The Atman does not have any connection with the body. But, due to ignorance we get connected with the things that see around us. This connection binds us in a cycle of Samsara of birth, death, birth, death and again birth. Till the time we connect with things that we see around us, we are connected to the gross. This is like connecting to our dreams. The dreams are not real and they will disappear with waking up. We need to awaken ourselves from the dream that we are living into pure awareness in order to attain peace.
(Image Credit: Vrindavan Lila)
Awakening through Grace
In order to break the cycle of Samsara, one pointed devotion to Lord Vasudeva will help. So says Srimad Bhagavatam. The Lord is spread everywhere in the Universe. The Lord is Guru to entire Creation. We are born into the Lord and we die into the Lord. We are the Lord ourselves. But, we take time to realise this completely. Most of us take several lifetimes to reach this realisation. This is the greatest challenge of life – the Lord Realisation.
This devotion will lead us to detachment from the ephemeral and the arising of jnana within us. It is clearly visible that devotees are really a happy lot. The worldly difficulties do not bother them much when compared to others. There is an innate wisdom in people with devotion. Death, Loss, Fear and such qualities, which can derail people from their peace cannot touch true devotees. They have learned to rise above these facts.
Bhagavatam says the being who listens to stories of Lord Vasudeva and his Wisdom will soon melt in the Bhakti of the Lord. Such attention and interest in the Lord cleanses the mind. The cleansing further encourages the devotee to dive deeper into the Lord’s wisdom. Old habits and patterns dissolves off. Devotees get interested in higher ideals and truth. Selfless Service and simplicity takes a center stage in their lives. Where there are devotees of the Lord, there will be stories of the Lord that is spoken of.
Immunity of Devotees
The devotees who get totally immersed in Bhakti do not affected by Hunger, Thirst, Sadness or Desires. But, such devotees are very rare. Such a one pointed attention is the result of years of practice. Beings stuck in the effects of bad karmas of lifetimes get so immersed in the cycle of Kama, Krodha and Lobha (Desire, Anger and Greed) that they do not even develop interest in the stories of Lord. They are too distracted and drawn to the world that attention to the act of listening becomes too difficult.
The beginning of Bhakti sometimes starts with Vedic facts and truths. A seeker with an intellectual bend of mind needs something substantial to hold on to. There will be a lot of studying and discussions in such as case. They may pick a Mantra and through the Mantra start to visualise the Lord in a Physical Form. But, the concept of Lord does not have a form. The form is rather a representation used to fix the mind from being distracted.
With complete attention on Lord, we start to lose interest in the World and even the Vedas. An initial look at the Vedas may develop an interest in the rituals and yajnas prescribed the texts. These rituals are means to reach the Swarga Loka (Heaven). However, devotion is much more than reaching the pleasures of Heaven. It is a complete realisation of the Universe and Creation. A deeper look at the Vedas might however light up the route to this realisation itself, which is beyond the sense gratification of the Heavenly world.