The Rise of Bhakti Movement

Bhakti And Ishta Devata

What is liberation?

Consciousness, Awareness is universal. It is the subject of all experience. It can never be experienced because it is the one that experiences, in the normal course of our existence.

When a living entity is riveted in pure consciousness untainted by the distortions of the mind, he transcends all experiences. He is freed from limitations of the body and mind. The Jnanis term this deep realization as liberation.

How is Bhakti greater the Moksha?

There is another type of liberation which has has been my life-long pursuit and keeps me motivated.

This liberation is a state “Beyond Moksha.” Sanatana Dharma calls it Bhakti. When pure consciousness is directly experienced as the “other”, it seen as the all-perfect entity. It is the the highest possibility of humanity as one unit. Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya, and Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu have great solutions for the common folk.

How does Bhagavan interact with devotees?

The Supreme Consciousness, which is “I”, the original “Me” comes to our direct experience, as a separate entity. This is the highest state of liberation; Liberation, unimaginable by any stretch of knowledge or Wisdom. It is direct perception beyond the realm of wisdom. In this type of liberation, one need not lose one’s body-mind. There is no need to merge into the ocean of Consciousness as the Jnanis proclaim.

When we see our highest possibility as a separate entity, He remains with us as our doting parent. Our own inner most self, the supremely intimate aspect stays with us by our side. Caring, like a concerned mother cajoles her dear one. What will be the feeling like, can anyone even imagine?

This experience is beyond any experience of liberation. Many devotees have attained that state of being. They continue to exist in Permanence even after their material body fades away. They exist in pure spiritual form in the spiritual realm. Their original self always exists with the Supreme Being by their side.

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Bhakti vs Jnana

Won’t the feeling of being present with the Supreme Being beat the “Knowledgeable Experience” of merging into the light?

When the mother holds the child to her waist, can any enemy touch her child? If our Highest Self makes Himself available to us in a physical-spiritual form, Won’t it be wonderful? Having emotions and intentions, just like us. Yet, having the capacity to keep the universe at bay as far as our protection and maintenance is concerned. Isn’t that a desirable experience?

Won’t one wish to go on an endless journey bearing a spiritual eternal form. Like a surfer continues to surf an inch above the endless waves protected by a life-jacket. Similarly, the personified aspect of the Universe oversees our maintenance and keeps us eternally protected. Will that not be fun as compared to simply disappearing into nothingness as the Jnanis explain ‘Brahman’?

How Bhakti movement started?

Even as the Iron Age began, people started losing their intelligence to the power of Maya. They started to lose their memory capacity and became far too short-sighted.

The Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s theory now appeared esoteric, inaccessible and far-fetched to the intelligence of the larger population. The masses were drowning in the pandemonium of new-age tyrants who started taking control over the lives of innocent people.

Ramanujacharya rediscovers the Bhakti movement

This is when, the land of Bharath witnessed an overwhelming rediscovery phase with the advent of Sri Ramanujacharya. The phase lasted till the departure of the Supreme Lord Sri Chaitanya. Bhakti, an integral aspect of Sanatana Dharma reappeared in a glorious and heart-touching manner.

It was during this period that the concept of “Ishta Devata” became prominent more than ever. Tales of saints and their Ishta Devatas, (deity of their heart) became the talk of the common folk of Bharath.

The Supreme Being could be summoned by the innocent heart. India became a land where the Supreme Being appeared. He took the forms of Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Vitthal, Lord Shiva and a host of deities in ways which one can never imagine. These deities offered direct shelter to their devotees.

Bhakti Saints

Who can forget the tales of how Goswami Tulsidas met Sri Hanumanji, Sri Rama and Sri Laxmana in person? The tales of Sri Thyagaraja, the singing saint of Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvarur district and his rendezvous with Sri Rama can never be forgotten. They have the capacity to drench one’s heart with pure love for God. Who can forget Sri Mirabai’s tryst with her eternal paramour Lord Sri Krishna of Dwaraka?

What about Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu in the mood of Sri Radha pining for union with his beloved Krishna of Vrindavana. The list is endless.

Who can do Bhakti yoga?

Bhakti as a practice is for those who have stopped doubting and with an innocent heart surrender to the Supreme. They summon Him with the sole intention of being in His eternal companionship serving Him in endless ways.

How Ishta devata guides you?

When this surrender is complete, there is no doubt that one’s beloved deity, “Ishta Devata’ (Lord of one’s heart) shall arrive. He shall hold his devotee’s hand leading the way to His eternal abode. This is just not a matter of faith, it is the plain Truth.

The only thing is that one should be ready to burn oneself in Love for the Supreme. One should expect nothing whatsoever other than to be in His eternal service.

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