TALK 31 by Prabhuji (APR 20, 13.08)
Today let us contemplate on Bhakti or devotion. What is the meaning of devotion or Bhakti? We have heard these words like ‘a boy falling in love with the girl, and girl falling in love with a boy.’ Why we say ‘he fell in love, why not rise in love.’ Falling in love here is related to sense attractions. Whereas you rise in love when you go beyond senses when you have love for some higher principle or divinity that love helps you to rise. You will rise only when there is love, love coupled with deep respect, respect comes when you understand the glory of that Supreme Reality. So understanding glory, respect coming out of that and love together is called devotion. , devotion uplifts soul, devotion uplifts you. From a human being you become divine being because of devotion. When you have love for something whether devotion or ordinary love, the mind constantly and naturally goes towards that subject, there is no effort in that the mind naturally flows. For example a child has gone out of station, a mother remembers the child in every corner of the house. The place where the child sits, the toys the child uses, everything makes mother remember him. It is a natural tendency of the mind whatever you love you will remember so the love the devotion makes you remember constantly the divinity.
The divinity can be of any form, the deity which attracts you, is called as Ishta Devata, mind constantly and naturally goes to that Ishta Devata. When the mind goes naturally and constantly to Ishta Devata, the mind constantly thinks of that deity whatever the mind thinks becomes an impression in you. Constantly whatever you think it becomes a deep rooted impression in you and mind starts taking that quality. There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘bhramarakeeta nyaya’ where bhramara is a beetle and it brings a little insects to feed its little ones. Now the insect is afraid of the beetle that it is going to be eaten and it constantly thinks of the beetle and starts developing the wings due to the fear of being eaten and one day it fly’s off. This is a way of saying that if you constantly think of divinity you acquire some aspect of divinity.so this is how our mind gets purified and uplifted by devotion. Whatever the qualities of divine being you think of you those qualities will manifest within you. If you think of Shiva those qualities of Shiva will manifest in you, Jnana and vairagya. Similarly if you take Narayana then love and compassion will manifest in your life. If you take guru as your Ishta Devata then wisdom and enlightenment will manifest in your life. Whatever Ishta Devata you take that aspect of divinity will manifest in your life. These develops through four stages, ‘salokya, sameepya, sarupya, sayujya’.
‘Salokya’ means you are in the same loka of the Ishta Devata or the Ishta Devata is in your world. When you say world it does not mean the physical world, where the mind goes that is the world. Somebody might be physically present here, but mentally he might be somewhere, that is his world. Mind constantly going to the Ishta Devata world is Ishta Devata present in your world. That is called salokya.
‘Sameepya’ means closeness, it is not the physical closeness, but mental closeness. You start understanding the world the way Ishta Devata understands, the world. The mind starts approximating or understanding the divinity.
‘Sarupya’ means you start taking the form of the Ishta Devata, it is not physical form, but a psychological form. You mind will start taking the form of the Ishta Devata means if Shiva is your Ishta Devata, your mind will become full of Vairagya, and Jnana, dispassion and wisdom. If your Ishta Devata is guru, your mind will attain clarity of enlightenment teachings and you will become more and more clear about Mukti. It is called Sarupya.
‘Sayujya’ means mind will take the form of the deity or all the qualities of the deity will fully manifest. These are the four stages of spiritual upliftment or Krama Mukti or progressive realisation.
The devotion itself how does it proceed, they are called Navavidha bhakti ‘shravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, paada-sevanam, archanam, vandanam, daasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam’.
Shravanam means you would like to constantly listen about the deity
‘Kirtanam’ means you would like to constantly sing the glory of the deity, either bhajans, or even talk or teach about the deity to others
‘Smaranam’ means whenever you get time mind constantly goes to the deity
‘Paada-sevanam’ means you start doing service, ‘paada’ means ‘feet’, ‘seva’ means ‘service’, paada is not physical feet, ‘paada’ means ‘paado asya vishwabutani’, the feet of the supreme is the all the living beings, not just humans but all forms of living beings are feet of the lord. Because lord manifests in all them, so you start serving them in the form of Pancha yajnas. Deva yajna, Manushya yajna, Pitr yajna, Bhuta yajna, Rishi yajna. This is called paada sevanam.
‘Archanam’ means you try to worship god, manasa puja or murthi puja
‘Vandanam’ means you will develop deep respect for all living beings.
‘Daasyam’ means we work as a servant, everything we offer it to the lord as service. Just like hanuman to Rama all our work becomes a service to the supreme.
As you progress in devotion you get a promotion. From a servant to a friend, you become closer to the lord. Between friends there are no secrets, a good amount of sharing happens between you and the lord, similar to Krishna and Arjuna.
Finally ‘Atma-nivedanam’ means the lord is realised as no different from your own self, finally you will find the divine in your own heart, being in yourself. This is called Navavidha Bhakti.
Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi