Priti Sandarbha 5 7 : A Means Cannot Be the End, Except in Bhakti
This continues the Priti Sandarbha readings. This is the second of five segments in which Jada Bharata proposes one paramartha and then negates it. Jiva Goswami reinterprets each of these in a way that shows how the negations do not apply to bhakti.
स चाविर्भावोऽनन्त एव तदीयफलानन्त्यश्रवणात्। तस्मात् परमेश्वरानाश्रयत्वं तत्रोपाधिर्भविष्यति। हिंसायां पापोत्पत्त्यनुमितावविहिततत्ववत्।
This appearance [of bhakti] is verily infinite because its result has been described as everlasting. Therefore, not taking shelter of the Supreme Controller will be the limitation (upādhi) placed on [the yajña, or indeed any act, whereby it is perishable and not the ultimate goal]. It is comparable to the lack of an injunction being the condition that makes a violent act sinful.
ज्ञानप्रकरणे चास्मिन् भक्तिर्न प्रस्तूयत इति साधारणयज्ञादिकमुपादायैव प्रवृत्तिश्चेयम्।
In this discussion [in Viṣṇu Purāṇa] the context is jñāna, so bhakti is not under consideration. This argument was given only with reference to sacrifices, etc., in general [and not to bhakti].
[An upādhi is a qualifying statement or condition added to a too general middle term to prevent overstretch (ativyāpti) as in Tarka Saṅgraha.]
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says that when an action is material, its result will also be material. He says that in this logical syllogism (sāhacarya-niyama or vyāpti) not taking shelter of God is the condition, upādhi. In other words, only if the action is done by a person who is not surrendered to God would its result be perishable. For example, if one says that wherever there is fire there is smoke, then in this principle, fuel with moisture is the condition. In other words, this principle only applies if the fuel is not completely dry. However, if the fuel has no moisture in it, as with methane gas, then there can be fire without smoke. Śri Jīva gives the example of violence. According to the Veda, an act of violence results in sin. This principle has the upādhi of lacking a Vedic injunction, i.e., the violent act will result in sinful reaction if it is not based upon any Vedic injunction. But if a Kṣatriya kills his opponent in a just war, then he does not incur any sin because he is acting according to Vedic injunction. So here, a religious act that is not performed by someone who is taking shelter of God will be perishable, but not one that is.
So see the example of apūrva and Bharata [See Bhakti Sandarbha 222, BhP 5.7.6]
After the preparatory rites and component parts of a sacrifice are executed and the actual sacrifice performed, what results is something not immediately tangible because it is experienced only in the future [such as promotion to heaven]. This intangible fruit (apūrva) is known as dharma, or the merit accruing from religious rites. While performing sacrifices, King Bharata considered this intangible fruit to be sheltered exclusively in Bhagavān Vāsudeva, who is the Supreme Transcendence and the Absolute. He did so because he realized Bhagavān Vāsudeva to be the presiding deity of the sacrifice, and the controller of all the gods who are revealed by the mantras pertaining to them. As such, it is Bhagavān Vāsudeva who is the real agent and chief deity of the sacrifice. Because of Bharata’s genius in understanding this truth, he became cleansed of all impurity. When the adhvaryu priests used to take the offering in their hands to pour oblations, the host, Bharata, would consider the gods, who are entitled to a share of the sacrifice, as limbs of Bhagavān’s body.” (SB 5.7.6)
5.7 The Means Cannot Be the End, Except in Bhakti
तदेवं यज्ञादिकर्मापूर्वस्य विनाशित्वादपरमार्थत्वमुक्त्वा निष्कामकर्मणोऽपि साधनत्वेनार्थान्तरस्यैव साध्यत्वात् तादृशत्वमुक्तमेकेन (वि.पु. २.१४.२५) —
In this way after saying that apūrva generated from the act such as sacrifice is not the ultimate goal because it is perishable, in the following verse Jaḍa Bharata says that even motiveless action is also not the ultimate goal because it is only a means (sādhana) to another goal (sādhya).
तदेवाफलदं कर्म परमार्थो मतस्तव। मुक्तिसाधनभूतत्वात् परमार्थो न साधनम् ॥ इति।
Then do you consider motiveless action to be the supreme goal because it is a means to liberation ? A means cannot be the goal. (VP 2.14.25)
अत्र भक्तेः साधनभूतत्वे न तादृशत्वं मन्तव्यम्। भगवत्प्रेमविलासरूपतया सिद्धानामपि तदत्यागश्रवणात्। तस्मादिदमपि पूर्ववत् ज्ञेयम्।
In this regard, although bhakti is also a means (sādhana), it should not be thought of in this way, because the scriptures tell us that even perfected beings do not give it up, as it is the manifestation of Bhagavān’s love. Thus, like before, sādhana bhakti should also be understood in the same way [i.e., not to be disqualified from being the paramārtha].
In other words it is not defective because of being a sādhana. It is also the sādhya.
Commentary by Babaji
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī concluded his comments on the first series of verses by saying that the context of Jaḍa Bharata's discourse to King Rahūgaṇa is jñāna, and thus he has not taken bhakti into account. He is only negating karma as the puruṣārtha. Thus he first refuted sakāma-karma as being the puruṣārtha (2.14.21-24), and now he does the same to niṣkāma-karma (in 2.14.25). On the jñāna-mārga, karma is seen as a precursor to direct experience of the Absolute, i.e., jñana. It is only a means to mukti. A means cannot be the goal, puruṣārtha; nobody does niṣkāma-karma for the sake of niṣkāma-karma. The example is given of a boat that is abandoned once one has crossed the river.
One may object that bhakti, like niṣkāma-karma, is also performed without any selfish motive, since it is done only to give pleasure to Bhagavān. In fact, the jñānīs do not see a radical difference between bhakti and karma. For them, bhakti is only a means for self purification that is given up once one has attained a sense of oneness with Bhagavān in order to attain final beatification in mukti. But even if one takes prīti to be the goal, it may be argued that bhakti cannot be the puruṣārtha because it is also only a means to that end.
Śrī Jīva replies that bhakti is both the means and the end. Prīti is nothing more than the mature state of bhakti. It is not something different in the way that jñāna is from niṣkāma-karma. It was already said that bhakti is not a material action but a manifestation of the intrinsic potency of Bhagavān. Therefore, it is seen that even perfected beings like Nārada perform bhakti, whereas the jñānīs give up karma.
Thus Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī begins his discussion of sādhana-bhakti in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu with the following verse:
kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā
nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā
That devotion that is executed by [external] actions but which is meant to produce feelings of love [bhāva] is called sādhana-bhakti. The goal of the practice is to manifest the eternally existent loving feelings [that are a part of Bhagavān's internal potency] in one's own heart. (BRS 1.2.2)
Or as Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja makes this a little more explicit:
nitya siddha kṛṣṇa prema sādhya kabhu naya
śravaṇādi śuddha citte karaye udaya
It is never possible to create pure love for Krishna; rather, it appears in the heart which has been purified by devotional practices like hearing and chanting. (CC 2.22.103-4)