years of his/her education at the University and has excelled in all aspects of the University’s integral system of education – physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.)

Prof. A. K. : I don’t remember the name, Swami.

Swami : Sri Krishna Parashuram. I remember everything. Who was Parashuram?

Prof. A. K. : An Avatar, Swami. Why was He associated with destruction, Swami?

Swami : (To a student) Who was Parashuram?

Student : He was a sage.

Swami : He was the son of Jamadagni. (Swami narrated Jamadagni’s story…)

Jamadagni means one eye. His wife (Renuka) used to get water from the Ganges and mix the Ganges water with mud. With this mixture, they used to do Homam. One day, when Parashurama’s mother was fetching water, a plane was passing by, in which Kartaveerya Arjuna was seated. She saw him and a thought passed her mind, “What a handsome person! Can there be such a handsome person in the world?” When she came back home, the water that she had brought with her for Jamadagni’s daily ritual, did not mix with the mud. Jamadagni came to know that it must be because of some impurity. When he enquired from his wife as to what had transpired when she got the water from the Ganges that morning, she narrated her experience and thoughts. He got very angry and commanded his son, Parashurama, to cut-off his mother’s head. Parashurama obeyed his father and without asking anything, immediately cut-off his mother’s head. Jamadagni was very happy that Parashurama obeyed him and asked Parashurama to ask a boon. Parashurama wished that his mother’s head be placed back again. In this way, both the ends were achieved, the father’s command was obeyed, and the mother was saved. 
Lord Parashurama with his father, Sage Jamadagni
Once a king came to meet Jamadagni. The king and his army were served delicious food, which was the gift of Kamadhenu (a wish-fulfilling cow). The king liked the cow and asked Jamadagni for it. But Jamadagni refused by saying that the cow was meant for Rishis (sages) and not for Kshatriyas (the warrior class). The king used force and ordered his soldiers to go and capture the cow. The cow pleaded Jamadagni to save her but Jamadagni said, “It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and I am not in a position to save you.” Then Kamadhenu sent soldiers, who had emerged from her. The war between Kamadhenu’s army and the King’s army resulted in the defeat of the King. This made the King angrier and he killed Jamadagni. Parashurama, who saw his father’s death developed anger towards all the Kshatriyas. In order to vanquish the ego of Kshatriyas, he went around the world 21 times punishing Kshatriya kings. Only Janaka and Dasharatha were saved. When Parashurama came, Janaka was performing Yagna, and Dasaratha’s marriage was going on. (He had vowed that he would kill all other kings except those who were performing a Yajna at the time of his attack; marriage is also one type of a Yajna and is called the Laja Homam.) Finally, when Rama broke Shiva’s bow, Parashurama came there angrily. Rama had 12 Kalas (Divine attributes) and each brother (Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna) had one Kala; and Parashurama had the last Kala. Totally 16 Kalas. He asked Rama to break his bow. When Rama did so, he accepted defeat and gave the last Kala to Rama and went back. (Thus, Rama along with His brothers became the Poorna Purushottama, the Supreme Avatar with 16 Kalas.) 

(Inside Bhajan Hall, pointing a student to another student) How does he play Harmonium?

Student : Plays well, Swami.

Swami : Here and there he misses. (Ms. Usha, a senior lady devotee who daily sings the Suprabhatam in the Mandir, told Swami about her knee problem. Smiling mischievously) Oh! Chitravati Me Jao. Ek Knife Deta Hun, Cut Kar Do. (Go to Chitravati. I will give one knife, cut it out.)

Devotee : (Again cried) Swami, Daya Karo (Swami, have mercy).

Swami : (Jokingly) Marriage Karo! (Perform marriage!) (To the students) She is a very good singer. She used to sing. Abhi Boys Hai, Isiliye Stop Kiya (Now boys are there, that’s why she stopped). (To the devotee) Wo Kya Song Hai? (What is that song?)

Devotee : Beda Paar Karo…

Swami : Ek Aur Line Bolo (Tell one more line). (The devotee sang few lines of the Bhajan. She again pleaded to Swami about her knee problem.) Sing some more Bhajans. (The devotee sang more Bhajans. Swami was not satisfied. She started clapping and sang a fast Bhajan.) Dance Mat Karo (Don’t dance). (All laughed. The devotee again pleaded. Swami said jokingly) Ek Walking Stick Leke Dono Side Three Times Maro (Take a walking stick and hit both sides three times). (To the sudents) She used to sing very well. She sings at high pitch. (To the devotee) Kab Stop Kiya, 5-6 Saal Se? (When did you stop? 5-6 years?)

Devotee : Yes, Swami.

Swami : Where did you come from?

Devotee : Aap Se (From You).

Swami : No, from which place?

Devotee : Aap Hi Se (From You alone).

Swami : Bombay?

Devotee : Aap Hi Se Aayi Hoon (From You only Swami). (The devotee was singing more Bhajans.)

Swami : Ye Sab Boys Ko Malum Hai (Boys know these Bhajans). Songs Gao (Sing songs). (As the devotee started singing, one of the students noticed an ant on Swami’s robe. Immediately he knelt down and removed it. To the student) Snake Hai? (Is it a snake?) (A Talam was offered to Swami as the devotee was singing. Swami brushed it aside. To the student) How is she singing?
Sri Sathya Sai with Students in the Prasanthi Nilayam Bhajan Hall
Student : Very well, Swami.

Swami : Good voice.

Student : Yes, Swami, loud voice.

Swami : She composes the songs herself. She studied M.Sc. Like the person who plays the flute, her entire family was here only. Abhi Father, Mother Chale Gaye (Now her father and mother are not there). (To the devotee) Father, Mother Kidhar Hai? (Where are your father and mother?)

Devotee : Sab Aap Hi Hain, Swami. (Everything is You only, Swami.)

Swami : No father, mother.

Devotee : Vo Sab Mujhko Malum Nahi. Sab Aap Hain. Mere Mummy, Daddy, Sab Aap Hain (I don’t know all those. Everything is You. You are my mother and father). (As she started singing another song, an alarm clock started ringing.)

Swami : See, it is putting Taalam (beat) for your songs. (All laughed.) Rheumatic pain? (She nodded in affirmative.) Papam (So sad). (Swami materialised Vibhuti for her.) Abhi Gata Hai? (Will you sing now?)

Devotee : Gaati Hoon, Swami (I will sing, Swami).

Swami : Gaata Hai Ya Khaata Hai? (Singing or eating?) (All laughed. She started singing another song. Swami went outside and told the guest about her and signalled her from there to sing. She again sang a few lines of ‘Beda Paar Karo…’. As it was going on, one student got up and gave a letter with some drawings on it to Swami. Swami took the letter and said) You should be sent to the mental hospital! (To the devotee, pointing the student who gave the letter, Swami said jokingly) He is a good trumpet player.

Swami came to the second block and started listening joyously to the Sitar being played.

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