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


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Bhakti Bhava

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!
Chapter Seven; Section 1 - The Glory of The Sage; Glory of the Path. In this section there will be much lauding of those who commit themselves fully to worship and Love of the Higher. It may be worth remembering here, that for most of us reading this text, we are not yet at that exalted level of spiritual adherence! Due to this, it might seem somewhat overweening and possibly even a touch narcissistic. Keep perspective and try and recall any time in life when you have been so enamoured and overwhelmed with emotion about something that you have ended up gushing about it to whoever would listen! Now elevate that to something of such validity is True Self…

_a´a @kaiNtnae muOya> .67.
Bhaktaa ekaantino mukhyaaH ||67||
Devotees, whose single-pointed focus upon the Higher and exclusive of all other, are the primary (best).

This is the expression of Love with the capital 'ell' manifesting in daily life and in every activity undertaken by the bhakta.  Just as in jnaana-marg it is necessary to meditate uninterrupted and with only the goal of mukti in mind, so for the bhakta-marg it is necessary to express Universal Love to the exclusion of all else.

This is not just a going out and about and declaring the Lord's name, then going home and behaving with old habits and misbehaviours. Lip service is NO service.

This is the absolute culmination of many months, years even, of service to one's community, in the name of the Higher, and with always that Higher centred in one's heart and mind. There is no deviation from that process of True Love regardless of where one finds oneself or in what situation. Thus, when tested, all that will come from one's lips is the praise of that Love and expressions of forgiveness, understanding, acknowledgement… the 'turning of the other cheek', the 'Father, they not what they do…'

k{QavraexraemaÂïui_a> prSpr< lpmana> pavyiNt kulain p&iwvI< c .68.
Kantaaavaro-dharomaangcha-shrubhiH parasparam lapamaanaaH paavayanti kulaani pRthiviim cha ||68||
When (they) with throats choked with emotion, body covered with horripilation and tears flowing down, converse with each other in broken words, they sanctify their family and tribe - nay, they very earth itself they come to glorify.

As hinted in the opening para today, we have all, at one point or another, been so affected by someone or some happening that we cannot help ourselves, the tears will flow and we will gush words to express that emotion. Here, Narada-ji tells us that the sage-bhaktas know only this state when reaching to this level of spiritual growth. Everything is amazing and glorious and beautiful… and is recognised as being part of that Whole which we call 'Lord'.

If you have ever attended any function where a group of like-minded enthusiasts have gathered (for example a science fiction convention or a medical conference), then you will be able to grasp a little of what is meant about the 'broken words' communication. Each is on such a good wavelength with everyone else at that level, that 'shorthand' language suffices and, indeed, to the outsider, may sound like a completely foreign tongue! There is mention here, also, of the physical condition of the sage-bhaktas; throats choked with emotion, tears flowing from joy and their bodies perhaps shaking and covered in goosebumps. This may seem a bit overblown a description, but don't forget that even in the Christian tradition, there are tales of saints and martyrs who would tremble with spiritual ecstasy. (It is not spoken of in jnaana-marg, because that is one step further, where one leaves the physical altogether.)

A further comment in this suutra is that such sages are a blessing to their families - indeed to the very world. This is something that the Western society has perhaps lacked for some time now, that sense of awe and inspiration which comes from one who is touched by such faith and connection with the Divine. Indeed the world has become cynical and is inclined to think of this as some kind of insanity!

The last time the world truly accepted that there was a connection to be made with the Higher through the presence of another was through Yeshu. Whilst the Catholic church still acknowledges 'saints', the true value to the world is often missed. Gone are the days when the arrival of a spiritual person into one's home was seen as a blessing and that person treated as a royalty. In India, this is still present, to some degree, with bhiksha (food) being provided to the sadhus and sages in return for their prayers and teachings. Indeed, every guest is to be treated thus, for one can never know who will turn out to be the Satguru, the true teacher of life; even if they are present for only one meal ever, there may be words given out which can transform one's outlook and bring new life.

Look for the Love Divine in every eye. If it is not there, seek to share what you have of it yourself, because the well from which it is drawn is bottomless and you will be replenished!

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Hari OM
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