1960 Back to Godhead vol 3 part 21 - Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu
Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu
(Science of Devotional Service of the Lord)
Text No. 13, 14 and 15
- Ahituki, abyabahita, ya bhakti purshottome, salokya sarsti samipya sarupya, ekatyam api uta diyamanam na grihnananti vina mat sevanam janah sa eba bhaktiyogakhya atyantika udahritaha.
Ahaituki—motiveless, abyabahita—without interruption, ya—which, bhakti—devotional service, purushottame—unto the Personality of Godhead, salokaya—status of the same planet, samipya—status of association, sarupya—status of the same feature, ekatyam—status of oneness, api—even though, uta—what to speak, diyamanam—being offered, na—do not, grihnanti—accept, vina—without, mat—mine, sevanam—service, janah—persons, sa—that, eba—certainly, Bhaktiyogakhya—worth the name of devotional service, atyantika—ultimate, udahrita—exemplified.
(This is an instruction by Shri Kapildeva to his mother Devahuti) "My dear Mother, devotional service rendered to the Personality of Godhead Purushottam which is motiveless and without any interruption,—by persons do not accept (different types of liberations which offer) the status of same planet, status of association, status of the same feature, status of same opulence and the status of oneness with the Lord—even though they are offered to them and without being devoid of the transcendental service of the Lord. That is the ultimate exemplification of super state of pure devotional service.
There are five kinds of the forms of liberation or Mukti. They are (1) the status of the same planet i.e. liberation of material bondage and promotion to the spiritual planet where the Personality of Godhead resides, (2) status of the same association i.e. to have the opportunity of constantly being associated with the Personality of Godhead, (3) status of the same feature of the body, (4) status of the same opulence and (5) status of becoming one with the Lord. Generally the impersonalist mystic and empiric philosophers are offered the status of the 5th grade liberation i.e. to become one with Lord and thus annihilate one's own individual status. The four other types of liberations are achieved by the bidhi bhaktas or the devotees who strictly follow regulative principles in the prescribed rules of devotional service practicable with our present senses. Above the bidhi bhakti regulations there is the raga bhakti stage which develops in the mature state of regulative life. The raga and bidhi bhaktis will be explained later on. For the present it may be noted that raga bhakti is possible for one who has actually developed the dormant spontaneous love of God.
Devotees who have thus developed the spontaneous love of God naturally have no motive behind the performance of their devotional services. Whatever they do for the satisfaction of the Lord has no ulterior motive save and except the satisfaction of the Lord. Such devotional services are also uninterrupted. Nothing can stop such high grade devotional service of the devotee. Devotional service, as it is, is transcendental to all material shortcomings. It does not depend on the condition of material favourable or unfavourable facilities. Such devotional services being spontaneous nothing can check the progress of such transcendental devotional service. Such devotees have nothing to desire for their own satisfaction and as the execution of such services has nothing to do with fruitive activities, philosophical speculation or mystic powers. It is pure and full by itself in an atmosphere of devotion only. Such activities are autonomous and without any stoppage for any other purposes save and except devotional services. Such spontaneous service of the Lord is so attractive for the devotees that they have no attraction for any other thing even the five kinds of the forms of liberations as stated above. Such spontaneous devotees even refuse to accept such status of liberation even they are offered by the Lord Himself. That is the example of highest stage of devotional service. The author Srila Rupa Goswami will explain the fact in the following stages.
- Salokya itayadi padyastha bhaktotkarsha nirupanam bhakter visuddhata byakta paryabasati.
Salokya—habitation in the same planet of God, ityadi—etc., padyastha—in the stanzas, bhaktotkarsha—extraordinary position of the devotees, nirupanam—ascertained, bhakter—of the devotional service, visuddhata—purity, byakta—having been explained, lakshaney—symptoms, paryabasyati—signified.
The extraordinary position of the devotee having been ascertained in the above mentioned stanzas in the matters of liberation like habitation in the same planet like God etc., the symptomatic characteristics of devotional service are now being signified.
The significant characteristics of pure devotional service are specifically mentioned as follows:
- Kleshaghni subhada moksha laghutakrit sudurlabha sandrananda vishesatma Srikrishna akarshani cha sa.
Kleshaghni—that which iradicates all miseries of life, subhada—that which inaugurates auspiciousity, moksha—liberation, laghutakrit—that which belittles, sudurlabha—which is rarely achieved, sandrananda—intensified bliss transcendental, Srikrishna—the Personality of Godhead, akarshani—attractive, cha—and, sa—she is.
Pure devotional service (as pointed out in the 11th stanza of this wave of the ocean) is characterized (1) by its power of driving out all distresses (2) it inaugurates an atmosphere of auspiciousity (3) it belittles the value of liberation (4) but it is very rare to be achieved (5) It is full of transcendental bliss so much so that (6) it attracts even Sri Krishna the Absolute Personality of Godhead.
The characteristics of pure devotional service as mentioned above are the summary description of the whole thing. This will be verified by evidences of revealed scriptures as stated below:
Text No. 18
- Kleshas tu papam tad bijam avidya cha eti te tridha.
Klesh—distresses, tu—but, papam—vices, tad—its, vijyam—seed, avidya—nescience, cha—and, te—all together, tridha—of three varieties.
Distresses are of three varieties which are (1) vices, (2) its root cause, (3) and gross ignorance or nescience.
All our distresses are due to all the above mentioned reasons. Vice means misuse of one's responsibilities. The prime responsibility of a human being is to acquire realisation of the self. This act of self realisation is not possible in any other form of life. The human form of life is the best chance for realising this truth of life. That is the highest responsibility of a human being. Negligence of this prime duty of life is the root cause of all tribulations. The tribulations are inflicted upon us by the laws of nature as police action is taken up against a criminal for neglecting the laws of the state. Revealed scriptures in the human society give us directions of our actions as the law books give us direction for executing our daily duties. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita it is said that the living being on account of his long association with the material nature has forgotten his pure identity. The revealed scriptures like Vedas and the Puranas are compiled by Krishna Himself in the body of Sri Krishna Daipayan Vyasdeva for reminding the forgotten soul about his eternal relation with Krishna. Therefore not to take up the advantage of this opportunity given by Sri Vyasdeva is the highest order of negligence on the part of a living being and specially for those who are born in the land of Bharatvarsha (India). The Indians have a special duty to learn all these Vedas and Puranas from the right source or the bonafide spiritual master and then distribute the same knowledge throughout the world. If he does not do so he must be committing the highest order of sins in his life and thus he has to be punished by the law of nature.
The root cause of vice is such negligence and the cause of such gross negligence is due to become too much materialistic and being engaged in the matter of sense gratification. This is called Avidya or ignorance of one's value of life. The foolish materialist ignorantly accept the gross and subtle bodies namely the senses and mind as identical with his own self and thus become too much engaged in the matter of sense gratification. The modern civilization is based on this gross ignorance of real life and therefore it is full of miseries. The advancement of knowledge in the university standard is wrongly directed and thus the university students in India are more ignorant in the matter of real life than the peasants in the village. The so called illiterate peasants in the village have more knowledge in the Vedas and the Puranas than those university students living in the cities and engaged in the sense enjoyment of cinema and clubs. The leaders of the society specially in India may seriously take note of this warning given by our spiritual leader Sri Rupa Goswami how distresses infilter in the life of human society.
According to Patanjal Rishi the original author of Yoga system—distresses are due to five causes namely (1) Ignorance or Avidya (2) False identity or Asmita (3) Gross material engagement or Avinibesta (4) Attachment for worldly things or Raga and (5) Detachment for worldly things or Dwesha. Without any information of devotional service of the Lord nobody can be detached from the material attraction and thus artificial renouncement of worldly life is also the cause of distress. One can be detached from the material attachment when he has a better engagement of the spiritual sphere. Devotional service of the Lord is real engagement of the spiritual soul. Therefore when soul has his natural engagement he becomes at once happy and detachment for all other non-spiritual engagement automatically follows for a devotee. How it so happens is described in the following lines given by Sri Rupa Goswami Prabhu.
Text No. 19
- Aprarabdham bhabet papam prarabdham cheti tad dwidha.
Aprarabdham—potential, bhabet—shall be, papam—vices, prarabdham—the current, cha—and, iti—thus, dwidha—two kinds of.
The vices are like infectious diseases of the pure soul. The pure soul in his normal condition is as pure as God but when he wilfully makes contact with the inferior material nature and wants to lord it over, the infection of the modes of nature begins. Such infectious vices are sometimes active and sometimes potential. What is acting in the current life is called Prarabdha Papa and what is in the potential state to be manifested later on in this or in the next birth is called Aprarabdha. Devotional service of the Lord is both prophylactic and preventive measure for such potential and current reactions of vices. It is stated as follows:—
Text No. 20
- Yatha agnih susamidharchih karoti edhanshi bhasmasat tatha mad vishaya bhaktir uddhava enamshi kritsnashah.
Yatha—as much as, agnih—fire (for cooking purposes), susamidharchih—dully ignited and blowing in flames, karoti—does, edhanshi—firewood, bhasmasat—rendered into ashes, tatha—similarly, mad—in relation with me, vishaya—matters pertaining to, bhaktir—devotional services, uddhava—Oh Uddhava, enamshi—different type of vices, kritsnashah—total.
Different types of vices are totally become rendered into non-existence as much as the firewood put into the blazing fire by the cook become completely rendered into ashes—by the process of devotional service in relation with Me Oh Uddhava.
The living entity as soon as he forgets his real identity of devotional life and wants to lord it over the material nature at once he becomes complicated in the subtle laws of nature both physically and psychologically. He wants to get rid of such entanglement by various measures and plans but he does not know the actual process of coming out of the entanglement. The real clue is suggested here. This is also suggested in the Bhagwat Geeta too that by surrendering unto the lotus feet of Krishna one can get rid of the stringent reaction of the laws of nature. Devotional service of the Lord is compared with the blazing fire and all varieties of vices are compared with the hard firewood. When a devotee begins the devotional service somehow or other by listening to the transcendental news from a devotee the fiery action at once begins. And if he continues the process without stoppage the stored up vices of all kinds gradually become nonexistent with the progress of such devotional service. The above stanza is a quotation from the Bhagwat (11.14.19) and is authoritative.
- Yat nama dheya srabananukirtanad yat prahhanad yat smaranadapi kwachit swadopi sadyah sabanaya kalpate kutah punah te bhagawat nu darsanat.
Yat—of one, nama—name, srabananukirtanat—hearing and chanting, yat—of whom, smaranad—by remembering, api—also, kwachit—sometime, swadopi—even the dog eaters, sabanaya—for the matter of sacrifice, kalpate—become eligible, kutah—what is there, punah—then, te—of them, bhagawat—the Personality of Godhead, darsanat—by meeting.
A person who happens to be born in the family of the dog eaters becomes eligible for performing sacrifices at once even by occasional meditating upon, hearing and chanting or remembering the holy name of Him (the Lord) then what to speak of him who has actually met Him?
This is a stanza forming the part of conversation that took place between Devahuti and the Personality of Godhead Kapila. This is the version of Mother Devahuti. This is a very important sloka in the matter of caste distinction. According to the law of Karma a vicious living being has to take birth in the body of lower animals or in the body of man who indulges in the eating of dog. The dog eaters are called Chandala. The chandala come in the fifth or sixth grade of human being. The first grade man is the Brahmin. The Brahmin by birth is eligible to conduct the ceremonies of scriptural sacrifices and other religious performances while a Chandala cannot even enter the arena of such sacrificial site. The chandala cannot enter the arena because by his birth he is untouchable on account of his low grade habits and social atmosphere. A higher caste-born man is allowed to undergo penances if by chance he is obliged to eat the flesh of a dog. But for a chandala born man there is no such allowance even for undergoing prescribed penances as it is done in the case of higher caste men. But even such a man on the level of the chandala is also purified by chanting or hearing or remembering the holy name of God. He becomes so much purified as he becomes at once an eligible person to act as priest in the religious ceremonies. This confirms the power of devotional service how it can at once neutralise the effects of infectious vices by execution of devotional activities.
To be born of chandala family is certainly the result of past vicious life. And because such a man is also at once elevated to the position of a qualified Brahmin it proves definitely the neutralising effect of devotion. Srila Jiva Goswami says that to take birth in the family of a Brahmin is undoubtedly the result of past pious deeds but the chandala even surpasses him simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. To take part in the ceremonial sacrifices is not an ordinary thing. Even a man who is born in the family of a Brahmin cannot take part in the ceremonial sacrifices until he gets the authority of sacred thread ceremony. The sacred thread of a man is a sort of certificate for him declaring thereby that the man has properly been initiated by an Acharya who has taught him the Vedas with paraphernalia and has given him the right to perform the religious rites. But the Chandala has no chance of undergoing such purificatory processes from the bonafide Acharya and because he adopts the first step of devotional service namely hearing and chanting the holy name of the Lord, he at once becomes more than the person born in the family of a Brahmin. This promotion of the chandala to the stage of a qualified Brahmin certainly supports the maxim that devotional service of the Lord purifies even the chandalas.
It may not be our place herein that the present movement of a casteless society is possible only by the propagation of this movement of devotional service of the Lord. Everyone even the Chandala has got the right to chant the holy name of the Lord or remember His holy pastimes and if those things are done in the prescribed ways the question of Harijan movement or a casteless society is automatically achieved.
Text No. 22
- Durjati eba sabna ayogyatwe karanam matam durjati arambhakam papam yat syat prarabdham eba tat.
Durjati—low caste, eba—only, sabana—sacrifice, ayogyatwe—in the matter of disqualification, karanam—cause, malam—concluded, durjati—low caste, arambhakam—beginning of, eba—alone, papam—vice, yat—that which is, prarabdham—current, tat—that.
Low caste birth is the concluded cause only for disqualification in the matter of taking part in the execution of sacrifices. Therefore the low caste is the beginning of current result of past vices.
The rigidity of caste system according to the law of Karma is undoubtedly very scientific and the Vedic shastras which accept this divisions of castes are right in that scientific estimation. It does not however mean that a low caste born man cannot rise up to the standard of a qualified Brahmin. It depends on the undaunted desire of the candidate for rising up to that standard. Those who are supporters of the caste system by birth right only are as much mistaken as those who fight to dismantle the scientific institution of caste system without being qualified for the purpose. Here is a right adjustment for the two opposite schools in the matter of supporting and breaking the caste system respectively.
In the Bhagwat Geeta it is admitted that the caste system is a scientific plan made by the Personality of Godhead Himself. He does not however give much stress on the point of birth right because for a devotee of the Personality of Godhead the birth right of caste system is quite immaterial. What is the difference between a born Brahmin and born Chandala? It is the difference of the material semen only. The body is made out of the semen of the father and in the case of a born Brahmin it is taken for acceptance that the semen is pure while in the case of the chandala the semen is impure. Purity and impurity of the semen depend also on the purity of the father in respect of his daily habits in life. It depends on the quality of the foodstuffs the father takes. Dr. Barnard Shaw said that you are what you eat. Therefore even to the modern man it depends on the eating of a man to constitute the different secretion of the bodily glands. This is a vast subject however not to be dealt with here but our point of discussion is that a man even born of a Chandala semen it does not make any barrier for his rising up to the plane of pure Brahmin provided he has adopted the devotional services of the Lord under bonafide guidance of the spiritual master. As stated in the stanza 20 the devotional service is like the blazing fire and therefore it is able to purify even impure birth semen of the Chandala if he is in the line. One may argue that in order to change the impure blood in the body of Chandala it will be necessary for him to wait for the change of the body. But Srila Jiva Goswami who is one of the authorised Acharya by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answers this question very saliently as follows:—
"Children of the Brahmin family may be freed from the vice which causes the low caste birth but to become qualified for the office of performing sacrifices such children have to undergo the process of pious actions like the second birth by initiation from an Acharya generally known as the sacred thread ceremony. This means that the Chandala has to wait for the next birth in the family of a Brahmin as much as the Brahmin boy has to wait for the thread ceremony for the particular office. It may be an argumentative point that even though a Chandala on account of his pure devotional service is freed from the vice which caused his birth in the Chandala family yet according to social custom a Chandala born man cannot be allowed to have the facility of second birth by thread ceremony. But that sort of argument is invalid in the presence of evidence of the Shastras. It is clearly mentioned that such devotee becomes at once eligible for the purpose."
He becomes at once pure and cleansed of all vices of his previous birth and thereby he becomes at once venerable as much as a qualified Brahmin. By dint of his actual activities in the devotional line under the guidance of a bonafide Acharya he is at once washed of all sins and therefore this example is quite appropriate with reference to the context that a devotee of Vasudeva has nothing like inauspicity. He is transcendental to all the bodily reactions of birth, death, old age and diseases.
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur a powerful Acharya as Srila Jiva Goswami in the recent years (1918-1936) reformed the Goudiya Vaishnava association by establishment of the Goudiya Math establishment which institute initiates all persons without any caste and creed distinction and gives them the right of a qualified Brahmin by initiation in terms of the Haribhaktivilas an authorised law book compiled by Srila Sanatan Goswami. Lord Chaitanya wanted that everybody from all corners of the world shall be initiated in the cult of Bhakti as it is propounded by Him and the Gaudiya Math institution has taken up the initiative action on this behalf very timely. Solution of all problems like the dissolution of the caste system and other similar social movement can actually take a valid form only under the auspicious direction of the Goswamins. All contending elements of the world problems can be easily mitigated by the blessings of Lord Chaitanya if the path is followed strictly under direction of the Goswamins headed by Srila Rupa Goswami the author of the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu.
Text No. 23
- Aprabdha phalam papam kootam veejam phalonmukham kramena eba praleeyate vishnu bhakti ratatmanam.
Aprarabdha—potential, phalam—result, papam—vices, kootam—germ, veejam—seed, phalonmukham—current, kramena—gradually, eba—also, praleeyate—extincted by, Vishnu—the Personality of Godhead, bhakti—devotional service, ratatmanam—persons engaged in.
Persons who are completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord Vishnu the Personality of Godhead—becomes completely extinct from all sorts of vicious reactions which either potential, germinating, seedling or current by a gradual process.
This is evidential statement from the Padmapuranam which clearly ratifies the statement of the Bhagwatam as quoted by the author of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. The vices in their different stages of development are analysed herein. Phalonmukam vice is that which we may be undergoing at the present stage of life. Veejam vice is in the seedling process by our desires of different types. Kootam is prior to the stage of Veejam i.e. in the germinating stage. Aprarabdha is the fountain source of all and from this store house of vicious life all other stages develop. And all these stages of vicious life become at once switched off by adoption of the devotional service. It appears that the process of extinction goes under gradual process but actually it is stopped at once. The example of switching off an electric fan is quite suitable here. The running fan after being switched off runs also for a few seconds by dint of the original force but actually the power of movement is already stopped. In the Bhagwat Geeta this is confirmed also when the Lord says that a pure devotee may appear to be vicious at sight but in fact he is not so because the motive power of his vicious movements has already been stopped by the adoption of devotional service of the Lord. It may take some time apparently but that is immaterial in the context of genuine service.
- Tais tani aghani puyente tapa dana brata adivi na adharmajam tad hridayam tad api isha amghri sevaya.
Tais—by those, tani—all those, aghani—vices of different stages, puyente—becomes subsided, tapa—penances, dana—charity, brata—austerity, adivi—by performances of, na—not, adharmajam—merged in irreligiosity, tad—that, hridayam—heart, tadapi—even that, ishamghri—lotus feet of the Lord, sevaya—by devotional service.
One can subside the tendency of vicious activities by performances of penances, charity and others like austerity etc. but it is not possible to cleanse the unholy heart merged in irreligiosities. But such a stubborn heart also can be cured of all vices by adoption of devotional services of the Lord.
This is an evidential statement of Sri Sukdeva Goswami who recited Srimad Bhagwatam to Maharaj Parikshit during the last week of his death. Vice is a symptom of the diseased heart as fever is the symptom of the infection of a disease germ. It is a foreign acquisition of the living being when he is in contact with the three qualitative material nature. Vice is not therefore an inborn quality of the pure living being but it is acquired in association with the qualities of matter.
The matter is called Prakriti or nature while the living being who comes in contact with her is called Purusha. The Purusha who comes in contact with Prakriti is called Kshara Purusha or the infectious living being and this infection of the living being is the store house of all the seeds of vices. Unless therefore the root cause of infection is not cured there is no chance of the living being's complete freedom from the miseries of material existence.
To subside the forces of vicious activities of the living being by moral instructions, legislative actions, penances, charities, austerities etc. is but temporary attempts without any standing result—A man knows the law of nature or the law of the state. He breaks the law and is properly punished for that and yet he cannot get himself aloof from such actions even though he knows what is the result of what actions. A thief commits theft, goes to the jail. There he is severely punished but when he gets freedom from the prison house, he comes out and commits the same act of theft the next moment. Why this happens because his temporary measure of jail life was a process of subsiding his vicious activities but the impure heart which remained untouched by such actions pushed him again into the same mud of morbid actions leading to further punishment by the law of the state. Therefore the prescribed regulative actions like penances, charity, austerity etc. are only temporary measures without any permanent effect. They are compared with the bath of the elephant. The elephant takes bath in the lake profusely and for a long period cleansing its body thoroughly but as soon as it comes out of the water at once