Narada Bhakti Sutras

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chapter 2, Summary


Prostrations to all.

The first chapter of Narada Bhakthi Sutras was speaking about the nature of Paraa Bhakthi as well as the way it was defined by different bhakthi acharyas finally Narada giving his definition of the same supporting it with logic and examples.

To once again remind and make every one recollect it, bhakthi is of two types – one is aparaa bhakthi or lower devotion in which the differentiation between the devotee and the Lord is there; the second is paraa bhakthi or supreme devotion wherein the devotee merges into the Lord thereby the Lord alone remaining. We also see in the first chapter that paraa bhakthi is the same as jnaana propounded by Sankara.

In Paramaartha’s beautiful way, jnaana leads to TAT (Brahman) merging into TVAM by the seeker contemplating that everything is “I” or Self. Bhakthi on the other hand leads to TVAM (I) merging into the TAT (the Lord) through the devotee saying that “everything is thou alone” – in Ramakrishna’s terminology, this would be “naaham naaham, tvam tvam” or I am not there, you are only there.

As is the case with any scripture, the very next doubt in the seeker’s mind would be as to why bhakthi is necessary. This becomes more important because of there are various paths like jnaana, yoga, karma etc – what is particular in bhakthi and why should a seeker take the path of bhakthi propounded in the bhakthi sutras. This is being answered in the second chapter of Paraa Bhakthi Mahima or glory of Paraa Bhakthi. This chapter as we saw is the shortest with just 9 sutras.

Narada started by telling that Bhakthi is greater than jnaana, karma and yoga. Here we also concluded that since in the first chapter Narada implicitly says that jnaana (brahma atma aikya jnaana) is the same as paraa bhakthi, therefore the jnaana mentioned in the second chapter is not brahma atma aikya jnaana of Vedanta but mere intellectual knowledge that is also improper due to ego attitude in the seeker.

Bhakthi is superior to all these paths because of two reasons:
1. Because the fruit of bhakthi alone is permanent and eternal bliss – all the other paths are paths which lead to either purification of mind or intellectual knowledge alone whereas bhakthi leads a seeker directly to realization of ultimate reality of Lord or moksha. Thus since bhakthi gives a higher fruit or phala than the other paths, bhakthi is superior.
2. Because the Lord doesn’t like ego and likes humility – all the other paths require the ego of “I” in the seeker whereas bhakthi starts with the surrender of Ego unto the Lord. The Lord doesn’t like ego because the Lord is like a child who wants total attention which is possible with an egoistic person. Draupadi was helped by the Lord only when she called the Lord with both hands open (the one-hand catching saree position is a pointing out of the ego in Draupadi). Since the Lord or Brahman alone gives realization (either through the devotee merging into the Lord or the thought of Brahman being maintained in the jnaana marga seeker) and bhakthi alone makes a seeker without ego, bhakthi is superior to other paths.

Since Bhakthi is superior to other paths, therefore it has to be sought by seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord.

Now, we can doubt as to whether the other paths lead to bhakthi or there is any sort of interdependency with other paths. Hence Narada mentioned the two views prominent – one that jnaana is the path to bhakthi and the second that jnaana-bhakthi are inter-dependent. Narada then gave his view that bhakthi is self-sufficient and doesn’t require the help of any other path citing examples and logic for the same.

Finally Narada concluded by telling that since bhakthi is superior and independent, therefore seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord should seek bhakthi.

We will continue with the next chapter from the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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