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 2 - The Glory of The Sage; Glory of the Perfected. Looking in from the outside, it can seem odd to us that there is no strict hierarchy among the ranks of the Realised ones…
naiSt te;u jaitiv*Aêpkulxni³yaid_aed>.72.
Naasti teshu jaati-vidyaa-rupa-kula-dhana-kriya-adi-bhedaH ||72||
Among them, there are no distinctions based upon caste, culture, beauty, family, wealth, or profession.
Among the men of realisation in the various periods of history, whether Christ, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Vivekananda, Buddha or Shankara, whether Ramanuja or Madhwa, among all these saintly masters there would have been no distinctions ever entertained by them. They would see only Love, with no division or prejudice such as we regularly face in our pluralistic world. How often in each day do we hear words of opposition? It is ever there, within families (jealousies and possessiveness), within communities (boundaries…), within nations (borders and cultures). We are constantly faced with 'the different' and for most, the easiest way of dealing with those perceived differences is to be spiteful, angry, violent.
This is the nature of Mankind's behaviour in the world perceived as being made up of many separate components and whilst each person is identified and locked into their perception of themselves according to the BMI, the ego-self. Once a person begins the climb to the more tranquil heights of philosophical understanding, though, these distinctions start to drop away and, instead, the things which unite all the items and beings of the world become more obvious. Gradually, at the culmination of such practice, in the state of Realisation, it is found that there are no separations after all; it is discovered that All are One and equal. How so?
For they are of His own nature Divine.
On reaching a clear understanding of the nature of Divinity, one does oneself take on that nature. A Bhakta now recognises all others as expressions of The Lord - indeed as extensions of his or herself. To the Sant-Bhakta, the One Lord alone is ever-present whether he chooses to play among the poverty-stricken, or with the artists, scientists… or other saints and sages.
From their standpoint, the whole universe is an expression of the One Reality and, therefore, whatever the declarations of the Great Ones, irrespective of the faiths they advocated or the language they spoke and the style in which they presented the concepts - they all thundered the One Truth that there was, is and ever will be but One Self.
Distinctions exist only for those who have not reached the peaks of philosophical understanding. The truly great realise that all belong to That and exist in That alone.
Thus, among those supreme devotees, there are no distinctions as to which of them is possibly a greater man of Realisation; all of them belong to That because each saw only That. Questions of 'who is the greatest bhakta' exists not among those very men… but yet may be asked by those of us who fall short and who have yet to perceive the Unity of All.