Narad Bhakti Sutra delves out devotion en core, its concept of precepts and notions. The author, Taoshobuddha has brought out a commentary on the aphorisms of Narad’s bhakti path. The author has harped on the supreme love of param prema to elucidate its devotional perspective. Taoshobuddha during explication of the sutras ushers an invigorating insight inside the realm of human consciousness as well as the process of transformation.
The author first speaks of Narada and his other contributions. Narad had prompted Sage Valmiki to compile Ramayana. The readers get to know of him being ‘born in various realms’, for instance as a gandharva. However the author clarifies, ’There is no evidence that these sutras were composed by Narad himself’ but have most aptly been ‘dedicated to the champion of Devotion and Love – the Bhakti Sutras. The first job that the book succeeds is to clear the deck of the cluttered mind of the readers to imbibe upon the aphorisms. The author achieves this in the prelude titled, ‘Athato bhakti vyakhyasyamah’ meaning ‘Now therefore let us speak of Bhakti’. Any ardent reader would get aroused with the necessity proving, ‘therefore’ to fulfill its need. ‘The fluidity of the mind is unique-.Mind has the glimpse of awareness. Mind seeks love-The ice has melted now- Water is evaporating. And as the steam arises it disappears beyond a certain level. The soul is like a stream’. Such is the credence of Taoshobuddha’s conviction filled writing to entice and engulf the reader in the oasis of bhakti. The reader feels an innate fervour – ‘Soul seeks eternal. Soul seeks the formless. Bhakti is the union of formless to formless’. To enunciate the commentary on Narada Sutras, the author brings forth the five sutras Krishna had invoked in Bhagvat Gita about the path of devotion and the qualities of a devotee. One of sutras in Gita says, ‘that devotion is indeed of the nature of Supreme Love in God’. Narad reveled in ‘Ananya Prem’ when ‘the mind of an aspirant totally turns towards God out of Love, no demand of any nature remains in him’. The Nrada Sutras exemplify the distinction between the ordinary amorous love and the pure, devotional love.
A fervent devotee in his frenzy would be oblivious of all around him. The Gopis and Mira stand iconic to this state of ‘Thane nahi bisroon din rati’. Taoshobuddha takes his readers through a meticulously premeditated cadence of feelings. Hereafter he says, ‘When the aspirant gains this devotion, he ever remains intoxicated. In fact, he looks like a madman-..He becomes completely oblivious of his own body and bodily actions’. So with Ramakrishna, he says, ‘He used to talk to the statue for hours’. While he was a priest to Kali, Ramakrishna used to taste the food before offering it to the goddess. Similar was the earnestness of Sabari towards Rama and again of Vidur’s wife offering banana peels to Lord Krishna after throwing away the banana. Narada calls this – ‘Atmaramoo bhawati’. Any reader would hardly know how on the spur of the moment, Adi Shankaracharya composed his mellifluous Bhaja Govindam. The book tells us the incident. The eighth and ninth aphorism explain the nature of renunciation.
While explaining Sutra 14, the author resorts to a spacecraft breaking free from the earth’s gravitational field in order to explain some core concepts of energy centers in the body. Many of the aphorisms of Narada quote the precepts of bhakti as envisaged by Ved Vyas, Sage Garga and Sage Shandilya. The author props up a salient question – ‘Why is bhakti so difficult? Bhakti is not difficult at all. What makes it difficult is your upbringing from the time you were born?’ The author goes on explaining the nature of conditioning and grooming a puerile mind to adopt a path called religion. ‘Religion is not Hindu, Muslim or Christian- Religion has four pillars. These are truth compassion, austerities and purity’. Interestingly, the author reveals, ‘Narad does not specify the word God by any denomination as Brahman, Atman, Ishwara, Rama, Krishna-Narada deliberately uses the word asmin (in that). And thus, He has avoided any kind of sectarianism. To add on, Taoshobuddha mentions of Urdu mystical poet, Jigar Moradabadi and the impact of his kawwals.
The Narad Sutra invokes the manifest as well as the unmanifest; immanent and the transcendent; formful and the formless. Devotion can bestow perfection and immortality on account of the devotee relinquishing himself from the outside world and begins to achieve the changeless, the immutable. The author narrates this commentary with a simplistic rancour spiked with anecdotes and contemporary situation lest the aphorisms sound quaint and dogmatic. So, couplets of Kabir and Tulsidas have been cited to invigorate Narad’s message.
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