Swami Swaroopanandaji is in Singapore conducting talks on Geeta Chapter 12. Yesterday, he waxed poetic on the nature of Bhakti. Swamiji masterfully brought out the emotional aspects of Bhakti in explaining the essense of Geeta 12-2. As always the post is based on my notes and recollections. Any errors are entirely mine.
मय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते |
श्रद्धया परयोपेताः ते मे युक्ततमा मताः ||१२- २||
mayyAveshya mano ye mAM nityayuktA upAsate .
shraddhayA parayopetAH te me yuktatamA matAH .. 12-2..
Sri Krsna points out three essentials qualities of a true Bhakta or devotee:
1. मय्यावेश्य मन: mayyAveshya manah - Whose mind is immersed in me. Such a devoteee is one who cannot be without the Lord.
2. नित्ययुक्त: nityayukta - steadfast, committed, constant. Guruji once “Hamari Bhakti hai Jo bhaagti rahti hai“ – our devotion is that which keeps running away. For instance, think of when you gave up meditation because a friend is visiting!
3. श्रद्धया परयोपेताः shraddhaya parayopetah - those with supreme faith.
Yet, knowing about devotion does not create devotion. So, how do we create this devotion? Our great sages have given us the stories of great devotees so that we can understand these essentials. These great saints are an inspiration and they touch our heart.
The first story was when Narad muni, came to Vrindavan. The residents in Vrindavan are so immersed in devotion to Sri Krsna taht even today no one meditates in Vrindavan. Instead they go to have darshan of Banke Behari. Narada Muniji comes across a Gopi who is sitting in padmasana and appears to be struggling to meditate. She sees Naradji and asks him for help. What is the problem? “That blue eyed boy is calling me from the window, I see his footprints everywhere. I churn butter and the butter disappears. I can't get him out of my mind. I know He is not coming back to Vrindavan and so it is my mind that is playing all these tricks on me.“
According to Swamiji, the Gopis of Vrindavan are a wonderful example of “one whose mind is immersed in Bhagavan and who constant in their devotion.“ Swamiji quote the the Muslim poet Raskhan, who sang, "ताहि अहीर की छोहरियाँ, छछिया भरि छाछ पै नाच नचावैं" – "the girls of Ahir made the Lord dance on a pot of buttermilk". The same Lord that Brahmaji and Shivji seek to attain through years of meditation.
For shraddha, supreme faith, Swamiji referred to the story of Shabari from the Ramayana. On his deathbed, Shabari’s guru, Maatanga rishi asked to chant the name of Sri Rama and said that he will come to you one day. When Shabari asked, “How will Sri Rama even know that I am here, that too an ordinary tribal woman?“ The Rishi answered that your devotion will bring the Lord to you. Just on her Guru’s say so, Shabari started chanting the name of the Lord and keeping her home ever-ready for the day when Rama would come. Every single day, for years on end, without any slightest doubt whether Rama would come, Shabari swept the streets round her home, got all the ingredients necessary to wash his feet and worship him and finally the Lord came.
For me, the talk was an education in what Bhakti is. Moving, eye-opening, inspiring.
Hari Om and Namaskaar until the next post