Bhajana Rahasya 8.4: The premi devotee is filled with humility

Rupa Goswami quotes the following prayer by Sanatan Goswami, which is a verse indicating fixed hope (āśā-bandha) in the mind of a devotee who has attained the state of bhāva.

na premā śravaṇādi-bhaktir api vā yogo’thavā vaiṣṇavo
jñānaṁ vā śubha-karma vā kiyad aho saj-jātir apy asti vā
hīnārthādhika-sādhake tvayi tathāpy acchedya-mūlā satī
he gopī-jana-vallabha vyathayate hā hā mad-āśaiva mām

O my Lord, I have no love for You, nor am I attached to devotional service in practice, such as chanting and hearing. I do not practice the disciplines of Vaishnava yoga; I have no knowledge or pious activities. I cannot even claim to be well-born. Despite my lack of any qualification, O beloved of the gopis, my sacred hope in You is so deep that it will not be uprooted, because You fulfill the desires of the least qualified, giving them even more than they ask. Alas, alas! This hope of mine is causing me pain. (BRS 1.3.35)

Comment by Jiva Goswami: In this verse, both direct and indirect means to attaining the Lord are listed, beginning with prema itself, which is the only direct means. The nine-fold process of bhakti beginning with hearing, etc., is the means for attaining prema. Yoga refers to the eight-part (aṣṭāṅga) system, but by adding the word Vaishnava it indicates meditation and the such on the presence of the Lord in the heart, not an impersonal kind of meditation. Knowledge here means knowledge of Brahman. And works refers to auspicious actions such as following one’s Varnashram duties. Being well-born is a cause for eligibility in Varnashram.

It should be pointed out that all of these practices from yoga onward are to be performed in a way that is beneficial to bhakti for them to be considered even indirect causes of attaining Krishna. Thus, yoga should be understood from the instructions of Kapila in the Third Canto; knowledge from the Gita 18.54, “One who is satisfied in heart and at one with Brahman... (brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā); and pious activity from the verses in the First Canto starting with, “Verily this is the supreme duty for humanity” (sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ, 1.2.6).

When [Sanatan Goswami in this verse] says, “This hope of mine,” he means that he has set out to attain Krishna for his own happiness. It is not the thirst of one who has set out on the path out of love for the Lord itself. The fact that it “will not be uprooted” is the result of its being connected to his own desire for happiness.

“So what must I do?” He answers his own question, “O beloved of the gopis! You fulfill the desires of the least qualified, giving them even more than they ask.” My hope for attaining You can be turned into love by Your will, which means it will thereby be effective. The pain is felt because of this lack of pure consciousness.

This example is one of a devotee’s humility that comes with the attainment of bhava; whereby the sense of lack of qualification does not impede the desire or intent to serve and attain the Lord.

Bhaktivinode Thakur—

śravaṇādi-bhakti prema-bhakti-yoga-hīna
jñāna-yoga-karma-hīna saj-janma-vihīna
kāṅgālera nātha tumi rādhā-prāṇa-dhana
tomāra pade dṛḍha āśāya vyākulita mana

I am without devotional practice, without the discipline that leads to prema-bhakti. I have neither knowledge, self-discipline, good works, nor noble pedigree. Yet, O treasure of Radharani’s life, You are the protector of the poor, and so I maintain firm hope in Your lotus feet, even though this hope disturbs my mind.


Anonymous said…
Sri Ranganatha springs to mind.

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