|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Divine Name Haridasa > 05 Self Surrender|
SPIRITUAL MASTER AND SELF-SURRENDER
THE Advent of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu into this world, is a most marked event even to great celestials. Gods like Brahma, Siva, etc., and sages of repute like Sanak, Sanandan, Sanatan, Sanatkumar, etc., greedy of tasting the highest and rarest Transcen¬dental Bliss are born in the material world and having been blessed with the Divine Name, they dance, sing and lose themselves on the wavelets of Divine Bliss. Exalted devotees like Narada, Prahlada, etc., are no exception. Assuming human forms, they too are drinking the ambrosia flowing from the never-ending fountain of the Tran¬scendental Name. Lakshmi and other consorts of Shri Vishnu too, were born in this mortal world in human forms, tempted by the same de¬sire and are having a taste of It. What to speak of all other persons? Shri Krishna Himself is enjoying the sweetness of His Name! As such, why wonder at the request of Mayadevi?
There are many who preach against the idea of accepting a spiri¬tual guide. These people go round in different parts of the country and deliver vehement speeches criticising the whole principle. The duty of a Guru is to en-
lighten the ignorant people, by removing their misunderstandings in spiritual matters, and throw sufficient light so that they may not be misled by pseudo-propagandists. The Guru by his special mercy and influence helps the worthy disciple to change his aversion to Godhead into active conversion towards Him and His service.
A few, who are liberal amongst them and of a slightly milder nature, style themselves as moderate and come forward with differ¬ent views. These people agree to the principles of service of the Su¬preme Lord. They, with all emphasis protest against the idea of sub¬mitting to another. They do not subscribe to the thoughts of another person, however great he may be in this world, to take control of their modes of life and dictate terms to them. They opine that there is no other suggestion more humiliating to a man than asking him to submit unconditionally to another man whom they believe to be of their stuff.
There is nothing in this world, spiritual or material, which a hu¬man being can understand without the help of a guide. The importance of a guide is conspicuously felt in every field of knowledge. The imperative need of such a person can never be overlooked, even in ac quiring the knowledge of those objects that are opened to the analytic and synthetic researches of human ability, not to speak of God, Who is far above the reach of human intelligence. When the very understanding of the secrets about objects lying within the inspection of tangible senses, is utterly im¬possible, without the expert guidance of external help, how can we succeed in getting a conception of One, Who is declared 'Transcen¬dental' by the best of the brains and our sacred Sastras, without any help?
"tad viddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa,
upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattva-darshinah..68
Let us try to follow what Bhagavan Shri Krishna has mentioned in the Gita, "Learn that Divine Truth with a submissive spirit, sin¬cere inquiries and obedient services from those great persons who are not only erudite scholars, but Absolute-realised souls."68
harau ruste gurustrata gurau ruste na kaschan,
tasmat sarbaprayatnena gurumebo prasadayoute..69
naaham ijyaa-prajaatibhyaam tapasopashamena vaa,
tushyeyam sarva-bhutaatmaa guru-shushrushayaa yathaa..70
The position of both the Guru and disciple is explicity expressed in this Sloka. The Guru, as some of the arrogant elements of society take, is not an ordinary man like any of us, not even a mere bookworm or a scholar of certain
Sanskrit work, an adept in verbal jugglery. He is an Absolute-realised person who is compe¬tent enough to make others too realise the Eter¬nal Truth. He who has not realised It. cannot be a spiritual preceptor. He is the one well-wisher without a second to the fallen humanity, who helps us to concentrate our diverse activities towards the Su¬preme Godhead. He is an embodiment of kindness who, with his prevailing spiritual influence, dispels all the darkness, which is the result of extreme ignorance on this relative plane, and opens our eyes by imparting to us genuine Divine Knowledge. He is an honest and perfect guide on our spiritual voyage, who leads us like an expert helmsman to the ever safe haven on Transcendental Bliss, free from the onslaughts of any mighty rough wind or gale. He is a true mes¬senger of the All-Loving-Godhead-yes, His transcendental mediator who is eager to establish a real tie of loving relationship between the Lord and those fortunate human souls who sincerely seek it. He is a pioneer of true love, a loving agent, an establishers of all relations of love, a trustworthy and expert destroyer of all our non-loving prin¬ciples. If we can cultivate a devotional aptitude towards this repre¬sentative of the All-Merciful Lord, we are definitely sure to reach our final goal. He saves us from all our changing views and wrong mentalities. The status that a real Guru occupies is too high; none holds such a lofty position as he. He is greater than Godhead in this respect as he can impart the Lord and His service to any one whom he favours. The Sastras even declare that "the displeasure of Godhead when directed towards any individual is not harmful provided he is backed by the divine master, whereas, one who is denounced by the spiritual preceptor finds no shelter in the infinite number of worlds."69 Bhagavan remains silent and adamant to such a person who disre¬gards the spiritual preceptor, His loving agent. Without the mercy of an eternally liberated person, a conditioned soul can never free him¬self from the fettered state. One, who is already in fetters, cannot help another similarly fettered person. A free person could set an¬other bound one, free. Bhagavan while conversing to His old class¬mate and friend Sudama at Dvaraka said thus; "O friend! I am the Supreme Lord and I reside in the heart of every person as the Indwelling Witness. I am not so much pleased with the performance of the daily obligatory sacrifices of Brahmacharis, the procreation, maintenance and the observance of prescribed duties by the house¬holders, severe austerities of the Vanaprasthis and the practices of the Sanyasis in solitude, as with the loving services rendered to a spiritual preceptor."70
prathamantu gurun pujya tatscheb mamrachnum,
krubana sidheemavuanatee hanyatha nisfalaon vabote..71
(hari bhakti bilash,1.4.344)
Bhagavan mentions in another place, "One must worship the Guru fust before he starts with My worship; such a person alone succeeds in this efforts. Any violation of this procedure results in uter failure."71 The Supreme Lord favours the individual Jiva through His medium, the Guru. Guru or spiritual masters are of three types. (1) Diksha Guru (one who imparts the initiation or Mantra, (2) Siksha Guru (one who imparts spiritual enlightenment), and (3) Chaitya Guru (indwelling guide, who inspires and directs from within).
naivopayanty apacitim kavayas tavesha brahmaayushaapi kritam riddha-mudah smarantah,
yo ’ntar bahis tanu-bhritaam ashubham vidhunvann aacaarya-caittya-vapushaa sva-gatim vyanakti..72
"O Lord! The great sages who are blessed with the benefits of your various favours, can never feel themselves convinced of ad¬equately discharging their deep indebtedness to Thee, even if they are provided with a long life as that of Brahma. In Manifold ways Thou hast extended Thy Mercy to them. Thou dost destroy all their evil propensities and worldly attachments, as the spiritual preceptor in living form, appearing as Diksha and Siksha Gurus, and as Chaitya Guru, guide from within and lead to the attainment of Divine Love."72
All these three Gurus belong to the same category. They are all transcendental personages. They are always engaged in the uninter¬rupted realisations of the Transcendental Activities of the Lord. Amongst the two visible forms of Guru, one becomes our Diksha Guru. He imparts Mantras and initiation to us. Diksha Guru is al¬ways one, but Siksha Guru may be one or more. Father is one, but uncles can be many. To certain individuals, both Diksha Guru and Siksha Guru may be one and the same.
tasmaad gurum prapadyeta jijnaasuh shreya uttamam,
shaabde pare ca nishnaatam brahmany upashamaashrayam..73
"Hence, those persons who are interested in the atainment of their eternal welfare, must submissively approach a Guru who is an erudite scholar in all the ultimate lore of Sastras and who is favoured with the full realisations of the Absolute, and seek enlightenment from him."73
tatra bhaagavataan dharmaan shikshed gurv-aatma-daivatah,
amaayayaanuvrittyaa yais tushyed aatmaatma-do harih..74
"Fully believing in the transcendental nature of the spiritual preceptor as eternally identical with the Supreme Lord Shri Hari and ac¬cepting him as one's eternal benefactor, he should constantly and with single-minded devotion please him and receive from him enlightnment on the details of Bhagavata Dharma, by observing which, Bhagavan is so pleased as to give Himself up to the devo¬tee."74
yasya deve paraa bhaktir yathaa deve tathaa gurau,
tasyaite kathitaa hy arthaah prakaashante mahaatmanah..75
(Shvetaashvatara Upanishad 6.23)
The real import of the Sastras, in spite of vast, literary achieve¬ments, remains a hidden truth. "The Sastras unfold their real mean¬ing only to those persons who have equal devotion to the Supreme Lord and His representative, the spiritual preceptor."75
vijita-hrishika-vaayubhir adaanta-manas tura-gam
ya iha yatanti yantum ati-lolam upaaya-khidah,
vyasana-shataanvitaah samavahaaya gurosh caranam
vanija ivaaja santy akrita-karna-dharaa jaladhau..76
From all these valuable instructions of the Sastras, a wise per¬son can feel the imperative necessity of accepting the spiritual pre¬ceptor and rendering whole-hearted services to him. Those who ig¬nore the spiritual preceptor are under the evil dictations of their de¬ceptive minds. Their condition is vividly described in Shrimad Bhagavata thus:- "O Lord! Those unfortunate persons, who, avoid¬ing taking shelter at the feet of the spiritual master, make a vainglo¬rious attempt to control their restless mind, mad like an unbridled horse, which appears impossible even to great Yogis, who have a per¬fect control over their senses and breathing functions, meet with a disappointing failure. They find themselves helplessly placed in the midst of a series of difficulties and obstacles. Their condition is like that of those merchants who start their voyage without a pilot and who are caught in the deep rough sea, their vessel being mercilessly tossed by a strong gale."76
The above are some of the ideas about the genuine Guru accord¬ing to the Sastras. Here are some about the disciple, the disciple should not, at any cost, be like a modern student who attends an educational institution either for securing a mere degree or diploma with the object of drawing salaries in three digits or four, after get¬
ting through the departmental competitive tests or the gather some general knowledge to carry on one's family
trade, or to have some status in society, etc. He must be a sincere seeker after Truth prepared to undergo any amount of hardships and sacrifices for achieving his goal. If the would-be disciple is an easy-going careless and indifferent person, his attempt to meet a spiritual master and the further developments on their meeting, would be met by a severe disappointment. As already stated a worthy disciple should approach a true spiritual preceptor with due submis¬sion. In the mundane world too, none tolerates a haughty approach. A haughty man fails to enlist the sympathy even of his co-workers, not to speak of superiors. An appeal from an arrogant heart is never met with success. For favour of spiritual enlightenment, a disciple must approach an Absolute-realised person fully equipped with three qualifications viz. (1) complete surrender. The disciple must uncon¬ditionally resign all his material ego arising from brith, age, wealth or, popularity, material learning and pride of personal appearance. He should never make attempts to measure the spiritual master after accepting him. (2) sincere inquiry after Truth. Unnecessary ques¬tions, either for showing of one's intelligence or for testing the abil¬ity of the master are to be always avoided. Questions even for satis¬fying one's curiosity are also most certainly to be dropped. Ques¬tions that are of vital importance and immediate benefit for one's spiritual uplift, are alone to be placed before the master. A disciple should under no circumstances argue with his spiritual master, and try to conquer him with one's own imperfect notions and views, gath¬ered from this defective world through ihe assistance of the decep¬tive senses; on the contrary, he should wait with eagerness and sub¬mission for his Guru's spontaneous expositions. His explanations are entirely based on his continuous and undisturbed realisations of Godhead and His various Pastimes. And (3) Loving services. With¬out the least hesitation, a disciple should be prepared to render lov-Ing services of any nature, be it menial or dignified. The inspiring Samples of Shri Krishna, Shri Rama, etc., and the ideal lives of world teachers are living monuments that illustrate the above ideal.
Shri Krishna and His Divine Descents like Rama, etc., do not require the least outside help in any matter. In fact, no one could have the fitness to be a preceptor to Them; yet, for the benefit on the world, to enlighten the fallen liumanity, They set ideals before the people. Did not Shri Krishna go to the forest with an axe in His Hand,
cut firewood, make them into bundles and carry them on His Own head for the service of the great Sandipani whom He accepted as His preceptor? Did not Shri Rama and Shri Lakshmana spend sleepless niglits with bows and arrows in Their Hands, sometimes sitting on piled heaps of rocks and sometimes resting on bare earth for satisfying Their master? Are we to read those soul-stirring events as mere stories that do not concern us ? Do we not require to grasp the meaning underlying such actions and translate the same in our lives too?
Saranagati or the act of self-surrender to the Supreme Lord is an essential requisite, that an aspirant in the path of religious pursuit can never ignore. The proud man, urged by his false ego, ignores the fundamental principles of human life, viz., a virtuous life, full of faith and love to his ever loving Lord. But, providentially a day will come, when he must feel the neces¬sity of this fundamental principle, realising the utter vanity of the worldly pleasures. The unfortunate man, falling a victim to evil in¬fluences of the sense-ridden ego, may revolt against his own Lord, the only benefactor of humanity; he may conquer worlds, he may be the architect of nations, he may build vast empires or he may do many other wonders which no ordinary man can ever even imagine; yet he is utterly helpless in crossing this unfathomable ocean of world-liness. At every moment, he is being violently tossed by the roaring waves of this ocean of never-ending sufferings. All his false hopes are frustrated, his confidence in the efficacy of his own actions be¬trays him finally. He sees all around him threatening temptations, horrors and sweeping currents of cares, calamities, anxieties, and worries. He feels his helplessness and sincerely longs to come out of this terrible predicament. He gains more experiences in this transi¬tory world of fleeting pleasures; he becomes wiser than ever before. He recollects wise sayings and comes round to the above fundamen¬tal principle. He surrenders himself to the Supreme Lord. Did not Bhagavan Shri Krishna in unambiguous words, emphasise the impera¬tive necessity of surrender?
sarva-dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja,
aham tvaam sarva-paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucah..77
"Discard all human element in religion addressed to embodied Atman, such as social duties, like Nitya, Naimittik and Kamya Karma; your confidence in your physical strength, your mental eligibility, your moral achievements, your social duties, reliance on your elders, wealth, properties, etc., and surrender to Me. I am here to shoulder all your responsibilities. I can save you from all your sins conse¬quent on your nonobservance of edicts addressed to embodied souls. You need not worry even for a fraction of a moment. None else can do this deed for you. I assure you, I am the Supreme Lord; I am the only Saviour of humanity. Why do you depend upon others and other courses? They cannot help you. They too are in the same plight as ou are. As such, how can they lend their helping hands to you? Why o you hope to cross an ocean by catching hold a dog's tail? This is a multuous ocean of roaring waves, infested by various ferocious mals who are waiting with wide open jaws. They will swallow ou within no time. Your efforts, however well designed, and how-ver equipped they may be, in your light, can never lead you safely to the other shore. If you disobey Me and enter into its rough waters, you will be caught in a short while in its terrible eddies, surrounded by wild beasts that can easily swallow even elephants. Hence, the safest course for you is to come to Me. I am here with My boat. You need not have any fear whatsoever, You are once and for all saved for eternity. You do not repent for the failures in fulfilling the different duties you had to perform. All those duties are intended only to please Me finally. If I am favourably disposed to you, there is nothing else that you should gain in the infinite number of worlds. You can be sure that you have achieved everything. This is the final attainment of all fortunate souls-My Love. Go on, do not waste time, make haste and be free from all the worries that you are subject to, from time immemorial."77
dharmaan anyaan parityajya maam ekam bhaja vishvasan,
yaadrishi yaadrishi shraddhaa siddhir bhavati taadrishi.
kurvan nirantaram karma loko ’yam anuvartate,
tenaiva karmanaa dhyaayan maam paraam bhaktim icchati..77.1
"Should the duties like meditation, etc., that I am performing, conform to the duties enjoined according to the code for one's own Asram or be exclusively by themselves? The answer is this:- "Dis-* carding all codes of conduct, prescribed for the Vamas (classes), as enjoined by the Vamasram Dharmas, take absolute shelter in Me alone." The word 'Parityajya', should not be interpreted as "dis¬carding the worldly ties and attachments to become a hermit"; be¬cause, Arjun being a Kshatriya, is debarred from being a Sanyasin. This should not also be taken to mean that Bhagavan Shri Krishna, having Arjun in view intended to convey His directive to the rest of the people. When it was proper for Him to give advice to Arjun only, others could adjunctively be included but not vice versa. The word 'Parityajya' should not be taken to mean "discarding only the fruits of one's actions". This is illustrated thus:- "O King! That person who, discarding his duties enjoined by the Varnasram Dharma, takes sole refuge in Shri Mukunda- the Fittest Person amongst all yielding protection, is neither a slave nor a debtor to his ances¬tors, well-wishers, other animate beings, the sages, or the other gods." "When a mortal, who has cast aside all his wordly duties and dedicated his self to Me, in his desire to seek Me, attains immortality, then indeed he becomes fit to realise Me-the Self-Produced One." "Man should continue to perform his worldly du¬ties, so long as he does not free himself, from the attachment there of,nor is able to develop an attachment to the hearing, etc., of My Nar¬ratives." "That person who, knowing the merits and demerits of My directives, though given by Me, solely serves Me, leaving aside all the moral and religious codes of his own Dharma, is the most virtuous of the virtuous." All these words of Shri Krishna convey the same meaning, because of the prefix 'Pari' meaning 'all-around', "Hence, the words 'take refuge in Me alone', imperatively means that you should not take recourse to Dharma, knowledge, Yoga, wor¬ship of their gods, etc." In the beginning, I told you that you are entitled to devotion blended with religious rites, thinking that you have no claim to the highest form of My Bhakti-Ananya Bhakti (whole and sole devotion to Shri Krishna and no one else), as the sole resort. Now out of My sheer unlimited kindness to you, you have attained the right to My highest form of Bhakti-Ananya Bhakti, which acci¬dentally and inexplicably (yaadricchikayaa), is obtainable only by the grace of My ardent devotees, who have solely dedicated them selves to Me alone, the peculiarity of which (Ananya Bhakti), is that I break My Own-vows to fulfil those of My Bhaktas as will be indi¬cated to you by the breaking of My own vow to fulfil Bhishmas's at the time of your battle with him. By My commands, you should not entertain any fear of obstacles that might befall you for the relin¬quishment of these daily routine religious rites. These daily routine rites were directed to be practised by Me alone, assuming the form of Vedas; but its discardment also, is ordered by My Own Self, i.e. Shri Krishna Himself. Hence, how can there be any possibility of a sin arising for not performing these routine rites? On the con¬trary, if you still persist in performing your daily routine reli¬gious rites, you would be committing sins, for disobeying the di¬rect commands given (in Person) by My Own Self. Verily, he, who has totally dedicated himself to any protector, becomes, entirely de¬pendent on the latter like a beast, purchased for a price, doing what he is impelled to do, standing where he is asked to stand, and eating whatever he is provided with. These are all the principles of the codes of self-dedication. It is said in Vayu Purana:- "(1) Full acceptance of all that is favourable, (2) total rejection (abstinence) of every¬thing that is unfavourable, (3) a firm faith that he will be pro¬tected, (4) the choice of the Lord, (5) consigning everything to His care, and (6) giving up of meanness are the six ways of Saranagati. The word 'Anukulyam 'means, the conduct that is one of continued advance agreeable to one's chosen God or Deity, befitting the devotional code; 'Pratikulyam' is the exact opposite of that; 'Bhatritva' is the implicit faith that He alone is my Protector and no one else' 'Visvas' (faith) is that unflinching faith that He will protect me even in the midst of adverse circumstances as those of Draupadi, Gajendra, etc., 'Nikshepanam'is the utility of everything belonging both to the mortal frame and the subtle body only in the service of one's own Shri Krishna; 'Akarpanyam' (or the giving up of mean¬ness) is the non-display of one's meanness elsewhere; these six qualities constitute Saranagati, or complete self-surrender to the Supreme Creator. Therefore, from now onwards I take absolute ref¬uge inYou. Hence, as befitting You, I must do my duty allotted to me, whether good or bad (auspicious or inauspicious). If you ask me to do only the routine religious rites, there will be no anxiety; but be¬cause of Your Self-Willed Nature, arising from Your Overlordship, if You compel me to practise unrighteousness (Adharma), then what will be my fate? The answer to this (doubt) is given in the line 'Aham tvam sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami ma suchah'. I shall liberate you from all, both ancient (all existing accumulated sins of all past births), and future sins (those I may cause you to perform according to you). The sense is that I shall not be wanting in My ability to protect you like other protectors. It is on your account alone, that I am teaching these scriptural injunctions to the whole world. Grieve not. Do not grieve either for your own interest (Benefit) or for the benefits of another. May all people like you, by completely dis¬carding all their own codes of conduct and those of other Dharms, meditating, performing Kirtan, etc., and taking absolute shelter in Me, live happily, because I have, an oath, shouldered the full responsibility of liberating them, from all their sins, of freeing them from their worldly bondage, and the charge of their attain¬ing Me. What more? "I have taken upon Myself even to feed them. It is already said, "I bear the responsibility of looking to the wel¬fare of those, who, being fully engrossed in Me alone, and with¬out seeking any other protector, worship Me wholeheartedly and zealously." Do not grieve saying, "Alas! I have thrust so much bur¬den on my own Lord." Meditation on the Lord, Who is kind to His devotees, and faithful to His word, can be easily (without any effort) accomplished. Is there anything further and higher than this that yet remains to be told?77" -1
tasmaat tvam uddhavotshrijya codanaam praticodanaam,
pravrittim ca nivrittim ca shrotavyam shrutam eva ca.
maam ekam eva sharanam aatmaanam sarva-dehinaam,
yaahi sarvaatma-bhaavena mayaa syaa hy akuto-bhayah..78
"O Uddhav! For the reason already explained to you, take abso¬lute shelter in Me-Shri Krishna (pointing to Himself with His Own Finger) alone-the Soul of all beings, with your heart and soul, discarding everything that the Srutis and Smritis expect one to perform and to reject, and giving up the attachment to and the discontinuance of worldly affairs and clean forgetting everything that you have so far heard, and giving up entirely any inclination to hear whatever yet remains to be heard. Be fearless as I am your Protector."78
Surrender to Bhagavan is the safest path. All our Sastras repeat¬edly insist on this course. Any observance devoid of the spirit of surrender fails to invoke Divine Mercy. Surrender, pure and genuine moves the Heart of the Supreme Lord. It melts Him and He flies to the rescue of a surrendered devotee. How Many illustrations are there in the lives of many great saints that establish this fact with all em¬phasis! The incidents of Gajendra, Draupadi, and the lives of a host of devotees, ancient and modern are glorious examples that prove this idea in facts and figures. Words cannot adequately express the astounding effects of surrender.
aanukulyasya sankalpah praatikulyasya varjanam,
rakshishyatiti vishvaaso goptritve varanam tathaa,
aatma-nikshepa-kaarpanye shad-vidhaa sharanaagatih..79
(hari bhakti vilash,2.11.676)
utsaahaan nishcayaad dhairyaat tat-tat-karma-pravartanaat,
sanga-tyaagaat sato vritteh shadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati..80
The course of Saranagati has got sixfold features as its special characteristics.79 The scripture explains it thus: A strong resolve to accept those activities mat are congenial to the growth of Bhakti. An aspirant who is sincerely longing for advancement in the devotional path should practise with utmost care only such ob-servances as are favourable to his rapid progress. The extremely turbulent senses, with all their evil propensities and
madness, are to be engaged in the service of the Lord. Each activity of the aspirant of devotion, such as taking food, association, move¬ments, etc., should be regulated fully under this principle. Such ac¬tivities are of six kinds.80
nirvinnaanaam jnaana-yogo nyaasinaam iha karmasu,
teshv anirvinna-cittaanaam karma-yogas tu kaaminaam.
yadricchayaa mat-kathaadau jaata-shraddhas tu yah pumaan,
na nirvinno naati-sakto bhakti-yogo ’sya siddhi-dah.,81
1. A genuine enthusiasm in observing the devotional activities is one of the invariable virtues necessary to strengthen our devotion towards Bhagavan. One who is indifferent to his real uplift and hence reluctant to practise all that is conducive to the rise of Bhakti, meets with hordes of tremendous difficulties in his path. Enthusiasm in the observance of prescribed religious practices, is a very congenial fac¬tor in building up Bhakti towards the Lord. In the absence of genuine enthusiasm, lethargy, indifference, desperation and such other despi¬cable qualities dominate over us. Laziness is the worst enemy to re¬ligious progress. If an aspirant allows this evil the slightest scope, it will take undue advantage of him and ruin him totally. Reluctance and lack of endeavour in observing devotional practices,make us vic¬tims, to this evil agent. 'Oak is not felled with one blow', is a very wise proverb. Lack of confidence in himself, and consequently, his efforts create desperation in him. An aspirant in the path of devotion should never fall a victim to this discouraging factor. He must rise above this. "Persons who are given to various desires are asked to follow the path of Karma by Bhagavan Shri Krishna. Those who have a spirit of renunciation in the daily, and occasional activities pre¬scribed by the Sastras, should necessarily follow the path of knowl¬edge. Due to some unknown divine virtues, in the past, those per¬sons, who have ingrained in them a strong faith in the Glories and Deeds of Bhagavan, should invariably follow the path of devotion or Bhakti. "81
They too may be indifferent to the observance of the daily and occasional duties, but they adopt those principles that are favourable to the growth of devotion. Those who are eligible for the path of Bhakti, are not extremely attached to the fruits of their ac¬tions. Without the physical body, the practice of devotional activities in the mortal plane, is an impossibility. As such, however, unwel¬come they may be, a certain amount of activity is unavoidable in the material world. Sincere aspirants after devotion, should work for their livelihood, though with reluctance, and worship the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna with intense Bhakti to Him. They are extremely unat¬tached to the various types of worldly actions, and with passage of time, become more devoted to the devotional practices of the Lord. The Merciful Lord, manifesting Himself in their hearts, destroys all their evil propensities. By the continuous remembrance of the Lord, their hearts become purified. They are freed for ever from the evil consequences of bondage. Their doubts top are removed. They be¬come eligible to realise the Supreme Lord. Other efforts are not suc¬cessful in bringing their results, if the votaries of those methods lack in the quality of dependence on the Supreme Lord. Their enability to destroy the terrible consequences of Karma must not dissuade them from their efforts. Hence, from the very beginning of an aspirant's devotional activities, keen enthusiasm should be preserved even at the cost of all comforts, and this is the very life of firm faith, a pre¬requisite for obtaining Bhakti.
2. Those treading the path of devotion must have settled con¬victions regarding the path, they are pursuing and the final attain¬ment. Till we are confident of the method and the results it would offer, we are under the influence of doubts. If an aspirant falls a prey to doubts, he is lost.
ajnash caashraddadhaanash ca samshayaatmaa vinashyati,
naayam loko ’sti na paro na sukham samshayaatmanah..82
"He who is ignorant of the true knowledge of relationship and lacks badly in faith for the performance of Nishkam Karma, is over¬come by the feeling of hesitation, and meets with destruction. To a sceptic, there is no shining future. He never succeeds in attaining happiness either in this world or in the next."82 Hence, strong belief in the statement of the scriptures, without the least possible doubt in it, is indispensably necessary for the growth of devotion.
3. Patience is another essential and favourable quality that is needed for every aspirant after devotion. 'Patience and perseverance will overcome mountains'. We are severely disappointed and non¬plussed due to want of patience. Those who lack this quality are un¬done; they do not prosper in any line. By the influence of patience, an aspirant for devotion gains perfect control over himself, and fi¬nally the entire world bows to him.
vaaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam jihvaa-vegam udaropastha-vegam,
etaan vegaan yo vishaheta dhirah sarvaam apimaam prithivim sa shishyaat..83
Souls under the thraldom of Maya are the slaves of sixfold pas¬sions. Those who can effectively succeed in conquering all these six passions can master the whole world.83
These impulses are (1) an uncontrollable tendency for idle gossip, (2) various undesirable specu¬lations of the wavering mind, (3) proneness to uncontrollable anger, (4) unusual desire for satisfying the tongue with delicious varieties of food, (5) longing for excessive eating, and (6) sexual appetite. These six impulses are highly detrimental to the development of de¬votion. Hence, with utmost patience, they are to be abandoned in the daily life of one aspiring after Bhakti. As long as the human body continues to exist till death, a sincere aspirant should make all ear¬nest efforts to check the inimical incitements by engaging them in the service of the Lord.
All aspirants in the various religious paths are after some gains. Those who are observing the fruitive activities, long for the attain¬ment of paradise and its varieties of pleasures unavailable in the same measure in this world.
People who are following the path of knowledge, do so tempted by a strong desire for eternal liberation for themselves. Similarly, those who are pursuing the path of Bhakti or devotion, constantly covet to render full satisfaction to the senses of the Lord. Delay in the achievement of one's goal, often causes ground for utter despair, resulting finally in a downfall from his cherished goal. In order to avoid this evil consequence, an aspirant in devotional path, must be wholly wedded to this quality of patience. The Supreme Lord is an Ocean of Mercy. Either this day or some other day in this very life, if not, certainly in some other birth, He will shower His Mercy upon him. He never forsakes him who solely depends upon Him. "I will cling to His Lotus Feet with all hopes and never give Him up under any severe test." Such a firm determination helps the aspirant to achieve a glorious success. 'Patience is the best remedy for grief. It is the plaster for all sores. Therefore, in all sincerity one must culti¬vate this virtue of Patience' in him.
shraddhaamrita-kathaayaam me shashvan mad-anukirtanam,
parinishthaa ca pujaayaam stutibhih stavanam mama.
aadarah paricaryaayaam sarvaangair abhivandanam,
mad-bhakta-pujaabhyadhikaa sarva-bhuteshu man-matih.
mad-artheshv anga-ceshtaa ca vacasaa mad-guneranam,
mayy arpanam ca manasah sarva-kaama-vivarjanam.
mad-arthe ’rtha-parityaago bhogasya ca sukhasya ca,
ishtam dattam hutam japtam mad-artham yad vratam tapah.
evam dharmair manushyaanaam uddhavaatma-nivedinaam,
mayi sanjaayate bhaktih ko ’nyo ’rtho ’syaavashishyate..84
4. In observing the prescribed devotional acts the Sastras lay down a series of activities for awakening and promoting devotional feelings in us. These activities must occupy the highest place in our daily performances. The sixty-four principles (see footnote 159) on Sadlian Bhakti are all favourable activities that help us in our goal. Shri Krishna advises Uddhav in the eleventh canto of Shrimad Bhagavata thus: "Faith in listening to My Nectarine Narratives, constantly re¬peating them, great attachment in performing My worship, singing hymns in My praise with a devotional fervour, natural regard for rendering service to Me, prostrated obeisances with all the Indriyas, special liking for the service of My devotees, feeling My presence in each and every created being, engaging fully one's Indriyas in My service, singing My Glories, dedicating one's heart to Me, renuncia¬tion of all desires, sacrificing one's wealth, comforts, and pleasures for My service, consecration of all things that are worth desiring, performances of religious sacrifices, muttering of Mantras, obser¬vance of religious vows, and practice of austerities for My pleasure-CD Uddhav! By ovserving these, loving devotion to Me, is kindled in the hearts of those souls who have surrendered themselves unconditionally to Me."84
5. All evil associations must be strictly eschewed. 'Man is known by the company he keeps'. Association exerts a tremendous influ¬ence on the building up of one's character, both in material and spiri¬tual fields. Association is twofold- (1) Company of others, and (2) having attachment to other objects or persons. The first one is again of a twofold nature, (a) keeping company with non-devotees and persons addicted to women, and (b) having association with women. The second, too, is twofold, (a) attachment to bad instincts, and (b) attachment to wealth, properties, house, ornaments, relations, etc. All these associations, either in the form of company or in the nature of attachments, are detrimental towards devotional progress. Shri Krishna explains their evil consequences in Gita thus:-
dhyaayato vishayaan pumsah sangas teshupajaayate,
sangaat sanjaayate kaamah kaamaat krodho ’bhijaayate.
krodhaad bhavati sammohah sammohaat smriti-vibhramah,
smriti-bhramshaad buddhi-naasho buddhi-naashaat pranashyati..85
"Association with the objects of the world awakens passions in man;passions when obstructed give birth to anger; anger leads to delusion; delusion is followed by loss of memory; when a man is deprived of sound memory, he loses his intelligence which conse¬quently brings total destruction to him."85
Fallen souls are weaklings in all respects. If they are left at the mercy of their material senses; their destruction is inevitable. 'Birds of the same feather flock together'. Material senses will slowly drag the man to similar sense-objects. Their association, gradually gives birth to attachment with those objects. The more he gets attached to these objects, the less he becomes interested in his spiritual goal.Thus in course of a short span of time, his condition gets deplorable nd at the end, he meets with a lamentable downfall. Householder evotees, who practise devotion, while leading a household life acording to the injunctions of the Sastras, must associate with their wedded wives, in accordance with the rules and regulations laid-out in the scriptures. Both the husband and wife with the assistance of the other members of the family, such as daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, etc., must make sincere efforts to engage themselves fully in the service of the Lord. In such a family life, there would not be any fear of evil association or formation of worldly attachments. For householders or renounced persons, association with undesirable people, is unwholesome and objectionable. Attachment or addiction to one's previous evil instincts is to be totally abandoned. By its as¬sociation with us for the last so many births, it becomes, more or less our inherent nature. It does considerable harm to our eternal welfare.
Attachment to material objects and persons, such as wealth, prop¬erties, houses, lands, ornaments, clothings, children, wives, broth¬ers, sisters, their persons, etc., is like a highwayman who robs us of our spiritual wealth gathered while on the royal path to devotion. Addiction to intoxicants and stimulants too come under the same category. Eating objectionable foods like, flesh, fish, egg, etc., are also not favourable to our goal. Humanity is saved from all these evils by the marvellous efficacy of 'Sadhu Sanga' or association with Bhaktas.
6. Following the course practised by the devotees is the well-known effective and favourable way that helps the striver in his ef¬forts for developing Bhakti. Sadhu*, whose mode of conduct we are expected to follow for our spiritual benefit, are of two kinds. (1) Householder devotees who lead an exemplary life while living in the family fold, and (2) those who give up all their family connections and exclusively devote themselves to the service of Godhead. Be¬cause of the difference in the station of life and responsibilities, cer¬tain traits of the two classes of devotees show slight variation. Yet, there are common principles as well. Scriptures describe a series of rules for regulating our conduct. The main object of all these rules and regulations laid-out in the Sastras, is to bring us back to a perfect life of faith in and love for Godhead from an uncivilised, and irreli¬gious barbaric living. Those who lead a householder's life, are ex¬pected to earn their livelihood and maintain their families by virtu¬ous means, engaging themselves in the service of Bhagavan, Bhaktas and the chanting of the Holy Name. Entertaining guests is an impor¬tant duty that every householder should unfailingly and ungrudgingly practise. They must be frank in their behaviour and sympathetic in their attitude. They should never be given to foul ways of earning their livelihood and barbarous living. They should be kind even to subhuman beings. Avoiding all pseudo-types of asceticism, they must lead the life of a genuine devotee. Psedo-ascetcism consists in aban¬doning all objects of the world intended for the service of the Lord, with a feeling of contempt, imposing material attributes on them. Whereas, genuine asceticism is that which utilises, every objects of the world in the service of the Lord, without having the least attach¬ment to any of them. A follower of genuine asceticism leads a well regulated life, earns by virtuous ways means for meeting his legiti¬mate necessities. He is neither for excessive enjoyment nor for re¬nunciation. He is the upholder of the idea of proper utility of all objects. He never runs mad after selfish and unnatural wants. Though in the midst of family surroundings, he is a true devotee in spirit engaged in the service of the Lord.
That striver who has given up all his family connections for ex¬clusively engaging himself in the service of the Lord., i.e., Sanyasin must lead a very simple life. Constantly chanting the Holy Name forms an important item of his daily duty. Avoiding all worldly gos¬sips at all times, delicious varieties of food, and showy dress he must, in all humility, utter the Holy Name. He should maintain his body and meet its bare necessities by alms from those who are faithful to Godhead and Sastras. Discarding all sense of pride and wandering from place to place undergoing all suffering in this ocean of worldli-ness he must render the maximum help to other souls, who are averse to Godhead.
atyaahaarah prayaasash ca prajalpo niyamaagrahah,
jana-sangash ca laulyam ca shadbhir bhaktir vinashyati..86
All should discard harmful activities that stand in the way of attaining Bhakti. Souls imprisoned in the physical and subtle bodies and guided by selfish desires are wandering in this world from time immemorial. They take
births in dilferent species according to their actions. They gather a variety of experiences in this world, both good and bad. If these experi¬ences make them wise and persuade them to give up their leanings for enjoyment or freedom in any form-well-they have succeeded in their life's mission. The puipose of their human birth is fulfilled. If not, they are to rotate along with the world of worldliness ceaselessly. These latter displease the Lord and hence His love is not had. Without the least hesitation, we must refrain from these acts that are detrimental to the progress of devotion, such undesirable agents are grouped under six heads.86
1. A tendency to hoard anything more than the legitimate ne¬cessity is an impediment that we must all sincerely avoid in our daily activity. The enjoyment of the world through the sense-organs, i.e., eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and the skin, plays an important role in which every fettered soul is hopelessly engrossed in this world. Without a certain amount of indulgence in the workings of the senses, it is im¬possible for human beings to survive here. Devoid of these activities, human life is something that cannot exist. As soon as we give up all activities of the senses, we cease to exist. Activities are the inherent nature of man. Man cannot continue in this world without perform¬ing actions. Actionless life is nothing but death itself. When these actions are done with selfish purposes, independent of any devotion to Bhagavan, they are the cause of our bondage and the repeated cycle of births and deaths. Those very actions when done with a motive of pleasing the Lord, save us from the cyclic effects of this world. As such, all our daily activities are to be regulated in a favourably co¬ordinated way, so that we may attain the Lord while performing them properly.
2. Over-zealousness in trifling acquirements is a weakness of many aspirants to devotion, who fall a prey to this false zeal. They put in innumerable tireless efforts in gathering knowledge, fame, etc. Unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Lord is the wecdth of all wealths. Unconditional surrender and loyality in words, deeds, and thoughts to Bhagavan form an important characteristic of Bhakti. These are ingrained in the inherent nature of unalloyed souls, as such, Bhakti is the natural function of all Jivas. No doubt, in our conditioned state, a certain amount of practice is unavoidable in awakening these dor¬mant sterling qualities. All efforts other than those needed for awak¬ening Bhakti, are impediments to the realisation of our highest goal.These efforts are commonly made in gaining more knowledge and benefits in fruitive activities. The zeal for gathering knowledge makes one go mad after the realisation of the Attributeless Brahman and finally getting absorbed in it.
jnaane prayaasam udapaasya namanta eva jivanti san-mukharitaam bhavadiya-vaartaam,
sthaane sthitaah shruti-gataam tanu-vaan-manobhir ye praayasho ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyaam..87
"The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna though unconquerable in all the three worlds, is won over by those who discard all their vainglo¬rious attempts to realise the Divine Nature, Attributes, etc., of the Lord, through empiric knowledge, submit to his Feet and survive by healing the glorious Narratives of the Lord, spontaneously coming out from the mouths of great saints living in places sanctified by them, receiving and revering the same with body, mind, and words."87
3. Idle gossipe is another uncongenial factor that stands in the way of persons who are desirious of realising Bhakti: This is sure to bring disappointment in the long run. This ugly habit, if not nipped in time, brings in its trail so many difficulties. Unfortunately, as the Kali progresses, this habit has become a serious disease amongst the people, which starting as a sporadic one, slowly grows into endemic,then develops into an epidemic, embracing a whole region, and finally becomes pandemic, spreading throughout the world. Unnecessary indulgence in gossiping, fruitless verbal jugglery, speaking ill of others, indulging in quarrels, scrutinising the conducts and deeds of others, speaking falsehood, disparaging holy persons, discussing worldly topics with excessive zeal, etc., are all actions of the same category. These evil habits must be totally eschewed.
4. Undue addiction to the observance of the rules of the Sastras of its total neglect must be avoided. The entire teachings of the scriptures come under two heads. (1) Commandments, (Positive assertions) and (2) prohibitions (negative assertions). The Sastras try to regulate our lives by all these methods, directly and indirectly, and
inspire genuine devotion in us.
The highest stage of spiritual realisation is attained after a series of graduated stages. In each of these stages, it is imperatively neces¬sary for the aspirant to practise certain observances pertaining to that particular station in life. The strict performance of these prescribed duties, makes him eligible for the next immediate stage. Failure in these observances, brings him a downfall from the spiritual path. Addiction to the duties of a stage which is already passed by the aspirant also stops his progresss. Hence, each Sadhak should per¬form the duties allotted to the particular phase of his development with sincerity and never be indifferent to it.
5. Evil company or association with persons who have not an iota of Bhakti in them is another serious obstacle that brings ruin to an aspirant of devotion. Mere conversation or sitting side by side are not acts of association. Any transaction or dealing with such persons in a spirit of too much cordiality and interest results in the form of association.
The Sastras though they forbid us to associate with evil persons, in any way, never encourage us to speak ill of any one including these evil persons, at any tirrje. By speaking ill of others we degrade ourselves. The Sastras recommend even imprisonment in a room surrounded by flames as better than living with evil persons.
6. Fickle-mindedness and greed cause the downfall of the aspirant and deter him from the pursuit of his goal. This waywardness is effected in two ways-by the unsteady position of the heart, and that of intelligence. The affinity of the mind towards sense objects,creates in the heart both attachment, and hatred. These changes in
the mind and heart disturb the tranquility of an aspirant. Just as, a strong wind tosses a boat in the sea, even so, these disturbances of the mind distract the aspirant from his practices.
A firm confidence that the Supreme Lord will protect us in all circumstances is needed. In fact, who is saving us from all the dangers and calamities that are hovering around us every moment? In time of a severe trial, all of
our acquisitions or the nearest of relations fail.There is no power anywhere in this universe that would do any harm to a person whose Protec¬tor is the Supreme Lord. On the contrary, the entire population and resources of the whole universe, cannot save him, if he is disowned by the Lord. This firmness in his belief makes him steady ever the more. This spirit of confidence saves him from the unsteady nature of the mind. It laughs in time of dangers. It strengthens his weak enthusiasm. It enables him to overcome his enemies within. It makes the life of a striver light and easy, and his journey remarkably smooth and pleasant.
vishvasya yah sthiti-layodbhava-hetur aadyo yogeshvarair api duratyaya-yogamaayah,
kshemam vidhaasyati sa no bhagavaams tryadhishas tatraasmadiya-vimrishena kiyaan ihaarthah..88
"The very Lord Shri Hari Who is solely responsible for the cre¬ation, sustenance and dissolution of this world and Who is the Origin of all, Whose Yoga Maya cannot be conceived even by the great masters of Yoga and Who is the Lord of all triple qualities, the same Lord of Pure Existence will come to our rescue. Why should we unnecessarily worry over the same?"88
Those who are averse to the Lord, depend on their material resources as the sole support of their life. They have their hopes well established in their bank deposits, insurance premiums, debentures, gold, silver, properties, ani-
mals, provident fund, pension, etc. How long can they rely on these perishables? It is definitely sure that these would show their real na¬ture one day. They have never saved a single person, so far, from the various worries he is subject to. In future also they will be incapable of doing what they cannot do at present. They are dead matter; how can they help human souls? Surrender to Bhagavan must be com¬plete in words, deeds, and thoughts. A surrendered person feels ex¬tremely delighted by the effects of such an act. By words he ex¬presses it to the Lord, by the mind he feels what he speaks and with the body, he takes shelter in holy places sanctified by the various pastimes of the Lord. Success in our efforts in the devotional path, depends on this act of self-surrender. Variation in the results of spiri¬tual practices is mainly due to the difference in the degree of surren-der. Those who have fulfilled all the six qualifications of Saranagati, perfectly in their lives, get immediate response from the Lord. Fail¬ure in achieving our goal even after making various efforts, is due to the absence of absolute Saranagati, without any reservations. This indeed, is the very life of Saranagati. It is the one vital force that makes all other qualities of Saranagati fully energetic. If we have real confidence in Him as our Saviour, the rest of the duties auto¬matically accompany. If this substantial principle is absent, the re¬maining functions are lifeless. This is like the main trunk of a tree to which the other five principles are depending branches. This noble idea is exemplified in the following Slokas:-
he gopaalaka he kripaa-jala-nidhe he sindhu-kanyaa-pate
he kamsaantaka he gajendra-karunaa-paarina he maadhava
he raamaanuja he jagat-traya-guro he pundarikaaksha maam
he gopijana-naatha paalaya param jaanaami na tvaam vinaa.44
(mukunda mala strota,44)
"O Protector of cows! O Ocean of Mercy! O Lord of Lakshmi! O Destroyer of Kansa! O Embodiment of compassion with regard to Gajendra! O Madhav! O younger brother of Balaram! O Preceptor of the three worlds! () Lotus-eyed! O Lord of the Copies! Protect me, I know nobody besides Thee."89
"O Supreme Lord! For the innumerable Jivas living in the infi¬nite'number of worlds Thou art aldtae the Father; Thou art alone the Mother; Thou art alone the Beloved Son; Thou art alone the real Friend; Thou art alone the real Benefactor; Thou art alone the Pre¬ceptor; and Thou art the Sole Refuge for all. I too belong to Thee, I am Thy servant, and Thou art my Goal. I offer myself at Thy feet. It is evidently certain that I too am to be protected by Thee alone.'"'90
All the activities of a self-surrendered soul are guided by the Lord Himself. Service of the Lord is his motto. A surrendered Sadhak feels that he is neither the regulator, guide, nor the dictator of his own life and activities. He loyally atributes these functions to the Supreme Lord. He is thoroughly confident that the Lord is the Guid¬
ing Agent behind each and every action of his.He becomes wholly subservient to the wishes of Bhagavan. His individual ego is completely surrendered at the Feet of the Lord. He has firm belief in all the wonderful powers of the Al¬mighty Lord. Being independent of the Lord is the cause of the Jivas being immersed in sins Submission to Him is the only remedy for it.
"Lord Kesav is never far from those who are totally free from mundane vanities. But He is separated from those under the tutelage of irrepressible arrogance by a multitude of mountains."91
sakrid eva prapanno yas tavaasmiti ca yaacate,
abhayam sarvadaa tasmai dadaamy etad vratam mama..92
(ramayana lanka kanda,18.33)
When Vibhishna from the opposite camp came to take shelter at the Feet of Shri Ramchandra, Sugriv informed Him, that the former should not be welcomed, to which Shri Ramchandra replied as un¬der:- "If anyone (let him be even My enemy) having approached Me, says even once, "O Lord! I am Thine", I always give him assur¬ance of eternal protection, because this is My avowed practice (creed), which even I cannot transgress."92
One practising surrender, while observing this last stage is thoroughly convinced of all his inabilities and shortcomings. Recollections of the past deeds rool in his heart like waves on an ocean. He sees before him a picture of a series of his unworthy acts. He sincerely repents for all his past sinful deeds and evil propensi¬ties. He prays from the bottom of his heart. He weeps continuously before the Lord. This qualification of surrender is thus explained by a great saint in one of his devotional songs.
amar jivan,sada pape rata,naheek punyera lessa..93
"My life is ever given to the commitment of sins. There is not even an iota of piety in it. There is no estimate of my misdeeds to wards others. I have wounded their feelings oftentimes. I was an object of regular worry to others and have given them considerable pains, I was never afraid of committing the worst of sins for my own comforts. I was ever unkind and selfish in my attitude. I was a regu¬lar torture to me to see others in happy circumstances. I freely spoke lies and it was a pleasure to me to see others in suffereings. My heart was a repository of all evil desires. I was always given to anger and pride. Infatuated by worldliness, I was full of all the various vanities. Malice and pride were my ornaments which I frequently wore. Be¬ing a prey to sleep and laziness, I was devoid of any virtuous deeds, but over-zealous in evil deeds. All my actions were for winning fame in the world; full of duplicity and actuated by greed, I was a slave to lustful passions. I am a sinner who is abandoned by all virtuous souls and a worst criminal, terribly disposed to committing crimes con¬stantly. There is not even a single virtuous deed to my credit and I am miserably disposed to evil activities. As such I fell a deplorable prey to multifarious sufferings. Now, old age has overcome me. I find not any help coming forth from any quarter. My pride is humbled, all my hopes are shattered. I am utterly helpless. O my Beloved Lord! I submit all my grievances at Your Lotus Feet."93
Submission differs from total self-surrender slightly, though usually taken to be in the same category. Saranagati leads us to the realisation of liberation and finally Divine Love.the various secrets and specialities in the vast field of Divine Love, such as Sneh, Mana, Pranaya, Raga, Anurag, Bhav, Mahabhav,Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya are realised only by Atma Nivedan. Saranagati has no access to these specific realisation lying deep down the lowest depths of the Ocean of Divine Love.
Atma Nivedan is complete surrender of one's body, mind, words, deeds, thoughts, Atma, and all other things that he feels or claims as his own with the knowledge of relationship and guided by predomi¬nant feeling of rendering whole-hearted service to the Lord. Atma nivedan has twofold characteristics, i.e. (1) Complete indifference to making any effort for one's own necessities of life, and (2) abso¬lute dependence upon the Lord.
Saranagati is a mental attitude whereas, 'Atma Nivedan' is com¬plete surrender of even the soul at the Feet of the Lord. It is not attained by the study of the Sastras or discussing philosophical prob¬lems frequently. It is effected only by the Grace of the Lord's internal potency or Svarup Sakti. To impress upon a huge audience the indis¬pensable necessity of surrender, quoting innumerable striking ex¬amples from different Sastras is an easy achievement. To dilate on its marvellous benefits too is possible; but to feel its necessity in the heart of hearts, and to live up to it, constitute the most difficult prob¬lem that faces every man. Unless a man gains sufficient experience in course of his worldly sojourn, and is thoroughly convinced ofhis utter helplessness and the futility of his dependence on earthly ob¬jects, his pitiable condition continues to remain so for ever. As such, an inborn conviction that no other person except the Supreme Lord, is capable of saving him from the endless sufferings, he is at every moment subject to, is a favourable disposition in attaining this vir¬tue. Automatically, he gives up all other types of worship which he was hitherto pursuing and takes complete shelter in the Supreme Lord alone.
kiraata-hunaandhra-pulinda-pulkashaa aabhira-shumbhaa yavanaah khasaadayah,
ye ’nye ca paapaa yad-apaashrayaashrayaah shudhyanti tasmai prabhavishnave namah..94
"The Kiratas, the Hunas, the Andhras, the Pulindas, the Pukkasas, the Abhiras, the Kankas, the Yavans, the Khasas, and such others born of sinful races, and others who by nature are given to the committment of sins, are all delivered of their previous sins by tak¬ing shelter at the feet of those who depend upon the Lord. We offer our prostrated obeisances at the Feet of such an All-Powerful Lord."94
aho baki yam stana-kaala-kutam jighaamsayaapaayayad apy asaadhvi,
lebhe gatim dhaatry-ucitaam tato ’nyam kam vaa dayaalum sharanam vrajema..95
"O what a wonder! Even the wicked Putana, sister of the demon Baka, who, prompted by a desire to kill Shri Krishna, suckled Him with the most deadly poisonous breast-milk and got in return from Him attainment of the position of a foster-mother. Hence, is there any one else more merciful than Shri Krishna'to Whom we can offer ourselves for protection,95
shaariraa maanasaa divyaa vaiyaase ye ca maanushaah,
bhautikaash ca katham kleshaa baadhante hari-samshrayam..96
"How could physical, mental, and other troubles arising from a divine source or human medium or even from that of other inimical beings afflict one who has taken refuge in Shri Hari"96
kim duraapaadanam teshaam pumsaam uddaama-cetasaam,
yair aashritas tirtha-padash carano vyasanaatyayah..97
"For those self-controlled men, ever addicted to Truth and who unconditionally surrender themselves at the Feet of Bhagavan Shri Hari, Which destroy all the worldly sorrows, there is nothing that yet remains to be attained in this world."97
samaashritaa ye pada-pallava-plavam mahat-padam punya-yasho muraareh,
bhavaambudhir vatsa-padam param padam padam padam yad vipadaam na teshaam..98
"To those who have taken resort to the Boat of Shri Krishna's tender Lotus Feet, of ever-sanctifying excellences which even great gods and saints from time immemorial have adopted as their Sole Support, the vast sea of worldly existence appears as insignificant as a calf s footmark of water. They cross this with the least difficulty. To them the attainment of their Final Goal Vaikunth, is always free from any obstacles."98
na naaka-prishtham na ca saarva-bhaumam na paarameshthyam na rasaadhipatyam,
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam vaa vaanchanti yat-paada-rajah-prapannaah..99
"O Lord! Those who have taken shelter under the Dust of Your Lotus Feet, never covet from You any reward, such as kingdom of heaven, sovereignty over the earth, the high position of Brahma, rulership of the uppermost heavens, attainment of suppernatural Yo-gic powers, or even Moksha itself which puts an end to the repeated cycle of births and deaths."99
kah panditas tvad aparam sharanam samiyaad bhakta-priyaad rita-girah suhridah krita-jnaat,
sarvaan dadaati suhrido bhajato ’bhikaamaan aatmaanam apy upacayaapacayau na yasya..100
"O Lord! Truly You are the Beloved of devotees, ever truthful, friendly, and extremely grateful for the services rendered. Which wise man, ignoring You (Shri Krishna) would take protection under any other god or goddess? If any one at any time has rendered any insig¬nificant service to You, You, in exchange of such services grant all his desires. Even with that You are not satisfied, You give away even Yourself Who are eternally free from growth and decay."100