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March 24, 2019

Shravanam - Nava vidha bhakti

SHRAVANAM

SHRAVANAM
(The story of King Parikshit in Srimad Bhagavatham is an example of a devotee who exemplified shravanam)
Listening to the divine miracles, glories of God and sacred texts. By cultivating the habit of listening to the glories of God, we subconsciously develop love, affection and reverence towards God.
We have to listen to Sruti, Smriti,Purana ,Shisthachara, Antaratma. to lead a dharmic life and ultimately reach the every soul goal "Moksha".
1.Sruti - Shruthi means what is heard. Srutis are considered as experiences (Anubhava)of rishis verbally passed on to generations. They are unlikely to change. They are unquestionably true. shruti are considered as apaourisha without an author.
The śruti literature include the four Vedas
Rigveda
Yajurveda
Samaveda
Atharvaveda

Each of these Vedas include the following texts
Samhitas
Brahmanas
Aranyakas
Upanishads

2. Smrithi- Smrithi means what is remembered. They are bound to change according to times.
It comprises Vedanga, Shad darsana, Puranas, Itihasa, Upveda, Tantras, Agamas, Upangs. There is another post Vedic class of Sanskrit literature called Epics viz Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

3. Purana- It is an Indian literature about Mythology, Legends and Traditional lore.
There are 18 puranas in total. Purana is just not history. Purana talks about a (Jeeva)soul journey in different births. It is not imaginary.

4. Shistachara- Shistachara is a code of behavior that illustrates the expectations for social behavior according to contemporary traditional norms within a society, social class, or group.

5. Antaratma- Everyone might have experienced the voice of antaratma esp., when we are about to do something wrong, a inner voice warns us.

Shravanam is not just listening to glorious and miracles of god.  We have to lead our life as Shruti, Smriti, Purana, Shisthachara and last but not least Antaratma says.
I would like to write few examples from our Puranas, to show what is listening.

Guru speaks very scarcely. But when Guru speaks it is for the good. We know very well in Ramayana there was a war between Sri Rama and Ravana. There was a stage when Sri Rama was completely tired and he was  clueless.  In the midst of the war Sage Agastya came to Shri Rama and told him to chant Aditya Hrudayam. Sri Rama did so and he demolished Ravana. Though Sri Rama was an unconquered king,  he gave respect to the words of Sage Agastya and he won.
So Sri Rama set an example for listening (Shravanam) even in the battle ground.

One more example from Ramayana only where in a man from hunter community by name Guha. Guha met Sri Rama, Sita devi and Lakshmana in the forest. Returning from forest he met king Bharata the brother of Shri Rama. Guha showered praises on Lakshmana with the whole heartedness in front of King Bharatha. Though king Bharata knows the Laxman's qualities of service, obedience, loyalty towards Brother Sri Rama, not even for a moment he interfered or disturbed Guha's flow of praise  towards Lakshmana.
Here king Bharata showed how to listen patiently and politely about the subject which he knew ahead of time.

The greatness of Sri Rama will make everyone to be humble with this example.
When Sita devi was abducted by Ravana, Sri Rama and Lakshmana were not present in hermitage. When Sri Rama and Lakshmana returned to hermitage Sri Rama got angry when he came to know that Sita devi was abducted. Sri Rama in a fit of rage wanted to stop the gamana or movement of the universe.   Immediately lakshmana fell at the feet of Shri Rama and prayed him by saying these words
" Oh my most revered brother calm down and listen to my humble request. Oh! brother your are a soft hearted person how come you became so stone hearted. One person abducted mata Sita and you are punishing the entire universe, do you think it is right?  The education what we got from our Gurus is to maintain peace and stability of mind at the time of impediment. We got the Dhanur vidya(Art of archery) from our guru for the upliftment of Dharma and down trodden. At present your enemy is not the abductor of mata Sita but your own anger and sorrow.  Let us search Mata Sita. I am sure we will find her at the earliest.
Here Sri Rama set an example for future generation to listen to the good words even from the younger person.


We have to cultivate shravanam by Satsanga, an yearning to listen, listening with total faith and putting into practice what has been listened to.  The act of listening itself becomes worship of the God and the process of shravanam becomes effective as a form of devotion, leading us to salvation.

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