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!
Continuing the theme of Divine Grace:
Labhtate-pi tatkRpayaiva ||40||
Nevertheless, by the grace of God alone, great souls are attained.
Recall that last week we were told that the surest way to Bhakti proper was with the guidance of a mahatma, and/or with a little bit of Divine Grace. Narada-ji then elucidated that the 'ripe' student will attract the 'bee' who is the mahatma for them. It was clarified that by purushartha, Iiswara-kripa comes upon the student. This sutra could be interpreted in the light of the latter and a reiteration of the need to obtain Grace in order to find the Guru.
Equally, however, it could be said that in order to work towards becoming a 'great soul' ourselves, the Divine Grace is essential.
It is the Divine Power that makes the aspirant sufficiently driven to seek a Guru; and it is the same power that makes the saint. It is the same power which drives the Blessed One to re-enter society in order to serve the world and lead others along the path of Divinity. The link in all things spiritual is, rightly so, Divine Grace.
Tasmin-stangjane bhedaabhaavaat ||41||
Because, between God and His devotees there is no sense of difference.
This is a sutra which can be viewed from different angles - but all intrinsically mean the same thing. Firstly, it could be taken that, as the text has been talking about the masters, we are again having it confirmed that Guru and God are one and the same. Secondly, it could be taken that any true devotee, fully dedicated, understands and sees the pluralistic world as being but an expression of God and that includes the people in it who are devoted to God. Thirdly, it could be taken that the Lord sees all His devotees as an equal unit and makes no distinction between them, meaning all are able to obtain His Grace.
All these are valid facets of this sutra. Whichever is picked, or if all are taken together, the sutra is present to reassure the seeker who may be feeling hesitant and lacking confidence, that s/he has an equal right to pursue the Grace of God.
The sinner is no other than someone who has strayed from the Knowledge of Real Self and identified with flesh; the moment s/he decides to turn towards the Self once more, peace, tranquillity and joy follow. Therefore, Narada-ji continues;
Tadev saXyta< tdev saXytam!.42.
Tadeva saadhyataam; tadeva saadhyataam ||42||
That alone is to be accomplished; that alone is to be accomplished.
Thus, by following the instruction given in the methods of Bhakti (from sutra 35), the diligent student cannot fail in purpose. Do what must be done.
Spend time adjusting to shreyas from preyas; carry out the saadhana which purifies and clarifies, emptying the being in preparation for the incoming Grace. All that stands between thee and That is yourself, the little ego identity so attached to BMI. For this, in early stages certainly, acknowledge the need for aid from the experienced; ask for that in your prayers and the guidance will surely arrive, if not in a person, then through 'signs'. Be alert for them; but more than this, be alert to your own imaginings and delusions. Seek the company of the good; be diligent in saadhana; have the Lord's name ever upon your lips and in the Love demonstrated through your actions.
In order to help the understanding of this further, the next chapter will provide advice on the obstacles to development.