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C H A P T E R 19
Prameya: Abhidheya Tattva
A fter taking his meal, Vrajanatha retired to bed with various
conflicting views about acintya-bhedabheda (the doctrine of
inconceivable oneness and difference) arising in his heart. Sometimes
he thought that acintya-bhedabheda-tattva was just another
kind of Mayavada philosophy, but when he reconsidered the teaching
seriously, he realized that there was no objection in sastra to
it. On the contrary, it contained the essence of all sastras. "Shrimad
Gaura Kisora is the complete manifestation of Bhagavan Himself,
and His profound teachings cannot possibly be faulty in any way,"
he said to himself. "I will never give up the lotus feet of that extremely
kind and affectionate Gaura Kisora. But alas! What have
I attained so far? I have come to understand that acintya-bhedabhedatattva
is the ultimate truth, but what have I gained through this
knowledge? Shri Raghunatha dasa Babaji has said that priti (love)
is the sadhya of life for all jivas. Karmis and jnanis are also searching
for love, but they are ignorant about suddha-priti. That is why I
must reach the stage of unadulterated love, but my only concern
is, how may I achieve it? I will inquire from Babaji Mahasaya about
this subject, and adopt his principles." Thinking like this,
Vrajanatha fell asleep.
Since Vrajanatha went to sleep quite late, he also awoke late
the next morning. The sun had already risen when he rose from
his bed, and he had hardly finished his morning ablutions when
his maternal uncle Vijaya Kumara Bhattacarya Mahasaya arrived
from Shri Modadruma. Vrajanatha was very pleased to see his uncle
after so many days. He offered him dandavat-pranama, and respectfully
offered him a seat.
Vijaya Kumara was a great scholar and orator of Shrimad-
Bhagavatam, and he would travel considerable distances to give
Bhagavatam discourses. By the mercy of Shri Narayana, he had
developed staunch faith in his heart in Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
Some days previously, he had the good fortune of obtaining darsana
of Shri Vrndavana dasa Thakura in a village by the name of Denuda.
Shri Vrndavana dasa Thakura had ordered him to visit the
inconceivable Yoga-pitha of Shridhama Mayapura, where Shri
Shachinandana Gaura Hari's acintya-lila eternally takes place. He also
informed him that soon most of the holy places of Shriman
Mahaprabhu's pastimes would soon disappear, and would reappear
after four hundred years. He said that the places of Shri Gaura's
pastimes were essentially non-different from Shri Vrndavana, the
holy place of Krishna's lila; and that only those who can perceive
the transcendental nature of Shri Mayapura can truly have darsana
of Shri Vrndavana. Hearing these words of Shri Vrndavana dasa
Thakura, the incarnation of Shri Vyasadeva, Vijaya Kumara became
very eager to take darsana of Shridhama Mayapura, and decided to
go there after visiting his sister and nephew in Bilva-puskarini.
These days, the villages of Bilva-puskarini and Brahma-puskarini
are somewhat distant from each other, but in those days, they were
immediately adjacent, and the boundary of Bilva-puskarini was
within a mile of Shridhama Mayapura Yoga-pitha. The old village
of Bilva-puskarini is abandoned these days, and is known by the
names Tota and Taranvasa.
When uncle and nephew had exchanged pleasantries, Vijaya
Kumara said, "Tell Grandmother that I am going to take darsana of
Shridhama Mayapura, and that I will be back soon and take my
afternoon meal here."
"Uncle, why do you want to visit Mayapura?" asked Vrajanatha.
Vijaya Kumara was at that time unaware of Vrajanatha's present
condition - he had only heard that Vrajanatha had given up his
study of nyaya-sastra, and was now studying Vedanta-sutra - so he
did not consider it appropriate to describe his devotional
sentiments to him. Instead, he hid his real motive, and said, "I have
to meet someone in Mayapura."
Vrajanatha was aware that his uncle was not only a great scholar
of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, but also a devotee of Shri Gaura, so he guessed
that he must have some spiritual purpose in visiting Shridhama
Mayapura. "Uncle," he said, "a very faithful and elevated Vaishnava
called Shrila Raghunatha dasa Babaji resides in Mayapura. You must
have some discussion with him."
Encouraged by Vrajanatha's words Vijaya Kumara said, "Are
you developing faith in the Vaishnavas these days? I heard that
you have given up the study of nyaya-sastra and were studying
Vedanta, but now I see that you are entering into the path of
bhakti, so I need not hide anything from you. The fact is that Shri
Vrndavana dasa Thakura Mahasaya has ordered me to have
darsana of Shri Yoga-pitha at Shri Mayapura, so I have decided to
take bath in the waters of Shri Ganga-devi, and then circumambulate
and take darsana of Shri Yoga-pitha. Then at Shrivasangana,
I shall roll to my heart's content in the dust of the Vaishnavas'
Vrajanatha said," Uncle! Please take me along with you. Let's
meet with mother, and then leave for Mayapura."
Deciding thus, they informed Vrajanatha's mother, and left for
Mayapura. First they took bath in the Ganga, and Vijaya Kumara
exclaimed, "Aha! Today my life has become successful. At this ghata
Shri Shachinandana````@P@````PP@P°`° `@```š`@°°`°° @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞 Gaurahari bestowed unlimited mercy upon
Jahnavi-devi by performing His water pastimes here for twentyfour
years. While bathing in these sacred waters today I am feeling
paramananda." When Vrajanatha heard Vijaya Kumara speak these
words in an inspired mood, he spoke with a melted heart: "Uncle,
today I am also blessed by your mercy."
After Ganga snana, they visited Mahaprabhu's birthplace at the
home of Jagannatha Misra. There, by the mercy of Shri Dhama, they
became completely immersed in a mood of deep spiritual love and
their bodies became drenched with tears. Vijaya Kumara said, "If
one takes birth in this land of Gaura, but does not visit this Maha
Yoga-pitha, one's life is useless. Just see how this holy place seems
to material eyes to appear as any ordinary piece of land, covered by
straw huts, but by Gauranga's mercy see what beauty and opulence
is visible to us! Look! How high and splendid are these bejeweled
mansions! How inviting are these lovely gardens! How attractive
to the eyes are these places of worship! Look, here Shri Gauranga
and Vishnu-priya are standing inside the house. O What an
enchanting form! What an enchanting form!"
As he said this, they both fell down and lost consciousness. After
quite some time, they recovered with the help of some other
devotees, and entered Shrivasangana. Tears flowed from their eyes,
and they rolled on the ground, exclaiming, "Ha Shrivasa! Ha
Advaita! Ha Nityananda! Ha Gadadhara-Gauranga! Please give us
Your mercy! Free us from false pride, and give us the shelter of Your
All the Vaishnavas there became very joyful when they saw such
emotions in the two brahmanas. They began to dance, chanting
loudly, "Mayapura Candra ki jaya! Ajita Gauranga ki jaya! Shri
Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!" Vrajanatha immediately offered his
body at the lotus feet of his worshipable spiritual master, Shri
Raghunatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. The elderly Babaji picked him
up and embraced him, asking, "Baba! What brings you here at this
time today? And who is this respectable mahajana with you?"
Vrajanatha humbly told him everything, and the Vaishnavas
seated them with utmost respect. Vijaya Kumara then inquired
submissively from Shrimad Raghunatha dasa Babaji Maharaja,
"Prabhu, by what means can the ultimate aim (prayojana) for all
jivas be achieved? Please be merciful, and tell us how we can attain
Babaji: You are suddha-bhaktas, and everything is within your
grasp. Still, since you have mercifully asked, I will explain whatever
little I know. Krishna-bhakti which is free from any trace of jnana
and karma is the prayojana (ultimate aim) for all jivas, and it is also
the means of attainment. During the stage of spiritual practice
(sadhana-avastha) it is called sadhana-bhakti, and in the liberated
stage (siddha-avastha), it is called devotional service performed in
prema-bhakti (pure love).
Vijaya: What are the intrinsic characteristics (svarupa-laksana)
Babaji: By the order of Shriman Mahaprabhu, Shri Rupa Gosvami
has described the intrinsic characteristics of bhakti in Shri Bhaktirasamrta-
sindhu (1.1.11) as follows:
anukulyena krishnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama
Uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service, is the cultivation
of activities that are meant exclusively for the benefit of
Shri Krishna, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service
to Shri Krishna, performed through all endeavors of body,
mind, and speech, and through expression of various spiritual
sentiments (bhavas). It is not covered by jnana (knowledge
of nirvisesa-brahma, aimed at impersonal liberation)
and karma (reward-seeking activity), yoga or austerities; and
it is completely free from all desires other than the aspiration
to bring happiness to Shri Krishna.
This sutra very clearly describes both the svarupa-laksana (intrinsic
characteristics) and the tatastha-laksana (extrinsic symptoms)
of bhakti. The word uttama-bhakti refers to pure devotional
service. Devotional service mixed with fruitive activity (karma??
misra bhakti) and devotional service mixed with speculative knowledge
(jnana-misra bhakti) are not pure devotional service. The aim
of devotional service mixed with fruitive activity (karma-misra
bhakti) is sense gratification, and the aim of devotional service
mixed with speculative knowledge (jnana-misra bhakti) is liberation.
Only such devotional service free from any trace of desire
for fruitive results or liberation is uttama-bhakti (pure devotional
The fruit of bhakti is prema. The svarupa-laksana of bhakti is endeavors
favorable for Krishna (krishnanusilanam) performed with body,
mind and speech, and loving attitude of mind (pritimaya-manasa).
Such endeavors (cesta) and spiritual sentiments (bhavas) are both
favorable (anukulya) and constantly dynamic. By the mercy of
Krishna and His bhaktas, when the special function of the internal
energy of Bhagavan manifests upon the jiva's own spiritual strength,
then the true form (svarupa) of bhakti takes birth.
In the present state, the jiva's body, mind and speech are all
materially afflicted. When the jiva directs them by his own discrimination,
the result is only dry speculation and renunciation,
and the true nature of bhakti does not manifest through them.
However, when Krishna's svarupa-sakti becomes active in the jiva's
body, mind and speech, the nature of pure bhakti immediately
becomes manifest. The ultimate aim of all spiritual activities is Shri
Krishna, and that is why real devotional activity must be favorable
towards Krishna. Endeavors performed for realization of brahma and
Paramatma are not accepted as pure bhakti. Rather, they are aspects
of speculative knowledge (jnana) and fruitive activities (karma)
respectively. There are two types of endeavors: those that are
favorable, and those that are unfavorable. Only favorable activities
are considered to be devotional service.
The word anukulyena means the tendency to be favorably disposed
towards Krishna. This tendency has some connection with
the material world during the period of devotional practice
(sadhana-kala), but in the liberated stage (siddha-kala) it is utterly
pure, free from any connection with the material world. The characteristics
of bhakti are the same in both these stages. Therefore,
the intrinsic characteristics of bhakti are endeavors for the cultivation
of Krishna consciousness performed with favorable sentiments.
While we are discussing the intrinsic characteristics (svarupalaksana)
of bhakti, it is also necessary to describe its extrinsic characteristics
(tatastha-laksana). Shrila Rupa Gosvami has explained
that there are two tatastha-laksana. The first is having no other
desires, and the second is freedom from the covering of jnana,
karma and other such endeavors. Any ambition other than the desire
for progress in bhakti goes against bhakti, and comes in the
category of other desires. Jnana, karma, yoga and renunciation are
said to be antagonistic to bhakti when they are strong enough to
cover the heart. Therefore, pure bhakti may be described as the
cultivation of activities that are favorably disposed to Shri Krishna,
free from both the above antagonistic characteristics.
Vijaya: What are the various distinctive characteristics of bhakti?
Babaji: In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.17), Shrila Rupa Gosvami has
described the following six special characteristics of bhakti:
klesa-ghni subhada moksa-laghuta-krt sudurlabha
sandrananda-visesatma shri-krishnakarsini ca sa
1. klesa-ghni - She destroys all kinds of distress.
2. subhada - She awards all kinds of good fortune.
3. moksa-laghuta-krt - She makes krt, the pleasure of impersonal
liberation appear laghuta - insignificant.
4. sudurlabha - She is rarely achieved.
5. sandrananda-visesatma - Her nature is embued with the
most intense and superlative pleasure.
6. shri-krishna-akarsini - She is the sole means to attract Shri
Vijaya: How does bhakti destroy distress?
Babaji: There are three kinds of klesa (distress): sin itself (papa), sin
in its seed-form (papa-bija), and ignorance (avidya). Sinful activity
is classified as pataka (sinful), maha-pataka (very sinful) and atipataka
(extremely sinful). All these are considered papa. People in whose
hearts suddha-bhakti has manifested are naturally not inclined to
become involved in sinful activities (papa). The desire to commit
sins, which is called papa-bija, cannot remain in a heart filled with
bhakti. Avidya means ignorance of one's spiritual identity. When
suddha-bhakti first dawns within the heart, the jiva understands very
clearly, "I am a servant of Krishna," and ignorance disappears
altogether. This means that as Bhakti-devi, the goddess of bhakti,
spreads her effulgence, the darkness of papa, papa-bija and avidya are
expelled from one's heart. On the auspicious arrival of bhakti, all
sorts of distress go far away. That is why bhakti is klesa-ghni.
Vijaya: How is bhakti subha da?
Babaji: In this world, all types of affection, all good qualities, and
all the different types of pleasures are considered subha (auspicious).
One in whose heart pure bhakti has manifested is endowed
with four qualities; humility, compassion, freedom from pride, and
giving honor to others. For this reason the whole world bestows
affection upon him. All kinds of sad-gunas are automatically
manifested in suddha-bhaktas. Bhakti is capable of giving all kinds
of pleasure. If one desires, she can give material enjoyment, the
happiness of merging into the impersonal brahma (nirvisesabrahma-
sukha), all kinds of mystical powers (siddhis), sense gratification
Vijaya: How does bhakti make even the pleasure of impersonal liberation
seem insignificant (moksa-laghuta-krt)?
Babaji: If even a little love for the Supreme (bhagavad-rati) has
manifested in one's heart, dharma (religion), artha (economic development),
kama (sense gratification) and moksa (liberation)
naturally appear insignificant.
Vijaya: And why is it said that bhakti is rarely achieved (sudurlabha)?
Babaji: This matter should be understood carefully. Bhakti will
remain elusive so long as one performs devotional service improperly,
even if one engages in millions of different spiritual practices
(sadhana). Apart from that, Bhakti-devi satisfies the majority of
people with only impersonal liberation; she does not give bhakti
unless she sees that the practitioner is highly qualified. It is for
these two reasons that bhakti is rarely achieved. The sadhana of
cultivating jnana definitely leads one to liberation in the form of
merging into the non-dual brahma, which is the very form of
knowledge. It is also easy to get material sense gratification by
performing pious deeds like yajna and other such activities.
However, if one does not practice bhakti-yoga, one cannot achieve
bhakti to Shri Hari, even by performing millions of spiritual practices.
Vijaya: Why has bhakti been described as the superlative form of
Babaji: Bhakti is eternal spiritual happiness, and that is why the
performance of bhakti places one in an ocean of bliss. If one combines
all the different types of worldly material pleasure, adds the
pleasure of merging into brahma (which is the negation of this
material world), and multiplies it all tens of millions of times, the
resultant pleasure still cannot compare to a single drop of the
ocean of the bliss of devotional service. Material pleasures are
utterly trivial, and the pleasure that appears by negating material
pleasure (mukti) is very dry. Both these pleasures are different in
nature from the bliss of the spiritual world. One cannot compare
two things that are altogether different in character. Therefore,
those who have developed some taste for the bliss of performing
bhakti find the pleasure of merging into nirvisesa-brahma to be as
insignificant as the water in a cow's hoof-print. Only those who
have experienced this pleasure can understand it; others cannot
grasp or discuss it.
Vijaya: How does bhakti attract the all-attractive Shri Krishna (shrikrishna-
Babaji: Shri Krishna, together with all His loved ones, becomes
forcibly attracted and controlled by a person within whose heart
Bhakti-devi has appeared. Krishna cannot be controlled or attracted
by any other means.
Vijaya: If bhakti is so sublimely potent, why do those who study
many sastras not try to achieve her?
Babaji: Bhakti and Shri Krishna are beyond all material boundaries,
so human intelligence cannot reach Them, because it is gross and
limited. However, one can easily understand the essence of
devotional service (bhakti-tattva) if he has developed even a slight
taste by the influence of pious deeds accumulated in the past. No
one but the most fortunate jivas can understand bhakti-tattva.
Vijaya: Why does material logic carry no weight?
Babaji: Logic does not have the qualities necessary for understanding
spiritual pleasures. It is said,
naisa tarkena matir apaneya / proktanyenaiva su-jnanaya prestha
Katha Upanisad (1.2.9)
My dearest Naciketa, it is not proper to use argument to
destroy the wisdom of the Absolute Truth that you have
Then it is also said, tarkapratisthanat (Vedanta-sutra 2.1.11):
"Logic is useless for establishing any vastu (real substance), because
what one person establishes by logic and argument today,
a more expert logician will refute tomorrow." That is why it is
said that logic carries no respect. All these statements of the
Vedanta establish that logic cannot explain spiritual matters.
Vrajanatha: Is there any stage of bhakti between sadhana-bhakti and
Babaji: Yes, certainly. There are three stages of development of
bhakti: sadhana-bhakti, bhava-bhakti, and prema-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: What are the characteristics of sadhana-bhakti?
Babaji: Bhakti is one; the differences are between the different
stages of development. As long as bhakti is performed by the
conditioned jiva by means of his senses, it is called sadhana-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: You have explained that prema-bhakti is an eternally
perfect mood (nitya-siddha-bhava), so why is it necessary to practice
in order to attain a sentiment that is eternally perfect?
Babaji: Nitya-siddha-bhava is not actually something to be gained
from elsewhere (sadhya); that is, it cannot be produced by sadhana.
Sadhana is a name given to the practice of manifesting bhava in
the heart.1 As long as it is not manifested in the heart (due to being
covered), one will have to perform sadhana. In reality, this bhava is
nitya-siddha (eternally present in the heart).
1 krti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-bhava sa sadhanabhidha
nitya-siddhasya bhavasya prakatyam hrdi sadhyata
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Purva Lahiri (2.2)
Sadhana-bhakti, or the regulative discharge of devotional service,
is the practice performed with the present senses, by
which bhava (transcendental loving service for Krishna) is attained.
This bhava exists eternally within the heart of every
jiva, and it is the potentiality of sadhana-bhakti to awaken it.
sravanadi kriya tara svarupa-laksana
tatastha-laksane upajaya prema-dhana
nitya-siddha krishna-prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya Lila (22.106,107)
The intrinsic characteristics of bhajana are the spiritual activities
of hearing, chanting, remembering and so on. Its marginal
characteristic is that it awakens krishna-prema.
Krishna-prema is eternally established in the hearts of all jivas. It
is not something to be gained from another source. This love
naturally awakens when the heart is purified by hearing and
Vrajanatha: Will you please explain this principle more elaborately?
Babaji: Certainly prema-bhakti is nitya-siddha (eternally perfect),
because it is a manifestation of Bhagavan's internal sakti, but it is
not evident in the heart of the conditioned jiva. Spiritual practice
(sadhana) consists of the efforts of body, mind, and speech to
make it appear in the heart. As long as bhava is not actually attained
during the period of sadhana, it is considered a sentiment that is
achieved by practice, but its eternal perfection becomes evident
as soon as it manifests itself in the heart.
Vrajanatha: What is the distinguishing characteristic feature of
Babaji: Sadhana-bhakti is any method that trains the mind to
become Krishna conscious.
Vrajanatha: How many kinds of sadhana-bhakti are there?
Babaji: There are two kinds: vaidhi and raganuga.
Vrajanatha: What is vaidhi-bhakti?
Babaji: The jiva's spiritual propensity is manifest in two ways. The
regulations found in the codes of sastra are called vidhi, and the
inclination that has its origin in this vidhi is called vaidhi-pravrtti
(the tendency to follow sastra), and bhakti that is caused by the
discipline of sastra is called vaidhi-bhakti, because it has its origin
Vrajanatha: I will inquire about the characteristics of spontaneous
attraction (raga) a little later. Now will you kindly describe
the characteristics of vidhi?
Babaji: The sastras have prescribed regulative duties called vidhi,
and have prohibited certain forbidden activities (nisedha). The
prescribed duty (vaidha-dharma) for the jivas is to follow all the
regulations and to avoid all the prohibited activities.
Vrajanatha: From your explanation, it seems as if vaidha-dharma
consists of the rules and regulations of all the sastras, but the jivas
of Kali-yuga are weak and short-lived, so they cannot study the
prescriptions and prohibitions of all the sastras, and then ascertain
vaidha-dharma. Do the sastras indicate how we can determine vidhinisedha
briefly and practically?
Babaji: It is written in Padma Purana (42.103) and Naradapancaratra
smarttavyah satatam visnur vismarttavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah
Always remember Vishnu, and never forget Him. All the other
prohibitions and recommendations are servitors of these
The purport is that the arrangement of all the various kinds of
vidhi and nisedha within the sastras are based on these two basic
sentences. Duty (vidhi) is ascertained to be that which makes one
constantly remember Bhagavan, and forbidden activities (nisedha)
are those that make one forget Him. "Remember Bhagavan Shri
Vishnu constantly throughout your life," this is the basic prescription
(vidhi), and the arrangements of varnasrama and so on for the
maintenance of the jivas are subject to it. "Never forget Krishna,"
this (nisedha) is the basic prohibition. Everything else - such as
abandoning sinful activities, avoiding the tendency to divert one's
attention from Krishna (krishna-bahirmukhata), and atoning for sinful
activities - are all subordinate to this basic vidhi-nisedha. Therefore,
all the rules and prohibitions described in the sastras are eternal
servants of the rule to remember Krishna constantly, and the
prohibition is to never forget Him. It follows that the regulation
to remember Krishna is the fundamental principle amongst all the
regulations of varnasrama and other such institutions.
mukha-bahuru-padebhyah purusasyasramaih saha
catvaro jajnire varna gunair vipradayah prthak
ya esam purusam saksad atma-prabhavam isvaram
na bhajanty avajananti sthanad bhrastah patanty adhah
Shri Camasa said, "The brahmanas came into existence from
the mouth of the primordial Shri Vishnu, the ksatriyas from
His arms, the vaisyas from His thighs, and the sudras from
His feet. These four varnas were born along with their particular
characteristics, as were the four specific asramas. A
person living amongst these varnas and asramas becomes
intoxicated by his high social position (varna) and spiritual
position (asrama), and fails to worship his istadeva,
Bhagavan Shri Vishnu, or even disrespects Him. Such a person
falls down from his position in the system of varna and
asrama, loses all his prestige, and takes birth in the lower
Vrajanatha: Why doesn't everyone who follows the regulations of
varnasrama practice krishna-bhakti?
Babaji: Shrila Rupa Gosvami explains that amongst all those who
follow the regulations of sastra, only those who develop faith in
bhakti are eligible to engage in bhakti. They are not attracted towards
the regulations of material life, nor do they renounce material
life. Rather, they follow the ways of ordinary civilized life to
maintain their livelihood, and at the same time practice the
sadhana of suddha-bhakti with faith. A civilized jiva becomes qualified
to engage in bhakti as a result of sukrti accumulated in the course
of many lives. There are three types of such faithful people: the
kanistha (neophyte), the madhyama (intermediate bhakta), and the
uttama (highly exalted bhakta).
Vrajanatha: It is said in Bhagavad-gita that four kinds of people
perform bhakti: artta (those who are distressed), jijnasu (the inquisitive),
artharthi (those who desire wealth), and jnanis (those who
are searching for knowledge of the Absolute). What kind of bhakti
are they qualified for?
Babaji: When they associate with saintly sadhus, their distress,
their inquisitiveness, their desire for wealth, and their desire for
knowledge are removed, and they develop faith in unalloyed
devotional service. Then they immediately become qualified for
engaging in bhakti. The prominent examples of this are Gajendra,
Saunaka and the other rsis in Naimisaranya, Dhruva, and the four
Vrajanatha: Do devotees attain liberation at all?
Babaji: There are five kinds of liberation: salokya, to live on the
same planet as Bhagavan; sarsti, to have the same opulences as
Bhagavan; samipya, to have constant association with Bhagavan;
sarupya, to obtain bodily features similar to Bhagavan's; and sayujya,
to become one with Bhagavan. Bhaktas of Shri Krishna do not accept
sayujya-mukti at any cost, because it is blatantly opposed to the
principles of bhakti. Salokya, sarsti, samipya and sarupya are not fully
opposed to bhakti, but they still retain some adverse elements. The
bhaktas of Krishna also completely reject these four kinds of liberation
that are manifested in Shri Narayana's abode.
In some circumstances, these forms of liberation provide comforts
and opulences, whereas in their matured stages they guide
one towards prema-bhakti. If their ultimate result is only comfort
and opulence, bhaktas should simply reject them. What to speak
of liberation, even Narayana's prasada does not appeal to the unalloyed
bhaktas of Shri Krishna. Shri Narayana and Shri Krishna have the
same fundamental form and nature (svarupa) from the point of view
of siddhanta, but from the viewpoint of rasa, Shri Krishna's superexcellent
glory is an eternal fact.
Vrajanatha: Is it only those who are born in Aryan families and
who follow the regulations of varnasrama who are eligible to engage
Babaji: The entire human race is qualified to attain eligibility for
Vrajanatha: In that case, it seems that people who are situated in
varnasrama have to follow two sets of duties - the regulations of
varnasrama, and the rules of suddha-bhakti - whereas those situated
outside varnasrama have only one duty, which is to follow the
limbs (angas) of bhakti. This means that people situated in
varnasrama have to endeavor more, because they have to follow
both the material regulations and the spiritual regulations. Why
Babaji: A bhakta who is qualified for suddha-bhakti may be situated
in varnasrama, but his only duty is to follow the anga of bhakti, and
then all his worldly duties are fulfilled automatically. There is no
fault in neglecting worldly duties where they are independent of
bhakti, or opposed to it. A qualified bhakta is by his very nature not
inclined to neglect prescribed duties or to perform forbidden activities.
If in spite of this he accidentally commits some sinful
activity, he does not have to perform the penances that are prescribed
in the rules governing karma. When bhakti resides in the
heart, sins that the bhakta commits by chance do not create a
lasting impression, and they are destroyed very easily and quickly.
That is why bhaktas do not need to perform any separate penance.
Vrajanatha: How can a qualified bhakta repay his debts to the devatas
Babaji: It is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam that those who are under
the shelter of Bhagavan are not indebted to anyone.
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya karttam
One who completely surrenders to Bhagavan Mukunda, the
affectionate protector of the surrendered souls, no longer
remains indebted to the devatas, forefathers, other living
beings, kinsmen, or guests. He is not subordinate to anyone,
and he is not obliged to serve anyone.
The purport of the final instruction of Bhagavad-gita (18.66) is
that Shri Krishna releases one from all sins if he gives up all sorts of
duties and comes to His shelter. The essence of the Gita is that
when a person becomes qualified for unalloyed bhakti, he is no
longer obliged to follow the regulations of jnana-sastra and karmasastra.
On the contrary, he attains all perfection simply by following
the path of bhakti. That is why Shri Krishna declares, na me bhaktah
pranasyati: "My bhakta is never vanquished." Therefore, this
promise of Shri Krishna should be held above all.
When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha heard these words, they
said, "We have no further doubts in our hearts concerning bhakti.
We have understood that jnana and karma are of little consequence,
and that without the mercy of Bhakti-devi, there is no auspiciousness
for the jiva. Prabhu, now please be merciful, and make our lives
successful by telling us about the angas of suddha-bhakti."
Babaji: Vrajanatha, you have heard Dasa-mula as far as the eighth
sloka. You may relate them to your uncle later. I feel very satisfied
to see him. Now listen to the ninth sloka:
srutih krishnakhyanam smarana-nati-puja-vidhi-ganah
tatha dasyam sakhyam paricaranam apy atma-dadanam
navangany etaniha vidhi-gata-bhakter anudinam
bhajan sraddha-yuktah suvimala-ratim vai sa labhate
One should perform bhajana of the nine processes of vaidhibhakti,
namely, hearing, chanting, remembering, offering
prayers, worshiping, serving Krishna's lotus feet, acting as
Krishna's servant, becoming Krishna's friend, and surrendering
oneself fully to Shri Krishna. One who with faith daily
practices bhajana in this way certainly achieves pure krishnarati.
Sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam, pada-sevanam,
arcanam, dasyam, sakhyam and atma-nivedanam: those who daily
practice these nine limbs of vaidhi-bhakti with faith attain pure love
of Shri Krishna. Hearing (sravana) takes place when the descriptions
of Krishna's transcendental holy name, form, qualities and pastimes
come in contact with the ears. There are two stages of sravana.
The first stage is hearing descriptions of Krishna's qualities in the
association of suddha-bhaktas before developing sraddha. This type
of sravana creates faith so that one develops a keen desire to hear
shri-krishna-nama and His qualities. After one has developed such
faith, one hears Krishna's transcendental names and qualities with
great eagerness from Shri Guru and the Vaishnavas, and that is the
second kind of sravana. Sravana is one of the limbs of suddha-bhakti,
and sravana in the perfected stage is manifested as a result of
hearing from guru and Vaishnavas in the stage of spiritual practice.
Sravana is the first anga of bhakti.
Kirtana takes place when shri-hari-nama and the descriptions of
His form, qualities and pastimes come in contact with the tongue.
There are many different varieties of kirtana, such as discussions
of Shri Krishna's pastimes, describing shri-krishna-nama, reading from
sastra to others, attracting others to Krishna by singing about Him,
uttering entreaties to invoke His mercy, proclaiming His glories
to others, chanting bhajanas in praise of the Deity, offering prayers,
and so on. Kirtana has been described as superior to all the other
nine angas of bhakti, and this is especially true in Kali-yuga, when
kirtana alone can bestow auspiciousness upon everyone. This is
stated in all sastras:
dhyayan krte yajan yajnais tretayam dvapare 'rcayan
yad apnoti tad apnoti kalau sankirtya kesavam
Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda (72.25)
Whatever is achieved in Satya-yuga by meditation, in Tretayuga
by the performance of yajna, and in Dvapara-yuga by
worshiping Krishna's lotus feet is also obtained in the age of
Kali simply by chanting and glorifying Shri Kesava.
No other method purifies the heart as effectively as hari-kirtana.
When many devotees perform kirtana together, it is called
Remembering Krishna's name, form, qualities and pastimes is called
smaranam, of which there are five kinds. Smaranam means to
contemplate some subject that has previously been heard of, or
experienced. Dharana means to fix the mind on a particular subject,
withdrawing it from other objects. Dhyanam means to meditate on
a specific form. When dhyanam is unbroken like the continuous
flow of a stream of precious oil, it is called dhruvanusmrti, and
samadhi is the state in which one is oblivious to outside reality,
and only aware of the objects of meditation in one's heart.
Sravanam, kirtana and smaranam are the three primary angas of
bhakti, for all the other angas are included within them, and of these
three angas, kirtana is the best and most important, because
sravanam and smaranam can be included within it.
According to Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23):
sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam
Hearing and chanting about Shri Vishnu's transcendental
name, form, qualities and so on; remembering them; serving
His lotus feet; worshiping Him with sixteen types of
paraphernalia; offering prayers to Him; becoming His
servant; adopting a friendly mood towards Him; and surrendering
everything unto Him (in other words, serving
Him with the body, mind and words) - these nine are
accepted as suddha-bhakti.
The fourth anga of bhakti is performing service (pada-seva or
paricarya). Pada-seva must also be performed together with
sravanam, kirtana and smaranam. One should perform pada-seva
with a humble attitude, understanding that one is unqualified for
the service. It is also essential to realize the object of service as
sac-cid-ananda, the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss.
Pada-seva includes seeing the face of Shri Krishna's Deity form, touching
Him, circumambulating Him, following Him, and visiting holy
places such as Shri Bhagavan's temple, the Ganga, Jagannatha Puri,
Dvaraka, Mathura, Navadvipa and so forth. Shrila Rupa Gosvami
has presented these in a very clear and vivid way in his description
of the sixty-four angas of bhakti. Service to Shri Tulasi and suddhabhaktas
is also included within this anga.
The fifth anga is worship (arcana). There are many considerations
regarding qualification and methods of worship. If one is
attracted to the path of arcana, even after being engaged in
sravanam, kirtana and smaranam, then one should perform arcana
after properly accepting diksa-mantra from Shri Gurudeva.
Vrajanatha: What is the difference between nama and mantra?
Babaji: Shri Hari's name is the life and soul of mantra. The rsis have
added words such as namah ('obeisances') to shri-hari-nama, and disclosed
its specific power. Shri-hari-nama by nature has nothing to
do with this material world, whereas the jiva, because of various
bodily designations provided by maya, is entrapped by objects
consisting of dead matter. Consequently, in order to detach the
jiva's mind from sense objects, different principles of arcana have
been established on the path of regulated devotional service
(maryada-marga). It is essential for materialistic people to accept
diksa. When one chants the Krishna mantra, siddha-sadhya-susiddhaari
are not considered.2
2 Gurudeva will give initiation to his disciple after performing
the process for purifying him of the four defects of siddha, sadhya,
susiddha and ari (enemy). One may consult Hari-bhakti-vilasa,
First Vilasa, Anuccheda 52- 103 regarding these four defects and
their remedial measures. But in chanting the king of all mantras,
the krishna-mantra of eighteen letters (gopala -mantra), there
is no need to consider these four defects, because the mantra is
so powerful that these four defects are very insignificant in
comparison. In Trailokya Sammohana-tantra, Mahadeva has said,
astadasaksara mantram adhikrtya shri-sivenoktam na catra satrava
doso varnesv adi-vicarana, and in Brhad-Gautamiya it is stated:
siddha-sadhya-susiddhari-rupa natra vicarana, sarvesam siddhamantranam
yato brahmaksaro manuh. Every single letter of this
mantra is brahma. (Also see glossary).
Initiation into the exclusive chanting of the Krishna mantra is
extremely beneficial for the jiva, for of all the different mantras in
the world, the krishna-mantra is the most powerful. A bona fide
disciple receives strength from Krishna immediately when a bona
fide spiritual master initiates him into this mantra. After initiation,
Gurudeva educates the inquiring disciple concerning the
performance of arcana. Briefly, arcana-marga includes the observance
of Shri Krishna's Appearance Day, fasting in Karttika month,
observing Ekadashi, taking bath in the month of Magha, and other
such activities. One should also understand that one must certainly
worship Krishna's bhaktas as well as Krishna Himself on the path
The sixth anga of vaidhi-bhakti is offering prayers and obeisances
(vandanam). This is included as part of pada-seva and kirtana, but
it is still considered a separate anga of bhakti. Namaskara itself is
also called vandanam. Ekanga-namaskara and paying obeisances
with eight parts of the body touching the ground (astanganamaskara)
are two types of namaskara. It is considered offensive
to offer obeisances with only one hand touching the ground; to
offer obeisances when the body is covered with cloth, to offer obeisances
behind the Deity; to offer prostrated obeisances with the
body pointing directly towards the Deity, or with the right side
towards the Deity and to offer obeisances in the garbha-mandira
Performing service (dasyam) is the seventh anga of bhakti. "I am
Krishna's servant" - this ego or conception of the self is dasyam,
and bhajana performed with the sentiment of a servant is the topmost
bhajana. Dasyam includes offering obeisances, reciting prayers,
offering all of one's activities, serving, keeping proper conduct,
remembering and obeying orders (katha-sravanam).
The eighth anga of bhakti is serving as a friend (sakhyam), which
includes the mood of kinship towards Krishna with the endeavors
for His well being. There are two kinds of sakhyam: friendship in
vaidhi-bhakti and friendship in raganuga-bhakti, but Shri Prahlada's
sloka refers to vaidhanga-sakhyam; for example, the feeling of
sakhyam while serving the Deity is vaidha-sakhyam.
The ninth anga is known as atma-nivedanam, which means offering
the whole self - body, mind and pure atma - to Shri Krishna. The
characteristics of atma-nivedanam are exclusive endeavor for Krishna,
and lack of activity for one's own self-interest. It is also characteristic
of atma-nivedanam that one lives to serve the desire of Krishna,
and keeps one's own desire subordinate to Krishna's desire, just as a
cow that has been purchased does not care for its own maintenance.
Atma-nivedanam in vaidhi-bhakti is described in Shrimad-
Bhagavatam (9.4.18-20):as follows:
sa vai manah krishna-padaravindayor
karau harer mandira-marjanadisu
Ambarisa Maharaja engaged his mind in serving the lotus
feet of Shri Krishna, his words in describing the qualities of
Shri Bhagavan, his hands in cleaning Shri Hari's temple, and
his ears in hearing Acyuta's blissful pastimes.
ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe
shrimat-tulasyam rasanam tad-arpite
He engaged his eyes in seeing the Deity of Mukunda, different
temples, and the holy places; all his bodily limbs in
touching the bodies of Krishna's bhaktas; his nostrils in smelling
the divine smell of tulasi offered to Krishna's lotus feet;
and his tongue in tasting the prasada offered to Bhagavan.
padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya
His feet were always engaged in walking to Bhagavan's holy
places, and he would pay obeisances to Shri Krishna's lotus feet.
Ambarisa Maharaja would offer garlands, sandal, bhoga and
similar paraphernalia in Bhagavan's service, not with the
desire to enjoy himself, but to receive the love for Shri Krishna
that is present only in His suddha-bhaktas.
When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha heard Babaji Mahasaya's
very sweet and blissful instructions, they were overwhelmed with
joy, and offered obeisances to him, saying, "Prabhu, you are directly
Bhagavan's personal associate. We are both blessed today by
receiving your nectarean instructions. We were wasting our days
in the useless pride of caste, family and high education. By dint of
the wealth of sukrti accumulated in many previous lifetimes we
have obtained your mercy."
Vijaya: O most eminent of the bhagavatas, Shri Vrndavana dasa
Thakura ordered me to visit the Yoga-pitha at Shri Mayapura. By
his mercy today I took darsana of that holy place, and also of a
personal associate of Shri Bhagavan. If you will be so kind, I will
come again tomorrow evening.
When the elderly Babaji heard Shri Vrndavana dasa Thakura's
name, he immediately offered prostrated dandavats, and said, "I
offer my respectful obeisances again and again to the incarnation
of Vyasadeva in Shri Chaitanya's pastimes."
Since it had become quite late in the morning, Vrajanatha and
Vijaya Kumara then departed for Vrajanatha's home.
THUS ENDS THE NINTEENTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,