Vaidhi bhakti does not lead to Raganuga bhakti


It is the general opinion of many devotees that vidhi bhakti leads to raganuga bhakti but it is not. Vaidhi Bhakti and Raganuga bhakti are two different sadhana process leading to different destinations in spiritual world.

let us see the defination of vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti as per Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu(BRS)
BRS: 1.2.269: Translation: some persons call vaidhi bhakti the path of rules(maryada-marga), since it is bound by strong limitation of the rules mentioned in the scriptures.

BRS: 1.2.270: Translation: Raganuga bhakti is defined as that bhakti which follows after the ragatmika bhakti found distinctively in the inhabitants of Vraja.


Vaidhi Bhakti and raganuga bhakti are two different types of bhakti. It is not that vaidhi bhakti leads to raganuga bhakti. Bhava arising from vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti as two types.They are not same.

BRS 1.3.7-8.describes different types of bhava arising from vaidhi and raganuga bhakti.
Translation: “Bhava arising from absorption in sadhana will be discussed first. Bhava arising from sadhana has two types: arising from vaidhi sadhana and arising from raganuga sadhana.Absorption in sadhana(nistha)produces ruci, then asakti and then rati or bhava for lord.”


BRS 1.3.9 describes the bhava arising from Vaidhi sadhana.
Translation: “Bhava arising from vaidhi sadhana is illustrated:O Vyasdeva, in that association,and by mercy of those great vedantists,I could hear them describe the activities of lord krishna. These became very attractive(ruci),Thus, listening attentively(asakti), rati for the Personality of Godhead appeared.”

BRS 1.3.14 describes bhava arising from raganuga sadhana.
Translation of verse 1.3.14: Bhava arising from raganuga sadhana is illustrated in the Padma purana:A young girl, having great joy in the heart and being very enthusiastic to dance, spend the whole night dancing in order to please the lord.

Now if vaidhi bhakti leads to raganuga bhakti then there would not be mention of two different bhavas of vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti in the above two slokas in BRS . Then it should be mentioned as one comes after other or gradual progression. But it is not like that and have been referred as bhava arising from sadhana has two types one from vaidhi and another from raganuga.


The symptoms of prema arising from vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti are different.

BRS 1.4.6 describes prema attained though vaidhi bhakti:
Translation: An example of prema arising from vaidha bhava is supplied from the Eleventh canto:
Having performed his vows according to Vaidhi bhakti,chanting the holy name of his beloved lord,he develops great attachment.As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly, cries or shouts. sometimes he sings and dances like a madman,for he is indifferent to public opinion.

BRS 1.4.8-13 describes prema attained though raganuga bhakti. As the translations are very large I have not included here. One can read them from the book translated by HH Bhanu Swami  . It also contains commentary by Jiva Goswami and Vishwanath Chakravarty Thakura.


BRS 1.4.14 clearly describes the difference between prema attained through Vaidhi Bhakti and Raganuga Bhakti clearly indicating the process of both and the result obtained are entirely different. Thus one should not confuse that vaidhi bhakti leads to raganuga bhakti.

Translation of 1.4.14: Those who have practiced vaidhi-bhakti (and then get the great mercy of the Lord) attain prema with knowledge of the Lord’s powers. Those who have practiced raganuga bhakti (and then get the great mercy of the Lord) usually attain prema with knowledge of the Lord’s sweetness.

The above verse clearly dispells all doubt that Vaidhi bhakti and Raganuga bhakti are two different process of sadhana with different results while one advances through each of them. So one should not confuse that vaidhi bhakti leads one to raganuga bhakti.

Raganuga sadhana and Vaidhi sadhana are two different procees of sadhana leading to different destination . Only raganuga bhajan leads one to goloka is clearly stated in the books of previous acharyas . However vaidhi bhakti also leads one to bhava and prema but it leads one upto Dwaraka in spiritual world but not Goloka . However this does not signifies that followers of vaidhi bhakti are in any way inferior to the raganuga sadhak . It is purely a matter of one’s inclination towards a particular form of lord and the rasa associated within . Thus the devotees of Lord Vishnu or Ramachandra are in no way inferior to Yashodanandan Krishna as misunderstood by many devotees. People according to their past life samskaras are attracted towards a particular path of devotion as devotional practice is not a matter of one life and is perfected in course of various lifetimes . So one should not criticize others or look down upon them if they are naturally inclined towards raganuga sadhana or others not in accordance to their own bhavas or inclination .

Cause of confusion: Spontaneous devotion:

Confusion arises because vaidhi bhakti does lead to a svabhaviki bhakti (spontaneous devotion )which has something in common with raganuga bhakti — natural inclination. However, practice of vaidhi bhakti does not automatically lead to raganuga bhakti. The seeds of vaidhi and raganuga are separate and yield separate results. Although the same terminology is used for both of them, namely sadhana bhakti, bhava bhakti and prema bhakti, one must know that these three divisions of bhakti relating to vaidhi and raganuga are completely distinct.

The natural function (svabhavika vartti) of the senses in relationship to bhakti is of two types. The first occurs, when a person follows the injunctions of scriptures to approach a spiritual teacher, takes instructions from that teacher, and thereby practices pure devotion. By regularly practicing devotion he or she moves to the stages of nistha, ruci and asakti, in which his or her senses become naturally devoted to the Lord, very much like how common people have a natural attraction for their spouse, children, etc. This function is an outcome of vaidhi bhakti.

The second type occurs when a person, because of a very special samskara, attained by the grace of a great devotee either in the present or the past life, naturally engages his or her senses in the devotional activities described in the bhakti literature after hearing instructions from a spiritual teacher or even before that. Without depending on any scriptural injunction, such devotional activities are considered svabhavika or natural in a much fuller sense.

Vaidhi-bhakti is not natural to the practitioner, and therefore Cakravartipada calls it asvabhaviki (“not natural”). However, he notes that when this bhakti reaches the stage of bhava, is no longer inspired by scriptural injunctions and becomes the very nature of a devotee, then it is also called svabhavika.

Although it is natural at the stage of bhava, it is still not raganuga-bhakti. It should not be misunderstood that vaidhi bhakti naturally leads to raganuga bhakti.


Raganuga Bhakti is more lovable to Krishna:

karma, tapa, yoga, jnana, vidhi-bhakti, japa, dhyana |
iha haite madhurya durlabha ||
kevala ye raga-marge, bhaje krishne anurage |
tare krishna-madhurya sulabha || (cc 2.21.119)
“Sweetness is very difficult to attain through fruitive activities, austerity, yoga, intellectual speculation, vidhi-bhakti, recitation of mantras or meditation. The sweetness of Sri Krishna is easily attainable only for the one who affectionately worships Him on the path of raga.”

sakala jagate more kare vidhi-bhakti | vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti || aisvarya-jnanete saba jagat misrita |aisvarya-sithila-preme nahi mora prita || (cc 1.3.15-16)

“Everyone in this world worships Me through vidhi-bhakti. Vidhi-bhakti has no power for attaining the feelings of Vraja. The devotion of the world is mixed with knowledge of My divine prowess. I do not delight in love diluted with prowess.”


vaidhi-raganuga-marga-bhedena parikirtitah |
dvividhah khalu bhavo’tra sadhanabhinivesajah || (brs 1.3.7)

“The paths of vaidhi and raganuga are known to be separate from each other. Engagement in these two forms of practice certainly awakens two distinct varieties of bhava.”

The goals of these two paths of devotion in practice are understood as follows:

vidhi-bhaktye parshada-dehe vaikunthete yaya || (cc 2.24.87)

“Through vidhi-bhakti, one will attain the form of an associate in

aisvarya-jnane vidhi-bhajana kariya |
vaikunthake yaya catur-vidha mukti pana || (cc 1.3.17)

“Those who worship according to scriptural commandments, being aware of the Lord’s superhuman prowess, attain the four kinds of liberation in Vaikuntha.”

raga-bhaktye vraje svayam-bhagavane paya || (cc 2.24.85)

“Through raga-bhakti, one will attain the Lord Himself in Vraja.”



  • Blog of Sri Satyanarayana Das Babaji Maharaj.



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