2 Essential Qualities in Bhakti
- Perform Karma
- Forget about the Results
If the Lord asks us to draw a square, we must work on it with much precision.
But, leave the rest to Him.
Then it becomes the Lord’s responsibility to take care of us.
Irrespective of our success in making the square, he takes care of the devotees who perform their Karma without expecting results.
His gain is a result of obedience to the Lord.
Hence, an individual should follow the instruction of the Shastra applicable for Kaliyuga.
The sages repeat the Lord’s words.
So, one must follow them aided by one’s sharpened intelligence.
‘True’ Intelligence is the one born out of deliberation.
Even adverse situations in life transform into a delightfully learning experience.
Does Sharanagati mean freedom from performing Karma?
There can be no moment in life where work is not performed.
One has to work and work hard, even struggle.
However, one can never claim ownership of any activity performed.
You cannot bargain with the Supreme Being thus “I have worked all my life on your behalf, now grant me Moksha.”
Such an act or state of being is opposed to the very construct of Moksha or Liberation.
If Sharangati meant liberation from Karma/work then life of Acharyas like Vedanta Desika and Ramanuja becomes futile for they have spent their entire life composing hymns in praise of Bhagawan and documenting numerous works on spirituality.
In this context it is important to understand the definition of Kainkaryam (கைங்கர்யம்) or Servitude to the Lord.
If someone promises a garland to the Lord for Rs 50, 000 because he is going to sign a contract of Rs 5 million for a road contract, this cannot be service.
It can only be another business deal, which only makes the Lord smile.
On the other hand, there is a daily wages worker who hands over to the Lord, a simple garland that costs Rs 5.
He affords the garland that could be accommodated in his budget.
But, here the mood is to cause pleasure to the Lord, to see the Lord happy.
Buying the garland becomes a gesture to display his love for the Lord.
Such a mood is indeed Kainkaryam of the highest order.
Qualities of a True Bhakta
If one wants to attain the pedestal of a true Bhakta one must bear no other thought but of Sri Krishna alone.
If he sings, he must sing the glories of Him and thoughts shall always revolve around Him alone.
One’s entire life shall epitomize devotion.
If one walks, it must head towards the temple.
If one bows, it shall be only for God and none other. Also, one’s thought, word and deed should necessarily revolve around Bhagawan.
The best example of such exalted state, Bhakti is indeed King Ambarisha.
The Azhvars, propound these characteristics of true devotees in their works.
Kulashekhara Azhvar has done this, in his Mukundamala and Andaal too in her Paushurams (Compositions relating to the Lord usually in the Tamil language- The Works of Azhvars).
Three things remain constant in the path of devotion.
Bhagawan himself, devotee’s love for God and the path chosen by the devotee to attain Him.
Parasara Bhattar explains the Mood of devotional Service?
There is a very important Paushuram from one of the Azhvars.
He sings thus, “If you want to worship My Lord, it is the easiest thing in the world.
Do not worry of His elevated position, as the Master of the Universe.
Remember, how much ever you give Him, He is beyond satisfaction.
You cannot give to Him, considering His most elevated position as compared to all the beings of this world put together.”
Another Paushuram of Andaal goes something like this “I have arranged 100 pots of butter for my Beloved and 100 pots of sweet-meats made of pure clarified butter for Him.”
In relation with this line in the Paushuram, a student of Parasara Bhattar known as Anjiyar, asked his preceptor this question.
“Oh, it seems that the Lord only gets happy if such elaborate arrangements are made for His meal. But I am a poor man. I have no capacity to please Him thus.
Parasara Bhattar smiled and replied: “You think that the 100 pots of butter is too much?”
To this Anjiyar shot back “Is it not too far-fetched for a puny man like me, to be able to make such elaborate arrangements?”
His precetor explained “For the amount of butter, sweets and other eatables that Lord Krishna has seen in Gokula, this is miniscule, negligible.
Even if you were to collect all the sweets of the universe, it will mean nothing for the Lord, considering His position and capacity.
But there is a fix for this”.
The greatest offering to Bhagawan
He continues: “Just add Bhakti, to whatever little you offer to the Lord.
Offer your inner purity to the Lord as part of your offering.
Whatever little one does for the Lord, one should take a humble position and feel that , it is not I who is doing this, but it is the Lord who is getting things done out of me, extending His causeless mercy on me.
You should have this unshakeable faith that you are incapable of even trying for Liberation.
It is the Lord alone who has taken up your responsibility.
This should reverberate in all your thoughts, words and actions.”
Parashara Bhatta convinced Anjiyar, that Bhakti is the greatest.
Whatever that we do out of our limited will or fantasy is short-lived and non-eternal.
However, when the load is transferred entirely to the Lord, all of our actions become Sanatana or eternal, difficult for the Lord to repay.
Bhakti of the Azhwars
The Alvars remember the Lord in their heart.
They sing “Oh Lord, you are the solidity of the earth, you are the heat and light of fire, You are the blueness of the sky.”
There are some tales that are popular in South India.
The Lord says “You have found me in so many ways. Be happy by finding me in Earth, Fire and the Sky.”
To this the Alvars say “Oh No, Lord.
Do not punish us this way.
We shall only be happy to receive you the way our mind has beautifully conceived you.
We want your greenish-blue form, with your chest bearing the great Srivastava mark (The mark is a tuft of hair that represents Goddess Laxmi).
Your forhead must bear the great tilaka (mark of vermillion) of the Solar race.
Wielding the bow and arrow and garments of silky yellow and blue with a crown bedecked with precious gems that are only found on your crown, please give us darshan in this form”
Thus the form of the Lord is most important. Everything else only follows later.
The great Tamil female sage Srimati Andal (திருமதி ஆண்டாள்) says:
“Oh Krishna you do not care for your lovers, who have left everything behind, for your Love.”
In the same breath she says “Oh Rama, you are so caring, you care for every emotion that arises in the heart of your lovers.
Who can be more caring, Oh Rama?”
When Bhakti reaches ultimate maturity, the Lord becomes one with your emotion.
This is Kainkaryam, Bhakti and Sharangati of the highest order, where the Lord considers his devotees words as extremely important.
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