Bhakti Sandarbha 329-330 : The Welfare Done by Bhagavān Cannot Be Repaid
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Anuccheda 329 :
The Welfare Done by Bhagavān Cannot Be Repaid
ननु कथं तत्तत्फलमपि विसृजति, न तु माम्? किं वा मम कृतम् ?
Should Bhagavān question, “How is it that one can give up even fruit such as these, but not Me? And what are the favors I have bestowed [upon My devotees]?”
तत्राह (भा. ११.२९.६)—
ब्रह्मायुषापि कृतमृद्धमुदः स्मरन्तः।
आचार्यचैत्त्यवपुषा स्वगतिं व्यनक्ति॥
Śrī Uddhava replies with the next statement:
O Lord, the wise feel ever-increasing joy as they remember the welfare done them by You, yet even if endowed with the life span of Brahmā they could not possibly redeem their debt, because You appear externally as the preceptor as well as internally as the Supreme Soul to drive away the impurities of the embodied souls and reveal Your true nature to them. (SB 11.29.6)
हे ईश ! कवयः सर्वज्ञाः ब्रह्मतुल्यायुषोऽपि, तत्कालपर्यन्तं भजन्तोऽपीत्यर्थः। तव कृतमुपकारमृद्धमुद उपचितत्वद्भक्तिपरमानन्दाः सन्तः स्मरन्तोऽपचितिं प्रत्युपकारम्, आनृण्यमिति यावत्, तां न उपयन्ति पश्यन्ति। "तस्मान्न विसृजेत्" (११.२९.५) इत्युक्तम्।
"O Supreme Lord!" (īśa) is in the vocative. “The wise” (kavayaḥ), i.e., the omniscient, even if endowed with a life span like that of Brahmā, i.e., even if they serve and worship You for that length of time. The "welfare" (kṛtam) means the favors bestowed by Bhagavān. While remembering such welfare, they feel ever-increasing joy (r̥ddha-mudaḥ), the great abundance of supreme bliss resulting from devotion to Bhagavān. They thus cannot redeem their debt to Bhagavān, which is to say that they cannot see what they can do to return the service, i.e. to repay Him for what He has given them. and thus there is no question of leaving Him, as was expressed in the previous verse.
कृतमाह—यो भवान् तनुभृतां त्वत्कृपाभाजनत्वेन केषांचित् सकलतनुधारिणां बहिराचार्यवपुषा गुरुरूपेण, अन्तश्चैत्त्यवपुषा चित्तस्फुरितध्येयाकारेण अशुभं त्वद्भक्तिप्रतियोगि सर्वं विधुन्वन् स्वगतिं स्वानुभवं व्यनक्ति इति॥
Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji
There are various types of welfare done by Bhagavān. He is giving us air to breathe, water to drink, light to see, and earth to dwell upon and grow our food. But more than this is the human body He has awarded us, through which we can understand both Him and ourselves. The highest welfare, however, is that He gives spiritual knowledge through the scriptures. Without this knowledge a human being remains ignorant like an animal. But even if we have the scriptures, we will still not get the proper understanding if there is no one to teach them. Vidura says clearly that knowledge is not possible by one’s own effort (3.7.39). Śrī Kṛṣṇa also confirms that for a living being who is under the influence of beginningless ignorance, self-realization is not possible by one’s effort alone: one needs to take a teacher (11.22.10).
Therefore, Uddhava says that Bhagavān appears as the ācārya externally and as the Immanent Being within the heart to guide a seeker on spiritual path. Then by His own grace He reveals Himself to the sincere practitioner (Gītā 10.10-11). This is His highest welfare. One who understands this is called a kavi, and even if such a person lives for trillion years he cannot repay his or her debt to Bhagavān. This is so because there is nothing in their possession that can match the grace given them by Bhagavān.
तथैव स्वभक्तेरतिशयित्वं श्रीभगवानपि तदनन्तरमुवाच। तत्र च तादृशान् प्रति शुद्धां स्वभक्तिं "हन्त ते कथयिष्यामि" (भा. ११.२९.८) इत्यादिचतुर्भिरुक्त्वा, पुनरेतादृशान् प्रति च करुणया स्वभजनप्रवर्तनार्थमन्यद्विचारितवान् चतुर्भिः।
In the same vein, Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa also spoke about the superiority of devotion to Him immediately following Uddhava’s inquiry:
O Uddhava, I shall explain to you that supremely auspicious dharma of Mine. By following it with faith, a mortal conquers over insurmountable death. (SB 11.29.8)
In the four verses beginning with this one (11.29.8-11), Kṛṣṇa spoke about pure devotion to Him for devotees like Uddhava, who are exclusively devoted to Him. Then in the group of four verses following those (11.29.12-15), Kṛṣṇa reflected in a different manner, and out of compassion for those who are not of the nature of Uddhava, He spoke to awaken in them the inclination towards His devotion.
यतः प्रायशो लोकाः स्पर्धादिपराः, कथञ्चिदन्तर्मुखत्वेऽपि सर्वान्तर्यामिरूपत्वद्भजनमात्रज्ञानिन इत्यालोच्य कृपया तेषां स्पर्धादीन् झटिति दूरीकर्तुं स्वस्मिन्नेवान्तर्मुखीकर्तुं च "विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत्" (गीता १०.४२) इत्याद्युक्ततदन्तर्यामिरूपस्वांशस्य भजनस्थाने स्वभजनमुपदिष्टवान्।
Because people are generally absorbed in rivalry with others and so on, even if somehow they come to be introspective, they become aware only of the need to meditate on Bhagavān as the Supreme Soul within the heart of all living beings [and not to worship any personal form of God]. Considering this fact, Kṛṣṇa mercifully spoke so as to quickly dispel their rivalry and other impurities and to enable them to direct their awareness specifically towards Him. In the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa made this declaration about the Supreme Immanent Self: “With but a single fragment of Myself, I pervade and support this entire cosmos” (Gītā 10.42). In place of the worship of His partial expansion in the form of the Supreme Self, Paramātmā referred to in this statement, however, Kṛṣṇa taught about devotion to Him in these four verses :
यथा (भा. ११.२९.१२)—
मामेव सर्वभूतेषु बहिरन्तरपावृतम्।
ईक्षेतात्मनि चात्मानं यथा खममलाशयः॥
The person of pure heart should see Me alone, the Supreme Self, existing like the sky without internal and external coverings, in all living beings as well as in his own self. (SB 11.29.12)
टीका च—अन्तरङ्गां भक्तिमाह—मामिति त्रिभिः। सर्वभूतेष्वात्मनि चात्मानमीश्वरस्थितं मामेव ईक्षेत॥ इत्येषा।
Śrīdhara Svāmī comments: “In three verses beginning with this one, Bhagavān speaks about internal devotion. He says, ‘One should see Me alone, situated as the Regulator, Iśvara, within all living beings as well as in his own self.’”
कथम्भूतमीश्वरम्? बहिरन्तः, पूर्णमित्यर्थः। तत् कुतः ? अपावृतमनावरणम्। तदपि कुतः ? यथा खमनङ्गत्वाद्विभुत्वाच्चेत्यर्थः। अत्र मामेव इति श्रीकृष्णरूपमेव ईक्षेत, न तु केवलान्तर्यामिरूपमित्यभिप्रायेणैव अन्तरङ्गां भक्तिमाह इति व्याख्यातम्॥
What are the characteristics of the Iśvara described in this verse? He exists both externally and internally. It means He is complete. And why is that? Because He is without internal and external coverings, apāvṛtam. And how is that so? Because He is like the sky (kham), meaning that He is untouched and all-pervading. In this verse Bhagavān says that one should see Him alone, directly in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and not merely in the form of the Supreme indwelling Self, Paramātmā. This is precisely what Śrīdhara Svāmī meant when he commented: “Bhagavān now speaks about internal devotion.”
Commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji
In this anuccheda Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi confirms the superiority of bhakti to Kṛṣṇa by citing His own words. Devotees of Kṛṣṇa envision His presence in everything. In Paramātmā Sandarbha it was explained that material nature, prakṛti, is under the control of the Paramātmā who is an expansion of Bhagavān. Nevertheless, Kṛṣṇa recommends that a devotee should envisage only His presence instead of that of Paramātmā. This will make them free of any any rivalry or envy of others. Generally, we have rivalry with those who are equal to us, envy towards those who are superior to us, and disrespect for the inferior. But if we can feel the presence of Kṛṣṇa -- our object of love -- in everyone, then all these impurities are washed away.
Envy is a very big obstacle on the path of love. It leads to pride, disrespect and ultimately offensive behavior. Therefore, in the very beginning Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa states that the supreme dharma in the form of prīti is meant for those who are free of envy and have a compassionate heart (nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām, 1.1.2). In the principal verse of this anuccheda, Śrī Kṛṣṇa gives the methodology to be free from the disease of envy.
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī comments that the first four verses beginning with 11.29.8 are spoken by Kṛṣṇa for those who are non-envious. But in the next three verses He speaks out of compassion for those who are troubled by envy. Out of these three verses the first is explained in this anuccheda and next two in the following two anucchedas.