Bhakti Sandarbha 318-319 :: One Attains the Object of One’s Absorption

The four Kumaras curse Jaya and Vijaya to take birth in the world as Vishnu's enemies.
One of them became Shishupala, the other Dantavakra in Krishna-lila.

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Anuccheda 318

Absorption by Enmity is Even More Intense than Vaidhī Bhakti

तदेवं सर्वेषां तदावेश एव फलमिति स्थिते, झटिति तदावेशसिद्धये तेषु भावमयमार्गेषु निन्दितेनापि वैरेण विधिमय्या भक्तेर्न साम्यमित्याह (भा. ७.१.२६)—

So in this way, the result of all these is absorption in Bhagavān. This being the case, vaidhī bhakti is not as effective as enmity—even though reprehensible—when applied on the path of feeling (bhāva-maya-mārga) to quickly perfect the state of absorption in Bhagavān. This is stated by Śrī Nārada:

यथा वैरानुबन्धेन मर्त्यस्तन्मयतामियात्।
न तथा भक्तियोगेन इति मे निश्चिता मतिः॥

The absorption in Bhagavān that a mortal being can reach through being continuously bound by enmity cannot be attained by bhakti-yoga. This is my definite opinion. (SB 7.1.26)

वैरानुबन्धेनेति भयस्याप्युपलक्षणम्। यथा शैघ्र्येण तन्मयतां तदाविष्टतां, भक्तियोगेन विहितत्वमात्रबुद्ध्या क्रियमाणेन तु न तथा॥

The statement “continuously bound by enmity” (vairānubandhena) here also includes “through fear.” The absorption in Bhagavān that one can achieve through feelings such as enmity and fear cannot be attained as quickly through bhakti-yoga performed simply in the consciousness that it has been ordained.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī wants to establish that the intensity of absorption in rāgānugā bhakti is much more than in vaidhī bhakti. It is for this reason that he gives the example of Śiśupāla. The general principle is that the mind becomes absorbed in the object of an action when the action is performed with some kind of emotional attachment (bhāva). If the action is performed without any attachment, then the mind wanders off to different objects. The attachment, however, can be out of rāga or dveṣa. These are the two groves in which mind wanders.

In case of vaidhī bhakti there is neither rāga nor dveṣa. Therefore, there is not the same degree of absorption of mind. This is the meaning intended by Nārada.

The mind is naturally absorbed in the object of enmity or fear. This is because of identification with the material body and the resulting inclination to protect it.

Anuccheda 319

One Attains the Object of One’s Absorption

आस्तां तादृशवस्तुशक्तियुक्तस्य तेषु प्रकाशमानस्य भगवतो भगवद्विग्रहाभासस्य वा वार्ता। प्राकृतेऽपि तद्भावमात्रस्य भाव्यावेशफलं महद्दृश्यत इति सदृष्टान्तं तदेव प्रतिपादयति (भा. ७.१.२७-२८)—

Up until now we have been discussing the result of absorption in Bhagavān even in those who are inimical towards Him, and one may say that this effect is natural in regard to Bhagavān or the image of Bhagavān, because He is endowed with extraordinary power. Yet apart from all of this, we can observe that absorption even in material objects through feelings such as enmity has a tremendous effect. This is pointed out by Śrī Nārada using an example:

कीटः पेशस्कृता रुद्धः कुड्यायां तमनुस्मरन्।
संरम्भभययोगेन विन्दते तत्स्वरूपताम्॥
एवं कृष्णे भगवति मायामनुज ईश्वरे।
वैरेण पूतपाप्मानस्तमापुरनुचिन्तया॥

When a worm is captured by a wasp and taken to its lair, the worm constantly thinks of its captor out of hatred and fear, and eventually acquires a similar form. In the same way, those who out of enmity think constantly of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Bhagavān and the Supreme Controller, who appears in a human-like form through His own potency, become free of their sins and attain Him. (SB 7.1.27-28)

संरम्भो द्वेषो भयं च, ताभ्यां योगस्तदावेशः, तेन। तत्स्वरूपतां तस्य स्वमात्मीयरूपमाकृतिर्यत्र तत् तां तत् सारूप्यमित्यर्थः। एवमिति एव अपीत्यर्थः । नराकृतिपरब्रह्मत्वात् माययैव प्राकृतमनुजतया प्रतीयमाने।

By absorption in thoughts of its captor out of hatred and fear, the worm attains an identical form. The word evam is an adverb of manner, meaning, “also in the same way.” “Appearing in human-like form out of His own potency” (māyā-manuja) indicates that Bhagavān’s form resembles that of an ordinary human being only by the influence of His deluding potency, because He is the Supreme Absolute in human-like form.

ननु कीटस्य पेशस्कृद्द्वेषे पापं न भवति, तत्र तु तत् स्यादित्याशङ्क्याह—वैरेण यानुचिन्ता तदावेशस्तयैव पूतपाप्मानस्तद्ध्यानावेशस्य तादृक्शक्तित्वादिति भावः॥

A question may be raised here. A worm does not incur any sin from its hatred of its captor, but in the case of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa such enmity is sinful. To this Nārada replies that they are purified of their sins precisely because of their constant thinking of Him or absorption in Him out of enmity, because absorption in meditation on Bhagavān has such power.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

There is common saying, “What you think, you become.” There are many variations on this idea and indeed many books have been written in recent times based on this principle. In the Bhāgavatam also, the Avanti Brāhmaṇa said the same thing to King Yadu:

Wherever an embodied being fully puts his mind along with his intelligence, either through affection, enmity or fear, he becomes that. (11.9.22)

Nārada shows that with an example. In India there is type of flying insect called the potter wasp, which makes its little clay nest on the walls. It then catches some other insect and imprisons it in his dwelling. The captive insect thinks of the captor out of fear and ultimately attains a body like the captor. Similarly yogīs and higher beings can change their form by meditation. If such a thing is possible materially, it is certainly possible if the object of meditation is Bhagavān who is the repository of all wondrous powers.


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