Rightful Candidates for Vaidhi-Bhakti, and Their Shraddha

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(From "Bhakti Tattva Viveka" - click to read more from it.
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There are three types of adhikaris or rightful candidates for vaidhi-bhakti: uttama, madhyama and kanishtha, as confirmed by Srila Rupa Goswami in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.16), “uttamo madhyamash ca syat kanishthash ceti sa tridha.”

The symptoms of an uttama-adhikari in vaidhi-bhakti are:

shastre yuktau ca nipunah sarvatha dridha-nishcayah

praudha shraddho ’dhikari yah sa bhaktav uttamo matah

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.17

“One who is conversant with the scriptures, expert in all types of logic and possesses unwavering determination is the uttama-adhikari or one endowed with firm shraddha.”

The symptoms of the madhyama-adhikari in vaidhi-bhakti are:

yah shastradishv anipunah shraddhavan sa tu madhyamah

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.19

“One who is not so expert in understanding the scriptures and yet is faithful is a madhyama-adhikari; in other words, although when presented with difficult arguments he is unable to answer them, within his mind he remains firmly faithful to his own principle.”

The symptoms of the kanishtha-adhikari are:

yo bhavet komala-shraddhah sa kanishtho nigadyate

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.19

Kanishtha devotees have very little expertise in understanding the scriptures and their shraddha is very delicate and immature.

Their shraddha can be changed by others’ logic and arguments.

It is to be noted here that the shraddha which is visible in these three types of faithful persons is characterised by faith in the injunctions of the scriptures and by being mixed with logical evidences which are dependent on the scriptures.

According to the degree of greed possessed by the rightful candidates for raganuga-bhakti, they can also be divided into the three categories of uttama, madhyama and kanishtha.(from Part 4 – "An Analysis of the Qualification for Bhakti")

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Natural Brotherhood (Bhaktivinoda Thakura):

BhaktiVinoda Thakura

"Gradually, when the offensive portions of the established religions are destroyed, there will be no more differences in the bhajana performed by the various Sampradayas nor any quarrel between them.

Then as brothers, the people of all castes and countries will spontaneously chant the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord together.

At that time, no one will hate anyone or consider others dogeaters; nor will anyone be overwhelmed by the pride of high birth.

The living entities will not forget the principle of natural brotherhood."

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