On the Glory of Each Book

Bhakti-rasayana

This compilation of verses is known as bhakti-rasayana: the nectar-tonic of devotional mellows. When the material body becomes weakened by illness and one is unable to eat anything, by drinking a tonic the digestion and the pulse again become strong. Similarly, in the realm of bhakti, for those in whom intense hankering for spontaneous devotion (raganuga-bhakti) has arisen, the verses in this final chapter are like a nectar-tonic.

When sadhakas study and learn these verses, deeply meditating within themselves on their meanings while chanting the holy name, they will act as stimuli to fully experience the mood described in the verse above. Then one’s mind will not wander here and there. We should not just walk around talking to others while chanting, but taking our chanting beads we should sit in a solitary place and give it our mind and heart. Our previous Acaryas chanted all night long, meditating on one verse after another. For half an hour the waves of the bhava of one particular verse would be coming to them; sometimes they would be fully submerged in those waves, sometimes they would rise to the surface and float on those waves, and then they would move on to the next verse. As they did this more and more, the whole night would pass, and where it went, they wouldn’t know. This is the traditional method of performing bhajana.

Bhakti-rasayana, Chapter 1

 


Bhakti-tattva-viveka

The unlimited glories of bhagavad-bhakti are visible in the Puranas, srutis, smaritis, Mahabharata, and Ramayana, as well as in the literatures of famous Vaishnava Acaryas. By understanding the constitutional nature of suddha-bhakti, or unalloyed devotion, and genuinely engaging in its practice, one can easily cross the ocean of nescience and achieve life’s ultimate goal of Krsna-prema.

What to speak of the genuine practice of suddha-bhakti, Even the attainment of a slight semblance of bhakti can award the fourfold boons of artha (economic development), dharma (religiosity), karma (sense gratification), and moksa (liberation). Therefore, people in general become attracted towards the cultivation of bhakti. However, due to being ignorant of the true nature of suddha-bhakti, they usually come in contact with pretentious “devotees” who desire only wealth, women, and fame, and under their influence either practice false devotion or adopt devotional sentiments which are against the principles of pure devotion, all the while imagining them to be pure bhakti. Coming under the influence of those desiring impersonal liberation, they practice a shadow or reflection of real bhakti and deceive themselves. Thus they do not achieve the real fruit of bhakti.

Hence, the Acharya of the profound science of devotional mellows, the most merciful Srila Rupa Gosvami, has explained in his book Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, the true nature of suddha-bhakti on the basis of scriptural evidences. Moreover, he has described the nature of chala-bhakti (pretentious devotion), Abhasa-bhakti (a semblance of devotion), pratibimba-bhakti (a reflection of devotion), karma-mira-bhakti (devotion mixed with fruitive action), jnana-mira-bhakti (devotion mixed with impersonal knowledge), A?ropa-siddha-bhakti (endeavors which are indirectly attributed with the quality of devotion), saa?i??gasiddha- bhakti (endeavors associated with or favorable to the cultivation of devotion) and so on.

In the realm of devotion, the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is unanimously accepted as the most authoritative literature. However, it was composed in the Sanskrit language. So for the benefit of people in general, in his Bhakti-tattva-viveka, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has presented the grave and deep conceptions of Bhakti-rasmrta-sindhu in the Bengali language, in a straightforward and easily understandable manner.

Bhakti-tattva-viveka, Preface

 


Jaiva-dharma

[On September 21, 2001, when Srila Gurudeva returned to Mathura after his two-week preaching tour in Jaipur and Delhi, he received
5,000 copies of the newly-published Jaiva-dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Over forty years earlier he had translated Jaiva-dharma from the original Bengali into Hindi, and then recently, under his guidance, his disciples had translated his Hindi version into English. Now, on the evening after his return, he held a ceremony inaugurating the new publication, and the following is a transcription of his speech:]

I am very happy and satisfied that Jaiva-dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has been published and printed in English. It has come from my Hindi translation, which was approved by my gurudeva, Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajna Kesava GosvamAi Maharaja. It was also approved by Sri Srimad Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharja, all my god-brothers, and several senior disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatakura.

Guru Maharja ordered me to translate this book into Hindi. Therefore, in order to read and understand it well, I
studied Bengali grammar and language. Later, when Guru Maharaja saw my translation, he wrote a preface, and in that preface he sprinkled his causeless mercy upon me.

Jaiva-dharma is a very authentic book for understanding tattva (established philosophical truths), sadhana (the process to attain the perfection of Krsna-prema), and sadhya (the goal of Krsna-prema). Those who read it under the guidance of a well-trained and qualified Vaishnava will know its glories.

When I first published it in Hindi, I considered that it must also be translated into English for the benefit of the entire world, for it will bring about a revolution of new thought. Surely now, when it will be distributed throughout the world, that revolution will come about. At that time everyone will have the opportunity to realize that what I am telling about: tattva, bhakti, sadhana, and bhajana is true to the highestextent. The wrong impressions about jaiva-tattva, bhakti-tattva, and all other important truths are clarified by this book.

The siddhanta of Jaiva-dharma is very deep, and those who have spent time with me were able to untie the knots which bound those deep meanings. There are so many English editions of Jaiva-dharma, but most of them have not presented the philosophy clearly. They contain many mistaken ideas, and I think those errors will be corrected by this book.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura adopted the same process accepted by Vyasadeva in Srimad-Bhagavatam. In Jaiva-dharma he presented tattva in such an interesting way that it appears like a novel. It is not a novel, however; everything in it is true history.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura saw this in his samadhi trance and then wrote down his realizations. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura realized all of the written documents of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa GosvamAi, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the teachings of all the Acaryas in His line. He was very expert in rasa-tattva (the science of the relationship between Krsna and His devotees); the entire Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nAi??lamaa?i??i are present in Jaiva-dharma. We cannot understand the mahabhava (the pinnacle of devotion found only in the gopis) described in Ujjvala-nAi??lamaa?i??i and other books of that nature. They are too difficult for common devotees to comprehend. Here in Jaiva-dharma, therefore, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has put the contents of all such books into very simple language. He has put the ocean in a jar.

If anyone wants to enter into the spiritual realm, they should read this book thoroughly not once, but one hundred times under the guidance of a highly qualified, realized Vaishnava. Otherwise, it is not possible to enter its deep meanings. In Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 5.131) it is stated that one should read Srimad-Bhagavatamunder the guidance of the bona fide Vaishnava, and this fact is also true in relation to Jaiva-dharma. In that way one can realize its truths.

I am therefore very happy and satisfied by the publication of this book. To those who have helped with its publication, as chief editors, translators, advisors, English and Sanskrit editors, proofreaders, layout persons, computer specialists, and those who have helped with finances, I want to give my hearty blessings. I pray to Krsna, and I pray to Gadadhara Pandita Prabhu, who manifested as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I request them to sprinkle their mercy on those who helped me in any way. I will pray that the mercy of sri Guru, Gauranga, and Sri Sri RadhA-Vinoda-bihA?rAi?? will fall upon them.

 


Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu

AsrAi??la ViAi??vanA?tha CakravartAi?? a?i??hA?kura, the crown prince ofAi??illustrious teachers among the Gaua??Ai??ya Vaishnava A?cA?ryas, isAi??the author of this book. In this book there is a description ofAi??the nature of uttama-bhakti, its divisions, sA?dhana-bhakti, theAi??stages in the development of prema, the limbs of bhajana, theAi??offences committed in the performance of devotional serviceAi??(sevA?-aparA?dha), the offences against the holy name (nA?maaparA?dha),Ai??vaidhi- and rA?gA?nuga-sA?dhana-bhakti, bhA?va-bhakti,Ai??prema-bhakti, and bhakti-rasa.Ai??I have complete faith that those who are possessed of aAi??yearningAi??for bhakti and especially the sA?dhakas of rA?gA?nugabhaktiAi??who are Ai??captivated by vraja-rasa will receive this bookAi??with great reverence. Faithful persons who study this bookAi??will obtain qualification to enter into the wealth of prema ofAi??AsrAi?? Caitanya MahA?prabhu.

Bhakti-rasA?ma?i??ta-sindhu-bindu, Preface

Ai??


AsrAi?? Brahma-samhitA?

AsrAi?? Brahma-saa??hitA? was revealed by AsrAi?? BrahmA?, the originalAi??guru of the Brahma sampradA?ya, and the great-grandfatherAi??ofAi??the universe. It was collected and propagated by AsrAi?? CaitanyaAi??MahA?prabhu, who is AsrAi?? Ka?i??a??a?i??a Himself, adorned with the sentimentAi??and complexion of AsrAi?? RA?dhA?. This scripture,Ai??whichAi??is full of brilliantly effulgent transcendental jewels in theAi??form of many philosophical conclusions of bhakti, is anAi??incomparable devotional scripture. Not only does it standAi??out among AsrAi?? Gaua??Ai??ya Vaishnava literature, but also withinAi??the entire body of sacred Indian texts received through oralAi??tradition, such as the Vedas, the PurA?a?i??as, the VedA?nta-sAi??tra,Ai??Bhagavad-gAi??tA?, and AsrAi??mad-BhA?gavatam.

It is a matter of unlimited jubilation that today we areAi??presenting the aforementioned Brahma-saa??hitA? before ourAi??readers in Hindi, the national language of India, by theAi??causelessAi??mercy and inspiration of our paramA?rA?dhya gurupA?da-Ai??padma, oa?? via??a?i??upA?da aa??a?i??ottara-Ai??ata AsrAi?? AsrAi??mad BhaktiAi??PrajAi??A?na KeAi??ava GosvA?mi MahA?rA?ja.

I have confidence that this text will be revered amongAi??the faithful sA?dhakas who are thirsting for devotion, and alsoAi??among the intelligentsia. It is my heartfelt aspiration thatAi??they may enter into the immaculate prema-dharma. My mostAi??worshipable Ai??rAi?? guru-pA?dapadma feels pain upon seeing theAi??distress of others, and he is the embodiment of the SupremeAi??Lordai??i??s mercy. May he and AsacAi??nandana AsrAi?? Gaurahari beAi??pleased with us and bestow upon us the qualification toAi??render the services that fulfill their innermost heartai??i??s desire.Ai??This is our only grief-stricken prayer at their divine lotusAi??feet. What need is there to say more?

AsrAi?? Brahma-samhitA?, Introduction

 


AsrAi?? Brhad-bhA?gavatA?mrta

AsrAi??mad-BhA?gavatam is the essence of all scriptures, suchAi??as the Vedas, VedA?nta, PurA?a?i??as, ItihA?sas, and so on. By churningAi??that essence, this book, aptly named AsrAi?? Ba?i??had-bhA?gavatA?mrta,Ai??the Essential Nectar of the BhA?gavatam, has become manifest.Ai??Throughout this book, all topics regarding devotional serviceAi??to BhagavA?n have been presented.

In this Part One of the Second Canto, the author, AsrAi??laAi??SanA?tana GosvA?mAi??, has ascertained deep spiritual truthsAi??(tattvas). We request the readers to study and contemplateAi??these confidential truths with patience and constancy.

AsrAi?? Ba?i??had BhA?gavatA?mrta, Preface


AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA?

AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA? is also known as GAi??topania??ad. It isAi??the essence of all Vedic knowledge and the most significantAi??Upania??ad in Vedic literature. Those who constantly study thisAi??book with faith, under the shelter of the spiritual master,Ai??saintly persons, and Vaia??a?i??avas will be able to ascertain itsAi??true import easily. As a result, they will transcend the oceanAi??of material existence and attain transcendental devotionAi??to the lotus feet of AsrAi?? Ka?i??a??a?i??a. In this way, they will becomeAi??eligible to attain pure love for Him. Of this there is not theAi??slightest doubt.

Nowadays, it is observed that the great thinkers andAi??veneratedAi??gentlemen of India revere AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA?.Ai??MembersAi??of all disciplic lineages (sampradA?yas) also showAi??great honour and faith in the GAi??tA?. Even many celebratedAi??politicians have shown faith in his monarch of books, andAi??philosophers from all countries of the world have lauded itAi??profusely.

At that time the supremely compassionate BhagavA?nAi??AsrAi?? Ka?i??a??a?i??acandra gave the instructions of AsrAi??mad Bhagavad gAi??tA? to His dear associate and friend, Arjuna, for the benefit of the living entities of the world. AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA?, which is an investigation into the essential import of all the Vedas, is therefore the crest jewel of all Upania??ads. It describes the mutual relationship between the processes of karma-yoga, jAi??A?na-yoga, and so on and expounds pure haribhakti as the supreme goal for the living entities. Karma-yoga (the path of spiritual advancement where the fruit of oneai??i??s pious action is offered to the Lord), jAi??A?na-yoga (the path of spiritual advancement through transcendental knowledge), and bhakti-yoga (the path of loving devotion to the Supreme Lord) are not actually different systems; they are simply the first, second, and third steps of the one yoga process. The first stage of that complete yoga is called karma-yoga, the second, jAi??A?na-yoga, and the third, bhakti-yoga. The Upania??ads, BrahmasAi??tra, and AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA? are completely devotional literatures. They elaborately describe karma, jAi??A?na, mukti, and the attainment of brahma, but then Ai??comparatively deliberate on them and ultimately establish Ai??uddha-bhakti as supreme.

I am completely confident that readers who are hankeringAi??for bhakti will receive this book well and with all honour, andAi??that faithful readers will enter into the realm of Ai??uddha-bhaktiAi??after studying it. We hope that our spiritually astute readersAi??will mercifully forgive any mistakes and discrepancies thatAi??may have occurred in the course of compiling this book in aAi??short time, and that they will oblige us by accepting its veryAi??essence.

AsrAi??mad Bhagavad-gAi??tA?, Introduction


AsrAi?? Manah-Ai??iksA?

AsrAi?? Manaa??-Ai??ika??A?, written by AsrAi?? RaghunA?tha dA?sa GosvA?mAi??,Ai??the eternal associate of AsrAi?? Caitanya MahA?prabhu, is a collectionAi??of eleven verses that offer spiritual instruction to theAi??mind. These verses are an excerpt from the book known as AsrAi?? StavA?valAi??, a compilation of all of the authorai??i??s prayers and deep spiritual yearnings. In a very concise manner, AsrAi?? DA?sa GosvA?mAi?? has surcharged these eleven verses of Manaa??-Ai??ika??A? with the essence of the teachings of AsrAi?? Gaurasundara, the prema-intoxicated embodiment of the combined forms of AsrAi?? AsrAi?? RA?dhA?-Ka?i??a??a?i??a, as well as those of His intimate associate AsrAi?? SvarAi??pa DA?modara, and the A?cA?rya of the profound science of devotional mellows, AsrAi?? RAi??pa GosvA?mAi??.

While continuously residing in Vraja under the guidance of rasika devotees who are deeply immersed in the mood of Vraja, one should hear, chant, and remember the names, form, qualities, and pastimes of AsrAi?? Ka?i??a??a?i??a. This is the method of bhajana for devotees who are traversing the path of rA?gA?nugabhakti. Out of all the limbs of devotion such as hearing and chanting that have been described in relation to vaidhibhakti, those which are favorable to the development of oneai??i??s particular disposition may also be accepted on the path of rA?gA?nuga-sA?dhana.

In vaidhi-mA?rga one first develops faith (Ai??raddhA?). ThenAi??one acquires the association of devotees (sA?dhu-saa?i??ga). Thereafter, by practice of bhajana one is released from the impediments to spiritual advancement (anarthas). Gradually one then develops resolute steadiness (nia??a?i??hA?), strong taste (ruci), firm attachment (A?sakti), and ecstatic emotion (bhA?va). By this system, bhA?va is obtained after a very long time. But when greed develops, all anarthas are very easily destroyed because of the absence of hankering for material sense enjoyment.

Here the meaning of rA?gA?nuga-bhakti is rAi??pA?nuga-bhakti. Without becoming rAi??pA?nuga, a follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami, it is impossible to enter the path of rA?gA?tmika-bhakti. If by some great fortune a person develops an intense desire to enter the path of rA?gA?nuga-bhakti, then one should certainly study and follow this Manaa??-Ai??ika??A? of AsrAi?? DA?sa GosvA?mAi??, the principal follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

AsrAi?? Manaa??-Ai??ika??A?, Preface