domingo, 29 de mayo de 2011

Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda - Offering the Results of One’s Activities to Kṛṣṇa

Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda


Offering the Results of One’s Activities to Kṛṣṇa


prabhu kahe,—“eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe,—“kṛṣṇe karmārpaṇa—sarva-sādhya-sāra”

Śrīman Mahāprabhu said, “What you have just said is external. Please tell Me something more than this.”
Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda replied, “To completely offer the results of one’s activities to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the essence of all perfection.”

By declaring this as external, Śrīman Mahāprabhu intended to convey that yes, by following the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, Śrī Viṣṇu is pleased, but only partially so. Varṇāśrama is not directly related to the constitutional nature of the jīva as a servant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, nor is it devotional practice composed entirely of the nine limbs of bhakti performed for the pleasure of the Lord (svarūpa-siddhā-bhakti).

Uttamā-bhakti, or topmost devotional service, is that bhakti which sets the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the goal, and in which the nine processes of devotional service, especially hearing and chanting, are executed. By the mercy of Bhagavān, that uttamā-bhakti thus attains oneness, or qualitative equality (tādātmya), with the special function of Bhagavān’s internal potency. Even when the sādhaka finally attains perfection and achieves service to Bhagavān in His eternal pastimes in the spiritual realm, the activities of hearing and chanting do not subside; rather they become even more supremely relishable and keenly desirable. This taste and desire are in both the devotee and Bhagavān; indeed, they both realize ecstasy. To the liberated souls, this ecstasy is highly desirable, as it is their most treasured object and their ultimate goal.

Here the term karma refers to the activities mentioned in Smṛti and other scriptures that are performed on the basis of the natural inclination of the present body. The pursuance of varṇāśrama-dharma is sakāma-karma (performing acts in accordance with scriptural injunctions to fulfil one’s own material desires). Offering the fruits of one’s activities to Bhagavān is therefore superior to this.

It is stated in the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (3.9):

yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra
loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya
mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara

“O son of Kuntī, apart from offering the fruits of one’s selfless activities (niṣkāma-karma) to Śrī Viṣṇu, other forms of karma are simply a cause of bondage. Therefore, remaining free from the desire to enjoy the fruits of your labour, you should perform all activities with Śrī Viṣṇu as the goal.”

Whatever karma is performed for the pleasure of Śrī Hari is called yajña (sacrifice). Any other activity is the cause of bondage in this world.

Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (2.51) further states:

karma-jaṁ buddhi-yuktā hi
phalaṁ tyaktvā manīṣiṇaḥ
padaṁ gacchanty anāmayam

“Sages who perform buddhi-yoga (devotional service endowed with knowledge of Śrī Kṛṣṇa) renounce the fruits of action in the material world. They become liberated from the cycle of birth and death and attain that state beyond all miseries.”

Performing karma while free from attachment, completely eradicates the fear of all bondage. Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā discusses this topic in the section on karma-yoga. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself says:

śubhāśubha-phalair evaṁ
mokṣyase karma-bandhanaiḥ
vimukto mām upaiṣyasi
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā 9.28)

“O Arjuna! In this way you will be freed from all bondage caused by the fruit of good and evil deeds, and, by the yoga of renouncing the fruits of action, you will be a unique soul even amongst liberated persons, and you will come to Me.”

Our Gauḍīya Gosvāmīs have stated unequivocally that we should never offer any sinful activity or low-class activity to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

One should perform bhakti by offering one’s very self, and abandon the mentality of being the enjoyer and the doer. As the next verse says:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ dhyānaṁ
pāda-sevanam arcanam
vandanaṁ svārpaṇaṁ sakhyaṁ
sarvaṁ dāsye pratiṣṭhitam
(Śrī Hari-bhakti-kalpa-latikā 10.3)

“The devotional processes of hearing about the Lord, glorifying Him, remembering Him, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, offering obeisances to Him, surrendering everything to Him, and befriending Him, all rest on service to Him.”

This verse describes dāsya-bhāva, in which the devotee feels, “I am a servant of the Lord.” When one becomes a servant, nothing remains his own – not his body, his intelligence, his senses, his speech, his heart, his religion, his desires, his wealth, or his actions. One cannot even say, “I am performing austerities,” or “I am performing bhakti,” because the consciousness that “I am the doer” also disappears. The first stage of bhakti is ātma-samarpaṇa, or self-surrender.

When we feel that all of our desires have been fulfilled by worshiping Śrī Viṣṇu, we may conclude that Bhagavān Viṣṇu is pleased with us, but really, this is not the case at all. Therefore, Mahāprabhu considered offering the fruits of one’s action to be an external conception, because this method of worship is not inherently pleasing to Bhagavān. He is Offering the Results of One’s Activities to Kṛṣṇa only superficially pleased with the devotee, for the sake of that devotee’s happiness.

Such a worshiper considers the earth, the heavenly planets and other such places to be related to him. This conception has no connection whatsoever with svarūpa-siddhā-bhakti, or the nine limbs of devotional service performed to achieve one’s perfect spiritual body. Some who follow varṇāśrama-dharma consider their austerities to be their own, some consider their mother to be their own, some their father, and some consider everything they have to be their personal property.

For example, once there was a brāhmaṇa who sat beneath a tree performing austerities. A pigeon perching on the upper branches passed stool upon him, which broke the brāhmaṇa’s meditation. He became so angry that by his glance he burnt the pigeon to ashes. By this, he believed that his austerity had achieved perfection. So impressed was he that he became quite haughty and was not slightly concerned about pleasing Bhagavān.

Bhagavān fulfils the desires of such a devotee yet remains unattached to him. A sādhaka, who by the special grace of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performs uttamā-bhakti, or activities exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, desires nothing, nor is there anything more that Śrī Kṛṣṇa possesses that is worthy to be given to him. Thus, He sells Himself to such a sādhaka.

The sādhana of following varṇāśrama-dharma pleases Śrī Viṣṇu only fractionally. For this reason it is called external.

Śrīla Sarasvatī Prabhupāda says that the bodily achievements of those who follow varṇāśrama-dharma are based on the false egoism arising from the bodily conceptions of “I” and “mine” and are thus confined to this universe. Bhakti, on the other hand, is beyond the material universe.

Bhagavān Śrī Gaurahari regards the external realization of those persons residing outside Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka-dhāma as fit to be rejected, and He does not accord any special independent recognition to the worship of Viṣṇu by the varṇāśrama method.

Jñānīs direct their worship toward the formless aspect of Bhagavān (nirviśeṣa), and karmīs (reward-seeking workers) revere His variegated forms (saviśeṣa). Both worship Śrī Viṣṇu with some material intent.

According to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, to offer the results of one’s action to Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the very essence of perfection when compared to the ordinary varṇāśrama system. Nirviśeṣa tattva-vadīs actually remain absorbed in karma, which is full of variety, or saviśeṣa.

Even though it appears that they are engaging in bhakti, factually it is
not so at all. Everything they offer is related to the body. Such offerings bear no relation to the soul, and so Mahāprabhu calls the offering itself, external. Undertakings such as constructing hospitals and dharmaśālās (guest-houses for pilgrims) and digging wells may be offered to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, but they are external and are thus an obstruction to the soul’s relationship with Bhagavān. Consequently, one’s devotional service is blemished with undesirable habits.

Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has said:

na dharmaṁ nādharmaṁ śruti-gaṇa-niruktaṁ kila kuru
vraja rādhā-kṛṣṇa pracura-paricaryām iha tanu
(Śrī Manaḥ-śikṣā 2)

“O my dear mind! Please do not perform either the dharma or adharma (religion or irreligion) prescribed in the Śrutis. Rather, you should perform profuse loving service to the Divine Couple Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. The Śrutis have ascertained Them to be the highest principle of worship and the Supreme Absolute Truth.”

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā 9.27)

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna: ‘O son of Kuntī, whatever activities you perform, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice and give in charity, and whatever austerities you perform, should be done as an offering to Me. All endeavours should be to please Me alone.’”

The term mad-arpaṇam speaks here of the independent saviśeṣa-tattva (the Absolute Truth possessed of all transcendental attributes, without a touch of the material). Its use refutes the notion that the Supreme is nirviśeṣa (devoid of form and other characteristics). This niṣkāma-karma process, in which one performs one’s prescribed duties and offers the results to Bhagavān, with no desire to enjoy the fruits, is also known as jñāna-miśrā-bhakti (devotion mixed with the desire for liberation).

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments that in this verse Bhagavān suggests the practice of offering everything to the Lord (bhagavad-arpita-bhakti) for those who denounce devotion performed with personal interest (sakāma-bhakti) yet who are unable to abandon karma and jñāna completely, and who do not have the qualification to perform one-pointed devotion (ananyā-bhakti). This practice can hardly be called śuddha-niṣkāma-karma-yoga, as this name is awarded only to action that is performed according to the injunctions of the scriptures, as an offering to Bhagavān. A person’s ordinary eating and drinking habits may not be included in this.

Those unable to understand the process of exclusive ananya-bhajana are instructed to offer all of their activities (like eating and drinking) to Bhagavān. In much the same way, the worship of the universal form of Bhagavān is recommended for those unable to properly conceive of the established truths regarding the actual object of worship, namely Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus, the performer of the activity is still the recipient of the fruit of action, which is indicated by the ātmanepada form of the verb kuruṣva, meaning “to perform.” Furthermore, the verse makes no mention that this practice relates directly to Bhagavān.

The practice of the nine-fold process of devotional service known as navadhā-bhakti begins when the sādhaka completely surrenders himself to Bhagavān Śrī Viṣṇu. But here, by contrast, the activity is performed first and then offered to Bhagavān. For this reason, the type of devotion being discussed is not to be equated with bhakti-yoga. Indeed, it is not even considered one of the limbs of bhakti-yoga.

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