Bhakti Sandarba Lessons 6-8

Lessons 6-8, Texts 95-113: Bhakti is culmination of all methods and Bhakti is intrinsic duty. PPT and recordings of this class are available at

Discussion Highlights: Introduction and Overview
Lessons 6, Texts 95-105: Bhakti is culmination of all methods

• To be a complete methodology, bhakti should include, and yet stand independent all other methods, such as karma, jnana, and mystic yoga.
• Unlike in other methods, success in bhakti is guaranteed. Furthermore, all partial methods necessarily depend on bhakti of which they are but parts.

Lessons 7 & 8, Texts 106-113: Bhakti is intrinsic duty
• Taking shelter of complete whole.
• Brahma and Shiva should be worshiped as Vaishnavas.
• One shouldn’t however disrespect demigods
• The nature of the entity of highest shelter
• Wastage of human potentiality
• Absence of virtue
• Disregard the sage void of devotion
• The mystery of dharma hidden even from sage
• Devotion is the intrinsic duty of all
• The defect of nonfulfillment of intrinsic duty
• Bhakti continues even at the stage of liberation
• Bhakti is incumbent even upon demigods

Thus, the fact bhakti is the perpetual and invariable duty for all is another reason why it has been established as the abhidheya.

Lesson 6, Bhakti is culmination of all methods
Text 95: All duties culminate in devotion

SB 10.47.24: Devotion to Lord Krishna is indeed to be aimed at through charity, vows, penances, fire sacrifices, reciting mantras, study of the Vedas, controlling the senses, and other various deed.

SB 4.31.9: Narada echos, In this world a human being’s birth, activities, lifespan, mind and speech are successful only if used to serve Lord Hari, who is the supreme controller and the soul of the cosmos.

SB 12.12.54: The immense labor expended in discharging prescribed duties pertaining to one’s varnasrama, and in undergoing penance, study of the Vedas, and other similar practices, culminate only in wealth accompanied by fame. But by hearing and repeating the glories of Lord Hari, one attains unbroken remembrance of the Lotus feet of the Lord who is the support of the Godess of fortune.

Text 96: Devotion includes awareness
SB 10.14.5:
Even the jnana prescribed in SB is part of bhakti only: “O unlimited Lord, in the past many yogis in this world offered all their activities and prescribed duties unto you. By doing so, they acquired devotion unto You in the form of hearing and reciting Your pastimes. By such devotion, they realized the self, O infallible Lord, and easily attained Your supreme destination.”

Text 97: Bhakti is the source of all perfection
SB 10.81.19:
All other means of attaining perfection described in SB are similarly rooted in bhakti, as Sridama Vipra exemplifies: “Worship of Your lotus feet is the basis of all perfection and opulence that human beings can achieve in heaven, on earth, in the lower planets, or in salvation.”

SB 10.72.4: Yudhisthira: “O lotus naveled Lord, those who constantly serve Your Sandals, which destroy all inauspiciousness, who meditate upon them with pure minds and praise them, obtain freedom from bondage to the material world. And even if they should so desire, they can attain any material boon. But these things are not available to others.”

Text 98: Bhakti is independent of all methods
All perfection is attained simply by Bhakti, without reliance on any other method.

SB 2.3.10: An intelligent person, weather desireless, full of desire, or desiring liberation, should worship the Supreme Person with fervent bhakti-yoga.”

Text 99: Success in bhakti is assured, but not in karma
Unlike the practice of karma-yoga, where there is both uncertainty and misery involved, success is assured in the practice of bhakti-yoga and the devotee experiences happiness even in the stage of practice.

Text 100: Inauspiciousness never ensues from bhakti
SB 1.5.17:
“If one renounces his prescribed duty and engages in the service of the lotus feet of Lord Hari, but falls down before becoming perfect, what inauspiciousness can befall him? On the other hand , if a person not engaged in the service of the Lord executes his prescribed duty, what does he gain?

SB 2.4.18: “I offer obeisances unto the all-powerful Lord. Just by taking shelter of His devotees, all types of sinful people become purified, including the Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pukkasas, Abhiras, Kankas, Yavanas, and the Khasas.”

Text 101: Brahmanism is of no value, if devoid of Bhakti
SB 10.23.40:
“To hell with all of our threefold births [biological, brahminical and ritual], our vows, our extensive spiritual knowledge, our lineage, and our expertise in the rituals, when we have turned against the one beyond the senses.”

Text 102: Bhakti excels over the practice of offering one’s prescribed duties to the Lord
SB 1.2.14:
“Therefore with resolute determination one should continuously hear about, glorify, meditate on, and worship the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, the guardian of His devotees.”

Text 103: Bhakti surpasses yoga
SB 1.6.36:
Narada muni to Vyasadeva: “The mind, which is repeatedly overwhelmed by lust and greed, is not restrained as effectively by the path of yoga, beginning with the practice of yama, as it is by service to Lord Krishna.”

SB 11.14.20: “Neither practice of yoga, nor sankya, nor prescribed duties, nor the study of the Vedas, nor penances, nor renunciation can captivate Me as does emphatic devotion unto Me.”

Text 104: Bhakti surpasses jnana

“O Lord, those whose hearts have been purified by bhakti, drinking the nectar of Your glories, acquire knowledge permeated with renunciation and easily attain Vaikuntha. But others, the jnanis, after conquering powerful material nature on the strength of their yoga trance on the self, enter in You only. They undergo a great deal of hardship, but not those who serve you.”

Text 105: Jnana cannot be accomplished without bhakti
SB 10.4.4:
Brahma’s statement: “O almighty Lord, those who undergo pains to attain realization of the inscrutable, giving up the most beneficial path of bhakti, gain only labor and nothing else, like those engaged in threshing coarse husk devoid of grain.”

Lessons 7 & 8, Texts 106-113: Bhakti is intrinsic duty
Lesson 7, Texts 106-107: Taking shelter of complete whole
SB 6.9.22:
Demigods themselves emphasize the necessity of Krsna-bhakti while disregarding the idea of independently worshiping the demigods: “There is nothing astonishing for the Lord. His desires are fulfilled by virtue of bliss inherent within His own nature. He is equipoised and completely peaceful. If one abandons Him and takes shelter of someone else, he is certainly a fool, like a person who wishes to cross the ocean by holding the tail of a dog.”

SB 1.2.27: “Those who possess the nature of rajas and tamas and whose character is thus identical [to that of the forefathers, ghosts, and progenitors], worship a desire to get money, opulence and progeny.”

Brahma and Shiva should be worshiped as Vaishnavas
SB 2.9.5:
“Lord Brahmä, the first god and spiritual teacher of the world, while sitting atop his lotus base, looked about with a desire to create but was unable to understand how to go about it.”

SB 12.10.34: Markandeya to Shiva: “However, I ask one boon from you, who are complete in yourself and who fulfill the desires of your devotees, that I may have unfailing devotion to Him, and to yourself as well.”

Shiva is the greatest Vaishnava. To regard him as equal to Vishnu cannot award devotion; rather, it is offensive.

“The foolish, who equate Shiva with Vishnu, cannot obtain unalloyed devotion to Lord Hari, even if they worship Him with one-pointed attention. One who regards the demigods, like Brahma & Shiva, is equal to Lord Narayana certainly becomes heretic.” [Vaishnava-tantra]

SB 12.10.6: Shiva referring to Markandeya as a pure Vaishnava: “This brahmana-sage certainly does not desire any benedictions even up to the point of salvation, because he has attained supreme devotion to the immortal Lord, the Supreme Person.”

One shouldn’t, however, disrespect the demigods
“Only Lord Hari, the Supreme Master of all other worshipful deities and controllers, should be worshiped always. Other gods headed by Brahma and Rudra should never be disrespected.” [Padma-Purana]

Text 107: The nature of the entity of highest shelter
SB 10.48.26:
Akrura’s prayers: “What scholar would approach anyone for shelter other than You who are filled with love for Your devotees, truthful, a well-wisher to all, and grateful? Not only do You fulfill all the desires of those who worship You and who are affectionate towards You, but You also give them Your own self. Yet there is no loss or gain for You.”

Because the Lord is suhrda, the one whose nature is to help others, and moreover, because He is krra-jna, the one who considers even the slightest favor as significant, He fully grants all the desires of those who worship Him.

Lesson 8, Texts 108-113: Bhakti is intrinsic duty
Text 108: Wastage of human potentiality
SB 3.15.24:
Brahma to the demigods: “This human form of life is desired even by us because in it, one can attain knowledge of the Absolute along with the path of religion. Alas! Those who in spite of obtaining this human form do not worship the Lord, are bewildered by the Lord’s all-pervading Maya.

SB 2.3.20: If, despite acquiring human form, people do not worship the Lord, who is the root of all religion and knowledge, they are completely deluded: “Alas, the ears of a person that do not hear about the heroic deeds of Krishna are but two holes. And, O Suta, the tongue which does not sing the glories of the Lord is unchaste, like the tongue of a frog.

Text 109: Absence of virtue
SB 5.8.12:
“The demigods constantly dwell with all good qualities in that person who has pure bhakti for the Lord. There are no good qualities in the non-devotee who chases after temporary material objects with desire for material pleasure.”

Text 110: Disregard for the sage void of devotion
SB 3.9.10:
“O Lord, what to speak of others, even if the great sages are not interested in hearing Your pastimes they wander in the cycle of birth and death in this world. In daytime they are disturbed by various engagements, and at night they lie unconscious in sleep which is disrupted repeatedly because of various thoughts. By the will of providence all their endeavors to achieve their goals are foiled.”

The mystery of dharma hidden even from the sage
SB 6.33.19-22:
Yamaraja: “The Lord Himself has propagated dharma. Even the sages, the gods and perfected beings do not know the import of dharma, so what to speak of the human beings, the Vidyadharas, the Caranas and the Asuras. My dear servants, only Brahma, Narada, Shiva, the Kumaras, Kapila, Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhishma, Bali, Sukadeva and I—these 12 people—know dharma related to the Supreme Lord. By knowing this dharma, which is confidential, pure and difficult to ascertain, one becomes immortal. This alone is said to be the supreme duty of human beings in this world to engage in bhakti to the Supreme Lord by chanting His names and other such activities.”

SB 10.33.39: “A faithful person endowed with fortitude who hears or relates the amorous pastimes of Krsnawith the damsels of Vrajais blessed with the supreme devotion to the Lord and is quickly freed from lust, the disease of the heart.”

SB 6.3.25: Because of the supremacy and confidentiality of this bhagavata-dharma, Yamaraja continues: “Generally, even great souls do not know this religion.”

Text 111: Devotion is the intrinsic duty of all
SB 11.18.42-43:
Krishna to Uddhava: “The duties of a mendicant are control of the mind and non-violence, and the duties of one who resides in the forest are penance and discrimination of spirit from matter.” Worship of Me is the common duty for everyone.”

The defect of nonfulfillment of intrinsic duty
SB 11.5.2-3:
One of the Nava-Yogendras: “From the mouth, arms, thighs, and feet of the Lord respectively, appeared the four varnas, or as castes, along with ashramas, or stages of life. The varnas were distinctly divided into vipra, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra according to their corresponding modes of natures. Out of these divisions, those ”who do not worship the Supreme Person, who is the direct source of all souls and the Master of all, and who disregard Him fall from their status and become degraded.”

SB 11.19.5: “Therefore, O Uddhava, understanding your true identity thru deliberation on scriptural truths, and being endowed with knowledge and realization of your relationship with the Lord, worship me with devotion.”

Text 112: Bhakti continues even at the stage of liberation
SB 11.14.25:
After having been purified of all influence of karma by prema bhakti continues: “Just as gold, when melted in fire, gives up its impurities of all contamination caused by impressions of karma by bhakti-yoga and then serves Me directly.”

Text 113: Bhakti is incumbent even upon the demigods
SB 3.28.22:
Kapila deva: “Lord Shiva became known as Shiva, or auspicious, when he accepted upon his head the sacred water of the Ganga, which is known as the best of rivers because it washed the feet of the Lord at its source.”

Thus, the fact that bhakti is the perpetual and invariable duty for all is another reason why it has been established as the abhidheya.

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