Narada Bhakti Sutras

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Narada Bhakthi Sutras - Chapter 2 Introduction


Prostrations to all.

We learnt in the previous chapter the nature of paraa bhakthi or pure devotion. Narada made it quite clear that all definitions of bhakthi by different acharyas are not contradictory but all together help in cultivating pure devotion. Narada finally defined pure devotion as that in which the devotee always remembers the Lord offering all activities unto the Lord and becoming sad when the Lord is forgotten. This definition was from the perspective of a striving devotee whereas for a devotee who has achieved pure devotion, devotion is immortality & devotion is that by knowing which everything becomes known; by gaining which everything is gained; by attaining which there is no more desires left.

Once bhakthi is defined from the perspective of the pure devotee and the striving devotee, next we have to compare and contrast bhakthi with other paths. Swami Vivekananda puts the path to realization as the four of jnaana, karma, bhakthi and yoga (raja yoga). It is a general notion that Vivekananda was one who categorized it. But this is a wrong notion. This kind of categorization is found in this chapter of Bhakthi Sutras as well as in the Gita and other scriptures. We have to remember amidst all such discussions that knowledge of the non-dual reality of Brahman alone is the path to realization – there is no path other than this. This is not “my” personal opinion but the open statement of the Upanishads that the liberation is only possible through knowledge (knowledge here doesn’t signify intellectual knowledge but brahma atma aikya jnaana in the form of aparoksha anubhava).

Whenever we read Swami Vivekananda’s words or any other saints words, those are only the paths mentioned; the final step to realization is through knowledge & knowledge alone. “I” am not trying to attack Swamiji’s categorization but these are mere resonating statements of the Upanishads.

Pure devotion or paraa bhakthi is the same as jnaana as we have seen in the end of the first chapter of bhakthi sutras.

We find that during the time of Narada also, there were confusions and arguments as to which path is the best. Hence this chapter of bhakthi sutras is targeted at showing the mahattva or superiority of paraa bhakthi. Hence the name of the chapter as Paraa bhakthi Mahattvam. The sutras used are confusing so is the direct meaning & hence we have to learn this chapter deeply as well as clearly. Before entering into the chapter, once again let us make our minds clear on this that KNOWLEDGE or ULTIMATE DEVOTION alone is the means to liberation; liberation is not possible through any other means whatever be it and whoever be it that propounds it. Whether it is AMMA or Sri Sri Ravishankar or Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or Ramana Maharshi that propounds, knowledge is the one and only way to liberation. All these saints never go against this truth of the scriptures. If somebody feels that these saints propound elsewhere, then we need to understand the wordings of the saints in the proper context & sense.

Though we have already discussed about jnaana being the one and only way to liberation, let us see a few scriptural statements to reaffirm the same.

Purusha Sookta proclaims thus:

Tameva vidvaan amritha iha bhavathi
Na anyah panthaa vidhyathe ayanaaya

Knowing the ultimate reality (Purusha or Brahman) alone a person attains immortality; there is no other way to liberation than this.

Kaivalya Upanishad proclaims

Tameva viditva atimrityum ethi
Na anyah panthaa vimukthaye

Knowing the reality alone a person attains immortality; there is no other way to liberation than this.

Swetashwatara Upanishad proclaims thus

Yathaa charmavad aakaasham vestayishyanthi maanavaah
Tathaa devam avijnaaya dukhasyantho bhavishyathi

As a person is able to fold the space like a mat, similarly alone will be person be able to put an end to sorrows without knowing the ultimate reality of Brahman – as folding space is impossible, removal of sorrow is impossible without knowledge of the reality.

That Bhagavad Gita propounds jnaana alone has been explained in depth in the article titled Gitaartha dipika available at Interested people can go through the same.

Remembering that jnaana alone is the way to liberation and this is the same as paraa bhakthi, we will start the second chapter of Narada Bhakthi Sutras from the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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