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Re: About the Bhaktas and Bhakti

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 23:19:06 PST

--- Balu <balu@rug.ac.be> wrote:
> Dear Sampathkumaran,
 But I do want> to have a discussion -- not to prove
any point, but> to understand.

Dear Sri.Balu,
You have actually raised a very good point and my
compliments to you for it. I am not being sarcastic at
all. I am sorry if my first response came across to
you as "aggressive". Sometmes the vigour of our
arguments comes across as "aggressive" but it is not
really so. Adiyen would love to have a discussion on
the subject of your choice.

--------------
> 1. Could we, that is, ordinary human beings that the
> most of us are,> experience (or achieve the state
of) bhakti? Why is> it that the more one> searches for
it, the more distant and unreachable it> becomes? (The
analogy> with finding 'the true love' does not work
here> because one does not know> what 'true love' is,
where to find it, and it> uniquely varies from person
to> person. Our traditions (a) teach us about Bhakti,
> tell us that (b) with the> help of a teacher, and
(c) in the company of the> dAsas, any person could>
find or achieve bhakti.)

A cow needs no "guru" nor any tutoring to love its
calf. A mother does not have to "search" and seize
"love" from anywhere in the world before gathering up
her new-born infant to put it to her breast.

Where does such love spring from? Does such love "vary
from person to person"? Is such love "distant and
unreachable"? Do we need to scout far and wide in this
world for such love? Or is it easily found within
ourselves? 

----------------
> 2.In their *search* for> Bhakti, and before they
find it, most Bhaktas> constantly lament -- with deep>
anguish -- that 'the karunAmayi' does not appear to
> show 'karuna' to them.> If it was an emotional>
deficiency, why do> these teachers not state this very
obvious and> simple truth about their own
> emotions ? The> imagery of love is used to
> describe an emotional state (mostly of those who are
> searching for bhakti),> but bhakti itself does not
appear to fall together> with a particular> emotion.

I think the teachers you mention like the "AzhwArs"
and other "AchAryA-s" are actually very honest or
forthright about their emotional state of "deficiency"
as you call it. (Here, the Vaishnavaite orthodoxy will
however be quick to point out that the 'AzhwArs' etc.
were speaking for we ordinary souls and not on their
own behalf).

They make no secret of the fact that as long as they
experience a sense of spiritual/emotional separation
from their object of love i.e. God, they do feel
"deficient" ... their very life feels empty and they
feel "incomplete" as individuals. As far as I know,
nowhere do they equate their feelings of anguish with
"bhakti". In fact they ascribe their anguish and
emptiness to the "lack of bhakti". The burden of their
lamentations is that God is indifferent to them
probably because their present state of "bhakti" is
either insufficiently intense or genuine. A state of
"incomplete bhakti" (or ripening bhakti, if you
like)is often referred by them variously as "virakti",
"a-vivEkam", "nirvEdam" etc. If you read their poetry
you will see that in many heart-rending passages they
actually beseech Him to bestow true "bhakti" upon them
which will remove their blighted state of anguish and
unfulfilment.

---------------- 
> > 3. One of the> impedements to Bhakti, the
enlightened seem to say,> are our *emotional*>
attachments and entanglements in the world. They *do>
not* say that we are> merely attached to the wrong
objects and people, and> that shifting the locus> (or
the focus) of these attachments is what bhakti> is.
However, they do say> that bhakti shifts these
emotional bonds from the> worldly things onto the>
Lord. Does it not follow from this Bhakti cannot be>
an *emotion* but is> accompanied by one?> 

In its highest sense, as adiyen mentioned in the
previous post, bhakti is more than emotion. It is rare
state of rare realization. I have never come across
any "AchAryA"... certainly not an "enlightened one"...
who encourages us to wallow and remain wallowing in
our negative states of "virakti", "nirvEdam" and
'a-vivEkam'. They all urge us to progress to a state
of realization called bhakti.... a state of pure bliss
in the undiminishing knowledge of God. But such an
exalted state of "bhakti" does not drop overnight from
the skies for most of us. One has to graduate to it in
life after undergoing many, many experiences some of
which may well include those of spiritual despair,
feelings of emptiness and ennui, emotional
"deficiency", "nirvEdam" or "virakti". 

The 'enlightened ones' are advocates of 'bhakti' as a
supreme state of realization. They are not advocates
for the emotions that lead to Bhakti. Bhakti is the
ultimate destination. The "feelings" or "emotions"
leading to "bhakti" are transit lounges. 

-------------------
> 4. What amazes me (cognitively> speaking) and drives
me to> despair and beyond (existentially speaking) is
.... What they (the enlightened ones) do not tell us
is also what all of us need> to know: *how* did> those
who were successful make the transition from> one
state to the other?> What helped them? Why do *none*
of them speak about> these, once they reach> whatever
they reached? Why do they merely tell us> that the
truth is staring> us in our face, what that truth is,
but not how they> came to realise it? I> mean, all of
us 'know' -- in some sense -- what they> say.
'Knowing' this
> does not help us; even 'believing' in this truth
> does not bring us closer to> whatever they were
close to or united with. They too> knew this truth
while
> they were searching, and it was not adequate for
> them either. At some stage> or another, they made
the transition from a state of> utter anguish to that
> of total 'bliss'. What enabled them? Did they simply
> wake up one day with a> profound realisation, did a
miracle occur, or is it> something like the> lottery?
If none of these, why are *all* of them so> quiet on
this utterly,> utterly crucial issue?

There was a Persian poet named Omar Khayyam who once
wrote:

"Strange, is it not? the myriads who
Before us passed the Door of Darkness thro';
Not one returns to tell us of the Road
Which to discover we must travel too!"
              (The Rubbaiyat of Omar Khayyam)

St.NammAzhwAr wrote in one of his lines in the
"tiruvoimOzhi":

"vandAypolE vArAdAy, vArAdAy pOl varuvAnE!"
("I see Him come and I see Him go, I see Him here and
I see Him there! But where is He truly?".

Rejoice, dear Sri.Balu!! You are in the august company
of great souls here!
---------------------
> The more one reads, the more one thinks, the more
> one feels abandoned -- by> whom or by what, one does
not know. 
> Yours
> Balu

Yours is a noble emotion, indeed, I tell you Sri.Balu!
"Spiritual confusion" is the first step towards
spiritual emancipation! Do not worry, carry on
reading, thinking....The Good God will certainly show
you the light of bhakti!

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran
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