Bhajana-Rahasya

by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 6, 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 6 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.

Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (11.237) states:

येन जन्म-शतैः पूर्वं वासुदेवः समर्चितः
तन्-मुखे हरि-नामानि सदा तिष्ठन्ति भारतः

yena janma-śataiḥ pūrvaṃ vāsudevaḥ samarcitaḥ
tan-mukhe hari-nāmāni sadā tiṣṭhanti bhārataḥ

O best of the dynasty of Bharata, the holy name of Śrī Hari is eternally present only on the lips of one who has perfectly worshipped Vāsudeva for hundreds of births.

हरे-कृष्ण षोल-नाम अष्ट-युग हय
अष्ट-युग अर्थे अष्ट-श्लोक प्रभु कय

hare-kṛṣṇa ṣola-nāma aṣṭa-yuga haya
aṣṭa-yuga arthe aṣṭa-śloka prabhu kaya

आदि हरे-कृष्ण अर्थे अविद्या-दमन
श्रद्धार सहित कृष्ण-नाम-सङ्कीर्तन

ādi hare-kṛṣṇa arthe avidyā-damana
śraddhāra sahita kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

आर हरे कृष्ण नाम कृष्ण सर्व-शक्ति
साधु-सङ्गे नामाश्रये भजनानुरक्ति

āra hare kṛṣṇa nāma kṛṣṇa sarva-śakti
sādhu-saṅge nāmāśraye bhajanānurakti

सेइ त भजन-क्रमे सर्वानर्थ-नाश
अनर्थापगमे नामे निष्ठार विकाश

sei ta bhajana-krame sarvānartha-nāśa
anarthāpagame nāme niṣṭhāra vikāśa

तृतीये विशुद्ध-भक्त चरित्रेर सह
कृष्ण कृष्ण नामे निष्ठा करे अहरह

tṛtīye viśuddha-bhakta caritrera saha
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa nāme niṣṭhā kare aharaha

चतुर्थे अहैतुकी भक्ति उद्दीपन
रुचि सह हरे हरे नाम-सङ्कीर्तन

caturthe ahaitukī bhakti uddīpana
ruci saha hare hare nāma-saṅkīrtana

पञ्चमेते शुद्ध दास्य रुचिर सहित
हरे-राम सङ्कीर्तन स्मरण-विहित

pañcamete śuddha dāsya rucira sahita
hare-rāma saṅkīrtana smaraṇa-vihita

षष्ठे भावाङ्कुरे हरे रामेति कीर्तन
संसारे अरुचि कृष्णे रुचि समर्पण

ṣaṣṭhe bhāvāṅkure hare rāmeti kīrtana
saṃsāre aruci kṛṣṇe ruci samarpaṇa

सप्तमे मधुरासक्ति राधा-पदाश्रय
विप्रलम्भे राम राम नामेर उदय

saptame madhurāsakti rādhā-padāśraya
vipralambhe rāma rāma nāmera udaya

अष्टमे व्रजेते अष्ट-काल गोपी-भाव
राधा-कृष्ण-प्रेम-सेवा प्रयोजन लाभ

aṣṭame vrajete aṣṭa-kāla gopī-bhāva
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-prema-sevā prayojana lābha

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

The word samarcita in this Text means ‘properly worshipped’. Here the Supreme Lord says to Arjuna, “O Arjuna, when one has worshipped Bhagavān Śrī Vāsudeva for several births according to rules and regulations, his heart becomes indifferent to lust and so on. Indeed, Śrī Mukunda appears in the heart of such a person.” The scriptures present the system of arcana to enable the neophyte devotee (kaniṣṭha-adhikārī ) to develop pure, good behaviour and to bring him to the practice of bhagavad-bhakti. By performance of arcana, his heart will gradually become pure and freed from sorrow, anger, fear, etc.

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.115) Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says:

शोकामर्षादिभिर्-भावैर् आक्रान्तं यस्य मानसम्
कथं तत्र मुकुन्दस्य स्फूर्ति-सम्भावना भवेत्

śokāmarṣādibhir-bhāvair ākrāntaṃ yasya mānasam
kathaṃ tatra mukundasya sphūrti-sambhāvanā bhavet

How can Śrī Mukunda manifest in the heart of a person who is filled with emotions like grief and anger?

In the scriptures, smaraṇa (remembrance) is considered to be a part of arcana (worship of the deity); one remembers the object of worship at the time of arcana. For a neophyte devotee, arcana is superior to smaraṇa, but the compilers of scripture conclude that one attains the actual fruit of arcana only when it is performed with kīrtana. This is the rule for performing arcana in Kali-yuga.

The harināma that is composed of sixteen names, or eight pairs of names, and consisting of thirty-two syllables is the mahā-mantra. Śrīman Mahāprabhu revealed to the world the meanings of these eight pairs of names in the eight verses of His Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka. The steps from śraddhā to prema begin from the first verse and continue up to the eighth.

The hidden meaning of the first pair of names–Hare Kṛṣṇa–is that performing kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana with great faith (śraddhā ) nullifies ignorance and cleanses the mirror-like heart. The second pair of names–Hare Kṛṣṇa–indicates that all potencies, such as mercy, are invested in the holy name. These potencies destroy the ignorance in the heart of the sādhaka who performs nāma-kīrtana, and they create attachment for bhajana, which takes the form of performing harināma-saṅkīrtana in the association of devotees. Performance of such bhajana gradually destroys all kinds of impediments (anarthas ) and produces unwavering faith (niṣṭhā ) in bhajana.

When a sādhaka on the platform of bhāva (a jāta-rati-sādhaka ) chants the first and second pairs of names–Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa–he remembers the pastimes in which Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa meet. Under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī and other vraja-devīs, he performs mānasī-sevā to Śrī Rādhā-Govinda in his internally contemplated form of a gopī.

When the sādhaka remembers Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s eternal forms, pastimes, qualities and so forth, Their pastimes (līlā-vilāsa ) manifest, as does direct service to Them within these pastimes. This service is the wish-fulfilling tree of all treasured yearnings. The sādhaka constantly remembers Lalitā and the other sakhīs. In other words, he serves in his eternally perfected body (siddha-deha) under their guidance.

By continuously chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, a sādhaka who has not attained the stage of bhāva (an ajāta-rati-sādhaka) has his anarthas gradually removed and develops steadfastness in chanting. Consequently, his intelligence becomes fixed and he develops resolute attachment (niṣṭhā ) for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s holy name (kṛṣṇa-nāma ). Such a sādhaka pursues as his ideal the character, service and goal of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and other pure devotees.

While chanting the third pair of names–Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa–this sādhaka follows the ideal character of the pure devotees, their way of chanting a fixed number of rounds, their offering of a fixed number of obeisances, their renunciation of material enjoyment and their utterance of prayers and glorifications. With firm faith, he chants the holy name day and night. The jāta-rati-sādhaka, on the other hand, remembers the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and the other gopīs when Śrī Kṛṣṇa leaves for cowherding, as well as the moods of separation they experience at that time.

With the fourth pair of names–Hare Hare–unalloyed devotion is stimulated within the heart of the ajāta-rati-sādhaka when he performs nāma-saṅkīrtana with taste (ruci ). The jāta-rati-sādhaka chants this fourth pair of names with great affection, and Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes of meeting awaken within his heart.

While chanting the fifth pair of names–Hare Rāma–the ajātarati-sādhaka prays for the mood of servitude (dāsya-bhāva ) to appear in his heart. Attachment (āsakti) to nāma-bhajana arises at this time, and remembrance of pastimes begins. With attachment, that sādhaka cultivates the conception that he is a servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The jātarati-sādhaka remembers the pastime of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s meeting after Kṛṣṇa returns from cowherding. The gopīs see to Kṛṣṇa’s bath, dressing and so forth in the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and they help Rohiṇī-devī cook various preparations for Him.

In this way, as the ajāta-rati-sādhaka continuously chants the holy name, he attains the inherent mercy of Nāma Prabhu, and his heart begins to soften and melt. Śuddha-sattva, or unalloyed goodness, then arises in his heart, and his taste for chanting the holy name thickens. In the heart of this sādhaka, the mood of āsakti sprouts and the nine symptoms of bhāvakṣāntir avyarthakālatvam[1]–begin to manifest.

At this stage the sādhaka tastes the chanting of the sixth pair of names–Hare Rāma–and a natural aversion for that which is unrelated to Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifests. By the sādhaka’s chanting of the holy name with complete dedication to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his heart melts and becomes extremely soft. Tears (aśru ), horripilation (pulaka ) and other aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāvas manifest to the degree of dhūmāyita (smouldering)[2]. With this pair of names, the jāta-rati-sādhaka remembers how Rādhikā becomes completely delighted upon obtaining Kṛṣṇa’s remnants through Dhaniṣṭhā. Simultaneously, She receives information regarding where Their rendezvous will take place later that evening.

Chanting the seventh pair of names–Rāma Rāma–the nāmasādhaka, who has taken shelter of mādhurya-rasa with an exclusive service mood to the Divine Couple, Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, attains the complete shelter of Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet. In other words, he attains the transcendental sentiments of one of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s maidservants (pālya-dāsīs ), whose hearts are one with Hers. He also attains the ekādaśa-bhāvas and the five daśās.[3] Overwhelmed by the mood of separation (vipralambha-rasa ), however, the sādhaka performs nāma-saṅkīrtana considering himself devoid of bhakti. At this time, an internal transcendental vision (sphūrti) manifests in his heart: Śrī Rādhā is intensely eager to meet Kṛṣṇa and, following Vṛndā-devī’s instruction, goes to meet Him in a kuñja on the bank of the Yamunā. Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, fully absorbed in thinking of each other, search for one another.

Chanting the eighth pair of names–Hare Hare–the sādhaka engages in the sweet prema-sevā of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the manifested Vraja-dhāma throughout the eight divisions of the day and night (aṣṭa-kāla ). In other words, the sādhaka, in his eternal form (nitya-svarūpa ), attains service imbued with the mood of the gopīs. As he performs nāma-bhajana of this pair of names, he remembers the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s meeting, in which the completely dedicated mañjarīs of Śrī Rādhā are serving the Divine Couple by offering betel, massaging Their feet, etc.

Śrī Bhajana-rahasya is truly a treasure chest of intimate secrets (rahasyas). The secret of the qualification to enter bhajana is hidden in the first yāma of Bhajana-rahasya, niśānta-bhajana. This secret is faith, śraddhā. After the stage of sādhu-saṅga, or association of devotees, when sādhana is executed through the performance of nāma-saṅkīrtana under the shelter of the spiritual master and with sambandha-jñāna, anarthas are eliminated. The first verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam, indicates the most favourable process of bhajana for this stage.

The second yāma, prātaḥ-kālīya-bhajana, holds the secret of the removal of anarthas (anartha-nivṛtti ) in the association of devotees. The holy name (nāma ) and the possessor of the name (nāmī) are non-different in tattva. Mercy and all of the other potencies of the holy name personified are placed within the name of Śrī Bhagavān, and the cleansing of the heart (ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam ) becomes possible by performing such bhajana. The second yāma explains the secrets of nāma-bhajana in accordance with the mood of the second verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, which begins with the words nāmnām akāri.

Bhajana with firm faith (bhajana-niṣṭhā ) is the subject of the third yāma, pūrvāhna-kālīya-bhajana. Performing nāma-bhajana with niṣṭhā extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence (bhava-mahā-dāvāgni). Bhajana that is performed without pride (amānī) and with respect for others in relation to their respective positions (mānada ) is the secret hidden within this yāma. This is stated in the words of the third verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā.

The secrets of ruci are found to be concealed within the fourth yāma, madhyāhna-kālīya-bhajana. In the stage of ruci, the sādhaka has no other prominent desire but to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The transcendental sentiments of prayers such as śreyaḥ kairavacandrikā-vitaraṇam (Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka 1) and na dhanaṃ na janam (Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka 4) explain bhajana in this stage.

In the fifth yāma, aparāhna-kālīya-bhajana, the nāma-sādhaka is praying to attain his true identity as an eternal servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Here an attachment for both bhajana and the object of bhajana (bhajanīya) is especially awakened. By performing such bhajana, one realises that the holy name is without doubt the very life of all transcendental knowledge, vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam. At this stage, the mood of the prayer ayi nanda tanuja kiṅkaram (Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka 5) appears in the heart of the sādhaka.

The secret of performing nāma-bhajana with spiritual emotions lies hidden within the sixth yāma, sāyaṃ-kālīya-bhajana. At this stage, the external symptoms of perfection become visible. By performing nāma-saṅkīrtana with bhāva, the ocean of transcendental bliss begins to expand (ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam ), and prayers like nayanaṃ galad-aśru-dhārayā (Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka 6) arise in the devotee’s heart. This is all discussed in this yāma.

The seventh yāma, pradoṣa-kālīya-bhajana, presents a discussion on the internal symptoms of perfection. At this stage, when nāmabhajana is performed with realisation of the mood of separation (viraha, or vipralambha ), it is possible to taste complete nectar at every step, prati-padaṃ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanam. Prayers to obtain vipralambha-prema, as described in the seventh verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka, yugāyitaṃ nimeṣeṇa, begin in this yāma.

The secret of prema-bhajana is hidden in the eighth yāma, rātrilīlā-bhajana, which describes perfection, together with one-pointed dependence on Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or aikāntika-niṣṭhā. Such a stage bestows sarvātma-snapanam, the complete purification of the living entity, both inside and out. The desire to obtain bhāva [here referring to the stage just prior to mahābhāva], which is described in the eighth verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣtaka, āśliṣya vā pāda-ratām, is contained within this eighth yāma.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

This refers to verses 1.3.25–26 of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which describe the nine symptoms of bhāva. A full translation of these verses can be found on p. 233.

[2]:

An explanation of dhūmāyita and the other stages of intensity of the sāttvikabhāvas can be found on p. 239.

[3]:

These terms are explained on p. 247.

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