Friday, August 19, 2011

You are as divine as kRiShNa - दासोऽहमिति

दासोऽहमिति मे बुद्धिः पूर्वमासीज्जनार्दने ।
दा-शब्दोऽपहृतस्तेन गोपीवस्त्रापहारिणा ॥  

"I am your servant [dAsaH aham]" - 
Earlier, this was my thinking for kRiShNa.
dA- word was snatched by Him, 
snatcher-of-gopI-cloths [leaving saH aham, I am He].

dāso'hamiti me buddhiḥ pūrvamāsījjanārdane ।
dā-śabdo'pahṛtastena gopīvastrāpahāriṇā ॥

dAso'hamiti me buddhiH pUrvAsItjjanArdane |
dA-shabdo'pahRitastena gopIvastrApahAriNA ||

This is a wonderful shloka, that has word play as well as deep philosophy, which is ever more relevant today!

The word play is dAso'ham दासो'हम् = dAsaH aham दासः अहम् = "servant, I am"

And without the first dA- दा-,
saH aham सः अहम् = "He, I am" = I am He (kRiShNa)

The devotee says, "O kRiShNa, janArdana, earlier, when I started my bhakti, devotion, I was of the thought that I am your servant, slave, dAsa!"

That is how bhakti भक्ति starts, surrender of ego. as a slave has no separate entity than the master. So should a traveler on the path of spirituality, have no ego of one's own. One who takes refuge in the Lord, should not have separate thinking, should merge with the Lord.

Even arjuna अर्जुन , in bhagavad-gItA भगवद्गीता chapter 2 says - "I am not going to fight, I would rather beg, I come to thy refuge, tell me what is good for me."

Here it is foolish of arjuna अर्जुन to say I come to thy refuge, I am not going to fight. If you take refuge, sharaNAgati शरणागति, you can't decide on your own then. You have surrendered.

The devotee, continues that - "dA- word was snatched (from dAsaH) by you, O snatcher of gopI-s' cloths, and now I realize that I am you, nothing separate from you".

I was thinking I am nothing, I am your slave, non-entity, but now I realized (with your help) that I am same as you, divine to the core!

There is also some confusion about this episode of kRiShNa lIla कृष्ण लीला , where while the gopI-s गोपी were taking bath in the river, kRiShNa कृष्ण takes away their cloths lying on the bank, and climbs the trees. He gives them only on the condition of them coming out as is - without cloths. To take this in any other light but spiritual meaning, is not just blasphemy but foolishness. For if it was meant to be of any other intent, there were better platforms to do so, than in the lIlA लीला of the divine principle.

kRiShNa कृष्ण was a small boy at that time, and his intent, the metaphor here is to meet the Lord Supreme without any guilt, inhibition or artifical material veils. It is what the original sin of Bible is, eating the fruit of knowledge and becoming aware of their own nakedness.

The gopI-s are symbols of AtmA आत्मा (soul) , that is clad in body and ignorant of true nature, but is attracted towards kRiShNa कृष्ण, the paramAtmA परमात्मा .

So, the one who snatched away the cloths, the external veils of ego, of the gopI-s, also snatched away the veil of the first letter 'dA', and made me realize I am Him. aham brahmAsmi अहं ब्रह्मास्मि  = I am brahman.

True bhakti should be this. It should elevate you to the realization that you are as divine as you can be. Even though there is an ocean of 15 gazillion 19 trillion 27 billion and 53 million seven thousand four hundred and eighty one mega gallons of water, a single drop of ocean water is also the same H2O. No difference.

This point of devotion has to be very clearly understood. One must take care in choosing and following a 'guru'. With many modern day gurus, you have to be very careful, for they try to become God, which they are not, not any more than you are. Media's power helps anyone project an image, PR companies are ready to help throw an image of whatever you want to be. In US, we have seen great images projected during election, of godmen, consumer products etc. anything can be mad grand.

So watch out.

When the devotee is same as even kRiShNa, then how is a guru any superior? This is not disrespect to guru, but realization of your own true nature. A guru that doesn't help you with that, or if you don't do it yourselves - then the whole exercise is a farce.

A true guru never wants, attention or even your identity, or money. Yes, you may give a token of appreciation for guru's daily needs, but that is nominal, not millions of dollars! No guru needs that much! Those are entrepreneurs, businessmen who need that much of money, running mega-business or schools, hospitals, social work and amassing tons of moolah on the way. A true guru only wants to help you be able to walk in the right direction with good stamina. He is not going to be with you forever, giving you a piggy back ride to heaven.

You should try to get rid of a guru as soon as possible, which means, gain knowledge, direction, guidance and move on.

Imagine you are on a journey to meet the divine. and on the way there are tourist offices for information. After finding out the direction, modes of transport etc. should you hang around the tourist office forever?

Imagine you go to AgrA to see the Taj Mahal, and you meet a tourist guide. What is important, what the guide is telling you or the actual Taj Mahal? The role of the guide is over when he has told you about the Taj, shown you the Taj. Now it is up to you to enjoy the bliss. And let go of the guide. He has others to guide. And the guide should not delay in showing you the Taj either!

Don't be a parasite or a handicap, to hang around the guru and take all his time. Be kind to others as well :)

But most importantly, wake up, arise, you are divine. Supreme parabrahma परब्रह्म doesn't want you to spend a life of guilt, servitude, nothingness. Do all the good, serving etc. with the realization that you are also the same divine principle. Don't imbalance the balance.

Over attachment to the guru is detrimental to both - gurus have started counting their importance by how many followers they have, which gives them ego. And followers become relaxed thinking - "Guru is there, so why do I have to worry now?" But our scriptures based on which the gurus tell things, say categorically - Only you and you alone can liberate yourselves. You can't outsource that work. Your deeds (karma कर्म ) without attachment will liberate you, your lack of ego, will liberate you, your knowing it will liberate you.

nArada muni नारद मुनि in bhAgawadpurANa भागवद्पुराण warns about the signs of kaliyuga, and one of them is - "In kaliyuga, brAhamaNa ब्राह्मण will be selling their (esoteric) knowledge so it will lose essence, pilgrimage sites will have lot of hypocrites, so pilgrimage will lose essence, fakes will be so many that asceticism will lose essence..."

Focus on the divine, not human.
Focus on the destination, not sign post on the road.
Focus on crossing the river, not building a house on the bridge.

You are divine. Wake up. Get up. Move it.

And now the language aspects -

dAso'hamiti = दासोऽहमिति
= dAsaH + aham + iti = servant/slave + i am + thus

me = मे = my

buddhiH = बुद्धिः
= thinking, intelligence, mind

pUrvAsItjjanArdane = पूर्वमासीज्जनार्दने
= pUrvam + AsIt + janArdane
= earlier + was + in kRiShNa

dA-shabdo'pahRitastena = दा-शब्दोऽपहृतस्तेन
= dA + shabdaH + apahRitaH + ten
= da- word + snatched/kidnapped away + by Him

gopIvastrApahAriNA = गोपीवस्त्रापहारिणा
= gopI + vastra + apahAriNA
= gopI's + cloths + by the snatcher
= by the snatcher of gopI's cloths

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
Practical Sanskrit. All rights reserved. Check us on Facebook.


  1. namaste,

    Thanks for the nice quotations. The intermingling of the nice shloka with the sermonizing/posturing about "falseness of guru-s" and "utility of gurus" seems quite odd. Maybe you could have separated them into different posts.

    The importance of guru in one's spiritual life can never under emphasized. I am sure you know what gItAchArya says about tattvadarshinaH in 4.34: "praNipAtena, paripreshhNena". I hope you emphasize that in latter posts.

    In my opinion, writing about lord Krishna, the jagadguru, and celebration of His birthday, a little more than a month after vyAsa-pUrNima, in the holy chAturmAsa time, is indeed a celebration of gurus who have blessed us with knowledge, rather than a market place separation of gurus into "good and bad" and the grossly incorrect statement of "try to get rid of gurus as soon as possible".

    Just some suggestions on how you can improve the quality of postings.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    Please include your name and place when you comment.

    Since your thoughts and concerns might be of many others as well, I am including your comment, so that I can clarify any such doubts one may have.

    First of all, the past articles should make it clear enough that the intention of this article is not at all to malign any goodness.

    All the points that you have concerns about, please read them IN CONTEXT in the article. And then the intent should be very clear. If it is still not clear, may I suggest to take some time to think before taking offense. :) A little patience answers many question automatically.

    This article is not intended to lessen the importance of a guru at all. But it wants to point out the difference between an army of over-hyped modern gurus and the times when guru-praises of highest order were sung.

    It also wants to emphasize your own role in your liberation and your own divine nature.

    It is the destination that is important, not the lamppost on the way guiding your path. Yes, you thank the lamppost for throwing the light, but you don't stop there forever!

    Taking this article in any other way, might throw some light might be reflective of own self-confidence or faith in your own guru.

    The topic of guru just flowed in my thoughts while discussing kRiShna (jagad-guru) and the gopI-vastra-haraNa incident which is misinterpreted by many novices.

    The bhAgavat purANa mentions of avadhUta who had many gurus from nature like the python, pigeon, honey bee etc. The idea there is that one can learn from anyone and anything, if one is perceptive and willing.

    Hope this helps. May peace be with you.


Please do add your name and place, after the comment.