admin October 16th, 2012
Narada Bhakti Sutra
yat prāpya na kiñcid vāñchati na śocati na dveṣṭi na ramate notsāhī bhavati
Achieving it, desire and regret, repulsion and attraction, such fervors are no more.
After describing in the previous verse that upon attaining Divine Love one is fully satisfied, Sri Narada now describes the result: “All fervors are no more.”
All passions are naturally caused by a sense of lacking within. And although we seek to fill that void with the passions of wealth, romance, and adoration, we remain unfulfilled because we have failed to realize what is our actual deficiency. Our real need is selfless love. Without it no one, even those at the height of power and opulence, can claim that their deepest yearnings have been fulfilled. On the other hand, if one is filled with selfless love, what more can anyone desire? That is the crux of Sri Narada’s message here in text five.
This same message was reinforced and further clarified in my own mind in an unexpected way. While walking last year with some friends through the beautiful flower gardens in Vrindavan on the bank of the Yamuna, a simple flower seller stopped to share the challenges he was facing financially. The recent floods had wiped out his rose gardens – a devastating loss. As he described his situation, I couldn’t help but notice the joyous sparkle in his eyes and his exuberant countenance. I was puzzled. “How can one in the midst of such a devastating calamity remain so cheerful?” I asked him and was moved by his simple but weighty response:
“Happiness is a heart full of devotion!”
Sri Narada’s message now seemed so clear. If we have attained bhakti and our heart is full with Divine Love, what gain can allure us and what loss can overwhelm us?
All these dualities – such as desire and regret, attraction and repulsion – typically arise from ego, which evaluates everything on selfish terms. Inspired by Divine Love, however, there is a complete shift in how one looks at the world. Instead of relating to others in a mood of exploitation one sees others in terms of their needs. In other words, a bhakta looks to the world as an opportunity to love and serve, not as an opportunity to pursue his own gratification and to avoid (and even hate) all that opposes it. Naturally when one views the people and things in the world through the mood of service, the distinctions of attraction and repulsion based on self-interest have no standing. Thus attaining bhakti, Sri Narada instructs, one rises above duality based on egoism.
Although he doesn’t directly state it here, Sri Narada also offers a very important lesson in renunciation on the path of bhakti, akin to the teachings of the Gita, where renunciation is more a natural result of a devotionally fulfilled heart than a rigid external rejection of the world.
“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)
Sri Narada thus implores the reader in text five to fix himself or herself in devotion and happily transcend the passions and dualities of the world.