1960 Back to Godhead vol 3 part 20 - Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu
Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu
(Science of Devotional Service of the Lord)
Bhakti cult (sentimentalism). He has particularly taken the precaution from generalizing the cult by popular notion. This is not a sentiment of a particular type of men passing as so called devotees but it is practical work meant for every living being in his natural and constitutional position. That is the specialty of this work Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. He has tried to clear the popular notion of the Bhakti cult being contaminated by other prescribed duty originated from material hankerings, fruitive work or performances of sacrificial ceremonies. Bhakti cult does not belong to either empiric philosophy or imaginary sentiments. Neither does it depend on experimental thought. The bhakti cult or devotional service is so pure that it includes all the good qualities of higher status of life.
- Adya samanya bhaktyadhya dwitiya sadhana atmikabhavasrita tritiya cha turya prema nirupika.
Adya—In the beginning, samanya—general, bhaktyadhya—enriched devotional service, dwitiya—the second stage, sadhana—practice, atmika—symptomatic, bhavasrita—developed consciousness, tritiya—the third stage, cha—and, turya—the fourth one, prema—transcendental love, nirupika—designative.
In the beginning (or the first wave of the ocean) generalization of enriched devotional service is described. In the second practical and symptomatic treatment is done. In the third one developed consciousness of devotional service is discussed and in the fourth one transcendental love of Godhead is included.
- Tatra adou asya susthu vaisistam asya kathayutum sphutam laksonam kriyate bhakter uttamayah satam matam.
Tatra—thereupon, adou—in the beginning, asya—of this, susthu—particularly, vaisisitam—specifically, asya—of this, kathayutum—in order to describe, sphuham—clearly, lakshnam—specific characteristics, kriyate—being established, bhakter—of devotional service, uttamayah—first qualitative, satam—of the sages, matam—opinion.
In the beginning therefore of this treatise the first qualitative symptoms of devotional service as approved by the great sages-are being particularly and specifically characterized.
Text No. 11
- Anya abhilasita sunyam jnan karma adi anabritam anukulyena krishna anushilanam bhakti uttama.
Anya—other than devotional services, abhilasita—act of desiring, sunyam—devoid of, jnana—the path of monists, karma—fruitive work, adi—etcetera, anabritam—uncovered by, anukulyena—favourably, krishna—the Personality of Godhead, anusilanam—to act practically, bhakti—devotional services, uttama—superior quality.
Superior quality of devotional service of Krishna is to act favourably for the Personality of Godhead. This means that the service must be uncovered by the path of the monists, fruitive workers and desires—other than devotional services.
Srila Rupa Goswami begins with pure devotional service and he defines in the very beginning the characteristics of unadulterated service of the Lord. In the Bhagwat Geeta it is said that four kinds of men who had performed pious activities in the past do take to devotional service of the Lord. They are the distressed, the poverty-stricken, the learned and the inquisitive. The distressed man takes to the devotional services with a view to receive some favour of the Lord. The poverty-stricken also takes to devotional service to remove his adversities. The learned man takes to devotional service not for any material gain but for spiritual salvation and the inquisitive takes to devotional services just to know only the principles of theism etc. All these devotees are not pure devotees because all of them take to such devotional activities with an intention of personal gain. Srila Rupa Goswami in the very beginning of his definition of devotional service wants to impress upon us that there is no question of personal gain altogether in pure devotional service. Such service must be rendered to the Lord out of pure love of Godhead which is lying dormant in every living being. As nobody is taught how to laugh or cry or to begin sex life and all these actions automatically come into being in due course, so also the love of Godhead is spontaneous and nobody is required to learn it by some external agents. But as sex life or similar other spontaneous activities of a man are sometimes conspicuous by absence on account of diseased condition of the body such as impotency etc. similarly due to the diseased condition of the living being on account of long association with material energy—love of Godhead has to be awakened by practical and prescribed services. Such routine of services will be discussed in due course. So far the definition of pure devotional service is concerned it is described here that such devotional service must be active. There is no place for mental speculative action in devotional service. Anushilanam means practical work. Such practical work is done in relation with the body, mind and speeches. And such practical work is done also in terms of initiative and obstructive tendencies. That practical work is done favourably and unfavourably. And there are so many sections and subsections of that practical way of thinking, feeling and willing for the benefit of Krishna. The primary practical work in the devotional service is to accept practical spiritual master both initiator and instructor. And enquire from him all practical problems in the line of devotional service. The devotee having followed the primary rules in this connection will gradually develop an attachment and taste for the service. After this an atmosphere of constant association for devotional service will be felt and such temperament will help the devotee to rise up to the stage of fixed up position in rank. And all these highest stage of devotional improvement will depend more or less on the merciful benediction of a superior devotee who is already in the transcendental loving service, engaged himself.
The word Krishna indicates the Personality of Godhead with His unlimited expansions. The Lord expands Himself in innumerable Forms such as Sri Rama, Sri Nrisingha, Sri Baraha, and many other incarnations and beams of expansions. Some of them are mentioned in the scriptures like the Bhagwat Puranam and others and all of them are Vishnu Tatwas and thus they are also on the equal footing and status like Krishna. In other words the word Krishna includes all other expansions and incarnations of the Personality of Godhead. The process of devotional service in the primary stage is the same as that of devotional service of Krishna or Vishnu or Narayana. In the higher stages of service there is difference of Rasa which we have already discussed in the beginning of this translation. In the critical differentiation of Rasa study there is specific transcendental difference of reciprocating the devotional service but in essence there is no difference between the service of Rama or Krishna. These particular differences will be taken up later on.
Specific use of the word Anukulyena is significant. This means loving service of the Lord and not a simple attachment for the Lord is to be called as devotional service. When the attachment is inimical it is not called devotional service. The attachment of Kansa with Krishna was from the opposite side than love. But there was indirect attachment for the Lord. But that sort of attachment is not to be accepted as devotional service. The devotee must render service to the Lord which is acceptable to Him. The neophyte devotee must therefore take the shelter of a superior devotee who is already engaged in the service of the Lord under the direction of his spiritual master. The spiritual master is the via media between Krishna and the devotee. The order of the Lord is transmitted to the devotee through the medium of the spiritual master. Therefore to accept the service of a bonafide spiritual master is the first thing to be done in the matter of devotional service.
From the study of the Bhagwat Geeta which is directly spoken by the Lord we can have a glimpse of our eternal relation with the Lord. It is said there clearly that the living entity must take to the service of the Lord leaving aside all other engagements. There is further instruction in that book of knowledge that a man who preaches the teachings of the Bhagwat Geeta is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. From these it appears that the nature of the service which is acceptable to the Lord is generally engagement of a devotee constantly without any deviation in the service of the Lord and that service especially in this age of forgetfulness is to educate people in the matter of God-consciousness generally.
The bonafide spiritual master can give direction to the neophyte devotee on the principles of the primary stages of devotional service of the Lord. Unless one has not developed the aptitude of loving service of the Lord by engaging himself in the direction of the spiritual master one cannot make any progress whatsoever. The test of devotional service will also be discussed later on. Nobody can claim to have made any progress in the devotional service without being tested by the symptoms.
Srila Jiva Goswami says when we speak of inviting the warrior it does not mean we invite the weapons of the warrior. The warrior means always to be decorated or followed by his weapons. But the host does not mean to please the weapons but the warrior himself. Similarly we must know whether the Lord is satisfied by our service without being too much attached in the formulas. There are many who passes by the name of devotees but when they are put into the acid test of genuine symptoms, generally they come to the class of mundaners. Lord Chaitanya says that Krishna Prema or a genuine love for the Lord is the last word in the kingdom of devotional service. In the absence of such genuine love for Krishna which is followed by the symptoms of detachment for mundane things-one cannot be certified to have made any progress in the matter of devotional service. The word Anu suggests that one should engage himself in the service of the Lord without any interval. He must be engaged in the service cent percent and always. There must not be any interruption in such progress of devotional service. These are some of the symptoms of devotional service in reality. Besides these there are other secondary symptoms which are as follows:
The devotee must be completely freed from all desires other than devotional service. That is the standard of first quality devotional service. Desires other than devotional service are many under the heading of Karma, Jnana, Yoga, etc. Jnana or knowledge is generally accepted in the sense of monism or to become one with the Supreme and when we say that devotional service must be untouched by Jnana we mean this philosophy of oneness. Otherwise knowledge pertaining to the culture of devotional services has to be attained with full vigour. Without specific knowledge in the matter of pure devotional services with reference to the context of Vedas, Puranas, Geeta, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchratic regulations no devotional service will stand bonafide. Any pretention of devotional service without the knowledge of the above mentioned scriptures is nothing but disturbing elements in that path.
When we speak of Karma detached from devotional service we mean fruitive works which are mentioned in the Smriti Shastras for obtaining elevation in the material existence. Devotional service must be freed from such fruitive activities. But such work as is conducive to the development of devotional service must be cultured. Such work which helps enlightenment of devotional service will be explained in this book later on. The word Adi is the sum total of all such non-devotional activities like yoga unnecessary penances for sense gratification. Great materialistic kings like Ravana and Hiranya Kasipu had undergone severe penances for many many years just to obtain temporary benefit of sense enjoyment but ultimately they could not protect themselves, in spite of all these penances, from the punishment imposed upon them by the Personality of Godhead.
The conclusion is that the culture of devotional service of the Lord must be restricted within the pure devotional activities only and nothing more whatsoever. Such activities are elaborately mentioned in the Bhagwat and other relative scriptures. The Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is also within the category of those scriptures.
As it is said in the Narada Pancharatra
- Sarba upadhir vinirmuktam tatparatwena nirmalam hrishikena hrishikesha sevanam bhaktiruchyate.
Sarba—all kinds of, upadhir—designations, vinirmukta—freed from, tatparatwena—favourable to the objective, nirmalam—completely purified, hrishikena—with the help of senses, hrishikesa—the Lord of the senses, sevanam—rendering services, bhaktir—devotional service, uchyate—is called.
It is said in the Narada Pancharatra that senses when they are completely purified on account of their becoming favourable to the objective and thus engaged in the service of the Lord of the senses, it is called devotional service.
The definition of Srila Rupa Goswami for devotional service is confirmed in the Narada Pancharatra. The Lord is not at all impersonal. He is transcendentally Personality of Godhead with all sensual activities. The senses which we possess are emanations from Him only and we could not have possessed all these senses if he would not have had all such senses. In the Sruti it is said that everything is emanation from the Transcendence. Therefore in the Transcendence there are transcendental senses and the senses which we have are all emanated from Him. But our senses are now contaminated by the influence of material inferiority which is the diseased condition of the senses. In the diseased condition of the senses nobody can sensually perceive the Absolute Personality of Godhead. He is therefore transcendental to our sensual perception or beyond the reach of mind and senses. But when the senses are purified by favourable atmosphere such senses can render service to the Lord without intervention of the material energy. This transcendental capacity of the living being develops in proportion of favourable devotional service rendered to the Lord by the devotee. The diseased condition of the living being is exhibited in his perverted consciousness of egoism. So long a living being is in diseased condition he says 'I am the monarch of all I survey.' The conditional living being becomes a madman when he thinks that he is independant of any other power.
The living being or the Jiva in his conditional existence within material energy works under the influence of the qualitative modes of nature and creates his own destiny by the ingredients supplied by the material nature and thus become bound up under the condition of material nature. And so long he is so conducted under the influence of material nature he cannot know the transcendental nature of the Lord. As stated in the Bhagwat Geeta he can be known only by the one and single process of devotional service. This disease of the conditioned soul is cured by the method of Tatpara which means that a conditioned soul must surrender unto the Lord which creates the necessary favourable condition. The living being in fact is artificially conditioned by the elements of nature which have covered him with all kinds of designations. The favourable circumstances created by the process of devotional service under the guidance of bonafide spiritual master gradually clears up the clouds of misconception of false egoism. And when he is completely cured of the designative consciousness he can at once engage his senses in the service of the Lord. The difference between the Lord and the living being is that the Lord is never under the influence of the modes of material nature while the living beings, who are parts and parcel of the Lord, are susceptible to become under the influence of material conditions.