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Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Five main limbs of sadhana - classifying the rest of it



Madhava - Tue, 18 Jun 2002 12:31:47 +0530
Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu (1.2.90-93) describes the five most potent forms of sadhana:
zraddhA vizeSataH prItiH
zrI-mUrter aGghri-sevane
zrImad-bhAgavatArthAnAm
AsvAdo rasikaiH saha
sajAtIyAzaye snigdhe
sAdhau saGgaH svato vare
nAma-saGkIrtanaM zrIman-
mathurA-maNDale sthitiH

aGgAnAM paJcakasyAsya
pUrva-vilikhitasya ca
nikhila-zraiSThya-bodhAya
punar apy atra kIrtanam

(1) Serving the lotus feet of the Deity with faith and particular loving disposition, (2) relishing the taste of the meanings of the Bhagavata with those conversant with devotional rapture, (3) associating with saints who have similar inclinations, who are soft-hearted and affectionately disposed towards oneself, (4) engaging in congregational chanting of the holy names, and (5) residing in the area of Mathura-mandala. These aforementioned five limbs are understood as the essence of everything, and therefore they are glorified again.

How do we classify mantra-japa, nama-japa and smarana?

1. Mantra-japa is a part of service to Sri Murti.

2. Nama-japa is a part of nama-sankirtana.

3. Smarana --> ?

I am really thinking about the smarana-part of it. Looking at the context of the list of these five items, they are general practices which are to be adopted on both vaidhi and raganuga marga.

However, the raga-marga is two-fold, service in sadhaka-deha and service in siddha-deha. The five limbs above are the essence of practice in sadhaka-deha, while smarana is the essence of the sadhaka's inner practice. Therefore smarana is not particularly mentioned above.

Any further thoughts on this are most welcome -- please!
adiyen - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:42:04 +0530
When I was a pujari in a big temple, we performed Bhuta-Shuddhi before beginning the puja. The mantras were from Dhyanchandra's Paddhati and consisted of the beginning of manasi-seva imagining oneself in fine clothes serving Yugalmurti in Aishvarya mood, a jewelled mandir etc. This was before approaching actual Sri Murti there in the temple. In Iskcon/GM, sadhaka-deha seva of Sri Murti fulfills the function of manasi-seva bhajan. Siddha-deha is supposed to come later. But of course, aishvarya cannot lead to madhurya, so this is a problem for them, I think.

Anyway, my vote is that Smaran is part of Sri Murti Seva.
Madhava - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 10:13:44 +0530
What made me wonder is the fact how much smaran is emphasized for instance by Narottama -- "Sadhana smarana lila ihate na koro gela", he says. "Manera smarana prana, madhura-madhura dhama, yugala vilasa smriti sara". "Don't neglect the essential practice of remembrance", "Remembrance is the life force of the mind, and the abode of all sweetness, and its essence is remembering the sports of the Adolescent Couple." "Sadhya sadhana ei, iha boi ara nai, ei tattva sarva tattva sara" -- "This is true both in the stage of practice and in the stage of perfection, and there is nothing more than this. This is the essential truth of all truths."

Also Visvanatha doesn't particularly discuss these five limbs in his Raga Vartma Candrika, but rather he focuses on elaborating the meaning of the three core verses of BRS, and in the course of this, sravanotkirtanadini is covered in one section of practices.

So... If you take a look at www.gaudiya.com [practice], you'll see what I put together about it. These five limbs are in a section before the three core verses of Rupa describing raganuga bhakti.

In other words, these five are the most potent among "seva sadhaka-rupena", as in "sravanotkirtanadini vaidhi-bhakty uditani tu", whereas smarana is a whole separate section for the "siddha-rupena catra hi" part of practice. Naturally some aspects of smarana will overlap the category of arcana, but all in all, it is a whole different sphere we are speaking about.

Any objections to my conclusion?
Madhava - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 10:38:11 +0530
QUOTE(adiyen @ June 19 2002,07:12)
When I was a pujari in a big temple, we performed Bhuta-Shuddhi before beginning the puja. The mantras were from Dhyanchandra's Paddhati and consisted of the beginning of manasi-seva imagining oneself in fine clothes serving Yugalmurti in Aishvarya mood, a jewelled mandir etc. This was before approaching actual Sri Murti there in the temple. In Iskcon/GM, sadhaka-deha seva of Sri Murti fulfills the function of manasi-seva bhajan. Siddha-deha is supposed to come later. But of course, aishvarya cannot lead to madhurya, so this is a problem for them, I think.

By the way, why would it be aishvarya, what you describe above? Dhyanacandra's paddhati is not in aisvarya-bhava, and ratana-mandira is mentioned everywhere, Govinda Lilamrita, Narottama's songs and so on.
Radhapada - Wed, 19 Jun 2002 17:32:51 +0530
Yes, it seems to me that the five most potent forms of bhajan refer to the vaidhi marg as given by Sri Caitanya to Sanatan Goswami. Mahaprabhu then describes the process of raganuga as two-fold: external and internal. The five most potent forms of bhajan are the external practices of raganuga whereas smaranam and manasi seva are the special features of the raganuga practice.

Smaranam is the principle anga of raganuga bhakti. It can be practiced simultaneously with other the limbs of bhakti like sankirtan, Sri Murti seva, residing in Vraja dhama, etc.
adiyen - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:08:29 +0530
QUOTE(raga @ June 19 2002,00:08)
By the way, why would it be aishvarya, what you describe above? Dhyanacandra's paddhati is not in aisvarya-bhava, and ratana-mandira is mentioned everywhere, Govinda Lilamrita, Narottama's songs and so on.

Umm, that's an interesting question. Why don't we start a new thread: 'Differences between Aishvarya and Madhurya Modes of worship'. In the case I'm talking about there was just one 'mantra' actually, and we didn't know anything about the Paddhati it came from:

Divya-zrI-hari-mandirADhya-tilakaM...sevotsukAM cAtmanaH. Our mood of worship was implicitly opulence. Does the fact that we used material from madhurya sources, but selectively only those parts denoting opulence, mean that we were madhurikas de facto? This reminds me of a paper on the web by a senior Iskcon person (you know it) which asserts 'We are all Raganugas'. (But my equating Vaidhi=Aishvarya, Raga=Madhurya may be incorrect. If so let us consider these questions separately).

Don't there have to be actual madhurya qualities? I have heard, for example, that some have taught, if I understood correctly, that even the Radha & Krishna described in Brahma-samhita are not in their Madhurya Lila (I am looking this up). Nimbarki's, for example, worship a Radha and Krishna who seem to be in Vaikuntha. I would appreciate some clarification on this.
Radhapada - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:19:47 +0530
I have read in Visvanath Cakravarti's Raga Vartma Candrika that if one worships Radha and Krsna in vaidhi marg he/she will attain the aishvarya portion of Goloka dhama where They are served in opulence. I will look up the exact text or commentary. This will demonstrate that it is not enough to worship Radha and Krsna in vaidhi if one wants to attain Their service in the Vraja lila, which goes back to the principle that vaidhi does not lead to raganuga.
adiyen - Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:29:31 +0530
Back to your original question. Did you notice verse 87?

smrtir-dhyanam tatha dasyam sakhyam atmanivedanam (from non-diacritic source).

This is part of the list of 64 items, of which you have quoted the last 5 which Rupa says he repeated because of their special importance. But as you see he did mention smrti. I realise this is not what you are saying, but ordinarily this would suggest that Sri Vishvanath gave more emphasis to smrti than did Sri Rupa, hence a certain amount of controversy over this point of history of the sampraday. What do you all think about the way the texts seem to suggest this here? If these 64 items are for Vaidhi Bhakti, then is this smrtir-dhyanam a Vaidhi practice? Yes, I suppose you could say that, as salagram worship can also have smrtir-dhyanam in Vaidhi or Raganuga. But is this what Rupa is saying here?

Of course Sri Vishvanath's 'redaction' (as it is called in the field of Hermeneutics) is decisive. Truly he has been called 'a second Rupa' for our sampraday.
Madhava - Sun, 23 Jun 2002 19:30:35 +0530
Certainly smriti and dhyana are there among the outer practices of sadhana. But they do not necessarily suggest what Rupa considers siddha-rupa seva.

I remember back in ISKCON prior to bathing the Deity we used to do the same thing in mind. Just like we have the example of the brahmana who cooked sweet rice in his meditation. This is manasi-seva. However, it is not seva in siddha-rupa as Rupa proposes after delineating the outer limbs of sadhana.

Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu delineates smaranam in a very general way in 1.2.175: yathA kathaJcin manasA sambandhaH smRtir ucyate. "That which brings the mind in connection [with the Lord] is called remembrance." Dhyana is a more intense and focused form of contemplation, but still does not in itself refer to siddha-rupa seva, though the five-fold gradations of smarana certainly exist within the realm of siddha-rupa seva as well.
Radhapada - Mon, 24 Jun 2002 00:48:44 +0530
One of the mahajans of vaidi bhajan attained perfection through the limb of smaranam. Was it Prahlada Maharaja?

Dhruvaraja attained the darshan of Sri Hari in Mahavana within some weeks through deep meditation and chanting a mantra given by Narada Deva. However, the darshana was not of Vrajendra-nandana.
Madhava - Mon, 24 Jun 2002 12:23:53 +0530
It was Prahlada. Actually, I recall reading that Prahlada's Ista-deva was Krishna, who appeared in the form of Narasimha. Still, I've never heard that his smaranam would have included siddha-rupa seva.