|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > The Life and Legacy of Madhvacharya Bhagavatapada > INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER|
THE GURU PARAMPARA
Something that has amused me for some time, and I have asked many persons for their feelings on, is how great saintly devotees personally interacted in a loving mood with the many forms of the Lord. These devotees, specifically, or rather in particular, Madhva, had their own unique vein of seeing the Lord and had an indepth understanding of the relationships between the Lord's separated individual energies in the form of the tiny jiva souls and the Lord, His mighty creation, and how we come to be here in this world. There are some subtle points which to understand our relationship with God properly need to be heard. Points which put us really in our proper places, being totally dependant on the Lord at every moment. Not that it comes to a point when we can give up God or become Him, no ,not like that at all. Though some would like to think like that.
So let us start this presentation by looking at some of the topics that Madhvacarya preached on for the benefit of all souls, for time immemorial. As we have already touched upon, the Lord instucted him to come and empowered him to perform the task. Why? You will have to read on, but let it be known even at this early stage, it was for our ultimate benefit, not for his.
What do I mean by that? Well in short, many of us have suffered in this material existence for quite some time; the details as to exactly why are too complex to work out for each and every individual. But the root cause is undoubtedly our envy towards the Supreme Enjoyer, Krishna, that is for the majority of souls anyway.
BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN EVERY ONE ?
One thing that one has to understand is that the great Vaishnavacaryas, of which Madhwa is one, did not undergo that same path of suffering to come here. Even it may seem in some cases that the Vaishnavas or some of the acaryas (at least from a material or external vision) suffered, but still their suffering and the suffering of the fallen conditioned soul are different.
That is quite a statement, isn't it?
Sometimes an example is given that a mother scorpion may lay her eggs in a bag of rice. The average man in the street only sees the bag of rice as being the source of birth for the scorpions, but one who has more full vision can see that something more has happened. Alright, let us qualify or clarify this from the words of the acaryas themselves. According to sastra, in particular Bhagavad Gita 10.10, it is quite openly stated that the Lord has two energies, the spiritual and the material. However the tiny living entities are known as marginal. What does marginal mean? Simply, that though spiritual by nature, one can be influenced by either the spiritual nature or the material nature depending on our desires and karma. Least that be for the ordinary jiva souls like me. Acarya Madhwa says that there are different kinds of souls and they have different ways of coming to this world.
Madhwacarya makes some interesting points, stating that everything is not just simply a matter of karmic reaction for all souls at all times, with nothing beyond this world that we know. Some say that this is our home, or in other words, that we are just here to enjoy, others say that we are working off the results of some previous activities that we have performed here. That there is nothing beyond this material world, and our only business is to improve our position in this life to enjoy better in the next, no questions asked ! Madhwacarya however says a definate No, we have come from a different place, a spiritual place. He quite positively states that most of the living entities are here of our own accord, our own sceaming, trying to be the lord of all that we servey, trying to direct the attention to ourselves as the central figure like so many little imitation gods. Thinking in that way we have tried to lord it over others, due to our misuse of that minute independence which gives us the choice how to act - that has brought us here, not that we are here and are simply being punished for no reason. (Or for that matter, not that we are simply here to enjoy). Thats all after the fact. Nor should it be thought that it is that the body, which is likened unto a machine, which is just acting as though on automatic or out of some animal instinct, or reflex action. No, it is our choice, our desire, and as a result of those desires, activities take place, then resultant karma comes into action.
This is at least true for us conditioned souls! But as well as the conditioned souls there are also the Lord's directly empowered energies,devotees, who act as His representitives.
Madhva also makes a rather controversial or sensitive point. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is not partial to anyone, just as the sun is not partial to any, but shines on everyone. So in the same way Krishna and His pure representitives are not actually partial to anyone. Still we see, just as in the case of comparing the Lord to the sunshine, if one is humble enough to admit dependency on the Lord, or to willingly receive the warming rays of the sun and all the benefits that go along with that, then one will be fulfilled by those warming rays.
We have to simply be honest and give credit where it is due. It is a fact that due to our total dependency on the Lord we are not actually in one sense free to act at all independantly from the Lord as everything is coming from Him including everything material that binds us so tightly. What Madhwacarya says, looking from a slightly different angle, is that one will only act according to one's nature which is intrinsic to the soul, if the cap fits wear it, so to speak.
According to Acarya Madhwa, if different activities are naturally attributed to different personalities according to their natures, then where really is the question of free will to act?
Then another question arises, because sometimes some persons are seen to act in a way they really didn't want to act in, which may appear to be against one's nature, or even in a way that may have unpalatable social or moral results, out of habit, we could say. When one is in that situation, acting as though forced to act, we can understand, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita, that this is due to associating with particular mode of material nature, either goodness, passion or ignorance, thus one is recognised as a conditioned soul, conditioned by the modes of material nature.1 Until we give up our false conception of proprietorship in this world our original spiritual nature is not disclosed.
What then are we seeing, if it's not the soul or the jiva that one is actually seeing, what is it? What one is really seeing is only the external coverings the past actions of the soul at work, so that is not really what we are discussing here. Those externals will be "put in their place" a little later. What we are talking of in this section is the soul, the living entity which Madhva states are of three kinds.
There are the nityasuris or nityamuktas, eternally liberated souls who are not influenced by those modes of material nature, they are part of the sakti tattva, the unlimited spiritual potency of the Lord, not ordinary jivas at all. Then we have the nityasamsarins, conditioned souls, who are devotees, but who are practically residing within the repetition of birth and death (samsara) in this material world perpetually, from time immemorial being totally affected at every moment by the powerful modes of material nature, and who can, only by the mercy of guru, sadhus (saintly association) and Krishna escape that cycle, they are the limited potency of the Lord known as the marginal jivas. The third group are the demoniac who will practically never ever surrender to the Lord. Due to their ignorance they have been given the title "tamo samsarins" or ones who are perpetually caught up in the mode of ignorance (tama).
In Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Shri Chaitanya Siksamrtam Chapter 4, he mentioned that "we have direct instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." He was giving instruction concerning the nature (swarupa) of Krishna and that of the various Avatars (incarnations) and the tiny jivas. "...........Krishna, who is God Himself, is advaya-jnana-tattva, (the ultimate embodiment or personification of divine wisdom). In His unique position of swarupa sakti He enjoys His own unlimited pastimes in both Golokavrndavan, the Vaikunthas and the material universe, expanding Himself into various incarnations for various pastimes such as Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana, etc., and also into separated parts who are the innumerable jivas who are counted among the Lord's saktis or energies. Those separated parts in question are of two kinds, one who is ever free (what Madhva calls nitya suris) and the other is ever bound in samsara or repetition of birth and death, in worldly sensual enjoyment. These unfortunate souls, caught up in the pursuit for mundane pleasure, forget Krishna for some time, while the ever free souls who are known as Krishna parisada (Krishna's associates) never forget Him for even a moment. Those who, by their nature and desires, have chosen to forget Krishna find themselves liable to be subjected to Krishna's external energy Maya, who puts them through three kinds of sufferings "
In Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's purport to the Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.1.37. he quotes Madhwacarya's book Tantra sara :
dvah - sthav ity anenadhikara - sthatvam uktam
adhikara - sthitas caiva
vimuktas ca dvidha janah
visnu loka sthitas tesam
vara sapadi yoginah
adhikara sthitam muktim
niyatam prapnuvanti ca
vimukty anantaram tesam
vara sapadayo nanu
dehendriyasu yuktas ca
purvam pascan na tair yutah
apy abhimanibhis tesam
devaih svatmottamair yutah
The purport to these verses is that the personal associates of the Lord ( Vishnu ) in the spiritual realm of the Vaikuntha planets are always liberated souls. Even it may be seen that these devotees are cursed or blessed they are always liberated and never contaminated by the material modes of nature. Before their elevation or liberation to the Vaikuntha planets they may indeed have possessed material bodies, but once they 'again' come to the Vaikuntha abode of Lord Vishnu they only reside in their spiritual bodies. Therefore it can be safely stated that even if the associates of the Lord do come to this world, even if cursed they are always liberated.
The only reason for bondage and suffering is the jiva's own tendency to try to act in an inimical or rebelious way towards the Lord or His pure representative. It would appear then that this is the pivoting block. Who is bound by the stringent laws of material nature and who is not subjected to them, who is only here performing his particular service, or function?
More often we see that it is the living entities attempt to enjoy equally, or as much or could we say in place of the Lord that is the real problem .
We have seen also that great Vaishnava acaryas have come into our midst but we just did not really see them, or appreciate who they were or are. How unfortunate we are! Now, let us not remain so. Krishna consciousness is the process that makes even unfortunate bewildered souls fortunate, the process that makes blind men see, lame men walk, and fools recite beautiful poetry or write books.
This introductory chapter is in itself not the goal of this book, however it is my opinion that without it, the real purport of the book will be missed.
One may quite rightfully so ask the question then, how does this take place? How can we, the unfortunate, become fortunate? One who is already fortunate, like the great Vaishnava acaryas, the nitya siddhas (eternally liberated devotees) as we have already pointed out, spontaneously respond to the invocations of the Lord. They themselves can actually present Krishna to anyone who is willing to receive Him, for Krishna is theirs to give. Krishna has been bound up by their ropes of love; for His pure devotee, He will do anything. We can at this time, safely say without fear of contradiction, that the mayavadi impersonalists' idea of becoming one with the Lord is made to look even more ridiculous when one sees that for the pure devotee of the Lord, the Lord will even take the role of servant, or as subservient to the devotee, as in the cases of defending Arjuna, acting as his charioteer. Then there is Mother Yasoda, who thought herself to be Krishna's mother, which as family relationships go, is a superior position, so what to speak of being one with the Lord, BY THE MERCY OF THE LORD, the devotee can become more than He. Therefore as Krishna is the property of His pure devotee, the Supreme Lord can only be received from that source. As one can quite correctly imagine, to properly receive that divine Lord given by the Lord's representative requires training to appreciate what one is being given. The correct mentality has to be there. What is that mentality? That everything is simply meant for the Lord's pleasure.
This is the purpose of this first chapter:
yavat papais tu malinam hrdayam tavad eva hi
na sastre satya buddhih syat sad buddhih sad gurau tatha
aneka janma janita punya rasi phalam mahat
sat sanga sastra sravanad eva prema adi jayate
( Brahmavaivarta Purana )2
When one receives the greatest gift from the all-compassionate well-wisher, full appreciation of what one has may not initially be there if one is not so trained, and that lack of appreciation is actually offensive. However as long as there is a respectful mood everything else will develop in due course of time. We personally have experience of this. When a guest comes to your house, if proper respect is shown, then even though the guest may only be a friend of a friend, a friendly relationship will develop, but if one ignores the guest or offends him, then it is just a matter of time before the guest gives up that place and company.
As we have said, for those pure devotees who are directly associating with the Lord and His associates, due to their intensity of love sometimes they accept positions that may appear to be even superior to the Lord, but it is always in a loving mood, with Krishna in the centre. The Gopis on the request of Krishna placed their feet on His head. It is never, as in the material world, where someone assumes a superior position to lord it over and thus become a despotic tyrant. This will be elaborated on shortly. Let us be honest. After all, even if poor, reality is a wealth in itself. An example may be given at this time in the case of accepting what is real, to accepting diamonds. Even if one personally doesn't require them, still he should know what is a real gem and what a peverted reflection, or cheap imitation, of the real thing is. It is not that, as the mayavadis say, due to their own ignorance that no reality exists and that all that we are seeing is all an illusion (maya). Actually their reason for saying this is their deep rooted envy towards the creator, enjoyer and proprietor of all that exists. Out of their envy for God, the supreme enjoyer and His Supreme abode of permanent truth, and their frustration for the searching for the same permanance in the temporary material world, they declare everything to be illusion just because they don't know where it is available or for that matter, what it is - much like a person who sees grapes on the vine which are out of his reach and so rejects the grapes angrily as being sour anyway. Therefore they are known as envious, for they deny against all odds that reality exists.
Let us not however confuse the envious mayavadis with the impersonalists known as Brahmavadis, or Brahmanandis. They are not envious, in fact they have what is termed as a passive appreciation, or neutral awe and respect, for the absolute truth (reality). When they are awakened to an active aspect of the absolute truth, by personal contact, then they want to, in some way, render some loving service. Therefore they are not at all envious. In that way if someone has a particular commodity and may wish to introduce that to another person, that second person has to be ready and willing, or at least appreciative of some aspect of that commodity, otherwise he misses out.
Let us now look over another aspect of the many faceted nature of the spiritual realm. In spiritual dealings such as what we are saying here. Certainly the recipriant or aspirant has to be free from envy, and really that is the only qualification. If one is free from envy then one can hear the topics of the Lord that will change one's life. Everything else is working under the Lord's sanction, and if one is sincere then some opportunity will be sent by the Lord. We have seen personally, and directly experienced, fallen souls like myself become inundated with mercy to such a point that even though they had no desire to take up Krishna Consciousness, still we took it up by the mercy of the benevolent ever well-wisher.
A similar situation happened to the advanced Brahman realised souls, the four Kumaras, their brahmavadi mood changed as the service of the Lord benefits everyone. In their case some pure devotees had offered sacred Tulasi leaves and buds (manjaris) to the lotus feet of the Lord, and by the appreciation of smelling the transcendentally attractive aroma that was eminating from that place, the four Kumaras became attracted to performing some active service to Lord Vishnu's lotus feet.
Karunika or merciful, being the foremost quality among the many facets of gem-like good qualities of the Vaishnavas, they are always desiring to give the Lord to others. These all-merciful souls, the Lord's intimate devotees, who are firmly situated on the shore of the ocean, will save any person who is willing at least to take hold of their transcendental life line by means of performing some kind of devotional service to the Lord. This life line in itself is really the main substance of this chapter. The life line is otherwise known as the disciplic succession, or guru parampara.
Accordingly it has to be made clear from the start, that there are two kinds of disciplic successions - one is by seminal discharge, given by the father at the time of conception, and this is what is known as the material conception of disciplic succession, based on the body. Now there is another which is to be considered more important and that is the disciplic succession which comes through the spiritual father, the spiritual master. This is real disciplic succession or parampara. This disciplic succession is passed downwards by submissive aural reception to the sabda brahman (trancendental subject matters), and by the willingness to act upon those instructions.
In brief Shripada Madhwacarya has a whole philosophy on this its called swarupajnan, he divides that up into two, what he calls mediate (Paroksajnan), and Aparoksajnan immediate understanding in which he says that Paroksajna initiates everything simply by sravanam, submissive aural reception, then by good association, and training we can try to do something, then when he is aware of who is doing what, and the relationship again developes Aparoksajnan is realized. Immediate, is sometimes explained as the very next, with nothing, or no impediments in between. This all comes in due course, for now, lost and bewildered, stuck in this dark well..............!
Just to fall into a well and have no appreciation of the necessity of the life saving rope, which is the only way out, is truly unfortunate. Many of us have had that misfortune of falling into a blind well with no hope of getting out, for all intents and purposes, dead, lost and forgotten, but this is not the natural condition of the soul. The intrinsic nature of everyone is that we are all eternal servants of the Supreme Lord, even the tamo samsarins. The nitya muktas or suris fully accept this fact and serve the Lord according to their particular loving capacity, or mellow, accepting the Lord's service as their very life, the scripture Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu calls them Ragatmika, or those who have spontaneous loving service fixed eternally in their atma, self. This strange as it may seem is our natural position, so fallen are we that we see this as something unique,distant, and SPIRITUAL.
Everything has been turned backwards.
To act purely out of love is a very elevated and intimate relationship with the Lord, and this spontaneous loving mood cannot be limited by set rules that are mostly aimed at raising one off the bodily conception of life. If one has already accepted the notion that, 'I must serve the Lord and only look for His welfare,' then what is the use of so much seeming dogma. For the nitya siddhas, (muktas or suris) these eternally perfect and liberated souls, who have nothing to do with materialistic activities and who only act on the spiritual plane, the guide-lines (smrti) set to avoid sinful life are not applicable. For the nitya suris would never act in a way that would be sinful or separate from the Lord's interest. That kind of devotee is not even required to follow all the rules of moral codes (niti), or the rules and regulations of the smrti, for he is already free from unwanted things which may bind one to the material world. Therefore the smritis should be known to be there for us, the conditioned souls, so that we can gradually become free from sinful life. Still, due to their devotion and equipoised nature, these Ragatmika devotees will apply those rules which don't inhibit their loving exchange with the Lord, to inspire the nitya samsarins (conditioned souls) to again establish their lost relationship with the Lord. This is the understanding of the Madhva or Dwaita school of Vedanta, of which we are a part.
Narada Pancaratra states:
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
"When one gives up materially designated positions, which pertain to karma and one's conditioning, and works directly under the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one's spiritual life is revived".
Madhvacarya states that the jiva is distinguished from the Lord by specific upadhis or conditions. His famous stanza on this is that the jiva is qualitatively of the same spiritual nature as the Lord, but in attribute, the jiva is quantitatively very tiny, and thus different.
As we have stated earlier, the Lord is fully independant yet the separated energy, the jiva is totally dependant at every second. The later follower of Madhvacarya, Tikacarya Jayatirtha, supports this statement and further elaborates on Madhva's upadhi philosophy, saying that upadhi is two-fold: svarupopadhi and bahyopadhi. Bahyopadhi refers to the gross and subtle bodies that cover the tiny conditioned souls' what the materialists call personality, made up of the mind, intelligence and false ego. The svarupopadhi refers to the characteristics that are inseparable from the jiva soul, which are spiritual by nature and which are eternal and give permanant pleasure to the soul. Shrila Jayatirtha states that the external bahya upadhi dissolves at the time of release just like an iron rod, being made of a mixture of the five gross material elements of which fire is one, takes on the properties of the fiery element when placed into the fire, giving up its previous metalic relationship. He does not become the fire, but does become fire-like. By this analogy we can apreciate that we always retain our individuality being different from the Lord as His tiny separated energy, however at this time we become one in purpose with the Lord or subservient to His will.
At present for the fallen conditioned soul, (nitya samsarin) the mind is dictating to the intelligence. The mind is simply finding something nice to accept and another thing as unpalletable to reject, then tricking the intelligence into how to excecute its plan to enjoy..............! This is bahyopadhi. In a normal, spiritually healthy condition the Krishna conscious intelligence guides the mind, now that intelligence is guided by the Guru, Sastra- Scripture, Supersoul, Paramatma, Krishna. The mind is not the soul, but it is a venue for the soul to express itself, its desires, be they material or spiritual. If then the mind is properly trained by following the process of Krishna consciousness the jiva can again be purified. Thus vaidhi bhakti, the principal of devotional service in practice is a process for finelly re-tuning the vehicle which carries the soul back to pure devotional service.
I feel that to come to know the empowered devotee of the Lord is as important as to know who or what we are, what is his nature and the differences between the two, and the relationships of both to the Lord. The purport we could say to this chapter is honesty, its not all one, as some rascals would have us believe. Nor as we have said before is it mere mythology, this is for real, any one of us can realize what we are discussing here and become fixed in our eternal relationship to God. Thats a whopper isn't it? Yes and its true, but its not cheap, but we don't appreciate it that is the problem too. As Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada would quite often say one cannot simply get on an air-plane, or by a train ticket to go to the spiritual realm. It is a change in consciousness only that will gain re - entry, gradually to re - establish our lost relationship with the Lord.
That is no small thing from solitary confinement in the maximum security wing of the modes of material nature, to personal invitations to a society luncheon with the Governer, requires a major change in consciousness, a complete re - education to know how to again act in a socially acceptable way. To develope favourable, trusting relationships without criminal exploitive mentality. Then one can properly serve the Lord in Rasa. As we mentioned a little earlier it requires knowing ones relationship in service to the supreme, then one can act accordingly, and by the perfection of this process he attains the fulfillment of human life's mission. Note that the term "release" is used, and not liberation, for the term "release" infers that the Lord is the supreme controller, and that by His grace the jiva is being set free, whereas liberation infers that by my own doing I, the jiva, becomes free.
The conditioning of bahya upadhi is that which becomes grossly manifest from the material desires, expanding through the false ego into the intelligence, which guides the mind to accept certain circumstances in the form of a gross body by which the senses then try to satisfy. This is all gathered around the soul as part of this conditioning when we choose to leave the association of the Lord, so when these gross temporary coverings are removed, then what we are left with is the original nature of the soul, sac cit ananda vighrah. This sac cit ananda is the svarupa or nature, and which are the natural constitutional eternal qualities of the jiva. As we have said earlier for example, the jiva is, whether he likes it or not, always dependent on the Lord either His internal or external potencies. He is dependent on the Lord for everything, for his very existence, life, breath, knowledge, happiness, and which include all of our particular daily functions. This will be further explained later in this book.
Swarupopadhi is that which is left after stripping away layer upon layers of material conditioning, we are left with jivera svarupa hoya krsnera nitya dasa, the constitutional position of the living entity as servant of the Supreme. Just the word sevant inferes a superior, that superior is God, Krishna. If he does not serve the Lord, then under the control of the bahyopadhi, the mind takes over and works to condition or cover the soul by so many misconceptions based on bodily misidentification. According to Bhagavad Gita then a simultaneous degeneration starting with lust, anger, greed, illusion, bewilderment of memory, loss of discrimination as to what to do, and what not to do develops and finally one is firmly bound in the material world.
Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has, in his purport to Chaitanya Charitamrita (Adi Lila 2.36) made the following statement. He says, "Some souls are conditioned by material nature, whereas others are under the protection of the spiritual nature. The material nature is a conditional manifestation of spiritual nature, just as smoke is a conditional stage of fire. Smoke is dependant on fire, but in a blazing fire there is no place for smoke. Smoke disturbs, but fire serves...........". Exactly how the uncontaminated pure devotees' lives are managed by the Lord is explained in the Bhagavad Gita 15.15. There it says that the Lord gives the neccessary rememberance and knowledge from within. But how? The pure unmotivated devotee who has become fire like one in interest with the Lord can then be the mouth-piece of the Lord, being a surrendered soul to the will of the Lord, the Lord then manages the speech of the devotee as the devotee becomes a willing instrument in the hands of the Lord.3
In another purport to Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.29) it is said, "............Everyone should know in clear consciousness that one is, in the execution of all activities, an instrument. A conditioned soul is instrumental in the hands of the external energy, gunamayi maya, or the illusory energy of the Lord, and in the liberated stage the living entity is the instrument to the will of the Personality of Godhead directly. To be instrumental to the direct will of the Lord is the natural constitutional position of the living entity, whereas to be an instrument in the hands of the illusory energy of the Lord is bondage for the living entity. In that conditioned state, the living entity speculates on the Absolute Truth and His different activities. But in the unconditioned stage the living entity directly receives knowledge from the Lord, and such a liberated soul acts flawlessly, without any mundane speculative habit. The Bhagavad Gita (10.10-11) confirms emphatically that the pure devotees, who are constantly engaged in the loving trancendental service of the Lord, are directly advised by the Lord, so much so that the devotee unwaveringly makes progress on the path back home, back to Godhead."
Looking from the unfortunate case of one who has left the spiritual world and the service of the Lord and has become covered by the smoky layers of conditioning, the parampara system, which reaches down to save the conditioned souls, makes itself available to us through vaidhi bhakti (devotional service in practice), which will again help to develop bhakti yoga (union with the Lord). One can again eradicate those unwanted things in the heart to re - establish his svarupopadhi into full manifestation of love of Godhead in his liberated state.
So according to Madhwa's Paradhina Visesavapti doctrine, quote, "........ For the eternal living entities, this material creation or manifestation is only a facility for them to perform sadhana, for re-training to go back home back to Godhead. The all merciful Lord makes this arrangement to help His devotees, by manifesting multitudes of universes and then entering into each one that He, in His manifestation as Maha Vishnu, has breathed out. (tat srstva tadevanu pravisat ................) "
Madhvacarya very strongly puts over an easily understandable doctrine defining how some souls have opted to leave the direct service of the Lord in the spiritual world where they are engaged in their particular rasa or taste (loving mellow) with the Lord. He says that all jivas eternally remain separate from the Lord and have a freedom of choice, that is whether to serve the Lord or their own desires. This is his doctrine called svarupabheda. This is also supported by the acaryas Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura, Baladeva Vidyabhusana and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who all state that it is the fault of the jiva, not the Lord, that the jiva comes to this world and becomes covered or conditioned.
Some say that the jiva has his origin in the Brahmajyoti, but the Vasinavacaryas as mentioned, strongly refute this, stating that it may be for some a temporary resting place but...... as stated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, "The jiva merged in Brahmajyoti is already fallen. He has no opportunity to engage his senses in Lord Krishna's service; this is why brahmasayuja is condemned by the Vaishnavas (kaivalya narakayate). The souls merged in the Brahmajyoti have thus nothing to do but to fall into maya!"4 If one reads the purport to Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita (15.7), one will agree (unless you are a mayavadi) that this view supports the view of Acarya Madhva. This purport states, "According to the Vedic version, the Supreme Lord manifests and expands Himself in innumerable expansions, of which the primary expansions are called Vishnu Tattwa, and the secondary expansions are called the living entities. In other words, (Shrila Prabhupada continues) the Vishnu Tattwa is the personal expansion, and the living entities are the separated expansions." Later on Prabhupada further comments saying, " By misuse of that independence one becomes a conditioned soul, and by proper use of independence he is always liberated. In either case he is qualitatively eternal as the Supreme Lord is. In his liberated state he is freed from this materal condition, and he is under the engagement of the transcendental service of the Lord. In his conditioned life he is dominated by the modes of nature and he forgets the transcendental loving service of the Lord........" Looking at just the last sentence, the inclusion of the word "forgets" infers that there must have been, at one time, rememberence otherwise the term "to forget" has no meaning. Later in the very same purport Shrila Prabhupada again makes use of the choice of words to say in this connection, that Madhyandnayana Sruti says that when the jiva gives up his material embodiment and enters the spiritual world he revives his spiritual body. Not that he gets a spiritual body, no, he revives. This means he already had one, but as the Acaryas state it had become covered over by layer after layer of material conditioning. Prabhupada doesn't give up there either, ".........that fragmental portion, when liberated from the bodily entanglement, REVIVES ITS ORIGINAL SPIRITUAL BODY IN THE SPIRITUAL SKY IN A SPIRITUAL PLANET AND ENJOYS ASSOCIATION WITH THE SUPREME LORD." So there we have it, originally in the spiritual sky, and there undoubtedly are spiritual planets, not that we are interested with the Brahman effulgence which surrounds them, our business is to return to where the jiva has been previously, engaged in our eternal loving relationship,"back to home, back to Godhead",and not to be foolish enough to come back here.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, in Tattwa Amnayasutram (126-130) says that it is the intrinsic nature of all jivas, EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN AND BECOME CONDITIONED, TO AGAIN establish themselves at the feet of the Lord by association with saintly vaishnavas.
There is a very nice and fulfilling letter by His Divine Grace Shrila Prabhupada, dated 13th June 1970 to Rebatinandan das, who obviously asked this question. Prabhupada does not mess with words or flatter. He says "....about the living entities falling down in this material world are not from the impersonal brahman. Existance in the impersonal brahman is also in the category of non--Krishna consciousness. Those who are in the brahman effulgence they are also in the fallen condition, so there is no question of falling down from a fallen condition. When fall takes place, it means falling down from a non--fallen condition. The non--fallen condition is Krishna consciousness. ..............." In the letter of 19th Aug 1974, Prabhupada defines the impersonal brahman effulgence as being a temporary spiritual place where one can either go up or down, "But in the spiritual world the spiritual varieties displayed by Krishna along with His associates gives eternal pleasure. That is wanted. The brahman effulgence, there the pleasure is temporary."
Lord Chaitanya humbly taking the mood of the devotee prays, " O my Lord I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into this ocean of birth and death.................." Of course this is His great humility, trying to set the example for the mood of the devotee, but still take note He says," .......I am Your eternal servitor........". Servitorship does not take place in the brahman, no, service is an active role in relationship with the param brahman, Shri Krishna.
I think I am right in saying, that we all support the conclusion that the philosophy of the green bird merging into the green tree is not a permanant situation. Either one again falls to this material world from that temporary spiritual place, or as in the case of those who desire sayuja mukti (merging into Krishna's body) the brahman is only a stopping off point. Shrila Prabhupada's purport to SB 7.1.46 & 47 make it quite clear that even such personalities as Sisupala who was absorbed into the body of the Lord, so sinful was he, but then he re-entered the spiritual planets in an active role as the Lord's eternal associate after being purified by the chastisement of the Lord.
Madhvacarya, as with all the great acaryas eternally situated in their particular service to the Lord even in this world, know from where they have originated and how they have been directly instructed to come to this material world to try to give transcendental knowledge, and uncover the multiple layers of bahyopadhi or material conditioning, and thus reclaim the jivas on behalf of the Lord.
BNK Sharma, the Madhva scholar, also agrees. Quoting Madhwa he says that, "The jiva pursues his free will, a course of action which is determined mostly by his own deep-rooted nature, inclinations and past karma. But even this is possible only because God has given him the power to do things in conformity with his own innate goodness or its opposite. He is not, therefore, a mere puppet in the hands of God; the right to choose between right and wrong is his own, made on the jivas own responsibility and at his own risk." (Yathecchasi Tatha Kuru......). As stated by Madhvacarya, if this individual independence were not the case of choice, then it would be a direct contradiction to the personalistic philosophy of dualism. Having the freedom to love the Lord or not to is part of the natural individual desire of the individual jiva soul. If not for the philosophy of svarupabheda as propounded by Madhvacarya, how would the tiny jivas rekindle the flame of devotion for the Lord?
BNK Sharma, following Madhvacarya's teachings, makes the following statement. "God does not throw the creatures blindfolded into an unknown region or set them adrift chartless on the high seas. Each is provided with a chart, a book of instructions of where lies the haven and how to reach it." This book of instructions is the sastra - scriptures, and the haven is the supreme abode. (Vidhinisedhatmakam..........)
The all merciful Lord makes every endeavour to help the jivas realize their mistake, and thus immediately return to their spiritual abode. The Lord sends His representatives, the various Gurus who are there to elaborate externally upon the scripture, and within is the Paramatma, Supersoul or caitya guru; every provision has been made for reform. But at the present we are here and the Lord seems a far off distant thing. We, or at least I, have become very much separated from Him and the purpose of life, and again I have to admit it had been due to my own desire.
In a lecture recorded in Los Angles 1.8.1974 Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad makes the statement in connection to Jaya and Vijaya's over using there discrimination as door keepers to try to prevent the four Kumaras from entry into the Vaikunthas ," ...there is no envy in the spiritual world.............in the spiritual world, you have become envious, so you are not fit, you must go to the material world.........."
We can see that when we talk of ego we are talking of our natural or healthy condition, aware of our rightful situation as eternal servants of the Lord, right? The opposite to ego is false ego which really means to misidentify our position as something which its not, the enjoyer, the served. On that proud platform how can one admit that " I am merely an insignificant servant", and that I 'may' have commited some misdeed that has forced me to come to this material world. Its the ultimate false ego trip when aprehended to deny the facts as presented. "Me expelled, na I was never there in the first place, if I had of been I would never have left would I, eh?"
It is pointed out that first the living entity, after adopting this rebellious mood that I am the doer and controller, is sent to the expansion of Lord Balaram, Sankarsana, who is sometimes known as the head of the jivas or expanded servitors. He gives the wayward jiva the opportunity to go back into the rasa, (in Krishna loka), much like the coach at a football game trying to get the angry, envious, motivated rebel to focus on the team effort instead of doing his own thing. If the rebellious soul still persists with this deviant mentality then a threat of "suspension" in the body of Maha Vishnu is given, and thus executed. Still persistant? Then OK! One has to go to that place (Jiva loka) where everyone thinks that he is the supreme controller and proprietor, seeing that is your disease.
So then, accompanied by the Supersoul, 'tagged for observation', the bewildered living entity takes his place in a universe designed to cure one of this diseased envious condition. (Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes good reference to this system in Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi lila 5.40-41purports, and in the CC Adi lila 2.36 purport.)
In discussion with Shriman K Raghupati Rao, a staunch Madhva, some interesting points as mentioned above regarding the jivas' minute independence or no actual independence were looked at. He made a few statements representing Madhva's doctrine, saying that once one is in a particular swarupa then that is it - ie. a nityasuri or nitya siddha will only act as a devotee and of course naturally attains to the Lord's lotus feet in Vaikuntha. The nitya samsarin however, is perpetually of his choice in the cycle of birth and death, sometimes doing Godly acts, sometimes not. Only by the grace of sad-guru can one in this situation get out, but due to this vicious cycle, it's attachments etc., practically speaking, they rarely get out. Then there are the eternally condemned, the nityabaddhas, (tamosamsarins) who have no inclination to the Lord or good activities. They are naturally demoniac and are quite satisfied and happy like that. The Lord gives them the special mercy to continue their enmity to everything Godly by gradually covering them further and further by dull matter so that they cannot cause too much trouble. Thus they end up inertly bound, for what seems like almost eternity.5
A few questions came up. Sometimes we see that those who are presently worshipping the Lord also pertain to unwanted conditioning (unwanted even by ourselves). What is Madhva's view of this? (A summary of the conversation is as follows:)
Sometimes it is seen that even the nityasuris, the eternally liberated devotees, get cursed, make some seeming offence, etc., so many things, and thus for some time become apparently covered, by the Lords' design. Again sometimes it has also been seen that such a pure soul continues in society, maintaining family, job, etc, until the time is right, then following the order of the spiritual master, such a great soul, an intimate associate of the Lord, at that time does all that is required to fulfill his sevice to the Lord, and humanity at large. But this is the will of the Lord. It is not like the samsarin who is just hell-bent on enjoying this material world, and who gets caught up in karmic reactions. As mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita (4.15-18) there is karma, resultant fruitive activity, then there is akarma or works that do not bind one in the material world. Therefore one should know that the pure devotee is differently motivated to serve the Lord, and as such the Lord makes the necessary arrangements using His pure devotee, who, due to circumstances, is required to act out a particular drama (lila vicitra). However even the foolish nitya samsarins have an opportunity to serve the Lord, also they are devotees but due to previous conditioning and the situation quite often it is only for a short time and again off to enjoy.
I had read in Sambidananda dasa's book6 on medieval Vaishnava schools, Page 111, that the nitya samsarins are actually devotees of Krishna by nature but are just completely caught up in their enjoying and suffering and the three fold miseries, so I thought it time to ask another question.
How then, according to the Madhva philosophy, can one see who is who? Obviously I thought the demons act like demons, etc. Shriman K Raghupati Rao pointed out how we even see cases like Vrtrasura who acted out the pastime of being a demon but was actually Citraketu the devotee caught up in curses and again a drama. And who in the end gave great spiritual advice to Indra. So how to see who is who? " It is very difficult, who can say? Krishna knows who He has sent on His divine mission and who has come here, as do other nitya suris, for they are not simply caught up in the drama, role playing."
In Bhagavad Gita 11. 5 thru' 8 Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, see how My oppulences have manifest into hundreds of thousands of multi - various Divine forms who have come as the different manifestations of Adityas,Vasus, Rudras, Aswini - Kumaras, and all the other demigods. Behold My mystic oppulence which no ordinary conditioned soul can see or understand.
"In the incident in the Shrimad Bhagavatam where in it is mentioned how the demigods, who are devotees, were about to receive the nectar from Mohini Murti, the demon Rahu, dressed as a devotee, tried to sneak into the assembly of demigods to try to drink the nectar of imortality. However he was identified as Rahu by the Sun and Moon Gods. They knew ! "
In the life of Shrila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada there may also be seen one specific incident, when his spiritual master Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada, on their first meeting, told the then young Abhay Caran De, if you ever get money print books. Later he also told other disciples, "Whatever Abhay Caran writes, print it." Still later he told the devotees that in due course Abhay Caran will do everything. More than that I think I don't have to say, for if it were not for his mercy you wouldn't be reading this book, nor would I have been in a situation for writting it.
The pure nitya suri (siddha) devotees are, as we have said, are part of the Lord's entourage. They have been requested to come, and they know their friends and associates. They are trikala jnan - they know past present and future, and are not impared by the coverings in the shape of so many bodies. In the Krishna consciousness movements' history there are examples of this when Shrila Prabhupada would reveal who a particular person was, or is, or by that persons activities where he has gone now. Madhwa, as we will read later, revealed to an intimate few who he really was, but then in his Mahabharata Tatparayanirnaya he clearly presents his own mission, in the Ramayana from the view of Hanuman, and finally in the Mahabharata through the vision of Bhimasena. In Madhwa Vijaya, again as you will read later in Madhwa's life and pastimes, so many incidents were there - the demigods praying to Lord Vishnu for Him to send a great soul to set things right, then the announcing of Madhwa coming - his very entrance. So many times he showed himself, then revealed himself in remembrance of previous appearances in the minds of those around him, sometimes as Hanuman, or sometimes as Bhima. (For more you'll have to read on.) I think I've made my point though.
In the "Dvaitasiddhanta" of the Vyasaraya ( Shrila Vyasatirtha's) Mutt which is taken from the commentry that Shrila Vyasa Tirtha made on Madhwa's Tantra sara as previously quoted, there is one intricate little chart which breaks things up according to the Madhva vision.
Those who are independent
Svatantra - Lord Vishnu
then those who are dependent
Abhava (negative) Bhava (positive)
The non-existent The existent
Acetana ( the unconscious) Cetana (the conscious)
l l l l
Nitya vedas Anitya Nityanitya l
l Puranas l
l Time l
l Prakrti l
l (The Puranas are listed l
l because they themselves
l are eternal but their forum l
l is in relation to time and l
l place) l
l l l
Asamsrta --- 24 Elements Samasrsta -- Brahma's Creation l
Duhkha Sprstha Asprstha
(unafected by Maya )
(Liable to influence of Maya) Laxmi - Garuda
l Vayu - Ananta
___________________________________ Visvaksena - Rjus
Vimukta (liberated) Duhkha Samstha (unliberated)
Duhkha Sam Stha
Mukti yogya Mukti Ayogya
(suitable for liberation) (not qualified for liberation )
l l l l l l
Devas Rsis Ptr Pa Nara Uttamas l
Demigods Sages Forefathers Doorkeepers (Narottamas) l
of the directions best of the humans l
Tamoyogyas Srti-Samsthita (madhyama)
________________________________________________ (those with a few demoniac traits) I I
Srti Samsthita ____________________ I______________________
Bad Demons l l l l
(Demons with bad qualities but who Daityas Raksasas Pisaca Martya
haven't progressed fully to prapta (Fully manifested demons Dharma
andartamasa - 'yet' ) and proud of it)
The Gaudiyacaryas, Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, and Baladeva Vidyabhusana apply similar principles, and they also say the same kind of natural structure is there and all facility is laid on for the proper development and expansion of spiritual life for one and all.
The kanistha adhikari, fledgling materialistic devotee, is certainly caught up in samsara; he knows little of spiritual life and can hardly discriminate between the devotees, "the innocent" and the demons. His faith is not strong and he is very easily swayed by the illusory energy. At least the Madhyama or middle range devotee is convinced in his understanding of the scripture, even if he is not fully mature in establishing his pure relationship with the Lord. Being appreciative of the process of devotional service he tries to find those who will be willing to accept the process for returning back home back to Godhead, being convinced through tangible advancement. By nature he is compelled to give those less fortunate souls the same opportunity he has received to serve the Lord. So surely, (to use the Madhva term) he becomes qualified for liberation.7 Then, of course, there are the rare nitya suris or nitya siddhas - the pure Vaishnava guru, the acarya, the Rjus Devas, Laxmi devi, the best of all humans (Nara Uttamams - jiva uttamam.) These will be seen later.
Madhwacarya, who is of the tattwa of Vayu, Mukhyaprana, is definitely of this nature. He is the pure representative of the Lord, the pure preacher who gives relief to the suffering souls of Kali Yuga, having been sent by the Lord.8 How does he give relief? ajnana timirandasya jnana jana salakaya caksur unmilitum yena. He opens our darkened eyes and impregnates us with Krishna consciousness. By all the Vedic literatures his glories are to be known. These phrases are endlessly repeated about the pure unalloyed vaishnava. Such a soul is indeed very rare and precious. Such souls are the contents of this book, primarily such a pure and surrendered soul is BHAGAVATPADACARYA ANANDA TIRTHA (Madhvacarya).
A look at some of the differences in moods from the devotees and those acting in non devotional ways.
In one instance we have living entities who have centred the universal creation falsely around themselves. Instead of serving the actual Lord and master, Shri Krishna, they have become accustomed to ignore Him. Those jivas have now opted to try to enjoy separately from Him. As we will read later on in this chapter, there are varieties of loving exchanges or rasas (santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, madhurya) that the devotee can enter into with his Lord, however in the material world they have their counterparts in the form of "perverted reflections," in which the selfish materialists try to enjoy imitations of these spiritual rasas making themselves into purusas or the enjoyers, then as the thief, centering everything around himself for "his pleasure", he makes off with the stolen booty, in the form of separated sensual extra curriculative activity.
Some examples may be now given: In the spiritual world it can be seen that inert objects such as stones, trees, mountains, etc. hanker and lament in separation for the day when the Lord will come their way and His lotus feet will touch them, or when He will take a fruit or flower from their branches whilst wandering in the forest, or allow the tree or cave to give Him shade or shelter whilst enacting His pastimes playing with His cowherd friends in the forest. But in the material world the living entity who himself wants to be the centre of everything, like a little supreme being or God, tries to collect various inert objects around him for his own pleasure such as coins, antiques, cars, buildings, etc. and so enjoys having them at his disposal.
The perverted reflection of dasya rasa (servitude) has it's symptoms in mundane society of having servants or employees, in which various forms of overlording, manipulation, intimidation, despotic acts and bullying etc take place - the big man having so many smaller men serving his every sensual need.
Friendship in the material world, which is Sakhya rasas' opposite number, is that of the socialite who, in one way or another, buys his so-called friends by satisfying their senses, but as we have personally experienced, when the sense gratification stops, then so does the "friendship," if you could call it that. For what? All for the taste of, " I am such a nice and popular person, and can gather many, many persons, hand picked, that will enhance my reputation as one who is the life and soul of the party." Simply fantasy!
That mood of transcendental parental love (vatsalya rasa) has it's opposite in the material world of the fallen conditioned soul serving and being served by his family and in turn serving them. But there are so many examples in history how family members abandon the family head when he becomes poor, or he finds, due to his attachments to that family, he has to come back in his next life to beg for alms at the same house, only to be driven away by his family members of the previous birth. The prime example is that of Valmiki Muni who, in his previous occupation was a robber. When asked by the Sapta Rsis why he was doing this "profession", he replied that it was to support his family. The Rsis asked him if his family would also take the reactions as well as the booty and upon enquiring from his family, to his dismay, he found they would not. Another example of this feeble mentality of the materialist is seen in every day life. The husband works so hard, long hours etc., and comes home and hands over all his hard earned cash to his family members (primarily his wife). If the same act of relieving him of his cash was done on the open road it would be called highway robbery, but still to think that they love him, and that "I" am the controller, "bread winner" he hands over his hard earned wages.
This hardly compares to the intense selfless love which is felt by Mother Yasoda, Maharaja Dasaratha, or even Lord Buddha's Kingly father. For themselves they required nothing, yet their life and soul was their son. So intense was their love for their sons that it even covered the fact that each of them (Krishna, Rama and Buddha) were the Supreme Personality of Godhead Who had appeared to fulfil their particular pastimes.
What to speak of the summon bonum of material pleasure which is to engage in conjugal affairs with one's mate? Literally the husband in materialistic life has to sell himself to find a good mate and for the woman to enter into this arrangement, she must be satisfied in three ways by good income, that there is no shortage of quality foodstuffs, by supplying nice ornamentation in the form of saris, bangles, etc. and sex. Any husband who cannot fulfill these necessities, by keeping a healthy handsome body to please her, is disregarded.9 In this way, though wanting to be the enjoyer, one has to become the sufferer, bound to hard work, mortgages and bills, etc. Though the ass feels the kicking of his mate as signs of love, the covered soul in this perverted relationship thinks he is showing mutual love through sharing the responsibility of householder life. With so many mouths to feed and so many demands, yes, he tastes the real nature of the material world Yes, you got it. Anxiety ! Though thinking he is enjoying, in actuality he is suffering.
It is this nature of the material world that we have to taste, due to the desire to usurp the Lord's unique position and property without due sanction, that unfortunate flavour of being caught out, and one is labelled as a thief. It can happen at any time, unless one remains one hundred percent faithful and surrendered to the service of Lord Shri Krishna. If one only wants to serve Krishna, irrespective of where one's residence is, he lives in Vaikuntha. And if one tries to enjoy something separate from the Lord, even if it be the ecstasy which, of its own accord, comes from devotional service that is performed purely, still, to try to focus on the ecstasy as an object of enjoyment, it will take one momentarily away from the service of the Lord. Thus even this is considered a deviation or fall down.
An example of the devotee checking his ecstasy so not to disrupt his continuous service for the Lord is that of Daruka, which is mentioned in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's "Nectar of Devotion", Chapter 37, Page 302. As Daruka was fanning the Lord with a camara whisk, he felt great ecstasy that his hand began to quiver, but Daruka checked these symptoms so not to disrupt the service he performed for his Lord, considering this ecstasy a hindrance. In the same way the gopis would criticize Lord Brahma for creating defective bodies that had eyes that blinked and thus distracted their vision of Krishna for even a second, what to speak of any so called "ecstasy" that is to be found in this merky, lust ridden place, only a perverted mirror reflection of the real ecstasy tasted in pure devotion to Krishna! If one does try to enjoy the symptoms of ecstasy or any kind of result which in itself is meant to be in direct connection with the Lord in one's rasa, one finds oneself suddenly disconnected.
An example from this mundane world may be compared to some degree. In the case of a King or a very wealthy person, he has so much facility at his disposal opulences of various kinds, and servants. If one of the servants tries to usurp the Kings property without due permission and beyond the King's sanction, punishment will be administered. Probably the servant will also be dismissed. The servant actually had a nice position his own quarters, if he wanted to use any of the King's conveyances he duly asked and permission was granted, all one's meals provided and a handsome salary too. But unfortunately out of envy and false pride, the foolish servant tries to imitate the King, and being caught up in his "own self interest" which really was not at his own best interest at all, found himself on his own, out on the street without a job or service.
Though a mundane example, that is the situation of the entrance into the material world of the tiny enjoyer (the lowly conditioned soul), removed from his position for some time, relative time, to undergo the necessary reform. Who removed him? His own disqualification to remain in rasa, or harmonious pastimes with the Lord that's what removed him. This is Madhva's svarupabheda philosophy.
The loyal, devoted, loving devotees, the nitya siddhas, never come to this world in this way. Instead they are asked by the Lord, not sent, asked to fulfil a particular mission which has been alloted to them by the Lord. They are not even interested in their own future; they have no separate aspirations other than serving the lotus feet of the Lord. These pure materially unmotivated devotees are not even interested in the prestigious positions as any of the high ranking demigods. The Lord knows well that due to their implicit faith in Him He can entrust any service to them irrespective of whether it may appear to be seemingly palatable or not. Just like Vrtrasura, in the end we see him preaching the philosophy of pure devotional service to Indra, the King of the demigods. The Lord knows that He can trust such a loyal soul with His most important works, the proof being that when Vrtrasura gave up his body, being killed by Indra, he attained to Vaikuntha to serve his Lord Sankarsana eternally. These are the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord. Vaishnava is not a cheap title to be accepted by materialistic fruitive personalities. Vaishnava means one who is surrendered to the will of Lord Krishna, Lord Narayana, Lord Vishnu and Their various unlimited expansions.
These great personalities, of which acarya Shri Madhva is renowned as being foremost amongst the pure empowered devotees, and a great authority on Vaisnavism (topics relating to the Supreme Personality of Godhead), constantly preached the glories of the personal features of the Lord to instruct and save others from the perils of neglecting, or ignoring the Lord. To become fully aware of the Supreme Absolute Truth in all features, in his books he gave so many examples and details of how to achieve this goal by taking shelter of one who knows what is fact, who has seen the truth, and who can impart that truth to others, and how to serve such great spiritual masters, as stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.16): susrusoh sraddadhanasya vasudeva katha rucih syan mahat sevaya viprah punya tirtha nisevanat.
Still for those separated souls, who are definitely the Lord's devotees, but who are undergoing a spiritual identity crisis, we are given three chances within the spiritual realm before finally making the big splash into the material world. It is almost like in any judicial system which really cares about reform of the wayward subjects. Generally a form of probation is given by which, under the care of a particular officer, one can reinstate oneself in normal society. So in the same way the Lord has a similar system by which automatically one is placed under the guidance of the original guru, Lord Sankarsana, the expansion of Lord Balarama, Who is considered the Lord of the jivas. This is supported in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Chaitanya Charitamrita purports of the Adi lila chapter five, wherein he says, if the necessary reform takes place within the heart of the wayward devotee he directly returns to the platform of rasa in the rasa mandala. But if not then, two more chances are given one is by Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, Whose Hiranyagarbha form may be worshipped and then he may return, but if the separatist enjoying propensity is still prominent then the last chance is given. Guided by Paramatma, the living entity enters the material world in some universe as Brahma. There are numerous Brahmas - some are pure devotees, some devotees and some not devotees. Some have one hundred heads, some a thousand heads, some ten heads. One we know who is the head of our sampradaya has four heads. It is considered that Lord Brahma is a prototype living entity who gets the chance to serve Garbhadaksayi Vishnu, the Hiranyagarbha or Paramatma forms, then again the chance is given to return home. If the jiva is still determined to enjoy in the selfish way, then he enters the cycle of repeated birth and death among various species to taste the fruits thereof. Still, the all merciful Lord lays in wait as Paramatma, waiting for the reformatory change of heart to take place. Then He sends His external representative, the guru.
DEFINITION OF GURU
In his book Kathalakshana, "katha" or talks on God consciousness are specifically put into three categories vada, jalpa and vitanda. Madhvacarya defines vada as follows:
tatwanirnayam uddhishya kevalam gurusisyayoh
katha anyesamapesatam vado va
Vada, he says, is that kind of discussion and argument which is solely directed towards the search for truth and the means of determining truths between the self realized devotee of the Lord, the guru and the aspiring seeker for truth, the disciple.10
One might then quite rightly say, where then does guru get his understanding of the truth from and how does he become qualified to be guru? Simply he has enquired from his guru in the mood of Bhagavad Gita 2.7, "My dear gurudeva, I am confused about my future, I have lost all sense of composure due to weakness. Having come to this desperate situation, kind sir, please instruct me as to what is best for me. Now I am your disciple and a soul surrendered unto you." Simply he, the guru, being the perfect disciple himself, the recipient of his guru's instructions, now passes the message on. This is called guru parampara. And this tattva has its origin in Lord Balarama and Sankarsana, the original gurus, the merciful reformers.
Why The Need For The Guru Parampara ( the unbroken chain from Guru to disciple )
The Vaishnava guru parampara has a very special feature, in a life threatening situation sometimes a similar chain is made to save the poor victim of misfortune who has fallen into a raging river which is treacherous and wide. The system is that the resquers form a chain which then enters into that same enviroment but with the purpose of saving the suffering soul who has no hope of reaching the shore by his own puny endeavours.
To present the descent of the guru parampara line in a way that one can appreciate it's importance, I have tried from various scriptures to emphasize the importance of a pure sampradaya as you will read in the opening paragraphs of the section entitled "The History and Descent of the Guru Parampara". Shripad Madhvacarya was the first acarya in our sampradaya to outwardly propound differences in everything, even amongst devotees. In his Brahma Sutra Bhasya (4.21) he has very nicely pointed out to everyone that actually there are two processes or phases within bhakti yoga - sadhana bhakti, in which bhakti yoga is performed whilst still bound in the material world and is therefore sometimes called vaidhi bhakti or devotional service in practice. Then there is sadhya, or actual devotional service which is rendered spontaneously with love from the liberated platform of raga marg.11
Lord Krishna points this out to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita 12.9,
atha cittam samadhatum
na saknosi mayi sthiram
mam icchaptum dhananjaya
"My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if your mind is not fixed on Me without deviation then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain me."
If one is fortunate enough to be a perfect soul like the members of our giant parampara, always and spontaneously attracted to Krishna, then that is very, very wonderful. As stated however in the above verse (Bhagavad-gita 12.9), for those of us who temporarily are not in that position then there is the process of vaidhi bhakti (bhakti yoga), the purificatory process of devotional service in practice, whereby the tiny conditioned soul who has lost for some time his steady Krishna consciousness, can again come to the nitya siddha realm, by following the regulative principals of vaidhi bhakti. Strictly adhering to this path gradually one comes to the stage of love of Godhead and then, intimately linked with the Lord again, one will know what the Lord wants him to do. This is also confirmed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.25.25) wherein it says:
satam prasangan mama virya samvido
bhavanti hrt karna rasayanah kathah
taj josanad asv apavarga vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati
"In the association of pure devotees, discussions of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and to the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begins."
Practically, like all of these subjects I have touched upon in the front half of this book, each one in itself is the subject matter of a weighty book. I'm sure devotees of much more realization than I, will, in the future, cover these subjects in greater depth; I am yearning for that day. However, in the meantime, to really just appreciate the priceless value of the process of disciplic succession, let us look at how to approach the disciplic succession, of which Madhwacarya is part.
It is stated that when a jiva, who is under the clutches of maya and who has been moving in the repeated cycle of birth and death, comes in contact with a Vaishnava who is situated in love of Godhead on at least the brahma nistha platform, that jiva experiences a taste for following the Vaishnavas, and thereafter, by constantly chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna, layer after layer of one's bahyopadhi, external conditioning is removed, little by little, and gradually one gets back his own intrinsic nature, and becomes qualified or competent to again attain to pure devotional service for Lord Krishna. That is the prayojana or initial statement. Now over the subsequent following pages the samhita, or details, will be made a little more clearer. It is not that one has really to add anything, as we have said, Krishna consciousness is already there, but it has been covered in many cases by layers of conditioning in this material world. Now how to come to know what is that original Krishna conscious self, that is "the process of self-realization."
In the following lecture excerpt given in Hyderabad, India on 30/11/1972 by Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the practical acceptance for understanding spiritual life is put over.
"....... I may be very good logician. You may be a better logician. You may be able to defeat me in logic but this is really just called kutalpa - unnecessary talking, because you'll not come to my decision and I'll not come to your decision. So actual truth we don't know. The truth is beyond one or both of our perceptions - transcendental knowledge of the Absolute cannot be understood in this way. Things which are beyond our perception we should not try to understand simply by logic and argument. Then how should one know things as they are? One should approach one who knows. That is knowledge.
"Therefore if one accepts the Vedas one does not have to make much separate endeavour to find out anything. Sruti pramanam - there are three kinds of evidences - direct perception, evidence from history, and evidence from the Vedas - pratyaksa, anuman, and sruti. So pratyaksa is direct perception, and anuman, evidence from history can both be rejected, but sruti, words spoken by the Lord and the Vedas we must accept. There is a society in India called Veda Praman. They say that they cannot accept anything unless it is mentioned in the Vedas. That in one sense is nice but there is another class also, the veda-vada-rata which is mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (2.42) and who simply fight over whether this or that is a Vedic statement or not..............."
It is stated that one of the ten offences listed in the Padma Purana that are to be guarded against is that of sruti-sastra-nindanam, to blaspheme the Vedic literatures including the Puranas or Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc, in pursuance of the Vedic version. "So to fight over Vedic knowledge is simply to waste time, for to understand Vedic knowledge as it is, one must hear from guru, not fashionable guru, but one who is in the direct disciplic succession from the Lord."
Arjuna himself did this. At one time Krishna and he were sharing a relationship of familiar friendship, but then to solve the unknown situation at hand, Arjuna enquired as a disciple of Lord Shri Krishna, the original guru, who gave the necessary instructions.
Shrila Prabhupada continues: "...... The actual Vedic injunction is ... the Upanisad which says tad vijnana tamsa gurum eva abhigacet - to understand Vedas one must approach guru, otherwise we cannot understand Veda. This is called sruti parampara, hearing from a bona-fide guru who himself has accepted a bona-fide guru who is fixed in the Vaishnava sampradaya. Vaishnava parampara is Vedic parampara. There is no other actual parampara. In this way actual Vedic knowledge comes down. It is not that by some vast endeavour on our part by the ascending process we try to neti neti (not this, not this) find out the truth, but we perceive it from guru. This is knowledge, this is parampara."
At present the tiny conditioned soul is being subjected to the stern hand of maya. Why is that, maya likened to the policeman, who is the sincere government, but having accepted that task, no one likes him? When the policeman comes everyone feels disturbed, but he is only the sincere servant of the government, but because they are criminally inclined they are disturbed. So in the same way that is the business of maya - to punish those who are criminally deviant against the principals of the Lord by trying to separately enjoy the Lord's property. She actually has a thankless task, but she only punishes the deviants not the law abiding citizens, the pure devotees of the Lord. Like the policeman she only wants that the criminals be truely reformed, and Krishna conscious, then they (neither the policeman nor Mayadevi) victimize him any more. Still, true reform has to be attained, and it is the business of the law enforcement department to teach and test the criminal reformer. Just to make sure that he is completely free from any attachment to that which shackled him, that same allurement is presented in a variety of ways to see if actual reform has taken place or if is it just a show. If we are still tempted to perform criminal acts then we are still subjected to the stringent and corrective punishment of the hand of the law, and remain imprisoned in this material world. One then could definitely say that these traps of maya are purifying for they show us that there is still need of further spiritual advancement to be made before we are eligible to approach Krishna.
It has been stated in the scriptures that as soon as one makes that genuine reformed decision to turn to Krishna, Krishna makes all arrangements that the bewildered souls may return to Him. Krishna, the Supreme Person, knows each and every one of His separated parts and parcels, our activities, sincerity and degree of surrender. In Bhagavad-gita (7.26) the Lord states to Arjuna,
bhavisyani ca bhutani
"I know everything that has happened in the past, and all that is happening at present, and all things that are yet to come, and I know all living entities."
His Holiness Visvesa Tirtha Swami of Pejawa Mutt, in his Tattva Jnana, makes the following very relevant points it is the tiny jiva soul, due to his own shortcomings who has mis-identified the qualities that he has accumulated through his passage in material existence as being the self and thus caused himself so much suffering and bondage.
muktirhitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavastitiah
(from Madhva's Gita Bhasya Sutra).
It is only by the Lord's mercy the wayward soul again tastes it's true nature, being free from it's accumul-ated base qualities which had afflicted the covered soul whilst lost. Then by this simple process of accepting the Lord's causeless mercy all unwanted things go far away.
"Just as the burning charcoal covered by ash is freed from the ash by the action of the wind, again it can burn brightly. So the soul covered by layers of passion and ignorance is freed from material existence by the wind in the form of the grace of God. Again he is rightly situated in his proper loving relationship with the Lord by the purifying hand of the Lord."
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyante
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah
"After taking many births and deaths in this world, one who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me (Krishna), knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare."
But how does that journey initially begin, and what is the form that the Lord's mercy personified takes? Simply, Krishna sends a suitable guide, the merciful Guru or spiritual master, to lead one out of the danger-ous and dark ditch that previously we had fallen into.
THE PROCESS OF RETURNING BACK HOME
(A synopsis, with the objective of appreciation for the pure devotee, the nitya suri.)
A person in ignorance cannot obviously give intimate knowledge to satisfy the sincere seekers crying out to be again connected with the Lord, after so much suffering, and absorption in the direct causes of that suffering (sense stimulation). The personified source of eternal life who eternally is imbued with happiness and supreme knowledge is, as we have hinted at, simply waiting for the day when the suffering soul stops to think what it is that he is caught up in. Even the Lord is so kind He has locally situated Himself as the Paramatma or Supersoul who accompanies the individual soul through his sojourn at the hands of material nature. But when those frustrated souls finally come to the desperate platform "I am suffering like anything, but I only really want to be happy.......or........ there must be more to life than this, it just doesn't seem to matter what I do, I'm still not happy "........" Yes, I know, I must be engaged in the owner and proprietor of this vast material creations' service, but how? ".....or........ " I know material sensual enjoyment is not the goal of life, for these insatiable senses have simply enveloped me in their service for so long, causing forgetfulness of the Supreme Lord. As for the mind, that rascal is no better, for he has tricked me along with the false ego for so long into thinking that I had something going for 'myself' in this world, but now, I am seeing a fragment of the truth as it is, with somewhat purified intelligence given by the Lord from within. What a mess! This much realization I know was brought about by a sincere desire to again unite with Him. The coupling of frustration and realization has brought me to this point."........or......"Oh my Lord, if You really do exist, or if You can hear me, please get me out of this mess." .........or............"Whatever I do no money stays with me for more that a couple of minutes. How will I ever maintain myself, my wife and children. Oh God please help me". There are many such cries like this to be heard by the four kinds of men who come to devotional life, as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita (7.16) (catur vidha bhajante mam........)
Again we recall the following excerpt of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's class on Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.25.7 on November 7th 1974, Bombay.
"....... A person who has become disgusted with material life, he needs the instructions of Guru ...... instructions have to be taken from the person who is in knowledge. It doesn't matter what is his position, it doesn't matter if he is one's son or a boy, a sudra, or a brahmana, a sannyasi or a grhasta, one should take instruction from a person who knows .... Anyone who is qualified with Krishna consciousness, he can become guru. It doesn't matter where he is born, where is his family, identification, it doesn't matter, he must know the science - it is very practical. Just like when you go to consult an engineer or a medical man or some lawyer, you do not ask him wether he is a brahmin or a sudra. If he is qualified, if he can help you in the practical subject matter, you consult with him, take his help. That is practical. So similarly, in a spiritual matter, it doesn't matter what he is. If he knows Krishna then he can become guru. It doesn't matter .... we are concerned with the science of Krishna, that is required......."
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavana jiva
guru krishna krpa (prasade) paya bhakti lata bija
(CC Madhya 19.151)
As soon as one feels like this, after being in this material world for countless lifetimes, Krishna sends guru to implant the seed of devotion.
As we have refered, there are four kinds of persons, according to sastra, who come to Krishna consciousness, as supported in Bhagavad Gita.
catur-vidha bhajante mam
janah sukrtino 'rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthi
jnani ca bharatarsabha
"O best among the Bharatas (Arjuna), four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me - the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for the Absolute."
tesam jnani nitya-yukta
eka bhaktir visiyate
priyo hi jnanino tyartham
aham sa ca mama priyah
"Of these four, the one who is in full knowledge and who is always engaged in pure devotional service is the best. For I am very dear to Him, as he is dear to Me."
udarah sarva evaite
jnani tvatmaiva me matam
asthitah sa hi yuktatma
mam evanuttamam gatim
"All those devotees are undoubtedly magnanimous souls, but he who is situated in knowledge of Me I consider to be just like My own self. Being engaged in My transcendental service he is sure to attain Me, the highest and most perfect goal."
Then, as we look more into establishing again our natural relationship with the Lord we can see an approach to a bona fide guru must be made, and the method of approach, the way, or mood to approach, is outlined in Bhagavad-gita (4.34)
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Enquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth."
"......It is only a question of mercy of guru and Krishna. It is not a matter of education or scholarship or opulence or anything, the whole bhakti marg depends on the mercy of the Lord, so we have to seek the mercy
athapi te deva padambuja dvaya
prasada lesanugrhita eva hi
janati tattvam bhagavan mahimno
na canya eko 'pi ciram vicinvan
"My Lord, if one is favoured by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your personality. But those who speculate to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years."
..... Lesa means fraction, one who has received a little prasad fraction of mercy of the Supreme can understand, ....na canyo.... others, they may go on speculating for millions of years. It is not possible to understand like that."12
Rupa Goswami, in Upadesamrtam, completely defines the process of making advancement in Krishna consciousness through it's eleven verses. In verse one he gives the qualification of guru: "A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."
Shrila Prabhupada also supports this, and we again recall his words in this matter.
".....Don't try to understand transcendental knowledge very cheaply although it is very easy, there is no difficulty but the process must be known .... therefore the sastric injunction - vedic injunction is: tad vijnana tam sa gurum eva abhigacchet - if you want to know transcendental knowledge (tad vijnan) actually human life is meant for understanding tad vijnan, not material knowledge, bodily knowledge. Bodily - even a medical practitioner he does not know, he has no knowledge of the spirit soul. He simply studies the mechanical arrangement of the body. The body is a big machine made by nature. It is called yantra. Actually it is a machine. As stated in Bhagavad-gita. 18.61,13 but this bhakti system is above the machine, above this mechanical arrangement. Therefore it is called tad vijnan tam, if you want to understand spiritual life then you have to approach guru. Guru means weighty, one who has better knowledge. Heavy. Guru means heavy, heavy with knowledge. I have so much knowledge, no. tad vijnan tam sa gurum eva abhigacchet samitpani srotriyam brahma nistham, That heaviness is brahma nistham, how much one is attached to brahman, param brahma - bhagavan, that is guru's qualification. brahmani upasrayasrtayam - this is the mantra of Katha Upanisad, tad vijnan tam sa gurum eva abhigacchet. Similarly in the Bhagavatam it is also said, tasmad gurum prapadyeta, therefore one must approach guru. Here in the Katha Upanisad it gives definition who is guru. It means srotriyam brahma nistham, one who has received knowledge by hearing Vedas, srotriyam because Vedas are Sruti, those who are in the line of hearing from the preceptorial succession, disciplic succession. As it is said in Bhagavad-gita, evam parampara praptum, not "upstart knowledge". Standard knowledge is received from the parampara system, disciplic succession. Therefore it is said srotriyam. Srotriyam means one who has heard from the parampara system and the result is brahma nisthan. He is firmly fixed up in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, brahma nistha. He has no other business.
There are two qualifications - he must have heard the Vedic knowledge through the disciplic succession, it does not require that he is a very learned scholar. No, simply he must hear from the authority. Srotriyam. Krishna has given us the ear. This is our system, simply they hear and they become big, big preacher. It doesn't require that he has to pass MA, CBHC, HSC, or PHD etc. Hearing is sufficient. ... One does not have to change, it is not that a sudra (worker) without becoming a brahmana. By hearing,........... brahmana means: brahmana janati divyam. If he hears even a sudra he can understand what is brahman. Then he becomes brahmana. So this is required. stanisthita sruti katham trnavan manobhi, (S.B 10.14.3)14 with great attention, body, mind, words, intelligence with everything, one must hear. .... Unless one satisfies the teacher very nicely one cannot get the right knowledge. That is natural. If you receive your guru, give him very nice place to sit comfortably, and he is pleased with your behaviour, then he can speak very frankly and very freely which will be very much beneficial for you. That one must be pleased by that service prtha,..... tad vidhi pranipatena parisprasnena sevaya, simply going and asking the spiritual master or guru and not to accept his instructions, .......... then don't waste your time. In a challenging spirit if you go the spiritual master without any service (sevaya) and pranipatena pratistha rupena nipapena. Nipapa means fall down, pra means sufficient, no reservation. This transcendental knowledge is based on this pranipa. Krishna says sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Saranam vraja - just surrender unto Me. Similarly we have to surrender to Krishna or His representative because guru is representative, external representative. Internal guru is Krishna Himself. iswara sarva bhutanam hrdesu 'rjuna tisthati. Not that Iswara Krishna in Vaikuntha or Goloka Vrindavan. He is everywhere, even within the atom. Goloka eva nivashati akhilatma bhuto....... that is paramatma. I am atma, you are atma, we are all situated locally. You are situated within your body, I am situated within my body, but Paramatma is situated everywhere. That is the difference between us and Paramatma. Ksetrajna means the proprietor of the ksetra - this body. I am the occupier. Just as in a house the tenant and the landlord. The landlord is the owner and the occupier is the tenant. The Landlord is the proprietor. Similarly, we atmas are simply occupiers of this body, we are not proprietor. The proprietor is Paramatma; sarva ksetresu bharata. So when the Paramatma says you have to leave this body you have to leave. This is Vedic knowledge. So one must approach a proper guru. The guru's qualification is in every sastra just like in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasu sreya uttamam - one does not require to accept a guru unless he is inquisitive to understand the ultimate goal or benefit of life. An ordinary man who is interested with these bodily comforts of life - he doesn't require guru. But generally at the present moment guru means one who can give some bodily medicine. Approach some saintly person. "Mahatmaji, I am suffering from this disease." "Yes, here is my mantra, take this". That sort of guru has now become accepted. The same for bodily comforts, for wealth, etc. However, tad viddhi paripatena pari prasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva darsinah. One should approach guru for seeing the tattva, the Absolute Truth. That is a necessity, not for any material benefit, one should not search out a guru for curing some material disease, for that there is medical practitioner. Why should you search out guru? But people search out - that I have got some material disease and if someone can cure, some saintly person then he is guru, he is Bhagavan. I'm poor - if you can give me some money then he is guru. No, sastra does not say that. Guru means srotriya brahma nistham ... Guru means he knows the Vedic sastra, the Vedic conclusions."
(That was an excerpt of a lecture given by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given in Bombay November 4th 1974, SB 3.25.4.)
Even though material desires are impediments to spiritual life one need not give up hope of the real goal of human life. When we look there are so many examples in the Vedic literatures where devotees, such as Dhruva Maharaja, had material intentions, but coming in contact with Lord Narayana personally he gave up those material desires. The same has to apply to Lord Narayana's pure representative. There is a nice story in this connection. Often it is seen among village folk in India that the women may carry heavy bundles of long sticks of wood upon their heads. On one such occasion one village girl was carrying her heavy load when the wind caught it, overbalanced it, and the bundle fell from her head to the ground. Bereft of strength to replace it, and with no-one around, she prayed intently to the Lord for help. Suddenly out of nowhere the spiritual master of the three worlds, Narada Muni, appeared before her. Offering obeisances and enquiring of Lord Vishnu from Narada, the village girl received Narada Muni, the representative of the Lord humbly. Narada Muni told her how the Lord had sent him. Delighted, the village girl then asked Narada to help her put the wood back on her head.
This is the example that compares with asking for so many material facilities, health, wealth, wife, house by the sea, etc. One has to properly take advantage of the opportunity of coming in contact with the representative of the Lord. I also once witnessed a ridiculous occurance happen. In Shridham Mayapur in 1981, a guru was just at the end of giving a wonderfully enlightening class on this same subject matter, (appreciation of guru) then after concluding with his final comments, he asked if there were any questions. Suddenly a voice was heard, "Could anyone here tell me where I can find my shoes? I left them over at the...................."
In the book Bhaja Madhvesam 48, the process is given from Acarya Madhwa's mouth saying,
adau tavat gurukula vasam
krtva samvak veda dhyayanam
hari guru bhaktim tavat krtva
visaya viragam sama dama yogam
"Having first studied under guru, the Vedic literatures well, and having developed implicit faith in serving guru with relevent enquiry, and the Supreme Lord with devotion, one develops detachment from sensual pleasures and instead concentrates his senses and the organs thereof on worshipping the Lord.
Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.17) says, "O great Maharsi (guru), please explain how even a foolish materialist can easily cross over the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, which is always insurmountable for those who are not self controlled."
SB 11.3.21 - "If anyone is seriously desirous of real - or permanent happiness he must seek out a bonafide spiritual master and take shelter of him and become formally initiated. The qualifications of a bonafide guru is that he has actually properly realized the conclusions of the scriptures in line with the previous acaryas, by deliberation and now is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have themselves taken shelter of the Supreme Lord, leaving aside all material considerations, they should be understood to be bonafide spiritual masters. Therefore take lessons from the Supreme Personality, perfectly through his representative who is a liberated person."
Jivan Mukta (liberated persons) means one who is liberated from four defects - the propensity to cheat, who relies on his imperfect senses, who has the propesity to become illusioned, and to commit mistakes. If one is still infected with the propensity to cheat, then how can the aspiring disciple take full shelter. So unless a person is a genuine Vaishnava guru one shouldn't take shelter. If that person still only abides by his imperfect senses as his only means of knowledge like the kartabhajas,15 again he is unworthy of becoming guru or giving shelter. What to speak of being in illusion, how can he know the truth? Shrila Bilvamangala Thakur's guru was the prostitute Cintamani, for she brought him out of his illusion for bodily enjoyment by her words which changed his life. In short Bilvamangala was a devotee, but somehow had developed this illicit relationship with a local prostitute just across the river. One night there was a great storm. Lusty and desperate for the association of the prostitute, Bilvamangala set out in the rain and loud thunder to satisfy his passions. He swam across the river and nearly drowned, saving himself by clinging to a dead and bloated body that he mistook for a log. Arriving at the prostitute's house, he shouted and banged on the door to get her attention, but to no avail. Drowned out by the loud thunder Bilvamangala then tried to climb the back wall of the house. In his almost possessed state, lusty and desperate to gain her attention, he mistook a snake for a rope, and was bitten, but still managed to get over the wall. However he landed with a thud on the ground. Winded and shaken he looked up to see the face of the beautiful prostitute Cintamani, who remarked, "If you were even half as eager to gain the darshan (attention) of Lord Shri Krishna as you are of such a wicked girl as I then you would be a pure devotee. Shame on you. Shame on all your brahminical learning." Bilvmangala then reformed on the spot, and took to the austere, celibate life of the renounced order. Later in his celebrated book Krishnakarnamrtam, he first offers his respectful obeisances to Cintamani, his siksa guru, then to Somagiri, his diksa guru (who had formally initiated him.)
My point is that we are interested in that person who is kind enough to try to revive our spiritual life., "That I am an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna." By accepting any of the above cheating reasons or being accepted by any one who maintains any of the above defects concludes the fourth defect - to commit mistakes - for unless one is liberated from these defects how will one be able to actually give shelter to an aspiring devotee, and how will that aspiring devotee, with true and full understanding, without whimsical sentiment, have implicit faith in guru? It is not possible.16
guru lobhi sisa lalaci donon khelai danva
donon dube vapare baitha patthar ki nava17
Bhagavad-gita 4.35 says:
yaj jnatva na punar moham
evam yasyasi pandava
yena bhutany asesani
draksyasy atmany atho mayi
"Having obtained real knowledge from a self realized soul, you will never fall again into illusion, for by this knowledge you will see that all living beings are but part of the Supreme, or, in other words, that they are Mine."
However, this is a big step. manustanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye (Bhagavad-gita 7.3)
Those who are trying to elevate themselves to the platform of spiritual understanding are not ordinary persons by any means. They are much more sincere than millions of persons who have no desire for, or knowledge of, the science of the Lord. But still they have a long, long way to go. At least if one actually realizes our present position of drowning in the material ocean, and if a kind and soft-hearted soul throws a life line for us to get out, one would be fool number one not to take it. In the same way, to be liberated from this material ocean means to be actually situated in one's constitutional position as an eternal servitor of Lord Krishna. muktir hitvanyatha-rupam swarupena vyavasthitih To really appreciate what is going on, obviously, first one must be conscious of the fact that one is drowning in an unpleasant situation of not serving Krishna. The Vaishnavas are sadhus, which can be understood to mean one who cuts the knots of the nonsense activities of this material world. How do they do this? By their mercy they shower opportunities for rendering service to the Lord in unlimited ways to try to save the fallen souls. Hearing and chanting being most effective, the Vaishnava spiritual master engages everyone he possibly can in hearing the holy name and glories of the Lord. As one develops the necessary faith, then he naturally wants to associate with those of a like nature who will help to elevate and enhance the development of one's dormant bhakti lata (devotional creeper). As a friendly relationship develops, and appreciationof each others association naturally gifts are given. It is part of a natural loving exchange and one accepts from the devotees whatever humble offerings of charitable gifts that may be given in return. In such a friendly trusting relationship one can also reveal one's realizations in an open humble way, and reveal any problems that one may find difficult to overcome, so help can be found and the Krishna conscious result or solution be acheived. Enquiring from the devotees about Krishna, the Supreme Person and His confidential service, absorbing one's self in thoughts of devotional service, honouring prasadam in the correct manner as a spiritual engagement, eagerly taking those foodstuffs that have been directly tasted by Krishna and His associates which are now coming by the mercy of the Lord and His representative, the guru, before us to taste. In the same purified and respectful manner one should distribute prasadam to the devotees. Feeding, serving and taking prasadam with the Vaishnavas is such a nice, simple and yet so satisfying way to associate.
As one can appreciate these are all very personal activities, and they are all designed in such a way to gradually help us all become more personal in our dealings, to prepare us for being again with the most personal of all persons, Lord Shri Krishna. This is a most effective way to be absorbed in directly relishing Krishna. We have seen by the distributing and taking of Krishna prasadam, many a fallen soul has been reclaimed. We will read later, that this is a very much approved function of Madhwacarya and all the acaryas in this line for that matter. The two functions of the tongue are reverberating and tasting. If the tongue can be engaged solely in talks of Krishna and tasting of Krishna prasadam, rapid advancement will take place. The spiritual master thus engages the willing soul in recitation of the Lord's holy name and topics of the Lord. This is the very beginning. The beginning means initiation.
na diksam na ca sat kripyam
na ca purascaryam managa iksate
Chanting the holy name of the Lord itself does not depend on formal initiation, pious activities, or the purascarya regulative principles observed before initiation. The holy name does not depend on any of these things, being directly the Lord Himself. It is self sufficient and only awaits the eager recipient to purely take to it.
Let us further clarify this point again so as not to mislead or allow this to be taken cheaply. When we say beginning or initiation, this is as it infers, to initiate something means the very first step, just as when a child is learning to walk and takes his first steps, it is a long way from walking and running. What we are talking of now, at this time in spiritual developement, is the very beginning stages. There is a process by which one can rapidly make advancement by following simple do's and don'ts, and by seeking out good association amongst the devotees.
In the Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu (1.4.15-16) it is explained how the evolutionary process takes place according to one's application:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, a sadhu, who also knows the process of healing the ills of previous conditioning, sometimes compared to severing attachments, other times compared to re-establishing the real position of the fallen soul, and likened to re-sewing him up after an operation. So the spiritual master is refered to sometimes as the physician and it is under his instruction that the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from material attachments, attains steadiness in self realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Krishna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love of God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life.
Upadesamrta 7 Purport summary is as follows:
If one is sincere, he is formally initiated into the sampradaya, and this stage is called bhajana kriya. One then actually engages in the service of the Lord, under the direction of the guru, by regularly chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, chanting his prescribed japa (rounds) daily, and refraining from illicit sex, intoxicants, meat eating and gambling. By bhajana kriya one attains freedom from the contamination of materialistic life. He no longer goes to a restaurant or hotel to taste so-called palatable dishes made with meat and onions, nor does he care to smoke, or drink tea or coffee. He not only refrains from illicit sex, but he is not interested in wasting his time in speculating or gambling, or frivolous sports such as tennis. In this way it is to be understood that one is becoming cleansed of unwanted things (anartha nivrtti). When anarthas are vanquished one becomes attached to Krishna consciousness.
Another statement is there in the sastra, "...... Whether a Vaishnava is properly initiated or not should not be a subject for consideration, for even though one may be initiated if he is contaminated with Mayavada philosophy he is not a Vaishnava. A person who chants the holy name of the Lord offencelessly, free from anarthas, will never be so contaminated. A properly initiated Vaishnava may be imperfect, but one who chants the holy name without offence is all-perfect. As far as Vaishnavas are concerned there is no difference between a house-holder or a sannyasi who are both in good standing. The only difference to be taken into consideration when appreciating the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord is based on the proportion of their devotion to guru and Krishna. This is the opinion of the acaryas."
The essence of initiation is found in bhagavat marg or vidhi (path or method). This simply means that one hears the holy name of the Lord from the mouth of a pure devotee. As we have just conveyed, Bhagavat vidhi doesn't require any formal initiation ceremony or yajna. At that time of accepting the Name, then full attachment to the Lord and complete detachment from materialistic ways are established. In that way, situated in asakti, one is cent percent engaged in devotional service purely. All that is required is only that one receives the holy name of the Lord purely, and then upon receipt of the holy name one must, from that day on, chant the holy name purely without offence. This is however, as I'm sure one can appreciate, a very advanced platform. Anyway, this is the initiation from the bhagavat marg; when submission to the Lord is accepted according to bhagavat vidhi one has accepted guru.
na desa niyamas
na kala niyamas tatah
nocchistadau nisedho 'sti
harer namani lubdhaka
It is a fact that bhakti yoga, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, and associating with the Lord and His pastimes, paraphernalia etc., has no restrictions concerning time, place, purity, etc. It is not dependent on anything. Still to attain to this is an extremely elevated platform, especially for the general mass of people who previously have been engaged in various forms of sinful or fruitive karmic activities. For those of us in that unfortunate position, there is specific training one must undergo so one can come to the proper standard. That training is called Pancaratriki Vidhi, to follow specific do's and don'ts which free one from sinful life.18 One of these do's is the injunction that one must accept formal initiation from an authorized spiritual master. Just to reiterate what we have previously presented, the principal is tad vijnanatvam sa gurum eva abhigacet. That is the injunction of the Vedas, that one must find a guru. samavitvani srotriyam brahma nisthan. Guru means brahma nisthan. Nisthan means he is steady in devotional service. Brahma nisthan is guru's qualification, and srotriyam is one who was heard from the disciplic succession. He is guru. Krishna is the original guru. He is Brahma's guru, so who can be a better guru than Krishna?
So my conclusion on that point is, one must become initiated into one of the four Vaishnava Sampradayas by a guru who is himself in the authorized Vaishnavas Sampradayas. Just to say I have guru is not enough, and to just accept a person because he is a learned brahmana is not enough. He must be a vaishnava, otherwise how will he give one the uttama gati, or highest goal, actual knowledge and love of Krishna, Who is the original guru?
We are outlining this description around one of the greatest Gurus of all time, Madhwacarya an eternally liberated soul, situated as one of the main pillars of the Brahma Madhwa Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.
In Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma, in the discussion between "Babaji and Vrajanatha", he makes the following statements:
"While roaming in the cycle of birth and death in this world, somehow by the mercy of Krishna and guru, a jiva is given the chance to come in contact with the process of devotional service, even if it is invoked by ajnata sukrti, unknown activities such as accidentally fasting on the ekadashi day, or unknowingly going to a holy place in which the unlimited Lord had his wonderful pastimes, or if help was given to a pure devotee as a guest, or the holy name of the Lord and recitation of devotional songs or pastimes of the Lord enter one's ears, heard from the lips of pure Vaishnavas, who, only dwelling in the Lord, are surely walking places of pilgrimage, still it has full effect to rekindle the flame of devotional life in the heart of the reciprient.
" If a person who is innocent and free from the mischievous or envious propensity to enjoy the properties of the Lord separately from the Lord, somehow engages in activities akin to the above mentioned devotional activities, he finds himself endowed by the mercy of the Lord's entourage or those activities in connection with the Lord which are non-different from the Lord Himself. If enough faith is accumulated over a period of time, the tiny fallen conditioned soul gains the desire to associate with persons of a like nature, the pure devotees of the Lord. When this is done nicely, by gradual sadhana bhakti, or devotional service in practice, actual performance of bhajana or service for the Lord takes place. Whilst performing bhajana kriya as one properly applies himself to the process, all anarthas or unwanted evil predicaments within the heart will disappear, on which the initial faith of the devotee becomes pure and is converted to nistha (firm and steady) devotion; this gradually in itself becomes more and more apparent and this matures into a deep relishing of devotional service to the Lord, and is called ruci. When ruci matures still further and gives it's natural result of tasting the nectar of bhakti, then asakti (loving attachment) manifests. Symptoms of asakti are that one is always very eager to hear and describe the wonderfully trancendental qualities and pastimes of the Lord (asaktis tad gunakhyane.........and .... pritis tad vasati sthale). Again when this matures or crystalises over some time, then it takes the name rati or bhava (loving attachment in ecstasy, or the preliminary stage of love of God).
"This rati, which is still on the santa stage when united with samagri, the proper object of one's love, becomes rasa (the sentiment of ecstatic loving taste for the Lord). This is the graduation of the growth to Krishna prema."
Bhaktivinoda Thakura makes a very important point, that in the beginning one must seek sadhu sanga, the association of saintly vaishnavas. A strong desire for seeking out the pure unalloyed devotees of this same nature as the Lord is required - not only required, it is a natural development. When this is nicely develop-ing one will search them out constantly wherever he happens to see them.
This in itself is the mission of the acaryas who have come to this material world. As eternally liberated souls they have no need to come here, but for the benefit of the fallen conditioned souls they come to give us good association. By their association one's faith will grow and it will naturally have it's direct effects of saranapatti or self surrender.
Emphasis is made on the sloka found in Bhagavad-gita (18.66). "Abandon all varieties of religion and surrender unto Me...." Giving up (sarva dharmam) all unnecessary dharmas, which include smarta dharmic rituals as ordained in the various smrtis, the eight-fold process of mystic yoga, sankhya analysis of the material world as propounded by Kapila Muni, jnana, the speculations of monism, and the searching neti neti (not this, not this) process of finding what is the Absolute Truth, what to speak of mundane sensual pleasure, for these upa---dharmas, or lesser goals, which are likened to millstones which are to be abandoned if one at all wishes to reach the ultimate goal which is love of God.19 Sometimes there is an eager hope, but misconception, which is cleared up by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Jaiva Dharma which says that, "Generally the jiva is termed free from maya when he has taken up life as a devotee; and definitely to some degree this is true, but the really true freedom from maya can occur, only when the process of bhakti reaches the fully mature stage." However what may be experienced at this time is a relief of not being battered by the results of material activities and modes of nature. As we have stated earlier, maya's service is to test, and then if one is still attatched to the fleeting enjoyment of this world, she shows what the consequences are. She, as the warden of the material world, then punishes us for our misdeeds. Just as the criminal on his own will find it very difficult to reform, by attaining the grace of the law enforcement agency one works on the process of anartha nivrtti in the association of devotees. Now how does one overcome all these unwanted things (anarthas)? It's the same process. Sraddha, saddhu sanga, bhajana kriya, etc. However, the only solace for overcoming the most difficult anartha, the spiritual offences, is by obtaining the mercy of Krishna. Then and only then can one overcome the attacks of maya, for what can we do on our own accord.
In Madhwacarya's Bhagavatatparya nirnaya commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam in the fith canto Madhwa tells a story of a poor man who came to see Sarvajna to have his future told. Sarvajna looked at the hora scope of the man and in disbelief asked him why he was so unhappy according to this chart you have a hidden treasur left to you by your father. Because your father died in a foreign place unfortunately he couldn't disclose the where abouts of the treasure to you. The story compares the living entity to the son who has become separated from the wealth of the Supreme Father Krishna due to ignorance, the treasure is love of God, and Sarvajna is the representitive of the Vedic literatures who recommend to search out love of God and become happy. Sarvajna gives the direction as to how to find this hidden treasure......." Don't dig on the southern side of the house or you will be attacked by a poisonous wasp and you will become completely baffled.This southern side there are many Vedic rituals, if any one takes them to be the ultimate goal surely he will be confused and baffled, for such rituals require that one go to a purohit (priest) who will then take your money in exchange for services performed. It is possable that some men may think that they can become happy by following such ritualistic systems, but even if the ritual does work the happiness derived from it will be short lived for one is still in this world, and does not have the treasure which was sought after. If you dig on the western side there is mental speculation, this is represented by a ferocious Yaksa, an evil spirit who protects the treasure. Foolish men have approached this terible Yaksa for ways to get the treasure but each have been destroyed, devoured by his savage jaws and killed. This path is said to be suicide by the leaned knowers of the path to the treasure. If you are inclined to the northern side where there is meditational yoga if one digs on this side, oh will you be in for a suprise. For though you may wish to become one, you will simply find youself swallowed up by another, a second, a huge serpent of distinction who is waiting for worms like you. The treasure cannot be found by the impersonalists search for the perfection (treasure). Those who are knowers of the path, who have read the charters from the learned emphatically state that it is only by the eastern side where there is light, which is called devotional service, or Krishna consciousness, for by that illuminated by the treasure itself. After attaining to it you will become perpetually rich and never again will your concern be for material riches.
Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhusana in his Govinda Bhasya commentary on Vedanta Sutra, (fourth pada Adhikarana 8 Sutra 3.4.34) supports the above statements, saying that the "parinisthita" devotee must always perform his prescribed duties according to Bhagavat Dharma (even to the exclusion of his caste and order of life) because there are two fold indications (one is the revelations of scripture, the other his natural mode or tradition). There are so many things that Baladeva Vidyabhusana quotes to support his statements - Bhagavad Gita (9.13), Mundaka Upanisad (2.2.5). In a sentence, he says the same as the Bhagavad Gita 18.68. Simply give up all lesser activities, unwanted things, and in love surrender to Me, then one will be protected from all fear. Vedanta Sutra echoes this in the sutra 3.4.35. He further quotes from Brihad Upanisad (4.4.23) where Yajnavalkya says the self same thing, "....thus freed from all doubt, he (the purified devotee) becomes a true brahmana in every way."
Another interesting point using what Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur states in Jaiva Dharma is, that if one has, due to circumstances of being in the material world for so long, forgotten his actual nature as an eternal servant of the Lord, and has developed a lethargic non-attachment to the devotional service of the Lord, this is the first anartha which has to be removed. Then he says that the second anartha which has to go are the evil or unwanted desires which arise in the heart for the so-called pleasures of this temporary material world. This comes from the misconception that I am the doer and enjoyer of this world, and all that I see. Bhaktivinoda Thakura breaks this up further, saying that specifically the "I and my" possessions come through the material objects of my sons, my wealth, and my enjoyment in the future - (especially on the heavenly planets). The anarthas or spiritual offences, which number ten, are the next to be overcome, and due to the stringent task at hand, the hard work at hand, one may become despondent or feeble at heart, (weakness of heart). This is another category of anartha. If one can overcome this one and somehow, by the Lord's mercy, keep at the process day by day, cleansing away those unwanted things, then it is just a matter of time until one reaches the goal of pure service unto the Lord and His pure devotees.
It is quite obvious also that as the unwanted conditioning imposed upon the soul by the modes of material nature, and one's lusty desires to enjoy that disappears, the real nature of the devotee becomes revealed, or uncovered.
But how does one come to that stage of seeing a way to become free from the imposition of the modes of material nature, one's previous karma and so many misconceptions? One's own personal Krishna conscious development one can work on , but also there are some interesting interactions that some of the Vaishnava acaryas say will also help us.
According to Shri Chaitanya Siksamrtam, chapter three, there are many unwanted things to be given up which cause anxiety to other jivas, varieties of ways of lording it over them. As we are all well aware of, there are so many situations which put other jivas into unnecessary anxiety. Everything is contained in the Vaishnava sastra - all the answers to those cries for help that we couldn't deal with by material means, psychology or counselling. This particular section of Vaidhi Bhakti personally I find very relevant and delicate to deal with. The unfortunate tendency in this material world is always to try to lord it over another living entity and in that way, either by politics, public humiliation, scandalizing others, setting one person up to fight with another, using harsh words, or pinning belittling labels on persons, dragging a person's good name through the mud (or as Bhaktivinoda Thakura calls it, "making agitation about the bad works of other men," or giving false witness, manipulating situations to get a result in one's favour at the cost of another's becoming put down, thus enjoying yet another form of mundane sense gratification at the cost of others, the poor jivas. In illusion, thinking we are controllers and proprietors, we continue to be controlled by maya in this way. On a more subtle note, Bhaktivinoda Thakura infers that also to be avoided is provoking or alluring someone into situations by which again one can intimidate, disturb, or again cause anxiety, or some physical harm to other living entities. He includes theft, envy towards others, wasting of other's money, wounding others, trying to tempt away another man's wife, etc. All these are the causes of anxiety, and thus all are to be avoided if one at least has a hope of becoming free from offences and the concomitant anarthas which arise from them. As we have stated, the sole purpose of all of these activities is to use, abuse, undermine the confidence of, put down, and or ridicule a person, none of which are at all productive for Krishna consciousness. At this time we need not go into all of the details of how harmful any and all of these are, but one point we can bring up in relation to these various limbs of "I and my," is that they all simply reinforce the bodily concept of life.
Tikacarya Jayatirtha, as we have already cited, deals with this problem. What is the problem? It is not how did it happen. The problem is that anarthas have covered the real nature of the soul, so even from a mundane logical point of view, it is the particular sin that one has, which, in a kind way, one has to be helped to be made aware of, which is damaging our spiritual progression. It is not that personal attacks are warranted, remarks or ridicule to "cut the maya". No, kindness and assistance in overcoming a difficulty and the avoidance of such a situation again is more constructive. The moralist Canaka Pandit says in his Maxims (15.17) that there are many ways to control in this world, but of all of them the bond of affection is the most strongest. Thus the false ego, misidentifications of "I and my" do not become unneccessarily awakened or aroused.
Consideration out of kindness is always appreciated by sentient beings. Never is it to be understood by the Vaishnavas that it is all one, that the only method is the traditional "chopping" technique as being the only method of purification. In fact this method can only be properly applied when one is in the trancendental platform free from material motives. One can imagine, if out of compassion, and genuine friendship, nothing less. Not like the mayavadis who preach simply by thinking, I have become that, not like that, friendship is a mutual relationship, not an imposition, it is an appreciative, sensitive, awareness, which is directed towards the ultimate well being of all. Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes the point to one boy in a letter20 that his guru maharaj was sometimes critisized for using the "chopping" technique, due to his powerful mood of no compromise, however his use, and that of the conditioned soul are two completely different things.Though Madhwa is known for his powerful preaching, he would take into account adrsta, or as he calls, subtle influences of karma whether good or bad, what is advantagous for making a situation favourable toward the development of Krishna consciousness for all concerned, and with intelligence apply the philosophy accordingly. Madhwacarya was also reknown for his sharp constructive criticism, by which he constructed the Krishna conscious remedy rather than highlight the negative. In the same mood, Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Shri Chaitanya Siksamrta next deals with the positive application of developing a mood of kindness and friendship towards all living beings. Naturally everyone wants to be treated nicely. Actually it is the intrinsic nature of the soul to want this. For one who is purely acting on a spiritual platform where is the question of friend and enemy? "Kindness has no separate existence from devotion to the Lord." One who is trying to help the development of others is also sensitive and tries to encourage others to development a friendly, loving relationship with the Lord and His associates. isn't it? Either way there should not be any antagonistic, unkind the most negative should be that of indifference.
Even modern day psychologists recognise that due to previous problems or traumas that one had no idea of coping with, what they call a "disfunctional society" has emerged. The aspiring Vaishnava, who has through various mixtures of karma been contaminated in this way, cannot afford to be the cause of further trouble for other souls who are also trying to, or becoming purified. An example may be given of someone who is either in the shower, or who is now drying off, ridiculing someone who is waiting to take his shower. Bhaktivinoda Thakura again makes a point that it is in the state of liberation only that true friendship can be, but while we are still bound, at least indifference, but better is kindness, to encourage the aspiring devotees to further progress in spiritual life. We have seen, and even personally executed the unfortunate act of dealing harshly or abruptly and receiving the same in return, and can now appreciate that care, consideration and kindness, being sensitive to time, place and circumstance, can and will assist a nice development of Krishna consciousness with most persons. Bhaktivinoda Thakura shows also how kindness is given and received by various men in various situations.
These are some of the more delicate considerations that the acaryas recommend to assist the devotees to make further advancement on the path back to home, through the all-important principal of sadhu sanga (association with devotees.)
"Regarding worldly jivas, kindness is for them restricted to his own body in the initial stage; if it blossoms a little, it turns towards his family, if it blossoms a little more, it goes to his community, if it blossoms still further, it goes to his own men living in his own country, if it continues to blossom still further it expands itself to all men in the same country, and if it is full fledged, it becomes a nice sentiment (moist feeling) to all jivas in the world. What is called patriotism in English is a kind of feeling of material attachment to his own men coming from his own country. What is called philanthropy is the same kind of material sentiment of affection towards human society. However the Vaishnavas are not confined to the narrow limitations of bodily consciousness of these feelings, and naturally feel genuine compassion for all suffering, fallen, conditioned souls, knowing that they are all the separated energies of the Lord and are unknowingly suffering due to further disconnection with the Lord due to these same above mentioned anarthas."
The Thakura's conclusion is therefore that all Vaishnavas in all states of development, individually develop kindness and sensitivity in dealings with all conditioned souls and in that way aid the development of the Krishna consciousness movement to again redirect our individual and collective loving sentiments towards Bhakta Vatsala - Lord Shri Krishna, who has the best interest of all the devotees closest at heart.
Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has made, as usual, a very relevant point akin to this same subject in his purport to Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.5.2, where he says, ".... One cannot be cheerful by nature unless one is factually seated in self-realization, which is transcendental to the material body and mind." In these particular circumstances we see that Shrila Narada Muni observed in Shrila Vyasadeva an air of despondency coming from his personal lack of fulfilment. Narada Muni then, out of love and care not only for his disciple but also for the general populace, nicely instructed Shrila Vyasadeva on what to do next. Thus Shrila Vyasadeva compiled the Shrimad Bhagavatam to enable human society in general to become also fulfilled by becoming purely Krishna conscious.
WHAT IS DETACHMENT FROM THE MATERIAL WORLD?
To be disciple then, means to follow the discipline of the guru. So one may ask, "Does that mean one has the perform painful, or terrible austerities?" No, not at all. If one can refrain from the four pillars of sinful life - illicit sex of any kind, eating of animal flesh, embryos or menstrual discharges from chickens (eggs), fish, etc, the use of intoxicants to any degree, and time wasting - gambling, mundane frivolous sports, which re-inforce independance of Krishna, and bodily dependance etc., then that is austerity enough. The dictates of the senses are very strong but with determination and faith in guru and Krishna one can overcome their pushings, and experience a higher taste in Krishna consciousness (Bg. 2.59 - visaya vinivartante....)
Bhagavad-gita 2.53 says, "A person who is free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through the regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord."
Katha Upanisad 2.24 also says,
prajnane nainam apnuyat
Neither the person who has not given up all evil propensities, nor he who has not taken to the austerity of restraint, nor he who has not taken to the path of devotional service in this life who is thus complacent of mind, thinking himself a big scholar of Vedic sastra, he cannot know anything of Vedanta even though so many words are spoken.
To become free from the bodily concept of life, it is obvious that one has to be detached from fuelling the senses with further attachments to mundane pleasure, which is much like a mosquito bite or eczema that itches. When one tries to satisfy the itch by scratching to stimulate the itch, for some time there is an intense feeling, then simply a bloody mess, and so much unnecessary inconvenience.
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
"One who is perfectly detached from all materialistic worldly entanglements not when one gives up everything, but when one employs the whole of everything properly for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This is understood to be perfect renunciation in yoga."
However, one has to become qualified to do this. Again, if one is renounced towards exploitation of the senses, this can be done and this renunciation is tapasya, but one voluntarily accepts this out of love and faith. It is not something that can be imposed artificially like a sentence, simply supressing his desires. Just to restrict is not enough, and to become desireless is impossible, (even the desire to do that is in itself a desire). Desire must be there, but one should desire for the spreading of Krishna consciousness. There is no question of artificially trying to stop something. It just has to be purified. There is one example that can be used here to show how to deal with the strong material desires. We have personally seen that a river may be flowing towards the sea (material desires are sometimes compared to a constant flowing river), but when the river comes in contact with the high tide of the sea, the powerful waves of the sea overwhelms the river, and the river becomes overflooded with the sea tide. Similarly, the devotee who is taking shelter of Krishna in the form of guru can set back the flow of this river of desires, making it seem insignficant by comparison to the ocean of Krishna conscious plans and desires for preaching. So, by understanding what is the nature of both material and spiritual, and by the association of devotees one should, for Krishna and guru, in knowledge give up the lower material demands and replace them with Krishna conscious desires and activities. Eventually when one has a higher taste for spiritual life, he no longer even wants the lesser material temporary pleasures.
indriyanam hi caratam
yan mano 'nuvidhi yate
tad asya harati prajnam
avyur navam ivam bhasi
"As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind, so any one of the senses on which the mind focuses can immediately carry away a man's intelligence."
Shrila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in his Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.4.26) purport, talks specifically about some austerities one will naturally accept in the process of devotional service, and the transcend-ental results of such endeavour.
"Severe austerities in the practice of devotional service are of many varieties. For example, in worshipping the Deity in the temple, there are certainly laborious activities, shri vigraharadhana nitya-nana-srngara-tan-mandira marjanadau. One must decorate the Deity, cleanse the temple, bring water from the Ganga and Yamuna, continue the routine work, perform arati many times, prepare first class food for the Deity, prepare dresses and so on. In this way, one must constantly be engaged in various activities and the hard labour involved is certainly an austerity. Similarly, the hard labour involved in preaching, preparing literature, preaching to atheistic men and distributing literature door to door is of course an austerity (tapo yuktena). tapo divyam putraka. Such austerity is necessary. yena sattvam suddhyet. By such austerity in devotional service, one is purified of material existence (kaman sanair jahau). Indeed such austerity leads one to the constitutional position of devotional service. In this way one can give up material desires, and so as soon as one is freed from material desires, he is free from the repetition of birth and death, old age and disease."
With some persons it is not a very important thing to accept guru, but the understanding of the actual Vaishnava is that guru is, as previously stated, the representative of the Lord and takes charge of one's destiny - one's entire future life. It is no longer " yours to abuse as you please ." Actually that was the case anyway, but we very carefully avoided the owner, much like how modern day squatters do. However we again declare that the body belongs to the Lord - now squatters rights have been kicked out, the formal agreement being made,and proper recognition is shown to the Lord's representative, the rent of gratitude is paid on time. How fortunate one is, we can never fully say. The Lord directly has made so many wonderful arrangements to save his wayward living entities (you and me).
Apart from the various activities that we have previously quoted, it is specifically recommended or mentioned at this time to positively engage the intelligence, the mind, body - senses etc. Naturally along with the do's there are also the various don'ts - restrictions. These restriction are called tapasya or austerity. By accepting these austerities reducing the demands of the body such as eating, sleeping, defending and mating, taking bath in the early morning even in winter, and continuing cooking in the kitchen in the summer hot season one gives up his own likes and dislikes to try to satisfy the "likes" of the Lord. For the soul who is surrendered to the will of the Lord, the bhakta, he voluntarily takes on these austerities for the Lord, and further more it is very pleasing to him. To rise above these sinful unwanted things, the anarthas, and seeing forbidden activities as being a restrictive imposition, actually means liberation, and to rise above them means being able to properly use anything in the Lord's service without imposing one's own materialistic consciousness of "I like this" and "it is too difficult for me to try to do that." Only seeing things in relation to the Lord in that way, can one properly engage in the service of the Lord with detachment.
To rise above the senses may at first be bitter like poison because unfortunately the senses have been unrestricted for so long. Now, to say no may cause rebellion. but in the pursuit of self realization - realization that I am servant of Krishna - one has to follow these rules or guide-lines, to control the mind and senses. This cannot be done blindly. One has to know why one doesn't put one's hand in fire - this is realization.
A first class disciple can accept lessons from the previous historical cases mentioned in the scriptures, and thus avoid so much suffering being put upon himself trying to experience things to be a fact. There is no need to painfully try to re-invent the wheel.
One must simply have faith in the principal of guru and Krishna as one's Lord.
aprapya mam nivartante
"Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot attain Me (Krishna). O conqueror of the enemies, therefore they return to the path of birth and death in this material world."
pratyavayo na vidyate
svalpam apyasya dharmasya
trayate mahato bhayat
"There is no loss of diminution by acting in Krishna consciousness for even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear which is to remain lost in the terrible ocean of birth and death in various species."
"Many bad habits may initially be there, and out of conditioning the influence of bad habits and mistakes may happen. But this is not to be a consideration.21 Just like with an electric fan it may be moving, but when one turns the switch off, then we say the fan is off. The consideration of some momentum from the previous current is not taken as a primary consideration. Now the switch is off, very soon the fan will stop, provided no more electric current is given to keep the fan in momentum. saksad bhavati dharmatma - now he has taken to Krishna consciousness previous karma and the concomitant fruitive results thereof are finished, but due to momentum or habit, still one may make mistakes. But very soon it will stop."
(Morning Walk talk by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 30.3.74 in Bombay.)
In Madhurya Kadambini of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura it is said that, "bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra-caisa trika eka kalah." As soon as one applies oneself with faith to the path of devotional service it should be understood that two things happen simultaneously; one's material suffering condition ceases, and all good qualities start to manifest. However the rate of disappearance of suffering (asubha) or undesirable qualities, and the appearance of all auspicious qualities (subha) gradually develops as night gradually changes to day, and has to be welcomed with patience, says the acarya.
Again we stress, how does this happen? By good association, and what is that best of association? The spiritual master, the acarya (teacher), and his faithful followers.
So this is the first thing, we must restate - acarya-upasanam - one must accept guru (acarya) who, by his pure Krishna conscious instructions, will remove all the accumulated misconceptions within the mind and intelligence of the disciple. Unless one accepts a mentor, he cannot know anything in truth, and whatever one may seemingly know is useless, just like a bolt that has become misplaced from a machine.
Due to the numerous unauthorised commentators of the Vedic literatures rendered by mundane scholars and politicians who are, by their own admission, not devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, they have mislead the innocent people in general into believing that Vaisnavism is a new thing, a cult, a sect, which pertains only to one continent, India or Asia, or a particular caste or hereditary "faith." Especially over the past hundred years or so, demoniac propaganda like this has been spread in the name of religion. Actually Vaisnavism is the oldest, purest link with the Personality of Godhead. Unlike faiths (Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, etc) which can be changed at any time by "the believer," Vaisnavism is not like that. It is the message which directly gives perception of the soul, and the souls' relationship with the Supreme Soul, Lord Krishna, through realization. It has nothing to do with the body, family, nation, race, faith or society. Vaisnavism is the science of the soul. So to understand this science of the soul, one has to hear from the representative of the original person, Krishna or God, the Supreme Being. Hearing from the correct source is of utmost importance. It is as important as putting one's mail into the official post box of the post office, or putting your letters in any old box by the side of the road. Only the box which is the representation of the post office is recognised by the postman and so, as the direct representitive of the post office, he links up the writer (or in this case the hearer) to his destination. That representative is guru, and that system is called parampara.
Consequently, being satisfied with the guru's answers regarding the nature of spiritual reality, now with fixed determination the devotee surrenders himself unto the feet of the Lord, eagerly awaiting further instructions to uncover one's dormant love for the Lord. It's not that one has to import love from some distant place. Not at all, because it is there already, but it has become covered by the mundane atmosphere which has been imported, then misdirected according to the likes and the dislikes of the senses, on the strength of the contaminating propaganda of this material world to enjoy.
With gratitude and eagerness the devotee prays:
guru mukha padma vakya
cittete koriya aikya
ar na koriho mane asa
"My only wish is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from the lotus mouth of guru."
This is the most important principle. Then the Lord takes the controlling hand in one's development in the progression of devotional life, as is assured in the Ramayana (Lanka-Khanda 18.33).
sakrd eva prapanno yas
tacasmiti ca yacate
abhayam sarvada tasmai
dadamy etad vratam mama
"To that person who surrenders to Me (the Lord), pleading My Lord, "I am Yours", Lord Rama says, "I give him eternal protection from all kinds of fear. This is My solemn vow."
At this time, seeing all one's misconceptions put right, one develops faith. This is the strong opinion of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Tattva Sutram. This is called faith or confidence. But to really develop that faith one must understand the following principle of bhakti yoga.
dana vrata tapa homa japa svadhya sanyamaih
sreyobhir vividhaius canyaih krsne bhaktir hi sadhyate
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Eleventh Canto it says this, that bhakti is obtained by various items of sadhana which include; charity, austerities, fire sacrifice, chanting mantras, study, self control, etc. However, according to Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura in his Madhurya Kadambini, he elaborates on this further and says that this refers to bhakti that is reliant on jnana in the mode of material goodness, which falls into vaidhi bhakti, practice. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura, being a nitya siddha situated on the ragatmika or spontaneous loving platform, above fruitive desires, can easily see what are the real necessities for serving the Lord and what are really various engagements or activities of the material world 'which can be used in the Lord's service.' These really are there to invoke detachment from the material world and attachment to the Lord, much like how one who has over indulged in milk produce uses another milk product, curd, under the expert guidence of the trancendental physician as a therapeutic method of cure from his disease. So this is the case, these are assistants to the path, to help one come to the path, rather than being, out of dire necessity in which actual transcendental service to the Lord which is based. According to the Acaryas, devotional service is dependant only on ones' spontaneous loving affection towards the Lord or prema , but to get to that stage pure and unmotivated Bhakti has to be developed this is the only dependant factor, other things may at some time help one to come to this stage.
In the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda, there is found an interesting and old story told by Suta to Saunaka, about an incident that had happened with Narada Muni, which relates to this subject. The four Kumaras saw Narada lamenting the fallen situation of the Kali yuga. Narada then revealed that he had seen many lamentable sights including a young woman in a distressed state, lying with two old men who were unconscious by her side. Due to their being afflicted with the unconscious nature of Kali yuga, the two old men (jnana - knowledge and vairaghya - renounciation) proved that they were in fact completely reliant on Bhakti, and not the other way around as the ritualistic smartas would have us believe.22
One can say that all of the aforementioned are limbs or angas of sadhana bhakti, but to even say that bhakti (devotional service to the Lord) can be attained by any of them is not strictly correct. Mother Yasoda made quite clear, by her own practical example, that one cannot bind Krishna by one's own effort, yet certainly anything done for Krishna will bring bhakti. Therefore we state that bhakti itself is the giver of bhakti.
It is also stated that if one just performs devotional service under the guidance of guru, in sadhu-sanga (association of devotees), and according to the sastras, what then is there to be accomplished by fruitive activities, austerities, mental speculation or examination. Renunciation is automatically attained by just simply performing devotional service.
yat marabhir yat tapasa jana vairagyatas ca yat
sarvan mad bhakti yogena mad bhakto labhate 'njasa
But without using these activities in devotional service they are useless in themselves, just as limbs that are severed from the body are useless.
In Madhurya Kadambini it says that sometimes it may be seen that jnana may appear to have taken a superior role to bhakti, but actually it is not like that. The truth is that bhakti, which does not depend on anything other than itself, has, by it's own causeless mercy, opted to play the part of the assistant. We can see this has happened previously to now also, as in the pastime of Lord Vamanadeva, Who as Upendra, the younger brother of Indra, took a subservient role to Indra to give Indra support against the demons. This was not at all showing Vamanadeva as inferior, but really showing how incredibly merciful He is to His devotees. There are numerous examples - Lord Krishna and Arjuna, Krishna becoming Parthasarathi, the chariot driver of the mighty warrior Arjuna. In this way bhakti, being merciful by nature, becomes an assistant of jnana, coming through the mode of goodness. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura says this is how the intelligent devotee sees things.
There was an interesting article in the Bhavan's Journal of India dated August 5th 1973 in this connection, in which the following article entitled "Bhakti Includes Jnana" of Shrila Madhvacarya's original writtings was presented. I have included it, for it supports the statements of the Gaudiyacaryas. The English is a little dated, but it is not too difficult to follow.
"Release from samsara is possible only through God's grace. It is bestowed on those who have had a direct vision of God. Such vision is vouchsafed to those who have constantly meditated on Him in loving devotion, after going through the discipline of sincere study of sastras and cogitation, termed jijnasa, which sets one's doubts at rest, and clears the ground for meditation. Jnana is a constituent of bhakti. So the latter is often referred to as "jnana" itself. Where the distinctive aspect of attachment is sought to be emphasized, their fusion is designated by the term Bhakti.
"As mediacy and immediacy are but integral aspects of "knowledge," scriptural texts which refer to jnana as the means of release have to be interpreted as inclusive of both the aspects thereof. Similarly, in the present case, wherever scripture speaks of Jjana as the means of release, the inclusion of bhakti within the sense of the word jnana is certainly intended and presupposed. For clearness, sometimes, the two are also separately referred to as means of release.
"That firm and unshakable love of God, which rises above all other ties of love and affection based upon an adequate knowledge and conviction of His great majesty, is called "bhakti." That alone is the means of moksha (liberation). From bhakti one reaches (mediate) knowledge, thence again ripe bhakti, thence vision and thence again very ripe devotion to the Lord. Then comes mukti (release) and thereby bhakti again, which is of the essence of bliss and an end in itself.
"The worship of the Lord there is an unalloyed bliss in itself. It is not a means to any further end, it is an end in itself and a fulfilment of our selfhood." End quote.23
Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura goes on to say in Madhurya Kadambini: bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya - the fruit of bhakti is bhakti in the form of prema (love of God) which is far beyond economic development (artha) occupational duties (dharma) sense gratification (kama) or even liberation from material bondage (moksa).
However this prema will come in due course of time as we follow this process as explained herein.
yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado
yasya aprasadan na gatih kuto'pi
"It is by the mercy of the guru, or acarya, that one receives the mercy or benediction of Krishna, without the mercy of the guru or acarya then one cannot make any advancement."
Acaryopasanam means one who follows Shrila Vyasadeva, because the acarya (teacher or guru) has surrendered his mind, body and words, everything, to the instructions of Shrila Vyasadeva. He is worshipable, upasanam. That person who is the direct representative one should approach and say, "My dear sir, I can see that you are a devotee of the Lord. Please give me instruction." Then render service with submission to please that guru. How to please him? Help him to perform his service to his guru. Become his trusted assistant-servant and never expect reward, for bhakti has it's own reward system, without so much as asking. Krishna says, "As they worship Me with love, I give them the understanding by which they can come to Me." Bg. (10.10)
As one nicely tries to serve Krishna through guru everything will happen naturally.
tasyai tapo damah
Where guru says, "My dear son, just to have an objective view of Brahman will not help; there must be subjective realization. Therefore you should lead 'a way of life' which is described in the Vedic literature, as the Vedas themselves will be self revealed from within by such a service attitude. According to your contemplation, upon the glories and pastimes of the Lord, realization will come. Along with this, one has to perform dama or restrain, sense control, to only engage the senses in devotional service, always making sure that the senses are guided properly by Krishna conscious intelligence. In this way always remain engaged in loving devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
As we water the tiny creeper of bhakti, sometimes other things start to happen. Just as an innocent child, having begun to study the scriptures and understanding a few things, thinks himself a great scholar and worthy of everyone's praise, (I know myself I have fallen prey to this one), the tendency is there to think yes, now I can understand what is what. However, Krishna soon rectifies the situation, showing just how much the small child-like philosopher really knows. It is amazing - the child was instructed and trained by the teacher, but instead of giving credit to the teacher from whence any small fragment or quality of devotional life may have come, he becomes utsahamayi, or falsely proud with his own enthusiasm, and if this false confidence is allowed to stay, thinking "I am a great devotee", then proper development of devotional mood will not take place due to the abundance of pride.
We can see in the cases of many of our disciplic succession in which all these great souls are humble and grateful to guru, and faithful, thus all success is theirs. Just as in the case of Acarya Madhwa as we read later, he as an eternally liberated soul, empowered by Lord Krishna directly, and blessed by the empowered literary incarnation of the Lord Shrila Vyasadeva, but still he showed all respect to the aging ascetic Acyuta Preksa.
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"Unto those great souls, devotees, who have implicit faith in both guru and Krishna, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed to him in due course of time."
So, as stated, one must have implicit faith, and this cannot be some whimsical or sentimental show, whilst not knowing what is what. Both disciple and guru have to be qualified. No cheating can take place. If there is cheating of any kind on either side, the love, trust and implicit faith is damaged and everything becomes cheap, make believe. The actual process of devotional service is not like that.
It is stated that the first and foremost quality of a genuine guru is that he must be a faithful disciple of a genuine guru himself. Unless guru has this basic credential, that person cannot be trusted, as much as a blind man who leads other blind men ends up falling in a ditch. If the guru indulges in sensual pursuit aimed at indulging the body in activities of the material world, how will he train his disciples to become detached from the same worldly affairs?
We have seen so-called gurus instruct their disciples in high-powered techniques for financial success, while others divulge esoteric secrets designed to make the body more fit to enjoy sensual pleasures. A genuine spiritual master however, trains the disciple how to raise one's consciousness beyond the material bodily designations to develop a deep and meaningful relationship with God through the process of devotional service. All things, such as peace of mind, actual permanent happiness, knowledge of the self and liberation from karma or one's previous activities, either good or bad, and the entanglement of further reincarnation, are all secondary things that automatically get taken care of, put in their place as one performs devotional service in a humble mood, free from envy.24 There is no need to try to find these things separately. Simply accept Krishna as the root of everything, water that root with loving devotional service, and watch the devotional creeper grow, flower and bear transcendental fruit. The Acaryas' mentioned, glorified in this book have given us more than enough good examples to follow, even as liberated souls they have for our benefit acted like, and prayed like ordinary jivas, so that we can see which way to go, now following in their sacred footsteps, in good association we are in with a chance.
The only thing is not to commit any activity that will again bring one onto a mundane or materialistic platform. Just to not commit any of the ten spiritual offences one is automatically liberated. One doesn't have to look elsewhere.25 Therefore the disciple also has to be qualified to receive the mercy, and thus be able to make the necessary advancement required to receive more, and more mercy.
Upadesamrtam 3 gives the positive principles for making rapid advancement:- being enthusiastic, then endeavouring with confidence, at the same time being patient, following the nine-fold process of devotional service - hearing, chanting, remembering Krishna etc. Giving up the association of non-devotees and following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas or spiritual teachers. By following these six principles undoubtedly one will gain complete success, pure devotional service.
Upadesamrtam 2 says, "One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in any of the following activities: eating luxuriantly or more than necessary, working more than necessary to acquire large amounts of money for one's own pleasure, over-endeavouring for material objects or qualifications that are very difficult to obtain, and unnecessarily talking about matters regarding dealings and subject matters of the material world, previous habits etc. (mundane subject matters) even if it is to philosophically defeat them."
If one however is so strictly following rules and regulations but not really knowing why such rules and regulations exist in the first place, thus one becomes ritualistic not seeing how to use the rules to help one advance in spiritual life. There is one saying " A fanatic is one who has lost sight of the goal, but shows the world that he tries even harder". Then, the other side of the coin, is whimsically rejecting the scriptural injunctions, and trying to become a spontaneous, intimate raga bhakta, whilst still conditioned, or working independently of guru, sastra and sadhus, one loses sight of the goal, Shri Krishna's lotus feet.
Upadesamrta continues: "Another way to spoil one's devotional life is by associating with worldly minded persons who are not respectful and interested in developing Krishna consciousness themselves, being greedy or attached to mundane achievements and prestige." Rupa Goswami points out, as does Shrila Prabhupada in his purports to this verse, that any or all of these unwanted things, if allowed to develop by their practice and association, will take one away from devotional service.
As previously mentioned, it is only natural that one have association, but one must avoid asat sanga, association of worldly minded persons, and then accept the association of sadhus - vaishnavas - devotees. Encouraging and enlightening each other, the devotees flourish together, and develop a desire for actual service of the Lord, bhajana kriya.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura says in Tattva Sutram 29, that it is stated that the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) is not accessible to the mundane or those who solely rely on mundane senses, due to Vaikuntha's transcend-ental nature.
Supporting what we have said so far is the statement of the ideal devotee Raghunatha dasa Goswami's Manah Siksa to which the purport of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Shri Bhajana-Darpana Bhasya acts as a further lucidation. This has been presented by Sarvabhavana Prabhu. He mentions how, "As long as the fruits of fruitive activities are not diminished by the purifying association of saintly persons, sraddha or faith, will not occur. Without proper faith one remains unqualified to hear transcendental topics, and thus assimilate spiritual instructions. However, if faith dawns in one's heart, his very first step is to accept initiation from a bonafide diksa guru to receive a mantra for constant worship, and to render loving devotional service to the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. One should chant this mantra and worship both the initiating and instructing spiritual masters with great attachment, never thinking that the guru is merely a great sage - rather, that he is one's most intimate and well wishing friend."
This well wishing friend is called suhrt, he does not forsake one under any unfavourable material circumstances for he always has the welfare of the one he has befriended closest at heart. Thus he is a real friend, or ever well wisher. Though according to sastra there are three other kinds of friend, one should be careful to know who is who. The Udasina is he who is neutral, as an associate but there is no commitment. Mitra refers to an ordinary friend. But even according to the politician Canakya Pandit's Maxims (2.6) he says "Do not put your trust in an ordinary friend or a bad companion, for should he get angry with one, he will use any of one's past he can find, to use as a weapon against you. Even the diplomatic madhyastha, though he is a friend, his friendship is based on a working relationship in which sometimes politics, duplicity, etc are used to maintain the working relationship. Only the suhrt is an actual friend who is unconditional. He is not like one who talks sweetly to one's face but tries to ruin one behind one's back." Canakya Pandit compares the mitra to "a bucket of poison with milk on top." Maxims(2.5)
guror brahma guror visnu
guru devah mahesvara
guroh sakhat para brahman
tasmai shri gurave namah
"The guru is as good as the great devotees Lord Brahma and Lord Siva (Mahesvara) and is even to be considered as good as Lord Vishnu Himself, because he is directly the representative of Lord Krishna. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto such a personality."
saksad dharitvena samasta sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh shri caranaravindam
"The spiritual master is to be honoured as much as the Supreme Lord Himself because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all the revealed scriptures and followed by all the Vaishnava acaryas. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona-fide representative of Lord Shri Hari (Krishna)."
The genuine guru never would consider himself to be God. Representative? Yes! God Himself? No! The likeness of the Lord and the spiritual master are in spiritual potency and remain as long as the jiva remains in contact with the Lord. If however, the spiritual master deviates, the Lord withdraws his sanction. We can see in the world we live in, if an iron is placed into the fire, it takes on the quality of fire, but after leaving the fire and coming in contact with another element, air or water, it loses it's fiery nature. These cooling, dampening elements are likened to material qualities in this example.
RECAPING ON THE PROCESS OF BHAJANA KRIYA -ANARTHA NIVRTI
In his Tattva Amnayasutram 54, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura substantiates our previous statements as follows: When one's activities are said to be favourable to the development of the bliss naturally attained from offenceless Krishna conscious activities, then those activities can be said to have been a secondary means to the attainment of the Lord. But karma (fruitive activities) and jnana (mental speculations) are never to be understood to be the primary means (abhidheya).
Tattva Amnayasutram (55-60) says: "Those devotees who engage in variegated devotional service to the Lord with self surrender, is itself the means and the end. By performing such devotional service in the company of saintly Vaishnavas, he acquires firm faith in unalloyed devotion to the Lord. This faith is an intrinsic faculty of the soul, and has nothing to do with karma or jnana. The characteristic of that faiths' development is that self surrender becomes more manifest. That faith then develops further to the stage where the aspirant approaches a bona fide spiritual master and takes full shelter at his feet and becomes his disciple. After taking shelter at the lotus feet of a guru, one applies himself to the ninefold process of devotional service (bhajana kriya) beginning with hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the Lord's lotus feet, Deity worship, offering prayers, dasya (serving) developing a friendly attitude, and completely surrend-ering one's very life to the will of the Lord.
Actually the injunction is there in Rupa Goswami's Bhakti Rasamrta Sindu (1.2.74)
visrambhena guroh seva
"Accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of a bonafide guru, becoming properly initiated by him and learning how to discharge devotional service from him, obeying the orders of the guru with faith and devotion, and following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas (those who teach by example) under the direction of such a guru."
Following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas means giving up one's own concocted ideas, and thus assimulating the conclusions of a particular family (parampara), then he is accepted as a member of that family. To the extent that one develops his relationship with the members of that saintly family, then it can be understood that according to the degree of one's realization he is to be accepted as a representitive of the family, for it can be seen that he is now surrendered unto the conclusions and thoughts of that good family.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.21) purport of Hrdayananda Goswami, he states:
"According to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, even though one may have the good fortune to accept a bonafide, highly qualified guru, if one maintains a taste for fruitive activities or mental speculation one's advancement will be checked. But if a serious student surrenders to a bonafide spiritual master, there is absolutely no impediment to the transmission of perfect knowledge and bliss in the devotional service of the Lord."
These unwanted things (anarthas) must be removed from the heart, just as when one is caring for new seedlings, one has to be careful that there are no detrimental weeds or parasites that will detract from the normal healthy growth of the young plant, strangling it as it tries to grow.
Within the process of anartha nivrtti, removing unwanted things from the devotional path, we see that as we water the devotional creeper, if we are not attentive, the anarthas could grow up. To show what to look for they may be further broken up into four various types according to their origins.
1. Those arising from previous sinful activities, which are ignorance, false ego, attachment, hatred and addiction to evil.
2 and 3. Those coming as fruits of previous pious activities; sense enjoyment in the mode of goodness, and even liberation which is sought after as a separate entity from bhakti, (freedom from any bondage), both of which deprive one of bhakti and are considered like ghosts or witches which haunt one, and therefore prolong one's material existence.
4. Anarthas which arise due to our negligence to perform devotional service properly, such as offences against the holy name or offences in service attitude (seva aparadhas).26
These unwanted things which may grow up even whilst one performs bhakti yoga are, as we have compared, to be considered like weeds. Such things are centred on acquisition of wealth and material facility, gaining respect from others, comfortable position, fame, etc. If one analyzes these things, the centre is " I " and not Krishna. So they will contaminate the heart if not dealt with properly. Madhurya Kadambini suggests that the nivrtti or nullification of these unwanted things has to be tackled simply by becoming humble and endeavouring to serve the Lord and His holy name and His servants in a loving way, as part of the Lord's family.
The process of anartha nivrtti is also described in Tattva Amnayasutram (71-75). Bhaktivinoda Thakur is quoting from various scriptures.
This verse is from the Shrimad Bhagavatam :
"Due to being in this material world for innumerable lifetimes it is mentioned that ten different kinds of unwanted things have been gathered knowingly and unknowingly due to the misidentification of the body as being the self. However to advance in this science of Krishna consciousness they must be eschewed or given up at the beginning of devotional service. They are as follows - One should not misbehave against Vaishnava principles, nor let that happen. One should avoid the association of non devotees. Do not take too many disciples or read too many books. Not to misuse the scriptures just for money, for whether in gain or loss without being disturbed, one should remember Hari only.
From Padma Purana: Whosoever's mind is disturbed by gain and loss, hunger or thirst, that person should control his mind by taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. Then only he will gain true peace. Lord Hari is the only shelter. One should not go to Brahma or Siva or others.
etavan eva yajatam
bhasavaty acalo bhavo
All the different worshippers of multitude of demigods can attain the highest perfectional benediction, which is spontaneous attraction unflinchingly fixed upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by the association of the pure devotee, of the Lord Bhagavan - Shri Krishna.
From Mahabharata: Just as the father loves his son, so Lord Hari also loves those who try to please Him.
From Varaha Purana: Just as in Deity worship one must avoid the offences, so in dealings with the Vaishnavas, one has to avoid Vaishnava aparadha (offences).
From Padma Purana: If one commits namaparadha (offences against the holy name), that person will fall down. In the same way, if anyone criticizes the Lord or the Lord's associates he will also fall down.
Rupa Goswami has also said: One should not on any account associate with non-devotees and under no circumstances should a non-devotee be accepted as a disciple, even if he renders palatable service, (big donations and flattery). One should avoid learning too many or unnecessary sastra, and materialistic arts, miserly behaviour or being morose. Also one should avoid worshipping separately any demigods for material gain, and avoid offences in one's service. Do not hear anything against Lord Krishna but always be tolerant in day to day activities. All these ten types of evil propensities must be avoided by all Vaishnavas.
Amnayasutram goes on to say that learned persons should never be lazy or caught in the web of lust. And one should always see the Deity form of the Lord.
"It is seen that even hunters have given up killing by the mercy of You; the Vaishnavas are naturally very kind to all."
"By engaging in devotional service in truth one automatically gets detachment and knowledge."
Another quote recorded here makes the statement: jnana, karma, yoga and sankhya can not control Me, O Uddhava, as it is only My devotional service that can please Me. By performing devotional service one can develop external and internal purity and the quality of mercy.
One should chant the holy name in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street. In this way, as one matures in devotional performances, all inauspicious or evil obstacles will disappear.
As we mentioned, the anarthas fall into four categories - mis-identification of the self, attachment for the temporary objects of the senses, offences, and weakness of heart (weakness against guarding against various temptations.) The intelligent or skilful sisya-aspirant overcomes these obstacles by engaging in devotional activities under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master. By applying oneself to this bhajana kriya (devotional service), firm faith naturally develops in due course of time. This firm faith cannot be emphasized too much, for this faith, at the time of unforeseen difficulties, could and does save the aspiring bhakta from the onslaught of the material modes of nature, and repeated birth and death .
In order to become actually free from unwanted things within the heart, one must at least come to the platform of santa rasa, which is situated in nistha. At this point, according to the acaryas, attachment to the mundane material world stops, and all further sinful activities stop. Then one can be attached to the Lord one hundred percent. This is all part of the Pancaratriki system, devotional service in practice, which, as we have outlined so far, leads one to this stage.
FORMAL INITIATION INTO THE PARAMPARA
By the five rites known as Pancasamskara, Vaishnavas externally apply themselves through the means of ritual, with the intention that by this purified ritual, or show, it will leave a lasting impression in the aspirant's intelligence to help to reform, or re-establish the link with the Lord. Though the process has internally begun long before, now the formal acceptance in this external world is established. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita 4.38-40, wherein it is confirmed that,"..........to accept this process of devotional life is the mature fruit, or culmination of one's searching in this world for answers to all the questions, doubts that keep the soul bound in this material world. Being satisfied and faithful to guru and Krishna by the perfomance of devotional service quickly gives the devotee confidence that he can, and indeed does, attain to the path of perfection without delay." In this way then the aspirant also takes initiation. This process is that one renounces his previous life symbolized by the acceptance of a new name. The acceptance of a new name indicates severing of ones' previous ideas and misconceptions. Also, because the name is that of the Lord but with the indicative suffix of "dasa" or servant added, it reflects the internal acceptance that the aspirant is now the Lord's servant (or in actuality the servant of the Lord's servant.) Then there is accepting of vows, which, by following strictly gives help to immunize one from the influence of the material nature. Marking the body with the symbols of the Lord and Vaishnava tilak, recognizes that this body is the Lords' property and not otherwise. Absorbed in that mood, the rebelious rogue becomes a gentleman by accepting and chanting Vaishnava mantras (the Holy Name and various gayatri mantras), one reforms his life to serve the guru who actually introduces one to Krishna. Though these Panca Samskara (five reformatory rites) of the Pancaratrika system are not in themselves the all in all, nor will just the ritual save one from repeated birth and death in this world, for we have personally seen so many take initiation, but due to a refusal to change the heart of one's previous conditioning after some time they may again go away, into that samsara cycle. My point is that although one has to formally accept initiation, the process begins with srnvantam swa katha krishna punya sravanam kirtanam.............,to hear from a bona fide source of topics glorifying the Supreme Lord that will, and does create a change in the heart of the hearer. (Needless to say, by the mercy of Shri guru, and Krishna and their pure representatives, the devotees we have also been inspired to try to compile this humble work.)
Sometimes persons use the excuse that a leopard cannot change it's spots, but according to the Vaishnava understanding, we are not these bodies covered by skin, fur and spots, etc, which are in themselves only a manifestation of one's karma, or previous activities. By properly applying ones' self to this process of purification, one's spots, or external situation, will change. For all said and done, we, the spirit souls, have come into this world and have associated with certain modes of nature and attained our present psycho physical make-up. So again by associating only with purely Krishna conscious activities and persons, one's life will become Krishna centred or conscious. To do this one must avoid further contact with those things which will help to re-establish one's previous spots, or conditioning. Its again a case of being inundated with the mercy of the real Vaishnavas that allow this stage to be acheived, on one's own there is no hope, that much I know.
THE STAGE OF NISTHA STEADINESS
eka anga sadhe keha sadhe bahu anga
nistha haile upajaya premera taranga
"When one is firmly fixed in devotional service, whether he excecutes one or many processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken."
C.C.Madhya lila 22.134.
Nistha or steadiness is always devoid of two things one might say, for bhakti itself is always free from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion. In the mode of ignorance we find laya (sleep or doziness), apratipati (spiritual indifferences), kasaya (sinful habits)27 , and the following are of the mode of passion - viksepa (restlessness) and rasasvad (a taste still for material enjoyment).
The other side of the transcendental coin, so to speak, is that upon attainment of nistha or steadiness, certain symptoms become present which are recognized in bodily, vocal, and one's mental activities. They are humility and naturally offering respects to others, friendliness and mercy. The main thing that one can perceive though, is that the devotee is free from anarthas or unwanted things within the heart, and their pursuit thereof. Then one can be said to be situated in nistha. That devotee is naturally in himself renounced and humble. He never ridicules those less fortunate nor is he envious of those who are in a more advanced situation of spiritual development.
By his willingness to receive the mercy, faith and skill (or realized knowledge) have made him steady. He is very much inclined to try to disseminate the same to others. With skill and care for the individuals one is dealing with, and being empowered by the guru and Krishna to preach, this rare and pure hearted Vaishnava devotee situated in nistha, out of real or true compassion, works in such a way to help everyone.
sastra-yukti nahijane drdha sraddhavan
madhyama-adhikari sei maha bhagavan
"A person whose conclusive knowledge of the sastras, and the ability to present that is not very strong, but who has developed firm faith in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and who is also undeterred in the execution of his prescribed devotional service should be considered a madhyama-adhikari. (or devotee in the middle stage of devotional development.) Such a person is very fortunate."
Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya (22.67)28
isvare tad adhinesu
balisesu dvisatsu ca
prema maitri krpopeksa
yah karoti sa madhyamah
"The madhyama adhikari is a devotee who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the highest object of love, makes friends with the Lord's devotees, is merciful to the ignorant and avoids those who are envious and atheistic by nature."
Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.2.46)
The Vedanta Sutra (11.1.34 Adhikarana ten) with the commentary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana known as Govinda Bhasya says, "That the Personality of Godhead has no partiality or cruelty, but those things felt by the living beings, pleasure, pain, etc. the scriptures declare to be because of their own karmas." Baladeva also quotes the Kansitaki Upanisad (111.8), pointing out how the jiva souls direct or develop their respective good or evil tendencies according to their desires manifesting as karma, or one's resultant activity. Ultimately everything is already done by the Lord, for He is the sole agent of this world. Not a blade of grass moves without His sanction. So Baladeva Vidyabhusana's point is that ultimately those souls who perform good deeds due to their loving nature towards the Lord, are given the facility to make rapid advancement in spiritual life, or for that matter if they are materially motivated then they make advancement in the fruitive world also. The same applies in reverse - those who wish to go away and further progress to hellish life, they will, through the same medium of the Lord's arrangement, they are given all facility to forget Him. Bhavisya Purana also supports this statement, saying, "Lord Vishnu allows the jivas to do good or bad deeds in accordance with their past karma, and yes it may seem strange, but actually there is not any conflict in this position, because these karmas have no beginning, as the eternal soul has no beginning."
Acarya Madhwa developed one philosophical treatise which is a stance against the mayavadi syndrome that everything is one. In this treatise known as Swarupa Visesa Vada, which we brought up some examples from earlier, Madhwacarya brings out many of these same points that we have mentioned herein to once and for all time establish that, due to the individual nature of the soul, his activities and his relationship with those things around him, and adrsta, (the unforseen subtle influences) there are differences. To advance one must search out one who is fixed in service to, and knowledge of the Lord, as he then advances noticable changes take place, an intimate relationship with all living being becomes prevailent, seeing them all as parts and parcels of the Lord. Still this is a long way off for the nistha madhyam bhakta who must make distinctions in order to assist the strugling conditioned souls back to their normal Krishna centred life.
What Madhwa basically, as we have said earlier, there are the three kinds of persons according to their individual natures, but then, as they interact with the three modes of material nature we get a compound mathematical situation (three kinds of modes of nature, each which can be further compounded or blended with itself to make nine mixtures, which again can be further blended to make eighty one,etc.) Then to contact these material modes of nature with what Madhwa calls three kinds of souls, the mixture becomes almost unlimited.
Madhvacarya says, that the jivas are of three natures - the eternal devotees, the innocent samsarins, (those caught up in repeated birth and death) and the danavas or demons. This can be viewed from many angles (as I have discussed with many devotees, both Gaudiya and Madhva alike.)
The nitya (suris) siddhas, being perfect devotees, are certainly the friends of the aspirant devotees, and those who are innocent and ignorant, the nitya samsarins (conditioned souls) can be helped by the merciful devotees to again come to the devotional stage, but the nitya baddhas, or tamosamsarins - best one leaves them alone, this is Madhwa's advice for the madhyama bhakta.
Shrila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes a very relevant point to distinguish between different kinds of devotees in his puport to S.B.3.3.26. Practically this is identical to what Shripada Madhvacarya says in his philosophy of swarupa visesa. "Amongst the devotees of the Lord there are several divisions, mainly nitya siddhas and sadhana siddhas. The nitya siddha devotees never fall down to the region of the material atmosphere, even though they sometimes come onto the material plane to execute the mission of the Lord. The sadhana siddha devotees are chosen from the conditioned souls. Out of the sadhana devotees, there are mixed and pure devotees. The mixed devotees are sometimes enthusiastic about fruitive activities and are habituated to philosophical speculation. The pure devotees are free from all these mixtures and are completely absorbed in the service of the Lord, regardless of how and where they are situated."
So we can see from this last statement what is the criterian for Nistha, one who is fixed in absorbtion of the Lord.
krishna bhakti janma mula haya 'sadhu sanga'
krishna prema janme tenho punah mukhya anga
" The root cause of devotional service to Lord Krishna is association with advanced devotees. Even when one's dormant love for Krishna awakens, association with devotees is still most essential".
C.C.Madhya lila 22. 83
ONE'S NATURAL TASTE REKINDLED -- RUCI
It is quite apparent that to be thus constantly engaged in devotional service, and feeling inspired by being helped himself, and by seeing the practical process of devotional life working all around him, the appreciative nistha devotee then goes to try to help others attain to the same progressive process out of the material world, as we previously mentioned in connection with the nistha bhakta, but to do that one must be getting what is termed as "a taste" (ruci). Devotional service is not a dry thing and the Lord is not a miser. He says, "To those who worship Me with love I give them the understanding by which they come to Me." (Bhagavad-gita 10.10) and "As they surrender unto Me I reward them accordingly." (Bhagavad-gita 4.11)
There are so many verses in Bhagavad-gita which support this progression. Bg 2.59 says that the embodied soul may be initially restricted from sensual enjoyment though some taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness, that higher taste, Krishna consciousness is what we are talking of here.
The detachment talked of here is not an artificial suppression, repression or like that. It is simply that the purified devotee no longer wants to have to follow the dictates of the materialistic mind and senses, and instead, with Krishna conscious intelligence, he guides the mind to only engage the senses to please the actual proprietor of the senses, Krishna-Hrsikesha.
One may have no taste initially or, as mentioned, the taste may even be bitter like poison, but if one is very diligent, for example and sets oneself a period for study of the scriptures, and also obtain aural reception, daily, after some time he will start to grasp the meaning of the particular scripture. After some more time, one finds there is no difficulty in applying oneself to what previously appeared to be arduous study, in fact it is very relishable. This then is the outline of sadhana or vaidhi bhakti - it is practice, but from that practice, the real thing gradually develops. Moreover, one develops a great relish from such a task. By good training and humble submission, everything will happen very nicely in due course.
Just as one may taste a little nectar from a spoon and seek out it's source, after tasting several cups one will completely submerge in that ocean of nectar, relishing the fathomless depths of devotional service to Krishna. From this sravanam or hearing from the right source, comes kirtanam, telling others and glorifying the Lord as a part of one's natural inclination through his practical service to the Lord.
"The Bhagavatam says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje: the supreme religion is that which teaches it's followers how to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is beyond the reach of experimental knowledge. Such a religious system begins with tan-nama grahana, chanting of the holy name of the Lord, sravanam, kirtanam, visnoh, smaranam, pada-sevanam, etc. After hearing about the process, then chanting the holy name of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy, one gradually sees the form of the Lord, the pastimes of the Lord and the transcendental qualities of the Lord. This way one fully understands the situation of the Personality of Godhead and the humble position of one's self. One can come to this understanding of the Lord and how He descends into the material world, how He takes His birth and what activities He performs, but one can know this only by executing devotional service. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati: simply by devotional service one can understand everything about the Supreme Lord. That means total absorbtion, for one cannot taste the nectar of devotional honey by licking the outside of the jar, one must be like the madhukari bee and absorb one's self in that sweet taste.
iste svarasiki ragah
tanmayi ya bhaved bhaktih
"When one becomes completely absorbed in attachment to the Supreme personality of Godhead, and one's natural inclination to love is spontaneously aimed towards the Lord that transcendental attachment is called ragatmika bhakti."
Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu 1.2.272.
If one is fortunate enough to understand the Lord in this way, the result is tyaktva deham punar janma naiti: after giving up his present material body, he no longer has to take birth in this material world.
ASAKTI -- ATTACHMENT AND DETACHMENT
As ruci has bhajan, or service as it's most relishable factor or subject, so asakti has only the Lord as the subject.
As one can imagine, one becomes more and more absorbed in the taste for serving the Lord. One's love becomes quite spontaneous. One eagerly wants Krishna and nothing else.
Madhvacarya himself says the following in his Gita Tatparya Introduction:
bhaktya prasnnah paramo dadyadajnana manakulam
bhaktim ca bhuyasi tabhaym prasanno darsanam-vrajet
tato'pi bhuyasi bhaktim dadyattabhyam vimocayet
mukto 'pi tadvase nityam bhuyo bhaktisaman-vitah
" Pleased with the initial bhakti of the jivas, the Lord bestows on them firm knowledge of His nature and attributes. He then reveals Himself to the purified soul. Thereafter He inspires the jiva with still more intensive devotion and after showing Himself to His pure devotee, He cuts the knot of material bondage. In this liberated (released) state also, the devotee remains under the Lord's control but is now imbued with unalloyed devotion to Him."
From this stage, asakti, or deep attachment develops. At this asakti stage one leaves all mortal bodily consciousness and takes purely and whole-heartedly to immortal, eternal Krishna consciousness. Shrila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in a lecture in Los Angeles (5.12.1973) also has made this point. He says, "That this immortal consciousness simply means 'I am Krishna's and Krishna is mine'. This is Krishna consciousness. Then you are saved, (liberated - nitya siddha - nitya suri)." In another lecture Shrila Prabhupada defines the path to attaining Krishna as being simply free from material desires. Just think in that perfect situation one becomes again qualified to enter into Lord Krishna's nitya lila or eternal pastimes, which are not only going on it the spiritual world, but are also being enacted in the material world to reclaim the fallen conditioned souls. Shrila Prabhupada quotes Sanatana Goswami's Brhad Bhagavatamrtam on this and gives the example of the sun which in one place is just rising and at another it is overhead at noon time and in some other place the sun is about to set. In the same way the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in His various forms to reclaim and save His devotees. He is the self same Lord appearing for His pure devotee. When the devotee becomes thus prefect, even in this world, he is eligible to associate with the Lord, but when he changes his body to take his next birth he does so in the association of devotees who are in a material universe where the Lord's pastimes are being staged. When one graduates and becomes eternally situated in deep appreciation for the Lord, the Lord also reciprocates more and more. In this way, after the preparatory training of sadhana bhakti, one can directly associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in person.
REVIEW OF THINGS SO FAR
As we analyzed, before the stage of asakti, the devotee, after realizing that his mind has been overpowered and subjected to material objects and desires from time immemorial, he then consciously makes a deliberate effort to follow the system by which he may elevate himself out of this mess. Withdrawing the mind and senses from material objects, the devotee tries to focus solely on Krishna, His form, qualities, activities, service etc. Now, however, at the stage of asakti there is no extra effort. There are no bad habits weighing one down, no materialistic mind or mundane lusty intelligence, everything has been purified. The fruit of this process therfore, which is certainly transcendental, is complete and is spontaneous in one's attraction to Krishna. This is a unique situation; before, even in this progression coming through nistha or steadiness still sometimes the mind would wander, but in asakti there is no consideration for the wanderings of material worldliness. This devotee only sees things in relation to Lord Krishna and His paraphernalia, for he only has that raga situated in his being.29
ragamayi bhaktira haya ragatmika nama
taha suni lubdha haya kona bhagyavan
"Devotional service which consists of this deep raga (attachment), is called ragatmika or spontaneous loving service to the Lord. If the devotee coverts such a treasure, he is to be considered most fortunate".
In Madhurya Kadambini seventh shower it is mentioned that when asakti fully matures, then it becomes rati or bhava. It also mentions that bhava itself, or the preliminary stage of love of God, is the immature stage of sac-cid-ananda, or impersonal appreciation.
Just for a second or two, let us look over a few points, for at this stage the platform of nitya siddha is attained. Up until now Vaidhi (Sadhana) Bhakti or devotional service in practice under stringent rules has been followed, but now one automatically only wants to please the Lord. There is no separate thought for eeking out some separate 'pleasure' in this world, this is surely a wonderful thing.
Bhagavad-gita 7.1 sheds some light to the nature of asakti, full Krishna consciousness.
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, "Now hear, O son of Prtha, Arjuna, how by practicing yoga (union) in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt."
Shrila A C Bhaktivedanta Swami (SB 9.9.42 purport) elaborates on this stating how by worshipping the Lord, throughout one's life in bhakti yoga (devotional service) and telling others as much as possible about the glories of the Lord, one will definitely become attached to Lord Krishna, and that this attachment is called asakti. At this point in one's life he can fulfill the mission of life in the human species.
He further says in the Nectar of Devotion (bhakti-rasamrta sindhu)- chapter 25 entitled, "Devotees of Krishna" "The devotees of Krishna can be classified into two groups: those who are cultivating devotional service in order to enter into the transcendental kingdom, and those who are already in the perfectional stage of devotional service." 30
Krishna's statements to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra makes again the same distinctions. There the Lord says (in Bhagavad-gita 12.8), "Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engaged all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt." This is the platform of asakti. However for those who are still conditioned Krishna gives a further option in the next verse (12.9.) "My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of Bhakti Yoga (Vaidhi Sadhana Bhakti). In this way gradually develop a desire to attain Me."
So we can see the obvious - distinguishing the Vaidhi sadhana bhakta from the ragatmika sadhana bhakta. The ragatmika bhakta (nityasiddha), being an eternally liberated soul who has not even a hint of planning for his own well being or so-called enjoyment of this world, always simply lives to serve the Lord and to save the fallen conditioned souls. That is his sole purpose being here. In the process of Vaidhi sadhana bhakti, the devotee may have been suffering for numerous lifetimes and now by the great good fortune bestowed upon him, he is situated in pure devotional service. One can see that he is very careful to make sure that everything he uses in Krishna's service really is for Krishna. If one were not purely at this trancendental stage of at least asakti, old flames for sense gratification may again occur in the heart. In my own life time I have witnessed this happen to even nice devotees - we have the tendency to think that we were more advanced than we actually were. Then all kinds of problems arose. It's not hard to imagine if, after so much conditioning for enjoyment, one tries to use everything in the Lord's service, but there is a good chance due to conditioning and previous contamination with the thought that I am the doer and enjoyer of the fruits of my actions, one will become attached to those things which are really meant for the Lord. Actually we have come to some realization on this point, that the Lord wants to see us develop our bhakti not for what we can accumulate or supposedly "use for him", He's not interested in mere gold, or marble floors, or flashy cars (conveyances). It's us who unfortunately were inclined to these things, but to the Lord what are these things worth? Lord Vamanadeva was not interested in Bali Maharaja's offers of land and opulences, and He proved to everyone there and then, that inactuality He already possessed all the three worlds.31
The best example of the nitya siddhas are Madhwacarya, who in many instances was offered all kinds of opulences, land etc, but prefered to travel and preach, and the Goswamis of Vrindavan. They themselves lived under a different tree every night and possessed absolutely nothing, though for the Lord they used everything, and it really was for the Lord. You will hear latter in this book of Madhwacarya's brother, Vishnu Tirtha who prefered to live in acave only as wide as one could fit his boby in standing side ways, but when Madhwa sent for him he gave that up to preach throughout Karnataka state.These kinds of devotees were actually detached and made no demands on anyone though with whatever came they used to serve the Lord and if it didn't come they would simply serve the Lord in their minds. They were neither addicted to a particular life style or desirous of anything other than pure unalloyed devotion to the Lord. In the life of Madhvacarya later in this book, there are many stories where he showed his trancendental nature and would eat the most, and then he could fast the longest. He would accept all opulence to serve the Deity, but he lived in simple cloth and slept hardly an hour or two per day. We have seen some devotees try to imitate this just to fall down to material allurements after some time. This is where Bhaktivinoda Thakura's statement of renunciation really rings home, for if one is actually renounced and simple, what does he need for himself, and how can he be tempted by maya? He cannot. I personally as a new devotee asked one Vaishnava Guru, "Maharaj please give me the benediction that I will never fall pray to the illusiory energy again." His answer stays with me," I give you the benediction that you will never fall down against your own will." That's it in essence, this process is not cheap, its not attained by the wave of a magic wand, its based on desire, not material lusty desire, but pure desire for reach the goal, param gatih. But one cannot cheat. One may for some time cheat fellow aspiring vaidhi bhaktas who are not firmly fixed in devotional service but who are trying to advance themselves, but one cannot fool Krishna, for one thing may have been forgotten and that is the main thing, that He (Krishna) is meant to be the object of our love and devotion, and love, being a reciprocal thing, is based not on cheating, duplicity, etc., but on trust and faith. What kind of faith? Implicit faith. There can be no room for doubts in asakti.
Tattva Sutram 32 of Bhaktivinoda Thakura makes a very clear point that the jivas are of two kinds, liberated and conditioned, so it must be agreed that the devotional degree is a little different. (1) Phala bhakti, or that of ultimate (spontaneous) devotion, meaning never was there a time when it was not so, and (2) Upaya bhakti, or as a means to reach pure devotion or eternal pure devotion through vaidhi sadhana. Phala is ragatmika bhakti and upaya is devotional service in practice.
For the conditioned soul who is trying to obtain pure devotion, one has to undergo what Bhaktivinoda Thakura calls retraction, as all forms of this pure bhakti are unmixed. One has to become naturally renounced. Its not mine so let me return it to its owner, this is natural renounciating, yukta vairagya,what Shrila Prabhupada calls feesable renounciation. One cannot pretend or say I am using this and that in Krishna's service. One has to only offer everything to the Lord, accepting for one's self only the post of peon. It is for Krishna, it is not for me, now with love let me give this back to it's rightful owner. One has to see what can be used, and what will cause problems. As we have just recently said, actual renunciation of mundane temporary items must happen or the conditioned soul will start to formulate secondary attachments for sensory objects that will hamper one's advancement, in the name of utilizing everything in the Lord's service. This is there in Tattwa Sutram.
Even renunciation though has to be done with the view that simply it is not good for re-establishing our relationship with the Lord. Not that this renunciation is like that of the fanatics who forget the goal but try even harder to make a show and thus the point of the exercise gets lost.
On the liberated stage of raga marg, it is a fact one can utilize everything in the Lord's service, simply because the devotee is not in any way seeking to enjoy in the material world, neither grossly through sensory activities, not subtly through fame, adoration and becoming a distinguished person in the name of devotional service. Nothing like that. He is just happy to be the servant of the servant, of the eternally self manifesting ocean of nectar of the highest bliss, the master of the gopis, Shri Krishna.
Depending on one's relationship with the Lord, nitya suri or samsarin has no bearing now, relationship is based on attachment, and spontaneous attraction between the devotee and the Lord is all that counts. This is defined in the sastra as follows there is no way to have love of or for God without God, its personal and is performed as follows:
tad evam tat tad abhimana laksana bhava visesvena
svabhavika ragasya vaisistye sati tat tad raga prayuta
sravana kirtana smarana pada sevana vandanatma nivedana praya
bhaktis tesam ragatmika bhaktir ity uchyate.........
tats tadiyam ragam rucyanugacchanti sa raganuga
( Bhakti sandarbha - Jiva Goswami)
" The intimate devotees of Lord Shri Krishna in Vraja, Vrndavan are all ragatmika bhaktas, nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional attachment and service out of love. Those pure devotees who follow such great and intimate lovers of Krishna serving the Him through the nine fold process of hearing, chanting etc., are called raganuga bhaktas"
vraja vasi janadisu
ya sa raganugocyate
"Devotional service in spontaneous love is vividly expressed and manifested by the inhabitants of Vrndavan. Devotional service that accords with their devotional service is called raganuga bhakti, or devotional service following the wake of spontaneous loving service."
Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu 1.2.270.
There are many such verses to be found in the scriptures that support what we are trying to put accross, at least by now one can, I hope, understand that this is basically the philosophy of Madhvacarya no less. It is not that this is a sectarian outlook of only the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. For example, the definition of Madhva's own famous philosophy of "bimba prati bimba bhava" and the relationship thereof,32 and the process by which to attain this realization, is nicely chalked out in the following statement of BNK Sharma. "Steadiness of attention and exclusive contemplation of the Supreme can only be achieved through deep rooted love of God."
Is it not what the Gaudiya Vaishnavas have also said - as we moved through the stages from nistha to bhava, ( with the inclusion of ruci and asakti ).
BNK Sharma on this subject continues to say, "The intimate relation between bimbaprati bimbabhava, subsisting between God and souls, (jivas), gives such devotion an element of naturalness and spontaneity that is needed to make it an ideal one."
"The worship of the Supreme under such favourable conditions earns the grace of God Who is pleased to reveal Himself to the seeker."33
Tattva Sutram 38 of Bhaktivinoda states, "That balanced renunciation or yukta vairagya helps or invokes liberation whereas dry renunciation, phalgu vairagya (pseudo) renunciation, actually causes further bondage." So it is not that one just rejects everything, but one uses everything that comes one's way for the exclusive service of the Lord.
If the path of renunciation is not properly followed, the ultimate goal of bhakti, devotional love for Krishna, is not obtained. The only thing is that one is safeguarded from falldown.
Tattva Sutram 40 however, says, "Still, if one is properly renounced from material enjoyment of this material world and one follows nicely the devotional activities of serving the Lord, then most definitely one's devotional service in practice will blossom into pure love of Godhead, bhava bhakti."
In Madhvacarya's Gita Tatparya Introduction he says, "Being pleased with the initial devotion (bhakti) of the jivas, the Lord bestows upon them firm knowledge of His divine nature and personal attributes, He then reveals Himself as He is. Following this the Lord inspires devotion and in the same action removes one's material attachments - bondage. In this released or liberated state the jivas remain under the Lord's loving control imbued with unalloyed loving devotion to Him."
Further in Madhva's Anu-Vyakhyana 3-4 Adhi 5-6 he says, "By such devotion, knowledge develops and by that knowledge one becomes detached, by that detachment one becomes free from material bondage."
Shripada Madhvacarya, in his doctrine of Svarupataratamya quotes verses from the Bhagavat Purana (Shrimad Bhagavatam) to support this same conclusion. There he says, using SB3.15.48, "Persons who are very expert and most intelligent in understanding things as they are, engage in hearing narrations of the auspicious activities and pastimes of the Lord, which are worth chanting and worth hearing. Such persons do not even care for the highest material benediction: namely liberation, to say nothing of other less important benedictions like the material happiness of the heavenly kingdom." Also he quotes the verse salokya-sarsti-samipya-sarupyaikatvam apy uta ... (SB 3.29.13) which translates as, "A pure devotee does not accept any kind of liberation - salokya (living on the same planet as the Supreme Personality), sarsti (the liberation which gives equal opulence to that of the Lord, samipya (to be a personal associate of the Supreme Lord), sarupya or ekatva (to have features exactly like that of the Supreme Lord) - even though they are all offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead."34 Simply the pure devotee only wants to serve his worshipful Lord to fulfil the Lord's desires without any consideration of any other desires.
In his Gita Bhasya, Madhvacarya calls the devotee "ekantabhaktas," meaning that the Vaishnavas prefer to remain as devoted foot servants of the Lord rather than opting for sayujya mukti (merging with the effulgence which is coming from the body of the Lord.)
Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Tattva Sutram (42-43) makes a nice point in relation to how one views the scriptures. "Scriptural injunctions, guide-lines, etc, are only intended to bring one to this stage of Love of God, but for those who have already attained the lotus feet of Mukunda, what is the need of descriptions of how to transcend the material world - those nitya siddhas, or eternally liberated souls are not controlled by these rules and regulations, but naturally do not go against them."35
justam yada pasyaty anyam isam
asya mahimanam iti vitasokah
rco 'skare pare vyoman
yasmin deva adhi visve niseduh
yas tam veda kim rca karisyati
ya it tad vidus ta ime samasate
"The Supreme Lord is He Who is refered to by all the mantras of the Rg Veda, Who resides beyond the para vyoma, the spiritual sky, and Who elevates His saintly devotees to share that abode with Him. One who has developed pure love for the Lord and realizes His uniqueness then appreciates the Lord's glories and is freed from sorrow. Then what further good can the Rg mantras bestow on such an intimate knower of the Lord."
(Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.7-8)
In this regard looking at the various Vaishnavacaryas the only difference in their teachings is really just points of application strategy, for while preaching, "performing their service", they had to preach in such a way to satisfy the audience, but without compromising, watering down the philosophy,according to how much the audience could take, and act on.
BNK Sharma clearly defines how Madhvacarya views mukti in his statement from "Philosophy of Madhvacarya", page 399, "Mukti is merely the shaking off of what is extrinsic to one's nature and reposing in one's own intrinsic nature. The intrinsic spiritual relation between the human spirit and God is so dynamic in it's magnetism that the attraction of the latter becomes more fully manifested in release than in samsara." This is self evident to what we have been saying there all along. Dr. Sharma's "human spirit" term should not be misunderstood that there are different kinds of spirits like the Christians say, to justify their eating of poor animals. No! Dr Sharma is stressing Madhva's point of taratamyam or gradation.
In this doctrine of taratamya (gradation), Madhva puts over the self same points, but from a different angle. Sometimes persons criticize this taratamya saying that if there is a multiplicity of gradation leading to release; with so many differences and inequalities being there, this must lead to jealousy among those released and those striving for the Lord's attention to gain release. Some, in their cynicism may say from their own mundane conception, that surely, as the devotee then progresses along the path, others in fear of their position may try to reduce the progressive bhakta's advancement to secure his own position, but as we pointed out earlier this sad mentality has nothing to do with the great and pure Vaishnava devotees of the Lord, but really pertains only to material dealings of politics. Those who are tainted with Buddhistic and Mayavadi views say this, for they cannot perceive anything positive as being of spiritual nature. Madhvacarya replies purely from a transcendental position, saying that inequality or difference by itself cannot lead to this kind of envy, politics, jealously, etc. Instead it is the lower materialistic feelings that are allowed to develop in a jiva that are ultimately responsible and they are the same things that brought the jivas here, to this material world, in the first place. Difference in itself cannot do any harm. The analogy can also be used of a knife. A knife in itself is neither the saver of life in a surgical operation, nor is it punishable for being the taker of life in a murder.
In Madhva's "Brahma Sutra III" 3.34, he points out that in fact just the opposite is there in the spiritual world. As the devotee advances and becomes free from the unwanted contamination of this world, he naturally develops friendship with the Lord's devotees in the following way: Those who are obviously more advanced lend a loving, helping hand to those who are trying to develop their devotion to the Lord. Those who are appreciative and humble look up to such great souls with love and reverence and become their disciples, looking upon them as their siksa or diksa gurus. And among those of similar devotion, they discuss their realization, serve the more advanced, and themselves, as they are recipients of mercy, show mercy to others who are of a lesser developed stage to help them develop. This is also the subject of Rupa Goswamis' "Upadesamrta" who says exactly the same words. Only the impersonalists see otherwise, not the Vaishnavas.
Looking over history of the great Vaishnavas, irrespective of what they are feeling out of love for the Lord inside, externally they always appear to be performing devotional life just like a madhyama adhikari, taking great care not to mislead or confuse the innocent and ignorant public by showing the intensity of love which they are feeling for the Lord. Still it is obvious by their activities they are not ordinary fallen souls on the bodily platform of being addicted to any sinful habits, nor are they subjected to just living for eating, sleeping, mating and defending. No, instead the devotee at this stage is fully attached to Krishna and fully detached from the glitter of material affairs.
iti matva bhajante mam
DEVOTEES IN LOVE OF GOD - BHAVA BHAKTI
Learned devotees who actually know the Lord engage fully in devotional service and worship Krishna with all their hearts. Sometime the transferance from asakti to bhava is compared with thunder and lightning, as they appear practically simultaneously.
"When one attains to the bhava stage, naturally he loses interest in the body including material opulence, material knowledge, and all varieties of material things. At this stage forgetfulness of Krishna or maya has no effect."36
The same thing is found defined in the Madhurya Kadambini seventh Shower, where bhava is defined, as we have previously stated, from Tattwa Sutram when asakti was defined. Here bhava is said as having two origins - (1) that arising from the heart of the nitya siddha, the eternal raga marga bhakta, and (2), that coming from the mature creeper of vaidhi bhakti, or purification attained by strictly following the process of devotional service.37 In Nectar of Devotion, Shrila Prabhupada also gives a word of hope to poor souls like myself in Chapter 14 entitled Devotional Qualification. "Actually a person who is developing Krishna consciousness and still has some attachment to material enjoyment will soon be freed from such a tendency by regularly discharging devotional service under the instruction of a bonafide spiritual master."
When one transcends to the status of ecstatic love (bhava) and thus becomes situated on the highest platform of pure goodness, one is understood to have cleansed the heart of all material contamination. In that pure stage of life, one can taste this nectar and this tasting capacity is technically called rasa, or transcendental mood.
jnana karmady anavrtam
silanam bhaktir uttama
"When first class devotional service develops, one is free form all materialistic desires, knowledge obtained by impersonal - monastic philosophy, and fruitive action. Then the devotees can constantly serve Krishna favourable, as Krishna desires."
Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Tattva Amnayasutram 84-85 says, "now the devotee is eligible to enter into transcendental variegatedness in the form of various rasas. This loving sentiment is called rati and cannot in any way, be taken cheaply. If one does however, take this process cheaply, that immediately is one's disqualification from the Lord's association and that in itself is the purpose of this chapter - to come to a stage where one can appreciate (1) the Lord, (2) the Lord's devotees and their intensity of love and devotion for the Lord."
Without a proper understanding of what it is to surrender one's life to satisfy the will of the Lord, and the mentality of such unalloyed devotees, one does not taste the nectar to be found in the sealed jar of honey. Any honest man who is not envious must appreciate the elevated and pure consciousness of the pure unalloyed surrendered Vaishnavas, irrespective of one's own either elevated, or as in my case, lowly position.
Amnayasutram 126-130 suports this stating that bhakti is of the intrinsic nature of all jivas, and that even jivas who have fallen and become conditioned can, by association with saintly devotees, attain to pure unalloyed bhakti. The way that the conditioned soul again comes in contact with the association of the Lord's devotees and later the Lord's intimate pastimes is through the process of preceptorial succession or guru parampara, as we will later be trying to define.
THE NATURE OF THE PURE DEVOTEE'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.
Even using the term bhakti is not such a cheap thing. Bhakti is the possession of the pure unalloyed devotee. Krishna, the Supreme Controller, Creator of everything, gives Himself completely to His pure devotee. This is the potency of bhakti.
Rupa Goswamis' Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu mentions that in the vaidhi sadhana or conditional stage, after strict adherence to the development of loving sentiments towards the Lord, and avoiding anything which may re-infect "the patient" who is now purified in mind, approaches the state of bhava, the preliminary stage of love of God. According to Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu, at this transcendental bhava stage, mind, body and soul are whole-heartedly enthused with pure devotion. Then one can act in his respective position to nicely serve the Lord without obstacles of previous conditioning affecting one.
In BNK Sharma's "Philosophy of Shri Madhvacarya" he very nicely quotes Bhagavat Purana (Shrimad Bhagavatam) 11.2.42, Vishnu Purana 3.7.30, Madhva's Gita Bhasya 9.31 and Bhagavat Purana 3.5.13. He then summarizes all four, saying how Madhvacarya sees things and affirms that there can, practically speaking, be little or no true devotion to the all pure Lord whilst one maintains either an immoral sinful life or has not developed a sincerity of purpose and detachment to worldly pleasures. He says "One cannot serve two masters." Natural detachment or distaste for lower pleasures pertaining to the bodily demands is a constitutive element of one's development of actual pure devotion to the Lord.
Actually, being situated in bhava bhakti is signified by forbearance, non-wasting of time, lack of pride, renunciation, optimism for the attainment of Krishna, relishing the chanting of the Lord's holy name, and continuous chanting, an ever willingness to at all costs, purchase great eagerness for devotional service (sometimes called anxiety). This is not to be confused with material anxiety based on frustration for fulfilment of lusty desires to satisfy the senses, or subtle enjoyment of name, fame, etc. Pure anxiety to not waste one second of one's allotted time in Krishna's service should be purchased at any price. The results are very different. For one who has not developed love for Krishna, how can that person be engaged in Krishna conscious activities, for there are always thoughts of their own eating, sleeping, and mating, and how they will defend themselves?
Where previously the senses interacted with their objects for their own fleeting pleasure, if those same senses are cent percent engaged in the master of the senses, devotional service can be performed without interruption. The process is already there, we use the mind for remembrance of the Lord and His pastimes, the eyes in seeing His Deity form and the places of pilgrimage in connection with Him, reading the scripture which gives us insight to the person Krishna, the ears for hearing the holy name and various glories of the Lord. The tongue is to narrate the same, and chant the Lord's holy names, and for tasting remnants of the Lord's foodstuff (prasadam). The nose is used for smelling the tulasi leaves and manjaris (buds) that have been offered with love and devotion at the Lord's lotus feet, and the first class incense and oils offered in the service of the Lord. The sense of touch is properly utilized by touching the form of the Deity and by embracing our god- brothers, the devotees, and by touching the lotus feet of the saintly Vaishnavas.
yat ksudram sruyate phalm
kintu mukhyam phalam ratih
"The inculcated devotional performances have their fulfilment only at the awakening of rati. The sadhana which does not produce rati to the Lord as its' fruit is simply a waste of labour."
'yatha shri rupa goswami vakyam'
sa bhaktirek mukhyangashritava-bahulangika
swavasananusarena nisthah siddhi krdbhavet
Shri Rupa Gosvami has said that only the attainment of attachment (rati) to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord is the real reward for observing all of the injunctions of vaidhi sadhana bhakti.
The devotee in the stage of bhava forgets his bodily requirements. Love of God means exactly that - that one loves God. We have experience in the material world that someone is "in love;" their only thought is for that beloved. There are so many incidents in mundane history, but that same kind of intensity for Krishna, without it's imperfections and perversions, is bhava.
It Tattva Sutram there is a comparison given to make clearer the difference between just dressing as a Vaishnava whilst maintaining material attachments in the heart, and the real thing as follows. This is like the pigeons who live in the temple towers or the fish who live in the Ganges. It is suggested that they mostly do not possess the loving sentiments of servitude either for the pure devotees of the Lord, or for the Lord Himself, but still reside at those places for some time as if out of habit or conditioning. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, where a devotee has, for some reason, taken up one of these particular bodies either out of desire or the Lord's design, but generally they are not whole-heartedly engaged in the the mood of devotional service, or in any way trying to propagate the dormant seeds of devotional service in others, the mind being elsewhere, up in the temple towers with the pigeons. According to Shri Chaitanya Siksamrtam, "....... to yield to superstition is a great evil, as if one falls prey to superstition partiality becomes manifest, and from this, no regard for the truth. For instance wearing the tilak, kunti, sikha of a Vaishnava is part of Vaidhi bhakti. By this, cultivation that the body is the temple and thus subservient to God is developed. However to think that these are the principle signs of a Vaishnava is a superstition based on one's partiality to one's own community. Thus guided by this superstition some commit offences by disregarding holy Vaishnavas who do not carry these particular signs, or the signs of their sect. Unfortunately one who is so much involved with the external dress of a Vaishnava will find neither good association in his own community, what to speak of in others. The mercy of the Vaishnava is received through the ears and felt within the heart."
To attain to the stage of love of God is the goal, and that is why we have spent so much time in this Introductory Chapter to bring the reader to a stage where an actual appreciation of these great acaryas is developed. We have had a good look at our insignificant selves and then a comparison to the nitya siddha who has descended to engage in the Lord's pastimes.
(So selfishly motivated unfortunately am I, even if you haven't got much out of this chapter so far, I have.) We, or at least some who are like me, cannot imagine to be in the situation of a pure nitya suri (siddha), for it is mind blowing for me. Still, we are assured by those great souls, the acaryas in our parampara, that, depending on your nature, either eternally pure, or again becoming pure, the process is there. By this process according to the the acaryas, one can come to the stage of awareness of that original love for the Lord which is lying there dormant in the heart of all living beings.
nitya sidda krishna prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
"Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is again purified by hearing and chanting, etc, the living entity naturally re-awakens his dormant love for Krishna."
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 22.107)
swa krta puresvamisv abahir antara-samvaranam
tava purusam vadantyakhila sakti dhrto 'msa krtam
iti nr-gatim vivicya kavayo nigamavapanam
bhavata upasate 'nghrim abhavam bhuvi visvasitah
"The living beings, who out of their own karmic reactions have created for themselves their particular bodies, actually remains uncovered by either gross or subtle matter although appearing covered by bodily forms and conditioning of the environment (gross) and the desires, likes and dislikes (subtle), but this has nothing to do with the soul (living entity) as such. This is because, as the Vedas describe, that tiny soul is part and parcel of You (Krishna), the possessor of all potencies. Having determined this to be the true position of the tiny living entity, learned sages become imbued with faith and worship Your lotus feet, to which all Vedic sacrifices in this world are aimed in loving devotion. Those lotus feet are the resort which safely gives one actual liberation from the material world."
(Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.20)
THE NITYA SIDDHA - ETERNALY PERFECT DEVOTEES OF THE LORD
In Nectar of Devotion's "Devotees of Krishna" subsection 'Eternal Perfection,' Shrila Prabhupada very clearly defines nitya siddhas and nitya baddhas. "Persons who have achieved eternal, blissful life exactly on the level of Shri Krishna, and who are able to attract Lord Krishna by their transcendental loving service, are called eternally perfect. The technical name is nitya siddha. There are two classes of living entities - namely nitya siddha and nitya baddhas. The distinction is that the nitya siddhas are eternally Krishna conscious without any forgetfulness, whereas the nitya baddhas, or eternally conditioned souls, are forgetful of their relationship with Krishna. The position of the nitya siddha is explained in the Padma Purana in connection with the narration of the Supreme Personality fo Godhead and Satyabhama devi. The Lord tells Satyabhama: " My dear Satyabhama devi, I have descended to this earthly planet by the request of Lord Brahma and other demigods. Those who are born into the family of Yadu are all my eternal associates. My dear wife, you should not consider that My associates are ever separated from Me; they are My personal expansions, and as such, you must know that they are almost as powerful as I am. Because of their transcendental qualities, they are very, very dear to Me, as I am very, very dear to them." "Anyone who becomes exhilarated by hearing of the pastimes of Lord Krishna when He was present on this earth with His associates is to be understood as nitya siddha, eternally perfect." ".......In the Padma Purana Uttara-Khanda Section, it is said, "Just as Lord Ramacandra descends along with Laksmana and Bharata, an expansion of Sankarsana, so the members of the Yadu dynasty and the cowherd men of Vrndavana also descended with Lord Krishna in order to join in the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. When the Supreme Lord returns to His eternal abode, His associates return with Him to their respective places. As such, these ever liberated Vaishnavas are not bound by the material laws of birth and death." ".....These relationships with the Lord are eternal and therefore nitya siddha devotees do not have to strive to attain the perfectional stage by executive regulative devotional principles (vaidhi bhakti). They are eternally qualified to serve Krishna."
In his Anubhasya Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that, "There are specific symptoms by which the internal devotees and the unalloyed or pure devotees are to be known. All unalloyed devotees are sakti tattvas, or potencies of the Lord. Some of them are situated in conjugal love and others in filial affection, fraternity and servitude. Certainly all of them are devotees, but by making a comparative study it is found that the devotees or potencies who are engaged in conjugal love are better situated than the others. Thus devotees who are in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in conjugal love are considered to be the most confidential devotees of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Those who engage in the service of Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Lord Advaita Prabhu generally have relationships of parental love, fraternity, servitude and neutrality. When such devotees develop great attachment for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they too become situated within the intimate circle of devotees in conjugal love."
Shrila Prabhupada has pointed out in his Nectar of Devotion, in the chapter "Varieties of love for Krishna" some very important instructions. He says, "Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of devotional service according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the footsteps of the devotees in Vrndavana. " He continues, "It is said by Shri Rupa Goswami: "When one is actually liberated from material contamination, he can always remember an eternal devotee in Vrndavana in order to love Krishna in the same capacity. And developing such an aptitude, one will always live in Vrndavana, even within his mind." The purport is that, if it is possible, one should go and physically be present at Brajabhumi, Vrndavana, and be always engaged in the service of the Lord, following the devotees in Brajabhumi, the spiritual realm of Braja. If it is not possible, however, to be physically present at Vrndavana, one can meditate anywhere upon living in that situation. Wherever he may be, one must always think about life in Brajadhama and about following in the footsteps of a particular devotee in the service of the Lord."
"A devotee who is actually advanced in Krishna consciousness, who is constantly engaged in devotional service, should not manifest himself even though he has attained perfection. The idea is that he should always continue to act as a neophyte devotee as long as his material body is there. Activities in devotional service under regulative principles must be followed even by the pure devotees. But, when he realizes his actual position in relationship with the Lord, he can, along with the discharging of regulative service, think within himself of the Lord, under the guidance of a particular associate of the Lord, and develop his transcendental sentiments in following that associate."
"In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-pranai. The siddha-pranai process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorised and who have manufactured their own way of devotional service. They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by thinking of themselves like that. This external behaviour is not at all according to the regulative principles. The so-called siddha-pranai process is followed by the prakrta sahajiya, a pseudo-sect of so-called Vaishnavas.38 In the opinion of Rupa Goswami, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service.
"Shrila Rupa Goswami says that learned acaryas recommend that we follow the regulative principles even after the development of spontaneous love for Krishna. According to the regulative principles, there are nine departmental activities, as described above, and one should specifically engage himself in the type of devotional service for which he has a natural aptitude. For example, one person may have a particular interest in hearing, another may have a particular interest in chanting, and another may have a particular interest in serving in the temple. So these, or any of the other six different types of devotional service (remembering, serving, praying, engaging in some particular service, being in a friendly relationship or offering everything in one's possession should be executed in full earnestness. In this way everyone should act according to his particular taste.")
In Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 22.133 and Bhakti-rasamrta-Sindhu 1.2.238 it is stated, "The power of these five principles (tasting Shrimad Bhagavatam from pure devotees, associating with devotees more advanced than one's self, and endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord, residing in a holy place such as Vrndavana, Mayapura, or Puri, congregationally chanting the holy name of the Lord, and having full faith in and love for the lotus feet of the Deity of Shri Krishna and worshipping of tulasi, etc.) , are trancendental and that these activities are very wonderful and difficult to set back, for even without faith in them, a person who is offenceless can experience his dormant love for Krishna simply by applying himself even a little to these practices or to any of their limbs." The only condition is that one hear Bhagavatam without making an offence or worship the Lord without making offence, staying in the dhama, chant the holy name all without offence. Then one can obtain bhava.
WHAT IS THE TERM RASA?
In Shri Manah Siksa 8 of Raghunatha dasa Goswami with Sarvabhavana Prabhu's explanation of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Shri Bhajana Darpana purports are quite profound, in fact wonderful.
Development of rasa is defined as:
"When vaidhi sadhana bhakti or devotional service in the stage of practice, matures into bhava-bhakti, or spontaneous devotional service, it is automatically transformed into sthayi bhava, or permanent spiritual sentiment. Later when it intermingles with the four ecstasies of vibhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari, and rasa is produced, then bhava bhakti is transformed into prema bhakti, or devotional service in pure love of Godhead. This is sometimes called bhakti rasa. All of Krishna's pastimes in Vrndavana, particularly His activities with the gopis, are perfect examples of this rasa. Unalloyed devotees who are fortunate enough to be elevated to the platform of prema bhakti rasa first become assistants to the gopis and intensely implore Shrimati Radharani to bestow Her causeless mercy. Then a ray of hladini sakti, Radharani's own potency, enters their hearts and the buds of prema rasa, or loving mellows, begin to blossom. No other process for attaining prema rasa is effective."
After all, one can appreciate that it is not just any one in any state of life who can come into the association of the Lord and have an on-going relationship. You can't just burst in having all kinds of material conditioning, like a street sweeper walking into the dining room of the King. The only way, as we have stated, to become an associate of the Lord is by the mercy of one of His intimate associates, this is also the purpose of compiling this introductory chapter, there is no other way to understand the Lord, or the intimate associates of the Lord or the interactions that take place between the other that by attainment of their grace. Therefore humbly I am trying to attain their mercy, that is my reason for so much emphasizing the differances between one who is coming through the vaidhi (school of hard knocks) process and the eternally free associate, the pure unalloyed Vaishnava acarya.
Chapter 5, Shri Chaitanya Siksamrtam says prema bhakti is the fruit of sadhana bhakti.39 Prema bhakti has two stages. The first stage is bhava and the second stage is prema. So if prema is compared to the sun, bhava will be it's rays. So it is not necessary to strive for some ecstasy, for when the sun is rising everyone knows, if at least one has the eyes to see, one can see.
Paramananda, the highest happiness is defined as follows :
By means of jnana the living entity may sometimes experience brahmananda, or the bliss of brahman realization, and thus become situated in self realization. But without the mercy of Radharani, he can never experience paramananda, or the highest spiritual happiness. In the spiritual realm Shrimati Radharani plays the part of the guru, and is the only way that one can approach Krishna, so one must receive Her mercy. For this the jiva has to pray very sincerely and humbly to attain the devotional sentiments of a resident of Vraja and become intensely greedy for such ecstasy. He then takes shelter of the Sakhis, or girlfriends of Radharani, or of their assistants, the manjaris. By serving them he gradually increases his eligibility of becoming ever more intimately connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Radha-Krishna, and thereby his chances of rendering further direct and confidential service increases.
Obtaining the Mercy of the Gopis.
"One obtains this special grace of Shrimati Radharani we have been talking of by receiving the mercy of her girlfriends, the gopis, and as the mercy increases, the hladini-sakti matures, eventually engaging the devotee in the Divine Couple's personal ecstatic service, bestowing sublime spiritual happiness upon him. It is very important to know that as long as the jiva considers himself as male or purusa, (an enjoyer) he is barred from participating in such intimate devotional mellows. This realm is far beyond any bodily conception, for in the primeval spiritual state the soul receives a female form (the enjoyed), for participating in this rare mellow that has absolutely nothing in common with mundane forms, male or female. If one tries to interpolate the mundane onto the spiritual, the ensuing result is spiritual suicide, disastrous for real transcendental life."
Shrila Raghunatha dasa Goswami in his Manah Siksa 3 makes an interesting point.
yadicceravasam vraja-bhuvi satasam pratijanur
yavadvandvam tatcat paricaratu maradabhi laseh
avarupam shri rupam saganamiha tasyagrajam-api
sputam premna nityam smara namah tada tvam-shrinu manah
"O mind if you really cherish the desires for loving exchanges in the eternal abode of Vraja with a view to helping in the Lord's loving pastimes then take shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Swarupa Damodara, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami and a host of their followers who are all the intimate associates of the Lord. Know it to be a fact that the nitya siddha guru of which all these great souls are, are of the nature of sakhi-rupa, assistant of the gopis."
Thus we sing daily in Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura's Gurvastakam 6
nikunja-yuno rati keli-siddhyai
ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya
tatrati-daksyad ati vallabhasya
vande guroh shri caranaravindam
For generally it is seen that the nitya siddha guru is directly engaged in assisting the gopis or the young manjaris who, at different times, make pleasing arrangements to assist with Radha and Krishna's conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrndavana. Do not despare, even if one's guru is not yet of that calibre, but only a kanistha or madhyama adhikari, still, where is the loss? The principle is gopi bhartuh pada kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah - servant of the servant one hundred times removed. So as that guru himself makes advancement, in serving his guru, who in turn is serving his own guru, so also the disciple can make advancement to the stage where he is rendering valuable personal service for Their Lordship's pleasure. Of course this all is reliant upon the Lord and the particular service or rasa that one may naturally be inclined to.
In his Mahabharata Tatparyanirnaya 1.107 Shripada Madhvacarya defines the three stages of devotees - (1) the uttama bhaktas (adhikaris), (2) madhyama, (3) a dhama or kanistha. He says that according to the nature and intensity of their individual devotional characteristics towards the Supreme Godhead, each stage is felt defined. His stance is also propounded in his Bhagavat Tatparyanirnaya 11.2.42-45. We have already given most of his feelings through the mouths of the Gaudiya acaryas, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the purports of Shrila Hrdayananda Goswami, quoting from Shrimad Bhagavatam regarding reflections on the same verses. This is the practical exhibition of the parampara.40
CONCLUSIVE STATEMENTS TO KNOW THE HEART OF THE VAISNAVA ACARYA - THE RASA and THE INTENSITY OF HIS PURPOSE.
Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.24.12 purport) outlines symptoms which will naturally diminish when one becomes a proper member of a bona-fide sampradaya.
A pure devotee never cherishes any other desire than to serve Krishna, and never separately worships any demigod or mundane personality who has no connection with the Lord. He never tries to cultivate artificial knowledge, which is devoid of Krishna consciousness, and would never engage himself in anything other than Krishna conscious activities. Instead, the pure devotee engages all of his purified senses in the service of the Lord. All these activities are favourable activities in Krishna consciousness. This is known as suddha bhakti or pure devotional service. If one renders such pure devotional service he naturally develops his original love for Krishna in due course of time. In the Vedic literatures, the Pancaratric system of Deity worship in the temple, and the Bhagavat system of spreading Krishna consciousness through discussion and recitation of Shrimad Bhagavatam with interested persons, is very much recommended and described, for by discussion one can create an interest and firm understanding of this process of knowing our natural constitutional position, as das das anudas.
Bhakti or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects - one is freed from all material designations such as man, woman, black, white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, brahmin, sudra, etc, and simply by being engaged in the service of the Lord the senses are purified. The pure devotee never accepts saloka, sarsti, sarupya, samipya or oneness in preference to serving the Lord even if presented with them, for if one is infected with the desire for material enjoyment, or material liberation, one cannot rise to the platform of pure loving service unto the Lord even though one may superficially render devotional service according to the routine regulative principles.
The material desire for profit, adoration and distinction enables one to enjoy in this material world and, being embarrassed by this material world, then one cultivates the desire to become liberated from material bondage. Still they fall into the category of sense gratification based on attraction and aversion. Though the latter is a little better than the former, still both are considered to be two witches and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain in the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service even if one follows all the sixty four regulative principles, for with a contaminated heart one cannot perform pure devotional service. But, by regularly rendering devotional service one gradually becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When that attachment is intensified it becomes love of Godhead. This gradual development of love is compared to different states of sugar. First is the seed of the sugar-cane, then sugar-cane, and then the juice extracted from the cane. When this juice is boiled it forms a liquid molasses, then a solid molasses, then sugar, candy, rock candy, and finally lozenges. All these stages together are called sthayibhava or continuous love of Godhead in devotional service. In addition to these stages, there are the nine fold processes of devotional service beginning with hearing, chanting, remembering etc. This is called vibhava, and the thirteen varieties of transcendental bliss like dancing, singing, jumping, roaring laughter and not caring for public opinion are called anubhava. When the higher standards of ecstatic love is mixed with the symptoms of sattvika and vyabhicari, the pure devotee relishes the transcendental bliss of loving Krishna in a varieties of these nectarean tastes. These tastes are said to be like a combination of yogurt, sugar candy, ghee, black pepper and camphor and are as palatable as sweet nectar.
H.H. Visvesa Tirtha Swami of Pejawa Mutt agrees with the statements of Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada by making the profound statement, ".... that due to the individuality of the soul, various tastes naturally develop due to different natures, so again it is only to be expected that what one devotee may experience in his loving relationship with his Lord may be varied according the mutual taste of Lord and devotee. But in this purely liberated stage, free from envy, etc, everyone attains fulfilment in their particular service to the Lord, to the full measure. Just as when different persons carrying their own chosen vessel go to the Ganges to collect water, so none have any cause to envy another for taking a bigger or smaller vessel. The principal is that each individual vessel becomes full." He continues, "...Similarly, Madhva's doctrine of difference of gradation is like that, that by following the scientific process of bhakti yoga, one attains fulfilment in his own rasa, not worried if someone else has greater or lesser bliss. Just serve the Lord, Shri Krishna to one's full capacity; this should be the aim of all jiva souls."
According to the particular devotee, attachment falls within five categories. Living entities existing in the world are receptacles of five kinds of sentiments of which dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental) and madhurya (conjugal) which exist with the citizens of Vraja - Vrindavana. Those devotees whose hearts desire is inclined towards Krishna in dasya, sakhya or vatsalya serve the Lord as male devotees. Those who have a motherly nature are inclined to conjugal love or worship Krishna as wives in Dwaraka. It is stated in this connection that one gets eligibility into a particular rasa according to one's taste and nature. Then one follows as a humble servant of a particular devotee who is an intimate associate of Krishna, and assists in their service to the Lord under their guidance and is obedient to that person, and not independent. This is the representative of Krishna. Is that not guru? The principal of guru is never to be given up like the Mayavadis misconception of guru. No, not at all, instead Krishna makes the necessary arrangements through His pure representatives to always keep in touch with those who He has a relationship of mutual love.
Lord Shri Krishna also states this in Bhagavad Gita 4.11" As they surrender to Me, I reward them accordingly..........." One devotee may want Krishna as his son , another as his friend ,a nother as supreme master,and another as his lover. Krishna rewards each equally according to the individuals intensity of love for Him.
There are so many instances that can be quoted. One prominent example found in the Padma Purana is the sages of Dandakaranya who were so completely taken back by Lord Rama, they asked if in the future they could take the Lord as their husbands, and so when Lord Krishna appeared, He accepted them as His 16,000 wives in Dwaraka. Other examples of guru-disciple relationships can be found in the next chapter as we go through some of the lives of the acaryas in our guru parampara.
THE FIVE PRIMARY RASAS CHARACTERISTICS:
a) Santa rati or rasa - is defined sometimes as seeing the Lord in everyone's heart as Paramatma, having faith in the personal feature of the Lord, and being free from material attachments.
The mood of the mystic yogi in santa rasa is stated in Nectar of Devotion to be as follows: "This four handed form of the Lord, manifested in a bluish colour, is the reservoir of all pleasure and the centre of our living force. Actually, when we see this eternal form Vishnu, we, along with many other paramahamsas, become immediately captivated by the beauty of the Lord." This appreciation of Lord Vishnu by saintly persons is an instance of their situation in the santa rasa or neutral stage of devotional service. For even though they are captivated by the splender of the Lord still they do not enter into seva or active service, neutrality is still their mood.41
Some examples may be given that when one becomes Brahman realized and then comes in contact with a pure Vaishnava and accepts the teachings of the Lord without misinterpretations, he becomes situated in santa rasa. The best examples are the four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sananda and Sanat Kumara. They themselves declare that they were previously impersonally realized, but became attracted to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, Mukunda, by the aroma of tulasi buds that had been offered at His feet by His pure devotees. It is stated that at this time also that they were kanistha adhikaris, neophyte sadhakas. It was some time after this that they approached the Lord and glorified His personal attributes.42
Tattva Sutram and Nectar of Devotion say: The mood of santa rati is like that of deliberation on the four- armed Deity form of Lord Narayana. The devotee, being in a calm and quiet reverential, mood, attains to santa rasa. Unmoved, serene and unruffled loving appreciation is the basis of this rasa. It's symptoms, as explained by Bhaktivinoda Thakura, are transcendental lamentation, patience, joy, attention, remembrance, sorrow, a curious anxiety to find out the Lord, emotional feelings, argumentation, etc.. He says these symptoms were present in the four Kumaras when they tried to approach Jaya and Vijaya, the doorkeepers to Vaikuntha. The nine Yogendras, Sukadeva Goswami and Bilvamangal Thakura were also in this rasa, totally renouncing this world and fully absorbed in the sentiment of awe and amazement. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says also that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was also in this same condition. There is an interesting and funny story in connection with Sukadeva Goswami, when Shrila Vyasadeva, his guru, sent him to Janakarsi to study impersonal philosophy. Upon his arrival Janaka immediately asked for his daksina, which is generally paid at the end of one's lesson, to be "paid in full, now." Janaka then said that "It has to be this way when learning the impersonalistic philosophies, because upon hearing them you will renounce everything including me, your teacher." ( Consequently as we will mention in full later, some devotees do not accept this santa rasa as being rasa.)
b) Dasya rati or rasa - the willingness to render service to the Lord as his subordinate, and he is detached from any material activity.
Practically this is self explanatory. The perfect example is Hanuman, who served Lord Rama in the dasya rasa. Another is Daruka who served as Lord Krishna's chariot driver.
c) Sakhya rati or rasa - is the devotee who feels equal to the Lord as a friend. Not only is he free from material activities due to having a friendly relationship with the Lord, but believes in equal dealings with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and sometimes exchanges joking words. (This is not the same as the equality the Mayavadi feels, for this is purely a spiritual relationship and is not based on trying to deprive the Lord of His personal attributes like the Mayavadis. Therefore the Mayavadis are to be understood as mundane, envious and offensive.) Acarya Madhwa strogly rebukes the idea of the Mayavadis with the words of the Hari Vamsa, na kvapi jivam visnutve, samsrtau moksa eva ca........"The living entity is never equal to Lord Vishnu, either in the conditioned or liberated stage.
Bhimasena, is probably one of the best examples of Sakhyabhava as he was always in the mood of loving friendship, as you willsee in the section Mukhya pran, the incarnations of Vayudeva.
This interaction with the Lord is generally known as "ahangrahopasana." The awe and reverence of dasya rasa is completely absent, in fact, to such a degree that Krishna is even obliged to do what the associate wants Him to do, or is even lovingly slighted, as is sometimes the case between friends when they tease each other, but the central feature is always the Lord. Even they don't know sometimes why they are so attracted to this small boy.
Shrila Prabhupada, in his purport of Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.8.12 says, "Through ahangrahopasana one does not become God, but he thinks of himself as qualitatively one with the Supreme. Understanding that as a spirit soul he is equal in spiritual quality to the Supreme Soul the way the water of a river is of the same nature as the water of the sea, one should therefore meditate upon the Supreme Lord, (as described in this Shrimad Bhagavatam verse) and seek His protection. The living entities are always subordinate to the Supreme. Consequently their duty is to always seek the mercy of the Lord in order to be protected by Him in all circumstances."
The mood of ahangrahopasana is very elevated. Only in these higher rasas can this be done. As one can imagine, if one tries to act like this before one is ready or qualified to do so, one's familiarity with the Lord would be quite offensive.
d) Vatsalya rati or rasa - is when one thinks of the Lord in His childhood feature, and thinks the Lord has to be protected and looked after by the devotee, and even blesses the Lord, touching His feet and head, or performs nyasa for Him for His protection as Mother Yasoda, Mother Rohini and the elderly gopis did.
Some of the best examples to bring out this mood are also Nanda maharaj, Vasudeva and Mother Devaki, I'm sure you can all remember their particular relationships with the Lord so we won't go over them at this time, relishable as they are.
e) Madhurya rati or rasa - the devotee has a conjugal relationship which is experienced by Krishna's cowherd girlfriends in Vrndavana. Krishna invokes their love for Him by movements of His eyebrows, glancing, sweet words and exchanges of joking words and teasing of His devotees. Sometimes Krishna puts them into all kinds of seemingly distressing conditions, but not to hurt them, only to bring out more of their loving moods towards Him.
The chief devotees in conjugal love or madhurya bhakti are the gopis in Vrndavana, headed by Shrimati Radhika ( Radharani ). Outside Vrindavan there are the Queens in Dwaraka, and the Goddesses of Fortune in Vaikuntha, but most intimate and intense are the loving affairs with the cowherd girls of Vraja - Vrindavan.
Attachment for Krishna is divided into two categories - one is attachment with awe and reverence, and the other is pure attachment without reverences. Pure attachment without reverence is found in Goloka Vrndavana. Attachment in which awe and reverence are prominent is found in the two cities of Mathura and Dwaraka, and in Vaikuntha.
krishnam smaran janam casya prestham nija samihitam
ata tat katha ratas casau kuryad vasam vraje sada
seva sadhaka rupena siddha rupena catra hi
tad bhava lipsuna karya vraja llokanusaratah
Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu 1.2.294-5 says that a devotee should always reside in the transcendental realm of Vraja (Vrindavan) and always absorb himself in remembrance of Shri Krishna and His beloved associates. By following in the footsteps of such associates and by entering under their eternal guidance, one can acquire an intense desire to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In that transcendental realm known as Vraja dhama, one should serve the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna with a feeling similar to that of the Lord's associates, and one should place himself under the direct guidance of a particular associate of Krishna and then follow in his footsteps. This method is applicable both in vaidhi sadhana bhakti (spiritual practices while still in bondage) and when in the stage of sadhya (God realization), when one is a purified siddha purusa or spiritual perfect soul.
On the transcendental platform of neutrality and service, sometimes the opulences of the Lord is prominent. However, in the transcendental mellows of fraternal, paternal and conjugal love, the opulence is minimized.
When Krishna offered prayers at the lotus feet of His mother and father, Vasudeva and Devaki, they both felt awe, reverence and fear due to knowledge of His opulences. After Vasudeva and Devaki had seen Krishna and Balarama kill Kamsa they could understand that They were the Personalities of Godhead. They became fearful and instead of embracing Them, they paid their obeisances. When Krishna manifested His universal form, Arjuna became reverent and fearful and he begged forgiveness for his past impudence toward Krishna as a friend. Although Krishna was joking with Queen Rukmini, she was thinking that He was going to give up her company, and she was therefore shocked. She was full of distress and fearfulness, and she also had lost her intelligence. She dropped her hand bangles and the fan she was using to fan the Lord, her hair became disarrayed and she fainted and fell suddenly, appearing like a banana tree knocked down by high winds.
All kinds of transcendental goings on are enacted. It is all just for the pleasure of the Lord to enhance, and invoke the love of His pure devotees.
In the stage of kevala (unalloyed devotion) a devotee does not even consider the unlimited opulence of Krishna, even though he experiences it. He takes seriously only his own relationship with Krishna. In fact, by the Lord's Yogamaya potency those devotees overlook Krishna's opulence, as in the case of Mother Yasoda who considered Krishna an ordinary child. When Krishna was defeated by Shridama, Krishna had to carry him on His shoulders. Similarly Pralamba carried Balarama, the son of Rohini.
"My dear most Krishna," Shrimati Radharani said. "You are worshipping me and giving up the company of all the other gopis who wanted to enjoy themselves with You." Thinking like this, Shrimati Radharani considered herself Krishna's most beloved gopi. She had become proud and had left the rasa-lila with Krishna. In the deep forest she said, "My dear Krishna, I cannot walk any more. You can take me wherever You like." When Shrimati Radharani petitioned Krishna in this way, Krishna said, "Just get up upon My shoulders." As soon as Shrimati Radharani began to do so, Krishna disappeared. Shrimati Radharani then began to grieve over her request and Krishna's disappearance. "Dear Krishna, neglecting the order of our husbands and sons, family, brothers and friends and leaving their company, we gopis have come to You. You know everything about our desires. We have only come because we are attracted by Your supremely musical flute. However, You are a great cheater. Who else would give up the company of young girls like us in the dead of night?"
This devotee gives up all desires which are not directly connected with Krishna, for Krishna is the only business of one who is in the santa rasa. Only a devotee of Krishna can be situated on that platform. He is thus called santa rasa bhakta. Being situated on the platform of santa rasa, the devotee desires neither elevation to the heavenly planets nor liberation, for these are the results of karma and jnana, and the pure devotee considers them no better than hell. Being detached from any material desire and being firmly attached to Krishna the devotee is situated in transcendence. These two transcendental qualities are there present in all pure devotees, whatever platform they may be in - either dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa or madhurya rasa.
As we briefly mentioned a little earlier, it is interesting to note that Shrila Prabhupada in "Nectar of Devotion" page 297 says, "According to some authorities this condition (santa rasa) cannot be accepted as one of the transcendental humours, or rasas, but Shrila Rupa Goswami says that even if one does not accept it as a transcendental humour, one must still accept it as the beginning position of devotional service. However if one is not further raised to the platform of actual active service to the Lord (dasya rasa), he is not considered to be on the platform of transcendental mellow."
The conclusion is supported in the Shrimad Bhagavatam by Krishna Himself Who says to Uddhava that without being established in a pure personalistic appreciation for the form of the Lord no-one can advance to actual pure devotional service. So let us now look at some of the movements or characteristics for the subsequent developments as discussed by the rasacarya Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with His pure devotee Rupa Goswami.
"It is the nature of the santa rasa that not even the smallest intimacy exists, rather, knowledge of the impersonal brahman and localized paramatma is prominent. Because of his neutral stage of devotion he worships the all pervading Lord in this way realizing his subordinate constitutional position. But when he is raised to the dasya rasa, knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes and brings with it great awe and reverence. Then by rendering service to Lord Krishna, the devotee in dasya rasa always gives happiness to the Lord. One can see how by being detached from material desires one can serve the desires of the Lord one is attached to, thus proving that the qualities of santa rasa are also present in dasya, but servitude is added. So dasya rasa contains santa and dasya rasas. In the same way the qualities of dasya and santa are both present on the platform of sakhya rasa. Therefore sakhya rasa has three qualities - santa, dasya and sakhya.
"In the mood of fraternity sometimes the devotee serves the Lord and sometimes the Lord serves the devotee. Instead of awe and reverence the servitude is mixed with equality, for as friends sometimes mock fighting and sometimes climbing on each others' shoulders, they, Krishna and the devotee, enjoy sakhya rasa being obliged to the reciprocal mood of friendship.
In the vatsalya rasa of parental love, the qualities of santa, dasya and sakhya rasas are transformed into a mood of service where the devotee thinks he has to care for the daily maintenance of Krishna. From the state of santa where very little to no intimacy is there, to the intimacy with awe and reverence of dasya, to the sakhya rasa of friendly intimacy, the intimacy has developed more to a stage that Krishna becomes like the son to the devotees and that devotee experiences all the transcendental anxieties of caring for and pro-tecting a helpless loved one. Krishna thus allows himself to become controlled by the devotee. In the same natural progression the intimacy of the madhurya rasa is enhanced by all the other rasas, attachment for Krishna, rendering of service, the relaxed feelings of friendship and the feeling of maintenance. Thus the intimacy is still further increased.
"Just as sound is found in ether so it is also found present in the qualities of air, fire, water and earth. All the material qualities evolve one after another in the material elements beginning from ether. By gradual evolution, first one quality develops, then two qualities develop, then three and four, until all five qualities are found in earth. Similarly, on the platform of conjugal love, all the feelings of the devotees are amal-gamated. The intensified taste is certainly wonderful."
WHO IS THEN ELIGIBLE TO BE CALLED AN INTIMATE ASSOCIATE OF GOD?
According to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, aspiring for the loving exchanges felt by the cowherd girls of Vrindavan is only found in raga bhakti, for as long as vaidhi bhakti is without the spontaneous loving sentiment of the gopis, rasa or raga is unattainable. However, if one longs for that association and hears of Krishna's wonderful pastimes from a pure devotee one will, in due course of time, naturally come to the stage where he can enter into these intimate pastimes of Lord Krishna and the gopis. In this way, by the grace of the Lord and His pure devotees everything is accessible. Just looking back over the sequence of events and the qualifications one must have to be eligible to enter into this realm, for me this is so inconceivably distant, it's almost impossible. Yet it is possible for the pure unalloyed devotee who has perfected his life. That person will get the necessary introduction to the Lord.
nikunja-yuno rati keli siddhyai
ya yalibhir ykuti apeksaniya
tatrati daksyad ati vallabhasya
vande guroh shri caranaravindam
"Therefore the devotees offer respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a purified soul, who is expert in assisting the gopis who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha and Krishna's conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vrindavan."
It may seem to some to be just so many words, but actually this is the position of a nitya siddha parama-hamsa guru. It is not a cheap thing. According to different rasas special mercy has been shown. Lord Krishna used to bring milk for Madhavendra Puri Goswami and in many other cases too. He turned around for Kanaka dasa, and Lord Jagannatha garlanded baby Bimala Prasad who later became Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Tota Gopinatha bent down for His pure devotee Gadadhara Pandit, and Krishna personally looked after the Pandavas, even giving help to Bhima to kill Jarasandha. He became Arjuna's charioteer. Lord Anantasana - Parasurama in Udupi made so many arrangements for the advent of Madhvacarya, and Vedavyasa personally invited Madhvacarya to his asrama at Uttara Bhadri beyond this realm.
One cannot pretend one has reached these stages interacting with the Lord, for Bhaktivinoda Thakura was very heavy upon those who were cheaters.43
"When bhava or rati deepens and matures and as a result the sadhaka's heart softens and melts completely - which is to say, when he becomes spontaneously attracted to any object that has even the slightest relation to his beloved Shri Krishna - only then, the acaryas declare, has he attained love of God - Krishna prema."
Tattva Amnayasutram as usual adds an extra flavour by saying:
86: When this rati becomes hilarious and unalloyed, then it is denoted as "priti."
87: When the "priti" is endowed with extreme affection it is termed "prema".
88: When "prema" is associated with resolute confidence, it is called "pranaya".
89: When pranaya is tinged with the mood of diplomacy it is known as mana.44
90: The 'prema' which has the specific quality that one's heart melts is called 'sneha'. (It is interesting to note that Madhvacarya wrote about this subject matter in a hidden way in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita called Bhagavad-gita-tatparya-nirnaya. Some of Madhva's main emphasis in that commentary was on the fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is different to everything in many ways and that everyone else is the Lord's separated energy, individual and subservient to the Lord, and that the only way to attain to the intimate association of the Lord is by devotion (bhakti) and heart touching loving attachment (sneha).)
91: When even this becomes mature and very intensely takes over one's love, it is called 'raga'.
92: That raga that perpetually generates ever new freshness in one's loving relationship with the Lord is known as 'anuraga'.
93: Then when 'anuraga' comes into an intoxicated ecstasy of unprecedented love par excellence it is known as 'mahabhava'.
94: Then when these ratis are still more fortified this becomes known as rasa or transcendental taste or mellow.45
109: Bhakti rasa is completely free of any touch of maya. As all rasas are found only in the wonderful pastimes of Lord Shri Krishna, they should be sought after by devotees who have attained unalloyed spontaneous devotional service to the Lord.
This however is possible only after one has attained one's own spiritual form which is the highest attainment of the jiva soul. There can be no pretence and can only take place when one has one's spiritual body, says the Thakura. The attainment of spiritual forms are not like that of the rascal Paundraka, who out of his own design made a form that resembled Krishna's, or the pretenders that one sometimes sees on the banks of the river Yamuna, with their extra plastic arms, or three days growth of beard and peacock feather. No, a spiritual form will gradually develop as one gradually take away the coverings, as by application to a prescribed recipe we will end up with the afore said nectarean lozenges.
Shrila Prabhupada warns us that no one should discuss the different descriptions of bhava and anubhava by quoting from statements of transcendental literatures, instead one should simply understand that on the spiritual platform there are may varieties of reciprocal love. In the Mahabharata, Udyama Parva, it is warned that the subject matters which are inconceivable to us in the materially conditioned state should not be subjected to our limited understanding of this subject matter in the form of arguments.
To try to understand the intimate relations with the Lord by our own inductive reasoning (the ascending process) is impossible, but when the guru, who is like a merciful rain cloud, disseminates the process of pure devotional service, then we can appreciate that it is he alone who can give Krishna to the devotees, for he is the possessor of the Lord. Then together the disciple and the guru return to the ocean of the Lord. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura says the same, "The spiritual master is receiving benediction from the ocean of mercy. Just as a cloud pours water on a forest fire to extinguish it, so the spiritual master delivers the materially afflicted world by extinguishing the blazing fire of material existence." (Gurvastakam 1)
This section has many quotes and summaries from Chaitanya Charitamrita (Madhya 7.19) with verses included also from Narada Pancaratra, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Tattva Sutram, Tattva Amnayasutram, Upadesamrtam, Nectar of Devotion, etc.
I sincerely hope that this introductory chapter has helped to give some appreciation to the rare and wonderful gift that is devotional service.The treasure that is available, and the priceless gems who are the Lords pure representitives, the Vaishnavacaryas.
THE BRAHMA MADHWA GAUDIYA SAMPRADAYA
This Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya is not of the nature of blind men. I have personally seen whilst living in Vrndavana a group of blind persons trying to cross the road to take their meals at a free mission - a disaster. The blind leader wavers here and there simply looking, but with no eyes for direction. This sampradaya is not like that at all, for in this line there are many who are genuine vaishnavas, and who have seen the truth (tattva darshi). This association of pure vaishnavas is a pure place fit for swans, it is no place for crow like men, we have had to change our ways - or cannot stay.
If the prospective disciple is actually sincere and really wants to know Lord Krishna, then and only then will he be completely successful. For those who want the cheap glitter of this material world, this disciplic succession is not available. One cannot buy one's way in, and there are no other qualifications other than the sincere desire to want to know and love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. This is the only goal of this line. One can only purchase the Lord's lotus feet by one's love and devotion for Him. Any other approaches will not be entertained. This guru sampradaya system is not a cheap thing - it costs one's very life, for only by fully surrendering one's life unto the pure unmotivated representative of Lord Krishna can one actually know who Lord Krishna is in truth.
So what is disciple? Disciple is one who only follows in the discipline of guru without adding or taking anything away. Actual disciple can be only of one nature, and that is fully surrendered to guru. And who is guru? He is the pure disciple of his guru who is himself firmly fixed in the pure unalloyed devotional service of his guru. Thus the original guru is Krishna, who then to perform this function of Adi Guru chose to appear in the form of Lord Balarama. He is the pure representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
sarva avatari krishna svayam bhagavan
tanhara dvitya deha shri balarama
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, is the fountainhead of all the incarnations. Lord Balaram is His second body."
As the first expansion of Godhead Lord Balaram is the chief Deity among the first quadruple forms, and is the foremost assistant of Shri Krishna in all His transcendental activities.
bhakta abhimana mula shri balarame
sei bhave anugata tanra amsa gane
"The sourse of the sentiment of seritude is indeed Lord Balarama. The plenary expansions who follow Him are influenced by that very same ecstacy." C.C.Adi 1.ch 6.
"The devotees are My heart, and I am the heart of My devotees. My devotees do not know anyone but Me; similary, I do not know anyone but My devotees." S.B.9.4.68.
Thus we cannot stress enough that this intimate relationship between the Lord and His devotees, who are His own associates cannot be realized without the mercy of Lord Balaram the original servitor Godhead, Guru.
As Mundaka Upanisad (3.2.3) states:
nayam atma pravacanena labhyol
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
"It is not that one becomes self-realized simply by having an academic education, not by presenting lectures in a erudite way, or by being an intelligent scientist who discovers the wonders of the world. Simply it is by the grace of one's guru and by the causeless mercy of Shri Krishna it is that one attains to the self-realized platform."
As stated previously, guru means most obedient disciple of one's guru. It is not due to any mundane material qualification. As stated below:
mantra tantra visaradah
avaisnavo guruk na syad
vaishnavah sva paco guruh
Even if a brahmana is very learned in the Vedic scriptures and knows the six occupational duties of a brahmana he cannot become a guru unless he is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, if one is even born in a family of dog eaters, but is a pure devotee of the Lord, then he can become guru.
One can pretend and fool some people for some time but under the extreme pressure of the parampara, either one becomes a pure diamond - like devotee, or one has to leave that association. There can be no pretence to actually be situated in this guru parampara, as sooner or later tests will come. That Vaishnava who is guru will, at that time, show his worth. To use a crude example of commerce, the expert business man, when the market is good, does good business, and when the market is down, knows how to direct his wealth. Still he makes a profit. It is the same with the Vaishnavas - when things appear smooth then one is absorbed totally in various activities of Krishna consciousness, and when things are difficult one takes the opportunity to take further shelter with even more intensity knowing that Krishna is the only shelter. It is then and only then with this undivided life style that one can follow in the footsteps of these great Vaishnava acaryas, gurus, who are without attraction for material things, pleasures and facilities of the temporary fleeting senses.
Even it is stated in sastra - the pure devotee can do things that the Lord cannot. Shrila Vyasadeva says this to Madhvacarya when Madhva presented his Bhagavad-gita commentary to Shrila Vyasadeva for review. Also there is an incident recorded with Lord Chaitanya when the rogues Jagai and Madhai attacked Nityananda Prabhu. Lord Chaitanya was about to kill them both, but Nityananda Prabhu begged for their lives. In Krishna lila, Lord Krishna allowed His devotee Mother Yasoda to bind Him with ropes of love. Lokanath Goswami's Deities once, whilst he was worshipping Them, jumped up onto his lap in loving affection and spoke with him. Gopala Bhatta Goswami's Saligram Radha-Ramanji changed His form for His devotee. Saksi Gopal followed His pure devotee to bare witness in the story of the old brahmin pledging his young daughter out of gratitude to a young brahmin whilst they were both on pilgrimage. Ksira-Cora Gopinatha stole sweet rice for Madhavendra Puri Goswami, and Udupi Krishna appeared for Madhvacarya. There are endless examples where the Lord takes a secondary role to please His surrendered devotee. Shrila Prabhupada states in Chaitanya Charitamrita (Madhya 6.16.65), "By the grace of Vishnu, a Vaishnava can render better service than Vishnu; that is the special perogative of a Vaishnava. The Lord Himself actually wants to see His servants work more gloriously than Himself."
There is an interesting verse which supports this statement found in the Laghu Bhagavatamrta 2.4, in which Lord Siva is telling his consort Devi, "..... among all kinds of worship recommended in the Vedic literatures, the worship of Lord Vishnu is to be known as the best. Yet far more superior to worship of Lord Vishnu, is the worship of those pure surrendered souls who are devoted cent percent to the service of Lord Vishnu."
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
These great vaishnavas who we will be reading about in the following chapter are of these natures. They are not in any way mundane teachers or family gurus, for they are on the transcendental spiritual platform. Different spiritual masters have and will have different relationships with the Lord in accordance to the Lord's design and the particular devotee's taste or rasa. Definitely it is not all one, or stereo-typed. Neither is it an impersonal thing - the subject matter at hand that we are discussing is the individual relationships of Lord Shri Krishna and His eternally separated energies, parts and parcels. Further discussed are their natures and activities, works, etc. All this is really just to give a glimpse at how fortunate the reader is to come in contact with this disciplic succession, and the Acaryas thereof. As stated earlier, now that one has come in contact, please use this to it's full advantage - become spiritually enlivened by the potency of the great devotees, and give it to others.
As I have been personally researching the information to compile this book, by the mercy of the Lord and the Vaishnavas I have become very enlivened. Many attempts have been made to distract from this nectar, but the way things have somehow or other developed I humbly suggest it is the Lord's design. Actually these attempted distractions have made me more determined to take shelter of the Lord's plan.
Trying to follow in the footsteps of the great Vaishnavas and begging for their mercy I have tried to present the Brahma Sampradaya as accepted by the Brahma-Madhva sampradaya line and also the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya in which I have taken my initiation.
Some may say what is the need to mention all this in connection with Madhvacarya? My point is that we all need to be able to put our faith in a safe and sound, worthy guru. We therefore have to be able to recognise such a person, and distinguish him from a charlottan cheater. Shripada Madhvacarya has, around 750 years previous to this time, already made many of these points, as have the Gaudiyacaryas more recently. Bearing this in mind, let us, having gained some background information as to the nature of the pure representative of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, and how His qualities are described throughout the Vedic literatures, Sruti, Smrti, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Pancaratras, etc., see how the acaryas in our line do not contradict each others mood or jostle for mundane positions to try to show that "I am better than anyone else." The Vaishnava acaryas have their own individual views and profound realizations on the Vedic truths, that there is no doubt. Simply they give us as much medicine as we can take to again become spiritually healthy, the age old remedy, never do they invent "something new" though. Due to time, place and circumstance they may stress a particular point in the philosophy, but never do they invent their own idea. In this way, just as the Lord can save one from this material ocean of birth and death, so the totally surrendered devotee who is the empowered representative, can also perform this same function and does. In fact, the Vedic injunction states that one should not become guru unless one can liberate that person of whom he is guru of. In this introductory chapter my emphasis is exactly that, to help to make sure that guru tattwa is clarified, and seen in relationship to levels of intimacy with the Lord. With this then, in mind I am praying that one can have a genuine appreciation once one actually knows the quality and qualifications of the pure representative of the Lord, otherwise as one can see by the example which is given: if you go looking for diamonds in a market place, not knowing what is a diamond, quality, purity, clarity, various characteristics, one will easily be cheated. In the same way, having even a slight insight into the precious nature of a first class diamond like devotee, if one is an honest man, great appreciation for such a priceless gem will be realized.
In the same way, after examining the process of vaidhi sadhana bhakti, gradual development of devotional service through practice, and at the same time analysing the spontaneous eternally free to act devotees who always serve Krishna without fail, we can get a closer picture of how, and why these great Vaishnava acaryas in our guru parampara are so dear to Lord Krishna having taken full shelter at the Lord's feet. We say this, in our obeisances daily, but I for one humbly beg for appreciation as to what this means.
Again, in my presentation I hope that I have not overstepped myself or offended anyone. Simply I wish that the acaryas may be understood and glorified. I pray that they may bestow their blessings upon such a useless wretch as I.
That which now follows, the first two charts show the disciplic succession coming down from Lord Brahma. Firstly I have charted the Brahma-Madhva line. Secondly I have charted the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya line. The Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya is the main topic of this chapter, as that is where most of the readers will come from, and many of those members (great acaryas) of it have their lives briefly shed light upon. Due to some obscurities of time I could find very little on some, others of their own humble choice, remain in obscurity.
INTRODUCTION TO THE GURU PARAMPARA PROPER
This chapter introduction to the parampara defines the Guru Parampara (Disciplic Succession) coming in the line of Lord Krishna to Lord Brahma, the first living entity in creation.
As we see in India today, when it is mango season in the summer months, many men will climb a mango tree and carefully pass down the fruits of the mango tree, neither adding anything to the mango nor taking anything away. Those realized souls who themselves have tasted pure mango, know how important it is to hand down only the purest uncontaminated fruit to the next in line. When the fruits are passed down in this way, the result is that those whose desire is for tasting pure mango in it's multifarious forms, can do so by the grace of the lineage or parampara. From the tree, various authorized vendors have, for the price of one's surrender, distributed mango produce in various stages of perfection. The glories of mango and the uses of mango by expert gourmets, are propounded by the works of those who have perfectly realized mango fruits.
At different times different devotees have appeared within the parampara system empowered by the Lord to represent Him. Within the parampara line there are also many branches and sub-branches and there is the main tree, some of which stay at a certain point of philosophical development under the guidance of their acarya or teacher, whilst others follow the mood of another acarya and preach the same Vaisnavism but stressing various other points in the philosophy, and the pastimes of the Supreme Lord to serve His purpose. In the following pages of this chapter I have tried to give brief glimpses into the lives and wonderful pastimes of some of these very important links of the chain of disciplic succession.
Disciplic succession is generally accepted as being of two kinds. Sometimes it is through the process of direct initiation or diksa, being the disciple of a particular guru and following his instructions, this is the general process. However, sometimes another method may be there, and this is termed siksa. This method of disciplic succession is more strongly based on the teachings of an acarya rather than just directly taking initiation from him. In this line, the Brahma Sampradaya, we find both methods used. Some are direct disciples of direct disciples coming down from the previous acaryas, but some, although initiated into the parampara by another guru in the line, have taken shelter of a pure Vaishnava in the line. Others have come down through the parampara line from outside the parampara, or from another parampara, or from an impersonalist background, and by the preaching of the acarya, have aligned themselves with him as his siksa disciples after having taken the necessary permission from their initiating guru. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was initiated into the sampradaya by Bipin Bihari Goswami but still he took siksa from Jagannatha dasa Babaji, a great paramahamsa. We also see this in the life of Madhvacarya. He took initiation from Acyutapreksa, but he had thoughts only of Vyasadeva as will be explained in the following chapters. As one reads this chapter, the links are explained so that one can appreciate the mood of the devotee involved.
Praying at the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas in the guru parampara, I pray that they may bless me to understand further the tattva of guru and the linking process by which the Vaishnava acarya bestows his blessings on a devotee and makes him fortunate, by serving the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for by the mercy of guru one obtains Krishna, without the mercy of guru one cannot obtain Krishna.
For you, the readers' pleasure, I have included a few interesting personalities who the over-all sampradaya have heard about. So let's see where everyone fits in.
THE BRAHMA-- MADHWA GURU PARAMPARA (as refered to in, "The History of Dwaita School of Vedanta and its Literature" by Dr B.N.K. Sharma, page 75)
1. HAMSA ---- NARAYANA ( PARAMATMA )
2. CATURMUKHA BRAHMA
3. FOUR KUMARAS (SANAKADI )
4. DURVASAS (Durvasa Muni the expansion of Lord Siva)
5. JNANANIDHI TIRTHA
7. KAIVALYA TIRTHA
8. JNANISA TIRTHA
10. SATYA PRAJNA TIRTHA
11. PRAJNA TIRTHA ( then a gap of four hundred years )
12. ACYUTAPRAJNA TIRTHA (Purusottam Tirtha)
13 &14. ANANDA TIRTHA - PURNAPRAJNA TIRTHA ( MADHWACARYA ) and VYASADEVA
1. PADMANABHA TIRTHA
2. NARAHARI TIRTHA
3. MADHAVA TIRTHA
4. AKSOBHYA TIRTHA
5. JAYA TIRTHA
6. VIDYADHIRAJ TIRTHA -------------------------------------------------------------------I
7. KAVINDRA TIRTHA RAJENDRA TIRTHA
8. VAGISA TIRTHA JAYADHWAJ TIRTHA
9. RAMACHANDRA TIRTHA PURUSOTTAMA TIRTHA
I BRAHMANYA TIRTHA
I---------------------------------------------------------------I VYASA TIRTHA
VIBUDHENDRA TIRTHA VIDYANIDHI TIRTHA SRINIVAS TIRTHA
JITAMITRA TIRTHA RAGHUNATHA TIRTHA RAMA TIRTHA
RAGHUNANDANA T. RAGHUVARYA TIRTHA LAXMIKANTHA TIRTHA
SURENDRA TIRTHA RAGHUTTAMA TIRTHA SRIPATI TIRTHA
I 1539 ad I 1596 ad I 1627 ad (approx)
I I I
(RAGHAVENDRA SW. MUTT) (UTTARADI MUTT) (VYASARAJA MUTT)
This is also to be found in the purport to Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Shri Chaitanya Charitamrtam Madhta Lila Ch 9.246.
In the Brahma Sampradaya, which is the sampradaya of Shri Madhvacarya, up until Madhva I have included in the flow of devotees the lineage accepted by the general Brahma Sampradaya, but after Madhvacarya there are some changes. Different devotees have branched out to further spread the parampara. I have tried to include some of these changes, however, as an aspiring Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaishnava my main presentation is of that line. To those in other Madhva Mutts I offer my respects as great Vaishnavas, but for a moment let us look into the dynamic preaching arm of the Madhva body - the ISKCON Gaudiya line, which has now spread the glories of Madhvacarya not only throughout the world, but throughout the universe.46
I hope and pray that as no offence is intended, that no offence will be taken due to my presentation. Though we unfortunate souls have taken our present birth in families outside of the Vedic culture, by the great good fortune and extreme mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and by the mercy of our Shrila Prabhupada, we have been brought back into the Vedic culture, and have received Vaishnava diksa according to the agamas of the Pancaratriki system of Vaishnava initiation.
Now, as it is stated in the Vaishnava Smrti, Hari Bhakti Vilasa:-
pujamisyams tatah krishnam adau sannihitam gurum
pranamya pujayed bhaktya dattva kincid upayanam
"One should first come before one's spiritual master, pay obeisances to him, present him with some offering and worship him with devotion. Having gained his grace, one should then worship the Supreme Lord."
Krishna cannot be approached directly; only by the grace of guru can one approach Krishna and only by the mercy of Krishna can one get a bona-fide guru. Now taking this opportunity to beg at the lotus feet of Guru, Param guru, Parampara guru, Mahaguru, Paramesthi guru, etc., in fact all the great Vaishnavas, sarva vaisnavebhyo, back to Lord Brahma himself, and to Lord Krishna the original Guru, praying for their mercy to empower me to present as it is - the pure guru parampara.
CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE DESCENT OF THE BRAHMA MADHWA GAUDIYA GURU PARAMPARA:
With no more ado, let us start from the very beginning of the sampradaya. Let Lord Brahma himself introduce through his own realizations, whilst seated upon a lotus flower that appeared from the lotus navel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Garbhadaksayi Vishnu.
Shri Brahma Samhita .
1. Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the Origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the Prime Cause of all causes.
2. (The spiritual place of transcendental pastimes of Krishna is portrayed in the 2nd verse.) The super-excellent station of Krishna, which is known as Gokula has thousands of petals and a corolla like that of a lotus sprouted from a part of His Infinitary aspect, the whorl of the leaves being the actual abode of Krishna.
3. The whorl of that transcendental lotus is the realm wherein dwells Krishna. It is a hexagonal figure, the abode of the indwelling predominated and predominating aspect of the Absolute. Like a diamond the central supporting figure of Self-luminous Krishna stands as the transcendental Source of all potencies. The holy name consisting of Eighteen Transcendental Letters is manifested in a hexagonal Figure with six-fold divisions.
4. The whorl of that Eternal Realm Gokula is the hexagonal Abode of Krishna. It's Petals are the Abode of Gopas who are part and parcel of Krishna to Whom they are most lovingly devoted and are similar in essence. The petals shine beautifully like so many walls. The extended leaves of that lotus are the garden-like dhama, i.e., spiritual abode of Shri Radhika, the most beloved of Krishna.
5. (The surrounding external plane of Gokula is described in this verse.) There is a mysterious quadrangular place named "sveta-dvipa" surrounding the outskirts of Gokula. Sveta-dvipa is divided into four parts on all sides. The abode of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are separately located in each of these four parts. These four divided abodes are enveloped by the four-fold human requirements such as piety, wealth, passion and liberation as also by the four Vedas viz., Rik, Sama, Yajus and Artharva, which deal with the mantram and which are the bases of achievements of the four-fold mundane requirements. Ten tridents are fixed in the ten directions, including the Zenith and Nadir. The eight directions are decorated with the eight jewels of "Mahapadma", "Padma", "Sankhya", "Makara", "Kacchapa", "Mukunda", "Kunda", and "Neela". There are ten protectors (dikpalas) of the directions in the form of mantram. The associates of the hue of blue, yellow, red and white and the extraordinary potencies bearing the names "Bimala", etc., shine on all sides.
6. The Lord of Gokula is the Transcendental Supreme Godhead, the Own Self of Eternal Ecstasies. He is Superior to all superiors and is busily engaged in the enjoyments of the Transcendental Realm and has no other association with His mundane Potency.
7. Krishna never consorts with His illusory energy, still her connection is not cut off from the Absolute Truth. When He intends to create the material world, the amorous pastime, in which He engages by consorting with His own spiritual (Cit) potency Rama by casting His glance at the Deluding energy in the shape of sending His time energy, is an auxiliary activity.
8. (The secondary process of association with May is described.) Ramadevi, the spiritual (Cit) potency, beloved consort of the Supreme Lord, is the Regulatrix of all entities. The Divine Plenary Portion of Krishna creates the mundane world. At creation there appears a Divine Halo of the Nature of His own subjective portion. This Halo is divine Sambhu, the masculine symbol of manifested emblem of the Supreme Lord. This Halo is the dim twilight reflection of the Supreme eternal effulgence. This masculine symbol is the Subjective portion of Divinity who functions as progenitor of the mundane world, subject to the supreme Regulatrix (Niyati). The conceiving potency in regard to mundane creation makes her appearance out of the supreme Regulatrix. She is Maya, the limited, non-Absolute potency, the symbol of mundane productivity. The intercourse of these two brings forth the faculty of perverted cognition, the reflection of the seed of the procreative desire of the Supreme Lord.
9. All offspring of the consort of the Great Lord (Mahesvara) of this mundane world, are of the nature of the embodiment of the mundane masculine and feminine generative organs.
10. The person embodying the material causal principle, viz., the great Lord of this mundane world (Mahesvara) Shambhu, in the form of the male generating organ, is joined to his female consort the limited energy (maya) as the efficient causal principle. The Lord of the world Maha Vishnu is manifest in him by His subjective portion in the form of His glance.
11. The Lord of the mundane world, Maha Vishnu, possesses thousands and thousands of heads, eyes and hands. He is the Source of thousands and thousands of Avatars in His thousands and thousands of Subjective Portions. He is the Creator of thousands and thousands of individual souls.
12. The same Maha-Vishnu is spoken of by the name of "Narayana" in this mundane world. From that Eternal Person has sprung the vast expanse of water of the spiritual causal ocean. The Subjective Portion of Sankarsana who abides in Paravyoma, the above Supreme Purusa with thousands of Subjective Portions, reposes in the state of Divine Sleep (Yoganidra) in the waters of the spiritual causal Ocean.
13. The spiritual seeds of Sankarsana existing in the pores of skin of Maha-Vishnu are born as so many golden sperms. These sperms are covered with five great elements.
14. The same Maha-Vishnu entered into each universe as His own separate Subjective Portions. The Divine Portions, that entered into each universe are possessed of His majestic Extension,i.e., they are the eternal universal soul of Maha-Vishnu, possessing thousands and thousands of heads.
15. The same Maha-Vishnu created Vishnu from His left limb, Brahma, the first progenitor of beings, from His right limb, and, from the space between His two eyebrows, Shambhu, the divine masculine halo.
16. The function of Shambhu in relation to jivas is that this universe enshrining the mundane egotistic principle has originated from Sambhu.
17. Thereupon the same Great Personal Godhead, assuming the three-fold forms of Vishnu, Prajapati (Brahma) and Shambhu, entering into the mundane universe, plays the pastimes of preservation, creation and destruction of this world. This pastime is contained in the mundane world. Hence, it being perverted, the Supreme Lord, identical with Maha-Vishnu, prefers to consort with the Goddess Yoganidra, the Constituent of His own Spiritual (Cit) potency full of the ecstatic Trance of eternal Bliss appertaining to His own Divine Personality.
18. When Vishnu, lying in the Ocean of milk, wills to create this universe, a golden lotus springs from His Navel-pit. The golden lotus with its' stem is the abode of Brahma representing Brahmaloka or Satyaloka.
19. Before their conglomeration the primary elements in their nescient state remained originally separate entities. Non-application of the conglomerating process is the cause of their separate existence. Divine Maha-Vishnu, Primal Godhead, through association with His Own Spiritual (Cit) Potency, moved Maya and by the application of the conglomerating principle created those different entities in their state of co-operation. And after that He Himself consorted with Yoganidra by way of His eternal Dalliance with His Spiritual (Cit) Potency.
20. By conglomerating all those separate entities He manifested the innumerable mundane universes and Himself entered into the inmost recess of every extended conglomerate. At that time those jivas who had lain dormant during the Cataclysm were awakened.
21. The same jiva is eternal and is for eternity and without a beginning joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of eternal kinship. He is transcendental spiritual potency.
22. The divine lotus which springs from the navel-pit of Vishnu is in every way related by the spiritual tie with all souls and is the origin of four-faced Brahma versed in the four Vedas.
23. On coming out of the lotus, Brahma, being guided by the Divine potency turned his mind to the act of creation under the impulse of previous impressions. But he could see nothing but darkness in every direction.
24. Then the Goddess of learning Sarasvati, the Divine Consort of the Supreme Lord, said this to Brahma who saw nothing but gloom in all directions, "O Brahma this mantra viz., "Klim krishnaya govindaya gopijanavallabhaya svaha" will assuredly fulfil your heart's desire."
25. "O Brahma, do thou practice spiritual association by means of this mantra; then all your desires will be fulfilled."
26. Brahma, being desirous of satisfying Govinda, practiced the cultural acts for Krishna in Goloka, Lord of Svetadvipa, for a long time. His meditation ran thus, "There exists a Divine Lotus of a thousand petals, augmented by millions of filaments, in the transcendental Land of Goloka. On its whorl, there exists a great Divine Throne on which is seated Shri Krishna, the Form of Eternal Effulgence of transcendental bliss, playing on His Divine Flute resonant with the Divine Sound with His Lotus Mouth. He is worshipped by His amorous milkmaids with their respected subjective portions and extensions and also by His External Energy (who stays outside) embodying all mundane qualities."
27. The Gayatri, mother of the Vedas, being manifest, i.e., imparted by the Divine Sound of the Flute of Shri Krishna, entered into the lotus mouth of Brahma, born from Himself, through His eight ear-holes. The Lotus-born Brahma, having received the Gayatri, sprung from the Flute-song of Shri Krishna, attained the status of the twice-born, having been initiated by the Supreme Primal Preceptor Godhead Himself.
28. Enlightened by the recollection of that Gayatri, embodying the three Vedas, Brahma became acquainted with the expanse of the Ocean of Truth. Then he worshipped Shri Krishna, the Essence of all Vedas, with this hymn.
29. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, the First Progenitor Who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in Abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of Purpose-trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of Lakmis or Gopis.
30. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus-petals, with head bedecked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of cupids.
31. I worship Govinda, The Primeval Lord, round Whose neck is swinging a garland of flowers beautified with the Moon-locket, Whose two hands are adorned with the flute and jewelled ornaments, Who always revels in the pastimes of love, Whose graceful three-fold-bending form of Syamasundara is eternally manifest.
32. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendour. Each of the limbs of that Transcendental Figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.
33. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is inaccessible to the Vedas, but obtainable by pure unalloyed devotion of the soul, Who is without a second, Who is not subject to decay and is without a beginning, Whose form is endless, Who is the beginning, and the eternal Purusa; yet He is a Person possessing the beauty of blooming youth.
34. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, only the Tip of the Toe of whose lotus feet is approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental and betake themselves to pranayama by drilling the respiration; or by the jnanins why try to search out the non-differentiated Brahman by the process of elimination of the mundane extending over thousands of millions of years.
35. He is an undifferentiated Entity as there is no distinction between Potency and Possessor thereof. In His work of creation of millions of worlds, His potency remain inseparable. All the universes exist in Him and He is present in His Fullness in every one of the atoms that are scattered through the universe, at one and the same time. Such is the Primeval Lord Whom I adore.
36. I adore the same Govinda, the Primeval Lord, in Whose praise men, who are imbued with devotion, sing the mantra-suktas contained in the Vedas, by gaining their appropriate beauty, greatness, thrones, conveyances and ornaments.
37. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, resembling His own spiritual Figure, the Embodiment of the Ecstatic Potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities in the company of Her confidants (sakhis), embodiments of the extensions of her body, permeated and vitalized by His Ever-Blissful Spiritual rasa.
38. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is Syamasundara, Krishna Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, Whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.
39. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is manifested Himself Personally as Krishna and the different Avataras in the world in the Forms of Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana, etc., as His subjective Portions.
40. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Whose Effulgence is the source of the non-differentiated Brahman mentioned in the Upanisads, being differentiated from the infinity of the mundane universe, appears as the Indivisible, Infinite and Limitless Truth.
41. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is the Absolute Substantive Principle being the ultimate Entity in the Form of the Support of all existence, Whose external potency embodies the three-fold mundane qualities, viz., sattva, rajas, and tamas and diffuses the Vedic knowledge regarding the mundane world.
42. I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Whose glory every triumphantly dominates the mundane world by the activity of His own pastimes, being reflected in the minds of recollecting souls as the Transcendental Entity of ever-blissful Cognitive Rasa.
43. Lowest of all is located Devi-dhama (mundane world); next above it is Mahesa-dhama (Abode of Mahesa); above Mahesa-dhama is placed Hari-dhama (Abode of Hari) and above them all is located Krishna's Own Realm named Goloka. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, Who has allotted their respective authorities to the Rulers of those graded realms.
44. The external potency Maya who is of the nature of the shadow of the Cit Potency, is worshipped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda in accordance with Whose will Durga conducts herself.
45. Just as milk is transformed into curd (yogurt) by the actions of acids, but yet the effect "curd" is neither the same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda of Whom the state of Shambhu is transformation for the performance of the work of destruction.
46. The light of one candle being communicated to other candles, although it burns separately in them, is the same in its quality. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda Who exhibits Himself equally in the same mobile manner in His various Manifestations.
47. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda Who assumes His own great subjective form, Who bears the name of Sesa. Replete with the All-accommodating Potency, and reposing in the Causal ocean with the infinity of the world in the pores of His hair, He enjoys creative sleep (Yoga-nidra).
48. Brahma and other lords of the mundane worlds, appearing from the pores of hair of Maha-Vishnu, remain alive as long as the duration of one exhalation of the Latter (Maha-Vishnu). I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda of Whose subjective personality Maha-Vishnu is a Portion of Portion.
49. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda from Whom the separated subjective portion Brahma receives his power for the regulation of the mundane world, just as the Supreme manifests some portion of His own light in all effulgent gems that bear the names of Surya-kanta, etc.
50. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, Whose lotus feet are always held by Ganesa upon a pair of tumuli protruding from his elephant head in order to obtain power for his function of destroying all the obstacles on the path of progress of the three worlds.
51. The three worlds are composed of nine elements, viz., fire, earth, ether, water, air, direction, time, soul and mind. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda from Whom they originate, in Whom they exist and into Whom they enter at the time of the Universal Cataclysm.
52. The sun, who is the king of all planets, full of infinite effulgence, the image of the good soul, is the eye of this world. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda in pursuance of Whose order the sun performs his journey mounting the wheel of time.
53. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, by Whose conferred power are maintained the manifested potencies that are found to exist in all virtues, in the Vedas, in the penances and in all jivas from Brahma down to the meanest insect.
54. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, Who burns up to their roots all fruitive activities of those who are imbued with devotion and impartially ordains for each the due enjoyment of the fruits of one's activities, of all those who walk in the path of work, in accordance with the chain of their previously performed works, no less in the case of the tiny insect that bears the name of "Indragopa" than in that of Indra, king of the devas.
55. I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, the meditators of Whom, by meditating upon Him under the sway of wrath, amorous passion, natural friendly love, fear, parental affection, delusion, reverence and willing service, attain to bodily forms befitting the nature of their contemplation.
56. I worship the transcendental seat, known as Sveta-dvipa where as loving consorts the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only Lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose-tree; where the soil is the purpose-gem, water is nectar, every word is a song; every gait is a dance; the flute is the favourite attendant; effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk-cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the duration of half a moment. That Realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world.
57. On hearing these hymns containing the essence of the Truth, the Supreme Lord Krishna said to Brahma, "Brahman, if you experience the inclination to create offspring by being endowed with the real knowledge of the Glory of Godhead, listen My beloved, from Me, this science set forth in the following five slokas."
58. When the pure spiritual experience is excited by means of cognition and service (bhakti), super-excellent unalloyed devotion characterized by love of Godhead is awakened towards Krishna, the Beloved of all souls.
59. The highest devotion is attained by slow degrees by the method of constant endeavour for self-realization with the help of scriptural evidence, theistic conduct and perseverance in practice.
60. Thus preliminary practices of devotion (sadhana-bhakti) are conducive to the realization of loving devotion. (Loving Devotion) - than whom there is no superior well-being, who goes hand in hand with the attainment of the exclusive state of supreme bliss and who can lead to Myself.
61. Abandoning all meritorious performances serve Me with faith. The realization will correspond to the nature of one's faith. The people of the world act ceaselessly in pursuance of some ideal. By meditating on Me by means of those deeds one will obtain devotion characterized by love in the shape of the supreme service.
62. Listen, O Vidhi! I am the seed, i.e., the fundamental Principle, of this world of animate and inanimate objects, I am the Pradhana (the substance of matter), I am Prakrti (material cause), and I am Purusa (efficient cause). This fiery energy that belongs especially to the Brahman, that inheres in you, has also been conferred by Me. It is by bearing this fiery energy that you regulate this phenomenal world of animate and inanimate objects.
Being freed from all materialistic desires to enjoy in the material world, Lord Brahma, the devotee, is a willing recipricant of the Lord's mercy.
Brahma thought to himself, "By the recollection of the Kama Gayatri mantra it seems to me that I am the eternal maidservant of Krishna." Thus all the truths of the Vedas were consequently revealed to him by the Lord from within.47
The Lord imparted this Vedic knowledge from within the heart of Brahma as stated in the first verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam - tene brahma hrdaya adi kavaye. In this way Brahma handed down knowledge of the Supreme Person through the chain of devotees of the Lord.
To be more specific, painting the picture somewhat, another verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam 12.13.10. can be used. It says:
idam bhagavata purvam
brahmane nabhi pankaje
sthitaya bhava bhitaya
"It was to Lord Brahma that the Supreme Personality of Godhead first revealed the Shrimad Bhagavatam in full. At the time, Brahma, frightened by material existence, was sitting on the lotus flower that had grown from the Lord's navel."
This indicates here in this verse, by the word purvam or first, that Brahma was enlightened by the Lord from within before Brahma began his service of creation.
These wonderful prayers of Lord Brahma were presented to Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya at the Adi-Kesava temple at Tiruvattar near Trivandrum in South India during His tour of South India. They are available with explanatory commentaries of Shriyuts Shrila Jiva Goswami and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada published by ISKCON BBT.
SANAK ADI (FOUR KUMARAS)
Brahma first created the nescient encagements like self-deception, the sense of death, anger after frustration, the sense of false ownership, and the illusory bodily conception or forgetfulness of one's real identity. Seeing such a misleading creation as a sinful task, Brahma did not feel much pleasure in his activity and therefore he purified himself by meditation on the Personality of Godhead. Then he began another term of creation. In that beginning, Brahma created four great sages named Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat Kumara. All of them were unwilling to adopt materialistic activities because they were highly elevated due to their wanting to remain celibate, brahmacarin. Brahma spoke to his sons after generating them. "My dear sons," he said, "now create progeny." But due to their being attached to Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they aimed at liberation, and therefore they expressed their unwillingness.
As quoted by Shripad Ananda Tirtha Madhwacarya in his Dwadasa Stotram 8.7 the four Kumaras, headed by Sanak Kumar said,
agrajam yah sasarajajamagryakrtim
vigraho yasya sarve guna eva hi
ugra adyo-pi yasyatmajagryatmajah
sadgrhitah sada yah param daivatam
"We are trying to satisfy Lord Vasudeva the creator of Brahma, the foremost born and the presiding Deity over the whole "mahat," Whose body is full in all attributes, and Whose "grandson" is Ugra (Rudra Lord Brahma's first born son).48 Vasudeva (Krishna) is always held by the devotees as the Supreme Lord, who is the hub, or centre which around all devotees assemble. "
On the refusal of the sons to obey the order of the father, there was much anger generated in the mind of Brahma which he tried to control but could not express. Although he tried to curb his anger, it came out between his eyebrows, and a child of mixed blue and red was immediately generated. The following verse was spoken by that Rudra:
yabadya asid guna-vigraho-dhisnyo bhagavan ajah kila
yat-sambhavo 'ham tri-vrta sva tejasa vaikarikam tamasam aindriyam srje
ete vayam yasya vase mahat-manah stitah sakunta iva sutra-yantritah
mahan aham vaikrta-tamasendriyah srjama sarve yad-anugrahad idam
"From the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears Lord Brahma, whose body is made from the total material energy, the reservoir of intelligence predominated by the passionate mode of material nature. From Lord Brahma, I myself (Siva) am born as a representation of false ego known as Rudra. By my own power I create all other demigods, the five elements and the senses. Therefore I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is greater than any of us and under Whose control are situated all the demigods, material elements and senses, and even Lord Brahma and I myself are like birds bound by a rope. Only by the Lord's grace can we create, maintain and annihilate the material world. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Being." (SB. 5-17-23)
sarvapapani yatsamsmrteh sanksayam
sarvadayanti bhaktya visuddhatmanam
kurvate karma yatpritaye sajjanah
devatamandala khanda mandanam
"We are trying to appease Vasudeva. Simply by remembrance of Him all sins are vanquished and replaced by untinged devotional service. He is the same Lord who appoints the various positions to numerous demigods beginning with Brahma - (the guru of Rudra and all others) - in this way the devotees can perform their daily duties for the Lord for it is He who is the centre of their attention."
Dwadasa Stotram 8.10
After Rudra's birth he began to cry: "O destiny maker, teacher of the universe, kindly designate my name and place." The all-powerful Brahma, who was born from the lotus flower, pacified the boy with gentle words, accepting his request and said, "Do no cry. I shall certainly do as you desire." Thereafter Brahma said: "O chief of the demigods, you shall be called by the name Rudra by all the people because you have so anxiously cried. My dear boy, I have already selected the following places for your residence: the heart, the senses, the air of life, the sky, the air, the fire, the water, the earth, the sun, the moon and austerity." Lord Brahma said: "My dear boy Rudra, you have eleven other names: Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahan, Siva, Rtadhwaja, Ugraseta, Bhava, Kala, Vamandeva and Dhrtavrata. O Rudra, you also have eleven wives, called Rudranis, and they are as follows: Dhi. Dhrti, Rasala, Uma, Niyut, Sarpi, Ila, Ambika, Iravati, Swadha and Diksa."
The most powerful Rudra, whose bodily colour was blue mixed with red, created many offspring resembling himself in features, strength and furious nature.
Once a quarrel arose between Brahma and Siva which was so violent the other demigods became afraid, so much so that they ran off, frightened to see Lord Siva seething in rage. Lord Siva's consort said to Siva: "durvasam bhavati me." "It has become impossible for me to live happily with you." Knowing that it was his anger which had caused this, Lord Siva decided to deposit his anger which had caused so much unhappiness for his consort Parvati into the body of Anasurya, the wife of Atri Muni. From this a child was born out of the same fiery, angry aspect, and was called Durvasa, due to his nature of making life miserable for Lord Siva's consort. (Brahmananda Purana, Chapter 44.)
There are many incidents in the Puranas and Mahabharat involving the anger of Durvasa - Ambarisa Maharaja, Kunti and Indra, to name a few. Even though Durvasa had this fiery nature, still he had his part to play. He is also in the guru parampara that the Madhwa line lists, and he lived his life very austerely, travelling the three worlds as a sannyasi. The following preaching of Durvasa Muni's is the essence of Madhvacarya's dwaita philosophy which is transcendentally echoed in the Aitreya Upanisad, Madhvacarya's favourite Upanisad. Surely he is a transcendentally unusual person.
This incident is taken from the Gopaltapani Upanisad:
"In his eating habits Durvasa Muni completely fasted from everything except he ate only Durva grass. Once he was asked by Shrimati Radharani (Gandharvi): 'How is it that you eat only sacred Durva grass?'
"Durvasa Muni replied: "As sound is contained in the element of ether, and although sound and ether are different, this ether does not know I am spirit; How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Touch is contained within the element of air, although touch and air are different. Touch is contained within the air. This air does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Form is contained within the element of fire. Although form and fire are different, form is contained in fire. This fire does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Taste is contained within the element of water, although taste and water are different. Taste is contained within water. This water does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Aroma is contained within the element of earth, although aroma and earth are different. Aroma is contained within earth. This earth does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? It is the mind that remains among the senses and accepts them. When spirit is everything, how does one think? Where does one go? I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer?
"Your beloved Krishna is the original creator of the two kinds of bodies. On the tree of the body are two birds. One is an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is a witness. The other is an enjoyer. They are an enjoyer and a non-enjoyer. The first enjoys and the second is Krishna (Paramatma), the witness in the heart. In Him we do not find material so-called knowledge and ignorance. This ignorance and real knowledge are different. How can Krishna who is full of real knowledge, become a material enjoyer. He who lusts after pleasure is lusty. He who does not lust after pleasures is not lusty. Krishna, Who is free from birth and death, Who is unchanging, Who cannot be cut, Who stays by the Yamuna, Who stays among the surabhi cows, Who stays among the cowherd boys, Who stays in all the Vedas, Who is glorified by all the Vedas, Who has entered all living entities and Who controls all living entities, is Your consort."
"Gandharvi (Radha) said: "Why has the Supreme Personality of Godhead taken birth among us as a cowherd boy? O sage, how do you know this about Krishna? What is His mantra? What is His abode? Why has He taken birth in Devaki's womb. Who is His elder brother Balarama? How is He worshipped? Why has the Supreme Personality of Godhead Who is far above this world of matter descended to this earth?" etc, etc.
"Durvasa said: "In the beginning only Lord Narayana existed. In Him the material worlds are woven as thread on a loom. From His lotus navel the demigod Brahma was born. When Brahma performed severe austerities, Lord Narayana granted him a boon. Brahma chose a question. Lord Narayana granted his request. Brahma asked about incarnations and why Krishna - Govinda was best. Lord Narayana then describes His creation and His holy dhamas, etc."
One should read Gopal Tapani Upanishad for the complete reply of Durvasa. Shrimati Radharani received a boon from Durvasa Muni that whatever she cooked would be better than nectar. (CC Antya 2.6.116)
The full story of Durvasa Muni's blessing Shrimati Radharani is told in a wonderful book by Narayana Maharaja entitled "Shri Vraja Mandala Parikrama." The incident happened at Jawat. Some Gaudiya Vaishnavas do not accept that the incident with Shrimati Radharani was with the same Durvasa, only stressing his angry attributes.49
In the story of Durvasa Muni and Ambarisa Maharaja, Durvasa Muni was chased by the Sudarsana Disc of Lord Vishnu after offending the Lord's pure devotee Ambarisa. Throughout the universe Durvasa was chased. He tried, out of fear for his life, to approach various demigods and finally Lord Vishnu Himself, but due to the cause being that he had offended the Lord's devotee, everyone told Durvasa that the only one who could help him was the devotee he offended. After this, Durvasa approached Ambarisa Maharaja and begged forgiveness, and only then did the Sudarsana Disc stop following Durvasa Muni. Practically there are unlimited stories - pastimes of Durvasa Muni and his little tests of tolerance and humility. Even he came to test Lord Shri Krishna and Rukmini Devi in Dwaraka. Lord Krishna, showing Himself to be the perfect householder, invited the great muni in, sat him down, and washed his feet. However, the unpredictable guest had a plan, and "accidently on purpose" broke precious and beautiful objects around his palace to see how far Krishna would go with his elevated brahmin guest. "Oh, such a nice vase, oops." Smash! "Oh, such an opulent couch. Rip! Oops, sorry." Like that, then he made many demands for food, I want this and that like this with that, and Rukmini Devi personally served their respected guest. Finally Durvasa called for some payasam, sweet pudding, but when it arrived he said he was now full. Still Krishna and Rukmini tolerated everything and continued their mood of treating Durvasa as a welcomed guest. Durvasa then said to Krishna, "Here You take this, and instead of me eating it, You take this payasam and smear it all over Your body, everywhere. Now do the same to Rukmini, starting with the face." Krishna did like this in all humility. Now Durvasa said, "Give me one chariot." The chariot came. "Now give me Your beautiful wife Rukmini." Lord Krishna ascended another chariot and came up close behind Durvasa. Durvasa stopped his chariot and enquired as to what Krishna was doing there, following him. Krishna, still not wanting to offend his guest said, "I was just accompanying you to see if you needed any assistance." Durvasa Muni then relented saying, "You, Krishna and Rukmini, are the perfect householders. I give you all benedictions. Rukmini, you will always be known as the principal Queen of Krishna. I offer my respectful obeisances unto you both."
There is a similar story which is also mentioned in "Yamuna the Personification of Prema Bhakti" book of Padmalocana Prabhu, Page 20. Sometimes the gopis would go to the great sage Durvasa Muni and ask for his blessings to always have the association of Lord Krishna. On one such journey to reach his asrama, the gopis approached Yamuna devi, and on the banks of her pure flowing waters, they addressed her, "On the strength of Krishna being a strict brahmacari, kindly allow us to cross." Upon hearing their words, Yamuna parted her waters and allowed the gopis to cross. Upon reaching Durvasa Muni's asrama, the gopis presented him with all the sumptuous foodstuffs they had brought with them after offering due respects. Durvasa was very pleased with them and blessed them all, but especially he gave his special blessings to Shrimati Radharani, saying that whatever she would cook would taste just like nectar. Not only that, but anyone who had the great good fortune of tasting that cooking would achieve a long and healthy life, free from all disease. To again gain Yamuna Devi's mercy to cross her wide waters, Durvasa Muni advised the gopis to tell Yamuna devi that as true as Krishna is a brahmacari, Durvasa is always fasting, living only on sacred Durva grass, and thus on the strength of this she will give all the gopis safe passage again. On Radharani's return from Durvasa Muni's asrama with all the other gopis, Mother Yasoda (Krishna's mother) invited Radharani to come and cook for Krishna daily, hearing of the boon she had received there from Durvasa.
Due to the incident mentioned earlier, Durvasa has practically become infamous throughout the Vedic literatures as the fiery mendicant, who cursed many and also gave many boons. But above all things, he was a great Vaishnava follower of the Lord (though in the Gaudiya line he is not included.) It is interesting to see that Durvasa Muni took sannyasa from Sanaka Kumara and received many transcendental instructions from him. These same four Kumaras are considered the originators of sannyasa in the Madhva line, though they themselves are the heads of another Sampradaya named the Kumara or Sanaka Adi Sampradaya which later became known as the Nimbarka Sampradaya. Nimbarka was a Vaishnavacarya in the line of Sanaka Kumara. Actually all the Vaishnava sampradayas are directly the family of the Lord, His descendants, and as stressed before and which cannot be stressed enough, one can only approach Krishna through the guru. Guru means guru parampara.
sampradaya vihina ye
mantras te nisphala matah
atahh kalan bhavisyanti
catvaras te kalan bhavya
hy utkale purusottamat
"Unless one is initiated by a bona-fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra one may have received is without effect. For this reason the four Vaishnava disciplic successions, inaugurated by Laxmi Devi (Shri Sampradaya - Ramanuja), Lord Brahma (the Brahma Sampradaya - Madhva), Lord Siva (the Rudra Sampradaya - Vishnu-Swamin), and the four Kumaras (from Sanaka Kumara - Nimbarka) who will come to Jagannatha Puri - Purusottam Ksetra,Utkal, and purify the entire earth during the age of Kali."
This is also stated by Shrila Prabhupada at the time of Krishna instructing Arjuna with Gita Upanisad (Bhagavad-gita) on the battlefield of Kuruksetra. It is recorded that present on the scene at that time were the representative heads of the four sampradayas, in an unseen way. One must take shelter of one of these sampradayas in order to understand the most confidential religious system. This Brahma sampradaya however is the oldest of all the four sampradayas and is sometimes the most misunderstood due to it's vast mixture of devotees from all kinds of natures. For example we see in the guru parampara listed by the Madhvas there are the four Kumaras who previously were impersonalists, who were, as we know, transformed into personalists by the fragrance of the tulasi that had been offered to the lotus feet of the Lord.
sanakadira man harilasaurabhadi gune
tasyaravinde nayanasya padaravinda-
kinjalka-misra tulasi makaranda vayuh
antargatah svavivarena cakara tesam
sanksobham aksara jusam adi citta tanvoh
" When the breeze carrying the aroma of the tulasi leaves and saffron from the lotus feet of the lotus eyed Personality of Godhead entered through the nostrils into the hearts of those sages (the Kumaras), they experienced a change both in body and minds even though they were previously attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding. "
After Durvasa Muni, only the names of the next few links were available to me. The onslaught of impersonalism and voidism, forgetfulness of the importance of the devotees of the Lord, somehow or other managed to erase their life histories and works from general knowledge.
The next in line then brings us up to the time of Paratirtha, which was about the time when Buddhism really became popular. This unbroken Vaishnava line was fully accepted by many great sages, rsis and humble devotees alike, but due to the Kali yuga and its' affect on the general populace, the followers of Buddha's anti-Vedic approach started to affect the line also. Many laws had been passed by "Buddhist" land rulers to undermine the Vaishnavas and things were becoming more and more difficult to maintain in safety. Then, by the time Satyaprajna Tirtha and Prajna Tirtha had appeared and began their preaching activities, trying to maintain the line according to the teachings of Lord Brahma, the Kumaras, Durvasa Muni, etc. Sankaracarya had taken his birth and had gained much influence. At this point I should point out that this is where the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya should be looked at, for long before the appearance of Buddha or Sankara came Shrila Vyasadeva. It is His teachings that both of these later personalities sketched out their philosophies from, extracting and emphasising certain sections of Vyasadeva's works to bewilder the people in general. It is unfortunate, for us, at least, but still it has to be noted however, that actually all of this was only going on by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna, and as we will be hearing later, He had a fantastic plan.
gunan etan aritya trin
dehi deha samudbhavan
janma mrtyu jara duhkhair
vimukto 'mrtam asnute
" When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth,death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life."
Bhagavad Gita 14:20
2 As long as one's heart is still contaminated by grievous sins, there can be no desire to associate with either the devotees, the scriptures, what then to speak of a loving relationship with Guru or Krishna. Only after repeated birth in this world, aquiring good merits of piety, can a sincere desire begin to develope for such saitly association. Then by that association, hearing from saitly vaishnavas will love of God develope.
3 This is a summary of Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's purport to Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila Vol. 3.ch.8. txt 200.
4 Letters to Prem Batra 28-09-1975, to Shridhar dasa 19-08-1974, to Rebatinandan dasa 13-06-1970, to Nandarani dasi 15-10-1969 and too many other places to bother with.
5 5 These days however it seems that there are more than the fair share infiltrated into society in various ranks which are causing many demoniac trends to beset the Earth.
6 Sambidananda dasa was a disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati who was sent to Europe to preach at the turn of the 20th century A.D..
7 7 This is the promise of Lord Shri Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra as recorded in the Bhagavad Gita (18.51) through to the end of the conversation (18.78). Krishna directly tells Arjuna in 18.68: ya idam paramam guhyam
mad bhaktesv abhidasyati
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
"For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me."
8 In the Garuda Purana (3.16.20-102), Vayu's various portions, expansions and plenary portions are mentioned. It is directly stated how Vayu appeared in the Treta Yuga as Hanuman, in the Dwarapa Yuga as Bhima, and in the Kali Yuga as the re-establisher of real Vedanta, and will slay the philosophy of Maniman daitya (Sankara), who has destroyed the real ways of divine varna and asrama (3.16.70-71). Being endowed by the Supreme Lord with transcendental wisdom, he is worshipable even amongst the demigods.
9 This is the essence of one letter to Gargamuni Prabhu from A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on 13 Nov 1967.
10 Jalpa is the process by which one makes a stand to establish one's particular philosophy, or presentation, much like what we are doing in this chapter at present. Vitanda is defined by Madhva as follows:
vitanda tu satam anyaih tatvameshu nigoohitam
So this kind of discussion deals with establishing truths but by the process of smashing deviations or obstacles to the pure conclusions of Vaisnavism, in this way establishing those Vaishnava conclusions. This was Madhvacarya's speciality. Probably the most noteworthy of these works was his Vishnu Tattwa Vinirnaya, in which the weight of Hanuman's and Bhimasena's clubs are put into words to counter the adherents of all known nonsense philosophies, and some that are unknown.
11 hare rupasana catra sadaiva sukharupini
na tu dahnana bhuta sa siddhi revatra sa yatah
(Brahma Sutra Bhasya 4.21)
12 Exerpt from a lecture of Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
13 Quite a relevent verse at this time in the progression we are discussing.
iswarah sarva bhutanam
hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati
bhramayan sarva bhutanai
"The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine made of the material energy."
14 jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva
jivanti san mukharitam bhavadiya vartam
sthane sthitah sruti gatam tanuvan manobhir
ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri lokyam
"Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrayed by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds."
Where Shrila Prabhupada includes this verse in his purport to S.B4.24.69 he says, "One may remain situated in his own place or in his own occupational duty and still lend his ear to receive the message of the Lord from realized souls. The Krishna conscious movement is based on this principal, and we are opening centers all over the world to give everyone a chance to hear the message of Lord Krishna in order to go back home , back to Godhead."
15 These, and the other apa-sampradayas are mentioned later in this chapter in the section on Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.
16 It is interesting to note that it is the opinion of the acaryas that even though Chintamani was, by profession, a prostitute, she was detached from the activity therein. She did not hesitate to give good instruction even at the risk of losing her regular customer. Therefore she is to be seen as selfless.
There is also another story of the same Bilvamangala Thakur that is well known - how he gauged his own eyes out. This incident happened after the story mentioned here. So even after such realizations, of the futility of sex life, still he asked to see a brahmanas wife, with her hair unbound, in a secluded place. Then as she took the hair pin from her hair Bilvamangala asked for the hair pin. He at once gauged out his own eyes out of disgust for the way his eyes had lead him around.
17 "If the guru is of a fallen, or greedy nature, and the disciples have unlimited lusty desires to enjoy in this world, then even after taking vows at the time of initiation, both guru and disciple maitain their materialistic mentality, (though they may have different goals), unfortunately the are both destined to sink into this material abyss" Kabir dasa. 1467--1517 AD, contemporary of Tukaram and Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
18 Shrila Prabhupada refered to this as the regulative principals of freedom.
19 The tenth offence in chanting the holy name is to maintain material attachments whilst chanting the holy name. These are all considered to be material dharmas, or lesser dharmas (upa-dharmas), and so to be abandoned, for they are incomparable to the param dharma, Krishna prema. bahu janma kadiyadi sravana kirtanam tapu tanapaya krishna badi premadana.
20 Letter to Karandhara Dasa 27 th July 1973.
21 This statement of Shrila Prabhupada's should not be taken as an excuse to not be strict. To be sure on this point I humbly suggest one read Bhagavad-gita As It Is (9.30-31), especially the purports.
22 There is an interesting story taken from the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda, in which a series of discussions were recorded between Narada Muni, Saunaka Rsi, Suta Goswami and the Four Kumaras. Narada Muni then disclosed an incident which he had seen in the Kali Yuga, in which a young woman was sitting in a distressed condition, with two old men lying unconscious by her side, breathing hard, on the bank of the Yamuna. The young woman tried to bring them back to consciousness but could not, and so wept pityfully. She was being hounded by many young women and attendants.
Narada Muni asked the young woman who she and the old men were and why she was in such misery. She told him that her name was Bhakti and that the two men were her sons, Jnana and Vairagya, who had become worn out by all devouring time. The young girls were all the sacred rivers personified. She then told him that although it is true she took her birth in South India, Dravida country, and attained her maturity in Karnataka, she was also respected in Maharastra and Gujarat, and attained a ripe age there. Due to so many cheating philosophies, mayavadis and other heretics, she had become old and weak along with her sons. However, when she went to Vrindavan, the holy place of Krishna, she again became young and beautiful, but her sons remained old, tired and exhausted. This is what aggrieved her so.
Narada Muni then said to Bhakti devi that it was due to this sinful age of Kali that her sons were old and suffering. This place is now so riddled with inauspicious deeds and philosophies that all righteous men are feeling dejected whilst sinful men are happy. Even Lord Ananta Sesa is feeling burdened by the weighty sins of these men, and so you and your sons, Jnana and Vairagya, are being neglected while everyone goes in pursuit of sensual pleasures. Thus you stand enfeebled. Consequently the most cruel, atheistic and devious men now have taken their births in the sacred places of pilgrimage. However, don't worry for there are some good points to this Yuga. It is said that because you are ever dear to Lord Krishna, Bhakti will alone unify all activities towards the Lord in this yuga, and so this is why you have evolved as a charming young girl, the beloved of Lord Krishna. Still, due to neglect, your sons remain old. Narada then said that he would give the remedy. In the Kali yuga every house and every individual would have bhakti through the propogation of the chanting of the Holy name of Krishna. Narada continued that none could affect a soul who is embued with you (Bhakti), not by 'friends', ghosts, ogres, demons - none have the power to touch those endowed with devotion. Now, devotion cannot be attained through pious acts of the householders, or of taking of the renounced order. Even discourses on spiritual advancement and enlightenment will not suffice. No, it is only by devotion (bhakti). Therefore, empowered by Krishna, Bhakti alone can grant liberation.
Bhakti devi then thanked Narada and asked him to bring her sons back to consciousness. Narada then chanted Vedic hymns and Panca Upanisadic prayers, Bhagavad-gita, etc, into the ears of her sons, and to some degreee they arose with great exertion, yawning, stretching, full of languor, but still they could not open their eyes to see. What should be done now, for they had tried to awaken them with the choicest of verses? Narada Muni then travelled around the earth and finally to Badrikasrama to meet with the Four Kumaras, who are always absorbed in chanting the holy name of Shri Hari.
The Four Kumaras simply stated that by the recitation of the Shrimad Bhagavatam this surely will revive both Jnana and Vairagya. All suffering will disappear, and their strength will be regained. All the effects of Kali Yuga will disappear just as when a lion roars all puny wolves and jackals disappear. Then and then alone can Bhakti, Jnana and Vairagya dance in the hearts of all living beings.
This Shrimad Bhagavatam is therefore compared to ghee which is the latent form of milk but this form, when tasted, enhances and delights one and all, just as when sugar (sap) is separated, cooked and turned into lozenges it tastes much sweeter. So this Shrimad Bhagavatam is the essence and cream of all Vedic literatures, so do not fear that you have already recited Veda, etc.
So Bhakti and her two sons were taken to Ananda on the bank of the river Ganges near Haridwara and recitation of Shrimad Bhagavatam was begun. After some time, Bhakti, Jnana and Vairagya returned to their natural health, and began repeating the holy names of Lord Krishna.
Speculating as to how they arrived there, the sages were very surprised. The Four Kumaras made the observation that they had been revived simply by coming in contact with the personification of Krishna in the substance of the story or book form of Shrimad Bhagatavam. To this Bhakti, along with her sons replied, to the Kumaras,
"In the Kali Yuga we were almost dead, now we, being indebted to you by your instructions to Narada for the recitation of Shrimad Bhagavatam, please tell us where should we stay?"
The Kumaras then replied to Bhakti devi that she is the only sustainer of love for Shri Krishna, and it is only you who put an end to the transmigration of birth and death, and therefore it should be known that your dwelling place is in the minds of the devotees of Lord Krishna being thus endowed with devotion (bhakti), knowledge of spiritual topics of the Lord and detachment (vairagya) from materialistic affairs automatically will also reside there. In this way the devotees of Lord Shri Krishna will always and only be dependent upon devotion to Krishna which brings further devotion to Krishna.
23 It is impotant to note the mood of the Vaishnavas as opposed to the mood of the jnanis, karmis, yogis and mayavadis, who try to attain a relief from their suffering (liberation), however the devotees refer to this as a mere side effect of becoming free from the clutches of the dangerous material energy, thus the Vaishnavas use, as Madhwa has used in the essay, the term release, which inferes that it is not by our own doing, but by the grace of the all merciful Lord that the devotees become freed from the Lord's external material energy.
24 Envy is defined as "If someone has something but that attribute or quality is denied that it even exists by a person then that is envy, for it causes one to try to minimise the other person's actual qualities in favour of one's own."
25 There is an excellent purport which defines and describes the ten spiritual offences which are to avoided. This is found in AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi Lila Volume 2, (8.24) quoting Padma Purana.
26 There is a section in Shrila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Nectar of Devotion which deals with this subject in full detail.
27 Kasaya also refers to tendencies towards anger, greed, pride, and other unwanted leanings such as lust.
28 yah sastradisv anipunah sraddhavan sa tu madhyamah "He who does not know scripural argument very well but who has firm faithis called an intermediate or second class devotee."
Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu 1.2 .18
29 This is very nicely elaborated on in the sixth shower of Madhurya Kadambini, in which varous examples of seeing the Lord and the Lord's devotees and His paraphernalia are dwelt upon, e.g. When the devotee in asakti sees a small boy playing he thinks of the object of his attachment, that lovely small blackish-blue in complexion son of Nanda Maharaja - Vrajendra Kumar - Nanda Mukar, like that .......
30 These are known as raganuga or those following in the footsteps of the intimate devotees of the Lord, and the ragatmikas the intimate Krishna parishad associates of the Lord, both are spontaneously attracted to the Lord.
31 Re Shrimad Bhagavatam Eighth canto.
32 " Rupam rupam pratirupo babhuva tadasya rupam praticaksanaya ," Rg 47.18 which roughly translated is rupam rupam pratirupo babhuva, as meaning that a form resembling the original form of the Lord ( Babhruva - is being a name for Krishna who projects Himself into the material world in a similar way that an ichneumon, inhabits an egg which He is not required to ) yet He has re - duplicated His form, pratirupo means resembling the original form, tadasya has its root in the word tadiya, so meaning of His, praticaksanaya, showing symtoms of the original spiritual world, and nature in the form of separated energy, the jivas.
33 BNK Sharma, "Philosophy of Madhvacarya Chapter XLVI"
34 Note there is no mention of merging, giving up one's individual identity, becoming one with the Brahman etc, there is no question for even a minute fraction of a second, that a devotee would accept this sayujya mukti as his goal.
35 This is echoed in Bhaktirasamrta Sindhu 1.2.292. tat tad bhavadi madhurye.............etc.
36 This is a summary of Page 71, Text 7 Upadesamrta.
37 Madhurya Kadambini further gives attribute to these two devotees by defining how they view the Lord, their intensity of feeling His strength, and the particular tastes of the devotee at the bhava stage. It says that bhava is tasted in different degrees of sweetness, as in various degrees of condensation of mango, jack fruit, sugar cane, or grape juice, then in accordance with the taste, it defines the particular rasa or taste - santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and priyata (madhurya). Then are mentioned the appearance of vibhava (special ecstacy), anubhava (bodily symptoms of ecstacy), sattvika bhava (existential ecstacy), vyabhicari or sancari (overwhelming ecstacy) and sthaya bhava (continuous ecstacy). These are nicely explained simply in Sarva Bhavana Prabhus' translation of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Hari Nama Cintamani, Page 102, with reference to Shrila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Nectar of Devotion.
38 These devious persons will be briefly mentioned in connection with the life of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as some of the reciprients of his "mercy", whilst cleaning up Bengal to again follow pure devotional service. For more information on the deviant sects one can read the wonderful articles written in the Back to Godhead magazine, Vol 25 issues1---6. by H.H. Suhotra Swami.
39 Both Vaidhi bhakti and Raga bhakti have sadhana, only vaidhi is regulative, in practice and raga is always spontaneous.
40 Bhagavat Tatparya-Nirnaya is Madhva's commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam and so many of the verses he presents we have already quoted by the Gaudiya acaryas who commented and enhanced his translations.
41 The purport to CC. Madhya 9.24.163 of Krishna das Kaviraj Goswami, mentions thirteen kinds of santa rasa bhaktas; (1) the sadhaka as we have mentioned who comes through sadhana; (2)brahmamaya, one absorbed in thoughts of the impersonal brahman; 3) prapta-brahma - laya, one attaining to brahman perfect-ion; (4) mumuksu, the desirer of liberation; (5) jivan mukta, one who is liberated in this life; (6) prapta -swarupa, one who has attained to ones constitutional position; (7) nirgrantha-muni, a completely liberated saint; (8) sagarbha - yogarurksu, a yogi meditating upon the four-armed form of the Lord, desiring yogic perfection; (9) nigarbha - yogarurksu, one who has attained perfection in impersonal meditation; (10) sagarbha - yogarudha, already elevated to the yoga perfection platform; (11) nigarbha - yogarudha, a similarly impersonal yogi; 12) sagarbha prapta siddhi, one who has attained the perfectional stage; (13) nigarbha prapta siddhi, one who has attained impersonal meditation.
42 One must read Nectar of Devotion for more in-depth explanations and study of this whole subject matter. Again, I am only trying to support my points by the best known means.
43 See the section on the life of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and his attacks on the apa-sampradayas.
44 This should not be confused with the bogus sahajiya group called the siddha pranaya who imitate this stage whilst still performing sinful activities on the bodily platform.
45 After this, in his Tattva Amnayasutram, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura defines primary and secondary rasas, but rounds off this splendid book with a summary of developments showing how, or rather at what stage, different kinds of bhakti develop.
46 Shrila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the purport of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi lila 1 .19 say that the Vaishnavas of Bengal, the Gaudiyas call Madhwacarya by the name Shri Gaudapurnananda, thus we call our disciplic succession the Brahma- Madhwa-Gaudiya-sampradaya to distinguish it from those who claim to follow Acarya Madhwa but who are more inclined to body-isms, brahmin, Indian, black, white, man, woman etc, than the development of pure love of God.
47 This is why, in the Madhva line, they have Hamsa-Narayana (Paramatma) as the original Lord. In Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.5.23 it says that the Lord was known in the first yuga (satya) as Hamsa and Paramatma, to name but a couple, and in the previous verse it says that persons in this age worship the Lord by austere meditation and by internal and external sense gratification.
48 Rudra was directly manifest from the body of Brahma whereas the four Kumaras were mentally manifested. Some of this is explained next.
49 In "Shri Vrndavana Dhama Ki Jaya" the author Dhruva Maharaja dasa also substantiates that the Durvasa Muni who is the plenary incarnation of Lord Siva is the same who met with Shrimati Radharani (Gandhavika). He also states that Durvasa used to perform austerities on the bank of the Yamuna opposite the Visrama Ghat.