The Importance of Devotion in Sadhana

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Date: 16th May 2024

Continuing with the next line of ‘Sadhana Karu Pyare’series…

ग्रन्थ पढ़ु जनि बहुत सुनु जनि, संत मत बहु प्यारे |

granth paṛhu jani bahut sunu jani, saṅt mat bahu pyāre 

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj is asking us to engage in loving God rather than spending our time reading numerous scriptures.  These scriptures mention various ways of sadhana, such as awakening the Kundalini, practising Panchagni Kriya, concentrating on the agya chakra, and so on. Moreover, in our Hindu religion, there are many scriptures.  If someone wants to read them all, it will take 500 years to complete.  And suppose if someone completes reading them, doubts will arise in one’s mind, “Here, it is written like this.  There, it is written in another way.”  So, Ved Vyas says:   

श्रुतिर्विभिन्ना स्मृतयश्च भिन्ना नैको मुनिर्यस्य वचोप्रमाणम्  |

धर्मस्य तत्त्वम् निहितम् गुहायाम् महाजनो येन् गतः स पन्थाः ||

śhrutirvibhinnā smṛitayaśhcha bhinnā naiko muniryasya vachopramāṇam

dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhāyām mahājano yen gataḥ sa panthāḥ    

There are several scriptures. The more you read them, the more you will get confused and entangled.   When you attempt to find the answer to one question from the scriptures on your own, you will end up tormented by a thousand other questions. 

These days, many devotional TV channels show the discourses of several different saints.  The viewer gets confused as everybody tells different ways to practice devotion.  One saint says to read Hanuman Chalisa, and the other says to perform austerities. The person wonders and thinks about what to do and ends up doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a little he learns wrongly, and a little he forgets.  Altogether, it becomes a mess and even more confusing.  Your goal cannot be realized in this way.   

For many years, innumerable ways and means have been propounded by innumerable sages and Saints.  We should firmly believe that the devotion we are practising, taught by our Guru, is correct and will lead to God-realization one day.  A firm decision should be made that God will be attainable only through this path.  There is no need for any other path.  So, what is the easiest way of attaining God?  The path is bhakti marg, i.e. the path of devotion or love.  God will be attained only by love. 

Ved Vyas ji wrote eighteen Puranas, which contain four hundred thousand verses.  He also wrote the Mahabharat, which consists of one hundred thousand verses.  Each Purana contains eight lakh shlokas.  He embedded the Geeta in the Mahabharat. However, after writing so many scriptures, Ved Vyas thought, “What is the summary of all these scriptures? All humans should learn something.  Nobody has the time and lifespan of 500 years to read all these scriptures.”  So, Ved Vyas said: 

आलोड्य सर्वशास्त्राणि विचार्य च पुनः पुनः ।

इदमेकं सुनिष्पन्नं ध्येयो नारायणः हरिः ॥

āloḍya sarvaśhāstrāṇi vichaārya cha punaḥ punaḥ 

idamekaṁ suniṣhpannaṁ dhyeyo nārāyaṇo hariḥ 

“I have churned all the scriptures several times and contemplated upon them. I have come to the conclusion that one should love God.” 

Kabir ji also said the same thing in his simple language way: 

पोथी पढ़ि-पढ़ि जग मुआ, पंडित भया न कोय, 

ढाई अक्षर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडित होय।

pothi paḍi paḍi jag muā, pandit huā na koi 

ḍhāi akśhar prem ke paḍe so pandit hoye 

In this world, nobody has become a scholar by reading these scriptures.  The one who has learned to love God is the real scholar.  Until today, all Saints who descended in this world have said only one thing: to love God.  But, when those Saints left this world, individuals under the influence of Maya forgot this philosophy.  Everybody started to practice the path of karma kand (to perform Vedic ritualistic actions/duties prescribed by the scriptures).  We start fighting over simple issues like, “You are not wearing the tilak correctly.  You are committing a sin.” 

Another person says, “You are not wearing the kanthi mala (beads necklace) around your neck.   It is wrong.”   In this way, we souls are tied up in the physical and ceremonial aspects of karma kand and have completely ignored the main philosophy: love God.   

When a Mahapurush descends into this world, he advises only one thing: love God. When they leave this world, we fight over external rules and forget the essence of his teachings.  

Now, one can say that if God is attainable only by love, then why are there so many different difficult paths to realize God?  For example, awakening the Kundalini, practising panchagni kriya, concentrating on the agya chakra, etc.  

Ved Vyas ji answers this question and says: 

तावत् कर्माणि कुर्वीत न निर्विद्येत यावता ।

मत्कथाश्रवणादौ वा श्रद्धा यावन्न जायते ॥

tāvat karmāṇi kurvīt na nirvidyet yāvatāmat kathā 

śhravaṇādou vā śhraddhā yāvan na jāyate   

“Undoubtedly, we can attain God only through devotion, but people don’t have faith in devotion.”  People are unable to appreciate the beauty of the simple path.  If someone asks, “How do you practice pranayam?” “See, first make the nasarya mudra, and then while keeping your right nostril closed, inhale from the left nostril and then, while keeping your left nostril closed, inhale from the right nostril.”  You will probably comment, “This saint does not know anything.”  Instead, if I complicate things, “I will tell you the correct method of practising pranayama.  First, twist your right hand from the back, touch your right nostril, and then twist your left hand from the front.   With fourth and fifth fingers, close the nostrils and inhale and exhale.”  On hearing this, people will say, “Yes, this is a great method of doing pranayam.”  

It shows that the intellect does not appreciate the importance of the easy way.  For example, why do people climb mountains and walk miles in a queue to visit Tirupati Balaji Temple and Vaishno Devi Temple?  They say, “It is a temple of Lord Vishnuji.”  “So, don’t you also have Lord Vishnuji’s temple in your city?”  “Yes, we have a temple.  But that Vishnuji is small.  And the Vishnuji at Tirupati is big.  That Vishnuji’s is placed on a mountain and this Vishnu ji is on sea level.  So, that Vishnuji must be a more powerful Vishnuji compared to the one near my house!” 

People visit the Charm Dham (Hindus’ four sacred pilgrimage sites).  Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says: 

चारो धाम काहे करे गोविन्द राधे 

तेरा हरि तेरे उर बैठा है बता दे

chāro dhām kāhe kare govind radhe 

terā hari tere ur baiṭhā hai bata de 

“You visit the four pilgrimage sites looking for God while He resides in your hearts.”  Our intellect does not accept this fact. Unless one visits these places, they will not begin having any devotional feelings and believe they are connected with God. Similarly, the Vedas have given various complex paths for people who cannot have faith that God can be attained merely by devotion.   

However, first and foremost, we must understand that the essence of all the scriptures is only one thing, i.e., to love God. There will be no use in reading so many scriptures.  It will just lead to confusion: “This book says like this; that scripture says other things.”  This will result in doubts, which will be obstacles in your devotion.  Understand the philosophy from the Guru thoroughly and then implement it practically.  This is what Shree Kripaluji Maharaj explains in this line.

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