Chapter 4: Pure and Mixed Devotion

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 54

guṇa-rahitaḿ kāmanā-rahitaḿ pratikṣaṇa-vardhamānam avicchinnaḿ sūkṣma-taram anubhava-rūpam


guṇa — material qualities; rahitam — devoid of; kāmanā — material desire; rahitam — devoid of; prati-kṣaṇa — at every moment; var — dhamānam — increasing; avicchinnam — uninterrupted; sūkṣma-taram — most subtle; anubhava — consciousness; rūpamas its form.


Pure love of God manifests as the most subtle consciousness, devoid of material qualities and material desires, increasing at every moment, and never interrupted.


What passes for love in the material world often sounds and appears like bhakti, at least to those who are untrained in devotional service. But Nārada Muni makes it clear in this sūtra that bhakti is always different from material loving affairs.

The word guṇa-rahitam means "above the modes of nature." Nārada has already mentioned this quality of bhakti in Sūtra 47. Bhakti is not like any kind of behavior governed by the modes of ignorance, passion, or goodness. We should never think that Lord Kṛṣṇa's pastimes with the gopīs and cowherd boys are mundane. Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are, in fact, the original activities of love, and whatever resembles love in any way within this material world comes originally from Kṛṣṇa. As Śrīla Prabhupāda explains in Kṛṣṇa, p. 27:

If there is any opulence within this material world, the cause of the opulence is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any reputation within this material world, the cause of the reputation is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any strength within this material world, the cause of such strength is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any wisdom and education within this material world, the cause of such wisdom and education is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the source of all relative truths. [Kṛṣṇa, p. 27]

The word kāmanā-rahitam means "without selfish desire." This quality, too, has appeared before — in Sūtra 27, where Nārada said, "There is no question of lust in the execution of devotional service in pure love of God, because in it all material activities are renounced."

Unlike the pleasure that comes from exchanges of material so-called love, the pleasure of bhakti is pratikṣaṇa-vardhamānam (increasing at every moment) and avicchinnam (uninterrupted). This is the nature of the Lord's spiritual pleasure potency, known as hlādinī-śakti, which conducts the loving exchanges between Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. In sex passion, satiation soon brings an end to the mounting feelings of pleasure, but in the loving exchanges between Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates there is an eternal competition, bringing ever-

increasing pleasure. Kṛṣṇa is very pleased to see the beauty of His gopīs, and when the gopīs see that Kṛṣṇa is pleased with them they become many times more happy, and this increases their beauty. In turn, this increases Kṛṣṇa's beauty and pleasure. And so the devotee and the Lord enjoy loving exchanges, but without interruption.

Unlike mortal love affairs, in bhakti the love does not break by quarrel or death of one of the partners. Lord Caitanya describes the bliss of sańkīrtana as ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam, "increasing the ocean of transcendental bliss." Because the Supreme Lord is Himself ever increasing and always fresh, the devotee is never bored or unfaithful and is never cheated.

Bhakti is also sūkṣma-taram, subtler than the subtlest thing. As described in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.42): "The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he (the soul) is even higher than the intelligence." So the subtle exchanges of loving emotion between the pure souls and their beloved Lord are completely unlike material love, which is really nothing but lust.

<<< >>>

Buy Online 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