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Monday, December 25, 2006

Compassion - astonishing bliss

I recently found another very noteworthy commentary on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, that I forgot to include in the blog reviewing its section. Verse 2.5.105 describes the incomparible bliss the devotee feels when he perceives the happiness of others. Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments: sva-para bhedenānirṇaye'pi sati yadā parakīya duhkādayaḥ svīyatiyā sphuranto'pi te prauḍhānanda camatkāra carvanām eva tanvate prakāśayanti : "Two verses (105-6) describe another facet of rati's incomprehensibility. When the suffering of other persons become the devotee's own suffering by not distinguishing himself from the character in the drama or poetic work, that suffering also produces a taste of astonishing bliss."

Then he quotes SB 2.2.27: "In that planet Satyaloka, there is neither bereavement, nor old age nor death. There is no pain of any kind, and therefore there are no anxieties, save that sometimes, due to consciousness, there is a feeling of compassion for those unaware of the process of devotional service, and who are subjected to unsurpassable miseries in the material world."

Visvanātha: "There is no fear or suffering except for suffering from the heart, because there is a feeling of compassion for the endless suffering of saṁsāra of those who do not know about bhakti. But that display of suffering, which arises in the hearts of the śānta bhaktas in Lord Brahmā's assembly in Satyaloka, for those caught in samsāra, also reveals deep bliss."

Then he quotes Prahlāda (SB 7.9.44): "O Lord! Generally the sages, desiring their own liberation, practise silence and live alone, not interested in others'welfare. Rejecting such miserly sages, I do not desire liberation alone. I do not see any shelter than you for those wandering blindly in this world."

Later, Viśvanātha continues: "As well in the Ninth Canto, Rantideva is famous for his desire to deliver others from suffering. Therefore the appearance of unhappiness in the hearts of these devotees is actually a form of the highest bliss, not a direct experience of suffering, because it is an established fact that the cause of material suffering is previous and present commission of sin. Where is the question of sin for these devotees, by remembrance of whom others become free from sin?" To illustrate, he quotes SB 1.19.33 "Simply by remembering you, our houses become instantly sanctified......"

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