vande ‘haṁ śrī-guroḥ śrī-yuta-pada-kamalaṁ śrī-gurūn vaiṣṇavāṁś ca
śrī-rūpam sāgrajātaṁ saha-gaṇa-raghunāthānvitaṁs taṁ sa-jīvam
sādvaitaṁ sāvadhūtaṁ parijana-sahitaṁ kṛṣṇa-caitanya devaṁ
śrī-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pādān saha-gaṇa lalitā-śrī-viśākhānvitāṁś ca
This one verse offers obeisances to gurudeva, to our śikṣā-guru, to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates, and to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Their associates. When we are in a hurry and do not have time to recite the praṇāma-mantra for each worshipable personality, we can utter this prayer because it includes everyone.
There is another very short offering of obeisances, shorter than this one, which is also important to recite daily – especially when we do not have much time:
gurave gauracandrāya rādhikāyaya tad-ālayaya
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa bhaktāya tad-bhaktāya namo namaḥ
I offer praṇāma unto Śrī Gurudeva, Śrī Gauracandra, Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her associates, to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, and to all Vaiṣṇavas.
Kṛṣṇa Protects His Devotees
In order to teach us how to attain pure bhakti to the Lord and His associates, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam relates the story of Prahlāda Mahārāja and his demoniac father Hiraṇyakaśipu. Hiraṇyakaśipu told his commanders, “Go everywhere, and if you notice a person who is in any way favorable to Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, or Hari, rob him at once, burn his home, and then either murder him or banish him from my kingdom. And because cows give milk, butter, and ghee, which are all used in sacrifices for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure, kill them also. Mango, banana, and other fruits are used in Viṣṇu’s service, so cut down all fruit trees. In fact, if you see anyone or anything that has any relation to Hari, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa, or Rāma, then destroy it at once.”
Hiraṇyakaśipu thought he could kill Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, but instead he and his evil associates were killed. Kaṁsa gave similar orders, and for this reason Aghāsura, Bakāsura, Pūtanā, and other demons were sent by him to Vraja. However, the result was opposite to his desire, for they were all destroyed.
When a person aspires to love and serve Kṛṣṇa, he or she is besieged with so many troubles and problems. But there is nothing to worry about, because historically we see that Kṛṣṇa always protects His devotees, and to date He has not changed His mood. He is causelessly merciful. If we are very sincere in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, He will surely save us. Troubles may come, but they are temporary; let us not be worried by them.
By surrender (śaraṇāgati), we can remain strict and strong in our practices. If we surrender like Prahlāda, Dhruva, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and Sītā-devī, Kṛṣṇa will certainly protect us. We can also be clever like Akrūra, who tricked Kaṁsa by pretending to be one of his servants. That is also good. However, by concealing His identity as one of Kṛṣṇa’s party members, he was not as surrendered as those who fearlessly and directly served Śrī Kṛṣṇa and depended on Him for the results of their actions.
If we surrender, tolerating all difficulties, Śrī Kṛṣṇa will say, “Oh, for Me he tolerating so much suffering.” His heart will melt and He will at once give kṛṣṇa-prema.
If we see a sincere devotee experiencing some suffering, let us try to help him both internally and externally. Let us not overlook the occasion to help such a devotee with any kind of problem.
Not Simply By Regulative Principles
In Bengali verses, called payāras, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī explains the verse beginning with anarpita-carīṁ cirāt. As mentioned above, one such payāra is as follows:
sakala jagate more kare vidhi-bhakti
vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhāva pāite nāhi śakti
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.15)
Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vraja-bhūmi.
After disappearing from His Bhauma Vṛndāvana pastimes, Śrī Kṛṣṇa considered that people in this world generally have no connection with Him and do not believe in Him.Dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ – they are like the lowest of animals, such as hogs, dogs, and asses who, although experiencing great suffering, are attached to the cause of their suffering. Although the male donkey is repeatedly kicked by the hind legs of the female donkey, he continues to follow her to satisfy his lusty desires. In the rainy season a moth wants to taste fire, and he therefore flies into it and is burnt at once. We are also like this.
In the form of both men and women, atheists do not know about God, or Kṛṣṇa, and they have no relationship with Him. Their policy is “Eat, drink and be merry.” After drinking large quantities of alcohol, such a person may fall down in an alleyway by the sewer. Dogs come and lick his face, but he is so intoxicated that he thinks, “Oh, I am king of the entire world.” He does not realize his wretched condition. Although he is mad, he thinks everyone else is mad.
Among all these atheists, a person who worships demigods like Durgā, Kālī, Gaṇeśa, and so forth is rare. More rare is a Nārāyaṇa bhakta, and among millions of Nārāyaṇa bhaktas it is rare to find a Kṛṣṇa bhakta. Among Kṛṣṇa bhaktas, those who are properly doing vaidhī-bhakti are rare, and among them it is very rare to find those who have an interest in the mood of rāgānuga, with some greed to serve Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says here, “vidhi-bhaktya vraja-bhāva pāite nāhi cacti – Simply by following such regulative principles, one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vraja-bhūmi.”
What is vaidhī-bhakti? It is the process of sravaṇaṁ (hearing about the Supreme Lord),kīrtanaṁ (glorifying His name, fame, etc.), viṣṇu-smaraṇaṁ (remembering Him), pāda-sevānam (serving His lotus feet), arcanaṁ (worshipping Him), vandanaṁ (offering prayers),dāsyaṁ (becoming His servant), sakhyam (becoming His friend), and ātma-nivedanam(surrendering everything to Him). Even if this is properly performed, and even if we have a very bona fide guru like Nārada, the guru of Dhruva and Prahlāda, this vaidhī-bhakti will never lead us to vraja-bhāva.
aiśvarya-jñānete saba jagat miśrita
aiśvarya-śithila-preme nāhi mora prīta
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.16)
If the entire world’s population performs vaidhī-bhakti in the real sense, under the guidance of a bona fide guru, it will still achieve only maryādā-mayī-bhakti, service mixed with awe and reverence and with knowledge that Nārāyaṇa is the controller of everything and is the Supreme Lord Himself. Such persons will never achieve service in Vṛndāvana.
Aiśvarya-jñānete saba jagat miśrita: Among those who are practicing vaidhī-bhakti, only one percent, half a percent, or one-hundredth of a percent, will develop some greed for vraja-bhāva. It is that rare.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “To those practicing pure vaidhī-bhakti, I give only service to Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Even if they are chanting three-hundred-thousand names daily, as Haridāsa Ṭhākura did, even if they are always hearing the Purāṇas, the Upaniṣads, and the Vedānta-sūtra, and even if they are practicing bhakti like Prahlāda Mahārāja, I only give them entrance into Vaikuṇṭha.”
aiśvarya-jñāne vidhi-bhajana kariyā
vaikuṇṭhake jāya catur-vidha mukti
pāñā sārṣṭi, sārūpya, āra sāmīpya,
sālokya sāyujya nā laya bhakta jāte brahma-aikya
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.17-18)
By performing such regulated devotional service in awe and veneration, one may go to Vaikuṇṭha and attain the four kinds of liberation – sārṣṭi, sārūpya, sāmīpya, and sālokya. Devotees never accept sāyujya, however, since that is oneness with Brahman.
They attain one of the four kinds of mukti in Vaikuṇṭha – sārṣṭi (having the same opulence as the Lord), sārūpya (having the same bodily features as the Lord), sāmīpya (being a personal associate of the Lord), and sālokya (living on the same planet as the Lord). They reject the fifth type of liberation, which is sāyujya (annihilation of the soul’s consciousness by merging with Kṛṣṇa’s effulgence).
After Ajāmila associated with the Viṣṇudūtas, he practiced vaidhī-bhakti: hearing and chanting the name of Nārāyaṇa and meditating on His form. Those bhaktas who practice like Ajāmila can go to Vaikuṇṭha, but they will not be able to serve Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.
Please read the purport.
Devotee reads (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.16):
Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me.
What is the meaning of ‘the whole world?’ In this connection it does not refer to demons, animals, demigod-worshipers, and all other categories of non-devotees. It refers only to those practicing vaidhī-bhakti. Please read this again, along with the purport.
Text: Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me.
Purport: After His appearance, Lord Kṛṣṇa thought that He had not distributed the transcendental personal dealings with His devotees in dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya. One may understand the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the Vedic literature and thus become a devotee of the Lord and worship Him within the regulative principles described in the scriptures, but one will not know in this way how Kṛṣṇa is served by the residents of Vraja-bhūmi. One cannot understand the dealings of the Lord in Vṛndāvana simply by executing the ritualistic regulative principles mentioned in the scriptures. By following scriptural injunctions one may enhance his appreciation for the glories of the Lord, but there is no chance for one to enter personal dealings with Him. Giving too much attention to understanding the exalted glories of the Lord reduces the chance of one’s entering personal loving affairs with the Lord. To teach the principles of such loving dealings, the Lord decided to appear as Lord Caitanya.
There is no difference between nāma (the holy name of Kṛṣṇa) and nāmī (the possessor of the name, Kṛṣṇa Himself). Kṛṣṇa mercifully manifests as śabda-brahma (transcendental sound). In other words He personally manifests as His holy names such as Madana-mohana and Govinda.
There are two kinds of holy names: primary and secondary. Jagannātha, Brahmā, Īśvara, Paramātmā, and Allah are secondary names. The primary names are Kṛṣṇa, Nṛsiṁha, Rāma, and Nārāyaṇa. Of these, the most superior primary names are Rādhā-nātha, Rādhā-kāntā, Madana-mohana, Govinda, Rāsa-bihārī, and other similar names.
If someone still has anarthas as a result of his offenses, even if he chants three-hundred-thousand names daily and performs the nine limbs of bhakti such as śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanaṁ etc., he will not attain vraja-prema. He will not even attain vaikuṇṭha-prema or mukti. He will only get some worldly opulence, like name, fame and money. If his chanting is nāmābhāsa (the clearing stage of chanting), this can give him mukti. And, if a little prema comes by performance of vaidhī-bhakti, that prema will lead him to Vaikuṇṭha, not Vraja.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not controlled by vaidhī-bhakti, even if it is performed perfectly. He is only controlled by the dāsya-bhāva, sakhya-bhāva, vātsalya-bhāva, and mādhurya-bhāva of Vraja. Without one of these bhāvas we will not reach Vraja in millions of births of Brahmā, what to speak of millions of our births. After millions of births of Brahmā we will still have no connection with Kṛṣṇa. Our greatest fortune in this birth is our opportunity for a connection with vraja-bhakti. If we lose this, we can consider that we are losing everything.
yuga-dharma pravartāimu nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri bhāva-bhakti diyā nācāmu bhuvana
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.19)
I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age – nāma-saṅkīrtana, the congregational`chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in ecstasy, realizing the four mellows of loving devotional service.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is saying here, “I will inaugurate the yuga-dharma (religious process of the age), I will give the four kinds of bhakti in vraja-bhāva – dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya, and I will make the entire world dance.” ‘The entire world’ means that place where Vaiṣṇavas are serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and where Kṛṣṇa, in the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, will appear even to wild animals. ‘The entire world’ means those who come to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Kṛṣṇa Practices What He Preaches
Here, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “I will have to first practice that rare bhakti Myself.”
āpani karimu bhakta-bhāva aṅgīkāre
āpani ācari’ bhakti śikhāimu sabāre
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.20)
I shall accept the role of a devotee, and I shall teach devotional service by practicing it Myself.
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, “I will take the mood of a bhakta,” He is referring to Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Then He says, “I will teach others by following the code of Vaiṣṇava behavior and I will manifest all the Vaiṣṇava qualities. Otherwise, no one will receive vraja-prema.”
The following story illustrates an important principle. A father was very worried about his son, who had developed the habit of eating an Indian sweet called guḍa, which made sores and boils break out on the boy’s body. His father told him that the boils were due to the number of sweets he ate, but the boy did not listen. Finally, the father went to his gurudevaand requested his help. “When I tell my son to stop eating sweets, he pays no attention; but if you tell him, he may listen to you.”
His gurudeva said, “Bring your boy back in three days.”
In three days the father returned with his son, and his gurudeva instructed the boy, “O my darling boy, you should not take these sweets; they are so harmful for you. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” the boy replied.
“Please obey me.”
“Yes. I will obey you,” the boy said, and he gave up his bad habit.
Later, the boy’s father went to his gurudeva and asked, “Why couldn’t you tell him to stop on the first day? Why did you wait for three days?”
He replied, “At that time I myself was eating sweets, so if I had told him to stop, my words would have had no potency and he would not have obeyed me.”
Let us practice bhakti-yoga ourselves, be bona fide, and then teach others. Then our words will have potency and our teaching will be effective. Imitating a pure devotee like Srīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja we may also speak about Kṛṣṇa. However, whereas people listened to him because of his purity, they will not listen to us if we are not practicing purebhakti. If Nārada says to someone, “Control your mind at once, and give up all your worldly desires,” that person would immediately gain the strength and energy to follow his instructions.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stressed the importance of practicing oneself in order to successfully teach others. He said, “I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the viṣaya(enjoyer) of bhakti-yoga, but in order to preach I must become the āśraya1 and follow the process of bhakti-yoga.” Here, Kṛṣṇa is saying:
āpane nā kaile dharma śikhāna nā yāya
ei ta’ siddhānta gītā-bhāgavate gāya
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.21)
What does Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja write in his translation?
Devotee reads (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.21):
Unless one practices devotional service himself, he cannot teach it to others. This conclusion is indeed confirmed throughout the Gītā and Bhāgavatam.
If we are not following, we are not qualified to instruct another person. This has been explained clearly in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Nowadays people think that preaching is easy, and that distributing Kṛṣṇa consciousness is more important than practicing it. However, if one does not know the śāstra, or the ABC’s of what is preached or taught, then he will be uneffective. One may collect money by distributing books, keep seventy-five percent, and give twenty-five percent to the temple. Although he imagines, “I am a very good preacher,” or “I am preaching to the whole world,” all he is really doing is taking mahā-prasādam and living in the temple. His preaching is so-called preaching only. If one is not actually practicing, then after a few days, months, or years, he again takes to bad habits; and when found guilty of this, he is driven from the temple, or he himself leaves bhakti altogether.
Preaching successfully is not cheap. If you are following the process and are having some realization, then try to give it to others. Your soul becomes very blissful by practicing bhakti-yoga, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifests in your heart. So, first be satisfied yourself by chanting and remembering, and when your faith is strong you can properly preach. Otherwise you are cheating. Moreover, we see in this world that persons who cheat others are themselves cheated by Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says:
yāre dekha, tāre kaha `kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.128)
Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Kṛṣṇa as they are given in Bhagavad-gītā andŚrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.
Mahāprabhu is extremely powerful. He gave this instruction and was then able to empower others. We must realize that we can only have an effect on others if we sincerely obey the order of guru. We will then be like a postman, and the message we carry will be heard.
As previously explained, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was thinking:
yuga-dharma-pravartana haya aṁśa haite
āmā vinā anye nāre vraja-prema dite
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 3.26)
My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the residents of Vraja.
The yuga-dharma for Satya-yuga is meditation, the yuga-dharma for Tretā-yuga is yajña(fire-sacrifice), for Dvāpara-yuga it is Deity worship, and in Kali-yuga it is nāma-saṅkīrtana.
In all these yugas, the yuga-dharma can be preached by the Lord’s plenary incarnation, Mahā-Viṣṇu, but He cannot give vraja-prema. Nārāyaṇa cannot give it and Rāma cannot give it. By general consideration all the incarnations are the same as Kṛṣṇa in tattva, but in a deeper consideration there is some difference.
Some incarnations, for example, are plenary parts of Kṛṣṇa and some are partial parts. Inrasa-vicāra (the consideration of transcendental mellows) as well, their functions are divided. Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone can give this vraja-prema.
1 “Viṣaya and āśraya are two very significant words relating to the reciprocation between Kṛṣṇa and His devotee. The devotee is called the āśraya, and his beloved, Kṛṣṇa, is the viṣaya. Different ingredients are involved in the exchange of roles between theāśraya and viṣaya, which are known as vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika and vyabhicārī. Vibhāva is divided into the two categories:ālambana and uddīpana. Ālambana may be further divided into āśraya and viṣaya. In the loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī is the āśraya feature and Kṛṣṇa the viṣaya. The transcendental consciousness of the Lord tells Him, ‘I am Kṛṣṇa, and I experience pleasure as the viṣaya. The pleasure enjoyed by Rādhārāṇī, the āśraya, is many times greater than the pleasure I feel.’ Therefore, to feel the pleasure of the āśraya category, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.135, purport).