Narada Bhakti Sutras

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Chapter 3 Sutra 12 and 13


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 12 –
Tarangayithaa api ime sangaat samutraayanthe

Word Meaning
Ime – These (kaama, krodha etc. mentioned in the previous sutra)
Tarangayithaa api – though are like ripples
Sangaat – by association (more and more association)
Samutraayanthe – will become an ocean

Sutra Meaning
Kaama, krodha etc. though are initially ripples only – still they become ocean with more and more association (attachment).

In the previous sutra, Narada mentioned that dussanga will lead to kaama, krodha and finally to destruction of oneself. Here he says as to why dussanga has to be renounced fully and kaama, krodha etc. have to be totally removed. These passions of the mind are initially like ripples in water. But these ripples once they build up, they become waves and lead to an ocean. Ocean here represents the state where the mind is totally disturbed and a person is totally immersed in. Once a person is in an ocean, it is very tough to come out of it as we ocean stretches in all directions and finding the shore is very tough. The waves, turbulence, fishes like shark etc. add to the ocean being very dangerous.

A desire or attachment to a thing let’s say to laddoos is like a normal ripple which will affect the mind for a moment and then go away. But once this desire is experienced and enjoyed, it leaves a trace even as ripples do leave a trace in water. This trace grows on and on once the seeker gets more association with laddoos. These traces finally become a vasana or latent tendency coming out of which is as tough as coming out of a chakravyuha. The most common vasana that we find in the world is that of smoking, drinking, sex and TV soapsJ. It is very tough to come out of these vasanas – even if a person wants to come out of such addicted vasanas, it will be very tough and almost impossible. Thus once we keep on adding desires or doing a desire again and again, it becomes like an ocean (unconquerable and fully deluding a person into it).

Therefore Narada here says that these emotions of the mind though seem to be small like ripples, they have the potential to become like an ocean if a person gets more and more association and attached to it. Therefore a wise person should always renounce dussanga which will in turn remove kaama, krodha etc. so that there is no scope of these becoming an unconquerable ocean.

Narada winds up the topic of dussanga and as to why a seeker should avoid dussanga with this sutra. Next he enters into an enumeration of the qualities necessary in a seeker to cross over Maya which we will see in the coming days

Sutra 13 –
Kastharathi kastharathi maayaam

Word Meaning
Kah tharathi – who will cross over
Kah tharathi – who will cross over
Maayaam – Maya

Sutra Meaning
Who will cross over, who will cross over Maya?

Though this is just the first half of the 13th sutra, the rest of the sutra and the next three sutras answers this question as to who will cross over Maya. Narada enumerates the list of qualities that are necessary in a seeker to cross over the ocean of samsaara also termed as Maya. This enumeration is quite exhaustive and bold (so bold that he speaks about renouncing even the Vedas). These are a very simple of judging as to where we stand in terms of the spiritual goal of crossing over Maya and realizing our very nature of non-dual reality of Lord.

What is Maya?
Maya is the ocean of samsaara characterized by avidya-kaama-karma (ignorance-desire-action). Maya is the illusory power of Lord that creates names and forms in the Lord. Maya is composed of the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas. Every being in the world is subject to the Maya of the Lord in the form of delusions. The very basic delusion is that of considering oneself as different from the Lord; the other delusions consist of identifying oneself with the body-mind-intellect complex, considering external objects are real and craving for sensual pleasures.

As the Lord himself speaks, Maya is very tough indeed to conquer. Conquering Maya is almost impossible without knowledge and devotion of the ultimate reality of Lord. As water seen in desert deludes a person into thinking that water is there and thereby makes him run towards water, similarly Maya makes a person believe that the world is real thereby making him seek sensual pleasures all the while thinking that they will end his thirst for eternal bliss, satisfaction and contentment. Only when a seeker has conquered Maya or crossed over the ocean of samsaara, can a person rejoice in eternal bliss – that bliss which is being consistently sought out in the world.

Maya in Vedanta is thus tough to conquer and cross over like an ocean; only few are able to cross over it and crossing over requires many qualities and practices to be followed (though it all boils down to just one basic practice of constantly remembering and surrendering to the ultimate reality of Lord).

We will see Narada enumerating the qualities and ways following which a seeker will be able to cross over Maya from the next day.

Sutra 13 –
yah sangam tyajathi, yo mahaanubhaavam sevathe nirmamo bhavathi

Word Meaning
Yah sangam tyajathi – he who renounces attachments
Yah maahanubhaavam sevathe – he who does service to Mahatmas
(Yah) nirmamo bhavathi – and he who is without “I” & “mine” concept
(He crosses over Maya)

Sutra Meaning
He who renounces attachment, he who does service to Mahatmas and he who is without the sense of possessiveness (in the form of “mine”), he crosses over Maya.

We saw in the previous mail as to Narada raising the question as to who will cross Maya in order to enumerate it and answer it in an elaborate way. Here he starts enumerating the qualities necessary in a seeker who wishes to overcome Maya or the delusion that causes the non-dual reality of Lord to be seen as the dual illusory world. Though the final sadhana that a person needs to do to realize his own very nature of Brahman is nothing but constant contemplation of the Lord at all times, still there are various ways or means in order to achieve this constant contemplation or nidhidhyaassana of Vedanta.

The first and foremost thing that a seeker needs to do as the sadhana is renouncing all attachments. We saw in the previous sutras that all sanga or attachment or association (at physical as well as mental level) has to be renounced in order for the seeker to concentrate beyond the names and forms to the substratum of Lord. Sanga or attachment with worldly things and people are to be totally renounced including attachment to parents, wife etc. This doesn’t mean that we have to run away from our house, go to a forest and start meditating. This only means that internally we always have to be devoid to attachment to people and things. Even as an actor seems to be attached to his role externally but internally is unaffected, similarly a seeker has to externally be attached to things all the while internally unattached and ever established in contemplation of the Lord. This internal detached and external attachment means that if we have to leave everything this very moment, we shouldn’t think even for a second whether we should/can do it. When a seeker attains such a level of detached attachment, then alone will he be able to follow the spiritual path giving it the utmost priority than everything else.

We may doubt as to if a person is unattached to everything, then how can there be sanga to the Lord. This is being clarified by Narada by telling that a person should serve Mahatmas. Attachment to Mahatmas or satsanga is advisable for a seeker. Mahatmas are physical embodiments of the ultimate reality of Lord – any service to the Mahatmas has serves only two purposes; one being purification of the mind through such selfless activity and two being constant in touch with a saint whose mind is immersed in Brahman. If we come in contact with a cricket fan, he will be always speaking about cricket. Even though we might not like, still we will be contemplating on cricket. A Mahatma is one who is ever established in Brahman; thus any association with such a Mahatma will make us as well contemplate on Lord.

Detached attachment and serving the Mahatma is possible only when we have got rid of the notion of “mine” or mamata. As long as we have the notion of “my friend”, “my parents” etc we will not be following detached attachment. When we aren’t following detached attachment, we will not be able to serve a Mahatma due to ego issues and due to attachment to other “mine”. This is nothing but an indirect way of telling that we shouldn’t be attached to anything. Attachment causes “mine” and “mine” adds to more attachment. As we have seen in earlier sutras, attachments will lead a seeker into delusion of samsaara (though they might seem to be ripples, they can easily become an ocean of trouble). If we analyze the troubles in our lives, we will find almost all of them as caused due to attachment and association with things or people. More than ourselves, it is the notion of “mine” that causes trouble in the world.

As AMMA beautifully says, marriages in western countries are volatile; because there is a too much notion of “mine” as well as lack of belief or faith on one another. This leads a person to easily break marriages or relationships – this trend is now found in India as well as we are fond of following what America or London is doing. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to America or follow them – we should imbibe their good qualities like sincerity, openness, friendliness, helping attitude etc. rather than going behind the bad qualities. The divorces that is happening in the world is a testimony to the fact that the notion of “mine” and attachments lead a person to sorrow and sorrow alone. Thus Narada here says that a seeker should be devoid of the sense of “mine” whether it is towards people or things.

We will continue with Narada’s enumeration in the next sutra the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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