Part Two: Follow the Angels
paiya manusa janma, ye na sune gaura-guna,
krsna-lila amrta-sara, tara sata sata dhara
These two scriptural references reveal the extraordinarily wonderful characteristic of our goal in Krsna. Our goal in Krsna is of such extraordinary nature. The devotees give descriptions in different ways, but without that goal one should not live.
The wholesale dealer selects the choicest commodities for promotion when approaching new customers. The proprietor is astonished by the choice. He says, "You have presented well these most valuable things of Mine. I was not even conscious that such things were Mine! You have taken so many refined things from My storehouse. Were they in My store? Your choice makes Me more valuable, infinitely more valuable. You have found such beautiful things of Mine. I cannot but feel proud. By your touch, by your connection, these beautiful things have been discovered in Me."
Krsna's obligation towards Radharani, the wholesale dealer, is such. Partial dealers come from different groups, but Radharani is the wholesale dealer of all commodities available in Krsna's store. Na paraye 'ham niravadya-samyujam (Bhag. 10.32.22). Even Krsna Himself cannot measure the greatness of Radharani.
In Krsna's pastimes, the potencies are sandhini, samvit, and hladini. Hladini holds the highest position, because of complete self-surrender. Next is samvit, and then third is the position of sandhini. Thinking, feeling, and willing; willing is sandhini, thinking is samvit, and feeling is hladini. Ordinarily we may think that feeling is the last of all, but no, it is the first.
Feeling is first. Feeling, real feeling, has been given such a high position. Feeling controls us all. We are all searching, and feeling commands us. We think feeling is the result. No, feeling commands everything. First feeling, then thinking, then willing. Generally the karmis, the fruitive workers, give the upper hand to willing, to willpower, and the jnanis concentrate on thinking. "We command the will, so we hold the high position." But feeling is the basis of everything-controlling everything. That is so; we have to understand the position of feeling.
Do Not Approach Directly
In His deep trance, Mahaprabhu experienced Vraja-lila and expressed His ecstatic feelings. The sahajiyas try to imitate these things by their mundane mind; they attempt to experience that lila through their imagination. But that is not possible. If there is any imitation, only offenses will be created. Those offenses will be recorded in the circle of the examiners of the upper quarter, and they will give a stamp of disqualification: the imitators are criminal and unfit.
Imitation will be held against us and hamper our future progress. We must be very careful not to commit offenses, aparadha. It is better to be a newcomer with a fresh introduction than to have a criminal record. We must be very, very careful in our quest for the highest objective of our eternal life. Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, has especially given this caution, and he attracted us to the line of exclusive devotion.
Mahaprabhu has distributed what He experienced in His deep trance. But we must be ready to pay for it, and our Guru Maharaja came for that purpose. Pujala raga-pathadon't go hurriedly. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. That experience is for the highest minded. It is the highest. One must go step by step. If we omit any step, we will be nowhere.
We should be mindful of every step, and automatically that will take us in the right direction. Don't ever try to run very hurriedly. Try to remain a little down and back. That will forcibly take you to the goal, naturally. The higher Vaisnavas will take you there. You can't go there on your own, yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas. That is true all the way, yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas. Your acceptance will come from the higher quarter. You should go, but don't try to trespass. Otherwise you are gone, finished.
Premaseva, loving service, is not an ordinary thing, a mechanical thing. Don't try to finish it, to limit it; it is of an unlimited nature. Don't rush to enter there, to trespass. Don't commit offenses. This is the highest prospect of your life after many lifetimes. The center of the Infinite is everywhere; the circumference is nowhere. Don't create a circumference around the center of your highest prospect.
My Ideal Is Always to Serve Him
In madhurya-rasa, the highest conjugal relationship, even Radharani's own tendency is always to serve Krsna. Her inclination is towards dasya-rasa, service. Is sakhya-rasa, intimate friendship with Krsna, a very small thing? No, it is too high for me. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange. From a distance I want to show my respect to sakhya-rasa, but I really crave dasya-rasa. That should be the inclination of a real devotee. If we disregard all these things, we are playing like children.
Do Not Discuss Higher Lilas
Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange, that is always upon our head. The prospect of our life's future, life after life, cannot be finished so easily. We shall rather foster the hope, the pure hope that we may be taken one day into that service camp with this idea: Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange. It is very sweet. The raga-patha, the path of spontaneous devotion, is above our heads. We are servants of the raga-patha. We are in viddhi-marga, the path of regulated practice, under sastric rule. We must live and move under sastric rule, and always keep the raga-patha above our head. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange.
The whole tenor of Guru Maharaja's life was such: "That is high, very high, and from below we are to honor that." We must establish this conception, the proper regard for that higher lila, throughout the entire world: "That is too high."
Preach the Basics
Once Prabhupada arranged to preach in Vrndavana for the full month of Karttika. He asked Bharati Maharaja at that time to explain the Seventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the story of Prahlada. He did not ask for narrations about Krsna, Radha, Yasoda or anything of Vrndavana. "Preach suddha-bhakti of Prahlada first. People are ripe in sahajiya, imitation of devotion. Just try to make them understand, to enter the plane of bhakti. That is great; what to speak of Krsna-lilathat is far, far above." There in Vrndavana the people wondered, "What is this? They are explaining Bhagavatam, but leaving aside the Tenth Canto. They are explaining the Seventh Canto, the Prahlada-lila, the lower portion of bhakti. That is wonderful and strange."
I found later on that Srila Prabhupada himself spoke for several days on the boundary line between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. He read and explained the Upadesamrta of Srila Rupa Gosvami. He did not speak about Srimati Radharani or about Krsna, but about Upadesamrtathe basic teachings. His attention was always focused on the basics, because the fruit will come naturally. "Pour water onto the root and the fruit will come up by itself."
Sitting between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda he explained not Bhagavatam, but Upadesamrta. Upadesamrta contains the substance of Mahaprabhu's teaching in the language of Rupa Gosvami. Srila Prabhupada explained these topics and not anything of Govinda-lilamrtam or Visvanatha Cakravarti's Sri Krsna Bhavanamrta. The higher topics of madhurya lila, Radha Krsna's amorous pastimes, were left aside.
Intimate Connection is Rejected
Not To Live at Radha Kunda
"No. You don't know. Better persons will live there: Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaja. They will live there, and we shall stay on the ground floor and we shall serve them." Again he said, "I shall live in Govardhana. Radha Kunda is the highest place, the place of our Guru Maharaja, our Gurudevas. They will live here in closer connection with lila, but we are not fit to live there. We shall live in Govardhana, just a little far away. Because we shall have to come and serve our Gurudevas, we must be near, but we must not live in closer connection with them. We are not fit."
Not to Interfere with the Higher Lilas
There are three chapters of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta that we were generally not allowed to discuss fully, including the conversations with Ramananda Raya. Where the lila portion of Radha-Govinda is mentioned, we were not to delve. Of course when parayana (consecutive chanting of the whole book) was taking place, we were to go on reading those sections, but without giving any particular attention to the lila of the highest order of raga. That was barred: "Don't try to come into details there. That will come automatically when it is time. Do not make it a public discussion. Do not place it in the public eye."
Dusta phala karibe arjjanaSrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura warns that we will get only a bad result if we venture to cross that line. It is aparadha. From the lower position, the steps are shown: sraddha, sadhu-sanga, sravana, kirtana, then anartha-nivrtti, when the undesirable things vanish. Then comes ruci, then asakti, then bhava-bhakti, the sprout of real devotion. Then prema-bhakti, and sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, mahabhavaby such steps we are to approach the highest plane.
Not to Listen to Rasa-Lila Katha
His friend also came down, leaving that Rasa-lila discussion, and said, "The Rasa-lila explanation is going on, but you did not take your seat at all. You just bowed your head and came down. What is the matter?" Srila Prabhupada replied, "Our guru's order is that it will be offensive to attend the Rasa-lila discussion, so I had to come down. This is my guru's order: to attend Rasa-lila explanation is aparadha."
We have no right to attempt to hear. We are not qualified. We shall commit offense thinking that Krsna is a man like us, and these gopis are so many women, and they are performing this debauchery. This idea will appear in the mind. It will replicate in our heart and we will have to go down. Therefore, we must not attend those discussions.
Rasa-lila should not be used to capture people by their lust. It is tempting to distribute that lilawe like it so muchbut it is misguided. For canvassing we should not use the highest and most valuable gem. We must not show it in the market to capture attraction. An ordinary gem may be taken to exhibit in public. Anyone and everyone are not qualified to discuss Rasa-lila.
Follow the Will of Our Gurudeva
I must be true to the words of my Gurudeva if I want my realization and not just some sort of popularity. Some may discuss the higher lilas to attract people, to make money, or even to develop a favorable field for preaching, but I do not do this. I do not want popularity or any recognition as a higher acarya. I am a student.
Still I am a student. I consider myself to be a student, a faithful student. What I heard from my Gurudeva, I try my best to stick to that, to keep my position there as I heard from him. I do not want to mutilate that in any way to suit my purpose. I try not to do that. Of course for big propaganda some may adopt different ways, as they see fit. They are now free. But I am not one to do so, to go on in such a way. I try to follow my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada.
Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, preached exclusively this madhurya-rasa, but with great precaution. He used perhaps 90% of his energy to point out the negative side, the imitation"This is not madhurya-rasa"and clear away these sahajiya misconceptions. He had to spare, in his words, 'gallons of blood' to establish what is not that madhurya-rasa.
Smarana Subservient to Kirtana
kirtana prabhave, smarana haibe,
yadyapy-anya bhaktih kalau kartavya
This is the principle of Mahaprabhu's preaching. Kirtana has its own special characteristic, particularly in Kali-yuga.
kaler dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy-eko mahan gunah
Also, Srila Madhvacarya has written in his commentary on Mundakopanisad:
dvapariyair janair visnuh pancaratrais ca kevalam
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, when the incarnation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is mentioned (Bhag. 11.5.32), the method by which the people will worship Him is also given: yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah. Here, yajnah means sacrifice, dedication, which is sankirtana-praya, or sankirtana-pradhana, which means 'predominated by sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Holy Name.' Those endowed with sufficient piety perform this kirtana. So, in this age of iron, kirtana has its own special privilege, granted by the Supreme Lord-Mahaprabhu's specialty is preaching, kirtana. He inaugurated and conducted Hari-kirtana.
Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and others have accepted kirtana. To write about the Lord is also within the jurisdiction of kirtana. To preach is to assert, to take the message to others. To engage in answering the questions of the environment automatically demands concentration, which is very rare in this age. When doing kirtana, one automatically cannot but give all concentration and attention. One cannot speak independently; intuitively, one must be completely attentive. For this reason, kirtana is recommended as the highest form of bhajana, especially in the age of Kali.
bhajanera madhye srestha nava-vidha bhakti
Mahaprabhu accepted five principal limbs from the nine that are mentioned in the Bhagavatam:
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
Of these five, Mahaprabhu has given Nama-sankirtana the highest position. Nama-sankirtana is considered best of alldesignated as such by the acaryas. Our Guru Maharaja especially promoted kirtana, as indicated by sastra, the scriptures. But if other acaryas have shown preference for smarana in any instance, it is in the sense that kirtana may be performed within the material environment, whereas smarana is independent of any material consideration. From this point of view, smarana may be deemed "higher," but that is not accepted in a general way. It is a special opinion.
In Caitanya-siksamrta, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura clarified that there are two types of devotees in the stage just prior to attaining the highest plane of Paramahamsa or uttama-adhikari. The devotees who cross the middle stage (madhyama-adhikari) and reach towards the highest position are called devotees in the stage of premaruruksu. They are classified in two divisions: gosthyanandi and viviktanandi (or bhajananandi). The first are always engaged in preaching, and the latter take to smarana or nirjana-bhajana, a solitary life of worship, without mixing with the environment.
One is not superior to the other. The viviktanandis generally like secluded life and practice smarana. Those who are of the gosthyanandi type perform kirtana, preaching, and attain the highest position without the need to practice exclusive smarana. Those who have attained the highest plane are known as premarudha.
Imaginary Perfection is Self-deception
That is the process amongst the Sahajiya school, but we do not accept that. We consider it all false and imaginary. They are not fit for the plane. They do not have real sambandha-jnana, knowledge of Reality. They only practice the habitual repetition of a particular mental speculation, but anartha-nivrtti (removal of contamination) or any other process based on it cannot be effected thereby. Their imagined achievement is sheer concoction. They are not aware of the factsthe ontological gradation from Viraja to Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha and Goloka. They are pukura-curiwale: pond thievesimagining their residence at Radha Kunda. To think one can steal a pond is self-deception. We consider that kind of 'smarana' to be self-deception.
The Death Blow to the Sahajiyas
upajiya bade lata 'brahmanda' bhedi' yaya
"As one waters the devotional creeper, the seed sprouts, and it gradually grows until it penetrates the walls of this material universe and goes beyond the Viraja River, which divides the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, and then reaches the paravyoma, the spiritual sky, and then reaches the foremost spiritual planet Goloka Vrndavana. Rooted in the heart and watered by sravana-kirtana, the bhakti creeper grows until it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krsna in the topmost region of the spiritual sky." (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.153-4)
One must first cross the different gross and subtle layers of the brahmanda (mundane universe); then Viraja, the extremity of the jurisdiction of Maya, or misconception; then the Brahman conception, the halo of the real or transcendental world; then, Vaikuntha, which is Paravyoma, a sphere of consciousness.
The jiva comes from tatasthaloka, the marginal position or the abscissa, and must go through higher planes where even the soil is more valuable than the infinitesimal spirit soul. Vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala cinmaya. What is Vaikuntha? There the soil, earth, water, everything is of purer consciousness than the person who is going to enter there.
Entering the Land of Gurus
In the same manner we must enter and remain in a soil that is made of a stuff more valuable than our own selves. When serving the emperor, a slave may come near his bed, where even his near and dear cannot go, or hesitate to go. The slave can approach, but only for service. So it is only for the divine service, for the necessity of the Highest, that we can pass through that soil. It is not an easy thing; it is inconceivable. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala cinmaya. We must understand the conception properly. The jiva has emerged from the tatastha-sakti or marginal potency. He is a part of the marginal potency, and he must enter the higher plane. This gross world is of gross potency, apara-sakti; the jiva, although marginal, is of a potency superior to this gross world, or para-sakti. Above both is the Internal Potency, or antaranga-sakti. We have to enter the plane of antaranga-sakti. This marginal potency is to enter the plane of antaranga-saktiParavyoma, and the highest quarter, Vrndavana, Goloka. It is not a trivial matter.
Cheap Imitators and Pseudo Devotees
na u hiya vrksopari, ana ani phala dhari'
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura asks in Kalyana-kalpataru, Upadesa 18: "If one wants fruits without taking the trouble to climb the tree, what sort of fruits can one expect?" The fruits will be ruined, or rotten. Without proper progression, it is all imagination, a madman's feat. One must gradually reach the plane of truth, suddha-sattva. There are so many planes to cross: Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satya-loka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and our devotion must cross all these planes (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.153-4).
But the pseudo-devotees do not care to know what is Paravyoma, what is Brahmaloka, what is Viraja, what is the brahmanda. Without caring to know about these things, they approach any guru, receive some mantra, and go on meditating. But if one meditates upon Radha-Govinda-lila in such an ignorant state, instead of entering Radha-Govinda-lila one will become entangled with the ladies and gentlemen of this world. One will become entangled in the domain of lust and will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka.
Love and Lust
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
The mind is a product of the material potency, and the jiva is a product of para-sakti, the superior potency. Svarupa-sakti, the Lord's personal internal potency, is higher than the jiva. The function of the mind is speculation (manodharma); that is its nature. It has nothing to do with truth. Mental speculation is drawn from the material world, the world of misconception. The mind is full of misconception (avan-manaso gocarah). It cannot reach the stage of feeling or perceiving the truth proper. It is only related to mundane things in the plane of exploitation.
The mind cannot be pure, just as a fossil cannot produce life. Similarly, the mind cannot produce sraddha, divine faith. Sraddha is original and fundamental. When the Supreme Lord appears in the heart, the mind vanishes. Reality is just the opposite of speculation. Darkness cannot produce light; light comes and darkness vanishes. Truth appears when pure consciousness emerges and mental speculation vanishes. The mind is concerned with misconception. It is an element of the apara-sakti, the inferior potency. That potency is both subtle and gross. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are gross manifestations; mind, intelligence and ego are subtle. But they're all material.
The soul is transcendental. Svarupa-sakti, or the Lord's personal potency, bhajana, or divine service, and Goloka-Vaikuntha are all supra-mundane and transcendental. They are beyond the soul, not on the denser realm where the mind is located. Properly speaking, purity or impurity cannot be attributed to the mind. If we do, everything will be misunderstood. The mind emerges from the false ego and it is imbued with the tendency to exploit.
Mahaprabhu says, mora mana-vrndavana: "My attention is elsewhere, in Vrndavana." Vrndavana is not an element of this mundane plane. The residents of Goloka also possess senses, but the affairs of the mundane world are never represented in that plane.
The mundane mentality is a product of exploitation, sense exploitation. We need relief from this mind. We are surrounded by poisonous thought. In the narration of the Tridandi-sannyasi in Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhag. 11.23.45), all the disciplines agree that the mind should be checked.
danam svadharmo niyamo yamas ca srutam ca karmani ca sad-vratani
Exploitation, Renunciation and Dedication
Affection (raga, anuraga) does not differentiate between great and small; it is very generous. Only through affection and love is it possible to expect to attain that plane one day. But it is not so easy. Once, when a young devotee began to manifest various apparently devotional sentiments, others came to me, saying: "He is showing many signs of higher bhava (sentiments), are they real?" I said, "Never!"
I Have No Love For Krsna
Bhava is such a valuable attainment, and we think ourselves masters of it overnight! Fools, deceivers, self-deceivers! In the positive, assertive way it can never be attained. Only in the negative, submissive way can we have some conception. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, vicaksana kari', dekhite cahile haya, haya akhi-agocara: "Suddenly a flash came, but when I tried to look, it disappeared. It was withdrawn." In this way, in a submissive way, we can have some idea. Whimsically He may come, and suddenly I may feel, "Oh, here is some experience of the higher knowledge and love, but if I try to capture it, there is nothing, vanished."