Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Due to unclear verse translations and purports in Srila Prabhupada’s books like “Nectar of Devotion” and “Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita”, many ISKCON members misunderstand and misrepresent the authorized practice of raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

This post will cite these confusing translations and purports, and give clear explanations of the subject of raganuga-bhakti.

RAGANUGA BHAKTI DOES NOT FOLLOW VAIDHI

It is not a fact that raganuga bhakti comes after the stage of vaidhi sadhana-bhakti.

First of all, what is sadhana bhakti? Sri Rupa Goswamipada says (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.2, 5): “The goal of bhava bhakti can be attained through practice with the senses (krti). This is called sadhana.” “There are two kinds of sadhana; vaidhi and raganuga.”

Nowhere it is said that raganuga bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi bhakti.

Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.108) confirms this: “There are two kinds of devotion in practice. One is called vaidhi bhakti and the other raganuga bhakti.”

As one desires to approach Bhagavan Sri Krishna, so Krishna will approach the aspirant: ye -yatha -mam -prapadyante -tams -tathaiva -bhajamyahan (Bhagavad-Gita 4.11). Reflecting on these famous words of the Bhagavad Gita, one can easily understand that varieties of goals are attained in accordance with one’s desires. It is not that all paths lead to the same goal.

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.3.7), says, “The paths of vaidhi and raganuga are known to be separate from each other. Engagement in these two forms of practice certainly awakens two distinct varieties of bhava.”

This automatically shows that raganuga bhakti is not per se a post graduate phase of vaidhi bhakti. In the realm of Vraja, the sweet and intimate human-like pastimes of Krishna prevail. Only in such an atmosphere love can attain its pinnacle. Love which is filled with awareness of Krishna’s almighty is of an inferior quality.

As stated by Sri Krishna Himself (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita 1.3.15-16): “Everyone in this world worships Me through vidhi-bhakti. Vidhi-bhakti has no power for attaining the feelings of Vraja. The devotion of the world is mixed with knowledge of My divine prowess. But I do not delight in love diluted with prowess.”

It is thus evident that there is a need to deeply reflect on the nature and practice of raganuga-bhakti for anyone who desires to perfect one’s loving faculty in relationship with Krishna. There is no other means for tasting the ambrosial sweetness of the Vraja-pastimes of Krishna!

There is no guarantee that someone who practices vaidhi bhakti is automatically promoted to raganuga bhakti, rather Sri Rupa Goswamipada says in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.309): “Only by the grace of Krishna and His devotees this path of raganuga bhakti is attained.”

Sri Rupa Goswamipada says in Padyavali:

“Ten million lifetimes of following regulative principles [vaidhi-bhakti] not give you taste for Krishna-bhakti. The only price is greed! Purchase it wherever it is available!”   

It is on sale where the rasika bhaktas speak about Radha-Krishna.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada teaches in Raga Vartma Candrika (1.5): “A candidate never considers whether one is qualified for this path of raganuga bhakti or not.”

DOING BHAJANA IS NOT SELFISH OR ACTING ONLY FOR ONE’S OWN LIBERATION

Srila Prabhupada says, “The word jiva-himsa (envy of other living entities) actually means stopping the preaching of Krishna consciousness. If one stops preaching and simply sits down in a solitary place, he is engaging in material activity.” (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.12.135 purport)

Srila Prabhupada said: “Bhajananandi is interested for his own welfare…therefore he does not go for preaching work. Sva-vimukti-kama: ‘Let me look after my own affairs.’” (Lecture n S.B.7.9.44, New Delhi, March 26, 1976.)

Comment: To understand what is selfish, one first must understand what is the self. Srimad Bhagavatam (10.14.55) says: “Krishna is the Self of the selves.” In other words, bhajana is done to please Krishna, who is our highest Self, and not to reach personal salvation.

To think that doing bhajana is selfish is superimposing social morality and a material conception of what is the self on absolute surrender to the Objective Absolute. Sri Krishna says, bhajatam -priti -purvakam, “Devotees do My bhajan with love.” (Bhagavad Gita 10.10)

In Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.16.64), Mahaprabhu said, “Do not come to Jagannatha Puri every year, but stay in Bengal and fulfill My desire.”

Srila Prabhupada purport: “In other words, it is a greater fortune to carry out Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s order than to satisfy one’s senses by seeing Lord Jagannatha. Preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s cult throughout the world is more important than staying in Vrindavan or Jagannaha Puri for one’s own personal satisfaction.

Clarification:  Mahaprabhu did not say in this verse or any other verse that it is sense gratification to see Lord Jagannatha or one stays in the dhama for personal satisfaction. He just said, ‘Don’t come every year to Nilacala. Stay in Bengal and make My desire there a success.’

PREACHING IS NOT A GREATER SERVICE TO KRISHNA THAN CONTEMPLATION (BHAJAN).

This verse from Bhagavad Gita (18.68) is often quoted to prove that one preaching is the dearest to Krishna: “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.”

Clarification: This verse contains the words mad bhaktesu, proving that this verse describes having Krishna-katha amongst the devotees, not disturbing of the minds of the ignorant, which is rejected earlier in the Bhagavad Gita (3.29): “Those bewildered by the senses made of prakrti are attached to the actions of the body and senses. But one who knows the atma should not disturb the foolish persons who do not know atma.”

Most people who do bhajan also do some preaching as well anyway, it is rarely purely this way or the other. The fact that bhajan is higher than preaching makes it also less accessible. In other words, preaching is an easier practice than bhajan and therefore it is a more advisable service for the restless and passionate souls of the age of Kali. However, everything is spoiled if the “preacher” claims to be superior to other Vaishnavas by doing this.

Preaching is certainly a great service, but still Sri Ramananda Raya said to Mahaprabhu in Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.8.280): “Your own confidential activity is to relish prema; filling the universe with prema is a concomitant act for You.”

Tamal Krishna told Prabhupāda that one of the symptoms he has noticed about these people [who are reading and discussing Radha-Krishna lila in Vrindavan] is that they don’t go out on sankirtana.

As soon as he said that Srila Prabhupada cut in: “Then everything will be finished. Preaching will be finished.” (Los Angeles, June, 1976)

Comment: From this it is clear that the policy of blocking raganuga bhajan in ISKCON is just meant to serve the preaching organization. Precious manpower will be lost if devotees start doing bhajan. They will not be productive anymore.

RAGANUGA BHAKTI DOES NOT HAMPER A PREACHING MISSION

(Commenting on the last quote above (Los Angeles, June, 1976)

A raganuga sadhaka’s value is a matter of attitude, of quality, not of quantity. Vaidhi bhaktas worship Krishna in awe and reverence and raganuga bhaktas worship Krishna in intimate love.

Raganuga sadhakas are also preaching worldwide, printing and distributing books and lecturing on Krishna consciousness.

The outreach practices of preaching, traveling and training disciples can easily go on side by side with raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.5) says that raganuga is a sadhana, simple!

DOES ONE HAVE TO CROSS DIFFERENT PLANES LIKE GOPA KUMAR IN BRHAD BHAGAVATMRITA and in CHAITANYA CARITAMRITA?

“As one waters the devotional creeper, the seed sprouts, and it gradually grows until it penetrates the walls of this material universe and goes beyond the Viraja River, which divides the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, and then reaches the paravyoma, the spiritual sky, and then reaches the foremost spiritual planet Goloka Vrndavana. Rooted in the heart and watered by sravana-kirtana, the bhakti creeper grows until it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna in the topmost region of the spiritual sky.” (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita 2.19.153-4)

Clarification: This going through all the planes is an objective observation, not a personal course, “Higher than this plane is that plane etc.” The Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu says nothing about each sadhaka having to go through all these phases. This is a description of the ascension of bhakti, not the journey of the individual soul. It is just a general map to show how high Vraja-bhakti goes and IS. 

Is there devotee who first wants to go to heaven, then wants to do yoga, then become a cowherd boy, and then a gopi?

Shastras says there is one direct attainment for each path:

“Through vaidhi-bhakti, one will attain the form of an associate in Vaikuṇṭha. Through raga-bhakti, one will attain Krishna Himself in Vraja.” (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita 2.24.87) [content courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji]

Raganuga-bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Due to unclear verse translations and purports in Srila Prabhupada’s books like “Nectar of Devotion” and “Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita”, many ISKCON members misunderstand and misrepresent the authorized practice of raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

This post will cite these confusing translations and purports, and give clear explanations of the subject of raganuga-bhakti.

WHAT ABOUT SIDDHA PRANALI?

Srila Prabhupada says, “In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-pranali. The siddha-pranali process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorized and who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.”

Comment: Does this include Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whom Srila Prabhupada himself has made world-famous as an acarya? Bhaktivinoda personally took siddha-pranali from his guru, Sri Bipin Bihari Goswami, and described it in his books Hari-nama cintamani and Jaiva-dharma.

Srila Prabhupada says, “They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by thinking of themselves like that.”

Clarification:  Yet, this is exactly what the acaryas say. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says in Bhakti Sandarbha 286, “Bhuta-shuddhi means that one meditates on one’s own desired siddha deha which is fit for serving Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami says in Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.155-6): “Think of your own desired siddha deha as a sadhana.”

In that very same Nectar of Devotion, Sri Rupa Goswamipada says the same thing (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.295), plus its tikas by Sri Jiva Goswamipada and Visvanatha Cakravartipada.

Narottama Dasa Thakur says, “Whatever siddha deha one thinks of during one’s sadhana is what one attains in siddha stage.” (Prema Bhakti Candrika)

In Saranga-rangada tika of Krishna Karnamrita (3), Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami says:

raganuga -marge -anutpanna -rati sadhaka -bhaktair -api -svepsita -siddha -deham -manasi -parikalpya

“On the raganuga-path even sadhaka bhaktas who have no bhava [rati] yet can think of one’s own desired siddha deha.” 

Srila Prabhupada says, “The so-called siddha-pranali process is followed by the prakrta-sahajiya, a pseudo sect of so-called Vaishnavas. In the opinion of Rupa Gosvami, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service.”

Comment: Where does Rupa Gosvami say this in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu?

Srila Prabhupada: “Sri Rupa Gosvami says that learned acaryas recommend that we follow the regulative principles even after the development of spontaneous love for Krishna.”

CLARIFICATION: Here Srila Prabhupada contradicts himself (see above): “These raganuga devotees do not follow the regulative principles of devotional service very strictly.”

In their tikas to Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.292), both Sri Jiva Goswamipada and Visvanatha Cakravartipada say: “When one has got even a slight feeling [kinchit anubhuti] for the sweet moods of Krishna and His devotees through hearing their descriptions in texts i.e Srimad Bhagavatam describing the ultimate spiritual goal, the raganuga sadhaka no longer waits for the injunctions of scripture or for logical reasons to do so, but simply takes up the raganuga devotional path. This is the characteristic of sacred greed, lobha.”

The words yat kinchit [slight, little] in their tikas prove that the initial lobha, sacred greed, to start raganuga-bhakti is not an all-consuming fire.

NO RULES IN RAGANUGA-BHAKTI?

In Nectar of Devotion, chapter 16 – “Eligibility for Spontaneous Devotional Service”, Srila Prabhupada says: “Persons desiring to follow in the footsteps of such eternal devotees of the Lord as the Vrsnis and Vrindavan denizens are called raganuga devotees, which means that they are trying to attain to the perfection of those devotees. These raganuga devotees do not follow the regulative principles of devotional service very strictly…”

Clarification: This has turned out to be a disastrous statement when preaching to a modern audience. People now think that raganuga bhakti means one need not follow the principles of chastity and restraint. Believe it or not, today there are some who preach that a life of illicit amorous relations, drugs and rock music is raganuga bhakti.

But Sri Rupa Goswamipada never said that raganuga bhakti means one need not follow the rules. Rather, Visvanatha Cakravartipada has written a book, ‘Raga Vartma Candrika’ specially to warn against such a conception.

He ends that book with: “Those who say that raganuga bhakti totally surpasses all scriptural injunctions in all respects have always caused disturbance, are causing disturbance and will cause disturbance.”

WHY ALWAYS GOPI-BHAVA?
“Why it has to be always gopi-bhava, why can’t one become a cowherd boy?”

Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita is the gist of the Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma, the ultimate statement, and it opens with this verse of Sri Rupa Goswamipada, stating the purpose of Sri Chaitanya’s advent:

“May Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, Mahaprabhu has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no avatara has ever offered before: the elevated divine erotic flavor relished by Radha-Krishna [unnatojjvala-rasam]. (Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita 1.1.4)

Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (1.4.44-45) says: “But if we compare the sentiments in an impartial mood, we find that the conjugal sentiment is superior to all others in sweetness.

“Increasing love is experienced in various tastes, one above another. But that love which has the highest taste in the gradual succession of desire manifests itself in the form of conjugal love.”

The standard songs in the entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, including ISKCON, all point at gopi-bhava and madhura rasa upasana. The “Tulasi-arati” for instance:

ei -nivedana -dharo, sakhira -anugata -koro
seva -adhikara -diye -koro -nija -dasi

“O Tulsi-devi, I submit to you to please make me a follower of the sakhis, and make me your maidservant by giving me to right to serve you.”

And the Gurvastakam (6):

nikunja-yuno -rati-keli-siddhyai
ya -yalibhir -yuktir -apeksaniya
tatrati-daksyad -ati-vallabhasya
vande -guroh -sri-caranaravindam

“The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopis, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Radha-Krishna’s amorous affairs within the groves of Vrindavan. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master. “

It should be noted that most of the acaryas in ISKCON’s parampara are all manjari maidservants of Radharani in the spiritual realm.

Furthermore, at diksha the Kama-Gayatri is given to all Gaudiya Vaishnava, indicating that Krishna needs to be worshipped as the transcendental Cupid of Vrindavan. How does this fit in with being a cowherd boy, parent or male servant of Krishna? There is also not a single Vaishnava community in the world which practices cowherdboy, parent, or servant rasa. [content courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji]

Raganuga-bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Due to unclear verse translations and purports in Srila Prabhupada’s books like “Nectar of Devotion” and “Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita”, many ISKCON members misunderstand and misrepresent the authorized practice of raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

This post will cite these confusing translations and purports, and give clear explanations of the subject of raganuga-bhakti.

FREEDOM FROM IMPURITY?

Srila Prabhupada’s Nectar of Devotion: “We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination.  In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivrtti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination. 

“Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas or unwanted habits…When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopis, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in him.”

Clarification: In Raga-vartma-candrika (1.8) however, Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains that lobha, sacred greed, is not a black-and-white matter, that it is either absolute and complete, or there is none. Lobha is not necessarily a burning, all-consuming passion.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada: “It is described that the devotees on the raga-path gradually progress from the initial surrender to the feet of Sri Guru up to the stage of directly attaining the object of their desires.     

‘When the eye is smeared with medicinal ointment, its ability of perception becomes more and more refined, and accordingly it is able to perceive more and more subtle objects. Similarly, according to the degree of the mind’s having become purified by hearing and chanting of My purifying pastimes, all the subtle truths of reality become manifest in the heart of the sadhaka.’ (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.26)

“From these words of Sri Krishna, it is known that through sadhana-bhakti the consciousness of the sadhaka becomes more purified every day, and one gradually becomes more and more greedy.”

Srila Prabhupada: “In the stage of devotional service where regulative principles are followed, there is no necessity of discussing this love, for it must develop of itself at a more advanced stage.”

Clarification:  This is not stated by Sri Rupa Goswamipada.

Srila Prabhupada: “Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of devotional service, according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the footsteps of the devotees in Vrindavan.”

Clarification: In Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.5), Sri Rupa Goswamipada says there are two kinds of sadhana, practice with the senses by souls that are still conditioned: vaidhi and raganuga. And nowhere it is said that raganuga bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi bhakti, or that it cannot be practiced until after liberation.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada states in his Raga Vartma Candrika (2.7): “Then it will be described how one, who has progressed on the path of raganuga-bhakti through the cessation of the evils (anartha-nivrtti), firmness (nistha), taste (ruci), and attachment (asakti) all the way to the attainment of ecstatic love (prema), will directly come to attain his desired object.”

RAGANUGA-BHAKTI BEGINS AT NISHTHA: TRUE OR FALSE?

Different acharyas following Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati claim that raganuga-bhakti sadhana commences at the stage of nistha, ruci or even bhava, but there is not a word of evidence for that in the authorized scriptures on the topic, like Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu or its commentaries, Bhakti Sandarbha, Madhurya Kadambini or Raga Vartma Candrika.

In his book “Sri Guru Parampara- Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Heir to the Esoteric Life of Kedaranatha Bhaktivinoda”, Tripurari Swami says that “In Bhakti-sara-pradarshini (his commentary on Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu), Visvanatha Cakravartipada tells us that in order to practice raganuga bhakti one must have attained the stage of nistha.”

CLARIFICATION: This is the verse referred to above quoted from Visvanatha Cakravartipada:

ragatmikaika -nistha -ye -vrajavasi  -janadayah
tesham -bhavaptaye -lubdho bhaved -atradhikaravan (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.291):

“This is the definition of the ragatmika bhakti of the nitya siddha Vrajavasis.”

The words eka nistha (exclusively fixed, loyal) has been mistranslated by Tripurari Swami to refer to the adhikaravan, the jiva-candidate, and have been confused for the high stage of bhakti called nistha.

But this verse refers instead to the nitya siddha role models, the Vrajvasis, and means ‘exclusive fixation’ and not the stage of nistha that sadhakas must go through.

THE SIDDHA DEHA

In his translations of Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.8.229; 2.22.155-158) Srila Prabhupada says to meditate on the siddha deha one needs to be ‘self-realized’, while such a word cannot be found in the original verses.

Narottama Dasa Thakur explains that meditation on the siddha deha is a regular sadhana: “Whatever you think of during your sadhana, you will attain in your siddhi-body. These are the ways of raga marga.” (Prema Bhakti Candrika 57)

“The treasure I covet during my sadhana I will receive in my siddha body. The only difference between the two is being ripe and unripe.” (Prema Bhakti Candrika 56)

This means that the difference between the struggling practitioner and the siddha is only in quantity and not in quality.

Bhagavad Gita (8.6): “Whatever one contemplates throughout life is what one attains when one leaves the body.”

Srimad Bhagavatam (7.1.27): “The caterpillar imprisoned by a wasp in (its nest on) a wall, and constantly thinking of the latter through intense hate and fear, attains the form of the wasp.”

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.295): “A person who desires loving attraction to His beloved Sri Krishna in Vraja must serve in allegiance to the Vrajvasis, both in the current practitioner’s body as well as in the spiritual, mentally conceived body, which is fit for serving Sri Krishna, seva -sadhaka -rupena -siddha -rupena -catra -hi.

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: “Mental service must be rendered in the spiritual body, siddha-deha, in allegiance to Sri Radha, Lalita,  Visakha-sakhi, Sri Rupa Manjari and service in the current physical body must be rendered in allegiance to Vraja-people like Sri Rupa and Sanatana.

Srila Prabhupada translates Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.154-155) as follows: “There are two processes by which one may execute this raganuga bhakti: external and internal. When self-realized, the advanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the shāstric injunctions, especially those concerning hearing and chanting. But within his mind, in his original, purified, self-realized position, he serves Krishna in Vrindavan day and night.”

Clarification: The actual Bengali verse of Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2..22.154-155) says: “There are two kinds of devotion in practice — external and internal. In the external practitioner’s body devotional practices of hearing and chanting Krishna’s glories are performed, and internally, in the mentally conceived spiritual body, one renders mental service to Krishna in Vraja day and night.”

The term ‘self-realized’ mentioned in Srila Prabhupada’s translation is not in the original Bengali sloka. Besides, it is a bit too extreme for a description of raganuga-bhakti sadhana because this verse appears in the sadhana bhakti chapter of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Nevertheless, one indeed needs to be fairly advanced to meditate on one’s siddha deha.

In Bhakti Sandarbha (276), Sri Jiva Goswamipada says, “Smaranam requires a pure heart, smaranam -tu shuddha -antah -karanatam -apeksate.”

All the elaborations of Visvanatha Cakravartipada in Madhurya Kadambini on how far up anarthas persist (up to the stage of prema) are nicely summarized by Sri Rupa Goswamipada in a single verse of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (2.1.276):

“Sadhakas who have developed rati [bhava] for Krishna but have not completely extinguished the anarthas are qualified to see Krishna directly.”

Clarification: This verse obviously refers to subtle anarthas. It also dismisses claims that one is unqualified to meditate, what to speak of realize the spiritual body, while anarthas are still there. [content courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji]

Raganuga-bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Due to unclear verse translations and purports in Srila Prabhupada’s books like “Nectar of Devotion” and “Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita”, many ISKCON members misunderstand and misrepresent the authorized practice of raganuga-bhakti sadhana.

This post will cite these confusing translations and purports, and give clear explanations of the subject of raganuga-bhakti.

WHAT IS RAGATMIKA AND WHAT IS RAGANUGA?

In order to have a clear understanding about raganuga it is important to understand raga and ragatmika. For various reasons these terms have been somewhat conflated and confused in ISKCON.

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.272) says:

Raga is complete absorption in one’s beloved ishta-devata. Bhakti that is impelled exclusively by such a thirst is called ragatmika-bhakti.”

“The absorption described above as ragatmika bhakti is only found in Krishna’s eternal associates in Vraja. Raganuga-bhakti is defined as that bhakti which follows after the ragatmika-bhakti which manifests distinctively in the inhabitants of Vraja. (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.270)

Here are of some of the unclear translations in Nectar of Devotion Ch. 15, entitled “Spontaneous Devotional Service” that have led to much confusion:

“The examples of spontaneous devotional service can be easily seen in Krishna’s direct associates in Vrindavan. The spontaneous dealings of the residents of Vrindavan in relationship with Krishna are called raganuga.”

CLARIFICATION: The proper term here should be ragatmika, rather than raganuga.

In the next paragraph Srila Prabhupada says, “Srila Rupa Goswami has defined raganuga bhakti as spontaneous attraction for something while completely absorbed in thoughts of it.” 

CLARIFICATION: The word here should be raga, not raganuga bhakti.

The terms ragatmika and raganuga have been translated identically and even used interchangeably in Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Thus, it is not surprising that most ISKCON devotees mistakenly think that raganuga-bhakti sadhana is a highly elevated stage of bhakti which is only achieved in a completely purified stage.

DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN Srila Prabhupada’s ‘NECTAR OF DEVOTION’ AND THE TEACHINGS OF THE PREVIOUS ACARYAS:

Srila Prabhupada gives his own definition of rasa in the preface of the Nectar of Devotion: “That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder and the nationalist is called rasa.”

Clarification: This definition of rasa has nothing to do with what Sri Rupa Goswamipada says in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. He says rasa is produced by combining a sthayi bhava, then vibhava, anubhava, sancari bhava and sattvik-bhava.

QUALIFICATION FOR RAGANUGA-BHAKTI

Raganuga bhakti means allegiance to the eternally perfect ragatmika-devotees of Vraja. This is the teaching of Sri Rupa Goswamipada in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.271-272):

“Before we speak of ragatmika bhakti and raganuga bhakti we must first know what is raga. Raga is that deep natural loving thirst which causes one to become completely absorbed in one’s beloved Thakurji.”

Sri Jiva Goswamipada has defined raga and raganuga as follows (Bhakti Sandarbha 310):  Raga means the strong and natural desire of a sense-enjoyer for his beloved sense-objects. The senses, like the eyes, are naturally attracted to their objects, such as beautiful forms, and they need no encouragement in this.

In the same way, when a devotee’s heart is naturally attracted to Sri Krishna and one has a deep thirst for Sri Krishna then this is called raga.

When a mere ray of the nectar-moon of such raga falls on the crystal-like hearts of those devotees who only have some taste for a particular raga but do not possess that raga itself yet, then the heart rejoices and as a result of hearing from the scriptures and saints taste will be born within the heart of such a devotee for the devotional expertise of a ragatmika bhakta.

This means that ruci (taste) will be born within the heart when we hear about the loving devotional expertise of a ragatmika Vraja-bhakta from the scriptures or from the mouth of a saint whose heart is pure, that is, free from lust, anger and envy. The devotion which follows the raga of a ragatmika Vraja-devotee along with ruci is called raganuga bhakti.”

Both the vaidhi-devotee and the raga-devotee may begin the path of devotion from the stage of anartha nivrtti, cessation of unwanted habits, progressing through the stages that have been described by Sri Rupa Goswamipada in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.4.15-16) : adau –shraddha -tatha -sadhu -sango’tha –bhajana -kriya.

The difference between them lies not in personal purity, but in their mood.  Sri Rupa Goswamipada writes in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu  (1.2.291): “Those who are anxious (‘greedy’) to attain the mood of the eternal, exclusively fixed-up  ragatmika Vrajavasis are eligible to enter into raganuga-bhakti.”

YOU CAN’T LEARN RAGA BHAKTI FROM BOOKS

One cannot learn vaidhi bhakti from the guru, and then just learn raganuga-bhakti from books because your guru did not teach you raganuga bhakti.

Sri Raghunatha Das Goswamipada  says (Sva-sankalpaprakash-stotra 1):  “How can one enter into the Shyam ocean without having conversed with a devotee whose heart is steeped in love for Radha  [a raganuga-bhakta]?”

Visvanatha Cakravartipada writes in his Raga Vartma Candrika (1.6). “There are two causes for the appearance of sacred greed necessary to practice raganuga-bhakti: The mercy of Bhagavan Sri Krishna or the mercy of an anuragi devotee. There are again two kinds of mercy bestowed by a devotee: praktana and adhunika.

Praktana means mercy bestowed by a raganuga bhakta in a previous life, and adhunika is mercy bestowed in the present birth. The praktana-devotee takes shelter of the lotus feet of a raganuga guru after the sacred greed has arisen in him, the adhunika will get that sacred greed after surrendering to the feet of such a guru.”

[content courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji]

Raganuga-bhakti ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also, we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Ma Yashoda Feeds Sri Radha

“Anxiously mother Yashoda sits Radhika Rai on her lap and says: “O my beautiful girl! Please eat something before You go home!” Mother Yashoda then affectionately touches Swamini and makes Her sit down to eat.

“Don’t think that I’m different from Your own mother. You can laugh, joke, sleep and eat in my house just as You do at home! Why are You so shy?” Mother Yashoda sits beside Radha and personally feeds Her.

While eating Krishna’s nectarine remnants Sri Radhika is overwhelmed in bliss. The manjaris and sakhis really enjoy seeing mother Yashoda feeding Srimati. Tulasi-manjari is beside herself of ecstasy beholding the sweet mutual love of Yashoda and Radhika

Tulasi stands close by Swamini, silently hoping that Radha will give her some of Her remnants. Understanding what’s on Her mind, Radha secretly drops some of Her chewed food in Tulasi’s hand. Blessed is Radha’s loving maidservant!

Sadhakas in manjari bhava will meditate that they are sitting right next to Tulasi-manjari observing this sweet exchange between Yashoda, Radhika and Her loving maidservant, or standing beside Srimati fanning Her as She eats. And one fine day during lila smarana, you may see Radhika dropping Her remnants into your eager loving hand! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! 

Priyaji’s Prema Binds Priyatama Shyam

Radha does know anything else but loving Krishna. Radha’s divine body, senses and mind are all made of love for Krishna. So Krishna surrenders completely to Radha’s service by applying red lac to Her lotus feet, putting tilaka on Her forehead, combing Her hair, massaging Her feet and so on.

In the mood of an independent lady-love (svadhina bhartrka) Srimati can order Shyam to do these things without any hesitation! This is not the service of Krishna, it is prema itself serving Radha. The sweetness of Shyam’s love manifests in Radha’s face, eyes and smile. Prema becomes tasteful because of Radha-Krishna’s mutual love. Their relationship is completely free from awe and reverence.

Radharani’s maidservants ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva)  regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also, we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Seeing Swamini’s Eager Face

Ayi Madhuri Radha! How beautiful You are when Madhava looks at You while eating His breakfast! Just by a glance Shyam can understand Radharani’s blissful eagerness. Swamini’s face is marked with eagerness. The sadhaka manjari should also relish that blissful eagerness of Madhuri’s beautiful face.

Narottama Dasa Thakur prays,

“My eyes desire to see the golden form of Radhika and I am crying out of that desire!” (Prem Bhakti Candrika)

Reality of Manjari Meditations

In Radha Kunda, Sri Raghunatha Das Goswamipada was anxiously crying out of the pain of separation from Srimati Radharani. At the stage of bhava-bhakti, a sadhaka can see Radha-Krishna through the eyes in sphurtis, vivid visions. Before attaining bhava however, a fortunate sadhaka may “see” Radha-Krishna in meditation or dreams.

When sadhakas follow in the footsteps of acharyas like Sri Rupa Goswamipada, Sri Raghunatha Das Goswamipada, Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami, and Visvanatha Cakravartipada by praying to them, studying their books and trying to imbibe their moods, meditations and sevas, they too can relish the sweetness of Srimati’s face in their meditations.

As one repeatedly practices deep meditation on Radha Madhava’a asta-kaliya-lila one will feel that Radha-Krishna are very near. When one experiences this, one will think, “I am not practicing lila smarana, I am there!”

When one’s meditation ends one will feel great anxiety to directly meet Radha Govinda Yugal. The more one enjoys lila smarana, the more anxious one will become for more. As thirst and eagerness for direct darshan of Radha-Krishna increases, the sooner one will attain it.

Radha-Krishna Asta-kaliya-lila smarana bhajan will make a new life for a sadhaka.

Sri Radha will certainly respond to one’s humility, enthusiasm, and determination to practice bhajan in manjari svarupa.

Karunamayi Radha is a boundless ocean of compassion, endowed with a lovely nature.

Thus, Kishori will come close to you and accept your sevas. Radhika is a wish-fulfilling vine for devotees.

Manjari bhava sadhana ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava)Manjaris, RaganugaBhakti, Gopis, Radharani, RadhasSeva, VrajaPrema, intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also, we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Selfless Mood of Manjaris

Most devotees think: “I want to become happy by serving Krishna.” 

Radha’s maidservants, being the exemplars of selflessness, are completely free from this. Serious  manjari-bhava upasakas should always be thinking: “What seva can I do to please Priya-Priyatama?”

Bhajan is impossible in the presence of personal desire. Maintaining personal agendas keep one from tasting the bliss in selfless worship.

Manjaris Sevas After Radha’s Cooking

After Swamini finishes cooking Krishna ‘s breakfast She takes rest. The kinkaris change Radha’s clothes, wipe Her hands, feet and body with a wet towel and fan Radha while Dhanishtha brings a nectar drink. While Swamini  enjoys the drink She closes Her beautiful eyes.

Radha Serves Bhoga 

Shyam peeks at Radha in the kitchen without being noticed by others. Swamini casts a furtive glance back toward Her Nagar while handing food to Rohini. A little later, Yashoda tells Radha to serve sandesh to Krishna. Just as Swamini shyly tries to put the sweet on His plate, Krishna opens His hand to receive it. Seeing this sign of affection, Srimati blushes of shyness. How beautiful is Radha’s shyly blushing, blooming face at that time!

The manjaris relish this sweetness and intensely desire to see Radha’s blossoming lotus face again and again.

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
The Holy Name is Transcendental
What does it mean that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental, and should never be considered a material sound vibration? The holy name has absolutely nothing to do with the mundane world of matter. The holy name is not a combination of material letters and syllables. The form of the holy name is sat-cit-ananda, eternal blissful consciousness. Although in this world, the holy name is not of this world. The divine name of the Lord is not a product of the material world. Only a liberated soul can purely pronounce the transcendental holy name. A conditioned soul covered by the modes of nature cannot utter the pure name (cintamani-nama).
“Nama is aprakrta-caitanya-rasa (a transcendental living mellow). Within nama there is not any scent of mundane consciousness. When the devoted jiva becomes purified through bhakti and renders service to sri-harinama, sri-nama personally manifests on his tongue. Nama cannot be accepted with material senses.” (Jaiva Dharma ch.20)
When the conditioned soul pleases Sri Guru and Sri Kṛṣṇa, the svarupa-sakti (internal spiritual potency) of the Lord descends upon him, and enables him to purely chant the divine name. Kṛṣṇa’s svarupa-sakti is a combination of hladini-sakti (bliss potency personified as Sri Radha) and samvit-sakti (knowledge potency personified as Lord Baladeva). Kṛṣṇa’s svarupa-sakti manifests the pure name in a surrendered heart saturated with devotion. Enriched with ecstatic rasas, the pure name then embraces the tongue in the dance of prema.
When explaining the transcendental nature of the holy name, Srila Prabhupada often compared the chanting of the word “water” to the name of Kṛṣṇa. The following quotes by His Divine Grace beautifully illuminate the essence of divine wisdom:
“In the relative world, the word “water” and the substance water are different. When I am thirsty, if I simply chant “Water, water, water,” my thirst will not be satisfied. I require the real water. That is the nature of the relative world and relative consciousness. But in the spiritual world or spiritual consciousness, the name is the same as the thing that is named. For instance, we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa were different from the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, then how could we be satisfied chanting the whole day and night? This is the proof. An ordinary name­­­­–if you chant “Mr. John, Mr. John,” after chanting three times you will cease. But this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra–if you go on chanting twenty-four hours a day, you will never become tired. This is the spiritual nature of the Absolute Truth. This is practical. Anyone can perceive it.” (Civilization and Transcendence ch. 7)
“Kṛṣṇa’s words and He are not different. That is omnipotency. Omnipotency means everything relating to Kṛṣṇa has the same potency. Just like here in this material world, if you are thirsty and want water, simply calling repeatedly, “water, water, water, water, water,” will not satisfy your thirst. Because the word “water” has not the same potency as water itself. You require the water as it is. Then your thirst will be satisfied. But in the transcendental, absolute world, there is no such difference. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s name, Kṛṣṇa’s words and Kṛṣṇa’s qualities, Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes–everything is Kṛṣṇa.” (SPT 25/3/67)
“So immediately you can be in touch with Kṛṣṇa by vibrating this sound, Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is so potent. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ. The name of Kṛṣṇa is cintāmaṇi, transcendental. It is not this material sound, material name. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya. Living force, caitanya. It is not dead sound. If you want water, if you chant only “Water, water, water, water,” you will not get water, because it is material sound. The water substance is different from the word “water”. Therefore, simply by chanting, “water, water” you cannot quench your thirst. You must have the substance water. That is material sound. Anything you take, simply by chanting the name, you will not get the thing. That is material.
“But in the spiritual world, the name and the person or the substance is the same. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s name is the same. There is no difference. Therefore, those who are chanting “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa,” they are becoming more and more enthusiastic to chant.” (SPT 22/1/75).
An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting
Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Srila Prabhupada says one can see Krishna in his heart, in the Deity (archa-murti), in the Srimad Bhagavatam and face to face.
Srila Prabhupada also describes different factors leading to Krishna’s darshana i.e. eagerness, attitude, faith, humility, patience, mercy, seva, steadiness in bhakti bhajana, eagerness and prema or divine love. Now we will illustrate these points with quotes from Srila Prabhupada.
DEITY: “Who is a first-class yogi? It is he/she who is always trying to see Krishna within the heart. In our bhakti-yoga we can teach this art of seeing Krishna within the core of the heart in one minute. It is so simple. You are seeing Krishna here [as Deity]. You must try to keep that impression [of Radha-Krishna’s murti] within your heart always.” (folio 760312SB.MAY)
KRISHNA BOOK: “If you read Krishna Book [means Bhagavatam tenth canto] and if you believe, then you see Krishna. Krishna is not different from the book. (folio 760427CC.AUC)
ATTITUDE: “This sincere attitude [to be Krishna conscious] will make you more and more advanced, and one day Krsna will reveal Himself to you face to face!” (folio Letter 73-01-28)
PREMA: “We have to smear our eyes with the ointment of love; then Krishna will actually come in front of us.” (BTG #60 1973)
“Krishna is always present. When Krishna is pleased with your service and love, you will see Krishna, you will see yourself [siddha svarupa], you will see the whole world!” (folio 720911rc.arl)
“When we develop love of Krishna, we will immediately see Krishna and faint, saying, “Oh, here is my Lord!” (TLK 35 pur.)
PATIENCE: “Of course, it is good to be eager to see Krishna, but we should not become discouraged if we do not see Him immediately.” (BTG #60 1973)
SEVA: “My request is that you continue your devotional service very faithfully and rigidly. Then in this life you will be able to see Krishna face to face; that is a fact!” (folio SPL 7-10)
FAITH: “We must have firm faith that because we are engaged in Krishna consciousness we will see Krishna face to face. The time will come when we will see Krishna. There is no doubt about this.” (TQK 25 pur.)
MERCY: The ability to see Krishna depends on Krishna’s mercy. (JSD 2.2)
EAGERNESS:
This is the main factor in seeing Krishna. Do you ever even think, “With my eyes, I want to see Radha! I want to see Krishna!” Do you ever feel, “I don’t know how or when but I must, I have to in this very life get darshana of Radha Govinda Yugala?” Without it I can’t live.”
Do you ever pray, “Krishna, You must show Yourself to me. Please, I beg You while crying piteously. Otherwise, how can I live any longer?” Ever-pushing anxiety, exasperation, desperation, hope against hope and relentless enthusiastic endeavors in bhakti bhajana—this means eagerness.
Since eagerness to see Krishna is the main factor in attaining darshana of Sri Krishna, let’s see Srila Prabhupada’s many quotes about eagerness; its need, power and effects.
Krishna And The Thief
To illustrate the point, Srila Prabhupada once told the following story titled “Krishna and the Thief”. One day a thief heard a lecture describing a boy named Krishna who wanders in the forests of Vrindavana and who is adorned with gold and jeweled ornaments. The thief thought, “Why not go to Vrindavana and plunder this boy?”
Srila Prabhupada comments: “That thief was always thinking and feeling. “I must find that boy! I must see Krishna! I must see Krishna!” That anxiety, that eagerness, made it possible for him to actually see Krishna in Vrindavana.
“So we must be very, very eager to see Krishna. Somehow or other you must develop this eagerness, this desire: “I must see Krishna.” Then Krishna will be seen.” (folio JSD 2.2)
“One [a Krishna bhakta] must actually be very much eager to see God. One must be very serious and think, “Yes, I have been informed about God. So if there is a God, I must see Him.” (BTG #15-10 1980)
“Eagerness is very important thing, and it [develops] by the association of devotees. Then you will see God eye to eye. It is not difficult. Those who have developed that eagerness, faith, that ‘I must see Krishna in this life’ [they will see Krishna]. This life is meant for seeing Krishna.” (folio 720515SB.LA)
“If you are eager to see Krishna, regardless of whatever motive you have, you will see Krishna!” (JSD 2.2)
“We must be eager to see Krishna and talk with Him. He is actually waiting to see whether we are interested in talking with Him.” (TLK 35 pur.)
“When a devotee is very eager to see Krishna, Krishna is so kind that He comes. (TLK 38 pur.)
The Srimad Bhagavatam often mentions the eagerness of the Vrajavasis and especially Radha and the gopis to see Krishna with such phrases as, “the gopis’ eyes were very eager to see Shyamasundara, gopyah didrkshita drshah.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.15.42) By reading this and the following sastric quotes, one will increase his/her eagerness and enthusiasm to see Krishna NOW.
Sri Jayadeva Goswami says Radha’s eyes are always excessively restless looking here and there due to Her intense hankering to see Hari, sandarshana utkantha. (Gita Govinda V.32)
One day Kasturi manjari saw how Radharani turned to Her loyal friend Visakha and said in the madness of separation from Shyama, “Where is Krishna, who is so expert in rasa dancing? Oh, where is He, who can save My life? Kindly tell Me where to find Krishna, the treasure of My life and the best of My friends.
“O sakhi, where is Krishna? Kindly let Me see Him. My heart breaks at not seeing Krishna’s face even for a moment. Kindly show Him to Me immediately; otherwise I cannot live.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 3.19.35-37)
During His Jagannatha Puri lila, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited the topmost limit in hankering to see Krishna. Mahaprabhu would wail and weep, “Alas, where is Vrindavana? Where is Gopendranandana Sri Krishna? Where is that flute player, ha ha kahan vrndavana, kahan gopendra-nandana, kahan sei vamshi vadana?” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.2.55) At another time, Mahaprabhu pined, “Where is Krishna, My life and soul? Please show Me Krishna, kotha krishna mora prana natha more krishna dekhao!” (Caitanya Caritamrita 3.16.81)
Summarizing it all, Srila Prabhupada perfectly said, “We simply have to prepare ourselves to see Krishna and understand Krishna. That is the purpose of Krishna consciousness.” (TQK 11 pur.)
So this is Krishna consciousness: wanting to, praying to and trying to see Krishna—Radha-Krishna Yugala in Vrindavana in the keli-kadamba kunjas along the Yamuna.
Being a Krishna devotee means that one wants to serve Krishna, to love Krishna and to SEE KRISHNA FACE TO FACE just like Gopa Kumara did in Brhad Bhagavatamrta.
And like the thief that Srila Prabhupada described, we must always think and feel, “I must find that boy! I must see Krishna! I MUST SEE KRISHNA!” This type of divine transcendental anxiety and eagerness will definitely bring us the greatest treasure (mahanidhi) of seeing Sri Krishna in Vrindavana one fine day.
Radha-Krishna sakshad darshana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Having an overwhelming desire to see Sri Krishna is one of the symptoms of an advanced devotee. Sri Rupa Gosvami calls it samutkantha, the intense hankering to see Sri Krishna which is a symptom of a bhava bhakta.

What is the cause of this hankering? Sastra says that the mercy of the sat Guru is the cause of a sadhaka having a strong or intense desire to see Krishna, sat guroh krpaya krishna didrksha bhara karitam. (Brihad Bhagavatamrita 2.3.113)

While describing the Vrindavana born bhakta Gopa-kumara, Sri Sanatana Goswami says that his intense eagerness to see Krishna arose from two causes; 1) by following the instructions of advanced devotees; and 2) by the strength of his service to his diksha mantra, sriman maha bhagavata upadeshatah san mantra seva balato. (Brihad Bhagavatamrita 2.3.45)

Gopa-kumara’s eagerness to see God impelled him to travel all over the universe searching for Sri Madana Gopala, the beloved of his heart. He was never satisfied with any post or position without seeing Gopala. Indeed, if one receives Guru’s mercy and becomes eager to see Sri Krishna, then nothing will prevent it from happening.

Yearning to see Krishna face to face, krishna darshana lalasa, arises in the heart according to the degree of one’s attraction, attachment and love for lila-madhurya Sri Krishna. It is natural to want to see the one whom we are trying so much to remember, serve and love now and forever.

A purified even slightly advanced bhakta will think, “I really want to see Krishna. But how and when will that ever be possible?”

Eagerness for Krishna however does not come easy. It is a state of consciousness wherein a devotee is constantly thinking of pleasing Radha and Krishna. If there is any other desire in one’s heart, intense eagerness cannot arise.

“Eagerness is the very life-force of devotion which helps the devotee attain perfection. Without eagerness there is no taste in our endeavors.” (Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja)

Srila Prabhupada often refers to “eagerness” as a prerequiste for seeing Sri Krishna. The dictionary says strongly wanting to have something is eagerness. Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja says, “The main quality of complete eagerness is that one always desires to see Krishna, samutkantha haya sada lalasa pradhana.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.23.30)

Eagerness is so important that Srila Prabhupada said, “Eagerness is the price for achieving success in Krishna consciousness.” (NOD 18) As an example of one with eagerness, Srila Prabhupada cites Sri Bilvamangala Thakura’s prayer:

“I am eagerly waiting to see that boy of Vrindavana whose bodily beauty captivates the whole universe; whose eyes are bounded by black eyebrows expanded like lotus petals, and who eagerly glances at His devotees. Krishna’s eyes are always moist and His lips are copper-colored. Through Shyama’s lips comes a sound vibration which drives one madder than a mad elephant. I want so much to see Krishna in Vrindavana.”

Radha-Krishna sakshad darshana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!