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Impediments to Devotion

Submitted by on June 21, 2018 – 12:33 amNo Comment

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura’s commentary on the second verse of Sri Upadesamrta.

atyaharah prayasas cha prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas cha laulyan cha sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati

“Devotion is destroyed by these six defects: (1) over-accumulation; (2) materialistic endeavor; (3) unnecessary talk; (4) rejecting the rules meant for one’s self and following the rules meant for others; (5) associating with non-devotees; and (6) fickle-mindedness.”


atyahara prayasa prajalpa jana-sanga
laulyadi niyamagraha hale bhakti-bheda

“When over-accumulation, materialistic endeavor, unnecessary talk, association with non-devotees, fickle-mindedness, and rejecting or following rules inappropriately occur, devotion becomes obstructed.”

grha-tyagi janera sanchaya atyahara
adhika sanchari grhi vaisnavera chhara

“For renunciates, any accumulation is called atyahara, and for householder devotees, excessive accumulation is bad.”

bhakti-anukula naya se saba udyama
prayasa namete tara prakasa visama

“All endeavors that are not favorable to devotion are called prayas; occurrences of them are condemnable.”

gramya-katha prajalpa namete parichaya
matera chanchalya laulya asat-trsnamaya

“Village talk is called prajalpa. Fickle-mindedness produced by material desires is called laulya.”

visayi yosit-sangi tat-tat-sangi ara
mayavadi dharma-dhvaji nastika prakara
se saba asat-sanga bhakti-hanikara
visesa yatne sei sanga parihara

“Materialists, those who are attached to the opposite sex, their companions, illusionists, religious hypocrites, and atheists—the association of such persons is destructive to devotion. With great care, avoid all such association.”

niyama agraha ara niyama agraha
dvi-prakara dosa ei bhakta gala-graha

“The faults of both being negligent of the rules and being excessively concerned with the rules are burdens to devotees.”

eke svadhikaragata niyama varjana
are anya adhikara niyama grahana

“In one, there is rejection of the rules meant for one’s stage, and in the other, there is adherence to the rules meant for a stage other than one’s own.”


In the second verse also, there is discussion only of rejecting the unfavorable. The six defects of over-accumulation, materialistic endeavor, unnecessary talk, rejecting the rules meant for one’s self and following the rules meant for others, association with non-devotees, and fickle-mindedness are detrimental to devotion. Atyahar means excessive consumption, collection, or endeavor to accumulate. Accumulation is forbidden for renunciates; for householder devotees, atyahar means accumulating more than is necessary to live. Prayas: those who aspire for devotion should not, like materialists, engage in activities that are contrary to devotion or endeavors that are condemnable. Prajalpa means time-wasting, unnecessary village talk. There are two types of niyamagraha: having attachment to rules for a lower stage when one has reached a higher stage and being negligent of rules that are nourishing to devotion. Jana-sanga means the association of those who are not pure devotees. Laulya means being fickle-minded in the association of persons of various conceptions and being attracted to insignificant matters. Criticism of sadhus, which arises from prajalpa, and considering the gods to be independent of the Supreme Lord, which arises from laulya, are offences to the Name.

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