Krishna Bhakti includes eating, sleeping, working & more
by – Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
In Sri Gita, Sri Krishna describes devotees who are not yet niskincana pure devotees fully engaged in hearing and chanting about Sri Krishna. They are one class of bhaktas who can also please Sri Krishna by practicing bhakti in another form by offering to Sri Krishna WHATEVER they do, eat etc.
Sri Krishna says, “Just offer to Me WHATEVER you do, eat, sacrifice, give away, or WHATEVER penance you perform.”
yat –karoṣi- yad- aśnāsi- yaj -juhoṣi –dadāsi, yat
yat-tapasyasi -kaunteya -tat -kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Bhagavad Gita 9.27)
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana comments: “In essence Sri Krishna is saying: ‘WHATEVER material activities you do to live and support your family; WHATEVER food you eat to live; WHATEVER money, food or other items you give to qualified persons, and WHATEVER Vedic sacrifices and vratas you perform to counteract sins; do them all as an offering to please Me and to instruct others and I will bless you fully!’
“The actions of this devotee class [the parinisthita bhakta] are offered to Sri Krishna without any personal motivation then to please Sri Krishna. Mind you however, that this type of action is not considered uttama bhakti, the topmost, transcendental form of pure bhakti.”
Sridhara Swami comments: “Ananya bhakti means that one’s actions are first offered to Bhagavan rather than acting first and offering afterwards. Thus, the verse above (Bhagavad Gita 9.27) is not included in kevala bhakti, since the acts are first performed and then offered.
While immersed in bhakti samadhi, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti experienced the following sweet dialogue between Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita verse 9.27:
Arjuna says, “O Prabhu! Among the four types of bhakti You have previously described beginning with the devotion of the miserable, the wealth seeker, the curious and the wise one (Bhagavad Gita 7.16)—which bhakti should I perform?”
Sri Krishna replies (Bhagavad Gita 9.27):
“O Arjuna, because in your present state you cannot reject karma, jnana and other processes; and you are not qualified for kevala bhakti, the supreme bhakti; and nor should you descend to the inferior type of sakama-bhakti (selfish motivated devotion), you should perform bhakti combined with action and knowledge, (karma-jnana-misra- pradhānī- bhūtā -bhakti) which still qualifies as niṣkāma, non-selfish devotion but it does not culminate in kevala bhakti.
“Whatever you do be it following Vedic rules or performing worldly action; whatever you eat or drink in ordinary life; and whatever austerities you perform, do it as an offering to Me. My pure devotees however offer Me all the actions of their mind, pranas and senses.”
Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti comments:
The Srimad Bhagavatam says, “The method of bhakti is in accordance with one’s individual svabhava (particular nature acquired in conditioned life). Whatever one does with his/her words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness should be offered to the Me while thinking, ‘This is for the pleasure of Bhagavan Sri Narayana.’” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.36)
kāyena- vācā -manasendriyair -vā,// buddh-yātmanā- vānusṛta-svabhāvāt
karoti- yad -yat –sakalaṁ- parasmai, // nārāyaṇ-āyeti- sam-arpayet -tam
“This verse means that just as a materialist wakes up and performs actions such as urinating, evacuating, washing mouth, brushing teeth, bathing, seeing, hearing and speaking for material happiness and performs rituals for worship of devatas and ancestors, a Krishna bhakta also does all these activities as seva to Sri Krishna. Thus these acts are also limbs of bhakti.”
Now back to the Gita dialogue:
Arjuna: “O Krishnaji! When You say I should offer as sacrifice, that sacrifice is related to arcana which is a limb of bhakti aiming at Vishnu’s pleasure. And when You prescribe austerities, it means vows like fasting on Ekādaśī. These are all ananya bhakti. So how can You say that it is not?”
Sri Krishna: “True, but ananya bhakti does not mean that you first perform an action and then offer it to Bhagavan. Rather in ananya bhakti first you offer the action to Bhagavan and then you perform it as described by Prahlada in Srimad Bhagavatam (7.5.24).”
Thus ends the dialogue and comments on Bhagavad Gita. (9.27)
In Sandarbhas, Sri Jiva Goswamipada describes four types of bhakti: transcendental, sāttvika, rājasik and tāmasik wherein the same activities are performed. For example, all four devotees do puja but one does it for Krishna’s pleasure (transcendental devotee), one for purification (sattvika devotee), one for fame, followers and money (rajasik devotee), and one does bhakti just to destroy somebody (tamasik devotee). It is the intention, purpose and attitude that counts and determines the type of bhakti.
For further elaboration on bhakti in different the modes of nature, please read Kapila Muni Siksa in Srimad Bhagavatam (3.29.7-12) and Bhagavad Gita (9.22)
Thus we can see that eating, sleeping, working, sacrifice and vratas are all limbs of bhakti. And most amazingly, the all-inclusive mercy of Krishna bhakti also includes basic bodily functions.
The ancient sastra Vishnu Rahasya says, “The mind is kept in a healthy state by the proper excretion of urine and stool. Thus the anus and urinary organ, which are karma-indriya, working senses, are also engaged in Krishna’s seva.”
utsargān mala-mūtrādeś,// citta-svāsthyaṁ yato bhavet
ataḥ pāyur upasthaś ca,// tad-ārādhana-sādhanam
Dr. Satyanarayan Dasa Ji Maharaja comments, “If I don’t pass stool I will suffer and that will hamper my devotional service. The genitals can be used to make Vaiṣṇava children. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita (7.11), ‘I am desire in those who do not contradict virtue, dharm āviruddha bhūteṣu kāmo smi.’”
Indeed, everyone can now appreciate how liberal, kind and merciful Krishna bhakti is in that it includes practically everything a devotee does consciously and unconsciously throughout the day and night.
Thus single, married, fully or semi-engaged bhaktas can all be inspired and encouraged that they are progressing steadily and positively toward the sweet lotus feet of Radha-Govinda Yugala and Their blissful, eternal service in madhurya Goloka Vrndavana.
(Sastra courtesy Madan Gopal Blog of Sri Advaita dasji)
Sri Krishna bhakti bhajana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!