Book excerpts Sri Upadesamrta VERSE 7: The Process of Performing Bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Names and...

VERSE 7: The Process of Performing Bhajana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Names and Pastimes

स्यात् कृष्णनामचरितादि सिताप्यविद्या
पित्तोपतप्तरसनस्य न रोचिका नु ।
किन्तवादरादनुदिनं खलु सैव जुष्टा
स्वाद्वी क्रमाद्भवति तद्गदमूलहन्त्री ॥७॥

syāt kṛṣṇa-nāma-caritādi-sitāpy avidyā-
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocikā nu
kintv ādarād anudinaṁ khalu saiva juṣṭā
svādvī kramād bhavati tad-gada-mūla-hantrī


nu aho!; sitā api – even the delightfully sweet sugar-candy; kṛṣṇa-nāma-caritādi – of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes; na syāt – is not; rocikā – tasteful; rasanasya – to the tongue; upatapta – that is afflicted; pitta – by the jaundice; avidyā – of ignorance (or, in other words, he who is afflicted by the ignorance born of being indifferent to Kṛṣṇa from a time without beginning); kintu – but; khalu – certainly; sā eva – that very sugar-candy of Kṛṣṇa’s names, activities and so forth; juṣṭā – when taken therapeutically; anudinam – constantly; ādarāt – with respect or faith; kramāt – then gradually; bhavati – it becomes; svādvī – very tasteful; hantrī – and destroys; mūla – to the root; tad-gada – that disease of indifference to Kṛṣṇa, which is expressed in the form of absorption in mundane sense enjoyment.


Aho! Those whose tongues are afflicted by the jaundice of avidyā (or, in other words, those who are afflicted by the ignorance born of being indifferent to Śrī Kṛṣṇa from a time without beginning) cannot relish the nectarean names, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which are compared to the sweetest sugar-candy. Instead, these attributes taste bitter to them. But if with great faith one regularly takes this sugar-candy of chanting and hearing the transcendental names, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, it gradually becomes relishable to him and destroys at the root his disease, the jaundice of avidyā, or indifference to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In other words he becomes spontaneously attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


When sādhakas are still affected by the obstacles that impede progress in devotional life (anarthas), their minds are restless and disturbed. For this reason it is not easy for them to develop a taste for Bhagavān’s name and so forth. Still, they should not relent even a little in their determination to continue performing nāma-bhajana. Being indifferent to Śrī Kṛṣṇa since beginningless time is called avidyā, ignorance. In this verse such avidyā is compared to the disease of jaundice. When one is afflicted with this disease, his tongue’s sense of taste is warped. Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes are like the sweetest sugar-candy, a person afflicted by ignorance does not find them tasteful. By regularly taking sugar-candy, one’s jaundice is gradually mitigated and the candy also begins to become tasteful to him. Similarly, by daily cultivating in a regulated manner the limbs of bhakti, headed by performing kīrtana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names and hearing narrations of His pastimes, a sādhaka’s anarthas, beginning with the tendency to commit offences, are eradicated and natural love for śrī nāma and hari-kathā awakens within him.


In the third verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, qualities and activities that nourish bhakti were given. In addition to those qualities and activities, this verse describes the procedure for the cultivation of chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma and so forth with sambandha-jñāna. The tongue afflicted with the jaundice of avidyā cannot narrate Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes or chant His name. But regularly taking the sugar-candy of hearing and chanting Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā with great respect is capable of eradicating the disease of ignorance. Each and every jīva, like a minute conscious particle within a ray of the complete conscious Kṛṣṇa-sun, is by nature an eternal servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When the jīva forgets this fact, he is seized by the disease of ignorance. Due to this, he is devoid of taste for devotional activities, headed by the chanting of Kṛṣṇa’s name. But by taking good association and by the resultant mercy received from the sādhu, guru and Vaiṣṇava, he becomes capable of remembering Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes and he gradually obtains realisation of his eternal self. As realisation of his eternal nature gradually expands, his taste for devotional activities like chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma increases accordingly. Simultaneously his ignorance is dispelled step by step. This is the basis for the comparison to sugar-candy. The tongue of one afflicted with jaundice will not find sugar-candy tasteful. But by taking this candy regularly, his jaundice is gradually cured and that sugar-candy will begin to become tasteful to him. Therefore, with enthusiasm, firm faith and patience, one should always continue to hear and chant Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes.


Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes are compared to sugar-candy, and ignorance is compared to jaundice. Just as delectably sweet sugar-candy does not appeal to the tongue that is afflicted by jaundice, the delightful and delicious sugar-candy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes does not appeal to the jīva who is engulfed by ignorance, due to his indifference to Kṛṣṇa, which has no beginning in time.

If, however, one continuously takes the medicine of this sugar-candy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes with great honour and faith, the sweet taste of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name will gradually increase and the disease of material enjoyment, which is rooted in the desire to be aloof from Kṛṣṇa, will be dissipated.

In the Padma Purāṇa (Svarga-khaṇḍa 48.56) it is confirmed that the principal effect of the holy name will not be immediately experienced when taken by those who are materially engrossed:

tac-cad deha-draviṇa-janatā-lobha-pāṣaṇḍa-madhye
nikṣiptaṁ syān na phala-janakaṁ śīghram evātra vipra

O brāhmaṇa, if the Lord’s holy name is cast among the atheists, who are lustful towards the body, material possessions and family members, it will not quickly produce the fruit of love for Him.

Due to the influence of ignorance, the jīva thinks highly of his material body, family members and material attachments. He mistakenly considers the illusory energy, which is active only where there is an absence of awareness of the Lord, as the supreme controlling entity, Bhagavān. Thus he is unable to understand his true spiritual identity. By the power of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, the false egoism arising from the jīva’s ignorance is dispelled like fog. At that time the jīva acquires a taste for performing kṛṣṇa-bhajana.

[CC-by-ND GVP]

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