Bhakti by Swami Dayananda Saraswati
In gaining knowledge of Brahman, once one has the çästra(student) and the guru(teacher), what more is needed? Nothing more is needed. If a person has a guru, he will definitely know, for if the guru is there, the çästra is there, and if the çästra is there, it means there will be knowledge. Therefore, the çästra says, “äcäryavän puruño veda, one who has a teacher knows.” This is a very bold statement. But someone may say , “Swamiji, I have a guru but nothing happens.” “Did you do what the guru asked you to do?”
“He only says to do japa, etc.” That points out one more thing that one needs— bhakti. Bhaktyä avehi know through bhakti. The grace of the çästra and the guru are not enough. You need the grace of Éçvara and the word ‘bhakti’ indicates that need. Being from the Sanskrit root, bhaj, bhakti conveys the meaning of doing seva. There are a lot of duritas, results of past wrong actions, which manifest in the form of various obstacles that come in the way of accomplishing one’s goals. In our daily prayers like sandhyä-vandana or in performing rituals on special days, there is a saìkalpa that we do. We say, “I do this karma to please Éçvara through the neutralisation of all duritas I have accumulated so far.” The phrase ‘to please’ means to earn the grace of Éçvara. You achieve this by removing all your duritas.
Durita means päpa, the result of a wrong action, which is the cause for sorrow and pain. Centred on one’s body there can be obstacles in the form of diseases. Centred on the world there can be obstacles like a quarrelling neighbour, and so on. Then, there are obstacles from unseen forces. These three types of obstacles causing sufferings, are caused by durita. One has to pile up enough grace of Éçvara, through prayer and prayerful karmas, to neutralize the duritas so that one can be at the right time at the right place. The following narration will enlighten us on the need for Éçvara’s grace.
One blind person was returning from the fort after seeing the king. He had to come out of the fort. Nobody was available to guide him to the door except the ... Rest of the article can be read here -> http://www.avgsatsang.org/hhpsds/pdf/Bhakti.pdf
Edited excerpt from the Väkya Vicära series on the Kaivalyopaniñad-väkya, çraddhä bhakti dhyäna
yogädavehi by Swamini Srividyananda