Narada Bhakti Sutras

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Chapter 2, Sutra 5 and 6


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 5 –
Anyonya aasrayatvam ithi anye

Word meaning
Anyonya aasrayathvam – Jnaana and bhakthi are mutually dependent
Ithi – thus opine
Anye – others

Sutra meaning
Others (on the other hand) opine that jnaana and bhakthi are mutually dependent.

Narada gives here two opinions or two views about bhakthi and jnaana. After explaining as to why Bhakthi is superior to other paths, here Narada is specifically speaking about bhakthi and jnaana. We have already discussed in depth that Narada is of the opinion (following the scriptural view) that bhakthi and jnaana are not different but the same only. The jnaana which is spoken of as inferior to bhakthi is only the means of intellectual knowledge through scriptural study. The jnaana of Vedanta which is Brahma atma aikya jnaana is the same as paraa bhakthi or supreme devotion.

There are basically two different views while comparing bhakthi and jnaana. These opinions are only from those who are not well aware of what bhakthi and jnaana are and not done any sadhana as well to realize that both are same. The bhakthaas opine that bhakthi is superior to jnaana and hence jnaana is the sadhana to bhakthi. The jnaanis in turn opine that bhakthi is the path and jnaana is the final goal of realization. Both these views are not fully correct because paraa bhakthi and jnaana are one and the same only – there is absolutely no difference between both.

Here Narada doesn’t mention the view of the jnaanis that bhakthi is a mean whereas he is mentioning the views of the bhakthas only. Few people opine that jnaana is the means to bhakthi. If we consider jnaana here as the knowledge of the ultimate reality of Lord as the only real entity present, then this is the means to supreme devotion.

Few others opine that bhakthi and jnaana are mutually dependent. Bhakthi is required to have knowledge of the Lord – knowledge of the Lord is required for bhakthi. Therefore both are required and essential for a seeker. A seeker cannot do either without bhakthi or without jnaana. We can say that Swami Vivekananda while explaining the four paths of bhakthi, jnaana, karma and yoga meant this only that both are essential and mutually dependent.

After giving the diverse views about jnaana and bhakthi, Narada will give his conclusion in the next sutra which we will see in the next day (the conclusion might be a bit contradictory but we will see that in depth to avoid confusion).

Sutra 6 –
Swayam phala roopathaa ithi brahmakumaarah

Word meaning
Swayam phala roopathaa – Bhakthi gives its own fruit (doesn’t depend on anything else)
Ithi – thus says
Brahmakumaarah – son of Brahma (Narada).

Sutra meaning
Narada is of the opinion that bhakthi gives its own fruit & hence is independent of all other paths.

In the last two sutras, Narada mentioned about the different views regarding the means of bhakthi. Here he gives his own view which will be further supported by arguments in the next few sutras. Narada concludes those views by telling that bhakthi is self-sufficient. This is in fact a direct indication that bhakthi and jnaana are one and the same only. The scriptures speak outright about realization being possible only through knowledge – thus Narada’s statement would go against the scriptures if bhakthi was not the same as jnaana.

Bhakthi is self-sufficient as it is the path and the goal as well. While a person is going through the path of bhakthi, he develops pure devotion towards the Lord. This devotion is accompanied by complete, total and unconditional surrender. Such surrender is not possible without knowing that the Lord is all-powerful and the only person who can give eternal bliss in the form of liberation from the ocean of samsaara. Therefore the path of bhakthi has jnaana in itself. The same bhakthi of pure devotion becomes the ends as well when the seeker realizes his very nature of devotion or love in the form of Lord (of the nature of pure bliss). Devotion when it is pure and perfect is nothing but bliss alone. This bliss is non-dual as it is devoid of any imperfection and limitedness. Thus pure devotion when completely achieved is the means of eternal bliss. Thus bhakthi is self-sufficient as the means and end as well. Bhakthi gives its own fruit which is not gaining anything new but removing the ignorance veil of one’s nature of Lord. If bhakthi were like the other paths giving limited and new fruit, it would not be superior to other paths. But since bhakthi gives the eternal fruit of realization of one’s own nature of Lord, therefore it is superior to all paths. Since bhakthi gives the eternal fruit which is not “attaining” anything but “realizing” the ever-present nature of non-dual reality of Lord.

Thus bhakthi gives its own fruit through itself without needing the help of the other paths of karma, yoga etc. We have to remember that “giving” here means “removal of ignorance veiling one’s nature of Lord” and not “attaining anything afresh”. As Sankara points out in his bhashyas, anything that is achieved new will be temporary as it will/may be lost. Hence realization or moksha which is attained will be temporary only. That moksha which is realization of whatever is already there but veiled by an ignorance veil alone is permanent. It is this moksha of realization of one’s nature of Lord through pure devotion which is the fruit of bhakthi.

To sum up this sutra, bhakthi is self-sufficient as it is both the path as well as the goal also. Bhakthi is both the path and means because it is nothing but remover of ignorance & revealer of one’s own very nature of Lord. In the next few sutras, Narada would be explaining this concept clearly --- this is one of the places where Vedantic concept is made very clear without any contradictions and doubts.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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