Monday, February 27, 2012

Eka-Sarana - The Way to the Lord’s Grace

The concept of ‘Divine Grace’ is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. Within our own tradition, ‘Kripā’, ‘Anugraha’, ‘Prasāda’ are some of the words frequently synonymized with or considered semantically equivalent to ‘Grace’.

“Descent of Divine Grace is the turning point in the spiritual evolution of a bonded soul”. Truly, without God’s Grace, nothing is achieved. But, the question that naturally arises now is:-

How can God’s Grace be achieved? 

In His rendering of the Bhagavata, Sankaradeva makes it clear that Eka-Sarana (Sole-Refuge in Krishna) is the only way to the Lord’s Grace.

The life of one surrendering to Krishna and taking Sole-Refuge in Him undergoes a total transformation. Unbounded is the Kripā (Grace) of Krishna upon such a soul: -

Krishna kathā suni / ānandita muni / kinchita sankita mane |
Yadi Govindara / lilā caritrara / anta napāi ekojane ||
Teve agnajane / taribe kemane / samsāra dukha nikāra |
Hari hari bidhi / nabhoileka siddhi / pātakira iyobāra ||
Hāsiyā brahmāi / bole munirāy / nakaribā mane dukha |
Krishnara kripāta / milibe sāksāta / lokara samasta sukha ||
Kapata eriyā / sādhu-sanga loiyā / sāvadhāna kari mana |
Ānadeva chādi / yito nara-nāri / Krishnata lavoi sarana ||
Teve tāsambāta / milaya sāksāta / Krishnara kripā apāra |
Māyā dura haya / mile mahodaya / sukhate tade samsāra ||
[Sankaradeva, Bhagavata, Skandha II]

Hearing about Lord Krishna, Nārada was overjoyed. [However,] with a little doubt in mind, [he asked Brahmā]
“If the deeds and lilā of Govinda are such that it is impossible for anyone to ever reach their end,
how can the ignorant ones then save themselves from the sorrows and afflictions of the world ?
Oh God! This time also, O Bidhi (Creator), the redemption of sinners did not come about!”
Smiling, Brahmā replied, “O king among sages! Do not grieve.
By the grace of Krishna, all people will attain complete happiness.
Leaving aside hypocrisy, taking the company of the devotees, and with a focussed mind
forsaking all other gods, the man or woman who takes Sarana (Sole-Refuge) in Krishna,
he or she, from then on, will receive the infinite grace of Krishna Himself.
māyā (nescience) vanishes, one obtains liberation and happily survives this world.
[Sankaradeva, Bhagavata, Canto II]

GV Tagare’s rendering of Sloka 34 from the Ekadasa (11th) Skandha, 29th Adhyaya, of the Srimad-Bhagavata is reproduced here:-

34. [Krishna says] When a mortal being has renounced all courses of actions (prescribed in Sastras) and has dedicated his self to me, I select him as the recipient of my Special Grace. He, then, attains immortality and certainly becomes eligible to be one with me sharing my divine powers of omnipresence, omnipotence, etc.
[The Bhagavata Purana, Translated and Annotated by Dr. GV Tagare, Motilal Banarsidass]

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