This book contains very useful instructions for the students in the path of Bhakti Yoga. First of all, the existence of God was proved with practical instructions, for the conviction of rank materialists and atheists. The first chapter contains the essence of Bhakti Sadhana.
In the second chapter the subject of "Love" was dealt with in detail,-the various methods for developing love, the glory of true universal love, etc. It was also shown that faith is the primary requisite in the development of Bhakti.
The third chapter contains of the essentials in the path of devotion. The efficacy of practical Sadhana to the exclusion of all vain discussions have been pointed out here.
The science of Sankirtan, the benefits of Sankirtan and how to conduct Akhanda Kirtan have all been discussed with many instructions for Sankirtanists in the fourth chapter. The condition of the present day Sankirtan is also reviewed here briefly.
Chapter five gives Bhakti Sutras of Sandilya with text, meaning and commentary. Chapter. six and seven deal with songs and Sankirtan Dhvanis. The essnce of devotion, Bhakti, the necessity for treading the spiritual path and other subjects have been dealt with, in the songs which will be much helpful to the aspirants because they can assimilate things in the form of songs very easily. The last chapter gives an account of the lives of some great devotees of the past like Prahlada, Dhruva and Narada.
The present book will be a boon to the aspirants who wish to attain the goal of life by treading the path of devotion.
About the Author:
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Saga Appayya Diskhita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission. It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, Saint, Sage and Jivanmukta. In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament Reliogions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
The Bhakti Sutras of Rishi Sandilya are as much useful to the aspirants in the path of devotion as the Bhakti Sutras of Narada. Each Sutra is a gem of incalculable value. There is depth of thought in every Sutra. These Sutras treat in a beautiful manner about the nature of devotion, culture of devotion, the forms of devotion, the Adhikaris or persons who are fit to tread the path of devotion, the object of devotion and the fruit of devotion.
There are 84 aphorisms in Narada Bhakti Sutras. Sandilya Bhakti Sutras contain 100 aphorisms. A Sutra is a terse short verse in Sanskrit which is pregnant with deep meaning. Great philosophical thoughts are condensed in a Sutra. A Sutra is a string on which are studded deep philosophical gems of thoughts. Rishis of India have all expressed their thoughts and spiritual experiences in the form of Sutras. Realised souls only with deep inner sight and clear intuition can write Sutras. We cannot understand these Sutras without the help of a lucid and exhaustive commentary.
Rishi Narada shows in his Sutras that there is difference between Jiva and God but Rishi Sandilya points out their oneness.
The Bhakti Sutras of Sandilya contain three chapters. Each chapter has two parts. In the first part of chapter I, Rishi Sandilya gives a definition of devotion and states that devotion is different from knowledge and that supreme devotion or Para Bhakti leads to the attainment of Oneness and Immortality. In the second part of chapter I, he discusses about the nature of Bhakti, Yoga and Jnana and their inter-relations. In the first part of chapter II, he points out that knowledge is the internal means and the lower kind of devotion is the external means of Bhakti.
In the second part, he gives an elaborate description of the secondary acts of devotion (Gauna Bhakti) which are the causes of supreme devotion (Mukhya or Para Bhakti). In the first part of the third chapter, he deals with the object of devotion. In the second part he points out that the Jiva or the individual soul realises the oneness with the Lord through supreme devotion and attains the final emancipation.
Should we not then devotedly express our keen sense of gratitude to our venerable Rishi Sandilya who has churned out the butter of Bhakti Sutras from the ocean of Bhakti literature for our assimilation and easy absorption?
Glory to our revered Rishi Sandilya who has shown us the easy way to develop Bhakti and attain the final emancipation. May his blessings be upon us all.
Introduction From the Book:
The world is now passing through a great crisis due to the present wars. Rajasic evil forces of materialism are flying aloft in the sky deluding the people with fears and ancieties and keeping them in the dark about the existence of the inner Atmic treasure and Supreme Bliss within. People look upon religion with contempt. Ignorance prevails everywhere. There is lack of faith in the Vedic scriptures or there has been a misunderstanding of it in some quarters. People interpret religion to suit their taste and convenience. They pretend to know everything.
IN fact, there is no spiritual growth in most of the people now-a-days. There is no real education. There is no culture. There is no ethical training. When the lamp of knowledge - the lamp of devotion to God - is lit up then all these dark forces of Rajas will fly away and there will be peace. harmony, good understanding and universal brotherhood. Sattva will reign supreme and there will be happiness everywhere.
The book "Bhakti and Sankirtan" contains very useful instructions for the students in the path of Bhakti Yoga, First of all, I have proved with practical illustrations the existence of God for the conviction of rank materialists and atheists. The first chapter contains the essence of Bhakti Sadhana. I have stressed the importance of worship, Bhajan, Upasana, Manasic Puja, etc., as a means to develop highest devotion.
In the second chapter I have dealt with the subject of "Love" in detail, - the various methods for developing love, the glory of true universal love, etc. Here I have also shown that faith is the primary requisite in the development of Bhakti. In this chapter, Viraha or separation of the devotee from his Lord, the sufferings the devotee will have the undergo before he gets God-vision and the various methods of Sadhana suited to ahieve this end, have been clearly shown.
The third chapter contains some of the essentials in the path of devotion. The efficacy of practila Sadhana to the exclusion of all vain discussions have been pointed out here. The qualifications of a devotee, when and how can give real spiritual progress and a stimulus for the continuance of Sadhana, etc., have been shown in detail.
The science of Sankirtan, the benefits of Sankirtan and how to conduct Akhanda Kirtan have all abeen discussed with many instructions for Sankirtanists in the fourth chapter. The condition of the present day Sankirtan is also reviewed here briefly.
I hope the present book will be a boon to the aspirants who wish to attain the goal of life by treading the path of devotion. All Sadhakas meet on the platform whichever path they may proceed. God or Brahman is the only reality. This world is a mere ;how. Realise this and become free in this very brith.
May you all tread the path of devotion and ever rest in the state of divine ecstasy and unalloyed bliss of Joy and happiness!
- ANANDA KUTIR,
11th May, 1941.
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