[Advaita-l] On Bhakti Yoga

shyam_md at yahoo.com shyam_md at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 11 17:53:13 CST 2008

Very nicely put.If I may add a few thoughts.
The concept of Ishwara or Paramatma in Vedanta is not of a individual sitting in a distant Heaven or Vaikuntha and hearing his praise or stutis. 
Parameshwara is the Whole - he is Poornam and even more so - in His vision you and me are also Poornam - there being nothing other than the Whole. So He has no use for praise. 

Then why pray? Why sing his glories and sahasransmas? Not for Him but to sublimate our own ahamkara - our own sense of notional separation from Ishwara. Hence alone we pray - that our sense of limitation may resolve - and while in our ignorance we initially tend to pray for ephemeral things that we mistakenly feel will resolve this limitation, hopefully with Grace and viveka we mature into praying for a removal of that sense of limitation itself and thus become jijnasus.
Now Ishwara is not partial to bhaktas because of praise. He does not reward bhaktas for what they say but for what they ask. Whatever we do as action, the Order that is Ishwara will bless us with the appropriate result. When we pray we invoke the Order to bless us with the result of our desire.
To the Lord there can be no difference between a bhakta and a nonbhakta inasmuch as the Sun makes no differentiation on whom it shines - someone may choose to harness its Power for solar energy, another may choose to wear darkglasses to ward it off - it is all based on exercise of free will. 
When a devotee surrenders to Ishwara, what he does is let the Order that is Ishwara take over - he acknowledges his own limitation and surrendes his ahankara - then Ishwara's will takes over.

Now one may also wonder - why should I pray for anything? He afterall is the Antaryam _ does he not already know what His bhakta wants? Again in His vision there is naught separation between you and Him. He doesn't know what you want because you are already Him - anything you want despite this(!) is only out of your ignorance.

Humble pranams
Hari OM
Shri gurubhyoh namah

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