In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important discussion on the questions that were asked to Sage Pauranika by his disciples. They ask out of genuine concern that how are they going to sustain in this Kali Yuga, given innumerable challenges for people who aspire for spiritual growth. As per Sage Pauranika’s disciples claims, we’re today facing the same or even more number of challenges that deter us from walking the path of Dharma. We had discussed in detail some of the challenges in yesterday’s episode, but what stands out from this discussion is that, there is “something” that constantly keeps pulling us down and continuously keeps deterring us from taking the path of spiritual growth. This “something” is a very subjective terminology, wherein it differs from person to person. For some of us, this “something” can be family problems that might plague us during our routine life. For some others, it might be some health issues that constantly might keep deterring them every now and then. For few other people, who are real aspirants of spiritual growth, this “something” can come as some sort of a mental depression every now and then and this can deter people big time! Thus, all in all, there is “something” in this Kali Yuga that keeps pulling people down every now and then, from following the path of Dharma to attain spiritual growth.
Another way of looking at this is that, in the previous Krita, Tretha and Dvaapara Yugas, people knew exactly what would lead them towards “Moksha”, and they followed the path unanimously with complete focus. For instance, all of us might know about King Janaka, who was the father of Mother Sita. King Janaka is considered to be an epitome of “Karma Yoga” (attaining Bhagawan’s feet through intense spiritual practices and duties). In fact, Bhagawan Krishna Himself praises King Janaka in the Bhagawad Gita, as one of the very few people in this world who had attained Moksha through Karma Yoga. Thus, we can see here that these kinds of intense levels of spiritual practices were possible during those times.
However as we’ve advanced with time and age, this intensity is virtually impossible for all of us today. Given our personal, family, professional commitments, etc. that we face every passing day, it is increasingly difficult to allocate time for spirituality and spiritual practices. Nowadays, even allocating 1-2 hours everyday is becoming impossible. Because of this, we’ve started lacking awareness on what is “Dharma” and what are the tasks and duties that are prescribed in our Sanaathana Dharma to attain Moksha. At the onset of it, we think that following the path of Dharma is such a complex task to do, but little do we realize that there are simple tasks that we can do every passing day, so as to associate ourselves in this path.
For instance, if we’re able to do our “Sandhyavandanam” and other basic spiritual practices every day without fail, this itself is a big stride towards Dharma. Performing these practices everyday would not even take us 15 minutes. Similarly, if we’re able to maintain ourselves without talking lies or hurting others, again we’re making a good stride forward. In the same lines, if we’re able to perform our “Pithru-Kaarya” (Duties towards our ancestors) like “Shraadham”, “Tharpanam”, etc. correctly without any fail, again we’re ticking all the right boxes to move forward. Similarly, if we’re able to help those people who are in dire need, again we’re making a good progress towards the path of Dharma.
Thus in all these above examples, we can observe that we might know all these at hindsight, but somehow we fail to tick all these boxes owing to certain reasons, only best known to us! 😊 Thus, knowing all of these is not important. The awareness that these simple tasks would lead us towards the path of spiritual growth is important. Once we become aware of it, we would automatically start doing things that are required to be done. The point here is thus, awareness of those tasks that would lead us to the path of Dharma is very important. Once this awareness creeps into us, we would definitely start witnessing the change that is required.
This is exactly what Sage Pauranika is also going to tell all his disciples. Now let us witness the reply of Sage Pauranika to his disciples.
“Vaasudeve bhagawathi bhakti yogaha prayojithaha!
Janayatyaashu vairaagyam gnyaanam cha ya dahaithukam!!”
Thus Sage Pauraanika starts his reply by saying that, the lack of “Bhakti” or “Devotion” towards Bhagawan is only because of lack of awareness. Even in our case, why are we not able to attain that deep state of “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan? It is only because we do not know the complete significance of Bhagawan and His incarnations.
Now how will we get this awareness in us? It is only if we read and re-read about Bhagawan and His significance repeatedly. It is only if we listen and listen to various discourses about Bhagawan and His significance. It is only if we discuss about Bhagawan and His significance. Only then, would we be able to witness significant progress in Bhakti. If we’re having zero knowledge about something, how would we be able to appreciate it? For instance, I’m a Carnatic vocalist, and I’ve been asked to give a concert with a theme of “Thiyagaraja Kritis”. At the end of the concert, usually someone would come up on the stage, give a “vote of thanks” and appreciate the singer who has performed the concert. This is an usual practice. Now, if this person who comes on to the stage is a boxer or a football player, what would he talk about in this context? This person doesn’t even know A or B or C in Carnatic Music and how would he be able to talk and appreciate it? Similar is our case with respect to Bhakti as well!
Thus the important point here is that, for real growth and development of Bhakti and spirituality, we should first inculcate the awareness of Bhagawan and His teachings to this world. So for today, let us ponder over this important point and try to work on this slowly and steadily. We shall wait till tomorrow’s episode to witness more of Sage Pauraanika’s reply to his disciples. Stay tuned! 😊