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


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Garland Your Life

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

What makes of one a devotee? It is not merely that one reads predominantly from one literature or another. It is the application of what one learns, as well as the acknowledgement and surrender to that which is gained and to those from whom we learn it. One can be a devotee of any particular subject - though, in the case of popular culture, the term has become 'fanatic'  a.k.a. 'fan'. Indeed, many forget that the term 'fan' originated from 'fanatic'. To be called fanatic about something tends to sound and feel somewhat over-dramatic. To be called a devotee would, perhaps, be more comfortable.

There are differences between the devotee and the fan, however. The devotee is generally of quiet temperament, attentive, and in offering to the object of devotion, burns their ego. The fan can be rather demonstrative, attention-seeking and if at all they give to the object of devotion, it is purely in the hope of being noticed and thus building their ego. They are two sides of the same situation, as it were.

In spiritual practice, the two types can exist. The 'fan' types are those who flock to be seen at the churches, synagogues, mosques. Not simply attending, note, but 'to be seen'. Commitment to a daily practice of the philosophy is likely to be patchy at best.

Love is the underlying factor of both conditions. For the fan, it is a lust for the object of devotion, bordering on obsession. They can become exhausted and lose the drive to continue their focus after some time - particularly if they do not receive the attention they think they ought to be getting in return.  For the devotee, it is all-consuming but energising also. There is no demand or expectation placed upon the object of devotion. It is Love for Love's sake. The fan will be concerned about how they 'look' in their devotion; the devotee worries not about appearance. That is not to say they are careless, but that it just is not their focus. Love for life when extended beyond matter identification, becomes something much higher and more profound. In the case of spirituality, it becomes Love for the Self.

"This eternal Self in all living beings is Me", says Shri Krishna in chapter ten of the Bhagavad Gita. In recognising this level of Love, an attachment to something beyond our limited physical existence, and looking to spend time with That, we become a devotee and seek to become one with That. Not in the fan(atical), hysterical sense, but through active study, application and discipline.

Devotion requires that we carry in our hearts and minds at all times, something of that to which we are devoted. This is why there are hymns and poems and prayers, et cetera. They help us keep focus.

One such ode to devotion is the Mukundamala of King Kulashekhara, who was also a saint. Mukunda is one of the names of Lord Krishna, and a mala is a garland. Therefore, we have a garland of verses giving praise to the Lord. Through these verses, we can learn something more of what it is to be a devotee. Thus, for the next few months here on Workings-day, we shall 'work' at improving our devotion. As a guide and support for this, the text is available for your purchase if you so choose.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

Please note that only members of this blog can leave comments. You are respectfully requested to refrain from entering hyperlinks to other sites. You may otherwise find your comment deleted. Thank you for your courtesy.