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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-14

Chapter Fourteen

Nitya-dharma O Sambandhabhidheya-prayojana (Prameyantar-gata Shakti-vicara)

Eternal Religion and Sambandha, Abhidheya, and Prayojana (The Lord's Potencies)



     When he thought of what he heard the previous night from the elderly babaji, Vrajanatha became filled with bliss. He thought, "Ah! The teachings of Lord Gauranga are wonderful! When I hear them my heart becomes filled with nectar. When I hear them from the saintly babaji's mouth, my thirst to hear them increases more and more. No part of them seems illogical. They seem to be supported by the scriptures. I cannot understand why the brahmanas criticize them. I think they criticize because they are impersonalists. Thinking in this way, Vrajanatha came to Raghunatha dasa Babaji's cottage. Seeing the saintly babaji, Vrajanatha offered dandavat obeisances. The saintly babaji happily embraced him and made him sit down next to him. With an earnest heart he said, "O master, I wish to hear the third verse of the Dasha-mula. Please kindly recite it. The hairs of his body upright with spiritual happiness, the saintly babaji recited:



parakhyayah shakter aprithag api sa sve mahimani

     sthito jivakhyam svam acid-abhihitam tam tri-padikam

svatantreccha-shaktim sakala-vishaye prerana-parah

     vikaradayaih shunyah parama-purusho 'yam vijayate



     "Glory to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never touched by material changes. He is not different from His spiritual potency. He is situated in His own transcendental glory. From Him are manifested His spiritual potency by which all His desires are fulfilled, His potency of the individual spirit souls, and His potency of inanimate matter."


     Vrajanatha: The brahmanas say that when the Supreme is the impersonal Brahman He has no potency. It is only when He appears as the Supreme Controller that He has potencies. What do the Vedas teach about this?

     Babaji: In every feature of the Lord His potencies are manifested. The Vedas (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.8) declare:



na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate

     na tat-samash cabhyadhikash ca drishyate

parasya shaktir vividhaiva shruyate

     sva-bhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca



     "He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the function of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence."*


     The Lord's iccha-shakti, the potency that fulfills all His desires, is described in these words (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 1.3):



te dhyana-yoganugata apashyan

     devatma-shaktim sva-gunair nigudham

yah karanani nikhilani tani

     kalatma-yuktany adhitishthaty ekah



     "Rapt in meditation, the sages then saw the mysterious potency and transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the first cause, who alone dominates the secondary causes, from time to the individual living entity."


     The Lord's jiva-shakti, the potency that is the individual spirit souls, described in these words (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.5):



ajam ekam lohita-shukla-krishnam

     bahvih prajah shrijamanam sarupah

ajo hy eko jushamano 'nushete

     jahaty enam bhukta-bhogam ajo 'nyah



     "An unborn man enjoys an unborn red, white, and black woman who bears many children like herself. Another unborn man first enjoys and then forsakes her."


     {Translator's Note: The unborn woman is the material nature. The colors red, white, and black are the modes of passion, goodness, and ignorance. The many children are the ingredients of the material universes. The first unborn man is the conditioned soul. The second unborn man is the soul who, after trying to enjoy matter, finally renounces the world and attains liberation.)


     The Lord's maya-shakti, the potency that is the material world, is described in these words (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.9):



chandamsi yajnah kratavo vratani

     bhutam bhavyam yac ca veda vadanti

asman mayi shrijate vishvam etat

     tasmimsh canyo mayaya sanniruddhah



     "The Vedas describe a bewildering variety of hymns, prayers, sacrifices, rituals, vows, austerities, history, and predictions of the future. Simply by studying the Vedas, it is very difficult for the conditioned soul, illusioned by maya and trapped in the material world, to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of the illusory potency and the creator of the material universes."*


     The words "parasya shaktih" (in Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.8) indicate that of all the Lord's potencies one is the most important. The Vedas never say that the Supreme has a feature without potencies. When He has qualities, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When He has no qualities, He is the impersonal Brahman. It is the Lord's most important potency that manifests His feature as impersonal Brahman. In this way it is seen that the impersonal Brahman does indeed have a potency. That most important potency has been described in the Vedas in many places, where it is called by many names, such as “para shakti", "svarupa-shakti", and "cit-shakti". The impersonalists imagine that the impersonal Brahman has no potencies. The truth is that the impersonal Brahman is beyond the understanding of the impersonalists. The Vedas affirm that the Supreme has two features, one with qualities and the other without qualities. That the impersonal feature of the Lord has potencies is explained in these words of the Vedas said (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.1):



ya eko 'varno bahudha shakti-yogad

     varnan anekan nihitartho dadhati



     "Although he has no qualities, by His potencies the Supreme created the great variety of the material world."

     That the personal feature of the Lord has potencies is explained in these words of the Vedas (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.1):



ya eko jalavan ishata ishanibhih

     sarval lokan ishata ishanibhih



     "Employing His potencies, the Supreme Person created the material world."


     In this way you can see that the Supreme is never bereft of His potencies. The self-manifest Supreme Lord is always accompanied by them. The self-manifest Lord who is the master of three eternal potencies is described in this mantra of the Vedas (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.16):



sa vishva-krid vishva-vid atma-yonih

     jnah kalakaro guni sarva-vid yah

pradhana-kshetrajna-patir guneshah




     "The Supreme Lord, the creator of this cosmic manifestation, knows every nook and corner of this creation. Although He is the cause of creation, there is no cause for His appearance. He is fully aware of everything. He is the Supersoul, the master of all transcendental qualities, and He is the master of this cosmic manifestation in regard to bandage to the conditional state of material existence and liberation from that bondage."*


     The three potencies of the Lord are described in this verse. Here the word "pradhana" refers to the Lord's maya-shakti, the word "kshetrajna" refers to the potency of the individual spirit souls, and the word "kshetrajna-pati" refers to the Lord's spiritual potency. The idea that when the Supreme manifests His impersonal feature He has no potencies, and when He manifests His personal feature He has potencies is an idea created in the fertile workshop of the impersonalists' imaginations. In truth the Lord is always the master of all potencies. When the Lord is situated in His own glory, and when His original, natural condition is manifest, in order words, when He is manifested as the Supreme Person, He is always accompanied by His potencies. Thus His desires are always fulfilled.


     Vrajanatha: If He is always accompanied by His potencies, and if everything is done by His potencies, then How is He independent, and how is it that His desires are always fulfilled?

     Babaji: In the scriptures it is said:



shakti-shaktimator abhedah



     "The potencies and the master of potencies are not different."


     The potencies thus do whatever the master of potencies desires. The duty of the maya-shakti is to manifest the material universe. The duty of the jiva-shakti is to manifest the many individual spirit souls. The duty of the cit-shakti is to manifest the spiritual world. After assigning these different duties to the cit-shakti, jiva-shakti, and maya-shakti, the Supreme Lord steps back, untouched and unchanged. If these actions are performed because of His desire, how can He remain aloof and unconcerned? If He desires that certain things be done, he will certainly be affected by the result.


     Vrajanatha: When the scriptures say the Lord is not affected, the meaning is that the Lord never undergoes any material changes. His material potency is a reflection of His internal, spiritual potency. Whatever the material potency maya does may be real, but it does not exist eternally. The changes that maya produces do not last eternally. Therefore the Lord never undergoes any material changes. Whatever changes the Lord may manifest in His desires or in His pastimes are all manifested by His spiritual potency, cit-shakti. These changes are manifestations of His spiritual love, and therefore they are free of any fault or impurity. They are included within spiritual knowledge. Although it is by His wish that the maya-shakti creates the material world, the Supreme Lord remains perfectly spiritual in His nature. In the great varieties created by His spiritual potency, cit-shakti, there is no touch of matter, or maya. When they hear the descriptions of the great variety manifested by the Lord's spiritual potency, ordinary people, whose intelligence cannot conceive of anything beyond matter, assume that those descriptions must be descriptions of material things. Thus they are like people who, suffering from jaundice, see everything is yellow, or they are like people who, standing in the shade of a cloud, cannot see the sun. The root meaning is this: The material potency is a reflection of the spiritual potency. Therefore the variety manifested in the material world is a reflection of the variety manifested in the spiritual world. To one who looks superficially they seem to be the same. However, the truth is that they are exact opposites. A mirror's reflection of a man's body seems just like the original body. However, the position of all the various limbs is inverted in the reflection. In the reflection the right hand is on the left and the left hand is on the right. Therefore, material eyes see the varieties of the spiritual and material worlds to be the same, although to spiritual eyes see that they are indeed opposites. Actually the material variety is a perverted reflection of the spiritual variety. Superficially they seem the same, but in truth they are different. Free from material changes, and His every desire at once fulfilled, the Supreme Personality of Godhead controls the material potency, maya, and gives her various tasks to fulfill.

     Babaji: Which of Lord Krishna's potencies is Shri Radhika?

     Vrajanatha: Lord Krishna is the master of potencies in His perfect, original form. Shrimati Radhika is the potency in its perfect, original form. Shrimati Radhika is the original manifestation of the Lord's internal, spiritual potency. As musk is not different from its fragrance, and as fire is not different from its power to burn, so Radha and Krishna, who enjoy the nectar of transcendental pastimes together, are eternally different and not different from each other. From the internal potency, Shri Radha, are manifested the three potencies "cit-shakti" (spirit), "jiva-shakti" (the individual souls), and “maya-shakti" (matter). These three are seen to be three different kinds of kriya-shakti (potency of action). The cit-shakti is also called "antaranga-shakti", and the jiva-shakti is also called "tatastha-shakti". The maya-shakti is also called "bahiranga-shakti". Although it is one, the Lord's internal potency assumes these three forms in order to act in these different ways. All the eternal opulences of the internal potency are full manifested in the cit-shakti. An atomic fragment of each of these opulences is present in the jiva-shakti, and a perverted reflection of them is present in the maya-shakti. The internal potency is also manifested a three other ways. These three manifestations are called: 1. hladini, 2. sandhini, and 3. samvit. They are described in these words of the Dasha-mula:



sa vai hladinyayah pranaya-vikriter hladana-ratah

     tatha samvic-chakti-prakatita-raho-bhava-rasitah

taya shri-sandhinya krita-vishada-tad-dhama-nicaye

     rasambhodhau magno vraja-rasa-vilasi vijayate



     "Glory to Lord Shri Krishna, who enjoys nectar pastimes in Vraja, who is plays in a nectar ocean of transcendental mellows, who enjoys the feelings of ecstatic love brought by the Hladini-shakti, who tastes the nectar of the confidential love brought by the samvit-shakti, and who resides in the pure transcendental abode created by the sandhini-shakti."


     Thus the Lord's internal potency manifests three features: 1. hladini, 2. sandhini, and 3. samvit. The hladini-shakti, which in its complete form is Shri Radha, the daughter of Vrishabhanu, brings transcendental bliss to Lord Krishna. The form of the highest ecstatic love (maha-bhava), is the very dear and pleasing to Lord Krishna. She expands into many other forms. She expands as the eight principal gopis (ashta-sakhi), the dear gopis (priya-sakhi), the gopis speaking joking words (narma-sakhi[vi]), the gopis more dear than life (prana-sakhi), and the most dear gopis (parama-preshtha-sakhi). These four kinds of gopis are manifested for different kinds of devotional service. These gopis are eternally-perfect souls who reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. The samvit-shakti manifests the different relationships of the people of Vraja. The sandhini-shakti manifests the land, water, villages, forests, hills like Govardhana Hill, pastime-places of Shri Krishna, Shri Radha, Their gopa and gopi friends, Their servants, the cows, and all the other residents of Vraja, their spiritual forms, and the paraphernalia used in their pastimes. Pushed by the feelings of ecstatic love brought by the hladini-shakti, Lord Krishna is always filled with transcendental bliss. The activities of love are brought by the samvit-shakti, activities like Lord Krishna attracting the gopis by playing on the flute, His herding the cows, and His rasa-dance pastimes. To perform all these activities, Lord Krishna takes shelter of His samvit-shakti. Always swimming in the nectar of transcendental mellows, Lord Krishna enjoys pastimes in the land of Vraja, a land manifested by the sandhini-shakti. Of all spiritual abodes, the land of Vraja is the best.


     Vrajanatha: You have said that the internal potency is manifested as the hladini, samvit, and sandhini potencies. A tiny fragment of the internal potency is the jiva-shakti, and a perverted reflection of the internal potency is the maya-shakti. Please tell me how the hladini, samvit, and sandhini potencies work in the jiva-shakti and maya-shakti.

     Babaji: In the jiva-shakti, which is an atomic fragment of the internal potency, a fragmental part of these three potencies is present. There the hladini-shakti is manifested as the eternal bliss of the impersonal Brahman, the samvit-shakti is manifested as the individual souls' awareness of impersonal Brahman, and the sandhini-shakti is manifested as the atomic spiritual forms of the spirit souls. You wished to know about the individual spirit souls. That is how you should understand them. In the maya-shakti, the hladini-shakti is manifested as material happiness, the samvit-shakti is manifested as material knowledge, and the sandhini-shakti is manifested as the fourteen material worlds and the external material bodies of the conditioned souls.

     Vrajanatha: If their activities are so easily explained, why are the Lord's potencies called "inconceivable"?

     Babaji: When they are considered one by one, each feature is easily understood. However, when all the features are considered together, they are beyond understanding. In the material world mutually contradictory qualities do not exist together in the same place, for they would negate each other. It is the inconceivable nature of Lord Krishna's potency that in the spiritual world all mutually contradictory qualities exist happily together and the result is very beautiful and pleasing. In Lord Krishna the qualities of having a form and being formless, being all-pervading and having a form present in one place only, being active and inactive, being unborn and being the son of Nanda, being the all-worshipable Supreme Lord and being a gopa boy, being all-knowing and having the limited knowledge possessed by a human being, having qualities and having no qualities, being beyond conception and being sweet like nectar, being limited and unlimited, being far away and very near, being completely aloof and also being afraid of the gopis' jealous anger are simultaneously present. These and numberless other mutually contradictory qualities happily stay together in Lord Krishna's transcendental form, in Shri Krishna's transcendental abode, and in Shri Krishna's transcendental pastimes. That these mutually contradictory qualities help Lord Krishna's pastimes, making them more beautiful and pleasing is beyond human conception. Therefore it is said that the Lord's potencies are inconceivable.

     Vrajanatha: Is this idea supported by the Vedas?

     Babaji: This is accepted everywhere in the Vedas. In the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (3.19) it is said:



apani-pado javano grahita

     pashyaty acakshuh sa shrinoty akarnah

sa vetti vedyam na ca tasyasti vetta

     tam ahur agryam purusham mahantam



     "Learned transcendentalists explain that God is the greatest, the original person. He has no material hands, but He can take anything. He has no material legs, but He can travel faster than anyone. He has no material eyes, but He sees everything. He has no material ears, but He hears everything. He knows everything, but no one knows Him."*


     In the Isha Upanishad (mantras 5 and 8) it is said:



tad ejati tan naijati

     tad dure tad v antike

tad antar asya sarvasya

     tad u sarvasyasya bahyatah



     "The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, but yet He is outside of everything."*



sa paryagac chukram akayam avranam

     asnaviram shuddham apapa-viddham

kavir manishi paribhuh svayambhur

     yathatathyato 'rthan vyadadhac chasvatibhyah samabhyah



     "Such a person must factually know the greatest of all, who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure, and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher, who has been fulfilling everyone's desires since time immemorial."*


     Vrajanatha: Is it written in the Vedas that by His own will the Supreme Lord sometimes descends to the material world?

     Babaji: Yes. In many places. In the Kena Upanishad, in a conversation of Shiva and Uma, it is said that Indra and the demigods became very proud because they had conquered the demons. As the demigods were telling each other how wonderful they were, the Supreme Lord assumed a wonderful form and appeared among them, asked them why they were so proud, and gave them a single blade of grass to burn up with their own power. In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has wonderful powers, manifested His form among the demigods. An example of a mantra from that passage is (Kena Upanishad 3.6):



tasmai trinam nidadhav etad daheti. tad upapreyaya sarva-javena tan na shashaka dagdhum. sa tata nivavrte naitad shakam vijnatum yad etad yaksham iti



     "Placing a blade of grass before him, the Supreme Lord said: `Burn this.' With all his power, Agni attacked the blade of grass, but could not burn it. Returning to the demigods, Agni said: `I do not know who this yaksha is'."


     The hidden meaning of this passage is that the Supreme Lord is a person with an inconceivably handsome form, and who His own will he descends to the material world and enjoys pastimes with the individual spirit souls.


     Vrajanatha: It is said that the Supreme Lord is an ocean of the nectar of transcendental mellows. where is this said in the Vedas?

     Babaji: In Taittiriya Upanishad (2.1) it is clearly said:



yad dvaitam sukritam raso vai sah. rasam hy evayam labdhvanandi bhavati. ko hy evanyat kah pranyat. yad esha akasha anando na syat. esha hy evanandayati.



    "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of transcendental mellows. When one understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of pleasure, Krishna, he actually becomes transcendentally blissful.* Who could breathe without the Lord giving breath? Who could be happy without the Lord giving happiness. It is He who gives transcendental bliss."


     Vrajanatha: If He has a form of the nectar of bliss, why can the people of the material world not see Him?

     Babaji: The individual souls imprisoned in the material world are of two kinds. One faces Krishna and the other turns his back on Krishna. The soul that turns away from Krishna cannot see Krishna handsomeness. Instead he gazes on material sense objects and fixes his mind in thinking of material sense objects. The soul that turns toward Krishna turns away from the material world of maya. He is able to see the t form of Lord Krishna. In the Katha Upanishad (2.1.1) it is said:



paranci khani vyatrinat svayambhus

     tasmat paran pashyati nantaratman

kashcid dhirah pratyag-atmanam aikshad

     avrita-cakshur amritatvam icchan



     "A person eager for material pleasures cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart. Only a wise man who turns from the world of matter can see the Lord within his heart."


     Vrajanatha: The Vedas say that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is "raso vai sah" (the reservoir of spiritual nectar). How do the Vedas describe the Lord's nectar spiritual form?

     Babaji: In the Gopala-tapani Uapnishad (1.10) it is said:



gopa-vesham. . .


 . . .sat-pundarika-nayanam

     meghabham vaidyutambaram

dvi-bhujam jnana-mudradhyam

     vana-malinam ishvaram



     "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is a cowherd boy. His eyes are handsome lotus flowers, His complexion a dark monsoon cloud, and His garments lightning. He has two arms. He is rich in transcendental knowledge. He wears a garland of forest flowers."


     Vrajanatha: From this I can understand that the form of Lord Krishna is the eternal spiritual form of the Lord in the spiritual world. He is the form of spiritual nectar, He is the shelter of all. He is not attained by impersonal speculation or any other non-devotional means. They who follow the path of ashtanga-yoga search after the Supersoul, who is His plenary portion. The impersonal Brahman is the effulgence of His transcendental body. He is endowed with all spiritual qualities. He is the highest object of worship in the world. He is not easy to see. He is beyond conception. What method may a human being adopt to understand Him? The brahmanas cannot understand Him and neither can the candalas understand Him. What method should one adopt in order to understand Him? It is very difficult to know how to please Him.

     Babaji: In the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13) it is said:



tam atma-stham ye 'nupashyanti dhiras

     tesham shantih shashvati netaresham



     "Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord, can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace."*


     Vrajanatha: They who see the Supreme Lord within their hearts attain eternal peace. However, what method should one adopt to see the Lord in this way? That's what I would like to see. That's what I don't understand.


     Babaji: In the Katha Upanishad (1.2.23) it is also said:



nayam atma pravacanena labhyo

     na medhaya na bahuna shrutena

yam evaisha vrinute tena labhyas

     tasyaisha atma vivrinute tanum svam



     "The Supreme Lord is not attained by expert explanations, by vast intelligence, nor even by much hearing. He is attained only by one who He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form."*


     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.28) it is said:



athapi te deva padambuja-dvaya-

     prasada-leshanugrihita eva hi

janati tattvam bhagavan-mahimno

     na canya eko 'pi ciram vicinvan



     "My Lord, if one is favored by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate in order to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years."*


     O baba, our Lord is very merciful. The Lord of our hearts is Shri Krishna. Simply by studying and understanding the scriptures one does not attain Him. Simply by being very intelligent or studying from many teachers one does not attain Him. Only to one who says, "Krishna is my Lord", does Lord Krishna mercifully reveal His eternal spiritual form of knowledge and bliss. Think about this and you will easily understand it.


     Vrajanatha: Is anything written in the Vedas about Lord Krishna's spiritual abode?

     Babaji: It is described in many places. In some places it is called "para-vyoma" (the spiritual sky), in other places "samvyoma" (the great sky), in other places “brahma-gopala-puri" (the city of Lord Gopala), and in other places "gokula" (the world of the surabhi cows). It is described in these words of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.8):



rico akshare parame vyoman

     yasmin deva adhi vishve nisheduh

yas tam na veda kim rica karishyati

     ya iti tad vidus ta ime samasate



     "In the eternal spiritual sky the demigods and the Vedic hymns serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What will he who does not know Him do with the Vedic hymns? They who know Him have attained the goal of life."


     In the Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.1) it is said:



divye brahma-pure hy esha vyomny atma pratishthitah



     "The Supreme Personality of Godhead stays in the effulgent spiritual world."


     In the Purusha-bodhini-shruti it is said:



gokulakhye mathura-mandale dve parshve candravali radhika ca



     "In the spiritual world named Gokula, in the circle of Mathura, the Supreme Personality of Godhead stays, with Radha and Candravali at His sides."


     In the Gopala-tapani Upanishad it is said:



tasam madhye sakshat brahma-gopala-puri



     "In the spiritual sky is the city of Lord Gopala."


     Vrajanatha: Tantrika brahmanas say that the potency of Lord Shiva is the "adya shakti" (original potency). Why do they say that?

     Babaji: The potency of Lord Shiva is the maya-shakti. From maya the three material modes: goodness, passion, and ignorance are manifested. The brahmanas are in the mode of goodness. They purely worship Goddess Maya, who is the origin of material goodness. They who are in the mode of passion worship Goddess Maya as the mother of the mode of passion. They who have taken shelter of the mode of ignorance worship Maya as Goddess Vidya, the controller of the mode of blinding darkness. In truth, Maya is a transformation of the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Maya is not a separate potency. Maya is a shadow or a reflection of the Supreme Lord's original spiritual potency. Maya imprisons the conditioned souls and she also sets them free. Persons averse to Lord Krishna she imprisons in the material world and punishes. Persons who are favorably inclined to Lord Krishna she places in the mode of goodness and gives knowledge of Lord Krishna. Persons shackled and imprisoned by Maya cannot see that Maya herself is a reflection of the Supreme Lord's original potency. It is these persons who claim that Maya is the "adya shakti" (original potency). A person bewildered by Maya may reach the right conclusion if he has performed many pious deeds. One who has not performed pious deeds will not.

     Vrajanatha: Among the servants of Lord Krishna in Gokula is mentioned someone named "Durga-devi". Who is that “Durga"?

     Babaji: She is Yogamaya. She is the seed that grows into the changed forms accepted by the cit-shakti (spiritual potency). She stays in the spiritual world, and there she is considered identical with the Lord's internal potency. It is by her power that the Lord's spiritual potency is reflected as the material potency maya. The Durga of the material world is a maidservant of her, Yogamaya, who is the Durga of the spiritual world. This spiritual Durga assists in Lord Krishna's spiritual pastimes. Manifested as Yogamaya, in the spiritual world she makes the nectar of Lord Krishna's pastimes by convincing the gopis that they are married to others and Krishna is their paramour (parakiya-bhava). She also arranges for the Lord's rasa-lila pastimes. This is described in these words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.29.10):



yogamayam upashritah



     "Taking shelter of His Yogamaya potency, Lord Krishna enjoyed the rasa dance."


     The meaning of these statements is this: Among the many spiritual pastimes arranged by the Lord's internal potency are some activities that seem to be situated in ignorance, although in truth they are not situated in ignorance at all. When these activities that superficially appear to be situated in ignorance are useful to make the nectar of Lord Krishna's pastimes sweeter, Yogamaya arranges that they are manifested. In this way the nectar of the Lord's pastime is understood.


     Vrajanatha: I wish to understand something about the spiritual abode (dhama) of the Lord. Please be kind and explain this to me: Why do the Vaishnavas use the word "shridhama" in relation to Navadvipa?

     Babaji: Shri Navadvipa-dhama and Shri Vrindavana-dhama are not different. This Mayapura is the highest spiritual abode. Shri Mayapura is to Navadvipa what Shri Gokula is to Vraja. Mayapura is the holiest place in Navadvipa. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.38) it is said:



channah kalau



     "O Lord, in the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself.* In that age Your incarnation is hidden."


     As the Supreme Lord's incarnation is hidden in the Kali-yuga, so the Supreme Lord's abode, Shri Navadvipa, is also hidden. In the age of Kali there is no holy place like Shri Navadvipa. A person who understands the spiritual nature of Shri Navadvipa has become qualified to reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. Material eyes see Vraja and Navadvipa are both material places, made of the five material elements. Only persons who have become fortunate to have their spiritual eyes opened are able to see the truth of these holy abodes.


     Vrajanatha: I wish to know the truth about Shri Navadvipa-dhama.

     Babaji: "Goloka", "Vrindavana", and “Shvetadvipa" are the names of the innermost places in the spiritual world. In Goloka the Lord's svakiya pastimes are manifested, in Vrindavana the parakiya pastimes are manifested, and in Shvetadvipa other pastimes are manifested. Gokula, Vrindavana, and Shvetadvipa are not different in nature. Shri Navadvipa is therefore not different from Shvetadvipa and Vrndavana. The residents of Shri Navadvipa are most fortunateThey are the eternal associates of Lord Gauranga. It is because in past lives they performed many pious deeds that now they are able to reside in Shri Navadvipa. The transcendental mellows (rasa) that were not reveled in Shri Vrndavana have been revealed in Shri Navadvipa. When a person becomes qualified, he is able to taste the sweetness of those mellows.

     Vrajanatha: What is the size of Navadvipa-dhama?

     Babaji: The circumference of Shri Navadvipa is sixteen kroshas (32 miles). The holy abode of Navadvipa is an eight-petal lotus flower. Eight of the dvipas form the eight petals, and the island in the middle is the whorl of the lotus. The eight islands that are petals of the lotus are: Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, Madhyadvipa, Koladvipa, Ritudvipa, Jahndvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa. The whorl in the middle of the lotus is Antardvipa. IN the middle of Antardvipa is Shri Mayapura. A soul who performs sadhana-bhakti (devotional service in practice) in Navadvipa-dhama, or especially in Shri Mayapura, quickly attains the perfection of prema (pure love of God). In the center of Shri Navadvipa is the very holy place of Shri Jagannatha Mishra's home. The most fortunate devotees are able to see Lord Gaurangadeva enjoying His eternal pastimes in this holy place.

     Vrajanatha: Does the Lord's internal potency arrange for Lord Gaurangadeva's pastimes?

     Babaji: As Shri Krishna's pastimes are arranged by the internal potency, so Lord Gauranga's pastimes are arranged in the same way. There is is not the slightest difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Gauranga. In his notebook, Shri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami explains (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita Adi 1.5):



radha-krishna-pranaya-vikritir hladini shaktir asmad

     ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau

chaitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam

     radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krishna-svarupam



     "The loving affairs of Shri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself."*


     Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are both manifested eternally. No one has the power to say which of Them came first and which second. It cannot be said that Lord Chaitanya was manifested first and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna were manifested second. Neither can it be said that Shri Shri Radha-Krishna were manifested first and Lord Chaitanya was manifested second. The truth is that Lord Chaitanya and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna both exist eternally. All the pastimes of the Supreme are eternal. A person who thinks that of the pastimes and of Lord Chaitanya and the pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, the pastimes of one is more important and the pastimes of the other is less important, does not understand the truth. He does not understand the nectar of the Lord's pastimes.


     Vrajanatha: If Shri Gauranga is the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then how should one worship Him?

     Babaji: As one worships Lord Krishna by chanting the names and mantras of Lord Krishna, so one should worship Lord Gaura by chanting the names and mantras of Lord Gauranga. One may worship Lord Gaura by chanting Krishna-mantras, or for that matter one may worship Lord Krishna by chanting Gaura-mantras. They are all the same. Anyone who thinks Lord Krishna and Lord Gaura are different is a fool. He is a servant of Kali-yuga.

     Vrajanatha: If Lord Chaitanya is the hidden (channa) incarnation described in the Seventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, how are there any mantras to worship Him?

     Babaji: The Tantras that openly give mantras for worshiping the openly manifested incarnations of the Lord secretly reveal the mantras for worshiping the secret, hidden incarnation of the Lord. People whose intelligence is not crooked can understand the presence of these mantras.

     Vrajanatha: How does one worship the Divine Couple, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, while one is engaged in worshiping Lord Gauranga?

     Babaji: There are two ways one may worship the Divine Couple, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, while one is engaged in worshiping Lord Gauranga. These two ways are: 1. arcana-marga (Deity worship) and 2. bhajana-marga (the practices of devotional service). In the path of arcana-marga one worships Gaura-Vishnupriya, and in the path of bhajana-marga one worships Gaura-Gadadhara.

     Vrajanatha: Which potency of Lord Gauranga is Shri Vishnupriya?

     Babaji: Generally the devotees say she is the Lord's Bhu-shakti. but the truth is that she is the samvit-shakti accompanied by the essence of the hladini-shakti. This means that she is the Goddess of Devotion, Bhakti-devi, and during Lord Gauranga's advent she comes to help Him preach the glories of the holy name. As the nine islands of Shri Navadvipa-dhama embody the nine kinds of devotional service, so Shrimati Vishnupriya is also the nine kinds of devotional service personified.

     Vrajanatha: Can it be said, then, that Shri Vishnupriya is the Lord's internal potency?

     Babaji: How can there be any doubt? Is not the internal potency (svarupa-shakti) the same as the samvit-shakti accompanied by the essence of the hladini-shakti?

     Vrajanatha: O master, soon I will learn the proper way to worship Lord Gaura, but now a question has entered my mind. The cit-shakti, jiva-shakti, and maya-shakti are manifested from the Lord's internal potency (svarupa-shakti), and the hladini-shakti, samvit-shakti, and sandhini-shakti are also manifested from the internal potency. All that is done is apparently done by the Lord's potencies. The spiritual world, spiritual bodies, spiritual relationships, and spiritual pastimes are all manifested by the Lord's potencies. Does Lord Krishna, the master of all these potencies, do anything Himself?

     Babaji: That is a difficult question. Are you trying to attack an old man with arrows of logical puzzles?  The question is simple, and it has a simple answer. Still, it is hard to find a person qualified to understand the simple answer to this question. I will speak. You please try to understand my words. Lord Krishna's name, forms, qualities, and pastimes are all manifested by His potencies. Still, Krishna's supreme independence and His desires are not manifested by His potencies. They are part of His nature. They are manifested by the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone. Lord Krishna can do anything He wishes. He is the shelter of His potencies. Krishna is the enjoyer. His potencies are enjoyed by Him. Krishna is independent. His potencies are dependent on Him. At every turn the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead is surrounded by His potencies. Still, He remains always perfect and always independent. Although He is always surrounded by His potencies, He is also always their master. When human beings understand the Supreme they must do it through the aid of the Lord's potencies. Therefore it is hard for them to understand that the Supreme Lord is the master of all potencies, and He is actually beyond the influence of His potencies. However, a devotee who has attained love (prema) for the Lord can directly see that the Supreme Lord is the master of all potencies and is beyond their influence. Devotional service (bhakti) is one of the Lord's potencies, and therefore is feminine in nature. Following the Lord's internal potency, the potency of devotional service can bring one to the position where one can directly perceive the masculine nature of Shri Krishna, the independent, self-willed supreme male.

     Vrajanatha: If there is a being beyond the influence of the potencies, that being must be the impersonal Brahman described in the Upanishads.

     Babaji: The impersonal Brahman described in the Upanishads has no desires. The "purusha" described in the Upanishads is Lord Krishna, the supreme male. He is filled with desires. These two are different in many ways. Impersonal Brahman has no qualities. Krishna, completely independent of His potencies, has a host of qualities. They are part of His character as the supreme male, the supreme enjoyer, and the supreme independent being. In truth, Krishna and His potencies are not different. The potency that allows us to see Krishna is also Krishna Himself. Why not? Lord Krishna's beloved, His potency Shri Radha, is feminine. Shri Radha is the most exalted potency. She serves Krishna, and Krishna also serves Her. They worship each other, and in this way they are different from each other.

     Vrajanatha: If the fact that Krishna has desires and enjoyments are proofs of His masculine nature, then how is it that Radha has desires and still a feminine nature?

     Babaji: Shrimati Radha's desires are subordinate to Krishna's desires. She never desires anything or does anything that has no relationship with Krishna. Whatever Krishna desires, She desires. She desires to serve Krishna. That is Radha's desire. Radha is the purna-shakti (complete potency) or adya-shakti (original potency). Krishna is the supreme male. He is the master and controller of His potency.


     At this point in their conversation, Vrajanatha took permission to depart. After offering dandavat obeisances to the saintly babaji, Vrajanatha happily returned to his home in Bilva-pushkarini. Seeing that day by day he was changing, his grandmother said that it was time for him to get married. Vrajanatha would not listen to her. Day and night he thought about what the saintly babaji was teaching him. Thinking, “These teachings are very pleasing to my heart. Now I will hear more teachings, teachings sweet like nectar," he happily went to Shrivasa's courtyard.