|You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1995|
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.