|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Unit - 15
Lesson - 1508: Progress to the Highest Level of Bhakthi
By Raja Subramaniyan
God controls the universe completely. He does that with the assistance of many gods responsible for each function. The multiple names of gods belonging to various religions are called as functional gods.
This is very similar to the way the Prime Minister govern the country through cabinet of ministers. Prime Minister has absolute powers to control and govern. He does this with the assistance of many ministers responsible for various ministries. The power exercised by the Finance Minister, for example, is actually the power given by the Prime Minister. Similarly, God alone has the power, which is exercised through many functional gods.
People who are in the first and second level of Bhakthi do not enquire into the true nature of God. Their intelligence is stolen by their desires of objects of the world. They blindly believe in the various functional gods as described in the Vedas and other Holy Scriptures, which also prescribe varied methods to offer prayers. People choose the gods according to their own nature and offer prescribed prayers to solve their problems or to receive specific benefits.
Such prayers are fulfilled by God, according to the eligibility of the people. The eligibility comes from practicing Dharma as prescribed in Vedas.
Dharma is inherently known to all the human beings. Most people including atheists practice Dharma. Since the effort - result relationship is not strictly linear people are perplexed. Those who believe in the powers of various gods attribute this variance to their prayers.
The process of moving to the highest level of Bhakthi:
1. Each family believes in a particular form of God. This deity is called Family Deity or Personal god. A newborn baby goes through various religious customs in the name of the Family Deity. As the baby grows, it is exposed to various ceremonies and festivals involving the Family Deity. Therefore, that particular Family Deity becomes the most preferred god for that individual. It is also possible for an individual choose some other deity as his Personal god according to his own likes and dislikes.
2. People pray to this Personal god to fulfill their wishes (either removal of some specific suffering or for gaining an object of desire)
3. Such prayers are answered by God according to their impressions.
4. Therefore, people gain confidence in their Personal god and tell every one around about the power of their personal gods.
5. Even atheists listen to such stories of success and become religious for want to better explanation.
6. People practice Dharma since it is prescribed as a pre-condition to the grant of their prayers.
7. Thus, people make progress in their material pursuit. They become richer and comfortable. By experience, they realize that irrespective of their material success they do not gain peace of mind or everlasting happiness.
8. Such people move up to the third level and seek God by praying to their personal god. Here God is their goal and their personal god is their means. They may also pray for objects of the world as their means. For example, they may pray for good health for pursuing their spiritual progress and not as the ultimate goal.
9. When the prayers are answered, people move up to the highest level of Bhakthi.
10. At this stage, people realize that the personal gods are mere extensions of the God. There is nothing but God.
Thus, God guide all the people to the highest level of Bhakthi by answering the prayers to their personal god.
Teaching 96: Prayers with faith in the personal god are answered by God.
Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute [Verse: 20 - 23]
7.20 Governed by their own nature and being deprived of discrimination by various desires, people resort to other deities by taking to various disciplines of worship.
7.21 Whichever devotee desires to worship faithfully any particular deity, I stabilize that very faith of the devotee.
7.22 Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular deity and obtains all his desires, which are indeed granted by Me alone.
7.23 That result (accruing) to those indiscriminate ones is indeed finite. The worshippers of gods attain the gods. The worshippers of Me attain Me only.