Bhakti Song 34 – Bhakti Marga

Among the various paths Bhakti is the best one. When I arrived to this conclusion I wrote this song at Sat-tal ashram.

 

பக்தி வழி

ஏதுகண்டுநான்பின்செல்வேன்

நாதனேஏழைஎன்றும்உன்னைக்

கூறியேதிரிகின்றார்கொள்கைபல

கூவிஅழைக்கின்றார்அவர்பின்செல்ல

 

நாடினேன்நானும்ஞானமதை

நானிலத்தோர்என்றும்போற்றும்பாதை

ஆயினும்அடைந்திலேன்அமைதியினை

ஆ! என்சொல்வேன்என்மனதின்நிலை

 

உழைத்திடுநாளும்உலகம்உய்ய

உண்டோ “வழியும்” அதனைவெல்ல?

என்றவர்கூறியவழியும்சென்றேன்

ஏமாற்றமேகண்டேன்இறுதிவரை

 

துறந்திடுஉலகமோஎன்றும்மாயை

தொல்லைதுன்பமேவாழ்க்கைஎல்லை

துணிந்தவர்கூறியபாதைசென்றேன்

தொல்லைதுன்பமோநீங்கக்காணேன்

 

பலவழிஅலைந்தேசோர்ந்துநின்ற

பாலகன்மீதுகருணைகொண்டு

“பக்தி” என்னும்ஒருபாதைதந்து

முக்திக்குநீதந்தவழியும்உண்டு

 

ஞானம், கருமம், துறவுஎல்லாம்

தன்வரைஉண்மைதனித்தனியே

ஆனால் “பக்தி” நெறிஒன்றுமட்டும்

பூரணமாக்கிடும்அனைத்தையுமே

 

சாத்தால் ஆஸ்ரம், 19-04-1991

 

English Translation

On seeing which, can I, the poor one?

follow you Oh Lord!

They proclaim several doctrines

And give a call to follow them

 

I sought the path of knowledge

which is glorified by the people on earth

Yet I didn’t find peace in it

How can I describe the condition of my mind?

 

Work hard to save this world

Is there any other path to overcome it?

I followed that path too

But was disappointed at the end

 

Renounce this world which is nothing but maya

Troubles and sorrow is the end of this world

So I took courage and followed that path too

But I didn’t see the trouble or sorrow ever disappearing

 

As I become tired after following several ways

By taking pity on this child

Giving ‘bhakti’ as the path

for the way to mukti by you

 

Knowledge, karma and renunciation

Are true in themselves

Yet the path of bhakti alone

Will complete them all in it.

 

Sat-tal ashram, 19-04-1991

 

Comments

While at Sat-tal ashram, I was doing a word-by-word study on Bhagavadgita with the help of some commentaries. In that early stage, without someone to guide me properly, I was doing my own study with few books which are more sectarian in nature. However the general thrust of Indian philosophy is that mukti is possible only through proper knowledge. And karma and bhakti are the means to attain it. But my personal study on Gita convinced me that bhakti is the culmination of jnana. Karma helps one not get drifted in our sadhana to attain it.

चित्तस्य शुध्द ये कर्म न तु वस्तूपलब्धये

वस्तु सिध्दि-विचारेण न किंचित् कर्म कोटिभि:॥–Viveka Chudamani, 5

Chittasya shudhya ye karma na tu vastupalabdhaye

Vastu sidhdi-vicaarena na kincit karma kotibhi—Viveka Chudamani, 5

–karmas are done only to cleanse the mind; not to attain the truth

Truth is attained only by proper enquiry and not by doing crores of karma (my own translation)

 

Even before becoming a bhakta of the Lord I was interested in doing social work and was doing it with my limitation in a small scale on personal level. In the early days of my bhakt,i I was strongly motivated to do social work to the needy. So after my visit to Periyamalai, I collected medicine to distribute to the poor tribes there. Then my deep personal study of Muktiveda convinced me that sharing the gospel is more important than doing social work to uplift people from their wretched condition. Then I was interested to do proper theological study of the Muktiveda to allow me to properly share the gospel and I pushed to get more ‘information’ through various studies and personal reading. Meanwhile my personal experience with people pulled me in two different directions of ‘learning’ versus ‘doing’. And a God-given break for me to do some personal study helped me to analyse them all in a sober manner. I got more time and opportunity to think and meditate without any disturbance by living alone at Sat-tal. There I was convinced that bhakti is the axel which connects both jnana and karma to make them move simultaneously complementing each other to ‘know God and make Him known’. Then there was no turning back. For me bhakti is an inclusive concept which gives space both for jnana and karma to make life holistic. For me jnana without bhakti is mere abstract gathering of information through learning. Similarly karma without bhakti is merely doing one’s own duty for the sake of doing it. Whereas bhakti unites them and helps us keep focused on the Lord by making Him as the centre of our life as both Gita and Muktiveda endorses this by saying:

Yat karosi yadasnaasi yajjuhosi dadaasi yat

Yattapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva madarpanam. 9:27

O son of Kunti, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you bestow as a gift, whatever you do by way of penance, offer it all to me.—Srimad Bhagavadgita, Sadhaka Sanjivani, Swami Ramsukhadas, Gorakhpur, Gita Press, year not mentioned, 2 vols. Vol. 1 pp. 743-44

Read 1 Cor. 10:31 and Romans 14:7-8