VARA LAKSHMI VRATA SANDESH
BHAGAVAN SRI SATYA SAI BABA
Held On 11-8-2000
Savitri, who brought her dead husband back to life, belongs to the sacred land of Bharat, doesn't she? Chandramati, who extinguished the flames of fire with her power of Truth, was born in Bharat, wasn’t she? Sita, who came out of the blazing fire unscathed was born in Bharat, isn’t it? Damayanti, who burnt a wicked hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity, was born in Bharat, wasn't she? It is because of such chaste women of character that Bharat has attained the reputation of being the land of plenty, prosperity and rich harvest. Of all the rituals, Vara Lakshmi Vrata is supreme. (Telugu poem)
Parvati’s Request to Easwara
Embodiments of Divine Love!
Because there have been women and men of character in sacred India from ancient times, the country has remained safe and prosperous. India has always given an important place to the mother. The priest mentioned this point this morning.
It is said that Parvati asked Easwara whether there was anything that could grant safety, prosperity and auspiciousness to women in India. She asked whether there was anything women could do that would bless them with an auspicious, healthy and long life, enjoying increasing prosperity with their children, grandchildren and friends. Easwara was happy with her prayer. In response, He taught her the Vara Lakshmi Vrata, saying that this was a great boon given especially for women.
It is natural in human life to have desires. This boon is a special gift to women. Women have always struggled for their family's welfare, safety and prosperity. It is only women who pray for equality (Samata), integrity (Samagrata), unity (Samaikyata), and fraternity (Sowbhratrutwam). It is recorded in the Puranas that Parvati asked Easwara to give those boons to women.
Eight Types of Wealth
Many types of rituals have developed in India to bless women with the eight forms of spiritual wealth, which is the embodiment of Divinity. Hence, they came to describe women as Ashtaiswarya Swarupini (embodiments of the eight types of wealth). Women's words are words of Truth. Their hearts are hearts of Peace. Their actions are actions of Righteousness (Dharma).
These are the eight types of wealth that God wished to grant to them: Shabda Brahmamayi, the primordial sound; then the second quality is Chara-charamayi, in the mobile and immobile, the quality that is present everywhere (all-expansive or pervasive) is the quality of shakti; the third is Jyotirmayi, the quality of light; the fourth is Vaakmayi or speech; the fifth is Nithyanandamayi, which is eternal bliss; the sixth is Parathparamayi or supreme bliss, transcending this world and the next; the seventh is Mayamayi, the one of illusion; the eighth one is Srimayi or the personification of wealth.
In this way, women who are the embodiments of the eight types of wealth are protecting the world in numerous ways. They are protecting the family and bringing auspiciousness to the world. However, in this modern age people don't have the chance to have faith in this truth.
Because of her true quality, her truth in speech and good character, Savitri could even bring her dead husband back to life. Even in this Age of Kali, when so many husbands are experiencing so many dangers, they are protected because of the prayers of their wives. Savitri, who could witness the return to life of her dead husband, overcame all the obstacles that got in the way, didn’t she? Therefore, this kind of nature was propagated in the world by these mothers of chaste character. They were born in India, performed many Vara Lakshmi Vratas and received the grace of Vara Lakshmi.
Doubts Regarding Sita
Even Rama doubted Sita, who was separated from him for ten months when she was in Lanka. God is all-knowing (omniscient), all-pervasive (omnipresent) and all-powerful (omnipotent). Even when He is so, many people in the world have all sorts of doubts. Therefore, to uphold righteousness and to dispel their doubts, Rama made Sita undergo the test of fire to prove her chastity. (Note: Ravana had kidnapped Sita, Rama's wife, and held her captive for ten months in Lanka). Rama thought that the people may criticize saying, ‘How can he have her back when she has been in Lanka for ten months?’ So Rama gave this sort of test to destroy these criticisms. However, Sita had no doubts at all.
If crows are cawing, will the cuckoo stop its song? Lokulu Kaakulu – meaning: ‘The people of the world are like crows.’ They are full of doubts. However, women of noble character, pure ones with pure hearts, will not give room for these types of doubts. The witness of their hearts is Truth. Their pure feelings are their Dharma. Therefore, in the culture of India it is declared,Sathya Vada, Dharma Chara: Speak Truth; Practice Righteousness. (Sanskrit sloka) They have given these two as important measures.
Pureness of Anasuya
In the same way, you know the story of Anasuya. (Note: Anasuya was married to Sage Atreya.) God also tested her. Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara themselves came to her house and asked, Bhavati Bhiksham Dehi (Oh mother, give alms.) When she went to give them the food they told her, "You must serve our food without your clothes on."
With a pure heart, she made a resolve: Immediately Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara turned into small babies. Who made them play as small babies? It was only because of the purity of her heart. The foundation for this was her noble character of Truth. Therefore, the one who made them play as small babies was Anasuya.
Eventually, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Parvati, the three wives of the Trinity, came to Anasuya's house. "Mother! If you play with our husbands in the form of small babies, what will be our fate?" Then she felt compassion for them. ‘My husband is here and, similarly their husbands should also be with them. The main support for a virtuous wife is her husband.’ She blessed them that they should have good resolves thereafter.
Anasuya adopted the babies. (Note: ‘Datta’ means ‘adopted’. According to the Puranas, a boon was given to her that the Trinity would be born to her as ‘Dattatreya’.) For that reason, the Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara – was called ‘Dattatreya’. Anasuya's husband was Atreya. As they were ones who were ‘adopted by Atreya’, this Trinity therefore got the name of ‘Dattatreya’.
Pureness of Sumathi
Therefore, in this way from ancient times there were great women in India who propagated and taught great powers and were ideal in so many ways. Sumathi was another example. She also was an extremely virtuous wife. She had a pure heart and pure mind, a selfless heart.
One day a sage cursed Sumathi. He said, "As soon as the sun rises, may Sumathi's husband die." Because she had such good feelings and good thoughts, she prayed deeply. Prayer is the basis for all actions. Prayer is what atones all curses. Only prayer atones curses and destroys sins. Eventually Sumathi said, "My husband’s life will be taken at the rising of the sun, isn’t that so? If I stand for Truth, may there be no sunrise." She made that vow. The sun did not rise. Women's hearts are so sacred. However, people go by outer appearances and actions to some extent. They cannot understand the purity of their inner feelings.
When the sun did not rise, the whole world was disturbed and disrupted. All the gods and sages came to Sumathi. "Mother! Are you putting the whole world to such trouble just for the sake of your husband?" She replied, "Because my husband is here, I have use for the world. Otherwise, I would have no use for the world". She considered the whole world and her husband to be equal. Hearing this, the gods gave their promise to her, "Your husband will not have any difficulties. He will be perfectly safe. We will see to it." So she then resolved that the sun would rise.
So from ancient times in India, many people propagated numerous types of powers and capabilities. They took the form of ideal women for the world. Don't feel that this was only in some other time. In this Age of Kali also you know of numerous examples of the powers and capabilities of women. However, it is not possible for anyone to understand the heart of women. No one knows this secret.
Kunti and Karna
At one time Kunti left Karna by the river. (Note: Kunti had given birth to him before her marriage, by the grace of the Sun god.) After marrying King Pandu, Dharmaja, Bhima and Arjuna were born. However, at last the mighty war broke out. At the time of the war, Dharmaja did not know that Karna was his elder brother. Finally after Karna died, Kunti told him, "Son! That Karna was your elder brother." Then Dharmaja cursed her, " You mean I killed my own elder brother? The main reason I did so was because you did not tell me. Therefore, women will not be able to refrain from speaking about any secret that is in their mind."
Those who keep such secrets, protecting life, protecting the respect and well being of the family, these are the women of Bharat. The main reason for all of this is the gift of Vara Lakshmi. The name of the form of Lakshmi, who grants all the boons asked of her, is Vara Lakshmi. (‘Vara’ means ‘boon, gift’.) She is the Lakshmi who gives all the boons asked by women. Therefore, her name is Vara Lakshmi. So the grace of women, the prosperity of women, the wealth of women, the eight types of wealth, the one who fosters all of these is Vara Lakshmi.
Therefore from ancient times in Bharat it is said, " If you want to see what the housewife is like, look at the house." If the house is clean, the housewife will also be pure and clean. Pure-hearted people like those in Bharat have been increasing from those days until today. Savitri, Damayanti, Lakshmi, Saraswati, all of you, all of them also, including Sita, due to the Grace of Vara Lakshmi, were able to have such power.
Hence, by the Grace of Vara Lakshmi, what progress there is for man, what bliss, wealth and prosperity there is! But because of the influence of modern times, no one is doing pure rituals like this. So the houses are not clean. The housewives of ancient times are not around these days. The houses of those days were so clean! What is the reason? Their hearts were also so clean. It is all reflection, reaction, and resound. This means that the cleanliness of their houses then was a reaction reflecting their purity of heart. Nowadays, wherever you look, there is pollution, pollution, pollution.
Everything is Polluted
The water that is drunk is polluted. The food that is eaten is polluted. The sights that are seen are polluted. The air that is breathed is polluted. Ultimately the mind is becoming polluted. So, because man's mind is becoming polluted like that, everything is becoming polluted.
Man is filling his mind today with negativity. These negative feelings have to go. What do negative feelings mean? Desires having to do with worldly ambitions, these have to be there. But they should have a limit. A pen is in our hand. If we fill this pen with blue ink, whatever lines are drawn and whatever words are written with that pen, they will be seen in blue ink. If that pen is filled with red ink, all the words that are written and lines that are drawn will be red.
What does this mean?Yad Bhavam, Tad Bhavati: As the feeling, so is the result. (Sanskrit sloka) Today if negative thoughts are filling the ‘pen’ of our heart, the work that we do, the things that we see, things that are heard, words that are said, the thoughts that are thought, all of them will become negative. Whatever lines are drawn, they will come in that color. Whatever thoughts you think, they will be those types of thoughts.
Fill the Heart With Love
Therefore, first and foremost, the heart has to be filled with Love. When it is filled with Love, the words that we speak will be full of Love. The things that we see also will be full of Love. The things that we hear will be full of Love. The thoughts that we think will be full of Love. The things that we do will be full of Love.
Sarvam Prema Mayam Jagat. The whole world is full of Love. (Sanskrit sloka)Because there is no Love today, we are filling our hearts with hatred, jealousy, the pomp and show. All of these are only negative thoughts. What do we need to do to ensure that these negative thoughts go? What has to be done for a sacred treasure to come to us? We have to fill the heart with pure feelings. Then all these negative thoughts will go. Divine and auspicious feelings will arise in us.
Feelings like anger, sorrow, and jealousy may arise because of the food one eats. However, how do all these bad qualities come into us - desire, anger, greed, lust, pride and envy? They arise due to the body. They arise because of our attachment to the body. Therefore, we have to control our attachment to the body. Physical desires have to be controlled to a certain extent.
So, it is said,"Less luggage more comfort, makes travel a pleasure." Our whole journey is undertaken with the body. Therefore, we have to reduce our desires and change the body to becoming lighter to some extent. Of course, there has to be some attachment to the body. When we are with our husband or wife, children, relatives and friends, is it possible to be without body attachment?
However, we should spend our lives with the sacred feeling of wishing for the welfare of all:Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu, May all beings in all the worlds be happy. (Sanskrit sloka) We should lead our lives with the sacred feeling that the whole world should prosper and progress. The whole world is dependent upon the heart of man.
All Powers ARE Latent in Man
All the types of powers that are in the world are latent only in man. Our body is a big generator. Our mind is a television. Our sounds are sound waves, related to electricity. These sound waves can travel any distance.
A small example: On the radio, a conversation is going on in Delhi. However, no matter how far away it is, as soon as we turn on the radio here, those sound waves, which travel by electricity, can be heard by us. Whatever is being said there, can be heard at the same time here. Therefore, it has no relationship with being far or near.
Today there is a radio. In those days, the heart was the radio. Therefore, we have to keep such a sacred heart pure today. If they are talking there on the television, we can see it here. So, our mind is like a television. Any time that you close your eyes and think of anything regarding the senses, that vision will be seen by you without fail.
Reaction, Reflection, Resound
Therefore, whatever powers are seen externally, they are within man. They cannot be attained from outside us. It is all‘reflection of the inner being’. Every single thing is reaction, reflection, and resound. Everything is within us.
Whenever you see someone, you may think, "He is bad. His actions are bad." However, the bad that you are pointing out as being in him, is not within him. The feelings that are in you are seen as a reflection in him. Therefore, if we see bad in others, it is not theirs. It is a reflection of our own bad qualities. If we are listening to bad qualities that are in him, they are our own reflection. The bad qualities are not in him. Therefore, every single thing is reflection, reaction, and resound. They are in us. Such powers and capabilities are in the human being.
The human mind is a sacred magnet. It attracts everything. It attracts everyone. What is the reason? It is because the power within him can also be seen on the outside. If anyone is thinking bad thoughts, bad thoughts in you will also come to mind. If someone does something good, some good works, it is the goodness in you that is arising. Both good and bad come from within us. They are not present outside of us.
THE Chemical of Love
If we go and look in a mirror, is your form in the mirror? No. Only your reflection can be seen in the mirror. In the same way, every single body, when it has a pure mind, is a pure mirror. However, all glass won’t be mirrors. If you take ordinary glass and look at your reflection, your reflection won’t be seen in it. Only the things that are behind the glass can be seen.
However if you pour the chemical of Love on the back of the glass, then you will be able to see your reflection in the mirror. Similarly, when we pour the chemical of Love into our hearts,‘Raso Vai Saha’, that only is Divinity. In all the Vedanta and Upanishads, they say ‘Raso Vai Saha’.
What is Rasam? It is like mixing sugar with water to make into syrup. It is not possible to keep the water and the sugar separate in syrup. As the sugar gets dissolved totally in the water, it becomes syrup. Therefore when we pour this syrup, this chemical of Love, into our hearts, everything will be reflected with Love. All will be Love.
The Benefits of Vara Lakshmi Puja
Easwara started the tradition of Vara Lakshmi Puja in order to pass on these sacred teachings. He said, "Parvati! You spread it to the entire sacred community of women. It will destroy all their troubles, their losses, their problems and their personal dramas. It will give them all peace, prosperity and happiness."
It may be easy for many people to do this ritual. But how lucky it is for you to do this puja today, with the unity of all three strengths: Sthana Bala (the power of the location), Shakti Bala (the strength of power), and Daiva Bala (the strength of Divinity)! Kaala (time), Karma (action), Karanam (cause or reason) and Karthavyam (duty), when these all come together, our wishes will also be fulfilled.
Paan Signifying Unity
If you take betal leaf and chew it, will it become Paan? (Note: Taking Paan following a meal is a habit of some Indians. Paan is a mixture of betal leaf, pieces of betal nut and a bit of lime paste, all mixed together on the leaf.) Or if you take a betel nut and chew it, will it change into Paan? Or if you take lime and eat it, your tongue will blister, but it will not be Paan. But when you bring these three together and chew them, it will be Paan.
The leaf is green. Lime is white. Betel nut is brown. When they all come together, it is red in color. Therefore, when you chew these three in your heart, good and sacred feelings, Brahma Bhavam or the feelings of God will arise within you.
Without lime, there is no taste. There will be no red color without lime. However if you put in too much lime, the tongue will blister. Even that has to be limited. Therefore, it is said Na Sreyo Niyamam Vina.There will be no well being without control. (Sanskrit sloka) So, there should be a limit to everything.
Our body has a temperature. If it is 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be healthy. If it rises to 99 degrees, a light fever will start. In the same way, we have blood pressure. 120/80 is normal blood pressure. However, if it increases to 150/90, your blood pressure has become too high. Therefore, when they become too much, illness arises.
Similarly, our speaking also should be regulated. We should limit the words that we speak. We have to work in accordance with our strength or capacity. Therefore, in everything it is saidNa Sreyo Niyamam Vina: There will be no well being without control. (Sanskrit sloka). No well being without limits. There should be limits.
Therefore, the proper discipline for this is also necessary. What sort of discipline? Where, when, how, in what way should it be done? When we know this, then only our relationship with Prakriti (the earth or the manifest world) will give us happiness. If we act without limitation or without discipline, many mistakes may be made.
Therefore, no matter what ritual is performed, when we do it with concentration, with pure feeling, with purity of heart, offering the heart, we can get any result. When we have the Grace of God, there is nothing we cannot do in this world. We can easily achieve even a very difficult task.
When Savitri could bring back to life her dead husband, then are other achievements in the world more difficult? Even the earth can be changed into sky, and the sky into earth. However, for all of this a pure heart is the main cause. So, prayers should come from a pure heart.
We should not indulge in gossip. When we talk of worldly things, what is the result? If we gossip about what people say, what will happen to our own life? The goals that we have in mind will not be achieved. When you give up gossiping about others, your goals and aspirations will be fulfilled.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
Even since ancient days, these rituals increased sacred feelings. However, nowadays there is not much faith in these rituals. We are increasing our faith in unsacred things. We do not have faith in that which is sacred, tender and delicate. Faith is increasing in fleeting, impermanent and untrue things.
All Bodies Are Temples
Therefore, what we have to do today is to transform our heart. God is in our heart. God resides in our heart. That faith should be developed. The Bhagavad Gita says, Deho Devalaya Prokto, Jeevo Deva Sanathanah: The body is a temple and the Jeeva inside is the eternal God. (Sanskrit sloka) Dear ones, your body is only a temple. The Indweller, Jeeva (the individual consciousness or soul) is the God within.
Therefore, no matter where you go, consider your body as a temple. Respect everyone’s body as a temple. No matter who the individual is, have the faith that they are Divine. If everyone considers their body and the bodies of others as temples of God like this, there will be no chance for fights, arguments and misunderstandings to arise at all.
Today, due to the feeling that ‘I and you are different’ and due to the rise in the feelings of selfishness and self-interests like ‘I and mine’, conflict and agitation are also increasing. If all these conflicts are to be destroyed, human values have to be developed.
Morality and Money
Dharma(righteousness) has to be practiced. Love others in the spiritual sense. Human life is the unity of morality, righteousness and spirituality. Morality is very important. Mankind will gain happiness when we put morality into practice in the physical world.
I talk to you now and then about how the world thinks of money, money, money, money, money! But money comes and goes, morality comes and grows. Morality grows when money decreases. Money will decrease whether you spend it or not. Money is never permanent. It is like passing clouds. However, money is needed. It is not possible to live in the world without money.
Therefore, ever since the beginning of the Age of Kali it was said,Dhana Moolam Idam Jagat: Wealth forms the basis of the world. (Sanskrit sloka) Before this it was said, Dharma Moolam Idam Jagat: Righteousness forms the basis of the world. (Sanskrit sloka). Dharma or righteousness has gone.
Wealth comes and as it comes, it goes. It comes and goes, comes and goes. What is our relationship with it? Where is our bliss? Where is our joy? We want prosperity. Prosperity comes from having a perfect character. ‘Sumangalatwam’ is achieved through this only. Therefore, all the ancient sages remembered God in so many ways and with sacred feelings they blessed.
Krishna Blessing Draupadi
The terrible Mahabharata War was going on. Duryodhana and Dussana got hold of Bhishma who was the commander of the Kaurava army. "Grandfather! It isn't any good if you are dull and inactive at this stage. You have to show your powers and capabilities." When they spoke to him like that Bhishma replied, "Duryodhana, tomorrow evening before the sun sets, all the Pandavas will be killed!"
Draupadi got to know about this. She was a great devotee and a great, chaste wife. However, if her name is spoken in this Age of Kali they will say, "How can she be a chaste wife if she had five husbands?" Who are these five husbands? They are not physical. The five elements are the five husbands. These five elements are like the five life-breaths, and these five life-breaths were her husbands.
So she prayed to Krishna, "Krishna! By tomorrow evening my husbands will die! The grandfather of the Pandavas, Bhishma, has put a curse on them. You have to protect them in some way. My Sumangali status (Note: A Sumangali is a married woman whose husband is still alive) has to be protected." Then Krishna said, "Amma (Mother)! Don't be in a hurry. Listen to me. Follow me. I will protect you without fail." Draupadi answered, "Whom else but You will protect us, Swami? You are my everything. I will follow you". He replied, "Surely I will protect you."
The war for that day was over. But the next day a terrible thing was about to happen. Bhishma loved the Pandavas. It was Bhishma who had made them what they were. He was thinking, ‘I brought up and fostered those youngsters as if they were my own. How can I kill them? It is because I eat the Kaurava’s food that these bad thoughts arise in me. Their food has ruined my mind'. He was pacing up and down while thinking like this.
Krishna was waiting for the right moment. Krishna makes plans according to the right timing. Krishna always makes a master plan. He planned everything and said, "Draupadi! Come with me." In those days they put up tents. The army didn’t have other special arrangements. They all used tents. There were no electric lights in those days. They used to use small lamps.
Draupadi was walking with Krishna. The shoes that she was wearing made a ringing sound of Kirr, Kirr. Krishna said, "Draupadi! Bhishma will recognize that sound. Take off your shoes." Krishna picked up her shoes, tied them in his kerchief and put them under his arm. He said, "Come with me quietly."
Bhishma was walking back and forth. His mind was somewhere else thinking, 'A terrible thing is going to happen tomorrow! Whatever will happen to the Pandavas? What will happen to the auspicious state of Draupadi? (Referring to her Sumangali status) He was worried.
Draupadi went and did what Krishna said to do. She immediately fell at the feet of Bhishma. Krishna stood by the entrance while she fell at Bhishma’s feet as he was walking up and down. When she fell down, the sound of her glass bangles was heard. Hearing this sound Bhishma thought, ‘She must be a married woman.’ (Note: In India married women wear glass bangles.) So he immediately blessed her in the usual way as he did all married women,"Deerga Sumangali Bhava": May you live a long, auspicious life with your husband living. (Sanskrit sloka)
Draupadi got up and he saw who it was. "Earlier I made a vow that I would kill all your husbands. And now I have said,‘Deerga Sumangali Bhava.’ So, is that true or is this true?" As he was wondering about this, Krishna entered.
Bhishma exclaimed, "Krishna! This is all Your plan. It isn’t possible to understand the leelas of God (His Divine ways and plays).The world is sacred with crops, friends, forest dwellers, people, citizens. It is the wonder of Vishnu. Such are the wonders in the three worlds! (Telugu poem) All Your leelas are wondrous history, Krishna! This is all Your plan."
Then Krishna said, "She is a noble, chaste wife. No one can know her character and great qualities." Then He asked this question: "What is the secret behind her purity?She will not answer back when husband speaks in anger. Instead, she will serve him. She doesn’t wish for more than what she has. She is contented. As a chaste wife, Draupadi has no equal as a Pativrata (chaste wife). (Telugu poem) Such is her greatness."
Great Titles For Women
You should not go against the words of the husband. There are so many types of husbands and their natures reflect that. However, women should be peaceful. For that reason, numerous blessings were given to them. They are also given many great titles.
Some great people are bestowed with some title or another like Shanti Bhushana (ornament of peace), Sowbhagya (prosperous), Padma Bhushana (ornament of the lotus, symbolic of greatness), Padma Vibhushana (extraordinary ornament of the lotus).
However, Krishna did not give titles like that to women. He gave great titles like: Gruha Lakshmi (Lakshmi of the house), Illaalu (Mistress of the house), Dharma Patni (loyal spouse of Dharma), Arthangi (other half of the husband). They say,You are children of immortality (Sanskrit sloka).
These titles are all very sacred. How can you consider women who have been given so many titles like these as low? However, because of the influence of the Age of Kali today, men see women only as servants. It is a big mistake. Why? Because the more you respect women, the more you will be respected.
Speak Softly and Sweetly
You should not cause women to shed tears. Men should look after women. Where tears are shed, the family will face difficulties. Men should understand that it is not possible to estimate the pureness of the heart of women. One should not speak harsh words to them, nor hurt them, nor give pain to their hearts.
If a thorn pierces the skin, it can be taken out. But if words pierce the heart, it is impossible to remove them. If harsh words pierce the heart, it will be very painful. The pain of a harsh word lasts a whole lifetime. Therefore, the words that we speak should be very sweet.
You have no right to think, "She is my wife, so I can do what I want. I can scold her just as I like." It is true that she is your wife. You may mention anything she may have done wrong. You have that right. But you don't have the right to use harsh words.You cannot always oblige but you can always speak obligingly. With humility and tenderness, speak sweet words to them. Then their hearts and houses will grow in prosperity. There are a few men like this. But really all men should be like this.
It is important to recognize that men have a bit more anger. But that anger should be kept under control. It is good for them to control their anger. If a man gets angry once, all the energy that he got from his food over a period of three months is immediately burned up. Because of this anger, the blood in the body will boil. The blood that boils will take three months to cool down. Therefore if you get angry repeatedly, you will become sick.
Krishna’s 16,000 Gopikas were there with Jarasandha. (Note: King Jarasandha imprisoned 16,000 princesses. Krishna rescued them and later they all married Him.) They were with Jarasandha. Krishna went to this Jarasandha and tried to kill him many times. However, he wasn’t able to do it.
Krishna would go once. Then Jarasandha would get angry and Krishna would retreat. After some time Krishna would go back again. And again Jarasandha would get more angry and so Krishna would run back again. Some people thought, "What is this? Krishna is afraid of Jarasandha and keeps running away. What is the reason for his being afraid of Jarasandha?"
After doing this so many times, Jarasandha’s brothers, Shishupala and all of them, came and asked Krishna, "Swami! Why are you running away like this whenever You see Jarasandha?" Krishna answered, "Crazy fellows! I am not running away without a reason. If I kill him outright, a war has to be fought. I am killing him without having a war." Then they asked, "How can you kill him without a war?"
Krishna explained, "By repeatedly going and making him angry, then returning again and again, his anger keeps on increasing. In this way, his anger keeps on growing and growing and growing until at last his body will become weak." When Krishna went there for the last time, Jarasandha's body was all but rotted, and Jarasandha fell.
So, because of his anger, Jarasandha’s blood boiled and he became weak. In that way Krishna killed Jarasandha due to his weakness. Krishna didn’t kill him with strength. Jarasandha had great strength. Because he had so much strength, Krishna first had to make him weak. To make him weak, he had to be made angry. To make him angry, Krishna went and pretended to engage in a war with him, but in fact He kept on retreating.
Therefore Krishna added, "There is no disgrace in this at all. Retreating after advancing does not humiliate me. In fact, this is my respect." If any enemies have to be killed, they should be killed in this way. Even though there are weapons, it is not good to kill with weapons. Krishna taught them like that in those days.
Similarly, God is putting to use many different plans and schemes for every single thing. All His plans are for our good. They are not for Himself at all. Whatever He does, it is for the good of others. Both 'good' and 'bad' are for the good of others. God does not do anything 'bad' at all. However, looking at certain of His work, without understanding it properly, it can look as if it is ‘bad’. But the mistake lies in the viewer’s vision. It is not the fault of the Creation at all. Therefore, no matter what God does, He does it as a help. All are sacred acts and they are all actually a type of Grace.
More Benefits of Vara Lakshmi Puja
Therefore, what is the power of the Vara Lakshmi Vrata? Easwara told Parvati, ‘Spread this to the world. Have women undertake the Vara Lakshmi Vrata. Then continue to convey it to the generations that come after in the world, for prosperity.’
What will happen to those who perform this Vara Lakshmi Vrata? Long life with your husband, many children and grandchildren, increased prosperity, an abundance of food, animals, etc. (This sloka is used by the priest to describe the benefits to the woman who undertakes this ritual.)
It protects for fourteen generations - seven generations of your ancestors and seven generations of your descendants. There will be a long, auspicious life with the husband living. You will have many children and grandchildren will increase and prosper. In this way, He taught this story to Parvati and told her to spread it to the people for their protection. Savitri, Anasuya and Sumathi gained happiness after performing this Vara Lakshmi Vrata.
Therefore, the power of this Vara Lakshmi Vrata is that it destroys all the faults in us, develops our sacredness and leads us to Divinity.
THE POWER OF SACRED WORDS
We find five words used in the puja, which are said to bestow five ornaments (jewelry). Each word begins with ‘ka.’ Bangles for the hands, a necklace for the neck, anklets for the feet, earrings for the ears. In this way, each of the five words bestows one type of beautiful ornament. Hence, all the ladies are decorated with gold ornaments.
Vara Lakshmi is called Loka Matha, Mother of the world. How sacred and exhalted is the word ‘Matha’ in our India! The highest value is attached to this word ‘Matha’. Whenever anyone suffers, they don't say ‘Ayyo, Appa (Father)!’ They will call out ‘Amma (Mother)!’ Whenever they have any trouble or pain, they cry ‘Amma!’ This sacred word ‘Amma,’ what a beautiful word it is! A word of such value! A word with such strength!
Therefore, Amma is a power that bestows strength. Therefore, she is the Loka Matha, Mother of the World. Everyone calls this Mother of the World, ‘Amma, Amma.’ All the great sages also prayed to her as Sons of Immortality. Whatever she gives, it is Amrita (nectar of immortality). Therefore, in the word ‘Tallitandrulu’, 'Mother' comes first. (In Telugu, talli means ‘mother’ and tandri means ‘father’. The joint word is translated as ‘parents’.)
The first word that comes out of the mouth of children is also ‘Amma’. The word ‘Appa’ does not come at all. ‘Amma’ comes first and afterwards ‘Appa’. Therefore, in the culture of India it is said, Matha, Pitha, Guru, Daiva (Mother, Father, Teacher, God). Of these four words, the first and foremost position is given to Matha.
A mother's Love is unequalled. The Love of the mother, the power of the word ‘Amma’ is indescribable. Therefore, if we lose the Love of a mother, our life will not have any value. The feeling of losing the mother is like being in a rudderless boat. Where will we arrive, where will we go in a boat like that?
Therefore, as long as the mother is there, there will be three-quarters strength in the body. As soon as the mother is lost, normally you will become weak. That is why in the culture of India, such an important place is given to the mother.
Respect the Mother
You are still young. Respect your mother. Give proper respect to your mother. Obey your mother's commands. Whenever you want something, pray to her with humility and obedience. Nobody else commands the respect that your mother does. When the mother is satisfied, the whole world will be satisfied. If your mother is not pleased with you, you will become cheap in the eyes of the whole world.
Oh Mother! If I cannot please you, I become cheap in the sight of the whole world. It is all a puppet show! (Telugu song)You see your mother as a puppet. No, no, no! Don’t be proud of your beauty, youth or strength. Very soon old age will approach. Soon you will become old. The festival of old age lies before you. (Telugu poem)
How badly you will feel when you are a father or when you are a mother if your children disobey you then! Therefore, we should be careful about this right now and obey our parents today.
So, respect the Mother of the World, Parvati, Vara Lakshmi who bestows worldly gains. Do puja, worship, feel bliss and try to give that bliss to others. That is the work that should be done by women. The men should enthusiastically encourage them. The men should not chastise them by saying, "What is this? How much will this ritual cost? Go! Don't do it!"
For whom is the ritual done? Men will also get benefited. What does it mean for her to be Sumangali? It means the husband’s life will also be increased. Therefore, there is help even for him. There lies his happiness too. Therefore, never obstruct the rituals that women do. Use kind words if at any time it is causing any inconvenience. See that they are satisfied. It will also be good for men. Men should not behave in an arrogant way saying, "I am a man and so I can say whatever I want to. I can refute her."
Qualities in Women and Men
If one sees correctly, women have more Shakti (strength, power or energy) than men. Think what the Bhagavad Gita says: Men only have three powers. Women have five powers. They can renounce anything. If the need arises, they will even sacrifice their life for their husband. You see it everywhere. Savitri gave up her life for her husband. But was there ever any husband who gave up his life for his wife? If the wife dies, he will think, "I can get married again!" But women are not like that.
Women have such great powers or virtues. The five powers which are in them are - respect, dignity, sacrifice, contentment, and prosperity, What powers are in man? You listen well! Anger, stubbornness and foolishness. These three powers are useless qualities as well! Hence, women have all useful qualities and therefore women have an exalted position.
Srimathi Before Sri
Look anywhere. Even at the time of writing the wedding invitation, they will write Srimathi (Mrs.) and Sri (Mr.). First and foremost is the woman, Srimathi, and next is Sri. In English as you know, they say Mrs. and Mr. They will not say Mr. and Mrs. Only Mrs. and Mr. First and foremost they give place for her.
When saying Stree (women) and Purusha (men), first place is given to women. In 'Lakshmi and Narayana', first place is given to Lakshmi and second place is given to Narayana. Parvati and Parameswara: first place is given to Parvati and second place to Parameswara. Do you see? Similarly, Radha and Krishna: first place is given to Radha and next comes Krishna. Vishnu: Lakshmi and Narayana. Lakshmi is first and Narayana is after.
Therefore, that is the greatness of women. Prakriti (Nature) is a woman. Without Prakriti there is no Purusha (God or man). So we have to give proper respect to women. When women are respected, you too will receive respect. Therefore, you have to be prepared to give respect and to receive it in return.
Don’t Make Women Cry
Embodiments of Divine Love!
There are so many more things behind the sacred Vara Lakshmi Vrata. However, this is the essence of this sacred ritual, the Mahatmya (the part of the puja that describes how it began, and its wondrous and miraculous benefits). So much more could be said.
No one knows the power and capabilities that are in women. You just think that it is great to make them cry. It may be great to make them cry, but you cannot know how much you will cry later. So see that you don't make them shed tears. Lakshmi is inside them. Women who are like Lakshmi (the personification of wealth) have to be respected. Then the whole world will become auspicious too.
Look at the world. Any kingdom or state, where there are women of character, is perfectly safe and prosperous. In the Second World War, look at how many kingdoms were destroyed. Because of noble, sacred women in this land, India did not face any danger. Such is the greatness of India. That sacred greatness came about because of women.
Therefore, respect women and make every effort to make them happy. Then the country too will be blissful and ever prosperous with green festive Toranams (the garland of leaves hung over the doors, signifying auspiciousness and prosperity.)
Are the students all satisfied? Are you happy? Be happy!
Bhagavan concluded His Divine Discourse with the Bhajan, "Prema Muditha Mana Se Kaho…"