Preface by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, from Bhajana Rahasya

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by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati


Sri Bhajana-rahasya was compiled by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. With this book, the great teacher gives us a hint of his own method of bhajana, a guide for his sincere followers. The undersigned Akincana, a few years ago, carefully observed him reciting the slokas contained in this text and at the same time enjoying the overwhelming ecstasy of God’s love.


The realm of Bhakti offers the arcana to those who are nistha at the level of kanistha. It is sometimes difficult for many to understand the difference between arcana and bhajana. That is why the word arcana is misunderstood as bhajana. The performance of navadha-bhakti (nine ways to connect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead) is the basis of bhajana. The arcana is included in navadha-bhakti and is therefore admitted as a part of bhajana. It can be concluded, therefore, that being the arcana part of the bhajana, it cannot be equivalent to the whole.


One is bound by a mixed feeling of reverence, fear and submission when worshiping the Supreme Lord through the arcana. Serving the Supreme Lord in a feeling of fear or submission with the use of various articles for worship is called arcana. By serving instead on the platform of fraternity, the intensity of the rays of service, in fear and submission, is attenuated. No one can refuse the refreshing moonlight, the sweetness of this pure love. A summary of the arcana paddhati (rules of the arcana) has been included as an appendix to this work.


Revealing the secrets of bhajana, this book explains that the bond with the gross and subtle body remains somewhat strong in the arcana process. The embodied soul, in the realm of bhajana, free from gross and subtle designations, directly engages in service to the Supreme Person. One who sincerely engages in bhajana and is completely free from material identifications, realizes, through his spiritual senses, something which is beyond the material sphere. The realization he acquires brings him closer to advaya-jnana tattva (the Absolute Truth without duality) where he serves on a platform that transcends time and material senses.


That unique knowledge, revealed by the guru to people with absolute faith, is called rahasya. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, when the different parts of sadhana-bhakti (sixty-four)  are described, it is written that after receiving Krishna consciousness instruction from a bona fide guru, the third step is to practice worship with brotherly feelings following the footsteps of the sadhus (sadhu vartmanuvartanam). This is known as the practice of bhajana rahasya.


Those who possess nothing and devote themselves to worshiping the Supreme Lord through the method of bhajana are free from any material bond. They are completely free from the association of worldly people who are bound by various material desires contrary to Krishna consciousness. The attitude of always serving the Supreme Personality, round the clock (asta-kala), is manifested only at this stage. Those pure devotees eager to engage in service see the association of non-devotees – renouncers or materialists – as a major obstacle to achieving the desired ultimate goal. Those who have desires unrelated to Krishna – karmi and jnani – have no taste for bhajana rahasya. They, therefore, are not qualified to enter the realm of the asta-kala-bhajana manifesting on the platform of transcendental knowledge. This book will never be appreciated by such people.


If you divide the twenty-four-hour day into eight parts, each part (about three hours) is called a yama. Both day and night consist of three yamas each, and sunrise and sunset are one yama each – so we have a total of eight yamas. Only a pure Vaisnava can perform Krishna bhajana at all times and circumstances with intense determination. This continuous bhajana is not feasible by one who is subjugated by a sense of material egotism. The living entity that attaches material concepts to objects that are related to Hari, cannot free itself from material bondage and attain liberation. Vaisnavas devoted to bhajana who have attained their spiritual form (svarupa ) are always engaged in the service of Krishna.


The eight verses composed by Sri Gaurasundara in the Siksastaka coincide with the asta-yama. The eleven verses composed by Sri Rupa Gosvami (smarana-mangala-stotram) and later other songs composed by other mahajanas, based on an intense desire for asta-kala bhajana, advise continuous bhajana. It is therefore appropriate that the sincere servant of the spiritual master, completely free from the concepts of time, place and the material body, always speaks of this bhajana-rahasya.


Sri Hari-jana-kinkara

(Servant of the devotees of Hari, the Lord)

Dasa Sri Siddhanta Sarasvati

Kanpur November 13, 1927


This is a section of the book “Bhajana Rahasya”, by Bhaktivinode Thakura.

To buy the complete book, click above


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