yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi
saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañ-jaya
siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā
samatvaṁ yoga ucyate

(BG 2.48)


Perform your duty, equipoised, O Arjuna, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.


The Real Yoga

In this beautiful Shloka from the second chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is explaining the true meaning of yoga- Perform your duty without attachment. Krishna explains in the next verse that the only process by which we can truly remain free from attachment to success and failure is to perform our work for the highest purpose, which is devotional service to the Lord. Bhagavad Gita teaches essentially this principle that any work that is done for any purpose other than the satisfaction of the supreme Lord will only create karmic bondage. Arjuna was a great warrior, and he was in a position in life…..


Words of the Sages

There is evidence that the devotees of the Lord, who have dedicated their life, become our mother, our father, our friend, our brother. At the time of death, our mother and father will not be there to save us. But the words of the great sages will be there. Therefore it is the duty of the mother and the father to repeat the words of God to their children.


Leading an exemplary life

Today throughout Maharashtra people are celebrating Shivaji Jayanti. Shivaji Maharaj was a very great Kshatriya, who protected the Vedic dharma throughout this great state of Maharashtra. If we really want to appreciate the greatest contribution Shivaji Maharaj gave to society, we must study the most significant parts of his life. The most significant part of his life was not the wars he fought. But rather those experiences which gave him that type of fearless, devotional consciousness in which he was able to live such an exemplary life, in protection to so many innocent people of the world.


Responsibility of Parents

When he was a small, little child, he was very affectionate, with a grateful heart, to his mother. His mother, every single day, would narrate to him, stories and teachings from Mahabharata and Ramayana. She understood that this was her first duty as a mother. To give the child milk and other types of food, clothing and a nice house is not a very important function for a mother or father, because the animals are also doing that. It is our duty to provide these things, but it is not very important. The important service of the mother and father is to mould the character of the child into a devotee of the Lord, by teaching the child Sanatana dharma, the highest truth. So he was brought up by his loving mother, nourished by constantly hearing the glories and the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna and His devotees. And naturally through hearing these stories in one’s youth, and educated in Vedic dharma, bhakti, tattva, he was developing into a person who had the highest standards of morality, the most compassionate nature and devotion to God. And anything that happened in his accomplishments throughout his life was based on the foundation of his spiritual consciousness that was given to him as a child.


Examples of great kings

Prahalada Maharaj, when he was within his mother’s womb, just by hearing Narada Rishi speaking Hari Katha, he … (10:08) …Mahabhagavat. And what an example he led in his life. And later on he also became a great king. And he owed everything to what he had heard when he was a child through his Gurudev. Parikshit Maharaj was also a great king, but when he was a child, his parents gave him the deities of Krishna and he was constantly chanting and hearing the glories of Krishna. And in this way he developed into a king of real character, of real justice, and of real spirituality for the world to follow.


Let there be Shivaji in everyone’s home

In my opinion anyone in Maharashtra who wants to honestly talk about the greatness of Shivaji – they should not be hypocrites. They should raise their child as Shivaji’s mother raised him by constantly letting her child hear the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Srimad Bhagvatam and Hari Katha, and make your child into a great person. But today, parents – they do not want their child to go to the temple to hear Hari Katha. They don’t want to hear Hari Katha at home. They are happy if their child watches nonsense television and listens to nonsense music, as long as they are studying very nicely for their education and exams. And they talk about the greatness of Shivaji. If you want to speak the greatness of Shivaji, don’t be a hypocrite. What Shivaji exemplified in this world, you should follow. Give your children nourishment by association with saintly persons and the hearing and chanting the names and the glories of the Lord. And make your child into someone with real spiritual character.


The empowered king

When he was young, he saw terrible, terrible injustices and persecutions of the mogul rulers of the time. So he stood up to fight against what was against the principles of Sanatana Dharma. And due to his devotion, he gets weapons by the Lord’s own personal servants. And he became very powerful. He became a king, but what kind of king? Not the kind of kings we see today. He was not attached to politics, he was not attached to being king, he was only attached to service to his Guru and Krishna.


Sant Tukaram Maharaj- the real king

He approached that great Vaishnava acharya Tukaram. King Shivaji was such a powerful person, that practically anyone that stood before him had to bow at his feet. But when he came before Tukaram Maharaj, he personally fell at the feet of this great sage. He worshipped the feet of this great sage Tukaram – in this area of Maharashtra – he led a very simple life. He had no money, no property; he was just a very, very simple Vaishnava, always immersed in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. But this great king, Shivaji, who was conquering all directions, he understood Tukaram is Maharaj. He is the great king, because he has conquered his mind, and he has conquered his senses. And this was possible by Tukaram, because he was constantly hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Shivaji Maharaj was thinking that all this being king and all this conquering of lands is materialistic and it is too much disturbance. Let me just go to a quiet place and do bhajan. And he presented this frustration of his heart to Sri Tukaram Maharaj. But Tukaram Maharaj told him, “You should perform your duty for the service of God.”

Bhagavad Gita was spoken in a similar atmosphere. Arjuna was ready to detach himself and become a sadhu. But Krishna instructed him, “You are a kshatriya. Perform your work, but do not perform your work simply as a matter of doing your work. You must do it in a spirit of dedication and love for the supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Bhagavad Gita does not teach that, work is worship but Work in remembrance of God, in devotion to God, is worship. Any other type of God is only meant for karmic bondage. To follow the path of bhakti does not mean that we should necessarily give up our families or our occupational duties


Purpose of Life

And as our heart becomes purified through the process of association with great souls and hearing and chanting the names and glories of the Lord, gradually all of the godly qualities that are dormant within the soul become manifested in our life. So on this day we should make the holiday or celebration something that is actually useful. The purpose of this human life is to fall at the feet of great souls, hear the teachings of the Lord and chant His Holy Names. And whatever our occupation is, to perform that duty in a spirit of detachment and devotion. What God wanted to speak through the life of Shivaji was not something political; it was spiritual. And we are fortunate if we follow the example.


Harinama sankirtan- the connecting link

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught the chanting of the Holy Name and this was the very life of Tukaram Maharaj- to teach the world the chanting of the Holy Names. In fact the followers of Tukaram and the followers of Lord Caitanya have kirtan practically exactly the same way.

I was told one story of how Shivaji was sitting in a kirtan, with so many bhaktas, worshipping Lord Krishna in the form of Lord Vitthal. So at that time, an army of enemy warriors came looking for Shivaji to kill him. Shivaji didn’t know what to do. “I am sititng in this temple, with bhaktas.” Tukaram Maharaj told him, “have no fear, just take shelter of the Holy Name of Vitthal, Krishna.” So they were all very loudly chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. And by the power of the Holy Name, when these enemies came in, they saw that every bhakta looked just like Shivaji. So they became very confused and afraid. And they ran away.


Sri Hari Nama sankirtan ki…jai…

Establishing Ramarajya

So these are the real lessons in the life of Shivaji. He did so many wonderful, fearless things, but it was all in the power and the blessings of the great sage and the power of the Holy Name of God. There is danger at every step in this world but we can fearlessly defeat all the powers of illusion and immorality if we simply always keep the Holy Name of the Lord in our hearts and in our tongues. So in this great state of Maharashtra let us propagate the great Mahamantra. And then we can overcome all illusions, all fears and all the miseries of this world. And establish true Ramarajya, that kingdom where the supreme Lord Sri Rama is always remembered and served by everyone.

Thank you very much.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.