Narada Bhakti Sutras

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chapter 5 Sutra 3, 4


Prostrations to all.

Sutra 3 –
Teertheekurvanthi teerthaani sukarmee kurvanthi karmaani satshaastreekurvanthi shaastraani

Word Meaning
Teertheekurvanthi teerthaani – (Real devotees) sanctify the pilgrimage places;
Sukarmee kurvanthi karmaani – they make actions pure;
Satshaastreekurvanthi shaastraani – they give authority to scriptures.

Sutra Meaning
Real devotees sanctify pilgrim places, make actions pure and provide authority to the scriptures.

Why (or how)?

Sutra 4 –

Word Meaning
Tanmayaah – (for) they are ever established in the Lord.

Sutra Meaning
Because they are ever established in the Lord.

Narada here is again emphasizing real devotees by speaking about their greatness. This is so that each and every sadhaka will strive to become a real devotee by hearing about their greatness.

We know that a real devotee is one who is ever immersed in the thought or contemplation of the Lord. Thus around such devotees, we can feel the very presence of the Lord in the form of bliss. It is for this reason that most of us feel peace, bliss, contentment etc. in the presence of Mahatmas like AMMA and others. This means that wherever such a real devotee is there, it is a place of pilgrimage. We generally call teertha sthalas or pilgrimage places as those which will purify us of our sins. The most common place that comes to our mind is the ganges in Varanasi or Ahmedabad. We as ignorant seekers need to go to these pilgrimage spots in order to purify us of our sins.

How do these pilgrimage spots purify us?
In fact it is not the place in itself that purifies us but the thought of the Lord in our minds all the while we are in the place that purifies us. We think about the Lord only when we visit temples or ashrams or pilgrim places.

If this is the case, then what to speak about a real devotee who is ever immersed in constant contemplation of the Lord. His very presence makes the place a purifying spot. It is this purification of the Mahatma’s presence that gives us bliss and peace once we go to them and come back home. Thus Narada here says that such real devotees add more value and give life to pilgrim places, actions and scriptures. It is such Mahatma and their words which are testimonies to the scriptural truth – the scriptures are indirect knowledge whereas the Guru is a living embodiment of the scriptures. It is for this reason that many intellectual pandits are well versed in the scriptures but are not realized. They haven’t experienced Brahman and hence people following them also will be as deluded as them. Thus we have many self-proclaimed Mahatmas and saints leading a lot of devotees and followers into a string of sorrows. The moment we get near such a self-proclaimed Mahatma, we will be able to find tension and sorrow. On the contrary the very presence of a real Mahatma is enough to give us bliss for weeks and years to come by.

In the case of Mahatmas like Ramana Maharshi, the bliss and peace still emanates from the ashram in Tiruvannamalai though he is physically no more present. This pull of a real Mahatma is so strong that it even pulled people from the West (US and Europe) to visit one of the smallest villages in India where everything is scarce except the fiery sun during summer.

The pull we experience from a Mahatma is the pull of the ever-blissful Atman. This pull is because we are always attracted to our own Self. Though we are essentially the Self, we are now associated with the Body-Mind-Intellect complex whereas the Mahatma is ever established in the Self (or Lord). Thus the Self which we are seeking attracts us in the form of the Mahatma. Therefore Narada says that the Mahatmas or real devotees are ever established in the reality (Tanmayaah). This one quality alone is enough to determine who is a real devotee and who isn’t. It is this Lord who is of the nature of peace and bliss – hence Ramana used to say that the sole criterion for judging a saint is peace.

We will continue with the next sutra in the next day.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God


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