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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 35, 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 35 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 principles favourable for bhakti are described in the third verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta:

उत्साहान् निश्चयाद् धैर्यात् तत्-तत्-कर्म-प्रवर्तनात्
सङ्ग-त्यागात् सतो वृत्तेः षड्भिर् भक्तिः प्रसिध्यति

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

Perfection in bhakti can be achieved by the following six kinds of practices: (1) to be enthusiastic in following the rules which nourish devotion, (2) to have firm faith in the statements of the scriptures and the guru, whose words are fully in line with śāstra, (3) to be patient in the practice of bhakti, even in the midst of obstacles or when there is a delay in attaining one’s desired success, (4) to follow the limbs of bhakti, such as śravaṇa and kīrtana, and to give up one’s material sense enjoyment for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa, (5) to give up association that is opposed to bhakti, like illicit connection with women, the association of those who are overly attached to women and the association of māyāvādīs, atheists and pseudo-religionists and (6) to adopt the good behaviour and character of devotees.

उत्साह, दृढता, धैर्य भक्ति कार्ये रति
सङ्ग-त्याग, साधु-वृत्ति छये कर मति

utsāha, dṛḍhatā, dhairya bhakti kārye rati
saṅga-tyāga, sādhu-vṛtti chaye kara mati

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

To maintain one’s existence and to cultivate bhakti are both necessary for devotees. The first half of this Text indicates the activities that nourish bhakti, and the second half describes how a devotee should conduct his life. Enthusiasm (utsāha), conviction (niścaya), patience (dhairya), executing activities that nourish devotion (tat-tat-karma-pravartana ), renouncing bad association (saṅga-tyāga) and adopting the virtuous conduct and temperament of pure devotees (sad-vṛtti) are the means to attain perfection in bhakti.

Utsāha means to remain indifferent in every respect to the practices related to jñāna, karma and anyābhilāṣa (desires other than to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa), and also to one’s preferred variety of material enjoyment, while steadily executing the limbs of sādhana-bhakti. “Bhagavad-bhakti is the only ultimate objective for all living entities”–such firm faith is called niścaya, conviction. Straying to the paths of karma, jñāna and so forth makes one’s mind restless, and following their practices simply produces suffering in the end. Therefore, the firm resolve that the path of bhakti is the only constitutional path for sincere living entities is called dhairya, fortitude.

Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura took a vow never to give up chanting and he strictly adhered to it:

खण्ड-खण्ड है देह याय यदि प्राण
तबु आमि वदने ना छाडि हरिनाम

khaṇḍa-khaṇḍa hai deha yāya yadi prāṇa
tabu āmi vadane nā chāḍi harināma

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Ādi-khaṇḍa 16.94)

Even if my body is cut to pieces and my life air exits, I will never abandon the chanting of harināma.

This is the ideal in the realm of bhakti.

To cultivate the practices of bhakti such as hearing hari-kathā, chanting the Supreme Lord’s name, and meditating on His name, form and pastimes with firm conviction like Haridāsa Ṭhākura, is tat-tat-karma-pravartana.

Only the association of Śrī Bhagavān’s devotees is desirable. One should never associate with karmīs, jñānīs or those filled with extraneous desires, or desires outside of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should know such people to be less intelligent and indulgent. Karma, jñāna, aṣṭāṅga-yoga and so forth, which are devoid of the desire to please Śrī Bhagavān, are not steps on the path of bhakti. The path of bhakti is characterised by saintly conduct (sādhu-vṛtti), because all virtuous qualities certainly reside within a person who possesses devotion.

Enthusiasm for serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa, conviction in service, being steadfast in kṛṣṇa-sevā, ensuring that all endeavours are solely for service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, renouncing the company of all others except Kṛṣṇa’s devotees and following in the footsteps of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees are the six practices that enhance bhakti.

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