Advaita Bhakti through Contemplative Practice of Narayaniyam (ABCPN - 0)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Sat Nov 23 06:24:59 CST 2002

This entire series is a reposting of postings done on the advaitin list

Note: Please read the Introduction  - if you have not already read it


Sloka No. 7 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 91 - 1):
shrI-kr^iShNa tvat-padopAsanam-abhaya-tamaM baddha-mithyArtha-dR^iShTeH
martyasy-Artasya manye vyapasarati bhayaM yena sarvAtmanaiva /
yat-tAvat-tvat-praNItAn-iha bhajana-vidhIn-Asthito moha-mArge
dhAvan-napy-AvR^itAkShaH skhalati na kuhacid-deva devAkhilAtman //

Tr. Oh Lord Krishna ! Service to Thee is what I consider to be the best
option for Man afflicted with miseries caused by the wrong acceptance of
ephemeral values as true and enduring. Only that way, the Lord removes our
fear of the cycle of births and deaths, completely and for ever. Oh Lord
of Lords ! Oh Soul of all beings! A person who steadily follows the path
of devotion promulgated by Thee, will be able to dash forth through the
world’s delusive paths, even with closed eyes, without slipping anywhere!

Comment. This thought is an exact echo of Srimad Bhagavatam 11th Canto,
2nd chapter Slokas 33-35. The confidence that one has in the Lord becomes
the foundation for all spiritual growth. The purpose of including this
sloka among the chosen 36 is to strengthen that foundation for oneself.
There is an interesting keyword here which is full of meaning. It
is ‘sarvAtmanA’ at the end of the second quarter of the verse. It
means ‘with heart and soul’. It has been translated, in the context,
as ‘completely and for ever’. When the Lord removes our fears there is no
half-hearted work there. It is total and complete. This word and this
context should be aligned with ‘sarva-bhAvena’ in Gita XVIII – 62. He says
‘tameva sharaNam gaccha sarva-bhAvena bhArata’
meaning, Seek only Him for refuge, with all your being.
‘sarva-bhAvena’ means here: ‘convert all your emotions into devotion and
direct that to God. Love Him as your master, your friend, your parent and
your lover; seek Him in all these attitudes (bhAva).’ Cf. Gita IX – 18:
gatir-bhartA prabhus-sAkshI nivAsaH sharaNaM suhR^it /
prabhavaH praLayaH sthAnaM nidhAnaM bIjam-avyayaM //
meaning, ‘I am the goal, the supporter, the lord, the witness, the abode,
the shelter, the friend, the origin, the dissolution, the foundation, the
treasure-house, and the seed imperishable.’ Thus when we surrender to
him ‘with all our being’ (sarva-bhAvena), He removes our fears ‘totally
and completely’ (sarvAtmanA eva).

Sloka No. 8 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 94 - 9):
yadyal-labhyeta  tat-tat-tava samupahR^itaM deva dAso’smi te’haM
tvad-geh-onmArjan-AdyaM bhavatu mama muhuH karma-nirmAya-meva  /
sUryAgni-brAhmaN-AtmAdiShu lasita-catur-bAhum-ArAdhaye tvAM
tvat-prem-Ardratva-rUpo mama satatam-abhiShyandatAM bhakti-yogaH //

Tr. Oh Lord! Whatever comes into my possession, I offer it unto Thee. I am
Thy servant. Let me repeatedly do with utmost sincerity and interest such
devotional duties as cleaning Thy temple, Thy altar! Let me perform the
worship of Thy four-handed form conceived as manifesting in the solar orb,
in fire, in holy men and in the Atman!. Let my mind be ever in communion
with Thee through devotion, which consists in the melting of heart into a
continuous stream of love ever flowing towards Thee!

Comment.  The sun and fire have always been considered holy in all
religions and in Hindu culture and literature, starting from the time of
the Vedas, they each take the first place in physical representations of
the Absolute. The very first prayer of the Rig veda is to ‘agni’, the God
of fire. He  is the symbol of the Divine Will, Power and Force. He  is the
messenger who connects the offerings of the humans with their divine
destinations. He also brings the messages and presents from the Divine to
the human world. The last prayer of Man before he leaves the body should
be to ‘agni’, according to the very last verse of the shukla Yajur Veda.
The Sun is another major visible expression of Divine Light, representing
the infinite power, majesty and glory of the Almighty . But mark it, it is
not the visible sun or the visible fire that is worshipped or considered
as the Absolute. Behind the physical sun there is the concept of a surya-
devata and behind the physical fire there is the concept of an agni-
devata.  That is where, as the poet says here, the Lord is reachable to us.

Sloka No. 9 (Ref. nArAyaNIyaM : 97 - 3):

tvad-bhAvo yAvadeShu sphurati na vishadaM tAvadevam hyupAstiM
kurvan-naikAtmya-bodhe jhaTiti vikasati tvan-mayo’haM careyaM /
tvad-dharmasy-Asya tAvat-kimapi na bhagavan prastutasya prNAshaH
tasmAt-sarvAtmanaiva pradisha mama vibho bhakti-mArgaM manojnaM //

Tr. As long as the experience that ‘Thou art the All’ does not arise,
shall I continue to perform your worship thus. Soon shall I attain to this
experience of the unity of all existence. Thereafter I shall move about
with a complete identification with Thee. Oh Lord! For one traversing the
path of Thy (Bhagavata) dharma there cannot be any downfall or
destruction. Therefore bestow on me the capacity to follow the path of
bhakti, the most fulfilling of all spiritual paths.

Comment.  Here the thought is that bhakti matures into the ultimate jnAna.
To speak of  two paths bhakti and jnAna as if they are mutually exclusive
is contrary to the conclusions of Krishna in the eighteenth chapter of the
Gita. Once the path of jnAna becomes second nature, it includes the
feelings of bhakti also. This is the essential content of the Gita. Refer
Gita XVIII – 49-55. To say that the centrality of Bhattatiri’s poem is
only Bhakti is to miss this focus of his. It is clear that Bhattatiri here
indicates that the ultimate goal of any path, including bhakti, is what
Krishna enjoins in  Gita VI – 30:
yo mAM pashyati sarvatra sarvaM ca mayi pashyati /
tasyAhaM na praNashyAmi sa ca me na praNashyati //
meaning, He who sees me everywhere and sees everything in me, never
becomes separated from me nor do I become separated from him.

(To be continued)
praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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