Priti Sandarbha 7.10: Four Levels of Inability to See Bhagavan
7.10 Kṛṣṇa's Enemies Are of Two Kinds.
tad-dveṣiṇaś ca dvividhāḥ | eke saundaryādikaṁ gṛhṇanti tathāpi tan-mādhuryāgrahaṇāt tatraivārucyā dviṣanti yathā kālayavanādayaḥ | anye tu vaikṛtyam eva pratiyanti tato dviṣanti ca yathā mallādayaḥ |
The haters of Bhagavān (bhagavad-vidveṣī) are also of two kinds – one set perceives His beauty and so on, yet they hate it out of distaste for it because they are unable to perceive His sweetness. Kalayāvana is an example of this. The second type of people perceive Him in a distorted way and thus hate Him, as with the wrestlers [of Mathurā] .
tad evaṁ pūrvottarayoś caturṣv api bhedeṣu sa-doṣa-jihvāḥ khaṇḍāśino dṛṣṭāntāḥ | eke hi pitta-vāta-ja-doṣavantas tad-āsvādaṁ na gṛhṇanti, kintu sarvādaram avadhāya nāvajānanti | anye tv abhimānino’vajānanty api | athāpare madhura-rasam idam iti gṛhṇanti kintu tiktāmlādi-rasa-priyās tam eva rasaṁ dviṣanti | avare ca tiktatayaiva tad gṛhṇanti, dviṣanti ceti | sarveṣāṁ caiṣāṁ nija-doṣa-savyavadhāna-khaṇḍa-grahaṇa-vat tad-ābhāsatvam |
In this way for the four categories of the earlier and the latter class, there are four examples of people. They are all like people with a faulty sense of taste who eat sugar candy [and thus cannot perceive its sweetness].
- The first example is of those who have a defect in their ability to taste sugar's sweetness due to an imbalance in bile and air, but knowing that it is liked by all they do not speak ill of it.
- The second type [similarly cannot perceive the sweetness] but speak ill of it out of pride.
- The third type perceive the sweet taste, but being fond of other flavors such as the bitter and the sour they are hostile towards it.
- The fourth type hate it because to them it tastes bitter.
teṣāṁ bhagavat-svabhāvānubhavaś ca yukta eva jñāna-bhakti-śuddha-prīty-abhāvena sac-cid-ānandatva-pāramaiśvary-parama-mādhurya-lakṣaṇānāṁ tat-svabhāvānāṁ grahītum aśakyatvāt | tad-agrahaṇe’pi kālāntare nistāraḥ khaṇḍa-sevanavad eva jñeyaḥ |
It is certainly appropriate that such people do not experience Bhagavān's true nature, which is characterized by the eternal, blissful existence of supreme opulence and sweetness, since they have no capacity to perceive it due to a lack of knowledge, devotion and pure love for Him. Although unable to perceive Him they can overcome this defect in due course of time [by the practice of devotion], just as one’s tongue is cured by regularly eating sugar candy.
yathoktaṁ viṣṇu-purāṇe—tatas tam evākrośeṣūccārayan [vi.pu. 4.15.9] ity-ādinā apagata-dveṣādi-doṣaṁ bhagavantam adrākṣīt [vi.pu. 4.15.14] ity antena |
An example of this [was given earlier (Anu. 7.4), with reference to Śiśupāla] in the prose text of Viṣṇu Purāṇa beginning with "Thereafter shouting in anger," and ending in "being freed of the defect of hatred, [Śiśupāla finally] saw Bhagavān [as He is]" (VP 4.15.14).
Commentary by SND
Having explained the two types of bahirmukhas in sections 7.5 to 7.9, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī turns to the two kinds of vidveṣī, or "haters." The difference between them is the first type are able to see Kṛṣṇa’s beauty and other such qualities, but because of hatred they cannot appreciate it, while the others perceive Him in a distorted way, seeing negative qualities where the devotee sees virtues.
The example of the first type of vidveṣī is Kālayavana. When he attacked Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa decided to run away and allure him to the cave in which King Mucukunda was sleeping. When Kālayavana saw Kṛṣṇa walking out of the city, he could recognize that He was most agreeable to look upon (darśanīyatamam, 10.51.1), had a radiant smile (śuci-smitam, 10.51.3) and was extremely beautiful (atisundaraḥ, 10.51.4).
The second type of vidveṣī cannot even perceive this beauty. Though Kṛṣṇa is by nature soft and gentle, the wrestlers at Mathurā saw Him as hard as a thunderbolt (mallānām aśaniḥ, 10.43.17), while Kaṁsa saw Him as death personified (mṛtyur bhojapateḥ, 10.43.17).
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī gives an example to understand these four categories of person who are unable to see Bhagavān even when seeing Him. When a person is sick with jaundice he loses taste for sweet things. Depending on the intensity of the disease, these sick individuals fall into four categories. The first are those who themselves cannot taste the sugar candy but do not despise it since they can see that many others relish and praise it. The second class are those who are very proud and envious: they cannot taste sweet candy, but despise it precisely because many others do relish it. The third category can taste the candy but have no liking for it because they are attached to the sour and pungent flavors. The fourth group tastes the candy as bitter and hate it for that reason. No one in these four classes is able to relish its sweetness. Thus their tasting is as good as not tasting. Similarly, non-devotees belonging to the above categories do not really see Bhagavān even when He is present before them. Their seeing is thus termed sākṣatkārābhāsa. They get no benefit from seeing Him; they do not become free from their material conditioning.
According to Āyurveda, a person suffering from jaundice can be cured by administering sugar candy. Gradually, as he is cured he starts to taste the sweetness of the candy and begins to relish it. Similarly by taking to devotion to Bhagavān, especially the chanting of His names and avoiding offences, one gradually becomes free from the diease of aversion to Him, and begins appreciating His qualities. This, however, is not possible unless one has faith in the words of śāstra. Faith comes by associating with qualified devotees (satsaṅga), hearing them and rendering service to them.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written a nice verse summarizing this idea:
syāt kṛṣṇa-nāma-caritādi-sitāpy avidyā-
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocikā nu
kintv ādarād anudinaṁ khalu saiva juṣṭā
svādvī kramād bhavati tad-gada-mūla-hantrī
The sweet candy of Kr̥ṣṇa's name and pastimes are not delectable to the tongue that has been afflicted by the bile of beginningless ignorance. Nevertheless, if one faithfully and reverently daily applies these to that very same diseased tongue, then gradually they become relishable, for that is how one removes the very root of the malady. (Upadeśāmṛta 6)