Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What is the meaning of this verse?
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.70)
Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds upon thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price – that is, the intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.
Puṣkara dāsa: One will not get kṛṣṇa-bhakti even after millions of years, unless one has greed (laulyam).
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: But what is kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa bhāvitā matiḥ? This is the question.
Puṣkara dāsa: Our Śrīla Prabhupāda defined it as Kṛṣṇa consciousness, thinking of Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: When our Guru Mahārāja named his International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, he named it after this phrase.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I know this, but what is kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ?
Puṣkara dāsa: I do not know. I do not have it.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You should understand that there is some difference between bhakti and bhakti-rasa. Bhakti is one thing and bhakti-rasa is another. Bhakti was present in this world before Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī came. Mādhavācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, Nimbāditya, and others followed the principals of bhakti – but not bhakti-rasa.
It is essential to know what is rasa, which is present only in rāgātmikā-bhaktas. When one is firmly situated in rāgātmikā-bhakti, ones’ service to Kṛṣṇa is called rasa: dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa, and mādhurya-rasa. At that time, mamatā, a sense of ‘mine-ness’ for Kṛṣṇa, manifests in a very thick way in the devotees’ heart. This is true for Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās, more so for Mother Yaśodā, more so for the gopīs, more for Lalitā and Viśākhā, and still more so for Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
When a person hears about this topic from a rasika tattva-jña Vaiṣṇava in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, greed to serve like Kṛṣṇa’s intimate associates may enter his heart; it is not possible otherwise.
What is the nature of such greed? One will think, “I want the same rasa as Mother Yaśodā,” or “I want the same rasa as Subala and Śrīdhāma.” Or, one may think, “I would like to be like the gopīs in their parakīya mood of unnata-ujjvala-rasa. They left everything for Kṛṣṇa’s service. And among these gopīs I want to serve Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her mood of service.”
Such greed comes from that association. Koṭi koṭi janma sukṛtair (hundreds upon thousands of lifetimes of spiritual pious merit) cannot bring it. It comes only by hearing very attentively from a rasika-bhakta in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī – and keeping their words in one’s heart.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: You are saying that bhakti-rasa resides in the hearts of rāgātmikā-bhaktas?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, and Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī also brought that bhakti-rasa to this world. There was no bhakti-rasa before their appearance; there was only bhakti.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Bhaktas like Śrī Rāmacandra’s Hanumān and others are also rāgātmikā-bhaktas. Do they have bhakti-rasa or not?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, Hanumān is in dāsya-rasa. Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja has a mixture of dāsya-, sakhya-, and vātsalya-rasa, and Arjuna is situated in dāsya and sakhya-rasa.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: If that is the case, how can it be said that before Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu there was no bhakti-rasa?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It was not preached in this world before Mahāprabhu came.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: It was preached.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Before Caitanya Mahāprabhu, preaching about bhakti-rasa was done only in relation to dāsya-bhāva (servitorship) in the mood of aiśvarya (awe and reverence). Only at that point in history when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came did the preaching of bhakti-rasa manifest in its full blown form in Vraja, up to pārakīya bhakti-rasa.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: The potential for tasting bhakti-rasa begins at this stage?
kṛd asau bhāva ucyate
When devotional service is situated on the transcendental platform of pure goodness, it is like the first rays of sunlight of love of Kṛṣṇa. At such a time, devotional service causes the heart to be softened by various tastes and is called bhāva (transcendental emotions).
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Śuddha-sattva, also known as viśuddha-sattva, refers to the moods in the heart of the gopīs, Yaśodā Maiyā, Nanda Bābā, and Subala and Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s other friends. When the devotee meditates on Śrī Kṛṣṇa with a longing for the moods of these associates, their moods enter his heart.
kṛṣṇaṁ smaran janaṁ cāsya
kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā
One should always think of Kṛṣṇa within oneself and should choose a very dear devotee who is a servitor of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. One should constantly engage in topics about that servitor and his or her loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa, and one should live in Vṛndāvana. If one is physically unable to go to Vṛndāvana, he should live there mentally.
Gajahanta dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, we sing the song, “Kṛpā bindu diyā – Please give me a drop of your mercy.” Does receiving this laulyam (greed) depend on śrī guru?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The guru must be able to give it. He must be an elevated rasika and tattva-jña Vaiṣṇava. That type of guru may give that transcendental greed.
Gajahanta dāsa: Our disciplic succession of gurus from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura are all high-class rasika. So should we be praying to them for us to get laulyam?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Certainly.
Gajahanta dāsa: We feel that Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja was the first wave of bhakti in our life, and you are coming as the second wave.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He declared everywhere that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and now he has told me to preach that you should forget this. In that regard it seems like there is something different in our preaching, but it is important to know that both conceptions are in one line with one purport. The first stage calls out to the conditioned souls: “Come, you must know that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Then, after this conception is fixed, then try to forget it; otherwise you will not attain vraja-bhakti.
Gajahanta dāsa: Will there be many more waves in the future?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, so many waves. No one is able to count them.
Aniruddha dāsa: It seems that the dhotī, śikhā, and kaṇṭhī-mālā are all external. What is the relationship of these things to bhakti? Are they actually necessary?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Try to realize that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has told us to do this, as did Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī; and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has written about this in his Hari-bhakti vilāsa. Why did Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu follow these principles? Why did Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī follow this? It is external?
Kṛṣṇa-priyā dāsī (from Canada): Govinda has a question regarding your hari-kathā last night. He wants to know how to follow Śrīla Svāmī Prabhupāda’s mood. Would that be in vaidhī-bhakti or rāgānuga-bhakti?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: One must follow vaidhī-bhakti. But if one practices vaidhī-bhakti in our line – reading Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and hearing classes on all the subjects there, one will automatically come to rāgānuga. If anyone practices bhakti as Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explained it in Bhaktirasāmṛta-sindhu, he will surely come to rāgānuga. All the principles explained by Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī are connected to rāgānuga. One should begin from vaidhī-bhakti, and then he can easily develop rāgānuga.
Madana-mohinī dāsī: So, those who are just beginning to practice bhakti should not try to practice rāgānuga? It will come naturally?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Simply by hearing hari-kathā, they gradually begin vaidhī-bhakti and then in due course become qualified for rāgānuga.
Kṛṣṇa-priyā dāsī: Are any of us qualified for rāgānuga-bhakti?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I think many will become qualified.
Do you want to go to Vaikuṇṭha to serve Lord Nārāyaṇa?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do you want to go to Dvārakā to be a queen?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Do you want to go to Mathurā?
Devotee: No. I want to be a servant of Rādhā.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This is rāgānuga – the awakening of such greed. To those who come to me, I give a powerful injection that never goes in vain. This injection will gradually take them up to rādhā-dāsyam (personal service to Śrīmatī Rādhikā). But they must follow. It has been told in Bhagavad-gītā (4.34):
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.]
Intellectually knowing the philosophy will not suffice. If one knows all the scriptures, like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Purāṇas, the Vedas, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, but he cannot satisfy his gurudeva, his erudition has no value. On the other hand, even if one does not have much scriptural knowledge but he always satisfies his gurudeva, it is certain that he will become qualified.
vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito ’nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ
[A grave person who faithfully and continuously hears the narrations of the transcendental pastimes that Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa performed with the young girls of Vraja, and then describes those pastimes accordingly, achieves supreme devotion for the lotus feet of Bhagavān. He very quickly attains freedom from the diseases of the heart, which are the transformations of lust.]
The word anuśṛṇuyād in this verse means that the disciple hears from gurudeva. Then, by serving and pleasing him, that disciple will become qualified to speak and preach. If a learned person is preaching but is not pleasing gurudeva, he is not qualified. His speaking will not produce any good result.
Jayaśrī dāsī (from New York): How do we continue to serve you when we leave here and go back to our normal lives?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can remember the harikathā you have been hearing this week. Try to understand it and incorporate it into your life. Always meditate on that hari-kathā, and execute the instructions I give while speaking.
Jayaśrī dāsī: To always think what you would want us to do?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Is Balarāma here? Balarāma Prabhu, can you explain the meaning of rāgānuga and rāgātmikā? Is there a difference?
Balarāma dāsa: There is a difference.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: A difference? They are both ‘rāga,’ so how are they different?
Balarāma dāsa: Rāgātmikā is there in the spiritual world, and the other one is here in this world – following in that line.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Let us suppose that, by the mercy of guru and Gaurāṅga and Vaiṣṇavas, you are beginning to have greed to serve Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa like Śrīdāmā and Subala in sakhya-rasa, or like Mother Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā in vātsalya-rasa, or like the gopīs in mādhurya-rasa. If you are fortunate enough to have greed by their mercy – even if you are not a sādhaka, even if you are full of anarthas, and even if you have a loose character – if you begin to follow any of these associates, you are called rāgānuga in its very beginning stage.
Siddha devotees (those perfect in the realization of their relationship with Kṛṣṇa) need not perform any sādhana, because rasa is fully manifest in their hearts. They are called rāgātmikā, or eternal associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. A rāgānuga devotee is a sādhaka, and a rāgātmikā associate is siddha. There is a very, very big difference between them.
Kṛṣṇa-kānta dāsa: Can rāgātmikā associates be in this material world?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: They can come with Kṛṣṇa to assist Him in enacting His sweet pastimes. They come with Him, to serve Him. Also, if Kṛṣṇa gives them an order that, “You should go to the material world as My representative,” they may come at that time as well.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: He is asking: If one has realization of his siddha-deha (one’s spiritual body), is he called a rāgātmikā-bhakta?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not necessarily; he may still be in the practicing stage. All anarthas may have not yet been removed. Even if he has achieved rati (bhāva-bhakti), he is not siddha rāgātmikā. In fact, even when he takes birth in Vraja (in this or any material universe) as a gopī or gopa and serves Kṛṣṇa there, still he is not rāgātmikā. After that, Yogamāyā will give him his birth, name, and all other spiritual designations in aprakaṭa (transcendental) Goloka Vṛndāvana. There he will be rāgātmikā.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Even if a rāgātmikā-bhakta comes to this world and practices bhajana, it would be impossible for us to recognize him.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You are not able to recognize him. Only a high-class rāgānuga Vaiṣṇava can realize who he is.
There are some symptoms of a rāgānuga-bhakta who is situated even in the beginning stage of bhāva-bhakti:
prītis tad vasati-sthale
ity ādayo ’nubhāvāḥ syur
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.18–19)
When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Kṛṣṇa fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one’s behaviour: forgiveness, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, great hope, intense eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides (that is, a temple or a holy place like Vṛndāvana). These are all called anubhāvas, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.
Such a devotee can recognize the rāgātmikā associate of Kṛṣṇa. So many people come to me and say, “I have prema; I have seen Kṛṣṇa; He has given me His darśana.” I tell these people, “You are foolish and bogus.” There are symptoms. If anyone has really taken darśana of Kṛṣṇa, he cannot remain in a material body. His transcendental body will at once manifest and his material body will disappear.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: We recognize that the ācāryas in our line from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s time to the present have descended from Goloka Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: We can recognize them as such because Śrīla Kavi Karṇapūra Gosvāmī has given the names of the associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. For example, Śrī Rāya Ramānanda is Viśākhā-devī, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara is Lalitā-devī, and Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita is Śrī Nārada Muni. They are rāgātmikā, but pretending to be sādhakas.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Then, after Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s time, coming down in our ācārya guru-paramparā for the past five hundred years, can we consider them as rāgātmikā bhaktas?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, but they are not all equal. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is said to be Kamala Mañjarī, a manifestation of Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita. But how can we know about others? Who was Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja? Has his name in the spiritual realm been told to us? So there are some differences.
Vrajanātha dāsa: I have read in scripture that rāgānuga-bhakti begins when our intelligence is purified.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It does not depend on intelligence. It depends on the activities and impressions of one’s past births. Attachment to a rāgānuga bhakta comes by serving and hearing. It will never come by intelligence or by purification of heart. Bhakti is different. It may be that one has a good character, that one is honest, or that one is very learned – like the Māyāvadis, who are learned and with no worldly ambition. Still, that person may have no sukṛti to be able to follow even vaidhī-bhakti, what to speak of rāgānuga-bhakti.
Vrajanātha dāsa: If the first stage of bhajana is guru-padāśraya, taking shelter of the lotus feet of a bonafide guru…
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: First he will hear all tattvas and pastimes related to Śrī Kṛṣṇa from pure Vaiṣṇavas, then some sukṛti will come, and then he will have a desire to hear topics related to rāgānuga-bhakti.
Vrajanātha dāsa: Can one be rāgānuga if he does not properly take shelter of sad-guru (a bonafide, self-realized guru)?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Never.
Vrajanātha dāsa: If one takes shelter properly, even if one has not such good character, he can have it?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, bhakti is like Kṛṣṇa Himself; independent. “Bhakti svatantra avalambana ana, tahi adhīna jñāna vijñāna – Bhakti is completely independent, like Kṛṣṇa Himself. Jñāna and vijñāna cannot produce any permanent results unless they are related with bhakti.”
Vrajanātha dāsa: Nowadays, some devotees are propagating a path called ‘natural bhakti’ [no need for regulative principles] in the name of rāgānuga-bhakti, but it is hard to understand how they are taking shelter of guru.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, rāgānuga-bhakti is very rare.
muktānām api siddhānāṁ
koṭiṣv api mahā-mune
O great sage, out of many millions of materially liberated people who are free from ignorance, and out of many millions of siddhas who have nearly attained perfection, there is hardly one pure devotee of Nārāyaṇa. Only such a devotee is actually completely satisfied and peaceful.
Rādhā-kānti dāsī: Śrīla Gurudeva, in Vṛndāvana you explained that in rāgānuga-bhakti, as the bhakti-latā-bīja grows, certain weeds are pulled out. You said that one of these weeds represents vaidhī-bhakti.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I did not say that. I said that if we want to attain bhakti like that of the gopīs, it is necessary for us to give up the moods of vātsalya (parental love), sakhya (fraternal love), and dāsya (servitorship). We must give up even the desire for the moods of Lalitā Sakhī, Viśākhā Sakhī, and all the other gopīs in their category, in the sense that they have a direct relationship with Kṛṣṇa. We should only take guidance from Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, or Rūpa Mañjarī.
Vrajanātha dāsa: The reference here is to ‘trimming,’ not ‘taking out the weeds.’
Umā Dīdī: Without the foundation of vaidhī-bhakti, no one can attain rāgānuga-bhakti.
vidhi-mārga-rata-jane svādhīnatā ratna-dāne
rāga-mārge karān praveśa
(Kalyāṇa-kalpataru by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura)
Kṛṣṇa eventually bestows the jewel of independence unto those persons who are attached to the path of rules and regulations, thereby allowing them entrance into the path of spontaneous loving service.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You should always follow the regulations of vaidhī-bhakti; by that you will be able to attain the mood of the gopīs. If you do not follow vaidhī-bhakti, you will go to hell.
Rohiṇī-nandana dāsa: If one does not have natural detachment, but wants to do bhakti, how can this happen?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Renunciation does not ‘come.’ Rather, it is natural (svābhāvika). Vairāgya actually means “special rāga,” or “freedom from envy and other faults.” When the stage of anurāga (spontaneous attachment to Kṛṣṇa) manifests, that is the stage of vairāgya.
Rohiṇī-nandana dāsa: Is vairāgya essential for engaging in bhakti?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Bhakti is not different from vairāgya. Where there is bhakti, vairāgya is automatically manifest as well. Without bhakti, true vairāgya cannot exist. Rāga, or attachment, is one, meaning that it can only go to one place. If our attachment is towards Kṛṣṇa, vairāgya automatically appears. If our attachment is not towards Kṛṣṇa, then we are automatically attached to material things.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, I have a question regarding rāgānuga-bhakti. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 4.15) says rāga-mārga bhakti loke karite pracāraṇa, meaning that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to preach rāga-mārga bhakti. You have also said many times that Mahāprabhu did not come to preach vaidhī-bhakti. Vaidhī-bhakti has already been preached by other ācāryas in other ages. Mahāprabhu has come to give rāga-mārga bhakti, and all of our ācāryas in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī are trying to give it.
When a guru is teaching vaidhī-bhakti to the beginner student, as Rūpa Gosvāmī taught it, is there a difference between that vaidhī-bhakti which that rūpānuga-ācārya is preaching and the vaidhī-bhakti which was previously followed and preached?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The vaidhī-bhakti preached by Rāmānujācārya, Nimbāditya, and Madhvācārya is different from the vaidhī-bhakti preached by Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. If one follows the principles of vaidhī-bhakti as taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that devotee is in the beginning stage of rāgānuga-bhakti. If one hears from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta – Sanātana-śikṣā, Rūpa-śikṣā, and Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda – his vaidhī-bhakti will turn into rāgānuga-bhakti.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: You have told us that actual rāgānuga-sādhana-bhakti can only be done in the stage of at least āsakti.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When you have a real desire for perfection– real, not artificial – then to follow bhakti means that āsakti has come.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, yesterday you were stressing the necessity of vaidhī-bhakti. You were saying that many persons are not following vaidhī-bhakti, yet they want to achieve rāgānuga-bhakti.
What about those persons who are chanting and following all the principles of vaidhī-bhakti, but always want to hear rasa-kathā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: To have this greed is good; very, very good. It is an elevated aspiration:
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.70)
[If consciousness which is infused with the mood of the gopīs’ love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is available anywhere, then buy it at once, without delay. The only price to get it is laulyam, an intense longing to obtain vraja-bhāva. Without this divine greed, such love cannot be obtained even by performing pious activities (karma-miśra-bhakti or vaidhī-bhakti) for millions of births.]
I was saying yesterday that genuine greed is good; it is very exalted. But the consideration is whether transcendental greed has really awakened. If one truly has that greed, he is at once qualified with the stage of ruci (true taste for chanting, hearing, and remembering). Real transcendental greed begins to manifest from the stage of ruci, not from the stage of śraddhā (initial faith). This is the qualification.
Let us suppose one does not possess this qualification, yet he is telling others, “I have so much greed for rāgānuga-bhakti and rāgātmikā-bhakti.” Suppose that person is speaking only on this subject to his various audiences. Then, later we see that he is entangled with a lady and has left his devotional practices. In that instance, where is his ruci?
So, we should be careful. If we have actually attained such greed (laulyam), we do not disclose this by announcing, “I have greed.” We nourish this mood internally, while externally following vaidhī-bhakti. Internally, a person with real greed would be like Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: You said yesterday that Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura wrote about this in his Rāga-vartma-candrikā. There he says that a person established in rāgānuga-bhakti follows the principals of vaidhī-bhakti. If he neglects such principles, he simple creates disturbance (utpātāyaiva kalpate).
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: The followers of the Rāmānuja sampradāya, or śrī sampradāya, attain Vaikuṇṭha without lobha-mayi-bhakti (bhakti enriched with pure greed to attain the transcendental service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa). They do this on the strength of vaidhī-bhakti alone.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. By following such principles they attain pure aiśvarya-mayi-bhakti (bhakti imbued with full sense of the Lords godly opulence – worship in awe and reverence). They can go to Vaikuṇṭha.
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: Serving in aiśvarya-mayi-bhakti, that devotee can transcend the stage of ruci and come to āsakti (deep attachment), bhāva (the initial stage of perfection in devotion), and prema (the highest stage of love for Kṛṣṇa). Isn’t this a fact?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes, they can achieve prema; but that prema will be aiśvarya-mayi-prema.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: This means they do not go beyond Vaikuṇṭha.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: Are they called rāgātmikā-vaikuṇṭha bhaktas? * Can we call them rāgātmikā-bhaktas?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Who?
Śrīla Padmanābha Mahārāja: The Vaikuṇṭha associates of Lord Nārāyaṇa.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Yes. They are situated in rāga, although it may be that they possess only śānta-rāga (attachment in the mood of passive adoration) or dāsya-rāga (attachment in the mood of servitorship). Those who reside in the Vaikuṇṭha planets are situated in dāsya-rasa, and this is especially true in rāma-līlā.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: So, regarding the sādhaka who wants to attain Vaikuṇṭha and is worshiping Lord Rāma or Lord Nārāyaṇa, can he be called a rāgānuga-bhakta (one who is devotedly following in the footsteps of rāgātmikā devotees of the Lord’s spiritual abode)?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If one serves Nārāyaṇa like Jaya and Vijaya, or like Nārada, Viśvaksena, Garuḍa, or Lakṣmī, he is known as a rāgātmikā-bhakta with aiśvarya-bhāva.
Dhīra-kṛṣṇa dāsa: We heard that the term rāgātmikā is used only in reference to the Vrajavāsīs..
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No. Rather, the associates in Vraja are rāgātmikā-bhaktas to the extreme point. Hanumān has some rāga, as do the Pāṇḍavas, but the rāga of all the devotees outside Vraja is aiśvarya-mayi, full with a conception of the Lord’s opulence.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: This instruction is for everyone.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi-līlā 3.15) says, vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhāva pāite nāhi śakti. One cannot attain Kṛṣṇa by vaidhī-bhakti. So, we don’t need to perform vaidhī-bhakti. We are doing rāgānuga.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No, no. If you are correct, then why has Śrīla Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī written about the sixtyfour limbs of bhakti? He is following Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
Rāgānuga-bhakti is the best form of bhakti in this world, but it is followed and experienced inwardly. One who actually possesses greed does not disclose it.
Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja:
vidhi-mārga-rata-jane svādhīnatā ratna-dāne
rāga-mārge karān praveśa
rāga-vaśavartī haiyā pārakīya bhāvāśraye
labhe jīva kṛṣṇa-premāveśa
Kalyāṇa-kalpataru by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
[To the person fixed in the regulative principles, the holy name gives the jewel of independence, placing him on the path of spontaneous devotion (rāgānuga-bhakti). That person, overcome by spontaneous attachment to the Lord, takes shelter of the parakīya mood and goes on to become absorbed in love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The meaning of this śloka is that in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s sampradāya the practices of vaidhī-bhakti take one to rāgānuga.
Śrīpāda Dāmodara Mahārāja: Does that vaidhī-bhakti have a special name?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: No.
It is not rāgānuga at first. It begins from vaidhī-bhakti. If one in the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī follows vaidhī-bhakti, that vaidhī bhakti is really the beginning of rāgānuga.
Will a rāgānuga-bhakta follow Ekādaśī, or not?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Is this vaidhī-bhakti or rāgānuga-bhakti?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Will that rāgānuga-bhakta celebrate Janmāṣṭamī (Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s appearance day), or not? And what about Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī? Is Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī (the appearance day of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva) vaidhī-bhakti or rāgānuga-bhakti?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: It is one hundred percent vaidhī.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Still, everyone should observe these holy days, otherwise they will be corrupted.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [Speaking to a brahmacārī] My brahmacārī, do you want to go down? [Meaning, do you want to leave your brahmacārī-āśrama?]
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I will slap you. Sannyāsīs should not fall down, and brahmacārīs should prepare to become sannyāsīs in the future. One who gives up either the sannyāsa or brahmacārī āśrama has no bhakti. Be careful. What you want depends on you. I cannot control you.
Madhusūdana dāsa: Gurudeva, there are two things necessary to advance in bhakti; sādhana, devotional practice, and guru-kṛpā, the mercy of guru. If I have these, do I require any separate effort to develop rāgānuga-bhakti? Or, does it appear spontaneously?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: When your guru manifests his mercy upon you, he will pray to Kṛṣṇa for you. Kṛṣṇa knows everything, so He will be very kind. His heart will melt, and He will have mercy upon you so that you will attain success.
Madhusūdana dāsa: I don’t have to make any special effort to develop rāgānuga?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Both are needed; sādhana must be performed.
When Yaśodā was trying to bind Kṛṣṇa, she vowed, “I will bind Him, otherwise I will not eat anything. I will fast.” Perspiring, she thought, “What is this?! Why am I not binding Him?? O Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa! [not knowing that her son is the original Nārāyaṇa] I must bind my son!” Seeing her great determination, Kṛṣṇa at once allowed Himself to be bound, merely by the rope that tied her hair.
dṛṣṭvā pariśramaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ
[Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw that His mother’s body had become drenched with perspiration. The garlands woven into her braid had fallen out, and she had become utterly exhausted. Seeing His mother’s fatigue, little Śrī Kṛṣṇa compassionately allowed Himself to be bound.]
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: [Affectionately referring to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja] So we should just meditate, “Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa”?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: [Referring to the original Nārāyaṇa, Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa] Without Nārāyaṇa, our destination cannot be reached.
Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Śrīla Gurudeva, if we remember ślokas from Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāñjali while we chant harināma, is this like remembering Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, or is it like remembering aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: You can think as you like. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has given aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā in Vilāpa kusumāñjali, but in brief. It is all right to think in this way.
Ariṣṭāsana dāsa: Gurudeva, every day we chant in the song śrī-guru-caraṇa-padma, “janme janme prabhu sei – Śrī guru is my lord, birth after birth.” Is it that we are only starting to serve gurudeva in this life and that it will now go on forever, or have we already started in past lives?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Some have performed bhakti in previous lives, and some are newcomers. Regarding those who are now advanced, they have performed devotional activities in past lives. Regarding those who don’t know much about bhakti but are beginning to develop śraddhā by hearing from bona fide Vaiṣṇavas, they are new. It may also be true that some persons have accrued sukṛti (spiritual merits) in previous lives from having previously accepted a guru and are now joining again, but they may not be very sincere, whereas a new devotee may advance more quickly if he is sincere.
Prakāśātmā dāsa: Yesterday you were speaking in your class about Ananta Vāsudeva. I am wondering, when the mahā-puruṣa (selfrealized ācārya) leaves this world, is it usual that his mission goes into chaos?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Not necessarily. If one is like Ananta Vāsudeva, for him there will be chaos. After our gurudeva departed from this world, even after over forty years, we have remained fixed in his devotion. On the other hand, anyone who is engaged in nonsense activities and offenses must suffer in chaos. By serving one’s gurudeva with viśrambheṇa guru-sevā (intimacy) one very quickly develops kṛṣṇa-prema, but if one commits offenses he goes to Rasātala (the lowest hellish planetary system).
There is a śloka in śāstra which states that if the root of the lotus is situated in the water, it blossoms under the sun. If there is no water, however, that same lotus will wilt and dry up.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja:
nārāyaṇo ‘pi vikṛtiṁ yāti
guroḥ pracyutasya durbuddheḥ
kamalaṁ jalād apetaṁ
śoṣayati ravir na poṣayati
[When a lotus flower is situated in water, the rays of the sun cause it to blossom. The same sun, however, will wither a lotus which is not situated in water. In this example the disciple is compared to the lotus, Śrī guru to water, and the Supreme Lord to the sun.]
Prakāśātmā dāsa: So we have to pray to the guru that he will always be…
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Guru is the root of bhakti. Guru, Vaiṣṇava, and sādhu are the roots. A sādhu is able to describe to us the glory of gurudeva, because he himself is guru.
Devotee: I have a question. We know that śrī guru’s position in kṛṣṇa-līlā is as a mañjarī. What is his position in caitanya-līlā?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What do you mean by ‘mañjarī’?
Devotee: I don’t know.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It was for all of you that I spoke about rāgānuga and related topics in my class. Don’t try to jump to the top. Begin from the bottom, not from mañjarī-bhāva, otherwise you’ll be…
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: He is not asking what is guru’s mañjarī form in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes…
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: What does he want to know?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: He wants to know what is the form of guru in Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: It is better that you desire to know how your anarthas will disappear, and how your sambandha-jñāna (relationship) with Kṛṣṇa will strengthen. Don’t go beyond that. You are new, so where have you heard about mañjarī-bhāva? Perhaps someone has told you that you are a mañjarī? It is best not to think about this at your stage.
Bhadrā dāsī: Previously I’ve heard it said that when we are preparing an offering for Kṛṣṇa, we should never taste it. Nowadays I am hearing that it is okay to taste the offering before it is offered, as long as it is not tasted in an enjoying mood, but only for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Suppose you are preparing something, and without tasting it yourself you give it to your Deity; and suppose it was like poison. Or, instead of using sugar, you used salt – how will it taste? A rāgānuga-bhakta who wants to give delicious foods to Kṛṣṇa may taste it first. Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd friend Madhumaṅgala would taste a preparation first, and would think, “This is very sweet.” Then he would give his remnants to Kṛṣṇa. Those who are qualified for this can do so.
* “The original inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are attached to Kṛṣṇa spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called rāgātmikā bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vṛndāvana, his devotional service is called rāgānuga bhakti ” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.149).
“When one becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to one’s natural inclination to love Him and is fully absorbed in thoughts of the Lord, that state is called transcendental attachment, and devotional service according to that attachment is called rāgātmikā, or spontaneous devotional service” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.272).
Image/Art made possible by Pixabay.com & Krishnapath.org