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Thread: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

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    Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste HDF,

    'Kamya bhakti' is the term denoting rendering bhakti with anticipation for some result to be awarded by god in return. Following the recent discussion at the Shaiva forum on the topic 'fasting for shiva 16 straight mondays', I found this good article published earlier on the Hindu:

    From http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper...le5224398.ece:

    "Karma, bhakti and jnana are shown to lead to God realisation. The Gita stresses the efficacy of bhakti while explaining the three paths and maintaining that these are not mutually exclusive, pointed out Swami Omkarananda in a lecture.The Lord tells Arjuna that He is bound by true devotion and that a devotee who seeks Him for His sake alone is most dear to Him. But not all jivatmas are ready to qualify for that kind of superior and selfless devotion though the concept of having God in one’s consciousness in our daily life is embedded in our culture.
    The tendency to bring God at the individual, family and social levels helps to build strength of mind and fearlessness. Usually people seek Him for fulfilment of their daily needs, aspirations and achievements in life, and this is popularly known as sadana bhakti or kamya bhakti.
    The Lord says that He initially encourages this kind of devotion to build a bond between a jivatma and Him. He says whatever material benefits are sought from Him are granted but He waits for the jivatma to seek only Him.
    In the long run, it is recognised that material gains at best can give only ephemeral joy and not peace of mind. In fact, all such gains only increase anxiety and sorrow. Spiritual progress in an individual is manifest when one realises that bhakti is not just seeking material gains from God through prayers and that the desire to serve God at all times is the ultimate goal one should aspire for.
    Desires are the cause of the prominent feelings of like and dislike. When devotion to God becomes stronger, the pulls of worldly attractions weaken automatically and the devotee is no longer affected by base feelings. When the bhakta dedicates himself to God, he progresses in his quest for salvation.
    Arjuna wonders aloud about the relative merits of the worship of the formless (nirguna) Brahman and of the manifested form that is accessible to all. To focus on the former is a harder task to the aspirant while the Lord stands revealed through untarnished bhakti that surrenders absolutely to Him."

    These are my conclusions regarding Kamya Bhakti:

    1. There is nothing wrong with Kamya Bhakti. No scripture speaks against this form of bhakti, especially for aspirants who are in the beginning stages of bhakti (which 99% of the world are). This is to mean that there is no necessity for discouraging someone from doing Kamya Bhakti.

    2. Kamya bhakti, as stated in the above article, will over a long run, perhaps an entire lifetime or more, will lead to Nishkamya Bhakti, or bhakti without expecting any results. The gradual change in the aspirant in his attitude towards bhakti, that is his change from Kamya to Nishkamya form of bhakti, is seen as a by-product of several happenings: the happening on his life-front: As he gets rewarded, his desires for asking for more may subdue. As he gets rewarded, he may also develop a certain bonding and filled with gratitude for the Lord. Secondly and most importantly, as he does more and more of Kamya bhakti, the Lord himself grants him real bhakti and makes the aspirant feel true love for him. This is a very, very rare occuring indeed, which can happen only with the blessing from Lord. It is said, inspite of every effort the thumb makes, it cannot touch the tip of the index finger (god) unless the index finger bends on its own. This is how it is compared with the aspirant-god scenario. An aspirant cannot develop true bhakti towards god unless aided by the Lord himself! And Kamya bhakti is one form of valid bhakti to pursue in initial stages to reach out to the Lord in some way.

    3. Kamya Bhakti and true love for god can co-exist in the same person: This is to say that, we should never doubt someone and criticize his bhakti as 'inferior' if he says he is doing Kamya bhakti.

    4. Kamya Bhakti cannot and will not block one's development of Nishkamya bhakti: It is seen as a gradual process in its initial stages that one resorts to Kamya bhakti and it has true potential to lead one towards Nishkamya Bhakti.

    These are my conclusions (and also original ideas on Kamya bhakti). Do you agree?

    Thanks.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste

    Very nice write up!

    I agree with the sages, there is nothing necessarily wrong with Bhakti and devotion that is tainted a bit with hopes of something "in return".

    However, typically most of the true Bhaktas I have known, for some reason especially those devotees of Krishna and Muruga, but often also the devotees of Hanuman, only ask to be the servant of the Lord or only ask in return to have Ram or Shiv live in their heart, or simply beg for the association of other devotees and to be the servant of the servant, and so on.

    They don't ask for money, for example.

    Now I notice devotees of Annapurna only beg for food and spiritual food, many of those devotees of Kali only beg in return to be the child of Mother.

    For devtoees of Lakshmi and Ganesha, not all, but some have Bhakti which hopes for a return of some material benefit such as money, those of Saraswati it is hope to have Bhakti be rewarded with book learning by Grace of Devi.

    Some, albeit few, become Bhakt's of Shiva in hopes to get the boon of King like powers, ability to conquer Indra's Heaven and things like that.

    Those of Vishnu want a happy family or home, in some cases. Some also expect Lakshmi to come live in their home (money) or others to be saved from a demon.

    Those Bhakt's of Durga, some want in return for devotion Victory.

    But for some reason, all devotees of Manasa Devi the "Queen of Snakes" and sometimes given the name Gauri (distinct from Parvati in this case) are even more "detached" from some sort of "reward" in return for their devotions, even more "detached" in my observation than the typical Krishna devotee of whom are very absorbed in the Lord and expect no material gains but only want to serve and love the Lord. But these Manasa devotees want NOTHING, they in fact are only slaves and desire to be a slave uf Her and indeed She is very jealous and does not want to share Her devotees with any other God even though She doesn't really treat Her devotees with "love".

    So why am I mentioning some of these examples?

    Well, only to point out that not wanting any material return for one's devotion does not mean necessarily some "superior" status. Take these Manasa devotees, the devotees of the Queen of Snakes is "looked duwn" upon by, let us say some Ram devotees because She is very jealous to keep Her devotees as Her slaves - yet these devotees who some are almost like zombies or possessed puppets want nothing in return for being Her slave, they are even more detached than highly elevated Krishna devotees - does that make the Bhakta of Manasa superior than devotees of Krishna?

    I don't think you can say that.

    Many devotees of Shiva have been given great boons and super powers in return for their tapas or devotiion or their Bhakti. Are they "less" than other devotees simply because they got powers or boons and started taking over even Indra's Heaven? Perhaps some were demuns even. But ... so many great leelas came in history which we all relish to tell others and our children, pure marvel in our lives.

    So ... personally, I never really ask for anything in return for my Bhakti, simply because the joy of devotion is reward enough. But for some reason, even though I don't ask, I get everything thrown at me including material things such as money. For example, I recently made a huge amount of money in investments even though the US economy is horrible. Everything my entire life has been easy, in one way perhaps that is why when I go about the world the situations such as horrible hotels or poverty and even very dangeruus situations do not bother me, not even a wink of the eye - it is an adventure, not much bothers me and very soon more "stuff" is thrown at me even money.

    So what kind of Bhakti is that called? Where you azk for nothing, just enjoy darshan, bhajans and the joy of devotion, but though you ask for nothing everything is easy, you get everything, including material things like pennys from heaven?

    What Bhakti is that called?

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    So what kind of Bhakti is that called? Where you azk for nothing, just enjoy darshan, bhajans and the joy of devotion, but though you ask for nothing everything is easy, you get everything, including material things like pennys from heaven?

    What Bhakti is that called?


    A bhakta is someone who renders bhakti. Perhaps one who receives rewards without asking for it is a 'bhokta'? Just kidding, loved your write-up, thank you!

    Well, only to point out that not wanting any material return for one's devotion does not mean necessarily some "superior" status.


    Nishkamya bhakti or bhakti for the sake of bhakti is more often the product the lifetimes of sincere bhakti, and tireless efforts on the sake of bhakti. So in that sense, the more 'evolving' form of bhakti, namely "Kamya bhakti" is seen as something not yet quite as mature as the former. The lesser or more inferior status is rendered to Kamya bhakti in this sense.

    In another site, someone writes that people who pray for something in return have the "audacity" to claim theirs to be bhakti... It is this notion or propaganda about Kamya bhakti that I wished to rectify in my little write-up.

    Kamya bhakti is ingrained in Hinduism, in my opinion. Right from 'KarvaChauth' when married women pray for the well-being of their husband to 'Marghazhi' month worship of Sri Krishna by maiden girls in anticipation of a good groom!

    People, in millions, resort to Kamya bhakti, when human effort fails or for circumstances where the outcome is not controlled merely by human acts.

    When poverty strikes people despite their work ability, there are established means in Hinduism such as doing 'Kubera Pooja' or 'Lakshmi Pooja' to try and rectify the situation. When disease befalls, there are also other rigorous pariharas rendered. When people get into debts that they are unable to clear, there are yet other pariharas. The entire field of Jyotish employs the means of 'pariharas' as remedies to try and ask for divine grace to rectify a situation.

    Sometimes help (spiritual help) rendered by oneself to be saved from calamities is the best form of help that can be rendered, at all! It has the hidden blessing of good wishes from those who get saved in the process, sometimes one's entire family and kith and kin.

    So Kamya bhakti is not something trivial or something to be looked down upon, it is ingrained as part of parcel of Hinduism, has the potential to earn a lot of spiritual merit too in the long run to the sadhaka since it involves a lot of effort, time, penance and discipline. Bhagiratha who made Ganges fall down on earth rendered the entire humanity a service though he did it only to rescue his late forefathers!

    I understand that sravanam and mananam of scriptures and doing karmas without the "I the doer" notion are paths that would lead to god.

    I see Kamya bhakti as the path that would lead someone to the above stated path in the first place.

    Irrespective of whatever that is, I surely would like to tell this other person who claimed Kamya bhaktas should not have 'audacity' to claim theirs is bhakti in the first place, that there is no such implication applicable, that Kamya bhakti is valid indeed to be recognized as a form of pure bhakti due to the above stated reasons.

    Thanks, ShivaFan ji.


    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste,

    That is a very valid topic Viraja. Every householder desires peace of mind, material prosperity and good life-companions for their children. So, along with prayers and bhakti, there is always a petition to God to grant us all those things - Kamya bhakti. The spiritual evolution of an individual may ultimately lead him to Nishkamya bhakti; but as you have noted it all starts with Kamya bhakti.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Nishkamya bhakti or bhakti for the sake of bhakti is more often the product the lifetimes of sincere bhakti, and tireless efforts on the sake of bhakti. So in that sense, the more 'evolving' form of bhakti, namely "Kamya bhakti" is seen as something not yet quite as mature as the former. The lesser or more inferior status is rendered to Kamya bhakti in this sense.
    +1

    Thank you for highlighting this aspect of our approach to devotion/bhakti.

    Pranam.

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Thank you, Believer ji. I'm glad you liked my humble write-up on a simple topic.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste,

    It is peculiar how sneaky pride can be; so many read through descriptions of the various paths, and never want to be the "poor student"- they say to themselves, "I will take that path which is said here to be the best and noblest!"
    yet they do so without a frank and proper assessment of where they are situated. So many are in such a rush! There are the four goals, yes? In the Devi Mahatmyam, the king Suratha and the merchant Samadhi each ask Devi for
    differing boons, according to where they are situated, so to speak; these boons are granted, and there is nothing said about which is superior or inferior, they are each as they should be.

    Yet, far be it from me to consider myself a proper judge of what course another's path should be. It is like telling a person in another city how they should be driving, over the phone... all that will happen is both will crash, since nobody's
    attention is on the road directly in front of them

    Where there is sraddha, there is grace. If there is a delusion of arrogance caused by ignorance (mechanistic "vending-machine" thinking), then nothing is forthcoming.

    Thank you for the thought-provoking discussion

    JAI MATA DI
    || जय माता की ||

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste JaiMaaDurga ji,

    You said it so beautifully, "It is like telling a person in another city how they should be driving, over the phone... all that will happen is both will crash, since nobody's
    attention is on the road directly in front of them". How apt!

    Thank you for your thoughts.


    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Namaste Viraja ji,

    Fantastic thread! Thank you.

    It's true, it is a very rare individual that adores and practices for no reason but out of pure, nishkamya bhakti. Most people want something, even if it's not material in nature or not for themselves.

    It's also true that many need some kind of 'evidence' as a kind of pilot ignition that starts up their faith. At first, they may need occasional more proofs to 'feed' that flame, before they come to a point where it can persist without fuel. This is a natural and important progression, and while we should all aspire to progress we shouldn't forget or feel shamed for turning to God or Devi for some things. Thank you for the reminder.

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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    Re: Kamya bhakti - A valid path that will eventually lead to god

    Dear Aanandinii ji,

    Thank you for the appreciation. (Feeling a little shy because my much appreciated thread is afterall not on anything new or profound... ).

    Very, very true. Even advanced devotees might 'need' moksha or togetherness with the lord and some other advanced devotees might be blessed with all things naturally that asking might not be a criterion for them ever!

    Thank you for your thoughts.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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