mayi bhāvena satyena
yama-ādibhiḥ—beginning with yama; yoga-pathaiḥ—by the yoga system; abhyasan—practicing; śraddhayā anvitaḥ—with great faith; mayi—unto Me; bhāvena—with devotion; satyena—unalloyed; mat-kathā—stories about Me; śravaṇena—by hearing; ca—and.
One has to become faithful by practicing the controlling process of the yoga system and must elevate himself to the platform of unalloyed devotional service by chanting and hearing about Me.
Yoga is practiced in eight different stages: yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi. Yama and niyama mean practicing the controlling process by following strict regulations, and āsana refers to the sitting postures. These help raise one to the standard of faithfulness in devotional service. The practice of yoga by physical exercise is not the ultimate goal; the real end is to concentrate and to control the mind and train oneself to be situated in faithful devotional service.
Bhāvena, or bhāva, is a very important factor in the practice of yoga or in any spiritual process. Bhāva is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8). Budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ: one should be absorbed in the thought of love of Kṛṣṇa. When one knows that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the source of everything and that everything emanates from Him (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ), then one understands the Vedānta aphorism janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1] (“the original source of everything”), and then he can become absorbed in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
Rūpa Gosvāmī explains very nicely in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu how this bhāva, or preliminary stage of love of God, is achieved. He states that one first of all has to become faithful (śraddhayānvitaḥ). Faith is attained by controlling the senses, either by yoga practice, following the rules and regulations and practicing the sitting postures, or by engaging directly in bhakti-yoga, as recommended in the previous verse. Of the nine different items of bhakti-yoga, the first and foremost is to chant and hear about the Lord. That is also mentioned here. Mat-kathā-śravaṇena ca. One may come to the standard of faithfulness by following the rules and regulations of the yoga system, and the same goal can be achieved simply by chanting and hearing about the transcendental activities of the Lord. The word ca is significant. Bhakti-yoga is direct, and the other process is indirect. But even if the indirect process is taken, there is no success unless one comes fully to the direct process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Therefore the word satyena is used here. In this connection Svāmī Śrīdhara comments that satyena means niṣkapaṭena, “without duplicity.” The impersonalists are full of duplicity. Sometimes they pretend to execute devotional service, but their ultimate idea is to become one with the Supreme. This is duplicity, kapaṭa. The Bhāgavatam does not allow this duplicity. In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is clearly stated, paramo nirmatsarāṇām: “This treatise Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant for those who are completely free from envy.” The same point is again stressed here. Unless one is completely faithful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engages himself in the process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, there is no possibility for liberation.
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