|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Essays and Articles > Raganuga Bhakti > Manjari Bhava Sadhana|
Q. Is manjari-bhava-sadhana bonafide?
Answer by Bhaktiratna Sadhu Swami Gaurangapada:
There is no mention of such a process of sadhana in the primary biographies of the Supreme Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu nor has it been even mentioned of being taught or preached by the Lord or any of His associates in these primary biographies. If it was so important or being taught by some then I am sure the Acharyas would have described about it in detail or at least mentioned it as bonafide in these primary biographies which contain all the important instructions of Lord Gauranga and His eternal Associates.
Infact what has been repeatedly taught and stressed in all these Holy Books, by Lord Gauranga Himself and all His Associates is, Naam Sadhana, which leads to the awakening of the constitutional bhava of the soul with the Lord which can be in any of the five primary mellows of neutrality, servitude, brotherhood, parenthood or lover and which includes manjari-bhava.
The words manjari-bhava and sadhana do not go well together. Manjari bhava (entering into the group of the manjari gopies who are assitants of the sakhis in the service of Shri Shri Radha Krishna) is the attainment in the siddha or perfected stage not in the stage of sadhana bhakti. Hari Naam Chintamani describes the sampatti dashaa, the final stage of being established in one constitutional relationship in the perfected stage. For souls in the mellow of a lover of Lord Krishna as a servant of the sakhis, it can be called manjari-bhava-dashaa in the perfected stage but manjari-bhava can never be realized or taught or discussed in the sadhana stage so manjari-bhava-sadhana is not an appropriate word. Both the teacher and disciple have to be in the sampatti-dashaa or manjari-bhava-dashaa to understand these highest level topics. We see that this practice of manjari-bhava-sadhana is not taught in any of the principal books about Lord Gauranga because it simply does not exist as manjari-bhava cannot be even understood what to speak of being taught or practiced in the sadhana stage.
Even raganuga bhakti (spontaneous attraction to the Holy Names) cannot be artifically taught or practiced as it has to compulsorily arise spontaneously either due to our Naam Sadhana in vaidhi bhakti or due to the causeless mercy of the Lord or another Naam siddha devotee or due to the intense greed for attaining the Lord which arises due to many previous lives of practicing Naam sadhana and vaidhi bhakti or due to great causeless mercy received in the association of advanced devotees. Trying to prematurely jump from the stage of vaidhi bhakti and trying to theoretically hear or learn about raganuga bhakti without constant and quality chanting and shelter of Naam for a long time (at least 15 years as stated by Shri Shrila Prabhupada) is just trying to lick the outside glass of a sealed honey bottle.
In fact...dusta phala karibe arjana...such a devotee by doing this anadhikaara charchaa (discussion without proper qualification about raganuga and manjari bhava) has a big chance to get proud in the sadhana stage and actual start falsely believing that he or she is qualified to discuss and hear these topics for which actually he or she has no qualification. And when such illusion and pride enters, one will not be able to progress to the higher stages thus defeating the very purpose of sadhana. This is because one may subtly feel that one is already on that stage since one is talking and discussing about it. With such a consciousness, one will not care for or listen to the wise words of our Acharayas like Shri Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada or other mature devotees who are constantly warning us against the big pitfalls of theoretically discussing or indulging in such high topics for which we are not qualified for. In fact many give up the line of the pure teachings of Shri Shrila Prabhupada who is everyone's real well-wisher and dive into this artifical indulgence and hearing of such high topics and start imagining that they have become more advanced than other devotees who are simply doing Naam Bhajana and Bhagavata Shravana just by freely talking about these high topics here and there.
By simply talking or discussing about high topics of Shri Shri Radha Krishna, one does not become eligible or qualified infact one may displease the Lord and His Associates by trying to barge in without qualification. One needs Naam siddhi or Shuddha Naam to actually understand and realize these high topics. And when one gets Naam siddhi then all these truths will be spontaneously revealed in our heart without any artificial attempts to practice or teach them. This is sum and substance of the great book Hari Naam Chintamani which is spoken by Naamaacharya Shrila Haridasa Thakura.
It has been strictly warned by great compassionate Acharyas like Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura who was ragatmika eternal associates of the Lord from Vraja and Navadvipa that one should abstain from cheaply discussing such elevated topics in the sadhana bhakti stage what to speak of teaching or preaching them to others. Please consider and understand that Shri Shrila Prabhupada had nothing to loose personally if his followers would indulge in such high topics without qualification. He stopped them from doing it because of his compassion for them and to remove the obstacles in their bhajana. In fact by prohibiting and disciplining his followers about this, he lost some follwers and disciples who wanted to take up these discussions cheaply at the unqualified stage. But still he was truthful to the siddhanta. So instead of attacking him for this magnanimity and leaving his shelter, we should be intensely grateful to him for saving us from this great and subtle pitfall in bhakti and eternally remain under the shelter of his lotus feet and his sincere followers and empowered disciples like Shrila Abhaya Charanarvinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Talking or writing about high topics to attract and win over followers is quite easy. One can just open Govinda Lilamrita or Krishna Bhavamrita or Ujjvala Nilamani or Vilapa Kusumanjali etc. and memorize such topics and start speaking or writing about these high level topics. And people will be attracted in large quantities thinking that this person is giving something higher which no one else is giving or talking about. They start feeeling that maybe this person knows and realizes more than others because he is talking of such high topics. But like Shrila BR Shridhara Swami said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Indulgence in such high topics is not what our Acharyas wanted or have instructed us to do so we restrict ourselves from such things. Many Gaudiya Math devotees know this. So they don't try to compete with others outside the Gaudiya Math by starting this kind of cheap rasa katha even though more and more followers are getting attracted to this kind of katha and leaving the shelter of Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. We cannot change the teachings in this regard to accomodate others but we can surely educate them to accept the pure teachings of Shri Shrila Prabhupada on this matter and why he was so strict in this regard.
A really advanced devotee will never distribute this confidential treasure cheaply to a general audience even if it means loosing many followers because it will displease our Guru Varga. Better have a few sincere followers who act according to their qualification (adhikara) and respect the words of our Acharyas then hundreds and thousands who want to jump into higher topics about Shri Shri Radha Krishna without qualification and criticize the very Acharyas whose teachings made them devotees in the first place. A Guru does not cater to public demand but to the demands and orders of his own Guru Varga. People may ask for cheap discussion about these topics but it does not mean that we have to give it. Like for example, Shrila ACBS Prabhupada refused to talk to the very influential and rich man Mr. Balu in Mumbai about Shri Shri Radha Krishna's intimate pastimes even upon being repeatedly requested to do it.
Unfortunately some have started to openly teach and preach these higher level topics while being in the line of Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This is quite risky and it is already leading to a mass exodus of followers leaving the pure teachings of Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and trying to take it the easy way of jumping into these topics without qualification. When they see that we are teaching the same cheap thing compared to what others outside the teachings of Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura are teaching, they say why not go to them as they can do it better than us without any restriction. As the saying goes that insiders can create bigger problems than outsiders. It is truly said that when the great Acharya sun leaves, there will be chaos.
So back to the manjari-bhava-sadhana. It is being claimed that Lord Gauranga taught this manjari-bhava sadhana but we never find this word manjari-bhava-sadhana or even the word manjari-bhava uttered from the lotus mouth of Lord Gauranga Himself in his primary biographies and teachings. The Supreme Lord Gauranga Himself was very careful not to talk about or display high-level ecstatic symptoms in front of the general people. So are we greater than Him?
Lord Gauranga simply taught in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata...iha haite sarva siddhi haibe tomara, sarva kshana bola ithe viddhi nahi ara..."You will get all perfection simply by chanting the Holy Names. Chant Them at every moment since there is NO OTHER SPIRITUAL PROCESS than this." All mellows (bhavas) are included in the Holy Names and the advantage of Naam bhajana (chanting) is that by Naam sadhana the mellows are awakened at the right time in our heart when we are qualified so that we don't take it cheaply. In fact Naam Bhajana gradually creates our qualification and then reveals to us these higher truths at the right time. The difference is that one needs patience for Naam Bhajana whereas for jumping into and indulging in these higher topics without qualification or purity does not require any patience. Like the old saying goes...no actual gain without pain.
I personally suggest devotees who want to understand the higher truths about Shri Shri Radha Krishna in an accessible manner to reverentially read the Holy Scriptures like Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita (especially), Jaiva Dharma, Madhurya Kadambini, Hari Naam Chintamani, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, Gopala Champu and Ananda Vrindavana Champu but not greatly intimate books like Ujjvala Nilamani, Govinda Lilamrita, Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi etc. and expressly not recommended to be read as per the desire of Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita is most ideal holy scripture to understand Shri Shri Gaura Radha Krishna Tattva fully because it is composed by Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami who is Katuri manjari in the pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. So it should be read 100 times as instructed by Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura to grasp these confidential secrets. Since it describes Shri Shri Radha Krishna Tattva along with Gauranga Tattva, one can effortlessly understand the confidential pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Krishna by reading Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita again and again. There is no need of reading other highly esoteric scriptures on the stage of sadhana bhakti.
For those who want to do lila-smarana i.e. meditation of the pastimes while chanting (Naam bhajana), I streongly suggest meditation on any pastime from Lords Nityananda Gauranga's lila including Their daily eight-fold pastimes. According to Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, from the pastimes of Lord Gauranga, millions of streams of Lord Krishna's pastimes automatically flow, so the safest way to approach Krishna lila is through Gauranga lila. This is also the recommendation of Shrila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura. Chant the Holy Names incessantly and meditate on Gaura's Lila (eternal pastimes) and gradually one will get the qualification and the pastimes of Shri Shri Radha Krishna will spontaneously manifest in one's heart...yatha yatha gaura padaravinde...I do not recommend meditation of Shri Shri Radha Krishna's intimate pastimes till they spontaneously arise in the heart by the causeless mercy of Gaura Naam, Gaura Lila and Gaura Bhakta Vrinda.
Another point which is quite prominently not in favor of manjari bhava sadhana is that not all the followers of Lord Gauranga in the past or in the present or in the future were, are, or are going to be only in the mellow of a lover with Lord Krishna. We see that even amongst Lord Gauranga's Associates, devotees of all mellows are present like Shrila Murari Gupta (Shrila Hanuman from Ayodhya), Shrila Ananta Acharya (Shrila Ramanuja from Vaikuntha), Shrila Jagadananda (Shrila Satyabhama from Dvaraka) etc. So how can we say or force all followers of Lord Gaurahari in the present and future to follow manjari-bhava or the mood of manjari gopies? Lord Gauranga is the Lord of the devotees with all mellows and by restricting His worship and approach only to manjari-bhava or unduly emphasizing it exclusively would be an injustice to millions of souls whose constitutional relationship with Lord Krishna may not be as a lover. Even in the mellow of a lover, one have different relationships with the Lord other than manjaris like for example the svakiya queens in Dvaraka etc. Therefore this new exclusive process of manjari-bhava-sadhana is not found to be taught by the Lord or His Associates in His primary biographies. Whereas it is established in all our holy scriptures that Naam-bhajana or Naam-sadhana includes all realizations and stages of Bhakti right upto Prema (pure love) and Mahabhava.
Please also read the following article which are the compiled instructions of our Acharyas in this matter: Qualification to Hear Radha Krishna Lila
I will continue on this topic in the future if I get some time. Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Guru Parampara! Pranams and Blessings!