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Shri Madhurya Kadambini
(translation seems better than the other)
(A Cloudbank of Nectar—Una nube cargada de Nictar)
First Shower of Nectar
visvapagollasini duran me maru-
sakhino 'pi sarasi-bhavaya bhuyat prabhu-
“The mercy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is an uncontrollable cloud bank of exquisitely sweet nectar whose sudden appearance fully rejuvenates the grains of nine-fold bhakti in the field of the heart, extinguishes the burning summer heat of lust and bestows rapture to the universal river of living beings. From far off, may those clouds of the Lord's mercy give satisfaction and pleasure even to this worthless soul, a dried-up tree in the desert.”
“Though previous mahajans (Prahlad, Dhruva, Kumaras, etc.) have taken up the path of bhakti, I constantly pay my obeisances to Shrila Rupa Goswami, the Lord's dear one, by whose mercy one now attains the intelligence to see bhakti in its complete rasa form.”
We will proceed on the basis of shastra or scriptural evidence (shabda praman), which is the best of all evidences. Thus the Taittiriya Upanishad (shruti), after discussing the different coverings (annamaya, etc.), emphatically declares that superior to Brahman, who is the shelter or support of these coverings: brahma puccham pratistha (2.5.2), is the param anandamaya purusha or paratpara tattva (most supreme truth) by describing Him as the embodiment of rasa: raso vai sah rasam hy evayam labdhvanandi bhavati, the Lord is rasa itself and, attaining that rasa, the jiva becomes blissful (2.7.2). In this vein, the Shrimad Bhagavatam, the cream of Vedanta and emperor among all types of evidence, describes Lord Krishna as the full embodiment of rasa or pleasure:
mallanam asanir nrnam nara-
varah strinam smaro murtiman
gopanam sva-jano 'satam ksiti-
bhujam sasta sva-pitroh sisuh
mrtyur bhoja-pater virah avidusam tattvam
vrsninam para-devateti vidito ragam
The various groups of people in the wrestling arena regarded Krishna in different ways when He entered it with His elder brother. The wrestlers saw Krishna as a lightning bolt, the ordinary men as the best of men, the women as Cupid incarnate, the cowherd men as their relative, the impious rulers as a chastiser, His parents as their child, the King of Bhoja as death, the unlearned as the universal form, the yogis as the Absolute Truth, and the Vrishnis as their supreme worshipable Deity. (SB 10.43.17)
In the Bhagavad-gita (14.27) as well, the Lord Himself asserts His identity above Brahman: brahmano hi pratisthaham, I am the basis of Brahman. Therefore, the Absolute Truth is none other than the all-blissful transcendental Vrajraja Nandana, Shri Krishna the son of the King of Vraja. He is equipped with transcendental (shuddha sattva) eternal names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. This blissful Lord does not descend to human perceptions of the ear, eye, mind and intellect by any material cause, but rather simply by His own independent will. Just as by His own will, He appeared in the material world as
Krishna, in the Yadu dynasty, and Rama, in the Raghu dynasty.
The Lord is not dependent on any material cause for His appearance. Similarly, His non-different energy, devotional service (bhakti), in keeping with its self-manifesting nature, is not dependent on any material cause. Thus it is said:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
“The supreme occupation (dharma) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendental Lord. Such service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.” (SB .2.6)
The word ahaituki, causeless, in this statement, indicates that devotional service appears without any material cause (hetu). In such statements as yadrcchaya mat-kathadau, “if somehow or other a person becomes attached to hearing about Me” (SB 11.20.8), mad bhaktim ca yadrcchaya, “somehow he attains My devotional service” (SB 11.20.11), and yadrccha-yaivopacita, the word yadrichaya must mean by its own independent sweet will. The meaning of yadriccha in the dictionary is also “complete independence.” Some people take the word to mean “by good fortune.” That meaning is not suitable here, for then one must inquire about the origin of the good fortune. Is the cause material pious activities (shubha karma) or not? If one assumes good fortune is generated from pious activities, this would mean bhakti is ultimately generated from material karma. Bhakti would become dependent on material karma. But this is a contradiction to its independent, self manifesting nature. Again, if one considers this good fortune is not due to pious activities, it becomes both indescribable by words and inconceivable. Consequently, an inconceivable entity is insubstantial and cannot describe the cause of bhakti.
If one proposes that the cause of bhakti is the Lord's mercy, then one must find a reason for that mercy. Thus, this statement, giving rise to further need for explanation, is inconclusive in itself. One may further qualify this statement by saying the cause of bhakti is the Lord's unqualified (nirupadhi) orcauseless mercy. If this mercy is causeless, then one should observe that the Lord bestows it equally everywhere. Since it is not observed to fall on everyone, then this would imply the fault of partiality (vaishamya) on the part of the Lord. Thus, the causeless mercy of the Lord also cannot be accepted as the cause of bhakti.
Someone may question that the Lord punishes the demonic and protects His devotees--is this not partiality? But this type of partiality the Lord shows towards His devotees does not imply a fault (dushanam) in the Lord, rather, it is an ornament (bhushanam) which enhances His nature. This affectionate obligation of the Lord to His devotees is called bhakta-vatsalya. It is the all-powerful king which subjugates of all the Lord's qualities and reconciles all contradictory factors and will be fully discussed in the eighth chapter.
In proposing the unqualified, causeless mercy of the devotee as the cause of devotion in another person, one may object that the devotee's mercy, like the Lord's, can be partial. Considering the case of the madhyama bhakta, one finds he does exhibit partiality or discretion in his distribution of mercy. For it is said in the Bhagavatam, prema-maitri-krpopesa yah karoti sa madhyamah, he exhibits prema towards the Lord, friendship to the devotees, mercy to the innocent and disregard for those hostile to bhakti (SB 11.3.46). In other words, this partiality is accepted as the natural characteristic of the madhyama bhakta. Since the Lord is subservient to His devotee, He lets His mercy follow after the mercy of His devotee and there is no irregularity in this. Now, the cause of that mercy manifesting itself in the devotee is bhakti itself residing within his heart. Without the devotee having bhakti, there is no possibility of the devotee manifesting mercy to others. Bhakti causes the devotee's mercy which causes bhakti in another person. Bhakti causes bhakti. The self-manifesting, causeless, independent nature of bhakti is thus concluded.
There is a statement, yah kenapy atibhagyena jata sraddho ' sya sevane: a person attains faith in the service of the Lord by extreme good fortune. The words atibhagyena, extreme good fortune, should be ultimately understood to mean the attainment of the mercy of the devotee (bhakta karunya), which surpasses (atikrama) the fortune that results from material pious activities (shubha karma). Here, one should not consider that the devotee is dependent on the will of Lord and therefore cannot initiate the bestowal of mercy. For the Lord accepts subservience to His devotee (sva--bhaktavashyata) and gives preeminence to the devotee's position by giving him the power to bestow the Lord's own mercy (sva-kripa-shakti). The Lord as paramatma oversees those matters relating to the jiva's external senses, the reward from his past activities, however, He shows special mercy to His devotees (sva-prasada). In the Bhagavad-gita, mat-prasadat param santim... mat-samstham adhigacchati... (BG 18.62 and 6.15). Shri Chakravartipada cites these slokas almost as if they were one. The actual wording of the first is tat-prasadat, but here since tat refers to the Lord, mat can also be used. Krishna Himself speaks of His prasada or mercy as the means to attain transcendental peace and His supreme eternal realm. This prasada takes the form of the Lord's bestowal of His own kripa shakti, or power of mercy, to His devotee. In other words, one can receive the Lord's mecy through the mercy of the devotee who bestows it, as was previously explained.
There are hundreds of scriptural statements, such as, svecchavatara caritaih..., sveccha mayasya..., by which it is understood that the Lord appears by His own will. Still, by external vision one may say relieving the burden of evil on the earth planet is the cause of the Lord's advent. In the same way, sometimes it is said prescribed activities (karma) performed without personal motives (nishkama) act as the door to bhakti. There is no harm in such statements. But it is said in the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam:
yam na yogena sankhyena
Even though one engages with great endeavor in the mystic yoga system, philosophical speculation, charity, vows, penances, etc., still one cannot achieve Me. (SB 11.12.9)
Despite charity, austerities, etc. being clearly denied as actual causes of bhakti, in another place Shrimad Bhagavatam says:
sreyobhir vividhais canyaih
krsne bhaktir hi sadhyate
Devotion to Krishna is accomplished by such methods as charity, austerities, homa, japa, study, sense control, and other pious activities. (SB 10.47.24)
However, this statement refers to bhakti in the mode of material goodness (sattviki bhakti) which acts as a limb of the system of jnana, rather than the transcendental, fully spiritual bhakti in the category of prema (nirguna prema bhakti). Of course, some people say charity refers to giving to Vishnu and the Vaishnavas, vrata or austerity refers to such vratas as ekadashi, tapas refers to renunciation of personal enjoyment for attainment of the Lord. Thus they are all angas or limbs of sadhana bhakti. To say bhakti is attained by these
angas is not incorrect, for this simply means sadhya (perfected) bhakti is caused by sadhanabhakti, bhakty sanjataya bhaktya (SB 11.3.31). Thus, the causeless nature of bhakti is again concluded. In this way, all contradictory points are settled.
sreyah-srtim bhaktim udasya te vibho
My Dear Lord, devotional service unto you is the unrivalled path for self-realization. (SB 10.14.4)
ko 'vartha apto 'bhajatam svadharmatah
The nondevotee, although fully engaged in dharma, does not gain anything. (SB 1.5.17)
pureha bhuman bahavo 'pi yoginas
In the past many yogis achieved the platform of devotional service by offering their endeavors to You in devotion. (SB 10.14.5)
By these verses it is seen that the accomplishment of results on the paths of jnana, karma and yoga are completely dependent on bhakti. Whereas, for the accomplishment ofits result, prema, the practice of bhakti is never dependent even in the slightest way on karma, jnana or yoga. Rather, the Lord declares:
na jnanam na ca vairagyam
prayah sreyo bhaved iha
Jnana and vairagya are not beneficial in the practice of bhakti. (SB 11.20.31)
dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam
bhajeta sa tu sattamah
He who gives up all paths and simply worships Me is the best amongst men. (SB 11.11.32)
The dependency of karma, jnana and yoga on bhakti must be accepted as a fact. bhakti is essential in giving the results to the practice of karma, jnana and yoga, but bhakti itself is not at all even the least contingent on these practices for its results. It is said:
yat karmabhir yat tapasa jnana-
vairagyatas ca yat...
mad-bhakto labhate 'njasa...
What is accomplished by karma, tapas, jnana and vairagya is easily attained by My devotee through devotional service alone. (SB 11.20.32-33)
It is also said:
bhagavad bhakti hinasya jatih
sastram japas tapah
Without devotion to the Lord, good birth, knowledge of scripture, japa, tapas are like delighting in the decoration of a dead body. (Hari Bhakti Sudhodaya 3.12)
Thus, without bhakti, all these endeavors become fruitless. As the body depends on the presence of the soul, the very life of jnana, karma and yoga depends upon supremely exalted Bhakti-devi. Moreover, the dependence of karma, jnana and yoga on conditions of purity in place, time, candidate, materials and performance is famous in the smriti scriptures. This is not true of bhakti:
na desa-niyamas tatra
na kala-niyamas tatha
nocchistadau nisedhas ca
shri harer namni lubdhakah
In chanting the name of the Lord, there is no restrictions concerning place, time, purity, and so on. (Vishnu Dharma)
In fact, it is famous for being completely independent.
sakrd api parigitam
sraddhaya helaya va
bhrguvara nara matram
tarayet krishna nama
O Bhriguvara, the name of Krishna chanted even once, either with faith or without faith, can deliver any man. (Padma Purana, Prabhas Khand)
Bhakti is not even dependent on purity of practice, for whether the name is chanted purely or impurely, it will deliver the fallen soul. The same cannot be said of karma yoga, where even the slightest impurity is a great obstacle to progress.
mantro hinah svarato varnato va
mithya prayukto na tam artham aha
yathendra satruh svarato 'paradhat
sa vaga vajro yajamanam hinasti
If a mantra is either intoned or pronounced incorrectly, not only will the mantra not have effect, but it may be harmful. As when Tvasta wanted to create the enemy of Indra and by a slight mispronunciation of the words indra shatru in the yajna those words worked as a thunderbolt for Vritrasura who was killed by Indra. (Paniniya Shiksha52)
The necessity of internal purity for the practice of jnana yoga is well known. Also, it may be seen that jnana yoga is dependent on karma yoga. For one enters jnana yoga by attaining purity of heart, and purity of heart arises from performance of karma without personal desire. Because of this dependency, if by accident one who practices jnana yoga commits even a small unworthy act (durachar), he is condemned by shastra as a vantasi, an eater of vomit, sa vai vantasyapatrapah. Seen in this light, Kamsa, Hiranyakasipu and Ravana, though they were jnanis, have not even a speck of fame on this account because of their conduct. On the other hand, on the path of bhakti, though one may be afflicted by lust one has the qualification (adhikara) to begin the practice. Just by the practice of bhakti, lust and other impurities are destroyed
vikrihitam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh
sraddhanvito 'nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah
Anyone who faithfully hears or chants about the Lord's playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrindavana having attained the Lord's pure devotional service, he will quickly become sober and conquer lust, the disease of the heart. (SB 10.33.39)
By the tense of the verb pratilabhya (having attained) in this verse it is very clear bhakti first manifests in the stage where there are still lusty desires in the heart and then, after her manifestation, lusty desires are wiped out. This is due to the fact that bhakti is supremely independent (parama svatantra). Furthermore, though such impurities as kama may sometimes appear in the devotee, the scriptures never condemn that devotee at all:
api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam
Even if a person engaged in devotional service commits the most abominable act (sudurachara), he is still considered saintly. (BG 9.30)
badhyamano 'pi mad bhakto
visayair ajitendriyah prayah
My dear Uddhava, not having fully conquered his senses My devotee may be harrassed by material desires, but because of unflinching devotion for Me, he will not be defeated by sense gratification. (SB 11.14.18)
The servants of Vishnu judged Ajamila as a devotee. Though the chanting of persons like Ajamila, who uttered the name of the Lord inadvertently out of affection for his son, must be considered nama-abhasa (not pure), still they are universally praised as devotees.
Internal purity and purity of place, materials, etc. Are necessary for the accomplishments of the karmis, jnanis and yogis, and their deficiency obstructs progress on those paths. Bhakti, however, is the very giver of life to these paths. Thus it is seen that in all respects, the paths of karma, jnana and yoga are dependent on bhakti. Bhakti, however, is independent. It neither requires any other means for its execution nor is it obstructed by any lack or fault.
Only an ignorant person will say bhakti is but a means of attaining jnana. For shastra emphatically declares the supreme excellence of bhakti over even the final goal of
muktim dadati karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam
The Lord easily gives liberation but not bhakti. (SB 5.6.18)
muktanam api siddhanam
kotisv api maha-mune
Even among many millions of liberated jnanis and perfected yogis, a devotee of Lord Narayana is extemely rare. (SB 6.14.5)
If jnana sometimes appears to take a superior position to bhakti, it is only because bhakti is mercifully playing the role of its assistant. Upendra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, became subservient to Indra to give him support. Exalted, realized souls have confirmed that this revealed not His inferior position but, rather, His unsurpassed mercy. In this manner, bhakti, though transcendental and supremely independent, being very merciful, accepts the mode of goodness (sattviki-bhakti) and becomes a limb of jnana just to give support to jnana. This is the understanding of wise men.
Bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya (SB 11.3.31), the fruit of sadhana bhakti is prema bhakti, which itself is the topmost attainment for mankind (purushartha shiromani). Thus the all-pervading, all-attractive, life-giving, super ex-cellent, supremely independent, and self-manifesting nature [sarva- vypapakatvam, sarva-vashikaratvam, sarva- sanjivakatvam, sarvotkarsha, parama-svatantra, sva-prakashatvam] of the exalted energy, Bhakti-devi, which arises from the Lord Himself, has been slightly described. If one still prefers a process other than bhakti, that person should be considered bereft of all sense of judgement. What else can be said? If one is a human being, but does not take to the process of bhakti, then he should not be considered a human being at all:
ko vai na seveta vina naretaram
Only a non-human would refuse to serve the Lord.
Thus ends the First Shower of Nectar of Madhurya
Kadambini by Mahamahopadhyaya Shrimad Vishvanath Chakravarti
describing the superexcellence of Bhakti-devi.