śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 12, Issue 2
Posted: 25 March 2019

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Sambandha, Abhidheya & Prayojana

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda


In His instructions to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī (sanātana-śikṣā), Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said, “The Veda discusses sambandha (the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Entity), abhidheya (the means for attaining the object of pursuit) and prayojana (the very object of pursuit). Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose service is to be attained, is the person with whom we are to have sambandha. Bhakti (devotional service) is the means to attain that, so bhakti is the abhidheya. And prema (love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa) is the prayojana. Prema is the highest of all objects of pursuit (purusārthas) and the most precious wealth” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.124–125).

Sambandha: The relationship among the sentient living entity (cit), matter (acit) and God is known in the Veda as sambandha. As a matter of fact, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only vastu (actual entity). Two of that vastu’s śaktis (potencies) are matter (acit) and the living entity (cit). The transformation of the acit-śakti is the material world, and the transformation of the jīva-śakti is the world of living entities (jaiva-jagat). On deliberating on sambandha, we understand that the re-installation of the jīva in service to Kṛṣṇa is the establishment of his sambandha. We find the following in the Lord’s instructions to Śrī Sārvabhauma: “Bhagavān’s superior divinity is His svarūpa (intrinsic form and nature), which is beyond the touch of māyā. Throughout the Vedas, Bhagavān is the [object of] sambandha.”

In the deliberations on sambandha-tattva, seven subjects are established by evidence, or proof (pramāṇa) and are known as prameya. They are deliberations on (1) Kṛṣṇa, (2) His śakti (potency), (3) rasa-tattva (the truth about rasa), (4) jīva-tattva (the ontology of the living entity), (5) the worldly entanglement of the jīvas, (6) the jīvas’ absolution from that entanglement and (7) the doctrine of inscrutable simultaneity of distinction and non-distinction (acintya-bheda-bheda-tattva).

Abhidheya: That śabda-śakti by which the natural meanings of words are easily conceived is called the abhidhā-śakti. For example, the words “ten elephants” easily conveys a conception of elephants, ten in number. This easy-to-grasp meaning is known as abhidheya.

Words have another power known as lakṣanā. An example is “in the village on the Ganges”. Here, since the village cannot be “on” the water of the Ganges, we can understand by the lakṣanā-śakti of śabda that the village is on the bank of the Ganges. Where the lakṣanā-śakti needs to be applied, there is no scope for the abhidhā-śakti to function. But when the natural meaning is easily available, only the abhidā-śakti operates.

In Vedic scriptures, the only acceptable meaning is that made available by the abhidhā-śakti; their true meaning is their abhidheya. We should know only that. In deliberating on the Vedas in their entirety, it is apparent that within them, devotion to God is the abhidheya. In regard to abhidheya, karma, jñāna, yoga, etc., they are in a subordinate position only. They are not principal abhidheyas in and of themselves. Therefore, that, only, is the sādhana-bhakti (devotion to be practised as the process) which the scripture (Veda) prescribes as the direct, or chief, means to attain Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is the eighth prameya.

Prayojana: The prayojana is the goal, for which we have to adopt the process. The prayojana, viz., the attainment of prema by the living entity, is the ninth premeya.

These nine prameyas have thus met together. So we find in Śrī Sanātana-śikṣā, (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.3-4): “This much is said about the deliberations on sambandha-tattva: the Vedic scriptures have taught that Kṛṣṇa is the sole entity. And now, listen to the symptom of abhidheya, the process by which the wealth of kṛṣṇa-prema is obtained”.

By this system, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave instruction on the dharma of the living entities.

“Men gradually reach the shore of the ocean of the material existence.” This adage should guide us. We can attain our wellbeing by means of having firm confidence that we will be successful, being impatient and anxious at its delay, serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, and chanting His names. If all of our exertions are directed toward the service of God, the different forms of enticement that māyā presents cannot overpower us. Remain always engaged in the audition (śravaṇa) and vocalization (kīrtana) of His glories and so forth. Read books by great souls and read The Gauḍīya, and you will feel no lethargy in accepting the true [authentic] conclusions. And hold reciprocal discourses about Śrī Hari with devotees whose association is available to you. Then with the gradual improvement of your bhajana (devotional absorption), you will feel your own humility and lowliness. You should know that the highest soul knows himself to be the lowest.

Adapted from The Gauḍīya, Volume 10, Number 5
by the Rays of The Harmonist Team

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