Source : The Hindu
The discussion between Parikshit and Sage Suka in the Bhagavata Purana on how the force of sin can be expiated by ritualistic karma also known as prayaschitta karma brings to the fore many interesting issues in this regard, pointed out Sri Kesava Dikshitar in a discourse.
Parikshit wonders about the efficacy of such expiatory karmas since people continue to commit the same sins in spite of themselves. The analogy of the elephant that throws up mud on itself even after it has been washed and bathed is quoted to show how it is difficult to eradicate habits that are ingrained in each one. Suka says that ignorance is the source of all karma including acts of expiation. Expiation can certainly wash off the effects of a particular karma but not the tendency to commit the acts again as long as one remains ignorant of one’s self.
By practising austerities, cultivating virtues such as kindness, truth and compassion, and engaging in disciplines like meditation and worship, a man of righteousness and faith can overcome even great sins committed by thought word and deed.
The comparison of a forest fire that can easily destroy all the reeds in a trice is pertinent here since it also implies that the vasanas are not eradicated in toto just as the roots of reeds can sprout again with the advent of rains.
So Suka refers to the more appropriate illustration of the sun that removes the mist totally without any trace to show that the practice of devotion to the Lord as most efficacious in uprooting evil tendencies.
Krishna’s advice also focuses on the urgent need for each one to unravel the mystery surrounding one’s existence. This exercise alone can lead to an understanding of the purpose of one’s life and of what is eternal and permanent and turn one’s mind to remain devoted to God at all times.
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/kinds-of-devotion/article18788328.ece
There are different kinds of devotion to God and we see examples of both Seshatva and Paratantriya in the Ramayana. Seshatva is to not let anything stand in the way of the desire to serve God. Lakshmana wanted to accompany Lord Rama to the forest. Rama tried His best to make Lakshmana stay back in Ayodhya. But Lakshmana refused to be dissuaded by the Lord.
Lakshmana was keen to be with Rama and serve Him at all times. So he was prepared to refuse to obey the Lord’s request. This is an example of Seshatva, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. Nammazhvar too wanted only to serve the Lord and prayed for this.
But Bharata was in a different category. No doubt he too wanted certain things, namely the return of Rama to Ayodhya and the assumption of kingship by Rama. But when Rama said He would not come back to Ayodhya and ordered Bharata to go back to the city and rule as king, Bharata implicitly obeyed his brother. He did not think of himself. He did not insist that Rama go along with what he (Bharata) wanted. This is an example of Paratantriya.
While other Azhvars prayed for being rid of repeated births and for the chance to serve the Lord, Periazhvar only sang for the Lord’s welfare, thereby demonstrating bhakti, which asks for nothing.
Paratantriya is when a person simply obeys the Lord and does not act on his own or for his pleasure.
Suppose a person possesses a doll, decorates it and looks at it thinking how beautiful it looks. Does this act of decorating give any joy to the doll? If a man who has grown saplings in his field transplants them, it is because they are under his control.
So being controlled by another superior being and not acting volitionally is Paratantriya.