Narada Bhakti Sutras

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chapter 3 Sutra 1 and 2


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 1 –
Tasyaah saadhanaani gaayanthi aachaaryaah

Word meaning
Tasyaah – its (bhakthi’s)
Saadhanaani – means or sadhanaas
Aachaaryaah – various bhakthi acharyas (who have propounded bhakthi clearly)
Gaayanthi – sing

Sutra Meaning
Bhakthi’s means are sung by various bhakthi acharyas.

Here Narada begins this chapter by telling that acharyas sing about the means of bhakthi as different. Narada emphasizes that saadhana for bhakthi is not just one but many. As Vedanta speaks about jnaana saadhana as sravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana (listening, reflecting and contemplating) similarly bhakthi also consists of many sadhanas or means. Narada himself will be speaking about these in the next sutras.

The acharyas that Narada speaks about here are the ones that he enumerates at the end of this work and has spoken about in the previous chapter as gargi, paraashara, shaandilya etc.

We will see the sadhaanas starting from the next sutra tomorrow.

Sutra 2 –
Tat tu vishayatyaagaat sangatyaagaat cha

Word meaning
Tat tu – the sadhana of bhakthi is
Vishayatyaagaat – through renouncing all sense objects (vishayas)
Cha - and
Sangatyaagaat – through renouncing attachment to everything

Sutra Meaning
Bhakthi is achieved through (sadhana of bhakthi is) renouncing sense objects as well as attachment to the sense objects.

As we have already seen in the first chapter that any sadhana was have two parts – one being the positive part or things which are to be followed or practiced; and second being things that are to be not done or negative thinigs.

Here Narada speaks about things that have to be renounced as part of the sadhana to bhakthi. The positive way will be explained by Narada in the next sutra.

The things that a devotee needs to renounce are just two – sense objects and attachment. Here sense objects or vishaya means possession or attitude of possession of objects in the mind. If a person is holding on to possessions, he is attached to them. Thus possession of sense objects and attachment goes hand in hand. Sense objects here doesn’t mean just the external objects alone but people as well (as people are also objects of our sense organs). Generally humans tend to get attached to people than things. Attachment to people is more dangerous because people are not inert like things. Since things are inert, we can catch hold of them or get hold of them. But people aren’t inert and they respond to our feelings; therefore we cannot get hold of them always. The so-called love which exists behind two lovers also isn’t that pure (like between God and devotee) that it ever lives. There will surely be some or the other thing that will break the relationship. All relationships are based on attachment.

We see lakhs of people daily but aren’t bothered much about all of them. We are worried and bothered only about a few people because of attachment to them. As the Lord propounds in Gita, the more a person contemplates on a thing/people the attachment towards that grows more. If we are attached to people in the world or things in the world, we will not be able to contemplate fully on the Lord.

If we love a person and that person is not with us, we will not be able to concentrate on whatever we are doing. We will internally be contemplating on the lover thinking as to how he/she is. Thus attachment caused out of possession will hinder the progress of the spiritual seeker as he will not be able to contemplate on the Lord. Therefore the first and foremost sadhana for a devotee is renouncing possessions and attachment to things/people. This doesn’t mean we have to renounce everything and go the forest; but it only means that internally we should be dispossessed and detached whereas externally we may possess things and be attached to them. This attitude of dispossession and detachment is possible when we realize the futility of all things and relationships in the world. The world itself is temporary and will vanish any moment. The people that we find around will one day or the other vanish – we cannot for ever depend on them. Instead we should depend always on the Lord and his devotees – this way, we will be made by the Lord and his devotees to contemplate on the Lord instead of illusory objects of the world.

Thus a devotee has to get rid of possessions and attachments in the mind. He should instead be attached to the Lord at all times. He should remember that the Lord is always there to protect him. Instead of depending and seeking help from the illusory world and people, the devotee should seek help from the Lord.

Saint Augustine thus beautifully says in “the confessions” that man ought to root himself so firmly on the Lord that consolations from other men are not needed.

We will see as to the positive aspect of sadhana in the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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