Book excerpts Śrī Bhakti rasāmṛta sindhu bindu Verse 10: Further Discussion on Rāgānuga-bhakti

Verse 10: Further Discussion on Rāgānuga-bhakti

tatra rāgānugāyāṁ smaraṇasya mukhyatvam. tac ca smaraṇaṁ nija-bhāvo cit-līlāveśa-svabhāvasya śrī-kṛṣṇasya tat-priya-janasya ca. tathaiva kīrtanādikam api arcanādāv api mudrā-nyāsādi-dvārakā-dhyānādi-rukmiṇyādi pūjādi kam api nija-bhāva-prātikū-lyād āgamādi-śāstra-vihitam api na kuryād iti, bhakti-mārge kiñcit kiñcit aṅga-vaikalye ’pi doṣābhāva smaraṇāt.

na hy aṅgopakrame dhvaṁso
mad-dharmasyoddhavāṇv api
mayā vyavasitaḥ samyaṅ
nirguṇatvād anāśiṣaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.20)

aṅgivaikalye tu astyeva doṣaḥ. yad uktam

śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate

yadi cāntare rāgo vartate, atha ca sarvam eva vidhi-dṛṣṭyaiva karoti, tadā dvārakāyāṁ rukmiṇyāditvaṁ prāpnoti.

Śrī Bindu-vikāśinī-vṛtti

In rāgānuga-bhakti, referred to above, the predominant aṅga is smaraṇa (remembrance). Smaraṇa should be related to Kṛṣṇa and His beloved associates who are distinguished by pastimes (līlā), emotional rapture (āveśa) and natures (svabhāva) that are appropriate for one’s own internal spiritual mood. The other limbs of bhakti such as kīrtana and so on should also be related to Kṛṣṇa and His dear ones who are characterised by pastimes, emotional rapture and natures befitting one’s own internal spiritual mood. In the process of arcana one is recommended to employ mudrās (particular positions of intertwining the fingers), nyāsa (consigning the prāṇas or the five life-airs to the mind, or mental assignment of various parts of the body to different deities), meditation on Dvārakā, worship of the queens of Dvārakā and so on. Although these limbs of bhakti are prescribed in the āgama-śāstras, they are not to be followed in rāgānuga-bhakti because they are unfavourable to one’s particular spiritual mood (bhāva-pratikūla). Thus on the path of bhakti, although there may be some diminution or relinquishment of certain aṅgas, no detrimental effect will ensue. In regard to this topic Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa has said to Uddhava:

na hy aṅgopakrame dhvaṁso
mad-dharmasyoddhavāṇv api
mayā vyavasitaḥ samyaṅ
nirguṇatvād anāśiṣaḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.20)

O Uddhava, once the practice of bhakti-dharma consisting of śravaṇa and kīrtana related to Me has begun, no harm whatsoever can be done to the root of bhakti, even though there may be diminution of certain aṅgas. This is because bhakti-dharma is beyond the jurisdiction of the material modes of nature. There is no possibility of its being destroyed by any means because I have ensured this dharma in this way for My unalloyed devotees.

On the path of bhakti no harm is done either by non-performance of the assortment of activities appropriate for varṇāśrama or by diminution of certain limbs of bhakti. This is fine. But there is certainly great harm if there is diminution of any of the principal limbs of bhakti such as taking shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, śravaṇa, kīrtana and so on. Therefore one should take great care that there be no decline in any of the principal limbs of bhakti. This is declared in the āgama-śāstras, as quoted in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.101):

śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate

Although engaged in single-minded devotion to Lord Hari, if one transgresses the regulations mentioned in the Śruti, Smṛti, Purāṇas and the Nārada-pañcarātra, great misgivings (anarthas) are produced.

There is one more point to be considered. A devotee who has an intense desire within his heart to obtain the spiritual mood of the Vrajavāsīs and who executes all the limbs of bhakti in accordance with the vidhi-mārga, obtains fidelity only to Rukmiṇī and the other principal queens of Dvārakā. In other words he attains to the position of the queens of Dvārakā.

Comment

Because the practice of smaraṇa is predominant in rāgānuga-bhakti, some persons, prior to the actual appearance of rāga within the heart, make a deceitful display of solitary bhajana while still plagued with anarthas. They consider themselves rāgānuga-bhaktas and thus begin to practise remembrance of aṣṭa-kālīyā-līlā. But to display the exclusive devotion that is described in the śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi verse is for them the cause of great disturbance. Some ineligible persons who are entangled in anarthas obtain so-called siddha-praṇālī from such deceitful people, and by imitation they begin to consider themselves fit to conduct the practice of rāgānuga-bhakti. But without the appearance of genuine greed (lobha) they cannot obtain qualification by pretentious means.

Because the vidhi-mārga is mixed with the mood of Dvārakā and the majestic conception (aiśvarya), one cannot obtain the service of Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa by that means. This is confirmed in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.226): “vidhi-mārge nāhi pāiye braje kṛṣṇacandra – one cannot obtain Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra in Vraja by following the vidhi-mārga.”

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