... Man Mohan Ambardar
Every doctrine provides different
spiritual paths for men of different temperament but nowhere are these
so clearly or scientifically formulated as in Hinduism. The three basic
types of path are the Jnana Marga or way of intellect, the Bhakti Marga
or way of love and the Karma Marga or way of action. A natural heirarchy
is recognised in the Margas as Jnana Marga being the highest and Bhakti
Marga the next. However in embarking upon a path, there is no question
of a man choosing what he considers best. He must recognise the possibilities
of all the margas and only two questions arise for him; which is most in
accord with his temperament and in which he can find guidance from a Guru.
Furthermore, the Margas are by no means exclusive of one another, in fact,
it is usual for a path based upon one to contain some elements of the others
or atleast of one of the others.
It is said in scriptures and by sages that
an aspirant must make effort on the path but that grace also is necessary
and that is the end. Realisation is bestowed by grace, not achieved by
effort. It is said in the Upnishada that the Atma chooses whom it will.
He who gives himself upto the Self, that
is God (Gita X.20) is the most excellent devotee. Giving ones Self up to
God means remaining constantly in the Self, without giving room for the
rise of any thoughts other than the thought of the Self.
Whatever burdens are thrown on God, he
bears them. Since the supreme power of God makes all things move, why should
we, without submitting ourselves to it, constantly worry ourselves with
thoughts as to what should be done and how and what should not be done
and how not? We know that the train carries all loads, so after getting
on it, why should we carry our small luggage on our head to our discomfort,
instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease.
The great teachers also have taught that
the devotee is greater than the yogi (Bhagvat Geeta) and that the means
to realise is devotion which is of the nature of reflection on one's own
self (Viveka Chaudamani). Thus, it is the path of realising BRAHMAN that
is variously called Dharma Vidya, Brahma Vidya, Atma Vidya etc. What more
can be said than this? One should understand the rest by inference.
The greatest of all aids to self-realisation,
is the presence of a realised man. This is called SATSANG, which means
literary 'fellowship with Being'. Association with sages who have realised
the truth removes material attachments. On these attachments being removed,
the attachments of the mind are also destroyed.
The supreme state which is obtained here
and now as a result of association with sages and through the deep mediation
of self enquiry in contact with the heart, cannot be gained with the aid
of a Guru or through knowledge of the scriptures, or by spiritual merit
or by any other means.
Neither the holy waters of pilgrimage,
nor the images of gods made of earth and stone can stand comparison with
the benign look of the sage. These purify one only after countless days
of grace but no sooner does the sage bestow his gracious glance than he
What is unconditional surrender or perfect
devotion? Self-enquiry dissolves the ego by looking for it and finding
it to be non-existent, whereas devotion surrenders it. Therefore both come
to the same ego-free goal, which is all that is required.
Surrender is giving oneself up to the original
cause of ones being. Do not delude yourself by imagining this source to
be God outside you. One's source is within one's self (Geeta X.20 and Atma
Sakshatkara, a part of Sarva Jnanottara from Siva Agamas, wherein Lord
Shiva gives instructions in the path of knowledge to his son Lord Subrahmanya
and his wife Devi Parvati.)
The quality of devotion is not strained,
it is effortless natural. God does not command us to love him. We love
him because we can not help it. If we are so fortunate as to be drawn to
him in love, let us yield ourselves freely to that impulse, the more freely
because we have submitted a good deal too freely to impulses of a different
order. A legendry devotee named Pralhada, we are told, prayed thus "May
I ever bear unto Thee that love which the ignorant bear to the means of
pleasure they find in the world". And not only should there be devotion
to God, but it should be also pure - free from bargaining. Devotion should
not be conceived as a means to some end; otherwise it would not be devotion
Complete surrender does imply that you
should have no desire of your own that God's will alone is your will and
you have no will of your own.
There are two ways; one is looking into
the source of the 'I' and merging into the source, and the other is 'feeling'.
I am helpless by myself. God alone is all powerful and except for throwing
myself completely on Him, there are no other means of safety for me, and
thus gradually developing the conviction that God alone exists and the
ego does not count. Both methods lead to the same goal. Complete surrender
is another name for JNANA or Liberation.
So Bhakti Marga is the way of love and
devotion, leading to Union and therefore the most ecstatic path. Since
God is veryly the self, love of the self is love God; and that is BHAKTI.