Bhakti Sandarbha 204-205: Proper Deliberation on Śāstra Brings About Śraddhā in Bhajana

A mughal period miniature illumination of the Bhagavatam, illustrating King Prithu's court.

This section continues as commentary on the two paths or ruci and vicāra-mārgas. In particular, the equivalents of the vicāra-mārga (hearing,reflection and deep meditation) are described as they apply on both these paths. These are the subject of the present pair of anucchedas. The six verses are taken from King Pṛthu's speech to his subjects in Canto 4, chapter 21.

Anuccheda 204

Proper Deliberation on Śāstra Brings About Śraddhā

तत्र रुचिप्रधानानां श्रवणादिकम् (भा. १.५.२६)—
तत्रान्वहं कृष्णकथाः प्रगायता-
मनुग्रहेणाशृणवं मनोहराः।
ताः श्रद्धया मेऽनुपदं विशृण्वतः
प्रियश्रवस्यङ्ग ममाभवद्रुचिः॥

From his own experience, Nārada describes the devotional activities—particularly hearing—of those who are guided by taste:

There by the grace of those [saintly people] who were engaged in singing the tales of Kṛṣṇa, I listened to the enchanting pastimes of the Lord. O dear Vyāsa, while listening to these pastimes with reverence, with every word I developed an attraction for Bhagavān whose fame is so pleasing to hear. (SB 1.5.26)

विचारप्रधानानां श्रवणं यथा चतुःश्लोक्यादीनाम्। मननं, यथा "भगवान् ब्रह्म कार्त्स्न्येन" (भा. २.२.३४) इत्यादौ।

An example of hearing performed by those who are primarily analytical is seen in the case of studying the four nutshell verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 2.9.32-35). An example of deliberation [manana, the next stage in the analytical path] is described in these words:

After thrice studying and deliberating upon the Vedas with one-pointed intelligence, the venerable Brahmā concluded that the best duty is that whereby one attains love for the Supreme Self. (SB 2.2.34)

[This verse was quoted earlier in Bhakti Sandarbha (where it is the principal verse), 94, and 115

अथ तज्जाता भगवति श्रद्धा, यथा (भा. ४.२१.२७-३०)—

अस्ति यज्ञपतिर्नाम केषाञ्चिदर्हसत्तमाः।
इहामुत्र च लक्ष्यन्ते ज्योत्स्नावत्यः क्वचिद्भुवः ॥
मनोरुत्तानपादस्य ध्रुवस्यापि महीपतेः।
प्रियव्रतस्य राजर्षेरङ्गस्यास्मत्पितुः पितुः॥
ईदृशानामथान्येषामजस्य च भवस्य च।
प्रह्लादस्य बलेश्चापि कृत्यम स्ति गदाभृता॥
दौहित्रादीन् ऋते मृत्योः शोच्यान् धर्मविमोहितान्।
वर्गस्वर्गापवर्गाणां प्रायेणैकात्म्यहेतुना ॥

Faith in Bhagavān generated out of this deliberation is described by King Pṛthu:
O most honorable and virtuous ones, the One called the master of sacrifice [who bestows the results of sacrifice] exists, for it is observed sometimes that some persons have luminosity of existence both here in this world and in the next.

In the experience of elevated souls such as Manu, Uttānapāda, Dhruva, King Priyavrata, my father's father King Aṅga, Brahmā, Śiva, Prahlāda, Bali Maharaja and others of similar caliber, fulfillment in all pursuits—whether in the matter of religion, economics, enjoyment of life, promotion to heaven, or liberation—is made possible primarily by Gadābhṛt, the Supreme Bhagavān who carries a club.

Only pitiable people like King Vena, the grandson of Death personified, who are bewildered about the principles of dharma, hold a contrary opinion. (SB 4.21.27-30)
हे अर्हसत्तमाः ! यज्ञपतिर्नाम सर्वकर्मफलदातृत्वेन श्रुतिप्रतिपादितः परमेश्वरः केषांचित् श्रुत्यर्थतत्त्वज्ञानां मते तावदस्ति, तथापि विप्रतिपत्तेर्न तत्सिद्धिरित्याशङ्क्य तत्र जगद्वैचित्र्यान्यथानुपपत्तिप्रमाणमप्युपोद्बलकमित्याह।

“O most honorable and virtuous ones!” In the opinion "of some persons" (keṣāñcit), i.e., of realized souls who know the meaning of the Vedas, there exists a supreme ruler called "the master of sacrifice"(yajña-pati), whom the śrutis have established as the bestower of the fruits of all karma. Even so, it is feared that because of opinions to the contrary, His existence remains unsubstantiated. Anticipating this doubt, King Pṛthu makes use of the deductive reasoning known as anyathānupapatti  ["inexplicable otherwise"] from the disparity in the manifestations of this world.

इह प्रत्यक्षेणामुत्र शास्त्रेण तद्वच्चेत्यनुमानेन च ज्योत्स्नावत्यः कान्तिमत्यो भुवो भोगभूमयो देहाश्च क्वचिदेवोपलभ्यन्ते, न सर्वत्रेति।

By saying “in this world” (iha) Pṛthu draws upon the authority of direct perception [because anyone can see such disparity]. By “in the next" (amutra), [i.e., in the abode of the celestials], he refers to the authority of scripture [because descriptions to this effect are found there]. The word amutra also implies the use of inference [because it can be inferred that when variety exists in this world, the same must apply to the next. So by direct perception, by scripture, or by inference] "the luminosity" (jyotsnāvatyaḥ) or exceptional beauty and radiance of existence (bhuvaḥ), i.e., both places of enjoyment and physical forms, can sometimes (kvacit) be found, but not everywhere.

[In other words, only some places and physical forms manifest such exceptional beauty and not all, which supports the theory of a controller who awards the results of karma.]

अयं भावः—न वा जडस्य तत्कर्मणस्तत्तत्फलदातृत्वं घटते—"फलमत उपपत्तेः" (वे.सू. ३.२.३८) इति न्यायात्। न चार्वाग्देवतानां स्वातन्त्र्यम्, अन्तर्यामिश्रुतेः। न च कर्मसाम्ये फलतारतम्यं क्वचिच्च तदसिद्धिः सम्भवति। अतः स्वतन्त्रेण परमेश्वरेण भाव्यम्।

The import of Pṛthu’s statement is as follows: Karma, being inert, cannot be the bestower of its own result, as stated in the axiom: “The fruit of action comes from Him [Bhagavān] alone, because that is the logical position” (Brahma-Sūtra 3.2.39). Furthermore, the subordinate gods are not independent in awarding results, as understood from the Antaryāmi Śruti (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniñad, 3.7) [where it is said that they act only on the inspiration received from the Supreme Self dwelling within them.] We can observe that in spite of the fact that different people make the same effort, there is a disparity in the results, and sometimes the same effort brings only failure. Therefore, one must assume the existence of an independent supreme ruler.

अत्र विद्वदनुभवोऽपि प्रमाणमित्याह—मनोरिति त्रिभिः। अस्मत्पितुः पितुः पितामहस्य अङ्गस्य। प्रह्लादबली तदानीं शास्त्रादेव ज्ञात्वा गणितौ। गदाभृता परमेश्वरेण कृत्यमस्ति, हृदये बहिरप्याविर्भूय तेषां मुहुः कृत्यसम्पादनात् तेन यत् कृत्यं करणीयं तत् तेषामस्तीत्यर्थः।

In the next three verses, King Pṛthu cites the evidence of the experience of realized souls. “My father’s father” (asmat-pituḥ pituḥ) is a reference to his grandfather, King Aṅga. Although Prahlāda and Bali were to appear in a later age, Pṛthu was aware of them from scripture. Pṛthu states that whatever was to be done by these people was in fact carried out by the Supreme Bhagavān, whom he refers to as Gadābhṛt, "the wielder of the club." This means that Bhagavān repeatedly manifested in their hearts and directly before them as well and carried out their work. By so doing, it is demonstrated that whatever work was to be done by Bhagavān was specifically related to them.

तेषामेव तेन सह कृत्यमस्ति, नान्येषामित्यर्थो वा।

An alternative meaning is that only realized beings, such as those mentioned here, had duties to perform in relation to Bhagavān, and not others.

तदन्यांस्तु निन्दितत्वेनाह—मृत्योर्दौहित्र्यादीन् वेणप्रभृतीन् धर्मविमोहितान्। गदाभृच्छब्देन तन्नाम्ना प्रसिद्धात् श्रीविष्णोरन्यत्र परमेश्वरत्वं वारयति श्रुतियुक्तिविद्वदनुभवेषु।

Therefore Pṛthu criticizes others, such as Vena, the grandson of Death personified, because he and others like him were bewildered about the principles of dharma.

By using the appellation Gadābhṛt, it is clear that Pṛthu is referring specifically to Bhagavān Viṣṇu because He alone is famous by this name, and thus denies the possibility of there being some other Supreme Controller. The fact that Bhagavān Viṣṇu is the only Supreme Controller is corroborated by the Vedas, by logic and by the experience of realized souls.

तं गदाभृतं विशिनष्टि—वर्गेति। वर्गोऽत्र त्रिवर्गः, स्वर्गो धर्मस्य फलम्। अपवर्गो मोक्षः। तेषामैकात्म्येन एकरूपेण सर्वान्तर्गतेन हेतुना। तत्रापि प्रायेण प्रचरेण हेतुना।

Pṛthu describes that Gadābhṛt in last line of this series of verses (SB 4.21.30). The word varga refers to action within the three fields of religion, economics and enjoyment of life. The word svarga, “heaven,” refers to the result obtained through religion; and apavarga means liberation. Bhagavān Gadābhṛt is the cause of fulfillment in all of these, because in a single form He is immanent within everything. Furthermore, “primarily by Him” (prāyeṇa) indicates that of the various forces that come into play in the awarding of the results of karma, He is dominant cause.

तदुक्तं स्कान्दे—
बन्धको भवपाशेन भवपाशाच्च मोचकः।
कैवल्यदः परं ब्रह्म विष्णुरेव सनातनः॥ इति॥

This is indicated in the Skanda Purāṇa:

He who both binds one with the ropes of material existence and unties those same ropes, and He who awards ultimate liberation is none other than the Supreme Absolute, the eternal Bhagavān Viṣṇu.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

Continuing with his description of the vicāra-mārga, Jīva Gosvāmī shows that proper deliberation (manana) on śāstra results in śraddhā in Bhagavān. The example he gives is that of Pṛthu. He concludes logically as well as on the basis of śāstra that there is some supreme controller behind the universe.

His main rationale is based on the fruit of karma. It is seen that two persons engage in a similar pursuit and yet they get different results or one of them fails completely. Sometimes even the same person gets different results when performing exactly the same action on different occasions. Even if all the parameters related to the action remain constant, a difference may still be seen in the result. This shows that there is some other force besides us that controls the result. Kṛṣṇa says, “Your right is only to perform your duty but never to claim the fruits thereof” (Gītā 2.47).

Such an understanding that there is a Bhagavān who controls the universe is also the experience of great personalities like Manu. It is also supported by śāstra such as the Vedānta Sūtra.

Śrī Jīva makes reference to the Antaryāmi-śruti, which is a famous chapter in the  Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad, where Yājñavalkya says,

yaḥ pṛthivyāṁ tiṣṭhan pṛthivyām antaro yaṁ pṛthivī na veda
yasya pṛthivī śarīraṁ yaḥ pṛthivīm antaro yamayaty
eṣa ta ātmāntaryāmy amṛtaḥ.

He who stands within the earth element is distinct from the earth; the earth knows Him not, whose body the earth is, who rules the earth from within—He is your Self, the Inner Ruler, the immortal. (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka 3.7.3)

Yājñavalkya proceeds in this manner citing how God dwells in all the elements and their presiding deities and is the Inner Ruler of all of them. The Brahma Sūtras state all this in the Abhimāny-adhikaraṇa (2.1.5). See also Antaryāmy-adhikaraṇa (1.2.18-20).

After one has attained śraddhā in the existence of Bhagavān then one gets faith in the process. This will be described in the following anuccheda.

Anuccheda 205

Service to Bhagavān Results in Faith in Bhajana

अथ भजनश्रद्धा (भा. ४.२१.३१-३२)—

यत्पादसेवाभिरुचिस्तपस्विनामशेषजन्मोपचितं मलं धियः।
सद्यः क्षिणोत्यन्वहमेधती सती यथा पदाङ्गुष्ठविनिःसृता सरित्॥ 
विनिर्धुताशेषमनोमलः पुमान् असङ्गविज्ञानविशेषवीर्यवान्।
यदङ्घ्रिमूले कृतकेतनः पुनर्न संसृतिं क्लेशवहां प्रपद्यते॥ 

Next, faith in bhajana [which accompanies faith in Bhagavān as a by-product of deliberation along the analytical path, is described by King Prthu]:
The ascetics’ ever-increasing taste to serve the lotus feet of Bhagavān immediately cleanses the impurities accumulated within their minds over unlimited births, just as the River Gaṅgā, which originates from the toe of Bhagavān, also washes away sinful desire.  
A person whose mind has been thoroughly cleansed of all impurities, who has become empowered with a particular realization as a consequence of detachment, and who has made his abode at the soles of Bhagavān’s feet, is no longer subjected to the cycle of birth and death, which carries with it all miseries. (SB 4.21.31-32)
तपस्विनां संसारतप्तानाम्। तत्पादसम्बन्धस्यैवैष महिमेति दृष्टान्तेनाह—यथेति। असङ्गस्ततोऽन्यत्रानासक्तिस्तेन विज्ञानविशेषो भगवतो नानाविर्भावत्वात् तेषां मध्ये कस्याप्याविर्भावस्य साक्षात्कारस्तदेव वीर्यं विद्यते यस्य सः। यस्य अङ्घ्रिमूले कृताश्रयः सन्॥

“Of the ascetics” (tapasvinām) means "of those tormented by the material miseries.” The first of these two verses demonstrates by way of an example the glory of mere contact with Bhagavān’s feet. In the second verse, the word "detachment" (asaṅga) means non-attachment to anything that is not connected to Bhagavān. Such detachment leads to a particular realization (vijñāna-viśeṣa), which here refers to the direct vision of one particular manifestation of Bhagavān out of His innumerable forms. This alone then becomes his power (vīrya), upon having obtained the shelter of the soles of Bhagavān’s feet.

॥४.२१॥ श्रीपृथुराजः सभ्यान्॥२०४-२०५॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

By hearing the glories of Bhagavān, such as described by Pṛthu to his subjects, one gets the śraddhā to serve Him. Śrī Jīva gives an unusual meaning of the word tapasvī, usually understood as an ascetic, as people suffering in the material world. This is because the word tāpa, material misery, and the word tapasvī share a common root. Moreover, materialistic people as well as tapasvīs both undergo suffering. The first category suffers by the force of karma and the second category chooses to suffer voluntarily for religious purposes. If materialistic people can accept their suffering as an austerity, then they can also get the same benefit as the tapasvīs by observing austerities.

The example of the river Gaṅgā in purifying a person who takes a dip in it is to show the supremacy of Bhagavān by the a fortiori principle. If Gaṅgā water has this much power because it contacted the feet of Bhagavān, then how much more power must be in Bhagavān Himself. If serving the Gaṅgā brings purification, then how much more purification will come by serving Bhagavān. By contemplating statements such as this one gets śraddhā in bhajana.

Bhakti Sandarbha 203: The Guru Should not be Greedy
Bhakti Sandarbha 202 : The Necessity of Guru : Different Types of Sadhus Give Different Types of Bhakti
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


Anonymous said…

Some further thoughts on tapasvī:

तप् (tap) see 1, 2 & 3:

अस् (as) see 1, 2 & 3:

वि (ví) see 1, 2 and 3.

विस् (vis) “See visa, bis & bisa":

विश (visa):

बिस् (bis):

बिस (bísa):

N.B.* विश्व (víśva) from √ viś:

N.B.* विश् (viś) 1 & 2:
Anonymous said…

The symbolism of the a mace, club or bludgeon गदा ‎(gadā‎) serves as a rebus to expound the combined meanings of the two words ग (ga) and दा (dā); see Monier-Williams dictionary entries:

ग (ga) see 1, 2, 3 & 4:

दा (dā) see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8:

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