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Naren Babu receives the Brahmo preceptor's letter and the result
For a few days there was no rain, so the sun's rays were very hot. After taking prasada, Yogi Babaji brought the Babus to sit under the pancavati. There was a soft breeze blowing. As they were discussing various topics, a mailman brought two letters. One of the letters was for Naren Babu, and the other was for Mallik Mahashaya.
Naren Babu carefully read his letter before the others. The letter, written by a Calcutta Brahmo preceptor, was:
I haven't received a letter from you since almost ten days. The sacred Brahmoism has great expectations from you. You should try to deliver the Vrindavana youths' minds from the pit of idol worship. The Vaishnavas have nothing good to offer except their sweet kirtanas. If you can learn some new tunes within a short time, then Harendra Babu can compose some Brahmo songs with those melodies. Please send your weekly report on your preaching of Brahmoism. I would also like to inform you both that your small monthly donations are pending.
Your brother at heart,
Naren Babu read the letter, slightly smiled, and slowly said, “Let us see what happens. Perhaps the Brahmos should not expect a small monthly donation from me anymore.”
Mallik Mahashaya receives Nityananda Babaji's letter
After Naren Babu's letter was read, Mallik Mahashaya, with a joyful face, began reading his letter.
From Ahiri-tola, Nityananda dasa Babaji wrote:
Abode of all auspiciousness,
I'm eagerly awaiting news of your spiritual well-being. Last night in a dream I saw you in Vaishnava dress dancing in a kirtana party. If that is true, then I'm not surprised because you have the holy association of Yogi Babaji. As a result there is no doubt that you have certainly received the seed of the devotional creeper.
As Krishnadasa Kaviraja has written,
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jivaguru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
“Out of all living entities wandering throughout the entire universe, one who is fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”
I know, however, that you are particularly eager to practice yoga. But don't practice dry yoga alone. Although Babaji is a yogi, still he is a rasika. Take some lessons on rasa-tattva from him. If possible, with Babaji's consent, see the most worshipable Pandita Babaji. But unfortunately your association is not good. Brahmos, Christians, and Moslems are very fond of speculation and argument. Association with them makes the storehouse of a rasika's heart go dry. Simply knowing that God is the all-powerful Lord and everyone should worship Him—this is not sufficient. Worship is of two kinds—antaranga, or internal, and bahiranga, or external. External worship is controlled by speculation. It arises from prayer, hymns, gratitude, and duty. There is no such mood in internal worship, but the activities of internal worship are executed naturally out of an indescribable, confidential attraction of the soul.
I hope you will accept the suggestion of this wretched Vaishnava and act accordingly. I close here today.
Shri Nityananda dasa
Hearing the letter's contents, the two Babus condemn themselves
Naren Babu listened to the letter with special attention. He sighed and said, “Fie on this dry speculative philosophy! Whatever Babaji has written is completely true. Anand Babu, alas! Why for so many days we didn't talk with Nityananda dasa Babaji? Babaji used to come to Mallik Mahashaya and we would leave due to considering him bad association. If the Supreme Lord Hari takes us again to Calcutta, then we will beg forgiveness for our offenses.”
Two baula Babajis enter doing kirtana
Before Naren Babu finished speaking, two baula Babajis arrived there. In their hands they held waterpots and gopi-yantras, one-stringed musical instruments. They had moustaches and beards, their hair was bound up like a crown on their heads, and they were dressed in kaupina and outer cloth. The two Babajis arrived while singing the following song:
are! guru-tattva jene krishna-dhana cinle nadhruva-prahladera mata emana bhakta ara habe nadekha cataka name eka paksha, tara krishna-name haya daksha,kevala matra upalaksha, bale phatika jala de' natara nava ghana vari vine, anya vari pana kare nadekha sarva ange bhasma makha, ara sarvada shmashane thaka,ganja bhang dhutura phanka, bhava-rase haya maganase ye tripurari, prema-bhikhari, krishna-pada vai jane najate ati apakrishta, mucirama dasa premira shreshtha,maha-bhavete nishtha, kare ishtha sadhanatara mana ye canga, katuyaya ganga, gangate ganga thake na
“Alas! Not understanding guru-tattva, you didn't appreciate the treasure of Krishna. Such devotees as Dhruva and Prahlada will not be found today. There is a bird named cataka which is expert in chanting Krishna's name. But actually it's a pretense, for it's only asking for clear water. They don't drink any water except from a new cloud. See! His limbs are smeared with ashes, and he always stays in the crematorium. He smokes ganja and takes bhang and dhatura and becomes absorbed in ecstasy. He is Tripurari (Shiva) who begs for prema and knows only the lotus feet of Krishna. Muci Ramadasa is the greatest lover of God, though he's from a wretched caste. He's fixed in mahabhava while serving his worshipable Lord. His mind is pure, so he doesn't need to go to the Ganga—he finds the Ganga in his waterpot.”
The baulas are actually monists
After finishing the song, they took a little rest and then proceeded west on Yogi Babaji's order.
Anand Babu inquired, “Who are they?”
Babaji said, “They are Babajis from the baula-sampradaya. Their philosophy is different from ours. Although they glorify Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's name, we will not call them fellow Vaishnavas. The reason is that they've taken shelter of their own concocted philosophy which is detestable. In reality they are monists.”
The unity and oneness of the philosophies of the four acaryas of the four sampradayas
Naren Babu humbly asked, “Babaji Mahashaya, how many main sects are there in Vaishnavism? On what topics do their philosophies agree?”
Babaji said, “In Vaishnavism there are actually four sampradayas, or sects. The names are: Shri-sampradaya, Madhva-sampradaya, Vishnusvami-sampradaya, and Nimbarka-sampradaya. Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Vishnusvami, and Nimbarkacarya are the original preachers of these four philosophies. They were all born in South India. All the sampradayas agree on the following points:
(1) The Supreme Lord is one without a second. He possesses all transcendental potencies and controls all laws.
(2) The Supreme Lord has an exquisitely beautiful, all-auspicious spiritual form. That form is transcendental to all laws of the material world. In Him all contradictions are wonderfully reconciled. Though He has a form, He is all-pervading. Though He is beautiful, mundane senses cannot perceive Him. Though situated in one place, He is simultaneously fully present everywhere.
(3) Both the animate and inanimate are born from His energies. He is the creator, maintainer, and destroyer of time, place, and law.
(4) The living entity's constitution is spiritual, but by the Lord's desire he is conditioned by material nature and thus enjoys or suffers under those laws. By the process of devotional service, however, he is freed from material bondage.
(5) The paths of jnana and karma are full of hardship. When jnana and karma serve the purpose of bhakti, there is no fault. But, unlike karma and jnana, bhakti is fully independent.
(6) The living entity's duty is to associate with sadhus and discuss devotional service.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu belonged to the Madhva-sampradaya. Neda, daravesha, sanai are all dharmadvajis and nondevotees
“Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered Himself a member of the Madhva-sampradaya. We therefore belong to that sect. The philosophies of the baulas, sanais, nedas, daraveshas, karttabhajas, and atibadis are those of nondevotees. Their instructions and activities are most incoherent. Many people lose respect in Vaishnavism by discussing their philosophies. Actually Vaishnavism cannot be held responsible for the defects of all those hypocrites.
“Mahaprabhu's preaching of Vaishnavism is prominent in Bengal. It is the teachings of the Gosvamis that are accepted there, not the teachings of the baulas.”
Mahaprabhu's teachings are purely presented in the Gosvami's books
At this point Naren Babu asked, “Are Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings recorded in some particular book?”
Babaji said, “No, Mahaprabhu did not write any book. His teachings are purely presented in the books of His associates. Shri Sanatana, Shri Rupa, Shri Jiva, and Shri Gopala Bhatta—the books of these four saintly associates of Lord Chaitanya are highly honored.”
Naren Babu asked, “Babaji, which books have they written? And where are they available?”
Babaji said, “They've written many books. It would take a long time to name them all. I am mentioning the names of a few. Shri Jiva Gosvami wrote the Shat-sandarbhas. The science of devotional service is particularly explained in these books. All the subjects of bhakti are contained in these books.”
There is certain knowledge present in all subjects and sciences, but the science of bhakti is the best
“There is some knowledge in every subject of the world. The sciences of electricity, water, smoke, life, and music all have some knowledge in them. Unless these sciences are discussed well, one cannot have true knowledge about them. Among all subjects of the world, the science of bhakti is the most serious. If bhakti was not scientific, how could it be discussed? The science of bhakti is not found in modern religions. Sanatana-dharma is evolved from Aryan culture, and Vaishnavism is the best part of sanatana-dharma. Therefore the science of bhakti is only possible in Vaishnavism. In Jiva Gosvami's Shat-sandarbha and Rupa Gosvami's Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, the science of bhakti is particularly expounded. These two books are being printed somewhere. I especially request you to study these two books.”
Bhakti is not awakened by reading devotional literatures and argument
Naren Babu said, “I've now understood that those who don't know devotional literatures have meager devotion.”
Babaji said, “Naren Babu! I don't say like that. Bhakti is the constitutional nature of the living entity and is therefore easy to perform. It is not born out of any book. All devotional literatures are born from bhakti. It is not seen that one will get bhakti simply by reading devotional literature. Rather, a fool's faith will generate bhakti, while much argument will not. Every living entity has the seed of bhakti. One has to take the role of a gardener to develop that seed from a sprout into a tree. Activities like discussing devotional literature, worshiping the Supreme Lord, associating with devotees, and living where devotees are engaged in service are required to be done. As the seed of bhakti sprouts the gardener must clean the earth of all thorns and foreign matter. All these things can be nicely done if one properly understands the science of bhakti.”
Thinking Krishna an ordinary person, Naren asks about the Supreme Lord's nature
Naren Babu said, “Babaji Mahashaya! I have a major doubt. Can you please dispel it? It is best for the living entity to offer devotion to the Supreme Lord. If it is offered to Krishna, how can that be proper? Is Krishna the Supreme Lord? We've heard that Krishna took birth at a particular time, He engaged in various activities, and at last He gave up His life at the hands of a hunter. So how can rendering service to Krishna be devotion to the Supreme Lord? Can it be called devotional service if someone worships an ordinary person? If someone gives up worshiping Krishna to serve Lord Chaitanya, I consider he'll be greatly benefited, because Lord Chaitanya was able to associate many times with the Supreme Lord due to His saintly qualities.”
Although one, the Supreme Lord manifests differently to the karmis, jnanis, and bhaktas
Babaji said, “Naren Babu! If Krishna is rejected, then what is the glory of Vaishnavism? There are many religions based on monotheism, but there is no rasa, or loving mellows, in them because Shri Krishna, the summon bonum, is absent. In sadhana there are three subjects: the sadhaka, or the worshiper; the sadhana, or the worship; and the sadhya, or the object of worship. In the execution of devotional activities the proper qualification of the devotional sadhaka, sadhana, and sadhya are required. In the pursuit of the Absolute Truth, sadhana has three divisions: karma, jnana, and bhakti. In the path of karma, the sadhaka is very attached to his duty or the fruits. In this case the work itself is sadhana. One may perform work with desire or without desire. In this path the sadhya is the Supreme Lord, who awards the fruits of work. In the path of jnana, the sadhaka is meditative, the sadhana is meditation, and the sadhya is Brahman—the object of troublesome meditation. In the path of bhakti, the sadhaka is full of love, and the sadhya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A sadhaka is qualified for whichever path he has taste for. We are sadhakas in the path of bhakti, so we have nothing to do with Brahman and Paramatma. All our activities are only in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should not think, however, that Paramatma, Brahman, and Bhagavan are different truths. The sadhya is one only, but manifest differently by different sadhanas. Neither should one think that Bhagavan has various gradations. The Supreme Absolute Truth is one substance and independently devoid of material conditions. But the Supreme Lord manifests to the sadhakas differently according to their eligibility. If you give this special thought then you will understand.”
Naren Babu said, “Babaji Mahashaya. Please explain this subject a little more clearly. I understand something, but ultimately I'm somewhat confused.”
Discussion on the different features of Paramatma, Brahman, and Bhagavan
Babaji said, “Paramatma, Brahman, and Bhagavan are one substance with three features. Paramatma is the creator, maintainer, and destroyer of the world, the controller of all living entities, and the manifestation of the Lord's supreme energy. Paramatma and Parameshvara are identical manifestations. Paramatma is realized by one who has attained higher spiritual vision. Brahman is an indescribable manifestation—transcendental to the material world. Brahman is changeless and all-pervading, still everything rests in Brahman. This manifestation is the second stage in the living entity's understanding. That person whose nature is different from matter and the living entities, who possesses all energies, who performs inconceivable activities, and who has a supremely sweet and opulent form is Bhagavan. His energy in the form of Paramatma enters the world and in the form of Brahman He is fully transcendental, yet still He has a body and activities.”
Naren Babu thought very deeply and said, “Now I've understood your ideas. I see it's not a product of speculation, but the truth. Today I've tasted transcendental bliss. Vaishnavism is most magnanimous. It embraces the philosophies of all sampradayas and outshines the illumination of all other knowledge.”
Anand Babu said, “Naren Babu! Let the nectar flow from Babaji's lips. As I drink this nectar through my ears, I'm becoming mad with ecstasy.”
Naren Babu said, “From today I bid goodbye to Paramatma and Brahman. Bhagavan will be my heart's only Lord. I will be satisfied with Him only.”
Bhagavan's opulence and sweetness; Naren and Anand Babu's natural attraction for sweetness
Babaji said, “There is more to be said. I've already mentioned that Bhagavan is full of aishvarya, or opulence, and madhurya, or sweetness. Therefore devotees of the Lord are of two types. Some serve the Lord of opulence and some love the Lord of sweetness. Naren Babu, which type of sadhaka do you wish to be?”
Naren Babu said, “I have some doubt in this matter. If we consider the Lord without opulence, then where will His supremacy be? But when I hear the word madhurya, I become maddened. I don't understand why.”
Babaji said, “Both aishvarya and madhurya are found in the Lord. When madhurya is intensified, the whole world becomes mad.”
Naren Babu and Anand Babu both said, “We're fond of madhurya.”
Babaji said, “In that case you are natural devotees of Krishna. When Bhagavan's madhurya is increased, the form of Shri Krishna is manifest. This is nicely explained in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Shri Krishna is the sweet moon in all fine arts. Let Him fully manifest in the lotus of your hearts.”
Yogi Babaji's words can never be fruitless. After discussing both subjects a little deeply, Naren Babu and Anand Babu said, “From today, we are Krishna's servants. With flute in hand and complexion like a newly arrived cloud, may Krishnacandra be comfortably seated in our hearts.”
Babaji said, “You see, to whom can a madhurya-bhakta go besides Krishna? Can the aishvarya-bhakta fearlessly display loving affection for Narayana? Had Krishna not been the Supreme Lord, then could we offer sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa, and the topmost madhurya-rasa unto Him?”
Naren Babu and Anand Babu took the dust of Babaji's feet on their heads and felt fulfilled. They said, “From today, please give us lessons on Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu.”
Seeing his two friends mood, Mallik Mahashaya became jubilant and thought, “Nothing is impossible for magnanimous Gurudeva.”
On the instructions of Babaji, the two Babus discuss Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita
Babaji said, “Though you have acquired much understanding of English, you haven't studied Sanskrit. Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu is a Sanskrit book, so you won't be able to quickly understand it. For the time being you should study Chaitanya-caritamrita.”
On Babaji's instruction a disciple brought a copy of Chaitanya-caritamrita. Naren Babu and Anand Babu took the book and began deeply studying it in a kutira. Whatever doubt they had was dispelled by Babaji. Anand Babu and Naren Babu took a vow not to leave the kunja until they had completed the book.
Anand Babu and Naren Babu sat inside one kutira, and Mallik Mahashaya practiced kumbhaka in another. Many listeners came and sat with Anand Babu and Naren Babu, and together they would chant the verses of Chaitanya-caritamrita. Hearing that reading was very sweet.
The natural result of reading Chaitanya-caritamrita—tears of love,dancing, and chanting
In this way after about ten days they finished the book. While reading some passages, tears of love flowed from their eyes. Sometimes their hair would stand on end, and they would set the book aside and dance while chanting the following prayer:
‘gauranga' bolite habe pulaka-sharira'hari hari' bolite nayane ba'be nira.ara kabe nitai-canda karuna haibe samsara-vasana mora kabe tuccha ha'be. vishaya chadiya kabe shuddha ha'be mana kabe hama herabo shri-vrindavana.rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akutikabe hama bujhava se yugala-piriti.rupa-raghunatha-pade rahu mora ashaprarthana karaye sada narottama-dasa.
“When will that day come when simply by uttering Lord Chaitanya's name there will be shivering on my body? Then, as I chant `Hari Hari,' or `Hare Krishna,' there will be pouring of tears from my eyes. When will that day come when Lord Nityananda will be merciful upon me so that my desire for material enjoyment will become insignificant? When will my mind be freed from the contamination of material enjoyment and I shall be purified? Then it will be possible for me to understand Vrindavana. When I shall be eager to study the teachings of the Gosvamis from Rupa Gosvami to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? Then I may be able to understand the pastimes or loving affairs between Radha and Krishna. Let my only desire be to attain the lotus feet of the Gosvamis from Rupa Gosvami to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Narottama dasa Thakura always offers his prayers in this way.”
Many Vaishnavas would sit and listen to Naren Babu's sweet chanting. There was a lot of discussion on the confidential topics discussed between Lord Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya, Rupa, and Sanatana. After reading Chaitanya-caritamrita twice, they began to read Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Often Babaji would happily give instructions.
Naren Babu and Anand Babutake shelter of the holy name
One day Naren Babu and Anand Babu offered obeisances at Babaji's feet and said, “Prabhu! We will be indebted if you give us the Hare Krishna mantra.” Babaji had them clean themselves externally by taking bath and internally by devotion, then without delay he gave them the Hare Krishna mantra. They then began to constantly chant hari-nama on tulasi beads. One day they asked, “Prabhu! Shall we mark our forehead with tilaka?” Babaji answered, “Do as you like. I don't insist on external formalities.”
The two Babus accept Vaishnava dress
Although Babaji showed indifference to external formalities, still, by the Babu's association with the Vaishnavas, they developed a desire to wear Vaishnava dress. When Mallik Mahashaya saw Anand Babu and Naren Babu with tilaka and mala the next morning, he thought, “Krishna can do anything.”
From that day Naren Babu and Anand Babu gave up their beards and moustaches and packed away their foreign shoes. They completely accepted the dress of grihastha Vaishnavas.
The two Babus develop compassion for others
In the evening, Naren Babu and Anand Babu sang a song composed by Naren Babu. Babaji was in ecstasy by hearing that song.
kabe vaishnavera daya ama prati ha'beamara bandhavavarga krishna-nama la'beshushka yuktivada ha'te haibe uddharabrahma chadi' krishne mati haibe sabarasakalera mukhe guru-krishna-nama shuni'anande naciba ami ka're hari-dhvaniprabhu gurudeva-pade prarthana amaramama sangigane prabhu karaha uddhara.
“When will the Vaishnavas be kind to me? When will my friends chant the holy name of Krishna? Then they will be freed from the influence of dry speculation, and they will give up their attachment for Brahman and become Krishna conscious. Hearing everyone chant the glories of guru and Krishna, I'll dance in ecstasy and chant the name of Hari. My prayer at the feet of the Lord and the spiritual master is, `O Lord, please deliver my associates.'”