Food for Divine Thought
Bhagavan – Imagining the Truth
We all say and hear, ‘Bhagavan!’, ‘Bhagavan!’ But that ‘Bhagavan’ eludes us. He cannot be ‘found’ by the five senses. Even emotions like fear, anger, sorrow and the like, which are not capturable by senses are still experienced by the mind. Bhagavan eludes even this mind. We cannot ‘know’ Bhagavan with this mind too. But, we with our mind, say that, ” ‘Rama’ and ‘Krishna’ have this form and appears this way….”. Even this is verily imagination alone. But, we can say this is an apt imagination and not a illusory one!
How did we come to imagining the form of Bhagavan? We read in Srimad Bhagavatham the description of Sri Krishna’s form: “Tam adbutam Baalakam….’, ‘Shyamam Hiranya Bharithim….’, ‘Barha Peedam Natavara Vapu….’,etc. Based on this we meditate upon his form. This is our imagination only; an imagination substantiated by the scriptural authority. Yet, Bhagavan transcends this too.
Generally in our mind we worship rituals and traditions themselves as Bhagavan. But, he transcends these too!
In short, neither are we able to understand Bhagavan nor this world- his creation. Hence, truthfully speaking, mostly we doubt the very existence of God. Our mind is very limited; God is infinite. So with this limited finite mind understanding this very great and infinite Bhagavan is impossible.
Paths To Realize Bhagavan
If we need to realize Bhagavan, what is the way? Just by telling someone, that Bhagavan needs to be realized, nothing shall be accomplished; Even a desire for realization would’nt sprout just by hearing that one needs to realize!
Aspirants to Realization can be categorised as three.
Let us see an example to understand the three types of aspirants.
When I have food right before me, I eat due to three reasons:
1) I am really hungry! So hungry that I tell myself that if I don’t eat now I’d be dead!
2) I truly love the taste of food.
3) I look at this as a means to enhance my health.
Let’s look at these three types of aspirants in little more detail.
Just by hearing about Bhagavan, we cannot attain him.We need to have the intense hunger, the deep urge to attain Bhagavan.
Without this urge, even spiritual practices become mere time-pass and play. What can trigger this intense urge? Fear! Fear of this worldly life. Understanding the misery of worldly existence through discrimination(vivekam). Once we have this gripping fear of worldly existence, we look intensely for a way out. “Worldly existence is filled with immense misery. Is there a place where there is absolutely no fear and no misery? Where is it? What do I need to do to attain that state?” like a person who finds the head on fire, the aspirant would approach Bhagavan for release from misery.
Hence, like the hungry person who is desperate to eat to get rid of hunger to such an extent of even eating off leftovers in a plate, this aspirant seeks Bhagavan to get relief from fear and misery of this mundane existence.
Love Of ‘Taste’
Great saints like Sri Meera, Sri Andal, Sri Nammalvar did Bhakthi(devotion) towards the Lord as they loved the lord immensely, like a person eating something, not out of hunger, but out of the love they had for the taste of the food.
Those devotees do Bhakthi not out of any other motive or reason; not out of fear of this world; not out of any expectation. They like doing Bhakthi; they have tasted the sweetness of devotion. Hence, they can never let go of this devotion.
To give a very worldly example- People watch sports events, go to music concerts, etc. only because they like to watch the sports event or listen to music. That itself is joyful to them. They want nothing ‘out’ of it; But they get everything in it, itself.
Likewise, a rare few find this in just doing pooja, or in chanting the divine names or in listening to divine stories or in singing bhajans. They do bhakthi for relishing the sweetness of bhakthi itself; or for relishing the sweetness of Bhagavan himself.
Fear, avoidance of misery and the like has no place in their path.
The third type of spiritual aspirant is like a person who eats food as he sees value in eating. The need to eat could be to enhance the overall health (like eating bitter gourd as it can help him enhance his health) or as a ‘medicine’ to cure some specific ailments.
So neither is there the urgency of extreme hunger nor the strong pull of attraction to it’s taste. So obviously this type of aspirants ‘take – the – path – easy’. The spiritual practices would take rigour and vigour. There would be no intensity of the earlier two. Most of the people (why! almost all) belong to this category only.
Imitation is Poison
Now that we have seen the three types, we need to understand that most of us belong to the third type. If a rare few aspire for Bhagavan out of ‘hunger’ – out of fear of world by misery, that itself is a great fortune and a huge step.
Only one in a million mahapurushas can do bhakthi out of taste or pure love for Bhagavan.
Imagining that one is a gnani when it is not true, leads to a tremendous catastrophe. Infact, normal samsaris are actually better off spiritually than these imposters who fashion themselves as gnanis.
It is the same with yogi-impostors.
This same principle applies to Prema(love) also. Imagining oneself as Meera or Andal only leads to insanity and spiritual destruction. It is poison; it is dangerous. We should remember that aspiring for the lord out of fear of mundane existence as a Mumukshu itself is rarest of rare, what to say about true, pure, prema bhakthas?
Imagining oneself as and imitating such great prema bhakthas is verily deadly poison to the soul. Such illusions should be avoided at any cost.