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Beyond The Bhakti Marg.

India, Nov. 21 -- In India, people of all faith are stuck with bhakti marg of religiosity with numerous devotions, rituals and festivals in honour of various gods. Obsessed with bhakti they erect statues, shrines, construct huge temples, churches and other worship centres both to please their gods and exhibit their bhakti to their favourite gods. This obsession with bhakti is also exhibited by external dress, symbols, medals, badges and other material things. All the sects publish large number of magazines and books for spreading their bhakti industry.

The common people of all religions observe various forms of bhakti with all innocence and belief which they received from their parents. They believe firmly that by following this bhakti marg they will attain salvation and forgiveness for their sins. They follow this bhakti marg throughout their life with total sincerity and loyalty to please gods.

The priestly class of all religions promote this bhakti marg with the vested interest of running their business by exploiting the religious sentiments of common people. Various forms of bhakti are used to brainwash the common people. Prophets of all faith in different times have lambasted the hypocrisy and business strategy of the priestly class: Prophet Amos attacked the religiosity in strong terms: The Lord says, "I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! When you bring me burnt-offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. Stop your noisy songs: I do not want to listen to your harps. Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry" (Amos 5: 21-24). Jesus wanted his disciples go beyond the routine rituals and embrace spirituality when he asked them to "worship God in truth and spirit" (Jn 4: 21). Priestly class of all religions have succeeded in silencing and eliminating them. Today number of people who follow bhakti marg is increasing. Religious industry is thriving in every religion.

Bakti marg is the primary class in spiritual growth. Every person has to move ahead and get graduated into gnana marg. This is the path where persons are initiated to the world of knowledge through research and study of various scriptures, science, history, art and social realities. Those who are initiated into gnana marg will develop analytical mind and scientific temper. They update themselves about various socio-political issues and become aware of the latest developments in the world and form their own opinion. They are very regular to read newspapers, books and magazines. They will also make use of every opportunity to participate in meetings and workshops without counting the cost.

Gnana marg should lead persons into dhyana, contemplation. Knowledge and information attained about every aspect of life becomes subject of contemplation, dhyana. Acquiring knowledge and information without dhyana, contemplation, is useless. Persons will become proud and arrogant with their knowledge and skills. Large numbers of people with high academic qualification belong to this category. They often use their knowledge for destructive purpose. When gnana marg and dhyana marg blend, there emerges Karma yoga. Those who reach karma marg through gnana marg and dhyana marg become karma yogis who manifest the love and compassion of God to humanity. Jesus was a karma yogi who blended action and contemplation. Even in his hectic schedule of service to people Jesus was contemplative because he was a karma yogi.

Many dedicated social workers and preachers who are fully busy in doing a lot of good to people are restless and aggressive. Their ego does not allow them to work in a team. They are so active that they have no time to read and pray. This happens because their social works do not come as a fruit of their journey through blending of gnana marg and dhyana marg.

Similarly those who are stuck in bhakti marg will have no taste for reading newspaper and books. Neither will they take any initiative for creative ventures nor will they understand any innovative mission. Those who are obsessed with bhakti marg will indulge themselves in all kinds of rituals and external devotions. They will multiply the rituals and devotions. Simple people who go on saying rosary at all times, spending hours before the blessed sacrament, practising fasting several days of a week, visiting different shrines on barefoot are some of the expressions of their bhakti. Gradually they become intellectually dull and spiritually barren.

A karma yogi who follows gnana marg and dhyana marg may not follow rituals and devotions as those who follow bhakti marg. A karma yogi will test all devotions and their positive impact on people and society with scientific temper. He will play a prophetic role in the society fearlessly. Jesus rejected all rituals and routine traditions which did not help people to grow into spiritual maturity. He broke all the laws and spoke against routine rituals which did not help people to be spiritual. He was a perfect example of a karma yogi who went beyond bhakti marg

Religions have become cause for many violent conflicts and divisions in the world only because people were not helped to go beyond bhakti marg. If they are initiated into gnana marg and dhyana marg they will be liberated from the superstitions in the form of bakti. This is possible when religion is liberated from the hypocritical priests and corrupt politicians who have made it a business by exploiting the religious sentiments, bhakti, of people.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Indian Currents.

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Publication:Indian Currents
Date:Nov 21, 2016
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