śrī śrī guru-gauraṅgau jayataḥ
Six Urges Unfavourable to Bhakti and Worthy of Rejection
वाचो वेगं मनसः क्रोधवेगं
एतान् वेगान यो विषहेत धीरः
सर्वामपीमां पृथिवीं स शिष्यात् ॥१॥
vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt
dhīraḥ – a wise and self-controlled person, free from desires for material enjoyment, liberation and mystic perfection; yaḥ – who; viṣaheta – can subdue; etān – all these; vegān – overwhelming passions; vācaḥ vegam – the impetus of speech; manasaḥ vegam – the agitation of the mind; krodha vegam – the onset of anger; jihvā-vegam – the vehemence of the tongue; udara-upastha-vegam – the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals; saḥ – he; śiṣyāt – can instruct; imām – this; sarvām – entire; pṛthivīm – world; api – even.
A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a selfcontrolled person.
I first of all offer repeated obeisances (praṇāmas) unto my most worshipful śrī-gurudeva, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī, unto my parama-gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who wrote the Anuvṛtti commentary, unto my parātpara-gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who wrote the Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī commentary, unto Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī, the servant of the Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa deity, who wrote the Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā, unto Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who wrote this Śrī Upadeśāmṛta and whose only wealth is the amorous mellow of devotion (śṛṅgāra-rasa), and to his worshipful deity, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is decorated with the inner sentiment and bodily complexion of Śrī Rādhā. Falling at their feet again and again, I am beginning this translation of the Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā.
by Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī
Let there be all victory for Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa. I offer prayers unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is accompanied by the unfettered ascetic (avadhūta) Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, the identical manifestation of Śrī Baladeva, by Śrī Advaita Ācārya, the incarnation of Mahā-Viṣṇu, by His potencies such as Śrī Gadādhara and by His associates like Śrīvāsa. I take shelter of that Mahāprabhu, who is the fountainhead of all potencies of the world. I offer prayers with great respect and affection unto Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, whose entire wealth is śṛṅgāra-rasa. This means that the sole purpose of his life is to describe śṛṅgāra-rasa, also known as unnatojjvala-prema-rasa, the highest and most radiant divine love of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. He is always immersed in the service of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Govinda. He has purified all the living entities of this world by giving instructions on the methodology by which this type of prema may be obtained. I offer praṇāma unto Śrī Gopāla-bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who is very merciful to the destitute and wretched living entities, who are enamoured with the external energy. I offer praṇāma once more unto the ocean of mercy Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the incarnation who sanctifies this Kali-yuga, who distributes śrī-harināma and love of God (bhagavat-prema) and who delivers the souls (jīvas) of this Earth. I offer prayers unto Śrī Gopīnātha dāsa, a disciple of Śrī Gopāla-bhaṭṭa and servant of Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa, who has benedicted innumerable living entities by bestowing śrī gaura-bhakti. I offer praṇāma unto my gurudeva, Śrī Jīvana-lāla, of whom I am the grandson and servant. Offering praṇāma unto all of them, I am beginning this brief explanation of the verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, written by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī for the benefit of the sādhakas.
In Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined uttama-bhakti as the cultivation of activities for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed with a favourable mood, which is devoid of all other desires and which is not covered by knowledge aiming at the oneness of the jīvas with the Lord (jñāna) or by activity not meant exclusively for the Lord’s pleasure (karma). How can such uttama-bhakti manifest in persons whose hearts are filled with shortcomings such as lust and anger? In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
ākrāntaṁ yasya mānasam
kathaṁ tatra mukundasya
How can Śrī Mukunda ever be manifest to a person whose heart is invaded by lamentation, anger and other agitations?
The purport of this statement is that when contaminations such as lust, anger and greed arise within the mind, the six overwhelming passions mentioned in the original verse cause the mind to become thoroughly engrossed in fleeting objects of sensual gratification. The cultivation of unalloyed bhakti is never possible in such a contaminated heart. Therefore the instruction is given here to subdue these passions, which impede the development of bhakti. The sādhaka who can tolerate these passions can instruct the entire world. The conclusion is that a sādhaka who has conquered his senses and subdued these passions can purify all the jīvas of the world by his resolute and pure uttama-bhakti. Everyone may become the disciple of such a great personality.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.24) it is said:
vāg gadgadā dravate yasya cittaṁ
rudaty abhīkṣṇaṁ hasati kvacic ca
vilajja udgāyati nṛtyate ca
mad-bhakti-yukto bhuvanaṁ punāti
My dear Uddhava, My devotee whose voice becomes choked up with prema, whose heart softens and begins to flow with spiritual emotion, who cannot cease from crying even for an instant, who sometimes bursts into laughter, sometimes begins to sing very loudly, abandoning all shyness, and sometimes dances, purifies not only himself but the entire world.
It is essential to note here that by subduing the six passions described already, what is obtained is merely the qualification to enter the realm of bhakti. These are not direct limbs of devotional practice (sādhana-bhakti) but, rather, the doorway through which one may enter the realm of bhakti. Because bhakti is the self-manifest function of the Lord’s internal potency (svarūpa-śakti), when it makes its appearance these six passions automatically become pacified.
(Commentary in the form of a nectarean shower)
by Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
śrī godruma-candrāya namaḥ
Obeisance unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the moon of Śrī Godruma.
gauracandraṁ bhajāmi tam
I worship Śrī Gauracandra, the ocean of mercy from which arose a stream of nectar collected by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and brought forth in this world as Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.
ṭīkā-kāraṁ praṇamya ca
mayā viracyate vṛttiḥ
Bowing down with great humility, I offer praṇāma unto the author of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, and unto the commentator, Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī. Thus I begin this commentary, which is an offering of nectar.
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas), which is not covered by knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation (jñāna) or by reward-seeking activity (karma), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.
Adopting all those things mentioned in the above verse as favourable and renouncing all that is unfavourable, one adopts the cultivation of activities meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is this cultivation, or bhagavad-anuśīlana, which is the primary objective of persons intent on bhajana. The acceptance of that which is favourable and the rejection of that which is unfavourable are not direct limbs (aṅgas) of śuddha-bhakti. Rather, they are aspects of that faith which is characterised by surrender (śaraṇāgati), which in turn bestows qualification for bhakti. This is expressed as follows in the Vaiṣṇava-tantra (quoted in Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 236)):
goptṛtve varaṇaṁ thatā
There are six symptoms of self-surrender: (1) Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpa – fully surrendered sādhakas should accept only those things that are favourable for prema-bhakti. (2) Prātikūlya-vivarjana – they should completely reject those things that are unfavourable to prema-bhakti. (3) Rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāsa – they have firm faith that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is their only protector, that there is no protector other than Kṛṣṇa, and that one cannot obtain protection by any other activity. (4) Goptṛtve varaṇa – surrendered devotees have absolutely no doubt that Kṛṣṇa is their only guardian and maintainer. (5) Ātma-nikṣepa – offering the self to the Lord is expressed in this attitude: “I am incapable of doing anything independently. Unless Kṛṣṇa desires, no one can do anything.” Devotees who have no other resort (ātma-nikṣepa) have this kind of faith. (6) Kārpaṇya – humility is expressed as follows: “I am very fallen and insignificant.” Unalloyed devotees are possessed of this very firm and simple faith. To possess all these attitudes is called śaraṇāgati.
In this verse the instruction is given to abandon that which is unfavourable. One who is able to tolerate the overwhelming passions of speech, mind, anger, tongue, belly and genitals can instruct the entire world. In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
ākrāntaṁ yasya mānasam
kathaṁ tatra mukundasya
How can Śrī Mukunda ever be manifest to a person whose heart is invaded by lamentation, anger and other agitations?
The purport of this verse is that lust, anger, greed, illusion, intoxication, envy and other irritations always arise within the mind and thus attract the mind towards material sense objects. This is effected through six agencies: (1) by the urge to speak or the use of words that create distress for others; (2) by the agitation of the mind or the innumerable desires and plans fabricated within the mind; (3) by anger or the use of harsh words; (4) by the vehemence of the tongue or the greed to relish six kinds of taste, namely sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salty and astringent; (5) by the urge of the belly or the drive to eat more than necessary; and (6) by the agitation of the genitals or the desire for cohabitation between men and women. Thus agitated, the cultivation of śuddha-bhakti is not possible. In order to make the hearts of those who are pursuing the path of bhajana intent on bhakti, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has composed this verse first.
The attempt to restrain these six urges does not constitute bhakti-sādhana, rather it is a staircase to ascend to the platform of eligibility through which one may enter the temple of bhakti. On the paths of fruitive activity (karma) and the cultivation of knowledge (jñāna), one is instructed to curb these six urges. These instructions, however, are not applicable for pure devotees. In the scriptures, hearing, chanting and remembrance of the names, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are described as actual bhakti.
These six urges present various types of obstacles in the immature stage for the practitioner entering the path of bhakti. At that time the devotee, by taking shelter of the mood of exclusive śaraṇāgati and by avoiding the ten kinds of offences to the holy name (nāma-aparādha), becomes fit to dispel these obstacles through the power of harināma-kīrtana and so on. The association of spotless saints (sādhus) plays a very significant role in this matter. The Padma Purāṇa says:
yaḥ prīti-rahito ’dhamaḥ
ahaṁ mamādi paramo
nāmni so ’py aparādha-kṛt
Those who, in spite of hearing the astonishing glories of the holy name, maintain the conception that “I am this material body” and that worldly objects are “mine” and who display no persistence in or love for the utterance of the holy name are also offenders to the holy name.
The devotees are intent on practical renunciation (yukta-vairāgya) and thus they remain aloof from dry renunciation. Therefore the regulation to abandon all contact with the sense objects does not pertain to them. When the agitation of the mind is withdrawn or, in other words, when one is devoid of thirst for material enjoyment, the impetuosity of the eyes, the life air, the hearing propensity and all other drives become pacified.
Therefore persons who have gained victory over these six overwhelming passions can conquer the entire world. The instruction to tolerate these urges is given only for householder devotees, because before giving up householder life one must first have abandoned all types of urges.
by Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda
The supremely compassionate Śrī Śacīnadana Gaurahari, who purifies the fallen souls, displayed unlimited mercy towards the jīvas, who are ravaged by the influence of Kali and averted from the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, by manifesting the instructions known as Śrī Śikṣāsṭaka. In these verses He has very succinctly propounded in the form of codes all the instructions regarding the truths of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana for the living entities. His most beloved Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī heard all these extremely confidential truths of devotional tenets (bhakti-tattva) from His lotus mouth at Jagannātha Purī and Prayāga. Not only did he hear these teachings, but the all-powerful embodiment of prema, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, invested his heart with the potency by which he could realise these confidential truths of bhakti. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī revealed these instructions in simple and straightforward Sanskrit language in his books such as Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Lalita-mādhava, Vidagdha-mādhava, Stava-mālā and others. These sacred jewels of literature are a mine of good fortune filled with the priceless gems of prema. Śrī Upadeśāmṛta is one such invaluable jewel of prema. It is a necklace for the devotees of Mahāprabhu (gaura-bhaktas). Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī collected the essence of all the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and offered it as a gift to the genuine sādhakas.
In Śrī Upadeśāmṛta two kinds of instruction are given. The first is to give up things that are unfavourable to bhakti, and the second is to adopt things that are favourable to bhakti. As long as the sādhaka fails to apply these two kinds of instruction in his life, there is no possibility that bhāva-bhakti will manifest in his heart, what to speak of prema-bhakti. At present there are many persons who adhere to various types of fabricated views, to doctrines that display only an external veneer of religion but are actually opposed to bhakti, to ideas that are contrary to the Vedas, to opportunistic views, and to the doctrines of imitationism (sahajiyā), impersonalism (māyāvāda) and other diverse and contrary opinions. All such persons fear the instructions given in the form of this Upadeśāmṛta, considering them to be the personification of Yamarāja, he who administers punishment to the deceased. But faithful persons who study and recite this Upadeśāmṛta with great love and apply it in their lives will become free from all kinds of doubt in regard to bhakti and will easily attain first bhāva-bhakti and finally the most rare prema-bhakti. Therefore, holding the dust of the lotus feet of the gurus following in the line of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī upon my head, this Śrī Varṣabhānavī-dayita dāsa, the servant of the lord of the life (prāṇanātha) of Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrīmatī Rādhikā, is setting down this commentary of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta named Anuvṛtti. The purpose of doing so is to immerse the jīvas in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which was revealed by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and which was practised and preached by the Vaiṣṇava preceptors who follow Śrī Rūpa (rūpānuga-vaiṣṇava-ācāryas), such as Śrī Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī and Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
There are three kinds of overwhelming passions observed in worldly living entities attached to material sense enjoyment: the urges of speech, mind and body. When one falls into the powerful current of these three impetuous demands, it is very difficult to gain deliverance. Falling into the stream of repeated birth and death, such living entities are deprived of their spiritual well-being. But self-controlled persons who tolerate these demands are not overwhelmed by material sense enjoyment. They are competent to vanquish this material world.
The demands of speech refer to the speculations of the followers of impersonalism (nirviśeṣa-vādīs), which are opposed to bhakti; to the logical deliberations of the resultoriented workers ensnared in material activities, which stress the fruits of action; and to all talk not related to the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa but related to varieties of desire for material enjoyment. The demands of speech do not refer to those words that apply to the service of the Lord. On the contrary, such talks should be considered as the fruit of tolerating the demands of speech. Sometimes, although one adopts a vow of silence, he expresses desires for material enjoyment and so on simply by his bearing or by writing. These are also included within the demands of speech.
The agitations of the mind are of two types: (1) avirodha-pritī – unimpeded attachment and (2) virodha-yukta-krodha – anger arising from impediments. Attachment for the faith of the māyāvādīs, veneration towards the adherence to result-oriented activity and belief in the ideas of those who have many desires not related to the service of Kṛṣṇa, are three kinds of avirodha-pritī. Mere indifference to the activities of the jñānīs, karmīs and persons possessing other desires is but the unmanifest or undeveloped stage of unimpeded attachment. When there is an impediment to the fulfilment of material desires, when one fails to obtain the cherished fruit of one’s work, and when in spite of all endeavour one does not obtain liberation (mukti), anger comes about. To meditate upon the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not a form of mental agitation, rather it is the means by which all mental agitation becomes pacified.
The demands of the body are also of three types: the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals. Anxiousness to relish any of the six kinds of taste and greed to enjoy animal flesh, fish, eggs, wine, excessive ghee, milk, rabaḍī (a condensed milk-sweet), cream and so on is known as the impetuosity of the tongue. Sādhus also avoid eating foods that are overly bitter or spiced with hot chili. Consumption of betel nut, the mixture of betel with various spices (pāna), cigarettes, marijuana, hemp, opium and other intoxicating substances, as well as onions and garlic, are also counted as impetuous demands of the tongue. Sādhakas of bhakti must never indulge in these intoxicants. One should very carefully save oneself from the vehemence of the tongue by honouring the food remnants (mahā-prasāda) of Bhagavān and His devotees. Although mahā-prasāda may be very tasteful, it is not included within the demands of the tongue. By honouring it with great faith one can conquer the demands of the tongue. But if on the pretext of accepting prasāda one desires one’s own enjoyment and cunningly relishes its taste, that is also included as the passion of the tongue. To eat very costly and delicious food items such as rabaḍī and cream offered to the demigods (devatās) at the houses of wealthy persons is detrimental for renounced (niskiñcana) Vaiṣṇavas. In order to satisfy the lust of the tongue one may become ensnared in various types of reprehensible behaviour and bad association. In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 6.227, 236) it is said:
jihvāra lālase jei iti-uti dhāya
śiśnodara-parāyaṇa kṛṣṇa nāhi pāya
bhāla na khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe
Persons who are prone to carnal pleasure and eating too much and who run here and there to satisfy the greed of the tongue never obtain Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should not wear elegant and expensive clothes, nor should one eat delicious food.
Sādhakas should very carefully avoid these things. Gluttonous persons usually suffer from different types of diseases. By eating too much, many difficulties ensue. Persons who eat excessively generally become subservient to the demands of the genitals and thus become debauchees. By accepting bhagavat-prasāda in a suitable manner, by observing Ekādaśī in accordance with the regulations and by serving Kṛṣṇa, the demands of the belly are mitigated.
The demands of the genitals are of two types: in accordance with scripture and not sanctioned by scripture. When a person who has attained maturity marries in accordance with scriptural regulations and observes the prescribed dharma for a householder (gṛhastha) by following the proper behavioural codes for begetting good progeny, he regulates the demand of the genitals. This is classified as sex indulgence in accordance with scripture. There are many different types of illicit sexual indulgence, such as transgressing scriptural and social codes and accepting another man’s wife, lusting after eight types of conjugal exchanges and enjoying the senses by artificial and licentious means contrary to scriptural codes. Both householders and renunciant who are sādhakas of bhakti should always remain aloof from the demands of the tongue, belly and genitals.
In his book Prema-vivarta (7.3.1–4), the associate of Śrī Caitanyadeva, Śrī Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, has said:
vairāgī bhāī grāmya kathā nā śunibe kāne
grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe jabe milibe āne
svapne o nā kara bhāī strī sambhāṣaṇa
gṛhe strī chāḍiyā bhāī āsiyācha vana
yadi cāha praṇaya rākhite gaurāṅgera sane
choṭa haridāsera kathā thāke jena mane
bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe
hṛdayete rādhā-Kṛṣṇa sarvadā sevibe
O Vaiṣṇava mendicant, O brother, whomever you should meet, do not hear from him nor speak with him about mundane subjects. Do not speak intimately with a woman even in your dreams. O brother, you should give up your wife and household and retire to the forest. If you wish to develop love for the lotus feet of Śrī Śacīnadana Gaurahari, then you should always remember the example of Choṭa Haridāsa. If you desire bhagavad-bhakti, then you should not eat delicious food nor dress yourself very luxuriously. In this way you should always serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa within your heart.
Only one who is fully able to tolerate the six urges of body, mind and words that have already been described is fit to be addressed by the title of “Gosvāmī”, or one who is the master of his senses. Such Gosvāmīs are the true servants of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Those who, on the contrary, are controlled by these six demands should be called go-dāsa, servant or slave of the senses, and not Gosvāmī.
Those who are go-dāsa, servants of the senses, are actually servants of the illusory energy (māyā). If, therefore, they desire to become servants of Kṛṣṇa, they should follow in the footsteps of those who are truly Gosvāmīs. There is no means other than this. Those whose senses are not controlled can never become devotees of Śrī Hari. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.30) Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja has said:
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
O Father, materialistic persons are simply milling over that which has already been milled and chewing that which has already been chewed. Because their senses are not controlled they are proceeding towards the dreadful hell of this material existence, repeatedly trying to enjoy that which has already been consumed. The intelligence of such materially attached persons cannot be turned towards Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa either by their own endeavour, by the instruction of others or by the association of similar materialistic persons.
Sambandha is the principle regarding the mutual relationship between the Lord, the living entities and the material energy.
Abhideya is the means by which the ultimate goal is achieved, in other words, the practices of sādhana-bhakti.
Prayojana is the ultimate goal of devotional life, kṛṣṇa-prema.
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.1), bhāva is defined as follows: “Bhāva-bhakti is a special manifestation of the potency of unalloyed goodness (śuddha-sattva). In other words, the constitutional characteristic of bhāva-bhakti is that it is a phenomenon entirely constituted of śuddha-sattva. It is like a ray (kiraṇa) of the sun of prema and it softens the heart by various tastes (ruci).”
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.1), prema is defined as follows: “Bhāva-bhakti which melts the heart much more so than in its initial stage, which greatly augments the feeling of transcendental bliss, and which bestows a deep sense of possessiveness (mamatā) in relationship to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called prema by the learned.”
The six kinds of taste are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.