After getting the Sri Narda Bhakti Sutra translated into English naturally I felt a great urge to get the Shandilya Bhakti Sutra also translated into English and enjoy its succulent taste-somehow I could collect a very small booklet from our Sri Chaitanya Research Institute Library. But the book is a mere verbal translation in Bengali without any sequence.
Anyhow when I started the work and completed a major part of it I could get a book with Svapnesvara Bhasya rendered in English by Swami Hashananda and published by University of Mysore and also another one translated by Major B. D. Basu published within the series of the Sacred Books of the Hindus. But both the books are following the same Commentator and anyhow I could not agree with them because the commentator does not look to unadulterated devotion and at many places miserably misconstrued the original idea of the author particularly while dealing with the Chapter III. Further I come to know that Sri Naravana Thirtha and Baladeva Upadhyaya also wrote commentaries on this Shandilya Sutra but I could not look to them.
After getting the Sri Narada Bhakti Sutra translated into English naturally I felt a great urge to get the Shandilya Bhakti Sutra also translated into English and enjoy its succulent taste-somehow I could collect a very small booklet from our Sri Chaitanya Research Institute Library. But the book is a mere verbal translation in Bengali without any sequence.
Anyhow when I started the work and completed a major part of it I could get a book with Svapnesvara Bhasya rendered in english by Swami Hashananda and published by University of Mysore and also another one translated by Major B. D. Basu published within the series of the Sacred Books of the Hindus. But both the books are following the same Commentator and anyhow I could not agree with them because the commentator does not look to unadulterated devotion and at many places miserably misconstrued the original idea of the author particularly while dealing with the Chapter III. Further I come to know that Sri Narayana Thirtha and Baladeva Upadhyaya also wrote commentaries on this Shandilya Sutra but I could not look to them.
Sri Shandilya is also an equally great rishi of an ancient time. His name is found in Satapatha Brahmana.1 In Brihad -aranyaka Upanishad2 We find Sri Shandilya in the line of Vedic rishis, but no lesson except the name whereas in the Chandogya Upanishads3: where although it is very brief but a vital lesson he has given which affirms the glorious path of Devotion to the All-Blissful Supreme Godhead, Who possesses All-Transcendental Characteristcs: Here we find the famous sayings of Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman - Tajjalaniti and learn: Brahman is the Cause, Support and Goal of the universe. From Him beings are born, by Whom they live and to Whom they finally repair. (i) According to one's faith or Devotion here in this world, thus does such one become on departing hence. (ii) The Supreme Godhead is Both: Immanent and Transcendent, and (iv) the final Goal of every being is to attain unalloyed devotion to Him.
There is one Shandilya Upanishad also. Shandilya when goes to Pancharatra literature be goes to the extent that if anybody denies authenticity of the Pancharatra, delinking them from the Vedas be affirms that the Vedas themselves have got no value to him because Pancharatras are the ripening knowledge or the ontological aspect of the Vedas.
Further we find that while a number of sages approached him in the mount Gandhamadana with inquiry concerning the manner in which the ultimate Reality can be known, Shandilya replied: This science is very secret and ancient and this can be given only to true believers who are ardently devoted to their spiritual preceptors.
Shandilya's Bhakti Sutras are numbering all total one hundred only but within this compass he has given an unambiguous Doctrine of unalloyed Bhakti and demonstrates that jnana is like the loose flesh banging from the neck of a goat which is good for nothing. Bhakti is ahaituki: there is no precondition for obtaining Bhakti by a fallen soul. Bhakti is the natural characteristic of a freed soul; and be also agrees with Sri Narada that it is only when a jiva gets a chance, by dint of previous unknown Sukriti, to have satsanga - Bhakti gets manifested in the soul. Bhakti is transcendental process and Sri Nama Samkirtana is the best which brings ecstacy. He also touches on Raganuga-Bhakti but not to the extent as Sri Narada goes in his Bhakti Sutra. But he deals with the philosophy to a great extent.
He begins with Athato - Bhakti Jijnasa: that is after commenting upon other Treatises he now takes delight to illustrate the philosophy, science and ontology of Bhakti where in the very first instant be says Bhakti is the unshakable attachment to the Supreme Godhead and that is only the way for oneself becoming immortal, beatific and eternally blissful.' He says jnana is not indispensable for culturing Bhakti. At the dawn of Bhakti jnana itself is totally lost of its charm and significance. Sri Narada considered even batred or malice secondary (gauna) Bhakti when they help the remembrance of God; but Sri Shandilya says, even in such case hatred cannot be taken by any means as Bhakti because where there is no anurga there is no rasa, whereas Bhakti is Rasa. Jnana is not at all related to Bhakti because, jnana is acquired by one's own endeavour, but Bhakti is causeless and gets manifested on its own accord. Jnana is the Inductive Process and Bhakti is the Deductive Process. It is only Bhakti that makes one to realise God in His totality and absolutely it does not require any help from earlier Knowledge of God, When Bhakti is referred to other than the Supreme Godhead, it is perverse. Without becoming subjugated to Bhakti, jnana or yoga or karma cannot produce any real spiritual result. Shandilya further says: 'Even attainment of Samadhi or contemplation upon God is the secondary aspect of Bhakti, Attachment to a-sat is the gateway of life of transmigration whereas attachment to sat (saints-devotees) merits the highest spiritual reward and anuraga to uttamapurusha leads to Prema. If Bhakti is not the sin-qua-non of Vedanta Philosophy then Vedanta itself cannot have itslocus standi. The second Chapter begins with: 'the path of jnana and karma are to be followed till one's heart becomes untinted at the dawn of Shraddha. Jnana and Karma may be followed when they are subservient to Bhakti. Bhakti is the eternal unbreakable relationship of jiva-soul with Godhead that is established undisputedly by the Vedas as well as by the exalted Parama Bhagavata devotees.
Going to the philosophy of religion he illustrates that jiva-souls are although qualitatively same with God but quantitatively different from Him; thereby he establishes the Doctrine of Achintya-bheda-abheda Theory. Jiva is liable to be enthralled by maya-but having taken recourse to Bhakti he becomes free from the life of transmigration. Jivas are infinitesimal parts of God, came out from the Tatastha Shakti of God and subject to be enveloped by maya; but God's position is eternal, unchangable and undiminished and not subject to any modification. Although all jiva souls essentially are chit, eternal and constitutionally separated parts (Vibhinnamsa but not Svamsha) of God and also characteristically possessing right of getting emancipation through Devotion to God, yet why do they all not thrive for emancipation? Because at the state of bondage jivas have variegated, perverse knowledge being propelled by the gunas of maya. Though God creates the universe through His Own external Potency maya but he ever remains immutable because He is Sat-Chit-Ananda Swarupa, Neither jiva nor Prakriti nor they both mutually create or procreate nor can they have their existence without the superintending of the God. Prakriti or maya is not unreal or false because it is a potency of God. The Descents of Supreme Godhead viz. His Births and Actions are Transcendental as they are out of His Swarup a Shakti, The highest type of Bhakti is Bhajan and other phases are component parts of it. In the Philosophy of Vedanta as well as in the Upanishadic Doctrine Bhakti to Bhagavan is the sine-qua-non. He speaks about the worship of Srimurti and the importance of the Mahaprasadam as well as of Tirtham. He also warns against the spiritual offences but for expiation even of the gravest offences a devotee need not observe any severe penance like Chandrayana Vrata, but the constant chanting of the Divine Name not only saves a devotee from the offences but it does not allow offences befall upon him. Because steadfast devotion makes the Lord stationed at heart therefore for the explation of offences or sins it does not require any other assistance.
Every man down to the lowest born, has equal right to follow the path of devotion. Even worst sinners when feel destitute and fervently craving the Mercy from God they too are bestowed with devotion and gradually attain the Abode of Peace. Without the vision of Truth life is undone or one is doomed to destruction.
Bhagavan is One without a second although He appears many as Paramatma, Indwelling Monitor of all jiva-souls like the sun reflected upon many transperent objects- because God is devoid of any modification by the adjuncts of maya.1
It is not due to lack of knowledge but devoid of unalloyed devotion to God that cause the cycling of life of transmigration.
Here too as in the Narada Bhakti Sutra, Sri Shandilya emphatically proclaims that Bhakti is unparalleled and unprecedented. Karma and Jnana have got their relative values when they are in conformity with Bhakti. It is through Bhakti alone, that one can attain summum- bonum of life.
The modern philosophers how they distort the import of philosophy that you may see that the Mysore University edition writes: The merit and demerit of the individuals reside in the intellect of the Supreme Lord ... merit and demerit will continue to exist eternally in Him. Now tell me, if God has got demerit and again, which continue to exist eternally, then why should we approach Him at all and how He can make us totally free from demerits and how He can bestow emancipation? Should I quote hundreds of such gravest mistakes that they have committed? But that will not be to my purpose. I feel great pain at my heart to go through them. That is why it is correctly said, 'The milk sipped by a poisonous snake is most injurious to the health, so also Narrations about Supreme God's Pastimes no doubt are Nectarine Blissful but such topics when dealt with by a non-devotee actually cause a digradation from the high achievement.
I with the benediction of my Divine Master ventured to render this most glorious Treatise into english just for enjoying myself the succulent taste of the Nectarine Bliss and also although it is done with my faulty language but I know the Saragrahi Vaishnavas like swans will take the substance and will kindly overlook my defects.