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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-3

Chapter Three

Naimittik Dharma Asampurna, Heya, Mishra O Acirasthayi

The Soul's Temporary Duties Are Imperfect, Horrible, Contaminated, and Short-lived



     Staying on a small hill in Godruma forest, and looking to the north, the saintly sannyasi spent the whole day and three hours of the night in chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. Then the full moon rose and filled Navadvipa-mandala with a wonderful splendor and beauty. The sannyasi placed his glance on Shri Mayapura, which was not very far away.

     The saintly sannyasi said, "Ah! Now I can see the wonderfully blissful spiritual abode. The Ganga shore is splendid, garlanded with light from many great jewel palaces, temples, and archways. In many places tumultuous chanting of Lord Hari's holy names fills the sky. Hundreds of devotees playing vinas chant and dance like Narada Muni.

     "In one place Lord Shiva, the master of the demigods, manifests a white form. Playing a dambaru drum, he chants, `O Chaitanya, O maintainer of the universes, please be merciful to me!' Wildly dancing again and again, he finally falls to the ground.

     "In another place four-faced Brahma lectures on the Vedas to an assembly of sages. He quotes and then purely explains these words (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.12):



mahan prabhur vai purushah

     sattvasyaisha pravartakah

su-nirmlaam imam praptim

     isano jyotir avyayah



     `The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Mahaprabhu, who disseminates transcendental enlightenment. Just to be in touch with Him is to be in contact with the indestructible brahmajyoti.'*

     In another place Indra and the demigods jump and chant:



jaya prabhu gauracandra jaya nityananda



     `Glory to Lord Gaurachandra! Glory to Lord Nityananda!'


     The birds on the branches chirp:



gaura nitai



     `Chaitanya! Nityananda!'


     "Everyone is intoxicated by drinking the nectar of Lord Chaitanya's holy names. From the gardens in the four directions come sweet humming sounds. Intoxicated by drinking the nectar of Lord Chaitanya's holy names, Prakriti-devi (the goddess of the material nature) fills every place with beauty and splendor. Ah! Now that I see The Shri Mayapura, what can I not see? What do I see now?"

     Remembering his spiritual master, he said, "O master, now I understand. It is by your mercy that I am able to see the spiritual Mayapura. From this day I will stay in the association of Lord Chaitanya's devotees. Now that I have seen the spiritual Mayapura, I will wear tulasi beads, tilaka, and the writing of the holy names. This I will do." Saying this again and again, the saintly sannyasi fell unconscious for a moment.

     After a moment he became conscious again. However, he could no longer see the wonderful spiritual vision he saw before. Weeping again and again, the saintly sannyasi said, "I am very unfortunate. By my spiritual master's mercy I was able for a moment to see the holy abode of Shri Navadvipa."

     The next day the saintly sannyasi threw his ekadanda in the water, placed tulasi beads around his neck, wore Vaishnava tilaka on his forehead, chanted "Hari! Hari!" and danced. Seeing his wonderful new garments and demeanor, and remarking how fortunate he had become, the residents of Godruma offered dandavat obeisances to him. Embarrassed, the saintly sannyasi said, "It is by the Vaishnavas' mercy that I am now dressed like a Vaishnava. However, there is still a danger for me. Again and again I heard from my spiritual master's mouth these words (Shri Shikshashtaka 3, Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Antya 20.21):



trinad api su-nicena

     taror api sahishnuna

amanina manadena

     kirtaniyah sada harih



     `One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give all respects to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.'*"


     Then he remembered his Vaishnava spiritual master. he thought, "I should offer my obeisances to him." Again and again thinking in this way, he approached the paramahamsa babaji and offered dandavat obeisances to him.

     Sitting in his cottage of madhavi vines, the saintly babaji was chanting the holy names of Lord Hari again and again. Seeing that the saintly sannyasi had completely changed his garments and was chanting the holy names with spiritual love, the babaji again and again bathed his disciple with the tears flowing from his eyes. Embracing him, the babaji said, "O Vaishnava dasa, by today touching your perfectly auspicious body, my life is now a great success."

     When he heard these words, the saintly sannyasi at once threw far away his previous name. Now he accepted the name Vaishnava dasa. From that day on the saintly sannyasi began a new life. He threw far away his mayavadi-sannyasi garments and arrogant sannyasi name. In the afternoon many residents of Shri Pradyumna-kunja, Shri Godruma, and Shri Madhyadvipa came to see the saintly paramahamsa babaji. They all sat in a circle around the saintly paramahamsa babaji. They all chanted the holy names of Lord Hari on tulasi beads. Some chanted "O Gauranga-Nityananda!", others chanted "O Advaita, husband of Sita!", and others chanted "Glory to the son of Shaci!" Chanting again and again, their eyes became filled with tears. All the Vaishnavas conversed about spiritual matters. All the assembled Vaishnavas circumambulated the tulasi plant and offered dandavat obeisances to the assembled Vaishnavas. Then Vaishnava dasa circumambulated the tulasi planet, and then he rolled about in the dust that had touched the Vaishnavas' feet. The saintly Vaishnavas said, "This is not the same sannyasi. Now his form is wonderful."

     Rolling on the ground before the Vaishnavas, Vaishnava dasa said, "Today I have attained the dust of the Vaishnavas' feet. Now my life is a success. By my spiritual master's mercy I have learned the truth. Without the dust of the Vaishnavas' feet, my future is not good. The dust of the Vaishnavas' feet, the nectar water that has washed the Vaishnavas' feet, and the nectar food touched by the Vaishnavas' lips are three medicines to cure the disease of repeated birth and death. They cure the disease of repeated birth and death. When he is cured of the disease of repeated birth and death, a person enjoys great pleasure. O Vaishnavas, Formerly I was very proud of my great learning, but today there is no pride in my heart. I was born in a brahmana family, I studied all the scriptures, and I entered the sannyasa-ashrama. In this way my pride reached its highest point. When I was first attracted to the Vaishnava religion the seed of humbleness was planted in my heart. Gradually, by your mercy, I have thrown far away the pride I felt for my birth, learning, and sannyasa. Now in my heart I know that I am only a small soul, a soul without any shelter. Without taking shelter of the Vaishnavas' feet, for me there is no hope. My status as a brahmana, my learning, and my sannyasa were actually making me degraded: leading me lower and lower. Therefore I truly make this request at your feet: "Please accept me as your servant."

     Hearing Vaishnava dasa's humble words, the Vaishnavas said, "O best of the devotees, we are very eager to attain the dust from the feet of Vaishnavas like Vaishnava dasa. Please be merciful and make our lives successful by giving us the dust of your feet. You have attained the mercy of a saintly paramahamsa babaji. Please give us your association and purify us. Devotional service is attained by one who associates with devotees like yourself. This is confirmed by the following words of Brihan-Naradiya Purana:



bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta-

     sangena parijayate

sat-sangah prapyate pumbhih

     sukritaih purva-sancitaih



     "Devotional service is attained by associating with devotees. The association of devotees is attained by past pious deeds."


     "Therefore it is because in the past we performed many devotional pious deeds that we have obtained your association. Because we have attained your association we may now hope to attain true devotional service."

     Saintly Vaishnava dasa thus stayed among the devotees as they humbly offered obeisances to each other and conversed about devotional service. He looked splendid and glorious as in his hands he held new beads for chanting the holy names of Lord Hari.


     That day a fortunate person came to that group of Vaishnavas. Since childhood he was able to read and write the language of the Yavanas. He imitated the activities of the Mohammeden kings and in their country he counted himself one amongst them. His home was in Shantipura. He was born in a brahmana family. he associated with many wealthy men. For many days he enjoyed all worldly pleasures, but they did not make him happy. At the end he turned to religion and began chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. When he was a child he had studied ragas and raginis from a Delhi classical music teacher. He would employ this knowledge in melodiously singing the holy names of Lord Hari. Gradually he became famous as a singer and musician in Vaishnava circles, and his sweet singing was in great demand. After some days he began to understand the pleasures that reside in the Lord's holy names. Eventually he came to Navadvipa to sing the holy names with the Vaishnavas there. He stayed at a Vaishnava's ashrama. Accompanied by this Vaishnava, he came to the cottage of malati and madhavi vines in Pradyumna-kunja. Hearing from Vaishnava dasa of the Vaishnavas' saintliness and humbleness, some doubts still remained in his mind. With boldness and eloquence he placed a question before the assembled Vaishnavas.

     He asked, "In Manu-samhita and the other dharma-shastras it is said that the brahmanas are the best caste. In those scriptures are described the brahmana's regular duties, which begin with chanting the Gayatri mantra. If these are the regular duties of the best caste, then why are the duties of the Vaishnavas different?"

     The Vaishnavas did not reply. Afraid to dispute with this brahmana logician, they gave no answer. After the asker of the question had sung the holy names of Lord Hari, the Vaishnavas finally said, "The saintly paramahamsa babaji will answer your question. His reply will make us happy."

     Hearing the order of the assembled Vaishnavas, the saintly paramahamsa babaji offered dandavat obeisances and said, “O saintly devotees, if you wish, then Shri Vaishnava dasa, the best of devotees, will give the proper answer." Everyone was happy with this proposal.

     Hearing his spiritual master's words, and reflecting on his own good fortune, Shri Vaishnava dasa said, "I am very fallen, and I do not possess anything of any value. Therefore it is not right that I speak very much in the assembly of the saintly and wise. However, the spiritual master's order should always be respectfully carried on one's head. I have drunk the nectar of the truth, nectar words that flowed from my spiritual master's mouth. Therefore I will repeat what I can remember of his words. That I will do." After speaking these words, Vaishnava dasa placed on all his limbs the dust from the feet of the saintly paramahamsa babaji. Then, offering dandavat obeisances, Vaishnava dasa spoke the following words:

     "the original form of the Supreme is the supremely blissful Supreme person (bhagavan). the impersonal Brahman is the effulgence of His transcendental body, and the all-pervading Supersoul is His expansion. Shri Krishna Chaitanya, who is the abode of all glory and all t pastimes, taught this to us. The Manu-samhita and other dharma-shastras, which are supplements to the original Vedas and which explain what should and should not be done, should be followed by the entire world. The religious activities of human beings are of two kinds: 1. vaidhi (spiritual rules and regulations to be followed), and 2. raganuga (spiritual activities to which one is naturally attracted and which one one performs even without being impelled to do so by the rules of the scriptures). When he is under the control of the illusory potency maya, the human being must perform vaidhi spiritual activities. When he is freed from maya's grip, the human being need not perform vaidhi spiritual activities. Then his spiritual activities are raganuga. Engagement in raganuga spiritual activities is the pure state of the individual spirit soul, a state that is naturally pure, spiritual, and free from matter. By Lord Krishna's wish the pure spirit soul may become free from the grip of matter. However, that is not Lord Krishna's wish. However, from the day Lord Krishna does not wish that the individual soul be liberated, from that day the soul is thrust into the calamity that is life in the material world. When he is thrust into the calamity of material life, the soul cannot truthfully be liberated from the grip of matter. When he is truthfully liberated from the grip of matter, the pure soul naturally engages in ragatmika spiritual activities. The spiritual activities of the people of Vraja are ragatmika. When the soul still resides in the calamity that is the material world, these activities are raganuga. As long as he engages in raganuga spiritual activities, the soul in the material world is happy. As long as he does not engage in raganuga spiritual activities, the soul in the material world is attracted to the illusions of maya. Attracted to maya, the soul becomes bewildered. Then he is not attracted to pure spirit. `It is I' and `It is mine' are the two conceptions maya thrusts upon the soul. Then the soul thinks, `This material body is mine' and `I am this material body'. In this condition the soul loves persons who bring pleasure to his material body and hates persons who thwart the bringing of pleasure to his material body. Thus the bewildered soul becomes a slave of love and hatred. The bewildered soul thinks others are either his friends or his enemies in three ways: 1. sharirika (in relation to material bodies), 2. samajika (in relation to society and social groups), and 3. naitika (in the context of ideas). One who unlawfully desires gold and women will find himself a slave to pleasures and pains. That condition of life is called “.fn 2}samsara (the world of repeated birth and death). One who is attached to the world of samsara is subjected to birth, death, karmic reactions, and a variety of living conditions, some high and some low. Thus the souls bound by material illusion wander here and there in the material worlds. However, the souls attracted to spirit do not experience these troubles. They do not experience these troubles. They who are attracted to spirit attain their eternal spiritual nature. They who forget they they are by nature small particles of spirit fall down into the experience of material life. Staying in the material world, they suffer many misfortunes, although they think they do not suffer misfortunes at all.

     For the souls bound by maya, the activities of ragatmika are far away and the activities of raganuga are not accepted. It is only by the mercy of a devotee of the Lord that the activities of raganuga may rise within a conditioned soul's heart. The activities of raganuga are rare and difficult to attain. The residents of the material world have been cheated of them.

     However, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-knowing and full of mercy. He sees that the souls imprisoned by maya have been cheated of their spiritual activities. How will these souls attain auspiciousness? By what means will the souls bewildered by maya remember Lord Krishna? The answer is that by associating with saintly devotees the soul is able to understand that he is in reality a servant of Lord Krishna. The rules of ordinary piety do not enjoin that one associate with saintly devotees. How, then, does one associate with devotees, or what makes one desire to associate with devotees? the association of devotees does not generally happen when one follows the path of rules and regulations (vidhi-marga). That is not the way one comes to associate with devotees. It is from the merciful glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that the scriptures are created. Born from the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sun of the scriptures rises in the sky of the devotee's heart. In this way the rules of piety are manifested.

     In the beginning is the Veda. One part of the Veda teaches fruitive work, another part transcendental knowledge, and another part loving devotional service. The individual souls bewildered by maya are situated in different states of existence. Some are very bewildered, some are a little enlightened, and some are very enlightened. In this way the conditioned souls have different kinds of intelligence. The Veda teaches all these classes of souls. Although one may consider that the souls have an infinite variety of natures, still they are grouped into three broad categories: 1. those qualified to perform fruitive work (karma), 2. those eligible for transcendental knowledge (j{.sy 241}ana), and 3. those eligible to engage in loving devotional service (prema) to the Supreme Lord. The Veda thus describes these three categories of eligibility. The Veda's description of what should and should not be done by these three classes of living entities constitute vaidha-dharma (the rules of religion). When one actively performs pious deeds that is called vaidhi pravritti. They who do not follow the rules of vaidha commit sinful acts. Therefore living entities should always avoid actions that violate these rules and regulations. They who are outside the jurisdiction of the Vedas are called by the name mleccha and by other names also. The conclusion, then, is that three classes of living entities are qualified to follow the Veda. For their benefit the great sages have written many books to supplement the hymns of the Veda. Manu and twenty other sages thus wrote the dharma-shastras to benefit the persons eligible to perform pious fruitive work (karma). Different philosophers wrote books of logic and philosophy to benefit the persons eligible for philosophical speculation (jnana). The great devotees wrote the Puranas and pure Tantras to teach the persons eligible to engage in devotional service (bhakti) and to guide their actions. This is the nature of all the Vedic literatures. The philosophy of the mimamsakas is not seen anywhere in the original scriptures. Every point the mimamsakas claim shows the superiority of their idea is easily thrown into a dark hole of counter-arguments and doubts. In all the scriptures the uttara-mimamsa (Vedanta) philosophy is most clearly shown in Bhagavad-gita. The teaching of karma that ignores jnana is an atheistic kind of karma and that teaching should be rejected. In the same way the teaching of karma and jnana that ignores bhakti is atheistic karma and jnana. There are only three kinds of yoga: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, and bhakti-yoga. That is the Vaishnava description of the Veda's teachings.

     The individual soul bewildered by maya first takes shelter of fruitive work (karma). Then he takes shelter of karma-yoga. At the end, when he come to the conclusion of karma-yoga and jnana-yoga, he takes shelter of bhakti-yoga. The soul bewildered by maya does not ascend only one step in the staircase. Ascending only one step of the staircase, he cannot enter the temple of devotional service.

     What is taking shelter of fruitive work (karma)? Fruitive work is the activity performed by the body and mind while one is alive in the body. Fruitive work is of two kinds: 1. auspicious, and 2. inauspicious. By performing auspicious work one attains an auspicious result. By performing inauspicious work one attains an inauspicious result. Inauspicious work is called either “papa" (sin) or "vikarma" (evil work). When one does not perform auspicious work that is called "akarma". Both of these are bad. Auspicious work is good. Work is of three kinds: 1 nitya (regular), 2. naimittika (occasional), and 3. kamya (desired). Kamya work, where the desire for personal benefit is very prominent, should be avoided. Nitya and namittika work, on the other hand, is work prescribed by scripture. Considering what should and should not be done, the scriptures explain what is nitya, naimittika, and kamya work. Akarma (failure to do auspicious work) and vikarma (inauspicious work) are not the same as karma (auspicious work). When one avoids kamya work, then his work is nitya or naimittika. Work that brings auspiciousness to the body, the mind, other people, or humanity at large, is called nitya work. Everyone should perform nitya work. When work prompted by a temporary circumstance is like nitya work in this way, it is called naimittika work. Chanting Gayatri, offering obeisances, and cleanliness are activities that maintain one's own body and the welfare of society at large. So also do honest dealings and protection of they who should be protected. All these are nitya work. Duties to one's deceased parents, other like duties, and atonement of sins are all naimittika work.

     Nitya and naimittika work bring good to the world. Therefore the great sages order that such auspicious work be performed. Considering the different natures of the human beings, they thus describe what is called the varnashrama system. According to their natural tendency for work, human beings are thus divided into four classes: 1. brahmana, 2. kshatriya, 3. vaishya, and 4. shudra. In this material world there are also four other divisions, called ashramas. The four ashramas are: 1. grihastha, 2. brahmacari, 3. vanaprastha, and 4. sannyasi. They who are fond of performing akarma and vikarma work are called antyaja (the lowest) and nirashrama (outside the ashrama system). the different varnas (classes) are determined according to 1. birth, 2. nature, 3. work, and 4. qualities. Whenever the varnas are determined by birth, the meaning of the varnashrama system is lost. the different ashramas are determined according these states: 1. being married, 2. not being married, and 3. the renunciation of association with women. They who are married are in the grihastha ashrama. They who are not married are in the brahmacari ashrama. They who have renounced association with women are in the vanaprastha and sannyasa ashramas. Of all the ashramas, the sannyasa ashrama is the best. Of all the varnas, the brahmana varna is the best. This is all described in the crest jewel of all scriptures, Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.15-21), in the following words:



varnanam ashramanam ca


asan prakritayo nrinam

     nicair nicottamottamaih



     "The various occupational and social divisions of human society appeared according to inferior and superior natures manifest in the situation of the individual's birth.***



shamo damas tapah shaucam

     santoshah kshantir arjavam

mad-bhaktish ca daya satyam

     brahma-prakritayas tv imah



     "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction, tolerance, simple straightforwardness, devotion to Me, mercy, and truthfulness are the natural qualities of the brahmanas.***



tejo balam dhritih shauryam

     titikshaudaryam udyamah

sthairyam brahmanyam aishvaryam

     kshatra-prakritayas tv imah



     "Dynamic power, bodily strength, determination, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great endeavor, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas, and leadership are the natural qualities of the kshatriyas.***



astikyam dana-nishtha ca


atushtir arthopacayair

     vaishya-prakritayas tv imah



     "Faith in Vedic civilization, dedication to charity, freedom from hypocrisy, service to the brahmanas, and perpetually desiring to accumulate more money are the natural qualities of the vaishyas.***



shushrushunam dvija-gavam

     devanam capy amayaya

tatra labdhena santoshah

     shudra-prakritayas tv imah



     "Service without duplicity to the brahmanas, cows, demigods, and other worshipable personalities, and complete satisfaction with whatever income is obtained by such service, are the natural qualities of shudras.***



ashaucam anritam steyam

     nastikyam shushka-vigrahah

kamah krodhash ca tarshash ca

     sa bhavo 'ntyavasayinam



     "Dirtiness, dishonesty, thievery, faithlessness, useless quarrel, lust, anger, and hankering constitute the nature of those in the lowest position outside the varnashrama system.***



ahimsa satyam asteyam


bhuta-priya-hiteha ca

     dharmo 'yam sarva-varnikah



     "Nonviolence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger, and greed constitute duties for all members of society."***


     "In the assembly of the wise, everyone can understand the meaning of the scriptures. Therefore I shall not give any comment on these words. I will only say this: The duties of varna and ashrama are the root of following the scriptures rules and regulations (vaidha). A country is impious to the degree it does not follow varnashrama.

     "Now let us consider: How are the words `nitya' (eternal) and `naimittika' (temporary) used here with the word `karma'? If we consider the deep meaning of the scriptures, we will see that these two words do not refer to the supreme spiritual goal of life. The terms are used with ordinary, or material meaning.

     "Words like `nitya-karma', `nitya-tattva', and `nitya-sattva' may be applied only to the soul's pure spiritual position. They cannot be used to refer to anything else. Therefore when the word `nitya' is used to modify the word `karma' that `nitya-karma', seemingly of the material world, indirectly refers to the eternal spiritual reality. The karma of the material world is never eternal. When karma is employed in karma-yoga, karma-yoga leads to the search for jnana (knowledge), and that search leads to bhakti (devotional service), then that karma and jnana may be called `nitya' because they lead to something that actually is nitya.

     "Therefore a brahmana's chanting of the Gayatri mantra is called a `nitya-karma' because, even though it is an activity in relation to the material body, it does have an oblique reference to the path of devotional service. Therefore these things may be called `nitya', even though in themselves they are not really `nitya'. Such a usage is called `upacara' (a figure of speech).

     "The word `nitya-karma' can be applied truthfully only to krishna-prema (pure love for Lord Krishna). The word `nitya-karma' can be applied truthfully only to the realm of the spirit. When the activities of this material world are used for advancement in spiritual life, those activities may be called `nitya-karma'. There is nothing wrong with that usage. However, one who sees the truth does not call these activities `nitya' (eternal). He prefers to call them `naimittika' (temporary). It is not really true that the words `nitya-karma' and `naimittika-karma' may refer to materialistic activities.

     "In truth, the eternal nature of the soul is purely spiritual. The religion that describes the pure soul is the real eternal religion. All other religions are temporary. Varnashrama-dharma, ashtanga-yoga, sankhya, and austerities are all temporary. If an individual spirit soul is not bound by maya, there is no need for him to follow any of these paths. These temporary religions are meant only for souls bewildered by maya. All these religions are intended for certain specific circumstances. Therefore the truth is that they are all temporary.

     "The brahmanas are the best best of the social classes, the brahmanas' duty is to chant the Gayatri mantra, and the sannyasi's duty is to renounce other duties. However, all these duties are temporary. All these duties are praised by the dharma-shastras, and they are good for some spiritual aspirants. Still, they are not in any way equal to the eternal duties of the soul. Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.10) explains:



viprad dvi-shad-guna-yutad aravinda-nabha-

     padaravinda-vimukhat shvapacam varishtham

manye tad-arpita-mano-vacanehitarha-

     pranam punati sa kulam na tu bhurimanah



     "If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications (as they are stated in the book called Sanat-sujata) but is not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dogeater but who has dedicated everythingmind, words, activities, wealth, and life to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.*


     "The twelve brahminical qualifications here are: 1. truthfulness, 2. self-control, 3. austerity, 4. freedom from envy, 5. modesty, 6. tolerance, 7. freedom from malice, 8. sacrifice, 9. charity, 10. steadiness, 11. hearing the Vedas, and 12. observing vows. A brahmana who possesses these twelve qualities should be honored by everyone in the world. However, if a brahmana has all these qualities, but has no devotion for Lord Krishna, then that brahmana is degraded. Even a devotee who is a dogeater is better than such a brahmana. The meaning here is that the dogeater referred to is a person who has taken birth in a dogeater family, but by association with saintly persons becomes purified (samskara), and because of that purification engages in the eternal spiritual activities of the soul. The brahmana referred to here is a person who has taken birth in a brahmana family, but is averse to the eternal activities of the soul, and prefers to perform temporary, material activities in their stead. Than such a brahmana, such a dogeater is better.

     "Human beings in the material world are of two kinds: 1. The intelligent, and 2. the unintelligent. The material world is filled with unintelligent human beings. Intelligent human beings are rare. Among such unintelligent persons, the brahmanas are the best, and thus the duties of the brahmanas, such as their chanting of the Gayatri mantra, are the best of these kinds of duties. `Intelligent person' is a synonym for the word `Vaishnava'. The activities of the Vaishnavas and the activities of unintelligent persons are inevitably very different. However the the teachings of the Vaishnavas and the teachings of the unintelligent followers of the smriti-shastras (the so-called smartas) are not really opposed to each other. The teachings of the scriptures are always in harmony with each other. Intelligent persons accept the scriptures as their friends. They do not think that the different duties described in the scriptures have different purposes in the end. The duties prescribed in the scriptures for unqualified persons are indeed different from the duties prescribed for the intelligent. Still, these different activities have the same purpose at their root. For the unintelligent the scriptures prescribe temporary duties as most appropriate. However, temporary duties are all imperfect, horrible, contaminated, and short-lived.

     "These temporary duties are not the same as directly spiritual duties. Temporary duties may be accepted when they follow the spiritual path. Then they help one to attain the spiritual nature. When the means does not lead to the goal, the means should be rejected. Therefore the means is not complete in itself. It is merely a part, a separated fragment of what will be the final goal. Therefore temporary duties are not complete. For example, a brahmana's chanting Gayatri, like his other duties as well, is subjected to various rules and meant to be performed only at certain specified times. All these duties are not manifested from the soul's natural spiritual activities. However, after many days of following such rules a person may become purified by associating with saintly Vaishnavas. Then he develops a liking for the spiritual holy name of Lord Hari. At that time he does not continue other activities, such as the chanting of Gayatri. Chanting the holy name of Lord Hari is the perfect spiritual activity. The chanting of Gayatri and other like activities are only various means to attain the goal, which is the chanting of Lord Hari's holy name. Therefore these activities are not the final perfection. Saintly persons teach that these temporary duties, while honorable in themselves, are still imperfect, horrible, contaminated, and short-lived. The spiritual truth is the final goal. Because they bring one into contact with matter and materialists, temporary duties are horrible for the individual souls. Temporary duties are very material. Temporary duties bring with them many irrelevant results. The individual soul naturally attains these results. Even though he does not wish these petty results, he cannot escape them.

     "For example, that a brahmana worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead is good. However, a brahmana tends to think, `I am a brahmana. Other souls are inferior to me.' Such a falsely proud brahmana finds that his worship of the Lord brings a horrible result. Mystic powers obtained by practicing ashtanga-yoga also bring horrible results. They are very inauspicious for the individual souls. Material sense gratification and impersonal liberation are the two unavoidable friends of temporary duties. Only if he can cheat these two will the individual soul attain his root spiritual nature. Therefore temporary duties are very horrible for the individual soul.

     Temporary duties are short-lived. The soul's temporary duties are not performed in all situations and all times. For example: a brahmana's brahmana nature, a kshatriya's kshatriya nature, and other like natures also, are manifested because of a particular cause. When the cause ceases to be, these natures vanish. A person may in one birth be a brahmana and in the next birth an outcaste. Therefore the duties of the brahmana caste are temporary. They are not the original duties of the soul. Therefore in reference to temporary duties the phrase `own duty' is only a figure of speech. That is why in every birth a soul's `own duty' changes. However, in none of these births does the soul's eternal duty ever change. This eternal duty is the soul's true `own duty'. Temporary duties are all short-lived.

     "If one asks, `What are the duties of the Vaishnavas?' then I answer: The Vaishnavas' duties are the eternal duties of the soul. When he is liberated from the world of matter, the Vaishnava soul attains his pure spiritual body, and with that body he engages in devotional activities that express his spiritual love for Lord Krishna. When he resides in the material world, a person who is intelligent respectfully accepts all that advances his spiritual life and rejects all that hinders it. He does not blindly follow the orders and prohibitions of the scriptures. When the scriptures encourage devotion to Lord Hari, then such a person happily accepts those teachings. When the scriptures' teachings do not encourage devotion, he does not honor those teachings. In the same way a Vaishnava also honors or rejects the prohibitions taught in the scriptures. A Vaishnava is the best person in the world. A Vaishnava is the friend of everyone in the world. A Vaishnava is the auspiciousness of the world. In this way I have humbly said all I wish to say to this assembly of Vaishnavas. May the Vaishnavas wash away all my faults and mistakes."

     After speaking these words, Vaishnava dasa offered dandavat obeisances to the Vaishnava assembly, and then sat down to one side. The Vaishnavas' eyes were filled with tears. With one voice the Vaishnavas called out, "Well done! Well done!" The four directions of Godruma forest echoed with "Well done! Well done!"

     The brahmana singer who had first asked the question could see deep truth in many of the speaker's arguments. Although he still had some doubts, the seed of faith in the Vaishnava religion had been very firmly planted in his mind. With folded hands he said, "O great souls, I was not a Vaishnava. Again and again hearing Lord Hari's holy names, I have now become a Vaishnava. If you are merciful and teach me a little more, all my doubts will go far away."

     Then Shri Prema dasa, the saintly paramahamsa babaji, mercifully said, "Stay with Shriman Vaishnava dasa. He is learned in all the scriptures. At Varanasi he deeply studied Vedanta-sutra and accepted sannyasa. By the limitless mercy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya, who is the Lord of our lives, he was attracted to Shri Navadvipa. He knows all the truths of the Vaishnava religion. Deep love for Lord Hari's holy names has taken its birth within him.

     The questioner was a pious man named Shri Kalidasa Lahiri. Hearing the saintly babaji's words, in his heart he accepted Vaishnava dasa as his spiritual master. In his mind he thought, "This person was born in a brahmana family and he accepted sannyasa. Therefore he is fit to teach a br\ahmana. Also, I see that he has deeply entered the truths of Vaishnava religion. From him I will learn much about the Vaishnava religion. Thinking in this way, L\ahiri Mah\ashaya offered dandavat obeisances at Shri Vaishnava d\asa's feet and said, "O great soul, please be merciful to me." Offering dandavat obeisances to him, Vaishnava d\asa replied, "If you are merciful to me, then I have attained my wish."

     With sunset approaching, everyone returned to their own places.

     Lahiri Mahashaya's home was in a secluded part of the village. It was in a grove. In the middle was a cottage of madhavi vines and a platform for tulasi-devi. There were two rooms, one on each side. The yard was hedged with cita bushes. With a bela tree, nim tree, and some other trees bearing fruits and flowers, the place was charming. The proprietor of that grove was named Madhava dasa Babaji. At first the babaji had been a good soul, but by bad association he had had fallen away from the Vaishnava religion. Because of improper association with a woman, his devotional practices were now dwarfed. Pushed by poverty, he could not live happily. He begged in many places and rented out one of his rooms. Lahiri Mahashaya was now staying in that room.

     In the middle of the night Lahiri Mahashaya's sleep was broken. Again and again he thought of what Vaishnava dasa Babaji had said. Then he heard a sound in the courtyard. Coming outside, in the courtyard he saw Madhava dasa talking with the woman. Seeing him, the woman disappeared. Embarrassed before Lahiri Mahashaya, Madhava dasa stood motionless.

     Lahiri Mahashaya said, "Babaji, what's wrong?"

     Tears in his eyes, Madhava dasa replied, "O my misfortune! What more can I say? What was I in the past? What am I now? How much faith the saintly paramahamsa babaji had in me! Now I am ashamed even to come near him."

     Lahiri Mahashaya said, "If you tell me clearly, I can understand."

     Madhava dasa said, "The woman you saw was my married wife in my former ashrama. A few days after I accepted a life of renunciation, she came to Shri Shantipura and lived in a cottage she built by the Ganga's shore. many days passed in that way. Walking by the Ganga's shore at Shri Shantipura, I saw her and said, `Why did you leave your home?' She told me, `Material life is not good. Now that I am robbed of your feet, I will stay at a holy place and beg alms.' Not saying anything more, I slowly returned to Shri Godruma. At Shri Godruma I eventually stayed at a Sad-gopa's house. Every day, at some place or other, I would see her. The more I tried to avoid her, the more she tried to come near me. Now she stays at an ashrama. She comes late at night and tries to ruin me. Now I am infamous everywhere. Because I now associate with her, my devotional service has become dwarfed. I am a cinder that blackens the family of Shri Krishna Chaitanya's servants. Since the time of Chota Haridasa's punishment, I am the most deserving of punishment. Being merciful, the babajis of Shri Godruma have not yet punished me, but they do not trust me.

     Hearing these words, Lahiri Mahashaya said, "Take care, O Madhava dasa Babaji." After speaking these words, he entered the house. The babaji sat on his own seat.

     Lahiri Mahashaya could not sleep. Again and again he thought, "Madhava dasa Babaji has fallen down. He is like one who eats his own vomit. I should not stay in this house. Why not? Even if I do not fall down by associating with him, I will be criticized by others. Not trusting me, the pure Vaishnavas will not teach me.

     At sunrise he went to Pradyumna-kunja, properly greeted Shri Vaishnava dasa, and asked for a place to stay. When Vaishnava dasa informed the saintly paramahamsa babaji of this request, the babaji said he could stay in a cottage on one side of the forest. Lahiri Mahashaya stayed in that cottage and arranged to get prasadam at the home of a nearby brahmana.