Do you give Preference to Spiritual Activities? | Srimad Bhagavatham-14
The Lord accepts a person as a devotee if the answer is a ‘Yes’ to the following question.
Does the person give preference to the service of the Lord when confronted with any other work?
If individuals forsake the Lord’s activities, giving more importance to the diktats of the mind then he is still said to be under the grip of Maya. The Lord does not get involved in the lives of such people. This condition becomes the Lord’s preliminary yardstick to accept or reject a practitioner of Bhakti from His fold.
On the other had, when Bhakti has become the only way of life for a Bhakta, the individual is relieved from even the process of deciding. The Lord takes full ownership of the surrendered being. Free-will (of the being) is then taken over by the Lord and He decides on behalf of the individual. He takes this right just because the Bhakta himself submits his free-will in the process of Bhakti.
This does not mean that the person or individual has “no-mind” of his own. It simply means that the Bhakta has to align his mind to the will of the Lord, at all times. That means still, there is seemingly some free-will. But, then the Bhakta has to tune his apparent free-will to the Will of the Lord alone. The being has no further say. This is the safest route to managing the affairs of our life.
A Devotee’s Life is Always Different from Others
Now, definitions of what is Bhakti and what is not, is wholly defined by the Lord. No other person can comment. What might appear as suffering for the world might turn out to be a life changing lesson for the devotee. It might cause him/her momentary pain or trouble. But, by the end of it, he get the message of the Lord. So, the individual’s major life decisions are taken by the Lord and the Bhakta shall not be allowed to intervene. This becomes the authentic route to Liberation.
When a devotee has graduated to the domain of the Lord, things change. But, if a devotee, by the whims of his mind, decides to read scriptures as a routine and disengages from work, the Lord may decide whether or not the decision was appropriate. If the decision made by the Bhakta is incorrect, the Lord may lovingly reprimand the devotee. A temporary phase of sickness might strike the devotee or an apparent debacle might come along.
These are indications that the Lord is not pleased with the decision of the Bhakta. It is to make this foolish Bhakta realize and force him to contemplate as to what the Lord is trying to communicate. His intelligence triggers as the Lord personally highlights the mistakes he made.
God expresses His displeasure
The Lord may communicate either through a dream, or a vision while chanting or through the mouth of a guru or any other advanced devotee. After realizing his folly, the devotee seeks the Lord to take all decision of his life. After this degree of submission is made, the Bhakta becomes a mere tool of the Lord. The devotee may get involved with rigorous work, by the ultimate will of the Lord.
Automatically, the devotee is restored to health and well-being. Strange are the ways of the Lord.
When a man is sullied by material nature, it is required by him to undertake Sadhana and study the scriptures. He thus gets purified. Grace descends on such an individual. But, once Bhakti is completely attained, the rules of the game change, by the will of the Lord.
Now, it shall be the prerogative of the Lord, where He establishes, seemingly material activities as a needed spiritual endeavor on the part of the Bhakta. On the other hand a spiritual activity as per Shastra, can become a prohibited activity for the devotee at a certain juncture. Finally every activity becomes the “Will of the Lord”.
There is no one who can decide the degree of Bhakti within our hearts. Neither Sukadeva Goswami nor the Acharya nor Vyasadeva can qualify as the barometer for our “personal” Bhakti. This can only be decided amongst the Lord and the Bhakta. No one is qualified to comment on anybody’s Bhakti. This is the summary and understanding of Kapila’s teachings to His mother Devahuti.
Purity of Thought Decides Quality of Life
Kapila told His mother “You are still dissatisfied because you have not performed those desirable activities that ought to have been done by now. Hence, Jnana has evaded you. If you realize why you have been born, then you would never be in doubt. People doubt because there is a lack of understanding about their purpose of birth. If one were to simply “realize” that Atma is different from “body”, most of the doubts about life would get dissolved. Hence, Kainkaryam or Service to the Lord is indispensable.”
The next important point that Kapila covers is means for Chitta Shuddhi (चित्त शुद्धि), that is purification of thoughts and consciousness. The most important means for Chitta Shuddhi is verily Kainkaryam.
Who in the world will go to the temple to enquire about the welfare of their loving deity? Everybody assumes that the Lord is the most powerful. They assume that their personal needs are supposed to be catered by the Lord. But, this is a folly. This approach does not qualify as Kainkaryam. Instead, if one is only interested in the Lord’s welfare at all times, that becomes Kainkaryam.
Why Devotees avoid Seeking Boons from God?
I am sure people reading this blog definitely have basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. There are millions who do not have a home to live, do not have enough to eat and do not have clothes to wear. If we go on placing demands to the Lord for self-fulfillment, then what about the millions who suffer the pangs of material life? They also do not have the good-fortune of reading or hearing the teachings of the Srimad Bhagavatham. So is it justified, to go on demanding from the Lord?
It is important to have a pure heart to qualify for Bhakti. Bhakti does not solicit education, knowledge of Sanskrit or Tamil, nor the ability to directly understand the Scriptures, as they are. Bhakti only demands that the practitioner has intense desire for the Lord and nothing else. Everything else shall then automatically fall in place.
We do not look at our good fortune compared to the ill-luck of millions of others. Selfishness has blinded many people as they are developing a complaining mindset. Bhakti demands that worship of the deity is done for worship alone and nothing else. The means and the end are the same. Worship is the means and worship is the end. It finally results in the satisfaction of the deity.
4 Must-Follow Rules to Qualify as a Bhakta
Bhakti cannot be blindly followed as many people do. In my many previous article I have said: “Bhakti cannot be imitated.” There are some rules after following which one can qualify for Bhakti.
1) Varna-Ashrama Dharma has to be performed, without any expectations.
2) Worshipping your Ishta without any expectations should be an intrinsic part of life.
3) No living entity should be hurt either through thought, word or deed.
4) The most lethal form of violence according to Shastra is to wish ill for others. Man should consciously avoid things that are mentioned as ‘Don’ts’ in Shastra. Follow the Shastra as it is.
Avoid the things that are meant to be avoided, so that the mind remains calm and in a pure state. The Shastra says: “All types of visual and audio material that promotes violence or results in sullying of the mind should be avoided at all costs.” This obedience to the Shastra itself shall separate you from the millions of people before the Lord’s eyes. You shall then be the priority of Bhagawan.
Violence of Any Kind is Prohibited
When it comes to popular cinema, filmmakers often fall into arguments when their ill intentions are scanned by the hearts of the public. In turn, filmmakers might promote their piece of violent art by saying: “We are trying to tell the society what should be avoided.” This is an absolute hypocritical and pretentious statement. The mind absorbs directly what it sees. It gets sullied when exposed to undesirable material. This is the real psychology unlike the baseless statements made by greedy film-makers to sell their products.
If you wish to offer a positive statement, then what is the use of promoting it through negative means? This, the mind shall never grapple and only serve to worsen the mental-balance of society. If positivity is to be promoted, it can only be promoted through positive content and not otherwise.
Kapila explained to His mother that to realize that body is different from Atma, the memory and intelligence has to be purified. Only after this stage will we realize that Atma belongs to Paramatma, the Super-Soul, who is our eternal Father, our Lord.
He explained to Devahuti, how an unborn child when conceived, prays to the Supreme father in the womb of the mother. It makes promises to the Lord. The child promises to lead a pious life. But, when born, he instantly forgets the promises due to the influence of Maya.
Sage (Lord) Kapila’s mother accepts her own son as her spiritual preceptor. She gets enlightened through the great Incarnation’s words and ascends to the eternal planet of the Lord, Vaikuntha.
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