by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words
The Bhajana-rahasya Text 4, 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 4 belonging to the chapter “Ashtama-yama-sadhana (Ratri-lila–prema-bhajana sambhoga)” representing from midnight to three-and-a-half praharas of the night: approximately 00.00 a.m.–3.30 a.m.
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s mood of humility is reflected in the following statement, which is imbued with the firm hope (āśā-bandha), characteristic of a jāta-rati-bhakta devoted to bhajana.
This verse is quoted by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.35):
न प्रेमा श्रवणादि-भक्तिर् अपि वा योगो’थ वा वैष्णवो
ज्ञानं वा शुभ-कर्म वा कियद् अहो सज्-जातिर् अप्य् अस्ति वा
हीनार्थाधिक-साधके त्वयि तथाप्य् अच्छेद्य-मूला सती
हे गोपी-जन-वल्लभ व्यथयते हा हा मद्-आशैव माम्
na premā śravaṇādi-bhaktir api vā yogo’tha vā vaiṣṇavo
jñānaṃ vā śubha-karma vā kiyad aho saj-jātir apy asti vā
hīnārthādhika-sādhake tvayi tathāpy acchedya-mūlā satī
he gopī-jana-vallabha vyathayate hā hā mad-āśaiva mām
My heart is devoid of prema for You, and I am not qualified to perform bhakti by hearing and chanting. I possess no knowledge, pious activities or qualifications of a Vaiṣṇava, nor have I taken birth in a high-class family. I am, therefore, unqualified in every respect. Nevertheless, O beloved of the gopīs, Your mercy also falls upon the lowest of the low. This firm hope of attaining You has me very agitated.
श्रवणादि-भक्ति, प्रेम-भक्ति, योग हीन
ज्ञान-योग-कर्म हीन, सज्-जन्म-विहीन
śravaṇādi-bhakti, prema-bhakti, yoga hīna
jñāna-yoga-karma hīna, saj-janma-vihīna
काङ्गालेर नाथ तुमि राधा-प्राण-धन
तोमा-पदे दृढ-आशाय व्यकुलित मन
kāṅgālera nātha tumi rādhā-prāṇa-dhana
tomā-pade dṛḍha-āśāya vyakulita mana
Humility is the foundation of bhakti, and it is by humility that bhakti increases. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī defines humility as follows: “When a person has all good qualities, but feelings arise in his heart of being unqualified, wretched and inferior, this is called humility. In other words, humility is the utmost anxiety to attain Śrī Bhagavān. A humble person is without false ego, even though he possesses all good qualities.” Only humility can attract Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, and genuine modesty only appears when prema is fully ripe. Due to such humility, the jāta-rati-sādhaka prays, “O Prāṇa-vallabha, I have no attachment for You and am incapable of performing śravaṇa and the other practices in the ninefold path of devotion. My meditation is not unbroken like that of the jñānīs. I do not perform service according to varṇāśrama, I have not taken birth in a high-class family and I have not performed any pious activities. My hope is solely dependent on Your mercy, which all the mahājanas glorify. You are the master of the wretched, and You bestow Your mercy upon them.”
Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī possesses all virtues, yet filled with humility, he spoke this verse. Although a jāta-rati-sādhaka performs profuse service, he thinks, “I have never done any sevā.” The sādhaka’s only desire is to perform prema-sevā, pure bhakti that is devoid of karma and jñāna. This is svarūpa-siddha-bhakti, and it is attained only through śravaṇa, kīrtana and so forth. If a person is too attached to fruitive activities, whatever little devotion is in his heart disappears. And if someone desires material gain, adoration and fame, Bhakti-devī neglects that person. Bhakti only increases in the heart of one who is humble and sincere, and only humility that is thoroughly devoid of pride causes the f lowing current of mercy to swell.
The method of performing nāma-sādhana is to chant the holy name while feeling humbler than a blade of grass. Śrī Caitanyacaritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 17.31–33) says:
तृणाद् अपि सुनीचेन तरोर् अपि सहिष्णुना
अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः
ऊर्ध्व-बाहु करि’ कहोङ्, शुन सर्व-लोक
नाम-सूत्रे गाङ्थि’ पर कण्ठे एइ श्लोक
प्रभु-आज्ञाय कर एइ श्लोक आचरण
अवश्य पाइबे तबे श्री-कृष्ण-चरण
tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
ūrdhva-bāhu kari’ kahoṅ, śuna sarva-loka
nāma-sūtre gāṅthi’ para kaṇṭhe ei śloka
prabhu-ājñāya kara ei śloka ācaraṇa
avaśya pāibe tabe śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa
Considering oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass that has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless and offering respect to everyone according to their respective positions, one should continually chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.
Raising My hands, I declare, “Everyone please hear Me! String this verse on the thread of the holy name and wear it around your neck for continuous remembrance.” *
One must strictly follow the principles given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in this verse. If one simply follows in the footsteps of Śrīman Mahāprabhu and the Gosvāmīs, certainly he will achieve the ultimate goal of life, the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. *