Bhakti Sandarbha 296-298 : More on Arcana and Eligibility for It

Chappana Bhoga at Govardhana.





Anuccheda 296

The Process of Offering Food and Two Types of Bhaktas

अथ नैवेद्यार्पणप्रसङ्गे (क्र.दी. ४.६२) यः क्रमदीपिकादर्शितोऽनिरुद्धनामात्मको मन्त्रस्तस्य स्थाने श्रीकृष्णैकान्तिकभक्तास्तु तन्मूलमन्त्रमेवेच्छन्ति। तथा यच्च तन्मुखज्योतिरनुगतत्वेन ध्यातुं विधीयते, तत् तु भोजनसमये तन्मुखप्रसादमेव मन्यन्ते। भोजनं तु यथा लोकसिद्धमेव नरलीलात्वात् श्रीकृष्णस्य।

In the description of offering food to Bhagavān given in the Krama-dīpikā, there is mention of a mantra composed of the name Aniruddha (Krama-dīpikā 4.62). The exclusive devotees of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa, however, use the seed mantra of Kṛṣṇa in its place. And in regard to the prescription that one should meditate on the offering being infused with the effulgence emanating from Bhagavān’s face (Krama-dīpikā 4.54), the same devotees instead visualize Kṛṣṇa’s face blossoming with happiness while eating. And Kṛṣṇa’s eating is like that of anyone else because He performs human-like pastimes.

अथ जपे मन्त्रार्थस्य नानात्वेऽपि पुरुषार्थानुकूल एवासौ चिन्त्यः। यथा श्रीमदष्टाक्षरादावात्मनिवेदन-लक्षणचतुर्थ्याद्यभाववति मन्त्रे तदनुसन्धानेनेति। एवमन्येऽपि पूजाविधयो यथायथं योजनीयाः, शुद्धभक्तिसिद्ध्यर्थं सर्वासां भक्तीनामेव शुद्धत्वाशुद्धत्वरूपेण द्विविधो हि भेदः सम्मत इति।

Although the mantras that one utters have many different meanings, one should meditate on the meaning that is specifically related to one's own goal. In the eight-syllabled mantra the fourth case, indicating self-surrender, is not used. When missing in a mantra one can meditate on the principle of self-surrender in the recitation of that mantra. Similarly, all other processes of worship should be employed in an appropriate manner. In order to facilitate the attainment of pure devotion, it has been accepted that in all devotees there are two possible expressions of devotion, the pure and the impure.

तदेतदर्चनं फलेनाह (भा. ११.२७.४९)—

एवं क्रियायोगपथैः पुमान् वैदिकतान्त्रिकैः।
अर्चन्नुभयतः सिद्धिं मत्तो विन्दत्यभीप्सिताम्॥

Kṛṣṇa speaks of worship by referring to its result:
Worshiping Me as described above by the course of kriyā-yoga, as instructed in the Vedas and Tantras, a person attains from Me the fulfillment of their desir" e, on both sides. (SB 11.27.49)
"On both sides" (ubhayataḥ) means “both here and in the hereafter.”


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

In the Āgama literature as well as books written based upon them there are numerous details and descriptions of the process of worship. Usually the descriptions are in the mood of aiśvarya, treating Bhagavān as full of majestic powers. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī gives some guidelines here for the devotees following the mood of pure love. They should look upon the deity as a human being with human requirements, and not as God who is complete in Himself and does not need our service. He gives two examples from Krama-dīpikā and advises the student to adjust the instructions in accordance with the human pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.

The eight-syllable mantra referred to is the Nārāyaṇa mantra. It contains the indeclinable namaḥ (lit. obeisances) which signifies surrender. The words namaḥ, svāhā, svadhā, śaraṇam, prapadye signify surrender to the worshipable deity and are mostly found in the mantras. If, however, a particular mantra is missing any such word signifying surrender then one should assume it. The meaning of mantra is flexible according to one’s saṅkalpa, resolve. A person desiring pure bhakti should take the meaning of his/her mantra as prayer for pure bhakti.

Śrī Jīva says that bhakti can be done with the pure or impure intention. The pure intention is to execute bhakti only for achieving love of God. The impure intention is to get some material gain in this life or after death. He gives an example of the second at the end of this Anuccheda and of the first in the next.



Anuccheda 297

By Pure Bhakti One Attains Bhagavān

उभयत इहामुत्र च। यथा (भा. ११.२७.५३)—

मामेव नैरपेक्ष्येण भक्तियोगेन विन्दति।
भक्तियोगं स लभत एवं यः पूजयेत माम्॥
And as Bhagavān said:
One who worships Me according to the injunctions already mentioned attains bhakti-yoga, and by performing bhakti-yoga with complete independence, one attains Me directly. (SB 11.27.53)
नैरपेक्ष्येण निरुपाधिना भक्तियोगेन प्रेम्णा। स च भक्तियोग एवं पूजायाः स्यादित्याह—भक्तीति॥

"With complete independence" (nairapekṣyeṇa) means “without any motive,” qualifying devotion (bhakti-yogena), which together means, “through love.” And this pure devotion ensues from worship conducted in this manner, which is made clear from Kṛṣṇa’s statement in the second line of the verse.

॥११.२७॥ श्रीभगवान्॥२९६-२९७॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

The result is dependent upon one’s motive, saṅkalpa. Bhakti can grant anything material or spiritual.


Anuccheda 298

Everyone has The Right To Execute Bhakti

यानि चात्र वैष्णवचिह्नानि निर्माल्यधारणचरणामृतपानादीन्यङ्गानि, तेषां च पृथक् पृथक् माहात्म्यवृन्दं शास्त्रसहस्रेष्वनुसन्धेयम्।

There are numerous other limbs of bhakti one can perform on the path of worship, such as decorating one’s body with the marks of a Vaiṣṇava, accepting the garlands used by Bhagavān, and honoring the water that washed Bhagavān’s feet. The individual importance of all these practices can be gleaned from thousands of different scriptural statements.

अथार्चनाधिकारिनिर्णयः (भा. ११.२७.४) —

Now we will discuss the eligibility of a person to perform worship. Uddhava said to Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa:

एतद्वै सर्ववर्णानामाश्रमाणां च सम्मतम्।
श्रेयसामुत्तमं मन्ये स्त्रीशूद्राणां च मानद॥
O you who are respectful to all, this worship of You is indeed commendable for persons belonging to all social classes (varṇa) and stages of life, and for women and śūdras also. I consider it to be the best of all the paths that lead to ultimate welfare. (SB 11.27.4)
सर्ववर्णानां त्रैवर्णिकानाम्। तथा च स्मृत्यर्थसारे पाद्मे च वैशाखमाहात्म्ये (प.पु. ६.८४.४८, ५२-५४) —

“All social classes” (sarva-varṇānām) refers to the three classes [as the śūdras have been mentioned separately]. The same point, that devotion is the right of all human beings, is made in the Smṛty-artha-sāra and the Vaiśākha-māhātmya of the Padma Purāṇa :

आगमोक्तेन मार्गेण स्त्रीशूद्रैरपि पूजनम्।
कर्तव्यं श्रद्धया विष्णोश्चिन्तयित्वा पतिं हृदि॥

Women and śūdras should worship Bhagavān Viṣṇu with reverence by the process described in the Āgama, after thinking of the master in the heart. (PP 5.84.48)

शूद्राणां चैव भवति नाम्ना वै देवतार्चनम्।
सर्वेऽप्यागममार्गेण कुर्युर्वेदानुकारिणा॥
स्त्रीणामप्यधिकारोऽस्ति विष्णोराराधनादिषु।
पतिप्रियरतानां च श्रुतिरेषा सनातनी॥ इति।

Śūdras should also worship Bhagavān with mantras composed of the names of Bhagavān. Everyone can worship Bhagavān Viṣṇu by the processes delineated in the Āgama, which is approved by the Vedas. Even women who are devoted to their husbands have the right to worship Bhagavān Viṣṇu. This is an eternal injunction of the Veda. (PP 5.84.52-54)

विष्णुधर्मे —
देवतायां च मन्त्रे च तथा मन्त्रप्रदे गुरौ।
भक्तिरष्टविधा यस्य तस्य कृष्णः प्रसीदति॥
तद्भक्तजनवात्सल्यं पूजायां चानुमोदनम्।
सुमना अर्चयेन्नित्यं तदर्थे दम्भवर्जनम्॥
तत्कथाश्रवणे रागस्तदर्थे चाङ्गविक्रिया।
तदनुस्मरणं नित्यं यस्तन्नामोपजीवति॥
भक्तिरष्टविधा ह्येषा यस्मिन् म्लेच्छेऽपि वर्तते।
स मुनिः सत्यवादी च कीर्तिमान् स भवेन्नरः॥ इति।

In the Viṣṇu-dharma Purāṇa it is said:

Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa is pleased with a person who manifests eight types of devotion towards his or her worshipful deity, to their mantra and to the guru who gave the mantra. These are the eight types of devotion: to be affectionate towards their devotees; to approve of their worship; to worship them regularly with a pure mind; to give up hypocrisy for their sake; to develop attachment to hearing about them; to undergo ecstatic symptoms while hearing such topics; to always remember them; and to make their names one's very life. If these eight types of bhakti are found even in a mleccha, that person becomes a sage, and an abode of truth and dignity.

किं च, तत्त्वसागरे—
यथा काञ्चनतां याति कांस्यं रसविधानतः।
तथा दीक्षाविधानेन द्विजत्वं जायते नॄणाम्॥ इति।

Furthermore, it is said in the Tattva-sāgara:

Just as bell-metal is turned into gold by an alchemical process, human beings become twice-born by the process of dīkṣā.

अथ "कृते शुक्लश्चतुर्बाहुः" (भा. ११.५.१९) इत्यादिना युगभेदे यश्चोपासनायामाविर्भावभेद उच्यते, स च प्रायिक एव। तेभ्यश्चतुर्भ्योऽन्येषामुपासनाशास्त्रादेव। अन्यथेतरोपासनायाः कालासमावेशः स्यात्। श्रूयन्ते च सर्वत्र युगे सर्वोपासकास्तस्मात् सर्वैरपि सर्वदापि यथेच्छं सर्व एवाविर्भावाः पूज्या इति स्थितम्। अत "एतद्वै सर्ववर्णानां" (भा. ११.२७.४) इत्यादिकं सर्वसम्मतमेव॥

In the section of verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam beginning with 11.5.21, it is stated that in different yugas there are different manifestations of Bhagavān and correspondingly different processes of worship. This is applicable in a relative sense but not absolutely, because scripture itself prescribes the worship of other forms of Bhagavān, distinct from the four forms recommended for the four yugas. If other forms could not be worshiped simultaneous to the yuga incarnations, there would be no time at which the worship of other forms could take place. It is therefore established that in all yugas, all manifestations of Bhagavān can be worshiped by all, in accordance with individual taste. Thus the conclusion expressed in SB 11.27.4, that worship of Kṛṣṇa is approved for all, is universally accepted.

॥११.२७॥ उद्धवः श्रीभगवन्तम्॥२९८॥


Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

There are various limbs of bhakti. The glory of these various limbs can be seen in different Purāṇas and Tantra literature Some of them are described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (first part, second wave); Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, however, gives many more details. 

After concluding the discussion on deity worship, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī cites verses from various scriptures to establish that every human being has the right to worship Bhagavān. As said earlier, there are two divisions of scriptures in India called Śruti or Veda (also called Nigama), and the Smṛti or Āgama. Out of the four varṇas of Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya, and Śūdra, only the first three classes have the right to study and practice the dharma propagated by the Vedas (SB 1.4.25), but every human being has the right to follow the dharma described in the Āgamas.

To look at it in another way, there are two types of dharma, that related with the body and the one related to the self. The karma-kāṇḍa part of the Vedas relates to the first. Only the first three varṇas have the right to practice it. The path of bhakti relates to the second dharma and it is open to all because there is no difference between the selves of different people of the various varṇas and those who are not a part of the varṇa system, often called mlecchas. The verses cited from Padma Purāṇa clearly state that Viṣṇu should be worshiped by all. This is also confirmed by sage Camasa (11.5.3-4)

By taking dīkṣā according to the process described in Āgama one becomes free of the limitations imposed by one’s low birth. Such a person attains the status of dvija, the word commonly used for a Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, and Vaiśya after undergoing the upanayana saṁskāra. He becomes respectable like a dvija. This is also said by Devahūti to Kapila (3.33.6) in relation to the chanting of the names of God.


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 295 : Adhiṣṭhānas of the Deity
Bhakti Sandarbha 287-294 : Eligibility for Honor
Bhakti Sandarbha 286 : Other Important Aspects of Arcana
Bhakti Sandarbha 285 : The Gods Named in Āvaraṇa-pūjā are Bhagavān's Associates
Bhakti Sandarbha 284 : The Difference Between Mantra and Name
Bhakti Sandarbha 283 : Pāda-sevā (Concluded) and Arcanam
Bhakti Sandarbha 280-282 : Service to Bhagavān (Pāda-sevanam)
Bhakti Sandarbha 275-279 : Smaranam
Bhakti Sandarbha 273-274 : Conclusion of Kirtan Section
Bhakti Sandarbha 270-272 : Kīrtana in the Kaliyuga






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