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The Role of Faith

Bhakti Sandarbha, anuccheda 171

Two verses explain the causes of qualification:
[NOTE: Here adhikara is used in the sense of qualification; based upon an individuals qualification, he may have different
sankalpas --- or expectations, motivations, determinations. Results within ones life arise according to his determination, as
nirvin jna-yogo nysinm iha karmasu
tev anirvia-cittn karma-yogas tu kminm
Jna-yoga is recommended for those who are unattached to material life and thus reject material activities. Karma-yoga is
recommended for those who are not disgusted with material life and have great attachment to pleasures. SB 11.20.7
Among the methods (iha) jna is for people detached from happiness derived from objects in this and the next life
(nirvim) and who have renounced actions both worldly and Vedic as sdhana (nysinm). This indicates persons who
have developed desire for liberation by great determination. Jna-yoga gives results (siddhi-da) for these people with
detachment and renunciation. Karma yoga gives results for persons who are attached to happiness in this world and the next
and cannot give up actions to attain them (anirvia-cetasm).

Results arise according to the determination of the performer.

yadcchay mat-kathdau jta-raddhas tu ya pumn
na nirvio nti-sakto bhakti-yogo sya siddhi-da
If by unexpected association with devotees one develops faith in my topics, that person, being neither
very disgusted with nor attached to material life, is qualified for bhakti and will achieve perfection. SB
is faith alone. That is explained in verse 8 above. Faith arises by auspiciousness, arising from
completely independent mercy of associating with devotees (yadcchay). It is said:
uro raddadhnasya vsudeva-kath-ruci |
syn mahat-sevay vipr puya-trtha-nievat ||
O brhmaas! Attraction for topics concerning Ka will arise by service to the great devotees,
followed by faith, by surrender to the feet of the guru, and by the desire to hear. SB 1.2.15
This verse is explained by the Lord later:
jta-raddho mat-kathsu nirvia sarva-karmasu
veda dukhtmakn kmn parityge py anvara
tato bhajeta m prta raddhlur dha-nicaya
juama ca tn kmn dukhodark ca garhayan

Having developed faith in topics about me and being disgusted with all karmas, a devotee knows that
all enjoyments are filled with misery. But he is unable to give them up. Still, with affection for me,
with faith and determination, he will continue worshipping me, while at the same time partaking of
those enjoyments which give rise to suffering and yet condemning them. SB 11.20.27-28
The person develops faith in topics about me and other related items. He thinks This is the best. He
is disgusted with other activities. However, he cannot give up objects of enjoyment which are the
remnants of results of pious acts from previous lives. He knows they give suffering. Thus verse
11.20.8 explains that he is not completely detached and not too attached. This is the devotees initial
state. This person should worship me (bhajeta mm). This means he is qualified for ananya-bhakti,
whereas another person is qualified for jna by developing vairgya. This is because bhakti is
independent of other factors since it has its own akti. This is explained later:
tasmn mad-bhakti-yuktasya yogino vai mad-tmana
na jna na ca vairgya prya reyo bhaved iha
Therefore, for a devotee engaged in bhakti, with mind fixed on me, the cultivation of knowledge and
renunciation is generally not beneficial for bhakti.
yat karmabhir yat tapas jna-vairgyata ca yat
yogena dna-dharmea reyobhir itarair api
sarva mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate jas
svargpavarga mad-dhma kathacid yadi vchati
Everything that can be achieved by karma, penance, jna, vairgya, mystic yoga, charity, dharma and
all other auspicious means of perfecting life is easily achieved by my devotee through bhakti. If
somehow or other my devotee desires Svarga, liberation, or residence in my abode, he easily achieves
such benedictions. SB 11.20.31-33
This means that bhakti does not even depend on indifference to karma. That indifference will arise by
faith that bhakti is the supreme method. Thus the qualification of being disgusted with karma merely
explains this phenomenon. Though jna and karma depend on faith, since without that internal and
external inclination will not arise, in the case of bhakti faith alone is the cause. That is its specialty.
Depending on strong faith, one is able to perform bhakti. Without faith, ananya bhakti will not occur.
Sometimes, starting slightly, bhakti is destroyed.
One should not be too detached or too attached, but later when faith in the Lords topics develops,
karma will be given up.
{Part note}
However, even without faith, bhakti takes place.
sakd api parigta raddhay helay v
bhguvara nara-mtra trayet ka-nma

The name of Ka chanted with faith or without faith delivers all men. Skanda Pura.
sat prasagn mama vrya-savido
bhavanti ht-kara-rasyan kath
taj-joad v apavarga-vartmani
raddh ratir bhaktir anukramiyati
From association with the best devotees, topics of my glorious pastimes become directly realized,
bringing the devotee to nih. Then the topics become an elixir for the heart and ears at the stage of
ruci. By taste for these topics, faith (arising after hearing), bhva and then prema for the Lord who is
the destroyer of material life, quickly develop in sequence. SB 3.25.25
One sees results even before faith:
mriyamo harer nma gan putropacritam
ajmilo 'py agd dhma kim uta raddhay gan
Ajmila, by chanting the name of the Lord to indicate his son while dying, attained the abode of the
Lord. What then will happen if one chants with faith? SB 6.2.49
Faith is an aga of understanding the abhidheya presented in scriptures, since it is a form of
conviction. Thus it is not included as an aga of the performance of bhakti. Bhakti should not depend
on rules to produce its results -- just as fire does not depend on rules to burn wood -- since hearing
and chanting about the Lord possess the akti of the Lords svarpa. Why should bhakti depend on
faith or anything else?
Thus even without faith, sometimes one sees attainment of perfection in fools. It was said that
chanting with or without faith (raddhay helay v) delivers humans. If one acts without thinking
intentionally of offense (helay), and without wicked intention, it does not interfere with bhakti. But
if one intentionally commits offense, this will interfere with bhakti. For instance, Vena chanted the
name of the Lord with envy and bhakti did not appear. In the same way, sometimes the akti of a
substance is impeded. For instance the fires power to burn is impeded by damp wood.
raddhayophta preha bhaktena mama vry api
Actually, whatever is offered to me with faith by my devoteeeven if only a little wateris most dear
to me.
bhry apy abhaktophta na me toya kalpate
gandho dhpa sumanaso dpo nndya ca ki puna
Even excellent presentations do not satisfy me if they are offered by nondevotees. But I am pleased by
any insignificant offering made by devotees, what to speak of a presentations of fragrant oil, incense,
flowers and palatable foods. SB 11.27.18-19
In these verses faith and bhakti refer to reverence. This respect destroys the offense which
produces disrespect, in order to produce excellent results in the form of the Lords satisfaction.

Therefore faith is not an aga of bhakti, but is a special qualification for ananya-bhakti, just as
knowledge, desire and ability are qualifications for karma. This special qualification is what is
designated in mat-kthau jta-raddhas tu (SB 11.20.8) and jta-raddho mat-kathsu (SB 11.20.27).
Tato bhajeta m (SB 11.20.28) means after developing faith, one should worship me. Tata also
indicates no limits to who can perform it. Thus even tmrmas start bhakti. This indicates bhaktis
ruling position. Thus it is said later:
na kicit sdhavo dhr bhakt hy ekntino mama
vchanty api may datta kaivalyam apunar-bhavam
But intelligent devotees, completely dedicated to me alone, do not desire liberation even if I offer it to
them. SB 11.20.34

Part 2
BRS ||1.2.14|| <by Rupa Goswami>
tatra adhikr
ya kenpy atibhgyena jta-raddho sya sevane |
ntisakto na vairgya-bhg asym adhikry asau ||14||
Translation: The qualified person (to perform vaidhi-bhakti) is described as follows:
The person who has developed faith in serving the Lord by impressions arising from previous
association with devotees, who is not too attached to material objects, and who is not too detached, is
qualified for vaidhi-bhakti.

Jva Gosvms Commentary to BRS ||1.2.14||

The word atibhgyena (by extreme good fortune) means by distinctive impressions arising from
association with devotees.[8]
Vivantha Cakravart hkuras Commentary to BRS ||1.2.14||
Atibhgyena means by special impressions arising from association with great devotees. Vairgyam
means false renunciation, which is unfavorable for worship. The devotee does not indulge in that false
vairgya. However, it is understood, he will endeavor for detachment from desires for material
enjoyment (since that is favorable for development of bhakti). [9]

BRS ||1.2.15||

yadcchay mat-kathdau jta-raddho stu ya pumn |

na nirvio ntisakto bhakti-yogo sya siddhida ||15||
Translation: In the Eleventh Canto it is said:
If somehow or other by good fortune one develops faith in hearing and chanting My glories, such a
person, being neither very disgusted with nor attached to material life, should achieve perfection
through the path of loving devotion to Me. SB 11.20.8
Jva Gosvms Commentary to BRS ||1.2.15||
The Lord describes this awakening of faith:
jta-raddho mat-kathsu nirvia sarva-karmasu |
veda dukhtmaka kmn parityge py anvara ||
tato bhajeta m prta raddhlur dha-nicaya |
juama ca tn kmn dukhodark ca garhayan ||
Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all prescribed activities
(varrama), knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce
all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and
conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all
sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities. SB 11.20.27-28
In the verse (SB 11.20.28) quoted above, the word tata means starting from this situation,
thereafter. Bhakti is not dependent on anything else, because it possesses its own great power. It is
not like jna or other processes, which are dependent on detachment and other things. However, it is
dependent on indifference to karma (nirvia sarva-karmasu) in order to bring about exclusive
concentration on the Lord (anybhilit-nyam). Such an inclination is suitable at this stage of
bhakti. However, it is not necessary in the higher stages, such as that of the tmrma, when
indifference to material goals has already been achieved.
Vivantha Cakravart hkuras Commentary to BRS ||1.2.15||
A person develops faith (jta-raddha) in topics about Me by merciful association with devotees
(yadrcchay). That is the meaning of yadrcchay in this verse, since it is according to the use of the
word in the First Canto where it indicates association with a great devotee by that devotees mercy:
tatrbhavad bhagavn vysa-putro
yadcchay gm aamno napeka
alakya-ligo nija-lbha-tuo
vta ca blair avadhta-vea
At that moment there appeared, by his own will (yadcchay) the powerful son of Vysadeva, who
traveled over the earth disinterested and satisfied with himself. He did not manifest any symptoms of

belonging to any social order or status of life. He was surrounded by women and children, and he
dressed as if others had neglected him. SB 1.19.25
The following verses show that a person who has faith in topics of the Lord (mat-kathdau jtaraddha) is qualified for bhakti yoga:
raddhmta-kathy me
Firm faith in the blissful narration of My pastimes. SB 11.19.20
raddhlur mat-kath van
A faithful person who constantly hears such transcendental activities SB 11.11.23
Ntisakta means devoid of extreme attachment to body, house and family. Na nirvia (not
detached) means if the person is completely disgusted with sense objects, he is qualified for jna, not
bhakti. If he is too attached to sense objects, he is qualified for karma. If the person is devoid of
extreme attachment, then that person is qualified for bhakti. Thus, there are three persons qualified by
three types of attachment. Disgust with objects is caused by purification of the heart arising from
practice of nikma-karma. The cause of too much attachment is beginningless ignorance (avidy).
The cause of being devoid of too much attachment is the unexpected association with exalted
devotees alone. These respective causes should be noted. However, there are seen cases of
extraordinary qualification. By the unexpected association of the devotee, even a person extremely
attached to sense objects (indriyavn) becomes qualified for bhakti.
ko nu rjann indriyavn mukunda-carambujam
na bhajet sarvato-mtyur upsyam amarottamai
My dear King, in the material world the conditioned souls are confronted by death at every step of
life. Therefore, who among the conditioned souls involved with senses gratification would not render
service to the lotus feet of Lord Mukunda, who is worshipable even for the greatest of liberated souls?
SB 11.2.2

Madhurya Kadambini by VCT: Ch. 1 - How the Lord Bestows His Mercy and Pure Bhakti
In the rmad-Bhgavatam (11.20.8) it is stated:
yadcchay mat-kathdau
na nirvio nti-sakto

jta-raddhas tu ya pumn
bhakti-yogo 'sya siddhi-da

Bhakti has been described by the word yadcchay, or own volition. Again, in rdhara Svm's
commentary on this verse, he writes that bhakti is free to act at will. The dictionary meaning of the
word yadcchay is spontaneous and independent.

Sri Bhaktyloka, Ch. 7, Utsha: by BVT

Regarding bhakti-yoga, it is said in the rmad-Bhgavatam (11.20.7-8):

nirvin jna-yogo
nysinm iha karmasu
tev anirvia-cittn
karma-yogas tu kminm
yadcchay mat-kathdau
jta-raddhas tu ya pumn
na nirvio nti-sakto
bhakti-yogo 'sya siddhi-da
"Among these three paths, jna-yoga, the path of philosophical speculation, is recommended for
those who are disgusted with material life and are thus detached from ordinary, fruitive activities.
Those who are not disgusted with material life, having many desires yet to fulfill, should seek
perfection through the path of karma-yoga. If somehow or other by good fortune one develops faith in
hearing and chanting My glories, such a person, being neither very disgusted with nor attached to
material life, should achieve perfection through the path of loving devotion to Me."
The purport is this: For those who have attained indifference for material activities but have not yet
realized spiritual activities, what can remain in their hearts besides indifference? For them the
undifferentiated brahma-jna is the topmost achievement. For those who have not attained
indifference for material activities due to lack of spiritual realization, there is no way to cleanse the
heart other than karma-yoga. Those who have realized spiritual activities and understood that material
activities are insignificant attain indifference for all material activities. They accept some material
activities as a support for their spiritual awakening, but they have no attachment for such activities. In
proportion to the degree that they discuss spiritual topics in devotion, freedom from material
association is awakened as an extraneous fruit. The symptoms of a devotee are given in rmadBhgavatam (11.20.27-8) as follows:
jta-raddho mat-kathsu
nirvia sarva-karmasu
veda dukhtmakn kmn
parityge 'py anvara
tato bhajeta m prta
raddhlur dha-nicaya
juama ca tn kmn
dukhodark ca garhayan
"Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities,
knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense
enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even
though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification
leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities."

Karma arises from lust, jna arises from indifference, and bhakti arises from faith in the Supreme
Lord. The person who has attained faith is naturally disgusted with material activities. He accepts
without attachment only those activities that are favorable for increasing his faith in the Lord.
Without the material body one cannot cultivate devotional service. So there is no benefit if one
renounces the activities that are needed to maintain the physical body, thinking them to be the source
of misery and lust. The fruits of those activities, which are the source of misery for others, are
therefore enjoyed by the devotees, who condemn them as insignificant. They worship Ka with
devotion and firm faith while enjoying the fruits of their work as they fulfill the necessities of life.
Those who enjoy the results of material activities with ardent affection are called attached. Those who
neglect the results of karma, but accept only what is favorable to devotional service are called
unattached. Although they are unattached to material activity, they work enthusiastically in
devotional life. The process of advancement for the practitioner of devotional service is stated in the
rmad-Bhgavatam (11.20.29-30, 35) as follows:
proktena bhakti-yogena
bhajato msakn mune
km hdayy nayanti
sarve mayi hdi sthite
bhidyate hdaya-granthi
chidyante sarva-saay
kyante csya karmi
mayi de 'khiltmani
nairapekya para prhur
nireyasam analpakam
tasmn nirio bhaktir
nirapekasya me bhavet
"When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshiping Me through loving devotional service
as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within the heart
are destroyed. The knot in the heart is pierced, all misgivings are cut to pieces and the chain of
fruitive actions is terminated when I am seen as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that
complete detachment is the highest stage of freedom. Therefore, one who has no personal desire and
does not pursue personal rewards can achieve loving devotional service unto Me."
The purport is this: It is useless trying independently to destroy ignorance and lust in the heart. But
ignorance, lust, fruitive activities, all doubts, and material bondage are destroyed by the mercy of the
Lord in the course of cultivating devotional service. The endeavor of karmis and jns does not yield
such results. Therefore when one becomes neutral by giving up other desires and hopes, he attains
pure devotional service to Ka.
We should not lose enthusiasm because we have no strength to destroy the reactions of karma. In the
very beginning of devotional service the sdhaka must have faith with full enthusiasm. One pure
Vaiava crya has written that the process of bhajana-kriya, devotional practice, is of two types -

nihit, fixed, and anihit, flickering. With faith, one should learn devotional service under the
merciful direction of a sadhu; and when he attains the stage of firm faith, he engages in nihit, fixed,
devotional service. Until he attains this fixed devotional service, his service remains flickering.
In r Hari-bhakti-vilsa carelessness is counted among the offenses against the holy name. In that
scripture the word pramda is described as inattentiveness. r Hari-nma-cintmai has further
divided this inattentiveness in three ways. Apathy, inactivity, and distraction are the three types of
inattentiveness. Until one gets free from these three types of inattentiveness, one cannot perform
devotional service at all. Even if one gives up all other nmpardhas, if he is still inattentive, he can
never have attraction for the holy names. If one has enthusiasm in the beginning of devotional service,
and that enthusiasm does not become cold, then one will never become apathetic, lazy, or distracted
in chanting the holy names. Therefore enthusiasm is the only support for all types of devotional
service. By enthusiastically performing devotional service one can give up anihit service in a very
short time and thus attain nih. Therefore rla Rpa Gosvm has said:
dau raddh tata sdhu-sago 'tha bhajana-kriy
tato 'nartha-nivtti syt
tato nih rucis tata
By the awakening of faith, one becomes eligible for devotional service. When this eligibility is
attained, one achieves the association of devotees. By the association of devotees, one is engaged in
the execution of devotional service. In the beginning there is no nih, or firm faith, in that service
because various types of anarthas keep crushing the heart. All anarthas are vanquished, however, by
performing devotional service with enthusiasm. The more anarthas are vanquished, the more nih is
The word raddh is certainly faith, but enthusiasm is the life of raddh. Faith without enthusiasm is
meaningless. Many people think they have faith in God, but because they have no enthusiasm, their
faith has no meaning. Therefore, due to lack of sdhu-saga, they do not perform devotional service.

4. uddha-bhakti Cintmai by SRS

Semblance of Faith and Pure Faith: Faith connected to bhakti is of two types, pure or transcendental
faith (raddh), and the semblance of such faith (raddhbhsa). The seed of the creeper of the
semblance of devotion (bhsa-bhakti-lat-bja) is planted in the hearts of living entities through
contact with incomplete, imperfect, or distorted knowledge. Once sown in the heart, or once accepted
by the aspirant, this seed sprouts into the semblance of faith (raddhbhsa), which then impels its
recipients to practice the semblance of devotion (bhakty-bhsa). [Jaiva-dharma, chapter 25]
Unlike the semblance of faith (raddhbhsa), pure faith is has only one goalto please Ka.
Devotees possessed of pure faith make no demands of the Lord.

Those with a semblance of faith want something (sankalpa, motivation, expectation, determination).
Thus different types of faith, and in turn different qualities of Results/Consciousness: see SB 3.27.27
Anyone engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as a devotee, but there is
a distinction between pure devotees and mixed devotees. A mixed devotee engages in devotional service for the
spiritual benefit of being eternally engaged in the transcendental abode of the Lord in full bliss and knowledge.
In material existence, when a devotee is not completely purified, he expects material benefit from the Lord in
the form of relief from material miseries, or he wants material gain, advancement in knowledge of the
relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity, or knowledge as to the real
nature of the Supreme Lord. When a person is transcendental to these conditions, he is called a pure devotee.
He does not engage himself in the service of the Lord for any material benefit or for understanding of the
Supreme Lord. His one interest is that he loves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he spontaneously
engages in satisfying Him.

It is true that pure faith is the only qualification for any kind of devotion, regulative or spontaneous.
However, as hkura Bhaktivinoda points out, there are two varieties of faith. [This topic is described
in Bhakti-tattva-viveka, chapter 4] One type of faith is derived from and reposed in scriptural
injunctions. This faith is known as stra-vivsa-may-raddh, and it is the qualification for
regulative devotional service. The second kind of faith awakens by hearing about Kas pastimes and
is saturated with an eagerness to taste the sweet sentiments of the His pure devotees, like the Vrajavss. This faith is known as bhva-mdhurya-lobha-may-raddh, and it is the qualification for
spontaneous devotional service. Therefore the statement that greed is the qualification for
spontaneous devotional service does not compromise the prerequisite of pure faith. Such a statement
simply implies that a certain type of faith, one imbued with greed, is the qualification for rgnugabhakti.