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Philosophical Traps

Continuing our present­a­tion of the upcom­ing release Sharanagati, in this song Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur describes a devotee’s antipathy to all non-devotional ideologies which distract one from the root cause of all souls’ sorrow: aversion to Krishna. Accompanying the song is an explanation by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj.


Song Twenty-Seven

    keśava! tuyā jagata vichitra
karama-vipāke,    bhava-vana-bhrama‑i,
    pekhalu̐ raṅga bahu chitra

keśava!–O Kṛṣṇa!; tuyā–Your; jagata–material world; vichitra–variegated, strange; karama–of my actions; vipāke (karma-chakre)–according to the results (in the cycle of action and reaction); bhava–the mundane world of repeated birth and death; vana–in the forest; bhrama‑i (bhramaṇa kariyā)–wandering; pekhalu̐ (dekhilāma)–I saw; raṅga (tāmāśā)–hoax (trick, joke); bahu (nānā)–many (various); chitra (rakama)–types. [1]

(1) O Keshav! Your material creation is extremely varie­gated. I have wandered throughout this forest of birth and death according to the consequences of my actions and seen so many kinds of hoaxes.

tuyā pada-vismṛti,    ā‑mara yantraṇā,
    kleśa-dahane dahi’ yāi
kapila patañjali,    gautama kaṇabhojī,
    jaimini, bauddha āoye dhāi

tuyā–Your; pada–feet; vismṛti–forgetfulness; ā‑mara (maraṇa avadhi)–until death; yantraṇā–tortures; kleśa–of suffering; dahane (jvālāya)–in the fire; dahi’ (dagdha ha-iyā)–burning; yāi–I go; kapila–teacher of atheistic Sāṁkhya philosophy (systematic analysis of the material elements) who appeared in the lineage of Agni Dev; patañjali–famous ṛṣi who authored the Yoga-sūtra (guidelines for aṣṭaṅga-yoga practice); gautama–author of the Nyāya-sūtra (principles of logic); kaṇabhojī–Kaṇāda, the author of Vaiśeṣika-darśan (atomic theory); jaimini–the author of Pūrva-mīmāṁsā (theory based on the idea that karma is an absolute principle, unassailable even by God); bauddha–Buddhists; āoye (āise)–come; dhāi (dhāiyā)–running. [2]

(2) As a result of forgetting Your feet, I am being tortured until my death, burning in a fire of suffering. Meanwhile, Kapil, Patanjali, Gautam, Kanabhoji, Jaimini, and the Buddhists (the proponents of all sorts of ideologies) come running to me.

tava ka‑i’ nija mate,    bhukti mukti yāchata,
    pāta‑i nānā-vidha phā
so sabu—vañchaka,    tuyā bhakti-bahir-mukha
    ghaṭāoye viṣama paramāda

tava–about You; ka‑i’ (tomāra kahiyā arthāt tomāra dohāi diyā)–explaining (speaking about You, that is, appealing on Your behalf); nija–their own; mate (svasiddhānta)–opinions (own conclusions); bhukti–mundane enjoyment; mukti–liberation; yāchata (yāchñā kare arthāt grahaṇa karāibāra janya anurodha kare)–appeal (ask, that is, request me to accept); pāta‑i (pātiyā)–setting; nānā–various; vidha–kinds; phā̐da (jāla)–of traps; so (tāra)–they; sabu (sakalei)–all; vañchaka (pratāraka)–cheaters; tuyā–Your; bhakti–devotional service; bahirmukha–averse; ghaṭāoye (ghaṭāya)–they create; viṣama–terrible; paramāda (bhrānti)–illusion. [3]

(3) Speaking about You according to their own conclusions, they implore me to accept the pursuits of either worldly enjoyment or liberation by setting various types of traps. They are all cheaters who are averse to devotion; they simply devise terrible illusions.

vaimukha-vañchane,    bhaṭa so-sabu,
    niramila vividha pasāra
daṇḍavat dūrata,    bhakti-vinoda bhela,
    bhakata-charaṇa kari’ sāra

vaimukha (vimukha)–averse; vañchane–for cheating; bhaṭa (vīra)–warriors (expert fighters); so-sabu (sei samudaya)–all of them; niramila–built; vividha–various; pasāra (dokāna)–shop; daṇḍavat (sammāna)–obeisance (gesture of respect); dūrata (dūra ha-ite)–from afar; bhakti-vinoda–Bhakti Vinod; bhela–became; bhakata–of the devotees; charaṇa–the feet; kari’–doing; sāra (sarvasva)–the be-all and end-all. [4]

(4) All these combatants have set up various shops for cheating those who are averse to You. Bhakti Vinod has offered his respects to them all from afar and accepted the feet of Your devotees as his be-all and end-all.

(4) daṇḍavat dūrata … bhakata-charaṇa kari’ sāra: “Bhakti Vinod … has accepted the feet of Your devotees as his be-all and end-all.” This conviction has been expressed by Sri Deshik Acharya:

jñānāvalambakāḥ kechit kechit karmāvalambakāḥ
vayaṁ tu hari-dāsānāṁ pāda-trāṇāvalambakāḥ

Some take shelter of the path of knowledge (jnan). Some take shelter of the path of action (karma). We, however, take shelter of the sandals of the servants of the Supreme Lord.”

Translator’s note: A recapitulation of this song by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is found in his book The Search for Sri Krishna:

O my Lord Krishna, I see that everything is available in Your world, which has an infinite variegated nature. Separated from You, how­ever, we are always feeling miseries. A continuous flow of suffering has swallowed us from birth to death, and we cannot tolerate the pain of such misery. And so many relief agents—Kapil, Patanjali, Gautam, Kanada, Jaimini, and Buddha—are running towards us, offering their solutions.

Kapil has come with the Sāṁkhya philosophical system of analysis saying, “Analyse matter, and you will be free from all this pain.” Patanjali has come with yoga, “Hey, jivatma! Come to meet Paramatma! Then all the problems of this world will go away from you. Come in connection with Paramatma, the Supersoul.” This is his recommendation.

Gautam comes with logic, Nyaya-shastra, saying: “There is one Maker, one Creator, but He is indifferent. He has crea­ted this world, finished, and left it. You must try to live with the help of your reason. Develop your reasoning faculty, and be reasonable in all your conduct. Then only can you help yourself in this world. There is no other remedy. Be a good logician, and then you will be able to control the environment with the power of reason, and you will be happy.”

Then Kanada says: “By chance atoms have combined, and with the dissolution of atoms, nothing will remain. Why do you bother? Don’t care. What is fate? It is nothing; ignore it. And when the body is dissolved, nothing will remain. Why lament?”

Then with the philosophy of Karma-mimamsa, Jaimini says, “There may be One who has connected us with this world and our karma, but karma is all-in-all. He is an indifferent inspector. He has got no hold on us any longer. According to our karma we shall thrive or we shall go down. So, these activities are recommended to you. If you go on with your karma you will be happy. Of course, it cannot be denied; karma-phal, the result of karma, diminishes and is ended. But stick to karma, good karma, don’t go to bad karma. The result of good karma will be finished, but that does not matter; again go on doing good karma, and the good result will await you in heaven, and you will have a happy life. If anything is friendly to you, it is your karma. There is God, but He is indifferent. He is bound to serve you whether good or bad, according to your karma. He has no independence.”

Then another class of philosophy is that of Buddha: “Only the combination of different things has created your mental system. With the dissolution of the mental system, nothing remains. So, somehow, we must dissolve the mental system. Practise ahimsa, non-violence, satya, truthfulness, and so on.”

It is seen that all these philosophers are talking either of renunciation or of exploitation (bhukti, mukti). And by setting different types of enchanting traps, they arrange to capture the jiva. Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur says, “But I have come to realise that these fellows are all cheaters. And they all have this common stand: they have no touch of Your devotion, Your service. There, they are one. They cannot deliver any real good. They are common to oppose Your devotional service and supremacy. And ultimately they leave us in chaos.

But from the ultimate standpoint, I see that they are agents engaged by You to segregate the seriously diseased persons to another ward, for the good of the less seriously diseased patients. It is Your arrangement to segregate the hopeless persons to another side for the benefit of the good side. That is Your design, and they are playing at Your hand like so many dolls. They are Your agents and they are also serving You in some way, because nothing is outside You.” Bhakti Vinod Thakur concludes by saying, “I bid goodbye to them all. I feel in my heart that I shall show respect to all these so-called good agents from a distance; however, my only real capital is the dust of the holy feet of Your devotees. I rely on that dust as the source of all my prospects. I seek to put all my energy into taking the dust of their holy lotus feet upon my head. This is everything for me.”

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