by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words
The Bhajana-rahasya Text 5, English translation, including commentary (vritti). The Bhajana-rahasya is a compilation of verses describing the mercy of the eight pairs of names (Yugala-nama) of the Maha-mantra. This is text 5 belonging to the chapter “Prathama-yama-sadhana (Nishanta-bhajana–shraddha)” representing the last six dandas of the night: approximately 3.30 a.m.–6.00 a.m.
The superiority of kīrtana is described in Vaiṣṇava-cintāmaṇi (quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, 11.236; Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 273):
अघच्छित्-स्मरणं विष्णोर् बह्व्-आयासेन साध्यते
ओष्ठ-स्पन्दन-मात्रेण कीर्तनं तु ततो वरम्
aghacchit-smaraṇaṃ viṣṇor bahv-āyāsena sādhyate
oṣṭha-spandana-mātreṇa kīrtanaṃ tu tato varam
Sins are destroyed with great effort by remembering Śrī Viṣṇu, but by chanting His name, they are very easily destroyed. Kīrtana is performed simply by using the lips to vibrate the names of the Supreme Lord and is far superior to smaraṇa (remembrance).
तपस्याय ध्यान योग कष्ट साध्य हय
ओष्ठेर स्पन्दन-मात्रे कीर्तन आश्रय
ओष्ठेर स्पन्दनाभावे नामेर स्मरण
स्मरण-कीर्तने सर्व-सिद्धि सङ्घटन
अर्चन अपेक्षा नामेर स्मरण-कीर्तन
अति-श्रेष्ठ बलि शास्त्रे करिल स्थापन
tapasyāya dhyāna yoga kaṣṭa sādhya haya
oṣṭhera spandana-mātre kīrtana āśraya
oṣṭhera spandanābhāve nāmera smaraṇa
smaraṇa-kīrtane sarva-siddhi saṅghaṭana
arcana apekṣā nāmera smaraṇa-kīrtana
ati-śreṣṭha bali śāstre karila sthāpana
“Austerities, meditation, yoga and other practices are very difficult to perform in Kali-yuga, but kīrtana is easy; one need only vibrate one’s lips. The holy name chanted without moving the lips is called nāmasmaraṇa. The living entity can attain all perfection by chanting and remembering the holy name. The scriptures have therefore concluded that chanting and remembering the holy name are superior to arcana.”
The practices of karma, jñāna and yoga are difficult and troublesome, but the path of bhakti is easy and simple. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.40), Śrī Kṛṣṇa says:
नेहाभिक्रम-नाशो’स्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते
स्वल्पम् अप्य् अस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात्
nehābhikrama-nāśo’sti pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt
Endeavours on the path of bhakti-yoga are not fruitless, nor do they contain any f law. Even a little practice frees one from the great danger of transmigrating endlessly within the cycle of repeated birth and death in this material world.
Even though mistakes made in the practices of meditation, yoga and so forth may be insignificant, as a consequence of those mistakes, the desired result is unattainable. Actually, only bhakti-yoga is completely free from the influence of the material qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance. Even if a person begins to practise bhakti-yoga but for some reason his practice remains incomplete, there is no defect or fault in his endeavour. Neither destruction nor misfortune in this world or the next awaits a person who has fallen from the path of bhakti-yoga.
The main limb of bhakti-yoga is nāma-kīrtana, which is performed merely by vibrating the lips. The holy name is not of this material world. Nāma Prabhu dances on the tongue of the sādhaka and, destroying his prārabdha-karma and other impediments, bestows upon him everything up to prema. In previous yugas, a practitioner who was unable to fix his mind in the practice of yoga was unable to attain the goal. Yet in Kali-yuga perfection can be attained simply by uttering the holy name. In Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, Sanātana Gosvāmipāda states that kīrtana is more powerful than smaraṇa. By the process of kīrtana, both the mind and the tongue attain a special pleasure.