Bhakti Sandarbha 312.3 : One Without Ruci can Practice Rāgānugā Mixed With Vaidhī

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312.3 One Without Ruci can Practice Rāgānugā Mixed With Vaidhī

अजाततादृशरुचिना तु सद्विशेषादरमात्रादृता रागानुगापि वैधीसंवलितैवानुष्ठेया, तथा लोकसंग्रहार्थं प्रतिष्ठितेन जाततादृशरुचिना च। अत्र मिश्रत्वे च यथायोग्यं रागानुगयैकीकृत्यैव वैधी कर्तव्या।

Yet a person in whom the ruci as defined above has not yet fully sprouted should still execute rāgānugā bhakti, which is honored simply by feeling special regard for the rāgātmikā associates of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa, combined with the practices of vaidhī bhakti. Those who have acquired this ruci and are respected within a larger social framework should also do so in order to set an example for others. In this mixture vaidhī should be performed as far as possible by making it one in nature with rāgānugā.

केचिदष्टादशाक्षरध्यानं गोदोहनसमयवंशीवाद्यसमाकृष्टतत्तत्सर्वमयत्वेन भावयन्ति, यथा चैके "तादृशमुपासनं साक्षाद्व्रजजनविशेषायैव मह्यं श्रीगुरुचरणैर्मदभीष्टविशेषसिद्ध्यर्थमुपदिष्टं भावयामि, साक्षात् तु श्रीव्रजेन्द्रनन्दनं सेवमान एवास" इति भावयन्ति।

Some devotees, while meditating on the 18-syllable mantra, visualize Śrī Kṛṣṇa accompanied by all His associates, who are attracted by the sound of His flute at the time of milking the cows. Others, while performing such worship through the mantra, contemplate: “I am really a specific resident of Vraja, and although I am meditating on this mantra taught by my guru so that I may attain the specific service of Kṛṣṇa for which I aspire, I am directly serving Vrajendra-nandana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

अथ "श्रुतिस्मृती ममैवाज्ञे" इत्यादिनिन्दितमात्रस्वावश्यकक्रियानिषेधयोरुल्लङ्घनं द्विविधम्। तौ हि धर्मशास्त्रोक्तौ भक्तिशास्त्रोक्तौ चेति। भगवद्भक्तिविश्वासेन दौःशील्येन वा पूर्वयोरकरणकरणप्रत्यासत्तौ न वैष्णवभावाद्भ्रंशः।

The transgression of compulsory rules and regulations, which is criticized in verses such as, “Śruti and Smṛti are My orders, etc.” is of two types: transgression of the rules described either (1) in the dharma-śāstra, or (2) in the bhakti-śāstra. In the first case, if a Vaiṣṇava does not carry out the prescriptions of the dharma-śāstra or does something forbidden by it, either because of firm faith in devotion to Bhagavān or due to bad character, he or she does not fall down from the Vaiṣṇava platform.

"देवर्षिभूताप्तनॄणां" (भा. ११.५.३७) इत्याद्युक्तेः, "अपि चेत्सुदुराचारः" (गीता ९.३०) इत्याद्युक्तेश्च।

An example of not following the rules and regulations of the dharma-śāstra because of firm faith in devotion is given in this verse:

O King, one who renounces all obligations and whole-heartedly resorts to the refuge of Bhagavān Mukunda, who alone can give shelter, is no longer a servant of or a debtor to the devas, the sages, the general living beings, family members, mankind and the forefathers. (SB 11.5.41)

Another such example is given in verses such as this:

Even though a person’s behavior may be abominable, if he worships Me with exclusive devotion, he should be considered saintly, because he is rightly resolved. (Gītā 9.30)

तादृशरुचिमति तु तयैव रुच्या द्विष्टत्वादपुनर्भवाद्यानन्दस्यापि वाञ्छा नास्ति, किमुत परमघृणास्पदस्य। अतस्तत्र स्वत एव न प्रवृत्तिः। प्रमादादिना कदाचिज्जातं चेद्विकर्म तत्क्षणादेव नश्यत्यपि। उक्तं च—"विकर्म यच्चोत्पतितं कथञ्चिद्धुनोति सर्वं हृदि सन्निविष्टः" (भा. ११.५.४२) इति।

A devotee endowed with ruci, however, has no desire even for the bliss of liberation because of the hostility towards it brought about by his taste for devotion, so what to speak of desiring pleasures arising from supremely contemptible actions. Thus, such a devotee is naturally disinclined towards such things. If on some occasion a devotee inadvertently commits a sinful act, it is destroyed immediately, as stated earlier:

If a beloved devotee who has forsaken all other attachments and has sought shelter under the soles of Bhagavān's feet somehow commits a sin, the Supreme Bhagavān Hari, seated within his heart, destroys that sin. (SB 11.5.42)

अथ यदि वैष्णवशास्त्रोक्तौ तौ, तर्हि विष्णुसन्तोषैकप्रयोजनावेव भवतः। तयोश्च तादृशत्वे श्रुते सति तदीयरागरुचिमतः स्वत एव प्रवृत्त्यप्रवृत्ती स्याताम्, तत्सन्तोषैकजीवनत्वात् प्रीतिजातेः।

In the second case, where the rules and regulations pertain to the Vaiṣṇava śāstra, their sole purpose is the pleasure of Bhagavān Viṣṇu. Hearing from the Vaiṣṇava śāstras about what is pleasing or displeasing to Bhagavān, a devotee who has a taste for devotion to Him naturally follows that which pleases Bhagavān and avoids that which displeases Him, because Bhagavān’s pleasure is the very life of love.

अत एव न तत्र स्वानुगम्यमानरागात्मकसिद्धभक्तविशेषेण कृतत्वाकृतत्वयोरनुसन्धानं चापेक्ष्यं स्यात्, किन्तु तत्कृतत्वे सति विशेषेणाग्रहो भवतीत्येव विशेषः।

In this matter, therefore, one does not even need to find out whether the specific rāgātmikā-siddha devotee whom he follows adheres to these rules and regulations or not. But if the rāgātmikā devotee has observed certain rules and regulations, the aspirant who follows such a perfect devotee feels special enthusiasm for those principles.

अत्र क्वचिच्छास्त्रोक्तक्रमविध्यपेक्षा च रागरुच्यैव प्रवर्तितेति रागानुगान्तःपात एव। ये च श्रीगोकुलादिविराजिरागात्मिकानुगास्तत्परास्ते तु श्रीकृष्णक्षेमतत्संसर्गान्तरायाभावादिकाम्यात्मकतदभिप्रायरीत्यैव वैष्णवलौकिकधर्मानुष्ठानं कुर्वन्ति।

Whatever scriptural injunctions are required on this path are followed only out of taste for rāga-bhakti, and thus these regulations also form part of rāgānugā bhakti. The rāgānugā sādhakas, being followers of the rāgātmikā associates residing in Gokula and elsewhere, are intent upon the behavior demonstrated by them. As such, the rāgānugā sādhakas carry out certain Vaiṣṇava socio-religious ceremonies with the same intention and disposition as the rāgātmikās, which are rooted in the desire for Kṛṣṇa’s welfare and the removal of the obstacles to meeting Him.

अत एव रागानुगायां रुचेरेव सद्धर्मप्रवर्तकत्वात् "श्रुतिस्मृती ममैवाज्ञे" इत्येतद्वाक्यस्य न तद्वर्त्मभक्तिविषयत्वम्, किन्तु बाह्यशास्त्रनिर्मितबुद्धर्षभदत्तात्रेयादिभजनवर्त्मविषयत्वमेव।

Consequently, because in rāgānugā taste is the sole impetus for engagement in devotional duties, statements such as, “Śruti and smṛti are My orders,” do not apply to bhakti on this path. Nor does it apply to the path of vaidhī bhakti either, because it contradicts Kṛṣṇa’s words in the Gītā, api cet sudurācāraḥ (Gītā 9.30). It does, however, specifically apply to those who follow the paths of worship established by Buddha, Rṣabha, Dattātreya and others, which are prescribed in books outside of the Vedic canon.

वेदधर्मविरुद्धात्मा यदि देवं प्रपूजयेत्।
स याति नरकं घोरं यावदाहूतसम्प्लवम्॥ इति।

As it is said:

If one whose character is opposed to the dharma of the Vedas worships Bhagavān, he goes to a dreadful hell until the final dissolution.

रागानुगायां विध्यप्रवर्तितायामपि न वेदबाह्यत्वम्, वेदवैदिकप्रसिद्धैव सा तत्र तत्र रुचित्वात्। वेदेषु बुद्धादीनां तु वर्णनं वेदबाह्यं विरुद्धत्वेनैव यथा (भा. १.३.२४)—

Although rāgānugā bhakti is not executed on the basis of Vedic injunctions, it is not outside the realm of the Vedas. In fact, rāgānugā is renowned in the Vedas and Vedic literature, because the rāgānugā sādhaka has ruci for those parts of the Vedas and Vedic literature that pertain to rāgānugā bhakti. On the other hand, although Buddha and others are mentioned in the Vedas, they are ouside the realm of the Vedas, because their message is antagonistic to the Vedic principles, as Sūta said:

ततः कलौ सम्प्रवृत्ते सम्मोहाय सुरद्विषाम्।
बुद्धो नाम्नाञ्जनसुतः कीकटेषु भविष्यति॥ इत्यादि।

Then in the beginning of kali-yuga Buddha, the son of Ajina, will appear in the province of Kīkaṭa to bewilder the enemies of the gods. (SB 1.3.24)

तस्माद्भवत्येव रागानुगा समीचीना तथा वैधीतोऽप्यतिशयवती च। मर्यादावचनं ह्यावेशार्थमेवेति दर्शितम्। स पुनरावेशो यथा रुचिविशेषलक्षणमानसभावेन स्यात्, न तथा विधिप्रेरणया, स्वारसिकमनोधर्मत्वात् तस्य। तत्र चास्तां तावदनुकूलभावः, परमनिषिद्धेन प्रतिकूलभावेनाप्यावेशो झटिति स्यात्।

Therefore, rāgānugā is certainly proper and is more intense even than vaidhī. The rules and regulations of scripture are given simply to bring the practitioner to the point of absorption in devotion, as was shown above. The intensity of absorption which is created by the mental disposition drawn by a specific taste cannot be generated through scriptural ordinances, because absorption is the natural characteristic of the mind. In this matter, absorption can take place immediately, even through an unfavorable mood which is completely forbidden, let alone absorption that develops through a favorable disposition.

तदावेशसामर्थ्येन प्रतिकूलदोषहानिः स्यात्। सर्वानर्थनिवृत्तिश्च स्यादिति भावमार्गस्य बलवत्त्वे दृष्टान्तोऽपि दृश्यते। तत्र यद्यनुकूलभावः स्यात्, तदा परमैकान्तिसाध्य एवासौ।

And by the force of this absorption, the unfavorable mood is dropped along with all unwanted desires. There are also examples in scripture that demonstrate the power of the path of natural attraction. And if one has developed favorable attraction, he has already attained the goal aspired for by devotees who are completely focused in exclusive devotion.

Commentary by Satyanārayaṇa Dāsa Bābājī

Earlier it was said that the natural taste, ruci, for bhakti is very rare. What should be done if one has an interest in rāgānugā bhakti bhakti but has no ruci? Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī gives clue for that. He says that one should engage in rāgānugā bhakti with a mixture of vaidhī.

What does this mean? It means that one should engage in rāgānugā practice in the way that one would do in vaidhī bhakti. That means one should do it regularly as if it is an injunction of scripture and one should aim to get the taste, ruci. One should accept a rāgānugā bhakti guru and learn from him or her the process and execute it regularly in the aspiration of attaining ruci. Once ruci manifests then one would do it naturally. One should consider oneself an assistant of one’s guru both in the present body as well as in the perfected body. One should not consider oneself to be independent of the guru.

Śrī Jīva again deliberates on the subject of transgression of the scriptural injunctions. He says that this transgression could be either of the principles of dharma-śāstra such as Manu-smṛti, or of bhakti-śāstras such as Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The transgression of the first could also be either because of one’s faith in bhakti or because of bad character. In either case one does not fall from one’s position as a Vaiṣṇava. The first type of transgression is normal and even recommended, as Śrī Kṛṣṇa says

One should continue to engage in prescribed karma until one has developed detachment from sense pleasure, or until one has awakened faith in hearing narrations about Me. (SB 11.20.9)

This is also the import of the verse 11.5.41 cited in this anuccheda.

The other type of transgression is abnormal and is the result of one’s previous habits or an outcome of some past offense. In either case, this also does not make one lose one’s Vaiṣṇava status because one’s resolve is to serve Kṛṣṇa. One is not interested in sense pleasure as one’s goal of life. This is possible only in a person who has ruci. A person who has ruci is not interested in any material pleasure, nor even in the pleasure of Brahman realization. There is no possibility that such a person would be attracted to pleasure of some forbidden activity. However, if it should happen, he still does not fall from his status of a devotee and is quickly purified by Bhagavān.

The second type of transgression is related to bhakti-śāstra. The rules and regulations of these scriptures are all related to the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa. It recommends one to do those activities that are pleasing to Kṛṣṇa and forbids those that are displeasing to Him. Since the devotee who has ruci also has an interest in acting for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa, he would not engage in any forbidden act. Moreover, since the principle of rāgānugā bhakti is to follow the perfected associates of Kṛṣṇa, there is no possibility of such a devotee transgressing any principle of bhakti-śāstra. Furthermore whatever injunction of scripture he follows are also part of rāgānugā bhakti and not of vaidhī bhakti because his inspiration to follow them springs from his ruci and not from the injunction.

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī concludes that the statements such as “Śruti and smṛti are My orders,” do not apply to rāgānugā bhaktas because they do everything for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure. They do not apply to vaidhī bhaktas either, because such a behavior also goes against the very nature of a vaidhī bhakta, for one who has faith in the śāstra cannot go against its injunctions. A statement such as Gitā (9.30) does not apply to rāgānugā bhaktas because, as said above, they have no taste for any such material pleasures, nor does it apply to a vaidhī bhakti because such transgressions go against the very nature of vaidhī bhakti.

To whom, then, do such statements apply? They apply to people who follow a process not approved by the Veda. These include people who follow the teachings such as those of Buddha and Dattātreya. Such followers are called heretics, pāṣaṇḍī. Bhakti, whether rāgānugā or vaidhī, is part of the Veda. It is not against the teachings of the Veda. Rather it is the essence of the Veda.

Of these two types of bhakti, rāgānugā is superior because it gives more intense absorption in Bhagavān than vaidhī. The purpose of injunctions is also to bring one’s mind to be absorbed in Bhagavān. The minds of people in general are absorbed in materialistic pursuits. Therefore, śāstra ordains them to engage in bhakti. A person with ruci does not need any injunction. His mind is naturally inclined towards Bhagavān because of his liking for Bhagavān and bhakti. It is the nature of the mind to be attracted to the object of its ruci. The more ruci, the more the absorption.

Absorption can also come about as a result of an unfavorable temperament, a kind of negative ruci. This was seen in people like Śiśupala and Kaṁsa. The power of absorption in Kṛṣṇa is so wonderful that it can even destroy an unfavorable temperament and thus lead to liberation.


Prem Prakash said…
I'm curious why Dattatreya is being used as an example of non-Vedic teachings.

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