Bhakti yoga Superiority | Goal of Bhakti Yoga | Shandilya Bhakti Sutra-06

Bhakti yoga Superiority

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Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 8

अत एव फलानन्त्यम्

Therefore the Reward of Devotion is transcendental and infinite.

Purport of Aphorism 8

Jnana is not sufficient for perfect emancipation

In the Bhagavad Gita it is clearly given that all the merits that one has gained by performing Vedic Karma, is exhausted, once one has enjoyed the heavenly benefits provided to him, after death. He remains in the heavenly planets and partakes the heavenly pleasures in proportion to the good works and Vedic rules followed by him in the mode of goodness during his stay on earth. Likewise, a good life, secured by a person on the earthly platform also ceases to bear fruits, because of the advantages provided to him during the course of his lifetime, which is also a result of residue of previous pious activities. This is confirmed in the Chandogya Upanishad. A Jnani, does not truly attain liberation, if he has not developed an iota of love for Godhead. Dry empirical knowledge about the aridness of material life alone, is not sufficient for perfect emancipation. The Gita says that the toil for liberation on the part of a Jnani is very great.

The Prayer of a true Bhakta

The Bhagavatha proclaims “Those who are your own, are exclusively devoted to You alone and under any circumstances never go astray from your bliss showering Lotus feet, even for a moment. Daunted by nothing, they effortlessly circumvent all challenges, purely by the dint of your Grace.” The perfect devotee even does not pine for Liberation. This is his greatness, says the Bhagavatha. A devotee whose cup-like heart is full of the nectarine bliss of your love, does not covet for anything else. The devotee prays thus “Oh Lord, I neither crave for Brahma-Loka, Indra-Loka, the sovereignty of the upper worlds, nor the kingship of the nether worlds.  I pine not for success in Ashtanga Yoga or even for the greatest form of salvation. I do not want any of these except for the eternal loving service of your Lotus feet.”

Prayer of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the most exalted devotee incarnation of the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna. He says in the Chaitanya Chandamrita, “One who is impregnated with unalloyed devotion, to him Kaivalya (कैवल्य) or Sayujja Mukti (सायुज्य मुक्ति Liberation attained by merging into the Lord), attained by Jnanis, appears as the worst form of hell, while Paradise seems to be as vain as the castles built on air. The 10 senses, the Karma Indriyas and Jnana Indriyas which appear to be like a virulent cobra to others, become subjugated as if having rooted out its fangs and this very world, which is considered as a cause of triple afflictions of Adhyatmik, Adidaivik and Adibhautik suffering, appears to be the abode of deep peace losing its witch-like illusiveness, although the exalted position of Brahma and Indra offered to him but becomes insignificant as that of an insect, to him”

The Goal of Bhakti is Sriman Vasudeva

Even among tens of millions of those who have been rid of the trigunas (त्रिगुण Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) of Maya and have even become self-realized, having become utterly peaceful and serene; it is most difficult to find a person who is solely devoted to Sriman Narayana, Lord Vasudeva. The Vedas finally proclaim that the various Yajna are to eventually lead one to Sriman Vasudeva and all sorts of rituals have to finally culminate in Sriman Vasudeva alone. All austere penance has Vasudeva as its goal; all virtues aim at the realization of Vasudeva and all destinies end in Vasudeva alone.

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 9

तद्वत: प्रपत्तिशब्दाच्च ज्ञानमितरप्रपत्तिवत्

A Jnani, when becomes extremely fortunate indeed, takes recourse to Bhakti. Even Jnana cannot be acquired independently without self-surrender to God.

Purport of Aphorism 9

A Jnani is released only after surrendering to Vasudeva

Sri Bhagawan Himself proclaims, “Brahma-Jnanis who feel themselves liberated from Maya and attain the state of Brahma-Bhutah (ब्रह्म भूत: One with Brahman), but who are devoid of pure devotion at the Lotus feet of the Lord, have to return back at some point into the cycle of creation, according to the Lord’s plan. And in the course of such a birth, someone among them may have the chance to associate himself with the pure devotee of the Lord and by the dint of such holy association, he shall imbibe Sukriti (सुकृति pious devotional value), which after many a birth will slowly accrue with more such Sukriti, by the dint of earlier ones. This shall awaken the will in his heart to surrender to Sriman Vasudeva, to whom he was opposed as a Jnani.  Once he surrenders to Sriman Vasudeva, he shall slowly be released from the bondage of Jnana, by the increase of Bhakti in his heart. Such a self-surrendered soul becomes a Mahatma and He attains the Lotus feet of the Lord.

Bhakti takes over the Jnanis

The Bhagavad Gita says that “A clever man, who tears the knotted veil of his ego realizes Brahman. The mind is still present and yet it is fully transparent and free of impurities. He does not hanker for anything mundane. He attains equitable vision towards all living entities. In this state he automatically attains eligibility for devotion to the Lord.” The Lord says in this context “He who is relieved from the quagmire of Maya, knows me as the Supreme Purusha and takes recourse to my worship with single-minded devotion. Sri Shankaracharya is the chief Acharya of Jnana-Vada (ज्ञानवाद Doctrine of pure knowledge) and yet, in his last days he recommended only the path of pure devotion where he has poured out his Bhakti through hymns like the Bhaja Govindam.  Sri Madhusudana Sarasvati had the same status as Sri Adi Shankara and he too preached the doctrine of Jnana. Finally he was flown away by the path of pure devotion. He said “With the mind rapt in meditation, if the mystic sees the unqualified, actionless light, let him see; as for myself, my only yearning is to behold before my gladdened eyes, that bluish, charming boy who keeps busily roaming on the banks of the Yamuna”.  None needs to know the Lord. The innermost core of the Lord, knows Him. We have been ignorant of its knowing Him; that is all. It is enough to accept that the innermost fertile ground of the heart of the Jiva rejoices only in the contemplation of the Lord known as Vasudeva.


Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 10

सा मुख्येतरपेक्षितत्वात्

Bhakti is the fundamental and principal means and others (Karma-Jnana etc.) are subordinate and depend on Her.

Purport of Aphorism 10

Joining the Transcendental Pastimes with the Lord

Jnana, Karma or any other form of Yoga, other than Bhakti Yoga which may include Ashtanga Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Tantra Yoga and the multifarious aspects of spiritual discipline can never bring about perfect fulfilment without being subservient to Bhakti. In this context, the Chandogya Upanishad claims “The Bhuma Purusha is the Summit of all Vedanta and the final goal of all religious and philosophical concepts- From Him alone one derives Bliss by rendering unalloyed devotional service to Him. Being saturated by devotion, he feels extremely delighted in rendering unalloyed service to the Lord of Love, he in this state of Siddhi, joins the Transcendental pastimes of that Lord of Love (आत्मक्रीडा Joining the pastimes of the Supreme Being), one shall never lose sight of Him, even for a blink moment of time because then that blink loss of the Lord’s vision will appear to cause to him, the pangs of unbearable separation from Him, that lasts many million years. Such should be the culmination of the final pursuit of a successful human life.  It is to be understood with rock-steady conviction that trying to satisfy ones physical, mental and emotional desires in the world of matter by chasing wealth women and social standing will only reap a harvest of tears, sighs and regrets.