|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Rupa Goswami > Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu > Eastern Ocean Bhagavad Bhakti Bheda > Second wave Sadhana Bhakti|
sa bhakti sadhanam bhavah prema ceti tridodita ||1||
This Uttama Bhakti has three stages: sadhana, bhava, and prema.
In the stage of Sadhana, pure devotion is practiced externally. In the stage of Bhava, the practice becomes perfect, and the devotion becomes an internal part of ones existence. In the stage of Prema, the internal devotion becomes fully developed and mature.
Definition of Sadhana Bhakti
tatra sadhana-bhaktih –
kriti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-bhava sa sadhanabhidha |
nitya-siddhasya bhavasya prakatyam hridi sadhyata ||2||
kriti-sadhya – sensory emulation of the goal; bhavet – if to manifest; sadhya-bhava – internalization of the goal; sa – that; sadhana-abhidha – is called “sadhana”; nitya-siddhasya – to the eternally perfect; bhavasya – to bhava-bhakti; prakatyam – making manifest; hridi – in the heart; sadhyata – is the nature of the goal.
Now, Sadhana Bhakti –
When the senses emulate the goal of bhakti with the intention to internalize that goal, it is called sadhana. The goal is to manifest eternally-perfect bhava-bhakti in the heart.
This sholka defines “sadhana.” To understand this term an initial fimiliarity with two words is helpful: (1) sadhya – “the goal,” and (2) sadhana – “the means to obtain the goal.”
Sadhya – The Goal
Rupa Goswami says bhava-bhakti is the goal of sadhana. Though bhava is the goal of sadhana, it is not created by sadhana – it eternally exists (“nitya”). Nor does sadhana develop bhava from an imperfect to a perfect state, for bhava is eternally perfect (“nitya-siddha”).
What then does sadhana do? It causes eternally perfect bhava to manifest (“prakatyam”) in the heart (“hridi”). Though eternally perfect, bhava-bhakti is initially unmanifest (“aprakata”) in the heart – present only in a potential state. Sadhana causes it to manifest1.
Sadhana – The Means to Obtain the Goal
The term “kriiti-sadhya” indicates that the means to obtain the goal is to emulate its expression. Love is an emotion expressed by a variety of physical, mental, and vocal actions. Emotions and their expressions can be co-causal. For example, happiness can cause one to smile, and smiling can cause one to feel happy. In the same way, love may cause one to remember the beloved, and, conversely, remembering someone with affection may increase ones love for that person.
Bhava-bhakti is expressed through the senses in many ways, including hearing about, talking about, and remembering Krishna. Conversely, emulating those expressions can cause bhava-bhakti to manifest in the heart. Thus, the means to attain the goal of bhava-bhakti is to emulate the expressions of bhava-bhakti with one’s physical, mental, and vocal actions.
It must be noted that bhakti is both the means and the goal. Bhakti emulated in the senses (“kriti-sadhya”) is the means, and bhakti internalized in the heart (“sadhya-bhava”) is the goal. Thus bhakti has no cause other than itself. It is not a phenomenon produced by a material cause.
The term “sadhya-bhava” indicates that one’s emulation of bhava-bhakti must be intended to internaly realize bhava-bhakti if it is to be counted as sadhana. Accidental or coincidental emulation of bhava-bhakti – though pious – is not sadhana.
sa bhaktih saptama-skandhe bhangya devarshinodita ||3||
Narada mentions sadhana bhakti in a roundabout way in the Seventh Canto.
yatha saptame –
tasmat kenapyupayena manah krishne niveshayet ||4||
In the Seventh Canto –
“Everyone should somehow cause their mind to dwell on Krishna.”
In the perfect stage of love, one’s mind naturally dwells upon the beloved. In practice of love, one must deliberately cause the mind to dwell upon the beloved. The essence of sadhana bhakti is to think of Krishna.
vaidhi raganuga ceti sa dvidha sadhanabhidha ||5||
Sadhana has two types: (1) VadhI, and (2) Raganuga.
Vaidhi-Sadhana – Definition
tatra vaidhi –
yatra raganavaptatvat pravrittir upajayate |
shasanenaiva shastrasya sa vaidhi bhaktir ucyate ||6||
Now, Vadhi –
VaidhI Bhakti is sadhana that is motivated not by a natural attraction but by the injunctions of scripture.
yatha dvitiye –
tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavanishvaro harih |
shrotavyah kirtitavyash ca smartavyash cechata bhayam ||7||
In the Second Canto –
“O ParIkSit, if you want to be rid of fear then hear about, speak about, and remember the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari.”
Rupa Goswami sites this as an example of Vaidhi Sadhana Bhakti. King Parikshit was advised by Sukadeva, who spoke from scriptural authority, to hear, chant, and remember Hari. Since these activities will be motivated by this scriptural advice, they are an example of Vaidhi Sadhana.
smartavyah satatam vishnur vismartavyo na jatucit |
sarve vidhi-nishedhah syur etayor eva kimkarah ||8||
In the Padma Purana –
“Always remember Vishnu. Never forget him. All the rules and regulations of scripture all servants of this principle.”
Since Vaidhi Sadhana is motivated by scripture, Rupa Goswami takes care to point out how scripture directs one to perform sadhana bhakti by causing the mind to dwell on Krishna.
ity asau syad vidhir nityah sarva varnashramadishu |
nityatve ‘py asya nirnitam ekadashyadi vat phalam ||9||
This principle is eternal and applies to all persons in every situation. Though it is eternal, it also bestows a fruit (much like the rules of ekadazI).
yatha ekadashe tu vyaktam evoktam –
mukha vabhurupadebhyah purushasy ashramaih saha |
catvaro jajnire varna gunair vipradayah prithak ||10||
ya esham purusham sakshat ma prabhavam ishvaram |
na bhajanty avajananti sthanad bhrashtah patantyadhah ||11||
The Eleventh Canto explicitly declares –
“The four occupations and lifestyles that manifest from the Lord’s mouth, arms, legs, and feet fall to hell if they do not worship the Supreme Soul.”
Rupa Goswami quotes these slokas to substantiate the claim he made in Sloka 9 that remembering Vishnu always is a principle that applies to all persons from any occupation (varna) or lifestyle (ashrama). It also substantiates that this principle bestows a fruit, if one follows it, he is elevated, if not, he is degraded.
tat phalanca tatraiva –
evam krity ayoga pathaih puman vaidhika-tantrikaih |
arcannubhyatah siddhim matto vindat abhipsitam ||12||
About that fruit –
“I bless those whose worship of me is inspired by the rules of Scripture (both Vedic and Tantric) to enjoy their desired fruits.”
This sloka indicates that vaidhi sadhana bhakti can bestow materialistic fruits. The next sloka continues on the subject of the fruits of sadhana bhakti.
pancaratre ca –
surarshe vihita shastre hari muddishya ya kriya |
saiva bhaktir iti prokta taya bhaktih para bhavet ||13||
And in the Pancaratra –
“Those actions in relation to Hari prescribed in scripture are Bhakti and they give the fruit of transcendental love.”
This sloka indicates that vaidhi bhakti can bestow the transcendental fruit of love for God.
Qualification for Vaidhi-Sadhana
tatra adhikari –
yah kenapy atibhagyena jata shraddho ‘sya sevane |
natisakto na vairagya bhaga syam adhikary asau ||14||
Now, about qualification –
One who somehow has the great fortune to sprout a little faith in serving God, neither very attached nor very detached from the world, is qualified.
This sloka discusses the qualification for the topic currently under discussion, vaidhi-sadhana. “Faith” (sraddha) indicated where one puts his heart and trust. The qualification for practicing pure devotional service in vaidhi is that one is attracted to the concept of pure devotional service (see 1.1.11). Such a person will neither be to attached nor detached from the world. Excessive attachment to the world will countermand one’s proclivity to act primarily for the pleasure of God. Excessive detachment from the world will countermand one’s proclivity to act at all.
yadricchaya mat kathadau jata shraddha ‘stu yah puman |
na nirvinëo natisakto bhakti yogo ‘sya siddhidah ||15||
In the Eleventh Canto –
“One with firm faith in processes such as hearing about Me can obtain the perfection of bhakti, though he or she may not be very detached from the world nor very attached to it.”
uttamo madhyamash ca syat kanishthash ceti sa tridha ||16||
Qualification has three grades: high, middle and low.
tatra uttamah –
shastre yuktau ca nipuëah sarvatha dridha nishcayah |
praudha shraddho ‘dhikari yah sa bhaktav uttamo matah ||17||
Now, High Qualification –
In my opinion the devotee with high qualification is one who is expert in scriptural knowledge as well as logic and reasoning, and whose strong faith is always steady and firm.
tatra madhyamah –
yah shastrahi shvani puëah shraddhavan sa tu madhyamah ||18||
Now, Middle Qualification –
One whose knowledge of scripture is weaker, but who has faith is one of medium qualification.
tatra kanishthah –
yo bhavet komala shraddhah sa kanishtho nigadyate ||19||
Now, Low Qualification –
One with low qualification has weak faith.
This and the preceding two slokas describe three levels of qualification for vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti. Since vaidhi-sadhana is practice of pure devotion inspired by scriptural knowledge (see 1.2.6), one’s qualification to execute vaidhi-sadhana depends on the depth of one’s logical and thorough understanding of those scriptures, as well as one’s faith in them and their conclusion. One with strong knowledge of and faith in scripture is highly qualified for vaidhi-sadhana. One with less knowledge, but strong faith has “middle” qualification. One without knowledge and with weak faith has the lowest qualification.
tatra gitadi shuktanam caturëam adhikariëam |
madhye yasmin bhagavatah kripa syat tat priya syavana ||20||
sa kshiëa tat tad bhavah syacchuddha bhakty adhikaravan |
yathebhah shaunakadish ca dhruvah sa ca catuh sanah ||21||
Now, the Gita and other scriptures mention four qualified persons. Among them, whomever receives the merciful blessings of the Lord can gradually attain the qualification for pure devotion, as happened with Gajendra, Saunaka and the sages, Dhruva and the Four Kumars.
Here Rupa Goswami notes that the Gita mentions four persons who are qualified to worship the Lord. These are pious persons who turn to God out of distress (artha), economic need (atha-arthi), religious inquiry (jijnasu), or the quest for spiritual knowledge (jnani). These four types of persons are not eligible to practice vadhi-sadhana bhakti, because vadhi-sadhana bhakti is the practice of pleasing the Lord without ulterior motive. These four types of individuals, however, have four types of ulterior motive. Thus they lack even the week faith required for minimum eligibility to practice pure devotional service in Vaidhi-sadhana.
However, since they are pious and turn to the Lord for fulfillment of their ulterior motives, the Lord blesses them to gradually loose their ulterior desires and thus become qualified to practice pure devotion. For example, Dhruva turned to God out of desire for economic development but in so doing gradually became purified, forgot his original intentions, and took to pleasing the Lord without ulterior motive.
Gajendra is the example of artha, Dhruva the example of artha-arthi, Saunaka and the Naimisharanya sages examples of jijnasu, and the Four Kumars examples of jnani.
bhukti-mukti-spriha yavat pishaci hridi varate |
tavad bhakti-sukhas yatra katham abhyudayo bhavet ||22||
While the demon-like desire for sense enjoyment or liberation is in ones heart, how can the delight of pure bhakti appear there?
Rupa Goswami continues explaining that below kanistha-adhikari are those who have no adhikari at all for pure devotional service. As long as one has ulterior motives in the heart (anyabhilasita), he cannot engage in pure love.
tatrapi ca vishesheëa gatimaë viman icchatah |
bhaktir hrita manah praëan premëa tan kuru te janan ||23||
However, the desire for liberation is especially troublesome. True bhakti attracts the heart, mind, and life of a person.
Rupa Goswami noted in the previous verse that desires for sense enjoyment (bhukti) and desires for liberation (mukti) interfere with one’s proclivity to love selflessly as in pure devotion. Here he notes that of the two, mukti is more troublesome than bhukti. He concludes by stating that pure love attracts every aspect of an entity, leaving no room for ulterior desires such as bhukti or mukti.
He now begins a series of sastric quotation, spanning slokas 24-54 illustrating that the nature of Uttama Bhakti is wholly freed from such desires.
tatha ca tritiya –
tair darshaniyavayairudara vilasa hasekshita vama suktaih|
hritatmano hrita praëamsh ca bhakti ranicchato me gatimaë vim prayuëkte ||24||
In the Third Canto –
”The vision of me and the sweetness of my play, my smile and my soothing voice steals their very heart and soul. Their Bhakti grants them liberation.”
Rupa Goswami explains this in the next sloka
shri krishëa-caraëambhoja seva nirvrita cetasam |
esham mokshaya bhaktanam na kadacit spriha bhavet ||25||
Those whose consciousness is solely on the service of Shri Krishëa’s lotus feet never manifest any desire for mokSa.
Rupa Goswami here explains that he intends the previous reference from Bhagavatam to be understood as: “Although those who are completely absorbed in devotion to me never desire liberation, they receive as a side-effect of their devotion.”
The following slokas are further references illustrating how the qualification for uttama-bhakti is absence of motivation for bhukti and mukti.
Examples of the qualified bhakta’s lack of desire for Bhukti and Mukti
26 – Bhag 3.4.15
ko nv isha te pada-saroja-bhajam
sudurlabho ’rtheshu caturshv apiha
tathapi naham pravriëomi bhuman
O my Lord, devotees who engage in the transcendental loving service of Your lotus feet have no difficulty in achieving anything within the realm of the four principles of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. But, O great one, as far as I am concerned, I have preferred only to engage in the loving service of Your lotus feet.
27 – Bhag 3.25.34
naikatmatam me sprihayanti kecin
ye ’nyonyato bhagavatah prasajya
sabhajayante mama paurushaëi
A pure devotee, who is attached to the activities of devotional service and who always engages in the service of My lotus feet, never desires to become one with Me. Such a devotee, who is unflinchingly engaged, always glorifies My pastimes and activities.
28 – Bhag 3.29.13
sarupyaikatvam apy uta
diyamanam na grihëanti
vina mat-sevanam janah
A pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation—salokya, sarshti, samipya, sarupya or ekatva—even though they are offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
29 – Bhag 4.9.10
ya nirvritis tanu-bhritam tava pada-padma-
dhyanad bhavaj-jana-katha-shravaëena va syat
sa brahmaëi sva-mahimany api natha ma bhut
kim tv antakasi-lulitat patatam vimanat
My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that it is far beyond the stage of brahmananda, wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme. Since brahmananda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time? Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time.
30 – Bhag 4.20.24
na kamaye natha tad apy aham kvacin
na yatra yushmac-caraëambujasavah
vidhatsva karëayutam esha me varah
My dear Lord, I therefore do not wish to have the benediction of merging into Your existence, a benediction in which there is no existence of the nectarean beverage of Your lotus feet. I want the benediction of at least one million ears, for thus I may be able to hear about the glories of Your lotus feet from the mouths of Your pure devotees.
31 – Bhag 5.14.44
yo dustyajan kshiti-suta-svajanartha-daran
prarthyam shriyam sura-varaih sadayavalokam
naicchan nripas tad-ucitam mahatam madhudvit-
sevanurakta-manasam abhavo ’pi phalguh
Shukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the activities of Bharata Maharaja are wonderful. He gave up everything difficult for others to give up. He gave up his kingdom, his wife and his family. His opulence was so great that even the demigods envied it, yet he gave it up. It was quite befitting a great personality like him to be a great devotee. He could renounce everything because he was so attracted to the beauty, opulence, reputation, knowledge, strength and renunciation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishëa. Krishëa is so attractive that one can give up all desirable things for His sake. Indeed, even liberation is considered insignificant for those whose minds are attracted to the loving service of the Lord.
32 – Bhag 6.11.25
na naka-prishtham na ca parameshthyam
na sarva-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
samanjasa tva virahayya kankshe
O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahma resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet.
33 – Bhag 6.17.28
ye tu necchanty api param
te svartha-kushalah smritah
Although those who are interested only in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not desire anything material from the Lord and do not even want liberation, Lord Krishëa fulfills all their desires.
34 – Bhag 6.18.74
tushte ca tatra kim alabhyam ananta adye
kim tair guëa-vyatikarad iha ye sva-siddhah
dharmadayah kim aguëena ca kankshitena
saram jusham caraëayor upagayatam nah
Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all causes, the original source of everything. The Lord is the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities. For devotees, therefore, who are transcendental to the modes of material nature, what is the use of following the principles of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, which are all automatically obtainable under the influence of the modes of nature? We devotees always glorify the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore we need not ask for anything in terms of dharma, kama, artha and moksha.
35 – Bhag 7.6.25
tushte ca tatra kim alabhyam ananta adye
kim tair guëa-vyatikarad iha ye sva-siddhah
dharmadayah kim aguëena ca kankshitena
saram jusham caraëayor upagayatam nah
Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all causes, the original source of everything. The Lord is the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities. For devotees, therefore, who are transcendental to the modes of material nature, what is the use of following the principles of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, which are all automatically obtainable under the influence of the modes of nature? We devotees always glorify the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore we need not ask for anything in terms of dharma, kama, artha and moksha.
36 – Bhag 7.8.42
pratyanitah parama bhavata trayata nah sva-bhaga
daityakrantam hridaya-kamalam tad-griham pratyabodhi
kala-grastam kiyad idam aho natha shushrushatam te
muktis tesham na hi bahumata narasimhaparaih kim
King Indra said: O Supreme Lord, You are our deliverer and protector. Our shares of sacrifices, which are actually Yours, have been recovered from the demon by You. Because the demoniac king Hiraëyakashipu was most fearsome, our hearts, which are Your permanent abode, were all overtaken by him. Now, by Your presence, the gloom and darkness in our hearts have been dissipated. O Lord, for those who always engage in Your service, which is more exalted than liberation, all material opulence is insignificant. They do not even care for liberation, not to speak of the benefits of kama, artha and dharma.
37 – Bhag 8.3.20 (since verse is taken from Shrila Prabhupada’s Shrimad Bhagavatam, verse 8.3.21 is also quoted as in Bhagavatam)
ekantino yasya na kancanartham
vanchanti ye vai bhagavat-prapannah
aty-adbhutam tac-caritam sumangalam
tam aksharam brahma param paresham
atindriyam sukshmam ivatiduram
anantam adyam paripurëam ide
Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction. I, however, am in danger. Thus I pray to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally existing, who is invisible, who is the Lord of all great personalities, such as Brahma, and who is available only by transcendental bhakti-yoga. Being extremely subtle, He is beyond the reach of my senses and transcendental to all external realization. He is unlimited, He is the original cause, and He is completely full in everything. I offer my obeisances unto Him.
38 – Bhag 9.4.67
mat-sevaya pratitam te
necchanti sevaya purëah
kuto ’nyat kala-viplutam
My devotees, who are always satisfied to be engaged in My loving service, are not interested even in the four principles of liberation [salokya, sarupya, samipya and sarshti], although these are automatically achieved by their service. What then is to be said of such perishable happiness as elevation to the higher planetary systems?
39 – Bhag 10.16.37
na naka-prishtham na ca sarva-bhaumam
na parameshthyam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
Those who have attained the dust of Your lotus feet never hanker for the kingship of heaven, limitless sovereignty, the position of Brahma or rulership over the earth. They are not interested even in the perfections of yoga or in liberation itself.
40 – Bhag 10.87.21
na parilashanti kecid apavargam apishvara te
My Lord, some fortunate souls have gotten relief from the fatigue of material life by diving into the vast nectar ocean of Your pastimes, which You enact when You manifest Your personal forms to propagate the unfathomable science of the self. These rare souls, indifferent even to liberation, renounce the happiness of home and family because of their association with devotees who are like flocks of swans enjoying at the lotus of Your feet.
41 – Bhag 11.20.34
na kincit sadhavo dhira
bhakta hy ekantino mama
vanchanty api maya dattam
Because My devotees possess saintly behavior and deep intelligence, they completely dedicate themselves to Me and do not desire anything besides Me. Indeed, even if I offer them liberation from birth and death, they do not accept it.
42 – Bhag 11.14.14
na parameshthyam na mahendra-dhishëyam
na sarvabhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
mayy arpitatmecchati mad vinanyat
One who has fixed his consciousness on Me desires neither the position or abode of Lord Brahma or Lord Indra, nor an empire on the earth, nor sovereignty in the lower planetary systems, nor the eightfold perfection of yoga, nor liberation from birth and death. Such a person desires Me alone.
43 – Bhag 12.10.6
naivecchaty ashishah kvapi
brahmarshir moksham apy uta
bhaktim param bhagavati
labdhavan purushe ’vyaye
Lord Shiva replied: Surely this saintly brahmaëa does not desire any benediction, not even liberation itself, for he has attained pure devotional service unto the inexhaustible Personality of Godhead.
44 - 45 – Kartika-mahatmya of Padma Purana (“varam deva moksham na… idam te vapu natha… kuveatmajau baddha… Tatha prema-bhaktim…”)
hayashirshiya shri-narayaëa-vyuha stave ca –
na dharma kamam artham va moksham va varadeshvara |
prarthaye tava padabje dasyam evabhikamaye ||46||
And in Hayashisha’s Shri Narayaëa-vyuha –
”Not religiousity, pleasure, wealth nor liberation do I request, O Lord of Benedictions. But certainly I strongly desire the service of your lotus feet.”
punah punar varan ditsur vishëur muktim na yacitah |
bhaktir eva vrita yena prahladam tam namamy aham ||47||
And again –
”Vishnu repeatedly offered mukti, but he did not take it. He prayed only for bhakti. My obeisance to that Prahlada.”
yadricchaya labdham api vishëor dasharathe stu yah |
naicchain moksham vina dasyam tasmai hanumate namah ||48||
Hanuman did not request moksha, though he could have easily gotten it from the son of Dasarath. Obeisance to him.
ataeva prasiddham shri hanumad vakyam –
bhavandhacchide tasyai spriha yami na muktaye |
bhavan prabhur aham dasam iti yatra vilupyate ||49||
In the famous prayer of Hanuman –
”I do not desire mukti or anything else that obstructs my conception that you are my Lord and I am your servant.”
shri narada pancaratre ca jitante-stotre –
dharmartha kama moksheshu neccha mama kadacana |
tvat pada pankaja syadho jivitam diyatam mama ||50||
moksha-salokya sarupyan prarthaye na dharadhara |
icchami hi mahabhaga karuëyam tava suvrata ||51||
In the jitanta stotra of Narada Pancharatra –
”Religiousity, wealth, pleasures, or liberation – these are never my desires. But let your lotus feet be my life and meditation. Liberation, obtaining your own planet, or your own form – these I never request, O Lord. But, O Lord of great fortune, I desire your compassionate mercy.”
52 – Bhag 6.14.5
muktanam api siddhanam
kotishv api maha-mune
O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayaëa, or Krishëa. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare.
53 – Bhag 1.8.20
katham pashyema hi striyah
You Yourself descend to propagate the transcendental science of devotional service unto the hearts of the advanced transcendentalists and mental speculators, who are purified by being able to discriminate between matter and spirit. How, then, can we women know You perfectly?
54 – Bhag 1.7.10
atmaramash ca munayo
nirgrantha apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim
All different varieties of atmaramas [those who take pleasure in atma, or spirit self], especially those established on the path of self-realization, though freed from all kinds of material bondage, desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead. This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone, including liberated souls.
atra tyajyatay aivokta muktih panca vidhapi cet |
salokyadi stathapy atra bhaktya nativirudhyate ||55||
Even though all five forms of mukti are rejected by the bhakta, four of them (beginning with salokya) are not utterly incompatible with bhakti.
Ekatva (oneness with the Supreme) is incompatible with bhakti in all cases, as in such complete oneness there exists absolutely no distinction between the lover and the beloved, thus love cannot be exchanged. The remaining four types of mukti (salokya – to live on the same planet, sashtri – to have the same opulence, samipya – to have the same associates, and sarupya – to have the same form as the Supreme) may or may not be incompatible with bhakti, depending on the reason why they are desired, as the next shloka explains.
sukhaishvaryottara seyam prema-sevottarety api |
salokyadir dvidha tatra nadya seva jusham mata ||56||
There are two kinds of the salokya-mukti, etc. (1) where one’s own enjoyment and opulence is paramount, and (2) where love and service is paramount. The first type has no place in devotional service.
Each of the four partially acceptable muktis is of two types: (1) sukha-aishvarya-uttara mukti – the liberation desired for one’s own enjoyment, and (2) prema-seva-uttara mukti – the liberation in which love and service to the Supreme predominate. The second type is acceptable in Uttama Bhakti.
kintu premaika madhurya jusha ekantino harau |
naivaëgi kurvate jatu muktim panca vidham api ||57||
Persons who are wholly absorbed in the sweetness of love for Hari does not desire the five types of liberation.
Although the prema-seva-uttara mukti is acceptable in uttama bhakti – the purest devotee does not even desire such liberations. How then can they culminate their service to the supreme without liberation to His abode? Though they do not desire such liberations, the purest devotees still obtain them automatically in the course of their pure devotional exchanges with the Supreme.
tatrapy ekantinam shreshtha govinda hrita manasah |
yesham shrisha-prasado ‘pi mano hartum na shaknuyat ||58||
Of all persons who are wholly absorbed in sweet love for the Lord, those whose heart and minds are absorbed in Govinda are the foremost. Not even the graces of Narayan can attract them.
siddhantatastv abhede ‘pi shrisha-krishëa sva-rupayoh |
rasen-otkrishyate krishëa rupam esha rasa sthitih ||59||
Though the truth is that there is that Narayana and Krishëa are not different, the distinction of Krishëa is that all rasas are most perfectly expressed in Him.
Qualification for Vaidhi-Sadhana is Open to Everyone
shastratah shruyate bhaktau nrimatrasy adhikarita |
sarvadhikaritam magha snanasya vruvata yatah |
drishtantita vashishthena hari-bhaktir nripam prati ||60||
We hear from shastra that every human being is eligible for bhakti. Vaishishta says just as everyone is qualified to bathe in January everyone is qualified for Hari-Bhakti.
yatha padme –
sarve ‘dhikariëo hyatra hari-bhaktau yatha nripa ||61||
In the Padma –
”O king, everyone is qualified for Hari-bhakti, just as everyone is qualified to bathe in the Ganges in January.”
Everyone is qualified to bathe in the cold water in January, but few will do so because the discomfort poses difficulty. Similarly, although it may be difficult to operate without motive for bhukti or mukti, everyone is qualified to do so and practice vadhi-sadhana of uttama-bhakti.
kashikhaëde ca tatha –
antyaja api tad rashtre shankha-cakraëka dhariëah |
samprapya vaishëavim diksham dikshita iva samvabhuh ||62||
In the kashikanda –
“In Mayuradhvaja’s kingdom even the low-caste people receive Vaishnava Diksha, mark themselves with the symbols of Vishnu, and become elevated.”
This is another reference to the point that everyone can be qualified to practice vaidhi-sadhana of uttama-bhakti.
The Duty of One Qualified for Vaidhi Sadhana
api ca –
ananushthanto dosho bhakty aëganam prajayate |
na karmaëam akaraëa desha bhakty adhikariëam ||63||
One who is qualified for bhakti is at fault if he or she neglects to perform the parts of sadhana, but is not at fault if he or she neglects to perform karma.
In 1.2.6 Rupa Goswami defined Vaidhi-bhakti-sadhana as being inspired by knowledge obtained from the scripture. In 1.2.8-13 he explained that scripture stresses the constant remembrance of Krishëa as the highest dharma, which all other dharmas are meant to assist. Here he includes several verses as an additional note ("api ca") to reinforce this concept.
nishiddhacarato daivat prayashcittantu nocitam |
iti vaishëava-shastraëam rahasyam tad vidam matam ||64||
If by chance one qualified for vaidhi-sadhana performs some forbidden karma, there is no need of formal reformation. This is the opinion of those who understand the mysteries of Vaishnava scripture.
An important word in this verse is daivat – “by chance.” Premeditated acts that violate worldly morality are not remedied without prayashcittya - formal acts of repentance.
sve sve ‘dhikare ya nishtha sa guëah parikititah |
vipary astu doshah syad ubhayor esha nishcayah ||65||
In the Eleventh Canto –
”Abiding by the rule prescribed according to one’s qualification is the essence of morality. Abandoning them is the essence of immorality. This is how you should distinguish the two.”
Different dharmas are prescribed to persons according to their degree of spiritual development. This degree of spiritual development determines their eligibility (“adhikara”) to practice karma, jnana, or bhakti. One who is qualified for Vaidhi-sadhana should abide by the dharmas of that path. One qualified for karma should abide by the dharmas prescribed for that path. In all cases, one should not violate the dharmas prescribed to one.
tyaktva svadharmam caraëambujam harer bhajan napakko ‘tha patet tato yadi |
yatra kva vabhadram abhudamushya kim ko vyartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah ||66||
In the First Canto –
”What ill can come if one abandones one’s dharma to worship the lotus feet of Hari? What good can come to one who abides to one’s dharma, yet does not worship Hari?”
If one is qualified to begin worship of Hari in Vaidhi-Sadhaha of Uttama-Bhakti, there is no fault in giving up one’s karmic duties. Vishvanatha and Mukundadas note that giving up one’s karmic duties without true qualification for vaidhi-sadhana is immoral. Thus it should be avoided. Cases when one’s worldly duty may be foregone are noted in the next Shloka.
ajna yaivam guëan doshan mayadishtan api svakan |
dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam bhajet sa ca sattamah ||67||
In the Eleventh Canto –
”Though knowing well the benefits of adhering to one’s dharma and the faults of abandoning dharma, one who renounces dharma for the sake of worshipping me is the paramount saint.”
An famous example of such sattama is the gopis who violated ordinary morality by placing the dust of their feet upon Krishëa's head for the sake of curing his headache. Persons with material motives, however, who transgress their dharma are not excused by these verses.
devarshi bhutapta nriëam pitriëam na kimkaro na yamriëi ca rajan |
sarvatmana yah sharaëam sharaëyam gato mukundam parihritya kartam ||68||
In this regard –
”O King, not to the gods, sages, other beings, mankind, or ancestors is one subservient or indebted – if one takes exclusive refuge of the omnipresent Mukunda.”
shri-bhagavad gitasu –
sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam sharaëam vraja |
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma sucah ||69||
In Bhagavad Gita –
”Renounce all dharma and go exclusively to me for refuge. I will free you from all sinful reaction. Do not worry.”
agastya samhitayam –
yatha vidhi-nishedhau tu muktam naivopasarpatah |
tatha na sprishato ramopasakam viddhi-purvakam ||70||
In Agastya Samhita –
”But a liberated soul is not obliged by the rules and regulations. Similarly, the worshiper of of Rama is untouched by such rules.”
ekadashe eva –
svapada mulam bhajatah priyasya tyaktany abhavasya harih pareshah |
vikarma yaccot patitam kathancid-dhunoti sarvam hridi sannivishtah ||71||
In the Eleventh Canto –
”if one who gives up all other desires to worship the feet of the Supreme Lord Hari by chance violates the injunctions of Karma, the Lord in his heart destroys all suffering that might accrue.”
The Limbs of Sadhana
hari-bhakti-vilase ‘sya bhakter aëgani lakshashah |
kintu tani prasiddhani nirdishyante yatha mati ||72||
The Hari Bhakti Vilas describes the limbs of sadhana bhakti. Here we will state the most important ones, as far as possible.
Rupa Goswami has concluded his presentation on vaidhi-bhakti’s principles. He now begins to discuss how one actually executes it. The various ways of executing vaidhi-sadhana he terms sadhana-aëga: the “limbs” or “parts” of sadhana.
atra aëga-lakshaëam –
ashritav antaraneka bhedam kevalam eva va |
ekam karmatra vidvadhir ekam bhakty aëgam ucyate ||73||
Now, the characteristic of sadhana’s limbs –
The wise say that sadhana-bhakti may consist of performing many items or in performing only one item.
It becomes clear in Jiva Goswami's commentary, and in 1.2.264-268 that sadhana bhakti may focus on a single of the nine main limbs of sadhana (shravana, kIrtana, etc.), also known as nava-lakSana bhakti, or may focus on many or all of those nine limbs.
atha aëgani –
guru-padashrayas tasmat krishëa-dikshadi-shikshaëam |
vishrambheëa guroh seva sadhu-vartmanu-vartanam ||74||
Now, the parts –
 Taking shelter at the feet of guru.  Receiving initiation and instruction about Krishëa.  Serveing guru with enthusiasm.  Following the saint’s path.
sad-dharma-priccha bhogadi-tyagah krishëasya hetave |
nivaso dvarakadau ca gaëgader api sannidhau ||75||
 Inquiring about eternal religious principles.  Giving up personal enjoyments for Krishëa’s sake.  Living in sacred places like Dvaraka and the Ganges.
vyavahareshu sarveshu yavad arthanuvartita |
hari-vasara sammano dhatry ashvatthadi gauravam ||76||
 Seeking only what is nessecary in all aspects of daily life.  Respecting the holy days of Hari.  Respecting beings such as the Banyan and Myrobalan.
eshamatra dashaëganam bhavet prarambha-rupata ||77||
These ten parts are preliminary.
saëga-tyago vidureëa bhagavad-vimukhaira janaih |
shishyady ananuvandhitvam maharambhady anudyamah ||78||
 Abandoning at a great distance the company of persons who are adverse to God.  Not seeking to have many students.  Not being overly enthusiastic about great undertakings.
 Giving up excessive appreciation for mundane arts, poetry, and philosophy.
vyavahare ‘py akarpaëyam shokady avasha-vartita ||80||
 Not being unkind, even when dissatisfied.  Not being overwhelmed in times of lamentation.
anya-devan avajna ca bhutanudvega dayita |
seva-namaparadanam udbhava vakarita ||81||
 Not disobeying other gods, and  not bringing anxiety to any being.  Carefully avoiding offenses in one’s worship and meditation on God’s name.
krishëa-tad-bhakta-vidvesha-vinindady asahishëuta |
vyatir ekatayamisham dashanam syad anushthitih ||82||
 Not tolerating malice or insult to Krishëa or his devotee.
These ten are indirect.
asyastatra praveshaya dvaratve ‘py aëga vimshateh |
trayam pradhanam evoktam guru-padashrayadikam ||83||
The items mentioned so far are doorways into the realm of sadhana, but the three beginning with “guru-padashraya” are said to certainly be of primary importance.
The first twenty parts of sadhana are noted as being preliminary (prarambha-rupata), like doorways into the rest of sadhana-bhakti. Of these the first ten are positive actions (pravritti-shilanam) and the second ten are negative actions (nivritti-shilanam). The most important of the twenty preliminary items are the first three, which concern establishing a relationship with a guide (guru).
dhritir vaishëava cihëanam harer-namaksharasya ca |
nirmalyadesh ca tasyagre taëdavam daëdavannatih ||84||
 Marking the body with VaiSëava symbols.  Marking the body with the name of Hari.  Accepting purified items.  Enthusiastic dancing.  Prostration.
abhyutthanam anuvrajya gatih sthane parikramah |
arcanam paricarya ca gitam samkirtanam japah ||85||
 Rising up,  Following,  Going to the place,  Circumambulating,  Worshipping,  Serving,  Singing,  Congregational Glorification,  Chanting.
 Rising up respectfully when Krishëa (or the Deity or devotee) enters.  Following respectfully when that person leaves.  Going to the place where Krishëa (or the Deity or devotee) are.
vijnaptih stava-pathash ca svado naivedya-padyayoh |
dhupa-malyadi-saurabhyam shri-murteh sprishtir ikshaëam ||86||
 Submitting one’s inner feelings,  Reciting prayers from scripture,  Eating,  Drinking the water that washed the feet,  Smelling the sweet incence, flowers, and other things,  Touching the Deity,  seeing the Deity.
 Eating (the food offered to Krishëa).
aratrik-otsavadesh ca shravaëam tat-kripekshaëam |
smritir-dhyanam tatha dasyam sakhyam atmanivedanam ||87||
 Seeing the aratrik festival, and  hearing.  Looking for/at His mercy.  Remembering.  Meditating.  Servitude.  Friendship.  Self-dedication.
[45, 46] Remembering and Meditating (on Krishëa). The difference between  “servitude” (dasyam) and  “serving” (paricarya) will become clear in the shlokas ahead (begginning from 96) which define the items in more detail.
nija-priyopaharaëam tad-arthe ‘kila-ceshtitam |
sarvatha-sharaëapattis tadiya manca sevanam ||88||
 Offering things dear to oneself.  Performing all endeavors for Krishëa’s sake.  Taking shelter in all respects.  Serving those associated with Krishëa, such as…
yatha-vaibhava-samagri sad-goshthibhir-mahotsavah ||89||
(serving) Tulasi,  scripture,  Mathura,  devotees, etc.  Holding great celebrations in the company of sadhus.
urjadaro vishesheëa yatra janmadinadishu |
shraddha visheshatah pritih shri-murter-aëghri-sevane ||90||
 Observing the month of Urja,  Specially respecting the advent day of Krishëa,  Worhsipping the feet of the Deity with great faith and devotion.
shrimad-bhagavatarthanama-svado rasikaih saha |
sajatiyashye snigdhe sadhau saëgah svato vare ||91||
 Tasting the meaning of Shrimad Bhagavatam in the company of coinsurers.  Keeping company with great saints who are like-minded and affectionate.
nama-samkirtanam shri-mathura-maëdale sthitih ||92||
 Congregational glorification of Krishëa’s name.  Residing in Mathura.
aëganam pancakas yasya purvam vilikhitasya ca |
nikhila-shraishthy-avodhyaya punar-apy atra kirtanam ||93||
Although the last five items were already mentioned, they are mentioned again to glorify their paramount position among all the items.
iti kaya-hrishikantah karaëanam upasanah ||94||
These are the means of worship through the bodily senses.
catuhshashtih prithak saëgatik-abhedat kramadinah ||95||
Among these sixty-four some may be classified as group activities, and some as solitary activities.
Explanation of the Parts of Sadhana
Now, examples will be given for these items, from the words of the sages.
1 - tatra gurupadashrayo
yatha ekadashe –
tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh shreya uttamam |
shabde pare ca nishëatam brahmaëy upashamashrayam ||97||
1 – Shelter of the guru’s feet
In the Eleventh [SB 11.3.21] –
”Therefore, one who wants to know the ultimate good should humbly approach a guru, who is deeply learned in the spiritual subjects of scripture and Trancendence, and who is equipoised.”
The phrase “gurum prapadya” from this shloka is synonomous with the first item of sadhana, “guru-padashraya,” since prapadya indicates “placing oneself at the feet.”
The first item of sadhana involves finding a competent guide (guru). The impetus to find a guru is (1) disatisfaction with phenominal existence (“tasmat”), and (2) desire to understand one’s ultimate good fortune (“shreya-uttama”).
One with such impetus should seek a person who is (1) learned (“nishëatam”) in spiritual subjects (“brahmaëi”) of scripture (“shabde”) and Transcendence (“pare”), and (2) is equipoised (“upashamashraya”) and thus not attracted to or repulsed by material things.
2 – shri-krishëa-dikshadi-shikshaëam
yatha tatraiva –
tatra bhagavatan dharman shikshed gurv-atma-daivatah |
amayayanuvrittya yais-tushyed-atmatma-do harih ||98||
2 – Initiation and Instruction About Shri Krishëa
From the same [11.2.22] –
”Considering the guru as dear as God or ones own self, one should learn from him or her about the nature of God, Hari, the supreme soul who is pleased to give Himself in exchange for sincere service.”
Shikshet is the essential word linking this shloka to this item of sadhana.
Having approached a competent guide (guru-padashraya) one begins to learn from him or her about “bhagavat-dharma” – the nature of God and of ones relationship with God. The essence of bhagavat-dharma is that God is the soul of all souls (“atmatma”), Hari, and is pleased by sincere loving service (“amayayanuvrittya yais tushyet”), in reciprocation for which he gives himself entirely to his devotee (“atma-dah”).
Naturally, the guru beomes very dear by teaching such subjects to the disciple. The disciple thus comes to consider the guru as dear as God or as dear as ones own self (“gurv-atma-daivatah”).
3 – vishrambheëa guroh seva
yatha tatraiva –
acaryam mam vijaniyam navamanyeta karhicit |
na martya-buddhy asuyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruh ||99||
3 – Enthusiastically Serving the Guru
From the same [11.17.27] –
”Considering the spiritual master as myself, one should never disrespect, consider ordinary, or bear enmity toward him or her. The spiritual master represents all the gods.”
The tasks one carries out for one’s guru should be done without overt expressions of exhaustion or effort. They should be done happily and enthusiastically, knowing that, because the guru brings the disciple nearer to God by shri-krishëa-dikshadi-shiksha, he or she is particularly dear to God and is like God’s representative (“acaryam mam”). One should therefore never insult a guru (“navamanyeta”) nor should one feel enmity towards a guru (“asuyeta”) such as might result in the course of serving an ordinary person (“martya”).
Since the Supreme Lord includes all the demigods, the guru, as a representative of the Supreme Lord, may also be considered a representative of all the demigods (“sarva-deva-mayo guru”).
4 – sadhu-vartmanuvartanam
yatha skande –
sa mrigyah shreyasam hetuh panthah santapa-varjitah |
anvaptashramam purve yena santah pratasthire ||100||
4 – Walking the Path of the Saints
In the Skanda –
”One who seeks to be free from all distress and attain good fortune should follow the effortless and most suitable path left by previous saints.”
Brahma-yamale ca –
shruti-smriti-puraëadi pancaratra-vidhim vina |
aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate ||101||
And in the Brahma-yamala –
”Decidely, hari-bhakti that discards the scriptures – like the shruti, smRti, puraëas, and pancaratras – is nothing but an ill-omen.”
If ones sadhana is congrous with the path followed by previous saints, it is a good omen foretelling the appearance of bhava-bhakti. However, sadhana that does not accord with the sant’s path (recorded in scripture) is “utpataya” – an ill omen in the sky, like a shooting-star; it is only briefly manifest, and it fortells only misbehavior.
Rupa Goswami comments on this shloka in his next verse.
bhaktir aikantiki veyam avicarat pratiyate |
vastu-tastu tatha naiva yada shastri yat ekshyate ||102||
Those learned in scripture see such bhakti as only inappropriate misbehavior having no real substance.
The guru’s instructions and their application by the disciple must both maintain fidelity to the ways by which the saints previously succeded in teaching and learning bhakti. If the teaching of the guru or the understanding of the disciple lacks such congruity, bhava-bhakti, the real substance and aim of sadhana, is not at all likely to result. instead, the most likely result is sinful behavior couched in trappings of “spirituality.”
Following a guru who rejects or contradicts the path of previous saints (Buddha and Dattatreya are cited by Jiva Goswami as examples) is not a part of sadhana-bhakti.
5 – sad-dharma-priccha yatha naradiye –
acirad eva sarvarthah sidhyaty esham abhipsitah |
sad-dharmasyavabodhaya yesham nirvandhini matih ||103||
5 – Inquiring About Eternal Religion
Narada-pancaratra: “One whose intelligence earnestly endeavors to understand eternal religion very soon achieves all goals.”
6 – krishëarthe bhogadi-tyago yatha padma –
harim uddishya bhogani kale tyakta-vat astava |
vishëu-loka-sthita sampad-alola sa pratikshate ||104||
6 – Foregoing Enjoyment for Krishëa’s Sake
Padma Puraëa: “The imperishable opulence of the spiritual world awaits one who has foregone enjoyable things for Hari’s sake.”
If the course of pleasing Krishëa necessitates foregoing something one normally considers enjoyable, one should practice giving up that thing. Foregoing something for Krishëa’s sake or on his request (“uddishya”) can manifest bhava-bhakti.
7 – dvarakadi-nivaso yatha skande –
samvatsaram va shaëmasan masam masarddham eva va |
dvaraka-vasinah sarve nara naryash caturbhujah ||105||
7 – Residing in Dvaraka, etc.
Skanda Puraëa: “Any man or woman who resides in Dvaraka for a year, six months, a month, or even half a month, becomes four-armed.”
Becoming “four-armed” means to achieve sarupya-mukti, the liberation in which one manifests a spiritual form identical to Narayaëa’s.
adi-padena purushottama-vash ca yatha brahme –
aho kshetrasya mahatmyam samantaddasha-yojanam |
divishtha yatra pashyanti sarvan eva caturbhujan ||106||
The term “etc.” includes other places like PuruSottama-kSetra.
Brahma-yamala: “Aho, the glories of that eighty square-mile field [PuruSottama-kSetra]! The gods see all her inhabitants as having four arms.
Again, having four arms refers to sarupya-mukti. See comment to shloka 105.
gaëgadi-vaso yatha prathame –
ya vai lasacchri-tulasi vimishra krishëaëghrireëvabhy adhikambunetri |
punati seshan ubhayatra lokan kastan na seveta marishyamaëah ||107||
Residing at the Ganga, etc., from the First Canto [1.19.6]: “The auspicious water of that river carries the dust washed from Krishëa’s feet, mixed with floating TulasI leaves. It purifies all the worlds and their masters, inside and out. What person who faces death would not worship that river?”
Rivers like the Ganga and Yamuna, whose waters touch the transcendental form of Krishëa, purify one internally and externally. Such rivers purify both the higher and lower (“ubhayatra”) worlds, along with their masters (Brahma and Shiva). Such ability to internally purify even Shiva indicates the potential of these waters to bestow transcendental benefit. Thus to reside near and regularly bathe in these rivers is very favorable for manifesting bhava-bhakti in ones heart.
8 – yavad arthanuvartita yatha naradiye –
yavata syat sva-nirvahah svikaryat tavad artha-vit |
adhikye nyunata yanca cyavate paramarthatah ||108||
8 – Moderation in Pursuit of Common Needs
Narada-Pancaratra: “One who knows the goal of life should endeavor in moderation for his or her daily necessities, for either an excess or a deficiency in such necessities is a disturbance to attaining the highest goal.”
Jiva Goswami’s commentary adds that one should be moderate in one’s approach to daily spiritual practices as well.
9 – hari-vasara-sammano yatha brahma-vaivarte –
sarva-papa-prashamanam puëyam atyantikam tatha |
govinda-smaraëam nriëam ekadashy amuposhaëam ||109||
9 – Respecting the Holy Days of Hari
Brahma-Vaivarta Puraëa: “Ekadashi destroys all a person’s sin, bestows limitless piety, and causes them to remember Govinda.”
10 – dhatry ashvatthadi-gauravam yatha skande –
pujitah praëatah dhyatah kshapayanti nriëam agham ||110||
10 – Respecting Entities Like Myrobalan and Banyan Trees
Skanda-puraëa: “Worshipping, bowing to, and meditating on the Banyan, TulasI, Myrobalan, Cow, Brahmaëa and VaiSëava wash away a person’s sin.”
This item of sadhana is to respect entities associated with Krishëa. The removal of sin is favorable to the manifestation of bhava as the removal of dampness from wood is favorable to manifesting fire in that wood. Bhagavad Gita states that steady sadhana occurs after sins are removed: yeSam tvanta gatam papam jananam puëya karmanam. te dvanda moha nirmukta bhajanti mam dridha-vrata.
Ten Preliminary "Don'ts"
11 – atha shri-krishëa-vimukha-jana samtyago yatha katyayana-samhitayam –
varam huta-vaha-jvala pashjarantar-vyavasthitah |
na shauri-cinta-vimukha-jana-samvasa-vaishasam ||111||
11 – Rejecting The Association Of Those Averse To God
Katyayana-samhita: “Better to be in a cage of burning fire than to be in the calamity of being amidst persons averse to thoughts of God.”
vishëu-rahasye ca –
alinganam varam manye vyala-vyaghra-jalaulasam |
na sangah shalya-yuktanam nana-devaika-sevinam ||112||
ViSëu-rahasya: “Better to embrace a snake, tiger, or sea-monster than to associate with persons whose wordly motivation causes them to serve many gods.”
12 – 13 – 14 – shishyananubanddhitvadi-trayam yatha saptame –
na shishyan anubadhnita granthan naivabhyased bahun |
na vakhyam upaushjita narambhan arabhet kvacit ||113||
12, 13, 14 – Not being attached to having students; not starting huge projects; giving up excessive appreciation for mundane arts sciences.
Seventh Canto [7.13.8]: “Never be attached to having students, nor to studying many books and teaching them to earn money, nor to starting huge projects.”
These items protect one from activities that appear harmless or even favorable to sadhana, but in fact pose a great danger. Accepting students or disciples is dangerous because it exacerbates desires of gain, honor, and position. The twelth item of sadhana therefore prescribes that one be cautious to root out such attachments in regard to students and disciples.
Knowledge and study also seems harmless or even favorable to sadhana, but is dangerous because it too can exacerbate similar material desires. The thirteenth item therefore prescribes that one not study with the purpose of impressing others by one’s lectures and explanations for the sake of gaining worldly things like wealth and respect.
Starting huge projects specifically refers to construction of temples (Vishvanatha Cakravarti defines it as mAthadi-vyaparan). Building temples seems quite favorable to sadhana, but is a dangerous thing for the sadhaka because it can exacerbate the desire to expand (“arabhet”) one’s influence and properties. The fourteenth item of sadhana therefore prescribes that sadhakas be cautious regarding such projects, as they may surreptitiously distract one from the pure motives of sadhana-uttama-bhakti.
15 – vyavahare ‘py akarpaëyam yatha padme –
alabdhe va vinashte va bhakshy acchadana sadhane |
aviklava-matir bhutva harim eva dhiya smaret ||114||
15 – Not being unkind, even when dissatisfied
Padma Puraëa: “When one doesn’t get what one needs, or loses what one has the proper course is to steadily remember and meditate on Hari with an undisturbed mind.”
Material satisfaction is important even to a sadhaka because, as explained in Gita, it makes the mind peaceful and cooperative, which simplifies the task of focusing the mind on Shri Krishëa. However, this item prescribes that in the event that one’s material satisfaction is not met, or is lost or disturbed, one should practice keeping the mind placid and satisfied – focusing it on Hari, rather than allowing anger to grow through unkind, frustrated behavior, for agner, expressed through unkindness, consumes the thoughts and emotions and thus disturbs sadhana.
16 – shokady avasha-vartita yatha tatraiva –
shokamarshadibhir bhavair akrantam yasya manasam |
katham tatra mukundasya sphurti-sambhavana bhavet ||115|||
16 – Not being overwhelmed in times of lamentation
Padma Puraëa: “How can Mukunda manifest in a mind that is overwhelmed with lamentation, sorrow, etc.?”
The word mukunda indicates one whose face and mouth (mukha) is beautiful like a lotus flower (kunda). This word is used as a name for Krishëa, because his mouth, due to always smiling, is beautiful like a pearl-white lotus flower. Krishëa and his atmosphere are always happy. Therefore lamentation and sadness in the mind make it an unfit place for him to appear. This item therefore prescribes that the sadhaka practice shaking off such emotions. It may also be noted that this shloka presents a fine reason one should be careful not to cause anyone lamentation or grief.
17– anya-devanajsha yatha tatraiva –
harir eva sadaradhyah sarva-deveshvareshvarah |
itare brahma-rudradya navajsheyah kadacana ||116||
17 – Disrespect to Other Gods
Padma Puraëa: “Always worship Hari, the master of all the gods, but also do not disrespect Brahma, Rudra, and others.”
18– bhutanudvega-dayita yatha mahabharate –
piteva putram paraëo nodvejayati to janam |
vishuddhasya hrishikesha-turëam tasya prasidati ||117||
18 – Not Bringing Anxiety To Any Being
Mahabharata: “HriSIkesha is pleased with a pure-hearted person who treats all people like a father treats his children, never causing them any fear or pain.”
19 – seva-namaparadhanam varjanam yatha varahe –
mamarcanaparadha ye kirtyante vasudhe maya |
vaishëavena sada te tu varjaniyah prayatnatah ||118||
19 – Avioding Offenses in Service and Chanting the Name
Varaha Puraëa: “But a VaiSëava must always carefully avoid the offenses to my worship, which I have described.”
As indicated in 1.2.4, sadhana-bhakti is essentially a practiced form of lovingly and continuously keeping Krishëa in one’s heart and mind. Clearly, a state of mind that is unloving of Krishëa is counterproductive to sadhana. “aparadha” is the term for such an unloving state of mind. apa means “against,” and radha means “worship.” aparadha is the state of consciousness that is “un-woshipful” or “unloving.”
One’s state of mind expresses itself through one’s inner thoughts and external actions. Thus an unloving state of mind has symptoms in the mind and senses, and these symptoms are also known as aparadha. In this item of sadhana, Rupa Goswami prescribes that one be alert to root out the unloving state of mind by being on guard against it’s symptoms in one’s external service to Krishëa (“seva”) and in one’s internal meditations on Krishëa’s name (“nama”).
In this shloka, Varaha says that a VaiSëava must carefully avoid “arcanaparadha,” the symptoms of unloving or offensive mentality in one’s external service. Jiva Goswami, in his comment on this shloka, gives a list of 64 external actions that may symptomize such mentality.
The items on this list are suggestions of what may symptomize aparadha. Sometimes a VaiSëava may do something on the list without it being symptomatic of aparadha. For example, one may lie down to sleep in front of the Diety out of great love for him, and not out of disresptect. Furthermore, some of the items are culturally and historically specific. For example, Jiva Goswami suggests that one not wear red or blue in front of the Deities. This is specific to a time when red and blue dyes were so expensive that only royalty and the super-rich could afford them. Thus to wear such colors in front of the Deity might very well have been, at that time, an egotistical expression of self-importance. Today however, the suggestion may not be very applicable.
The essence of Jiva Goswami’s list of 64 offenses is to be on guard against symptoms of an unloving attitude. This unloving attitude shows itself mainly in one minimizing Krishëa’s importance. This also causes one to distract others from Krishëa and toward oneself, and to lack common good behavior in front of Krishëa. All Jiva Goswami’s 64 offenses can be organized under these three headings.
padme ca –
sarvaparadhakrid api mucyate hari samshrayah |
harer apy aparadhan yah kuryad dvipadapamshulah ||119||
namashrayah kadacit syat taraty eva sa namatah |
namno hi sarva-suhrido hy aparadhat pataty adhah ||120||
Padma Puraëa: “One who has committed all offenses can be freed by taking full shelter of Hari. But one who, like a two-legged animal, commits and offense to Hari can be delivered by taking full shelter of Hari’s name. If one commits an offense to Hari’s name, the well-wishing friend of everyone, he surely falls to hell.”
All commentators on this shloka in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu quote from Padma Puraëa the list of ten aparadha against Hari’s name. Like the symptomatic offenses that manifest in ones external actions (seva-aparadha), the offenses to the name (nama-aparadha) are symptoms of a state of mind that is un-worshipful or unloving towards Hari. The offenses are:
To disrespect or minimize
1. VaiSëavas – for they help one meditate on Hari’s name.
2. Krishëa – by considering him equivalent to the lesser gods like Shiva and Brahma.
3. Guru – for he or she gives one Hari’s name.
4. Scripture – by which the guru and VaiSëavas learn and teach one about Hari’s name.
It is an offense to disrespect the name by misinterpreting or misusing it as follows:
5. To think what the scripture, guru, and VaiSëavas say about the name is just an exaggeration or fabrication.
6. To interpret meditation on Hari’s name as a means to a goal other than love for Hari.
7. To use the name like a mop to clean up the sins and offenses one knowingly commits.
8. To consider meditation on Hari’s name to be another type of pious karma.
There are two additional offenses:
9. To cause others to commit offenses to Hari’s name by carelessly giving Hari’s name to one who is not devotionally inclined towards Hari.
10. To lack faith in and attachment to Hari’s name.
20– tan-nindady sahishëuta yatha shri dashame –
nindam bhagavatah shrëvams tat parasya janasya va |
tato napaiti yah so ‘pi yatyadhah sukritaccyutah ||121||
20 - Not Tolerating Malice Or Insult To Krishëa Or His Devotee
Tenth Canto [10.74.40]: “One falls down and loses all piety if one does not immediately leave the place where one hears insult towards God or God’s devotee.”
Main Items of Sadhana
21 – atha vaishëava cihëa dhritih yatha padme:
ye vahumula-paricihëita-shankha cakrah |
ye va lalata-phalake lasad-urdha-puëdra
ste vaishëava bhuvanam ashu pavitrayanti ||122||
21 – Bearing Vaishnava Symbols
Padma Puraëa: “Those with strands of Tualsi and “eye-of-lotus” around the neck, whose bodies bear symbols like the conch and wheel, whose foreheads bear upward pointing lines of sandal-paste, these Vaishnavas purify the whole world.”
22 – namakshara-dhritih yatha skande:
hari-namakshara-yutam bhale gopi-mridankitam|
tulasi-malikoraskam sprisheyurna yamodbhatah ||123||
22 – Bearing the Letters of the Name
Skanda Puraëa: “One who marks the letters of Hari’s name on ones forehead with gopi-clay, and who has a neclace of Tulasi on one’s chest cannot be touched by the servants of Death.”
Gopi-clay (“gopi-mrida”) is yellowish earth taken from a spot near the city of Dvaraka, India, where the Gopis were said to have departed from this word.
Being “untouched by the servants of Death” indicates the attainment of liberation.
The Skanda Puraëa mentions dhatri-mala (a necklace made of the seeds of the Myrobalan – “Pipal” - tree) as a Vaishnava symbol commonly worn around the neck. This has largely fallen out of practice, but Jiva Goswami states that he always saw Rupa Goswami wearing such a necklace.
Having the Tulasi necklace “on the chest” indicates a loosely worn lecklace, such as is the practice among Vallabhites and Madhavites. Caitanyites, however, are accustomed to wear the necklace tightly. Ramanugites wear it only during worship.
krishëa-mamaksharair-gatram anka yec candanadina |
sa loka-pavaëo bhutva tasya lokam-avapnuyat ||124||
Padma Puraëa: “One who marks ones body with the letters of Krishëa’s name using sandalwood, etc. purifies his or her world and attains Krishëa’s world.”
23 – nirmalya-dhritih yatha ekadashe:
tvayopabhukta-srag-dandha-vaso ‘lankara-carcitah |
ucchishta-bhojino dasas tava mayam jayema hi ||125||
23 – Taking Purified Things
Eleventh Canto [11.6.46]: “Your servants conquer your material illusions by eating the remnants of your meals, and decorating ourselves with flower garlands, perfumes and clothes that you have used.”
krishëottirëantu nirmalyam yasyangam sprishate mune |
sarva-rogais tatha papair-mukto bhavati narada ||126||
Skanda Puraëa: “O Sage, if ones body touches things purified by contact with Krishëa, O Narada, that person is released from all disease and sin!”
24 – agre taëdavam yatha dvaraka-mahatmye:
yo nrityati pharrishtatma bhavair-bahu-subhaktitah |
sa nirdhati papani manvantara-shateshv api ||127||
24 – Dancing in Front
Dvaraka Mahatmya: “One who dances cheerfully and with great and sweet devotional sentiment is released from the sins accumulated over thousands of manvantaras.”
1 manvantara = 71 divya-yugas
1 divya yuga = 1 rotation of the four yugas (4,320,000 years)
Thus one manvantara = 30,672,000 years. This statement from Dvaraka Mahatmya indicates that devotional dancing in front of Krishëa frees one from the karmic effects of sins accumulated through lifetimes spaning about 30 billion, 672 million years.
tatha shri-naradoktau ca:
nrityam shri-pater-agre talika-vadanair-bhrisham |
udòiyante sharira-sthah sarve pataka-pakshiëah || 128 ||
Narada says: “When one dances in front of the Lord of Lakshmi, clapping enthusiastically, all the sins perched on ones body fly away like birds.”
25 – daëòavan natih yatha naradiye:
eko ‘pi krishëaya kritah praëamo dashashvamedhavabhrithairna tulyah |
dashashvamedhi punareti janma krishëa-praëami na punar-bhavaya ||129||
25 – Offering Prostrations
Narada Pancaratra: “Even only once paying respect to Krishëa belittles the performance of ten Ashvamedha sacrifices, because the performer of the ten Ashvamedhas will take another birth, while the one who offers respect to Krishëa is not born again.”
This item prescribes offering gestures of respect to Krishëa, particularly to bow all the way down to the floor, to a position resembling a stick. An Ashvamedha-yajna is a highly elaborate ritual performed by a king who wishes to become the emporer of a region.
26 – abhyutthanam yatha brahmaëòe:
yanaruòham purah prekshya samayantam janardanam |
abhyutthanam narah kurvan patayet sarva-kilbisham || 130 ||
26 – Rising Up
Brahmaëòa Puraëa: “By rising up when one sees Janardana approaching in a chariot a person destroys all his or her sins.”
“Janardana” is a name of God meaning, “the nourisher of the people.”
This item prescribes acknowledging the arrival of Krishëa by standing up as a gesture of respect. Generally the Deity form of Krishëa does not move about entering new places except when atop a chariot.
27 – anuvrajya yatha bhavishyottare:
rathena saha gacchanti parshvatah prishthato ‘gratah |
vishëunaiva samah sarve bhavanti shvapadacayah || 131 ||
27 – Following Allong
BhaviSya Puraëa: “By following along with the Lord’s chariot, even a lowborn person attains equality with Vishnu.”
“Equality with Vishnu” (“viSëuna samah”) refers to one of the four types of personal liberations.
28 – sthane gatih
sthanam tirtham grihancasya tatra tirthe gatir-yatha || 132 ||
28 – Going to the Place
The places one should go to are places of pilgrimage and temples.
slaghyau taveva caraëau yau hares-tirtha gaminau || 133 ||
In another Puraëa: “The two praiseworthy feet that walk to the Hari’s pilgrimage places are the cause for crossing the desert of saMsara.”
alaye ca yatha bhari-bhakti-sudhodaya:
pravishann-alayam vishëor-darshanartham subhaktiman |
na bhuyah pravishen-matuh kukshikaragriham sudhih || 134 ||
And about going to the temple, Hari Bhakti Sudhodaya says, “One of sweet devotional temperment who enters Vishnu’s temple to see the Lord never again enters the confines of a mother’s womb.”
The above two citations from scripture indicate that visiting Hari’s pilgrimage place (“titha”) or his temple (“griha” or “alaya”) causes liberation from rebirth.
29 – parikramo yatha tatraiva:
vishëum pradakshini-kurvan yas tatravartate punah |
tad evavantanam tasya punar-navartate bhave || 135 ||
29 – Circumambultaion
Hari Bhakti Sudhodaya: “One who repeatedly circumambulates Vishnu does not again circulate through the cucle of birth and death.”
skande ca caturmasya-mahatmye:
catur-varam bhramibhistu jagat sarvam caracaram |
krantam bhavati vipragrya tat tirtha-gamanadhikam || 136 ||
Skanda Puraëa, Caturmasya-Mahatmya section: “One who walks around the Lord four times has gone around the entire universe of animate and inanimate things. That circumambulation is therefore superior to visiting the holy places.”
Since the entire universe eminates from Vishnu, traveling around him can be considered the same as traveling around the entire universe. If by circumambulating Vishnu one can effectively travel through the whole universe, including all it’s places of pilgrimage, there is minimal need to individually visit each place of pilgrimage.
30 – atha arcanam:
arcanam tupacaraëam syan-mantreëopapadanam || 137 ||
30 – Worship
“Worship” is properly offering things, perhaps with chanting of mantra, after performing rites of purification.
tad yatha dashame:
svargapavargayoh pumsam rasayam bhuvi sampadam |
sarvasam api siddhinam mulam tac caraëarcanam || 138 ||
Bhagavatam [10.81.19]: “Woshipping Krishëa’s feet is the source of all perfections, including all the wealth of heaven, earth, and the subterranean regions.”
Sudama Brahman made this statement.
shri-vishëor arcanam ye tu prakurvanti nara bhuvi |
te yanti shashvatam vishëor anandam paramam padam || 139 ||
Vishëu Rahasya: “Those who worship Vishnu on this earth attain Vishnu’s supreme spiritual realm, which abounds in eternal delight.”
31 – paricarya:
paricarya tu sevopakaraëadi parishkriya |
tatha prakirëa kac chatravadi tradyair upasana || 140 ||
31 – Peripheral Service
Cleaning the items used in worship, waving the yak-tail fan, holding an umbrella, etc. is “peripheral service.”
The previous item, arcana, is “upacarana” – or properly offering purified items directly to the Deity. The current itme, paricarya, is to perform services in connection with arcana, like cleaning the items used in worship, waving fans during worship, etc.
muhurtam va muhurtarddham yasti shthedd-hari-mandire |
sa yati paramam stanam kimu shushrushaëe ratah || 141 ||
Naradiya Puraëa: “By staying in Hari’s temple for a moment, or even half a moment, one attains the supreme abode. What then about those who delight in Hari’s service?”
yat-pada-sevabhirucis tapasvinam ashesha-janmopacitam malam dhiyah |
sadyah kshiëoty anvaham edhati sati yatha padangushtha-vinih shrita sarit || 142 ||
Fourth Canto [SB 4.21.31]: “An austere person’s attraction to serving the Lord’s feet increases day by day like the river Ganges that originates from the Lord’s toes. It immediately washes off the impurities accumulated over countless births.”
angani vividhany eva syuh puja-paricaryayoh |
na tani likhitanyatra grantha-vahulya-bhititah || 143 ||
There are many parts of worship and periferal service not written about here, due to fear of making this book to large.
32 – atha gitam
brahmaëo vasudevakhyam gayamano ‘nisham param |
hareh salokyam apnoti rudra-ganadhikam bhavet || 144 ||
32 – Singing
Linga Puraëa: “A brahmana who always sings songs about Vasudeva attains residence in Hari’s world. Those songs are therefore better than Rudra’s.”
Though Rudra’s (Siva’s) songs are famous, Siva does not attain Vaikuntha by singing them. This verse therefore considers the Brahmin’s songs in praise of Vasudeva to be superior.
33 – atha samkirtanam
nama-lila-guëadinam uccair-bhasha tu kirtanam || 145 ||
33 – Glorification (SaMkIrtan)
“SaMkIrtan” is glorification of the names, activities, and qualities [of God] in a loud voice.
Though SaMkIrtan is usually understood to involve singing in a large group, Rupa Goswami defines it simply as glorifying in a loud voice. It may be considered that many voices combinded make a particularly “loud voice.”
krishëeti mangalam nama yasya vaci pravartate |
bhashmi bhavanti rajendra maha-pataka-kotayah || 146 ||
Glorifying the Name
Vishnu Dharma: “O great King, speaking the auspicious name ‘Krishëa’ burns a multitude of the gravest sins to ashes.”
so ‘ham priyasya suhridah paradevataya lila-kathas-tava nrisinha |
anjas titarmy anugriëan guëa vipramukto
durgaëi te pada-yugalaya hamsa-sangah || 147 ||
Glorifying the Activities
Seventh Canto [SB 7.9.18]: “I will glorify your activities in the association of swans, as Brahma has done, my dear friend and supreme Lord Nrisnha! Being thus absorbed in your feet I will easily become liberated and transcend this difficult world.”
“Swans” commonly refers to great saints. “Vipramukto” indicates an uncommon liberation, such as personally associating directly with God.
idam hi pumsas tapasah shrutasya va svishtasya suktasya ca buddhi dattayoh |
avicyuto ‘rthah kavibhir nirupito yad uttamahshloka-guëanuvarëanam || 148 ||
Glorifying the Qualities
First Canto [SB 1.5.22]: “The wise discern that glorifying the qualities of God, who is the subject of the best poetry, is the ultimate goal of performing austerity, listening to scripture, performing rituals of sacrifice, reciting scripture, becoming enlightened, and giving charity.”
Glorification of Krishëa’s qualities is here said to be the ultimate aim of all religious actions. “Ultimate aim” (avicyuto-artha) indicates: (1) that without glorification of God’s qualities, religious actions are incomplete, (2) that glorification of God’s qualities is one practice that invariably bestows the full results of all other religious practices, and (3) that religious actions like charity, austerity, etc are valuable even to transcendentalists because, when done properly, they impel one to glorify God’s qualities.
Rupa Goswami will outline the qualities of the Supreme Godhead in the First Wave of the Southern Division of this book, in the section on vishaya-alambana, placing them into 64 categories.
34 – atha japah
mantrasya sulaghuccaro japa ity abhidhiyate || 149 ||
34 – Chanting (Japa)
Very lightly voicing a mantra is called “chanting.”
krishëaya nama ity esha mantrah sarvartha-sadhakah |
bhaktanam japatam bhupa svarga-moksha-phala-pradah || 150 ||
Padma Puraëa: “The mantra ‘krishëaya namaH’ is the means to attain all goals. It bestows the fruits of heaven and liberation to devoted persons who chant it.”
35 – atha vijnaptih
harim-uddishya yat kincit kritam vijnapanam gira |
moksha-dvarar-galan mokshastenaiva vihitas tava || 151 ||
35 – Expressing Oneself
Skanda Puraëa: “Whatever you express in words to Hari opens the door to your ultimate liberation.”
samprarthanatmika dainyavodhika lalasamayi |
ity adir vividha dhiraih krishëe vijnaptiririta || 152 ||
The wise divide “Expressing oneself to Krishëa” into the following categories:  requests,  confessions, and  expressions of desire.
The following verses will exemplify each form of expression.
yuvatinam yatha yuni yunanca yuvatau yatha |
mano ‘bhiramate tad van mano ‘bhiramatam tvayi || 153 ||
Padma Puraëa: “As the minds of adolecent boys and girls delight in thoughts of each other, let my mind delight in you.”
One form of expressing oneself is to make a request (“samprarthana”). In the context of sadhana for uttama-bhakti “expressing a request to Krishëa” means expresseing a request that one attain the fruition of sadhana – to develop real love for Krishëa in one’s heart (bhava-bhakti).
mat-tulyo nasti papatma naparadhi ca kashcana |
parihare ‘pi lajja me kim vruve purushottama || 154 ||
Padma Puraëa: “No one is a worse sinner or offender than me. I am ashamed to even ask for forgiveness, so what should I say, O PuruSottama?”
Confessions (dainyavodhika) are expressions in which one comprehends and asks forgiveness for ones poor behavior.
yatha shri narada pancaratre:
kada gambhiraya vaca shriya yukto jagatpate |
camara vyagrahastam mam evam kurv iti vakshyasi || 155 ||
Expressions of Desire
Narada Pancaratra: “O Jagatpati! When will you tell me in a grave voice, with LakSmI at your side, ‘Wave the yak-tail fan in this way’?”
The difference between an expression of desire (lalasamayi) and a request (samprarthana) is that a request is made by one who does not yet posses raga, a longing for a specific service of the lord, whereas “expressions of desire” are made by persons with such raga. It is an expression of ones desire to attain a specific service or expression of love. As such, expressions of desire are really an anga of raganuga-sadhana. Rupa Goswami mentions it here in the section on vaidhi-sadhana for the sake of completeness. Also, as will be shown later in the section on raganuga-sadhana, the 64 items mentioned here are also a part of raganuga-sadhana.
kadaham yamuna-tire namani tava kirtayan |
udbashpah puëòarikaksha racayishyami taëòavam || 156 ||
Another example, [from Padma Puraëa]: “When will I glorify your names on the banks of the Yamuna river with eyes full of tears, O Lotus-Eyed One, and dance enthusiastically?”
36 – atha stava-pathah:
prokta manishibhir gita-stavarajadayah stavah || 157 ||
36 – Reciting Scriptural Prayers
The wise understand "scriptural prayers" to mean the prayers from the GIta, Stavaraja, etc.
The GIta refers to Bhagavad Gita. Stavaraja is a prayer from the Gautamiya Tantra.
shri-krishëa-stava-ratnaughair yesham jihva tv alankrita |
namasya muni-siddhanam vandaniya divaukasam || 158 ||
Skanda Puraëa: "But those who decorate their tounges with the jewels of prayers to Shri KriSëa are respected and prayed to by sages, mystics and the gods."
stotraih stavash ca devagre yah stauti madhusudanam |
sarva-papa-vinirmukto vishëulokam-avapnuyat || 159 ||
Narasimha Puraëa: "Those who recite stotra and stava before Lord MadhusUdana are liberated from all sin and attain the realm of Vishnu."
Stotra is a prayer one composes oneself, as in the previous practice – vijnapti, "expressing oneself." Stava is a prayer one recites from scripture.
37 – atha naivedyasvado
naivedya-mannam tulasi-vimishram visheshatah pada-jalena siktam |
yo ‘shnati nityam purato murareh prapëoti yajnayuta koti-puëyam || 160 ||
37 – Tasting the Food Offerings
Padma Puraëa: "One who regularly eats food mixed with Tulasi leaves and offered to Murari and drinks the water that washed Murari’s feet, in the vicinity of murari, attains the same pious merit as one attains by performing thousands of sacrifices."
Jiva Goswami comments that "in the vicinity" (purato) indicates that one should not eat directly in front of the Deity, as he previously mentioned in the list of offenses (aparadha) he supplied in his commentary on the 19th practice of sadhana. Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur, however, indicates that tasting the food offered to the Deity is fundamentally different from ordinary eating, and that there is no offence in eating such food directly before the Deity.
38 – atha padyasvado
na danam na havir yesham svadhyayo na surarcanam |
tepi padodakam pitva prayanti paramam gatim || 161 ||
38 – Tasting the Foot-Water
Padma Puraëa: "Even one who does not give charity, perform rituals, study scripture or worship the gods attains the supreme goal by drinking the water that has washed the Deities feet."
39 – atha dhupa-sairabhyam
aghraëam yadd harer datta-dhupocchishtasya sarvatah |
tad-bhavavyaladashtanam nasyam nasyam karma vishapaham || 162 ||
39 – Smelling the Incense
Hari Bhakti Sudhodaya: "The incense offered to the Deity which enters into the nostrils is the best antidote to the snake-bite of worldliness."
As one commonly uses "smelling salts" to revive an unconscious person, one who has fallen unconscious from the snake-bite of materialism can be revived by smelling the incense offered to Krishëa.
pravishte nasika-randre harer nirmalya saurabhe |
sadyo vilayamayati papa-panjara-bandhanam || 163 ||
Now, smelling the flower-necklace.
Tantra: "If the sweet scent of things offered to Hari enters one’s nostrils, all sins are vanquished like birds in a cage."
As birds in a cage cannot escape an attack, sins cannot escape being destroyed by the scent of things like flower necklaces offered to Hari.
aghraëam gandha-pushpader arcitasya tapodhana |
vishuddhih syad anantasya ghraëasye habhidhiyate || 164 ||
Agastya Samhita: "O Sage, it is well known that smelling the fragrant flowers used in worship of Ananta purifies one’s sense of smell."
40 – atha shri-murteh sparshanam
spristva vishëor adhishthanam pavitrah shraddhyanvitah |
papa bandhair vinirmuktah sarvan kaman avapnuyat || 165 ||
40 – Touching the Deity
Vishnu Dharma: "A pure, faithful person who touches the Deitiy is liberated from the bondage of sin and attains all his or her desires."
One should be faithful and purified or clean ("pavitra") before touching a Deity.
41 – atha shri-murter darshanam
vrindavane tu govindam ye pashyanti vasudhare |
na te yamapuram yanti yanti puëya-kritam gatim || 166 ||
41 – Seeing the Deity
Varaha Puraëa: "But those who see Govinda in Vrindaban do not go to the City of Death & Judgement, but go to the place attained by those who do good deeds."
Statements such as these attract the minds of the worldly, and are not falsehoods. However, the deeper meaning is that one who sees the Deity of Govinda attains the goal of the truly pious, i.e. they attain bhava-bhakti, love of Godhead.
42 – aratrika-darshanam
kotayo brahma-hatyanam agamyagama kotayah |
dahaty aloka matreëa vishëoh saratrikam mukham || 167 ||
42 – Seeing the arati Ceremony
Skanda Puraëa: "Seeing the face of Vishnu during the arati ceremony reduces to ashes even the sins of killing millions of priests and performing millions of incestuous acts."
ratha-stham ye nirikshante kautikenapi keshavam |
devatanam gaëah sarve bhavanti shvapacadayah || 168 ||
Seeing the Festivals
BhaviSya Puraëa: "Those who see Keshava on a chariot, even if only out of curiousity, and even if he eats the flesh of dogs, becomes an associate of all the gods."
As an example of how an apparently worldly result is in a deeper sense indicative of bhava-bhakti, Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur says that "to become an associate of the gods" ("devatanam gaëah sarve bhavanti") in fact means to attain the association of those who associate directly with Krishëa.
pujitam pujyamanam va yah pashyed-bhaktito harim |
shraddhaya modaman astu so ‘pi yoga-phalam labhet || 169 ||
Seeing the Worship
(The word "etc." includes seeing worship as a part of the 42nd practice of sadhana.)
Agni Puraëa: "One with devotion, faith, and a pleasant mind who sees Hari being worshiped attains all the fruits of yoga."
Reference to the word "etc" (adi) points back to the verse in which this practice of sadhana was first mentioned, 1.2.87: "aratrika-utsava-adi."
Practices 37-42 involve the use of the senses in relation to the Deity. As such they may be thought of as additional parts of arcana, additional parts of pada-seva, or as both.
The 37th and 38th practice involve taste (tasting the sanctified food and water). The 39th practice involves smell (smelling the incense and flowers). The 40th practice involves touch, the 41st and 42nd practices involve sight (seeing the Deity, and ceremonies related to the deity). The only senses remaining are hearing, which will be described next (as parts of shravana), and mental activities which will be described after that (as parts of smarana).
43 – atha shravaëam
shravaëam nama-carita-guëadinam shrutir-bhavet || 170 ||
43 – Hearing
"Hearing" is to listen to the names, activities, and qualities [of God].
krishëeti vaishëavam mantram shrutva mukto bhaven narah || 171 ||
Hearing the Name
Garuòa Puraëa: "The sure way to free a oneself from the deathly snake bite of worldly existence is to hear a Vaishnava say mantras of the word ‘Krishëa’."
tasmin mahan-mukharita madhubhic-caritra-
piyusha-shesha-saritah partah sravanti |
ta ye pibanty avitrisho nripa gaòha-karëais
tan na sprishanty ashana triò-bhaya-shoka-mohah || 172 ||
Hearing the Activities
Fourth Canto [4.29.40]: "The nectar of Madhusudhana’s activities flows all around like abundant rivers from the mouths of great souls. One who incessantly drinks from this river with eager ears is not touched by hunger, thirst, fear, lamentation, or confusion."
yas tuttamahshloka-guëanuvadah sangiyate ‘bhikshëam amangala-ghnah |
tam eva nityam shriëuyad abhikshëam krishëe ‘malam bhaktim abhipsamanah || 173 ||
Hearing the Qualities
Twelth Canto [12.3.15]: "One who desires unwavering, pure love for Krishëa should regularly and always hear the singing and recitation of the glories of God, who is praised in the topmost poems. Hearing such glories destroys all inauspiciousness."
tat te ‘nukampam su-samikshamaëo bhunjana evatma-kritam vipakam |
hrid-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak || 174 ||
44 – Looking for Krishëa’s Mercy
Tenth Canto [10.14.8]: "If one eagerly hopes for your mercy, offering you respect with his heart, words and body while patiently enduring the reactions of his or her own previous deeds, he or she becomes the rightful heir of liberation."
After hearing about Krishëa’s merciful activities, qualities, and names (as in the 43rd practice), one should look for or eagerly hope to become the recipient of such mercy.
yatha katham cin-manasa sambandhah smritir ucyate || 175 ||
45 – Remembering
"Rememberance" is when the mind relates with something in any way.
smrite sakala-kalyaëa-bhajanam yatra jayate |
purushantam ajam nityaë brajami sharaëam harin || 176 ||
Vishnu Puraëa: "Rememberance of Hari – the supreme, eternal unborn – gives rise to all varieties of auspiciousness."
yatha ca padme
prayaëe caprayaëe ca yan nama smaratam nriëam |
sadhyo nashyati papaugho namas tasmai cid-atmane || 177 ||
Padma Puraëa: "My obeisance to the all-conscious Lord. Remembrance of his name, in life or at death, quickly destroys all a person’s sin."
Remeberance and the next practice, meditation, are means of engaging the mental senses in emulation of Bhava-bhakti, for the purpose of manifesting that bhava-bhakti in one’s heart. They are both parts of the main division of bhakti called smaranam.
dhyanam rupa-guëa-kriòa-sevadeh sushthu cintanam || 178 ||
46 – Meditation
"Meditation" means to thoroughly concentrate on the form, qualities, activities, or service [of God].
Rememberance, the previous practice, is when the mind somehow or another contacts thoughts of Krishëa. Meditation, however, is "suSthu" – a more thorough, intense, deliberate concentration of consciousness on Krishëa’s form, qualities, activities, and service.
bhagavac caraëa-dvandva-dhyanam nirdvandvamiritam |
papino ‘pi prasangena vihitam suhitam param || 179 ||
Meditation on the Form
Narasimha Puraëa: "Meditation on the two feet of God removes all dualistic illusions. It bestows the highest benediction to even a sinful person who come in contact with it."
It is interesting that meditation on the dual feet of God liberates one from duality. Meditation on the personality of Godhead liberates one from the conditioned personal existence.
ye kurbvanti sada bhaktya guëanusmaraëam hareh |
prakshiëa-kalaushaughaste pravishanti hareh padam || 180 ||
Meditation on the Qualities
Vishnu Dharma: "Those whose devotion causes them to always meditate on the qualities of Hari are freed from all abominable sins and enter Hari’s realm."
The word for meditation in this text is anusmaraëa – "that which follows remembrance." This reinforces Rupa Goswami’s definition that meditation is a deeper, more thorough and deliberate form of remembrance.
sarva-madhurya-saraëi sarvad bhutamayani ca |
dhyayan haresh caritraëi lalitani vimucyate || 181 ||
Meditation on the Activities
Padma Purana: "By meditating on Hari’s playful activities, which are the essence of all sweetness and wonder, one is liberated."
manasenopacarena paricarya harim sada |
pare van-manasa ‘gamyam tam sakshat pratipedire || 182 ||
Meditation on Service
Another Purana: "By always worshipping and serving Hari in their minds people have directly attained Hari, who is beyond all words and imagination."
It is interesting that Hari is beyond words and thoughts, yet when one thinks of serving him with deep concentration, one attains Hari. This is because Hari is pleased by the devotional spirit of the meditator and personally elevates him or her beyond the limitations of conventional word and thought.
In his comment on this text Jiva Goswami cites from Brahma-Vaivarta Purana the famous story of a poor man who meditated very deeply on serving Vishnu. His meditations were so deep that they would physically affect his body, as dreams sometimes do. For example, when cooking for Vishnu he would sometimes burn his fingers. At the conclusion of the story, Vishnu personally escorts the man into his own spiritual realm.
dasyam karmarpaëam tasya kainkaryam api sarvatha || 183 ||
47 – Servitude
"Servitude" involves offering ones activities, and doing whatever Krishëa wants.
Servitude as a practice of sadhana-bhakti is of two types: (1) "Offering ones activities" (karmarpaëa) – wherein one performs his normal daily actions for the sake of ultimately pleasing Krishëa, and (2) "Doing whatever Krishëa wants" (kainkarya) – wherein one performs activities directed by Krishëa.
tatra adyam yatha skande
tasmin samarpitam karma svabhavikam apishvare |
bhaved bhagavato dharmas tat-karma kimutarpitam || 184 ||
About the first type of servitude
Skanda Puraëa: "Offering one’s natural work to God is a part of bhagavata-dharma, so what needs to be said of offering one’s daily religious practices?"
This text is about the first type of servitude, "Offering ones activities" (Karmarpaëa). It indicates that the work one is naturally inclined to do (svabhavika karma) is a part of sadhana bhakti (bhagavata-dharma), when done in the mood of offering service to God. So, one’s daily religious activites like praying, meditating, etc. can certainly also be done in this mood and become a part of servitude. Shri Rupa Goswami clarifies this in the next two texts…
karma svabbhavikam bhadram japa-dhyanarcanadi ca |
itidam dvividham krishëe vaishëavair dasyam arpitam || 185 ||
"Ones own activities" are of two types: (1) the auspicious work one is naturally inclined to, and (2) ones daily chanting, meditation, worship, etc. When offered to Krishëa by a Vaishnava, these become parts of servitude.
Servitude is a practice of sadhana-bhakti, in which one can both offer one’s own actions to Krishëa, and do whatever Krishëa asks. "Offering ones own actions" involves offering the work one is naturally inclines to do (svabhavika karma), as long as it is not inauspicious (abhadram) – i.e. contradictory to the regulations of one’s personal duties. How does one "offer" one’s activity to God? A servant must be responsible in meeting his or her own daily needs, so that he does not later encounter physical, economic, social, or mental difficulties that will impair his ability to perform more direct service. When performing his own work, the servant is conscious of this connection between it and his direct service. This infuses his own work with a mood of servitude.
"Offering ones own actions" also includes offering one’s daily religious activities, like chanting, meditation, worship, etc. These items can also be parts of sadhana in themselves, but when done in the mood described above, they additionally become practices of servitude.
mridu-shraddhasya kathita svalpa karmadhikarita |
tad-arpitam harau òasyam iti kaishcid udiryate || 186 ||
Some say that a practitioner of karma with mild faith can perform servitude by offering his or her activities to Hari.
By using the phrase "some say" Rupa Goswami respectfully indicates his disagreement with this opinion. In the previous text, Shri Rupa stated that servitude as a practice of sadhana-bhakti includes daily actions offered to Krishëa by a Vaishnava. Here he notes that some say actions offered to Hari by a person who is not a Vaishnava but a practitier of karma is also servitude. Rupa Goswami does not indicate agreement with this opinion, which is contrary to the paridigm of sadhana-bhakti he has thus far delineated – in which the practitioner of sadhana is one whose main pursuit is bhakti, not karma (jnana-karmady anavrittam).
dvitiyam yatha naradiye
iha yasya harer dasye karmaëa manasa gira |
nikhilasv apy avasthasu jivan-muktah sa ucyate || 187 ||
About the second type of servitude
Naradiya Puraëa: "One who engages his or her actions, thoughts, and words in in Hari’s service, though situated in this world, is a liberated soul."
The second way of practicing servitude in sadhana-bhakti is "Doing whatever Krishëa wants" (kainkarya). This means to engage one’s body, mind, and words in directly pleasing Hari. The first way of practicing servitude is to do ones own activities in a mood of servitude to Hari. The second way is to directly serve Hari by doing what he desires.
vishvaso mitra-vrittish ca sakhyam dvividham iritam || 188 ||
48 – Friendship
"Friendship" arises either (1) from trust, or (2) from kindred spirits
tatra adyam yatha mahabharate
pratijne tava govinda na me bhaktah praëashyati |
iti samsmritya samsmritya praëan samdharayamy aham || 189 ||
The first type of friendship…
Mahabharata: "O Govinda! Remembering and remembering your promise that, ‘my devotee shall not perish,’ is the only way I hold my life together!"
Kunti-devi speaks these words. Her deep trust in Govinda’s promise endeared him to her and forged a bond of friendship between them. The promise Kunti refers to is from Bhagavad Gita, "kaunteya pratijanihi, na me bhaktah pranashyati."
tatha ekadashe ca
tai-bhuvana-vibhava-hetave ‘py akuëtha-smritir ajitatma suradibhir vimrigyat |
na calati bhagavad-padaravindal lava nimish;ardham api yah sa vaishëavagryah ||190||
Eleventh Canto [SB11.2.53]: "One whose has undisturbed remembrance of the unconquerable soul of the gods, and who does not go away from the Lord’s lotus feet even for a moment or half a moment, even in exchange for the wealth of the three worlds, is the foremost of VaiSëavas."
This text illustrates the symptom of friendship based on firm, unshakable trust.
shraddha-matrasya tad-bhaktav adhikaritva hetuta |
angatvamasya-vishvasa visheshasya tu keshave || 191 ||
The element of faith is the cause of qualification for Hari-bhakti, but this faith is a part of special trust in Keshava.
Faith (‘shraddha’) is a prerequisite for practicing vaidhi-sadhana. One practices friendship in vadhi-sadhana by strengthening that basic faith into a more developed and specific trust (‘vishvasa’) in Hari. This trust develops an unwavering certitude and confidence in Hari’s promised reciprocation, which forges a type of practical friendship.
dvitiyam yatha agastya-samhitayam
paricarya parah kecit prasadeshu ca sherate |
manushyam iva tam drashtum vyavahartun ca bandhuvat || 192 ||
The second type of friendship…
Agastya Samhita: "Some see the Deity with an intense sense of humanly friendship. With the aim to assist the Deity in various ways they often lie down to sleep before Him."
Though servitorship and friendship are aspects of prema bhakti rasa (as will be explained in the Southern Division, Firfth Wave), they are also parts of the practice of both vaidhi and raganuga sadhana bhakti.
Friendship arises either (1) from trust, or (2) from kindred spirits. One practices the first type of friendship by intensifying ones sense of trust in Hari. Practice of the second type friendship, however, is uncommon. This soul-to-soul friendship (‘mitra-vritti’) causes one to relate with God in a very human way, as a friend does with another friend. Thus one does not hesitate to modify normal ettiquites for the sake of that friendship. For example, one may sometimes sleep in front of the Deity perhaps with the intention of joking with him, or bringing him water throughout the night.
This type of friendship is a part of raganuga-sadhana, as will be clear in the upcoming section on the subject. However, Jiva Goswami comments that it is also a part of vaidhi-sadhana. If one practices serving Krishëa in role of a kindred friend as a result of scriptural intelligence, ones practice is in the realm of vaidhi-sadhana. If one practices the same as a result of emotional attachment to developing the sentiment of friendship, ones practice is in the realm of raganuga-sadhana.
martyo yada tyakta-samasta-karma niveditamta vicikirshito me |
tadamritatvam pratipadyamano mayatma-bhuuyaya ca kalpate vai || 194 ||
49 – Offering oneself
Eleventh Canto [SB 11.29.34]: "A mortal who gives up all selfish action and offers himself to me with the desire to do something special for me achieves immortality and my own opulences."
artha dvidhatma-shabdasya paëòitair upapayate |
dehy ahantaspadam kaishcid dehah kaishcin mamatva-bhak || 195 ||
The learned have two meanings for the word "atma." Some say it means the soul. Others say it means the body and things related to it.
vapuradishu to ‘pi va guëato ‘sani yatha-tatha-vidhah |
tadayam tava padapadmayo rahamadyaiva maya samarpitah || 196 ||
Prayers of Yamunacarya: "Whatever body and situation I may attain, good or bad, here or there, I offer today to your feet."
This illustrates dedication of the soul. Yamunacarya is saying, "Whether my soul inhabits the body of a lowly animal, a human being, or a god in the heavens, in any situation I may attain, I offer myself unto you."
cintam kuryan na rakshayair vikritasya yatha pashoh |
tatharpayan harau deham viramedasya rakshanat || 197 ||
Bhakti Viveka: "There is no need to worry about the protection of a domestic animal, nor about one’s body after offering it to Hari."
In India a domestic animal was protected, fed, and lovingly looked after by his or her owner. When one dedicates one’s body to Hari, Hari looks after one in the same way. Such a person therefore has no need to worry about his or her daily maintanence.
dushkaratvena virale dve sakhyatma-nivedane |
keshancid eva dhiraëam labhate sadhanarhatam || 198 ||
Both Friendship and Offering Oneself are difficult and rare. Indeed, only the very wise can attain these venerable practices.
These practices are (1) difficult to do - "duSkaratvena," and (2) extrodinary – "virale."
JIva Goswami gives two further subdivisions of Offering Oneself: (1) the offering made externally, and (2) the offering made with intense feelings. Thus according to Jiva Goswami, Offering Oneself has the following divisions:
1. Offering the soul
a. with intense feelings
b. without intense feelings
2. Offering the body
a. with intense feelings
b. without intense feelings
According to Shri Jiva, when Offering Oneself is done without intense feelings, it is difficult to do ("duSkara"), but when it is done with intense feelings of devotion to Krishëa it is both difficult and extraordinary ("virale").
Shri Jiva cites King Bali as an example of Offering Oneself without intense feelings, and King AmbariSa (SB 9.4.18-20) as an example of Offering Oneself with intense feelings. He also notes that one can offer oneself in various moods – servitude, friendship, etc. He cites SB 10.52.39 illustrating how Rukmini devi offered herself to Krishëa in a romantic mood.
According to Mukundadas Goswami Friendship and Offering Oneself are both difficult to do because Friendship entails a willingness to transgress common ettiquites towards the Lord, and Offering Oneself entails the possible endurance of physical and emotional duress.
These practices are done only be the wise ("dhira"), who’s devotional wisdom is ever-deepening.
yad yad ishtatamam loke yac cati-priyam atmanah |
tat tan nivedayen mahyam tad anantyaya kalpate || 199 ||
50 – Offering Things Dear to Oneself
Eleventh Canto [SB 11.11.41]: "Whatever one desires most in this world and whatever one holds most dear, those very things one should offer to me. Doing so brings immortality."
atha tad-arthe ‘khila-ceshtitam
laukiki vaidiki vapi ya kriya kriyate mune |
hari sevanukulaiva sa karya bhaktim icchata || 200 ||
51 - Performing All Endeavors for Krishëa’s Sake
Narada Pancaratra: "Oh sage, if one desires bhakti then all one’s activities, worldly and scriptural, should be done in a way favorable to Hari’s service."
tavasmiti vadan vaca tathaiva manasa vidan |
tat sthanam ashritastanva modate sharaëagatah || 201 ||
52 – Self Surrender
Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa: "One who says ‘I am yours,’ in his words and thoughts, and who lives in the Lord’s place exemplifies self-surrender."
shri narasimhe ca
tvam prapanno ‘smi sharaëam deva-deva janardana |
iti yah sharaëam praptas tam kleshad uddharamy aham || 202 ||
Narasimha Puraëa: "I deliever from all distress one who surrenders to me, saying, ‘O God of Gods! O Maintaner of All People! I beseech you for refuge!’"
"Surrender" indicates giving oneself to another and relying on that person for protection. This sense of reliance upon Krishëa for protection slightly differentiates Self Surrender from Offering Oneself. Although the two practices overlap, Self Surrender is mainly the internal mood to reliance solely upon Krishëa, while Offering Oneself mainly involves the external ramifications of offering all of ones physical and emotional self to Krishëa.
atha tadyanam sevanam tulasyah
ya drishta nikhilagha-sanga shamani sprishta vapuh pavani |
raganam abhivandita nirasani siktantakatrasini ||
pratyasatti-vidhayini bhagavatah krishëasya samropita |
nyasta tac-caraëe vimukti-phalada tasyai tulasyai namah || 203 ||
53 – Serving those associated with Hari, such as… TulasI
Skanda Puraëa: "Seeing her tranquilizes all sin, touching her purifies the body, offering respects to her casts out all disease, watering her casts out death, planting her makes one devoted to Lord Krishëa, and throwing [her leaves] upon his feet bears ultimate liberation. My respects to TulasI.
tatha ca tatraiva
drishta sprishta tatha dhyata kirita namita stuta |
ropita sevita nityam pujita tulasi shubha || 204 ||
navadha tulasim devim ye bhajanti dine dine |
yuga-koti-sahasraëi te vasanti harer-grihe || 205 ||
Skanda Puraëa: "Seeing, touching, meditating, glorifying, respecting, listening to her praise, planting, serving, and always worshipping auspicious TulasI – One who worships the Goddess TulasI in these nine ways day after day can reside in Hari’s house for hundreds of thousands of eons.
shastra-matra samakhyatam yad-bhakti-pratipadakam || 206 ||
54 – Serving Scripture
"Scripture" is a declaration which establishes bhakti.
vaishëavani tu shastraëi ye shriëvanti pathanti ca |
dhanyaste manava loke tesam krishëah prasidati || 207 ||
vaishëavani tu shastraëi ye arcayanti grihe narah |
sarva-papa-vinirmukta bhavanti sura-vanditah || 208 ||
tishthate vaishëavim shastram likhitam yasya mandire |
tatra narayaëo devah svayam vasati narada || 209 ||
Skanda Puraëa: "But blessed are the people of this world who study and hear scriptures about Vishnu. Krishëa becomes pleased with them.
"But those who keep scriptures about Vishnu in their homes and worship them are liberated from all sin and respected by the gods.
"Oh Narada, God himself, Narayaëa, resides in the home where scriptures about Vishnu are written are preserved."
"Serving scriptures" thus includes studying, hearing, worshipping, preserving, and writing declarations about Vishnu.
tatha shri-bhagavate dvadashe ca
sarva-vedanta-saram hi shri bhagavatam ishyate |
tad-rasamrita-triptasya nanyatra syad ratih kvacit || 210 ||
Bhagavatam, Twelfth Canto [12.13.15]: "Shri Bhagavatam is said to be the essence of all Vedanta. One who drinks it’s nectar mellows cannot be attracted to anything else."
This indicates that the foremost scripture about Vishnu is Shri Bhagavata Puraëa.
mathuranca parityajya yo ‘nyatra kurute ratim |
muòho bhramati samsare mohita mama mayaya || 211 ||
55 – Serving Mathura
Adi-Varaha Puraëa: "One who wants to give up Mathura and go somewhere else is a deluded fool bewildered and illusioned by my tricky material world."
trailokya-varti-tirthanam sevanad durlabha hi ya |
parananda-mayi siddhir-mathura-sparshamatratah || 212 ||
Brahmaëòa Puraëa: "One obtains the supreme, blissful perfection - which is difficult to obtain even by serving all the holy places in the three worlds - simply by touching Mathura."
shruta smrita kirtita ca vanchita preskshita gata |
sprishta shrita sevita ca mathurabhishtada nriëam |
iti khyatam puraëeshu na vistarabhiyocyate || 213 ||
Hearing about, remembering, glorifying, desiring to visit, seeing, going to, touching, residing in, and serving Mathura fulfills all a person’s desires. I will not specifically cite all the Puraëas that declare this, out of fear that this book will become too huge.
This shlokas establish that Matura is the best sacred place, and that one should, as a practice of sadhana, serve it in the ways mentioned above. “Serving Mathura" (sevita), in the current shloka primarily means to clean and care for the land.
atha vaishëavanam sevanam
aradhananam sarvesham vishëor-aradhanam param |
tasmat parataram devi tadiyanam samarcanam || 214 ||
56 – Serving VaiSëavas
Padma Puraëa: "Of all types of worship, worship of Vishnu is best. Of that the very best, O goddess, is to thoroughly worship whatever is related to Vishnu."
yat-sevaya bhagavatah kuta-stasya madhu-dvishah |
rati-raso bhavet tivrah padayor vyasanardanah || 215 ||
Third Canto: [3.7.19] "By serving him, one manifests very strong, relishable love for the feet of God – who is the indweller, and the enemy of Madhu.
In this Bhagavatam shloka, "Him" (yat) refers to the Vaishnava mentioned in the previous text. This shloka asserts that by serving the Vaishnava, one develops rati for the Supreme who lives within the heart and who is the enemy of Madhu. This rati is synonymous with bhava-bhakti, which allows one to taste bhakti-rasa.
The term vyasanardana is extremely interesting. It is a compound of the words vyasana and ardana. In forming this compound word, the "a" at the end of vyasana joins with the "a" at the beginning or ardana, and a long a (a) results. A long a (a) would also result, however, if the second word were ardana, which means "nourish," opposite of the word ardana, which means "destroy."
The word vyasana has many meanings. Primarily it indicates intense movement to and fro, characterizing hard work and distress. This shloka thus states that bhava-bhakti destroys the distress that arises from the hard work of material life. However it simultaneously states that bhava-bhakti nourishes a state of eagerly moving to and fro in fervent effort to please Hari.
Other meanings of vyasana are "attachment, addiction, passion, devotion." Bhava-bhakti simultaneously destroys and nourishes these. It destroys attachment, etc. to material existence, while nourishing attachment, etc. for the Supreme.
shankha-cakrankita-tanuh shirasa manjari-dharah |
gopi-candana-liptaëgo drishtash-cet-tad-agham kutah || 216 ||
Skanda Puraëa: "Can sin continue to exist if one sees those with the Conch and Wheel of Vishnu on their bodies, with TulasI flowers on their heads, and anointed with GopI-Candana?"
If simply seeing a Vaishnava has this effect, much is indirectly said about actively serving a Vaishnava.
yesham samsmaraëat pumsam sadyah shuddhyanti vai grihah |
kim punar darshana-sparsha-pada-shaucasanadibhih || 217 ||
First Canto [1.19.33]: "Simply by remembering them, one’s home immediately becomes purified. Than what of one who sees, touches, washes the feet of, and offers seats to them?"
This verse contains several practical suggestions for serving the Vaishnava: remembering, seeing, touching, washing the feet of, and offering seats to.
ye me bhakta-janah partha na me bhaktash ca te janah |
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas te me bhaktatama matah || 218 ||
Adi Puraëa: "In my opinion, those who are my devotees are not really my devotees, but they who are the devotees of my devotees are the best devotees."
yavanti bhagavad-bhakter-angani kathitan iha |
prayastavanti tad-bhakta-bhakter api budha viduh || 219 ||
The wise recognize that almost all the practices of devotion for God described thus far also involve devotion to the devotee of God.
Among the 64 practices of sadhana listed by Rupa Goswami, many of them involve interacting with the Lord’s devotees.
yah karoti mahipala harer-gehe mahotsavam |
tasyapi bhavati nityam hari-loke mahotsava || 220 ||
57 – Celebrating Special Festivals
Padma Puraëa: "O King, an eternal festival in Hari’s realm results to one who celebrates festivals in Hari’s house."
yatha damodaro bhakta-vatsalo vidito janaih |
tasyayam tadrisho masah svalpam apy urukarakah || 221 ||
58 – Observing Kartika
Padma Puraëa: "People know that the month of Damodara, just like Damodara himself, is very affectionate to his devotees and gives ample rewards for even a little effort."
tatrapi mathurayam vishesho
bhuktim muktim harir dadyad arcito ‘nyatra sevinam |
bhaktim tu na dadaty eva yato vashyakari hareh || 222 ||
Special efficacy of Kartika in Mathura
Padma Puraëa: "Hari bestows enjoyment and liberation as a result of services performed elsewhere, but does not give bhakti."
This shloka from Padma Puraëa talks about the month of Kartika. Services performed to Hari in that month elsewhere bestow bhukti and mukti – but not bhakti. This indicates that services performed during Kartika in Mathura do bestow bhakti. Rupa Goswami notes this in the next shloka.
sa tvanjasa harer-bhaktir-labhyate kartike naraih |
mathurayam sakrid api shri-damodara-sevanat || 223 ||
This is saying that one attains Hari-bhakti by serving Shri Damodara in Mathura during Kartika.
atha shri janma-dina-yatra
yasmin dine prasuteyam devaki tvam janardana |
tad-dinam bruhi vaikuëtha kurmaste tatra cotsavam |
tena samyak prapannanam prasadam kuru keshavah || 224 ||
59 – Celebrating Krishëa’s Advent Day
BhaviSya Puraëa: "Tell us about the day you appeared to DevakI, O Janardana, O Lord of Vaikuëtha! We will celebrate festivals on that day in hopes of making you fully pleased with us, O Keshava!"
atha shri-murter-anghri-sevane pritah
mama nama-sadagrahi mama sevapriyah sada
bhaktis tasmai pradatavya na tu muktih kadacana || 225 ||
60 – Taking Joy in Serving the Feet of the Deity
Adi Puraëa: “But I never give just liberation to one who always keeps my name and who loves to serve me. I rightly give that person my love.”
atha shri bhagavatarthasvado
pibata bhagavatam rasam-alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah || 226 ||
61 – Tasting the Objective of Shrimad Bhagavatam
First Canto [1.1.3]: “The very ripe fruit of the Vedic desire tree, pierced by the beak of a parrot, has become liquidy-soft, as sweet as nectar, and totally perfect. Aho! Connoisseurs of the world’s beauty and poetry should drink it’s divine juice again and again, without cessation.”
The 61st practice of Sadhana is to taste (“asvada”) the objective (“artha”) of the Shrimad Bhagatam. The shloka quoted here glorifies and explains this practice.
The author of this shloka compares Vedic scriptures (“nigama”) to “wish-fulfilling trees” (“kalpa-taru”) because they fulfill all wishes for pleasure, achievement, righteousness, and liberation (kama, artha, dharma, mokSa). The author then compares the Shrimad Bhagavatam to the fruit (“phala”) of that tree. All the energies of a tree culminate in it’s fruit. Similarly the four types of human desires mentioned above, culminate in the fifth desire: love of Godhead (krishëa-prema). Comparing Shrimad Bhagavatam to the fruit of the Vedic desire tree indicates that it bestows the culmination of all wishes – love of Godhead.
Furthermore, the author describes the fruit as being so ripe that it oozes and drips on the ground (“galitam”). This indicates that Shrimad Bhagavatam is overflowing with love of Godhead. The Bhagavatam-fruit is so “ripe” or mature because it was the final scripture composed by Shri Vyasa, after his realization of Godhead and reality became fully mature.
Next, the author states that this fruit was pierced by the beak of a parrot (“shuka-mukhat”) and from that incident became even riper, attaining an almost liquid state (‘drava”) as sweet as nectar (“amrita”) and totally perfect, without skin or pit (“samyuta”). The “parrot” (shuka) here is Shuka-deva Goswami, who “pierced” the Bhagavatam with his mouth when he spoke it to King ParIkSit, embellishing and perfecting it, by (1) making it “liquid-soft,” or easily swallowed and appreciated by all, (2) making it as sweet as nectar by infusing it’s words with his own deep love of Godhead, and (3) removing any remaining pit or skin of jnana (pursuit of liberation) or karma (pursuit of pleasure, achievement, or righteousness). The Shrimad Bhagavatam as spoken by Shukadeva Goswami is thus nothing but relishable love of Godhead.
Connoisseurs of beauty and poetry (“rasika-bhavuka”) should drink the “Bhagavatam-rasa” – the divine juice of Shrimad Bhagavatam. They will find it so pleasurable that they will not be able to stop, and will thus drink again and again (“muhur”), without cessation (“alayam”).
By stating that the rasika and the bhavuka will taste Bhagavatam-rasa, the author implies that only the Krishëa-bhakta who is a connoisseur appreciative of Bhava-bhakti can properly read or speak Shrimad Bhagavatam. But, by using the word bhuvi the author also implies that Bhagavatam spoken by such a rasika has the potential to attract even connoisseurs of worldly beauty and poetry.
By stating that one will relish the juice of the Bhagavatam-fruit without cessation (alayam), the author implies that the love of Godhead described within Shrimad Bhagavatam continues to attract the soul even after he or she attains immortality through liberation.
This love of Godhead is the objective or aim of Shrimad Bhagavatam. To taste the love of Godhead within Shrimad Bhagavatam is the 61st practice of Sadhana. This is most effectively done when one hears the Bhagavatam from a person who, like Shukadeva Goswami, is imbued with love of Godhead.
tatha dvitiye ca
parinishtito ‘pi nairguëye uttamahshloka-lilaya |
grihita-ceta rajarshe akhyanam yad adhitavan || 227 ||
Second Canto [2.1.9]: “I was firmly situated beyond all material qualities, but the pastimes of he who is described in the topmost poetry took hold of my heart as I studied those narrations, O King.”
The previous shloka stated that one would continue to relish the taste of the Bhagavatam’s divine juice without cessation, even after attaining liberation. The current shloka illustrates this with the example of Shukadeva Goswami himself, who was already liberated, but become attracted to the pastimes of Krishëa described by his father, Vyasadeva, in the poems of Shrimad Bhagavatam.
This shloka also illustrates the concept stated in the previous shloka; that those who are not yet connoisseurs of fine devotional sentiments will become so when they hear Bhagavatam from one who is.
atha sa-jatiyashaya-snigdha shri-bhagavad-bhakta-sango
tulayama lavenapi na svargam napunar-bhavam |
bhagavat-sangi-sangasya martyanam kimutashishah || 228 ||
62 – Associating with Devotees of Shri Krishëa who are Affectionate and have Similar Aspirations.
First Canto: “Neither paradise nor liberation from rebirth, what to speak of temporary material blessings, can compare to even a moment’s company with those who keep company with God.”
The 62nd practice of sadhana is to associate with those who are deeply attached to Shri Krishëa. However, not all persons who are devoted to Krishëa will have a type of personality compatible with one’s own. Rupa Goswami therefore specifies that one should seek the company of devotees who are “sa-jatiya-ashaya” – of compatible personality.
In the company of such like-minded persons, communication is effortless, which facilitates deep sharing of thought and emotion. In such deep exchanges one realizes the soft, tender, gentle nature (“snigdha”) of the devotee. One’s heart therefore opens up entirely and the good qualities of each person are imbibed by the other. Such association is therefore an extremely efficacious way to manifest attachment to Shri Krishëa in one’s own heart.
Sa-jatiya-ashaya also means “compatible aspirations.” Not all devotees of God aspire to please him in the form of Krishëa. Even among those who do, not all have a specific aspiration to please Krishëa is a certain mood. Even among those who do, not all aspire to a mood similar to one’s own. Furthermore, not all devotees will have exactly the same methods of fulfilling their various spiritual aspirations. Some may be attached, for example, to Vaidhi-sadhana and others to Raganuga-sadhana.
To associate with a person who has deep affection for Krishëa and with whom one is both materially and spiritually compatible is the 62nd practice of Sadhana. The value of such association cannot be compared with any other achievement.
yasya yat-sangatih pumso maëivat syat sa tad-guëah |
sva-kularddhyai tato dhiman sva-yuthyan eva samshrayet || 229 ||
Hari Bhakti Sudhodaya: “A person is just like a jewel, for they both imbibe the qualities of whatever they are near. Therefore it is wise and beneficial for one’s family to associate with persons of similar background and affiliations.”
Ironically, Hiraëyakashipu makes this statement to his son Prahlada while berating him for associating with Vaishnavas. However, it substantiates two points made in the previous shloka: (1) that associating with those who are attached to Shri Krishëa will make one attached to Shri Krishëa, and (2) that one should associate with devotees who are of similar personality.
atha shri-nama samkirtanam
etan nirvidyamananam icchatam akuto-bhayam |
yoginam nripa nirëitam harer namanu-kirtanam || 230 ||
63 – Glorification of the Name
Second Canto [2.1.11]: “O King, those who are free from all desire, those who are full of desire, and the self-realized who are free from fear and doubt should constantly glorify Hari’s name.”
The 63rd practice of sadhana is shri-nama-samkirtan – loud glorification of the Holy Name. Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur comments that the shloka quoted here establishes Hari Nama SaMkIrtana as the topmost sadhana for all persons. Elaborating, he notes that bhakti is the only means to acquire bhakti, and of the nine main categories of bhakti hearing about, glorifying, and remembering (shravanam, kirtanam, and smaranam) are the most important. Of these, glorification (kirtana) is the most important. Of the various types of glorification, Nama-KIrtan, glorification of the Holy Name, is the most important. Of various types of Nama-KIrtan, Nama-anu-kIrtana is the best.
Anu means “to follow.” Kirtan that “follows” Hari, in other words, that follows his desire and seeks to please him, is anu-kirtana. The following shlokas will illustrate anu-kirtana.
adi puraëe ca
gitva ca mama namani vicaren mama sannidhau |
iti vravimi te satyam krito ‘ham tasya carjuna || 231 ||
Adi Puraëa: “They who sing my name and thus live with me – I declare that I give myself to them, O Arjun!”
The hallmark of nama-anu-kirtana is that such chanting of Krishëa’s name causes Krishëa to personally manifest.
yena janma-sahasraëi vasudevo nishevitah |
tan-mukhe hari-namani sada tishthanti bharata || 232 ||
Padma Puraëa: “Hari’s name always resides in the mouth of one who has served Vasudeva for thousands of births, O Bharat!”
The difference between ordinary nama-kirtana and nama-anu-kirtana is that the later is done in a constant mood of love and servitude. Only one who has cultivated a mood of love and service to Krishëa can constantly chant Krishëa’s name in nama-anu-kirtan. The name chanted in this way causes Krishëa to personally manifest.
yatas tatraiva ca
nama cintamaëih krishëash chaitanya-rasa-vigrahah |
purëah shuddho nitya-mukto ‘bhinnatvan nama-naminoh || 233 ||
Padma Puraëa: “The touchstone of Krishëa’s name is the embodiment of all spiritual pleasure. It is complete, pure, and eternally liberated. There is no difference between the name and the named.”
Krishëa personally manifests when one says his name with love. How is this possible? The name is not different from the named. Thus, when one manifests the sound “Krishëa,” one also causes Krishëa, the named, to manifest.
Krishëa is a touchstone because he fulfills all the desires of the jiva. He is the source of all pleasure for the soul (“chaitanya-rasa-vigraha”). He is complete within himself, is free from all impurity or duality, and is eternally unbound by illusion. Since his name is identical with him, his name also posses these qualities.
The Sanskrit sandhi on the word abhinna removes the leading “a.” It is thus not definite weather the word is abhinna (“not different”) or abhinna (“different”). This because there is no difference between the name and the named, and simultaneously, there is a difference between the name and the named. If there was no difference at all there would be no purpose to distinguishing the name as a unique subject.
atah shri-krishëa-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih |
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah || 234 ||
Shri Krishëa’s personal attributes, beginning with his name, do not manifest within the grasp of the senses. Yet they certainly manifest to the senses, beginning with the tongue, of one lovingly inclined to Krishëa.
Krishëa is beyond the perceptual grasp of the material senses. His name and qualities, being not different from him, are therefore do not manifest on those senses. Although one cannot perceive Krishëa with one’s senses, Krishëa can, if he wishes, reveal himself even to those senses. Therefore if one has an attitude of love and servitude towards Krishëa, then Krishëa wishes to reveal himself to such a person, and does so.
Considering all the shlokas on the topic, we understand that the 63rd practice of sadhana is to glorify Krishëa’s name in a loving mood of service.
atha shri mathura mandale sthitih
anyeshu puëya-tirtheshu muktir eva mahaphalam |
muktaih prarthya harer-bhakir mathurayan tu labhyate || 235 ||
trivargada kaminam ya mumukshuëanca mokshada |
bhakticchor bhaktida kastam mathuram nashrayed budhah || 236 ||
aho madhupuri dhanya vaikuëthacca gariyasi |
dinam ekam nivasena harau bhaktih prajayate || 237 ||
64 - Residing In Mathura
Padma Puraëa: “Other holy places give the great boon of liberation. But Mathura gives Hari-bhakti, which the liberated souls pray for. Mathura gives the three material goals to the desirous, liberation to those who desire liberation, and bhakti to those who desire bhakti. Therefore what intelligent person would not take shelter of Mathura? O blessed city of Madhu, superior to Vaikuëtha! Residing here even for a single day gives rise to Hari-bhakti.”
Mukundadas Goswami elaborately describes the nature of Mathura and Vrindaban in his comment, quoting profusely from Brahma SaMhita. Madhupuri (“City of Madhu – sweet, bee-like Krishëa”) is a name for Mathura, because Krishëa was born and spent considerable time there.
duruhadbhuta virye ‘smin shraddha dure ‘stu pancake |
yatra svalpo ‘pi sambandhah sad-dhiyam bhava-janmane || 238 ||
These five practices posses almost irreconcilably wondrous potencies. A pure-minded person who even slightly contacts them, even if his faith in them may be far away, develops Bhava Bhakti.
The previous five practices are the most powerful of all practices of sadhana. These five are:
1. Serving the feet of the Deity with love
2. Tasting the objective of Shrimad Bhagavatam
3. Associating with those who deeply love Krishëa, and who have aspirations and personality similar to one’s own.
4. Glorifying Shri Krishëa’s name with love
5. Residing in Mathura
These practices posses wondrous potency that is almost irreconcilable (“duruha”). Why “almost irreconcilable?”
On one hand, the fourth of Uttama Bhakti’s six hallmarks is that bhava-bhakti is very difficult and rare to attain. Thousands of years of constant sadhana would not bring bhava, unless and until that sadhana develops to the stage of intense attachment (asakti) to getting it. [See BRS 1.1.35]
On the other hand, these five practices are said to bestow bhava easily, even when just slightly contacted (“svalpo ‘pi sambandhah “), and even if the performer has not yet even developed faith (“shraddha dure astu”). With these there is no need for thousands of years of practice, and no need to wait for faith to develop into association with saints, then into practice of worship, then into giving up impurities, becoming steady, attaining taste, and becoming intensely attached to attaining bhava.
What is irreconcilable is that these five practices easily bestow bhava, but bhava is supposed to be difficult to attain.
Vishvanath Cakravarti reconciles the apparent contradiction by pointing to the word “sat-dhiya.” This word means good or pure minded. It indicates that one’s mental state is favorably inclined towards spiritual subjects, and therefore is not averse or offensive to them. Vishvanatha Cakravarti states that a person who is not offensive can easily attain bhava from these five practices. However, for a person plagued by offenses bhava is more difficult to achieve. Such a person must thoughtfully practice these items with faith as he or she gradually matures to attain asakti.
For both the offensive and the offenseless, however, these five are the most potent means of attaining bhava-bhakti.
tatra shri-murtih yatha
smeram bhangi-traya-paricitam saci vistirëa-drishtim
vamshi-nyastadhara-kishalayam ujjvalam candrakeëa |
govindakhyam hari-tanum itah keshi-tirthopakaëthe
ma prekshishthas tava yadi sakhe bandhu-sange 'sti rangah || 239 ||
The Deity –
Smiling, in his famous triple-crooked stance, with his big crooked glance.
With newly blossomed lips cast on his flute
…so bright in the moonlight
This form of Hari called “Govinda,” here, near Keshi GhaT…
My friend, if you want to find pleasure in the company of your friends,
then don’t look!
shanke nitah sapadi dashama-skandha-padyavalinam
varëah karëadhvani pathikatam anupurvyad bhavadbhih |
hamho òimbhah parama-shubhadan hanta dharmartha-kaman
yad garhantah sukhamayam ami moksham apy akshipanti || 240 ||
Shrimad Bhagavatam –
The sounds of the letters of the Tenth Canto’s poems
seem to have just traveled the path to your ears…
Oh my, what a fool you are, my dear child!
Now you reproach those most auspicious goals:
religion, achievement, and pleasure
And you throw away the blissful goal of liberation.
drig-ambhobhir dhautah pulaka-patali maëòita-tanuh
skhalan nantah phullo dadhad atiprithum vepathum api |
drishoh kaksham yavan mama sa purushah ko 'py upayayau
na jane kim tavan matir iha grihe nabhiramate || 241 ||
Krishëa’s Devotee –
Washed by the water of his own eyes,
blossoms of goose-bumps decorating his body,
Stumbling under the weight of his wide-blossomed heart,
full to the brim, and shivering…
Since my eyes have seen that person my mind no longer finds pleasure in my home. I don’t know why.
yadavadhi mama shita vaiëikenanugita
shruti-patham agha-shatror nama-gatha prayata |
anavakalita-purvam hanta kam apy avastham
tadavadhi dadhad antarmanasam shamyativa || 242 ||
The cooling sound of that musician and his song walked on the path of my ears, glorifying the name and destroying all sin. At that very moment, my child, I lost all my old desires and attractions, for it completely overwhelmed my inner mind.
shri mathura-maëòalam yatha
tata-bhuvi krita kantih shyamalayas tatinyah
niravadhi-madhurimëa maëòiteyam katham me
manasi kam api bhavam kanana-shris tanoti || 243 ||
That splendid, golden place on the bank of the blue-black river,
where bees hum sonorously
around trees bent low with new Kadamba flowers.
Why does this heavenly forest decorate my mind
with such inexpressible sweetness?
alaukika-padarthanam acintya shaktir itshi |
bhavam tad-vishayam capi ya sahaiva prakashayet || 244 ||
These practices possess inconceivable potency to bestow transcendental objectives. They simultaneously reveal Bhava and the object of Bhava.
The Fruits of the Practices of Sadhana
keshamcit kvacid anganam yat kshudram shrutate phalam |
bahir-mukha-pravrittyaitat kintu mukhyam phalam ratih || 245 ||
In some places, the practices of Sadhana were said to bestow lesser fruits. They do bestow these to persons with external interests who desire to accumulate, but the direct fruit of these practices is love.
Things That Are Not Practices of Sadhana
sammatam bhakti-vijnanam bhakty angatvam na karmaëam || 246 ||
Those who are wise and have deep knowledge of Bhakti do not accept practices of Karma to be practices of Sadhana Bhakti.
Rupa Goswami has completed his description of 64 practices of sadhana-bhakti. Now he will describe other practices that are not included on the list of such practices. He begins by noting that religious and secular activities aiming at a material fruit are not parts of sadhana-bhakti.
One may ask, “Offering one’s own Karmic duties was counted as a practice of servitude (dasyam-karmarpanam). If practices of Karma are not practices of Bhakti, how can this be?”
The answer lies in the definition of Karma and Bhakti. What makes the two paths different? In Karma the motivation of action is one’s own enjoyment or purification. In Bhakti the motivation is Krishëa’s enjoyment. When one performs one’s daily karmic duties with the aim to please Krishëa in the mood of servitude, one is engaged in Bhakti, specifically, in karmarpanam-dasyam sadhana-bhakti. The same activities performed for one’s own enjoyment or purification are practices of Karma, and are not a part of sadhana-bhakti.
tavat karmaëi kurvita na nirvidyeta yavata |
mat-katha-shravaëadau va shraddha yavan na jayate || 247 ||
Bhagavatam [11.20.9]: “One should practice Karma as long as one hasn’t developed distaste for such things, or faith in things like hearing about me.”
Practices of karma are appropriate for persons attracted to material things, but are not appropriate for persons attracted to God. As such, they are not included among the practices of sadhana-bhakti
jnana vairagyayor-bhakti-praveshayopayogita |
ishat prathamam eveti nangatvam ucitam tayoh || 248 ||
Knowledge and detachment have some initial utility in the beginning of Bhakti, but they certainly cannot be said to be practices of Sadhana Bhakti.
Having established that practices of Karma are not practices of Bhakti, Rupa Goswami now begins to state that practices of Jnana – of which knowledge and detachment are foremost – are likewise not practices of Bhakti.
Why are knowledge and detachment useful in the beginning of Bhakti?
Knowledge, i.e. understanding the self to be distinct from the external world and intrinsically related to God, may help interest one in cultivating a loving relationship with God. This is especially true when that knowledge is augmented by detachment, i.e. aversion to exploiting the external world for personal gain.
If knowledge and detachment are beneficial in the beginning of Bhakti, why not count them as practices of Sadhana?
In one sense, Rupa Goswami does include knowledge and detachment as a preliminary practice of Sadhana. The fifth practice incorporates the essence of Jnana - to inquire about the nature of the soul (sad-dharma-priccha). The sixth and seventh practices incorporate the essence of detachment - to renounce enjoyments for Krishëa’s sake (bhogadi-tyagah krishëasya hetave), and to accept one’s daily needs in moderation (vyavahareSu sarveSu yavad arthanuvartita).
However, there is a reason why Rupa Goswami does not explicitly include knowledge and detachment and their subcomponents as parts of Sadhana. The next shloka explains.
yad-ubhe citta-kathinya-hetu prayah satam mate |
sukumara-svabhaveyam bhaktis tad-hetur irita || 249 ||
These two usually cause a hard heart, whereas Bhakti usually results from a very soft, gentle disposition of the heart. That is the saint’s opinion.
Knowledge that one is not intrinsically related to this world, and detachment from the objects of this world generally causes the heart to become “hard” – callous, stoic and immovable. Since this is diametrically opposed to Bhakti, which springs from a soft and emotional heart, knowledge and detachment can actually be detrimental to the awakening of Bhava Bhakti, and are therefore not practices of Sadhana.
To say that Bhakti results from a very soft, gentle disposition does not transgress the principle that Bhakti is self-causing, because a “soft, gentle disposition of the heart” indicates that the heart is lovingly inclined and not callous towards the beloved.
tasman mad-bhakti-yuktasya yogino vai mad-atmanah |
na jnanam na ca vairagyam prayah shreyo bhaved iha || 250 ||
Bhagavatam [11.20.31]: “Certainly knowledge and detachment are not usually beneficial to a yogi endowed with love for me and absorbed in me.”
kintu jnana-virakty adi-sadhyam bhaktyaiva sidhyati || 251 ||
But whatever is gained by knowledge and detachment is certainly perfected by Bhakti.
yat karmabhir yat tapasa jnana-vairagya tash ca yat |
yogena dana dharmeëa shreyobhir itarair api || 252 ||
sarvam mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate ‘njasa |
svargapavargam mad-dhama kathancid yadi vanchati || 253 ||
Bhagavatam [11.20.32-33]: “That which comes from karma, from austerity, from knowledge and detachment, from yoga, from charity, from religion, and from other auspicious means, my devotee easily obtains all these from my loving service. Even if he or she somehow desires heaven, liberation, or my abode, he or she gets it.”
This reference substantiates that the fruits of knowledge and detachment come automatically from Bhakti. As such there is no need to specifically practice cultivation of knowledge and detachment.
rucim udva hatas tatra janasya bhajane hareh |
vishayeshu garishtho ‘pi ragah prayo viliyate || 254 ||
A person’s attachment to objects, however deep they may be, is usually destroyed when he or she develops taste for worshipping Hari.
When one attains taste for Hari-bhajan, one loses taste for worldly things. Since detachment thus comes naturally in the course of developing love for Krishëa, there is no need to endeavor to separately for it. Such endeavors are therefore not practices of Sadhana.
Why does Rupa Goswami say, “usually destroyed?”
Though Ruci dissolves almost all worldly attachments, some will remain. The next stage, asakti, will dissolve those. The proceeding stage, Bhava, will totally eliminate whatever attachments still remain.
If detachment usually causes the heart to harden, and is therefore not beneficial for Bhakti, why does Bhakti produce detachment as a byproduct? Is that not self-defeating?
Shri Rupa addresses this in the next two shlokas.
anasaktasya vishayan yatharham upayunjatah |
nirbandhah krishëa-sambandhe yuktam-vairagyam ucyate || 255 ||
“Worthy detachment” is to be without attachment for things yet to utilize those that are worthy in relation to Krishëa.
Here Rupa Goswami defines detachment that is worthy of Bhakti – “yukta-vairagya.“ In the next shloka he will define detachment that is worthless for Bhakti – “phalgu-vairagya. Worthy Detachment is so named because it does not cause the heart to harden and become unfit for Bhakti.
The first aspect of Worthy Detachment is that one has no addiction to enjoying the objects of the senses (“anasaktasya viSayan”).
The next aspect is that without personal attachment to the sense objects (“nirbandha,” “anasaktasya”), one selects those objects that are worthy and utilizes them (“yatha-arhan-upajunjitah”). “Worthy” objects are those that are not objectionable to Krishëa (“nirbandha”) and that are related to Krishëa (“krishëa-sambandhe”). Such objects are thus conducive to being “utilized” for either the expression or cultivation of love for Krishëa.
Thus, the detachment that arises naturally from Bhakti involves utilizing objects without personal attachment, for the sake of expressing or cultivating love for Krishëa.
prapancikataya buddhya hari-sambandhi-vastunah |
mumukshubhih parityago vairagyam phalgu kathyate || 256 ||
“Unworthy detachment” is when one in search of liberation totally renounces objects related to Hari, considering them to be material.
Bhagavad Gita 18.7-8 describes Unworthy Detachment as renunciation in the mode of ignorance and passion, while 18.9 describes Worthy Detachment as renunciation in the mode of goodness.
proktena lakshaëenaiva bhaktir adhikritasya ca |
angatve suniraste ‘pi nityady akhila-karmaëam || 257 ||
jnana syad hy atmikas yapi vairagyasya ca phalgunah |
spashtat-artham punar api tad evedam nirakritam || 258 ||
It has already been said in the initial definition of Bhakti that all practices of Karma, etc. are not a part of Uttama Bhakti. Just to make it very clear, I have once again stated that knowledge of the self and Unworthy Detachment are not parts of Uttama Bhakti.
Rupa Goswami already stated that Jnana, Karma and similar pursuits do not occlude the pursuit of Bhakti – Jnana-karmady anavrittam. The current section is restating the same point, just to make it doubly clear. Texts 246-247 stated that practices of Karma are not practices of Bhakti. Texts 248-256 stated that practices of Jnana are not practices of Bhakti. Texts 259-263 will state that similar practice (“adi”) are also not practices of Bhakti.
dhana-shishyadibhir-dvarair ya bhaktir-upapadyate |
vidurtvad uttama tahan ya tasyash ca nangata || 259 ||
Bhakti done through agents like wealth and students has the defect of being too removed and is therefore not a part of Sadhana Bhakti.
Worshipping Krishëa by means of one’s wealth, students, employees, family members, etc is certainly auspicious, but is not a very effective means of manifesting Bhava Bhakti as there is too much distance between oneself and Krishëa. Therefore such worship is not included as a practice of Sadhana.
visheshaëa tvam evaisham samshrayanty adhikariëam |
vivekadin yato ‘misham api nangatvam ucyate || 260 ||
The ability of the intelligence to distinguish things like spirit and matter is special because all spiritualists resort to it. But it is still not a counted as a part of Sadhana Bhakti.
Self-realization is attained by accurately distinguishing the self from the non-self. Self-realization is certainly a part of every spiritual path, including Sadhana Bhakti. Sadhana Bhakti automatically destroys self-ignorance with self-knowledge (see 1.1.26). Thus, self-realization is byproduct of Sadhana Bhakti, and there is no need to separately practice or cultivate it.
krishëanmukham svayam yanti tamah shaucadayas tatha |
ity eshanca na yukta syad bhakty angantara-patita || 261 ||
Qualities like self-control and cleanliness naturally develop in those who turn towards Krishëa, but still, they are not worthy to be included as practices of Sadhana Bhakti.
Since these qualities develop automatically by Sadhana Bhakti (as previously established in 1.1.29) there is no need to separately practice or cultivate them.
ete na hy adbhuta vyadha tavahimsadayo guëah |
hari-bhaktau pravritta ye na te syuh paratapinah || 262 ||
Skanda Puraëa: “O Hunter, it is not astonishing that you have good qualities like non-violence, for those who cultivate Hari-bhakti never cause others to suffer.”
Here is an example of how good qualities develop naturally in the course of cultivating Hari-bhakti, even without being separately cultivated.
antah-shuddhir bahih-shuddhis tapah shanty adayas tatha |
ami guëah prapadyante hari-sevabhikaminam || 263 ||
In conclusion: All good qualities like external purity, internal purity, austerity and peacefulness fall at the feet of one who desires to serve Hari.
Vishvanatha Chakravarti notes that if a person devoted to Hari does not posses all of these qualities it does not mean that he or she is not truly devoted to Hari. It simply means that his or her devotion has not yet fully developed.
Singularity or Plurality of Sadhana
sa bhaktir eka-mukhy aëgashritanaikangi katha va |
svavasananusareëa nishthatah siddhi-krid bhavet || 264 ||
This Sadhana Bhakti can involve one of the main practices, or many of them. Perfection will manifest if one steadily cultivates the practice one is naturally inclined to.
Each individual has unique inclinations. Some are more inclined to hearing, some to glorifying, some to remembering, some to praying, some to worshipping, etc. One can focus on the type of practice one is inclined to, even at the expense of the other practices. In any case, all the nine practices of Sadhana are interconnected, so practicing any one of them steadily will automatically involve the others.
If one is inclined to all nine types of practice, one may also focus equally on all nine. Both singular focus (“ekanga”) and plural focus (“anekanga”) will bear the perfection: Bhava Bhakti.
shri vishëoh shravaëe parikshida bhavad vaiyasakih kirtane
prahladah smaraëe tad-anghri bhajane lakshmih prithuh pujane |
akruras tv abhivandane kapi-patir dasye ‘tha sakhya ‘rjunah
sarvasvatma-nivedane balir abhut krishëaptir esham para || 265 ||
In another scripture:
By hearing about Vishnu, ParIkSit attained love for Krishëa.
By glorifying Vishnu, Vaiyasaki attained love for Krishëa.
By remembering Vishnu, Prahlada attained love for Krishëa.
By serving Vishnu’s feet, LakSmI attained love for Krishëa.
By worshipping Vishnu, Prithu attained love for Krishëa.
By praying to Vishnu, AkrUra attained love for Krishëa.
By serving Vishnu, the Monkey King attained love for Krishëa.
By friendship with Vishnu, Arjuna attained love for Krishëa.
By offering himself entirely to Vishnu, Bali attained love for Krishëa.
Vaiyasaki is Shukadeva Goswami. The Monkey King is Hanuman.
sa vai manah krishëa-padaravindayor vacamsi vaikuëtha-guëanuvarëane |
karau harer-mandira-marjanadishu shrutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye || 266 ||
mukunda-lingalaya darshane drishau tad-bhritya-gatra-sparshe ‘nga-sangamam |
ghraëam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe shrimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite || 267 ||
padau hareh kshetra-padanusarpaëe shiro hrishikesha-padabhivandane |
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya yathottamahshloka-janashraya ratih || 268 ||
Shrimad Bhagavatam [9.4.18-20]:
His mind on Krishëa’s lotus-feet
His words glorifying the Lord of Vaikuëtha’s qualities
His hands in cleaning Hari’s home
His ears engaged in discussions of Acyuta
His eyes in seeing the form of Mukuëòa in the temple
His body in touching and embracing Mukuëòa’s servants
His nose in the fragrant lotus flowers of Mukuëòa’s feet
His tongue in tasting the TulasI offered to Mukuëòa
His feet in walking to places associated with Hari
…all with a desire for service, not self-indulgence…
He thus developed love for the shelter of all, who is praised in the topmost poetry.
The person being described here is Ambarisha Maharaja.
Alternate Term for Vaidhi-Sadhana
shastroktaya prabalaya tat-tan-maryada yanvita |
vaidhi bhaktir iyam kaishcan maryada-marga ucyate || 269 ||
Some call Vaidhi-bhakti “the predefined path,” since it is very strongly guided by the governance and directions of the scripture.
A group of Vaishnavas known as Vallabhites use the term Maryada-Marga, “the predefined path,” for Vaidhi-bhakti. The term maryada means, “that which clearly defines a boundary or limit.”