Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Rupa Goswami > Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhuh > EASTERN DIVISION OF THE OCEAN





Text 1:

akhila-rasamrita-murtih prashrimara-ruci-ruddha-taraka-palih |

kalita shyama-lalito radha-preyan vidhur jayati ||1||


Translation: All glory to Lord Krishna-candra,9 Who is the beauty of the moon personified and who is the embodiment of the ambrosia of joy everlasting and immortal, called Rasa,10 and the radiance of whose body has subdued the two Gopis2a known as Taraka and Pali or Palika, and who has owned Syama and Lalita the other two spiritual damsels12 as His own, and who is the most beloved of Radha. -1


Commentary*: Shri Rupa Gosvami received direct instructions from Shri Krishna-Chaitanyadeva on the conception of Bhakti, and it was Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva who entrusted Shri Rupa Gosvami with the task of writing an authoritative treatise on "Unalloyed Devotion" to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. In the same way, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, elder brother of Shri Rupa Gosvami, was directed by Shri Krishna-Chaitanyadeva to write on the basic principles regarding the conceptions of God, the individual soul, the phenomenal world, and Maya, and on their inter-relationships. Both were trusted disciples of Shri Chaitanya, who were formerly prime and home ministers respectively under Hossain Shah, the then governor of Bengal. Both the brothers left their worldly life, and exclusively devoted themselves to the service of Shri Chaitanya, whom they accepted as the re-manifestation of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. Shri Chaitanya accepted the fair complexion of Shri Radha and the feelings of Shri Radha for Krishna, because Shri Krishna Himself desired an inner realization of the experience of Radha’s love for Shri Krishna. Thus Shri Krishna became Shri Chaitanya. Therefore, the works of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana give the most authoritative presentation of the transcendental message of Divine Prema as given by Shri Chaitanya. Shri Caitany’s conception of divine Prema is that of "Union in Separation," which excels "Separation in Union" in the realm of the Supreme Personality of the Godhead.


Shri Jiva Gosvami, one of the six Gosvamins who were trusted lieutenants of Shri Chaitanya, was the disciple and nephew of Shri Rupa Gosvami. As Shri Rupa wrote on Bhakti and Divine Love, and as Shri Sanatana wrote on the fundamental principles of eternal relationships between God and the individual soul, Shri Jiva Gosvami was, on the other hand, the most authoritative exponent of Shri Chaitanya's philosophy. Shri Jiva’s SAT-SANDHARBHA (The six Sandarbhas) are a unique contribution to the world of philosophy. The philosopher Jiva wrote a commentary, known as Durgama-Sangamani on Shri Rupa's Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh. We propose to give here, along with the translation of the text, the Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhah, the substance of the Durgama-sangamani the commentary of Shri Jiva Gosvami, and also the substance of the two other commentaries by Shri Mukundadasa and Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti, which will, we believe, throw light on some important points in the text and make it easy reading.


          Shri Jiva claims that his commentary will make the contents of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhah accessible to the readers, which would otherwise be inaccessible to anybody because of the transcendental nature of the conception of Bhakti as depicted by Shri Rupa. Shri Jiva says that the source of all his blessedness lies in Shri Rupa, the author of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindbah. Punning on the word ‘Jiva’, i.e. his own name, which also means ‘the individual soul’, the great philosopher-commentator asserts that the Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh would be the source of eternal blessedness to all, irrespective or caste or creed, clime or country.


          Shri Rupa starts writing Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh by singing the glories of his most beloved Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, who is the SOLE RECIPIENT of all loving devotion. This has been the usual practice with all authors of spiritual literature in India, i.e. to invoke blessings of the Supreme Lord before they would start writing.


          The commentator Shri Java Gosvami first of all glorifies the greatness of Shri Radha and Shri Govinda-the Divine Couple (the Whole and the Counter-Whole Divine Moieties). Then he invokes the blessings of Shri Sanatana Gosvami, who is, he says, as eternal as the Supreme Lord Himself (the Sanskrta word sanatana means eternal), and who is the elder brother of Shri Rupa Gosvami, the author of this book, and whose youngest brother was Shri Vallabha, father of the commentator, Jiva Gosvami. Shri Jiva looks upon all the three elders as the source of all blessedness to him.


          Shri Jiva says that the very mode of composition by Shri Rupa Gosvami of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh the ocean of nectar of all transcendental mellow-sweetness, just comparable with the sweetness of Shrimad Bhagavatam is indeed extraordinary and wonderful. Generally the lotus blooms at night in moon-light on the breast of the Ganga, but here the ocean of the nectar of transcendental mellow-sweetness Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh has sprung from the blooming petals of the mid-day lotus of his own heart! Earnestly anxious for the highest good of humanity, and specially to quench the thirst for divine love of the self-realized souls, Shri Rupa composes this treatise, which is at once the source of all-bliss and all that is auspicious.


In order to signify these inner feelings of utmost kindness of his heart to mankind, Shri Rupa starts describing the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna as "the Embodiment of all the 12 Rasas" (akhila-rasamrta-murtih)!


          Vidhurjayati: Vidhuh, i.e. Supreme Lord Krishna ever exists in His all-round triumph, glory and excellence. Vidhuh ordinarily means "the Godhead" with the peculiar curl of hair on the breast of Vishnu as His characteristic mark; but here Shri Rupa Gosvami uses the word vidhuh in a significant sense. One who vidhunoti, i.e. cuts at the very root of all miseries and transcends all, is Vidhuh. Or vidadhati, i.e. One who gives the highest and every possible felicity and happiness to one and all without any distinction, is Vidhuh. For example, it is all too well known that the Supreme Lord Krishna by dint of His own majesty and divine prerogative granted eternal emancipation to all the demons, graciously allowing the emancipated souls of those demons to merge into His own Blessed Body. Besides freely distributing to the furthest limit even the extraordinary and most wondrous pleasures which He Himself enjoys of His own Love and His Divine Love-dalliance with Himself! His inconceivable divinity is well known.


          By using Jayati in the present tense, Shri Rupa describes Lord Krishna as eternally existing in His own Glories as the Highest Divinity. This use of present tense also dispels all doubts from the minds of those who thought otherwise of His Supreme Divinity because of His Transcendental Manifestation in this world, which apparently looked similar to the birth of an ordinary human being! "Krishna Jayati" also signifies that Shri Krishna is the Highest and most Supreme Absolute Whole, in whom all divine auspiciousness and absolute qualities exist in their fullness and perfection, and that His all other divine Names, such as Vasudeva, etc. only express the different degrees of His divine qualities. The fullness of the Absolute Divinity is eternally in Krishna-Form alone. In support of this statement, Shri Jiva Gosvami, the commentator, cites examples from the Scriptures. For example, "When His relatives were killed by Him, they attained final emancipation in His own Form, looking at His Divine Face while expiring!14


          Or, He (Krishna) is the Supreme Lord of all the three worlds and none can equal Him. Completely self-fulfilled He exists in His own transcendental Realm, ever being served by His own Internal Potency, Laksmi, and the Regents of innumerable ever-existing worlds-the great Brahmas, bow down at His Feet by lowering crores of the crescents of their proud crowns by way of offerings to Him.15

          Again, how wonderfully beautiful is His Face! Look! The Makara-shaped (shaped like a mythical sea animal) dazzling earring are swinging from His Ears and kissing His Cheeks, and the curling coil of black hair decorating His Forehead! Ah! The maddening and self-enjoying and also sportive smile on His Eyes and Lips! Such an ever fresh and gladdening beauty all men and women would constantly and uninterruptedly drink with their wide open eager and unwinking eyes! And if there be any twinkling in their beauty drinking eyes, thereby interrupting the continuity of the joy of their supra-mundane and even supra-spiritual sight of the incomparable Beauty of the Lord, they would blame the Creator who created eyelids!16


          What wonder is there that any woman in the three worlds would be attracted by the melodies of the Flute and fascinated by the unsurpassable beauties of the Lord and would sacrifice the ordinary path of relative righteousness when even the cows, the brahmanas, trees, creepers and deer are thrilled with horripilation at the three worlds enchanting beauties of the Lord!17


          The apparently Human, but essentially Spiritual Body, that He manifested in this world out of His own prerogative and with the help of His own Internal Potency, called Yoga-Maya, was wonderfully fascinating even to Himself, what to speak of others! This, His Manifested Body, which suited His transcendental Pastimes on earth, was the climax of the abundance of His grace, and this His Human like body (apparently looking like a human body, though completely spiritual in His own Eternal Form) was so beautiful that it itself was an ornament to ornaments!18


          All these innumerable Avataras (Different Manifestations or Divine Descents of the Supreme Lord) are Parts and Parts of Parts of the Divinity, while Krishna alone is the Supreme Godhead Himself.19


     All glory be to Him, who is the Refuge to all, pious beings or sinners, like the shade of a tree in the summer sun, though the tradition goes that He was born of Devaki!20


          Now the author describes the innate nature of the Supreme Lord as He is in accordance with the graded superiority and excellence of the different Manifestations of the Divinity. By describing Krishna as the Embodiment of all the twelve Rasas, Shri Rupa Gosvami asserts that the very Form of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, as transcendental immaterial Spirit, is the personification, as it were, of Bliss condensed and all compacted. In His charming Body are stocked all the twelve mellow sweet sentiments, which generate feelings of eternal bliss. When Krishna enters the city of Mathura, coming from Vrndavana in order to kill Kamsa, the king of Mathura, the Lord fearlessly walks in the streets. In order to drink the loving beauties of the Lord, the damsels of Mathura take their stand on house-roofs and exclaim: "Lo! Our hearts had long been attracted to this Govinda while we heard about His charming beauties. Now we are drenched in the torrential nectar of the pleasure of seeing Him. We are immensely blessed!"- Thus saying the damsels were strongly attracted to embrace Him through the corners of their eyes. This feeling of embracing the blissful Lord removed forever all the agonies of separation from their hearts and they were overwhelmed with the tremor of love.21


          Again, Brahma, the creator of the universe, said: "Lord! This manifest universe appears to be real, but truly its reality is nothing more than the reality in a dream! The forgetful individuals being attached to it no doubt suffer terribly. To enter into any discussion about the reality or otherwise of this manifest universe, man’s intelligence comes to an end owing to the insolubility of the true nature of the universe. But the greatest wonder is that this universe being created by the Maya appears to be real, because Thou art eternal, blissful and all-knowing!"22


          Krishna, the Lord of Ecstatic Love, responds in graded super-excellence to the intensity of love of the different Associates or Entourage in accordance with their love for the Lord in the higher gradation of service in servanthood, friendship in friendhood, filial affection in parenthood and erotic attachment in consorthood. Lord Krishna thus reciprocates as Master, Friend, Son and Consort to His Associates in these different primary Rasas. The climax is spiritually erotic love.


Again, when the Supreme Lord Krishna, along with His elder brother Shri Balarama entered the amphitheater of Kamsa, king of Mathura, He appeared as the thunderbolt to the wrestlers, to the menfolk as the Best among them, to the ladies as Cupid-incarnate, to the cowherds as their playmate, to the tyrannical rulers of the earth as their chastiser, to His own parents as their dear child, to the king of Bhoja (Kamsa) as death in person, to the ignorant just an ordinary individual, to the yogins as the highest immanent divinity, and to the Vrsnis as Godhead-the object of worship.23


          All these quotations have been cited by Jiva Gosvami to prove the authenticity of the statement made by Shri Rupa Gosvami that Shri Krishna is the Highest and the Most Supreme Godhead, who is Anandam or the Highest Bliss personified. Bliss Eternal, ever new and ever progressive, beyond all limitations of relative time and space. Jiva further quotes from Gopala-tapani: "Krishna is the Highest God. He should be meditated upon and He alone should be cherished in the heart with all emotional sweetness."


          Herein again, the super-excellence of His Appearance in this world along with His Eternal Associates or Entourage who possess a supra-mundane amorous form of reciprocal relation with Him, which produces an inconceivable and ecstatic bliss, is firmly established. Thus, the supreme excellence of an eternal and ever-fresh and ever-new feeling of relation of an ever-full supra-mundane amatory sentiment of His particular Associates towards Krishna, who are His Counter-Whole Divine Moieties, marks out Krishna the Supreme Absolute Divinity from His all other relative Manifestations or Avataras.


To justify further the super-excellence of Krishna as the Supreme Godhead of supra-mundane Love, Jiva Gosvami cites still further support from the Scriptures. The ladies of Mathura who were witnessing the fight between the unequal combatants, viz. Krishna, a Boy of eleven years, victoriously challenging the redoubtable wrestler Canura, remarked: "Alas! What penance did the Gopis undergo to deserve the drinking with their eyes the fathomless nectar of the very essence of all-loveliness and beauty of the Person of Krishna? Whose loveliness and beauty are unsurpassed, unequaled and difficult to attain in the entire world? Look! The loveliness of Krishna's Person and the suppleness of His Limbs assume newness every moment! He requires nothing else to adorn His Body. He is the absolute Abode of All-majesty, All-fame, All-glory, All-knowledge and All-detachment.24


          The exquisite beauty of the Person of Krishna in the midst of the Gopis in the Rasa-dance is described by Shri Sukadeva Gosvami thus: "In the Rasamandala, i.e. the circular dance of Shri Krishna surrounded by the Gopis, the eternal Damsels of the transcendental Realm of the Supreme Godhead, God Krishna, known as the Son of Devaki, looked exceedingly charming like the brightest emerald in the center of a garland of precious gems."25


      It is said in the Uttara-khanda of the Bhavisya-Puranam that ten of

these Gopis who joined Krishna in the Rasa-dance are of greater importance.

They are known as: (1) Gopali (2) Pali or Palika, (3) Dhanya, (4) Visakha (5) Dhanisthika, (6) Radha, (7) Anu-Radha, (8) Somabha, (9) Taraka, and (10) Dasami.

          Another reading is Visakha, Dhyananisthika. The name of the tenth Gopis is Taraka, or Dasami is another name. In the Dvaraka-mahatmya and also in the Prahlada-samhita of the Skanda-Puranam, mention is made, in addition to the aforesaid Gopis, of Lalita and others, of whom the Principal Eight Gopis are: (1) Lalita, (2) Syamala, (3) Saivya, (4) Padma, (5) Bhadra, and the previously mentioned (6) Radha, (7) Dhanya, and (8) Visakha. Now Shri Rupa Gosvami gives a graded importance to these Gopis in pairs according to the degree of their intimacy with Krishna. Hence, when he writes that Krishna brings Taraka and Pali under control by the radiation of the glow of His effulgence, his contention is that they are less important. Superior to them are Syama (Syamala) and Lalita, they being appropriated by the Supreme Lord Krishna as His own. Shri Rupa Gosvami gives the highest importance to Radha, differentiated from the Pairs of Gopis, when he describes Her as the Most Beloved of Krishna. Amongst all the Gopis of Vrndavana, Shri Radha occupies an extraordinary position. This supreme importance of Shri Radha is mentioned also in the Kartika-mahatmya of the Uttarakhanda of the Padma-Puranam: "Radha's Kunda (Tank) is as dear to Vishnu as She Herself is. Of all the Gopis, She is extraordinarily dear to Him." Again, in the Skanda and Matsya Puranas, though Her name is mentioned in the common list of the Gopis, yet Shri Radha's supreme place in Vrndavana is stated thus: "As Rukmini is in Dvaraka, so does Radha occupy the most important place in Vrndavana." In the Vrhad-Gautamiya Tantra, Shri Radha's mantram (spiritual incantation for worship) is like this (Sanskrta Transliteration):


Devi Krishnamayi Prokta Radhika Paradevata

Sarva-Laksmimayi Sarvakantih Sammohini Para.


It means: "The inside out of Goddess Radha (Radhika) is completely pervaded by Krishna. She is the Supreme Goddess. She is the Fountain-Source of all Potencies of the Supreme Godhead. All fortune and prosperity rest in Her or emanate from Her. All beauties exist in Her person, and She is the Paragon of all enchantments."


          Further, in the Rk. Parisista (the appendix to the Rg. Veda), it is stated: "God Madhava with Radha, and surely Radha with Madhava appear in glorious beauty among people." The Gopis have also said in the Bhagavatam: "This Radhika must have adored God Hari (Krishna) much more intensely than ourselves, as otherwise She would not have stealthily been carried away by Govinda (Krishna), ignoring and leaving us all behind!26

          In this way Shri Rupa Gosvami, author of this Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhuh, first sings the glories of his Beloved Object of intimate worship at the commencement of this unique classical work.

          Shri Jiva Gosvami, the commentator, now uses an equivoque with reference to the moon and the lunar orb. In the prologue a different meaning can be read by punning on the word Vidhuh. Though Vidhuh, i.e. the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna is far beyond all mundane and supra-mundane objects, yet a comparison with a phenomenal object in certain partial aspects may be helpful for the laity for a peep into the knowledge and understanding of the Lord. Thus Vidhuh, the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, is here compared with the mundane Vidhuh, i.e. the moon! According to Mukta-pragraha Nyaya, Krishna alone has been described as Vidhuh, i.e. "One who cuts at the very root of all miseries and transcends all", or, "One who gives the highest and every possible felicity and happiness to one and all without any distinction" (explained before). So also, the mundane moon is called Vidhuh as it removes miseries of all, caused by the darkness of the night or the heat of the day, and gives happiness and pleasure to all without any distinction. Again, as Krishna alone has been described as Vidhuh and not any of His other Manifestations or Divine Descents or Avataras, so also in the mundane comparison the full moon alone should here be called Vidhuh and not any part of the moon, because the full moon alone is most powerful in dispelling the intensity of the darkness of the night. Thus in these limited senses only the Supreme Shri Krishna has been compared with the full moon.


          A question may be raised: Why is it that Lord Shri Krishna has not been compared with the sun? The answer is simple. The sun cannot soothe the sufferings of people from its own heat. Hence the sun does not stand any comparison with the All-soothing Lord Shri Krishna. The moon does exist in all its excellence, as the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna exists in all His glories! A further objection may be raised that while comparing Shri Krishna with the moon, the Lord has been described in the present tense as the All-glorious (Vidhurjayati) whereas the full moon does not exist permanently, hence the comparison is wrong. But this pertinent objection is refuted by the argument that Shri Krishna has not been compared with any full moon of every month in any season, but the full moon of the vernal season alone is compared with the Lord because the full moon of the spring alone possesses all the requisite qualities as described above.


          Having shown the common points of comparison in the substantive, points of comparison are now shown in the attributive. Firstly, as Shri Krishna is the Personification of all the Twelve Rasas, so also the moon is the repository of never-failing taste of the soothing nectar of the rays that emanate from the halo round the disc of the springtime full moon.



As there is similarity in the sound of the word Vidhuh, meaning both Shri Krishna and moon, so there are common points with reference to Rasa, its taste and agreeableness. Secondly, as Shri Krishna has subdued the two Gopis Taraka and Pali by the radiance of the luster of His Body, so also the galaxy (Pali) of stars (Taraka) are enveloped by the luster of the full moon. Thirdly, there are further common points of comparison as regards the attributive in the fact that as Shri Krishna owns Syama and Lalita as His own, so also the full moon heightens the love-dalliance (Lalita, i.e. Vilasa) in the night (Syama, i.e. night). The word Syama has, according to Visvaprakasa dictionary, several other meanings, such as, an unborn woman, Soma-creeper, a small bird, night, dark, a medicinal plant bearing fragrant seed or long pepper, trivrta, priyangu, gundra, etc. But here in this context the word Syama should mean night, i.e. Nisa. Fourthly, as Radha is most beloved of Shri Krishna, so also Visakha (also called Radha), the sixteenth of the twenty-seven lunar asterisks, is nearest to the full moon of the spring season, and comes under its influence. Here the comparison is between Lord Shri Krishna and the full moon of the spring, and between Shri Radha and the star Visakha, otherwise called Radha. As Shri Krishna is under the influence of Shri Radha, knowing fully well of Her Prema, so also the full moon of the vernal season is under the influence of the Visakha (Radha) star because of its superior influence during this season.


          The stars vanish before the scorching rays of the sun, but add to the beauty of the lunar disc because the pleasure of love-dalliance is enjoyable on a moonlit night and not in the heat of the sun; and again, the sun has any such attractive beauty as the moon has. It is thus the vernal full moon that has been compared with Lord Shri Krishna, and not with any other solar objects. The attraction and the beauty of Lord Shri Krishna excels all other entities.


          Shri Jiva Gosvami says that Shri Rupa Gosvami’s, Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh abounds in varied and endless metaphors, rhetoric, prosody, theories, inferences, deductions, decisions, waves of Rasas, i.e. shades of transcendental sentiments, etc., most of which have been explicitly delineated by the author himself. But he, as the commentator, will make clear and understandable those portions only which are incomprehensible (durgama), and therefore his commentary is called Durgama-sangamani Tika. –1-


Text 2:

hridi yasya preranaya pravartito ‘ham varaka-rupo 'pi |

tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande chaitanya-devasya ||2||


Translation: I offer my obeisances to the lotus-like beautiful Feet of the Supreme Lord Hari, who is Shri Chaitanyadeva, inspired by whom in my heart, I am induced to write this book even though I myself am most unworthy to undertake the great task. –2-


Commentary: After invoking and glorifying the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, Shri Rupa Gosvami now bows before Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva, who is identical with the Godhead Shri Krishna, at whose Feet he had taken complete shelter, and who by promulgating his own Bhakti or devotional services to the Supreme Being, made His Divine Descent in this world to save the fallen souls of the Kali yuga-the age of vices. Shri Rupa Gosvami expresses his humbleness of heart when he says: Unworthy though I am to venture to write on the most difficult and incomprehensible subject of Bhakti-Rasa, Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva has been graciously pleased to inspire my heart to take up this insurmountable task. I therefore prostrate myself before His feet.


          The word varaka means small or humble, being an expression of humbleness of the heart of a great and genuine devotee like Shri Rupa Gosvami. But the word also means one who is able to express most perfectly the supremest subject by employing the science of words and grammar. Thus the word varaka can be explained in both the senses of most insignificant and most capable. Shri Rupa intends to say that though this rhetorical book Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhah has been written by him, it was possible only because he was inspired by Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva to undertake the work.


The use of the compound word varaka-rupa further signifies, according to Visva-Kosa, humbleness as an embellishment of one's character one whose very nature is humbleness! The suffix Rupa is used in the sense of resemblance. Thus, varaka-rupa means one who appears to be indigent. On the other hand, if varaka is taken in the sense of one who is most competent to describe the supreme subject matter through a rhetorical composition, then Shri Rupa Gosvami as the writer (varaka-rupa) may also be said indirectly to introduce himself! When Shri Rupa Gosvami calls himself varaka, i.e. most insignificant, he confesses that no credit could be given to him for writing on the subject of Bhakti-Rasa, which was difficult even for Brahma, Siva and other gods! But the possibility must be ascribed to the inspiration that had been infused in his heart by the Supreme Lord Himself. Thus is expressed here the modesty of the poet and the glories of Bhagavan, the Godhead.


In his commentary Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami establishes the identity of Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva with the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna by quoting copiously from the different scriptures. (The translator quotes these texts in his preface.)


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami raises a pertinent question: Why should Shri Rupa Gosvami again make his obeisances to Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva when he had already invoked the glories of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna in his first sloka? In reply he points out that Shri Krishna, who is the Most Beloved of Shri Radha, is now manifest as Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva.


          The present book, Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh deals with the subject matter of Prema starting from its lowest ladder of Sraddha. (I) Sraddha to (IV) Anartha-nivrtti are steps of spiritual sadhana (practices) from utter bondage to the soul's freedom from the clutches of the threefold deviating influences.


          The most supreme conception of Prema as Madana-Mahabhava is possible in Shri Radha alone. This is the supreme climax of Divine Prema. Commentator Shri Mukundadasa says in his commentary that as Shri Krishna Himself could not relish the super-excellence of Shri Radha’s Mahabhava Prema for Him, He entered into the Mahabhava of Shri Radha in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva in order to relish this supreme Prema. It is, therefore, quite in order that Shri Rupa Gosvami should make his obeisances to Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva even after glorifying Shri Krishna in the first sloka of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh. -2-



Text 3:

vishrama-mandiratya tasya sanatana-tanor mad ishasya |

bhakti-rasamrita-sindhur-bhavatau sadayam promodaya ||3||


Translation: May this ocean of the nectar of Bhakti-Rasa (Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh) be the pleasure-bed of rest of my Supreme Lord Shri Krishna (i.e. Shri Narayana), who posses an All-animate Eternal Body, and may it give Him constant pleasures. -3-



May this Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh be the temple of rest for the supreme satisfaction of my Spiritual Master who is known as Shri Sanatana Gosvami. -3-


Commentary: In this sloka Shri Rupa Gosvami explains the purpose of his writing this classical work. He does not think in terms of acceptance or rejection of the worth of his book by anybody of this world. The author's one and only object is that the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna as, well as his Spiritual Master (Guru) Shri Sanatana Gosvami, may taste the ambrosia of the transcendental pleasures by drinking its contents. The author's highest satisfaction lies in the satisfaction of the Lord alone.


In this sloka Shri Rupa Gosvami describes his book as an Ocean of Nectar and as the tradition goes, at the time of total dissolution of the universe the Supreme Lord Shri Narayana (the Lord who accepts water as His bed), who possesses an eternal, i.e. Sanatana Body of His own, makes the Ocean His bed for rest, so also Shri Rupa prays that his book Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindbuh which is like an Ocean of Bhakti-Rasa, may be a soft and comfortable bed of rest of highest pleasures to the Eternal (Sanatana) Lord Shri Krishna. The contention is that the subject matter of this book, which is Bhakti-Rasa, will give immense pleasure to the Supreme Divinity. Punning on the word Sanatana, Shri Rupa also prays that this book dealing with the highest conception of Bhakti may as well superbly please his own Spiritual Master Shri Sanatana Gosvami, who is well-known for his great qualities of knowledge (jnana), renunciation (viraga) and Bhakti (soul's loving services to God for His pleasures). -3-


Text 4:

bhakti-rasamrita-sindhau caratah paribhuta-kala-jalabhiyah |

bhakta-makaranashilita mukti-nandIkanna-masami ||4||


Translation: I respectfully bow to those superior devotees, who have overcome the cobwebs of time, which is the cause of births and deaths, and who like the Makara (the mythical sea-animal) freely swim, in the Ocean of the Nectar of Bhakti-Rasa (Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh), after discarding all the rivers of mukti that ultimately merge and disappear in the Ocean of Bhakti. –4-


Commentary: Shri Rupa Gosvami first makes obeisance at the feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna and Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva, his spiritual master Shri Sanatana Gosvami, and now bows before the genuine devotees of Shri Krishna. In this sloka, Shri Rupa compares a genuine devotee with a Makara, the king of fishes; Bhakti-Rasa with an Ocean of Nectar; the different forms of mukti with various rivers that lose themselves in the ocean and in which they flow and thereby find their final rest therein. Shri Rupa invites genuine devotees to swim in the Ocean of Nectar of Bhakti-Rasa (Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh) by discarding the rivers of mukti, which ultimately find their rest in the Ocean of Bhakti only, like a Makara that will always discard all rivers and will only live in the ocean, for all rivers end in the ocean. Shri Rupa further says that genuine devotees have cut asunder cobwebs of time, and have mastered births and deaths. In the comparison of a devotee with a Makara, Shri Rupa Gosvami has three common grounds before his mind. Firstly, Bhakti-Rasa is the Ocean of Nectar in which a genuine devotee will swim and which he will taste and drink as a Makara swims and lives in the ocean only. Secondly, as a Makara being the king amongst fishes, discards all rivers that fall into the ocean, so also a genuine and superior devotee of Shri Krishna discards all the five forms of mukti even when they merge in Bhakti. Thirdly, as a Makara cannot be caught in the net of a fisherman as it lives in the deep ocean, so also a genuine devotee of Shri Krishna cannot be bound by the cobwebs of time and hence has no fear of births and deaths. Shri Rupa bows down before such a devotee.


          Shri Jiva Gosvami in his commentary on this sloka says that a devotee has overcome all miseries of births and deaths, which are the cobwebs of time. Time cannot throw its net of births and deaths to catch a devotee as a fisherman cannot throw his net in the deep waters of the ocean to catch a Makara, so both are free from such fear of death. Further, though there are nice currents of water in rivers, a Makara does not care to swim or live in them; it does not want a river for its stay, so also a genuine and superior devotee of Shri Krishna discards, even if offered, all the five forms of mukti or emancipation from mundane bondage, viz. (1) Salokya-mukti, i.e. liberation as a co-denizen of the Realm of God, (2) Sarsti-mukti, i.e. liberation in the sense of possessing special powers or majesty similar to those of God, (3) Samipya-mukti, i.e. liberation in the sense of living in the presence of God, (4) Sarupya-mukti, i.e. liberation in possessing the form of God., and (5) Sayujya-mukti or liberation as being merged in God. A devotee in short wants nothing else but the service of the Lord for His pleasures only.27


          Again, Shri Jiva quotes from the Bhagavatam where Shri Narayana speaks to Shri Durvasa Rsi: "When My devotees who are fully engaged in My service do not desire even the four forms of mukti, viz. salokya, sarsti, samipya, sarupya, which are attainable by serving Me, why speak of their asking for passing perishable objects of the mundane world?"28 Indeed, even though devotees whose Bhakti is tinged by karma and jnana, may attain to the first four forms of mukti by serving the Lord, yet a superior devotee of unalloyed devotion without any tinge of karma and jnana will decline these four forms of mukti even if offered to him. But sayuja-mukti or merging into God Himself is completely discarded by devotees, being considered incompatible with Bhakti in any form, alloyed or unalloyed. The highest and superior devotees of Shri Krishna, who practice pure and unalloyed Bhakti, do not, therefore, even know of any sufferings from births and deaths, as they are constantly engaged in the services of the Lord and are ever engaged in tasting the sweetness of Krishna-Prema. To such devotees does Shri Rupa bow his head in reverence. –4-


Text 5:

mimamsakava-davagneh kathinamapi kunthayannasau |

jihvam sphurantu sanatana suciram tava bhakti-rasamritam-bhodhih ||5||


Translation: Oh Sanatana! (Shri Krishna! or Shri Sanatana!) may this Thy Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh glow or be manifest in all its brightness and luster in my heart for all time by extinguishing the flame-like tongue of the Mimamsakas.



Commentary: Here the author invokes the blessings of both Shri Krishna the Lord and Shri Sanatana Gosvami the Guru for completely refuting the possible counter-arguments of the two sections of the Mimamsa philosophy (Mimamsakas) so that they might be given a smashing defeat. The Mimamsakas are divided into two groups according to the Purva-Mimamsa and Uttara-Mimamsa. The Purva-Mimamsa deals with the ritualistic aspects of the Vedas, while the Uttara-Mimamsa, otherwise known as Vedanta-sutras, the aphorisms of the Vedas, deals with some aspects of knowledge of Impersonal Brahman. The Purva-Mimamsa and Uttara-Mimamsa are also known as Karma-Mimamsa and Jnana-Mimamsa respectively. Shri Rupa contends that in case these two schools of philosophers or Mimamsakas belonging to Vedic ritualism and undifferentiated knowledge, that is, with fruit-earning karma and impersonal pure experience of jnana, should raise any burning arguments against the contents of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh, like the seven-tongued submarine fires in an ocean, the very sweetness, i.e. the evidential value, and validity of the Ocean of the Nectar of Bhakti-Rasa (Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh) will be able to refute and silence them completely. Bhakti-Rasa will certainly be able with ease to pull out the rind of fruit-bearing karma of the karma-mimamsakas and throw out as useless the seed of dry wisdom of the impersonalists or jnana-mimamsakas, as the natural coolness of the ocean easily extinguishes the seven tongues of the submarine fires in its bosom. Rather, there is always a submarine-fire in an ocean, while in the case of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh, the Ocean, which brims with the Nectar of Bhakti-Rasa, there may or may not be the submarine-fires, like mimamsakas, and hence the difficulties in this case are fewer. Again, the ocean-fires have seven tongues, as the tradition goes, which is hard for the coolness of the ocean water to extinguish, while in case of the Ocean of Bhakti-Rasa, the flame of Mimamsakas has only two tongues, i.e. the two groups of mimamsakas, and hence it is very easy to silence them by the soothing, sweetness of the Rasa of the Ocean of Bhakti! So Shri Rupa holds that his problem is not so difficult, and that by the Grace of the Lord and the Spiritual Master it will be very easy for him to establish the incomparable superiority of Bhakti-Rasa over Vedic fruit-bearing karma of the Purva-Mimamsa and the dry wisdom of the impersonalists of the Uttara-Mimiamsa. Hence he tells his Lord and Guru that this Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh belong to Them for Their pleasures, and that by Their Grace it may remain ever manifest in his heart. – 5-


Text 6:

bhakti-rasya prastutir-akhila-jagan-mangala-prasangasya |

agyenapi mayasya kriyate suhridam pramodaya ||6||


Translation: For the delight of the intimate friends this Bhakti-Rasa, dealing with Shri Krishna, who is the Personification of all-auspiciousness of all the worlds, is being prepared or written even by this incompetent (most competent) person. -6-


Commentary: After praying for the blessings of the Lord and the

Spiritual Master that this book may completely refute the sophistries of the

Purva and Uttara-Mimamamsa, i.e. of the karmavadins and the impersonalists, Shri Rupa now humbly says that though he does not cherish any vanity that he can offer effective rejoinders to all forms of arguments of both favorable or antagonistic empiricists, he would certainly write on Bhakti-Rasa for the delight of genuine devotees and intimate friends. The author knows that dry empiricists whose hearts have not been watered by Bhakti-Rasa cannot find delight in it; nor does he care for their acceptance or rejection. But he knows that friends will find limitless delight in Bhakti-Rasa that deals with the All-auspiciousness of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna in whom rests the highest bliss for all the worlds. So ignoring the empiricists, Shri Rupa attempts to write the Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh for the genuine and benevolent friends who are free from ordinary limitations and prejudices and who are ardent followers of Bhakti-Rasa and who will find immense delight in it. As before, the author expresses humbleness by saying that he is not worthy of the task without the Grace of the Lord and the Master. The word ajna means incompetent; it also means most wise, i.e. Shri Rupa is the most competent person to write on this subject of Bhakti-Rasa. Shri Jiva says that Shri Rupa did not need writing this book for any purpose of his own as he was deeply merged in Bhakti-Rasa, but his eagerness to write on the subject was due to his desire, out of the kindness of his heart, to offer supreme delight to his friends, i.e. genuine and highest devotees. –6-


Text 7-9:

etasyah bhagavad-bhakti rasamrita-payonidheh |

catvarah khalu vakshyante bhagah purvadayah kramat ||7||


tatra purve vibhage 'smin bhakti-bhedanirupake |

anukramena vaktavyam laharinam catushtayam ||8||


adya samanya-bhaktadhya dvitiya sadhananvita |

bhavashhrita tritiya caturya prema-nirupika ||9||


Translation: Four divisions of this Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh in

relation to the Supreme Lord will now be described in the order of East,

South, West and North, (7) and the different determinate aspects of Bhakti will be expounded in the FOUR WAVES of the EAST DIVISION. (8) In the FIRST WAVE, the generic character of Bhakti; in the SECOND WAVE, Bhakti attained by sadhana or spiritual practices according to scriptural injunctions, i.e. SADHANA-BHAKTI; in the THIRD WAVE, Bhakti based on Bhava, i.e. BAHAVA-BHAKTI; and in the FOURTH WAVE, PREMA-BHAKTI will be established. -9-


Text 10:

tatradau sushthu vaishishtya-masyah kathayitum sphutam |

lakshanam kriyate bhakter-uttamayah satam matam ||10||


Translation: In order to explain explicitly the obvious characteristics of Bhakti (i.e. Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti in the Second, Third and Fourth Waves of the East-Division respectively), the intrinsic nature (definition) of Uttama-Bhakti (unalloyed Bhakti of the highest quality), as accepted by saints, is first stated in the First Wave. -10-


Commentary: Shri Rupa Gosvami here argues that before he can take up the distinctive and different characteristics of unalloyed Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti, it is essential first to define Uttama-Bhakti, or unalloyed pure Bhakti, as distinguished from Bhakti tinged by karma and jnana. Without a precise definition and accurate description of a subject, its different species or varieties cannot be ascertained. A definition of an object gives its distinctive character. For example, the dewlap defines an ox, as its dewlap distinguishes it from other animals. Hence an ox can be defined as an animal that possesses a dewlap. Dewlap thus distinguishes an ox from other animals. So Shri Rupa will now define Uttama-Bhakti, i.e. pure Bhakti of the highest quality, as distinct from mixed Bhakti. Shri Rupa further states that the definition that he will be giving of Uttama-Bhakti will not be anything from his personal imagination, but it will certainly be based on the authentic declarations of saints like Narada and others. In the FIRST WAVE of the East-Division of the Ocean of the Nectar of Bhakti-Rasa, Shri Rupa will simply define Uttama-Bhakti, but without going into details about its different varieties so that pure bhakti may be differentiated from mixed Bhakti, such as is tinged by karma and jnana, and also that the ground may be prepared for the appreciation of the special characteristics of Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti in the following THREE WAVES of the EAST-DIVISION. Bhakti that is tinged by desires for worldly pleasures, wealth, heavenly enjoyments, etc. cannot be the highest and pure. As Uttama-Bhakti is completely free from desires, a devotee practicing unalloyed devotion or Bhakti is naturally superior to all others. So it is said in the Bhagavatam: "One who possesses unmixed and desireless Bhakti in the Supreme Lord, all gods with all their attributes dwell in him; what quality can there be in a non-devotee of God who is carried in a mental-chariot as it were to the world's pleasure-gardens? That is, a non-devotee possesses no excellence whatsoever!"29  -1O-


Definition of Uttama-Bhakti:


Text 11:

anyabhilashita-shunyam jshana-karmady-anavritam |

anukulyena krishnanu-shilanam bhaktir-uttama ||11||


Translation: Actively serving Krishna and all that is related to Krishna with real liking and relish and in a way that is agreeable or pleasing also to Krishna, and serving Krishna in the above manner without any desires of the usual extraneous motives other than the desire for Bhakti itself, and without any adulteration by the ways of karma (as expounded in the Purva-Mimamsa) or the way of knowledge or jnana (as expounded in Uttara-Mimamsa) or the way of yogic realization (as expounded in Patanjali's yoga-philosophy) is pure, unadulterated Uttama-Bhakti, i.e. Bhakti of the highest quality. – 11-


Commentary: After the preliminary obeisances to God, Guru and genuine devotees, and after further mentioning how he would discuss the subject of Bhakti-Rasa in FOUR DIVISION, Shri Rupa Gosvami now takes up the central theme of this book, i.e. Uttama-Bhakti.


          In defining Bhakti, Shri Rupa Gosvami mentions both the Svarupa-Laksana, i.e. direct and intrinsic character, and the Tatastha-Laksana, i.e. indirect and extrinsic character of the subject.


          In defining the Svarupa-Laksana of Bhakti, Shri Rupa establishes three things, viz. {1) Krishna, the Supreme Lord, (2) Anusilanam or culture, i.e. service of Krishna and (3) Anukulyena or in a manner that will be agreeable to Krishna’s taste.

          In the indirect or extrinsic aspects of the definition, Shri Rupa mentions two things, viz. (a) non-existence of ordinary human motives for objects other than Bhakti (anyabhilasitasunyam), and (b) unconcealed by jnana-karma-yoga, etc. (Jnana-Karmadyanavrtam).

          The positive part of the definition establishes pure Bhakti, and the negative part of the definition brings out the distinctive super-excellence of Bhakti, i.e. Uttama-Bhakti, as pure and unadulterated, and therefore autonomous and self-shining.


In the Svarupa-Laksana, the positive characteristics include:


          (1) Krishna: The subject of Bhakti is the Supreme Godhead alone and nothing else. No mundane entity can be the subject of Bhakti. When Shri Rupa Gosvami mentions Krishna as the Supreme Subject of Bhakti, he means the Lord in all His aspects: as Krishna in Braja, as Krishna in Mathura and Dwaraka, as Narayana in Vaikuntha, and as all other forms and manifestations or divine descents of the Supreme Godhead. The different distinctive characteristics of these forms of the Supreme Lord Krishna will be discussed in detail hereafter, i.e. in slokas 220 to 224 in the First Wave of the North Division of the Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh. Anyway, Shri Rupa Gosvami first establishes that the Supreme and the highest Godhead, who is termed Krishna, is the sole and only Subject of Bhakti.


     (2) Anusilanam: The most important thing in the conception of Bhakti is the active culture, i.e. service of Krishna and all that is related to Krishna. The true meaning of anusilanam must be understood from its root verb. The meaning of a verb is derived from its root. Here also the root meaning of anusilanam must be ascertained and accepted. Every verb derives its meaning from its root, which may be both positive and negative. The positive aspect can be physical, verbal and mental. Verbs predicate action; that is to say, action is implied in every verb. So anusilanam will mean active endeavors by body, words and deeds. Actions other than the positive will be negative, such as endeavors not to commit offenses to the Name of God while chanting, or offenses in services in temples, etc. This negative anusilanam in relation to Krishna Nama (chanting of the Name of Krishna), and Krishna Seva (worship in temples etc.) can also be physical, verbal and mental.


          Now a question may be raised: Do all verbs in their root meaning imply action, such as roots stha and bhu? Even here the doubt may be removed. The root stha means to exist, which does not, of course, explicitly indicate any action, but certainly implies that it removes nonexistence, so also though bhu means to be, it also eliminates not to be. So every root meaning of a verb does indicate action. So ANUSILANAM of Krishna definitely means endeavors for the culture of Krishna and all that is related to Krishna.


          Besides the positive and negative aspects: physical, verbal and mental, in respect of the active cultural endeavors about Krishna, there can also be emotional activities arising out of the Sthayi-Bhava-Rati (attachment of a permanent relationship) and rising through Prama to Maha-Bhava. (Please see Introduction). Thus Krishna-Anusilanam means all forms of active culture about Krishna and in relation to Krishna. If, in this sense, sraddha or faith in Scriptures, submission to the Spiritual Master or Guru, association with genuine saints or devotees of Krishna, services of the Associates of Krishna, as well as all other forms of spiritual practices that will liberate an individual from mundane bondage till Nistha, Ruci, Asakti, Bhava and Prama (please see Introduction) are attained, be included in the meaning of anusilanam, i.e. endeavors in relation to Krishna, the definition cannot be said to be too wide, as all these endeavors relate to Krishna.


          Krishna-anusilanam can be possible only by the Grace of Krishna and His devotees. This active culture about Krishna (anusilanam) is inherent in the Intrinsic Potency or Svarupa-Sakti of the Supreme Lord Himself. Hence this anusilanam is supra-mundane (aprakrta). In other words, it is a function that descends from the Realm of the Supreme Lord to earth, as it were, when it functions in the pure soul or finite jiva-atma. It is infused in the limited faculty of the finite self by the Lord’s Svarupa-Sakti (The intrinsic potency of God) out of Her innate faculty, whereby the limited faculty of the jiva-atma or finite self functions fully and wholly in reciprocity to the Lord. Thus inflamed, as it were, by the Svarupa-Sakti the aprakrta or supra-mundane endeavors of the soul's faculties can become manifest in the faculties of the body and the mental quantum of the individual. For example, a fettered person has the nature of fondling a dear one in this world; but the intrinsic nature of fondness of the Svarupa-Sakti, or the Intrinsic Potency of Shri Krishna can, manifest itself in the mundane fondness of the individual and be identified with it. This has been further developed in the second sloka of the THIRD WAVE in the EAST DIVISION of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh.


          ANUKULYENA: Mere active culture or endeavors in relation to Krishna and all that is related to Krishna by itself cannot be said to be Bhakti, because these endeavors can be both agreeable as well as unpalatable and even positively inimical or hostile. If the anusilanam be hostile or antagonistic, it cannot be Bhakti. Hence, Shri Rupa Gosvami here qualifies anusilanam by anukulyena, i.e. endeavors in relation to Krishna must be agreeable to the taste of Krishna. Such endeavors alone can define the intrinsic character of Bhakti. Anukulya here means congenial to the taste of Krishna, that is to say, if the endeavors or anusilanam about Krishna be agreeable to Krishna's innate propensities of tastes, it will be said to be anukula anusilanam. Such endeavors must necessarily be delight-giving to Krishna. Shri Rupa Gosvami has used the word anukulyena as an adjective (visesanam) of anusilanam in the instrumental case, and not in upalaksana. There are two different forms of the use of the instrumental case in Sanskrta grammar, viz. as an adjective (visesana) and as conveying an implied sense (upalaksana). When an adjective is used the instrumental case, it remains inseparable from the qualifying noun. Hence when anukulyena has been used here as an adjective in the instrumental case, it follows that anusilanam in Bhakti cannot be separated from anukulata or agreeableness. For example, when the king asks someone to call the sentry, it means that the sentry is asked to come properly dressed with his weapons. So also anukulata or agreeableness must accompany Krishna-anusilanam. But the meaning must not be carried too far in the sense that when the king orders the sentries to be fed, he means that weapons should also be fed, but that the sentries will keep aside the weapons and then eat. In the same manner, anukulata or agreeableness or delight of Krishna cannot be excluded frown the anusilanam or endeavors in relation to Krishna. The contention is that both anusilanam and anukulata (endeavors about Krishna and delight of Krishna) are inseparable, just as when the king goes, it means that the king goes accompanied by his retinues. A question may be raised: If agreeableness or anukulata characterizes Bhakti, what is the need of anusilanam or active culture? The reason is that as all verbs in their meaning signify action (followed by Kr root), it is for the purpose of giving an explicit meaning to the expression anukulyena that anusilanam has been used, and this is not redundant. Again, a further question may be raised: Why anu has been prefixed to silanam, and why not silanam only? The reason is that once agreeableness is aroused (anukulata) in the heart of Krishna, then there can be no cessation of the same. Hence the prefix 'anu' is appropriately used, as it signifies continuity of the endeavors in relation to Krishna.

          Now, if the definition of Bhakti be such that it should connote only the agreeable or delight-giving endeavors in relation to the taste of Krishna and all that is related to Krishna, i.e. if anukulata or agreeableness to the taste of Krishna or delight of the Subject be the criterion of Bhakti, independent of the favorable or antagonistic attitude of the devotee, then the definition will be either too wide or too narrow. Mere delight on the part of Krishna, the Subject, alone cannot be a precise definition of Bhakti unless it simultaneously excludes hostile endeavors on the part of the devotee (Object) inspired by hostility or antagonism. If the delight of Krishna be the only criterion of Bhakti, i.e. anukula anusilanam only, the definition will be too wide. Again, if non-hostility on the part of the devotee be the only criterion of Bhakti independent of the delight or otherwise of Krishna, the definition will be too narrow. Commentator Shri Visvanatha gives two examples. When the demons like Kamsa, Jarasandha, Sisupala, Dantavakra and eighteen other demons challenged Shri Krishna into mortal combats with terrible feelings of enmity against Him, the Lord immensely enjoyed the fight and had a taste of Vira-Rasa i.e. heroism.30 Here was anukula anusilanam or endeavors by the demons, which immensely delighted the Lord; but the demons that fought Krishna were actuated by feelings of hostility towards the Lord, which cannot be Bhakti. In this case, the definition of Bhakti as mere delight-giving endeavors becomes too wide (ativyapti). On the other hand, when Shri Yasoda (the Personification of Vatsalya-Rati or parental relation with the Godhead) put Shri Krishna down on the ground from her affectionate lap and went running to the nearby oven to take down the overflowing hot milk, lest it be burnt and become useless for Krishna, for whose drink it was being boiled, the action of Shri Yasoda did not delight Krishna and He began to weep and expressed seeming anger.31 Though the endeavor of Shri Yasoda was full of affection for the Divine Child, the definition of anukula-anusilanam becomes too narrow (avyapti). Therefore, anukulata or agree- ableness on the part of the Subject (the Lord) implies also non-hostility on the part of the Object (devotee).


          Now there appears to be some difference of opinion amongst the commentators regarding the exact significance of the word anukulyena. Shri Jiva Gosvami interprets anukulata in a comprehensive sense to include both its negative and positive aspects, viz. the absence of an attitude of hostility towards Krishna and the presence of delight in Krishna. Or in other words, those behaviors alone can be regarded as anukula (i.e. favorable) which are both marked by a non hostile attitude towards Krishna and also conducive to the actual delight of Krishna. The contention of the commentator is that in a case of Bhakti there must be reciprocity of feelings between Lord Krishna and the devotee. The devotional activities must be undertaken from an attitude of friendliness, i.e. non-hostility and at the same time these must arouse reciprocal feelings in the Lord Krishna.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti, however, points out that if anukula anusilanam means such culture as is conducive only to the pleasure of Shri Krishna, then the definition is both too wide and too narrow. It is too wide, since it will lead to the recognition of the war like hostile activities of Kamsa, Sisupala, Dantavakra and others delight in Krishna, as a genuine case of Bhakti. And it will be too narrow, since it will exclude the efforts of Yasoda to take down the pot of milk from the fire by leaving Krishna alone, even at the cost of the latter's discomfort, from the category of genuine Bhakti. Hence according to Shri Visvanatha, the meaning of anukula anusilanam should be taken in the sense of absence of hostility on the part of the devotee. In such a case, the war like activities of Kamsa and others cannot be regarded as Bhakti though they caused pleasure to Krishna, since they are done from a hostile attitude. And the activities of Yasoda will be regarded as a case of Bhakti even though they did not give rise to the pleasure of Krishna, since they were marked by not only an absence of hostility towards Krishna but by an intense feeling of parental affection for Krishna.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti seems to have gone too far in neglecting the positive side altogether. His contention that the behavior of a devotee must be marked by an attitude of non-hostility towards the Lord, and it is immaterial whether or not such behavior conduces to the pleasure of the Lord at the same time, is wide of the mark. For Bhakti, if anything is for the pleasure and delight of Shri Krishna, and it must always exclude such behaviors which cause definite displeasure to the Lord. As far as we can see, the whole difficulty has arisen out of the example of Yasoda, which he could not otherwise explain except from the point of view of Bhakti as marked by an attitude of non-hostility only. The difficulty may be cleared up, if we only consider the fact that in Vatsalya Rasa there is complete scope for apparent displeasure as is shown by such behavior of Krishna as weeping and remonstrating with His Mother Yasoda. In fact such weeping or crying on the part of Krishna as the Beloved Child did not mean that Krishna was unhappy at heart; on the contrary He was extremely delighted though His overt behavior was something very different. Besides, it may be pointed out that the illustration of Yasoda, given by Shri Cakravarti, was not quite appropriate in this case. For when we are discussing about Bhakti we must choose our illustration from the behavior of a sadhaka and not from that of a Nitya-Lila-Parikara, i.e. an Eternal Associate of the Divine Sports of the Lord, as Shri Yasoda is. It will be the height of folly to imagine that in course of the Divine Sport either the Lord or His Associates did not fully enjoy the Sport, or any of them actually hurt, as it has been imagined here in the case of the Lord Himself. If, however, any instance be taken from a sadhakas it will be easily realized that both the attitude of non-hostility on the part of the sadhaka as also the delight of Krishna are both involved in any case of genuine Bhakti.

          Hence a correct definition of Bhakti, as given by Shri Rupa Gosvami in this sloka, means that the endeavors or active culture regarding Krishna and all that is related to Krishna is not only agreeable (anukula) to Krishna, but is also completely free from hostility or the feeling of antagonism (pratikulata) on the part of the devotee. Therefore, anukula anusilanam should not be one-sided; i.e. delight to Krishna only, but it should also mean non-hostility or the part of those who are to cultivate the giving of delight to Krishna. So, anukulata or agreeableness excludes pratikulata or feelings of antagonism and hostility. Mere absence of pratikulata or malicious hostility alone also cannot be Bhakti unless it causes delight to Krishna. Thus the correct definition stands like this: Any active endeavor in relation to Krishna that gives delight to Him and which is free from any malicious hostility, is Bhakti. This is the svarupalaksana or intrinsic and directly positive nature of Bhakti.


          Now, in order to define Uttama-Bhakti as distinct from alloyed Bhakti, Shri Rupa Gosvami explains the tatasthalaksana or indirect and extrinsic character of Bhakti. Uttama-Bhakti or unalloyed Bhakti of the highest quality has TWO EXTRINSIC ASPECTS, which distinguish it from ordinary Bhakti, viz. (1) Anyabhilasita-Sunyam, and (2) Jnana-Karmadyanavrtam.



ANYABHILASITA-SUNYAM: This means complete freedom from any desire whatsoever other than the desire for Bhakti itself. How this can be cultured? Acting for the pleasures of Krishna without the least tinge of any desire for any self-benefit in any form, i.e. practicing Bhakti for no other purpose than the purpose of Bhakti itself, is called Bhakti that is ‘absolutely void of any desire’. It means that Bhakti is both Means and End, i.e. Bhakti alone is the Means to the End of Bhakti, and nothing else. Compare here Bhagavatam.32 Prabuddha tells King Nimi: "Oh King! Genuine and pure devotees constantly remembering and mutually making others remember the All-sin-destroying Lord Hari gain Prema-Bhakti by practicing Sadhana-Bhakti and their bodies become overwhelmed with horripilation." Thus Uttama-Bhakti does not aspire after anything but the pleasures of the Lord. It is absolutely void of any desire excepting the desire for Bhakti alone.


          The word used here is anyabhilasita and not anyabhilasa. Anyabhilasa means ‘desires for other objects,’ while anyabhilasita means ‘the habit of acting under extraneous desires’-desires that have become semi-nature with the person concerned, i.e. one cannot do without such desires. So, Uttama-Bhakti means not only ‘absence of extraneous desires’, but also complete absence of the very nature that acts from such extraneous desires. A pure devotee's normal nature is not to desire anything. But if accidentally a devotee is heard to say at a critical moment like death: "Oh Lord! Save this Thy humble devotee from the clutches of imminent death!” there is no harm in such a prayer because it is not normal with him, but only a temporary upset due to circumstances beyond his control. So this cannot be an argument against Bhakti, as there is no innate desire in the very nature of the devotee.


          Now in order to explain the Uttama-Bhakti or Bhakti of superior excellence, Shri Rupa Gosvami further states that when pure Bhakti, as already defined, is unobscured by janna, karma, etc., it becomes Uttama-Bhakti. Shri Rupa does not exclude jnana and karma as such from Bhakti, but holds that jnana, karma, yoga, etc. must not conceal the true nature of Bhakti. When jnana is decried, it refers either to empirical knowledge or knowledge of the Impersonal Brahman only, and not knowledge of Shri Krishna. In Uttama-Bhakti, knowledge or jnana of Shri Krishna is of course necessary-only empirical knowledge and knowledge of impersonalists like Sankarites are discarded here. What Shri Rupa Gosvami means by anavrta, i.e. being not hid or obscured, is that Brahma-jnana should not hide the true nature of Bhakti. Karma here refers to both ritual that are unconditionally obligatory and those conditionally binding according to the injunctions of the Smrti-Sastras. Such karma must note hide the true nature of pure Bhakti. Services in the temple, worship of the Deities of the Lord, etc. should not be discarded as being of the nature of karma. What unalloyed Bhakti does not permit is fruit giving Vedic or Smarta ritualistic karma. Such fruit bearing karma as well as dry jnana or knowledge do conceal the unalloyed nature of Uttama Bhakti. They are, however, not completely void of Bhakti as in the case of ‘desires for other things’.


          By the use of the word adi, Shri Rupa contends that not only smarta- karma and impersonal-janna should not be permitted to hide the nature of pure Bhakti, but also Vedic sacrifices (yajna), non-attachment (vairagya), astanga-yoga (i.e. restraint of passions, regulations and self-control, practice of different postures, control of breath, restraint of the senses from being directed to sense objects, concentration of mind, meditation, practice of mystical trance), etc. also should not be allowed to conceal the true nature of pure Bhakti. Then the question is: How and where does karma conceal Bhakti? The answer is that when a person thinks that if he does not perform the various rituals according to the injunctions of the Karma-Mimamsa, Dharma-Sastras and Smrti-Sastras, he or she will be doing harm to himself or herself. Hence if out of fear of such injunctions or excessive regard therefor one follows the path of karma, it will blur the true nature of Bhakti; or if one performs duly and with proper regard all such rituals as are described in Smrti, as a means to Bhakti, i.e. if the idea be that Bhakti cannot be attained without them, then also such karma will be an obstacle to Bhakti. It will be merely like a patch of cloud overshadowing Bhakti because Bhakti is not dependent on anything. But on the other hand, if a genuine devotee shall perform the obsequial rites in honor of his deceased father as laid down in Vedic or smarta ritualism, with no regard for them excepting the desire not to disturb the local social sentiments, such an action will not envelop or hide the true nature of Bhakti.


          A further question may be raised: When Shri Rupa Gosvami defines Bhakti as active endeavor for the delight of Krishna, why does he not say Krishna-Bhakti instead of Bhakti only? The reply is that Bhakti has always been used in regard to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna in all the scriptures; hence by the use of the word Bhakti, Shri Rupa means Krishna-Bhakti only. –11-



Having defined Uttama-Bhakti, Shri Rupa Gosvami now cites supporting authorities:


Text 12:

yatha shhri narada-pancaratre

savopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratevena nirmalam |

hrishIkena hrishikesha-sevanam bhaktir-ucyate ||12||


Translation: So it is said in Shri Narada-Pancaratra:

Completely freed from the defect of all upadhis or adjuncts (i.e. free from all desires), to be devoted to God (i.e. serving, God with agreeable endeavors for the delight of God), and being pure (free from the clouds of jnana-karma-yoga, etc.) to serve the Lord of all the senses with all one’s senses is called Bhakti. -12-


Commentary: In order to justify the correctness of his definition of Uttama-Bhakti, Shri Rupa Gosvami now cites references from authentic scriptures. In defining Bhakti, the Narada-Pancaratra says that the Supreme Lord, who is the subject of Bhakti, is the Lord of all senses. The word hrsika means senses and isa means the Lord. The word Hrsikesa really means Lord Shri Krishna. To serve the Supreme Lord and all His senses by the complete application of the reciprocal cit or spiritual organs of the pure soul is called Bhakti. But this Bhakti must be free from all possible extraneous desires, must be subservient to the delight of the Lord, and must not be clouded by jnana, karma, yoga, etc. –12-


Further references:


Text 13:

Shri bhagavatasya tritiyaskhandhe ca

lakshanam bhakti-yogasya nirgunasya hy udahritam |

ahaituky avyavahita ya bhaktih purushottame33 ||13||


Translation: So also it is said in the third Canto of the Bhagavatam:

When Lord Kapiladeva (not the founder of the Sankya system of philosophy, but the Divine Descent or Avatara of Vishnu, the son of Devahuti and Kardama Rsi) explained the 24 creative principles of the Sankhya philosophy of Kapila the philosopher. Shri Devahuti prayed to the Lord Kapiladeva to tell her about the conception of Unalloyed Bhakti by which alone those 24 principles could be truly understood. In reply to the query of His mother Devahuti about the true nature of Bhakti, Lord Kapiladeva says:

    It has been said that the definition of unalloyed (i.e. untouched by the three gunas of Maya) Bhakti-Yoga in the Supreme Lord is that it is uncaused and incapable of being frustrated by anything. -13-




Text 14:

salokya-sarshti-samipya-sarupyaikatvam apy uta |

diyamanam na grihnanti vina mat-sevanam jnanah ||14||


Translation: Lord Kapiladeva further tells Mother Devahuti: My genuine devotees besides serving Me alone for My delight do not accept Salokya-Mukti, i.e. liberation in the sense of living together with Me in My own Realm, sarsti-mukti, i.e. liberation as possessing of majesties and powers equal to Mine, samipya-mukti, i.e. mukti as close proximity to Me, sarupya-mukti, i.e. liberation as possession of beauty equal to My Beauty, nor ekatva or sayujya-mukti, i.e. liberation as identity with Me, even if I offer all these to them; what to speak of their asking for them? The contention is that a pure devotee never asks for any such salvation or anything else whatsoever. He finds his delight in serving Me alone for My delight.34 –14-



Commentary: In quoting this sloka from the Bhagavatam which describe the character of a pure devotee, Shri Rupa Gosvami wants to establish the spontaneity and irresistibility of Uttama-Bhakti, which are the signs of an unalloyed devotee as well. So, though this reference from the Bhagavatam does not directly support the correctness of the definition of highest Bhakti, Shri Rupa shows that the character of a pure devotee is also the characteristic of pure Bhakti. The reference is not, therefore, out of place here.


The sloka on the fivefold mukti, i.e. (1) salokya, (2) sarsti, (3) samipya, (4) sarupya, and (5) ekatva or sayujya, has purposely been quoted to establish the super-excellence of Uttama-Bhakti over mukti or salvation, though in defining Bhakti, mukti has nothing directly to do with it. The total rejection of all the forms of mukti by an unalloyed devotee is an inherent characteristic of Uttama-Bhakti itself. -14-


Still further reference from the Bhagavatam-


Text 15:

sa eva bhakti-yagakhya atyantika udahritah |

yenativrajnya trigunam mad-bhavayopapadyate ||15||


Translation: This is said to be the supreme conception of Bhakti by which one can cut asunder the bondage of the three-fold gunas of Maya and be eligible to attain My Prema (says the Lord to His mother Devahuti).35  -15-


Commentary: By citing this sloka in continuation of the previous one, Shri Rupa Gosvami wants to say that Uttama-Bhakti far transcends the aspirations for the various forms of mukti and even moksa. What for then a devotee takes recourse to Bhakti? Bhakti is itself the supreme End of Bhakti. The word atyantika means the end. Does it then mean that ekatva or sayujya-mukti, i.e. identification or merging of the finite self with the Infinite Godhead, which is the end in the previous sloka, is the End of Bhakti? No. It means that Bhakti is much more than sayujya. So, in certain places in the Scriptures, the word apavarga or Brahma-nirvana-sukha has been used in the sense of Bhakti only. For example, in the Fifth Canto of the Bhagavatam in Chapter 19, slokas 19-20, it is stated by Shri Sukadeva Gosvami to King Pariksita: "Oh King! According to one’s sattva-rajas-tamas karma an individual is born in this Bharatavarsa (India) and attains heavenly, earthly and hellish ends respectively. And when an individual performs his or her duties according to one's varna and asrama as enunciated by the Scriptures, he or she attains apavarga, i.e. moksa (final emancipation of the soul, or salvation, or final beatitude). But, Oh King! This apavarga is the uncaused, spontaneous Bhakti in the Paramatma-Vasudeva, who is Immanent in everything and Indweller of all finite selves, who is beyond expressions or any language or mundane words, who is Nondependent on any object, and who is supremely Beautiful and Full of All-auspiciousness." Hence, the word apavarga here in the Bhagavatam has been used in the sense of Bhakti as the supreme End or Value, which is attainable in the company of unalloyed or genuine devotees of God.


          Again in the Bhagavatam, Canto seven, Chapter seven, and sloka 37, Prince Prahlada uses the word Brahma-nirvana-sukha in the sense of pure Bhakti while advising the children of the demons after King Hiranyakasipu was killed by Lord Nrsimhadeva. Prince Prahlada says: "Boys! When the engrossed jivas engage their mind with one-pointedness in the Transcendent God and are freed from the wheels of the world, this very mental contact with the Adhoksaja (Transcendent) gives them immense pleasure, which the wise call Brahma-nirvana-sukha. So, friends! engage yourselves in the service of the Lord within your heart." In other Puranas also this one-pointed Bhakti in Hari has been said to be moksa. Though moksa is generally used in the sense of the highest amongst the four values, or caturvargas, viz. dharma, artha, kama and moksa, yet this moksa is insignificant as compared to Bhakti. Hence, Bhakti takes one beyond moksa and offers Prema, which is the Highest End of Bhakti. – 15-


Text 16:

salokyetyadi-padyastha bhaktotkarshani-rupanam |

bhakter-vishuddhata-vyaktya-lakshane paryavasyati ||16||


Translation: The superiority of a genuine devotee, as shown in the previous slokas, establishes the purity of Bhakti and it is involved in the very definition of Bhakti. –16-


Commentary: The question is raised: Why does the author bring in the delineation of a true devotee while expounding the nature of Bhakti? The commentator Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that describing a true devotee as not prompted even by the desire of liberation in any of the five forms is only explicating the definition of pure Bhakti as an attitude not actuated by extraneous desires, i.e. motives for any object other than Bhakti. In other words, Bhakti is a self-justifying, self-shining experience. It shines by its own light, and does not derive its spiritual value from consideration other than devotion itself. – 16-


The Six Qualities of Uttama-Bhakti:


Text 17:

kleshaghni shubhada mokshalaghutakrit sudurlabha |

sandrananda-visheshatma shri-krishnakarshini ca sa ||17||


Translation: Bhakti is the destroyer of all afflictions and ills of life, is beneficent, is the devaluer of moksa or liberation as a desirable end, is extremely difficult of attainment, is the essence of the cream of delight of a special kind, and is the attractor of Krishna who is Himself the Attractor of all that is. –17-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha points out that here Shri Rupa Gosvami states briefly the distinguishing qualities of Uttama-Bhakti. Of these six distinguishing characteristics, the first two, viz. (1) destroyer of afflictions and ills, and (2) beneficence, belong to Bhakti as Sadhana-Bhakti; while the second two qualities, viz. (3) the devaluer of moksa or liberation as a desirable end, and (4) extreme difficulty of attainment, are the distinguishing characteristics of Bhava-Bhakti; and the last two qualities, viz. (5) the essence of the cream of delight of a special kind, and (6) the attractor of Shri Krishna, who is the Attractor of all that is, are the distinguishing qualities of Prema-Bhakti. It is pointed out that this division is not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, just as there is a hierarchical order amongst the five elements (pancabhutas) in which each higher element includes the qualities of the lower elements besides its own distinctive quality, so also the Bhava-Bhakti comprises both its own distinctive qualities and also the two qualities that distinguish Sadhana-Bhakti, and Prema-Bhakti, besides comprising in own two distinctive qualities, includes in itself also all the four qualities of Bhava-Bhakti. –17-


Text 18:

tatrasyah kleshaghnatvam —

kleshastu papam tad vijam avidya ceti te tridha ||18||


Translation: Klesa or affliction and ills are of three different kinds, viz. (1) acts of sin, (2) seeds of sin, and (3) nescience (which is the root cause). –18-


Text 19:

tatra papam —

aprarabdham bhavet papam prarabdham ceti tad dvidha ||19||


Translation: Sin is of two kinds: sin which is not yet active in yielding its fruits (aprarabdha) and sin that has started to bear its fruits (prarabdha). -19-


Text 20:

tatra aprarabdha-haratvam yatha ekadashe –

yathagnih susamriddharcih karotyedhansi bhasmasat |

tatha mad-vishaya-bhaktir uddhavainansi kritsnashah ||20||


Translation: Just as fire properly lighted consumes the wood used as fuel and reduces it into ashes, so even the rudiments of Bhakti in the form of occasional chanting or hearing of My Name destroys all sins (all accumulated sins that have not yet started bearing fruits), Oh Uddhava! This is what Lord Krishna tells Shri Uddhava in the 11th Canto of the Bhagavatam.36 –20-


Text 21:

prarabdha-haratvam yatha tritiye –

yan-namadheya shravan-anukirtanad yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit |

shvado’pi sadyah savanaya kalpate kutah punaste bhagavannu darshannat ||21||


Translation: In her prayer to Lord Kapiladeva, Devahuti says: "When even a candala (eater of dog's flesh, born in such a lowly stratum of society owing to sins committed in previous births) becomes eligible for performing the Soma-yagna (a Vedic sacrifice which brahmana only is entitled to perform) only by rare and occasional listening to and then singing the Name of God under the guidance of genuine saints, by prostrated obeisances to the Lord and by meditating upon Him, what then to speak of one who has an immediate vision of God?"37 – 21-


Commentary: Both orthodox systems and heterodox Buddhism and Jainism believe in the law of karma as an independent autonomous principle which ensures that every good deed or its opposite works out its full effect to the sweet or the bitter end without the intervention of the gods. Such deeds, good or bad, bear their deferred fruits in subsequent births either with a high respectable social status or in the lowest rung of the society as an untouchable candala that lives on dog's flesh. It is the contention of the author that even when one is born so low as a candala, an occasional practice of the rudiments of Bhakti will undo the effects of his past misdeeds and raise him to the status of a brahmana eligible for performing the ceremony of Soma and other Vedic sacrifices. Here is a difference between the two commentators Shri Jiva Gosvami and Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti. According to Shri Jiva Gosvami, though this rudimentary Bhakti in a born candala will remove the effects of his past misdeeds, yet he must wait for the next birth in a higher social status to qualify himself for the performance of the Vedic sacrifices. Jiva Gosvami, it is obvious, is reluctant to disturb the social order and tries to conform, as far as possible, to the extant practices and ideas of the Hindu society of his time. Visvanatha Cakravarti, however, considers Jiva Gosvami’s view to give away the whole case for the quality of the prarabdha-papaharatva that is claimed for Bhakti. Shri Visvanatha’s view is that Bhakti, however slight, will at once remove all taints from the fallen human being and qualify him for the highest social duties of the Hindus.


          This is rather a controversial problem. The question is between eligibility and capability. A brahmana born in a higher social order because of good deeds in previous births is eligible to perform Vedic rituals; while even a candala born in the lowest social order owing to his misdeeds in previous births, becomes fully capable of performing such Vedic Soma-yagna when his prarabdha is wiped out by singing and listening to the Name of the Lord: in the stage of practices of Bhakti. But, as even a person born in a brahmana family has to wait till his sacred-thread-ceremony before he can actually perform such Vedic rituals in spite of his eligibility as born in a brahmana family owing to his good deeds in previous births, so also a devotee, born in a candala family, is cleansed of his sins committed in previous births by practicing the rudiments of Bhakti and becomes eligible to perform such Vedic rites, but he does not do this as he is not interested in the fruits of Vedic karma. On the other hand, if the meaning be construed as ‘becomes worthy of such respect’, then the very purpose of prarabdha-haratvam is lost in the case of a candala. The truth is that a candala remains no more a candala when he embraces the path of Bhakti. He becomes eligible to worship the Lord in the temple in Arcana, what to speak of Vedic karma? –21-


          Translator’s Note: It may appear to a western reader that the conception of aprarabdha as accumulated traces of an unending series of previous lives is a myth without any scientific foundation. But even science now recognizes not only a recapitulation of the history of the race in the growth of every individual life, that is, recapitulation of phylogeny in ontogeny. Also modern psychology of the unconscious, especially psychology of the unconscious as expounded by Jung, recognizes not merely an individual unconscious but also a racial unconscious in every individual personality. This racial unconscious along with the individual unconscious is only the aprarabdha of the ancient Hindus, expressed in modern terms.


I quote here from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol.4, page 681: "The recapitulation theory, once accepted as almost a truism, has recently met with much criticism. It has been applied to mental development most frankly and fully by Stanley Hall and his school. According to these writers, there are three ways in which the individual reveals the story of his race. (1) There is the actually observed correspondence between the stages and order of development and those of race-evolution (recapitulation). (2) There is the occasional appearance, even in adult normal life, of mental forms which are echoes of primitive mental stages; these occur more especially in states of mental weakness, fatigue, exhaustion, illness, the drug-psychoses, sleep, hypnosis (reverberations, reminiscences). Our souls, like our bodies, represent the organised experiences of past ancestors: fears, affections, thoughts, which appear even in quite healthy stages, may be ‘rudimentary specters’ (Stanley Hall) due to survivals from distant ages of man. (3) A given individual may show arrest of mental (as well as of physical) development, stopping short at a stage which the race in general has long since passed; in such a case we have a 'reversion', or an 'atavism', in which the characteristics of remote ancestors dominate, in the child's development, those derived from his parent or near ancestors. The mind, like the body, thus consists of segmentary divisions or strata derived from different periods of evolution: the older strata are naturally those which are most fixed and uniform throughout a race (e.g. the primitive instincts); the more recent strata are more variable in the different individuals (e.g. the forms of intellectual development); again, the older strata represent the foundation from which the more recent have been derived, and on which, therefore, the latter must be built up by the individual; hence not only does the individual, as a matter of fact, tend to develop along racial lines, but also parents and teachers ought to encourage and strengthen this tendency, in order to secure adequate and proportional development of all the different powers (culture-epoch theory) .


          The recapitulation theory has been defended (1) in the stages at which the different senses mature; (2) in the stages at which accurate discrimination of the different qualities within the same sensory group appears; (3) in the appearances of the different instinctive activities; (4) in the play activities of children; (5) in the successive objects of imitation which children select for themselves; (6) in the stages of intelligent behaviour, and in the development of abstract thought; (7) in the development of emotion; (8) in language."


          Our object in quoting the above is not necessarily in justification of the knowledge of the ancient rsis of ancient India; their knowledge was self-revealed and did not depend on any other support or justification.


Text 22:

durjatir eva savanayojnatve karanam matam |

durjaty arambhakam papam yat syat prarabdham eva tat ||22||


Translation: A low despicable birth is the cause of ineligibility for the performance of the Vedic rites. Such birth is the present fruit of the past sins of the individual concerned. – 22-


Text 23:

padma purane ca –

aprarabdha phalam papam kutam vijam phalonmukham |

kramenaiva praliyeta vishnu-bhaktir atatmanam ||23||


Translation: The following text from the Padma Puranam is quoted here as evidence in support:

Sin is either aprarabdha, i.e. sin which is not yet bearing fruit, or totality of such sins (kutam), or the seed (vijam), that is, seeds as dispositions and residual traces, or as tendencies and trends towards bearing their relevant fruits (phalonmukham) and in those who are given to Vishnu-Bhakti or devotion to and services of Vishnu such sins dissolve successively in the order in which they are narrated. –23-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that in the above verse quoted from the Padma Puranam, the visesya or substantive is papa or sin, and this substantive is described by the successive predicates, viz. (a) prarabdham, i.e. tending towards bearing fruits; (b) kutam is vijonmukham or tending towards the stage of vija or seed; (c) vija or in the state of seed, which means existence as vasana or psycho-physical disposition or with tendencies towards the stage of prarabdha. Besides these, there is (d) the aprarabdha or accumulated sins of the unending series of previous births, which lie inactive and do not even show a tendency as kuta or vijonmukha. All these are destroyed by Bhakti successively, commencing from aprarabdha of the unending series of the previous births.


          Commentator Shri Mukundadasa is, however, of the opinion that the sins are destroyed in the reverse order, i.e. starting from the last or the phalonmukham, and not in the order given in the text as contended by Shri Jiva Gosvami. –23-


Text 24:

vija-haratvam yatha shashthe –

tais tany aghani puyante tapo-dana-vratadibhih |

nadharmajam tad hridayam tad apishanghri-sevaya ||24||


Translation: Through austerities, penances, charities and observances of rituals these sins may be removed, but not those that spring from adharma, i.e. avidya or nescience that conceals the true nature of the soul; such sins can be destroyed only by the service of and subservience to the Lord (which by destroying the root, i.e. avidya, destroys all that springs from that root). So say the Vishnu-dutas or the messengers of Vishnu to the Yama-dutas or messengers of Death38.28 –24-


Text 25:

yat-pada-pankaja-palasha-vilasa-bhaktya karmashayam grathitam udgrathayanti santah |

tad van na rikta-matayo yatayo 'pi ruddha sroto-ganas tam aranam bhaja vasudevam ||25||


Translation: While an absolutist tries in vain to stop the flow of the indriyas or senses towards objects of pleasures by mere negative effort of restraining them, a Vaishnava devotee (a true saint) cuts asunder the knots of his accumulated karma by an ever-growing self-augmenting devotion to the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Therefore, surrender thyself to Lord Vasudeva as the only proper course, says Sanatkumara to King Prthu.39 -25-


Commentary: Commentators Jiva Gosvami as well as Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti point out that the absolutist proves himself to be a fool in trying to conquer the lusts of the flesh by a negative method of asceticism and self-restraint. The Bhakta or the devotee proves his superior intelligence by turning himself positively to the service of, and single-minded devotion to the Lord. This is far more effective in conquering the blandishments of senses than the mere negative way of a purely ascetic life. The senses turn towards their respective objects as a river flows down the course. It is sheer folly to hope to stop the current of the flowing river by negative resistance. The Santa or devotee takes to a more effective course of a plunge into the nectar that flows out of the sweetness of the Lord's Person, and thereby allowing himself to be swept away in the current of the flowing nectar far away from the temptations of sensuous life that have their roots in avidya or nescience. One should, therefore, take refuge in the Lord Vasudeva. –25-


Text 26:

padme ca –

kritanuyatra-vidyabhir-hari-bhaktir-anuttama |

avidyam nidarhatyashu davajvaleva pannagim ||26||


Translation: As a forest fire burns up all snakes in the forest, so also Uttama-Bhakti or unalloyed Bhakti, which is followed step by step by the knowledge of the true self, completely destroys all avidya, i.e. ignorance of transcendence, or misidentification of the pure self with the gross body and the subtle mind. The contention is that vidya or knowledge of the self as well as of the Lord normally and in proportionate degree follows Bhakti. -26-


Text 27:


shubhadatvam -

shubhani prinanam sarva jagatam-anuraktata |

sadgunah sukham ity-adiny akhyatani manishibhih ||27||


Translation: The whole world is blessed by the devotee; the devotee is endeared by the whole world; possessing all good qualities like real happiness and others, the wise call these to be the all-auspiciousness of Bhakti. -27-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami says that Shri Rupa expounds the view that Bhakti has four aspects of auspiciousness. First, the devotee (i.e. one who has attained Sadhana-Bhakti and is in the stage of spiritual practices) is a blessing to the world; secondly, the whole world is attracted by him; thirdly, such a devotee will be found to embody all good qualities; and fourthly, he will be happy and contented. Now, when it is said here that such a devotee possesses all good qualities, then the first two qualities, viz. that he makes the world happy and that he himself is endearing to all, are already included in the all which qualifies the qualities. Why then have they been mentioned separately? The reason is that the first two qualities are particularly developed in a devotee at this stage even though all other good qualities are also in him in some degree or form. So it is said in the Bhagavatam that Queen Suruci, the stepmother of Prince Dhruva, who was extremely bitter with her stepson Dhruva the crown prince and banished him from the state, lovingly embraced the child and took him to her lap when Dhruva returned home after realizing the Lord by intense spiritual practices for six months only. This was possible, says Maitreya to Vidura because: "Oh Vidura! As the river always flows downwards, so also all people, even all animals, of this world bow down at the feet of a devotee with whom the Lord Himself is pleased because of his devotion and friendship."40


          By using the word adi, that is, et cetera, Shri Rupa Gosvami means to include not only the all-fascinating and all-auspicious character of a true devotee, but also of Bhakti as well. –27-


Text 28:

tatra jagat-prinanadidvaya-pradatvam yatha padme –

yenarcito haristena tarpitani jaganty api |

rajyanti janta-vastatra jangamah sthavara api ||28||


Translation: One who has worshipped Lord Hari, has also pleased the whole world. Even all animate and inanimate entities also become attached to him. –28-


Text 29:

sadgunadipradatvam yatha pancame –

yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah |

harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna manorathenasati dhavato bahih ||29||


Translation: One who has uncaused, spontaneous Bhakti in the Supreme Godhead, all the gods with all their good qualities live or exist in him. What good quality can a non-devotee of the Lord possess, who runs fast in his mental chariot after worldly objects?41 -29-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami explains sadguna, i.e. ‘good qualities’ as follows: Bhakti offers all forms of good qualities including jnana (knowledge), vairagya (detachment), yama or restraint of the passions, niyama or observance of rules or vows and self-control, etc. The word adi means that even the gods and rsis bow down before a devotee and become obedient to him. –29-


Text 30:


sukham vaishayikam brahmam aishvaram ceti tat-tridha ||30||


Translation: Sukha, i.e. happiness is of three kinds, viz. (1) material happiness; (2) happiness due to the knowledge and realization of Brahman as Impersonal Divinity; and (3) happiness owing to the direct vision and realization of Isvara or Personal Divinity. –30-


Text 31:

yatha tantre

siddhayah paramashcarya bhukti-muktish ca shashvati |

nityam ca paramanando bhaved govinda-bhaktitah ||31||


Translation: So it is said in the Tantra:

Exceptionally wonderful supernatural powers, long-enduring worldly and heavenly pleasures, long and lasting experiences of mukti as brahmasukha (felicity derived from knowledge and realization of impersonal Brahman), and eternal and ever-progressive and supreme flow of transcendental felicity (from realization of the Supreme Lord) are attainable by Bhakti in Lord Govinda (Krishna), who is the Lord of all the senses. –31-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami explains the above stated authority in the following way: Siddhayah: the eighteen particular extraordinary powers and attributes attainable through yoga, viz. (1) Anima or contracting the body so as to make it very small; (2) Mahima or expanding the body so as to become very big; (3) Laghima or superhuman power to make the body light and invisible; (4) Prapti or aquisition of all sense-enjoyments; (5) Prakamya or ability to see all enjoyments in heaven, on earth and in the subterranean regions; (6) Isita or to infuse one's own power into another; (7) Vasita or non-attachment while engaged in enjoyments; (8) Kamavasayita or to attain to the highest pitch of enjoyments that the yogi desires to enjoy (all these eight are in their fullness to be found in the Intrinsic Potency of God, while a yogi can attain them partially in a Mayika way. Refer to Bhagavatam, Canto XI, Chapter 15, slokas 4-5); (9) Anurmimatvam or to be free from hunger, thirst, sorrows, infatuation, infirmity and old age, and death; (10) Durasravana or to be able to hear from even a very long distance; (11) Duradarsana or to be able to see from a very very long distance; (12) Manojava or fast movement of the physical body, as quick as that of the mind; (13) Kamarupa or to be able to take any form according to one's own wishes. (14) Parakaya-pravesa or to be able to enter into another person's body; (15) Svacchanda-mrtyu or to be able to die any time according to one's own wishes;  (16) Deva-krida-darsana or to possess the power of seeing the sportive activities of the gods; (17) Sankalpita-padartha-prapti or to attain things of one’s predetermination; and (18) Apratihata-adesa or to possess such power that one’s commands cannot be disobeyed by anybody. Besides these, there are five lesser attainments, viz. (19) Trikala-jnatva or to have power of knowing all about past, present and future; (20) Sitosnadidandva-sahisnuta or capable of enduring the opposites of cold and heat etc.;  (21) Paracittadi-abbijnata or to be able to know the mind of others; (22) Agni-surya-jala-visa-prabhava-stambhana or to be able to neutralize the powers of fire, sun, water, poison, etc.; and (23) Aparajaya or to be unconquerable by anybody.42


          Bhukti= worldly pleasures; Mukti= Brahma-sukham or felicity arising from knowledge of Brahman; Nityam paramanandam = according to Parisesya-nyaya, eternal felicity from Bhakti to Govinda, the Supreme Lord. All these aspects of happiness are to be experienced. –31-


Text 32:

yatha hari-bhakti-sudhodaye ca

bhuyo 'pi yace devesha tvayi bhaktir-dridhastu me |

ya mokshanta-caturvarga phalada sukhada lata ||32||


Translation: Oh Lord of all lords! I pray again and again at Thy Feet that let that steady devotion (Bhakti) in Thee grow in me which like a creeper bears the fruits of moksa or final emancipation, and beyond that, eternal and supreme pleasures in Thy services (happiness arising out of the feeling of realization of the Supreme Lord); so it is stated in the Haribhakti-sudhodaya. –32-


Text 33:

moksha-laghutakrit –

manageva prarudhayam hridaye bhagavad-ratau |

purusharthastu catvaras trinayante saman-tatah ||33||


Translation: Even with the slightest awakening of Bhava-Bhakti in the heart for the Lord, the four objects of human pursuit, viz. dharma (relative duties offering heavenly pleasures), artha (mundane wealth), kama (sensual pleasures or desires), and moksa (final emancipation or realization of the self as identical with Brahman) become insignificant and as worthless as a straw. -33-


Text 34:

yatha shri narada-pancaratre –

hari-bhakti maha-devyah sarva muktyadi-siddhayah |

bhuktyash-cadbhutas tasya cetika-vadanu-vraha ||34||


Translation: All forms of mukti and all extraordinary powers of yoga as also many wonderful sense enjoyments follow with reverential fear the Supreme Goddess of Bhakti like the female attendants following their heroine. –34-


Text 35:

sudurlabha –

sadhanaughair-anasangair alabhya sucirad-api |

harina cashvadeyeti vidha sa syat sudurlabha ||35||


Translation: Bhava-Bhakti is extremely difficult of attainment for two reasons, viz. even long periods of practices of al1 aspects of Sadhana-Bhakti without any Ruci and Asakti, i.e. taste and attachment, do not make Bhava-Bhakti available; and secondly, in is not easily bestowed by Lord Hari. –35-


Commentary: Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami comments that anasangaih means without attachment which also includes Ruci or taste, without which various forms of spiritual practices even for a very long period do not arouse Bhava-Bhakti. The various spiritual practices here include the 64 different forms of Sadhana-Bhakti, out of which if the following five aspects are ignored, then the practices of the rest will not make Bhava-Bhakti attainable. These five essential aspects of spiritual practices in the stage of Sadhana-Bhakti are: (1) worship of the Deities with reverential attachment; (2) listening to the Bhagavatam in the company of advanced saints; (3) to keep the company of such saints and devotees of Lord Hari as have devotion to and relation with Lord Hari (Ksrna) which are allied to his own nature of devotion and relation with the Lord, and who are affectionate and superior to him; (4) chanting the Name of the Lord; (5) living in Mathura-mandala.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti comments that Bhava-Bhakti cannot be attained unless one has undergone the course of spiritual practices, starting from (I) Sraddha followed by (II) Sadhu-Sanga, (III) Bhajana-Kriya, (IV) Anartha-Nivrtti, (V) Nistha, (VI) Ruci, and (VII) Asakti (please see Introduction). Unless one has undergone these stages of spiritual practices, Bhava-Bhakti is not attainable. So the twofold difficulties are: firstly, Bhava-Bhakti is not awakened even if the different stages of Sadhana-Bhakti have been undergone for a long time until the stages of Asakti or attachment and Ruci or taste are reached; secondly, even if there is attachment and taste, Lord Hari does not bestow it soon-He tests His devotee for long and then only Bhava is bestowed by the Lord and is not attained by the individual by his own efforts. -35-


Text 36:

tatra adya yatha tantre –

jnanatah sulabha muktir bhuktir yajnadi-punyatah |

seyam sadhana-sahasrair hari-bhaktih sudurlabha ||36||


Translation: The FIRST DIFFICULTY, as stated in the Tantra: mukti (final emancipation or salvation) is comparatively easy to attain by jnana or the path of knowledge of Impersonal Brahman. Bhukti or all forms of mundane and heavenly pleasures are easily available by pious karma like Vedic sacrifices etc, but Bhakti (Bhava-Bhakti) is extremely difficult to attain by thousands of rudiments of spiritual practices. -36-


Commentary: It is true that mukti by jnana and bhukti by Vedic karma and yoga, etc. are comparatively easily attainable, but even here if jnana and karma be devoid of attachment for the objects of attainment, such results would not be attained. It, therefore, follows that even such trifling results like bhukti (earthly and heavenly sense enjoyments) and mukti or liberation from bondage (i.e. salvation) are indeed not easily achieved, i.e. difficult to attain. So, when the Tantra says that Bhava-Bhakti is rarely attained by thousands of practices of rudimentary Sadhana-Bhakti, it must be understood that even such merely traditional practices of Sadhana-Bhakti will not awaken Bhava-Bhakti unless it is enlivened by an intense attachment for Bhakti itself. Further, mukti through impersonal jnana alone is indeed a painful striving. Compare Gita,

Chapter 12, sloka 5. In the same manner, bhukti or mundane pleasure through karma and yoga is equally difficult to attain. Shri Sukadeva Gosvami tells King Pariksita: "Oh King! When the friends of Lord Krishna approached the brahmanas of Mathura, who were engaged in the performance of Vedic sacrifices for the useless and temporary fruits of pleasures in heaven (Svarga), and asked to offer all the ingredients of their sacrifices, such as, ghi (boiled butter), milk, curd, fruits, etc., to the Lord, the brahmanas refused to offer them to Lord Krishna. Thus they did not listen to the demands of the Lord, because, Oh King! These brahmanas, engaged in hard and austere penances of the Vedic sacrifices, were foolishly seeking only very trifling enjoyments in heaven by such painstaking karma. Though such karmins consider themselves wise, they are indeed very unwise." 43 Thus it comes to this: To follow the path of jnana with attachment for mukti, i.e. liberation in Brahma-jnana, or to follow the path of Vedic karma or yoga with attachment for earthly and heavenly pleasures or bhukti, even though very hard and unwise, is not enough unless such attachments are intelligently applied. This intelligent application of jnana and karma for mukti and bhukti respectively should, therefore, be softened by the touch of Bhakti, without which verily even mukti and bhukti cannot be realized. For example, Brahma bowing in reverence to Lord Shri Krishna addresses Him thus: "Oh Unlimited! Oh Unborn! In days of yore many followers of yoga lived in this blessed land, who failed to achieve their desired results by following the path of yoga. But by offering their individual Vedic and other karma to Thee, they attained, the superior End of Thy nearness through self-knowledge enkindled in their heart by the grace of Bhakti, i.e. by listening to and singing Thy Name and Thy glories they realized the higher end of Bhakti."44 Again, Shri Sudhama Vipra (brahmana and school friend of Lord Krishna) while on his way back home after meeting his Divine Friend Lord Shri Krishna at Dvaraka muses in his mind thus: "My Friend had been so endearingly friendly to me! He treated me with such deep affection! Oh! He asked me to sit on His own bed! He asked me so many affectionate questions about my life at home since we had parted from the school of our common teacher, Sandipani Muni! Oh! At the instance of my wife I went to meet my Divine Friend with the desire of asking wealth from Him, riches for relief from my poverty and want, and I failed to ask for such triflings out of a sheer feeling of shame! And My Friend also sent me back without any gifts. What shall I tell my wife? I shall tell her: Desireless service of the Feet of my Divine Friend Shri Krishna is the root cause of attainment of all wealth on earth, at the bottom of the sea, or in heaven, and also of all forms of supernatural powers as well as mukti or liberation."45


          The use of the expression Hari-Bhakti in the Tantra, as quoted by Shri Rupa Gosvami, means, according to the commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami, Bhava-Bhakti or Rati, which is the object of attainment by Sadhana-Bhakti. Compare Bhagavatam.46


          Sadhana here definitely refers to Sadhana-Bhakti or rudimentary early practices of Bhakti in relation to Lord Hari (Godhead) only, for otherwise, no Bhava-Bhakti is possible for Lord Hari. But when the text lays down that Sadhana-Bhakti must be practiced thousands and thousands of times, and that even in spite of such thousands and thousands of rudimentary practices of Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti is not only rare, but it is very rare, one would naturally get frightened to follow this apparently most difficult path. In order to remove such possible reactions in the minds of the people, Shri Jiva Gosvami asserts that though ordinarily Bhava-Bhakti is indeed very very rare, it does not mean that it cannot be attained. As a matter of fact, it can also be attained easily, says the Bhagavatam. Thus in Canto II, Chapter 8 King Pariksit requests Sukadeva Gosvami as follows: "Master! I am desirous of listening to all about the All-auspicious Lord Hari, because those who constantly listen to and sing about the Pastimes of the Supreme Lord Hari with reverential faith make the Lord Himself very soon enter into their heart."47

          Shri Narada tells Shri Vyasadeva: "When I was a little child and my mother was working in a brahmana family for her living, several Sadhus or saint-devotees of Lord Hari came to the residence of the said brahmana and lived there for four months as required for the vow of Caturmasya which enjoins a life of austerity to be lived in one place for four successive months. During their stay, these Sadhu-devotees used to chant the sweet Name of Hari and discourse on the various events of Lord Hari's Divine Life. Listening to their chanting of the Lord's Name and their discourses on the Divine Life of Hari I had devotion to Lord Hari awakened in my heart and felt that attachment for Hari which is the essence of Bhava-Bhakti."48 Here, in Narada’s case, there is an awakening of Bhava-Bhakti by the simple listening to the devotional discourses of the Sadhu-devotees of Lord Hari. Hence Bhava-Bhakti though difficult of attainment, yet it comes without the asking through very simple means, provided there is the keenness with which Narada listened to the discourses and the chanting from the lips of the Sadhus. Again, the Lord tells Uddhava: "Oh Uddhava! Sadhana-Bhakti with single-minded service to Myself and Myself alone gratifies Me in a way which neither the ways of sankhya nor yoga nor the performance of austerities and charities, and the various Vedic rituals can ever gratify."49


          It may be noted that Shri Jiva Gosvami in his comment here gives a somewhat different interpretation of the Sadhana in Sadhana-sahasraih in the above verse of the Tantra. According to him, this Sadhana in Sadhana sahasraih refers to the ways laid down in sankhya, yoga and Vedic rituals, and not Sadhana-Bhakti as may appear to a cursory reader. It is such practices repeated even thousands of times that cannot bring forth Bhava-Bhakti as their necessary fruits. And in this sense, Bhava-Bhakti is extremely difficult of attainment. If Sadhana in Sadhanasa sahasraih meant Sadhana-Bhakti then it would follow that Sadhana-Bhakti cannot be an effective means to Bhava-Bhakti. It appears to the translator, however, that Shri Jiva Gosvami’s interpretation is somewhat forced and does not square with the text of the sloka of the Tantra. Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the word Sadhana is used in the Tantra for the purpose of distinguishing it from bhajan. In Sadhana there is all indirect reference of karma and jnana, so that the result is mixed, i.e. devotion or Bhakti mixed up with the ways laid down in karma, jnana and yoga. As distinguished from this, Bhakti pure and unadulterated is concerned only with bhajana, i.e. service of the Lord alone through the direct method of chanting the Name and other practices laid down in the way of unalloyed or Uttama-Bhakti. Shri Jiva Gosvami further points out: the essence of wisdom in Misra-Bhakti, i.e. Bhakti practiced through the ways of sankhya, yoga and Vedic rituals, etc., consists in the practice of these ways with Bhakti and real attachment for Bhakti as the primary end. Proof of such wisdom consists in the fact that in such a devotee there is complete disappearance of all desires for heavenly or earthly pleasures and other extraneous ends. If, however, it is found that despite practices of Misra-Bhakti, the desire for extraneous objects still continues, the conclusion will be that the wisdom which characterizes such a devotee is non-existent. It follows, therefore, that combination of ways of Sadhana is not desirable. The right method is to hear about the Lord, to sing the praise of the Lord, and to meditate on the Lord with single-minded devotion and attachment in complete disregard of every other way recommended in other Sastras.50 -36-


Text 37:

dvitiya yatha pancama-skandhe –

rajan patir gurur alam bhavatam yadunam daivam priyah kula-patih kva ca kinkaro vah |

astv evam anga bhajatam bhagavan mukundo muktim dadati karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam51 ||37|| ||    


Translation: The SECOND DIFFICULTY, as stated in the Fifth Canto:

Shri Sukadeva Gosvami addresses King Yudhisthira. "Oh King! Shri Krishna is the Lord or protector, Guru or Adviser, Daiva or Object of worship, Dear to and Controller in respect of both the Pandavas and the Yadavas. Though He manifested Himself in the family of the Yadavas, He treated both the Yadavas and the Pandavas with equal favor. But owing to the excellence of devotion and affection of the Pandavas to Him, the Lord even went so far as to serve the Pandavas (as their Ambassador) and also allowed Himself to be guided by the directions of His own devotees, i.e. the Pandavas. Even so, this Mukunda (literally, One who gives mukti or liberation, i.e. Lord Shri Krishna), does not give Uttama-Bhakti in most cases to the devotees, but gives mukti instead, which is much inferior." –37-


Commentary: The commentator Shri Jiva points out that the verse above- quoted is in proof of the second element in the concept of sudurlabha, difficult to attain. In other words, it proves that the Lord Himself through comparatively liberal in the bestowal of mukti or liberation, is very rarely disposed to bestow the prize of Bhakti to His devotees. It follows, therefore, that Bhakti is not only extremely difficult to attain by individual efforts, but is also very rarely attained as a gift of the Lord Himself. The commentator further points out in explanation of the verse above-quoted that though Lord Krishna revealed Himself as a Member of the stock of the Yadavas, He never discriminated in His behavior between the Yadavas and the Pandavas. On the contrary, in view of the superior love of the Lord inherent amongst the Pandavas, He even condescended to serve them as their Ambassador: a condescension to which He never stooped in regard to the Yadavas to whose stock He belonged. The Lord bestowed Bhava-Bhakti on the Pandavas because of an excess of affection for them irrespective of the Pandavas practicing bhajana of the Lord or failing to do it. As regards others, the Lord usually refrains from bestowing the valuable gift of Bhava-Bhakti, though not refusing mukti which is much inferior. He gives Bhava-Bhakti only to such who scorn mukti as a value worth having and desires Bhakti instead. –37-




Text 38:

sandrananda-visheshatma –

brahmanando bhavedesha cet prarariddha gunikritah |

naiti bhakti-sukhambhodheh paramanu-tulam api ||38||


Translation:  The joy of the realization of the Absolute Life that has been attained after millions of years of arduous practice of meditation is as a mere drop in the ocean as compared with the delight which is Prema-Bhakti. –38-


Translator’s Note: The delight in the realization of the Absolute Brahman, as a Sankarite conceives it, is a sort of calm unruffled state of variationless blissfulness. This is, however, not to be confounded with Lord Krishna's Svarupa-Ananda, i.e. His delight in the realization of His eternal Perfection. Svarupa-Ananda is an active realization, which is full of novelty at every moment, while Brahmananda is a tranquil state without movement and variety. Besides Svarupa-Ananda, there is a higher delight which the Vaishnavas call Svarupa-Sakti-Ananda, which is the Lord's delight in the delight which a Bhakta or devotee enjoys in the delight of Lord Krishna Himself. -38-



Text 39:

yatha hari-bhakti-sudhodaye –

tvat sakshat karanahlada vishuddhabdhi sthitasya me |

sukhani goshoadayante brahmany api jagad-guro ||39||


Translation: Oh Lord of the Universe! The ocean of delight in which I have been plunged as a consequence of my immediate vision of Thyself makes even Brahmananda or the delight of the Absolute Life of the Sankarite as a little pool created on the soil by the hoof-marks of cows. –39-


Commentary: The commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami here points out that Brahmananda or delight of the Absolute Life of the Sankarite must not be confused with the delight of the god Brahma, the creator of the 14 worlds.


Translator’s Note: The delight of Brahma may be the delight of Prema Bhakti, and such delight surpasses by far the delight of the Absolute Life, which the Sankarites speak of as the essence of moksa. Brahma in Hindu mythology is the creator of the smallest universe of ours, which consists of 14 worlds, while Brahma(n) means the Absolute Godhead. Non-Sanskrta scholar must not confound the former expression with the latter. In the same manner, a brahmana, i.e. the priest by birth is different from Brahmana, i.e. the Vedas. –39-


Text 40:

tatha bhavarthadipikayam ca –

tvat-kathamrita pathoghau viharanto mahamudah |

kurvanti kritinah kecit catur-vargam trinopamam ||40||


Translation: So it is stated in the Bhavartha-Dipika. The Srutis in their prayers to the Lord, while invoking Him from His slumber before creation, say: "Oh Lord! A few of Thy devotees (not any devotee, but merely a few devotees who have attained Bhava-Bhakti alone) who swim the Ocean of the Nectar of Discourses on Thy Divine Pastimes and enjoy the supreme delight from drinking the nectar thereof alone do reject all the four desires for dharma, artha, kama and moksa considering them to be worthless as a straw."52 –40-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami raises a question: Why does Shri Rupa cite here a sloka from the Bhavartha-Dipika, i.e. commentary of Shridhara Svami on the Bhagavatam, when there were so many other verses in the text of the Bhagavatam itself in support of the Sandranandavisesatma quality of Prema-Bhakti? The reason that actuates Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Jiva says, is that Shridhara Svami had understood the truly esoteric concepts of the Bhagavatam by his own realization, and hence such an authority has been cited by Shri Rupa. –40-


Text 41:

shri-krishnakarshini –

kritva harim premabhajam priya varga samanvitam |

bhaktir vashi karotiti shri-krishnakarshini mata ||41||


Translation: The Power of Drawing Krishna to oneself:

Prema-Bhakti is called Krishna-Akarsini, i.e., possessing the power of attracting Lord Krishna because such Bhakti charms Krishna into complete submission through endearing love and affection for Krishna with His Entourage. –41-


Commentary: The commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that in the text Shri-Krishna-Akarsini, the prefix Shri refers to the Entourage of the Lord, so that it is not only the Lord alone but the Lord with all His Entourage that becomes charmed into submission by Prema-Bhakti. Shri Mukundadasa points out that in Prema-Bhakti which binds ever Lord Krishna, the object of the Bhakti is not merely Lord Krishna Himself, but Krishna with His Entourage.


          Thus while Shri Jiva points out that Prema-Bhakti causes the submission both of the Lord and His Entourage, Shri Mukundadasa points out that Prema-Bhakti is directed not merely to the Lord but also to His Entourage, just as when one speaks of the king as appearing, one means the appearance of the king with his retinue. –41-


          Translator’s Note: It may be noted here that while Lord Krishna as the All-Inclusive Reality, is absolutely free in all respects not being subject to any kind of bondage, yet there is one exception. He is the Self-Elected slave of a real selfless devotee of His, who had attained Prema-Bhakti.


Text 42:

yathaikadashe –

na sadhyati mam yogo na sankhyam dharma uddhava |

na svadhyayas tapas tyago yatha bhaktir mamorjita53  ||42||


Translation: Lord Krishna addressing Uddhava says: "Oh Uddhava! The way I am won over by Prema-Bhakti which is the most forceful, the same can never be possible by the ways of yoga, sankhya, Vedic ritualism, recitation of the sacred Vedas, austerities and renunciation. –42-


Commentary: The commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that it may appear on a first view that the reference to yoga, sankhya, etc. is appropriate only in establishing the superior excellence of Sadhana-Bhakti and is not quite in place in an exposition of the nature of Prema-Bhakti. There is, however, according to Shri Jiva, nothing inappropriate, the object being to show how Sadhana-Bhakti leads on to Saddhya-Bhakti or Prema-Bhakti, which alone has the attribute of winning over Lord Shri Krishna. –42-


Text 43:

saptame ca naraoktau –

yuym nriloke bata bhuribhaga lokam punana munayo’bhiyanti |

yesham grihanavasatiti sakshad gudham param brahma manushya lingam 54 ||43||


Translation: Shri Narada addresses King Yudhisthira as follows: "You are the most fortunate of human beings in this world, because even the saints whose very sight sanctifies everybody on this earth, of their own accord come to your place with a view to purify themselves, because it is your residence that the Inscrutable Absolute in His Eternal Human Form chooses as His suitable Place of Abode. –43-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti elucidates the text as follows: The sage Narada in reply to King Yudhisthira, who laments his own poor lot as compared to exceptional good luck of Prahlada who had an immediate vision of the Lord, says: "Oh King! You are far superior in your exceptional good fortune, not merely to Prahlada but also myself who am the Guru or Spiritual Preceptor of Prahlada, and also to all other devotees, as also the Yadavas, saints such as Vasista, Marici, Kasyapa, and the gods Brahma, Rudra, etc., because the saints whose mere sight purifies everybody come of their own accord and seek an access to your residence in the hope of having their hearts desires fulfilled. Because, the Inscrutable Absolute Self in His Intrinsic Form like a Human Being chooses unasked your Residence as His suitable Abode. Shri Prahlada and others had never the good fortune of having the Absolute in His Intrinsic Human Form as a Resident in their Abode. For the same reason, the sages also never care to become guests in the residence of Prahlada and others." –43-


Text 44:

agrato vakshyamanayas tridha bhakter anukramat |

dvishah shadbhih padairetan mahatyam parikirtitam ||44||


Translation: The three types of Bhakti viz. Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti, which will be expounded in the chapters that will follow, have here been briefly described by their distinguishing traits, two for each, according to the order of the previous presentation. Thus the first two (1) Klesaghni and (2) Subhada are the distinguishing traits of Sadhana-Bhakti; the second two, viz. (3) Moksa-laghutakrt and (4) Sudurlabha are the distinguishing traits of Bhava-Bhakti, while the last two, viz. (5) Sandrananda-visesatma and (6) Shri-Krishna-Akarsini are the distinguishing traits of Prema-Bhakti. The author by specifying the distinguishing traits of each type hopes to have established the mahatmya or super-excellence of Bhakti, (both as Means and End). –44-


Commentary: The commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out (as has been previously explained) that just as the elements constitute a hierarchical order beginning with the earth, in which every higher element in the hierarchy includes both its own distinctive qualities and also the qualities of the elements lower in scale, so also Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti constitute a hierarchical order starting from Sadhana-Bhakti and reaching Prema-Bhakti as the highest type. Thus the qualities of Sadhana-Bhakti characterize also Bhava-Bhakti, which has, besides, its own distinctive qualities; while to Prema-Bhakti belong not merely its own distinctive qualities, but also the qualities of the other two. –44-


Text 45:

kimca –

svalpapi rucir eva syad bhakti tatvavabodhika |

yuktistu kevala naiva yadasya apratishthata ||45||


Translation: Even a little of real taste in Bhakti is a passport to the understanding of the true nature of Bhakti, while mere argument has no sound foundation and does not conduce to the comprehension of the true nature of Bhakti. –45-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami explains Ruci as a sense of excellence in the words of the Bhagavatam and other Bhakti-Scriptures due to the residual traces of previous experience. It is only Sraddha or faith, which prepares the way to the comprehension of the true nature and ultimate realization of Bhakti. Mere argument without the support of authoritative Scriptures is unavailing. Any argument, however profound, is liable to be overthrown by a profounder argument of a keener intelligence. Therefore, the way of mere reasoning can never be decisive in its results. Arguments need not be discounted altogether, but only such arguments are helpful that expound authoritative sacred Scriptures.


          According to Shri Mukundadasa even a slight Ruci or taste in the principle of Bhakti purifies the mind and thereby prepares it for a deeper insight into the reaches of Bhakti as a spiritual experience. –45-


Text 46:

tatra pracinair apy uktam –

yatenapadito ‘py arthah kushalair anumatribhih |

abhiyukta tarair anyair anyathaivopapadyate ||46||


Translation: Thus it has been said by the elders:


          Even conclusions established by experts of the theory of inference are found to be demolished by other inferences propounded by logicians of subtler intellect. –46-


Commentary: Shri Suresvara Acarya, the reputed vartikakara, the elucidator of Sankarite Vedanta, has said in commenting on the Brahma-sutra, Tarka-apratisthanat (an aphorism of the Vedanta), that even the most carefully formulated inferences of expert logicians are liable to be overthrown by inferences of greater subtlety formulated by logicians of superior intellect. All of that shows that mere logic without a solid foundation of Sastras embodying the intuitive deliverance of sages leads nowhere. 46


Thus ends "The Generic Character of Bhakti"


Of Shri Shri Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhuh.






Text 1:

sa bhakti sadhanam bhavah prema ceti tridodita ||1||


Translation: Bhakti (which has been generally characterized in the First Wave) is stated to be of three types, viz. Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti.


          Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami commenting on the text points out that as an introductory statement of the nature of Bhakti previously considered, it has been classified into three types, viz. Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti. In reality, however, Bhakti is either Sadhana-Bhakti or Sadhya-Bhakti, i.e. consists of two types only. Of these two, the first, i.e. Sadhana-Bhakti, will be defined with a specification of its different varieties in detail. The second, i.e. Sadhya-Bhakti, is a matter of the purified and transparent heart of a freed soul; that also is connoted by the term ‘Bhakti’. For example, in the Bhagavatam55  the sage Prabuddha tells King Nimi: "In this way, all those who have adopted the path of Bhakti after having realized Prema-Bhakti through the practice of Sadhana-Bhakti, recall in their minds Lord Shri Krishna who is the Destroyer of all lapses of the spirit and the sins accruing therefrom. And so recalling, they inspire similar emotions in the hearts of other devotees like themselves, and thus inspiring one another with feelings of devotion to the Lord they remain immersed in the delight, which is Prema-Bhakti.


          This Harda-Bhakti or Bhakti pertaining to the purified and transparent heart of a freed soul, i.e. Prema-Bhakti, is fivefold, viz. Bhava, Prema, Pranaya, Sneha, and Raga (See Introduction for their meaning). The later stages after Raga are described by Shri Rupa Gosvami in his book Ujjvala-Nilamani as Mana, Anu-Raga and Mahabhava (Please see Introduction).


          Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami says that in the text Shri Rupa Gosvami has mentioned the three forms of Bhakti as Sadhana, Bhava and Prema, which fall really into two divisions of Sadhana-Bhakti and Sadhya-Bhakti, so that under Sadhya-Bhakti, the author Shri Rupa Gosvami has mentioned both Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti. The reason why the Sadhya-Bhakti, though consisting of the two forms of Bhava and Prema, are yet stated to be of eight types (as stated above), is that all these eight are comprised under Prema-Bhakti by Upalaksana or extension of meaning. In fact, all these eight represent the luxuriant expansion of Prema in the higher stages, and they are very rarely manifest in even very very advanced devotees.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out here to an apparent objection to the above classification by Shri Rupa Gosvami: if Bhakti is described as consisting essentially of the two types of Sadhana-Bhakti and Sadhya-Bhakti, it is superfluous to classify it again into three types, viz. Sadhana-Bhakti, Bhava-Bhakti and Prema-Bhakti. This objection, however, misses the real point at issue. After Sadhana-Bhakti when one attains Bhava-Bhakti and is called a Sadhaka by virtue of the inwardisation of the external practices in the form of emotions of the transparent heart, one does not become at once qualified for the undisturbed experiences of Prema-Bhakti. Shri Cakravarti says that according to Shri Rupa Gosvami a Sadhaka is one who is a Jata-Rati, i.e. one in whom Bhava-Bhakti has dawned through the practices of Sadhana-Bhakti. But one must distinguish between a Sadhaka and a Siddha. A Sadhaka is just a beginner in Bhava-Bhakti and Siddha is one who is in its higher stages. A Sadhaka is defined as one who has just a taste of the real Bhakti which revealed itself in the heart, but has not passed all the troubles that are impediments to Prema-Bhakti, and who, though otherwise fit for the direct vision of the Lord, has yet to struggle against the obstacles in the path of Prema-Bhakti on account of a trace of some great offense against some saint of the highest type. As distinguished from this, a Siddha devotee is one who has passed all obstacles to the realization of Prema-Bhakti, and who always and in all his activities is concerned with none else than Krishna, and who thus has a continuous uninterrupted ever-increasing taste of the joy which is Prema-Bhakti.


Therefore, Bhava-Bhakti cannot be included, holds Visvanatha Cakravarti, in Prema-Bhakti (without prejudice to the real nature of the latter). It also follows from the above that Bhava-Bhakti cannot also be included under Sadhana-Bhakti (without any prejudice to its own intrinsic nature). Shri Visvanatha, points out that the very fact that Bhava-Bhakti is an offect that results from Sadhana-Bhakti, shows that it cannot be the same as Sadhana-Bhakti.


 Since thus under Sadhya-Bhakti there are two types of devotees-Sadhaka and Siddha, it is only proper that they should be clearly distinguished in respect of the quality of their experiences. Hence there is neither confusion nor overlapping divisions in Shri Rupa Gosvami’s insistence on the threefold divisions, though in essence Bhakti is of two types. -1-


Text 2:

tatra sadhana-bhaktih –

kriti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-bhava sa sadhanabhidha |

nitya-siddhasya bhavasya prakatyam hridi sadhyata ||2||



Translation: Uttama-Bhakti, that has been previously explained, when translated into practice through the organs of the body, and which being so practiced brings on the manifestation of Bhava-Bhakti in the heart of the individual is called Sadhana-Bhakti. –2-


Commentary: A question may be raised: As the practices of Uttama-Bhakti through the organs of the body is Sadhana-Bhakti, can it be said that such physical practices are only a means to an end or they are a part and parcel of Sadhana-Bhakti itself? Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami says that just as all that is done as the preliminary of a Vedic sacrificial ritual is considered to be part and parcel of the sacrificial ceremony, so also the physical activities through which Sadhana-Bhakti is practiced for bringing on the manifestation of Bhava-Bhakti should be regarded as part and parcel of Sadhana-Bhakti. The self-revelation of the eternally real Bhava-Bhakti in the heart is called Bhava-Sadhya.


Shri Jiva Gosvami further answers a hypothetical objection. It may be said that if Bhava-Bhakti is to result from Sadhana-Bhakti as a consequence thereof, it becomes an effect in time (janya-padartha), and therefore does not answer to the conception of Bhava-Bhakti as an eternally accomplished reality. Shri Jiva points out in reply that what happens in the case in question is that Bhava, which is an eternal essence of the Swarupa-Sakti i.e. the Intrinsic Potency of the Lord Himself, and not a thing that grows in the heart of an individual as an effect of Sadhana-Bhakti, reveals itself into the heart of the jiva-atma or finite self, where it was absent because of its self-forgetfulness and God-forgetfulness. When such Bhava-Bhakti appears in the heart of the finite self (jiva-atma), it reveals itself in such special physical expressions as (1) chanting of the Name of the Lord, (2) hearing the glories of the Lord and above all, (3) mentally recalling the Events of His Divine Life. This disposes of the objections that such physical activities being parts of Sadhana-Bhakti, they cannot be included as elements of Bhava-Bhakti. In fact in Sadhana-Bhakti the activities that are practiced are a means to the End Bhava, in which they culminate. But the expressions of Bhava-Bhakti through the tongue, ears and mind of the devotee who has attained Bhava-Bhakti are themselves part and parcel of the Bhava that has appeared in the heart of the individual and are not a means to anything other than themselves. In Sadhana-Bhakti the physical activities are a part and parcel of Sadhana-Bhakti itself, while in Bhava-Bhakti its Anu-Bhavas, such as chanting or singing or listening or remembrances, make use of the tongue, ears and mind of the Bhava-devotee and spontaneously manifest themselves in these physical organs out of the eternal and innate essence of the Swarupa-Sakti of the Supreme Lord.


Translator’s Note: It may be noted here that one of the basic principles on which the Vaishnava religion is founded is that the finite self or jiva-atma in the stage of God-forgetfulness is incapable of generating Bhakti in itself by its unaided individual effort. Bhakti is part and parcel of the intrinsic nature or essence of the Lord's Swarupa-Sakti, i.e. the Potency that is inherently associated with and nondifferentiated from the Lord Himself. It is this that descends into the jiva-soul through the Guru Parampara, i.e. the uninterrupted claim of Preceptorial Order; in each one of the Preceptors in the chain this power of the Lord must have manifested itself. If this chain of the perceptorial Order is interrupted at any link, there can be no manifestation of this eternal Seed of Bhakti in the individual disciple. It is illustrated here by a simile. Just as the sacred river Ganga issues from the mouth of the cowshaped cave in the snowclad Himalayas and descends on the plain and flows uninterrupted into the sea sanctifying all the lands through which she passes, so is it with this Bhakti-Rasa of the Nectar of Devotion and Devotional Love of the Supreme Lord that emanates from the Lord's Swarupa-Sakti and revealing itself through an uninterrupted Chain of Spiritual Preceptors or Guru appears at last in the heart of a self-forgetful and God-forgetful mortal who has the good fortune by accident to come in contact with one of these saints while floating in the current of time just like a piece of straw accidentally stuck to the shore while being carried adrift in the fast stream of a river. What is to be noted here is that Chain must not be interrupted at any link in order that the appearance of Bhakti may be possible in an ordinary mortal. We may also explain this idea by a modern simile.

          Just as for telephonic communication from one part of the country to another, there must be a connecting wire without which such communication is not possible from one part of the country to another, and just as the wires being cut in between, communication from one part to another becomes impossible, so also it is with the manifestation of the eternal Bhava or Prema-Bhakti, which is the essence of the Lord's Swarupa-Sakti, through an uninterrupted succession of truly genuine Gurus (not Guru-bruvas, i.e. fake Gurus).


          Shri Jiva Gosvami further comments that it has been already said that Sadhana-Bhakti is Sadhana-Bhakti in the sense that it brings on the manifestation of Bhava-Bhakti in the jiva-soul. Therefore, practices, which lead to the attainment of ends other than Bhava-Bhakti, such as dharma, artha, kama or moksa, are not to be considered as answering to the conception of Sadhana-Bhakti. It is pointed out in this connection that Bhava-Bhakti is not a generated event, but is a case of the descent of Eternally Real from God to the individual. If it were a generated event, it would be like all events in time -a thing that begins in time and also ends in time, and would thus cease to be Parama-Purusartha or summum bonum of life. But it is, as has been said, not a generated event at all, but something that eternally is. What is generated is its appearance in the individual heart through descent from God to man. –2-


Text 3:

sa bhaktih saptama-skandhe bhangya devarshinodita ||3||


Translation: This Uttama-Bhakti of the Sadhana-type sage Narada has hinted at in an indirect and roundabout way in the Seventh Canto of the Bhagavatam. –3-


Commentary: In the Seventh Canto, Chapter One and sloka twenty-six of the Bhagavatam, Shri Narada addresses King Yudhisthira as follows: As the Lord is never perturbed even by abuse and ill-speaking about Himself, therefore if one fixes one's mind on the Lord either with a feeling of animosity or without animosity, or out of fear or from affection or from desire for self-enjoyment and self-gratification, one realizes the Lord in accordance with the nature of one’s mind-fixation on the Lord. But this is not pure Bhakti of the highest type, as it is inconsistent with the conception of Uttama-Bhakti which must be agreeable to the Lord and without any antagonism and must also be desireless. The elucidation of pure Bhakti has, however, been referred to here in a roundabout way. What is really stressed in this reference is that even where interest in the Lord is dictated by feelings of animosity, fear, affection, or desire for self-gratification and sense enjoyment and with mental absorption, the Lord ignores the actuating motives behind the interest in the Lord, and considering the simple fact of their mental absorption in Him bestows on them sayujya-mukti and other boons according to the way in which they fix their mind in His Person. This shows that the mere fact of mind-fixation on the Lord brings on the Lord's Grace even where the determining motive is something different from Bhakti in the Lord for His own sake.


          Therefore, Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that if this be the case when even extraneous interest in the Lord can bring on the Lord's beneficent Grace on the individual, what must be the case where there is genuine interest in the service of the Lord for His own sake, which is Uttama-Bhakti? This being the intrinsic nature of the Lord, is there anybody who is so base as to prefer the ways of animosity, fear, etc. to that of Uttama-Bhakti in the Lord for the Lord's pleasure? –3-


Text 4:

yatha saptame –

tasmat kenapyupayena manah krishne niveshayet56 ||4||


Translation: As it is said in the Seventh Canto:

It behooves everybody to apply his mind to Shri Krishna in whatsoever way he can.



Commentary: In commenting on the above, Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the meaning of the text is that one must apply one's mind not out of fear and animosity. One's mental interest in the Lord may be one or the other of a non-antagonistic interest, or an affectionate concern, or an interest dictated by the motive of self-gratification in keeping with one's individual temperamental preference. He rules out any interest in the Lord dictated by animosity or fear. Shri Jiva further points out that manonivesa or application of the mind in the text includes by Upalaksana or extension of meaning, such relevant activities of the physical senses, such as Arcana or worship of the Deities in the temple with flowers etc., prostrating one's body before the Deities in a temple or before the Spiritual Master, which are forms of spiritual practices in Sadhana-Bhakti.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami, however, points out that the real point in the above text is monanivesa, i.e. fixation of mind. As where there is fixation of the mind on the Lord, there despite even animosity, interest in the Lord, brings on sayujya-mukti, i.e. liberation by way of merging in the Godhead, as in the case of Sisupala, Kamsa, and others. Kamsa was as a matter of fact, aware of his previous birth as Nemi and of his enmity with the Lord. So, when he cherished animosity against Lord Shri Krishna, his mind was absorbed in Him knowing fully well that He was the Supreme Lord. The mere fact of one's animosity towards the Lord without mental absorption in Him does not entitle one to sayujya-mukti or any boon from the Lord. For example, King Vena cherishing animosity towards the Lord lacked mental absorption in Him. He was thus deprived of the boon of sayujya-mukti or liberation by way of merging in the Godhead, and was thrown in to the hell for the sin he incurred for his enmity and abuse of Shri Krishna. Kamsa and Sisupala also incurred sins for their abuse of Lord Shri Krishna, but those sins were washed away because of their complete mental absorption in Him which was lacking in the case of King Vena. Shri Mukundadasa, therefore, concludes that barring vairita or animosity or antagonism, one may practice mental application on the Lord mentally, verbally and physically in any of the four remaining ways, i.e. out of fear, non-antagonistic indifference, affection or desire for self-gratification. Thus practiced in any one of the four ways according to one’s personal preference, mental absorption in the Lord is sure to bear fruit. Thus Shri Mukundadasa adds that hearing about the Lord, chanting His Name, mental recollection of the Pastimes of the Lord's Divine Life, etc., starting from Sraddha or firm faith upto Asakti or intense attachment, come under Sadhana-Bhakti. –4-


Text 5:

vaidhi raganuga ceti sa dvidha sadhanabhidha ||5||


Translation: Sadhana-Bhakti is of two types: Vaidhi and Raganuga. –5-


Text 6:

tatra vaidhi –

yatra raganavaptatvat pravrittir upajayate |

shasanenaiva shastrasya sa vaidhi bhaktir ucyate ||6|||



Translation: Vaidhi in Sadhana-Bhakti:

When Sadhana-Bhakti is not roused in the heart of an individual from a spontaneous love or liking for it, but is called up by the injunctions of the Scriptures, it is called Vaidhi-Bhakti. –6-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami in his commentary on the above, observes that when the injunctions of the Sastras alone are the cause of Sadhana-Bhakti, and it does not follow from a longing for it, then such Sadhana-Bhakti is Vaidhi, i.e. regulated by Sastras. The word Raga used here in the text means "simple liking", and not in the sense of raga in the highest grade of Prema-Bhakti; because, Shri Jiva points out, Shri Rupa Gosvami will describe ahead, in slokas 270-272, in the Second Wave of the East Division, the differences between Ragatmika-Bhakti and Raganuga-Bhakti. Shri Jiva further points out that by using the suffix eva to sasanena, i.e. by the injunctions (of the Sastras), it is signified that even when Sadhana-Bhakti arises out of a longing or liking for it, such Sadhana-Bhakti with Raga or taste may be functioning within the limits prescribed by Sastras, and if so, is partially Vaidhi-Bhakti.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami, however, points out that when Sadhana-Bhakti does not arise out of any spontaneous longing for it, but is definitely governed by the injunctions of the scriptures (in which one's whims or individual fancies have no place), it is called Vaidhi-Bhakti.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti explains that the inclination for Sadhana-Bhakti can be due either to a love for it, or to the directions of the scriptures. But where there is no taste or longing for it and the Sadhana-Bhakti is caused entirely by the prescriptions of the Scriptures, it is called Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti, i.e. Sadhana-Bhakti regulated by the Sastras. Shri Cakravarti further points out that the use of the word Raga in the text means that a longing or taste for Sadhana-Bhakti is caused by the seeing of the Deities in the temple or listening to the glories and Divine Pastimes of the Lord described in the Tenth Canto of the Bhagavatam. But where


this desire for Sadhana-Bhakti does not grow even after seeing the Deities in the temple or listening the Divine Pastimes of the Lord as described in the Bhagavatam but is caused by the bidding of the Scriptures, such alone should be known as Vaidhi-Bhakti. –6-


Text 7:

yatha dvitiye –

tasmad bharata sarvatma bhagavanishvaro harih |

shrotavyah kirtitavyash ca smartavyash cechata bhayam57 ||7||


Translation: For example in the Second Canto:

Shri Sukadeva Gosvami tells King Pariksita: "Oh King Bharata! One who aspires for the Supreme Lord Hari, from whom all fears of births and deaths are completely wiped out, should listen to and sing and meditate upon the glories of that All-powerful, All-majestic and Indwelling Lord of all sentient beings". –7-


Commentary: Shri Mukundadas Gosvami holds that the listening to, the singing of and the meditation on the Lord Hari should include directly His Entourage as well. For it is said that one who worships Lord Hari, but does not worship His devotees is only a vain person and is not entitled to the Grace of Lord Vishnu. The commentator further points out that Shri Rupa Gosvami himself has stated in connection with the practice of Raganuga-Bhakti that a sadhaka should live in Braja meditating on Lord Krishna and His Associates who are of the same nature, temperament and taste.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that Shri Rupa Gosvami has cited here this particular verse from the Bhagavatam as an example of Vaidhi-Bhakti that is caused by the injunctions of the Scriptures. One who is afraid of births and deaths takes to the worship of Lord Hari because the Scriptures have laid down that all fears are completely wiped out if one worships Lord Hari. So, one who take recourse to Sadhana-Bhakti in order to get freed from all worldly fears because the Scriptures


have said so, and not out of any spontaneous inclination for it, follows Vaidhi-Bhakti. –7-


Text 8:

padme ca–

smartavyah satatam vishnur vismartavyo na jatucit |

sarve vidhi-nishedhah syur etayor eva kimkarah ||8||


Translation: Lord Vishnu is always to be meditated on and never to be forgotten. All other regulative and prescriptive codes of the Scriptures are only servants to these two principal imperatives of the Scriptures, i.e. constant (daily) remembrance of Lord Vishnu is the positive rule, while never forgetting the Lord is the negative directive of the Scriptures; and all other positive and negative prescriptions of the Scriptures are only subservient to them. –8-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami commenting on it observes that the Scriptures have prescribed as binding on a brahmana (priest) that he should perform his daily ablutions every morning, noon and evening - this is a positive injunction or vidhi. A brahmana or a cow should not be killed – this is a nisedha or a negative prohibitory injunction, i.e. a negative prescription. If one should follow the positive injunctions of the Scriptures one would reap the beneficial fruits thereof; but if one should violate the prohibitions of the Sastras, one would suffer the consequences. All these positive and negative prescriptions of the Scriptures are included in the major vidhi and nisedha, i.e. regulative and prohibitive injunctions that Lord Vishnu should be remembered and that Lord Vishnu should not be forgotten. This means that all the fruitful results that have been assured by the Scriptures from performances of the Vedic yajna and smarta ritualism shall be attained by following the most important vidhi, viz. daily remembrance of Lord Vishnu, and all results that accrue from violation of all other nisedha-directions of the Scriptures will follow from the nonremembrance of Lord Vishnu, which is the most important prohibitive injunction or nisedha of the Scriptures. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that the word satatam in the text should not mean constantly, but it is used in the sense of daily. If the vidhi be ‘constant remembrance of the Lord’ by an individual which is not possible in the state of bondage, then such a vidhi, which it will be impossible to obey, will lose its purpose. –8-


Text 9:

ity asau syad vidhir nityah sarva varnashramadishu |

nityatve ‘py asya nirnitam ekadashyadi vat phalam ||9|| 


Translation: This vidhi that Lord Vishnu is to remembered daily is an eternal and standing rule of the Scriptures which is applicable to all varnas (brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras) and all asramas (brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and yati). Though this vidhi is an eternal one, applicable to all under all circumstances and in all times, it is also fruit-giving like the observance of the Ekadashi fast. –9-


Commentary: Translator’s Note: The various Vedic and smarta kamya-karmas (karma done with certain desires) have been prescribed for specific purposes, and they bring earthly or heavenly pleasures. But if one does not perform any such direction of the Scriptures, one need not suffer any adverse effect for nonobservance of such a directive of the Scriptures. For example, the Vedas lay down that by performance of asvamedha yajna, a ksatriya king can become the ruler of the earth, or by performing putresti yajna one can be blessed with a son. But if one does not perform any of these Vedic directions, one does not suffer for its nonperformance. But there are other vidhis or positive directives of the Scriptures which become unconditionally binding on an individual, such as, daily ablutions on the part of a brahmana. If he performs his daily ablutions thrice in the morning, noon and evening, such a brahmana does not gain any particular fruit; but should he neglect to carry out such obligatory vidhis of the Scriptures, he will commit sins, and thereby will fall from position of a brahmana. Again, there are certain nisedhas in the Scriptures. These lay down abstention from certain acts. If the abstention that is prescribed is not complied with and one violates the nisedha or prohibition by not abstaining from such acts, one must suffer the consequences of such nonabstention. For example, the Scriptures forbid taking the life of a brahmana or a cow. If one should follow this nisedha direction, one does not gain anything in particular; but should anybody violate this directive, i.e. kill a brahmana or a cow, one will incur sin and suffer the consequences. Such vidhis and nisedhas are unconditionally binding on all. The Scriptures do not always mention the fruits or otherwise of such vidhi-nisedha. Shri Jiva Gosvami says that the vidhi of remembering Lord Vishnu daily and the nisedha of never forgetting Him come under such permanent Scriptural injunctions which are binding on all under all circumstances. They also implicitly bear permanent and lasting fruit, i.e. Bhakti, just as the binding vidhi of the observance of Ekadashi bears the fruit of Bhakti. Shri Jiva further points out that it would have been more appropriate if this particular verse of Shri Rupa Gosvami in the text had been used after the fruits-assuring references that have followed hereafter, because iti is generally used after the subject matter has been stated and then a conclusion drawn. But in this case the conclusion has been stated first, which has been followed by the supporting references about the subject itself.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that is a Nitya-vidhi (directions of the Scriptures for daily performance) is that which binding on all, and neglect of which results in sins. Hence when Shri Rupa Gosvami establishes the daily remembrance of Vishnu as a daily Nitya-vidhi, it follows that one will commit sin by not remembering the Lord daily.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami points out that by the use of 'adi' as a suffix to all varnas and all asramas, other human beings, besides those that come under varna and asrama, are not excluded, i.e. all human beings come under this vidhi of daily remembering the Lord. One may raise a question, says Shri Mukundadasa, how could it be appropriate on the part of Shri Rupa Gosvami to cite the example of Ekadashi, which bears fruits, in support of the vidhi of remembering Lord Vishnu which also implicitly bears permanent fruits? It may be explained in this way: As from the knowledge of the transitoriness of an earthen pot or a golden ornament one can deduce the conclusion as regards the transitoriness of this phenomenal world, so also one may conclude that remembrance of Lord Vishnu also bears the fruit of Bhakti from the knowledge of the fact that Ekadashi fast, which is in remembrance of the Lord, bears the permanent fruit of Bhakti. So the comparison is quite in order. –9-


Text 10-11:

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||


Translation: As it is explicitly stated in the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam.


          Sage Camasa addressing King Nimi says: "If the brahmanas and others of the four varnas (i.e. brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) together with their respective qualities and four asramas (i.e. brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa), who separately originated from the Mouth, Arms, Thigh and the Feet of the Virata-Purusa Vishnu respectively, do not worship the Lord out of any disrespect, they will fall from their respective place of varna and asrama."58



Commentary: Shri Visvanath Cakravarti points out that in order to establish the fact of one's downfall into the mire of this world or down in hell for non-worship of the Supreme Lord, it is first stated that the Lord (Vishnu) is the Supreme Object of Worship, who is the Original Father of all beings (because all emanated or originated from Him) and not only of the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras, who originated from the Lord's Mouth, Arms, Thigh and Feet respectively. But not to worship such a Lord is itself disrespect or disregard to Him. Just as not to show proper respect to a respectable person is showing him disrespect, so also not to worship the Most Worshipful Lord is clear sign showing disrespect to Him, and hence the consequence of downfall from one's status in life. – 10-11 -


Text 12:

tat phalanca tatraiva –

evam krity ayoga pathaih puman vaidhika-tantrikaih |

arcannubhyatah siddhim matto vindat abhipsitam59 ||12||


 Translation: Lord Shri Krishna addressing Uddhava says: "Oh Uddhava! Those who worship Me with Vedic and Tantrik ritualisms are blessed by Me with their desired ends both on earth and in heaven. –12-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami explains this reference that has been cited by Shri Rupa to signify that if by mere Vedic and tantric ritualism one can attain earthly and heavenly pleasures, how much better it would be if one would follow the path of Bhakti and engage oneself in the worship of the Lord, in whose worship not only all conceivable earthly and heavenly pleasures can be attained, but much more in the Realm of the Lord Himself! For example, it is said in the Bhagavatam60, where Shri Sukadeva Gosvami tells King Pariksita: "King! If one is an ardent and desireless devotee of the Lord, or if one aspires after all possible pleasures in heaven or on earth, or if one seeks moksa, i.e. liberation by way of one's merging in the Absolute, one who is truly wise will certain follow the path of unalloyed Bhakti and intensely serve the Lord". –12-


Text 13:

pancaratre ca –

surarshe vihita shastre hari muddishya ya kriya |

saiva bhaktir iti prokta taya bhaktih para bhavet ||13||


Translation: Also in Pancaratra: Oh Sage amongst gods! Oh Narada! Whatever practices have been prescribed by the Scriptures in relation to Lord Hari is called Bhakti (Sadhana-Bhakti), by which Para-Bhakti, i.e. Prema-Bhakti is attained. (This is the highest fruit of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti, as commented by Shri Jiva and Shri Cakravarti). –13-


Text 14:

tatra adhikari –

yah kenapy atibhagyena jata shraddho ‘sya sevane |

natisakto na vairagya bhaga syam adhikary asau ||14||


Translation: Eligibility for Vaidhi-Bhakti - One who has a supreme fortune of faith in Bhakti in the Lord and who is neither too much attached to worldliness nor too much detached from it, is eligible for this Vaidhi-Bhakti.  –14-


Commentary: Shri Jiva explains "supreme fortune" as a trait of character that is developed in the company of genuine saints. Shri Cakravarti says that such an eligible person is averse to pretensions of detachment but should be striving for genuine detachment from sense desires. Shri Mukundadasa says that "the unspeakable fortune" cannot be ascertained in any other way excepting from the fact that such an individual has a firm faith in Bhakti, and this firm faith indicates the fortune of the individual. -14-


Text 15:

yathaikadashe –

yadricchaya mat kathadau jata shraddha ‘stu yah puman |

na nirvinëo natisakto bhakti yogo ‘sya siddhidah61 ||15||


Translation: For example, in the Eleventh Canto: The Lord addresses Shri Uddhava: "Uddhava! One who has fortunately a spontaneous firm faith in and reverence for hearing discourses about Myself, even if he be involved in worldliness without either any strong attachment or complete apathy or indifference for such sense-pleasures, to such a person Bhakti-yoga becomes a desirable end". –15-


Commentary: In commenting on the above-quoted verse of the Bhagavatam, which Shri Rupa has cited as an example of the eligibility of an individual for Vaidhi-Bhakti, Shri Jiva quotes another verse from the Bhagavatam in which Lord Shri Krishna addresses Uddhava as follows:

"One who has firm faith in Myself and discourses on the Events of My Life, generated in him, and who has given up all Vedic and Tantric ritualism (as being impediments to Bhakti), but is worried for his attachment for worldly objects and even knowing fully well that sense-enjoyments are only pain-giving is unable to give them up, but at the same time knowing that it is only by the practice of Bhakti in Me one can be freed from such worldly attractions, should worship Me with a real liking and in a reverential and steadfast attitude of mind."62 Shri Jiva adds that such conditions and attitude of mind make one eligible to start the practice of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti. Bhakti being inherently potent and forceful is not dependent on any extraneous aid (in respect of its strength and force). This is where Bhakti-yoga differs from jnana and other varieties of yoga. Jnana-yoga requires vairagya or detachment and dispassion as its pre- condition. Bhakti-yoga depends on nothing but itself. It is true that Bhakti requires discarding of Vedic ritualism and other Vedic karmas, this is because Bhakti must be for Bhakti's sake and must not be mixed up with ways of karma if it is to be Bhakti pure and undefiled. It will be a mistake to think that Bhakti starts at this point and ends in the state of self-centered delight of the atmaramas like the Catahsanas (Sanatkumar, Sanaka, Sananda and the rest). In fact, Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti leads one far beyond to Prema-Bhakti. –15-


Text 16:

uttamo madhyamash ca syat kanishthash ceti sa tridha ||16||


Translation: Such ADHIKARY or eligible persons of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti are of three types, viz. (1) superior grade, (2) medium grade and (3) inferior grade. –16-


Text 17:

tatra uttamah –

shastre yuktau ca nipuëah sarvatha dridha nishcayah |

praudha shraddho ‘dhikari yah sa bhaktav uttamo matah ||17||


Translation: Thus, those who are of the SUPERIOR GRADE:

Such a superior devotee is as much an expert in the knowledge of the authoritative texts (Scriptures) as in the science and art of reasoning, is of firm faith and belief (in all aspects of the efficacy of Bhakti) and is quite matured or has attained to the sage of maturity in his reverential faith and belief.  –17-


 Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that the division into the three grades is based on the relative strength of faith of three different types in the subject matter propounded in the scriptures. It has been already shown that a Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakta is one who is governed by the truths expounded in the Scriptures, and an unshaken belief in such truths is Sraddha or faith. It is the strength of one’s Sraddha or faith in the scriptural teachings that determine the three grades of superior, medium, and inferior eligibility.


          Sarvatha in the text, i.e. all the aspects of efficacy of Bhakti, means, according to Shri Jiva (firm faith) in (a) the discourses on the Ultimate Truth, and (b) in the scriptural teachings as regards the sadhana or means to the realization of Bhava-Bhakti.


          Yukti of reasoning in the above statement means reasonings in accordance with or in conformity with the teachings or injunctions of the Scriptures. Kevala yukti or independent reasoning, not founded on the injunctions of the Sastras (Scriptures) is of no avail, because all spiritual truths have their roots in the verbal communications through succession of Spiritual Teachers or Gurus without beginning or end, through the process of an aural reception. In Vaishnava-Tantra, tarka is defined, quotes Shri Jiva, as an opposite reasoning that arises out of what has gone before in a discourse and what comes thereafter and strengthens the progress of the discourse. It is thus to be distinguished from any irrelevant reasoning that has no bearing on the argument of the discourse. One whose Sraddha or firm faith and reasoning of the kind has attained a state of maturity is a SUPERIOR ADHIKARY or ELIGIBLE.


          Translator’s Note: It is to be noted that tarka has not been taken here in its usual sense as the process of reductio ad absurdum of any objection to the validity of an inference. This is the ordinary nyaya view of tarka or uha; and it is a weapon that is used upadhi-sankanirasa or disposal of sankita or suspected, and samaropita or supposed


upadhis or exterior conditions vitiating the vyapti on which an inference is based. Here in the above-quoted verse from the Vaishnava-Tantra, tarka is used in a wider sense as an inference or reasoning supporting an argument in progress.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti observes that 'sarvatha or ‘in all aspects’ means not merely (firm faith) in Tatva-vicara of the Scriptures and in Sadhana- vicara of the Scriptures, but also in (c) the teachings of the Scriptures about the Purusartha-vicara or the Values of life.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami also points out that yukti here includes ‘refuting of objections’, i.e. includes reasoning both in its positive and its negative aspects, as establishing what is truth and refuting what is false. He, however, gives another interpretation of sarvatha or ‘all aspects’. It means, according to him, (firm faith in Scriptural teachings) not only the first three, viz. (a) Tatva-vicara, (b) Sadhana-vicara, and (c) Purusartha-vicara, but also, about (d) Upasya-vicara or the Proper Object of Worship. Shri Mukundadasa quotes the following from the Bhagavatam63 in substantiation of Scriptural Purusartha-vicara or discourses on Values. Shri Sukadeva Gosvami addressing King Pariksita says: "Oh King! Consider the case of Shri Bharata Maharaj. He gave up his kingdom, which is so difficult to surrender, parted with his wife and children and all his riches and all wealth, and property, which even the gods look on with greedy eyes. This was just what befits one whose heart is ever hungry and thirsty after the service of the sacred Feet of Lord Madhusudana (The destroyer of demon Madhu, Lord Shri Krishna). Is it any wonder that such a one will look down upon the value of moksa (liberation by way of merging in the Absolute) as of little significance?"


Translator’s note: Here all the Values- dharma, artha, kama and moksa, are shown to pale into insignificance as compared with the Value which is Bhakti. -17-


Text 18:

tatra madhyamah –

yah shastrahi shvani puëah shraddhavan sa tu madhyamah ||18||


Translation: Now the MEDIUM ELIGIBLE in Vaidhi Sadhana- Bhakti: One who full of faith in the Scriptures and yet lacks expert knowledge thereof is an ELIGIBLE of the MEDIUM type. –18-


          Commentary: According to Shri Jiva Gosvami, ‘lacking expert knowledge of the Sastras’ means that one who has general knowledge of the Scriptures and therefore in a way possesses a certain similarity to an expert in the Scriptures (as in the case of the Superior Eligible), but is incapable of successfully tackling any forceful criticism of an opponent. Even though he is incapable of repelling powerful objections, is never lacking in firm faith in the Scriptural teachings.


Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti adds that sraddhavan, i.e. belief or faith here means ‘Faith in the Scriptures as well as in the Words of one's Spiritual Preceptor’. –18-


Text 19:

tatra kanishthah –

yo bhavet komala shraddhah sa kanishtho nigadyate ||19||


Translation: Now again, THE INFERIOR ELIGIBLE- An Inferior Eligible is one who is of slender faith. –19-


Commentary: An Inferior Eligible, Shri Jiva points out, must have faith in the Sastras just as in the two higher types, because faith means ‘faith in the Scriptures’. The difference, however, between the inferior and the Medium Eligible is that the former is not an expert in the Sastras and he is of slender faith in the sense that he is liable to be won over to contrary beliefs by arguments which he is unable to confute. A Medium Eligible cannot be won over and made to lose faith even though he is unable to meet the challenge of contrary arguments; but an Inferior Eligible is incapable of resisting the force of stronger arguments, which he is unable to demolish. Shri Jiva further points out that his knowledge of the Scriptures is not as thorough as in the case of a 'nipuna' i.e. his knowledge is very meagre as compared to that of the other two type. Therefore the difference between the Superior, Medium and the Inferior may be stated as follows: The Superior type of an Adhikari of Vaidthi Sadhana-Bhakti has expert knowledge of the Sastras, and he is quite able to hold his ground against the attacks of the opponent; the Medium Adhikari is not as thorough in his knowledge of the Sastras and is not always able to confute a subtle opponent though incapable of being swerved from his faith by reasonings however subtle and strong; the Inferior Adhikari has a comparatively meager knowledge of the Sastras and is not only unable to meet opponents with effective rejoinder but is liable to be won over by stronger arguments which he is unable to refute.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that the Inferior Type has a slender faith in the sense that his mind for the time being is thrown into uncertainty and doubts by the arguments of the opponent. But even then he is not completely won over. One who is an eligible as a Vaidhi-Bhakta would not be so if he could be ever swerved altogether from his path of Bhakti by arguments however forceful and subtle. All that happens is a temporary state uncertainty, which however, he gets over by the Bhakti that is innate in him. As a matter of fact, in all such states of doubts he falls back on the teachings of his Spiritual Master and Guide (Guru) regarding the nature of the Lord and cherishes them as a truth his heart of hearts.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami differs from Shri Jiva Gosvami in respect of the basis of the divisions into Three Types. While according to Shri Jiva the Three Types arise out of the relative strength of their respective faiths (Sraddha), according to Shri Mukundadasa, the division of the Three Types arise out of their respective spiritual status due to the grace of the Lord Himself and of the saints with whom they associated in the past. –19-


Text 20-21:

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||


Translation: What has been said in the Gita and other Scriptures about the four kinds of seekers of the Supreme Lord, viz. (1) those who seek the Lord for relief from present distress, (2) those who seek the Lord out of inquiries, (3) those who seek the Lord for earthly gain, or (4) those who have attained self-knowledge and yet aspire after or yearn for something higher than self-knowledge: of all these, whosoever has received the grace of the Lord or the blessings of the Lord’s favorite devotees, the extraneous motives in such and such a person is gradually weakened so that he becomes eligible for pure or unalloyed Bhakti; as for example, in the cases of the Gajendra (the king of the elephants), Saunaka and other sages, Dhruva and the Catuhsanas (Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda and Sanatkumara) respectively. - 20-21-



Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the four kinds of eligibility that are mentioned in the Gita are not eligibility for Vaidhi Sadhna-Bhakti, but are only previous stages of the appearance of Uttama-Bhakti, i.e. pure Bhakti. It is in this sense that tatra has been used in the text.


Shri Jiva further explains why Shri Rupa has used yasmin and sa in the singular number while in the Gita text four kinds of eligibility has been stated- it has been intended for application to all the four eligibles in a general manner, the purpose being in whichever case there is God's grace or the grace of the Lord's devotees, in such and such a case only the particular type of seeking the Lord is weakened and worn away so as to give way to the appearance of unalloyed Bhakti, as in the individual cases of the Gajendra (king of the elephants), Saunaka and others, Dhruva and Catuhsana. ‘Sanaka and others’ here refer to the sixty thousand rsis who put queries to Shri Suta Gosvami; Catuhsana include Sanaka-Sanatana-Sananda-Sanatkumara.


          The reference that Shri Rupa Gosvami makes to the Gita in regard to the four kinds of seekers of the Lord is in Chapter Seven, slokas 16 to 20. Lord Shri Krishna says: "Oh Arjuna! Oh Bharatarsabha! The distressed, the inquirers after truth, the seekers of favors, and the wise- when these four groups of people by My Grace or through the grace of My devotees are blessed with godly fortune, freed from the distressing, pleasure seeking, wisdom hankering inquisitive defects of their conditions, they follow in My service. Very rarely do the evil doers serve Me, for they attain meager minimum of spiritual progress. The four classes of the spiritually blessed conforming to a regulated life as ordained by the Scriptures are fit to worship and to serve Me". Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti explains the four kinds of seekers of the Lord as follows: (1) "Those who are engaged in selfish karma desirous of the fruits of their actions suffer from the frustration of material desires; but thus afflicted, their hearts are subsequently purified by fires of sorrow, and they remember Me- these are the distressed; (2) The atheists, who ethical yet ignorant, begin to search for real Truth and feel the need of God’s existence, begin to think of Me; (3) those who are wretched and dissatisfied with the limited conception of Me as Lord of all ethics and religion, turn out to be My ritualistic devotees and keep Me in memory by such performances, while (4) the jnanins, who have the macroscopic knowledge of Brahman, the Great, realize that such is only partial knowledge and when they take recourse to perfect knowledge of My Aprakrta or supra-mundane Loving Self, then they resort to refuge in Me".


          Indeed, it is only when the desires of the distressed and the distorted notions of God of Ethics of the Inquirers after Truth, and when the stain of interested heavenly enjoyments of the pleasure seekers, and when the slur of misconception anent Lord's Transcendental Personality and the untenable theory as to at oneness with Brahman, of the jnanins-when all these are removed, the diverse classes lead a life of pure Bhakti. Bhakti is not pure so long as it is sullied by any motive other than the love of God; while if the slightest tinge of either karma or jnana does exist or there exist desires other then the service of the Godhead, Bhakti is alloyed with either karma or jnana. But when it is absolutely free from such karma or jnana, it is known as Kevala, Akinncana or Uttama-Bhakti.


          The same verse of the Gita has been differently explained by Shri Valadeva Vidyabhusana as follows: Those who strictly adhere to their particular profession and to their station in life -varna and asrama, according to their individual qualification and actions, worship the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. They are classified into four groups: The distressed, who are most anxious for relief from their impending troubles, such as poverty and illness. Secondly, inquirers after Truth, that is, the knowledge of self or of secular religious scriptures. Thirdly, the seekers after worldly joy, such as wealth, fame, woman and celestial pleasures. These three have being fruit seeking karmins resort to mixed Bhakti, in which karma predominates. Lastly, the jnanins, who have renounced all worldly pleasures. Free are they from selfish karma, but their devotion is mixed and hence jnana does predominate.


          "When the distressed, the inquirers after Truth, the seekers of wealth, and the wise become unsullied by any worldly motives and incline to Me alone, they turn out to be devotee. Among them, when the jnanins, the wise, relinquish all things of base contamination and material knowledge, and acquire true knowledge as to Me, they stand above the other three divisions of My devotees. In the association of true devotees, all are entitled to have real knowledge of themselves. In the nascent stage of their Bhakti, the wise who are more steadfast and devoted to My service are dearer to Me, and I also very dear to them. When the above four classes of My devotees resort to pure Bhakti only, munificent they grow; no longer do they hanker after any of the objects of man’s pursuits. But the jnani-bhaktas, having more steadfast attachment to the conscious self, do realize Me as the Summum bonum of all pure and sentient beings. They are very dear to Me. For I am greatly influenced by their love for Me. But, when they are established for a while upon the plane of transcendental knowledge, they realize divine diversities, distinct from gross or subtle mundane variegatedness, in My transcendental Self, and thus become attached to Me and take shelter in Me. They then think: these phenomena are not dissociated from the Lord but do result from the reflection of a Potency of Vasudeva; the universe has multifarious contact with Vasudeva, the Pervading. The devotees who have such a mentality are very rare and wondrous souls. A jnani-bhakta sees Me, Vasudeva, in all things, and everything in Me. Only after many births does he take refuge absolute in Me. Such a devotee is rare. But an aikantika, single-minded devotee, is the rarest of all. Yet those who, though they seek rewards, resort to Me with heart and soul, will within a short time, be relieved by Me of all their earthly moods and lusts. Wretched are they who worship Me reluctantly. Steeped in worldly ignorance, their wisdom encrusted by the gross earthly joys, they worship the different presiding gods according to their various desires. They do not love Me, and have no confidence in My Divine Form. They are led astray by their respective rajasika and tamasika natures to submit to other pleasure-giving gods and thus are thrown into the vortex of unsatiated, endless yearnings. They think that they can easily and quickly please those minor gods by practicing the ordinary rituals. Crippled are their propensities and thus enslaved, they are reluctant to abide with Me".


          Shri Jiva points out that the various commentators on the verse quoted by Shri Rupa Gosvami from the Gita have explained the word jnani in the text as those who have realized their own true selves. But even Chatuhsana, i.e. Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda and Sanatkumara, who are the most prominent of the enlightened persons as have realized the unity of the self and the Absolute after a knowledge of the essential nature of each are also seen to have gained admittance to the way of pure Bhakti through the Lord's Grace. In proof of the above, the following may be cited from the Bhagavatam, holds Shri Jiva: When the sages Catahsanans prostrated themselves at the Lotus like beautiful Feet of Lord Narayana, of Eyes as beautiful as the petal of the Lotus, the Tulasi leaves fragrant with the dust particles of the Lord's Feet transmitted their fragrance through the nostrils into the hearts of the sages thereby causing a numinous joy and horripilation even though they were absorbed in Brahmananda, the blissfulness of the absolute life. This passage has been cited to prove the superiority of pure Bhakti and not in support of Vaidhi-Bhakti, because in this case, i.e. the case of Sanaka and others, realization has come not through the discipline of the Scriptures, but through immediate experience. In fact, Sanaka and others being jnana-siddha are above the discipline of Scriptural prescriptions.

   Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti says that though the four kinds of persons take refuge in the Lord, viz. those who are in distress, those who are inquirers due to their own doubts, those who seek material wealth and those who desire to gain knowledge of the Absolute, cannot be said to possess Bhakti, yet if they should give up their immediate purpose and take refuge in the Lord and resort to submission to the Lord, then, through the kind prerogative of the Lord Himself, Bhakti may be infused in them. When the Grace of the Lord is bestowed on anybody, he will naturally give up all trifling desires and take shelter at the Feet of the Lord. So when the Elephant-king Gajendra was in dire distress being attacked by the crocodile, his immediate prayers to the Lord and submission to His Compassion were for the purpose of being rescued and saved from his imminent death. But when the Lord saved him out of His Grace from the terrible jaws of Gajendra's worst and powerful enemy, Gajendra was so charmed by the soul-captivating Beauty of the Lord's Person that he forgot all about his immediate danger and distress from which he wanted to be rescued, and prayed for pure Bhakti at the feet of the Lord. So also when Saunaka and sixty-thousand other rsis approached Shri Suta Gosvami with six queries for solution regarding the way to attain heaven (svarga), their purpose was not the service of the Lord, i.e. Bhakti; but when they listened to Shri Suta and discourses on the Name, Form, Qualities, Associates, Realm and Events of the Life of Lord Shri Krishna, all their queries were gone forever and they became confirmed in the way of pure Bhakti in the company of the genuine and superior order devotee, Shri Suta Gosvami. Prince Dhruva likewise underwent hard penance and invoked the Lord in order to gain the throne of his father of which he was deprived by the machinations of his stepmother. But when he was blessed by the Grace of Lord Narayana, all his desires for earthly kingdom and material wealth vanished and he turned to be a pure devotee. In like manner, the Catuhsanas were able by the Grace of Lord Narayana to give up their desire for moksa and became eligible for the way of pure Bhakti. –21-


Text 22:

bhukti-mukti-spriha yavat pishaci hridi varate |

tavad bhakti-sukhas yatra katham abhyudayo bhavet ||22||


Translation: So as long as the fiend that is longing for bhukti, i.e. enjoyment of earthly and heavenly pleasures, and mukti, i.e. heavenly pleasures and self-merging in the Absolute, occupies the heart of an individual, how can the supreme delight of Bhakti spring in that heart? –22-


Commentary: Shri Jiva comments that mukti is of two kinds; first is that which clouds the longing for Bhakti, and the second kind of mukti offers self-satisfaction to the individual. Mukti has been described here as a witch, because it changes the face of desire for Bhakti by dubious methods. It is true that pure devotees are freed from the bondage, i.e. become muktas, but this is done by the force of Bhakti itself and not as any consequence of desire on the part of the devotee. Thus in the statement of the text Shri Rupa wants to establish that a devotee even in the stage of his rudimentary practices does not entertain any desire for any form of mukti, much less for bhukti or mundane enjoyments.


          Shri Mukundadasa points out that a question may be raised: What is the need of the grace of God here when the desires for earthly and heavenly pleasures are automatically wiped out from the heart when one attains and tastes of the supreme delight in Bhakti? In reply, Shri Mukundadasa explains that as no noble person will live in a place where a fiend or a witch lives, so also the delight of Bhakti cannot be possible in the heart of a person, whose heart has been pre-occupied by the fiend that longs for bhukti and mukti. This fiend or witch that pollutes the heart can be removed by the Grace of the Lord alone. It so happened with the Elephant-king Gajendra, Druva, Saunaka and other rsis and also Catuhsanas. So these four kinds of people viz. those in distress, seeking wealth, inquirers and moksa-seekers who take refuge in the Lord for such ulterior purposes are not eligible for Bhakti. Those who can cast aside such desires by the Grace of the Lord are alone eligible for pure Bhakti.


          Shri Visvanatha points out that the longing for mukti has been appropriately described by Shri Rupa Gosvami as a fiend, because in the Sixth Canto, Chapter 17, sloka 28 of the Bhagavatam it has been said that a genuine devotee looks upon heaven, moksa and hell with equal indifference. –22-


Text 23:

tatrapi ca vishesheëa gatimaë viman icchatah |

bhaktir hrita manah praëan premëa tan kuru te janan ||23||


Translation: Between these two classes of persons who are freed from any longing for bhukti and mukti, here the distinctive position of one who is freed from any desire for mukti is shown. Bhakti by its intrinsic force attracts the entire mental quantum of one whose heart has been freed from any longing whatsoever for mukti.  –23-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Visvanatha points out that any desire for earthly or heavenly pleasures is not so strong a wall against Bhakti as a desire for moksa is. So where desire for mukti is absent, there the listening to and singing the Name of the Lord forcefully attracts all the senses, heart, mind and the entire mental quantum of such a person to Bhakti. –23-


Text 24:

tatha ca tritiya –

tair darshaniyavayairudara vilasa hasekshita vama suktaih|

hritatmano hrita praëamsh ca bhakti ranicchato me gatimaë vim prayuëkte ||24||


Translation: So also in the Third Canto of the Bhagavatam64:

Here the Lord says that those who are charmed by the beauty and gracefulness of His Form, spontaneously they develop apathy for Brahma-sayujya, i.e. merging in the Brahman. The Lord says: “Though the mind-stealing beauties of My Face and other Limbs of My supramundane (aprakrta) and eternal Form, which is the most desirable Object of My devotees, and though the sweetness of My sportiveness, My Smile, My Sight and My most soothing Words and Voice attract all their senses, heart and soul, and though they do not cherish any desire for mukti, their Bhakti to Me alone gives them mukti, i.e. makes them My Constant Associates".



          Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that this particular reference from the Bhagavatam shows how Bhakti through love for the Lord attracts the senses and mind of one who has no desire for mukti. It is to be understood "the Limbs of the Transcendental Form of the Lord attract the senses of such a person who does not desire moksa" really means that love for the Manifest Form of the Lord infuses Bhakti in such a person. Persons who are thus attracted by the soul attracting and incomparable Charms of the Lord, possess all forms of mukti with ease without their asking.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that it is only when one is intensely drawn to the Lord by His Charm and Beauty, that one develops a strong apathy for moksa or Brahma-sayujya, i.e. merging in the Brahman. On the other hand, the exceedingly beautiful Limbs of the Lord, His maddening Smile, His forcefully attractive Looks, His charming Voice and His ever-new Sports steal away heart and soul of the devotee. To such a blessed devotee, none of the four values of life, viz. dharma, artha, kama and moksa is at all difficult of attainment. Indeed he wants none.  –24-



Text 25:

shri krishëa-caraëambhoja seva nirvrita cetasam |

esham mokshaya bhaktanam na kadacit spriha bhavet ||25||


Translation: These devotees whose mental quantum is completely absorbed in the service of the lotus-like beautiful Feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna never desire moksa, i.e. self-annihilation by merging in the Absolute Brahman.  –25-


Commentary: Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami points out that Brahmananda, i.e. tranquil bliss in the Impersonal Brahman, spontaneously vanishes from the hearts of pure devotees who have once experienced the supreme delight in Bhakti. When Shri Rupa Gosvami states in the text that a pure devotee ‘never desires moksa’, he means that such a devotee shall discard moksa or sayujya-mukti even if it be offered by the Lord Himself. -25 -


Text 26 – Bhag 3.4.15:

ko nv isha te pada-saroja-bhajam

sudurlabho ’rtheshu caturshv apiha

tathapi naham pravriëomi bhuman



Translation: As it is said by Uddhava in the Bhagavatam:

Shri Uddhava addressing Lord Shri Krishna says as follows: "Oh Lord of all lords! Which of the four values of life, viz. dharma, artha, kama and moksa, can ever be difficult of attainment for Thy devotees who are absorbed in the service of Thine lotus-like beautiful Feet? They can have them very easily even without asking; but Thy humble servant wants not, Oh Lord, any of these four values of life excepting uninterrupted and unalloyed service of Thee". –26-


Text 27 – Bhag 3.25.34:

naikatmatam me sprihayanti kecin

mat-pada-sevabhirata mad-ihah

ye ’nyonyato bhagavatah prasajya

sabhajayante mama paurushaëi66


Translation: Again in the Bhagavatam, Lord Kapiladeva addressing His mother Devahuti says: "Mother! Those who are constantly engaged with all their senses the service of My lotus-like beautiful Feet, those who are always thirsty for relishing the incomparable Beauty and unsurpassable Elegance of My Person, those who relish mutually discoursing on My Manifold Pastimes and Exploits of My Valor-they never desire to be one with Me, i.e. they do not want moksa". –27-


Commentary: Commenting on the above verse of the Bhagavatam, Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that here ‘one with Me’ means oneness with both Brahman the Impersonal Absolute and Bhagavan the Personal Lord. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that Lord Kapiladeva, who is an Avatara of Vishnu, tells Shri Devahuti that a genuine devotee (Bhakta) does not want ‘oneness with Me’. Here oneness means identity with Brahman. Shri Cakravarti raises a question: Why is it that a devotee discards Brahmananda, i.e. the blissfulness in self-merging in Brahman? What is there in Bhakti which is lacking in Brahmananda and which thereby makes the latter pale into insignificance? The reply is this. Lord

Kapiladeva says: My devotees are intensely attached to Me and are concerned in My services alone by means of all their senses according to the directions of the Scriptures. Here, the Supreme Lord is established as the supreme Object of Bhakti, and the essential nature and functioning of the senses engaged in the services of the Lord, non-mixture of karma-jnana-yoga with Bhakti according to the injunctions of the Scriptures, and the uninterrupted normal nature of Bhakti have also been established. Besides, the only object of aspiration of these devotees is to relish the all-round unparalleled Beauty and Gracefulness of the Person of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna and the Might and Valor of His Almightiness as revealed in the Events of His Life, such as holding the Govardhana Hill on His little finger, etc. Thus the bliss of joy that is in the service of the supremely beautiful Feet of the Lord, the bliss of drinking the nectar of the Beauty and Gracefulness of the Person of the Lord, and the bliss of tasting the wondrous Pastimes of the Lord-all these three aspects of the supra-mundane (aprakrta) blissfulness or delight are lacking in Brahmananda, for which reason a devotee discards the latter. These three are the causes, holds Shri Cakravarti, of non-desire for or indifference to Brahma-sukha on the part of a pure devote. –27-


Text 28 – Bhag 3.29.13:


sarupyaikatvam apy uta

diyamanam na grihëanti

vina mat-sevanam janah67


Translation: Again in the Bhagavatam, Lord Kapiladeva further tells His mother Devahuti: "Mother, My genuine devotees besides serving Me alone for My delight do not accept salokya-mukti, i.e. liberation in the sense of living together with Me in My Realm, sarsti-mukti, i.e. liberation in the sense of possessing some of the majesties and powers equal to Mine, samipya-mukti, i.e. liberation or mukti as close proximity to Me, sarupya-mukti, i.e. liberation as possession of beauty equal to My Beauty, and ekatva or sayujya-mukti, i.e. liberation as identity with Me, even if I offer all these to them; what to speak of their asking for them? My devotees never ask for any such salvation or anything else whatsoever. They find their delight in serving Me alone for My delight". -28-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that when genuine devotees of the Lord refuse to accept the five forms of salvation or mukti even if they be offered by the Lord Himself, it establishes the fact that such a desire is absolutely absent in them. But if a devotee be found to accept any of the first four or all the first four forms of mukti, but never the fifth, i.e. sayujya, it should be understood that such acceptance by a devotee can be only for the purpose of giving delight to the Lord Himself. –28-


Text 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 vimanat68


Translation: So it is further said in the Bhagavatam where Shri Dhruva addressing the Lord says: "Lord! The great delight that is attained in meditating on and listening to the Glories of Thy Feet, which are beautiful like the blooming lotuses, or in listening to or meditating upon the Events of Thy Life together with Thy Entourage, or in listening to the lives of Thy devotees, can never be possible even if one merges into the Great Brahman, which is only a Macroscopic Aspect of Thyself, what to speak of any real bliss in the life of gods and jivas in heaven who are thrown down from their celestial abode being cut asunder by the sword of time? The heavenly pleasures (svarga-sukha) and Brahmananda (Brahma-sukha) are insignificant indeed as compared with the delight in Thy service". –29-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti explains that 'meditation on the Lord' includes 'listening', and 'listening to the Events of the lives of pure devotees' include 'meditation' as well. The delight and bliss that are experienced in the meditation on the Lord cannot be found in heavenly pleasures as enjoyed by the gods or in moksa, i.e. merging in the Absolute Brahman. The bliss of Bhakti far excels the fruits of all the four values of life. It, therefore, follows that Bhakti is the fruit of Bhakti, and that a pure or genuine devotee is completely desireless. –29-


Text 30 – Bhag 4.20.24:

na kamaye natha tad apy aham kvacin

na yatra yushmac-caraëambujasavah

mahattamantar-hridayan mukha-cyuto

vidhatsva karëayutam esha me varah69


Translation: Further in the Bhagavatam, the first King Prthu prays to the Lord as follows: "Lord! I want not ever Brahmananda or sayujya-mukti, which cannot offer even the smallest drop of the nectar of delight that is gained by listening to the limitless fluid of delight that springs from the inner recesses of the hearts of Thy unalloyed devotees and flows from their lips when they sing the glories of the pollens of Thy Lotus-Feet. Dost Thou give me ten-thousand ears instead, so that I may listen to the discourses on Thy glories from the lips of Thy devotees!" -30-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that 'want not ever' means 'not even in distress'. Why does not a devotee of the Lord seek Brahma-sukha or kaivalya-sukha, i.e. bliss of absolute life in Brahman the Great, even in dire distress? Because, in Brahma-sukha or bliss in merging in the Brahman there is not the slightest possibility of that supreme delight that exists in the honey of the Two Lotuses of the Feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, and of the overflowing sweetness that marks the discourses on the glorious Qualities of the Lord. And this wondrous sweetness of delight is made all the more sweet when it springs from the delight of the inmost hearts of the devotees of the Lord and overflows into the ears of the listeners from the lips of such devotees in the form of discourses on the Glories, Qualities and Events of the Life of the Lord. Shri Cakravarti further cites a verse from the Bhagavatam, Canto I, Chap. I, sloka 3: "Shrimad Bhagavatam is the ripe fruit of the all-fruit-giving Tree of the Vedas, without rind or seed, and is all the more sweetened being tasted by the lips of Shri Sukadeva Gosvami (i.e. sung by a great saint and devotee like Shri Sukadeva), and should be drunk forever till death by the Bhava-Bhaktas in this world". The contention in citing this verse from the Bhagavatam is that there is no doubt that the Events and Qualities, Name and Beauty of the Lord are themselves unsurpassably delight-giving, but they become sweeter when one listens to them from the lips of advanced Vaishnavas who are engaged in listening to and meditating upon the Name, Form, Qualities, Realm, Associates and Pastimes of the Lord, just like a ripe fruit on the branches of a mango tree that drops on the ground being tasted by the bill of the Suka-bird is the sweetest. It means to show the super-excellence of delight that is derived from listening to the discourses on the Lord from the lips of true Vaishnavas, i.e. unalloyed, advanced devotees of the Lord. But as these true devotees are many and they sing the glories of the Lord in different places at the same time, King Prthu prays to the Lord for ten-thousand ears so that he may simultaneously listen for the discourses on the Lord from the lips of many such devotees at the same time so that he may not lose any of them, and be blessed by the supreme delight that is- completely lacking in Brahma-sukha or bliss of identity with Brahman, the Great. Shri Cakravarti further remarks that as sweet water entering into saline soil becomes flavorless, so also when the sweet discourses on the Glories, Qualities, and Events of the Life of the Lord come from the mouth of non-Vaishnavas, they lose their delight-giving character, i.e. one should not listen to the discourse on the Lord from non-Vaishnavas (i.e. non-devotees). One may say that such a boon for ten-thousand ears as prayed for by King Prthu is rather extraordinary. The king says that he knows it, and yet that is his only prayer! –30-


Text 31 – Bhag 5.14.4470:

yo dustyajan kshiti-suta-svajanartha-daran

prarthyam shriyam sura-varaih sadayavalokam

naicchan nripas tad-ucitam mahatam madhudvit-

sevanurakta-manasam abhavo ’pi phalguh


Translation: So it is said by Shri Suka in the Fifth Canto:

Shri Suka Gosvami addressing King Pariksita says: "Oh King! Consider the case of Shri Bharata Maharaj. He gave up his kingdom which is so difficult to surrender, parted with his wife and children, relatives and friends, and all his riches and all wealth and property which the Goddess of wealth, Laksmi, was pleased to give him and which even the gods would covet. This was just what befits one whose heart ever hungers and thirsts after the services of the sacred Feet of Lord Madhusudana (Lord Shri Krishna who is the destroyer of the demon Madhu). Is it any wonder that such a one will look down upon the value of moksa as of little significance?"  -31-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti says that when Laksmi Herself was pleased to give Bharata Maharaj immense wealth, the purpose was that King Bharata, a true devotee, need not undergo all the penances of hardships of life as a monk but could be looked after endearingly by the Lord Himself and could be engaged in the service of the Lord in his household life instead of the life of renunciation. But a true devotee gives up everything for the service of the Lord and wants nothing in return excepting Bhakti itself. –31-


Text 32 – Bhag 6.11.2571:

na naka-prishtham na ca parameshthyam

na sarva-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam

na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va

samanjasa tva virahayya kankshe


Translation: In the Sixth Canto, Shri Vrtra addresses Lord Sankarsana: "Oh Judicious Lord! Oh Repository of All-blessedness! By denying myself of Thine services I do not care for Dhruvaloka (a particular heaven created especially for Prince Dhruva for his uncommon godliness; the Pole Star), or want to occupy the status of Brahma the Creator of this universe, or to be the supreme ruler of all the worlds, or to be the Lord of the nether regions, or to possess the eight supernatural powers attainable through yoga practices, what more, I do not want even moksa". –32-



Text 33 – Bhag 6.17.2872:

narayaëa-parah sarve

na kutashcana bibhyati


api tulyartha-darshinah


Translation: Further in the words of Shri Rudra- Shri Rudra addressing Parvati says: "Oh Devi! Those who are absolutely attached to the services of the Supreme Lord Narayana do not entertain any fear from any quarter. They look upon heaven, the four values of life (apavarga), and even hell with equal eye, i.e. all these do not make any difference to such a devotee of Lord Narayana."



Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that those who are devoted to Lord Narayana, do not cherish any distinction between superiority and inferiority, they attach equal unimportance to heaven and hell, and feel them as of same insignificance, so also with moksa. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti explains the verse in the sense that the Supreme Lord Narayana is the highest Object of all glories to the devotees; they are deeply attached and devoted to the Lord and to nothing else, and because of their equal distaste for things or ends that are bereft of the delight of Bhakti they look upon heaven, moksa and hell with equal indifference. –33-


Text 34:

aradhanam bhagavata73

ihamana nirashishah

ye tu necchanty api param

te svartha-kushalah smritah


Translation: In the words of Indra in the Bhagavatam again- Indra, the king of the gods in heaven, addressing Mother Diti, says: "Mother! Those who are absolutely devoid of any extraneous desires and are engaged in the worship of the Supreme Lord for His delight only are the most intelligently 'selfish' (i.e. the self functions correctly)". –34-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha points out that the word ‘param’ in the text means 'moksa'. The expression svartha-kusalah, i.e. those who are truly intelligent in being 'selfish' signifies that those who devote themselves to the service of the Lord discard everything else-for, this is the supreme interest of the self. But those who engage themselves in the worship of Lord Hari and desire for moksa as a fruit thereof are unwise like those who seek worthless straw in exchange for the most precious gem in their possession! But even then, because such persons engage themselves in the worship of the Lord for the purpose of the useless fruit of moksa, the Lord does not leave them alone and blesses them with Bhakti out of His own spontaneous Grace. For, it is said in the Fifth Canto, Chapter 19, sloka 27 of the Bhagavatam, where in connection with the description of the greatness of the land of Bharata, i.e. Bharata- varsa (India), the gods exclaim: "Being prayed to by the people for boons, the Lord no doubt fulfills all their prayers, but the Lord does not bestow such boons that they may have to ask for the same again. Even if His worshippers do not ask for it, the Lord out of His infinite compassion and grace offers them the supreme taste of the incomparable sweetness of the nectar of His Eternal Beauteous Form". –34-


Text 35:

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 74


Translation: In the Seventh Canto in the words of Prince Prahlada. Addressing his classmates, Prince Prahlada says: "Dear Friends! Can anything be rare of attainment for those with whose services and devotion the Lord, who is the Source of everything and who possesses infinite Qualities, is pleased? (That is, whatever is desired a true devotee is easily available to him). What use is there, therefore, of those qualities, which automatically follow from the possession of satva-guna? What use is there in dharma, artha and kama? What use is there in moksa? Because we have understood the super-excellence of the service of the Divine Feet of the Lord and have experienced the supreme delight in singing His Glories". –35-


Text 36:

pratyanitah parama bhavata trayata nah sva-bhaga75

daityakrantam hridaya-kamalam tad-griham pratyabodhi

kala-grastam kiyad idam aho natha shushrushatam te

muktis tesham na hi bahumata narasimhaparaih kim


Translation: In the words of Indra in Canto Seven Indra, king of heaven, while praying to Lord Nrsinha submits: "Oh Supreme Lord! Thou art our Savior, and hence hast graciously returned us (gods in heaven) our dues of the Vedic sacrificial offerings. Thou hast again made to bloom our lotus like heart which is Thy seat and which was attacked by the demons. Oh Master! What is the worth of the grandeur of heaven, which will one day vanish into nothingness in the depth of time before Thy devotees? What more, even moksa, which is much valued by impersonalists, counts nothing before Thy desireless devotees. Therefore, Oh Lord Narasinha! What shall I say about other supernatural powers of yoga and of others?"  -36-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti explains the significance of daitykrantam i.e. attacked by the demon, in the text as follows: As the lotus being attacked by the darkness of the night loses its beauty and fragrance and withers and becomes almost dead, so also the gods in heaven lost all fragrance of devotion in their heart, which was the Seat of the Lord, being in constant fear of this demon king Hiranyakasipu since his birth till the time when he was slain by Lord Nrsinhadeva. Again, as with the rise of the sun in the morning the lotus regains its life and blooms with beauty and fragrance, so also now with the Appearance of Lord Nrsinhadeva, who has removed the Demon-king from the earth as the rising sun removes the darkness of the night, the lotus-like heart of Indra, king of the gods, has regained its fragrance of devotion at the sight of the Lord and thus has become worthy of the Seat of the Lord.  –36-


Text 37:

ekantino yasya na kancanartham76

vanchanti ye vai bhagavat-prapannah

aty-adbhutam tac-caritam sumangalam

gayanta ananda-samudra-magnah


Translation: Shri Gajendra (elephant-king) says in the Eighth Canto: "Lord those who have one-pointed devotion and have taken absolute refuge in Thee and do not desire anything else (except Bhakti), remain drowned in the ocean of eternal bliss by singing the glory of Thy all-auspicious and extraordinary Character. I therefore pray to Thee". –37-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha points out that pure devotees are ever full of the wealth of self-surrender, and therefore they do not have any more room (in their hearts) for desire for any other object, and their wealth of delight in absolute self-surrender (as in the case of Shri Gajendra) far excels the wealth of joy in jnana and yoga-the devotees of the Lord are drowned in the ocean of the nectar which flows from singing the Lord's glories. –37-


Text 38:

mat-sevaya pratitam te77


necchanti sevaya purëah

kuto ’nyat kala-viplutam


Translation: In the Ninth Canto the Lord of Vaikuntha (Narayana) tells sage Durvasa: "My devotees are completely absorbed in My service. By serving Me they can easily gain the fruits of the five fruits of mukti, viz. salokya-sarsti-samipya-sarupya-ekatva; but they do not accept them, what to speak of asking for heavenly pleasures which are sure to come to an end in course of time. –38-


Text 39:

na naka-prishtham na ca sarva-bhaumam78

na parameshthyam na rasadhipatyam

na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va

vanchanti yat-pada-rajah-prapannah


Translation: In the Tenth Canto the wives of the Nagas pray to the Lord Shri Krishna as follows: "Lord! Those who have anointed themselves with the pollen of Thy lotus-like beautiful Feet and have surrendered themselves to the dust of Thy Feet, do not care for Dhruvaloka, so that the question of uninterrupted enjoyment of the entire universe does not arise at all; they do not care to occupy the status of Brahma, the creator of the fourteen worlds, what to speak of their aspiring after the overlordship of the nether regions? They also do not desire to possess the eight supernatural powers attainable through yoga practices; nay more, they do not want even moksa." –39-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that ‘dust of the Feet of the Lord' signifies 'Bhakti' as complete and absolute self-dedication to the Lord. Note: Also see sloka 32. –39-


Text 40:

duravagamatma-tattva-nigamaya tavatta-tanosh79


na parilashanti kecid apavargam apishvara te



Translation: While offering their prayers to the Lord the Srutis said: "Oh Supreme Lord! In order to make those impersoinalists of the world, who are enamored of Brahmananda, to realize the incomprehensible truth of Thy true Self, Thou hast graciously manifested Thyself in this world in Thy own, original Eternally aprakrta (supramundane) Form. Thy very few and rare devotees who constantly swim and sink in the limitless Ocean of the nectar that flows from the Events of Thy Manifested Self in this world and those who have been able to renounce all temptations of the world and cut asunder the ties of mundane affinities and taken to the path of renunciation in the foot-steps of the self-realized Paramahansas and of those in their Preceptorial Order, ever engaged in relishing the super-excellence of Thy beauteous and graceful Form, do not desire moksa." –40-


Text 41:

na kincit sadhavo dhira80

bhakta hy ekantino mama

vanchanty api maya dattam

kaivalyam apunar-bhavam


Translation: In the Eleventh Canto the Lord tells Shri Uddhava:

"My steady, saintly and one-pointed devotees do not accept even so great a thing as moksa, even if I offer it to them." –41-


Text 42:

na parameshthyam na mahendra-dhishëyam81

na sarvabhaumam na rasadhipatyam

na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va

mayy arpitatmecchati mad vinanyat


Translation: The Lord further says in this connection: "My devotee who has completely dedicated himself to Me does not desire to have even the status of Brahma (creator of the universe), not to speak of overlordship of heaven; nor does he care to be the supreme ruler of the whole earth, much less for the kingship of the nether regions. Barring Myself whom alone he seeks, he does not want the supernatural powers attainable through the practices of yoga, and he even does not desire moksa." –42-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that when a true devotee rejects lordship over a higher region, the question of his aspiring for a lower region does not arise at all. For example, when a devotee does not want to attain the status of Brahma and to be the creator of the fourteen worlds, he would not obviously pay any importance to svarga (heaven) which is a lower region to Brahma-loka, and the lordship of the earth which is of lesser importance still, and Patala (The nether region) which is still lower in importance. A genuine devotee who has dedicated himself to the service of the Supreme Lord for His delight wants not only not to be the ruler of the nether region (patala), the whole of the earth (bhu-loka), the heaven (svarga-loka) and Brahma-loka, but also easily rejects even the superior supernatural power of yoga, and even moksa which is indeed of very great value. Shri Jiva says that a true devotee of the Supreme Lord not only does not desire any of these, including moksa, but also, every kind of pleasure which may be the objects of aspirations of human beings. A devotee accepts the Lord who is attainable only by Bhakti, as the only supreme purpose of life, and nothing else. –42-



Text 43:

naivecchaty ashishah kvapi82

brahmarshir moksham apy uta

bhaktim param bhagavati

labdhavan purushe ’vyaye


Translation: In the Twelfth Canto Shri Rudra addressing Parvati says: "Devi! This Brahmarsi (a brahmana-sage of very great attainments) Markandeya has attained unalloyed Uttama-Bhakti or Bhakti of the superior order in the Unchangeable and Eternal Person of the Godhead; he therefore does not desire anything else anywhere at any time, not even moksa." –43-


Text 44:

varam deva moksham na mokshavadhim va

na canyam vriëe ’ham vareshad apiha

idam te vapur natha gopala-balam

sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih


Translation: In the Eight-verse prayer to Shri Damodara (Lord Shri Krishna) in the Kartika-mahatmya of Padma Purana, the great devotee Shri Satyavrata addresses the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna as follows: "Lord! Thou art the Supreme Source of all boons. I pray not for dharma-artha-kama, not even for moksa which is the highest and higher than the other three, nor for any other boon. But Oh my Master! May this Thy mind fascinating Form of Vala-Gopala (the Eternal Form of the Divine Child) ever shine in the mirror of my mind! What use is there of other things for me?" –44-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that moksa here should be understood in its traditional sense, which a devotee does not desire. By the use of the suffix 'avadhi' after 'moksa' are included dharma, artha and kama, which are also not desired by a devotee. Moksa is even worse than hell. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti and Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami explain 'avadhi' as 'moksa' which is the culmination or climax of dharma-artha-kama; a devotee by rejecting moksa naturally rejects the other three as well.



Text 45:

kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yadvat

tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau kritau ca

tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha

na mokshe graho me ’sti damodareha


Translation: Further in Kartika-mahatmya of Padma Purana, Shri Satyavrata says: "Lord Damodara! The way in which Thou hast of Thy Own initiative freed the two sons of Kuvera, viz. Nalakuvera, and Manigriva, from their state of bondage and made them Thy devotees, in the same manner mayest Thou bless me with Thy Prema-Bhakti only! I have no desire for moksa." -45-


Text 46:

hayashirshiya shri-narayaëa-vyuha stave ca –

na dharma kamam artham va moksham va varadeshvara |

prarthaye tava padabje dasyam evabhikamaye ||46||


Translation: In the hymn of Shri Narayana-vyuha of Hayasirsa we have: "Oh Lord of all boons! I do not pray for boons like dharma, artha, kama and moksa or anything else. I pray always only for the service of Thy Divine Feet in every possible way." –46-


Text 47:

tatraiva –

punah punar varan ditsur vishëur muktim na yacitah |

bhaktir eva vrita yena prahladam tam namamy aham ||47||


Translation: And again, "Prince Prahlada, who refused all boons which Lords Vishnu Himself repeatedly offered him, and who did no ask for moksa, prayed only for Bhakti; I bow at his feet." –47-


Text 48:

yadricchaya labdham api vishëor dasharathe stu yah |

naicchain moksham vina dasyam tasmai hanumate namah ||48||


Translation: I prostrate before Hanuman who prayed not for moksa, which very easily he could have received. He asked for nothing excepting Dasya-Bhakti from Lord Vishnu, the Son of King Dasaratha. –48-


Text 49:

ataeva prasiddham shri hanumad vakyam –

bhavandhacchide tasyai spriha yami na muktaye |

bhavan prabhur aham dasam iti yatra vilupyate ||49||


Translation: So it is said in the famous prayer by Hanuman. Shri

Hanuman addressing Lord Rama said: "Lord! I have no aspiration for mukti which cuts asunder the bondage of the world but makes our relation of Master and servant as ‘Thou art my Lord and I am Thy servant’ lost or forgotten." –49-


Text 50-51:

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||


Translation: In the Jitanta-stotra of Shri Narada-Pancaratra we have: "Lord! Bless me that I may never have any desire for dharma, artha, kama and moksa; but allow me to exist under the shade of Thy Lotus-feet, i.e. without Thy service my life will become useless. Oh Lord Ananta (Holder of the Universe)! Oh Lord of noble resolves! Oh Repository of all wealth! I do not pray for moksa, salokya and sarupya and other forms of mukti, but my only longing is for Thy compassion." –50-51-


Text 52:

muktanam api siddhanam83


sudurlabhah prashantatma

kotishv api maha-mune


Translation: There in the Sixth Canto: King Pariksita addressing Sage Sukadeva says: "Oh great Sage! A large-hearted and tranquil-minded genuine devotee who is exclusively devoted to the service of Lord Narayana, is very rare- one in million amongst freed or mukta persons who no more misidentify their physical body with their true selves, or one in a million of siddha persons who have attained salokya and other forms of mukti." –52-


Text 53:

tatha paramahamsanam84

muninam amalatmanam


katham pashyema hi striyah


Translation: In the First Canto: Shri Kunti Devi, mother of Dharmaraja Yudhisthira, addressing Lord Shri Krishna says by way of a prayer: "How shall we ladies, be able to understand Thee whose very purpose is to bestow Bhakti to the self-realized, pure-hearted and meditating Paramahansas?" –53-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes here in his comment that to those devatees who do not desire moksa and desire to serve the Lord only, the Lord bestows the delight of serving Him. –53-


Text 54:

suta uvaca85

atmaramash ca munayo

nirgrantha apy urukrame

kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim

ittham-bhuta-guëo harih


Translation: In the words Shri Suta Gosvami: The self-contented munis (saints) in consequence of self-consciousnees cut asunder the ties of the regulations of the scriptures, cherish desireless and causeless Bhakti in the Supreme Lord Urukrama (Trivikrama Vishnu). Such is the nature of the Lord Hari that He attracts even the self-conscious saints. –54-


Commentary: Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami points out that such atmarama, the self-contented and self-satisfied munis or saints, are misfit for achieving Bhakti by their own endeavors. But lo! Even to attract such vainglorious self-sufficient persons out of His innate Compassion for all, the Lord makes His Divine Descent in this world and offers them Bhakti. Pure devotees are very rare indeed! –54-


Text 55:

atra tyajyatay aivokta muktih panca vidhapi cet |

salokyadi stathapy atra bhaktya nativirudhyate ||55||


Translation: Though all the five forms of mukti have been stated here as to be discarded (by a pure devotee), yet the first four, salokya-sastri-samiypa-sarupya are not altogether incompatible with Bhakti. –55-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that the various references that have been cited by Shri Rupa Gosvami in the previous slokas to establish the desirelessness of pure devotees for all the five forms of mukti, in the present text Shri Rupa wants to show that salokya, sastri, samipya are not very much antagonistic to Bhakti, i.e. they are partially unsuited to pure Bhakti, because it is said that Bhakti has some place in these first four forms of mukti. Shri Mukunda dasa says that salokya-mukti, sastri-mukti, samipya-mukti and sarupya-mukti are partly unsuited and partly conducive to Bhakti, while ekatva or sayujya-mukti has absolutely no place in Bhakti. –55-


Translator’s Note: In order to justify his statement (in sloka 25 of the text) that pure devotees who devote themselves in the service of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna do not want moksa, i.e. self-merging in the Absolute, even if that be offered to them by the Lord Himself, Shri Rupa Gosvami has quoted 27 slokas (from sloka 26 to sloka 53) from the Bhagavatam, and other Scriptures, and by citing the following two more slokas, viz. 53 and 54, Shri Rupa Gosvami proves that it is the very nature of Lord Shri Krishna to bestow His causeless  or spontaneous Bhakti on such person as eschew moksa.


Text 56:

sukhaishvaryottara seyam prema-sevottarety api |

salokyadir dvidha tatra nadya seva jusham mata ||56||


Translation: Salokya-sastri-samipya-sarupya muktis are of two kinds: firstly, as grandeur-and-pleasure-giving to the individual, i.e. mukti in which the individual desires his personal pleasures from the grandeur and wealth, and secondly mukti in which Prema-seva dominates, i.e. in which the dominant desire is to serve the Lord for His delight. But the first of these two aspects of mukti is not welcome to those who are devoted to the service of the Lord, i.e. they do not seek personal pleasures from the grandeur and wealth of the first four forms of mukti. –56-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the natural joy and grandeur that are attainable in the Lord's Realm (Vaikuntha)-salokya, some of the Power of God (sastri), Lord's nearness or immediate presence (samipya), and beauty equal to the Beauty of the Lord (sarupya) form the aisvarya side of mukti, called sukhaisvaryottara; and where service of the Lord is essentially desired owing to the overwhelming force of the nature of Prema, the mukti is called Prema-sevottara. Between these two forms of mukti, those who desire to serve the Lord do not want the first form of mukti, i.e. they do not seek joys of the self in salokya-sastri-samipya-sarupya mukti, because it has previously been established that devotees do not want mukti even if it be offered by the Lord Himself. If salokya etc., the first four forms of mukti, be devoid of any service of the Lord, then devotees do not want them. But under all circumstances, ekatva or sayujya-mukti is devoid of God's service, and therefore, a devotee never accepts it. Here ekatva refers to identity with or merging in both Brahman, and Isvara both Impersonal and Personal Aspects of the Godhead.


          Shri Mukundadasa holds that in sukhaisvaryottara mukti the devotes pays more attention, to the asvairya, i.e. the majesty, splendor and glory of the Lord and of Vaikuntha than to the service of the all-majestic Lord Narayana; and where the devotee gives supreme importance to the service of the Lord with reverence and affection without being carried away by the all-majestic aspects of Lord Narayana and His Realm Vaikuntha, it is called premottara mukti. Sages like Markandeya who are attached to the service of the Lord do not desire the former form of mukti.


          Shri Visvanatha points out that because pure devotees do not think about their own pleasures even in the all-majestic Realm of Lord Narayana excepting the delight of the Lord alone do not therefore desire to have the former form of mukti. –56-


Text 57:

kintu premaika madhurya jusha ekantino harau |

naivaëgi kurvate jatu muktim panca vidham api ||57||


Translation: But the one-pointed devotees who drink deeply of the mellow-sweetness of Prema-Bhakti for Lord Hari, certainly do not accept any of the five form of mukti, i.e. they reject all the five forms of mukti, viz. salokya, sastri, samipya, sarupya and ekatva or sayujya. –57-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the word 'uttara' after 'Prema' signifies that all other material ingredients besides Prema are rejected. Therefore the one-pointed devotees do not desire for any form of mukti. It has previously been stated where the Lord said that His devotees being completely absorbed in the Lord's service never desire for salokya and other forms of mukti, not to speak of their asking for any other short-lived pleasures. In the previous verse in the text, the first kind of mukti, i.e. sukha isvaryottara mukti, in which the devotee pays more attention to the majesties of the Lord and His Realm than to serving Him is Sadhana-Bhakti, whereas the second premottara mukti where the devotee does not pay attention to the lordliness, grandeur and majesties of Lord Narayana but is absorbed in His service, it is Sadhya-Bhakti, i.e. Prema-Bhakti. Though the first four forms of mukti are included in Sadhana-Bhakti, a pure devotee does not want them because he has experienced the supreme delight of serving the Lord. Now a question may be raised: How can a devotee offer direct service to the Lord unless he lives in the same Realm (salokya) with the Lord? The fact is that a freed and superior devotee no doubt reaches the Transcendental Realm of the Lord (Vaikuntha) in order to render personal services to the Lord, but he does not attain salokya as a process of mukti; when attainment of salokya-mukti becomes mukti, he does not want it; what wonder that he discards the other three forms of mukti? But when he has to attain salokya for serving the Lord, he does not refuse it, which would mean refusing to serve the Lord. The question of sayujya-mukti does not arise at all for him.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami explains 'ekanti' as those who are exclusively devoted to the service of the Lord in a one-pointed devotion, such as Uddhava, the Pandavas and Shri Hanuman. They relished the intimate services of the Lord as His Servants. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti holds that the 'ekanta' or single-minded devotees of the Lord do not even accept premottara-mukti, because even here there is an indirect flavor of self-satisfaction. They, therefore, accept salokya only for the purpose and desire of serving the Lord, i.e. Prema-seva, and not for premottara-seva. –57-



Text 58:

tatrapy ekantinam shreshtha govinda hrita manasah |

yesham shrisha-prasado ‘pi mano hartum na shaknuyat ||58||


Translation: Of all the one-pointed devotees of the different Avataras (Divine Descents), the devotees whose hearts have been stolen by Govinda are the highest, because even the Grace of the Lord of Laksmi (Shrisa, i.e. Narayana) is unable to steal (attract) their mind. –58-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that here 'Govinda' is ‘The Lord of Gokula, i.e. Shri Krishna’; 'Shrisa' refers to 'The Lord of Paravyoma', i.e. the Lower Half of the Absolute Realm- the Realm of the Lord's Majesties. 'Shrisa' has also been used in a generic sense implying that even the Grace of the 'Lord of Dvaraka', i.e. Shri Krishna of Dvaraka, cannot attract the heart of the devotees of Shri Krishna of Gokula-son of Nanda. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti says that a devotee of Shri Krishna in Gokula (Braja) is so deeply charmed by His Beauty and Gracefulness that even the Grace of Maha-Vishnu or Maha-Narayana fail to draw his attention even. –58-


Text 59:

siddhantatastv abhede ‘pi shrisha-krishëa sva-rupayoh |

rasen-otkrishyate krishëa rupam esha rasa sthitih ||59||


Translation: Though Shrisa, i.e. Lord of Laksmi (Narayana, the Lord of Paravyoma or Vaikuntha) and Shri Krishna's Person are essentially identical and One, yet the super-excellence of Shri Krishna lies in His being the Supreme Object of highest Prema-Rasa, because the very nature of Rasa shows the most supreme excellence of the Form of Shri Krishna in whom alone all Rasas (12 Rasas) find their final and absolute expression. –59-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that here 'Rasena' means the highest Rasa, which is Prema-Rasa, by which alone the Supramundane Beauty of the Form of Shri Krishna is revealed in its supreme excellence. In the text it is stated by Shri Rupa Gosvami that 'Shrisa' and 'Krishna' are One and the same Supreme Lord; but the highest excellence of the same Supreme Lord finds expression in Shri Krishna alone because of Prema-Rasa. But Shri Jiva explains 'Shrisa' not as 'Lord of Laksmi' but as 'Lord of Radha', and for this he cites the address of the Queens, other than the Eight Principal Queens, of Lord Dvarakadhisa (Lord Shri Krishna of Dvaraka) to Draupadi 86: "Oh Chaste Lady! We do not want lordship over the entire universe, we care not for the post of Indra, the king of the gods in heaven; we do not desire earthly and heavenly pleasures; we also do not want the supernatural powers attainable through yoga; we also do not desire the position of Prajapati the creator of the fourteen worlds, nor do we want Brahmananda. It is true that the Upanisads have described the inexplicable Brahmananda as hundreds and hundreds of times superior to earthly and heavenly pleasures, which being fathomless, mind and words return mute from it. But we do not want it."


Translator’s note: It will be helpful to understand the incomparable super-excellence of the bliss that is in the service of Lord Shri Krishna if we should explain here the significance of Brahmananda and the different stages to it, because the Bliss that is Rasa (Rasananda) that is in the service of Lord Krishna is far and far beyond Brahmananda. Brahmananda is endless. In order to show this, the Upanisads have shown the different grades of ananda or bliss in different spheres. The first and the lowest is manusyananda. A youth who is moral in character, has read and studied the Vedas, active in karma, strongly built in body and strong in physical strength and who has the whole world under his control, such a youth enjoys the highest pleasures in manifold ways in this world. Such ananda (pleasure) is called manusyananda. Hundred times of this manusyananda (human pleasures) is gandharvananda. A man ksatriya by birth who by dint of specific Vedic karma has attained to the stage of a gandharva, i.e. a sort of demigod in heaven and heavenly musician, is eligible to enjoy gandharvananda which is hundred times of manusyananda or earthly pleasures. But when a brahmana who is well read in the Vedas and is conversant with Brahman, the Absolute, and who by birth is a gandharva attains to the status of a deva-gandharva, he enjoys deva-gandharvananda, which is hundred times more than manusya-gandharvananda. Such a brahmana must have renounced all worldly pleasures. Hundred times more than deva-gandharvananda is ciraloka or pitr-lokananda. A brahmana who is established in Brahman and has given up all mundane desires is entitled to this pitrlokananda. Hundred times more than pitrlokananda is ajanaja-devalokananda. The ajanaja gods enjoy this bliss. The ananda of karma-devas is a hundred times more than that of the ajanaja-devas, i.e. karmadevananda. The brahmanas who have attained heaven by performing the agnihotra Vedic rites are called karma-devas. A hundred times more pleasures are in devananda, i.e. the devas (the gods) enjoy hundred times more pleasures then the karma-devas. These devas (gods) are the eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapati-these thirty-three. Indra is the king of all the gods, and Brhaspati is their Guru or Spiritual Guide. Hundred times more than devananda (pleasures of the gods) is Indrananda (pleasures enjoyed by Indra). Brhaspati's ananda is again hundred times of the pleasures that are in Indrananda. Prajapati's ananda is hundred times more than that of Brhaspati. And Brahmananda is hundred times more than prajapatiananda. Thus it is almost impossible to assess the depth and limit of Brahmananda. It is for this that the Upanisads have said that man's mind and words fail to describe the exact nature of Brahmananda. It is, therefore, stated that a human being may be capable of attaining to the other different aspects of pleasures, but it is only a brahma-jnani who is freed from all bondage, i.e. a mukta can attain to Brahmananda. But this mukti can be of two kinds, viz. immediate freedom from bondage and freedom in gradual degrees. Those who attain immediate mukti, they attain Brahmananda after the fall of this material body. But those who attain mukti in gradual degrees can attain up to prajapati-ananda, and it is after Final Dissolution that they enter into Brahman the Absolute, and attain Brahmananda. A pure devotee of Lord Shri Krishna, who has once experienced the super-excellence of Prema-Rasa in the Person of the All-beauteous Shri Krishna, discards such Brahmananda, and not only Brahmananda, even the All-majestic Shrisa.


          Shri Jiva Gosvami further continues to explain the inconceivable excellence of the sweetness of Shri Krishna in the words of the Queens of Dvarakadhisa: "What then do you desire?" asked Shri Draupadi. The Queens replied: "We do not want Brahmananda. Not only so, we do not desire even the nearness (samipya) of Shripati or Lord of Shri. Devi! We desire to anoint our head with the Dust of the Feet of Lord Gadabhrt (Lord who holds the Mace), who, it is well known to all, is our Supreme Husband, and also the Dust of the Feet of Lord Shripati which has received added fragrance and value by being sweetened with the saffron of the Breast of Shri." Shri Draupadi argues: "The Dust of the Feet of Shripati (Lord Narayana) is, of course, fragrant with the saffron of the Breast of Shri, i.e. Laksmi. But you have denied the samipya or nearness of the Lord of Shri (Narayana). Do you then mean by Shripati, Lord of Rukmini? If so, you have already been blessed by Him as you all are Queens of Lord Dvarakadhisa Krishna. What is then your real purpose? Make it clear to me whom you refer to by Shri?" In reply to this query of Draupadi, the Queens of Lord Dvarakadhisa addressed her as follows:87 "We do not, Oh Living Embodiment of a Chaste Wife! We do not desire Queen Rukmini's special privilege, because that is a realization of the Lord’s sweetness mixed with a sense of His Aisvarya or Glory and Greatness, Splendor and Majesty. But what we desire is the Lord of Braja-Gopis. They have a pure and unadulterated realization of Lord Shri Krishna's sweetness and beauty when they held His Feet on their Breast. We mean by Shri here Lord Shri Krishna's Most Beloved amongst the Gopis of Braja, viz. Shri Radha, who in Her Maha-Bhava has the highest experience of the Lord's sweetness that is without parallel. It is this that we desire in our heart of hearts, i.e. the Dust of the Feet of the Son of Nanda which is fragrant with the saffron and ointment of the Breast of Shri Radha, because Shri Radha is the Supreme amongst the Laksmis and who is the most Beloved of Lord Shri Krishna of Braja. So by Shripati, we mean Shri Radha-pati."


          Shri Jiva further points out that the meaning of Shri here cannot be Laksmi for the obvious reason that Laksmi Herself prayed for, also practiced penances in the hope of the luck of the Braja-Gopis who had the experience of the mellowness of the Feet of Lord Shri Krishna when They anointed Them with the fragrance of the saffron of Their Breasts. This is also clear from the further fact that Shri Laksmi was denied the right of even being a witness of Shri Krishna's Pastimes of Reciprocal exchange of Bhakti-Rasa at the Circular Dance (Rasa-lila) with the Gopis, a right which She keenly desired and for which She prayed ardently. It follows, therefore, that Shri here stands for Radha, the Lord's most Beloved amongst the Braja-Gopis. But how, it may be asked, can the Queens of Dvaraka claim a right, which was denied to Laksmi Herself? The Queens contend that even when the Pulinda women- the uncivilized and primitive women of the Transcendental Realm of Braja had the blessed fortune of soothing their burning hearts by holding the Dust of the Feet of Lord Shri Krishna, which had added fragrance being besmeared with the saffron and ointment of the Breast of Shri Radha and which fell on the blades of grass when the Lord took the cows over the grass-fields, why should They (the Queens of Lord Dvarakadhisa) be deprived of this blessed fortune? Though it may he said that even the blades of grass have this good luck of a realization of the fragrance of the Lord's Feet, why should the Queens of Dvarakadhisa not have a taste thereof? The answer is that just as the Pulinda women have no direct experience of the super-excellence of Lord Krishna of Braja because ineligible, but have an indirect experience from the blade of grass over which Lord Krishna has led His cows, so the blades also being incapable of any experience excepting Santa-Rasa have no realization of the fragrance that emanate from Them. It may be said, however, that in the case of the Narma Sakhas or the most intimate of Lord Shri Krishna’s Companions, there is no such ineligibility for holding the Feet of Shri Krishna to their Breast, as they are prone to a certain degree to Madhura-Rati; Their sex-abhiman or the consciousness of Their belonging to the male sex is a bar to the full realization of pressing the Feet of the Lord to Their Breast, a realization of which Shri Radha has the most intense and special privilege.


   The further significance here is that it is mentioned in the Bhagavatam that Shri Laksmi only desired for the Feet of Shri Krishna of Braja but not for touching the Feet to Her Breast. In this connection Shri Jiva Gosvami quotes references from the Bhagavatam. The wives of the Naga (Kaliya Naga) addressing Lord Shri Krishna said:88 "Lord! We fail to understand how this Kaliya Naga has been so blessed with the Dust of Thy Blessed Feet for which Laksmi of Vaikuntha left everything else and engaged Herself for long in hard penances." Again, Shri Uddhava said:89 "The Feet of Lord Shri Krishna for which Laksmi, the self-contented Brahma and the lords of supernatural yogic powers ever pray only in their hearts, the Gopis of Braja could hold those Feet in embrace in Their Breasts in the Rasamandala and removed all the hunger of Their hearts!" Thus ‘Shri’ cannot be identified with Rukmini, nor shall the Braja-Gopis have similar aspirations like those of Laksmi, because it is stated in the Bhagavatam90 that Lord Shri Krishna showed His extraordinary Grace to the Gopis in the Rasamandala (Circular Dance and Sports on the banks of the Yamuna) by embracing Them round Their necks with His Blessed Arms, which kindness even Laksmi of Vaikuntha who is ever in the Heart of the Supreme Lord Narayana or the dancing damsels of heaven with lotus-scented bodies can never attain. Here in this sloka, the excellence of the Braja-Gopis over Shri Laksmi of Vaikuntha has been shown. It is true that in the Matsya Purana and Skanda Purana, Shri Rukmini and Shri Radha have been mentioned on equal level, but there it should be understood in the sense that Rukmini and Radha are the Internal Potency of the Supreme Godhead and hence identical in Their Aspects as Potency or Sakti of the Lord.  But Shri Radha is the Completeness of all the Potencies of the Godhead. In the Vrhad-Gautamiya Tantra it is stated that Shri Radha is the Supreme Source of all the Laksmis in all the Vaikunthas-She is the Supreme Hladini Sakti and is distinct from all other Laksmis of Vaikuntha and the Queens of Dvaraka as also of all other Gopis of Braja. Shri Radha is Supreme and Unique in Her position in relation, to the Highest Godhead. Even the Gopis of Braja addressing Shri Radha said: "This Radha must have worshipped Lord Narayana to His supreme satisfaction as otherwise how could (Lord) Govinda leaving us behind take Her away?"91 Again, the Gopis being left behind and in Their agonies of separation from the Lord went out in the forests in search of Shri Govinda with Shri Radha, and addressing the deer said: "Oh Friend! Did the Beloved Krishna come here with His dearest Mistress and please your eyes with His charming Body, maddening Smile and lovely Arms?"92 Addressing the Creepers, the Gopis said: "Oh compassionate Creepers! Did Shri Krishna come this way placing His Arms on the Shoulder of His dearest Mistress (Radha) and holding the supra-mundane or aprakrta amorous Lotus in His beautiful Hand followed by the hum of black-bees, and did He accept your respectful bow by casting His side-glance at you from the corner of His Eyes?" Thus, "Oh Devi!" said the Queens of Dvaraka addressing Shri Draupadi, "Our desire is for the Feet of Shri Krishna which have added fragrance from the saffron of the Breast of Shri Radha, who is the Supreme SRI."


Translator’s note: The substance of the entire discourse is the reason which the Queens, other than the Eight Principal Queens, of Shri Dvarakadhisa adduce for participation in the taste of the sweetness of the ground and the dust-particle over which Lord Krishna has walked. The Queens point out that even the Pulinda primitives of Braja, because of their being born in Braja, had the fortune of holding the Dust of the Feet of Shri Krishna, Son of Nanda, which they received from the blades of grass over which Shri Krishna walked while grazing the cows, and if the blades of grass of Braja possess no such luck of tasting the sweetness of the Dust of the Feet of Shri Krishna it is because of their constitution they are incapable of anything but an experience of Santa-Rasa, and in the case of Shri Krishna's intimate Companions or Friends (Priya-Narma-Sakhas), the sex is a bar to a complete and full experience of this sweetness. But in Their case, i.e. in the case of the Queens of the Lord of Dvaraka (Shri Krishna in His Majestic-cum-Beauteous Aspect), neither sex nor Their status should stand as a bar in Their seeking to hold the Dust of the Feet of Shri Krishna which has been doubly fragranced by the ointment of the Breast of Shri Radha. The purport of the text of Shri Rupa Gosvami is to show the superexcellence of Shri Krishna of Braja who is the Subject of Madhura-Rasa which is manifest in its fullness and completeness only in the Absolute in the Form of Shri Krishna in Braja, though in essence He is identical with Narayana of Vaikuntha and Shri Krishna of Dvaraka.


    Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami points out that it is true that the Two Vigrahas of Condensed Deep Blue as Sat-Cit-Ananda, i.e. as Eternally Real, as All-conscious and as All-blissful, of Shri Narayana (Lord of Laksmi) and Shri Krishna-an Eternal Form of the Godhead, accepted as His own out of His own prerogative-are One and the Same by inference, yet the wonderful mellowness of the SIXTY-FOUR Qualities of Shri Krishna call be relished by such fortunate devotees only whom Shri Krishna considers to be deserving.


Translator’s note: A finite self or Jiva-atma can possess fifty incomplete qualities; a god in heaven possesses fifty qualities in completeness and five more partially; Brahma and Siva possess fifty-five qualities in their fullness and five more qualities partially. The Supreme Lord Narayana has SIXTY Qualities in their exuberance. Over and above these SIXTY QUALITIES in His Narayana Form in Vaikuntha, FOUR MORE extraordinary ATTRACTIONS mark out the super-excellence of SRI KRSNA, viz. (1) Rupa-Madhurya (Sweetness of His all-beauteous Person), (2) Guna-Madhurya (Sweetness of His manifold Qualities), (3) Venu-Madhurya (Sweetness of the melody of the Music of His Flute), and (4) Lila-Madhurya (Sweetness of His Ever-new supra-mundane or aprakrta Pastimes and Rasa-Sports).


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that all the different aspects of Prema-Rasa find their highest expression in Mahabhava of Shri Radha, and the only Recipient of this Mahabhava is Brajendranandana Shri Krishna, Son of the King of Braja; in no other Avatara, nor even in Maha-Narayana this is possible. It is for this excellence of Rasa in Shri Krishna that even Shri Laksmi whose Seat is in the Heart of Shri Narayana underwent hard penances only for witnessing the Rasa-Dance of Shri Krishna in Braja. Shri Visvanatha quotes in this connection the prayers of the wives of the Naga and that of Shri Uddhava. The contention is that when it is not possible even for Laksmi to hold the Feet of Shri Krishna to Her Breast, it is simply out of any imagination for any ordinary woman. Shri Uddhava further says in the Bhagavatam: 40 "To the eyes of the utterly ignorant the ways of the Mistress of Braja may appear like immoral acts. But how can the Gopikas of Brajavana be ever compared with anybody? What transcendental position do They occupy in relation to the Supreme Godhead as the Indweller Lord of all beings as Paramatma who is only an immanent Aspect of the Absolute Whole who is Sir Krishna? And how can a mortal human being ever conceive the aprakrta i.e. supremely transcendental Mahabhava of Shri Radha? Lo! If one drinks nectar even without any knowledge about it, such a person will attain the sweet experience thereof; so also, even if one does not understand the supra-mundane Mahabhava or the Real Nature of Shri Krishna, but should engage oneself in His services, the Lord out of His infinite and inherent Compassion will bless such a one with His highest blessing, i.e. Prema." –59-


Text 60:

shastratah shruyate bhaktau nrimatrasy adhikarita |

sarvadhikaritam magha snanasya vruvata yatah |

drishtantita vashishthena hari-bhaktir nripam prati ||60||


Translation: It can be known from the Scriptures that every human being is eligible for Hari-Bhakti, because in connection with bathing in the Ganga in the month of Magha, sage Vasistha tells King Mayuradhvaja that such bathing is a part of Hari-Bhakti, which everyone is entitled to follow. –60-


Commentary: In his commentary Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti raises the question how if eligibility for the way of Bhakti should require renunciation of desires both for the enjoyment of mundane values and also for the attainment of liberation or release as is said here in this verse, can it be reconciled with the declaration of sage Vasistha that the way of Bhakti is open to all human beings? The apparent contradiction, however, arises from the supposition that the renunciation of bhukti and mukti is not possible for everybody, which is, however, not the case. The very fact that Bhakti is declared to be open to all, and at the same time stated to be possible only for those who have renounced the desire of earthly values and have also given up all desires for liberation implies that such renunciation is possible for all. It has been already shown that despite one's renunciation of earthly values being incomplete or partial, one can still follow the path of mixed-Bhakti. What is insisted on is that the desire for mukti is inconsistent with the way of Bhakti. –60-


Text 61:

yatha padme –

sarve ‘dhikariëo hyatra hari-bhaktau yatha nripa ||61||


Translation: Shri Vasistha Muni says: "Oh king! As everybody is eligible for Hari-Bhakti, so also everyone is eligible to bathe (in the Ganga) in the month of Magha (January-February) (as one of the various forms of practices of Bhakti)." –61-


Text 62:

kashikhaëde ca tatha –

antyaja api tad rashtre shankha-cakraëka dhariëah |

samprapya vaishëavim diksham dikshita iva samvabhuh ||62||


Translation: In the Kasikhanda it has been stated: The kingdoms of King Mayuradhvaja even the candalas (dog's flesh-eating primitives) when received initiation into the religion of the Vaishnavas and anointed their persons with the distinctive marks of the Vaishnavas, viz. figures of conch-shell, wheel, etc. (on their chest and arms), attained the status of brahmanas with eligibility for the performance of the Vedic rites.  –62-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that the above verse is evidence that the way of Bhakti is open to all. Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami adds that candala here means those amongst the candalas who have attained belief in the spiritual value of the service of the Lord. –62-


Text 63:

api ca –

ananushthanto dosho bhakty aëganam prajayate |

na karmaëam akaraëa desha bhakty adhikariëam ||63||


Translation: One eligible for the way of Bhakti is guilty of lapses if he fails to perform duly all the different forms of practices that are enjoined for Sadhana-Bhakti. But no such offense accrues if one fails to perform the enjoined Vedic karma (such as asvamedha sacrifice, putresthikriya, etc.). –63-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that it has been established that anyabhilasa-sunyata-absence of extraneous motives, is a condition precedent to the way of Uttama-Bhakti, and it has also been shown that this being possible for all, there is no bar to Bhakti for anybody. But in the Scriptures it is laid down that everybody must duly discharge the varna-asrama-dharma or his duties of station in life. This is svadharma of everybody and any transgression of one’s duly appointed duties will constitute a moral lapse with consequent demerit. Besides, the appointed duties include both positive injunction and negative prohibitions. If the forbidden karmas are eschewed, one incurs guilt a consequence, and if one adheres to avoidance of forbidden acts, one's practice of Bhakti becomes clouded by karma or mixed up with the performance or avoidance of duties, positive and negative Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti, however, points out that guilt accrues only when one wedded to the way of Bhakti fails to perform all the different practices enjoined as part and parcel of Sadhana-Bhakti. Such practices are nitya-angas of Sadhana-Bhakti, and as such, inseparable from practices of Bhakti. It is only the lapses relating to the nitya-angas or inseparable parts of Sadhana-Bhakti that are a cause of one's failure in the path of Bhakti. Karma, however, in the Vedic sense is no source of offense or lapse in one who has chosen Bhakti as his proper and final End or Goal.


Translator’s note: If Shri Jiva Gosvami's commentary is strictly accepted, then there will be no difference between the Ramanujist and the Gaudiya viewpoints. Shri Visvanatha is here more consistent with the Gaudiya view enunciated by Shri Rupa Gosvami's definition of Uttama-Bhakti. –63-


Text 64:

nishiddhacarato daivat prayashcittantu nocitam |

iti vaishëava-shastraëam rahasyam tad vidam matam ||64||


Translation: Even if perchance one eligible far Bhakti does any forbidden act, there should be no expiation for him. That is the purport and secret of the teachings of the Vaishnava Scriptures or Religious books and is also the accepted views of those what know all about the essence of Vaisnavism. –64-


Commentary: In commenting on the above verse Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that a pure devotee of the Lord is by nature not inclined to the commitment of any forbidden act. But even if perchance he becomes guilty of any forbidden act, no expiation is necessary for the offense because Bhakti itself subserves the purpose of expiation of the guilt incurred. –64-


Text 65:

yathaikadashe93 –

sve sve ‘dhikare ya nishtha sa guëah parikititah |

vipary astu doshah syad ubhayor esha nishcayah ||65||


Translation: In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam, Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: "Abiding in one's proper sphere is essence of moral excellence, and deviating from one's appointed sphere is the essence of moral evil. This is how thou shalt distinguish between good and evil."  -65-


Commentary: According to Shri Jiva Gosvami, in the above verse 'adhikara' or eligibility signifies eligibility for the separate ways of karma, jnana and Bhakti. Remaining in one's proper sphere means 'adhering to the way to which one is eligible by temperament and conduct. If a devotee i.e. one wedded to the way of Bhakti practices jnana or karma yoga, he becomes guilty of deviating, from his true path. Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: "One whose mind is absorbed in Me and who is inspired by the desire of My service (i.e. Bhakti) does not in most cases accept karma or jnana or renunciation as a means to the attainment of the highest good."94 "As long as one does not attain an attitude of complete indifference to the performance of the duties of life and as long as one lacks real faith in the value of hearing about Myself, and also has no Bhakti in Me generated in oneself, so long must one perform the unconditional duties laid down in the Vedas or the Sacred books. Such persons who are suited to the ways of karma and jnana and lack real faith in the way of Bhakti may be attracted to the path of Bhakti because of association with My true devotees."95 Shri Jiva further states that even then, because such persons lack real faith and become indifferent to the practice of Bhakti and as a consequence finds success in the way of Bhakti delayed, their indifference amounts to a positive lapse. The contrary of eligibility is not adhering to one's proper share and abiding in a share other than one's own.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami, points out that in order to clarify the previous statement that it is the esoteric significance of the Vaishnava Scriptures that if perchance a true devotee commits lapses in the performance of the positive duties on commits any act of moral evils, he need not undergo any expiation, Shri Rupa Gosvami cites seven references from the various Scriptures. Shri Mukunda dasa further explains that those who are indifferent to the miseries of this world being too much addicted to earthly pleasures and sense-enjoyments should follow the way of karma; those who are detached from worldly pleasures and renounce all fruits of earthly values should follow the path of jnana, but those who are fortunate to have real faith in listening to the Events and Glories of the Life of the Supreme Lord follow the path of Bhakti. In this order, a karmin, a jnanin and a Bhakta should follow the directions of the Scriptures as prescribed for these Paths according to their individual temperament. Should a karmin or a jnanin violate the prescribed line of life as directed by the Scriptures, he will have to suffer the consequences thereof. But a devotee has not to atone for any accidental lapse, because a devotee is normally averse to such violence of scriptural injunctions. But should he perchance commit such an offense, the very nature of his Bhakti for the Lord will make him take to the right path of pure Bhakti. It is also possible for those who tread the paths of karma and jnana that they turn to Bhakti if they keep company of genuine saints and listen from them to the glories of the Lord. In such a case such karmins and jnanins also need not expiate for their lapses. But if they do not take to the way of Bhakti, and if they commit offenses by violating the injunctions of the Scriptures as are prescribed for them, they will have to suffer the consequences and undergo atonement. –65-


Text 66:

prathame 96–

tyaktva svadharmam caraëambujam harer bhajan napakko ‘tha patet tato yadi |

yatra kva vabhadram abhudamushya kim ko vyartha apto ‘bhajatam sva-dharmatah ||66||


Translation: Shri Narada addressing Shri Vyasadeva says: "When has any evil fallen on one who has taken shelter in the practice of devotion to the Lord’s Lotus Feet even though he might have renounced his own svadharma and might also have lapsed from the way of Bhakti before attaining ripeness in the practice of Bhakti? And, when again has any benefit accrued to one who has stayed in his own sphere of svadharma and has not taken to the practice of devotion to the Lord?" –66-


Commentary: Svadharma here means the relative duties, according to the injunctions of the Scriptures, in one's station of life as a brahmacari or a householder or a vanaprastha or a yati, i.e. monk, or as a brahmana or a kstriya or a vaisya or a sudra or an antyaja. Svadharma also refers here to one's following the path of Vedic karma, or the path of jnana, i.e. knowledge Absolute, or the path of yoga and renunciation. It also means the innate and normal function of the pure finite self or jivatma, which is the path of Bhakti. The last conception of svadharma as Bhakti is the eternal function of the atma, while other conception of svadharma in karma, jnana and yoga relate to the physical body and mental quantum.


          Commenting on the above sloka of the Bhagavatam, cited by Shri Rupa Gosvami, commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that one who has renounced his own station in life for the practice of Bhakti may for some reason or other be reborn in a low stratum of society; but even then, no evil befalls such a person for the simple reason that even as low-born he does not lose the disposition for the service of the Supreme Lord, i.e. spiritual practices, which remains as an innate possession because of his practice of Bhakti in the previous birth.


          Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami says in his comment on the above sloka that those whose proper sphere is the way of karma (karma as a path always means Vedic karma or rites; it must not be confused with ordinary physical activities) or those whose sphere is that of jnana (knowlegde) and vairagya (renunciation) may sometime in some cases take to the way of Bhakti renouncing their own sphere of karma, jnana or vairagya, but need not apprehend any evil befalling them. And even having decided to take to the path of Bhakti if they fail to carry out their decision for practice of Bhakti or die suddenly before the decision is put to practice, no evil or anartha accrues to such persons in consequence of their renunciation of their own relative spheres. This is expressly stated in the Bhagavatam. In fact, before the decision is put to practice one may deviate therefrom either because of association with earth-minded people or because of dying suddenly before attuning ripeness by the practices enjoined in the way of Bhakti, i.e. one may somehow be prevented from translating one's firm belief or faith in Bhakti into life and even be born as a consequence in a lower rung of the social order. But because of his Bhakti, no real evil accrues therefrom; in fact, a true devotee is never reborn in a lower stratum. But granting for argument's sake that it is what happens in some cases, there is no cause for apprehension as no real evil befalls a true devotee even when he renounces his appointed sphere of life for pursuing the ways of Bhakti.


    Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti observes in his comment on the above sloka as follows: Shri Shridhara Svami previously said that kamya-karmas done for the attainment of earthly ends are a source of mischief and evil. Therefore it behooves everyone to take to the chanting of the Name of Lord Hari renouncing all earthly desires. Now he adds that even the unconditional duties (Nitya-naimittika karma as prescribed for the four varnas) as also the duties of station of life (as prescribed by the Scriptures for the four asramas) ought to be given up in favor of the practice of Bhakti, because serving Lord Hari is the only advisable force for a true spiritual aspirant. There is absolutely no cause of any apprehension if one attains ripeness in the way of Bhakti renouncing all duties of life in the four varnas and the four asramas. But even if there is either a lapse from Bhakti before the ripeness of Bhakti or if one dies before attaining complete success in his self-chosen path, yet there is no cause of apprehension for the simple reason that the way of karma has no proper jurisdiction over one who has tasted the sweetness of Bhakti-Rasa. Shri Visvanatha further adds that a devotee of Lord Hari, even when low-born does not have to apprehend any evil befalling him because he never loses his innate disposition to the service of the Lord. On the contrary, an individual who never deviates from his proper sphere of a relative life but fails to serve the Lord by devotion and Bhakti, does not achieve any real and lasting benefit. –66-


Text 67:

ekadashe97 –

ajna yaivam guëan doshan mayadishtan api svakan |

dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam bhajet sa ca sattamah ||67||


Translation: In the Eleven Canto of the Bhagavatam, Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: "He who has renounced the duties of his own station of life (varna and asrama) in the belief that they stand in the way of pure Bhakti in Myself, even knowing that I have advised the practice of such duties as a means to the purification of the mind, is a Bhakta or devotee of high order." –67-


Commentary: Commenting on the above sloka, Shri Mukundadasa Gosvami says that one, who even knowing fully well that performance of the duties of varna and asrama life cleanses the mind and develops knowledge, and their non-performance hurls one into hell, renounces one's varna and asrama duties, i.e. svadharma and dedicates oneself to the service of the Supreme Lord Hari, is a saint of the high order.  –67-


Text 68:

tatraiva98 –

devarshi bhutapta nriëam pitriëam na kimkaro na yamriëi ca rajan |

sarvatmana yah sharaëam sharaëyam gato mukundam parihritya kartam ||68||


Translation: Sage Shri Karabhajana addressing King Nimi says: "Oh king! One who after renouncing everything else takes complete refuge in Lord Mukunda (Lord Krishna who gives mukti or who gives Prema) as the only and supreme Object of complete submission and service, such a person never becomes subservient to the gods, rsis, the created beings, the relatives or the ancestors, nor does he become indebted to any of them." –68-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami says that one who gives up all differences and distinctive services of the different gods, such as Indra, Candra, etc., and dedicates oneself completely to the protection of the Supreme Lord Hari, for such a person no other duty remains to be observed by him, because all the ties of his previous births as well as of the present birth are cut asunder and his relative duties of varna and asrama end for him, and he is no more bound by any karma. Shri Mukunda dasa however explains 'sarvatmana' in the text as one's surrendering to and taking refuge in the Lord with the, firm faith that Lord Shri Krishna alone is the Supreme Object of all devotional services, that Bhakti is the supreme Meams, and Prema is the supreme Value of life or summum bonum of life. Such an individual, who takes shelter at the Feet of Lord Shri Krishna, is not bound by any karma or relative duties. –68-


Text 69:

shri-bhagavad gitasu99 –

sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam sharaëam vraja |

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma sucah ||69||


Translation: In the Gita Lord Shri Krishna addressing Prince Arjuna says: "You give up all other duties or religions and take absolute refuge in Me. I shall free you from all sins; be not worried."


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami says that 'parityajya' signifies renunciation of all religions relating to varna (brahmnna, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and asrama (brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and yati) and in relation to Vedic rituals and sacrifices and Vedic karma, jnana and yoga, and everything else. By 'sarvapapebhyah is meant all possible obstacles to the way of Bhakti. Shri Mukunda dasa however holds that 'sarvapapa' means all sins committed not only in this present birth but also in all previous births. One who has surrendered oneself unconditionally to the Lord has nothing to lament for. –69-


Text 70:

agastya samhitayam –

yatha vidhi-nishedhau tu muktam naivopasarpatah |

tatha na sprishato ramopasakam viddhi-purvakam ||70||


Translation: It is said in the Agassya-Samhita that as a self-realized freed person is not bound by the restriction of the regulative and prohibitive rules of the Scriptures, so also a devotee of Lord Rama who is regularly and constantly engaged in the Lord's services is not similarly restricted. –70-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami explains here the 'regulative and restrictive rules' as those of the Smrti-Sastras, and 'vidhipurvaka', i.e. with regularity as worship according to the rules arid prescriptions of the Vedas and the Tantras. Shri Visvanatha holds the view that here regulative and restrictive rules mean those of both the Smrtis and the Vedas. -70-


Text 71:

ekadashe eva100 –

svapada mulam bhajatah priyasya tyaktany abhavasya harih pareshah |

vikarma yaccot patitam kathancid-dhunoti sarvam hridi sannivishtah ||71||


Translation: In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam, sage Shri Karabhajana addressing King Nimi says: "Oh king! If a devotee of the Lord, who has discarded every other desire excepting the desire of serving the Lotus-Feet of the Lord Himself alone and being thus engaged perchance violates any injunction of the Scriptures, the Supreme Lord Hari by entering the heart of His such a devotee destroys all the miseries that may accrue from such violations. -71-


Commentary: Commentator Shri Jiva Gosvami says that 'discarding all other desires' here means not to worship any other god as the supreme Object of worship excepting the Supreme Lord Shri Hari only. If perchance any vikarma befalls such a devotee whose one-pointed services are directed to Lord Hari alone, and if such violation of or negligence to some directions of the Scriptures create any trouble to such a single-minded devotee who is very dear to the Lord, the Lord Himself wipes out such troubles or miseries from the heart of His beloved devotee. Hence, a true devotee of the Lord is not to expiate for any such commitments. –71-


Text 72:

hari-bhakti-vilase ‘sya bhakter aëgani lakshashah |

kintu tani prasiddhani nirdishyante yatha mati ||72||


Translation: Mention has been made in the Haribhaktivilasa about manifold aspects and features of this Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti. But only the more important ones will be stated here as far as possible. –72-


Text 73:

atra aëga-lakshaëam –

ashritav antaraneka bhedam kevalam eva va |

ekam karmatra vidvadhir ekam bhakty aëgam ucyate ||73||


Translation: Here are the signs of the Angas or Forms of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti- The wise have called every form of the manifold distinctions (as in arcana or worship) or only each of the action (such as submission to Guru, to rise up, etc.) as a Part of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhaktt. -73-


Text 74:

atha aëgani –

guru-padashrayas tasmat krishëa-dikshadi-shikshaëam |

vishrambheëa guroh seva sadhu-vartmanu-vartanam ||74||


Translation: The following are the 64 indispensable Parts or Functions (Angas) of Sadhana-Bhakti:   


      (1) Submission to the Feet of the Guru (Spiritual Master); (2) Receiving training from him in spiritual initiation and practices regarding Shri Krishna; (3) serving the Spiritual Master with affectionate zeal; (4) Following in the path of saints; -74-


Translator’s note: In (2), spiritual practices can be learnt from the Spiritual Master only after one has been initiated into the spiritual life. Initiation should, therefore, precede training in rudimentary practices in Sadhana-Bhakti. One who has been initiated into Krishna-Diksa should have training in spiritual practices in the Religion of the Bhagavatam. This is the contention here. In (4), following the path of saints means those methods that have been in vogue amongst saints and are consistent with the injunction of the Scriptures.



Text 75:

sad-dharma-priccha bhogadi-tyagah krishëasya hetave |

nivaso dvarakadau ca gaëgader api sannidhau ||75||


Translation: (5) inquisitiveness about the esoteric ways of spiritual practices or about the highest religion; (6) Renouncing all pleasures, relatives, wealth, wife and children and others for the sake of receiving the compassion and grace of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna or sacrificing everything for the sake of Shri Krishna; (7) Living in Dvaraka and other sacred places, sanctified for association with Lord Shri Krishna, and also on the banks of the Ganga; -75-


Translator’s note: 'For the sake of Krishna' does not mean that all renounced objects, such as wealth, pleasures, wife and children, etc. should be offered to Lord Shri Krishna for His pleasures, but renunciation here means receiving the Grace of the Lord, which alone is the cause of God-realization. –75-


Text 76:

vyavahareshu sarveshu yavad arthanuvartita |

hari-vasara sammano dhatry ashvatthadi gauravam ||76||


Translation: (8) In all works of daily conduct, accepting only such things which are reasonably necessary; (9) Observing Ekddasi-Janmastami and other sacred days (which are favorable to the Lord) by observing fast; (10) Giving importance to Myrobalan trees and the holy Fig-tree.  –76-


Text 77:

eshamatra dashaëganam bhavet prarambha-rupata ||77||


Translation: These Ten functions or features (Angas) of Vaidhi

Sadhana-Bhakti are stated here as primary. –77-


Text 78:

saëga-tyago vidureëa bhagavad-vimukhaira janaih |

shishyady ananuvandhitvam maharambhady anudyamah ||78||


Translation: (11) Shunning from a long distance the company of those who are averse to the Supreme Lord; (12) Avoiding the temptation of giving initiation to too many persons and thus being entangled by disciples; (13) Not being over-enthusiastic about pomp and grandeur; -78-


Text 79:

vahu-grantha-kalabhyasa-vyakya-vada-vivarjanam ||79||


Translation: (14) Abandonment of double-dealing or too much of love for arts and crafts, avoiding study of too many books, expositions and too much of logically fallacious reasoning; -79-


Text 80:

vyavahare ‘py akarpaëyam shokady avasha-vartita ||80||


Translation: (15) Giving up bad taste with dealing with others; (16) Not being overwhelmed in distress and other ills of life; -81-


Text 81:

anya-devan avajna ca bhutanudvega dayita |

seva-namaparadanam udbhava vakarita ||81||


Translation: (17) Avoiding disrespect for other gods; (18) Refraining from harassing and causing worry to any being; (19) Endeavoring with care and alertness to be free from the offenses of lapses in worshipping of the Deities (Arca Vigraha) and chanting of the Name of the Lord during the rudimentary stage of the practice of Sadhana-Bhakti while still under the fetters of bondage; -81-


Text 82:

krishëa-tad-bhakta-vidvesha-vinindady asahishëuta |

vyatir ekatayamisham dashanam syad anushthitih ||82||


Translation: (20) Not tolerating any malice slander or calumny hurled at Lord Shri Krishna and His devotees. These TEN forms or Angas of Sadhaa-Bhakti are to be followed as indirect spiritual practices. –82-


Text 83:

asyastatra praveshaya dvaratve ‘py aëga vimshateh |

trayam pradhanam evoktam guru-padashrayadikam ||83||


Translation: Though all these Twenty features of spiritual practices are doors for entering into the path of Sadhana-Bhakti, yet the FIRST THREE, via. submission to the Spiritual Master (Guru), receiving initiation and training from him, and serving him affectionately are the PRINCIPAL PARTS of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti. –83-


Text 84:

dhritir vaishëava cihëanam harer-namaksharasya ca |

nirmalyadesh ca tasyagre taëdavam daëdavannatih ||84||


Translation: (21) Putting on the different signs of a Vaishnava (viz. Tulasi-garland round the neck, Tilaka on the 12 upper limbs, etc.); (22) Putting on the letters of the Name of Hari on the upper limbs of the body; (23) Accepting flowers-tulasi-water and other things offered to the Deity of Vishnu; (24) Dancing frantically before the Lord in the temple; (25) Prostrating before the Deities; -84-


Text 85:

abhyutthanam anuvrajya gatih sthane parikramah |

arcanam paricarya ca gitam samkirtanam japah ||85||


Translation: (26) Standing up or rising from one's seat before the Deities in the temple, also before Guru and superior devotees; (27) Following the departing Guru or any superior devotee to some distance as a mark of respect to him; (28) Walking up to the temples of the Lord; (29) Circumambulating His temple; (30) Offering Arcana, i.e. worship of the Deities (Vigraha) of the Lord in the temple; (31) Offering various forms of services, such as, cleansing, washing the floors of the temple, dressing and bathing the Deities, cooking for the Deities, etc.; (32) singing the glories of the Lord in front of the temple; (33) Holding congregational prayers; (34) Counting beads while silently (not aloud) chanting the Name of the Krishna; -85-


Text 86:

vijnaptih stava-pathash ca svado naivedya-padyayoh |

dhupa-malyadi-saurabhyam shri-murteh sprishtir ikshaëam ||86||


Translation: (35) Submitting one's inner feeling, towards the

Lord; (36) Reading prayers from the Scriptures; (37) Honoring the

eatables offered to the Deities in the temple; (38) Respectfully drinking

the sacred water with which the Feet of the Deities have been washed;

(39) Smelling the sweet scent of the flower-garlands, incense, etc. offered

to the Duties; (40) Touching the Shri Murti (the Deity); (41) Looking at

the Shri Murti; -86-


Text 87:

aratrik-otsavadesh ca shravaëam tat-kripekshaëam |

smritir-dhyanam tatha dasyam sakhyam atmanivedanam ||87||


Translation: (42) Seeing or witnessing the offerings of lights, incense, water in conch-shell, etc. to the Deities in the temple, celebrating the Events of the Lord and His devotees, and seeing the worship in the temple; (43) Listening to the Name and Glories of the Lord; (44) Looking for the Lord's Grace, or observing the Grace of the Lord; (45) Remembering the Lord; (46) Meditating upon the Beauty-Qualities-Events-Sports of the Lord; (47) Servanthood; (48) Friendship or friendly feeling for the Lord; (49) Absolute self-dedication to the Lord. –87-


Text 88:

nija-priyopaharaëam tad-arthe ‘kila-ceshtitam |

sarvatha-sharaëapattis tadiya manca sevanam ||88||


Translation: (50) Offering things which are dear to oneself; (51) All endeavors for the sake of the delight of Shri Krishna; (52) Self-surrender in every respect; (53) Serving those that are associated with Him, such as, -88-


Text 89:

tadiyas-tulasi-shastra-mathura-vaishëavadayah |

yatha-vaibhava-samagri sad-goshthibhir-mahotsavah ||89||


Translation: Serving the Lord's Tulasi; (54) Serving the Sastra (Scripture); (55) Serving Mathura; (56) Serving Vaishnavas (also Yamuna); (57) Observing such celebrations as Dolayatra (the Swinging, Festival of Lord Shri Krishna) in the company of sadhus by collecting the necessary ingredients according to one's ability; -89-


Text 90:

urjadaro vishesheëa yatra janmadinadishu |

shraddha visheshatah pritih shri-murter-aëghri-sevane ||90||


Translation: (58) Observing Niyamaseva; (special vows for one month with rigid regulations); (59) Special respect for the Advent Day of the Lord by way of observing fast, etc.; (60) Liking with special interest for worshipping the Feat of the Shrimurti (Deity) in the temple.  -90-


Text 91:

shrimad-bhagavatarthanama-svado rasikaih saha |

sajatiyashye snigdhe sadhau saëgah svato vare ||91||


Translation: (61) Tasting the nectar of the esoteric meaning of the Bhagavatam in the company of Bhava and Prema Bhaktas; (62) Keeping the association of such superior sadhus who are of similar temperament and taste and are affectionate. –91-


Text 92:

nama-samkirtanam shri-mathura-maëdale sthitih ||92||


Translation: (63) Singing the Name of the Lord in the company of many devotees; and (64) Living in Mathuramandala. –92-


Text 93:

aëganam pancakas yasya purvam vilikhitasya ca |

nikhila-shraishthy-avodhyaya punar-apy atra kirtanam ||93||


Translation: Though the LAST FIVE were previously mentioned, yet they have been restated here just to establish greater importance. –93-


Text 94:

iti kaya-hrishikantah karaëanam upasanah ||94||


Translation: Thus are stated the forms at Upasana or worship and

service by the body, senses and the whole of the mental quantum. –94-


Text 95:

catuhshashtih prithak saëgatik-abhedat kramadinah ||95||


Translation: All these SIXTY-FOUR FORMS show the different

distinctive features (of Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti), both separately (of

submission to Guru, etc.) and also collectively (of worship in temple,

singing etc.). –95-


Text 96:

atha-rshanumatena-ishamudaharaëam-iryate ||96||


Translation: Now, examples of all these FORMS OF UPASANA will be cited from the Words of the Rsis and Saints. –96-


Text 97:

1 - tatra gurupadashrayo101

yatha ekadashe –

tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh shreya uttamam |

shabde pare ca nishëatam brahmaëy upashamashrayam ||97||


Translation: (1) Taking shelter at the Feet of the Preceptor-


     (We have) in the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam Shri Prabuddha addressing Nimi Maharaj says: “King! He who desires to know what the Highest Good is must surrender himself completely to a Spiritual Preceptor, who has merged himself in Sabda-Brahman, i.e. the Absolute Godhead as the Logos, and also in Para-Brahman, i.e. also the Absolute Godhead Himself, and is also free from all attraction and aversion.”



Commentary: Commenting on the above Shri Visvanatha observes that 'Sabda-Brahmani nisnata' here means 'one who has mastered all the sacred Books on Bhakti and all authentic Scriptures', and 'Para-Brahmani nisnata' means 'one who is completely engaged in chanting the Name of the Lord' in singing His praise and Glories and other like Pastimes of the Lord.' –97-


Text 98:

2 – shri-krishëa-dikshadi-shikshaëam

yatha tatraiva –

tatra bhagavatan dharman shikshed gurv-atma-daivatah |

amayayanuvrittya yais-tushyed-atmatma-do harih102 ||98||


Translation: (2) Receiving from the Guru, i.e. Spiritual Preceptor INITIATION IN KRSNA and also special LESSONS in Krishna-Bhakti - as evidence, the following from the Bhagavatam is cited: Shri Prabuddha addressing Nimi Maharaj says: "The Preceptor, i.e. the Spiritual Master should be served with all sincerity in the full consciousness that he is one’s very self and to be revered as a Devata or God-in-person; and so considering one's Spiritual Master (Guru), one must receive instructions from him as regards the spiritual doctrines of the Bhagavatam. Such instructions from a revered Guru pleases the Lord who is ever ready to give Himself up to the finite individual. –98-


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti commenting on the above observes that 'regarding one's Guru as one's very self' means as dear as one's self; 'God-in-person' means 'Ista-devata', i.e. the Particular Form of the Lord which is one's chosen Object of desire; 'Anuvrti' here means 'seva' or service of the Lord; 'Atmaprada' means that the Lord offers His Own Self to His dear Bhaktas or devotees as illustrated in the case of Vali Maharaj, at whom Palace-gate the Lord condescended to remain forever as the Gate-keeper. –98


Translator’s note: In the Vrhadaranyaka Upanisad Yajnavalkya tells Maitreyi: All values are projections of the intrinsic value, which is the Self Itself-


          Not because the husband is dear to the wife, not because the wife finds any intrinsic value in the husband qua husband, but because the wife discovers in the husband some intrinsic delight that her own self is.


Riches are desired not because they are recognized as possessing any intrinsic worth, but because they reflect some of the joy which one's self is. So all that is desired is desired not for its own sake but because it is believed to possess intrinsic delight of the Self. –98-


Text 99:

3 – vishrambheëa guroh seva

yatha tatraiva103 –

acaryam mam vijaniyam navamanyeta karhicit |

na martya-buddhy asuyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruh ||99||


 Translation: (3) SERVICE OF THE GURU with real zest and delight:


          In evidence of the above, the following from the Bhagavatam is cited, where the Lord addressing Shri Uddhava says: “Knowest thou the Acarya or Guru as Myself Never thinkest thou of Him as any other (as a common mortal). Never must thou show disrespect to him. Never must thou find fault with him in the (mistaken) belief that he is a common human being, for the Guru is the Embodiment of all the gods in himself.” 99 -


Commentary: Shri Visvanatha here observes that the passage 'Knowest thou thy Guru as Myself' means that 'Guru is One who is dear to Me.' In Manahsiksa in Stavavali it is said that Guru is to be thought of as prestha, in most dear to Lord Mukunda (Krishna) Himself. –99-


Text 100:

4 – sadhu-vartmanuvartanam

yatha skande –

sa mrigyah shreyasam hetuh panthah santapa-varjitah |

anvaptashramam purve yena santah pratasthire ||100||


Translation: TREADING IN THE PATH OF SADHUS or Saints-


          In the Skanda Puranam it is said that the best Way to tread is the Path that has been followed without effort by previous Sages and following which they attained the Lord Himself. That is the Path that is free from all kinds of ills of life and is the source of real fruition of the finite self, the atma. –100-


Text 101:

Brahma-yamale ca –

shruti-smriti-puraëadi pancaratra-vidhim vina |

aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate ||101||


Translation: It is said in the Brahmayamala that over-zealous concern and practice of Bhakti in disregard of the prescriptions of injunctions of the Sruti, Smrti, Puranas, Pancaratra, etc. become a source of all sorts of troubles. –101-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that the path of the Sages above stated is recognized in all the Srutis, Smrtis, Purarnas, Pancaratras, etc. which lay down definite codes for the following of the Path. Non-observance of the prescribed course is a source of offense. Here reference to the injunctions of the Sruti, Smrti, Pancaratras, and etc. mean prescription relative to each individual Vaishnava’s proper sphere according to his eligibility or adhikara Hence, each Vaishnava will have to select for practice such portions of the prescriptions as apply to his individual case, because in the Bhagavatam Lord Krishna addressing Uddhava says: "Remaining in one's proper sphere is a virtue, and the opposite is the source of evil. Thus, virtues and their opposites have to be construed in the above manner. When non-observance of the prescribed course is spoken of what is meant is their repudiation in a skeptical attitude and not non-observance out of indolence or ignorance. In the Bhagavatam Kavi Yogendra addressing King Nimi says: Oh king! One who takes recourse to this spiritual doctrine of the Bhagavatam has never to meet with any obstacles in his path; and even if he runs with closed eyes, i.e. if he pursues the path of Bhakti in ignorance of the successive stages described and pursues a later stage before having gone through the earlier one, he does not go astray as in the way of karma where non-observance of the details in their proper order is a source of sin and consequent sufferings. -101 -


Text 102:

bhaktir aikantiki veyam avicarat pratiyate |

vastu-tastu tatha naiva yada shastri yat ekshyate ||102||


Translation: For want of proper assessment, such Bhakti only appears to be over-zealous; but truly speaking, there is no Bhakti and consequently there is no over-zealousness in it, because all this is found to be antagonistic to all scriptural prescriptions. –102-


Commentary: Commenting on the above sloka Shri Jiva Gosvami raises a question: How can there be over-zealousness in Bhakti in disregard of the prescriptions of the Sruti, Smrti, Puranas and other Sastras? And if there be over-zealous concern and practice of Bhakti, how does it become a source of all sorts of troubles? In reply to the questions raised by him, Shri Jiva himself offers the solution. The followers of Buddha and Dattatreya are zealously devoted to them, and one who does not enter into the merit of such atheistic devotion of the followers of Buddha and Dattatreya will mistake such zeal on the part of such atheists to be devotional over-zealousness. But Buddha and Dattatreya did not follow the prescriptions of the Scriptures and they were anti-Vedic and anti-theism. They had only show disrespect to scriptural prescriptions and therefore the ardent concern and practice of the teaching of the Buddha and Dattatreya cannot be said to be Bhakti at all. On the other hand, they are antagonistic to Bhakti and antagonistic to all scriptural prescription. Over-zealous following of such apparent devotion of the followers of Buddhism leads to atheism and hence worst form of evils. The aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra have established the Scriptures, such as the Vedas, as the source of true knowledge about the Absolute Godhead. Therefore, how can it be Bhakti at all if one should ignore or go against the directions of the Supreme Lord who is the Original Cause of all Divine Descents (Avataras) and whom has said in the Vedas and the Vedangas that one should tread in the Path that has been followed without effort by previous sages and following which they attained the Lord Himself? And how can there be any real zeal in such non-Bhakti? The Vedas that had recognized Buddha as a Partial Avatara of Vishnu, the same Vedas had also said Buddha was manifest in this world to establish atheism and preach atheism in order to dupe the demons. In the Vishnu-dharma Sastra Buddha has been descried as an Avesa-Avatara only, i.e. an advanced soul in whom the All-powerful Lord has infused certain extraordinary powers with a specific objective. Hence, the teachings of Buddha cannot be accepted to be Bhakti, and therefore the over-zealous concern of his, followers, which appears like Bhakti, causes a source of ultimate troubles, ending in atheism.


          Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami observes that Bhakti, which is not in accord with prescriptions of the Scriptures, can neither be Vaidhi or Raganuga even though it is zealously practiced. It rather leads one to troubles and to wrong paths as it is a mental concoction and disrespectful to the Path of Sages.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that the atheistic devotion of the followers of the Buddha for the Buddha apparently looks like Bhakti, which it is not, and it is the over-zealous concern and practice of the followers of the Buddha that has become a source of troubles in the some manner, the apparent Bhakti of the modern sects like the Sahajias, Bauls, Sakkibhekis, etc., for Shri Krishna, appears to be zealous to the non-critical minds, because, in these cases, there is disrespect for the Scriptures, and there can be no true Bhakti in such cases. –102-


Text 103:

5 – sad-dharma-priccha yatha naradiye –

acirad eva sarvarthah sidhyaty esham abhipsitah |

sad-dharmasyavabodhaya yesham nirvandhini matih ||103||




          It is said in the Narada-Pancaratra that one, whose mental inclination is very earnest to know all about the Highest Religion or Eternal Religion, soon attains all his desired ends. –103-


Text 104:

6 – krishëarthe bhogadi-tyago yatha padma –

harim uddishya bhogani kale tyakta-vat astava |

vishëu-loka-sthita sampad-alola sa pratikshate ||104||




          It is said in the Padma Puranam: Thous hast sacrificed everything, all objects of pleasures, time after time, for the sake of Lord Shri Krishna. Therefore all the steady wealth of Vaikuntha (Laksmi who is unsteady in this earth, but permanent and progressive in the Realm of the Lord) awaits thee (i.e. you are eligible to be received by Laksmi Herself in Vaikuntha). –104-



Text 105:

7 – dvarakadi-nivaso yatha skande –

samvatsaram va shaëmasan masam masarddham eva va |

dvaraka-vasinah sarve nara naryash caturbhujah ||105||


Translation: (7) LIVING IN DVARAKA and other Sacred Places.


          It is said in the Skanda Puranam that a man or barman who lives in Dvaraka and other Sacred Places associated with the Lord for one year or six months or one month or even for fifteen days, becomes a four-armed denizen (of Vaikuntha).



Text 106:

adi-padena purushottama-vash ca yatha brahme –

aho kshetrasya mahatmyam samantaddasha-yojanam |

divishtha yatra pashyanti sarvan eva caturbhujan ||106||


Translation: By the word ‘adi’, it also includes living in Purusottama Ksetra (Puri), so it is said in Brahma. Puranam. "Ah! what glories are of Jagannatha-ksetra (Puri, the Place of Lord Jagannatha-the Lord of the Universe)! Here within a radius calf eighty miles all the gods who live here look upon every being within this area as four-armed denizens of Vaikuntha! -106-


Text 107:

gaëgadi-vaso yatha prathame104 –

ya vai lasacchri-tulasi vimishra krishëaëghrireëvabhy adhikambunetri |

punati seshan ubhayatra lokan kastan na seveta marishyamaëah ||107||


Translation: To live on the banks of the GANGA etc.


          In the First Canto of the Bhagavatam Shri Suta Gosvami addressing Sage Saunaka and others says: "Who is there facing imminent death who will not serve the Gauge that sanctifies all in this world and all including Siva in the other world with the most sacred water that flows from her with the pollens of the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna mixed with the mind-melting and beautiful Tulasi? –107-


Text 108:

8 – yavad arthanuvartita yatha naradiye –

yavata syat sva-nirvahah svikaryat tavad artha-vit |

adhikye nyunata yanca cyavate paramarthatah ||108||




          It is said in Narada-Pancaratra that one who is a true economist or one who understands what are one's real needs should accept in one's daily conduct only such things which are reasonably necessary, for one falls down from that spiritual life if one should accept either more or less than the actual needs for one's maintenance. –108-


Commentary: Commenting on the above sloka Shri Jiva Gosvami says that 'needs for one's maintenance' means 'needs for one's spiritual life in the way of Bhakti’. Shri Mukunda dasa explains it in the sense of physical needs which are essential for one's existence in the path of Bhakti. Needs which are essential to Bhakti should come, holds Shri Mukunda dasa, under the 51st Sadhana-anga of all activities for the sake or delight of Shri Krishna. –108-



Text 109:

9 – hari-vasara-sammano yatha brahma-vaivarte –

sarva-papa-prashamanam puëyam atyantikam tatha |

govinda-smaraëam nriëam ekadashy amuposhaëam ||109||




          It is stated in the Brahma-vaivarta Puranam that observance of fast on the Ekadashi Day (the Eleventh day of a lunar fortnight dark or bright) by men destroys all their sins, offers limitless piety and virtues and makes them remember Lord Govinda. –109-


Text 110:

10 – dhatry ashvatthadi-gauravam yatha skande –

ashvattha-tulasi-dhatri-go-bhumisura-vaishëavah |

pujitah praëatah dhyatah kshapayanti nriëam agham ||110||




          It is mentioned in the Skanda Puranam that sins of men are washed away by the holy Peepul (Fig) tree, Tulasi (holy Basil), the Myrobalan tree, the Cow, the Brahman and Vaishnavas if they be worshipped, bowed and meditated upon.



Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami says that the Peepul tree is a symbol of one of the glories of the Lord, and hence it should be respected and worshipped. The Lord Himself manifests in this world for the benefit of cows and the brahmanas, and therefore they should be served and revered. The Vaishnavas and the Tulasi have been bracketed with the Peepul tree, the Myrobalan tree, the cow and the brahmana in order to establish the fact that the latter should be revered in the same way as the Vaishnavas and the Tulasi are respected. Of these again, the worshipping of the cows is of particular importance for those who are devoted to Lord Gopala (Child Krishna), because it is congenial to their attainment of the highest desired end. It is said in the Gautamya Tantra that one should gently scratch the body of the cow, offer her a mouthful of green grass as is taken by a cow at one time, and reverentially circumambulate a cow with the right side kept towards her, for if the cows are kept in nice and comfortable conditions, Lord Gapala is pleased for that. –110-


Text 111:

11 – atha shri-krishëa-vimukha-jana samtyago yatha katyayana-samhitayam –

varam huta-vaha-jvala pashjarantar-vyavasthitah |

na shauri-cinta-vimukha-jana-samvasa-vaishasam ||111||




          It is stated in the Katyayana-Samhita; that it Is better to live even in an inflammable cage, but one must not invite ruin by living in the company of one who is averse to the thoughts about Lord Shri Krishna. –111-


Text 112:

vishëu-rahasye ca –

alinganam varam manye vyala-vyaghra-jalaulasam |

na sangah shalya-yuktanam nana-devaika-sevinam ||112||


Translation: If is mentioned in the Vishnu-rahasya that it is rather welcome to embrace a serpent or a tiger or a ferocious aquatic animal, but it is never desirable to live in the association of those who are engaged in the service of minor gods with the object of serving them with ulterior earthly motives. -1l2-


Text 113:

12 – 13 – 14 – shishyananubanddhitvadi-trayam yatha saptame105 –

na shishyan anubadhnita granthan naivabhyased bahun |

na vakhyam upaushjita narambhan arabhet kvacit ||113||




          In the Bhagavatam Narada addressing King Yudhisthira says: A renunciate must not, out of greed, make many disciples, nor should a renunciate study numerous works which have nothing to do with God, nor should he earn his living by expounding the Sacred Books, and lastly he must not engage himself in any work likely to turn him away from the Divine Values. –113-


          Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that the injunction as regards not making many disciples is applicable only to those satins who have adopted the way of living in seclusion, but does not apply to such Sadhus as have chosen missionary work for the spread of the message of Bhakti. In proof of this Shri Jiva points out that Shri Narada and other sages had many disciples. If anybody is to desist from making disciples, the Sampradaya or the Sect and a particular School of approach to God-realization will become extinct. Besides, refraining from making disciples will land one into the guilt of being miserly in bequeathing one’s knowledge to others. All that is said in this injunction is that one must desist from making numerous disciples if one is not sufficiently qualified and also if the disciples are not qualified to be eligible for initiation.


Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami points out that making a large number of disciples generates extraneous desires for gain (labh), honour (puja) and establishment of one's reputation (pratistha), and these bring on relaxation on one's practice of Bhakti. By forbidding the study of secular literature, pure secular aesthetics is also forbidden, and by prohibiting of earning one's living by exposition of the Sacred Books entering into controversial discussions with others is also prohibited. –113-




Text 114:

15 – vyavahare ‘py akarpaëyam yatha padme –

alabdhe va vinashte va bhakshy acchadana sadhane |

aviklava-matir bhutva harim eva dhiya smaret ||114||



In the Padma Puranam it is said that when one fails to get the necessaries of life or even with the destruction of one's necessaries, one's proper course is to meditate always inwardly on Lord Hari only with unporturbed mind without intermission. –114-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that this rule applies to the way of inward meditation, i.e. advanced devotees who are engaged in the contemplation of the eternal Pastimes of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna with His eternal Associates, i.e. in the stage of Raganuga Bhakti in subordination to the Ragatmika Associates of the Lord, and not on that of outward practices of Vaidhi Bhakti. Shri Jiva further adds: what is stressed here in the above anga is that one must be satisfied with whatever one, receives for the due performance of his rites and must not show any ungenerous anger or loss of temper when one gets less than one's expectation. That is, one must not demean oneself by a show of make-belief self-abasement by asking for more when one has received something already.


Translator’s note: The relevance of this sloka from Padma Puranam on the above anga or aspect of Vidhi Sadhana-Bhakti will appear when one sees people losing the sweetness of their temper at not being able to make two end meet so as to keep the body and soul together.


          A distinction is made between Smarana-marga and Arcana-marga. In the Smarana-marga (constant meditation on and remembrance of the eternal and transcendental Pastimes of Shri Krishna with His own Associates in the aprakrta or supramundane Realm in the stage of Raganuga Bhakti) one is actuated by a spontaneous outflow of the heart towards the immaterial Values relating to the Lord, while in Arcana-marga or Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti, however, one is concerned with the prakrta world through which by long practice he reaches the Smarana-marga or the way of inward realization. -1l4-


Text 115:

16 – shokady avasha-vartita yatha tatraiva –

shokamarshadibhir bhavair akrantam yasya manasam |

katham tatra mukundasya sphurti-sambhavana bhavet ||115|||




In the Padma Puranam it has bees said: How can Lord Shri Krishna who is ever joyful and ever-smiling a pearl-white Kunda-flower appear in the heart of a person, which is governed by emotions of bereavement, sorrow, anger, etc.? –115-


Note: Conquering the passions is also considered to be essential for mukti and other forms of realization. But here the conquest of the passions and other emotions is laid down as a condition precedent to conducing to the pleasure of Lord Shri Krishna who is Delight-incarnate. –115-


Text 116:

17– anya-devanajsha yatha tatraiva –

harir eva sadaradhyah sarva-deveshvareshvarah |

itare brahma-rudradya navajsheyah kadacana ||116||



          In the Padma Puranam again it is said: Thou shalt worship forever Lord Hari who is the Over-Lord of all other gods; but thou shalt not show any contempt for Brahma, Rudra and such other gods. –116-


Text 117:

18– bhutanudvega-dayita yatha mahabharate –

piteva putram paraëo nodvejayati to janam |

vishuddhasya hrishikesha-turëam tasya prasidati ||117||



In the Mahabharata it is stated just as the affectionate father never gives any cause for fear and paint in his dealings with his children, so also Lord Hrsikesa (Lord of all the senses) is very quickly pleased with those pure minded people who are compassionate to all creatures and avoids being a source of any pain and harassment, fear and anxieties to them. –117-


Text 118:

19 – seva-namaparadhanam varjanam yatha varahe –

mamarcanaparadha ye kirtyante vasudhe maya |

vaishëavena sada te tu varjaniyah prayatnatah ||118||




In Varaha Puranam Shri Varahadeva (Lord Vishnu's Manifestation as Boar) addressing goddess Earth says: "Oh Earth! All those offenses about My service (in Arcana or worship in a Temple of Lord Vishnu) that have been described by Me must always be eschewed by all true Vaishnavas with particular care. –118-


Commentary: Commenting on the above sloka Shri Jiva Gosvami cites various offenses of service or Arcane in accordance with the teachings of the Agamas. They are as follows:


          (1) Visiting the Lord's temple either in a carriage or with sandals on; (2) Not observing the great festivals of Lord Vishnu; (3) Not prostrating oneself before the Deity of Vishnu in a temple; (4) Whipping the Lord and praying before the Deity without washing hands and feet, eating or with an unclean body (5) doing obeisances to the Lord with one's single hand only; (6) Loitering about before the Figure of the Lord; (7) Sitting before the Deity of Vishnu in the temple with stretched legs; (8) Sitting with one's hands binding one's raised knees in front of the Deity in the temple; (9) Lying down before the Lord's Figure; (10) Taking one's meal before the Deity of Vishnu; (11) Mendacity or telling lies before the Lord; (12) Speaking aloud before the Lord's Figure; (13) Gossiping or talking to one another before the Lord; (14) Shedding tears on account of earthly matters before the Lord; (15) Quarreling with others in the presence of the Lord's Figure; (16) Showing favor, or (17) disfavor, or (18) using harsh words before the Deity of Lord Vishnu; (19) appearing before the temple covering one’s body with a coarse rug; (20) Praising, or (21)

Blaming other people before the Lord; (22) Using obscene language

before the Lord; (23) Passing wind before the Lord; (24) even when

capable not to worship the Lord according to one's capacity; (25)

Eating without offering one’s food to the Lord; (26) Not offering the season fruits to the Lord before using them oneself; (27) To make offerings to the Deities of the Lord out of the remainder after one's consumption; (28) To sit with one's back to the Figure of the Lord; (29) showing respects to or saluting anybody in the presence of the Lord's Figure in the temple; (30) Keeping mum before one's Spiritual Preceptor; (31) Self-glorification, (32) Disparagement of other deities. These thirty-two offenses have been stated in the Agamas.


          The various offenses in the worship of the Deity that have been mentioned in the Varaha Puranam may be briefly stated here: (33) To live on king's (government's) support; (34) To touch the Body of the Deity in a dark temple; (35) To approach the Deity and temple in violation of scriptural directions; (36) To open the door of the temple of the Lord without music or malting any sound; (37) Offering of food to the Lord which has been seen by a dog; (38) to break one's silence during the time of worship in the temple; (39) To go out for easing one's self while engaged in the worship of the Lord in the temple; (40) Offering of incise before one has offered scented flower-garlands to the Lord; (41) To worship with forbidden flower; (42) To worship the Lord without cleansing the teeth; (43) Worshipping of the Deity after sexual intercourse; (44) To worship the Deity in the temple after touching a woman in menses or a dead body; (45) worshipping of the Lord with blue or red or unwashed or other's dirty clothes on; (46) Worshipping of Lord Hari after seeing a dead body or passing wind, on in anger or after visiting a cremation ground; (48) To worship the Lord in a state of indigestion;(49) To worship the Deity of Lord Vishnu in the temple after smoking hemp or hashish (cares); (50) To touch the Figure of the Lord after smearing oil over the body; committing such offenses in the worship or Arcana in Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti becomes  source of sins; (51) To attempt practices of worship in Vaidhi Bhakti ignoring the prescriptions of the Scriptures is an offense; (52) Introducing Sastra other than authentic sacred Scriptures for worship of Lord Vishnu; (53)To chew betel-leaves in front of the Figure of the Lord; (54) To worship the Figure of the Lord with flowers of castor-oil plants; (55) To worship at forbidden times; (56) To sit on a wooden seat or in bare floor at the time of worship; (57) To touch the Figure of the Lord with the left-hand at the time of bathing Him; (58) to worship with stale  flowers or flowers which have already been asked for by other; (59) To spit at the time of worship; (60) To gloat over one’s act of worship of the Lord; (61) To put on upward Vaishnava-mark curved on the forehead; (62) To enter into the temple without washing one’s feet; (63) Offering of food cooked by a non Vaishnava; (64) To worship the Figure of the Lord in the presence of non Vaishnavas; (65) To worship Lord Vishnu without worshipping Shri Ganesa first; (66) To bathe the Figure of the Lord with water which has been touched by figure-nails; (67) To worship when the body is suffused with perspiration; (68) To cross the offerings to the Lord; (69) to vow in the Name of the Lord. Similar and so many other forms of offenses in Arcana have been mentioned in the Scriptures. –118-


Sanskrta Text 119-120:

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||


Translation: It is said in the Padma Puranam that even if one has committed all these offenses in the worship of the Arca-vigraha (Lord's Deity or Figure) in the temple, one is free from all effects of such offenses if one should take absolute refuge in Lord Hari. But should a two-legged animal commit offenses at the Feet at Lord Hari, he can certainly save himself even from such a serious default by taking to the chanting of the Name of the Lord. But one must definitely fall from one's spiritual life should one commit offenses to Lord Hari's Name, who is the best friend of all. –119-120-


Commentary: All the three commentators viz. Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami and Shri Visvanatha have cited from Padma Puranam the ten offenses to the Name of the Lord Hari (Krishna) as follows:


To speak ill of sadhus or to calumniate them.


Note: One should differentiate between a genuine Sadhu (See Introduction under heading Sadhu-sanga) and a pseudo Sadhu. To show respect to a false person in the grab of a Sadhu as equal to a genuine Sadbu or saint, and to disrespect a genuine saint mistaking him to be a sham one will be equally an offense to the Name of the Supreme Lord; because a Sadhu or devotee is dear to the Lord, and the Lord is displeased with one who calumniates His true devotee while honoring one who brings disgrace to himself and the Lord by pretending to be a Sadhu.


          (2) To meditate in the presence of the Supreme Lord Vishnu on the name, form, qualities, etc. of Shri Siva the independent Lord is an offense to the Name of Lord Hari.


          Note: In the Brahma-samhita it has been said that Lord Rudra (Siva) is neither different from nor independent of Lord Vishnu. As milk is turned into curd when it contacts sour, so also Lord Vishnu becomes Rudra (Siva) when He contacts His own External Patience 'Maha-Maya' (Vahiranga Sakti). Lord Visnnu remains as such when He associates Himself with His Internal Potency (Svarupa Sakti) as 'Yaga-Maya', but He is Rudra or Siva when He is inclined to embrace His External Potency 'Maha-Maya.' So Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva are One, though Siva is not independent of Vishnu. From milk one can have curd, but curd cannot be reexchanged into milk! So also Siva (Rudra) is the changed Aspect of Lord Vishnu. Hence to meditate on Shri Siva as the independent Lord in the presence of Lord Vishnu is an offense to the Name of the Lord.


          (3) Disregard to the Spiritual Preceptor is an offense to the Name of the Godhead.


Note: One can receive the transcendental Name, as distinct from a mundane word, from the Spiritual Master only. Hence to be disrespectful to one's Guru is naturally an offense to the Name of the Lord. Here again, one has to be very cautious about who is a genuine and qualified Guru in one's spiritual life and who is not. In the Seventh Canto of the Bhagavatam, Prince Prahlada has differentiated between a preceptor of the mundane values of life and a Spiritual Preceptor (Guru) whom helps one out of the dirt and filth of this phenomenal world and its blandishments and raises the disciple to a higher level of a spiritual awakening for the attainment of the absolute Value of human birth in self-realization and God-realization. Sanda and Amarka were the family-teachers of Prince Prahlada; he was placed under them by his mighty father King Hirany-akasipu (one given to wealth and lust) to be taught in the science and philosophy. Prince Prahlada learnt them as a Crown prince, because desired by his father; but he did not admire such learning because it led one only to transitory objects. Such preceptors did not know, says Prahlada, that Lord Vishnu is the only and highest Object of one's supreme selfishness, and not earthly values. So one who fails to lead his disciple out of earthly desires to spiritual aspirations and true realization cannot be accepted as a Guru or Spiritual Master. Such worldly-wise and clever but otherwise spiritually ignorant preceptor has been described by Prahlada as a Guru-vrava or a fake-guru. If one, knowingly or unknowingly, accepts such a person as his Spiritual Preceptor, such a parson will certainly be hurled in the ditch of earthliness just as the blind led by the blind, will fall in the pit along with his blind guide! So, not only to be disrespectful to a genuine Spiritual Master is an offense to the Lord's Name, but to show respect to a false and pretending so-called guru is equally an offense.


(4) To condemn the Scriptures is an offense for the Name of the Supreme Lord (because the Scriptures have established that the Name the Lord and the Lord Himself are one and identical. Hence to disbelieve the Scriptures is to disbelieve the Lord Himself).


          (5) To think that all the glories of the Name of God that have been mentioned in the Scriptures are merely exaggerated eulogies only is an offense to the Lord's Name (because no praise can be sufficient to glorify the supreme efficacy of the Name of God, as no praise can be sufficient enough to express the glories of the Godhead, Both being One and identical).


          (6) To gives any indirect and forced meaning to the Name of the Lord is an offense (for example, when the Scriptures use the Lord's Name as 'Hari', to explain it away in that context that the word 'Hari' means 'lion'  'lotus', is an offense).


(7) To commit sins on the strength of the Name of the Lord.


          Note: It is true that all sins are washed away if one should take to the chanting of the Name of God. But because of this power of the chanting of the Name of God, if one purposely commits sins or continues to commit sins in the belief that after one had committed sins if one should chant the Name of the Lord, all his sins would be washed away, one is guilty of offense to the Name. In fact, this is a sheer misuse of the chanting of the Name of God. One should chant the Name of Gold for self-realization and God-realization with the sole object of serving the Lord for His delight. One who is thus engaged in the chanting of Lord's Name has one's no doubt pardoned. But to misuse the Lord’s Name for committing sins is an offense. Cf. "Don't take Lord's Name in vain."


          (8) To consider chanting of Lord's Name as an equivalent or an alternative to so many other kinds of good deeds is an offense. (No work, however noble, can equal the supreme efficacy of the chanting of the Name of God).


          (9) To advise a disbeliever on the Name of Lord Hari or to initiate disbeliever in the Name of Lord Hari is an offense.


          (10) To have no taste for the chanting of the Name of the Lord even after listening for all the super-excellence of the Name is an offense. –119-120-


Text 121:

20– tan-nindady sahishëuta yatha shri dashame106 –

nindam bhagavatah shrëvams tat parasya janasya va |

tato napaiti yah so ‘pi yatyadhah sukritaccyutah ||121||



In the Bhagavatam Shri Sukadeva Gosvami addressing King Parksita says: "One who does not immediately leave the place where one has to hear ill talks against the Lord and His devotees, must fall from spiritual life, losing all the fruits of his previous good deeds in his spiritual practices. –121-


Text 122:

21 – atha vaishëava cihëa dhritih yatha padme:

ye kaëtha-lagna-tulasi-nalinaksha-mala

ye vahumula-paricihëita-shankha cakrah |

ye va lalata-phalake lasad-urdha-puëdra

ste vaishëava bhuvanam ashu pavitrayanti ||122||



It is said in the Padma Puranam that those who have the Tulasi garland or the garland of the seeds of lotuses tightly round their neck, those who put on the signs of the wheel-conch-mace-lotus of Lord Vishnu on their both arms, and those whose foreheads are adorned with the upward tilaka painted with sandal-paste, such Vaishnavas soon sanctify the whole universe. –122-


Text 123:

22 – namakshara-dhritih yatha skande:

hari-namakshara-yutam bhale gopi-mridankitam|

tulasi-malikoraskam sprisheyurna yamodbhatah ||123||




It is said in the Skanda Puranam that one who stamps his body and forehead with the letters of the Name of Lord Hari and put on Tilaka with Gopi-candana (Vaishnava marks on the forehead and 12 upper limbs of the body painted with a yellowish-white earth taken from the Gopi-tank at Dvaraka, where the rumor goes, the Gopis or the Damsels of Braja drowned themselves after Lord Krishna left this world) and one who has put on Tulasi-garland on one's breast-such a one the terrible servants of Yama (the God of Death) can never even touch (i.e. they become immortal). –123-


Commentary: Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami says that like the Tulasi garlands, the Scriptures have also prescribed the garlands of embolic myrobalan. It is stated in the Skanda Puranam that one who does not hold Tulasi garland or garland made of Dhatri-fruit-seeds cannot be called a Vaishnava even if he be engaged in the worships of Lord Vishnu. A Vaishnava should never give up a Tulasi garland, especially Dhatri garland, which is the destroyer of sins even of the most heinous kind and giver of the earthly values of dharma-artha-kama.



Translator’s note: Shri Jiva Gosvami has mentioned that he saw the author of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindbah Shri Rupa Gosvami himself always had the Dhatri garland round his neck. But the use of the Dhatri garland is no more in use amongst the followers of the Gaudiya School of Shri Chaitanya. But it is used by some only at the time of arcana or worship together with four other garlands. So it is very difficult to agree with Shri Mukunda dasa that one who does not constantly wear the Dhatri garland cannot be called a Vaishnava. The followers of the Ramanuja Vaisnavism even do not wear the Tulasi garland constantly they wear it only at the time of worship. But the followers of Shri Chaitanya, Vallabha, Ramananda and Madhva as well as Nimbarka, particularly those, who are Sadhus amongst them, wear the Tulasi garland constantly. The Caitanyites and the Ramanandis put the Tulasi garland tightly round their neck, while the Vallabhites and the Madhvaits wear the Tulasi garland down to the breast. –123-


Text 124:

padme ca:

krishëa-mamaksharair-gatram anka yec candanadina |

sa loka-pavaëo bhutva tasya lokam-avapnuyat ||124||


Translation: It is mentioned in the Padma Puranam that one who decorates his body with the letters of the Name of Lord Krishna with sandal-paste etc. soon becomes sanctified of the universe and enters into the Realm of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. –124-


Text 125:

23 – nirmalya-dhritih yatha ekadashe:107

tvayopabhukta-srag-dandha-vaso ‘lankara-carcitah |

ucchishta-bhojino dasas tava mayam jayema hi ||125||


Translation: (23) ACCEPTANCE OF NIRMALYA (flower garlands, Tulasi with sandal-paste, etc. offered to the Shri-Vigraha, i.e. Deity or Figure) of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna:



          Shri Uddhava addressing Lord Shri Krishna says: "Oh Lord! We are Thy eternal servants, living on the remains of Thy Food; we shall certainly be able to conquer Thy Maya by anointing ourselves with the scent, sandal, garlands, clothes and ornaments that have already been enjoyed by Thee! –125-


Commentary: In support of the above sloka of the Bhagavatam, Shri Jiva Gosvami quotes two other verses from the Bhagavatam (Canto XI, Chapter 6, slokas 47 and 48) where Shri Uddhava says: "Lord! It is true that the self-controlled, meditative, naked, penance-enduring, continent and pure-minded monks attain Brahma-dhama; but we who are engaged in karma and wander in the various worlds shall be able to surmount Thy impassable Maya by singing Thy glories in the company of Thy devotees!”  -125-


Text 126:

skande ca:

krishëottirëantu nirmalyam yasyangam sprishate mune |

sarva-rogais tatha papair-mukto bhavati narada ||126||


Translation: It is stated in the Skanda Puranam: "Oh Sage Narada! One whose body is touched by the offered flowers, flower garland, Tulasi and Sandal from the Body of the Vigraha (the Deity as Symbol of the Eternal Form of the Lord, worshipped in the temple) of Lord Krishna is freed from all diseases and all his sins."  -126-


Text 127:

24 – agre taëdavam yatha dvaraka-mahatmye:

yo nrityati pharrishtatma bhavair-bahu-subhaktitah |

sa nirdhati papani manvantara-shateshv api ||127||



It is stated in the Dvaraka-mahatmya that he who cheerfully and with overwhelming emotions of Bhakti frantically dances in front of the Lord, has his sins of many many Manvantaras completely burnt into ashes. –127-


Translator’s note: One Manvantara equals 71 series of Four Ages, i.e. in each Manvantara the Four Ages revolve 71 times. The Four Ages are Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The Four Ages are equivalent to 43,20,000 years. –127-


Text 128:

tatha shri-naradoktau ca:

nrityam shri-pater-agre talika-vadanair-bhrisham |

udòiyante sharira-sthah sarve pataka-pakshiëah || 128 ||


Translation: So also said by Shri Narada: All sins, like so many birds, fly away from the bodies of those who repeatedly dance in front of Shripati, the Lord of Laksmi (Supreme Lord Narayana) to the accompaniment of clapping of hands.



Text 129:

25 – daëòavan natih yatha naradiye:

eko ‘pi krishëaya kritah praëamo dashashvamedhavabhrithairna tulyah |

dashashvamedhi punareti janma krishëa-praëami na punar-bhavaya ||129||


Translation: (25) PROSTRATED OBEISANCES: It is mentioned in the Narada-Pancaratra that performances of ten Asventedha-Yajnas (a Vedic sacrificial rite by which a ksatriya king sends out a horse, challenging all rulers in order to be the emperor over them all) cannot be compared with a single prostrates obeisance to the Feet of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, because one who performs even ten Aivantedha-Yajnas has to be reborn whereas one who has once prostrated before the Feet of the Lord is not born again. –129-


Text 130:

26 – abhyutthanam yatha brahmaëòe:

yanaruòham purah prekshya samayantam janardanam |

abhyutthanam narah kurvan patayet sarva-kilbisham || 130 ||



It is said in the Brahmanda Puranam that he who rises from his seat observing the Shri Vigraha (Deity) of Lord Janardana coming in front riding a chariot has all his sins destroyed. –130-


Text 131:

27 – anuvrajya yatha bhavishyottare:

rathena saha gacchanti parshvatah prishthato ‘gratah |

vishëunaiva samah sarve bhavanti shvapadacayah || 131 ||



It is mentioned in the Bhavisya Puranam that even a candala who eats dog's flesh become raised to the venerable status of Lord Vishnu Himself if he follows the Lord in a chariot or any other carriage by its side, from behind or in front. -131-


Text 132:

28 – sthane gatih

sthanam tirtham grihancasya tatra tirthe gatir-yatha || 132 ||


Translation: (28) VISIT TO THE LORD’S PLACE:

          By 'Place' here should be understood a place of pilgrimage (associated

with the Lord) and His temple, which are to be visited. –132-



Text 133:


samsara-marukantara-nistara-karaëa-kshamau |

slaghyau taveva caraëau yau hares-tirtha gaminau || 133 ||


Translation: It is mentioned in another Puranam:

The two legs that walk to the places of pilgrimage associated with

Lord Hari becomes means of crossing the desert of this world and are praiseworthy. -133-


Text 134:

alaye ca yatha bhari-bhakti-sudhodaya:

pravishann-alayam vishëor-darshanartham subhaktiman |

na bhuyah pravishen-matuh kukshikaragriham sudhih || 134 ||


Translation: Also TO THE TEMPLE:

As is mentioned in the Haribhaktisudhoday, if persons of pure Bhakti and true wisdom enter into the temple for a sight of the Lord Vishnu, they do not ever again enter into the prison of the mother's womb. –134-


Text 135:

29 – parikramo yatha tatraiva:

vishëum pradakshini-kurvan yas tatravartate punah |

tad evavantanam tasya punar-navartate bhave || 135 ||


Translation: (29) CIRCUMAMBULATION:

It is said in the Haribhaktisudhodaya that one who circumambulates Lord Vishnu repeatedly, has not to pass through the cycles of births and deaths any more, for, that is his last cycle in this world. –135-


Text 136:

skande ca caturmasya-mahatmye:

catur-varam bhramibhistu jagat sarvam caracaram |

krantam bhavati vipragrya tat tirtha-gamanadhikam || 136 ||


Translation: It is further stated in the Caturmasya-mahatmya of the Skanda Puranam that those who have circumambulated Lord Vishnu four times have gone round the entire universe of all animate and inanimate objects, and such circumiambulation of Lord Vishnu (His Vigraha in a temple) is, Oh great among brahmanas! Of greater importance than going on pilgrimage. -136-


Text 137:

30 – atha arcanam:

shuddhi-nyasadi-purvanga-karma-nirvaha-purvakam |

arcanam tupacaraëam syan-mantreëopapadanam || 137 ||



Translation: (30) Next, WORSHIP:

Offering of the materials or ingredients along with mantram (revealed syllables with transcendental potency) to Lord Vishnu after one has first finished purification of the elements and Matrika-nyasa, is called Arcana, i.e. worship. –137-



Text 138:

tad yatha dashame:108

svargapavargayoh pumsam rasayam bhuvi sampadam |

sarvasam api siddhinam mulam tac caraëarcanam || 138 ||


Translation: For example, in the Tenth Canto of the Bhagavatam:


After meeting Lord Shri Krishna at Dvaraka while returning home, Shri Sudama Brahmana mused in his mind that worship of the Feet of Lord Shri Krishna is the source of all kinds of mukti for all, including all the wealth of heaven, earth and the subterranean, regions. –138-


Text 139:

vishëurahasye ca:

shri-vishëor arcanam ye tu prakurvanti nara bhuvi |

te yanti shashvatam vishëor anandam paramam padam || 139 ||


Translation: Also in Vishnurahasya:


It is stated in the Vishnurahasya that those who worship Lord Vishnu on this earth attain to the supreme spiritual Realm of Lord Vishnu, which abounds in eternal delight.  –139-


Commentary: Here according to Shri Jiva Gosvami in the above text, the Arcana or worship has been regarded as the principal element, and by eulogizing Arcana or worship, the spiritual efficacy of the other elements has been softly emphasized. According to one interpretation of this text, what is emphasized is that in the absence of worship the other elements of Bhakti, i.e. Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti, may be usefully resorted to. According to a second interpretation, in the case of persons confused about the true character of the different elements of Bhakti, resort to other elements in the absence of Arcana or worship is useless. The first interpretation is supported by various statements in the Bhagavatam prescribing the other elements where Arcana is lacking. Thus, in the Eleventh Canto, Chapter 14, sloka 3, Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: In the Vedas has been described the innate and eternal religion arising out of My Intrinsic Potency, which is Bhakti. When through the effect of time it became hidden from view in the state of Final Dissolution, I Myself instructed Brahma about this dharma (before another Creation is started).

          In the Second Canto, Chapter 2, sloka 10 of the Bhagavatam sage

Sukadeva addressing King Pariksita says: "Whether one be niskama, i.e.

free    from all desires, or be a prey to all sorts of desires, or a seeker of

liberation, or a man of the right sort of intelligence, one should practice

Bhakti unmixed with the ways of karma and jnana, and thereby serve the

Supreme Person, viz. God."


          In the above two slokas, the Principal elements of Sadhana-Bhakti have been stated.


          In the Eighth Canto, Chapter 23, Sloka 16, Shri Sukracarya addressing Lord Vamanadeva says: “Even if one loses one's voice and thereby is unable to utter correctly the mantram (revealed spiritual syllables) of Arcana or worship, or if one fails to observe the order of worship laid down in the Tantras, or one becomes otherwise deficient in respect of all the paraphernalia of worship arising out of a particular local situation or a particular time or the particular nature of the individual concerned, all such deficiencies and errors are made good, Oh Lord! By utterance of Thy Name.” In this statement ‘Chanting of the Name’ as an essential element in worship is described.


  In the Eleventh Canto, Chapter 5, slokas 2-3 of the Bhagavatam, sage Camasa Yogindra addressing King Nimi says: “Out of the Lord's Mouth, His Arms, His Thighs and His Feet have arisen the four varnas (classes) and the four asramas (disciplines) of spiritual culture with the respective qualities, and therefore those who do not worship the Lord who is the Source and Cause of their origin, out of ignorance, or who show contemptuous indifference to such worship even knowing that they owe their existence to the Lord, lose their status in respect of the class (varna) to which they belong and the discipline (asrama) which is appropriate for them and fall to lower depths.” Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that this text refers to the varna-asrama-dharma, which is Misra-Bhakti, i.e. Karmamisra-Bhakli.


          In the Second Canto, Chapter 4, sloka 17 of the Bhagavatam, Shri Sukadeva Gosvami addressing King Pariksita says: "I bow again and again to the Lord who is the very Embodiment of holiness and is reputed throughout the universe as the Source of all spiritual Values, to whom must be rendered all the austerities etc. by aspirants in the way of knowledge and austerities, or believers in the way of karma who specialize by generosity and gifts, or believers in sacrificial cult who perform asvamedha and other Vedic sacrifices, and believers in repeats muttering of the Name of their chosen Deities, and also individuals known for the purity of all their behavior or dealings, if the activities are to bear their beneficial fruits." Here is stated Bhakti which is attained by imputation (Apora-Siddha-Bhakti). –139-


Translator’s note: The Arcana-system in Hindu religion in general and in Vaisnavism in particular is most elaborate, which is not found in any other religion of the world. This is one of the most fundamental and vital aspects of Hindu spiritual culture. Be it in Vedic ritualism, or Tantrik practices or Pancaratra system, Arcana finds a very important place. The ingredients of Arcana can be sixteen, viz. (1) Seat; (2) Invocation; (3) Water for washing the Feet of the Deity; (4) Sacred offering of garlands etc.; (5) Water for washing the Mouth; (6) Oblation of five substances-curds, ghee of cow's milk, sugar, milk and honey; (7) Again water for washing the Mouth, (8) Bathing of the Deity; (9) Clothes; (10) Ornaments; (11) Sweet Scents; (12) Flowers; (13) Incense; (14) Lamp (of ghee or oil); (15) Food or offering of eatables presented to the Deity; (16) Prayer- Asana, Svagata, Padya, Arghya, Acamaniya, 'Madbuparka, Punaracamanaya, Snana, Vasana, Abharana, Sugandha, Puspa, Dhupa, Dipa, Naivedya, and Vandana respectively are the sixteen ingredients of Arcana.


          Ten ingredients in Arcana are also used, viz. (1) Padya on water for washing the Feet of the Deity, (2) Arghya or Sacred Garlands for offering to the Deity, (3) Acamaniya or water for washing the Mouth, (4) Madhuparka, i.e. honey, curds, ghee, sugar, and milk for the purpose of oblation, (5) Punaracamaniya or water again for washing the Mouth, (6) Sugandha or sweet scents, (7) Puspa or flowers, (8) Dhupa or incense, (9) Dipa or lamp, and (10) Naivedya or oaring of eatables presented to the Deity.


          In the shortest form of worship or Arcena, five such materials are used, viz. (1) Sweet scents, (2) Flowers, (3) Incense, (4) Lamp, and (5) Offering of eatables presented to the Deity.


          In the Arcana-system, there are elaborate methods of Anga-nyasa, i.e. touching the different parts of the body in conformity with the instructions of the Scriptures; there is Kara-nyiasa i.e. different movements of the hands and fingers in specific mudras, i. E. modes of intertwining the fingers during worship, at the time of invoking the Lord, at the time of bathing or at the time of offering Naivediya, etc. –139-


Text: 140

31 – paricarya:

paricarya tu sevopakaraëadi parishkriya |

tatha prakirëa kac chatravadi tradyair upasana || 140 ||


Translation: SERVICE:

Cleansing and purifying (by mantram and sacred water) the various objects used in worship, and waving the camara (a fan made of white tail-hairs of a Yak and used in temples) at the time of the Lord's worship, holding the umbrella over the Lord's Deity during the worship, and striking the bell and blowing conch-shell when worship is going on the above are the TWO kinds of SERVICE through accessories. –140-


Commentary: Sir Jiva Gosvami observes that Paricarya means using such accessories as one uses in serving the king. –140-


Sanskrta Text 141:

yatha naradiye:

muhurtam va muhurtarddham yasti shthedd-hari-mandire |

sa yati paramam stanam kimu shushrushaëe ratah || 141 ||


Translation: As in Naradiya Puranam:


In the Naradiya Puranam it has been stated that he who stays for one moment or even half-a moment in the temple of Lord Hari goes to the Highest Spiritual Realm of the Lord. Therefore, about them who are engaged in the service of the Lord (through the various accessories), one need not say much or what more to speak of them? –141-


Text 142:

yatha caturthe:109

yat-pada-sevabhirucis tapasvinam ashesha-janmopacitam malam dhiyah |

sadyah kshiëoty anvaham edhati sati yatha padangushtha-vinih shrita sarit || 142 ||


Translation: In the Fourth Canto of the Bhagavatam King Prthu addressing his own subjects says: “The desire for the worship of the Feet of the Lord growing day by day in intensity washes away all accumulated stain of the mind through innumerable births and rebirths in sages like the sacred Ganga that issues from the Feet of the Lord.” –142-


Text 143:

angani vividhany eva syuh puja-paricaryayoh |

na tani likhitanyatra grantha-vahulya-bhititah || 143 ||


Translation: Though in respect of Worships and Service through various ingredient there are many other elements that could be mentioned here, but they are not here specifically stated for fear of swelling the bulk of the work (to unmanageable volume). –143-


Text 144:

32 – atha gitam

yatha lainge:

brahmaëo vasudevakhyam gayamano ‘nisham param |

hareh salokyam apnoti rudra-ganadhikam bhavet || 144 ||


Translation: (32) Next, SONGS, as in Linga Puranam:


It has been sung in the Linga Puranam that, a brahmana who sings without break the praise of the Supreme Being Vasudeva attains salokya or residence in the Realm of Lord Vasudeva (Vaikuntha). A brahmna's song, in praise of Lord Vasudeva is more fruitful than even the songs of Rudra. –144-


Commentary: Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami observes that it is forbidden for a brahmana to sing any songs other than songs in praise of the Lord. –144-


Text 145:

33 – atha samkirtanam

nama-lila-guëadinam uccair-bhasha tu kirtanam || 145 ||


Translation: (33) Then, SINGING ALOUD:

Kirtanam or singing aloud is defined as singing the Name, Qualities and Events or Pastimes of the Lord Divine Life in loud voice. –145-


Translator’s note: The usual meaning of Sankirtanam as well as its derivative meaning is singing together or singing in congregation. Shri Rupa Gosvami, however, defines Sankirtanam as singing in a loud voice. –145-


Text 146:

tatra nama-kirtanam

yatha vishëu-dharme:

krishëeti mangalam nama yasya vaci pravartate |

bhashmi bhavanti rajendra maha-pataka-kotayah || 146 ||



In Vishnudharma Puranam we have the following addressed to king: “Oh king! The utterance of the holy Name "Krishna" has the effect of reducing to ashes millions and millions of sins of the gravest kind.” –146-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that as in the previous text 'Arcana' or 'worship' is considered as the principal spiritual efficacy of other subsidiary elements in Vaidhi Sadhana-Bhakti, so also here the superexcellence of the chanting of the Name being described, the excellence for spiritual values of other subsidiary elements has been emphasized. Here by mention, of the Name of Krishna, the other Names of Lord Vishnu have also been referred to by implication. –146-


Text 147:

lila-kirtanam, yatha saptame:110

so ‘ham priyasya suhridah paradevataya lila-kathas-tava nrisinha |

anjas titarmy anugriëan guëa vipramukto

durgaëi te pada-yugalaya hamsa-sangah || 147 ||




In the Seventh Canto of the Bhagavatam, Prince Prahlada, addressing Lord Nrsimhadeva (Lord in the Form of the Lion-Man) says: "Oh Lord! I have taken shelter at Thy Feet, I am Thine favored servitor; I shall easily scale the insurmountable barriers of all the afflictions of life by virtue of association with the saintly devotees of Thyself, who having taken shelter at Thy Feet are free from the trials of samsara or empirical life. Such association will make me conquer the attractions and aversions that lie at the root of samsara. My freedom from the ills of life will enable me to the conquest of the bondage of the flesh. I shall chant the glory of Thy Divine Pastimes that have been sung by Brahma (The Creator of the Universe), and shall easily overcome the bondage of samsara continuing to sing Thy glories who is my Supreme Deity and my Friend of the heart and my dearest Object of love." –147-


Text 148:

guëa-kirtanam, yatha prathame:111

idam hi pumsas tapasah shrutasya va svishtasya suktasya ca buddhi dattayoh |

avicyuto ‘rthah kavibhir nirupito yad uttamahshloka-guëanuvarëanam || 148 ||



In the First Canto of the Bhagavatam Shri Narada addressing Vyasadeva says: “Wise men have declared that all the fruits that came from the practice of austerities, reading of the Vedas, carefully performed Vedic sacrifices, properly pronounced revealed (mystic) syllables of the Vedas, realization of the knowledge of Brahman, and charities are an invariable consequence of singing the holy QUALITIES of Lord Hari of sacred fame. –148-


Commentary: Mukunda dasa Gosvami observes that in the text ‘Avicyutah arthah’ means 'akhanda Purusartha'. Dharma or moral artha or economy, and karma or sensuous values as well as moksa or liberation are partial Ends, i.e. 'khanda purusartha'! But Bhakti is ‘akhanda purusartha’, i.e. purusartha or the Supreme End in its completeness and fullness without any segmentation or division. Though austerities (tapasya) etc. have no immediate consequence of Bhakti as their fruit, yet they conduce mediately to Bhakti as their fruit because of their association with offering to the Lord and other similar acts. In this way Bhakti has to be regarded as a fruit of austerities through intermediary associated processes. In the Seventh Canto of the Bhagavatam Prahlada addressing the Asura boys, i.e. the children of the atheists, says: “Charities, austerities, sacrifices, ablutions, and the performance of vows, etc. cannot please the Lord. It is only pure Bhakti that is capable of causing delight to the Lord. For the Lord all practices, other than, the practice of unalloyed Bhakti, are superfluous and useless.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti observes that previously it has been staid in sloka 66 that even by renouncing the code of duties appropriate for oneself, one may attain fruition or fulfillment by Bhakti alone. Here it is added if a devotee has some liking for any particular cult, then his object will be attained in respect of the cult or cults he believes in by means of Bhakti. Wise men have said that dwelling on the transcendental Qualities of the Lord and emphasizing their great spiritual significance constitute the real essence of austerities and other practices. In the dictionary 'Medini-Kosa', 'artha' has been stated also as equivalent of 'hetu' or cause. Hence 'avichyntah arthah' in the text means that which is 'heta' of 'avichuti' or separation from one's intrinsic end. In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: “Whatever is attainable by karma or Vedic ritualism, austerities or tapasya, jnana or knowledge, renunciation or tyaga and vairagya, practice of yoga or meditation, charities or Dana, the duties of life in varna-asrama-dharma and other means of attaining sreyah or good, My devotees by practicing Bhakti or Service unto Me alone easily attain all that. As the fruits of austerities etc. are realized by means of Bhakti, it goes without saying that the austerities etc. themselves must have succeeded in achieving their end. 'Lord Vishnu has always to be meditated upon and never to allowed to go out of mind-these two prescriptions, one injunctive and the other prohibitive, are the foundation of all the injunctions and prohibitions laid down in the sacred books'. In fact, this statement establishes recollecting, i.e. meditating on the Lord as basis, and therefore constituting the governing principle of all the codes of the different religious sects. Therefore it is superfluous to speak of the austerities, etc. as commits under the same principle. All scriptural injunctions about austerities reading the Vedas, etc. have all their meaning or significance in Bhakti or Service to the Lord for His delight. This is why chanting the EULOGY of the Lord is the inseparable import or means of austerities and other similar practices. In fact, their dharma or codes of religious duties are only forms of various Services (Bhakti) to the Lord. In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam Lord Krishna addressing Uddhava says: "In the Vends Bhakti as worship of My Self has been taught, and when through the effect of time it disappeared from earth at the final thorough dissolution of Cosmos I initiated Brahma, the Creator of a New World, into this lesson of Bhakti as the religion that appertains to or aniseed out of My Intrinsic Nature or Svarupa Sakti". From them words of the Lord it is quite obvious that the Vedas have the purport of teaching Bhakti as the true religion.


          Shri Madhusudana Sarasvati has also said that all scriptural declarations have for their purport and meaning the Lord Himself. Therefore, there being no dependence of Bhakti in karma or the way of Vedic ritualism, the definition of Suddha Bhakti or pure services, and devotion as Guna-Kirtanam or singing the EULOGY of the Lord’s transcendental Qualities (without reference to karma) cannot be regarded as being a definition vitiated by the fallacy of avyapti or being too narrow. If karma were declared to be a condition of Bhakti, then as being depended on karma, Suddha-Bhakti regarded as consisting in Guna-Kirtanam or singing of the Eulogy of the transcendental Qualities of the Lord will be vitiated by the fallacy of being a too narrow definition. –148-


Text 149:

34 – atha japah

mantrasya sulaghuccaro japa ity abhidhiyate || 149 ||


Translation: (34) Next, JAPA:

Very very silent utterance of the Mantra is the revealed syllables of transcendental potency is called Japa or silent muttering. –149-


Text 150:

yatha padme:

krishëaya nama ity esha mantrah sarvartha-sadhakah |

bhaktanam japatam bhupa svarga-moksha-phala-pradah || 150 ||


Translation: It is said in the Padma Puranam that the mystic ‘Krishnaya namah’ (Obeisance to Krishna) offers men all the values of life. It gives heaven and liberation to those devotees how are engaged in muttering this mantram silently. –150-


Text 151:

35 – atha vijnaptih

yatha skande:

harim-uddishya yat kincit kritam vijnapanam gira |

moksha-dvarar-galan mokshastenaiva vihitas tava || 151 ||


Translation: Next VIJNAPTI or Forms of submissive Prayers:

It is said in the Skanda Puranam: "Whatsoever you have placed by words before Lord Hari to make known to Him, such Vijnapti alone opens to you the gates of final liberation." -151-


Text 152:

samprarthanatmika dainyavodhika lalasamayi |

ity adir vividha dhiraih krishëe vijnaptiririta || 152 ||


Translation: The wise have describe Vijnapti or submission of prayers to Shri Krishna of manifold forms, such as, Samprarthanatmika, i.e. prayer with whole-hearted submission of mind, body and everything to the Lord, or Datnyavodhika, i.e. making known to Lord Krishna one's insignificance and worthlessness, or Lalasamayi, i.e. making known one's yearning for the personal service of the Lord. –152-


Commentary: Shri Mukunda dasa, Gosvami observes that the term "Samprarthana" here means 'prayer to the Lord that one's mind and other organs of experience may always be engaged in the worship of the Lord." And ‘Lalasamayi Prarthana’ means prayers for the service of the Lord in the way one desires to serve the Lord. The 'way one desires to serve the Lord' is however determined by the Nitya-Siddha-Bhaktas, i.e. eternally freed souls who are Associated Parts of the Supreme Lord, and their ways, which a mortal must follow in the wake of.


          Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out however that ‘Samparthana’ i.e. here means prayer for the awakening of Rati, i.e. Bhava (See Introduction under heading VIII) in one in whom it is yet not aroused, while "Lalasamayi Prarthana" means prayer for service of the Person of Lord Krishna as relished by the Ragatmikas or those Eternal Associates of the Lord for which a taste has already been generated in him. –152-


Text 153:

tatra samprarthanatmika

yatha padme:

yuvatinam yatha yuni yunanca yuvatau yatha |

mano ‘bhiramate tad van mano ‘bhiramatam tvayi || 153 ||


Translation: An example of Samrarthanatmika Vijnapti:

In the Padma Puranam it is stated as follows: "Let my mind be occupied with Thee, Oh Lord! Even, as minds of young men and women remain occupied with thoughts of their young lovers!" –153-


Text 154:


yatha tatraiva:

mat-tulyo nasti papatma naparadhi ca kashcana |

parihare ‘pi lajja me kim vruve purushottama || 154 ||


Translation: An example of Dainyavodhika Vijnapti, i.e. submission of prayer which is the essence of self-abasement: In the Padma Puranam we have-There is none who is more sunk in sin than myself nor is there any one who is more guilty of offenses than myself. Oh Thou Supreme Lord Purusottama!  Ashamed even for say ‘Forgive me, my Lord! My sins and misdemeanor! What more can I say, Lord?’



Text 155:


yatha shri narada pancaratre:

kada gambhiraya vaca shriya yukto jagatpate |

camara vyagrahastam mam evam kurv iti vakshyasi || 155 ||


Translation: An example of Lalasamaya Vijnaptai i.e. submission of prayer which is of the nature of yearning:


          In the Narada-Pancaratra Shri Narada addressing the Lord says: "Oh Lord of the Universe! When wilt Thou, resting with Laksmi by Thy side, tell me with a grave voice, who am eagerly waiting ready with the fan of camara in hand 'Oh Narada! Wave your fan in this manner?" –155-


Text 156:

yatha va:

kadaham yamuna-tire namani tava kirtayan |

udbashpah puëòarikaksha racayishyami taëòavam || 156 ||


Translation: Or, there again: Also in Narada-Pancaratra we have Narada addressing the Lord as follows: "Oh Thou of lotus-like eyes! When shall I in tearful eyes start dancing wildly on the bank of the Yamuna singing Thy Holy Name?" –156-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that Lalasamayi Prarthana does not apply to one in whom Rati or Bhava-Bhakti or longing for serving Lord Krishna in the way His Eternal Associates serve Him has not yet arisen. As a matter of fact, Lalasamayi Prarthana has been distinguished previously from Samprarthanamayi Vijnapti in which Lalasa or real yearning is not in evidence yet. The example, therefore, illustrates Lalasamayi Vijnapti and ought to have come under the category of Raganuga-Bhakti, though Shri Rupa Gosvami makes a passing reference to it. –156-


Text 157:

36 – atha stava-pathah:

prokta manishibhir gita-stavarajadayah stavah || 157 ||


Translation: (36) Next, Reading of Hymn in praise of the Lord: Wise men mean by ‘Stava’ the Gita and ‘Stavaraja’. –157-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that the Gita is called 'Stava' because it describes the Glory and the Transcendental Greatness of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna and ‘Stavaraja’ refers to the Hymn in praise of the Lord, called 'Stavaraja' in the Gautamiya Tantra. –157-


Text 158:

yatha skande:

shri-krishëa-stava-ratnaughair yesham jihva tv alankrita |

namasya muni-siddhanam vandaniya divaukasam || 158 ||


Translation: It is said in Skanda Puranam that those whose tongue has been adorned with the gems of Hymns of Shri Krishna become adorable and praiseworthy by munis (saints), siddhas (those who have attained supernatural powers) and even by the gods. –158- 


Text 159:

narasimhe ca:

stotraih stavash ca devagre yah stauti madhusudanam |

sarva-papa-vinirmukto vishëulokam-avapnuyat || 159 ||


Translation: In the Nrsinha Puranam it is said that whosoever sings prayers in praise of Lord Madhusudana (The Destroyer of demon Madhu) with Stotras and Stavas in front of the Arca-Vigraha of Vishnu in a temple becomes free from all sins and attains to the Realm of Vishnu. –159-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that even though there is nor essential difference between 'Stotra' and 'Stava', yet a difference must be acknowledged in so far as 'Stotra' means Hymns composed by some predecessor in praise of the Lord, while a 'Stava' is one that is a spontaneous outpouring of the worshiper himself. 'Stotra' in other words, is a Hymn that is another's composition that one reads for the pleasure of the Lord, whole 'Stava' is one's outpouring of the feelings of the heart. Despite this, however, in the text both 'Gita' and 'Stavaraja' have been described as "Stava" because no other suitable means of evoking one's spontaneous feelings is available.


          Shri Mukunda dasa Gosvami, however, distinguishes 'Stotra', and 'Stava' in a diametrically opposite way. According to Shri Mukunda dasa, ‘Stava’ is another’s composition which one repeats, while 'Stotra' is one's own creation of Hymns in praise of the Lord. Shri Mukunda dasa supports his interpretation by quoting from the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam. Lord Shri Krishna addressing Shri Uddhava says: “A Bhakta (devotee) shall seek My delight and pleasure through reading good, bad and indifferent 'Stavas' mentioned in the Puranas and also offering prayers by 'Stotras' of his own heart's composition, and should prostrate himself at the innermost door of My temple with the prayer 'Lord! Mayest Thou be pleased'”. –159-


Text 160:

37 – atha naivedyasvado, yatha padme:

naivedya-mannam tulasi-vimishram visheshatah pada-jalena siktam |

yo ‘shnati nityam purato murareh prapëoti yajnayuta koti-puëyam || 160 ||


Translation: (37) Naivedyasvada or tasting the EATABLES offered to the Deity of Vishnu in a temple:


          It is stated in the Pandma Puranam that one, who dally eats the offered Naivedya (rice, fruits, etc. eatables offered to the Lord) along with Tulasi, specially consecrated with water after washing the Feet of the Lord, in front of Lord Murari, outside the sanctum sanctorum, attains the merit of performing thousands of Vedic sacrifices and rituals. -160-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami points out that 'puratah' here means 'not in front of the Lord inside the temple itself but outside the sanctum sanctorum', because it has previously been stated in connection with offenses in respect of seva or services at the time of worship that it is forbidden to eat in front of the Deity. Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out, however, that chewing of betel-leaves has previously been for forbidden as an offense, but not every form of feasting. Hence it is no offense to honor Naivedya (offered food) before the Deity in a temple. –160-


Text 161:

38 – atha padyasvado

yatha tatraiva:

na danam na havir yesham svadhyayo na surarcanam |

tepi padodakam pitva prayanti paramam gatim || 161 ||


Translation: (38) Padyasvada or drinking the water used for bathing the Deity and washing the Feet of the Deity:


          It is mentioned in the Padma Puranam that even those who do not give charities, perform oblations, read the Vedas or worship the gods, can attain the highest End only by drinking the water with which the Feet of the Lord has been washer in a temple. –161-


Text 162:

39 – atha dhupa-sairabhyam

yatha hari-bhakti-sudhodaye:

aghraëam yadd harer datta-dhupocchishtasya sarvatah |

tad-bhavavyaladashtanam nasyam nasyam karma vishapaham || 162 ||


Translation: (39) Dhupa-Saurabhyam or smelling the scent of the incense which has been offered to the Deity of Vishnu: Hari-Bhaktivilasa declares that smelling of the scent of incense that has been offered to the Lord and enjoyed by Him is the surest antidote to the earthliness of this world with which people are smitten, as though smitten by a serpent! And such smelling is the true functioning of the olfactory sense. –162-


Text 163:

atha malya-saurabhyam

yatha tantre:

pravishte nasika-randre harer nirmalya saurabhe |

sadyo vilayamayati papa-panjara-bandhanam || 163 ||


Translation: Malya-Saurabham or scent of garlands offered to the Lord: It is stated in the Tantra that if the sweet scent of the flower garlands that have been offered two the Vigraha of Vishnu enters the nostril, all sins like encaged birds in an aviary are immediately destroyed. –163-


Text 164:

agastya-samhita yanca:

aghraëam gandha-pushpader arcitasya tapodhana |

vishuddhih syad anantasya ghraëasye habhidhiyate || 164 ||


Translation: Again in the Agastya-samhita we have: “Oh blessed sage! It is well known in the world that smelling the sweet scent of the flowers, flower-garlands, incense, etc. offered at the time of worship of Lord Anantadeva by entering into the nostrils purifies the olfactory organ of the individual. –164-


Text 165:

40 – atha shri-murteh sparshanam

yatha vishëu-dharmottare:

spristva vishëor adhishthanam pavitrah shraddhyanvitah |

papa bandhair vinirmuktah sarvan kaman avapnuyat || 165 ||


Translation: (40) Touching the Shri Murti (Deity of Vishnu): It is stated in the Vishnudharmottara that a person who is pure and has a firm faith in Shri Murti, is freed from all sins and attains every desired end by touching the Shri Murti Vigraha of Lord Vishnu. –165-


Commentary: Shri Jiva Gosvami observes that here the efficacy of touching the Shri Murti (Deity in the temple) of Lord Vishnu is applicable to those who possess the eligibility of so touching any Shri Murti. –165-


Text 166:

41 – atha shri-murter darshanam

yatha varahe:

vrindavane tu govindam ye pashyanti vasudhare |

na te yamapuram yanti yanti puëya-kritam gatim || 166 ||


Translation: (41) LOOKING AT THE SRI MURTI: In the Varaha Puranam Lord Varahadeva addressing Mother Earth says: “ O Mother Earth! Those who see Shri Govinda at Vrndavana do not go to the gate of Yama, i.e. death's door or hell, but attain the fruition of pious people”. –166-


COMMENTARY: Shri Jiva Gosvami commenting on the above verse observes that Shri Rupa Gosvami, the author, having described the excellence and efficacious of seeing all the various Forms of the Deity or Vigraha of Lord Vishnu, here specifically mentions, being overwhelmed by feelings of devotion to the Lord of his own choice, the special significance of the Supreme Lord Himself in parson manifest in the Arca-Vigraha of Shri Govindadeva. Here 'attain the end of pious people' refers to the Supreme End of all pious activities, which is nothing else but pure Bhakti only. In the First Canto of the Bhagavatam Shri Suta Gosvami addressing Shri Saunaka and other munis says: "The highest religion of all people is Bhakti or loving services to the Transcendent Godhead- Bhakti which is causeless and unrestricted by Maya and which unfolds the innate functioning of the sleeping soul." Therefore Bhakti is the Real End of all pious acts, and hence by seeing the Vigraha of Shri Govindadeva in Vrndavana one attains Bhakti as its fruit.


Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti points out that in order to make the earthly minded inclined to the way of Bhakti, Shri Rupa Gosvami has mildly said that only shall attain the ends of pious persons by looking at the Vigraha of Shri Govindadeva in Vrndavana; but in fact Bhava-Bhakti or Rati in Lord Govinda is the foremost End for the desireless devotees, and this Shri Cakravarti observes, has been subsequently explained by the author Shri Rupa Gosvami himself.


Translator’s note: There are Three Presiding Deities, viz. Shri Madanamohana, Shri Govinda and Shri Gopinatha, in Gaudy Vaisnavism, who have won the hearts of followers of Shri Chaitanya. These Three Deities are also the Presiding Lords of (1) Sambandha-Jnana, i.e. Knowledge of the eternal relation between the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna and the individual finite self, (2) of Abbidheya or Means to the End, and (3) Prayojana or Final End, which is Prema, respectively. Shri Chaitanya entrusted Shri Sanatana Gosvami to write authoritatively on the Concepts of God or Isvara, the individual soul or Jiva, the Jagat of the manifested phenomenal world, and Maya or the External Potency of Lord Shri Krishna, and their interrelationships i.e. (i) relation between God and the finite self, (ii) relation between two finite selves, (iii) relation between God and the phenomenal World, (iv) relation between two phenomenal objects, and (v) relations between the Cit Jiva-atma and or inanimate phenomenal object. Shri Sanatana by his writing showed that Shri Madananmohana was the Presiding Lord of these five fold inter relationship or bath. Similarly, initiated by Shri Chaitanya Shri Rupa Gosvami declared that in the esoteric conception of Abhidheya unalloyed or pure Bhakti is the Vigraha or Arca to the realization of the eternal relationship that exists in the Supreme Lord Krishna the finite self or Jiva and that Lord Govinda is the Presiding Lord of Abhideya. Shri Sanatana Gosvami installed installed Vigraha or Arch of Shri Madanamohana in Vrndavana, who was the eternal Lord of his heart's choice, while Shri Rupa Gosvami made the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna manifest in His Arca-Form as Shri Govinda in Vrndavana. Both the Gosvamis had some rich devotees to erect two magnificent Temples in Vrndavana, dedicated to Lord Madanamohana and Lord Govinda respectively. Of all the temples of present Vrndavana the temple of Shri Madanamohana is the oldest, followed by the temple Shri Govinda, which is the finest temple in the whole of Northern India. It was a massive temple of seven-storied height; the topmost four stories were demolished by Aurangzeb in the sixteenth century.


          It is necessary to mention here that the conception of the Arca-Vigraha of Vishnu (or Shri Krishna or all the Avataras or Divine Descents of Lord Vishnu) is not correctly understood by the ignorant people, and they very often confuse Them with idolatry or stone-worship. It is an utterly misconceived notion about the worship of the Arca-Vigraha of Lord Vishnu by a Vaishnava. According to the philosophy of Shri Chaitanya, the concept of the Absolute Godhead is conceived, on the basis of the authentic Scriptures, in Five Different Forms, simultaneously co-existing and identical, viz. (1) Svayam-Rupa Krishna, the Supreme Divinity, who has an eternal Spiritual Two armed All-beauteous Form of Sat-Cit-Ananda in Braja, who is the Cause of all causes and who is the Lord of all lords, who is the Origin and Beginning of everything else, exists in His Own Form as He is; (2) secondly, the Same Svayam-Rupa Krishna projects Himself, out of His Own Supreme Prerogative and inconceivable Potency, into Manifold Bodies, called Tadekatma-Rupa Krishna or Svayam-Prakesa or Self-Manifest, i.e. Many Bodies simultaneously manifest, each Form identical with the Original Form of Svayam-Rupa Krishna, as was done at the time of the Rasa-dance (One Body in-between each two Goips of a congregation of hundreds of Gopis) or at the time of Marriage of Sixteen-thousand one hundred and eight Queens of Dvaraka; (3) thirdly, Vaibhava or the Many Avataras or Divine Descents of the Svayam-Rupa Krishna, such as, the Three Purusa-Avataras, Three Guna-Avataras, Four Yuga-Avataras, Twenty-five Lila-Avataras, Fourteen, Manvantara-Avataras, innumerable Satyasesa-Avataras and Bhavavesa-Avatas, etc.; (4) fourthly, the same Svayam-Rupa Krishna as Antaryami or the Indwelling Lord of every individual soul; (5) fifthly, Arca or the Vigraha or Figure of the Lord taking His own initiative to be manifest before the fallen and self-forgetful souls through the medium or Acarya or Spiritual Masters or a freed great saint. The Arca-Vigraha apparently looks like an idol, but is essentially the Fifth Form of the Supreme Divinity, graciously manifest in this world out of His infinite mercy and inconceivable Power for the fallen people who are too much given to gross earthly phenomena. The categorical difference between the worship of the Arca-Vigraha of Vishnu and idol-worship must be clearly understood by one who takes to the way of preliminary practices of pure Bhakti. Apparently two similar looking objects need not be identical-a glow-worm and a spark are not same though they appear to be so to an ignorant child. In the same manner the Arca-Vigraha of Lord Vishnu worshipped in a temple is absolutely different from idolatry. –166-



Text 167:

42 – aratrika-darshanam

yatha skande:

kotayo brahma-hatyanam agamyagama kotayah |

dahaty aloka matreëa vishëoh saratrikam mukham || 167 ||




It is mentioned in the Skanda Puranam that the very fact of seeing the Face of the Vigraha of Lord Vishnu glowing with the light of the lamp which is waved before the Lord at the time of Wave-offering of lights, etc. reduces to ashes all sins committed, sins so heinous as taking the lives of millions of brahmanas and millions of incestuous acts. –167-


Commentary: Sir Jiva comments that here ‘Wave offering’ refers to all the various Arca-Vigrahas of the Godhead. –167-