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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Swami > Prakrita Rasa Aranya Chedini > 1.WHO IS A VAISNAVA?

WHO IS A VAISNAVA?

 

Devotee:  What is the sdstric definition of a Vaisnava?

 

Narasingha Maharaja:

 

gmita-visnu-diksako visnu-pujaparo narah

vaisnavo 'bhihito 'bhijfiairitaro 'smadavaisriavah

 

"One who is initiated into the Vaisnava mantra and who is devoted to worshipping Lord Visnu/krishna is a Vaisnava. One who is devoid of these practices is not a Vaisnava. (Hari-bhakti-vildsa, 11,  quoted from Padma Purdna)Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains three kinds of Vaisnavas.

 

An ordinary Vaisnava:

 

prabhu'kahe, 'yanra mukhe sura eka-bara

krishna'nama, sei pujya, irestha sabakara

 

Who chants the Holy Name of krishna just once may be considered a Vaisnava. Such a person is worshipable and is the topmost human being." (Cc. Madhya 15.106)

 

A superior Vaisnava:

 

'krishna'inama' nirantara yanhara vadane

se vaisnava-Srestha, bhaja tanhara carane

 

"A person who is always chanting the Holy Name of krishna is a superior Vaisnava and your duty is to serve his lotus feet." (Cc. Madhya 16.71)

 

The topmost Vaisnava:

 

yanhara darsane mukhe aise krishna-nama

tanhare janiha tumi 'vaisnava'pradhana

 

"The topmost Vaisnava is he whose very presence makes others chant the Holy Name of krishna. Such a Vaisnava is superior to all others!" (Cc. Madhya 16.74)The heart of a Vaisnava is by  nature softened due to the touch of the lotus feet of Lord krishna. By nature a Vaisnava is paraduhkha-duhkhi, that is, he feels pain when he sees the suffering of others.

 

mahad'Vicalanam nrnam gminam dina-cetasam

nihsreyasdya bhagavan kalpate nanyatha kvacit

 

O Narada, great persons like you visit the homes of family men, not to profit from them, but simply to bestow etiernal auspiciousness upon them, even though they are often reluctant to hear  anything for their spiritual benefit, be;ing too materialistic. Otherwise you have no need to travel from one place to the next." (Bhdg. 10.8.4)There are twelve such great Vaisnavas from the Vedic  Age known as Malhajanas:

 

svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumdrah kapilo manuh

prahlado janako bhismo balir vaiydsakir vayam

 

Brahma, Narada, Siva, the four Kumaras, Kapiladeva, Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlada, Janaka Maharaja, Bhlsma, Baili Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and I (Yamaraja) kmow the real  transcendental principles of religion. (Blhdg. 6.3.20)Prahlaida is the best of the devotees:

 

kvaham rajah'prabhava isa tamo 'dhike'smin

stah suretara'kule kva tavanukampa

na brahmano na tu bhavasya na vai ramaya

yan me 'rpitah iirasi padma'karah prasadah

 

"O my Lord, because I was born in a family full of the hcdlish material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is imy position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mtercy, which You never  offered even to Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, or the Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi? You never puit Your lotus hand upon their heads, but You have put it ion mine." (Bhdg. 7.9.26)

 

Better than Prahlada are the Pandavas:

 

na tu prahladasya gme param brahma vasati

na ca tad darSanartham munayas tad gman abhiyanti

na ca tasya brahma matuleyadi rupena varttate

na ca svayam eva prasannam

ato yuyam eva tato 'pyasmatto 'pi bhuri-bhaga hi bhavah

 

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead did not personally remain in Prahlada's home, although He stayed in the home of the Pandavas. Great sages did not travel to Prahlada's home to see the  Supreme Lord, but for this purpose they did visit the home of the Pandavas. The Supreme Lord did not become the intimate relative of Prahlada Maharaja, He was the maternal cousin of the  Pandavas. He also did not personally express great pleasure at the daily activities of Prahlada as He did with the Pandavas. For all these reasons, Narada Muni has said that the Pandavas were  more fortunate than either himself or Prahlada." (Laghu'Bhagavatdmrta, Uttara-khanda 19)

 

The Yadavas are superior to the Pandavas:

 

sadati san-nikrstatvat rnarnatadhikyato hareh

pandavebhyo'pi yadavah kecit sresthatama matah

 

"Because of their constant intimate association with Lord krishna and close ties with Him, some members of the Yadu dynasty are more exalted than the Pandavas." (Laghu-Bhagavatamrta,  Uttara-khanda 18)

 

Uddhava is superior to the Yadavas:

 

na tatha me priyatama atma-yonir na sankarah

na ca sankarsano na srir naivatma ca yatha bhavan

 

"O Uddhava, Brahma, Siva, Sankarsana, Laksmi-devi and even My own self are not as dear to Me as you are." (Bhdg. 11.14.15)

 

noddhava 'na api man'nyuno yad gunair naraitah prabhuh

ato madvayunam lokam grahayann iha tisthatu

 

"Uddhava is not inferior to Me in any way. He is never affected by the modes of material nature. As such he may remain in this world to disseminate specific knowledge about the Personality of  Godhead." (Bhag. 3.4.31)

 

The gopis are superior to Uddhava:

 

dsam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam

vrndavane kim api gulam'latausadhinam

ya dustyajam sva-janam arya'patham ca hitva

bhejur mukunda'padavim srutibhir vimrgyam

 

"O when will that day be mine, when I can take the dust of the lotus feet of those great souls known as the gopis on my head. When will the day come when I shall take birth as a creeper in  Vrndavana, so that I can take the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis on my head? Those great souls gave up society, friendship, love, their very relatives even the Vedic principles to surrender to  krishna, who is known as Mukunda. Such devotion as exhibited by these exalted inhabitants of Vrndavana is only hinted at in the Vedas." (Bhag. 10.47.61)The gopis are superior to the Laksmis in  Vaikuntha:

 

na tatha me priyatamo brahma rudras ca parthiva

na ca laksmir na catma ca yatha gopijano mama

 

"Not even Brahma, Siva, LaksmI or even My own self is as dear to Me as are the gopis of Vrndavana." (Adi-Purdna)

 

RadharanI is the best of all devotees:

 

yatha radha priya visnos-tasyah kundam priyam tatha

sarva gopisu saivaika visnor-atyanta-vallabha

 

"Srimati RadharanI is dear to krishna, and Her kunda, known as Radha-kunda is similarly dear to Him. It is the favorite place of krishna. Of all the gopis, Srimati RadharanI is the most dear to  krishna." (Laghu'bhdgavatdmrta, 45)

 

karmibhyah parito hareh priyataya vyaktim yayur jnaninas-

tebhyo jmna'Vimukta'bhakti'paramah premaika-nisthas'tatah

tebhyas-tah pasu-pala'pankaia-drias tabhyapi sa radhika

presthd tad'vadiyam tadiya-sarasi tarn nasrayet kah krti

 

"In the scriptures it is said that of all types of fruitive workers, one who is advanced in knowledge of the higher values of life is favored by the Supreme Lord Hari. Out of many such people who are  advanced in knowledge,jnanis may take to devotional service. He is superior to others. However, one who has actually attained prema, pure love of krishna, is superior to him. The gopis are  exalted above all the advanced devotees because they are totally dependent on krishna, the transcendental cowherd boy. Among the gopis, Srimati RadharanI is the most dear to krishna. Her  kunda, or lake, is as profoundly dear to krishna as is this most beloved of the gopis. Who then, will not reside at Radha-kunda, and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings,  (apralcrto' bhava) render loving service to the divine couple, Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, who perform Their asta-kdiiya-lila. Indeed, those who execute devotional service on the banks of Radha-kunda  are the most fortunate souls in the universe." (Upadesdmrta 10, Srita Rupa Gosvdmi)The above ontology on the topic of Vaisnava was first compiled in the book Gaudiya Kanthahdra, under the  chapter Vaisnava' tattva.