Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Vaisnava aparadha is spiritual suicide. But unfortunately, thousands of devotees are dying daily from this terrible deed. Vaisnava aparadha is like cancer. And it just grows and grows invisibly inside one slowing devouring the vitals of one’s bhakti.

A Vrajavasi saint living in Varshana named 108 Sri Sri Vinod Hari Das Babaji Maharaja gives the following important teachings about Vaisnava ninda, disrespecting and offending devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Definitely, if you read this post 108 times, you will understand and realize the unique and special position of EVERY SINGLE VAISNAVA without distinction.

Then once and for all the dreaded deadly disease of Vaisnava ninda will be removed, and peace, pure vision, balance and joy will arise in your purified consciousness.

THE SUBJECT OF VAISNAVA APARADHA

(note: this post is copied from net as it is without editing)

Sri Vinod Haridas Babaji Maharaja said, “The other aparadhas break the branches and leaves of the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti. However Vaisnava-aparadha is very powerful and it uproots the creeper altogether.

If we commit the other aparadhas the creeper will, no doubt, grow weak, but it will continue to live. However, if we commit Vaisnava-aparadha the creeper of bhakti dries up completely. Shastra say, “If we beat, criticize, disrespect, get angry with, do not express pleasure on seeing, do not pay obeisance and do not glorify a Vaishnav we commit Vaisnava-aparadha.” – (Sri Hari-bhakti-vilas)

Sriman-Mahaprabhu has especially warned the sadhak about this Vaishnavaparadhas. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Sri Chaitanya Bhägabat mention Vaisnava-aparadha repeatedly. Meaning – “Chaitanya Gosain (Sriman-Mahaprabhu) delivered even the drunkards, but He sent the ones who indulge in Vaishnav-ninda in the Kumbhipäka hell.

Gourachandra will deliver everybody except the ones who criticize the Vaishnavs since they are the most fallen ones. Even if one pays obeisance to Sri Bhagavän, he will perish if he criticizes a devotee since it strikes Sri Gourahari like a spear in His heart. All Shästras declare that even if one is all-knowing he will fall down if he criticizes a Vaishnav. Although Sri Krishna’s Holy name cleanses us of all the sins, He cannot deliver us from the effects of Vaisnava-aparadha.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat)

“heno baishnab-aparadhas jasi uthe hatimata,
upariya chinde tar shuki jay pata.”

Meaning – “A Vaisnava-aparadha is like an intoxicated elephant. It uproots the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti and its leaves dry up.”

– (Caitanya Caritamrita)

Besides these, other Shastras too have warned us about Vaisnava-aparadha.

“ninda kurvanti ye mudha vaishnavanang mahatmanang,
patanti pitribhih sardhang maha-raurava-sansthite.”

Meaning – “All those fools who critisize Vaishnavs, they fall into the Raurava hell8 along with their ancestors.” – (Skanda Puran)

“janma prabhriti yat kinchit sukritang samuparjiang,
nasham-ayati tat sarvang pidayed yadi vaishnavan.”

Meaning – “Those who hurt Vaishnavs, all their pious activities (even those performed in previous lifetimes) come to a naught.”

– (Skanda Puran)

“pujitaih bhagavan vishnur-janmantarshatair-api,
prasidati na vishwatma vaishnave cha-avamanite.”

Meaning – “Sri Bhagavan is never ever pleased with all those who show disrespect towards Vaishnavs.” – (Srimad-Bhagavatam)

So now, you can understand how dangerous Vaisnava-aparadha is. If we keep on collecting Vaisnava-aparadha there is no point in performing lots of bhajan. There is no way we can progress even the slightest bit in bhakti.

Vaisnava-aparadha does not constitute only Vaishnav-ninda. May be someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda, you only say “Yea, yea, that’s right”. Even then, you will have to bear the entire effect of Vaishnav-ninda. It is like this – suppose, someone comes to you with an application, you do not say anything, but only sign below it; this is proof enough that you are making that statement. Similarly, if someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda and you quietly nod your head then you should understand that you too are making the same comments.

Vivek das – That is all right. However, Shastras prescribe some behavioral code for the Vaishnavs, do they not? If some Vaishnavs do not follow these rules – instead – they behave in a completely opposite manner then why can we not mention it? Why should that constitute Vaisnava-aparadha?

Gour kripa – Most certainly, it will constitute Vaisnava-aparadha. Even if we see some Vaishnav behaving against the Shastriya-rules, we must not indulge in ninda. Instead, we should give him full respect, as a sadhu deserves to be given. This is because the Lord says in Sri Bhagavad Gita –

“api chedsuduraharo bhajate mam-ananyabhk,
sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah.”

Meaning – “Even if someone is most sinful, but he worships me alone, then you must consider him to be a sadhu.”

Hence, if we ever disrespect a sädhu it is an aparadhas.

“hari-bhakti-para ye cha harinama parayanah,
durvritta va suvritta va tebhyo nityang namo namah.”

Meaning – “Whoever does Hari-bhakti and chants Holy Name – he may be good or bad

– I pay him my obeisance.”

– (Brihan-naradiya Puran)

“bhagavati cha haravananya-cheta
bhrisha-malino’pi virajate manushyah,
na hi shasha-kslushachchavih kadachit
timira-parabhävatam-upaiti chandrah.”

Meaning – “One who has bhakti for Sri Krishna alone, even if he is seen to commit some sinful activities, he always emits the aura of bhakti, just as the moon, although blemished, is not defeated by darkness.” – (Nrisimha Puran)

Therefore, we must never ever show contempt for a Vaishnav. Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat has strictly warned us –“We shall never get any respite if we criticize a worthy Vaishnav, for his behavior is beyond our limited understanding. Sometimes a worthy Vaishnav commits the same activities as a sinful person, only by Sri Krishna’s kripa, someone can understand this – but there are others who fall in trouble (of Vaishnav-ninda) and perish.

Those who do not fall in this pit, they survive in bhakti. I can see only one way out of this peril – it is best to glorify and behave humbly with everyone. In this mood, we must chant Holy Name and carefully hear from the great devotees. Then Krishna gives them divine intelligence, he crosses over the material ocean and no one can stop him.”

Vivek das – All right, I will not do Vaishnav-ninda. However, if someone comes to me and does the same then how is it harmful?

Gour kripa – Of course, it will harm you! If someone come to you and does Vaishnav-ninda – you don’t know whether that person is telling the truth or a lie, yet your respect towards that Vaishnav will decrease, won’t it? Immediately you will incur Vaisnava-aparadha ! This is why Shastras have ordered us not hear Vaishnav-ninda.

“nindam bhagavah shrinvan tatparasya janasya Vaisnava-aparadha,
Tato napaiti yah so’pi yatyadhah sukritachchyutah.”

Meaning – “On hearing Sri Krishna-ninda and ninda of Sri Krishna’s devotees, those who do not leave the place, he loses all his sukritis9 and falls down to the hellish planets.”

(Srimad-Bhagavatam)

“sadhu-ninda shunile sukriti hoy khoy,
janma janma adhahpat bede ei koy.’

Meaning – “The Vedas state that if we hear sadhu-ninda we lose our sukriti and fall down in every birth.”

From all these statements made in Shästras we can understand how dangerous is Vaisnava-aparadha ! So whoever wishes to progress in bhakti must be extremely careful about Vaisnava-aparadha. It is best to consider every Vaishnav as Sri Govinda’s dear devotee, show him respect and pay obeisance.

Vivek das – Does this mean that even a Babaji should show respect to a householder and pay obeisance?

Gour-kripa – A Vaishnav is a Vaishnav. He may be a grihastha or a renounced – that is immaterial. We must never distinguish. We must show respect, behave respectfully and pay dandavat to every Vaishnav. Otherwise, we’ll be committing an offence. Sri Bhagavän sees our heart. Whose heart is always filled with Krishna and he is not interested in material things, is a true Vaishnav. Sri Gita has defined ‘sannyas’ as –

“jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi yo dweshti na kankshati,
nirdvandvo hi mahabaho sukhang bandhat pramuchyate.”

Meaning – “O Mahabaho! He who never desires anything material, is devoid of anger and envy, know him to be an eternal sannyasi. A pure devotee like him, who is devoid of such dilemma very easily, transcends material bondage and gains liberation.”

Sri Bhagavan has said in Sri Gita –

“anashritah karmaphalang karyang karma karoti yah,
sa sannyasi cha yogi cha niragnirna chakriya.”

Meaning – “Whoever discharges his duties without expecting any fruit thereof; he alone is a sannyasi, a yogi and not one who has given up all activities.”

Therefore, if we accept the above statement of Sri Gita, then it is quite possible that a grihastha, whom I have shown contempt so far, is actually a sannyasi. Therefore, I have no business to feel proud ‘Ohh! I am a Babaji’ and treat a grihastha with contempt. I will only be committing Vaishnavaparadhas if I think him to be ‘a person worthy of my mercy’ or ‘a materialist’.

Now this does not mean a grihastha should disrespect a Babaji and think – ‘What is there in a dress? Greatness depends on the quality of bhajan. I am a nice devotee, I perform good bhajan, while this person is only a Babaji in name, and he does not behave like one.’

Even this is wrong. If a grihastha thinks like this and has contempt for a Babaji, he is crossing maryada and so is committing Vaisnava-aparadha. If a grihastha sees a young Babaji and thinks – “I am old and experienced. Moreover, I have lived for so long in Vrindävan and performed bhajan while this Babaji is of my son’s age, so why should I pay dandavat to him?

Rather I should bless him.” This is an aparadhas. We must remember that ‘kaupin’ is not something ordinary. It is according to Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s wish and Goswamis such as Sri Rup and Sanatan have worn this attire. Therefore, we must never disregard this dress.

“maryada langhile hoy narake gaman.”

Meaning – “If we overstep ‘maryada’ we shall go to hell” – (Caitanya Caritamrita)

He may do bhajan, he may not do bhajan, he may or may not behave properly, and still we should not disrespect him. Moreover, who knows, I am considering him to be my junior, I am thinking – ‘He is a newcomer, what does he know of bhajan?’ – In reality, he may have performed asadhan-bhajan for many previous lifetimes and is in a much more advanced state than I am.

Therefore, I will be at a loss if I disregard him. Hence, it is best to consider every Vaishnav higher than myself, pay dandavat, and treat him with respect. Then we have nothing to fear. We must do dandavat to anyone who dons Vaishnav emblems such as tilak and Tulsi.

“sakal baishnaber sahit abhed dekhiya,
je krishna-charan bhaje se jay toriya.”

Meaning – ‘One who worships the lotus-feet of Sri Krishna without discriminating between Vaishnavs, he is delivered.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

“e-kale je baishnaber bodo chhoto bole,
nishchinte thakuk se janibe koto kale.”

Meaning – “Whosoever discriminates between Vaishnavs may rest in peace, for it will take him a long time to realize the Truth.”

(Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Vivek das – Tell me, when I see a Vaishnav, will it not do if I pay him dandavat mentally?

Gour kripa – How is that? Pranam means ‘By body, mind and speech’. If we do not pay dandavat bodily then it means we have a veiled pride. What will happen if he considers me inferior? Only those who think like this will not pay dandavat openly.

Sriman-Mahaprabhu does not like this sort of Pranam. If we are ashamed to bow our head in front of Vaishnavs how van we expect to advance in the path of bhakti as shown by Sriman-Mahaprabhu?

‘baishnab dekhiya je na noway munda,
sei mundo pode giye naraker kunda.”

-(Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Meaning – “The one who does not bow his head before a Vaishnav, his head falls into the pit of hell.” When we meet a Vaishnav we should at least join our palms, lower our head, speak humbly and thus show respect.

Vivek das – O exalted one, today I can see the Vaishnavs embroiled in so many quarrels, due to this my faith is shaking. What should I do?

Gour kripa – Never ever speak like this, because Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat is saying –

“nitya-shuddha gyan bastu baishnab sakal,
tobe je koloho dekho sob kutuhol.
iha na bujhiye kono kono buddhi nash,
eke bonde, ar ninde, jaibeko nash.”

Meaning – “All Vaishnavs are eternally pure and have pure knowledge, when you see them quarrel it is only in play. Some foolish people don’t understand this and take sides. They praise one and criticize the other – they will surely perish.”

Therefore we must think – “It is only a leela of the Vaishnavs. I am foolish, so am unable to comprehend” and we must not take sides. If you support one and find fault with the other, you will harm your bhajan.

“je papishtha ek baishnaber paksha hoy,
anya baishnaber ninde sei jay khoy.”

Meaning – “He is verily a sinner who supports one Vaishnav and criticizes another. Such a person will surely perish. – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

We must not even go where there is groupism and Vaishnav-ninda.

je sobhay baishnaber ninda matra hoy,
sarba-dharma thakileo tär hoy khoy.

Meaning – Even if an assembly follows all the rules of Dharma, yet indulges in Vaishnav-ninda, it perishes.” – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Vivek das – But O exalted one! I live amidst so many Vaishnavs. Then how can I save myself from such Vaisnava-aparadha?

Gour kripa –For this we must stick to a few rules.

1. We should always remain engrossed in bhajan and sadhana.

2. We should not discuss anything else other than God.

3. We should speak with anyone only when it is absolutely necessary to do so.

4. We should walk on the road with our head lowered and palms joined – thus showing respect to everyone.

5. It is best to consider everyone superior to us.

6. When one comes to us and critisizes another person we should say, “I have remembered some urgent work” and quickly leave that place.

7. If we ever see some fault in another, we should think, “my heart is evil, so I am finding a fault in him, it is my fault and not his.” In this manner, we must chastise ourselves.

If we do not live like this, we shall never get rid of aparadhas and these huge barricades will continue to block our progress in bhakti. We will never even realize when, unknown to us, these aparadhas have accumulated and have formed mountains on our path.

Vivek das – Now I am really scared. I have begun to realize that Vaishnavaparadhas is very dangerous indeed! If I collect Vaisnava-aparadha, then no matter how much I try, I will make no progress in bhakti whatsoever. Please tell me how I can rid myself of these Vaisnava-aparadha. Please have mercy on me.

Gour kripa – Sriman-Mahaprabhu Himself has instructed how to get rid of Vaisnava-aparadha. He said –

“prabhu bole upadesh korite se pari,
baishnab-aparadhas khondaite nari.
je baishnab-sthane apardh hoy jar,
punah se khomile se ghuche nohe ar.”

Meaning – “The Lord said –I can instruct you on this matter, but I cannot take away your Vaisnava-aparadha. The only way to get rid of this aparadhas is to beg forgiveness from the person against whom you have committed the aparadhas. If he forgives then you are saved, there is no other way.” – (Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Therefore, we must please the one against whom we have committed an aparadhas by glorifying him and showing him respect. It does not mean we should go and angrily beat our head on the ground saying, “Sir! Please forgive me. It is entirely my fault! I should have never spoken to you at all! From now on I‘ll never talk to you and you mustn’t speak to me either.” In this manner if we harbor anger against that person then it is of no use.

The best way to rid ourselves of aparadhas is to repent. “Alas! I am ignorant, so I have committed aparadhas against a Vaishnav. Unknowingly I have hurt the feelings of a Vaishnav, shame on me! I am not qualified to be called a devotee at all. If my heart is blemished like this I shall never ever progress in bhakti.” In this way, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Bow at the feet of the one against whom we have committed aparadhas and cry out in misery for forgiveness.

Sri Vishwanath Chakravartipad has stated the same –

“tatashcha daivat tasminnaparadhase jate ‘hanta pamarena maya sadhushu
aparadhasamiti’ anutapta janah ‘krishanou shämyati taptang krishanano
evayam’ iti nyayena tatpadagra eve nipatya prasadayamiti vishannachetasa
pranatistuti samman-adibhis-tasyopashamah karyah.”

After much trying if we are unable to please the devotee, we should continue to try to please him by doing things to please him. If we are still not successful, we should chastise ourselves, be very much repentant and take the shelter of Holy Name. We must also take an oath that we shall never again commit am aparadhas like this. Then some day Sri Nam-prabhu will take mercy on us.

Vivek das –That’s good. The Shastras say, “If we take the shelter of Holy Name we will be rid of all aparadhas.” So isn’t it better to follow Shastra and take the shelter of Holy Name rather than beg others repeatedly to forgive us?

Gour kripa – In that case we will commit another aparadhas called ’to commit a sin on the strength of Holy Name’. We have to follow the above-mentioned rule only when we don’t know against whom we have committed an offence, or the person whom we have offended, is no more. It leaves us with no option other than to take the shelter of Holy Name. Then may be Holy Name will take mercy on us. Even then, we must remember that we must repent enough and we must be especially careful about not committing such an aparadhas again.

Otherwise, Sri Nam-prabhu will never be pleased.

Many times, we see that great devotees do not take offence in spite of behaving badly with them or insulting them. Instead, he considers it his own fault and repents. Even if someone treats him unjustly, or expresses anger, he thinks, “I have hurt him – it is all because of my faulty character.” Thinking thus, he chastises himself. Such is the nature of a pure devotee.

“rukshakshara girah shrinvan tatha bhagavateritah,
pranama-purvakang kshantva yo vaded-vaishnavo hi sah.”

Meaning – “He is a Vaishnav who, in spite of hearing harsh words from a devotee, pays obeisance unto him and praises him.”

– (Linga Puran)

Although a great devotee may forgive us, yet the specks of dust on his feet do not forgive. Hence if we think, “Oh! He is a great devotee, he is not hurt, so I have not committed an aparadhas,” the aparadhas will not leave us and we shall have to suffer for it. All those who have gained Bhaktidevi’s kripa, they never sight faults in others. They only sense their own faults. Let me tell you about the great Saint Tukaram.11

Sri Krishna is saying –“O Uddhav! Know Acharyadev to be non-different from me. Do not ever disregard him. Do not ever disrepect him by considering him a mere mortal. Sri Gurudev is the abode of all celestial beings.”

– (Srimad Bhagavatam)

Regarding this Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat says –

“The Lord showers mercy on a womanizer and drunkard, but He destroys a ninduk although he may be a Vedantin18. He says –‘I solemnly pledge that Krishna will easily deliver you if you do not indulge in ninda’.

The Lord kills the demons in only one birth, but He destroys a ninduk every moment in every life. We should understand that Krishna is the all-powerful Supreme controller and all the Shastras declare that ninda angers Krishna the most. A scholar may have studied the four Vedas, yet if he commits ninda he is punished by drowning in the Kumbhipak hell in countless births.”

Hence, if we want to gain Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s mercy we must refrain from ninda. Moreover, when we do ninda we accept the other person’s bad qualities and our good qualities flow through him. “Ninda is useless. It only results in sin. He who does not indulge in ninda is blessed indeed”

If we fix our gaze on this declaration of Sriman-Mahaprabhu, He will most certainly shower His kripa on us – harbor no doubt about it.

Vivek das – Now I know why, in spite of chanting Holy Name so many times, I am not progressing in bhakti. The saddest part of my life is that, I forsook everything – my home, luxury, wife, children, and relatives – but I could not give up para-ninda. Please tell me, how can I rescue myself from this miserable state?

Gour kripa – Sriman-Mahaprabhu has said in this context –

“I tell you there is but one truth. You have committed many aparadhas (ninda) unknowingly; but henceforth if you never ever commit ninda and constantly glorify Sri Vishnu and the Vaishnavs, then these aparadhas will leave you. This is the only means to get out of this trouble. Even if you perform crores of penances, you will not be cleansed.”

Sri Goursundar continued, “Whoever does not obey this command and still commits ninda is verily a sinner and floats in the ocean of misery. When someone indulges in the ninda of my servant, my all-powerful Holy Name destroys him. I have countless servants in infinite universes. Whoever is envious of a single one of them surely perishes.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

So, let us realize that He exists in every element. If we do not respect each and every soul, we are hurting Him Whom we are worshiping. This sort of bhajan is futile.

We perform Love-sadhana. Will our love remain confined to just one kunja24? Then it is a very narrow love indeed! But this is not true! When a single spark of this Love enters us, we realize Love within each molecule, nay, each atom. This Love is so magnificent that we should be careful not to minimize it.

So the bard has sung –

“O mind! You did not bow your head at every foot. Do you not realize the Treasure of your heart dwells amidst all? Bhagavan is in every being and He is the same. You puffed up and insulted others. O my foolish mind! Do you not know – your Priceless Beloved Krishna exists in so many forms? If you desire Him, if you have any wish to get Him, make everyone your own, beg at his or her feet and love all. If you cannot do it, your sadhana and bhajan are worthless. Consider yourself fallen; you will gain from it. You will get His lotus-feet, intoxicate your heart and beget prem. Otherwise you will only come and go (roam around in the cycle of birth and death) and never gain that priceless treasure called ‘Love’.”

We simply cannot avoid this point in our sadhana. We shall love Bhagavan and not love our fellow men – then we can be sure that we shall never love Bhagavan. If we really love Bhagavan, we shall love His creation as well. I dislike or envy my fellow men and I say –“I love Bhagavan”. Most definitely I am a liar!! On the other hand if I don’t serve Bhagavan and say – “Service to mankind is the topmost Dharma”, I am verily a cheat.

When we experience Him as the One present in all and all present in Him, then we are Bhagavad-bhaktas (God-lovers). Srimad Bhagavatam defines the best devotee as –

“sarva-bhuteshu yah pashyet bhagavad-bhavam-atmanah,
bhutani bhagavatyatmanyesha bhagavatottama.”

Meaning – “He who experiences Sri Bhagavan in every element and perceives all objects in Him is the best devotee.”

Sri Gita agrees with the above statement –

“bahunan janmanan ante gyanavan mam prapadyate,
vasudeva sarvam-iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah.”

Meaning – “After many lifetimes a wise devotee realizes that ‘Vasudev is everything’. Such a great soul is very rare.”

There is nothing other than Him. Advay-gyan-tatva25 Sri Krishna is Swayam Bhagavan26. The more we realize it, the more we‘ll move away from hate and envy. We’ll relish Divine ras more and more. When we develop this bhäv, all will appear nice and we will like everyone. We’ll go beyond good and bad, happiness and sorrow, and submerge in the ocean of Krishna-prem. Although lotus leaves touch the water, they never get wet. Similarly, the good and bad, justice and injustice of this material world will not affect the sadhak27 any more.

Vivek das – Everything you say is true; but how shall I get this realization? How can I get rid of liking some and disliking others? I can understand that He is the same and is present in every element, but when it comes to practicing, I cannot do it. What do I do?

Gour kripa – It is not as easy as we think. To bring this bhav in us we must always keep our conscience awake. Conscience is a very sharp weapon. In all our waking hours, we must constantly feel this bhav. When we move on the streets we should awaken this feeling in us – “Sri Bhagavan exists in every element” and we should indiscriminately

Vivek das – You speak nothing but the truth. Nevertheless, I am unable to follow it. I don’t even realize when I start seeing faults in a person and feel contempt for him. Please tell me an easy remedy to get rid of this disease.

Gour Kripa – The easiest way to practice the “trinadapi” verse is to feel that God exists in every being. When He is present in everyone and everyone is present in Him then we shall not feel embarrassed to bow before anyone. Whenever we meet a person, we should get into this mood. This is the best way to practice “trinadapi”. Along with this, we should chant constantly without any gap. At the same time, we should give up all aparadhas in body, mind and speech. There is no other way to get “trinadapi” bhav30. If we do not follow this path even if show humility, it will only be external. Inside our false ego will always hold its head high.

“You must pay obeisance and have lots of respect for all beings – be it a Brahmin31, Chandal32 or a dog. It is the religion of Vaishnavs to pay obeisance to everyone. A Vaishnav who does not obey this dictum is a cheat.”

( Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Nitai Gaura Sitanatha premanandi ki jai! Pure Vaisnava Behavior ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The great Gaudiya rasika acarya, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, lived many years in Vrndavana worshiping Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. His many deep realizations and intimate ‘nitya-lila’ visions appear in his wonderful books like  Sri Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi.

Speaking as a realized Vraja ‘bhajananandi’ saint, Sarasvatipada reveals SIX ATTRIBUTES ONE NEEDS to live in Vrindavan and attain perfection in Radha-Krishna bhajana. If you are living in Vrndavana already, or considering it, then please study these six. Sincerely and repeatedly try to think, feel and see the reality of Vraja vasa through these sublime truths.

1= To live in Vrndavana (śrī-vṛndāvanam-āvaset), you must feel that Radha-Muralidhara’s lotus feet are the one and only object of your love, rādhā-muralīdhar-āṅghri-kamala-premaika-mātrīyate.

2= You must think that other’s wives are your mothers, mātrī-yaty-aparāṅganāṁ.

3=You must think that one who severely rebukes you is your own family member, gotrīyat-yati-tarjan-ādiṣu.

4=You must think that all moving and non-moving living entities in Vrindavan are your own lovely children, sthira-caraṁ-sattvaṁ-su-putrīyate.

5=You must see your envious haters as great friends, mahā-mitrīyate-dveṣiṣu.

=6 And, you must see your own body as a stranger to you, the eternal soul within, yaḥ-svāṅge-anya-gātrīyate (Vrndavana-mahimamrta 8.81).

Shri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Nitya Vrajavasa ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Yugala nitya kunjavilasa seva ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

How Krishna saves devotees

Although Sri Krishna is equal and fair to all, He especially blesses, elevates, and delivers those who follow the laws of dharma, and those who worship Him in devotion. But Krishna is so supremely compassionate that He even helps those who act whimsically and selfishly (adharmically), hurt others, and live without any regard for the laws and rules of shastra. 

With fifteen different terms the shastras describe the merciful qualities of Bhagavan Sri Krishna by which He save the jivas trapped in the material world. They include the following:

sarva-bhuta-suhrt: Krishna is the friend of all beings.

parama-udara: Krishna is unlimitedly broad minded and munificent toward all.

sulabha: Krishna is easy to attain if anyone just tries.

gambhira: The depth of Krishna’s mercy is unfathomable.

saumya: Since Krishna is simple and gentle, all can easily approach Him irrespective of their social, mental or physical position.

saulabhya: Although Krishna is infinite Godhead, He becomes intimate with an infinitesimal jiva.

ashrita para tantra: Krishna gives up His independence to be bound by His bhaktas, and live under their shelter in His murti form depending on their seva and maintenance.

mardava: Due the softness of His sweetheart, Krishna cannot bear being separated His beloved parts and parcels, the jivatmas.

vatsalya: Sri Krishna is especially known as “bhakta-vatsala” because Krishna exhibits the greatest amount of “motherly affection” toward His devotee, and the non-devotees in His form as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

sthairya: Krishna and His representatives act relentlessly to save the deluded ones despite their hopeless attachment to maya.

karunya: Radha mixes Her compassionate heart with Krishna’s to inspire Krishna to save us, gives us bhakti and deliver us to His lotus feet.

madhurya: With His irresistible sweetness, charm, beauty and love Krishna attracts the minds and hearts of the jivas, and fills them with anand, ultimate bliss and satisfaction.

audarya: Waterfalls of generosity continually cascade from Krishna’s loving heart to repeatedly shower the jivas with boundless grace.

arjava: Krishna is absolutely straight forward and freely gives grace to all without restriction.

sauharda: As a friend to all living entities, Krishna’s heart is melting with desires to help everyone become free suffering.

The Karma Free

Shastra describe the jivan-mukta as an enlightened soul who is liberated but still embodied. Although free from all sanchit and kriyman karmas, the enlightened one still experiences the karma that has already begun to fructify called prarabdha-karma. The jivanmukta yogi or devotee does not return to samsar after death.

Why does the liberated one continue to live if all karmas i.e sanchit and kriyaman are destroyed? The liberated soul stays in a particular material body because of the force of the already activated prarabdha karmas related to that physical body.

Consider this analogy. If you turn off the electric fan, it will keep moving even though no electricity is connected to it. Likewise, even though the pure, liberated devotee is not producing any more karma, and all one’s latent residual karmas i.e. sanchit and kriyam are destroyed, the karma already activated for this life i.e. prarabdha has to run its course.

For example, one devotee, due to performing intense bhakti bhajan and receiving the full krpa of Guru and Bhagavan, may become a jivan-mukta, a liberated, karma-free pure devotee, when one is sixty-years old. But still that devotee may live thirty more years, and during that time undergo various physical ailments and diseases due to the already in motion force of the present prarabdha karma. But that liberated one will not feel any suffering due to the purity of mind and heart. 

Jivanmukta bhaktas ki jai! Karma free life ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Eager to know more about karma? Please read our articles from serie “Bhakti, Karma and Falldown” part one, part two, part three, part four.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Three Karmas

Sruti describes three forms of karma; sanchit, kriyaman and prarabdha i.e. the stored collection, present experience good or bad, and new actions.

Sanchit karma is the complete collection of the results (punya:papa karma-phal) of all our actions done in past lives lying latent in our chitta to fructify in future births.

Kriyaman (syn. aagami) means the punya:papa karma being done in ignorance in the present life which will be added to the existing collection of sanchita karma stored our chitta. Kriyaman actions are under our control and must be performed with the utmost awareness and transcendental wisdom. Krishna explains the science of karma-free living in Gita chapters 4-6.

Each one of us is the architect of our own destiny. No matter how trivial it may seem, every act we do will produce an effect. For devotees, all actions are performed simply for the satisfaction of Guru and Krishna without motivation or attachment. Thus even mundane actions like eating and sleeping become seva leading to liberation because they are performed without desire for results. Thus no further karma is produced.

Prarabdha (syn. arabdha) is acting on us right now! When the chitta is transferred from one body to another at death, it brings all one’s residual karma with it. Only some of it will give its fruit in that birth. Once the next life begins, the portion of karma relevant to this birth is called the prarabdha-karma.

It’s a portion of our punya papa karma from the stockpile of sanchita which is now fructifying and giving us good or bad results. It manifests our present body, desires, mentality, feelings and actions. Prarabdha karma is beyond our control and producing our present conditions which we must bear with patience. It is like a flowering tree from the seeds of prior planting.

Kriyaman is compared to grains growing in a field. Sanchit is grains stored in the house. And prarabdha is rotis in the belly being digested and exhausted in some time.

The Upanisads, Gita and Gaudiya granthas say that the jivas and karma are beginning less i.e., without a beginning and without a prior non-existence. Therefore, questions such as how did my karma begin, what caused my first birth, how can people have different fortunes unless there was preceding karma; and how can we have karma without a previous birth are all meaningless because the jiva and karma are beginning less. It’s all the divine arrangement of Bhagavan Sri Krishna as He wants it. There is no other cause or explanation.

Suffering and Bad Karma

Besides being three poisons in the mind that block spiritual advancement, Gita says lust, anger and greed are three gates to HELL. The source of all three is delusion (moha), thinking that the body/mind complex is me, and that I am special, unique and different from every other living entity.

The grand illusion of I and Mine causes rebirth and bondage in samsar. Until we attain spiritual knowledge and understand our true eternal identity as spiritual parts of Sri Krishna meant to submit to, love and serve Him, we will remain bound in maya forever.

Let’s examine these terrible ghosts that harass all of us, lust anger and greed.

LUST means amorous passions and selfish desires which engage us in all kinds of reactionary material activities. Lifetimes of misery can pass paying the debt of desire.

ANGER is the psychological and emotional reaction arising from unfulfilled desires, frustrated attempts to do something, or the unfilled expectations one has of others. Anger causes one to hurt others whom one blames for their own shortcomings or failures. This in turn creates bad karma which produces pain now and more in the future. A moment of anger can create millenniums of misery.

GREED means being attached to your money and not giving charity (dana-dharm). If Krishna gives one more than required, that wealth should be distributed to the needy. The sages say that the attachment to money which binds one in samsara can be renounced by acts of charity, vitta -ishanam –danair (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.84.38).

Sri Krishna directs us to give charity to the right person for the right cause. Failing to do so brings many miseries now and in the future, vittam –tv –atirthi –krtam –duhkha -duhkhi (Srimad Bhagavatam11.11.19). The miser will be poverty-stricken in the next life. Thus, giving charity is a very important aspect of human life especially for householders.

Besides the suffering caused by lust, anger and greed, shastra describes three factors in suffering: the person suffering, the degree of suffering, and the agent or cause of suffering i.e. a person (self or others), thing or condition.

When we clearly realize our true identity as eternal, blissful spiritual beings, and understand the laws of action/reaction (karma), then the agent of suffering becomes incidental and secondary. We no longer become angry or resentful toward the person or thing that we take be causing our suffering because they are merely agents of our own karma. When one acquires divine wisdom, one gets the vision to see enemies as friends, and radiates love and compassion toward those who hurt, abused or offended one.

Through wisdom, humility, tolerance, devotion, and surrender to Krishna one will use suffering to transform, transcend and transport oneself to the spiritual platform of inner peace and contentment reached by experiencing Krishna’s love and compassion within one’s heart.

Freedom from karma

Every thought we think, act we do or experience we have is recorded and stored in the chitta in the form of samskaras. This is the cause of strange dreams of things never experienced in this life. They arise from samskaras i.e. the mental imprints, memories, subconscious impressions formed by the experiences of our prior births now stored in the chitta of the jiva.

Thus, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s first instruction is to clean the chitta by Sri Harinam Sankirtan, ceto –darpanam –marjan (Shikshasatak 1). The endless cycle of repeated birth and death, samsar, is caused by ahankara, the false notion of our actual eternal identity. Due to ignorance, one identifies with the material body mind complex thinking oneself to be the doer, controller and enjoyer and thus stays stuck in samsar.

However, if we identify ourselves only as eternal servants of Krishna, and act only for His pleasure in bhakti, then by Krishna’s grace all our karmas are destroyed, samsar ends, and we go to the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrndavana. Brahmaji says, karmani -nirdhahati -kintu -ca -bhakti –bhajan, “Bhakti bhajan destroys karmas.” (Brahma-samhita 5.54)

Sri Krishna bhakti bhajan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Karma Free life ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Most all of the 8,400,000 species of life have eyes to see the reality they live in. It is only human beings, however, that have the eyes to see God, Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

In Gita, Sri Krishna describes the vision of the perfect person who sees Krishna everywhere. By such divya -drshti, divine sight, one captures Krishna in the heart, and keeps Krishna forever bound in the embrace of one’s loving eyes.

Sri Krishna explains this point in Bhagavad-gita (6.30):

yo –mam –pashyati -sarvatra
sarvam -ca -mayi -pashyati
tasyaham -na –pranashyami
sa -ca -me -na -pranashyati

Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “One who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, never loses sight Me, nor do I lose sight of him.”

Sri Sridhar Swamicharan: In other words, Sri Krishna is saying, ‘Since I am continually present before one, one is never lost to Me.’

There are two levels of seeing Bhagavan Sri Krishna everywhere.

1- With eyes coated with pure spiritual love, Krishna prema, like the cowherd damsels of Vrajabhumi and sadhana-siddha Krishna premi-bhaktas.

2- With eyes coated with desire and eagerness to see Sri Krishna everywhere.

At this level, one has not yet attained Krishna prema, but one does have a strong, focused and continuous desire, backed by intense eagerness to see Sri Krishna. One thinks, “I really, really want to see Krishna. No matter what it takes, I MUST SEE KRISHNA in this very life!”

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, “A devotee is one who firmly believes Krishna will show His mercy, krishna –krpa-karibena- drdha- kari-jane.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.23.28)

Having a genuine, driving desire and eagerness to see Sri Krishna will automatically make one detached from maya and one’s unlimited material desires. Srila Prabhupada said that eagerness is absolutely essential to make tangible spiritual advancement.

Srila Prabhupada says, “We must be very, very eager to see Krishna; then you can see Krishna. Whether you are lusty or a thief or whatever, somehow you must develop this eagerness, this desire: ‘I MUST SEE KRISHNA!’ Then KRISHNA WILL BE SEEN!” (Journey of Self Discovery 2.2)

Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja says, “Eagerness is the very LIFE FORCE OF BHAJAN! A devotee with loving eagerness will receive abundant grace from Sri Krishna. Eagerness is always the best means to fulfill our desires. Without it, there is no taste in sadhana and one can’t attain anything!”

Out of His infinite love and compassion, Sri Krishna personally teaches how anyone, even without Krishna prem, can always see and remember Krishna everywhere throughout the day and night. All it takes is the desire to see Krishna, and the eagerness to sincerely try.

By reading and remembering the following simple Gita verses, one will easily SEE KRISHNA EVERYWHERE day after day, until the last when Sri Krishna Himself will appear, and take you to Vraja Dham to see and be with Krishna forever!

We have arranged the following verses, all personally spoken by Sri Krishna in Gita, in a logical sequence of time and category that follow one’s daily activities beginning with waking.

Time: I am time, kala -asmi. 11.32

Existence: I am the life of all that lives, jivanam –sarva –bhuteshu. 7.9

Speech: I am the letter A, aksharanam –aksharo –asmi. (10.32) I am the sound in ether, shabdah –khe –aham. 7.8

Water: I am the taste of water, rasa -aham -apsu. 7.8

Chirping Birds: Of birds, I am Garud, vainateyash -ca -pakshinam. 10.30

Trees: Of trees, I am peepul, ashwattah -sarva -vrkshanam. 10.26

Nama/Diksa: I am japa, japa –yagya- asmi. 10.25

Beauty, Wealth, Strength: All beauty, wealth and strength is just a spark of My splendor, yad -yad –vibhutimat- sattvam, srimad -urjitam -mama -tejah -amsha. 10.41

Perfumes: I am the beautiful fragrance of the earth, punyo –gandha –prthivi -asmi. 7.9

Food: I am the fire of digestion, aham -vaishvanaro, (15.14) I am the heat in fire, asmi –vibhavasau. (7.9)

Sunshine, Moonshine: I am the light of the sun and moon, prabha –asmi –shashi- suryayoh. (7.8) Of all bright things, I am the radiant sun, jyotisham –ravih -asmi. 10.21.

Exercise: I am the strength of the strong, balam –balavatam –aham. 7.11

Wind: Of purifiers, I am the wind, pavana –pavatam –asmi. 10.31

Months: I am November-December, masa -margashirsha -aham. 10.35

Seasons: I am spring, rtu –kusumakara. 10.35

School: I am the intelligence of the intelligent, buddhi –buddhimatam –aham. (7.10) Of all knowledge, I am knowledge of the self, adhyatma –vidya –vidyanam.

Intelligence: I am the knowledge of the wise, gyanam –gyanavatam –aham. 10.38

Work: I am the ability in persons, paurusham –nrshu. (7.8) I am the beginning, middle and end of all creations, sargan –adir –madhya- anta. 10.32

Animals: Of all animals, I am the lion, mrganam –mrgendra –aham. 10.30

Ocean: Of all water bodies, I am the ocean, sarasam -asmi -sagarah. 10.24

Rivers: I am Ganga, asmi -jahnavi. 10.31

Fish: I am the shark (dolphin ?), jhashanam -makara -asmi, 10.31

War: Of generals, I am Skanda (son of Siva), senaninam -aham -skanda. 10.24

Moon: Among all the stars, I am the moon, nakshatranam -aham -shashi. 10.21

Intimacies: I am union that is not against religious principles, dharma –aviruddha –kama –asmi. 7.11

Secrets: Of secrets, I am silence, maunam -asmi -guhyanam. 10.38

In all these simple everyday ways, you can always remember Krishna everywhere, and see His beautiful sweet and charming, smiling face in everyone’s heart and everything that you see throughout the day.

Seeing Krishna everywhere ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

What is a paribhasa sutra? It is often seen that one of the first few verses of a spiritual book or chapter presents its very essence. If it does, then this verse is called the paribhasa-sutra. Although usually appearing only once in a whole book or chapter, it is the regulator, the king ruling over all the other verses.

In other words, the paribhasa-sutra presents the sole purpose, conclusion and final message of the book ruling over and taking precedence over all the other ideas or teachings appearing in that book or chapter.

In Krishna Sandarbha (29), Sri Jiva Goswami says, “A paribhasa-sutra explains the proper method for understanding a book. It is the key shloka to understand the actual purport of a book or chapter, and a series of apparently unrelated facts and arguments that may follow.

“There may be millions of statements or verses in a book, but they are all regulated and subordinate to this one “the strongest” verse or superior statement, “the final word”, the paribhasa sutra, which is what the book is really about and the message it wants to convey.”

According to tattva-vichar (transcendent truth), Sri Jiva Goswami and other Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas say the paribhasa-sutra of Bhagavatam is (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28), krishnas –tu –bhagavan –svayam, which establishes Bhagavan Sri Krishna as the supreme and topmost personal form among all the Vishnu forms.

However, according to rasa-vichar, the consideration of rasa, divine love and bliss, the first verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam is the paribhasa-sutra, because it presents the adi-rasa, or madhurya-rasa of Radha and Krishna in Vrndavana, the ultimate conclusion and purpose of Srimad Bhagavatam.

Acharyas say that the paribhasa-sutra of Caitanya Caritamrita is (Cc. 1.1.4) because it describes the internal reason for Mahaprabhu’s advent i.e. giving the gift of Sri Radha’s mahabhava madhurya prema, and the beautiful service of Sri Radha as Her confidential maidservant, gopi/manjari.

Thus the Sri Caitanya Caritamrta follows the lead of its source, the Srimad Bhagavatam, by presenting and focusing mostly on the adi-rasa, the intimate loving pastimes of Rasaraja Sri Krishna and Mahabhavati Sri Radha in Sridham Vrndavana, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s ecstatic experience of Them.

anarpita-carim –cirat, karunaya -vatirnah -kalau
samarpayitum –unnatojjvala –rasam, -sva-bhakti-sriyam
harih -purata-sundara, dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
sada -hridaya-kandare, -sphuratu -vah -saci-nandanah

“May Shachinandan Sri Chaitanya, who is Sri Hari Himself appearing in a splendidly beautiful golden form in Kali-yuga to mercifully give the never before given special treasure of bhakti i.e. the brilliant and supreme, mahabhava madhurya-prema of Sri Radha (unnatojjvala- rasam) and the beauty of Radha’s service as Her manjari (sva-bhakti-sriyam), always be manifest within the core of your heart.” Caitanya Caritamrita 1.1.4)

Srila Prabhupada tika: “Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave madhurya-rasa, gopi-bhava, and the method of worship done by the gopis. Therefore, the six Goswamis of Vrndavana also followed the gopis. Gaudiya Vaisnavas especially worship Krishna in the madhurya-rasa while aspiring to become assistants of the gopis.” (BBT Folio: 740210BG.VRN)

“In Radha-Krishna lila, the gopis are simply helping Radha and Krishna combine together in the kunjas of Vrndavana, “jaya radha madhava kunja bihari”. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s contribution is Radha-Krishna lila, so we Gaudiyas worship Radha and Krishna.

“The idea of this verse (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.1.4) is that if one becomes attracted to the loving affairs of Radha-Krishna, then one will forget the so-called amorous enjoyment in this material world.” (BBT Folio: Installation C-116 0108)

mmgd: Although many tattvas, rasas and truths are revealed in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, however, since (Caitanya Caritamrita 1.1.4) IS THE PARIBHASA SUTRA, everyone must accept that its essential teaching, real meaning and ultimate message is Radha-Krishna madhuyra-lila, gopi-bhava and the eternal loving service of Srimati Radharani in Vrndavana.

One may quote Sri Caitanya Caritamrita to argue so many personal prejudices or viewpoints, but in truth, the actual meaning and purpose of Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja’s wonderful book is perfectly clear.

Summarizing all the shrutis and smrtis, Sri Rupa Goswamipada gives the most perfect definition of shuddha-bhakti or pure devotion. It is the paribhasa-sutra of his most excellent Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11), and it appears in the mangalacaran, auspicious prayers beginning the book. Since we are practicing bhakti-yoga, the way of pure divine love, every genuine Gaudiya should perfectly know this verse. Srila Prabhupada quoted it 394 times in his books and classes!

anyabhilashita –shunyam, gyana –karmad -yanavritam,
anukulyena krishnanu, shilanam bhaktir uttama

“Pure bhakti means maintaining a positive, spiritually-charged and favourable attitude, and enthusiastically engaging all the activities of one’s body, mind and words in the joyful service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna solely for the happiness and pleasure of Sri Krishna.

“Such uttama-bhakti is completely devoid of all ulterior, selfish motives; totally free from aparadhas (vaishnav, nam, seva and jiva); and it is not mixed with GYAN (mundane views and philosophies), KARMA (selfish reward gaining pujas, yagnas, homas, etc.); YOGA, astrology or anything else.”

This verse establishes the purpose and essential teaching of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which is the topmost pure devotion. Sri Rupa Goswamipada shows in the book that Srimati Radharani and the Vraja gopis are the supreme and topmost pure devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Although the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, like the Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya Caritamrta describes other tattvas and rasas, its ultimate conclusion is madhurya-rati, Radhika and the damsels of Vraja because they exemplify the topmost standard of pure devotion, uttama-bhakti.

Acharyas say the paribhasa-sutra of Sri Bhagavad-gita is (10.8):

aham -sarvasya -prabhavo, mattah -sarvam pravartate
iti -matva -bhajante –mam, buddha –bhava -samanvivitah

Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “I manifest everything both material and spiritual, and [as Paramatma] make everything work and move. Knowing this well, the intelligent worship Me with all their hearts.”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: To underscore its significance, Srila Prabhupada quoted this verse 277 times in his books and classes! Krishna says I manifest everything, so “everything” must also include Srimati Radharani, the gopi/manjaris, bhava, mahabhava and Vraja dham. Sri Krishna says budha –bhava -samanvitah, intelligent persons worship Me with bhava. Since Srimati Radharani worships Krishna with the topmost bhava, MAHABHAVA, Sri Radha is certainly by far the most intelligent of all.

The word “samanvitah” means decorated, accompanied, following or with a relationship. Thus Krishna’s words bhava –samanvitah means in a relationship with bhava or the mahabhava of Srimati Radharani. So for the devotees and bhava-bhaktas, this means cherishing gopi-bhava in relationship with Radhika as Her intimate serving maid following the path of raganuga-bhakti.

Thus, according to tattva-vichar, the paribhasa-sutra of Bhagavad-gita is (10.8), which establishes that Sri Krishna, the source of everything, is best worshiped by bhava-bhaktas, and especially by the MAHABHAVA of Srimati Radharani and Her gopi/manjaris.

However, according to rasa-vichar, the paribhasa-sutra of Gita is (18.65), which Sri Krishna Himself says is the sarva –guhyatamam, the topmost secret of all secret spiritual teachings in Gita; it’s very core and essence.

man -manah -bhava -mad -bhakto,
mad -yaji -mam –namaskuru
mam –evaishyasi –satyam –te
pratijane –priyo –si -me

Sri Krishna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer obeisances unto Me. Then certainly you will come to Me. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (Bhagavat Gita. 18.65)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Here Sri Krishna mentions bhava, surrender and becoming His priya-jana, dear one. Srimati Radharani is the fullest embodiment of this verse because Sri Radha constantly thinks only of Krishna and Radha is the topmost of all Krishna devotees.

And because Kishori worships Krishna with Her every breath, thought, word, deed and dream, Radha is always with Krishna. For Krishna, Sri Radha is His one and only best sweet heart and dearly beloved PRIYAJI. And for Radha, Krishna is Her PRIYATAM! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Thus in closing, we see that just like all the other essential books of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, i.e. Bhagavatam, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Caitanya Caritamrta, the Bhagavad-gita also describes different tattvas and rasas. However, if one closely examines Gita, one will see that its ultimate conclusion is madhurya-rati, Radhika and the damsels of Vraja.

This is why acharyas say the Gaudiya Sampradaya is a raganuga-sampradaya teaching Vraja bhakti and the eternal loving service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Yugala in gopi-bhava, following the moods and feelings of Srimati Radharani and the cowherd damsels of Vrajabhumi. Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Paribhasa-sutra ki jai! Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

You said work. But is it work? Let’s see the difference between “work” and “service”.

Two words: work and service. Work means doing, toiling, labour, struggle, drudgery. Work means karm, and karm brings bondage, samsara and misery.

Service is not work. The word service means to help, aid, assist. Service with devotion is seva, Krishna’s seva, which means devotional, loving service for the pleasure of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas. This type of service or seva is bhakti, giving service, and bhakti seva brings one freedom, liberation and mukti, joy and satisfaction.

In Gita, 4.34, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says a disciple needs three things to approach a Guru and learn about the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna.

=1 Pranipat means “unconditional surrender,”

=2 Pariprashna means “a variety of questions related to spiritual life.”

=3 Seva means “a mind and heart having the feeling to serve and please another person.”

If you approach Sri Guru with these three attitudes, you will certainly gain knowledge about Sri Krishna and make your human birth successful.

The Srimad Bhagavatam says the RESULT OF SERVING Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, is that by this seva, or service, one’s bhakti will deepen and become steady and strong. This is the difference between “work” and “service” or seva, the loving service of Krishna.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In this last article, we will describe how Krishna takes everything and gives Himself, and the power of surrendering to Sri Krishna.

Most pious Bharatvasis believe, follow and say, “If you worship Durga or Siva you will get wealth, power and fortune. But if you worship Gopal Krishna…YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING! So by all means don’t worship Krishna.”

Perfect love means giving everything to that one in whom you have absolute faith, trust, confidence, dependence and hope. We will only give our heart’s treasure to that one who makes us feel completely blissful, peaceful, protected, wanted and secure without the least bit of doubt, hesitation or holding back.

For devotees, that one is the Absolute One, our beautiful, charming, sweet and playful loving master, Sri Govindadeva. Here’s the dreaded Bhagavat shloka that scares everyone away from Krishna.

yasyaham -anugrhnami,
harishye -tad-dhanam -shanaih,
tato -adhanam -tyajanty -asya,
svajana –duhkha -duhkhitam

Sri Krishna said, “O Yuddhishthira! If I especially favor someone, I gradually take away all one’s money. Then one’s family, relatives and friends reject one because one is poor. Then, one repeatedly suffers one misery after another.”

For materialists this verse is poison. But for devotees this verse is amritam; positive encouragement confirming Krishna’s reciprocation with them in love, anugraha, Krishna’s kindness on them. Devotees may have trouble advancing in bhakti, so Krishna lends a hand, takes away all the undesirables, and pulls the struggling bhakta to His sweet lotus feet. Such is the sweet kindness of a true lover, our eternal, benevolent master Shyamsundar.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments: “One suffers when one loses one’s money, and suffers even more when rejected by one’s family and friends. Krishna bhaktas, however, experience both happiness and distress; not as the fruits of their karma (material work), but as incidental effects of their loving reciprocation with their sweet master Sri Krishna.

“Devotional scriptures such as Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu explain how a Vaisnava is relieved of all karmic reactions, including the unmanifest ones (aprarabdha), those about to manifest (kuta), those barely manifesting (bija), and the full manifest present karmas (prarabdha). As a lotus gradually drops its many petals as it dries, all the karmic reactions of a bhakti sadhaka are destroyed one by one.

“Gopala Tapani Upanisad (I.14) says, ‘Krishna bhakti bhajan means concentrating one’s mind on Krishna without selfish material desires in this life or the next. This bhajan destroys all karma.’

“This verse means that by becoming freed from material desires due to Krishna taking away everything, a devotee can fix one’s mind and senses in Krishna’s seva and become free from karma. Therefore, by doing bhajana all karmas are destroyed, even though the devotee is still situated in the material body. This happens due to the inconceivable mercy of Krishna.

“It appears that the happiness and distress devotees experience resembles ordinary karmic reactions (prarabdha). However, they are actually personally given by Krishna Himself. A mature devotee recognizes the superficially good and bad conditions one encounters as signs of the direct guidance of our ever well-wishing Master Sri Krishna.

‘But if Krishna is so compassionate to His devotees, why does Krishna expose them to special suffering?’

“This analogy answers your question: A very affectionate father takes the responsibility of restricting a child’s play and makes them go to school. The father knows that this is a genuine expression of his love for them, even if the children cannot appreciate it.

“Similarly, Sri Krishna is mercifully strict with all His devotees, not just the immature ones struggling to become qualified. Even perfect saints like Prahlada and Dhruva were subjected to great tribulations. But in the end the Sri Krishna gave them profuse enjoyment of wealth and material happiness.

“Thus the conclusion is that only Sri Krishna Himself, being affectionate to His devotees, knows His intentions and no one else. But you may question, ‘What’s the difference between the happiness and distress caused by one’s own karma and that given directly by Krishna?’

“Material happiness and distress, arising from karma, leave a subtle residue, more seeds of material desire (karma-bija) which cause future entanglement. Such enjoyment and suffering tend toward degradation and increase the danger of falling into hellish oblivion.

“However, the happiness and distress arranged by Krishna’s will for His devotee leave no trace after their immediate purpose has been served. Moreover, Krishna’s devotees enjoy this reciprocation with Krishna and will never fall down into hell.

“Yamaraja himself confirms this point (Srimad Bahgavatam 6.3.29); ‘O Yamadutts! Bring me the non-devotees who have never served Krishna, never once bowed to Krishna, never chanted Krishna’s name and qualities, and whose minds have never remembered Krishna’s lotus feet.’

“Thus for Krishna’s devotees there is no danger of going to hell. Because devotees are objects of Krishna affection (anugraha 10.88.8), their suffering is never extreme. How can one consider the suffering arising from karma and that given personally by Krishna to be equal?

“One is like the pain arising from getting beaten by an enemy, and the other is like that caused by one’s mother; one is like poison and the other is like nectar.

‘But wait a minute. Since Krishna can do anything, can’t Krishna accomplish His purposes without giving distress to His devotees?’

“No! Although Krishna is the reservoir of unlimited pastimes, He cannot accomplish His purposes without this. But when Krishna sometimes gives suffering to His beloved devotees, that suffering gives rise to great pleasure, just as a stinging ointment cures a patient’s infected eye.

“The suffering given to devotees by Krishna increases their eagerness to call upon Krishna to appear and come to them. Moreover, if the devotees were complacently happy all the time, Sri Krishna would have no reason to appear in this world.

“And without seeing Sri Krishna in His original, human-like form, how would the devotees on earth be able to enjoy playing in the nectar ocean of the rasa-lila and Krishna’s other wonderful, sweet Vraja lilas?

“In the next verse (Srimad Bahgavatam 10.88.9) Sri Krishna elaborates more the anugraha, or compassionate mercy that He bestows upon His Hari bhaktas. Here Krishna says, ‘After I take away everything from My devotees, they become frustrated in their attempts to make money. Then if they befriend the devotees, I will give them special mercy.’

“This second special mercy (anugraha) from Krishna means Krishna is saying, ‘I will cause an extraordinary shower of sweet bhakti-rasa to rain down on My devotees. It was for this purpose that My first mercy, of taking away everything (10.88.8), bore the fruit of tormenting pain. In other words, I will give mercy by giving My very self to My devotee.’”

Salvation Through Surrender

In part one, we described how fear of maya and the fear of falling down from the path of bhakti are helpful for spiritual advancement. The following commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam verse (10.87.50) shows that simply by surrendering to Shyamsundar one will become free from all fear and achieve liberation.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada: “In this verse, Shukadev Goswami says, ‘By surrendering to Sri Krishna one can escape the embrace of illusion, just as a dreaming person forgets one’s own body. One who wants freedom from the fear of rebirth should constantly meditate upon Bhagavan Sri Hari (nirasta –yonim –abhayam, -dhyayet –ajasram –harim).’

“Shukadeva explains how the jiva can transcend material existence by devotion to Krishna: ‘By surrendering to Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the jiva, who is helplessly bound in the embrace of illusion, lies down paying dandavats again and again to Krishna. By that surrender one becomes totally free from maya.’

“This means that the devotee gives up ignorance by abandoning one’s false identification with the material body. In some cases, Sri Krishna may show special consideration for one He favors, regardless of whether any sadhana has been performed or not.

“Even if a jiva has not practiced solitary bhajana for attaining liberation, still merciful Sri Krishna dispels one’s illusion and liberates one just as He did even for demons like Putana, Agha, Baka and Keshi who never ever did any spiritual practices. This proves Sri Krishna’s unique position as the topmost form of the Personality of Godhead.

“Knowing this, devotees should abandon all their doubts and fears, and just incessantly meditate upon Bhagavan Sri Krishna, whose absolutely charming sweetness steals away the mind of all those who love Him.”

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai! Krishna sharanagati ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Eager to know more about karma? Please read our articles from serie “Karma Trilogy and Freedom” part one, part two.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In parts one and two, we described the conjunction of material and spiritual in Krishna’s pastimes; its relevance in a life of sadhana; and repentance in bhakti bhajan.

Devotion means lovingly serving Krishna for His pleasure. However, at the same time devotees also “enjoy” the basic sense objects. Yet devotees know that there is a thin line between deriving bliss from pure bhakti, and just enjoying without a Krishna connection.

Feeling somewhat helpless and a little fearful about the latter and staying forever in Maya, true devotees will repent their indulgence, and feel sorry about their material attachments and weak determination.

Praying to Krishna, they will cry out, “O Krishna! Because of my selfish enjoying spirit, I will fall into the dark well of material existence. Please help me!”

Now in part three, we will discuss how Bhagavan Sri Krishna personally arranges a devotee’s KARMA and FALLDOWN if it happens, and the astonishing effects of living and doing Krishna bhakti bhajan in Sridham Vrndavana.

Krishna Karma and Falldown

In the Bhagavat, the Shrutis pray, “O Krishna! When one realizes You, one no longer cares about one’s good and bad fortune arising from past pious and sinful acts (uttha-shubha –ashubha –guna –viguna), since it is You alone who control this good and bad fortune.

“Every day, a devotee will just keep hearing and singing about Your glories as received through the guru-parampara (gita –parampara). By doing this, You will personally liberate the devotee and bring one to the transcendental realm (tvam –apavarga –gatih).” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.40)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments: “Here the Shrutis explain how neophyte devotees, even though they may misbehave, will not suffer in this life or the next. Rather, they will attain success. Since a devotee becomes free from all karmic reactions by worshiping Krishna, the apparent good and bad events one experiences are not the result of one’s karma, but rather they are personally arranged by Krishna.

“Or sometimes these apparently auspicious and inauspicious material reactions may appear as the results of offenses against Krishna’s devotees (vaishnava-aparadha). Krishna makes these experiences appear in such a way that the devotee seems to be suffering the reactions of one’s karma.

“However, the devotee ignores the apparent good and bad reactions of the seva one does only for Krishna’s pleasure. In other words, if someone praises a devotee, ‘O, you are so merciful, tolerant and generous’. Or if someone condemns a devotee saying, ‘You are greedy, hypocritical and attached to sense enjoyment’, the devotee is not overly concerned about it. At these times, the humble devotee does not pay much attention to the words of any person, high or low, praising or denouncing one.

“A devotee thinks, ‘If these people mistakenly see good qualities in me and express praise, let them do it. And if others see my real qualities of being attached to sense gratification and criticize me, then this is perfectly appropriate.’

“The Shrutis explain that no matter what happens, a devotee will day after day (anu-aham which means ahani -ahani) just keep hearing and singing about Krishna. Thus by the mighty current of Krishna nama-sankirtana, the devotee will quickly attain Krishna prema, the ultimate goal of liberation (apavarga-gatih)”

Even in Falldown, Krishna Protects

In the Bhagavata (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.33), the devatas pray to Sri Krishna, “O Madhava, sometimes Your devotees fall from the path of devotion (bhrashyanti –margat). But You always protect them and help them advance in bhakti.”

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments:

“Devotees may sometimes veer from the divine way, but they do not fall like gyanis, yogis and other spiritualists. Even while fallen, devotees will remain firmly attached to Krishna’s lotus feet. Their falldown, as in the case of Bharata and Citraketu, results in increasing their love and attachment to Krishna.

“Devotees remain faithful to Krishna, thinking their fall was arranged by Krishna for their own benefit. Krishna promises in Gita (9.31), ‘My devotee will never perish!’ Remembering Krishna’s promise again and again, devotees gain conviction and conquer over all obstacles on the bhakti marga.”

Unique Fortune of Dhama Devotees

In his tika on (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.87.40), Sri Cakravartipada also highlights the special fortune of devotees living in Vrndavana practicing Krishna bhakti bhajan.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada: “In Gopala-tapani –Upanisad (Uttara v. 47-49), Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, ‘I am worshiped by devotees living in Mathura/Vrndavana (aham –pujaniyo – bhadra –krishna –nivasi). Even if the devotees living in Vraja Mandala do not properly follow the religious principles, still they become devoted to Me just by virtue of living there.

‘Even if Kali has them in his grip, they still get credit for living in Vrndavana. My devotee who lives in Vrndavana is just as dear to Me as Sri Lakshmidevi and My own self (shriya –abhiyukti –aham -bhakto -mama –priyah).’

Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s mercy ki jai! Vraja Dhama ki jai!

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada continues, “This verse from Gopala-tapani Upansad implies that even if one is evil, immoral and sinful but lives in that Mathura.”

In part four, we will discuss Sri Krishna special mercy for His devotees and salvation through surrender.

Krishna krpa ki jai! Vrndavana vasa ki jai! Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

There is an amazing relationship between the destruction of karma in bhakti bhajan, and the first six children of Mother Devaki who were brutally murdered at birth by the asuric King Kamsa.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains:

“First, I want to ask, ‘how is it possible that before the advent of Balarama and Devakinandan Sri Krishna, that six material children appeared in the divine womb of Bhagavan’s mother Devaki, who is Sri Krishna’s internal spiritual energy, chit -shakti?’

“The answer is that just as unlimited material universes exist within Sri Krishna without affecting or contaminating Him, mat-sthāni -sarva-bhūtāni, na -cāhaṁ -teṣv -avasthitaḥ (Bhagavat Gita 9.4); similarly, six material children could exist within Devaki without contaminating her.

“The conjunction of material and spiritual in Krishna’s pastimes is there to illustrate the methodical nature of bhakti. While devotees perform sadhana -bhakti in the form of hearing and chanting about Krishna, they also enjoy the six material sense objects (form, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought) which is a secondary effect of bhakti.

But at the time of “enjoying” these objects, the devotee cries out pitifully, ‘O Krishna! Because of this enjoyment I will fall into the dark well of material existence. Please help me!’

“When a devotee repents like this and shows fear of material enjoyment, gradually the tendency to enjoy matter subsides. Then pure bhakti in the form of hearing and chanting Krishna’s names, glorifying His transcendental forms, qualities and pastimes, and serving Sri Hari in various ways becomes prominent.

“Finally, Sri Krishna Himself, the ocean of all wonderful, transcendent beautiful forms and qualities, will appear within the devotee just as He did with His devotee Devakimata.

“By nature, bhakti is shuddha-sattva, pure goodness, and thus it can directly manifest Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The Sruti says: bhaktir evainam darshayati, “Devotion makes Krishna give His darshan.”

“As it is said in the lila of Krishna’s advent that Marici (a bygone demon) appeared from the mind, Marici can be considered the incarnation of the mind. And Marici’s six children (who appeared in Devaki’s womb) represent the six objects of the senses: sound, touch, form, taste, smell, and thought.

Since Devaki possesses the power to make Bhagavan Sri Krishna appear, she can be considered the incarnation of bhakti. Kamsa can be considered the incarnation of fear, as it is often said “out of fear of Kamsa.”

Just as fear of the material world removes the six sense objects from the womb of bhakti, so Kamsa destroyed the six children of Devaki. Krishna-prema, which is characterized by intense service to Sri Krishna, necessarily appears in the womb of bhakti after the desire for sense objects is extinguished.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.8, Sarartha Darshini tika), Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Thus concludes part of one of our new series discussing bhakti, karma and falldown in spiritual life. Subsequent posts will answer questions like, “Is repentance part of bhakti?” “Are devotees suffering due to their karma?” “Why do devotees fall down from the all-purifying and blissful path of devotional bhajan?” “Who’s arranging a devotee’s life, one’s self, one’s karma, or is it all Krishna’s personal will and jurisdiction?”

Srimad Bhagavatam Maha Purana ki jai! Gaudiya Vaisnava rasik janas ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Jai Sri Shyam! Jai Jai Sri Vrndavana Dhama!