स्मृत्योः क्रमेण रसनामनसी नियोज्य ।
तिष्ठन् व्रजे तदनुरागिजनानुगामी
कालं नयेदखिलमित्युपदेशसारम् ॥८॥
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
tiṣṭhan vraje – living in Vraja; anugāmī – as a follower; anurāgi-jana – of the eternal residents of Vraja, who possess inherent spontaneous love; tat – for Him (Śrī Kṛṣṇa); kālam nayet – one should utilise all his time; niyojya – by engaging; rasanā – the tongue; manasī – and the mind; krameṇa – sequentially; sukīrtana–anu-smṛtyoḥ – in meticulous chanting and remembrance; nāma-rūpa-caritādi – of the names, form, qualities and pastimes; tat – of Him (Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa); iti – this only; sāram – is the essence; akhilam – of all; upadeśa – instruction.
While living in Vraja as a follower of the eternal residents of Vraja, who possess inherent spontaneous love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one should utilise all his time by sequentially engaging the tongue and the mind in meticulous chanting and remembrance of Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes. This is the essence of all instruction.
At this point, these questions may arise in the mind of a new sādhaka: “Where should one reside to cultivate the devotional activities, headed by the chanting of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, and how should one go about it?” This verse, which constitutes the essence of all instruction, has been composed to answer these questions. The conventional meaning of the name of Kṛṣṇa is drawn from the verbal root kṛṣ, which means to attract or draw towards oneself. Thus Kṛṣṇa is famed as the attractor of the hearts of all living entities in the entire world. In Vraja He is known also as Yaśodā-nandana, He who gives delight to Yaśodā. Therefore, all devotees should utilise the entirety of their time in engaging their tongues in performing kīrtana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes and their minds in remembrance of Him. They should reside only in Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala and follow elevated devotees.
How should one follow devotees? By two types of devotion: vaidhī (devotion performed in conjunction with the rules and regulations of the scriptures) and rāgānuga (spontaneous devotion). Accordingly there are also two types of sādhakas: those who follow the path of vaidhī and those who follow the path of rāgānuga. Among these two, it is especially desirable to follow a rāgānuga-bhakta. The meaning of tad-anurāgi–janānugāmī is to follow the intimate, eternal devotees in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s vraja-līlā. One should cultivate kṛṣṇa-bhakti under the guidance of those rasika–gurus who are themselves followers of the intimate eternal devotees of Śrī Vrajendra-nandana, the enactor of human-like pastimes.
This verse describes the method of bhajana as well as the topmost place for performing bhajana. With the intention of incessantly executing the gradual process of sādhana, one should utilise every moment of his life by engaging the tongue in nicely performing kīrtana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s names, form, qualities and pastimes and then the mind in smaraṇa, or remembrance, upon them. This process should be executed while residing in Vraja and under the guidance of devotees who are immersed in vraja-rasa. The performance of this mānasa-sevā, service rendered within the mind, is dependent solely upon residing mentally in Vraja.
By following the rules and regulations prescribed in the previous verses, a sādhaka should draw his mind away from everything unrelated to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and engage his tongue in performing kīrtana of Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā. Then, eventually, his mind will be able to enter into constant remembrance (smaraṇa) of Kṛṣṇa. While residing in Vraja, he should utilise all his time executing these activities under the guidance of devotees who are adept at relishing vraja-rasa. This is the essence of all instruction.
In the devotional life of a sādhaka, sravaṇa-daśā, or the stage of hearing, comes first. In this stage, he hears kṛṣṇa-nāma and narrations of Kṛṣṇa’s form, qualities and pastimes. By doing this more and more, he gradually becomes more mature; then the stage of varaṇa-daśā begins. In this stage he begins performing kīrtana of those topics he was hearing. By performing kīrtana with the specific devotional mood one is cultivating, he enters smaraṇa-daśā, the stage of remembrance. Within the category of smaraṇa there are five stages: smaraṇa, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, anusmṛti and samādhi. Meditation where the mind sometimes becomes distracted is called smaraṇa. Smaraṇa that is devoid of such distraction is called dhāraṇā. Unbroken contemplation upon the object of meditation is called dhyāna. When dhyāna is performed constantly, it is called anusmṛti. When one’s meditation becomes entirely free from impediments and wholly uninterrupted, it is called samādhi. After smaraṇa-daśā, one enters the stage known as āpana-daśā. In this stage the sādhaka achieves realisation of his pure spiritual identity. After this, in the stage known as sampatti-daśā, he attains vastu-siddhi. At this time he finally obtains a spiritual form and is appointed to his eternal service in the spiritual realm.
When a devotee following the path of vaidhī-bhakti abandons his many varieties of material desires and performs bhajana in accordance with the instructions of śāstra, sad-guru and Vaiṣṇavas, ruci (taste) arises in his bhajana. Upon the appearance of this ruci, he abandons the path of vaidhī-bhakti and enters the path of rāgānuga-bhakti.
rāgātmikā-bhakti – ‘mukhya’ vraja-vāsī-jane
tāra anugata-bhaktira ‘rāgānugā’-nāme
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.149)
That devotion whose very essence is constituted of eternal spontaneous attachment (rāga) is known as rāgātmikā-bhakti. That devotion is pre-eminent amongst all forms of bhakti and is splendidly manifest in the residents of Vraja. Devotion that follows in the wake of this rāgātmikā-bhakti is known as rāgānuga-bhakti.
iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ
tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ
An unquenchable loving thirst (premamayī-tṛṣṇā) for the object of one’s affection (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) that gives rise to spontaneous and intense absorption (svārasikī paramāviṣṭatā) in that object is called rāga. Such rāgamayī-bhakti, or the performance of services – such as stringing garlands – with intense rāga, is called rāgātmikā-bhakti.
rāgamayī-bhaktira haya ‘rāgātmikā’ nāma
tāhā śuni’ lubdha haya kona bhāgyavān
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.152)
Bhakti that consists of rāga is called rāgātmikā. If, upon hearing of this, a devotee becomes intensely anxious to obtain such devotion, he is considered to be most fortunate.
lobhe vraja-vāsīra bhāve kare anugati
śāstra yukti nāhi mane – rāgānugāra prakṛti
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.153)
When one follows in the footsteps of the residents of Vraja by cultivating their devotional moods with intense hankering, he does not care for the injunctions of the scriptures or for logical arguments. This is the nature of spontaneous devotion.
bāhya, antara – ihāra dui ta’ sādhana
‘bāhya’ sādhaka-dehe kare śravaṇa-kīrtana
‘mane’ nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana
rātri-dine kare vraje kṛṣṇera sevana
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.156–57)
The sādhana of rāgānuga-bhakti is of two types: external (bāhya) and internal (antara). Externally one performs hearing and chanting in the sādhaka-deha, the outer feature of a practitioner of bhakti. Internally, while contemplating one’s own perfected spiritual form, one renders service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vraja day and night.
siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
A sādhaka who has “greed” (lobha) for rāgānuga-bhakti should serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa both in the sādhaka-rūpa and the siddha-rūpa in accordance with the bhāva of the eternal devotees residing in Vraja (vraja-parikaras) who possess the same mood for which he aspires. The sādhaka-rūpa refers to the physical body in which one is presently situated, and the siddha-rūpa refers to the internally contemplated spiritual form that is suitable to serve Kṛṣṇa according to one’s cherished desire.
nijābhīṣṭa kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha pācheta’ lāgiyā
nirantara sevā kare antarmanā hañā
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.159)
The eternal residents of Vraja are known as kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha, very dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Among Kṛṣṇa’s various devotees, those who possess the mood of service towards Him for which one intensely hankers are known as nijābhīṣṭa-kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha. Following in the footsteps of those beloved devotees of Kṛṣṇa for whose mood of service one hankers, one should constantly serve Kṛṣṇa within the mind through one’s internally conceived spiritual form.
kṛṣṇaṁ smaran janaṁ cāsya
kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā
The essential meaning of this verse is that in accordance with one’s own specific bhāva, the sādhaka should remember Śrī Kṛṣṇa and a particular eternal devotee of Kṛṣṇa who possesses the serving mood for which he aspires. He should be immersed in chanting the names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa that are related to His pastimes in Vraja and in hearing narrations of those pastimes. Also, those names and pastimes should be favourable to the sādhaka’s specific service aspirations. Finally, these activities should be performed while residing in Vraja.
rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.161)
There are four moods of service included in the path of spontaneous devotion: those of the servants, friends, parents and conjugal lovers.
Those desiring to serve in the devotional mellow of neutrality (śānta-rasa) should aspire to be like the cows, sticks, buffalo horns, the flute, kadamba trees and so forth. Those aspiring to serve in the mellow of servitude (dāsya-rasa) should follow servants in Vraja such as Raktaka and Patraka. Devotees aspiring to serve in the mellow of fraternity (sakhya-rasa) should follow Śrī Baladeva, Śrīdāmā, Sudāmā and so forth. Devotees aspiring to serve in the mellow of parenthood (vātsalya-rasa) should follow Śrī Nanda and Yaśodā, and those aspiring to serve in the amorous mellow (mādhurya-rasa) should follow cowherd girls (gopīs) like Lalitā and Viśākhā. While residing in Vraja, one should immerse himself in hearing narrations of the eternal devotees who serve in the mood for which he aspires.
There is no greater place than Vraja-maṇḍala to perform bhajana of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Therefore even such exalted devotees as Brahmā and Uddhava pray to take birth there as a blade of grass or a shrub.