Bhakti Removes Distress of Those Who Take Shelter of Shuddha-Bhakti

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(From "Bhakti Tattva Viveka" - click to read more from it.
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Kleshaghni — Bhakti-devi completely removes all the klesha or distress of those who take shelter of shuddha-bhakti.

Klesha are of three types: papa or sin, papa-bija or sins in their seed form and avidya or ignorance.

Due to the sins committed by the jiva in innumerable lifetimes or the sins which he may commit in his present or future lives, he has to suffer various types of distress.

The prominent sins have been analysed in the fifth wave of the second shower of Sri Caitanya – siksamrita.

These sins can be further divided into two categories: prarabdha and aprarabdha.Bhakti-devi completely removes all the klesha or distress of those who take shelter of shuddha-bhaktii completely removes all the klesha or distress of those who take shelter of shuddha-bhakti.

Prarabdha sins are those for which the jiva must suffer the reactions in his present life span.

The sins whose reactions will be suffered in one’s next life are called aprarabdha.

The sins committed by the jiva in innumerable lifetimes are added to the series of previous aprarabdha sins and in his next birth fructify as prarabdha sins.

Hence, within the jurisdiction of eternal law, the jiva is bound to suffer the reactions of the sins he has committed in his innumerable lifetimes.

Birth in a brahmana family, a Muslim family, a wealthy family, or a poor family, or having beautiful personal features or being ugly are all the results of prarabdha-karma.

Birth in a yavana or untouchable family is due to prarabdha sins.

Shuddha-bhakti destroys both types of sins, prarabdha and aprarabdha.

If the path of jnana is followed properly it destroys aprarabdha-karma.

But according to the scriptures of the jnanis, one must suffer the reactions of his prarabdha-karma.

But bhakti also destroys prarabdha-karma:

yan-namadheya-sravananukirtanad

yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit

shvado ’pi sadyah savanaya kalpate

kutah punas te bhagavan nu darsanat

Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.33.6

“O my dear Lord! By hearing and chanting Your holy names, by offering pranama unto You and by remembering You, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately obtains the right to perform Vedic sacrifices; in other words, he acquires the status of a brahmana.

What to speak then of the benefit one can achieve by receiving Your direct darsana?”

This verse highlights how bhakti easily destroys the prarabdha sins which result in taking birth in a low-class family.

Now see how bhakti also destroys aprarabdha sins:

aprarabdha-phalam papam kutam bijam phalonmukham

kramenaiva praliyeta Visnu-bhakti-ratatmanam

Padma Purana and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.23

“For those who have undeviating and exclusive attachment for Visnu-bhakti, their (i) aprarabdha or the accumulated stock of sins which are lying in a dormant condition, (ii) kuta or sins which are tending toward producing seeds, which means that they are beginning to take shape as sinful desires, (iii) bija or seeds which are already established as sinful desires and (iv) prarabdha or fructified sins are all destroyed in sequence.” The purport is that for the destruction of their sins, the devotees need not perform any separate acts of either karma or jnana as atonement.

The desires to commit sinful activities which are situated within the heart of the jiva are called papa-bija or the seeds of sins.

Papa-bija can only be destroyed by bhakti:

tais tany aghani puyante tapo-dana-vratadibhih

nadharmajam tad-dhridayam tad apishanghri-sevaya

Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.17 and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.24

The systematic methods for the atonement of sins which are prescribed in the scriptures, such as the performance of difficult vows like candrayana and other activities on the path of ordinary karma as well as the performance of austerities and the giving of charity, destroy only those sins for which they are specifically prescribed.

Those atonements do not destroy the seeds of sin, or in other words the sinful desires which have arisen due to ignorance.

Sinful desires can be removed only by engaging in the service of Krsna, meaning that besides bhakti there is no other means which can expunge sinful desires from the heart.

As soon as Bhakti-devi appears in the heart, all the sinful desires as well as any desires for piety are destroyed at the root.

In the Padma Purana and in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is described how bhakti eradicates avidya:

kritanuyatra vidyabhir hari-bhaktir anuttama

avidyam nirdahaty ashu davajvaleva pannagim

Padma Purana and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.26

“When hari-bhakti appears in the heart, she is followed by vidya-shakti which immediately dispels the ignorance situated within the heart of the jiva, just as a serpent is burnt by a blazing forest fire.”

yat-pada-pankaja-palasha-vilasa-bhaktya

karmashayam grathitam udgrathayanti santah

tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo ’pi ruddha-

sroto-ganas tam aranam bhaja vasudevam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.22.23 and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.25

“Ascetics who have detached their minds from the objects of the senses by keeping their senses away from those objects cannot easily untie the knot of the false ego from their hearts, whereas devotees who are exclusively engaged in transcendental loving service unto the lotus feet of Sri Krsna can untie this knot in no time.

Hence, one should engage in the bhajana of Sri Krsna, the supreme shelter.”

Though the cultivation of jnana can dispel avidya to some extent, without taking shelter of bhakti a sadhaka will certainly fall down:

ye ’nye ’ravindaksha vimukta-maninas

tvayy asta-bhavad avishuddha-buddhayah

aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah

patanty adho ’nadrita-yushmad-anghrayah

Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.2.32

“O lotus-eyed Lord! Although by the cultivation of neti-neti or the negativity principle nondevotees endeavour to attain something different from dull matter and consider themselves liberated, their intelligence is impure.

With great difficulty they cross the ocean of nescience to attain the stage of brahma, but because they have not taken permanent shelter of Your lotus feet, they fall down from such a stage.”

O intimate devotees! Having surely heard the word ‘avidya’ before, you must be eager to know its intrinsic nature.

Therefore, I will explain a few points in this regard.

Sri Krsna possesses unlimited varieties of shaktis or potencies.

Among them, cit-shakti, jiva-shakti and maya-shakti are prominent.

Cit-shakti displays Bhagavan’s dhama or abode and all the paraphernalia necessary for His lila.

Another name for cit-shakti is svarupa-shakti.

Jiva-shakti produces innumerable jivas.

By nature jivas are purely cit-tattva or spiritual, but due to their incomplete constitution they can be trapped by maya.

By harbouring selfish desires they become opposed to Krsna and are trapped by maya, and by desiring to be disposed towards Krsna they are freed from maya and engage in His service.

This is the difference between conditioned and liberated jivas.

Maya acts in two ways upon the intrinsic nature of the conditioned jiva: through the avidya potency and through the vidya potency.

Through its avidya aspect, maya covers the constitutional pure ego of the jiva, thus creating a false or distorted ego by which the jiva identifies himself with gross matter.

This shackle of avidya is the cause of the jiva’s conditioned stage.

Becoming free from avidya and devoid of false designations, the jiva attains the stage of liberation.

Thus avidya is nothing more than a special potency of maya which makes the jiva forget his constitutional position.

Avidya causes karma-vasana or the desire for fruitive activity in the jiva.

These desires initiate the process of sin and piety.

This avidya is the root cause of all the difficulty experienced by the jiva.

Besides bhakti no other process is capable of eliminating this avidya.

Karma can only destroy sins, and jnana can destroy at the root the desires which cause both sin and piety.

But bhakti totally eradicates at the root the sins themselves, the desires to perform both sin and piety, and the prime cause of these desires, avidya.(from Part 3 – "An Analysis of the Natural Attributes of Bhakti")

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Harih Om Tat Sat.

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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