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Sri Morari Bapu was born in September. 1946 in the sleepy village of Talgaajarda.
He had to walk a long distance to go to school.
His grandfather, Tribhovandasji was a great Ram Bhakta (devotee of Sri Ram). He would make young Morari memorize five couplets of the Ramayana on his way back and forth from his learning place.
In the evening the wise old man would explain to his grandson the meaning and interpretation of the couplets that he had memorised for that day.
Morari Bapu's grandfather saw the spirit of the Lord in all.
The personality of the grandfather and what he learned from him made a deep impression on the young mind of Sri Morari Bapu.
Today he considers his grandfather his Guru as it was the latter who taught him to walk on the path of the saints and sages.
Sri Morari Bapu's talks are based on the Ramayana.
What he teaches has a universal appeal and his simple style can easily tug at one's heart-strings.
The devotional hymns that he sings and the relevant narration of anecdotes make thousands of people sit enthralled for hours.
I myself, while listening to him, felt transported to a world which seems to have 'not a care", and if it does, it has problems that can easily be overcome.
Though Bapu Is a busy man, always traveling. thronged by admirers, one feels like one has a private rapport with him. He seems to answer all your questions and doubts through his public discourses.
A disciple once told Morari Bapu that it was impossible to lead an ideal life if one were to survive in today's world. To this Morari Bapu replied: "Do what you like for eight working hours and live the rest of your sixteen hours by the ideals I give you, that is, from now on don't be aggressive with your wife, children and those around you and even with yourself. I am confident that these sixteen hours will prove to be so powerful that they will influence your eight working hours. In this way you will learn to survive In your so called today's world."
The question here would arise: Where have we gone wrong? Why can't we even live part of our life according to the Ideals laid down by the scriptures.
Morari Bapu says It is because we are ill — spiritually ill'
He believes that just like food is not appetizing to those who are physically unwell, similarly, the Scriptures are not enjoyed by those who are not healthy in the spiritual sense.
According to Morari Bapu, the scriptures, though they may be of ancient origin, offer a solution to our present-day problems and are an eternal light to mankind's future.
But then what does a modern man do? One who has not the time nor the inclination to read the scriptures and yet wants to get rid of his problems?
In such a case Morari Bapu feels that after one has analyzed the problem and taken the right measures to remedy it, pray and leave the results to the Lord.
According to Morari Bapu in order to eradicate a problem, three requisites are important.
The one who is willing to help. must understand the true nature of the problem.
He must have the compassion to try and eradicate the problem.
And he must have the capacity of getting rid of the problem.
When observed closely it will be noticed that one of the three points is mostly always missing in the personality of the helper. The one to help may know the nature of the problem. but he may not have the capacity to get rid of It. or alternatively, he may be capable of alleviating your problem, but he does not have the compassion to do so or he may have the compassion and the capability, but he may not understand the real nature of the problem.
Morari Bapu urges us not to put all our energies into the world to achieve happiness. Go to the Lord — Pray, he says. The Lord understands your problem — He has the compassion and is capable of getting rid of it.
When God listens to your prayer consider It His Prasad, His Grace; if he does not answer your prayer know that "NO" can sometimes be an answer.
In fact Morari Bapu implores his audience to stop making a choice. Make happiness and unhappiness your friend and there will be no problem. If happiness comes, consider it a laddu (sweet), given by your mother. If unhappiness, then the medicine given by the same loving hands.
We generally pray with folded hands. Morari Bapu has an interesting theory on why we do so. When we fold our hands we are saying: Our hands are tied. I am not capable, I surrender. O God, you take over.
How does one achieve peace of mind?
Morari Bapu says: Look for the peace where you have lost it. Don't be like the old woman who looks for the needle outside the hut, because it is brighter outside, even though she has lost it inside.
We do a similar thing: we lose our peace of mind because of our own wrong doings, and we seek it by escaping in the so-called bright atmosphere of the material world.
Morari Bapu loves to put across his point by Interesting anecdotes: so he also tells us about a man who was suffering from a wound and fever.
The doctor gave him an ointment to apply to the wound and some medicine to take internally for the fever.
The man made a mistake. The medicine that he was to apply, he took internally and vice versa.
Needless to say the man never recovered from his illness.
We are facing a similar dilemma. The scriptures and what they teach is supposed to be taken internally and the material benefits are to be used externally for our comforts — we are however satisfied with.. a few moments of prayer each day and yet spend our lives filling it up with useless things.
How can we be healthy? How can we have peace of mind, If we do not live by the right rules of life?
I am reminded of a time when I had taken Mukund Hariji for a drive around the city of Bombay. Mukand Hariji had the title of 'Sankirtan Samrat." (The king I devotional songs). It is said that nature responded to his singing.
As I passed by a Five Star hotel, I informed him of the exorbitant price that one had to pay just to sleep in a room with no further benefits.
He looked at me, smiled and said, "Then, they must be at least guaranteeing sleep."
The fact is that material comforts can never be the only requisite for peace of mind as strangely it is for the men sleeping on the footpath, who sometimes enjoy a sound rest.
Does it mean then, that If we get interested in the scriptures and attend discourses we will know how to live life the right way and achieve peace of mind?
Morari Bapu believes that, Yatra sochne se nahin, chalne se hota hai. Translated it means that by merely listening to words of wisdom, one does not benefit, one has to start living according to them: just like by merely thinking of one's destination, one does not get there. Initially one would have to make an effort, but later it becomes a part of one's intrinsic nature. A person in love does not have to sit in a difficult position, or pick up the rosary to remember his/her beloved.
What precautions does one take when one is progressing?
Morari Bapu urges us to keep a constant check on the ego.
Bapu says after the pilgrim has reached a certain point, he must make sure to screw his head in such a way that it only looks in front, so that he may not look back to see how much good he has been doing to people or how many of them are following him.
Once Morari Bapu was asked whether he believed that his talks benefited humanity.
He answered with a smile. 'If nothing else, at least by coming to my lectures, I keep troublesome people usefully entertained!"
I believe that he does far more good than that.
Once Morari Bapu held 1008 simultaneous recitals of the Ramayana — at the conclusion he made Harijans (so-called untouchable caste) perform the aarti — a religious ceremony.
Despite Bapu's very busy schedule, I felt honoured when he gave me time during the writing of my book on the Ramayana.
In his blessings he wrote. "I pray that with God's Grace, Shakun's noble efforts prove a blessing to everyone."
I do not know about everyone — I know that I feel blessed.
He is one of the very few living sages who has been conferred the title of 'Sant" (Saint), by a multitude, who admire and love him.
Let us then follow in his footsteps. Let us do what he bids us to do which is: