|Chapter 2: Defining Bhakti|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 29
anyonyāśrayatvam ity eke
anyonya — mutual; āśrayatvam — dependency; iti — thus; eke — some.
Others consider bhakti and knowledge interdependent.
The spiritual harmony of knowledge and devotion is well expressed in the phrase bhakti-vedānta. Some observers think of bhakti and jñāna as separate or in opposition to each other. The Advaitins claim a monopoly on jñāna through the study of the Vedānta-sūtra according to the commentary of Śańkara. But Vedāntic study is not in opposition to bhakti-yoga. The author of the Vedānta-sūtra is Śrīla Vyāsadeva, who also compiled the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is a masterpiece of bhakti as well as the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. The Vaiṣṇava ācāryas Rāmānuja, Madhva, and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa all wrote commentaries on the Vedānta-sūtra and proved Vedānta to be harmonious with devotional service. So when a Vaiṣṇava studies the Vedānta-sūtra and other Vedic literatures in order to understand the glories of the Supreme Lord, then we have bhakti-vedānta.
Knowledge is especially required by the Kṛṣṇa conscious preacher, who has to meet opposing arguments. The Vaiṣṇava ācāryas were all highly learned in Sanskrit, philosophy, and logic, but they were never dry speculators like the academic or impersonalist scholars. They knew that Kṛṣṇa is the conclusion of the Vedas. As Śrī Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ/ vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham: "By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas."
Knowledge and devotion are harmonious, but to say that they are interdependent is too strong. Love of Kṛṣṇa often arises without a
long development of jñāna. Nārada Muni once blessed a sadistic hunter with pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa. This type of spontaneous development of bhakti is known as kṛpā-siddhi, perfection via the good graces of the Lord and the Vaiṣṇavas.
In the eternal pleasure pastimes of the Lord, Yogamāyā sometimes covers the devotee's knowledge that Kṛṣṇa is God. This is another example of how knowledge and bhakti are not always interdependent. Sometimes the eternal associates of Kṛṣṇa remember that He is the Supreme Lord, and sometimes they forget, depending on the requirements of their particular devotional mood, or rasa. At Kṛṣṇa's name-giving ceremony, the sage Garga said, "This child will grow in power, beauty, opulence — everything — on the level of Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Still, mother Yaśodā treated Kṛṣṇa as her dependent child. Once Yaśodā ordered Kṛṣṇa to open His mouth so she could see if He had eaten dirt. Kṛṣṇa obeyed, and when mother Yaśodā looked into her child's mouth, she saw the universal form, including all time, space, and planets. Realizing that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Person, she prayed,
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead,... under whose illusory energy I am thinking that Nanda Mahārāja is my husband and Kṛṣṇa is my son, that all the properties of Nanda Mahārāja belong to me, and that all the cowherd men and women are my subjects. [Kṛṣṇa, p. 84]
But then Lord Kṛṣṇa expanded His internal energy to cover mother Yaśodā's sense of awe and reverence with maternal affection. She immediately forgot that Kṛṣṇa was God and again accepted Him as her child. In cases like these, in the eternal pastimes of the Lord, knowledge of Kṛṣṇa's divinity comes and goes, but always in the service of bhakti.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari