Navavidha Bhakti (नवविधाभक्तिः)
Navavidha Bhakti (Samskrit: नवविधा भक्तिः) refers to the nine modes of worship that helps one to develop Bhakti viz. Shravana (hearing the Lila of the Supreme), Kirtana (singing His praise), Smarana (remembering His name), Padasevana (worshipping His Lotus Feet), Archana (offerings), Vandana (prostration), Dasya (service), Sakhya (friendship) and Atma-nivedana (complete self-surrender).
परिचयः ॥ Introduction
Shri Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, has time and again emphasized that the Supreme being in whom all beings abide and by whom everything is pervaded, may be reached by unswerving devotion to Him alone. That, the Supreme being may be perceived, known and seen in His essence and entered therewith by devotion solely towards Him.
पुरुषः स परः पार्थ भक्त्या लभ्यस्त्वनन्यया । यस्यान्तःस्थानि भूतानि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ॥८.२२॥
भक्त्या त्वनन्यया शक्य अहमेवंविधोऽर्जुन । ज्ञातुं द्रष्टुं च तत्त्वेन प्रवेष्टुं च परंतप ॥११.५४॥
puruṣaḥ sa paraḥ pārtha bhaktyā labhyastvananyayā । yasyāntaḥsthāni bhūtāni yena sarvamidaṁ tatam ॥8.22॥
bhaktyā tvananyayā śakya ahamevaṁvidho'rjuna । jñātuṁ draṣṭuṁ ca tattvena praveṣṭuṁ ca paraṁtapa ॥11.54॥
That is why, Shri Krishna says,
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु । मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ॥१८.६५॥
manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru । māmevaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo'si me ॥18.65॥
Meaning: Merge your mind in Me, be My devotee, perform yajnas for Me, prostrate yourself before Me, you shall surely come to Me. I assure you. It is true that you are dear to Me. That is why, Bhakti marga is considered the easiest, safest, surest and quickest way for attaining highest bliss or Supreme-realization. The Shiva Purana states that there is no other path as easy and pleasing as devotion in the three worlds, in all the four Yugas generally and in Kaliyuga in particular.
त्रैलोक्ये भक्तिसदृशः पंथा नास्ति सुखावहः ।। चतुर्युगेषु देवेशि कलौ तु सुविशेषतः ।। २.२.२३.३८ ।।
trailokye bhaktisadr̥śaḥ paṁthā nāsti sukhāvahaḥ ।। caturyugeṣu deveśi kalau tu suviśeṣataḥ ।। 188.8.131.52 ।।
In fact, Maharshi Narada states that “Bhakti is greater than karma, jnana and yoga.”
सा तु कर्मज्ञानयोगेभ्योऽप्यधिकतरा ॥२५॥ sā tu karmajñānayogebhyo'pyadhikatarā ॥25॥
Further more, the Narada Bhakti Sutra also states that Bhakti develops by hearing and singing the virtues and attributes of the Supreme being.
लोकेऽपि भगवद्गुणश्रवणकीर्तनात् ॥३७॥ loke'pi bhagavadguṇaśravaṇakīrtanāt ॥37॥
In the Bhagavata Purana (Skandha 7, Adhyaya 5) when Hiranyakashipu asks Prahlada to recite some of the excellent passages learnt well by him from what his teacher has taught him through the years, he elaborates on the nine forms of bhakti as follows:
श्रवणं कीर्तनं विष्णोः स्मरणं पादसेवनम् । अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यं सख्यमात्मनिवेदनम् ॥७.५.२३॥
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pādasevanam । arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyamātmanivedanam ॥7.5.23॥
Meaning: There are nine forms of devotion to Vishnu -
- श्रवणम् । śravaṇam refers to listening to the names, stories etc. of Vishnu
- कीर्तनम् । kīrtanam refers to singing of His name and glories
- स्मरणम् । smaraṇaṁ means to remember Him (his name)
- पादसेवनम् । pādasevanam refers to rendering service to Him
- अर्चनम् । arcanaṁ means to worship Him
- वन्दनम् । vandanaṁ refers to paying obeisance to Him
- दास्यम् । dāsyaṁ refers to the intent of dedicating all of one's actions to Him
- सख्यम् । sakhyam refers to the ability of one to confide in Him as a friend
- आत्मनिवेदनम् । ātmanivedanam refers to offering oneself and one's belongings completely to His service and care.
Prahlada further states that offering oneself completely to Vishnu and performing this nine-fold devotion is regarded as the highest type of learning. In fact, complete dedication as described above, is in fact the precedent to real devotion.
इति पुंसार्पिता विष्णौ भक्तिश्चेन्नवलक्षणा | क्रियेत भगवत्यद्धा तन्मन्येऽधीतमुत्तमम् ||७.५.२४||
iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau bhaktiścennavalakṣaṇā | kriyeta bhagavatyaddhā tanmanye'dhītamuttamam ||7.5.24||
This is exemplified by Ambarisha who not only had supreme devotion to Bhagavan Vasudeva but also had great friendly affection towards His devotees. In fact, he dedicated all his actions and duties to Bhagavan Vishnu. The Bhagavata Purana (Skandha 9, Adhyaya 4) says,
स वै मनः कृष्णपदारविन्दयोः वचांसि वैकुण्ठगुणानुवर्णने । करौ हरेर्मन्दिरमार्जनादिषु श्रुतिं चकाराच्युतसत्कथोदये ॥ ९.४.१८ ॥
मुकुन्दलिंगालयदर्शने दृशौ तद्भृत्यगात्रस्पर्शेङ्गसंगमम् । घ्राणं च तत्पादसरोजसौरभे श्रीमत् तुलस्या रसनां तदर्पिते ॥ ९.४.१९ ॥
पादौ हरेः क्षेत्रपदानुसर्पणे शिरो हृषीकेश पदाभिवन्दने । कामं च दास्ये न तु कामकाम्यया यथोत्तमश्लोक जनाश्रया रतिः ॥ ९.४.२० ॥
sa vai manaḥ kr̥ṣṇapadāravindayoḥ vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭhaguṇānuvarṇane ।
karau harermandiramārjanādiṣu śrutiṁ cakārācyutasatkathodaye ॥ 9.4.18 ॥
mukundaliṁgālayadarśane dr̥śau tadbhr̥tyagātrasparśeṅgasaṁgamam ।
ghrāṇaṁ ca tatpādasarojasaurabhe śrīmat tulasyā rasanāṁ tadarpite ॥ 9.4.19 ॥
pādau hareḥ kṣetrapadānusarpaṇe śiro hr̥ṣīkeśa padābhivandane ।
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāmakāmyayā yathottamaśloka janāśrayā ratiḥ ॥ 9.4.20 ॥
- He (Ambarisha) engaged his mind (in meditating) on the lotus-like feet of Shri Krishna, his speech in singing of the excellences of Shri Vishnu (Vaikuntha), his hands in services like cleansing the temple of Hari and other such duties, and his ears (sense of hearing) in listening to excellent stories of the Imperishable Supreme.
- He employed his eyes (faculty of seeing) in beholding the images and shrines of Shri Vishnu (Mukunda), his sense of touch in embracing the servants of the Supreme, his sense of smell in taking in the fragrance of the Tulasi leaves dedicated to His feet, and his tongue (sense of taste) to what is offered to the Supreme.
- He used his feet in walking to the holy places sanctified with Shri Hari's feet, his head to bow down to the feet of Shri Vishnu (Hrshikesha), his own desire in the humble services of the Supreme, and not for the fulfilment of his worldly desires. And all this he did for enhancing his fondness or devotion to the Supreme of excellent renown.
The Bhagavata Purana enumerates Navavidha Bhakti as modes of worship to Bhagavan Vishnu, while the Shiva Purana also enlists these very 9 modes of bhakti, albeit with slight variation in the order of enumeration, as forms of devotion to Lord Shiva.It says,
श्रवणं कीर्तनं चैव स्मरणं सेवनं तथा ।। दास्यं तथार्चनं देवि वंदनं मम सर्वदा ।। २.२.२३.२२ ।। सख्यमात्मार्पणं चेति नवांगानि विदुर्बुधाः ।।
śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ caiva smaraṇaṁ sevanaṁ tathā ।। dāsyaṁ tathārcanaṁ devi vaṁdanaṁ mama sarvadā ।। 184.108.40.206 ।। sakhyamātmārpaṇaṁ ceti navāṁgāni vidurbudhāḥ ।।
Meaning: O Goddess (Sati), according to scholars, the nine ancillary adjuncts (of bhakti) are: listening, eulogising, remembering, serving, surrendering, worshipping, saluting, friendliness and dedication.
Thus, Navavidha bhakti refers to the nine modes of bhakti that can be adopted by a devotee to express and practice his devotion towards his Ishta devata.
In the Shiva Purana, speaking to Goddess Sati, Lord Shiva also enumerates the characteristics of each of these nine modes of worship. These nine modes of bhakti, in the order as enumerated in the Bhagavata Purana along with their characteristics given in the Shiva Purana are explained below.
श्रवणम् ॥ Shravana
Shravana refers to listening to the names, stories etc. of the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana says that by listening is meant the imbibing of His stories that bestow worldly pleasures and salvation, with great devotion in steady posture.
मम भक्तेर्मनो दत्त्वा भक्ति मुक्तिप्रदानि हि ।। २.२.२३.२४ ।। कथादेर्नित्यसम्मानं कुर्वन्देहादिभिर्मुदा ।। स्थिरासनेन तत्पानं यत्तच्छ्रवणमुच्यते ।। २.२.२३.२५ ।।
mama bhaktermano dattvā bhakti muktipradāni hi ।। 220.127.116.11 ।। kathādernityasammānaṁ kurvandehādibhirmudā ।। sthirāsanena tatpānaṁ yattacchravaṇamucyate ।। 18.104.22.168 ।।
The Bhagavata Purana emphasizes that devotees should constantly hear about, glorify, remember and worship Bhagavan, who is their protector. And the love for hearing the narratives of Vasudeva will be generated in those engaged in the service of devotees who are completely freed from all vice.
तस्मादेकेन मनसा भगवान् सात्वतां पतिः । श्रोतव्यः कीर्तितव्यश्च ध्येयः पूज्यश्च नित्यदा ॥ १.२.१४ ॥
शुश्रूषोः श्रद्दधानस्य वासुदेवकथारुचिः । स्यान्महत्सेवया विप्राः पुण्यतीर्थनिषेवणात् ॥ १.२.१६ ॥
tasmādekena manasā bhagavān sātvatāṁ patiḥ । śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaśca dhyeyaḥ pūjyaśca nityadā ॥ 1.2.14 ॥
śuśrūṣoḥ śraddadhānasya vāsudevakathāruciḥ । syānmahatsevayā viprāḥ puṇyatīrthaniṣevaṇāt ॥ 1.2.16 ॥
In the following five verses, the Bhagavata Purana beautifully describes the Process of transformation within the heart that takes place as a result of shravana. It says,
श्रृण्वतां स्वकथां कृष्णः पुण्यश्रवणकीर्तनः । हृद्यन्तःस्थो ह्यभद्राणि विधुनोति सुहृत्सताम् ॥ १.२.१७ ॥
नष्टप्रायेष्वभद्रेषु नित्यं भागवतसेवया । भगवति उत्तमश्लोके भक्तिर्भवति नैष्ठिकी ॥ १.२.१८ ॥
तदा रजस्तमोभावाः कामलोभादयश्च ये । चेत एतैरनाविद्धं स्थितं सत्त्वे प्रसीदति ॥ १.२.१९ ॥
एवं प्रसन्नमनसो भगवद्भक्तियोगतः । भगवत् तत्त्वविज्ञानं मुक्तसङ्गस्य जायते ॥ १.२.२० ॥
भिद्यते हृदयग्रन्थिः छिद्यन्ते सर्वसंशयाः । क्षीयन्ते चास्य कर्माणि दृष्ट एवात्मनीश्वरे ॥ १.२.२१ ॥
śrr̥ṇvatāṁ svakathāṁ kr̥ṣṇaḥ puṇyaśravaṇakīrtanaḥ । hr̥dyantaḥstho hyabhadrāṇi vidhunoti suhr̥tsatām ॥ 1.2.17 ॥
naṣṭaprāyeṣvabhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavatasevayā । bhagavati uttamaśloke bhaktirbhavati naiṣṭhikī ॥ 1.2.18 ॥
tadā rajastamobhāvāḥ kāmalobhādayaśca ye । ceta etairanāviddhaṁ sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati ॥ 1.2.19 ॥
evaṁ prasannamanaso bhagavadbhaktiyogataḥ । bhagavat tattvavijñānaṁ muktasaṅgasya jāyate ॥ 1.2.20 ॥
bhidyate hr̥dayagranthiḥ chidyante sarvasaṁśayāḥ । kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi dr̥ṣṭa evātmanīśvare ॥ 1.2.21 ॥
- Shri Krishna who exists in the hearts of everyone and is the well-wisher of the good, cleanses all evil from the hearts of those who have developed the urge to listen to His narratives which are themselves meritorious when properly heard and chanted.
- When evils are all destroyed from the heart by continuously listening to the Bhagavata and rendering services to the devotees of the Supreme, firm devotion to the Supreme being of excellent fame is established as an irrevocable fact.
- Then, the mind, not being affected by qualities like Passion (rajas) and Ignorance (tamas) and by desire, greed and others, is stabilized in goodness and is quietened (soothed).
- Thus established in the mode of goodness, the person whose mind is pacified through devotion of the Supreme being, frees himself from attachment and gains the knowledge of the reality of the Supreme.
- As soon as the Supreme being is seen within oneself, his knot (of ego) in the heart/mind is cut asunder, all doubts are solved and his actions (good or bad, of the previous period which are not exhausted by enjoying the fruits) are annihilated.
कीर्तनम् ॥ Kirtana
Kirtana refers to singing the name and glories of the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana explains that loudly and cheerfully proclaiming the details of the Supreme Being's manifestations and activities, after having envisaged the same in the mind, is referred to as Kirtana or Eulogising. It says,
हृदाकाशेन संपश्यञ् जन्मकर्माणि वै मम ।। प्रीत्याचोच्चारणं तेषामेतत्कीर्तनमुच्यते ।। २.२.२३.२६ ।।
hr̥dākāśena saṁpaśyañ janmakarmāṇi vai mama ।। prītyācoccāraṇaṁ teṣāmetatkīrtanamucyate ।। 22.214.171.124 ।।
It is said that in the Kali Yuga, Moksha is attained by Kirtana or singing the praises of the Supreme. The Kali Satarana Upanishad belonging to the Krishna Yajurveda says that at the end of the Dvapara Yuga, Narada approached Brahma and requested him to enlighten him on the path he should follow to alleviate the detrimental effects of Kali Yuga. At that time, Brahma said that by way of taking the name of the Supreme Being Narayana, all the tribulations of Kali Yuga will be washed away.
भगवत आदिपुरुषस्य नारायणस्य नामोच्चारणमात्रेण निर्धूतकलिर्भवतीति ॥ १ ॥
bhagavata ādipuruṣasya nārāyaṇasya nāmoccāraṇamātreṇa nirdhūtakalirbhavatīti ॥ 1 ॥
Moreover, it enumerates the sixteen worded mantra to be chanted, its greatness and effect as follows:
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे । हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे ॥
इति षोडशकं नाम्नां कलिकल्मषनाशनम् । नातः परतरोपायः सर्ववेदेषु दृश्यते ॥
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare । hare kr̥ṣṇa hare kr̥ṣṇa kr̥ṣṇa kr̥ṣṇa hare hare ॥
iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ kalikalmaṣanāśanam । nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ sarvavedeṣu dr̥śyate ॥
The Brhannaradiya Purana also mentions the name of 'Hari' as the sole redeemer of people in the age of Kali. For, Kali fails to affect those engaged in the chanting of the name of Hari.
हरिनामपरान् मर्त्यान् न कलिर्बाधते क्वचित् ॥१२६॥ हरेर्नामैव नामैव नामैव मम जीवनम् । कलौ नास्त्येव नास्त्येव नास्त्येव गतिरन्यथा ॥१२७॥
harināmaparān martyān na kalirbādhate kvacit ॥126॥ harernāmaiva nāmaiva nāmaiva mama jīvanam । kalau nāstyeva nāstyeva nāstyeva gatiranyathā ॥127॥
स्मरणम् ॥ Smarana
Smarana means to remember the Supreme (His name). Interestingly, the Shiva Purana emphasizes that Smarana is not mere rememberance, it is also a feeling of fearlessness that arises after realizing the all-pervasive nature of the Supreme being. It says,
व्यापकं देवि मां दृष्ट्वा नित्यं सर्वत्र सर्वदा ।। निर्भयत्वं सदा लोके स्मरणं तदुदाहृतम् ।। २.२.२३.२७ ।।
vyāpakaṁ devi māṁ dr̥ṣṭvā nityaṁ sarvatra sarvadā ।। nirbhayatvaṁ sadā loke smaraṇaṁ tadudāhr̥tam ।। 126.96.36.199 ।।
Moreover, it is said that Smarana of the Supreme must be continuous like the flow of oil (तैलधारावत् ॥ tailadhārāvat). For, if there is a break, desires, immoral thoughts and worldly temptations will try to enter the mind and ransack the antahkarana. Mind will be overcome by rajas and tamas and there will be resurrection of old trishnas and vasanas. That is the reason why Shri Krishna says, “At all times think of Me.” And such devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them svarga, apavarga (liberation) and naraka are all the same.
नारायणपराः सर्वे न कुतश्चन बिभ्यति । स्वर्गापवर्गनरकेषु अपि तुल्यार्थदर्शिनः ॥ ६.१७.२८ ॥
nārāyaṇaparāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati । svargāpavarganarakeṣu api tulyārthadarśinaḥ ॥ 6.17.28 ॥
पादसेवनम् ॥ Padasevana
Padasevana refers to rendering service to the lotus feet of the Supreme Being. Describing the divine feet of Balarama and Shri Krishna, the Bhagavata Purana says,
ध्वजवज्राङ्कुशाम्भोजैः चिह्नितैरङ्घ्रिभिर्व्रजम् । शोभयन्तौ महात्मानौ सानुक्रोशस्मितेक्षणौ ॥ १०.३८.३० ॥
dhvajavajrāṅkuśāmbhojaiḥ cihnitairaṅghribhirvrajam । śobhayantau mahātmānau sānukrośasmitekṣaṇau ॥ 10.38.30 ॥
Meaning: The great noble pair of brothers ornamented the ground in Vraja with the prints of their feet marked with the signs of a banner, a Vajra, a goad and a lotus and their smiling eyes expressed compassion. More over, it rhetorically asks "who can desist His feet which the goddess of prosperity (Lakshmi), though always restless and moving by nature, never forsakes ? and states that those who resort to the boat in the form of the foliage like tender feet of Krishna - the slayer of demon Mura, of revered reputation, the final abode of the great sages, etc. - for them, the ocean of samsara is as shallow as the footprint of a calf. For, they attain the highest region (vaikuntha) from which they never revert to the Samsara, the region of miseries.
... का विरमेत तत्पदात् चलापि यच्छ्रीर्न जहाति कर्हिचित् ॥ १.११.३३ ॥ ... kā virameta tatpadāt calāpi yacchrīrna jahāti karhicit ॥ 1.11.33 ॥
समाश्रिता ये पदपल्लवप्लवं महत्पदं पुण्ययशो मुरारेः । भवाम्बुधिर्वत्सपदं परं पदं पदं पदं यद् विपदां न तेषाम् ॥ १०.१४.५८ ॥
samāśritā ye padapallavaplavaṁ mahatpadaṁ puṇyayaśo murāreḥ । bhavāmbudhirvatsapadaṁ paraṁ padaṁ padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām ॥ 10.14.58 ॥
While the Shiva Purana includes the service rendered to the Supreme being right from early dawn with mind, speech, hands and feet as Sevana or Serving.
अर्चनम् ॥ Archana
Archana means worship of the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana states that archana or worshipping includes offering of sixteen types of service like Padya, etc. to the Supreme being in accordance with one's capacity. It says,
सदा भृत्यानुकूल्येन विधिना मे परात्मने ।। अर्पणं षोडशानां वै पाद्यादीनां तदर्चनम् ।।२.२.२३.३०।।
sadā sevyānukūlyena sevanaṁ taddhi gogaṇaiḥ ।। hr̥dayāmr̥tabhogena priyaṁ dāsyamudāhr̥tam ।।188.8.131.52।।
Further more, Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says that whatsoever form a devotee desires to worship with belief, He makes that belief firm and unflinching. He also asserts that whoever offers Him with devotion and a pure mind (heart), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even a little water, that He accepts as offering.
यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धयार्चितुमिच्छति । तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम् ॥७.२१॥
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति । तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः ॥९.२६॥
yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ śraddhayārcitumicchati । tasya tasyācalāṁ śraddhāṁ tāmeva vidadhāmyaham ॥7.21॥
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati । tadahaṁ bhaktyupahr̥tamaśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ ॥9.26॥
वन्दनम् ॥ Vandana
Vandana refers to paying obeisance to the Supreme Being. Explaining Vandana, Shiva Purana says,
मन्त्रोच्चारणध्यानाभ्यां मनसा वचसा क्रमात् ।। यदष्टांगेन भूस्पर्शं तद्वै वंदनमुच्यते ।।२.२.२३.३१।।
mantroccāraṇadhyānābhyāṁ manasā vacasā kramāt ।। yadaṣṭāṁgena bhūsparśaṁ tadvai vaṁdanamucyate ।।184.108.40.206।।
Meaning: Meditating in the mind, repeating the mantras and touching the ground with eight limbs (ie. offering ashtanga pranama) is called Vandana or saluting. There are many examples of devotees who practiced Bhakti through Vandana and were abundantly blessed by the Supreme. The Bhagavata Purana (Skandha 10, Adhyaya 40) describes how Akrura was blessed with the divine vision of Shri Krishna and Balarama as Vishnu and Adi Shesha on the banks of the river Yamuna as he descended into the waters to perform his regular obeisance. As Akrura bowed down to them, overwhelmed with intense devotion and tears of joy, there was an outpouring of Bhagavad stuti. The concluding verse of Akrura's salutations to Vasudeva is as follows.
नमस्ते वासुदेवाय सर्वभूतक्षयाय च । हृषीकेश नमस्तुभ्यं प्रपन्नं पाहि मां प्रभो ॥ १०.४०.३० ॥
namaste vāsudevāya sarvabhūtakṣayāya ca । hr̥ṣīkeśa namastubhyaṁ prapannaṁ pāhi māṁ prabho ॥ 10.40.30 ॥
Meaning: Salutations to Bhagavan Vasudeva, the refuge of all beings. Oh Hrshikesha ! I bow down to you. Oh Prabhu ! Be pleased to protect me who has approached your feet. Another example of a Bhakta who was firmly resolved in the practice of Bhagavad Vandana was Kunti. It is well-known that Shri Krishna saved the fetus in the womb of Abhimanyu's wife Uttara from the Brahmastra released by Ashvatthama. It is said that the Brahmastra that is irresistible and uncounteractable became inactive when it came in contact with the lustre of Vishnu. At that very moment, Kunti who was also saved along with Draupadi and the Pandavas from the Brahmastra paid obeisance to Shri Krishna as follows:
नमस्ये पुरुषं त्वाऽऽद्यं ईश्वरं प्रकृतेः परम् । अलक्ष्यं सर्वभूतानां अन्तर्बहिरवस्थितम् ॥ १.८.१८ ॥
namasye puruṣaṁ tvā''dyaṁ īśvaraṁ prakr̥teḥ param । alakṣyaṁ sarvabhūtānāṁ antarbahiravasthitam ॥ 1.8.18 ॥
Meaning: I bow down to you the foremost Purusha (the cause of world), the Lord (of the universe), who is beyond Prakrti, imperceptible yet pervading all beings from within and without. In fact, so strong was her belief and devotion in Krishna that she prayed to be blessed with calamity at every step of life, always, so that she is blessed with the darshan of the Supreme, who has always been prompt in coming to the rescue of his devotees at very step, and thereby, get released from the cycle of rebirths.
विपदः सन्तु ताः शश्वत् तत्र तत्र जगद्गुरो । भवतो दर्शनं यत्स्याद् अपुनर्भवदर्शनम् ॥ १.८.२५ ॥
vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat tatra tatra jagadguro । bhavato darśanaṁ yatsyād apunarbhavadarśanam ॥ 1.8.25 ॥
दास्यम् ॥ Dasya
Dasya refers to the intent of dedicating all of one's actions to the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana mentions that surrendering oneself in the service of the Supreme being who is worthy of being served and dedicating all sensory capabilities of oneself in the service of the Supreme being with feeling a hearty sense of elation is called as dasya or surrendering. It says,
सदा सेव्यानुकूल्येन सेवनं तद्धि गोगणैः ।। हृदयामृतभोगेन प्रियं दास्यमुदाहृतम् ।।२.२.२३.२९।।
sadā sevyānukūlyena sevanaṁ taddhi gogaṇaiḥ ।। hr̥dayāmr̥tabhogena priyaṁ dāsyamudāhr̥tam ।।220.127.116.11।।
Hanuman is often quoted as an example of the bhakta who stands for the spirit of perfect and supreme service to the Lord. It is said that the bhakta, like Hanuman, begins his bhakti sadhana with dasya bhava or an attitude of service. In fact, Dasya Bhava or the relation of master and servant is considered as the first step in the ladder of devotion that culminates in complete merging by total and perfect Saranagati or Atmanivedana. However, Dasya could also include the sense of being a devotee of great devotees.
सख्यम् ॥ Sakhya
Sakhya refers to the ability of one to confide in the Supreme Being as a friend. The Shiva Purana says,
मङ्गलामङ्गलं यद्यत्करोतीतीश्वरो हि मे ।। सर्वं तन्मंगलायेति विश्वासः सख्यलक्षणम् ।। २.२.२३.३२ ।।
maṅgalāmaṅgalaṁ yadyatkarotītīśvaro hi me ।। sarvaṁ tanmaṁgalāyeti viśvāsaḥ sakhyalakṣaṇam ।। 18.104.22.168 ।।
Meaning: The belief that 'whatever the Supreme being bestows on me, good or bad, is for my welfare' is the characteristic sign of friendliness. Arjuna looked up to Shri Krishna as a friend. The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11) describes how Shri Krishna granted Arjuna the divine sight to behold His vast Cosmic manifestation. However, Arjuna is unable to bear the pressure of the sudden expansion of consciousness and is filled with fear. As he realizes the greatness of Shri Krishna, he says,
सखेति मत्वा प्रसभं यदुक्तं हे कृष्ण हे यादव हे सखेति । अजानता महिमानं तवेदं मया प्रमादात्प्रणयेन वापि ॥११.४१॥
यच्चावहासार्थमसत्कृतोऽसि विहारशय्यासनभोजनेषु । एकोऽथवाप्यच्युत तत्समक्षं तत्क्षामये त्वामहमप्रमेयम् ॥११.४२॥
sakheti matvā prasabhaṁ yaduktaṁ he kr̥ṣṇa he yādava he sakheti । ajānatā mahimānaṁ tavedaṁ mayā pramādātpraṇayena vāpi ॥11.41॥
yaccāvahāsārthamasatkr̥to'si vihāraśayyāsanabhojaneṣu । eko'thavāpyacyuta tatsamakṣaṁ tatkṣāmaye tvāmahamaprameyam ॥11.42॥
Meaning: Whatever I have presumptuously uttered out of love or carelessness, addressing you as O Krishna! O Yadava! O Friend! regarding you merely as a friend, unknowing of this greatness of yours; in whatever way I may have insulted you for the sake of fun while at play, resting, sitting or at meals, when alone (with you) or in company, O Achyuta, that I implore you, immeasurable one, to forgive!
Arjuna then bows down to Shri Krishna and prostrating in front of Him craves for His forgiveness. He requests Shri Krishna to forgive him just as a friend forgives his dear friend.
आत्मनिवेदनम् ॥ Atmanivedana
Atmanivedana refers to offering oneself and one's belongings completely to the service and care of the Supreme Being. The Shiva Purana says,
कृत्वा देहादिकं तस्य प्रीत्यै सर्वं तदर्पणम् ।। निर्वाहाय च शून्यत्वं यत्तदात्मसमर्पणम् ।।२.२.२३.३३।।
kr̥tvā dehādikaṁ tasya prītyai sarvaṁ tadarpaṇam ।। nirvāhāya ca śūnyatvaṁ yattadātmasamarpaṇam ।।22.214.171.124।।
Meaning: Dedicating everything, the body and other possessions, for the propitiation of the Supreme being and retaining nothing for oneself is called atma samarpana (dedication). And Shri Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita says that those people who worship Him alone, thinking of no other, those who are ever united, He secures for them what is not already possessed (by them) and preserves what they already possess.
अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते । तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् ॥९.२२॥
ananyāścintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate । teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yogakṣemaṁ vahāmyaham ॥9.22॥
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