Bhakti Sandarbha 225 : Three Divisions of Saṅga-siddhā Bhakti

Gundicha temple in Jagannath Puri.

After completing the subject of āropa-siddhā bhakti (217-224), Sri Jiva now turns to saṅga-siddhā, which will be covered up until Anu 230. Saṅga-siddhā is primarily known as miśrā bhakti. Karma-miśrā bhakti is subdivided into sa-kāmā, with a desire for material enjoyment; kaivalya-kāmā, with a desire for liberation; and bhakti-mātra-kāmā, with a desire for devotion alone

Reminder: This is not the final text of the book. The published edition will be upgraded from this.

Anuccheda 225

Three Divisions of Saṅga-siddhā Bhakti

तदेवमारोपसिद्धा दर्शिता। अथ सङ्गसिद्धोदाहरणप्राप्ता मिश्रा भक्तिर्दर्श्यते ।

We have thus described āropa-siddhā bhakti, or action indirectly attributed with the quality of devotion. We will now discuss mixed devotion as an example of saṅga-siddhā bhakti, action associated with devotion.

स्वरूपसिद्धासङ्गेन ह्यन्येषामपि भक्तित्वं दर्शितम्। तत्र "भागवतान् धर्मान्" (भा. ११.३.२४) इत्यादिश्रीप्रबुद्धवाक्य-प्रकरणे सर्वासङ्गदयामैत्र्यादीनामपि भागवतधर्मत्वाभिधानात्।

We have already shown that by contact with svarūpa-siddhā bhakti, or action directly constituted of devotion, the other actions also take on the quality of devotion. This is understood from the section of verses spoken by the sage Prabuddha, beginning with SB 11.3.22 [See Anuccheda 206]. In this section, activities such as detaching the mind from everything, compassion and friendship to all beings were also referred to as bhāgavata-dharma.

तत्र कर्ममिश्रा त्रिविधा सम्भवति—सकामा, कैवल्यकामा, भक्तिमात्रकामा च।

Karma-miśrā bhakti, or devotion mixed with karma is of three types: sa-kāmā, with a desire for material enjoyment; kaivalya-kāmā, with a desire for liberation; and bhakti-mātra-kāmā, with a desire for devotion alone.

यद्यपि कामकैवल्ये अपि—
या वै साधनसम्पत्तिः पुरुषार्थचतुष्टये।
तया विना तदाप्नोति नरो नारायणाश्रयः॥

The fulfillment of material desires and the attainment of liberation are possible through devotion alone, as indicated in this statement:

A person surrendered to Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa can attain everything within the four categories of human achievement [morality, prosperity, enjoyment and liberation], even without adopting the means prescribed in scripture for their attainment. (Mahābhārata)

इत्युक्तेः केवलयैव भक्त्या सम्भवतः, तथापि तत्तद्वासनानुसारेण तत्र तत्र रुचिर्जायते। इत्येवं तत्तदर्थं तन्मिश्रता तु जायत इत्यवगन्तव्यम्।

Yet, because of a specific desire for the results of karma or jñāna, a person develops an interest in the means associated with these goals, and in order to attain them, he or she adopts the path of devotion mixed either with karma or jñāna.

ततः सकामा प्रायः कर्ममिश्रैव। तत्र कर्मशब्देन धर्म एव गृह्यते। तल्लक्षणं च यमदूतैः सामान्यत उक्तं, "वेदप्रणिहितो धर्मः" (भा. ६.१.४०) इति।

Out of these three types of devotion, sa-kāmā is generally mixed with karma. The word karma here is taken to mean dharma, or moral obligation, and it is defined in a general way by the messengers of Yama: “That which is prescribed in the Vedas is called dharma” (SB 6.1.40).

वेदोऽत्र त्रैगुण्यविषयः, "त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदाः" (गीता २.४५) इति श्रीगीतोक्तेः। तत्प्रवर्तनमात्रत्वेन सिद्धः, न तु भक्तिवदज्ञानेनापीत्यर्थः।

 In this context, the word Veda refers to the section of the Vedas pertaining to the three guṇas of material nature. We find a reference to this in the Gītā, “The Veda has as its subject the three guṇas of material nature” (Gītā 2.45). Dharma is accomplished only by carrying out the prescriptions of the Vedas. Unlike bhakti, dharma cannot be accomplished if performed unknowingly.

श्रीगीतास्वेवान्यत्र तस्य कर्मसंज्ञितत्वं चोक्तं—"भूतभावोद्भवकरो विसर्गः कर्मसंज्ञितः" (गीता ८.३) इति। विसर्गो देवतोद्देशेन द्रव्यत्यागः। तदुपलक्षितः सर्वोऽपि धर्मः कर्मसंज्ञित इत्यर्थः। स च भूतानां प्राणिनां ये भावा वासनाः, तेषामुद्भवकर इति विशेषणाद्भगवद्भक्तिर्व्यावृत्ता।

Elsewhere in the Gītā, karma is defined in this way: “The offering of material objects as a religious act which gives rise to the material desires of living beings is called karma” (Gītā 8.3).

The word visargaḥ here means to offer objects as a sacrifice to the gods. This statement implies that all other forms of moral action (dharma) are also to be termed as karma. The word visargaḥ is qualified by the adjectival compound bhūta-bhāvodbhava-karo, which means that this offering of articles for the pleasure of the gods gives rise to the desires of living beings. By use of this adjectival compound, bhakti [which by contrast cleanses all such desire] has been excluded from karma.

अथ भक्तिसङ्गाय धर्मस्य वैशिष्ट्यं चैकादशे श्रीभगवतोक्तं—"धर्मो मद्भक्तिकृत् प्रोक्तः" (भा. ११.१९.२५) इति। भगवदर्पणेन भक्तिपरिकरीकृतत्वेन च भक्तिकृत्त्वमुच्यते।

The special quality of dharma to bring one into the association of bhakti is mentioned by Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: “That which engenders devotion to Me is called dharma” (SB 11.19.27). By offering dharma to Bhagavān or by making it an assistant to devotion, dharma becomes known as bhakti-kṛt, or that which engenders devotion.

तदेवमीदृशेन कर्मणा मिश्रा सकामा भक्तिः, यथा (भा. ३.२१.६७)—

This sa-kāmā bhakti that is mixed with this type of karma can be summed up by Śrī Maitreya’s statement to Vidura:

प्रजाः सृजेति भगवान् कर्दमो ब्रह्मणोदितः।
सरस्वत्यां तपस्तेपे सहस्राणां समा दश॥
ततः समाधियुक्तेन क्रियायोगेन कर्दमः।
सम्प्रपेदे हरिं भक्त्या प्रपन्नवरदाशुषम्॥
Being ordered by Brahmā to procreate, the powerful sage, Kardama, performed penance for ten thousand years on the bank of the Sarasvatī River. With his mind concentrated in trance and by applying the principles of yoga, he worshiped with devotion Bhagavān Hari, who fulfills the desires of surrendered beings. (SB 3.21.6-7)
Although Kardama was free from desire, as understood from the fact that Bhagavān shed a tear of delight on seeing him, he accepted the desire for progeny simply out of respect for the order of Brahmā.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

After describing āropa-siddhā bhakti Śrī Jīva begins explaining saṅga-siddhā bhakti. As the very name suggests, these include activities that are not of the nature of bhakti but are counted as bhakti because they assist in its culture. It is like a person who is very close to the president of a country is also treated and sometimes even called "president." This is very common in India that a brother or close relative of some minister is also called a minister. The husband of a lady politician especially is called and treated as if he is himself the politician.

Examples of such associated devotional actions are taken from the teachings of sage Prabuddha, including control of mind, compassion, friendship with other beings, etc. These are certainly not activities of bhakti. But if they are done by a bhakta to assist his or her devotional practice then they take the appellation of bhakti by association. By the same token they could also be part of karma or jñāna, so saṅga-siddhā could be bhakti mixed with karma or jñāna, i.e., karma-miśrā or jñāna-miśrā bhakti. Here it may be noted that in the case of āropa-siddhā bhakti the karma is performed first and then it is offered. Therefore there is no mixture but superimposition. In the case of saṅga-siddhā the activities of karma or jñāna are performed as subordinate to bhakti, therefore it is called a mixture , and not superimposition.

Karma-miśrā saṅga-siddhā bhakti has three divisions based on the intention of the sādhaka. There are three desires possible: namely for material boon, liberation or bhakti.

In this connection, one may raise a doubt. Earlier it has been said repeatedly that one can get everything from bhakti itself. So why do people not take to pure bhakti alone? Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī replies that it is because of their nature. Some people have a natural inclination for karma or jñāna and thus they follow those paths to achieve their desires. To this they may add bhakti in the hope that it will improve their chances of achieving them.

The author clarifies that the word karma and dharma are synonyms because both mean the duty prescribed by the Veda. Another name for karma is yajña because the Veda primarily prescribes yajñas such as Agnihotra and Darśa-pūrṇamāsa. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa defines karma as visarga, literally to release or give up, i.e., sacrifice. It here means that the oblations are made in the fire for the pleasure of a devatā. It is also called the source of desires, bhūta-bhāvodbhava-karaḥ, because it is the nature of any pleasure that it gives further desire for pleasure. Pataṅjali says that pleasure leads to the attachment [for more pleasure] (sukhānuśayī rāgaḥ, Yoga-sūtra 2.7)

Because karma by itself cannot give a result, Kṛṣṇa therefore advises that it should be offered to Him. Such karma is called bhakti-kṛt or that which gives bhakti. Śrī Jīva gives the example of Kardama Muni. He worshiped Bhagavān by kriyā-yoga with the intention of getting a son. Truly speaking, Kardama had no material desires. He was ordered by Brahmā to procreate and followed obediently. As a result, Bhagavān Kapila appeared as his son.

Bhakti Sandarbha 224 : Three Motives Behind the Offering of Karma
Bhakti Sandarbha 222-223: The Result Of Karma is Under the Control of Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 218-221: Karma Offered To Bhagavān Destroys Karma
Bhakti Sandarbha 217: Three Divisions of Bhakti (Āropa siddhā bhakti)
Bhakti Sandarbha 216 : Ahaṅgrahopāsanā and Sādhanā Bhakti Defined
Bhakti Sandarbha 214-215 : The Process of Brahman Realization
Bhakti Sandarbha 212-213 : The Spiritual Guru is the Manifestation of Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 210-211: The Mantra Guru is Also Compulsory
Bhakti Sandarbha 209 : The bhajana-śikṣā guru is also necessary


Anonymous said…
They're maybe not gonna help me get bhakti, but I have to say I'm all kinds of impressed by the noses on those guardian creatures. No one's gonna smuggle a bit of garlic into the bhoga past them!

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