Bhakti Sandarba Lesson 13

Theme 3, Lesson 13, Texts 165-178: Unalloyed devotional service culminates into natural attraction. PPT and recordings of this class are available at  http://tinyurl.com/6-sandarbhas 

Discussion Highlights:
Theme 3, Lesson 13, Texts 165-178: Unalloyed devotion culminates in natural attraction

  1. The exclusivity of devotion [Texts 165-169]: Pure bhakti spells complete absence of all other desires. Such a bhakti, which is constituted of nine limbs, is the methodology.
  2. Assessment of devotion though the eligibility of its performers [Texts 170-176]: Three methods to shift awareness, source of eligibility, faith is the sole requirement for pure bhakti, and 3 manifestations of the Absolute realized through awareness and devotion.
  3. Bhakti born of natural attraction is the true methodology [texts 170-176]: Devotion born of natural attraction transcends sin and mundane piety. Bhakti is the natural methodology for the Jivas.

Performance of Pure devotional service for the pleasure of the Lord without personal motives

Texts 165-169: The exclusivity of devotion

Texts 170-176: Assessment of devotion through the eligibility of its performers

Texts 177-178: Bhakti born of natural attraction is true methodology

Goal is to attain love for God.

Nectar of devotion:
Anya abilashita sunyam Jnana karmadi anavrtam
anukulyena Krishnanusilanam bhaktir uttama

Anya abilashita sunyam – without any material desires

Sadana bhakti is like a training wheel, when we don’t have natural attraction, simply beginning with hearing. From Sadana bhakti we come to pure devotional service.

Bhakti is abhideya is means by which we obtain supreme goal of human form of life.

Text 165: Direct Bhakti is the only abhideya, or methodology to realize bhagavan – Five reasons

1)      In offering the results of one’s prescribed duties to the Lord, it is the bhakti that is the goal to be attained.

2)      Without bhakti all other processes [Jnana, Karma, etc.] are futile.

3)      Bhakti is independently powerful.

4)      One can attain the supreme destination even by slight contact with bhakti or even by a resemblance (abhasa) of bhakti. Ex: Ajamila.

5)      Bhakti is the eternal duty of varnasrama dharma. (Varnasrama dharma is like a training wheel, stepping stone. If we offer results to Supreme Lord.

Because bhakti is exclusive in nature (i.e., being independent of any other processes) => also called ananya – or unalloyed bhakti.

Unalloyed devotion requires/demands freedom from extraneous desire
=> When bhakti is performed exclusively with a desire for bhakti, it is known as akinchana, or unadulterated devotion (Without mixed with jnana or karma or material desires, it’s Pure)
=> Lord Rishabha deva: “I, who am superior even to Brahma and unlimited, have the ability to award heaven or liberation, but my unalloyed devotees do not desire anything from me.

Texts 166-167: The Lord and the devotee are desireless – worship is for the benefit of the worshiper
SB 7.10.5-6: “A servant who desires material profits from his master is certainly not a qualified servant or pure devotee. Similarly, a master who bestows benedictions upon his servant because of a desire to maintain a prestigious position as master is also not a pure master. O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant, and You are my eternal master. There is no need of our being anything other than master and servant. You are naturally my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other relationship.”

SB 7.9.11: “The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always fully satisfied in Himself. Therefore when something is offered to Him, the offering, by the Lord’s mercy, is for the benefit of the devotee, for the Lord does not need service from anyone. To give an example, if one’s face is decorated, the reflection of one’s face in a mirror is also seen to be decorated.”

From which type of person does the Lord accept worship? “From one who is inexperienced.” Neophytes?

Alternate explanation: A devotee knows absolutely nothing other than the Lord because of being fully absorbed in the Lord.

In both cases, the Lord’s mercy is the cause of His accepting worship because the devotee is thus benefited.

Prahlada in anticipation of a possible question: Just because the Lord does not require anyone’s worship, is it that people do not worship Him?: Whatever worship a devotee performs for the Lord is really for his or her own benefit.

Text 168: Bhakti contaminated with material desires is mere show
SB 7.7.51-52, Prahläda: “My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect brāhmaṇas, demigods or great saints or by becoming perfectly good in etiquette or vast learning. None of these qualifications can awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is simply a show.”

SB 7.10.7: “O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at all want to bestow a desirable benediction upon me, then I pray from Your Lordship that within the core of my heart there be no material desires.”

Text 169: Nine-fold devotional service (Navadha – Bhakti) is the methodology – this is the essence of all scriptures
SB 7.5.23-24
Sravanam Kirtanam Vishnoh smaranam padasevanam
archanam vandanam dasyam sakyam atma nivedanam
iti Pumsarpita Vishnoh bhaktische nava lakshana
kriyate bhagavati addha tanmanye dhitamuttamam

“Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) —these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛshna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”

By performing even one of these nine processes sincerely one can attain the Supreme.

Bhagavati: Bhakti directed unto the Lord

Addhā: directly meaning bhakti should be done explicitly for the satisfaction of the Lord, not indirectly as in the case of offering one’s prescribed duties (karma)

Furthermore, one should perform bhakti solely for the pleasure of the Lord—not offered for the sake of dharma, artha,kāma, or moksha.

Not necessarily to perform all nine types—even by the execution of one of these nine according to one’s own inclination and liking, the fruit is guaranteed w/out exception.

Texts 170-176: Assessment of devotion through the Eligibility of its performers
Text 170: Three Methods to shift awareness

  1. The process of Jnana discloses Brahman
  2. The process of Bhakti reveals Bhagavan
  3. The offering of one’s prescribed duties – karma – a gateway to the first two

First two alone are the actual means.

SB 11.20.6, Krsnato Uddhava: “I have taught these 3 yogas—jïäna, karma and bhakti—with the intention of granting the highest welfare to human beings. No other means is found anywhere.”

Text 171: Sources of eligibility
SB 11.20.7-8: “Among these three paths, jnāna-yoga, the path of philosophical speculation, is recommended for those who are disgusted with material life and are thus detached from ordinary, fruitiveactivities. Those who are not disgusted with material life, having many desires yet to fulfill, should seek perfection through the path of karma-yoga. If somehow or other by good fortune one develops faith in hearing and chanting My glories, such a person, being neither disgusted with nor very much attached to material life, should achieve perfection through the path of loving devotion to Me.”

SB 2.7.46: “Surrendered souls, even from groups leading sinful lives, such as women, the laborer class, the mountaineers and the Siberians, or even the birds and beasts, can also know about the science of Godhead and become liberated from the clutches of the illusory energy by surrendering unto the pure devotees of the Lord and by following in their footsteps in devotional service.”

Text 172: Faith: The sole requirement for unalloyed devotion
SB 11.20.27-28:
“Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities.”

SB 11.20.32-33: “Everything that can be achieved by fruitive activities, penance, knowledge, detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious duties and all other means of perfecting life is easily achieved by My devotee through loving service unto Me. If somehow or other My devotee desires promotion to heaven, liberation, or residence in My abode, he easily achieves such benedictions.”

SB 3.25.25: “In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.”

SB 6.2.49: “While suffering at the time of death, Ajāmila chanted the holy name of the Lord, and although the chanting was directed toward his son, he nevertheless returned home, back to Godhead. Therefore if one faithfully and inoffensively chants the holy name of the Lord, where is the doubt that he will return to Godhead?”

SB 11.27.18:Even very opulent presentations do not satisfy Me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by any insignificant offering made by My loving devotees, and I am certainly most pleased when nice presentations of fragrant oil, incense, flowers and palatable foods are offered with love.

Text 173: Jnana and Bhakti are independent of Karma
How can pure jnana& bhakti are performed when they have to be combined with karma?
SB 11.20.9:Krishna refutes the idea that jnana and bhakti are still under the jurisdiction of karma: “As long as one is not satiated by fruitive activity and has not awakened his taste for devotional service by śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, one has to act according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions.”

How can one know whether someone has developed faith or not? Resolve to act favorably and other attributes.

BG 9.22: “For devotees who are exclusively devoted to Me, who are absorbed in thinking of Me, who worship Me consummately, and who are thus ever-united with Me, I provide all necessities and preserve what they have.”

Text 174-175: Karma can become a means to shift awareness
SB 11.20.10-11:
“My dear Uddhava, a person who is situated in his prescribed duty, properly worshiping by Vedic sacrifices but not desiring the fruitiveresult of such worship, will not go to the heavenly planets; similarly, by not performing forbidden activities he will not go to hell. One who is situated in his prescribed duty, free from sinful activities and cleansed of material contamination, in this very life obtains transcendental knowledge or, by fortune, devotional service unto Me.”

But if one meets a devotee simply carries out these duties directly for the pleasure of the Lord.

SB 11.20.26: “It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure.”

Text 176: Three manifestations of the Absolute realized through awareness and devotion
Awareness of the Absolute Truth [AT]: Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan

Brahman: The unqualified aspect of the AT => Awareness through Jnana

Paramatma and Bhagavan: The qualified aspects of the AT => Awareness through two divisions of bhakti.

The Brahman feature of the AT: The imperishable is the Supreme Brahman [aksara] => Awareness through cultivation of Jnana

BG 8.11: “I will tell you in brief about that supreme goal, which the scholars of the Vedas call aksara, which is entered into by the mendicants who are free of all passions, and which is desired by the celibates who study the Vedas to attain it.”

The two features of Paramatma:
1) Virat-purusa [adhidaivam], or cosmic form of the Lord in the shape of the universe, adhidaiva

2) Within the body of Krishna Himself is adhiyajna, or the Lord who inspires all activities. This refers to the Supersoul feature within the individual bodies of the Jivas.

Viratrupa is also Paramatma feature of the Lord
BG 8.4: “O best of the embodied beings, the perishable body is the substratum for the living beings, the cosmic form of the Lord in the shape of the universe is the presiding Lord of the demigods, and within this body, I Myself preside over all activities [as the indwelling witness and sanctioner of all activities]”

BG 8.8: “O Arjuna, he who is fixed in yoga practice, whose mind never strays to any other object and who is thus constantly engaged in meditation on the supreme, effulgent puruñaattains to that very feature of the Lord.”

Bhakti directed towards Paramatma in the form of the Supersoul within every Jiva’s heart:
BG 8.9-10:
“One should meditate on that Person who is omniscient, the most ancient, the ruler of all, who is more subtle than the subtlest, the sustainer of all, whose form is inconceivable, who is self-effulgent like the sun and beyond all darkness. One who, at the time of death, firmly fixes his life air between the eyebrows by the strength of yoga, who is established in bhakti and who thus meditates on this Supreme Person with undeviating attention, attains the same Supreme, transcendent Person.”

Devotion to Bhagavan Krishna:
BG 8.14:
“O Arjuna, for that yogi whose mind is fixed on Me without recourse to any other object, who constantly thinks of Me in every possible circumstance, and who is ever-united with Me, I am easily attained.”

Bhakti includes and surpasses Jnana:
SB 10.14.5: “O Lord, those who give up the auspicious path of bhakti and struggle for impersonal realization achieve only misery.”

SB 11.20.31: Bhakti on the other hand does not depend on jïäna: “Therefore, for the yogi who is endowed with bhakti for Me and whose mind is fixed on Me, knowledge and renunciation are not generally beneficial in this world.”

Unalloyed devotion is absolute methodology
Texts 177-178: Bhakti born of natural attraction is the true methodology
Text 177: Devotion born of natural attraction transcends sin and piety
Bhakti is the embodiment of supreme bliss, therefore to engage in bhakti out of natural attraction is a virtue.

However, some are unable to experience its sweetness due to their own shortcomings. Such persons may engage in devotion only weighing the consequences of right and wrong based solely on scriptural injunctions.

SB 11.19.45: “What need is there for further elaboration? To estimate the virtues and faults of  others is itself a defect, whereas to be free from this tendency is real virtue.”

Text 178: Bhakti is the natural methodology for the Jivas
Only unalloyed bhakti by its very nature appropriate for the Jiva. This bhakti is the natural shelter for the living beings, who are parts and parcels of Him.                

The living being is a part of Paramatma:
SB 10.87.20:
“The individual living entity, while inhabiting the material bodies he has created for himself by his karma, actually remains uncovered by either gross or subtle matter. This is so because, as the Vedas describe, he is part and parcel of You, the possessor of all potencies. Having determined this to be the status of the living entity, learned sages become imbued with faith and worship Your lotus feet, to which all Vedic sacrifices in this world are offered, and which are the source of liberation.”

It is, however, understood that the living entity is a part only of that aspect of the Lord who shelters the intermediate, or marginal potency. It is not part of the Lord’s intrinsic potency, which consists of His svarupa-shakti.

Although the living entity is eternally under the Lord’s shelter, he experiences material misery because of his attention is directed towards the world of material phenomena and away from the Lord.

The material miseries get mitigated on its own when one turns one’s attention towards the Lord.

Queries by audience which were answered by His Grace Charu Chandra Prabhuji:

Not desiring any material benefit but desiring pure devotion from the Lord – can it be described as unalloyed devotional service. Yes, that is exactly the definition of pure devotion.

Similar to Prahalad Maharaj, We read in SB canto 10 about Mucukunda, he was offered any material boon but he prayed not to have that because material enjoyment even if given by Krishna sometimes with a risk of fall down. Wealth is not an issue, if we are attached to wealth that is an issue, on the other hand if wealth is utilized for preaching purpose that is good. Krishna’s protection comes along with it.

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