indriyārthe parijñāte tattva-jñānaṁ bhaven na hi
sambandhāvagatir yatra tatra jñānaṁ sunirmalam
Knowledge gained for sense-enjoyment certainly cannot lead to tattva-jñāna (knowledge of the Absolute Truth). Where there is sambandha-jñāna (knowledge of one’s relationship with the Supreme), there is pure knowledge.
Now jñāna (knowledge) is described. Knowledge pertaining to material form, taste, smell, touch, sound, hardness, fluidity etc. is not tattva-jñāna. This is only knowledge of material things – objects that are by nature, inferior. Knowing that by which nothing else remains unknown in relation to cit (spirit), acit (matter) and īśvara – the sambandha-jñāna concerning these three is tattva-jñāna. Thus the śruti states:
yasmin vijñāte sarvaṁ vijñātam bhavati
“Knowing Him, everything else is known.” (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.3)
It is not possible for partial knowledge to award that happiness related to one’s intrinsic self (svarūpa).
catur-viṁśatikaṁ tattvaṁ prapañcaṁ mayikaṁ viduḥ
pañca-viṁśatikaṁ jīvaḥ ṣaḍ-viṁśaṁ prabhur acyutaḥ
Philosophers consider the twenty-four principles as the māyika world of matter (an expansion of māyā). The jīva is the twenty-fifth principle, and Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the twenty-sixth.
jīvasya laya-sāyujyaṁ yaj-jñānaṁ tad sammatam
tasya hi bhagavad-dāsyaṁ nityaṁ śāstre prakīrttitam
That knowledge that the jīva attains sāyujya (merging and attaining a state of oneness) – such a philosophy is asat (impure and temporary). The jīva’s eternal servitude to Bhagavān is celebrated in the śāstra.
“So what is that tattva-jñāna?” Anticipating such a challenge, the author of this philosophical treatise (siddhāntakara) says, ‘catur-viṁśatikaṁ etc.’ Some say, “Jñāna is the jīvan-mukti (the liberation of a jīva) attained when one merges with Brahman.” That is not correct because in the śāstra it is said that servitude to Bhagavān is the objective (prayojana). Bhakti is not possible by merging. Thus, advaya-jñāna (non-dual knowledge) reaches perfection with the knowledge of the relationship (sambandha-jñāna) between cit, acit and īśvara. In Sāṅkhya philosophy, twenty-four principles are included in material nature. Amongst them, there are five mahā-bhūtas (primary elements), five tan-mātras (sense-objects) and ten senses – these are gross elements. The mind, intelligence and false-ego – these are defined as the subtle elements of consciousness. The jīva is the twenty-fifth principle, and Paramātmā is the twenty-sixth. By discussing all these principles, sambandha-jñāna is undoubtedly achieved. Śrī Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda has said:
ṣāḍ-viṁśe daśame vyaktaḥ ṣaḍ-viṁśo daśamo hariḥ
karotu pañca-viṁśaṁ māṁ catur-viṁśatitaḥ pṛthak
“Twenty-six principles are revealed in the Tenth Canto, and the twenty-sixth principle is Hari. May I, the twenty-fifth element, become separate from the twenty-four elements.” (Bhāvārtha Dīpikā 10.26.25)
Statements such as, ‘ahaṁ brahma’ (I am Brahman) in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad and the Prahlāda Carita of Viṣṇu Purāṇa are all counted as types of meditation within the divisions of sādhana and only for eliminating any selfishness found within the mood of servitude. It is not referring to merging. Undoubtedly, although jīvas that are devoted to service such as Prahlāda etc. are blameless, it is not however the rule for the general populace.
prayojanāya yuktāni sarvaṁ tad bhakti-saṁjñakam
Respectively, when the nine and five divisions, and the essence of the divisions of karma and jñāna are applied to all sādhanas concerning the goal of human life, then bhakti is completely defined.
Now the section on bhakti begins. Śravaṇa (hearing), kīrtana (chanting), smaraṇa (remembering), arcana (worship), vandana (praying), dāsya (servitude), sakhya (friendship) and ātma-nivedana (offering oneself) to Śrī Bhagavān – these are the nine divisions of activities in relation to Bhagavān as sādhana-bhakti engaging both the gross and subtle bodies. Taking shelter at the feet of Śrī Guru, going through the purificatory rites of one’s sampradāya, accepting the emblems of the sampradāya, eating the remnants of Bhagavān, performing the various divisions of worship of Bhagavān etc. are identified by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmīpāda in his book, Bhakti Sandarbha.
Śānta (neutrality), dāsya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vātsalya (parental affection) and madhura (conjugal love) – these five kinds of bhāva only engage the subtle body and the ātma as divisions of jñāna in the form of rati (transcendental attachment). However, those who engage in this five-fold sādhana effortlessly engage in activities relating to Bhagavān with their gross body due to their pūrva-saṁskāras (previously acquired tendencies). The three divisions of śravaṇa, kīrtana and smaraṇa are eternal and of prime necessity for practitioners, both for the baddha-jīva and also for the mukta-jīva, albeit in a different form. Also, in addition it should be considered that all other components (of bhakti) culminate in transcendental reality (cit-tattva). The divisions of action within sādhana-bhakti are vaidha (based upon śāstrika injunctions). The divisions of knowledge within bhakti take the form of rati (divine attachment) in relation to the ātmā and become rāgānuga (following the path of spontaneous bhakti) for the practitioner and rāgātmikā (following under the guidance of a resident of Vraja) for the perfected jīva. When attachment for material things in a person whose mind is absorbed in matter is employed in the pure Supreme Consciousness (viśuddha-parama-caitanya), then pure attachment arises. When one is absorbed in that, the svarūpa arises – this leads to rāgātmikā. This tendency is possible in a perfected jīva, not in a practitioner (sādhaka). Sometimes, by perceiving the attachment (rāga) of the residents of Vraja in the spiritual abode through samādhi, a kind of tendency may arise in a practitioner to follow them. That is rāgānuga-bhakti. At the perfection of prema, the nature of all the divisions of vaidha transforms. The nature of all the divisions of knowledge does not transform, but it becomes purified. Within the divisions of śānta-bhāva (the mood of neutrality), there is no relationship between Bhagavān and the jīva, therefore even though it resembles a rasa, in the divisions of śānta, attachment to jñāna is very strong. Yet in the moods of dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura, the relationship between Śrī Bhagavān and the jīva gradually becomes more intense. Rejecting the primary objective within the divisions of bhakti is a huge defect, and this exists when members of a sampradāya become attached to external things, and when the sannyāsīs exhibit hatred towards external things. Therefore bhakti is defined when all aspects of karma and jñāna are connected to the objective. This is what is being said here.
baddhe prāpañcikaṁ karma mukte heyatva varjitam
niyuktaṁ bhagavad-dāsya bhaktir eva sanātanī
For the bound jīva, activities connected to the service of Bhagavān are material. But for those who are liberated jīvas, such activities are devoid of anomalies. This is eternal bhakti.
In regards to the bound jīva, the divisions of action are naturally related to māyā, and for the liberated jīva they are devoid of anomalies. Bhakti is not achieved by not engaging in any activity. This is because service to Bhagavān is eternal and aprākṛta-karma (transcendental activity) is the inherent nature of Bhagavān’s devotees.
bhaktis tu bhagavat prītir anuśīlana-dharmiṇī
bhrātṛ-bodhātmikāny-atra svasmin dāsyātmikā hareḥ
Bhakti possesses the quality of cultivating love for Bhagavān. This may be in perceiving oneself as a brother or a servant of Śrī Hari.
sarva-jīve dayā-rūpā sarvānanda-vidhāyinī
sarveṣāṁ nitya-dharmeṣu pravṛtteś ca pracāriṇī
It may be in the form of compassion to all jīvas, awarding happiness to all, or the tendency to propagate eternal dharma.
Cultivating love for Bhagavān is the inherent nature of bhakti – this has been stated elsewhere. With the appearance of bhakti stemming from a loving relationship with Bhagavān, brotherly affection for other people is born, and the perception of oneself as a servant of Bhagavān is revealed. Devotees naturally possess compassion for all jīvas, and a tendency to give bliss to all is generated. Although devotees endeavour to increase the happiness of all jīvas in relation to their bodies and homes, devotees take special pleasure in developing the tendency towards nitya-dharma (service to Bhagavān) in them. This is the meaning.
viraktir vaimukhyācchede jñānañ-cānya niṣedhane
dauvārikau niyuktau dvau bhakti-bādhā-nivarttakau
Renunciation (vairāgya) for the removal of aversion (to Bhagavān), and knowledge (jñāna) for prohibiting all other (unfavourable activities) are both employed as doorkeepers to prevent any disturbance to bhakti.
If all the various divisions of activities in bhakti alone create the objective (love for Bhagavāṇ), then what is the need for vairāgya and jñāna? Anticipating this, the śloka says ‘viraktir‘ etc. Vairāgya eliminates aversion to Bhagavān which is present within karma (activities). Vairāgya is not simply hatred towards anything in related to saṁsāra. This is considered to be phalgu-vairāgya (useless renunciation). This becomes clear when analysing its mutual connection with yoga. The task of jñāna is cultivate love for Bhagavān by rejecting the desire for bhukti (sense pleasure) and mukti (liberation), and eliminating the notion that there are many īśvaras (controlling deities). Here, bhakti is rāja-rājeśvarī (that Goddess who subdues even the greatest of rulers) and she appoints jñāna and vairāgya as er two doorkeepers to remove obstacles. This should be understood.
prīyātmikā yadā bhaktir-virakti-jñāna-karmaṇām
bhinna-bhāve’pi tat sarvaṁ prītāv-ekātmatāṁ bhajet
When bhakti becomes prema, then vairāgya, jñāna and karma all attain unity with prīti (divine love) even though they are separate principles.
On the attainment of prema, is it possible for jñāna, karma and vairāgya to maintain a separate existence? Anticipating this, it is said here, ‘prīyātmikā etc.’
yathā nadyāḥ syandamānāḥ samudre’stam gacchanti nāma-rūpe vihāya
tathā vidvān nāma-rūpād vimuktaḥ parātparaṁ puruṣam upaiti divyam
“Just as all rivers flow and become lost in the ocean, abandoning their name and form, so to the learned person becomes free from names and forms and attains the Divine Personality.” (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 3.2.8)
In this mantra from the Muṇḍaka Śruti, one can hear how the highest state of the jīva is when he is devoid of false designations (upādhis). In the same way that the jīva is devoid of upādhis, similarly, one should understand that his inherent nature of divine love (prīti-svadharma) is devoid of the upādhis of jñāna, karma, vairāgya etc. However, this state is perceived through samādhi and cannot be revealed through words. In this state, due to the inability to engage in karma, yukta-vairāgya (proper renunciation) naturally arises. Endeavouring to give up karma while in the dress of a mendicant is deception. This is the siddhānta of the sāragrāhīs.
deha-geha-kalatrāṇāṁ samasta jagatāṁ api
anāsakti vidhānena yatanaḥ śiva-sādhane
One should endeavour to attain auspiciousness by becoming detached from the world in relation to the body, home, wife etc. according to the rules and regulations.