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Monday, July 09, 2007

saṅga siddha and care in mādhurya

I was a bit confused about the apparent contradiction between Jīva Gosvāmī's teaching on saṅga siddha bhakti vs. Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gītā. saṅga siddha bhakti means 'associated items of devotion', in other words the regulative principles of cleanliness, chastity, compassion, study, austerity etc. They are described in Jīva Gosvāmī's Bhakti Sandarbha (217), who quotes S.B. 11.3.23-24, verses that provide a long list of qualities:

sanga-siddhā svato bhaktitvābhāve’pi tat-parikaratayā saṁsthāpanena tatra bhāgavatān dharmān śikṣed gurvātmadaivataḥ [Bhḏ 11.3.24] ityādi-prakaraṇEṣu sarvato manaso’sangam [Bhḏ 11.3.23] 

"Sanga siddha bhakti
, with all its virtuous qualities, is not intrinsically devotional in itself, but establishes devotion through association." Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gītā gives a long list of divine qualities of which I always thought they need to be cultivated, so I thought them contradictory with Jīva Gosvāmī's teachings of saṅga siddha bhakti as not being intrinsically bhakti, since Kṛṣṇa says in that Gītā chapter that such a devotee is very dear to Him. I found the answer in Viśvanātha Cakravartī's purport of the last verse (20) of this chapter: ete bhaktyuttha...dharma na prākṛta guṇāḥ - bhaktyā tuṣyati kṛṣṇo na guṇaiḥ ityukti koṭitaḥ - "These glorious attributes arise from devotion - they are not mundane qualities, as it is said millions of times: bhaktyā tuṣyati kṛṣṇo na guṇaiḥ  'Kṛṣṇa is pleased with devotion alone, not qualities'." Kṛṣṇa also repeatedly says in that chapter: bhaktas te'tīva me priya, bhaktimān yaḥ sa me priyaḥ, yo mad bhakta sa me priyaḥ, mad bhakta sa ca me priya - "It is only because it is a devotee who has such qualities that he is dear to Me, not because of the qualities themselves."

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I also had this chat recently:

Bhakta: "About your blog. Is it because mādhurya relationship is more powerful or topmost because everything (the attitudes of the other 3 rasas) is in that relationship?

Advaitadas: "Yes, because it shows the ultimate care. Care increases with each rasa. Complete care is only by the spouse. "

Bhakta: "Or paramour."

Advaitadas: "Servants, friends and parents have increasing care, but full care is given by the spouse or paramour- its the same thing in this sense; the sense of love and care. Conjugal is actually not a good translation, because conjugal means married, whereas Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa aren't married.

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