Comparison between Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga | Shandilya Bhakti Sutra-05

Comparison between Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga

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Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism -5


Because, at the very dawn of Bhakti, Jnana or knowledge about Brahman, the path of induction has totally lost its charm and significance.

Purport of Aphorism 5

Emancipation that is gained through the path of Jnana may be a great thing, but compared to the illumination of Love of God, in the heart, an analogy will fit the comparison. It is only a mustard seed (emancipation through Jnana) when compared to mount Meru (analogous to Bhakti).  In the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, it is said “I have realized the transcendental Personality of Godhead, who shines most brilliantly like the sun beyond all darkness. Only by realizing Him, one goes beyond the cycle of transmigration. Absolutely, there is no other means of God-realization. Thereby become blessed and adopt the path of unalloyed devotion.” The Bhagavatha says “Neither Brahmanahood, God-ship, becoming a Rishi, attaining nobility, doing charity, worship, and sacred vows are conducive to please Mukunda, Sri Krishna. Only unalloyed devotion to Him, can propitiate Him.” At the very dawn of Bhakti, Jnana retreats, so says the Shastra.

The Four Kumara brothers taste Bhakti

An illustration of dawn of Bhakti is when the four Kumara brothers enter Vaikuntha, the sweet and fragrant aroma of the Tulasi leaves tinged with the pollens offered at the Lotus feet of the Lord, having entered the nostrils of the four brothers, erstwhile Brahma Jnanis, engaged in Atma- ras (आत्म-रस Nectar of the Self) were immediately absolved from Ati-Vidya (अति-विद्या), semblance of knowledge arising out of the realization of the Self and were awakened to their dormant intrinsic nature of devotion, which got manifested at the very sight of the transcendental beauty of the Supreme Lord. They felt a thrill, running down their spines and at ones fell prostrated at the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord.

Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about Bhakti

The Bhagavatha further elucidates, “Even sages who are atma-ramis (आत्मारामि lost in the bliss of the Self), who remain in a state of contemplation and equilibrium and who are free from any form of Maya, they too are magnetized with unalloyed loving devotion to Sri Hari, such an unstinted soul attains Parabhakti (पराभक्ति Unalloyed devotion to Hari). In this context, the Kaliyuga Avatar of the Supreme Lord, Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says “Just as the foolish crow sucks the Nimba fruits (Neem tree fruit), while the cuckoo feeds on the mango blossoms, the unfortunate followers of Jnana Yoga, chew dry wisdom, while the pure devotee quaffs the nectar of Sri Krishna Prema (श्री कृष्ण प्रेम Loving devotion to Sri Krishna). The Lord, according to the Bhagavatha, is only pleased by devotion and not by any other means.  The Lord says, “Unswervingly attached to me alone, thou shalt attain Me, in my blissful realm, as my devout servitor.”

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism-6

द्वेषप्रतिपक्षभावाद्रसशब्दाच्च राग:

Hatred is antagonistic to Bhakti which is loving attachment, blissful, nectarine, that which relates to the Supreme Godhead, who is Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Purport of Aphorism 6

In the Gita, Bhagawan, Sri Krishna says, “Steeped in nescience, people who are haughty, full of lust, anger and malice, hate Me. I hurl them into demoniacal wombs, in the world or Samsara. They take up ignoble forms, quite incompetent to attain Me, they are destined to take lower births. In some places Sri Narada says, God is attained quicker through intense hatred towards Him. Some people misrepresent the statement. This statement of the great devotee Sri Narada has to be read in the proper context. Such attainment, through hatred, is not promoted in the Bhakti Shastra. Even such hatred is possible through the will of the Lord, so that it assists His Leela. Such souls who support the mood of Lila are beings like Ravana, Sisupala, Kamsa, Dantavakra and others. They are eternal associates of the Lord and have displayed the qualities of hatred by the pure will of the Lord. This position is never recommended for people who are on the spiritual path. Such hatred, can never qualify as Bhakti and will be duly punished by the Lord. It is hence only recommended that one pursues loving devotional service and not anything else. There is another type of sweet anger that the Lord is particularly attracted to, which He considers auspicious. That anger, is the one shown by the Vraja Gopis, whose love for the Lord has crossed all pinnacles. Due to separation from the Lord, they may display extreme anger, but this anger is considered as the fruit of intense love and cannot be considered as material anger born out of mundane hatred.

Nature of Raga and Anurag

Devotion in the form of Raga or Anurag (attachment to God, and deep identification with the Lord and His activities) is an inalienable distinct natural quality of the Jiva, which cannot be compared with selfish feelings, where the object is meant to attain one’s own interests. Therefore whatever does not conform to this definition of Bhakti, cannot qualify as unalloyed devotion. The Lord is only subservient, and captured by pure unalloyed devotion, says the Shastra. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has defined Prema (Unalloyed devotional service to the Lord) as the Pancham Purshartha (पंचम पुरुषार्थ the fifth goal), beyond Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The one who yearns for Prema, even rejects Moksha, because he has transcended beyond the purity of even the Shastra, so says the Shastra. Lord Mahaprabhu says that the Brahmananda (ब्रह्मानंदा Joy derived from the knowledge of Brahman) of the Jnanis is not even a drop compared to the shoreless ocean of the nectarine loving devotional service to Sri Krishna.

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism-7

न क्रिया कृत्यनपेक्षणाज्ज्ञान्वत्

Jnana is to be acquired by one’s own endeavor whereas Bhakti is causeless and gets manifested of its own accord, hence ahaituki (अहैतुकी causeless)

Purport of Aphorism 7

It may be considered that by the will of Providence, when one comes in contact with an exalted Parama Bhakta devotee (परम भक्त supremely elevated) of the Supreme Godhead one is endowed with devotion, which is the natural characteristic of the Jiva, which so long, remained dormant due to one’s aversion from God.  A cruel hunter like Ratnakar, became a Parama Bhagavatha by the dint of the causeless mercy of a sage like Deva rishi Narada. Such Maha Bhagavatha(s) are like the philosopher’s stone, that by its touch alone, iron is transformed into gold. The aspect of Ananda in the Supreme personality is known as Hladini Potency, which causes spontaneous Bliss both to Himself and His devotees. The causeless case of Bhakti is a matter of grace of the exalted devotee, the result of Hladini potency. A deer, after quenching its thirst, gets up from the pond, sees a hunter aiming at her, on her left, and a tiger ready to pounce on her, on her right, a burning forest fire and her back is the very deep pond, where she quenched her thirst. Such is the nature of the Jiva trapped in the world, like the deer, trapped near the pond.  But there is a way above, where Hari waits, for her call. On her call, there shall be a thunder-bolt bashed with storm and torrential rains, the tiger and the hunter shall run away, the forest fire extinguished by the rains, the deer has her ways opened up, she gets into the solace of the woods, in remembrance of the mercy of Providence.