Smaranam: Constant Remembrance of God.
ध्येयं श्रीपतिरूपमजस्रम् ।श्रीपतिरूपमजस्रम्
नेयं सज्जनसङ्गे चित्तं
देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् ॥वित्तम् २७॥-भज गोविन्दं by Sri Adi Shankara
Meaning – Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu in your heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy.
As Sri Adi Shankaracharya highlights in Bhaja Govindam, constant remembrance of God and meditating on his name and form is a very important fold of Bhakthi. Namasmarana is the easiest path to attain the Lord in Kali yuga. One can do this by remembering the beautiful form of the Lord (in whichever deity one believes in) and chanting their name. If one cannot imagine a form, then let us look all around us. We are surrounded throughout with His wonderful creations. This can be a good reminder for us to remember and thank Him for everything. Andal/ Kodai Nachiar was one such great devotee who was ever engaged in namasmarana. Andal (Tamil: ஆண்டாள்), also known as Kothai, Nachiyar, and Goda Devi, was the only female Azhwar among the twelve Hindu poet-saints of South India. She composed two poetic works in her lifetime, Thiruppavai and Nachiyar Thirumozhi. Andal was constantly engrossed in the remembrance of Lord Ranganatha.In the 5th Pasuram Andal highlights the importance of Vishnu-Smaranam. She says,
வாயினால் பாடி மனத்தினால் சிந்திக்க
போய பிழையும் புகுதருவான் நின்றனவும்
தீயினில் தூசாகும் செப்பேலோர் எம்பாவாய்5th Pasuram – Andal
“vaayinaal paadi, manathinaal sindhithu…. by doing so, our sins get burnt like a cotton which falls in fire.
Our Golu this year, dons a cute little baby Andal, sitting on the fields thinking of Sri Ranganatha and singing his glories.
Dasyam is the next form of devotion where the devotee sees himself as not just the ‘faithful-servant’ of the Lord but also the servant of the Lord’s devotees, with no sense of inferiority. Dasyam refers to a heartfelt yearning to be of personal service to the Supreme. It is the ultimate expression of humility, yet it is bold in its aspiration. Dasya Bhakti is the means of transcending one’s ego. It helps in the spiritual evolution of a person.
Lakshmana, Hanuman, Angada, etc., cultivated this Dasya-Bhava (Sense of being in constant service to the God) of Bhagavad-Bhakti. Hanuman is a towering example of Divine Seva to the Lord. He spent his whole life in serving Lord Rama. Angada did not want to leave Rama even at the latter’s request and prayed to Lord Rama that he would serve Him at all times, that he would do even the most menial of services for the sake of Lord Rama. These devotees were of an exceptional type and it is very difficult to develop such a Bhakti as was possessed by Hanuman, Lakshmana or Angada.
दासोहं कोसलेन्द्रस्य रामस्याक्लिष्टकर्मणः |
हनुमान् शत्रुसैन्यानां निहन्ता मारुतात्मजः ॥
“The son of Kausalya, Lord Sri Ramachandra, is a great warrior. I am a faithful servant of that Lord Rama”(Valmiki Ramayana ।।5.43.9।।).
Sakhyam is the next form of devotion wherein the devotee considers himself to be the ‘friend’ or sakhaa of the Supreme. in this form of bhakti, you will share all your happiness, sorrows, and every moment of your life with God. You always feel that he is with you in every point of your life. God is one’s best friend. Sakhya bhakti can be cultivated by offering oneself earnestly to Him for His companionship. The bhakta shares his moments of joy and sorrow with Him. The devotee will develop a special and personal relationship with the Divine. Sakhya bhakti is not limited to making friends with God alone. It also includes making friends with people sharing the same temperament or with His devotees. Satsangs can be an important place to develop Sakhya bhakti with like minded people. People attending Satsang will share their experiences of God, Guru or saints which can be spiritually enriching to the bhakta. Friends in satsangs can form the basis of spiritual progress in a devotee. Sudama, Gopis of Vraja, Vibhishana, Sugriva, Arjuna and Uddhava are some of the examples of devotees who had Sakhya Bhakti with the Supreme Lord.
भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ॥ ४-३॥
“O Arjuna, you are both my friend and Bhakta.”(Gita 4.3)
Stories about the friendship of Krishna and Arjuna abound in the Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. In our Golu display this year, we have presented the scene from Kurukshetra war, where Lord Krishna became Arjuna’s charioteer and guides him throughout the war in the path of Dharma.
3 thoughts on “Navratri Series: Reaching Shakti through Bhakti – Part 4 Smaranam, Dasyam and Sakhyam”
Love the research, your thoughts and the Golu experiences coming together guys. Keep up the awesome work. Can’t wait for more of these gems! ❤️
This was splendid!