WHAT IS ANANYA BHAKTI - UNIQUE AND EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION
WHAT IS ANANYA BHAKTI - UNIQUE AND EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION (That was discussed in Bhagwad gita Lesson 11and 12))
Why do we pray to God? Mostly to fulfill our desires. ‘Oh God, my boss is very strict. Please change him. My son should get a white collared job. My daughter should get married to a rich man without any dowry.’ In one word we want God to change our fate or we want God to change Himself!
Some people pray to boast about their prayer. Some pray to test God’s power. They learn prayer moves mountains’. A girl sits before a mountain, prays for sometime and opens her eyes to test the impact of her prayer. She is only happy it hasn’t moved, because it confirms her doubt.
Some pray for hours together only mechanically with no deep involvement. Swami Sukhabodhanand quotes beautiful example for it. Once a religious person was blessed with a pious horse by his guru. If the person says ‘Oh my God’ the horse will run forward and if he says ‘Thank you God’ it will stop. ‘Oh that’s simple. I think of God all the time ’thought the man. He kept on saying ‘oh my God’ and the horse was racing ahead filling him with joy. Suddenly when he observed where he was the horse was heading towards a big valley. He was so scared. In his fear he said ‘Oh my God’ it still galloped After a frantic minute, he remembered what he should say ‘Thank you God’ The next second the horse stopped at the edge of the path. Just one more step, he would have fallen into the valley. Seeing how narrowly he escaped death, he heaved a deep sigh of relief and exclaimed. ‘Oh, my God!’ That’s all! He fell into the valley.
Then how should we pray? Lord Krishna proclaimed it in the Bhagavad Gita.
ananyas chintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesham nit yabhi yuktanam
yoga-kshemam vahamy aham
ananyah—having no other object; chintayantah—concentrating; mam—on Me; ye—those who; janah—persons; paryupasate—properly worship; tesham—of them; nitya—always; abhiyuktanam—fixed in devotion; yoga—requirements; kshemam—protection; vahami—carry; aham—I.
Whoever prays to me with no other thought whoever thinks of me incessantly, I will take care of their welfare.
This sloka has its special significance in the Gita. If we compare Gita to a garland, this sloka can be compared to the central bunch which hangs down in the garland. This sloka is in the middle of the Gita. It has a fragrance of a flower with a great meaning. It answers many doubts of the people.
Ananya Bhakti. If we put one step towards God, God puts ten steps towards us’ proclaim the Sastras. If we fulfill our duty, God fulfils his duty. If we make sound near a mountain, it gives a resound. If we don’t get a resound, it means we didn’t make a sound properly.
Once a man cried, when he was engulfed in a problem, ‘Oh God! Why did you forget me?’ Promptly God answered ‘Why did you forget me, my son?’ A similar point is found in the Bible.
‘Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened’.
People are asking, seeking and knocking but wrong things like material comforts.
Ye bhajani tumam bhaktya mayite teshuchapyahan
‘Whoever prays to me sincerely, they live in my heart and I live in their hearts’ proclaims God. God treats everyone equally but we are not able to understand God. There may be treasure hidden in the house, but unless a person knows where it is, he cannot enjoy it. The same way, unless we learn about God, we cannot enjoy his blessings. To seek them, we should pray with Ananya Bhakti.
We need not hesitate to leave everything When God himself is beside us, why should we worry? He saved Ambarish, Draupadi, Gajendra, Prahlad etc. Won’t he save us?
‘Ananya’ means only on God, not on any other physical object. There is no point in dividing our heart into various pieces and distributing it on various earthly pleasures and just retaining one piece of heart of God. That is not ‘Ananya’. So we should distract our mind from material comforts and concentrate on God. ‘Ye Jana’ clearly explains ‘whoever’. God has no caste or creed difference.
What we offer to God is not more important than how we offer. He gives not the best who gives the most. So we should see the depth of our prayer but not the extent of the surface of it.
In the same chapter, Krishna added, ‘Oh Arjuna, know it for certain my devotee will never suffer. He never falls. This is the truth.’ To be His bhakta, we have to concentrate on God.’
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upasyanti te
On those ever united through devotion with me and worshipping me with love. I confer that yoga of wisdom through which they come to me. The word Dadam means I confer. So God has promised the returns. There is no going back against it. So Bhaktas can be rest assured of Jnana and subsequently liberation.
This sloka answers our doubts. God answers ‘Oh devotees! Don’t you worry! You continue your practice. I will provide you the required Jnana yoga. I will help you attain self realization. ‘Two qualities of Bhaktas are highlighted here - 1. Sata ta yuktanam - always thinking of God. 2. ‘Preetipurvakam’ with love. So even ordinary men can become saint through incessant prayer to God and through their loving devotion to God. This also drives out doubts about Bhakti and Jnana. Bhakti can lead us to Jnana. So we need not give up our religious practices.
Drastum -see God
Arjuna was shown viswaroopa can everybody see it? No, not everybody proclaimed Krishna.
Na tu mam sakyase drastumane naiva swa chakshusha
Divyam dadami te chakshunu pasy a me yoga mai swaryam (11-8)
But surely you cannot see me with these human eyes of yours; therefore I vouchsafe to you the divine eye. With this you behold my divine power of yoga.
Whoever has divine eyes, divine vision can behold the divine presence of God. With our naked eyes we cannot see for instance micro organisms, the stars in the Milky Way, the bones in the body etc. We need a microscope, a telescope and an x-ray to see them. How then can we see God with our naked eye? Because we cannot see him thus, we cannot declare, ‘There is no God!’ The sunshine dazzles our bright eyes, but a blind man cannot see. So also the omnipotent God shines all over the world but an Ajnani cannot see him. He needs special spectacles as we need for 3D pictures, but these spectacles are not given just like that, we have to acquire them through our incessant practice, undaunted spirit and strong belief in God. Arjuna has acquired that stage so he was provided the Divine eye-sight.
‘Through ananya bhakti, single minded devotion however; one can see my viswaroopa but not through yagna or tapas.’ This takes us back to ‘Ananya chintayantomam’ the strong devotion to God. The word ‘ananya’ is repeatedly used in Gita. Many are devoted to God, but it is not ‘ananya’ bhakti. Such devotion cannot help him experience God. ‘Anya’ is some other thing. ‘Ananya’ no other thing. They should be interested in God but no other thing. Initially person’s love may be divided but by practice he can develop it into undivided love for God.
Once we develop this ‘Ananya’ Bhakti, we can not only see God but also enter God says Krishna. ‘Jnatum, drastum, Pravesum.’ - meaning understand God, see God and enter God.
We need not doubt the success because God has already assured ‘name bhaktha pranasyati’ my devotee will never fall.’
Love only God you can understand God
You can see God and you can be one with God.