Faith

Frontiers of bhakti

Bhakti is explained as an individual’s personal relationship with the Lord when one has his mind fixed on God with love, gratitude, affection and reverence. But the Bhagavata Purana pushes the frontiers of bhakti beyond the traditional and conventional modes to reveal various other shades of bhakti as well, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri Aravamudhachariar in a discourse. In the seventh Skanda, Suka quotes Narada who asserts that the Lord is attainable even through lust, fear and hate, as much as through friendship, kinship and devotion, provided the individual’s mind is fixed on Him at all times. This idea is explained by Narada during the Rajasuya yaga conducted by Yudhishtira, when Sisupala attains Sayujya with the Lord merely by displaying open enmity to Krishna.

Unable to see Krishna being honoured as the most preeminent dignitary by all at the end of the yaga, he begins to abuse Him in the most derogatory terms. All are astonished at the way Sisupala meets his end and also merges with the Lord’s feet. Then Narada says that in this instance, Sisupala attains God through enmity; likewise, the Gopis attain Him through kama, while Kamsa through fear, the Vrishnis through kinship, the Pandavas through friendship and sages through devotion.

Narada also explains Sisupala’s antecedents. He is actually one of the gatekeepers of Vaikunta, Jaya and Vijaya. They are cursed to be born as asuras by divine sages Sanaka and others for denying them entry into Vaikunta. They regret their act and seek pardon of the sages and pray to the Lord that they should always remain devoted to Him. The Lord grants them that they would undergo three births as asuras when they would be absorbed in total antagonism to Him.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 5:07:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/frontiers-of-bhakti/article29965828.ece

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