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Bhakti vs Prapatti

Jay.Bharadwaj_at_nrecatao.nreca.org
Date: Tue Oct 17 1995 - 16:02:02 PDT

I had the same or similar question as to how there can be bhakti
without Prapatti.  I got all the more confused because Bhakti Yoga as
defined by the Hare Krishnas was what was emphasized as the highest
and easiest form of worship.  I asked many people whom I considered
to be scholars and I got as many different answers as the number of
people the question was put.  Finally I got the answer by reading
Ramanuja's Gita Bhasya's English introduction (I forget the author)
and Vedanta Deshika's minor rahasyas.  Another term for Bhakti Yoga
is Ashtanga Yoga.  One uses the processes of Yama, Niyama, Pranayama
etc to concentrate their attention on Sriman Narayana.  The important
difference here is the emphasis on one's own effort.  We have to
successfully follow these processes till one is able to remember
Sriman Narayana at the time of death.  On the other hand in Prapatti
the mere act of Prapatti itself ensures that this is the last life we
have as a baddha soul.  There are only two exceptions to this rule.
One does not offend a Bhagavata or one who is very dear to the Lord.
The only other act that could make the Prapatti ineffective is
Worship of any Devata that has His or Her loka within this material
world.  This includes Shiva and His family, Brahma, Saraswati etc.
Surrender to Krishna is also important in the Hare Krishna faith,
with the difference being that one has to endeavour to please Krishna
throughout one's lifetime and being pleased with the devotee's
sincere efforts Krishna blesses the individual with rememberence of
the Lord at the moment of death.  Thus Bhakti Yoga as used by
Ramanuja and His successors is very different from Bhakti Yoga as
defined in Vrindavan and North Indian Sampradayas.  The latter is
very close though not identical to Prapatti.

Jaganath.