Archive for July 1st, 2013

1 Jul 2013 09:03:33 -0000



Everyone has devotion – even many animals have devotion. As Ananda Margiis, it is our duty to help those harness their inherent devotion so they can channelise it towards the Supreme – not the mundane. Then they can verily enter onto the path of real devotion – bhakti.



First we should examine how certain animals have devotion, or samanya bhakti. As we see, many animals have respect or awe for those they deem as being greater than themselves. One of the more common examples is a dog that obeys its master. That obedience itself is reverence or devotion for its master. Plus various farm animals view their farmer as their master; so they also have devotion. This type of devotion, however, is not limited to domesticated or farm animals: Camels and elephants – tamed & untamed – also have devotion. They hold in awe those large trees and big mountains because they reverse size and those mountains and trees are greater than themselves. And verily there are so many animals that have devotion – either towards other animals, towards humans, or towards nature.

In sum, whenever any animal feels a sense of awe towards any other entity, then that feeling of awe is devotion.

“When an individual’s psychic feelings get suspended at the sight of the greatness of an entity, then the individual attitude towards that great entity is devotion. Initially it is known as sámányá bhakti [natural devotion]. This sámánya bhakti is present even in many undeveloped creatures. Suppose you look upon the vast Himalayan range. When you gaze at the sky-kissing peaks, your mind becomes overwhelmed and you exclaim, “Oh, how vast are these mountains!” You develop a feeling of reverence for the Himalayas.” (1)



When various animals have devotion, then certainly every human being also has devotion.

“The fundamental psychology behind bhakti, which I once discussed at Anandanagar, is this: when a person looks upon the awesome greatness of any great entity, his or her own qualities become suspended. He or she develops a special attitude towards that great entity, and that attitude is known as devotion.” (2)

Invariably, all look upon someone in this world with awe and reverence. Teenagers scream and cheer when their favourite musician comes onto the stage. Sports fans applaud wildly for their sports heroes. Members of Congress gather round when Bill Gates or a Hollywood icon comes to testify or support a cause. Everyone in this world holds a sense of awe for someone or something else that they revere – and that is a form of devotion. But that devotion is misdirected. They do not understand their desire is actually for the Supreme. Devotion is one. Thus when a person longs for worldly things, it means their devotion has gone astray. And their inherent, infinite longing is never satiated by these finite worldly entities, i.e. by seeing that sports player, musician, or pop icon etc.

Certainly though, in Ananda Marga, we essentially view devotion as being real bhakti i.e. spiritual longing for God.

“Bhakti means ideation on the Supreme.” (3)

But in the general society, devotion takes expression in many other forms. People revere the wealthy, the famous, the talented etc. Whatever a person treasures, when they see that quality present in someone else to a higher degree, then they will revere that being. That is where their reverence lies. Tragically, their devotion is misdirected.



As Baba clearly states, all have devotion – even non-sadhakas. The only problem is that their devotion is misdirected.

Think of it this way. When a baby is hungry it tries to satiate its hunger but it does not know what to eat. The baby innocently reaches for paper, small stones, plastic, and so many other inedible objects. Yet none of those things will satiate its hunger.

Similarly, human beings have inherent devotion. They want to become great – but they do not know where to search. They do not know how to satisfy their infinite longing. Instead of meditating on the Divine, often their longing gets routed to the external sphere. In this way, they seek out and run after money, status, prestige, the opposite sex, and other things they revere or view in awe.

That is why such people are no different from the baby that is putting sticks and stones into its mouth. Just as the baby does not realise that it wants food so it instead reaches for plastic and stones, likewise people do not realise that they long for the Supreme, so instead they misdirect their longing towards mundane objects etc.

So yes, every human being has devotion, but it is misdirected as not all have awakened devotion for the Supreme.


In practical usage and meaning, there is a grand difference between the Sanskrit word bhakti and the English term devotion.

In English, devotion means being committed to a certain idea or person. For instance, a person is devoted to their spouse, or devoted to their country etc, but in Ananda Marga being committed to one’s country or career does is not called bhakti. But commitment to the mundane is termed as devotion in English. Some more examples include: devotion to one’s business, devotion to one’s children, devotion to one’s land or hobby or sport, devotion to one’s dog, devotion to drinking wine etc. One wealthy person I know is even has devotion for eating bugs etc. In all these ways devotion is used in English. But the term bhakti only means love for Parama Purusa, i.e. love for God.

In this letter, however, the term devotion has been used as a synonym of bhakti, but that is not the normal usage in materialistic societies.

Generally speaking though, to make matters clear, it is better to use the terms bhakti and bhakta. Only due to a distinct lack of a proper term in English do we sometimes use the words devotion and devotee.

In Ananda Marga, a bhakta is a devotee of God, not just a devotee.


In His famous, timeless sloka, Baba guides us about the uniqueness of the path of bhakti. And the first aspect of that teaching is as follows:

Bhakti bhagavato seva
Meaning: Devotion is service to God

So the inherent inner desire of the bhakta is to serve Parama Purusa – in all ways at all times. This is their inner-heart’s feeling: To serve & please Baba. To make Parama Purusa happy.

And Baba furthermore describes that to do that service one must be in His contact. Thus to serve Parama Purusa – to serve Baba – the bhakta must be in His closest proximity. Otherwise how will they be able to serve Him, please Him.



So bhaktas keep the closest link with Him all the time in order to serve Him, directly and indirectly. This service occurs on three basic levels.

While living in this world, devotees indirectly do seva to Parama Purusa by serving His creation through the four sevas – shudrocita seva (physical service), ksattriyocita seva (security or martial service) , vaeshyocita seva (economic service), and viprocita seva (spiritual service). Serving His creation in one of these four ways is physical service to Parama Purusa. That means viewing each and every expression as the manifestation of Supreme Consciousness and helping them according to their greatest need. That is physical service to Parama Purusa.

And in kiirtan, the bhakta lovingly sings the name of Parama Purusa and calls Him into their heart. This is serving Him in the mental sphere.

In dhya’na, the devotee channelizes all their love and all their desires unto His divine Self and by this way they are serving Baba in the spiritual realm.

In latter two above aspects, dhyana and kiirtan, the bhakta is rendering service to Parama Purusa directly.

Hence in all ways at all times, bhaktas are involved in serving the Lord– i.e. pleasing Baba.


“When this attraction is for any non-integral entity, or for any small entity this is called káma. When that attraction is for that integral entity, and the integral entity is only one and that one is Parama Puruśa – it is called Prema. When the attraction is for the non-integral entity, for money, for family, for land, it is called Káma; when it is for integral entity it is called Prema and the mental tendency during Káma i.e., the mental tendency during attraction for a non-integral entity is called Ásakti in Samskrta and the mental tendency during attraction for that Integral Entity is called Bhakti. Do you follow?” (4)

“When the Esana is not for Paramatman but for something else, it is known as Asakti (Attachment) and not Bhakti. As for example, the Esana for wine. This Esana will be termed as Panasakti, the attachment for wine i.e. attachment is always in bad sense and devotion is always supreme. Therefore the correct Esana is devotion.” (5)

“When the unit self is associated with the cosmic it is called “bhakti” or “devotion”, but when it is associated with the mundane it is called “attachment”. You must withdraw your mental propensities from all external objects – no matter what they might be – and channelize them only towards Parama Puruśa. Only when you direct them towards Him, can it be called bhakti. If you allow your mind to become fascinated by any other object, it is called “ásakti” or “attachment”. When your only desire is for Iishvara, it is called “Iishvara-bhakti”, but when that attachment is for wine, for example, it is called ásakti for wine. An attachment for any object other than Parama Puruśa is called “ásakti”.” (6)



“When one’s psychic attraction is toward the crude, the mind has a downward tendency, which leads to one’s eventual downfall. But when the mind moves upward it is called anurakti [attraction for the Great]. The consummation of this attraction is devotion.” (7)

“Anurakti is of two kinds. The anurakti for the Supreme Brahma or Infinite Cosmic Consciousness is para’nurakti. The anurakti for Brahma under the sway of prakrti or the anurakti for the crude manifestations is termed apara’nurakti. God is an object for para’nurakti. When the aspirant considers the Supreme Brahma to be his own, it is termed bhajana’ or bhakti.” (8)


Here following is Baba’s supreme guideline and blessing upon all Ananda Margiis.

“Devotion enables spiritual aspirants to attain the pinnacled goal of their lives. It is this devotion that human beings have been seeking since time immemorial. When they finally attain the Guru and get initiation, then they begin to walk on this path of devotion. And those who have started on this path realize that they are sure to reach their destination, that to reach their goal is the sole reason for their birth. You should remember why you have been born. Following the path of devotion, you will have to ultimately reach Parama Purus’a. This is the pinnacled point, the supreme point of human glory. You should always remember this, during your lifetime and even after your death.” (9)


The overall message of this letter is that all have devotion – all human beings and even some animals. But their devotion is directed towards the limited – the mundane. That is why they are never satisfied. Their desire is never quenched. They never feel a sense of true and lasting satiation. Just their longing changes from one object to the next.

With true devotion, i.e. bhakti, where a sadhaka’s longing is pointed only towards the Supreme, then only can one feel His grace and feel satiation. Only that unlimited Supreme Entity can satisfy infinite human longing. All should come onto the path of bhakti – till that time their longing will never be satisfied.

In His service,

1. Namami Krsnasundaram, Disc: 23
2. Namami Krsnasundaram, Disc: 23
3. APH-4, Bhakti and Krpá
4. Subhasita Smgraha-18, The Stance of Salvation and How to Attain It
5. Subhasita Samgraha – 20, Astitva and Shivatva
6. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 7, The True Nature of Bhakti
7. Annada Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell – 8
8. Ananda Marga Ideology & Way of Life – 2
9. Yoga Psychology


“Jiirn’ bishiirn’ jiiver karibo sava’…” {P.S. 3714}


We will serve all living beings; we will remove the afflictions and sufferings of all jiivas. If we will not save the hungry by providing food, and help the sick by providing medicine, and give love and care to the needy, then who will serve them. Those who are suffering from various diseases, physical or psychic, for them we are here. We are here to serve them and save them. We are all for those despondent human beings and suffering animals, birds, and plants. Plants, creepers and shrubs also have life force. Also for them we have to think. We have brought everyone close to the heart. We will not single out anyone; everyone belongs to our family. Parama Purusa has created this universe for all of us. This divine truth we have accepted with our mind, with our heart. We have come here to serve one and all. By this way we will serve Parama Purus’a….


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