Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Work Of Devotion

Work of devotion
By M.K.Ramanujam
Courtesy The Hindu
The primary prerequisite for a spiritual seeker to undertake a study of the Bhagavata Purana is that he must become a reveller (Rasika) of the devotion which runs through this work. The mystical states expounded here must be experienced for oneself and it is also not to be tasted just once. The devotion that it describes will transport the devotee to such ecstatic states that he will wish to revel in it again and again.
The objective of the Bhagavata Purana was to highlight the nuances of the path of devotion so that a devotee could heighten his experience of God through different perspectives. This is akin to a diver who comes up with a different gem every time he dives into the ocean. Among the devotees that this Purana elaborates Prahlada is certainly the crown prince. He is exceptional in the devotional tradition because his preceptor Narada, who is a sterling devotee himself, has commended his disciple’s peerless devotion. Prahlada’s stature as a devotee can be gauged from the fact that this Purana devotes an entire canto to him, like it does to describing Lord Krishna’s glory, out of its 12 cantos. Suka attests that listening to Prahlada’s life will enable devotion, which is elusive, to sprout in the heart of the listener.
The prelude to the exposition of Prahlada’s outstanding devotion is Narada’s narration to Yudishithira during the Rajasuya sacrifice he performed about how even Sishupala, who abused Lord Krishna repeatedly, attained the beatific state of union with the Lord. This underscores that God is impartial and all are the same for Him. Even though Sishupala hated Krishna, the Lord redeemed him because he was His devotee, and he developed hatred because of a curse. He and Dantavakra were the Lord’s attendants Jaya and Vijaya, and they had prevented the sages Sanaka and his brothers from entering the divine abode when they cursed them to be born in the world. When they sought their pardon, they mitigated it to three births as haters of God and that the Lord would redeem them during His incarnations. Their other two births were Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu, and Ravana and Kumbakarna

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