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Yogism Bhakti Yoga: In Search Of A Lost Love

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,180
Radhanath Swami

Founder and Director, Radha Gopinath Ashram

Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills. They shared the kind of lessons that elevate the spirit.

One particularly illuminating lesson from the forest comes in the form of the Himalayan musk deer. The musk deer is referenced in Sanskrit poetry and philosophy owing to its peculiar behavior. Prized by the perfume industry for its exceptional aroma, musk is one of the world's most expensive natural products, fetching more than three times its weight in gold. The aroma of musk is so alluring that when the stag's sensitive nose catches wind of it he roams the forest day and night in pursuit of its source. He exhausts himself in a fruitless quest, never realizing the bitter irony: the sweet fragrance he was chasing resided nowhere but within himself. Musk, you see, is produced by a gland in the stag's very own navel: it was searching without for what was all along lying within.

The sages of India found in the musk deer an apt description of the human condition. We are all pleasure-seeking creatures wandering a forest of some sort -- replete with pleasures and perils alike. Moreover, we are prone to the same type of folly as the deer: we seek our happiness externally. Misconceiving our true needs, we wrongly equate our fulfillment and self-worth with possessions, positions, mental and sensual thrills. We are often drawn into superficial relationships which hold the promise of lasting satisfaction, yet leave us feeling empty.

The true treasure lies within. It is the underlying theme of the songs we sing, the shows we watch and the books we read. It is woven into the Psalms of the Bible, the ballads of the Beatles and practically every Bollywood film ever made. What is that treasure? Love. Love is the nature of the Divine. Beneath the covering of the false ego it lies hidden. The purpose of human life is to uncover that divine love. The fulfillment that we're all seeking is found in the sharing of this love.

The power of love is most profound. It has various levels. In its crudest sense, the word love refers to acts of physical intimacy, and its influence over society is obvious. But on a deeper, more emotional level, not simply of the body but of the heart, there is no greater power than love. For the sake of money and prestige, one may be willing to work long hours, weekends, even holidays. A mother's love, on the other hand, is selfless and unconditional. There's nothing she won't do for the well-being of her child, and she asks for nothing in return.

When love is pure it has the power to conquer. Lover and beloved conquer each other by their affection. The source, the essence, the fullest manifestation of love's conquering power is the love of the soul for the supreme soul, or God. The sages who authored India's sacred texts found that the most astonishing of all of God's wonders was His willingness and eagerness to not only be touched by our love, but to be conquered by it. The cultivation of that dormant love is called the path of bhakti (devotion). This love is within all of us. It is the greatest of all powers because it is the only power that can grant realization of the highest truths and the only power that can reveal the deepest inner fulfillment in our lives. On the strength of this love we can overcome envy, pride, lust, anger and greed. There is no other means of conquering these diseases within us.

One who loves God sees everything in relation to God. Therefore their love flows spontaneously toward everyone, at all times, everywhere. They even love those who wish them harm. If you love God, you can't hate anything or anyone. If the love one offers is met with hate, it doesn't die, rather it manifests in the form of compassion. That is universal love. It is not just a sentiment. It cannot be manifested merely by a shift in mental disposition. It can only come from inner cleaning, an inner awakening. Then that love becomes the reality of life.

This inner cleansing is the goal of all spiritual practice. Every prayer offered, mantra chante, or ritual performed should be for the purpose of removing the impurities which impede the full blossoming of unconditional love and compassion. This is the only way to peace, both individually and collectively. When our intrinsic love is awakened and our divine qualities shine through, we will not only find the pleasure we've been seeking but also become powerful agents of change in the world.

We are all searching, roaming the forest like the musk deer, seeking the pleasures without. When we recognize what we are really looking for and begin searching for the lost love within, at that point, the real journey of human life begins.
 

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spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,180
One particularly illuminating lesson from the forest comes in the form of the Himalayan musk deer. The musk deer is referenced in Sanskrit poetry and philosophy owing to its peculiar behavior. Prized by the perfume industry for its exceptional aroma, musk is one of the world's most expensive natural products, fetching more than three times its weight in gold. The aroma of musk is so alluring that when the stag's sensitive nose catches wind of it he roams the forest day and night in pursuit of its source. He exhausts himself in a fruitless quest, never realizing the bitter irony: the sweet fragrance he was chasing resided nowhere but within himself. Musk, you see, is produced by a gland in the stag's very own navel: it was searching without for what was all along lying within.

Guru Ram Das ji Ang 982

ਨਟ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥
नट महला ४ ॥
Nat mėhlā 4.
Nat 4th Guru.

ਰਾਮ ਗੁਰ ਸਰਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਰਖਵਾਰੇ ॥
राम गुर सरनि प्रभू रखवारे ॥
Rām gur saran parabẖū rakẖvāre.
Seeking the Guru's protection, the Lord-Master so saves the mortal,

ਜਿਉ ਕੁੰਚਰੁ ਤਦੂਐ ਪਕਰਿ ਚਲਾਇਓ ਕਰਿ ਊਪਰੁ ਕਢਿ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
जिउ कुंचरु तदूऐ पकरि चलाइओ करि ऊपरु कढि निसतारे ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
Ji▫o kuncẖar ṯaḏū▫ai pakar cẖalā▫i▫o kar ūpar kadẖ nisṯāre. ||1|| rahā▫o.
as he had saved the elephant who prayed to Him stretching forth his trunk out of the water, on being seized and thrown in the water by the crocodile. Pause.

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੇ ਸੇਵਕ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਤਿ ਨੀਕੇ ਮਨਿ ਸਰਧਾ ਕਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧਾਰੇ ॥
प्रभ के सेवक बहुतु अति नीके मनि सरधा करि हरि धारे ॥
Parabẖ ke sevak bahuṯ aṯ nīke man sarḏẖā kar har ḏẖāre.
Very greatly sublime are the Lord's slaves. Thy install their Lord's in their mind with faith.

ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਸਰਧਾ ਭਗਤਿ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਜਨ ਕੀ ਪੈਜ ਸਵਾਰੇ ॥੧॥
मेरे प्रभि सरधा भगति मनि भावै जन की पैज सवारे ॥१॥
Mere parabẖ sarḏẖā bẖagaṯ man bẖāvai jan kī paij savāre. ||1||
Faith and devotional service are pleasing to my Master's mind and he saves the honour of His serfs.

ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਸੇਵਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਸਭੁ ਦੇਖੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪਸਾਰੇ ॥
हरि हरि सेवकु सेवा लागै सभु देखै ब्रहम पसारे ॥
Har har sevak sevā lāgai sabẖ ḏekẖai barahm pasāre.
The Lord Master's slave yokes himself to His service and perceives the Lord contained in the whole world.

ਏਕੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਇਕੁ ਨਦਰੀ ਆਵੈ ਸਭ ਏਕਾ ਨਦਰਿ ਨਿਹਾਰੇ ॥੨॥
एकु पुरखु इकु नदरी आवै सभ एका नदरि निहारे ॥२॥
Ėk purakẖ ik naḏrī āvai sabẖ ekā naḏar nihāre. ||2||
He beholds the only one Lord, who looks upon all alike.

ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਰਵਿਆ ਸਭ ਠਾਈ ਸਭੁ ਚੇਰੀ ਜਗਤੁ ਸਮਾਰੇ ॥
हरि प्रभु ठाकुरु रविआ सभ ठाई सभु चेरी जगतु समारे ॥
Har parabẖ ṯẖākur ravi▫ā sabẖ ṯẖā▫ī sabẖ cẖerī jagaṯ samāre.
God, the Lord Master is pervading all the places and takes care of the whole world as His handmaid.

ਆਪਿ ਦਇਆਲੁ ਦਇਆ ਦਾਨੁ ਦੇਵੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਥਰ ਕੀਰੇ ਕਾਰੇ ॥੩॥
आपि दइआलु दइआ दानु देवै विचि पाथर कीरे कारे ॥३॥
Āp ḏa▫i▫āl ḏa▫i▫ā ḏān ḏevai vicẖ pāthar kīre kāre. ||3||
Of Himself the compassionate Lord mercifully gives gifts, even to the worms and insects in the stones.

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਮੁਸਕਾਈ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭੂਲਾ ਮਿਰਗੁ ਸਿੰਙ੍ਹਾਰੇ ॥
अंतरि वासु बहुतु मुसकाई भ्रमि भूला मिरगु सिंङ्हारे ॥
Anṯar vās bahuṯ muskā▫ī bẖaram bẖūlā mirag sińhāre.
Within him is the great fragrance of the musk, but deluded by doubt, the deer horns the bushes.

ਬਨੁ ਬਨੁ ਢੂਢਿ ਢੂਢਿ ਫਿਰਿ ਥਾਕੀ ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਘਰਿ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੪॥
बनु बनु ढूढि ढूढि फिरि थाकी गुरि पूरै घरि निसतारे ॥४॥
Ban ban dẖūdẖ dẖūdẖ fir thākī gur pūrai gẖar nisṯāre. ||4||
Wandering through and seeking, searching woods and forests, l was tired, but the Perfect Guru emancipated me in my very home.

ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗੁਰੂ ਹੈ ਬਾਣੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਬਾਣੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਸਾਰੇ ॥
बाणी गुरू गुरू है बाणी विचि बाणी अम्रितु सारे ॥
Baṇī gurū gurū hai baṇī vicẖ baṇī amriṯ sāre.
Gurbani is the embodiment of the Guru and the Guru is the embodiment of Gurbani. In the whole of Gurbani is contained the Nectar.

ਗੁਰੁ ਬਾਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੇਵਕੁ ਜਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਪਰਤਖਿ ਗੁਰੂ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੫॥
गुरु बाणी कहै सेवकु जनु मानै परतखि गुरू निसतारे ॥५॥
Gur baṇī kahai sevak jan mānai parṯakẖ gurū nisṯāre. ||5||
If the attendant acts up to what Gurbani enjoys, the Guru in person(verily) saves him.

ਸਭੁ ਹੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਹੈ ਪਸਰਿਆ ਮਨਿ ਬੀਜਿਆ ਖਾਵਾਰੇ ॥
सभु है ब्रहमु ब्रहमु है पसरिआ मनि बीजिआ खावारे ॥
Sabẖ hai barahm barahm hai pasri▫ā man bīji▫ā kẖāvāre.
The Lord is amongst all and pervading all over is the Lord. He makes man eat what he has sown.

ਜਿਉ ਜਨ ਚੰਦ੍ਰਹਾਂਸੁ ਦੁਖਿਆ ਧ੍ਰਿਸਟਬੁਧੀ ਅਪੁਨਾ ਘਰੁ ਲੂਕੀ ਜਾਰੇ ॥੬॥
जिउ जन चंद्रहांसु दुखिआ ध्रिसटबुधी अपुना घरु लूकी जारे ॥६॥
Ji▫o jan cẖanḏar▫hāʼns ḏukẖi▫ā ḏẖaristbuḏẖī apunā gẖar lūkī jāre. ||6||
As for example, Dhirstbudhi saint annoyed saint Chanderhaus. However, in an attempt to destroy Chanderhaus, he set his own house on fire.


(Note: As per Hindu mythology, Chanderhaus was the son of king Dharma. Dhristbudhi bore ill-will for Chanderhaus and wished to slay him. But by mistake, the son of Dhirstbudi was slain instead and thus Chandarhaus got the throne).

ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਉ ਜਨੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਿਦ ਲੋਚੈ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਜਨ ਕੇ ਸਾਸ ਨਿਹਾਰੇ ॥
प्रभ कउ जनु अंतरि रिद लोचै प्रभ जन के सास निहारे ॥
Parabẖ ka▫o jan anṯar riḏ locẖai parabẖ jan ke sās nihāre.
The Lord's slave longs for Him in his mind and the Lord watches every breath of his.

ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਰਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ਜਨ ਪੀਛੈ ਜਗੁ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੭॥
क्रिपा क्रिपा करि भगति द्रिड़ाए जन पीछै जगु निसतारे ॥७॥
Kirpā kirpā kar bẖagaṯ driṛ▫ā▫e jan pīcẖẖai jag nisṯāre. ||7||
In His mercy, mercy, the Lord establishes His devotion within him and for His slave's sake, He saves the world.

ਆਪਨ ਆਪਿ ਆਪਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਆਪੇ ਸ੍ਰਿਸਟਿ ਸਵਾਰੇ ॥
आपन आपि आपि प्रभु ठाकुरु प्रभु आपे स्रिसटि सवारे ॥
Āpan āp āp parabẖ ṯẖākur parabẖ āpe sarisat savāre.
The Lord Master is all by Himself and the Lord Himself embellishes the world.

ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਆਪੇ ਆਪਿ ਸਭੁ ਵਰਤੈ ਕਰਿ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਆਪਿ ਨਿਸਤਾਰੇ ॥੮॥੪॥
जन नानक आपे आपि सभु वरतै करि क्रिपा आपि निसतारे ॥८॥४॥
Jan Nānak āpe āp sabẖ varṯai kar kirpā āp nisṯāre. ||8||4||
Of Himself, the Lord is pervading everywhere, O slave Nanak and showing His mercy, He Himself emancipates the mortals.

A similar shabad is by Sant Ravidas ji on Ang 1196

ਤਨਿ ਸੁਗੰਧ ਢੂਢੈ ਪ੍ਰਦੇਸੁ ॥
Than Sugandhh Dtoodtai Pradhaes ||
The musk is within its own body, but it searches for it outside.
 

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