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23 July 2007

VEDA

The Vedas have been handed over generation to generation by oral tradition and hence the name "shruti" or "that which is heard". According to tradition they are un-authored (apaurusheya) and eternal. Vedas are sanatan - eternal- and apaurusheya - not composed by human entity. At the beginning of every cosmic cycle of brahma, Paramatma utters the divine words. Later, at various periods great rishis perceive these divine words and imparted this knowledge orally through generations.

Veda means knowledge. The original knowledge is the teachings of the Vedas. In the conditioned state our knowledge is subjected to many deficiencies. There are four defects that a conditioned soul has: committing mistakes, subject to illusion, cheating propensity and imperfect senses. These deficiencies make us unfit for having perfect knowledge. Therefore we accept the Vedas as they are.

The texts of the Vedas are known as Samhitas. Within these Samhitas there are portions known as Mantras, which contain prayers in the form of potent sound compounds revealed to great seers for different purposes. In the Vedic civilization three orders of life lived in the forests. Only granthas inhabited the cities. The regulated knowledge for living in the city is revealed in the books known as Brahmanas, whereas the regulated knowledge for living in the forest is revealed in the books known as Aranyakas.

The Vedas are referred to as the Shruti. Scholars who have made a study of world scriptures maintain that the Vedas are the oldest extant religious texts. The ideas expressed in the Vedas were traditionally handed down originally from father to son and from teacher to disciple. Therefore, these ideas had been in circulation for a long time before their codification and compilation, which are attributed to a sage called Vyasa (literally, "the compiler"). On the basis of both internal and external evidence, scholars have suggested various dates for the origin of the Vedas, ranging from approximately 1500 BC to as far back as 5000 BC.

There are four Vedas:

Rigveda - There are 21 branches.

Yajurveda - There are 109 branches. It is further divided in to 2:
a) Shukla Yajurveda.
b) Krishna Yajurveda.

Samaveda - There are 1000 branches.

Atharvaveda - There are 50 branches.


Veda is compiled by VEDAVYAS.

He divided Veda in to four and gave it to 4 different hermits, i.e.

Rigveda - Paeil Muni

Yajurveda - Vaishampayan Muni

Samaveda - Jaimini Muni

Atharvaveda - Sumantu Muni


A Brief Introduction

The Rig Veda: The Book of Mantra:

The Rig Veda is a collection of inspired songs or hymns and is a main source of information on the Rig Vedic civilization. It is the oldest book in any Indo-European language and contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C.- 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC - 4000 B.C. The Rig-Vedic ‘samhita’ or collection of mantras consists of 1,017 hymns or ‘suktas’, covering about 10,600 stanzas, divided into eight ‘astakas’ each having eight ‘adhayayas’ or chapters, which are sub-divided into various groups. The hymns are the work of many authors or seers called ‘rishis’. There are seven primary seers identified: Atri, Kanwa,Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni,Gautama and Bharadwaja. The rig Veda accounts in detail the social, religious, political and economic background of the Rig-Vedic civilization. Even though monotheism characterizes some of the hymns of Rig Veda, naturalistic polytheism and monism can be discerned in the religion of the hymns of Rig Veda.The Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda and are ascribed to the Vedic period.

The Sama Veda: The Book of Song:

The Sama Veda is purely a liturgical collection of melodies (‘saman’). The hymns in the Sama Veda, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Veda and have no distinctive lessons of their own. Hence, its text is a reduced version of the Rig Veda. As Vedic Scholar David Frawley puts it, if the Rig Veda is the word, Sama Veda is the song or the meaning, if Rig Veda is the knowledge, Sama Veda is its realization, if Rig Veda is the wife, the Sama Veda is her husband.

The Yajur Veda: The Book of Ritual:

The Yajur Veda is also a liturgical collection and was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests who execute sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose prayers and the sacrificial formulae (‘yajus’). It is similar to ancient Egypt’s “Book of the Dead”. There are no less than six complete recessions of Yajur Veda - Madyandina, Kanva, Taittiriya, Kathaka, Maitrayani and Kapishthala.

The Atharva Veda: The Book of Spell:

The last of the Vedas, this is completely different from the other three Vedas and is next in importance to Rig-Veda with regard to history and sociology. A different spirit pervades this Veda. Its hymns are of a more diverse character than the Rig Veda and are also simpler in language. In fact, many scholars do not consider it part of the Vedas at all. The Atharva Veda consists of spells and charms prevalent at its time, and portrays a clearer picture of the Vedic society.

Each Veda is divided in to two periods. They are as follows:

1) Purva Mimamsa:

The main objective of the Purva ("earlier") Mimamsa School was to establish the authority of the Vedas. Consequently this school's most valuable contribution to Sanatan Dharma was its formulation of the rules of Vedic interpretation. Its adherents believed that revelation must be proved by reasoning, that it should not be accepted blindly as dogma. In keeping with this belief, they laid great emphasis on dharma, which they understood as the performance of Vedic rituals. The Mimamsa accepted the logical and philosophical teachings of the other schools, but felt that these paid insufficient attention to right action. They believed that the other schools of thought, who pursued Moksha (release) as their ultimate aim, were not completely free from desire and selfishness. In Sanatan dharma, we are all illuminated under the light of god. When we have Moksha, we believe that we become closer to god. According to the Mimamsa, the very striving for liberation stemmed from a selfish desire to be free. Only by acting in accordance with the prescriptions of the Vedas could one attain salvation (rather than liberation). At a later stage, however, the Mimamsa School changed its views in this regard and began to teach the doctrines of God and Mukti (freedom). Its adherents then advocated the release or escape from the soul from its constraints through what was known as Jnana (enlightened activity). While Mimamsa does not receive much scholarly attention these days, its influence can be felt in the life of the practicing Vaidik. All Vaidik ritual, ceremony and religious law are influenced by it. It’s also known as “Yagya/Karma Kand”

2) Uttara Mimamsa:

The Uttara ("later") Mimamsa School, more commonly known as the Vedant, concentrates on the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads rather than on the ritualistic injunctions of the Brahmanas. But there are over a hundred Upanishads and they do not form a unified system. Their systematization was undertaken by Badarayana, in a work called the Vedanta Sutras.

The cryptic way in which the aphorisms of the Vedanta texts are presented leaves the door wide open for a multitude of interpretations. This led to explosion of Vedanta schools. Each of these interprets the texts in its own way and has produced its own series of sub-commentaries - all claiming to be faithful to the original. It’s also known as “Gyana Kand”

Sections of Vedas:

Vedas have two sections: Samhita and Brahman. The Samhitas consist of prayers in metrical hymns called Mantras, and is also referred to as Mantra section. The Brahmanas are more of a commentary on these hymns, and are in prose form. This Brahmanas Section deals with Karma, Upasana & Tattva-Gyana. Sections dealing with these are called Brahmanas, Aranyakas & Upanishads. Upanishads are the philosophical parts of the Vedas, and reveal the nature of Self etc. Most of the Upanishads are at the end of Aranyaka Section, but there are exceptions. Isavasya Upanishad is in the Mantra or Samhita portion of Vedas. (It thus becomes very revered one). The mantras of Vedas were revealed to different Hermits at different points of time were collected & compiled into four parts (Rig, Yajur, Sama & Atharva) by one of the greatest sages of all times - Shri Veda Vyasa.

Later he gave each of these Vedas to one of his disciples to carry them forward.

Each Veda is divided into four sections:


*Samhitas
- Contains the mantras and hymns

*Brahmanas - The ritualistic teachings

*Aranyakas - The theological section

*Upanishads - The philosophical section

Each section can be classified as follows:

1) Samhitas:

Samhitas ("joined" or "collected") is the basic text of each of the Vedas, comprising collections of hymns and ritual texts. This term was originally used in reference to the style of recitation used during hymns and chants. In the Vedas the Samhitas are supplemented by later explanatory commentaries, notably the Brahmanas and Upanishads.

2) Brahmanas:

Brahmanas (Brahmin Books) are part of the Sanatan Shruti it is not related to Brahmin caste; these religious scriptures focus on sacrifice -- particularly which of horses and soma, religious stories etc... The absolute Reality, the Unity of all that exists, the formless, attribute less Godhead.

3) Aranyakas:

The Aranyakas (Forest Books, Forest Treatises) are part of the Sanatan Shruti; these religious scriptures are sometimes argued to be part of either the Brahmanas or Upanishads. The Aranyakas discuss philosophy, sacrifice (particularly the sacrificial fire), and the New Year holiday. Historically, these topics were discussed secretly -- in the forest. That section of the Vedas which gives a spiritual interpretation to the ritualistic portion of the Vedas. It is also called the "forest treatises" because it was originally intended for ascetics who lived in the forests.

4) Upanishads:

The term, Upanishad, is derived from the Sanskrit words Upa (near), Ni (down) and S (h) Ad (to sit), i.e., sitting down near; implying the act of listening to a spiritual teacher. The Upanishads are sometimes argued to be a part of the Vedas; and are thus known as Vedanta ("End of the Veda"). The sacred scriptures which appear at the end of the Vedas and constitute their philosophical portion. The Upanishads form the philosophical basis of Vedanta.

The 108 Upanishads can be found in Muktika.

10 Upanishads are from Rig Veda:
Aitareya , Atmabodha, Kaushitaki, Mudgala, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Akshamaya, Tripura, Bahvruka, Saubhagyalakshmi

19 Upanishads are from Shukla Yajur Veda

31 Upanishads are from Krishna Yajur Veda:

Katha, Taittiriya , Isavasya , Brihadaranyaka, Akshi, Ekakshara, Garbha, Prnagnihotra, Svetasvatara, Sariraka, Sukarahasya, Skanda, Sarvasara, Adhyatma, Niralamba, Paingala, Mantrika, Muktika, Subala, Avadhuta, Katharudra, Brahma, Jabala, Turiyatita, Paramahamsa, Bhikshuka, Yajnavalkya, Satyayani, Amrtanada, Amrtabindu, Kshurika, Tejobindu, Dhyanabindu, Brahmavidya, YogakundalinI, Yogatattva, Yogasikha, Varaha, Advayataraka, Trisikhibrahmana, mandalabrahmana, Hamsa, Kalisantaraaa, Narayana, Tarasara, Kalagnirudra, Dakshinamurti, Pancabrahma, Rudrahrdaya, Sarasvatirahasya.

16 Upanishads are from Saama Veda:

Kena, Chandogya, Mahat, Maitrayani, Vajrasuci, Savitri, Aruneya, Kundika, Maitreyi, Samnyasa, Jabaladarsana, Yogacudaman, Avyakta, Vasudevai, Jabali, Rudrakshajabala.

32 Upanishads are from Atharva Veda:

Prasna , Mandukya, Mundaka, Atma, Surya, Narada-Parivrajakas, Parabrahma, Paramahamsa-Parivrajakas, Pasupatha-Brahma, Mahavakya, Sandilya, Krishna, Garuda, Gopalatapani, Tripadavibhuti-mahnarayana, Dattatreya, Kaivalya, Nrsimhatapani, Ramatapani, Ramarahasya, Hayagriva, Atharvasikha, Atharvasira, Ganapati, Brhajjabala, Bhasmajabala, Sarabha, Annapurna, Tripuratapani, Devi, Bhavana, Sita.

The Vedic literature is also called by several other names;

1) Nigama: Traditional wisdom transmitted from generation to generation.

2) Amnaaya: The root texts or primordial texts of (Sanatan) tradition.

3) Trayi: The Vedic texts comprising of Versified mantras, prose mantras, and melodies.

16 July 2007

PRAMANA CHATUSHTAYI

Pramana Chatushtayi is comprised of:

Veda--->Bhagwat Geeta--->Brahma Sutras--->Bhagwat
(UPNISHAD)-(18 CHAPTERS)-(555 APHORISM)-(SAMADHI BHASYA OF VYAS)

This can be explained as follows:


1) Veda:

It is also known as Upanishads. The Upanishads are a collection of profound texts which are the source of Vedanta and have dominated Indian thought for thousands of years. They are philosophical chronicles of rishis expounding the nature of God, soul and cosmos, exquisite renderings of the deepest Vaidik thought.


Traditionally, the number of Upanishads is given as 108. Ten to 16 are classified as "major" or "principle" Upanishads, being those which philosophers have commented on through the centuries. The Upanishads are generally dated later than the Samhitas and Brahmanas, though some are actually portions of the Brahmanas. It is thought that most were written down in Sanskrit between 1500 and 600 BC.

In content, these popular and approachable texts revolve around the identity of the soul and God, and the doctrines of reincarnation, of karma and of liberation through renunciation and meditation. They are widely available in many languages. Along with the Bhagavata Geeta ("song of God") they were the primary scripture to awaken the Western world to the wealth of Vaidik wisdom.

(Note: Veda is discussed in detail under the topic VEDA)

2) Bhagwat Geeta:

The Bhagwat Geeta is a scientific text dealing with the knowledge of life and living. This knowledge consists of the eternal principles governing human existence. These principles remain as relevant today as when they were expressed thousands of years ago on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The most important part of the Mahabharata is the Bhagwat Geeta. The Bhagavata-Geeta consists of a dialogue in which Krishna and Arjuna have a discussion upon the highest spiritual philosophy. Krishna in this instance is the inner instructor or monitor, the higher self, advising the human self or Arjuna. It is a marvelous dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battle-field, before the commencement of the Great War. Lord Sri Krishna became the charioteer of Arjuna.

Sri Krishna explained the essentials of Sanatan Dharma to Arjuna. Just as the Upanishads contain the cream of the Vedas, so does the Geeta contain the cream of the Upanishads. Dated between the 5th and the 2nd centuries B.C., the Geeta, which comprises 18 chapters, is a part of the Mahabharata. In the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna, the divine incarnation, and his friend and disciple Arjuna, it teaches how to achieve union with the supreme Reality through the paths of knowledge, devotion, selfless work, and meditation.

3) Brahma Sutras:

A treatise by Vyasa on Vedanta philosophy in the form of aphorisms. Also called the Vedanta Sutras or Vedanta Darshana. Composed by Badarayana (400 BC) as the first known systematic exposition of Upanishad thought. Its 555 aphorisms (sutra) are so brief as to be virtually unintelligible without commentary. Sutra means aphorism. They are short, crisp & pregnant sentences, which are like seeds in which the whole tree resides. They have to be slowly ‘opened & unfolded’ by the teacher. We have sutras of all the basic texts of grammar, Dharma, Bhakti, Yoga, Sankhya, Nyaya, or Vedanta. The sutras which reveal the fundamentals of Vedanta philosophy or Brahma Vidya are called ‘Brahma Sutras’ or the ‘Vedanta Sutras’. It was through interpretations of this text, as well as the Upanishads themselves and the Bhagavat Geeta, that later schools of Vedanta expressed and formulated their own views of the Upanishad tenets. A third name for this important work is Sutras, "aphorisms on the embodied soul."

Hence aphorism means “Having minimum words with maximum words”.

Structure of Brahma Sutra:

Total Number of Adhyaya (Chapters) : 4
(Samanvaya, Avirodha, Sadhana & Phala)

Number of Padas (Parts) in each Adhyaya : 4

Total Number of Adhikarans (Sections) : 192

Total Number of Sutras : 555


4)
Bhagwat:

After writing all the books Veda-Vyasa was not more over satisfied with his work so he then wrote Bhagwat. Shrimad Bhagwat is one of the most sacred books of the Sanatan Dharma. It gives a tremendous insight, a profound vision, and an entirely new perspective to the person who hears the narrative. On hearing, a person is never the same. There is a complete metamorphosis, a complete transformation, literally a new birth. Atman (soul) by its own nature is sovereign – it cannot by nature be bound – whatever bondages felt are sheer illusions of the mind. Shrimad Bhagwat provides that light which enables Jeeva (human being) to experience the wonderful freedom of liberation. One feels, "Yes, I am free!" Shrimad Bhagwat expresses this philosophy through the narration of the life stories of 24 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Amongst these, the tenth volume of the Shrimad Bhagwat narrates in infinite detail, the story of Lord Krishna. Since all 24 incarnations are of Lord Vishnu, it is a vitally important scripture for the Vaishnavites.

This book relates the story of the Lord and His Incarnations since the earliest records of the Vedic history. It is verily the Krishna-Bible of the Hindu-universe. The Bhagavata Geeta compares to it like the sermon on the mountain by Lord Jesus to the full Bible. It has 18,000 verses and consists of 12 books also called cantos. These books tell the complete history of the Vedic culture with the essence of all its classical stories called Purana and includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the literatures as well as the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (canto 10). It tells about His birth, His youth, and all His wonderful proofs of His divine nature and the superhuman feats of defeating all kind of demons up to the great Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra.

Hence Bhagwat make man to man of god.

For knowledge, first of all, we should turn to the Vedas, in case of any doubt in the teachings of the Vedas; we must seek guidance from the Geeta. The doubt with reference to Geeta should be resolved by the Brahma sutras. In case any doubt still remains, then, we must seek guidance from the Bhagavat, which is the last and the highest authority. Authority in addition to the Veda, the Geeta and the Brahma sutras is the characteristic feature of the Suddhadvaita system.


7 TYPES OF PRAMANA

There are seven authorities accepted. They are:

1) Pratyaksh Pramana (Perception)

2) Anuman Pramana (Inference based on observation)

3) Upamana Pramana (Comparisons)

4) Sabdha Pramana (The Vedas-Sruti)

5) Anupalabdhi Pramana (Negation or Absence)

6) Arthapatti Pramana (Implication or Postulation)

7) Aitti Pramana (History)


1) Pratyaksh Pramana (Perception):

Pratyaksh or Perception implies direct, immediate cognition. There are two kinds of direct perception, external and internal. The ‘external’ perception implies cognition of sense objects, namely - sound, touch, form, taste and smell by our five sense organs (ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose). When the sense organs contact their respective objects then the Pratyaksh knowledge takes place. The ‘internal’ perception means the direct & immediate cognition of pain, pleasure, love, hate, anger, knowledge or ignorance of various objects etc. in & by our minds. The Acharyas elaborately reveal that in any direct perception, the awareness existing at the level of mind of the person desirous to know an object, as though flows out through his respective sense organ and envelops the available & illumined object. This awareness is thereafter presented to the knower in the mind as a thought of the object, who then ‘knows’ the object. The entire process is extremely fast and implies the involvement of both the mind and the sense organs in all direct perception. Sitting in one place the knower knows even far off objects directly, provided they come in the range of our sense organs. The immediacy of direct cognition is the intrinsic characteristic of perceptual knowledge, and does not merely depend on the organs of perception.

In all direct perception the knowledge is extremely clear but its scope is very limited. What we can directly see not only constitutes an extremely small iota of the wide spectrum of things existing in this universe, but many a times that which is directly cognized is far from truth. We have an extremely beautiful creation right in front of our eyes, but we don’t see a creator directly, but as there can’t be an effect without a cause so we have to take resort of some other valid means of knowledge to know that inevitable creator. So also regarding the internal perceptions, the thoughts are gushing through our minds, but we don’t directly see their cause, which has to be inevitably there. Moreover, we directly see a rising sun but astonishingly our deeper probes reveal that the sun never rises. Thus come the great necessity of other means of valid knowledge.

Pratyaksh is of certain importance but still it is also susceptible to error. This is what is perceived through our 5 sense organs like eyes, ears, skin, tongue and nose is understood by us. It is considerable & should not be rejected or accepted without proper & fool-proof enquiry. It is a perception.

For Example;
Rope as a snake

2) Anuman Pramana (Inference):

Literally translated the word Anuman means ‘knowing after’. It means the method by which knowledge is derived from knowledge. It is an indirect, mediate knowledge. We have knowledge of an invariable relationship between two things and on that basis while seeing one we deduce the presence the other. Thus Anuman refers to the logical process of gaining knowledge. The knowledge thus gained is called inferential knowledge or the logical deduction. The nearest word to Anuman is inference. We say it is nearest word simply because of a slight difference between the exact processes of logical deduction in Eastern thought as compared to the Western system of logical deduction.

Perception forms the basis of Anuman, but at the core of all inferential knowledge lies the knowledge of vyapti or the ‘invariable concomitance’, the invariable relationship between the two objects. We know on the basis of our perceptual knowledge that wherever there is smoke there is fire (the opposite however may not be true). Having known the invariable connection between the two we can logically deduce the presence of fire whenever we see smoke. This is Anuman. In all inferential knowledge there are definite steps to be followed. The following steps are accepted for logical deduction of knowledge by the teachers of Advaita Vedanta:

a. Perceptual evidence - We see smoke on the hill
b. Invariable concomitance - Wherever there is smoke there is fire, as seen in kitchen.
c. Conclusion - Therefore the hill has fire


Anuman is given least importance because it is susceptible to error. It is inference based on observation(s). For example, if one observes smoke coming from behind a mountain, one infers based on this observation, that there is fire behind the mountain. One may be right or wrong. It can be even a mist or cloud passing behind the mountain. So Anuman is not fool-proof but still considered as a Pramana. It comes after perception i.e. (Pratyaksh Pramana).

For Example;
Seeing the smoke at a distance and thinking of the fire. Though there might not be fire but a fog due to winter. Moreover smoke is related to fire so we can say that there is a fire. As both are inter related to each other.

3) Upamana Pramana (Analogy):

The Mimansakas & Advaitins define Upamana as the process by which the knowledge of A’s similarity to B is gained from the perception of B’s similarity to A, which has been seen elsewhere. This methodology is seen as distinct from mere inference, and is thus accepted as a valid mediate method of knowledge. Thus by Upamana he gains the knowledge of his cow’s similarity to the gavaya from the perception of the gavaya’s similarity to his cow (with reference to example.

Upamana is a distinct means of knowledge, and cannot be clubbed under Anuman, because we cannot have a universal proposition that a thing is similar to whatever is similar to it. Such knowledge cannot be gained without the observation of the two similar things together. The Advaitins use this method of knowledge by comparison & similarity to logically communicate the nature of Brahman and various other things. Brahman is said to be resplendent as the sun. By perceiving the luminosity of the sun, the seeker can appreciate the terms like the self-luminosity of Brahman.

For example,
A person who has seen his cow at home goes to a forest and sees a gavaya (a wild cow but without dewlap). The person sees the similarity ‘This gavaya is like my cow’, and on this basis also concludes the opposite to be equally true, that ‘My cow is like this gavaya’.

4) Sabdha Pramana (Verbal Testimony):

Sabdha Pramana is verbal testimony. It is also called ‘apta-vakyas’ (statement of a trust-worthy person’, and agama (authentic word). A verbal statement, uttered or written, is man’s most potent instrument for transmitting knowledge. We learn mostly by means of words. An oral or written message is a universal mode of communication. We constantly get various information, direction & knowledge through words. Right from school days to this moment we use words as a valid & effective means of bringing about awareness of things, ideas or emotions. Books, magazines, newspaper, letters, conversations, chats, radio, TV, movies, songs etc. etc. All use or depend on words. We cannot do without verbal testimony.

A verbal statement conveying valid knowledge must have an authentic source which must be free from defects. Only a competent person possessed of knowledge can impart accurate knowledge. Such knowledge needs no verification, unless of course there is doubt about its reliability. If all that we know from verbal testimony were to await confirmation, then the bulk of human knowledge would have to be regarded as baseless. Among the Western philosophers only a few recognize verbal testimony as a valid & independent means of knowledge, but a majority of Indian philosophers do. Those who do not accept it as an independent method of knowledge do realize its great role but simply club it along with other means like inference etc. The process of verbal knowledge cannot be clubbed with inference because it does not involve any knowledge of invariable concomitance as is the case in inference. So it is a category by itself. It is interesting and also worthwhile to go into the exact process of derivation of meaning from a sentence. At times there is substantive-adjective relationship between the subject & predicate of the sentence and at times there may not be such a relationship, but a non-relational entity could form their locus. Such understanding becomes important when it comes to derivation of meaning form sentences like ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ (That thou art). Lot of work has been done in regards to derivation of meaning of a sentence, especially by the Mimamsakas. Only that combination of words is called a sentence when four factors are taken care of. They are expectancy (akanksa), consistency (yogyata), contiguity (asatti), and knowledge of the purport (tatparya-jnanam). Understanding of all this facilitates us to understand why verbal testimony is an independent means of knowledge very different from inference etc.

For Example;
Veda, Bhagwat Geeta, Brahma sutra etc…

5) Anuplabdhi Pramana (Negation or Absence):

Anupalabdhi is a proof of knowledge from negation or absence of a thing. Since Brahman is everywhere present and nowhere absent, this proof does not deserve consideration.

For Example;
In a college, Mr. A has not attended any lecture today. So must be he went to watch the movie.

6) Arthapatti Pramana (Implication/ Postulation):

It is of two kinds – Pratyaksh based on the perception of an object and Shruti based on hearing. This kind of proof is a mixed proof by perception and inference. But Brahman is not one whose knowledge can be got either by perception or inference, or by the combination of both.

For Example;
Mr. A, who is alive, but is not in the house. The very knowledge of his being out of his house is based on perception. We, ourselves look for him in the house, but we do not see him, so we conclude that since he is alive and is not inside the house, he must be somewhere outside his house.

7) Aitti Pramana (History):

It is the Itihas (History). The culture of scripture continued for more than 40 Years becomes History. From Aitti derived to Itihas means history. It is the Itihas (Aittiyaha) Praman.

For Example;
Vishnu puran etc……………….

But according to shri Vallabhacharya the main Pramana is Sabdha Pramana i.e. Vedas and shruti’s said by god and not the worldly people. And not the Pratyaksh Pramana, Anuman Pramana, Upamana Pramana, Anupalabdhi Pramana, Arthapatti Pramana or Aitti Pramana.


The reason for this is Shri Shankaracharya and other Acharyas accept only the ‘Prasthana Trayi’ i.e. Vedas, the Geeta and the Brahma sutras, but Shri Mahaprabhuji adds Shrimad Bhagavat making this four Prasthana’s authoritative instead of three, in the matter of the knowledge of Brahman. Of these scriptures he considers Shrimad Bhagavat as the highest authority. Whatever is written therein has to be accepted as absolute truth without any contradiction or hesitation. The Vedas which are senior most in time are a base of spiritual knowledge. The Geeta is the super structure and the Brahma sutras, the complete edifice, but the Bhagavat is regarded as the beauty and charm of the completed edifice.

PRAMANA

Any knowledge of even the existence of an object takes place in our minds. The mind becomes conscious of the various ‘objects’ by the various ‘faculties’ available to it. The very fact the mind has various faculties at its disposal shows that knowledge of different objects call for taking resort of different means. It is extremely important that we take resort to the right means; otherwise even the existence of that object will not be evident to us. These ‘means of knowledge’ are called Pramana.

Pramana give rise to valid knowledge of things "as they are in fact". Validity is generally defined in terms of correspondence with objective reality. Thus 'Pramana' means 'yathartham'; or what comprehends a thing as it is. Knowledge carries its own proof.

To get the knowledge the best way is Pramana (Epistemology).

Pramana ------> Pramaye ------> Sadhan ------> Phala
(Knowledge)-(Means of Knowledge)-(Object of Knowledge)-(Validity of Knowledge)

Source of knowledge is Pramana. Pramana in Sanskrit means the source of knowledge- "from which one gets to know". Prameya means the object known through the Pramana. "Pramana" is the one who gets to know.

The aim of Suddhadvaita philosophy is the knowledge of Brahman. For attaining Brahman, knowledge of Brahman’s nature is absolutely necessary. This system lays particular emphasis on the love type of devotion as a means for the attainment of Brahman. It, however, does not ignore importance of knowledge. It believes that that devotion must be preceded by knowledge so that one should understand the nature of Brahman, to whom devotion is to be directed. The problem of knowledge is in the forefront in all the systems of philosophy – Occidental as well as Oriental. All the systems have discussed how to get the right type of knowledge and by what proofs it is to be arrived at. Each system has its own view about the validity of knowledge.

1) Chaarvaak, who was a materialist, trusted only in the perception for the validity of knowledge, pertaining to the worldly matters. He did not believe in the existence of God.

2) The Buddhist school known as the ‘Swatantra Vigyaanvaadis’ accept perception, inference and verbal testimony as Pramanas, but it is opposed to the idea of God.

3) Jainism supports the theory of perceptual knowledge, assisted by conception or thought, which is both perceptual and inferential knowledge. To this is added ‘Shruti’ or knowledge from authority. It admits two kinds of knowledge – mediate and immediate knowledge which is got through clairvoyance, telepathy, and omniscience. The omniscience knowledge is unlimited and absolute, transcending space, and time and is to be achieved by the liberated souls. This knowledge can be obtained in two ways by Pramanas in which knowledge of a thing is got as it is and by the Nyaya way in which knowledge is obtained in relation to another thing. This knowledge is not invalid. It is valid relatively only.

4) The Nyaya – Vaisheshika schools accept four proofs namely, Perception (Pratyaksh), Inference (Anuman), Verbal Testimony (Sabdha) and Analogy (Upamana).

5) The Mimansakas add to these, implication and negation. By verbal testimony, the Mimansakas mean the Vedas exclusive of the Upanishads as proof.

6) The Vedantees such as Shri Shankaracharya rely upon Shruti, Reason (Discursive Intellect) and intuition. In case of conflicts among the Shruti’s, reason or intuition must be relied upon. Shri Ramanujacharya accepts perception, inference, and verbal testimony.

7) Shri Vallabhacharyaji accepts the necessity of right knowledge for comprehending the nature of the reality of Brahman. He, however, rejects all other proofs, except the Verbal Testimony, by which he means the scriptures viz the entire Vedas, the Geeta, the Brahma sutras and Shrimad Bhagavat.

PRASTHANA TRAYI

Vedanta is based on Prasthana Trayi. Sources of knowledge in Prasthan trayi consist of:

Veda --------> Bhagwat Geeta ---------> Brahma Sutras
(UPNISHAD) ----->(18 CHAPTERS) -----> (555 APHORISM)


Based on Prasthana trayi different hermits gave there personal views.


The main Acharyas and there views are:

Shankaracharya’s (8th century) : Kevaladwaita


Ramanujacharya’s (1056-1137) : Visistadwaita

Madhvacharya’s (1199-1278) : Dwaitavad

Nimbarkacharya’s (13th century): Dwaitadwaitavad

Vallabhacharya’s (1481-1533) : Suddhadwaita

Out of all the views, Shankaracharya’s view was different from other Acharyas. Shankaracharya’s view was Nirgunvad. Were as Ramanujacharya’s, Madhvacharya’s, Nimbarkacharya’s and Vallabhacharya’s view was related to Vaishnava Sampradaya.

All the Acharyas has came from south. They were expert in Sanskrit language. Based on this they translated there view’s in to simple language so that a common man can understand it. This 5 were not only Acharyas but were saints. All this Acharyas bought Seriousness in philosophy, Devotion and Good/Pure thoughts.

Vedanta bases itself mainly upon three sets of texts, called Prasthana Trayi. These are the Upanishads (Sruti Prasthana), the Bhagavata Geeta (smriti Prasthana) and the Brahma sutras of Badarayana (Nyaya Prasthana).

Prasthana trayi is comprised of 3:

1) Shruti Prasthan

2) Smruti Prasthan

3) Nyaya Prasthan

Each can be classified as follows:

1) Shruti Prasthan:

Shruti means
1) That which is heard.
2) Revelation, as distinguished from smriti, tradition; infallible knowledge which was received by Brahma or by the great sages in the beginning of creation and which descends in disciple succession from them; the body of literature which was directly manifest from the Supreme Lord. This applies to the original four Vedas (also known as the nigamas) and the Upanishads.

There are 12 main Upanishads:

Aytreya

Kaushitki kaen
Chandogya
Eesh

Bruhdarnayak
Kath
Taitariya
Swetashter
Rigvediya
Saamavediya

Shukla Yajurvediya
Krishna Yajurvediya

2) Smruti Prasthan:


The term smriti refers to a specific collection of ancient Sanskritic texts as follows: the six or more Vedangas, the four Upavedas, the two Itihasas, and the 18 main Purana’s. In a general sense, smriti may refer to any text other than shruti (revealed scripture) that is revered as scripture within a particular sect. From the vast body of sacred literature, shastra, each sect and school claims its own preferred texts as secondary scripture, e.g., the Ramayana of Vaishnavism and Smartism, or the Tirumurai of Saiva Siddhanta.

3) Nyaya Prasthan:

The Nyaya is the basis of all Sanskrit philosophical studies. It is an introduction to all systematic philosophy. It is the preliminary course for a student of philosophy. You cannot understand the Brahma-Sutras of Sri Vyasa without knowledge of the Nyaya. A study of the Nyaya develops the power of reasoning or arguing. It renders the intellect sharp and subtle. You cannot make Vedantic enquiry without a sharp and subtle intellect.

Hence, we can say that the Vedas are totally based on the Prasthan trayi i.e. Veda, Bhagwat Geeta and Brahma Sutras. This was according to Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Nimbarkacharya, and Madhvacharya. And not by Shri Vallabhacharyaji.

VEDANTA

The word Vedanta is dissected as "Veda + Anta". "Veda" is the ancient Sanatan book of wisdom, and "Anta" means the culmination, the end. Vedanta thus stands for the ultimate philosophical message of Vedas. The Upanishads (part of Vedas), being the source of this divine vision, are also called as Vedanta.

A closer look at the word "Vedanta" is revealing: "Vedanta" is a combination of two words: "Veda" which means "knowledge" and "anta" which means "the end of" or "the goal of". In this context the goal of knowledge isn't intellectual—the limited knowledge we acquire by reading books. "Knowledge" here means the knowledge of God as well as the knowledge of our own divine nature. Vedanta, then, is the search for Self-knowledge as well as the search for God.

SODAS GRANTH

"Yamuna Bal Muktashchva,
Pushti Siddhant Ratna A I
Vivek Krushna ChaturBhakti,

Ja Pa SanyaNi Sevana II"

In pustimargiya cult, there is special importance of Shodash-Granth. It is called "Geetaji" of our cult, so it is also called "Vallabh-Geeta" (A composition of 16 treatise i.e. beginning from Shri Yamunashtakam to Seva Falam is also known as Vallabh Geeta by Vaishnavs). We can also name Shodash Granth as "Upnishad" because it has all extract of principles of pustimarg. This all volumes are like sixteen phases of moon.

The extraordinary divine speech of Shri Mahaprabhuji is like 16 different kind of ornaments. Since Shri Mahaprabhuji is another form of Shri Krishna (Shri Thakorji), his divine speech is also created by Shri Krishna, means it is created by God himself.

Though these 16 treatise were written independently and at different times, they are all connected/inter-related to each other.

The first volume is "
Shri Yamunastakam". All Jivas in this world are bound to materialistic and physical world. Only by the divine grace of Shri Yamunaji, are they capable of achieving Shri Krishna. Therefore, Shri Yamunastakam is first.

In "
Balbodh", he explained us for kinds of effort for achievement in life described in Vaidik scripture.

The basic principle of pustimarg - how to serve God is explained in "Sidhant Muktavali".

To explain three kinds of souls, "Pusti" (God’s favourite), "Pravahi" and "Maryada", he wrote "
Pusti Pravah Maryada".

To give us a knowledge of how "Pusti Jiva" can be reattached to Shri Krishna by "Brahma Sambandh", he wrote "
Siddhant Rahashya" (secrets of Pustimarg.)

Once we get "Brahma Sambandh", all our worries are taken away by Shri Krishna. To explain that Brahma Sambandhi Jiva should not have worry about this physical world and other spiritual world, he wrote volume of "
Navratnam".

When one gets free of all worries, he should use this human body to serve Shri Krishna by devoting all his comfort, wealth and belongings which very well explained in "Antah Karan Prabodh" a teaching from within.

How to cultivate qualities of politeness, patience and total surrender to Shri Krshna is taught in "
Vivek Dhairashraya".

In "
Krishnashraya", he explained that why pustimargiya devotee has to surrender to Shri Krishna.

Shri Krishna is the only religion, materialism, salvation and deeds is explained in "
Chatur Shloki".

How the devotees can be sublimed in our lives is explained in "
Bhaktivardhini".

For eventual sublimation of devotees, we need to praise Shri Krishna and to listen about the life of Shri Krishna. Different aspects of listeners are explained in "
Panch Padya".

Also, there different aspects and qualities of speakers which are very well defined in "Jalbhedh" volume. To feel (view) and experience the presence of almighty Shri Krishna, we need to appreciate the fact that we are separated from Him and feel the suffering of that separation.

A Pustimargiya devotee should not necessary be bothered by this physical and materialistic world. And this is very well explained and proved in "Sanyas Nirnaya" treatise composed by Shri Vallabhacharyaji.

This kind of devotee should use his or her human body only to serve in "Nirodh Lakshan" treatise.


What kind of reward and fruit of these services will be awarded by Shri Krshna is found in "
Seva Falam" treatise.

First step in devotion is to conquer ourselves from within, which is achieved by Shri Yamunastakam. So, Shri Yamunastakam is first volume and in chronological order when we achieve everything (spiritually), Seva Falam (rewards of service) is the sixteenth and last treatise composed by Shri Vallabhacharya.

At this stage , the subject matter is sodas granth. First it is very intresting to know that from where and how Shri Vallabhacharyaji got the inspiration and to whom it is addressed. Hence let us first Quench our thirst of curiosity to knowabout the source. There are 12 Canto's of Shrimad Bhagwat and 4 Parts of Brahma Sutra. From the combination of these 16, we have received 16 treatises as a replica. There are 221 1/2 Hymns in Sodas Granth. Some where 1/2 Hymn is considered as whole Hymn.


Sr.No.
Treatise
Hymns
Inspiration
Addressed
Part
1
Shri Yamunashtakam
9
5th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Parmanand Dasji
Right Organ
2
Balbodh
19 1/2
1st part of Brahma Sutra
Narayandas Kayastha
Mouth
3
Siddhant Muktavali
21
2nd part of Brahma Sutra
Achyutdas sanodhiya
heart
4
Pushti Pravaha Maryada Bhed
25 1/2
3rd Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
-----
Right Arm
5
Siddhant Rahasya
8 1/2
6th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Damodardas Harsaniji
Right Leg
6
Navratna
9
9th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Govind Dube
Left Thigh
7
Antahakaran Prabodh
10 1/2
3rd part of Brahma Sutra
Himself
Navel
8
Vivek Dhairya Aashraya
17
7th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Aachyutdas Saraswat
left Arm
9
Krushnashraya
11
12th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Bullah Mishra
Left Leg
10
Chaturshloki
4
4th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Rana Vyas
Right Organ
11
Bhakti Vardhini
11
8th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Bhagwaandas Bhitariya
Right Thigh
12
Jalbhed
21
2nd Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
-----
Throat
13
Panch Padhyani
5
1st Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
-----
Left Organ
14
Sanyas Nirnaya
22
11th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Narhari Sanyasi
Face/Forehead
15
Niroadha Lakshan
20
10th Canto of Shrimad Bhagwat
Raja Dube and Madho Dube
Head
16
Seva Falam
7 1/2
4th Part of Brahma Sutra
Vidhnudas Chipaa
Left Organ

WORKS OF SHRI VALLABHACHARYAJI

Shri Vallabhacharya’s religious literature are mentioned and discussed in 4 Groups:

1) His Material Thinking (Adhibhautik) Anubhashya Tamas Pramanatmak.

2) His Spiritual Thinking (Adhiyatmik) Tattvartha-deep Nibandh Rajas Prameyatmak.

3) His Divine Thinking (Adhidaivik) Subodhini Satvik Falatmak.

4) His Own Empirical Thinking Sodas Granth Nirgun Sadhanatmak.

There are many works of Shri Vallabhacharya, out of which only Patravlamban, Sodas Granth and Tattvartha-deep Nibandh is existed today.

Patravlamban existed today is not complete. At Patravlamban, Shri Vallabhacharya has established the principle of Brahmavada, in this work and discarded the view that the meaning of the first part of Veda (Karma Kand or Purva Mimamsa) and the second part of Veda (Vedanta, Upanishad or Uttar Mimamsa) is different.

Sodas Granth shows the doctrine of Pustimarg in which all the topics are not shown.

In this view Tattvartha-deep Nibandh helps to judge our philosophy and helps to understand it. Tattvartha-deep Nibandh is a last work of Shri Vallabhacharyaji. But to enter in to Pushtimargiya sahitya and also to understand the secrets of Bhagwat, this Granth is given more priority than others.

God is always ready to uplift the soul. Therefore he incarnated himself in the form of Veda-vyas and wrote Bhagwat so that he can give proper knowledge of god and showing them the proper path. Then he himself incarnated in the form of Shri Vallabhacharyaji and showed the light of Bhagwat in Tattvartha-deep Nibandh.

Anubandhchatushtaya:

It is a tradition to show Anubandhchatushtaya in Manglacharan. It was also very essential to keep in mind 4 fundamental principles before writing any book of religion in Sanskrit at that time. This style of writing is called “Anubandhchatushtaya” Viz;


1) Subject matter (Prayojan) – Shri Krishna is an ultimate goal.
2) Right Person (Adhikaari) – Curious devotee.
3) Relation (Sambandha) – Explanation of principles and establishment of the true
impression upon the mind of the devotee about Shri Krishna i.e. Pratipad and Pratipad Bhaav.
4) Purpose (Vishay) – Success is sure at final stage through strong devotion.


TATTVARTHA-DEEP NIBANDH:

Why the name Tattvartha-deep Nibandh?

The light which is present in the elements of Veda is known as Tattvartha-deep, On the basis of Praman the element (Pramay) which is known is Tattvartha-deep.

Tattvartha-deep Nibandh is an independent work of Shri Vallabhacharyaji. It is also famous in the name of Nibandh. It is non-dual Granth. On the basis of different views he showed his own doctrine. Therefore can be accepted as Epistemology.
This Granth is divided in to 3;

1) Shastrartha Prakarana
2) Sarva Nirnaya Prakarana
3) Bhagwatarth Prakarana

Shri Vallabhacharya wrote commentary on this in the form of ‘Karikas’ and further tried to write in text called ‘Prakasha’ as it is in the form of Aphorisms.

1) Shastrartha Prakarana:

According to serial number Shastrartha Prakarana should have been written first, because what next he is going to show further is written here by Shri Vallabhacharyaji. In this 104 karika’s are there. The devotees with the attributes of sat etc are the beholders of this text, as they have strong Epistemology due to which they think and understand verbal testimony in Shastrartha Prakarana.

Thus 4 scriptures are considered as Epistemology. This is known as Praman Chatushtaya.

“Veda Shri Krishna Vakyani Vyasa Sutrani Chaiva Hi I
Samadhi Bhasha Vyasasya Pramana Chatushtayam II”

All the 4 scriptures are not at all contradictory to each other. Any thing contradictory to this should not be considered as Epistemology.

According to Shri Mahaprabhuji, Shastrartha means ‘Meaning of Shashtra’s’. This is very beautifully explained in the following verses:

“Ekam Shashtram Devaki Putra GitamEko Devo Devaki putra Eva; Mantropyekas Tasya Namani Yani, Karmopyekam Tasya Devasya seva”

Meaning: Gita sung by Sri Krishna, son of Devaki, is the best scripture.Sri Krishna, son of Devaki, is the best deity.Names of Sri Krishna are the best Mantra.Service of Sri Krishna is the best duty.

As per this shloka, Shastra means Geeta, The verses of Geeta sung by Lord Krishna or Gitopnishad. Therefore, this prakarana is also known as ‘Geetarth Prakarana’. Thus Shri Vallabhacharyaji did not use the same verses of Geeta, but explained us in his own way what God wanted to convey.

Hence we can say that;

“Shrimad Bhagwat is a commentary written by Vyasa on the basis of Bhagwat Geeta;
Shastrartha Prakarana is a commentary written by Shri Vallabhacharyaji on the basis of Bhagwat Geeta”.

Shastrartha Prakarana is mainly to understand the philosophy of Bhagwat Geeta. The form of soul and ultimate reality, characteristics of devotees, form of universe and how the universe emerged etc is described at Geeta and this is further included in Shastrartha Prakarana.

2) Sarva Nirnaya Prakarana:

In this Pramaye (Means of knowledge) is discussed. By taking the refuge of strong Means of knowledge all elements are decided. ‘Pramaybal’- Strong means of knowledge, means gods attributes can be known only through Veda. Everything is Brahma, they are not indifferent. A deep description is given for these things which are included and the reason for being it so. There are 2 main aims of Sarva Nirnaya Prakarana;
1) Clearing of Doubts.
2) Resolving of Differences.

At last, Shri Vallabhacharya describes his view on devotion that without the knowledge of Bhagwat, Devotion will not arise in the heart of devotee. Therefore, the 3rd prakarana is Bhagwatarth Prakarana in which he showed the in-depth meaning of Bhagwat.

3) Bhagwatarth Prakarana:

The in-depth meaning of Bhagwat is described here. God incarnated himself to uplift the souls. Similarly Shri Vallabhacharya in the form of ‘Fire’ came on earth to explain the deep meaning of Bhagwat and to establish the path of grace. Subodhiniji Granth can be understood easily after understanding Bhagwatarth Prakarana.

We are chit ansh of Brahma. Anand is concealed i.e. divine bliss. Here Shri Mahaprabhuji emphasizes on bhakti on the basis of 1) Purva Mimansa (Jaimini) i.e. Dharma Nishtha or Karma Nishtha and 2) Uttara Mimansa (Gaund Sankara) i.e. Gyana Nishtha.

Shri Vallabhacharya emphasis Bhakti Nishtha.

a) Gyana Nishtha – Sarva Gyana
b) Dharma Nishtha – Chitta Prasannata
c) Bhakti Nishtha – Krishna Prasannata

Note: Bhakti Nishtha: ‘I Thou’ relation with Bhakti. By devoting Shri Krishna, Grace comes automatically. Here divine state is Aatmanivedan.

In this 3 Prakarana Tattvartha-deep Nibandh gets end. It is the over all extract of Veda and it’s therefore an important grantha. This is said as an important Nibandha as it explains in-depth knowledge of Bhagwat which is not at all contradictory to Veda. Veda and Bhagwat are indifferent.

ANUBHASHYA:

Brahma Sutra Bhashya is also known as ‘Anubhashya’. Brahma sutra was written by Badarayana (Veda Vyasa) further Shri Mahaprabhuji wrote commentary on it which was known as Anubhashya. Also other Acharyas wrote commentary on Brahma Sutra i.e. Shankaracharya wrote Shararik Bhashya, Nimbarkacharya wrote Parijat Saurabh Bhashya, Ramanujacharya wrote Shri Bhashya and Madhvacharya wrote Pragya Purna Bhashya. In order to get the status of Acharya one has to write commentary on Brahma Sutra and they had to establish there scholarliness amongst the seers and general mass.

Anubhashya is the most significant work from Philosophical point of view.

Who is a real author of Anubhashya?

It is traditionally believed that 3-2-33 was written by Shri Vallabhacharyaji and rest was completed by Shri Vitthalnathji (2nd son of Shri Vallabhacharyaji).

Why Shankaracharya’s Bhashya is called Shararik Bhashya?

1) In Shararik Bhashya the word Shararik is used which refers to ‘Jivatma’ which holds the body. Thus the topic of Jivatma is discussed philosophically.
2) According to Shankaracharya Jiva is ‘Vibhu’ which is omnipresent and is Brahma.
3) Once the nescience is over, jiva himself forms in the form of Brahma Such view of Sankara’s Kevaladvaita Philosophy.

Shri Vallabhacharya’s Philosophy is exactly opposite to the philosophy of Shankaracharya.

1) Here Jivatma is considered as a part of Brahma Jiva is automatic in nature and so it is known as ‘Anu’
2) If Jiva is Anu it means it is a part of god and it remains in service of god which is ‘Bruhad’.
3) Hence liberation is possible through worship of god and not through Karma and Gyana.

Why Anubhashya is Pramanatmak Granth?

As far as the view of Shri Vallabhacharya is concerned it is very clear that it is Pramanatmak written on the basis of Brahma Sutra which itself is one of the Pramana. Veda Vyasa also considered it as Pramana during the philosophical debates with other seers.

Outline of Anubhashya:

According to Shri Vallabhacharyaji there are 554 Sutra’s on which Anubhashya is written. They are divided into 4 chapters called Adhyaya. These are further divided into 4 Pada’s and further sub divided in to Adhikarans – Unequal number of Sutra’s i.e. section.

Approach of Anubhashya:

Initially it is blamed that Indian Philosophy is not rational and also not founded well or can say its non analytical but it’s not true. Whenever, there is a discussion what topics are raised, different type of discussion, proper Epistemology is to be selected and the topic should be further dealt with and bring in to conclusion. This type of theory is accepted by Shri Vallabhacharyaji in his Anubhashya Granth i.e. every time new point arises out of the main topic of subject and is discussed in separate chapter so the topic gets very much clear.

Things to be remembered while discussion;

1) Vishay (Topic):
When we are dealing in any new discussion the main thing is topic.

2) Vishesh (Importance):
Registering the opposition or to know opponents view point.

3) Purva Paksha (Questioner):
Presentation of the subject from the opponents views point.

4) Uttar Paksha (Answerer):
Refutation of opponents views point and representation of the authors view point and representation of the author’s point of view.

5) Sangati (Reference):
Consistency is in support to the authors view on the basis of epistemology which he took as a base of discussion.

Content of Anubhashya:

Anubhashya is divided in to 4 chapters;

1) Samanvaya Adhyaya:
It is also known as ‘Praman Adhyaya’. Samanvaya means ‘to reconcile’. In this Shri Vallabhacharya shows the harmony against the different principles. The relation of god is shown at different scripture, to which Shruti defines as Brahma, in Smruti as Parmatma and in Bhagwat as Parabrahma or Bhagavan. All this mean same as referring to god is stated well in Upanishad. The first chapter of this chapter is—“Ataha toh Brahma Jigyasa”, this shows the curiosity to know the nature of Brahma. The nature of Brahma is to be determined correlating all the scriptures.

2) Avirodha Adhyaya:
It is also known as ‘Prameya Adhyaya’. Here the form of Brahma is discussed the sentences shown at different Scriptures are not at all contradictory is shown in this chapter. It deals with 2 things,
a) Presentation of the diverse views of the other schools like Yoga, Sankhya etc.
b) Refutations of others view point and propounding one’s own theory.

3) Sadhana Adhyaya:
It is a description and evaluation of various means of liberation.

4) Phala Adhyaya:
It deals with the Final Goal i.e. truth of knowledge and truth of devotion is Parabrahma and Pusti Bhakti.

Commentary on Anubhashya:

There are 36 commentaries written on Anubhashya out of which 12 are published and 24 are unpublished.

On the basis of Anubhashya, Shri Vallabhacharya expounded his Philosophical theory of Suddhadvaita also known as Brahmavada.

SUBODHINI:

Shri Vallabhacharyaji had also written an in depth commentary on Shrimad Bhagwat, the Subodhini. Though Shri Vallabhacharyaji was not able to write on all the Skandha (cantos), it still stands out as a very masterly and critical work. The meaning which the author of Shrimad Bhagwat wanted to convey to the people has been explained in a very masterly manner in this work.

'Subodhini' a commentary on Bhagavat Purana (Incomplete) it is the commentary on Bhagavata. This is a masterly work. Unfortunately this commentary is not fully available. It is available on the first three Skandha (books), a part of the fourth Skandha (Viz. Six chapters and a portion-13 verse only of the seventh chapter), the tenth Skandha, and a part of the eleventh Skandha (first four chapters and only one verse of the fifth chapter).

It is worthy to be noted that Shri Vallabhacharya has described the meaning of Bhagavat Purana from seven different angles. These seven angles are:

1) Shastra (Scripture Viz. Bhagavata as a whole)

2) Skandha

3) Prakarana

4) Adhyaya

5) Vakya

6) Padas

7) Akshara.

It may be noted that the meaning of the first four parts is given in the Bhagavatarth, third chapter of the Tattvartha-deep Nibandh, while that of the last three parts is given in 'Subodhini' commentary.

BHAKTI

BHAKTI

Bhakti is often called Fifth way of “Purushartha” irrespective of other four i.e. ‘Dharma’, ‘Karma’, ‘Kaam’, ‘Moksha’. To understand the concept of “Bhakti”, we have to understand the “Pushtimarg”- a way towards Liberation and ‘Path of Grace’.

Bhakti is a very vast subject, Bhakti in short is devotional surrendership to a master where a devotee just serves his master in every aspects to make master comfort and happy. In this case Vaishnav could be that devotee and Krishna the Master. There are two types of Bhakti, Nisha Kam Bhakti and Moksha Kam Bhakti. Both Bhakti is offered to Shree Krishna but the result or that achieved by each one is completely different. In Mokshadi Bhakti will have a return as Moksha and the Nisha Kam Bhakti has no need for Moksha and so as there is not expectation or any desire except Serving Krishna and pleasing Him. The second one is the Bhakti which infuses in Pushtimarg.

First type of Bhakti is known as Mariyada Bhakti. In this Bhakti we see those devotees who desire material life and also imbibe in acquiring Parlokik, the best of Materialistic but at a Spiritual level, and the result is Moksha. These devotee do depict a touch of "Anurag" (love) for God and are also clinging to the material life as well. This is Mariyada Bhakti.

The second type is Known as Pushti bhakti. In this bhakti there is no expectation and only desire is to acquire darshan and grace of Krishna. Because this state and bhakti is such it takes that devotee to "Swabhavanapati" a state where Lord knows the devotee is not seeking any return so Lord will bestow the grace. And in this state both devotee and the God bestow that "Anugraha" (to imbibe in action of appreciation and acknowledgement) and "Anuraga" In this Bhakti the devotee seeks the swaroop anand, darshan of Krishna, and this is Pushti Bhakti. The result is Pushti fal.

About Pushtimarg:

"Pushtimarg" is a 500 year old sect of Sanatan Dharma, founded by Shri Vallabhacharya.

Shri Vallabhacharya is one of the five main Acharyas of the Sanatan Dharma. The other four being Shankaracharya, Shri Ramanujacharya, Shri Madhavacharya and Shri Nimbarkacharya. These acharyas have a very significant contribution towards the upbringing of the Sanatan Dharma. Sanatan Dharma's History is very old, dating back to vedic times.

The four Vedas i.e..
The Rigveda
The Samaveda
The Yajurveda
The Atharvaveda


are treated as very sacred scriptures and the base of Sanatan Dharma is formed on them. Therefore, be it any sect or any Acharya of the Sanatan Dharma, they will always regard the Vedas as the highest authority.

PUSHTI – BHAKTI MARG

Bhagavat defines ‘Pushti’ as under:


“Posanam tadanugrahah”

Meaning: ‘Pushti’ means the grace of Bhagavan.

So, Pushti-Marga is a path of dedication, which could be achieved and followed only by the grace of the Bhagavan. Bhagavan is gracious. He bestows his grace upon numerous beings in a
number of ways. The Teacher in a school may compel a student to sit at the back, if he is inattentive in his study and is not obedient. But he will gladly accord the front row to that student who learns his lessons attentively and who abides by the commands of the teacher. Similarly, Bhagavan, too, bestows His grace upon beings to more or less extent. Let us not forget here that essentially all the beings are equal for Bhagavan. If the grace of Bhagavan is received unevenly, it is just a part of Bhagavan's lila (sport). So, Bhagavan specially favours those people who come to his refuge without any sort of selfishness and bestows upon them the benefit of doing his service.

The beings on whom such grace of Bhagavan has been showered, have nothing to worry about their worldly and transcendental life. Bhagavan Himself takes care of Pushti-beings and does all that is in their benefit. Perhaps, for any reason, if such beings are not in position to do the service of Bhagavan, He does create favourable circumstances for them to perform His service conveniently, and does not let them remain aloof from His service.


Hence, Shri Vallabhacharya in the Book of Siddhanta-muktavali says:

“Anugrahah Pushti-marge niyamakah”

Meaning: The grace of Bhagavan is the sole governing factor for those who are the pedestrians on the path of Pushti, here and hereafter and in seeking after the fruit and the fulfillment of the
fruit.

For this reason, the path in which everything of the devotee is accomplished by the grace of Bhagavan is called the Pushti-sect, the path of the Divine Grace. One cannot enter into this path without the grace of Bhagavan. If we say: “Pushti-Marga is the sect of attaining the grace of Bhagavan”, we are mistaken in understanding Pushti-Marga in its true perspective. Having the
grace of Bhagavan is the fulfilment of the very first condition for our entering into this sect. What other grace remains to be obtained by the blessed being after he has entered into the Pushti-Marga? Now that he is a blessed follower of Pushti-Marga, the only thing he has to do is the divine service of Bhagavan in order to cultivate the divine grace. The persons about whom it cannot be decided whether they are graced or not should not be allowed to initiate into this sect. Such is the clear-cut dictum of great ancient Acaryas which must be followed by all the Gurus of the Sampradaya. In this way, we have come to understand why the path that is propounded by Shri Vallabhacharya is called the PUSHTI MARGA the Path of Divine Grace.


What is meant by Pushti-Bhakti-Marga?

We all wish that we may have all happiness and no pain. This kind of our desire or effort to accomplish this goal is called Purusharatha (the object of the human life). We try our level best to fulfil this desire. Some people perform sacrifices, some do the penance and some others go on pilgrimage in order to get rid of all their sins and to obtain salvation. They make efforts to a mass wealth in order to obtain the object cherished most by them. But he who is the true-hearted Pushti-Devotee desires to obtain neither the salvation nor even the heavenly kingdom. For him, the divine service of Bhagavan is the only Dharma the only object attainable in his life. Bhagavan Himself is his real wealth. The only longing he feels in his mind is to have the Darshan of Bhagavan and to do the divine service, and he believes that his only salvation lies in keeping himself always firmly attached to Bhagavan. A true hearted devotee forgets all his sorrows in his devotion to Bhagavan and experiences divine bliss. For this reason, this Marga is called the Pushti-Bhakti-Marga, the devotional path of Pushti.


Every religious sect possesses certain peculiar established upholding and criteria. These upholding serve the purpose of sound pillars for the Sampradaya to stand upon. Now let us consider these peculiar established upholdings and criteria of Pushti-Bhakti-Marga.

“Pushtibhakti” means ‘path of grace’ and Shree Vallabh has incarnation on this earth only to propagate “Pushtibhakti” or ‘path of grace’ by Shriji’s divine order. “Pushtibhakti” is not for each and everyone. Those who are selected and adhikar, only those on whom Shriji made his grace can undergo “Pushtibhakti”.

“Bhagwat” is a literature form of “Bhakti”. When “Vyasji” was not satisfied after writing all “Puranas”, then “Naradji” persuaded him to write about ‘Lilas’ of Shri Krishna and in “Bhagwat”, God became starting point of salvation and Shri Krishna has showed the way of Liberation by playing an important role for salvation.

“Pushtibhakti” is a Bhakti with facet of “Love” And “Grace” is important part of “Bhakti”. If one can have a natural lover towards God without any selfishness, then he may be entitled to get a grace of GOD. It is “reflex” movement, not conventional movement. When there is natural flow of Grace, there cannot be any obstruction.

How “Bhakti” grows?

For the entire process of Bhakti does God play a very major and vital role?

As God always be bind to take you up, if you also try some. If we want to grow and reach to State of Salvation, then we have to make little but initial efforts. Only thereafter, God will take care of us.

There are three stages of “Bhakti” which is Love, Attachment and Passion. First, Love towards God. One should have or awake the love towards God and should have attraction as loveable person. If love is overflow in the heart of devotee towards God, it is a first stage. In the next stage, once you deeply in love with God, then all other which may be materialistic or all other person looks expendable or valueless and you feel that you cannot live without love of God and one cannot stay without grace of God and in last third stage, when Human and God become one i.e. one can merge himself with God and reach to the “State of Passion”, it is the last stage of “Bhakti”, after that one does not need anything. He will be automatically in the “State of Salvation”.

To understand Pushtibhakti better, let us now have an overview of its features :


It is spontaneous, selfless & motiveless love for God.

It is based on pure love for God.

It is expressed only through service of God.

It is love after realising God's true nature.

The knowledge gained is not a means of liberation.

Liberation, is considered secondary to the enjoyment of God's bliss.


Its aim is God's happiness.

No caste, creed, color, sex or age becomes the criteria, the only criteria is God's Grace.


It does not know any boundaries, be it time, place or anything else.

It does not require a devotee to give up a householder's life. In fact, one can serve Him better, by being a householder.

All the worldly desires are diverted towards God, they are then not required to be suppressed.

World is not looked down upon but is treated as God's creation and thus as real as God himself.

Shri Krishna is the supreme God, all the other deities reside in his form. Therefore total faith is placed in Shri Krishna alone.

In the state of liberation the entity of the devotee merges into God's blissful form, but in Bhakti (especially Pushti bhakti) the devotee does not seek liberation but he enjoys God's bliss
by participating in it as a separate divine entity.

What is Bhakti ?

The term Bhakti comes from the root 'Bhaj', which means 'to be attached to God'. Bhajan, worship, Bhakti, Anurag, Prem, Priti are synonymous terms. Bhakti is love for love's sake. The devotee wants God and God alone. There is no selfish expectation here. There is no fear also. Therefore it is called 'Parama Prem Rupa'. The devotee feels, believes, conceives and imagines that his Ishtam (tutelary deity) is an Ocean of Love or Prem.

Bhakti is the slender thread of Prem or love that binds the heart of a devotee with the lotus feet of the Lord. Bhakti is intense devotion and supreme attachment to God. Bhakti is supreme love for God. It is the spontaneous out-pouring of Prem towards the Beloved. It is pure, unselfish, divine love or Suddha Prem. There is not a bit of bargaining or expectation of anything here. This higher feeling is indescribable in words. It has to be sincerely experienced by the devotee. Bhakti is a sacred, higher emotion with sublime sentiments that unites the devotees with the Lord.

Mark how love develops. First arises faith. Then follows attraction and after that adoration. Adoration leads to suppression of mundane desires. The result is single-mindedness and satisfaction. Then grow attachment and supreme love towards God.

In this type of highest Bhakti all attraction and attachment which one has for objects of enjoyment are transferred to the only dearest object, viz., God. This leads the devotee to an eternal union with his Beloved and culminates in oneness.

Types of Bhakti:

Bhakti is of various kinds. One classification is Sakamya and Nishkamya Bhakti. Sakamya Bhakti is devotion with desire for material gains. A man wants wealth with this motive practices Bhakti. Another man wants freedom from diseases and therefore does Japa and offers prayers. A third one wants to become a Minister and does Upasana with this aim. This is Sakamya Bhakti. Whatever you want the Lord will certainly give you, if your Bhakti is intense and if your prayers are sincerely offered from the bottom of your heart. But you will not get supreme satisfaction, immortality and Moksha through Sakamya Bhakti.

Your Bhakti should always be Nishkamya Bhakti. God has already given you a good position, a good job, wife and children and enough wealth. Be contented with these. Aspire for Nishkamya Bhakti. Your heart will be purified and the Divine Grace will descend upon you. Be in communion with the Lord, you will become one with the Lord and you will enjoy all the Divine Aisvaryas (Divine attributes like wisdom, renunciation, power, etc.). All the Vibhutis (Special forms in which the Lord manifests) of the Lord He will give you. He will give you Darsan. He will help you to dwell in Him. At the same time He will give you all the Divine Aisvaryas also.

Another classification of Bhakti is Apara-Bhakti and Para-Bhakti.

Apara-Bhakti is for beginners in Yoga. The beginner decorates an image with flowers and garlands, rings the bell, offers Naivedya (food-offerings), wave lights; he observes rituals and ceremonies. The Bhakta here regards the Lord as a Supreme Person, who is immanent in that image and who can be propitiated through that form only.


He has no expanded heart. He is a sectarian. He dislikes other kinds of Bhaktas who worship other Devatas. Gradually, from Apara-Bhakti, the devotee goes to Para-Bhakti, the highest form of Bhakti. He sees the Lord and Lord alone everywhere and feels His Power manifest as the entire universe. "Thou art all- pervading; on what Simhasana shall I seat Thee ? Thou art the Supreme Light, in whose borrowed light the sun, the moon, the stars and the fire shine; shall I wave this little Deepa or light before You ?" - thus the devotee recognizes the transcendental nature of God. Para-Bhakti and Jnana are one. But every Bhakta will have to start from Apara-Bhakti. Before you take your food, offer it to God mentally; and the food will be purified. When you pass through a garden of flowers, mentally offer all the flowers to the Lord in Archana (offering flowers in worship). When you pass through the bazaar and see a sweetmeat shop, offer all the sweetmeats as Naivedya to the Lord. Such practices will lead to Para-Bhakti.

Bhakti is also classified into Gauna-Bhakti and Mukhya-Bhakti.

Gauna-Bhakti is the lower Bhakti and Mukhya-Bhakti is the higher type of Bhakti.

Go from stage to stage. Just as a flower grows in the garden, so also gradually develop love or Prem in the garden of your heart.

The enemy of devotion is egoism and desire. Where there is no Kama or desire, there alone will Rama (the Lord) manifest Himself. The enemies of peace and devotion are lust, anger and greed. Anger destroys your peace and your health also. When a man abuses you, keep peaceful. When blood begins to boil, it is impoverished. You lose vitality if you become a prey to fits of temper.


How to Cultivate Bhakti:

It would be a gross mistake if you consider Bhakti as merely a stage of emotionalism, while it is actually a thorough discipline and training of one's will and the mind, a sure means to intuitive realization of God Almighty through intense love and affection for Him. It is a means to thorough apprehension of the true knowledge of Reality, beginning from the ordinary form of idol worship right upto the highest form of cosmic realisation of your oneness with Him. You can achieve this by following the eleven fundamental factors which Sri Ramanuja had prescribed. They are Abhyasa or practice of continuous thinking of God; Viveka or discrimination; Vimoka or freedom from everything else and longing for God; Satyam or truthfulness; Arjavam or straightforwardness; Kriya or doing good to others; Kalyana or wishing well-being to all; Daya or compassion; Ahimsa or non-injury; Dana or charity; and Anavasada or cheerfulness and
optimism.

People put a question: "How can we love God whom we have not seen ?"
Live in the company of saints. Hear the Lilas of God. Study the sacred scriptures. Worship Him first in His several forms as manifested in the world. Worship any image or picture of the Lord or the Guru. Recite His Name. Sing His glories. Stay for one year in Ayodhya or Brindavan, Chirakut or Pandhapur, Benares or Ananda Kutir. You will develop love for God.

Every act must be done that awakens the emotion of Bhakti. Keep the Puja (Worship) room clean. Decorate the room. Burn incense. Light a lamp. Keep a clean seat. Bathe. Wear clean clothes. Apply Vibhuti (sacred ash) or Bhasma, and Kumkum on the forehead. Wear Rudraksha or Tulasi Mala. All these produce a benign influence on the mind and elevate the mind. They generate piety. They help to create the necessary Bhava or feeling to invoke the Deity that you want to worship. The mind will be easily concentrated. Practice of right conduct, Satsanga, Japa, Smarana, Kirtan, prayer, worship, service of saints, residence in places of pilgrimage, service of the poor and the sick with divine Bhava, bservance of Varnashrama duties, offering of all actions and their fruits to the Lord, feeling the presence of the Lord in all beings, prostrations before the image and saints, renunciation of earthly enjoyments and wealth, charity, austerities and vows, practice of Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya - all these will help you to develop Bhakti.


Bhavas in Bhakti:

When the devotee grows in devotion there is absolute self-forgetfulness. This is called Bhava. Bhava establishes a true relationship between the devotee and the Lord. Bhava then grows into Maha-Bhava wherein the devotee lives, moves and has his being in the Lord. This is Parama-Prema, the consummation of love or Supreme Love.

There are five kinds of Bhava in Bhakti. They are Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya Bhavas. These Bhavas or feelings are natural to human beings and so these are easy to practice. Practice whichever Bhava suits your temperament.

In Shanta Bhava, the devotee is Shanta or peaceful. He does not jump and dance. He is not highly emotional. His heart is filled with love and joy. Bhishma was a Shanta Bhakta.

Dasa-Bhav centres on serving the Lord without question. Main idea is to serve with love, not servility. Dasa also cultivates humility, resilience, capacity for hard work and flexibility. These characteristics are essential for a good devotee as well as a social worker. The ideal dasa should treat the world as the domain of his Lord, and hence serve everyone with love and devotion. Dasa should serve self-lessly, without seeking rewards or recognition. In recognition of this silent service, the Lord protects his beloved servants with great care. Hanumanji is the ideal DasaMaharaj. His loving service was rewarded by Rama with such fond words as “I am forever indedted to you. You are more dear to me than all my relatives, you are more precious than my soul.” For a dasa, such praises are worth more than all the wealth in the universe.

Sri Hanuman was a Dasya Bhakta. He had Dasya Bhava, servant attitude. He served Lord Rama whole-heartedly. He pleased his Master in all possible ways. He found joy and bliss in the service of his Master.

In Sakhya Bhava, God is a friend of the devotee. Arjuna had this Bhava towards Lord Krishna. The devotee moves with the Lord on equal terms. Arjuna and Krishna used to sit, eat, talk and walk together as intimate friends.

Sakhya-Bhava is the cultivation of the friend-sentiment with God. The inmates of the family of Nandagopa cultivated this Bhakti. Arjuna cultivated this kind of Bhakti towards Lord Krishna.

To be always with the Lord, to treat Him as one's own dear relative or a friend belonging to one's own family, to be in His company at all times, to love Him as one's own self, is Sakhya- Bhava of Bhakti-Marga. How do friends, real friends, love in this world ? What an amount of love they possess between one another ? Such a love is developed towards God instead of towards man; physical love turned into spiritual love. There is a transformation of the mundane into the Eternal.

In Vatsalya Bhava, the devotee looks upon God as his child. Yasoda had this Bhava with Lord Krishna. There is no fear in this Bhava, because God is your pet child. The devotee serves, feeds, and looks upon God as a mother does in the case of her child.

The last is Madhurya Bhava or Kanta Bhava. This is the highest form of Bhakti. The devotee regards the Lord as his Lover. This was the relation between Radha and Krishna. This is Atma-Samarpana. The lover and the beloved become one. The devotee and God feel one with each other and still maintain a separateness in order to enjoy the bliss of the play of love between them. This is oneness in separation and separation in oneness. Lord Gauranga, Jayadeva, Mira and Andal had this Bhava.


A Caution: Madhurya Bhava is absolutely different from conjugality of earthly experience. One should not be mistaken for the other. Earthly conjugality is purely selfish and is undertaken only because it gives pleasure to one's own self. But in love for God it is because it gives pleasure to God and not for the sake of the devotee. Divine love is not selfish. It is born of sattva. But earthly lust is born of rajas and attachment to bodies. Earthly conjugality is the outcome of egoistic self-regarding egoistic feeling, while divine communion is the outcome of other-regarding feeling devoid of egoism. Strong selfishness is the root of worldly passion; divine love is the product of loss of egoism. This is the greatest difference between lust (kama) and divine love (prema). The two are related as darkness is related to light. No development of earthly affection, however perfect it may be, can lead one to supreme joy of divine communion. Lust lurks in the heart due to the passion that burns in the core of things. Divine love is unknown to the man of the world, however religious he may be. The secret of divine love cannot be understood, and should not be tried to be understood, so long as man is only a man and woman only a woman. The austere transformation of the human into the divine is the beginning of true love for God.

Nine fold Devotion (Navdha Bhakti):

There is nine ways of Bhakti. One can practice any one to seek salvation.

(1) Sravana is hearing of Lord's Lilas. Sravana includes hearing of God's virtues, glories, sports and stories connected with His divine Name and Form. The devotee gets absorbed in the hearing of Divine stories and his mind merges in the thought of divinity; it cannot think of undivine things. The mind loses, as it were, its charm for the world. The devotee remembers God only even in dream.

The devotee should sit before a learned teacher who is a great saint and hear Divine stories. He should hear them with a sincere heart devoid of the sense of criticism or fault-finding. The devotee should try his best to live in the ideals preached in the scriptures. One cannot attain Sravana-Bhakti without the company of saints or wise men. Mere reading for oneself is not of much use. Doubts will crop up. They cannot be solved by oneself easily. An experienced man is necessary to instruct the devotee in the right path.

King Parikshit attained Liberation through Sravana. He heard the glories of God from Suka Maharishi. His heart was purified. He attained the Abode of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha. He became liberated and enjoyed the Supreme Bliss.

(2) Kirtana is singing of Lord's glories. The devotee is thrilled with Divine Emotion. He loses himself in the love of God. He gets horripilation in the body due to extreme love for God. He weeps in the middle when thinking of the glory of God. His voice becomes choked, and he flies into a state of Divine Bhava. The devotee is ever engaged in Japa of the Lord's Name and in describing His glories to one and all. Wherever he goes he begins to sing and praise God. He requests all to join his Kirtana. He sings and dances in ecstasy. He makes others also dance.

(3) Smarana is remembrance of the Lord at all times. This is unbroken memory of the Name and Form of the Lord. The mind does not think of any object of the world, but is ever engrossed in thinking of the glorious Lord alone. The mind meditates on what is heard about the glories of God and His virtues, Names, etc., and forgets even the body and contents itself in the remembrance of God, just as Dhruva or Prahlada did. Even Japa is only remembrance of God and comes under this category of Bhakti. Remembrance also includes hearing of stories pertaining to God at all times, talking of God, teaching to others what pertains to God, meditation on the attributes of God, etc. Remembrance has no particular time. God is to be remembered at all times without break, so long as one has got his consciousness intact.

(4) Padasevana is serving the Lord's Feet. Actually this can be done only by Lakshmi or Parvati. No mortal being has got the fortune to practice this method of Bhakti, for the Lord is not visible to the physical eyes. But it is possible to serve the image of God in idols and better still, taking the whole humanity as God. This is Padasevana. Padasevana is service of the sick. Padasevana is service of the whole humanity at large. The whole universe is only Virat-Swarupa. Service of the world is service of the Lord.

(5) Archana is worship of the Lord. Worship can be done either through an image or a picture or even a mental form. The image should be one appealing to the mind of the worshipper. Worship can be done either with external materials or merely through an internal Bhava or strong feeling. The latter one is an advanced form of worship which only men of purified intellect can do. The purpose of worship is to please the Lord, to purify the heart through surrender of the ego and love of God.

(6) Vandana is prayer and prostration. Humble prostration touching the earth with the eight limbs of the body (Sashtanga-Namaskara), with faith and reverence, before a form of God, or prostration to all beings knowing them to be the forms of the One God, and getting absorbed in the Divine Love of the Lord is termed prostration to God or Vandana. The ego or Ahamkara is effaced out completely through devout prayer and prostration to God. Divine grace descends upon the devotee and man becomes God.

(7) Dasya Bhakti is the love of God through servant-sentiment. To serve God and carry out His wishes, realizing His virtues, nature, mystery and glory, considering oneself as a slave of God, the Supreme Master, is Dasya Bhakti. Serving and worshipping the idols at home/haveli's, sweeping the temple premises, meditating on God and mentally serving Him like a slave, serving the saints and the sages, serving the devotees of God, serving poor and sick people who are forms of God, is also included in Dasya-Bhakti.

To follow the words of the scriptures, to act according to the injunctions of the Vedas, considering them to be direct words of God, is Dasya Bhakti. Association with and service of love-intoxicated devotees and service of those who have knowledge of God is Dasya Bhakti. The purpose behind Dasya Bhakti is to be ever with God in order to offer service to Him and win His Divine Grace and attain thereby immortality.

(8) Sakhaya bhava utilizes friendship which exist only between equals, God raises the human to His level and becomes one with the soul. As a friends, sakhas look to each others comforts. The “Sakhaya-Bhakta” follows this ideal further by not hurting the Lord and His feelings by words or action. All arguments and friendly tiffs are resolved amicably and quickly.


Sudama is an ideal sakhya-bhakta who did not ask any favours from his divine friend. The central theme / idea is to have friendship for friendship sake. Sakha bhakta see the universe, and all within it, as friends and so works for the universal good without seeking or expecting rewards.

(9) Atma-Nivedana is self-surrender. The devotee offers everything to God, including his body, mind and soul. He keeps nothing for himself. He loses even his own self. He has no personal and independent existence. He has given up his self for God. He has become part and parcel of God. God takes care of him and God treats him as Himself. Grief and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the devotee treats as gifts sent by God and does not attach himself to them. He considers himself as a puppet of God and an instrument in the hands of God.

This self-surrender is Absolute Love for God exclusively. There is nothing but God-consciousness in the devotee. Even against his own wishes, the devotee shall become one with God and lose his individuality. This is the law of being. The highest truth is Absoluteness and the soul rises above through different states of consciousness until it attains Absolute Perfection when it becomes identical with God. This is the culmination of all aspiration and love.

The nine modes of Bhakti are the ways in which a devotee attains the Supreme Ideal of life. A devotee can take up any of these paths and reach the highest state. The path of Bhakti is the easiest of all and is not very much against the nature of human inclinations. It slowly and gradually takes the individual to the Supreme without frustrating his human instincts. It is not direct assertion of God, but a progressive realization of Him.

Fruits of Bhakti:

Bhakti softens the heart and removes jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, egoism, pride and arrogance. It infuses joy, divine ecstasy, bliss, peace and knowledge. All cares, worries and anxieties, fears, mental torments and tribulations entirely vanish. The devotee is freed from the Samsaric wheel of births and deaths. He attains the immortal abode of everlasting peace, bliss and knowledge.

The fruit of Bhakti is Jnana. Jnana intensifies Bhakti. Even Jnanis like Sankara, Madhusudana and Suka Dev took to Bhakti after Realization to enjoy the sweetness of loving relationship with God.

Knowledge or wisdom will dawn by itself when you practice Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti is the pleasant, smooth, direct road to God. Bhakti is sweet in the beginning, sweet in the middle and sweet in the end. It gives the highest, undecaying bliss.

Kindly love divine in thy heart, for this is the immediate way to the Kingdom of God.

Pray to the Lord. Sing His glory. Recite His Name. Become a channel of His grace.

Seek His will. Do His will. Surrender to His will. You will become one with the cosmic will.

Surrender unto the Lord. He will become your charioteer on the field of life. He will drive your chariot well. You will reach the destination, the Abode of Immortal Bliss.

The Activities of Bhakti:

Being qualified with the requisite faith, the devotee performs the activities of vaidhi bhakti according to the scriptural injunctions. There are many angas or activities of bhakti, but they may be abbreviated as sixty-four. These are: taking shelter of an authorized guru, taking initiation and teachings from guru, serving the guru, following the path of the previous devotees, inquiry about the ultimate truth, renouncing material enjoyment for Krsna, living in a devotional tirtha, accepting what is necessary to maintain the body, observing ekadasi, respect for the asvattha and dhatri trees. These ten angas are the beginning of devotional service, and must be practiced. The next ten are: giving up material association, not making unqualified disciples, giving up big material endeavours, giving up studying of books devoid of bhakti, or superificial study of bhakti sastra, or argumentation on the same, not being miserly in dealings, not falling into lamentation, giving up disrespect to devatas, not giving agitation to other entities by ones work, giving up seva and nama aparadhas, avoiding hearing criticism of Lord Krisna or his devotees. These ten are practiced by avoidance. The chief among all the twenty are taking shelter of guru, taking initiation and serving the guru. Wearing the marks of a Vaisnava, wearing the names on the body, receiving the flower remnants, dancing before the Lord, offering obeisances, standing when the Lord approaches, following the procession of the Lord, going to the temple, parikrama, deity worship, service to the Deity, singing, sankirtana, japa, vijnapti, offering praise to the Lord, tasting prasadam, taking the foot wash, smelling the incense or flowers, touching the deity, seeing the deity, performing aratrika, seeing festivals, receiving the Lord's glance, offering things dear to oneself, putting forth all effort for Krsna's sake, surrender to the Lord's will in all cases, service to tulasi, Bhagavatam, Mathura and Vaisnavas, holding festivals along with the devotees, observance of Kartika vrata, celebration of Janmastami etc. serving the deity, relishing the meaning of the Bhagavatam in association of devotees, association with advanced devotees, nama sankirtana and living in Vraj.

Even with a little practice of the last five items, a person can attain bhava bhakti. Amongst the items, some are engagement for the body, some for the senses, and some for the mind. In other words, vaidhi sadhana bhakti may be defined as the method of engaging the body, mind and senses in Krsna's service. Some devotees reach perfection by practice of one item, and others practice many. The material results which these activities yield are recorded in the scriptures, but these are only meant for encouraging the materialistic person. Actually the main result of any of the items of sadhana bhakti is one-attraction of the jiva to Krishna.

Stages of Development of Bhakti:


· One begins with a preliminary interest in spiritual.

· Advancement and a conviction that material pursuits will never yield true happiness or perfection.

· One then associates with persons advanced in Bhakti.

· In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master.

· By executing devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free of all material attachments and all habits that impede one's spiritual progress.

· Thus, with realized knowledge, one attains unshakeable faith and steadiness.

· And one acquires an insatiable thirst for hearing about and serving the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna.

· Maturation---Gradually emotions for God intensify to the point of spiritual ecstasy.

· Perfection---Finally one awakens pure love for Krishna, which enables one to see Him face to face, to speak with Him, and to live and enjoy with Him eternally.