Narada Bhakti Sutras

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chapter 3 Sutra 10 and 11


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 10 –
dussangah sarvatha eva tyaajyah

Word meaning
Dussangah – association with wrong people
Sarvathaa eva – has to be always
Tyaajyah - renounced

Sutra Meaning
A seeker has to always renounce association with wrong people.

As we have been learning, there is always the positive and negative aspect to any sadhana. Since Narada had mentioned the positive aspect of sanga (mahat sanga or satsanga) in the previous sutras, he is now explaining about dussanga. Here he says that a seeker should always renounce dussanga or association with wrong or bad people.

The reason as to why dussanga has to be renounced will be given by Narada himself in the next sutra but let us try to see what is dussanga. We generally consider mixing with drunkards or lowly people as dussanga. If a software engineer (since most of us are in this professionJ) has to drink tea from a normal thatched shop of a poor person, then he considers it as affecting his ego and status. Thus for software professionals, talking to poor people and being with their company is considered as bad association.

When I once had the chance to drink tea from one such shop nearby my office in Chennai, the shop-keeper was surprised. Interestingly, he was also a malayali – he was surprised that I was having tea from there as almost all infoscions considered it bad to be seen in that place. We tend to drink tea only if it is served in cup-saucer and charged at the rate of 20-30 Rupees! Drinking tea from such a hotel is considered good and keeping-up our status. This is one way we define association with people as good and bad depending on status and money.

Yet another way is with respect to our profession. I remember friends just hanging up the phone or putting me on mute when their bosses call up --- and that too not even mentioning that “will call back later”!!! There are many others who tend to close their messengers and mail boxes lest their bosses might see the spiritual and personal mails – then they might be considered as “strange” by the boss which would in turn affect their promotion and hike.

I am not here claiming that “I haven’t done anything of that sort” – this is not the point that we have to learn from this. The main point is that here the association with boss and trying to pacify the boss is considered as good whereas any distractions from this is considered as bad at that time.

We can go on enumerating many more such conceptions of good and bad association. But ultimately what is good and what is bad depends on one factor alone – the supreme goal of realization. Anything that is a hindrance to the spiritual path to realization is bad association. Association need not be just with people alone but can be with things as well. Any person or thing that leads us away from the Lord is bad alone.

My father doesn’t let me learn Vedanta – is he to be considered bad then? JOf course yes. Please don’t attack me saying “you are imposing wrong knowledge here”. This is not my statement but this is the statement of Bhagavatham illustrated beautifully in the story of Prahlaada. Prahlaada’s father Hiranyakashipu wanted him to chant his name rather than Vishnu’s name – Prahlaada didn’t heed to it. Only when we are bold like Prahlaada to resist anything that is a hindrance to the spiritual path, will we be able to realize in this birth itself.

It is quite easy to say “everything is Brahman, it doesn’t matter whether I marry or not, it doesn’t matter whether I heed to my father’s words” etc. But the real test comes when we are able to resist anything and everything for the sake of the ultimate reality of Lord. Unless a person does that, he will be facing obstacles in the spiritual path which will not let him realize the Lord.

The dussanga here mentioned by Narada is anything that is a hindrance to the spiritual path even if it is one’s father or mother or even Guru (as was the case with Mahaabali). As to how dussanga or association with people/things that hinder the spiritual path (by making us divert and deviate from the ultimate reality of Lord), we will see it in the next day through the next sutra.

Sutra 11 –
Kaama krodha moha smrithi bhramsa buddhi naasha kaaranatvaat

Sutra Meaning
(Dussanga has to be renounced) because it will cause desire, anger, delusion, loss of memory and destruction of intellect.

Narada had mentioned in the previous sutra that dussanga has to be renounced. Here he says as to why dussanga has to be renounced.

The reason he gives is a straight take (Jcopy) from Bhagavad Gita 2nd chapter verses. The saints of vedic times were compassionate enough that they didn’t impose any IPR on their worksJ.

The Gita verses are thus:

Dhyaayatho vishayaan pumsah sangah teshu upajaayathe
Sangaat sanjaayathe kaamah kaamaat krodhobhijaayathe

Krodhaat bhavathi sammohah sammohaat smrithi vibhrama
Smrithi bhramshaat buddhinaasho buddhinaashaat pranashyathi

Contemplation on a particular object causes attachment to the object. Attachment in turn causes desire or kaama. Kaama in turn leads to anger when the object is not possessed. Anger in turn leads to delusion of considering the object as one’s own. Delusion in turn leads to loss of memory (not knowing what the seeker is doing). Loss of memory leads to destruction of intellect & the seeker doing things out of his mind. This destruction of intellect leads to the downfall of the seeker.

As we know, one such anger moment will lead us to spoil all our energy and relationships. JRelationships doesn’t matter for a seeker because he knows only the Lord exists – such a seeker who knows that the Lord only exists will never enter into anger.

Haven’t saints like Sri Ramakrishna and Ramana got angry??? They were not internally angry but only showing off in the world. As long as we are acting in the illusory world, we will have to adjust ourselves externally so that others don’t misuse us. Internally we should always remember the Lord. Such internal control and external anger is possible only for the seeker who can decide as to when he should get angry and when he shouldn’t.

Dussanga or false attachment and association will surely lead us to kaama or desire to possess the object at all times. This will in turn lead to anger when the object is lost or not possessed. And finally will lead to destruction of the seeker itself. Thus Narada says that we should always avoid dussanga else it will lead us to destruction.

The only sanga that is accepted for the seeker is satsanga or association with those things/people which will lead him to remember the Lord again and again. All other sangas are dussangas as discussed in the previous posting. We will see as to another reason why dussanga is to be avoided in the next sutra in the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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