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PART II - The Teaching of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
The Great Divisions: Relationship, Function & Fruit:
1. The teaching of Shrimad-Bhagavatam falls into three distinct parts according as it treats of: 1) Sambandha or Relationship; 2) Abhidheya or the Function or Activity that pertains to the Relationship; and, 3) Prayojana or the Object or Fruit of such Activity.
2. [In the compilation of Vedanta-sutra], the aphorisms of the Upanishads, which contain the highest teaching of the Vedic literature, are presented in the form of a systematic body of knowledge under the headings of Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana. In his Shat-sandarbha, Shri Jiva Gosvami has applied the same method of treatment to the contents of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is admitted to be the only authentic bhasya or exposition of the Vedanta-sutra.
3. The first of the "Six Sandarbhas," the Tattva-sandarbha, applies itself to the elucidation of the epistemology of transcendental knowledge.... It has made possible the comparative study of religion on the only admissible and scientific basis.
Transcendental Epistemology - A Summary of the Tattva-sandarbha:
Lord Shri Krishna and His Three Principle Energies -
1. Shri Krishna, the Ultimate Reality, is One without a second. [He] is distinct from His energy.... Shri Krishna is the predominating Absolute. His energy is the predominated Absolute in the three positions of antaranga [internal], tatastha [marginal], and bahiranga [external] respectively.
2. Antaranga is that which pertains to the proper Entity of the Absolute Person.... The literal meaning of the word is "that which belongs to the inner body." And the word shakti is rendered as "power."
3. Tatastha means literally, "that which is on the border-line as between land and water." This intermediate power does not belong to any definable region of the Person of Shri Krishna. It manifests itself on the border-line between the inner and the outer body of the Absolute.
4. The power that manifests itself on the outer body is bahiranga-shakti. As there is no [difference] between the Body and the Entity of the Absolute Person, the distinctions as between the inner, outer and marginal positions of His Body are in terms of the realization of thhe individual soul.
5. Although Shri Krishna is One without a second, He has His own multiple Forms corresponding to the degree and variety of His subjective manifestations. The subjective entity of Shri Krishna is not liable to any transformation. His different forms are, therefore, aspects of the One Form manifesting Themselves to the different aptitudes of His servitors.
6. But the power of Shri Krishna is transformable by the will of Shri Krishna. These transformations of power in the cases of the internal and marginal energies are eternal processes. In the case of the external energy the transformations of power are temporary manifestations.
7. The phenomenal worldis the product of the external power of Shri Krishna. The Absolute Realm is the transformation of the inner power. Individual souls are the transformations of the marginal power. [These jivas] are the eternal infinitesimal emanations of the marginal power, capable of subserviency to the inner power, but also susceptible to dissociation from the workings of the inner power.
Methods of Approaching the Absolute -
8. Shri Krishna is advaya-jnana, or absolute knowledge. Absolute knowledge cannot be challenged. He can only be approached by the method of complete self-surrender, by the reciprocal, otherwise ineligible, cognition of individual souls.
9. Transcendental epistemology is differentiated from empiric epistemology with respect to relationship (sambandha), function (abhidheya), and object (prayojana), for the reason that it refers to entities that are located beyond the [limited] range of the assertive cognitive endeavor normally practiced by the deluded people of this world for their temporary purposes.
10. By the peculiarities of their infinitesimality, essentially spiritual nature, and marginal position, all individual souls have the constitutional option of choice between complete subservience and active or passive hostility to Shri Krishna. These opposed aptitudes lead them to the adoption of correspondingly different methods for the realization of the respective ends.
The Methods of Active & Passive Hostility:
1. Those methods that are adopted for the practice of active hostility to the Absolute are termed pratyaksha (direct individual sense perception) and paroksha (associated collective sense perception by many persons past and present)....
2. The aparoksha method (the method of cessation from individual and collective sense perception) leads to the position of neutrality.
3. The pratyaksha and paroksha methods are diametrically opposed to the methods approved by the Bhagavata for the search of the Truth.
4. The aparoksha method also tends to an unwholesome and negative result if it seeks to stand on the mere rejection of the pratyaksha and paroksha methods without trying to progress towards the positive transcendence. Such inactive policy would indeed be tantamount to the practice of passive hostility to the Absolute and as such is even more condemnable than open hostility.
5. No method can be recognized as suitable for the quest of the Truth that is actuated more or less by the purpose of opposing the Absolute Supremacy of Shri Krishna. In other words, individual souls cannot realize the subjective nature of the Absolute except by the exercise of their fullest subservience to Shri Krishna and His inner power [internal energy].
6. The failure of the individual souls to find the Truth is brought about by their own innate perversity. They possess perfect freedom of choice as between complete subservience to Shri Krishna and the practice of active or passive hostility to Him. There is no other alternative open to them. If they chose to refuse to serve they have to practice hostility or indifference towards the Absolute.
7. The perverse individual soul is not obstructed in the active exercise of his freedom of choice. He is enabled to exercise the functions of hostility and indifference within consistent deterring limits, by the wonderful contrivance of the deluding power of Shri Krishna.
8. The continued deliberate exercise of such hostility and indifference towards the Absolute by thhe perverse individual soul results necessarily in the suicidal abdication of all activities by the deliberate offender.
The Methods of Active & Passive Subservience:
1. The methods that are adopted for practicing active and complete subservience to the Absolute are termed respectively as adhokshaja (the external or reverential method of serving the Transcendental Object of worship) and aprakrita (the internal or confidential method of service of the Absolute).
2. Shrimad-Bhagavatam inculcates and divulges the search of the Absolute by the adhokshaja and aprakrita methods. It condemns the pratyaksha and paroksha methods, but recognizes the proper use of the aparoksha method [styled as passive subservience].
The Ascending and Descending Processes:
1. The pratyaksha, paroksha and the [improper] passive aparoksha methods are collectively called the aroha or ascending process. The proper aparoksha, adhokshaja and aprakriti methods constitute the avaroha or descending process.
2. By adoption of the ascending process the perverse individual soul strives to realize his suicidal end by the positive and negative perverse manipulation of mundane experience gained through direct and indirect sense perception.
3. By the descending process the soul is enabled to strive for the realization of the unalloyed service of the Absolute by the honest exercise of his unreserved receptive aptitude to the Initiative of the Absolute when He is pleased to come down to the plane of his tiny perverse cognition.
The Fruits or Objectives of the Different Methods:
1. The fruits that are realizable by the different methods of endeavor correspond to the particular method that is followed.
2. The pratyaksha and paroksha methods aim at dharma (virtue), artha (utility) and kama (sensuous gratification).
3. The wrong aparoksha method aims at pseudo-moksha (annihilation).
4. The right aparoksha method aims at positive transcendence.
5. The adhokshaja method aims at bhakti or reverential transcendental service of the Absolute.
6. The aprakriti method has in view thhe realization of prema or Divine Love.
The Dawning of Pure Theism As Opposed to Hostility:
1. Pure Theism begins with the first appearance of the positive desire for the service of the Absolute, who is located beyond the range of our sensuous activity. It involves the clear perception of the fact that all empiric activity is the deliberate practice of perverse hostility against the Absolute supremacy of Shri Krishna.
2. The word adhokshaja which is applied in Shrimad-Bhagavatam to the Object of worship refers to the fact that Shri Krishna has reserved the right of not being exposed to human senses.
3. The theistic methods alone thus apply to the proper Entity of the Absolute. Those who are in rebellion against the supremacy of Shri Krishna by the adoption of sensuous activity are prevented from all access to His presence by the operation of [the Lord's] deluding power [external energy].
4. The individual soul is always suseptible to being thus deluded by maya, the limiting or measuring potency. The conditions for the practice of sensuous activities in this realm of finite existence are provided by Maya for the correction of the suicidal perversity of the rebellious souls.
5. It is in this manner that a person who is averse to the service of Shri Krishna is made to proceed along the tracks of karma and jnana by the ascending process, [so that he will gain] the bitter experience of the practice of perverse hostility to Shri Krishna and [to] his own self.
6. This world is inhabited by persons who are deliberately addicted to this suicidal course. They are unconditionally committed to the ascending process for sojourning in this realm of nescience. The method is further characterized by the hypocritical assumption of the validity of experience derived through the senses for providing progressive guidance in the quest [for] a state of perfect felicity.
7. The method of quest in which the Truth Himself takes the Initiative is termed the avaroha or descending process. The individual soul can have no access to the Absolute by reason of his infinitesimality, dissociable marginal position, and his own nature as an emanation of power. He can, however, have a view of the Truth if the Absolute is pleased to manifest His descent to the plane of his tiny cognition.
8. Real theism cannot begin till the individual soul is enabled by the descent of the Absolute to have the opportunity for His service. The Absolute manifests His descent in the Form of the Name or the Transcendental Divine Sound on the lips of His pure devotees.
9. Diksha, or the communication of the knowledge of the Transcendental in the Form of the Sound to the submissive receptive cognition of the individual soul by authoized agents of the Absolute, is the Vedic mode of initiation into Transcendental Knowledge.
10. The Name is the Object of worship of all pure souls. The transcendental service of the Name, or bhakti, is the proper function of all souls and the only mode of quest of the Truth. The pursuit of this right method of quest leads to a growing perfection of bhakti and progressive realization of the subjective nature of the Object of worship.
Brahman, Paramatma & Bhagavan:
1. The Ultimate Reality is termed... as brahman, paramatma and bhagavan. The Brahman conception stresses the necessity of excluding the deluded, concrete, limited experience of the followers of apparent truth. The conception of Paramatma seeks to establish a tangible connection between this temporal world and the Ultimate Reality. Both of these conceptions present not only an imperfect, but also a grossly misleading view of the Absolute.
2. The conception of Bhavagan as Transcendental Personality who is approachable by shuddha-bhakti or unalloyed devotion of the soul, corresponds to the complete realization of the Absolute which necessarily also accomadates and supplements thhe rival concepts of Brahman and Paramatma.
3. The Brahman conception is misunderstood by exclusive monists (kevaladvaita of the Shankara school) who quite disingeniously assume that the conception denied the Transcendental Personality and Figure of the Absolute.
4. The root of the error lies in the fear of the impersonalists that if concreteness in the Absolute is admitted, such an admission would lead to the importation of the undesireable features of apparent truth (experienced by the methods of sensuous perception) into the transcendental conception of the Absolute Reality favored by the scriptures.
5. The method of shuddha-bhakti, while recognizing fully the necessity of admitting the Transcendental Nature of the Ultimate Reality, does not deny the immanent transcendental connection of the Absolute with manifest mundane existence (which idea is found in the Yogi's conception of Paramatma, but in a wrong and offensive formulation).
6. The conception of Bhagavan, realized by the process of shuddha-bhakti, harmonizes these respective requirements as secondary features of the Proper Transcendental Personality of the Absolute. The adhokshaja and aprakrita methods of quest, alone tend to such realization.
Sambandha, Abhidheya, and Prayojana Defined In Terms of the Bhagavata:
1. Sambandha, or relationship, implies a numerical reference. The Ultimate Reality is One without a second, though the aspects of the Absolute may prove different in different eyes. The unity of the Ultimate Reality carries a similarity to the integer of mathematical conception, denoting Himself as the Object of worship (Shri Krishna), and connoting His shakti in her three aspects and her transformations and products.
2. Under "relationship," therefore, come all those parts of the teaching of the Bhagavata that reveal the knowledge of the subjective nature of Shri Krishna, the subjective nature of His shakti, or power, in all her three aspects, and the subjective nature of the activities of thhe different aspects of power.
3. Under abhidheya, or function, are included all those parts of the teaching of Shrimad-Bhagavatam which reveal the nature of transcendental worship and, negatively, of the activity of aversion to Shri Krishna.
4. Under prayojana, or fruit, are included those portions of the teaching of Shrimad-Bhagavatam that deal with prema, or spiritual love and, negatively, with dharma (virtue), artha (material utility), kama (lust), and moksha (merging in the Absolute).
Sambandha or Relationship:
1. The worship of Shri Krishna is the only full-fledged, unadulterated function of all souls--the only complete theistic worship. All other forms of worship represent the infinity of gradations of approach towards this complete [form of] worship.
2. Pure theism, involving the active reciprocal relationship of the soul with the Divinity, does not begin until there is actual realization of the Transcendental Personality of Bhagavan Shri Krishna. The degree of this realization corresponds to that of the loving aptitude of His worshiper.
(Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead):
3. The Proper Figure of Shri Krishna (Svayam-rupa) is identical with the Entity of Krishna, and is One without a second. There is an infinity of Aspects of the Divine Figure that emanate from the Figure-in-Himself (Svayam-rupa). These plural aspects of the Divine Figure are of the nature of Identities, Manifestations, Expansions, Plenary Parts, Plenary Parts of Parts, Descending Divinities (avataras), etc. These Divine Aspects, Who are part and parcel of the Divinity in His fulness, are worshiped by the corresponding aptitudes of love of Their respective worshipers.
4. [Just as a] relationship of service subsists between Shri Krishna and His power (shakti) in all her aspects and transformations, [similarly] [t]he infinite Aspects of the Divine Personality Himself, emanating from the Figure-in-Himself (Svayam-rupa), are related to Shri Krishna as Servitor-Divinities Who are possessors of power.
5. These Divine Persons show an order of classification into the categories of Svayam-prakasha (Manifestation-in-Himself), Tadekatma-rupa (Essentially Identical Figure), and Avesha-rupa (The Figure of Divine Super-imposition). Of these, Svayam-prakasha is, as it were, the other self of Svayam-rupa, and is also One without a second. Tadekatma-rupa and Avesha-rupa are multifarious.
6. Each of these Divine Persons possesses His own absolute realm (Vaikuntha) where He is served by the infinity of His servitors. These Vaikunthas transcend the countless worlds of finite existence constituting the realm of the deluding power.
7. Shri Krishna is possessed of 64 Divine Excellences. Shri Narayana, the Supreme Object of reverential worship, possesses 60 of the full perfections of Divine Excellence. Brahma and Rudra, who wield the delegated powers of mundane creation and destruction, possess 55 Excellences, but not in their full divine measure. Individual souls (jivas) possess 50 of the Excellences of Krishna in an infinitesimal measure.
8. The clue to the Supreme Excellence of the Personality of Shri Krishna is supplied by the principle of Rasa which is defined by Shri Rupa as "that ecstatic principle of concentrated deliciousness that is tasted by Shri Krishna and in sequel reciprocated by the serving individual soul on the plane that transcends mundane thought." Shri Krishna is the Figure-in-Himself of the whole compass of the nectarine principle of Rasa. The Figure of Krishna excels all His other Aspects of His Divine Personality by being the Supreme Repository of all the Rasas.
(The Principle of Radha-Krishna):
9. The Supreme Possessor of power, Shri Krishna, is inseparably coupled with His antaranga-shakti, or power inhering in His Own proper Figure. Shrimad-Bhagavatam refers to the service of one particular gopi (lit., one who is fully eligible for the service of Shri Krishna) being preferred by Shri Krishna above all the other gopis.
10. In other words, antaranga-shakti is one and all-perfect. She is the "predominated Absolute." She has her own specific figure, viz., that of Shri Radhika. The two aspects of the antaranga- or svarupa-shakti, namely, tatashtha-shakti and maya- or bahiranga-shakti, reveal themselves in the intermediate and outer regions of the Divine Figure.
(The Individual Jiva Soul):
11. Jivas or individual souls are detachable, infinitesimal emanations of the tatashtha-shakti, sharing the essence of the plenary spiritual power. [They] appear on the border-line between the inner and outer zones of divine power. They have no locus standi in their nascent or tatashtha state. They are eternally exposed to the opposite attractions of svarupa-shakti and maya-shakti at the two poles.
12. Their proper affinity is with svarupa-shakti, but they are susceptible to be overpowered by maya-shakti, at their option. If they choose to be the subservients of maya-shakti, they are subjected to ignorance of their proper nature which results in confirmed aversion to the service of Shri Krishna. In this manner is brought about the deluded condition of individual souls who sojourn in the realm of maya.
13. The constitutions of individual souls in their nascent state, and the realm of maya are comparable to the outer penumbral and the shadowy zones respectively of the sun, while the position of antaranga-shakti is like the inner ball of light which is the proper abode of the Sun-god, who corresponds to Shri Krishna [in this analogy].
14. Individual souls are detachable, infinitesimal emanations of the marginal power located on the border-line and exposed to the opposite pulls of the internal and external energies. They are distinct from the plenary emanations, manifestations and multiples of the internal energy on the one hand, and from the products of the external energy on the other.
15. The individual soul, in his nascent marginal position, is confronted with the alternative of choice between subservience to the plenary power on the one hand and apparent domination over the deluding power on the other. When he chooses the latter alternative, he forgets his relationship of subservience to the inner power and his subservience to Shri Krishna through such subservience.
16. It is never possible for the conditioned soul to understand the nature of the service of Shri Krishna that is rendered by His inner power. There is, therefore, a categorical distinction between the function of individual souls and that of the inner power, even on the plane of service.
17. In the works of the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who propounded the school of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva (simultaneous oneness and difference) the subject of the working of the inner power and individual souls has been treated in all its details. The clue to the comparative study of the working of power on the transcendental plane is supplied by the account of the rasa dance in Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
18. When the individual soul chooses unreserved subservience to the inner power, he has access to the service of the untampered Personality of the Absolute. The kaivalya state, mentioned in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, is the state of unalloyed devotion to the untampered Personality of the Absolute.
(How the Monists Misunderstand Krinsha-lila):
19. Exclusive monists imagine that the figure of the object of worship exists only in the mundane world and that in the final position there is also no activity of worship. In other words, they deny the possibility of the lila, or the eternal transcendental activities of Shri Krishna.
20. Shrimad-Bhagavatam flatly denies this groundless contention in the most explicit terms. There is total absence of all mundane reference in the transcendental activity of shuddha-bhakti.
21. The word activity is not expressive of lila. It corresponds to kriya or mundane activity. Transcendental activitiy has neither beginning or end. There is, of course, relativity in lila, but it is not the unwholesome relativity of mundane activity or kriya. The notion that lila can have an end or termination is due to ignorant confusion between the conceptions of lila and kriya.
22. Shuddha-bhakti belongs to the category of lila. In Vrindavana the gopis serve Shri Krishna by unconventional amorous love. The super-excellence of this service cannot be admitted if the absolutely wholesome nature of all unalloyed activity on the plane of Vraja is disbelieved, on principle, by one's ignorant perverse judgement.
(The Transcendental Purpose of Varnashrama):
23. The function of conditioned souls is of two kinds. The function that is provided by the varnashrama system for conditioned souls is not opposed to shuddha-bhakti. Shrimad-Bhagavatam has treated the varnashrama system from the point of view of unalloyed devotion. Thereby it has provided an intelligent way of viewing the situation of conditioned souls during their sojourn to the mundane world.
24. The spiritual value of the varnashrama system is due to the fact that it admits the possibility of the activity of conditioned souls being endowed with reflected spiritual quality by being directed towards the unalloyed service of the Absolute on the transcendental plane.
25. It is the purpose of the varnashrama regulation to impart this direction to the activity of the conditioned souls. The crucial nature of this theistic purpose of the varnashrama arrangement is fully treated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It is not explicitly treated in any other shastric work.
Abhidheya or Function:
(Unalloyed, Varnashrama and Ignorant Functions of the Soul):
1. Shuddha-bhakti is the only proper function of all unalloyed individual souls and is located on the plane of transcendence. But all animate life forms are potentially eligible for the transcendental service of the Absolute.
2. Varnashrama life is not the unalloyed spiritual life that is led by fully liberated souls. It is the stage preparatory to such life. Neither is it on a par with the life of unmixed sensuousness that is led by people outside the varnashrama society.
3. Every form of activity of conditioned souls outside the varnashrama system is inspired by meaningless malicious hostility to the Absolute. All such activity is necessarily atheistical. This mundane world is the congenial sphere for the practice of the deluded dominating activity that is coveted by conditioned souls for practicing active aversion towards the Absolute. The conditions for such activity are supplied by the deluding power. They constitute the realm of nescience, spiritual ignorance or acit.
4. But as soon as the activity of cit, or uneclipsed cognition is aroused in the spiritual essence of the misguided soul, it dissipates by its appearance such wrong addiction to the ignorant activities of this world and also the susceptibility of being tempted by the deluding power.
5. There is no common ground between the unalloyed spiritual function and the activity of conditioned souls in the grip of nescience. The one does not dove-tail into the other. It is for this reason that the unalloyed spiritual function can never be understood by the resources of the archaeologists, historians, allegorists, philosophers, etc., of this world.
6. Such empiric speculations tamper with the transcendental Personality of the Absolute. They belong to the realm of nescience and constitute the active denial of the Entity of the Absolute. By indulging in such speculations our spiritual nature is deprived of its proper function.
7. Conduct enjoined by the varnashrama system is calculated to counteract the inherent atheistical trend of all worldly activities which are unavoidable in the conditioned state.
8. Activities that are prompted by the urge for sensuous enjoyment create the discordant diversity of this world. One who is addicted to worldly enjoyment has a deluded way of looking at everything. When such a person is established in the proper activity of his unalloyed spiritual nature towards his Transcendental Master, the only Recipient of all willing service in the eternal world, the true view of everything is revealed to his serving vision. There can be no ignorance and misery if the world is viewed aright.
9. The urge for sensuous enjoyment expresses itself in the institutions of family and society of worldly-minded persons. They are traps of the deluding energy. But these very traps are used as instruments of service to the ABsolute by the awakened soul.
10. The hymns of the Bhagavata always reveal the eternal service of the Absolute on the highest plane, identical with the Personality of Shri Gaurasundara, to the enlightened soul.... The language of Shrimad-Bhagavatam reveals its true meaning only to the enlightened soul. That meaning is very different from what even the most renowned linguists may suppose it to be in their blind empiric vanity.
(The Nature of Transcendental Vraja-lila):
11. The Bhagavata gives the highest position to the service of Shri Krishna by the gopis of Vrindavana. In its account of the rasa dance, it gives the clue to the distinctive nature of the services of Shri Radhika and the other milkmaids.
12. Shri Krishna is served by Shri Radhika by herself and simultaneously by her multiple bodily forms in the shapes of the residents of Vraja. The services of the other milkmaids, of Nanda and Yashoda, of Shridama and Sudama, and of all the associates and servitors of Krishna in Vraja, are part and parcel of the service of Shri Radhika.
13. Shri Gurudeva belongs to this inner group of servitors. He is the divine manifested entity for disclosing the forms and activities of all eternal servitors of Shri Krishna. The function of Shri Gurudeva is a fundamental fact in the lila of Vraja where Shri Krishna is served as the emporium of all the rasas. The servitors of Vraja minister to the gratification of the senses of Krishna in every way. Shri Gurudeva is the divine exciting agent of the serving activity of Vraja.
14. [The nature of Transcendental Vraja Lila is liable to be misunderstood by the empiric study of the Bhagavata. The limit of empiric inference is reached by the speculations of the paroksha method. By the abandonment of empiricism, represented by the aparoksha method, the Brahman and Paramatma conceptions are realized. But these also are not objects of worship.]
15. [We have already seen that the activity of service is possible only on the plane of adhokshaja, which yields the realization of the Majestic Personality of the Absolute as Shri Narayana. Aprakrita-vraja-lila, the central topic of the Bhagavata is the highest form of adhokshaja realization.]
(Transcendental and Mundane Sexuality):
16. The dalliances of Shri Krishna in Vraja have a close resemblance to unconventional mundane amour. Sexuality, in all its forms, is an essentially repulsive affair on the mundane plane. It is, therefore, impossible to understand how the corresponding transcendental activity can be the most exquisitely wholesome service of the Absolute.
17. It is, however, possible to be reconciled, to some extent, to the truth of the narrative of the Bhagavata if we are prepared to admit the reasonableness of the doctrine that the mundane world is the unwholesome reflection of the realm of the Absolute, and that this world appears in a scale of values that is the reverse of that which obtains in the reality of which it happens to be the shadow.
18. In the form of the narrative of the Bhagavata, the Transcendental Vraja-lila manifests its descent to the plane of our mundane vision in symbolic shapes resembling those of the corresponding mundane events.
19. If we are disposed, for any reason, to underestimate the transcendental symbolism of the narrative of the Bhagavata, we are unable to avoid unfavorable and hasty conclusions regarding the nature of the highest, the most perfect and the most charming form of the loving service of the Divinity to which all other forms of His service are as the avenues of approach.
20. Sexuality symolizes the highest attraction and the acme of deliciousness in transcendental service. In the amorous performances of Vraja, the secrets of the eternal life are exhibited in their uncovered perfection in the activity of the love of unalloyed souls.
21. We may notice, in passing, certain significant differences between Shri Krishna's amorous dalliances and mundane sex activity which should prevent any hasty conclusions: 1) In Vraja-lila, Shri Krishna is under the age of eleven years; and, 2) The spiritual milkmaids never conceive and bear children to Shri Krishna (the children born of Shri Krishna belong to the less perfect lila of Dvaraka).
22. To suppose the Divine lila to be a product of anthropomorphic speculation is the greatest offense. The Bhagavta declares that the realization of the true nature of the Vraja-lila, in pursuance of the shrauta method, is the only remedy for all conditioned souls afflicted with the disease of mundane sexuality.
23. The conventions of civilized society for the regulation of sexual relationships attain their ethical perfection in the varnashrama arrangement. Thus a person belonging to the varnashrama society can readily appreciate the transparent moral purity of life on the plane of Vaikuntha and Ayodhya, although he cannot understand their esoteric nature. In those realms, the Godhead poses as the ideal monogamous husband.
24. The ethical restrictions of sex relationships that are imposed at Ayodhya by the form of the monogamous marriage are relaxed at Dvaraka where the ABsolute manifests His fuller Personality and appears in the guise of the polygamous husband.
25. The conventions of marriage are abrogated altogether in Vrindavana where the sanctity of wedlock becomes secondary and a foil to the amorous exploits of Shri Krishna in His fullest manifestation.
26. The spiritual function in its unalloyed form has a real correspondence to mundane activity, with the distinction that its objective, mode of activity and instrumental are unalloyed spirit. This makes the inconceivable difference between the spiritual function and mundane activity. It also supplies a kind of explanation for the fact that those activities in Vraja which correspond to the most wholesome performances on the mundane plane, are comparatively speaking the least pleasing in the sight of Shri Krishna.
(The Plane of Mundane Enjoyment and the Plane of Spiritual Service):
27. The sole object of all spiritual activity is gratification of the senses of Shri Krishna. When Shri Krishna is pleased, His servitors experience unmixed joy. This is the reverse of what happens in this world. Activity that yields enjoyment to the person indulging in the same alone possesses attraction on the mundane plane. But such selfish pleasure is never coveted on the plane of spiritual service.
28. The plane of mundane sensuous enjoyment is thereby sharply differentiated from that of spiritual service with respect to the quality and orientation of their respective activities. Desire for mundane enjoyment is potentially, but uncongenially, inherent in the soul. And it can be cultivated at his option. The practice of it, however, leads to the abeyance of his truly natural serving function.
29. Modern civilization does not suspect its own degradation in seeking exclusively for mundane enjoyment. The mind and body of man have a natural aptitude for sensuous gratification, and all his ordinary mundane activities are practiced for its realization. [Thus] few... can grasp [the fact that] the unalloyed essence of the soul has a natural aptitude for the exclusive service of the Absolute which is utterly incompatible with mundane sensuous living.
30. In the transcendental service of the Absolute the aptitude, form, as well as ingredients are uncovered absolutely wholesome living reality. In this complete uncovering of the proper nature of a person by the perfection of his serving function, he is enabled to realize fully the abiding interests of his real entity [or self]. Such unconditional submissive activity towards the Absolute is also necessarily identical with the realization of the perfect freedom of the soul, which expresses itself in the highest forms of his serving activity.
Prayojana or Fruit:
1. In the position of complete realization of the activity of the uncovered soul a person becomes eligible for participation in the Transcendental pastimes or lila of Shri Krishna.... The realization of this all-absorbing love for Shri Krishna is the FRUIT or prayojana of the eternal spiritual activities of all pure souls.
2. Shri Krishna is directly served by His plenary inner power as His only consort. The residents of Vraja, the plane of this inner service, are extensions of the figure of the plenary Divine power. They are the divine participants in the divine pastimes, as all those entities display the nature of the full servitorship of the Divinity.
3. Not so the souls of men, all of whom are susceptible to the temptations offered by the deluding face of the plenary power for preventing the access of the non-residents of Vraja to the arena of the Divine pastimes. We, the sojourners of this mundane plane, have been thus kept out of the plane of Vraja by the deluding face of the Divine Power.
4. Individual souls who are not part and parcel of the inner plenary power have no automatic access to the plane of Vraja. They are also lacking in spontaneous love for Shri Krishna. It is possible for them to attain to the love of Shri Krishna only as accepted subservients of the inhabitants of Vraja.
5. The first appearance of the spontaneous loving aptitude for Shri Krishna in an individual soul elevates him to the condition of the madhyam-bhagavata as distinct from the condition of the maha-bhagavata who possesses love for Shri Krishna in the plenary measure which makes him eligible for participating as a subservient of the servitors of Vraja, in the loving activities of the highest sphere of service.
6. In proportion as the hesitant, reverential serving disposition of the madhyam-bhagavata is gradually developed, by the practice of pure service, into one of subserviency to the inhabitants of Vraja in their unconventional performances of the highest loving services of Shri Krishna, such hesitation and distance are superseded by growing confidence and proximity to the Object of one's highest love. Thereby the spiritual vision is perfected, in conformity with the natural capacity of an individual, and he is enabled to realize the full function of his specific spiritual self.
7. Goloka-Vrindavana is realizable in the symbolic Vrindavana that is open to our view in this world by all persons whose love has been perfected by the mercy of the inhabitants of Transcendental Vraja, and not otherwise.
8. The grossest misunderstanding of the subject of the Vraja-lila of Shri Krishna is inevitable if these considerations are not kept in view. All persons under the sinister influence of the deluding power of Nescience are subject to such misunderstanding in one form or another. They are fated to see nothing but a mundane tract of country in the terrestrial (Bhauma) Vrindavana, and the practice of the gossest forms of debauchery in the Vraja pastimes of Shri Krishna.
9. But the true esoteric vision of the maha-bhagavata is very different from the realization of deluded humanity. It is described in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 17-55:
"When Shri Krishna Chaitanya catches sight of a wood, it appears to Him in the likeness of Vrindavana; and when He looks at a hill, He mistakes it for Govardhana."