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Entering the Lord's Pastimes
Now Vijaya-kumara was always eager to hear about these pastimes. He did not like to hear about anything else. When he went to see Lord Jagannatha, Vijaya-kumara could not remain peaceful and composed. For many days now he had studied the rasas. He had learned about madhura-rasa, sthayi-bhava, vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and vyabhicari-bhava. One by one, the different kinds of ecstatic love entered his heart. They would bring him great delight, and then they would go away. Some days passed in this way. He did not understand how the presence of ecstatic love had changed him. One day, with tears in his eyes, he fell down before his spiritual master's feet and said, “O master, by your mercy I have learned everything. However, I am not able to make spiritual advancement. I have not attained sthayi-bhava and I have not entered Lord Krishna's pastimes. Please teach me what I should do." Seeing how his disciple was rapt in ecstatic love, Gopala-guru Gosvami was very pleased. In his heart he thought, "Love for Krishna (Krishna-prema) is such that its happiness brings distress, and its distress brings happiness." Then he openly said, "I will tell you how to enter Lord Krishnas' pastimes."
Vijaya-kumara: How can I enter them?
Gosvami: Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has revealed the way in these words (Manah-shiksha 2):
na dharmam nadharmam shruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru
vraje radha-krishna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanuh
shaci-sunum nandishvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam
mukunda-preshthatve smara padam ajasram nanu manah
"Mind, don't do the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Intently serve Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in Vraja. Always remember that Lord Chaitanya is Lord Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda and my spiritual master is most dear to Lord Mukunda."
Don't perform the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Reject this part of the Vedas and instead earnestly engage in raganuga-bhakti. Again and again serve Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in Vraja. Serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja. If you ask, "Who will teach me how to serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja?", then I will tell you. Please listen. Shridhama Navadvipa, where Lord Chaitanya appeared in Saci-devi's womb, is a manifestation of Vrndavana. Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, Krishna the son of Nandisvara's king. Lord Chaitanya is not different from Krishna. Thinking that Lord Krishna has descended to Navadvipa to enjoy pastimes as Lord Chaitanya, one should not reject the worship of Lord Krishna as the amorous hero of Vraja and instead worship Lord Chaitanya as the amorous hero of the young girls in Navadvipa. Lord Chaitanya is Lord Krishna Himself. Still, one should not criticize the devotees who worship Him with different mantras and meditate on Him separately. In the path of the rasas one should worship only Krishna, the beloved of Radha, and Lord Chaitanya one shoul worship as the spiritual master of the rasas of Vraja. One should meditate on Lord Chaitanya's pastimes and on Lord Krishna's ashta-kaliya pastimes. One should not think that one's spiritual master is not a sakhi or a yutheshvari in Vraja. By worshiping in this way one will be able to enter Lord Krishna's pastimes in Vraja.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, I understand that one should reject other scriptures and other paths, worship Lord Chaitanya, and serve one's spiritualmaster, aware that the spiritual master is a sakhi in Lord Krishna's pastimes. How can one make his heart steady and determined to follow this path?
Gosvami: Two things should be understood: 1. upasaka-parishkriti (the worshiper), and 2. upasya-parishkriti (the object of worship). You have learned about the rasas. Therefore you have learned about upasya-parishkriti. The upasaka-parishkriti has eleven bhavas. Almost all of them you have already learned. Only one remains for your to learn.
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe these eleven bhavas.
Gosvami: These eleven bhavas are: 1. sambandha (relationship), 2. vayasa (age), 3. nama (name), 4. rupa (form), 5. yutha (group), 6. vesha (garemnts), 7. ajna (command), 8. vasa (residence), 9. seva (service), 10. parakashthashvasa (highest aspiration), and 11. palya-dasi-bhava (the nature of a maidservant).
Vijaya-kumara: What is sambandha?
Gosvami: Sambandha is the foundation of spiritual attainments. When one has a relationship with Krishna, then thr bhavas are manifested. The final goal one attains is based on that relationship. Souls who address Krishna as "master" become servants of Krishna. Souls who address Krishna as “friend" become friends of Krishna. Souls who address Krishna as "son" become the mother or father of Krishna. Souls who address Krishna as "husband" become queens at Dvaraka. In Vraja there is no shanta-rasa, and dasya-rasa is curtailed. Each devotee attains a relationship according to his own natural inclination. You are naturally attracted to parakiya-rasa. Therefore you are a follower of Vraja's queen. In your relationship you say, "I am a maidservant of Shri Radha's maidservant. Shri is the controller of my life. Krishna is the controller of Radha's life, and therefore Krishna, the beloved of Radha, is the controller of my life also."
Vijaya-kumara: I have heard that the great acarya Shrila Jiva Gosvami preferred svakiya-rasa. Is that true?
Gosvami: Not one of the true followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu rejected the pure parakiya-rasa. Who can be a better teacher of this rasa than Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami? He taught the truth of the pure parakiya-rasa. Shrila Jiva Gosvami and Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami all accepted his teachings in this matter. In his own personal devotional service Shrila Jiva Gosvami did not accept svakiya-rasa. However, he did explain that even in Vraja some devotees manifest a scent of svakiya-rasa. When samartha-rati carries a scent of samanjasa-rati, then svakiya-rasa is present in Vraja. Therefore, when a slight sense of svakiya-rasa is present, the devotee may be called a worshiper in svakiya-rasa. Shrila Jiva Gosvami had two kinds of disciples. One group of his disciples was situated in pure parakiya-rasa. Another group of his disciples was situated in parakiya-rasa mixed with svakiya-rasa. According to the different inclinations of his different disciples, he gave different appropriate instructions. This he clearly explained when he wrote the words:
svecchaya likhitam kincit
"What I have written is appropriate for devotees who are inclined in a certain way."
Vijaya-kumara: Now I clearly understand that the pure Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy teaches the pure parakiya-rasa. Now that I understand sambandha, please describe vayasa.
Gosvami: When you attain your relationship with Krishna, you will have a wonderful form. In your case it will be the form of a beautiful girl in Vraja. That form will be manifested in a specific age appropriate to your service. The age from ten to sixteen years is called "kaishora". That is generally the appropriate age in this situation. Therefore in your spiritual form your age begins at ten and, as you make advancement in service, increases up to the age of sixteen. That is called "vayah-sandhi". Balya (childhood), pauganda (pre-adolescence), and vriddha (old age) do not exist among the beautiful girls of Vraja. Therefore you should know that your spiritual form is situated in the kaishora age.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, What is nama? I have already received a name. Please clearly explain "name" to me.
Gosvami: You naturally become the follower of a maidservant-friend of Shri Radha. That friend's name is your name. Examining your nature, your spiritual master gives you a name. Pleas know that is your name eternally. The beautiful girls of Vraja will delight in addressing you by that name.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, please explain rupa.
Gosvami: Your spiritual master reveals to you the nature of the beautiful and youthful kaishora-age form that, according to your own inlcination, is your own form.You have an inconceivable beautiful spiritual form. If that were not so, then how could you be a maidservant of Shri Radha?
Vijaya-kumara: Please clearly describe "yutha".
Gosvami: Shri Radha is your yutheshvari. You belong to a gana (sub-group) presided over by one of Shri Radha's eight closest friends (ashta-sakhi).Your spiritual master has placed you in Lalita's gana. Therefore, following Lalita's orders you will serve your yutheshvari (Shri Radha) and playful Lord Krishna, who enjoys pastimes with Her.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, who are the devotees that follow Candravali as their yutheshvari?
Gosvami: After many births a soul will become a fortunate and desire to be the follower of a yutheshvari. A soul who has all good fortune enters the group led by Shri Radha. The gopis led by Candravali strive to increase the bliss that Shri Radha and Lord Krishna enjoy in Their pastimes. Therefore the rival groups, called paksha and vipaksha, make the taste of rasa sweeter. In truth Shri Radha is the only real yutheshvari. Because She enjoys wonderful pastimes with Krishna, She is glorious, and a soul who serves Her becomes glorious also.
Vijaya-kumara: Please explain vesha.
Gosvami: You spiritual master describes to you your garments, personal qualities, and the skills you have to perform various kinds of service.
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe "ajna".
Gosvami: Ajnas are of two kinds: 1. nitya (regular) , and 2. naimittika (occasional). A merciful sakhi orders you to engage in a certain regular (nitya) service. This service you should diligently execute during the eight periods of the day. Any other service she may give to you is naimittika service. That also you should execute diligently.
Vijaya-kumara: What is vasa?
Gosvami: Your eternal residence in Vraja is called “vasa".
Vijaya-kumara: You will take birth as a certain gopi in a certain village within the land of Vraja. Within that village you will be married to a certain gopa. However, you will be attracted by the sound of Krishna's flute. You will be the follower of a certain sakhi. Her cottage at Radha-kunda will be your residence also. In this way your eternal nature is situated in parakiya-rasa.
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe "seva".
Gosvami: You are a follower of Shri Radha. Your service is to serve Her. If, when she sends you with a message, and you meet Krishna in a secluded place, Krishna expresses His love for you and proposes that you enjoy with Him, you should not accept His proposal. You are Radha's maidservant, and without Her permission you cannot serve Krishna. You are not independent. Although you love Radha and Krishna both, your love and service to Radha is more important to you than your love and service to Krishna. That is the explanation of the word "seva". Your service is to serve Shri Radha throughout the eight periods of the day. Following the descriptions in Shrila Svarupa Damodara's Kadaca (notebook), Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami describes these services in his poem Vilapa-kusumanjali.
Vijaya-kumara: What is "parakashthashvasa"?
Gosvami: In the following two verses (Vilapa-kusumanjali 102 and 100), Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami describes parakashthashvasa:
asha-bharair amrita-sindhu-mayaih kathancit
kalo mayati-gamitah kila sampratam hi
tvam cet kripam mayi vidhayasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajena ca varoru bakarinapi
"O Radha, for me somehow the present moment is flooded by a nectar ocean of many hopes. If You do not give Your mercy, then of what use to me are this life, the land of Vraja, and Shri Krishna, the enemy of Baka?"
he natha gokula-sudhakara su-prasanna-
vaktraravinda madhura-smita he kripardra
yatra tvaya viharate pranayaih priyarat
tatraiva mam api naya priya-sevanaya
"O Lord Krishna, O nectar moon of Gokula, O Lord whose cheerful face is a lotus flower, O sweetlly smiling one, O Lord melting with compassion, so I may serve You both with love please lead me to the place where Your beloved enjoys loving pastimes with You."
Vijaya-kumara: Please descrive "palya-dasi-bhava".
Gosvami: In the following words of Vraja-vilasa-stava (text 29), Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami describes palya-dasi-bhava:
sandra-prema-rasaih pluta priyataya pragalbhyam apta tayoh
prana-preshtha-vayasyayor anudinam lilabhisaram kramaih
vaidagdhyena tatha sakhim prati sada manasya shiksham rasair
yeyam karayatiha hanta lalita grihnatu sa mam ganaih
"Flooded with the nectar of intense love for her two friends (Shri Shri Radha-Krishna), who are more dear to her than her own life, affectionately arrogant in Their presence, and daily arranging for Their rendezvous, Lalita-devi expertly teaches her friend Radha the art of jealous anger. I pray Lalita-dev.i will one day accept me as one of her associates."
Vijaya-kumara: How should such a palya-dasi (maidservant) act in relation to the other gopis who are companions of Shri Lalita?
Gosvami: Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami studied all the rasa-shastras under Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written (Vraja-vilasa-stava, text 38):
vrindaranya-maheshvarim priyataya yas toshayanti priyah
prana-preshtha-sakhi-kulad api kilasankocita bhumikah
keli-bhumishu rupa-manjari-mukhas ta dasika samshraye
"By offering Her betel nuts, by massaging Her feet, by bringing Her water, by arranging for Her secret meeting with Lord Krishna, and by performing many other services, many gopi maidservants affectionately please Shri Radha, the great queen of Vrindavana forest. When the divine couple enjoy Their pastimes, these maidservants are not at all shy, even in the presence of the great gopis for whom Shri Radha is more dear than life. I take shelter of these gopi maidservants, who have Shrimati Rupa-manjari as their leader."
Vijaya-kumara: What is the nature of the other prominent sakhis?
Gosvami: Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami gives this hint about their nature (Vraja-vilasa-stava, text 30):
pranaya-lalita-narma-sphara-bhumis tayor va
vraja-pura-nava-yunor ya ca kanthan pikanam
nayati param adhastad divya-ganena tushtya
prathayatu mama diksham hanta seyam vishakha
"Vishakha-devi is the place where the youthful divine couple enjoys affectionate and playful joking pastimes. Her sweet transcendental singing eclipses the voices of the cuckoos. I pray that Vishakha-devi may become pleased with me and accept me as her student."
Vijaya-kumara: What is the nature of the vipaksha (rival) gopis?
Gosvami: Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami describes them. Please here his description (Vraja-vilasa-stava, text 41):
saubhagyodbhata-garva-vibhrama-bhritah shri-radhikayah sphutam
govindah smara-phulla-ballava-vadhu-vargena yena kshanam
kridaty esha tam atra vistrita-maha-punyam ca vandamahe
"In order to increase the splendid and nectarean jealous love of Shrimati Radharani, who sometimes becomes proud of Her own good fortune, Lord Krishna briefly enjoys pastimes with other gopis, who blossom with many amorous desires. Let us offer our respectful obeisances to these gopis, who must have performed many great pious activities in their previous births in order to play this role in the Lord's pastimes."
That is how you should think about the rival groups of gopis (paksha and vipaksha). However, when you are serving the Lord directly in the spiritual world, there may be a situation where mocking gopi rivals is appropriate. This direct service in the spiritual world is described in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Vilapa-kusumanjali. The proper way to relate to the other liberated associates of the Lord is described in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Vraja-vilasa-stava. The divine couple's pastimes are seen in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Vishakhanandabhidha-stotra and other prayers. You should see the ashta-kaliya pastimes in those poems. The proper method of worship (paddhati) is seen in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Manah-shiksha. By following that method of worship you will become rapt in meditation on the divine couple's pastimes. Ecstatic love (bhava) is seen in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Sva-niyama-dashaka. You should carefully observe the vows described in that poem. Shrila Rupa Gosvami described the rasas in his books. Lord Chaitanya gave that task to him. However, Shrila Rupa Gosvami did not describe how an aspiring devotee can enter into these rasas. That Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, following the teachings in Shrila Svarupa Damodara's Kadaca, described. Lord Chaitanya gave these specific tasks to these devotees, and they all followed His order.
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe the tasks Lord Mahaprabhu ordered these devotees to perform.
Gosvami: The Lord ordered Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami to describe the method of worship according to the rasas. Following that order, Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami wrote his Kadaca, which is divided into two parts, one part describing the internal path (antah-pantha) of worship according to the rasas, and the other part describing the external path (bahih-pantha) of worship according to the rasas. The internal path he placed around the neck of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who described that path in his writings. The external path Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami gave to Shrila Vakreshvara Pandita. That teaching is the great treasure of this temple. That treasure I have given to Shrila Dhyanacandra Gosvami, and he has written that treasure into a book. You already have a copy of that book. Lord Mahaprabhu ordered Lord Nityananda and Lord Advaita to preach the glories of the holy name, and He also gave Them the power to do it. Lord Mahaprabhu gave Shrila Rupa Gosvami the order to write books about the rasas, and He also gave him the power to do it. Lord Mahaprabhu gave Shrila Sanatana Gosvami the order to write about vaidhi-bhakti and the relationship between vaidhi-bhakti and raga-bhakti. The Lord also gave Shrila Sanatana Gosvami the order to write about the Lord's prakata and aprakata pastimes in Gokula. Lord Nityananada Prabhu and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami gave Shrila Jiva Gosvami the order to write books about sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana, and they also gave him the power to do it. All of these great devotees fulfilled the orders they were given.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, what task was given to Shrila Ramananda Raya?
Gosvami: Lord Mahaprabhu gave Shrila Ramananda Raya the task of expanding the rasas. Shrila Ramananda Raya used Shrila Rupa Gosvami as his instrument in fulfilling this task.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, what task was given to Shrila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya?
Gosvami: To Shrila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya He gave the task of explaining philosophy. Shrila Sarvabhauma Bhatöacarya executed that task by having one of his disciples teach Shrila Jiva Gosvami.
Vijaya-kumara: What task did the Lord give to the great devotees in Bengal?
Gosvami: To the great devotees in Bengal the Lord gave the task of teaching the truth about Lord Chaitanya and showing the people how to have faith in Lord Chaitanya's descriptions of Krishna-rasa. These devotees fulfilled that order by writing many books glorifying the rasas.
Vijaya-kumara: What task was given to Shrila Raghunatha Bhaööa Gosvami?
Gosvami: To him was given the task of preaching the glories of Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
Vijaya-kumara: What task was given to Shrila Gopala Bhaööa Gosvami?
Gosvami: To Shrila Gopala Bhaööa Gosvami was given the task of stopping perverted misinterpretations of pure shringara-rasa and also stopping the tendency not to have faith in vadhi-bhakti.
Vijaya-kumara: Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati was the uncle and spiritual master of Shrila Gopala Bhaööa Gosvami. What task was given to him?
Gosvami: To Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati was given the task of showing the world that the path of the rasas and anubhavas in Vraja is the highest of all paths.
Hearing all this, Vijaya-kumara thought himself very fortunate.