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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Shandilya Muni > Shandilya Bhakti Sutras > PREFACE


Shri Shandiya Bhakti Sutras

By Sri Shandilya Rishi


Translated into  English


Tridandi  Shri Bhakti Prajnan Yati



MADRAS - 600 014


Dedicated to

My Divine Master

Srimad Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Goswami  Maharaj   _YATI


Sri Shandilya Bhakti Sutras




After getinig the sri Narad Bhakti sutra translated into   English   naturally I  felt a great  urge  to  get  the Shandilya Bhakti sutra also translated in to English & enjoy its

ucculent taste somehow I could collet  a  very  small booklet from our Sri Chaitanya Research Institute Library.  But the book is a  mere verbal translation in Bengali without

any sequence.


Anyhow when I started the work and completed a major part of it I could get a book with svapnesvara Bhasya rendered in english by Swami Hashananda and published by   University of Mysore and alsoe         also another one translated by   Major B .D .Basu published within the series of the sacred Books of the HINDUS.But both the books  are following the same Commentator and anyhow I could not agree with them because  the commentator does not look to unadulterated devotion and at many places  miserably misconstrued the original idea of Z atho particularly while dealing with the Chapter III Fu^ come to know that Sri Narayana Thirtha and Baladeva Upadbyaya also  wrote commentaries on this Shandilya Sutra but I could not look to them.                


Sri Shandiiya is also an equally great rishi of an ancient time. His name is found in Satapatha Brahmana.1 In Bribad-aranyaka Upanishad3 : We find Sri Shandiiya in the line  of Vedic rishis, but no lesson except the name whereas in the Chandogya Upanishad3 : where although it is very brief but a vital lesson he has given which affirms the  glorious path of Devotion to the All-Blissful Supreme Godhead, Who possessess All-Transcendental Characte­ristics : Here we find the famous sayings of Sarvam Khalvidam  Brahman — Ta.jjala.niti and learn : Brahman is the Cause, Support and Goal of the universe. From Him beings are bom, by Whom they live and to Whom they finally repair.  (1) According to one's faith or Devotion here in this world, thus does such one become on departing hence, (ii) The Supreme Godhead is Both : Immanent and Transcendent,  and (iv) the final Goal of every being is to attain unalloyed devotion to Him".


There is one Shandiiya Upanishad also. Shandiiya when goes to Pancharatra literature he goes to the extent that if anybody denies authenticity of the Pancharatra,  delinking them from the Vedas he affirms that the Vedas themselves have got no value to him because Fancharatras are the ripening knowledge or the ontological aspect of  the Vedas. Further we find that while a number of sages approached him in the mount Gandhamadana with inquiry concerning the manner in which the ultimate Reality can  be known, Shandiiya replied : "This science is very secret and ancient and this can be given only to true believers who are ardently devoted to their spiritual preceptors"..

Shandilya's Bhakti Sutras are numbering all total one hundred only but within this compass he has given an unambiguous Doctrine of unalloyed Bhakti and demons­trates  that jnana is like the loose flesh hanging from the neck of a goat which is gond for nothing. Bhakti is ahaituki : there is no precondition for obtaining Bhakti by a fallen soul.  Bhakti is the natural characteristic of a freed soul; and he also agrees with Sri Narada that it is only when a jiva g ts a chance, by dint of previous unknown Sukriti, to have  satsanga — Bhakti gets manifested in the soul. Bhakti is transcendental process and Sri Kama Samkirtana is the best which brings ecstacy. He also touches on  Rdganuga-Bhakti but not to the extent as Sri Narada goes in his Bhakti Sutra. But he deals with the philosophy to a great extent.


He begins with Athato — Bhakti Jijnasa : that is after commenting upon other Treatises he now takes delight to illustrate the philosophy, science and ontology of Bhakti  where in the very first instant he says 'Bhakti is the unshakable attachment to the Supreme Godhead and that is only the way for oneself becoming immortal, bea'ific and  eternally blissful.' He says jnana is not indispensable for culturing Bhakti. At the dawn of Bhakti jnana itself is totally lost of its charm and significance. Sri Narada  considered even hatred or malice secondary (gauna) Bhakti when- they help the remembrance of God; but Sri Shandiiya says, even in such case hatred cannot be taken by  any means as Bhakti because where there is no amiraga there is no rasa, whereas Bhakti is Rasa. Jnana is not at all related to Bhakti because, jnana is acquired by one's   own  endeavour,   but Bhakti is causeless and gets   manifested on its own accord. Jnana is the Inductive Process and Bhakti is the Deductive Process. It is only Bhakti  that makes one to realise God in His totality and absolutely it does not require any help from earlier Knowledge of God, When Bhakti is referred to other than the Supreme  Godhead, it is perverse. Without becoming subjugated to Bhakti, jnana or yoga or karma cannot produce any real spiritual result. Shandilya further says : 'Even attainment  of Samddhi or contemplation upon God is the secondary aspect of Bhakti. Attachment to a-sat is the gateway of life of transmigration whereas attachment to sat  (saints-devotees) merits the highest spiritual reward and anuraga to uttamapurusha leads to Prema. If Bhakti is not the sin-qua-non of Vedanta Philosophy then Vedanta  itself cannot have itslocus standi. The second Chapter begins with: 'the path of jnana and karma are to be followed till one's heart becomes untinted at the dawn of  Shraddha. Jnana and Karma may be followed when they are subservient to Bhakti. Bhakti is the eternal unbreakable relationship of jiva-soul with Godhead that is  established imdisputedly by the Vedas as well as by the exalted Parama Bhagavata devotees.


Going to the philosophy of religion he illustrates that jiva-souls are although qualitatively same with God but quantitatively different from Him; thereby he establishes the  Doctrine of Achintya-bheda-abheda Theory. Jiva is liable to be enthralled by maya-but having taken recourse to Bhakti he becomes free from the life of transmigra­tion. Jivas  are infinitesimal parts of God, came out from the Tatastha Shakti of God and subject to be enveloped by may a;    but   God's   position is eternal, unchangable and  undiminished and not subject to  any modification. Although all jiva souls essentially are chit,   eternal and constitutionally   separated parts     (Vibhinnamsa  but not  Svamsha) of God and  also characteristically possessing right of getting emancipation through Devotion to God, yet why do they all not thrive for emancipation ?   Because  at the state of bondage jivas have variegated, perverse knowledge being propelled by the gunas of maya.   Though God   creates   the   universe   through  His  Own external  Potency maya but he ever remains immutable because He is Sat-Chit-Ananda   Swarupa.   Neither jiva nor Prakriti nor they both mutually create or procreate nor can they  have their existence without the  superintending of the  God. Prakriti or maya is not unreal or false because it is a potency of God.   The   Descents of Supreme  Godhead  viz.   His Births and Actions are Transcendental as they are out of His Swarupa Shakti.   The highest type of Bhakti is Bhajan and other phases   are   component parts of   it.    In  the Philosophy   of  Vedanta as well  as in the  Upanishadic Doctrine Bhakti to Bhagavan is the   sine-qua-non.    He speaks about the worship of Srimurti and the  importance of the  Mahaprasadam as well as  of Tirtham.   He  also warns against the spiritual offences but for  expiation  even of the gravest offences a devotee need not   observe any severe penance like Chandrayana Vrata, but the constant chanting of the Divine Name not only saves a devotee from the offences but it does not allow offences  befall upon him. Because    steadfast   devotion   makes the Lord stationed at heart therefore  for  the expiation of offences or sins it does not require any other assistance.Every man down to the lowest born, has equal right to follow the path of devotion.    Even worst sinners when  feel destitute and fervently craving the Mercy from God they  too are bestowed with devotion and gradually attain the Abode of Peace. Without the vision of Truth life is undone or one is doomed to destruction.


Bhagavan is One without a second although He appears many as Paramatma, Indwelling Monitor of all jiva-souls like the sun reflected upon many transperent objects—  because God is devoid of any modification by the adjuncts of maya.1It is not due to lack of knowledge but devoid of unalloyed devotion to God that cause the cycling of life  of transmigration.Hese too as in the Narada Bhakti Sutra, Sri Shandilya emphatically proclaims that Bhakti is unparalleled and unprecedented. Karma and Jnana have got  their relative values when they are in conformity with Bhakti. It is through Bhakti alone, that one can attain summum-bonum of life.


The modern philosophers how they distort the import of philosophy that you may see that the Mysore University edition writes : "The merit and demerit of the individuals  reside in the intellect of the Supreme Lord ... merit and demerit will continue to exist eternally in Him." Now tell me, if God has got demerit and again, which continue to  exist eternally, then why should we approach Him at all and how He can  make us totally free  from demerits and how He can bestow emancipation ? Should I quote  hundreds of such gravest mistakes that they have committed ? But that will not be to my purpose. I feel great pain at my heart to go through them. That is why it is correctly  said, 'The milk sipped by a poisonous snake is most injurious to the health, so also Narrations about Supreme God's Pastimes no doubt are Nectarine Blissful but such  topics when dealt with by a non-devotee actually cause a digradation from the high achievement. I with the benediction of my Divine Master ventured to render this most  glorious Treatise into english just for enjoying myself the succulent taste of the Nectarine Bliss and also although it is done with my faulty language but 1 know the  Saragrahi Vaishnavas like swans will take the substance and will kindly overlook my defects.