The best form of bhakti

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 28 14:36:11 CDT 1999

The advaita concept of bhakti is based, not surprisingly, on the
 text of a well-known passage in the bR^ihadAraNyaka upanishhad.
 This occurs in the fourth brAhmaNa of the first adhyAya of the
 great upanishhad. (1.4.10)

 Shankara has paraphrased the same idea in the advaita-prakaraNa of
 his Prabodha-sudhAkara:

 tadidaM ya evamAryo veda brahmAhamasmIti |
 sa idaM sarvaM cha syAttasya devAshcha neshate .abhUtyai ||

 The noble person who knows this (Self) in this manner -
 "I am Brahman" (brahmAhamasmIti) - he becomes all this.
 His non-becoming cannot be forced even by the Gods.

 eshhAm sa bhavatyAtmA - He becomes the Self of these Gods.

 yo .anyAmatha devatAmupAste| ahamanyo .asAvanyashchetthaM yo
 veda pashuvatsaH ||

 He who worships another deity thus (with the understanding) "I
 am different. He (God) is different." is like an animal.
 (Anyone who worships God thinking "He and I are different" is like
 an animal, ie. bound by ignorance.)

 The upanishhad remarks here: "yathA ha vai bahavaH pashavo
 manushhyaM bhuJNjyuH, evamekaikaH purushho devAn.h bhunakti"
 Just as many animals serve a man, every  man (who thinks of
 himself as different from his deity) serves the Gods.

 Shankara continues:

  ityupanishhadAmuktistathA shrutirbhagavaduktishcha |
  GYAnI tvAtmaiveyaM matirmametyatra yuktirapi ||

  The upanishhads and the Veda too say thus. BhagavAn
  Krishna too says (gItA 7.18) : "The jnAnI is My very Self.
  This is My judgement." There is also reasoning here (apart
  from the testimony of the scriptures.)

  R^iju vakraM vA kAshhThaM hutAshadagdhaM sadagnitAM yAti |
  tatkiM hastagrAhyaM R^ijuvakrAkArasattve .api  ||

  Whether a piece of wood is straight or bent, being burnt by
  fire, attains the state of fire. Is it to be grasped by hand
  even though it has a straight or bent form?

  The reasoning is: Regardless of the shape and form of the piece
  of wood, once it is burning, it loses its original characteristic
  of "being fit to be grasped by hand." Likewise, regardless of
  whether a person is handsome or ugly, rich or poor, tall or short,
  educated or illiterate, etc., once the person attains jnAna,
  he/she loses the capability of being judged on the basis of the
  body, mind, and intellect. This person should not be considered
  to be an ordinary person anymore. This person should not be
  considered to be inferior to God. In fact, there is the (dormant)
  fire of divinity in everyone. This fire of divinity is what is to
  be lighted.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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