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!
Who crosses Maya? is the focus of Chapter 4. Here we will find clearer definitions of the personality required to progress spiritually, to add to our saadhana and so on. Section 1 has the subtitle, 'Means for Love'.
kStrit kStrit mayam! y> s'g< Tyjit,
yae mhanu_aav< sevte nimRmae _avit.46.
Kastarati kastarati mayam? yaH sangam tyajati,
Yo mahaanubhaavam sevate nirmamo bhavati ||46||
"Who crosses Maya? Who really crosses Maya?" He who gives up all attachments to sense objects; he who serves the great devotees; he who renounces all sense of possession in himself…
In the preceding few sutras, Sri Narada had told the conditions which will draw the seeker up to the Supreme Devotion. Now, in a few stanzas, he stresses that Love (with the capital 'ell') is the essential component for liberation. The essential question, given that we are constantly bombarded with the effects of Maya and her Grand Illusion and with voices telling us what a clutch Mistress Maya has on our lives and that to remove that clutch is phenomenally hard, is who precisely is the person who does beat her back and free himself from that clutch? Can anybody cross Maya? Is it ever really possible to exhaust our vaasanas and rediscover our True Nature?
Narada-ji begins to tell us of the sort of person who can manage this. The person who surrenders any sense of attachment, who acknowledges the greater wisdom of their teacher and seeks to serve them and who can recognise the ego at work, seeking to dispossess it of any power within.
It is not the objects of the world as such which are 'Maya'; it is our attachment to those objects. Our false mental relationship with the objects which makes us cling to them, wrongly assuming that any sense of happiness or security we have when they are present is brought to us buy those objects themselves. It is clearly a false notion. Think! If an object has the intrinsic power of happiness or security we so readily assign to it, then possession of it will surely have the same effect upon everyone, regardless of circumstance. This does not happen. In fact, as much as you place such value in an object, another fellow may be wholly averse to it and feel misery at its presence.
Therefore, releasing our attachment and false attitude to the objects of the world leaves the seeker free to refocus on the internal object of self-development and Self-realisation. To this end, the seeker can look to those who have succeeded in the field, the great teachers and practitioners from whom the can seek guidance.
To the great ones, says Narada-ji, service is rendered. Real service to any teacher is to listen carefully and seek to understand the words and ideas, reflecting upon them and striving to bring the concepts into daily life. No teacher is more happy than to see the student succeed. One of the hurdles to be met when embarking on serious spiritual research though, is to watch out for the ego. That monkey mind can start to twist things back towards mischief! Service of the Guru helps to keep the focus. Keeping objects in their rightful place in life. Daily saadhana. These are methods to avoid sinking back into Maya. Note that at no time is it said that 'things' are not to be had and used… but it is important to recognise the place of such objects and that they have no hold over one, producing any sense of "I"ness and "my"ness. Sense of possession is an ego-activity and is to be released.
Thus the initial condition of recognition of Maya's hold, release of that and turning to the teachers in service is given. Further personality requirements will be enumerated.