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6 / Sashtha-yama Sadhana
Bhajana during Evening
The external symptoms of perfection are given in the Shikshashtaka (6):
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavishyati (1)
My dear Lord, when will my eyes be beautified by filling with tears that constantly glide down as I chant Your holy name? When will my voice falter and all the hairs on my body stand erect in transcendental happiness as I chant Your holy name?
Without love of Godhead, my life is useless. Therefore I pray that You accept me as Your servant, and give me the salary of ecstatic love of God.
The form of bhava is stated in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
bhava ity abhidhiyate
satvikah svalpa-matrah syuh
The first stage of prema is known as bhava, where the eight sattvika vikaras (bodily transformations) such as standing of the hairs on end and crying, slightly manifest.
The characteristics of sthayi-bhava (permanent ecstasy) are described in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu as follows:
nama-gane sada rucih
ity adayo 'nubhavah syur
jata-bhavankure jane (3)
When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Krishna fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one's behavior: tolerance, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment for glorifying the qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides—that is, a temple or a holy place like Vrindavana. These are all called anubhava, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.
If love for Krishna in a seedling state has fructified in one's heart, one is not agitated by material things. Not a moment should be lost. Every moment should be utilized for Krishna or connected with Him. In the material field, people are interested in material enjoyment, mystic power and sense gratification. However, these things do not appeal to the devotee at all. Although a pure devotee's standard is above all, he still considers himself to be in the lowest stage of life. A fully surrendered devotee always hopes that Lord Krishna will be kind to him. This hope is very firm in him. This eagerness is chiefly characterized by an ardent desire to attain the mercy of the Lord. Due to having great relish for the holy name, one is inclined to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra constantly. At this stage of bhava, a devotee has awakened the tendency to chant and describe the transcendental qualities of the Lord. He has attachment for this process. A devotee absorbed in ecstatic emotion for Krishna always has affection for residing in a place where Krishna's pastimes were performed. These are the symptoms of a person who has developed attraction (bhava) for Krishna.
The various anubhavas which manifest when bhava is nourished are listed in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
nrityam viluthitam gitam
hunkaro jrimbhanam shvasa-
lalasravo 'ttahasash ca
ghurna hikkadayopi ca (4)
Dancing, falling down and rolling on the ground, singing and crying very loudly, bodily contortions, loud vibrations, yawning, deep breathing, disregard for others, frothing of saliva, mad laughter, spitting, hiccups and other similar symptoms are called anubhavas.
The ashta-sattvika vikaras are also given in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
svara-bhedo 'tha vepathuh
ity ashtau sattvikah smritah (5)
The eight symptoms of bhava are, being stunned, trembling, perspiring, standing of hairs on end, fading away of color, weeping, choking and devastation.
The living entity in his siddha-deha is the eternal servant of Krishna. Therefore, when his attachment for service manifests, his false identification with the material body is diminished. In Padyavali the following statement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is found:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaishyo na shudro
naham varni na ca griha-patir no vanastho yatir va
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah (6)
I am not a brahmana, I am not a kshatriya, I am not a vaishya or a shudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Shri Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. His is always existing with brilliance.
In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu it is stated that the devotee in raga-marga is simultaneously fixed in two kinds of service—in his sadhana-deha and in his siddha-deha.
siddha-rupena catra hi
The advanced devotee who is inclined to spontaneous loving service should follow the activities of a particular associate of Krishna in Vrindavana. 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.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu indicates the mood and public behavior of the devotee in raga-marga in the following words (quoted from Cc. 2.1.211):
tad evasvadayaty antar
If a woman is attached to a man other than her husband, she will appear very busy in carrying out her household affairs, but within her heart she is always relishing feelings of association with her paramour.
In this state of raga-marga, the condition of one's mind is exhibited by affection for staying in a place dear to Krishna. As described in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu:
namani tava kirtayan
racayishyami tandavam (9)
O Lord Pundarikaksha, while chanting Your holy name with tears in my eyes, when shall I dance in ecstasy on the bank of the Yamuna?
The living entity in his eternal form is the servant of Krishna. In the conditioned state, the living entity is covered by ignorance. By serving Krishna favorably one easily revives his original consciousness. One's duty is to serve Krishna favorably without duplicity. Excluding those who are actually desirous of krishna-prema, the emotions exhibited by those who are hard-hearted because of offenses are impure and therefore artificial. According to the Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.3.24):
tad ashma-saram hridayam batedam
yad grihyamanair hari-nama-dheyaih
na vikriyetatha yada vikaro
netre jalam gatra-ruheshu harshah (10)
Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one's chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.
The Krishna-karnamrita (107) says the youthful form of Krishna easily manifests as one's attachment for the holy name develops:
bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad
daivena nah phalati divya-kishora-murtih
muktih svayam mukulitanjalih sevate 'sman
dharmartha-kama-gatayah samaya-pratikshah (11)
If I am steadily engaged in devotional service unto You, my dear Lord, then I can easily perceive Your transcendental youthful form. And as far as liberation is concerned, I think that liberation stands at my door with folded hands waiting to serve me and all the material conveniences of dharma, artha and kama stand with her.
The favorable cultivation of chanting the holy names in the association of pure devotees at the stage of attachment is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.30/31) as follows:
mitho ratir mithas tushtir
nivrittir mitha atmanah
smarantah smarayantash ca
mitho 'ghaugha-haram harim
bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya
bibhraty utpulakam tanum (12)
One should learn how to associate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This process is most purifying. As devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they feel mutual happiness and satisfaction. And by thus encouraging one another, they are able to give up material sense gratification, which is the cause of all suffering.
The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away everything inauspicious from them. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end.
Sometimes the pure devotees, free from pride, wander throughout the world chanting and preaching love for the holy names of the Lord. As stated by Narada Muni in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.6.26):
namany anantasya hata-trapah pathan
guhyani bhadrani kritani ca smaran
gam paryatams tushta-mana gata-sprihah
kalam pratikshan vimado vimatsarah (13)
Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I travelled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.
And again from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.32):
kvacid rudanty acyuta-cintaya kvacid
dhasanti nandanti vadanty alaukikah
nrityanti gayanty anushilayanty ajam
bhavanti tushnim param etya nirvritah (14)
Having achieved love of Godhead, the devotees sometimes cry out loud, absorbed in thought of the infallible Lord. Sometimes they laugh, feel great pleasure, speak out loud to the Lord, dance or sing. Such devotees, having transcended conditioned life, sometimes imitate the unborn Supreme by acting out His pastimes. And sometimes, achieving His personal audience, they remain peaceful and silent.
Attachment to seeing the beautiful form of the Deity is described in these words from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.23.22):
shyamam hiranya-paridhim vanamalya-barha-
vinyasta-hastam itarena dhunanam abjam
His complexion was dark blue and His garment golden. Wearing a peacock feather, colored minerals, sprigs of flower buds, and a garland of forest flowers and leaves, He was dressed just like a dramatic dancer. He rested one hand upon the shoulder of a friend and with the other twirled a lotus. Lilies graced His ears, His hair hung down over His cheeks, and His lotuslike face was smiling.
Again from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.21.5):
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisham vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrindair
vrindaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravishad gita-kirtih (16)
Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krishna exhibited His transcendental form as the best of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrindavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories.
When the holy name blossoms, the devotees' emotions manifest, and they feel enchanted with the Deity, who is Himself enchanted by His own beauty. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.2.12), Uddhava says to Vidura:
yan martya-lilaupayikam sva-yoga-
maya-balam darshayata grihitam
vismapanam svasya ca saubhagarddheh
param padam bhushana-bhushanangam (17)
The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yoga-maya. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes are wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. Thus His (Shri Krishna's) transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments.
The sweetness of Krishna attracts the hearts of all. While having darshana of Krishna, the devotees condemn the creator for making eyelids which momentarily block their vision of Krishna. This is explained in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.24.65) as follows:
nityotsavam na tatripur drishibhih pibantyo
naryo narash ca muditah kupita nimesh ca (18)
Krishna's face is decorated with ornaments, such as earrings resembling sharks. His ears are beautiful, His cheeks brilliant, and His playful smiling is attractive to everyone. Whoever sees Lord Krishna enjoys a festival. His face and body are fully satisfying for everyone to see, but the devotees are angry at the creator for the disturbance caused by the momentary blinking of their eyes.
The proficiency of the creator in making the form of Krishna is glorified in the following words of the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.2.13):
yad dharma-sunor bata rajasuye
nirikshya drik-svastyayanam tri-lokah
kartsnyena cadyeha gatam vidhatur
arvak-shritau kaushalam ity amanyata (19)
All the demigods from the upper, lower and middle universal planetary systems assembled at the altar of the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by Maharaja Yudhishthira. After seeing the beautiful bodily features of Lord Krishna, they all contemplated that He was the ultimate dexterous creation of Brahma, the creator of human beings.
The results of seeing the Deity in the stage of attachment are described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.2.14) in these words:
vraja-striyo drigbhir anupravritta-
dhiyo 'vatasthuh kila kritya-sheshah (20)
The damsels of Vraja, after pastimes of laughter, humor and exchanges of glances, were anguished when Krishna left them. They used to follow Him with their eyes, and thus they sat down with stunned intelligence and could not finish their household duties.
The Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.2.21) describes how Shri Krishna, the personification of sweetness, is the abode of all opulences.
svayam tv asamyatishayas tryadhishah
balim haradbhish cira-loka-palaih
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the master of the three worlds and the three principal demigods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva). No one is equal to or greater than Him. By His spiritual potency, svarajya-lakshmi, all His desires are fulfilled. While offering their dues and presents in worship, the predominating deities of all planets touch the lotus feet of the Lord with their crowns. Thus they offer prayers to the Lord.
The cause of Krishna's mercy is inconceivable, that is, His mercy is causeless. This is confirmed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.16.36):
kasyanubhavo 'sya na deva vidmahe
yad-vanchaya shrir lalanacarat tapo
vihaya kaman su-ciram dhrita-vrata (22)
O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya has attained this great opportunity of being touched by the dust of Your lotus feet. For this end, the goddess of fortune performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and taking austere vows.
The topmost devotion of the gopis of Vraja is glorified in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.47.60) as follows:
nayam shriyo 'nga u nitanta-rateh prasadah
svar-yoshitam nalina-gandha-rucam kuto 'nyah
rasotsave 'sya bhuja-danda-grihita-kantha-
labdhashisham ya udagad vraja-vallabhinam (23)
When Lord Krishna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, the gopis were embraced by the arms of the Lord. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or other consorts in the spiritual world. Indeed, never was such a thing even imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the lotus flower. And what to speak of worldly women who are very beautiful according to material estimation?
Other devotees hanker after the mood of the gopis. Evidence is found in the following statement by Uddhava from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.47.61):
asam aho carana-renu-jusham aham syam
vrindavane kim api gulma-lataushadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim shrutibhir vimrigyam (24)
The gopis of Vrindavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krishna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrindavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.
From the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.47.58) it is understood that even Lord Brahma is agitated seeing the devotion of the gopis.
etah param tanu-bhrito bhuvi gopa-vadhvo
govinda eva nikhilatmani rudha-bhavah
vanchanti yad bhava-bhiyo munayo vayam ca
kim brahma-janmabhir ananta-katha-rasasya (25)
Among all persons on earth, these cowherd women alone have actually perfected their embodied lives, for they have achieved the perfection of unalloyed love for Lord Govinda. Their pure love is hankered after by those who fear material existence, by great sages, and by ourselves as well. For one who has tasted the narrations of the infinite Lord, what is the use of taking birth as a high-class brahmana, or even as Lord Brahma himself?
Devotees attracted by the opulences of the Lord also desire the devotion of the gopis. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.44.14) the ladies of Mathura speak as follows:
gopyas tapah kim acaran yad amushya rupam
lavanya-saram asamordhvam ananya-siddham
drigbhih pibanty anusavabhinavam durapam
ekanta-dhama yashasah shriya aishvarasya (26)
What austerities must the gopis have performed! With their eyes they always drink the nectar of Lord Krishna's form, which is the essence of loveliness and is not to be equaled or surpassed. That loveliness is the only abode of beauty, fame, and opulence. It is self-perfect, ever fresh, and extremely rare.
An introduction to sayam-lila (evening pastime) is given in the Govinda-lilamrita:
sayam radham sva-sakhya nija-ramana-krite preshitaneka-bhojyam
sakhyanitesha-sheshashana mudita hridam tam ca tam ca vrajendrum
susnatam ramya-vesham griham anu-janani lalitam prapta-goshtham
nirvyudho 'sralidoham svagriham anu punar bhuktavantam smarami (27)
In the evening Shri Radha sends Her girl friends with many exquisite sweet preparations for Her beloved Krishna. When Her friends return with Krishna's remnants, Radha becomes very happy tasting those remnants.
Vrajendra Krishna takes His bath at home and He is then very nicely dressed. Mother Yashoda lovingly attends Him. Krishna then goes to the cowshed, and after milking the cows He again returns home to take His meals in great happiness. I remember these pastimes with great affection.
Thus ends the Sashtha-yama Sadhana of the Shri Bhajana-rahasya.