Friday, October 14, 2005

Which Bethakji's pictures are these ?

Let me see if some of you have visited this superbly beautiful Bethakji of Shree Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji. For those who do not know, Bethakji is a place where Shree Vallabhacharya stayed on for some time during his tour-de-world 500 years ago and recited the nector of divine love as described in Shree Subodhini as well as participated in debates, solved problems of local saintly persons and took in refuge many humble and deserving souls. Further for those who do not know, Shree Subodhiniji is his most glorified commentary on Shreemad Bhagavat. It is said he explained the message of Bhagavat in a seven-tier style : (1) letter, (2) word, (3) verse, (4) chapter, (5) section, (6) canto and (7) whole book.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Balancing the act : Philosophy and Devotion

Shree Vallabhacharya had taken a very systematic approach to exemplify the socio-sciento-spiritual advancement of an individual. In his early childhood and youth, he studied all the major disciplines of then-existing knowledge (Vedas, Upnishads, Darshans, Vedangs, other philosophies like Baudh, Jain, Charvak etc). And soon after he set off to tour whole Indian subcontinent to strengthen his understanding in a wider context. On such toors, he discussed, debated and defeated many substandard philosophies and established his Shuddhadwait Brahmvaad (pure non-dualism) which attracted many learned scholars of his time.

But he was not content with just this scholastic accomplishment, as he also wanted to help many others un(der)-privileged individuals to realize their true self and achieve enlightenment. At this stage, the Supreme Lord commanded him to initiate a path of divine grace by taking such deserving souls in his refuge who in turn would be delivered by the Supreme Lord. Shree Vallabhacharya fulfilled this Supreme mission in the rest of his life while still continuing scholastic publications and debates.

It is based on both these aspects - philosophy and devotion - that his message, Pushtimarg, has remained alive even after 500 years. There have been many great scholars as well as devotees (the major specialization, o.w. any sincere follower has sufficient knowlege as well as devotion to sustain) who achieved enlightenments in their lives. However, in the present times, it is becoming rarer to find genuine scholars or devotees with dedication that would please him. Nontheless, the example he set, is truly marvelous to keep in front of us, if not follow.

In his small composition of five verses (Panch Shloki), he forsees the difficulty to find like-minded persons around us and thus suggests :

Sangah sarvatmana tyajya, sa chet tyaktum na shakyate |
Satbhi sah kartavyah, sangah sangasya bheshajam ||
Translation : (Bad) association should always be left. However, if that is not possible, associate with saintly perons as (good) association is remover/solution of (bad) association.

So, look around for saintly persons or remain with yourself (and of course with your Shreeji, Yamunaji and Mahaprabhuji).