Mahanidhi Swami

There are two distinct paths of sadhana bhakti: vidhi-marga and raga-marga, the paths of rules and passionate drive. Externally both observe the same practices i.e. hearing, chanting, remembering and worshiping Sri Krishna. Since both paths follow the same external practices, it is hard to differentiate between a vaidhi bhakta and a raganugiya bhakta. The difference is in the inner drive to act and practice sadhana. Thus it is the impetus that determines the path: vaidhi or raganuga.

On the path of raga, passionate drive, one’s spiritual greed creates a great inner hankering that propels one toward to the goal of attaining the same loving feelings and services as Krishna beloveds in Vraja. In vidhi-marga, one acts because of the fear of punishment or the sense of duty and acceptance of scriptural edict.

Perfection in vidhi-marga means attaining Vaikuntha and serving Sri Krishna in a mood of formality and majesty. Perfection in raga-marga takes one to Vraja-dhama and the intimate sweet personal service of Radha Govinda Yugala with the mood (manjari bhava), form and seva of a handmaiden of Srimati Radharani.

Beside the shared practices with vidhi-marga, raga-marga features a unique internal world of practice—mental service and meditation. Internally, one cultivates a specific divine loving emotion that ultimately gives realization and vision of one’s eternal spiritual body (siddha-svarupa) suited for Radha-Govinda’s direct service in Vraja.

The path of raganuga bhakti has two stages: unborn taste and awakened taste, ajata-ruci and jata-ruci. Unborn taste is the beginning stage when one is keenly interested in reading and hearing about Radha-Krishna and the gopis in Vraja. However, a mature, burning desire to serve Radha-Krishna as a gopi has not yet appeared. At this stage, one’s practice of raganuga-sadhana is a mixture of raganuga and vaidhi as far as one’s impetus is concerned.

In the second stage, jata-ruci, one feels a deep, overwhelming taste for both the practice and the goal of raganuga sadhana bhakti. This is raganuga proper in the sense that one is following (anuga) his powerful desires (raga) to attain gopi-bhava and Sri Radha’s eternal service. Besides a keen interest to read and hear Radha-Krishna topics, the jata-ruci sadhaka is spontaneously and constantly pushed forward simply by the power of his intense desire: “I must attain gopi-bhava and the eternal service of Srimati Radharani in this very lifetime!”

Manjari Bhava Upasakas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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