Niścaya (Confidence)

Niścaya (Confidence)

Utsāha - EnthusiasmUtsāha (Enthusiasm)
Dhairya - PatienceDhairya (Patience)


In this essay "Niścaya (Confidence)" from Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol. 10, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura deliberates upon the necessity for determination in performing the process of bhakti.

In his Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has instructed the practitioners of devotional service to be confident. Until this confidence is achieved, one will remain doubtful. Doubtful persons never have auspiciousness. How then will they have faith in unalloyed devotional service when they are doubtful at heart? It is said in Bhagavad-gītā (4.40):

ajñaś cāśraddadhānaś ca
 saṁśayātmā vinaśyati
nāyaṁ loko ‘sti na paro
 na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ

“But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.”

One who has faith is certainly without doubts, because the word faith means firm conviction. As long as doubts are there, firm conviction cannot remain in the heart. Therefore, faithful living entities are always doubtless. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has ordered all Vaiṣṇavas to first understand three truths – sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. There are ten principle subjects in these three truths. The first is that Vedic literatures are the only authority. In order to ascertain the truth, one must accept authority. There are nine realities, which can only be known through the Vedic authority. Different scriptures have defined different authorities. Some say pratyakṣa, or direct understanding, some say anumāna, or hypothetical understanding, and some say upamāna, or analogies, are authorities. And others include other subjects as authorities. All other authorities, however, are considered auxiliary authorities by the Vaiṣṇava literatures propounded by Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Therefore, the self-perfect authority received through the disciplic succession is the only principle authority to be accepted. All the natures that exist in this world are divided into two categories-some are inconceivable and some are conceivable. The material natures are conceivable because they automatically awaken in the course of thinking. Spiritual nature is inconceivable because it is not perceivable by people’s poor fund of knowledge. Inconceivable natures cannot be known without self-realization. Therefore, there is no entrance into inconceivable subjects for authorities like pratyakṣa, which are included in the category of argument. That is why Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (as quoted from the Mahābhārata, Udyoga-parva) says:

acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā
na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet
prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yac ca
tad acintyasya lakṣaṇam

“Anything transcendental to material nature is inconceivable and thus cannot be grasped through mundane arguments. Therefore, one should not try to understand transcendental subjects in this way.”

There is no entrance for pratyakṣa and anumāna in that state. In order to know the inconceivable nature, self-realization is the only means. Self-realization is almost impossible for ordinary people. Seeing people’s terrible madness, the most merciful Supreme Lord manifested the Vedic literatures. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.122, 124, 125) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said:

māyā-mugdha jīvera nāhi svataḥ kṛṣṇa-jñāna
jīvere kṛpāya kailā kṛṣṇa veda-purāṇa
veda-śāstra kahe-‘sambandha’, ‘abhidheya’, ‘prayojana’,
‘kṛṣṇa’-prāpya sambandha, ‘bhakti’-prāptyera sādhana
abhidheya-nāma ‘bhakti’, ‘prema’-prayojana
puruṣārtha-śiromaṇi prema mahā-dhana

“The conditioned soul cannot revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness by his own effort. But out of causeless mercy, Lord Kṛṣṇa compiled the Vedic literature and its supplements, the Purāṇas. The Vedic literatures give information about the living entity’s eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa, which is called sambandha. The living entity’s understanding of this relationship and acting accordingly is called abhidheya. Returning home, back to Godhead, is the ultimate goal of life and is called prayojana. Devotional service, or sense activity for the satisfaction of the Lord, is called abhidheya because it can develop one’s original love of Godhead, which is the goal of life. This goal is the living entity’s topmost interest and greatest wealth. Thus one attains the platform of transcendental loving service unto the Lord.”

To know the inconceivable nature, the Vedic authority alone should be accepted. There is one other consideration in this regard. The Vedic knowledge received through the guru-paramparā is called āmnāya. There are so many subjects in the Vedas, and there are various instructions for different qualifications. Among all qualifications, the qualification for devotional life is the topmost. By the strength of their devotional service, the previous mahājanas have awakened to self-realization and thereby separately written instructions regarding the qualifications for devotional service as mentioned in the Vedas. Therefore, the Vedic statements ascertained by the previous mahājanas as relating to the qualifications for devotion are all called āmnāya, and it is necessary to learn them. It is impossible to enter into the inconceivable nature without receiving the full mercy of the spiritual master. The instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in this regard is given in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.127-136):

ihāte dṛṣṭānta-yaiche daridrera ghare
‘sarvajña’ āsi’ duḥkha dekhi’ puchaye tāhāre

“The following parable may be given. Once a learned astrologer came to the house of a poor man and, seeing his distressed condition, questioned him.”

‘tumi kene duḥkhī, tomāra āche pitṛ-dhana
tomāre nā kahila, anyatra chāḍila jīvana”

“The astrologer asked: Why are you unhappy? Your father was very wealthy, but he did not disclose his wealth to you because he died elsewhere.”

sarvajñera vākye kare dhanera uddeśe
aiche veda-purāṇa jīve ‘kṛṣṇa’ upadeśe

“Just as the words of the astrologer Sarvajña gave news of the poor man’s treasure, Vedic literatures advise one about Kṛṣṇa consciousness when one is inquisitive to know why he is in a distressed material condition.”

sarvajñera vākye mūla-dhana anubandha
sarva-śāstre upadeśe, ‘śrī-kṛṣṇa’—sambandha

“By the words of the astrologer, the poor man’s connection with the treasure was established. Similarly, Vedic literature advises us that our real connection is with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

‘bāpera dhana āche’—jñāne dhana nāhi pāya
tabe sarvajña kahe tāre prāptira upāya

“Although being assured of his father’s treasure, the poor man cannot acquire this treasure by such knowledge alone. Therefore the astrologer had to inform him of the means whereby he could actually find the treasure.”

‘ei sthāne āche dhana’—yadi dakṣiṇe khudibe
bhīmarula-barulī’ uṭhibe, dhana nā pāibe

“The astrologer said: The treasure is in this place, but if you dig toward the southern side, the wasps and drones will rise, and you will not get your treasure.”

‘paścime’ khudibe, tāhā ‘yakṣa’ eka haya
se vighna karibe,—dhane hāta nā paḍaya

“If you dig on the western side, there is a ghost who will create such a disturbance that your hands will not even touch the treasure.”

‘uttare’ khudile āche kṛṣṇa ‘ajagare’
dhana nāhi pābe, khudite gilibe sabāre

“If you dig on the northern side, there is a big black snake that will devour you if you attempt to dig up the treasure.”

pūrva-dike tāte māṭī alpa khudite
dhanera jhāri paḍibeka tomāra hātete

“However, if you dig up a small quantity of dirt on the eastern side, your hands will immediately touch the pot of treasure.”

aiche śāstra kahe,—karma, jñāna, yoga tyaji
’bhaktye’ kṛṣṇa vaśa haya, bhaktye tāṅre bhaji

“Revealed scriptures conclude that one should give up fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, and the mystic yoga system and instead take to devotional service, by which Kṛṣṇa can be fully satisfied.”

When a person who desires spiritual perfection hears the conclusions regarding the soul from the spiritual master, then his heart becomes pure and he proceeds towards the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Āmnāya is the only authority regarding the goal of life. One should consider the other nine realities through this authority, and this understanding manifests in the pure heart on the strength of āmnāya. This is called self-realization, and this is the basis of life’s goal.

Regarding the first reality, the āmnāya says the Supreme Brahman, Śrī Hari, is the only worshipable Lord. His impersonal conception is called Brahman, which is nothing but His bodily effulgence. That Supreme Lord Hari in one of His expansions becomes the Supersoul or controller who creates, maintains, and destroys the universes. Lord Hari is none other than Kṛṣṇa, the Supersoul is none other than Viṣṇu, and His bodily effulgence is none other than Brahman. By discussing the truth about the omni-potent Lord Hari, all one’s doubts regarding the Supreme Lord are cleared. Until these doubts are cleared, one cultivates knowledge by discussing impersonal Brahman as opposite to material knowledge. Again, in order to understand the Supersoul, the expansion of the Lord, aṣṭāṅga-yoga is conceived. Only when one is freed from all doubts does he attain unflinching devotion to Kṛṣṇa.

According to the knowledge of āmnāya, the second reality is considered as follows: The Supreme Lord Hari is naturally full of inconceivable potencies. Through one of His potencies, He is manifested as indistinct Brahman. This is His impersonal potency. Again, through His unlimited potencies, including Brahman and Paramātmā, He manifests His supremacy as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although the impersonal and personal potencies are contained in Him, still, the personal potencies are predominant. As stated in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad:

parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca

“The Supreme Lord has multipotencies, which act so perfectly that all consciousness, strength and activity are being directed solely by His will.”

The spiritual potencies known as sandhinī, samvit, and hlādinī-the Lord’s potencies of eternal existence, cognizance, and bliss-are known by the pure devotees.

About the third reality, the āmnāya says that the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is full of spiritual rasas, or mellows. By the power of that rasa, both the spiritual and material worlds become maddened. That is the constitution of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, Lord Kṛṣṇa has said: “I am the source of Brahman.” Due to the power of that supreme rasa, there are unlimited varieties in both the spiritual and material worlds. The rasa in the spiritual world is pure; the rasa of this material world is His shadow. Again, by the Lord’s inconceivable potency the unlimited rasas of the spiritual world have been manifested in the Vṛndāvana pastimes of this world. The pure spirit soul is eligible for spiritual rasa. To attain that supreme rasa is the living entity’s dharma, or duty. A living entity attains that on the strength his devotional service. Attaining the Supreme Brahman is devoid of rasa, or dry. That is never to be strived for. There is no manifestation of rasa in the realization of Paramātmā. Only devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is full of rasa.

While considering the fourth reality, the āmnāya says that the living entities are minute particles of the spiritual sun, Kṛṣṇa, and they are innumerable. As the spiritual world is manifested by Kṛṣṇa’s cit, or spiritual, potency and as the material world is manifested by the inferior illusory energy, similarly the living entities are manifested by a portion of the spiritual energy. Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual form has all qualities in full, and those qualities are naturally present in the living entities in minute quantity. The independent nature of Kṛṣṇa is found insignificantly in the living entities. For this reason the living entities claim to be independent. As a result, all living entities have developed different propensities. By one propensity the living entity searches for his own happiness, and by another propensity he searches for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness. Thus living entities are divided into two groups—those searching for their own happiness and those searching for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness. Those who search for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness are called nitya-mukta, and those who search for their own happiness are called nitya-baddha. In this regard, all inconceivable natures are under the subordination of spiritual time. The time factor of the spiritual nature is a state of eternal present. But in the inferior illusory energy there are three states of existence—past, present, and future. So whatever considerations arise in this regard, if related with the spiritual time factor, then no doubts will remain; but if seen otherwise, then doubts will remain. Why did a pure spirit soul search for his own happiness? If one puts forward such a question, then doubts arising from the material time factor will manifest. If one can give up such doubts then he can perform devotional service, otherwise there will only be a series of arguments. If arguments are related to the inconceivable nature, then anarthas arise.

The teachings of āmnāya regarding the fifth reality is this: The living entities who are searching for their own happiness accept Māyā, who is situated nearby, and thus enjoy happiness and distress under the grip of material time. Karma is nothing but a blind wheel created by Māyā. Those who have not contacted Māyā have no connection with karma. The living entities who are searching for their own pleasure receive from the wheel of Māyā gross and subtle bodies as a means to enjoy. This blind wheel is found in unlimited forms, but just as it was easy for a living entity to enter, it will be easy to leave at the time of liberation.

The living entities who are under the blind wheel of Māyā are called nitya-baddha. In this regard, the word nitya is applied in regard to material time. When by the touch of spiritual substance, the spiritual time factor is awakened, then their conditioned nature is seen as temporary. By the mercy of sadhus, mahājanas, and Kṛṣṇa, and by the strength of many lifetimes of pious activities in devotional service, the conditioned soul achieves auspiciousness. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.45) and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.51.53):

kona bhāgye kāro saṁsāra kṣayonmukha haya
sādhu-saṅge tabe kṛṣṇe rati upajaya
bhavāpavargo bhramato yadā bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samāgamaḥ
sat-saṅgamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
parāvareśe tvayi jāyate matiḥ

“By good fortune one becomes eligible to cross the ocean of nescience, and when one’s term of material existence decreases, one may get an opportunity to associate with pure devotees. By such association, one’s attraction to Kṛṣṇa is awakened. O my Lord! O infallible Supreme Person! When a person wandering throughout the universes becomes eligible for liberation from material existence, he gets an opportunity to associate with devotees. When he associates with devotees, his attraction for You is awakened. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the highest goal of the topmost devotees and the Lord of the universe.”

By the association of sādhus, material distress is vanquished; by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, one attains firm faith. Then by the strength of his devotional service and Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, a living entity cuts the bondage of Māyā and attains Kṛṣṇa’s service. By the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, the baddha-mukta-jīvas (those who achieve freedom from bondage) easily attain sālokya, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, with those who have never entered into Māyā because of searching for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness.

The conclusion of āmnāya regarding the sixth reality is this: Lord Kṛṣṇa and all other things are connected by a relationship of acintya bhedābheda, inconceivably simultaneously one and different. That is why the Vedas have many statements supporting oneness and many supporting difference. In the conclusions of those ignorant of the truth, only a portion of the Vedas are accepted. In the conclusions of the knowers of the truth, the purport of all the Vedas is accepted. Those who have a thirst for worshiping the Lord learn from the teachings of āmnāya that Lord Kṛṣṇa is all-pervading and one without a second. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth. That Absolute Truth possesses all energies. Although the living entities and the material world are manifested by His energies, still He remains without a second. The ingredients are constitutionally non-different from Kṛṣṇa; but in the material creation, everything other than Kṛṣṇa is a transformation of His energy and therefore eternally separate from Him. This eternal onness and difference is naturally inconceivable because it is beyond the range of the living entity’s material intelligence. When the living entity’s spiritual intelligence is awakened, pure knowledge of the inconceivable oneness and difference is aroused. Keeping firm faith in the statements of āmnāya, by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa the devotees can clearly see the truth of the inconceivable oneness and difference. If we use material consideration to understand this, it becomes theoretical. When one achieves knowledge of these seven realities through self-realization by the strength of āmnāya, then it may be said that one has sambandha-jñāna, knowledge of one’s relationship with the Lord. In reply to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s questions, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has elaborately spoken on the science of one’s relationship with the Lord. As given in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.102):

‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya
ihā nāhi jāni—’kemane hita haya’

“Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited?”

Those persons who want the greatest benefit, in the form of achieving devotion to Kṛṣṇa, should all ask these questions to their spiritual master. By hearing the proper answers to these questions from the mouth of one’s guru, all one’s doubts will be cleared and firm faith will awaken. Do not give up deliberation as useless. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 2.117):

siddhānta baliyā citte nā kara alasa
ihā ha-ite kṛṣṇe lāge sudṛḍha mānasa

“A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one’s mind becomes attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

Now see, among ten realities, the first eight are related with the authority and one’s relationship with the Lord. One will receive all information from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s answer to Sanātana Gosvāmī.

Regarding authority, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s statement is given in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.124):

veda-śāstra kahe—’sambandha’, ‘abhidheya’, ‘prayojana’
kṛṣṇa’—prāpya sambandha, ‘bhakti’—prāptyera sādhana

“The Vedic literatures give information about the living entity’s eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa, which is called sambandha. The living entity’s understanding of this relationship and his acting accordingly is called abhidheya. Returning home, back to Godhead, is the ultimate goal of life and is called prayojana.”

Regarding the second basic truth, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.152, 155, 157):

kṛṣṇera svarūpa-vicāra śuna, sanātana
advaya-jñāna-tattva, vraje vrajendra-nandana
svayaṁ bhagavān kṛṣṇa, ‘govinda’ para nāma
sarvaiśvarya-pūrṇa yāṅra goloka—nitya-dhāma
jñāna, yoga, bhakti,—tina sādhanera vaśe
brahma, ātmā, bhagavān—trividha prakāśe

“O Sanātana, please hear about the eternal form of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He is the Absolute Truth, devoid of duality but present in Vṛndāvana as the son of Nanda Mahārāja. The original Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kṛṣṇa. His original name is Govinda. He is full of all opulences, and His eternal abode is known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. There are three kinds of spiritual processes for understanding the Absolute Truth-the processes of speculative knowledge, mystic yoga and bhakti-yoga. According to these three processes, the Absolute Truth is manifested as Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.”

Regarding Kṛṣṇa’s energies, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.111):

kṛṣṇera svābhāvika tina-śakti-pariṇati
cic-chakti, jīva-śakti, āra māyā-śakti

“Lord Kṛṣṇa naturally has three energetic transformations, and these are known as the spiritual potency, the living entity potency, and the illusory potency.”

Kṛṣṇa is full of rasa. As explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.153):

sarva-ādi, sarva-aṁśī, kiśora-śekhara
cid-ānanda-deha, sarvāśraya, sarveśvara

“Kṛṣṇa is the original source of everything and the sum total of everything. He appears as the supreme youth, and His whole body is composed of spiritual bliss. He is the shelter of everything and master of everyone.”

The instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu regarding the constitutional position of the living entity is given in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.108-109):

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa
kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa
sūryāṁśa-kiraṇa, yaiche agni-jvālā-caya
svābhāvika kṛṣṇera tina-prakāra ‘śakti’ haya

“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa because he is the marginal energy of Kṛṣṇa and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire. Kṛṣṇa has three varieties of energy.”

Regarding conditioned living entities, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives the following description in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.10, 20.117):

sei vibhinnāṁśa jīva—dui ta’ prakāra
eka—’nitya-mukta’, eka—’nitya-saṁsāra
kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha

“The living entities [jīvas] are divided into two categories. Some are eternally liberated, and others are eternally conditioned. Forgetting Kṛṣṇa, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore, the illusory energy [māyā] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.”

Concerning the liberated living entities, the Lord says in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.11):

‘nitya-mukta’—nitya kṛṣṇa-caraṇe unmukha
‘kṛṣṇa-pāriṣada’ nāma, bhuñje sevā-sukha

“Those who are eternally liberated are always awake to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and they render transcendental loving service at the feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They are to be considered eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa, and they are eternally enjoying the transcendental bliss of serving Kṛṣṇa.”

Regarding simultaneous oneness and difference, the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.108) says:

kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’

“The living entity is the marginal energy of Kṛṣṇa and a manifestation simultaneously one and different from the Lord.”

When the living entities’ relationship with the Lord is revived by the association of āmnāya, then abhidheya is understood. Devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is that abhidheya. The purport is that whatever the scriptures specify as one’s prime duty is called abhidheya. In this regard Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.17-18):

kṛṣṇa-bhakti haya abhidheya-pradhāna
bhakti-mukha-nirīkṣaka karma-yoga-jñāna
ei saba sādhanera ati tuccha bala
kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā tāhā dite nāre phala

“Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is the chief function of the living entity. There are different methods for the liberation of the conditioned soul-karma, jñāna, yoga and bhakti – but all are dependent on bhakti. Without devotional service, all other methods for spiritual self-realization are weak and insignificant. Unless one comes to the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, jñāna and yoga cannot give the desired results.”

Sādhana-bhakti is called abhidheya. That sādhana-bhakti is divided into two-vaidhi and rāgānugā. Vaidhisādhana-bhakti is of many varieties. In some places sixty-four limbs are given, and in some places nine limbs are given. The preaching of nine-fold devotional service is given in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (7.5.23):

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
 smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

“Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)-these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”

When a conditioned living entity engages his mind at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa with his mind, body, and words, that is called bhakti. The differences in bhakti from karma and jñāna are very subtle. Many times the limbs of bhakti and karma appear similar. When those limbs are connected with separate desires, they turn into limbs of karma. When those limbs are connected with dry thoughts of Brahman, they turn into limbs of jñāna. In some limbs there is neither karma or jñāna involved. The fruits of karma that lead one to the service of Kṛṣṇa alone are called limbs of bhakti. The fruits of karma that lead one to his own enjoyment are called karma. The karma that leads one to merge with the Lord is called impersonal jñāna. Therefore, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has given the symptoms of bhakti in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.9) as follows:

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

“When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Kṛṣṇa favorably, as Kṛṣṇa desires.”

To perform the limbs of devotional service according to the dictation of vidhi, or prescribed rules, is called vaidhi-sādhana-bhakti. The service performed out of spontaneous attachment to Kṛṣṇa is called rāga-bhakti. The devotion of the Vrajavāsīs is called rāgātmikā, and imitation of their devotional service is called rāgānugā-bhakti. Vaidhi-bhakti starts from śraddhā and proceeds up to rati, when it becomes one with rāgānugā-bhakti. Rāgānugā-bhakti is always forceful. This is the ninth principle.

According to the statements of āmnāya, the tenth principle is that prema is the prayojana, or supreme goal. The stages from sādhana-bhakti up to the attainment of prema are described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 23.9-13) by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as follows:

kona bhāgye kona jīvera ‘śraddhā’ yadi haya
tabe sei jīva ‘sādhu-saṅga’ ye karaya

“If, by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Kṛṣṇa, he begins to associate with devotees.”

sādhu-saṅga haite haya ‘śravaṇa-kīrtana’
sādhana-bhaktye haya ‘sarvānartha-nivartana’

“When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing.”

anartha-nivṛtti haile bhaktye ‘niṣṭhā’ haya
niṣṭhā haite śravaṇādye ‘ruci’ upajaya

“When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens.”

ruci haite bhaktye haya ‘āsakti’ pracura
āsakti haite citte janme kṛṣṇe prīty-aṅkura

“After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Kṛṣṇa grows in the heart.”

sei ‘bhāva’ gāḍha haile dhare ‘prema’-nāma
sei premā-‘prayojana’ sarvānanda-dhāma

“When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life’s ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.”

Those who have doubts in these ten principle teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are not qualified for devotional service. When doubts arise, one’s devotional service becomes corrupted, desires are polluted, unwanted results are achieved, and thus everything is ruined. Therefore, those who have a desire for pure devotional service should perform devotional service with firm confidence.

(‘Niścaya – Confidence’ by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol. 10)

Utsāha - EnthusiasmUtsāha (Enthusiasm)
Dhairya - PatienceDhairya (Patience)

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