Difference between Jnana-mishra and Uttama Bhakti

Question: In the Brhad Bhagavatamrta, part one, chapter five, text 16-17, Sanatana Gosvami writes in his Digdarsini commentary that “uttamaa visuddhaa vaa prema-laksanaa vaa param kevalam dattaa bhaktih saa ca jnana-mishreti boddhavyam uttaratra shuddham ityukteh. Praak prahlaadena svayameva tathoktatvaac ca saptamyaantas.

Here Prahlada’s devotion is said to be pure and characterized by love but is still called as jnana-mishra bhakti. I really do not understand this. I think that the ‘jnana‘ mentioned here must be the knowledge of the Lord’s supreme position. Please kindly clarify this doubt of mine.

Answer: Yes jnana means knowledge of Bhagavan as Bhagavan.

Question: Also in the next two verses in the Digdarshini, the devotion of Hanuman is said to be free from jnana and karma and is thus called shuddha or pure. Also it says “noonam nishcaye vitarke vaa lakshanena tesu shuddha-bhakter-anumaanaat.”

It means Lord Rama conjectured that Hanuman and others may have pure devotion for Him by looking at the symptoms (he wasn’t definitely sure about it).

Answer: The conjecture is not by Lord Rama but by the author of the book. Where does it say that Rama conjectured about Hanuman’s bhakti? There is no mention of Rama in the verse.

Question: When you say “by the author”, do you mean by Srila Sanatana Goswami or by the speaker (Srila Narada Muni) of that verse on which Sanatana Gosvami is commenting?

And why would any of them speak in that way as to judging the devotion of Hanuman and others, not having faith in their devotion? I really cannot understand this. Kindly clarify my doubt.

Answer: Author means Sanatana Gosvami. Now my question to you:

How do you know that Hanuman is a pure devotee?

Question: In that same section of Brhad-bhagavatamrta it is mentioned by Srila Sanatana Goswami that the devotion of Hanuman, Jambavan and others is free from jnana and karma. In our previous discussions you have replied that the jnana-misra bhakti of Prahlada

Maharaja means that it is with the knowledge of the supreme position of the Lord, that He is Bhagavan.

So what does it mean by ‘free from jnana and karma‘? By ‘free from jnana‘ I suppose that their bhakti is free from awe and reverence. Is this correct? If this is correct, then why is it said (by devotees) that only the bhakti in Vraja is free from awe and reverence? And what does it mean by ‘free from karma’? Does it mean that their bhakti is free from any fruitive activities or intentions? If yes, then this is the case with sadhaka-bhaktas also, but why are they (Hanuman, Jambavan, etc.) glorified exclusively because of it?

Answer:  Jnana is of three types:

1. about the Lord

2. about the jiva

3. about the relation between these two.

Freedom from the covering of jnana means that a devotee does not think,

1. That he or she is one with God.

2. Does not desire any material/ spiritual benefit from God or any type of mukti, such as saruypya or salokya, which  is all a covering of jnana.

When a devotee has the knowledge about the Lordship of the Lord, then there is some awe and reverence that brings separation between the Lord and the devotee. There is some expectancy from Lord.

There are two bhavas in relation with the Lord – I am of the Lord (tadiyata) and the Lord is mine (madiyata). The second bhava is superior because in this, the Lord is only served and there are no demands of any kind. That is uttama bhakti.

 

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