Verses 11 – 20
by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri)
asādhya-sādhya-bhedena pramādi dvi-vidhaḥ smṛtaḥ
pramāda-rahitaṁ yat tat prameyaṁ satya-saṁjñakam
Misconceptions are of two types – sādhya (acquired) and asādhya (inherent). That which is proven to be devoid of misconceptions is called truth.
The goal of pramāṇa is to ascertain the truth – logical wrangling cannot do that. The tendency for logicians to attain victory in assemblies is reprehensible because it is merely for the sake of acquiring wealth which arises from delusion and propagates delusion. The objective of pramaṇa is prameya (to demonstrate that which can be proved). Prameya which is devoid of misconception is true. Misconceptions are of two kinds – sādhya (acquired) and asādhya (inherent). Those faults that appear due to ku-saṁskāra (unfavourable conditioning) are sādhya. Asādhya are the inherent faults in the jīva’s finite intrinsic nature in regards to those things of infinite reality. It is improper to make endeavours to eliminate them by the power of one’s own intelligence. This is because such misconceptions are produced by the power of Bhagavān and they cannot be removed without Bhagavān’s grace. One can eradicate acquired misconceptions through the practice of pure knowledge.
pratyakṣam-anumānāñ ca śāstraṁ para-kṛtaṁ yadi
tasmāc-chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ syan-mitravat kārya-sādhane
If it is created by others (in other words by the wise, or by ṛṣis), and there is pratyākṣa and anumāna, then it is considered to be śāstra. In this way, such śāstra, which determines how to execute one’s duty, is like a beneficial friend. It is authoritative and an advisor.
Does the sāragrāhī reject śabda–pramāṇa (evidence from the śāstra)? Apprehending that, this śloka discusses pratyakṣa etc. Śāstra as an authentic pramāna is accomplished from the pratyakṣa and anumāna which is produced by others. By the word para (others), śāstrakaras (authors of śāstra) beginning with Brahmā down to Vyāsa etc. should be understood. Through their pratyakṣa and anumāna, śāstras are considered as pramāna. Tasmāc chāstram pramāṇam te karyākarya-vyavastitau (‘The Vedic injunctions are your authority pertaining to what is to be done and what is not to be done.’ – Gītā 16.24) – from this statement of the Gītā one can understand how the advice of the śāstra is like a friend in relation to the sāragrāhī. And because the interests of the bhāravāhīs (‘those that carry a heavy load’) are driven by the intelligence of others and they lack consideration as to what is beneficial and not beneficial, it is natural that the śāstra acts as a master to rule over them.
karma-jñānādi-śāstreṣu jīvānāṁ śiva-hetave
yad-yat prakāśitaṁ vijñais tat-tāṭparya-vidaṁ satāṁ
jātyādi-guṇa-doṣeṣu niṣedha-vidhiṣu kvacit
na sajjate mano yeṣāṁ prayojana-vidāṁ sadā
ūrhvordhva-gamane kintu pravṛttir varttate yadi
adhikāra evaiteṣāṁ bhaktānāṁ sama-darśināṁ
In the various śāstra concerning karma, jñāna etc. scholars have revealed what is beneficial for the jīvas. Such paṇḍitas are acquainted with the actual understanding (of such śāstra) and are not bound by the good qualities or faults of birth etc. nor by rules and prohibitions. Such a person who sees with equanimity, who is always knowledgable about the actual goal of life, or the true purpose of knowledge, who follows the path of bhakti, if they have a tendency to gradually achieve higher eligibility, then they are qualified for this book.
Who is qualified for this? Considering this objection, the qualifications of the sāragrāhi have been established in these three ślokas. There are many śāstras concerning karma, jñāna etc. In all those books, restrictions have been specified for the welfare of the jīvas in this life and the hereafter, and the sāragrāhīs are skilled in extracting the meaning of them. Whether it is in relation to birth, knowledge, qualities, beauty, power etc., persons who are without love or hatred for all these things are sama-darśī (endowed with equal vision). If they all follow the path of bhakti and strive to gradually move from a lower adhikāra (qualification) to a higher one, and constantly make endeavours to specifically comprehend the meaning of transcendental prema, then they are qualified for the philosophy of the sāragrāhīs which is described in this book. Individuals who simply wear external symbols and are opposed to other communities, but who are actually devoid of bhakti, dharma-dvajīs (cloaked in the flag of religiosity), duplicitous, cunning, who are only intent on carrying the words of a sādhu yet are bereft of any knowledge in regard to their meaning, who possess false pride – such jīvas are not qualified (to read this book). Even if they are bhāravāhīs, if they abandon their defects and follow the conduct of a sāragrāhī, then they can achieve the qualification of sāragrāhīs such as Khaṭvāṅga, Vālmiki and many other fortune persons.
adhikārā hy-asaṅkhyeyā guṇāḥ pañca-vidhā matāṁ
This is because there are unlimited qualifications starting with slight attentiveness to Śrī Bhagavān up to the attainment of prema. Furthermore, all qualities (namely the arrangement and combinations of sattva-guṇa etc.) are considered to have five categories.
Tamas, rajas-tamas, rajas, rajas-sattva and sattva – in this way there are five classifications of guṇas. Śāktatva (the worship of the material potency) is the search for the Supreme within gross material objects which is in tamo-guṇa. Sauratva (the worship of the sun) is rajas-tamo-guṇa because the intelligence of such persons specifically focuses upon heat and generally mundane heat is the cause of movement. Gāṇapatya (the worship of Gaṇeśa) stems from rajo-guṇa and is the worship of man and animals. Through rajaḥ-sattva-guṇa, one worships the pure jīva which is śaivatva (the worship of Śiva). In sattva-guṇa one worships the Supreme who is distinct from prakṛti (material nature) which is vaiṣṇavatā (the worship of Viṣṇu) – these five are indirect kinds of worship. The rest is obvious.
pravṛttir varttate śaśvat sārabhājāṁ kramānvayāt
The disposition (ruci) of sāragrāhīs gradually progresses higher and higher in a dynamic way. They are always steady in their own specific qualifications.
The meaning is clear.
keṣāñcit prabalā bhūtvā sarva-kṣudrādhikārataḥ
sarvonnataṁ padaṁ datte na cirād iha janmani
Some who possess a strong inclination achieve the highest qualification from the most inferior qualification in this lifetime very quickly.
The meaning is clear from the example of Khaṭvāṅga.
janmātaram apekṣante karmaṇāṁ bhāra-vāhinaḥ
tathāpi karma-cāturye spṛhā teṣāṁ na jāyate
The mundane activities (karma) of the bhāvavāhis lingers birth after birth. However, the desire to become expert in (beneficial) activities never arises in them.
Amongst those bhāvavāhis such as the Smārtas etc. who carry the burden of their activities, one never sees any instructions concerning admittance into another adhikāra. This is also clear.
koṭi-janmāntare’pi syāṇ na sāra-grāhaṇe matiḥ
yāvan na ghaṭate teṣāṁ sādhu-saṅgaḥ mad-ātmakaḥ
Even after millions of births it is not possible for their intellect to accept the philosophy of the sāragrāhīs until that time when they come in connection with the company of sādhus who are inclined to carefully bestow Kṛṣṇa unto them.
The medicine for them is the company of sādhus who from their very birth, possess the characteristic of conferring Kṛṣṇa unto others. In narrations such as that of King Prācīnabarhi, one hears how a smārta bhārāvāhī can accept that which is essential (sāra) by the potency of sādhu-saṅga.