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Mallik Mahashaya, Naren Babu, and Anand Babu arrive at Yogi Babaji's kunja
On the way, while leaving Pandita dasa Babaji's ashrama, Yogi Babaji could understand by the sun's position that it was about eleven o'clock. He was walking rather quickly towards his kunja. Near a tamala tree he saw three Bengali gentlemen coming. He considered that one of them was Mallik Mahashaya. Babaji had previously received news of their intended arrival, so he had kept his kunja cleansed. As the three gentlemen came near, Babaji inquired, “Where do you live? Where are you going?” Among the three, one was wise by age—perhaps sixty years old. His hair and moustache were practically white. He was wearing a fine cotton shirt with dhoti and cadara. He was carrying a bag in his hand and wearing Chinese shoes. The other two had beards and were thirty or thirty-two years old. They were wearing glasses and holding walking sticks and bags. They all held umbrellas over their heads. The wise gentleman came forward and said, “We've come from Calcutta. We will go to Yogi Babaji's ashrama. Nitaidasa Babaji has written him a letter.”
On hearing this, Yogi Babaji said, “Then you're looking for me. Are you Mallik Mahashaya?” The gentleman said, “Yes sir.” Babaji cordially received them and brought them to his kunja.
The kunja was very sanctified. Three or four kutiras were surrounded by trees. There was one temple room. Babaji arranged for their meal after first engaging his disciple in their service. After taking bath in Manasa-ganga, they took prasada. On finishing their meal, they sat under the pancavati<$FPancavati is a place where five different types of vata trees—ashvattha, bilva, vata, dhatri, and ashoka—are growing>and conversed.
Mallik Mahashaya said, “Babaji Mahashaya! Everyone in Calcutta glorifies you. We've come to your feet with the hope of getting enlightenment.”
Babaji happily said, “Mahashaya, you are a great soul. Nityananda dasa Babaji wrote me that such a Hindu lover of learning as you is hardly seen in Calcutta. You've studied many yoga scriptures and practiced the same.”
Mallik Babu introduces himself
Slightly smiling, Mallik Babu said, “This is a good morning for me, that I've met such a yogi as you.”
As he spoke, Mallik Babu fell at Yogi Babaji's feet and continued, “Babaji, please forgive me for the offense I committed. The first time I met you I didn't offer obeisances. Babaji, nowadays in Calcutta the old customs are so far lost that we don't even offer obeisances when we see our superiors. Now let me have the pleasure of touching your feet in this secluded place. My history is this: in my early days I was an atheist. Later, when I received education from the Christians, I thought their religion was better than ours. I went many days to pray in church. Then I embraced Brahmoism, the modern religion preached by Raja Rama Mohan Raya. Then for some days I practiced the foreign arts of demonology, clairvoyance, and mesmerism. In order to properly practice that art I went last year to Madras to see Madam Laurence. By that art I could make departed personalities appear by remembering them. With a little endeavor I could get messages from distant places. Seeing all my abilities, one day Nityananda dasa Babaji said to me, `Babu! If you can see Yogi Babaji at Govardhana you may attain many supernatural powers.' Since then I've developed firm faith in Hindu scriptures. I no longer eat meat, and I always remain pure. I've developed more abilities due to these habits. Now I follow many Hindu vows. I drink Ganges water, I don't take food touched by non-Hindus, and morning and evening I offer prayers to God.”
The introduction of Naren Babu and Anand Babu
“Naren Babu and Anand Babu came with me. They have faith in Brahmoism, but they don't hesitate to accept that there is some truth in the yoga-shastras. I've shown them a number of results from yoga. Now they have as much faith in me as they have in their preceptor. They had no desire to visit Hindu tirthas, where one must indulge in many forms of idolatry. While taking prasada today it appeared from Naren Babu's facial expression that he felt distressed. I feel, however, that they will soon have faith in Hindu shastras like I do. I'm taking shelter at your feet; would you please give me some instructions in raja-yoga?”
Yogi Babaji fears falling down due to materialistic association
Listening to Mallik Babu's prayer, Yogi Babaji displayed an amazing mood of slight joy and sorrow. “Babuji, I'm indifferent and don't have much connection with worldly life. I stayed in a cave in Badrikashrama and, by the practice of kumbhaka, I hardly ate for almost a year. Suddenly I met the great devotee son of Vyasa, Shukadeva, who told me to return to Vraja. Since then, I've become somewhat worldly-minded by the association of the Vraja-vasis. Still, I don't live with those who are extremely attached to material life. So far, your dress, eating, and association is like that of extremely worldly-minded people. I'm apprehensive; if I associate with worldly-minded people, I may fall from the yoga path.”
Mallik Mahashaya's vow, change of dress,and acceptance of the holy name, as well as Naren and Anand Babu's independencedue to their faith in Brahmoism
Hearing Babaji's words, Mallik Babu said, “I'm prepared to accept dress and eating habits according to your orders, but how can I renounce my two companions? Here is my plan: let Naren Babu and Anand Babu stay here one or two days, and then they can go to Bangiya Samaj in Vrindavana. I will stay under your feet for six months and practice yoga.”
Naren Babu and Anand Babu fully accepted that proposal and said, “Within two days we'll be going to Vrindavana, where our servants are waiting for us.” This arrangement was finalized.
Naren Babu and Anand Babu then went to see the surrounding natural beauty. Seeing Babaji alone, Mallik Babu said to him, “Babaji, it wasn't right for me to bring them here, because on seeing their dress everyone neglects them. If you are merciful to me, then I will soon give up the association of all non-Aryans.”
Babaji said, “By seeing a Vaishnava's dress and behavior, many people give up their company. That is not my habit. I never hesitate to be even with yavanas. Vaishnavas are never envious of other classes, still, for the sake of convenience, I feel one should accept Vaishnava dress and behavior.”
One hardly accepts Vaishnava dress after one day's instruction, still, either due to previous samskaras or to acquire Yogi Babaji's confidence, Mallik Babu immediately gave up his Rs.5/- leather shoes. He wore a tulasi-mala on his neck and tilaka on his forehead and then offered obeisances to Babaji. Babaji gave him permission to chant hari-nama softly on beads, and Mallik Mahashaya began this practice.
When Naren Babu and Anand Babu returned from their walk and saw Mallik Mahashaya's condition, they conversed, “What sort of mentality is this? It seems our staying here is not good. Though he's a great pandita and seeker, still he's restless. What is this new appearance? Why so far in one day? Let's see what happens. We won't disrespect our sacred Brahmoism. Anyway, we will examine human character by watching him.”
Seeing Naren Babu and Anand Babu coming near, Mallik Mahashaya became somewhat restless and said, “Naren! See what I've become. Anand! Are you displeased?”
Both Naren and Anand said, “You are the object of our respect. We are not displeased with any of your actions.”
When Yogi Babaji makes some spiritual inquiry, Brahmo preceptor Naren Babu exposes defects in Hindu dharma
Babaji said, “You are learned and religious-minded. But have you discussed the Absolute Truth?”
Naren Babu was a Brahmo preceptor. He often assisted teaching the Brahmos. On hearing Babaji's questions, he put his glasses on and began to speak.
“Bharat is contaminated with some defects since a long time. The defects are: (1) Jatibheda, or castism. Every human is the son of one father. Everyone is brother. Far from making progress, Indians are gradually becoming fallen because of castism. Especially they are greatly disliked by the advanced European races. (2) By giving up impersonal Brahman and worshiping many imaginary gods and goddesses, they have gone very far from God. (3) Idol worship. (4) Uselessly taking vows such as fasting. (5) Uselessly giving respect to cunning brahmanas. (6) Due to abominable habits, our brothers are gradually going to hell. (7) Belief in rebirth and considering all animals are living entities. (8) Refrain from meat eating. As a result of a lack of proper food their bodies become weak and they are unable to rule the kingdom. (9) Weak husbandless women suffer humiliated conditions due to widowhood. In order to deliver India from these malpractices, the seed of sacred Brahmoism sown by philanthropist Raja Rama Mohan Raya has grown into a tree which is giving fruit these days. We pray to the impersonal Lord that all Indians may become free from the darkness of illusion and accept Brahmoism as taught in the Upanishads. Babaji Mahashaya! When will that day come when we will all pray together?”
Naren Babu spoke in a faltering voice and then became silent. At that point no one spoke further.
Babaji became a little resolute and said, “Yes, it is better to develop some God consciousness then to have doubts. I once stopped at Valmiki Muni's ashrama on my way to Kanpur. In a public place there I heard these things from an Englishman. After that, I never heard such talk again.”
When Babaji asks some basic questions, Anand Babu responds with the teachings of Brahmoism
Babaji further said, “Alright, I would like to ask about some basic topics. (1) What is the constitution of God? (2) What is His relation with the living entities? (3) What is the process to please Him? (4) What happens to the living entity if God is pleased? (5) Why is the Lord worshiped?”
Anand Babu was a modern man from a good family. He gave up his sacred thread and became a preacher of the Brahmo philosophy. When he heard Babaji's scientific questions, he was enthused and stood up. He said, “O Mahatma! Please listen. There are answers to all questions in the storehouse of Brahmoism. Don't minimize Brahmoism because it has no scriptures. All those religions which highly regard some scripture certainly have some old mistakes in them. Your Vaishnava philosophy appears like a small pond in a field compared to the ocean of Brahmosim. Pearls are not found in that pond, pearls are obtained from the ocean. Although we don't have voluminous scriptures, still the scriptures we have, named brahma-dharma, answer all questions like someone who has all knowledge at his fingertips.”
Anand Babu opened his bag and put on his glasses. He took a small book from his bag and began to read: “(1) God is formless. (2) His relationship with the living entities is like a father to His sons. (3) He is satisfied by activities which are dear to Him. (4) We get abundant joy. (5) He provides us the mother's breast milk, the grains in the field, and the fish in the reservoir of water. Therefore we are indebted to Him and obliged to worship Him. You see how our dharmacaryas have given the essential truths in a few words. You would have written a voluminous scripture like Mahabharata to explain these five points. Blessed is Raja Rama Mohan Raya! All glories to him! Let the flag of Brahmoism fly from one corner of the world to the other.”
Seeing the intense gaze of the bearded Anand Babu, Babaji smiled and said, “All good to you. May the Supreme Lord one day attract you. Today you are my guests. I should not say anything which could give you anxiety. If Lord Gauranga desires we will soon discuss the whole subject.”
On hearing Babaji's humble statement, Naren Babu and Anand Babu put their glasses away and smilingly said, “As you say. We will gradually listen to all your conclusions.”
In answering Mallik Babu's questions,Yogi Babaji compares raja-yoga with hatha-yoga
When everyone became silent, Mallik Mahashaya continued saying, “Babaji Mahashaya! Kindly explain raja-yoga.”
Yogi Babaji said, “So be it.” and began speaking.
“The yoga practiced by philosophers and Puranic scholars is called raja-yoga. Yoga prescribed by the tantric panditas is called hatha-yoga. I've little taste for hatha-yoga, because it is an obstacle in the practice of Vaishnavism. Hatha-yoga is described in the shakta and shaiva tantras as well as the scriptures written from those tantras, like Hatha-yoga dipika and Yoga-cintamani. Among those scriptures I consider Shiva-samhita and Gheranda-samhita the best. During my stay at Kashi I studied those scriptures and practiced some of them, but ultimately I came to see that one can only get some bodily benefit from that system of yoga. Attaining samadhi by that process is not easy.”
Analysis of the science of hatha-yoga
“This is the science of hatha-yoga in short:
(A) Through pious and impious activities, the living entity gets a container in the form of a body. The living entity within the container is born and dies according to his karma.
(B) That container, in the form of an unfired pot, is not useful even after burning. There is always chance of danger in the ocean of material existence. By hatha-yoga that container is purified by fire.
(C) Seven kinds of bodily purification are:
(1) shodhana, or purification by six activities;
(2) dridhikarana, or becoming strong by practicing asanas;
(3) sthirikarana, or becoming steady by practicing mudras;
(4) dhairya, or becoming indifferent by practicing pratyahara;
(5) laghava, or becoming light by pranayama;
(6) pratyaksha, or direct perception by dhyana; and
(7) nirliptikarana, or becoming free from worldly attachments by samadhi.
(C1) Six activities for purification are:
(1) dhauti (2) vasti, (3) neti, (4) lauliki, (5) trataka, and (6) kapala-bhati—by these six activities the body is purified.
(1) Dhauti, or cleansing, is of four types:
(a) antar-dhauti, or internal cleansing vatasara, by air; varisara, by water; bahisara,
and bahishkriti, also by air, are the four kinds of antar-dhauti.
(b) danta-dhauti, or cleansing the teeth danta-mula, the roots of the teeth;
jihva-mula, the root of the tongue; karna-randhra-dvaya, the ears; and kapala-randhra,
massaging the forehead; are the five kinds of dhauti known as danta-dhauti.
(c) hrid-dhauti, or cleansing the heart danda-dvara, by stick; vamana-dvara, by vomiting;
and vastra-dvara, by cloth, are the three kinds of hrid-dhauti.
(d) mala-dhauti, or cleansing the stool danda, by stick; anguli, by finger; and
jala-dvara, by water; will purify the mala.
(2) Vasti, cleansing the abdomen, is of two types:
(a) jala-vasti, or sitting in water upto the navel and contracting, and
(b) shushka-vasti, dry contraction.
(3) Neti, passing a string (the length as measured from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the outstreched small finger) into the nostril and out the mouth.
(4) Lauliki, quickly swinging the head from side to side.
(5) Trataka, without blinking the eyes, staring at a point till tears come.
(6) Kapala-bhati, or bhala-bhati, (inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other, then vice versa) is of three kinds:
(a) avyutkrama, (b) vyutkrama, and (c) shitkrama.
(C2) Becoming strong by practicing asanas:
Thirty-two kinds of asanas are advised. After cleaning the container, asana is practiced to make the body strong. This is the second process of hatha-yoga. Siddhasana, padmasana, bhadrasana, muktasana, vajrasana, svastikasana, simhasana, gomukhasana, virasana, dhanurasana, mritasana, guptasana, matsyasana, matsyagrasana, gorakshasana, pashcimottanasana, utkatasana, shakatasana, mayurasana, kukkutasana, kurmasana, uttana kurmasana, mandukasana, uttana mandukasana, vrikshasana, garudasana, vrishasana, shalabhasana, makarasana, ushtrasana, bhujangasana, and yogasana. Any one of these asanas can be practiced.
(C3) Becoming steady by mudras:
By practicing asana the container is made strong, then by performing mudras it becomes steady. Out of many mudras twenty-five are always and everywhere suggested. They are mahamudra, nabhomudra, uddiyana, jalandara, mulabandha, mahabandha, mahavedha, khecari, viparitakarani, yonimudra, vajrani, shakticalani, tadagi, manduki, shambhavi, adhodharana, unmani, vaishvanari, vayavi, nabhodharana, ashvini, pashini, kaki, matangi, and bhujangini. For each mudra there is a particular benefit.
(C4) Becoming indifferent by pratyahara:
By performing mudras the container becomes steady, then by pratyahara the container becomes undisturbed. When the mind is gradually withdrawn from the objects of the senses and kept equipoised, that is called pratyahara.
(C5) By performing pranayama one becomes light and the nerves are purified, then one may progress to kumbhaka, dhyana, dharana, and samadhi.
By performing pratyahara, the mind is controlled and the container becomes undisturbed. After that the body is made light by practice of pranayama. In order to practice pranayama, the place and time should be considered. There are some rules regarding eating. One should know all these things at the time of starting. First, the nerves must be purified. After purifying the nerves, one should practice kumbhaka. It takes about three months to purify the nerves. The eight types of kumbhaka are: sahita, suryabhedi, udvayi, shitali, bhastrika, bhramari, murccha, and kevali. When recaka, puraka, and kumbhaka are regularly practiced, then one comes to the stage of kevala-kumbhaka.
When the practitioner becomes light by the practice of pranayama, he can then go on to dhyana, then to dharana, and at last to samadhi. I will give elaborate descriptions on this at the proper time.
Closing remarks on hatha-yoga
If someone practices hatha-yoga in this way, he can do many wonderful feats. By seeing the results, one can believe this. The tantrics express different opinions on the limbs of yoga. For example, in the Niruttara-tantra, fourth petal it is said,
pratyaharash ca dharana
yogangani vadanti shad
“Asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi are the six limbs of yoga.' Although Dattatreya and others have different opinions, still according to almost all, the origin of hatha-yoga is the same. I did not get satisfaction by practicing hatha-yoga, because by practicing mudras so many kinds of powers are acquired that the practitioner cannot make more progress. Especially the six activities of dhauti, neti, etc. are so difficult to perform that unless the guru is nearby there is often risk of death. When I went to Badrikashrama from Kashi, one raja-yogi kindly taught me raja-yoga. Since then I've given up hatha-yoga.”
After saying this, Babaji said, “That's enough for today, I will give instructions on raja-yoga another day. The day is almost over, and we wish to go to the ashrama of Pujyapada Pandita dasa Babaji.”
Naren and Anand Babu develop faith in Vaishnavism as preached by Yogi Babaji
While Yogi Babaji was explaining hatha-yoga, Naren Babu and Anand Babu observed his gravity and became somewhat respectful and listened attentively to his words.
While hearing, they developed some faith in Babaji and some disrespect for their own insignificant knowledge. They said, “Babaji, we will be happy to discuss spiritual topics with you. Therefore we've decided to stay here a few days. We've developed special faith in your words.”
Babaji said, “If the Lord is merciful, there is no doubt that very soon you can all become pure devotees of Krishna.”
Naren Babu said, “It is not possible for us to accept idol worship, but we no longer feel that Vaishnavism is utterly without substance. Rather, they have more knowledge of the Absolute Truth than the followers of Brahmoism. But, unfortunately, even though they understand the Absolute Truth, they don't give up idol worship—I can't understand why. Had there been no idol worship in Vaishnavism, then there would be unity with Brahmoism and we wouldn't hesitate to recognize you as a Vaishnava.”
Babaji became extremely grave. He knew how to show young people the path of bhakti. He therefore said, “Let us leave these topics today.”
Being enchanted by Babaji's wisdom and devotion, Mallik Mahashaya became silent. While meditating on the description of hatha-yoga, he thought, “Alas! What fools we are! I went to Madam Laurence in Madras for insignificant things like mesmerism, demonology, and a few details on hatha-yoga. I haven't seen such a great magnanimous yogi so far. By the grace of Nityananda dasa, I'm without doubt seeing auspicious days.”
For some days Naren Babu and Anand Babu discussed many spiritual topics with Babaji. As a result they developed much faith in Vaishnavism. They came to understand, to a large extent, the science of devotional service. Previously they had not known the nice points in Vaishnavism. With his fine intelligence Naren Babu could see the pure devotional service referred to by Theodore Parker. Anand Babu read about pure devotional service in many English books, but he was a little surprised to see it described in ancient Vaishnavism. Still, they both argued how those who can discuss pure devotional service to such an extent can preach worship of idols and men such as Rama and Krishna.
One day Yogi Babaji said, “Come, let us go see Pandita dasa Babaji.” As the day came to an end, they all started for Pandita dasa Babaji's cave.