Just see what Vyāsadeva has done. Before him there were many self-realized sages, there was Kapila, Vaiśeṣika, Jaiminī —these types of ṛṣis. They have also given advice. A ṛṣi named Cārvāka has told, “Cāru āg.” Cāru means beautiful and āg means fire. Very beautiful, very sweet. “Eat drink and be merry. Eat, drink and enjoy. The association between young boys and girls; riches and wealth; eating so much sweets and things made of ghee—this is life. Eat so much, sleep so much, enjoy so much.”
This is life. There is nothing beyond this—most people accept this. But then these ṛṣis said, “Oh, should we die in this? That thing which you think is sweet is not actually sweet. It is not beneficial. It seems to be so sweet but in the end it is not sweet. All worldly desires, up to Svarga, heaven, and everything, none of these things are good.”
Therefore, they have advised “Do yoga—yāma, niyama, āsana, prānāyāma, dhāramā, dhyāna, samādhi (Patañjali’s yoga Sūtra) and by this we can attain atyanta-duhkha-nivṛtti—cessation from unlimited material miseries.”
So these ṛṣis have told like this. Then Vyāsadeva came and he declared, “No! Even these things are not good. One will receive results from these activities according to the extent of his efforts and although these results are beneficial still they are not the ultimate objective. Because the jīva is cit-cetana—spiritual consciousness. He is a part and parcel of Bhagavān.”
These philosophies are all somewhat true—to some extent, but not to the full extent. All are miserable. So by these processes, atyanta-duhkha-nivṛtti, or the cessation of all material miseries, will not be achieved. They give unhappiness.
The jīva has been called ‘Bhagavān’s aṁśa.’ Forgetting Bhagavān, the jīva has come to this world. They will be truly happy only when they are favorably disposed towards Bhagavān and this will occur by service to Guru.
bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād
īśād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ
tan-māyayāto budha ābhajet taṁ
[Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord, called māyā. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.]
First of all one should offer himself to the lotus feet of Guru. How did the jīva come? He came due to forgetfulness of Bhagavān. By forgetting Bhagavān all his intelligence was covered and he was cast him far away from the Lord.
Vikṣepātmikā and āvaraṇātmikā are two functions of māyā. The jīva is thrown far away and his ātmā is covered. Being far away from Bhagavān the jīva comes under dvitīyābhiniveśata. Dvitīyābhiniveśata means that leaving the service of Bhagavān one becomes inclined to one’s own happiness. This is known as dvitīyābhiniveśa. He thus thinks he will be happy, leaving Kṛṣṇa, forgetting Kṛṣṇa. But anyhow if he has good saṁskāra then he will go to sad-guru and take shelter.
So that person who gives up all his material desires and surrenders unto guru, then guru helps him by giving him tattva-jnāna and situates him at the lotus feet of Bhagavān. What will be the destination of such a soul, up to which position will he attain? For such a person atyanta-dukha-nivṛtti will automatically come, just by being on this path. And after this one reaches Vaikuṇṭha. Then above Vaikuṇṭha is Ayodhyā-dhāma. Even higher than that is Dvārakā, then entrance into Goloka. Inside that Goloka there is śānta-rāsa, dāsya-rāsa, and higher than that, upon reaching Vrndāvana, there is sākhya, vātsalya, and at the end, above all, that jīva can attain mādhurya-rāsa by the mercy of Guru.
In order to increase people’s desire and taste, Vyāsa especially has given the tenth canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in which he has narrated Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. And in the other cantos he gave jīva-tattva, māyā-tattva, kṛṣṇa-tattva, and all these things. He also described what this material world is. And in the tenth canto, to increase the jīvas’ ruci for Kṛṣṇa, he has described special pastimes. Then in the middle of the tenth canto, (chapters 29-34), are the pañca-prāṇa. He has described all this in such a beautiful way. This is not available in any other śāstra. Only a very fortunate jīva will understand this.
And how will we get this? How to attain? It is experienced through two aspects, through meeting with and serving Kṛṣṇa, and secondly thorough separation, when Kṛṣṇa is apart from the Vrajavāsīs. This is called vipralambha. To taste these things is our true purpose in life, but we become absorbed in worldly matters and thus we remain deprived of sādhu-saṅga.
So this is viraha. Viraha and purva rāga has been shown in Venu-gīta and also it has been shown in Uddhava-samvāda and Bhramara-gītā. Then in the eleventh and twelfth cantos it has been described how we can realize these things. There it tells what sādhana is. In the 10th canto, sādhana has not been shown. All that is told in the tenth canto is to arise greed within the heart, and in the eleventh and twelfth cantos it shows how to do sādhana. We can see an example of this in the eleventh canto, nineteenth chapter, after all the members of the Yadu dynasty had been destroyed by quarreling amongst themselves. Baladeva Prabhu had left in the shape of a white serpent and Kṛṣṇa was sitting under a pīpal tree in a very grave mood. At that time uddhava and Maitreya Ṛṣi approached Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa then described to uddhava His own transcendental tattva. Kṛṣṇa Himself is explaining all these things. So in the 19th chapter this description is there and we see Uddhava understands something of it. Uddhava knew that Kṛṣṇa is going to end His pastimes so he asked something and what Kṛṣṇa replied, this is called Uddhava-samvāda.
In this chapter Kṛṣṇa is speaking to uddhava. This is a very short chapter, but a very good chapter describing sādhana. Actually, the Bhāgavatam itself is the essence of all essence. There is nothing asāra (irrelevant). It has been told: “Nigama-kalpa-taror.” So everything in Bhāgavatam is essential. Yet, for example, even though milk is the essence, still the sādhus churn that milk and extract butter. When the butter is extracted what remains? Even if we eat that which remains after the butter is extracted still there is some benefit. But the ghee has been extracted and this is the essence. In the same way, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, nothing is without utility. Everything we can use. But yet Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Śrī Brhad-bhāgavatāmrta has taken the essence of Bhāgavatam and given that to his mother. And what is that essence? Gopī-prema.
Vyasadeva thus has told that by bhakti to Bhagavān everything is fulfilled. How is bhakti performed? It is performed by those who serve Bhagavān’s sweet nectarean līlā-kathā. Those who chant harināma on their own, but do not hear Bhagavān’s sweet kathā from superior Vaiṣṇavas, remain far away from bhakti. They become stagnant. Therefore we should be in the shelter of those svajātīya-snigdha-āśraya and hear from them Bhagavān’s nectarean kathā.
Why is it called amṛta, immortal nectar? Amṛta means ‘na marta—iti amṛta’ or that without death. Because one who listens does not die he becomes immortal. Amṛta, means ānanda. The amṛta’ of the demigods will increase one’s lifespan but it cannot save one from death. They are dying all the time and always experience unhappiness. The devatā’s lust, anger, greed, and illusion, are always increasing. Therefore their nectar is not amṛta. Mokṣa, liberation, is also called amṛta. But in mokṣa there is no experience of happiness; there is no ānanda. In truth what is amṛtamaya? It is when we attain the stage of permanent happiness and bliss; this is amṛta. And this stage is service to Kṛṣṇa. Although all the different types of service to Kṛṣṇa are amṛta; still dāsya, sākhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya are the topmost amṛta. And within these rāsas, mādhurya rāsa is the truest form of nectar. This has all been told in Raya Ramananda Saṁvāda.
Therefore it is said that those who do sevā to this nectarean kathā will certainly attain bhakti. And those who hear Bhagavān’s mādhurya-nāma from Guru—anuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ—first listen, and then grasp it, and then describe it. And by this, bhakti will certainly be attained. Bhakti means worship full of love for Bhagavān. Here Bhagavān means Rādhā-Krsna yugala. And what is the meaning of worship? Some perform worship in śānta-bhāva, some in sākhya-bhāva, most people do worship in dāsya-bhāva, especially those ladies who live in Vraja that serve Bāla-gopāla. And those who attain moods from a sad-guru, are more high and they worship Rādhā-Krsna in mādhurya-rāsa. So, that is how they worship. Full of love and affection. These persons are above vaidhī-mārga, they are at the platform of bhāva-mārga and are thus superior.
But only few are qualified for this. Yet still from the beginning we endeavor for this; to perform premamayī-sevā. Especially in regards to guru-sevā—it should be viśrambhena-guroḥ-sevā. How we serve Guru—viśrambhena-guroḥ-sevā. But it is my understanding that in this world, at the stage of sādhana, such high intimacy is not fully correct. Who is it prescribed for? It is for those sādhakas who are liberated from anarthas. But for us who are engrossed in anarthas this viśrambhena-guroḥ-sevā becomes a cause of aparādha. Therefore, in our ordinary, preliminary stages of sādhana, when we are full of offenses, our viśrambhena-guroḥ-sevā may hinder our relation to Guru.
One is supposedly doing viśrambhena-guroḥ-sevā, and then he chastises his Guru, “Gurudeva, you should do like this, you should do like that.” And if the Guru does not accept his words or does not agree with him, then what will the ‘viśrambhena-sevaka’ do? He will say, “I will leave such a Guru.” And everything is finished. Therefore be very careful in this regard. Don’t serve like this right now. For now follow Guru’s orders and instructions strictly and with diligence. Know that by this service our anarthas will go far away and we will naturally attain viśrambhena-sevā.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]