tri-satyasya bhaktir eva garīyasī bhaktir eva garīyasī
tri — in three ways (by his mind, body, and words); satyasya — for one who is truthful; bhaktiḥ — devotional service; eva — alone; garīyasī — most dear; bhaktiḥ — devotional service; eva — alone; garīyasī — most dear.
Devotional service is the most precious possession of a person who honestly uses his mind, body, and words.
The word tri-satya may refer to the three ways of expressing truth—with one’s thoughts, actions, and words. Then again, tri-satya may be taken to indicate that bhakti is the best way of realizing the truth in all three phases of time—namely, past, present, and future. Lord Kapila told His mother, Devahūti, “I shall now explain unto you the ancient yoga system, which I explained formerly to the great sages. It is serviceable and practical in every way” (SB 3.25.14). In his purport Prabhupāda writes, “When we have a superexcellent process already present in the Vedic scriptures, there is no need to concoct a new system to mislead the innocent public. At present it has become a fashion to reject the standard system and present something bogus in the name of a newly invented process of yoga” (SB 3.25.14, purport). Bhakti is ancient wisdom, an immediate practical program, and the vision of the future. It is tri-kāla-jñāna, knowledge of past, present, and future.
As the best use of body, speech, and mind, bhakti is the best happiness, the best action, and the best meditation. When Lord Caitanya asked Rāmānanda Rāya to explain the very best thing, Rāmānanda Rāya described bhakti in many ways:
The Lord inquired, “Of all types of education, which is the most important?” Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “There is no education that is important other than the transcendental devotional service of Kṛṣṇa.”
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then inquired, “Out of all liberated persons, who should be accepted as the greatest?” Rāmānanda replied, “He who has love for Kṛṣṇa has attained the topmost liberation.”
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked, “Out of all topics people listen to, which is the best for living entities?” Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “Hearing about the loving affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is most pleasing to the ear.” [Cc. Madhya 8.245, 249, 255]
In this sūtra Nārada says the same thing as Rāmānanda Rāya did, but in condensed form: Bhakti is the best in every category. Why should we doubt it? And why should we dilute bhakti with other truths, as if bhakti is in need of help? Bhakti itself confers all knowledge and renunciation. It offers the most courageous action, as well as the best art, science, and recreation. Most important of all, only bhakti is pleasing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As Lord Kṛṣṇa says, “One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God” (Bg. 18.55). Even if we think that we may be able to accomplish something just as well by a non-bhakti method, our effort would still fail to please the Lord, and thus we would not find self-satisfaction.
Bhakti is best, and bhakti means devotional service to the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Once Nārada visited Lord Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana and praised His unique position:
My Lord, let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet…. Your unlimited potency cannot even be measured by anyone. My dear Lord, You are the supreme controller. You are under Your own internal potency, and it is simply vain to think that You are dependent on any of Your creations…. Your advent on the surface of the earth in Your original form of eternal blissful knowledge is Your own pastime. You are not dependent on anything but Yourself; therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet. [Kṛṣṇa, p. 303]
Let us keep Nārada’s spirited words in our hearts so that we may practice bhakti-yoga without doubt. And let us proclaim the glories of Kṛṣṇa joyfully, as Nārada does. Nārada is a space traveler, and wherever he goes he sings the Lord’s glories to the accompaniment of his vīṇā:
nārada muni bājāya vīṇā
“Playing his vīṇā, Nārada Muni chants the names of Lord Rādhikā-ramaṇa.” As followers of Nārada Muni, we may also select a “vīṇā,” or method of bhajana, and use it to please the Lord. Playing our vīṇā like Nārada, we may tell everyone we meet, “Bhakti is the best path, bhakti is the best!”
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