Guru Dev - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

When a devotee moves towards Bhagvan, Lakshmi moves towards the devotee
(from 'Shri Shankaracharya Vaksudha')


Describing the evident experience of Mahatmas since past times on the forms of divine obstacles faced by ascetics, Acharya Charan (“Honorable Feet of Spiritual Guide, i.e. Guru Dev) put special emphasis on the subject that the power of Lakshmi (maya shakti) presents obstacles by appearing in both living and inert forms. These obstacles arrive in such a natural manner that if the ascetics are not careful, they cannot realize in the beginning that this is an obstacle in their path. This is why devotees should be very careful from both living and inert Maya.

Lakshmi is the wife of Bhagvan. A woman can tolerate everything else, but by no means can she tolerate that her husband loves somebody else more than her. This is why when a devotee inclines towards Bhagvan, God too in accordance with his nature gets drawn towards the devotee. Bhagvan’s nature is

[‘In whatever way they approach me, I reward them accordingly’ –

Bhagavad Gita ch4:v11]

That is to say - in whichever manner one worships me, in the same manner I serve him. Clarifying further on this nature of Bhagvan, Maharaj Shri (Guru Dev) said that once Yudhishthira saw Lord Krishna sitting absorbed in meditation. When Lord Krishna arose from meditation, Yudhishthira asked – “You yourself are the one whom is to be worshipped by all. About whom were you meditating?”

Lord Krishna replied – “Yudhishthira, at this moment Bheeshma1 lying on the bed of arrows was absorbed in meditation on me. From this was I also meditating on him.”

Due to this nature of Bhagvan, Lakshmi gets perturbed and whenever a devotee gets too inclined towards Bhagvan, she beats him with shoes of gold and silver (showers wealth as a punishment). In order to throw the devotee into confusion in rising towards Bhagvan, she sends him wealth, grains, honor, prestige etc. in various forms so that the devotee remains concerned only with these and leaves Bhagvan on any account, or that his passion in Him reduces. This has been the experience of Mahatmas since the beginning. This is why devotees should remain cautious. They should not get entrapped in Lakshmi’s net and proceed more and more towards Bhagvan. This is the very purpose of human life.

Footnote 1

In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Bheeshma is the grand uncle and instructor of the Pandavas and Kauravas alike. He had the boon of having control over his own death i.e. he could choose the time of his death, but he was not immortal. In the battle of Kurukshetra, Bheeshma fought on the side of the Kauravas. But on the tenth day he grew weary of the slaughter and desired to meet his own fate. He let Arjuna defeat him. But since Arjuna did not want his grandsire to fall on the ground, he pierced his body with arrows so that he fell on a bed of arrows.  At the time he fell, the sun was in the southern solstice which is an inauspicious time of death. Hence, even though wounded, Bheeshma resolved to hold his life till the sun reached the North and spent these last moments quietly meditating on Lord Krishna for salvation.

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