Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 3. Naimittika-Dharma is to be Relinquished



C H A P T E R 3

Naimittika-Dharma is to be Relinquished


One night, just after ten o'clock, Sannyasi Maharaja sat

chanting hari-nama on a raised mound in a secluded part

of his grove within Shri Godruma. Gazing northward, he saw the

full moon had already risen, diffusing an uncommon luster

throughout Shri Navadvipa-mandala. Suddenly, a divine manifestation

of nearby Shri Mayapura became visible before his eyes.


Sannyasi Maharaja exclaimed, "Oh! What an extraordinary vision!

I am seeing a most astonishing and blissful holy place! Towering

jeweled palaces, temples and ornamented archways are illuminating

the bank of the Jahnavi River by their glittering splendor.

The tumultuous sound of hari-nama-sankirtana is rising from

many places, as if to pierce the sky. Hundreds of Vaishnavas, like

Narada playing upon his vina, are chanting shri-nama and dancing.


"On one side is fair-complexioned Mahadeva, with his damaru

drum in his hand. He cries out, 'O Visvambhara, please bestow Your

mercy upon me!' Saying this, he dances tandava-nrtya wildly, then

falls to the ground, unconscious. On another side, the four-headed

Brahma sits in an assembly of rsis who are well-versed in Vedic

lore. He recites the following Vedic mantra and lucidly explains

its meaning:


mahan prabhur vai purusah sattvasyaisah pravartakah

sunirmalam imam praptim isano jyotir avyayah

Svetasvatara Upanisad (3.12)


"'That Personality is undoubtedly mahan, supreme, and He

is prabhu, master. He bestows the tendency for intelligence,

and by His mercy a person can attain supremely pure and

transcendental peace. That person known as Mahaprabhu

Shri Chaitanya is purusa, the Supreme Person. He is isana, the

Supreme Ruler. He is jyoti-svarupa, self-manifest and possessing

a lustrous effulgence due to the golden splendour

of His limbs. He is avyaya, the imperishable Lord.'


"Elsewhere, Indra and other devas are leaping in ecstasy, crying,

'Jaya Prabhu Gaurachandra! Jaya Nityananda!' The birds sitting on

the branches of the trees are calling out, 'Gaura! Nitai!' Large black

bees are humming everywhere in the flower gardens, intoxicated

by drinking gaura-nama-rasa, the liquid essence of the holy name of

Gaura. Prakrti-devi (the goddess of nature) is maddened with gaurarasa

and diffusing her magnificent radiance everywhere. This is wonderful!

I have seen Shri Mayapura in broad daylight many times, but

I have never beheld anything like this before. What am I seeing?"


Remembering his Gurudeva, Sannyasi Maharaja said, "O

Prabhu, now I can understand that you have bestowed your mercy

upon me today by granting me a vision of the transcendental

(aprakrta) aspect of Mayapura. From today onwards, I shall call

myself a follower of Shri Gaurachandra. I see that everyone in this

divine land of Navadvipa wears a necklace of tulasi beads, tilaka

on his forehead, and the letters of shri-nama stamped on his body.

I shall also do the same."


Saying this, Sannyasi Maharaja fell into a state of unconsciousness.

He regained external consciousness after a short while, and

began to cry, "Indeed, I am extremely fortunate, for by the mercy of

my guru, I have obtained a momentary vision of the sacred land of

Shri Navadvipa."


The next morning, he threw his ekadanda staff into the river.

Then decorating his neck with a three stranded necklace of tulasi

beads and his forehead with the urddhva-pundra-tilaka mark, he

chanted "Hari! Hari," and began to dance.


When the Vaishnavas of Godruma saw Sannyasi Maharaja's extraordinary

mood and new appearance, they offered him prostrated

obeisance, saying, "You are blessed! You are blessed!" He became

somewhat embarrassed at this, and said, "Oh, I have accepted this

Vaishnava dress to become an object of the Vaishnavas' mercy, but

now I have met with another obstacle. I have heard the following

statement many times from Gurudeva's mouth:


trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna

amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

Shri Siksastaka 3


Considering oneself to be more insignificant than a blade

of grass, being more tolerant than a tree, and free from all

desire for personal prestige, and offering all respect to others,

one should constantly be absorbed in hari-kirtana.


"The very same Vaishnavas whom I consider to be my gurus are

now offering obeisances to me. What will become of me?" Pondering

thus, he approached Paramahamsa Babaji, offered him prostrated

obeisance, and stood up with his head bowed.


Babaji Mahasaya was seated in the madhavi arbor chanting harinama.

When he saw Sannyasi Maharaja's complete change of dress

and his awakening of bhava for shri-nama, he embraced him and

bathed him with tears of love, saying, "O Vaishnava dasa, today I

have become successful by touching your auspicious body."

With that statement, Sannyasi Maharaja's previous name was

forsaken. He received a new life from that day and was now known

as Vaishnava dasa. Thus, he abandoned his Mayavada sannyasa

dress, his prestigious sannyasa name, and the exalted conception

he had of himself.


That afternoon, many Vaishnavas came to Shri Pradyumna-kunja

from Shri Godruma and Shri Madhyadvipa to see Paramahamsa Babaji.

They all sat surrounding him, chanting hari-nama with tulasi-mala

in their hands. They called out "Ha Gauranga Nityananda! Ha

Sitanatha! Jaya 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!" and their eyes welled with tears. The

Vaishnavas discussed among themselves topics related to the confidential

service of their ista-deva (worshipable Deity), and then, after

circumambulating Tulasi-devi, they offered obeisances. At that

time, Vaishnava dasa also circumambulated Shri Vrnda-devi, and rolled

in the dust of the lotus feet of the Vaishnavas.


Some of the Vaishnavas whispered to one another, "Isn't that

Sannyasi Maharaja? What an extraordinary appearance he has today!"


Rolling on the ground before the Vaishnavas, Vaishnava dasa said,

"Today, my life has become successful, for I have obtained the dust

of the Vaishnavas' lotus feet. By Gurudeva's mercy, I have clearly

understood that the jiva has no destination unless he has the dust

of the Vaishnavas' feet. The dust of the feet of the Vaishnavas, the

water that washes their feet, and the nectar emanating from their

lips - these three items are the medicine and the way of life for the

patient who is afflicted with the disease of material existence. They

are the cure for the entire material disease, and they are also the

source of transcendental enjoyment for the healthy soul who has

become free from this affliction.


"O Vaishnavas, please do not think that I am trying to show off

my scholarship. My heart has now become free from all such egotism.

I took birth in a high brahmana family, studied all the sastras,

and entered the sannyasa asrama, which is the fourth stage of the

social order. As a result, my pride knew no bounds. But when I became

attracted to the Vaishnava principles, a seed of humility was

sown in my heart. Gradually, through the mercy of all you Vaishnavas,

I have been able to cast off the vanity of my noble birth, the pride

in my learning, and the arrogance of my social status.


"Now I know that I am a destitute and insignificant jiva. I was

being ruined by my false ego of being a brahmana, by my learning,

and by my status as a sannyasi. I submit all this before your lotus

feet with full simplicity. You may deal with this servant of yours

however you deem fit."


When the Vaishnavas heard Vaishnava dasa's humble words, many

of them said, "O best of the bhagavatas! We are eager to obtain the

dust of the feet of Vaishnavas like you. Please bless us with the dust

of your lotus feet. You are the object of Paramahamsa Babaji's

mercy. Please purify us by making us your associates. The sastra

says that bhakti is obtained through associating with bhaktas like



bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta-sangena parijayate

sat-sangah prapyate pumbhih sukrtaih purva-sancitaih

Brhan-Naradiya-Purana (4.33)


Bhakti is awakened when one associates with bhaktas of Shri

Bhagavan. Association with suddha-bhaktas is attained only

by the accumulation of transcendental pious activities performed

over many lifetimes.


"We had accumulated a sufficient stock of pious activities which

foster bhakti (bhakti-posaka-sukrti), and that is how we have obtained

your association. Now, by the strength of that association,

we aspire for hari-bhakti."


When the Vaishnavas had concluded their exchanges of mutual

respect and humility, Vaishnava dasa sat down on one side of the

assembly, thereby enhancing its dignity. The hari-nama-mala

looked brilliant in his hands.


That day, a fortunate gentleman was sitting with the Vaishnavas.

He had taken birth in an aristocratic brahmana family and was also

a zamindar (wealthy landlord). He had studied Arabic and Farsi

from childhood and had developed a significant reputation in the

country, for he had courted many of the Islamic royalty and was

also expert in group dynamics and political strategy. Although he

had enjoyed his position and opulence for many years, it had

brought him no happiness. At last, he had taken up the practice of

hari-nama sankirtana.


In his childhood, the gentleman had been trained in Indian

classical music by some of the most prestigious music masters of

Delhi. Because of that training, he had become strong enough to

put himself forward as the lead singer during performances of harinama

sankirtana. The Vaishnavas did not like his polished, classical

style of singing; he would show off some of his musical artistry

during sankirtana and then look expectantly at others' faces for

recognition. He continued to lead kirtanas for many days, and

gradually he began to experience some pleasure in sankirtana.


After some time, he came to Shri Godruma in order to join the

kirtana programs of the Navadvipa Vaishnavas, and he took up residence

in the asrama of a Vaishnava there. On this particular day,

accompanied by that Vaishnava, he had come to Pradyumna-kunja,

and was sitting in the malati-madhavi grove. When he saw the

Vaishnavas' humble behavior towards each other, and heard Vaishnava

dasa's words, many doubts arose in his mind. Being a skilled orator,

he audaciously raised the following inquiry before the assembly of

Vaishnavas: "The Manu-smrti and other dharma-sastras state that

the brahmana caste is the highest caste. According to these sastras,

religious rites such as sandhya-vandana (the chanting of Vedic

mantras such as brahma-gayatri at dawn, noon and sunset) are considered

to be nitya-karma (eternal duties) for the brahmanas. If these

activities are obligatory, why is Vaishnava behavior opposed to them?"


Vaishnavas have no taste for mundane argument and debate. If

the question had been put by an argumentative brahmana, they

would not have replied, for fear of becoming embroiled in a battle

of words. However, since they saw that the present questioner regularly

sang hari-nama, they all said, "We will be most happy if

Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya answers your question."


On hearing the order of the Vaishnavas, Paramahamsa Babaji

Mahasaya offered obeisances and said, "O great souls, if you so

desire, the respected bhakta, Shri Vaishnava dasa, will answer this

question in full." All the Vaishnavas consented to this proposal.


When Vaishnava dasa heard the words of his Gurudeva, he considered

himself most fortunate, and humbly said, "I am wretched

and insignificant. It is completely inappropriate for me to say anything

in such a learned assembly. Nonetheless, I must always bear

the order of my Gurudeva upon my head. I have drunk the nectar

of spiritual instructions flowing from my guru's lotus mouth. I shall

remember that and speak as far as my ability allows." Having

smeared his entire body with the dust of the lotus feet of

Paramahamsa Babaji, he then stood up and began to speak.


"Shri Krishna Chaitanya is the source of all different types of expansions

and avataras. He is directly Bhagavan Himself, full of transcendental

bliss. The all-pervading, featureless nirvisesa-brahma

is the effulgence of His limbs, and Paramatma, who resides in the

hearts of all jivas, is His partial expansion. May He be pleased to

enlighten us from within.


"Manu-samhita and other dharma-sastras are respected throughout

the world because they establish the codes and prohibitions

that follow the line of thought of the Vedic sruti-sastras. Human

nature has two tendencies in regard to religious pursuit; the first

is called vaidhi, the nature which impels one to follow the rules

and regulations of sastra, and the second is raganuga, the nature

which impels one to follow the soul's spontaneous attraction towards

Shri Krishna. As long as the intelligence is under the control

of maya, human nature must be regulated by rules and prohibitions.

Thus, in this condition the vaidhi nature will certainly be in effect.

When the intelligence is liberated from the bondage of maya,

however, human nature no longer needs to be governed by rules

and prohibitions; rather, it is prompted by spontaneous love. In

this condition, the vaidhi tendency no longer remains, and the

raganuga tendency becomes manifest. This raganuga tendency is

the unadulterated nature of the jiva. It is the perfected state of the

self (svabhava-siddha), transcendental (chinmaya), and free from

bondage to dull matter (jada-mukta).


"The pure spiritual jiva's relationship with the material world

is completely terminated when Shri Krishna wills. Until this time,

the jiva's relationship with the material world can only tend toward

its eventual cessation (ksayonmukha). In the ksayonmukha

stage, the jiva's intelligence attains freedom from matter to the extent

of svarupatah jada-mukti, but not to the extent of vastutah jadamukti.


"When one attains the stage of vastutah jada-mukti, the

ragatmika-vrtti or mood of the ragatmikas, is awakened in the pure

jiva both in terms of his internal spiritual identity (svarupa) and

constitutional state (vastu). This ragatmika-prakrti is the nature

of the eternal residents of Vraja. The jiva who in the ksayonmukha

stage follows in the wake of the ragatmika nature is known as

raganuga, one who follows the way of raga. This condition of

raganuga should be ardently sought after by the jivas.


"As long as this condition is absent, human intelligence remains

spontaneously attached to mundane objects. Due to one's

nisarga, the false acquired nature, the bewildered jiva mistakenly

considers attachment for mundane objects to be his natural spiritual

attachment (svabhavika-anuraga). At that time, one's natural

pure attachment for spiritual objects is not present.


"The conceptions of 'I' and 'mine' are two types of egoism whose

influence is very prominent in the mundane sphere, and which

lead one to think, 'I am this body', and 'All things relating to this

body are mine'. Due to these conceptions, one naturally feels attracted

to people and things that bring pleasure to the material

body, and one feels averse to people and things that impede material

pleasure. When the bewildered jiva falls under the sway of such

attachment and aversion, he considers others to be friends or enemies,

and displays love or hatred for them in three ways: saririka,

in relation to the material body and its acquisitions; samajika, in

relation to society and social ideas; naitika, and in relation to

morality and ethics. Thus, he engages in the struggle for material



"The false attachment for kanaka, gold and the things that money

can buy, and kamini, anyone who satisfies our perverted lusty desires,

brings one under the control of temporary happiness and

distress. This is known as samsara, a state in which in which one

wanders throughout the material universe gaining only birth,

death, the fruits of karma, and various conditions of life - some

high and some low.


"The jivas who are bound in this way cannot easily comprehend

spiritual attachment (cid-anuraga), nor can they have any realization

or experience of such a thing. In reality, this spiritual attachment

is the jiva's true function (sva-dharma) and his eternal nature.

However, he forgets this and becomes engrossed in attachment

to matter, although he is actually a particle of consciousness.

Thus, he suffers degradation. This is a miserable condition, although

hardly any of the jivas who are thus entangled in samsara

think so.


"The jivas bound by maya are wholly unacquainted with the

raganuga nature, to say nothing of the ragatmika nature. The

raganuga nature may be awakened in the hearts of the jivas, but

only occasionally by the mercy of sadhus. Consequently, this

raganuga nature is rare and difficult to obtain, and those who are

entangled in samsara are cheated of it by maya.


"Bhagavan, however, is all-knowing and merciful. He saw that

the jivas who are bound by maya have been cheated of their spiritual

inclination. Now, how will they attain good fortune? By what

means can remembrance of Krishna be aroused in the hearts of the

jivas who are enthralled by maya? By the association of sadhus, the

jivas will be able to understand that they are servants of Krishna.

Yet, because there is no prescribed injunction that one must associate

with sadhus, where is there even a hope that sadhu-sanga,

the association of saintly devotees, may be possible or easily attainable

for all? Consequently, there can be no auspiciousness for

people in general without the path of rules and regulations (vidhimarga).


"The sastras were manifested from this merciful consideration

of Shri Bhagavan. Issuing forth by His mercy, the sun of the sastra

arose in the sky of the hearts of the ancient Aryan rsis, and illuminated

all the injunctions and rules to be followed by the populace.


"In the beginning was the Veda-sastra. One part of the Veda sastra

teaches pious activities directed toward the attainment of material

fruits (karma); one part teaches knowledge directed toward

liberation (jnana), and another part teaches devotion with love

and affection for Bhagavan (bhakti). The jivas who are infatuated

with maya are found in many different conditions. Some are completely

stupefied, some have a little knowledge, and some are knowledgeable

in many subjects. The sastra provides different types of

instructions that are consistent with the different mentalities of

the jivas. This differentiation is known as adhikara, eligibility.


"There are countless individual jivas, and they have innumerable

varieties of adhikara, which have been divided into three broad

categories according to their primary characteristics: karmaadhikara,

eligibility for pious action leading to material gain, jnanaadhikara,

eligibility for knowledge leading to liberation, and premaadhikara,

eligibility for unalloyed loving service to Bhagavan. The

Veda-sastra specifies these three types of eligibility and establishes

proper codes of behavior for those in each of the three groups. The

dharma that the Vedas have thus prescribed is known as vaidhadharma.


"The tendency by which a person is compelled to adopt this

vaidha-dharma is known as vaidhi-pravrtti, the proclivity to follow

the religious codes of sastra. Those who are altogether lacking in

the tendency to follow the rules of sastra are thoroughly avaidha,

opposed to the injunctions of sastra. They are engaged in sinful

activities, and their lives are given over to avaidha-karma, actions

that defy the regulations of sastra. Such people are excluded from

the jurisdiction of the Vedas and are known as mlecchas, people

belonging to an uncivilized, non-Aryan race.


"The duties of those in the three eligibility groups outlined in

the Vedas have been described still more elaborately in the samhitasastras

of the rsis, who composed numerous sastras that follow the

tenets of the Vedas. The duties of those eligible for karma are described

in twenty dharma-sastras compiled by Manu and other

panditas; Those conversant with the different philosophical systems

described the function of those eligible for jnana in the sastras

dealing with logic and philosophy; and finally, the instructions

and activities for people eligible for bhakti have been determined

by those who are learned in the Puranas and pure tantras. All these

literatures are known as Vedic because they are in keeping with

the Veda.


"Modern-day pseudo-philosophers of these sastras, without a

view to the underlying purport of all the sastras, have tried to establish

the superiority of only one of its limbs. This has cast innumerable

people into a pit of argument and doubt. Bhagavad-gita,

which is the matchless deliberation on all these sastras, clearly

establishes that karma not aiming at jnana is atheistic, and should

be rejected. Karma-yoga and jnana-yoga that are not directed towards

bhakti are also cheating processes; in reality, karma-yoga,

jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga form a single yoga system. This is the

Vedic Vaishnava siddhanta (conclusion).


"The jiva who is bewildered by maya is first compelled to adopt

the path of karma; then he must adopt karma-yoga, followed by

jnana-yoga, and finally bhakti-yoga. However, if he is not shown

that all these are but different steps on the one staircase, the conditioned

jiva cannot ascend to the temple of bhakti.


"What does it mean to adopt the path of karma? Karma consists

of the activities that one performs with the body or mind in the

course of maintaining one's life. There are two types of karma:

auspicious (subha) and inauspicious (asubha). The results that the

jiva obtains by performing subha-karma are auspicious, whereas

those that he obtains from asubha-karma are inauspicious. Asubhakarma

is also known as sin (papa), or prohibited acts (vikarma).

The non-performance of subha-karma is known as akarma. Both

vikarma and akarma are bad, whereas subha-karma is good.


"There are three types of subha-karma: obligatory daily rites

(nitya-karma), circumstantial duties (naimittika-karma), and ceremonies

performed out of a desire for personal benefit (kamyakarma).

Kamya-karma is completely self-interested and should be

rejected. The sastras direct us to adopt nitya-karma and naimittikakarma.

The sastras have considered what is fit to be taken up and

what is fit to be abandoned, and they have classified nitya-karma,

naimittika-karma, and kamya-karma as karma, whereas akarma and

kukarma (impious activity) have not been included in this category.

Although kamya-karma is counted as karma, it is undesirable, and

should be given up; so only nitya-karma and naimittika-karma are

truly accepted as karma.


"Nitya-karma is karma that produces auspiciousness for the body,

mind, and society, and which results in promotion to other planets

after death. Everyone is obligated to perform nitya-karma, such

as chanting the brahma-gayatri-mantra at the three junctures of

the day (sandhya-vandana), offering prayers, using honest means

to maintain one's body and society, behaving truthfully, and caring

for one's family members and dependants. Naimittika-karma is

karma that one must carry out under certain circumstances, or on

certain occasions, for example, performing rites for the departed

souls of one's mother and father, atoning for sins and so on.


"The authors of the sastras first examined the natures of human

beings and their natural eligibility traits, and then established

varnasrama-dharma, the duties for the social castes and spiritual

orders. Their intention was to prescribe a system in which nitya

karma and naimittika-karma could be carried out in an excellent

way in this world. The gist of this arrangement is that there are

four natural types of human beings, classified according to the

work that they are eligible to perform: brahmanas, teachers and

priests; ksatriyas, administrators and warriors; vaisyas, agriculturists

and businessmen; and sudras, artisans and laborers. People are

also situated in four orders or stages of life, which are known as

asramas: brahmacari, unmarried student life; grhastha, family life;

vanaprastha, retirement from family responsibilities; and sannyasa,

the renounced ascetic life. Those who are fond of akarma and

vikarma are known as antyaja (outcaste) and are not situated in

any asrama.


"The different varnas are determined by nature, birth, activities,

and characteristics. When varna is determined only on the

basis of birth, the original purpose of varnasrama is lost. Asrama is

determined by the various stages of life, depending on whether

one is married or unmarried, or has renounced the association of

the opposite sex. Married life is known as the grhastha asrama and

unmarried life is known as the brahmacari asrama. Disassociation

from spouse and family is characteristic of the vanaprastha and

sannyasa asramas. Sannyasa is the highest of all the asramas, and

the brahmanas are the highest of all the varnas.


"This conclusion is established in the crest-jewel of all the

sastras, Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.15-21):


varnanam asramanan ca janma-bhumy-anusarinih

asan prakrtayo nrnam nicair nicottamottamah


The varnas and asramas of humanity have higher and lower

natures in accordance with the higher and lower places on

Shri Bhagavan's universal body from which they appeared.


samo damas tapah saucam santosah ksantir arjavam

mad-bhaktis ca daya satyam brahma-prakrtayas tv imah


The natural qualities of the brahmanas are control of the

mind, control of the senses, austerity, cleanliness, satisfaction,

forbearance, simplicity, devotion unto Shri Bhagavan,

compassion for the suffering of others, and truthfulness.


tejo balam dhrtih sauryam titiksaudaryam udyamah

sthairyam brahmanyam aisvaryam ksatra-prakrtayas tv imah


The natural qualities of the ksatriyas are prowess, bodily

strength, fortitude, heroism, tolerance, generosity, great

perseverance, steadiness, devotion to the brahmanas, and



astikyam dana-nistha ca adambho brahma-sevanam

atustir arthopacayair vaisya-prakrtayas tv imah


The natural qualities of the vaisyas are theism, dedication

to charity, freedom from pride, service to the brahmanas, and

an insatiable desire to accumulate wealth.


susrusanam dvija-gavam devanan capy amayaya

tatra labdhena santosah sudra-prakrtayas tv imah


The natural qualities of the sudras are sincere service to

the devas, brahmanas and cows, and being satisfied with

whatever wealth is obtained by such service.


asaucam anrtam steyam nastikyam suska-vigrahah

kamah krodhas ca tarsas ca sa bhavo 'ntyavasayinam


The natural characteristics of those who are in the lowest

class, and who are estranged from the varnasrama system

are: uncleanness, dishonesty, thievery, lack of faith in Vedic

dharma and the existence of a next life, futile quarrel, lust,

anger, and greed for material objects.


ahimsa satyam asteyam akama-krodha-lobhata

bhuta-priya-hiteha ca dharmo 'yam sarva-varnikah


The duties for the members of all the varnas are: non-violence,

truthfulness, abstention from theft, freedom from

lust, anger, and greed, and endeavoring for the pleasure and

welfare of all living beings.


"Everyone in this learned assembly knows the meaning of the

Sanskrit slokas, so I am not translating them all. I just want to say

that the system of varna and asrama is the basis of vaidha-jivana,

life that is carried out in accordance with religious rules and regulations.

The prominence of impiety in a country is measured by

the extent to which the varnasrama system is absent there.


"Now let us consider in what sense the words nitya (eternal)

and naimittika (circumstantial) have been used in relation to the

word karma. If we consider the profound purport of the sastras, we

can see that these two words have not been used to refer to karma

in a paramarthika sense, which relates to supreme spiritual truth.

Rather, they have been used in a routine (vyavaharika), or figurative

(aupacarika) sense.


"Properly speaking, words like nitya-dharma, nitya-karma, and

nitya-tattva can only be used to describe the pure spiritual condition

of the jiva. Therefore, in the general use of the word nityakarma,

the word nitya is applied to the word karma only in a figurative

or attributive sense, because karma in this world is a means

to an end, and only remotely indicates eternal truth. Actually,

karma is never eternal. Karma and jnana may only be thought of as

nitya in an indirect sense when karma is directed towards jnana by

means of karma-yoga, and when jnana is directed toward bhakti. The

brahmanas' chanting of the brahma-gayatri-mantra, or sandhyavandana,

is sometimes described as nitya-karma. This is valid in the

sense that practices that are remotely directed toward bhakti

through physical activities may be termed nitya, but only because

they aim at nitya-dharma. In reality they are not nitya. This usage

is known as a figurative expression (upacara).


"Actually, the only true nitya-karma for the jivas is krishna-prema.

In ontological terms, this true nitya-karma is referred to as unalloyed

spiritual cultivation (visuddha-cid-anusilana), or activities

directed towards reinstating one's pure, transcendental consciousness.

The physical activities that one will naturally have to adopt

to attain this cid-anusilana are assistants to nitya-karma, so there

is no fault in referring to them as nitya-karma. From the absolute

perspective, though, it would be better to refer to such activities

as naimittika, rather than nitya. The divisions of karma into nitya

and naimittika are only from a relative viewpoint, and not from

the absolute spiritual perspective.


"From the point of view of the essential nature of things, the

nitya-dharma of the jivas is unalloyed spiritual practice, and all

other types of dharma are naimittika. This applies to varnasramadharma

(duties prescribed for the castes and orders of human civilization),

astanga-yoga (the eightfold yoga system), sankhya-jnana

(the path of knowledge involving analytical research into the

nature of spirit and matter), and tapasya (asceticism).


These are all naimittika-dharma because the jiva would not need

these dharmas if he were not bound. The conditioned state of being

bewildered by maya is itself a circumstantial cause, and the function

or duty that is prompted by a circumstantial cause (nimitta)

is known as naimittika-dharma. Therefore, from the absolute spiritual

perspective they are all naimittika-dharma.


"Naimittika-dharma includes the superiority of the brahmanas,

their sandhya-vandana, and their acceptance of sannyasa after renunciation

of all karma. All these activities are highly recommended

in the dharma-sastras and they are beneficial in consideration

of appropriate eligibility, but they still have no standing in

relation to nitya-karma.


viprad dvi-sad-guna-yutad aravinda-nabhapadaravinda-

vimukhat svapacam varistham

manye tad-arpita-mano-vacanehitarthapranam

punati sa kulam na tu bhurimanah

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.10)


In my estimation, a bhakta who has taken birth in a family

of dog-eaters, but who has dedicated his mind, words, activities

and wealth to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, is superior

to a brahmana endowed with all twelve brahminical

qualities, but who is diverted from the lotus feet of Shri

Padmanabha. Such a bhakta, although of lowly birth, can

purify himself and his entire family, whereas the brahmana

who is filled with pride cannot even purify himself.


"The twelve qualities of brahmanas are: truthfulness, control of

the senses, austerity, freedom from malice, modesty, tolerance, freedom

from envy, sacrifice, charity, fortitude, studying the Vedas, and

accepting vows. Brahmanas endowed with these twelve qualities

are certainly worthy of honor in this world. However, if a candala

is a bhakta, he is superior to brahmanas who possess these qualities

but do not have krishna-bhakti. The purport is that a person who

was born a candala, but who has been purified by the samskara (impressions)

achieved through sadhu-sanga, and who is now engaged

in the jiva's nitya-dharma of pure spiritual cultivation, is superior

to a brahmana who is established in naimittika-dharma, but who

abstains from the nitya-dharma of unalloyed spiritual practice.


"There are two kinds of human beings in this world: those who

are spiritually awake (udita-viveka) and those who are spiritually

unconscious (anudita-viveka). Most people in this world are spiritually

unconscious; those who are spiritually awake are rare. Of all

those who are spiritually unconscious, the brahmanas are the best,

and the brahmanas' nitya-karma, such as sandhya-vandana, is the

best of all the duties that are prescribed for the different varnas.


"Another name for those who are spiritually awake is 'Vaishnava';

their behavior will necessarily be different from the behavior of

those who are spiritually unconscious. Even so, the behavior of

the Vaishnavas is not opposed to the aim of the smrti rules, which

are established in order to regulate people who are spiritually unconscious.

The ultimate aim of all the sastras is always one.


"Those who are spiritually unconscious are obliged to remain

confined to a particular portion of the stark and rudimentary injunctions

of sastra, whereas those who are spiritually awake receive

the underlying essence of sastra as an intimate friend. These two

groups of people perform different activities, but their aim is the

same. Ineligible people may think that the behavior of those who

are spiritually awake is opposed to the behavior of people in general,

but in reality, the fundamental aim of these different patterns

of behavior is the same.


"From the point of view of those who are spiritually awake,

people in general are eligible for instructions regarding naimittikadharma.

However, naimittika-dharma is in essence asampurna (incomplete),

misra (adulterated), acirasthayi (impermanent) and heya

(fit to be rejected).


"Naimittika-dharma is not direct spiritual practice; rather, it

consists of temporary, material activities that are taken up to attain

pure spiritual practices. Hence, it is merely the means to an

end. The means is never complete because its function ceases when

it has produced the end. Therefore, it is simply a phase in the

achievement of the final goal. Consequently, naimittika-dharma

is never complete (sampurna).


"For example, a brahmana's chanting of sandhya-vandana, like

his various other duties, is temporary and subject to specific rules.

These activities do not stem from his natural, spiritual proclivity.

If after performing these prescribed duties for a long time, one obtains

the association of suddha-bhaktas (sadhu-sanga), one develops

a taste for hari-nama. At that time, sandhya-vandana no longer

remains a temporary prescribed duty which is directed toward

material rewards (karma). Hari-nama is complete spiritual practice,

whereas sandhya-vandana and other such practices are only the

means to obtain this principal goal and can never be the complete



"Naimittika-dharma is commendable because it aims at the truth,

but it is eventually meant to be abandoned (heya) and it is mixed

with undesirable results (misra); only spiritual reality is truly beneficial.

Although the jiva should relinquish matter and its association,

materialism is prominent in naimittika-dharma. Moreover,

naimittika-dharma produces such an abundance of irrelevant results

that the jiva cannot help but get entangled in them.


"For instance, a brahmana's worship of Isvara is beneficial, but

he is apt to think, 'I am a brahmana and others are inferior to me.'

The result of such false egoism is that his worship yields detrimental

results. Another example is that an insignificant result of practicing

the eightfold yoga system is the attainment of mystic powers,

which are most inauspicious for the jivas. The two unavoidable

companions of naimittika-dharma are mukti (liberation) and

bhukti (material enjoyment), but the jiva must save himself from

the clutches of mukti and bhukti if he is to obtain his real objective,

which is the culture of pure spiritual reality (cid-anusilana).

Consequently, naimittika-dharma entails much that is contemptible

for the jivas.


"Naimittika-dharma is impermanent (acirasthayi), for it does not

apply at all times or in all conditions. For instance, a brahmana's

priestly duties, a ksatriya's administrative or military duties, and

other such circumstantial occupations are brought about by a particular

cause, and they cease when the cause ceases. If a brahmana

takes birth as a candala in his next life, the brahminical occupational

duties are no longer his sva-dharma. I am using the word

sva-dharma (own duty) in a figurative sense here. The naimittikasva-

dharma of the jiva changes in every birth, but his nitya-dharma

never changes. The jiva's true sva-dharma is nitya-dharma, whereas

naimittika-dharma is impermanent.


"One may ask, What is vaishnava-dharma? The answer is that

vaishnava-dharma is the jiva's nitya-dharma. When the Vaishnava -

the jiva - is liberated from matter, he nurtures krishna-prema in his

pure spiritual form. Before that stage, when the Vaishnava is still

materially bound, although spiritually awakened, he only accepts

objects and association that are favorable for his spiritual practice,

and he rejects all that is unfavorable. Thus, he never adheres

blindly to the rules and prohibitions of the sastras. He accepts the

instructions and prohibitions of the sastras graciously, but only

when they are favorable to his practice of hari-bhajana. When they

are unfavorable, he immediately rejects them.


"A Vaishnava is the world's only true friend and he renders auspiciousness

for all jivas of the world. Now I have humbly submitted

whatever I had to say today in this assembly of Vaishnavas. Kindly

excuse my faults and any offenses."


Having spoken thus, Vaishnava dasa offered sastanga-pranama to

the assembled Vaishnavas and sat off to one side. By this time, the

eyes of the Vaishnavas had filled with tears, and they all exclaimed

in unison, "Well done! Well done! Blessings upon you!" The groves

of Godruma echoed these words in response.


The brahmana singer who had asked the question could see the

profound truth of many of the topics presented in the discussion.

Some doubts had arisen on certain points, but the seed of faith in

vaishnava-dharma had been significantly nourished in his heart. He

folded his hands and said, "O great souls, I am not a Vaishnava, but

I am becoming a Vaishnava by continuously hearing hari-nama. If

you will kindly instruct me, all my doubts may be dispelled."


Shri Premadasa Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya said kindly, "From

time to time you may associate with Shriman Vaishnava dasa. He is a

scholar who is learned in all the sastras. Previously, he lived in

Varanasi, where he accepted sannyasa after studying the vedantasastras

deeply. Shri Krishna Chaitanya, who is the dearmost Lord of

our hearts, displayed unlimited mercy and attracted him here to

Shri Navadvipa. Now he is fully conversant with all the truths of

Vaishnava philosophy, and he has also developed profound love for



The man who had asked the question was named Shri Kalidasa

Lahiri. On hearing Babaji Mahasaya's words, he accepted Vaishnava

dasa within his heart as his guru. He thought, "Vaishnava dasa

was born in a brahmana family, and he accepted the sannyasaasrama,

so he is fit to instruct a brahmana. Besides, I have witnessed

his extraordinary scholarship in the Vaishnava truths. I

can learn much about vaishnava-dharma from him." Thinking in

this way, Lahiri Mahasaya offered dandavat-pranama at Vaishnava

dasa's lotus feet, and said, "O great soul, kindly bestow your mercy

upon me." Vaishnava dasa offered dandavat-pranama to him in return

and responded, "If you bestow your mercy upon me, I will be

fully successful."


As evening drew near, everyone returned to their respective



Lahiri Mahasaya's house was in a grove in a secluded area of the

village. In the center of the kunja was a natural awning of madhavi

creepers and a raised platform for Tulasi-devi. There were two

rooms, one on either side of the kunja. The courtyard was enclosed

with a trellis of cita plants, and its beauty was enhanced by many

trees such as bael, nima, and other trees bearing fruits and flowers.

The owner of that grove was Madhava dasa Babaji.


At first Madhava dasa Babaji had been a man of spotless virtue,

but immoral association with a woman had blemished his Vaishnava

character and was curtailing his practice of bhajana. He was quite

impoverished and was meeting his expenses with difficulty by begging

at various places and by renting out his extra room, which

Lahiri Mahasaya was occupying.


That night, Lahiri Mahasaya's sleep was broken at midnight. He

had began to contemplate the essential meaning of what Vaishnava

dasa Babaji had explained, when he heard a sound outside. As he

came out of his room, he saw Madhava dasa Babaji standing in the

courtyard, and speaking with a woman. The woman disappeared

as soon as she saw Lahiri Mahasaya, while Madhava dasa stood motionless

and embarrassed before him.


"Babaji, what is the matter?" asked Lahiri Mahasaya.

"It is my ill fate," replied Madhava dasa with tears in his eyes.

"What more can I say? Alas, to think of what I was in the past, and

what I have now become! Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya had so

much faith in me. Now I am ashamed to go before him."

"Please tell me clearly so that I can understand," Lahiri Mahasaya



Madhava dasa replied, "The woman you just saw was my wife

when I was a householder. Shortly after I accepted the renounced

life of a babaji, she went to Shripat Santipura, where she built a hut

and began to reside on the bank of the Ganga. After many days

had passed, I happened to go to Shripat Santipura, and saw her there.

I asked her, 'Why did you leave your household?' and she explained,

'Family life no longer appeals to me, since I am deprived of the service

of your feet. I have taken up residence in this tirtha (holy place),

and I can sustain myself by begging alms.'


"I returned to Godruma without saying another word to her.

After some time, she also came to Godruma, and took up residence

in a cowherd's house. I used to see her here and there every

day, and the more I tried to avoid her, the closer she drew to

me. Now she lives in an asrama that she has built here, and she

tries to ruin me by coming here late at night. My bad reputation

has spread everywhere and my practice of bhajana has deteriorated

sorely through my association with her. I am a disgrace to

the family of the servants of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I am the only

person since the time of Chota Haridasa's chastisement who deserves

punishment. Because of their compassion, the babajis of

Shri Godruma have not yet chastised me, but they no longer have

any faith in me."


When Lahiri Mahasaya heard these words, he said, "Madhava

dasa Babaji, please be careful," and returned to his room. Babaji

went and sat down on his seat.


Lahiri Mahasaya could not sleep. Again and again he thought,

"Madhava dasa Babaji has fallen down by entering householder

life again, after he has formally renounced it. It is not appropriate

for me to stay here any longer. Even if it does not lead me into bad

association, it will certainly spoil my reputation, so that the pure

Vaishnavas will no longer instruct me with confidence."


Early the next morning he went to Pradyumna-kunja, greeted

Shri Vaishnava dasa with due respect, and asked for a place to stay in

the kunja. When Vaishnava dasa informed Paramahamsa Babaji

Mahasaya of this news, Babaji gave instructions that he should be

given a place to stay in a kutira on one side of the kunja. From then

on, Lahiri Mahasaya lived in that kutira and arranged to obtain

prasada at the house of a brahmana who lived nearby.