Saturday, November 6, 2010

Single Minded Devotion!

One of the most important requirements for spiritual progress is single minded devotion to God, i.e. Ananyata. 'Ananya' means 'no other', exclusive, or undivided devotion.

'Ananya Prem' means to love just one - God and nobody else. We have learnt earlier that there are three eternal truths: God, Soul and Maya (an eternal, cosmic and lifeless power of God). If a soul does not love God, then which 'other' entity does he love? It has to be people or objects under the influence of maya, since there is no fourth entity or realm for the soul to love. Souls who have not attained God as well as all other inanimate (material) objects are classified as mayic.

If an individual's mind is attached to anyone or anything other than God, then he will not be called as an 'Ananya' follower. Loving God alone is what ananyata means. Consider the honest and truthful Harishchandra. He never lied throughout his life. Hence, he was honored with the name, 'Satya' Harishchandra. If he had lied just once, then his honesty could be questioned. In the same way, even if we have 0.1% attachment (of the mind) for any person or material object, our devotion to God will not be exclusive or single minded.

This popular and simple shlok from the Puranas say:

tvameva mātā cha pitā tvameva,
tvameva bañdhuśhcha sakhā tvameva
tvameva vidyā draviṇam tvameva,
tvameva sarvam mam deva deva

This shlok reminds us to use the word 'only'. That means "You (God) are my real mother. You are my real father." The one who gave birth to me is not my real mother. She is the mother of this material body. You are a soul and your real mother, father everything is God, i.e. all your relationships are with God alone. The soul is spiritual by nature and its subject of interest is God, who is Divine. If anything other than the Divine enters the mind, it becomes an obstacle in reaching the state of 'exclusivity'.

ek bharoso ek bal, ek ās viśhvās
bhrātā bhartā cha bañdhuśhcha pitā cha me rāghavaḥ
more sabaī ek tum svāmī, dīnbandhu ur antaryāmī

Lakshman said "O Ram! You are my father, You are my mother, You are my brother, You are my everything. The rest (Lord Dashratha), are not mine. Those relations are material and confined to this material body." This is such a strong statement that Lakshman said to Shree Ram who was an embodiment and personification of dignity and respect. Devotion and respect to mother, father and elders were
his principle ideals. But Lakshman said, "I am not ready to accept this principle and my ideal is only one, Shree Ram. My material father and mother are growing old and will soon die. They are not my eternal parents. The soul is related only to God. You are my shelter and You are my everything, hence I shall come with you." Shree Krishna says in the Gita:

māmev ye prapadyante māyāmetām taranti te

"The one who comes under my shelter alone and surrenders completely to me, I will free him from the clutches of Maya. If you do not apply the word only, then I am not responsible." 'Ananya' implies that the mind should be exclusively attached to God and nowhere else. 'Else' refers to the realm of Maya. Maya has three modes - sattva gun (mode of goodness), rajo gun (mode of passion) and tamo gun (mode of ignorance). A person of sattva gun is considered to be a good person. A person of rajo gun is considered to be a normal person and the one with tamogun is considered to be a bad person.
A person who drinks or is a thief or has a devious mind and eats meat is considered a sinner. Your mind should not be attached to such a person since he is tamsik. Let us say that a person's father is tamasik by nature, yet he loves him. The son will attain a tamsik destiny after his death, as a result of the love for his father. This is the law of karma. Similarly, if one attaches the mind to a rajo gun mother, then one will attain rajo gun after death. If one is attached to a sattva guni person, then one will attain heaven which is again transitory. All these three modes come under the category of Maya.

The nature and intensity of attachment does not matter. It could be love for parents, love for your spouse or a child. It could even be love for friends or an inanimate object. After death, we will attain the object or the person we are attached to, along with its nature (gun).

If we attach our mind in celestial gods then we will not attain the supreme God. Yet, this is what we all do in today's world. Some people worship God, but in addition, they also worship celestial gods or worldly beings, and therefore never attain supreme God, Shree Krishna.

In the beginning, we mentioned that material objects and souls who have not attained God are classified as mayic. Now we have learnt that the realm of Maya includes material objects, souls (not God-realized) and celestial abodes, including heaven.

We have only one mind and that should be focused on the Divine, and subjects related to the Divine only. There should be no place for anything or anyone else related to the mayic modes of sattva, rajas, or tamas. If we detach ourselves from all of these three, then our devotion will be exclusive and will be considered as 'single minded devotion' or 'Ananya'.

Our heart is the temple of God and only He must reside in it. Observe the temples in every city. We place God's idol in the centre and that place is revered as highly sacred. The priest ensures that the surroundings are very clean and tidy. Compare that to the temple in our hearts. We want God to reside along with dirty mayic personalities. God says "Who is this?" We reply, "This is my father, mother and son" God says, "No. If you want them, then I will not come inside. I will stay in your heart only if you keep mayic things away."

The reason why we have not attained God till now is that we have not tried to practice 'ananya bhakti'. We keep telling God that He is also ours, whereas he expects exclusive devotion. We shed tears for God and Guru, but we also shed tears while bidding goodbye to the newly wed daughter at home. We shed tears when our children die. This proves that we are attached to and love people other than God.

This material world is made of Maya and this body is also material. This material world is made to sustain our material body. For the eternal soul, devotion to God and Guru is essential. Eyes have vision and ears are made for listening. If we attempt to hear with our eyes, it is foolish and an impossible task. Similarly, happiness of the soul is not in this material world which is a source of darkness, whereas God is the source of light. Darkness and light cannot co-exist.

We are attached to this world because we have forgotten our real identity. We are eternal souls and souls are servants of God. Just like a machine in a car's engine. If a single wire is not in its place or the battery fails, the car stops working. Similarly, if our mind gets attached to this material world even for a second then we will not achieve our goal.

Let us use another example. Our mind is like a dirty cloth that has accumulated filth since innumerable lifetimes. Our aim is to wash it and make it completely dirt free. If we wash it with fresh, dirt free water, it will become clean. But, if we wash it with dirty water, the cloth will become dirtier. What do we mean by 'clean' or 'dirty' water? All mayic objects are considered dirty in the Divine realm. Only elements related to God are considered clean. Primarily, God and Guru are the purest and Divine personalities.

Hence, God asks us to be 'Ananya'. To love God and God alone is what 'Ananya' means.

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