What is Sādhana?

What is sādhana? Sādhana does not mean whimsically doing harināma or reading books or performing arcana. Sādhana means to practice with the goal in mind. The goal is prīti. When we do sādhana with our senses and adopt anyābhilāṣitā śūnyaṁ to awaken bhāva, then it is sādhana-bhakti. Practicing to awaken these things in our heart, chanting with the desire to attain bhāva—this is sādhana. In order to awaken bhāva, sādhana should be anyābhilāṣitā śūnyaṁ jñāna-kārmādy anāvṛtam: executed with the body, mind, words, and senses. With the ears we hear, with the tongue we chant, and with the mind we meditate—only to awaken bhāva. We should follow in the footsteps of nitya-siddhas.

August 18, 1994 Mathurā

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HOW DOES RADHARANI'S SVARUPA SHAKTI REJUVENATE EVERYONE?

All the peacocks are now singing out, one after the other. One leads, and the others repeat. Śrīmatī was hiding in a cave in Māna-gaṛh, scratching the ground with Her toe. Why was Rādhārānī in such deep māna? Early that morning the sakhīs were decorating Śrīmatī Rādhārānī with flowers, mehendi, and ornaments. Kṛṣṇa came, and Syāmā and Lalitā also decorated Him. Then they gave a mirror in front for Kṛṣṇa to see Himself. The sakhīs said, “Look at your face, Kṛṣṇa. What do You think?” Then they gave a mirror to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and said, “Look how beautiful Śrīmatī is!” “Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa saw each other’s faces and were very happy. The sakhīs asked Kṛṣṇa, “How is Rādhārānī’s face?” He said, “Rādhārānī’s face is more beautiful than Candra, the full moon. I never saw Her face decorated so wonderfully as you have done today.” Hearing this, Śrīmatī became very angry. She ran away very fast and hid where no one could find Her. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī said, “You compared My face to the Moon! The Moon has a bad character, and his body is covered with leprosy! He is useless. Are you implying that I too am of loose character? Do I have blemishes on My face?” Rādhikā thought that now She would not keep any relation with Kṛṣṇa, and She ran away. Then Kṛṣṇa was suffering. He thought, “What can I do? Where should I go? How can I find Her and pacify Her māna? How can I appease Her?” He asked Lalitā and Syāmā, “Why is She so angry?” Lalitā and Viśākhā said, “You can’t understand. Why did You compare Her with the Moon? You don’t know the character of the Moon? Once, Candra ran away with his guru’s wife. He is useless and stupid! How could you compare our Rādhārānī with him?” Kṛṣṇa thought, “I’ve made a big blunder. How can I atone for this?” He thought for a long time, and then Syāmalā, Tungavidyā, and Citrā came and arranged a program. They said, “Only by calling peacocks and starting a dance will Śrīmatī Rādhārānī come out. She likes the peacocks, cuckoos, deer, and other animals—their hearts are clean, and they are simple.” (CLICK on the Title to read the full article)

WHY DO WE OFFER OUR COMPLAINTS AND CRITICISMS TO GURU?

If someone becomes a sadhu - a renunciate, then they should not talk about their purva-ashram - previous ashram, or household life. If someone talks to them about it then it is like they will vomit out talking about their past ten lives. They cannot forget these pastimes. They cannot remember the Lord's pastimes but instead only remember their own pastimes.  People ask them and they will say, "Oh how I was. What I did when I was a boy. Who my friends and families were. What I did in the life before that and the life before that. Who my partner was. What I do did for a job. What type of life I lived." They cannot forget this. Therefore if you are renounced you should look forward, not backwards.  It is said by Bhaktivinoda Thakur, purva itihas. How can we forget our past life memories and only remember the Lord, and have the mood that, "You are mine and I am Yours." Even if we leave the forest of samsara, or household life, still it is very difficult to forget our pastimes there, even for renounced sadhus.  Bhaktivinoda Thakur says when someone asks us about our past then we vomit up our past activities and pour them into people's ears. "Oh I did this and I did that." This is all like illusory coverings over the soul. We should forget all these coverings and try to progress in our spiritual life and transcend beyond this world into the spiritual world and not just try to be happy here. One time in Mathura there was a brahmacari who came to Gurudeva and said; "Oh Gurudeva please protect me." Gurudeva asked; "What happened?" The brahmacari said; "Oh I am very sad." Gurudeva asked; "What happened? Tell me. You are serving, you are chanting harinama, you are going to kirtana and arati, so what is the worry?" He said; "I slept and at night I had a dream I was in my house again with my family. Even though I have been in the math for so many years still I cannot forget my house, parents, friends, and partner. I feel I am such a horrible wretch. I cannot forget the past and I cannot be focussed and absorbed in the service of the Lord. I have wandered throughout material existence for so many millions of lives, but I cannot forget these material relationships. Please protect me Srila Gurudeva." Gurudeva said, "Do not worry. I will help you so that wherever you are, while you are chanting harinama and performing bhajan you can think of Guru and Vaisnavas and try and be related with them.”  When we have a place in our mind and heart for Guru and Vaisnavas then material people will not be able to enter our heart and they will run far away. Now we don’t have real love for Vaisnavas, Guru and the associates of the Lord. We have a place in our heart for maya and all the different filth of maya. We are like vultures trying to eat dead flesh. We should try and give up this nature and bring Guru and Vaisnavas and Krsna's associates into our hearts. When they come into our heart, Krsna and all His associates will also come and we will not be seeing any worldly things. Krsna is speaking and joking with the gopis here in an externally indifferent manner. He asks them, "Oh how is your family? Is everything good? Now you should go back home, they will be worried about you." Krsna wants to see if the gopis are now truly renounced and have left everything behind, or are they still thinking about it. Like when someone comes to the temple we give them prasadam and with some compassion, we speak nicely to them. Krsna is speaking with them nicely saying things like, "How can I help you? Is everything well at home? Is everyone happy? If you don't need anything now then you should return home." If we do not know how to swim then we should not jump into the ocean to try and save a person who is drowning. If we are going to try and save others in samsara - the ocean of material existence, but we don't know how to swim ourselves, then we will also drown along with them. That drowning person will pull us down with them into the depths of samsara. Krsna was approached by these millions of gopis. There were millions of sadhana-siddha gopis who had recently become perfected and left the material world and come to Vraja. What happened when Sudama came to Krsna? Sudama was very poor. He did not take anything from Krsna, but he brought some chipped rice for Krsna. Later what did Krsna give him? He gave him palaces bigger than Dwaraka. When 99.9% of people come to Guru what do they bring? They bring their faults and complaints and all their bad things. They think about others and want to show Guru that 'I am so great and everyone else is bad.' They come to Guru offering all these gifts of complaints, fault-findings and bad things that they have collected.  Then they start to find faults in Guru. They say, "Oh Gurudeva, you have this fault also." Or they say, "Oh Vaisnavas are useless. Oh Gurudeva you are supporting these Vaisnavas, you are maintaining these Vaisnavas, therefore you are also bogus."  They will come to Guru and give all these different letters and complaints and fights that they are in. They will go to Krsna and tell Him these things saying; "Oh I have worshipped You so much but my son died and my wealth is lost. What kind of God are You? I will therefore break Your form and throw You in the Yamuna." We see some people do this. They take Deities of Krsna that they have worshiped for many years, and then they break Their arms and legs and throw Them into the river. The jivas in this world are always absorbed in their own selfish enjoyment and are always looking for their self-interest. If they go to Guru, Bhagavan and Vaisnavas what gift do they bring? Whatever comes out of their mouth, that is their gift. What is their mood? Are they only going to Guru to try and get some personal benefit?  Krsna tests these gopis thinking, "What did you bring?" He is shaking them with His speech and He sees, "Oh they don't have any attachment to this samsara. Their husbands tried to stop them by holding sticks and were even ready to beat them. They were even locked inside their rooms. But did they criticize their husbands?”  We see Prahlada Maharaja's father, Hiranyakasipu, disturbed Prahlada so much. Hiranyakasipu tried to kill Prahlada in various ways, but did Prahlada complain to Nrsinghadeva about his father?  A tridandi sannyasi took sannyasa and went begging for alms. One householder pulled his sikha, another householder pulled his kaupins off, and another person took his danda and tried to beat him with it. He was holding out his cloth for alms and someone threw dirt in it, another passed urine on him and someone threw stool on him. What  type of prayer did he offer? tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.8) "My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim." The sannyasi thought this is all my past karma. He then remembered if someone can accept this, then he can become liberated. Even though all these bad things were happening to him, he did not blame God.  The Vraja gopis don't even complain like this thinking; "Oh this is my bad karma." What was their nature? They had no attachments. What is our nature? We are drowning and Guru comes to pull us out of the water, but we want to bring all the weights in this world that were causing us to drown with us. We want to stay with Guru, but be sick. We don't want Guru to cure us. Instead we want to bring all our material sicknesses with us and be sick with Guru.  When any problems come we immediately go to Guru. If we have something bad we go and tell Guru, but if something good comes will we go and tell him? We have this nature of bringing out garbage and filth and that is our gift to Guru, that is our bhajana. Were the gopis like this? Did they come from their house and come to Krsna like this? When the wives of the brahmanas of Mathura came to Krsna with nice foodstuffs for Him, did they complain about their husbands? Before, their husbands would not give the sakhas any nice lunch. Their husbands told the wives not to go, but they went anyway. When they went to Krsna, they did not complain to Him. They said to Krsna; "We have come and we offer ourselves completely to You." Krsna told them to go home and they accepted His instruction. He said; "Do not worry they will now worship you." When the wives of the brahmanas went home, we see that the husbands did worship their wives, and they became respected throughout the whole universe. Did the gopis think like this? "Oh we have come to Krsna and our husbands and families are upset, but Krsna can give us some nice thing now and then we will go home and be glorious all over the universe?" Krsna checks; "Do they want this? Do they have any desire for prestige, name or fame? Whatever they want I will give it to them." Sudama Vipra came to Krsna and gave Him a few pieces of chipped rice, Krsna then gave him a palace greater than any palace in Dwaraka, and maidservants even more beautiful than any of His queens in return. Even though Sudama only brought a very small offering, having been sent by his wife, and only because she had desired these things, Krsna fulfilled them. When we are coming to Guru and Vaisnavas we should always examine ourselves and think, "What is my desire?" Otherwise we will be cheated with material things, and be bereft of the spiritual fruits of their association.  Krsna asked the gopis; "Is everything well in your homes? Is everyone happy? You weren't beaten were you? Did anyone act inappropriately with you and therefore you have come here into the forest in this haphazard way, dressed very strangely? Is there any problem at home?" Krsna is checking, "Do they have any desire? Will they complain?" No one can stay forever with the Lord if they have this mood. Hundreds and thousands of people come to ashrams but they do Vaisnava-aparadha there. They do offences and look at the faults of everyone. They make offences to the dhama, offences in service, offences to Vaisnavas, offences to Guru, offences to the Deity, and offences to the Holy names. We must be very careful.  It is said that Guru will see; "Oh this person is always criticizing others so let him be far away. I will give him many nice things and great facility. I will give him material reputation, wealth and so forth, and will send him far away from me.” Guru and Krsna are very clever like this. If someone is like that Guru and Krsna will not accept him. Hundreds of thousands of people will come, but how many will stay? It is very rare. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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