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To Become A-Grade Bhakta

From: "A. Roy"
Subject: To Become A-Grade Bhakta
Date: Mon, Feb 27 2012, 20:45:32 +0530


"Toma'kei a'mi bha'loba'siyachi, keno ba'siya'chi ja'ni na'..."  (P.S. 304)


O' my Dearmost Baba, I love only You. Why I love You that I do not know - I cannot say. But one thing is sure, from the deepest core of my heart I love You. Baba, by Your grace I have chosen Your path. You are my Polestar and I never have an iota of doubt why I have come on this path. My eyes remain fixed on Your blissful arrival, looking for You day and night.

Baba, my mind always remembers You. In good times and bad, my mind always remains awake thinking about You. Baba please grace me by coming in my mind all the time - during sleep & while awake, all the 24 hrs. Except You I do not believe anything. You alone are the love of my life.

Baba, whatever may be the height of the tidal waves, and whatever may be the severity of the difficulties, always I will march ahead on Your path, by Your grace. Thinking of You, I will continue to overcome all obstacles and reach unto You.  

Baba, other than You I have no desire. You are my Goal. You are my Ista. You are the Essence of my existence, my Soul of souls. Baba, You are my Dearmost, I love only You...


This entire letter revolves around the spiritual ideal of how one can become an A-Grade bhakta, according to Baba. Being the Sadguru, Baba has graciously provided us with the exact way to reach this pinnacled state.


In this ultra-modern, materialistic era, we see how the mass of people thrust their minds in various directions. Their mind gets stained with the mundane colours of this world. This we all understand well and we all witness such events throughout the day.

In contrast, as Ananda Margiis we know that we are to spend our human life involved in spiritual pursuits. In innumerable discourses, Baba has told us that human life is something very special-- very rare. And the aim of this human life is to come close Parama Purusa. And the only means we have for achieving this is through sadhana. And the chief ingredient for doing proper sadhana is bhakti. This magic formula is known to every Ananda Margii-- whether they be wholetimer or family margii or LFT etc.

So now, on the cusp of this spring season (for those in the northern hemisphere), we should take the time to objectively evaluate our own standard of bhakti and also remain aware of the fact that we can always heighten our standard, by His grace. Because Baba has given us the tools to do so.


In order to move ahead let us take a look at one of the main ways that Baba has given us for measuring one's standard of bhakti.

Baba says, "The bhaktas of the lowest category think, "As Parama Purus'a belongs to all, so certainly He belongs to me as well because I am one of the multitude." Thoughts of this type are not very congenial for one's spiritual progress. The second category of bhaktas is slightly better than this. They think, "Parama Purus'a is mine, and thus He must belong to others also." That is, the bhaktas of both categories have no hesitation in sharing Parama Purus'a with others. But the bhaktas of the highest category think, "Parama Purus'a is mine only and He belongs to no one else." This is the sign of an excellent sa'dhaka, and the spiritual progress of this category is inevitable. "He is mine and mine alone and He does not belong to anyone else" - this assertion is undoubtedly true." (Subhasita Samgraha-11, 26 February 1971 DMC, Jammu)

So in His above guideline Baba acutely describes to us the three broad categories of bhaktas. And by internalizing Baba's teachings we can easily do self-analysis and understand where we are.


And really self-analysis is the key here because our entire relation with Parama Purusa is an internal affair. There is no third party involved. It is between I and God, between I and Baba. I may brag about my greatness to others, but what I am is not hidden in front of Parama Purusa. He sees me for who I am.

So through self-analysis we should become truthful to ourselves about who we are-- what type of bhakta we are and what our relation is with Parama Purusa. All this is quite important.

Because with Parama Purusa we should always be natural and straight and not pretend to be something else. That will not work. So self-analysis will help make our relation with Parama Purusa to be sincere and natural, which in turn will help give us the impetus & insight to proceed ahead on the path of bhakti.

Hence, the whole concept of measuring one's own level of bhakti is not some hazy, baseless affair; rather, it is quite practical and highly scientific and is based on the process of self-analysis.


So once again, regarding the three categories or grades of devotees, Baba is quite clear:

(a) The lowest bhaktas think that since Parama Purusa belongs to all then He also belongs to me also since I am part of the all.

But this standard is not very desirable since one is willing to share Parama Purusa with others. That is Baba's teaching.

(b) The next category of bhaktas falls into a similar problem. They think that since Parama Purusa belongs to me then He must belong to others also. Here again though the sadhaka is willing to share Parama Purusa with others-- that is the main weakness of this approach.

(c) Finally, those who are A-grade bhaktas lovingly feel in their heart that 'Baba is mine and mine alone'.

Such bhaktas do not feel comfortable sharing Parama Purusa with others. They want Baba all to themselves.

According to Baba, this is the highest standard and such devotees are sure to reach the Goal. Their success is guaranteed.


And indeed this type of feeling-- of not wanting to share that which is most treasured-- is very natural in any kind of worldly attraction as well. All might have had the mundane experience that one does not like to share those things which they are deeply attached with. For example, a mother has very strong attachment for her baby; so, the mother does not like to share that baby with others.

Similarly, that same theory applies with the highest realm of bhakti also. That stage comes where one feels that Parama Purusa is mine and mine alone.

In that realm, one has the feeling in their heart not to share Baba with anyone else. This aspect is completely internal and the heart gets that feeling intrinsically by His grace. It is not something external where one is bragging to others or showing off their greatness in public. It is not like that. Rather, when through bhakti one feels that 'Baba is mine and mine alone', then that is just a soft, sweet internal feeling in the core of one's heart.

So every sadhaka should do self-analysis and understand, 'If I want to share Baba with others or not'. Because understanding this will enable one to move ahead on the path.


Ultimately, in order to become that highest standard of bhakta - where we think that Baba is mine and mine alone - then two basic steps are needed.


First, we should openly and honestly evaluate our present status; we should sincerely recognise who we are as sadhakas. In that case we have to ask ourselves again and again, 'what is the nature of my relation with Baba, to what degree do I consider Him my own'. An honest estimation or self-analysis is needed otherwise we will not be able to rise up to the next level.

Because Baba warns us again and again that there is not an iota of scope for duplicity or hypocrisy in spiritual life. So who we are, we should recognise and act accordingly inside. We should not falsely lie to ourselves if that is not who we are. So we should be true to our nature and at the same time dearly hold onto the vision that through sadhana and by His grace we may increase our standard.


Theoretically understanding all this is very easy but bringing the feeling that 'Parama Purusa is mine and mine alone' is very difficult. Bringing this idea in the domain of one's internal realisation is a huge endeavour. Just as it is easy to intellectually think that 'I am Brahma'. Whereas to internally feel and realise that 'I am Brahma' is completely different - i.e. it is not easy. It takes sincere effort-- it takes sadhana, i.e. Iishvara Pranidhan or first lesson. And by that way one can get there.

Similarly to develop the realisation that 'Baba is mine and mine alone', that demands intensive sadhana. Specifically, it means doing prolonged dhyana or sixth lesson.


So the second aspect is that we should be sincere in sadhana. All the lessons will pointedly help us to develop our spiritual base. These lessons will clean the mind and with that purified mind we can pointedly rush towards Him in dhyana. Because actually it is sixth lesson, or dhyana, which ultimately enables us become established in that highest grade of devotion.

Why is it that dhyana is necessary? Why is it that dhyana is the secret to becoming an A-Grade bhakta? Because in dhyana one comes in very close proximity with Parama Purusa and one loves Him and serves Him and shares the feeling of their heart with Him. So much internal communication happens that is completely personal.

And as this feeling grows more and more intense through dhyana then one internally starts feeling that 'I do not want to share Baba with anyone, Baba is mine and mine alone'.

So dhyana is the only lesson which gives us the training and requisite bhakti to develop a more personal and intimate link with Baba. There is no other lesson like this. But to do dhyana or to reach up to that heightened stage of dhyana, other lessons are needed. All the lessons will serve as support pieces for strengthening dhyana. And then with dhyana an intimate feeling for Baba will grow more and more.

So the regular practice of all the lessons and doing dhyana will bring Baba in a very close and intimate way. In which case that will make this highest stance of bhakti attainable.

Of course nothing can come about without His grace. So His blessing is needed. And that He is surely giving. What we have to remember is that from our own side, effort is needed. And proper effort in dhyana will raise one to the highest standard. Because it is only in dhyana that one can nurture and cultivate that intimate relation that 'Baba is mine and mine alone'. This feeling can only arise in the mind through intense and sincere practice of dhyana. That is Baba's teaching.


As our practice of dhyana grows then one becomes more and more like Parama Purusa. That is, one sheds their colours by offering them unto Him. And in that way, when one is not shackled by so many worldly attachments, then the sadhaka becomes more and more fixed on the Goal. And in a spontaneous way the feeling will arise in the mind that, 'Baba is mine and mine alone'.

This is the beautiful process that happens through dhyana.

Baba says, "'By surrendering all the colours of my mind to You, I want to become colourless.' This surrender to the Supreme Consciousness propels human beings towards Him. So this colour festival is not merely an outward play; it is purely a psycho-spiritual phenomenon. This very psycho-spiritual phenomenon is operating behind the process of varn´a´rghyada´na [offering of colours]. 'O Lord, make me colourless so that I may move towards You without any hesitation'." (Neo-Humanism: Liberation of Intellect, 'Inner Asset')


By His divine grace, we will all feel that sweetest level of bhakti in our lives.

Baba says, "This bhakti is a heavenly attribution, and this heavenly attribution is enjoyed by human beings." (Subhasita Samgraha-17, 1 June 1986 DMC, Calcutta)

A. Roy


Ultimately to make dhyana a veritable force in our lives, two distinct qualities are needed. The mind must be both clean and concentrated. Think of it this way. If you look in the water to see your reflection then two things are needed. The water must be clear and the water must be still. Without both those attributions, one cannot see their reflection in the

Likewise, in order to see Baba in dhyana, those same two qualities are needed.

Firstly, that mind must be clear-- i.e. pure or clean just like that water. That means the mind must have the earnest desire to move on the spiritual path and not get hung up on mundane allurements. In this regard the other lessons and aspects of sadhana help a lot such as iishvara pranidhana, cakra shodhana (5th lesson), Guru Puja, Kiirtan, etc.

Secondly, that mind must concentrated. That is, it must not move all over the place like a river. Rather it should remain quiet and still in one place. That is the beauty of concentration and that is a requisite of dhyana. Otherwise one will not be able to keep the idea & image of Baba in the mind. And to enhance concentration, then tattva dharana (3rd lesson), pranayama (4th lesson) and so many related spiritual practices are needed.

So if the mind is dirty or fickle then dhyana is nothing but a dream. Whereas if we do all our spiritual practices and as our moral conduct improves then certainly our dhyana will grow more and more.

And by Baba's grace dhyana is that special tool to bring Baba in one's close proximity and become an A-Grade bhakta. Certainly by regular dhyana, this sweet and intimate relation will descend in the dry heart, by His grace.

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