Bhakti Sandarbha 320.1 : Bhakti Does Not Depend Upon Injunctions / The Case of Kubja

N.B. In this time of lockdown I am going to start uploading videos to my YouTube channel on the Priti Sandarbha. As I have probably stated, I started work a few weeks ago on this last of the Six Sandarbhas. I wish to concentrate fully on this project, and I think that making videos will be a helpful way of improving my concentration. These are imperfectly done, but I am doing it primarily for my own edification and purification. If anyone wishes to follow along, they can by using the Priti Sandarbha GGM edition. We will be updating the on-line edition as we go along. The current version is already 20 years old and has many mistakes.

The first video is uploaded here.

N.B. E-books are now available from, as are the other first four Sandarbhas.

Also anyone interested in taking Sanskrit with me or participating in the continuing Jiva Tirtha course (Oct. 2020) can register here. It is worth saying here that Babaji's continued determination and unflagging commitment to the scholarly approach to Gaudiya Vaishnavism is slowly paying off with good, dedicated, qualified, intelligent and hard-working students. It is a tough thing for young people especially to commit to a program that is not necessarily going to pay off financially, but the fact that some are doing it is a great credit to Babaji.

Anuccheda 320

Bhakti Does Not Depend Upon Injunctions

न च शास्त्रविहितेनैव भगवद्धर्मेण सिद्धिः स्यात्, न च तदविहितेन कामादिनेति वाच्यम्, यतः (भा. ७.१.२९)

It should not be said that perfection can be attained only by following the bhagavad-dharma as ordained in scripture and that it cannot be attained through an unprescribed path, such as through feelings of passion and so on, since

कामाद्द्वेषाद्भयात् स्नेहाद्यथा भक्त्येश्वरे मनः।
आवेश्य तदघं हित्वा बहवस्तद्गतिं गताः॥

Many people, having absorbed their minds in God (Īśvara ) through amorous love (kāma), enmity, fear, and affection, became free from their sins or impurities (agha) and attained the supreme destination, just as one does by devotion. (SB 7.1.29)

यथा विहितया भक्त्या ईश्वरे मन आवेश्य तद्गतिं गच्छन्ति, तथैव अविहितेनापि कामादिना बहवो गता इत्यर्थः। तदघं तेषु कामादिषु मध्ये यद्द्वेषभययोरघं भवति, तद्धित्वैव। भयस्यापि द्वेषसंवलितत्वादघोत्पादकत्वं ज्ञेयम्।

The meaning of the verse is that just as some people attain Bhagavān by fixing their minds Him on through devotion as prescribed in scripture, there are many others who have attained the same destination through devotion that has not been so enjoined, such as through amorous desire (kāma). This is done by giving up the sin arising specifically from, of all the attitudes listed in the verse, enmity and fear. It should be understood that because fear is connected to enmity, it also creates impurity or sin.

अत्र केचित् काममप्यघं मन्यन्ते। तत्रेदं विचार्यते—भगवति काम एव केवलः पापावहः, किं वा पतिभावयुक्तः, अथवा उपपतिभावयुक्त इति ?

In this connection, some people consider amorous desire also to be sinful, which brings up the following discussion: If this opinion is true, is it that passionate desire for Bhagavān is sinful in and of itself, or is it so when connected to the feeling of being married to Bhagavān or when it leads one to consider Bhagavān as one’s paramour?

स एव केवल इति चेत्, स किं द्वेषादिगणपातित्वात् तद्वत् स्वरूपेणैव वा, परमशुद्धे भगवति यदधरपानादिकं यच्च कामुकाद्यारोपणं तेनातिक्रमेण वा, पापश्रवणेन वा ?

In the first case, if passionate desire for Bhagavān is sinful in and of itself, is it so because it is sinful by its very nature, along with the enmity and other such attitudes with which it is being classified? Or, is it sinful because it involves acts such as kissing Bhagavān, who is supremely pure, and projecting lustful feelings upon Him, all of which constitute a transgression of the codes of behavior in regard to Him? Or is it sinful because scripture declares it as such?


उक्तं पुरस्तादेतत् ते चैद्यः सिद्धिं यथा गतः।
द्विषन्नपि हृषीकेशं किमुताधोक्षजप्रियाः॥ (भा. १०.२९.१३)

इत्यत्र द्वेषादेर्न्यक्कृतत्वात्, तस्य तु स्तुतत्वात्।

The first possibility, that passionate desire is sinful by its very nature, similar to enmity, is rejected because Śrī Śuka has condemned enmity, etc., even as he glorified such desire:

I have already explained to you how Śiśupāla attained perfection even through hatred of Kṛṣṇa, the master of the senses (Hṛṣikeśa), so what to speak of [the gopīs] who were dear to Him (priyāḥ). (SB 10.29.13)

अतश्च प्रिया इति स्नेहवत् कामस्यापि प्रीत्यात्मकत्वेन तद्वदेव न दोषः। तादृशीनां कामो हि प्रेमैकरूपः, "यत् ते सुजातचरणाम्बुरुहं स्तनेषु भीताः शनैः प्रिय दधीमहि कर्कशेषु" (भा. १०.३१.१९) इत्यादावतिक्रम्यापि स्वसुखं तदानुकूल्य एव तात्पर्यदर्शनात्।

It is thus concluded from the word “dear” (priyāḥ) that like affection (sneha), the desire for amorous union with Kṛṣṇa is of the nature of love, and as such is faultless, exactly like affection. The amorous desire of devotees like the gopīs is nothing but prema, as understood from this verse:

O beloved, your lotus feet are so soft and tender that we fear they may be pained by placing them on our hard breasts, and thus we do so very gently. Yet you wander the forest on those same feet. Are they not pained by the pebbles and sharp stones? Our minds reel at this very thought, for you are our very life. (SB 10.31.19)

This statement is an expression of love, because it shows that the gopīs are concerned only with what is favorable to Bhagavān, disregarding even their own pleasure.

सैरिन्ध्र्यास्तु भावो रिरंसाप्रायत्वेन श्रीगोपिकानामिव केवलतत्तात्पर्याभावात् तदपेक्षयैव निन्द्यते, न तु स्वरूपतः। "सानङ्गतप्तकुचयोः" (भा. १०.४८.७) इत्यादौ, "अनन्तचरणेन रुजो मृजन्ति" (तत्र) इति, "परिरभ्य कान्तमानन्दमूर्तिम्" (तत्र च) इति कार्यद्वारा तत्स्तुतेः। तत्रापि "आहोष्यताम् इह प्रेष्ठ" (भा. १०.४८.९) इत्यत्र प्रीत्यभिव्यक्तेश्च।

In contrast to the gopīs, Kubjā’s passionate desire for Kṛṣṇa is predominantly a desire for her own enjoyment. As such, it is lacking the mood of the gopīs, which is exclusively for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. Thus Kubjā’s amorous desire is criticized only in comparison with the love of the gopīs, and not due to any inherent defect. Rather, Śrī Śuka has praised Kubjā’s desire because of its effect, as expressed in this verse:

By the touch of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, Kubjā relieved the pain of her breasts, bosom and eyes, which were tormented by the pangs of love. Smelling the fragrance of His feet, she took her lover, the very embodiment of bliss, into her arms and embraced Him to her bosom, thus dispelling the agony of long separation from Him. (SB 10.48.7)

Kubjā also experienced love for Kṛṣṇa, as in this statement:

O lotus-eyed lover, please come here and stay with me for a few days to enjoy with me. I cannot give up Your company. (SB 10.48.9)

अत एव—
सैवं कैवल्यनाथं तं प्राप्य दुष्प्राप्यमीश्वरम्।
अङ्गरागार्पणेनाहो दुर्भगेदमयाचत॥ (भा. १०.४८.८) इति,

Therefore Śrī Śuka said:

What a wonder! Having gained the association of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Master and Bhagavān of liberation, who is very difficult to attain, by offering scented oil for His body, the unfortunate woman made the following request. (SB 10.48.8)

दुराराध्यं समाराध्य विष्णुं सर्वेश्वरेश्वरम्।
यो वृणीते मनोग्राह्यमसत्त्वात् कुमनीष्यसौ॥ (भा. १०.४८.११)

इति चैवं योजयन्ति।

And adding:

If after having propitiated Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the master of all other controllers of the universe, who is very difficult to please, one asks for insubstantial objects that appeal to the mind, he is certainly less intelligent because of his pettiness. (SB 10.48.11)

कैवल्यमेकान्तित्वम्। तेन यो नाथः सेवनीयस्तम्। पुरा तादृशत्रिवक्रत्वादिलक्षणदौर्भाग्यवत्यपि। अहो आश्चर्यमङ्गरागार्पणलक्षणेन भगवद्धर्मांशेन कारणेन सम्प्रतीदं सहोष्यतामिह प्रेष्ठ दिनानि कतिचिन् मया रमस्व (भा. १०.४८.८) इत्यादिलक्षणं सौभाग्यमयाचत इति। अतः—

किमनेन कृतं पुण्यमवधूतेन भिक्षुणा।
श्रिया हीनेन लोकेऽस्मिन् गर्हितेनाधमेन च॥ (भा. १०.८०.२५)

These verses are to be understood as follows. Beginning with the first verse, in the compound kaivalya-nātha, “Bhagavān of liberation,” the word `nātha~, “Bhagavān,” implies, “He who is to be served,” and kaivalyam, “by exclusivity,” means, “by those who are one-pointedly devoted to Him.”

Kubjā is described as unfortunate, because previously her body was hunched in three places. Aho is an exclamation of surprise. So the wonder is that although Kubjā was unfortunate, Bhagavān came before her due to a simple act of devotion in the form of offering fragrant oil for His body, and she then requested something of great fortune. This is expressed in the next verse, as cited above:

“O lotus-eyed lover, please come here and stay with me for a few days to enjoy with me. I cannot give up Your company.” (SB 10.48.9)

Therefore, the above statement (SB 10.48.8) is similar to that expressed about Sudāmā Vipra by the residents of the inner quarter of Kṛṣṇa’s palace:

What great meritorious act was performed by this naked, destitute, and lowly beggar, who is condemned in this world, for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the teacher of the three worlds, to leave the company of Goddess Lakṣmī, seated beside Him on the bed, and embrace him, honoring him just like His own brother Baladeva? (SB 10.80.25-26)

इति श्रीदामविप्रमुद्दिश्य पुरजनवचनवदेव तथोक्तिः। ननु कामुकी सा किमिति श्लाघ्यते ? तत्राह—दुराराध्यमिति। यो मनोग्राह्यं प्राकृतमेव विषयं वृणीते कामयत असावेव कुमनीषी। सा तु भगवन्तमेव कामयत इति परमसुमनीषिण्येवेति भावः। तदेवं तस्य कामस्य द्वेषादिगणान्तःपातित्वं परिहृत्य, तेन पापावहत्वं परिहृतम्।

The question may be raised that since Kubjā is libidinous, why is she praised? In reply, Śrī Śuka spoke the second verse quoted above (SB 10.48.11). One who desires only material objects that appeal to the mind is less intelligent, but Kubjā desired only Bhagavān, therefore she is supremely intelligent. This is the import of the verse. So, by thus establishing that amorous desire for Bhagavān does not fall under the same classification as enmity and other unfavorable attitudes, we have refuted the notion that it is inherently sinful.

Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

In Anuccheda 312 it was said that bhakti is not dependent on scriptural injunction. Rather, the perfection of all scriptural injunction is in bhakti. Śrī Jīva raises a similar objection against the activities that make one’s mind absorbed in Bhagavān but are not ordained by scripture. He answers that absorption in Bhagavān does not need any ordinance. It is powerful in itself no matter what causes it. It has such potency that it purifies the heart of a person who may be full of hatred towards Bhagavān.

Fear is considered to be in the same category as hatred. This is because when a person fears someone he has dislike for that person. People have fear of snakes therefore, if they see a snake they make an effort to kill it. Even if they do not kill it, at least the dislike is part of hatred. Therefore , hatred and fear both are considered as sinful.

Śrīdhara Svāmī also considers passion, kāma, as sinful. He writes, “The phrase tad-agham (in 7.1.29) means sin caused by kāma, etc. ["Etcetera" here indicating hatred and fear].” Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī does not agree with that. He gives a lengthy explanation why kāma is not sinful. To show how kāma is not sinful he considers the various possibilities:

Kāma can be of three types
1. Kāma in general,
2. Kāma in a relation with Kṛṣṇa as husband and,
3. Kāma while considering Kṛṣṇa as one’s boyfriend or paramour.

In the first category kāma could be sinful because of three reasons:

a. It is sinful by its very nature like hatred and fear,
b. Because it makes Kṛṣṇa appear lusty by its actions such as kissing, and thus transgresses the social and moral principles, or
c. Because it is declared as sinful in the scriptures.

Śrī Jīva shows that none of these conditions apply to kāma and thus it is not sinful.

First he cites a verse by Śukadeva (10.29.13) in which the kāma of the Gopīs is contrasted with the hatred of Śiśupāla. This means that kāma is not in the same category as hatred, dveṣa. The phrase kim uta in this verse is used to show the distinction between dveṣa and kāma. Dveṣa is despised while kāma is praised. Thus kāma cannot be considered sinful by its own nature.

Next, Śrī Jīva denies that kāma is sinful because of being immoral or antisocial. He says that the kāma of the Gopīs is prema or love. It should not be seen as lust in which one desires one’s own gratification. The Gopīs had no desire for their own personal pleasure. They had dedicated their lives for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa alone. Their temperament is understood from their prayers in the 31st chapter of the Tenth Canto, the Gopī-gīta. It means that if they kissed Kṛṣṇa it was only because Kṛṣṇa relished it. Otherwise they would not do it. If Kṛṣṇa desired it then it cannot be sinful because Kṛṣṇa is beyond any sin or piety.

One may say that the gopīs' kāma for Kṛṣṇa was pure and not tinged with any personal pleasure, but Kubjā certainly has the desire to enjoy. So that must be sinful. Śrī Jīva says, however, that even Kubjā’s kāma is not sinful. It is certainly much inferior to the love of the gopīs, but it is still not material. The very fact that Kubjā got the opportunity to serve Kṛṣṇa and furthermore to physically embrace Him proves that her mood towards Kṛṣṇa is not abominable. Even great yogīs and jñānīs do not get so much mercy from Kṛṣṇa. The criticism of Kubjā’s love is only made in comparison to that of the gopīs and not in an absolute sense. Kṛṣṇa performs His play like people of this world. Thus externally His behavior with the gopīs or Kubjā appears like a material love affair, but in reality it is all a manifestation of His internal potency. Thus it is beyond the classification of good and bad, moral and immoral.


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