Bhakti maargam (route): Learnings from satellites
In the recent half-century, there have been unimaginable heights scaled as far as space science and astronomy are concerned as humans started exploring what is above them – the vast universe and space – since ancient times. As a result, the branch of science witnessed some remarkable achievements and milestones such as launching numerous satellites, humans landing on the moon’s surface, and robots reaching Mars. Scientists are even spreading their wings and stretching their exploratory curiosity on things that are billions of light years beyond our conceivable universe – the Milky Way.
However, upon introspection, one can realise that though mankind made great progress in exploring external things, our own mind remains in the deepest abyss of mystery in the entire universe and perhaps cannot be understood completely by any possible human intellectual abilities. Hence, taming human mind remains the biggest task for anyone who wish to break the endless cycles of births and deaths and attain moksha (eternal bliss).
Although these two themes seem completely unrelated, there is something in common and the question what is the similarity between these two processes and what can be learnt from the space science to be applied in our bhakti maargam (route to enlightenment) of the humans.
To begin with, let us look at the satellite launching process. It takes a rocket (a launch vehicle) propelled by several engines to carry the actual apparatus, with two or three stages of propulsion before finally reaching the orbit or the object of investigation.
Compared to the huge size of the rocket, the actual satellite, which usually weighs less than a tenth, is rather the most important piece of all. The same analogy can be applied for human body (rocket) and mind (satellite) as the latter governs one’s existence, thinking and deeds to lead one in good path or otherwise.
Nevertheless, both the rocket and the satellite are necessary to achieve the ultimate objective just like one needs the body to help him/her (jeevathma) cross the samsara saagaram and break the karmic cycles.
However, at every stage, the launch vehicle must shed its components to progress to the next stage. Similarly, the worldly, materialistic pursuits must be foregone at every stage as necessary and recommended in Sastra by the jeevathma in order to reach the Supreme soul.
The biggest hurdle perhaps in the entire process is earth’s ‘Gravitational Force’ such that the the rocket must have strong propulsion to overpower the massive gravitational pull to soar. Similarly, a jeevatma that wishes to reach Him must overpower several loukeeka (worldly, materialistic) issues pulling it down strongly.
The first stage starts with the rocket getting set on its path and fitted with massive engines that can propel it upwards, which can be compared to parents, family and respected elders who can sow the seeds of dharma in one’s minds very early.
Upon reaching certain altitude, the engines, having done their job, fall off and the second stage propulsion kicks in, which is similar to bhagavatha sambhandam i.e. getting acquainted to and serving learned Sri Vaishnavites and ardent devotees of Sriman Narayana and listening to their divinely advice.
Once the second stage is crossed, the third and the final stage needs the most critical push from cryogenic engines (with special fuel) that can be compared with Acharya kadaksham and aseervatham (blessings), without which the target (Paramathma) cannot be reached.
Upon surrendering completely unto him, Acharyan showers his gracious blessings to steer the jeevatma towards the path of attaining moksha similar to a satellite getting positioned in its orbit or reaching its final destination.
With humble prostrations at the golden feet of Acharyan