[Advaita-l] bhagavadbhaktirasAyana - Verse 1

Murali Karamchedu murali_m_k at msn.com
Sun Sep 9 15:51:42 CDT 2007

Dear List Members,

Here is my first post on the bhagavadbhaktirasAyana. Many of the issues he 
introduces here, he studies in greater detail in later chapters. We will 
cover that detail when we get there.

-----------------------------bhagavadbhaktirasAyana - verse 1 

navarasamilitam va kevalam va pumartham.
paramamiha mukunde bhaktiyoga vadanti |
nirupama sukhasam.vid rUpamasprSTadu:kham.
tamahamakhilatuSTyai shAstradrSTyA vyanajmi ||

“Bhaktiyoga – whose object is mukunda – conceived either as constituted of 
the nine rasAs or as an independent rasA by itself, is a parama purushArtha 
[1]. Its nature is one of incomparable happiness, one that does not even 
admit any sorrow. For everyone’s satisfaction, I will set forth the 
traditional perspective on this bhaktiyogA.”

MS begins his work with the customary mangaLAcaranam, by invoking the name 
of mukunda, and then stating subject of the work, his intent and the 
audience. His TIkA to this verse is elaborate; he starts by first 
considering the three yogAs – karma, jnAna and bhakti and delineates the 
scope of each. karmayogA – defined by sAmAnya dharmAs and ones svadharmA – 
helps one achieve anta:karaNa shuddi. It is enjoined on one until, and only 
until they either develop intense vairAgyA for this samsAra or develop 
intense shraddhA in bhagavadkathA.

For one who does not have cittAdrutI[2], the path to pursue as a 
pre-requisite to this intense vairAgyA is that of tatvajnAna; for one who 
does have this cittAdrutI the path to intense shraddhA in bhagavadharmA – 
such as bhagavadkathAshravaNa etc -  is bhakti. To achieve anta:karaNa 
shuddhi, the manas needs to be steadied to achieve ekAgratA. In the path of 
tatvajnAna, ashTAngayogA etc are included as the means by which one achieves 
this; and for the path of bhakti, bhaktiyogA is the means.

karmayogA leads to anta:karaNa shuddhi, jnAnayogA (tatvavivecana and 
ashTAngayogA etc) prepares ones mind for uninterrupted ekAgratA on 
bhagavAkAra. The duration of this jnAnayogA is until ones mind is completely 
prepared for such ekAgratA, when bhaktiyogA starts. When out of this bhakti, 
where due to uninterrupted thought of bhagavAn, one firmly establishes 
IshvarA in ones mind; Ishvara destroys all the viSaya samskArAs.

For such fortunate and exalted few, for whom bhakti as a sAdhana has made 
all natural affinity to material attractions directed and submitted to 
bhagavAn, who have turned away from all such material attractions; for whom, 
the manovrttis have softened due to such bhagavadkathAsravaNa and the means 
of sAdhanA have become the fruit [3]; who have in-formed their manas by 
completely apprehending the form of bhagavAn and established this form 
firmly within them; for such bhaktAs, the rasAs express themselves as 
rapture, a sthAyibhAva (permanent mood), and is as such a manifest 
expression of paramAnanda. It is thus that rasajnAs say that bhaktiyoga is 
paramam, niratishayam (superlatively incomparable), and it is thus that it 
is a paramapurushArthA.

Happiness, completely untaintable by sorrow, is paramapurushArthA. While it 
is popular to say that dharma, artha, and kAma are purushArthAs, these are 
the means to the purushArthA they facilitate – happiness; just as when one 
says that ‘the hoe is my life’, one really means that the hoe is the means 
to ones life. moksha, also being paramAnandarUpa, is an established 

While bhagavadbhakti and moksha are both paramapurushArthAs, bhagavadbhakti 
is not synonymous with brahmavidyA. Their forms, means and results are 
different. Each of them has their particular characteristics. When one has 
attained cittadruti, then the savikalpa vrtti that the citta attains of 
bhagavadAkAra is bhakti; wheras independent of cittadruti, when one has 
nirvikalpa manovrtti of brahman, that is brahmavidyA. [4]

Their means are different. For bhakti, bhagavadkathAshravaNa is the means; 
for brahmavidya it is cogitation on the mahAvAkhyAs like tatvamasi etc. 
Their fruits are different. The fruits of bhagavadbhakti is bhagavadbhakti. 
The fruit of brahmavidya is the complete elimination of ajnAna which is the 
ultimate cause of all sorrow.

The adhikArIs – people who are competent, who are equipped with the 
pre-requisites – are different. It is adequate to be a prANI (animal) to 
pursue bhakti, wheras one needs to be equipped with sAdhanA-catuSTaya and 
needs to be a paramahamsa-parivrAjaka. [5]

If one admits such a distinction, does it make it impossible for a bhaktA to 
attain moksha? This is because, to be a mumukshu one needs vairagya, and a 
bhakta will not have vairagya from bhaktisukhA. [MS’s answer here is] So be 
it! For one who is in the rapture of bhaktisukhA, such vairagya or moksha is 
irrelevant, their actions are not driven by any desire, their doubts have 
all been resolved, the nature of bhagavduNAs are such that they do not turn 
away from such rapture.

AtmArAmAshca munayo nirgranthA apyurukrame|
kurvatyahaitukIm. bhaktimitthambhUtaguNo hari: || Bhagavata, 1.7.20 ||

(While munIs are engrossed in the bliss of AtmA, and their doubts have all 
been resolved, they continue in desireless bhakti of bhagavAn because such 
is the nature of hari’s guNAs.)

Thus it is that even jIvanmuktAs are bhagavadbhaktAs.

(To be continued…)

Murali Manohar

[1] There are four purushArthAs – dharma, arthA, kAmA and moksha. MS says 
that bhaktiyogA is itself primarily and superlatively a purushArtha. 
Primarily in the sense that it partakes in each of the purushArthAs, and 
superlatively or ultimately in the sense that it’s essential nature is that 
of paramAnanda (beatitude), and therefore is a purushArthA by itself.

[2] cittadrutI: The softening of the cittA. cittA is considered hard by 
nature, inherently ossified by our experiences. The analogy that MS uses 
later on is that of lac, just like proximate or intense heat can soften it 
to different degrees; so does sadhanA.

[3] “sakrtsevayA nityasevAphalam tvam prayacca prayacca prbhovenkatesha”

[4] All cognition, except brahmasAkshAtkAra, requires two things: 
in-formation of the mind, i.e the citta assumes the form of the thing 
cognized, and cidAbhAsa, the enlightening reflection of cit; in the case of 
savikalpa manovrtti, these two continue to exist, the thing cognized being 
Ishvara; in the case of brahmavidya, all that is required is the vrtti of 
the ‘thing’ cognized - brahman; and as such becomes that.

[5] MS goes through extensive discussion here about the distinctions, and 
considers the issue from several perspectives such as nyAyA, issues such as 
ativyApti doshA, whether the result of bhakti is transient like svarga, 
considerations from a mImamsa perspective etc.

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