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Hari-katha >> Other Vaishnavas >> DEVOTION - russian version


Disciple of Prabhupada Srila Sarasvati Thakura
Parivrajaka-Acarya Om Visnupada
Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Goswami Maharaja

While explaining the eternal duties of the living entities, i.e., Devotional Service, the path of discharging ones prescribed duty in Krishna consciousness (Karma Yoga) and the path of attaining Divine Knowledge (Jnan Yoga) have been mentioned in the scriptures, for realizing Godhead. Actually, this explains the abolition of the existence of living entities (jivas). One more modality of Devotional Service is mentioned in the scriptures, that is Devotional Service alloyed with Karma, as it has been instructed in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita: 

yat karosi yadasnasi
yajjuhosi dadasiyat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurusva mad-arpanam.

(Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform do that, O Son of Kunti, as an offering to me.)

Srila Bhakti Kumud Santa Goswami MaharajaBut, the living entities (jivas) become really prosperous only when they attain unalloyed and selfless devotion. A person devoid of the treasure of pure devotion (Suddha Bhakti), being deprived of - diurnal, perishable pleasures remain restless due to the continuos stings of scorpions of fruitive activities (Karma). Again, sometimes, moving apart from Lord Krishna, such persons get involved in egoistic worships or hanker after liberation (moksha) by practicing eight-fold yogic processes and thus loose the marvelous opportunity of getting the timeless wealth of Divine Love. In this way, such living entities do not attain the real wealth even after loosing their existence, by becoming one with the Lord or by falling into the venomous mouth of the serpent-like liberation. Therefore, devotion is the only way (method) to attain the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. That is why, all the scriptures have glorified Devotional Service as the medium of attaining the Lord. It is the corner stone of the Abhidheya Tattva.

dhan paile jaiche sukh bhog paya,
punah bhogh haite duhkh apani palay,
taiche Bhakti phale Krishna Prema upjaya,
preme Krishnasvadan haile bhav nash paya,
premsukh bhogmukhya prayojan haya,
veda sastre kahe-sambandh, abhoideya, proyjan,
Krishna, Krishnabhakti, prema tin mahadhan,
vedadi sakal sastre Krishna mukhya sambandha,
tan jnane anysange jay mayagandha.

(As by the attainment of wealth, the material desires are fulfilled and thus misery escapes away itself; in the same way, the Divine Love of Krishna blooms in the bosom as the result of devotion and by relishing this higher taste of Divine Love (Krishna-Prema), mundane attachments vanish away. The eradication of poverty and abolition of worldly attachment, though, are not the main purpose of Divine Love. Actually, its main purpose is to relish the transcendental pleasure. The Vedas and other scriptures say that the three great treasures Krishna, Devotion of Krishna and Love of Krishna are the matter of ultimate relation (sambandh), means (abjhidheya) and ultimate goal (proyojana) respectively. As the result of secondary import (by-product) of His knowledge, the nasty smell of illusory energy (Maya) goes away.)

For understanding or explaining it to others, one has to comprehend the meaning and position of devotion alloyed with action (Karma), knowledge (Jnan) and eightfold yoga (Astanga Yoga). The Lord has said in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma,
na socati na kanksati,
samah sarvesu bhutesu,
madbhktim labhate param

(A transcendentally situated person at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and thus remains ever-joyful. He neither laments nor desires to have anything anytime. He disposes equally towards every living being. Pure Devotional Service onto Me is attained by him in this state.)

Elucidating Devotional Service (Bhakti), Sandilya Muni says Sa paranuraktirisvara (Absolute attachment and love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called Devotional Service.) Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu explains Pure Devotion as follows:

sarvopadhi vinirmuktam,
tatparatvena nirmalam,
hrisikena hrisikesa,
sevanam bhaktirucyate

(Devotional Service means to serve the master of the senses of the living entities, by involving all the senses, cleaning all mundane dirts from the heart and by giving up material degrees and honours etc,)

Above explanation has been repeated more explicitly in this verse:

anyabhlasitasunyam Jnanakarmadyanavritam,
Anukulyena krishnanushilanam,
Iti bhaktiruttama

(The favorable and desireless transcendental Loving Service to Sri Krishna, without the desire for material benefits through fruitive activities or philosophical speculations, is called Pure Devotion.)

The indispensable nature of Devotional Service has been claimed herein:

bhaktirvainam nayati,
bhaktirvainam darsayati,
bhaktivasah puruso,
bhaktirva bhuyasi

(Only Devotional Service takes the living entity to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only Devotional Service makes the Godhead visible to the living entity; He is under the control, but only of Devotional Service and thus Devotional Service is topmost.)

Actually, Devotional Service is the absolute Dharma of the living entity (Jiva).

If we study the sequence and stages of Devotional Service scrutinizingly, we see that is has got three distinctive, but inter-related stages namely: -

(i) Sadhana Bhakti (Regulated Devotion Service)
(ii) Bhava Bhakti (Devotion under Pure Love)
(iii) Prema Bhakti (Ecstatic Devotion Service)

The fortunate persons, in whose hearts the attitude of doing Bhajan of the Supreme Personality has arisen, as the outcome of the pious activities (Sukriti) birth after birth, attain the absolute achievement of Krishna-Prema, by practicing regulated Devotional Service till the misdeed get effaced, then by spontaneous Devotional Service and lastly by rendering ecstatic Devotional Service.

Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu gives us the sequence of the different degrees of realization in the Devotional path:

adau sraddha tatah sadhu,
sangotha bhajan kriya,
tatonartha-nivrittih syat,
tato nistha ruchistatah,

athasaktis tato bhavas,
tatah premabhyudancati,
sadhakanam ayam premnah,
prasdurbhave bhavet kramah

(In the beginning, one must have a preliminary desire for attaining Love of Krishna. It will take one to the stage of associating with the spiritually elevated souls. In the next stage, one starts the Devotional Service. This performance wipes out the influence of misdeed. After this, steadiness comes which leads one to the taste for Krishna. The taste leads one further to attachment for Krishna. In its maturity this attachment transforms into Bhava. Then the stage of real Love (Prema) for Krishna comes which is the highest perfectional stage of life.)

Now again, Regulated Devotion (Sadhana Bhakti) has been classified into following two classes: -

(i) Vaidhi Bhakti (Devotional Service under regulative principles) and
(ii) Raganuga Bhakti ( Spontaneous Devotional Service)

In Chaitanya Charitamrita, we find the definition of Devotional Service under Regulative Principles: -

raghin jan bhaje sastrera agyay,
vaidhi bhaktibali tare sarvasastre gay

(According to all the scriptures, the Devotional Service rendered by the people without having spontaneous feelings towards Lord Krishna is called Devotional Service under Regulative Principles, Vaidhi Bhakti.)

Sri Narada Pancharatra says:

surarse vihita sastre,
harimuddisya ya kriya,
saiva bhaktiriti prokta,
taya bhaktih para bhaved

(O Seer-God, the sages call all such activities as Devotional Service under regulative principles (Vaidhi Bhakti) which are oriented towards Krishna according to the recommendation of the scriptures.)

To point out the Devotional Service under regulative principles, it is said referring to the nine fold tenets of Devotional Service mentioned: -

eka anha sadhe keha sadhe bahu anga,
nishta haite upjaya premer taranga

(Some persons practice one limb of devotion, on the other hand, others practice many limbs of devotion. >From the steadiness of faith comes about the pleasing wave of Krishna-Prema.)

Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu glorifies the nine-fold devotional service by citing example of the devotees of the Supreme Lord: -

sri visnoh sravane parikshit,
bhavadvaiyasakih kirtane,
Prahladah smarane tadanghri,
bhajane laxmihy prithu pujane,
akrurastvabhivandane Kapipatir,
dasyeth sakhya arjunah,
sarvasvatmanivedane balirbhut,
Krishnaptriresam param

(Maharaja Parikshit became perfect by hearing about Krishna, Sukdeva Goswami became perfect by speaking the glories of the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja became perfect by remembering the Lord, Laxmidevi became perfect by serving the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Maharaja Prithu became perfect by worshiping the Lord, Akrura became perfect by offering prayers to the Lord, Hanuman became perfect by serving the Lord, Arjuna became perfect by friendliness to the Lord and Bali Maharaja became perfect by surrendering fully to the Lord.)

After comprehending Vaidhi Bhakti, we can get help from Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu for understanding Ragatmika Bhakti. It is mentioned there:

iste svarasiki ragah,
paramavistata bhavet,
tanmayi ya bhaved bhaktih,
satra ragatmikaodita

(Extreme immersion in Lord Krishna is called Raga and when the devotion to the Lord becomes utmost intense and self-automated it is called Ragatmika Bhakti.)

Only Sri Krishna is equal to Sri Krishna. Therefore, when that unthinkable (achintya) Omnipotent Supreme Personality, Sri Krishna, for whom the scriptures say raso vaisah, becoming the absolute consumer, expands Himself as the dependent objects (asraya tattva) by means of his unpercievable power, for relishing His own pastimes (lila), then these unleashing dependent objects are called ragatmikas. Their selfless devotion, alloyed with intense Krishna-serving desire and resolute attachment towards Krishna, in the form of the mellow of Vraja-Prema, is called Ragatmika Bhakti. The devotion which arises in the heart, during practicing regulated devotion, after listening about such devotion performed by the dependents (i.e., the residents of Vraja) and becoming their subordinate out of intense greed (lobha) for gaining such devotion, is called spontaneous devotion (Raganuga Bhakti).

It is stated in Chaitanya Charitamrita: -

ragamayi bhaktir hay ragatmika nam,
taha suni lubdha hay kono bhagyavan
ragatmika bhakti mukhya vrajavasi jane,
tar anygat bhaktir raganuga name

(The devotion studded with raga is called Ragatmika Bhakti, very few fortunate people get attracted to such devotion. Ragatmika Bhakti is mainly practiced by Brajvasis. Devotion under such devotees is called spontaneous devotion Raganuga Bhakti.)

Thus, different types of devotion have been explained here in very abridged manner. But, we must understand that devotion is not the phenomena of body or mind. Devotional Service (Bhakti) is the natural function of the soul. That is why it has been said:

kriti sadhyata bhavet
sadhyabhava sa sadhanabhidha
nityasiddhasya bhavasya
prakatyam hridi sadyata

(The Devotional Service, which is achieved by the efforts of ones own, is called Regulated Devotional Service Sadhana Bhakti. But the devotion eternally studded to a soul appears in ones heart gradually. It is the real purpose of Sadhana.)

Devotional Service is the real constitutional position of the living entities. The effort to remanifest it in our hearts is called Sadhana. The spark of eternal knowledge and the bliss coming down to the living entities from Lord Sri Krishna has been forgotten by them. But this eternity is worth regeneration. The Eternal Love of Sri Krishna cannot be attained by any means, other that Pure Devotional Service. In reality, it is already residing within the inner most pure core of ones heart. But in its bonded position, while remaining the bodily platform, bearing secondary attentions, contemplating mortal belongings and ever planning to enjoy material nature, the Love of Lord Krishna remains dormant. But, when by means of any known or unknown pious activity (Sukriti), one comes in association of real sadhu, then due to the causeless blessings of Spiritual Master and Sadhus, the dormant seed of Devotional Service starts germinating in the form of spiritual faith (Sraddha). Due to the influence of this faith, the heart of a fortunate living entity (jiva) becomes restless and passionate for more and more association of Sadhus (Devotees). Then only, he starts devotional Service under Regulative Principles as prescribed by the Spiritual Master, who is the embodiment of the causeless Mercy of the Lord Himself. When advanced in this path, one receives the gem of independence through Gurudev, in the form of Raga.

vaidhi marge rata jane svadhinata ratna dane raga marge karan pravesh

Thus, a living entity gradually advances in the path of attaining the absolute purpose or attainment of life, i.e., Krishna-Prema. Therefore it has been said Gurukripa hi kevalam(The mercy of the Spiritual Master is the only hope).

As I have been directed to write down on Bhakti, I wrote down in accordance with my knowledge. Although there remains many more things about Bhakti which could have been written here, I did not mention them as the article would be to long. I shall feel myself fortunate if the Krishna-loving readers go through this article and get benefited by finding a chance to remember Him.

The servant of the servants of Vaishnabas
(Sri Srimad Bhakti Kumud Santa Goswami Maharaja)

Aspirant servant of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga
Sri Anadi Krishna Das [email protected]


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