Bhakti versus Bhranti: Understanding the crucial difference between Devotion and Delusion

Mahesh Prabhu

Mahesh Prabhu

Udupi Mahesh Prabhu is a seasoned media, management & political consultant. He is a Founder and Chairman of Vedic Management Center and Vivaswaan. A fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London (UK) and member of the International Federation of Journalists(USA), he also holds a Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. For more info visit www.indiamahesh.com

A lot is made of “Bhakti” by commercially driven “spiritual” institutions and individuals. “Bhakti to Guru is crucial,” they often say. “Bhakti” to such opportunists is little more than absolute and unquestionable loyalty to the Cult and its leader, often labeled as “Guru.”

Guru is not a “spiritual leader”; a Guru can be anyone who has taught you something crucial in your life. A true Guru seeks nothing; expects nothing. The Guru consists of two words, namely Gu meaning Ignorance and Ru meaning Dispeller. Anyone who dispels ignorance from your mind is undoubtedly a Guru. It doesn’t have to be a human, even other beings too can be a Guru. Legendary Vedic Rishi (sage) Avadhoota Dattatreya had 27 Guru, which included animals, birds, and, also, elements.

Ignorance is that which leads to or causes pain in our lives. Ignorance, or Avidya, is no bliss. When you don’t know quintessential things about life, nature and the world, you are destined to suffer. The consequence of ignorance is often disastrous.

Ignorance is that which leads to or causes pain in our lives. Ignorance, or Avidya, is no bliss. When you don’t know quintessential things about life, nature and the world, you are destined to suffer. The consequence of ignorance is often disastrous.

When an individual or an institution seeks you to believe in a person or a being just because of a book, and refuse you the right to question the authenticity of that book, that individuals and institutions are pushing you towards ignorance. And such institutions can seldom stand for Dharma which also stands for dispelling all ignorance in our mind and lives.

Bhakti stands for Devotion. But it is not a Devotion something you retort to when you have no scientific, rational or logical explanations. It is what you follow once the Bhranti or delusions of your mind are alleviated. Bhakti stems from knowledge. It is living in Knowledge. It is that which leads to bliss.

Bhakti stands for Devotion. But it is not a Devotion something you retort to when you have no scientific, rational or logical explanations. It is what you follow once the Bhranti or delusions of your mind are alleviated. Bhakti stems from knowledge. It is living in Knowledge. It is that which leads to bliss.

If someone has dispelled ignorance from your mind, you will have neither fear nor concerns in your mind. And such a person deserves your admiration and gratitude. Bhakti is all for respect and appreciation, but never blind reverence.

Bhakti is a belief. Belief in life is essential. Even Atheists believe in rationalism; so, their Bhakti is towards anything that supports their rational, scientific and logical explanation.

Bhakti is a belief. Belief in life is essential. Even Atheists believe in rationalism; so, their Bhakti is towards anything that supports their rational, scientific and logical explanation.

When there is Bhakti, it leads to Shakti (power), but when there is Bhranti, there is certain Ashanti (mental disturbance). It is crucial to have Bhakti but not at the cost of Gyan (Knowledge) and Vigyan (Wisdom.) Bhakti is an emotion that leads to the serenity of mind; Bhranti leads to delusion of consciousness.

Bhakti seeks unconditional of everyone, without any conditions. Bhranti seeks absolute submission. Bhakti gives love; Bhranti often confuses one’s lust for love. Bhakti helps in sustenance – within and without; Bhranti destroys within. Bhakti stems from within in the absence of fear; Bhranti arises and harps on suspicion of the self as well as others. Bhakti seeks solitude; Bhranti yearns for adoration.

Bhakti seeks acceptance of everyone, without any conditions. Bhranti seeks absolute submission. Bhakti gives love; Bhranti often confuses one’s lust for love. Bhakti helps in sustenance – within and without; Bhranti destroys within. Bhakti stems from within in the absence of fear; Bhranti arises and harps on suspicion of the self as well as others. Bhakti seeks solitude; Bhranti yearns for adoration.

A person with such Bhakti is a Bhakta; whereas a person living in delusion is Bhranta. Bhakta lives in peace, leads to peace and always establishes in peace; Bhranta deludes peace, destroys peace and lives in chaos.

Bhakta seeking Bhakti pursues knowledge and wisdom becomes a Shakta (deserving of power) and manifests Shakti (Power.) Bhranta living in ignorance denounces knowledge and wisdom, becomes Ashakta (undeserving of power) failing to manifest any constructive potential.

Bhakta even if overwhelmed by Bhranti, will eventually return to Bhakti. A true Bhakta is never overwhelmed by Bhranti for long. And even momentary delusion or Bhranti will help him forge his Bhakti for knowledge and wisdom.

Bhakta’s relentless effort is to overwhelm hate, anger, greed, infatuation, ego, and envy. A Bhakta sees one’s true self – Aatmana – in everyone. Bhakta lives realizing the truth that they are neither the mind nor the body and never swayed by the unjust needs of their body nor their mind. They eventually become Stithaprajna – ones living in consciousness with the serenity of mind. Bhakta eventually becomes Jivanmukta liberated from all pains of life even while living and doing their duties with neither brooding over the past nor worrying about the future.

Bhakta’s relentless effort is to overwhelm hate, anger, greed, infatuation, ego, and envy. A Bhakta sees one’s true self – Aatmana – in everyone. Bhakta lives realizing the truth that they are neither the mind nor the body and never swayed by the unjust needs of their body nor their mind. They eventually become Stithaprajna – ones living in consciousness with the serenity of mind. Bhakta eventually becomes Jivanmukta liberated from all pains of life even while living and doing their duties with neither brooding over the past nor worrying about the future.

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Learn about our continuing and online course connecting Vedic knowledge with contemporary situations including mind, body, management, leadership, politics and diplomacy.
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We've published over 6 books in hardbound, paperback and eBook format. Audio formats of our books are underway already along with graphic novels and comics.
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A unique Vedic Management Centre Initiative specially devised to rekindle the lost art and science of Vedic leadership for management, politics, and diplomacy.
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