Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 6 13:52:25 CST 2003

>>On devotion :
>>31. Among all means to liberation devotion is supreme. To seek to know
>>real nature - this is said to be devotion.
>>32. In other words, devotion can be defined as the search for the reality
>>one?s own Atman. The seeker after reality of the atman, who possesses the
>>necessary qualifications, should approach an illumined teacher from whom

The Sanskrit reads,

31 .... sva-svarUpAnusaMdhAnaM bhaktir ity abhidhIyate
32 svAtma-tattvAnusaMdhanaM bhaktir ity apare jaguH ...

The phrase "ity apare" (or anye, which also occurs often) should not be
translated as "in other words". It means, "others say that" ... What the
text is pointing to here is that different teachers have defined bhakti in
two slightly different ways.

sva-svarUpa-anusaMdhAna is a close investigation into one's own nature.
svAtma-tattva-anusaMdhAba is a close investigation of the reality of the

These can start off at different points. The former may start with one's own
assumptions of who one is. One may be mistaken about these assumptions to
begin with, but that is besides the issue. The latter is an examination of
the real referent of the word "Self". It is a way of setting out what is not
the Self and arriving at the true Self.

In either case, proper anusaMdhAna needs the guidance of a guru. That is the
thrust of the two verses here. In the first case, we need an illumined
teacher to point out where the flaws in our assumptions lie. In the latter
case, we need guidance so that we don't misunderstand the scriptural
statements about the reality of the Self.



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