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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Please read previous part one before.

On the path of Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajana, one must pass through nine steps or stages to reach the final goal, Krishna prema.

1) Beginning with faith in Sri Krishna (Shraddha); bhakti grows, deepens and progresses successively through the levels of:
2) Sadhu sanga;
3) Bhajana kriya (practicing nine limbs of Radha-Krishna hearing, chanting and remembering);
4) Anarthanivrtti (sensual, mental and emotional, purification);
5) Nishtha (firmness, strong conviction, enthusiasm and mental peace);
6) Ruchi (taste, joy and fulfillment in bhakti bhajana;
7) Asakti (strong attachment to Radha-Krishna with intense yearning to meet Them);
 Bhava (experience spiritual ecstasy, and intense desire to see and intimately serve Radha-Krishna along with occasional deep visions or even darshana;
9) Krishna prema (the final stage of perfect, transcendent loving bliss eternal, and constant rapturous Vrajamadhurya-lila immersions in one’s siddha.

One should be forewarned, however, that the fourth stage, anarthanivrtti (cessation of offenses and all bad habits), is the most difficult one to pass through. It may take lifetimes!

In Madhurya-kadambini (3.16,18), Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti explains exactly how aparadhas and anarthas i.e. offenses, unwanted obstacles and impediments gradually disappear from the mind and heart of the sincere sadhaka. He describes five stages in gradual cessation of all aparadhas and anarthas:

STAGES OF PERFECTION IN KRISHNA CONSCIOUNESS:

1) Partial—15% anarthas & aparadhas destroyed; Bhajankriya stage.At this stage one is 15% attached to serving and being with Krishna and 85% attached to enjoying his/her material body and senses. 15% Krishna consciousness v.s. 85% MAYA!
2) Pervasive—75% anarthas & aparadhas destroyed; Nishtha stage.At this stage one is 75% attached to serving and being with Krishna and 25% attached to enjoying his/her material body and senses. 75% Krishna consciousness v.s. 25% MAYA!
3) Almost complete—95% destroyed; Bhava stage. 95% Krishna consciousness v.s. 5% MAYA!
4) Complete—100% destroyed; Prema stage. 100% Krishna consciousness v.s. .0,01% MAYA!
Even here however, there is a slight chance anarthas may reappear. Sri Rupa Gosvami confirms this: “Yes, it’s true and possible that even at the stage of bhava or prema, one may commit an aparadha if one offends a great devotee of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Krishna presthaaparadhatah.”(Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.3.54)
5) Absolute—100/100% destroyed; 100% Krishna consciousness v.s. 0,00% MAYA!

For the fully realized Krishna premibhakta, the cessation and destruction of ALL ANARTHAS AND APARADHAS IS ABSOLUTE because one has received the complete mercy Sri Krishna along with His direct seva and association (sakshad seva & sanga). There is not even the slightest chance for the appearance of anarthas or aparadhas. One has now attained the perfection of his/her human life and the final goal of Krishna consciousness.

Thus one can see that advancing in Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajana is a gradual process that may extend for many lifetimes.

In Sri Gita, Bhagavan Sri Krishna explains this point:“In the next life, one is automatically attracted to the type of sadhana bhajana one practiced in the previous life, pūrvābhyāsena tenaiva hriyate hy avaśo ’pi saḥ.”(Bhagavad Gita 6.44)
Sridhara Swami tika:“Thus struggling under the momentum of his former practice, the sadhaka gradually attains liberation in Krishna consciousness.”

Sri Krishna continues, “Unlike one’s previous life, the bhakti yogi will now strive for spiritual perfection with intense effort and become purified of his/her anarthas and aparadhas. Then after many births, one will finally attain perfection in Krishna consciousness, Krishna prema. (6.45)

prayatnād yatamānas tu, yogī saṁśuddha-kilbiṣaḥ
aneka-janma-saṁsiddhas, tato yāti parāṁ gatim

Sri Baladeva Vidya bhushana tika: “Due to fear of his previous obstacles, the sadhaka now makes even more effort in bhajana. And this additional effort purifies one of all material desires.”

Srila Prabhupada tika: “With determination, therefore, the bhakta begins his/her unfinished task, and thus one completely cleanses oneself of all material contaminations. When one is finally free from all contaminations, one attains the supreme perfection—Krishna consciousness.”

The principle of a gradual process also applies to the realization and perception of one’s Guru received or mentally conceived siddha svarupa, siddha deha. In the beginning, awareness of one’s eternal, transcendental female identity as Srimati Radharani’s loving loyal maidservant is slight, and bodily attachment is great. Gradually as one advances in meditation and receives more mercy from Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, he/she will more deeply identify with the siddha deha and Sri Radha’s seva, and simultaneously identify less with the external material body and enjoying material sense gratification.

The material body and siddha deha are like communicating vessels—more identity with body, less identity with siddha deha; or more identity with siddha deha, then less identity with one’s temporary material body.

In this regard, Srila Prabhupada said, “The more we make progress in Krishna consciousness, this ‘my consciousness and I consciousness’ will vanish. So this is a natural consequence. And as soon as you begin to eat, your weakness will disappear along with your hunger and satisfaction will come.

“Similarly, these two things cannot stand together, maya and Krishna. If I am in Krishna consciousness then there is no question of maya. It may be that I’m not fully Krishna conscious. Just like while eating it is not that immediately my hunger is satisfied; it takes a little time. Similarly, Krishna consciousness is a gradual process of advancement. That is the test. If I am still in illusion, then I should understand that my Krishna consciousness is not progressing. This is the test.” (folio: 670116CC.NYC)

Further, Srila Prabhupada said, “Material hankerings and spiritual advancement go ill together. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.27 tika) Material attachment and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna go ill together. Material attachment means ignorance of transcendental happiness under the shelter of Sri Krishna (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.12.27 tika). Increasing one’s love for Krishna is a gradual process. “(folio: TLK Verse 36)

In the next wonderful quote, Srila Prabhupada perfectly and beautifully explains the gradual journey to Krishna prema:
“The development of intimacy between Bhagavan Sri Krishna and the living entity happens by a gradual process of progressive devotional activities. Such a progressive march of transcendental devotion for Sri Krishna culminates in the attainment of loving service of Krishna, which is called prema in different transcendental varietgatedness called rasas, [astonishingly tasty, loving divine mellows].” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.37 tika)

The conclusion is that one must try his/her best to perform bhakti bhajana, all the while understanding that perfection does not come easy. One should think, “Krishna prema may come in one life, two or even ten lifetimes, but still I must attain this perfection no matter what! The joy, the peace and the fulfillment I have found so far in bhakti bhajana completely eclipses and surpasses all other pleasures I obtained by trying to enjoy my body and this mundane world.

“I am totally convinced that nothing else in this world but Krishna consciousness is so supremely beautiful, sweet, blissful, tasteful and fulfilling. I know that I am far, far away from Krishna prema perfection, yet I will keep moving on and on. I am sure that if not now then in some future life, my most loving and merciful Radha-Govinda Yugala will grant me Their sweet love, Their blissful darshana and Their tight, loving embrace!!!!

Bhakti bhajana ki jai! Radha-Govinda Yugala prema seva in Vrajanikunjas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

One can experience, perceive and literally see transcendental phenomena i.e. the spiritual form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna or one’s own siddha svarupa according to the purity of one’s consciousness. Brahmaji says a sadhaka can directly see God, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, when the mind and eyes are fully purified and saturated with Krishna prema.
premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti (Brahma Samhita 5.38)

To enter fire one must become fire. Thus, if one wants to see the transcendental, madhurya prema svarupa of Vrajendranandan Sri Krishna, one must also have a form, heart, mind and eyes full of madhurya prema.

As GaudiyaVaisnavas we are aspiring for the absolute topmost of all conceivable and attainable goals of spiritual perfection i.e. Radha-Krishna prema, and the confidential service of Sri SriRadha-Krishna in the bowers of Vrindavanaas the loyal maidservant manjaris of SrimatiRadharani.

Such a lofty spiritual perfection will naturally demand the utmost sacrifice, dedication, determination, patience and enthusiastic endeavor continually sustained for possibly many life times. Yes, it’s true that spiritual success in Kali-yuga comes to one and all just by chanting Hare Krishna, dancing and honoring Krishna prasadam.

Although it may sound easy, IT IS NOT SO EASY! There are many levels and stages of purification that one must pass through before attaining the coveted goal of Krishna prema, wherein one will pass his/her days chanting and dancing with Krishna in Vrindavana!

When confronted by disciples disappointed over their slow progress, lack of spiritual advancement, and complete absence of any direct experiences of Sri Krishna, Srila Prabhupada repeatedly used the phrase “GRADUAL PROCESS” as seen in the following examples:
“Cleansing the heart is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen abruptly!”
“Krishna consciousness is a gradual process of realization and purification.”

This post will describe the ‘gradual process’ (anukramat) of spiritual advancement in Krishna consciousness, and the consequent seeing or perceiving of one’s individual eternal spiritual body (siddha deha/siddha svarupa).

One starts Krishna consciousness by hearing and reading to gain knowledge of Krishna, the practice, and the goal of bhakti sadhana. Transcendental knowledge helps us to perceive our eternal individual spiritual identity as atomic particles of consciousness—a soul, jivatma. Gradually purity and knowledge (aka Krishna consciousness)increases to a point wherein one can meditate on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s beautiful names, forms, qualities and sweet Vraja lilas.

Although moving from one level to the next may take many years OR EVEN MANY LIFE TIMES, the fact remains that bhakti sadhana has different stages (anukramat) which one must reach before attaining spiritual perfection in Krishna consciousness.

There are nine levels or stages in performing Krishna bhakti sadhana:
culturing faith – sraddha;
meeting a Vaisnava, hearing hari-katha, taking diksha, and serving Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas – sadhu sanga;
performing bhakti sadhana –bhajanakriya;
purification and inner peace – anarthanivritti;
steadiness and conviction – nishtha;
taste, inner joy and satisfaction – ruchi;
loving attachment and hankering to see Bhagavan Sri Krishna – asakti;
ecstatic spiritual emotions, experiences, and possibly a glimpse of Radha and Krishna – bhava;
overwhelming spiritual bliss and continual communion with Radha and Krishna – Krishna prema.

The Srimad Bhagavatam describes the ‘gradual process’ or the progressive steps to spiritual perfection as follows:

I. HEARING/READING ABOUT KRISHNA
(sraddha, sadhu sanga)

“With an attentive mind one should constantly hear, chant, remember and worship Bhagavan Sri Krishna who protects devotees.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.14)
tasmād ekena manasā, bhagavān sātvatāṁ patiḥ
śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca, dhyeyaḥ pūjyaś ca nityadā

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: One may ask, “The Bhagavata directs one to constantly hear about Krishna. But I have no interest or attraction for this. Even if I try to read spiritual books, I get no taste and just fall asleep. So how does one get the desire and a genuine taste to hear and read about Sri Krishna?”

The Bhagavata(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.16) answers:
“By nicely serving pure-hearted devotees (mahatsevanisevanat) one obtains four priceless benefits:
a. Taste for Harikatha (vasudevakatharuchi);
b. Strong faith;
c. Surrender to Guru;
d. Genuine desire to hear more Harikatha.”
śuśrūṣoḥ śraddadhānasya, vāsudeva-kathā-ruciḥ
syān mahat-sevayā viprāḥ, puṇya-tīrtha-niṣevaṇāt

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Here the secret is revealed—it’s mercy. There is a mystic transference from the kind and compassionate heart of the sadhu bhakta into the mind and heart of the humble serving soul. You approach a saint and attentively, lovingly and carefully serve him.

Then the sweet heart of the sadhu melts, and he invisibly deposits into the vault of your heart some jewels from the vast treasure of his personal firm faith in Radha-GovindaYugala and his deep taste for hearing Harikatha. Your newly strengthened faith and taste attracts the attention of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, who in turn comes to purify you and personally help you advance in spiritual life.

II. CHANTING GLORIES OF SRI KRISHNA (bhajanakriya, anarthanivrtti)
“By the mercy of the sadhu bhakta, one now hears and chants the beautiful and purifying topics of Sri Harikatha with taste and faith. Becoming pleased, Krishna as the Antaryami within (hṛdiantaḥ)personally removes all one’s obstacles and inauspiciousness (abhadrāṇividhunoti ).” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.17)
śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ, puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi, vidhunoti suhṛt satām

III. NISHTHA
“Daily hearing from and serving the beautiful Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavata devotees destroys all inauspiciousness to nil and brings steadiness in bhakti bhajana.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.18)
naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu, nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke, bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: By serving bhaktas and Bhagavata, most of one’s namaaparadhas (abhadresu) diminish, and this continues till the stage of bhava bhakti. Anarthas are mostly destroyed, and one attains the stage of nishtha where one can easily concentrate on Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

IV. RUCHI & ASAKTI
“Gradually one becomes very fixed, steady, pure minded and free from lust, desire, greed, hankering and other qualities born of ignorance and passion.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.19)
tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ, kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ, sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: The mind is not disturbed or transformed (anaviddham) by the agitations of lust, greed and other qualities such as anger, illusion, and hatred arising from passion and ignorance, rajas, tamas.

In the stage of ruchi, one loses his/her taste and interest in material objects because one is relishing great happiness by hearing, chanting and remembering Radha and Krishna. After this, the mind becomes fixed (sthitam) in the transcendental form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and one attains the stage of asakti, which means continuous attachment and thinking of Radha and Krishna.

IV. BHAVA
“By the process of Krishna bhakti bhajana, one’s mind becomes enlivened and satisfied. One obtains clear, realized knowledge of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and freedom from all bad association.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.20)
Second translation: The mind becomes joyful and satisfied on attaining bhava or rati. Finally prema manifests along with complete detachment. The devotee then experiences the transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, powers and sweetness of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

evaṁ prasanna-manaso, bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ
bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ, mukta-saṅgasya jāyate

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: As one becomes more and more attached to Sri Krishna and worships Him at every moment which is the stage of asakti. Afterwards, the stage of bhava bhakti appears (prasanna-manasao). Without having bhava bhakti, no one can be completely detached from the objects of material enjoyment.

And without constant detachment, one can never find mental satisfaction. Finally the long awaited Krishna prema appears (bhagavad-bhakti-yogatah). From that arises realization (vijñānaṁ) of the Sri Krishna’s form, qualities, pastimes, powers and sweetness.

V. KRISHNA PREMA
“The knots (ignorance) within the heart are completely cut out, and all doubts and karmic reactions are destroyed because one now sees his real self and His eternal Supreme Controller, Bhagavan Sri Krishna.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.21)
bhidyate hṛdaya-granthiś, chidyante sarva-saṁśayāḥ
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi, dṛṣṭa evātmanīśvare

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: Ignorance which is the main knot in the heart is cut out, hrdaya-granthischidyante. All doubts, i.e. thinking that attaining Krishna prema is impossible, are destroyed. And all karmas are destroyed because one directly sees Bhagavan as the Paramatma, (atmani) in the mind (sphurti), and also externally with the eyes.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti summarizes the ‘gradual process’ to spiritual perfection in Krishna prema in fourteen steps:
1. mercy of devotees;
2. service to devotees;
3. faith;
4. surrender to guru;
5. desireto worship, serve and hear about Bhagavan Sri Krishna;
6. bhakti;
7. clearance of anarthas;
8. nishtha;
9. ruci;
10. asakti;
11. rati;
12. prema;
13. sphurti, seeing Sri Krishna;
14. madhuryaasvadana, experiencing and relishing the sweetness of Shyamasundara.

Krishna bhakti bhajanaki jai! Nava vidha bhakti ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In two tikas, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti describes the essence of Bhagavad Gita.

While describing the first essence, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti gives a beautiful blessing by saying, “These four famous verses (Bhagavad Gita 10.8-11), which are the essence of all topics in the Gita, will remove misery and saturate the jivas with bliss!”

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “I am the source of everything and cause everything to function. Realizing this, an intelligent person will worship Me with love. (8)

“Devotees who have absorbed their minds and hearts in Me attain bliss and satisfaction by enlightening one another with Hari-katha. (9)

“To My constantly devoted worshipers, I give the discriminative intelligence to guide them to Me. (9)

“I favor My devotees by sitting within their minds and hearts to destroy the darkness of ignorance with the light of transcendental knowledge.” (10)

Then at the very end of Bhagavad-gita, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti mentions its second essence, which is truly the quintessence of all Gita’s teachings and the essence of all Upanisads.

In his tika to (18.64), Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti writes, “Here Bhagavan Sri Krishna is saying, ‘O My Priya Bandhu Arjuna! Now I will speak the essence of the entire Gita in eight verses.’” (18.64-71)

We have arranged these eight essence verses by topic to provide clear understanding. Please deeply consider the import of the fourth and fifth essences which reveal some surprising and unknown truths regarding Gita propagation.

Misunderstanding these points often leads to committing nama-aparadha to Sri Krishna’s Divine Names, because one innocently or knowingly, “Preaches to the faithless”, which is the ninth offense to Sri Krishna’s Divine Names.

First Essence: THE SUPREME SPIRITUAL SECRET

With His heart melting like butter due to His mercy, Sri Krishna told Arjuna the deepest meaning of the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “Now hear My most elevated words describing the supreme secret of all secrets. Since you are very dear to Me, I will tell you what is best for you. (18.64)

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ, śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo si me dṛḍham iti, tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

Second Essence: ESSENCE OF BHAKTI SADHANA

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “Fix your mind on Me and be My devotee! Worship Me and offer respects to Me. By doing this, you will surely come to Me. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. (18.65)

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto, mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te, pratijāne priyo ’si me

Third Essence: SURRENDER ALL TO ME!

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, Give up all religious injunctions and take full shelter in Me. Don’t worry, I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. (18.66)

sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo, mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Fourth Essence: DO NOT PREACH HERE!

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “Arjuna, DO NOT SPEAK THE GITA TO ANYONE WHO IS:

  1. Not austere;
  2. Not My devotee;
  3. Does not want to hear it;
  4. Envious of Me.” (18.67)

idaṁ te nātapaskāya, nābhaktāya kadācana
na cāśuśrūṣave vācyaṁ, na ca māṁ yo ’bhyasūyati

Fifth Essence: YES—PREACH HERE!

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “One who explains this supreme secret to My devotees attains the highest bhakti. And without a doubt, he will come to Me! (18.68)

ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ, mad-bhakteṣv abhidhāsyati
bhaktiṁ mayi parāṁ kṛtvā, mām evaiṣyaty asaṁśayaḥ

Sixth Essence: KRISHNA LOVES PREACHERS

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “No one in this world is dearer to Me than one who PREACHES TO DEVOTEES!” (18.69)

na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu, kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād, anyaḥ priyataro bhuvi

Seventh Essence: GITA STUDY IS KRISHNA WORSHIP

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “I am firmly convinced that whoever studies this sacred dialogue of ours [Bhagavad-gita] worships Me through the sacrifice of knowledge.” (18.70)

adhyeṣyate ca ya imaṁ, dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ,
jñāna-yajñena tenāham, iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ

Eighth Essence: BENEFIT OF HEARING GITA

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “If a non-envious person just faithfully hears the Bhagavad-gita, he/she will become liberated and attain the higher auspicious planets. (18.71)

śraddhāvān anasūyaś ca, śṛṇuyād api yo naraḥ
so pi muktaḥ śubhāl lokān, prāpnuyāt puṇya-karmaṇām

Sri Gita Upanisad ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

In Sri Gita, Sri Krishna describes devotees who are not yet niskincana pure devotees fully engaged in hearing and chanting about Sri Krishna. They are one class of bhaktas who can also please Sri Krishna by practicing bhakti in another form by offering to Sri Krishna WHATEVER they do, eat etc.

Sri Krishna says, “Just offer to Me WHATEVER you do, eat, sacrifice, give away, or WHATEVER penance you perform.”

yat –karoṣi- yad- aśnāsi- yaj -juhoṣi –dadāsi, yat
yat-tapasyasi -kaunteya -tat -kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Bhagavad Gita 9.27)

Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana comments: “In essence Sri Krishna is saying: ‘WHATEVER material activities you do to live and support your family; WHATEVER food you eat to live; WHATEVER money, food or other items you give to qualified persons, and WHATEVER Vedic sacrifices and vratas you perform to counteract sins; do them all as an offering to please Me and to instruct others and I will bless you fully!’

“The actions of this devotee class [the parinisthita bhakta] are offered to Sri Krishna without any personal motivation then to please Sri Krishna. Mind you however, that this type of action is not considered uttama bhakti, the topmost, transcendental form of pure bhakti.”

Sridhara Swami comments: “Ananya bhakti means that one’s actions are first offered to Bhagavan rather than acting first and offering afterwards. Thus, the verse above (Bhagavad Gita 9.27) is not included in kevala bhakti, since the acts are first performed and then offered.

While immersed in bhakti samadhi, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti experienced the following sweet dialogue between Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita verse 9.27:

Arjuna says, “O Prabhu! Among the four types of bhakti You have previously described beginning with the devotion of the miserable, the wealth seeker, the curious and the wise one (Bhagavad Gita 7.16)—which bhakti should I perform?”

Sri Krishna replies (Bhagavad Gita 9.27):

“O Arjuna, because in your present state you cannot reject karma, jnana and other processes; and you are not qualified for kevala bhakti, the supreme bhakti; and nor should you descend to the inferior type of sakama-bhakti (selfish motivated devotion), you should perform bhakti combined with action and knowledge, (karma-jnana-misra- pradhānī- bhūtā -bhakti) which still qualifies as niṣkāma, non-selfish devotion but it does not culminate in kevala bhakti.

“Whatever you do be it following Vedic rules or performing worldly action; whatever you eat or drink in ordinary life; and whatever austerities you perform, do it as an offering to Me. My pure devotees however offer Me all the actions of their mind, pranas and senses.”

Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti comments:

The Srimad Bhagavatam says, “The method of bhakti is in accordance with one’s individual svabhava (particular nature acquired in conditioned life). Whatever one does with his/her words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness should be offered to the Me while thinking, ‘This is for the pleasure of Bhagavan Sri Narayana.’” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.36)

kāyena- vācā -manasendriyair -vā,// buddh-yātmanā- vānusṛta-svabhāvāt
karoti- yad -yat –sakalaṁ- parasmai, // nārāyaṇ-āyeti- sam-arpayet -tam

“This verse means that just as a materialist wakes up and performs actions such as urinating, evacuating, washing mouth, brushing teeth, bathing, seeing, hearing and speaking for material happiness and performs rituals for worship of devatas and ancestors, a Krishna bhakta also does all these activities as seva to Sri Krishna. Thus these acts are also limbs of bhakti.”

Now back to the Gita dialogue:

Arjuna: “O Krishnaji! When You say I should offer as sacrifice, that sacrifice is related to arcana which is a limb of bhakti aiming at Vishnu’s pleasure. And when You prescribe austerities, it means vows like fasting on Ekādaśī. These are all ananya bhakti. So how can You say that it is not?”

Sri Krishna: “True, but ananya bhakti does not mean that you first perform an action and then offer it to Bhagavan. Rather in ananya bhakti first you offer the action to Bhagavan and then you perform it as described by Prahlada in Srimad Bhagavatam (7.5.24).”

Thus ends the dialogue and comments on Bhagavad Gita. (9.27)

In Sandarbhas, Sri Jiva Goswamipada describes four types of bhakti: transcendental, sāttvika, rājasik and tāmasik wherein the same activities are performed. For example, all four devotees do puja but one does it for Krishna’s pleasure (transcendental devotee), one for purification (sattvika devotee), one for fame, followers and money (rajasik devotee), and one does bhakti just to destroy somebody (tamasik devotee). It is the intention, purpose and attitude that counts and determines the type of bhakti.

For further elaboration on bhakti in different the modes of nature, please read Kapila Muni Siksa in Srimad Bhagavatam (3.29.7-12) and Bhagavad Gita (9.22)

Thus we can see that eating, sleeping, working, sacrifice and vratas are all limbs of bhakti. And most amazingly, the all-inclusive mercy of Krishna bhakti also includes basic bodily functions.

The ancient sastra Vishnu Rahasya says, “The mind is kept in a healthy state by the proper excretion of urine and stool. Thus the anus and urinary organ, which are karma-indriya, working senses, are also engaged in Krishna’s seva.”

utsargān mala-mūtrādeś,// citta-svāsthyaṁ yato bhavet
ataḥ pāyur upasthaś ca,// tad-ārādhana-sādhanam

Dr. Satyanarayan Dasa Ji Maharaja comments, “If I don’t pass stool I will suffer and that will hamper my devotional service. The genitals can be used to make Vaiṣṇava children. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita (7.11), ‘I am desire in those who do not contradict virtue, dharm āviruddha bhūteṣu kāmo smi.’”

Indeed, everyone can now appreciate how liberal, kind and merciful Krishna bhakti is in that it includes practically everything a devotee does consciously and unconsciously throughout the day and night.

Thus single, married, fully or semi-engaged bhaktas can all be inspired and encouraged that they are progressing steadily and positively toward the sweet lotus feet of Radha-Govinda Yugala and Their blissful, eternal service in madhurya Goloka Vrndavana.

(Sastra courtesy Madan Gopal Blog of Sri Advaita dasji)

Sri Krishna bhakti bhajana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

You and I, and all the fortunate GaudiyaVaisnavas are worshipers of Prema Purusottama Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Gauranga’s mission on earth was to give pure love of God, Krishna prema, and all the bliss it brings to one and all without discrimination.

Srila Sanatana Goswamipada states most the coveted goal of love divine can easily be achieved by mercy, meditation, singing, sanga, residence and humility:

  1. Mercy: the main cause of attaining prema is Krishna’s mercy (nidanam param Krishna karuna)
  2. Meditation: on Radha-Krishna’s Vraja pastimes (vraja krida dhyana).
  3. Singing: about Radha-Krishna’s Vraja pastimes (vraja krida gana).
  4. Association: with premi-bhaktas (rasa loka sanga).
  5. Residence: alone in a Vrindavana Radha-Krishna pastime place (priya krida vana, rahah nivasa).
  6. Humility: always cultivate the utmost humility in thoughts, words and actions.
    (Brhad-Bhagavatamrta II 5.215-223)

Krishna prema ki jai! Radha-Krishna ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

 

Vrnda-devi’s asta-kaliya-lila narration to Lord Shiva continued. Note: The following entries are unedited, presented as it is, downloaded from Net.

 

Pradosh Lila 8:36-10:48 p.m.

Vrinda said, “O Muniji! There with his father, paternal uncles, their sons, and Baladeva, Krishna eats various kinds of foods like those that are chewed, those that are sucked etc. Even before Krishna entertains a desire, Radhika, through her friends, would send dressed foods to his house.

Hari, praising them, and eating them with his father etc. would, with the bards, go to the assembly hall. The friends (of Radha), that had come there having brought with them many foods, take (from his house) many kinds (of food) given by Yasoda there and also whatever is left over by Krishna .

Having brought all that, they inform Radhika of it. Radha too, along with her group of friends, having eaten it in order and being decorated by her friends, would be (ready) to meet by appointment (her lover i.e. Krishna).

‘From here on there some friend is sent away by me’. Met by her, Radhika, surrounded by her friends, and having put on a dress proper for white (i.e. bright) or black (i.e. dark) night goes to the chamber having divine jewels, near Yamuna.

Krishna also, seeing their curious things, then having heard delightful music from Katyayani, and having properly pleased them with (gifts of) wealth and grains, and propitiated by people, goes with his mother to His sleeping quarters.

Nisha Lila 10:48 p.m. to 3:36 a.m.

When Krishna’s mother departs, Krishna, having eaten, comes here—to the rendezvous—unnoticed and with his beloved. Both Radha-Madhava  meet here and play in the groves of trees, with many sports, with Krishna’s dance with the cowherdess, accom-panied with singing and instrumental music and laughter.

Thus having spent two watches and a half of the night in sporting, the two desiring to sleep, enter, unnoticed by female birds, the bower. There, in the solitary place, the two sleep on a charming bed made of flowers and for sport, and are served by their female friends. Thus I have told you the full daily life of Hari. O Narada, even sinners who hear this narration are immediately liberated.” (Padma Purana, patalakhanda cp. 83.91-105) Radha Govinda Yugala’s blissful lilas ki jai! Vrnda-Narada manjari sadhana shiksha ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

Vrnda-devi’s asta-kaliya-lila narration to Lord Shiva continued. Note: The following entries are unedited, presented as it is, downloaded from Net.

Madhyahna Lila 10:48 a.m. to 3:36 p.m.

Vrinda-devi said, “O Narada, please hear attentively. Having entered the forest and having played there with his friends for a while, Sri Krishna then gladly sports there, in the forest by means of various pastimes. Then, having deceived all, and surrounded by two or three friends, Sri Krishna, being eager to see his beloved, would gladly go to the rendezvous.

Radha too, who had come home, on seeing Krishna , goes, after deceiving her elders, under the pretext of Sun-worship etc. or for collecting flowers, to the forest with a desire to meet her lover. Thus Radha-Govinda, having, after many efforts, met in the forest, gladly sport there for the (whole) day with various pastimes.

Sometimes Radha-Govinda get upon a swing and are rocked to and fro by their friends. Sometimes, Hari, deceived by the bevies of his beloveds, is seen, searching his flute dropped from his hand, and hidden by his beloved. Sri Krishna, made to laugh by them by means of merriment, remains there.

At times Radha Govinda Yugala the forest endowed with vernal breezes, and sprinkle each other with water (mixed with) sandal, or with water (mixed with) saffron etc., released from syringes, or smear each other with mud. In the same way, the friends also sprinkle them (with water etc.) and Radha-Govinda also sprinkle them.

Then Radha-Govinda, O Narada, being tired due to many pastimes proper for the time in the groves endowed with vernal breezes on all sides, resort, with their attendants, to the root of a tree, and sitting on a divine seat, drink liquor.

O best sage. Then Radha-Govinda, intoxicated due to the liquor, with their eyes closed due to sleep, holding each other’s hands, being under the influence of Cupid’s arrows, and desiring to sport, enter, with their words and mind stumbling on the path. There Radha-Madhava sport like a female elephant and (the male elephant,) the lord of the herd.

All the friends also, intoxicated by wine, and with their eyes troubled by sleep (i.e. drowsy) sleep all around in the charming bowers. Again and again incited by his beloved, Krishna , the lord, would go near all, with a separate body (for each) and simultaneously.

Having satisfied all of them as a lord of elephants satisfies the female elephants, Sri Krishna would, along with his beloved Radharani and with them, go to the lake to sport.

Then Radha-Govinda, with their attendants, sport bet-ween themselves by sprinkling water (on each other). They are adorned with garments, garlands, sandal(-pastes), and also with divine ornaments. O sage, I have there, in a chamber full of divine gems, on the bank of the lake, already arranged fruits and roots.

Hari, having eaten first, and being clasped by his beloved, and being served by two or three (maids) would go to a bed made of flowers. There, being served (by them) with tämbulas, fans and shampooing of his feet, Sri Krishna laughing with them, and remembering his beloved rejoices.

Radhika too, when Hari is asleep, extremely delighted along with her attendants,. having put her heart into him, eats what is left over (by him). Having but eaten a little there, Radha would go to the bed-chamber to see her lover’s face as the female cakora bird sees the moon. The maids there have told (her) about his having chewed the tämbula. Kishori also chews tämbulas and distributes them among her dear friends.

Krishna too, desiring to hear their free mutual talk, though sleepless, covers himself with a piece of cloth,. appearing as if he is asleep. Those too, looking at one another in jest, and getting the hint from somewhere, biting their ton-gues with their teeth, look at one another’s face.

Merged as it were into the ocean of bashfulness, the sakhis do not say anything for a moment. Just after a moment, having removed the piece of cloth from his body, and saying ‘You were really asleep’ they laugh and make Krishna laugh too.

Thus sporting with the sakhis by means (of jokes etc. causing) laughter, and having, for a moment, experienced the pleasure of sleep, Shyama sits upon the seat gladly spread by the manjaris, and Radha-Govinda having mutually staked necklaces, kisses, embraces and garments, play with dice preceded by jocular talk.

Though defeated by his beloved Krishna, saying, ‘I have won’, pro-ceeds to seize Radha’s necklace etc. and is beaten by her. Thus beaten by Radha on his lotus-like face with her hand Krishna, being dejected in his mind, thinks of going. “If, O honourable lady, I am defeated, then accept what is staked (viz.) kisses etc. offered by me.”

On his saying so Kishori would act like that to see the crookedness of his eyebrows and to hear his words of reproach. (Padma Purana, patalakhanda cp. 83.44-75) More part three. Radha-kunda nitya-lila ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala seva ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

Vrnda-devi’s asta-kaliya-lila narration to Lord Shiva continued.

Note: The following entries are unedited, presented as it is, downloaded from Net.

 

Aparahna Lila 3:36-6 p.m.

Vrinda-devi said, “O Naradaji! Then having heard the mutual wordy fight among the särikäs and the parrots, Radha-Madhava, desiring to go home, move out from that place. Having allowed his beloved (to go), Krishna would go to the cows.

Radha, accompanied by the circle of gopis goes to the Sun’s abode (temple). Having gone a little away from there, Hari, again, returning, after having put on the dress of a Brähmaëa, goes to the Sun’s abode. Requested by her friends, Sri Krishna would worship the Sun there, with Vedas (hymns), containing jokes and composed then only. Then the clever ones, having recognised their lover who makes himself known, merge in the ocean of joy, and do not know themselves or other (persons).

Sayana Lila 6-8:36 p.m.

Having thus passed two watches and a half in various sports, Radhe-Shyama go home, and Krishna would go (to the place) of the cows. O sage, Krishna, joining his friends, and taking the cows from all sides, comes playing upon the flute joyfully to Vraja.

Then, all like Nanda and others, so also women and children, hearing the sound of Hari’s flute, and also seeing the sky full of dust (raised) by the cows, give up all their jobs, and being eager to see Krishna go towards him.

Krishna also, joining all the residents of Vraja, on the royal path, at Vraja-gate—wherever they are—(honours all) as before in due order— by means of seeing them, touching them, speaking to them, looking them with a smile, saluting with words and physically the old cowherds, and saluting his parents and Rohini also (in such a way that) the eight parts (of the body touch the ground).

O Narada, so also Krishna’s beloved Radhaji with a modest side glance. Thus very much and properly respected by the residents of Vraja, having sent the cows to the cowstall, Govinda goes, after being request-ed by his parents to his abode with his brother.

Having bathed there, having drunk (milk), having eaten a little, and being allowed by his mother, Krishna, with a desire to milk the cows, again goes to the cowstall. Having milked them, and got them milked, having made some of them drink (water), be, being followed by hundreds of venerable men, Krishna goes home with his father. (Padma Purana, patalakhanda cp. 83.76-90) More part four. Sri Krishna asta-kaliya-lila ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

This is part of our Padma Purana raganuga sadhana article series. The ancient Vedic pramana titled Padma Purana tells how Narada once came to Vrindavana, and asked Vrinda-devi to tell him about Lord Hari’s daily eight-fold pastimes in Vrindavana, the asta-kaliya-lila.

Since this is a long discussion, we will present it in parts. By reading this, one learns that the Padma Purana is the source book for famous asta-kaliya-lila granthas written by various Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas in the 15th and 16th century. The famous Krishnaika Kaumudi, Govinda Lilamrta, and Krishna Bhavanamrta base their material on this Puranic authority.

Note: The following entries are unedited, presented as it is downloaded from Net.

Srimati Vrinda-devi said, “O Naradaji, now I will describe Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya-lila beginning with nishanta-lila.

Nishanta lila 3:36-6 am.

O Narada, I shall also tell you the secret since you are a devotee of Krishna. In Vrindavana which is charming and adorned with fifty bowers, in a chamber with divine gems, in an arbour of the desire-yielding tree, Radha Govinda Yugala embracing each other remain (in a) sleeping (position), though later Radha-Govinda are awakened by birds obeying my orders.

Radha-Govinda have obtained great joy due to a close embrace and are afraid of its being disturbed. Radha-Govinda do not at all desire to get up from the bed. Then Radha-Govinda have to get up from their bed when awakened with various notes made on all sides and repeatedly by groups of sarikas and parrots etc.

Seeing Radha-Madhava seated gladly on the bed, the friends enter (the bower) and offer Lila Yugala services appropriate for that time. Then Radha-Madhava, having got up from the bed by the notes of sarikas, overcome with eagerness go to their respective houses.

Pratah Lila 6-8:36 a.m.

In the morning, Krishna, awakened by his mother, quickly gets up, and having with Baladeva brushed his teeth and being allowed by his mother, goes, being surrounded by his friends, to the cowstall.

O brahmana, Radha too, awakened by her friends, gets up from her bed, and having brushed her teeth would then smear her body with unctuous substances. Then Radharani goes to the quandrangular for bath. There Kishori is bathed by her friends.

(Then) Radha goes to the chamber for decoration, and there her friends decorate her with ornaments and various divine fragrant flowers and unguents. Then when, with effort, her friends request her mother-in-law and then Radhika is invited along with her friends by Yasoda to cook good food.

Narada said, “O Vrnda, how is it, O goddess, that Radha is invited by Yasoda to cook food, when there are foremost cooks like Rohini mata?”

Vrnda replied, “I have formerly heard from the mouth of Katyayani that in olden days she was granted a boon by Durvasa. And O great sage the boon was: ‘O respectable lady (Sri Radha), the food which is cooked by you, would be, as a result of my favour, sweet and vying with nectar, and would in the same way promote long life of the eater (of it).’

“Thus Narada, Yasoda, loving her son, every-day calls Radha to her home to cook Krishna’s breakfast. Yashoda is thinking, ‘my son, due to longing for sweet (food), would, (after eating it) live a long life.’

Allowed by her mother-in-law Jatila, Radha, being delighted, would go to the house of Nanda. Going there with the multitude of her friends she cooks there also. Krishna also, having milked the cows and having some others got milked by (other) men, comes home surrounded by his friends at the words (i.e. order) of his father.

Having smear-ed his body with unctuous substances and having had shampoo-ing and after being gladly bathed by servants, Shyama puts on washed garments, a garland, and has his body smeared with sandal.

With his neck and forehead shining due to the hair on his head separated and tied at two places, with the hair redden-ed by the dot on the forehead resembling the moon, and shining, with his hands delightfully glittering with jewelled bracelets, armlets, and bracelets worn on the upper arm, with his chest shining due to a pearl necklace, having put on ear-rings resembl-ing crocodiles.

Sri Krishna, holding the hand of his friend, and being followed by Baladeva, would enter the dining hall, after being again and again called by his mother. Then, surrounded by his friends and brother, making them laugh by means of (anecdotes etc. causing) laughter, and himself laughing with them, Gopala eats various kinds of food.

Having thus eaten (food), having sipped (water), having rested on a cot for a while, and distributing and chewing the tämbüla given by the servants.

Purvahna Lila 8:36-10:48 a.m.

Krishna, having put on the dress of a cowherd, with the flock of cows going ahead of him, followed on the path by all the residents of Vraja with love, having saluted his father and mother, and having sent back properly the host (following him) with a glance, would go to the forest. (Padma Purana, patalakhanda cp. 83.18-44) more in part two. Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya-lila ki jai! Sri Vrnda-devi ki jai! Narada Muni ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

Lord Shivaji said, “O Narada, to perform raganuga bhakti sadhana one must meditate as follows:

“The sadhaka should meditate upon his eternal spiritual body as being a charming, beautiful young woman. This sakhi (manjari) knows many crafts and arts. Although the manjari is fit for Shyama’s enjoyment, she will refuse if solicited by Krishna.

“The manjari is a follower of Radhika, and she is completely devoted to serving Sri Radha. The manjari loves Radhika even more than Krishna. Throughout the day, the manjari serves to unite the Divine Couple, Radha Govinda. The manjari tastes the topmost bliss in serving Radha and Krishna.

“Thus meditating upon one’s eternal identity in this way, the raganuga sadhaka should meditate and serve Radha-Krishna from the earliest part of the day til late night. “ (Padma Purana, patalakhanda cp. 83.1-11) Manjari svarupa dhyana ki jai! Tasting bliss in serving Radha ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!