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Bhakti

Lord, thy abode is on the high mountain-peak. I am far, far away from the earth below. My feet are chained. An impenetrable forest surrounds me. The path is not safe. In the darkness of the night, a few stars twinkle here and there in sky. Now and then, distant sounds from thy realm reach my ears.

Lord, what an immeasurable distance lies between us two! Vast is the world. The attachment to it is a chain that binds. Oh! the body, and the spirit, the intellect; the enchantment of the senses! My heart pines for thee!

Lord, every minute worldliness thickens on me, and pulls me away from thee.
As every minute widens the distance between us and looks like ages, does not Love feel even the garland round her neck a hindrance for the sweet union with the Lover.

Lord, thy vision is impossible unless this worldliness is dissolved or entirely neglected. This is the truth: As long as the world presents itself in myriad alluring forms, to the wide-open eyes, love is unsteady.

Whether my eyes are open or shut, until thy sacred Form stands before me, and gives me infinite joy, until love flows out, can it be called devotion? How can our union be established for ever until I experience moment of oneness with thee?
Did not Majnu see the form of his beloved Laila everywhere? To him was not the whole world save Laila extinct? Is not such a feeling of intense separation itself sanctified by the devotion that makes the world as filled with Lover. As Radha closed her eyes, she could see in the citadel of her heart the sacred form of her Lover. If she opened her eyes, the world seemed like Brindavan. When consciousness came, the form of her Lover was before her. Would she not close her eyes and see him in her crystal-clear-heart?

Ages after ages life after life, have I been searching for thee, Lord! The curtain that keeps us apart has not been lifted; it alone is the barrier that denies me thy vision.
Lord, I do not know either Dvaita (dualism) or Advaita (monism). You may question me then as to what I know. All that I know is only an asking, a begging for thy sacred love.

Is not the wife's life entirely for the sake of the husband ? Is not her heart open only for the service and satisfaction of her husband? There is nothing that she may call as her own exclusively. Why does she do all that she does? It is only for the joy and pleasure of her husband. What is it that fills her eyes, her heart, her life and the very veins? It is nothing but the image of her Beloved. This is neither Dvaitaij nor Adviata.

The be1oved gives his love a joy that transcends both Dvaita and Advaita. It has the truth of both the Ananda of Dvaita the dispassion of Advaita. Love, too, soothes body, mind and the senses of the Beloved. Then the very thought of separate existence is lost.
Lord, this heart is dedicated to thee. Joy, pleasure and service are all connected to thee. Why dost thou tarry? Bind into wed-lock by thy sacred love. Let love overflow from my body, mind the senses. W h e n I am absorbed by thee, when I feel that there is nothing other than thee, when there is no sense of the thought of my separate existence, then it is Advaita. Awakened from this state of rapture into the consciousness of my b o d y and the senses, and when my joy, pleasures and service are all directed towards thee, then it is Dvaita. When these two states are transcended, it is Brahmananda! Lord, what a wondrous state it is!

Lord, bhakti or devotion to thee is said to be of two categories. One is called the ' Vaidhi Bhakti' and the other is called 'Raganuga Bhakti'. Vaidhi Bhakti consists in reposing the senses in the Paramatman through constant effort. Fear of hell - fire, fear of samsara, fear of birth and death fear of your omni-potency, if these prompt the human heart towards thee, they form the way of 'Nava Vidha Bhakri' (Nine fold devotion) told by the sastras. This needs a ballast, which may be a Mantra, a sacred Name, counting and telling of Beads, Diksha or Initiation by a Guru, and its unfailing practice. Following the principle of the Four-fold division of life and society (Varnashrama Dharma) observing the Nama Japa, Dhyana at ordained times lead to Vaidhi Bhakti. The other category of devotion, passionate devotion is not like Vaidhi Bhakti. Anon love possesses your heart and unique joy swells up in it. It is like the growth of the of love. As love expands, joy encompasses the heart sustained by the Omni-spirit. Then that love is called 'Ragatara! Passionate love. Further it takes forms. 'Sambandhatmika' - relativistic, the other, 'Kamatmika', romantic love.

In the absolutely romantic form of Bhakti, the Bhakta considers himself as the 'Kanta' or wife of God. His happiness, wealth, learning, body mind and the senses are all dedicated to God. If this form of love gets strengthened, it becomes absolute self-surrender. It becomes 'Thy will shall be done. In this form of love, there is nothing that exists save the Lord'. When Yamuna mingles with the Ganga, then it is nothing save Ganga. Just as Yamuna is totally absorbed in the Ganga, everything of the Bhakta, even his separate existence gets merged in the Lord himself.

Lord, what a glory is all this. Vaidhi Bhakti is like the rays of the moon just rising If devotion mellows into absolute self-surrender, it becomes like the rising sun that brightens the three worlds. Only men like Paramahamsa Ramakrishna are of such sacred love. Is there anything equal to the love, in which everything is thy own self.

When Ramakrislina was young, he loved Songs of the Gopis and the rustic games. Women folk of neighbourhood were attracted by his sweet music. He would say unto himself "How fine if I were a woman myself!" He felt that his being a male person was a hindrance for surrendering his all to the lord like Radha. At times he would muse within him - "would I be born a woman in my next birth and as a young Brahmin widow, should I have a cow to tend and half an acre of land to graze it, I would offer to the Lord many dainty dishes prepared, and to my heart's content, pour out all my thoughts at his feet without any let or hindrance.

Lord, are thee present in the Volitioon of the heart? Then what is wrong in dedicating every thing to thee? That I am a male being is only from the point of view the body. If by Thy grace, the illusion about the body which reduces itself into ashes, is removed, then do I understand that I am no longer a male being. Are not the body, mind and the senses and the intellect all part and parcel of thy Para-Prakriti. When thou declare, Prakriti is the Yoni into which I cast the seed, thou a 1 o n e should decide who is the male and who is the female!

Lord, the demon of ego, which has no true existence whatever, may prompt into call myself a male. If thou were to shower thy Grace then alone has my existence any meaning. If not, this heart is vacant give me thy mercy. Make this Own. Give me the courage to surrender all of mine to thy self as the Gopis did.

Devotion or bhakti takes five forms, they are Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and ting in sfllation, controlling the senses, ditating on the Atman Lord of worship 'Shanta Bhava' form of devotion. g the qualities of the omnipresent Him like a vassal or servant, dedicating body and the senses to Him alone, like Hanuman is the 'Dasya Bhava' form of devotion. To think of God as an intimate loving friend like Arjuna, and serve Him a near and dear one is the 'Sakhya Bhava form of devotion. To think of God as the Lord (Pati) an one's own self as Sati, only to be placed a his feet, and to think to be ever ready for his enjoyment like Radha and the Gopies ii sacred love is the 'Madhura Bhava' form of devotion. Lord, whatever form of devotion it should not the inconstancy of the heart put an end to? Thou knowst my strength and weaknesses. In whatever state of mind I may find myself, I see that in all these states thy love permeates just as different gems are held together by a thread. Lord, is not thy 'Lila' unfathomable? Art thou not beginning letter, ever-existent; truth, Beauty and joy? Do thou not abide every where and at all times? Is it possible to move about without feet? Yet is there a place in this world where thou art neither present nor move about. It is said that thou hast no ears.

Without a tongue dost thou not speak? Again thou hast saved thy devotees, with the ambrosia of thy words in moments of trials and tribulations.

Without eyes dost thou not see every thing? In depths of darkness in terror striking deadly nights, when none is able to see anything, can there be anything that can escape thy sight? When every thing takes rest thou art restless.

Nothing of fragrant in cense or bad odour can escape thee. Without a nose, is not everything smelt by thee? A thing hidden in the seven folds of a treasure chest cannot but be seen by thee!

Lord, those that see with their eyes these wondrous actions of thine, can they but describe it 'supernatural phenomenon'. When thy greatness cannot be described thus, can it be possible to locate thee with Japa, Tapa and allied Karmas. No. Is it possible unless the heart is filled with sacred devotion as a result of thy mercy and infinite compassion, and the company of thy devotees. In this possible unless one feels repentant and streams of tears of sorrow flow out? Without these, thy greatness cannot be understood. Thy vision cannot be had; stead-fastness cannot be established.

If I can think even for a fraction of a second about thy immeasurable glory, what a rapture it is! Oh, this mighty creation! This universe is thy sport, but thou art in the least touched by any of them. How logical and systematic are these actions of the universe in its creation, preservation and destruction!

Lord, thou art not easy of access; unapproachable, unseen. Thy ways are known only to thyself. How true is thy saying 'Mama Maya Duratyaya' My Maya is hard to overcome.

Lord, some say that the Grihastha's Ashrama, the Householder's life, is the best one. Others say that the life of a sanyasin, one who has renounced everything and always meditates on thee is the best one. Some others say that the life of one who with a sacred heart filled with love dedicated to thee in all his actions is the best of all lives. Which of this is true and which false ? Does not all seem like castles in the air ? Who is a Grihastha? Who is a sannyasin? Who is a Karma Yogin? Who is a Devotee?

A Grihastha is one who is centered in the Gunas. Prakriti with its three Gunas is the Mother of the world. Our body and the senses as well as the vast external universe, with all its eighty-four crore living things are in the womb of that mother. If what we designate as the body is only a part of the Prakriti characterised by the three modes or Gunas, and if it is understood that I am not the senses but the one within. What kind of a life one leads! When working this vast world and the body goes on, he who always remains unaffected by joys and sorrows alone is a Grihastha.

He who 'renounces' or gives up actions by desire (Kamya-Karma) is a but giving them up where? In the Atman. That sense-pleasure is desired for one's body is 'Kamya' and working for its realisation is 'Karma'.

Realising the meaning of the saying 'I am not the body' is not an easy one. The sanyasin receives alms as much as is needed preservation of life, and all the time is used for realisation of 'Atma-Yoga'. True Sanyasin realises that his body and as well the vast universe in the form of physical creation are only external manifestations with their origin in Thee. Just like waves dangle on the bosom of mighty ocean. The Sanyasin realises that all else but the omni-potent, eternally free Atman filled with immortal bliss is transient and keeps him self untainted and undisturbed by them.

The natural state of the Sanyasin will be that he realises that there is no relationship between him and the commerce of the external world and he keeps himself stead-fast in the Atman, thinking that all actions like walking, standing1 sitting, sleeping awaking, breathing, answering of the calls of nature, and penning and closing of eyes are merely the actions of the body.

The true sanyasin enjoys sovereign independence and strives and acts like a full-grown elephant without the least touch with the actions he does, because he will have renounced from his mind all attachment to joys and desires. This non-attachment from all actions and the relationship with them itself Karma ?

Lord, the heart of a devotee should be filled with love. If the Yogi controls mind and thought and through it achieves the realisation though the devotee does his sadhana in another way.

Lord, all this is thine. There is nothing mine. Do what thou desire from this windpipe the sacred flute " thus impress the devotee.

The devotee knows no rest till every trace of his egoism is rooted out. Just as a flute player who takes the rough weed and sets it right to suit his requirements so as to yield the tunes he desires, so does the devotee still in the quivers of his heart, by keeping contact with the external world only to the extent that he may keep the body going. All his actions will be dedicated to the lord. His constant prayer would be" Lord, accept this heart as thine. Why do thou tarry?"

If the image of the Lord eludes itself for meditation, the devotee's sorrow knows no limits. He implores with trust and courage. As his love overflows, he dances like a child. Even like a child he reposes his joys and sorrows fame and infamy at the feet of the Lord and gets rid of all worries.

The devotee's eyes seek nothing hut the love of the Lord. Like the bridal maid, he ever waits to welcome the Lord. As love increases, he feels elated with joy. This is Maha-Bhava unparalleled Ananda the fruit of good actions done in many lives past. The devotee knows no peace till his love grows into absolute self-surrender in all states of existence-conscious, dream and sleep. Life does not even desire emancipation, acts acxed. Love is all that he needs.


Lord, do not all the Sadhanas lead but to one end. Action, love and knowledge are same. It is the sacred thing. Elimination of the ego, and the means to the steadfast development of the attitude "I am not. Thou art everything". To say this like an innocent child it needs great strength of mind. Lord, this vassal is thine. A lake use of him at thy will. Do not repudiate. Let the song that enter out of this rough weed be thy sweet music. This is all my desire.

Lord, bestow thy grace on me, so that thy mind does not become fickle. It is fickleness of mind to surrender one to Physical form and its attractions.

It is fickleness of mind to submit to the lure of office. It is fickleness of mind to feel elated when pleasure comes.

When the mind gets disinterested about sense-objects their, associations and things which were once things of pleasure no longer please us. Then, our nearest and dearest may make fun of us; even deride us. It may even look at such times that the pursuit of unseen things beyond this life is all in vain. If we succumb to such a feeling with disgust in our sadhana, it is fickleness of mind.

When something good is found in us, saintly hearts turn to us. They care for us with love. They look after us tenderly; prostrate and praise us. Then slowly our mind gets enveloped with egoism. We feel happy within our own selves, and look for such respect and praise, day-in and day-out, keeping aside our sadhana. This is indeed a greater enemy for us than even respect and praise which eventually bring us evil and sorrow. Is not this the fickleness of mind ?

Lord, I do not desire any kind of fickleness of mind, either the one that is a result of derision and disrespect or the one of praise and respect. One is a fetter of iron; the other of gold. The result of both is the same: BONDAGE. If I succumb to either of them, will it not be enough to hurl me down into abyss. Lord, where then is true peace to be? Is it not at thy Lotus Feet ? I desire not the association of men even. Adieu, to their derision and praise alike! Why should I entangle myself with those who blindly take things as they appear, discrimination whatever! What do they know of the heart of things? They deride me once and praise me at another. Lord, let me not look at any of them. Thou art alone mine all. Lord of the worlds, Gurudeva, shower thy grace on me! My joys are placed at thy feet! My learning and wealth are all consecrated for thy service! Give me the courage to surrender my intellect, my love for thy own sake. When my everything is dedicated to thee, what other desire lingers in me? None but thee is capable of peering into the recesses of my heart.

Lord, thou hast said easily, "abandoning all duties come to me alone for shelter" (Sarva Dharman Parityajya Mamekam Saranam Vraja.) But for me who is yet a child toddling in thy path of devotion how difficult it is!

Lord, what have I to abandon and how? Are not the body the senses the mind the intellect and the ego are different forms of Prakriti? How are they to be abandoned? Can they be abandoned like the bangles that damsels wear ?

Lord, when once the mortal coil comes from birth how is that to be abandoned? No. No. cannot be abandoned. Neither does it go if wish to abandon it. Lord, What are all the duties (Sarva Dharman) the principles behind all the duties that are to be abandoned? Those principles that relate to the body, viz, childhood, youth, old age, beauty, ugliness, the brahmin the untouchable the blind and the lame; such ideas about the body may all be abandoned. The faculties that relate to the Physical senses hearing, touch and sight can all be abandoned. Those that relate to the mind fickleness, steadfastness thought, the hallucinations of joy and sorrow can all be abandoned. When all these are accomplished would it not be easy to surrender oneself to thee? Lord, this body is telling. I have nothing to do with it: This lump of flesh and bones is dedicated to thee. There can be absolute surrender as the God did. Lord, is not the consciousness of the due to the identification of this body as the self itself? If I dedicate this to thee what is it that remains which I can really call as mine own ? What is it that can be taxed, when the object itself is surrendered ?

When I dedicate this mind of' mine to thee and act at thy command and at thy desire only, what is it that remains which I may call mine own. When such surrender takes place every thing is thine. All duties are surrendered to thee. There can be no worry to abandoning this or that. Is this meaning of abandonment that I have grasped correct, oh Lord!

This is my resolution, Lord. "This flower" that is my heart shall become thine. Thy Grace shall assure me: Child, think not. I have accepted all your services lovingly; thou art Mine. I am ready to absorb you in My Effulence. The courage to say this to myself shall give peace. Without this there can be no happiness.

Lord, I too strive to my utmost limits. All those whom I had considered as mine so far, shall be Thine to think, to feel and to act so is my duty. The parents who gave me birth exact my service as long as this body lasts. But thou art my father births.
Lord, the embodied wife desires beauty, learning and riches. If they are satisfied she feels glad, if not the house-hold becomes a burial ground.

Lord, ihon art a thousand, fold more in endowing happiness than the embodied wife. My heart filled with love finds bliss in thee as the bee finds honey in flowers. Thou alone knows in how many births I have been the wife or the husband. The joy of life as ban transient, a mirage! But thou or wife is art my true husband Lord. Where can I find one like thee?

Lord, all that I had imagined so far as 'myself' are all part and parcel of thy 'Maya 'Thine Universal Mother'. Only the heart that considers thee as Atman and the rest as Prakriti alone can feel itself as 'Sati' and thee as 'Lord of Lords' and serve with love. Lord, countless have been my sweet companions, friends and relatives in the many lives gone by. It is difficult to remember all of them and serve them all with love. Therefore, would it not be best to consider thee alone, who fills everything like the unseen thread that connects the various gems, as father and mother, wife and husband, friend and relative? My heart has already been thine. Thy Love, Thy Beautiful Form, Thy Sacred Presence already shine in my heart. Grant me Lord, that the peace-filled thought that, 'Thou art' everything and everything is thine" ever shine in the temple of my Heart:
Thou art the Father,
Thou art the Mother,
Thou art the Relative and Friend,
Thou art the Teacher who imparts learning,
Thou art mine all, the Lord of Lords.
 

 
 

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