Three important points before starting bhakti sadhana
There are three very important aspects of Bhakti.
- The first and the most important aspect here is Hearing. Without hearing about spiritual topics concerning the Lord, there can be no understanding of the Bhakti process.
Hearing about Bhakti from an enlightened sage is vital. Even the Jnana path first recommends hearing about the Jnana path from the mouth of an enlightened master.
- Next, is to contemplate on the various aspects of your path , and mull over it deeply. This step prepares ourselves to follow the path and get established with firm conviction.
- The last step is to start following the practices after being certain about the path. However one must ensure that the earlier two steps are not missed. Hearing and contemplating over the Jnana or Bhakti process, is undoubtedly essential to promise a successful end. In a country like India, most people follow some form of practice in line with Bhakti or Jnana. But most of them to the tune of 99.99 % of the population, do it in an incorrect manner. They do the process merely by applying the senses.
The lack of spirit in Bhakti
People read scriptures like Ramayana or Gita, with dedicated regularity. Many people even recite the Ramayana non-stop for 24 hours. People may offer flowers to their adored idols. There may be other thousand rituals, that one may do. But the sad part is that the mind is left free to please its whims. In the name of Bhakti, the body continues to work, but the mind is up to its same old nonsense. It continues to graze on the same filth done outside the worship hall.
Link between Mind and Bhakti Sadhana
The mind is the only factor that decides the success of your spiritual journey. Today, most of the so-called devotional activities have become limited to the senses and body. Priests carrying out deity worship, do the decoration of the deities as a physical drill. They lack the harmonious coordination of body and mind. While chanting, people just chant out of an obligation to complete their daily routine of 16 or 64 rounds. The focus is more on the numbers than the spirit of chanting.
The Mind is a neglected entity while performing the so-called “acts of God”. No one is eager to see the Lord. Nobody misses the Lord. Nobody is ready to call the Lord with earnestness in the heart. No one is ready to shed a single tear for the Lord. Still, many claim to be “devotees.” Today, all practices are just mechanical processes devoid of both mental and emotional involvement.
The sages and the scriptures exhort that “What mind is to spiritual practice is what life is to the body.” Just as the body is valueless without the life-force, similarly, spiritual practice has no substance, without involvement of the mind. The mind’s area of attachment, decides the flow of consciousness.
Examples to understand the working of the mind
For instance- If I am excessively body-conscious, I would naturally spend more time beatifying myself and caring for the body.
Or, If my mind likes my father and has emotions for him, I shall automatically serve him and try to make him happy.
Or take for instance– If I do not like my neighbor and am forced to help him, I cannot satisfy my neighbor by such forced service. How then can the infinite Lord be pleased by mere ritual, which lacks both interest and involvement? If a mortal like the neighbor feels displeasure by our forced service, how can we expect the Lord to be moved by our self-centered practices. It should be remembered with utmost clarity that it is the mind alone that causes liberation or bondage. Mind’s attachment towards the world is bondage. While, its attachment to the Lord, results in liberation.
Example of crime scene to understand the mechanics of mind
Even in this material world, when somebody commits a murder, people only look at the intention and motive of the crime.
For instance- A person “A” kills another person “B” and receives money from the person “C” for committing the crime. In this sequence, Who is responsible for the crime?
The primary accused shall be the person “C”. This is because “A’s” intention was to get quick money and the murder was simply a means. However “C”, actually intended to commit the murder of “B” of which “A” was simply a tool. Hence according to the law of the land, “C” is the real culprit behind “B’s” murder. This is because it is “C” who plotted the scheme. Here, mind is the main culprit, not only in this case, but in all fields of life. The Mind is capable of taking us to the other-world, if applied in the right way. Without involvement of the mind, all endeavors are fruitless, aimless and a sheer waste of time and energy.