Difference between Blind Faith and Bhakti
Blind faith is any type of belief system, whether relating to the gods or the material world not corroborated by the Shastras.
It is also known as “Andha Shraddha”.
Superstition or Belief are not synonymous.
Belief is always blind and does not have a basis.
Faith, on the other hand, is Scripturally sanctioned, experimented by the Sages, and declared as authentic.
This is because Faith is always in line with Shastra.
Shraddha or Faith is the very same thing as Bhakti.
Faith or Bhakti is always the attachment to a higher entity.
Nothing else can qualify as Faith.
Difference between Parental Love and Bhakti
If a daughter loves the mother or the mother loves the daughter, it can never qualify as Bhakti.
This is because the mother-daughter relationship is not eternal.
There is no spiritual component in the basis of such Love.
This can never qualify as Pure Bhakti or para Bhakti (Ultimate Faith born out of Love).
The relationship between father and son is that of parental affection.
Nothing more than that.
Yet some people prefer to call it Bhakti, loosely.
This is because parents are superior to the child and when the child serves the parents, people called it “Pitr Bhakti” or “Matr Bhakti” (Bhakti towards parents).
Vatsalya is parents’ love for the child out of parental affection alone.
Love Towards the Lord
The Lord is the most superlative being in the universe, greater than the greatest.
Only when insignificant beings like the living entities, show their affection towards the Lord, it can qualify as Faith, Bhakti.
The Shastra approves such Faith as Bhakti.
True Love is only that which we direct towards the Lord.
The purest and Supreme Bhakti is Love Towards Godhead.
The Acharyas declare that…
One should Love God in adherence to the Itihasa and Puranas, the Vedas, and all such allied Shastra.
How to protect our Bhakti?
To understand Shastra, one has to absorb Shastra through Satsanga and hearing the words of authentic Acharyas.
One has to be careful and should not invest belief in charlatans.
There are many so-called Fakes who loot innocent people in the name of faith.
Illiterate, innocent, or ignorant people make gods and Avatars of these thugs who not only rob people of their wealth but also their intelligence.
Such fakesters end up in jail if they are alive or earn themselves bad names on dying.
This is the result of “Andh Shraddha”.
The point is that unless Shastra is the heart of authentic sources and unless the Shastra reveals its secrets until such time ignorance alone will rule.
Man has to take efforts to contact authentic sources of Vedic dissemination.
Only when a person deliberates on the Shastra with one-pointed focus and sincerity, he shall grope in the darkness of mind-created darkness.
Pastimes of the Lord to Develop Bhakti
Unless one hears the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord Hari, the Divine force cannot establish one in genuine faith or Bhakti.
The pastimes or the legends of the Lord are not material for entertainment.
They are the extract of life.
These stories of the Lord represent the true meaning of life and existence.
The glories of the Lord entail the very form of God.
The Srimad Bhagavatham is the highest Scripture that defines faith.
Sri Krishna and the Bhagavatham are non-different.
The Scripture is the sound form of the Lord.
Best Scripture to Inculcate Bhakti
Sri Veda Vyasa writes something interesting in the Bhagavatham.
The Lord was about to consummate his pastimes on the earthly plane.
He prepares Himself to ascend to the Eternal plane of Goloka Dhama.
At that time, his closest associate and friend of Sri Krishna, Sri Uddhavji Maharaj raises this pertinent question to the Lord.
Oh Lord, When you empty the world of your presence, how can your dear devotees, your lovers of Prema Bhakti, exist without You?
To this the Lord smiled and replied, After the consummation of my earlier pastimes, I entered into the realm of the Kshirasagara, Ocean Milk.
This time, I will not do that.
For the benefit of my dear devotees, I shall directly enter into the divine Scripture known as Shrimad Bhagavata Mahapurana.
Saying this, Lord Sri Krishna taking the form of the Effulgent glow of Brahman, entered the greatest Scripture of Bhagawan, the Shrimad Bhagavatham.
The Greatness of Shrimad Bhagavatham
That is the reason why Acharyas, the Knower of Vedas consider the Shrimad Bhagavatham as the direct sound form of Lord Sri Krishna.
The Lord is thus physically established in this Scripture.
Every alphabet, word, and sentence of the Scripture is non-different from Lord Sri Krishna.
This Scripture is a Paramahamsa Grantha, which means it is a Scripture beyond the three modes of material nature namely goodness, passion, and ignorance.
Although Veda Vyasa has scripted the Work, it has been drunk deep by Paramahamsa Sukadeva Goswami and heard by a Sage among kings, Sri Parikshit Maharaj.
The Lord says that any person who commits himself to the Bhagavatham and reads or recites it with Love, the Lord never deserts such a devotee.
The Lord resides with such an individual forever.
Developing Bhakti in Women: Srimad Bhagavatham
Learned men say that the Bhagavatham is the detailed commentary of the Gayatri Mantra.
It is important to understand that the mantra does not authorize everyone to chant the Gayatri Mantra.
Especially, women and members of the male society who have not undergone Yagyopaveetham or the thread investiture ceremony, cannot recite the Gayatri Mantra.
People who violate this law put forth by the Shastra shall only attract ill-luck.
However, everyone has the right to read or hear the Shrimad Bhagavatham.
Veda Vyasa says that a person has to drink from the nectar of the Bhagavatham till the last breath of his life.
This is the earnest recommendation of the sage.
One has to take the position of a rasika, a person who is in surrendered love to the Lord.
One has to be appreciative of every aspect of the Lord.
When such a person appreciates and reads the Bhagavatham, one shall derive the total benefits of the Scripture and shall enter into the domain of immortality.
Which Scripture is Authentic for Devotees to read?
Today, we are encountered with numerous editions of scriptures, written by both believers, so-called creative fiction writers, and devotees as well.
But, which one should we opt for?
Which book or scripture should we read to preserve our mood of Bhakti?
There are three qualities that a writer of the scripture must possess to qualify as authentic for Bhakti .
1) Mastery over Vedas – A person giving any sort of commentary or writing a scripture must have mastery over the Vedas.
He must have mastered the Vedas and extracted the knowledge contained therein.
2) Self-restraint – He should have performed enough austerities and penance so that his senses are controlled.
Self-restrain shall enable the assimilation of knowledge gained through scriptural study.
Moreover, it is only penance that transforms knowledge into wisdom and gives it maturity.
3) Possess Communication skills – Above all, he should be talented and have communication skills.
Thus, through simple language, he must address and advise millions of diverse living entities.
He must have command over the language to convey deeper meanings through simple words, presented through appropriate contexts.
I recommend the literal english translations of Gita Press for scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Ramcharit Manasa, and Bhagavad Gita.
Keep in Mind
The sages and seers of the Vedic pantheon always propagated works that uplift the life of the common man. Their only objective was to aid the general population through their spiritual works.
They had no other purpose. We should approach their works with reverence and utmost humility.
Hence, this faith must develop- “These works are for my benefit alone”.
Their works should never be regarded as a work of fiction or a novel.
If one regards these works as light works of entertainment, one shall never receive Grace or benefit from these works.
For generations together, many families in the land of Bharath still continue to lead lives inspired by the works of The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, and The Srimad Bhagavatham.
Children from many such families spend half their lifetime understanding and preaching the precepts hidden in these scriptures.
If that were the case, could these scriptures be even remotely deemed ordinary?
The Ramayana is perhaps the most widely sung and preached scripture in the whole of Bharath Bhumi (भूमि land) today.