What is Bhuta Shuddhi?

By Mahanidhi Swami

In an earlier article, we mentioned the practice of “identity purification”. This practice helps one transcend his material false ego and false self-identification by understanding and realizing his eternal spiritual identity as Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s eternal servant. Gurus and sastras prescribe various systems and prayers for bhuta-shuddhi, which literally means purifying the elements of our physical and mental body.

Srimad Bhagavatam (11.3.49) outlines many of the points we have discussed so far, and also hints at bhuta-shuddhi:

“First become clean, then purify the body (pindam vishodhya) by pranayama and other means (i.e. bhuta shuddhi), sit on an asana facing Thakurji, enter a mood of detachment, invoke Sri Krishna’s protection, and then begin your worship of Hari,” shucih sammukham asinah, prana samyamanadibhih, pindam vishodhya sannyasa, krta raksho arcayed dharim.

Chanting prayers for identity purification, bhuta shuddhi, was mentioned in part two of “How to Chant Mantras”. Below are samples of bhuta-shuddhi prayers along with a discussion of the principle:

1) naham vipro na ca nara patir napi vaisyo na sudro,
naham varni na ca grha patir no vanastho yatir va,
kintu prodyan nikhila-param ananda purnamrtabdher
gopi bhartuh pada kamalayor dasa dasa anu dasa

“I am not a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra. I am not a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha or sannyasi. What am I? I am the eternal servant of the servant of the servant of Sri Krishna, the master of the gopis.” (Padyavail 63)

2) “By nature I am Krishna’s eternal servant. But by misfortune I have been inimical toward Krishna from time immemorial. Thus identifying with my temporary material body, I have been continuously rotating in the cycle of samsara, suffering the three­fold miseries of material existence.

“Now by the causeless mercy of my beloved spiritual master I fully realize that I am Krishna’s eternal servant. I am an individual spiritual being, completely separate from my gross and subtle body.

“By the mercy of my Spiritual master, I have obtained the good fortune of serving him, and assisting him in his eternal service to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Gandharvika-Giridhari in the blissful, spiritual realm of Goloka Vrndavana.”

For more advanced sadhakas, Sri Jiva Goswamipada advises this bhuta shuddhi: “Those dedicated to serving Bhagavan Sri Krishna can perform bhuta shuddhi by meditating on possessing a body of an associate of the Lord suitable for service to one’s cherished form of the Lord (for instance a Vraja gopi) since it is favorable for one’s devotional development. (Bhakti Sandarbha 286)

In summary, we remind you that while chanting do not engage in other activities, such as talking, looking here and there, shaking the head, pacing back and forth, yawning, dozing, scratching, or touching the nose. Distraction means inattention; inattention means offense, and offenses block the path to prema.

The most important factor in successful chanting is the type of conception and sentiment behind the chanting of the mantras. To help one chant the mantra perfectly various rituals have been introduced to purify the mind and increase concentration. These rituals include acamana, pranayama, sankalpa, dhyana, arghya, and so on.

Although Hari-bhakti-vilasa explains the importance of performing various rituals, Srila Sanatana Goswamipada also states that if one can chant the mantra without offense, then he can discard many of the rituals. The most important point is to chant the mantra with rapt attention, fully concentrating on the meaning of each word and the meaning of the complete mantra.

We conclude this article with a beautiful teaching for all of us contained in Manah Siksa (v.1), wherein Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami implores us to cultivate love for our Gurudeva and the sublime diksa mantras he has bestowed upon us. Dasa Gosvami prays to his mind, “O my dear brother, my foolish mind! I humbly pray to you with sweet words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop sublime and incessant rati for your diksa-mantras.”

Excerpt from Gayatri Mahima Madhuri 

Sri Guru & Diksa Mantras prema ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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