There is no use of any speculative or independent activities in the performance of bhakti. Whatever our guru-varga follows, this is enough for us. Sometimes people think that now there is no mahā-bhāgavata present so we must now take the of a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī and take mantra from him. People wonder if this process is correct or not. In this regard they have many questions and doubts.
Do not worry about this. Anyhow be connected with the Gaṅgā. You have come to the Gaṅgā. Whether the path is unkempt or overgrown or the stairs of the ghāṭa are old and broken, it does not matter. With even just a small amount of faith, if you touch the Gaṅgā who is Brahma-dravatvam-apagaccati, none other than liquid, flowing transcendence; if you bathe in her waters, or if you live near her, then you will receive knowledge of God’s identity and all chances and facility to meet with mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas.
By practicing and chanting the pure mantra, received from a bona fide Vaiṣṇava, a sādhaka will attain siddhi. Then he is called a maha-bhagavata. Now, if this mantra is collected from someone who himself is still practicing, that mantra is not the property of that sādhaka. The mantra is the property of God. By chanting the mantra, one will get relation with the mantra-devata. If you take the mantra from a devotee, that mantra is perfect, siddha, not ordinary, and if you seriously chant it, you will get benefit.
You may go to the holy dhāma, tīrthas or near maha-bhagavatas, but if you have no desire to chant mantra—if you do not have this taste and you don’t try to make relationship with mantra–devata; if you have no desire to make sukṛti, then there is no entrance or benefit.
Therefore there is no need of asat-ceṣṭā. Mantra is helpful for our chanting of harināma. We have heard of the nature of Haridāsa Takura’s chanting. He chanted three lakhs a day.
Mana trāyate iti mantra
Mantra–śakti will control your mind and bring you to harināma, hari-bhakti and the dhāma. If you seriously chant the mantra given to you by Śrī Guru, then you will get strong relationship with the maha-bhagavatas, guru-varga, Sad-Gosvami, Dvadasa-Gopala, Causati-Mahanta, asta-kaviraja, and all ācāryas.
How can it be understood that this is happening? A very sweet desire and greed for hearing hari-kathā and reading the books of the guru-varga will increase in your heart.
This greed will come first. After, you will become more enthusiastic and able to chant harināma. Then you will develop attachment to hari-dhāma and hari-jana and never want to leave them.
A kaniṣṭha-adhikārī or a madhyama-adhikari Guru is not enough, not everything. On a farm there are many people that do the plowing and planting, but who will take all the results? A rich person will take it. Poor people don’t take it. The farmers also don’t take it.
In this harināma movement, Mahāprabhu gives this name and the tendency to serve Hari. He gives all facility. After this, there is someone who farms this and distributes it nicely. In this arrangement, if a person desires this mercy and prasādam of Mahāprabhu then it will surely come to him. It does not matter if he is very far away, somebody will come and bring it to him. Then his spiritual greed will increase, as well as the sweetness of relationship with God and His associates.
Therefore, there is no need of any other process.
We hear how Rūpa Gosvam and Sanātana Gosvāmī did puraścaraṇa. They chanted harināma or gopāla-mantra. Vaisnava-sarvabhauma Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja also chanted. Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja also chanted. Prabhupāda and Śrīla Gurudeva himself also chanted. This is the way to get siddhi. The serious sādhaka will hear about this process and then follow it himself. He will diligently chant his gopāla-mantra, kāma-gāyatrī, gaura-mantra or gaura-gayatri. Then his disease will go.
A sick person must continuously take medicine. A healthy person however, does not need to take medicine. Food and diet is helpful for him. Similarly this mantra is like medicine. It cleans and removes all anarthas and makes one pure and healthy, meaning a good disposition will come. Then sādhu-saṅga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana, mathura-vāsa, sri-murti-seva and all the other limbs of bhakti will be very easy.
Before taste, medicine is needed. This medicine is the serious chanting of guru-mantra, gaura-mantra and gaura-gayatri or krsna-mantra and kāma-gāyatrī. Also for males there is brahma-gāyatrī.
Then are veda-mantras. In the Gopāla-tāpanī–upanisada, the gopāla-mantra is explained. Also in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī gives an elaborate deliberation on kāma-gāyatrī.
If someone, having received mantra, wishes to make closer relation with that mantra and mantra-devata, then he must seriously chant it daily. Then he will be cured of all disease and freed from his anarthas. Once free, his taste will increase.
Apart from mantra śakti, nothing is helpful. This is not asat-ceṣṭā.
Sometimes certain people think, “I have no taste for harināma. I have no bona fide Guru. I have taken dīkṣā from someone who is not an uttama-adhikārī, for this chance is no longer available. My life is useless.”
See the example of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. He took dīkṣā from Vipina-bihari Gosvāmī—a family man. Yadunandana Ācārya was a family man, but Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī took initiation from him. Also in Prabhupada’s lifetime, he had a gṛhastha disciple from Assam named Nimananda Prabhu whom he instructed to give harināma and dīkṣā.
Harināma and dīkṣā is first admission into the school of paramārtha. You think that you can go to the principal of a university and if you submit yourself to him, he will teach you a-b-c. But he will not teach you the alphabet. You learn the alphabet from a tutor in kindergarten.
Where is your adhikāra? If a baby goes and sits in a Master’s class in a university, he will not be able to understand anything. Thinking that I can go to a mahā-bhāgavata and receive all benefit to be had from him in one day is speculation. Everything will be right when you grow strong by gradually progressing step-by-step.
Now in America and some other countries the government has a certain injection they can give to a baby that causes him to grow rapidly and be as if twenty years old in a very short time. But how long will he live? Only twenty-five years. He will quickly reach the state of twenty years old, but he will only live to the age of twenty-five. Anything that is chemically or genetically modified is not long-lasting.
A person may think that if he goes to a mahā-bhāgavata and receives his mercy then he himself will also be a mahā-bhāgavata, but this is not possible. Sādhana-bhakti is necessary.
If ordinary people meet a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī they can benefit. They will learn something. After, progressing to the next stage a person can have the chance to associate with a madhyama-adhikārī. When this stage too is passed then he may meet an uttama-adhikārī. This is the arrangement of God.
Where is the mahā-bhāgavata present? He is present with vani-vaibhava, in śāstra. Finding taste in reading śāstra will soon bring about realization. When there is realization, then one can understand śāstra as it is. Otherwise if you give a new person Śrī Krsna-bhavanamrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, or Vilap-kusumanjali he will not understand anything. What is necessary first is God’s own advice—the 750 verses of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, where we find knowledge of the soul and an understanding of why we have lost millions and millions of lives in maya.
Arjuna had good friendship with Kṛṣṇa and was with Him after suffering all the torments of the kurus, his so-called relatives. They had disturbed his mother, brothers and wife in so many ways; like poisoning Bhīma, burning their residence, stealing their kingdom, and even trying to make Draupadī naked in a public assembly. Arjuna was at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but then he said, “O Kṛṣṇa, I wish to see my relatives. I want to see who has come to fight with me.”
Then, when Arjuna looked at them, he lost his memory, brain and intelligence and he said, “I cannot do this. Let them try to kill me, but I will not fight them. They are my relatives.”
Kṛṣṇa tried again and again to teach them that if anyone is against dharma, they are not really one’s relatives. If Arjuna didn’t give them punishment then they would never change and would also disturb others, continuing to destroy everything. Punishment is absolutely necessary for such persons. But they could not understand.
The Bhagavad-gītā discusses this. First, how can one cross māyā? How can one’s conception of family and all other illusions leave and one’s mind be engaged in worshipping Kṛṣṇa? How can one offer himself to Krsna?
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo ‘si me
“Offer your mind to Me; become My bhakta by hearing and chanting, etc. about My names, forms, qualities and pastimes; worship Me and offer obeisance to Me. In this way, you will certainly come to Me. I promise you this truthfully because you are very dear to Me.”
If the jīvas do not follow Kṛṣṇa’s advice, and try to run and read Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Vilāpa-kusumāñjali and other such books, then they will definitely have an enjoying mood and will deal with these writings as stimulus for their recreation and sense gratification. They will be unable to cross māyā.
Therefore Mahāprabhu taught everybody harinama-sankirtanam, ekādaśī, Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, tulasi-puja and relation with Vaiṣṇavas.
Many devotees chanted harināma and heard Śrī Advaita Ācārya’s classes on the Bhagavad-gītā. Sometimes Advaita Ācārya Prabhu gave classes on the Bhāgavatam. He explained how to develop and nurture relation with the Vaiṣṇavas who are our only real friends and family members. This is not asat-ceṣṭā.
If, following one’s own desire, a person goes to a mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇava and tries to follow his footsteps, he will be cheated with māyā. He has too much affection and attraction with his body and mind.
If a person is sick and has diarrhea, giving him food will not be helpful for him. He will be unable to digest it. It is better for that person to fast for some time, take medicine and I little juice or something simple. Once he is healthy, he can eat everything.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says—
na kariha asat-ceṣtā lābha pūjā pratiṣthā
sadā cinta’ gobinda-caraṇa
sakala santapa jābeparānanda sukha pābe
“Don’t sin. Take no interest in profit, adoration, and distinction. Instead meditate on the lotus feet of Lord Govinda. In this way all sufferings will go far away, and transcendental bliss and pure love for Lord Kṛṣṇa will spontaneously come.”
An honest lady follows her husband and never thinks about any other man. There may be many fine gentlemen and handsome men, but she never thinks about them. She is not restless. Why? She is fully satisfied with her own husband who is very good to her. Others may have more physical beauty but they do not care for her.
In his Govinda-bhasya, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu states that many persons desire results that appeal to their own comfort or what they feel themselves is most beneficial for them, but this is not a correct conception. God knows what is good for us and what is bad for us.
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo ‘stv akarmaṇi
“You are eligible only to perform your prescribed work, but you have no right to the fruits. You should not consider yourself to be the cause of the result of your actions, nor should you become attached to neglecting your duties.”
You are given the right to work, but the result, be it good or bad, is in the hands of God. He knows what results to give, what is most helpful for your situation. But if you have desire for the fruits of your work, and you try to independently steal them and go distance from God, then those fruits will cheat me.
The ekāntika–bhakta whose heart has been stolen by Govinda is never independent. He is always worshiping and serving and never desires the fruits of action. His mind never goes here and there.
As a chaste and honest lady who faithfully follows her husband, the ekantika-bhaktas’ hearts have been stolen by Govinda and they cannot think of anyone else. They do not endeavor to enjoy sense gratification. They are uninterested in any other form of dharma and are not in pursuit of any karma or jñāna. If any disturbance comes they remain unflinchingly as Hari’s complete followers.
Śrī Guru gives initiation to so many disciples and those disciples naturally stay with particular senior disciples. They all respect Gurudeva. They all have faith for Gurudeva, but for their learning, management and care, Gurudeva inspires them to associate with different Vaiṣṇavas.
After some time they will progress more and more and one day be able to closely associate with Gurudeva.
This example is shown in the life of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. He first had the association of haridāsa Ṭhākura, Advaita Ācārya, Yadunandana Ācārya, Balarāma Ācārya and other ācāryas. After, he advanced and attained the association of Nityānanda Prabhu. After Nityānanda Prabhu, then Gadādhara Pandita and then Mahāprabhu Himself. Mahāprabhu did not accept him but He sent him to Svarūpa Dāmodara. Then from Svarūpa Dāmodara he came to the shelter of Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī.
If there always strong desire to perform sādhana-bhakti, then progress will come.
Do not think that you can jump across everything—all stages, standards, progressions and classifications of bhakti, like Hanumān leaping to Laṅkā. It is not so easy to go to a mahā-bhāgavata, get siddhi and then be a mahā-bhāgavata also.
Anywhere you go, you bring with you your karma, sukṛti and duskrti. Therefore, from the very first stage, if you have strong desire to perform sādhana-bhakti–if you always are thinking, “How can I chant continuously? How can I chant mantra seriously? How can I be active and able for devotional service?” and you endeavor for these things, then this is called sādhana-bhakti.
Of this bhakti, there are 2 types. One is vaidhī-bhakti-sādhana, and one is rāgānuga-bhakti–sādhana. If you follow the anurāgamaya Vrajavāsīs and especially the Vraja-devīs—if you follow the movement of Mahāprabhu—then you will attain attachment, relation and anurāgamaya–bhakti.
If you follow vaidhī-bhakti, then you will be a Bābājī. If you try to run off and try to do bhajana alone in a cave, the forest or some solitary place, you will never receive anurāga.
If one has anurāga, he will associate with and have affection for the bhaktas and Vaiṣṇavas. From there, he can progress into being eternally situated with God and his associates in Vraja-maṇḍala. This is the process.
The sādhaka must give all his time for God. He must consider, “How many hours am I giving God? How many hours am I using for myself?”
I have twenty-four hours. How many hours do I use for God and how much of my time do I give to God?
Mahāprabhu said we must practice, and one day be able to use all our time for bhakti. Chant sixty-four rounds and six hours will go. First try to offer six hours to God every day, and no less. After, eight hours. After, ten hours. In this way, gradually come to the point of using every moment for God and His pleasure. Then time will not separate you from attaining siddhi. Time will no longer be in the way of anurāga and you. In other words, it will very quickly come to you.
If you save the best of your time for sleeping, in the morning, afternoon and evening, how will you ever achieve perfection?
In Bengal, there is the saying—kājera madhye dui, khāi āra sui, mājhe mājhe jāgi, ektu ektu hāgi.
‘Of business I have two, eating and sleeping. Sometimes I wake, and do a little passing.’
I only eat, sleep, and pass away the day and night. This is my business. This is not the process to attain anurāga.
I have desire for lābha, pūjā and pratiṣṭhā. If someone insults or teases me then I stop chanting harināma or I stop my sevā saying, “Oh! If you think you can do it better, then you do it.” If nobody likes what I cook, then I say, “Fine! I will not cook anymore.” If I do any service and someone does not like it, then I stop that service and become very disturbed. In this way I suffer.
What will be the result of this? If I have desire for anartha, that which has no value, then I will surely collect anarthas, that which is valueless.
If a person walks alone on the bank of the Gaṅgā, he may mistakenly try to walk on an area with green grass, beneath which is water and mud and not dry land, and thus fall in. But if he was with the devotees, they would guide properly because they know the area and can identify danger. With them, a person can cross without any problem. If a person does not want to cross like this, then he will fall.
The sādhus and Vaiṣṇavas do not have mundane natures and they do not hanker for sense enjoyment. They can walk on the sand and avoid the treacherous green grass.
Some think that bhajana is very easy. They think that they can do whatever they want and it will be bhajana and bhakti. But the sādhus say, “No.” From the first day, one must be serious. If there is no seriousness then the continuous chanting of harināma will not be possible. A person who is not serious will say, “I have no time to chant harināma or mantra.” That person will find asat-sanga appealing like green grass on the bank of the Gaṅgā. He will be attracted, but when he goes close, bewildered by seemingly sweet words, all his time will be stolen.
In the realm of asat–sāṅga he will become popular and famous. He will call others who do not chant harināma or perform any bhakti, and waste their time as well as his following the whims of their minds. “Oh, today there is this program. Tomorrow we will do this. Oh, you must come to this function. The governor is coming and you must give him a garland. Oh, you must do social work…”
If you follow this, when will you chant harināma? When will you serve God. When will your anurāga increase and bring you beyond māyā?
Your boat is being tossed in the turbulent flow of deep water. You have been swept away by the current of māyā.
In the presence of name, fame and popularity, this is one’s condition. One will lose everything if he allows this situation come to him. His boat will be tossed up and down by these big waves until it capsizes and sinks, never to rise again.
When the danger of such a situation comes, one must seriously avoid it, chant very deeply and pray to the guru-varga—
pratiṣṭhāśā dhṛṣṭā śvapaca-ramaṇī me hṛdi naṭet
kathaṁ sādhu-premā spṛśati śucir etan nanu manaḥ
sadā tvaṁ sevasva prabhu-dayita-sāmantam atulaṁ
yathā tāṁ niṣkāśya tvaritam iha taṁ veśayati saḥ
“O mind, tell me, how can pure divine love appear in my heart (you, O mind, are my heart) as long as the shameless outcaste woman of the desire for prestige is audaciously dancing there? Therefore without delay remember and serve the immeasurably powerful commanders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s army, the very dear devotees of Bhagavān. They will quickly chase away this outcaste woman and initiate the flow of pure vraja-prema in my heart.”
The dog-eating prostitute of the desire for position and adoration dances in my heart and does not wish to go away. I also cannot leave her. I feel I must help the people glorify and respect me. Without me they will be hopeless and disturbed. They will leave bhakti if I am not with them. I have patience in my care for them.
Is this called tṛṇād-api sunīca? No! Tṛṇād-api sunīca does not mean that in the name of tolerating everything my harināma stops, I stop serving the guru-varga, I neglect the hari-bhaktas and make propaganda with mundane people for arranging my publicity and attendance in a great procession. If I go on processions then I am a professional. I am a businessman. This is not tṛṇād-api sunīca. This is my desire to enjoy. The desire for pratiṣṭhā.
This is what steals my heart and takes me away from Govinda’s lotus feet.
If anyone is interested in their own welfare, then they will be wary of obstacles to bhajana. They must distance themselves from these disturbances and never look back at them again. Then smarana of Govinda is possible.
If I remember God every day but today I decide to go for some social work, then I will be lost. Once the flow of maya comes inside me, it will not come out. Therefore no need.
It is the same with bhagavad-cintan. If under the shelter of an anurāgamaya-bhakta you think of God’s glories and God’s service then gradually anurāga will come to you and never leave. That great devotee will protect you and not let you fall into any dangerous situation.
[Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publication “Sri Sri Prema Bhakti Candrika”]
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