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Upadesamrta, with Sri Bhaktivinoda commentary.

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Sri Upadesamrta with commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura


Verse One


Vaco-vegam manasah krodha-vegam

Jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam

Etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah

Sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat


A wise and sober person who can endure the impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the belly and the genitals is verily most worthy to command the entire world.


Rendering in Bengali verse


guru krpabale labhi sambandha vijnana

krti jiva hayena bhajane yatnavan

sei jive sri rupa gosvami mahodaya

”Upadesamrta” dhanya karena niscaya

grhi grha tyagi bhede dviprakra jane

upadesa bheda vicaribe vinja gane

grhi prati ei saba upadesa haya

grha tyagi prati iha parakastha maya

vakya vega, mano vega, krodha vega ara

jivha vega, udara vega, upastha vega chara

ei chaya vega sahi krsna namasraya

jagat sasite pare parajiya bhaye

kevala saranagati krsna bhakti maya

bhakti pratikula tyaa ta´ra anga haya

chaya vega sahi ýukta vairagya asraya

name aparadha sunya haibe nirbhaye


By the strength of guru krpa one is endowed with subjective realization of sambandha jnana. Such a fortunate jiva shall then perform bhajan with great zeal and earnest.

For his benefit, Sri Rupa Goswami has composed this unequivocal Upadesamrta, the ambrosial precepts.

The wise will discern the appropriate lessons, having duely considered the two kinds of aspirants; householders and those who have abandoned household life.

All these teachings are certainly meant for the householders, and the renounced will also find herein the highest transcendental enlightenenment.

The impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the belly and the genitals can be most disconcerting.

One can subdue these impulses by taking refuge in the divine name of Krsna, and one who does so conquers fear and is fit to rule the world.

Devotion to Krsna is embued with exclusive surrender, an aspect of which is the abandonment of those things (and persons) detrimental thereto.

By resorting to yukta vairagya one may endure the six impulses, and become fearless by cultivating the divine name avoiding with care the ten offences.


Sri Piyusa Varsini Vrtti


Sri Gauracandraya namah – Obeisance to Sri Gauracandra


yat krpa sagarodbhutam upadesamrtam bhuvi

sri rupena smanitam gaura candram bhajam tam

natva grantha pranetaram tikakaram pranamya ca

maya viracyate vrttih piyusa parivesini


I worship Sri Gauracandra, whose dear associate Sri Rupa has churned this nectar of instruction from the ocean of astonishment.

With salutation to the author and the various commentators I hereby commence my own commentary entitled ”Piyusa Varsini” or ”A rain shower of ambrosia”.


anyabhilasita sunyam jnana karmady anavrtam

anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama


Utama bhakti or bhakti of the highest quality is defined as the favourable cultivation of devotion, free from ulterior motives and not exlipsed by endeavours for jnana, karma and so forth.. (BRS 1.1.6)


In this sloka from Bhaktirasamrtasindhu, the priniple of accepting everything that is conducive to bhakti and abandoning all that is deterimental thereto, has been alluded to. It is necessary for persons engaged in bhajana to be aware of these principles. Although it forms no part of bhakti sadhana directly, it is still most helpful for making one fit or truly eligible for bhakti, and is indeed symptomatic of genuine faith and absolute surrender. The stanza from the Vaisnava tantra runs thus:

anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam

raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha

atmaniksepa karpanye sad vidha saranagati


The six aspects of surrender are: 1) Acceptance of whatever is conducive to bhakti. 2) Abhorance of what is detrimental thereto. 3) Conviction that the Lord is one´s only protector. 4) Acceptance of the Lord as one´s maintainer. 5) Resignation of the self. And 6) sincere humility.


In the text under discussion (vaco vegam…), that which is detrimental to bhakti has been pointed out. The impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, the stomach and the genitals are six impulses arising out of contact of the senses with their objects. Whomsoever is capable of enduring these impulses, is certainly fit to rule the whole world.


sokamarsadhibhir bhavair akrantam yasya manasam

katham tatra mukundasya sphurti sambhavana bhaved


”How can the delightful Sri Mukunda manifest in the heart of one who is governed by emotions of lamentation, misery, anger and so on?” (Padma Purana, also quoted in BRS 1.2.115)

The meaning of this sloka refers to a person whose mind is always distracted and disturbed by the six adversaries, which are: kama (lust), krodha (wrath), lobha (avarice), moha (infatuation), mada (intoxicating pride), and matsarata (malice).

Specifically, what is meant by the impulses of speech is the kind of language that offends or causes grie to others. By the mind´s demands is meant the distraction of the mind towards various concocted plans and ideas. By the impulse of anger is meant the use of harsh and abusive language and so forth. The urge of the tongue refers to the hankering for the six kinds of taste, e.g. sweet, sour, pungent, salty, astringent and bitter. The demands of the belly refers to overeating, and by the impulse of the geinitals is meant the hankering of males and females for sexual intercourse. In this way, the mind is absorbed in the current of mundane affairs. It will not be possible to cultivate unalloyed devotion, being governed by the above mentioned six impulses. For the sake of those persons who are inclined to bhakti, and have a desire to be engaged in bhajana, the preceptor of transcendental truths – Srimad Rupa Goswami – has laid down these initial propositions in the first text.

It may be questioned whether the endeavour to curb these impulses is actually an intrinsic part of bhakti sadhana (cultivation of devotion). The answer is in the negative. That is to say, the curbing of the six impulses is no intrinsic part of bhakti sahdna. However, what is made clear is that by curbing the above mentioned impulses, one gains the qualification to cross the threshold of the temple of devotion.

On the paths of karma (fruitive work) and jnana (spiritual awareness), the controlling of these impulses are intrinsic parts of the respective practices and are of vital importance throughout. In the pracitce of bhakti sadhana however, such instructions do not predominate. Hearing, recounting and recollecting the divine names, forms, exploits, etc. of Sri Krishna are what constitutes the direct practice of bhakti sadhana.

During the performance of bhakti sadhana, it may be observed in the immature sadhaka that these imulses cause pressure, giving rise to obstacles and disturbance. At such times the sadhaka should, adopting a mood exclusive surrender, take recourse to the divine name, avoiding the ten offences. Then, by the mercy of the divine name and the powerful effect of the company of unalloyed devotees, it will be possible to keep these disturbances at a distance.

The last in the list of ten offences to the divine name specifically relates to this topic. The text runs thus:

Srutvapi nama mahatmyam yah priti rahi to´dhamah

Aham mamadi paramo namni so´pyaparadha krt

”That lowest among men, who even after hearing the glorification of the divine name, entertains no love thereto, being deeply absorbed in concepts of ”I” and ”mine” is most certainly an offender to the name” (Padma Purana)

As far as the interaction of the sense and their objects are concerned, there is of course no possiblity of total abandonment. Therefore, devotees are inclined towards balanced abnegation or in philosophical parlance: yukta vairagya. Hence they do not practice dry and artificial renunciation or suska vairagya. The mind´s natural impulse is to search for pleasure, and so by the pracitce of bhakti that impulse is easily curbed and regulated (by the joy experienced in bhakti). Therefore, one who subdues these six impulses as above mentioned by realization of the self, most certainly becomes a conqueror of the world.

All these instructions regarding the forebearance of the six urges are specifically directed to the householder devotees. ”How is that so?”, one may ask. Well, it should be understood in regard to the renounced devotees, who have so renounced household life in persuance of their high ambition, that they have already subdued the above mentioned impulses.


Marmanuvad from Bhajana Lalasa


Hari he!

Prapanche pariya, agati hoiya,

Na dekhi upaya are,

Agatira gati, carane sarana,

Tomaya karinu sara.


O Hari!

Having fallen into this mundane world, with no refuge, I see no means other than the shelter of Thy feet. Thou art the only recourse for the helpless, this is an essential fact.


Karama, geyana, kichu nahi mora,

Sadhana bhajana nai,

Tumi krpamaya, ami ta kangala,

Ahaituki krpa cai.


I have no knowledge or pious deeds to my credit and neither have I performed any sadhana or bhajana. Still, Thou art all-compassion and I am pitifully crying, hoping for your causeless mercy.


Vakya mano vega, se saba damane,

Chariyachi asa ami,

Anathera natha, daki tava nama,

Ekhana bharasa tumi.


After great effort to curb these impulses, I have abandoned all hope. O Lord of the destitute, I call out Thy name, for now Thou art my only refuge.

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