Bhakti means devotion. That devotion can be of any kind. You may have fear towards God, respect for Him, consideration for Him, you may have love for Him. Any kind of an attitude, there must be a link between your mind and God. That is devotion. The rest of it is touching it up, colouring it, ornamenting it, developing it, until at last devotion reaches it’s fullness. In the full level of devotion, what happens? You are a devotee and you are filled with devotion. The other part of it namely God becomes immaterial for you. My devotion rests on my being, my mind, I am devoted to, the benefit of this devotion is for me, any defect if at all is there, it is my creation, it is for me to improve. So the entire devotional exercise becomes the devotee’s and God has nothing to do there.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Srimad Bhagavatam is a full treatise on devotion. Devotion implies two other factors and constituents. One is dispassion to the world and more and more knowledge about God to whom one is devoted. I think these two are lacking in most of the devotees. That is why the devotion does not progress at all. When I started reading Srimad Bhagavatam, I was always struck by many great and revealing statements. Some of them also revolutionary in character. A very great revealing statement or vākya, I happened to read was
Bhakti means devotion. That devotion can be of any kind. You may have fear towards God, respect for Him, consideration for Him, you may have love for Him. Any kind of an attitude, there must be a link between your mind and God. That is devotion. The rest of it is touching it up, colouring it, ornamenting it, developing it, until at last devotion reaches it’s fullness. In the full level of devotion, what happens? You are a devotee and you are filled with devotion. The other part of it namely God becomes immaterial for you. My devotion rests on my being, my mind, I am devoted to, the benefit of this devotion is for me, any defect if at all is there, it is my creation, it is for me to improve.
So the entire devotional exercise becomes the devotee’s and God has nothing to do there. You should reach such a state that God never becomes a point of concern for you. You yourself start steering your devotion in your manner. If you want to have an idol, have it. If you don’t want to have it, don’t have it. If you only think about God, think! If only you intellectualize Him, okay! If you don’t think about Him, that is also okay. Because God becomes so absolute and so un-negatable, so inter-penetrative, so all-engulfing, that you can never be away from Him or separate from Him. This again is the devotee’s feeling and fervour.
But for anyone to have this kind of a devotion, ‘viraktir-anyatra’. Whatever is other than God, you must have dispassion for it. That dispassion, desire-freeness for anything other than God, other than God, other than God. If you think the world is different from God, have no passion for it. If you think you are different from God, have no passion for you. Whatever you consider to be alien to God, you should not have any passion, instead dispassion.
When devotion to the Lord is coupled with dispassion to the world, the other things automatically in between ‘pareśānubhavah’. Anubhava means experience, Paresha means, the Lord of everything, the Supreme Lord God. Then God becomes a matter of experience for you, experience for you, experience for you. Ultimately what or who is this God? He is the power and presence that animate your body, make you feel that I have a body and through the body make you feel that there is a world around me. As part of your life you have your body, you have the senses, you have the mind, you have the intelligence, you have the ego, you have wakefulness, you have dream and you have sleep, you also have the witness of all the three – the ‘turiya’.
This consciousness which brings about all these things is really God. The consciousness itself is formless, but see the beautiful body it has made in the course of about six or seven months in the mother’s womb. Can you ever think of a creation like this? A foetus, it starts growing and it becomes a full human being to be delivered off by the mother. And I think, the real formation takes only some six or seven months. In the seven months, the whole body is made, when the child is delivered off, it has got a fully organized body by virtue of which it can interact with the endless world of variety and distances. What more do you want to prove? The majesty and the magnificence of the power of animation in your body. Now this is called pareśah.
We already are aware of our body, aware of our mind, aware of our intelligence, aware of everything. But we don’t know what is this stuff which makes you aware of. Just like you are missing God, the all-pervading God, all-pervading, you are surrounded by Him, penetrated by Him, yet we miss Him. We are not able to understand. In the same manner, the power and presence that animates your body, animate your body, activate your body, activates your body, that is missing. But we are active, we are vibrant, either we are physically and sensoraly active or we are orally active or we are mentally or intellectually active or we are active at the ego level. This activity is there. But we miss, we miss, we miss the power that does it. How can it be?
I am walking but I miss my leg. I am seeing my legs but I don’t know what moves it. I have my tongue, but I don’t know what makes it talk. See, we have the effect very clearly. But we miss the cause. We switch on the bulb and see the illumination, but we are missing to know that it is electrical power that is in circulation that produces the illumination.
So, ‘Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir-anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ’. All these three should concurrently, simultaneously take place in the devotee. Swamiji was telling me the other day. We are having the morning prayer, how can the prayer be vibrant and joyous unless the people who participate in it find joy and vibrancy in it?
(Swamiji recites very softly). Suppose a man chants like this, see, the chanting should be wholesomely and absorbingly done. If you are not able to get the joy, something is missing. You should sink into yourself and see that you are able to bring forth the right attunement. Unless the reciters find their joy and absorption, absorption, and everyday it will be more and more, more and more. If something is missing, there is a lack of organization and coordination in you. This is how we are missing everything.
Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir-anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ. All these three should take place together, should transpire together, together. So, this morning and evening recitation is an occasion for you to generate this threefold attunement and feel, feel and experience whatever you want, call it the soul, call it God, or call it by some other name, ecstasy or nirvana. This is what you must have. Don’t search anywhere. Search within your own heart and try to extract from your own inner system. That attunement as a result of which you will have the spiritual ecstasy of freedom and release.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.