Relation of Bhakti Yoga with Karma and Jnana Yoga

Greatness of Bhakti Yoga

How are Bhakri, Jnana Karma related?

The dharma of Bhakti is as old as the RigVeda itself. Bhakti is also known as Bhagavatha Dharma or the natural relationship that exists between the Jiva and Ishwara.

Karma and Jnana as a systematic order of Yoga existed for a long time. Yet, without the aspect of Bhakti both Karma and Jnana can be considered as mere rituals without a spirit. If Jnana and Karma are like the jewels of a well strung garland, it is Bhakti alone that strings the jewels together. Bhakti is that underlying principle which makes Karma and Jnana work, although it remains in the background. In more ways than one, it is Bhakti that stands independently through pure service based on higher emotions. Service through Jnana and Karma fructifies only if Bhakti becomes the intrinsic principle. Bhakti gives meaning to Karma and Jnana.

How is Bhakti superior to Jnana and Karma?

The heart to surrender the work to a higher entity or not expecting the results of work, forms the basis of Karma Yoga. But the very emotion of working for a higher cause, the emotion of surrender itself can be regarded as the principle of Bhakti.

When a Sadhaka works towards attainment of Brahman, committing himself to Truth and higher principles, it is Jnana Yoga. But this commitment to the higher principles is fundamentally what Bhakti is. However, when a person surrenders himself to God, Ishwara, owing to attachment for Him, it becomes pure Bhakti.

Here Bhakti does not depend directly on action. but the action is rendered pure, through Bhakti alone. This Karma is born out of Bhakti and becomes Akarma. This Karma never binds. It is ever free and does not render any fruits which becomes a cause for future results. Adhering to Bhakti, evokes intelligence of the higher kind, this is Jnana which is born out of Bhakti.

Problems with Jnana

For many, Consciousness is simply the subject. It is the eternal subject, the experiencer, which can never be experienced directly. In this subjectivity of the impersonal Brahman, one can never meet Brahman. Brahman can be intuited through Jnana, through contemplation on the aphorisms. The immensity of a relationship can never be experienced through the Impersonal Brahman. There is lack of company in Jnana Yoga.

The Brahman realization is for the Vairagi, the renunciant, who pursues Truth and the Dharma principles. Brahman is only intuited in aloofness. There is a lack of mood and mellow in the Upanishadic dictum “Aham Brahmasmi”, “Tvam tattva Masi’ and such similar ones.

Why is Bhakti important?

The seekers of Truth can include simple people. They may not have the grit to realize the Brahman within themselves in aloofness, like a Jnani. Such people can be driven by higher emotion, through pure emotions. They could be docile, truthful and yet be vulnerable. The ferocity and intensity of intent could be lacking in them compared to the Jnana Yogis. They could lack the ability to deeply study the scriptures. Also they could be incapable to intelligently distil Truth from untruth in this delusive ocean of Samsara or worldly life. 

What is the resort for these sincere seekers, if they cannot qualify for Jnana or Karma?

It is for this reason that Brahman, the Self takes up a Personality. It manifests as the Supreme Being and attracts such sincere people by taking lovable forms.

Does God have form in Sanatana Dharma?

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the eternal infinite form of Brahman. It is not that the Formless has taken form. Nor you can say that it was formless and for the sake of devotees it has taken form. Both the Form and Formless aspects are eternal. They are beginningless and endless. There arises a need for Bhakti or Bhagavatha Dharma, a relationship of the higher kind which is entirely spiritual in nature.

Misconceptions about the Avatars

Many so-called spiritual gurus or religious people, connected with certain organizations say that Man created God. ‘Man created interesting forms of God and started worshipping these forms by invoking life into it’.

This view is just a figment of imagination. Man can never create God. The various eternal forms of the Lord exist in a zone free from the restrictions of space and time. When the Lord is eternal, how could He be given a form by man? Man is a mere projection of the Supreme Being. He is reflected as a soul or Jiva by the Lord’s energy potency Maya Devi.  The supreme Being is the owner of Maya Devi.

Man is a creation of the Personality of God and not vice-versa. It is possible that at different times, the Lord’s image is reflected in the heart of a sage from Vaikuntha. Subsequently that form of the Lord manifests itself in flesh and blood. This form is completely spiritual, not like the flesh and blood of the ordinary mortal.

This can never mean that the devotee has created a form of the Lord and then Brahman takes that form. This is a misconstrued notion about the Reality of the Supreme Being.

Nature of the Supreme Being

The Supreme Personality of Godhead can never be conceived or apprehended by the material senses. This is because the senses are given to the living entity by Maya. The Lord and His activities can never be known through any level of argument or logic. Other than through His Grace, He can never be realized or comprehended. Single pointed devotion, service to Him with a surrendered mind can only win His heart.

The Shrutis or Vedic Texts simply point to Him but cannot capture Him. Only when His grace starts flowing to the devotee or sadhaka can he be realized or captured in the heart. Once someone attains the Lord’s complete grace, the Lord loses His independence and gets sold out to His devotee. After that He is subject to the will of His devotees alone. He is specially fond of devotees who have entered into a relationship with Him through complete resignation or by surrendering to Him.

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