Bhakti Sandarbha 243-245 : More Benefits of Sat-sanga

The principal verse of Anuccheda 245 describes four corresponding life attitudes: ātma-buddhiḥ, the sense of self; sva-dhīḥ, the sense of kinship or relatedness; ijya-dhīḥ, the sense of divinity; and finally, tīrtha-buddhiḥ, the sense of the sacred. These four attitudes become limitations when chained to the objects with which one identifies. The verse describes a person whose sense of self is limited to the body, whose sense of kinship is limited to his relatives, whose sense of the divine is limited to earthen images, and whose sense of the sacred is limited to a physical locality. Such a person does not give respect to devotees. He is called a gokhara.  (SND)

Anuccheda 243

Sat-saṅga Done Unknowingly is Also Effective

एष च सत्सङ्गो ज्ञानं विनापि कृतोऽर्थद एव स्यादित्याह (भा. ३.२३.५५)—

The association of saints is effective in yielding its fruit, even if an individual is without proper awareness, as indicated by Devahūti:

सङ्गो यः संसृतेर्हेतुरसत्सु विहितोऽधिया।
स एव साधुषु कृतो निःसङ्गत्वाय कल्पते॥
When one associates without intelligence with those gripped in a dream-like existence, that association becomes the cause of material bondage. Yet the very same association, when taken up with the saintly, offers release from bondage. (SB 3.23.55)
अधिया अज्ञानेन। यत् तु पूर्वं श्रीनारदादौ मुन्यन्तरसाधारणदृष्टिर्निन्दिता, तदिहास्निग्धे ज्ञानलवदुर्विदग्धे च ज्ञेयम्॥

"Without intelligence" (adhiyā) means "without awareness." Earlier [in Anuccheda 179] it was condemned to regard great devotees like Nārada as ordinary saints. Here it should be understood that
this applies to those who are not affectionate towards them and who are proud of a poor fund of knowledge.

॥३.२३॥ श्रीदेवहूतिः॥२४३॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Sat-saṅga is efficacious even if done unwittingly, i.e., in ignorance of its importance or of a devotee's greatness. It is like taking a powerful medicine without having knowledge of its efficiency: The medicine will still act.

One may raise an objection to this. In Anuccheda 179 it was said that having an improper attitude towards a great devotee impeded one’s ability to shift his or her awareness towards Bhagavān. So how can it be said here that association of the wise is effective even when performed without proper awareness?

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī replies that the statement made there was for those who are cunning and proud of their petty knowledge. Their unfavorable demeanor curtails the power of transformation that such association holds. For those who are innocent, however, association of the wise will be effective, even if such people lack proper awareness of the power of that association.

Anuccheda 244

Service to Devotees Grants Love

तदेवं महाभागवतप्रसङ्गफलमुक्तम्। तत्परिचर्याफलमाह (भा. ३.७.१९) —

We have thus described the result of association with great devotees. We will now describe the result of service to such devotees, as Śrī Vidura said to Maitreya:

यत्सेवया भगवतः कूटस्थस्य मधुद्विषः।
रतिरासो भवेत् तीव्रः पादयोर्व्यसनार्दनः॥
By rendering service to great devotees, one becomes immersed in a festival of intense love for the lotus feet of the unchangeable Bhagavān, the destroyer of Madhu, which destroys all calamity. (SB 3.7.19)
येषां युष्माकं महाभागवतानां सेवया परिचर्यया कूटस्थस्य नित्यस्य भगवतः पादयो रतिरासः प्रेमोत्सवो भवेत्। तीव्र इति विशेषणं प्रसङ्गमात्रात् परिचर्यायां विशिष्टं फलं द्योतयति।

Vidura says that by rendering service to great devotees like you [Maitreya], one becomes immersed in a festival of love (rati-rāsaḥ)1 for the feet of the eternal Bhagavān. The adjective "intense" (tīvra) qualifying the .festival of love" highlights that the result attained through service is superior to that attained by mere association.

आनुषङ्गिकं फलमाह—व्यसनार्दन इति। व्यसनं संसारः। यत एवोक्तं "मद्भक्तपूजाभ्यधिका" (भा. ११.१९.१९) इति।

The verse also describes the concomitant result of such service as "destroying calamity" namely ending one's material existence. For this reason Kṛṣṇa has said, “The worship of My devotee exceeds the worship of Me.” (SB 11.19.21)

मम पूजातोऽप्यभि सर्वतोभावेनाधिका अधिकमत्प्रीतिकरीत्यर्थः।

In this verse, the prefix abhi added to "exceeds" (adhikā) means that the worship of the devotee is superior in all respects, meaning that it is more pleasing to Kṛṣṇa than even direct service to Him.

एवं पाद्मोत्तरखण्डे (प.पु. ६.२५३.१७६) —

आराधनानां सर्वेषां विष्णोराराधनं परम्।
तस्मात् परतरं देवि तदीयानां समर्चनम्॥ इति॥

A similar statement is made in the Uttara-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa:

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataram devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

Of all types of worship, the worship of Bhagavān Viṣṇu is supreme. But, O Goddess, superior even to that is the worship of His devotees.

॥३.७॥ विदुरः श्रीमैत्रेयम्॥२४४॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

Earlier (Anu. 238) it was said that sat-saṅga is of two types, mere association and rendering service. The first of these was discussed in Anucchedas 238 to 243. Here Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī describes the second type of sat-saṅga, which is more potent than the other. The reason for this is that it is much more pleasing to Kṛṣṇa. He considers service to His devotees even more important than service to Himself. This is so because He is completely under the sway of His devotees, as He told to Durvāsā:

ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno hy asvatantra iva dvija
sādhubhir grasta-h
dayo bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ

O brāhmaṇa, I am under the control of My devotees like a dependant. My heart has been fully captivated by My saintly devotees. I am dear to My devotees. (9.4.63)

It is for this reason that worship of Bhagavān precedes the worship of guru, and Bhagavān is always worshiped along with His consort who is His best devotee.

Anuccheda 245

Without Sat-saṅga Life Is a Waste

व्यतिरेकेणाह (भा. १०.८४.१३)—

यस्यात्मबुद्धिः कुणपे त्रिधातुके स्वधीः कलत्रादिषु भौम इज्यधीः।
यत्तीर्थबुद्धिः सलिले न कर्हिचिज्जनेष्वभिज्ञेषु स एव गोखरः॥

The importance of service to the wise is indirectly expressed by recognition of the deficiency of those who fail to do so, as in this statement of Śrī Kṛṣṇa to the sages:
One who believes this corpse-like body, which is comprised of the three elements, mucus, bile, and air, to be one’s self; who thinks his wife, children, and others to be his very own; who regards earthen images as objects of worship; or who accepts the water of a river to be a place of pilgrimage, but who never considers the realized souls to be so, is to be considered as an ass among animals. (SB 10.84.13)
जडत्वात् कुणपे स्वयं मृततुल्ये शरीरे। चिद्योगेऽपि त्रिभिर्वातपित्तादिभिर्दूषित इत्यर्थः। भौमे देवताप्रतिमादौ।

Because the body is inert, it is described as resembling a corpse. Although united with consciousness, the body is inherently defective because of being constituted of the three constituent parts—mucus, bile and air. The reference in the verse to earthen images (bhauma) refers to the deity forms of the different celestial gods.

यत् यस्य। अभिज्ञेषु तत्त्ववित्सु ता बुद्धयो न सन्ति। तत्र आत्मबुद्धिः परमप्रीत्यास्पदत्वम्। 

The verse describes a person in whom these four life attitudes [sense of self, of relatedness, of divinity, and of the sacred] do not extend to those who have realized the Absolute.The sense of self (ātma-buddhiḥ) in this context refers to what one considers to be one’s object of greatest affection.

स एव गोखरो गोनिकृष्ट उच्यते। यद्वा, सिन्धुसौवीरप्रसिद्धो वन्यगर्दभजातिविशेषो म्लेच्छजातिविशेषो वा सः, न त्वन्यः प्रसिद्धः। विवेकित्वाभिमानितायां सत्यामप्यविवेकित्वात् ततोऽपि निकृष्टत्वं तस्येति।

One who does not feel these four types of affection toward the sages is described as go-kharaḥ, “the lowest of cows.” The word go-kharaḥ may also refer to a particular species of wild donkeys found in the lands of Sindhu and Sauvīra [part of Pakistan and Afghanistan], or it may mean a class of mlecchas, or outcastes. It is not known to apply to anyone else. [Only the person who is unable to extend these four life attitudes towards the sages is to be designated as a go-khara, and not the actual gokhara.] This is because although he truly believes himself to be a wise man, he behaves like a fool. The import is that such a person is lower even than the lowest of animals, a wild donkey or an outcaste.

भौम इज्यधीरिति साधारणदेवताविषयकमेव, पूर्वं तथैवोपक्रान्तत्वात्। "अर्चायामेव हरये" (भा. ११.२.४५) इत्यादिविरोधाच्च। तदेवं, "यथा तरोर्मूलनिषेचनेन" (भा. ४.३१.१२) इत्यादिवाक्यमत्र नावतारयितव्यम्॥

The limitation of the divine to earthen images refers to the worship of ordinary gods, as understood from the verses preceding this one in the same chapter, in which the identical topic is begun. It cannot refer to the worship of the deity forms of Bhagavān Viṣṇu because this would contradict the principle stated in the verse below:

One who faithfully worships Bhagavān Hari only in the form of the deity, but does not render service to Bhagavān’s devotees or to other living beings is a neophyte devotee. (SB 11.2.47)

We also find verses such as this:

Just as by pouring water on the root of a tree, its trunk, branches and twigs become nourished, and just as by supplying food to the life air, the senses gain strength, similarly by worshiping Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa everyone is worshiped. (SB 4.31.14)

[This verse should not be used in support of a neophyte devotee who recognizes the presence of Bhagavān only in the deity form.]

॥१०.८४॥ भगवान् मुनिवृन्दम्॥२४५॥

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaj

In the previous Anuccheda Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī explained the result of service to a great devotee of Bhagavān. In the present he explains the same by negation, vyatireka: A person who does not execute service to a great devotee is no better than an animal.

According to the principal verse of this Anuccheda, such people have four objects of identification—the body, relatives, earthen images of gods, and sacred water. It also describes four corresponding life attitudes: ātma-buddhiḥ, the sense of self; sva-dhīḥ, the sense of kinship or relatedness; ijya-dhīḥ, the sense of divinity; and finally, tīrtha-buddhiḥ, the sense of the sacred. These four attitudes become limitations when chained to the objects with which one identifies. The verse describes a person whose sense of self is limited to the body, whose sense of kinship is limited to his relatives, whose sense of the divine is limited to earthen images, and whose sense of the sacred is limited to a physical locality. Such a person does not give respect to devotees. He is called a gokhara.

The compound word go-khara is made from the nouns go and khara. Go means a cow and khara means a donkey. Thus gokhara could mean an even worse type of animal, such as a special type of donkey found in Afghanistan. Or it refers to a specific clan of mlecchas, outcastes. The indeclinable eva “only” in this verse signifies that such people really deserve the name gokhara and not any other creature. This is intended as a very strong criticism.

A doubt could be raised here. In the description of three types of devotees, sage Havi said that a person who worships Bhagavān in His deity form only without having proper respect for the devotees is considered to be a neophyte devotee (11.2.47, Anu. 190). But the verse cited here calls such a person a gokhara, i.e., not even a human being.

Although the two verses quoted at the end of the anuccheda both refer to worshipers who fail to recognize the divine in the devotee or sage, the difference lies in the fact that a gokhara does not recognize Bhagavān in His deity form either. He worships only some mundane gods and not Bhagavān Viṣṇu.

Similarly, verse 4.31.14 should not be used to defend the worshiper of the Deity who neglects the sage or advanced devotee. His or her worship of the Deity cannot be compared to pouring water at the root of a tree because worship of the devotee is not separable from that.

DISCLAIMER: All the posts related to Bhakti Sandarbha are not the final product. This version will be refined by other readers and editors, including Babaji himself. Please do not use this material without reference to this disclaimer.

Bhakti Sandarbha 240-242 : The Power of Sat-saṅga to Grant Love for Krishna
Bhakti Sandarbha 239: Sat-saṅga Brings Bhagavān Under Control
Bhakti Sandarbha 238 : Sat-saṅga Captivates Bhagavān
Bhakti Sandarbha 237: Guru-sevā is the Key to Success
Bhakti Sandarbha 236 : Sharanagati or Surrender
Bhakti Sandarbha 235 : Vaidhī Nirguṇā Bhakti
Bhakti Sandarbha 234 : Svarūpa-siddhā Niṣkāmā Bhakti
Bhakti Sandarbha 231-233 : Svarūpa-siddhā Bhakti and the Three Gunas
Bhakti Sandarbha 228-230: Mixed Bhakti desiring only pure bhakti
Bhakti Sandarbha 226-227 : Kaivalya-kāmā Bhakti mixed with karma and jnana


Anonymous said…

The Descent of the Lord and the Goddess into the Sacred Seat and the Establishment of a New Transmission

§ 175-177ab “When the fourth age, that of strife, comes, there will be a barbarian kingdom (mleccharājya) in the North (of India). When the teacher and disciple of (every) other (tradition) come under the sway of greed and delusion; when the penetration (of the divine) Command has waned and authority is no more; when the Rule (samaya) has been broken and the Command of the teacher is disregarded, I will again bring about (a new) emanation, namely, the fifth incarnation (avatāra).”

Volume 1, Chapter Six (Page 137), Book 4, Manthānabhairavatantram Kumārikārikākhaṇḍaḥ (translated to English by Mark Dyczkowski).


म्लेच्छ (mlecchá):

राज्य (rājyá):

समय (sam-ayá):

अवतार (ava-tāra):

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