Author: Shivashankar Rao
Feb 1st, 2018
Bhakti is one of the most widely recognized religious sentiments in all the major religions of the world.In Sanatana dharma, its origin can be traced to the Rigveda.
Though the Upanishads are mainly devoted to Jnaana the doctrine of grace is found in some statements.
In Bhagavadgita, Bhakti has been dealt with extensively.
Treatises specially devoted to the doctrine of Bhakti have also appeared-
– SHAANDILYA BHAKTI SOOTRAS, NAARADA BHAKTI SOOTRAS, NAARADA PANCHA RAATRA, BHAKTI RASAYANA, BHAKTI RASAAMRITHA SINDHU, ETC.,
The cardinal principle is that He cannot be apprehended either by senses or intellect, but it is possible only by devotion to Him.
Bhakti is open to all without exception and is easier than either the Jnaana marga, karma or the yogamarga.
Bhakti could be saattvika, raajasika or taamasika.
It could be of the aarta(the afflicted), arthaarti (seeking worldly gains), jijnaasu( inquirer of truth), jnaani (the enlightened).
It could also be classified on the attitude of the devotee-
-SHAANTA, DAASYA, SAKHYA, VAATSALYA, and MADHURA.
The moral and spiritual disciplines expected of a devotee are-
-avoiding evil company and cultivating holy company, detachment towards worldly things, giving up evil actions and those motivated by selfish desires, performing one’s duties as the worship of God, etc.,
Listening to good music in praise of God, ritualistic worship, repetition of the divine names, contemplation on the divine forms of God, dedicating the fruits of actions to God and an attitude of utter surrender to God are different forms in Bhakti.
There is no prohibition for the bhakta to lead an active life in the world.
He should have viveka, vimoka(freedom from desire), abhyaasa, kriyaa (doing good to others),kalyaana, anavasaada (cheerfulness) and anuddharsha(absence of hilarity).
In understanding Nature, man’s first reaction was fear.
Later on, he started conquering it gradually through scientific research.
It is fear that gave rise to the concept of God and the result was the creation of several religions.
Modern science has given us hundreds of physical aids.
Religion does not consider these as of great value and it concentrates on spiritual advancement.
The scientist does not care for the morality of his research.
It is left for us to use it either for good or for bad ends.
Galileo, Issac Newton, Albert Einstein were all believers in God.
Newton had a friend who did not believe in God.
When he was shown a model of the solar system, he exclaimed, “Who created this marvelous model?”.
Newton said, “ It happened by itself. Nobody created it.” .
The friend laughed.
Then Newton told his friend that there should be a creator for this world too.
Recent researches have been proving our ancient beliefs.
In recent research at California University, it has been proved that the whole world is the result of an electromagnetic vibration.
Our body is also an electromagnetic field with the brain, nervous system and the heart with low-frequency electric waves and the exterior including skin with high-frequency vibrations. Because of the interaction of these, an aura is created which protects us.
If these two electronic fields- one of the individuals and the other of the whole world-
-are related, the higher field rushes to the individual’s help.
This can happen when the fervor is strong.
This is what we refer to as intense bhakti.
When this happens, God has to jump to the individual’s aid.
There are a number of instances to prove this.
In 1978, when Baba Muktanand camped in the village Bhattigaon near Delhi, there was a huge quantity of food prepared
to serve the thousands of devotees and it was about to rain heavily.
The hosts who were terribly worried requested the Baba to help.
When he started praying, the area where the devotees were being fed had no rain whereas the entire surroundings were flooded.
Another instance was in Coimbatore in 1819 when the British collector, John Sullivan had camped in village Dimbati near Kotagiri.
Here, he observed an unexpected flood approaching the village when he was on his early morning walk.
The bund, which was constructed to protect the village from the floods, could not have resisted the fury of the flood.
He prayed earnestly to save the village and lo and behold, the flood vanished!
I myself have seen one such instance in Mysore about 45 years ago.
Hence, it can be concluded that fervent bhakti brings the desired result.