Narada Bhakti Sutras

Monday, February 26, 2007

Chapter 3 - Introduction


Prostrations to all.

In the last week, we concluded the second chapter of Narada Bhakthi Sutras. The first two chapters spoke about the nature of supreme devotion and importance of supreme devotion. Once a seeker has been told about the nature and importance of a particular goal, the next thing that needs to be mentioned is the path to achieve the goal.

Supreme devotion or paraa bhakthi is not the path but the goal of jnaana or merging unto the Lord. The path to achieve this paraa bhakthi is termed as aparaa bhakthi. There are many sadhanas or practices which help a seeker to achieve the goal of paraa bhakthi. This path or sadhana is being mentioned in the third chapter of Narada Bhakthi Sutras. Since this chapter speaks about the means therefore it is titled Bhakthi Saadhanaani (means of bhakthi or devotion).

This chapter consists of 17 sutras in total some of which are long and condenses few means into one sutra. As is the general way of propounding a path, this chapter speaks about the dos and donts in the path of devotion. The dos are the things that need to be performed by the seeker so that he will achieve the goal of supreme devotion. The donts are those actions which should be avoided because they will lead the seeker away from the goal and will make him deluded into the ocean of samsaara.

The dos and donts are explained beautifully and fully in this chapter. The dos all generally lead to constant contemplation of the Lord giving him the highest priority in life whereas the donts all point to avoiding discussion about topics other than the Lord (or not encouraging thoughts that take us away from the Lord).

It isn’t enough if we just mention the dos and donts in the path but it is important to mention as to who is the ideal seeker of this path going on to achieve the goal. This is also brought out beautifully by Narada in the last few sutras of this chapter by raising the question as to “who crosses the ocean of samsaara” and answering the same. The answers are quite exhaustive but will be a little tough to apprehend for initial seekers (cause this would be against traditional thinkers). This will be a bit tough to apprehend because Narada speaks about even renunciation of the Vedas which are close to the heart of traditional Vedantins. Vedantins accept only the Vedas as authoritative at the empirical level but here we find Narada telling that a person who even renounces the Vedas alone will cross over Maya. This isn’t quite against Vedanta because Upanishads themselves point out the same as well as Sankara makes such a bold statement in Vivekachoodamani. We will see this in depth while dealing with the particular sutra. As of now, it is enough for the seeker to closely follow the path that Narada gives regarding dos and donts; and finally gauging oneself as to where one stands with the final description of a real devotee who crosses over the ocean of samsaara.

We will start with the chapter from the next day with the first sutra.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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