The 2nd Type of Impure Bhakti

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(From "Bhakti Tattva Viveka" - click to read more from it.
You can also read the previous page: )

In bahirmukha-karmavrita-bhakti-abhasa
a blockage comprised of an external covering of karma or fruitive activities is produced by the gauna-vritti or secondary tendency of bhakti.

It is as if a curtain of fruitive activity is present between the relisher, the jiva and that which is to be relished, bhakti.

This curtain covers the svarupa or intrinsic nature of bhakti.

Varna-dharma, ashrama-dharma and ashtanga-yoga are all classified as karma.

Karma is of two types: nitya and naimittika.

All actions which result in piety are considered karma.

A detailed explanation of karma here would greatly enlarge this presentation.

Those who specifically want to understand karma-tattva may read the initial pages of my book Sri Caitanya-Siksamrita.

The process of karma delineated in the books of the smarta-brahmanas is all external karma.

The sandhya-vandana or prayers to be recited daily at dusk and so on which are suitable for the proper execution of one’s varnasrama duties and which are mentioned in the books of the smartas are called nitya-karma or daily routine activities.

The smartas consider these nitya-karma activities to be bhakti.

Yet an in-depth review of these activities will reveal that they are also external.

The symptoms of bhakti which are visible in them are due merely to pratibimba-bhakti-abhasa and not real bhakti.

This is because the desired fruit of these activities is either the attainment of impersonal liberation or the pleasures of this world or the heavenly worlds.

Some people consider the limbs of bhakti-tattva such as sravana and kirtana to be karma and the sravana and kirtana of karma-tattva to be bhakti.

These misconceptions are caused by their ignorance of proper tattva.

Although externally there appear to be many similarities between karma and sadhana-bhakti, there exists a fundamental difference between the two.

Whatever action is performed to attain mundane happiness in this world or in the heavenly worlds is called karma.

This happiness is classified as either sense gratification or relief from suffering in the form of impersonal liberation.

On the other hand, bhakti is the action performed with absorption in those sentiments which only help to increase our natural inborn inclination towards achieving krsna-rati and where the performer has no other desire whatsoever.

Despite accruing some other fruits by the performance of such activity, the performer considers that fruit to be very insignificant.

Those acts which nourish shuddha-bhakti are also considered bhakti because bhakti alone is the mother of bhakti; jnana and karma can never be capable of producing bhakti.

My dear intimate devotees! You cannot satisfy the people engaged in gross activities by presenting before them this subtle difference between karma and bhakti.

Only when their faith in karma and jnana dwindles by the accumulation of heaps of pious activities and by the effect of association with pure devotees of Bhagavan will the seedling of undeveloped bhakti appear in their hearts in the form of shraddha.

Unless in possession of such shraddha, no one can understand the subtle difference between karma and bhakti.

We should understand that if someone thinks that bhakti is simply another form of karma, then he won’t be able to relish the transcendental sentiments of shuddha-bhakti in his heart.

The difference between bitter and sweet can be distinguished only by tasting them, not by reasoning.

After actually tasting them, it becomes much easier to consider and then determine which of them is superior.

Those inclined towards karma sometimes dance, tremble, and shed tears while chanting harinama, but all of this is pratibimba-bhakti, not shuddha-bhakti, and is the result of their previous good fortune of having associated with devotees as described in the verses which were quoted previously such as “sad-bhakta-sangena”.

Their trembling and shedding of tears are just bhoga-saukhyamsha-vyanjaka or symptoms produced by sensual pleasure and are considered mere pratibimba only.

At such times they are either immersed in thoughts of heavenly pleasure or absorbed in an imaginary ocean of the pleasure derived from liberation.

This is pratibimba-bhakti-abhasa.(from Part 2 – "An Analysis of Bhakti-abhasa or the Semblance of Bhakti")

Another revelation, . Check out the previous page too: . You will benefit from reading the whole work: Bhakti Tattva Viveka.

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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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