The paths of Devotion and Knowledge – Bhakti vs Jnana | Advaita Vedanta

The following is taken from the wonderful text Sadhanai Saram (The Essence of Spiritual Practice) written by Sri Sadhu Om, a direct devotee of Sri Ramana’s. This text not only gives us the essence of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching, but also directs us to the true Vedanta teachings. The notes are written by Sri Sadhu Om himself. You can download the full text as a PDF using the above link.

Devotion and Knowledge – Bhakti and Jnana

  1. To the extent to which love for God arises in one’s heart, to that extent will one acquire knowledge about Him. And to the extent to which one knows the nature of God, to that extent will the mind gain steadfast love for Him. Thus, knowledge (jnana) will be increased by devotion (bhakti), and devotion (bhakti) will be increased by knowledge (jnana).
  2. By means of our love for God, He will give us more knowledge of Him, and by means of our knowledge of Him, He will give us more love for Him. Therefore, of these two paths, bhakti and jnana, follow that one for which you first gain a liking, because that one path will lead you to follow the other one into the heart.
  3. In the life of an aspirant who is seeking liberation, bhakti and jnana will be experienced as inseparable, like the two sides of one sheet of paper. Hence, each one is equal to the other. They are not two different things, for the true nature of both of them is one and the same; know that bhakti and jnana are merely two names for that one thing.(Garland of Guru’s Sayings (Guru Vachaka Kovai) verses 722, 731)
  4. The state of abiding firmly in Self-alone is wisdom (jnana). Would it be possible to abide thus in Self if one did not have love for Self? Love for Self-alone is bhakti; abiding firmly in Self on account of that love alone is jnana. What difference is there between these two? Discriminate and know this truth. (Maharshi’s Gospel p.24)
  5. If there did not exist the power of gravity, which attracts and pulls everything towards the earth, would anything remain stable on earth? On scrutiny, devotion (bhakti) is found to be similar to the gravitational power of attraction, while the state of wisdom (jnana) is found to be similar to the state of objects remaining stable on earth as a result of that attraction. If either one of these two, the power of attraction or bhakti and the state of abidance or jnana, were absent, the other one would not exist.
  6. An aspirant who practices Self-inquiry, which is the path of jnana, denies his own individuality by knowing, “I, this insignificant ego, am not the doer of any action”; while a devotee denies his own individuality by knowing, “God alone is the doer of all actions.” Thus, since an aspirant who follows either of these two paths refrains from assuming the sense of doership, understand that these two paths are not different even during the time of practice, and follow either of them.
  7. We should not allow our minds to become bewildered and confused by trying to deliberate and decide, “Which of these two, the practice of bhakti or the practice of jnana is the best means for attaining liberation?” For whichever path a liking arises in the heart of a person, for that person that path alone is the best.
  8. According to the strength of habit continuing from former lives, in this life the mind will acquire a liking either for the path of devotion or the direct and unfailing path of Self-inquiry, and will feel that particular path to be the best and most suited to itself. Therefore, follow at least one of these two paths to its very end.

Inquiry Becoming Easy Due to Devotion

  1. When, having wept and wept with intense yearning for a long time, unceasingly thinking of and adoring the Gracious Feet (of the Lord), the mind which rises (as “I am so-and-so”) dissolves and becomes pure, the blemishless Self-inquiry (jnanatmavichara) will become firmly settled (in the heart) and the experience of Self (swarupa-anubhava) will of its own accord arise very easily indeed. – Sri Muruganar

Note: from Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham v.1286

  1. O, you who say, “We have never seen you closing your eyes and practicing Self-abidance (nishtha); tell us, how did you attain the state of inner silence (mauna)?” Understanding the above verse, know the secret of (how to attain the true experience of) God, who is not seen even though one waits closing one’s eyes (for a long time in expectation of seeing His true vision).

Note: the previous verse is the answer to the above question

There is a mighty battle… foretastes of Heaven | Jesus Calling | Christ within | Sarah Young | Self-Enquiry

Also see:

The Non-Dual Vision of Jesus Christ and the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Jesus – ‘do not love the world or things in the world’

There is a mighty battle going on for control of your mind. Heaven and earth intersect in your mind; the tugs of both spheres influence your thinking. I created you with the capacity to experience foretastes of heaven. When you shut out the world and focus on My Presence, you can enjoy sitting with Me in heavenly realms. This is an incredible privilege reserved for precious ones who belong to Me and seek My Face. Your greatest strength is your desire to spend time communing with Me. As you concentrate on Me, My Spirit fills your mind with Life and Peace.

The world exerts a downward pull on your thoughts. Media bombard you with greed, lust, and cynicism. When you face these things, pray for protection and discernment. Stay in continual communication with Me whenever you walk through the wastelands of this world. Refuse to worry, because this form of worldliness will weigh you down and block awareness of My Presence. Stay alert, recognizing the battle being waged against your mind. Look forward to an eternity of strife-free living, reserved for you in heaven.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus – EPHESIANS 2:6 

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. – ROMANS 8:6 

Do not love the world or anything in the world… The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 JOHN 2:15-17

The above text, including the cited biblical verses, is taken from a book called ‘Jesus Calling’ (entry dated September 19th) – this is a wonderful daily devotional text for lovers of Jesus and Source, written by Sarah Young

Surrender it all to Bhagavan! | Sri Ramana Maharshi | Self-Surrender | Who am I?

‘Firm and disciplined inherence in the Atman, without giving the least scope for the rise of any thought other than the deep contemplative thought of the Self, constitutes self-surrender to the Supreme Lord.

‘Let any amount of burden be laid on Him, He will bear it all. It is, in fact, the indefinable power of the Lord that ordains, sustains, and controls everything that happens.

‘Why then should we worry, tormented by vexatious thoughts, saying: ‘Shall we act this way? No, that way,’ instead of meekly but happily submitting to that Power?

‘Knowing that the train carries all the weight, why indeed should we, the passengers travelling in it, carry our small individual articles of luggage on our laps to our great discomfort, instead of putting them aside and sitting at perfect ease?’

~from ‘Who Am I?’ by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

For those who resonate, this is the ENTIRE spiritual teaching | Devotion | Bhakti | Love | God

For those who resonate…

Devote yourself to God (That Divinity which is nothing but your own Self) daily, give yourself to Him* daily, put Him first, rest upon Him in all things.

Guided by Him (who is the True Teacher or True Guru): surrender to Him, talk to Him, sing to Him, praise Him, move with Him, allow Him to guide you: guide your thoughts, move through you, speak through you and to replenish You;

Be with Him, in Him, with Him in You;
Lovingly, take his lead, follow His lead;

For those who resonate, this is both the beginning, the middle, and end of the Spiritual Journey. For those who resonate, this is the Entire Spiritual Teaching and the Entire Spiritual Journey.

Do this with Genuine Feeling, with Spiritual Feeling, with Love in which all distinctions ultimately fade.

Become One with Him, Be with Him, Abide as Him, Be Him – You are He.

Om tat sat

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*Or Her or That, as you prefer

A joyful spiritual practice for liberation: ‘Genuine Spiritual Feeling’

Just to have and allow ‘genuine spiritual feeling’, just this is enough. If attended to and nurtured, if allowed to naturally deepen of its own accord, it will, in its own time and own way, overcome you with Love, destroying you, revealing All to be Divine Oneness-Love-Happiness-Bliss, your Own True Nature.

Like a tiny mustard seed that grows to overcome great city walls, simply by nuturing this ‘spiritual feeling’ or ‘connection with the Divine’, the vast ocean of duality is transcended, in time, effortlessly and with joy, without one even caring for concepts such as Spiritual Practice, Spritual Progress, Liberation or Non-duality.

Beware to those who are stuck in the prison-house of concepts: those who cling to concepts of duality and non-duality, concepts doing and non-doing, concepts oneness and many – these people remain trapped in a prison of their own making, endlessly chattering to themselves, ignoring the Vast Open Fertile Pastures of Love that lie in their very midst.

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That which perceives the limited body-mind is itself the Unlimited. Growing more and more still, feeling more and more Love, following your Heart within, Infinite Truth-Reality-Oneness-Bliss is gently revealed as your Own Being

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To simply have ‘spritual feeling’ moment by moment, to have this ‘spiritual connection’ of joy and love every day, whenever we remember, and to allow it to deepen of its own accord – this is a wonderful, intuitive & joyful way of effacing the ego and allowing the Divine Within that is All-Emcompassing Love and our Own True Nature to blossom, flower and bloom.

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Those overly reliant on intellectual arguments, scriptures and concepts will never connect to the true Spiritual Way which shines from Within* with Wholeness, Oneness and Love.

We must leave behind the barren field of words to discover the fertile pastures of the Divine that is All-Embracing Love.

(*’Within’ here just means you don’t have to go anywhere ‘outside’ to find it and that it is not dependent on any particular object of perception that arises or falls)

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What is ‘Spiritual Feeling’? It is simply to feel good, wholesome, happy, connected. It is to connect with Presence. It is an Openness and Gentle Surrender to Life and Love and God and Self.

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Question: But I thought the practice of Self-Enquiry is that of Self-Attention or Awareness Watching Awareness and for that we need to turn away from objects towards the Subject-Self. How does this fit in?

Tom: This simple practice of allowing Natural Spiritual Feeling to arise by itself will take you everywhere you need to go. It is the path of Love, the path of Surrender, the path of Bhakti. It will calm and purify the mind, filling it with joy and love, removing it of negative (tamasic) qualities. It will then quieten the mind, removing the passionate and anxious aspects of mind (Rajas). Thus far the practice has not turned away from the world – it is a Saguna or Savikalpa practice (ie. practice with objects being present). Then the practice, when it is ready, will naturally turn Nirvikalpa or Nirguna, ie. there will be a natural turning towards Source or Self, also known as God or Sri Ramana (the Guru Within). All will happen in good time. It may well happen quicker than you think!

For this to happen it is useful to have read and been aware of Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings, eg. as set out in The Path of Sri Ramana, and it can also be useful to adopt Vivarta Vada, which is the view that everything perceived (ie. mind, body and world) is actually an illusory projection of ignorance/ego/maya. Often if Bhagavan’s Teachings are not known, the mind will continue to cling to objects, taking them to be real and thinking objects will lead us to our goal.

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Question. What is our Goal?

Tom: Our goal is One. It is simply to be Happy and Free, without any misery, as Sri Bhagavan states in the opening paragraph of Nan Yar? (Who am I?). We just want to feel good. There is nothing wrong with this. This desire for Happiness is an innocent desire and is the greatest of our desires. It is actually the Desire for Liberation, the Desire to Know and Be What We Truly Are. For this the only way is Self-Enquiry. The Path of Bhakti naturally and joyfully takes us to Self-Enquiry.

The only danger on this path is that we remain caught up in objects. Eventually we must ‘go Nirvikalpa’. But all in good time. Bhakti will turn us within when the time is right without us (the ego) having to worry about such things – practically speaking all we have to do is connect with ‘spiritual feeling’, have faith in it, and let this feeling grow and guide us.

Guided Meditation: A Wonderful & Joyful Way to Liberation (with devotion to Sri Ramana Maharshi)

A wonderful and joyful way to liberation. With loving devotion to Guru Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Please allow these words to wash over you – if you have difficulty hearing the words please turn the volume up!

Namaste and love to you all

To see all the guided meditations I have created please see the Guided Meditation playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TomDasNonduality/playlist