Monday, December 13, 2010

Eka-Sarana in the Nama Ghosa (I)

tāwata kṛṣṇara bhakta nare bhakti abirodhī karmma kare
kṛṣṇara kathāta rati yāwe nupajaẏa .
yewe bhaila kṛṣṇakathārata nitya naimittika ādi yata
kathāra birodhī jāniẏā sawe tejaẏa ..599..

So long does the man devoted to Krsna perform karmas un-antithetical to bhakti
as long as, in the discourse of the facts pertaining to Krsna, fondness is not generated.
As soon as one becomes fond of the discourse pertaining to the Personality of Joy, all acts beginning with the daily and occasional observances--
knowing them to be anti-thetical to the Discourse of God, one discards them all. 599 

In his Nāma Ghosā (NG), Madhavadeva, the foremost disciple of Sankaradeva, the propagator and leading exponent of Eka Sarana Hari Nama, writes:

তাৱত কৃষ্ণৰ ভক্ত নৰে ভক্তি‍ অৱিৰোধি কৰ্ম কৰে
কৃষ্ণৰ কথাত ৰতি যাৱে নুপজয /

tāvata Krsnara bhakta nare bhakti-avirodhi karma kare
Krsnara kathāta rati yāve nupajaya /

The term ‘bhakti-avirodhi karma’ may indicate those karmas where there is no upasana of other deities; to take an example, performing sandhya in the Name of Krsna, performing sraddhas not worshiping other deities, etc.
But when the devotee climbs the final step up the ladder and takes eka-sarana in Krsna reposing in Him body (kāya), mind (mana) and speech (vākya),then these karmas have to be abandoned, for even though they may be bhakti-avirodhi, they are ‘kathāra virodhi’ (antithetical to eka-sarana). Proof (in the same stanza):-

যেৱে ভৈল কৃষ্ণ-কথা ৰত নিত্য নৈমিত্তিক আদি যত
কথাৰ ৱিৰোধি জানিযা সৱে তেজয //

yeve bhoila Krsna-kathā rata nitya naimittika ādi yata
kathāra virodhi jāniyā save tejaya //

The eka-saraniyā devotee is one who is ‘Krsna-kathā rata’, one attached only to the Name of Krsna, and thus he discards all nitya-naimittika karmas as they act as a barrier on single-minded devotion (ekāntika bhakati).

Bhattadeva, in his Kathā-Bhāgavata (KB) makes the following comment at the conclusion of his (prose) rendering of the 12th (and most important) Adhyāya of the 11th (Ekādasa) Skandha of the Text, which deals with ‘The Most Confidential Knowledge Beyond Knowledge and Renunciation’:-

as long as one does not take eka-sarana in Krishna, one performs ārādhanā to Hari along with nitya-naimittika”

(যাৱে এক-শৰণ নলয়ে, তাৱে... )

meaning that only so long as one does not take eka-sarana (sole-refuge) in Krsna, one performs nitya-naimittika 1 but once one enters into the Lord’s eka-sarana, one discards them realizing them to antithetical [‘kathāra virodhi’ - Madhava Guru, NG] to eka-sarana bhakti, i.e exclusive devotion to Krsna dictated by the sole-refuge. Therefore, in accordance with the Lord’s Teaching in the Bhagavata, Madhava Guru declares:-

শৰণ কালৰে পৰা বিধিৰ কিঙ্কৰ গুচি
কৰে সদা শ্ৰৱণ কীৰ্ত্তন //

“sarana kālare parā bidhira kinkara guchi
kare sadā sravana kirttana”

“Immediately on taking eka-sarana in Krishna, all bidhi-kinkaras (practices subservient to bidhi like nitya-naimittika) are removed and from the time of sole-refuge onwards, one engages solely in the Lord’s sravana and kirttana.”

Note:- to understand this ghosā, one has to keep in mind the fact that there are different categories of bhaktas of Krsna. Proof:-

muktito nispriha yito sehi bhakataka namo

মুক্তিতো নিস্পৃহ যিটো সেহি ভকতক নমো

Madhava Guru in the opening ghosā of the NG salutes only that bhakta of Krsna who is indifferent even to salvation. Thus we come to know that there are different categories of bhaktas of Krsna. Among these bhaktas, Madhava Guru salutes only that bhakta who is ‘muktito nisprha’, indifferent even to salvation. This is the eka-saraniyā bhakta. Thus, in the very first ghosa itself, we have the glory of eka-sarana.

Note:- [1] We propose to return to the purport of this in a later discussion.


  1. Arunava, I appreciate your thoughts and the way you explain 'ek-sarana', the central theme of Srimanta Sankardeva's 'Naam-dharma'. I will be eagerly waiting for your next post.

  2. Appreciate your post. Please post in Assamese too for those who are not proficient in English.

  3. The true concept of Eka Sarana.And the focus on the Supreme Godhead.


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