Monday, March 5, 2007

does devotion or bhakti have a role in nonduality?


The bhakti that is talked about in a vedantic context is parabhakti -
devotion for the sake of devotion, a severe longing of seeking oneness
with Ishwara - not the bhakti which asks Ishwara to bless me with a
better job, etc.
This form of bhakti is not an option. Why? Any option is volitional.
I can choose to either take tea or coffee - it is an exercise of my
free will. Bhakti is not volitional. I cannot get up one fine day and
say "You know I am not happy with how my sadhana is progressing, let
me buy some camphor and incense sticks and start practicing bhakti
today" It does not work that way.
You cannot write a instruction manual of "How to practice bhakti"
or "How to develop bhakti." You dont find bhakti - if you are lucky
and God's and Guru's grace is smiling on you, bhakti finds you.
Says the Narada Bhakti Sutra "Primarily,however, one develops bhakti by the mercy of great souls, or by a small drop of the Lord's mercy!

Try as you might you cannot take bhakti out of the equation in
vedanta.
You can take a stance and say I am only seeking my true Self, not
Ishwara - well your true self is Ishwara, and in fact Lord Krishna
will say you are his favorite bhakta, because you are trying to be
one with Him who is your inner self alone.
The Ganges as it runs along at some point may get an idea that all
this running it is doing is perhaps ultimately going to lead it
somewhere - the closer it gets to its destination it may get a small
glimpse of the ocean and in that glimpse develops a reverential
attitude - to what? - to the very source it is going to lose its
identity in! This reverential attitude that spontaneously develops in
the heart of a seeker as he gets closer to the goal is what is
parabhakti. You cannot cultivate it, you cannot will it, it is not a
matter of choice!

The clouds on a really cloudy day mask the sun completely, but as
they start to clear even a little bit, you have an unmistakable
glimpse of the sun.

Similair is it in atmavichara. What blinds us from Ishwara, our own
self, is our own thick cloud of avidya in the form of this five
hundred pound Egosense.
Once this egosense starts to be cut at by means of shastra shravana
and mananam, automatically, a faint glimpse of the destination takes
effect in your antahkaranam, and this is the initial sprouting of
parabhakti. You cannot will it to happen. If it has not happened,
there is one and only one reason - the ego cloud cover is still very
dense, the destination is still likely very far away.

At no time in the search nor at any time after the search is this
parabhakti sublated, let alone sublation of Ishwara. If one sublates
or annihilates Ishwara then why should any jnani, even a single
jnani, be a devotee?? And yet you find each and every one of them to
be inspirations to us seekers for bhakti. Bhakti even to a jnani is
nonvolitional - it is inherent to his very corebeing. Our innermost
self is Ishwara. There is no getting away from this - no mater which
creation model you use. So a statement that "Ishwara is sublated" at
some advanced stage of my development has to be understood in the
context of "my egosense of being an entity separate from Ishwara is
sublated" - in other words "Shivoham Shivoham" not the other way
round

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

what an interesting post. bhakti yoga is the path of love. divine love is so universal. you may find this article about divine love at www.gitananda.org interesting also.

Anonymous said...

So your saying that nonduality completes devotion and that devotion leads to nonduality?

Shyam S said...

Anonymous - Very nicely put.thanks!

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