Bhakti, the Foundation, Leads to Humility
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2012-09-02
Attainment beyond anava marga. Acknowledging and coming closer to the Deities. True humility and devotion result from sincere temple worship. Charya involves shutting out anger with love. Dancing with Siva means we are able to accept what comes to us, not question it, but see it as our creation. Bhakti yoga, melting in love, helps us achieve that state of mind. Master Course Lesson from Merging with Siva is Lesson 143
Today's Master Course Lesson from Merging with Siva is Lesson 143 on Bhakti Is the Foundation.
"Bhakti is a state of mind, an arrival at an inner state of consciousness. People who become angry, people who become jealous, people who are fearful, people who get confused are living in the asura loka. They are the ones who upset others and experience revenge. They have yet to come up even to the anava marga and attain a little appreciation of themselves. They have yet to experience being secure in their own identity."
That's one way of feeling better about your attainment is to realize where you are not. We are not in anger, jealousy, fear or confusion. So, that's an accomplishment. But everyone starts out there, that's the point. You know, we never want to, if we've managed to rise above that, look down on those who haven't cause we were down there once ourselves.
"They have yet to 'be their own person,' 'find their own space.' They must first close the door on channeling asuric entities. Once firmly planted on the anava marga, they begin feeling that they are God's gift to the world and may seek out a spiritual teacher."
Of course, anava marga is a phrase coined by Gurudeva. You won't find that, if you look it up in a lexicon, you won't find anava marga. By anava marga he means very wrapped up in one's ego. In the sense of "I" feeling, really focusing very strongly on one's identity in trying to advance that identity in terms of how others perceive you in the world. So, you're very self-conscious about who you are. Anava marga, and how great you are too, of course, cause you're God's gift to the world.
Seek out a teacher.
"If the teacher does teach them karma yoga and bhakti yoga, they begin to realize that there are forces in the universe, souls in the universe, who are much greater than they are now or will ever be for a long time. Once this happens, the die is cast. They are on the spiritual path to their own eventual enlightenment."
That's an important part of temple worship, is acknowledging the Deities as greater than we are. And, of course, if you acknowledge anyone as greater than you are you're not on the anava marga any more. Graduated! So, acknowledging the Deities as greater than we are and figuring out how to come closer to the Deities is a very important part of temple worship and path of devotion.
A few years ago I was meeting with a family in the Guru Peedam who, and the wife teaches Bharata Natyam in the U.S. And she said her students do very well in expressing all the traditional emotions except two. Those two were humility and devotion. So, humility and devotion; they weren't able to express them correctly. Well, it's not something you learn, necessarily, growing up in the west, humility and devotion. But it is an important result of sincere temple worship is humility and devotion. So that's, you would say, the fruit of, or two of the fruits (don't want to limit it). Two of the fruits of doing well in your temple worship is true humility and devotion is the result of it. And those are wonderful qualities or states of mind to be in, humbleness and devotion.
"Our scriptures, the Saiva Siddhanta scriptures, are filled with stories of the greatest jnanis who performed karma yoga and bhakti yoga and also spoke out the highest truths of jnana. The tales explain that during auspicious days of the month they performed intense raja yoga tapas. This is the yoga--the arms and the head and the torso of yoga. You do not perform only one yoga without all the others. It is an integral whole.
"On occasion we observe devotees pilgrimaging to a temple, prostrating so devotedly. But after leaving the temple, they slap one of their children. We know that upon entering the house they argue with their spouse and complain about their in-laws. Where is the true bhakti here? This is what bhakti is not. Unfortunately, the children who observe this hypocrisy remember it for a long, long time. A child might think, 'You love Lord Ganesha, Mom, but you can't love me' When you love a baby, you will not hit it when it cries, even if the crying disturbs you."
Well, Gurudeva's being outspoken, scolding. Interesting, I had an experience of that. Once, similar incident. We were attending the Murugan Temple in Maryland. And, the couple who had sponsored that portion of that festival puja were sitting in front of us and we were sitting behind them. The sponsors sit up front. And they had a boy with them, son with them. Really young I think, four or five, probably. And of course, to a four or five year old an hour puja is a bit boring, right? It's not designed to hold the attention of a four or five year old. So, he had his truck with him. He was playing with his truck. And mother was trying to contain him so he didn't run all over the temple playing with his truck. But he got a little rambunctious and you could see the father look at him and anger come up in the father. And probably if, you know, he wasn't sitting in the temple, you know, he may have hit him. Cause you could just see, here he is the sponsor of the puja, sitting there and his son makes him angry at the moment he's supposed to feel devotion, he's feeling anger.
So, it really struck me how accurate Gurudeva is in making this description that, you know, devotion can be pretty shallow. And, when it's shallow there's this strong undercurrent of anger that's easily aroused. So, part of what Gurudeva is encouraging here is controlling anger. That's what is an important part of being successful in devotion is learning to control our anger.
There's an interesting verse in the Tirumantiram. Tried to print it but the printer wouldn't work this morning for me. So it's the one, I'm sure you remember it. Jnana is being the life of life, yoga is the holding the light of life. And yoga, I forget. But charya -- in our most recent translation -- is shutting out anger. It's interesting. The original translation we have, I think Dr. Natarajan didn't say that. But the most recent one confirmed by Sabharatnam. Charya involves shutting out anger with love. Something like that is how it reads. So, beautiful statement. So, the two emotions don't co-exist. If you're really strong in devotion that anger won't pop up. So, if you strengthen your devotion that's one way of conquering love, conquering anger.
"Wise gurus will not initiate anyone into raja yoga techniques who does not have a sweet nature and a natural outpouring of bhakti. No one auditions for the symphony orchestra until he has mastered all that his first, second and third music teachers have taught him.
"Suppose a devotee who is not virtuous is taught an intense raja yoga meditation and practices it ardently over a long period of time until a burst of light is seen. Then the devotee, now feeling quite above others, argues with his parents, or flashes out in anger when talking to a friend. At that moment, all the good merit and benefits of the raja yoga awakening are erased. This is because the prana of higher consciousness has been dissipated by the angry words, which now burn deeper into the mind of others than they would have before. No, a kindly, gentle nature must precede raja yoga sadhanas. That is for sure.
"Bhakti is the base and the bedrock of spiritual unfoldment. A devotee who has an amiable nature, who is good, considerate, who is a good, considerate and giving person, is obviously a bhaktar. The disciplines of bhakti yoga make one a devotee, and a devotee is a very selfless type of person. These disciplines can take many forms, but the fruit of bhakti yoga, which is a loving disposition, must be attained before one can go further on the path with security."
Well that's what I was mentioning before, the fruit of bhakti. If we're successful at bhakti yoga, then we do have humility and devotion that's deep. Important qualities. And another fruit is what's coming up here.
"The proof is in the actions and attitudes of the individual. If he really sees Lord Siva in and through all things, how can he not be a bhaktar? If he truly understands the law of karma, he cannot possibly resent any happening. He knows that the experiences of today were created in the past. He truly knows that today's actions mold the experiences of a future time."
In other words, the fruit that's being mentioned here is acceptance. Accepting what's happening. Not fighting it. Or said in Gurudeva's poetic terms: Dancing with Siva. That's what Dancing with Siva means. We are able to accept what comes to us, not question it but see it our creation. So that is what Bhakti yoga helps us achieve is that state of mind. Otherwise we resist it; we think it shouldn't be happening. And that's counter productive.
Couple of quotes.
"Wear rudraksha beads, repeat the Panchakshara, let your heart grow soft and melt. Chant the letters five, and in love you will discover Siva's will. (That's what we were saying, right? Discover Siva's will which is what's happening.) Chant so that impurities, anxieties and doubts are destroyed. All hail Namah Sivaya."
I was looking for something on our website. I was doing a search and I think it was "melting in love." So I found it. Pulled up a Tayumanavar verse. We don't usually quote him but it's such beautiful material, thought I would.
"With hands raised in adoration, With heart melting in love, I sought to see Thee in this body. My Lord! My King! My Grace! Thou, the Lord of universes vast That carries the Lady of Grace as your half!
That's a pretty nice one, huh? Hands and heart.
Well, have a wonderful day.