by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words
The Bhajana-rahasya Text 7, 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 7 belonging to the chapter “Shashtha-yama-sadhana (Sayam-kaliya-bhajana–bhava)” representing six dandas after dusk: approximately 6.00 p.m.–8.30 p.m.
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.295) it is described how the devotee in rāgamārga is fixed in two kinds of service moods–one is executed with his external body (sādhaka-deha) and the other with his internally contemplated body (siddha-deha):
सेवा साधक-रूपेण सिद्ध-रूपेण चात्र हि
तद्-भाव-लिप्सुना कार्या व्रज-लोकानुसारतः
sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
tad-bhāva-lipsunā kāryā vraja-lokānusārataḥ
One who has intense longing to attain rāgātmikā-bhakti follows in the footsteps of the Vrajavāsīs [such as Rūpa Gosvāmī] who are devoted to rāgamārga. With his external body (sādhaka-rūpa ) he should chant and hear according to the practice of rāgānugabhakti, and with his internally contemplated body (siddha-rūpa) bestowed upon him by his guru, he should perform service.
श्रवण-कीर्तन बाह्ये साधक-शारीरे
सिद्ध-देहे व्रजानुग-सेवा अभ्यन्तरे
śravaṇa-kīrtana bāhye sādhaka-śārīre
siddha-dehe vrajānuga-sevā abhyantare
Rāgānuga-bhakti is performed in two ways: (1) with the external body (sādhaka-rūpa ) and (2) with the internally contemplated body (siddha-rūpa) that is suitable for carrying out the prema-sevā for which one aspires. With the external body, one should perform service like Śrī Rūpa, Śrī Sanātana and other eminent Vrajavāsīs. With an intense desire to obtain one’s cherished object, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who resides in Vraja, and the sentiments of His beloved associates (in other words, their affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa), one should execute service within the mind (mānasī-sevā), following eternal residents of Vraja such as Śrī Rādhā, Lalitā, Viśākhā and Rūpa Mañjarī.
Because unqualified people are unable to understand the sādhaka’s transcendental activities and gestures, for their benefit, he practises the rules and regulations of vaidhī-bhakti with his external body. If such unqualified people were to imitate the sādhaka’s transcendental activities, their process of bhajana itself would become the cause of their entanglement in material existence. Our previous ācāryas personally followed rules and regulations just to instruct the ajātarati-sādhakas (those not on the platform of bhāva) and to enable them to enter into pure bhakti.
The meaning of vidhimārga is the practice of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti, beginning with guru-padāśraya (taking shelter of the lotus feet of a genuine spiritual master). By following vidhimārga in this way and by the influence of associating with devotees who are practising rāgamārga, intense longing for rāgānuga-bhakti manifests in the heart and one attains the qualification to enter that path. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura confirms this in Kalyāṇa-kalpataru: vidhimārga-rata-jane, svādhīnatā ratna-dāne, rāgamārge karāna praveśa.
Day and night one should serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala in Vraja in one’s spiritual body (siddha-deha) that has been revealed by the mercy of śrī guru. The sādhaka, following Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloved associates whom he cherishes in his heart and for whose service he has developed greed (lobha), should constantly serve the youthful Divine Couple with an enraptured heart. By following the mood of one of Kṛṣṇa’s associates who is among His servants, friends, parents or beloveds, and whose disposition corresponds to his own, the sādhaka attains affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. This affection is of the same nature as the affection of the associate whom he follows. This is the method of rāgānuga-bhakti.
Smaraṇa (remembrance) is the primary limb of rāgānuga-bhakti. In accordance with one’s own internal mood, smaraṇa, kīrtana and the other limbs of devotion should be performed in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His pastimes, His abode, His specific natures and His beloved associates. Because smaraṇa is predominant in rāgānuga-bhakti, some persons, who still have anarthas and in whose hearts genuine attachment to Kṛṣṇa has not yet appeared, make a deceitful display of solitary bhajana. Considering themselves rāgānuga devotees, they practise what they call aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā-smaraṇa.
ऐकान्तिकी हरेर् भक्तिर् उत्पातायैव कल्पते
aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate
If a person violates the regulations mentioned in the Śruti, Smṛti, Purāṇas and the Nārada-pañcarātra, great misgivings (anarthas) are produced, even though he may be engaged in unalloyed devotion to Śrī Hari (aikāntikī-hari-bhakti).
The specific point to be understood in connection with rasa is that, upon hearing of the sweetness of śṛṅgāra-rasa and the other transcendental sentiments of the eternal associates in vraja-līlā, a greed arises to obtain those same sentiments. At that point, a person is no longer dependent on the logic of the scriptures that explain vaidhī-bhakti and he inquires, “How may this irresistible vraja-bhāva be obtained?” He must then depend on śāstra, because only śāstra describes the means by which he can attain it. The scripture that establishes the method of bhagavad-bhajana is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
There are five kinds of sādhana in rāgānuga-bhakti:
(1) Svābhīṣṭa-bhāvamaya (composed of one’s cherished mood)–When śravaṇa, kīrtana and other such limbs of bhakti are saturated with one of the primary bhāvas (dāsya, sakhya, vatsālya or mādhurya), they nourish the tree of the sādhaka’s future prema. At that time, they are called bhāvamaya-sādhana. When prema manifests, they are called bhāvamaya-sādhya.
(2) Svābhīṣṭa-bhāva-sambandhī (related to one’s desired mood) –The limbs of bhakti, including guru-padāśraya, mantra-japa, smaraṇa, dhyāna and so on, are known as bhāva-sambandhīsādhana. Because the following of vows on holy days such as Ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī assists the limb of smaraṇa, it is considered partial bhāva-sambandhī.
(3) Svābhīṣṭa-bhāva-anukūla (favourable to one’s desired mood)–Wearing neckbeads made of tulasī, applying tilaka, adopting the outward signs of a Vaiṣṇava, serving Tulasī, performing parikramā, offering praṇāma and so forth are bhāva-anukūla.
(4) Svābhīṣṭa-bhāva-aviruddha (neither opposed to nor incompatible with one’s desired mood)–Respecting cows, the banyan tree, the myrobalan tree and brāhmaṇas are conducive limbs and therefore called bhāva-aviruddha.
The aforementioned (1–4) kinds of spiritual practices are all to be adopted in the performance of bhajana.
(5) Svābhīṣṭa-bhāva-viruddha (opposed to one’s desired mood)–Nyāsa (mental assignment of different parts of the body to various deities), mudrā (particular positions of intertwining the fingers), dvārakā-dhyāna (meditation on Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Dvārakā) and other such limbs should be abandoned in the performance of rāgānuga-bhakti, because they are opposed to the attainment of one’s cherished bhāva.
The rāgamārga-sādhaka always follows the Vrajavāsīs; in other words, he follows Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrī Ragunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, and constantly practises the process of bhajana shown by them. A rāgamārga-sādhaka should always reside in Vraja. If possible, he should reside there physically; otherwise, by mind.
Siddha-rūpeṇa–By the mercy of the spiritual master, the sādhaka gains the ekādaśa-bhāvas and the five daśās. He then performs sevā in meditation while being internally absorbed in these sentiments; that is to say, he remains absorbed in remembrance of aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā.
The ekādaśa-bhāvas are (1) sambandha, relationship, (2) vayasa, age, (3) nāma, name, (4) rūpa, personal form, (5) yūtha, group, (6) veśa, dress, (7) ājñā, specific instruction, (8) vāsa, residence, (9) sevā, exclusive service, (10) parākāṣṭhā-śvāsa, the utmost summit of divine sentiment, which is the aspirant’s very life breath and (11) pālya-dāsībhāva, the sentiment of a maidservant.
The five daśās are (1) śravaṇa-daśā, the stage of hearing; (2) varaṇa-daśā, the stage of acceptance; (3) smaraṇa-daśā, the stage of remembrance; (4) bhāvāpanna-daśā, the stage of spiritual ecstasy; and (5) prema-sampatti-daśā, the stage in which the highest success of prema is achieved.
By the mercy of the svarūpa-śakti, the sādhaka receives a spiritual body appropriate for service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The Sanat-kumāra-saṃhitā (184–188) describes how a sādhaka in mādhurya-rasa is always absorbed in his internally contemplated body:
आत्मानं चिन्तयेत् तत्र तासां मध्ये मनोरमाम्
रूप-यौवन-सम्पन्नां किशोरीं प्रमदाकृतिम्
प्रार्थिताम् अपि कृष्णेन ततो भोग-पराङ्मुखीम्
राधिकानुचरीं नित्यं तत्-सेवन-परायणाम्
कृष्णाद् अप्य् अधिकं प्रेम राधिकायां प्रकुर्वतीम्
प्रीत्य् अनुदिवसं यत्नात् तयोः सङ्गम-कारिणीम्
इत्य् आत्मानं विचिन्त्यैव तत्र सेवा समाचरेत्
ब्राह्म-मुहूर्तम् आरभ्य यावत् सान्ता महानिश
ātmānaṃ cintayet tatra tāsāṃ madhye manoramām
rūpa-yauvana-sampannāṃ kiśorīṃ pramadākṛtim
prārthitām api kṛṣṇena tato bhoga-parāṅmukhīm
rādhikānucarīṃ nityaṃ tat-sevana-parāyaṇām
kṛṣṇād apy adhikaṃ prema rādhikāyāṃ prakurvatīm
prīty anudivasaṃ yatnāt tayoḥ saṅgama-kāriṇīm
ity ātmānaṃ vicintyaiva tatra sevā samācaret
brāhma-muhūrtam ārabhya yāvat sāntā mahāniśa
[Sadāśiva said to Śrī Nārada:] O Nārada, while you are amidst Kṛṣṇa’s beloved damsels, who look upon Him as their paramour, contemplate your eternal nature (svarūpa) in the transcendental land of Vṛndāvana in the following way: “I am a young girl, whose beautiful youthful form is full of happiness. I am skilled in many fine arts that please Kṛṣṇa. I am an eternal maidservant of Śrī Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa’s most beloved consort, and I am always joyful to arrange Her meeting with Him. Therefore, even if Kṛṣṇa implores me for a private rendezvous, I will do anything to avoid that kind of meeting, because it would not be for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure but my own. I am always ready to serve and attend to Kṛṣṇa’s beloved Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and I have more affection for Śrīmatī than I do for Kṛṣṇa. Every day I am devoted to affectionately and carefully arranging meetings between Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Remaining absorbed in the happiness of serving Them, I will increase Their bliss in that meeting.”
In this way, attentively contemplating one’s svarūpa, one should impeccably perform mānasī-sevā in the transcendental land of Vṛndāvana, from brāhma-muhūrta until midnight.
The word siddha-rūpeṇa in this Text 7 is defined by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī as follows: “antaś cintita abhīṣṭa tat sevopayogi deha–the internally contemplated body that is suitable for carrying out one’s desired service.” One should thus be engaged in service according to one’s mood and with a body suitable for serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should serve with absorption in the ocean of sentiments of Kṛṣṇa’s beloved associates in Vraja, who fulfil His innermost desires.
Śrī gurudeva, the desire-tree of the devotees, makes the siddhadeha appear within the heart of his dear disciple, and thereafter acquaints him with this siddha-deha. Having full faith in the guru’s words, the sādhaka performs bhajana with niṣṭhā, and by the mercy of the hlādinī-śakti, he fully realises his ultimate state of being. The sādhaka then completely identifies himself with his siddha-deha and in this perfected form, he intently engages in the service of his most cherished Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the skilful enjoyer of pastimes (līlā-vilāsī).
Footnotes and references:
sukhāhlāda-bhāvenāti can also read as sukhāsvāda bhareṇāti