Lessons from Bhakti Sandarbha 1

February 1st, 2005

February 1, 2005
Vrindavana

Lessons from Bhakti Sandarbha 1

Note: My focus of studies now is Sri Bhakti Sandarbha. Sri Bhakti Sandarbha is Sri Jiva Goswami?s greatest exposition on the process of devotional service. I will occasionally write journal entries focused on my realizations from the text.

Surrender! Part 1 *

Sri Jiva lists surrender (saranagata) as the first practice of pure devotional service. It is the gateway to bhakti as devotion begins with a sense of belonging to the Lord.

Surrender is not the best translation for saranagata. Sanskrit words often imply deep and subtle concepts not conveyed properly in English by a single word.

Saranagata implies a feeling of love in the act of submission, while surrender a sense of force or defeat.

?Taking shelter? better conveys the sense of saranagata. And what is taking shelter?

Taking shelter is submitting, out of dependence and with affection, to a person capable and willing to meet the needs we are unable to meet ourselves. But, what is our deepest need?

Our deepest need is to fully repose our love in a worthy object of love. Why?

Our needs are determined by our nature, what we are made for. A fish thus needs water, a child the shelter of their mother, and the intellectual the haven of his library. And we (the soul) need??

We are infinitesimal particles of conscious of the Supreme consciousness. As a part is naturally made to serve what it is part of, loving service is our eternal nature and greatest need. But do we have to take shelter of God to fully satisfy our need to love?

Yes, that?s the definition of God. He is the asraya or shelter. But why is He our shelter? **

He is bhagavan, one fully replete with qualities that make Him worthy of love.

That naturally includes all beauty, which also means inner beauty, the fullest capacity to reciprocate love.

And those qualities, which inspire our love, don?t end in time and space, for He is ananta (unlimited).

God is also artha (the ultimate reality). He is not illusory like material objects. Unless we see things in relation to God our love will be fleeting and unfulfilled.

And He is atma, the most dear. Why? Naturally one most loves the self (atma). God is the atma of the atma and thus priya, our beloved, the most pleasing to serve.

Finally He is isvara, the Supreme Controller. He not only has the full power to satisfy our needs, but to sustain them eternally.

Conclusion: Krishna is our ultimate shelter. Without fully depending on Him we will always feel empty and in want.

* The concept of surrender (saranagata) is discussed in Sri Bhakti Sandarbha Anuccheda 235

** The following description of Krishna as the worthy object of our worship is from Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.6 and discussed is Sri Bhakti Sandarbha Anuccheda 2.

Japa thought: The foundation of chanting is namasraya, to consciously take shelter of the holy name by helplessly begging for mercy.

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