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April 27, 2015
What are Narada's Bhakti Sutras?
Narada's Bhakti Sutras are a series of ancient aphorisms spoken by the sage Narada several thousand years ago in India. Narada's Bhakti Sutras are a compilation of one of the most well-known and beloved texts in the Vaishnava tradition about the path of enlightenment through the cultivation of divine love. Bhakti is defined as an all-encompassing and all-consuming love for the divine. It is considered to be the most elevated and highest level of love for God, which eventually leads a devotee to a state of profound serenity and bliss. Following the path of Bhakti Yoga to its conclusion is said to also free a devotee from the pain of constant rebirth known as samsara in Hinduism. The ultimate goal of the practice of Bhakti Yoga is the raptuous state of oneness with God.
The different aspects of divine love that Narada spoke about in his Bhakti Sutras range from how to genuinely practice Bhakti Yoga, the ultimate goal of human life according to the Bhakti Yoga path, the importance of spending time with other seekers and divine sages, as well as the recommended practices for cultivating deeper and deeper states of devotion and oneness with the divine beloved. Narada's Bhakti Sutras also cover the importance of surrender to God, the renunciation of worldly aspirations and the essence of the highest, most supreme form of devotion to the divine. Additionally, Narada warns Bhakti Yogis and Yoginis of the pitfalls to avoid when pursuing a path of divine devotion.
The importance of spending time in the presence of enlightened sages or saints is emphasized in Narada's Bhakti Sutras. The divine nectar of grace that surrounds a devotee in the presence of an enlightened being is priceless. This grace will initiate and fuel the fire of longing and love for God through the personification of the divine in his or her Guru. As Narada elucidated in his sutras, bhakti will beget bhakti. The more connected you are to the divine and the more you open up your heart to a realized saint, the higher and hotter the flames of love will burn within you. This divine fire will transform the heaviness and darkness inside you into joy, lightness and love, hence the origin of the word "enlightenment." This state is purported to be one of great bliss that eclipses all worldly concerns and lifts a devotee into the very heart of God.
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