Bhajana-Rahasya

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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 17, 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 17 belonging to the chapter “Dvitiya-yama-sadhana (Pratah-kaliya-bhajana)” representing the first six dandas of the morning: approximately 6.00 a.m.–8.30 a.m.

The six impediments to bhakti are described in the second verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta:

अत्याहारः प्रयासश् च प्रजल्पो नियमाग्रहः
जन-सङ्गश् च लौल्यं च षड्भिर् भक्तिर् विनश्यति

atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṃ ca ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati

The following six kinds of faults destroy bhakti: (1) eating too much or collecting more than necessary, (2) endeavouring for that which is opposed to bhakti, (3) engaging in useless mundane talk, (4) failing to adopt essential rules and regulations, or fanatically adhering to rules and regulations, (5) taking bad association and (6) being greedy or restless in the mind to adopt worthless opinions.

अत्याहार प्रयास प्रजल्प जन-सङ्ग
नियम-आग्रह लौल्ये हय भक्ति भङ्ग

atyāhāra prayāsa prajalpa jana-saṅga
niyama-āgraha laulye haya bhakti bhaṅga

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

The six impediments to bhakti are atyāhāra, prayāsa, prajalpa, niyamāgraha, jana-saṅga and laulyam.

Atyāhāra is formed by the words ati, meaning ‘too much’ or ‘excessively’, and āhāra, ‘to grasp or consume for one’s own enjoyment’. It means either excessive enjoyment of any sense object or collecting more than necessary. While renunciants are forbidden to accumulate objects, householder Vaiṣṇavas may collect and save what is necessary to maintain their life. However, over-accumulating is atyāhāra. It is not proper for those desiring to perform bhajana to accumulate like materialists. Prayāsa is the endeavour to enjoy material objects or the engagement in activities opposed to devotion. Prajalpa means to spend time uselessly gossiping about mundane things. Niyamāgraha means enthusiastic adherence to those rules that yield the lowest results, such as attaining the heavenly planets (Svarga), while abandoning the endeavour to serve Śrī Bhagavān, which is the topmost attainment. It also refers to indifference to the rules and regulations that nourish bhakti. The word jana-saṅga refers to giving up the association of pure devotees and keeping company with others, especially materialistic people. Laulyam refers to the fickleness of the mind to accept varieties of false doctrines, and the restlessness of the mind to enjoy insignificant material sense enjoyment. The tendency for bhakti will be destroyed if one wanders like a promiscuous woman, sometimes on the path of karma, sometimes on the path of yoga, sometimes on the path of jñāna and sometimes on the path of bhakti. Prajalpa leads to criticism of devotees, and laulyam awakens a taste for many temporary, uncertain conclusions. Both of these will lead to nāma-aparādha. Therefore, one should carefully give them up.

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