Three Prime Principles Of Bhakti

Srimad Bhagavatam 8.12.09-10 - Three Prime Principles Of Bhakti (download mp3)
by Candramauli Swami at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 8.12.9
tvam brahma kecid avayanty uta dharmam eke
eke param sad-asatoh purusam paresam
anye 'vayanti nava-sakti-yutam param tvam
kecin maha-purusam avyayam atma-tantram

Those who are known as the impersonalist Vedantists regard You as the impersonal Brahman. Others, known as the Mimamsaka philosophers, regard You as religion. The Sankhya philosophers regard You as the transcendental person who is beyond prakrti and purusa and who is the controller of even the demigods. The followers of the codes of devotional service known as the Pañcaratras regard You as being endowed with nine different potencies. And the Patañjala philosophers, the followers of Patañjali Muni, regard You as the supreme independent Personality of Godhead, who has no equal or superior.

SB 8.12.10
naham parayur rsayo na marici-mukhya
jananti yad-viracitam khalu sattva-sargah
yan-mayaya musita-cetasa isa daitya-
martyadayah kim uta sasvad-abhadra-vrttah

O my Lord, I, who am considered to be the best of the demigods, and Lord Brahma and the great rsis, headed by Marici, are born of the mode of goodness. Nonetheless, we are bewildered by Your illusory energy and cannot understand what this creation is. Aside from us, what is to be said of others, like the demons and human beings, who are in the base modes of material nature [rajo-guna and tamo-guna]? How will they know You?

Factually speaking, even those who are situated in the material mode of goodness cannot understand the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What then is to be said of those who are situated in rajo-guna and tamo-guna, the base qualities of material nature? How can we even imagine the Supreme Personality of Godhead? There are so many philosophers trying to understand the Absolute Truth, but since they are situated in the base qualities of material nature and are addicted to so many bad habits, like drinking, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling, how can they conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? For them it is impossible. For the present day, the pañcaratriki-vidhi as enunciated by Narada Muni is the only hope. Srila Rupa Gosvami, therefore, has quoted the following verse from the Brahma-yamala:

pañcaratra-vidhim vina
aikantiki harer bhaktir
utpatayaiva kalpate

"Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, puranas and Narada Pañcaratra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.101) Those who are very advanced in knowledge and are situated in the mode of goodness follow the Vedic instructions of the sruti and smrti and other religious scriptures, including the pañcaratriki-vidhi. Without understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way, one only creates a disturbance. In this age of Kali, so many gurus have sprung up, and because they do not refer to the sruti-smrti-puranadi-pañcaratrika-vidhi, they are creating a great disturbance in the world in regard to understanding the Absolute Truth. However, those who follow the pañcaratriki-vidhi under the guidance of a proper spiritual master can understand the Absolute Truth. It is said, pañcaratrasya krtsnasya vakta tu bhagavan svayam: the pañcaratra system is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just like Bhagavad-gita. Vasudeva-sarana vidur añjasaiva: the truth can be understood only by one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Vasudeva.

bahunam janmanam ante
jñanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma sudurlabhah

"After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." (Bg. 7.19) Only those who have surrendered to the lotus feet of Vasudeva can understand the Absolute Truth.

vasudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam
jñanam ca yad ahaitukam

"By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world." (SB 1.2.7) Therefore, Vasudeva, Bhagavan Sri Krsna, personally teaches in Bhagavad-gita:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja

"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." (Bg. 18.66)

bhaktya mam abhijanati
yavan yas casmi tattvatah

"One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service." (Bg. 18.55) The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not properly understood even by Lord Siva or Lord Brahma, what to speak of others, but He can be understood by the process of bhakti-yoga.

mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yuñjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jñasyasi tac chrnu
(Bg. 7.1)

If one practices bhakti-yoga by taking shelter of Vasudeva, Krsna, simply by hearing Vasudeva speak about Himself, one can understand everything about Him. Indeed, one can understand Him completely (samagram).