parA bhakti

ken knight hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Mar 13 04:23:48 CST 2002

--- Hemant <reachhemant at ETH.NET> wrote:

Namaste Hemant again,
Returning to the Ramdas quote:
> 'Through bhakti you will attain jnana
> and after attaining jnana you have to still go
> beyond to that which is called para-bhakti.
> You  ultimately have to realise the
> whole universe as the manifestation of the Lord, as
> part of His Lila called para-bhakti...... A mere
> jnani says the whole universe is an illusion. But
> one who has reached the plane of para-bhakti sees
> the whole universe as Brahman. Then he does not call
> it an illusion but the Lord's lila, though at the
> same time he knows the play to be impermanent and
> transitory so he does not get entangled.'

The context of this statement was that one of Ramdas'
devotees, who was a 'mere..unmixed..' bhakta, had met
a jnani at Rishikesh and wanted to ask a question on
renunciation.  He had been impressed by the jnani and
wanted to hear Ramdas' point of view on renunciation.

So, it appears to me (and others may have another
view), that Ramdas is very much teaching the same
message here as did Shankara with the first verse of
Bhaja Govindam.
When I first read this text it answered questions for
me because I had experience of organisations here in
the UK in which advaita was being taught in a very
limited way...head-stuff...and when devotion naturally
arose it was dismissed by the leaders. The people
either left and sometimes turned away from the
advaitin teaching or suppressed the devotional aspect
in themselves and stayed in the organisation.
Since first meeting this notion of para-bhakti I have
met it elsewhere in several texts and it clearly has a
body of followers but I have not tried to track down
its source.

That was my context so this quote meant a lot at that
Behind this was my own questioning allied to the man's
question on renunciation.
To me 'neti, neti' was an endless procedure; useful to
begin with but equally binding as the ignorance being
negated if it stayed as a process 'in mind'. So I came
up with my own version. That 'Neti', as 'Na iti' could
come to an end in a blinding flash of illumination if
we drop the 'na' and just proclaim 'iti.'The world is
Brahman, unbounded yet whole, complete, perfect.  From
there I went onto a study of the Mahavakyas.

I am sure that I have posted on this line of thought
before as it became a guide for me some two years ago.
Time for a renewal on this maybe.
However, that is the context in which I understood his
I would be very happy to take this down the Upadesa
Sahasri line if anyone would like to guide me along
from the verses related to this practice of
renunciation. I have done some work on it and could
start the ball rolling if necessary.

Papa Ramdas's words were very relevant to me at the
time and I enjoy reading him still. He believes that
Shankara is much misunderstood these days and my sense
is that he is correct. The only way to find out is for
us to get as close to Shankara as is possible through
the words available. For me at the moment the Upadesha
Sahasri is the place to go.

So, many thanks for letting this mind start the day in
a valuable reflection,

Ken Knight

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