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Thread: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

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    The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste friends,

    I had an experience today that was like no other. I was performing some personal kirtan with my mridanga and I was overwhelmed with ecstasy. It was unlike any other type of ecstatic feeling I have felt before; it was totally transcendental. After that I performed several rounds of japa which completely brought me out-of-body and into a state of bliss I had never reached before.

    The first moments of ecstasy began while doing a simple bhajan on my mridanga drum. Normally I will play for half an hour and then go into japa, but this time I played for much longer! I do not know the exact time (a couple hours at least), but all I know was that I couldn't stop playing! I didn't want to ever stop playing! The connection I had made with God during the kirtan was life-changing. Words cannot explain the love and the sense of unity I felt with my ishta devata. I could have played forever if my body would allow me! I remember thinking in that moment...

    "All desires have ceased except for this one: to sit here and play this drum for God. This is all I could ever want."

    Eventually I put down the drum and I moved onto my meditation. I felt very light and extremely ecstatic in that moment. I grabbed my japa beads and began to chant and within minutes I felt like I had lost all connection to my body. I can't quite explain the feeling; it was like I was a star shooting through space. I just remember feeling an intense amount of bliss. Once again, I wished that the moment would never end. After several rounds everything was back to normal again, except for me. I had been changed by the experience in a way that I could have never imagined. I just wish I could give this experience to everyone.

    I have heard many lectures on bhakti and how wonderful it is, and I've practiced my spirituality in this way for quite some time, but even after years of practice I still didn't know exactly what it was all about. I've certainly had moments of clarity, but I never fully experienced the reality of its greatness until today. Truly this is the highest yoga. I solemnly pray that everyone can experience the transcendental ecstasy of bhakti like I did today. I know that if we could all somehow get there then the world would be a much better place.

    I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts.

    Peace & Love & Light to All,
    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    Namaste friends,

    I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts.

    Peace & Love & Light to All,
    LightofOm
    Vannakkam: You may like to hear it, but if truth be told, not all of us would be comfortable sharing such personal moments. In fact, in some traditions it is customary or practically a requirement not to share. I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just saying that because others don't tell you about such experiences doesn't mean they're not having them.

    It's the same as saying that if I didn't tell you about my trip to China, it in no way means I didn't go to China.

    As far as your experience goes, sounds like a nice time.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste,

    I know that others are having these experiences too because I have heard many people speak about it, so I am not doubting that others experience this. It's just that I couldn't fully relate to them and their experiences until I had my own experience, you know? I wouldn't have even started practicing spirituality in this way unless somebody had told me about their experience first. Hearing others speak about the wonders of bhakti is what originally captured my attention in the beginning of my spiritual journey. It's what drew me into this beautiful path. So I think these experiences should be voiced. What is there to hide anyway? I believe we can help others along the path by sharing our own personal stories and insights. Many of the great swamis and gurus that I follow are very open about their experiences, they are not silent. So why should we be silent? Sharing is caring and being open to all is another way of showing love in my opinion.

    Om Namah Shivaya
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    This message is for those that do not have these experiences. Note that the experiences are all well and good, even enjoyable. I am happy for those that do. Yet that said, experiences are not mandatory or necessary - they fall under 'nice to have' category.


    But yajvan, why do you say this ? Because these experiences come and go. If they are ~experienced~ they are sensed, some part of our sensing ability is engaged. The Self lies beyond this sensing. It is the fruit of ones sādhana¹. If these experiences come, they are icing on the cake. If they do not, all well and good and we continue with our practice.


    Many begin their sādhana with this in mind - the experiences. The human condition is an experience machine. We want this in everything we do , even in our unfoldment. But when this does not occur ( for most) then they think they are unsuccessful and may cast aside their practice with I told ya so, nothing happened. . This is not the case. No effort is ever lost¹ says kṛṣṇa-jī .


    But what does one do ? Expect nothing. Expecting an experience sets up anticipation and in some cases disappointment. With no expectations one just goes about their business within their practice - no stress no strain. If something occurs fine, and I know it will pass, so why make a big deal about it. If something does not occur, fine , I did not expect it anyway.



    iti śivaṁ

    words
    • sādhana - we know this means practice; it is defined as leading straight to a goal , guiding well , furthering . That suggests one-pointedness
    • bhāgavad gītā - chapter 2, 40th verse.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste,

    Your post reminds me of the spiritual ecstasy enjoyed by some of our foremost saints:

    i) Sant Gora Kumbhar in one such moments treads on his own new born baby smashing him to death, thinking he is a lump of clay! Due to the turn of events following this, Gora cuts off both his hands! BUT, later, due to the Lord's resolve, in another moment of ecstasy, Gora gets his hands back!

    ii) Sant Jayadeva has his hands and feet cut off by robbers but in a moment of ecstasy praising the lord, gets them all back later!

    iii) Sant Jayadeva in his ashtapathi writes in one such moment that Lord Purushottama longs for Sri Radha's sparsha to the point that he wants her tender feet to be placed above his own head! The old pandits of Kashi object to this, but mother Ganges proves it right by floating Jayadeva's works above her waters!

    Hopefully this gives you the joy that wished to share regarding your own experience!

    Peace & joy,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    Namaste,

    I know that others are having these experiences too because I have heard many people speak about it, so I am not doubting that others experience this. It's just that I couldn't fully relate to them and their experiences until I had my own experience, you know? I wouldn't have even started practicing spirituality in this way unless somebody had told me about their experience first. Hearing others speak about the wonders of bhakti is what originally captured my attention in the beginning of my spiritual journey. It's what drew me into this beautiful path. So I think these experiences should be voiced. What is there to hide anyway? I believe we can help others along the path by sharing our own personal stories and insights. Many of the great swamis and gurus that I follow are very open about their experiences, they are not silent. So why should we be silent? Sharing is caring and being open to all is another way of showing love in my opinion.

    Om Namah Shivaya

    Vannakkam: Please don't misunderstand. I wasn't suggesting you shouldn't share, merely pointing out that some people don't. It's a free country, after all. It's also a valid point you make for some people like yourself getting interested after hearing of another's experiences.

    However, that doesn't apply to all, as some (like me) have had such experiences without any knowledge at all, and only later made a connection with said experience to Hinduism, or mystical Hinduism.

    I also think Yajvanji has given wise words on how to approach such things.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: Please don't misunderstand. I wasn't suggesting you shouldn't share, merely pointing out that some people don't. It's a free country, after all. It's also a valid point you make for some people like yourself getting interested after hearing of another's experiences.

    However, that doesn't apply to all, as some (like me) have had such experiences without any knowledge at all, and only later made a connection with said experience to Hinduism, or mystical Hinduism.

    I also think Yajvanji has given wise words on how to approach such things.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Namaste Eastern Mind,

    I agree with you and I agree with what Yajvanji has said as well. From what I can tell, you both carry a lot of wisdom and have much to offer to these forums. Thank you for your enlightening and encouraging words.

    Om Namah Shivaya
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste
    Quote Originally Posted by LightofOm View Post
    Namaste,
    ...
    Hearing others speak about the wonders of bhakti is what originally captured my attention in the beginning of my spiritual journey. It's what drew me into this beautiful path. So I think these experiences should be voiced. What is there to hide anyway? I believe we can help others along the path by sharing our own personal stories and insights.
    If I may, I would like to offer spiritual experience of bhakti Sanjaya felt after hearing the divine conversation between Krishna and Arjuna which we know and read today as the book Bhagavad-gita.
    These are the concluding verses in the Gita:
    http://vedabase.net/bg/18/en

    BG 18.74: Sañjaya said: Thus have I heard the conversation of two great souls, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. And so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end.

    BG 18.75: By the mercy of Vyāsa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Kṛṣṇa, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.

    BG 18.76: O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.

    BG 18.77: O King, as I remember the wonderful form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and again.

    BG 18.78: Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion.

    Just see what was Sañjaya's experience of bhakti, he says:

    "so wonderful is that message that my hair is standing on end"! -- it shows that he felt some kind of transcendental rapture (a feeling of intense pleasure or joy) or ecstasy so much so that his hair is standing on end,

    then as he repeatedly recalls this wondrous and holy dialogue between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, he says "I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment",

    and finally as he remembers the wonderful form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he says "I am struck with wonder more and more, and I rejoice again and again".

    It is truly a real experience of bhakti, isn't it?

    - thrilled (hṛṣ in verse 18.76) -- cause (someone) to have a sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure
    - wonder (vismaya in verse 18.77) -- a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable; feel admiration and amazement; marvel


    regards

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste

    I would like to add something, it's from the point of view of the Vaishnava understanding of this topic.

    I can agree with the fact that feelings and experience of transcendental ecstasy and joy of Bhakti should not be the only guiding principle in judging the efficiency of the spiritual life and practice, as some members have already mentioned here.
    The reason for this is obvious and reasonable, namely, if someone thinks "if I do not have any experience of pleasure and ecstasy, then it means that this process of spiritual life which I am trying to practice is not valid or effective", it would not be wise to think so because judging the efficiency and validity of the spiritual life and practice should not be done only on the basis of feelings, but on the basis of knowledge also. This means that about spiritual life and practice first we should learn from the scriptures, and then to the relevance possibly can come in feelings also! One who is judging about spiritual life and practice solely on the basis of his feelings or absence of his feelings is in ignorance.

    However, I can not agree with the idea that to establish ourselves in the self is something that has nothing to do with transcendental ecstasy and joy of Bhakti because we see that the scriptures speak about it. Take for example Sañjaya's experience of joy of bhakti (my previous post in this thread). In fact one who has not relished the mellow (taste) and joy of bhakti, his spiritual life is in a serious trouble:

    "My dear Vyāsa, even though a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again." (Bhagavatam 1.5.19)

    "O Vyāsadeva, in that association and by the mercy of those great Vedāntists, I could hear them describe the attractive activities of Lord Krishna And thus listening attentively, my taste for hearing of the Personality of Godhead increased at every step." (Bhagavatam 1.5.26)

    Brahmā's Prayers to Lord Kṛṣṇa:
    "My dear master, although You have nothing to do with material existence, You come to this earth and imitate material life just to expand the varieties of ecstatic enjoyment for Your surrendered devotees." (Bhagavatam 10.14.37)


    Not only is joy of bhakti important in the spiritual life, but precisely this feeling of joy (happiness) will continue in the state of liberation (mukti, moksha) forever, as stated in the Katha Upanishad 2.2.12 (or 5.12) and Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.12:

    teṣāṃ sukhaṃ śāśvataṃ netareṣām

    "to them belongs eternal happiness, not to others"

    More about Moksha I wrote recently in another thread "define Self Realization and Moksha": http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=13312

    where you can read about how the Vaishnava acaryas explained the terms and concepts such as Self Realization, moksha (liberation), soul (self), Vaikuntha, immortality and mukta.


    --------------
    Svetasvatara Upanishad and Katha Upanishad quotes see at http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe15/index.htm

    Bhagavatam quotes see at BBT, vedabase



    regards

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    Re: The Transcendental Ecstasy of Bhakti

    Namaste,

    Beautiful post brahma jijnasa! You gave some great references to scriptures that talk about this subject, and for that I thank you. I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel these feelings of transcendental ecstasy every time I meditate. And no, I do not base my spiritual practice off of the feelings alone, but they just come anyway! I don't think the sharing of these experiences should be condemned, after all, they provide proof of the potency of this golden path known as Sanatana Dharma! I say rejoice! Rejoice and be glad in the ecstasy of the Lord! For this ecstasy and the knowledge that is coupled with it leads to a distaste for the mundane, sensuous pleasures of the world, and in turn gives one an unending desire for the lotus feet of God!!!

    Hari Om Tat Sat

    LightofOm
    ॐ मृत्युंजयाय रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय शम्भवे l
    अमृतेशाय शर्वाय महादेवाय ते नम: ll

    Sanātana Dharma Worldwide

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