The limbs of bhakti

The don’ts of bhakti, Part 2

Limbs sixteen to twenty are as follows:

  • śokādy-avaśa-vartitā – not being controlled by lamentation.
      • One may think that Vaiṣṇavas are hard-hearted because they may not easily be moved to displays of grief. But grief is not a sign of intelligence or advancement, it is a sign of foolishness as Kṛṣṇa demonstrates in Arjuna’s case.
  • anya-devān avajñā ca – not disrespecting other devas.
    • Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would visit temples of Lord Śiva for example. Kṛṣṇa himself respects Lord Śiva, so naturally His servants should not disrespect him nor any other devas.
  • bhūtānudvega-dāyitā – not causing discomfort to any living being.
    • There is a difference between believing in one’s own path as the best for oneself, and belittling others or criticizing others for following their path. The Vaiṣṇava does not trouble any living being, whether plant, animal or human.
  • sevā-nāmāparādhānām udbhavābhāva-kāritā
    • There are different types of aparādhas, called sevā-aparādha and nāma-aparādha. These have to be avoided. The complete list is in the Sadhana guide along with a detailed method for deity worship. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura mentions that sevā-nāma-aparādhas are almost impossible to avoid, but one should then nullify them (abhāva-kāritā) by performing activities like reading the Gita, doing kirtan or offering prayers to the deity.
  • kṛṣṇa-tad-bhakta-vidveṣa-vinindādy-asahiṣṇutā- Intolerance for aversion to or criticism of Kṛṣṇa and/or his devotees.
    • Bhakti is an exact process, and so to get results, the first ten limbs or prescriptions have to be followed, and next ten prohibitions have to be heeded.

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