~Dear brother mind, please completely forsake the prostitute of mundane talk, which plunders the treasure of pure wisdom. Unequivocally give up all talk of impersonal liberation, which is like a tigress that devours your very soul. Furthermore, please abandon attachment to Lakṣmīpati Śrī Nārāyaṇa, which leads to Vaikuṇṭha. Live in Vraja and worship Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, who bestow upon devotees the precious jewel of divine love for Them. Manaḥ-śikṣā 4.~
RĀGĀTMIKĀ VRAJAVĀSĪ & PRAYOJANA ĀCĀRYA
From the Bhaktabandhav Publication “Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.”
The sādhaka who follows rāga-mārga is always under the guidance of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s associates, and is thus simultaneously following the authority of the rāgātmika Vrajavāsī associates of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
The Vrajavāsīs mercifully accept into their fold a sādhaka who takes shelter of Mahāprabhu’s associates. They nourish the newest member of their family with immense love and affection. They give him vraja-dīkṣā and śīkṣā, or entrance into the moods and loving exchanges of Vraja. The Vrajavāsī guru should be eternally worshiped along with the śikṣā-guru. The glorification of their combined mercy in itself serves as an auspicious invocation (maṅgalācaraṇa) for all sādhakas.
Śrī Svaniyama-daśakam— Ten Personal Vows.
sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi tad bhāva-lipsunā kāryā vraja-lokānusārataḥ.
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.295 82.
A sādhaka on the path of rāgānuga-bhakti should serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa both in the physical body as a practitioner, and in the perfected spiritual body, following the sentiments of the eternal residents of Vraja who have the same mood he cherishes.
In Śrī Svaniyama-daśakam, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī records prayers that reveal his very own niṣṭhā, vraja-bhāva, and loyalty to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī:.
na cānyatra-kṣetre hari-tanu-sanātho ‘pi sujanād rasāsvādam premṇā dadhad api vasāmi kṣaṇam api samam tv etad grāmyāvalibhir abhitanvann api kathāṁ vidhāsye saṁvāsaṁ vraja-bhuvana eva pratibhavam Svaniyama-daśakam 2
I vow that I shall not live even for a moment outside of Vraja, even if Śrī Hari resides there in any form, and even if rasika devotees fill that place with the nectar of transcendental prema. Life after life I shall live in the land of Vraja, even if I simply spend my time chatting about mundane affairs with the Vrajavāsīs.
sadā rādhā-kṛṣṇocchalad-atula-khelā-sthala-yujaṁ vrajaṁ santyajyaitad yuga-virahito ‘pi truṭim api.
punar dvārāvatyāṁ yadu-patim api prauḍha-vibhavaiḥ sphurantaṁ tad vācāpi ca na hi calāmīkṣitum api.
Even if I suffer for ages in separation from Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, I shall not—not even for the smallest moment—leave the land of Vraja, where the eternal Youthful Couple enjoys unprecedented pastimes.
Even if He personally invites me, I shall not go to see the opulent King of the Yadus in Dvārakā!
gatonmādai rādhā sphurati hariṇā śliṣṭa-hṛdayā sphutaṁ dvārāvatyām iti yadi śṛṇomi śruti-taṭe.
ahaṁ tatraivoddhata-matiḥ patāmi vraja-purāt samuḍḍīya svāntādhika-gati-khagendrād api javāt.
If with my own ears I heard, “Rādhā has gone to Dvārakāpurī, where Śrī Hari embraces Her to His chest,” then with a happy and eager heart, I would leave Vraja-pura and fly there faster than the king of birds, Garuḍa. Manaḥ-śikṣā.
śravaṇotkīrtanādīni vaidha-bhakty uditāni tu yāny aṅgāni ca tāny atra vijñeyāni manīṣibhiḥ.
In regulative devotion, one should practice the limbs of bhakti, such as hearing and chanting, according to one’s level. Those well versed in the principles of devotion have advised that the same practices be followed for rāgānuga-bhakti.
While composing the Manaḥ-śikṣā, Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī stated that Mahāprabhu’s intimate associate, Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, had nourished his bhajana by giving him many nectarean instructions. Śrī Manaḥ-śikṣā, meaning ‘Instructions for the mind,’ is a compilation of the essence of these teachings. In this valuable scripture, Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī gives the following sublime instructions:.
gurau goṣṭhe goṣṭhālayiṣu sujane bhūsura-gaṇe.
sva-mantre śrī-nāmni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-śaraṇe sadā dambhaṁ hitvā kuru ratim apūrvām atitarām aye svāntar bhrātaś caṭubhir abhiyāce dhṛta-padaḥ
O dear brother, my foolish mind! Taking hold of your feet, I humbly pray to you with kind words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop divine love for Śrī Guru, Śrī Vraja-dhāma, the Vrajavāsīs, the Vaiṣṇavas, the brāhmaṇas, your dīkṣā-mantras, the holy names, and the shelter of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, the eternally youthful Divine Couple.
Vraja-bhakti is achieved by staying under the shelter of pure devotees who are more advanced than ourselves, of the same disposition, who taste the meaning of rasa, and who are affectionate to us.
Dāsa Gosvāmī implored: “O mind! Leave your pride behind. Give up your attachments. By accepting the shelter of a vrajaanurāgī guru, you will gain entrance into eternal Vraja. Vraja is the abode where Kṛṣṇa manifested His loving exchanges with His devotees. By taking shelter of the pastime places in Vraja, rāgānuga-bhakti will easily be obtained. Divine attachment will develop by staying in the association of pure devotees in the holy dhāma.”.
Dāsa Gosvāmī teaches the sādhaka to surrender to dīkṣā guru and accept the yugala-mantra from him, and to respect and consider the śikṣā-guru to be one’s prāṇa-bandhu (a most loving friend). The highest stage of perfection is not attained by sādhana alone. We require divine mercy. We therefore must learn to sincerely pray.
na dharmaṁ nādharmaṁ śruti-gaṇa-niruktaṁ kila kuru vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pracura-paricaryām iha tanu śacī-sūnuṁ nandīśvara-pati-sutatve guru-varaṁ mukunda-preṣṭhatve smara param ajasraṁ nanu manaḥ.
Dear mind, please give up both dharma and adharma, the routine religious activities resulting in piety and the irreligious activities resulting in sin, as are mentioned in the Śrutis or Vedas. Instead, render profuse loving service to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja; They are the Absolute Truth and the highest principle of supreme worship. Always meditate on Śacīnandana Gaurahari, who is endowed with the complexion and moods of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and who is non-different from Śrī Nanda-nandana. And always remember Śrī Guru to be most dear to Śrī Mukunda.
Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī said that we must not waste time in dharma or adharma. We don’t know what is truly auspicious or inauspicious for us. Entrance into transcendental Vraja is obtained when the sādhaka is established in relationship with the Vrajavāsīs and engaged in Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s loving service.
yadīccher āvāsam-vraja-bhuvi sa-rāgamprati-janur yuva-dvandvam-tā cet paricaritum ārād abhilaṣe svarūpam-śrī-rūpam-sa-gaṇam iha tasyāgrajam api sphuṭam-premṇā nityam-smara nāma tadā tvaṁ-śṛṇu manaḥ Manaḥ-śikṣā 3.
Dear mind, please hear me. If you are eager to reside in Vraja on the platform of rāgātmika-bhakti, and if you desire to directly serve the eternally youthful Divine Couple, then birth after birth, always remember and bow down with profound love to Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, and his elder brother Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, and all the other associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who are the recipients of His mercy.
Bhakti has three stages: sādhana-bhakti, bhāva-bhakti, and prema-bhakti. When the sādhaka associates with the sādhus, he gradually obtains transcendental faith. The stages of bhajanakriyā, anartha-nivṛtti, and niṣṭhā follow. These develop into ruci, āsakti, bhāva, and prema. A sādhaka follows the discipline of the śāstras until he develops a powerful greed for the pure loving devotion eternally present in the heart of the Vrajavāsīs.
asad-vārtā-veṣyā visṛja mati-sarvasva-haraṇīḥ.
kathā mukti-vyāghryā na śṛṇu kila sarvātma-gilaṇīḥ.
api tyaktvā lakṣmī-pati-ratim ito vyoma-nayanīṁ.
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇau sva-rati-maṇi-dāū tvaṁ bhaja manaḥ.
Dear brother mind, please completely forsake the prostitute of mundane talk, which plunders the treasure of pure wisdom. Unequivocally give up all talk of impersonal liberation, which is like a tigress that devours your very soul. Furthermore, please abandon attachment to Lakṣmīpati Śrī Nārāyaṇa, which leads to Vaikuṇṭha. Live in Vraja and worship Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, who bestow upon devotees the precious jewel of divine love for Them.
asac-ceṣṭā-kaṣṭa-prada-vikaṭa-pāśālibhir iha prakāmaṁ kāmādi-prakaṭa-pathapāti-vyatikaraiḥ.
gale baddhvā hanye ‘ham iti baka-bhid vartmapa-gaṇe kuru tvaṁ phutkārān avati sa yathā tvaṁ māna itaḥ.
Lust, anger, and so on are like a band of dacoits that assail one suddenly on the road of life. They have bound my neck with the dreadful ropes of my own wicked deeds and are thus killing me.” O mind, calling out in this way, grievously cry out to the powerful and merciful generals of devotion, who are the protectors of the path of bhakti leading to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the killer of Bakāsura. Hearing your calls for help, they will surely save you from this fearful condition.
are cetaḥ prodyat-kapaṭa-kuṭināṭī-bhara-khara kṣaran-mūtre snātvā dahasi katham ātmānam api mām sadā tvaṁ gāndharvā-giridhara-pada-prema-vilasat sudhāmbhodhau snātvā svam api nitarāṁ māṁ ca sukhaya Manaḥ-śikṣā 6.
O mind, although you follow the path of sādhana, you imagine yourself purified by bathing in the donkey urine of deceit and hypocrisy. You are thus simultaneously burning yourself and me, an insignificant jīva. Please stop this! Delight yourself and me by eternally bathing in the nectarean ocean of pure love for the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī says that hypocrisy, ku-siddhānta (instructions that oppose philosophical truths), and other impediments to bhajana are like burning donkey urine that the sādhaka must avoid.
Although the sādhaka may consider himself to be cleansed by bathing in such urine, he is actually burning and paining his soul. No peace can be gained by such actions. Therefore, Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī firmly states, “O mind, only bathe in the nectar of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet.”.
In this verse, the word ‘gāndharvā’ refers to the Lord’s svarūpa-śakti, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and ‘giridhārī’ is Vrajendranandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. A sādhaka need only bathe in the immaculately clean, nectarean ocean of variegated pastimes and services rendered unto the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
Continuing his prayers, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī says, “O Śrīmatī Rādhike! You are most exalted among all gopīs. You are Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s most beloved gopī. O You, who is always surrounded by Your aṣṭa-sakhīs, I am offering my praṇāma unto You with grief-stricken words. I am offensive, wicked, and unqualified in all ways. But please, kindly bestow Your service upon me.
pratiṣṭhāśā dhṛṣṭā śvapaca-ramaṇī me hṛdi naṭet kathaṁ sādhu-premā spṛśati śucir etan nanu manaḥ sadā tvaṁ sevasva prabhu-dayitā-sāmantam atulaṁ yathā tāṁ niṣkāsya tvaritam iha taṁ veṣayati saḥ.
O mind, how can divine love appear in my heart as long as the shameless, dog-eating, outcaste woman of the desire for prestige is impudently dancing there? Hence, always remember and serve the immeasurably powerful commanders of the army of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the beloved devotees of the Lord. They will banish this outcaste woman from the heart, and initiate the flow of immaculate vraja-prema.
“I am a bhagavad-bhakta. I have renounced sense enjoyment and have attained perfection in bhakti.” Such words or thoughts reveal the desire for prestige. How can pure, divine prema arise in a heart infected by such desires? It is not possible for prema to manifest in the heart as long as the desire for prestige lingers there.
Only when the rays of the pure love that are present in the sādhus’ heart reflects in the sādhaka’s heart, will one be able to relieve himself of this anartha of desire for prestige. The faithful sādhaka should take the foot dust of such sādhus with great respect. Thus, spotless love is bound to arise.
yathā dustatvam me davayati sathasyapi krpaya.
yathā mahyam premamrtam api dadaty ujjvalam asau yathā śrī gandharva-bhajana-vidhaye prerayati mam tathā gosthe kakva giridharam iha tvaṁ bhajana manaḥ.
Hence, O mind, with complete humility and grief-stricken words, worship Śrī Giridhārī-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja in such a way that He will become pleased with me. By His causeless mercy, He will remove my wickedness, grant the nectar of His radiant love, and bestow the inspiration to worship Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
The sādhaka’s heart will be cleansed by being in the association of pure sādhus. When the heart is cleansed of anarthas, then perfection is easily achieved. Such sādhusāṅga is extremely rare.
Dāsa Gosvāmī therefore says, “Reside in Vraja and supplicate Giridhārī-Kṛṣṇa with grief-stricken words. Pray, ‘O Kṛṣṇa! Please become satisfied by my endeavor. By Your causeless mercy, keep me in the company of Your pure devotees, make hypocrisy and the desire for prestige leave my mind and nature forever, and please illuminate my heart with the rays of spotless, divine love. May I then one-pointedly serve Śrīmatī Rādhikā. I am a helpless, fallen soul, please protect me.”.
Prayers should be offered to Kṛṣṇa with humility. When such heartfelt prayers are offered to Him and His dear gopīs, the manifestations of hlādinī-śakti (His pleasure-potency), then the desire for transcendental service will awaken in the heart. The rays of hlādinī-śakti will soften the heart by manifesting various mellows of service. There is no other way to attain madhura-rasa.
madīśā-nāthatve vraja-vipina-candraṁ vraja-vaneśvarīṁ tāṁ-nāthatve tad-atula-sakhītve tu lalitām viśākhāṁ śikṣālī-vitaraṇa-gurutve priya-sarogirīndrau tat-prekṣā-lalitā-rati-datve smara manaḥ.
O dear mind, always remember Vṛndāvanacandra Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the master of my Svāminī Śrī Rādhikā’s life, Vṛndāvaneśvarī Śrīmatī Rādhikā as my mistress, Śrī Lalitā as the best friend of my Svāminī, Śrī Viśākhā as the instructing spiritual master in the arrangements of service rendered unto the Divine Couple, and Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa and Girirāja-Govardhana as those who bestow darśana of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and grant ecstatic love for Their lotus feet.
In the ninth śloka, the aim and objective of rāgānugabhajana is described. Madhura-rasa is the topmost attainment for the rāgānugā-sādhaka. But this attainment is preceded by a spiritual relationship.
Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Vṛndāvana-Candra! You are my Svāminī’s beloved. You are Her prāṇanātha, the Lord of Her life. The Goddess of Vṛndāvana, Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself, is my Svāminī. Lalitā-Devī is Her peerless friend, and Viśākhā is the śikṣā-guru in yugala-sevā.
“I offer my obeisances unto the lotus feet of GirirājaGovardhana and Rādhā-kuṇḍa and pray that they bestow prema for the Divine Couple.
“O Rādhike! I am your dāsī. My heart burns in separation from You. I cannot help myself from continuously weeping. Not seeing any other solution, I will stay in Govardhana, at Rādhākuṇḍa. Please be happy with me. O Vraja-rāja-kumārī Śrīmatī Rādhike! I am very unfortunate and am scorched by separation from You. O compassionate Rādhe, please bestow upon me the service of Your lotus feet.”.
With prayers like this, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is guiding the sādhakas, teaching them the proper way to pray to Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Lalitā, Viśākhā, Girirāja-Govardhana, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and the other personalities of Vraja.
ratiṁ gaurī-līle api tapati saundarya-kiraṇaiḥ śacī-lakṣmī-satyāḥ paribhavati saubhāgya-valanaiḥ.
vaśī-kāraiś candrāvali-mukha-navīna-vraja-satīḥ kṣipaty ārād yā tāṁ hari-dayitā-rādhāṁ bhaja manaḥ.
O mind, give up attachment for all others and just worship Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the dearmost beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who inflames Rati, Gauri, and Līlā, by the effulgent rays of Her beauty; who vanquishes Śrī Saci, Śrī Lakṣmī, and Śrī Satyabhāmā, by Her profuse good fortune. She also dispels the pride of the chaste young girls of Vraja, headed by Śrī Candrāvali, by the ability to bring Śrī Kṛṣṇa under Her control. Therefore, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the most beloved of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
RĀGĀTMIKĀ VRAJAVĀSĪ & PRAYOJANA ĀCĀRYA
From the Bhaktabandhav Publication “Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.”
Compiled from hari-kathā inspired by the Guru-varga Published by Bhaktabandhav
Under the guidance of Srila Bhaktabandhav BV Narayana Goswami Mahārāja
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