Bhakti Sutras 31 to 40

31.For it is seen in the case of dinner in the palace of a King.

32.The King is not appeased by the knowledge about food nor hunger appeased by knowledge of food.

Bhakti is a practical thing. Examples given above make a distinction between mere knowledge about food as against the taste and stomach fulfilling capability of food. Bhakti is not to be understood merely with erudition but through earnestness of tasting the nectar of Bhakti through surrender and implementing it in daily life. Merely talking about Bhakti and preaching will not bring a change in consciousness but it is only when one surrenders one’s all and one’s association with the world to the object of Bhakti , can Bhakti be truly realized.

33.Hence this Bhakti alone should be chosen by those who seek liberation.

34.Teachers have recommended various means to this Bhakti.

The means and the end of Bhakti are the same. The process that is employed to carry out Bhakti is the very attainment in the Bhakti process. A person in Kaliyuga who chooses to get liberated has only one option and that is Bhakti. A person who takes to this path will undoubtedly be relieved of one’s obligations (as a result of past Karma) and attain the goal of Bhakti without fail. The means to Bhakti when fully matured will continue with one as the goal of Bhakti in the advanced stages of Sadhana. A person unripe in Bhakti may appear to chant few rounds of the holy name in one’s initial stage of Bhakti. However even at the higher stages of spiritual attainment one still continue to chant the same holy names , the difference being the degree of realization of the Absolute and the perspective of one’s view of spiritual and material life. Hence Bhakti is not a means towards an end but a merger of both the means and the end.

35.It results from the renunciation of the objects of the senses and renunciation of attachment.

36.From unremitting adoration.

37.From listening to the narration of the various blessed qualities of the Lord and proclaiming them aloud even while attending to affairs of ordinary life.

The nature of the mind is that of attachment. Mind cannot stay without being attached. Hence detachment is not normal to the ordinary mind. The renunciation of attachment spoken in sutra 35 is elaborated in sutras 36 and 37. Unless one’s mind is constantly engaged in the sweet remembrance and adoration of the Lord, the mind which is inflicted by materialism knows no peace. It is only through the sustained practice of “Yukta Vairagya” can detachment become a possibility to the mind. It simply means attaching the mind to the Lord in the form of His names, form, attributes and pastimes. The sutras convey another angle to material life. They hint that material life and spiritual life cannot exist simultaneously; although a transition from material to spiritual life maybe evident. Unless one spiritualizes every aspect of life, Bhakti cannot even start. The true beginnings of Bhakti only lie at the end of materialistic living.

38.It results through the grace of great ones and with the grace of the Lord.

39.Now, association with the great, is hard to get, difficult to realize though most invaluable.

40.Nevertheless it is attainable through His grace alone.

Self-effort is the most important criteria in Bhakti life. However sutra 38 reveals that it is first the grace of God that hits a sadhaka and it is after that that the self-effort towards Bhakti commences. Grace of the Lord is available through the blessings of great devotees of Bhakta that one may come across when the Lord decides to grace someone. Through the great devotees, the stream of divinity flows on this planet and when one comes in direct or indirect contact with that stream, the journey of Bhakti begins. Associating with men established in Bhakti is very rare to find in this world plagued with materialism. Yet if the Lord makes up His resolve, he graces one with the holy association of His exalted devotees.

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