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Practical Devotion - sAdhana kI AdhAra zIlA - by Sri Kripaluji Maharaj



anuraag - Sat, 26 Feb 2005 13:42:50 +0530
Saadhnaa ki aadhaar sheelaa

The Main support and Natural Disposition of Practical Devotion

This article in Hindi was the transcription of a discourse spoken by
Jagadguru Sri Kripaluji Maharaj and was published in the Quarterly
News letter of Sri Barsana dham. I hope my English translation of the
article could help the understanding of those who are not familiar
with Hindi language. I have added a few more scriptural quotes which
I felt appropriate for deeper reflection.

-------------

The first and foremost alert notice given to all seekers who desire
to perfect their Divine Love devotion is that one should be
completely devoid of selfpride and egoism, the 'I' ness, and always
one should be free of feelings of insult and untoward criticism.
This important beginning step should be considered as the main
support and core character of pure devotion and should never be
neglected even upto the final stage, until the seeker attains the
ultimate goal of God-realization.

Successful control of the five senses and absence of desires may even
be possible for the spiritual seeker but unless and until one
transcends all kinds of mental feelings, pleasant and unpleasant, not
only one can not achieve total disintegration of the self
identification but also one's self-ego contiues to expand more and
more.

parIhAse'py anyApriya-kathana-mUko'tivadhiraH
pareSAM doSAnuzrutim anu viloke'ndha-nayanaH |
zilAvan nizceSTaH para-vapuSi bAdhA-lava-vidhau
kadA vatsyAmy asmin hari-dayita-vRndAvana-vane ||2.16||

- Vrindavana Mahimamrita - Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati

"Undisturbed and becoming dumb
to others' jokes mocking myself,
deaf and blind even to others' evident faults, and
inactive like a stone in the matter of bringing others
even the slightest pain, When will I reside in this
Vrindavana forest, the garden of Hari's Beloved?"

Why doesn't the devotee shed humble tears during chanting, prayer and
while singing Lord's Divine names and glories? Only due the proud ego
of oneself and lack of humility.

Even if the tears come occasionally, the seeker becomes very proud of
himself or herself for progressing to higher stages of devotion.
This selfpride is so subtle that the aspirant by himself can not
grasp it as his or her own weakness and shortcomings.

sarva-tyAge'py aheyAyAH sarvAnartha-bhuvaz ca te
kuryuH pratiSThA-viSThAyA yatnam asparzane varam

Though one may be able to give up everything,
the desire for personal prestige and
worldly fame is the hardest thing to give up.
Since it is the source of all anarthas,
one should be carefully to keep as far from it
as he would from stool.

- 'Bhajana-rahasya' Bhaktivinoda Thakur

Only God-realized Mahapurusha are aware of these subtle difficulties
in a seeker and they can only identify the inner problems of the
devotee's heart, mind and intellect. That is why there is an absolute
need for the Divine preceptor who can recognize these difficulties on
the path of devotion and successfully correct them to perfection.

No devotee, being controlled by the power of Maya, the three material
modes of Nature can understand that he or she is acting under the
Mayic influence of his or her ego twenty four hours of the day. The
seeker can not determine for himself that whether he or she is being
carried away by the subtle emotions of worldly fame or shame. So
staying oneself aloof from these emotional weaknesses, subduing
one'ego as much as possible, one should always be alert in deciding
how one can truly feel humbler than a blade of grass.

are cetaH prodyat-kapaTa-kuTinATI-bhara-khara-
kSaran-mUtre snAtvA dahasi katham AtmAnam api mAm
sadA tvaM gAndharvA-giridhara-pada-prema-vilasat-
sudhAmbhodhau snAtvA tvam api nitarAM mAM ca sukhaya

O my mind! The hypocritical tendency to fault-find and backbite are
like an ass's urine in which I have drenched myself, burning my
entire being. Please bathe constantly in the ocean of nectar formed
of the love flowing from the feet of the Divine Couple, Gandharvika
and Giridhari. By so doing, you will bring joy to both yourself and
to me.

- ManaH-siksha 6

If the seeker had not honestly arrived at this state of complete
humility, but simply deceiving himself to be humble, he may just
display his meekness outwardly so that other seekers can appreciate
him as a truly humble evolved soul.

This is also known as 'ahamkar', self-identification as there is
still a desire for self-worth, self-glorification and self-respect.

pratiSThAzA dhRSTA zvapaca-ramaNI me hRdi naTet
kathaM sAdhu premA spRzati zucir etan nanu manaH
sadA tvaM sevasva prabhu-dayita-sAmantam atulaM
yathA tvAM niSkAzya tvaritam iha taM vezayati saH

The desire for worldly prestige wants to dance in my heart like a
brazen, outcaste whore, making it impossible for the pure, holy love
of Krishna to touch it. O mind! Serve the unparalleled devotees, the
Rasik Saints constantly, for since they are dear to the Lord, they
will quickly drive that low-born creature from my heart and enthrone
Krishna prema in it.

The seeker should correctly understand the natural position of the
soul and its relation to the Lord. The spirit soul is a pure eternal
servant of the almighty Lord. Knowing this fact well, if the seeker
accepts his true humble relation with his Master and wholeheartedly
surrenders to Him, the Lord can no longer remain indifferent towards
him. The Lord is incapable of doing so because He Himself has loudly
proclaimed in Gita 4.11

ye yathA mAM prapadyante
tAM stathaiva bhajAmyaham,
mama vartmAnu vartante
manuSyAH pArtha sarvazaH

According to the MANNER in WHICH they SURRENDER to ME,
I FAVOR them in that VERY SAME manner.
O son of Pritha, ALL human beings always FOLLOW MY PATH
in EVERY WAY!'

Here, Lord Krishna chose to use two specific words, 'tathA'
and 'eva'.
From one side one has to only fulfill the task of 'prapadyate' and
nothing else. On the other side the Lord will accomplish the task
of 'bhajami'.

His Divine Grace was also remembered by the great devotee Prahlada in
Srimad Bhagavatam:

naisa paravara-matir bhavato nanu syat
jantor yathatma-suhrdo jagatas tathapi
samsevaya surataror iva te prasadah
sevanurupam udayo na paravaratvam

-SB 7.9.27

"Like the ordinary living entity, my Lord,
You have no such discrimination,
thinking like 'He is my friend; he is my enemy;
he is favorable; he is unfavorable.'
Such conception of low grade and high grade You have not got.
But according to one's level of attachment and dedication
(surrender),
You offer them benediction exactly like the desire tree offers
fruits according to the desire of the person.

The desire tree has no distinction of low grade and high grade
position of the recepient but simply fulfills his wish."

So Devotees have to become 'prapanna' - surrendered souls and the
Lord will do the part of 'bhajana' or 'seva', providing care and
welfare to them.
Lord Krishna has made His sublime promise (Gita 9.22):
ananyAzcintayanto mAM
ye janAH paryupAsate,
teSAM nityAbhi yuktAnAM
yoga kSemaM vahAmyaham

To those men who ADORE Me alone,
THINKING of NO OTHER,
who are earnestly and constantly
engaged in uniting their minds to Me,
I PROVIDE every gain and all security.

The seekers cannot provide even satisfactory service to their Guru,
the Spiritual master on the earth but how can they adequately serve
their eternal Father, the great Almighty?
Simply it is impossible.

That is why the Lord declares that devotees have only to surrender
themselves to Him and the Lord will take care of everything else.

Actually the unalloyed service and pure selflesslove are not simple
easy ways at all. No ordinary soul can serve and love its Master
perfectly. Even if one offers everything one has to the Lord, still
one would be short of serving the Lord and Guru fully.

The desciple can not be cleared of his debt to his Master for
receiving the knowledge of self-realization even by offering the most
valuable things of the entire world.

Because of such an immensely great offering, only the selfpride of
the desciple multiplies and that spoils the spirit of his humility
just like a bowl of delicious lentil soup with a small fly in it!

The offering simply becomes useless if tainted with ego. So there is
a great harm even in charity if given in pride.

The Lord and Master asks for the sacrifice of that to which the
seeker has greatest attachment. They would ask for the surrender of
the thing which has been a source of self-pride to the seeker. The
True Master may demand for an offering of all or any material object
or subject which has become an obstruction on the progressive path of
Divine Love for the seeker.

yasyAhamanugRhNami vittaM tasya harAmyaham,
karoti bandhu vicchedaM sa tu duHkhena jIvati.
santApeSvapi kaunteya yadi mAM na parityajet,
dadAmyahaM svIya padaM devAnAmapi durlabham.

Lord Krishna gave this message to Arjuna in Padma Purana:

"He on whom I am going to bestow My grace, I take away all his
wealth, separate him from his family and friends, so that he may live
his life in utter sorrow bereft of all his possessions.
Though fully distressed with his material conditions, if he doesnot
give up My devotion in this suffering state, I extend to that sincere
devotee My own abode which is impssible to attain even by celestial
beings."

But still desciples are unhappy and disappointed when they are asked
for simple service and their true hearts devoid of charity are
revealed.

As long as a soul is under the control of Mayic power, the illusory
energy of the Lord, it is not praise worthy and does not even qualify
for good name or fame. Then where is the question of having any ego,
self-pride, self-superiority, self-respect etc.,?

If the soul has not yet accepted its eternal position of Divine
servitude and not surrendered to the Lord unconditionally, what it
should be proud of? The seeker has not yet attained his true Divine
form of an eternal servant of the Lord, then why should he feel
egoistic and selfworthy or praiseworthy?

Once the God-realized devotee attains his spiritual form as an
eternal servant of the Lord, even a trace of egoism or selfpride can
never appear in him again. It is simply impossible for him to be
identified in 'I' ness, the doer-ship, of the 'ahamkar'.

So all wise seekers should be alert in protecting themselves from
egoship, self-pride and self-identification. They should pay more
attention to their self-surrender. The practicing devotee believes he
or she is totally surrendered to the Master and the Lord.
But not really!
Lord Krishna said in Gita- 12.18,19 :

'He (She) who is the same to
the foe and friend and
also honour and dishonour,
who is the same in cold and heat,
in pleasure and pain,
who is free from attachment,
To whom censure and praise are equal,
who is silent, content with anything,
homeless, steady minded,
full of Loving Devotion for Me -
that person is dear to Me.'

When criticized by the Master or others, the devotee immediately gets
agitated and replies in anger even for small misunderstanding. Though
admits his wrong doing openly, his heart doesnot accept the mistake
he has committed.

sarvasya cA 'haM hRdi sanniviSTo
mattaH smRtir jnAnam apohanaM ca -B.Gita 15.15

Bhagavan Krishna said:

And I am seated in the hearts of all;
from Me are memory, knowledge, as well as their loss;

The devotee fails to recognize God and the Master are sitting in his
heart and noting down every minute his true thoughts and feelings.
And that is why They keep testing the progress of the devotee on the
path of self-surrender from time to time.

Even if the devotee fails to succeed in the tests, still he is given
more opportunities to better himself and tested again and again.

Of course the classes of devotees according to the evolution of their
devotion are many and different. And so are the tests!

Queen Kuntidevi prayed to Lord Krishna:

vipadaH santu naH zazvat tatra tatra jagadguro!
bhavato darzanaM yasyAd apunarbhava darzanam

O Teacher of all the worlds! Let Perils face us at every step;
for it is in dangerous situations that we feel the presence of You,
Whose vision bestows freedom from rebirth. - SB 1.8.25

Each one is given the test according to his class and capabilities.
There is no need for panic or discouragement. If the seeker is afraid
of examining the extent of his total self surrender he may never be
able to attain his desired goal of God-realization.

He on whom I am going to bestow my grace, I slowly deprive him of all
his wealth. When his wealth is gone, his friends, kith and kin desert
him, making him sink into utmost sorrow and despair.

- Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.8

When his further efforts to gain wealth also fail, thanks to My will,
he becomes filled with dispassion and gets associated with my
devotees. On such a one I bestow My grace.

- Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.9

So the sincere seeker has to keep conducting (self-search) many tests
on himself with the Divine Grace of his Master to make his true self-
surrender full and perfect.

uttiSThata jAgrata
prApya varAn nibodhata
kSurasya dhArA nizitA duratyayA
durgaM pathas tat kavayo vadanti

"Rise up! Awake! Seize the benefits of this human form of life
and become fully conscious! This path is a razor's edge,
sharp and difficult to tread." - Katha Upanishad. 1.3.14

Jaya Sri Radhey!

Sakhicharan - Sat, 26 Feb 2005 20:42:37 +0530
QUOTE
The first and foremost alert notice given to all seekers who desire
to perfect their Divine Love devotion is that one should be
completely devoid of selfpride and egoism, the 'I' ness, and always
one should be free of feelings of insult and untoward criticism.
This important beginning step should be considered as the main
support and core character of pure devotion and should never be
neglected even upto the final stage, until the seeker attains the
ultimate goal of God-realization.


I found these opening words to be quite inspiring. What a wonderful discourse. Thanks for sharing it with us Anuraagji. smile.gif
anuraag - Fri, 03 Jun 2005 02:32:49 +0530
Interesting message from another board:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spiritualecs...on/message/4782
From: Gayathry
Date: Mon May 30, 2005 1:01 am
Subject: purpose of this human life in the light of spiritual line?

Q.197) What is the purpose of this human life in the
light of spiritual line? Can I talk and see God? I am
doing meditation (Jyothi, U.S.A)

Ans.) In the materialistic plane one person says that
the aim of his life is to achieve a particular post
and then help his family members. Some other person
says that the aim of his life is to serve the mankind.
We appreciate the second aim as higher than the first
one. The highest aim of the human life can be known
only in the spiritual plane. The sole aim of this
creation is pleasing God through the entertainment.
Every human being is a part of the creation and so the
same aim applies to every human being also. The human
being becomes fruitful if it serves the Lord and
pleases the Lord through the service. Service means
the sacrifice of work and sacrifice of the fruit of
the work. Service is the proof of the real love. The
mother serves her child by sacrificing lot of work
like giving bath, dressing etc., for years together
continuously. The father serves the child by
sacrificing the fruit of all his hardwork to the
child. It is a clear practical point that the proof of
the real love is only service. If you serve your
family you love your family. If you serve the entire
world you love the creation. If you serve the creator,
you love the creator. It is a very simple point. Love
is the attraction of mind towards any body or any
thing. When the illness attacks the body you take so
much care to serve your body. You love your body.
Similarly you serve your father, mother, wife and
children because your mind is attracted towards them.
What is the first pre-requisite for this love? When
you love your child, you are aware that a particular
small living being is your child and you have the
differentiating knowledge of your child from other
children who are similar. Similarly, when you love God
you must be aware of the form of God, who must be
differentiated from other forms as your child is
differentiated from other children. You are
identifying your child by certain special
characteristics like shape of the face, voice etc; you
are not recognizing your child by the clothes, which
they put on. Other children put on such clothes also.
Similarly, you must distinguish the Creator from the
creation and then only love the creator. You cannot
love the entire creation as the creator. Do you love
all the children as your own children? Therefore, the
pre-requisite of love is the true knowledge and the
inseparable identifying characteristics of an object
by which you get attracted towards it. Therefore, what
is the real form of God? And how it differs from other
forms? What are the inseparable identifying
characteristics of God? The answers for these
questions constitute the detailed true knowledge of
God. Only such true knowledge generates attraction and
love. When you know the separate special details of
Bombay, which are not seen in any other city, then
only you are attracted to Bombay and like to see it.
Before proceeding to the identifying true knowledge of
God, you must also know the purpose of your attraction
towards an object. You love your child, and there is
no purpose in it. You also love a doctor when you are
ill. But that love is not real. It is not love at all.
It is only artificial apparent love exhibited for a
purpose. You want the doctor to help you. Therefore,
true love is that when there is no purpose in it.
False love is that in which purpose is present.
Generally almost all the people love God because God
is omni-potent. He has miraculous powers to do
anything, which is impossible for any body on this
earth. When a problem comes and when one fails to
solve it by all the means existing in this world, one
starts loving God to solve that unique problem.
Therefore, you love the position or power of God and
not the God. A poet shows lot of love and appreciation
on a king in his spontaneous poetry because the poet
loves the power and the wealth of the king. He expects
the king to donate some land or to give him some money
after being pleased with his poems. The poet does not
love the person who is the king. He loves the king
only. Will he write the same poems if the king looses
his kingdom and becomes a beggar? In his poetry the
poet praised that the king is very beautiful with
sweet voice and infinite wisdom. These qualities still
remain with the king even if he has become the beggar.
But the poet does not praise the same qualities of
that beggar because the beggar cannot donate anything
to him. The post of the king and the kingdom are
separable characteristics, whereas the qualities are
inseparable characteristics. You can easily identify
the person by these inseparable characteristics and if
your love on Him is real, you will love him whether he
is a king or a beggar. Are you not loving your son and
praise him whether he serves you or not? Sita
garlanded and married Rama who will be the future king
of Ayodhya. The love of Sita may be on Rama only or
may be on the kingdom of Ayodhya for which she can
become queen or may be both put together. Rama tested
her love by discarding the kingdom and by going to the
forest. Sita followed Rama to the forest. Her love was
only on Rama and not on the kingdom. Ravana further
tested this. Ravana offered her to become the queen.
But she refused. Therefore, the love on God should be
analyzed and should be decided whether God is loved or
His omni-potent miraculous power is loved for our
advantage. Some people want to take advantage in this
world and some others want to take the advantage in
the upper world so that they can be protected from the
hell. In both cases the love on God is not true. It is
only the love on his associated power. Sankara says
that the true love on God should not have any desire
related to this world or to the upper world (Ihaamutra
Phala Viragah). If the love is on the power of the God
only what is the use of the real form of God or the
inseparable characteristics of the God? The poet loves
anybody as the king. For him anybody on the thrown is
beautiful and is very wise. In such case if the king
donates the desired land or cash by seeing the poem
written by a poet, the poet does not bother to see or
talk with the king. Therefore, when we love Godís
power for some advantage, we need not worry about His
form or in seeing or talking with God. You can just
chant the prayers. He responds to your prayers and
your desire is fulfilled. In such case one need not
see the God and the God also does not want to see his
or her bloody face.
When a mother wants to see her child, she is not
thinking about any advantage out of it. In fact the
mother presents some cash to the son as a gift and if
the son needs, she will even sell all her jewels and
sacrifice for the sake of her son. Similarly, if the
person is having true love on God, that person wants
to see God not for any advantage, but even at the cost
of disadvantage. For such person only God appears and
such person only can see, talk, touch and can even
live along with the God. For such persons only the
need of the enquiry of the real form of God.
The real form of God is unimaginable as said in Vedas
and there is no question of seeing or talking or
touching the God. Gita also says that nobody can know
God (Mam tu Veda Na..). Such unimaginable God cannot
be said to have a form or formless. The Creator is
beyond the creation, which is a four-dimentional
network of space and time alongwith matter and energy.
The creation contains both formless items like space,
energy and air and also formful items like water,
earth etc. If you say God as formful or formless, then
God becomes a part of the creation and not beyond the
creation. Veda says that no item in the creation
including the pure awareness or life energy is God
(Neti, NetiÖ). But there are real devotees who have
real love towards God and want to see, touch, talk and
live alongwith God for no selfish advantage either in
this or in the upper world. The God who has infinite
kindness and infinite love cannot reject such real
love. The God is omni-potent and can satisfy the
desire of such real devotees and the real devotees are
crying for such fortune of vision etc. The God is
capable and the devotee deserves. Nobody can put his
finger between these two. To satisfy the real devotees
God comes in human form and all these four fortunes
are blessed upon the real devotees. If God comes in
the form of space or energy, which is formless or in
the form of statues, He cannot grant these fortunes.
He can talk, touch and live with the devotees when He
comes in the human form only. Only the human body can
do such things as per laws of nature. The nature is
His creation and the laws of nature are the rules of
His own administration. He will not voilate these
rules except in the case of inevitable emergency. Why
should He use His special power (Maya) and talk or
touch or live with you in the form of space or energy
or statues? When the purpose is served through the
normal routine, why are you so rigid about the
abnormal way? God need not heed to the foolish rigid
behaviour of some human beings. Infact they want to
pray the formless God or God in the form of a statue
for the sake of their selfish convenience only. You
can offer food to formless God or statue and then you
can eat the entire food. You are satisfied as if you
have given meals to God and at the same time not even
a grain of rice is lost. There are many inconvenient
losses and troubles with the human form of God. But
the real devotees are not worried about such loss and
infact they are happy to loose if God can enjoy by
that. They feel happy when God eats that food. The
mother visits her son and pays him some cash. When the
son is happy with that she derives infinite happiness
and does not feel it as a loss or trouble. The mother
will stay with her son and serve him day and night if
necessary and feels very happy about it. Similarly,
these real devotees feel happy to serve the Lord and
they are happy about the loss incurred in it. Lord
came to the human form as Krishna for the sake of
Gopikas only and not for others. Only Gopikas could
recognize Him and served the Lord by offering butter
and they felt happy in such sacrifice. They did not
feel such sacrifice as loss. Krishna was not their
child. But they loved Him more than their children.
They did not give butter even to their own children
and offered it to the Lord. Their love to God crossed
even their love to their children. When such real love
exists, God comes in human form and reveals His
identity to you. Your love must be real and must be
practically proved by the sacrifice of work (Karma
Sanyasa) and sacrifice of fruit of work (Karma Phala
Tyaga) as emphasized in Gita. Sacrifice of words, mind
and intelligence, which are freely supplied to you by
God is like offerring drinking water to the guest,
which was freely supplied by the municipality. But
sacrifice of work and fruit of work are like offerring
the meals to the guest and it is sacrifice of your
hard-earned money. Of-course the meals must be
associated with drinking water also and at the same
time mere drinking water is almost nothing. Sacrifice
becomes complete, which is the complete proof of your
real love only, when you sacrifice mind, words,
intelligence, work and fruit of work. Sacrifice of
words is prayer and sacrifice of mind is meditation,
sacrifice of intelligence is the spiritual discussion.
Therefore, meditation alone is the sacrifice of the
mind i.e., supplied freely by God. Sacrifice of
anything, which is hard earned by your work, is the
real main sacrifice.
When the Lord exposes Himself as the source of all
infinite super natural powers, all the people will run
to Him with same speed and will sacrifice to their
maximum. In such case you cannot differentiate the
real devotee from a fraud devotee. The reason is that
the super natural power attracts all the people with
equal force. When acids are dissolved in water they
show equal strengths because water being high polar
solvent attracts the hydrogen ions from all acids
equally so that their extent of ionization becomes
same. The strong acid cannot be differentiated from a
weak acid. This is called as levelling effect. When
the same acids are dissolved in glacial acetic acid,
which is a weak solvent, the acids will ionize to
different extent as per their inherent nature. When an
official asks for some amount of money, all the
merchants will run to him with equal speed and give
that amount. In this case you cannot differentiate the
real donor from the real greedy merchant. But when a
beggar begs for some money, a real donor donates
whereas a greedy person refuses. The real nature of
the individuals comes out in the case of the beggar
only. Similarly, when God comes in human form and
exhibits the super natural powers all the people rush
to Him with equal speeds and show equal love on God.
Even if God recognizes the real devotee by His power
and rewards him, the other devotees will find fault
with the God. They will argue that even though the
extent of devotion is equal, the Lord showed
partiality. Therefore, God in human form will not
exhibit miracles and will exhibit only His inseparable
special knowledge, which projects Him as Guru only and
not Bhagavan. Datta means God donated to the devotees
in human form. His right half is Guru and the left
half is Bhagavan. The right half is only projected and
the left half is hidden. In such case only the real
devotees can be filtered.
It is easy to approach the human incarnation and
praise Him as God. But the most important part is to
retain the same faith through out the life. When Datta
becomes inconvenient in practical way the faith should
persist. The faith should be practical and permanent.
The recognition of human incarnation must be done with
the help of the sacred scriptures like Vedas,
Brahmasutras and Gita. You must take a long time to
decide the human incarnation. Once you have decided
you must stick to that in spite of all the troubles
and inconvenience, which you face practically. There
is no use of catching somebody in haste and then
withdraw by the next day. You will continue like this
through out your life. Therefore, you must study all
the scriptures and be thorough with the divine
knowledge, which generates the devotion or love. If
your devotion is real you must prove it by your
service. The real love is only one way traffic.
Attaining the God, seeing Him and talking with Him are
useless. Demons have seen and talked with God by doing
long penance. What is the use of it? They were finally
destroyed. Even if you donít see or talk with God, if
you please Him through your proven real love, you are
blessed. Rama never saw Lord Siva. But He was blessed.
Ravana saw and talked with Siva, but was destroyed.
Therefore, pleasing the Lord should be our final aim
and not mere vision or conversation.