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Reply To: Does remembrance of a pure bhaktas and his activities also pleases the lord?
StudentApril 18, 2023 at 8:00 pm
Hare Krishna mataji,
Please accept my humble obesiences
Thanks for bringing this wonderful question.
Before getting into any conclusion on whether remembrance of pure bhaktas pleases lord, we first need to deep into to explore more about –
1: Which are the different categories of devotees?
2: Which are the qualities that makes one a pure devotee and dear to the Lord?
3: What is the position of a pure devotees in the realm of this creation?
4: Finally, does worship of the devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord? If yes, are there any evidence in the scriptures?
1: Categories of Devotees –
As in the Nectar of Instruction, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī classify the three categories of devotees – kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī.
The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī cannot distinguish between a devotee and non-devotee. He is simply concerned with worshiping the Deity in the temple.
A madhyama-adhikārī, however, can distinguish between the devotee and nondevotee, as well as between the devotee and the Lord. Thus, he treats the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee and the nondevotee in different ways.
While the uttama-adhikārī, or highest devotee, is one who is very advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikārī is not interested in blaspheming others or differntiate between devotee and non-devotee, his heart is completely clean, and he has attained the realized state of unalloyed Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
According to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the association and service of such a mahā-bhāgavata, or perfect Vaiṣṇava, are most desirable.
This understanding sets the context of the importance of the uttama-adhikārī, mahā-bhāgavata in the life of the sadhaka in order to propel in their spiritual growth.
2: Qualities that make one a pure devotee and dear to the Lord –
Unless we don’t understand the qualities that makes one a pure devotee we wont be able to appreciate what they possess and secondly also make us prone to be cheated by the so called worshippers or Sahijyas who pretend to be so called pure devotees of the Lord but don’t possess any of the qualities described any Lord himself in BG verse 12.13-14 –
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
Here, Lord himself lists eleven good qualities in His devotees. The primary are –
Maitrah(A kind friend to all living entities)
Nirmamah(With no sense of proprietorship)
Nirahankarah(Without false ego)
Drdha-niscayah(Engaged in devotional service with determination)
Mayy arpita-mano-buddhir(Mind and intelligence fixed on Me)
The root cause of envy is the inclination of the mind towards sense gratification. Only because we want to enjoy things in this world for ourselves, we feel envious when others enjoy those very things. However, when a person no longer has anything to enjoy in this world, then where is the need for envy? Having identified the root cause of the envy, the next question that arises is how to remove this root cause. The following direction is found in verse regarding how to deal with the mind’s attraction towards sense gratification, Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.20:
ko ‘nv arthah sukhayaty enam
kaamo vaa mrtyur antike
vadhyasyeva na tusti-dah
‘Death is not at all pleasing, and since everyone is exactly like a condemned man being led to the place of execution, what possible happiness can people derive from material objects or the gratification they provide?’
Maitrah(A kind friend to all living entities) –
In Bhagavad gita verse 15.7 Krishna says – mamaivaamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanaatanah. The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts.
If all the living beings, including us, are the eternal part and parcel of the Lord then how has given us the right to differentiate among them based on their colour, nationality and beliefs.
As a fragmented part of the Krishna, we should consider everyone equal and always remain merciful to them as stated in SB 4.31.19 :
santustyaa yena kena vaa
tusyaty aasu janaardanah
‘By showing mercy to all living entities, being satisfied somehow or other and controlling the senses from sense enjoyment, one can very quickly satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Janārdana.’
Nirmamah – With no sense of proprietorship
In the Sri Isopanisad mantra one it is stated:
isaavaasyam idam sarvam
yat kinca jagatyaam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjithaa
maa grdhah kasya svid dhanam
‘Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord.
One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.’
Everything belongs to Krishna so to hoard wealth or use it for sense gratification is very bad. The best use of everything is for Krishna.
Nirahankarah – Without false ego
A short life of max 100 years is nothing in the cosmic scale. When we are conscious about the fact that we have to die, the false ego evaporates.
Why are we proud? We do not have anything. If Krishna wishes, we cannot enjoy our own things also. The only unchanging thing in this world is the change. In the changing world who are we going to catch?
Sama dukha sukha – Equal in both happiness and distress
Ksami – Forgiving
In BG 10.4/5 Krishna says that even fogiveness kṣamā comes from him. Krishna forgave Sisupal 100 times, Jesus Christ forgave his killers.
Haridas Thakura forgave those who flogged him in 22 markets.
Santustah – Always satisfied
Our satisfaction goes as soon as we catch the inebrieties of other living entities.
In Bhagavatam 8.19.24 it is stated:
santusto vartate sukham
naasantustas tribhir lokair
‘One should be satisfied with whatever he achieves by his previous destiny, for discontent can never bring happiness. A person who is not self-controlled will not be happy even with possessing the three worlds.’
Yata-atma — self-controlled
In the Bhagavad gita 5.26 it is stated:
Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.
By keeping our eye on the goal of Krishna’s lotus feet, as Arjuna only saw the eye of the bird when asked to shoot his arrow by his teacher Dronacarya, we can be disciplined even though all inebrieties may surround us.
Drdha-niscayah – Engaged in devotional service with determination
Taking an inspiration from the story where little sparrow eggs were carried away by the ocean.
The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal.
So, the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination.
The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Vishnu, heard it.
He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow.
Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help.
Thus, Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow.
The ocean was frightened at this and returned the eggs. Thus, the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.
Similarly, the practice of bhakti yoga, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help.
Mayy arpita-mano-buddhir – Mind and intelligence fixed on Me
Just like Ambarish Maharaja who engage all his facilities in the Lords devotional service. Similarly, we should keep your mind and intelligence fixed in Krisha. Else mind being chancal would carried away by the material desires.
3: Position of a pure devotees in the realm of this creation –
In SB 4.24.28, Lord Shiva glorifies the devotees of the Krishna and says
yaḥ paraṁ raṁhasaḥ sākṣāt
prapannaḥ sa priyo hi me
Lord Śiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the controller of everything—material nature as well as the living entity—is actually very dear to me.
Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is worshipable not only by ordinary living entities but by demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and others. Yaṁ brahmā-varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stuvanti divyaiḥ stavaiḥ (SB 12.13.1). Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Varuṇa, Indra, Candra and all other demigods. That is also the situation with a devotee. Indeed, one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately becomes very dear to anyone who is simply finding out and beginning to understand what Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually is. Similarly, all the demigods are also trying to find out who is actually surrendered to Lord Vāsudeva.
The conclusion is that a devotee of the demigods is not dear to the demigod, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very dear to them.
4: Worship of the pure devotee is considered more effective than direct worship of the Lord :
In the Padma Purāṇa, there is a nice statement praising the service of the Vaiṣṇavas, or devotees. In that scripture Lord Śiva tells Pārvatī,:
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi
“Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Viṣṇu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Viṣṇu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaiṣṇava.”
A similar statement is in the Third Canto, Seventh Chapter, verse 19, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: “Let me become a sincere servant of the devotees, because by serving them one can achieve unalloyed devotional service unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The service of devotees diminishes all miserable material conditions and develops within one a deep devotional love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
In the Skanda Purāṇa there is a similar statement: “Persons whose bodies are marked with tilaka, symbolizing the conchshell, wheel, club and lotus—and who keep the leaves of tulasī on their heads, and whose bodies are always decorated with gopī-candana—even seen once, can help the seer be relieved from all sinful activities.”
A similar statement is found in the First Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, verse 33, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: “There is no doubt about one’s becoming freed from all reactions to sinful activities after visiting a devotee or touching his lotus feet or giving him a sitting place. Even by remembering the activities of such a Vaiṣṇava, one becomes purified, along with one’s whole family. And what, then, can be said of rendering direct service to him?”
In the Ādi Purāṇa there is the following statement by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, addressed to Arjuna: “My dear Pārtha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee.” No one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly (CC Madhya 13.80). One must approach Him through His pure devotees.
Therefore, in the system of Vaiṣṇava activities, the first duty is to accept a devotee as spiritual master and then to render service unto him.