Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Solace and Refuge

Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

The Narada Bhakti Sutra is our guide for a while… the nature of Love (with the capital 'ell') and a full exploration of it. As always, you are encouraged to seek out the full text from Chinmaya Publications (links in side-bar); but for those who prefer e-readers, this version is recommended. Whilst awareness and interest can be raised by these posts on AV-blog, they cannot substitute for a thorough reading and contemplation...and practice!

In sutra nine, Narada-ji had referred to 'indifference'. How does he expand on this? Let us see now.

लोकवेदेषु तदनुकूलाचरणं तद्विरोधिपूदासीनता ||11||
lokavedeshu tadanukuulaacharanam tadvirodhipuudaasiinataa ||11||
To perform all secular and religious functions that are congenial to him and (to have) total indifference to all actions that are hostile to him...(that is indifference).

The bhakta, in the spirit of ananyataa as discussed last week, will quite easily begin to work only in fields which promote devotion and further his or her spiritual progress. Thus, whatever that task may be, it will be found congenial. Conversely, any task which arises that is antithetical to spiritual pursuit, the bhakta will not undertake.  Even if presecribed by Vedic or secular law, if they go against Prema Bhakti, the devotee rejects them. This cannot be said to be disobedience, because that is not the intention - the intention is to remain with the Divine, so how can this be reprimanded? Love conquers all!

To act without ego, in a spirit of dedication to the Higher, develops bhakti. By so acting, we automaticatically reject all antithetical acts, those prompted from selfish, small desires. Until the very Higest Love is reached, all such dedicated - congenial -activities are to be undertaken. To all else, indifference.

Is this advocating anarchy? A rebellion agains scriptural or national laws?

भवतु निश्चयदार्द्यादूर्ध्वं शास्त्ररक्षणम् ||12||
bhavatu nischayadaardthyaaduurdhvam shaastrarakshanam ||12||
After having thus decided to live the life of whole-hearted devotion, let there be protection of the Scriptural teachings.

Whilst the most dedicated, single-minded bhaktas may rise beyond the norms in societal performance, the majority must still deal with daily life whilst pursuing that goal.  The advanced bhakta may, from the outside, appear almost to be in some state of mental disorder. Just as we would treat those with different mental makeup with some care and permit a level of leniency with regard to the social norms and regulations, so it is with the Prema Bhakta.

The rest of us must get along in a community situation, however, and to ensure this is done to the optimum, following the injuctions of law and scriptures is imperative!

Indeed, it is the very obedience to those injunctions which help us along the path. Thus doing, we are in fact adhering to the 'congenial' as given in the previous sutra, but at a lower level than that of the Prema Bhakta. In so doing, by taking refuge in the scriptures, in finding our solace there, we are protected and nurtured by those same teachings. Until such time as final connection with the Divine Love is ours, we absolutely must follow the path laid out in shaastra, that it may keep us safe.

Thus we find commitment at two levels here described. The first is that of the experience of the Divine Love and being committed only to that with such devotion others can only wonder at the effect upon us. The second is the commitment to live a life of devotion to that Divine, as we work our way towards the union.

With this we can make a distinction - the former are referred to as 'siddhas' (perfected ones) and the latter are referred to as 'sadhakas' (practitioners).

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Hari OM
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