Bhakti Sandarbha 312.4-314 : The Power of Natural Attraction

Babaji is always interested in purchasing books. Here he is inspecting an acquisition from a private library after the death of the owner. This often happens, a scholarly devotee has no one interested in his collection and so the inheritors sell it off.

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312.4 The power of Natural Attraction

अथ भावमार्गसामान्यस्य बलवत्त्वं दर्शयितुं प्रकरणमुत्थाप्यते। श्रीयुधिष्ठिर उवाच (भा. ७.१.१५)—

अहो अत्यद्भुतं ह्येतद्दुर्लभैकान्तिनामपि।
वासुदेवे परे तत्त्वे प्राप्तिश्चैद्यस्य विद्विषः॥

एकान्तिनां परमज्ञानिनामपि।

We will now begin a new section to show the power of the path of natural attraction in general. King Yudhiṣṭhira said:

How astonishing it is, that Śiśupāla, who was so inimical, attained Bhagavān Vāsudeva, the Supreme Absolute, which is rarely attained even by those who are one-pointed. (SB 7.1.15)

“By those who are one-pointed” (ekāntinām) means, “even for the topmost jñānīs.”

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

In the upcoming anucchedas, Śrī Jīva will show how the path of ruci or the bhāva-mārga is superior in general to vaidhī bhakti because it gives deeper absorption in Kṛṣṇa. For this he refers to the story of the killing of Śiśupala by Kṛṣṇa in the Rājasūya yajña of King Yudhiṣṭhira. This section, which is based on the dialogue between Yudhisthira and Nārada from SB 7.1, continues up to Anuccheda 323.

Śiśupāla was the king of Cedi. He was Kṛṣṇa's cousin and had a natural dislike for Him from his very birth when it was predicted that he would be killed by Kṛṣṇa. Śiśupāla’s mother requested Kṛṣṇa not kill him, so He promised to forgive him one hundred offenses. But Śiśupāla was habitually very abusive towards Kṛṣṇa. See Mahābhārata, Sabhāparva, chapter 45.

Once King Yudhiṣṭhira performed a big yajña called the Rājasūya (Cf. SB 10.74). Kings from all over the world were invited to participate in it. When all the kings assembled in Yudhiṣṭhira's capital city, he received them with the appropriate rituals. The first such worship was to be given to the most honorable person (pātra). It was decided by all present that Kṛṣṇa should be the one to receive it. Śiśupāla, however, raised strong objections and began abusing his cousin in the assembly. Kṛṣṇa tolerated him patiently, but when he had exceeded his quota of one hundred abuses, He chopped of his head with His disc. The amazing thing witnessed by all was that Śiśupāla's atmā then merged into Kṛṣṇa's body. That means he attained liberation. Liberation is not easily attained even by great yogīs and jñanīs. So how was it that Śiśupāla, who was so offensive towards Kṛṣṇa, attained it? This is the surprise expressed by King Yudhiṣṭhira. Nārada's responses to Yudhiṣṭhira's question forms the following discussion.

Anuccheda 313

Rāgānugā is More Powerful than Vaidhī

यतस्तस्य सा न सम्भवति (भा. ७.१.१६)—

एतद्वेदितुमिच्छामः सर्व एव वयं मुने।
भगवन्निन्दया वेनो द्विजैस्तमसि पातितः॥

तमसि नरके। बहुनरकादिभोगानन्तरमेव पृथुजन्मप्रभावोदयेन तस्य वामनपुराणे सद्गतिश्रवणात्॥

The fact that such an attainment is not possible for Śīśupāla is indicated in the following verse:

O sage, we are all curious to find out the secret behind this. Previously the brāhmaṇas cast King Vena into the darkness because of his blasphemies against Bhagavān. (SB 7.1.16)

"Into the darkness" (tamasi) means "into hell." In the Vāmana Purāṇa it is described that after suffering in hell for a long time, Vena attained a beneficial destination through the influence of King Pṛthu's birth [who appeared by churning the right arm of Vena’s dead body].

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

King Yudhiṣṭhira marvels at Śiśupala’s liberation and asks Sage Nārada how is it possible. Earlier there was a king named Vena [See SB 4.14] who was blasphemous towards Bhagavān. He forbade any yajña or worship of Bhagavān. After death he went to hell. So how is it that Śiśupāla did not go to hell?

The story of Vena’s fall-down and his deliverance by his son Pṛthu is described in Chapter 47 of the Vāmana Purāṇa. The story there is told somewhat differently than as given by Jīva Gosvāmī . There it is said that King Vena after death was born as a mleccha and suffered from leprosy. Once the sage Nārada visited King Pṛthu, who asked him about his father’s present situation. Nārada came to know of Vena’s birth as a mleccha by his yogic power. Later King Pṛthu went to the mleccha land and found his father there. He brought him to his kingdom and later was able to have him delivered from the body of mleccha by the power of holy pilgrimage and by the grace of Śiva.

Anuccheda 314

The Power of Rāgānugā

एषः (७.१.१७)—

दमघोषसुतः पाप आरभ्य कलभाषणात्।
सम्प्रत्यमर्षी गोविन्दे दन्तवक्रश्च दुर्मतिः॥ इत्यादि।

स्पष्टम्॥ ॥७.१॥ युधिष्ठिरो नारदम्॥३१२-३१४॥

This sinful son of Damaghoṣa [Śiśupāla] was envious of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa from the time he first began babbling and cooing up until now. So it is with the fool Dantavakra also. (SB 7.1.17)

The meaning of this verse is clear.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

Śiśupāla had a natural taste for abusing Kṛṣṇa that was not achieved through any practice. After hearing the story of Śiśupāla’s liberation, people sometimes think that there is no need of performing bhakti and that they can attain liberation by abusing God in the way Śiśupāla did. This is a misunderstanding. Such people will go to hell like Vena because they do not have a natural inclination for abusing Kṛṣṇa specifically. Earlier it was said that the mind is absorbed in an object it has taste for. The liberation of Śiśupāla was not because he was abusive towards Kṛṣṇa, but because his mind was naturally absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, albeit in a negative way. A common person like Vena does not have such a natural antipathy to Kṛṣṇa and thus their minds are not fully absorbed in that way. Their engagement in abusive behavior is like the devotion executed by a vaidhī bhakta, which does not have the same kind of engrossment due to lack of taste, ruci.


Prem Prakash said…
I heard that Sisupla was born with three eyes and four arms. It was prophesied that he would be healed at some point, and the same person who healed him would also kill him. When he was a baby he sat on Krishna's lap, and the extra arms and eye disappeared. His mother knew the prediction, so she negotiated the 100 sins exemption with Him. The 100th sin, I believe, was when Sisupala was cursed Bhisma. If he had stopped here, he might never have attained liberation, so it's a good thing he kept going in his bad ways, because his 101st sin was cursing Krishna.

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