Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 9.2, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 2 from the chapter 9 called “Raja-guhya-yoga (Yoga through the most Confidential Knowledge)”

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 9.2:

राज-विद्या राज-गुह्यं पवित्रम् इदम् उत्तमम् ।
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुम् अव्ययम् ॥ २ ॥

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṃ pavitram idam uttamam |
pratyakṣāvagamaṃ dharmyaṃ susukhaṃ kartum avyayam
|| 2 ||

rāja-vidyā–the king, or best, of all knowledge; rāja-guhyam–the king, or best, of all confidential topics; pavitram–purity; idam–this (knowledge); uttamam–the highest; pratyakṣa-avagamam–directly realized; dharmyam–conducive to virtue; su-sukham kartum–performed very` joyfully (without difficulty); avyayam–eternal and imperishable.

This is the king of all knowledge and the monarch of all confidential topics. It is extremely pure and can be directly realized. This transcendental wisdom is consonant with the principles of dharma. It is comprehended without difficulty and is eternal.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

(By Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura; the innermost intention of the commentary named ‘the shower of essential meanings’)

Moreover, this knowledge is the king of all knowledge. There are various types of knowledge, or worship, but bhakti is the monarch of them all. This bhakti is the king of confidential subjects, meaning that bhakti herself is highly confidential. Although there are many varieties of knowledge, this particular knowledge (bhakti), along with realization of that knowledge (vijñāna) is the king of all, because it is the most confidential. Its purity is revealed by the fact that by performing it, all of one’s sinful activities are atoned for. It is more purifying than knowledge of the self, or tvaṃ-padārtha-jñāna. Śrīpāda Madhusūdana Sarasvatī says, “This bhakti can destroy within the blink of an eye the gross and subtle reactions of all types of sinful activities accumulated over thousands of lifetimes, as well as their cause, which is ignorance. Thus it is supremely purifying.” Pratyakṣa-avagamam means ‘that which can be perceived or realized directly’.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.42) states:

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo’nu-ghāsam

A person who is absorbed in eating achieves three results simultaneously: he becomes happy with every mouthful he tastes, he attains nourishment as his stomach is filled, and he is relieved of his hunger. These three results come to him simultaneously. In the same way, a person who is engaged in bhajana of Śrī Hari simultaneously attains prema, realization of the Lord and detachment from sense objects.

According to this statement from the Eleventh Canto, a person attains realization of Bhagavān in proportion to the intensity of his bhajana. This jñāna (bhakti) is dharmya, meaning it is not outside the bounds of religiosity. Simply by bhakti, a person can attain the perfection resulting from the complete performance of all occupational duties, even if he does not perform any other religious duties.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.31.14), Devarṣi Nārada also says, “Just as by watering the root of a tree, its trunk, branches and leaves become nourished, similarly, by the exclusive worship of Bhagavān Acyuta, everyone else is automatically worshipped.”

Kartuṃ su-sukham means that one does not have to undergo too much physical, mental or verbal difficulty on the path of bhakti, unlike the processes of karma, jñāna, etc. In the practice of bhakti, which is characterized by śravaṇa, kīrtana and so on, only the senses such as the ears and tongue are engaged. Since bhakti is untouched by material qualities, it is not perishable like karma, jñāna and so forth.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

(By Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja; the explanation that illuminates the commentary named Sārārtha-varṣiṇī)

The Ninth Chapter describes kevalā-bhakti, which is beyond the modes of material nature. This knowledge, in the form of kevalā-bhakti, is the crest jewel of all types of knowledge. It is supremely confidential, most purifying and experienced by direct perception. It bestows the fruits of all other religious processes, it is joyfully performed, and it bestows imperishable results.

Here, the word vidyā means ‘worship’; therefore, kevalā-bhakti is the best of all types of worship. For this reason, it is called rāja-vidyā, the king of knowledge, and because it is the most confidential of all confidential subjects, it is called rāja-guhya.

Pavitram idam uttamam: Atoning for one's sins by giving in charity (dāna), offering sacrificial oblations (yajña) or performing austerities such as the cāndrāyaṇa-vrata, does not completely destroy them. Furthermore, one may remove the results of sins through processes such as austerities and celibacy, but there is still a chance that the tendency to sin will again sprout. However, according to scriptures such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, sins are completely destroyed by the performance of exclusive devotion. This is true to such an extent that even by the concomitant results of exclusive devotion, all sins are destroyed at the root. In other words, even the very desire to perform sin is destroyed. This is not possible by processes other than bhakti, such as atonement (prāyaścita), celibacy (brahmacarya) and austerities (tapasya). This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.1.15): “kecit kevalayā bhaktyā vāsudeva-parāyaṇāḥ–only by exclusive devotion (kevalā-bhakti) can all one's sins be eradicated at the root.” And also, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.1.16) states, “na tathā hy aghavān rājan pūyeta tapa-ādibhiḥ–all one's sins can be removed only by service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa's pure devotees, not by any other process.”

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the first characteristic of kevalā-bhakti is described as kleśa-ghnī, the mitigation of suffering. Kleśa-ghnī means that this bhakti completely destroys all sin (pāpa), the seed of sin (pāpa-bīja), ignorance (avidyā), currently fructifying reaction (prārabdha-karma) and unfructified reaction (aprārabdha-karma):

aprārabdhaṃ phalaṃ pāpaṃ kūṭaṃ bījaṃ phalonmukham
kramenaiva pralīyate viṣṇu-bhakti-ratātmanām

(Padma Purāṇa)

There are different stages of dormant reactions to sinful activities to be observed in a sinful life. Sinful reactions may be just waiting to take effect [phalonmukha], reactions may be still further dormant [kūṭa] or the reactions may be in a seed-like state [bīja]. In any case, all types of sinful reactions are vanquished one after another if a person engages in the devotional service of Lord Viṣṇu.*

Exclusive devotion, or kevalā-bhakti, not only purifies the gross and subtle designations of the living entity, but it also purifies and satisfies the soul (ātmā): yayātmā suprasīdati (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.6). According to the verse ātmārāmāś ca munayaḥ (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.7.10), bhakti is attractive because of the bliss one derives from serving Kṛṣṇa. By this bliss, even those who are satisfied within the self (ātmārāma) and who have no desires left to fulfil (āptakāma) are attracted to serving the Lord and thus give up their self-satisfied natures.

Pratyakṣa-anubhava-svarūpa:—direct realization of the svarūpa of the Lord:

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo’nu-ghāsam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.42)

Just as a person feels satisfaction, nourishment and the removal of hunger with every mouthful of food that he eats, similarly, prema, direct experience of Bhagavān, as well as aversion to sense enjoyment, appear simultaneously within a devotee, even during the stage of practice.

The processes of karma, yoga, jñāna, etc., cannot bestow direct realization upon the sādhaka as bhakti can. Brahma-sūtra also states “prakāśaś ca karmaṇy abhyāsātbhakti is so powerful that she bestows an experience of herself even in the initial stages.”

Sarva-dharma-phala-prada: By performing bhakti one receives the complete result of performing all types of religiosity and also attains pure love for Bhagavān, which is the objective established in the Vedas, Upaniṣads and other Śrutis. According to the verse sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṃ śaraṇaṃ vraja (Gītā 18.66), one who has given up all types of dharma, such as varṇāśrama-dharma, karma, jñāna, yoga and all other paths that are followed for the purpose of satisfying the body and mind, and who has taken sole shelter of exclusive devotion, or kevalā-bhakti, by performing bhajana to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, can easily and naturally attain the result of all these other processes. As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.13) “saṃsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam–the highest perfection in life is to please Śrī Hari.”

And in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.33):

sarvaṃ mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate’ñjasā

By pure devotional service, My devotee can very easily achieve such benedictions as attainment of the heavenly planets, liberation or My supreme abode.

Although the performance of different mundane religious processes does not exist in the practice of exclusive devotion, the real nature, or dharma, of the living entity, which is to serve the spiritual master and so forth, remains present within him. The Śrutis also confirms this opinion in mantras such as “ācāryavān puruṣo veda–he who takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master comes to know that Supreme Personality, who is described in the Vedas.”

Devarṣi Nārada also establishes this in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.31.14):

yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena tṛpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopaśākhāḥ
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṃ tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā

Just as by properly watering the root of a tree, its trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and flowers are nourished, and just as by eating, the life-air is satisfied and all the senses nourished, in the same way only by worshipping Śrī Bhagavān is everyone worshipped.

Sukha-sādhya: The practice of exclusive devotion, kevalā-bhakti, involves no difficulty as do the paths of jñāna, yoga and so on; what to speak of misery or discomfort. Instead, one experiences happiness. Kevalā-bhakti is therefore called sukha-sādhya, or that which is joyfully performed. Bhakti-sādhana can be performed simply by engaging the senses such as the tongue and ears in chanting the sweet holy names of Kṛṣṇa and hearing about His pastimes, or merely by offering Him tulasī leaves and a little water. Prahlāda Mahārāja also gave this instruction to the sons of the demons: “na hy acyutaṃ prīṇayato bahv-āyāsaḥ–to please Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is also known as Acyuta (beyond mundane sense perception), one does not have to work laboriously” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.6.19).

While commenting on this verse, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says, “Although one has to endure great troubles to maintain and satisfy a family, one need not undergo such trouble to please Śrī Hari. Because He is eternally situated within everyone’s heart as the indwelling Supersoul, one need not undergo any trouble to search for Him. One can please Him at all times, in all circumstances and in all respects, even by serving Him within the mind or by following any one of the processes of bhakti, such as śravaṇa and kīrtana. One can even please Him just by the desire to perform service. Thus, there is no pain involved in performing devotional service.” One experiences joy even while performing devotional service in the stage of practice.

taṃ sukhārādhyam ṛjubhir ananya-śaraṇair nṛbhiḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.19.36)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is easily pleased by a person who has completely surrendered to Him and who has a simple heart.

It is also said in Gautamīya-tantra:

tulasī-dala-mātreṇa jalasya culukena vā
vikṛīṇīte svam ātmānaṃ bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalaḥ

Bhagavān, who is supremely affectionate to His own devotees (bhakta-vatsala), completely sells Himself to those devotees who, with love and devotion, offer Him a tulasī leaf and a palmful of water.

Akṣaya-phala-prada: The processes of karma, jñāna and yoga are impermanent. After yielding their fruit, or goal, such processes become futile and are then abandoned. Bhakti, however, exists in the stages of both practice and perfection (sādhana and siddha), because bhakti herself is not only the practice but is also the goal to be achieved. Even in the liberated stage, bhakti is not lost, but rather, it is performed purely and perfectly. Therefore, it is permanent and unchanging.

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