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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Dashamula Tattva > Chapter-X

Chapter 10

Sadhana of the Jiva, Pure Bhakti


A factual delineation of the sadhana of the jiva will be presented, through examination of the nature of pure bhakti, the qualification for bhakti, the types of bhakti and the various services of bhakti.


The nature of pure bhakti is discussed by Shri Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu purva vibhaga 1.22, as well as Chaitanya CaritamritaMadhya 19,.167:


anyabhilashita shunyam jnana-karmady anavritam

anukulyena krishnanushilanam bhaktir uttamam


To serve Krishna in a favorable mood by all the senses is called Krishna bhakti.†† Being free from all desires except the desire to increase devotion to Krishna, without worshiping any other personality or devata as another Lord; being devoted to Krishna alone, giving up all practice of jnana and karma, and serving Krishna with all the senses in a favorable mood, is called pure devotional service.


Favorable (anukulya) refers to a pleasing attitude towards Krishna.†† It is possible to cultivate realization of Brahman or Paramatma by following the paths of jnana or yoga. But these are not bhakti (not being pleasing to the Lord.).†† By the word "jnana" is meant cultivation of analytical knowledge and search for undifferentiated Brahman.†† However, for the perfection of the jiva, it is very necessary to have knowledge čjnana) of the true nature of jiva, jada (matter) and Bhagavan and their relationships. This is included within the cultivation of devotional service.††


By the word 'karma" is meant daily (nitya), periodic (naimittika) or personally motivated(kamya) rituals such as prayashcitta or atonement ceremonies, which are directed away from the Lord.Though the acts of service to Krishna seem almost like karma, because of the distinct quality of faith in Krishna, the activities are called bhakti rather than karma.The practice of detachment (vairagya) which is practiced before taking to bhakti is also a type of karma.Only the unmotivated, direct desire of the soul to serve Krishna is seen in the activities of bhakti.†††


There are four qualities in the state of sadhana bhakti and two qualities in the stage of perfection of bhakti.


klesha-ghni shubhada moksha-laghuta-krit sudurlabha

sandrananda-visheshatma shri-krishnakarshini ca sa


1.†††††† The first characteristic of sadhana bhakti is the destruction of miseries, constituted of ignorance (seed of sin), desire for sinful action, and sinful action (and reaction); andignorance (seed of punya), desire to do punya and the actions of punya.††

2.†††††† The second characteristic of sadhana bhakti is the bestowal all good qualities and pure happiness ot the jiva, as well manifesting the affection from all living entities and to all living entities.

3.†††††† The third characteristic is to consider liberation as very insignificant.

4.†††††† The fourth characteristic is its rare attainment.Even after performing all the activities of bhakti for a long time if the person does not have deep attachment to the goal, he cannot attain prema.

5.†††††† The fifth quality is the intense bliss.

6.†††††† The sixth qualitiy is the ability to attract even Krishna.The last two manifest in the stage of perfection.

†††††††††††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 1.17


The first four qualities are also seen in the perfect stage of bhakti.The first part of the perfect stage is called bhava bhakti.At this stage, the first four qualities appear in full.The final stage of perfect bhakti is prema.In the stage of practice, there is sadhana bhakti and in the stage of perfection (sadhya) there is bhava bhakti and prema bhakti.†† Pure logic can never hope to capture the essence of bhakti. However if logic is obedient to favorable inclination to Krishna, then bhakti may be understood.In this chapter only sadhana bhakti will be discussed.


The quality of sadhana bhakti is this:


krti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-bhava sa sadhanabhidha

nitya-siddhasya bhavasya prakatyam hridi sadhyata


When a person tries to attain the goal of pure bhakti (sadhya-bhava) through utilization of his senses (kriti-aadhya) it is called sadhana bhakti.The goal is eternally perfect (nitya-siddhasya), but that practice by which it becomes manifest in the heart (prakatyam hridi) is called sadhana.

††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 2.2


Types of Bhakti


The import here is that the suitable method by which a person is able to absorb his mind in Krishna is called sadhana bhakti or upaya bhakti.This sadhana bhakti is of two types: vaidhi and raganuga.


Sadhana bhakti is called vaidhi bhakti when the soul practices devotion to Krishna according to the regulation of scriptures, lacking natural attraction to Krishna. The rules of vaidhi bhakti should be practiced by brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras;by brahmacaris, grihashthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis.This is glorified in the scriptures.In the Narada Pancaratra this is also described:


surarishe vihita shastre harim uddishya ya kriya

saiva bhaktir iti prokta taya bhaktih para bhavet


All the activities prescribed in the scriptures to please the Lord are called sadhana bhakti, or upaya bhakti.By that means para bhakti or sadhya bhakti (upeya bhakti) is attained.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Narada Pancaratra


Qualificaton (devotees according to faith)

There are three types of people practicing sadhana bhakti.:


shraddhavan jana haya bhakti adhikari

uttama madhyama kanishtha shraddha anusari


A faithful devotee is a truly eligible candidate for the loving service of the Lord.According to one's faith, one is classified as a topmost devotee, an intermediate devotee or an inferior devotee.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C.C. Madhya 22. 64


The meaning of faith (shraddha) is this:


shraddhah shabde vishvasa kahe sudridha nishcaya

krishne bhakti kaile sarva karma krita haya


By rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities.This confident, firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service is called shraddha.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C.C. Madhya 22.62


To have firm faith that devotion to Krishna is the only means for the jiva, and that attempts at karma and jnana devoid of devotion are useless-such a favorable inclination of the heart is called faith or shraddha.†† If a person's faith is deep and unshakeable, he is called an uttama adhikari.One whose faith is moderately firm is called a madhyama adhikari.The person who as no firm faith, such that he has danger of changing faith due to opposing arguments, is called a kanishtha adhikari.†† There are two types of kanishthas:those whose faith is mixed with karma and jnana and those whose faith is free from karma and jnana.Those free from karma and jnana can attain the uttama level through devotee association. Those whose faith is mixed with karma and jnana progress only with great difficulty and the very strong mercy of devotees.


Concerning the mixed faith of a kanishtha, Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu:


mridu shraddhasya kathita svalpa karmadhikarita


A person who has only tender faith has a slight tendency to karma.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 2.186


People of tender faith perform bhakti by means of the varnashrama system and offering of the results of their work (karmarpana).Their bhakti is not real bhakti but a semblance of bhakti (bhakty abhasa): their chanting of Hare Krishna is called shadow namabhasa (chaya namabhasa). If that bhakti harbors material desires or desire for liberation, it is called pratibimba namabhasa. In that case, such persons are called karmis or jnanis but not bhaktas.The kanishtha adhikari offering the result of his work or knowledge to Krishna (karma-jnana arpana), without any desire other than to please Krishna (anyabhilashita shunya) is called vaishnavabhasa,or vaishnava praya,almost a vaishnava.


(Bhakti is devoid of cultivation of jnana,and vairagyaanddesire for mukti)


When Ramananda was defining sadhana bhakti, Mahaprabhu gave the answer "This is external, please say more."That was because this Ramananda was speaking of the vaishnava praya, on the stage of tender faith.Later, when Mahaprabhu replied"This is correct, please say more," Ramananda had begun to discuss pure bhakti.†† Quoting from Shrimad Bhagavatam he gave a description of the devotee with firm faith, who rejects jnana:


jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva

jivanti sammukharitam bhavadiya-vartam

sthane sthitah shruti-gatam tanu-van manobhir

ye prayasho' jita jito'py asi tais trilokyam


To attempt to understand the Lord by the ascending process, through knowledge gained by the material senses is called asrauta, but Krishna is not obtainable by mind, words and body.The devotee thus gives up the path of logic through observation of temporary external objects by the temporary senses, and hears from the mouths of the devotees devoid of the four defects of illusion, inattention, cheating and limited senses, and with direct realization of the truth. He serves by hearing about and glorifying Krishna with faith. Devoid of all false ego, he dedicates his whole life, body, mind and words, to hearing and chanting the authorized message of bhakti.Though unconquerable, the Lord becomes known and controlled by prema bhakti of this devotee, whatever status he occupies in the three worlds.†† (Shrila Bhaktivinoda's translation)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.10.14.3


By the accumulation of devotional credits of many lifetimes, the jiva attains faith favorable for development of bhakti.With this faith, if the devotee minimizes his material needs just to maintain his life, real bhakti will arise. This is not the practice dry renunciation aiming at liberation.


bhukti-mukti-spriha yavat pishaci hridi vartate

tavad bhakti sukhasyatra katham abhyudayo bhavet


As long the witches of bhukti and mukti linger in the heart, how can pure bhakti arise?

B.R.S. Purva 2.16


The desire for mukti is quite contrary to bhakti. Among the five types of mukti (salokya, samipya, sarupya, sarshti and sayujya) sayujya mukti is extremely contrary.But the devotees do not even aspire for the four other types of mukti.


As Shrimad Bhagavatam says:


salokya sarshti samipya sarupyaikatvam apy uta

diyamanam na grihnanti vina mat sevanam janah


A pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation-salokya, sarsti, samipya, sarupya or ekatva-even though they are offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.3.29.13


There is no special qualification for sadhana bhakti as there is in varnashrama.Any person who develops faith (as described above) has the qualification for bhakti.Such a person, who is qualified for bhakti, (being on a higher level of qualification) is not obligated to perform karma or to indulge in vikarma.Qualified for bhakti, he has no taste for sinful activity. If a sinful act by chance takes place, its effect is destroyed by bhakti itself.One does not depend on atonements (prayashcitta).


As Shrimad Bhagavatam says:


svapada-mulam bhajatah priyasya

tyaktanya bhavasya harih pareshah

vikarma yac chotpatitam kathancid

dhunoti sarvam hridi sannivishtah


One who has thus given up all other engagements and has taken full shelter at the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very dear to the Lord.Indeed, if such a surrendered soul accidentally commits some sinful activity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated within everyone's heart, immediately takes away the reaction to such sin.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.11.5.42


Proper determination of ones qualification is the cause of all good qualities.Performing actions not suitable to ones qualification is the cause of all faults.


sve sve'dhikare ya nishta sa gunah parikirtitah

viparyayas tu doshah syad ubhayor esha nirnayah


Steadiness in one's own position (proper qualification for actions) is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.11.21.2


Performing the activities of devotion with steadiness, as mentioned in the above verse, is the direction of the scriptures.



The activities of bhakti


Being qualified with the requisite faith, the devotee performs the activities of vaidhi bhakti according to the scriptural injunctions. There are many angas or activities of bhakti, but they may be abbreviated as sixty-four.These are: taking shelter of an authorized guru, taking initiation and teachings from guru, serving the guru,following the path of theprevious devotees, inquiry about the ultimate truth, renouncing material enjoyment for Krishna, living in adevotional tirtha,accepting what is necessary to maintain the body, observing ekadashi, respect for the asvattha and dhatri trees.These ten angas are the beginning of devotional service, and must be practiced.


The next ten are: giving up material association, not making unqualified disciples, giving up big material endeavours, giving up studying of books devoid of bhakti, or superificial study of bhakti shastra, or argumentation on the same, not being miserly in dealings, not falling into lamentation, giving up disrespect to devatas, not giving agitation to other entities by ones work, giving up seva and nama aparadhas, avoiding hearing criticism of Krishna or his devotees.†† These ten are practiced by avoidance.The chief among all the twenty are taking shelter of guru, taking initiation and serving the guru.


Wearing the marks of a Vaishnava, wearing the names on the body, receiving the flower remnants, dancing before the Lord, offering obeisances, standing when the Lord approaches, following the procession of the Lord, going to the temple, parikrama, deity worship, service to the Deity, singing, sankirtana, japa, vijnapti, offering praise to the Lord, tastingprasadam, taking the foot wash, smelling the incense or flowers,touching the deity, seeing the deity, performing aratrika,seeing festivals, receiving the Lord's glance, offering things dear to oneself, putting forth all effort for Krishna's sake, surrender to the Lord's will in all cases, service to tulasi, Bhagavatam, Mathura and Vaishnavas,holding festivals along with the devotees, observance of Kartika vrata,celebration of Janmashtami etc. serving the deity, relishing the meaning of the Bhagavatam in association of devotees, association with advanced devotees, nama sankirtana and living in Mathura.††


Even with a little practice of the last five items, a person can attain bhava bhakti.Amongst the items, some are engagement for the body, some for the senses, and some for the mind.†† In other words, vaidhi sadhana bhakti may be defined as the method of engaging the body, mind and senses in Krishna's service.†† Some devotees reach perfection by practice of one item, and others practice many.The material results which these activities yield are recorded in the scriptures, but these are only meant for encouraging the materialistic person.Actually the main result of any of the items of sadhana bhakti is one-attraction of the jiva to Krishna.


Though the items of bhakti are classified as sixty-four, they are factually only nine items.


As Shrimad Bhagavatam says:


shravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam pada-sevanam

arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atmanivedanam

iti pumsarpita vishnau bhaktish cen nava lakshana

kriyeta bhagavaty addha tan manye'dhitam uttamam


Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him-these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.7.5.23-24


Chaitanya Caritamrita says the same in Madhya Lila. 22.118.

Those knowledgeable of bhakti do not say that the acts of karma are at any time an anga or activity of bhakti.Unless an action loses its fruitive intention and attains the form and name of causeless devotion, it does not become bhakti.Before karma transforms its very nature, it undergoes three stages: nishkama karma (karma without material desire), karmarpana (offering the results to Krishna) and karma yoga.†† When a person passes these three stages, the very form of karma (karma svarupa) changes and becomes devotional service.†††


Thus Shrimad Bhagavatam says:


tavat karmani kurvita na nirvidyeta yavata

mat katha shravanadau va shraddha yavan na jayate


As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by shravanam kirtanam vishnoh, one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.11.20.9


When a person becomes indifferent to karma, karma simply becomes jnana.When real faith in topics of Krishna arises, karma changes into bhakti.†††


Concerning nishkama karma and karmarpana, Narada says:


naishkarmyam apy acyuta bhava varjitam

na shobhate jnanam alam niranjanam

kutah punah shashvad abhadram ishvare

na carpitam karma yad apy akaranam


When brahma jnana, essentially devoid of both karma and devotion to Acyuta, has no good qualities, naturally karma, which by nature is inauspicious, even if it becomes nishkama, without desire, cannot attain any good qualities, as long as it is not offered the Lord.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B. 1.5.12


How karma offered to the Lord(karmarpana) becomes bhakti is described by Narada in Bhagavatam:


amayo yash ca bhutanam jayate yena suvrata

tad eva hy amayam dravyam na punati cikitshitam

evam nrinam kriya yogah sarve samshriti- hetavah

ta evatma vinashaya kalpante kalpitah pare

yad atra kriyate karma bhagavat-paritoshanam

jnanam yat tad adhinam hi bhakti-yoga- samanvitam

kurvana yatra karmani bhagavac-cikshaya' sakrit

grinanti guna-namani krishnasyanusmaranti ca


If one tries to cure a sickness by the very cause of the sickness, the disease will never be cured.The cause of the disease of samshara of the jiva is karma kanda.Whether it is nishkama (performed without desire for resutls), or offered to the Lord, it still does not yield destruction of samshara.Only after karma is accepted only to the extent of maintaining the body does it lose its nature as karma. Only then can it transform into bhakti. Only when those karmas alone which are favorable for pleasing the Lord are accepted, and the person accepts sambandha jnana concerning bhakti, does all karma become bhakti yoga.Making all actions in relation to Krishna, and accepting the teachings concerning the Lord, the devotee should constantly chant and remember the qualities and names of Krishna. This is the instruction of the scriptures.1

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† S.B.


Though jnana and vairagya are somewhat favorable for entering bhakti, they are not angas of bhakti.If they become prominent, they harden the heart, and one cannot appreciate bhakti, which is by nature very tender.They are by nature obstacles in the development of relation with Krishna.††† Devotion is the only cause of bhakti.Rather than practice vairagya, the devotee should practice yukta-vairagya.


anasaktasya vishayan yatharham upayunjatah

nirbandhah krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate


Relating everything in the world as much as possible to Krishna in a favorable way,without being attached, is called yukta vairagya.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 2.125


Yukta vairagya is necessary in sadhana bhakti, whereas cultivation of knoweldge and false renunciation are not angas of bhakti but contradictory elements.The display of devotion to gain money or disciples is also far removed from true devotion and is also contradictory to true bhakti.Qualtities such as proper discrimination are certainly necessary in practice of bhakti, but they are not angas of bhakti.Yama niyama, ahimsa, cleanliness-the aspects of good character-become splendorous when they take shelter of an anga of bhakti.They are not independent angas of bhakti.


jnana vairagyadi bhaktira kabhu nahe anga

ahimsa yama niyamadi bule krishna bhakta sanga


The path of speculative knowledge and renunciation is not very essential for devotional service. Indeed, good qualities such as nonviolence and mind and sense control automatically acompany a devotee of Lord Krishna.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† C.C. Madhya 22, 145


Raganuga bhakti


Up until now, vaidhi bhakti has been discussed. Now we will discuss raganuga sadhana bhakti.


ishthe svarasiki ragah param avishtata bhavet

tan mayi ya bhaved bhaktih satra ragatmikodita


Raga or attachment means intense and natural absorption in the object of love. When devotion to Krishna has this quality it is called ragatmika bhakti.

B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 104


The practice of following this mood of ragatmika bhakti is called raganuga bhakti.†† Just as bhakti which follows the rules of scripture is called vaidhi bhakti, so that bhakti which follows after ragatmika bhakti is called raganuga bhakti.Neither of these is the goal or perfection; both are sadhana or practice.Ragatmika bhakti has two types: kamanuga and sambandhanuga.


The ragatmika bhakti of the inhabitants of Vraja and Mathura is well known.Those who are eager to attain the mood of those devotees are qualified for raganuga sadhana bhakti.Just as the qualification for vaidhi bhakti is faith in scripture, so the qualification for raganuga bhakti is a greed to attain the mood of the ragatmika devotees.


tat tad bhavadi-madhurya-shrute dhir yad apekshate

natra shastram na yuktim ca tal lobhotpatti lakshanam

krishnam smaran janam casya preshtham nija- samihitam

tat tat katha ratish casau kuryad vasam vraje sada

seva sadhaka-rupena siddha-rupena catra hi

tad bhava lipsuna karya vraja-lokanusaratah


Scripture and logic are not the symptoms of greed for the Lord. When the mind eagerly awaits absorption in the mood of love on hearing sweetness of the particular moods it is called pure greed.††† The method of practice is this: torelish topics of Krishna's pastimes while remembering Krishna and ones chosen Vraja devotee, to live in Vraja constantly, and to serve Krishna in ones body or chosen spiritual body, through service similar to that of the inhabitants of Vraja witha greed for the mood of ones chosen ideal.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 118, 150-151


Among the angas of bhakti mentioned in vaidhi bhakti such as kirtana , those which are favorable for his service are acceptedby the practitioner of raganuga.Those aspiring for dasya rasa copy the mood and gestures of Patraka and other servants; those desirous of sakhya rasa copy the mood and gestures of Subala and other friends; those desirous of parental rasa copy the mood and gestures of Yashoda and other elders; and those desirous of madhura rasa copy the mood, service and gestures of the Vraja gopis.†††††


There are two types of ragatmika bhakti: by kama and sambandha.Similarly there are two types of raganuga bhakti: kamanuga and sambandhanuga.†† Of the two, kamanuga is stronger and more prominent.Inkamanuga there are also two divisions:sambhogeccha mayi and tad bhavecchamayi.In the first, the devotee ofKrishna is inclined to give pleasure toKrishna;in the latterthe devotee relishesthesweet relation between Radhaand Krishna.†† That bhakti in which one indentifies with devotees of Krisna who have conventional relationships with Krishna is called sambandhanuga.In Dvaraka the queens' love is madhura rasa based on sambandha.In Vraja, only kamanuga madhura rasa exists.††


Lord Chaitanya taught that the tendencies of the jiva suddenly manifest through the raganuga process.Lord Chaitanya has approved of worship in the raga mode (raga marga).If a soul by good fortune gets association with devotees who have the mercy of Gauranga, he will certainly become greedy for the mood of the Vraja vasis.†† But as long as he does not have such association, he must practice vaidhi bhakti.Just on taking shelter of the lotus feet of Gauranga he enters the path of raga.Those eager for the path of spontaneous attraction first practiceraganuga bhakti.In practicing raganuga bhakti the person quickily develops an extremely high qualification.†† On attaining greed for the mood of the Vraja vasis, no other attraction remains. When that greedarises, the practitioner immediately becomes completely disinterested in sinful action, piety, social duty, neglect of duty, forbidden actions, speculation, and dry renunciation.††


adau shraddha tatah sadhu-sango'tha bhajana kriya

tato' nartha nivrittih syat tato nishtha rucis tatah

athashaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyudancati

sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah


In the beginning, there must be faith.Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees.Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders.Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service.Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love.This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krishnaconsciousness.

B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga, Prema bhakti lahiri,11


In the vaidhi bhakti process following this gradually method, attainment of bhava takes a long time.However, if greed for the mood of the Vraja vasis develops, the material desires are quickly destroyed, since no other desires have a place.Along with greed for Krishna simultaneously arises bhava.††


On the path of raga, however, it is necessary to avoid imitation or deception.If that occurs, it produces disturbance and obstacles, though the person may think that his corrupted raga is real raga.Finally, material association turns that raga into material attraction and causes falldown of the jiva.††††


The devotee of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after having developed real greed, practices raganuga bhakti.†† Following the same rules as vaidhi bhakti, the devotee takes shelter of genuine guru, serves the deity, takes Vaishnava association, studies the devotional literature, lives in a place of the Lord's pastimes, and chants the Lord's name.†† Along with this, the devotee serves Krishna in an intense mood of love in his spiritual body (siddha deha), following the sentiments of the Vraja vasis.††




The fortunate devotee, by taking shelter of the Holy Name, the supreme process, will become absorbed in service on the level of bhava.†† In chanting the name, diksa and purascarya rites are not necessary.††† By avoiding nama abhasa and nama aparadha, gradually the person will be able to chant the name continuously.†† By continuing to chant in this way, the devotee, trying to attain the merciful glance of the deity, will continuously realize the Lord's name and form.Gradually, he will be able to realize simultaneously the name, form and qualities of the deity.†† Finally, he will realize the name, form and qualities while meditating on the factual pastimes of the Lord.By participation in the pastimes, rasa arises.††† Rasa is the last attainment.The stage of rasa can be quickly attained if the devotee maintains an intense longing for rasa while chanting the name.††††††


The offenses against the name are ten as mentioned in the Padma Purana:


satam ninda-namnah param aparadham vitanute

yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tad vigarham

shivasya shri visnor ya iha guna namadi sakalam

dhiya bhinnam pashyet sa khalu hari-namahitakarah

guror avajna shruti-shastra-nindanam

tatharthavado hari namni kalpanam

namno balad yasya hi papabuddhi

na vidyate yasya yamair hi shuddhih


subha-kriya samyam api pramadah

ashraddadhane vimukhe'py ashrinvati

yas copadeshah shiva-namaparadhah

shrute'pi nama-mahatmye yah priti rahito narah

aham mamadi paramo namni so'py aparadha-krit


To show envy or criticize the pure devotee.

To think that the devatas are equal to Krishna.

To disrespect or disobey the guru.

To disrespect the scriptures.

To think that the glorification of the Name is empty praise.

To imagine meanings of the Name.

To commit sin on the strength of the Name.

To consider the Name on the same level as pious actions.

To give the Name to unqualified people.

Not to have faith in the Name or taste for the Name after hearing its glories, and to accept the Name without giving up material attachment.


There are two types of namabhasa: chaya namabhasa and pratibimba namabhasa: Chanting the name without offense but devoid of proper knowledge is called chaya namabhasa.†† When, through devotional association, a devotee obtains proper knowledge, it becomes the pure name, shuddha nama.††† When the chanting of the name is covered by material desires, by jnana and karma, or by dry renunciation, it is called pratibimba namabhasa.††† At times pratibimba namabhasa comes close to chaya nama bhasa and at times it turns to aparadha.†† For nama aparadha, there is no other remedy than to continually chant in the association of devotees.


Vaishnavas according to chanting


Those vaishnavas who are surrendered to the pure name are called vaishnavas following the footsteps of Shri Chaitanya.†† Those who chant the name in this way periodically are called vaishnavas.Those who chant in this way continuously are called better vaishnavas. Those whose proximity causes others to chant purely are called the best of vaishnavas.††


ataeva yanra mukhe eka krishna nama

sei ta' vaishnava, kariha tanhara sammana

krishna nama nirantara yahara vadane

sei vaishnava shreshtha, bhaja tanhara carane

yanhara darshane mukhe aise krishna nama

tanhare janiha tumi vaishnava pradhana

krama kari kahe prabhu vaishnava lakshana

vaishnava vaishnavatara ara vaishnavatama


One who is chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is understood to be a Vaishnava; therefore you should offer all respects to Him.A person who is always chanting the holy name of the Lord is to be considered a first-class Vaishnava, and you duty is to serve his lotus feet.A first -class Vaishnava is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Krishna.†† In this way Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed about different types of Vaishnavas-the Vaishnava, Vaishnavatara and Vaishnavatama.He thus successively explained all the symptoms of a Vaishnava to the inhabitants of Kulina grama.


C.C. Madhya 16.72, 74-75


One should take association with all these vaishnavas.One should respect the ordinary vaishnava.One should take shelter at the feet of the better and best vaishnavas.Serving such vaishnavas, the householder vaishnava should celebrate and feel satisfied.Whether the vaishnava is a householder or renounced, according to his level, the devotee should respect him.†† The devotee will seek out and serve the Vaishnavas superior to himself.


sajatiyashaye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare

shrimad bhagavatarthanam asvado rasikaih saha


One should taste the meaning of Shrimad Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 2.40


One should not find fault in the previous sins of the vaishnava nor the sins which have disappeared or are about to disappear, nor should he find fault in the accidental commission of sin.


na prakritatvam iha bhaka-janasya pashyet


One should not see the devotee from the material point of view.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Upadeshamrta6


The householder should perform only activities leading to the spiritual goal, and not involve himself in the sinful activities of the materialist.†† He should show appropriate compassion for all jivas.†† Considering himself fallen, he should give proper respect to all others, not demanding respect from others.The householder, being unattached to family life, should blend it with things related to Krishna.†† Accepting only what is necessary, he should practice relishing the chanting of the name.When the taste for Krishna becomes strong and the taste of material enjoyment becomes completely destroyed, a natural sense of detachment will arise due to absence of material attachment.Such a state will not appear by endeavor alone.




For practice of both types of bhakti, the bona fide guru is necessary.†† The guru engages the candidate of vaidhi bhakti according to his inclinations.He teaches what rules to observe and how to eliminate the obstacles.†† The guru shows the candidate of raganuga bhakti how to cultivate suitable rasa corresponding to the disciple's natural taste.

There are two types of taste of greed: temporary and natural.††† Sometimes devotees hear about the qualities of Nanda or Subala, derive great bliss and sometimes show similar sentiments, but this bliss and the show of sentiments are short-lived.This is called temporary greed.†† There is no use in such a show.†† It is necessary for the guru to carefully examine which rasa -dasya, sakhya, vatsalya or madhura-gives natural greed.Detecting ones natural sentiment, the guru will give teachings according to that mood.If this is not done, then the instructed mood will not be permanent, due to the unsuitability to the disciple.†† It should be noted that not all seekers will be qualified for madhura rasa. If a guru finds it impossible for him to decide the rasa of the disciple, he will honestly admit his inability to the disciple and direct him to approach a suitable guru.The disciple has no alternative but to take shelter of the lotus feet of the bona fide guru.


For fear of enlarging the book, I have made a summary study of sadhana bhakti. Those who have desire to know more about this can study the Purva Vibhaga of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and the Bhakti Sandarbha.††


1 Translation of Bhaktivinoda