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Honour in Gradation

Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s commentary on the fifth verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

The following is a translation of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s poetic Bengali translation, Bhāṣā, and Bengali prose commentary, Anuvṛtti, on Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu’s Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

These texts were published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan, in Volume 2, Issue 11, 10 June 1957,  Volume 2, Issue 12, 12 July 1957, and Volume 3, Issue 1, 12 August 1957. In combination with Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti, they were also published as a book from Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj in 1970.

The Upadeśāmṛta of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī is also extremely good for us.”

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj,
Affectionate Guidance

Śrī Upadeśāmṛta Verse Five

কৃষ্ণেতি যস্য গিরি তং মনসাদ্রিয়েত
দীক্ষাস্তি চেৎ প্রণতিভভিশ্চ ভজন্তমীশম্ ।
শুশ্রুষয়া ভজনবিজ্ঞমনন্যমন্য-
নিন্দাদিশূন্য-হৃদমীপ্সিত-সঙ্গলব্ধ্যা ॥৫॥

kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta
dīkṣāsti chet praṇatibhiś cha bhajantam īśam
śuśrūṣayā bhajana-vijñam ananyam anya-
nindādi-śūnya-hṛdam īpsita-saṅga-labdhyā [5]

ādriyeta–Honour manasā–with the mind tam–those yasya–from whose giri–mouth kṛṣṇa iti–the Name of Kṛṣṇa [appears]. [ādriyeta–Honour] [them] praṇatibhiś cha–with obeisance chet–if asti–they are dīkṣā–initiated cha–and bhajantam–serve īśam–the Lord. [ādriyeta–Honour] śuśrūṣayā–with service vijñam–an expert bhajana–in devotion, [who is] ananyam–exclusive, [whose] hṛdam–heart [is] śūnya–free nindādi–from criticising and praising anya–others, [and whose] saṅga–association [is] īpsita–the most desirable labdhyā–to attain. [5]

Honour within the mind those who chant Kṛṣṇa’s Name, honour with obeisance those who are initiated and serve the Lord, and honour with service those who are expert in devotion, who are exclusively devoted, whose hearts are free from the duality of criticising and praising others, and who are the most desirable association.

Bhāṣā

কৃষ্ণ-সহ কৃষ্ণ-নাম অভিন্ন জানিয়া ।
অপ্রাকৃত একমাত্র সাধন মানিয়া ॥১॥
যেই নাম লয় নামে দীক্ষিত হইয়া ।
আদর করিবে মনে স্বগোষ্ঠী জানিয়া ॥২॥

kṛṣṇa saha kṛṣṇa-nāma abhinna jāniyā
aprākṛta eka-mātra sādhana māniyā [1] yei nāma laya nāme dīkṣita ha-iyā
ādara karibe mane sva-goṣṭhī jāniyā [2]

[Those] yei–who jāniyā–know kṛṣṇa–Kṛṣṇa [to be] abhinna–nondifferent saha–from nāma–the Name kṛṣṇa–of Kṛṣṇa, māniyā–follow aprākṛta–spiritual sādhana–practices eka-mātra–exclusively, [and] laya–take nāma–the Name, ha-iyā–being dīkṣita–initiated nāme–into the Name— ādara karibe–honour [them] mane–within [the] mind, jāniyā–knowing [them to be] sva-goṣṭhī–members of [your] own family. [1–2]

Those who know Kṛṣṇa and His Name to be nondifferent, follow spiritual practices exclusively, chant the Name, and are initiated—honour them mentally and know them to be members of your own family.

নামের ভজনে যেই কৃষ্ণসেবা করে ।
অপ্রাকৃত ব্রজে বসি’ সর্ব্বদা অন্তরে ॥৩॥
মধ্যম বৈষ্ণব জানি ধর তাঁর পায় ।
আনুগত্য কর তাঁঁর মনে আর কায় ॥৪॥

nāmera bhajane yei kṛṣṇa-sevā kare
aprākṛta vraje vasi’ sarvadā antare [3] madhyama vaiṣṇava jāni’ dhara tā̐ra pāya
ānugatya kara tā̐ra mane āra kāya [4]

[Those] yei–who sevā kare–serve kṛṣṇa–Kṛṣṇa bhajane–by serving nāmera–the Name [and] sarvadā–always vasi’–reside [in] aprākṛta–supramundane vraje–Vraja antare–within— jāni’–know [them to be] madhyama–intermediate vaiṣṇava–Vaiṣṇavas [and] dhara–grasp tā̐ra–their pāya–feet. ānugatya kara–Be subservient  tā̐ra–to them mane–with mind āra–and kāya–body. [3–4]

Those who serve Kṛṣṇa by serving the Name and always reside in supramundane Vraja within their heart—know them to be intermediate Vaiṣṇavas and grasp their feet. Be subservient to them mentally and physically.

নামের ভজনে যেই স্বরূপ লভিয়া ।
অন্য বস্তু নাহি দেখে কৃষ্ণ তেয়াগিয়া ॥৫॥
কৃষ্ণেতর-সম্বন্ধ না পাইয়া জগতে ।
সর্ব্বজনে সম-বুদ্ধি করে কৃষ্ণ-ব্রতে ॥৬॥
তাদৃশ ভজনবিজ্ঞে জানিয়া অভীষ্ট ।
কায়মনোবাক্যে সেব’ হইয়া নিবিষ্ট ॥৭॥

nāmera bhajane yei svarūpa labhiyā
anya vastu nāhi dekhe kṛṣṇa teyāgiyā [5] kṛṣṇetara sambandha nā pāiyā jagate
sarva-jane sama-buddhi kare kṛṣṇa-vrate [6] tādṛśa bhajana-vijñe jāniyā abhīṣṭa
kāya-mano-vākye seva’ ha-iyā niviṣṭa [7]

[Those] yei–who labhiyā–have realised [their] svarūpa–true self bhajane–by serving nāmera–the Name, nāhi–do not teyāgiyā–cast aside kṛṣṇa– Kṛṣṇa [and] dekhe–see vastu–anything anya–else, pāiyā nā–do not accept [any] sambandha–connection [with anything] jagate–in [this] world [that is] itara–unrelated kṛṣṇa–to Kṛṣṇa, buddhi kare–consider sarva-jane–everyone [to be] sama–equally vrate–engaged [in service] kṛṣṇa–to Kṛṣṇa— jāniyā–know tādṛśa–such vijñe–experts bhajana–in devotion [to be] abhīṣṭa–desirable [and] niviṣṭa ha-iyā–intently seva’–serve [them with your] kāya–body, mano–mind, [and] vākye–words. [5–7]

Those who have realised their true self by serving the Name, do not see anything other than Kṛṣṇa in this world, do not accept any connection with anything in this world that is unrelated to Kṛṣṇa, and consider everyone to be equally engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service—know such experts in devotion to be most desirable and intently serve them with your body, mind, and words.

শুশ্রুষা করিবে তাঁরে সর্ব্বতোভাবেতে ।
কৃষ্ণের চরণ লাভ হয় তাহা হতে ॥৮॥

śuśrūṣā karibe tā̐re sarvatobhāvete
kṛṣṇera charaṇa lābha haya tāhā hate [8]

śuśrūṣā karibe–Serve tā̐re–them sarvatobhāvete–in all respects, [and] hate–through tāhā–them lābha haya–reach kṛṣṇera–Kṛṣṇa’s charaṇa–feet. [8]

Serve them in all respects, and through them reach Kṛṣṇa’s feet.

Anuvṛtti

divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam
tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-sandarbha)

According to the purport of this verse, the Vaiṣṇavas say that initiation (dīkṣā) is the process by which desire for material enjoyment is given up and supramundane experience is realised. The Name of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa are one supramundane truth, and the urge to speak of anything unrelated to Kṛṣṇa cannot remain within those who exclusively take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s Name and chant the Name understanding that the Name, above all else, is the object of service and worship for fortunate souls. We should honour such devotees surrendered exclusively to the Name with the mind. The Name exists within the Pāñcharātrika mantra [the mantra received at the time of brahminical initiation], and therein it is prescribed to take shelter of the Name with realisation of the soul’s relationship with the Lord. No one has any chance of becoming a servant of the Lord except those who are surrendered to Kṛṣṇa’s Name. In the Lord’s instructions to Śrī Sanātan in Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Madhya, 22.67–8), we find,

yāhāra komala śraddhā, se ‘kaniṣṭha’ jana
krame krame te̐ho bhakta ha-ibe ‘uttama’
rati-prema-tāratamye bhakta—tara-tama

[“Those whose faith is soft are beginners. Gradually, they will become advanced. There is gradation amongst devotees according to the gradation in their attachment and love.”]

Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Madhya, 15.105–6, 11):

satyarāja bale, “vaiṣṇava chiniba kemane?
ke vaiṣṇava, kaha tā̐ra sāmānya lakṣaṇe”
prabhu kahe, ”yā̐ra mukhe śuni eka-bāra
kṛṣṇa-nāma, sei pūjya, śreṣṭha sabākāra
ataeva yā̐ra mukhe eka kṛṣṇa-nāma
sei ta’ vaiṣṇava, kariha tā̐hāra sammāna”

[“Satyarāj Khān asked, ‘How can I recognise a Vaiṣṇava? Who is a Vaiṣṇava? Please tell me their general characteristics.’ The Lord answered, ‘Those from whose mouth we once hear Kṛṣṇa’s Name are worshippable. They are the best of all. Therefore, those in whose mouth Kṛṣṇa’s Name has once appeared are Vaiṣṇavas. Honour them.’”]

In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (11.2.47):

archāyām eva haraye pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu chānyeṣu sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ

[“Those who faithfully worship the Deity of the Lord but not His devotees or other souls are beginner devotees.”]

We should honour a devotee who serves Kṛṣṇa under the shelter of His Name by offering obeisance. Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Madhya, 16.72):

kṛṣṇa-nāma nirantara yā̐hāra vadane
sei vaiṣṇava-śreṣṭha, bhaja tā̐hāra charaṇe

[“Those in whose mouth the Name of Kṛṣṇa always appears are great Vaiṣṇavas. You should serve their feet.”]

In the Lord’s teachings to Śrī Sanātan (Cc: Madhya, 22.66, 64):

śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne dṛḍha, śraddhāvān
‘madhyama-adhikārī’ sei mahābhāgyavān

[“Those who do not firmly understand scriptural reasoning but have faith are intermediate devotees. They are very fortunate.”]

śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī
‘uttama’, ‘madhyama’, ‘kaniṣṭha’—śraddhā-anusārī

[“Those who have faith are qualified for devo­tion. According to their faith, they are advanced, intermediate, or beginner devotees.”]

In the eleventh canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (2.46):

īśvare tad-adhīneṣu bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu cha
prema-maitrī-kṛpopekṣā yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ

[“Those who love the Lord, befriend the devotees, are merciful to the innocent, and ignore the inimical are intermediate devotees.”]

Because intermediate devotees have increased affection for the Name, they constantly worship the Name with intense affection through the sacrifice of chanting and develop divine love for the Lord. By chanting with constant affection for the supramundane Name, they can understand that they themselves are supramundane. They help devotees with comparatively less taste understand their supramundane nature, and they avoid the association of persons who have no affection for the Lord, knowing them to be entirely mundane because they have no realisation of their supramundane nature.

Devotees who have attained self-realisation (svarūp-siddhi) through service to the Name, who through meditation have become expert in the process of serving within the Lord’s Pastimes during the eight parts of the day, who are unalloyed, who have no experience of anything other than Kṛṣṇa because they don’t recognise the separate existence of any visible object without its connection to Kṛṣṇa, and who have no awareness of the duality of praise and criticism—we should know such advanced devotees to be the best association amongst all like-minded and loving devotees and serve them.

Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Madhya, 16.74–5):

yā̐hāra darśane mukhe āise kṛṣṇa-nāma
tā̐hāre jāniha tumi ’vaiṣṇava-pradhāna’

[“Know those by whose presence the Name of Kṛṣṇa appears in the mouths of others to be advanced Vaiṣṇavas.”]

krama kari’ kahe prabhu ’vaiṣṇava’-lakṣaṇa
‘vaiṣṇava’, ‘vaiṣṇavatara’, āra ‘vaiṣṇavatama’

[“In a gradation, the Lord described the characteristics of Vaiṣṇavas, referring to them as Vaiṣṇavas, intermediate Vaiṣṇavas, and advanced Vaiṣṇavas.”]

Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Madhya, 22.64–5):

śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī
‘uttama’, ‘madhyama’, ‘kaniṣṭha’—śraddhā-anusārī

[“Those who have faith are qualified for devo­tion. According to their faith, they are advanced, intermediate, or beginner devotees.”]

śāstra-yuktye sunipuṇa, dṛḍha-śraddhā yā̐ra
‘uttama-adhikārī’ sei tāraye saṁsāra

[“Those who are expert in scriptural reasoning and have firm faith are advanced devotees. They liberate the world.”]

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (11.2.45):

sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed bhagavad-bhāvam ātmanaḥ
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany eṣa bhāgavatottamaḥ

[“Those who see the presence of the Supreme Lord within all beings and the presence of all beings within the Supreme Lord are advanced devotees.”]

(1) By seeing a connection with Kṛṣṇa within all objects other than Kṛṣṇa, advanced devotees have equal vision. Like intermediate devotees, they are devoted to Kṛṣṇa’s service, and like beginners, they are devoted exclusively to the Name. (2) Intermediate devotees have love for Kṛṣṇa; they offer service, obeisance, and mental honour to the three classes of devotees; they try to turn conditioned souls towards Kṛṣṇa, and they ignore those who are inimical to Kṛṣṇa. Thus, they do not have equal external and internal vision of all things like advanced devotees. If they imaginatively imitate the practises of advanced devotees, then deceitfulness can arise within them, and they can fall down. (3) Beginners, understanding that all good is attained through the Name of Kṛṣṇa, pursue their own good. They do not, however, fully realise that the seat of an intermediate devotee is higher than theirs and that they need to reach that stage in the future. Intermediate devotees, like beginners, are exclusively devoted to the Name. They constantly chant Kṛṣṇa’s Name, and gradually attain liberation from the hands of anarthas in the form of their own mundane sentiments simply by chanting the Name instead of performing supramundane service [like advanced devotees]. Beginners with the mentality of a Guru often consider themselves advanced devotees and fall down.

Reference

Read Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s commentary on Śrī Upadeśāmṛta: verses onetwothree, and four.

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