Does One Gain Self Realization On The Path Of Bhakti Only?
The path of Bhakti implies the path of devotion.
“Devotion means to approach nearer and nearer to the one you are devoted to”, says Gnani, the Enlightened One, and further elaborates, “It is said to be devotion only if you are going closer to the one you are devoted to. And the day, the devotee and the one he is devoted to come so close that they actually become one, the objective is said to have been accomplished!!! There remains no difference between the two thereafter and both become inseparable; they cannot be separated ever after.”
But can we be devoted to someone or something we don’t know?
No! How can Bhakti (devotion) ever arise for someone or something we do not know, of whose we have no information or knowledge? It is not possible.
So, although in common parlance, the path of Bhakti and the path of Gnan are considered as two different paths, but when seen from the enlightened vision of Gnani, the two paths are joined together. They are like the two sides of the same coin.
Only when we receive Gnan (the right knowledge), faith initiates inside us for it
Then, even without us having to enforce it; Bhakti (devotion) begins to arise naturally. Such knowing is called Knowledge.
Our faith arises in proportion to the knowledge we have of the One we wish to be devoted to. As much our knowledge is right, so much our faith will be right. That’s the principle! And with the right faith and devotion, we will approach nearer and nearer, and the day will come when we’ll be one with that towards whom our devotion is.
When you follow according to knowledge, that is called ‘Bhakti’
Suppose you have to go to the airport, you can’t say, “As I’ll start walking, I’ll reach the airport.” One may ask, “Do you have the knowledge of the path?” And you will reply, “No, I do not know the way.”
And now suppose, you have in your hand the knowledge (the map, etc.) of ‘how to reach airport’; does that mean you reached the airport? No! It means after attaining the right knowledge, you have to follow it.
Thus, the right method to gain Self-Realization is:
to first attain from Gnani the knowledge of the Self (Gnan) i.e. who am I? What is Self (Aatma) and what is non-Self (Anatma)? How do I recognize Self? What are the properties of Self? and
thereafter to follow that knowledge (Bhakti) as instructed by Gnani, and attain salvation, the end objective of Self-Realization.
The Bhakti after receiving Gnan will help us approach nearer and nearer to our end objective.
The path of knowledge is said to be right only when it helps us attain Self-Realization. And the path of Bhakti is right only when, as its end result, we attain salvation.
The Akram Path – a perfect combination of Gnan and Bhakti.
Lord Krishna gave Arjun the knowledge of Self-Realization, without making him renounce his wife or his kingdom nor the war. He gave Arjun such Self-Realization that in spite of fighting the huge war of Mahabharata, Arjun did not bind any karma and he attained salvation. Very rarely this happens, for here, a Living Gnani is required. If we happen to meet a Living Gnani, then with his grace, we can directly attain the knowledge of Self-Realization, without doing any penance, chanting, meditation, renunciation, etc. This is called the Akram path!
Today, we are fortunate to have amidst us a Living Gnani. Hence this Akram path, which is a combination of the Gnan and the Bhakti path, proves to be the fastest and the easiest method to gain Self-Realization and attain salvation!
From our side…
We only have to go to the Living Gnani with absolute humility, “I don’t know anything about the pure Soul (the Self). I heartily wish to get this knowledge. Please give me the knowledge of Self-Realization.”- only this much is required from our end and our work is done through the most Revered Akram Gnani!!!
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