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Re: About the Bhaktas and Bhakti

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jan 21 2000 - 23:05:50 PST

--- Balu <balu@rug.ac.be> wrote:
> Dear Fellow-travellers,
 Is bhakti what the> bhaktas do, or are people
> bhaktas because they 'follow' (bad choice of words,
> but there is no other> way to put it) the 'bhakti
marga', or is bhakti> *neither* of the two? 
> surely, we are not moved to tears when our children
> steal and then lie about> it. In the hope that
bhakti will not become a show of> sentimentality,
> Yours truly,
> > Balu

Dear bhakta,

AchAryA-s have been known to define "bhakti" simply as
"love"... love of God.

To understand the nature of "bhakti" in your own
terms, perhaps you should try asking yourself the
following questions:

What is "love"? Is it what "lovers" do? Or is it more?
Is it an "approach to life" or "mArga"?

Is love mere "emotion"? Or "sentimentality"? Or is
"love" the real bond that ties you and this world
together, you and your family together,you and your
fellow-beings too? 

Is there a difference between "falling in love" with
someone and "being in love" with someone? 

Have you by chance read Shakespeare or Valmiki? If you
have then please ask yourself: "When we love  someone
do we always become his/her "sychophant" or "slave"?
Was the sublime "love" between Shakespeare's Romeo and
Juliet "slavish"? Was the "love" between Bharatha and
Rama in Valmiki's Ramayana,"sychophantic"? Does not
the love of Bharatha defy our attempts to easily
categorize it into either "this" or "that" sort of
love?

Surely, you are aware of the subtle difference in
various degrees of intensity of "love" there is...
such as, for example, in the relations between mother
and infant, father and son, between spouses, between
teeny-boppers, between two thick friends, between
siblings....? "Bhakti" is the highest degree of love
that exists... and it is between Man and his Maker.

As regards your questions on "Kannan" and
"butter-thief" you must understand that the stories of
"krishna-leelA-s" are not all to be taken in a
narrowly literal sense. The stories of Krishna
stealing butter etc. are all allegorical accounts of
Upanishadic truth... of how God "steals" individual
souls or "jeevA-s" and "feasts" on them in a
larger-than-human, cosmic sense. 

The story of Krishna's many "leelA-s" in Gokulam are
not meant to appeal to the reader at a purely
intellectual level. They have deeper subliminal
messages to be absorbed and experienced within the
core of one's being....

It is very difficult to explain in plain language the
complex feelings of "bhakti" that the AzhwArs or our
AchAryA-s felt for God. I agree with you, in our weak
translations, their outpourings of great bhakti
sometimes do seem "mushy" and "sentimental". But to
really understand the AzhwArs and their bhakti you
have to get immersed in the "religion of Krishna", in
that kind of special language... that special
experience... in that special kind of Love!

In short, "bhakti" perhaps is not all what "bhaktA-s"
do; perhaps, strictly speaking, it is not even a
pre-defined way of life... a "mArgA", as you say. But
most certainly, "bhakti" is a rare state of rare
realization!

Trust adiyen has been able to answer your question
without any trace of "sentimentality".

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran

  
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