Sri Matre Namaha
Bhavanagamya – The One Hundred & Thirteenth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
bhavanabhyam (=sabdi arthi bhyam) gamya (= avagmya)
She who can be attained by thinking
She who can be known by mental efforts (that is, sabdi and arthi)
Bhavana is of two types – sabdi and arthi. The sabdi ( of words) here means the sacred words ( i.e., mantras from the Vedas) which are to be meditated upon according to the will of the guru (acharya) while arthi means that which results in action.
The word, bhavana-gamya will be solved as bhavana + gamya as well as bhavana+gamya. According to Bhavanagamaya it means attainable by meditation. Acording to Bhavanagamya it means ‘she is unattainable by the path of action (i.e., karma marga) or it may mean of the nature of purification of the mind which is the result of right action.
There are three types of Bhavana. She is attained by those Bhavanas.
There are three states of meditation; sakala, sakala-niskala and niskala. The first, sakala is the meditation from muladhara to ajnacakra. The second, sakala-niskala is from Indu (moon) to unmani and the third, niskala is in the form of meditation of mahabindu.
She is to be realized through the mind. Inner worship or mental worship is referred here. If this interpretation is correct, then it gives the same meaning as that of nama 870 ‘antarmuka-samradhya’. Possibly this nama refers to ‘Bhavana Upanishad’ which describes Her internal worship. In other words, this Upanishad provides all the details for worshipping Her in Sri chakra and her kundalini form. In the advanced stage of Sri Vidya worship, all the external rituals such as navavarana puja etc are to be stopped and sadhaka should worship Her only through meditation with the help of Bhavana Upanishad. This Upanishad emphasizes the union of knower, knowledge and the known.
There is another interpretation for this nama. It says that meditation is of two types. One is meditating with the help of mantra and another is meditating with the meaning of mantra. For example one can meditate by reciting Panchadasi manta mentally. The second type is to understand the meaning of mantra and meditating on the meaning of such mantras. The latter is considered as powerful. That is why we have discussed sufficiently about Panchadasi mantra. Sri Vidya cult attaches a lot of importance to Guru and therefore one has to go by what his/her Guru says. But the transition from external rituals to internal worship (meditation) is very important, without which She can never be realized. This is the meaning of this nama.
when we think of this term it leads us to another inportant word called bhakthi.you may ask how bhakthi and thinking is associated. Thinking of the supreme leads us to bhakthi.so if she likes us to think about her then what are we supposed to do? How can we think of her and how should we practie bhakthi? Every act must be done that awakens the emotion of Bhakti. Keep the Puja (worship) room clean. Decorate the room. Burn incense. Light a lamp. Keep a clean seat. Bathe. Wear clean clothes. Apply Vibhuti (sacred ash) or Bhasma, and Kumkum on the forehead. Wear Rudraksha or Tulasi Mala. All these produce a benign influence on the mind and elevate the mind. They generate piety. They help to create the necessary Bhava or feeling to invoke the Deity that you want to worship. The mind will be easily concentrated.
Practice of right conduct, Satsanga, Japa, Smarana, Kirtan, prayer, worship, service of saints, residence in places of pilgrimage, service of the poor and the sick with divine Bhava, observance of Varnashrama duties, offering of all actions and their fruits to the god, feeling the presence of the Her in all beings, prostrations before the image and saints, renunciation of earthly enjoyments and wealth, charity, austerities and vows, practice of Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya – all these will help you to develop Bhakti. There are five kinds of Bhava in Bhakti. They are Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya Bhavas. These Bhavas or feelings are natural to human beings and so these are easy to practice. Practice whichever Bhava suits your temperament.
In Shanta Bhava, the devotee is Shanta or peaceful. He does not jump and dance. He is not highly emotional. His heart is filled with love and joy. Bhishma was a Shanta Bhakta.
Sri Hanuman was a Dasya Bhakta. He had Dasya Bhava, servant attitude. He served Lord Rama whole-heartedly. He pleased his Master in all possible ways. He found joy and bliss in the service of his Master.
In Sakhya Bhava, God is a friend of the devotee. Arjuna had this Bhava towards Lord Krishna. The devotee moves with the Lord on equal terms. Arjuna and Krishna used to sit, eat, talk and walk together as intimate friends.
In Vatsalya Bhava, the devotee looks upon God as his child. Yasoda had this Bhava with Lord Krishna. There is no fear in this Bhava, because God is your pet child. The devotee serves, feeds, and looks upon God as a mother does in the case of her child.
The last is Madhurya Bhava or Kanta Bhava. This is the highest form of Bhakti. The devotee regards the Lord as his Lover. This was the relation between Radha and Krishna. This is Atma-Samarpana. The lover and the beloved become one. The devotee and God feel one with each other and still maintain a separateness in order to enjoy the bliss of the play of love between them. This is oneness in separation and separation in oneness. Lord Gauranga, Jayadeva, Mira and Andal had this Bhava.
In the Srimad-Bhagavata and the Vishnu Purana it is told that the nine forms of Bhakti are
- Sravana (hearing of God’s Lilas and stories),
- Kirtana (singing of His glories),
- Smarana (remembrance of His name and presence),
- Padasevana (service of His feet),
- Archana (worship of God),
- Vandana (prostration to Lord),
- Dasya (cultivating the Bhava of a servant with God),
- Sakhya (cultivation of the friend-Bhava) and
- Atmanivedana (complete surrender of the self).
A devotee can practice any method of Bhakti which suits him best. Through that he will attain Divine illumination. so if one practices bhakthi he is loved by god but what the benefits or the fruits of bhakthi Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, divine ecstasy, bliss, peace and knowledge. All cares, worries and anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths. He attains the immortal abode of everlasting peace, bliss and knowledge.
Ramanuja, a great teacher of bhakti yoga, speaks of the preparations necessary for the development of genuine love of God:
One wishing to cultivate love of God should discriminate about food; for, as the Upanishads say, when the food is pure the mind becomes pure. The gross part of food helps to build up the body, and the subtle force lodged in it manufactures thought. The influence of food on thought is easily observed; a heavy meal induces mental indolence; and after drinking a large quantity of liquor one finds it difficult to control the mind. Certain kinds of food excite the mind and the senses, and other kinds dull them; a vegetarian diet is helpful. Dirt and dust must be removed from food, which also should be free from any contact with the saliva of another person. Lastly, food cooked or served by an impure person adversely affects the devotee’s mind. Therefore a lover of God who develops a sensitive mind should be careful about food.
(Sankaracharya gives a wider meaning to food: it means not only what goes into the mouth, but also what is taken by the other sense organs besides the tongue. The objects of the senses should be conducive to the cultivation of the spiritual life; therefore discrimination should be applied to what we see, touch, hear, smell, and eat.)
Second, the devotee should control extreme desires for material objects. Objects are helpful only in so far as they further the spiritual life. They are means to an end, and not an end in themselves. The desire to possess them should be suppressed if they lead to enlargement in the world.
Third, the devotee of God should practice devotion unflaggingly. As progress is never made at a constant level, he should remain undisturbed by the ebb and flow of his spiritual life. During the period of ebb, he must hold to the progress he has already made, and during the flow he should move forward swiftly. What a person does or thinks now is the result of his past practices, and thus he can build for the future through his present practices. By practice the mind can be made to flow uninterruptedly toward God, as oil flows uninterruptedly when it is poured from one jar to another. Love for the ideal makes practice easy and pleasant. If the devotee feels dryness of heart, he can remove it with the help of devotional music.
Fourth, one should learn unselfishness by doing good to others. The selfish man can never cultivate divine love. The Hindu scriptures speak of five unselfish actions, called the ‘fivefold sacrifices,’ to be performed by a pious householder. The following are the five great duties of a householder:
The study and teaching of the Vedas
Daily worship of the gods through appropriate rituals
Gratification of the departed ancestors by offering their spirits food and drink according to the scriptural injunctions
Kindness to domestic animals, and
Hospitality to guests, the homeless, and the destitute.
Fifth, one should always practise purity, which comprises truthfulness, straightforwardness, compassion, non-injury, and charity. God is truth and reveals Himself to the truthful; it is said that if one never deviates from the truth for twelve years, one’s words become infallible. Straightforwardness means the simplicity and the guilelessness of the innocent child, who is specially favoured of God. By means of compassion, a man controls his greed, and selfishness. A devotee abstains from injuring others by thought, words, or deed. There is no virtue higher than charity; he who goes to the extent of hurting himself while helping others receives divine grace.
Sixth, one should avoid despondency. Religion is not gloominess; one does not find a melancholy saint. The cheerfulness of a devotee comes from his faith in God.
Seventh, a devotee should avoid excessive merriment, which makes the mind fickle and is always followed by sorrow. Laughter and tears are inseparable companions.
The devotee who practices these seven disciplines acquires genuine love for God.
There are two forms of divine love: preparatory and supreme. During the preparatory stage certain forms of external help are necessary. Needless to say, the aspirant must be ready for the spiritual life; he must feel a true yearning for God. Sometimes momentary impulses are mistaken for such yearning. One may feel a desire for the spiritual life when struck by a blow from the world, in the shape of the death of a near and dear one, or loss of money. But one generally recovers from such a shock. He is a true devotee of God who, though he may possess all kinds of material goods, is not interested in them because he is aware of their impermanent and unsubstantial nature.
Such an aspirant, pure in thought, word, and deed, seeks the help of a spiritual teacher. God no doubt dwells in all men and is their inner guide. But since at the outset a man’s impure thoughts usually distort the divine voice, he needs a guide to show him the right path. The teacher quickens the spiritual awakening: a candle is lighted from another lighted candle. Religious history shows that even the greatest saints and mystics have taken help from a qualified teacher; the mere study of books is not enough.
A teacher must be properly qualified and should possess knowledge of the scriptures in order to dispel students’ doubts. He must have direct experience of God, the most important qualification. Free from sinfulness and selfish motives, he must be ‘like an ocean of mercy, which knows no reason.’ With infinite patience and infinite love he unfolds the disciple’s heart, and the breeze opens the buds at the advent of spring. The father provides one with the physical birth, but the teacher with the spiritual birth. The student should approach the teacher with respect, in a spirit of service, and ask him intelligent questions. The meeting of a qualified student with a God-like teacher- as when Peter met with Christ, or Vivekananda with Ramakrishna- is a wonderful event in the spiritual world. The ideal teacher here described is indeed rare. But one may also derive benefit from a less perfect guide. As the mind of the pupil becomes purer, he finds that God- who dwells in everyone’s heart- is guiding him on his spiritual path.