Shrimad Bhagavad-gita

by Narayana Gosvami | 2013 | 327,105 words

The Bhagavad-gita Verse 9.30, English translation, including the Vaishnava commentaries Sarartha-varsini-tika, Prakashika-vritti and Rasika-ranjana (excerpts). This is verse 30 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 9.30:

अपि चेत् सु-दुराचारो भजते माम् अनन्य-भाक् ।
साधुर् एव स मन्तव्यः सम्यग् व्यवसितो हि सः ॥ ३० ॥

api cet su-durācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk |
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
|| 30 ||

api–even; cet–if; su-durācāraḥ–a person of very bad character; bhajate–worships; mām–Me; ananya-bhāk–exclusively devoted; sādhuḥ–a virtuous person; eva–certainly; saḥ–he; mantavyaḥ–should be considered; samyak–rightly; vyavasitaḥ–because of being situated (in intelligence); hi–indeed; saḥ–he.

Even if a man of abominable character engages in ananya-bhajana, exclusive devotion to Me, he is still to be considered a sādhu, because his intelligence is firmly fixed in bhakti to Me.

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Ṭīkā

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

“My attachment to My devotee is natural. Even if his behaviour is degraded, My attachment to him is not lost and I make him supremely righteous.” For this reason, Śrī Bhagavān speaks this verse beginning with api cet. Sudurācāraḥ means that even if he is addicted to killing others, to having illicit relations with women and to being attached to others’ wealth, if he engages in bhajana (worship) of Me, he is surely saintly. What type of bhajana must he perform? In answer to this Bhagavān says ananya-bhāk. “He is a sādhu who does not worship any demigod but only worships Me, who does not engage in any fruitive work (karma) and speculative knowledge (jñāna) but only engages in bhakti to Me, and who does not desire any happiness such as the attainment of a kingdom but only desires to attain Me.”

But where is the question of his being a sādhu if some type of bad behaviour is visible in him? In response, Bhagavān says mantavyaḥ. “He must be considered a sādhu. From the word mantavyaḥ, the following injunction is indicated: There is a flaw in that person who does not consider him to be a sādhu. In this regard, My order alone is authoritative.”

If a person who engages in worship of You is also poorly behaved, can he be considered a partial sādhu? In response, Śrī Bhagavān says eva. “He is to be considered a complete sādhu. One should not see that he lacks any saintly qualities. This is because he has made a staunch resolve (samyag vyavasitaḥ): ‘due to my sins, whether I go to hell or degrade to a bird or animal species, I will never give up exclusive, one-pointed bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.’”

Commentary: Sārārtha-Varṣiṇī Prakāśikā-vṛtti

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

In the present verse, Bhagavān, who is very affectionate to His devotees (bhakta-vatsala), is explaining the inconceivable power of His bhakti by making a declaration. “Even if My devotee is seen to be engaged in an abominable act, I will very quickly transform him into an exalted person of impeccable behaviour. There is no possibility of bad behaviour in such perfect persons, who take shelter of exclusive devotion to Me. Even if they appear to be badly behaved in the eyes of ignorant persons, in reality they are not; they are definitely saintly. What to speak of the ignorant, even big scholars cannot understand the actions and moods of the Vaiṣṇavas.” It is said in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, “vaiṣṇavera kriyā mudrā vijñe nā bujhaya–it is not possible to understand the behaviour of uttama-adhikārī bhaktas, the most exalted class of devotees, with one’s material senses.”

While warning a brāhmaṇa resident of Navadvīpa to not disrespect Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:

śuna vipra mahādhikārī yevā haya
tabe tāna doṣa-guṇa kichu nā janmaya

Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya-khaṇḍa 6.26)

There is no possibility of good or bad material qualities even touching an uttama-bhāgavata, or pure devotee. Those who continue to view him as lowly will go to hell.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa similarly instructed Uddhava:

na mayy ekānta-bhaktānāṃ guṇa-doṣodbhavā guṇāḥ
sādhūnāṃ sama-cittānāṃ buddheḥ param upeyuṣām

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.36)

There is no possibility of the piety or sin that results from the performance of prescribed or forbidden activities coming to My exclusive devotees, who are free from attachment and envy, who have equal vision toward everyone and who have attained Bhagavān, who is beyond mundane intelligence.

Yet one should always remember that the apparently poor behaviour of such ananya-bhaktas is not to be imitated. One should neither criticize them nor associate with them. As it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.29), tejīyasāṃ na doṣāya vahneḥ sarva-bhujo yathā. Destruction is certain for those who criticize the behaviour of mahā-bhāgavatas, who externally may appear to behave improperly. Fire burns all substances, either pure or impure, although it remains pure itself. Similarly, although externally the behaviour of powerful mahā-puruṣas may appear improper, they always remain pure. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes that the sons of Marīci, who were the grandsons of jagad-guru Brahmā, had to take birth among the demonic species as a result of ridiculing Brahmā’s inconceivable behaviour.

What to speak of perfected devotees, even if the sādhaka of ananyā-bhakti is seen to sometimes act improperly due to previous habits, he should still be considered saintly because his action is accidental. This is the deep meaning of this verse. While commenting on the above verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.36), Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives the same conclusion.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is saying, “A devotee who performs ananya-bhajana, who does not worship any other god or goddess, who does not take shelter of any process–such as karma, jñāna and yoga–other than My bhakti, who does not desire anything besides My pleasure, and most of all, who knows Me as the only Master and as the Supreme, engages in bhajana of Me. Such a devotee naturally has no taste for improper behaviour. But if accidentally or by the will of fate there is a discrepancy in his behaviour, he should still be considered saintly. This is My special order. If a person disobeys it, he will incur sin. The reason such persons are to be considered sādhus is explained herein. It is because their resolve is proper. In other words, they have aikāntika-niṣṭhā, exclusive fixed faith, in Me.”

In this regard, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has commented on the following verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.27–28):

jāta-śraddho mat-kathāsu nirviṇṇaḥ sarva-karmasuveda
duḥkhātmakān kāmān parityāge’py anīśvaraḥ
tato bhajeta māṃ prītaḥ śraddhālur dṛḍha-niścayaḥ
juṣamāṇaś ca tān kāmān duḥkhodarkāṃś ca garhayan

If a person whose faith in hearing narrations of Me has been awakened is unable to give up sense enjoyment and the desire for it, even though he knows it gives misery, he should with a sincere heart condemn his inability to give it up. All the while, he should continue worshipping Me with firm faith, conviction and love.

He writes that the word dṛḍha-niścayaḥ in the phrase śraddhālur dṛḍha-niścayaḥ means, “Whether I am attached to home, etc., or not, or whether that attachment increases, if millions of obstacles enter my bhajana, if due to offences I have to go to hell, or even if I am overpowered by lust, I will not accept the processes of jñāna, karma and yoga under any circumstance, even if Lord Brahmā himself orders me to.” Those who have such determination are called dṛḍha-niścayaḥ, or ‘of unflinching determination’.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura quotes Kṛṣṇa as saying, “Even if those persons who engage in one-pointed, unwavering bhajana of Me are badly behaved, still they should be considered saintly because their engagement is righteous in every respect and all-beautiful.” The meaning of the word su-durācāraḥ must be understood properly. The behaviour of a conditioned soul is of two types: conditional (sāmbandhika) and constitutional (svarūpa-gata). Activities such as keeping clean, performing pious acts and nourishing or satisfying the needs of the body, society and progress of mind are called sāmbandhika (conditional, or relative, being related to one’s material condition). Bhajana, a fully conscious activity, which is performed for Me by the jīva in his pure state, is his svarūpa-gata (constitutional function). This function is also called amiśrā-bhakti (literally, ‘unmixed devotion’) or kevalā-bhakti. In the bound state the jīva’s performance of kevalā-bhakti has an irrevocable relationship with his conditioned life. Sāmbandhika behaviour will certainly continue as long as one has this body, even when ananyā-bhakti appears. Only when bhakti appears does the jīva lose his taste in everything that is unfavourable to devotion. One becomes detached from sense objects to the extent that one’s taste increases in bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Until the taste for sense objects is completely removed, it sometimes forces one to behave improperly, but that taste is very quickly subdued by a taste in devotional service. The behaviour of a person who is situated in the higher levels of bhakti is all-beautiful and righteous. If sometimes, accidentally, such a person is seen to be engaging not only in bad but evil behaviour, performing activities for which a devotee does not have a natural taste–such as killing others, stealing others’ wealth and having illicit relationships with others’ wives–he will nonetheless be very quickly purified of such behaviour. My bhakti, which is very powerful and purifying, is not polluted by this behaviour. This should be understood. A superlative devotee should not be considered degraded because of his past indulgence in activities such as eating fish or having illicit relationships with women.”

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