Bhakti Sandarbha 275-279 : Smaranam


The entire prakarana of smarana is contained in this file, including the important section on types of smarana and samadhi (278-279)


Anuccheda 275

Remembrance of Bhagavān

तदेवं कीर्तनं व्याख्यातम्। तत्रास्मिन् कीर्तने निजदैन्यनिजाभीष्टविज्ञप्तिस्तवपाठावप्यन्तर्भाव्यौ। तथा तत्र श्रीभागवतस्थितनामादिकीर्तनं तु पूर्ववदन्यदीयनामादिकीर्तनादधिकं ज्ञेयम्।

We have thus described the practice of kīrtana. Expressing one’s feelings of humility before Bhagavān, entreating Him with one’s personal aspiration for service, and reciting prayers, are all part of kīrtana. Furthermore, as indicated earlier, singing the names, forms, attributes and pastimes of Bhagavān as they are depicted in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, is superior to singing the names, forms and so on described in other scriptures.

कलौ तु प्रशस्तं तत् (भा. १.३.४३) —

कृष्णे स्वधामोपगते धर्मज्ञानादिभिः सह।
कलौ नष्टदृशामेष पुराणार्कोऽधुनोदितः॥ इति।

In kali-yuga, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is of paramount importance, as Sūta said:

After Kṛṣṇa’s departure to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge and so on, this Purāṇa has risen like the sun for those bereft of sight in the age of kali. (SB 1.3.43)

अथ शरणापत्त्यादिभिः शुद्धान्तःकरणश्चेत्, "एतन् निर्विद्यमानानामिच्छतामकुतोभयम्" (भा. २.१.११) इत्याद्युक्तत्वान् नामकीर्तनापरित्यागेन स्मरणं कुर्यात्। तच्च मनसानुसन्धानम्। यदेव नामादिसम्बन्धित्वेन बहुविधं भवति।

If one's heart has become pure by surrender, service to the wise, and hearing and singing the names, forms, attributes and pastimes of Bhagavān, one can perform smaraṇam, or remembrance of Bhagavān. The practice of remembrance, however, should be undertaken without giving up nāma-kīrtana, because the indispensability of singing Bhagavān’s names was already expressed in this verse:

O King, scriptures and learned authorities have concluded that singing and repeating the names of Hari is the peerless method of success for all, including those desiring material enjoyment, those disinterested in material pleasure and aspiring for liberation, and those seeking knowledge of the Absolute. (SB 2.1.11)

This practice of smaraṇam entails minute investigation with the mind, and it is of various types, as it pertains to the name, form, attributes or pastimes of Bhagavān.

तत्र स्मरणसामान्यम् (भा. ११.१३.१४)—

एतावान् योग आदिष्टो मच्छिष्यैः सनकादिभिः।
सर्वतो मन आकृष्य मय्यद्धावेश्यते यथा॥
This then is the extent to which yoga has been taught by My disciples such as Sanaka: namely that the mind should be withdrawn from everything else and fixed directly on Me. (SB 11.13.14)
यथा यथावत्। मय्यावेश्यत इत्येतावान् इत्यर्थः। तथा च स्कान्दे ब्रह्मोक्तौ—"आलोड्य सर्वशास्त्राणि विचार्य च पुनः पुनः" (लि.पु. २.७.११) इत्यादि॥

"Namely" (yathā) means appropriately or correctly, and "to this extent" (etāvān), means up until one is fixed on Bhagavān. In the Skanda Purāṇa (7.4.25.35) as well, Brahmā makes this statement about remembrance:

Through scrutiny of all the scriptures and repeated deliberation upon them, it is unequivocally concluded that one should always remember Nārāyaṇa.

॥११.१३॥ श्रीभगवान्॥२७५॥



Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī concludes the discussion of kīrtana that was begun in Bhakti Sandarbha 262 where it was recommended that hearing of the essays or literature manifested and recited by great devotees is supremely beneficial. In Anuccheda 273 it was said that of all the types of kīrtana, that of the holy name is best. Here Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī concludes that kīrtana of the names found in Bhāgavata Purāṇa is supreme. Among the various names found in this purāṇa, that of Kṛṣṇa is the best because He is Svayam Bhagavān.

After describing hearing and singing Śrī Jīva take up the next limb of bhakti, remembrance, smaraṇam. The impure mind is very flickering and so purity or stability of mind is needed for practicing smaraṇam. Material desires make the mind unstable. By taking shelter of a genuine guru one’s mind becomes fixed. Such a mind may be engaged in smaraṇam.


Anuccheda 276

Remembrance of Bhagavān’s Name and Form

तत्र नामस्मरणम्—
हरेर्नाम परं जप्यं ध्येयं गेयं निरन्तरम्।
कीर्तनीयं च बहुधा निर्वृतीर्बहुधेच्छता॥
इति जाबालिसंहिताद्यनुसारेण ज्ञेयम्।

Remembrance of Bhagavān’s name is described in the Jābāli-saṁhitā:

Those who desire great amounts of bliss should simply chant, remember, sing and praise the name of Hari incessantly.

नामस्मरणं तु शुद्धान्तःकरणतामपेक्षते। तत्कीर्तनाच्चावरमिति मूले तु नोदाहरणस्पष्टता।

A pure heart is required, however, for remembrance of Bhagavān’s name. Therefore, it is not as effective as kīrtana. But this is not clear from the above verse.

रूपस्मरणमाह (भा. १२.१२.५०)—

Remembrance of Bhagavān’s form is described in these words of Śrī Sūta:

अविस्मृतिः कृष्णपदारविन्दयोः
क्षिणोत्यभद्राणि च शं तनोति।
सत्त्वस्य शुद्धिं परमात्मभक्तिं
ज्ञानं च विज्ञानविरागयुक्तम्॥
Non-forgetfulness of the lotus feet of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa destroys all inauspiciousness, extends tranquility, purifies the heart, awards bhakti for Bhagavān, and bestows knowledge accompanied by realization and detachment. (SB 12.12.55)
परमात्मनि श्रीकृष्णे प्रेमलक्षणां भक्तिमिति मुख्यं फलम्, अन्यानि त्वानुषङ्गिकाणि॥

Devotion characterized by love for Kṛṣṇa, paramātmni, is the prime fruit of remembrance. All other results are secondary.

॥१२.१२॥ श्रीसूतः॥२७६॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Like hearing and singing, remembrance is also of four types, that of the name, form, qualities and pastimes. Remembrance of the name is also called mānasika-japa or repeating the name within the mind. It is considered to be less effective than kīrtana because the mind is more difficult to control and fix on the Name and than using the tongue for doing kīrtana. There is also the possibility of becoming lethargic and drowsy during nāma-smaraṇam.

The smaraṇam of Bhagavān's form should begin with His feet. Therefore, most of the prayers refer to the lotus feet of Bhagavān. This also needs purification of heart.


Anuccheda 277

The Glory of Remembrance

किं च (भा. १०.८०.११)—
स्मरतः पादकमलमात्मानमपि यच्छति।
किं न्वर्थकामान् भजतो नात्यभीष्टान् जगद्गुरुः॥

Moreover, Śrīdāma's wife told her husband:
Bhagavān offers His very Self to one who remembers His lotus feet. So it is not at all surprising that He, the teacher of the universe, also provides His devotees with wealth and the objects of desire, which are hardly desirable for them. (SB 10.80.11)
स्मरतः स्मरते। साक्षात् प्रादुर्भूय आत्मानं स्मर्तुर्वशीकरोतीत्यर्थः। अर्थकामान् इति बहुवचनं मोक्षमप्यन्तर्भावयति लिङ्गसमवायन्यायेन।

[The present participle smarataḥ, “of one who remembers,” which is in the sixth grammatical case,is used in the sense of the dative case, smarate, “to one who remembers Him, Bhagavān offers His very self."] The import of the verse is that Bhagavān appears directly and offers Himself to one who remembers His feet. This means that He willingly submits to such a person. Since “wealth and objects of desire” (artha-kāmān) are in the plural, it should be taken that mokṣa or liberation is also included by the grammatical rule (liṅga-samavāya) that an unexpressed word can be inferred when it shares the same gender with other words. [Artha, kāma and mokṣa are all masculine in gender].

यस्मादेवं तन्माहात्म्यं, तस्मादेव गारुडेऽपीदमुक्तम्—

Because remembering Bhagavān is so glorious, it has been spoken of in this manner in the Garuḍa Purāṇa:

एकस्मिन्नप्यतिक्रान्ते मुहूर्ते ध्यानवर्जिते।
दस्युभिर्मुषितेनैव युक्तमाक्रन्दितुं भृशम्॥ इति।

If one spends even a moment without remembering Bhagavān, he or she should cry out loudly, as if plundered by dacoits.

॥१०.८०॥ श्रीदामविप्रभार्या तम्॥२७७॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Our lifespan is limited in length. Time once past does not return. Money lost can be earned again, health can also be regained, but not lost time. The value of an object depends on its availability. Rare objects are precious. Since available time cannot be stretched by even a moment, it is the most precious thing. Therefore, one should be extremely careful in utilizing it. One of the characteristic of a person who has attained bhāva is not utilizing time for anything other than acts of devotion (avyartha-kālatvam, BRS 1.3.25).


Anuccheda 278

The Five Stages of Smaraṇam

अथ पूर्ववत् क्रमसोपानरीत्या सुखलभ्यं गुणपरिकरसेवालीलास्मरणं चानुसन्धेयम्।

Just as we have discussed that hearing and singing generally proceed in a certain order—from Bhagavān’s names, to His forms, attributes and finally His pastimes—remembrance of Bhagavān should also be taken up in order, which facilitates each successive stage in the progression. Thus after remembrance of Bhagavān’s name and form, one should remember His attributes, associates, service and pastimes.

तदिदं स्मरणं पञ्चविधम्—यत् किञ्चिदनुसन्धानं स्मरणम्। सर्वतश्चित्तमाकृष्य सामान्याकारेण मनोधारणं धारणा। विशेषतो रूपादिविचिन्तनं ध्यानम्। अमृतधारावदविच्छिन्नं तद्ध्रुवानुस्मृतिः। ध्येयमात्रस्फुरणं समाधिरिति।

There are five stages in the evolution of remembrance:
  1. to think of Bhagavān in any manner whatsoever and to whatever extent is known as smaraṇa , or remembrance;
  2. to withdraw the mind from all external objects and fix it in a general way on Bhagavān is called dhāraṇā, or concentration;
  3. to specifically contemplate Bhagavān’s name, form and other attributes is called dhyāna, or meditation;
  4. when remembrance proceeds without interruption like a continuous flow of nectar, it is called dhruvānusmṛti, or constant remembrance;
  5. and when the object of one’s meditation alone is manifest, without awareness even of one's own self, it is called samādhi, or trance.

तत्र स्मरणम् (ना.प. १.१.७७) —
येन केनाप्युपायेन स्मृतो नारायणोऽव्ययः।
अपि पातकयुक्तस्य प्रसन्नः स्यान्न संशयः॥ इति बृहन्नारदीयादौ।

A description of smaraṇa—the first of these five stages—is found in the Bṛhat Nārada Purāṇa:

Remembrance of the imperishable Nārāyaṇa by any means whatsoever brings happiness even to a sinful person. There is no doubt about this. (NP 1.1.77)

धारणा (भा. ११.१४.२७) —
विषयान् ध्यायतश्चित्तं विषयेषु विसज्जते।
मामनुस्मरतश्चित्तं मय्येव प्रविलीयते॥ इत्यादौ।

Dhāraṇā, or concentration, is indicated by Kṛṣṇa:

The mind of a person who dwells on sense objects becomes attached to them. Whereas, the mind that focuses upon Me becomes absorbed in Me alone. (SB 11.14.27)

ध्यानम्—
भगवच्चरणद्वन्द्वध्यानं निर्द्वन्द्वमीरितम्।
पापिनोऽपि प्रसङ्गेन विहितं सुहितं परम्॥ इति नारसिंहादौ।

Dhyāna, or meditation, is referred to in the Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa:

Meditation on the two lotus feet of Bhagavān is said to be beyond the influence of all dualities. Even if a sinner incidentally takes to meditation, he attains great benefit.

तत्र निर्द्वन्द्वं शीतोष्णादिमयदुःखपरम्परातीतम्। ईरितं शास्त्रविहितम्। तच्च पापिनोऽपि प्रसङ्गेनापि परमुत्कृष्टं सुहितं विहितं तत्रैवेत्यर्थः।

"Beyond all dualities" (nirdvandvam) means that such meditation is beyond the chain of misery consisting of opposites like heat and cold. "Said to be" (īritam) means that the scriptures have declared it. Furthermore, if even a sinner incidentally takes to meditation, he or she attains great benefit or the most superior welfare.

ध्रुवानुस्मृतिश्च—"मद्गुणस्मृतिमात्रेण" (भा. ३.२९.१०) इत्यादौ, "त्रिभुवनविभवहेतवेऽप्यकुण्ठस्मृतिः" (भा. ११.२.५१) इत्यादौ च।

Dhruvānusmṛti, or constant remembrance, is described in these two verses:

Just as the water of the Gaṅgā continuously flows to the ocean, the stream of mind flows unobstructedly towards Me, the Supreme Self within all beings, simply by hearing of My qualities. (SB 3.29.11)

And:
One whose remembrance of Bhagavān is never hampered and who, even for the sovereignty of the three worlds, is never deviated even for half a moment from the lotus feet of Bhagavān, which are sought after by the gods for whom Bhagavān is their very self, is the foremost of Vaiṣṇavas. (SB 11.2.53)

एषैव श्रीरामानुजभगवत्पादैः प्रथमसूत्रे दर्शितास्ति।

This dhruvānusmṛti has been described by Śrī Rāmānuja Bhagavatpāda in his commentary on the first aphorism of Vedānta-sūtra.

[Dhruvānusmṛtiḥ is the stage of meditation in which remembrance is unbroken like a continuous stream of oil. This unbroken remembrance has been described as a means to liberation in the following statement (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.26.2): "Dhruvā smṛtiḥ is a special, pronounced form of liberation from all types of entanglements occurring in the acquired state of remembrance."]

समाधिमाह (भा. १२.१०.९)—

Samādhi, or trance, is referred to by Sūta Gosvāmī:

तयोरागमनं साक्षादीशयोर्जगदात्मनोः।
न वेद रुद्धधीवृत्तिरात्मानं विश्वमेव च॥
Mārkaṇḍeya, whose consciousness was immersed in trance, was not aware of his own self or of the world, and thus he did not perceive the arrival of these two, the soul and controllers of the cosmos. (SB 12.10.9)
तयो रुद्रतत्पत्न्योः। भगवदंशतच्छक्तित्वात् जगदात्मनोः तत्प्रवर्तकयोरपि। तत्र हेतुः—रुद्धधीवृत्तिर्भगवदाविष्टचित्तः, भक्तिं परां भगवति लब्धवान् (भा. १२.१०.६) इति पूर्वोक्तेः। तस्मादसम्प्रज्ञातनाम्नो ब्रह्मसमाधितो भिन्न एवासौ॥

“Of these two” (tayoḥ) refers to Rudra and Pārvatī. Because they are part of Bhagavān, being manifestations of His potency, they are the soul and controllers of the cosmos. The reason why Mārkaṇḍeya was not aware of their arrival is that his consciousness was fully absorbed in Bhagavān, as indicated a few verses previous to this:

He attained supreme devotion to the immortal Bhagavān, the Supreme Person. (SB 12.10.6)

Consequently, his samādhi was not the state of immersion in Brahman, technically known as asamprajñāta-samādhi, or trance in which the consciousness of objects no longer remains.

॥१२.१०॥ श्रीसूतः॥२७८॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī subdivides smaraṇam into five steps, going from mere reflection to the state of samādhi or trance. These five steps can be subsumed to the last three limbs of Patañjali's Aṣṭāṅga Yoga. The first two correspond to dhāraṇā, the next two to dhyāna and the last one is samādhi in both of them. The various stages are measured according to the intensity of absorption in the name, form, etc., of Bhagavān. Each subsequent step is more intense than the one preceding it.

Knowledge is of two types: remembrance (smṛti) and apprehension (anubhava). When we apprehend something, it stays in the mind for a moment. Then it is replaced by a new apprehension. Each apprehension leaves an impression on the citta before disappearing from the mind. If the impression is revived back into the mind it is called remembrance. Thus remembrance is knowledge produced from mental impressions alone. This remembrance of an object also stays only for a moment in the mind and is replaced by another apprehension or remembrance.. This is what Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī calls smaraṇam, the first stage.

But if one focuses on the object of remembrance, not letting the mind think of something else, that is called dhāraṇā, the second stage. The word dhāraṇā means "to hold." It signifies trying to hold the mind on the object of remembrance. dhāraṇā is in general not very specific. It means to think of Krṣṇa’s name, etc. If, however, one specifically focuses on name or form, etc., then it is called dhyānam. The difference between dhāraṇā snd dhyānam is that in the first, the field is wider than in the second. When the mind becomes fully focused on one object, such as the name, without any interruption by anything else, then it is called dhruvānusmṛti. Dhruva means fixed and anusmṛti means continuous remembrance. Thus combined together the word means continous remembrance of a fixed object. There is no interruption by any other thing. It is compared to the dropping of oil, or flow of the Gaṅgā. When oil is dropped from a bottle it makes a continous flow without any break. Similarly the Gaṅgā flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal without any break.

Samādhi means when one is so much absorbed in the object of meditation that one becomes oblivious of one’s surroundings. One even loses the awareness of oneself. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī cites the example of sage Mārkaṇḍeya who was meditating on Narāyaṇa. Śiva and Pārvatī came to bless him but he did not notice them.

According to Patañjali's system, there are two divisions of samādhi called samprajñāta and asamprajñāta. In the first there is an object of meditation, but in the second one makes one's mind void without any object. It is expected that in this state one identifies with Brahman. According to the Yoga-sūtra the second is the ultimate form of samādhi and is synonymous with the word yoga. However, from the bhakti point of view, the first one is superior because in it one has experience of Bhagavān, which is superior to that of Brahman. This will be clarified in the next Anuccheda.



Anuccheda 279

Two Types of Samprajñāta Samādhi

क्वचिल्लीलादियुक्ते च तस्मिन्ननन्या स्फूर्तिः समाधिः स्यात्।

Sometimes in samādhi a person may have a vision of Bhagavān along with His pastimes, without consciousness of anything else, as indicated in Śrī Nārada’s statement to Vyāsa:

यथाह (भा. १.५.१३)—
उरुक्रमस्याखिलबन्धमुक्तये
समाधिनानुस्मर तद्विचेष्टितम्॥ इति।

स्पष्टम्।

[O greatly fortunate Vyāsa, your vision is infallible. Your fame is pure. You are truthful and of firm vows.] Therefore, in order to liberate all living beings from material bondage, you should reflect in trance on the activities of Bhagavān, who performs wonderful feats. (SB 1.5.13)
The meaning here is self-evident.

एतद्रूपो दासादिभक्तानाम्। पूर्वं तु प्रायः शान्तभक्तानाम्। "स्वसुखनिभृतचेतास्तद्व्युदस्तान्य-भावोऽप्यजितरुचिरलीलाकृष्टसारः" (भा. १२.१२.६९) इत्याद्युक्तिभ्यः॥

Devotees who are situated in a relationship with Bhagavān as servants, friends, and so on, experience this type of samādhi. The śānta-bhaktas, or those situated in a neutral relation with Bhagavān, generally experience the type of samādhi described in the previous Anuccheda, in which there is no manifestation of Bhagavān’s pastimes. This is understood from Sūta's statement about Śrī Śuka, who was a śānta-bhakta:

I offer obeisance unto Śrīla Vyāsadeva’s son, Śrī Śuka, who destroys all sins. Although his consciousness was filled with the bliss of self-awareness, and although he was consequently devoid of any other thought, his heart became enchanted by the beautiful pastimes of Ajita. Out of compassion he narrated this Purāṇa, which illumines reality. (SB 12.12.69)

॥१.५॥ श्रीनारदो व्यासम्॥२७९॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

In Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha (Anuccheda 153) Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī describes two types of worship called mantropāsanāmayī and svārasikī. Corresponding to these there are two types of samprajñāta samādhi. He says that the first one is experienced by the śānta bhaktas and the second one by the dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya bhaktas. These five divisions of bhaktas will be elaborated in Prīti Sandarbha.

As an example of first, he refers to prayers of Sūta Gosvāmī to his guru Śrī Śukadeva. The latter was absorbed in a state of trance (sva-sukha-nibhṛta-cetas). But when he heard verses describing beautiful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa (ajita-rucira-līlā) he gave up his trance. If the pastimes of Bhagavān had been manifest in Śuka in the state of trance, he would not have been drawn out of that state by any external recitation of those pastimes.

The example of the second is the trance of Vyāsa in which he saw the enchanting pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and later described in Bhāgavata Purāṇa.




DISCLAIMER: All the posts related to Bhakti Sandarbha are not the final product. This version will be refined by other readers and editors, including Babaji himself. Please do not use this material without reference to this disclaimer. This material is copyrighted by the Jiva Institute.

Bhakti Sandarbha 273-274 : Conclusion of Kirtan Section
Bhakti Sandarbha 270-272 : Kīrtana in the Kaliyuga
Bhakti Sandarbha 266-269 : Rupa, Guna and Lila Kirtan, Glories of Kirtan
Bhakti Sandarbha 265 : Offenses to the Holy Name
Bhakti Sandarbha 263-264 : Kirtan of the Holy Name
Bhakti Sandarbha 260-262 : More Glories of Hearing the Bhagavatam
Bhakti Sandarbha 257-259 : Hearing the Bhagavatam
Bhakti Sandarbha 254-256 : Hearing Lila
Bhakti Sandarbha 251-253 : Hearing About Bhagavan's Attributes and Pastimes
Bhakti Sandarbha 248-250 : Introduction to Śravaṇam

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