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                       Narada Bhakthi Suthras




Possibly this is  greatest book defining what is Bhakthi written by Narada who was the greatest among Bhakthas of Lord Narayana.


1.Atha tho Bakthim vyakyasyama


       Now I will explain in detail what is meant by devotion to God(Bhakthi)[1].


    2.Saa tasmin Parama prema roopa


        Devotion to God  is personification of intense(highest) love towards Him.


3.Amrutha swaroopa cha


        It also is deathless or as sweet as nectar (or it also confers deathlessness to one)


4.Yallabhathva puman siddho bhavathi, amrutho bhavathi, truptho bhavathi


       One who gets it becomes perfect, immortal and contended.


5.Yath prapya kinchid vanchadhi , na sochathi, na dweshati, na ramathe na uthsahi bhavathi



    One who gets it  desires not, worries not, hates not , enjoys not, and does not get excited.


6.Yat gnathwa  matho bhavathi,  sthabhdho bhavathi, athmaramo bhavathi.


  One who attains it  becomes intoxicated (be in stupor), still and drunk with self(soul)


7.Saa na kamaya mana , nirodha roopathwad


      It is not desire generating as it is by nature a form of renunciation.


8.Nirodasthu  loka veda  vyapara nyasa


   Giving away the social  and Vedic customs including religious activities is termed as a form of this renunciation.


9.Tasmin ananyatha  that, virodhi shoothaaseena tha cha.


      To be one with Him and complete indifference in things which are contrary to him  is termed as  a form of renunciation.


10.Anyasrayanaan tyage ananyatha.


     To sacrifice dependence on any thing but Him is exclusiveness(that which does not have any other thing but Him)


11.Loke vedeshu  thatha anukoolasaranam that, virodhi shoothassenatha.


            In ordinary life and in Vedic percepts, to do that which is beneficial to Him is  exclusiveness(that which does not have any other thing but Him)



12.Bhavathu nischaya dartyathurthvam  sasthra rakshanam.


After attaining this state  rock stable firmness in Vedic injunctions follow, 

13.Anyadha padithya sankhaya


       If you do not do this , there is a doubt of  a possibility of degradation.


14.Lokopi thava deva kinthu bhojanani vyaparasthva sareera daranavathi


       Obey the ways of the world till you attain renunciation, do activities like eating which should continue till the body exists.


15.Tal lakshanathi vachyanthe nana madha bedanath.


           The differing definitions  of Bhakthi (:devotion”) as viewed by many are listed.


16.Poojadhishwa anuraga ithi Parasara rya.


              Intense desire to Worship Him with loving affection , is “devotion” according to Sage Parasara.


17.Kadhadhi shweethi Garga


            Intense desire to hear his stories is “devotion” according to Sage Garga.


18.Athma rathya virodhe  nethi Sandilya


          “Devotion” should be done without conflict to the happiness of the soul, according to sage Sandilya.


19.Naradasthu thadarpithagi, lacharatha that, vismarane parama vyakulathethi.


      But according to sage Narada, “devotion” is doing all duties on behalf of Him, and become extremely sad even if you happen to forget Him for a second.


20.Asthy evam evam


      This “devotion” is like each of the above views.


21.Yada vraja gopikanam.


   This can be best  illustrated by  the  “devotion”  of the Gopis of  Gokula.


22.Thathrapi tha mahatmyam jnana vismruthya bhavaatha.


            In this case  at no  stage His greatness is ever  forgotten.


23.Thad viheenam Jaranam iva


         For any “devotion” forgetting His greatness is like an illicit love affair.


24,Nasthyeva tasmin that sukha sukhi twam.


   All actions done as a result of this “devotion”(love) is to offer and enhance His pleasure


   All actions of this “devotion” are meant for  pleasing Him only.



25.Saa thu karma jnana yogebhyo apyadhigathara.


       This  “devotion” is far greater than  the path of action (karma), the path of knowledge (gyana), and the path of disciplined contemplation (yoga).



26.Phala roopathwad.


     Because this “devotion” is like the fruit attained by any of these methods..


27.Iswarasyapyabhi mana dweshitwath dainya  priyathwacha


      Because God also does not like pride and likes humility,  “devotion” as a method is better than Karma yoga and Gnana yoga


28.Tasya gnana meva Sadana mithyeke


      Some believe that knowledge alone  is the path of attainment.


29.Anyonyasryathwa mithyanye


       Some others believe that Knowledge  and devotion  are interdependent on each other


30.Swayam phala roopathethi Brahma kumara


         The son of Brahma (sage Narada) believes that  “devotion” is its own result


31.Rajagruha Bhojanaadhishu  tadaiva drushtatwad


        It is just like glancing at a  palace or being informed of sumptuous food .


32. Naa thena Raja paridosha kshudha shanthirva


        Glancing at the palace  does not make the king happy nor hearing of sumptuous food remove his hunger


.Similarly knowing about “devotion”, does not help you at all. You should have “devotion”.


33. Tasmad saiva grahya mumukshubhi


       So all those who want to get out of the chain of births and rebirths should  only practice “devotion”


34.Tasya sadhanani gayanthy acharya


       The learned ones therefore sing about the results of “devotion”


35.Thathu Vishaya tyagath, Sanga thyagath  chcha


      This  “devotion “ reaches completion only when sacrifice is made of  pleasurable things and mundane social contacts.


36.Avyavruthabha janath


     It reaches completion  by forever ceaseless chanting


37.Lokebhi Bhagawath guna sravana keerthanad


     It also reaches completion by hearing always or singing about the qualities of God.


38.Mukhythasthu Mahad krapayaiva  Bhagawat krupa leasad Vaa


     But most importantly it reaches completion  only by the grace of Great learned people  and by the divine grace.


39. Mahad sangasthu durlabhe , agamyo  amogascha


      The company or the grace of great learned people is difficult to get and  is not easily attained  and never goes waste.


40.Labhyadhobhi that krupayaiva


     The company  of great learned people is got only through the grace of God.


41.Tasmim thajjane bhedha bhavath


   There is no difference whatsoever between God and his people(devotees)


42.Thadeva sadyatham Thadeva sadyatham


    So search for the company of great learned people, for that can be accomplished by that method only.


43.Dussanga sarvathaiva thyajya


    Also forever avoid the company of bad people.


44.Kama , Krodha, moha  , smrithibramsa , buddhi nasa, sarva nasa karanathwaad.


  Because such a company(of bad people) leads to passion, anger, dullness, memory loss loss of wisdom  and thus leads to utter ruin.


45. Tharangayidha  abhi me sangath samudrayanthi


These (passion, anger etc) though they initially appear in bad company as small waves gather momentum and become like sea.


46.Kastharathi kastharathi Mayam? Ya, sangam sthyajathi yo mahanubhavam sevathe , nirmalo bhavathi.


 Who can cross? Who can cross the veil of  illusion?

     He  who is  devoid of any worldly attachment serves wise people  and does not have a feeling of “mine” can only cross the veil of  illusion.


47.Yo viviktha sthanam sevathe, Yo loka bandham unmolayathi, nistraigunyo bhavathi, yoga kshemam tyajathi.


     He who lives in a holy place in seclusion, he who cuts of the fetters of worldly attachment, he who goes beyond all characterizations and he who forsakes pleasure as well as yoga only can only  cross the veil of  illusion.


[Seclusion -- in seclusion from bad association. Renounces requirements and comfort -- becomes utterly dependent on the Lord for everything, not aspiring for them independently )


48.Ya karma phalam tyajathi, karmani sanyasyathi, thado nirdwando bhavathi.


  He who sacrifices the result of actions, He who detaches himself from actions and he who sacrifices the two opposites like heat-cold, pleasure-suffering, recognition-insult etc. can only cross the veil of illusion..


49.Vedanabhi sannyasyathi, kevalam vichinna anuragam labhade


   He who forsakes even Vedas and reaches the limitless love of “devotion” can only cross the veil of illusion.


50.Sa tharathi, sa tharathi sa lokaam stharayathi


     He crosses, He only crosses, and he helps other people also to cross.. the veil of Maya.


51.Anirvachaneeyam prema swaroopam


     This extreme love of “devotion” is indefinable


52. Mooka swadanavath


       It is (extreme love) like a dumb one tasting  , for he does not tell what he feels.


53.Prakasathe kwapi pathre.


    Extremely rarely some people are able to explain what they feel.


54.Guna rahitham, kamanaa rahitham, prathi kshana vardhamana, avichinnam, sookshma tharam, anubhava roopam.


        This love of “devotion” is without any properties, without any desire, increases every second, micro of micros and it can be described only by really experiencing it.


55. Thad prapya  thadevaavalokayathi, thadeva srunothi, thadeva bhashayathi, thadeva chinthayadhi.


  One who possesses this love of “devotion”,  is able to only see Him  everywhere, is able to only hear of Him  always, is able to only talk about Him  always and always thinks about iHim .


56.Gowni thridha guna bheda  arthadhi bhedathwa.


           The “devotion” is of three types depending on the type of people viz.Sathwa (pure hearted), Rajasa(warrior in outlook) and Tamasa(debased)


57.Utharasmathu , utharasmath poorva, poorvaasrayeya bhavathi.


   Each of the above three categories are better than that coming next , in other words, Sathvika Bhakthi is better than Rajasic which is better than thamasic,


Bhagavad-gItA 7.16:  the inquisitive and the man of wisdom, one who is desirous of wealth and one who suffers.


58.Anyasmath saulabhyam bhakthou


     This path of “devotion” is the easiest among the paths to attain God.


59.Pramana antharsyam apekshatwath  swayam pramanathwath.


      This path of “devotion” is its own proof and does not need any other proof.


60.Santhi roopaath, paramananda roopascha


It is personification of peace and ultimate happiness.


61.Lokhanau chintha na karya nivedhi,  tha athma loka  vedatwad.


    One who practices “devotion” should not get worried about worldly affairs, for he has given away all his actions to God.


62.Na thada siddhou , loka vivahoro heya , kinthu phala thyagas that  sadanam karya meva


Upon attaining the goal, a devotee should not keep away from worldly actions but perform them without bothering about the result.


63. Sthreethana nasthika vairi charithram na sravaneeyam


   Do not hear stories, gossip or news about women, atheist and enemies.


64.Abhimana Dambadhikam tyagyam


   Sacrifice egoism and self praise


65.Thadrpidago laachara  san kala krodhabhi manadhikam tasminneva karaneeyam


   If after offering all actions to god, if feelings of anger, pride and passion come again, they also should be offered to Him.


66.Tri roopa bhanga poorvakam nithya dasa, nithya kanthapa janathmakam va premaiva karyam, premaiva karyam,


  Breaking the three distinctions pointed out, one should always serve Him like a servant or wife with unblemished love and  definitely with unblemished love.


67.Bhaktha ekandino mukhya


        Those devotes only are great who keep Him as their one and only one aim.


68.Kantavarodha romanchasrubhi parasparam labhamana , bhavayanthi kulani prithweem.


  These  devotees with tear filled eyes, with stuttering voice, and hair standing out discuss always about Him and are a gift to the their clan and to the world.


69.Theerthi kurvanthi, theerthani sukarmi kuvanthi, karmani sachasthri kurvanthi


     These devotees make sacred waters more sacred , actions into good actions and holy scriptures more holy.


70.Than maya


       For they are filled with  God.


71.Modanthe pitharo ,nruthyanthi devatha sanadha cheyam bhoorbhavathi.


     Because of them the manes rejoice, gods dance  and world gets a good leader


72.Nasthi theshu jathi vidhya roopa kula dhana  kriyadhi bedha


     Within them there is no difference by caste, by knowledge, by looks, by birth, , by wealth or by actions.




     For all of them are His.


74.Vadho naa avalambham


    These devotees should not enter into arguments.


75.Bahulya avakasada niyathathwacha


   With differing opinions expressed nothing can be concluded in these arguments


76.Bhakthi sasthrani mananeeyani  thadudbodha sukarmanyapi karaneeyani.


     They should always read or hear about “devotion” and they should engage themselves in acts to increase such “devotion”.


77.Sukha dukhe icha labhadhi tyakthe kale, pratheekshyamane kshanartham api vyardhanam na neyam.


 They should await  the time when  happiness, sorrow, desire and profit  can be completely forsaken, and keep on thinking about him every second with love.


78.Ahimsa Sathya sowcha, daya asthhikyadhi charithryani parpalaneeyani


    They should observe strictly non-violence, truth. Cleanliness, compassion and faith.


79.Sarvada  sarve bhavena nischindhidair bhagawaneva bhajaneeya


      Always and under all circumstances. Without diverting their mind to other thoughts, they should pray God.


80.Sa keerthayamana  seegram eva avirbhavathi  anubhavayathi cha bhakthan.


      Being sung in such a way by the devotees, He appears before them and makes them realize.


81.Trisathyasya bhakthireva gareeyasi , bhakthireva gareeyasi.


  To the one who is truthful to Him in mind, body and words  Devotion is the greatest path , It is the greatest.


82.Guna mahathmyasakthi. Roopasakthi, poojasakthi, smaranasakthi, dasyasakthi., sakhyasakthi, kanthasakthi, vatsalya sakthya athma nivedanasakthithanmayadhasakthi, paramavirahasakthi,  roopa ekathabhya ekatha  satha bhavathi.


    Though “devotion” is one quality it is expressed in eleven different ways depending on the individual soul viz 1.longing to hear about His greatness, 2, Longing to see His great form, 3.Longing to worship Him always 4. Longing to always remember Him 5. Longing to forever serve Him as a slave 6. Longing to be His most intimate friend 7. Longing to be his consort 8.Longing to be affectionate to Him like a parent. 9.Longing to sacrifice our soul to Him. 10. Longing to become Himself and 11, Suffering his absence even for a second like a lover.


83.Ithyevam vadanthi  jana jalpa nirbhaya eka matha , kumara Vyasa, shukha, Sandilya, Garga, Vishnu, Koundinya, Sesho uddhavarunee bhali, hanumath vibeeshanadha  yo Bhakthacharya


     Very great devotees like Vyasa, Shukha, Sandilya, , Garga, Vishnu, Koundinya, Sesha, Udhawa, aaruni, Bali , Hanuman and Vibeeshana tell in unanimity without bothering about different opinions expressed that the path of “devotion” is  the greatest.


84.Idham Narada proktham  Shiva anusasanam Viswaseethi sradhathe sa preshtam labhadha ithi.


  One who with utmost faith and belief understands  the above exposition of Narada would attain God, would definitely attain God.


                                                  OM THAT SATH


[1] Bhakthi is a Sanskrit word which cannot be explained by one English word. But for sake of clarity I will be using “devotion” instead of the word Bhakthi. By which I mean  a devotion of a very special kind.

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