Bhakti Yoga

We have now understood that one should sit at one place, at one particular time and meditate. Let us now see how one should meditate.

Just as how an artist would completely absorb the image of the painting he is about to create, we should keep in mind the beautiful Divine Image of the Lord and meditate on it. We must direct our mind to the image of God facing us. As we continue to do this, Bhagavans lovely form will make an indelible impression in our minds. The beautiful peacock feather adorning His head, His black tresses, broad forehead with the kasturi tilaka, lotus like eyes that are spread tills His ears, His sharp pointed nose, cheeks that shine like crystal, bright red lips like the kovai fruit, necks like the conch, the vaijayanthi and shenbaga garlands, His yellow garment, crossed legs where anklets tinkle, golden ornament on the hipone should meditate on this most beautiful form. As we meditate on this form from Foot to Head, or Head to Foot, there will be a particular aspect that would capture our hearts - it could be the Holy Feet, or the Vibrant Face, or the mesmerizing Smile, or the lotus like eyes.

Then, one should perform a Pooja from the heart. We must chant the mantra known to us, and in our mind, perform Pooja and offer a lotus to Him. We must chant in our mind the slokas and stutis we know and mentally submit it to Him. We must pray, Kanna! Like a small toddler, I have just begun to meditate on you. You must shower your causeless mercy on me and bless me in steadfast meditation. You must make me sit in one place. I must attain Samadhi! Nothing should hinder me from meditating on you. Hey Krupalu! Saranagatha Vatsala! Bhaktavatsala! You have created me, only so that I attain you, is it not? Please brush aside all my imperfections, and bless me,

We must always talk to Bhagavan. We must sing His Divine Names aloud. We must consider His Presence in front of us and prostrate to Him. This is abhyasa yoga’. Abhyasa means to repeat an act over and over again. One must hold on to any one nava vidha bhakti, or alternate between the different types on a repeated basis. To repeat the same Nama incessantly is also a type of abhyasa. During abhyasa, it is only possible that we do it mechanically at first. We must not stop it when we think we are unable to focus on this, or when our heart doesnt melt on seeing Bhagavan. This is how it would be initially. The whole purpose of abhaysa is to change this state. We must do it with passion and focus. We must chant His Divine Names like a vrata. What does that mean? We all feel hungry on an ekadasi day, in spite of which we fast with vairagya.

Similarly, whether we like it or not, we must incessantly chant Nama. As we do that, it slowly destroys all our sins. It bestows jnana and vairagya on us, and in the end, it blesses the most Supreme form of Bhakti, prema bhakti on us.

There are Mahans who have seen God by traveling in this path. By incessantly chanting, we will easily be able to attain anything in this world. Sri Samartha Ramadas is a great Mahan who was born in Maharashtra as an incarnation of Hanuman. He has done multiple 13 crore japas of the 13 syllabled Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram…’. Even after having darshan of Sri Rama, he continued chanting. He has performed many miracles. He was once seen pelting stones on birds, and putting them inside his bag as they fell down. On seeing this some people remarked, We wonder how some people call this man a Mahan, when he is harming birds ruthlessly here. They walked upto him and said, Sir, why are you doing such a sinful act?Sri Samartha asked, Ah! Have I now committed a sin? What should I do now?”. They instructed him to perform some prayaschittha. After having done that, Sri Samartha asked, I have done prayaschittha. But why havent the birds come back to life? Why arent the flying away?People sarcastically responded, Birds wont fly away, only your sins will”. Sri  Samartha then said, Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram, and made each bird fly away to life one by one.

Once upon a time, a person did rigorous tapas and obtained the sparshavedi (a stone that could turn iron into gold). He exhibited this to Sant Namdev. Sant Namdev threw it into the flowing Indrayani river. The man was shocked. He lamented. He pleaded asking for the stone in return. Sant Namdev then put his hand into the river, and picked many stones and gave them to the man. Each one of them were sparshavedis. The man was stunned. He flung all the stones into the river, and prostrated to Namdev and received Nama upadesa from him. Nama can perform such spectacular miracles.

A practice or sadhana done with Nama, will give us spiritual progress without any obstacles. Both Sage Viswamitras and Sage Valmikis story occur in Ramayana. Viswamitra who was a king, set on penance of his own accord, he attained siddhi only after repeatedly falling into repeated traps like Ramba Urvashi and the like. But Valmiki who was a mere hunter, became a revered Maharishi due to Ram Naam. That is the greatness of Nama. One must first surrender to God before setting on spiritual practices. If we set on it on our own accord, relying solely on our efforts, it will only lead to a downfall. In the 10th sloka, Bhagavn shows a way for those who cannot perform any spiritual sadhana.