Changing the Body
Advancement of material science in the field of medical surgery has made it possible to change the body of a human being from male to female or from female to male by surgical operation. The desire to change the body in this way is a kind of mundane lust. This lusty idea is a perverted reflection of the transcendental idea of changing the body as in the case of the srutis. The idea of changing the body from one form to another is quite possible even by way of the materialistic mind. Therefore, by spiritual development the possibility of changing the body for the better is even greater.
The conclusion of the above-mentioned spiritual perfection is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.21):
nayam sukhapo bhagavan
One who therefore accepts the example set by the cowherd girls of Vraja and always meditates upon the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna day and night while living in Vraja and serving Them there will ultimately obtain the body of a sakhi and directly serve Radha and Krsna.
An Eternal Life of Ecstasy
The supramundane body is transcendental to the gross and subtle bodies of the living entity and it is suitable for rendering loving service to Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Transmigration of the soul from one body to another takes place in material existence according to the living entitys fruitive activities, which are carried out in relation to the three modes of nature. In the Bhagavad-gita, the transmigration of the soul is vividly described. The mind carries the soul to another body just as the air carries aromas. At the time of death, ones state of mind is very important in this connection. The mind is prone to be absorbed in the particular kind of thinking, feeling, and willing that it has always done in relation to its daily activities.
The state of the mind at the time of leaving the body depends on the modes of thinking, feeling, and willing. Devotees are advised to think continuously, day and night, about the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna, so that their minds will be absorbed with that type of thinking, feeling, and willing. As such, it will be possible for the living entity to enter the kingdom of Radha and Krsna to directly associate with Them for rendering loving service in the particular sentiment that he cultivated continually during his life.
In material existence, the mind is always conditioned to think about material enjoyment. Therefore, the mind has to be engaged in contemplating the transcendental subject matter that has no connection with the three modes of nature. The divine pastimes of Radha and Krsna and the activities of the cowherd girls of Vraja are above the three qualities of material nature. When the mind is engaged in thinking, feeling, and willing in connection with such transcendental subjects, the living entity is sure to ultimately get the service of Radha and Krsna.
The deva-vrata, people who are situated in the mode of goodness, worship the demigods such as Brahma and Siva and attain the abodes of such demigods. The pitr-vratas, people who are situated in the mode of passion for enjoying the material world and who worship the pitrs, forefathers who have passed away, attain the different abodes of the pitrs. The bhutejyas, animal and ghost worshipers, who are situated in the mode of darkness and ignorance, also attain their respective destinations in the material world. But the devotees of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna attain His supreme abode, which is eternal. No one ever returns after attaining that abode.
All other spheres of attainment are considered temporary abodes because they are either vanquished after a limited duration of time or the residents of those abodes have to come back again to this earth after they have exhausted the results of their previous pious activities. As far as the bhutejyas are concerned, they are doom- ed to hover on this earth or in even lower regions of the universe.
Lord Caitanya offers all people in the age of Kali, who are by nature very unfortunate in every respect, the highest benefit of life. As such, those who take this opportunity will be considered the most fortunate souls. By following the principles of devotional activities as propounded by Ramananda Raya under the order of Lord Caitanya, every human being can attain the eternal life of ecstasy in the company of the Personality of Godhead in different transcendental rasas as are enjoyed by the denizens of Vraja or Goloka Vrndavana, the eternal abode of Sri Krsna.
No Entrance for Laksmidevi
Without pursuing the footsteps of the gopis, no one can obtain the spiritual body of a sakhi and render service to Sri Krsna, even if the devotional service is rendered in the mood of opulence. A vivid example of this is Sri Laksmidevi, who desired entrance into the transcendental pastimes of the rasa-lila of Sri Krsna. However, because Laksmidevi did not follow in the footsteps of the cowherd girls of Vraja, she did not get entrance.
This statement of Ramananda Raya caused Lord Caitanya to melt in complete ecstasy and thus He embraced him in His arms. Both Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya were overflowing with tears of transcendental joy. The whole night was thus passed in divine conversation, and when the morning came, both Ramananda and Lord Caitanya went about their respective engagements.
As Lord Caitanya was leaving, Ramananda fell at his feet and fervently requested Him in the following way:
more krpa karite tomara
Lord Caitanya replied,
suni tomara guna
Perfect Questions and Answers
Thus Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya separated from one another in the morning and in the evening they met again. The meeting took place in a secluded area and the talks began in the same manner of question and answer, with Lord Caitanya questioning and Ramananda answering.
Q: What is the essence
of learning in the field of educational activities?
The above questions and answers contain the essence of all transcendental knowledge confirmed in the authoritative scriptures.
Most Learned Fellow
The gradual development of educational activities should be estimated in the following manner: brahma-vidya or knowledge of the spirit soul is superior to the knowledge of the physical world; knowledge about the Personality of Godhead is superior to the knowledge of the impersonal Brahman or spirit; and knowledge of Sri Krsna and His pastimes is superior to the knowledge of the Personality of Godhead Visnu.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is said that the highest work is that which will satisfy the senses of Hari, and the highest education is to teach about Him. One who has learned the nine different processes of devotional servicehearing, chanting, remembering, serving the Lords lotus feet, worshiping, praying, becoming a servant, embracing the Lord in friendship, and fully surrendering unto Himis to be considered the most learned fellow.
The fame a person receives because of being a devotee of Sri Krsna is described in the authoritative scripture Garuda Purana:
kalau bhagavatam nama
Sri Narada Muni has said,
In the Bhagavad-gita, it is also confirmed that a person who is actually a mahatma or great soul, having thoroughly understood that Vasudeva is the Lord of all the universes, is very rarely found. After many, many births of acquiring knowledge, he surrenders unto Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead.
In the Adi Purana, it is said that the liberated souls, including the srutis, follow the pure devotees of Sri Krsna. In the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is stated:
adyapi ca muni-srestha brahmadya api devatah
"Until now even the best among the munis (sages) or the demigods like Brahma and others do not understand the influence of the devotee who has completely surrendered to the transcendental service of Visnu."
In the Garuda Purana it is stated:
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is also said that the purpose of acquiring knowledge of all the srutis and of endeavoring in all the other ways of spiritual culture is that one will become addicted to the process of hearing the transcendental qualities, name, and fame of Mukunda (Sri Krsna).
In the prayers of the Narayana-lila, it is said that a pure devotee does not desire to be situated even in the position of a Brahma if he is devoid of the devotional service of Godhead. Rather, the pure devotee prefers to become even a small insect if such a life is engaged in the devotional service of Godhead.
All Are Not Equal
The fame of Prahlada Maharaja as a devotee of Godhead is described in the Skanda Purana by Lord Siva: "Not even I can know Sri Krsna as He is. Only the devotees know Him, and of all the devotees, Prahlada is the best."
In the Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Sanatana Goswami says that above Prahlada, the Pandavas are still better devotees, and the Yadus are better than the Pandavas. Out of all the Yadus, Uddhava is the best devotee, and the damsels of Vraja are even better than Uddhava. Therefore, they are the topmost of all devotees.
In the Brhad-vamana, Brahma spoke to the rsis as follows:
In the Adi Purana, the Personality of Godhead said,
na tatha me priyatamo
Follow Srila Rupa Goswami
Among all the inhabitants of Vraja, Srimati Radharani is the dearest of all. Srila Rupa Goswami is the most confidential servitor of Srimati Radharani, and is therefore very dear to Lord Caitanya. The followers of the footsteps of Srila Rupa Goswami are known as the Rupanuga devotees of Sri Krsna. Such Rupanuga devotees are eulogized in the Sri Caitanya-candramrta (127) as follows:
astam vairagya-kotir bhavatu
The general masses who are driven by the dictates of the mind for material enjoyment, desire to accumulate more and more wealth, which is the medium for obtaining their sense gratification. However, by pure transcendental intellect, one can objectively assess the value of material wealth and see that there is no wealth that can be compared with the value of love for Radha and Krsna. Here are some quotations in support of the above conception from the sastra:
kim alabhyam bhagavati
mam anaradhya duhkhartah
muktanam api siddhanam
ata atyantikam ksemam
tasmat sarvatmana rajan
tasmad ekena manasa
asam aho carana-renu-jusam
idam ca visnoh
etavan eva loke smin
Dry, speculative knowledge is compared to the bitter fruits of the Nim tree. This fruit is unworthy of human consumption but is quite suitable for those persons who, like the crows, are situated in a rough, argumentative way of life. Their dry philosophical speculations sound like the crowing of crows.
On the other hand, the newly-bloomed buds of the mango fruit, which are sweet to taste and completely palatable, are compared to the transcendental loving service of Godhead. As such, this fruit is tasted by the pure devotees of Sri Krsna, who are compared to the parrots who are always delivering sweet sounds. Dry philosophical speculation is the only gain of the unfortunate jnani empiric philosopher, and the juicy nectarean taste of the loving service of Godhead is the drink of the fortunate devotees.
Thus Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya again passed the whole night in the transcendental joy of talking about Sri Krsna and His pastimes. Sometimes they wept and sometimes they danced while absorbed in ecstatic trance, and in this way the night came to an end. In the morning, both Ramananda and Lord Caitanya parted to attend to their respective duties, and in the evening they again met together as on the previous night.
Enlightening the Heart
After talking for a few minutes, Ramananda fell at the feet of Lord Caitanya and submitted his heartfelt realization:
eta tattva mora citte kaile
In the Bhagavad-gita, this is confirmed. The Personality of Godhead says that in order to show special favor to His devotee, He enlightens the heart of the devotee and drives away the darkness of ignorance by the illumination of transcendental knowledge. And in the very beginning of the beautiful Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1), the following important statement is made:
anmady asya yato nvayad
itaratas cartesv abhijnah svarat
I Have One Doubt
Ramananda Raya then petitioned the Lord,
eka samsaya mora achaye
The Lord replied that those who are deeply absorbed in a loving relationship with Krsna are all first-class devotees. As a result of their natural love of Godhead, they realize the presence of their worshipful Lord Sri Krsna everywhere, as they look upon all varieties of moving and nonmoving objects. The objects of their observation do not appear before them as they are, but they appear differently in relationship with Sri Krsna. Here are some quotations in this regard from the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
sarva-bhutesu yah pasyed
vana-latas tarava atmani
Lord Caitanya continued to speak:
radha-krsne tomara maha-prema
Ramananda Raya was not, however, satisfied at heart with this answer given by Lord Caitanya, although the words of the Lord were certainly correct according to sastra. Thus he said,
raya kaheprabhu tumi
Lord Caitanya Revealed
At this, Lord Caitanya smiled and revealed Himself as Rasa- raja, the King of all divine rasas, and also as His other Self, Sri- mati Radharani, who is Mahabhava, love of Godhead personified. Then He revealed Himself in one form as the unity of the Divine CoupleSri Krsna appearing with the sentiment and color of Srimati Radharani.
hladini saktir asmad
Lord Caitanya revealed Himself as the one that is two and the two that are one. This is a most unique manifestation of the Absolute Truth. Only those who are fortunate enough to know Sri Krsna Caitanya, as well as Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, by the grace of Ramananda Raya, can serve the eternal forms that have united in one.
Ramananda Raya fainted in ecstasy upon seeing the unique manifestation of the divine form of Lord Caitanya, and he became overwhelmed with transcendental emotion. In a swoon, he collapsed to the ground.
At that moment, Lord Caitanya touched the body of Ramananda and brought him back to his external senses. Ramananda was again astonished to see Lord Caitanya in the form of a sannyasi. The Lord then embraced Ramananda and pacified him by saying that other than Ramananda Raya, nobody had ever seen that transcendentally combined form.
Lord Caitanya said that nothing is unknown to Ramananda Raya about His pastimes, and as such He showed him the unique manifestation of His form.
gaura anga nahe moraradhanga-sparsana
"O Ramananda, I am not merely a person of fair complexion appearing before you. I am the selfsame personality Sri Krsna and I eternally exhibit this form, which is imbued with the bodily hue of Srimati Radharani. Nobody can touch Srimati Radharani except Sri Krsna. Therefore I adorn Myself with the sentiments of Srimati Radharani and thereby enjoy Myself. In this eternal form of Mine, I also relish the sweetness of Sri Krsna. But please do not disclose this secret of mine! Ordinary men may laugh at Me in my mad ]attempt. In this matter, I am certainly the number one madman and you are number two. And as both of us are in the same category, there is no difference between yourself and Myself."
A Mine of Nectar
The Lord thus enjoyed the company of Ramananda Raya while discussing about Sri Krsna continuously for ten days. Those conversations that took place between Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya were very, very confidential talks about Vraja-dhama, the place where the transcendental pastimes of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna are eternally manifest. In those conversations, the ecstasy that flows in Vraja-dhama was thoroughly discussed. There were also many other talks between Ramananda and Lord Caitanya, which are impossible for anyone to understand. In short, the whole topic was just like a mine of gemlike information, which produced one gem after another for the benefit of all humankind. The mine of that conversation is compared to an unfathomed, deep metallic reservoir. As the mine was being excavated, precious metals of different categories came out in the form of copper, bell metal, silver, gold, and lastly touchstone.
Precious metals were excavated both in the preliminary as well as the concluding discussions between Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya. In the preliminary talks, In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life, the idea of following the moral and social divisions of society is compared to copper, the mother of metals. The idea of offering the results of ones work to Sri Krsna (karma-yoga) is compared to bell metal. The idea of renouncing the world and taking karma-sannyasa is compared to silver. The idea of devotional service mixed with empiric speculative knowledge (jnana-misra-bhakti) is compared to gold, and lastly, devotional service unmixed with any empiric knowledge (jnana-sunya-bhakti) is compared to touchstone.
In the concluding discussions, the same comparison is made in regard to the different transcendental sentiments of devotional service. The conception of dasya-prema is compared to copper, sakhya-prema to bell metal, vatsalya-prema to silver, and madhurya-prema to gold. And lastly the transcendental pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna are compared to touchstone.
Entrance into the above-mentioned touchstone of jnana-sunya-bhakti can be obtained by the persevering devotee who has the necessary energy, fortitude, good association, and honesty of purpose. With all these necessary qualifications, that touchstone is easily available.
The next day, Lord Caitanya asked permission from Ramananda Raya to continue on His tour of South India. The Lord also requested him to follow His instruction, advising him as follows:
visaya chadiya tumi yaha
Saying this, Lord Caitanya embraced Ramananda and sent him to his home, and then He Himself went to take rest for the night. The next morning, Lord Caitanya visited the local temple of Hanuman, paid His respects to the Deity, and then left to travel throughout South India.
During the presence of Lord Caitanya at Vidyanagara, the city where Ramananda Raya lived, all the scholars of different schools of philosophy were converted into devotees of Sri Krsna, and they gave up their previous ways of thinking. After the departure of Lord Caitanya, Ramananda was overwhelmed with grief on account of separation from the Lord, and thus he remained aloof from all sorts of routine work while continuing to absorb himself in deep meditation on the Lord.
This is a short sketch of the meeting that took place between Ramananda Raya and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The instructive and transcendental topics that were discussed between them are completely sublime and simple at the same time. Any fortunate person can take advantage of the revelations within this conversation and thus bring about the perfection of his life. Once the topic is heard with a reverential attitude, it will no longer be possible to leave aside the spiritual ambition of reaching the abode of Radha and Krsna.
By hearing this short narration, one can enter into the essence of transcendental romance and pure love of Godhead. The most important thing to understand from this discussion is the secret of Lord Caitanyas appearance in this world and the essence of His sankirtana movement.
Only the faithful can enter into the intricacies of these topics, and faith is the basic principle for making progress in the supramental state of transcendental love in separation. The lila of Radha and Krsna is transcendental and confidential. One who has faith in Lord Caitanya and His recommended process for spiritual upliftment can enter into the confidential service of the Divine Couple, which is all-attractive for the pure devotees.
It must be understood that the talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya are not a creation of mental speculators who are not in the transcendental chain of disciplic succession and who are always doubtful about the Absolute Truth. Nobody whose basic tendency is to engage in mundane arguments can enter the precincts of these topics. They are above such a materialistic approach. Because the subject matter is supramundane, it is therefore not possible to understand it without having reached the supramental state.
Nobody need try to understand these transcendental topics by strenuous academic manipulation of the brain and mind, because both the mundane brain and mind are useless when attempting to reach this supramental state. Only service to Godhead and His agents can help one to experience the revelation of the truth. Mental speculation, which produces only pseudoresults, simply creates a disturbance.
The transcendental domain discussed by Sri Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya is solely the property of those faithful devotees of Sri Krsna who have a record of service in devotional life.
All glories to Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu along with Sri Advaita Prabhu and all the devotees of Lord Caitanya, who are known as the Gaura-bhaktas. Lord Caitanya, by the disc weapon of His exclusive mercy, delivered the inhabitants of South India, who were situated like elephants being attacked by the crocodiles of different religious sects. Thus Lord Caitanya converted them all to Vaisnavism and proceeded onward throughout South India, where He visited many, many holy places of pilgrimage.