atha vaidhī lakṣanaṁ – śravaṇa-kīrtanādīni śāstra-śāsana- bhayena yadi kriyante tadā vaidhī-bhaktiḥ.
Now the symptoms of vaidhī-bhakti are being described. If the limbs of bhakti such as śravaṇa and kīrtana are performed out of fear of scriptural discipline, it is called vaidhī-bhakti.
Bhakti is of two kinds: vaidhī-bhakti and rāgānuga-bhakti. The limbs of sādhana that are performed on the paths of both these types of bhakti are generally considered to be one and the same. Nonetheless there is a specific distinction between them. In some devotees intense longing or greed (lobha) is the cause of engagement in bhakti, whereas in others the discipline of the scriptures is the cause of engagement in bhakti.
sā vaidhī bhaktir ucyate
Sādhana-bhakti that is not inspired by intense longing, but is instigated instead by the discipline of the scriptures, is called vaidhī-bhakti.
One should understand what is meant by the discipline of the scriptures. In all scriptures, of which Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the foremost, bhagavad-bhakti is said to be the supreme duty for the jīvas. If a person fulfils all his worldly obligations but does not engage in hari-bhajana, he descends to a dreadful hell.
ya eṣāṁ puruṣaṁ sākṣād
na bhajanty avajānanti
sthānād bhraṣṭāḥ patanty adhaḥ
The original Supreme Lord is Himself the creator of the four varṇas and four āśramas. He is the Lord, the controller and the soul of them all. Therefore if anyone belonging to the four varṇas and āśramas fails to worship the Lord and disrespects Him instead, he is deprived of his position, varṇa and āśrama, and falls down to hell.
In Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.26) Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī has described the substance of this śloka in the verse given below:
cāri varṇāśramī yadi kṛṣṇa nāhi bhaje
svakarma karite se raurave paḍi’ maje
The brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras may perfectly carry out their varṇa-dharma. The brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs may thoroughly execute their āśrama-dharma. If, however, they do not worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then although they may obtain elevation due to material prestige, their piety will wane and they will most certainly fall down to the hell known as Raurava.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.1.32) Devarṣi Nārada has said:
tasmāt kenāpy upāyena
manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet
The basic and primary aim of all types of sādhana is to fix the mind on Kṛṣṇa by whatever method is effective.
This is stated in the Padma Purāṇa also:
smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇur
vismartavyo na jātucit
sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur
etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
That which has been ascertained in the scriptures to be duty for the jīvas is called vidhi, regulation, and that which has been forbidden is called niṣedha, prohibition. Vaidha-dharma for the jīvas, or religion that is enacted in accordance with scriptural regulations, involves observing rules and prohibitions. One should remember Lord Viṣṇu at all times – this is the basis of all positive injunctions (vidhi). All the regulations of varṇa and āśrama are attendants of this primary injunction. Never forget the Lord at any time – this is the basis of all prohibitory injunctions (niṣedha). All the prohibitory injunctions such as the avoidance of sins, abandonment of apathy towards the Lord and atonement of sins are attendants of this primary prohibition. To observe these rules and prohibitions is to accept the discipline and direction of the scriptures. When the jīvas are engaged in bhakti out of fear of violating the directions of the scriptures it is called vaidhī-bhakti.
By taking darśana of the deity of the Lord and by hearing the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in childhood, boyhood and youth, as described in the tenth canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, intense longing (lobha) arises for the practice of bhajana. When intense longing has not arisen (in other words when lobha is not the cause of one’s engagement in bhakti) and the discipline of the scriptures alone is the cause for such engagement, it is called vaidhī-bhakti.