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In the Name of Bhakti, People...

Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 23:19:06 To: From: Miguel Subject: In the Name of Bhakti, People... Baba "Nabiina Pra'te ei arun' a'lote..." (P.S. #19) Purport: Baba, by You grace the new dawn has come. In this new crimson dawn, with the rhythm of form, You have entered my mind. Baba You are so gracious: You know how to make us laugh and weep, You know how to play hide-and-seek. Baba by Your grace You have filled my life with Your radiant light. You know how to play the lyre, to weave endless melodies, to make the world dance in Your melodies and rhythms. And You know how to love the world with all its pains and pleasures. Baba You are so gracious, You are that most loving One...
Namaskar, In our Marga, the term 'bhakti' is well--known and commonly used in our daily talk and interactions. We say things like, 'He has a lot of bhakti', or 'Bhakti is the greatest attribution', or 'I only follow the path of bhakti' etc. Then of course some think, 'I am an acarya so I must have a lot of bhakti', while others contemplate, 'I am the bhukti pradhan so I have a lot of bhakti'. We have all seen and heard how the term bhakti gets used in the above ways, when in fact such things may have little or even nothing to do with true bhakti. So we should take a moment to reflect on what is real bhakti, especially since it is only bhakti that can lead us to our cherished Goal.
Baba is quite clear that bhakti means having one's mind directed only towards God, and not towards any other object or desire. Baba says, "Bhakti means to withdraw one’s attractions from all objects and channelize them towards Parama Purus'a. When the unit self is associated with the cosmic it is called “bhakti” or “devotion”, but when it is associated with the mundane it is called “attachment”. You must withdraw your mental propensities from all external objects – no matter what they might be – and channelize them only towards Parama Purus'a. Only when you direct them towards Him, can it be called bhakti. If you allow your mind to become fascinated by any other object, it is called “a'sakti” or “attachment”." (AV-7) Thus no external qualification or mundane desire has even one iota to do with bhakti. If anyone thinks, 'I am an acarya so therefore I am a devotee', or if one thinks, 'I organise many service projects so I must be a great devotee', this is all nothing but self-befoolery. Because using external things to build a case for one's internal amount of bhakti is meaningless. The operative phrase in the above quote is, "only towards Parama Purus'a". If the mind is goaded only towards Parama Purusa, then it is bhakti. That is the real meaning of bhakti. If one's mind is only involved in serving and pleasing Parama Purusa. That is not to say we should forgo or abandon all worldly activities, that is not our way. Rather we should ensure we are doing those worldly activities for pleasing him, and not out of our own unit desire for worldly prestige etc. As Baba points out, if the mind is separately or simultaneously involved in any other longing then it is known as a'sakti or attachment, i.e. the path of degradation. Baba says, "When the attraction is for the non-integral entity, for money, for family, for land, it is called ka'ma; when it is for integral entity it is called prema and the mental tendency during ka'ma i.e., the mental tendency during attraction for a non-integral entity is called a'sakti in Sam'skrta and the mental tendency during attraction for that Integral Entity is called bhakti. (SS-18) Hence the degree to which we are attracted by or infatuated with money, name, fame, respect, position, is the degree to which we are off the path of bhakti. Bhakti, then is a very pure and internal desire to attain Parama Purusa. And for this tremendous honesty and love are needed. We may be able to masquerade ourselves in front of others so they think we are great bhaktas; but we cannot fool Parama Purusa in this way. He sees our inner-most desire and knows how far we have pure bhakti or not.
The main thing we should keep in mind is that bhakti (love for God) and a'sakti (mundane longing) cannot co-exist. The degree to which we harbor one is the degree to which we are remiss in the other. Baba says, "The attachment for a finite thing is an expression of extroverted energy, whereas the attraction for the Infinite is an expression of the introverted energy. That is why these two can never co-exist." (SS-1) And Baba points out that even our most worldly intimate dealings can take us away from the path of bhakti. Baba says, "Do you love your son? No, no you don’t love your son. You love Brahma in the form of your son. By loving your son as a son, you cannot love the Lord. Where there is the feeling of son, there is no Lord and where there is the Lord, there is no son." (SS-1) So even harboring seemingly tender feelings for our loved ones drags us on the path of temporality, and away from God-hood.
Neither should one get caught up in the misconception or dogma that to become a true bhakta I should give up my sons, or renounce my parents, or become some type of hermit etc. Rather, we have been given various responsibilities, and they are to be managed. As we know, performing worldly duties is not antithetical to the path of devotion. It is only when we get infatuated by those worldly expressions that it infringes on our devotional experience. So that is what we must be careful about.
The answer given by Baba is that we must view all as the manifestation of Parama Purusa. That is the way to live in this world without sacrificing our devotional longing for Him. Baba says, "The ascription of divinity to objects means the pursuit of the Infinite, leaving the finite behind. Are you feeding your son? No, no, you are feeding the son-like manifestation of Brahma. Are you tilling the field? No, no you are serving the finite manifestation of Brahma with your plough. Really speaking, the ascription of divinity to objects precludes their material enjoyment, as the objects then merge in the non-material Supreme Brahma." (AMIWL-2) To do this we must be very honest and clear. Material Indulgence and bhakti have no place together. Seeing all as Him means seeing all as an opportunity to do service, not satisfy worldly passions such as post, power, lust etc. Thus thinking of making more money, garnering huge respect, or even becoming PP have nothing to do with getting devotion. Only by truly following brahmacaraya, are we perfectly consonant with the path of devotion.
This all leads to the point that only true bhaktas can serve the humanity. Invariably, non-bhaktas, or degraded bhaktas get attached to one worldly expression or another-- either their wife, or their country, or their job, or their community etc, in which case they will view the rest of the world in a biased manner. There are countless examples of this happening nowadays. That is why only the bhaktas of Parama Purusa can promote the cause of universal welfare on this earth and throughout the universe. See Him in everyone, the sadhaka can them maintain equanimity and serve others without favouring one person or another.
We can say that there are three basic approaches. The top most is to love only Parama Purusa all the time. Then one is truly established in bhakti. Second is when one loves Parama Purusa sometimes, and then on other occasions love towards mundane things is dominant. This is quite common. Many of us may find ourselves in this position. In that case, more kiirtan and sadhana are needed. The next lowest phase occurs when in their ritualistic worship of Parama Purusa, one prays for something mundane. That is very crude and must be avoided entirely. Baba says, "If a man wants to become a devotee of the lord but in the mind of his mind, if he thinks that God will make him pass his examination – here the esana (longing) is not one but two...When something is demanded from God the esana becomes two. Hence the time is completely wasted...When the esana (longing) is not [only] for Paramatman but [also] for something else, it is known as asakti (attachment) and not bhakti." (SS-20) There is no scope for this type of approach in AM; we should all keep the mind a thousand miles from such a crude and dogmatic way.
Lastly, what is the logic or rational for following bhakti. How should we convince ourselves when the mind is down or how can we convince others. Well, we can say that the path of bhakti is the blissful way to live and that only should be followed. Even then that might not always do the trick of convincing ourselves. In that case another route is needed. And that route is: Other than the path of bhakti there is no other path. Every other entity in this universe will leave you one day. Every other longing will create a samskara. Every other longing is ephemeral. Baba says, "Under the influence of avidya' people believe that the finite objects created by static Prakrti are their own. They think, “my horse, my son, my daughter, my wealth,” and believe that with these objects they will live eternally. But the fact is, all these limited objects will desert them after sometime. Nothing that can be called one’s own will remain." (AMIWL-8) We have come onto this earth for a very short period; our window of opportunity is small. So we must utilise our time in the right pursuit-- that pursuit which will free us from the suffering and bondage of maya. That is the only way. In that case, only the path of bhakti is the answer. Whether we like it or not, that is the only avenue for advancement.
Everyone in AM likes to think they are bhaktas because we know this is something great, but only those who really have internal longing for Him-- and no other desire-- truly qualify as real bhaktas. Thus it is for each and every sadhaka to estimate for themselves how far they are on the path of bhakti. By Baba's grace, by remembering Him we are all sure to attain this most blessed stance. When we think, 'I want only You, then Baba cannot keep us away'. Baba says, "Therefore, O devotees remember the Lord’s name, else all your efforts will be reduced to cipher [zero]. Under all circumstances and during all activities, cling firmly to His name." (SS-1) Namaskar, Mantreshvar
Baba says, "The meaning of the word bhakti is “attraction to the Supreme”. When the attraction is to something limited, it is called a'sakti, and when the attraction is to the Supreme, it is devotion, bhakti. There is no compromise, no meeting point, between a'sakti and bhakti, between attraction to the Supreme and attraction to the objects of the world. In a'sakti, the feeling is that I get the object. In bhakti, the feeling is that I merge myself in Him. Where there is no desire, there the Lord lives. The Lord and the desire for the world, like the sun and the night, cannot coexist." (AV-23) Baba says, "In philosophical terms the attraction for finite objects is called a'sakti and the attraction for the infinite is Bhakti. Ra'ga or rakti means both the attraction for the infinite and attraction for the finite objects." (SS-1) Baba says, "One may have attachment towards physical objects as well as towards Parama Purus'a. The attachment to physicality is called a'sakti or vis'aya'nurakti, while the deep attachment to Parama Purusa is called para'nurakti or bhakti." (AV-33) Baba says, "The meaning of the word “para'nurakti” should be considered. Rakti denotes raga or attachment. Anurakti means maintaining attachment with or being attracted by a particular entity after having understood its meaning. Anurakti is of two kinds. The anurakti for the Supreme Brahma or Infinite Cosmic Consciousness is para'nurakti. The Anurakti for Brahma under the sway of prakrti or the anurakti for the crude manifestations is termed apara'nurakti. God is an object for para'nurakti. When the aspirant considers the Supreme Brahma to be his own, it is termed bhajana' or bhakti." (SS-1)
Baba says, "Do you love your son? It is perfectly right that you should, however, when the son dies, you will experience great pain. Is it not so? The son is preya, a finite entity. He cannot live till eternity. He will depart and make you weep. But if you treat your son as the expression of Brahma in the form of your son, then you will never fear losing him because Brahma cannot be lost in any span of time. He is present around you in all the ten directions." (AMIWL-2)
Baba says, "Take, for instance, an unstable or transient thing, such as your son. He is constantly progressing through changes, and so you are. Neither of your two entities will remain forever. If you regard him as the only support in your life, it will certainly not be wise, for your son may leave the world any day, and you will moan his loss with bitter tears; or you yourself may leave the world, making him an orphan. This applies in the same way to wealth, power, etc." (Matter & Spirit)
Bhaktirbhagavad bha'vana' na stutirna'rcana'
Baba says, "Being merged in the constant thought of God is devotion. Devotion is not related to the chanting of hymns or ritualistic worship with different paraphernalia. A devotee may perform these, but they are not an indispensable part of devotional sa'dhana'. (AS, 3-12)

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