|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-40|
The Greatest Good Fortune
Vijaya-kumara decided that by hearing about the Lord's pastimes in Vraja, one gradually attains the greatest good fortune. Thinking in this way, he posed a question.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, I would like to know how may stages there are between first hearing about the Lord and finally attaining the greatest good fortune.
Gosvami: There are five stages: 1. shravana-dasha (hearing), 2. varana-dasha (desiring), 3. smarana-dasha (remembering), 4. bhavapana-dasha (attaining ecstasy), and 5. prema-sampatti-dasha (the greatest good fortune of spiritual love).
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe shravana-dasha.
Gosvami: When he attains faith in hearing about Krishna (Krishna-katha), a soul throws materialism (bahirmukha-dasha) far away. In that stage the soul yearns to hear about Krishna. Such a soul intently hears about Krishna from an exalted devotee. This is described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (4.29.40):
tasmin mahan-mukharita madhubhic-caritra-
piyusha-shesha-saritah paritah sravanti
ta ye pibanty avitrisho nripa gadha-karnais
tan na sprishanty ashana-trid-bhaya-shoka-mohah
"My dear king, in the place where pure devotees live, following the rules and regulations and thus purely conscious and engaged with great eagerness in hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in that place if one gets a chance to hear their constant flow of nectar, which is exactly like the waves of a river, one will forget the necessities of lifenamely hunger and thirstand become immune to all kinds of fear, lamentation, and illusion."*
Vijaya-kumara: Sometimes the people hear about Krishna from materialists. What is the result of that hearing.
Gosvami: One may hear about Krishna from a materialist, or one may hear about Krishna from a devotee. These two kinds of hearing are different in many ways. By hearing about Krishna from a materialist, the hearer does not gradually attain faith. On the other hand, by hearing about Krishna from a devotee eager to engage in devotional service, the hearer attains spiritual piety. In some future birth spiritual faith will rise within him. When he attains this faith, a soul is eager to hear the glories of Krishna only from the mouths of great devotees. This stage is called "shravana-dasha". Shravana-dasha is of two kinds: 1. krama-shuddha-shravana-dasha, and 2. krama-hina-shravana-dasha.
Vijaya-kumara: What is krama-hina-shravana-dasha?
Gosvami: When the hearing is done without determination, and when it does not touch Lord Krishna's pastimes, it is called “krama-hina". If there is no touch of Lord Krishna's pastimes, the rasas will not become manifested.
Vijaya-kumara: What is krama-shuddha-shravana-dasha?
Gosvami: When hearing is done with great determination, and when it touches on Lord Krishna's pastimes, then the rasas will become manifested. Hearign about Lord Krishna's ashta-kaliya nitya-lila (regular pastimes in the eight periods of the day) and His birth pastime and other naimittika-lila (occasional pastimes) is called "krama-shuddha-shravana-dasha". To properly engage in devotional service one must perform krama-shuddha-shravana. By again and again engaging in krama-shuddha-shravana-dasha and hearing the Lord's pastimes, one perceives how sweet the Lord's pastimes are. At that time the activities of raganuga-bhakti rise in the heart of the hearer. Then the hearer thinks in his heart, "Aha! Subala has such wonderful ecstatic love! I should serve Krishna in sakhya-rasa, as Subala does." This kind of activity is called "lobha" (greedy desire). To thus worship Krishna by greedily following the liberated residents of Vraja is called "raganuga-bhakti". I have given an example in sakhya-rasa. Raganuga-bhakti exists in the four rasas that begin with dasya-rasa. By the mercy of Lord Chaitanya, who is the master of our lives, you have become qualified for shringara-rasa. Seeing the beautiful gopis of Vraja, you have yearned to become like them. That yearning will lead you to the path of fulfilling that yearning. In truth, this is revealed in the conversation of the spiritual master and the disciple. That is shravana-dasha.
Vijaya-kumara: How does one attain the perfection of shravana-dasha?
Gosvami: When one understands that Lord Krishna's pastimes are eternal, and when one declares that they are pure and spiritual, one's heart will become enchanted by them. Then one will become agitated with an intense desire to enter those pastimes. When he sees that the disciple is qualified, the spiritual master will show him the eleven bhavas described in the scriptures. When the disciple's heart is passionately devoted to the Lord's pastimes, that is the perfection of shravana-dasha. When he is greatly agitated in this way, the disciple attains varana-dasha.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, what is varana-dasha?
Gosvami: Bound with the shackles of the eleven bhavas, the heart becomes passionately attached to the Lord's pastimes. Weeping, the disciple falls before his spiritual master's feet. Then the spiritual master's original form as a sakhi is manifested and the disciple manifests his original form as a gopi maidservant. This disciple is agitated to enagge in devotional service as a gopi. By serving the spiritual master, the disciple attains the supreme goal of his life and becomes a beautiful girl in Vraja. The disciple speaks these words (Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Premambhoja-marandakhya-stava-raja 11-12):
tvam natva yacate dhritva
trinam dantair ayam janah
"Taking a straw in his mouth, this person offers respectful obeisances unto you. This person is very unhappy. Please bring him to life by sprinkling him with the nectar of service to you.
na muncec charanayatam
api dushtam dayamayah
ato radhalike ha ha
muncainam naiva tadrisham
"O gopi friend of Shri Radha, as merciful Lord Krishna never rejects a surrendered soul, even a soul who has performed many misdeeds, in the same way I request that you please do not reject a person like me."
This state is called "varana-dasha". Then, in his form as a sakhi, the spiritual master gives to his disciple residence in Vraja and orders him to take shelter of Lord Krishna's holy name and meditate on Lord Krishna's pastimes. Then the spiritual master gives encouragement, saying, "Soon you will attain what your heart desires."
Vijaya-kumara: What is smarana-dasha?
Gosvami: Shrila Rupa Gosvami gives this description (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.150-152):
krishnam smaran janam casya
kuryad vasam vraje sada
"Always meditating on Krishna as the object of one's love, and always engaged in hearing and chanting His glories, a devotee should always live in the land of Vraja.
siddha-rupena catra hi
"Desiring to become like them, the sadhaka and siddha devotees should follow in the footsteps of the liberated residents of Vraja.
yany angani ca tany atra
"In this way the wise understand the activities of vaidhi-bhakti, which begin with hearing and chanting."
After hearing these two verses, Vijaya-kumara asked, “What do the words `kuryad vasam vraje sada' (a devotee should always live in the land of Vraja) mean?
Gosvami: Shrila Jiva Gosvami explains "To place one's body in the circle of Vraja means to place it is the circle of the Lord's pastimes. If one is not able to place his physical body in Vraja, one can meditate on living in Vraja. By this meditation one attains the final goal. Then one becomes the follower of a particular sakhi. one serves that sakhi in the forest, and one always meditates on that sakhi and her particular kind of love for Lord Krishna. Thus you should engage your gross material body in the activities of vaidhi-bhakti, which begin with hearing and chanting and also, with the eleven bhavas, you should meditate on the the pastimes of a liberated sakhi is Vraja. In this way you should engage in devotional service. Thus you should engage your material body in the activities of vaidhi-bhakti. When your spiritual body becomes manifest, you will become averse to all that is not related to Vraja.
Vijaya-kumara: Please clearly describe this path.
Gosvami: The word "vraja-vasa" means "to avoid the company of materialists". One should chant a certain prescribed number of holy names of Lord Hari and also meditate on the Lord's ashta-kaliya pastimes. Do not think of your material body as an enemy. Rather, use it and all in relationship with it in favorable service to the Lord.
Vijaya-kumara: (after deep thought) O master, these descriptions are very pleasing to my heart. How can I make my heart determined to follow this path?
Gosvami: When it attains raganuga-bhakti, the heart will be determined. And why not? If there is even a slight scent of raganuga-bhakti, then one will be inclined to Vraja. Then one will not longer be attracted to material things. If you are worried that you will stray from the path, then at first proceed gradually. When you become steady you will not be able to stray from the path.
Vijaya-kumara: Please describe this gradual path.
Gosvami: Every day, for a certain amount of time, one should, avoiding all material interruptions, chant the holy name with sincere love. The time spent in this way should be gradually increased. When one finally spends all his time in this way, he will attain very wonderful love for the Lord. At that time one will dread any external thing that may come to interrupt these activities.
Vijaya-kumara: For how many days should one practice in this way?
Gosvami: Until, one is free from all material obstacles, or until material obstacles no longer arise in one's meditation.
Vijaya-kumara: What does it mean "to remember the holy name with love"? Please clearly explain.
Gosvami: In the beginning one joyfully chants the holy name. That joy leads one to think, "the holy name is mine". From that feeling of possessiveness one attains love for the holy name. Gradually pure ecstatic love (bhava) becomes manifested. This is called "bhavapana-dasha". At the stage of smarana-dasha, love is merely an external imposition. However, in the stage of bhavapana-dasha genuine, pure love is manifested. In this way the devotee finally attains prema, the highest love. This is called "upasaka-nishtha". There is also another path, which is called "upasya-nishtha".
Vijaya-kumara: What is upasya-nishtha?
Gosvami: If one wholeheartedly yearns to attain prema, he should honor this advice given by Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami (Manah-shiksha, text 3):
yadiccher avasam vraja-bhuvi sa-ragam prati-janur
yuva-dvandvam tac cet paricaritum arad abhilashe
svarupam shri-rupam sa-ganam iha tasyagrajam api
sphutam premna nityam smara nama tada tvam shrinu manah
"Mind, listen to me! If you desire to reside in Vraja birth after birth, and if you desire to directly serve the youthful divine couple, then with great love always remember and bow down before Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, his elder brother, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, and all their associates and followers."
Vijaya-kumara: How does one gradually become purified by meditating on the Lord's ashta-kaliya pastimes?
Gosvami: Please consider what Shrila Rupa Gosvami has said (Ujjvala-nilamani, Gauna-sambhoga-prakarana) about the great wonder of the rasas manifested in the Lord's ashta-kaliya pastimes:
apto 'sau durvigahatam
sprishtam param tata-sthena
"Because it is shoreless, peerless, and unfathomable, I merely stand on the shore of the ocean of rasa and touch only one drop of its sweetness."
Why should this not be so? The ocean of rasa is spirtiual, wonderful, all-pervading, and shoreless. If one tries to describe that spiritual ocean of rasa with words, his words will inevitably be both impure and incomplete. Even if the Supreme Lord Himself describes it, the hearers and readers, still bearing the faults that the material world impresses on them, will not be able to understand it perfectly. Therefore, because the ocean of rasa cannot be fathomed, one can merely stand at its shore and understand only a single drop of it.
Vijaya-kumara: O master, if this is so, then how can I have any conception at all of the spiritual rasas?
Gosvami: the madhura-rasa is shoreless, peerless, and unfathomable. Lord Krishna's pastimes are like that. However, Lord Krishna has two transcendental qualities that give us hope.: He is all-powerful, and He can do whatever He likes. Therefore, even though the ocean of rasa is peerless, shoreless, and unfathomable, Lord Krishna can shrink it so that it fits within the material world. The material world is indeed a very small place. Still, if Krishna wishes He can bring His supremely glorious rasas to the small and insignificant material world. In this way He mercifully descends to the material world and He takes His spiritual and eternal rasas and pastimes with Him. When He descends to the material world, he brings with Him His own spiritual world of Mathura-mandala, which is beyond the touch of matter. One cannot ask how the Lord does all this. Why not? All this is down by His inconceivable potency. Even the demigods and other exalted beings are not intelligent enough to understand how it is done. In this way the Lord manifested His Vraja pastimes, which are the best of all pastimes, and which are beyond the touch of matter. I do not lament merely because I cannot understand them perfectly or completely.
Vijaya-kumara: If the Lord's prakata (manifested) and aprakata (unmanifested) pastimes are the same pastimes, then why are the aprakata pastimes considered superior?
Gosvami: These two kinds of pastimes are identical. Of this there is no doubt. They are both perfect, complete, glorious, and beyond the touch of matter. However, the prakata pastimes can be seen and remembered by conditioned souls imprisoned in the material world, but the aprakata pastimes can be.seen only by purified souls who are mature in devotional service and who have attained the stage of bhavapana-dasha.
O Vijaya-kumara, to you I can disclose this secret. And why not? You are qualified to hear it. By practicing smarana-dasa for a long time, one eventually become qualified for bhavapana-dasa. During smarana-dasha one begins to become cleansed of material contamination, but that cleansing is not complete until one attains bhavapana-dasha. By following smarana-dasha one attains pure sadhana-bhakti. In this way, by the Lord's mercy, pure devotional service is manifested in the devotee's heart. That pure devotion attracts Krishna. In this way, by Lord Krishna's mercy, the devotee advances beyond smarana-dasha. This is described by teh Supreme Lord Himself in these words (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.14.26):
yatha yathatma parimrijyate 'sau
tatha tatha pashyati vastu sukshmam
"When a diseased eye is treated with medicinal ointment it gradually recovers its power to see. Similarly, as a conscious living entity cleanses himself of material contamination by hearing and chanting the pious narrations of My glories, he regains his ability to see Me, the Absolute Truth, in My subtle spiritual form."***
This is also described in the following words of Brahma-samhita (5.38):
santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Shyamasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee."*
A person who has attained the stage of bhavapana-dasa attains spiritual vision and thus can see his spiritual master as a sakhi and yutheshvari. He can also see Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka. Still, until his linga-sharira (subtle material body) is at last dissolved, he does not attain sampatti-dasha (the greatest good fortune) and he does not see Krishna at every moment. When he attains bhavapana-dasa, the pure soul has complete control over his gross and subtle material bodies. However, only when he attains Lord Krishna's complete and full mercy will the soul attain the final spiritual goal, where the soul completely breaks off all relationship with the material world of five elements. Bhavapana-dasha is also called "svarupa-siddhi", and sampatti-dasha is also called "vastu-siddhi".
Vijaya-kumara: When one attains vastu-siddhi, in what way will he see Lord Krishna's name, form, qualities, pastimes, and abode?
Gosvami: I cannot answer. When I myself attain vastu-siddhi, I will be able to see and tell. When you attain sampatti-dasha, you will certainly be able to understand. You will understand without any struggle. And why not? You will see it all before your eyes. You will not need to ask questions. Even what the soul sees at the stage of svarupa-siddhi or bhavapana-dasha an ordinary person cannot understand. And why not? even if he hears a person in bhavapana-dasha describe what he sees, an ordinary person will not understand the description. The nature of a soul situated in svarupa-siddhi is described by Shrila Rupa Gosvami in these words (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.3.29 and 1.4.12):
jane cej jata-bhave 'pi
vaigunyam iva drishyate
karya tathapi nasuya
kritarthah sarvathaiva sah
"If a person is completely detached from material enjoyment and has developed pure ecstatic devotion, even if he is sometimes accidentally found not living up to the standard of devotional service, one should not be envious of him."*
dhanyasyayam navah prema
antarvanibhir apy asya
mudra sushthu su-durgama
"Only the most fortunate persons can achieve such success in life. Those who are simply academic students of the Vedic scriptures cannot appreciate how such a development takes place."*
Vijaya-kumara: If this is so, then why do the Brahma-samhita and other scriptures try to describe the world of Goloka?
Gosvami: When by the Lord's mercy they attain the stage of svarupa-siddhi, Brahma and the demigods speak many prayers to describe what they have seen. However, ordinary persons who are less spiritually advanced cannot understand these prayers very well. Still, there is no need for the devotees to understand all these points. By Lord Krishna's mercy His prakata pastimes are manifested, and you can worship Him. By doing that you will attain all perfection. Within a short time you will attain great spiritual faith, and then the spiritual world of Goloka will be manifested before you. Gokula is the same as Goloka. And why not? Gokula and Goloka are not different places. That spiritual realm is not seen by the eyes of materialists. Materialists do not attain the stage of svarupa-siddhi. Only persons who are qualified can see these spiritual truths. Please Krishna by engaging in His devotional service. Follow Krishna's commands. By following Krishna's commands, you will gradually attain His mercy. Then your vision will be pure and perfect.
Vijaya-kumara had no longer any doubts. He followed the eleven bhavas. He meditated on Lord Krishna's handsome form and pastimes. Staying in a cottage by the seashore, he always tasted the sweetness of pure spiritual love (prema). Meanwhile, Vrajanatha's mother fell sick with cholera and died. Vrajanatha and his grandmother returned home. In Vrajanatha's pure heart was manifested pure love (prema) in sakhya-rasa. He passed his days staying among the Vaishnavas by the Ganges shore at Shridhama Navadvipa. Vijaya-kumara renounced household life and accepted the kaupina of a sannyasi. He lived by taking a little maha-prasadam he obtained by madhukari begging. During the eight periods of the day he meditated on Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. At night he briefly slept. He honored a little prasadam. While he was awake he served the divine couple in ways appropriate to the particular time of day. On japa beads he always chanted the holy names of Lord Hari. Sometimes he danced, sometimes he wept, and sometimes he smiled to see the waves in the ocean. Who can understand the symptoms of his devotional life? He accepted the name Nimai dasa Babaji. He would neither hear nor speak gossip. He was very humble. His actions were pure. He was fixed in devotional service. When someone offered him maha-prasadam or cloth for his kaupina, he accepted only what he actually needed. He never accepted any more than that. When he chanted the holy names of Lord Hari tears would stream from his eyes, his voice would become choked, and the hairs of his body would stand erect. After only a few days he became perfect in devotional service. He obtained Lord Krishna's mercy, and thus he became qualified to enter the Lord's aprakata pastimes. Like Haridasa Thakura, when he died his material body was placed in a tomb by the seashore. Haribol.
guru-krishna-baishnabera kripa-bala dhari'
bhakatibinoda dina bahu jatna kari'
"Bearing with him the mercy of his spiritual master, Lord Krishna, and the Vaishnavas, a poor person named Bhaktivinoda labored greatly to write this book.
biracila jaiba-dharma gaudiya bhashay
sampurna haila grantha maghi-purnimay
chaitanyabda carishata dashe nabadwipe
"This book, the Jaiva-dharma, written in the Bengali language, was completed by the Ganges' shore, at Surabhi-kunja, in Godruma, at Navadvipa, on the full-moon day of the month of Magha in the 410th year after Lord Chaitanya's appearance in this world.
shri-kali-pavana-gora-pade yanra ash
e grantha paduna tini kariya bishwas
"Persons who yearn to attain the feet of Lord Gaura, the deliverer of the Kali-yuga, will have faith in this book.
gaurange janhara na janmila shraddha-lesh
e grantha padite tanra shapatha bishesh
"I place a curse on any person who does not have even even the smallest particle of faith, but still reads this book.
shushka-mukti-bade krishna kabu nahi pay
shraddhabane braja-lila shuddha-rupe bhay
"Persons who speak the theory of dry impersonal liberation cannot understand Krishna. Only faithful persons can purely understand Lord Krishna's pastimes in Vraja.