The way out – Satsang or the company of saints

So far,we discussed about the compelling attractions of the nine gated city,and how we are held under the thrall of its attractions which makes it very difficult to develop dispassion or vairagya.

Vishayeshu alambuddhih vairagyaritiruchyatay.Vairaagya is the conviction that ‘I have had enough-no more-‘about sense pleasures..
Sense pleasures are so attractive and comforting that we do not feel that we have had enough.

However if we can discover a higher level of pleasure than that provided by the senses,we shall certainly be able to upgrade.It is to be noted that sense pleasures are felt at the mental level.
Gita says
Prajahaathi yadaa kaamaan sarwaan paartha manogathaan

Aatmannyaivaaatmanaa thustah sthithaprajnastadochyathay.

When one gets rid of all the mind based desires,one gets to taste the pleasure of Paramatma and then becomes established in it.The intellect becomes steady.
The mind is the seat of all desires.It is impossible to drain the mind of resident desires,also called as vaasanaa.The strategy is therefore to flood the mind with the desire to please the Supreme Lord and overwhelm it so that such vaasanaas slowly retreat and take a back seat.

Two things are critical.First one should find delight in the process of pleasing the Lord and secondly, continuous saadhanaa is necessary to ensure that lurking desires do not get a leg up thru improper conduct.

The mind can be a dearest friend as well as a treacherous for.It should never be relied upon at any time completely.

Saadhanaas begin with sravanam or hearing the glorious exploits of the Lord.Such practices should commence at childhood.

Kaumaara aacharayth praajnah dharma an bhaagavataani ha,says Prahlaada,the foremost among practitioners and preachers of bhakti.

Successive steps are also listed by him.

Sravanam keerthanam vishnoh smaranam paadasevanam

Archanam vandanam daasyam sakhyam aatmanivedanam.

These are the nine steps in bhakti,sometimes called navavidha bhakti. However these are not different or mutually exclusive,but are successive steps.

Hearing the praises,exploits,stories,glories of the Lord,singing the praises,remembering the praises,serving the feet of the Lord,worshipping the Lord,saluting,serving the Lord,developing friendship of the Lord and finally offering oneself unconditionally to the Lord.

Bhagavatha says ‘shraddha ratirbhaktiranukramishyati’.In the path of progress,first is the sincerity and earnestness in serving the Lord,second is the discovery of delight in these tasks,culminating in the third which is Bhakti.

Madhwa says
Maahyatma jnana poorvastu sudradhaha sarvatodhikaha
Sneho bhaktiriti prokto tayaa muktih nachaanyatha

The unshakeable and supreme friendship cultivated with Supreme Lord with knowledge of His excellences is Bhakti.

As one progresses ,serving the Lord becomes a compelling obsession and one finds delight which is superior to that provided by senses.

In our saadhanaa,we should take the help of a competent Guru who can guide us thru the different steps.Our own efforts,however intense they may be turn futile in the absence of a competent navigator says Bhagavatha.
It should be noted that all the jnanendriyaas and karmendriyaas ,all senses of hearing,speaking,thinking,locomotion,touching etc. should be fully engaged in the service of the Lord which precludes their being engaged elsewhere.The constitutional position of jiva is as eternal servant of the Lord and this should fully reflect in our aachaaraa.

Aachaara prabhavo dharmah dharmasya prabhurachyutah says Mahaharatha.
Unless we distil the essence of sadaachaara in our daily life,dharma will not be served

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