NECTAR OF DEVOTION
Class notes from: Bhurijana prabhu and Giriraja Swami
We begin this study of Nectar of Devotion, summary study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu of Srila Rupa Goswami, by offering our obeisances to Srila Rupa Goswami. (quotes from C.C.)
“In his book, ‘Caitanya Chandrodaya’, Kavikarna Purna, the son of Sivananda Sena, has elaborately described the meeting between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Goswami.”
“In the course of time, the transcendental news of Krsna’s pastimes in Vrndavana, was almost lost. To enunciate explicitly those transcendental pastimes, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, at Prayaga, empowered Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami with the nectar of His mercy to carry out this work in Vrndavana. From the very beginning Rupa Goswami was deeply attracted by the transcendental qualities of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus he was permanently relieved from family life. Srila Rupa Goswami and his younger brother Vallabha were blessed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although the Lord was transcendentally situated in His transcendental eternal form at Prayaga He told Rupa Goswami about transcendental ecstatic love of Krsna. The Lord then embraced him very firmly and bestowed all His mercy upon him.”
“Indeed Srila Rupa Goswami, whose dear friend was Svarupa Damodara, was the exactly replica of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and he was very, very dear to the Lord. Being the embodiment of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic love, Rupa Goswami was naturally very beautiful. He very carefully followed the principles enunciated by the Lord and he was a confident person to explain properly the pastimes of Lord Krsna. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu expanded His mercy to Srila Rupa Goswami just so he could render service by writing transcendental literature. The characteristics of Srila Rupa Goswami have thus been described in various places by the poet Kavikarna Purna. An account has also been given of how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed His causeless mercy upon Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami. Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami were the objects of love and honor for all the greatest stalwart devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”
We are very indebted to Srila Rupa Goswami. He received knowledge directly from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, just as Lord Brahma received knowledge from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna. And then he expanded the knowledge that he received, in the form of many books, of which Srila Prabhupada chose to translate ‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’, the complete science of Bhakti-yoga.
The book “Nectar of Devotion” is, as Srila Prabhupada’s statement, a “Summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami’s ‘Bhakti Rasamrta-sindhu'”.
The title of the book ‘Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu’ is discussed by Srila Prabhupada in the Preface with the special reference to the word ‘rasa’, because rasa is very difficult to translate into English. But Srila Prabhupada accepted the use of the word ‘mellow’ following Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, meaning ‘the sweet taste that one derives from rendering devotional service’.[Rasa in the highest sense is actually composed of five different types of ‘bhava’ or ecstasy. When the five types of bhava combine they produce ‘rasa’. Later on, the different five types of bhava will be discussed. We can just imagine how ecstatic rasa is if it is made of the five different types of ecstasy.
One of the types of ecstasy is called ‘stayi-bhava’, which means permanent ecstasy. And this permanent ecstasy will come in one of five categories: neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parental affection and conjugal love. When a person becomes established in his eternal relationship with Krsna he is continuously feeling ecstasy in one of the five types of relationships. Then the basic continuous ecstasy becomes mixed with other types of ecstasy and their combination produces rasa. The mixture of the different types of ecstasy has been
compared to a mixture of yogurt, sugar candy, black pepper and camphor. This is exceedingly tasty.]
Bhakti-rasa means the sweet taste or flavour or mellow that comes from loving and serving Krsna. Amrta means eternal and also nectarean. Sindhu means ocean. Bhakti Rasamrta-sindhu means ‘the nectarean ocean of the mellow or sweet taste of Bhakti’, the ‘Nectar of Devotion’. The sweet taste that comes from serving Krsna with devotion. It is actually an ocean of ecstasy.
Rupa Goswami was told by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself: “I cannot describe fully this ocean of ecstasy, but by letting you taste a drop of it you will get an idea of the quality of this ‘ocean’.”
If there is an ocean of salt and one tastes one drop of it, he gets an idea of the entire ocean’s qualities, how it looks like. Similarly it is impossible to taste completely this ‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’, because it is Krsna’s internal energy. But a living entity according to his ‘capacity’ can swim and dive and enjoy in this ocean.
Rupa Goswami, after hearing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and being empowered to do so, is going to describe this ocean of devotional service and what it consists of.
The Preface is divided into three parts:
(1) The first part gives a very short history of how the
‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’ became written by Rupa Goswami. How Rupa Goswami was a very powerful sarasvati brahmin. How, after coming in contact with Mahaprabhu he left the service of the Mohammedan’s minister Hussein Shah. He had great amounts of gold and he gave up this gold when he renounced the world. He became instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and then he went to Vrndavana sent personally by Mahaprabhu to live there, written transcendental literature and excavate the different holy places in relation with Radha-Krsna’s pastimes. Rupa Goswami lived in many places in Vrndavana but possibly the foremost places were Radha-Damodara temple and Nandagrama in a place called teera-kadamba (more precisely in between Nandagrama and Jawat).
His purpose in writing this ‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’ is to describe this ocean of devotional service. And Srila Prabhupada says that he is presenting this literature so that the devotees will become solid situated in Krsna consciousness. The entire range of Krsna conscious activities are described in this work.
There is another book, which describes in more detail the ‘madhurya rasa’ called ‘Ujjvala-nilamani’. It is a more graduated study of Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu.
“This book ‘Nectar of Devotion’ is presented for persons who are now engaged in the Krsna consciousness movement. It describes the development of Krsna consciousness. It is extremely important to learn this book thoroughly so one becomes solid situated in Krsna consciousness.”
(2) The second part of the Preface describes ‘Bhakti rasa’ in a very simple way. It compares ‘Bhakti rasa’ to mundane rasa. And describes the process of developing our Krsna consciousness, or Bhakti rasa – our loving relationship with Krsna.
The term Krsna consciousness was translated by Srila Prabhupada from the Bengali term bhakti-rasa-bhavita.
This Bhakti-rasa, or the mellow, the sweet taste that comes from serving Krsna, is so rare. It is the most rare thing in this world. It is rarer than a diamond, jewels, oil…, rarer than intelligence…, and if one finds that it is available somewhere, one should purchase it immediately at any price.
Actually there is only one price – ‘laulyam’ or greed. That greed develops as our Bhakti rasa; our taste develops; our desire to love Krsna develops. Not through millions and millions of births of pious activities can one attain this taste, the greed or Bhakti-rasa. It is so rare.
Rupa Goswami is going to describe how we can acquire and deepen our Bhakti-rasa and explain how it develops.
First he defines in this second part of the Preface, which begins at the bottom of page xii. He describes that Bhakti means devotional service or Krsna consciousness: ‘every service has some attractive feature which drives the servitor progressively on and on…’
Everyone is serving, there is no avoiding service. We must serve by nature and rasa is the taste that one gets from that service. The taste, the feeling, the mellow, as defined by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakura. The flavour, the mellow, the taste that one derives when he does service. In any service we do, there is a flavour, a feeling in the heart. There is flavour in the work and there a flavour in the reward. But here Srila Prabhupada points out a distinction between two different types of flavour or rasas: (1) one is Bhakti-rasa which is transcendental and (2) the other is any other rasa, mundane taste that comes from mundane service. They are completely distinct.
There is a great distinction in the sweetness because transcendental rasa is unbelievable, indescribable sweet. One can only describe it by analogies and similes and metaphors. Like in Bhagavad-gita in the 11th Chapter when Krsna exhibits His universal form to Arjuna, it says: “if one hundred thousands suns would rise in the sky at one time…”. One can get an idea of the effulgence of the universal form exhibited by Krsna. It is used something that we know to understand. We can imagine so many suns rising in the sky, so Krsna is using the ‘known’ to describe the ‘unknown’. Similarly using metaphors one can describe the sweet taste of Bhakti-rasa or Krsna consciousness. But actually it is indescribable for the material mind. [‘It is like an ocean of LSD’, Srila Prabhupada once said in the 22nd Avenue] Although one can give examples and metaphors and analogies to describe what love of Krsna is like or what the spiritual world is like, actually there is no way, at this point, that one can actually understand this sweet reality, this Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, this ocean of Bhakti-rasa, the sweet mellow or taste of devotional service. But Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada are going to describe it as far as possible.
The first thing to understand is that it is completely different from any mundane rasa. And the simplest way to understand is that: mundane rasa is temporary and the sweet taste that one can get from some mundane service is temporary. One may lose his wife, his children, his job, his dog. It is doomed, it is temporary. But ‘amrta’ means eternal. This is the first distinction between the sweet taste derived from loving Krsna and any other flavour exhibited in the material world. That Bhakti-rasa is eternal, it is Krsna’s internal energy. This is a simple and basic difference.
Also material taste or flavour is unsatisfying. Bhakti-rasa is completely satisfying.
There is the example of the businessman. He likes his work, the taste of it. He meets with his friends, they talk about their jobs, business, etc, etc… There is a taste, a sweetness in that. But one cannot do that day after day. It does not bring further satisfaction.
Therefore the phenomena of ‘bhoga-tyaga’ is there. One does something, he derives some taste, but in order to increase that taste or keeping or getting that taste, he must renounce doing that very same thing time to time. Therefore the businessman, five days a week, he has to do something else. He goes to the countryside, the beach, he stays at home, etc, but he cannot do the same thing everyday because it is ‘bhoga-tyaga’ it is not a satisfying taste for the soul. This is the second distinction between the mundane rasa and Krsna consciousness.
Rupa Goswami laments for not having thousands of tongues and ears so he could chant and hear the names of the Lord – the proof that the taste for chanting was increasing more and more. Not boring. One can practice twenty-four hours a day devotional service because the taste is so sweet. Mundane rasa does not endure long. There is a limit of how much one can be satisfied in mundane rasa even if there is a sweet taste.[Example: how much we can eat and enjoy ice-cream? A big cup, two, three perhaps a room filled with ice-cream? Definitely not! After a certain amount it will loose its taste. The tongue will loose its ability of deriving any happiness from it.] Material pleasure is ‘capala sukha’, it is temporary, limited. And ultimately it is temporary because we are going to die. In this way Bhakti-rasa being eternally present can truly satisfy the soul, while no mundane taste that comes from service can actually satisfy us. And how to get and cultivate that Bhakti-rasa is going to be described by Srila Rupa Goswami. This 2nd section of the Preface gives the distinction between Bhakti-rasa and mundane rasa, description of Bhakti-rasa, its glories and its results. In page ‘xvi’ we read: “This eternal engagement in Bhakti-rasa can be understood by a serious student upon studying ‘The Nectar of Devotion’. Adoption of Bhakti-rasa or Krsna consciousness will immediately bring on to an auspicious life free from anxieties and will bless one with transcendental existence, thus minimizing the value of liberation.”
It is interesting to know here what brings us to Krsna. This is a descending process as Srila Prabhupada explains (page ‘xiv’ last para): “Bhakti-rasa itself is sufficient to produce a feeling of liberation, because it attracts the attention of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Generally neophyte devotees are anxious to see Krsna or God, but God cannot be seen or known by our present materially blunt senses. The process of devotional service as it is recommended in the ‘Nectar of Devotion’ will gradually elevate one from the material condition of life to the spiritual status wherein the devotee become free, purified of all designations.
If one develops his Bhakti, his Krsna consciousness, than he will be able to attract the attention of Krsna. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta used to say: “Don’t try to see Krsna but act in such a way that Krsna will see you!”
What will attract Krsna’s attention? – One’s Bhakti, one’s devotion. And Bhakti-rasa is the sweet mellow or taste that one develops by his devotion to Lord Krsna. That is Krsna’s reciprocation – this rasa or taste with devotion. With that the devotee does his service.
How to cultivate the devotion? – this what ‘Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu’ is about – the ocean of devotional service or the sweetness of devotional service.
(3) In this last section of the Preface, Srila Prabhupada describes love and material considerations.
Ultimately Bhakti comes to the point of Prema, love of Krsna. Srila Prabhupada is going to describe that this loving propensity is very, very deep and it is natural for the living entity. But now this loving propensity is directed toward matter. Is directed toward our family, our mother, father, sisters, brothers, society, caste, countrymen, and even up to the degree of all humanity. Or even higher than that, all living entities in this world. But even to this point our loving propensity will not be satisfied unless one learns how to love Krsna. That consciousness is dormant within the living entity. Any other consciousness is artificial. And if we do love Krsna, automatically we will love all living entities, just as when we water the root of a tree, all the different parts of the tree will be watered. That works because all living entities are parts and parcels of Krsna. When one loves Krsna, automatically he loves His parts and parcels. And one sees (as explained in the Sri Isopanisad) all living entities in relation with Krsna, he sees them as His children and therefore his brothers and sisters.
Next topic is about material necessities. Because, naturally if one is thinking “yes I have to love Krsna, I cannot love those things in the material world”, then the next question is : “What about the material world, how should I deal with the material world? Should I become completely aloof, should I live in the Himalayan mountains? Should I live as a very austere babaji? Is that possible, should I be doing that?”
Here Srila Prabhupada answers those questions: “No! We don’t have to do that!” And in fact practically no body can do that – live a complete austere existence. Not with the modern materialistic culture as it is now. Rather we should understand that ‘the material comforts of life alone are not sufficient to make us happy’. And Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the USA where there is so much wealth, so much opulence…. So many people from other countries dream to go to America and also become happy, but the Americans are not so happy. If one who have something and is not happy how one who will get the same thing will be happy? That is just a dream.
Material facilities by themselves cannot make us happy. We must learn to love Krsna and develop our Bhakti-rasa – that only will make us happy.
How to deal with the material world, if we learn to love Krsna? – One may live without material discomfort but at the same time he should learn the art of loving Krsna. That is practical.
In our preaching movement we should learn how to use things in the service of Krsna and not for our sense gratification because that will not make us happy. Everything is Krsna’s and should be used in His service only. This will be explained by Rupa Goswami later on.
Summary of the Preface:
First the history of the ‘Nectar of Devotion’ was explained and it was described that the NOD is meant for the devotees of the Krsna consciousness movement, to situate them solidly in Krsna consciousness – it is the ‘Law book’.
Then Srila Prabhupada defines what Bhakti-rasa is and how it is different from mundane material rasa. How Bhakti-rasa is eternal, it satisfies fully the soul. Material taste that comes from service they do not satisfy us, they force us to leave them after some time and try something else.
But Bhakti-rasa is that thing which will satisfy the soul completely. And what is it? It is ‘love’! (That’s the last section.) It is love of Krsna. When the loving propensity that we all have is directed toward Krsna, then the soul can be happy and then he can have also the proper relationship of affection toward all living beings in the material world.
And how should we deal with the material world, the material facilities? We can live comfortably but we should understand that the material world cannot satisfy us. But we should live comfortably not artificially, without discomfort, and use everything in the material world in Krsna’s service. And thereby we can become Krsna conscious and in a very simple and easy way.
Srila Prabhupada (almost) ends his purport with: “specifically presented for persons who are now engaged in the Krsna consciousness movement.”
Invoking auspiciousness – ‘Sri Krsna jayate’. This is how Srila Rupa Goswami opens his book.
This Introduction is actually the beginning of Rupa Goswami’s ‘Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu’. Rupa Goswami has written this book for three reasons:
(1) The first reason – he was directly instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to write on pure devotional service. Mahaprabhu instructed him directly to do this service.
(2) The second reason – he wants to do the highest good for humanity. And the highest good is: engaging people in devotional service and bringing them to the platform of purity in devotional service and ultimately to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna.
(3) The third reason – he is writing this book to satisfy the thirst of the self-realized souls for Krsna consciousness. By the association of Rupa Goswami the devotees who are pure and have developed a thirst for Krsna consciousness, when they read ‘Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu’ they will feel great satisfaction in their hearts and their thirst will be satisfied.
For these three reasons Rupa Goswami is writing ‘Nectar of Devotion’ and he begins it with: ‘Sri Krsna Jayate’.
What does Rupa Goswami do and how Srila Prabhupada introduces things? He explains that Lord Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And the methodology to develop love for Krsna is the purpose of writing this book.
There are so many conceptions of what is the Supreme. Some people think that the Supreme is formless. Others think that the Supreme is God but they don’t know anything about God. Others think that the Supreme is the Paramatma. Others think that God is the controller. Others think that God is the ‘Great law-maker’. Others think that God is Visnu or Narayana… but here Rupa Goswami, following Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is explaining that the ultimate conception or understanding of God is Sri Krsna. Therefore Srila Prabhupada says: ‘Lord Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead’. He is the One who is the cause of all causes. He is the reservoir of all rasas – He embodies rasa. His body is composed of rasa. He is ‘Rasaraja’. Practically His pleasure is to engage in rasa. This is what Krsna does. (the ex. of the German scholar who went to India to find out who is the Supreme Lord. After seeing the different incarnations and demigods engaged in all sorts of activities and meditations and then by seeing Krsna just playing with His flute, he concluded that Krsna is surely the Supreme Lord. He has nothing to do, just to enjoy).
There are five primary rasas or relationships one can have with Krsna: neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood and conjugal. These, for a pure soul, they are eternal, they never change. And in addition there are seven secondary rasas, that come and go and add to the primary rasas. Rupa Goswami begins his book with one very nice verse:
radha-preyan vidhur jayati
“Let Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, be glorified! By virtue of His expanding attractive features, He subjugated the gopis named Taraka and Pali and absorbed Syama and Lalita. He is the most attractive lover of Srimati Radharani and is the reservoir of pleasure for all devotional mellows.” (CC Mad 8.142)
Krsna is the Supreme attractive form. Krsna means ‘all-attractive’. And by His universal and transcendental features He has captivated all the gopis headed by Taraka, Palika, Syama, Lalita and ultimately Srimati Radharani.
This is a very intimate information about Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All different points and aspects will be elaborately discussed and explained by Rupa Goswami.
Krsna is compared to the moon and Taraka and Palika, two gopis who are compared to the many stars in the galaxy. Just like when the moon is full, very bright, one cannot see the stars in the sky due to the luster of the moon. Similarly the luster of Sri Krsna, the transcendental attractive potency of Krsna has eclipsed the power of all the gopis and completely brought them under His control. This is Krsna.
Jiva Goswami in his ‘Sad-sandharbas’ has taken so much care and trouble to use sastric proof, specially from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, to show that it is Krsna who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He quoted so many verses from the SB to show that Krsna’s birth was not ordinary. And that Krsna is the primary name of God among so many other (secondary) names. He is the Lord of all the three worlds, and His beauty is beyond compare. He is all attractive. This is the meaning of Krsna.
From SB 10.29.40: “Dear Krsna, (the gopis are speaking) what woman from all the three worlds would not be deviated from the religious behaviour when bewildered by the sweet drawn out melody of Your flute. Your beauty makes all the three worlds auspicious. Indeed even the cows, birds, trees, and deer manifest the ecstatic symptoms of bodily hair standing on end, when they see Your beautiful form.” ‘Krsna’s beauty is without compare. He is the Supreme Lord. His spiritual body is manifested by His ‘svarupa-sakti’ or His internal potency. Krsna is the source of all avataras (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). Krsna is the refuge of all. Everything ultimately takes shelter of Krsna. Krsna is the embodiment of all rasas. Krsna is the Creator of universes. And He is the Creator of that Maya that makes all the universes and everything within them appear real, although they are not real. Krsna reciprocates completely with His devotees.’
These were quoted by Srila Jiva Goswami to show that only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Cause of all causes, is the only One who possesses all these qualities.
“The various groups of people on the arena regarded Krsna in different ways when He entered it with His elder brother. The wrestlers saw Krsna as a lightening bolt. The men of Mathura as the best of males. The women as Cupid in person. The cowherd men as their relative. The impious rulers as a chastiser. His parents as their child. The King of Bhojas saw Him as death. The unintelligent they saw the Supreme Lord’s universal form. The yogis saw Him as the Absolute Truth. And the Vrsnis as their Supreme worship able deity.”
Krsna alone possesses all these qualities and therefore is not an exaggeration to call Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada continues by saying: “Let His Lordship Sri Krsna, His grace be on us so that there may not be any hindrances in the execution of this duty of writing the ‘Nectar of Devotion’ impelled by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada.”
Then Srila Prabhupada offers his obeisances to the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Goswami and his own guru-maharaja for their inspiration in his compilation of the ‘Nectar of Devotion’. Then he offers obeisances to Lord Sri Caitanya. All this is done to create auspiciousness and to explain the purpose of his book. (2nd and 3rd para.page ‘xix’)
Then he explains Rupa Goswami’s offering of obeisances to his spiritual master Sanatana Goswami.
Sanatana has two meanings: one meaning is: “to Sanatana Goswami’s pleasure to whom Rupa Goswami dedicates his book.’ Another meaning is: ‘for the One who possesses a Sanatana or eternal body – that is Sri Krsna.’
Then, after offering obeisances to guru and Krsna, Srila Prabhupada offers his obeisances to the Vaisnavas, the acaryas. (page ‘xix’, 4th para., until “The sharks who dwell in the ocean do not care for the rivers which are gliding down to it.”)
The devotees, the great teachers, are like sharks for three reasons: (1) sharks only live in the ocean, they don’t go into the rivers which means the different paths (karma misra-bhakti, jnana misra-bhakti). The great devotees they don’t care for these rivers that merge into the ocean. They just live unto the ocean and taste that which is available in the ocean, they don’t go up unto the rivers. (2) They swim in the ocean and (3) they enjoy unlimited scope for their activities. That is the ocean or sindhu of bhakti-rasa. The great acaryas don’t care at all for the rivers of liberation, they are completely satisfied in the ocean of bhakti-rasa.
And the rivers that have been discarded are the different types of liberation. One of those, the sahujya-mukti, is completely discarded by all Vaisnavas. And the other four other kinds of liberation are also disregarded by the great Vaisnavas acaryas. They are only interested in bhakti-rasa.
Next Srila Rupa Goswami prays to his spiritual master, Sanatana Goswami to protect his ‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’ from two things: (1) the argumentative logicians who unnecessarily meddle in the science of service to the Lord. He compares their argu ments and logic to volcanic eruptions in the midst of the ocean. In the midst of the ocean, volcanic eruptions can do very little harm and similarly (2) those who are against devotional service to the Lord and who put foward many philosophical theses about the ultimate transcendental realization cannot disturb this great ocean of devotional service. The two things from which devotional service must be protected are: this logic – nyaya or taraka and another is mimhamsa philosophy. Purva mimhamsa is karma kanda. There are so many sastric quotes that give stress to karma mim hamsa and Rupa Goswami don’t want those people who suport that to interfere in his bhakti-rasa. Uttara mimhamsa is Vedanta-sutra and impersonalist philosophy.
In the beginning of the sandharbas, Jiva Goswami says that anyone who reads these books for any other purpose rather than the achievement of pure devotional service: “I’ll curse them!” Those who are not devotees should not meddle in these books.
In the beginning of the 3rd para. page ‘xx’, Rupa Goswami, although he is such a great scholar, he considers himself ajna, without knowledge. This is to set the example of how a preacher should be thinking and work. He should work in a very humble spirit. And Srila Prabhupada very sweetly explains: “That should be the atitude” (3rd para. page ‘xx’) That should be the mood of a preacher.
After Rupa Goswami had offered his obeisances and explained the purpose of his book, now he is going to describe the contents of the book. He begins his explanation (beginning of page “xxi”) of what pure devotional service is, because this whole book is about uttama bhakti, pure devotional service. But what pure devotional service is he is going to describe and define in one mantra, one sloka.
But just before that he is going to explain the entire con tents of the book. This Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu is divided into four parts and as the ocean is divided into North, South, East and West, beginning with the Eastern Side this Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu is divided into four parts: (1) Eastern Side, (2) Southern Side, (3) Western Side and (4) Northern Side. (see page 409 NOD)
1. The Eastern Side deals with bhagavad-bhakti-bheda (varie ties of devotional service). Practically speaking there is a ladder given in this side. There are four waves of this Eastern Side:
a) A general description of devotional service (chap 1 to 5 in NOD) – samanya-bhakti. This is a general description of what is devotional service and the stages of pure devotional service. Then there is a description of the three steps of the ladder.
b) Sadhana-bhakti, practice (from sraddha to ruci). This step is divided into two sub-divisions: vaidhi and raganuga.
c) Bhava-bhakti, and,
d) Prema-bhakti. Both are perfect pure, siddha-bhakti, pure devotional service, uttama-bhakti (from bhava to prema)
2. The Southern Side. In this division there are five differ ent parts – the five elements of rasa. Rupa Goswami is going to describe the ingredients or elements of rasa:(1) vibhava, (2) anubhava, (3) sattvika-bhava,(4) vyabhicari-bhava and (5) sthayi- bhava. This last one is the main ingredient. These ingredients are there when one is in the platform of bhava or prema.
3. The Western Side. The five primary rasas, mukhya bhakti- rasa: (1) neutrality, (2) servitorship, (3) friendship, (4) parental and (5) conjugal. These are the five different ways one can relate with Krsna and based on that on,
4. The Northern Side, gauna-bhakti-rasa, indirect loving relationships are described. There are seven additional rasas that come and go: (1) laughing, (2) astonishment, (3) chivalry, (4) anger, (5) compassion, (6) dread and (7) ghastliness.
Then which things go together or not go together (compatible and incompatible mixing of mellows). And at last, rasabhasa or perverted expression of mellows.
All this is a very complete and perfect description of rasa, the ocean of the sweet taste of purely relating with Krsna. The basis of this is pure devotional service.
For the rest of the Introduction, Srila Prabhupada has given Rupa Goswami’s explanation in one sloka of what is pure devotion al service. Then there is a second verse that is from the Narada Pancaratra which is used as reference by Srila Rupa Goswami.
The second part of the Introduction is simply an explanation of this verse:
silanam bhaktir uttama
“When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Krsna favorably, as Krsna desires.”
And the other verse has practically the same meaning:
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
“Bhakti or devotional service means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme Lord, there are two side effects: (1) one is freedom from all material designations and (2) simply by being employed in the service of the Lord one’s senses are purified.”
Let us analize the word for word meanings:
Anyabhilasita- sunyam, without desires other than those for the service of Lord Krsna, or without material desires (such as those for meat-eating, illicit sex, gambling, and addiction to intoxicants, etc.). Jnana, by the knowledge of the philosophy of the monist Mayavadis. Here jnana does not refer to perfect knowl edge in devotional service. Karma, by fruitive activities. Adi, by artificially practicing detachment, by the mechanical practice of yoga, by studying the Sankhya philosophy and so on. Anavrtam, uncovered. Anukulyena, favorable. Krsna-anusilanam, cultivation of service in relationship to Krsna. Bhaktir-uttama, first class devotional service.
And next we will analize the words of the second verse.
Sarva-upadhi, all designations. Vinirmuktam, free from all
desires or designations. Tat-paratvena, to be devoted to God. Nirmalam, being pure. Hrsikena, with the senses. Hrsikesa, of the Master of the senses. Sevanam, to serve. Bhaktih ucyate, this is called devotional service.
The verse ‘anyabhilasita sunyam…’ is in one sense the es sence of the entire ‘Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu’, because in this verse Rupa Goswami is defining pure devotional service. Rupa Goswami says that in order to have any discussion of Bhakti one first needs a definition and in the 11th verse (of BRS) he gives the definition. The 11th verse is called the ‘paribhasa-sutra’, or the verse which governs all the other verses in the all book or the verse which explains all the other verses in the all book. Like in Brahma-samhita the paribhasa-sutra is the first verse, isvarah parama krsna/ sac-cit-ananda- vigraha….
Most of the Introduction is devoted to explaining the 11th verse and in the rest of the book he is going to expand what happens in this ocean of the ‘Nectar of Devotion’. The ‘entry fee’ is pure devotional service. Obviously one has to learn clearly what is pure devotional service and what is not pure devotional service. Rupa Goswami has kindly given us his defini tion right in the beginning of his book, and he will expand this throughout the entire book. This is uttama-bhakti or love of Krsna of the highest quality – pure.
There are two parts of the definition of pure bhakti in this verse:
(1) one part is called svarupa-laksana, the direct symptoms (laksana) of pure devotional service. What pure devotional serv ice has.
(2) another part is called tatastha-laksana, the indirect symptoms of devotional service. What pure devotional service doesn’t have.
There are three elements in the svarupa-laksana:(1) anukulyena (anukulata), (2) Krsna and (3) anusilanam.
And there are two words defining indirect symptoms of devo
tional service or tathasta-laksana: (1) anyabhilasita-sunyam and
(2) jnana-karma adi anavrtam.
Pure devotional service is: (1) anukula, it is favorably performed, it is (2) anusilanam, an active cultivation direct towards (3) Krsna. These are part of the positive aspect or svarupa-laksana.
And the negative aspect or tathasta-laksana: (1) anyabhilasita sunyam (abhilasa means desires), all other desires than those for serving Krsna they are ‘zero’ (sunyam), and (2) jnana karma adi anavrtam (covering), no cover of jnana, karma or anything else (adi).
Let us have a more detailed explanation of the words of the svarupa laksana.
Krsna means that pure devotional service is given to Krsna only. It cannot be given to the demigods. Krsna means not only Vraja-mandala Krsna but also the Krsna of Mathura, Dwaraka, or Lord Narayana or anyone of the incarnations or expansions of Krsna. Bhakti is only meant to the Supreme Personality of God head, Sri Krsna and His incarnations and expansions.
Anusilanam. This means that it is an active ‘cultivation’.
Anu, continuous. The cultivation, the activity of pure devo
tional service is continuous and is active, doing something, not just meditating, There is service involved, because the soul by nature is active.
Krsna-anusilanam means that one is performing activities which cultivate or make his love for Krsna grow. Only to Krsna – this is pure devotional service.
The anusilanam, the activities of Krsna consciousness have two parts: (1) the positive, are performed in three ways:
a) with the body – we work for Krsna, etc. b) with the mind – we think of Krsna, etc. c) with the words – we chant His names etc.
(2) the negative, the prohibitions. E.g. the namaparadhas,
sadhu-ninda, seva-aparadhas, dhama-aparadhas, etc, either with one’s words, body or mind. This is the negative cultivation of Krsna consciousness (krsnanusilanam). They take place in the body, in the mind and in the words.
In a very advanced stage, the soul receives, by the mercy of Krsna, enlivenment in his relationship with the Lord, from his dormant state. And that sthayi-bhava (to be discussed later) will be acting in the sadhaka stage (practicional stage) through the body, words and mind. All these activities are krsna-anusilanam. These activities that awaken our Krsna consciousness and are actually Krsna consciousness, these are not of this world. They are not material (golokera prema-dhana hari nama sankirtana). As the holy name comes from Goloka-Vrndavana, the practices of Krsna consciousness they are not of this world, they are not composed of material elements. They are purely spiritual, or else how it would affect the heart?
This is suddha sattva, Krsna’s internal energy. Service to one’s guru that is krsna-anusilanam. Hearing, chanting, sadhu-sangah, etc, all the various practices of krsna-anusilanam will be discussed, described and expanded throughout the all book.
(3) Anukulyena or anukulata means favorable. One must perform activities that give pleasure to Krsna. The very nature of pure devotional service is that it is service. One has to give pleas ure to Krsna. Anukulata means that his mood has to be favorable, otherwise it is not pure devotional service. When Krsna fought with Canura the wrestler, did that bring pleasure to Him? Yes! And when Krsna fought with Bakasura expressing His chivalry, that was part of His dealings with His friends the cowherd boys. All these brings Krsna pleasure. But was the mood of Canura, Bakasura or other demons killed by Krsna, to give Krsna pleasure? Certain ly not! It was not anukula, favorable, it was envious. Therefore for one’s activities to be accepted as pure devotional service even if they bring Krsna pleasure, they must also be accompanied by a favorable mood of affection and devotion towards Krsna. That is the meaning of anukula.
Because the fighting with the demons gives Krsna pleasure they all attain liberation, but it should not be compared with the liberation attained by the devotees. The demons merge into the effulgence of the Lord whereas the devotees enter the planets of the Lord to render devotional service to Him. Putana was a very special case to be discussed later on.
We have another interesting question to consider now. When Mother Yasoda was feeding Krsna with her breast milk, the milk which was in the pot on the fire started to boil over. She put baby Krsna on the floor before He was satisfied by drinking her milk, and tended to the fire on the stove and the result is that Krsna became very angry and started to cry. Was Mother Yasoda engaged in pure devotional service? Because what she did doesn’t seem favorable to Krsna’s pleasure, in fact to the contrary Krsna became very upset and she was giving more importance to the milk on the fire than to Krsna. Was she engaged in pure devotional service or not? Her atitude was favorable but in the end Krsna was not pleased. We have been discussing two requirements: one is that the atitude of the devotee should be favorable and the other is that Krsna should actually be pleased. Before answering this question there is a recent example: a life-member of ISKCON, a big man in Bombay, he was telling how devoteed he was. Then he pulled out a little box from his pocket which had Tulasi leaves in it and he said that he never takes anything without first putting Tulasi leaves in it, even when he drinks tea he puts a Tulasi leaf in it. Is this devotional service? No! Although his atitude was favorable, he was thinking that he was doing service to Krsna, but ultimately Krsna was not pleased because he was not acting according to the injunctions of the scriptures. If one executes devotional service without following the injunctions of the scriptures, he will just create a disturbance. There are some deviant groups who think that they are devotees and claim that they are devotees but because they are not really following sadhu, sastra and guru, it is not favorable.
Coming back to our question: “Was Mother Yasoda engaged in devotional service when she neglected Krsna for the sake of the milk?” She was in vatsalya-rasa and in this rasa the parents have to dicipline the children, chastise or even punishing them, and the children have to do what the parents say. But here in this case there is another point to consider. It goes back to the definition of Krsna. Krsna does not mean just Krsna, it includes also His paraphernalea and His devotees. The milk for Krsna is also not different from Him, so by serving Krsna’s milk Mother Yasoda was also serving Krsna. Srila Jiva Goswami explain in this regard that actually the milk is a devotee of Krsna because in the spiritual world everything is spiritual, is conscious. The milk is a devotee of Krsna and he was thinking: “If Mother Yasoda goes on feeding Krsna with her breasts’ milk then I will never get the chance to do any service to Krsna. So let me boil over so Mother Yasoda will stop feeding Krsna before He is satisfied and then Krsna will drink milk from the pot.”
This also means that one has to have this anukula or favora ble mood towards Krsna’s representatives and anything connected with Krsna. That what Srila Prabhupada explains in the Introduc tion: “we are interested in the battle of Kuruksetra but we have no interest in any old battlefield. We are interested in this battlefield because is has a connection with Krsna. This anukula also, that one has to have a favorable atitude to anything con nected with Krsna, because anything connected with Krsna is worshipable. Serving Krsna’s paraphernalea is even higher than the service of Krsna (aradhananam sarvesam/ visnor aradhanam param/ tasmat parataram devi/ tadiyanam samarcanam – Padma Pura na).
In the higher rasas, the apparent conflits between the Lord and His devotees, all are meant to give more and more pleasure to Krsna. Once Uddhava visited Vrndavana when Krsna was still there and he saw Jatilla who plays the part of an old lady who is a sort of nasty with Krsna. Krsna detected that was some disrespect in Uddhava towards Jatilla and then He told Uddhava that “actual ly I find the words of the old ladies of Vrndavana, which are maybe a little nasty and sarcastic, more pleasing than the pray ers of the sages and demigods.” Inwardly Krsna actually enjoys more.
The other example given is that of ‘the man with the guns’.
When the King says: “Bring the centurion, the guard, over here immediatly!” When the guard comes he brings his guns as well, because the guns are included in the concept of guard. Similarly one has to have a favorable atitude for those things which are connected with Krsna. The concept of Krsna means Krsna and all His energies, His expansions, His form, His name, His associates, His devotees. All these are included in anukula.
One can only be serving Krsna in a favorable way, no unfavora ble things should be present. The demons are fighting with Krsna, they are bringing Krsna pleasure, but their activities are not favorable, their mood is not favorable, therefore their activi ties are not devotional service.
On the other end when Krsna is drinking from His mother’s breast and suddenly she sees the milk on the fire boiling over and she puts Krsna on the floor to tend the milk that seems not giving Krsna pleasure. Externally not but her mood is favorable and as we saw before the milk is part of Krsna.
This anukula, this internal favorable mood of the devotee, the bhava, this is what makes it devotional service. It is not just service – it is devotional service. It is seva. The difference is in the mood, the mentality, the anukula mood – doing things for the pleasure of Krsna.
In pure devotional service (anyabhilasita sunyam, jnana-karma
dy anavrtam/ anukulyena krsnanu-silanam), the anusilanam has to be towards Krsna, a favorable and sweet relationship in the devotee’s mind and heart, in his dealings towards Krsna.[Uttama-bhakti or pure devotional service goes from sadhana, bhava to prema.]
Let us see in detail the explanation of the second part of the verse, the tathasta-laksana, the secondary things – what cannot be there when pure devotional service is there. The svarupa-laksana tells what can be there and this tathasta-laksana tells what cannot be there.
(1) Anyabhilasita sunyam- that means that what become sunyam, zero is all other desires. If one wants to see whether he is practicing Krsna consciousness or not he should examine his consciousness or ask others to examine his consciousness to see if there are weeds like labha, puja, pratistha, etc. Is one trying to get ‘something’ from his devotional service or is one doing it just to please Krsna? Is one trying to get something material, is one trying to get worship from others? So many different weeds is possible to come. We want to practice uttama-bhakti, we don’t want to stay in the material platform, we want to be with Krsna. A pure devotee he doesn’t want even to get out of the material world, he doesn’t want liberation, he decries liberation. But he wants to be with Krsna – that is his prayer.
Anyabhilasita sunyam means that the desire of the pure devo tee is free from other desires. No other desire except service to Krsna.
There is a subtle difference between the words anyabhilasa and anyabhilasita. Anyabhilasa means desiring other objects. But Rupa Goswami prefered to use the word anyabhilasita which has a deeper meaning: ‘free from the inclination to even desire.’ For in stance, if one is sick with jaundice and he doesn’t feel eating, that is like anyabhilasa. He may free from the desire to eat but that tendence ‘to want to eat’ is still there within the heart, and as soon as the desease is gone it will manifest.
Anyabhilasita means, not only free from the desire for other things, but complete absence of the nature to even desire. This is uttama-bhakti.
But if someone prays to the time of death: “O Lord I am Your servant, please save me!”, is this anyabhilasita? The commenta tors say ‘yes!’. They are not so strict. This natural desire of a devotee to use things in Krsna’s service and in an extraordinary circumstance when the desire comes out (like in the time of death), that still not interfere with devotional service, being anyabhilasita sunyam. Someone may say that we also have some desire when we render ‘sadhana-bhakti’, that is to achieve ‘bhava-bhakti’ or ‘prema-bhakti’. Such desire to achieve higher stages of bhakti are not against the principles of pure devotion al service, because at every stage the basic principle is service to Krsna. Srila Prabhupada said that in Krsna consciousness everything is absolute: the means and the end is the same. The means is bhakti and the end is bhakti.
(2) Jnana, karma, adi, anavrtam. One has to be free from the desires for jnana, karma, yoga, astanga-yoga, artificial tapasya, etc (adi).
It has to be clear what jnana means. The desire to study our sastras is jnana but this type of jnana is favorable for devo tional service. That covering of jnana mentioned by Rupa Goswami means the jnana that covers the mood of devotional service. When one reads devotional sastra that is krsnanusilanam; that uncovers devotional service. If one is looking for jnana, to know that he is not the body and is immersed in that or if one is looking for jnana to hear about impersonal Brahman, that type of jnana covers devotional service, doesn’t help devotional service – therefore it is anavrta.
Karma in this case means fruitive work. Smarta following of ritualistic principles in the Vedas and other sastras – this is karma-anavrta, this covers devotional service. This type of activities has to be given up, but karma or activities of krsnan usilanam must be continued.
Knowledge of Krsna or jnana must be there, it is necessary.
How can one love Krsna without knowledge? From where comes the impetus to surrender to Krsna and serve Him? This type of jnana is not jnana-anavrta. The key is in the understanding of the word anavrta, covering. When jnana, karma or anything else covers the service of the soul to Krsna – that has to be removed. Temple worship, sankirtana, etc, is also karma but not the type that has to be given up, because it uncovers bhakti.
No rituals of sastra, karma-kanda, but temple worship. No Vedic yajnas, vairagya, astanga-yoga. This is not what is meant to be done by the devotees. But the mood is the essence of it. If one thinks that these things are needed for bhakti – that is a covering. Here, some interesting question may be raised. One devotee in Bombay asked Srila Prabhupada that if a devotee sees a man who is drowning, should he save him? The devotee is suposed to be engaged in unalloyed devotional service he is not supposed to mix with any other activity, so where does saving a drowning man come in the list of devotional activities? Should the devotee save him or not? Srila Prabhupada replied that in principle we should not save him because we actually have no business inter fering with people’s actions and reactions. Their actions and reactions will go on and by interfering we are not really helping them or doing anything good for ourselves either. Then Srila Prabhupada said that if we don’t save the drowning man people may criticize: “O, he is a devotee, he could have save the man but he didn’t, he has no compassion.”, and go on criticizing like this. Srila Prabhupada then said that there is another consideration called ‘loka-visara’, public sentiment. Sometimes a devotee will do something which is not strictly included in the category of devotional service out of consideration for public sentiment or public opinion so that people will not become hostile to the devotees and thus making harder for the devotees to preach them Krsna consciousness. Sometimes a person may do something that is actually in the category of material ritualistic activity, but if he does it for the sake of avoiding the criticism of ordinary people, or in other words, for the sake of preaching, that is not against the principles of devotional service. Say, if one’s father dies and one has to perform the rituals as an elder son, it is a ritual but it is not karma anavrta, that has not to be given up because if one doesn’t do it will bring so much criti cism to him. One can do it but in the right consciousness: “I am doing it just to please everyone but I don’t need to do this for my devotional service. But if the person thinks that without doing pious material work he cannot achieve bhakti, then that is against the principles of pure devotional service. If the person thinks that ‘if I don’t do some pious material activities some bad will come to me!’, that is also against the principles of pure devotional service. Because pure devotional service is completely independent, doen’t depend on any other process like jnana or karma or yoga. To the contrary, jnana, karma or yoga depend on bhakti for real success. All this ‘tathasta-laksana’ (anyabhilasita sunyam/ jnana-karmady anavrtam) shows the inde pendent nature of bhakti.
Uttama-bhakti must be continuous, that is the meaning of anusilanam (cultivation). It is not interrupted by any other activity, neither fruitive activity or impersonal speculation or mystic yoga or any other activity. Sometimes people occasionaly bow down in front of the Deity when they come to the Temple. Such activities when they accumulate can bring a person to the stage of bhakti. One cannot be said to be engaged in uttama-bhakti unless the cultivation of favorable devotional service is not unninterrupted and unmotivated. Uttama-bhakti is a very elevated position.
In order to back up his definition of pure devotional service,
Rupa Goswami quotes ‘Narada-pancaratra’:
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
Sarvophadi-vinirmuktam, free from all desires and designa tions. Tat-paratvena mirmalam, being devoted to God and serving Him in an aggreable faction (like anukulyena). Nirmalam, being pure, free from karma, jnana, etc… Hrsikesa, the Lord of the senses. Hrsikena , with the senses. Sevanam, serve. Hrsikesa hrsikena sevanam , serve the Lord of the senses with the senses. Bhaktir ucyate, that is bhakti.
Krsna is the proprietor of the senses and one should not use anything of the Master without the permission of the Master. Therefore the devotee takes permission from the Lord before he engages any of his senses. The permission may come through the devotees or through the scriptures or through the spiritual master.
There is no difference between this verse and the previous one.
(to be continued in File NOD2)
NECTAR OF DEVOTION
CHAPTER ONE – CHARACTERISTICS OF PURE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
Srila Prabhupada begins this Chapter quoting the 3rd Canto of SB., 29th Chapter, verses 12 and 13 where Sri Kapiladeva in structs His mother about the power and potency and all-attractiveness of pure devotional service. (page 3, 1st para.)
There are pure devotees engaged in krsnanusilanam, pure devo tional service and they have no desire for philosophical specula tion or material benefit (karma and jnana). These pure devotees are so satisfied with their pure service to Krsna thay they don’t want anything from Krsna. They are fully satisfied with that service. What a sweet taste that pure devotion might have! They don’t even beg to live in the abode of the Lord. ‘janma janmanisvare bhavatad ahaituki tvayi’ – Mahaprabhu prays: “Birth after birth I simply want causeless devotion unto Your lotus feet.”
The next paragraph expands the point that out of these five types of liberation one of them is immediatly crushed off – the sahujya-mukti or merging with the Lord. And the other four: living near the Lord, acquiring the Lord’s opulences, having a form similar to that of the Lord, becoming a personal associate of the Lord – these are also rejected by the purest of devotees because they are only interested in serving the Lord. This is the characteristic of pure devotional service.
Rupa Goswami after explaining the glorious nature of pure devotional service explains six different characteristics of devotional service. The rest of this chapter is an explanation of these six characteristics.
klesa-ghni subhada moksa-
sri-krsnakarsini ca sa
This verse is from B.r.s quoted in the purport to the verse of CC Mad 17:95. In that verse Candrasekhara laments the fact that he is living in Varanasi which is full of Mayavadis and he can’t get the association of devotees or Lord Caitanya. He says: “Due to my past deeds, I am residing in Varanasi, but here I do not hear anything but the words Maya and Brahman.” And Srila Prabhu pada in his purport says: “The word prarabdhe is important in this verse.
… In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is also said, durjatyarambhakam papam yat syat prarabdham eva tat, ‘according to one’s past deeds one takes birth on a lower platform.’…. There are three kinds of devotees: those who are actually eternally on the tran scendental platform (nitya-siddha), those elevated to the tran scendental platform by the execution of devotional service (sadhana-siddha) and those who are neophytes advancing toward the perfectional platform (sadhaka). The sadhakas are gradually becoming free from fruitive reaction.” This is a very important point because we read statements in the scriptures to the effect that just by chanting the holy names of Krsna once, one becomes free from more sins that one is able to commit. Or, by simply circumambulating Tulasidevi one becomes free from all sinful reactions even the sin of killing a brahmana, which is very seri ous. But here the devotee Candrashekara laments that due to his past misdeeds is stucked in Varanavasi without much association of devotees. And there is another verse quoted later in NOD under the heading “Expecting the Mercy of the Lord”. And the reference from the SB says that if the devotee goes on suffering the reac tions to his past misdeeds and goes on offering obeisances to the Lord without reservation than he earns the right to enter the Kingdom of God just like the son has the right to inherit the property of his father. And Srila Prabhupada explains that one should not expect, because he is engaged in devotional service, that he will immediatly free from all reactions. He should expect reactions to come but he should tolerate them and at the same time continue in Krsna consciousness with even more determina tion. Then again there are statements like Krsna’s statement in
Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya/ mam ekam saranam vraja/
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo/ moksayisyami ma sucah, if we just surrender to Krsna He will free us from all sinful reactions. Srila Prabhupada has extended Krsna’s statement in the Bhaga vad-gita to the spiritual master who is Krsna’s representative. When we surrender to the spiritual master at the time of initia tion we will become free from all sinful reactions.
The question is: are we free from all sinful reactions immedi atly when we surrender, or do we gradually become free?
Now Srila Prabhupada is giving some other hints that can help us resolve the question. He says: “when the devotee surrenders to Krsna, Krsna will take charge of the devotee sinful reactions and use the devotee’s sinful reactions for the best benefit of the devotee.” In other words, when a devotee surrenders to Krsna, even in the stage of sadhana, Krsna takes personal interest in the life of the devotee, but the devotee is not yet free from all material desires, he may still have some traces of material desires and Krsna wants the devotee to become free from such traces of material desires so that the devotee can advance to the higher stages.
One of the ways that Krsna helps the devotee is by putting him into difficulty, because when the devotee is in difficulty he remembers the Lord more, he becomes more serious about the proc ess of Krsna consciousness. We cannot say that this is exactly karma, because karma is just the automatic reaction that one gets to one’s sins. It is rather Krsna’s mercy administered to the devotee.
We have all experienced that when we exhibit some type of material desire or material attachment, Krsna may arrange some sort of difficulty to make us give up the attachment and become more attached to Him. This is actually the mercy of the Lord and when the devotee doesn’t resist or resent the Lord’s mercy but actually appreciates that mercy and takes the oportunity to become more serious about Krsna consciousness, then he actually becomes qualified to enter into the Kingdom of God.
The six characteristics of pure devotional service are:
(1) Klesa-ghni (dissolution of the causes of suffering) – pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress;
(2) Subhada (attainment of auspicious qualities) – pure devo tional service is all auspicious.
These two are the characteristics of sadhana-bhakti.
(3) Moksalaghutakrt – those in pure devotional service deride even the conception of liberation, because they have something else better than liberation.
(4) Sudurlabha – pure devotional service is very rarely achieved.
These two and the two previous ones are the characteristics of bhava-bhakti.
(5) Sandrananda-visesatma – pure devotional service situates one automatically in transcendental pleasure, ananda. It is different from anything else.
(6) Sri Krsnakarsini – pure devotional service attracts even Krsna. It is so powerful. How wonderful is prema-bhakti.
These two and the other four are characteristics of prema-
One can be practicing pure devotional service but still in the sadhana stage. Then he can devellop to the bhava and prema stages. On each of these three different stages, pure devotional service takes on different characteristics, more and more power ful. When we talk about someone who is a pure devotee we should now know what that means. He is practicing unmotivated pure Krsna consciousness, his desire is not for karma or jnana, ‘anyabhila sita sunyam’, he has no other desires than the practice of pure devotional service, and he is doing it just for the pleasure of Krsna (krsnasulinam). His devotional practices, his service, is done just to cultivate this Krsna consciousness for the pleasure of Krsna. And his mood is favorable. This pure devotional service may be on one of these three levels: (1) practicing (sadhana), (2) bhava-bhakti or (3) prema-bhakti.
Next Rupa Goswami discusses in detail everyone of these six characteristics of pure devotional service:
(1) KLESA-GHNI, releif from distress.
In his Madhurya-kadambini (chap 2) Viswanatha C. Thakura says:
“Having sprouted, growing upwards, that creeper (of devotional service) then unfurls two leaves, which are the splendour of sadhana-bhakti. The first leave is called ‘klesa aghni’ (dissolu tion of suffering) and the second is called ‘subha da’ (attain ment of auspicious qualities). The smooth upper surface of the two leaves, in a preeminent position by the characteristic of spontaneous greed for everything pertaining to the Lord, and by genuine affection for the Lord in a particular relationship (yesam aham priya atam sutas ca: ‘I am their own dear son’) is the jurisdiction of the king called raga. The rough lower surface of the leaves, being in a somewhat lower position because its activities are generated out of scriptural rules, and because spontaneous, deep affection for the Lord is lacking due to ab sence of a pure relationship with the Lord, is the domain of the king called vaidha. However, both raga and vaidha bhakti equally share the qualities of klesa ghni (disappearance of suffering and sin) and subha da (appearance of auspicious qualities).
The literal meaning of klesa is suffering or affliction, but here the meaning may be taken as ‘the causes of suffering’. These klesas are the cause of sinful and pious activities which result in material misfortune (unhappiness) or good fortune (material happiness).
Klesa is of five types:
i) avidya, ignorance. To mistake that which is impermanent to be permanent, to mistake that which is full of misery to be blissful and to mistake what is not the self to be the self.
ii) asmita, false ego, bodily identification of ‘me’ and
iii) raga, attachment, desire for material happiness and those means which will give it.
iv) dvesa, hatred, repulsion to unhappiness or the causes of unhappiness.
v) adhinivesa, attachment or absorption accrued through past births, to certain objects, to the means to attain them and to one’s body, and fear of death.” (end of quote)
The point how Krsna consciousness releives one from material distress is made even in Bhagavad-gita, because material dis tress has causes and these causes are two: (a) the sins them selves (papa) and (b) the reactions of sins commited in our past lives, the seed of sinful desire that is in the heart (bija). These are both causes of suffering.
But there is a third cause which is the ultimate cause: avi
dya, ignorance. Generally one commits sinful activities due to ignorance. This means that the ultimate cause of our being here in the material world is avidya or lack of knowledge in acting in our relationship with Krsna. And also attachment (due to avi dya) to the material body and its by-products. Srila Prabhupada used to say that suffering comes from sin and sin comes from ignorance. The way to remove suffering is to remove ignorance. What is the process for removal of ignorance which is the basis of sinful desires? (any desire for sense gratification is ulti mately sinful) Rupa Goswami has cited verses specially from the SB where it is explained that penances, austerities, charity, and other processes of atonement, can neutralize the sinful reactions but they cannot eradicate the sinful desire. Only bhakti can eradicate all sinful desires from the heart. He quotes the history of Ajamila.
Then there is an explanation of this chain of sinful reactions that devotional service removes. It is divided into two and later on is divided into four: (i) parabdha, manifested and (ii) apa rabdha, unmanifested.
In our heart, carried in the subtle body, there are unlimited stock of sinful reactions that we have and we don’t know anything about. They have not beginning manifesting yet. Just like someone is very happy and walking down the street, everything looks so nice and then… suddenly he is crushed by a car. Two minutes before that sinful reaction had not manifested at all, but it was coming very soon. So this aparabdha is all the sinful reactions that are stored from ulimited countless births that we are liable for in the future. And parabdha or the manifestation of those sinful reactions. Factually speaking our body is a manifestation of parabdha-karma, pious and sinful reactions.
In between aparabdha and parabdha there are other two stages:
kuta, the first tendency that enters into the consciousness, and bija, psychological disposition to do something.
Kuta (like a seed sprouting under the ground)- in this stage we haven’t done anything, we don’t want to do anything, but there is a slight tendency. Let’s say ‘I am walking, I am hungry and I see something that I want to eat but I don’t have any money. A little thought comes to my mind: I should just steal it! But then I say: no, no, no! I will not do it!’ That tendency is there.
Bija (like the sprout coming out of the ground) – someone has a tendency to steal, someone has a tendency to lie, someone has the tendency for illicit sex, etc… psychological disposition. This is due to one’s karma. One may take birth in certain place of family where his tendency for doing sinful acts is very much preeminent.
Parabdha (the fruits are ripe) – when we actually do some thing. We actually commit the sinful activity, and the reactions for that activity when they come they are also parabdha. And the sinful desires they are also reactions. Sex desire itself is a sinful reaction.
From unmanifest or immature to a little bit maturing, then almost mature and then mature, these are all sinful reactions.
Padma purana describes that devotional service is so powerful that removes all the stages one by one, starting with aparabdha.
By the practice of devotional service one’s sinful reactions disappear until parabdha. In this stage the reactions don’t disappear completely otherwise it means that we would die immedi atly, but they are minimized so the devotee may remain in this world and preach. We should see that anything that happens to a devotee is minimized sinful reactions that come to him. The example of the fan illustrates this: the plug is removed but yet the fan keeps turning. It is just a question of time and parabdha karma will be completely removed.
When the parabdha hits one and he tolerates then that reaction will be finished. If he reacts to it he will create further reactions. Tolerance is the means to counteract parabdha-karma.[Viswanatha C. Thakura has analized the eradication of the anarthas and he explains how they are eradicated gradually. It is true that when one surrenders to the process of Krsna conscious ness, in the stage of bhajana-kriya, the anarthas begin to be eradicated. He also explains different types of anarthas: some are due to past sinful activities, some are due to past pious activities (both are practically the same), some are due to weeds that arise when one begins to practice devotional service and some arise due to offenses, specifically nama-aparadha. All sorts of anarthas begin to be eradicated at the stage of bhajana-kriya. And the anarthas caused in the course of devotional service which we do imperfectly, they become completely eradicate at the stage of ruci. And the anarthas caused by past sins become completely eradicated at the stage of asakti, which come just before bhava.
But the effects of nama-aparadha, specially vaisnava-aparadha, are so deep and serious that they only become completely eradi cated at the stage of prema. Even in the stage of bhava which is the liberated stage, in which the devotee begins to have direct realization of Krsna, there are some disturbances in realization of Krsna and these are due to subtle effects from offenses, in particular from vaisnava-aparadha. But by the time we get to nistha which is the stage just after anartha-nivrtti, most of the anarthas are vanquished.]
By the mercy of pure devotional service, on a highest level specially, all sinful reactions are immediatly removed. This removal of karma on its different stages cannot be done through austerity, charity, ritualistic ceremonies, etc. They can coun teract reactions but they cannot remove the seed from the heart as pure devotional service can. The story of Ajamila (described in the 5th canto of SB) was told to Maharaja Pariksit when he was questioning about the possibility of being freed from the different hellish conditions through the different processes of atonement. Atonement could counteract sinful acts but how could the desire to commit further sins be removed completely from the heart? This story of Ajamila illustrates how by the process of chanting of the Holy Name that could be possible. Not by atonement which is compared with the bath of the elephant who after bathing himself very nicely in the water, roles in the dust.
Sukadeva Goswami explains that the chanting of the holy name does nulify the sinful reactions but beyond neutralizing sinful reactions, it gives rise to bhakti which destroys ignorance which is the basis of sinful desire and thus the all process of sinful actions and reactions can be stoped.
Even though the full realization of transcendental bliss comes at the last stages, in the beginning stages, when one becomes freed from sinful reactions, he begins to experience some bliss.
Then there is the quote of the Padma Purana: “Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness is the highest enlightenment and when such enlightenment is there it is just like a blazing forest fire, killing all the inauspicious snakes of desire.” This means that it is killing on earlier levels than parabdha karma.
Sinful desires go (klesa aghni) and auspiciousness (subha da) comes. Klesa aghni is releif from all distress. Also means releif from all karma, not only distress but pious actions too.
(2) SUBHADA, pure devotional service is all auspicious, it bestows all good fortune on all living entities. All auspicious means activities beneficial for every living entity.(the story of Lord Caitanya passing through the forest of Jarikhanda and all the wild animals also joining the chanting of the holy names and dancing in ecstasy.) This is a quality also exhibited in the stage of sadhana-bhak ti. “Subhada, attainment of auspicious qualities, consists of such qualities as disinterest in material affairs, interest in the Supreme Lord, friendliness to the Lord, mercy, forgiveness, truth, simplicity, equanimity, fortitude, gravity, respect, humility and pleasing to all. This is proven by such verses as ‘sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah…’ (all the qualities of the devatas are present in the devotee)” [quote from Madhurya kadambini of Srila Viswanatha C. Thakura] Jiva Goswami describes how Krsna consciousness is all-auspicious in four ways:
i) A devotee who has attained pure devotional service even on the sadhana level is a blessing to the world. Only Krsna con sciousness can bless the world with what it wants: peace, pros perity, happiness, freedom from anxiety…etc. Not the United Nations, not television, not computers, not scientific advance ment, not anything other than Krsna consciousness can bless the world with what it needs.
ii) A devotee even at the stage of sadhana becomes very at tractive to the world, because it is understood that one who is engaged in pure devotional service to the Lord is doing the best service to the world. Such devotee attracts with his purity the all world. Not even in human society but also attracts the ani mals and other living entities.
iii) A devotee just by performing bhagavat-bhakti, pure devo tional service, he devellops all the qualities of the demigods, all the good qualities (sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah…). Someone who is not a devotee cannot have any good qualities because he is just ‘travelling on the mental platform’ without any spiritual grounding.
iv) There is basically three kinds of happiness and we can add a fourth one (done by the commentators):
(a). material happiness or sense gratification,
(b). happiness that comes from merging in the Brahman,
(c). Krsna consciousness happiness and,
(d). happiness coming from the siddhis or mystical perfec tions. This kind of happiness is often included in the category of material happiness. Srila Prabhupada explains that most of the perfections achieved by the yogis were also achieved by material istic scientists. The happiness derived from Krsna consciousness can not be compared with the happiness in (a),(b) and (d) cases. One cannot be happy in the Brahman because due to the impure intelligence there is always a risk of falling down. They fall down and open illusory hospitals to cure the illusory deseases of their illusory bodies and they remain always in illusion, in maya therefore they are called mayavadis. (The impersonalists are always in anxiety to get their daily capatis). Srila Prabhupada explains that the mayavadis have to fall down from their position because they get lonely. They want some type of relationship and realization and happiness. And what happens is that they fall into the material world and engage in some social welfare activities. If they were on that platform of real happiness they would not come to the material world again. There is the example of the Kumaras and Sukadeva Goswami. Sukadeva Goswami left home and his father sent out two slokas to him. One of the slokas described about ‘who is more merciful than Krsna, because Putana came to Krsna to give Him milk but she had smeared her breasts with poison, and still Krsna gave her the liberation of becoming like His nurse?’ When Sukadeva Goswami heard this verse he immediatly came back to hear Srimad Bhagava tam and gave up his impersonal liberation. And the Kumaras they were also situated in the Brahman and when they were visiting Vaikuntha, they smell the aroma, carried by the breeze, of the Tulasi leaves at Narayana’s lotus feet, their consciousness became agitated and attracted to Krsna and they became devotees. The example of Krsna consciousness’ happiness is shown in the example of Kolavecara Sridhara. When he received the blessings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu who asked him what he wanted, he an swered: “I don’t want anything, I have Your devotional service and that is what I want!” Krsna consciousness brings one so much happiness and contente ment like nothing else can. This is the power of pure devotional service even at the stage of sadhana-bhakti.
3)MOKSALAGHUTAKRT. This is of the quality of bhava-bhakti. “That is the position of the pure devotees. If they can be engaged 24 hours each day in devotional service they do not want anything else not even the happiness of liberation or of becoming one with the Supreme.” And all the other four types of liberation they are not desirable by the devotees. The bhaktas they don’t desire even the other four kinds of liberation.
4) SUDURLABHA. This is another quality of bhava-bhakti. Devo tional service is so rare, is very difficult to attain. Krsna may promise one anything, He is very clever and cunning. “You want liberation? – here is liberation!, You want sense gratification? here is sense gratification! You want to go to Vaikuntha? – OK! You want to be in My planet? OK!, You want to have close associa tion with Me? – fine!”. Krsna will promise and offer anything before He gives vraja-bhakti. But one should not take anything from Krsna. One should hold out for Krsna’s most intimate service. There are two reasons why this quality of siddha-bhakti, perfectional devotional, service is so rare:
i) Krsna holds it back. He doesn’t award it very easily. He will promise anything and He will give anything before He gives bhava-bhakti. Krsna doesn’t award this perfection very easily. It is very, very rare.
Srila Prabhupada explains that, because Krsna doesn’t agree to award devotional service to merely anyone, one needs His de scending mercy which comes through the mercy of a devotee. There is nothing one can do to get this bhava-bhakti on his own. It is beyond the power of the jiva soul. It is the descending mercy of the Lord through His devotees. The Lord gives the power of attor ney to His devotee to give this bhava-bhakti, the krpa-sakti. Aspiring by oneself alone to achieve pure devotional service it is not very hopeful. One needs the mercy of a devotee.
ii) One may practice devotional service in a mechanical way for thousands and thousands of years and if he doesn’t practice it with asakti and ruci (attachment and taste), Krsna has no inclination to give this bhava-bhakti to him. One needs attach ment and greed. One must really want to serve Krsna. If one devellops this taste and attachment, spontaneity of service, and likes it and cultivates it – that will incline Krsna to give him His bhava-bhakti. But He will test the devotee and holds it back, His bhava-bhakti, because He doesn’t agree to give it very easi ly.
One may get discouraged thinking ‘this pure devotional service on this calibre, is so rare, I will never get it!’, but Jiva Goswami says that one should increase his hearing and chanting in good association of devotees. Then if one practices properly, then it can be easily obtained.
From bhava-bhakti to prema-bhakti it is very easy. Bhava-bhakti is called ‘the seed of prema’. It is very easy relatively. Just get rid of the anarthas to somehow or other attract Krsna’s mercy.
In bhava-bhakti one begins to have direct realization of Krsna. It is completely on the platform of suddha-sattva. In this stage there is a descent of hladini-sakti and sandini-sakti from Krsna or from His eternal associates and by such mercy one devel lops ecstatic feelings for Krsna and with such intense feelings we will get a glimpse of the form of Krsna, will catch the sound of Krsna’s anklebells, he gets a glimpse of the transcendental presence of Krsna and of his relationship with Him. But it is not continuous, there are interruptions, he will get a glimpse and then disappear. In prema-bhakti comes to the stage where he attains Krsna’ s lotus feet and he enters the pastimes of Krsna. The difference between the two is only the effects of aparadhas which are yet present in the stage of bhava.
5) SANDRANANDA-VISESATMA. This is a quality of prema-bhakti. Srila Prabhupada explains that the happiness of Krsna conscious ness, of prema-bhakti, cannot be compared with anything in the material world. Rupa Goswami says that if brahmananda, or the happiness of becoming one with the Supreme, is multiplied by one trillionfold, it still cannot compare to an atomic fraction of the happiness derived from the ocean of devotional service (prema-bhakti). “Such a transcendental devotee regards any kind of happiness other than devotional service, as no better than straw in the street.” This is the goal of Krsna consciousness.
6) SRI KRSNAKARSINI, pure devotional service attracts even Krsna. This characteristic of pure devotional service comes in prema. Srimati Radharani is the epitome of pure devotional serv ice, of the lhadini-sakti. She is so powerful in devotional service and She even attracts Krsna, therefore she is called Madhana-mohana-mohani, the ‘attractor of the attractor of Cupid’. To perform devotional service means to follow the footsteps of Srimati Radharani. very conditioned soul is attracted by the material energy and the main attraction of the material energy is Cupid or madhana, the demigod encharge of lust. If the devotee wants to become free from the influence of madhana or lust, he must render service to the Deity of Madhana-mohana (Krsna). The arrows if Cupid are so strong that if someone is struck by one of such arrows, he will fall in love with some person even if that person is very ugly. Once Cupid came to Vrndavana with the idea of piercing Krsna with his arrows. He came nearby the place where Krsna was performing rasa dance with the gopis. Whenever Madhana tried to fix his aim on Krsna one of the gopis would come. And as he would try to shoot Krsna, he became so enchanted by the beauty of Krsna and of the gopis that he completely forgot everything, he dropped his bow and arrows and fell down in ecstasy. The all material world is under the influence of Cupid, or the influence of sex desire, but Cupid himself becomes attracted by Krsna. We cannot become free from the influence of Madhana unless we become attracted by Madhana-mohana. The karmis, jnanis and yogis have very much difficult to become free from the sex attraction but the devotee by serving the Deity of Madhana-mohana in the temple, he becomes free from the attraction of lust. That is how powerful Krsna’s attraction is. And the All-attractive Krsna is attracted by Srimati Radharani therefore She is called Madhana-mohana-mohini. Srimati Radharani is the internal potency of Krsna which is fully manifested from the stage of prema onwards. When the devotee comes to the stage of prema, the Lord becomes controlled by the devotee and He reciprocates with the love of the devotee. When such a devotee sees Krsna and he has such an intense desire to serve Him and taste the nectar of Krsna’s direct service, then the Lord thinks: “I should not hold Myself back but I should give Myself fully to My devotee!”. Srila Prabhupada told some of his disciples that in India there is a bird called cataka and the devotee is compared with this bird. Such bird only takes water from the clouds, therefore he is always looking up to the sky waiting for any drop of water. The meaning of this comparison is that the devotee will only take mercy from Krsna. Even if the cloud thunders or gives lightening,the cataka bird will not accept water from any other source, the cataka will stay with the cloud. The devotee also, he will take mercy from Krsna. Even if Krsna doesn’t give mercy, but He gives lightening and thunder, still the devotee will never leave Krsna to go look for mercy in the material world.That is in the begin ning – that we only want Krsna’s mercy, we don’t want any other shelter except Krsna. But when we become more advanced, after becoming free from anarthas, and actually desire to serve the Lord in a particular relationship, then we don’t want any other mercy except to serve the Lord in that particular relationship. We don’t accept any other type of mercy either. When Krsna sees that the devotee is so attached to Him and to serving Him in a particular way, then Krsna decides that He wont hold Himself back from the devotee but He will give Himself to the devotee. And how He gives Himself to the devotee? He investes the devotee with His krpa-sakti, one of the potencies included in the internal potency (within the lhadini-sakti). And when the devo tee become invested with this krpa-sakti, then Krsna becomes so attracted to him that He becomes subservient of His devotee. Normally, being attracted to someone is considered weakness and in Krsna there is no weakness, but by influence of krpa-sakti within the devotee, Krsna starts to show weakness, He becomes attracted to the devotee. If someone makes a mistake, an error, that is one of the qualities of the conditioned soul, but when Krsna gives krpa-sakti then Krsna becomes so bewildered by the attraction of the dovotee, that He also makes mistakes. And the best devotee is Srimati Radharani. Once by seeing Srimati Radharani, Krsna became so attracted that He begin to milk a bull, instead of a cow. That type of bewilderement of Krsna is affected by the internal poten cy and specially Srimati Radharani. Those who follow Srimati Radharani and the eternal associates of Krsna, coming to the stage of prema, they also get a special mercy of Krsna, krpa-sakti, by which they become so attracted to Krsna that He becomes bewildered, He commits mistakes, He becomes subjected to all sorts of transcendental weaknesses like anger, lamentation, fear…. He becomes affraid of Mother Yasoda’s stick. The devotees in prema-bhakti attract Krsna. Practically they control Krsna. They can drive Krsna mad. They have Krsna acting like a pupet on their hands. Krsna acts as the charioteer of Arjuna, a mere servant. He acts as a messanger of Yudhisthira. What to speak of Krsna’s relationship with His devotees in Vraja.
The words in the B.r.s. that describe ‘attracting Krsna’ is sri krsnakarsana. The word sri indicates the associates of Lord Krsna. Not only does Krsna become attracted to the devotee but also His associates become attracted. Therefore Krsna reveals Himself to the devotee in the stage of prema. Then He also re veals His associates and His dhama to the devotee and they are also attracted by the devotee and they want to establish rela tionship with him.
Rupa Goswami describes: “Even a little taste for this pure devotional service is like a passport that will help us to under stand bhakti.” On the other end, argument (nyaya), or any other method will not help us at all. We need the sastra to understand everything.
THE FIRST STAGES OF DEVOTION
(This chapter is part of the Eastern Side of the ocean of devotional service, 2nd wave)
In pure devotional service there are three different parts:
1) devotional service in practice (sadhana-bhakti). The two qualities of sadhana-bhakti: klesa-ghni and subhada.
2) devotional service in ecstasy (bhava-bhakti). The qualities of bhava-bhakti: klesa-ghni, subhada plus moksalaghutakrt and sudurlabha.
3) devotional service in love of God (prema-bhakti). The qualities of prema-bhakti: klesa-ghni, subhada, moksalaghutakrt, sudurlabha, plus sandrananda-visesatma and sri krsnakarsini.
Sadhana-bhakti, bhava-bhakti and prema-bhakti can all come under the category of uttama-bhakti if one has no other desire but to serve Krsna. The anarthas that one may have in the lower stages they don’t constitute impediments unless we act on them. If one doesn’t listen to one’s senses or mind and just listen to guru and Krsna, then he will be practicing pure devotional serv ice. [These glorious qualities of pure devotional service will be explain in more depth as the Nectar of Devotion unfolds.] What is it that allows one to take up sadhana-bhakti? The same point will be discussed in the next chapter, but here it is mentioned briefly. The answer given is very simple: ‘it is a taste!’. If someone has taste (here taste means sraddha, a combi nation of faith and attraction), then he is eligible to make further progress in devotional service. In the third chapter there is a discussion in more detail about sraddha.
That taste is more or less eternally with the soul once he ac quires it. And if one is not picked up in one life, he will continue it, looking for devotional service, being attracted to devotional service in his next life – that is continuity.
The point is made that when one comes to devotional service is because he started in his previous life.
This leads to a very interesting question: Does that mean that one ever begins devotional service, it is always coming from a previous life? That taste can be given because it is obvious that if it is coming from a previous life there must be some previous life, even ten lives ago, hundred lives ago, millions of lives ago…where one acquired that ruci or taste for devotional serv ice that he is carrying from birth to birth. And that is given by the association of devotees, by the mercy of a pure devotee. Krsna consciousness even at the sadhana stage is attractive. Somehow or other someone becomes attracted to Krsna. Somehow or other through some association that taste is put in his heart. And practically speaking when one gets a taste for Krsna con sciousness it is just a matter of time before that taste will mature into love of Krsna. It will be maybe after long time or after a very short time, it depends on one’s sincerity. Is is just a matter of time in any case. Once one gets that taste it will mature because of the continuity of Krsna consciousness.
On the other hand that taste will bring one to the lotus feet of Krsna – this is similar to the statement of last chapter, ‘even a little taste of bhakti is like a passport to understand ing all of bhakti.’ Just like a passport allows one to enter into other countries and travel, similarly that taste which is the taste for hearing the Bhagavatam, Krsna-katha and other bhakti sastras, that taste is the passport which allows one to enter into higher and still higher realms of Krsna consciousness.
That taste should be cultivated and cultivated and cultivated…. On the othe hand if one adopts another process, not a bhakti process, but something like nyaya or argument, there is no hope or garantee that that process will ever plant the taste for Krsna consciousness in his heart.
After explaining these simple points, the progression of Krsna consciousness from sadhana-bhakti to bhava-bhakti until prema-bhakti and how does one begin through this taste which carries from previous lives, or is given at some point or another by a pure devotee, and how it impossible to achieve entrance into Krsna consciousness in another way, Rupa Goswami is going to describe exactly what is sadhana-bhakti. (3rd para. page 20, beginning with, “Practice means employing the …”, until, “… in practical devotional service”.) This is the meaning of sadhana-bhakti. Next quote is from CC Mad 22:105: “When transcendental devo tional service, by which love for Krsna is attained, is executed by the senses, it is called sadhana-bhakti or the regulative discharge of devotional service. Such devotion eternally exists within the heart of every living entity. The awaken of this eternal devotion is the potentiality of devotional service in practice.”
The activity by the senses and mind which brings about the
goal of bhava – that is the definition of sadhana. When one engages in practical devotional service with the senses and the mind and by such practices bhava-bhakti or prema-bhakti is aroused – that is sadhana-bhakti. This love is eternally existing and to awaken it in the heart, that is the purpose of sadhana.
Sadhya means the goal; sadhana means the practice to attain that goal. Sometimes only two divisions of devotional service are given: (1) sadhana or practice and (2) sadhya or achievement of the goal. Both bhava and prema are included in sadhya – the achievement of the goal. Srila Rupa Goswami has made a distinc tion between bhava and prema because there are some disturbances, created by the effects of aparadha, in the stage of bhava.
One may conclude that prema is created by sadhana but accord ing to Lord Caitanya prema already exists in the heart in a dormant stage and by sadhana is not that prema is created, prema is awaken, uncovered. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the child who has in him the capacity to walk but in the beginning he practices it by crowling, standing, walking, but he has in him the propensity to walk and when that capacity is evoked then he can walk and doesn’t even think about it. In the beginning we practice (sadhana) devotional service but when the innate capaci ty to serve and love Krsna is awaken, then it becomes natural.
The scriptures tell us that if we want to be fearless at the time of death, we should chant and hear about Krsna and remember Him. But if someone has spontaneos attraction, he will want to hear and chant about Krsna without being told any of the benefits of it. In the material world we are all full of fear and all sorts of sufferings and we want to become free from that, so we hear from the revealed scriptures that by engaging in devotional service we can become free from suffering so we engage in devo tional service. But if someone takes pleasure in devotional service, than he will want to engage in devotional service even if he is not convinced by the sastras of the benefit, because he has natural liking.
“Because the living entities are minute atomic parts and parcels of the Lord, devotional service is already present within them in a dormant condition. Devotional service begins with sravanam, kirtanam, hearing and chanting. When a man is sleeping he can be awaken by sound vibration, therefore every conditioned soul should be given a chance to hear the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, chanted by a pure vaisnava. One who hears the Hare Krsna mantra thus vibrated he is awaken to Krsna consciousness and in this way one’s mind gradually becomes purified as stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘ceto darpanam marjanam…’. When the mind is puri fied the senses are also purified and instead of using the senses for sense gratification, the awaken devotee employs his senses in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. This is the proc ess by which dormant love for Krsna is awaken.”
There are many quotes from the different sastras like SB that illustrate these points. Srila Rupa Goswami has gone through the different sastras to compile his book and he is quoting sastra very often to back up his statements.
From SB 7.1.32: “Narada Muni to Maharaja Yudhisthira: My dear King one has to fix his mind on Krsna by any means.” This is the essence of rules and regulations of sadhana-bhakti.
And Srila Prabhupada comments: “It is the duty of the acarya, the spiritual master, to find the ways and means for his disciple to fix his mind on Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti.” And he continues (page 21, 3rd para.).
Not only should we know the definition of sadhana-bhakti as engaging the senses in the practices of devotional service to Krsna for the purpose of awakening bhava-bhakti, love of Krsna, but we should know what the essence of the practice is. The essence is: always remember Krsna,never forget Krsna. And this is not possible to do unless one is pure.
This sadhana-bhakti is divided into two parts:
1) Vaidhi-bhakti – following rules and regulations. It is when one is doing his devotional service because he has been ordered to do by the Sastras. Everything he does from waking early in the morning, attend mangala arotik, chant sixteen rounds, collect flowers for the Deities, etc…, everything has been done on order. The impetus to perform devotional service is coming from external sources – the sastras.
Someone who is engaged in regulated devotional service, rising early in the morning, worshiping the Deity and follow all the principles, at some stage or gradually, he devellops more and more liking for those activities. And then he will do these activities with spontaneous eagerness or spontaneous apprecia tion. That has been described as a combination of vaidhi with raganuga. But this spontaneous liking for the practices of devo tional service is not the actual definition of raganuga-bhakti. There is something more that brings one to the platform of raga nuga-bhakti.
2) Raganuga-bhakti- spontaneous practice of devotional serv ice. It is not that the devotee is not following the sastras but his impetus for performing his activities in Krsna consciousness comes from his spontaneous inclination.
We should have mixtures of both vaidhi and raganuga in us, because often in the practice of our devotional service according to the sastras, spontaneous feelings come to us. Those spontane ous feelings are elements of raganuga in our devotional service. And this should be cultivated. We should want to become attracted to Krsna and to serve Him with our heart, not because we are ordered to do so but because we love Him. This is a very high platform.
Vaidhi sadhana-bhakti are rules and regulations from the sastras. And there are so many rules and regulations and their practice will purify one and will bring him to the stage of bhava-bhakti.
(see page 22. last para. and page 23, 1st para.)
All the rules and regulations are simply servants of the basic regulation which is ‘always remember Krsna, never forget Krsna’. There are certain positive injunctions and certain negative injunctions in the scriptures. A positive injunction, by example, will be that a brahmana should take a bath three times a day and do his worship. An example of a negative prohibition would be that one should never kill a cow. But if one always remember Krsna he will get the benefit of doing all the other positive prescriptions, like taking bath and performing so many rituals, and if one forgets Krsna he will get the reactions for doing all sorts of prohibited activities. This shows how important is to always remember Krsna and how bad forgeting Krsna is.
The quote from Padama-purana says:
smartavyah satatam visnur
vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur
etayor eva kinkarah
“Krsna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be remem bered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibi tions mentioned in the sastras should be the servants of these two principles” But Viswanatha C. Thakura is very merciful. ‘In this verse, He says that the sanskrit word satatam doesn’t mean ‘always’ in the conditioned state, because in that state we cannot always remem ber Krsna. He says ‘satatam’ means ‘at least daily’. But Srila Prabhupada has given us the strict interpretation of the verse, since the goal is always to remember Krsna and never forget Him.
If one forgets Krsna is equal to violating all of the prohi bitions in the Vedas, so the punishment is – he goes to hell.
When one is taking up Krsna consciousness and is trying to chant and hear about Krsna, is trying to remember Krsna for the purpose of following sastras which say: “Krsna will protect you from the fear of death”. That is clearly vaidhi.
Raganuga means that one is hearing and chanting because one is attracted to Krsna, not trying to be save from death.
In CC Mad 22:11 it says: “From the mouth of Brahma, the brahminical order has come into existence (now he is talking about varnasrama). Similarly from his arms, the ksatriyas have come; from his waist the vaisyas have come, from his legs the sudras have come. These four orders and their spiritual counter parts, brahmacari, ghrastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasi, combine to make human society complete. If one simply maintains an arti ficial position in the four varnas and asramas but not worship the Supreme Lord Visnu, he falls down from his puffed-up posi tion, into a hellish condition. Krsna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be remembered and never forgotten in any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should be the servant of these two principles.” All the rules of varnasrama are meant to help us to always remember Krsna and never forget Him. The essence of varnasrama is to please Krsna. The all Vedic society is ultimately set-up so that Krsna is remembered and pleased. The purpose of varnasrama rules and regulations (and there are thousands of them) for each of the different divisions is sadhana-bhakti, to devellop Krsna consciousness, love of God. If one follows perfectly the rules and regulations of Varnasrama-dhama, all his life, but he forgets Krsna, then he goes to hell. Varnasrama is not bad but forgetful ness of Krsna is bad. If one is just Krsna conscious, he will get all of the happi ness that he can get by following all the positive injunctions of the Vedas because the general result of following such injunc tions is that one becomes happy. Karma-kanda means that one becomes happy in this life and in the next. And if one is not Krsna conscious than he gets all the reactions of violating all the prohibitions. And to sum-up Srila Rupa Goswami quotes from Narada pancaratra at page 27. When we surrender to the spiritual master and begin the execu tion of regulative devotional service – that is bhajana-kriya. Then there is the stage of anartha-nivrtti, the vanquishing of the anarthas. Then there is the stage of nistha, steadiness, because the anarthas are greatly reduced, they don’t disturb much. Then comes ruci, where there is real taste, without any distractions. In this stage we have more taste for devotional service than anything else. Raganuga-bhakti can begin in this stage or in the next stage. It comes at the advanced end of sadhana-bhakti – this is the advanced stage of madhyama-adhikari. Then comes the stage of bhava which thickens in the stage of prema. But the chanting, hearing and remembering continues all through these stages.
– ELIGIBILITY OF THE CANDIDATE FOR ACCEPTING DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
Srila Rupa Goswami quotes one verse that describes the eligi bility the candidate:
yadrcchaya mat kathadau
jata-sraddhas tu yah puman
na nirvinno natisakto
The word by word say: yadrcchaya, by some good fortune; mat katha-adau, in talks about Me; jata-sraddhah, has awaken his attraction; na-nirvinnah, not falsely detached; na atisaktah, not too attached to material existence; bhakti-yoga’asya siddhidah, he can engage in devotional service and attain perfection. One should not be too detached and not too attached to materi al existence. How is it so? Everyone has some degree of attachment and detachment. If someone has too much attachments and not enough detachment, he will not be interested in devotional service, he will become a karmi. And if a person has too much detachment and no attachments (even attachmet to the material world) that is not good. If someone has no experience of material affection, love for family, friends, or whatever, then how he will understand the principle of attachment to Krsna? He should have some attachments to the material world before he comes to Krsna consciousness, otherwise he will not understand the principle of attachment to Krsna. If someone has experience of affection to family, friends, etc, then he just has to transfer his attachments to Krsna.
But if someone has no attachment, only detachment, then he will go for jnana and consequently mukti. That has been proemi nent in India, in the past, they were too much in the mood of detachment therefore they went to Sankaracarya.
In order to take to devotional service one has to have some attachment and some detachment and attraction for Krsna-katha.
But where does the attraction come from? How does the attrac tion appear in some and not in others? That comes in the word yadrcchaya. This word is very important. In the synonims, Srila Prabhupada puts ‘by some good fortune’. Then, what is the cause of good fortune? Some people think that the performance of material pious activities is the cause of good fortune. Of course one definition of good fortune is ‘material good fortune’ but that can’t apply here, because material good fortune means one does pious activi ties and gets elevated to higher planets. By definition bhakti must be free from karma (karma anavrtam), so good karma cannot be the cause of bhakti, because bhakti is independent (sva-tantra) of types of karma. Here ‘good fortune’ can only mean ‘rendering service to a pure devotee and hearing from him. If we go back to the basic definition of pure devotional service, we know that one should have no other desire (anyabhila sita sunyam) and his service shouldn’t be covered by fruitive intentions or impersonal speculations. If someone is too attached to material enjoyement or if is attached to artificial renuncia tion, then he can’t take to devotional service, because to take to devotional service one has to give those things up. Therefore the verse above says that one should not be too attached to material enjoyement and too attached to artificial renunciation. The karmis may be too attached to enjoyement and the jnanis may be too attached to renunciation. So, one should be neither too attached nor too detached, and he should have positive attraction to talks about Krsna because the basic activities of devotional service are hearing, chanting and remembering, and the first of all is hearing. If one doesn’t have any attraction for hearing about Krsna, then how he begins? Therefore on the positive side, the basic requirement is that he should have attraction for talks about Krsna, translated in the verse as ‘sraddha’, which means attraction and also means faith.
One has to have faith in talks about Krsna and he can’t be too attached to wordly enjoyement or to artificial renunciation. This is the basic qualification.
Then Srila Rupa Goswami explains that there are different grades of eligibility, because sadhana-bhakti on vaidhi is based on faith in the scriptures and advanced devotional service is based on spontaneous attraction for the scriptures. Everything in devotional service ultimately goes to the scriptures, because the rules and regulations that we follow are contained in the scrip tures and when one has spontaneous attraction for the pastimes of Krsna, they are also described in the scriptures.
How ilegible one is to engage in devotional service depend on his faith or attraction to the scriptures and his knowledge of the scriptures, because if one is attracted to or have faith in the scriptures, then he will want to go more and more deep into the scriptures so naturally we will get more knowledge of the scriptures.[Quote from Madhurya Kadambini of Srila Viswanatha C. Thakura:
“… , the word ‘yadrcchaya’ must mean “by his own sweet will”. The meaning of ‘yadrcha’ in the dictionary is ‘complete independ ence’. Sometimes people take the word to mean ‘by luck or chance’ but that meaning is not suitable here, for then one must inquire as to the origin of the good fortune: is the cause material pious activities (subha-karma) or not? If one assumes that good fortune is generated from pious activities, then bhakti is ultimately generated from material karma. Bhakti becomes dependent on mate rial karma. This is a contradiction to its independent, self-manifesting nature. And again if one considers that this good fortune is not due to pious activities, it becomes both inde scribable by words an unknowable by the intellect. Consequently it is insubstantial and cannot be accepted as a cause.
If one proposes that the cause of bhakti is the Lord’s mercy, one must then find a reason for the mercy. Thus this statement, giving rise to further need for explanation, in inconclusive in itself.
If one therefore says that the cause is the Lord’s absolute, unqualified or causeless mercy, then the Lord appears to show favoritism in bestowing it, since the unqualified mercy should, but does not, fall upon everyone equally. The Lord is partial to His devotee, but the partiality that the Lord shows in protecting His devotees from the persecution of evil elements does not imply a fault in the Lord, but rather an ornament which enhances His character. This overruling nature of the Lord’s affectionate obligation to His devotees, which, like a powerful king, subju gates all contradictory factors, will be discussed in the eigth chapter.
In proposing the unqualified mercy of a devotee as the cause of devotion, one may object to the fact that the devotee’s mercy, like the Lord’s can be partial. But if one considers the nature of the madhyama bhakta, one finds that he does exhibit partiality in his distribuition of mercy; he exhibits prema towards the Lord, friendship to the devotees, mercy to the innocent and disregard for those hostile to bhakti. As well, since the Lord is subservient to His devotee, He makes His mercy follow after the mercy of His devotee. Thus there is no irregularity in this proposal.
Now, the cause of that mercy manifesting itself in the devotee is bhakti within his heart. Without having bhakti there is no possibility of the devotee manifesting mercy to others. Thus, in this case, the self-manifesting, independent nature of bhakti is again resolved.” (see more in Madhurya Kadambini chapter 1, page 3 ].
One of the symptoms of Kali-yuga is that no one can discrimi nate what position someone is in. For example, previously was stated that only the brahmanas could study the Vedas, but we are distributing the books to everyone because in this age we can’t discriminate who is a brahmana or who is not a brahmana. In this age ‘kalau-sudra na sambhavah’, no body is a brahamana, everybody is born as a sudra.
(End of File NOD2. To be continued in File NOD3)
(continuation from file NOD2)
DEVOTIONAL SERVICE SURPASSES ALL LIBERATION
This is a very short chapter. It contains only 27 verses from Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. All of them essen tialy deal with one point, and that point is given in the begin ning of chapter 5: “All of the previous instructions imparted by Srila Rupa Goswami in his broad statements can be summarized thus: (here is the point of the 27 verses) ‘as long as one is materially inclined or desirous of merging into the spiritual effulgence, one cannot enter into the realm of pure devotional service.'” That is jnana-karmady anavrtam – one has to come to that point, specially enphasizing that one cannot have the desire for mukti (specially sahujya-mukti, merging into the Lord’s effulgence) and still be a pure devotee. And if one cannot desire those things given in mukti, because of the sweetness of pure devotional service, then what to speak of him desiring lesser pleasures such as the pleasures in the material world (wealth, women, position, etc…). Mukti, liberation, is beyond the modes of material nature and is free from all distress where as the pleasures of the material world are filled up with miser ies. If one is a devotee he will not have the inclination for mukti what to speak of the lesser pleasures of material existence?
Why did Srila Rupa Goswami take so much effort to explain in so many quotes that the pleasure of devotional service to Lord Krsna’s lotus feet is far greater than the pleasure derived from mukti? – Surely he wants to defeat the Mayavadis, but that is not the main reason. The real reason is that Krsna will award bhakti only to those who are not inclined towards mukti. In order to make sure that those desires are uprooted from our hearts and that the desire to attain Krsna’s lotus feet is there in the heart, Srila Rupa Goswami has given 27 verses, one after another, to hammer this point so that we rid our hearts of the lingering desires for liberation. And then Krsna may benedict us with devotional service.
“The devotee is indifferent to heaven and hell and liberation.” How satisfied he must be in devotional service to the Lord. He is indifferent to those things, he sees them as equal. (see quote about Gajendra, top of page 40)
What is the heart of the devotee who is pure, like? He is fully satisfied because he is purely surrendered to Krsna, that there is no room for any other object in his heart. He is devo teed to Krsna’s lotus feet, and the result is that he is drowning in an ocean of ecstasy. What is the cause of that ecstasy? – He is always hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord.
Out of the five types of liberation that Krsna offers to the living entities, sahujya is never accepted by the devotees. But out of the other four, there are two ways that one can go to these: one way is just like having a tinge of selfishness – it is not really selfishness but looks like. It is spiritual. It is the pleasure of being an associate of the Lord. “I am close to Him, I have His similar form, I have opulences like Him.” There is a tinge of selfishness but it is not material. But a pure devotee never accepts liberation in that way. Another way: sometimes the pure devotees are found to accept these other liberations with the purpose of serving the Lord. Service is dominant. They appear to be superficially in the same position as these other liberated devotees, but service is the dominant thing in their conscious ness – that is what makes the difference.
Amongst the devotees who actually achieved liberation, there are devotees of Narayana and other incarnations and there are devotees of Krsna. Srila Rupa Goswami says that ‘the devotees of Krsna are the best because the devotee of Krsna can never be at tracted by any other form of the Lord whereas the devotees of the other forms of the Lord may become attracted by Krsna’.
But by the end of the chapter, Srila Prabhupada says that ‘the devotee will be situated in the relationship that fully satisfies him and he will not want change his position for any other’.
The two statements appear to be contradictory, how can they be reconciled? – There are two examples: (i) one is Gopa-Kumara (from the Brhad-bhagavatamrta). By virtue of his spiritual prac tices and by the mercy of his spiritual master, he went to Vai kuntha, then he went to Ayodhya and then he went to Dwaraka. But every living entity has the seed of a particular relationship with the Lord, inside of himself. Gopa Kumara had a relationship with the Lord as a cowherd boy, so even though he went to Vaikun tha, he was remembering Krsna, he was remembering Govardhana, he was remembering the cows and he was satisfied even in Vaikuntha. The same occured even up to Dwaraka, where he saw Vasudeva Krsna and was able to render service to Him. In Dwaraka, Narada and Uddhava detected that there was some little sense of dissatisfac tion in Gopa Kumara, so they spoke to him. Gopa Kumara was actu ally hesitant to express himself because generally wherever he went, he saw that the devotees were fully satisfied and they wanted him to experienced the same as them. In Vaikuntha all the devotees wanted him to experience the bliss of serving Narayana. In Ayodhya the devotees there wanted him to experience the bliss of serving Lord Rama. So he was hesitant to express himself. But because Narada and Uddhava were very expert devotees they could detect and in the course of their discussion Gopa Kumara admitted the fact that he was not fully satisfied because he was always thinking of Krsna and the cows and Govardhana. Then they advised him that he should return to Earth and resume his spiritual practices in Vrndavana, and by the mercy of his spiritual master and by the strong feelings of separation, he would ultimately attain Krsna in Goloka-Vrndavana. Gopa Kumara followed their instructions and ultimately he achieved his desired goal.
Generally if someone has the seed, within himself, of a par ticular relationship with the Lord, the Lord makes arrangements so the devotee will come in contact with some Vaisnava who can guide him towards such perfection.If someone goes to Vaikuntha but he has the seed of some higher relationship with the Lord, if he wants to attain it, he can come to Earth and continue his practices because there is no practices of devotional service in Vaikuntha. Then he can attain his goal.
(ii) The other example given his Laksmidevi, the eternal consort of Narayana. She wanted to experience the beautiful pastimes of Krsna in Vrndavana, therefore she underwent penances and austerities to be able to get the association of Krsna. This incident was discussed between Lord Caitanya and Venketa Bhatta who belonged to the Ramanuja-sampradaya. Venketa Batta thought that the worship of Laksmi-Narayana was the highest. Lord Caita nya could understanding his mentality. Very soon they become very intimated related so one time Lord Caitanya said to him: “Your Lord is the master of Vaikuntha and My Lord is only a cowherd boy. So, how is it that Laksmi, who is the most chaste wife of Narayana wanted to enjoy pastimes with My Lord Krsna who is only a cowherd boy?” Venketa Bhatta replied: “Lord Krsna and Narayana are the same, but the pastimes of Krsna are more relishable due to their sportive nature. Since Krsna and Narayana are both the same personality, Laksmi’s association with Krsna does not break her vow of chastity, rather it was in great fun that the goddess of fortune wanted to associate with Krsna. According to transcen dental realization, there is no difference between the forms of Narayana and Krsna, but in Krsna there is special transcendental attraction due to the conjugal mellow and consequently He sur passes Narayana. This is the conclusion of transcendental mel lows.”[What is it that fixes someone on Krsna and allows Srila Rupa Goswami to explain that Krsna is the highest? – Because Krsna possesses four extra qualities that no other incarnation or expansion possesses:
1) Lila madhurya, sweet pastimes, like the rasa-dance.
2) Venu madhurya, wonderful flute playing, outstanding pleas ure. Krsna enchants the all universe with the sound of His tran scendental flute.
3) Rupa madhurya, Krsna’ sweet form is beyond compare. It makes the gopis super-attracted.
4) Guna madhurya, wonderful qualities, always surrounded by wonderful devotees. This doesn’t mean that the other devotees are not wonderful. What means here is that the other devotees have the neutral, servant or friendship (with some touch of servitor ship) relatioships. They don’t the pure friendship, parental or conjugal relationships with the Lord. This is the special quality of the devotees of Krsna in Vrndavana.] Because Krsna has those four qualities that Narayana doesn’t possess, Laksmidevi became attracted to have pastimes with Krsna. Venkata Bhatta continued: “The goddess of fortune considered that her vow of chastity would not be damage by her relationship with Krsna, rather by associating with Krsna she could enjoy the benefit of the rasa-dance. Mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, is also an enjoyer of transcendental bliss, therefore if she wanted to enjoy herself with Krsna what fault is there? Why are You jocking about this?” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied: “I know that there is no fault in the part of the goddess of fortune, but still she could not enter in the rasa-dance. We hear this from revealed scriptures.” Then Sri Caitanya quoted from Srimad- Bhagavatam: “When Lord Sri Krsna was dancing with the gopis, in the rasa-lila, He put His armas around their necks and embraced them. This transcendental was never granted to the goddess of fortune or other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor would such a thing ever imagined by the most beautiful girls from the heav enly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma exactly resem ble lotus flowers. And what to speak of wordly women who may be very beautiful by material estimation.” (SB 10.47.60)
Laksmi wanted to enter into the pastimes of Vrndavana but she could not. Lord Caitanya then asked: “Can you tell Me why the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, could not enter the rasa-dance?” No one can enter in Vrndavana without becoming a follower of one of the eternal residents of Vrndavana. Because Laksmidevi was not prepared to follow the gopis, she couldn’t enter Vrndavana. In particular she was not prepared to give up the aisvarya, the opulence of Vaikuntha and she was not prepared to give up her four-hands form. She could only enter in Vrndavana if she had the form of a gopi. So, next question is: what should she have done in order to be admited into the rasa-dance? She had first to take birth in the womb of a gopi, grow up, get married. Then she would have to cheat her husband, cheat her elders and other relatives. But she wasn’t prepare for this.
Although Narayana and Krsna are the same, still Krsna is the highest object of prema. That is the idea of prema-rasa.
In order to reconcile the all argument, so Venkata Bhatta would not feel bad, Lord Caitanya said that Laksmi is just an expansion of Radharani, therefore in the form of Radharani, Laksmi was able to enjoy the pastimes with Krsna.
But we still haven’t answered the question that arised due to the statement of Srila Prabhupada saying, in the end of this chapter, that every devotee is satisfied in his position or in his own relationship and he doesn’t want to change his position for any other. Srila Prabhupada gives the example of Hanuman. Although Hanuman may know that Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead, still he will not give his position as servant of Rama for anything. And we found in CC that Lord Caitanya had one devotee named Murari Gupta who was a devotee of Rama. Lord Caita nya tried to convince him to give up the worship of Rama and accept the worship of Krsna saying that ‘the sweetness of Krsna is beyond compare’, but he couldn’t never give up his position as servant of Rama.
Can a person have of seed of relationship with Lord Caitanya, within his heart? – Yes. Lord Caitanya is eternal and He has eternal servants. If someone has special love for Lord Caitanya he will enter into the portion of Goloka (Svetadvipa) where Lord Caitanya has His pastimes and serve Him there eternally.
If someone has devotion for Lord Caitanya and he follows in the mood of Lord Caitanya, which is the worship of Radha-Krsna in Vrndavana, then he can devellop the desire to serve Radha and Krsna in Vrndavana and then he goes to Vrndavana. And if someone wants to serve both, Lord Caitanya and Radha-Krsna, then in one form he can go to the Navadvipa section to serve Lord Caitanya, and in another form he can go to the Vraja section and serve Radha and Krsna.
Any worship which doesn’t have the inner mood of following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrndavana will end up in Vai kuntha. Even if one worships the Deity of Radha-Krsna but he doesn’t have the mood of following in the footstps of the resi dents of Vrndavana, he will go to Vaikuntha.
CHAPTER FIVE: THE PURITY OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
After explaining the actual essence of the previous chapter, Srila Rupa Goswami is going to describe how devotional service is sva-tantra, independent. Independent means not dependent on anything. And if one understands this point he will understand the potency of devotional service and why the rest of the chapter is there.
Devotional service is therefore independent of all material considerations including one’s birth. And why is that? – Because it is the natural inclination of the soul to perform devotional service. It has nothing to do with anything material whatsoever. It is what the soul’s essence is.
“Just as the child naturally inherites the property of the father because it is his birth right, it comes along with his birth, similarly if one practices devotional service, if he has firm faith in Krsna, he will get liberation in the same way, because it is the soul’s natural capacity to be a devotee of Krsna. It is not limited by any material situation whatsoever. No material situation can take away that ability to become a devotee of Krsna, although a particular situation may cause to give up our tendency to be a devotee. Nothing can take it away from us – because it is the property and characteristic of the soul him self. And it is that thing that the soul is always hankering for.
Therefore the first point made by Srila Prabhupada is: “In the middle age, after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya’s great associate, Lord Nityananda, the ‘goswami caste’ (jati gosai, nityananda vamsa, etc…) came out to say that ‘devotional serv ice is our property, and only we can spread devotional service.’
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta fought this vigorously. Attempts were made on his life but he did not relent. The fight went on and due to the strength of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta it was established that ‘anyone can take to Krsna consciousness, anyone can spread Krsna consciousness – it is the property of the soul, it is not the property of one’s material birth coming from one’s karma. It is sva-tantra, it is independent of anything material whatsoever.
After explaining that devotional service is the birth right of the soul, Srila Prabhupada also adds in the qualification (see quote page 48, 2nd para.). And then more quotes explaining the same point: “The lower than sudras, inhabitants of Mayuradvaja, initiated in the Vaisnava cult of devotional service look more qualified than brahmanas.”
Then, the famous quote from Hari-bhakti-vilasa of how the bell metal can be turned into gold by a mixture of mercury. Similarly the process of devotional service can change the soul and there fore the birth, and bring out the Krsna consciousness in the soul. Therefore the birth is insignificant. This last quote proves this.
Naturally because the Vaisnava is above the mode of goodness, when one is exhalted with Vaisnava qualities he has naturally all the brahminical qualities.
But the next point says: “Don’t get proud! Don’t think that just because you have taken Vaisnava initiation, brahminical initiation, therefore you are exhalted!” No!, it is not like that. Rather one must follow the rules and regulations very, very carefully.
Vaisnava means to be transcendental to the three modes of material nature. One should never think: “Just see I am a Vaisna va!” No! One must follow strictly, carefuly, and know that the modes of material nature are so strong that if we are not depend ing on Krsna and simultaneously holding on, in any second Maya can knock us off.
After putting that point in perspective, Srila Prabhupada says clearly: “In other words, simply becoming initiated is not ele vating one to the position of a high class brahmana. One has also to discharge the duties and follow the regulative principles very rigidly.”
Next, after considering that someone may fall down from his position, as a devotee, the question that arise is that: What is his position? What is the system to become rectified?
In the Vedic system there is something called prayascita, attonement. In the Manu-samhita there are many attonements for the different types of sin: ‘don’t eat, chant so many mantras of this, give so much charity, do this, do that…, then the result of one’s sinful activity is removed.
The question is: If the devotee commits some sinful activity, how does he become reinstated in devotional service again? – The answer in clearly given: he does not need to take to any Vedic ritualistic process of karma-kanda (like prayascitta), all he must do is to reengage himself in devotional service firmly, following the rules and regulations and there is no other attone ment that needs to be done. “This is the mystery of the Vaisnava devotional cult of Krsna consciousness.” One will not get the reactions even if he has done something improperly and is liable to so many reactions. If he sincerely reinstates himself in devotional service, he will not get the reactions. Why? – Because Krsna’s mercy is amazing, mysterious. It is beyond karma, it is not of this world (golokera prema dhana/ harinama sankirtana). Only because our consciousness is too much of this world, do we not perceive this. Devotional service is the internal energy of the Lord.
By Krsna’s grace, He takes away the reactions and therefore makes us not need to perform any attonement. Then if Krsna wants to give us some token reaction, we accept that as His mercy, and we see Krsna in that, we accept this sweetly, “I deserve so much worse but Krsna so kindly had minimized it.” One who thinks like that is ilegible for the Kingdom of God.
But we have to be careful against the mentality of ‘yes I am a devotee, I will just chant and remove all the reactions for what wrong I am doing.’ Taking advantage of Krsna’s mercy like this, is an offense (namno balad yasya hi-papa buddhir/ na vidyi ate tasya yamair hi suddhih.). Krsna will give such a big slap. Krsna will let one going on like this for a while and then one day He will kick him out to suffer like anything.
If one has this mentality of commiting sins on the strength of the holy name or taking advantage of Krsna’s mercy, the he will not get purified even by going through the court of Yamaraja (na vidyate tasya yamair hi-suddhih). One need to not have anything to do with karma and jnana.
Practically there are three processes for elevating on to the platform of spiritual consciousness: karma, jnana and bhakti.
One who has taken to bhakti need have nothing to do with karma or jnana. Bhakti should have no tinge of philosophical specula tion or ritualistic performances. Just take to sravanam, kirtanam visnu, hearing and chanting about Visnu, in the process of devo tional service.
This chapter fixes us in our understanding that we need not mix bhakti with bhukti or mukti. Srila Rupa Goswami next is going to describe the actual process and procedures and rules and regulations of sadhana-bhakti. We have to become fixed as to the goal in the last chapter of bhakti not mukti and not bhukti. And we have to understand that the process of following the sadhana that Srila Rupa Goswami is going to explain is not to be mixed with any jnanic or karmic activities whatsoever. We should prac tice suddha-bhakti, uttama-bhakti (jnana karmady anavrtam).
The rest of the chapter gives five different elements that are part of Vedic culture and the devotees have nothing to do with:
1) Varnasrama (see quote page 50, 2nd para.);
2) Philantrophism, altruism, social welfare work, etc…;
3) Activities to the sages, ancestors, family, etc…;
4) Ritualistic activities, duties to the demigods;
5) Purificatory ceremonies.
If the devotee is fixed in his sadhana, he needs not to per
form any of the these karmic or jnanic activities – devotional service is enough.
CHAPTER SIX: HOW TO DISCHARGE DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
[From this chapter until the 16th is a description of Eastern
Side (sadhana-bhakti), 2nd wave (bhagavad-bhakti-bheda, varieties
of devotional service) of the Nectar of Devotion.]
Srila Rupa Goswami has extracted the sixty four principles of devotional service from Hari-bhakti-vilasa. This book was written by Sanatana Goswami but often said to be written by Gopala Bhatta Goswami who has his name on it.
There are three sets of principles:
1) the first 10 are considered the essence, in one sense. Out of these 10, the first three are considered the most important of the first 20: (i) accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master (guru-pada-asraya);
(ii) accepting initiation from the spiritual master and receiving instructions from him (sri krsna-diksanam);
(iii) serving the spiritual master with faith and confidence.
“Those 10 are preliminary necessities for beginning discharg ing devotional service in vaidhi-bhakti.’ In the beginning if a neophyte devotee observes the above 10 principles, surely he will quickly make good advancement in Krsna consciousness.’
When we hear these 10 we should be aware of their importance and if we follow them surely we will make good advancement.
Then, there is the second set of 10. Srila Prabhupada says about those: ” without following the above mentioned 10 princi ples, one cannot properly elevate himself in sadhana-bhakti or devotional service in practice.
The next 44 items are mentioned including the “do’s” and “don’ts” of Deity worship. They are all in one of the 64 items.
Out of all the 64, five items, which are sometimes called pancanga bhakti, the five limbs of bhakti, are considered the most important. They are: (i) Deity worship (arcana), (ii) hear ing Srimad Bhagavatam (srimad-bhagavatam sravana), (iii) chanting the holy name (harinama kirtana), (iv) reside in Mathura-Vrndavana (vrndavana-mathura vasi), (v) live in the association of devotees of the Lord (sadhu-sanga). These are considered the most powerful and if one gives in a little emphasis to any of these five he will make very rapid advancement.
All the 64 elements mentioned in this chapter will be ex plained in the next chapters. This belongs to vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti.
CHAPTER SEVEN: EVIDENCE REGARDING DEVOTIONAL PRINCIPLES
(1)Accepting the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master (guru pada asraya). One who seriously desirous of achieving the goal of life or real happiness or salvation, he should take shelter of a spiritual master. And the qualifications of the spiritual master are: (i) he should have study the Vedas, (ii) he should have realized the conclusion of the Vedas, (iii) he should be able to teach the same and (iv) he should have nothing to do with material activities One has to realize how dangerous and fearful is this material world. If one thinks that this material world is a place for enjoyement then where is the need of shelter? If one thinks that this material world is a shelter why should he need a shelter?
We should understand as Narottama dasa Thakura said, that “our position in the material world is tottering like water on the lotus leaf.” If one puts a drop of water on the waxy surface of the lotus flower, immediatly it rolls off. There is danger at any step in this material world, therefore where is our shelter, our safety? It is out of this material world. And to get that shelter we need a medium to bring us out of the material world and that is the guru. He will take our motivated service and offer, through the parampara, to Krsna.
What is the need for the guru of being qualified? It is obvi ous: there is no connection with Krsna if he is not qualified. Like the story of someone putting money in a bank very regularly but in a wrong account. Then when he wants to withdraw some money from his account he will find that he has nothing there. Similar ly one may be offering so much service to a bogus master but he is not accumulating any spiritual bank balance.
If one doesn’t understand the nature of this material world, he will not see any motive to take shelter of a bona fide spirit ual master. Unless he understands how desperately he needs that shelter he will not hold tightly. There is not other hope. This material world is an awful place. This should be our ‘hammering’ preaching to people, then we can go over other things. We should have a strong desire of going out out of this horrible place.
2) Accepting initiation from the spiritual master and receiv ing instructions from him (sri krsna diksa siksa nama). When we grab the spiritual master’s lotus feet looking for shelter, then we beg “please help me!”, that will be like diksa and siksa. The guru is ‘sabda-brahma nisnathah’, he has mastered all the sacred books on bhakti and all the authentic sastra and he is also ‘para brahma nisnitah’ always engaged in Krsna’s service (chanting, hearing, the glories of the Lord). These are the basic qualifications of the bona fide spiritual master. And he is simply the servant of his guru. When one has inflinching faith in the spiritual master and in Krsna, then all the imports of the sastras become revealed. The reason is because Krsna Himself becomes pleased with such a devotee. By Krsna’s mercy everything becomes revealed. Like Bali Maharaja, because of his full faith in Krsna, he was given the chance to reject even his own guru and surrender everything to Lord Vamanadeva. Krsna was so pleased with his devotion in the religious principles that He Himself became the servant of Bali Maharaja as His doorkeeper.
3) Serving the spiritual master with faith and confidence (see quote of SB 11.17.27). This means that he is known to be very dear to Krsna. The sanskrit words are: mukunda presthaya, one who is very dear to Krsna, because of taking shelter at His lotus feet (visnu padaya).
4) Following in the footsteps of saintly persons. One should follow according to his adhikari. It is very nice to be always thinking of Radha-Krsna’s conjugal loving affairs, this is the best meditation, but if one doesn’t have the adhikari for doing that, trying to do that will be like drinking poison. Because it will react in one’s consciousness. One should act and follow in the footsteps of saintly persons according to one’s qualifications and if one doesn’t follow out of ignorance or laziness, that is not offense – it is a lost but is not an of fense. But if one doesn’t follow because of skepticism and doubts that is actually an offense.
6) Being prepared to give up everything material for Krsna’s satisfaction. “For one who has given up his material sense enjoyement and has accepted the principles of devotional service, the opulence of Vaikuntha is awaiting.” Why one gets opulences? – Because it is said that Laksmidevi is cancala, always moving. Someone who is rich today will be poor tomorrow, this is the nature of Laksmidevi in the material world. But in the spiritual world, Laksmidevi is steady because she is addicted to serving Narayana.
8) Accepting only what is necessary. “One should not accept more than necessary if he is serious about discharging devotional service.” The idea is that we should not neglect the principles of devotional service nor should we accept more that we can easily perform.
People may take this principle to mean that one should take whatever he needs, material needs. But actually what it means, according to Srila Jiva Goswami, is that one should take whatever he needs for maintainance of his spiritual life.
10) Offering respect to the banyan trees. Worshiping the banyan trees and amalaka trees is as good as worshiping the cows and brahmanas and the Vaisnavas. How to honor a cow (from the Gautamya-tantra Upanishad):
i) gentle scratch the body of a cow;
ii) offer a mouthful of green grass;
iii) three times cicumambulate the cow with one’s right side facing her. If one honors the cow in this way, Gopala is pleased.
12-14) Not accepting unfit disciples, constructing many tem ples and reading many books.
Not accepting too many disciples is important for those who live in seclusion but it is not meant for preachers who are spreading bhakti-yoga, Krsna consciousness. For the sake of spreading the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, refusing to take many disciples is a sign of being a miser in his knowledge. But both the disciples and the spiritual master should be quali fied. A spiritual master should not accept disciples out of greed.
Srila Prabhupada explains that if one is sincerely desirous of engaging in devotional service, even if he is not perfectly qualified, the guru-preacher may accept him as a disciple and try to make him qualified. But if the guru accepts unqualified disci ples just for the name, fame,or facility or wealth, then his devotional service will be disturbed and he can fall down.
All the three items, ‘not accepting too many disciples’, ‘not reading too many books’, ‘not constructing costly buildings’ have one basic theme: that is if the intention is to preach Krsna consciousness, one can do it. But if one is interested in name, fame, followers, opulence, then he should not do these things.
15-16) Straightfowardness in ordinary dealings and equilibrium in loss and gain.
If one becomes equally fully fixed, accepting loss and gain this is conduccive to please Krsna. It is necessary to be like this to please Krsna.
?) Giving up the company of non-devotees.
There are two types of non-devotees: (i) those who are envious of Krsna and (ii) those who too materialistic. We should also give up the company of demigods’ worshipers who may be in one of the two categories (generally considered too materialistic).
Why do we have to avoid the association of non-devotees? – If we consider the position of the neophyte devotee, we find that his faith and his knowledge of the scriptures are weak. So he may be confused by opposing views. Srila Prabhupada explains that the neophyte devotees generally have some tendency towards karma and jnana. If they associate with karmis or jnanis, who are non-devotees, then their tendency for karma or jnana may be aggravat ed. Even the madhyama-adhikari, he only make friends with the devotees. He can preach to the innocent but he only make friend ships with devotees and neglects the envious.
Those were the 18 different angas or elements of sadhana-bhakti. Here we just mentioned a few. Number 19 is “to avoid all the seva and nama-aparadhas.
OFFENSES TO BE AVOIDED
(seva and nama-aparadhas)
What is the purpose of all these ‘limbs’ or elements of vaidhi sadhana-bhakti? Why Srila Rupa Goswami has listed them all?
To give us a practical way to engage our mind, body and words in the practice of devotional service.
Practically speaking if one follows all the 64 angas of devo tional service, he will always be engaged, either on serving, or dancing before the Deity, or accepting the Deities flower gar lands and ware them, avoiding blasphemy, etc… .Doing those things that engage our body, mind and words in Krsna’s service, and avoiding those elements which will hurt the blossoming and flowering of our devotional creeper – this is vaidhi sadhana-bhakti.
To help and inspire us about the importance of each and every one of these items, Srila Rupa Goswami has given quotes, sastric references to impress upon our minds the power of each of those items. Currently we are so much hindered, in practicing devotion al service, by our previous karma. Our mind gives us trouble, our habits give us trouble, we have so many material desires which are sinful reactions (specially sex desire it is simply sinful reactions). All our desires are, practically speaking, sinful reactions.
But, almost every single one of the angas of devotional serv ice is so powerful that if we practice even one of them properly, then all the sinful reactions can be removed. Just by clapping one’s hands in front of the Deities all the reactions to sinful activities can go away. But we have to practice them in the proper mood.
One has to understand the potency of the practices of devo tional service and understand these preliminary points – this is why one needs tho have the adhikari to even practice vaidhi-bhakti, because one has to know the sastras, to know what is he doing and why is he doing it – then one understands, “O here is Krsna! Haribol, Haribol!”. He will be very enthusiastic to please Krsna, and this is liberation.
If one practices all these different angas of vaidhi-bhakti very enthusiasically, then very powerful Krsna conscious reac tions will come. Just by hearing all the glorification of these angas it is so uplifting, it brings immediatly relief to the heart.
But one should not practice these ‘angas’ to, either get sense gratification or so-called impersonal liberation. That is why the first chapters were so essential before hearing the actual angas or practices of devotional service.
But what is the greatest gain? – Not purification, not freedom from misery, not any kind of material happiness or elevation to heavenly planets… Actually devotional service makes all these things completely insignificant. What we want by going before the Deities and bown, clap our hands, dancing, placing Tulasi leaves in our mouths, etc…., what we want? What is the gain? – More service to Krsna.
All these angas of devotional service these are service to Krsna. This is devotional service. Specially when they are accom panied by the chanting of the holy name. Next chapter we will see them one by one.
There are two kinds of offenses: nama-aparadhas and seva-aparadhas. Of the two, the nama-aparadhas are more serious. Even if one commits offenses in devotional service but if he takes shelter on the chanting of the holy name, automatically he be comes free from the effects of seva-aparadha. But if one thinks ‘I can commit offenses in devotional service and by taking shel ter of the holy name become free from the effect of offenses’, that becomes nama-aparadha. Actually with this atitude we will have our offenses magnified. But if, unintentionally or acciden tally, we commit some offense in the course of devotional serv ice, the effect of the offense will be destroyed just by chanting the holy name.
If one neglects to practice some less important item of devo tional service because of practicing some more important item, this is not an offense. An offense occurs when one violates a prohibition of the scriptures. But if, because one is more fully engaged in chanting the holy name, hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam, worshiping the Deity, etc, he does not have spare time to circu mambulate the banyam tree by example, that is not offense.
If one commits seva-aparadha, he become from such offense by taking shelter of the holy name. We can say that one becomes free from sin by taking shelter of Krsna (sarva dharmam parityaja…).
So, if one commits sin he can take shelter of Krsna to become free from the effects of sin. If one commits offense to Krsna (seva-aparadha) he can be free from sin by taking shelter of the holy name, but if one commits offense against the holy name (nama-aparadha), he has no shelter. Nama-aparadha is very, very serious.
If one commits offenses while chanting the Holy Name then the growth of the creeper of devotional service can be curtailed. If one commits the “mad elephant offense”, the offense to the Vais navas, then all the creeper can be completely destroyed but the seed is not destroyed.
Of all the processes Lord Caitanya considered the chanting of the holy name as the most important. And Srila Prabhupada also said that of all the regulative principles the chanting of the holy name is the most essential.
But there are some considerations of the quality of the chant ing. There are three stages in chanting: (i) nama-aparadha, or offensive chanting, (ii) nama-abhasa, the stage between offensive chanting and pure chanting (it is some times called the ‘clearing stage’). Then the final stage (iii) is suddha-nama, or pure chanting.
Krsna is compared to the sun and similarly the holy name is compared to the sun. Offenses give rise to anarthas which are compared to a mist. The mist is not actually covering the sun, but the mist can obscure the sun from the vision of the individu al.
The most dangerous offense is called sadhu-ninda, or blasfemy of the devotees.
First we have to know who is a devotee. According to Srila Haridasa Thakura in the Harinama-cintamani, the principal char acteristic of a devotee is that he is surrendered to Krsna or is has fully adopted the process of chanting the holy names. Then there are secondary characteristics: the devotee should be for giving, if someone disturbs him they forget immediatly without consideration; also he is merciful, he is always thinking how the conditioned souls are suffering in the material world and he can help them by bringing them to Krsna consciousness. There are 26 qualities mentioned in CC.
If one has the principal characteristic of surrender to Krsna but if doesn’t have all of the secondary qualifications to the full extent, he is still considered a devotee; and if we criti cize him or bear bad feelings towards him, we are involved in sadhu-ninda. The method of releif from this offense is that we should go to the devotee that we have offended, beg forgiveness from him and pacify him by any means. But if one wants to mini mize the gravity of his own offense by finding further faults in the devotee, by telling oneself ‘the devotee is lacking in so many vaisnava qualities, therefore I didn’t really commit a vaisnava aparadha’, then the offense becomes worse. The fact that the devotee doesn’t manifest the full 26 qualities does not disqualify him as a devotee. Lord Krsna in Bhagavad-gita specifi cally states, api cet-suduracaro/ bhajate mam ananya-bhak/ sadhu eva samantavya, “even if one commits the most abominable activi ty, but he is rigthly situated in devotional service, he is still considered a sadhu”. What to speak if he commits a minor mistake or if he is deficient in some vaisnava quality.
The third offense guror-avajna, disrespect of neglect of the guru, disobedience to the order of the guru.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives also the definition of guru or the qualifications of the guru. Also he discusses the position of the founder-acarya. All the spiritual masters in a sampradaya have to be faithfull to the teachings and conclusions of the founder-acarya.
One of the qualities of the guru is that he should follow the founder-acarya of his sampradaya. He should also be of ideal character, he should have no bad habits.
If a person is a vaisnava, if he is following the regulative principles and if he is knowledgeable of the teachings of the founder-acarya and faithfull to the conclusions of the founder-acarya, then he can be accepted as guru and one should not ne glect him or disobey his instructions.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura continues that if in the beginning someone has the qualifications of a spiritual master but he commits vaisnava-aparadha, he himself may fall down from his spiritual position. If he falls from him position, if he is no longer able to follow the regulative principles, if he no longer remains favorable to the practices of devotional service and the devotees, then he is not considered a guru anymore and to disobey him is not an offense. In fact to the contrary, Srila Bhaktivino da says, he should be rejected and one should continue the proc ess of devotional service in the association of devotees and in due course by the grace of Krsna the sincere devotee will get a bona-fide spiritual master.
Srila Bhaktivinoda says that sadhu-ninda and guror-avajna which are similar, come from bad association. And what is bad association? – asat-sanga-tyaga,- ei vaisnava-acara/ ‘stri-sangi’- eka asadhu, ‘krsnabhakta’ ara, “a Vaisnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. Vaisnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krsna.” Even if a person is a devotee but he is too material attached, we should not intimately associate with him because he may tend to criticize pure devotees; he may think that they are too fanatically, too strict. So if we intimately associate with non-devotees or with too materialistic devotees then we will be influenced by them to commit sadhu-ninda, criticize the Vaisna vas, or minimize the guru.
Apart from falling to lotus feet of the Vaisnava and praying to the Vaisnava for forgiveness the other counteraction is the avoid the bad association which has lead either to sadhu-ninda or guror-avajna.
The offenses mentioned in sanskrit in the Padma-purana can be divided differently. Sometimes ‘being inattentive’ is considered as an offense and ‘maintaining material attachments’ is consid ered as another offense. Sometimes they are combined together. Srila Bhaktivinoda as well Srila Prabhupada considers them sepa retedly, but these two offenses are very intimately related.
Srila Bhaktivinoda says that inattention is the worst offense because from inattention many other offenses are produced. The holy name is compared to the sun and the anarthas are like the mist or the fog. If we are inattentive when we chant then there is not so much force from the name and the mist will linger or it may increase. This means that if we chant inattentively or negli gently then tho offenses can increase. Srila Bhaktivinoda recom mends chanting in the association of advanced devotees who are serious about chanting and also find a place where one will not be distracted or diverted… and one should go on chanting be cause if one goes on chanting even in the stage of nama-abhasa and try to avoid the offenses then gradually one will be free from the offenses. Srila Prabhupada says “practice makes perfect even in spiritual life”. The more we practice chanting the more we become perfect in chanting.
Then the offense of maintaning material attachments. If we keep material attachments then at the time of chanting we will not be hearing the Holy Name, we will be thinking of “I” and “Me” and “Mine”, thinking that “I am the center, I am the doer, I am the controller, I am the enjoyer, I am the proprietor.” Then we will be thinking of so many objects that we have to control and possess and enjoy. That is offensive in chanting.
We actually have to have faith in Krsna and be surrender to Him. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura speaks about surrender, that there are six divisions in surrender: (i) accept whatever is favorable for the discharge of devotional service (without any personal consideration), (ii) reject whatever is unfavorable for devotional service, (iii) be firmly convinced that Krsna gives one protection (this is called faith), (iv) be convinced that Krsna is his supreme maintainer and master, (v) to be dependent on Krsna in any circumstance, (vi) to be always meek and humble.
The basic way to become free from thoughts of “I” and “Me” and “Mine” while chanting, is genuine surrender to Krsna and to the Holy Name. Always depend on the Holy Name and have faith that ‘Krsna is my maintainer, my protector, He will protect me, He will maintain me’. Be convinced that unless Krsna wants some desire to be fulfilled it will not be fulfilled, so is better just to depend on Krsna, surrender to Him and be meek and humble.
FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF DEVOTIONAL PRINCIPLES
When one is in the company where the blasphemy was spoken, he has some choices: one should try to convince him with arguments and thus stop his blasphemy, or he should cut off his tongue, or kill himself or leave the place immediatly (the most practical way if one cannot defeat him). If one hears blasphemy he becomes implicated and he looses his own spiritual life. If one doesn’t follow any to the ways mentioned above he will fall down from his position of devotion. One should never tolerate hear blaphemy to Krsna or His devotees – that will rip to pieces whatever advance ment was made. One may have worked so hard and somehow or other made some advancement by Krsna’s mercy or His devotees’ mercy, but that advancement will be destroyed if one listens to blasphe my.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam says that if one chants the Holy Name of the Lord but his heart doesn’t melt in transcendental ecstasy and his body does not exhibit symptoms of ecstasy, this means that his heart is hard. The reason the heart does not melt when we chant the Holy Name is offenses. Nobody should think that he has not commited any offense.
Although we may not be conscious of the offenses that we have commited, the effects can be perceived in the fact that we don’t feel ecstasy when we chant the Holy Name. The lack of transcen dental ecstasy or the lack of spiritual advancement is itself evidence of the fact that we are offensive. When we realize how we are hampered in our spiritual lifes, by offenses, then we will try to avoid the offenses by any means and we will realize things like criticizing a Vaisnava or hearing criticism are keeping us in the state that we are in which may not be very advanced.
We can tell how much we are relishing transcendental pleasure in devotional service, especially chanting and hearing. And if we are not really experiencing transcendental ecstasy then we should know that we are suffering from offenses. We may be so habituated to the offenses that we are not conscious of that, but at least we should be conscious of the effects which is lack of advance ment or lack of ecstasy.
We should be aware that the worst offense is sadhu-ninda which includes speaking and hearing blasphemy.
Sometimes we become implicated in some activity which we think that is very purifying but actually is very contaminated. Like sometimes we may get together and start to speak about the faults of some Vaisnava and we may think that this is actually a very good discussion, very purifying, to analize some Vaisnava and his faults and that this is very beneficial. Raghunatha Dasa Goswami compares this behavior to someone who baths in ass urine and thinks that he is cleansing himself but actually he is contami nating himself.
Sometimes we have difficult to distinguish the devotional creeper from the weeds. One of the weeds is kuti nati which is sometimes translated as “duplicious behavior” and other times translated as “fault-finding”. This kuti nati, Raghunatha Goswami compares it to taking bath in ass urine.
“Duplicious behavior” means we are making a show of devotional service but the purpose is not to please Krsna, the real purpose is to get some honor, praise, name and fame. That is diplomatic behavior.
“Finding faults” in others is to make other’s position less to make our position more.
2) Tilaka and Tulasi beads. These are outward signs of a Vaisnava. One should always wear kunti-mala but not as a necklace or some ornament. It should be tight like a dog’s collar. The quality of the dog is that he is very faithful to his master. Without wearing tilak, a devotee should feel himself imcom plete, undressed. But, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that it is not the wear ing of tilaka and Tulasi beads that makes one a Vaisnava. One has to have the consciousness of a Vaisnava. But these outwards signs should also be there.
3) Accepting flower garlands, scented oils, garments and ornaments offered to the Deity. These are very sacred items. They are like our belove Deity Himself. If one is given a flower garland and immediatly gives it away this shows a lack of love. One should honor these things. It is the consciousness of honoring these angas, that will give them potency. Jiva Goswami has previously said: “If one doesn’t perform bhakti with ruci, taste, then bhava will never come.” We can do these things mechanically just following the order of guru and sastras, but bhava will not come in that way. We must follow these angas with ruci, with understanding which brings that taste.
4) Dancing before the Deity. “A person who is in a jubilant spirit, who feels profound devotional ecstasy while dancing before Me, and who manifests different features of bodily expression, can burn away all the accumulated sinful reactions he has stocked up for many, many thousands of years.” In this quote Srila Rupa Goswami is actually refering to many, many manvantaras (there are 71 manvantaras in each of the four ages and there are 43 millions of years in a divya-yuga cicle). So many , many millions of years of sinful reactions can be burnt by dancing in ecstasy before the Deity.
Why are we studying this Nectar of Devotion? – To remind ourselves and to learn about sadhana-bhakti and how to practice it. And one should apply these things, it is not for intellectual knowledge, but for application.
5) Bowing down in honor of the Deity.
8) Going to the temple of Visnu or to places of pilgrimage.
What is the reason for going to such places? To hear some preaching from the saintly persons who are in those places. Not just to take a bath. We don’t go to see things we should go to hear things in those places. If there is nothing to see we will not go. In this age of Kali if we go see something, some play or other things, if we go for that reason, to see the festivities, we will gradually loose the impetus to see something because Maya has more wonderful things to show. If our only intent is to see things in those places, then we are in a very, very dangerous predicament, very precarious, because we will loose the interest to go and see, we will be captivated by other things that Maya will show us.
9) Circumambulate the Temple of Visnu
Even done ajnata, without knowledge, such practice carries a great potency. It is ajnata-sukrti, pious activity conducive to devotional service. But it is better to do it with knowledge.
The Deity is Krsna Himself. It is such a nice oportunity to give Krsna something.
11) Rendering service to the Lord.
What service? – Whatever service we can. The Lord is supposed to be worshiped with great opulence. He is the center of our lives. We should offer our wealth, our life, our words, etc…, to the Deity. The Deity should become the center of the communi ty. Everytime one goes to the Temple, specially if he lives outside, he should bring something to the Deity. At least one should offer a prayer. The mood of offering something to the Deity is very important.
One should always be singing, but only songs about Krsna. Foolish music sticks in one’s consciousness. “The essence of all good advice, twenty-four hours a day, is to be chanting the holy name.”
Is the singing, in a loud voice, of the glories of the Lord. (see quote in 2nd para, page 80)
If one is performing any austerities, sacrifices or study, what is the ultimate result? – Just to engage in sankirtana, chanting the glories of the Lord. How glorious is sankirtana – it is the result of all other pious or purificatory activities. It is the goal, because the goal of all those activities is to, ultimately, please Krsna. And what pleases Krsna is bhakti. Sankirtana with bhakti is Krsna consciousness, is that thing that can actually please Krsna and that is the goal of every thing.
This anga, Srila Prabhupada divided in three ways:
(i) samprarthanatmika, the devotee is feelingly praying for spontaneous attraction;
(ii) dainyavodhika, humbly offering prayers and;
(iii) lalasamayi, desiring some perfectional stage.
Srila Prabhupada said that this desiring some perfectional stage in spiritual life is not sense gratification. This is the business of a devotee – to desire a perfectional stage, to be engaged in Krsna’s service. (see the prayers of last para, page 82)
In samprarthanatmika these are feeling praying for the perfec tional stage, but this lalasamayi is siddha or at least raganuga. Although this section is vaidhi-bhakti, this one part over here is Srila Rupa Goswami’ insertion of some raganuga-bhakti (like the prayers of last para. page 82)
Talking about crying for the Lord, although Srila Prabhupada says: “one should learn this small technique”, it is not actually a small technique, it is not a simple technique. To actually cry out of wanting his relationship with Krsna and begging Krsna to do that and his heart is always breaking because he wants so much to serve Krsna in a particular way – that is raganuga sadhana-bhakti, and that is not a cheap techique. It is not simple, it is an advanced stage of Krsna consciousness. This pratically speak ing, Jiva Goswami says, is for a devotee in the platform of bhava-bhakti.
This laulyam is the price for achieving the highest perfec tion. It is a very advanced stage and is something that one should be very desirous of achieving. But one should not imitate.
15) Reciting notable prayers.
Stava, means notable prayers. They were said by the predeces sors acaryas and we repeat them with feeling.
Stotra, spontaneous out-pouring of feeling in one’s own words.
16) Partaking of prasada.
It is said to be an offense to honor prasada in the front of the Deity but if the prasada is from that specific Deity, one is allowed to take it in front of the Deity.
18) Smelling the incense and flowers offered to the Deity.
One should read the different quotes in pages 84-85 again and again and see how purifying they are to the heart. Think of that and have the consciousness proper when one gets the flowers offered to the Deity.
20) Seeing the Deity.
Here Srila Rupa Goswami is feeling great ecstasy and affection for his Govindadeva Deity, therefore he is saying that everyone should go visit Govindadeva. And if one is a materialist just to attract him to go see Govindadeva, he is saying “you will go to the heavenly planets!” But this is not what he really wants to say. When Srila Rupa Goswami says “simply by visiting the Deity of Govindadeva, one becomes highly elevated in pious life…”, he means “attaining devotion”. But to attract materialistic people, he is putting in this way just to get them to go see the Deity.
“Govindadeva will steal away their hearts because He is so beautiful. And He will not give them back, those stolen hearts”.
TECHNIQUES OF HEARING AND REMEMBERING
1) Hearing. It is the beginning and the end of Krsna con sciousness. In the quote of the ‘Garuda purana’ cited by Srila Rupa Goswami is explained if someone is in coma, inconscious, even if he is in a different realm of consciousness, just by sound vibration which enters through his ear holes, he is brought to reality. How powerful sound vibration is. Sound vibration is the essential that we have to learn. But it is more than just learning, it is also acting in devotional service, by hearing about Krsna. Just by hearing itself is puri fying. Even if we do nothing with it. It is an end in of itself although it will affect the heart and will change how we act. But in of itself it is perfect. We should hear the names of Krsna, we should hear the glories of Krsna. Hearing precedes meditation. We should hear also about Krsna’s form, qualities, activities and how to render service to His lotus feet. Naturally if one hears there is no limitation on how much we should hear until the point of saturation, 24hours a day – this is perfection. To become Krsna conscious one has to be saturated, completely immersed of Krsna-katha. That is the ideal. And if we think we are too busy to hear, “O I am busy, I am doing practical service”, then that ‘service’ will not last too long. If we think we are too busy preaching that we cannot hear, we should know that unless Krsna-katha is going into our ears, from a pure source, then only nonsense will come out of our mouths. If we are going to be preaching, the most important thing to do is to be always hearing. That is how to gain potency. Of course it is not just by hearing that everything happens automatically, but gradually, by the process of hearing, the heart becomes cleansed. The sound vibration of sudha-satva is transcendental, it is nectar. It is a nectarean river flowing from the moon-like faces of great personalities. If we think that the words are nectar but actually they are not even words – this sound vibration is transcendental, is sva-tantra, is independent and it is using the ‘medium’ of the sad hus’ words to travel. It is coming from ‘Goloka Vrndavana’ and is using the sadhu as the medium. How pure and important the sastra is specially coming from a sadhu. Srila Prabhupada’s books are first of all meant to be read which is the same as hearing. If we hear the books and our appre ciation deepens about this Krsna-katha, then how much more power ful our actual preaching will be. We will be able to touch the heart of another, which means that our words will be used as a medium of this transcendental sound vibration. That is real preaching – it takes so much hearing, so much realization and chanting – it is not cheap. Sukadeva Goswami is not compared with a suka, parrot, because he just repeats what he has heard. It is because, by his potency, by the sweetness of his realizations, what is coming out of his mouth is extra sweet. When the parrot touches the fruit with his beak it becomes extra sweet. Similarly we should dive deeply in the hearing and understanding and realizations, so we don’t only repeat words without very much potency.
2) Expecting the Lord’s mercy.
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan mamas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectfull obeisances, with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (SB 10.14.8)
Tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano. Samiksamano means that ‘he is hoping for’, eagerly awaiting Krsna’ mercy. And what is the highest mercy that the Lord offers? – Prema-bhakti. We shouldn’t think that when the Lord gives us His mercy, our physical prob lems will go away. When the Lord’s mercy comes means that we will become purified of all material attachments and be able to render better service to the Lord.
Bhujana evatma-krtam vipakam. Bhujana, enduring; atma-krtam vipakam, the results of fruitive activities performed by oneself. The atheists, they blame the Lord. Also the neophytes they also may blame the Lord, thinking ‘ O I’ve done so much for the Lord, why the Lord has done this to me?’. Actually the devotee should think that “I have done so many sinful activities, I actually deserve to be suffering worse, but the Lord is so kind that He has minimized the suffering, or He is giving me the suffering for the sake of purification”.
Hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te. And he offers his obei sances with his heart, body and words.
Jiveta yo. Anyone who lives like that. In Sridhara Swami commentary on this verse, he says ‘just as the son has to do nothing but remain alive to inherit the property of his father, similarly a devotee just has to remain alive in Krsna conscious ness, following the regulative principles of devotional service and tolerating the miseries, he will get the right to enter into the kingdom of God. Daya-bhak, the literal translation is ‘lawful heir’. This is actually the secret of Krsna consciousness. It has two parts, this verse:
i) either something good or something bad happens to one, he sees Krsna’s touch in that. For a devotee, he doesn’t see even his karma, he sees Krsna minimizing his karma and he sees Krsna slowly acting in such a way towards him, that is bringing him closer and closer. That vision of seeing Krsna in that way, actually gives birth to bhakti.
ii) “Always paying obeisances within the core of his heart.”
This also is a practice that attracts Bhaktidevi. And both together it is very powerful. “Offering Krsna respectful obeisances from the core of his heart”. The heart is the essence of these obeisances, not the mind, the body or the words. One has to be in a prayerful deep mood and taking shelter – that is ‘obeisances’. And then natural ly if the ‘inside’ is right, then the mind, the body and words will come in the right perspective.
These two practices are both very powerful: seeing Krsna’s mercy in everything that happens to us and always paying obei sances to the Lord in the core of one’s heart. Then…jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak, one becomes ilegible to go to Krsna’s lotus feet naturally as the son inherites the property of the father.
When Sarvabhauma Battacarya became a bhakta, he didn’t like this word ‘mukti-pade’, so he changed it to ‘bhakti-pade’. Then Mahaprabhu explained to him: “Krsna is mukti-pade. He is the One that Mukti takes shelter of.”
Another verse quoted from Prthu Maharaja by Srila Rupa Goswa mi: part of it is that Prthu Maharaja is surrendering to the Lord just like the child surrenders to the father. What is the right mood for the child in his surrender? – “I don’t know what is best for me, therefore whatever You do for me, I trust that is the best for me.”
What can be the cause of any anxiety for a person who has full faith in Krsna? Because he sees everything happening to him as the Lord’s mercy and he has so much trust in the Lord, that the Lord is just simply, slowly or quickly, bringing him back to Him. What can possibly be wrong then? Everything is alright when one is in Krsna’s presence. And where can we go in this world and be outside of Krsna’s presence? With that faith and the tolerance that comes from it, the devotee is completely free from anxiety. This is the secret of being in Vaikuntha everywhere.
And ‘living in Vrndavana is like sitting on the lap of Krsna’, Srila Prabhupada said. What bad thing can happen to someone who is sitting on the lap of Krsna?
A ‘slap’ from Krsna is the sign of Krsna’s affection towards us. In that sense there is no karma for a devotee even though we may get what superficially appears to be karma. We see Krsna, slowly bringing us towards Him.
Because the purpose of the Creation is to purify the condi tioned soul of his enjoying spirit, the reactions to sins that we commit are meant to purify us of the desire that lead to the action. If though the devotee is not liable to suffer sinful reactions because he is surrendered to Krsna, when Krsna that the devotee still have traces of material desires, He may give to the devotee something that resemble a sinful reactions so that the devotee becomes purifyied of the last traces of material desires. Because the devotee is very eager to attain pure devotional service, to go back to Godhead, when he experiences some painful situation, he thinks that the pain that he is suffering for becoming purified is a small price to pay to become ilegible to go back to Krsna. Therefore he takes the pain as the mercy of the Lord. He sees the Lord as his father, “my father knows what is best for me, I don’t know what is best for me therefore I accept what He does to or for me”.
If the devotee accepts everything that comes to him as the Lord’s mercy, and then receiving the Lord’s mercy he increases his resolve to serve the Lord with body, mind and words, and offers obeisances to the Lord from within, then he becomes ilegi ble to enter into the Kingdom of God.
“Expecting the Lord’s mercy” – for a devotee he is always getting the mercy, he sees nothing but the Lord’s mercy, and therefore he is safe.
3) Remembrance. Krsna instructs in Bhagavad-gita to always remember Him, This is the goal of sadhana-bhakti – always remem ber Krsna and never forget Him.
“Someway or other, if someone establishes in his mind his continuous relationship with Krsna, this relationship is called remembrance.” Almost the entire middle six chapters of the Bhagavad-gita are just to establish this – to teach us how to see Krsna everywhere in His material energy.
4) Meditation. Dhyanam, intense contemplation on the form, the activities, the qualities of the Lord and His service. There is no limitation to our service to Krsna, except for one thing: the lack of desire. Nothing can stop us in our service to Krsna, when we know this secret of meditation. ( the example of the brahmana who worshiped the Lord in meditation).
There are many forms that the Deity take: jewels, sand, stone, paitings,…. and also manasah, the mind. We can offer Krsna anything that we like in this way. But it should be with devo tion.
These are different angas, more ideas of how we can practice bhakti-yoga to soften the heart and increase our devotion.
ASPECTS OF TRANSCENDENTAL SERVICE
There is a controversy about servitorship in sadhana-bhakti. One opinion, as Srila Prabhupada states in the purport, the opinion of the karmis, fruitive workers, offering the result of karma is called servitorship. But according to the Vaisnava acaryas, like Srila Rupa Goswami, servitorship means constant engagement in some kind of service to the Lord.
This servitorship mentioned here is not one of the rasas. It is not dasya-rasa. Here it is dasya sadhana-bhakti. Different vaisnava acaryas take different positions on this subject matter. The controversy is this, it is epitomized by the two verses in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26-27): patram puspam phalam toyam… (26), when someone is offering Krsna what He wants, that is considered the beginning of bhakti. That means surrender as Krsna says ‘sarva dharmam parityaja…, one has to surrender first and do what the Lord wants. That is the beginning of bhak ti. Bhakti doesn’t take place without first occuring surrender. Krsna wouldn’t even instruct Arjuna until he said, sisyas te’ham sadhi mam tvam prapanam. Before there is bhakti-yoga there must be surrender. Yet the verse 9.27 says, yat karosi yad-asnasi/ taat kurusva mad-arpanam. Arpanam or karma-arpanam means offering Krsna the fruit of one’s karma, “whatever you are doing, whatever you are giving away, whatever austerities you perform, whatever charity you perform , this should as an offering to Me.” That means that one is attached to do a particular type of thing and he gives the result of that work to Krsna – this is called karma-arpanam.
It is exemplified here by Srila Prabhupada: someone who is performing karma or varnasrama rules and regulations, he will do it as an offering to Krsna being dettached from the fruits of work for his own sense gratification. This is called niskama karma. This is not considered bhakti but because it leads to bhakti it is sometimes considered bhakti. Real bhakti begins with surrender. Baladeva Vidyabhusana says that it is bhakti and Viswanatha C. Thakura says that it isn’t. They are speaking from different perspectives: offering the fruits of one’s work to Krsna will lead to bhakti, therefore Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana considers it bhakti. And because it is not yet bhakti, Viswanatha C. Thaku ra considers it as not-bhakti. Srila Prabhupada says that this type of karma-yoga is bhakti because if he would make the standard of bhakti too high, we would all become discouraged. He explains things in way that is very suitable to keep us always increasing our Krsna conscious ness. That is the essence of the controversy, it is not a big thing.
Srila Rupa Goswami’s opinion is that one should be engaged in surrender. And what is that surrender? – Being always engaged in sravanam kirtanam visnu-smaranam…, the nine different angas of devotional service according to Prahlada Maharaja. This what devotional service is – being always engaged in chanting, hearing and remembering Visnu, etc, etc., to be always working as Krsna wants.
That brings a question: what was Arjuna’s prescribed duty? – To fight! Therefore Krsna told him to fight since he was a ksa triya. Was that bhakti? Actually Krsna told Arjuna to fight in three different levels: (1) in the middle of the 2nd chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna told him to fight and he would attain svarga – that was fighting on the sakama-yoga level; (2) Krsna told him to fight by being detached from his work, detached from the fruits of his work. That was called buddhi-yoga – it was the niskama karma level, and (3) Krsna told him at the end: sarva dharmam parityaja…, “give up all your prescribed duties yet fight and surrender to Me.” – that is bhakti. Although superfi cially the same fighting is going on, but one is attached another is detached, and another is devotional. It depends on one’s consciousness, by the external activity we cannot tell.
Also in the 12th chapter, Krsna explains the different stages of devotional service. The first one is ‘always engage your mind in Me’ then, ‘if you cannot do that, practice the rules and regulations of bhakti-yoga and you will attain that stage’ then Krsna says ‘if you cannot do that you should work for Me, and by working for Me you will attain perfection’. For these three (they are all direct stages of bhakti), the results are given: (i) ‘you will come to Me’, (ii) ‘you will be able to always remember Me’ and (iii) ‘gradually you will attain the perfectional stage’.
Then after that, Krsna says: ‘if you cannot work for Me, then offer Me the fruits of your work’. Here no result is given by Krsna, this is because one can offer the fruits of his work to Krsna and still not attain Krsna consciousness. One has to come up to full surrender – this is Srila Rupa Goswami’s conclusion.
Servitorship means to do what the Lord wants, not what we want. Surrender is the beginning of devotional service, and one should continuously practice this surrender.
The result of just offering the fruits of one’s work to Krsna is described in the 11th canto of the SB – the result is knowl edge. Krsna says if one is doing his devotional service, thinking ‘I am the Lord’s servant’, that is dasya sadhana-bhakti.
According to dharma-sastra, a person is advised to not give up his responsabilities with family, but that is just to keep sanity in society for persons who are still very attached to sense enjoyement. But according to bhakti-sastra we must surrender to what Krsna wants. (see page 96, 2nd para.)
This is not pure bhakti, it is karma-arpanam, but that mood must be there: ‘I am the Lord’s servant’. If we don’t acquire this mood through good association, then our situation is very precarious. That starts by ‘I am the guru’s servant.’
The 3rd para. on page 96, the quote of Naradyia-purana,is the aproximate translation of:
iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate
48) Devotional service in friendship.
Similarly this anga is divided in two parts:
(i) to act as the confidential servant of the Lord. This means a devotee who has faith, confidence in devotional service of the Lord and follows the rules and regulations with the faith that one day he will achieve the platform of transcendental life. The example given is Draupadi. Such a difficult situation she was put into, but because she had full faith in Krsna, therefore she could maintain her very life. (Draupadi is not an example of sadhana-bhakta, she is a prema-bhakta but yet her example is given for this anga of sadhana-bhakti.)
(ii) to act as the well-wisher of the Lord. This is actually a very advanced and rare thing. This is actually raganuga-bhakti, where one is feeling friendship to the Lord just as one feels to ordinary persons in this material world. (see page 97, 3rd para)
This is a raganuga-bhakta, who spontaneous, out of his friend ly affection for Krsna, he may lay down in the temple to further his friendly dealings with the Lord.
Although this is also done in siddha-bhakti but someon even in bondage may practice raganuga-bhakti and may act like that. It may arise in his heart this sakhya-rasa and spontaneously he may act in that way. Therefore Srila Rupa Goswami included it in sadhana-bhakti. It can also be manifested by a longing for this service even while in the bound or unliberated stages of sadhana.
49) Surrendering everything to the Lord (atma-nivedanam). This is also very, very rare. As sakhyam is very rare, also this atma-nivedanam is very rare. But sakhyam is even more rare. ‘Giving everything to the Lord’ doesn’t have to be as focused on a particular relationship with the Lord as friendhip is.
When one is so advanced that he has given everything to the Lord. completely protected by the Lord – with that type of full faith, this atma-nivedanam is a very wonderful and rare anga of devotional service.
Sometimes the word ‘atma’ is defined as the self. Sometimes is defined as the body or the mind. Even though this last definition is related with the illusory self, yet should be engaged in Krsna’s service and then it is perfect. But specially this ‘I’, the self, so much cultivated in modern materialistic society as to be turned to ‘I am Krsna’s servant’, or even better ‘I am Krsna’s and Krsna is mine’. And if ‘I am Krsna’s servant’, then ‘my body, my mind, everything in my possession, I offer to my Lord in His service – He can do whatever He likes’.
(see quote in page 98, 3rd para.) Therefore, following this very important statement of what atma-nivedana is, Srila Prabhu pada puts in the quote by Srila Rupa Goswami that devotional service in friendship and devotional service in atma-nivedanam is very rare. They are two difficult processes. (see last para. of this anga in page 98)
When the surrender is mixed with sincere ecstatic devotion, means towards Krsna in a particular way such as friendship, parental affection, madhurya-rasa, etc. These are very rare, even rarer then just surrender and dependence. This can be possible even int he sadhana platform, but it is very rare.
There are six principles of surrender:
50) Offering a favorite article.
There are two meanings of this: (i) one meaning is that one should offer the best thing in his possession, unto Krsna; (ii) the second meaning is given to Krsna an article that is favorite to Him, such as a peackok feather, gunja-mala, etc.
51) Performing all endeavors for Krsna.
Whatever one is doing, he should do it for Krsna.
52) Being a surrendered soul.
(see first quote on page 99 on this anga)
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains six divisions in surren der: (i) accept whatever is favorable for the discharge of devo tional service (without any personal consideration), (ii) reject whatever is unfavorable for devotional service, (iii) be firmly convinced that Krsna gives one protection (this is called faith), (iv) be convinced that Krsna is his supreme maintainer and mas ter. He should not think that he has been protected by any demi god. The devotee should be convinced that within the three worlds there is no other protector or maintainer than Krsna, (v) self-surrender means remember that one’s activities and desires are not independent. We may want to be successful in something but if Krsna doesn’t want it then it will not happen. Before we attempt to do anything and while we are doing it, we should always be thinking of Krsna and praying to Him to help us in our attempts to serve Him, (vi) the devotee is meek and humble.
53) Serving trees as the Tulasi.
This is a very powerful anga. (see quote page 99) The result of serving Tulasi properly is attainement of Krsna- prema. The nine ways of serving Tulasi devi (see last quote of this anga on page 100)
Tulasi devi is the internal energy of the Lord – she is Vrnda devi’s expansion. Vrndadevi is also worshiped in his own form, a gopi form.
FURTHER ASPECTS OF TRANSCENDENTAL SERVICE
54) Hearing the revealed scriptures.
This means those books which establish bhakti. One should worship such literature. Keeping such books nicely is also bhak ti.
55) Residing in Mathura.
(see the quotes)
56) Rendering service to devotees.
Here there is the important statement of Lord Siva, about the importance of the service to the Vaisnavas. It is from the Padma-purana:
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
This is the most important anga or item to invoke Krsna con sciousness and to increase Krsna consciousness. Everywhere in the SB such a topic is discussed. Without the service to the devotees one cannot be fixed in Krsna consciousness.
This is the thing that one has to cultivate more and more. And this will make our lives sucessful and our movement successful – when the serving mood predominates instead of the master mood. The serving mood to the Vaisnavas is the essence of Krsna consciousness whereas the master mood is the cause of our being in this material world. Krsna doesn’t accept direct service to Him, only through His devotees. We have to serve the Master as He wants to be served. The service atitude is the result of hearing and chanting about Krsna. If one hears and chants but doesn’t devellop this service atitude it means he is commiting aparadha. The fruit of hearing and chanting is service and the fruit of service is hearing and chanting.
57) Serving the Lord according to one’s position.
(to be continued in File NOD4)
(continuation from file NOD3)
FIVE POTENT FORMS OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE
The five kinds of devotional service, namely,(i)’residing in Mathura’, (ii) ‘worshiping the Deity’, (iii) ‘reciting the Sri mad-Bhagavatam’,(iv) ‘serving the devotees of the Lord’ and (v)’chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra’, are so potent that even a small attachment for anyone of these five items, can arouse devotional ecstasy, bhava-bhakti, even in a neophyte. But one must be offenseless for this to occur. Specifically on these most potent items of devotional service we should not underestimate their power whether one has knowledge of them, whether one has faith in them or not, they are very, very powerful. They can bring incredible results. It is always worthwhile to put time unto these and to recommend to others the importance of following the morning program.
1) Residing in Mathura/ Vrndavana.
Even those who are considered the lowest of men in Vrndavana (we know that they are not the lowest) are considered the highest in human society. Somehow or other they are always uttering the names of Vrndavana!, Mathura!, Radha Kunda!, Govardhana! (at the bus stand), Radha-Syama!
These people are more fortunate than any famous and powerful materialistic people.
The purpose of opening our temple in Vrndavana was to give a possibility to the western devotees to be ‘recharged’ spiritually in the Holy Dhama. To associate with the devotees, to hear and chant in Vrndavana Dhama – how potent this is.
Service done in Vrndavana gives a very great result in one’s program in spiritual life. On the other hand, offenses commited in Vrndavana specially illicit sex gives horrible results. If one does some mistake in Vrndavana he should behave very humbly and repent very deeply. He should ask for forgiveness from Vrndavana and should be ready to accept whatever mercy Sri Vrndavana choses to award him.
2) Hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most glorious literature. The first reason is because there is no cheating process taught in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is completely transcendental as devotional service is also transcendental. It deals with the highest perfection of life which is Krsna-prema. It is relishable by liberated souls because it describes the transcendental quali ties of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Dharma projjhita-kaitavo’tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam – “Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materi ally motivated…” (SB 1.1.2). All cheating processes are reject ed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. What is the cheating for the devotees? – Desires others than Krsna or Krsna-bhakti. Everything else is cheating.
We are not sannyasis, brahmanas, brahmacaris, sudras, etc, etc., we are ‘gopi bhartuh kamalayor dasa dasanudasa’. In Sri mad-Bhagavatam the constitutional occupation of the living enti ties is described. Krsna is also described in His real position. And the relationships between Krsna and His devotees is also de scribed. It gives a clear conception of what we are, who God is and what should we do. No other scripture gives such a perfect knowledge.
3) Chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
“The Holy Name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful, He bestows all spiritual benediction for He is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna’s name is complete and is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition and He is no less powerful than Krsna Him self. Krsna’s name is not contaminated by the material energy. There is no question of His being involved with maya. Krsna’s name is always liberated and spiritual and never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the Name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical.”
A question can be raised: ‘when the Holy Name who is not different from Krsna, and when Krsna is pure (sudha), mukta (liberated), how can we, who are not pure and not liberated, approach the Holy Name, touch the Holy Name, or actually chant the Holy Name?
Srila Rupa Goswami answers to this question with the verse from the Padma Purana: atah sri-krsna-namadi/ na bhaved grahyam indriyaih/ sevonmukhe hi jihvadau/ svayam eva sphuraty adah. Because Krsna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes are all in the absolute platform, material senses cannot appreciate Krsna’ Holy Name, form, qualities and pastimes. When the conditioned soul is awakened to Krsna consciousness and renders service by using the tongue to chant the Holy Name and take the remnants of the Lord’s food, the tongue is purified and gradually one becomes to under stand who actually Krsna is. By engaging the senses in the serv ice of the Lord, beginning with the tongue, the senses become purified and as the senses become purified, they become more and more qualified to chant and hear.
The Holy Name is Krsna and as we surrender to Krsna through His Holy Name, Krsna reciprocates accordingly (ye yatha mam prapadyante/ tams tathaiva bhajamy aham…). If we please Krsna by our service, Krsna will be pleased to reveal Himself to us.
Srila Prabhupada explains also this in a very nice way: ‘by serving Krsna the senses become purified; as the senses become purified we become free from offenses and as we become free from offenses the Holy Name reveals to us more and more. The Holy Name is progressively manifested: least in the nama-aparadha stage, then more in the stage of clearing offenses and completely mani fested when we chant purely.
Trnad api sunicena/ taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena/ kirtanya sada-harih. We have to have some qualification and in this verse Lord Caitanya gives direction on how to become quali fied. Also as Krsna is revealed through the mercy of the spiritu al master so the Holy Name is also revealed by the mercy of the spiritual master. The Holy Name is revealed to be Krsna.
Srila Jiva Goswami writtes that if one chants Hare Krsna or other Krsna’s names, Krsna’s attention is directed to the chant er. When we chant Krsna’s name, Krsna thinks: “The chanter of My name is Mine. He should be protected by all means.” When Krsna hears the devotee chanting His name, He feels obliged to His devotee. There is so much sweetness in the name of the Lord. When Haridasa Thakura heard one verse from Srila Rupa Goswami in Jaganatha Puri, he said: “I knew the opulence of Nama-sankirtana, but I never heard about the sweetness of this chant ing.” He chanted one verse where Radharani said: “When the name of Krsna dances on my tongue, one’s desires arisen spontaneously in the mind that I should have laks and laks of tongues and when I hear the name of Krsna, the desire to get millions and millions of ears arises. In this way I don’t know how much nectar is included in Krsna’s name.” It is most sweet.
In congregational chanting, one’s chanting of the holy names is supported by the intensity of other’s chanting and many living entities can take advantage of it. It is more powerful.
4) Worshiping the Deity of the Lord.
This Deity worship is practical devotional service. We are eternal servants of Krsna and this Deity worship allows us to begin our service to Krsna – to cook for Him, to dress Him, to sing for Him. In this way we learn how to serve properly the Lord. It is practical. The main reason of 2nd initiation is to allow us to practice Deity worship and thus come closer to Krsna. When one sees the Deity he becomes attracted by that form because by Krsna’s mercy if one has some affection for the Deity, one does not see metal or stone, he sees Krsna and his heart becomes soft, full of love to see the beautiful form of the Deity. And when one is seeing the beautiful form of Krsna in his heart, with his bhava, then he will not become attached to the form of the wife, children, etc, etc…
5) Serving the devotees of the Lord.
The devotees of the Lord are spiritually ‘infected’. If one wants to conteract such infection, one should associate with the devotees very intensly, then he will be spiritually ‘ contaminat ed’.
If one associates with a devotee even for a moment, Srila Prabhupada explains, he will tell him about Krsna consciousness, and if one begins the path of Krsna consciousness he will get all perfection. In a fraction of second (lava-matra) of association with a devotee of the Lord one can receive the seed of bhakti which will fructify in due course of time.
The bhagavata, he has bhakti in his heart (bhakti is composed of samvit-sakti and lhadini-sakti). In many references of the scriptures it is said that the bhakti-sakti that lives within the heart of the bhakta can be transfered to any person who is able to receive it. The lhadini-sakti can be transfered from the heart of a bhagavata through the dust of his feet, the remnants of his food and his instructions.
Krsna has given to His devotees, His krpa-sakti, that means that He allows His devotees to distribute His own mercy – He will not do it Himself. He gives that power of attorney to His devo tees.
In the end of the 18th chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna tells Arjuna: “Surrender to Me and I will protect you, I will bestow My mercy on you. Viswanatha C. Thakura says in his commentary that Krsna’s mood is that “I am right before you and will make an exception in your case, that I will bestow My mercy on you di rectly, otherwise I never do this – but in your case I make an exception.”
Srila Prabhupada explains: “because we are social beings, if we don’t devellop very intimate heart to heart relationships with the devotees, we will be forced to associate with non-devotees. If one associates with non-devotees he will not be able to follow the rules and regulations.” Because everyone’s association is infectious, one either catch karma-bija, jnana-bija, maya-bija, any kind of tendency or one will catch the ‘contamination’ of Krsna consciousness from a devotee. asat-sanga-tyaga- ei vaisnava-acara It is essential to devellop relationships with the devotees. Srila Rupa Goswami wrotte five verses in glorification of the five potent forms of devotional service. First he said that the five kinds of devotional service are so potent that a small attachments for everyone of this five items can arouse devotional ecstasy even in a neophyte.
We may wonder how we neophytes even after engaging in the five potent forms of devotional service has not fully awaken to devo tional ecstasy (bhava). Srila Rupa Goswami says that the power of these five forms of devotional service is very wonderful and difficult to reconcile. Even without faith in them, a person who is offenseless can experience dormant love of Krsna by being a little connected with them. The word ‘offenseless’ is very impor tant. In other words, the process has great potency and if the devotee executes it without offenses, he can very quickly come to experience bhava. The Holy Name, the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas are very merciful so they give us some taste and they help us to become free from the offenses.
This chapter has some similarities of chapter five “The purity of devotional service”, because it explains how bhakti is inde pendent of all other processes.
Some people propose that the performance of varnas and asrmas are angas of bhakti but this is not a fact. At what stage is one allowed not to follow the injunctions for varna and asrama? – Lord Krsna gives the answer in SB saying that as not one is not satiated by fruitive activities and as long as one’s taste for chanting and hearing is not awaken, one must continue to follow the regulative principles of varna and asrama. The implication is that when one finishes with karma and he is attracted to bhakti, specially chanting and hearing, then one doesn’t have to follow the regulative principles of varna and asrama although one may do so to not disturb the society and to set the example for others.
This last chapter describing vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti has some very important points to make right at the end. Srila Prabhupada opens this chapter by saying: “Some scholars recommend that knowledge and renunciation are important factors for elevating oneself to devotional service.” The refutation of this and the establishment of what are the important factors for being in devotional service are the essence of this chapter.
When it is referred to knowledge it means jnana, not knowledge about Krsna. There is no criticism or minimizing knowledge about Krsna. That knowledge mentioned above in Srila Prabhupada’s statements, is knowledge of oneness, impersonal knowledge that leads to our merging with the Lord. And what is referring as renunciation is the ascetism, when one is thinking basically that ‘this world is false, and I have nothing to do with this world, therefore I should not touch this world, I should have nothing to do with it, because it is false’. Therefore such people are engaged in ascetism, completely minimizing every body’s needs.
The first point made is that devotional service itself is sva-tantra, is independent of these things – jnana and vairagya, although these two processes, knowing that we are not the body and knowing that we are spirit (jnana) and being detached from the material world (vairagya) can be, not need to be, used as a step to get to bhakti. Because if one is enamored thinking that the material world is everything and how wonderful it is to enjoy the material world, some people may take the first step of becom ing renunciants or understanding ‘aham brahmasmi’, that ‘I am spirit’. Some people may take that as a step and that step seem to be useful for them, for actually engaging in devotional serv ice, but ultimately these two paths must be given up for actual bhakti-yoga, because they are not angas of sadhana-bhakti or any kind of bhakti. In the 64 angas of bhakti they are not mentioned, therefore one must engage his entire mind, body and words in the angas of bhakti-yoga exclusevely, with nothing extraneous. These, jnana and vairagya are ultimately extraneous when they are defined in the way just defined. Jnana as these three things, (i) knowledge meaning that ‘I am spirit’, (ii) the absolute spirit, and (iii) ‘I am that’, the identification of oneself with the Supreme. And ascetism.
Jnana and vairagya they bring fruits. One may get mystic powers or even some type of liberation. But devotional service is so powerful that if even one has desires for those fruits there is no need whatsoever for him to engage in jnana or vairagya. Krsna will award him any result if he just take to bhakti.
But a devotee who takes to bhakti if it is pure devotional service, he has no other desires. This is what we have been studying right from the beginning of the Introduction: anyabhila sita sunyam/ jnana-karmady anavrtam…, there is nothing to do with karma or jnana, there is no contamination, no attachments to these things or the results in devotional service. But if one does have some results, he is not attached to them. If one has the right mixture of these desires for some type of opulence, he may get one of the four types of liberation in Vaikuntha.
There are two ways that one can be situated in those four types of liberation: (i) as service to the Lord or (ii) with slight tinges of personal desires although they cannot be consid ered material.
There is no need for anything but bhakti. Srila Rupa Goswami is bringing this up here to remind us, after his description of vaidhi sadhana-bhakti, to encourage us to completely take shelter of the practices of sadhana. There is no loss, there is only gain.
Gradually if one has some slight material attachments, by the mercy of the actual association with these angas, these material attachments will be removed, and naturally the fruits or results of bhakti will come by the causeless mercy of the Lord. Therefore one should engage simply in bhakti-yoga.
Those two definitions of jnana and vairagya should not induce us to engage in sense indulgence saying that we are not ascetics. No, what we should not do is to engage in phalgu-vairagya, false vairagya, superficially giving up everything in the material world without understanding that everything in the material world comes from Krsna and it is Krsna’s energy. We may be giving up everything but just below the surface our material desires are raging.
There is a river called the phalgu river, a false river. On its surface it looks dry sand but underneath the river is flowing very, very strongly. This is phalgu-vairagya – on the surface ‘I am a great renunciate’ but behind closed doors or within our minds all kinds of nonsenses are going on.
We should not try to give up the objects of the senses as if they were ours. It is like if one would say ‘I am giving up Bhakta X’s watch’. How ridiculous, how can I give it up if it is not mine?
Srila Rupa Goswami quotes here:
yuktam vairagya ucyate
The karmis they see the material world and they want to enjoy it, they want to exploit it. They try to take God’s property from God and exploit it. The jnanis, they cultivate renunciation, they that by try to exploit the material energy they become entangled and ultimately they are punished by the material nature. They think that they had enough suffering in the material world, they don’t try to enjoy the material world again, they want to leave it. The bhakta he sees everything as the energy of Krsna, meant for Krsna’s service – that is yukta-vairagya.
In one hand we can’t deal with material things for the sake of sense gratification and at the same time we can’t reject material things that can be used in Krsna’s service. It is a very fine line and we have to be always very careful not to try to enjoy material things and not to reject material things that can be used in Krsna’s service.
By example the six Goswamis of Vrndavana were famous for their renouncement and we worship them but here we are condemning renouncement. Some body may say that they were sleeping under a different tree every night to demonstrate detachment. But there is a more intimate reason why they behaved like that. All throughout Vrndavana, Radha and Krsna and Their eternal associ ates haver Their pastimes, so every night when the six Goswamis were resting under a different tree, the pastimes of the Lord that were enacted in that particular place were revealed to them. They were not practicing dry renunciation. They were not sleeping under a different tree every night as a sort of self-inflicted punishment. Yukta-vairagya is not phalgu-vairagya. It means that one recognizes everything as Krsna’s: bhumir apo’nalo vayuh/ kham mano buddhir eva ca/ ahankara itiyam me/ bhinna prakrtir astadha this is Krsna’s energy. Everything is Krsna’s, so let me use everything in Krsna’s service and engage the senses in this way. This is real vairagya, not phalgu-vairagya. Srila Rupa Goswami doesn’t criticize vairagya but false vairagya. This is the actual state of consciousness that the devotee should be in. And Srila Prabhupada explains that the Krsna consciousness movement is practically based on that. Utility is the principle.
Again we can use the utility as the principle but uneless we have purity as the force, we will misuse the utility as the principle. Instead of using everything in Krsna’s service when purity is the force, we will use everything in the service of our senses and we will not be even phalgu-vairagis, we will be simply sense enjoyers, in the name of religion. Both sides are very dangerous. Not only the artificial false renunciation but also real sense gratification. They are very dangerous. Srila Prabhupada explains this very nicely in one sentence: “with such sentiments for Krsna or Krsna consciousness, we can accept everything but the sentiments for Krsna’s pleasure has to be there.” How to instal sentiments for Krsna within our heart? That is what has been studied.
There are five potent forms of devotional service.
There are three essential items in devotional service.
There are 64 different ways to engage our senses and mind, continuously, in Krsna’s service 24 hours a day. This is what we have been studying, and from this comes ruci. The envigoration or awakening of that ruci, or taste, is what will be discussed in the next section of sadhana which is called
But that ruci has to be awaken in the heart. And how to do that? – We have just studied that. We must know how to do that. And if we don’t have a taste, we should not give up. We should know the urgency of getting that taste and we should spend time specially on these five main angas of bhakti.
There are two types of phalgu-vairagya that we have to be careful of(they are mentioned in the comments): (i) unbalanced attachment, improper detachment. When we are offered a flower garland we may be not eager to take it – this is offensive de tachment. If we don’t ask for it, we see a flower garland but we are not eager to get it – this is offensive. We must take it, we must take a little prasada even if we don’t feel eating anything. These are improper and offensive atitudes. (ii) Jiva Goswami and Viswanatha C. Thakura, both speak about the practicing devotional service through wealth and disciples. That is called slack devo tion, it is not and anga of uttama-bhakti. Like some people, because they are very wealthy, they may engage, through payement, brahmanas to do the puja of their Deities in their temples. Or a guru engaging his disciples to do the service that he is supposed to do as part of his duties.
We all have the experience when there are some facilities we tend to be slack in devotional service. The acaryas have comment ed that ‘jnana-karmady anavrtam’, pure devotional service should n’t be covered by jnana, karma and ‘adi’ which means ‘etc’. This ‘etc’ includes also ‘slackness’. All the qualities will come as jnana and vairagya will come. Everything will come through devotional service, there is no need to do anything when one gets bhakti. And bhakti will come if we follow properly the process. Some people may raise the point that the development of good qualities like non-violence, are items of devotional service. But again Srila Rupa Goswami says no. The cultivation of good quali ties like cleanliness, non-violence, etc, are not themselves items of devotional service. By the cultivation of pure devotion al service one devellops all good qualities.
Charity, sacrifices, vows, austerities, offering the mind to Krsna, offering one’s bodily activities, praising,…, so many differents things, all these will come if we simply, strongly, take to the process of devotional service. They appear automati cally. The example given is in the Skanda-purana, the story of the hunter Mrgari. He had no good qualities and he didn’t prac tice any austerity, he didn’t practice anything good, he had no jnana, but just by the mercy of Narada Muni, he took to devotion al service and all good qualities came. He wouldn’t even hurt an ant. And before he would enjoy seeing the animals flapping in their death throes. (there is no need for separate vegetarianism preaching)
Srila Rupa Goswami quotes that those good qualities that we are all longing for they don’t come, actually they take shelter of the devotee – they are longing for the shelter of the devotee.
Why is all these being spoken? – Because Srila Rupa Goswami wants to establish within us a firm faith and desire to strongly take to bhakti in all its different angas. Nothing else is need ed. It is independent as Krsna is independent. It is eternal, it is unlimited. It is what we are looking for. We can either prac tice bhakti ekanga, one limb, (therefore Srila Prabhupada quotes the different nine angas and how different devotees attained perfection by following just one of those angas), or we can practice all the different angas of devotional service.
SPONTANEOUS DEVOTIONAL SERVICE.
There are eternal associates of Krsna, like Nanda Maharaja, Mother Yasoda, Subala, Sudama, Lalita, Visakha, Radharani, they are called ragatmika devotees because they have raga, deep at tachment for Krsna which is beyond the regulative principles. The residents of Vrndavana they don’t follow any regulative princi ples, because they have spontaneous love for Krsna. And devotion al service which follows in the wake of the love of the residents of Vrndavana, is raganuga-bhakti. It is not that everyone goes to raganuga-bhakti. If someone becomes attracted by the devotional service of Krsna’s associates in Vrndavana, then he can practice raganuga-bhakti. He wants to follow in their footsteps and become like the cowherd boys or like Mother Yasoda or Nanda Maharaja or like the gopis. But someone can engage in vaidhi-bhakti and not become attracted by the devotional service of the eternal residents of Vrndavana. He may be attracted to Narayana or other form of Krsna. He will continue vaidhi-bhakti and by becoming purified in vaidhi-bhakti he can go to bhava-bhakti or prema-bhakti but he will not go to Goloka-Vrndavana he will go to Vaikuntha or Ayod hya.
One only enter into raganuga-bhakti from vaidhi-bhakti if he has the seed of devotion to the eternal associates of Vrndavana. If someone has the seed of love for Laksmi-Narayana, he will not want to follow in the footsteps of Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda or any other inhabitant of Vrndavana, because he doesn’t have the seed for that type of devotional service. But if he has the seed for that type of devotional service like the inhabitants of Vrndavana and if he gets the association of raganuga Vaisnavas and if he sufficiently advanced, beeing freed from anarthas, then he can practice raganuga-bhakti.
Raganuga-bhakti applies only to Goloka. And in Goloka there are three sections: Gokula, Mathura and Dwaraka. Mainly it ap plies to Gokula (Vraja), but one can have the desire to follow in the wake of the Queens or other associates of Krsna in Dwaraka.
Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vrndavana-dhama, but in Navadvipa-dhama, the devotees do not enter into the higher rasas like in Vrndavana. In Navadvipa-dhama everyone has awe and rever ence for Lord Caitanya. Take the example of Gadadhara Pandita who is Radharani. In Krsna-lila, Radharani is not submissive to Krsna, She doesn’t think that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, She just thinks that He is a very beautiful boy who She loves and Krsna thinks that She is a very beautiful girl who He loves. Here love doesn’t mean desire for sense gratification but the desire to please one’s lover. Radharani gives more pleasure to Krsna by not being submissive. Krsna gets more pleasure from Her crooked behaviour. But with Gadadhara Pandita and Lord Caita nya there is nothing like that. Gadadhara is always submissive and respectful to Lord Caitanya. Even if it seems that Lord Caitanya is submissive to the will of His mother or Nityananda or Jagadananda, He neverthless is always in control, He decides what He wants, no one can stop Him, He is independent. If He decides to take sannyasa, no body stops Him; if He decides to send Nitya nanda to Bengal, Nityananda goes. Lord Caitanya is worshiped and respected by all, but in Vrndavana, Krsna is not in control, he comes under the control of the devotees.
In Vaikuntha there is only santa-rasa, dasya-rasa and the lower portion of sakhya-rasa, meaning friendship with reverence (like Uddhava or any of the friends of Krsna in Dwaraka). But in Vrndavana there is pure friendship, like the cowherd boys. They have no reverence, they fight with Krsna as equals and if they defeat Krsna, He has to carry them on His shoulders.
In Navadvipa one doesn’t serve Lord Caitanya in the higher rasas but Lord Caitanya came to give the higher rasas.
From bhajana-kriya to asakti this is all within sadhana-bhakti. Then there is bhava and prema-bhakti. In the first paragraph, by the end of page 119, where it is written ‘raganuga-bhakti’ to describe the spontaneous friendly atitude of the cowherd boys in relation to Krsna, we should read ragatmika-bhakti.
Raga means intense attachment and absorption in some object, spontaneous attachment. The residents of Vrndavana, they are ragatmika bhaktas, they are practically speaking, the only ragat mika bhaktas. That means that their spontaneous love and affec tion for Krsna, their attachment to Him in spontaneous love outruns everything else. The eternal associates of Krsna, like Nanda Maharaja, Mother Yasoda, Subala, Sudama, Lalita, Visakha, Radharani, they are called ragatmika devotees because they have raga, deep attachment for Krsna which is beyond the regulative principles. The resi dents of Vrndavana they don’t follow any regulative principles, because they have spontaneous love for Krsna. And devotional service which follows in the wake of the love of the residents of Vrndavana, is raganuga-bhakti.
Vaidhi bhakti which is practiced with awe and reverence, with deference to rules and regulations, it is not accepted in raga-bhakti. If some person hears the discussions about Krsna with the residents of Vrndavana, with the cowherd boys or Nanda Maharaja, Yasodamayi, the gopis, and he becomes attracted by their mood of devotion, and if he thinks “I would like to serve Krsna in the same mood as the cowherd boys or the elderly members of the cowherd community, or the young gopis…”, and he develops tran scendental covetousness or greed “I want that same mood of serv ice!”, then he becomes eligible for raganuga-bhakti. Raganuga-bhakti means bhakti which follows (anuga) the mood of the ragat mika devotees, the devotees who have raga-bhakti.
Srila Rupa Goswami uses the word lobha, greed. That is the only qualification for entering into raganuga-bhakti. Such ‘greed’ cannot be created by any ammount of pious activity. That ‘greed’ is the only price that one can pay to attain raganuga-bhakti. Raganuga-bhakti is called ‘spontaneous’, it doesn’t depend in any ammount of pious activities, it doesn’t depend on the injunctions of the scriptures. For example Hanuman wanted to serve Lord Rama as servant. Any person can tell him, that accord ing to the scriptures, Krsna is the Supreme Personality of God head, so many relationships with Krsna are higher than the rela tionship of service with Rama, but Hanuman won’t care because his love for Rama is not based on the injunctions of the scriptures, it is natural, spontaneous.
In order to attain this ‘greed’ for raganuga-bhakti one must be beyond the stage of ‘anartha-nivritti’, because before this stage one is full of desires and offenses, to have such greed for Krsna. It can start at the stage of ruci and become stronger at the stage of asakti.
A question may be raised: ‘the effects of aparadha can contin ue even to the stage of prema so how this relates to the practice of raganuga-bhakti?’ – After anartha-nivrtti comes the stage of nistha where the person is fixed in the execution of devotional service, but fixed in devotional service on the basis of intel ligence. With intelligence he knows that he is a spiritual soul, part and parcel of Krsna, and his real relationship is with Krsna not with Maya, therefore he endevors without deviation to develop his relationship with Krsna and free himself to any attachments to Maya – that is nistha. But nistha matures into ruci where the person has actual taste for devotional service. Certainly raganu ga-bhakti cannot begin before the stage of ruci, because raganu ga-bhakti is not based on the intelligence, it is based on spon taneous attraction. But that would be just the very beginning stage of it; it could develop more in the stage of asakti. Asakti means ‘one gets so much pleasure from devotional service that he becomes deeply attached to Krsna and the process of bhakti’. Then the process of raganuga-bhakti can become more fully developed.
Raganuga is a process of following the ragatmika bhaktas and it continues through bhava and prema. It can start in the stage of sadhana but the principle of following the eternal residents of Vrndavana is eternal and it continues. Is not that there is a progression from vaidhi-bhakti to raganuga-bhakti to bhava-bhakti to prema-bhakti. Raganuga is a different process that can begin at the advanced stage of sadhana and continues through all the other stages until one enters the pastimes of the Lord in Vrndavana and then one becomes a ragatmika bhakta. Raganuga is a special process for entering in Vrndavana. Every living entity has an eternal relationship with Krsna which means that every living entity has in his heart the seed of a very specific relationship with Krsna. One only enter into raganuga- bhakti from vaidhi-bhakti if he has the seed of devotion to the eternal associates of Vrndavana. If someone has the seed of love for Laksmi-Narayana, he will not want to follow in the footsteps of Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda or any other inhabitant of Vrndavana, because he doesn’t have the seed for that type of devotional service. But if he has the seed for that type of devotional service like the inhabitants of Vrndavana and if he gets the association of raganuga Vaisnavas and if he is sufficiently advanced, beeing freed from anarthas, then he can practice raga nuga-bhakti.
Having greed for service in the mood of the residents of Vrndavana has the potency to take one to the highest stage but one may yet in the stage of sadhana. And someone else may be already a sidha, a perfect devotee in the association with the Lord in Vaikuntha or Ayodhya but he won’t be ilegible to enter into Vrndavana, whereas a person may be yet a sadhaka but have the illegibility, due to the seed in his heart, to do things that a devotee associated with Krsna in Ayodhya or Vaikuntha can not do. The story of Bhima with King Samudra Sena illustrates this.
Raganuga-bhakti is a process, it is not stage.
In the Caitanya-Caritamrta there are a few verses explaining what raganuga-bhakti is:
ya sa raganugocyate
“Devotional service in spontaneous love is vividly expressed and manifested by the inhabitants of Vrndavana. Devotional serv ice that accords with their devotional service is called raganu ga-bhakti, or devotional service following in the wake of sponta neous loving service.” (CC Mad 22:154)
In the next verse Srila Rupa Goswami explains the ilegibility:
srute dhir yad apeksate
natra sastram na yuktim ca
“When an advanced realized devotee hears about the affairs of the devotees of Vrndavana – in the mellows of santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya – he becomes inclined in that way, and his intelligence becomes attracted. Indeed, he begins to covet that particular type of devotion (his lobha, that is the main requiremnt). When such covetousness is awakened, one’s intelligence no longer depends on the instruction of sastra, revealed scripture, logic or argument.” (CC Mad 22:155)
Actual greed does not depend on the injunctions of the scrip tures or reason and arguments – rather it is spontaneous. Just like if someone sees some nice rasagulla and he decides “I must have that!”. If he looks in his pockets if he has enough money to purchase it – that is not greed. But if he decides “I must have it whether I have the money or not; by begging, by borrowing or by stealing, I must have it!” – that is greed. If someone hears about the Vrndavana residents’ love for Krsna and thinks “I am so lowly, I am so fallen, that is such a high thing, I could never had that” – that is not greed. Greed is: “I may be a fool, a rascal, I may be a nonsense, still I must have it and somehow or other I will get it. I must get it!” – that is greed. But this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t follow the process. He follows the process with greed. He follows the same process that the devotees in vaidhi-bhakti follow, but he doesn’t follow with the idea that “he scriptures say that I have to do it so I have to do it”. He follows with the idea that “at the end I will get what I want!”.
How to follow the process?
siddha-rupena catra hi
“The advanced devotee who is inclined to spontaneous loving service should follow the activities of a particular associate of Krsna in Vrndavana. He should execute service externally as a regulative devotee as well as internally from his self-realized position. Thus he should perform devotional service both exter nally and internally.” (CC Mad 22:158)
Here service with two types of bodies is mentioned. Seva sadhaka-rupena means service with the external body as a devotee practicing regulative devotional service; siddha-rupena, with a body suitable for eternal self-realized service.
This may very difficult to conceive in the conditioned stage, still we can understand from the scriptures that within the material body there is a spiritual body but that spiritual body is not developed. Srila Prabhupada has given the example of a coconut. As the coconut matures and dries, the milk inside the coconut solidifies and becomes like a white flesh. That flesh becomes harder and harder and ultimatelly separates from the shell. The same way, the spiritual body existes within the mate rial body and it gradually becomes manifested. The point is that when one’s greed becomes very intense and when one is in the stage of asakti, just entering the stage of rati or bhava, then the spiritual body comes out. Then with the spiritual body inter nally, he serves the eternal associates of Krsna in Vrndavana. Let’s supose that one’s greed is to become a cowherd boy. So his spiritual body will manifest as a cowherd boy. Then, internally with the spiritual body, he will become an assistant of Subala and if any cow wanders away from the herd, he will chase her and bring her back as his service to Subala who is his leader. That is internal service, but externally he will act just like a regulative devotee. Specifically, we are rupanugas, followers of Srila Rupa Goswa mi. Internally we can think of the eternal associate that we want to serve, and externally we think of Srila Rupa Goswami and we will serve as Srila Rupa Goswami serve (like what we sing in the prayers to the Six Goswamis), always engaged in kirtana, in studying the scriptures, chanting prescribed number of rounds, offering obeisances, going to different places in Vrndavana, or has we have seen our spiritual master doing (chanting Hare Krsna, discussing Srimad-Bhagavatam, preaching, worshiping the Deity, visiting Holy places, everything…). The regulative activities don’t stop but the other activities go on internally. (internally means ‘not visible to others’ Next question will be: who are the sahajiyas?; what are dif ferences between the sahajyas and what Srila Rupa Goswami recom mends? – The sahajyas may have sraddha, they have some faith like we have. But on the basis of faith and its development, one cannot get a spiritual body. One really attains the spiritual body at the stage of rati or bhava. But the sahajyas try to experience the ecstasy or they try to manifest the spiritual body before they actually come to the stage of bhava. Therefore Srila Prabhupada translates the word sahajya as those who take things very cheaply. They think that without the qualification of bhava-bhakti, or aproaching bhava-bhakti, one can imagine the spiritual body, or one can imagine one’s eternal relationship with Krsna. Srila Rupa Goswami says very clear, seva sadhaka-rupena, one should externally do service like an ordinary sadhaka but inter nally one engages in his spiritual activities. But the sahajyias sometimes they try to manifest their so-called internal service with the same body, the external body, so they dressed up like the gopis. That is a farce. That is ‘travestti’. They try to manifest or experience the ecstasy or experience the spiritual body without the qualification. Srila Rupa Goswami was never seen dressed in a sari, with bangles, etc….
The so-called siddha-pranali is also a different kind of sahajiya where people without being in the stage of rati or bhava are told about their spiritual forms and services in Goloka. This is very much condemned by our acaryas. Raganuga-bhakti can only be attained by the grace of Krsna through the spiritual master. Therefore in any stage we should always remain submissive to the guidance of guru and sastra. We can pray to have greed. To desire to have greed is a sort of greed. If one has greed for a relationship in conjugal love with Krsna but he doesn’t follow the gopis in Vrndavana then he goes to Dwaraka, not to Vrndavana. Laksmidevi had the greed for the association of Krsna in Vrndavana but she didn’t follow the process so she couldn’t enter in Vrndavana.
Raganuga-bhakti applies only to Goloka. And in Goloka there are three sections: Gokula, Mathura and Dwaraka. Mainly it applies to Gokula (Vraja), but one can have the desire to follow in the wake of the Queens or other associates of Krsna in Dwara ka.
Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vrndavana-dhama, but in Navadvipa-dhama, the devotees do not enter into the higher rasas like in Vrndavana. In Navadvipa-dhama everyone has awe and rever ence for Lord Caitanya. Take the example of Gadadhara Pandita who is Radharani. In Krsna-lila, Radharani is not submissive to Krsna, She doesn’t think that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, She just thinks that He is a very beautiful boy who She loves and Krsna thinks that She is a very beautiful girl who He loves. Here love doesn’t mean desire for sense gratification but the desire to please one’s lover. Radharani gives more pleasure to Krsna by not being submissive. Krsna gets more pleasure from Her crooked behaviour. But with Gadadhara Pandita and Lord Caita nya there is nothing like that. Gadadhara is always submissive and respectful to Lord Caitanya. Even if it seems that Lord Caitanya is submissive to the will of His mother or Nityananda or Jagadananda, He neverthless is always in control, He decides what He wants, no one can stop Him, He is independent. If He decides to take sannyasa, no body stops Him; if He decides to send Nitya nanda to Bengal, Nityananda goes. Lord Caitanya is worshipable and respected by all, but in Vrndavana, Krsna is not in control, he comes under the control of the devotees.
In Vaikuntha there is only santa-rasa, dasya-rasa and the lower portion of sakhya-rasa, meaning friendship with reverence (like Uddhava or any of the friends of Krsna in Dwaraka). But in Vrndavana there is pure friendship, like the cowherd boys, they have no reverence, they fight with Krsna as equals and if they defeat Krsna, He has to carry them on His shoulders.
In Navadvipa one doesn’t serve Lord Caitanya in the higher rasas but Lord Caitanya came to give the higher rasas. From bhajana-kriya to asakti this is all within sadhana-bhakti.
Then there is bhava and prema-bhakti.
Sometimes we say that the residents of Vrndavana don’t know about aisvarya, the opulence of Krsna, they don’t know about Krsna’s supreme position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but this is not exactly true because when Uddhava came to talk to the gopis and when speaking to Srimati Radharani, she began to say: “We all know, don’t tell us anything about Krsna, we are not interested in hearing about Him anymore. We know all about Him from Gargamuni. In one life He was Rama, He had no principles, no character, He shot Bali in the back, something unbefitting a kstriya. We know all about Krsna, we don’t want to hear about Him anymore”. They knew who Krsna was.
There is aisvarya-jnana, knowledge of Krsna’s great opulent position and then there is madhurya, the sweetness which perme ates and controls everything in Sri Vrndavana-dhama. The resi dents of Vrndavana have so much attraction for the sweetness of the relationship with Krsna, thinking of Him as ‘our village friend’. They think about Him in a village relationship. And if they were thinking that He is God all the time, they couldn’t carry on with them that great spontaneous affection that they do.
The aisvarya-jnana is there but the madhurya, the sweetness of their spontaneous love for Krsna overpowers their aisvarya-jnana. Just like Arjuna, he is not a resident of Vrndavana, he is a resident of Hastinapura, he has a friendly relationship with Krsna. In the 11th chapter of Bhagavad-gita when he sees the universal form he becomes terrified, he looses his equilibrium, he asks Krsna to take it away finally. He prays in a trembling voice. The aisvarya aspect of Krsna overpowers his friendly relationship with Krsna. He even apologizes “O Krsna, sometimes I called ‘You Yadava!’, sometimes we have set in the same bed to gether, this is very offensive, I didn’t realize who You were previously. Please forgive me, I am offering my obeisances”. The aisvarya-jnana of Krsna overpowered the madhurya, the sweetness of the relationship.
But on the other end, when Mother Yasoda asked Krsna to open His mouth and see if it was true that He had eaten dirt, like His friends had told her, when she saw inside Krsna’s mouth, she saw that universal form. She looked at it and thought ‘what is this?’. She didn’t think ‘ O Krsna I didn’t know who You were, I tied You up sometimes; sometimes I chastised You, please forgive me for all such offenses’. Not for one second she thought like that. That aisvarya of Krsna could not overpower the madhurya, the sweetness of her love. That is the special characteristic of the relationships of the residents of Vrndavana. Their love for Krsna is so powerful, is madhurya-rati, madhurya-bhava. that overpowers everything else. They become angry at Krsna, they chastise Him, they sometimes feel chivalrous towards Him, but always the prema is dominant. Their great love in this particular way is called ragatmika-bhakti.
This ragatmika-bhakti means that they don’t have to learn anything, they are perfect. Nitya siddha krsna preme sadhya…, they have already achieved the sadhya or the goal of pure love of Krsna to the highest degree. They are nitya-siddhas, not that they have achieved it, they are situated in that, and they don’t have anything to do with the sadhana that we have been discuss ing.
Sadhana are the practices to obtain sadhya, bhava or love of Krsna – prema-bhakti. The residents of Vrndavana they have no need to practice any sadhana, they are beyond all the rules and regulations. The purpose of rules and regulations is to help us to attain love for Krsna, but their love of Krsna is so strong, they are perfectly situated in that love.
The spontaneous atitude that the cowherd boys have, the gopis have, Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, Upananda, have, Cittra, Patraka, etc, etc, have – that is called ragatmika-bhakti. Their love for Krsna is so great and spontaneous, their all lives are spontaneously without any need for any order from anyone, always centered around Krsna, always pleasing Him.
Srila Rupa Goswami has defined ragatmika-bhakti as ‘a sponta neous attraction for something while being completely absorbed in thought of it with an intense desire of love’. This is the per fection. Devotional service executed with such feelings of spon taneous love, this is ragatmika-bhakti.
This ragatmika-bhakti can be divided into two different sec tions: (i) kama-rupa, sensual attraction and (ii) sambhanda-rupa, loving Krsna in relationship. This only applies to the residents of Vrndavana. Those who are in the category of kama-rupa in ragatmika-bhakti, are the gopis of Vrndavana. And in sambhanda-rupa are those Vraja bhaktas who are impelled by their relation ship of love with Krsna – parental, friendship, servitorship, bhaktas.
The residents of Dwaraka are also considered ragatmika-bhaktas in sambhanda-rupa. The Queens of Dwaraka as well as the other devotees in Dwaraka or Vrndavana in the mood of friendship, parentalhood or servitorship, they are all sambhanda-rupa devo tees.
Kama-rupa only exists in Vrndavana in the gopis. The Queens of Dwaraka desire to have conjugal relationship with Krsna but with formality – this is not kama-rupa bhakti.
There are raganuga bhaktas for all these different kama-rupa and sambhanda-rupa positions. But to be a raganuga devotee one can be sambhandanuga.
There are two types of kamanuga devotees: (i) one desires to have keli, or direct union with the Lord which is not following in the line of Rupa Goswami; (ii) the other type wants to indi rectly serve Radha-Krsna and help unite Them – this is the desire for manjari or sakhi-bhava. These are the followers of Srila Rupa Goswami as Rupa-manjari.
In Vaikuntha only the Laksmis would be considered ragatmika devotees.- their conjugal relationship is with some formality.
One who is following and develloping that mood of the resi dents of Vrndavana or even the devotees of Dwaraka, he is called raganuga-bhakta (sambhandanuga or kamanuga).
Srila Rupa Goswami is going to describe, first in this chapter and in the first section of the next chapter, ragatmika-bhakti. Then he will describe raganuga-bhakti. Ragatmika-bhakti is a deep, deep thirst to serve Krsna, not caused by sastra, not caused by Krsna’s position, but just spon taneous love.
Next there is a definition or showing this point, by quoting the 7th canto of SB 1.28.32. This is referring to the process of sadhana in raganuga. How by thinking of Krsna in a particular way, one becomes purified and situated in that position. The verse says: “A grassworm confined in a hole of a wall by a bee, always thinks of the bee in fear and enemity,and later become a bee simply because of such remembrance. Similarly, if the condi tioned souls, somehow or other think of Krsna, who is sat-cit-ananda-vigraha, they will become free from their sins. Whether thinking of Him as their worshipable Lord or enemy, because of constantly thinking of Him, they will regain their spiritual bodies” . This is pointing to one of the key points of raganuga-bhakti which is remembering.
“Many, many persons have attained liberation simply by think ing of Krsna with great attention and giving up sinful activi ties. This great attention may be due to lusty desires, inimical feelings, fear, affection or devotional service. I shall now explain how one receives Krsna’s mercy simply by concentrating one’s mind upon Him. My dear King Yudhisthira, the gopis by their lusty desires, Kamsa by his fear, Sisupala and other kings by envy, the Yadus by their familial relationship with Krsna, you Pandavas by your great affection for Krsna, and we, the general devotees, by our devotional service, have obtained the mercy of Krsna”. (Narada Muni to Maharaja Yudhisthira)
“Somehow or other one must consider the form of Krsna very seriosly, then by one of the five different processes mentioned above, one can return home, back to Godhead. Atheists like King Vena, however, being unable to think of Krsna’s form in any way of these five ways, cannot attain salvation. Therefore one must somehow or other think of Krsna, whether in a friendly way or inimically.”
Here the essence was described: thinking of Krsna. But think ing of Krsna in what way? – Thinking of Krsna in a specific relationship that will purify one and situate him, ultimately, in that relationship with Krsna as a resident of Vrndavana. That is what the points of these verse are.
One of the examples is the gopis, other example is the Panda vas, and other examples are Kamsa and Sisupala. In this verse it is said that they all attained perfection. But we should know that the perfection that Kamsa attained by thinking of Krsna out of fear and that of Sisupala thinking of Him in envy, is not the same perfection attained by the Pandavas or the Vraja-gopis. They received the perfection of going to the spiritual realm. General ly such persons obtain sahujya-mukti or occasionally, as in the case of Putana or Paundraka, they may attain some kind of saru pya-mukti. They may attain this param gatim but not Vraja-bhakti.
Krsna gives the sahujya-mukti to the impersonalists as He gives to the demons, because the impersonalists, mayavadis, are great offenders. It is not a very elevated and glorious spiritual position as a fruit of all their hard work, of all their austeri ties and tapasya. Krsna gives them the same thing He gives to the demons – sahujya-mukti. The achievements mentioned above they are not equal, but yet they all attain the spiritual platform.
Another example of raganuga-bhakti is the verse quoted in page 122, 2nd para. In the purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada states: “According to acarya Sri Jiva Goswami, the few srutis such as Gopala-tapani-upanisad, who identify the cowherd boy Krsna with the Absolute Brahman in its highest aspect, had so far being patiently waiting. (this is already in verse 23 of the ‘Prayers by the personified Vedas’. They have heard so many prayers by sruti and Vedas, that they are not thinking of Krsna as the Absolute Truth, so they have been patiently waiting ac cording to Srila Jiva Goswami) But hearing the other srutis offering prayers opening glorifying the Lord’s personality, these intimate srutis can no longer contain themselves. So they spoke out of turn in this verse. Speaking for themselves, the personi fied Vedas, here state that they prefer to devellop love for God by learning to emulate the favorable surrender of the Lord’s confidential devotees, specially the young gopis of Vraja. Though they appear to be simple women attracted conjugally to the Lord’s physical beauty and strength, the goddess of Vraja exhibit the highest perfection of meditation. The srutis wish to become just like them.”
This is a definition of raganuga-bhakti. To be attracted by the love of the ragatmika-bhaktas one wants to devellop those same loving sentiments.
In this regard, Lord Brahma relates the following historical account in the suplement to the Brhad-Vamana Purana: “The infi nite world of spiritual bliss is called Vaikuntha. There the Supreme Truth lives being glorified by the personified Vedas who are also present there. Once after the Vedas have elaborately praised Him, the Lord felt specially satisfied and spoke to them in a voice whose source remained invisible: ‘My dear sages, I am very satisfied with you, please ask of Me some benediction that you secretly desire.’ The srutis replied:’We have devellop the desire to become like the cowherd women of the mortal world who inspired by lust worship You in a mood of lover.'” This inspired by love, this kamarupa, has nothing to do with the lust of this material world. It is like lust, it looks like lust. It is de scribed as kama, but has nothing to do with material lust. Krsna dasa Kaviraja Goswami has described the difference between lust and love as the difference between gold and iron. In lust one thinks about his own satisfaction and in love one thinks about the satisfaction of one’s beloved. There is no tinge of mundane selfishness or lust in the so-called ‘lust’, the spiritual senti ment of conjugal love experienced by the gopis. “After hearing the prayer of the srutis, the Lord then said: ‘The desire of yours is difficult to fulfill, indeed it is almost impossible, but since I am sanctioning it, your wish must inevi table come true. When the next Brahma takes birth to faithfully execute his duties of Creation, when the deva’s life called the sarasvata-kalpa arise, you will all appear in Vraja as gopis. On the earth, in the land of Bharata, in My own district of Mathura, in the forest of Vrndavana, I will become Your beloved in the circle of the rasa dance. Thus attaining Me as your paramour, you will gain all the most exhalted and steadfast pure love for Me and in this way you will fulfill all your ambitions.'” (This is very intimate and most confidential truth.)
Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada have so kindly explain all these to us and why? Why have they open all these most confi dential truths? Because it is the desire of Sri Caitanya Maha prabhu.
That was an example how by the pleasure of the Lord, the srutis were benedicted with that love. And this is explained further by Viswanatha C. Thakura’s purports to the 10th canto, in describing the rasa dance and the different groups of gopis that dance with Krsna.
Very much stress is given by Srila Prabhupada making sure we don’t in any way compare the lust that exist between a man and a woman in this material world as having nothing to do with the relationship between Krsna and His most dear gopis.
Srila Prabhupada says: “In the material world there no such thing as a lover’s wanting to please the senses of his beloved. Actually in the material world everyone want mainly to gratify his own personal senses.”
To prove this there is some further examples and quotes. The first example is Uddhava. He was a jnani and he was aspiring to serve the feet of the gopis and become a lump of grass that the gopis would step upon. If it was mundane lust, why would Uddhava be attracted to it? And Sukadeva Goswami who was fixed in the Brahman platform? And Caitanya Mahaprabhu who was the strictest of the sannysis
that He wouldn’t even hear the voice of a woman singing and banished Chotta Haridasa for a very minor infraction? Such a strict sannyasi, He said that the gopis’ love was the perfection of devotional service, and He would sing about this in the most intimate and confidential association with Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya.
SPONTANEOUS DEVOTION FURTHER DESCRIBED
What is the adhikari or ilegibility for raganuga-bhakti? Where that lobha, greed , comes from? Where the increased taste come from? Srila Prabhupada explains in page 130, 2nd para.: ” This spontaneous love for Krsna can be develloped only by the special mercy of Krsna or His pure devotee.”
This is the last verse in B.R.S. on this section of raganuga sadhana-bhakti, which concludes the all section on sadhana-bhakti.
Quote from CC, a conversation between Lord Caitanya and Sana tana Goswami: “The original inhabitants of Vrndavana are attached to Krsna spontaneously in devotional service; nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service which is called ragatmika-bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vrndavana, his devotional service is called raganuga-bhakti. When one becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his natural inclination to love is fully absorbed in thoughts of the Lord – that is called transcendental attachment, and devo tional service according to that attachment is called ragatmika, or spontaneous devotional service. The primary characteristic of spontaneous love is deep attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Absorbtion in Him is a marginal characteristic (one who is so attached as a result one’s consciousness is always absorbed in Him). Thus devotional service which consists of raga, deep attachment, is called ragatmika, spontaneous devotional service.
If a devotee covets or strongly desires such a position he is considered to be most fortunate. If one follows in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vrndavana, out of such transcendental covetousness (intense lobha, greed), he doesn’t care for the injunctions of reasonings of sastra. This is the way of raganuga or spontaneous love. Devotional service in spontaneous love is vividly expressed and manifested by the inhabitants of Vrndavana. Devotional service that accords to their devotional service is called raganuga-bhakti. or devotional service following in the awake of spontaneous devotional service. When a advanced realized devotee hears about the affairs of the residents in Vrndavana in the mellows of santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya, he becomes inclined in that way and his intelligence becomes at tracted. Indeed he begins to covet that particular type of devo tion. When such covetousness is awaken, one’s intelligence no longer depends on the instructions of sastra, revealed scrip tures, or logic or argument. (he is not dependent in the sastra, to do anything, he is impelled by the greed within his heart).
There are two processes by which one can execute this raganu ga-bhakti: external and internal. When self-realized, the ad vanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the sastric injunctions specially hearing and chanting. However within his mind, in his original purified self-realized position, he serves Krsna in Vrndavana in his particular way. He serves Krsna twenty-four hours, all day and night. The advanced devotee who is inclined to spontaneous loving service, should follow the activities of a particular associate of Krsna in Vrndavana. He should execute service externally as a regulative devotee as well as internally from his self-realized position. Thus he should perform devotional service both externally and internally.
Actually the inhabitants of Vrndavana are very dear to Krsna and if one wants to engage in spontaneous devotional service he must follow the inhabitants of Vrndavana and constantly engage in devotional service within his mind. The devotee should always think of Krsna within himself and one should chose a very dear devotee of Krsna who is a servant of Krsna in Vrndavana. One should constantly engage in topics about that servitor and his loving relationship to Krsna and one should live in Vrndavana. However if one is physically unable to go to Vrndavana, he should mentally live there. Krsna has many types of devotees. Some are servants, some are friends, some are parents, some are conjugal lovers. Those who are situated in one of those atitudes of spon taneous love according to their choice, are considered to be on the path of spontaneous devotional service.”
“My dear mother Devahuti, O emblem of peace, My weapon, the disc of time, never vanquishes those to whom I am very dear, for whom I am the Supersoul. the son, the friend, spiritual master, well-wisher, worshipable deity and desired goal. Since the devo tees are always attached to Me, they are never vanquished by the agents of time.”
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances again and again, to those who are always eagerly meditating upon the Supreme Person ality of Godhead as a husband, son, friend, brother, father or intimate friend.” (Brs)
“If one engages in spontaneous devotional service to the Lord, his affection to the lotus feet of Krsna gradually increases. In the seed of affection there is attachment which goes by two names: rati and bhava. The Supreme Personality of Godhead comes under the control of such attachment. (This will be explained in the section about bhava-bhakti which is rati and finally prema-bhakti). That by which one can attain loving service to the Lord or prema-seva I have described in detail as the execution of devotional service, called abhidheya. My dear Sanatana, I have briefly described the process of devotional service in practice (sadhana-bhakti) which is the means for attaining love of Krsna. It cannot be described broadly. Whoever hears the process of practical devotional service very soon attains shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna in love and affection.”
According to the previous acaryas, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisidhanta, Srila Prabhupada, one’s svarupa becomes manifest at a very advanced stage, when one enters bhava. They never aproved of the so-called siddha-pranali process where devotees who are not at all at the stage of bhava or rati are given the so-called siddha-pranali – that is sahajiya.
In the 2nd para. of NOD page 127, Srila Prabhupada says:
“Srila Rupa Goswami says that learned acaryas recommended that we follow the regulative principles even after the development of spontaneous love for Krsna.” In this regard Srila Viswanath C. Thakura comments that one must be submissive to the guidance of the spiritual master, because by the mercy of the spiritual master one can come to the stage of raganuga-bhakti. And without such mercy not only one cannot enter raganuga-bhakti but he won’t be able to maintain it. If he looses the grace of the spiritual master he will fall down.
There is also a comparison made between the kama-rupa of Krsna that the gopis had and the kama-praya, or ‘almost like material lust’, that Kubja had.
The quote mentioned by the acaryas is in the SB 10.42.9: After Krsna had asked Kubja for the sandalwood paste and ointments, she smeared on His body and He was very pleased with her. Then He straighten her out since she was hunchback. And as soon as He did that, she became a very, very beautiful woman. And then when she looked at Krsna… “Now endowed with beauty caracter and generos ity, ‘Sivakra’ (her body was curbed in three places), she began to feel lusty desires for Lord Kesava. Taking hold of the end of His upper cloth, she smiled and addressed Him as follows: ‘Come O hero, let us go to my house. I cannot bear to leave You here. O best of males please take pity on me since You have agitated my mind’.” And Krsna laughed and replied to her making arrangements to go to her house later on in order to please her wishes.
The acaryas have explained that when she approached Krsna, her mood was different from that of the gopis. It is called kama-praya or ‘almost like material lust’. It resembles, it verges on actual material kama. But because the center of that kama was Krsna, (she wanted to satisfy her own desires, she became at tracted to Krsna’s beauty), it is almost like material lust, but it is not because it is centered on Krsna. But it is a completely different mood from that of the gopis who dressed themselves, who comb nicely themselves, who put their earrings on , put their beautiful saris on, simply to give Krsna pleasure. But Kubja had the desire to enjoy Krsna.
There are two different ways to be a kama-rupa-raganuga-bhakta: (i) one way is as Srila Prabhupada says, to be directly attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in conjugal love. This is called keli, when one through his own spontaneous desire wants to, as Srimati Radharani enjoys directly with Krsna, as Lalita devi who is a nayaki, she is enjoying directly with Krsna and also Krsna’s eight principal gopis do – so one wants this direct relatioship with Krsna. (ii) The other way is that one doesn’t want to enjoy directly with Krsna, but rather he wants to assist Radha and Krsna in Their enjoyement, indirectly. He is getting enjoyement by the direct pleasure and meeting of Radha and Krsna.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura said in one of his songs that his pleas ure is in seeing the meeting of Radha and Krsna. This is the actual mood of raganuga devotional service that this sampradaya is in. Not to become a competitor of Srimati Radharani.
As Srila Viswanatha C Thakura sings in his ‘Gurvastakam’:
ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya
“The spiritual master is very dear because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different taste ful arrangements for the perfection of Radha-Krsna’s conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrndavana.” The word “yuktir’ means arrangements. This is sometimes called sakhi-bhava or manjari-bhava. The manjaris they just want to see that Krsna and Radha meet together. In CC it is said that when the gopis see Radharani meeting with Krsna, their pleasure is millions and millions of times more that when they meet directly with Krsna.
The gopis make arrangements for the meeting of Radharani with Krsna and Radharani make arrangements for the meeting of the other gopis with Krsna.
The next point is about parenthood or friendship which means sambhandanuga. There is also a subtility in this. There are also two ways in becoming a sambhandanuga devotee: (i) one is that one wants to serve in the mood of Nanda, Yasoda or Subala, (ii) or one wants to become Nanda, Yasoda or Subala.
If one wants to become Subala what can happen to him is that he can merge in the body of Subala. Or if one wants to become Nanda or Yasoda, he can go to hell. These are not also in the mood of our sampradaya. The proper mood is that one wants to take up the mood of service of Nanda, Yasoda, in parental affection, but not try to replace Nanda or Yasoda with ourselves.
We should consider ourselves like a parent and have that sweet mood of always trying to serve Krsna, not to consider ourselves like Nanda and Yasoda.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN :
Up to this point everything that has been described, has been in the category of sadhana-bhakti. And in sadhana-bhakti there is klesa-aghni, or the removal of all disturbances, distresses.
Now Srila Rupa Goswami is going to describe bhava-bhakti or sadhya, the goal. There are two stages of the goal:
(1) Rati. This is the stage where Krsna’s mercy appears in the heart of the devotee. It is the beginning stage or prior stage to prema-bhakti. It is sometimes called premankore(?), the first sprout of prema. It is also compared to a ray of prema. Bhava-bhakti is so glorious. One loves Krsna in a particular way through bhava-bhakti or rati by the mercy of Krsna, by the de scent of His mercy. It is so glorious and yet it is only compared to a ray of prema. As the ray of the sun is liken to the entire sun…
Bhava is the goal, sadhya, of all the sadhana. This is the fulfillement of that definition of sadhana-bhakti where one uses his senses, purifies his heart, makes it very, very soft and after taste and attachment grows (ruci and asakti). Then if Krsna desires, one attains this platform of bhava-bhakti. This is the fruit or the goal or the effect of all spiritual practices. And it is the cause of the future loving exchanges with Krsna – there fore it is called premankore, the sprout of prema.
What is this bhava-bhakti?
The commentators explain bhava as ‘when Krsna’s internal energy, His cognitive factor or samvit sakti, and His lhadini sakti, the pleasure-giving potency, they combine together and they awaken the love of God which is within our heart’.
This has been also described by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Harinama-cintamani, how this energy of the Lord descends and awakens the inherent potency within the jiva. Without this mercy of the Lord, the samvit and lhadini saktis, there is no question of becoming a lover of Krsna, a bhava-bhakta or a prema-bhakta.
What does evoke this mercy of the Lord?
Srila Rupa Goswami has already in the beginning of his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, described how bhava-bhakti is sudurlabha.
When one practices his Krsna consciousness with great taste, ruci, and when that taste devellops into attachment or absorp tion, asakti, when one’s consciousness is naturally always ab sorbed in Krsna, if one practices sadhana in this way, then Krsna may be inclined to bestow His internal energy upon the devotee and then he comes to the level of bhava-bhakti.
There are two direct ways that this occurs. This is described by Srila Prabhupada (page 132, 2nd para.): “Elevation to this stage of ecstasy (bhava-bhakti) can be possible in two ways. One way is by constant association with pure devotees. The other way is by the special mercy of Krsna or by the mercy of a pure devo tee of Krsna.”
Srila Prabhupada describes the first way in a little more detail in the next paragraph by saying: “An example of rising to the stage of ecstatic love by executing the regulative principles of devotional service is given in the life story of Narada, which is described to Vyasadeva in Srimad-Bhagavatam.” It is not only by the constant association with pure devotees, one has also to follow the rules and regulations of vaidhi-sadhana on the order of the pure devotees, in their association.
The sages, the bhaktivedantas, Narada Muni was associating with, during the catur-masya period, they were always engaged in hearing and chanting and he took the remnants of their prasada. They ordered Narada to follow and he followed their order. He heard the discourses and discussions about Krsna consciousness. By their association, by hearing, by following the order of their vidhi, instructions, their rules and regulations, he became very attracted within his heart to Krsna and Krsna consciousness. Then he became so eager to hear those topics that he gradually devel loped within himself, an ecstatic love for Krsna (bhava). (see quote of SB 1.5.28)
The purpose of the process of sadhana is to gradually purify and soften the heart. In the material world everyone’s heart is impure and hard. Why is it hard? – Because everyone is attempting to become happy on his own, thinking himself the enjoyer and the controller in the material world. Therefore because of that illusion, their hearts become extremely hard. One has to become calous to reality, he has to exploit others, due to the potency of this illusion. And by the sinful reactions of this mentality, his heart becomes harder and harder. He is trying to devollop ‘master consciousness’ and his heart becomes harder as he tries to exploit the material world. He sees himself as his body and he sees everything in the material world as his and meant for his sense enjoyement.
The process of sadhana-bhakti, practicing before the actual love devellops, it is the process of serving Krsna. One may in a higher stages engage in the same activities as in the lower stages – like hearing and chanting – but his consciousness in the latter stages is completely different, full of softness, full of love – love of Krsna.
Gradually by hearing the sound vibrations of these bhaktive dantas, Narada became purified. “And as soon as I heard them with great attention, the influence of the modes of material ignorance and passion disappeared and I became firmly fixed in devotional service to the Lord.” This is the process of associationg with devotees, which is one of the main parts of sadhana-bhakti.
Another quote is Kapiladeva saying: “My dear mother, when a person is actually in association with pure devotees, the sublime potency of My devotional service can be experienced.”
And finally there is the example from the Padma-purana, which is actually not vaidhi but raganuga. The story of a neophyte devotee who, in order to raise herself to the ecstatic platform, danced all night to invoke the Lord’s grace upon her. She was named Candrakanti, she danced and danced for the pleasure of the Lord. She wanted to attain a place in the rasa-dance with Krsna, so she went in front of the Deity form of Krsna and danced all night and was finally elevated, by the grace of Krsna, to the bhava platform. These were explanations of attaining bhava-bhakti through sadhana. Next is how to attain this special mercy of the Lord (bhava-bhakti). “Sometimes it is found that without undergoing any devotional process, one, all of sudden, devellops devotions for Lord Krsna. This sudden development of the devotional atitude in a person must be understood as a special mercy of Krsna or of His devotee.” This is the second way.
But one should not sit around and wait for the special mercy of the Lord. One may receive and ‘honorary degree’ of a universi ty, without going through all the different classes in the uni versity, but one will not just sit around and wait upon this ‘honorary degree’ to fall upon him. That may will never happen, because it is very rare to achieve such a special mercy.
One has to endeavor to follow the different practices but ultimatelly both the special mercy of the Lord and the attainment of bhava through regulative principles will come through the krpa, the mercy of a devotee. By the mercy of a devotee this is ultimately how one will attain this higher stage. By executing the process of sadhana in the proper association and just by Krsna’s mercy one is awarded with bhava-bhakti. There are four different examples mentioned in this chapter, of attaining the special mercy of the Lord and thus attaining the bhava platform. There are examples of the Lord’s mercy by speak ing, by glancing and by His good-wishes. These are three examples of how the Lord personally bestows His mercy, bhava-bhakti, upon His devotees.
Then, following that, there will be examples of how the Lord, through His own devotee, giving him the power of attorney, He bestows bhava-bhakti.
Out of the two cases, Krsna Himself bestowing bhava-bhakti is very, very rare. Generally speaking are the devotees who do this. Even when Krsna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita: sarvam dharmam parityaja…, He tells Arjuna: “I will bestow My mercy upon you and will protect you and will give you the highest platform of Krsna consciousness, I make an exception for you, usually I just give this ability to bestow krpa and raise a person to this ecstatice platform, through My devotee. But in your case I make a special exception, I will give it Myself.”
It is actually very rare when the Lord Himself gives this mercy. The first example, simply by speaking, is shown when Lord Krsna said to Narada: “O best of the brahmanas, I wish that you may devollop unalloyed devotional service to Me, which is full of transcendental bliss and all auspiciousness.”
The example of glancing: “When the inhabitants of Jangala province saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, they were so stricken with feeling, that they could not withdraw their glance from Him.”
And the last one is the manifestation of the Lord’s mercy in the heart through the heart-felt wishes of the Lord. Narada told to Vyasadeva: ” You have a son who is the greatest devotee of the Personality of Godhead, and I can observe that without any fol lowing of the regualative principles of devotional service, he is already enriched with many of the symptoms achieved by the execu tion of devotional service after many, many births.” This means, because Sukadeva Goswami was in the womb and he was already in this exalted platform, and inside the womb of his mother he could not achieve the glance of the Lord, nor did the Lord talk to him and by His words benedicted him with bhava-bhakti, then, the remaining possibility, just by the well-wishes of the Lord did he devellop the highest platform of Krsna consciousness. By the process of elimination one come to this conclusion.
Then there are the examples of Prahlad Maharaja and of the hunter. By the mercy of Narada Muni, in both cases, be bestowed Prahlad with perfectional devotional service and also the hunter Mrgari.
This ecstatic love, the sthayi-bhava, or the spontaneous way that one loves Krsna on the bhava or prema platform, this is divided into loving Krsna either neutraly, or in dasya-rasa, or in sakhya-rasa or in vatsalya-rasa, or in madhurya-rasa. These five divisions of how to love Krsna in a specific way, they are going to be described later on, in great detail, by Srila Rupa Goswami.[The living entity possesses in small quantity, the lhadini, samvit and sandini potencies (happiness, knowledge and eternity). But when he comes to bhava he gets more of these potencies and in prema he gets still more, all by the mercy of Krsna or His pure devotees. Everything is already there, but Krsna adds more to it – it is like a bonus for doing devotional service.] (to be continued in File NOD5)
(continuation from File NOD4)
CHARACTER OF ONE IN ECSTATIC LOVE
The beginning of this chapter is quite simple because Srila Rupa Goswami describes the characteristics of a person who has actually devolloped his ecstatic love for Krsna.
There are nine characteristics (see page 135). One by one, the devotee devellops these. The impersonalists may superficially have these types of characteristics but the main quality of bhava-bhakti is that a person has a deep, deep attachment and love for Krsna. If someone has some of these qualities without that attachment for Krsna, that is not bhava-bhakti. One should know the essence. This is how bhava-bhakti will be manifested (the external symptoms):
1) Utilization of time. The devotee is always anxious. He never waists a moment, he is always serving Krsna.
2) Forbearance (santi). The devotee is indifferent to the external world. He is so much absorbed in love of Krsna that whether something good is happening to him, or something bad is happening to him, externally it doesn’t affect him. There are no transformations on him.
3) Distaste, indifference or detachment from material pleas ures. For the devotee there is no question of desiring material sense enjoyement. Like Bharata Maharaja.
4) Pridelessness (manasunyat). The devotee is pure, he is humble. The example given is Lal Babu.
5) Great hope (asabandha). It is a sort of combination of hopefulness and hopelessness. It is hopelessness in one’s capaci ty and somehow a hopefulness in the great incomparable mercy of Radha and Krsna. But this is executed on the bhava platform.
Srila Rupa Goswami says: “I have no love for Krsna, nor for the causes of develloping love of Krsna, namely hearing and chanting. (he is thinking that he has no ability to attain per fection in karma, jnana or yoga) And the process of bhakti-yoga, by which one is always thinking of Krsna and fixing His lotus feet in the heart, is also lacking in me.” (see quote in page 137, under ‘great hope’). “Even my hopes (he is thinking), are filled with material desires for my own happiness. My desires to attain You are mixed with desires for my own pleasure, not even just desires to please You. So, my desire to attain Your lotus feet which is the root of my hope right now is contaminated by my selfish desires. What should I do, what can I do, what hope do I have?” This is called ‘the hope against hope’, of someone in the bhava platform.
6) Eagerness for acheiving the desired success.
7) Attachment to chanting the holy name of the Lord. He has a taste for constant chanting.
8) Eagerness to describe the Lord’s transcendental qualities.
Always very eager to hear and talk about Krsna. And he is so realized about this.
9) Attraction for living in a place where Krsna has His pas times. He has a great taste for living in Vrndavana. These are qualities of someone who is in this bhava platform. Next Srila Rupa Goswami describes rati-abhasa, or the reflec tions.
It is very important to understand the true softness of heart that a devotee has. It may seem similar to what an impersonalist has but it is not. The impersonalist can show some external manifestations but that softness of heart is not compared to what the devotee has. The internal potency of the Lord has practically taken over his consciousness. Just like the iron rod in contact with fire takes on the proprieties of the fire. It takes on the energy of the fire, the heat takes over the entire iron rod to such a degree that it can act as fire. Similarly the mixing of the internal energy of the Lord with the consciousness of the atma, is very special that the impersonalists don’t have anything like this. Only by kevala-bhakti does this rati comes.
Ther are two kinds of rati-abhasa: (i) chaya and (ii) prati bimbha. In these two kinds of rati-abhasa it means that one will have the symptoms of bhava without having achieved bhava-bhakti. This may happen in the association of pure devotees.
“Simply by the association of pure devotees, the moon-like rays from their hearts, reflect on him and by the influence of the pure devotees, he may show some likeness of attachment caused by inquisitiveness, but this is very flickering.” This inquisi tiveness is chaya.
In the association of a pure devotee, either someone may be an impersonalist or have great desires for material enjoyement and they may chant in the kirtana for those things (moksa and kama) – this is called pratibimbha, reflexion like in a mirror. In the hearts of these people there is reflecting something that looks like the potency but it is not actually the potency, because they have desire for liberation and desire for material enjoyement. Then there is this chaya (shadow). These people are curious. They may not come to satisfy their desires of liberation or material enjoyement, but they can also exhibit this rati-abhasa.
The glorious thing about this rati-abhasa is that this attach ment is so powerful that if such attachment is seen in some common man by the association of a pure devotee, it can bring one to the perfectional stage. Such attachment for Krsna cannot be invoked in a person without being sufficiently blessed by the association of a pure devotee. This is the actual essence of this – even if a person is unqualified, he can obtain this mercy. The mayavadis, they cannot get this mercy but by the continuous association with a pure devotee, this rati-abhasa can be actually elevated to actually rati or bhava. But of course they have to give up their material attachments. This is just proving the potency of a pure devotee, because this bhava platform ultimately it comes by the blessings of a pure devotee.
The next point is that “as attachment can be invoked by the association of pure devotees, so attachment can also be extin guished by offenses commited at the lotus feet of pure devotees”.
This warning is not only for those experiencing rati-abhasa ecstasy. Actually the potency of chanting Hare Krsna and follow ing sadhana-bhakti is so great that it will bring one to this platform, but one has to be aware of the offenses. The offenses inhibit our becoming advanced. We should be very careful to understand the seva aparadhas, nama-aparadhas, and avoid them.
Another point: if someone seems to very quickly become ad vanced, it means that he has some purva samskara, or he is just picking up from a previous life.
The final point: when someone is in this bhava platform, is not meant to be criticized, he is always glorious even if seems to manifest what appears some material tinge. One should be very careful to not criticize him – this is the greatest of fense.
DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IN PURE LOVE OF GOD.
By sadhana the heart becomes soft. By bhava the heart becomes really, really soft! The intense desire, in bhava, to attain Krsna and satisfy Him softens the heart even more. And the excessive attachment to Krsna in prema-bhakti softens the heart even more. In his book Ujjvala-nilamani, Srila Rupa Goswami describes the devellopment of prema-bhakti up to the point of maha-bhava. The first association with the sadhus creates faith in sastra. That is the first thing that has to be done in preaching: one has to break people’s faith in the material world by criticizing the material society and gradually establish people’s faith in the sastras. This is the purpose of preaching – to establish sraddha. And then, latter on, one learns to apply the sastra in his practical life by the association of devotees. And then, gradually by the association of devotees, the taste comes. The all process from sraddha to prema it is dependent on the associa tion of devotees.
There are two different aspects ruci:
i) one is dependent on the externals (the quality of the kirtana or the way they dress the Deity beautifully);
ii) the, higher than that is when one does not depend on the externals, he actually has a taste for the sweetness of the Name of Krsna, the form of Krsna…
Above that is asakti ,when one’s mind is completelly absorbed in Krsna, all the time. The taste has thicken to the degree of absorbtion. ( in ruci one may have the taste but the mind wanders to other things)
And then in bhava-bhakti by the mercy of Krsna or His devo tees, the internal potency actually descends within one’s heart.
Even though asakti is in the category of sadhana bhakti, from that point to bhava there is practically nothing, because one’s desire is already so intense that Krsna will reciprocate with that.
(DS) Prema is when the bhava becomes intensified. Prema is bhava. In the state of bhava one may have the desire to be Krsna’s friend, to have a strong desire to love Krsna, but when that sentiment intensifies and one becomes completely overwhelmed by that love and really sees Krsna as his friend, – that is prema.
According to Bhismadeva “love means reposing one’s affection completely upon one person, withdrawing all afinities for any other person.”
In prema one’s meditation becomes complete. Is not that one just desires and have ecstasy in that mood (bhava or raganuga), but his actual relationship becomes intensified. This is the goal of life, ‘prema pum-artho mahan’, the highest and ultimate goal of life for human beings.
The higher rasas have all the components found in the lower rasas. Ex. in madhurya rasa, the parental affection, friendship, servitorship, are all present.
Prema is present even in Vaikuntha. Someone in neutral relationship, like the four Kumaras, they have that realization that Krsna is God and is so prominent in their meditation, there is no relationship, they are just relish ing Krsna’s position. Therefore they don’t even care to meet Him personally. Whether they meditate on Krsna or see Him personally is the same – Krsna is God.
Summarizing: first one devellops the ambition (raganuga), then the ecstasies come (bhava), then finally one has his relationship with Krsna (prema).
There are two ways in which prema manifests:
i) out of ecstasy. This is more or less by practice. By bhava, one’s emotional ecstasies for Krsna devellop into prema. (ex, of Candrakanti, page 144, 2nd para) This is by vaidhi bhakti-marg.
ii) by the mercy of the Lord or His pure devotee.
By vaidhi-bhakti one gets prema in Vaikuntha because is subor dinated to awe and reverence. By vaidhi one gets to raganuga or also can get directly to prema.
In raganuga one desires to have a relationship with Krsna free from awe and reverence – this is only found in Vraja and some times in Dwaraka. One can have even a superior position than Krsna.
In vaidhi there is always subordination, therefore it leads one to Vaikuntha, whereas raganuga leads one to Vraja.
There are two definitions given to raganuga:
i) it may mean attachment in following different rules and practices of sadhana;
ii) or it may mean ‘an ambition to serve Krsna free from awe and reverence’.
Vaidhi when it gets up to even bhava or Vaikuntha-prema, obviously it is spontaneous but it is not called raganuga because that is still checked by the position that Krsna is God and one is His servant. Checked by some type of etiquette, some type of rules. But it is still prema – it is just a different type of relationship.
But from raganuga one gets to prema where he forgets complete ly that Krsna is God – therefore it is called spontaneous.
Raga means complete absorption because there is no check of any reverence. (DS)