Bhakti-śāstroddhāriṇī Sabhā (An Assembly to Preserve the Bhakti Śāstra) was published in Vol.1 of Sajjana Toṣaṇi in 1881. In this short article, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura laments that the Royal Asiatic Society has not printed any respectable versions of the Bhakti Śāstra and suggests that a new assembly be created for that purpose.
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)
All the śāstra are divided into three sections – Karma Śāstra, Jñāna Śāstra and Bhakti Śāstra. The Karma Śāstra is for those engaged in physical and social welfare. The Smārtas and Tāntrikas discuss various aspects of that Karma Śāstra. The Buddhists and Brahmavādīs examine the Jñāna Śāstra. Therefore, since there is already specific deliberations on the Karma Śāstra and Jñāna Śāstra, there is no necessity for any extra effort in that regard. Moreover, with the prevalence of English learning, there is a lot of discussion concerning Jñāna Śāstra nowadays. All the texts that are being published by the assembly known as The Asiatic Society are basically Vedic books promoting karma or books on Śaṅkara’s philosophy that cultivates jñāna. An example of this is the Vedānta commentary of Śaṅkara which has been published by that assembly. Rāmānuja’s commentary, Madhva’s commentary or Nimbāditya’s commentary have not been published so far. Although Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya Nāṭaka and Śrī Nārada Pañcarātra have been published, no commentary has been published on these two books; thus, it can be said that these two books were not published with special respect. In particular, the text of Nārada Pañcarātra is so inaccurate that none of the qualities of its respected editor can be explained. As a result, all the editors have no respect for Bhakti Śāstra.
Due to this, Bhakti Śāstra is generally discarded nowadays. There should be some place for discussion. Many texts could not be found by searching. Even though they are available, all these books are in very poor condition.
It is the special duty of religious gentlemen to carefully collect all these delicate books and publish them from time to time. We should endeavour to improve this.
To accomplish all this, an assembly is necessary first. Later, an excellent venue is needed for this assembly. Finally, one should collect some funds and save the Bhakti Śāstra from the major devotional places such as Śrī Vṛndavana etc. We have heard that some of the most accomplished religious gentlemen in the city are becoming volunteers in this work. I was very happy to hear. I pray to the Supreme Lord that their efforts will be successful. Our prayer to the Aryan offspring is that they take special care and help them in this endeavor. We will write many things about this in our next issue.