Chapter 4: Pure and Mixed Devotion

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 65

tad arpitākhilācāraḥ san kāma-krodhābhimānādikaḿ tasminn eva karaṇīyam


tatto Him; arpita — having offered; akhila — all; ācāraḥ — actions; san — being; kāma — desire; krodha — anger; abhimāna — pride; ādikam — and so on; tasmin — toward Him; eva — only; karaṇīyam — should be done.


Offering all one's activities to the Lord, one should feel desire, anger, and pride only with regard to Him.


Nārada now advises that traits normally considered vices may be dovetailed into favorable devotional service. This does not contradict Nārada's previous statement that pride, anger, and lust should be renounced. A pure devotee is always free of vices, and the practicing bhakta tries to be free of them by controlling his senses and mind as far as possible. Therefore Nārada here refers to a transcendental application of anger, pride, and lust in relation to the Supreme Lord.

Liberated devotees often apply so-called vices in devotional service, and we can learn the art from them. Hanumān vented his anger upon Rāvaṇa, the enemy of Lord Rāma. Lord Kṛṣṇa instigated Arjuna to become angry so he would fight the Battle of Kurukṣetra. Even Lord Caitanya became angry with the drunken brothers Jagāi and Mādhāi. These are examples of properly directed anger. We cannot stop anger completely. As Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, "To try to create a vacuum in the mind is artificial. The vacuum will not remain. However, if one always thinks of Kṛṣṇa and how to serve Kṛṣṇa best, one's mind will naturally be controlled" (The Nectar of Instruction, Text 1, purport).

Even anger directed at Kṛṣṇa can be part of devotional service. The gopīs, for instance, often became angry at Him during lovers' quarrels. Once Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was displeased with Kṛṣṇa and ordered Her assistants to stop Him from seeing Her at all costs. The cowherd boys would fight with Kṛṣṇa in the forest, and in the heat of play they would sometimes become angry with Him and tell Him they wouldn't play with Him anymore. Lord Kṛṣṇa very much liked these chidings of love, and He asked forgiveness from His friends.

Kaḿsa's hatred of the Lord, however, was not bhakti. Kaḿsa was afraid that Kṛṣṇa would kill him, and so his mind became absorbed in animosity toward the Lord. Prabhupāda writes, "The state of mind of a great devotee is also to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, but a devotee thinks of Him favorably, not unfavorably" (Kṛṣṇa, p. 26).

We should not imitate the transcendental feelings of the pure devotees, but we may become inspired by hearing of them. We should patiently wait for the day when these feelings will naturally manifest within us. At that time we will not be able to stop them even if we want to. Meanwhile we may practice becoming greedy for chances to spread the word of Kṛṣṇa, proud that Kṛṣṇa is our Lord and that we have such an exalted spiritual master in Śrīla Prabhupāda, and angry at the māyic obstacles that prevent us from attaining bhakti. If we learn to dovetail everything for Lord Kṛṣṇa in this way, we will have learned the essential lesson Nārada is imparting in this sūtra.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
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