Religion

Revival of God consciousness – Part 2

In part -1, the concept of God consciousness was introduced. We had before us the following five questions.

  • Who am I?
  • Who is GOD and what is my relationship with him?
  • What is the ultimate goal in my life – Purushartham?
  • What is the means to attain that – Upaayam?
  • What are the hindrances in this endeavor?

We had answered the first three questions. Now let us continue answering the remaining two. In the end we will also look at how we can actually practice them in our day to day life.

There are three paths described in Scriptures to attain our ultimate goal– namely Karma Yoga, Dhyana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Yoga – “ujyate iti” yoga is the path which elevates the soul to the transcendental platform. To describe each of them in detail is beyond the preview of this topic. A brief description is as follows. Karma yoga means to perform our duties as per shastric injunctions, the essence of which is to offer the results of one’s action to the Supreme. This famous verse from Gita is well known (BG.2.47).

karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana |

mā karma phala hetur bhū mā saṅgo’stva karmaṇi ||

Accordingly, we have rights to perform our prescribed duties and not on their results. We should not consider our self to be the proprietor of the results of our work nor should we be attached to not doing the prescribed duties. If we do our duties without attachment and offer the results to the Supreme, we do not accumulate any papa or punya karma just as a lotus leaf which is not tainted by water (B.G. 5.10). Thus a steadfast karma yogi, renouncing the fruits of his actions, attains everlasting peace. But the unsteady one who is attached to the results of actions, being impelled by desire is subject to bondage (B.G. 5.12).

Dhyana yoga means controlling the mind, withdrawing all the senses inwards and focusing on the Supersoul within us by meditation. It is a very difficult process in this age of Kali. Lord Sri Krishna himself says that it is a difficult yoga and not suitable for Arjuna in Dwapara yuga. Then, we can imagine our qualification and capacity. This is suitable for those who can control their mind and senses. The yogi should practice in a secluded place and lead a life of Brahmachari – self restrain and celibacy. This is the first pre requisite as recommended by Patanjali who is the exponent of Ashtānga yoga shastras. No one can perform meditation in congested city and that to leading an extravagant life and indulging in all intoxications as presumed by many modern day westernized yogis. The object of meditation should be the Lord himself. Lord Krishna says “Among all the Yogis, one whose inner self is directed to Me, who worships Me with faith, he is deemed by Me to be the most accomplished”.

yoginām api sarveṣāṃ mad-gatenāntarātmanā |

śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṃ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ ||

Both Karma yoga and Dhyana yoga has to culminate in Bhakti for a soul to attain mukthi. Bhakti is like river Ganges, which is joined by multiple rivulets like karma yoga and Dhyana yoga at various levels before entering into the ocean – The Supreme Lord.  Thus, karma and Dhyana  yoga are preparatory phases. Only Bhatki yoga can revive our true relationship with GOD, which is called “Svarupua sidhi”. Lord Krishna says “Only by bhakti and by no other means, can a person understand and see me and enter into my realms”.

bhaktyā tv-ananyayā śakya aham evaṃ vidho ‘rjuna |

 jñātuṃ draṣṭuṃ ca tattvena praveṣṭuṃ ca paraṅtapa ||

What is the definition of Bhakti? It is the ripened state of knowledge (Jnana) mixed with pure love for GOD. Everybody goes to temple and pray. But majority of our prayers are for full filament of material desires. I need to pass exams. I need a good job and money. I need a luxurious house. My family should be hail and healthy. Thus, we use GOD as order supplier or business partner. We lure him with various means like share in the profit, some 100 coconuts etc. GOD accepts these things, not as a favor because nobody can do any favor to him. He is a very loving father and hence, he feels happy that his children (bewildered souls like us) come to him at least for some material favor, hoping that we may gradually improve. But this is not actual bhakti. Bhakti is actually a feeling of love combined with attitude of servitude. Without servitude there is no Bhakti. However, as rebellious souls, we have forgotten our real master. Instead, we want to master the nature. As a result, we are constantly engaged in sense gratification which means we have become slaves to our senses, though under ignorance, we feel we are masters. Thus, we have only two options, either to serve the Lord and be happy in eternity or to serve the senses (MAYA) and get constantly tossed up in this material world of distress. Either way we are servants. We just need to choose our master. This realization is not an overnight process.

The karmas which we have accumulated over years due to repeated births in this material world is the main obstacle in this endeavor. To overcome this is not a herculean task as we think. In each and every soul, the love for GOD is hidden and covered by material lust just like a fire being covered by smoke. It can be reignited by a gradual process. At first we should follow the basic tenets of our Sanatana Dharma which includes the following Do’s and Don’ts.

Do’s include truthfulness, virtuousness, performing our prescribed duties, nonviolence, respecting father, mother, teachers and guests. Taithriya Upanishad says,

  “Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara, Swādhyāya pramadhidavyam”

“Mātru devo bhava, pitru devo bhava, Achārya devo bhava,  athiti devo bhava”

Humility, Non ostentation, Nonviolence – in action, speech and mind, Service to the Acharya or Guru, Peace, Integrity, Purity (both external and internal), Steadfastness and Self-restrain (Controlling the senses). These are some of the basic qualities which we need to cultivate (B.G 13.8).

Amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṃsā kṣāntir ārjavam |

 ācāryopāsanaṃ śaucaṃ sthairyam ātma-vinigrahaḥ ||

Don’ts include meat eating, illicit sex, gambling and intoxication. Any of these four is enough to enslave the mind of an individual and deviate him from spiritual path.

Next most important requirement is “Aahaara shudhi” – purity of food. There are good number of examples in our puranas to suggest that impure food, even if consumed once by a very saintly person, can degrade him to low level by affecting his psyche. Hence, it recommended to eat only saatvik food. Meat eating is strictly forbidden. This is because, nonviolence is the basic tenet of our dharma.  Meat will also induce Rajo guna which is unfavorable for practicing bhakti.

It is strongly recommended that we prepare saatvik food, offer it to the Lord and partake it as His prasadam. This will cleanse our heart and increase our devotion. In Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna says “Food offered to me and taken as prasadam will clear all the sins. But one who cooks for himself eats only sin”

yajñā-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva kilbiṣaiḥ |

bhuñjate te tvaghaṃ pāpā ye pacantyātma kāraṇāt ||

As we follow the basic tenets of our dharma and perform duties with detachment, our mind gets purified. Association with pure devotees of Lord is very important. This will create a positive vibration in our surroundings. Then we should approach a qualified person – a spiritual master. “Tad vijnānārtham sa gurum evābhigacchet”. From him, we should learn the Bhatki yoga consisting of nine important components, called nava vidha bhakti as described by Prahalad Maharaj (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23)

Sravanam Keerthanam Vishnoh smaranam Pāda sevanam/

Archanam vandanam  Dāsyam, sakyam āthama nivedhanam//

First and foremost is to constantly hear about the glories and past times of the LORD (Sravanam). The next step is keerthanam which is chanting the holy name of LORD. In Kali yuga, the best yajna recommended is sankirtana yajna- chanting His holy name. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare” is the Maha mantra which can uplift any fallen soul. In this way we can be constantly engrossed in the Supreme. Lord Krishna says “With their minds focused on Me, confiding in one another and always discussing about my pastimes, the devotees live in contentment and bliss at all times.

mac-cittā mad-gata-prāṇā bodhayantaḥ parasparam |

kathayantaśca māṃ nityaṃ tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca ||

 As, the devotee follows these steps sincerely, transformation happens in him gradually. This is nicely described as follows. First and for most requirement for Bhakti is “Shradha” or faith in GOD and scriptures. Most of us will be in this stage. The next stage is “Saadhu Sangha” or association with pure devotees. This will lead us to third stage – “Bhajana Kriya” – practising nava vidha bhakti. As we keep doing this, there will be “Anartha Nivruthi” – cleansing of our sins and purification.

We then progress to the level of “Nishta” – firm faith in devotion. As we keep practicing with firm faith, we develop “Ruchi” or taste for Bhakti. The next level is Aasakti (detachment from worldly affairs completely) where a Jiva is fully engrossed in LORD. The next stage is “Bhava Bhatki” – the stage of exalted devotees. Final stage is “Prema Bhatki” or highest level of love for GOD as shown by the GOPIS.

So, let us all take the first step today. Even a small step with full faith and devotion will be acknowledged by the Lord who will give us the right atmosphere to further cultivate this process. In this practice, there is no wasted effort nor any harm. Even a small step will protect us from great terror (B.G. 2.40).

nehābhikrama-nāśo’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate /

 svalpam apyasya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt//

Even if we happen to slip down in the middle of this process, nothing is lost. We will be given the appropriate birth next time to continue from where we left.

We also need not worry about the sins we committed so far or how we were in the past. Today, if we become a devotee, Lord forgives all our sins considering our sincerity as told by Him.

Api-cet sudurācāro bhajate mām-ananyabhāk |

sādhur-eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag-vyavasito hi saḥ ||

Lord Krishna is so merciful on fallen souls. In the below mentioned shloka, He specifically addresses people of modern society who practically are not exposed to any spiritual knowledge.

Anye tvevam ajānantaḥ śrutvānyebhya upāsate |

 te’pi cātitarantyeva mṛtyuṃ śruti parāyaṇāḥ ||

He says, “A person who otherwise does not have spiritual knowledge, but shows inclination and sincerely listens to the devotees and follow them will also be liberated (taranti) from cycle of birth and death”. From this, we can understand that, the process of hearing (Sravanam) is specifically stressed upon. By associating with devotees and following their footsteps, we will get gradually purified. If we just show willingness to take one step towards the Lord, leave alone doing it, He takes ten steps towards us. That is His love for us.

If we surrender ourselves totally at the lotus feet of the Lord with firm faith, He will liberate us from all our sins. This is the essence of Bhagavat Gita.

Sarva dharmān parityajya mām ekaṃ śaraṇaṃ vraja |

ahaṃ tvā sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ ||

Hence, let us follow these instructions and realize the true purpose of human life.

I offer my humble obeisance to His Grace Savyasachi Das, who taught me all about the science of GOD Consciousness and inspired me into this path.

 

Author – Dr. Murali Jayaraman, Super Specialist Doctor, working for Kavery group of Hospital.

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