Bhagavadgita -Radhakrishnan 49

The Bhagavadgita -S. Radhakrishnan

11. The Way of Devotion: Bhakti-margaa

There is insistence on the fact that, while other devotees reach other ends, only he who is devoted to the Supreme reaches infinite bliss [1] So long as worship is done with devotion, it purifies the heart and prepares the mind for the higher consciousness. Every one shapes God in the likeness of his longing. For the dying, He is ever-lasting life, for those who grope in the dark, He is the light.[2] Even as the horizon remains at a level with our eyes, how-ever high we may climb, the nature of God cannot be higher than the level of our consciousness. In the lower stages we pray for wealth and life and the Divine is regarded as the provider of material needs. Later it is meditation where we identify ourselves with the good cause which is God's cause In the highest stages, God is the final satisfaction, the other which completes and fulfils the human spirit. Madhusudana defines bhakti as a mental state in which the mind moved by an ecstasy of love assumes the shape of God.[3] When the emotional attachment to God becomes highly ecstatic, the devout lover forgets himself in God.[4] Prahlada in whom we find the spiritual condition of complete concentration in God expresses his unity with the Supreme Person. Such self-forgetful ecstatic experiences cannot be regarded as supporting advaita metaphysics In aparoksanubhava or the ultimate state in which the individual is absorbed in the Absolute, the separate individual as such does not survive.

Bhakti leads to jnana or wisdom. For R.mãnuja, it is smrtisantana. Even prapatti is a form of jnana. When the devotion glows, the Lord dwelling in the soul imparts to the devotee by His grace the light of wisdom. The devotee feels united intimately with the Supreme, who is experienced as the being in whom all antitheses vanish. He sees God in himself and himself in God. Prahlãda says that the supreme end for man is absolute devotion to God and a feeling of His presence everywhere.[5]


References and Context

  1. VII, 21. Madhva comments "antobrahmadi bhaktanam madbhaktanam anantata.
  2. Cp. rujasu nathah paramam hi bhesajam tamah pradipo visamesu samkramahbhayesu raksa vyasanesu bandhavo bhavaty agadhe visayambhasi plavala
  3. dravibhavapurvika hi manaso bhagavadakarata` savikaipaka urttirupa bhaktih.
  4. The Vrsnis . . . lost themselves in thought about Krsna and completely forgot their own separate existence " Bhaktiratnavah. 16.
  5. ehantabhaktir govinda Vat sarvatra tad iksanasm. Bliagavata VII, 7, 35.