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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-17

Chapter Seventeen

Nitya-dharma O Sambandhabhidheya Prayojana (Prameyantar-gata Maya-mukta-jiva-vicara

Eternal Religion and Sambandha, Abhidheya, and Prayojana (The Souls Free From Maya's Prison)



     The grandmother had already made arrangements for Vrajanatha's marriage. That night she told Vrajanatha all about it. Not giving any reply, Vrajanatha took his meal and went to bed. Again and again thinking about the pure spirit soul, he fell asleep late at night. The old grandmother kept thinking, “How can I make Vrajanatha agree to the marriage?" At that time Vrajanatha's cousin Vani-Madhava arrived. The girl in the proposed marriage was Vani-Madhava's cousin. Vijaya Vidyaratna had sent Vani-Madhava to complete the arrangements for the marriage. vani-Madhava said, "O great-aunt, why is there a delay? Please quickly make arrangements for Vrajanatha's marriage." Vrajanatha's grandmother lamented, "Brother, you are very expert. You convince Vrajanatha to agree to the marriage. I told him about it, but Vrajanatha will not reply."

     Vani-Madhava was short, with a short neck, dark complexion, and blinking eyes. He started many things, but he did not bring any of them to completion. Hearing the old lady's words, he said, "Nothing can stop me. If you command me, what can I not do? Do you know how expert I am? I can multiply a single coin into a great sum. Well, I will talk to Vrajanatha. Will you not cook me a feast if I succeed? The grandmother replied, “Vrajanatha went to bed right after his meal." Hearing this, Vani-Madhava said, "Tomorrow I will come and take up the task," and left. The next morning came. Vrajanatha was sitting outside the shrine to Goddess Durga. Seeing Vani-Madhava, Vrajanatha said, "Brother, why have you come?" Vani-madhava replied, "O noble brother, for many days you studied and taught the nyaya-shastra. You are the son of Haranatha Cudamani. Your name is famous in every country. However, you are the only male in the family. If there are no descendants, how can the family continue? Brother, that is why we all request you: Please get married." Vrajanatha replied, "Brother, why do you agitate me for no reason? I have taken shelter of Lord Gaurasundara's devotees. Why would I want to marry? When I stay near the Vaishnavas of Shri Mayapura, I become filled with happiness. I do not think worldly life is good. I will take sannyasa. I will take shelter of the Vaishnavas' feet. I tell you this confidentially. Please do not reveal it to anyone." Seeing  Vrajanatha's state of mind, Vani-Madhava thought, "This will not be an easy path to tread. I will have to trick him. Cunningly concealing what was in his heart, Vani-Madhava said, "I have always helped you. When you were a student, I carried your books. When you take sannyasa, I will carry your danda and waterpot."

     Cheaters speak with a forked tongue. To one person they say one thing, and to another person they say something different. In this way they make trouble. From what they say it is not at once seen what is really in their hearts. Honey sits on their mouths, and poison in their hearts. Hearing Vani-Madhava's sweet words, Vrajanatha said, "brother, I know that for many days you have been my true friend. My grandmother is an old lady. She does not understand anything that is very deep. She wants to push me together with this girl and throw me into a hell of household life. If you can stop her, I will be forever indebted to you." Vani-Madhava said, "Rest easy. No one will do anything against your wishes. Friend, tell me one thing with an open heart, so I will know how to help you. I wish to know: Why do you hate the idea of getting married? Who taught you to become renounced? Vrajanatha told Vani-Madhava all about how he had become renounced. He also said, "Elderly Raghunatha dasa Babaji in Mayapura is my teacher. Every evening I go to him. He has extinguished the blazing fire of my materialism. He has been very kind to me." Fashioning a sinister plot in his mind, Vani-Madhava thought, "Now I have found his weak point. Now I will construct an expert stratagem. I will turn his weakness against him." Then he said aloud, "Brother, in secret I will change your grandmother's mind. But for now I will go home." After speaking these words, He first went home and then by a side road he quickly went to the entrance of Shrivasa's courtyard in Shri Mayapura. Sitting under the bakula tree, he thought, “These Vaishnavas are plundering all the good things in the world for their own enjoyment! What beautiful homes! What a pleasant garden! What a graceful courtyard! What a beautiful place! One by one they sit in their bhajana-kutiras. The Vaishnava sit and chant on japa beads. They are like the bulls of religion. They are free of all cares! After bathing in the Ganges, the respectable ladies of the neighborhood bring them gifts of water, fruit, and various kinds of food. The brahmanas used to get gifts like that for performing karma-kanda rituals. Nowadays these babajis enjoy them. O fortunate age of Kali! `He says he is a devotee of Ramacandra, but in truth he is a devotee of Kali-yuga.' Now I understand what that old saying means. Alas! I am born in a brahmana's family in vain! Nowadays no one gives us fruit! No one gives even water! The Vaishnava says the followers of nyaya are fools for talking so much about clay pots and scraps of cloth. I think they are right. At least about Vrajanatha. Now has fallen into the hands of these wicked people wearing only loincloths. I am Vani-Madhava. I will straighten out my friend. I will straighten out these wicked Vaishnavas too." Thinking in this way, he entered one of the cottages. By chance he had entered the cottage of saintly Raghunatha dasa Babaji, who was sitting down and chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. A person's nature is easily seen on his face. When the elderly babaji looked, he saw that Kali-yuga personified stood before him in the form of a brahmana's son. Vaishnavas naturally think themselves very lowly and fallen. When enemies torment them, they are patient and tolerant. They wish good khfor all. They don't require that others honor them, although they give honor to everyone else. That is why saintly Raghunatha dasa Babaji gave all respect to his guest and politely offered him a place to sit. Vani-Madhava was very emphatically not a Vaishnava. He did not understand the proper etiquette of how to approach a Vaishnava. Thinking the elderly babaji a shudra, he gave a blessing to him. The saintly babaji asked him, "Baba, what is your name? My boy, why have you come here?" When the elderly babaji used the words “tumi" (you, the young boy) and "ami" (I, the respectable gentleman), Vani-Madhava became angry. Speaking crookedly, Vani-Madhava said, "Babaji! Do you think by wearing a loincloth you are now equal to the brahmanas? Ah well, it must be. There is one thing I, a respectable gentleman, would like to ask you, O young boy. Do you know a Vrajanatha Pancanana?"


     Babaji: Please forgive my offense. Please do not find fault with an old man's words. Vrajanatha kindly comes here sometimes.

     Vani-Madhava: He is not an honest man. He will be humble and polite for two or four days. That is how he will bring you under his control. Then he will be able to make you do what he likes. Seeing the way you act, the Bhattacaryas of Belapukura have become your bitter enemies. Consulting among themselves, they have sent Vrajanatha to you. You are an old man. You should take care. From time to time I will come and tell you of their plot. Don't tell anyone about me. If you tell them, it will not be good for you. Now I must go.


     After speaking these words, Vani-Madhava returned to his own home.


     After finishing his lunch, Vani-Madhava went to Vrajanatha and said, "Brother, today I went to Mayapura on business. There I saw an old Vaishnava. Perhaps he was your Raghunatha dasa Babaji. As I talked with him, the topic of you came up. He used a very bad word to describe you, a word one should not use for a brahmana. At the end he said, `I will make Vrajanatha eat the remnants from the plates of 36 low-caste people. In that way I will destroy all the brahmanas.' Ha! If panditas like you stay with such people, then no one will ever respect the brahmana panditas." Vrajanatha was very surprised to hear all these words of Vani-Madhava. There was no knowing why the firm faith he had in the Vaishnavas and the devotion he had for the elderly babaji suddenly became doubled. Vrajanatha said, "Brother, today I am very busy. Please go home, and in time I will think about what you said." Vani-Madhava went home.

     Vrajanatha knew well that Vani-Madhava was double-hearted. Vrajanatha had been involved in nyaya logic, but he did not like dishonesty. Now he could see why Vani-Madhava offered to help him take sannyasa. He could understand Vani-Madhava's crooked reason for speaking favorably about sannyasa. As he thought about it, he concluded that Vani-Madhava must have something to gain from this marriage, and Vani-Madhava must have gone to Mayapura to do something to further his crooked plot. In his thoughts Vrajanatha prayed to the Supreme Lord, "O Supreme Lord, please give me strong faith in my spiritual master and in the Vaishnavas. Let it not diminish because of the misdeeds of cunning men. As he thought about these things, the day came to an end. With an agitated heart, he went to Shrivasa's courtyard at dusk.

     After Vani-Madhava had left, the saintly elderly babaji thought, "That man is a brahma-rakshasa. The scriptures declare:



rakshasah kalim ashritya

     jayante brahma-yonishu



     " `In the Kali-yuga, rakshasas take birth in the families of brahmanas.'


     "That man is seen in those words. He has pride of caste, †pride †even †though he has nothing †really †to †be †proud about. He hates the Vaishnavas. He is a hypocrite, proudly waving the flag of piety while he sins. All these things are written on his face. His short neck, blinking eyes, and devious words all show what is in his heart. Ah, how pleasant and gentle is Vrajanatha, and how much of a demon is this other fellow! O Lord Krishna, O Lord Gauranga, please let me not associate with people like him. Today I will warn Vrajanatha about him."


     Vrajanatha entered the cottage. The saintly elderly babaji, his affection for Vrajanatha now doubled, said, "Come in, baba. Come in." and embraced Vrajanatha. Tears flowing from his eyes, Vrajanatha kissed the dust of the babaji's feet. Embarrassed, he could not speak. The saintly babaji said, “This morning a dark-complexioned brahmana came here and spoke some very disturbing words. Do you know him?"


     Vrajanatha: O master, you have explained to me that many different kinds of living entities live in this material world. Among all these living entities, some envious beings delight in troubling others. Among these envious beings my cousin (I am embarrassed to call him my cousin) Vani-Madhava is one of the foremost. If we do not talk about him, that will make me happy. The truth is that to you he speaks bad things about me, and to me he speaks bad things about you. He does this so we will think badly of each other and our friendship will break. When you heard his words, did you not form an opinion in your mind?

     Babaji: O Krishna! O Gauranga! For a long time I have served the Vaishnavas. By their mercy I have a little power to tell who is a Vaishnava and who is not a Vaishnava. I have understood everything. You need not say anything about this.

     Vrajanatha: Let us forget all he has said. Please tell me: How is the soul released from Maya's prison?

     Babaji: When you hear the seventh verse of the Dasha-mula, you will find the answer to your question:



yada bhramam bhramam hari-rasa-galad-vaishnava-janam

     kadacit sampashyan tad-anugamane syad rucir iha

tada krishnavrittya tyajati shanakair mayika-dasham

     svarupam bibhrano vimala-rasa-bhogam sa kurute



     "When a soul wandering from one species to another in the material world sees a Vaishnava filled with the nectar of devotion to Lord Hari, he becomes attracted to follow that Vaishnava. By chanting the holy names of Lord Krishna, that soul gradually renounces materialism, and in the end he regains his original spiritual form. In that form he enjoys the pure and sweet nectar of the spiritual mellows of direct service to Lord Krishna."


     Vrajanatha: I would like to hear one or two quotes from the Vedas as evidence for these truths.

     Babaji: In the Vedas it is said (Mundaka Upansida 3.1.2 and Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.7):



samane vrikshe purusho nimagno

     'nishaya shocati muhyamanah

jushtam yada pashyati anyam isham

`    asya mahimanam iti vita-shokah



     "Although the two birds (the Supersoul and the individual soul) are on the same tree, the eating bird (the individual soul) is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord, and knows His glories, at once the suffering bird becomes free of all anxieties."*


     Vrajanatha: It is said that when he sees the worshipable Supreme Lord and understands His glory, the individual soul becomes free from anxiety. Do these words describe “liberation"?

     Babaji: When one is released from Maya's prison, that is called "liberation". To attain liberation one must associate with saintly devotees of the Lord. When he attains liberation, the soul regains its original spiritual glory. That kind of liberation should be sought. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.6) it is said:



muktir hitvanyatha-rupam

     svarupena vyavasthitih



     "Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies."*


     When the soul is released from Maya's prison, at the moment he is at once liberated. However, when he is thus situated in his original form, the soul begins to perform an endless series of spiritual activities. The soul's first need is to perform these activities. It may be said that liberation puts and end to a great host of sufferings. However, beyond that, liberation brings with it spiritual bliss. This is described in the following words of Chandogya Upanishad (8.12.3):



evam evaisha samprasado 'smac-charirat samutthaya param jyotir upasampadya svena svarupenabhinishpadyate sa uttama-purushah sa tatra paryeti jakshan kriidan ramamanah.



     "Then the soul leaves the material body and goes to the effulgent Supreme Personality of Godhead. The soul then regains his original spiritual form, and in that form he enjoys many pastimes, eating and playing with the Supreme Personality of Godhead."


     Vrajanatha: What are the signs that show one has been released from Maya's prison?

     Babaji: Eight signs are described in these words of the Chandogya Upanishad (8.7.1):



atmapahata-papma vijaro vimrityur vishoko vijighatso 'pipasah satya-kamah satya-sankalpah so 'nveshtavyah.



     "One should seek a soul who is free from sins, old-age, death, lamentation, hunger, and thirst, who desires the truth, and whose thoughts are fixed on the truth."


     Vrajanatha: In the verse from the Dasha-mula it was said that when he attains the association of a Vaishnava who relishes the nectar mellows of service to Lord Hari, the soul wandering in the cycle of birth and death can attain auspiciousness. I have a question. By practicing impersonal speculation, ashtanga-yoga, or other auspicious deeds, does one not at the end attain devotional service to Lord Hari?

     Babaji: With His own transcendental mouth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.12.1-2):



na rodhayati mam yogo

     na sankhyam dharma eva ca

na svadhyayas tapas tyago

     neshta-purtam na dakshina


vratani yajnash chandamsi

     tirthani niyama yamah

yathavarundhe sat-sangah

     sarva-sangapaho hi mam



     "Neither through ashtanga-yoga (the mystic yoga system to control the senses), nor through impersonal monism or an analytical study of the Absolute Truth, nor through study of the Vedas, nor through practice of austerities, nor through charity, nor through acceptance of sannyasa, nor through yaj{.sy 241}as, nor through Vedic hymns, nor through going on pilgrimages, nor through religious duties and self-control can one attain Me as much as one can by associating with saintly devotees whose good association releases one from all that is inauspicious."


     In the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (8.51) it is said:



yasya yat-sangatih pumso

     mani-vat syat sa tad-gunah

sva-kularddhyaitato dhiman

     sva-yuthany eva samshrayet



     "Association is very important. It acts just like a crystal stone, which will reflect anything which is put before it. Similarly, if we associate with the flowerlike devotees of the Lord, and if our hearts are crystal clear, then certainly the same action will be there."*


     Therefore association with saintly devotees brings an auspicious result. When the scriptures say one should live alone, the meaning is that one should associate only with devotees. If if by accident one unknowingly associates with devotees, he attains a great benefit. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.23.55) it is said:



sango yah samshriter hetur

     asatsu vihito 'dhiya

sa eva sadhushu krito

     nihsangatvaya kalpate



     "Association for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. But the same type of association, performed with a saintly person, leads to the path of liberation, even if performed without knowledge."*


     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.32) it is also said:



naisham matis tavad urukramanghrim

     sprishaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah

mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhishekam

     nishkincananam na vrinita yavat



     "Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaishnava completely freed form material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krishna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination."*


     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.48.31) it is also said:



na hy am-mayani tirthani

     na deva mric-chila-mayah

te punanty uru-kalena

     darshanad eva sadhavah



     "One can take advantage of the place of pilgrimage only after going there. By worshiping the particular demigod, it takes a long time for fulfillment of the desire, but saintly persons like you, My dear Akrura, can immediately fulfill all the desires of the devotees."*


     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.51.53) it is also said:



bhavapavargo bhramato yada bhavej

     janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samagamah

sat-sangamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau

     paravareshe tvayi jayate ratih



     "O my Lord! O infallible Supreme Person! When a person wandering throughout the universes becomes eligible for liberation from material existence, he gets an opportunity to associate with devotees. When he associates with devotees, his attraction for You is awakened. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the highest goal of the supreme devotees and the Lord of the universe."*


     Vrajanatha: By performing pious deeds one attains the association of saintly devotees. What are these pious deeds? Are they not karma (Vedic rituals) and jnana (impersonal speculation)?

     Babaji: The scriptures describe pious deeds. Pious deeds are of two kinds: 1. pious deeds that bring devotional service, and 2. pious deeds that bring useless results. Regular and occasional Vedic duties, sankhya philosophy, and impersonal speculation all bring useless results. Association with saintly devotees and contact with places, times, and things that bring devotion bring the result of devotional service. As one accumulates these results, they eventually become so powerful that they bring devotion for Lord Krishna. The useless results produced by other pious activities do not accumulate in this way. One enjoys their results, and then they are gone. In this material world pious activities like giving charity bring material enjoyment as their result. Impersonal speculation and other like activities bring impersonal liberation as their result. These activities do not have the power to give devotional service. Associating with saintly devotees, observing Ekadashi, Janmashtami, Gaura-purnima, and other holy days that instill devotion in persons observing them, worshiping Tulasi-devi, worshiping the Lord in His temple, honoring maha-prasadam, visiting holy places, and seeing and touching the devotees all bring the result of devotional service.

     Vrajanatha: If a person tormented by the troubles of material life flees from material illusion and intelligently takes shelter of Lord Hari's feet, will he not attain devotional service?

     Babaji: If he intelligently understands that his sufferings are all caused by the illusory potency maya, and that the entire material world is by nature inauspicious, and that his only shelter is the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and the association of the Lord's devotees, then he will take shelter of the feet of the devotees who have taken shelter of the feet of the Lord. Taking shelter of their feet is the most effective means to attain devotional service. That is the way one attains the feet of the Supreme Lord. In the beginning renunciation and the intelligence to understand what is auspicious and what is not auspicious are certainly present, but they are of only secondary importance for a person striving for devotional service. Association with saintly devotees is the most important factor in attaining devotional service. Aside from that association, no other means is very important.

     Vrajanatha: What is the objection to saying that karma (pious deeds), jnana (impersonal speculation), vairagya (renunciation), and viveka (the ability to understand what is auspicious and what is not) are secondary means that also help one attain devotional service?

     Babaji: There is an objection. Generally, these means bring results that are trivial and useless. After giving the soul material pleasures, pious deeds go away. renunciation and the ability to understand what is auspicious and what is not tend to lead the soul to impersonalism. Impersonalism tends to cheat the soul of the opportunity to attain the Lord's feet. One should not trust these means to bring devotional service. Sometimes these means may take one to devotional service, but generally they do not. On the other hand, association with pure devotees does not bring results that are trivial and temporary. Their association inevitably brings one to pure love of God. In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25), the Supreme Lord explains:



satam prasangan mama virya-samvido

     bhavanti hrit-karna-rasayana-kathah

taj-joshanad ashv apavarga-vartmani

     shraddha ratir bahkti anukramishyati



     "In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin."*


     Vrajanatha: Association with saintly devotees is then the way to attain devotional service. First one hears from the devotees' mouths the descriptions of Lord Hari, and then one attains devotional service. Is that the right sequence?

     Babaji: I will tell you the right sequence. Please listen. A soul wandering from birth to birth in the material world may by destiny attain something that leads to devotional service. In the course of his life, by destiny a soul may encounter one of the limbs of devotional service. By chance he may fast on ekadashi, or see and touch a holy place, receive a pure devotee as a guest, or hear the holy names of Lord Hari, or the descriptions of Him, or songs about Him from the mouths of saintly devotees who have Lord Hari as their only possession. If a person performs these activities with a desire to attain material sense pleasures or impersonal liberation, he will not attain devotional service by performing them. However, if an innocent person by chance performs these activities with any motive to use them to attain sense pleasure or impersonal liberation, then these activities will lead him to devotional service. When these devotion-giving pious deeds accumulate after many births, one finally attains faith in pure devotional service. Faith in pure devotional service service creates the desire to associate with pure devotees. By associating with devotees one gradually becomes engaged in sadhana (devotional service in practice) and bhajana (worship of the Lord). By performing bhajana one gradually casts all unwanted material desires far away. When material desires are cast far away, one attains pure faith. When faith becomes more and more pure, one gradually attains "ruci" (attraction to the Lord). As one becomes more and more attracted to the beauty of the Lord, the attraction becomes transformed into attachment (asakti) to the Lord. When this attachment becomes fully manifested, one attains ecstatic love (bhava or rati) for the Lord. This ecstatic love turns into "rasa" (the nectar mellows of a relationship with the Lord), which brings "premotpatti" (pure love for the Lord). This the root of devotional service is seeing and following pure devotees of the Lord. The conclusion, then, is that in the beginning one associates with devotees. Then one develops faith. Then one continues to associate with devotees. The result of associating with devotees is that one attains faith. Faith is also known as surrender (sharanapatti) to the Lord. The first association with the devotees brings attraction to the places, times, things, and persons dear to Lord Hari. The first association with devotees brings with it a faith that becomes manifested as surrender to the Lord. This is seen in the Lord's final teaching in Bhagavad-gita (18.66):



sarva-dharman parityajya

     mam ekam sharanam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

     mokshayishyami ma shucah



     "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."*


     Here the word "sarva-dharma" (all varieties of religion) refers to smarta-dharma (the rules of the smriti-shastras), ashtanga-yoga, sankhya, jnana (impersonal speculation), vairagya (renunciation), and all other like varieties of religion. None of these kinds of religion is able to fulfill the soul's true spiritual needs. Therefore in the Gita it is written that these religions should be abandoned. In pravritti-shraddha (positive faith) one thinks, "I know that Lord Krishna, whose form is the perfection of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, and who enjoys pastimes in Vraja, is the spirit souls' only goal. Therefore, completely rejecting material sense gratification, impersonal liberation, and any other non-devotional goal, with unalloyed spiritual love I now surrender unto Him." When this kind of faith arises, one becomes the humble follower of a saintly Vaishnava. In this way one surrenders to a saintly Vaishnava spiritual master.


     Vrajanatha: What are the soul's anarthas (unwanted things)?

     Babaji: There are four kinds of anarthas: 1. sva-svarupa-aprapti (things that prevent one from reviving one's original spiritual nature), 2. asat-trishna (thirst for material things), 3. aparadha (offenses), and 4. hridaya-daurbalya (weakness of heart). Forgetting "I am pure, a particle of spirit, a servant of Lord Krishna, the the imprisoned soul goes far away from his original nature. That the first anartha: sva-svarupa-aprapti. One may think "I am material, and these material objects are my property". In this way one thirsts for happiness in the realm of material things. This is called asat-trishna. The three kinds of asat-trishna are: 1. desire for good children and descendants, 2. desire for wealth, and 3. desire to reside in Svargaloka. The ten kinds of aparadhas (offenses) I will describe later. From hridaya-daurbalya (weakness of heart) come lamentation and a host of other problems. These four anarthas are the natural property of a soul shackled by material ignorance. By associating with devotees and cultivating Krishna consciousness, the soul gradually throws these anarthas far away. The path of yoga, which consists of the four parts pratyahara (withdrawal from sense-objects), yama (self-control), niyama (restraint), and vairagya (renunciation), is not an easy path to follow. It is filled with problems. It does not easily lead to the final goal. On the other hand, cultivating Krishna consciousness in the association of devotees is an easy path to follow. It easily eclipses anarthas and materialism. When materialism is eclipsed, the original form of the soul is spontaneously manifested.

     Vrajanatha: Should persons free of anarthas be called “liberated"?

     Babaji: Please reflect on these words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.3-5):



rajobhih sama-sankhyatah

     parthivair iha jantavah

tesham ye kecanehante

     shreyo vai manujadayah



     "In this material world there are as many living entities as atoms. Among these living entities, very few are human beings, and among them, few are interested in following religious principles.*



prayo mumukshavas tesham

     kecanaiva dvijottama

mumukshunam sahasreshu

     kashcin mucyeta sidhyati



     "O best of brahmanas, Sukadeva Gosvami, out of many persons who follow religious principles, only a few desire liberation from the material world. Among many thousands who desire liberation, one may actually achieve liberation, giving up material attachment to society, friendship, love, country, home, wife, and children. And among many thousands of such liberated persons, one who can understand the true meaning of liberation is very rare.*


.fn 2

muktanam api siddhanam


sudurlabhah prashantatma

     kotishv api maha-mune



     "O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krishna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare."*


     Only pure devotees are really free of anarthas. Such devotees are very rare. one must search among many millions and millions of liberated souls to find one who is a devotee of Lord Krishna. Therefore in this material world there is no group more difficult to associate with than the devotees of Lord Krishna.


     Vrajanatha: Does the word "Vaishnava" refer only to a Vaishnava who has renounced family life?

     Babaji: The word Vaishnava refers to a pure devotee of Lord Krishna. Such a devotee may be either a householder or a sannyasi. He may be a brahmana or a candala (outcaste). He may be wealthy or poverty-stricken. To the extent that he has pure devotion to Lord Krishna, to that extent he is a pure devotee.

     Vrajanatha: You have explained that the souls swallowed up by Maya are of five kinds. In those five kinds of souls imprisoned by Maya, you included the sadhana-bhaktas (devotees in the stage of devotional service in practice) and bhava-bhaktas (devotees in the stage of spiritual love). Which devotees are released from Maya's prison?

     Babaji: From the moment he begins to live as a devotee of the Lord, the soul may be said to be released from Maya's prison. However, the final stage of release from Maya's prison is only attained when one attains the final stage of mature devotion to the Lord. Before that one is situated in the preliminary stage of release from Maya's prison. When the gross (sthula-sharira) and subtle (linga-sharira) material bodies are both finally broken, the soul attains the final stage of release from Maya's prison. By practicing sadhana-bhakti (the practical activities of devotional service) one gradually attains bhava-bhakti (spiritual love of God). When bhava-bhakti becomes strong and firm, the soul is able, at the time of leaving the gross body, to leave the subtle body also and be situated in his original spiritual form. Because material life lingers during the stage of sadhana-bhakti, and because it is not yet completely removed even in the beginning stages of bhava-bhakti, the sadhana-bhaktas and bhava-bhaktas are included among the five kinds of souls swallowed by Maya. The materialists and the impersonalists are certainly to be counted among the souls swallowed by Maya. Among the liberated souls, they who have attained liberation by engaging in devotional service to Lord Hari have alone attained the true perfection of liberation. A soul who commits offenses and is therefore imprisoned by Maya forgets "I am a servant of Lord Krishna". That forgetfulness is the root from which his offenses grow. Without the mercy of Krishna, that soul is not excused from his offense. In the same way, with the mercy of Lord Krishna, that soul will not be released from Maya's prison. The impersonalist sampradaya's faith that by cultivating impersonal speculation they will attain liberation. That faith is groundless. Without first attaining Lord Krishna's mercy, no one is released from Maya's prison. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32-33) the demigods speak these two verses to explain this truth:



ye 'nye 'ravindaksha vimukta-maninas

     tvayy ashta-bhavad avishuddha-buddhayah

aruhya kricchrena param padam tatah

     patanty adho 'nadrita-yushmad-anghrayah



     "O lotus-eyed one, those who think they are liberated in this life but do not render devotional service to You must be of impure intelligence. Although they accept severe austerities and penances to rise to the spiritual position, to impersonal Brahman realization, they fall down again because they neglect to worship Your lotus feet.*



tatha na te madhava tavakah kvacid

     bhrashyanti margat tvayi baddha-sauhridah

tvayabhigupta vicaranti nirbhaya

     vinayakanikapa-murdhasu prabho



     "O Madhava, Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord of the goddess of fortune, if devotees completely in love with You sometimes fall from the path of devotion, they do not fall like nondevotees, for You still protect them. Thus they fearlessly traverse the heads of their opponents and continue to progress in devotional service."*


     Vrajanatha: What are the different kinds of souls free of Maya's prison?

     Babaji: The souls free from Maya's prison are of two kinds: 1. nitya-mukta (the souls who were never placed in Maya's prison), and 2. baddha-mukta (the souls who were at one time imprisoned, but now are free). The nitya-mukta souls may be divided into two groups: 1. aishvarya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of opulence), and 2. madhurya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of sweetness). The aishvarya-gata nitya-mukta souls are personal associates of Lord Narayana, the master of Vaikuntha. They are particles of spiritual effulgence emanated from Lord Mula-Sankarshana, who resides in Vaikuntha. The madhurya-gata nitya-mukta souls are personal associates of Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka Vrindavana. They are particles of spiritual effulgence manifested from Lord Baladeva, who resides in Goloka Vrindavana. The baddha-mukta souls (who were once imprisoned but now are free) are of three kinds: 1. aishvarya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of opulence), 2. madhurya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of sweetness), and 3. brahmajyotir-gata (souls situated within the Lord's spiritual effulgence). Souls who during their period of practicing sadhana-bhakti are attracted to the Lord's opulence become eternal associates of Lord Narayana, the master of Vaikuntha. They attain salokya-mukti (the liberation of residing on the same planet as the Lord). Souls who during their period of practicing sadhana-bhakti are attracted to the Lord's sweetness, after liberation enjoy the sweetness of direct service to Lord Krishna in the eternal spiritual abode of Vrindavana and other like abodes. Souls who during their period of sadhana are attracted to become one with the Lord, after liberation attain brahma-sayujya-mukti (the liberation of merging with the Lord). In this way these souls are completely destroyed.

     Vrajanatha: What is the final destination of the soul who is a devotee of Lord Gaura-kishora (Lord Chaitanya)?

     Babaji: Krishna and Gaura-kishora are not different. They are both shelters of the feature of sweetness (madhura-rasa). They do have one difference. madhurya-rasa (the Lord's sweetness) has two features: 1. madhurya (sweetness), and 2. audarya (mercy). When sweetness is prominent, Lord Krishna is manifested. When mercy is prominent, Lord Gauranga is manifested. The spiritual world of Vrndavana is divided into two abodes: 1. the abode of Lord Krishna, and 2. the abode of Lord Gaura. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have sweetness first and mercy second reside in Lord Krishna's abode. They are Lord Krishna's associates. The eternally perfect and eternally liberated souls who have mercy first and sweetness second reside in Lord Gaura's abode. They are Lord Gaura's associates. Some souls manifest two forms and reside in both abodes simultaneously. Other souls manifest only one form and are present in one of the abodes and not in the other. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship only Lord Gaura, at the time of attaining perfection go to Lord Gaura's abode and serve Him there. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship only Lord Krishna, at the time of attaining perfection go to Lord Krishna's abode and serve Him there. Souls who during the time of sadhana worship both Lord Krishna and Lord Gaura, at the time of attaining perfection manifest two forms, go to both Lord Krishna's abode and Lord Gaura's abode, and in their two forms serve the two Lord's simultaneously in both places. This truth: that Lord Gaura and Lord Krishna are simultaneously one and different from each other, is a very confidential secret.


     After hearing these teachings about the souls released from Maya's prison, Vrajanatha, now filled with ecstatic love, fell at the feet of the elderly Vaishnava and stayed there for some minutes. Weeping and sweeping, the saintly babaji picked up Vrajanatha and firmly embraced him. A good portion of the night had already passed. Taking leave of the babaji, Vrajanatha returned home. Traveling on the path, he deeply thought about the soul's final destination. When he had returned home and was taking his meal, he said to his grandmother, “Grandmother, if you wish to continue seeing me, you should stop all this talk of marriage and you should not allow Vani-Madhava to come here. He is my bitter enemy. Tomorrow I will refuse to talk with him. You also should ignore him." Vrajanatha's grandmother was intelligent. Thinking about her conversation during the daytime with Vani-Madhava and what Vrajanatha had just told her, she decided to stop the marriage. She could see that if too much pressure was placed on him, Vrajanatha would go to Varanasi or Vrindavana. That she did not wish. She decided: "What will be, will be."