Book excerpts Sri Upadesamrta VERSE 8: The Process of Bhajana and the Best Place for Performing...

VERSE 8: The Process of Bhajana and the Best Place for Performing Bhajana

तन्नामरूपचरितादिसुकीर्तनानु
स्मृत्योः क्रमेण रसनामनसी नियोज्य ।
तिष्ठन् व्रजे तदनुरागिजनानुगामी
कालं नयेदखिलमित्युपदेशसारम् ॥८॥

tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānu-
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram

Anvaya

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; sukīrtanaanu-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.

Translation

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.

Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā

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-anurāgijanānugāmī is to follow the intimate, eternal devotees in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s vraja-līlā. One should cultivate kṛṣṇa-bhakti under the guidance of those rasikagurus who are themselves followers of the intimate eternal devotees of Śrī Vrajendra-nandana, the enactor of human-like pastimes.

Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti

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.

Anuvṛtti

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
paramāviṣṭatā bhavet
tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ
sātra rāgātmikoditā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.272)

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.

sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa
siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
tad-bhāva-lipsunā kāryā
vraja-lokānusārataḥ

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.295)

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
preṣṭhaṁ nija-samīhitam
tat-tat-kathā-rataś cāsau
kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.294)

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.

dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
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.

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Another type of singing is such that its hearer will become very hungry and eager to eat. Another type of song will make you want to play sports. Sports players like to hear this kind of music as they play. And in the military, while preparing to fight, soldiers like to hear music that is dangerous and ferocious, like lions roaring.Sometimes, when there is no rain although the long expected clouds travel overhead, the appropriate song must be sung, and then it begins to rain. Such prayers are found in the Sāma-Veda.When Kṛṣṇa sleeps, there is one type of song to sing. When He wakes, there is another type of song, and while He eats there is another. When He sets out with the cows, His sakhās make happy music behind Him. The cows and calves bound around blissfully, the birds fly very fast, and all creatures are thus involved in a grand musical festival in the forest. Even the trees begin to dance, hearing the joyous musical celebration as Kṛṣṇa passes them. It seems as if the trees will jump out of the ground and run along with Him.yācitā lalitayā kila devyā      lajjayā nata-mukhīṁ gaṇato māmdevi divya-rasa-kāvya-kadambaṁ      pāṭhayisyasi kadā praṇayenaVilāpa-kusumāñjali 90O Devī, when, requested by Lalitā-devī, will You affectionately ask me, my head bowed with shyness in the assembly, to recite many splendid and sweet poems?Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Rādhike, when will You accept me into the group of Your near and dear sakhīs, and ask me to sing poetry for Your pleasure? How can I learn this art of sweet service? Please teach me. I will go to Your class. I will learn from You which poem to sing at which time, with which melody.”nija-kuṇḍa-taṭi-kuñje guñjad-bhramara-saṅkuledevi tvaṁ kacchapī-śikṣāṁ kadā māṁ kārayiṣyasi Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 91O Devī, when will You teach me to play the kacchapī, in a grove, filled with humming bees, on the shore of Your lake?”At Rādhā-kuṇḍa, there are many honeybees that drink so much nectar from the lotus flowers that they are unable to return to their hive. They sleep in the lotus flowers, having become intoxicated by drinking their nectar. This signifies that, if anyone comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and just once gets a chance to serve Rādhārānī, then they cannot go back. Even Parabrahma came and doesn’t want to ever leave.Many kuñja-kuṭīras are present at this Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “When will You call me inside one of these kuñja-kuṭīras and instruct me to play the kacchapī? At such a time, Kṛṣṇa will come from a distance to hear the music.vihārais truṭitaṁ hāraṁ gumphitaṁ dayitaṁ kadāsakhīnāṁ lajjayā devi saṁjñayā māṁ nidekṣyasi Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 92O Devī, when will You, being shy before Your sakhīs, hint that I should re-string Your favorite necklace, which was broken in Your pastimes?Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī now prays, “O Devī Rādhike, You are now playing kandarpa-līlā with Kṛṣṇa. Your necklace breaks in the course of this game, and this I will fix. You are very shy and will not tell anyone. But You give me a hint, and I step forward to carefully fix Your necklace.” (CLICK on the Title to see more)

Message of Mantra – Govinda-lilamrta

Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī is Yogamāyā, the expansion of svarūpa-śakti. She notices that early hours of dawn, there were many sādhana-siddhas waiting for Kṛṣṇa to wake and chanting gopāla-mantra or kṛṣṇa-gāyatrī. Having achieved their perfected forms, they now waited for service. While chanting their mantra, they offered their love and desire to serve. This love and service tendency are the same thing. To love Kṛṣṇa means to always desire to serve Him. Don't think mantra should be chanted dryly. You must have love and affection for the mantra-devatā. If you don't offer the mantra-devatā anything, you will not get relationship. If you stay with Śrī Guru or the Vaiṣṇavas, gradually by serving them, and offering them something every day, your love for them will increase and you will become closer to them day by day. You will get more and more desire to serve. In the same way, when one offers puṣpāñjali, or chants mantra, what must be the mood? The sādhaka prepares many offerings and arranges all kinds of paraphernalia for the pleasure of the Lord and His associates and offers it to them. This is most beneficial when done in brāhma-muhūrta. But how is it possible to directly offer all these things. Therefore, the sādhaka offers everything mindly with his mantra to the mantra devata.

WHO IS A SADHU?

Who is a sādhu? Sādhnoti sādhayati ca kṛṣṇa-prema iti sādhu—that person who himself is performing sādhana-bhajana to awaken kṛṣṇa-prema and who helps engage others in this type of sādhana-bhajana as well, is a sādhu. The sādhus do bhajana and engage others in sādhana and bhajana also. This is their specialty. When the sādhu sees a person running for māyā, he catches that person and says, “No! Stop running. Come back. Do bhajana!” This is their nature. They are very strange. They never help anyone jump into māyā. They will bring them back. The seed of bhakti will automatically be planted in sat-saṅga. They can plant this seed anywhere they desire.

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