Love and vastu shakti

Abhi sent me the following verse in comments on the debate post.

saṅgo yaḥ saṁsṛter hetur
asatsu vihito ’dhiyā
sa eva sādhuṣu kṛto
niḥsaṅgatvāya kalpate

"Association with the unholy that is undertaken by one in ignorance is the cause of material bondage. The very same association -- even in ignorance -- done with the saintly leads to freedom from material attachment."

"Association for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. But the same type of association, performed with a saintly person, leads to the path of liberation, even if performed without knowledge."

"If one keeps the company of the wicked, then the result will be a life of deep entanglement. Even if we don’t make the judgment who is a good person and who is bad, we will still receive the results of such association. On the other hand, if we associate with the saintly, we will be freed from all material attachment." (SB 3.23.55)

Vishwanath says that this verse shows that vastu-śakti (the innate power of a thing in itself) does not depend on knowledge, like fire burns with or without one's awareness of its power to do so. Therefore the word ignorant or bereft of intelligence (adhiyā) is common to both sides of the sentence.

This ties in nicely with the passage in the 11th Canto, Chapter 12, where various ignorant devotees are said to have attained perfection through sanga, including the gopis. (11.12.10-13).

Those verses are interpreted in a specific way related to the lila by Jiva Goswami, which will be shown in Krishna Sandarbha and Sankalpa-kalpa-druma, and we shall no doubt have occasion to discuss these things soon enough. Here, however, I would like to see them in their original, primary sense.The "ignorance" of the gopis is the same ignorance as of those situated in knowledge, i.e., who have gone beyond knowledge. Let me quote a couple of those verses:
tā nāvidan mayy anuṣaṅga-baddha-
dhiyaḥ svam ātmānam adas tathedam |
yathā samādhau munayo’bdi-toye
nadyaḥ praviṣṭā iva nāma rūpe ||
They knew nothing of themselves or their kin, of this world or the next, for their intelligence was bound in attachment to me; like sages in samadhi, like rivers flowing to the ocean, they merged completely into my name and form. (11.12.12) (SKD 1.232-236)
mat-kāmā ramaṇaṁ jāram asvarūpa-vido’balāḥ |
brahma māṁ paramaṁ prāpuḥ saṅgāc chata-sahasraśaḥ ||
Desiring to have me as their paramour lover, these girls attained Me, the Supreme Brahman, in their hundreds and thousands without even knowing their own true spiritual nature, just due to My holy association. (11.12.13, KS 177)
A similar point is made in Uddhava's glorification of the gopis,
kvemāḥ striyo vana-carīr vyabhicāra-duṣṭāḥ
kṛṣṇe kva caiṣa paramātmani rūḍha-bhāvaḥ |
nanv īśvaro'nubhajato'viduṣo'pi sākṣāc
chreyas tanoty agada-rāja ivopayuktaḥ ||
What comparison can be made between these forest-dwelling women who are tainted by their infidelity [to their wordly husbands] on the one hand, and this most elevated love for Krishna, the Paramatma, on the other. Surely the Supreme Lord grants the highest welfare to one who constantly worships him even without knowing his reality, just as the king of medicines, heavenly ambrosia, cures all diseases even when used unwittingly. (10.47.59) KS 145
I tend to think that the entire insight of the Vedic literature is concealed in the words atithi-devo bhava" ("see God in the guest"). God is present in the relation itself.
Love and service in this consciousness will bring you closer to God. The closer to God the object of love and service, the better, i.e., the closer to Love Personified the better. bhajanīyottamatvena bhakter uttamatā yataḥ "The gradations of devotion are assessed by the relative superiority of the object of devotion." (Svapnesvara's commentary to Śāṇḍilya-bhakti-sūtra, introducing the third chapter}. This is especially true for one in the early stages of bhakti.

Direct worship to God is also available to his deity form, and other ways also such as cultivating the presence of God in meditation, but as we have been explaining, on the second stage, relationships with the devotees is given greater importance because they are more directly reciprocal. This is the basis of guru-tattva in bhakti also.

If we have spontaneous love for a saintly and elevated person, that is already the result of many lifetimes of sadhana. Fortunate is the person who is spontaneously attracted in love to a pure devotee, Krishna's walking manifestation in this world.

But such spontaneous love in this world, even among sadhaka devotees, contains material admixture, and therefore requires the usual discriminatory processes specific to the life of a sadhaka.


Prem Prakash said…
"God is present in the relation itself."
Brilliant and beautiful.
Dearest śrī jagadānanda das,

In quiet contemplation, my person thinks often of your grace in the hermitage of the home you call Vrindavan.

And so now, the time has come for my person to enter silent retreat, and speak no more on your blog.

tā nāvidan mayy anuṣaṅga-baddha-
dhiyaḥ svam ātmānam adas tathedam |
yathā samādhau munayo’bdi-toye
nadyaḥ praviṣṭā iva nāma rūpe ||

It has been quite some ride to have become as a wizard’s apprentice, and one thanks you dearest Gandalf (smile); for your quiet gentle words of guidance have expressed the most sacred truth that my simple lips could not bear to utter again.

With love eternal,

Jagadananda Das said…
Dear MN,

Perhaps another method of relating would be better. I consider you a friend, and I am happy that you found something worthwhile in my writing that stimulated your thought. I am sorry that I have not always been able to engage with your insights. Good Bhagavatam verse.

Radhe Radhe

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