Let me worship the lotus feet of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by the inspiration of whose unbounded mercy, I am now engaged, although very much insignificant in this task.
The author Sri Rupa Goswami shows the way of approaching the Absolute Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. He therefore offers his respectful obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is no other than Sri Krishna Himself appeared in the form of a devotee to bestow his merciful benediction upon the fallen souls of this iron age called by the name Kali Yuga. Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally inspired Srila Rupa Goswami at Dasaswmedh Ghat Prayag (Allahabad) continuously for ten days and authorised him to propagate the science of devotional service for everyone’s benefit. As pure Vaishnava, Srila Rupa Goswami considers himself as the most insignificant person although he is not so. Nobody can describe the transcendental science unless he is authorised by the Lord Himself or His bonafide representative. As Arjuna was, in the Bhagwat Geeta, personally inspired by Sri Krishna—so also here Srila Rupa Goswami was also personally inspired by the Lord. As such none of them can be insignificant persons but on the contrary they are the proper authorities who can deliver us the right thing. Nobody can understand the Bhagwat Geeta if he does not follow the footprints of Arjuna and similarly nobody can understand the mission of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu unless one is scrupulously inclined to follow the footprints of the Goswamins headed by Sri Rupa Goswami. Srila Jiva Goswami explains the word Baraka as one who can explain the right concept. It may not be out of place to mention in this connection that this translation work into English is also undertaken under the same authority of His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj who is bonafide representative of Srila Rupa Goswami. There is no spirit of change herein from the path of the original authority.
Vishrama—resting place, mandirataya—on account of being temple of, tasya—of him, sanatana—eternal, tano—of the body, mad—mine, Ishasya—of the Lord, bhakti—devotional service, rasamrita—mellow nectarine, sindhur—of the ocean, bhavatu—let it be, sada—always, ayam—this, pramodaya—for the pleasure of.
Let this ocean of nectarine mellow of devotional service be always the source of eternal pleasure of my Lord Who has His eternal body and Who is represented by spiritual master known under the name of Sri Sanatan Prabhu. Ocean is also the eternal temple of the eternal body Narayana.
The author after offering his respectful obeisances unto Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he turns to pay respect to his spiritual master who is known as Sanatan Prabhu. The spiritual master is non-different from the Lord and therefore both of them are Sanatan eternal. The Lord is represented by the spiritual master who is eternal servitor God. The author wishes most sincerely that the book titled under the name of ocean may be the eternal resting place of the Lord who takes eternal rest in Karana ocean as Purusha Avatara or Narayana who is the plenary manifestation of Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna Himself in His Narayana feature rests in the temple of ocean and in the same manner the book titled as Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu may also be the resting temple of Krishna with His unlimited paraphernalia. Sri Krishna and all His unlimited paraphernalia, Sri Krishna and all His eternal plenary expansions are Vishnu Tatwas and therefore all of them possess non-changeable eternal body. The body being eternal the resting places of the Lord are also eternal. As such the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is the eternal Truth being the eternal science of the eternal Godhead. The Lord is Absolute and therefore His resting place is also Absolute. There is no difference between the Lord and His resting place.
Bhakti—devotional service, rasamrita—nectarine mellow, sindou—in the ocean, charatah—playing on, paribhuta—having conquered, kala—influence of time and space, bhiya—fearfulness, bhakta—devotees, makaran—the shark fishes, namasyami—offering respectful obeisances.
I am offering my respectful obeisances unto the devotees of the Lord who are compared with the shark fishes and who neglect the rivers of liberation on account of their playing facilities in the deep ocean of nectarine mellow (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu).
The author next turns towards the pure devotees to offer his respectful obeisances. The pure devotees are the eligible candidates for enjoying swimming excursions in the ocean nectarine mellow of devotional service. Pure devotees are never afraid of spectre of time and space and as such they are not afraid of the tribulations of birth and death because they have already conquered the stringent laws of nature. Birth and death of other than devotees are always painful but for the devotees they are plain things of appearance and disappearance. A simple example will clear this ideas. The cat carries her cubs and the rats by the same mouth. But there is gulf of difference between the two carrying processes. The cubs feel pleasure while carried by the jaws of the mother cat but the rats feel death pain by the same jaws of the cat. Pure devotees come and go for the service of the Lord and therefore they are exempt from the laws of nature. Jesus Christ was crucified but he did not feel the pain. Apparently it seems that the devotees are under the same laws of nature but factually they are not so. In the Bhagwat the Yamaraja instructs clearly that the devotees are not within the jurisdiction of his influence. Therefore pure devotees do not give much importance to the process of salvation. The river fishes have no idea of the big fishes that are within the ocean. The comparison of the river and the ocean as is generally cited by the monist philosophers exhibits a poor fund of knowledge. Mixing of the river with the ocean is superfluous. Real life in the ocean has not comparison with those in the river. The devotees are compared with shark fishes who are within the ocean without any relation with the rivers.
The ocean is the resting place for all sorts of rivers. It is generally compared that varieties of religiosities are like different rivers and they take rest in the ocean ultimately. The comparison is not applicable in the case of pure devotees because such devotees are like the shark fishes who do not care for the insignificant rivers. The devotees who take pleasure in the depth of water of the ocean of devotional service has nothing to do with the liberation rivers. They are so to say useless for the devotees.
There are five different varieties of liberation like to become (1) One with the Absolute, (2) To live in the same planet where God lives, (3) To develop the same feature of body like the Lord, (4) To possess the same standard of opulences like God, (5) To become constant associate of God. Out of the five different varieties of liberations the one which is called Sayujya or to become one with the Lord is lowest of all. Generally all different varieties of religiosities aim at this point of becoming one with the Absolute. The pure devotees are so much endowed with transcendental mellow of devotional service that they do not evaluate even the four other forms of liberation and what to speak of the liberation under the clause of becoming one with the Lord. These things are very insignificant for a pure devotee and as such Srila Rupa Goswami desires to pay his respects for these devotees, excluding all others who are either mundaners, fruitive workers or utmost the salvationists. All these groups are classified in the list of non-devotees and the followers of Shri Rupa Goswami avoids them carefully.
Mimansaka barabagneh kathinam api kunthayan asau jihvam sphuratu sanatan suchiram taba bhakti rasamritambodhi.
Mimansakas—the logicians, barabagneh—of the volcanic eruption within the water, kathinam—very hard, api—although, kunthayan—subduing, asau—that, sphuratu—let it continue to exist, sanatana—oh my Lord eternal, suchiram—for all the days, taba—yours, bhakti—devotional service, rasamrita—nectarine mellow, ambodhi—span of water.
Oh my Lord, there are many logicians who are just like the volcanic crater within the water who shall create occasional disturbances. But as the large volume of water subdue such disturbances so also the ocean of devotional service Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu shall always stand over their (logician’s) disturbing arguments.
There are two kinds of logicians who are against the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead. One of them is the fruitive worker and the other is the empiric philosopher. The fruitive worker will argue that there is no need of serving invisible God. Let us work hard in developing industries and agriculture which alone will bring in prosperity. And a little higher than them are the empiric philosophers who are very much interested in dry philosophical arguments in the matter of God’s form and feature without any tangible service. Both these classes of men are speculators and as such they are in fact disturbing elements to the transcendentalists who are marching progressively towards the kingdom of God. The author therefore begging mercy from Sri Sanatan Prabhu his spiritual master to save the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu from such disturbing arguments of the Karmis and Jnanins. It is however, certain that the mellow which is the dominating factor of the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is as immeasurable as the sea water. And therefore as the occasional volcanic eruption within the water is subdued by the volume of vast sea water so also the transcendental mellow of devotional service due to her vast nature will certainly overrule such occasional disturbances. The purport is that one who has tasted the sweetness of the mellow of devotional service will never be attracted by the activities of the fruitive worker or the empiric philosophers. This is an eternal truth and that eternal truth will always protect the peaceful existence of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu.
Bhaktir—devotional service, asya—of this, prastuti—presentation, akhila—all inclusive, jagat—universal, mangala—welfare, prasangasya—of the delineation, ajnenapi—even though by a neophyte, moya—by me, kriyate—is being done, suhridam—of the kind hearted (friends), pramodaya—for the pleasure of.
Presentation of an all inclusive delineation of devotional service of the Lord, which is universally accepted welfare work for all living being, is being done by me, even though I am a neophyte—for the pleasure of the kind hearted friend.
Devotional service by a living being for the pleasure of the Supreme Being (Lord) is the universally accepted welfare work for all. A living being’s constitutional position is always as such that he has to render service to the superior will. When such service is rendered favourably it is called devotional service of the Lord and when such service is rendered unfavourably to the will of the Lord or in other words to satisfy one’s own whims and pleasure or for the matter of sense-gratifying, it is called Karma or fruitive action. Fruitive action is bondage while devotional service is liberation from all bondage. This distinction of bondage and liberation of all actions can only be judged by a thoroughly learned man already placed in the devotional service of the Lord. On the other hand such devotional service is the natural function of a living being and therefore it is essentially the prime welfare work for all concerned. Such service is done in one’s real identity. The author of the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu namely Srila Rupa Goswami is therefore engaged in the highest welfare work for all humanity because he attempts to awaken all living being to the state of consciousness of his constitutional position. But this defacto truth may be misunderstood by a section of people who exist with poor fund of knowledge. Such critics of the value of devotional service to the Lord may not find any pleasure in the subject matter of this great transcendental presentation, but in spite of all these, a really kind hearted friend who knows the object of devotional service of the Lord will find it surely a useful solace of the hankering heart.
In fact Srila Rupa Goswami is himself a universally kind hearted man who feels for the gross materially engaged vitiated person and as such the work which is being done by him is not at all for his personal gain but it is for the universal good for all living being. Persons who are already in the line of such kind hearted devotional service can realise what immensely valuable book is this work of the name Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu.
Etasya—of this, bhagabat—the Lord, the Personality of Godhead, bhakti—devotional service, rasamrita—nectarean mellow, payonideh—of the ocean, chatwarah—four, khal—as a matter of fact, bakshyante—are being described, bhagah—divisions, purbadayo—directions beginning from the east.
In this text of the nectarean ocean of mellows in the matter of devotional service of the Personality of Godhead there will be four primary divisions beginning from the east and so on.
The Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is not a book of something imaginary vision in the matter of mental speculation of mundane sentiments. The subject matter is seriously meant for presenting the science of devotional service of the Lord which promotes a practitioner to the highest stage of transcendental realisation. It is clearly stated here that devotional service is meant for the Supreme Lord. He is tangible fact and so also is His service. And to put the whole thing in a systematic way the author desires to divide the subject matter into four compartmental divisions for gradual process of realisation. Any serious student who will strictly follow the chalked out path is sure to achieve the desired result which is ultimately to meet the Lord face to face.
Tatra purva bebhagesmin bhaktiveda nirupate anukramena baktabyam laharinam chatustayam.
Tatra—thereupon, purva—eastern, bebhagesmin—division of it, bhakti—devotional service, veda—categories, nirupate—in the estimation, anukramena—respectively, baktabyam—has to be described, laharinam—of the waves, chatustayam—four only.
Thereupon in the eastern division of it, devotional service in the waves of four categorical estimation has to be described respectively.
In the very beginning of a scientific approach of devotional service the author has attempted to make a clear distinction of pure devotional service from the popular misconception of the
(To be continued)
(Science of Devotional Service of the Lord)
(Continued from previous issue)
Bhakti cult (sentimentalism). He has particularly taken the precaution from generalizing the cult by popular notion. This is not a sentiment of a particular type of men passing as so called devotees but it is practical work meant for every living being in his natural and constitutional position. That is the specialty of this work Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. He has tried to clear the popular notion of the Bhakti cult being contaminated by other prescribed duty originated from material hankerings, fruitive work or performances of sacrificial ceremonies. Bhakti cult does not belong to either empiric philosophy or imaginary sentiments. Neither does it depend on experimental thought. The bhakti cult or devotional service is so pure that it includes all the good qualities of higher status of life.
Adya samanya bhaktyadhya dwitiya sadhana atmikabhavasrita tritiya cha turya prema nirupika.
Adya—In the beginning, samanya—general, bhaktyadhya—enriched devotional service, dwitiya—the second stage, sadhana—practice, atmika—symptomatic, bhavasrita—developed consciousness, tritiya—the third stage, cha—and, turya—the fourth one, prema—transcendental love, nirupika—designative.
In the beginning (or the first wave of the ocean) generalization of enriched devotional service is described. In the second practical and symptomatic treatment is done. In the third one developed consciousness of devotional service is discussed and in the fourth one transcendental love of Godhead is included.
Tatra adou asya susthu vaisistam asya kathayutum sphutam laksonam kriyate bhakter uttamayah satam matam.
Tatra—thereupon, adou—in the beginning, asya—of this, susthu—particularly, vaisisitam—specifically, asya—of this, kathayutum—in order to describe, sphuham—clearly, lakshnam—specific characteristics, kriyate—being established, bhakter—of devotional service, uttamayah—first qualitative, satam—of the sages, matam—opinion.
In the beginning therefore of this treatise the first qualitative symptoms of devotional service as approved by the great sages-are being particularly and specifically characterized.
Anya—other than devotional services, abhilasita—act of desiring, sunyam—devoid of, jnana—the path of monists, karma—fruitive work, adi—etcetera, anabritam—uncovered by, anukulyena—favourably, krishna—the Personality of Godhead, anusilanam—to act practically, bhakti—devotional services, uttama—superior quality.
Superior quality of devotional service of Krishna is to act favourably for the Personality of Godhead. This means that the service must be uncovered by the path of the monists, fruitive workers and desires—other than devotional services.
Srila Rupa Goswami begins with pure devotional service and he defines in the very beginning the characteristics of unadulterated service of the Lord. In the Bhagwat Geeta it is said that four kinds of men who had performed pious activities in the past do take to devotional service of the Lord. They are the distressed, the poverty-stricken, the learned and the inquisitive. The distressed man takes to the devotional services with a view to receive some favour of the Lord. The poverty-stricken also takes to devotional service to remove his adversities. The learned man takes to devotional service not for any material gain but for spiritual salvation and the inquisitive takes to devotional services just to know only the principles of theism etc. All these devotees are not pure devotees because all of them take to such devotional activities with an intention of personal gain. Srila Rupa Goswami in the very beginning of his definition of devotional service wants to impress upon us that there is no question of personal gain altogether in pure devotional service. Such service must be rendered to the Lord out of pure love of Godhead which is lying dormant in every living being. As nobody is taught how to laugh or cry or to begin sex life and all these actions automatically come into being in due course, so also the love of Godhead is spontaneous and nobody is required to learn it by some external agents. But as sex life or similar other spontaneous activities of a man are sometimes conspicuous by absence on account of diseased condition of the body such as impotency etc. similarly due to the diseased condition of the living being on account of long association with material energy—love of Godhead has to be awakened by practical and prescribed services. Such routine of services will be discussed in due course. So far the definition of pure devotional service is concerned it is described here that such devotional service must be active. There is no place for mental speculative action in devotional service. Anushilanam means practical work. Such practical work is done in relation with the body, mind and speeches. And such practical work is done also in terms of initiative and obstructive tendencies. That practical work is done favourably and unfavourably. And there are so many sections and subsections of that practical way of thinking, feeling and willing for the benefit of Krishna. The primary practical work in the devotional service is to accept practical spiritual master both initiator and instructor. And enquire from him all practical problems in the line of devotional service. The devotee having followed the primary rules in this connection will gradually develop an attachment and taste for the service. After this an atmosphere of constant association for devotional service will be felt and such temperament will help the devotee to rise up to the stage of fixed up position in rank. And all these highest stage of devotional improvement will depend more or less on the merciful benediction of a superior devotee who is already in the transcendental loving service, engaged himself.
The word Krishna indicates the Personality of Godhead with His unlimited expansions. The Lord expands Himself in innumerable Forms such as Sri Rama, Sri Nrisingha, Sri Baraha, and many other incarnations and beams of expansions. Some of them are mentioned in the scriptures like the Bhagwat Puranam and others and all of them are Vishnu Tatwas and thus they are also on the equal footing and status like Krishna. In other words the word Krishna includes all other expansions and incarnations of the Personality of Godhead. The process of devotional service in the primary stage is the same as that of devotional service of Krishna or Vishnu or Narayana. In the higher stages of service there is difference of Rasa which we have already discussed in the beginning of this translation. In the critical differentiation of Rasa study there is specific transcendental difference of reciprocating the devotional service but in essence there is no difference between the service of Rama or Krishna. These particular differences will be taken up later on.
Specific use of the word Anukulyena is significant. This means loving service of the Lord and not a simple attachment for the Lord is to be called as devotional service. When the attachment is inimical it is not called devotional service. The attachment of Kansa with Krishna was from the opposite side than love. But there was indirect attachment for the Lord. But that sort of attachment is not to be accepted as devotional service. The devotee must render service to the Lord which is acceptable to Him. The neophyte devotee must therefore take the shelter of a superior devotee who is already engaged in the service of the Lord under the direction of his spiritual master. The spiritual master is the via media between Krishna and the devotee. The order of the Lord is transmitted to the devotee through the medium of the spiritual master. Therefore to accept the service of a bonafide spiritual master is the first thing to be done in the matter of devotional service.
From the study of the Bhagwat Geeta which is directly spoken by the Lord we can have a glimpse of our eternal relation with the Lord. It is said there clearly that the living entity must take to the service of the Lord leaving aside all other engagements. There is further instruction in that book of knowledge that a man who preaches the teachings of the Bhagwat Geeta is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. From these it appears that the nature of the service which is acceptable to the Lord is generally engagement of a devotee constantly without any deviation in the service of the Lord and that service especially in this age of forgetfulness is to educate people in the matter of God-consciousness generally.
The bonafide spiritual master can give direction to the neophyte devotee on the principles of the primary stages of devotional service of the Lord. Unless one has not developed the aptitude of loving service of the Lord by engaging himself in the direction of the spiritual master one cannot make any progress whatsoever. The test of devotional service will also be discussed later on. Nobody can claim to have made any progress in the devotional service without being tested by the symptoms.
Srila Jiva Goswami says when we speak of inviting the warrior it does not mean we invite the weapons of the warrior. The warrior means always to be decorated or followed by his weapons. But the host does not mean to please the weapons but the warrior himself. Similarly we must know whether the Lord is satisfied by our service without being too much attached in the formulas. There are many who passes by the name of devotees but when they are put into the acid test of genuine symptoms, generally they come to the class of mundaners. Lord Chaitanya says that Krishna Prema or a genuine love for the Lord is the last word in the kingdom of devotional service. In the absence of such genuine love for Krishna which is followed by the symptoms of detachment for mundane things-one cannot be certified to have made any progress in the matter of devotional service. The word Anu suggests that one should engage himself in the service of the Lord without any interval. He must be engaged in the service cent percent and always. There must not be any interruption in such progress of devotional service. These are some of the symptoms of devotional service in reality. Besides these there are other secondary symptoms which are as follows:
The devotee must be completely freed from all desires other than devotional service. That is the standard of first quality devotional service. Desires other than devotional service are many under the heading of Karma, Jnana, Yoga, etc. Jnana or knowledge is generally accepted in the sense of monism or to become one with the Supreme and when we say that devotional service must be untouched by Jnana we mean this philosophy of oneness. Otherwise knowledge pertaining to the culture of devotional services has to be attained with full vigour. Without specific knowledge in the matter of pure devotional services with reference to the context of Vedas, Puranas, Geeta, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Panchratic regulations no devotional service will stand bonafide. Any pretention of devotional service without the knowledge of the above mentioned scriptures is nothing but disturbing elements in that path.
When we speak of Karma detached from devotional service we mean fruitive works which are mentioned in the Smriti Shastras for obtaining elevation in the material existence. Devotional service must be freed from such fruitive activities. But such work as is conducive to the development of devotional service must be cultured. Such work which helps enlightenment of devotional service will be explained in this book later on. The word Adi is the sum total of all such non-devotional activities like yoga unnecessary penances for sense gratification. Great materialistic kings like Ravana and Hiranya Kasipu had undergone severe penances for many many years just to obtain temporary benefit of sense enjoyment but ultimately they could not protect themselves, in spite of all these penances, from the punishment imposed upon them by the Personality of Godhead.
The conclusion is that the culture of devotional service of the Lord must be restricted within the pure devotional activities only and nothing more whatsoever. Such activities are elaborately mentioned in the Bhagwat and other relative scriptures. The Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu is also within the category of those scriptures.
Sarba—all kinds of, upadhir—designations, vinirmukta—freed from, tatparatwena—favourable to the objective, nirmalam—completely purified, hrishikena—with the help of senses, hrishikesa—the Lord of the senses, sevanam—rendering services, bhaktir—devotional service, uchyate—is called.
It is said in the Narada Pancharatra that senses when they are completely purified on account of their becoming favourable to the objective and thus engaged in the service of the Lord of the senses, it is called devotional service.
The definition of Srila Rupa Goswami for devotional service is confirmed in the Narada Pancharatra. The Lord is not at all impersonal. He is transcendentally Personality of Godhead with all sensual activities. The senses which we possess are emanations from Him only and we could not have possessed all these senses if he would not have had all such senses. In the Sruti it is said that everything is emanation from the Transcendence. Therefore in the Transcendence there are transcendental senses and the senses which we have are all emanated from Him. But our senses are now contaminated by the influence of material inferiority which is the diseased condition of the senses. In the diseased condition of the senses nobody can sensually perceive the Absolute Personality of Godhead. He is therefore transcendental to our sensual perception or beyond the reach of mind and senses. But when the senses are purified by favourable atmosphere such senses can render service to the Lord without intervention of the material energy. This transcendental capacity of the living being develops in proportion of favourable devotional service rendered to the Lord by the devotee. The diseased condition of the living being is exhibited in his perverted consciousness of egoism. So long a living being is in diseased condition he says ‘I am the monarch of all I survey.’ The conditional living being becomes a madman when he thinks that he is independant of any other power.
The living being or the Jiva in his conditional existence within material energy works under the influence of the qualitative modes of nature and creates his own destiny by the ingredients supplied by the material nature and thus become bound up under the condition of material nature. And so long he is so conducted under the influence of material nature he cannot know the transcendental nature of the Lord. As stated in the Bhagwat Geeta he can be known only by the one and single process of devotional service. This disease of the conditioned soul is cured by the method of Tatpara which means that a conditioned soul must surrender unto the Lord which creates the necessary favourable condition. The living being in fact is artificially conditioned by the elements of nature which have covered him with all kinds of designations. The favourable circumstances created by the process of devotional service under the guidance of bonafide spiritual master gradually clears up the clouds of misconception of false egoism. And when he is completely cured of the designative consciousness he can at once engage his senses in the service of the Lord. The difference between the Lord and the living being is that the Lord is never under the influence of the modes of material nature while the living beings, who are parts and parcel of the Lord, are susceptible to become under the influence of material conditions.