Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 14
अत एव तदभावद्वल्लवीनाम्
Whereas even before having seen Sri Krishna, the Vraja Gopis were pregnant with poignant infatuation of unsurmounting Love for His sole gratification.
Purport of Aphorism 14
Rukmini Devi yearns for Sri Krishna
Neither the knowledge of Divinity nor the mere visualization of God can be seen as the cause for invoking unalloyed devotion in one’s heart. It may not qualify as the rudimentary cause for arousing Love of Godhead. As without attaining to the age of adolescence, even an analytical knowledge of love or the very appearance of a naked person does not entrust passion into the bosom of the opposite sex. So only Rati (रति) or Bhava (भाव) can be considered as the cause. The invocation of Rati took place in the hearts of the Brahmin-wives of Mathura, whose husbands were conducting Yajna to please Vishnu. In the case of Rukmini Devi, Her letter to the Lord she writes “Hearing about Your divine attributes and splendor, my heart has clung to you regardless of any shame, your name having entered the holes of my ears, I have got you enshrined within my untainted heart. Therefore kindly claim your right over this immaculate Virgin, making me your spouse.” This is called raga or intense spiritual attachment, born out of Rati or intense desire to attain the spiritual object. The prayers of Rukmini Devi is aimed not for her gratification but for the sole gratification of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna.
Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 15
भकत्या जानातीति चेन्नाभिज्ञप्त्या साहाय्यात्
It is Bhakti alone that makes one to realize God in His totality and absolutely. It does not require any help (sometimes) from earlier knowledge of God.
Purport of Aphorism 15 (Sadhana Siddha and Nitya Siddha)
It is to be understood that there are two categories of Bhakta or devotees. One category is known as Sadhana Siddha and one is Nitya Siddha. Unless the difference between these two types of devotees is ascertained, people may draw all types of wrong conclusions about this aphorism. In this material platform, the Jiva is associated with material energy, since time immemorial, because of which the eternal relationship with the Lord is almost completely forgotten. It is under these conditions that one easily comes across as a Jiva who may be completely atheistic without an ounce of Shraddha or faith on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hence for a Jiva, who has been associating with material energy or Maya, knowledge about the Supreme personality is indispensable. One cannot write a grammatically correct sentence unless one learns about the alphabets, about words and about how to construct sentences using the correct gender, tense, subject and predicate. This much knowledge is a must. Similarly, due to long association with Maya, the spirit soul has completely remained oblivious about the Supreme Personality. Under these conditions, it becomes important to know about the Supreme Personality completely, by associating oneself with pure devotees, by reading Scriptures to understand the Personality of Godhead. Only when this knowledge about the Personality of Godhead is ascertained, one can go deeper to understand the transcendental facets of the Lord. One who attracts Grace of the Lord, by constantly hearing and speaking about the Lord, is said to be a Sadhana Bhakta. When the Sadhana Bhakta attains Love of Godhead through Grace, he is said to be a Sadhana Siddha, one who has attained Love of Godhead through deliberation and Grace. But there is another category of devotee who have love for Godhead as a natural and pristine emotion that flows within their heart effortlessly even without any effort on their part to know about the Lord or the need to endeavor. Their Love for God gushes forth just as the torrential waters gush forth from a dam. Examples of such devotees are Mother Yashoda, Nanda Baba, the Gopis of Vrindavana, the Sakha or friends of Sri Krishna, the cows of Vrindavana etc. These devotees are expansions of the Lord and are Nitya Siddhas. They need not undergo practice or purificatory processes to evoke the Love of Godhead.
Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 16
Devotion leads to knowledge and not vice-versa
Purport of Aphorism 16
Typical Jnana and Kriya is not Jnana proper
Bhakti is regarded as the parent of both Jnana and Vairagya which is knowledge and renunciation. The so-called pure Jnanis of the world talk about man creating God and are extremely blasphemous about their approach towards spirituality. Because of the effect of Kaliyuga, their intelligence is eaten away by the dry and arid process of Jnana Marg. Their whole conception about the spirit puts man at the top of the spiritual pedestal, completely rejecting the Personality of Godhead. Such Jnana or Knowledge is against Shastra and the Vedic injunctions that have ordained the Personality of Godhead as the Supreme Being, as the very object of our attainment, through the medium of Vedanta or the Upanishads. Hence such Jnana promoted by the Vedantist or Ashtanga Yogis or Kriya Yogis is not knowledge at all. It is a type of cheating process that takes an individual far away from reality. Renunciation also cannot be attained through the so-called Jnana Yoga process because any Jnana path that is devoid of the Personality of Godhead, shall have Maya hidden within it that shall continue to attract the Jiva, thereby making him a pseudo-renunciant and not a renunciant proper. The Jnani shall only have a covering of a so-called renouncing approach but his heart shall still be infected with the attraction for worldly name, fame and doing in the name of so-called spirituality, in the name of doing good to others.
Only pure devotees are eligible for Jnana and Vairagya
Ordinary people, people who are in the worldly cycle, trying to educate others as to what is spirituality, are people who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hence although, their teachings appear to be attractive and effective, these teachings are not in alignment with Shastra, because of which they shall not bear long-term fruits. Instead they shall only mislead the innocent folk of the world, who are in search of Self-knowledge. A pure devotee, on the other hand, depends completely on the Supreme Personality for everything, having completely surrendered to Him. Here the Lord says that It is only pure devotion to Me, through which one comes to know me in Reality. Through Shuddhah Bhakti (Pure devotional service शुद्ध भक्ति) alone one can attain enlightenment with full knowledge about the transcendental manifestation of God, His Attributes and sports and following this, the blissful soul enters into the blissful abode of the Lord. This is one of His most confidential teachings to the Jiva or spirit soul. So the realization of a Bhakta, has all the vitality and vividness of direct Personal experience of God.
Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 17
एतेन विकल्पोपि प्रत्युक्त:
Now with these expositions, the contradiction regarding Jnana and Bhakti is solved.
Purport of Aphorism 17
Bhakti is free and the primary component for Jnana and Vairagya. Only Jnana or Knowledge is spurious, has no value without being subservient to Bhakti. Therefore Knowledge devoid of Bhakti cannot serve the purpose of attaining final beatitude in life. Bhakti is to be understood as the means as well as the end. The highest pursuit of human life is attained through Bhakti alone and no other.
Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 18
Whenever Bhakti is referred to other than the Supreme Godhead, it is of course, a degraded form or perversely coined.
Purport of Aphorism 18
The term Bhakti, according to the Sattvik Shastra, especially the Shrimad Bhagavatham, is used only in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such Bhakti is the means as well as the end. In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord ascertains “Those who are devoted to gods other than the Supreme Godhead, even though with unwavering faith, no doubt, the Lord being the very source of existence of all gods, is thereby ultimately worshipped, but it lacks the true spirit, because the devotion is not directed, directly to the Lord. Hence such devotion cannot be considered devotion proper. Being deluded by Maya, such worshippers merely get their desires fulfilled in obtaining the objects of enjoyment, heaven as its fruit instead of attaining the highest pursuit of life which is eternal bliss through rendering service unto the Lord, Supreme. Furthermore, Godhead says, “Those who are devoted to other Devatas, go to them, but my devotees, come unto Me, thereby they are no more subject to birth and death whereas all others are subject endlessly to the infallible law of transmigration.