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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Prema Pradipa > Second Ray

Second Ray

Haridasa and Premadasa Babaji enter Pandita Babaji's cave in Govardhana,they go with him to the assembly stage,and a Babaji from Birbum performs kirtana


Fully decorated as Vaishnavas, Haridasa and Premadasa arrived at Pandita dasa Babaji's ashrama. Gopi-candana shone on their foreheads, and three strands of tulasi beads decorated their necks. Their right hands continuously counted the holy names on japa-mala within their japa bags. The lower part of their bodies were covered with kaupina and outer cloth, their heads were beautified by shikhas, and their limbs were marked with the Lord's holy names. From their lips came the two names, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.” They had not slept that night, as they had come almost sixteen miles, yet they did not appear tired or exhausted. They were so enthusiastic for the Vaishnavas' darshana that they hardly noticed the crowd of people at the entrance of the cave.

Although Pandita dasa Babaji usually performed bhajana in his cave, in order to discuss with other sadhus he had built some kutiras and a mandapa, which was covered with madhavi creepers. The two Babajis entered the cave and offered obeisances before Pandita dasa Babaji. Seeing the two Babajis, Pandita dasa Babaji became filled with bliss. After a while, when he heard that other sadhus were assembling, he went with the two Babajis and sat in the mandapa. At that time a singer from Birbum sat facing the Vaishnavas and, taking their permission, began singing from Gitavali (in Lalita raga):


nakarnayati suhrid upadeshammadhava cariu pathanam api lesham

sidati sakhi mama hridayam-adhiramyada bhajam iha nahi gokula-viram

nalokayam arpitam uru harampranamantam ca dayitam anuvaram

hanta sanatana-gunam abhiyantamkim adharayam aham urasina-kantam


“Alas! I didn't listen to the advice of My dear friends like Lalita. And I didn't listen a bit to all of Madhava's flattery. O Sakhi! Because I didn't serve the hero of Gokula in this kunja, My heart is breaking. Oh! Madhava offered Me the best garland and repeatedly offered Me obeisances, but I didn't even glance at Him. Alas! Why didn't I embrace My beloved, who is decorated with eternal transcendental qualities?”


Only by serving Krishna can one attain peace, not by yoga practices beginning with yama and niyama


Everyone was fully satisfied by hearing the kirtana, and they embraced the singer. As the kirtana finished many sadhus gradually came and sat and began talking on various topics. At that time Haridasa Babaji said, “Only the devotees of Krishna are blessed. Wherever they may be, they are on the right path. We are servants of their servants.”

In support of this statement, Premadasa Babaji said, “Babaji spoke rightly. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.6.35) it is stated:


yamadibhir yoga-pathaih

kama-lobha-hato muhuh

mukunda-sevaya yadvat

tathatmaddha na shamyati


“Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, and samadhi these are ashtanga-yoga. It is true that by these practices one may achieve peace, but sometimes in the process one may be overwhelmed by lust and greed. Then instead of attaining peace one may enjoy some yogic opulences for sometime before ultimately falling. But in the devotional service of Lord Krishna, there is no fear of irrelevant fruits, for the servants of Krishna certainly attain peace.'”


When a yogi in the assembly advocates the superiority of yoga over arcana, there was a request for a settlement on the topic


At that time there was an ashtanga-yogi present in Pandita dasa Babaji's assembly. Although he was a Vaishnava, he had achieved perfection after practicing pranayama for a long time. As a result, he gave more importance to ashtanga-yoga than to the ninefold process of bhakti. Being slightly dissatisfied with Premadasa Babaji's statement, he said, “Babaji! Don't disregard the yoga-shastras. The yogis can give up eating and sleeping and live for a very long time. Can you render devotional service as seriously as they can? Therefore you should know that yoga is superior to arcana.”

Vaishnavas are naturally not inclined to argue. No one, however, liked the yogi's statement minimizing the importance of devotional service over yoga practice. Everyone remained speechless. Feeling almost insulted, the yogi requested Pandita dasa Babaji for his conclusion.


Pandita dasa Babaji establishes the superiority of devotional service over yoga


At first Pandita dasa Babaji was not inclined to enter into argument, but when the yogi repeatedly assured him that he would accept his conclusion, Babaji began to speak.

“The only goal of all yoga practice and devotional service is Bhagavan, who is worshiped by all living entities. The living entities are basically classified in two categories—one is pure and one is conditioned. The pure living entity is one who has no material connection, and the conditioned entity is one who has material connection. The sadhaka is certainly a conditioned soul, while the pure entity has nothing to practice. The basic difference between the conditioned and pure living entities is that the latter is situated in his constitutional position. His only activity is spiritual engagement, and his nature is pure bliss. The conditioned living entity, being bound by material nature, accepts materially designated duties that are of mixed material and spiritual qualities. When one gives up materially designated duties and accepts pure duties, that is called liberation. Pure love is the constitutional activity of the soul and cannot be differentiated from liberation. The liberation sought by yoga practice is the same as love of Godhead attained by devotional service. Therefore the ultimate result of both practices is one. For this reason the scriptures portray the foremost devotee Shukadeva as a great yogi and the foremost yogi Mahadeva as a great devotee. The main difference between yoga and devotional service is this: in the strict practice of yoga, when one attains samadhi by giving up false designations, he attains his constitutional position—that is, prema is awakened. There is fear, however, that in the long process of giving up false designations the sadhaka may become captivated by insignificant by-products and fall down before attaining the ultimate goal. On the other hand, in devotional service there is only discussion of prema. Devotional service is simply the cultivation of the science of love of God. When all activities are meant for cultivating the ultimate result, there is no fear of useless results. The means are the end, and the end is the means. Therefore devotional service is easier than the practice of yoga and should be accepted in all respects.”


Showing the inferiority of the yoga path


“The domination over material nature attained in the practice of yoga is only a temporary result. In that position the ultimate result may be far off and time and again impediments are observed. In the path of yoga there are hindrances at every step. First, at the time of practicing yama and niyama, religiosity is awakened, and as a result of attaining this insignificant result one becomes known as religious-minded, even though no attempt has been made to achieve prema. Second, during the long period of practicing asana and pranayama one achieves a long life free of disease by controlling the breathing. But if there is still no connection with prema, then one's long life free of disease becomes a source of trouble. Third, although by the process of pratyahara one achieves control of the senses, if prema is lacking this is called dry or insignificant renunciation. The reason is that for attaining the ultimate goal, enjoyment and renunciation give equal results. Useless renunciation simply makes one stone-hearted. Fourth, during dhyana, dharana, and samadhi, even if material thoughts are removed, if prema is not awakened the living entity loses his individuality. If the understanding, `I am Brahman' does not awaken pure love, then that results in destruction of his existence. Therefore, please consider: the ultimate goal of yoga is excellent, but the path is full of difficulties. You are a Vaishnava as well as a yogi, therefore you can understand my words without bias.”

Before Pandita dasa Babaji even finished his statement, all the Vaishnavas exclaimed, “Sadhu! Sadhu!”



Though pleased, Yogi Babaji advocates the usefulness of yoga over devotional service in the matter of sense control

Yogi Babaji said, “Babaji, your conclusive statement is excellent, but there is one thing I would like to say. I had properly practiced the ninefold process of devotional service, beginning with hearing and chanting, previous to learning yoga. But frankly I tell you that in every activity I used to look for sense gratification. I could not free my heart from false designations as described in Vaishnava instructions on conjugal rasa. I was able to taste conjugal rasa only after practicing pratyahara, and now I have no desire for sense gratification. My nature has completely changed. There is arrangement for pranayama in the path of arcana, so I feel that pratyahara practice is also seen in the instructions of bhakti-yoga. Therefore I feel that yoga practice is necessary.”


By dry speculation or practice the sadhaka will certainly fall down if the limbs of bhakti are used as fruitive rituals for sense gratification


After hearing Yogi Babaji's statement, Pandita dasa Babaji thought for a while. Then he began to speak, “Babaji, you are blessed because you did not forget rasa-tattva while practicing pratyahara. In many cases one falls down due to dry speculation and dry practices, for the soul is by nature full of bliss, it can never appreciate dryness. The soul is always in love or attached, therefore the conditioned soul who falls down from his proper position develops love or attachment for another inferior object. For this reason there is hardly any possibility of self-satisfaction, and therefore material sense gratification becomes prominent. When the soul, who is lord of the senses, realizes his eternal rasa, his natural spontaneous attraction awakens and his material affection diminishes. The path of devotional service is the discussion of love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this path as one's attachment thickens the endeavor to gratify the senses naturally diminishes. I feel that when you began devotional service, you didn't have the association of genuine sadhus. That is why you didn't relish the sweetness of devotional service. You executed the ninefold processes of bhakti as if they were dry or selfish fruitive rituals. As a result you were unable to relish even a little transcendental bliss. I think that's why your hankering for sense gratification increased. In that case there is possibility of benefit in yoga practice. It is necessary for the practicing devotee to relish bhakti-rasa in the association of devotees. Even though a devotee enjoys all types of material sense gratification, that enjoyment does not produce hankering for more enjoyment. Sense enjoyment is the main cause of a devotee's renouncing the desire for material enjoyment.”

After hearing this statement, the Vaishnava yogi said, “I didn't know about this, Babaji. I will come in the evening to try to become free of whatever doubts I have. I've heard one gentleman will come from Calcutta today, so I'm taking leave. Please be merciful to me.”

As Yogi Babaji went out, Pandita dasa Babaji's sabha broke up