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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

Sometimes devotees attracted to raga-marga think that continuous chanting of Radha Nama, “Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! is the means to perfection.

They say, “Radha is the goal, so only Radha is important. Thus when I chant my Hare Krishna japa, I am just thinking Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!”

Such devotees are innocent and well-meaning, but not very clear in their understanding of Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta. Of course, sometimes the enthusiastic chanting of Srimati Radharani’s Divine Name is and can be done on special occasions like Radhastami, Vraja Mandala Parikrama, during a Bhagavata sapataha or special festivals.

How do they get this idea? Believe it or not, this misconception of innocent devotees arises after they sincerely read the Goswami granthas. After reading they conclude that Radha’s name is everything, and we should just chant Radhe! Radhe!

There are many but we will cite one verse as an example:Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajana Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati writes, “The nectarean name of Sri Radha—the complete form of prema, rasa and ananda—is my very life!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 97)

Yes, our purvacharayas often glorify the amazing power and fantastic benefits of chanting Radha nama in their books. However, such verses should be seen as beautiful praises of Sri Radha’s Divine Name arising from their personal loving ecstasies.

Such ecstatic premi bhaktas are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.40): “At the stage of prema, a devotee will incessantly chant his favorite name of His beloved Bhagavan [sva priya nama kirtya]. Melting his heart, the ecstasy of prema will make him laugh, cry, become restless, and sing and dance like a madman without caring for anyone or anything.”

evam vratam sva, priya nama kirtya, jatanurago, drutacitta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi, rauti gayaty, unmade van nrtyati, lokabahyah

One should not think however that such verses are establishing a new sadhana, a more powerful mantra to chant, or a fast track to perfection. The prime sadhana for all Gaudiya Vaisnava devotees is chanting Sri Krishna nama along with meditation upon the meaning of the mantra, and the form, qualities and pastimes of Radha-Krishna who are personally present in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not chanting Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Rather, Mahaprabhu chanted Krishna nama, and gave the same instruction to most everyone He met, which indirectly includes all of us. Raising His radiant golden arms into the spiritual sky, Gauranga told one and all, “Continually chant the Divine Name of Sri Krishna, and serve Krishna and the Vaisnavas, prabhu kahena krsna seva vaisnava sevana, nirantara kara krsna nama sankirtana.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.15.104)

In the same book wonderfully praising exclusive Radha nama chanting, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati also gives the conclusive truth regarding the proper sadhana for all raganugiya bhaktas.

Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati says, “May Sri Radhika, the very life of Sri Krishna, be pleased with me when I fill my consciousness with the nectar lake of govinda-katha; and pass my days glorifying Krishna’s qualities, performing His archana and puja, and living in loving relationships with His devotees.” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 115)

The conclusion of this topic and the essence of nama-bhajana for manjari bhava upasakas is given by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati himself in the following verse:

“I always meditate on Krishna wearing a peacock feather crown; I chant Krishna’s Divine Names; I always perform archana and puja of Sri Krishna; I chant the Krishna mantra [gopala-mantra], His best mantra; and while doing all this I continually hold the cherished desire in my heart to attain the service of Sri Radha’s beautiful lotus feet!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 259)

dhyāyantaṁ śikhi-piccha-mauli-maniśaṁ tan nāma-saṁkīrtayan
nityaṁ tac caraṇāmbujaṁ paricaran tan-mantra-varyaṁ japan
śrī rādhā padāsyam eva paramābhīnṭaṁ hṛdā dhārayan
karhi syāṁ tad anugraheṇa paramādbhutānurāgotsavaḥ

Basically, the final word is that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra means, “O Krishna, give me Radha!”

Harinama sankirtana ki jai! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

How Krishna saves devotees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Karma Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Three Karmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suffering and Bad Karma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom from karma

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

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

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

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

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

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

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

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

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

=1 Pranipat means “unconditional surrender,”

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

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

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

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

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

It’s true that both in quality and quantity, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is infinitely SAT CHIT AND ANANDA, which means Sri Krishna has a beautiful spiritual form made of eternity, all-pervading unlimited consciousness, and infinite transcendental, ecstatic loving bliss.

ishvara parama krishna, sac cid ananda vigraha,
“Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the transcendental form of eternity, unlimited knowledge and bliss.” (Brahma-samhita 5.1)

Although many think and speak, “The jivatmas or jivas (human beings like us) are like Sri Krishna, sac cid ananda, one with Krishna in quality but not in quantity. Thus Krishna is the big sat chit ananda, and we are a small edition, “chota sat chit ananda”.

FYI:

This is completely INCORRECT due to a misunderstanding of the word ANAND, which is often used when describing the jivatama. According to Upanisads, Srimad Bhagavatam, Puranas and the Vrndavana Six Goswamis the eternal constitution, nature, or composition of the jivatma is only SAT and CHIT, eternality and consciousness. In other words, “I am eternal and I am aware of my existence.” [Sri Gita 2.20]

Now we give a brief summary of the sastras and Sri Jiva Goswamipada’s definition of the inherent nature of the jivatma.

To begin with, Sri Jiva Goswamipada says that understanding the true identity and nature of the jiva is the first step in the science of God-realization. (Tattva San. Anu. 53)

In various Sandarbhas, he explains that ananda is only in the svarupa-shakti of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and NOT IN tatastha-shakti i.e. the jivatmas. We jivatmas only have the POTENTIAL TO EXPERIENCE ANANDA, if and when we receive the gift of bhakti by the grace of Bhagavan Sri Krishna or Sri Guru.

Bhakti is a combination of Sri Krishna’s two transcendental potencies, hladini i.e. bliss, real spiritual ananda, and samvit i.e. transcendental knowledge.

The material happiness we jivatmas feel through our senses, bodies or minds has absolutely nothing to do with the transcendental ananda that is part of Sri Krishna’s being.

As said earlier, the confusion about the true identity of the jivatma arises from the misunderstanding and misapplication of the word ANANDA. It is just like the word ATMA, which sastra uses interchangeably to mean either SOUL, MIND OR BODY.

A second example is the word KAMA, which, depending on the context, can mean either base, material desire or physical LUST i.e. intense craving to satisfy one’s selfish carnal instincts.

Or in spiritual matters KAMA refers to the cent per cent, absolutely pure spiritual desire, and intense transcendental amorous passion of the Vraja gopis like Srimati Radharani to please and satisfy Sri Krishna in every possible way, without a pinch, fragrance or even one iota of selfish desires “for me”.

Similarly, the word ANANDA is used to describe the material happiness of the jiva as in “Are you feeling anand?” Such material ananda, which is merely a play of polarity or the removal of a distress or lacking, should never be confused or equated with the totally transcendental eternal ANANDA of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Sri Jiva Goswamipada explains in Paramatma Sandarbha that the chit or knowledge aspect of the jivatma is merely the potential to learn and experience material knowledge, the innate nature of knowing. All the material knowledge that we may collect is stored in the buddhi. This knowledge, chit feature, is not part of the jivatma’s transcendental nature.

It is only if and when the jivatma receives Krishna’s transcendental chit shakti in the form of bhakti by the grace Bhagavan or Sri Guru that spiritual bliss i.e. TRUE AND REAL ANANDA, and transcendental knowledge CHIT are infused and mixed in the inherent nature of the transcendental jivatma.

Thus all Krishna bhaktas should understand, appreciate and be forever grateful to Sri Krishna and Sri Guru for Their giving the matchless gift of pure bhakti. By the mercy of bhakti, all devotees can now know and understand Sri Krishna, reality the beautiful.

And they can NOW TRULY LOVE and experience unending real spiritual joy and fulfillment in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in the pleasure bowers of Vraja for time eternal!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

(concept, Dr. Sri Satyanarayana Das Babaji Maharaja)

Sri Krishna ki jai! Sri Guru ki jai! Bhakti-devi ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Years ago, we published two books titled Sweet Notes 1-2 containing many “English Sutras”, mini teachings on Krishna bhakti. Here we offer you the best those sweets for your pleasure, and the nourishment of your beautiful lives.

Each sweet sutra appears under a specific topic related to perfecting one’s bhakti bhajan.

Detachment:

* Feeling separation from Radha-Krishna separates one from Maya.

Happiness:

*Serve Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas and happiness is yours because seva is BLISS!!!

Independence:

*Real independence is dependence on Krishna.

Guru:

Follow your Guru Sri, and with Krishna always be.

Krishna:

*Krishna is just around the corner, don’t hesitate—turn the corner!

*To Krishna—surrender, serve, and love. And from this world you’ll rise above!

Love:

*One who fills His heart with Krishna’s love, sees Krishna’s love in all.

Maya:

*We remember what gave us pain, think of what we’ll never gain, and hanker for what we’ll never attain.

*Careful…lifetimes pass paying the debt of desire.

Mind:

*Believe… Syama’s seva will save you!

New Year:

*Ending one year, death more near. To Krishna be dear then “Happy New Year!”

Old Age:

*When young, pains come and go. When old, pains come, stay, and take you away.

Pain:

*Karma—lots of pain for little gain. Bhakti—little pain for total gain.

*Feeding your pain gives no gain. Chant the Name and win the game.

Preaching Bhakti:

*See every class as an expression of love.

*Preaching means draw life from Harinama, and give living truth to enliven others.

Sadhana:

*Evolution to perfection means revolution and correction of habits and misconceptions.

*Endeavors in Maya end in defeat. Endeavors in bhakti end in sweet.

*Follow the D.I.P. principle: Always depend on Krishna. Be an instrument of Krishna’s will. And please Krishna with all you do.

*Serve Krishna and maintain your body. Don’t maintain Krishna and serve your body.

*Surrender, prayer and endeavor bring you to Krishna forever.

*Will to serve Guru and Krishna will show the way.

Sense Enjoyment:

*Sense enjoyment blocks the path to Guru and Govinda.

Suffering:

*Suffering brings us to the heart of reality—surrender to Syama.

*Going through hell in your karmic cell. Soon you’ll be well that Krishna will tell.

Surrender:

*Surrender—the biggest revolution in one’s life.

*Surrender means jumping off a mountain, believing Krishna will catch you.

*No submission, no permission, no permission, no admission.

Time:

*What was is past, what is won’t last. Be steadfast. Chant Hare Krishna and have a blast!

Tongue:

*Conquer your tongue, conquer death!

Water:

*Water—You are healing, healthy, pure and sweet. You are life and the taste of Krishna. Thank you, O Krishna, for the wonderful wonder called water.

Sri Krishna Bhagavan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Many years ago, we published two small books titled Sweet Notes 1-2. Inside there are many “English Sutras”, mini teachings on Krishna bhakti. Here we present the best those sweets for your pleasure, and the nourishment of your beautiful lives.

Each sweet sutra appears under a specific topic related to perfecting one’s bhakti bhajan.

Behavior:

*Respect, love and serve all—be they big or small.

*We see many good examples of what not to do. But be the good example of what to do.

Chanting Hare Krishna:

*As we breathe, so we chant.

Death:

*Surrender to Maya—forever die. Surrender to Krishna—never die.

Dependence:

*Learn one thing: Depend on Krishna, don’t worry, chant more and stay pure.

Detachment:

*A life centered on higher consciousness annihilates all unconscious elements.

Determination:

*All power is in the mantras and the siksa given. Chant, follow and pray—and Guru’s strength will show the way.

*You’ve crossed the ocean half. Don’t turn back. Swim on and reach the land of love—Vrndavana!

Devotion:

*In bhakti, we depend not on our own, but on the power of Krishna.

Difficulties:

*Forgetting your guardian causes your difficulties.

Diksa:

*A lifetime promise:

Up at four, chant some more

For Death no more!

Dreams:

*In Vraja—dreams are reality.

Outside Vraja—reality is a dream!

Faith:

*Invest your faith in Krishna alone. And He’ll never let you down.

Family Life:

*To seniors:

Define the distance between, and make the space as friendly as possible.

*To newlyweds:

Acceptance, tolerance and moderation will deliver you to the destination.

Fault finding:

*Don’t be a good fault finder. But be good at finding Your own faults.

Fear:

*Have no fear—Krishna is here!

He’s always near for you my dear.

Hope:

*Yes! There’s difficulty, but Krishna’s on your side. Your journey of misery will soon end. And to Krishna, you’ll forever tend.

*Krishna sweet aspirations, bring a Krishna sweet future!

Humility:

*Remember always—I am nothing!

But with Krishna’s mercy—I’ll be something.

*Eyes have we and see not.

Ears have we and hear not.

Minds have we and think not.

Krishna:

*Krishna, You are…

my guide, guardian, advisor and friend from beginning to the end.

Krishna, You are…

my provider and protector, my wealth and my health, my task master and inspector.

Krishna, You…

turn my bad to good, and my wrong to right.

Krishna, You are…

my day and my night.

Krishna, You…

remove the darkness with the light of inspiration.

And You are in

my every sensation.

Sri Krishna suddha bhakti bhajan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The perfection of human life is to serve, love and please Bhagavan Sri Krishna with all of one’s thoughts, words and deeds. This is the ultimate Sanatana Dharma, eternal religious practice. Bhagavan Sri Krishna tosana is human perfection.

Today many devotees are taking up the way of Veganism which shuns all products from mother cow, Sri Gaumata. However, for Gaudiya Vaisnavas and all Krishna bhaktas, cows and their wonderful products are essential in the worship of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. Bhagavan Sri Krishna aka Gopal and Govinda very much loves cows and their milk, butter, yogurt etc. Krishna is eternally famous as “Makhan Chor” and “Damodara-the Mischievous Butter Thief”.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all His associates regularly offered and ate Sri Jagannatha maha-prasadam prepared from cow’s milk. Mahaprabhu and His followers propagated the Yuga Dharma of Sri Harinama Sankirtana while using karatals, and mrdangas made from clay and cow hides.

It’s a fact that the demon milk industry wallas are mistreating cows and just ripping off their milk for profit. This is the sorry state of Kali-yuga.

Becoming a Vegan is one way to sympathize with and serve these cows and protest against the Godless demons. But another way is to be a Krishna bhakta, and offer their milk in the seva of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. By engaging these poor cows in Krishna’s pleasure, they will receive great spiritual benefit and elevation.

The Puranas predict that in the future of Kali-yuga, there won’t be any cows, goats, buffalo, camels or any kind of milk whatsoever available. Then at that time, Krishna’s bhaktas will have to resort to soya milk and soya cheese to make offerings for Krishna’s pleasure. Until that unfortunate time arrives, however, we should offer Krishna what He loves, and depend on Krishna to protect us and deliver us. In this way, Krishna bhaktas stay pure in mind, acts and reactions because all is done to please Krishna.

Krishna dharma is sanatana, and beyond all modern standards of morality and mundane sentiments. Veganism and other such compassionate movements are very good on one level, especially for those who are not Krishna bhaktas. However, Veganism, in and of itself, is not transcendental and pleasing to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

CONCLUSION:

The objective of human life is not just morality or sentiments, but the pleasure of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Hari tosana. So as Krishna bhaktas, we should keep offering Krishna varieties of cow’s milk products, honor Krishna’s sacred remnants, and also help and serve cows in whatever way we can.

In addition, if all the Vegans and Krishna bhaktas unite in the global performance of intensive public Harinama Sankirtana, then the entire polluted atmosphere of Kali-yuga will be purified, the collective consciousness of the world will be cleaned, and a new age of universal peace, harmony and happiness for the cows and all living entities will prevail.

Sri Gaumata seva ki jai! Gopala Makhan Cora ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!