Bhakti Sutras 1 to 10

  1. We shall now expound on Bhakti.

Bhakti is the language of the heart and does not involve the head. The Jnana Marga is an ardous and cumbersome process of arriving at the truth especially in Kaliyuga. This was revealed to Srila Veda Vyasa after the exposition of the major Vedic texts by Him , by his preceptor Sri Narada Muni. The Srimad Bhagavatham followed the 84 aphorisms of the Narada Bhakti Sutra from the Lotus mouth of the great preceptor Narada Muni.

  1. It is the nature of the highest love for that One who is Iswara

Bhakti is the natural path to the One who is Supreme and the only one worth to invest one’s emotions and our very breath upon. That Supreme is in our heart and thus closest to us. Many a time when we hold the mirror too close to our face we will not be able to behold our face. So is the case with Iswara; He is so close to us that we do not recognize His presence. He is so intensely close to us because He loves us and yet we do not recognize His presence.

  1. He is of the nature of immortal Bliss

Although the Lord is introduced by Sri Narada Muni as immortal bliss, we who are under the grip of Maya fail to realize the nature of Bliss. Since all living beings are fundamentally in search of Bliss or Ananda, Narada Muni introduces the Lord as the clarified personification of Bliss. Hence in a way he exhorts that man cannot have any other worthwhile goal other than the search for God.

  1. After the attainment of God, man becomes completely satisfied, immortal and perfect.

Just as a honey-bee is in search of honey and toils hard for its attainment, man, in the form of his various engagements with Maya is ever-searching for bliss and immortality. He does not want to die and in his unconscious self is on the lookout for perfect attainment. But Alas such an attainment is absent within the realm of Maya. It is like searching for a lost needle in the forest after forgetting that one has lost the needle somewhere in the city.

  1. On gaining which one wants nothing, laments over nothing, hates nothing, delights in nothing and is never enthusiastic over anything earthly.

When one looks for the source of Ananda, the Lord, one will never be required to get involved with the world of Maya. There will be no need to search for anything else. Everything will be provided by Him and no desires will torment the heart. One will thus lead a life of absolute satisfaction and bliss thus obtained in the form of the Lord.

  1. Experiencing the Lord, one becomes exhilarated beyond self-control, stands perfectly still and revels in the Self.

An aspect of the Bhavas is indirectly hinted in this Sutra. A person who partakes the intoxication of the bliss aspect of the Lord seems to explode with ecstasy, yet remains unperturbed in the mind. His heart is full with loving emotions and that overflowing bliss is the bliss of the Self that shines as one’s eternal identity as the servant or lover of the Almighty at all times.

  1. It is of the nature of suppression and yet it is not a worldly desire.

Usually Jnanis feel the necessity to suppress worldly desires because Jnana is the path of self propulsion; hence a lot depends on self-initiative and self-control. However a person on the path of devotion depends on His Lord and rests his consciousness on the Divine personality of his Isvara (controller). In such a case , the devotee may appear to suppress his outward going worldly tendencies. What Sri Narada Muni is trying to convey that , such an indication is really not suppression but that of surrender ; the worldly tendencies having being controlled by Isvara. The worldly desires simply evaporate commensurate with the degree of surrender on the part of the devotee.

  1. Suppression means abandoning worldly and Vedic activities.

The worldly activities as enjoined by the Sastras form the major part of the Vedic Scriptures in the Karma Kanda sections of the four Vedas. A person who takes up Bhakti is naturally inspired by his Isvara to slowly abandon those compulsory Vedic rites. A person who revels in the glory of his Isvara finds it unnecessary to carry out Vedic rituals because he does not hanker for the fleeting pleasures of this world or the other. He only wants to now please his Isvara by performing devotional service.

  1. Abandoning all that which is a hindrance to his exclusive devotion to Isvara.

Once surrender starts increasing the devotee may give up all those activities that may even at the physical or mental level cause hindrance to his devotion. The devotee is rest assured that having given up such activities he remains under the perennial protection of Isvara.

  1. Exclusive devotion is abandonment of all supports.

One can be called a “Pure devotee” only if one depends exclusively and completely one Isvara abandoning all need for self-protection, maintenance and sustenance. This is verily the highest form of Bhakti; the summum bonum of Bhakti Shastras.

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