Bhakti Sandarbha 214-215 : The Process of Brahman Realization


Karpatriji, one of the great jnanis of the 20th century.
A new prakarana begins. This section is about the jñāna-mārga.



Anuccheda 214

The Three Types of Sāmmukhya: (1) Jñāna


तदेवं रुच्यादिः श्रीगुर्वाश्रयान्त उपासनापूर्वाङ्गरूपः साम्मुख्यभेदो बहुविधो दर्शितः।

We have, thus, shown numerous divisions of sāmmukhya, or directing one's awareness towards the Absolute, beginning from initial liking up to the point of taking shelter of a guru. All these steps are preliminary to the actual stage of worship.

अथ साक्षादुपासना-लक्षणस्तद्भेदोऽपि बहुविधो दर्श्यते। तत्र साम्मुख्यं द्विविधं—निर्विशेषमयं सविशेषमयं च। तत्र पूर्वं ज्ञानम्। उत्तरं तु द्विविधम्—अहङ्ग्रहोपासनारूपं, भक्तिरूपं च।

Now we will discuss the various types of centering awareness on the Absolute, which are in the form of direct worship. This centering of awareness is of two types: that related to the unqualified Absolute and that related to the Absolute with attributes. The first type refers to jñāna, or non-dual awareness . The second type has two further divisions: ahaṁgrahopāsanā, or worship of oneself as supreme, and bhakti or devotion to Bhagavān.

अस्य ज्ञानस्य लक्षणं (भा. ११.१९.२७)—

ज्ञानं चैकात्म्यदर्शनम्॥इति।

अभेदोपासनं ज्ञानमित्यर्थः॥

Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa defines jñāna in these words:

And jñāna means to see only one reality. (SB 11.19.27)

What is signified here by jñāna or non-dual awareness is an attitude of reverence towards all existence as a manifestation of the Absolute without distinction.

॥११.१९॥ श्रीभगवान्॥२१४॥



Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

In Anuccheda 202 Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī explained the process of acquiring bhakti. He made two divisions, one based upon deliberation (vicāra) and the other on liking (ruci). Incidentally he discussed the topic of having various types of gurus, the necessity of a guru, and how to treat the guru.

It was said earlier (Anu. 1) that sāmmukhya is of two types, namely a turning towards either Brahman or Bhagavān. For this there are three processes: Jñāna is the process for brahma-sāmmukhya, and ahaṅgrahopāsanā and bhakti for bhagavat-sāmmukhya.

The word jñāna here does not have its popular meaning of knowledge, but means awareness of Brahman as the all-pervading and the only reality. Brahman is devoid of any variety or qualities, nirviśeṣa-maya. To have the vision of Brahman everywhere is jñāna. In the next anuccheda Śrī Jīva explains the process for attaining this jñāna.



Anuccheda 215

The Process of Brahman Realization


तत्साधनप्रकारश्चैवं बहुविधस्तत्र तत्रोक्तः। स च ज्ञानमेवोच्यते। तत्र श्रवणं श्रीपृथुसनत्कुमारसंवादादौ द्रष्टव्यम्।

There are many different methods (sādhana) to attain the state of non-dual awareness, as described in various places in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. These methods also go by the name of jñāna. The first step on this path is hearing (śravaṇam), which method was adopted by King Pṛthu when he received instructions from the sage Sanat Kumāra.

तदनुसारेण मननं च ज्ञेयम्। प्रथमतः श्रोतॄणां हि विवेकस्तावान् एव यावता जडातिरिक्तचिन्मात्रं वस्तूपस्थितं भवति। तस्मिंश्चिन्मात्रेऽपि वस्तुनि ये विशेषाः स्वरूपभूतशक्तिसिद्धा भगवत्तादिरूपा वर्तन्ते, तांस्तु ते विवेक्तुं न क्षमन्ते, यथा रजनीखण्डिनि ज्योतिषि ज्योतिर्मात्रत्वेऽपि ये मण्डलान्तर्बहिश्च दिव्यविमानादिपरस्परपृथग्भूत-रश्मिपरमाणुरूपा विशेषास्तांश्चर्मचक्षुषो न विवेक्तुं क्षमन्ते, तद्वत् ।

This is followed by manana, or deliberation on what one has heard. In the beginning, one acquires discrimination which is sufficient only to realize the conscious reality distinct from inert matter. Although in that conscious reality, varieties are present, such as the forms of Bhagavān, which are naturally endowed with inherent potency, the adherents of the path of jñāna are unable to discern these attributes. This is comparable to the inability of the physical eye to perceive the varieties within the sun. Although the sun is simply light which dissipates darkness, there are varieties within it, such as the individual particles of light that are distinct from one another, as well as the celestial airplanes that hover both inside and outside its orb. Just as these attributes are imperceptible to ordinary vision, so it is with the inability of the jñānī to see the varieties within the spiritual potency.

पूर्ववच्च यदि महत्कृपाविशेषेण दिव्यदृष्टिता भवति, तदा विशेषोपलब्धिश्च भवेत्। न चेत्, निर्विशेषचिन्मात्र-ब्रह्मानुभवेन तल्लीन एव भवति।

As stated earlier, if such individuals are blessed with divine vision by the special mercy of a mahat devotee, they will also perceive the attributes of the Absolute. Otherwise they merge into the unqualified Absolute by realization of Brahman as pure consciousness without any attributes.

तथैव निदिध्यासनमपि तेषाम्। तद्यथा (भा. २.२.१५-१६)—

स्थिरं सुखं चासनमास्थितो यतिर्यदा जिहासुरिममङ्ग लोकम्।
काले च देशे च मनो न सज्जयेत् प्राणान् नियच्छेन्मनसा जितासुः॥
मनः स्वबुद्ध्यामलया नियम्य क्षेत्रज्ञ एतां निलयेत् तमात्मनि।
आत्मानमात्मन्यवरुध्य धीरो लब्धोपशान्तिर्विरमेत कृत्यात्॥

The type of meditation (nididhyāsana) engaged in by such people is also of the same nature, as described by Śrī Śuka:

O King, when a yogī desires to leave the world, he or she should not be concerned about an auspicious time or place. Being seated in a stable and comfortable posture and having regulated his vital air, he should withdraw his life air with the mind. Restraining the mind with his purified intelligence, he should absorb it into the witness (ksetrajña) and then merge the witness into the self. Then merging the self into the Self, a sober person attains supreme peace and should cease from all action. (SB 2.2.15-16)

एतां बुद्धिं क्षेत्रज्ञे बुद्ध्यादिद्रष्टरि निलयेत्, प्रविलापयेत्। तं च क्षेत्रज्ञं स्वरूपभूतया बुद्ध्या आत्मनि तद्द्रष्टृत्वादिरहिते शुद्धे जीवे। तं च शुद्धमात्मानमात्मनि ब्रह्मणि, अवरुध्य तदेकत्वेन विचिन्त्य लब्धोपशान्तिः प्राप्तनिर्वृतिः सन् कृत्याद्विरमेत्, तस्य ततः परं प्राप्याभावात्॥

"It" (etām) in the second verse refers to the intellect, which should be merged into the knower of the field (ksetrajña), or the witness of the intellect, mind, and so on. Then with the intelligence, which is part of the psychic make-up of the witness, he should merge the witness into the self, which refers to the pure living being who is free from the functions of witnessing and so on. He should then immerse his pure self in the Supreme Self, Brahman, by conceiving of himself as one with it. Then attaining "supreme peace," i.e., achieving bliss, he should cease from all action, because there is nothing more for him to achieve.

॥२.२॥ श्रीशुकः॥२१५॥



Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

The process of attaining Brahman realization is described in a few places such as the verses cited here from the Second Canto, in the teachings of Kapila (Third Canto, chapter 28), the teachings of Sanatkumāra to Pṛthu (Fourth Canto, chapter 22), those of Haṁsa (Eleventh Canto, chapter 13), and so on.

Both the process and the goal of jñāna-mārga go by the name of jñāna. The general process is same as in the vicāra-mārga in bhakti discussed earlier in Anuccheda 202, i.e., śravaṇam, mananam and nididhyāsanam. For śravaṇam Śrī Jīva gives the example of King Pṛthu listening to the teachings of Sanatkumāra. Deliberating on what one has heard in order to remove any doubts is called mananam. Then one practices discrimination to see only one consciousness manifest in everything.

Brahman is nothing but Bhagavān without His manifest qualities. This was discussed in Bhagavat Sandarbha (2,3). Because followers of the jñāna-mārga do not want to realize any qualities of Bhagavān, He does not manifest them. This is does not mean the variety or attributes do not exist. It is similar to not seeing any variety in the sun orb with the naked eye. But scientist can perceive these details with a powerful telescope and other instruments. If a jñāna follower gets the grace of a devotee then he can also see the qualified Reality, i.e. Bhagavān.

Śrī Jīva cites Śuka to describe the process of jñāna realization. It is just the opposite of the process of creation. The jñānī practitioner merges the gross elements into their subtle causes and finally identifies his own self with the ātmā. Ths is a very tedious process and the path to success is fraught with much suffering. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says:


kleśo'dhikataras teṣām avyaktāsakta-cetasām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ dehavadbhir avāpyate


The misery of those whose minds are attached to the Unmanifest is greater, because the goal of the Unmanifest is attained with difficulty by embodied beings. (Gītā 12.5)


Bhakti Sandarbha 212-213 : The Spiritual Guru is the Manifestation of Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 210-211: The Mantra Guru is Also Compulsory
Bhakti Sandarbha 209 : The bhajana-śikṣā guru is also necessary
Bhakti Sandarbha 208 : There is No Possibility of Knowledge Without Guru
Bhakti Sandarbha 207 : Dīkṣā Guru is Only One
Bhakti Sandarbha 206 : The śravaṇa- and bhajana-śikṣā-gurus are usually the same person



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