Books Day 9

Working Miracles of Love stoked the already burning fire of guru seva within me.  I wanted to serve my guru and nothing else.  I would find contentment even if all I was allowed to do wash sweep leaves from his porch.  He really doesn’t need anyone to sweep his leaves.  As I quoted from Working Miracles of Love

Receiving the disciple‚Äôs services is not the need of the guru.  Giving service, however, is the need of the disciple.

I was staying with my guru-brother, Chandrakant, and noticed a book covered with a plain paper cover on a shelf.  It was titled, Narada’s Way of Divine Love.  I opened the book and started to read.  I immediately realized this was a copy of the Bhakti Sutras.  Shortly, Chandrakant entered the kitchen where I was reading to make morning chai and he noticed what I was reading.  “You should take that home with you and read it.  Just send it back to me when you’re done.”  That was in 2015.  I have read and re-read this book many times since then.

Bhakti, Divine Devotion, is “of all the paths to me [Consciousness] Bhakti is the easiest and surest.  There is no other path which grants you freedom as quickly as the path of devotion.”

As I read, I saw my own experiences on this path verified by what I was reading.

The principal means of attaining bhakti is the grace of a great soul.  It is hard to obtain the grace of a great soul, because it is hard to recognize such a one; but if a man receives his grace, the effect is infallible.  Through the grace of God alone an aspirant obtains the grace of a great soul.
Bhakti Sutra 1.38-40

I have written many times about how I know that grace of God led me to sit at my Gurudev’s feet.  Now my heart was on fire with the need to serve him in gratitude for all I had received through his teaching and care but I also knew that I was forbidden from moving to the ashram and fulfilling that desire.  Chandrakant’s generosity and care, gave me what I needed:

Who indeed overcomes maya?  He who gives up all attachment, who serves the great ones, and who is freed from the sense of “I and mind.”
. . . .
He . . . who serves the great ones.  We have already explained the need for a guru, a shaktipiritual guide.  The principal means of attaining supreme love [bhakti] is through the grace of a guru.
Bhakti Sutra 1.46

The service of the guru is very important for the attainment of supreme love and wisdom.

According to the Bhagavad-Gita, the seeker must do three things:  He must prostrate before the guru—which means he must approach him humbly with a heart full of longing to realize God.  The he must question him.  When the guru instructs him, he should not just accept his words at face value but try to understand the teachings in order to remove all doubts from his mind.  Also, he must give personal service.

To give personal service to the guru, though very important, does not necessarily mean service in a physical sense.  In on of the Upanishads we read, “Hear of the truth of Brahman from the lips of a guru, then reason upon it, and lastly meditate upon the truth as instructed by him.”

Thus service to the guru also means following his teachings, Swami Shivananda, one of the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, once said, “Do you think that those of you who attend on my personally are the only ones who are serving me?  Those who are in different centers [of the Ramakrishna Order] and even in far-off counties, though they do not see me, are also serving the Lord and serving me by serving the cause of our Master, and by the practice of contemplation and meditation.”

Believe and have desire to learn.  Ask questions and investigate but don’t just believe what you learn!  Serve the guru through practice and sharing with others what has been received.

This book, this devotion—Bhakti—is the reason for the name, Bhakti House.