Bhajana Rahasya: Combatting anarthas

Bhajana Rahasya 2.16

The indirect process: combatting the anarthas

Weakness of heart, thirst for the impermanent, and offenses must be overcome through the indirect method. In other words, one must make an effort to avoid unproductive desires and activities. The methods recommended to overcome the first three categories of anartha will now be given, one by one. Rupa Goswami states there are six urges that create obstacles to devotional service:

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha vegaṁ
jihvā vegam udaropastha vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt

A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals can teach the entire world. (Upadeśāmṛta, 1)

Expanded translation: O Lord Hari! I have fallen into this world of five elements where I have no refuge. I see no shelter other than Your feet, which are the only recourse for the helpless, and so I have made You the essential truth in my life.

I have no pious deeds to my credit, nor knowledge, nor have I performed any sadhan or bhajan. You are all-compassionate and I am the most pitiful beggar; therefore, I beg You for Your causeless mercy.

The impulses of the speech and the mind, the urges to anger and to taste, the drive to fill the belly and serve the genitals, have combined to set me adrift on the ocean of samsar. This gives me the greatest distress.

Though I have made great efforts to do so, I have abandoned all hope of being able to conquer these impulses. O Lord of the destitute, I call out Your name, for now my only hope is You. (Śaraṇāgati)

Comment: When the grace of the guru gives him strength to realize his constitutional position as the servant of Krishna, the pious jiva starts to take up the devotional path. The venerable Rupa Goswami wrote the ambrosial precepts of the Upadeśāmṛta in order to benefit such a beginner in the devotional life.

The wise recognize that instructions differ, depending on whether they are intended for householders or renunciates. Though the instructions found here are primarily intended for householders, they also represent the most valuable wisdom for the renunciates.

The impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, belly and genitals can be most disconcerting. One who can tolerate the urges of these six impulses and take shelter of the Holy Name will conquer fear and become fit to teach the world.

Surrendering exclusively to Krishna is the essence of bhakti, but renouncing everything that is inimical to devotion is an important element of surrender. One can overcome the six urges through engaged renunciation (yukta vairāgya). If one also becomes free of the offenses to the Holy Name, then he will have no fear. (Bhaktivinode Thakur’s commentary on the Upadeśāmṛta)

Bhaktivinode Thakur—
vākya vega mano-vega krodha jihvā-vega
udara upastha-vega bhajana udvega
bahu-yatne nitya saba karibe damana
nirjane karibe rādhā-kṛṣṇera bhajana

A devotee’s bhajan is disrupted by the urge to speak, to let the mind wander, to be angry, to taste, to fill one’s belly, and to engage in sexual acts. One has to make great efforts to control these urges and should do so by worshiping Radha and Krishna in a secluded place.

Foolish talk (prajalpa) can mean any kind of gossip, but also engaging in useless arguments. Enthusiasm for various kinds of logical arguments and winning debates is a distraction from meditation on the Holy Name.


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