Narada Bhakti Sutras

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sutra 9 and 10

Prostrations to all.

Sutra 9 –

Tasmin ananyathaa tadvirodhishu udaaseenathaa cha

Word meaning
(Nirodha is also)
Tasmin ananyathaa – having ananya bhaava in the Lord
Cha – and
Tad virodhishu udaaseenathaa – being indifferent (not doing) to things that are opposing to the Lord.

Sutra meaning
Nirodha is also having ananya bhaava in the Lord & being indifferent to things or actions that are opposing to the Lord.

We have previously learnt that spiritual path has two aspects to it – one being following that which is conducive to the path & second being not performing those activities which obstruct the spiritual path (these are termed as anukoola sevanam and prathikoola varjanam respectively). It is this same thing that Narada mentions as the nature of renunciation.

If the seeker asks the doubt that a devotee has to do activities in the world (which is inevitable as the Lord says in the karma yoga of Gita) and hence all actions cannot be renounced, Narada answers by telling that a devotee does only those actions which lead to more and more contemplation of the Lord. Those activities which obstruct the spiritual path by making the devotee forget the Lord is renounced.

Here if we see clearly, Narada doesn’t mention a devotee to attack actions which oppose contemplation of the Lord but only tells to be indifferent to those actions. We travel to office daily & witness many activities in the world even death. But we are totally indifferent to them because it doesn’t affect any of our kin and kith. Similarly those activities which oppose the spiritual path should be treated in the same way. Thus a devotee doesn’t do those activities which oppose the spiritual path & he just ignores the activities by being a mere witness to those activities & unattached to them. This attitude of indifference is important because only in this we become totally detached from the activity. The moment we term an activity as “bad”, we are getting attached to the activity and creating an emotion of aversion towards that activity. This is as good as getting attachment to the activity. Bhakthi is that in which the Lord alone gets primary importance. In order for a seeker to constantly seek the ultimate reality of Lord, all other activities whether they are good or bad have to be seen with the attitude of indifference.

It is not merely enough to see actions with the attitude of indifference – in which case, a devotee will not do any activity & thus remain like a insentient rock. Instead a devotee should perform those activities which lead him to the ultimate reality of Lord. These activities include bhajans, keerthans, naama sankirtan, chanting etc. Any activity which makes the devotee remember the Lord is an activity to be followed. Once the devotee starts doing such activities, his mind develops an ananya bhaava towards the Lord. Ananya means “without any other” – thus ananya bhava towards the Lord means nourishing those thoughts which lead to remembrance of the Lord.

The Lord says in Gita
Ananyaaschintayantho maam ye janaah paryupaasathe
Teshaam nitya abhiyukthaanaam yoga kshemam vahaami aham

Those devotees who worship me everywhere with ananya bhaava, I look after their good and bad as they are ever steadfast in me.

Thus it is this ananya bhajana which Narada mentions in this sutra. Thus renunciation is not complete renunciation of activities – instead it is renunciation of those activities which lead the devotee away from the Lord & having ananya bhaava on the Lord through performance of activities which help the devotee in remembering the Lord.

Any activity which doesn’t help in remembrance of the Lord is an activity to be renounced or seen with the attitude of indifference. Even the action of going to temple if it doesn’t make the devotee develop ananya bhajana of the Lord is an activity that has to be renounced. Going to temple doesn’t involve ananya bhajana when the devotee concentrates more on the people around or the condition around instead of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Narada himself will be explaining as to what is ananya bhajana and udaaseena bhava in the next couple of sutras. It is enough to remember here that ananya bhajana is performance of those activities which lead the seeker to constantly contemplate on the Lord whatever the action is. It is for this reason that Dharmavyaadha (the butcher in Mahabhaaratha) was considered a jnaani and bhaktha by the Lord. Udaaseena bhaava or attitude of indifference is to be developed towards all actions which don’t lead to contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord. There shouldn’t be any emotion of aversion towards such action as that will lead to attachment (in the form of aversion) to that action. Instead the devotee should see the action with a sense of indifference even as a person doesn’t mind as to what is happening to a person whom he doesn’t know in the world.

Thus anukoola sevanam of ananya bhajanam and prathikoola varjanam through udaseena bhava is essential for a devotee to progress in the spiritual path towards pure devotion. This is what is meant as renunciation or Nirodha or total renunciation of all activities. Thus the doubt which was raised as to how will the devotee remain in the world without doing any action (until he is not realized) is answered as all actions are not to be renounced but only those actions which lead the devotee away from the Lord have to been seen with an attitude of indifference.

We will see Narada’s definition of ananya bhajanam and udaseena bhava through the next two sutras in the coming day.

Sutra 10 –
Anya aasrayaanaam tyago tasmin ananyathaa

Word meaning
Tasmin ananyathaa – having ananya bhaava in the Lord (is)
Tyaagah – renunciation
Anya aasrayaanaam – of all other resorts (support).

Sutra meaning
Having ananya bhaava in the Lord is renunciation of all other supports (and seeking the Lord alone).

We saw previously that ananya bhajanam is thinking about the Lord alone. This has been explained by Narada in a quite different way by telling that ananya bhajanam is renunciation of all other support.

The word Ananya itself means “without any other”. Narada here emphasizes that pure devotion is that in which everything else is renounced for the sake of the Lord. It is this renunciation of everything that the Lord mentioned in the end of Gita as “sarva dharman parityajya”.

We have been speaking about ananya bhajanam for quite long & hence it doesn’t require any more explanation of the same. Instead of explaining the same theoretically, let us today try to see few stories from puranas and the lives of various saints as to this ananya bhajanam and why it is essential for a seeker.

We find in the Mahabharatha that when Draupadi was tormented in the kaurava sadas by dusshasana removing her saree, Draupadi called out the Lord but by holding one hand to the saree as she didn’t want the saree to fall off completely. But the Lord didn’t arrive. Thus draupadi stopped holding the saree & with both the hands called out the Lord & then came support from the Lord. Until we totally seek the Lord by completely surrendering to the Lord, the Lord will not come to protect us. When Rama goes to Krishna asking for help & while asking for help, his attention is totally into what he is asking but unto the TV which Krishna is watching – Krishna will not help Rama. It is the same case with the Lord as well. The Lord is much more possessive than any other worldly person. We find that the mother is so possessive about her child that she wants all of her attention as well as all the attention of the child towards her. It is the same case with the Lord.

This possessive nature of the Lord is not against the sakshi or witness bhava of the Lord. The Lord is ever the same but until there is total surrender which opens up the heart, there cannot be the feeling of the presence of the grace of the Lord. The Lord as he mentions in many places in Gita that “I reside in the heart of all beings”, is thus present as each and everyone’s very nature of Consciousness. But this Lord is veiled by the ignorance of the mind. Until there is not the opening of the heart, the Lord cannot be seen as he is hidden in the chamber of heart whose door is closed. Thus when it is mentioned that the Lord is possessive and he doesn’t help the devotee unless there is total surrender, the real meaning is that only through total surrender there can be opening of the heart through which alone the Lord can come out to help the devotee. It is mentioned thus in order to create the passion (not a right word thoughJ) in the minds of the devotee so that the devotee seeks the Lord with all his might.

Regarding the possessive nature of the Lord, AMMA mentions a beautiful episode in the life of Baala Krishna. Once Baala Krishna was hungry and his mother was breast-feeding him. At that time, Yashoda had kept some milk in the kitchen for boiling. Even though Krishna was very hungry, Yashoda wanted to make sure that the milk doesn’t get spilled in the kitchen. Thus leaving the hungry Krishna, she went to look after the milk in the kitchen. After milk was boiled, she came back to see Krishna. At that time she found that baala Krishna (the mischievous kid that he was & as he was very hungry) had spilled all the butter in the house!!! Trying to save a little amount of milk in the kitchen, Yashoda had lost all the butter in the house.

This is what we all try to do. Instead of seeking the all-possessive Lord, we go after worldly pleasures. What happens is that we not only are unable to retain the worldly pleasures, instead we lose everything as a result of forgetfulness of the Lord.

Thus what is required in the life of a devotee is seeking of the Lord after renunciation of all other supports. Whenever we require some help in life, we shouldn’t see the people in the world instead we should totally surrender & pray to the Lord. Along with the prayer to the Lord, we should try seeking help from worldly people (yes, the difference is that in this case there is surrender to the Lord which was lacking in the previous case). Thus renunciation of all other supports doesn’t mean that everything has to be renounced externally but it only means that the Lord has to be given prime importance – whenever there is some activity, we should always remember the Lord & offer the activity as an offering to the Lord.

Thus when we totally surrender to the Lord and thereby do worldly actions, we are in fact renouncing all supports except that of the Lord – for such a devotee, the Lord himself takes care of the activities and needs.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa proclaimed to Narendra whose family was suffering with poverty that you will get whatever bare necessity you need in life (you here means your family) as devi will take care of your needs.

But the interesting thing here is that a devotee doesn’t require anything apart from devotion to the ultimate reality of Lord. To that extent that most of the bhakthi literature speak about the bhaktha not even wanting moksha but wanting constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord.

We will wind up this ananya bhajana sutra with a beautiful story mentioned by Ramana Maharshi. Once, Siva and Parvathi were playing in Kailas. At that time Siva said he had to go somewhere. Parvathi asked where you are going. Siva replied that a devotee was being attacked by some robbers in the forest & hence he had to save the devotee. Saying thus Siva started from Kailas. Within a minute, Siva was back. Parvathi asked as to why you are back so soon. Siva replied thus “I went to save the devotee but at that time found that the devotee used a stone and attacked the robbers – thus he didn’t require my help – so I came back”.

JThis is what happens when we try to take resort to worldly aids – the Lord cannot be realized if a person seeks worldly aids and doesn’t give importance to the Lord. In this case, the devotee was about to protect himself but how long can the devotee protect himself without the grace of the Lord? Only until death!! Death is inevitable until the devotee seeks the ultimate reality of Lord. When there is so vast experiences in the lives of saints like Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva among others as to how the Lord came to help these jeevan mukthas, it is wrong if we don’t show faith in the ultimate reality of Lord. Anything and everything in the world can be conquered or kept in control through worldly aids but the ocean of samsaara cannot be crossed over without the aid of the Lord.

Sankara thus says that:
Iha samsaare bahudhustaare kripayaa pare paahi muraare
This samsaara is very tough indeed to cross over & due to the grace of the Lord, it can be crossed over.

It is the same thing that the Lord mentions that
Maameva ye prapadhyanthe mayaam ethaam tharanthi te
He who takes refuge in me, he overcomes my delusive power of Maya (that which is tough indeed to cross over).

We have been reading about ananya bhajanam and how it helps a devotee through the lives of Sringeri saints by Neelakantan. The lives of those saints are testimony to this sutra that a real devotee will not take any other resort than the lord & such a devotee will be taken care of by the Lord himself.

We will continue with the next sutra in the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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