June 9, 2009
Śrīla Gurudeva: The topic of Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda’s conversation with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very high, very high. It is very difficult to even touch by one’s intelligence. The first part is not difficult to understand. It is the second part that is difficult – the part in which Rāya Rāmānanda begins to discuss pure bhakti, then bhakti-rasa, then sakhya (friendship), vātsalya (parental love), mādhurya (conjugal love), and sumādhurya (Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s service mood), and then the process to obtain that most exalted love. It is so high; it is the most elevated chapter in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s manifesting as rasarāja-mahābhāva is not told even in kṛṣṇa-līlā. In Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes we read about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, but not about this.
Are there any questions?
Devotee: Śrīla Gurudeva, you said that an aspiring devotee who is reading Bhagavad-gītā and starts chanting the mahā-mantra mostly chants nāma-aparādha (offensive chanting), and sometimes nāma-ābhāsa (chanting in the clearing stage). My question is this: When we go on nagara-saṅkīrtana, so many people hear the mahā-mantra. They don’t know any rules or regulations and they chant without faith and without offenses (aśraddha-nāma-ābhāsa). You said that when the aspiring devotee chants, his chanting is nāma-aparādha, as it is done in the bodily conception of life. But regarding those new people who are innocent and who don’t know anything, what kind of chanting and hearing are they doing?
Śrīla Gurudeva: Even nāma-aparādha is not ordinary, it is high-class. Nāma-aparādha is of so many of kinds and gradations, not only one kind. For example, one of the varieties is vaiṣṇava-aparādha. Actually, it is very good that one is chanting nāma-aparādha. That will bring one to nāma-ābhāsa, nāma-ābhāsa will bring one to śuddha-nāma (pure chanting of the holy name wherein Kṛṣṇa is revealed as non-different from His name), and that will bring one to a still better stage, namely prema-bhakti.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: In Brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava, a book by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, it is written that when the jīva falls down from the taṭasthā region, he first becomes Lord Brahmā in one of the universes. He becomes one Lord Brahmā.
Śrīla Gurudeva: If hundreds of millions of jīvas are coming from the taṭasthā realm to this world at the same time, will they all become Brahmā?
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: They will become Brahmā, but not in the same universe.
They will be Brahmās in different universes. It is written in that book by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: I read the entire book a few months ago, and I never saw that statement there.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: I have the paper in my…
Śrīla Gurudeva: I doubt that it is there.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: My question is this: When we go walking, we see billions of blades of grass. How did those blades of grass come from a high position to that lowly position as grass?
Śrīla Gurudeva: It is by their free will.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: What kind of karma makes one fall from the human form all the way down there?
Śrīla Gurudeva: The analogy is given of a very small seed. If that seed is thrown on the edge of a sword’s blade, it will immediately fall on one side or the other. It will not remain on the blade’s edge.
Even without the fruit of karma it will go here or there. Similarly, even without being subjected to enjoying or suffering the fruit of one’s past activities, because the jīva’s nature is to be taṭasthā (marginal), he must always choose this or that. He must go from the taṭasthā realm.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: But where is the free will? It seems like there is no free will. The jīvas are going either here or there.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Kṛṣṇa has given them independence, free will. That independence is always with them, whether they are in the realm of taṭasthā-śakti or when they become conditioned souls. That independence must always be with them. Even when they become liberated, that taṭasthā-bhāva (the mood of the marginal living being, with the free will to choose) will be present within them.
Śrīpāda Āśrama Mahārāja: But when he hits that demarcation, that sharp edge of the blade, going this way or that way…
Śrīla Gurudeva: In all situations the jīva has his natural, intrinsic marginal nature, and this is also true when he is in Goloka Vṛndāvana. However, there in Goloka Vṛndāvana, Yogamāyā always protects him, so he never falls to this world from there.
Kṛṣṇa never interferes with his freedom. Wherever he wants to go, he can go.
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: The human form is the platform on which one performs karma. How does one fall from human life all the way down to being a blade of grass?
Śrīla Gurudeva: Freedom has so many possibilities. Someone may think, “I will be grass.” You cannot control his freedom. One may think, “I will be a mountain,” or “I will be river,” or “I will be human,” or “I will be a tiger.” There is no control over freedom.
Ramanātha dāsa: Gurudeva, when we are out distributing books or preaching, sometimes we meet people who say, “Yes, we know about reincarnation. I want to be a dog in my next life,” or “I want to be a cat,” or “I want to be a tiger.”
Śrīla Gurudeva: They want that? Well, what can we do?
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: Who would want to be a blade of grass?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja and others: Uddhava.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Why would he not want to be a blade of grass? In that way Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs will walk by him, and thus he would be bathed by the dust of their lotus feet.
Devotee: One little question, Gurudeva. I heard that one can go to Vaikuṇṭha by chanting nāma-ābhāsa. Is this true?
Śrīla Gurudeva: At first Ajāmila chanted nāma-ābhāsa, and by that chanting a platform was created to prepare him for going to Vaikuṇṭha. His gurus, the four Viṣṇudūtas, taught him about śuddha-nāma. Then, later on, by his chanting of śuddha-nāma, he actually went to Vaikuṇṭha.
Śrīpāda Śrautī Mahārāja: At the time of the jīva’s choosing which way to turn, he may look left and right. What does he see exactly?
Śrīla Gurudeva: He sees in this world that all are enjoying sense gratification – as some of our brahmacārīs sometimes think, “Oh, sense gratification is very, very good. It is greater than Kṛṣṇa’s service. There is nothing of value in Kṛṣṇa’s service.”
Śrīpāda Sajjana Mahārāja: Sometimes it is said that the jīva falls to this world by chance, and sometimes it is said that the jīvas’ fall is his own fault. Which is correct?
Śrīla Gurudeva: Try to understand that both are the same.
Madhusūdana dāsa: Gurudeva, does the jīva wear clothing?
Śrīla Gurudeva: Kṛṣṇa is ‘smaller than the smallest,’4 but still He has form. In the same way, although by one’s transcendental nature one is infinitesimal [1/10,000 the tip of a hair particle], he has a very good form. He can be in the body of a mountain, he can be in the body of a blade of grass, or he can be in an entity that is smaller than an ant.
And certainly he wears clothing. Is Kṛṣṇa naked?
Madhusūdana dāsa: No.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Is Rādhā naked?
Madhusūdana dāsa: No.
Śrīla Gurudeva: They wear clothing, certainly; and in the same way, the jīva wears clothing.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2009”]