The Lover's life in action....
Never lose faith.
If you do, it will impede
your every situation
Understand lack of faith
from the story of Hanuman
and the Brahmastra weapon,
Understand faith from the tale
of the chataka bird.
Perform seva, His pleasing engagement
with what is obtained
free of false ownership.
Weak spiritual conviction strikes the devotional heart, it festers uncertainty, clouds clarity, and brings about a host of obstructions that
gather before the bhakta on her way to the Beloved. Two examples are given, one of faith the other of doubt. In every case, false identification with regards to attainment should be renounced.
When the Beloved is disregarded because of a break in trust, it is
due to not understanding the nature of the Beloved. It ruins the subtle
dharma of refuge, and then certainty in all matters is lost. With the loving
power gone, discursive mind takes control. An example of lack of faith is
found in the story of Shri Hanuman, the great monkey god, son of the wind and perfect Ram bhakta.
Hanuman went to Shri Lanka in search of Lord Ram's wife, Shri Sita.
There, the demon king Ravana, knowing of Hanuman's arrival had his powerful son, Indrajit ensnare the powerful Hanuman with the mystic invincible weapon, the Brahmastra. Hanuman was immediately contained by its spell. Because of the mystic nature of the Brahmastra weapon, its binding cords cannot be seen.
The others, seeing Hanuman apparently captured, but without any sign of
shackles, decided to further secure Hanuman with ordinary ropes, thus
disregarding the rarefied powers of the Brahmastra. They were unaware of the fact that as soon as you place a doubt over the Brahmastra, it immediately loses its effect. It's power diminished, Hanuman then freed himself and wreaked havoc over Shri Lanka before returning to Lord Ram who was then ultimately able to rescue His beloved Sita.
The teaching is direct. If the practitioner looses faith in refuge,
then the power as well as the dharma of His shelter is lost. With the cords
of love sundered, the untrusting heart wanders. When the heart becomes
divided in dedication, the essence is lost in the divide, it forms a opening
and the nectar seeps out, sometimes unnoticed. Divided dedication brings a loss of spiritual couplehood.
The mystical chataka bird is a guru of conviction. This amazing bird
refuses all other waters, except for rain water that falls only during a
fifteen day autumn lunar cycle. Besides those rains, the chataka bird will
taste no other water, regardless of source. It has set its heart on the one.
Because of its faith in those clouds, regardless of circumstance, when the
time is right, the clouds shower for that blessed bird. It is its confidence
and trust in those waters that bring about the downpour.
Similarly, the lover has all of her sacred desires quenched by the
Beloved. Her faith lets her see that Hari makes all that is necessary arise.
Her conviction produces unshakable refuge and it brings an end to all other hankerings. She knows that what is needed is obtained without effort and once attained, no false sense of ownership is placed upon anything. With the understanding of Hari's desire, the false ego is dissolved, "myness" no longer prevails. All circumstances, relations, attainments, everything that comes into the lover's life is used for Him. Her applications are subtle.
In all undertaking,
whether they be high or low
religious or worldly:
maintain the bhava that
Hari is my refuge.
What more to say!
The lover goes about her way, doing what she has to do throughout her
world. She is always free of expectations. What is required of her, even in
worldly spheres, is all seen as commands of her Beloved, even if they do not appear to be directly connected to Him. Everything is justified, in every activity, she never loses sight of Him, the Hari romance is never forgotten.
She never confuses dharmas or priorities, her life revolves around the
In the Gita, Arjuna, after imbibing Shri Krishna's wisdom realized
that he had to fight the battle. He could only do so with Hari's remembrance.
Even though he was engaged in a dreadful conflict, he did not forget the
essential refuge and connection. The teachings put forth here are to undergo everything, worldly, religious, family life, whatever, without hypocrisy, without any sense of self-attainment, while resting in Hari's shelter. Those lovers who maintain devotional balance in all scenarios set examples for others, and like Arjuna, move to victory.
The dharma of refuge is not dependent upon the performance of any
particular karma. The dharma of refuge is a state of being, it is the root of
all dharmas and can be found everywhere in all undertakings. To the lover, this is apparent, the heart of the yogas, its inner secret. Non-lovers can not see, although it is unmistakably clear. The bhakt poet Nandadas says it all,
A lamp is not lit by discussion
but by being ignited.
What more can be said, it is a matter of taking refuge to heart. The
devotional policy is of experience and never for worldly gain. All is done to be invited, to attain proximity to the Beloved's abode. Then, the Beloved's endorsement is found everywhere. All attained when there is freedom from vested interest.
Then the lover feels her Beloved in all things. Her consciousness is
alert when she remembers that He could appear at any moment. She is forever ready. This sweet mixture of union and separation keeps her above the common law. Even if diverted, the path is easily found again, through refuge. In the heights of devotion, the lover leaves all dharmas, and then finds the source dharma. That source is called Dharmi and He is her Beloved, the remover of all impediments
Thus, I have spoken of a Hari refuge.
that is at all times
beneficial to all.
In my opinion, in this age of struggle
bhakti and other practices
are difficult to perform.
(Therefore take the path of refuge.)
Refuge is always rewarding and felt by anyone who can put down their
guard long enough to feel His effect. Refuge is the foundation upon which the advance bhakti practices are built on. Without refuge, bhakti yoga is
impossible to practice and that is why Shri Mahaprabhuji silently stresses
dedication when he points out that true bhakti is difficult to enter.
Refuge can begin at any place, from any stage or condition in life.
Refuge is a practice that is open to all and is capable of granting anything,
anywhere. Because it effects are effortless and spontaneous, once realized, all other campaigns are discarded. During other ages, achievement could be through practices like mantra, tantra, pujas, meditations and by other sadhanas. One great virtue of this current age of Kali Yuga, is that simple through the name and refuge of Hari, there is perfect attainment. Because this era is impure and laced with strife, practices often become filled with hypocrisy and other confusions that keep the Beloved away.
In the age of Kali, the circumstances are not congenial to pure
devotion. The sacred forms have become hidden. That is why the emphasis is upon refuge, for it is the foundation of devotion. Then, with the influence of grace, there is a gentle push from the Beloved and this allows her to swing to the heights of His abode.
This refuge is not blind, it must embrace the attitude that the
Beloved lives within all things. That divine presence must be sought after
and experienced everywhere, only then can the mystery and union of shelter be entered. Merely saying "I am Yours" without feeling it, without sensing the Beloved personally will not bring about the true refuge of the spiritual heart. When that mood is penetrated, the lover's single step is followed by ten of His. Then, the lover looks for Him everywhere and begins to see. These are some of the inner moods of refuge that lovers cherish everywhere, at all times. It is not only a secret doctrine but the marriage contract for Perfection and the devotional heart, for Beloved Hari and His sensitive bhakti yogi lover.
This was kindly translated by Shyamdas. His numerous books (in English) on Pushti Marg are well worth reading.[email protected]
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