Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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October-December 2002 issue

House Boats on Dal Lake in Srinagar

House Boats on Dal Lake in Srinagar. Credit for introducing House Boats in Kashmir goes to Pt. Narain Das, father of Swami Laxman ji.

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

  Spirituality & Religion
... 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 purifies one.

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 to God.

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.

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