70 Obstacles to Vraja Bhajan

Mahanidhi Swami

The following list of obstacles to Vraja-bhajana comes from Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ‘Caitanya Siksastakam’ which says, “The demons manifesting in Vraja Gokula on earth have symbolic significance. They are not found in the spiritual world. There they appear only as rumors or impressions.”

The Thakura says, “By reading the namittika (occasional) lilas of killing the twenty demons mentioned in the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the sadhaka purifies his heart of all the impediments, obstacles, anarthas and aparadhas. Then one becomes eligible to read, reflect upon and taste the asta-kaliya lilas of Radha Krsna.”

Until one reaches the platform of bhava-bhakti, it is necessary to cultivate devotion by meditating on both the naimittika and asta-kaliya lilas. By reading and remembering the asta-kaliya lilas (Bhavanasara Sangraha, Krsnahnika Kaumudi), one gets a taste of madhura-rasa. By understanding and appreciating the naimittika lilas, a devotee will destroy all the obstacles to tasting the bhakti rasa within Radha Krsna’s eternal pastimes.

With a sincere desire to become purified of all material contaminations, one should read all the above pastimes from the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. With all humility, one should pray to Krsna and Balarama to remove the impurities personified by the demons whom they had killed.

The demons killed by Krsna in the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam represent anarthas (impurities or obstacles) preventing a devotee from attaining pure love for Radha and Krsna.

These undesirable impurities and demoniac qualities must be completely uprooted from the core of one’s heart. Only cent percent pure devotees of Krsna can live eternally in Vrndavana blissfully serving the Divine Couple.

If a devotee cries out humbly and sincerely to Lord Sri Krsna to remove these demoniac qualities which are represented by the demons killed by Lord Krsna, then Sri Krsna Himself will remove those evils. But the devotees must personally work to drive out the anarthas represented by the demons killed by Lord Balarama.

This is a mystery of Vraja-bhajana. The aspirant must personally remove these strong impediments with his best care and efforts and by obtaining the mercy of Krsna. If the devotee’s humility- becomes very deep and intense, Krsna will be merciful.

In that case, the feeling of Lord Baladeva will arise in his mind and quickly destroy these demoniac qualities. Then one will gradually improve his cultivation of bhajana.

List of Anarthas & and The Cure

Tenth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam

  1. Aisvarya— Attachment to awe and reverence instead of Krsna’s sweetness Brahma-vimohana Lila – Ch.13
  2. Argument— Attachment to false arguments Trnavarta – Ch.7
  3. Argument— Accepting arguments as your guru Putana – Ch.6
  4. Argument— Pointless Forest fire – Ch.17 & 19
  5. Arrogance— Due to wealth and high birth Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch. 10
  6. Association— With atheists believing in chemical evolution Trnavarta – Ch.7
  7. Association— With proud people Trnavarta – Ch.7
  8. Association— With dry logicians Trnavarta – Ch.7
  9. Association— Giving up association of false, deceitful devotees Vyoma – Ch.37
  10. Attachment— To enjoyment and salvation Putana – Ch.6
  11. Battles & Conflicts— Fighting mental enemies or looking for fight with others due to ego Forest fire – Ch. 17&19
  12. Buddhist philosophy— Trapped in the whirlwind of Trnavarta – Ch.7
  13. Cheating propensity— Tendency to disobey the instructions of guru & Krsna due to material attachment Bakasura – Ch.11
  14. Compassion— Lack of, for others Aghasura –Ch.12
  15. Crookedness— Illegal, dishonest, bent out of shape Kaliya – Ch.16
  16. Cruelty— In any form by the actions of one’s body, mind or words Liberation of yarnala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  17. Cruelty & unkindness— Due to envy of other living entities Kaliya – Ch.16
  18. Cunningness— Skilled at deceiving people Bakasura – Ch.11
  19. Debauchery— Indulging in sex, alcohol and drugs Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  20. Addiction— To drinking alcohol Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  21. Demigods— Attachment to worshipping different demigods for fruits even after initiation Stopping Indra-puja – Ch.24& 25
  22. Doubts— Illusions about Absolute Truth and position of Krsna Brahma-vimohana lila – Ch.13
  23. Fame— Destroying the desire for name and fame Sankhachuda – Ch.34
  24. Falsity— Leaving vaidhi-bhakti to practice raganuga-bhakti; but if one doesn’t attain spiritual attachment to Krsna, he then cultivates perverted material attachments; becoming a show-bottle devotee. Vyoma – Ch.37
  25. Fighting— Against the opinions of others Forest fire-Ch.17& 19
  26. Greed— For position, worship and money Pralambasura – Ch 18
  27. Greed— Performing bad activities due to greed Vatsasura – Ch.11
  28. Habits— Bad – Old & new; load bearing down on bhakti Sakatasura – Ch.7
  29. Hatred— Towards others; tendency to harass them Aghasura – Ch.12
  30. Hatred— Towards others because of pride in one’s birth and money Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  31. Hatred — Inner hatred towards other communities and groups Forest fire – Ch.l7&19
  32. Honour— Desire for honour Pralarnbasura – Ch.18
  33. Holy Name— Ignorance about the oneness of Krsna, the person and His Holy Name Dhenukasura – Ch.15
  34. Hypocrisy— In behaviour—Pretending to have higher standards Bakasura – Ch.11
  35. Ignorance— About one’s relationship with Krsna (sarnbandha-jnana) Dhenukasura – Ch.15
  36. Illicit Sex— Removing the desire for illicit sex and attachment to it Pralambasura – Ch.18
  37. Illusion— Freedom from the illusion of thinking, “I am a great devotee and acarya” Kesi – Ch. 37
  38. Intolerance— Inability to tolerate ideas or behaviour different from yours Aghasura – Ch.12
  39. Intoxication— Destroying the idea — “I can increase my bliss by intoxication” Releasing Nanda Maharaja from Varuna – Ch. 28
  40. Knowledge— Loss of knowledge concerning one’s spiritual identity Dhenukasura – Ch.15
  41. Karma -kanda— Becoming indifferent to bhakti due to absorption in karma-kandiya activities Yajnic brahmanas – Ch. 23
  42. Laziness— Due to bad habits or attachment to the mode of ignorance Sakatasura – Ch.7
  43. Lies— Tendency to speak Vyoma – Ch.37
  44. Logic— Attachment to material logic (nyaya) Trnavarta – Ch.7
  45. Lust— An external show of devotion while maintaining lust for opposite sex Pralambasura – Ch.18
  46. Mayavada philosophy— Letting the truth of bhakti be swallowed by Mayavada philosophy Vidyadhara liberated – Ch.34
  47. Mentality— Ass-like neophyte mentality which can’t appreciate books of previous acaryas and forbids others to read them Dhenukasura – Ch.15
  48. Mind— Immature; performing sinful activities due to an immature mind Vatsasura – Ch.11
  49. Misconception— Carrying the load of misconceptions and bad philosophies Sakatasura – Ch.7
  50. Neophyte— Strong spirit to enjoy and tendency to perform illicit activities Vatsasura – Ch.11 & read Krsna sporting lila with the cowhered boys
  51. Offenses— Due to pride, one thinks that he is a great devotee and therefore offensively lords over others. Kesi – Ch.37
  52. Philosophies— Other than bhakti, which try to diminish or destroy bhakti Vidyadhara liberated – Ch.34
  53. Pride— Pride in scholarship and material learning Trnavarta – Ch.7
  54. Pride— Pride caused by money and worldly attachments. Kesi – Ch.37
  55. Pride— Thinking you are more expert in bhakti than other devotees Vyoma – Ch.37
  56. Religious practices— Disregard for religious practices of others Forest fire – Ch.17 & 19
  57. Religious principles— Not understanding the purpose of religious principles; merely carrying the burden of following them due to attachment Sakatasura – Ch.7
  58. Sampradayas— Disagreement with other sampradayas and mathas Forest fire – Ch.17 & 19
  59. Sectarianism— Due to sectarianism, you can’t accept anyone outside your group as a vaisnava Forest fire – Ch.17 & 19
  60. Scepticism— Doubts regarding the path of bhakti Brahma-vimohana lila – Ch.13
  61. Shameful behaviour— Breaking of four religious principles Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  62. Speech— Loose speech; speaking offensively due to one’s birth or money Liberation of yamala-arjuna trees – Ch.10
  63. Sense gratification— Desiring to attain sense gratification via bhakti Sankhachuda – Ch.34
  64. Suddha bhakti— Negligence or disregard for Aristasura – Ch.36
  65. Stealing— Others’ property Vyoma – Ch.37
  66. Varnasrama— Due to pride and attachment to varnasrama, one neglects Krsna bhakti Yajnic brahmanas – Ch.23
  67. Vanity— Pride in one’s own appearance or achievements Sakatasura – Ch.7 Kaliya – Ch.16
  68. Violence— Tendency of the mind to commit violence to others Aghasura – Ch.12
  69. Women — Destroying the desire to associate with women Sankhachuda – Ch.34
  70. Yajna— Attachment to vedic homas and yajnas, and therefore becoming indifferent to bhakti. Yajnic brahmanas – Ch.23

Srimad Bhagavat Maha Purana Ki Jai! Anartha Nivritti ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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