Bhakti Sutras 21 to 30

21.As for instance, in the case of the cow-herd girls of Vraja Gokula.

22.The cow-herd girls never desired their divine love for the Lord to be glorified since it was absolutely without blemish of any kind

23.The love of adulterers is on the other hand full of vanity and laden with desire for recognition

In the current age, a son wants his love for his parents to be recognized. A wife wants her husband to recognize the sacrifices that she does for the family and vice-versa although all parties involved in the exchange of such debase love have their motives clearly evinced.  A person who bears a material body is not capable of any kind of genuine love since the body and mind by nature is of inferior nature and not capable of exhibiting divine love. A person however established in the Self or favored by the Supreme, however on account of one’s liberated status can sport an iota of the divine love that personifies the Supreme Lord. However such persons are extremely rare to find. A person who tries to display love in this material world is consciously or unconsciously motivated by selfish desires and is undependable in every respect.

The cow herd girls of Vrindavana were self-realized masters of a previous birth who desired, in their liberated condition, the association of the Lord in the mode of Prema Bhakti. These were not mortals but special kinds of beings capable of divine love, being favored by the Lord. They were oblivious of their status or families and were sold out to the Lord in every respect. The Vraja Leela of the Lord and the damsels of Vrindavana cannot be imitated by mortals and one can only pray and cry after hearing these pastimes for a birth like those of the Gopis.  Incapable and destitute that an average human being is, he can only take a humble position and serve the Lord in his heart without trying to be overtly good thereby saving himself from all sorts of duplicity.

24.In the sort of love of the cow-herd girls there is complete self-effacement.

The cow-herd girls of Vrindavana are completely possessed with the thoughts of the Lord. There are in absolute forgetfulness of their body and have become one with the Lord in their hearts. They are so much in tune with the Lord that their individual existence itself is not felt by them, having been completely controlled by the Lord at all times. Self-effacement is the dissolution of the aspect of the Ego where one becomes an extended aspect of the Supreme , where there is only the Lord and the Self enjoying sweet union or separation ; a state that represents the highest form of Yoga.

25. Bhakti is greater than Karma (performance of action and dedicating the results to the Lord), Jnana ( Knowledge of the Self) and Yoga ( the mystical path of self-control)

The point to be noted that the three paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti are not mutually exclusive put they progressively culminate into Bhakti. Karma Yoga is the first step where the individual does not take the responsibility of the results of action and offers the results of action to the Lord. Jnana indicates an evolution of the mind where the individual observes the operation of the phenomenal world and the presence of the Self in every transaction. Bhakti represents the ultimate surrender of the individual to the Supreme self having observed that just by Karma and Jnana; one is unable to completely wiggle out from the clutches of the formidable Maya system. A student of Bhakti Yoga however does not care to follow the paths of Karma and Jnana separately and simply surrenders his life and actions to the will of the Lord and performs his actions unattached thereby going beyond the realm of action and reaction; completely depending on the Lord for once maintenance and spending one’s life in the direct service of the Lord.

26.For it is of the nature of the fruit of all these.

27.Because God hates egotism and appreciates humility alone.

Bhakti is the fruit of all other systems. If the systems of Yoga finally do not end in Bhakti it can be understood that all the efforts made by the aspirant are futile. Bhakti represents the end of ego and the beginning of humility. Unless one empties oneself of the muck of worldliness, the process of Bhakti too will simply remain an intellectual exercise like Jnana. Bhakti simply does not mean taking the names of the Lord and singing His glories. The first step in Bhakti is self-effacement; that is to fully understand and accept our fallen condition and the acceptance of ignorance in all respects. Unless this first step is adhered to, pursuance of Bhakti as a science is futile. Unless one is humble in front of the Lord and cries in acceptance of one’s inability and uselessness, there is no question of grace. Grace is the soul of Bhakti, the practices of Bhakti will bear fruit only when grace wets one’s soul.

28.Some think that knowledge is one means to it.

29.Others are of the opinion that there is mutual dependence between the two.

30.It is its own fruit, says Narada, the son of Brahma

The Jnanis and the Yogis have attempted to understand the nature of Bhakti and tried to categorize it as being dependent on the other systems of Yoga. It has been confirmed by Sri Narada Muni that neither forms of Yoga have any influence on the Bhakti path. The other forms of Yoga may be interdependent. For example a Jnani who takes an objective view of the world, practices Ashtanga Yoga to keep his intellect sharp. Similarly a Raja Yogi tries to understand the human system and resorts to Jnana. However there is no such binding on the Bhakta. Having accepted the form of the Lord, a surrendered soul immediately acquires connection with Isvara and need not flex his limited faculties in understanding the Supreme. His surrender is the only qualification seeing which the Supreme Lord easily grants him all knowledge and all bliss which is unattainable even to the most advanced Yogi who may have practiced the systems of Yoga over many lifetimes.

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