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According to modern western thought, Vaishnavas are debauchees and bhakti is simply licentiousness
Naren Babu and Anand Babu were lying down together, but for a long time they were unable to sleep because of various thoughts. Naren Babu said, “Anand Babu! What do you think? For a long time we knew Vaishnavism as most despicable. Some debauchees turned Krishna, the crest jewel of debauchees, into God. Even that day Reverend Chart gave a long captivating speech on this subject. Our own head acarya especially warned us many times about Krishna. One day he said that the Vaishnavas speak highly about devotional service, but actually they take the lusty affairs of men and women to be bhakti. He doesn't see that there is a natural propensity which is known as bhakti. But seeing the Vaishnavas' devotional mood and listening to their instructions, so pregnant with knowledge, I no longer feel disrespect towards them. What do you say?”
Anand Babu said, “I don't know, for some reason I now have special faith in them. Pandita Babaji is such a saintly person! Simply seeing him awakens one's devotion for God. His instructions are like nectar. His humility is exemplary. His knowledge is boundless. Just see, Yogi Babaji is such a scholar and expert in yoga-shastra, yet he still learns so much from Pandita Babaji.”
Naren Babu's doubt concerning Deity worship as idolatry and his speculation on this subject
Naren Babu said, “I've noted a wonderful point from Pandita Babaji's talks. The Deity worshiped by the Vaishnavas is not an idol separate from the Lord, but it is just a representation which invokes devotion to the Lord. But my doubt is this: can the divinity be observed in such a token form? The Lord is the all-pervading, omnipresent person. If we put Him in a limited form, are His glories not minimized by subjugating Him into a particular time and place? Moreover, is it a sign of intelligence to imagine one thing in another?”
Anand Babu's more refined conception of Deity worship
Anand Babu understood a little more. He said, “Naren Babu! I no longer like to have such doubts. The Supreme Lord is that person who is without a second, no one is equal or superior to Him. Everything is controlled by Him. There is nothing that can arouse enviousness in Him. Whatever activity one does to attain devotion to Him, He awards the fruits according to the firm determination in one's heart. Particularly, all formless truths have some representation. Although the representation is different from the represented object, still, it symbolizes the mood of that object. As watches represent formless time, essays represent subtle knowledge, and pictures represent acts of mercy, in the same way there is no doubt about the benefit obtained from the form of the Deity in the execution of devotional service. I don't feel Deity worship should be despised as idolatry. Rather, the Deity may be especially adored, considering it a representation of the Supreme. If the watch and books are kept with care, then what is wrong in worshiping the Deity which invokes devotional feelings? The Lord knows that such activities are meant for Him. He will certainly be pleased as a result.”
Babaji assures them to discuss idol worship later and advises them to sleep
Naren Babu and Anand Babu thought Yogi Babaji and Mallik Mahashaya had fallen asleep. That is why they were openly discussing all those subjects. Yogi Babaji was always beyond sleep, therefore, after hearing all their talk he gestured and said, “It is late in the night, go to sleep. Tomorrow I will discuss all these topics.”
Naren Babu and Anand Babu had now become quite faithful. Apprehending Babaji's mercy, they respectfully said, “Babaji! We also take shelter at your feet as Mallik Mahashaya did. We pray for your mercy.”
Babaji said, “I'll try to explain tomorrow.”
In a short time everyone fell asleep. Seeing them sleep, Babaji engaged in yoga practices which they were unable to see.
Yogi Babaji explains raja-yoga - the eight processes of raja-yoga
Rising early in the morning they performed their morning duties and sat at the base of the pancavati.
Mallik Mahashaya inquired about raja-yoga, and Babaji began to explain, “Samadhi is the main process of raja-yoga. In order to attain samadhi one first practices yama, then niyama, then asana, then pranayama, then pratyahara, then dhyana, and then dharana. One must practice these processes. If the sadhaka is of good character, religious, and pure, however, he then first practices asana. If he has faulty character or any impure mleccha habits, then he must certainly first practice yama and niyama. The philosophy of Patanjali is the shastra of the yoga system. I will explain raja-yoga based on Patanjali's statements.
“yama-niyama-pranayama-pratyahara-dharana-dhyana-samadhayo 'shtavangani” (Pd. 2.29)
“(1) Yama, (2) niyama, (3) asana, (4) pranayama, (5) pratyahara, (6) dharana, (7) dhyana, and (8) samadhi—these are the eight processes of raja-yoga.”
(1) Yama - five kinds such as nonviolence and truthfulness
ahimsa-satyasteya-brahmacaryaparigraha yamah (Pd. 2.30)
(A) Ahimsa, nonviolence; (B) satya, truthfulness; (C) asteya, refraining from theft; (D) brahmacarya, celebacy; and (E) aparigraha, freedom from possessiveness—these five are yama. Those who are violent should carefully give it up.
(A) The desire to kill other living entities is called himsa. Yavanas, as well as Aryans who are influenced by tamo-guna or rajo-guna, should practice ahimsa before taking instructions in yoga.
(B) Those who are liars should practice speaking the truth.
(C) Those who steal other's wealth should practice asteya.
(D) Those who are fond of sex should refrain from that habit.
(E) Those who desire other's wealth should subjugate that desire.
(2) Niyama—five kinds such ascleanliness and satisfaction
shauca-santosha-tapah-svadhyayeshvara-pranidhanani niyamah (Pd. 2.32)
`Shauca, cleanliness; santosha, satisfaction; tapa, austerity; svadhyaya, Vedic study; and ishvara-pranidhana, meditation on the Supreme Lord—these five are niyama.' The body should be kept clean. Learn to keep the mind satisfied. Learn to tolerate all kinds of difficulties. If one has committed many sins, one should learn to repent for them. One should acquire knowledge by studying the Vedic literatures. One should learn to engage his mind in the Lord.
(3) Asana—Out of thirty-two kinds,padmasana and svastikasana
(tatra) sthira-sukhamasanam (Pd. 2.46)
All the asanas I previously mentioned in the description of hatha-yoga are accepted in raja-yoga also. Padmasana and svastikasana are famous in raja-yoga. For example, padmasana is described as follows:
urvoru-parivinyasya samyak padatale ubheangushthau ca nivadhniyat hastabhyam
‘Placing the soles of both feet on the thighs and holding the big toes with the hands (is called padmasana).'
And svastikasana is described in these words:
janurvorantare yogi kritva padatale ubherijukayah samasinah svastikam tat pracakshyate
'Placing the soles between the knee and thigh and sitting straight is called svastikasana.'
(4) Pranayama—Perfection by recaka,puraka, and kumbhaka
tasmin sati shvasa-prashvasayor gati-vicchedah pranayamah (Pd. 2.49)
‘When performing asanas, pranayama in the form of moving and stopping the incoming and outgoing airs should be practiced.' When the air is exhaled through the nostrils, that is called recaka or svasa. When the air is inhaled through the nostrils, that is called puraka or prasvasa. When the air is retained, that is called kumbhaka. By recaka, puraka, and kumbhaka one becomes perfect in pranayama.
People who have perfected yama and niyama and mastered asanas should practice pranayama.
Three rules in the practice of pranayama:(A) relating to place, (B) relating to time, and(C) relating to number
(sa tu) bahyabhyantara-stanbhavrittir desha-kala-sankhyabhih paridrishto dirgha-sukshmah (Pd. 2.50)
'In the practice of pranayama, while inhaling, exhaling, and retaining air, there are a few rules relating to the place, time, and number.'
(A) The rules regarding place are as follows: The sadhaka should go to a sacred, level, undisturbed place where the body, mind, and intelligence can remain fixed. Sitting on a seat of kusha grass covered with deerskin and soft cloth, the sadhaka should practice pranayama. Nearby there should be a transparent reservoir of water. The room should be clean, and the air should be healthy. Light foods which are pleasing to the sadhaka should be easily available nearby. There should be no disturbances from snakes, animals, and mosquitos. The place should not be far from one's native land, but it should also not be one's own house.
(B) The rules regarding time are as follows: The best time for practicing pranayama is at the beginning or end of winter. Pranayama may be nicely practiced in the morning, midday, afternoon, and late night. Pranayama should not be done on an empty stomach or just after eating. The sadhaka must take light food. Intoxicants, meat, and fish are forbidden. Sour, dry, salty, and spicy foods are also forbidden. Slightly sweet and fatty foods, especially sweet rice should be taken from time to time. Irregular activities like early morning bath and late night eating are forbidden.
(C) Rules regarding number are as follows: Being seated, one should mentally chant bija mantra sixteen times while inhaling through the nerves ida, or candra. That air should be retained while chanting upto sixty-four times. Then that air should be exhaled while chanting upto thirty-two. After that one should inhale through the nostril called surya, or pingala, while chanting sixteen times, retain while chanting sixty-four times, and exhale through ida chanting thirty-two times. Again one should inhale through the ida and, after retaining, exhale through the pingala while chanting as before. By doing this three times, one matra, or unit, of pranayama is complete. The left nostril is called ida, or candra, and the right is called pingala, or surya. The retention cavity is called sushumna. According to other opinions recaka is done first. In either case the result is the same.
Through purification of the nerves by `matra,' pranayama's kumbhaka is performed
By practicing pranayama from one to twelve matras, adhama-matra is done. If one can do sixteen matras it is madhyama-matra. By practicing twenty matras, uttama-matra is accomplished. All matras are done five times—morning, midday, afternoon, after dusk, and midnight.
After three months of practice in this way the nerves are purified. After the nerves are purified, pranayama's fourth part, kevala-kumbhaka is completed. Patanjali has stated:
bahyabhyantara-vishayakshepi caturthah (Pd. 2.51)
'Pranayama is performed without recaka and puraka in the fourth kumbhaka (called kevala).'
If kumbhaka is performed well, two great fruits are obtained. First, the mind's covering of external perception is reduced. Second, one's mind becomes eligible for dharana.
svavishayasamprayoge cittasya svarupanukaraivendriyanam pratyaharah (Pd. 2.54)
'When the senses are not fully engaged in their respective sense objects but are restrained within and simply superficially touch the sense objects, that is called pratyahara.' When one practices to gradually engage the act of seeing within, that is called pratyahara of the eyes. Similarly, when all the senses are withdrawn, the mind is gradually controlled and hankering for sense gratification diminishes. Only a sadhaka can experience how this happens. I got special benefit by practicing this system.
desha bandhash cittasya dharana (Pd. 3.1)
'When the mind is fixed on some place like the navel or nose this is called dharana.' The ultimate result of dharana is obtained with the help of dhyana and the awakening of samadhi. But, during the practice of dharana many powers are acquired. I don't think it's necessary to mention them here. It should be known that those who are seeking the ultimate truth don't look for powers. Although many powers are present while practicing dharana, the Vaishnavas don't accept them. What the yoga philosophers call dharana is called mudras in hatha-yoga.
tatra pratyayaikatanata-dhyanam (Pd. 3.2)
`In the place where dharana is executed, the harmony of jnana is called dhyana.' For example, when dharana is fixed on Krishna's lotus feet, that state of harmonious knowledge or conviction is called carana-dhyana, or meditation on the Lord's feet. If dharana is not fixed, then undisturbed dhyana is not possible.
(8) Samadhi: In raja-yoga one can relish prema while practicing raja-yoga in the state of samadhi
tad evartha matra-nirbhasam svarupa-shunyam iva samadhih (Pd. 3.3)
`When the object obtained by dharana remains manifest in dhyana, but it appears devoid of identity, that state is called samadhi.' Those impersonalists who achieve samadhi no longer note the characteristic called vishesha, or variety. That sort of samadhi is attained in the final stage of hatha-yoga. In the state of samadhi in raja-yoga, truth beyond material nature is realized. In that state one can taste unalloyed love. That subject cannot be described by words. When you attain samadhi, you can understand that state. Anything more than what I've instructed cannot be expressed in words.”
Mallik Mahashaya's eagerness to learn raja-yoga
Yogi Babaji spoke until here and then stopped. During the explanation, Mallik Mahashaya wrote down a little summary of each topic. When the instructions came to samadhi, he fell at Babaji's feet and said, “Prabhu! Be kind on this servant and teach me yoga practice. I'm selling my life at your holy feet.”
Babaji picked Mallik Mahashaya up, embraced him, and said, “Yoga practice is done alone. You can start tonight.”
Being pleased by Babaji's scholarship and gravity, Naren Babu and Anand Babu humbly bowed their heads and offered their respectful obeisances to Babaji.
Anand and Naren Babu propose to take instructions from Babaji
Anand Babu said, “Babaji Mahashaya! We came like lions, now we've become like dogs. When we came we thought that the Hindus have given up social life for idol worship and useless vows. We were to offer them life again with our preaching of Brahmoism. We thought Vaishnavas were bereft of understanding the Absolute Truth and uselessly renounce the world on the advice of others. They accept the renounced order simply as a means to get a woman. Our preaching the illuminating teachings of Brahmoism would dispel the darkness from the Vaishnavas' hearts. We have come to your holy feet for just a few days, but our misconceptions have been dispelled by seeing your behavior, scholarship, and divine love. What more can we say, we've decided to stay at your holy feet.”
Vaishnavas are faultless, but doubting why they're called idol worshipers, the Babus inquire from Babaji
Naren Babu offered his obeisances at Babaji's feet and humbly said, “If you have compassion on us, then please dispel these few doubts and free us from our mental distress. I'm convinced that Vaishnavism is almost faultless. Whatever appears defective in our speculative hearts, whatever misconceptions arise, are all actually not mistakes but some kind of special traditions. By these traditions unknown subjects are made known to the common people. I don't think that such an exalted scholar as you would practice any illusory worship.”
Babaji explains the science of Vaishnavism
With a smile on his face, Babaji said, “Babuji! You've come close to the truth. The Vaishnava science is actually aparokshavada. What is suddenly heard or seen is not necessarily true. The science of Vaishnavism is completely transcendental. That's why all the histories, descriptions, and delineations on Vaishnavism are related to the spiritual world. We commonly call that world Vaikuntha. The wonder and variety of that world can not be put in words, nor can it be comprehended by the mind. The reason is that words and mind are always bound by material endeavor. The nature of Vaikuntha is described and delineated in Vaishnavism with the support of similar truths in respective subjects within the material world. Vaishnavism is examined and scrutinised by supreme samadhi. That is why in Vaishnavism more faultless, confidential truths can be attained than in religions which arise from speculative philosophies. All religions that are based on speculation are insignificant and incomplete. But when the goal of religion is found through samadhi, you should know that is the eternal religion of the living entity. Indeed, prema is the life of Vaishnavism. Prema can never be attained in religion which follows the path of speculation. Most fortunately, you're attracted by Vaishnava prema. After honoring prasada today, I will listen to your doubts and clear them as far as I'm able.”
Babaji and the Babus chant anddance before the Deity
At that time the conch was blown in the temple room. Babaji said, “Puja is finished. Let us take darshana of the Deity.”
Everyone got up and took the Lord's darshana with folded hands. Tears of ecstasy started flowing from Babaji's eyes. Babaji began dancing and singing the following song:
jaya radhe krishna, jaya radhe krishna, jaya vrindavana-candra
Seeing the Babaji's ecstatic dance, Mallik Mahashaya also began to dance.
Naren Babu and Anand Babu said, “Let us also dance. No one is here to laugh at us. If our doubts are dispelled today, then we won't feel shy chanting Radha-Krishna.” Saying this the two started clapping and dancing with Babaji. Then the pujari brought caranamrita and they all took.
After a while the midday bhoga offering was finished. Then Babaji and the three Babus took prasada with great respect.