Meaning of the nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema sādhya kabhu naya verse

Reader Ananta wanted me to explain the following notoriously misinterpreted verse by Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja-

nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya

To understand this verse properly, we need to first understand something about the Bengali language. In Bengali, the word for ‘cooked’ is ‘siddha’. Use google translate and see for yourself!

So when the Bengalis, at least of Śrī Kavirāja’s time, said that something was ‘siddha’, they meant that something was successfully created or produced. That which is to be produced is called ‘sādhya’. That means when the cook sits down, he plans to ‘create’ a “sādhya” dish like biryani. Once the cutting of the vegetables and the mixing and the heating is done- which is the means or ‘sādhana’ – a result is produced- the biryani comes into being or is ‘siddha’.

So a sādhya is that which is to be created or produced, and when it comes into being, that item is called siddha. sādhana is the means/ingredients which produce it.

Without understanding these basic terms, one cannot understand what Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja is getting at – this verse is a classic example of how one needs to know the context and the audience an author has in mind before giving meaning to verses which are hundreds of years old.

Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja is trying to communicate to his Bengali audience that although sādhana must to be done to get prema, this prema is not something that gets produced as a result of the sādhana- it is not an ordinary sādhya. So he writes,

kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya – Kṛṣṇa-prema is not a sādhya ever

Why, his audience may ask, is it not a sādhya? Every sādhana has a sādhya after all. Otherwise there is no meaning to the word sādhana! He responds that it is not a sādhya because the kṛṣṇa-prema is

nitya-siddha – eternally existing

It is not a sādhya because it exists even before the sādhana is performed. Then one may ask – if it is already existing, do I already have it? If I already have it, why do I need to do sādhana? That the answer to the first question is ‘no’ is implied by the second part of the verse:

śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya – the prema will manifest in the heart which has been cleansed by śravaṇa and other processes of bhakti.

Given that it will manifest only under certain conditions, obviously those conditions are not met currently and therefore one does not have it at the current time. And yes sādhana is critical, because it is the means to purify the citta. I repeat- sādhana is not a means to produce prema but a means to purify the citta, specifically cleanse offenses to Bhagavān and His devotees.

So we can put the pieces together and translate the verse. I reproduce Sri Babaji’s translation (modified for simplicity from the original) below:

nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya

nitya-siddha—eternally established or eternally existing; kṛṣṇa-prema—love for Kṛṣṇa; sādhya—that which is to be produced by practice, or sādhana; kabhu—ever; naya—not; śravaṇa-adi śuddha citte—in the heart (citte) purified (śuddha) by [activities of sādhana-bhakti such as] hearing and so forth; karaye—does; udaya—rise.


Kṛṣṇa-prema is ever existent and never to be produced [by any means or sādhana]. It manifests in the citta which has been purified by activities of sādhana-bhakti, such as hearing.

This verse, of course, is intended to teach Śrī Rūpa Goswami’s Sanskrit verse in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu which I have examined in two articles here and here on this site.

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3 replies »

  1. Radhe Radhe
    1. Could you make a post on how the acharyas see the exact relationship between shaktis and shaktimān? Is it samavāya or samyoga of naiyayikas, or as the Vishishtadvaitins perceive it as apRthak-siddhi? Is there any passage in the Sandarbhas or Sarvasamvadini where it is discussed?

    2. Also could you please explain the passages in Sarvasamvadini where acintya-bhedābheda is arrived to and proposed by Sri Jiva Goswamipāda?


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