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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Vishnu Puri > STRAND 1 - General Reflections on Bhakti

STRAND 1 – General Reflections on Bhakti


Religion and Spirituality are Based on Devotion to the Lord


sa vai pumsam paro dharmo

yato bhaktir adhokshaje

ahaituky apratihata

yayatma suprasidati


The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. (1.2.6)



vasudeve bhagavati

bhakti-yogah prayojitah

janayaty ashu vairagyam

jnanam ca yad ahaitukam


By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world. (1.2.7)



sattvam rajas tama iti prakriter gunas tair

yuktah parah purusha eka ihasya dhatte

sthity-adaye hari-virinci-hareti samjnah

shreyamsi tatra khalu sattva-tanor nrinam syuh


The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world’s creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Vishnu, the form of the quality of goodness. (1.2.23)


ato vai kavayo nityam

bhaktim paramaya muda

vasudeve bhagavati

kurvanty atma-prasadanim


Certainly, therefore, since time immemorial, all transcendentalists have been rendering devotional service to Lord Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, with great delight, because such devotional service is enlivening to the self. (1.2.22)


mumukshavo ghora-rupan

hitva bhuta-patin atha

narayana-kalah shanta

bhajanti hy anasuyavah


Those who are serious about liberation are certainly nonenvious, and they respect all. Yet they reject the horrible and ghastly forms of the demigods and worship only the all-blissful forms of Lord Vishnu and His plenary portions. (1.2.26)



All Kinds of Devotees, Sakama or Akama, Should Offer Devotion to the Lord


akamah sarva-kamo va

moksha-kama udara-dhih

tivrena bhakti-yogena

yajeta purusham param


Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous of all fruitive results, or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete perfection, culminating in Krishna consciousness. (2.3.10)


All Paths are meant for Attaining Vasudeva


vasudeva-para veda

vasudeva-para makhah

vasudeva-para yoga

vasudeva-parah kriyah

vasudeva-param jnanam

vasudeva-param tapah

vasudeva-paro dharmo

vasudeva-para gatih


In the revealed scriptures, the ultimate object of knowledge is Shri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifice is to please Him. Yoga is for realizing Him. All fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed to know Him. Religion [dharma] is rendering loving service unto Him. He is the supreme goal of life.(1.2.28-29)


Narada on Why Devotion is Superior to All Other Practices


yamadibhir yoga-pathaih

kama-lobha-hato muhuh

mukunda-sevaya yadvat

tathatmaddha na shamyati


It is true that by practicing restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust, but this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this [satisfaction] is derived from devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. (1.6.35)



Suta Explains the Efficiency of Bhakti-yoga


bhakti-yogena manasi

samyak pranihite ’male

apashyat purusham purnam

mayam ca tad-apashrayam


Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control. (1.7.4)


Lord Kapila on the Nature of the Highest Form of Devotion


devanam guna-linganam


sattva evaika-manaso

vrittih svabhaviki tu ya

animitta bhagavati

bhaktih siddher gariyasi


jarayaty ashu ya kosham

nigirnam analo yatha


Lord Kapila said: The senses are symbolic representations of the demigods, and their natural inclination is to work under the direction of the Vedic injunctions. As the senses are representatives of the demigods, so the mind is the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The mind’s natural duty is to serve. When that service spirit is engaged in devotional service to the Personality of Godhead, without any motive, that is far better even than salvation.


Bhakti, devotional service, dissolves the subtle body of the living entity without separate effort, just as fire in the stomach digests all that we eat.(3.25.32-33)


Kapila Explains the Superior Position of Bhakti over Mukti


naikatmatam me sprihayanti kecin

mat-pada-sevabhirata mad-ihah

ye ’nyonyato bhagavatah prasajya

sabhajayante mama paurushani


A pure devotee, who is attached to the activities of devotional service and who always engages in the service of My lotus feet, never desires to become one with Me. Such a devotee, who is unflinchingly engaged, always glorifies My pastimes and activities.(3.25.34)


Kapila Explains the Result of Such a Devotee


pashyanti te me rucirany amba santah


rupani divyani vara-pradani

sakam vacam sprihaniyam vadanti


tair darshaniyavayavair udara-


hritatmano hrita-pranamsh ca bhaktir

anicchato me gatim anvim prayunkte


atho vibhutim mama mayavinas tam

aishvaryam ashtangam anupravrittam

shriyam bhagavatim vasprihayanti bhadram

parasya me te ’shnuvate tu loke


na karhicin mat-parah shanta-rupe

nankshyanti no me ’nimisho ledhi hetih

yesham aham priya atma sutash ca

sakha guruh suhrido daivam ishtam


O My mother, My devotees always see the smiling face of My form, with eyes like the rising morning sun. They like to see My various transcendental forms, which are all benevolent, and they also talk favorably with Me.


Upon seeing the charming forms of the Lord, smiling and attractive, and hearing His very pleasing words, the pure devotee almost loses all other consciousness. His senses are freed from all other engagements, and he becomes absorbed in devotional service. Thus in spite of his unwillingness, he attains liberation without separate endeavor.


Thus because he is completely absorbed in thought of Me, the devotee does not desire even the highest benediction obtainable in the upper planetary systems, including Satyaloka. He does not desire the eight material perfections obtained from mystic yoga, nor does he desire to be elevated to the kingdom of God. Yet even without desiring them, the devotee enjoys, even in this life, all the offered benedictions.


My dear mother, devotees who receive such transcendental opulences are never bereft of them; neither weapons nor the change of time can destroy such opulences. Because the devotees accept Me as their friend, their relative, their son, preceptor, benefactor and Supreme Deity, they cannot be deprived of their possessions at any time.(3.25.35-38)



Kapila Confirms that Those with True Devotion and Renunciation Automatically Achieve Liberation


imam lokam tathaivamum

atmanam ubhayayinam

atmanam anu ye ceha

ye rayah pashavo grihah

visrijya sarvan anyamsh ca

mam evam vishvato-mukham

bhajanty ananyaya bhaktya

tan mrityor atiparaye


nanyatra mad bhagavatah


atmanah sarva-bhutanam

bhayam tivram nivartate


Thus the devotee who worships Me, the all-pervading Lord of the universe, in unflinching devotional service, gives up all aspirations to be promoted to heavenly planets or to become happy in this world with wealth, children, cattle, home or anything in relationship with the body. I take him to the other side of birth and death.


The terrible fear of birth and death can never be forsaken by anyone who resorts to any shelter other than Myself, for I am the almighty Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original source of all creation, and also the Supreme Soul of all souls.



tasmat tvam sarva-bhavena

bhajasva parameshthinam

tad-gunashrayaya bhaktya



My dear mother, I therefore advise that you take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for His lotus feet are worth worshiping. Accept this with all devotion and love, for thus you can be situated in transcendental devotional service.(3.32.22)


Suniti Explains to Dhruva Why Vishnu Alone is Worthy of Worship


tam eva vatsashraya bhritya-vatsalam

mumukshubhir mrigya-padabja-paddhatim

ananya-bhave nija-dharma-bhavite

manasy avasthapya bhajasva purusham


My dear boy, you also should take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is very kind to His devotees. Persons seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death always take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Becoming purified by executing your allotted occupation, just situate the Supreme Personality of Godhead in your heart, and without deviating for a moment, engage always in His service.


nanyam tatah padma-palasha-locanad

duhkha-cchidam te mrigayami kancana

yo mrigyate hasta-grihita-padmaya

shriyetarair anga vimrigyamanaya


My dear Dhruva, as far as I am concerned, I do not find anyone who can mitigate your distress but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose eyes are like lotus petals. Many demigods such as Lord Brahma seek the pleasure of the goddess of fortune, but the goddess of fortune herself, with a lotus flower in her hand, is always ready to render service to the Supreme Lord.(4.8.22-23)


Prthu Explains th e Reason Why Laksmi Devi Seeks Him Alone


athabhaje tvakhila-purushottamam

gunalayam padma-kareva lalasah

apy avayor eka-pati-spridhoh kalir

na syat krita-tvac-caranaika-tanayoh


jagaj-jananyam jagad-isha vaishasam

syad eva yat-karmani nah samihitam

karoshi phalgv apy uru dina-vatsalah

sva eva dhishnye ’bhiratasya kim taya


Now I wish to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to serve just like the goddess of fortune, who carries a lotus flower in her hand, because His Lordship, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the reservoir of all transcendental qualities. I am afraid that the goddess of fortune and I would quarrel because both of us would be attentively engaged in the same service.


My dear Lord of the universe, the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, is the mother of the universe, and yet I think that she may be angry with me because of my intruding upon her service and acting on that very platform to which she is so much attached. Yet I am hopeful that even though there is some misunderstanding, You will take my part, for You are very much inclined to the poor and You always magnify even insignificant service unto You. Therefore even though she becomes angry, I think that there is no harm for You, because You are so self-sufficient that You can do without her.(4.20.27-28)


Rudra Explains to the Pracetas the relationship between Him and Lord Vishnu


yah param ramhasah sakshat

tri-gunaj jiva-samjnitat

bhagavantam vasudevam

prapannah sa priyo hi me


Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the controller of everything—material nature as well as the living entity—is actually very dear to me. (4.24.28)


atha bhagavata yuyam

priyah stha bhagavan yatha

na mad bhagavatanam ca

preyan anyo ’sti karhicit


You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.(4.24.30)


Narada Speaks on the Supremecy of Lord Hari


tat karma hari-tosham yat

sa vidya tan-matir yaya


Your only activities should be those that can please the Personality of Godhead. Our education should be such that we can become elevated to Krishna consciousness.(4.20.49)


Prahlada Maharaja Contends that Devotion is the Sign of a Great Man



yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana

sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah

harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna

mano-rathenasati dhavato bahih


harir hi sakshad bhagavan sharirinam

atma jhashanam iva toyam ipsitam

hitva mahams tam yadi sajjate grihe

tada mahattvam vayasa dampatinam


One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.


Just as aquatics always desire to remain in the vast mass of water, all conditioned living entities naturally desire to remain in the vast existence of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if someone very great by material calculations fails to take shelter of the Supreme Soul but instead becomes attached to material household life, his greatness is like that of a young, low-class couple. One who is too attached to material life loses all good spiritual qualities.(5.18.12-13)


Rama Devi States that Shri Hari Alone is worthy of Worship


sa vai patih syad akutobhayah svayam

samantatah pati bhayaturam janam

sa eka evetaratha mitho bhayam

naivatmalabhad adhi manyate param


He alone who is never afraid but who, on the contrary, gives complete shelter to all fearful persons can actually become a husband and protector. Therefore, my Lord, you are the only husband, and no one else can claim this position. If you were not the only husband, You would be afraid of others. Therefore persons learned in all Vedic literature accept only Your Lordship as everyone’s master, and they think no one else a better husband and protector than You.(5.18.20)


Shri Hanuman on the Qualification to Worship Lord Hari


na janma nunam mahato na saubhagam

na van na buddhir nakritis tosha-hetuh

tair yad visrishtan api no vanaukasash

cakara sakhye bata lakshmanagrajah


suro ’suro vapy atha vanaro narah

sarvatmana yah sukritajnam uttamam

bhajeta ramam manujakritim harim

ya uttaran anayat kosalan divam iti


One cannot establish a friendship with the Supreme Lord Ramacandra on the basis of material qualities such as one’s birth in an aristocratic family, one’s personal beauty, one’s eloquence, one’s sharp intelligence or one’s superior race or nation. None of these qualifications is actually a prerequisite for friendship with Lord Shri Ramacandra. Otherwise how is it possible that although we uncivilized inhabitants of the forest have not taken noble births, although we have no physical beauty and although we cannot speak like gentlemen, Lord Ramacandra has nevertheless accepted us as friends?


Therefore, whether one is a demigod or a demon, a man or a creature other than man, such as a beast or bird, everyone should worship Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears on this earth just like a human being. There is no need of great austerities or penances to worship the Lord, for Me accepts even a small service offered by His devotee. Thus He is satisfied, and as soon as He is satisfied, the devotee is successful. Indeed, Lord Shri Ramacandra brought all the devotees of Ayodhya back home, back to Godhead [Vaikuntha]. (5.19.7-8)


The Demigods on the Greatness of Pure Devotion


satyam dishaty arthitam arthito nrinam

naivarthado yat punar arthita yatah

svayam vidhatte bhajatam anicchatam

icchapidhanam nija-pada-pallavam


The Supreme Personality of Godhead fulfills the material desires of a devotee who approaches Him with such motives, but He does not bestow benedictions upon the devotee that will cause him to demand more benedictions again. However, the Lord willingly gives the devotee shelter at His own lotus feet, even though such a person does not aspire for it, and that shelter satisfies all his desires. That is the Supreme Personality’s special mercy. (5.19.27)


Prahlada Maharaja on the Need for Solitude to Become Fixed in Devotion


tat sadhu manye ’sura-varya dehinam

sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat

hitvatma-patam griham andha-kupam

vanam gato yad dharim ashrayeta


Prahlada Maharaja replied: O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (7.5.5)


Yamaraja on the Practice of Devotion Being the Prime Duty of All Men


etavan eva loke ’smin

pumsam dharmah parah smritah

bhakti-yogo bhagavati



Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society. (6.3.22)



Material Existence Cannot be Overcome Except by Dependence on the Lord


avismitam tam paripurna-kamam

svenaiva labhena samam prashantam

vinopasarpaty aparam hi balishah

shva-langulenatititarti sindhum


Free from all material conceptions of existence and never wonder-struck by anything, the Lord is always jubilant and fully satisfied by His own spiritual perfection. He has no material designations, and therefore He is steady and unattached. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is the only shelter of everyone. Anyone desiring to be protected by others is certainly a great fool who desires to cross the sea by holding the tail of a dog. (6.9.22)






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