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Kanishtha-adhikaris are materialistic Vaishnavas.
In this material world we find that the Vaishnavas are situated in three different levels. Actually all animate objects are servants of Krishna. Ordinary people as well as kanishtha-adhikari and madhyama-adhikari Vaishnavas consider those who do not exhibit any symptoms of inclination towards Krishna as averse to Hari. But although they are nondevotees, they are nevertheless servants of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vasudeva is situated in everyone's heart. If Lord Vishnu were not present in every higher or lower object of this material world, then nothing could exist.
We can see that servants of Vishnu who are on the platform of kanishtha-adhikara have started worshiping the Deity of Lord Vishnu with faith but have not yet realized themselves. That is why the Vaishnavas on the kanishtha-adhikara platform are glorified by Shrimad Bhagavatam as materialistic rather than transcendental.
The gradual advancement of kanishtha-adhikaris.
The neophytes, while serving the Supreme Lord with great faith, attain the mercy of the Lord. Then they get the opportunity to gradually give up their material conceptions. At that time, the desire for sense enjoyment, the performance of pious activities, and even the position of a mundane impersonalist who searches after Brahman appear insignificant to these kanishtha-adhikari Vaishnavas. They then became detached from material objects. Then their pride born of varna and wealth as well as their material sense gratification begin to diminish. While cultivating spiritual life, the materialistic Vaishnavas change their platform just as a leech changes its color.
The Madhyama-adhikara of Vaishnava.
We can see that due to their cultivation of spiritual life, the madhyama-adhikaris see the same Deity form as the kanishtha-adhikaris, yet with more mature spiritual vision. On that platform they do not consider the Deity as made of material elements. They then experience contact with the spiritual entity in their own existence and become qualified to discriminate between the different positions of the different devotees. Being situated on such a platform, they love all living entities, make friendship with those who are inclined towards Krishna, benefit others by preaching devotional service to Krishna, and give up the association of persons averse to the Lord. At this juncture they face various obstacles. Sometimes they are subdued by self-worshiping Mayavadis, sometimes they are condemned by foolish pious people, and sometimes they are attacked by unregulated persons who are simply absorbed in eating and drinking.
The gradual advancement of the madhyama-adhikaris.
The madhyama-adhikaris gladly tolerate these disturbances and by the mercy of Krishna never deviate from the service of Hari. Since the madhyama-adhikari's position is more fixed than the neophytes, who are prone to fall down, they cannot be threatened by persons who averse to Hari. The madhyama-adhikaris realize that the Lord is situated in their hearts. As caitya-guru in the heart of the devotees, Lord Krishnacandra attracts them, considering them His own. By the mercy of Hari, the spiritual master, and the Vaishnavas, the madhyama-adhikaris attain complete transcendental realization. In ordinary language this is called self-realization.
The advanced platform of Vaishnava.
The position known by jnanis as jivan-mukta, or liberated even in this life, is known in the language of pure Vaishnavas as self-realization, or being situated in the transcendental position. In that state one has no engagement other than service to Krishna. Those who quarrel over the ingredients of service cannot imagine the advanced position. Those who consider the clay pot of Shri Shrimad Vishnupada Gaurakishora dasa Babaji, his eating of uncooked foodstuffs, his intense renunciation, and his encouragement to the sahajiyas as ingredients for the service of Hari, and thus become absorbed in them, will simply be pulling the skin of the fruit while rejecting the pulp. Those who are maddened by material objects rather than spiritual, will never be able to understand the activities of the maha-bhagavatas, or exalted devotees. As long as one considers the ingredients of service equal to those fit for one's own material enjoyment, he can never have spiritual realization.
Vaishnava-vamsha and its reversion.
We find vamshas, or dynasties, of the above-mentioned three types of Vaishnavas in this world. Vamsha does not only refer to the seminal descendants. The dynasties in this world are produced by licit association with woman according to the principles of varnashrama. But we cannot say that this is the only pure, unadulterated, ongoing process. By the combination of father and mother the child is born. All men are capable of begetting various offspring in the wombs of their respective wives. Therefore unadulterated fatherhood cannot be imposed on the sons of the gross seminal dynasties.
Seminal birth and duties towards parents.
The parents are the principle servants of their sons. They serve their child from his birth by various direct and indirect activities of their body, mind, and speech. In order to repay these debts, the grateful sons must serve their parents as their primary duty. Yet the son does not become fit to serve his parents immediately after his birth. After a long time, when he grows up and becomes matured, then his service attitude is awakened. Then as a successor of his parents he realizes his duty to serve his parents. This is the seminal dynasty, wherein the experiences exhibited by the parents become prominent in the heart.
Second birth through initiation
and duty towards the acarya.
We know that apart from seminal birth, a living entity takes another birth in the family of an acarya. When a living entity attains his second birth, he becomes freed from the condemnation of taking only one birth. The acarya and Gayatri give him a second birth, called savitra. At that time, having received his second birth in the family of an acarya, he can more properly understand his duties as a servant. The parents serve their child as long as he remains at home. As soon as his knowledge is developed, he is first sent to gurukula. Then while staying in gurukula he understands his duties towards his parents. The acarya, however, does not become a servant of the child like his parents. The twice-born child receives more opportunity to serve the acarya. The twice-born, who is a servant of the acarya, considers the home of the acarya as his own and takes responsibility to serve the acarya in various ways.
The two types of Vedic instructions.
The twice-born student receives knowledge of the Vedas and Vedic literatures from his acarya. The Vedic literatures recommend two kinds of instructions. One is to adjust with the material nature while remaining in this world. And the other is to be educated in eternal spiritual subject matters.
If the acarya is a worshiper of temporary religious principles, then he will instruct his disciples about temporary worship, such as karma or jnana. But if the acarya is a devotee instead of a smarta, then he will teach the most confidential subject matters of the Vedas. Though he receives Vedic instructions from the acarya, a disciple who has a taste for material objects and is thus absorbed in mundane conceptions considers materialistic household duties as the purpose of human life. But if the acarya is a devotee, then he teaches the ripened fruit of the Vedic tree, bhagavata-dharma, from the Vedic literature and helps living entities attain eternal life. He also teaches them the difference between eternal and temporary life. Being under the control of insignificant greed or material enjoyment, a student returns home after completing his formalities with the acarya simply to engage in fruitive activities. One who considers material assets very insignificant and useless for spiritual life and is attracted towards spiritual life accepts brihad-vrata (celibacy) rather than returning home, or he returns home and accepts spiritual initiation.
Initiation and duty towards the spiritual master.
The spiritual acarya is known as guru. He awards third birth to the living entities by giving them initiation, in the form of imparting transcendental knowledge. In this third birth a person engages in spiritual cultivation and attains freedom from material conceptions. We have already discussed that a vamsha does not expand only through shaukra-janma, or seminal birth, rather it also expands through savitra and daiksha janmas, or Vedic and spiritual initiations.
The differences in shaukra-janma
from savitra and daiksha janmas.
Although residing with an acarya or a transcendental guru is different from extending the seminal line, due to the similarity in succession all three lines are called vamshas, or dynasties. In seminal birth, the son has a limited service attitude towards his father, but among those who have taken savitra or daiksha-janma, Vedic initiation or spiritual initiation, the sense of serving their acarya or spiritual master respectively is greater. On the path of devotional service, the successors are appreciated according their degree of service. Just as the son of a doctor does not necessarily inherit his father's medical knowledge, rather his knowledge depends on his personal experience in that field, similarly being the (seminal) son of a Vaishnava guru does not in itself qualify one as an acarya or spiritual master. Nor is it found in any shastra or spiritual practices that spiritual authority should be entrusted only on the shaukra-vamsha, or seminal dynasty. Only some duplicitous, selfish, nondevotee householders advertise this opinion.
The vamshas of sannyasi gurus of authorized sampradayas are confined to their disciplic succession. It is written in the Padma Purana that mantras received from unauthorized disciplic lines do not produce any result.
The evil intentions of deceitful sampradayas.
Many new philosophies have been manufactured in order to cheat foolish people, and ordinary selfish people who are maddened with material pride cannot ascertain the truth by defeating these philosophies. Thus pseudo sampradayas spread their net to cover the truth. Falling in their trap, many unfortunate people are deviated from the truth and become entangled in the net of anarthas rather than progress in spiritual life. If the son of a doctor treats people without mastering medical knowledge, if the son of a train driver begins to drive trains without sufficient knowledge about the mechanism of the engine, or if the son of an expert swimmer who is unable to swim like his father takes others in the deep water to teach them swimming, one can easily imagine the venomous results they will produce.
We may go on bragging that we are born in the seminal dynasty of a Vaishnava and we may exhibit lifeless limbs of devotional service, but unless we have firm faith in the service of Hari we will simply cheat ourselves and become enemies of society. Acyuta-gotra is never a shaukra-gotra, or seminal family, therefore Vaishnava vamsha does not refer only to the seminal dynasty. The spiritual Vaishnavas who belong to the Acyuta-gotra, or family of Krishna, entrust their respective authority only to their most confidential servants. The unqualified descendants can never claim to be successors just because they were born in that family. Even if they achieve such a position, they are unable to protect it. These facts are similarly applicable to the dynasties of Lord Vishnu as well. Specifically, the Lord and His devotees appear in different dynasties at different times, and there are no obstacles for nondevotees and demons to take birth in such families. The son of Lord Vishnu is not Lord Vishnu, but a Vaishnava. So from the third generation there is no difference between the descendants of Vishnu and the descendants of the Vaishnavas. (Sajjana-toshani, Vol. 19, Part 7/8)