Narada Bhakti Sutras

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chapter 3 Sutra 8 and 9


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 8 –
Tasmin tat jane bhedha abhaavaat

Word meaning
Tasmin tatjane bhedha abhaavaat – because of non-difference between the Lord and his devotees.

Sutra Meaning
Because of non-difference between the Lord and his devotees.

In the previous sutra, Narada had mentioned that association with Mahatmas is very tough indeed but yet a seeker is sure to succeed because of it. In this sutra, Narada says as to what is the main cause for the seeker to get association with Mahatmas though it is very tough to get.

Association with Mahatmas is possible only by the grace of the Lord. Paramahamsa Yogananda searched for his Guru for many years but it was not until he had the full grace of the Lord that he met his Guru. This doesn’t mean this grace has to be extended as is done with Vaishnavas and fate-believers. The grace of the Lord is ever present as AMMA says. Even as the Sun is always present, similarly the grace of the Lord is ever present. But if we close our windows and doors, then we will not be able to apprehend the ever present sunlight. Similarly we have to open the door of our heart in order to feel the ever present grace of the Lord. This opening of the heart is through the bhakthi sadhanas mentioned previously and mainly due to total & unconditional surrender to the Lord. As long as we have the ego notions of “I” and “mine”, we will be shutting the door of our heart thereby not letting the grace of the Lord in our heart to come out. But once we open our hearts, we will be able to grasp the ever present grace of the Lord. Thus what Narada means here is that we have to open our hearts if we need to get the grace of the Lord and thereby association with Mahatmas.

This opening of our heart is what Sankara mentions in Vivekachoodamani as “mahaa purusha samsrayah” or “surrender to a man of wisdom”. If we have total and unconditional surrender to the ultimate reality of Lord, then the grace of the Lord will be apprehended through the presence and association with Mahatmas. As mentioned in the previous sutras, we already have Mahatmas around us but we should have the open mind and heart to seek them beyond fear and society restrictions. If we bother to mind about the world and people around us, we will not be able to get the ever-present bliss which is our very nature of Lord.

Narada also mentions here that there is no difference between the Lord and his devotees. The Lord himself proclaims thus in Gita

Samoham sarva bhooteshu na me dveshyo asthi na priyah
Ye bhajanthi tu maam bhakthyaa mayi te teshu cha api aham

I have equal attitude towards all beings; I neither am angry nor am attached to beings; but those who worship me (knowing that everything is but the Lord alone), they are in me and I am in them.

A devotee who has totally surrendered unto the ultimate reality of Lord has no separate existence apart from the Lord as he has merged into the non-dual reality of Lord. A Mahatma is such a real devotee who is none other than the Lord alone. Since there is no difference between the Lord and his devotees, therefore grace of the Lord will clearly bring out the grace of the Mahatmas. The grace of the Mahatmas is achieved through the seeker being guided and attracted to those Mahatmas. We find Paul brunton among many other Europeans coming from Europe to the secluded Tiruvannamalai to meet Ramana Maharshi!!! It was nothing but the grace of Ramana that made them to be attracted to Tiruvannamalai and brought them there. Thus if we become ready to apprehend the ever present grace of the Lord, we will automatically be taken to the Mahatmas around us.

We will continue the next sutra in the next day.

Sutra 9 –
tadeva saadhyathaam tadeva saadhyathaam

Word meaning
Tad eva saadhyathaam – that alone is to be accomplished;
Tad eva saadhyathaam – that alone is to be accomplished.

Sutra Meaning
That (paraa bhakthi) alone is to be accomplished; that alone is to be accomplished.

Narada after explaining about bhakthi sadhanas and the easiest way to bhakthi sadhana as sanga with Mahatmas, here ends the topic by a strong statement that bhakthi alone is to be accomplished by a seeker.

Upanishads start with the disciple asking the Guru “kasmin u bhagavo vijnaathe sarvam idam vijnaatham bhavathi” – O Guru! Tell me that by knowing which everything becomes known. And then the Guru speaks about the ultimate reality of Brahman from which everything has come, in which everything resides and unto which everything merges. The Guru doesn’t stop with explaining as the substratum of everything but goes beyond by telling that everything is Brahman alone (Brahman is above, Brahman is below etc. etc.). Finally the Guru ends the teaching by telling “brahma vid brahmaiva bhavathi” or a knower of Brahman verily becomes Brahman.

The above paragraph is a summary of the Mundaka Upanishad which is in the form of a dialogue between the shishya of Shaunaka who was a grihastha and the Guru Angiras.

We find a similar way of exposition even in the Narada Bhakthi Sutras as well. We learned in the very first few sutras as to Narada propounding that the Lord is that by knowing whom there remains nothing else to be known (the exact word was that by knowing the Lord a person becomes blissful and content). Then Narada started explaining about the way to achieve paraa bhakthi which makes a person siddha and amritha or immortal. After initially explaining the ways in which bhakthi is defined and showing that bhakthi alone is superior (in the second chapter), Narada explained the sadhana or the path to achieve paraa bhakthi. Now he ends this session of paraa bhakthi by telling that bhakthi alone is to be accomplished in life. Since we all are embarking on a journey towards immortality and eternal bliss, this can be achieved only through realization of the Lord which is nothing but paraa bhakthi or total merge into the Lord.

Thus paraa bhakthi alone is to be sought and accomplished by human beings as it is the ultimate and final goal of human beings. This sutra emphasizes that a seeker should have paraa bhakthi as the final goal in life whatever be the temporary goal in life like promotion, marriage etc.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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