[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti'

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 3 06:42:02 CST 2012

>How do you or how does one become a bhakta of a certain deity? What is 
the requirement for one to become a bhkata >or to enter the bhakti mArga?

There are a thousand ways by which one could end up as a bhakta of any devata. It could be familiarity of the deity's name from childhood.. some experience in a temple or sometimes brain washing.. as in the case of some people from Iskcon etc etc. Or some advice from elders or teachers

>How do you think one becomes an exclusive upAsaka[i.e. they have a main 
patron deity...apart from other deities] of a >certain deity in the 
mantra-shAstra traditions?. 

When a student approaches an expert mantrin for instruction after the preliminary mantra-s, what deity's mantra the student will quickly acquire siddhi, is determined by many ways 1) By constructing the chakra 2) By a specific ritual which will show the devata's form in a dream.. which is further ratified by the mantrin performing a dUra dR^iShTi prayoga. This is one style. there could be many related ways of doing this and they may differ from mantrin to mantrin. 3) jyotisha or using prashna. etc etc

It is very common that the student has intense bhakti towards a deity x but the deity determined by the above methods could be something totally different.  There are specific cases of staunch vaiShNava-s who are strict devotees of viShNu but one of the above rituals determine the deity through which he will acquire mantra siddhi is a certain shaiva devata.

Now his intense bhakti towards vaiShNava devata-s may or may not help him get siddhi in the vaiShNava mantra-s. But if he follows his AchArya and practices the mantra of that specific shaiva devata, properly he will certainly attain siddhi.

As you can see the gentleman's statement.. bhakti quickens mantra siddhi and is highly inaccurate and is far from reality on the ground/practice.

All this is not required to become a bhakta of a any deity. I hope people grasp this difference well.. and come out of the, "you have to have the prema/love/bhAva-whatever to get to the deity" complex. Such a bhakti may or may not help.. but certainly not a deciding factor in acquiring mantra siddhi of the deity.

More later... Some points were not addressed as I thought the general write up on the common elements covers most of the other points raised.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list