|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
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
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`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞!" 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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
punati sa kulam na tu bhurimanah
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
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.
THUS ENDS THE THIRD CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
"NAIMITTIKA-DHARMA IS TO BE RELINQUISHED"