Chapter 11 - Prayojana: the ultimate goal
Taking a particle of mercy from the munificent Mahaprabhu, I will now present the final goal of the scriptures and of all human endeavors- the one, final attainment, prema-which even after compiling, studying and considering all the Vedas for hundreds of kalpas, Lord Brahma could not understand; and which even Lord Siva, equipped with all knowledge and yoga powers, the master of the path of renunciation, is always searching for; and which all liberated jivas continually adore as the attainment of their own glory (sva mahima).
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in teaching Sri Rupa Gosvami about prema, said the following:
bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.
When a person receives the seed of devotional service he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtana the seed will begin to sprout.
As one waters the bhakti lata bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases until it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja river between the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence. Penetrating through that stratum, it reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrndavana.
Being situated in one's heart and being watered by sravana-kirtana, the bhakti creeper continues to grow. In this way it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krsna, who is eternally situated in the planet known as Goloka Vrndavana in the topmost region of the spiritual sky.
The creeper greatly expands in the Goloka Vrndavana planet, and there it produces the fruit of love for Krsna. Although remaining in the material world, the gardener regularly sprinkles the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting.
If the devotee commits an offense at the feet of a Vaisnava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service in the material world, his offense is compared to a mad elephant that uproots the creeper and breaks it. In this way the leaves of the creeper are dried up.
The gardener must defend the creeper by fencing it all around so that the powerful elephant of offenses may not enter.
Sometimes unwanted creepers, such as the creepers of desires for material enjoyment and liberation from the material world, grow along with the creeper of devotional service. The varieties of such unwanted creepers are unlimited.
Some unnecessary creepers growing with bhakti creeper are the creepers of behavior unacceptable for those trying to attain perfection, diplomatic behavior, animal killing, mundane profiteering, mundane adoration and mundane importance. All these are unwanted creepers.
If one does not distinguish between the bhakti lata creeper and the other creepers, the sprinkling of water is misused because the other creepers are nourished while the bhakti lata creeper is curtailed.
As soon as an intelligent devotee sees an unwanted creeper growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real creeper of bhakti lata bija grows nicely, returns, home, back to Godhead, and seeks shelter under the lotus feet of Krsna.
When the fruit of devotional service becomes ripe and falls down, the gardener tastes the fruit, and thus takes advantage of the creeper and reaches the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krsna in Goloka Vrdnavana.
There the devotee serves the lotus feet of the Lord, which are compared to a wish-fulfilling tree. With great bliss he tastes the juice of the fruit of love and becomes eternally happy.
To taste the fruit of devotional service at Goloka Vrndavana is the highest perfection of life, and in the presence of such perfection, the four material perfections-religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation-are very insignificant achievements. (C.C.Madhya 19-151-164)
Krsna das Kaviraja has described Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings in fitting verses with great expertise. If the jiva can understand the direct meaning of these verses, he will be immediately fortunate. If he understands these eighteen verses he will easily attain what cannot be attained by studying piles of scriptures.
Since time immemorial the jivas are all wandering in the universe, following the path of karma or jnana. When the sukrtis which build up the propensity for bhakti become strong, the jiva develops faith in bhakti. With faith, the devotee takes shelter of the lotus feet of sadhu and guru.
According to instructions of the guru, he firmly sows in his heart this faith, which is in the form of a seed of the bhakti creeper. The jiva becomes the gardener, and waters the bhakti with water in the form of hearing and chanting the name. The creeper grows bigger and bigger, pierces the universe, crosses over the Viraja, the border of the spiritual world, and after traversing the impersonal brahma dhama enters the place of the Lord's pastimes.
When the jiva pierces the universe an incident takes place, in the form of obtaining the mercy of Krsna. The jiva in his spiritual form is very insignificant. Moreover, while giving up matter, qualities get extinguished. The jiva then desires to annihilate his existence. At this crucial time, Krsna's own mercy assists the jiva, through the special mercy of Krsna's devotees. What is this mercy? It is the hladini sakti emanating from the cit sakti or spiritual energy of the Lord. It is extremely powerful. At the time of material cessation, this energy is eager to protect the jiva from annihilation of his spiritual individuality. It transforms sadhana bhakti into a more loving form. By the strength of this more intense form, the jiva attains rati, and gradually begins to ascend. Without the mercy of the hladini sakti, the jiva cannot be qualified for the goal of prema.
Equipped with the strength of the hladini sakti, the jiva pierces brahma dhama and attains the spiritual world. At the top of the spiritual world is Goloka Vrndavana. There, the creeper of bhakti spreads itself at the feet of Krsna's lotus feet and yields the fruits of prema. The gardener, still residing in the material world, continues watering the root of the creeper through hearing and chanting Krsna's name constantly.
When the creeper sprouts and grows, the gardener must be careful. Sometimes the mad elephant of offenses against devotees in the form of violence, hatred or criticism arises. It tears up the bhakti creeper, and the leaves wither. Sometimes the mad elephant uproots the plant completely. The gardener must be very careful to ensure that this offense does not take place.
One other obstacle may appear: along with the creeper of bhakti, weeds may also spring up. They grow along with the watering process of hearing and chanting and smother the creeper of bhakti. Many types of weeds may grow up: material enjoyment, desire of liberation, desire for mystic powers, desire of women, sinful action, absorption of the mind in forbidden things, violence to other living entities, cruelty, cheating, longing for position, greed for money or material piety. The gardener must be careful to cut down these weeds as they begin to grow.
In this way, the creeper can surpass the material world and attain the spiritual world of Vrndavana. The fruit of prema ripens and falls, and the gardener relishes it in great bliss. Prema is the ultimate goal of the jiva. Compared to this, dharma, artha, kama and moksa are nothing.
Now the nature of prema and the types of prema will be discussed.
When devotional service is situated on the transcendental platform of pure goodness, it is like a ray of the sunlight of love of Krsna (prema). At such a time, devotional service causes the heart to be softened by various tastes, and it is called bhava. (B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga 3.1)
When that bhava softens the heart completely, becomes endowed with a great feeling of possessiveness in relation to the Lord and becomes very much condensed and intensified, it is called prema by learned scholar. (B.R.S. Prema lahiri 1)
From the svarupa sakti of Krsna, which manifets all things, arises the samvit sakti, governing the consciousness in the spiritual world. This feature of the svarupa sakti is called suddha sattva, pure goodness. The sattva of maya sakti is not pure but mixed. Tender and deep emotion with possessiveness of Krsna is the special feature of the hladini sakti. When these two elements (suddha sattva (samvit) and hladini) mix, they attain the highest and most astonishing state in the jiva's heart: it is called pure prema. In the material world the combination of the maya's samvit and hladini potency gives rise to material prema or material love. This is but a perverted shadow of the pure, spiritual prema. The relationship (bhava ) coming from ones spiritual form in pure, natural consciousness (suddha sattva svarupa) and tender actions to express that love (hladini) are both present in prema. (Bhava here refers to sthayi bhava, fixed emotion.) Its first appearance is called rati.
bhakti haite maya ratira udaya
By regularly rendering devotional service, one gradually becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When that attachment is intensified, it becomes love of Godhead. The basic aspects of prema, when gradually increasing to different states, are affection (sneha), abhorrence (mana), love (pranaya), attachment (raga), further attachment (anuraga), ecstasy (bhava) and great ecstasy (mahabhava). (C.C.Madhya 19.177-178)
This bhava is called the seedling of prema or priti and when it appears, it shows the following characteristics:
avyartha-kalatvam viraktir mana- sunyata
The symptoms (anubhavas) of the sprout of bhava are forbearance, not wasting time, detachment, absence of pride, possibility of attaining Krsna, greed for attaining Krsna, taste of chanting the name, attachment to discussions of Krsna's qualities, living in a place of Krsna's pastimes. ( B.R.S. Purva Vibhaga Rati bhakti, 11)
These are also mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila 23. 20-31. When these symptoms of bhava appear, they are seen as real nature of the person. This rati is the first stage of prema; prema is the deeper stage of rati. Prema is like the sun and rati or bhava is its ray. When rati arises, very small ecstatic symptoms appear. When rati appears in the mind of the conditioned soul, though it is actually self-manifesting, coming from the soul itself, it appears as if a product of the mind.
There are two types of rati: that caused by the mercy of Krsna or his devotee, and that caused by absorption in sadhana bhakti. That rati due to sadhana is commonly seen in the world, whereas that due to mercy is very rare. The rati due to sadhana has two types: from vaidhi sadhana and raganuga sadhana.
Rati is a rare thing. The apparent symptoms of rati visible in persons desiring liberation or material benefits is but a semblance of real rati. This raty abhasa has two types: pratibimba raty abhasa (reflection) and chaya raty abhasa (shadow). Seeing those symptoms, the ignorant person will mistake them for real rati.
Sometimes one may see a person who has not done sadhana, but who has genuine rati. In such cases, one must understand that in previous lives his expert sadhana was for some reason interrupted. When that obstacle has been destroyed, the result, pure bhava, appears in this life.
If one seems to see some discrepancy in the actions or behavior of a person who as attained real rati, one should not be envious of him. He has reached the success of life. Actually such a person is faultless. If one sees in him some mundane action which is contrary to the rules of vaidhi bhakti conduct, from his side there is no fault. It is only apparent fault seen from the eyes of the person on a lower level attached to the rules.
The active portions of rati (cesta rupa bhakti) are the anubhavas (actions generated from emotion for Krsna) and the special ingredients of emotion (bhava rupa) are the sancari bhavas (transitory emotions). When these mix with rati and rati becomes intense, it is called prema, and prema leads to rasa. The topics of rasa are discussed in the work "Krsnera Rasamrta Samudratva Vicara" so they will not be mentioned here.
Prema has two types: kevala (pure) prema and mahima jnana yukta (endowed with reverence) prema. From raganuga sadhana bhakti usually kevala prema arises. Through vaidhi bhakti, mahima jnana yukta prema arises; the devotee attains the same planet, same opulences, same form and close association of the Lord in Vaikuntha. According the Lord Caitanya's teachings, the highest goal is kevala prema.
Prema arises in two ways: from bhava and from the mercy of the Lord. Prema arising from bhava has two types: arising from vaidha-induced bhava and from raganuga induced bhava. Prema arising from mercy alone is very rare whereas prema arising from bhava is normal. The succession to prema through bhava is mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrta:
bhagye kona jivera sraddha yadi haya
If by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Krsna, he begins to associate with devotees.
When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing. When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens. After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Krsna grows in the heart. When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life's ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure. If one actually has the seed of transcendental emotion in his heart, the symptoms will be visible in his activities. That is the verdict of all revealed scriptures. (C.C.Madhya 23.9-17)
On this there is a karika:
sannidhau lauhah pravrtto drsyate yatha
Just as iron shows its innate quality when the magnet comes close, so the minute consciousness, jiva, shows his natural tendency when he becomes favorable towards the supreme conscious entity Krsna. His natural tendency is pure love of Krsna. This quality of raga is perfect in the spiritual world. The material world is only a reflection of the spiritual world. The jiva, accepting unnatural qualities in the material world, produces a different type of raga towards the objects of the world, though raga itself is generated from his nature.
If the conditioned jiva does not destroy his subtle material body, his pure love will not appear. Only after breaking the subtle body, the bhakti which appears is pure priti. Before this stage, bhakti attempting self- surrender by destroying the material identity and establishing the spiritual identity, has priti, love, as its quality (pritimayi) but cannot have priti as its essence (priti atmika).
This state of pritimayi is described in the Caitanya Caritamrta:
bhakti mukhya vrajavasi jane
The original inhabitants of Vrndavana are attached to Krsna spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called ragatmika bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vrndavana, his devotional service is called raganuga bhakti. If one follows in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vrndavana out of such transcendental covetousness, he does not care for the injunctions or reasoning of sastra. That is the way of spontaneous love. There are two processes by which one may execute this raganuga bhakti-external and internal. The self-realized, advanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the sastric injunctions, especially hearing and chanting. However, within his mind, in his original purified self-realized position, he serves Krsna in Vrndavana in his particular way. He serves Krsna twenty-four hours, all day and night. Actually the inhabitants of Vrndavana are very dear to Krsna. If one wants to engae in spontaneous loving service, he must follow the inhabitants of Vrndavana and constantly engage in devotional service within his mind. (C.C.Madhya 22.149, 153, 156-157. 159)
The karika says:
sa ca visaya-pritir eva hi
What is the difference between love (priti) of material objects and love of Krsna? When the affection is directed from matter to Krsna in a pure way it becomes love of Krsna. When the same affection is turned from Krsna towards matter, it is called material love or material attachment. In the stages from rati to mahabhava this affection is intrinsic characteristic for each stage. This sthayi bhava, qualified by relations such as dasya, attains the nature of rasa by mixing of the ingredients (anubhava, sattvika bhava etc.
In the Siksastaka bhasya , based on the Priti Sandarbha of Srila Jiva Gosvami, the development of priti is described as follows: undeveloped priti, in the first stage is ullasamayi, jubilant. It is called rati. This type of rati is present in santa rasa. When it appears, any other object than Krsna becomes very insignificant. When ullasamayi rati becomes extremely possessive it is called prema. This is present in dasya rasa. When this develops, all causes for breaking the relationship become feeble. When prema becomes visvasamayi (confidential) it is called pranaya. It is suitable for sakhya rasa.
When pranaya manifests, there is no longer any reverence, even where reverence would be suitable. When pranaya becomes variegated and becomes slightly devious due to taking the identity of a beloved of Krsna, it is called mana (pride). When mana appears, even Krsna manifests fear (out of love).When the heart becomes melted, prema becomes sneha. With the appearance of sneha, there are symptoms such s shedding of excessive tears. Even though seeing the Lord, the person is unsatisfied, and though capable of pleasing the Lord, the person is fearful and unsteady.
When sneha becomes full of desire, it is called raga. When raga appears, even a moment's separation becomes intolerable. Meeting is happiness and separation is distress. When raga realizes the dear object in newer and newer ways and itself appears in newer ways, it is called anuraga. With the appearance of anuraga, the person desires to take birth as an inanimate object just to be related to the Lord, due to the variegated prema resulting from mutual submissiveness. During the pain of separation, Krsna makes a sudden appearance. When anuraga attains a state of madness with unequaled amazing appearance, it is called mahabhava. When mahabhava appears, during meeting, the passing of even one moment is intolerable, and a kalpa of time passes in a second. In separation, one second seems to be kalpa. In anuraga and mahabhava, the ecstatic symptoms such as sattvika bhavas appear in the most intense form.
The karika says:
Priti, the very embodiment of spiritual pastimes, playing in unlimited waves, continually distributes rasa to Krsna, the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss. Due to the very nature of priti, rasa becomes extremely blissful and astounding in Krsna-who is called Krsna because He has a special attracting power for everyone. With his dark, beautiful form of compacted knowledge and bliss, Krsna is the supreme sweetness and the generator of priti, love. Krsna, the beloved of the gopis, is full of unlimited auspicious qualities and profuse pastimes. Krsna, the dearmost object to the soul, must be experienced directly through His name, form, qualities and pastimes. That person who enjoys with Krsna in his Vrndavana form in the forest is the most fortunate, most intelligent, according to the Kena Upanisad.
sad-dhiyam anvaya-sukrti-matam sat-krpaika-prabhavat
The five angas are serving the deity, tasting the meaning of Bhagavatam with relishing devotees, associating with the superior devotees on raga marga, chanting the name and living in Mathura. Practicing these five with an offenseless heart, one attains real mercy. Through that mercy arises a greed to serve the inhabitants of Vraja who are impelled by raga. From that greed, there arises raganuga sadhana-bhakti, which transcends the scriptural injunctions and exclusively serves Krsna with a mood of affection of the Vraja vasis. By practicing this bhakti (sadhana), very soon, pure, exclusive priti (kevala prema) for Krsna will arise. This is the esoteric teaching of Mahaprabhu.