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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 19. Prameya: Abhidheya Tattva


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'

lotus feet."


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`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼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

lotus feet!"


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

that prayojana."


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)

of bhakti?


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:


anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam

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

and liberation.


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

bliss (sandrananda-visesatma)?


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

in vaidhi-pravrtti.


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

two instructions.


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.


shri-camasa uvaca

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

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.2-3)


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

Kumaras respectively.


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

in bhakti?


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

is this?


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

and others?


Babaji: It is said in Shrimad-Bhagavatam that those who are under

the shelter of Bhagavan are not indebted to anyone.


devarsi-bhutapta-nrnam pitrnam

na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan

sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam

gato mukundam parihrtya karttam

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.41)


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

of arcana.


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

(Deity room).


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

vacamsi vaikuntha-gunanuvarnane

karau harer mandira-marjanadisu

srutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye


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.


mukunda-lingalaya-darsane drsau

tad-bhrtya-gatra-sparse 'nga-sangamam

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

siro hrsikesa-padabhivandane

kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya

yathottama-sloka-janasraya ratih


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.