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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-12

Chapter Twelve

Nitya-dharma O Sadhana

Eternal Religion and Devotional Service in Practice



     Shri Navadvipa-mandala is the best of all holy places in the world. It is a thirty-two-mile eight-petal lotus flower. The whorl of that lotus flower is Shri Antardvipa. In the center of Antardvipa is Shri Mayapura. To the north of Shri Mayapura is Shri Simantadvipa. In Simantadvipa is a temple of Shri Sinmanta-devi. To the north of that temple is Bilva-pushkarini, and to the south is Brahmana-pushkarini. The region that contains Bilva-pushkarini and Brahmana-pushkarini is called Simuliya by the people in general. Therefore the village of Simuliya-grama is in the northern part of Shri Navadvipa. At the time of Shri Mahaprabhu this place was the home of many, many panditas. This village was the home of Shaci-devi's father, Shri Nilambara Cakravarti. Not far from his house lived a vaidika brahmana named Vrajanatha Bhattacarya. By studying in a school at Bilva-pushkarini, in a few days he had attained great learning in nyaya-shastra, learning that was like a shoreless ocean. All the famous panditas of Bilva-pushkarini, Brahmana-pushkarini, Mayapura, Godruma, Madhyadvipa, Amraghatta, Samudragar, Kuliya, and many other places also were embarrassed and frustrated by Vrajanatha's skill in newer and newer logical arguments. In the assemblies where the panditas were invited, Vrajanatha Pancanana became like a lion attacking a herd of elephants. Raising newer and newer arguments, he made the panditas burn with anger. Of these panditas a very hard-hearted logician decided to kill Pancanana by casting a spell from the Tantras. Day after day he stayed in the cremation ground of Rudradvipa and chanted mantras to kill his foe.

     It was a frightening new-moon night. Blinding darkness filled every direction. At midnight in the cremation ground Naiyika-cudamani called out to his worshipable deity, "O mother, only you should be worshiped in the Kali-yuga! I have heard that you are very easily pleased by even a little chanting of your mantras and you easily grant boons. O mother with the terrifying face, your servant has performed great austerities and chanted your mantra for many days. Please be merciful this one time. O mother, I have many faults. Still, you are my mother. Please forgive my faults and appear before me. Again and again screaming, Tarka-cudamani offered oblations into the fire and chanted a mantra with Nyaya-pancanana's name. What wonderful power did that mantra possess! At that moment the sky became covered with clouds. A powerful wind blew. A deafening thunder sounded. Again and again there was lightning. Many grotesque ghosts could be seen. Intoxicated by drinking the sacrificial wine, Cudamani called out, "O mother, please don't delay!" At that moment a voice spoke from the sky. "Do not worry. Nyaya-pancanana will not continue as a logician for many more days. In a few days he will renounce logical debates. Then he will become silent. He will be your opponent no longer. Be peaceful and go home." Hearing this voice from the sky, Cudamani became happy. Again and again he offered dandavat obeisances to Lord Shiva, the author of the Tantras. Then he returned home.

     Vrajanatha Pancanana became a dig-vijayi pandita when he was only twenty-one years old. Day and night he studied the books of Gangeshopadhyaya. Seeing many faults in Kanabhatta Shiromani's commentary, he wrote his own. He never thought about material affairs. Neither would he turn his ear to spiritual life. His whole life was logic, filled with phrases like “ghata, pata" and "avaccheda, vyavaccheda". Even when he was resting, sleeping, eating, or walking about, his heart was rapt in logic, thinking about the nature of time, reality, solids, liquids, and a host of other things. One day at sunrise at the Ganges' shore, as he was analyzing the sixteen categories enunciated by Gautama Muni, a new nyaya student asked, "O saintly Nyaya-pancanana, have you heard Nimai Pandita's analysis of the atomic theory?" Nyaya-pancanana roared like a lion, "Who is Nimai Pandita? Do you speak of Jagannatha Mishra's son? What was His argument? Please tell me." The new student said that some days before in Navadvipa there was a great person named Nimai Pandita. He was very expert in considering many different arguments of the nyaya-shastra. He thoroughly embarrassed and defeated Kanabhatöa Shiromani. Nimai Pandita had traveled to the farther shore of the ocean of the nyaya-shastras. Even though He was so learned, in the end He considered the nyaya-shastras to be insignificant. He came to consider all material knowledge unimportant. He became a sannyasi and traveled from place top place preaching the chanting of Lord Hari's holy names. The Vaishnavas say He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and they worship Him by chanting the "Gaura-Hari" mantra. O saintly Nyaya-pancanana, please take a look at His logical arguments." After hearing this praise of Nimai Pandita's logical arguments, Pancanana began to collect some of those famous arguments. It is the nature of a man that when he is very interested in a certain subject, he will honor the great teachers of that subject. Also, people tend not to honor great men while they are alive, but only after they are dead. Thus, after studying Nimai Pandita's logical arguments, Nyaya-pancanana held Him in great esteem. He would say, "O Nimai Pandita, if only I had been born during Your time! Then I could have been Your student! Then I could have attained great learning! O Nimai Pandita, please just once enter my heart! You are in truth the Supreme Brahman. If this were not so, then how could these wonderful logical arguments have entered Your intelligence? You are in truth Lord Hari with a fair complexion. How can this not be? You created the most wonderful logical arguments. You destroyed the blinding darkness of ignorance. Now is especially the time of blinding ignorance. You are fair and effulgent. You throw the darkness of ignorance far away. You are Lord Hari Himself. How can this not be? You enchanted the minds of the entire world. With Your logical arguments You have certainly enchanted my mind." Again and again speaking words like these, Vrajanatha became like a madman. He called out, “O Nimai Pandita! O Gaura-Hari! Please be merciful to me!" he called out, "When will I be able to make logical arguments like Yours? Please be merciful to me, so I will become a most powerful scholar of the nyaya-shastra!"

     Vrajanatha thought, "The worshipers of Gaura-Hari must be attracted to Him as I am, because of His great skill in logic. I must see if they have any books about logic written by Him. Thinking in this way, Vrajanatha decided to associate with the devotees of Lord Gauranga.

     Thus Vrajanatha again and again loudly chanted, “Nimai Pandita! Gaura-Hari!" and many other holy names of the Lord. He also desired to associate with the devotees of Lord Gaura. These two acts brought him great spiritual merit just on the verge of bearing fruit. One day, as he was taking his meal, he asked his paternal grandmother, "O saintly grandmother, did you ever see Gaura-Hari? When she heard the name of Lord Gauranga, Vrajanatha's grandmother began to think of her childhood. She said, "Ah, will the charming form of Gauranga ever again come before my eyes? Who can remain a materialist after seeing Him? When He chanted the holy names of Lord Hari, even the animals, birds, trees, and vines all became stunned, overcome with spiritual love. When I think of Him, tears from my eyes stream over my chest." Vrajanatha asked, "O saintly grandmother, do you know any stories about Him?" The grandmother replied, "Yes. When Hew came to His maternal uncle's house with Mother Shaci, the elderly women of our family serve Him the vegetable shaka. Praising the shaka, He happily ate it. O Vrajanatha, when His mother brought the plate of shaka, he said, `Shaka is the favorite of the logician Nimai Pandita.' and he ate it with great relish. No one can describe how much Vrajanatha, who was completely uninterested in spiritual life, became attached to Nimai Pandita because of Nimai's great learning in logic. He took a fancy to Nimai. When he heard Nimai's name he became happy. When he gave alms to a beggar, he always said "Jaya Shacinanandana!" he would visit the pandita babajis of Shri Mayapura, listen to them chant the holy names of Lord Gauranga, and ask them many questions about the Lord's victories in learned debate. In this way two or four months passed. Vrajanatha was now a changed man. Previously it was only the descriptions of Nimai's learning in logic that pleased him. Now any talk about Nimai pleased him. Now he was no longer interested in logic. The logician Nimai no longer lived in his heart. Now it was the devotee Nimai who lived there. When he heard the sounds of khola and karatalas, his heart danced. When he saw the pure devotees, he bowed down before them in his mind. Declaring that it was the birthplace of Lord Gauranga, he worshiped the land of Navadvipa. Vrajanatha was now polite and gentle. His opponents in the debating arena could see that his heart had become calm and cool. No longer was he eager to shower them with arrows of logical arguments. Nyaya-cudamani thought his worshipable deity had made Vrajanatha powerless. Now he felt safe.

     One day, in a secluded place, Vrajanatha said to himself, "If Nimai could abandon the path of logic and turn to the path of devotion, then what is the harm we do the same? When I was obsessed by logic, I could not hear the name of Nimai with attention and devotion. Then the nyaya-shastra had me in its grip. Then I ignored eating, sleeping, and everything else. Now I look at the world with different eyes. The arguments of the nyaya-shastra no longer enters my mind. Now only the name Gauranga enters my mind. Now when I see the Vaishnavas dancing I think how beautiful the dancing is. But I am born in an exalted vaidika brahmana dynasty. My dynasty is honored in society. The Vaishnavas are very respectable people. Still, it is not good that I join them. I worship Lord Gaura only within my thoughts. That is the only proper way for me to act. There are many Vaishnavas at Shri Mayapura, at the place where the Kazi broke the drums and at the place where there are many sannyasis. When I see how their faces are effulgent, I become happy at heart. Among them Shri Raghunatha dasa babaji greatly attracts my mind. I think I should study the bhakti-shastras under his guidance. In the Vedas it is said (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 4.5.6):



atma va are drashöavyah shrotavyo mantavyo nididhyasitavyah



      "One should always gaze upon, hear about, think of, and meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead."


     Although the word "mantavyah" (one should think about Him) here certainly refers to the nyaya-shastras, where by logical analysis one gradually attains knowledge of the Supreme, I have already spent a long time studying logic. Now I think it is right for me to do a little more “shrotavyah" (hearing about the Supreme). For a long time logic was my life and soul. Now I desire to take shelter of Lord Gaura-Hari's feet. A little after sunset I will go to see Shri Raghunatha dasa babaji. I think that is the best thing to do."

     The day was ended. The sun was almost invisible. A very gentle breeze blew from the south. In every direction the birds had gone to their nests. One by one the stars were visible in the sky. At that time the Vaishnavas had begun the arati and kirtana in the courtyard of Shrivasa's home in Shri Mayapura. Vrajanatha then slowly entered and sat down under the bakula tree in the place in Shrivasa's courtyard where the khola was broken. As he listened to the chanting in the arati of Lord Gaura-Hari, his heart became softened. When the kirtana ended, one by one the Vaishnavas came and sat under the bakula tree also. When, proclaiming "Jaya Shacinandana!", "Jaya Nityananda!", "Jaya Rupa-Sanatana!", and "Jaya Dasa Gosvami!", elderly Raghunatha dasa Babaji Mahashaya also entered the courtyard, all the elder Vaishnavas greeted him with dandavat obeisances. In that situation Vrajanatha could not avoid also bowing down before him. Seeing the effulgence of Vrajanatha's face, the elderly babaji embraced him and sat down beside him. He asked, "Baba, who are you?" Vrajanatha replied, “I am a person who thirsts for the truth. I have decided to learn the truth from you. A Vaishnava sitting nearby knew who Vrajanatha was. He said, "He is Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana. In understanding nyaya-shastra no pandita in Shri Navadvipa is his equal. Nowadays he has attained a little faith in Lord Shacinandana. Thus hearing the glories of Vrajanatha, the elderly babaji politely said, "Baba, you are a pandita, and we are poor fools. You reside in the holy abode of our Lord Shacinandana. It is you who should be merciful to us. Hoe can we teach you? It is you who should mercifully tell us about Lord Gauranga, and thus make us cool and peaceful." As the two of them conversed, all the Vaishnavas gradually left to fulfill their various duties. Only the old babaji and Vrajanatha remained.

     Vrajanatha said, "O saintly babaji, I was born as a brahmana. Therefore I am very proud of my learning. I am so proud that I see the entire world as my possession. I do not know that I should honor saintly persons. How did I become fortunate, that I now have some faith in your saintly character and actions? How can I know that? I wish to ask one or two questions. Please answer them. I do not come to mock or trick you. Please tell me: What is the true goal of life and how may the spirit soul attain it? When I studied nyaya-shastra I came to the firm conclusion that the Supreme Lord and the individual spirit soul are different eternally. It is only by the mercy of the Supreme Lord that the individual spirit soul can attain liberation. The Supreme Lord's mercy is then the means by which one attains liberation. By that means, then, one attains the goal of life. Many times I asked the nyaya-shastra, `What is the true goal of life and how may the spirit soul attain it?', but the nyaya-shastra gave me no answers. I was always thwarted. Please tell me your idea of what is the goal of life and the way to attain it."

     Shri Raghunatha dasa babaji was very wise. For many days he had lived at Radha-kunda, where he took shelter of Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's feet. There he spent every afternoon listening to Lord Gaura's pastimes from Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's own mouth. many times Shri Raghunatha dasa babaji and Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja would discuss the spiritual truth, and if any doubt arose among them, they would ask Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to give the answer. At that time Shri Raghunatha dasa Babaji was the most prominent of the pandita babajis. Many times he and Prema dasa, the paramahamsa babaji of Shri Godruma, would discuss the nature of pure spiritual love for the Lord. Happy to hear Vrajanatha's question, he replied, "O saintly Nyaya-pancanana, a person who after studying the nyaya-shastra is eager to understand the true goal of life and the way to attain it is very fortunate in this world. Why should he not be considered fortunate? Nyaya-shastra is an attempt to understand what is the most important thing. Scholars who understand that grasp the truth of the nyaya-shastra. However, they who study nyaya-shastra only to attain skill in debate do not reap the true fruit of nyaya. Their labor is all for nothing. Their lives are wasted. What is attained when one follows the path that leads to the truth is called the true goal of life. The method one adopts to attain that goal is the way of attaining the true goal of life. According to their different qualifications, the individual souls trapped in the material world have differing conceptions of what is the true goal of life. Still, the true goal of life is only one. It is not two. According to their different qualifications, the spirit souls proclaim three different goals of life. They are: 1. bhukti (material sense gratification), 2. mukti (impersonal liberation), and 3. bhakti (devotional service). They who are yearn for material pleasures and are bound by ropes of material karma affirm that bhukti is the true goal of life. The scriptures are a kamadhenu cow that fulfills all desires. Whatever one desires, there is a description somewhere in the scriptures of how to attain it. For they who desire material pleasures, the scriptures give the karma-kanda section of the Vedas. The residents of the material world generally yearn for material pleasures, so the scriptures gives certain specific instructions to them. They who have material bodies generally think senses pleasures are the best and most important attainment. The material world is, after all, the abode of material sense pleasures. The material sense pleasures the soul attains from the time of birth until the time of death are called `pleasures this world', and the material sense pleasures one may attain after dying are called `pleasures of the next world'. There are many different kinds of pleasure in the next world. In Svargaloka and Indraloka there are the pleasures of seeing the apsaras' dancing, the pleasure of drinking heavenly nectar, smelling the flowers and other scented objected in the Nandana gardens, seeing the beauty of Indrapuri and the Nandana gardens, hearing the singing of the gandharvas and others, and living with the Vidyadharis are all pleasures attainable in Svargaloka. To a lesser degree these same kinds of material sense pleasure are also available in Tapoloka and Maharloka. In Bhuloka (the earth) the material sense pleasures are gross. As one goes to higher and higher planets, the senses pleasures become more and more subtle. In this way they are different. Still, they are all material sense pleasure. It is not that any of them are not material sense pleasures. None of these planets are spiritual. The subtle body of mind, intelligence, and false ego is a perverted refection of spirit. In the higher material planets the pleasures are pleasures of the subtle body. All these different kinds of material pleasures are called `bhukti'. The conditioned souls trapped in the circle of karma take shelter of karmic activities in order to attain material sense pleasures. That is called their `sadhana', the means they adopt to attain what they see is the true goal of life. In the Yajur Veda (2.5.5) it is said:



svarga-kamo 'shvamedham yajeta



     "One who desires to attain Svargaloka should perform the ashvamedha-yajna."


     Thus the ashvamedha-yajna, agnishöoma-yajna, vishvadeva-bali, ishöapurta, and darsha-paurnamasi are some of the ways the scriptures give for the conditioned soul to attain material sense pleasures. In this way the materialists say that material sense pleasure is the true goal of life. Then there are other persons who, tortured by the flames of trouble that must accompany life in the material world, know that the fourteen material worlds filled with sense pleasures are all unimportant and unworthy places, and therefore yearn to escape the circle of karmic reactions. These persons think that liberation is the true goal of life. They think that material senses pleasures are the ropes that bind them to the material world. Therefore they say, `Let they whose desire for material pleasures has not been destroyed follow the karma-kanda's prescription for attaining sense pleasures. Nevertheless, in the Bhagavad-gita (9.21) it is said: kshine punye martya-lokam vishanti (When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure , they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness*). In this shloka it is seen that material sense pleasure is not eternal. At a certain point is certainly wanes and perishes. It must perish. It is material, It is not spiritual. One should therefore strive to attain a result that is eternal. Liberation is eternal. Therefore liberation is the true goal of life for all spirit souls. The fourteen practices that begin with renunciation are the way to attain it. Therefore they are the way of attaining the true goal of life. Therefore to understand the true goal, of life and the way to attain it, one should study the jnana-kanda portion of the Vedas.' The scriptures are like a kamadhenu cow in that the scriptures give different attainments to different living entities according to their different qualifications. even if a spirit soul attains impersonal liberation, that liberation is not the final goal of life. The highest stage of impersonal liberation is called `nirvana', where the individual souls imagine that they cease to exist. However, the spirit souls exist eternally. That is their nature. Therefore this imaginary `nirvana' never actually occurs. That the individual spirit souls are eternal is confirmed by these words of Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6.13):



nityo nityanam cetanash cetananam



     `The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant.'*


     In this way the Vedic mantras affirm that the individual spirit soul exists eternally. It is not possible for something that exists eternally to ever cease to exist. They who affirm that the individual spirit soul continues to exist even after liberation also affirm that neither `bhukti' (material sense pleasures) nor `mukti' (liberation) are the final, highest goal of life. These are lesser goals. All activities are in relation to a particular goal and a method of attaining that goal. The goal is called `sadhya', and the means by which one attains it is called `sadhana'. Think of it in this way: goals and ways of attaining them are like a links in a chain. What at first is considered a goal, later becomes a means and something else is the goal. In this way goals and means are like links in a chain, with each goal being eventually hanged into a means for a attaining new goal. Continuing in this way there is one final goal that does not become the means of attaining another goal. That final goal is `bhakti' (devotional service). Therefore devotional service is the final goal, because devotional service is the eternal nature of the individual spirit souls. The activities of human beings are all various links in this chain of goals and means. The different kinds of karmic activities are different links in this chain. Following them, the different kinds of philosophical speculation (jnana) are also links in this chain. After the links that are philosophical speculation, come the link `bhakti' (devotional service). The goal of fruitive activities (karma) is material sense pleasure (bhukti). The goal of philosophical speculation (jnana) is impersonal liberation (mukti). The goal of devotional service (bhakti) is pure love of God (prema-bhakti). The final conclusion, then, is that bhakti is the final means, and the goal attained by bhakti is bhakti. Fruitive work (karma) and philosophical speculation (jnana) are then only the primary and intermediate links in the chain of means and goals. They are not the final goal."


     Vrajanatha: It is said in the scriptures (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 4.5.25 and 2.4.24):



kena kam pashyet



     "Who is the seer and who the seen?"


It is also said (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10):



aham brahmasmi



     "I am Brahman."


It is also said (Aitareya Upanishad 1.5.3):



prajnanam brahma



     "Brahman is spiritual truth."


It is also said (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.70:



tat tvam asi shvetaketo



     "O Shvetaketu, you are that."


In these and many other passages of scripture it is not at all seen that devotional service is the final goal. Therefore, how can it be wrong to say that impersonal liberation is the final goal?


     Babaji: I have already said that the goals are different according to the different desires of the living entities. They who yearn after material sense pleasures do not accept liberation as the final goal. To these persons the scriptures advise (Apastamba Shrauta-sutra 2.1.1):



akshayyam ha vai caturmasya-yajinah



     "They who perform the caturmasya-yajnas attain immortality."


     There are also many other passages like this. Baba, is the word "mukti" (liberation) of any use at all? The fruitive workers (karmis) do not aspire for it. They ask, "Why is the word `mukti' (liberation) never mentioned in the mantras of the four Vedas?" One or two karmi philosophers claim that renunciation is only meant for the incompetent, and they are competent should be engaged in fruitive work (karma). These instructions are written in the scriptures so that persons situated in the lowest level of spiritual qualification may be steady in their duties. It is not auspicious for the living entities to shirk the duties that fit their spiritual qualification. When a person is steady in the duties for which he is qualified, he easily becomes qualified for the next level of duties. Therefore the Vedas do not criticize being steady in one's duties. Rather, one who criticizes the performance of duties himself falls down. The souls in this world who have become advanced in spiritual life have all reaped the good results of being steady in their duties. The impersonal path, where one employs philosophical speculation (jnana) to attain liberation, is not revealed to persons qualified only for fruitive work (karma). The impersonal path, where one employs philosophical speculation (jnana) to attain liberation, is not praised in the presence of persons qualified only for fruitive work. The Vedic mantras praise it only in the presence of persons qualified to follow the impersonal path. As the impersonal path is superior to the path of fruitive work, so the path of devotional service is superior to the impersonal path. By speaking words like "tat tvam asi" (You are that) and "aham brahmasi" (I am Brahman), the Vedic mantras make the impersonalist steady in his duty of acting to attain liberation. The Vedas are not to be blamed for doing that. Still, the impersonal liberation described there is not the ultimate stage. The final conclusion of the Vedic mantras is that the final goal is love of God and that goal is attained by performing devotional service.

     Vrajanatha: Is it possible that the great maha-vakyas of the Vedas have describe only secondary goals and means?

     Babaji: You may call some mantras maha-vakyas, but the Vedas themselves do not distinguish any particular mantras as better than the others. In order to claim that their doctrine is superior, the impersonalist teachers have labeled some mantras maha-vakyas. In truth the sacred syllable Om is the only maha-vakya, and all other Vedic mantras are subordinate to it. If one wishes to call all the statements of the Vedas maha-vakyas, there is nothing wrong in that. However, if one wishes to label one particular mantra the maha-vakya, and all the others ordinary vakyas, then one commits an offense to the sacred Vedas. In the Vedas there is praise for fruitive work (karma), praise for impersonal liberation (mukti), and praise for many other goals and means also. Still, one must consider everything as a whole and determine what is the final conclusion of all the Vedas. The Vedas are like a cow, and the milkman is Lord Krishna. It is He who reveals the true purpose of all the Vedas. He explains (Bhagavad-gita 6.46-47):



tapasvibhyo 'dhiko yogi

     jnanibhyo 'pi mato 'dhikah

karmibhyash cadhiko yogi

     tasmad yogi bhavarjuna



     "A yogi is greater than the ascetic, greater than the empiricist, and greater than the fruitive worker. Therefore, O Arjuna, in all circumstances be a yogi.*



yoginam api sarvesham


shradddhavan bhajate yo mam

     sa me yuktatamo matah



     "And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all."*


     In the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6.23) it is also said:



yasya deve para bhaktir

     yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah

     prakashante mahatmanah



     "Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."*


     In the Gopala-tapani Upanishad (1.14) it is said:



bhaktir asya bhajanam tad ihaumtropadhi-nairasyenamusmin manasah kalpanam



     "Devotional service to Lord Krishna is performed when the heart no longer desires any material benefit to be obtained in this life or the next. This is freedom from the bonds of karma."


     In the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (1.4.8) it is said:



atmanam eva priyam upasita



     "One should worship the Supreme Lord, considering Him the most dear."


     In the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (4.5.6) it is also said:



atma va are drashöavyah shrotavyo mantavyo nididhyasitavyah



     "One should gaze on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, hear about Him, think of Him, and meditate upon Him."


     One who analyzes these statements of the Vedas will easily see that devotional service is described in the Vedas as the means to attain the goal of life.


     Vrajanatha: In the karma-kanda section of the Vedas it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate awarder of the fruits of karma. In this way the karma-kanda enjoins one to have faith in devotional service. In the jnana-kanda also, pleasing Lord Hari by engaging in His devotional service is described as one of the four means of attaining the goal. If devotional service is thus one of the means employed to attain sense gratification and impersonal liberation, then how can devotional service be the final goal of life? When sense gratification or impersonal liberation are attained, then the means employed top get them are thrown away. That is what is generally taught. Please give me some clear teaching on this point.

     Babaji: In the karma-kanda portion of the Vedas it is said that one should engage in devotional service in order to attain sense gratification, and in the jnana-kanda portion of the Vedas it is said that to attain impersonal liberation one should engage in devotional service. That is true. Without first pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no one can attain any result. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the abode of all potencies. The individual spirit souls and the material worlds are only a small part of the Lord's potencies. The Supreme Lord is not pleased by fruitive work (karma) or impersonal speculations (jnana). However, when karma and j{.sy 241}ana take shelter of devotional service, they can give certain results. Therefore it is said that in karma and jnana the reflection of devotional service is present. However, the devotional service seen in karma and jnana is not pure devotional service. It is merely a reflection of true devotional service, present there to give certain results. This reflection of devotional service is of two kinds: 1. the reflection of pure devotional service, and 2. the reflection of mixed devotional service. The reflection of pure devotional service I will describe later. The reflection of mixed devotional service is of three kinds: 1. the reflection of devotional service mixed with karma, 2. the reflection of devotional service mixed with j{.sy 241}ana, and 3. the reflection of devotional service mixed with both karma and jnana. At the time of performing a yaj{.sy 241}a one may say, "O Indra, O Surya, please be merciful and give me the result of this yajna." This is an example of the reflection of devotional service mixed with karma (karma-viddha-bhakty-abhasa). Some philosophers call this reflected devotional service karma-mishra bhakti (devotional service mixed with karma), and others call it aropa-siddha bhakti (artificial devotional service). Another example is seen in the words, “O Krishna, pushed by fear of repeated birth and death, I now approach You. day after day I chant the Hare Krishna mantra. Please be merciful and give me impersonal liberation." Another example is the words, "O Supreme Lord, You are Brahman, and I have fallen into the abyss of maya. Please pick me up and make me one with You." These two statements are examples of the reflection of devotional service mixed with jnana. Some philosophers call this kind of reflected devotional service j{.sy 241}ana-mishra bhakti (devotional service mixed with j{.sy 241}ana), and others call it aropa-siddha bhakti (artificial devotional service). All these reflections of devotional service are different from pure devotional service. The devotional service described by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita 6.47 (shradddhavan bhajate yo mam) is pure devotional service. It is that kind of devotional service that we adopt as the means to attain the goal of prema (pure love of God). Karma and j{.sy 241}ana are the means to attain sense gratification and impersonal liberation. They are not the means for the individual spirit soul to regain his eternal nature."

     After hearing all this, Vrajanatha could not ask any questions. He thought, "It will be good to make the argument for the nyaya-shastra wait for a while as I think about this subtle points. The saintly babaji is especially learned about this topic. In time I will ask him questions and then I will learn what is the truth of this. Now it is night. I should return home." Then Vrajanatha said aloud, "O saintly babaji, I have learned many truths from you today. From time to time I will return. Please continue to instruct me. You are a very great teacher, and I am dependent on your mercy. There is one thing I wish to know. When I hear your reply I will depart. Did Lord Gauranga the son of Shaci write any book of His teachings? I would like to have such a book."


     Babaji: Shri Shri Mahaprabhu did not write any book Himself. By His order His followers wrote many books. mahaprabhu personally wrote eight verses, called Shikshashöaka, which are like a jewels the devotees wear around their necks. The teachings in them are very profound. Studying these deep truths, the devotees have written a poem called Dasha-mula (the Ten Roots). In this poem the foal ands the means are briefly described in terms of sambandha (the relationship of the living entities and the Supreme), abhidheya (the activities of that relationship), and prayojana (the final goal of life). You should begin by understanding this poem.


     Vrajanatha replied, "As you order. Tomorrow evening I will return and learn this Dasha-mula from you. You are my shiksha-guru (instructing spiritual master). I offer dandavat obeisances to you." The saintly babaji politely embraced him and said, "Baba, You purify the community of brahmanas. Please come tomorrow evening. That will please me very much."