Bhakti Sandarbha 202 : The Necessity of Guru : Different Types of Sadhus Give Different Types of Bhakti

This section was posted in part some time ago. Bhakti Sandarbha 202: The two devotional proclivities and taking a Guru The anuccheda has five sections, four of which are in the previously published article. This is the remaining section, which summarizes the previous definitions of a devotee.

Anuccheda 202

The Necessity of Guru : Different Types of Sadhus Give Different Types of Bhakti

202.1 The Broader Definitions of a Vaiṣṇava

त एते हि वैष्णवाः सन्तो महत्त्वेन सन्मात्रत्वेन च विभिद्य निर्दिष्टाः। सन्मात्रभेदतारतम्यं चात्र यदविविक्तं तद्भक्तिभेदनिरूपणे पुरतो विवेचनीयम्। अन्ये तु स्वगोष्ठ्यपेक्षया वैष्णवाः।

Up to this point, we have shown the various subdivisions of Vaiṣṇava saints within the broader classifications of mahat, those situated in various degrees of perfection, and those who are simply sat, exhibiting saintly character. The different levels of saints that have not been elaborated here will be discussed later while enumerating the various classifications of bhakti. Some other persons are called Vaiṣṇavas only relative to the specific group or classification they are part of.

तत्र कर्मिषु तदपेक्षया, यथा स्कान्दे मार्कण्डेयभगीरथसंवादे—

धर्मार्थं जीवितं येषां सन्तानार्थं च मैथुनम्।
पचनं विप्रसुखार्थं ज्ञेयास्ते वैष्णवा नराः॥ इत्यादि।

अत्र श्रीविष्ण्वाज्ञाबुद्ध्यैव तत् तत् क्रियत इति वैष्णवपदेन गम्यते।

In the assembly of karmīs, for example, someone may be called a Vaiṣṇava relative to the others. For example, in the dialogue between the sage Mārkaṇḍeya and King Bhagīratha in the Skanda Purāṇa it is said:

Those whose life is purely for the sake of religion, who unite with their spouses only for the sake of progeny, and who cook only for the pleasure of the brāhmaṇas, are known as Vaiṣṇavas.

They perform all these functions only with the thought that they are the ordinances of Bhagavān Viṣṇu. This can be understood from the use of the word Vaiṣṇava in this verse.

न चलति निजवर्णधर्मतो यः
न हरति न हन्ति किञ्चिदुच्चैः
स्थितमनसं तमवेहि विष्णुभक्तम्॥ 
(वि.पु. ३.७.२०) इति।

We find the following statement in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:

Know that person to be a devotee of Bhagavān Viṣṇu who never deviates from his varṇa duties, who is equipoised towards friend and foe, who neither steals from nor harms anyone, and who has a stable mind. (VP 3.7.20)

तदर्पणे तु सुतरामेव वैष्णवत्वम्, यथा पाद्मे पातालखण्डे वैशाखमाहात्म्ये (प.पु. ५.९४.८)—

जीवितं यस्य धर्मार्थे धर्मो हर्यर्थ एव च।
अहोरात्राणि पुण्यार्थे तं मन्ये वैष्णवं जनम्॥ इति।

One who offers his karma to Bhagavān is even more of a Vaiṣṇava, as stated in the Vaiśākha-māhātmya section from the Pātāla-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa:

I consider that person to be a Vaiṣṇava who lives for the sake of dharma and performs his dharma exclusively for the sake of Bhagavān Hari, and who spends day and night in the performance of pious deeds. (PP 5.94.8)

तथैव शैवेषु तदपेक्षया, यथा बृहन्नारदीये—
शिवे च परमेशाने विष्णौ च परमात्मनि।
समबुद्ध्या प्रवर्त्तन्ते ते वै भागवतोत्तमाः॥ (ना.प. १.५.७२) इति।

Similarly, amongst the worshipers of Śiva, a person may be known as a Vaiṣṇava by comparison to the other Śaivas, as in this statement from the Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa:

Those who have equal regard for Bhagavān Śiva, the Supreme Controller, and Bhagavān Viṣṇu, the Supreme Soul, are known as the best of the Bhāgavatas. (Nā.P. 1.5.72)

शैवगोष्ठीषु भागवतोत्तमत्वं तत्रैव प्रसिद्धमिति तथोक्तम्। वैष्णवतन्त्रे तु तन्निन्दैव—

यस्तु नारायणं देवं ब्रह्मरुद्रादिदैवतैः।
समत्वेनैव वीक्षेत स पाषण्डी भवेद्ध्रुवम्॥ इति।

This has been stated according to the definition of the "best of the Bhāgavatas" in the Śaiva community, but in the Vaiṣṇava tantras, such thinking is verily condemned:

One who considers Brahmā, Śiva or any other god to be equal to Bhagavān Nārāyaṇa is certainly a heretic.

Go to Bhakti Sandarbha 202: The two devotional proclivities and taking a Guru

Bhakti Sandarbha 202: The two devotional proclivities and taking a Guru
Bhakti Sandarbha 201 : The Ananya Bhakta is Superior to the Jñānī Bhakta
Bhakti Sandarbha 200 : The Intermediate Devotee Renounces Karma
Bhakti Sandarbha 199 : Divisions of Devotees on the Basis of their Spiritual Practice
Bhakti Sandarbha 198 : Bhagavān is Bound to the Heart of an Uttama Bhāgavata
Bhakti Sandarbha 191-197 : More Characteristics of the Uttama Bhagavata
Bhakti Sandarbha 190 : Definition of a Neophyte Devotee


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