by Sri P.C. Lahiri
The following is the second of a two-part series on Advaita Bhakti. Interested readers can check out the first part (which appeared in 2017 Buddha Purnima issue of e-Sanai) by clicking on the link to the Buddha Purnima issue to the left.
Master has narrated to us the way that Absolute Self I-Reality was revealed to Him. He said that it revealed through three stages - vedana (physical pain), vedan (inner pain due to a strong yearning for the total revelation of the self-revealing Absolute One Reality), and Veda (Knowledge Itself).
Love of Saccidanandamoyee Maa (Supreme Divine Mother), who is one with the Saccidananda Satta (the Absolute Divine Substratum), revealed in the Master in a very unique and unprecedented fashion. A prayer revealed from within, asking Maa to use Him as a dustbin to dump all the pain and waste of this universe. Hundreds of striving as well as perfected souls (siddhas) pray for Maa’s aishwarya (powers); however no one is ready to take the waste which gets generated in creating and running the universal game. What a demonstration of the Master’s unconditional pure Love of the highest order!
In pouranic (mythological) tales, we have heard of samudra manthan (churning of the sea) for nectar. After the churning was over, the celestial Gods and Goddesses consumed the nectar, but no one was prepared to touch the poison which came along with the nectar. However something had to be done with the poison, else it would destroy everything. Gods and Goddesses prayed for the intervention and urgent help of Lord Shiva, the Supreme Realized Yogi and the God of all Gods (Devadidev Mahadev) - who drank the poison, but (through yogic powers) retained it in His throat, which turned blue. That is why one of Shiva’s name is Neelkanth (the blue throated One).
One is awestruck by the above demonstration of supreme capacity, sacrifice and unconditional love of Mahadev, but how do we, the struggling souls, apply it in the present day to uplift ourselves such that unconditional love reveals from within us as well? Such a demonstration has been given by the Master by praying for all the pain in the universe. What happens after the prayer? Supreme Divine Mother revealed as excruciating, unbearable body pain (without any cause of illness), due to which Master rolled on the ground from one wall to the other - without praying for the pain to go. He accepted it in totality as the revelation of the Divine Mother. Once this acceptance was complete in all respects, i.e. He got unified and identified with the pain, the last alphabet ‘a’ of vedana fell off and what revealed from within was vedan. It was the inner pain due to the one pointed prayer, generated of its own accord, for the self-revealing (swayamprakash) One Absolute Reality to take over the entire body-instrument and reveal Itself to play Its ‘sportful dramatic sameside game’ as per Its Own Divine Will. Once He got unified and identified with that inner prayer and the accompanying inner pain, the last alphabet ‘n’ of vedan fell off, and what started revealing from within was Veda, Knowledge Itself. Since then, the self-revealing Absolute Knowledge has been manifesting Itself in each and every moment of His life, whether we accept and follow it or not is our own judgment. Whether we accept and follow His august proclamation of ‘all-acceptance and all-embrace’ is again left to us. Master has showered the light of the Absolute, revealing the easiest and fastest way of realizing our True Nature. Whether we accept and follow it or not is our own judgment - it has no bearing on the Master. Also, Master has very clearly mentioned that it is not necessary that the Absolute shall reveal Itself through this process in everyone. The self-revealing One Reality can reveal in any way since It is not a static principle. It is ever revealing Itself from time immemorial, and shall keep doing so out of exuberance of Absolute Bliss. One cannot put a full stop to say this far and no further.
If we are able to muster enough courage and faith for the words of the Master, then perhaps it may not be that difficult to follow Him in day to day life as per His directions. We may not be used to accepting one and all as the manifestation of the same One Divine Self I-Reality. However we can at least make a humble beginning in that direction at any time. There is only one proviso - have we been able to build enough faith and courage within us to follow the Master, or do we still have our doubts and reservations? If we are able to overcome this hurdle, then everything else will follow. We can always start small by seriously investing as much time as possible on the revelations of the Master. We can go through His books, videos and/or bhajans as per our inclination, knack and capacity. This will gradually help in the availability of more and more time for dwelling on the utterances of the Master. Just do it to see for yourself how more time becomes available without any disruptions to your normal life. You will see your interest growing by the day. As the inner meanings start revealing, inner joy will start increasing. Little later, this joy will become the driver to move on till it gets ingrained in the innate nature (swabhava) as a habit. Once a habit is formed, then the major part of the battle (if I may call it an internal battle of fighting resistance to change) is won. Habit will drive us on as it would have become a part of our nature. Arjun was told in the Kurukshetra war by Lord Krishna that your kshatriya (warrior class) nature will force you to fight even if you are now saying that I will not fight for various reasons of my own. The last part of our inner journey from swabhava to Swabodha (the Self I/our True Nature) shall be completed by the continuance of the same practice of ‘all-acceptance and all-embrace’, till we get unified and identified with one and all as our very own Being.
Coming back to the life of the great bhakta Sri Tyagaraja (discussed in the last piece), we find that his compositions show a strong belief in Lord Rama, termed by him as Rama bhakti samrajyam (Rama bhakti empire). For him, the very thought of Rama nama (name) itself was happiness. As discussed earlier, he used to converse with his Lord regularly and be in a state of ecstasy from where many of his compositions came out. His devotion to Rama was not something highly emotional because musical maestros say that his natural propensity for perfection remained intact in every composition. What has been termed as natural propensity, stems from a deep devotion and immersion of the Self in bhakti of the Lord. Making of perfect compositions no longer remains a highly intellectual exercise, as the Grace of the Lord plays in the bhakta while he is in a state of ecstasy in his love for the Lord. This is what I have gathered from the talks of the Master on bhakti. Despite all this, lots of his verses reflect deep inner pain of separation from his Lord. The history of mankind shows one common thing in the life of all exalted bhaktas - they have all gone through strong inner pain of separation from their Lord/Guru/chosen deity at different times in their life. Is this pain somewhat similar to the vedan that Master experienced before the fall of the alphabet ‘n’ of vedan? Is this Advaita Bhakti? All answers are available within the revelations of the Master. I request fellow bhaktas to get it directly from His books. When one gets an answer for himself/herself after immersing in the utterances of the Master, the joy experienced is something different. Let us not forget that the Absolute Self I-Reality personified is a perfect revealer of anything and everything - Himself remaining only a Witness, and not at all involved. Hence, all answers are available from such a Soul. The answers received from perfect spiritual Masters refine the mind and intellect to bow in total reverence to the supreme glory and majesty of the Absolute-incarnate. Intellect of the highest level cannot even fathom a minuscule part of this glory, but it can salute and surrender to accept one and all as verily the Absolute Self I-Reality.
Submitted at the lotus feet of the Master.