BG 12-What really is Bhakti - 2012-05-11 New Vrindavan

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Transcript BG 12-What really is Bhakti - 2012-05-11 New Vrindavan

Bhagavad gétä

Chapter 12

Part 1: texts 1-7 overview of two paths

For each Path: Goals —Process—Nature of the Path —Deliverance and Qualifications

Part 2: texts 8-12 how the paths fix together

How each path can lead to pure bhakti

Part 3: texts 13-20 the qualities of those who have reached at least the threshold of bhakti

The qualities of peace

Part 1

texts 1-7


spiritual loving service for Çyämasundara

One Goal: Two Paths

What is a better way to reach the goal of spiritual loving service for Çyämasundara?

To start with bhakti from the beginning, or to go through a step by step process that leads to bhakti?



Process (text 2)

mayy äveçya mano—mind fixed on Çyämasundara


çraddhayä—with faith; parayä— transcendental faith above the modes


nitya yuktä upäsate—always engage in worship of Çyämasundara


Whatever work one does, is done for Kåñëa “The devotee does not desire any achievement other than pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His life's mission is to please Kåñëa”


Sometimes he chants, sometimes he hears or reads books about Kåñëa, or sometimes he cooks prasädam or goes to the marketplace to purchase something for Kåñëa, or sometimes he washes the temple or the dishes — whatever he does, he does not let a single moment pass without devoting his activities to Kåñëa. Such action is in full samädhi. (purport Bg 12.2)

Nature of this path

Easy and natural example: Embodied souls can worship the Deity, perceivable with material senses (purport 12.5)

Deliverance and Qualifications

Even though the devotees endure difficulty in withdrawing the senses from objects other than Kåñëa and in engaging in the various




, they do not experience the same suffering as the impersonalists because of the dazzling attraction of Kåñëa’s blissful form. (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa)

Kåñëa personally delivers the devotee. “The Lord Himself takes him. The devotee does not need to wait to become very experienced in order to transfer himself to the spiritual sky.” ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Even if the devotee has not attained transcendent jïäna or has not properly done all aspects of dharmic karma, Kåñëa personally delivers the devotee.

According to My desire, unchecked, I bring them to My


, putting them on the shoulders of Garuòa, without going via the path of light. (

Varäha Puräëa)

No previous qualification needed Pure devotional service is so powerful, however, that one may at once take to it without acquiring the previous qualification of brahma bhüta life. A sincere devotee who engages in the service of the Lord automatically becomes situated in the brahma bhüta stage. ( Çréla Prabhupäda)




Kåñëa says, they “at last achieve Me” (Text 4) Which form of “Me”?

a form predominated by extreme majesty (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa) impersonal Brahman ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura) Çré Kåñëa, Väsudeva (Çréla Prabhupäda)

Immediate goal: Is it self or Brahman?

Is Arjuna asking about those who meditate on the self, or those who meditate on Brahman?

(text 1)

Self Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa Rämänujäcärya Brahman Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura Çréla Prabhupäda

Both self and Brahman

“perceive the Supersoul within the individual soul.” ( Çréla Prabhupäda purport Bg 12.3-4) Whether one starts at the self or starts at Brahman as the goal, one will realize the self and the Superself

Description of Goal (self or Brahman) Text 1 ( Arjuna’s question) akñaram—beyond the senses avyaktam —the unmanifested

Description of the Goal Text 3-4 ( Kåñëa’s answer) akñaram—that which is beyond the perception of the senses anirdeçyam—indefinite avyaktam —unmanifested sarvatra-gam —all—pervading acintyam —inconceivable küöa-stham—unchanging acalam —immovable dhruvam —fixed

Why would someone want to first realize the self rather than starting with bhakti?

They think it is better to remove all obstacles first and then perform bhakti, rather than remove obstacles to bhakti by bhakti itself Note: those on this path may not have bhakti as their goal from the beginning

Why first realize the self?

svānubhava-pūrvakasya hari-dhyānasya bandha mūlatvāt tena nirvighnā tat-prāptir ity eke

This means, “Some say that (ity eke), because meditation on Hari (hari dhyānasya) is firmly grounded (bandha mūlatvāt) when preceded by experience of one's own self ( svānubhava-pūrvasya), attainment of Hari (tat prāptiḥ) by means of that meditation (tena) is without obstacles ( nirvighnā).” (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa)

Why first realize the self?

Self-realization [the brahma bhüta [Bg 18.54 + SB 4.30.20] stage] is symptomized by joyfulness. One never laments for any loss, nor is one very enthusiastic when there is some gain. One sees everyone on an equal level through spiritual understanding. These qualities are preliminary to entering into pure devotional service.

( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Process (texts 3-4)

paryupäsate—worship sanniyamyendriya grämaà—control all the senses sarvatra sama buddhayaù—seeing everyone equally (no duality self/others) sarva bhüta-hite ratäù—working for the welfare of all living entities

Nature of this path

To attain impersonal perfection is:

troublesome difficult theoretical at first one can realize the eternal and knowledgeable aspects of the self, but not the blissful portion

Nature of this path


How can one perceive the unmanifest through senses? So, one has to stop the senses, but that is like stopping a river ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Nature of this path: Needs worship

Furthermore, even that goal of impersonal Brahman which is attained by such suffering is attained only by having a mixture with


. Without


to the Lord, the worshippers of the impersonal Brahman obtain only suffering, and not Brahman. Brahmä says: As a person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, one who simply speculates cannot achieve self-realization. His only gain is trouble.


10.14.4 ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Nature of this path

This unmanifested realization is against the nature of his spiritual blissful self ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Nature of this path

there is the danger of turning to atheism the curse at Dakña’s sacrifice: “One who takes a vow to satisfy Lord Siva or who follows such principles will certainly become an atheist and be diverted from transcendental scriptural injunctions.” (SB 4.2.28)

Needs Prior Qualification

Those who have been able to eradicate their sins by living according to the dictates of their social and spiritual order, and who have thus acquired sufficient piety, are qualified to practice karma-yoga. Gradually they progress to jïäna-yoga, and finally, in meditation, they realize the transcendental and supreme position of the Lord. (Renunciation Through Wisdom)

Deliverance: Bridge to Bhakti

After attaining impersonal perfection:

By the grace of some devotee process of , such a transcendentalist, highly learned in the jïäna-yoga, may come to the point of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. At that time, long practice in impersonalism also becomes a source of trouble, because he cannot give up the idea. Therefore an embodied soul is always in difficulty with the unmanifest, both at the time of practice and at the time of realization. ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Part 2

texts 8-12



spiritual loving service for Çyämasundara


There are acceptable processes, good processes, better processes, and best processes to achieve the goal


Better to achieve success at a lower level than to fail at a higher level What is “best” for an individual is what he or she can succeed at now “the best path” versus “the best path for me now”

What is the Best Process to Reach the Goal?

Have fixed mind and intelligence on Kåñëa ädhatsva—fix

Concentrate your mind on Kåñëa only, remember only Kåñëa(

mayy eva mana ädhatsva

), that form of Çyämasundara, with yellow cloth and forest garland--and not the impersonal Brahman. And also, fix your intelligence, which has the power of discrimination, upon Kåñëa. This means to continually reflect on the statements of scripture using intelligence, which will result in meditation. Such contemplation is called


. Thus, you will attain residence near Kåñëa. (Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Who can follow this best process?

The person who already has an attachment for Kåñëa.


Kåñëa and His internal potency dance on one’s tongue while chanting Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa directly accepts food that’s offered Devotee does not live on the material plane

What do we call this best process?

The practice ( sädhana) of following in the footsteps of rägatmikä bhakti is called rägänugä bhakti (Bhaktivinode Öhäkura) (text 8)

Suppose one is not qualified for the best process?

Step to Rägänugä bhakti: Abhyäsa-yoga Practice to fix the mind in trance of samädhi “From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.” (Bg 6.26)

the essence of abhyäsa-yoga

Repeatedly withdrawing the mind when it goes here and there, and fixing the mind on Kåñëa is called


. ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura) (


literally means “repetition”)

Abhyäsa-yoga is on the transcendent platform “Practice of devotional service in the material field is of eighty-one different qualities, and above such activities is the transcendental practice of devotional service, which is one and is called sädhana-bhakti” (purport SB 1.7.10)


Love of God is now in a dormant state in everyone's heart. The heart has to be purified of the material association, and that dormant, natural love for Kåñëa has to be revived. That is the whole process. ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

How to do abhyäsa-yoga

Under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, follow certain principles: one should rise early in the morning, take bath, enter the temple and offer prayers and chant Hare Kåñëa, then collect flowers to offer to the Deity, cook foodstuffs to offer to the Deity, take prasädam, and so on. There are various rules and regulations which one should follow. And one should constantly hear Bhagavad Prabhupäda) gétä and Çrémad Bhägavatam from pure devotees. (Çréla

How to do abhyäsa-yoga

While performing duties according to the order of Çré Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one constantly remembers Him, His names and His qualities.

(SB 1.5.36)

How to do abhyäsa-yoga

The gross body should be engaged in acts of rendering service to the Lord (as in bringing water, cleansing the temple or making obeisances, etc.). The path of arcanä, or worshiping the Lord in the temple, involves engaging one's gross body in the service of the Lord. Similarly, the subtle mind should be engaged in hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord, thinking about them, chanting His name, etc. (purport SB 1.5.27)

How to do abhyäsa-yoga

“One need not bother about materials to keep body and soul together, because by the grace of the Lord everything is carried out automatically.” (purport Bg 12.20)


What is the bridge from abhyäsa yoga to rägänugä bhakti?

“In this way (by repetitive practice) develop a desire to attain Me ( Kåñëa)”



The materialistic world is called the darkest region of God's creation. Yet the unhappy materialists can get out of it simply by desiring to get out.” (purport SB 1.2.3)

Abhyäsa-yoga to rägänugä bhakti

rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava)




Direct Path to Abhyäsa-yoga

rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava) desire abhyäsa-yoga aìgas of bhakti

Direct Path to sädhana-bhakti ( abhyäsa-yoga): aìgas of bhakti “Doing services (

karmäëi kurvan

) such as hearing and singing about Me, bowing to Me, worshiping Me, sweeping and washing My temple, picking flowers, even without remembrance of Me as previously described , you will attain perfection (


), characterized by being one of My associates in


.” These are external activities of


( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura, text 10)

Mood and Goal: aìgas of bhakti

Conviction that the association of Kåñëa in His supreme abode Goloka Våndävana is the highest perfection of life. no attraction for: higher planets such as the moon or sun or heaven highest planet of this universe, Brahmaloka merging into the glowing brahma-jyotir effulgence

Bridge to Abhyäsa-yoga

What is the bridge from doing the aìgas of bhakti mostly externally to abhyäsa-yoga?

All the qualifications of peace (12.13 20) enable him to fix his mind and intelligence entirely on the Supreme Lord


Side note: How does the person on

the bhakti path

achieve peace?

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries. (Bg 5.29)

Kartämi çäyé "the boss"

Kartämi-çäyé, "the boss"

yad atra kriyate karma bhagavat paritoñaëam jïänaà yat tad adhénaà hi bhakti-yoga-samanvitam Whatever work is done here in this life for the satisfaction of the mission of the Lord called bhakti-yoga, or transcendental is loving service to the Lord.

(SB 1.5.35)

Kartämi-çäyé, "the boss"

In every sphere of life the Lord should be situated as the proprietor …even in our ordinary dealings (for example, in our household affairs or in our business or profession) (purport SB 1.5.36)

Kartämi-çäyé, "the boss"

“One should not be attached to the result of his work, but the result should be offered to Kåñëa, and one should accept as prasädam the remnants of offerings to Kåñëa.” (purport 11.55, referred to in the purport of 12.10)

Summary of direct path

Engaging the senses in activities of bhakti; external Practice of pulling the mind back repeatedly to Kåñëa while engaging the senses in bhakti; internal + external Full absorption of mind and intellect in Kåñëa, leading to

smaraëa ätmika

; internal

Two Paths to Abhyäsa-yoga

rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava)


abhyäsa-yoga yoga ladder: indirect aìgas of bhakti: direct

Indirect Path to sädhana-bhakti ( abhyäsa-yoga): yoga ladder (purport Bg 12.12) work for purification not heaven knowledge of self and Brahman meditate on self and Brahman achieve realization of self, Brahman, and Paramätmä pious work for heaven on earth or after death ( varëäçrama)

Overview of Indirect Path


Live according to the dictates of one’s social and spiritual order , and acquire sufficient piety to qualify to 2. practice karma-yoga 3. Progress to jïäna-yoga 4. Finally, in meditation ( Lord dhyäna-yoga ), realize the transcendental and supreme position of the 5. See in the heart the eternal, transcendental, two-handed form of the Supreme Lord, known as Çyämasundara , playing His flute ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Preliminary Qualification

Live according to the dictates of one’s social and spiritual order , to acquire sufficient piety.


(Renunciation Through Wisdom)

Step one on the yoga ladder

karma-yoga: work detached from the fruit of work (heaven on earth or heaven): work for purification only — detached varëäçrama duties sarva-karma-phala tyägaà (verse 11) karma-phala tyägas (verse 12)

Step one on the yoga ladder: process

mad-yogam äçritaù –

taking refuge in My method which gives protection taking shelter of the process of offering all your actions to Me


with controlled mind

Step Two on the Yoga Ladder

“Study the Upaniñads and gain brahma jïäna , impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth, and then he advances still further, to säìkhya-yoga, in order to understand the supreme controller, who is indicated in Bhagavad gétä 10.12: paraà brahma paraà dhäma pavitraà paramaà bhavän/puruñaà çäçvatam” (purport SB 10.8.45)


The purpose of säìkhya and karma yoga are the same (BG 5.4) and therefore it is not always necessary for a person to start with karma-yoga after varëäçrama-dharma, even on the indirect path. One can go from varëäçrama-dharma directly to jïäna yoga

How does karma-yoga and/or jïäna-yoga prepare one for dhyänä-yoga?

“Charity, prescribed duties, observing major and minor regulative principles, hearing from scripture, performing pious works, and observing purifying vows all finally aim at subduing the mind. Indeed, concentration of the mind on the Supreme is the highest yoga.” (SB 11.23.45 quoted in purport 2.3.147)

What is the bridge from karma yoga to jïäna-yoga and/or dhyänä yoga?

tyägäc chäntir anantaram (12.12) Through detached work with the goal of purification rather than heaven, attain peace.

Result of karma-yoga

Peace —foundation for abhyäsa yoga çäntiù—peace; anantaram— thereafter


Tyāgāc chāntir anantaram (gita 12.12) the result of letting go of our attachments is peace (literally: what comes at the end of renunciation is peace). Freedom is the result of detachment, gained through working for purification instead of heaven.


A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires —that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still —can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires. (Bg 2.70)


aśāntasya kutaḥ sukham (Gita 2.66) "how can there be any happiness without peace?”

Step Three on the Yoga Ladder

When one understands that puruña, the supreme controller, to be Paramätmä, one is engaged in the method of yoga ( dhyänä vasthita-tad gatena manasä paçyanti yaà yoginaù [SB 12.13.1]). (purport SB 10.8.45)

What is the bridge from karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga, or dhyänä-yoga to abhyäsa-yoga of bhakti?

“By the grace of some devotee” (purport 12.5)

faith arising from grace

(such persons also have peace from their yoga practice)

Yoga ladder

rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava) Brahman, or Paramätmä, dhyäna-yoga jïäna-yoga Brahman abhyäsa-yoga yogi famliy, svarga, planets of prajäpatis, or åñis earth or svarga lower planets or species karma-yoga (akarma) karma-kanda (karma) ugra karma (vikarma) aìgas of bhakti

Yoga ladder + varëäçrama

brähmaëas, usually renunciants brähmaëas, often renunciants gåhasthas of all varëas for purification dhyäna-yoga jïäna-yoga karma-yoga (akarma) gåhasthas of all varëas for enjoyment perverted varëäçrama or below varëäçrama karma-kanda (karma) ugra karma (vikarma) rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava) (can include varëäçrama to set an example) abhyäsa-yoga aìgas of bhakti can include optional varëäçrama as subsidiary spiritual function (gauëa dharma)

Two Paths to Abhyäsa-yoga

rägänugä bhakti (or vaidhé with bhava) desire abhyäsa yoga faith yoga ladder: indirect peace aìgas of bhakti: direct

Side note: There are also mixtures

By karma miçra-bhakti one is elevated to the celestial kingdom, by jïäna-miçra-bhakti one is able to merge in the Brahman effulgence, and by yoga miçra-bhakti one is able to realize the omnipotency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But pure bhakti does not depend on karma, jïäna or yoga, for it simply consists of loving affairs. ( Çréla Prabhupäda’s purport SB 10.10.20 22)


The Long Road

From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jïäna-yoga. When jïäna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called añöäìga-yoga. And when one surpasses the añöäìga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kåñëa, it is called bhakti yoga, the culmination. (purport Bg 6.47)

The Elevator/Lift

Why walk up all these steps if we have a chance to take an elevator? By means of an elevator, we can reach the top in a matter of seconds. Bhakti-yoga is this elevator, the direct process by which we can reach the top in a matter of seconds. We can go step by step, following all the other yoga systems, or we can go directly. (Path of Perfection 8)

Part 3

texts 13-20


Relation of these qualities to the path The peace achieved by:  performing the external limbs of bhakti OR  karma-yoga jïäna-yoga dhyäna yoga realization of self and God gives rise to qualities which enable abhyäsa-bhakti yoga of controlling the mind, the bridge to rägänugä bhakti

Relation of these qualities to the path “All these qualifications enable him to fix his mind and intelligence entirely on the Supreme Lord. Such a standard of devotional service is undoubtedly very rare, but a devotee becomes situated in that stage by following the regulative principles of devotional service.” (purport Bg 12. 13-14)

Bridge to Abhyäsa-yoga

What is the bridge from doing the aìgas of bhakti mostly externally to abhyäsa-yoga?

All the qualifications of peace (12.13 20) enable him to fix his mind and intelligence entirely on the Supreme Lord


Relation of peace to qualities

satatam —always (text 14) A person in peace has no fear and full courage So there is no limit or “tipping point” when the qualities are abandoned

Relation of peace to qualities

The general quality of peace can be explained as specific internal qualities and external behaviors described in texts 13-20 What is the description of the devotee who has attained such peace? In response to this question, the different natures of many types of devotees are described in eight verses. ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Relation: Qualities and Bhakti

Good qualities come automatically by bhakti A bhakta works to develop good qualities as part of his or her bhakti

Comparison to Vegetarianism

A devotee of Kåñëa is automatically a vegetarian A devotee takes time and care to make sure all ingredients are vegetarian as part of his or her practice of bhakti



Kåñëa is the supreme goal of life serving Kåñëa with determination self-controlled expert pure not looking for a material result without cares mind and intelligence on Kåñëa


Love One’s Enemies


means that a person does not have hatred even for those who hate oneself. Rather one has friendliness towards them (


). One is merciful to them, thinking that they should not end up in unfortunate circumstances (


). ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Love One’s Enemies

"This person is acting as my enemy due to my own past misdeeds. So it is better to suffer than to protest” (Çréla Prabhupäda)

Family relations

non-possessiveness of children and wife (


), by not thinking of the body as the self (


) ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura) My friends, wife, sons and daughters are now Your servants and maidservants. Whatever care I take for them is only as they are related to You. (Bhaktivinoda)

He by whom no one is put into difficulty No one is put into difficulty, anxiety, fearfulness or dissatisfaction by such a devotee. Since a devotee is kind to everyone, he does not act in such a way as to put others into anxiety. ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

who is not disturbed by anyone

If others try to put a devotee into anxiety, he is not disturbed… because a devotee is always engrossed in Kåñëa consciousness and engaged in devotional service, such material circumstances cannot move him. Generally when a materialistic person is expecting some retaliation from an enemy, he is in a state of fear ( Çréla Prabhupäda)

Avoids joining factions

A devotee never takes the part of a particular party; therefore he is carefree. ( Çréla Prabhupäda) neutral (


), not taking sides (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa)


Kåñëa is the owner and doer

does not think himself a proprietor devoid of the illusions arising from possessing a house (


) (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa) free from false ego The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature. (Bg 3.27)

Everything Kåñëa does is good

tolerant, always satisfied happy and satisfied with whatever comes by the grace of the Supreme Lord ( Çréla Prabhupäda) food money residence


Unaffected by

happiness —distress—fear—anxiety auspicious —inauspicious joy —grief desire —lamentation honor —dishonor fame —infamy heat —cold bodily pain —pleasure


He does not rejoice at gaining dear things. He does not show hatred on attaining what is disagreeable. He does not lament on the destruction of what is dear to him. He does not hanker for what he does not have. He has given up both pious actions and sinful actions because they are both causes of bondage. (Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa)

Higher Taste

O my dear mind, please do not perform the religious activities described in the Vedas, or the sinful activities also designated in the scriptures. … O mind, engage yourself fully in serving Çré Çré Rädhä and Kåñëa with love and devotion. ( Raghunätha däsa Gosvämé)


(12.20) the nectar of these qualities ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

One with such qualities is Very dear to Kåñëa

The basis of His pleasure

Since these qualities arise from sense control (


, mentioned in verse 12), which in turn arises from


, they are thus not material qualities.

bhaktyä tuñyati kåñëo ëa guëaiù

: Kåñëa is pleased by


, not by good material qualities. (


8) ( Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura)

Kåñëa is controlled by the persons devoted to Him alone, and by the persons devoted solely to the process of


dedicated to Him. The most beautiful Kåñëa is conquered completely by love.

(Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa)