Saturday, August 25, 2007

VAISHNAV BEHAVIOUR
His Divine Grace OM Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj
(While teaching Sanatana Dharma, Lord Chaitanya described twenty-six qualities of the Vaishnav J)
Krpalu, akrta-doha, satya sara, sama,
nirdosa, vadanya, mridu, suci, akincana
sarvopakaraka, santa, krsnaikAlign Centera-sarana
akama, aniha, sthira, vijita-sad guna
mita-bhuk, apramatta, manada, amani
gambhira, karuna, maitra, kavi, mauni

Devotees are always merciful, humble, truthful, equal to all, faultless, magnanimous, mild and clean. They are without material possessions and they perform welfare work for everyone. They are peaceful, surrendered to Krishna and desire less. They are indifferent to material acquisitions and are fixed in devotional service. They completely control the six bad qualities- lust, anger, greed and so forth. They eat only as much as required and they are not inebriated. They are respectful, grave, compassionate and without false prestige. They are friendly, poetic, expert and silent.
Chaitanya Charanamrita Madya 22. 78-80

As Sukhdeva Goswami explains, in Srimad Bhagavatam, (6.1.15); only a rare person who has adopted complete unalloyed devotional service to Krishna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. They can do this simply discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays.
1. A devotee is merciful, krpalu.

Lord Kapila, in his teaching to His mother Devahuti, discusses mercifulness as one of the symptoms of a sadhu.
The Vaishnav is merciful because he is the well wisher of all living entities. He is not only a well- wisher of human society, but a well wisher of the animal society as well. It is said here “sarva dehinam”, which indicates all living entities who have accepted material bodies.
Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.51
We can also serve the merciful mahatma, therefore, we can share in his distribution of
his mercy. We can distribute Krishna consciousness under the authorization of the merciful and compassionate great soul, and thus we become merciful workers.
2. Devotee is not defiant, akrta-doha.

Lord Chaitanya, in Siksastaka, gives the ultimate expression of humility : “one should chant the holy name of the Lord in humble state on mind, thinking oneself lower than a blade of grass; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. On such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” Humility is glorious and is one of the prime qualities of a transcendentally situated person. “The qualities of humility nd meekness lead very quickly to spiritual realization.”
Out of humility the sanyasi goes from door to door, not exactly to beg but awaken the householders to Krishna consciousness. Meeting many difficulties in his traveling and preaching, the sanyasi remains tolerant, humble and therefore gains the strength to on preaching.
When Lord Chaitanya came to the company of Mayavadi sanyasis at Banares, He humbly sat by the place where everyone washed their feet. The Mayavadi sanyasis had taken elevated seats, and when they saw Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu so humble and meek, they thought, He must be lamenting. They couldn’t understand His meekness. His humility was inconceivable.
3. A devotee is truthful, satya sara.

To be truthful you first have to k now the truth. Being truthful is not just a matter of refraining from telling lies. “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service to him. The self realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth. (Bhagavat Gita 4. 34)”
The absolute is Krishna as is described in the first verse of Srimad Bhagavatam.
(1.1.1)
“O my Lord, Sri Krishna, son of Vasudeva, O all pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krishna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of the causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations and He is independent because there are no other causes beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the greatest of sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusionary representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Krishna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusionary representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the absolute Truth.”
Knowledge of the truth makes us free. The concept of the body as the self is false. Life in the material world, suffering, the changes of birth, death disease and old age, is not the true, constitutional situation of the self. We are meant for the eternal spiritual world. The spiritual world is true and only due to a false notion of the self (false ego), are the living entities imprisoned in the material world, birth after birth.
4. A devotee is equal to everyone, sama.

Lord Krishna declares that all the living entities or jivas are His “eternally fragmented parts and parcels.” They have come into the material world due to their desires and are now struggling with the senses of the mind.
In addition to perceiving the presence of the individual soul, the learned devotee knows that the Supreme Soul is also there within the heart of every living entity. Therefore, in the Bhagavat Gita (15.15) Lord Krishna declares, “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me comes remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”He reaffirms, “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated on a machines made of material energy’.
Lord Chaitanya was able to engage even the jungle tigers, lions and elephants in chanting the Mahamantra.
5. A devotee is faultless, nirdosa.

Even if a devotee, by accident, deviates from pure devotional activities, he should still be considered saintly. The Narsingh Purana states: “If a person has completely engaged his mind, body and activities in the service of the supreme Godhead, but externally found to be engaged in some abominable activities, these abominable activities will surely be quickly vanquished by the influence of his devotional force.”
The rightness and purity of the devotee’s resolve to serve Lord Krishna is so great that it rectifies all faults. But to see this, one requires devotional vision. The non-devotee will see faults even in the greatest devotee, whereas the devotee will always see Lord Krishna’s pure devotee as faultless.
The ‘faults’ then are only the imagination of persons with material vision. If the devotee mispronounces a Sanskrit verse, technically speaking we can say that he has committed an error, but that error doesn’t undermine his faultless position- that he is trying to glorify Lord Krishna under the order of the spiritual master.
6. A devotee is magnanimous, vadanya.
A dictionary defines as ‘noble of mind and spirit, generous in forgiving, above revenge or resentment, unselfish, gracious….. from Latin magnanimous, ‘great souled’.
Rupa Goswami, in his prayer to Lord Chaitanya, gives a brilliant expression of the magnanimity of the devotee:
Namo maha-vadanyaya Krishna prema-pradaya te
Krishnaya Krishna-chaitanya-namme gaura-pradaya te
“My obeisance unto Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the most munificent incarnation, because He is giving freely, that which was never distributed before: pure love for God.” According to his prayer, Lord Chaitanya is the most magnanimous of the benefactors because He is distributing the gift of love for God, whoch is infinitely superior to all other gifts.
The name describes the Supreme person as ‘all- attractive’.
Therefore, when a devotee begins to realize God’s all attractive name, fame, form and activities, he gives up all other consideration for gain or safety and simply dedicates himself to serving the All- Attractive Person. Dhruva Maharaj was performing austerities to see God for obtaining a material boon; this is known as approaching God as the Supreme order supplier.
But when Dhruva saw the all-beautiful Supreme Person, he relinquished all other desires but that of surrendering himself to Krishna. Dhruva Maharaj said, “Now that I have seen you I am completely satisfied.”
Lord Krishna has positively concluded the Bhagavat Gita (18.66) with the order, “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.’ But because an ordinary man, even if he believes in God, may find it difficult to follow Krishna’s pure teachings and surrender everything to Him, Lord Chaitanya came only five hundred years ago and taught a sublime and easy method of surrender to Krishna.
The Vedic literature reveals Lord Chaitanya as Lord Krishna Himself. But in His appearance as Lord Chaitanya, He acted not as God but as the pure devotee of God. He took the position of the greatest, most loving of all Lord’s devotees, Srimati Radharani, and thus showed the world how a pure devotee should love God with all his mind, words and activities. His demonstration of devotional service, therefore, is the most authoritative.
Lord Chaitanya freely gave the gift of love of God unconditionally. Before Lord Chaitanya’s appearance, no religious teacher had taught that a devotee may love the Supreme Being with all his personal feeling and fervor that a lover offers his beloved. Lord Chaitanya, however, taught that what exists in this material world as the most intense relationship-the love between man and woman-is in fact, a perverted reflection of the original, spiritual relationship between God and His parts and parcels. This is not easily understood and is generally misunderstood by anyone who approaches it with a material or sexual conception. It is the highest understanding of love of God.
Prior to Lord Chaitanya, God was seen somewhat impersonally or at best as the Father, the Provider. But Lord Chaitanya taught that a devotee may worship God in different rasas known as ‘mellows’. The Supreme Person can be approached as the supreme unknown, as the supreme master, as the supreme friend, the supreme child and the supreme lover. In this way a devotee can dedicate all his life’s activities in devotional service to his supreme lovable object –Krishna, the Supreme of Godhead. Krishna being the reservoir of all pleasures and rasas, can reciprocate with each devotee according to his devotional inclination. One can understand this science of rasa only by taking guidance from a spiritual master in disciplic succession, from one who understands love of God according to the authorized directions of Guru, shastra, and sadhu.
Lord Chaitanya did not introduce this science of love for god as a new thing; it exists eternally as the original relationship of all living beings with the Supreme, and it is described in Vedic literatures. Lord Chaitanya’s unique contribution was to distribute the mellows of pure love for god in a very simple method. Lord Chaitanya was most magnanimous, therefore, in giving the fallen souls of this age an easy process to attain the highest standard of love of God.
Why did Lord Chaitanya do this? It is His inconceivable mercy. He is the most magnanimous person, and this is His gift. Other prophets, sons and servants of God gave mostly moral instructions for religious behaviour. Krishna Himself did not reveal the secret of loving surrender to Him. Only when appearing in the form of Lord Chaitanya did he give the most magnanimous gift. Therefore when we want to talk of the quality of magnanimity, we must put forward the example of Lord Chaitanya. He showed all the qualities of a devotee and specially the quality of magnanimity.
Lord Chaitanya’s method of surrender to God was the chanting of the Maha Mantra. Lord Chaitanya taught that in the name of Krishna, Lord Krishna Himself appears. One can, therefore, attain full love for God simply by chanting His Holy name. Lord Chaitanya also taught that for full effect the chanter of the holy name should lead a holy life and chant without offense.
Lord Chaitanya stressed five methods of devotional service; (1) to chant the Mahamantra (2) to live in a holy place, (3) to read the Bhagavat Gita, (4) to worship the deity of Lord Krishna and (5) to associate with devotees. This process of chanting the Mahamantra and living a Krishna conscious life was the magnanimous gift of Lord Krishna in His most merciful form of Lord Chaitanya. He instructed His followers to write books and propagate His method so that it would be followed by the people in the future.
One great contemporary of Lord Chaitanya was the famous philosopher and logician Sarvabhauma Bhatacharya. Sarvabhauma Bhatacharya composed a prayer of appreciation for Lore Chaitanya which describes His magnanimous gift to mankind:
“ Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, who has descended in the form of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us real knowledge,His devotional service and detachment from whatever does not foster a Krishna conscious life. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me sutrrender unto his feet.”
-cc Madya 6.254
“By rendering devotional service unto the personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.’(Bhagavat 1.2.7) Sarvabhauma Bhatacharya says that Lord Chaitanya also taught us the science of surrender. The followers of Lord Chaitanya have enunciated six symptoms of surrender: (1) to do everything favourable for the service of Lord Krishna, (2) to avoida everything that is unfavourable to the service of Lord Krishna, (3) to have that only Lord Krishna is one’s maintainer, (4) to believe that only Lord Krishna is one’s protector,(5) to realize that nothing takes place except by Lord Krishna’s sanction and (6) to feel oneself as fallen and therefore in need of Lord Krishna’s mercy.
Lord Chaitanya described Himself as a gardener who has harvested an overabundance of fruits. The fruits are compared to love of God and Lord Chiatany, as the gardener, is also the distributor of fruits. In Sri Chaitanys Charitamrita, Krishnadas Kaviraj writes:
“Not considering who asked for it and who did not, nor who was fit to receive it, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu distributed the fruits of devotional service.
The transcendental gardener, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, distributed habdful after handful of fruits in all directions, and when the poor hungry people ate the fruits, the gardener smiled with great pleasure.”
Cc Adi 9.29.30
This is the vigorous living purport of the quality of magnanimity. Lord Chaitanya and His followers knew that love of God is the greatest of all things. And they went on distributing it without self-motivation, without disappointment, and without being checked. Their magnanimity knows no bounds, and the good fortune of those who receive their gifts is unparalleled.

7. A devotee is mild, mridu.

The ordinary man, because his mind and senses are agitated, is not calm and peaceful. His senses are madly and vainly engaged in pursuing happiness in eating, mating, sleeping and defending; or he is hankering to engage in such acts; or he is lamenting at having futilely attempted to find happiness in the pleasures of the senses and the mind.
Explaining yoga-samadhi in chapter six of Bhagavat-Gita, Lord Krishna uses the metaphor of a lamp in a windless place to describe the constant, undisturbed meditation of the devotee upon his worshipful Lord. The five year old devotee Prahlada Maharaj also remained mild and composed even while his father tried to torture him, for Prahlada never forgot the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. The Gita compares such peaceful devotees to the ocean: ‘Just as the ocean remains calm though many rivers enter into it, the devotee remains peaceful despite the incessant flow of desires.’
Only ecstatic love for God can move the devotee’s self-contained, mild nature, similarly, the mild devotee. When chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna, sometimes experiences ecstatic turbulence; sings, dances and cries without caring for his social appearance. But within the turbulence of material life the devotee remains calm, because he has reached the supreme objective in life. This is called ‘atmarama’; satisfaction in the self. As a result, the devote lives which doesn’t necessarily provoke the senses. His habits of eating and sleeping are simple and are maintained only to keep himself healthy for executing devotional service. His regulated, temperate life of eating, drinking and sleeping, helps to produce a non-violent, non-turbulent disposition.
Such was the calm state of the life of Haridas Thakur. Even his dwelling place, although simple, reflected his pure state of mind: “Everyone who saw the beauty of the cave of Haridas Thakur, with the tulsi plant on a clean altar, was astonished and satisfied at heart.” Not only was Haridas’s cave calm and clean, but also his heart and mind were so steadfast and pure that even Mayadevi herself, who came in the form of an alluring woman, could not dissuade Haridas from the ecstasy of chanting the Mahamantra.
A devotee is also mild in his dealing with others Of course, the saying is ‘A Vaishnav is as soft as a rose and as hard as a thunderbolt.” So sometimes, when responding to blasphemous persons, for example, he is not mild. That mildness, again, comes not from timidity but from deep self-satisfaction. Like the great ocean, he is pacific. Thus a non-violent, undisturbed, transcendental mildness is another attractive feature of the devotee.

8. A devotee is clean, suci.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” may be homely proverb, but it has wisdom for those who are interested in spiritual life.
Lord Krishna thus describes the ‘asuras’ the demonic: Neither cleanliness nor proper behaviour nor truth is found in them.” Cleanliness is also one of the four principles of religion, which are presently declining due to the age of Kali.
The principles of religion do not stand on some dogmas or man made formulas, but on four primary regulative observances, namely: austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness…... Cleanliness is necessary both for mind and body. Simple bodily cleanliness may help to some extent, but cleanliness of the mind is necessary and it is effected by glorifying the Supreme Lord. No one can cleanse the accumulated mental dust with without glorifying the Supreme Lord. A godless civilization cannot cleanse the mind because it has no idea of God, and for this simple reason people under such a civilization cannot have good qualifications however materially they may be equipped.
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.25
External cleanliness is important, but it has to be done in connection with Lord Krishna. The high standard of cleanliness in worshipping the deity in the temple indicates the worshiper’s devotion.
An example of the dynamic relationship between outer and inner cleanliness was shown by Lord Chaitanya in His pastimes of cleaning the Gundicha temple. As the leader of the Vaishnavas, Lord Chaitanya showed not only symbolically but practically the importance of cleanliness. In preparing the temple for the appearance of Lord Jagannath,
Lord Chaitanya led the devotees by personally cleaning on his hands and knees. He praised those devotees who collected the most dust and chastised those who did not collect enough. Engaging many sweepers, He swept the whole temple and courtyard and began to wash everything with Ganges water. Lord Chaitanya’s devotees splashed water high on the ceilings and walls of the temple, and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself wiped the stone altar with His own cloth.

9. A devotee is without material possessions, akincana.

“My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of (material) progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty cannot approach You with sincere feeling.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.26
Material wealth creates an illusion. We put our faith in the power of our bank account. We depend on our country, our family or friends. We love our material possessions and in doing so, we cannot feel that Lord Krishna is our only shelter. Utter dependence on Lord Krishna includes becoming ‘akincana’, materially exhausted.
The six Goswamis of Vrindavana are classic examples of renunciation in Krishna consciousness. Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami are highly placed government ministers and Raghunatha Das was the son of a very wealthy landowner. They gave up all their material possessions as insignificant and lived in Vrindavana wearing only loin cloth and subsisting as mendicants.
It was Rupa Goswami, however, who enunciated the principle of renunciation through using thins in the service of Lord Krishna:
‘When one not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krishna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects everything without knowledge of its relationship to Lord Krishna is not as complete in his renunciation.”
Bhakti rasamrita-sindhu 2.255-26
It is not that material objects by themselves are evil or lead to repeated births and deaths; it is their use outside or direct service to Lord Krishna. By this higher realization of ‘akincana’, an expert devotee can use anything in Lord Krishna’s service and transform the whole material world into the spiritual world, Vaikunth’.
10. A devotee performs welfare work for everyone, sarvopakaraka.
Srimad Bhagavatam (10.22.35) enjoins: “It is the duty of every living beilg to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.”In praising the ideal Vaishnav, Sanatana Goswami, Lord Chaitanya said, “By the force of your devotional service you purify the whole universe.”
The devotee distributes the love for Lord Krishna to everyone, thus proving its universality. Lord Chaitanya has given this duty of distributing Lord Krishna’s name to everyone:
“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of Bharat-varsh should make his life successful and work for the benefit of others.’
Chaiytanya Charitamrita Madya Adi 9.41
Both srimad Bhagavatam and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasize that pure devotional service to Lord Krishna is open to people of all social orders all over the world.
“Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasizes that pure devotional service to Lord Krishna’s name should be heard in every nook and corner of the world. How is this possible unless one preaches everywhere? ....By this process the entire world can be converted into Krishna Consciousness.’
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.8.54, purport
Vasudev dutta approached Lord Chaitanya with a request. He said he was very aggrieved to see the suffering of all conditioned souls. “I request you” , said Vasudev Dutta, “to transfer the ‘karma’ of their sinful lives upon me.” Being fully prepared to accept the sins of everyone in the universe and to suffer all their reactions, Vasudev Dutta demonstrated an inconceivable desire for other’s welfare. He was willing to risk everything to rescue the conditioned souls from material existence. With great feeling, Lord Chaitanya then explained that simply by Vasudev Dutta’s desiring, Lord Krishna would deliver the living entities. In response to the wishes of His pure devotee, the Supreme Lord can easily deliver the whole world.
The good wishes, Prayers, intentions and self-sacrificing activities of the devotee bring about immense good for all persons in the material world. The devotees are rarely celebrated for this work while within the material world, but they are very dear to Lord Krishna.

11. A devotee is peaceful, shanta.

Some of the twenty-six qualities appear to be quite similar. I have already discussed ‘mild’, which is close in meaning to ‘peaceful’, and I shall also discuss ‘desireless’, which is the main basis for peacefulness. I have also discussed ‘without material possessions’ and I shall discuss ‘indifference to material acquisitions’. ‘Mercifulness’ has been discussed and its near synonym, ‘compassion’ is yet to come. So there are often fine distinctions in the various meanings, with some overlapping and repetition. But this indicates that certain traits are an especially important part of a devotee’s character.
A devotee is peaceful because he realizes that Lord Krishna is everything. There is a common expression, ‘Make peace with God ‘. This implies that one is with God and that he cannot become peaceful until he makes peace with the Supreme. To make peace with god we must first know who He is and what His position is. Bhagavad Gita describes this knowledge: vasudeva sarvam iti’, Lord Krishna is everything.
We say ‘God is everything’, but here are three important realizations about God: (1)
Whatever work we do is actually meant to be offered to Him; (2) the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the owner and controller of all the planets, and men and nations should not claim thay are proprietors; (3) Lord Krishna Is trhe friend of all living beings. One who acknowledges there three attributes of Lord Krishna and who serves and worships Him, ‘attains peace from the pangs of material miseries’.
This is described in Srimad Bhagvatam, (1.2.10): ‘ Life’s desores should never be directed towards sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s work.
Bhagavat Gita describes the human body metaphorically as a city of nine gates.( The nine gates refer to the nine openings of the body: mouth, ears, etc.) Lord Krishna saya that a person is in the mode of goodness, lives happily within the city of none gates, whereas one in passion or ignorance suffers various distresses and ailments. A devotee does not pamper his body with excessive eating or sleeping. Nor does he unnecessarily deny his body these things. A devotee regards the body bas temple of the Lord, because the Supersoul is transcendentally situated in the heart along with soul. He does not become confused about distresses of the body, knowing they are temporary. He learns to endure both pleasures and pains. He is peaceful, not giving in to the demands of the body.
A devotee is also peaceful in his dealings with others. He has no quarrel. He depends on Lord Krishna and is not involved in the struggles of existence, nor is he after another’s possessions. This is the basis of brotherly love. As one brother tolerates another, all of humanity can tolerate each other by realizing the Supreme Father as the centre of existence.
The dictionary defines peaceful as ‘undisturbed by strife, turmoil or disagreement’. Of course, it is impossible to find a place or situation in the material world that is completely tranquil. To be peaceful, therefore, one must be undisturbed despite the presence of strife and turmoil. Bhagavat Gita explains this criterion of transcendental consciousness:
‘In that joyous state one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness and enjoys himself through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken even in the midst of the greatest difficulty.’
Bhagavat Gita 6.21
This rare peacefulness is the blessing of Lord Krishna foe whoever sincerely enters His devotional service and gives up the turbulent world of material desires.

12. A devotee is surrendered to Lord Krishna, Krishnaika sharana.

This quality of the Vaishnav is explicitly devotional. The Sanskrit words ‘Krishna-eka’, only to Krishna and ‘sharana’ in surrender, are clear and to the point. Although ‘mercifulness’, ‘truthfulness’ ans other qualities are also strictly in relation to Lord Krishna with ‘Krishnaika –sharana’ the connection is transparent and the meaning saturated with Bhakti.
Lord Chaitanya’s immediate followers, the six Goswamis, scrutinizingly studied all the revealed scriptures with the aim of presenting Lord Krishna as the cause of all causes and the object of all worship. In the Bhagavat-Gita, the most widely accepted and respected of all Vedic literarures, the speaker if Lord Krishna himself and He reveals, “There is no truth higher than Me. Everything comes from Me.” Srimad Bhagavatam (1.3.28) gives the same conclusion: ‘ete camas-kalah pumsah krishnas to bhagavan swayam’. ‘ All the incarnations of God are either plenary portions of the Lord, but Krishna is the original personality of Godhead.’
Bali Maharaj surrendered everything to Lord Krishna. Then there was nothing left, still Lord Krishna was asking for more. Bali said, “Please, therefore, place your third lotus footstep on my head (Bhag. 8 22.20) The greatest surrender of all was that of the Gopis, who risked social ruin and the dangers of the forest at night and who gave Lord Krishna all their love and affection. They gave Lord Krishna their minds and always thought of Him, even after He had Vrindavana. Lord Chaitanya taught that we should avoid the ten offenses i9n chanting and dedicate our lives to the instructions of the spiritual master. Surrender is not whimsical but authorized and scientific. If we practice, we will learn how to surrender. A devotee engaged in a life of surrender to Lord Krishna has many things to do and does not waste a single moment. His goal is to completely surrender to Lord Krishna so that he can be rid of all material desires and serve Lord Krishna more and more in the footsteps as the servant of the servant of the Gopis.

13. A devotee is devoid of desire, akama

The real goal of being devoid of desire is revealed in the literal meaning of ‘akama’; without lust. Two words we should consider here are ‘kama’ and ‘prema’. ‘Kama’ means lust, or material desire and ‘prema’ means love. When a man loves a woman, his family, his country or his vocational or intellectual pursuits, his ‘love’ is really ‘kama’, ‘lust’, not ‘prema’, ‘love’. Love is reserved for Lord Krishna. Affections and attachments for things other than Lord Krishna are always some kind of ‘kama’. Even desires to become one with the impersonal spirit are for one’s own satisfaction and are ‘kama’.
Only when one attains ‘prema’, love for Lord Krishna, can he attain the state of being devoid of desire. Desiring only to please Lord Krishna is ‘akama’.In pursuing the pure desire to serve Lord Krishna, one must be very steadfast. Material desires have been haunting every conditioned soul for many, many lifetimes and it is not easy for one to suddenly renounce them. Lord Krishna advises that ‘kama’ cannot be given up artificially:
“The embodiment of soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.”
Bhagavat Gita 2.59
If one sincerely follows the process of devotional service under the guidance of ‘Guru, shastra and sadhu’, he will experience the higher taste and give up material desires even while still in the early stages of devotional service.
Narottam Das Thakur compares liberation (mukti) and material sense enjoyment (bhukti) to two witches who haunt the conditioned soul. In another song, Narottam compares ‘jnana’(desire for material gains by work) to ‘two pots of poison’.
Rupa Goswami describes that in the beginning the devotee progresses in regular stages: faith association with devotees, initiation by the spiritual master, giving up bad habits, steadfastness.

14. A devotee is indifferent to material acquisitions, aniha.

and finally ‘ruci’ or taste. The sincere devotee comes to this stage progressively and automatically. After ‘ruci’, he goes on to higher ecstasy and attachment of ‘bhava’ and ‘prema’.
A devotee therefore does not begrudge austerity; he willingly struggles to overcome his lower nature. Nothing valuable is achieved without endeavour and love for Lord Krishna is the most valuable thing. The devotee receives immense help from the spiritual master and from Lord Krishna residing in his heart. Lord Krishna promises, “To those who worship Me with love, I give the intelligence by which they come to Me.”
(Bhag. 10.10)
The Lord also sometimes helps the reluctant devotee by force. If is sincerely desirous of attaining love of God and yet at the same time has strong material desires, Lord Krishna sometimes intervenes. “When I feel especially mercifully disposed towards someone, I gradually take way all his material possessions. His friends and relatives then reject this poverty-stricken and most wretched fellow.
(Srimad Bhavagatam 10.88.8)
Two levels of advancement in devotional service are ‘sadhana bhakti’; following the rules and regulations out of obligation to the spiritual master and ‘raganuga bhakti’; the advanced stage of spontaneous loving service to Lord Krishna.
Rupa Goswami says the price for pure love of the Lord is intense desire. It will therefore take time and effort. But success is guaranteed for the sincere practitioner, and whatever he does is his permanent gain.

The quality of ‘aniha’; indifference to material acquisitions, is another part of the Vaishnav opulence. He doesn’t have to acquire things because he is already satisfied in devotional service. A devotee may use material things in the service of Lord Krishna, but he doesn’t become attached or dependent on them.
The temporality of life in this material world makes the devotee transcendentalist, neglectful about acquiring ‘possession’ that he will sooner or later have to leave behind. So this is his basis to his indifference to material acquisitions. The very ‘material’ implies temporality and ultimately material things are lost at death. But ‘kama’; the desire for getting and keeping things will cause a person to suffer birth after birth.
The world emperor, Maharaj Parikshit, although surrounded by great opulence, remained unaffected because he used everything in the service of the Lord. But when he received seven days notice of his death, he thought it better to leave all his paraphernalia and sit by the Ganges without eating and drinking, while hearing Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukhdev Goswami.

15. A devotee is fixed, sthira.

The Vaishnav qualities may not appear as soon as a devotee takes to devotional service, but they will gradually develop, as the devotee matures. ‘Nitya-sidha’ devotees, who never fall to the conditioned state, have all the Vaishnav qualities eternally in them. But when a conditioned soul comes to devotional service, patiently and in time all the twenty six qualities will develop in him.The quality of a devotee, because they are the very nature of the soul, are within each person, and they become manifest through the process of ‘bhakti’.
Rupa Goswami describes the devotee’s gradual progress. The conditioned soul first has to hear about Lord Krishna with faith (shradha). Then he associates with devotees (sadhu-sanga). Next he takes initiation from a bonafide spiritual master (bhajan-kriya). As he follows the rules and regulations of devotional service under the spiritual master’s order, he loses his bad habits (anartha-nirvriti). The next step is steadiness, ‘nishti’, and this is a close synonym to ‘sthira’or fixed. A devotee must be fixed in the Ablolute Truth.
In srimad Bhagavatam (6.5.14) Narada Muni contrasts the steadiness of the devotee with the fickleness of the ‘karmi’; mixed with the mode of passion, the unsteady intelligence of every living entity is like a prostitute who changes dresses only to attract one’s attention. If one engages in temporary fruitive activities, not understanding how this is taking place, what does he actually gain?
Firm faith in the spiritual master is paramount. Viswanath Chakravarti instructs us in his ‘Gurushatakam’ that to please the guru is to lose one’s standing in spiritual life. Without in the spiritual master, one cannot be ‘sthira’. Prahalad Maharaj, considering h
Is debt to his spiritual, says “I was falling into the ways of the common man and my spiritual master Narada saved me. How could I ever leave him?”
A devotee is fixed in the philosophy of the Absolute Truth, not only intellectually but out of love. As the devotee is fixed on Lord Krishna and no one else, so is Lord Krishna fixed on His devotees: “The pure devote is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of my pure devotees. My devotees do not know anything else but me and I do not know anyone else but them.”(Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.68). Lord Krishna is so fixed in His relationship with His devotees that He never leaves Vrindavan, but remains always engaged there in pastimes with eternal associates.

16. A devotee completely controls the six bad qualities, vijita-sad-guna.

In the material world the spirit soul always has the tendency to fall under the control of ‘maya’. Although it is impossible for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to come under the control of ‘maya’, the ‘jivas’, being marginal, sometimes come under it. Pure devotees, although they are marginal energies, always stay under the shelter of the eternal energy. Thus they never succumb to the bad qualities. As Bhagavad Gita (2.70) stated: “ A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still, can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
The six bad qualities are lust (kama), anger (krodha), illusion (moha), Madness (mada), and envy (matsarya). A pure devotee controls these qualities by full engagement in the service of Lord Krishna. Although the six bad qualities are material, they can be used in Lord Krishna’s service. This transforms them. The bad qualities are perverted reflections of qualities existing is a pure state in the spiritual world. Narottam Das Thakur writes, ‘kama krishna karmaoane’: (7.1.31). Narada muni informs King Yudishtira how Lord Krishna can be served by transforming material qualities into devotional service: “ my dear King Yudishtira, the gopis by their lusty desires, Kamsaby his fear, Sisupal by their envy, the yadus by their familial relationship with Krishna, you Pandavas by your great affection for Krishna and we the general devotees by our devotional service have obtained the mercy of Krishna.
1. Lust, kama – Lust is epitomized by sex desire. The Gopis approached Krishna as a young beautiful boy and yet we know that this is the complete opposite of mundane lust. We have been warned not to imitate the Gopis. So how can we, who are trying to practice pure devotional service, understand lust in service to lord Krishna? Bhagavat Gita (7.11) states, ‘dharmaviruddo bhutwsu kamo’smi: I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles. When ‘kama’ is controlled, it is not illicit; it can be used in Lord Krishna’s service. In the beginning there may be material desires, but when sex is regulated and used for the service of Lord, it is transcendental.
Besides the Gopis, Kubja also approached Lord Krishna with lusty felings. She wanted to serve Lord Krishna by offering him her body. But as soon as Lord Krishna’s lotus fet touched her, her lusty contamination vanished.
Lust is the spirit soul’s original love for Lord Krishna after becoming contaminated by association with the mode of passion. Just as milk touched by tamarind becomes yogurt, so ‘prema’; love for God, becomes soured into ‘kama’. When the ‘jivas’ wrongly desire their oqn sense enjoyment, Kord Krishna allows them to come to this material world and take on different material bodies. But lust can never satisfy the ‘jiva’ soul. Only when he transfer’s his desire back to the service of Lord Krishna can he experience eternal bliss. Even while in the material world, if by the grace of the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas a ‘jiva’ establishes his relationship with Lord Krishna, he can revive his pure desire, once the ‘jiva’ takes up devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master, his lust is turned into love. The pure presence of Lord Krishna removes all impurities. Devotional service can be compared to the sun. The sun is so powerful that when it shines on something impure like a puddle of urine, it sterilizes the impure place.
2. Anger, ‘krodha’- Lust can never be satisfied, and therefore it is followed by anger. When anger spreads, the whole body becomes polluted. But anger can also be used in the service of Lord Krishna, by directing it against the enemies of Lord Krishna.
The famous example is Hanuman, Lord Rama’s warrior servitor who fought against the forces of Ravana. Lord Chaitanya also showed transcendental anger when He heard that Jagai and Madhai had assaulted Lord Nityananda.
Uninformed Hindus sometimes think that a ‘sadhu’ can never show anger.Such persons cannot understand transcendental anger. Of course, should not be uncontrolled or used to combat an insult towards oneself.
Once, a snake, after Narada Muni, became very peaceful. But when the local village boys learned of the snake’s nonviolence, began throwing stones at him. When the snake complained to Narada Muni that his nonviolence had brought on these attacks, Narada advised the snake to remain peaceful but to rise up, show his hood and scare the boys away. This is an example of using controlled anger.
Anger should be controlled and used only in the service of the Lord. Sometimes a teacher will assume an angry face or gesture to instruct a student. He teaches by kind words, encouragement and also occasionally by chastisement and show of anger. But this anger is controlled; anger can only be used as an instrument in devotional service.
3. Greed, lobha – A greedy person wants to accumulate as much as possible for himself, more than he actually needs. Obsessed with taking for himself, he conflicts with others and has no mercy for them. Out of greed one nation one nation makes millions of people in the other parts of the world starve. The greedy people of one nation take many times more of their requirements for food and fuel, while others go without it. So greed can become a great evil. But because a devotee is greedy to use everything for the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s satisfaction, his greed benefits everyone. This transcendental greed for performing service to Lord Krishna culminates in ‘laulyam’; the hankering to serve Lord Krishna. When one is absorbed in intense hankering for service, no possibility for material greed arises.
4. Illusion, ‘moha’ – The main illusion of the conditioned soul is that he thinks of his body as the self and the material world as his home. When Arjuna became enlightened by Lord Krishna’s teachings in the Bhagavat-Gita, he declared, ‘nasto mahah’: “My illusion is now gone.”
But there is a transcendental illusion known as ‘yoga-maya’. By yoga-maya a liberated devotee can think he has become the father or mother of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna does not need a protector and yet He accepts mother Yashoda as His protector and chastiser. When Lord Krishna as a child fell into the river Yamuna, His father, Vasudeva, was in the illusion of extreme anxiety over Lord Krishna. Actually, Lord Krishna could not drown in the river, but as an expression of love for Lord Krishna, Vasudeva became mad with anxiety. Lord Krishna’s falling into the river was arrangement to intensify the paternal feelings of His devotee. Lord Krishna’s so attached to His devotees, the Gopis, that He can never forget them or reject them, yet, in their conjugal exchange He allows them to act like rejected lovers, just to increase their sublime sense of separation from Him.
These exchanges of ‘yaga-maya’ are not really delusions, but are confidential pastimes between the Suprame Lord and His eternal associates. They are ultimate reality, but they are not manifest to the general devotees.
5. Madness, ‘mada’ – When a person contemplates the sense objects, he develops desire; he then becomes angry; this leads to delusion and bewilderment of memory. In extreme cases of madness a person cannot even perform bodily functions and he becomes like a vegetable or a wild beats. As described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.5.4): ‘ when a person considers sense gratification the main aim of life, he certainly becomes mad after materialistic living and engages in all kinds of sinful activity. He does that due to his past misdeeds he has already received a body which, although temporary, is the cause of his misery. Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body, but he has been awarded the material body for sense gratification. Therefore, I think it is not befitting for an intelligent man to involve himself again in the activities of sense gratification by which he perpetually gets material bodies, one after another. ‘
The above verse, spoken by Lord Rashabadev, describes madness as being impelled by sense gratification.
6. Envy, matsarya – According to Chanakya Pandita, nothing is worse than being an envious man. An envious person is unhappy to see others’ good fortune and is happy to see others’ failure. But when takes to devotional service, he loses this poisonous mentality; he becomes humble and wants to serve Lord Krishna.
Kamsa and other enemies of Lord Krishna merged into existence of Brahman, but why should Lord Krishna’s friends and devotees have the same position? Lord Krishna’s devotees attain the association of the lord as His constant companions, either in Vrindavan or in the Vaikunta planets.
Srimad Bhagavatam 7.1.31, purport

17. A devotee eats only as much as required, ‘mita bhuk’

This quality is not inconsequential, and so Lord Chaiyanya has included it in His list. Bhagavat-Gita (6.16) sets the standard of eating for the ‘bhakti yogi”: “One should not eat too little or too much”. What does it mean; to eat enough and not to eat too much? It is an individual matter, according to the size of one’s body. An individual can honestly sense when he has eaten sufficiently for strength and nourishment.
According to the ‘yoga’ of sense control, the tongue, belly, and genitals form a straight line, and all three can be controlled if the tongue is controlled. If the tongue is uncontrolled, then a person will eat too much. His stomach will be overloaded and will then put pressure on his genitals and the result will be great demand for sex.
“However, if one accepts ‘prasada’ only because of its palatable taste, and thus eats too much, he falls prey to trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us to avoid very palatable dishes even while eating ‘prasada’. If we offer palatable dishes to the Deity with the intention of eating such food, we are involved in trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue. If we accept the invitation of a rich man with the idea of receiving palatable food we are also trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue.
Upadesamrata # 1.purport
An apparently contradictory description of the Vaishnav’s eating is related in ‘Chaitanya Charitamrata”. Krishnadas Kaviraj repeatedly writes that Lord Chaitanya would serve large quantities of ‘prasad’ to the devotees with His own hands. In the ‘Chaitanya Cahritamrata’, the exchange of offering and receiving ‘prasad’ is obviously an importana loving pastime between that lord and His devotees. Sometimes the lord’s loving devotees would induce Him to eat large quantities of ‘prasad’.
Certainly if Lord Chaitanya or the spiritual master is personally serving ‘prasad’, the devotee cannot stand upon the rules and regulations and refuse to eat. On the occasion of Vaishnav festival Lord Krishna’s desire may sometimes be that the devotees eat ‘up to neck’ to satisfy the wishes of the Vaishnav and the spiritual master.
Raghunath Das Goswami is celebrated for serving a large feast to Lord Nityananda and the Vaishnavas at Panihati at Bengal. But Raghunath Das Goswami is also celebrated for minimizing his own intake of food to an extreme minimum.

18. A devotee is without inebriation, apramatta.

Apramatta is the opposite of pramatta, which means crazy. One, who is truly on the devotional path under the guidance of the Guru, ‘sastra’ and the ‘sadhu’, is sane. He wears the dres and paraphernalia of the Vaishnav, which although strange to the uninformed, is highly orthodox. His habits are pure, his speech ‘parampara’. He can deal sanely and even diplomatically, with the ‘karmis’ and with the affairs of the material world.
The devotee’s sanity, however, goes beyond the appearance of coolheaded poise. Understanding his position as the tiny part and parcel of the Lord, he does not have the insane view that he is the center of the universe or that life is meant for sense enjoyment. Nor is he insanely attached to family members.In Srimad Bhagavatam (2.1.4) Sukhdev Goswami uses the word ‘pramattah’ to describe the house holder who does not inquire into the problems of the: ‘tesam pramatto nidhanam’ translates to ‘pramatto’ as ‘ too attached’. The house holder is so attached to his body, children and wife that he neglects to inquire into the Absolute Truth. Sukhdev Goswami says, ‘Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not se their inevitable destruction.”
A devotee is not inebriated. He is not lopsided. He is not intoxicated by material pleasure. He reduces his material needs to a simple level and patiently dedicates his life to the service of Lord Krishna. His life is therefore, the real example of moderation, balance and sanity.

19. A devote is respectful, manada.

The siksastaka describes how the devotee offers respect to others without expecting any respect for himself. He is respectful even to an ant. A materialist is not deeply respectful to others because his concern is to get respect for himself. But a devotee wants to be a servant, not the master and taking that humble position; he respects the lives of others. He respects their right to love and doesn’t want to hurt or disturb anyone. He respects that all living beings have been given their life by Lord Krishna and he knows that he has no right to take it away. He sees all living beings equally and respects then equally.
The Vaishnav’s respect is real, not based on fear or diplomacy, like the polite respect business or politicians offer to each other.
Although the devotee respects all, doesn’t worship anyone expect Lord Krishna or the pure devotee of Lord Krishna. Worship is for the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone. The topmost devotee, the ‘mahabhagavata’ respects even the demons, because he sees everyone in his place as a servant within the plan of the Supreme.
The disciple offers the spiritual master the same respect as to God and whatever the spiritual master says, the disciple tries to execute right away.

20. A devotee is without false prestige, amani.

The word comes from French; ‘illusion brought on by magic’. The Latin word ‘praestigiae’ has a similar meaning; ‘juggler’s tricks’- magic moments in life. You may obtain prestige for a time, but very soon you may also lose it. Lord Krishna therefore says in the Bhagavat Gita that his dear devote “is equipoised in honour and dishonour, fame and infamy.”
When loses all false prestige and becomes completely absorbed in humble service at the feet of Lord Krishna, he becomes eligible to got to Lord Krishna and associate with Him in eternity, bliss and knowledge. The aspiring devotee fights hard to kick off all vestiges of false prestige and he prays to go to Lord Krishna: “O saviours of the fallen, please don’t kick me away, but allow me to serve your servants. I am a rascal possessed by material desires and am falsely taking credit for things that are Yours, not mine. Please deliver me.”

21. A devotee is grave, gambira.

The Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu states: ‘A person who does not express his mind to everyone, or whose mental activity and plan of actions are difficult to understand, is called grave. After Lord Sri Krishna had been offended by Brahma, Brahma prayed to Him to be excused. But in spite of his offering nice prayers to Lord Krishna, Brahma could not understand whether Lord Krishna was satisfied or still dissatisfied. In other words, Lord Krishna was so grave that He did not take the prayers of Brahma seriously. Another instance of Lord Krishna’s gravity is found in connection with His love affairs with Radharani. Lord Krishna was always silent about His love affairs with Radharani, so much that Baladeva, Lord Krishna’s elder brother and constant companion could not understand the transformation of Lord Krishna on account of His gravity.’
Regarding Lord Krishna’s gravity, a verse in Srimad Bhagavatam (3.16.14) describes the Kumara’s bewilderment at hearing the profound from the mouth of Lord Vishnu at Vaikunta: “ The Lord’s excellent speech was difficult top comprehend because of its momentous importance, its most profound significance. The sagees heard it with wide open eras and pondered on it as well. But although they heard, they could not understand what he intended to do.”
If one hears the profound speeches of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one becomes grave. Similarly if one associates with devotees, he too becomes serious and grave.

22. A devotee is compassionate, karuna.

The Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu describes compassion: ‘A person who is unable to bear another’s distress is called compassionate.’
Lord Krishna’s compassion was also exhibited when Grandfather Bhishma was lying on the bed of arrows which had been shot through his body. While lying in this position, Bhishma was very anxious to see Lord Krishna, so Lord Krishna appeared there. Upon seeing the pitiable condition of Bhishma, Krishna began speaking with tears in his eyes. Not only was He shedding tears, but He also forgot Himself in His compassion. Therefore, instead of offering obeisance to Lord Krishna directly, devotees offer obeisance to His compassionate nature. Actually, because Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Radharani, always pray to Radharani, for Lord Krishna’s compassion.’
‘Kripalu, merciful, ‘vadanya’, magnanimous and sarvoparaka, working for the welfare of everyone, are all similar to ‘karuna’, compassion. The Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu describes Radharani as the protector of devotional service and of all devotees who want to approach the Lord. She is compassionate. Radharani, like all genuine devotees, wants to help others become devotees of Lord Krishna.
The essence of compassion is preaching. But the force that drives the preaching is purity. Preaching rests on the sincere, pure hearts and minds of the devotees. When the devotee surrenders to Lord Krishna, Krishna blesses his efforts.

23. A devotee is a friend, maitra.

A devotee is a friend because he directs you to Lord Krishna. Krishna is the best friend of all living entities. In the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, devotees like Rupa Goswami and Haridas Thakur were fast friends because of their like mentalities. The six Goswamis also regularly associated with each other, sharing their devotional experiences, singing ‘bhajan’ and taking ‘prasad’.
Certain sensitive thinkers have noted that an important part of human friendship is that one friend supports and encourages the solitude of another. But only a devotee really knows how to nourish another’s solitude. In Krishna consciousness solitude does not refer to mere egoism in a void. In the positive sense, solitude means an individual’s eternal relationship with lord Krishna. A friend can respect another’s individual relationship with Lord Krishna and try to encourage it.

24. A devotee is a poet, kavi.

In Chaitanys Charitamrita, Raya Ramananda praises the wonderful descriptions by Rupa Goswami:
“What is the use of a bowman’s arrow or a poet’s poetry if they penetrate the heart but do not cause the head to spin?”
“Without Your mercy, such poetic expressions would be impossible for an ordinary living being to write. My guess is that You have given him the power.”
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I met Rupa Goswami at Prayag. He attracted and satisfied Me because of his qualities.” Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu praised the metaphors and other literary ornaments of Srila Rupa Goswami’s transcendental poetry. “Without such poetic attributes”, He said, ‘there is no possibility of preaching transcendental mellows.”
Chaitanya Charitamrita- Antya 1.95.98
One of the many names of Lord Krishna is ‘uttamashloka’, which means that He is praised with the choicest poestc words. To describe the beauty of Krishna’s form, His pastimes, the nectar of his Holy name, the glories of His abode, Vrindavana. And the sweetness of His love is impossible except by poetic language.
The compliers of ‘shastra’, such as Srila Vyasdeva and in the later age Kriswhnadas Kaviraj were all highly endowed poets. The ‘shastras’ compare Krishna’s hue to the fresh rain cloud, His eyes to lotuses, the rays from His toenails to soothing autumnal moons. When Lord Chaitanya says that without poetic metaphors a devotee cannot describe Lord Krisha’s pastime; this does not mean that Lord Krishna is imaginary or unreal. Rather, Krishna ‘bhakti’ is not dull; it requires poetry. Many references state that only authorized devotees can write transcendental literatures; poetry or prose. To be able to write ‘parampara’ descriptions of Lord Krishna is a prerogative of the devotee who has been blessed by Lord Krishna and Guru. The empowered ‘kavi’ never takes the credit himself but acknowledges that whatever he writes is dictated by the Lord in the heart. A devotee should therefore never write anything speculative. Whatever he writes must first be confirmed by Lord Krishna and the Vaishnav. He should write only by the order of higher authorities in Lord Krishna’s consciousness. There is no scope for the devotee to become an ambitious poet or author, famous for his own compositions. Krishnadas Kaviraj explains that his motive in writing is to purify himself and to bless the world with pastimes of Lord Chaitanya.
Only five hundred years ago Rupa and Sanatan Goswami entered into the pastimes of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna and described them in their poems and plays. Their Sanskrit writings display expertise in grammar, logic and metaphor. Lord Chaitanya himself demonstrated mastery in the art of literary criticism by defeating Kesav Kashmiri in Navadvipa. Lord Chaitanya found defects in the renowned poet’s compositions by intricately applying various rules of Sanskrit grammar composition. Jiva Goswami is another highly acclaimed Sanskritist whose Vaishnava philosophical dissertations are profound and poetic. Kavi means ‘learned’ as well as ‘poetic’ and Jiva Goswami is both.
Not all the Vaishnav poets in disciplic succession wrote in highly literate Sanskrit ‘mantras’. Narottam Das composed his songs in simple Bengali language, but the erudite Vedic Acharya Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur later approved the songs of Narottam Das to be as good as Vedic ‘mantras’.
The essence of Vaishnav poetry, therefore, is devotion to Lord Krishna. It is not the language itself that is important, but the subject matter.
Aside from making poetic compositions, a devotee is a poet by his poetic perception. He is not dull. He tastes Lord Krishna in pure water sees the sun in lord Krishna’s eye. He uses language to describe God. He has in his mind’s eye a vision of intense beauty in the transcendental from of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He frees his own life from the fetters of what mundane commoners call reality and dedicates himself to serving the Supreme Absolute. Always hearing transcendental sounds passed down from great poets of the past, always chanting the Hare Krishna ‘mantra’, dancing and singing in ecstasy and aspiring to please Krishna, the devotee lives minute to minute in ever fresh Krishna consciousness.

25. A devotee is an expert, daksa.

Lord Krishna promises, “I give the intelligence by which they can come to me.” We therefore see devotees applying their skills in constructing temples, learning arts and crafts, dealing with business, cooking, painting and so on.
The deluding energy, ‘maya’ is herself an expert; keeping the conditioned souls illusion in and bound. Srimad-Bhagavatam compares the materialistic householders to silkworm which has spun a cocoon around itself and become inextricably entangled. He who becomes free of the cycle of birth and death is an expert.
The supreme expert is Lord Krishna and and it is He who gives the expert process of devotional service. ‘Drarmam tu saksat-bhagavat-pranitam’: no one can enunciate true religion except thy Supreme Lord Himself. Lord Krishna in His munificent form as Lord Chaitanya gave the method whereby even the most fallen slowest souls of Kali-yuga could revive their pure Krishna consciousness by chanting ‘hare Krishna’. Lord Chaitanya knew that in this age people would not be able to practice severe austerities or understand ‘Vedanta’ through meditation or Sanskrit. Therefore, he expertly gave us the ‘Maha-mantra’ and simple process of hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavat-Gita from pure devotees in disciplic succession.
For us the required expertise is simple; we have to grasp the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya’s Krishna conscious practices. Millions of species of life and millions of varieties of sense gratification are being offered to the bewildered soul. Moreover, especially in the present age, one’s chances of becoming free from ‘Maya’ are more and more reduced. ‘Maya’s influence has expanded and even if a person is inclined to spiritual life, a bogus ‘Guru’ is likely to cheat him. We are, therefore, not playing with words when we take the meaning of expert to be, ‘he who becomes free from ‘Maya’ by surrendering to Krishna.’ Such an expert devotee avoids the greatest danger, and he attains the greatest goal.
When Lord Chaitanya began His ‘sankirtana’ movement, He had to figure out a way to reach those who were very reluctant. So that people would respect Him, He began to take the ‘sanyas’ order.
Expertise in skills will not take us back to Godhood, bur rather the expertise in seeing our real position as the servant of the servant of the Lord.

26. A devotee is silent, Mauni.

A devotee never speaks ant nonsense; this is his silence. ‘Mauni’ does not refer to vows of not speaking or becoming incommunicado, as is practiced by some yogis. Sometimes, therefore, a ‘Guru’ will ask a frivolous disciple, whose speech is uncontrolled, to practice complete ‘mauna’. Speech is very important; a fool is not exposed until he begins to speak.
Another example of a great devotee’s using silence is that of Lord Chaitanya silently listening to Sararvabhauma Bhatacharya speaking ‘Vedanta’ philosophy for seven days. Sarvabhauma finally became frustrated and asked why Lord Chaitanya was silent. Sarvabhauma said that if Lord Chaitanya had some questions, He could at least ask them. But why was He silent? In this way Lord Chaitanya showed His respect to the great scholar and at the same time dramatically showed his disapproval. When Lord Chaitanya finally spoke, He defeated all the mayawadi ideas Sarvabhauma had been expounding for seven days. Lord Chaitanya’s silence was also a demonstration of tolerance.
So there are some varied uses for silence in Krishna consciousness, but the main purpose is that devotee is silent in nonsense, but always eager to talk about Lord Krishna.

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GURUVANI
Truth is eternal love, eternal beauty, eternal bliss and eternal harmony. He is Sri Krishna Himself. A follower of truth is a follower of love, beauty, bliss and harmony; whatever race, community, creed, sex, age or clime he may belong to.
Heart is the seat of love. As love is Godhead Himself, the God of love dwells internally in our heart of hearts. So we should love God and all beings with all our hearts. We do not say, “I love you with all my intellect.’ But we say, “I love you with all my heart.” Thirst for this world and hunger for worldly enjoyment is thirst for misery and hankering after death. But thirst for Sri Krishna’s grace and hankering after love for Him is the thirst for eternal peace and hankering after eternal bliss. He is our father, mother, husband, friend, and brother who bestows upon us devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.
Holy shrines and holy images purify the worshipper in many a long year, but the very sight of a pure devotee of Sri Krishna removes at once all evils and kindles love for Sri Krishna. Parents, husbands, friends and relatives are available in every birth but not so is Guru Krishna in all births.
He is a true devotee who by constant remembrance of Sri Krishna does not give way to worldly consequences of birth and death, of the body’s hunger for life energy, fear of mind, desires of intellect and laborious activities of different physical organs. He is a true devotee in whose heart there is no seed of desire, lust or lustful action and who has absolutely taken shelter in the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord.
A surrendered soul is like a purchased cow to be looked after by the purchaser (the Supreme Lord Krishna) and not by the seller who decamps with the price.
(The above was written on a scribbling pad by Baba while He was admitted in Kothari Medical Hospital in the year 1980. This note was preserved by His doctor and devotee Shri Anupam Brahma who gave it to us for publication.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

welcome to my blog


dear visitor,


Pranams. Welcome to my home. See, I have spread a nice mat for you to sit on. I am so happy you are here. Make yourself comfortable in my home and enjoy yourself as you look around. Yes, you will see that my home is my temple for my Guru. He is the Master of this House as much as He is a master of my life, my heart, my soul.


You will notice that while He is Centre and the spoke that holds the wheel, the empty spaces are me and you, to create and craft at will. My Guru's energies suffuse me, yet leave me completely free to be. His is the love of limitless options. I feel He wants for me what I want for myself. To be true to Him, I have to be true to myself. And to truly do that, I wish to relate to you from the deepest part of me, where everything falls away, and all that remains is love. My dear guest, in this space I invite you to sit and ponder on what is your most magnificient dream for yourself. To dream on becoming the grandest vision of you that you are capable of.
Do partake of the offerings of sweets and delicacies that is 'prasad'. Sacred food. Be here as long as you wish. I consider you a friend and will invite you to come and spend time here in case you are looking for peace and serenity. I will not disturb you if you wish to be left along. I am close by if you need me.
I now leave you to your explorations of my blog.
yours in love,
sudevi

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SRI KRISHNA, THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF ALL LOVE

By

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri
Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

Heart is the seat of love. As love is Godhead Himself, so the God of love dwells eternally in our heart of hearts. So we should love god and all beings with all our heart. We do not say, “I love you with all my intellect” but we say, ‘I love you with all my heart’.

The brain is the seat of the intellect. It leads us to polemnic discussions without arriving at any definite conclusion. On the contrary, it leads us to endless dry reasoning resulting in agnosticism. It is the Vaishnavas who are Godloving in their element and possess the qualities of head and heart simultaneously, because without the knowledge of Godhead, Sri Vishnu or Sri Krishna, there is no love for Him. So sambandha-jyana is indispensably necessary for releasing Krishna-Prem.

The three qualities which are characteristic traits of pure love are :

1) Eternal qualities after the entire satisfaction of the Object of Love (Sri Krishna).

2) Eternal searching after the happiness of the Object of Love (Sri Krishna) despite all
obstacles standing on the way.

3) Self-delight in consequence of the unmixed happiness of the Object of Love (Sri
Krishna). In other words, when the Object of Love is delighted, the lover gets soul
delighted automatically. When the Paramatma or All Pervading Soul is delighted, the
as part and parcel of the same is similarly delighted. When the Whole is satisfied, the
parts included in the Whole are also satisfied, example, when the root of a tree is
watered, the whole tree is fed and nourished (Bhag. IV. 13. 14). absolute surrender of
everything namely-body, mind, soul properties, both movable and immovable to Sri
Krishna.

4) complete renunciation of all desires of Krishna’s sake and pleasure

5) complete reliance on Sri Krishna for the maintenance of life and none else.

‘The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna who is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of this world dwells in it as Jeevatma and Paramatma, inseperably connected with the tie of divine love. Who is the material as well as the efficient cause of Prakriti and Purusha. Who preserves this world as the seat of enjoyment or suffering for the Jeevas, and they are absolved from all sins when they take absolute shelter at his Lotus Feet wherein they rest as if sleeping with ceaseless innumerable prostrated obeisances or as a man when asleep does not see his own self but sees other embodied but does not see his own real self. So the Supreme Lord Who is the witness of all actions of animate and inanimate beings. Who is the giver of assurances of safety or fearlessness to all Jeevas and Who is the bestowever of Divine Love to His own faithful and loving devotees, should always be meditated upon’ (Bhag. X. 87. 50).

Supremacy of Gopees sentiments are spoken of by Sri Udhava Maharaj : ‘O how blessed I should be if I could live in Vrindavan as a creeper, herb, plant or brush that comes in contact with the dust of the feet of the Gopees. Blessed are the Gopees who abandoning their friends and relations and all propriety of conduct, the standard of ethics of Aryas, have resorted to the Lotus Feet of Mukunda (Sri Krishna) sought after by the Vedas, but not reached by them. Blessed are the Gopees who embraced the Lotus Feet of the Glorious Sri Krishna and Who have placed Those Feet on their bosom during the Rasa-Dance quenched their fire of separation, the Feet which are worshipped by Sri Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth and are meditated upon by Brahma and other great Yogis in their heart of hearts, but hardly found by them. I salute again and again the dust of the feet of the Milk Maids of Nanda’s Vraja whose constant singing of Sri Krishna’s qualities and deeds purifies the three ‘Sudarshan’ means spiritual vision of the whole including Jiva-Souls as the only object of enjoyment of the Supreme Lord Krishna. In other words, to see things or persons in relations to Sri Krishna is known as ‘Sudarshan’ or ‘Samadarshan’, while to see things or persons with an enjoying mood or Purushabhimana is known as ‘Kudarshan’ or ugly vision, that is seeing the physical structure of the thing or person bereft of the soul, which is the characteristic feature of a fallen soul. He sees things or persons with his material eyes and is attracted by their physical charm. But a true Vaishnava sees things or persons with his spiritual ears and eyes opened by his Gurudeva, his Divine Master. Hence to see things with listening ears is the characteristic feature of a true Vaishnava (Bhag. VII 5. 23.24.). Of the nine methods of pure devotion, hearing and chanting the Holy Names of Vishnu or Sri Krishna are the most important factors. Without hearing, no chanting is possible. Hence he who does not hear is a deaf and dumb person, although endowed with a material tongue.

By listening to and singing the glories of Sri Krishna, a spontaneous inclination of love for Him is created. It is supreme object of attention, the height of what can be achieved by man. This feeling of affection (Rati) when intensified is know by the name of love. This love is the goal, the repository of All-Bliss.

The bhakti or devotion spoken of in the Gita is Vidhi-bhakti, a form of discipline (Cf. Gita Ch. XII. 13-19). When this Vidhi-bhakti reaches its full growth, it becomes Shudha-bhakti or pure devotion. Love of God involves ‘Mamata’ or ‘Mineness’ in relation to Sri Krishna. The last sloka of the Gita gives us a clue as to how to love God, “And let go these rites and writ-duties. Fly to Me alone. Make Me thy single refuge. I will free thee from all sins. Be of good cheer, O Arjuna. Arise ! Awake and stop not till the Supreme Lord, the highest goal, is attained” (Kathopanished, 1. 3. 14).

The five plenary requisites constituting the love-sentiments of Sri-Krishna are :

1) completeness of transcendental knowledge about Sri Krishna

2) feeling of Sri Krishna as the nearest and dearest object of love satisfaction of Sri
Krishna, the most beloved of their hearts.

When such s state is reached i.e. when a devotee gives up all thoughts of status, breeding, shame, fear, honour, dishonour, virtue, vice and welfare in this life or after, he shouts like a madman – ‘O Dearest, O Light of my life, O Enchanter of my heart, I cannot live for a moment more without Your Sight, a moment now appears to me like an age’. He then begins his pursuit for Sri Krishna. This Bhava (ecstatic state of love) is constant among the Gopees of Vraja and it reaches it’s climax in Radharani who is the embodiment of mahabhava sentiment (supreme ecstasy), casting of all bonds of family, sense of decorum, modesty and fear, on hearing the soulstirring melody of Sri Krishna’s flute. She offers her life, her youth, her mind, senses and all to Sri Krishna and says :- ‘Whether He clasps me to His Bosom or tramples me under His feet, whether He inflicts agony on me, by denying me His presence, let Him do whatever He likes : nevertheless, it is certain that no other than He is the Lord of my heart’. Having given up her all to Sri Krishna, she says, ‘O Love, in the ocean of the bliss of Your love, my family honour, decorum and modesty, all are drowned. What else shall I give You ? I trouble my head with this question. The wealth that I shall offer You, that very wealth of mine are You. O Love ! What more shall I say ? In death, in every life to come, by You the Lord of my life !’.

When the fire of anguish of separation from Sri Krishna burns her, she says :-

Each moment of my life is turned into eternity.

My eyes are turned into clouds of rain.

The separation from Govinda has made the whole world a void for me,

The days in anguish do not pass.

Each moment appears to have lengthened into an age.

Tears come out of my eyes like torrents of rain.

The separation from Govinda has made the three worlds a void.

The body is burning through a slow fire.

worlds’ (Bhag. X 47.61-63)

The women of Mathura say : ‘Blessed are the Gopees who minds are completely absorbed in Sri Krishna, whom while attending to their various household duties such as milking the cows, husking the paddy, churning the curds, clearing the courtyard and smearing it with cowdung, swinging the children, singing lullabies to them or sweeping the rooms, sing songs in praise of Sri Krishna with a heart full of love and eyes moist with tears in a voice choking with emotion’ (Bhag. X. 44. 15-16).

When the Madhura-sentiments is cultivated, the devotees casts off the manly feeling of Purushabhimana and becomes a spiritual Prakriti (woman) and addresses the Lord as such :-

Sweet than sweet art Thou, O Lord of my heart :

Make me serving-mind of Thy Feet.

I shall not ask Thee anything in return, but shall only serve Thy Feet;

‘Grant me this boon, O my Lord’.
- Kavi Krishnadas

The heart of the Gopees repeat the following sentiments : ‘How are the wishes of our Beloved Sri Krishna to be satisfied ? How are our homes and possessions, body, mind ‘heart’ soul and senses to be utilized so that they may contribute to Sri Krishna’s happiness ? Hallo ! Are not these things already His ? If they are His, what is the meaning of the desire that He should accept them for His service and make Himself happy through them ? We could offer Him things which actually belonged to us, but here all things are His anyway. Does He not exercise undisputed sway even over us ? Then how are we to say, You accept us and make us your slaves ? Yes, this is the truth. Now we shall say no more. O Lord ! You are the showman in the puppet-play and we are the puppets, we are instruments in Your Hands. Do whatever You like with us, whatever You like’. The Gopees cut through the eight-shackles to which men of the world are tied to and therefore cannot advance towards Sri Krishna. The Gopees freed themselves from these octopus knotty ties. That is how they renounced everything, turning all their thoughts, words and deeds for the Yet life does not depart’.

Says Sri Krishna to Narada – ‘There is one more secret, Oh Narada. It is this, over and above all other efforts, let one worship Sri Radha for the attainment of the Gopees-sentiment. O Narada, if you desire to capture Me, seek the favour and patronage of My dearest consort Sri Radha’ (Vide ‘Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’ App. II P. 58).

Thirst for this world and hunger for worldly enjoyment is thirst for misery and hankering after death. But thirst for Sri Krishna’s Grace and hankering after love for him is thirst for eternal peace and eternal bliss.

He is our father, mother, husband, friend and brother who bestows upon us loving devotion at His Lotus Feet.

Holy shrines and holy images purify the worshipper for many years, but the very sight of a true devotees of Sri Krishna removes all evil at once and enkindles love for Sri Krishna.

Parents, husbands, friends and relatives are available in every birth but not so is Guru Krishna in all births.

He is the foremost among the true devotees who does not forget even for half a second, even at the attainment of the sovereignty of the three worlds the Lotus Feet of Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Who is worth the trouble of search by the Gods whom have dedicated their lives unto Him (Bhag. XI 2. 53). This is the real nature of a true devotees.

Just as the heat of the sun is removed by the rising of the moon, so is the suffering of the devotees from the threefold afflictions which cease to operate on them when their hearts are illumined with the moon beams emitting from the Nails of the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna (Bhag. XI 2. 54).



SRI SRI PRABHU SHYAMANANDA

Om Vishnupad Paramhansa Paribrakacharya Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj


Gouridas was born at Saligram, about eighteen kilometers away from Sreedham Navadeep. His father was Kansari Mishra, mother Kamala Devi. Suryadas was his elder brother. Suryadas had two daughters, Basudha and Jahnavi.

Suryadas was a boyhood companion of Sri Gouranga. He was a sadhaka of Sakhuyabhava, i.e. friendship with God. He told Gouridas : “Go and live at Ambika-Kalna and do your sadhana and worship at a lovely place near the river Ganga.” What could have been more close to the heart of Fouridas? He left for Ambika.

One day Sri Gouranga was returning from Shantipur. He took a boat at Harinadi village. Pulling the oars with his own hands he crossed the Ganga and arrived at Ambika. But he did not leave the oar behind. He went to Gouridas’ house with the oar in his hand. Gouridas was astounded. Sri Gouranga said : “The oar is meant for you.”

“What shall I do with the oar?”

“What shall you do ? You shall take people across the world-river with the help of this oar.”

With profound reverence Gouridas accepted the oar with folded hands. The Lord also embraced him. He said, “Come with me to Navadweep. I shall give you something there.” Gouridas become full with the Lord’s embrace. He could not comprehend what more than this could be there. What was the thing that lay beyond imagination even ?

It was indeed beyond imagination. The Lord handed over the Gouridas the Gita written with His own hand. From beginning to end it was written with pearl-like letters. The nectar of his winkless gaze is gathered in it. The compassion had incessantly flowed into it from the touch of his hand. It was sheer bliss to look at this writing, to hold it in one’s hand, to read it and to contemplate on it. It was a joy flowing from the absorption of consciousness.
Holding the Gita close to his heart, Gouridas returned to Ambika. How painstakingly must He have written it with His own hands, and yet he gave it to me so unhesitatingly. What meditation and worship would Gouridas do? He was pondering over the incident and was weeping. What love, what play! Gouridas could not fathom its vastness.

When the Lord came to Santipur after His Sannyas, Gouridas did not go to see him because of his hurt feelings. If Prabhu renounces the world in this way, how can we live then? With which shall we live? Prabhu’s elder brother Nityananda is already a Sannyasi. Prabhu is also on the same path. If the light of both the eyes is gone, how shall we spend our days in the darkness of the jungle?

Prabhu himself came to Gouridas’ house along with Nityananda. Gouridas wept and said: “I will not let you go again. Let both of you stay here as permanent captives. I shall serve you to my heart’s content.”

Prabhu smiled and said: “Do one thing. You shall serve our images.”

- Will the images be alive?
- Surely
- Can they sit with a squatting posture?
- Yes, of course.
- Do they take rice with their own hands?
- Yes, certainly. Let you do one thing. Bring a Neem tree from Navadweep and make images of our two brothers from its wood. We shall surely fulfil your wish.

Gouridas wiped his tears. He sent men to Navadweep who brought a neem tree from there. He made two wooden idols out of it – one of Nityananda and another of Gourhari. On the instructions of Sri Advaitadev, his son Achyutananda anointed both the idols with the ten-letter Gopal mantra and installed them. These were the first idols of Nitai-Gourhari. Gouridas was the first founder of serving and worshipping the dual idols.

Prabhu said: “Now feed the four of us.”

- Four of you?
- Yes, four of us. We two brothers, and the two idols. Make places for the four.
- Will these two idols also eat?
- Of course, otherwise, why will you believe in them?

With great joy Gouridas prepared many dishes. He placed four seats. Prabhu and Nityananda and their two idols partook of the food. There were no difference between the real persons and their idols. Prabhu said: “From among us, two will stay at Ambika and two will go to Nilachal. We stay back with you and your wish is also fulfilled.”

Gouridas installed the idols of Gour-Nitai. Now there was the need of a sincere and competent devotee who would undertake the regular service and worship of the idols. In search of such a person Gouridas approached Gadadhar and said : “I have come to beg one thing from you”. Gadadhar looked at his face and said : “I have nothing that I cannot give to you.” Gouridas said: “Please, give your Hridayananda to me.”

Madhab Misra, known for his virtues lived at Bharatpur in the district of Murshidabad. He had two sons, Gadadhar and Kasinath. Kasinath had two sons, Nayananda and Hridayananda. This Gadadhar was one of Mahaprabhu’s close companions. He became known as Gadadhar Pundit, Gadadhar nurtured Hridayananda, gave him education and initiation. Hridaynanda was Gadadhar’s attendant, as well as his student. Gadadhar handed over this Hridayananda to Gouridas. Gouridas gave mantradiksha (initiation with Bijmantra) and appointed him to serve the idols.

There would be a great celebration on the occasion of Mahaprabhu’s birthday. Gouridas went out to beg. He had asked Hridayananda to serve and worship properly. “I shall come back at proper time.” But how was it? There was no news about Gouridas after he had left. If invitation letters were not immediately sent to the Mohants how could they be present on the fixed date? There was lot of related work unfinished. Hridayananda had completed all the arrangements before his Guru returned.

Gouridas returned just the day before the celebration. “Seeing your delay, I have myself completed all the arrangements,” said Hridayananda with some satisfaction. Gouridas did not bless him. Rather, he became angry and asked: “What is the meaning of your independent action without my permission?” Hridayananda fell dumb. “Since you have gone over me and thus have disregarded me, you have no longer a place here. Go somewhere else,” ordered Gouridas.

Hridayananda obeyed Guru’s order with bowed head and with a heavy heart. He took shelter under a tree on the bank of the Ganga.

Gouridas himself started the celebration at the ashram. People were gradually assembling at the ashram on getting the invitation from Hridayananda. One person was coming with huge offerings for the Lord. Seeing Hridayananda by the side of the Ganga he asked the bearers to stop. Hridayananda said, “The celebration is going on at the ashram, not here. Please, take these things to the ashram.”

But Gouridas refused to accept those things. He said, “These have come because of Hridayananda’s invitation. I shall not take them. Tell him to make a separate celebration with the help to these offerings.”

The bearers once again brought the offerings back to Hridayananda. “Has Gurudev asked me to make the celebration separately? So be it” Hridayananda began the celebration under the very tree on the bank of the Ganga. Hearing the commotion of the celebration, most of the invitees started assembling under the tree.

At the other end, Gouridas also was holding the celebration at the Ashram as per his own arrangements. At the time of the midday bhog he ordered priest Gangadas: “Open the door of the temple and make the offering of food”. The door of the temple was opened, but the temple was empty! The idols were missing. Gouridas ran towards the bank of the Ganga with a stick in his hand. “This is definitely the work of Hridayananda. He has removed the idols from the temple.”

On reaching the riverbank he saw a strange sight. Kirtan was going on and in the midst of the kirtanyas the two idols were dancing! Seeing the stick in Gouridas’ hand the two idols wanted to disappear. But Gouridas saw Sri Chaitanyachandra entering into the heart of Hridayananda. With outstretched hands Gouridas closely embrace Hridayananda. He said: “you are truly blessed. From today your name should be Hridaychaitanya.”

Returning to his ashram, Gouridas saw that the two idols were back at their usual places. They were laughing in their bright eyes, as if saying: “Do you comprehend Hridays’ devotion to his Guru ? Do you understand who is enshrined in whose heart?”

This Hridaychaitanya became the Diksha Guru (initiator) of Prabhu Shyamnanda.

Shyamananda’s Childhood name was Dukhi. After taking initiation from Hridaychaitanya his name became Krishnadas.

He was born in a village called Dharenda-Bahadurpur (presently known as Kalaikunda in Midnapur in a family of Milkman caste. His father’s name was Srikrishna Mondol and his mother was Durika.

As the child was born amidst much suffering he was named Dukhi. Some called him Dukhia. His father left his native place and migrated to Dandeshwar in Orissa. Since his very childhood signs of renunciation became visible in him. As soon as he had completed his lessons of grammar, a wish to take a bath in the Ganga suddenly arose in him. He told his father : “I am going to bathe in the Ganga.” Where? With whom? Srikrishna Mondal became very anxious. “A group of bathers is going to Ambika-Kalna. I shall go with them.” There was no point in refusing the permission. The boy could not be held back. Only let it be hoped, he would return home after taking his holy bath.

But Dukhia never returned home. There was chance meeting with Hridaychaitanya at Ambika-Kalna. Hridaychaitanya found that an effulgent lotus of devotion was blooming on the stem of renunciation. He said: “Come, I will give you a mantra.” He gave him Krishna mantra and said: “from this day your name is Krishnadas” Dukhia smiled and said: “Yes, Dhukhi Krishnadas”.

How true! Every living being remains afflicted with misery until he gets Krihsna.

Krishnadas’ heart could not be pacified with the bath in the Ganga alone. He said: “I shall see the Yamuna”. “Yes of course, you shall see it. You shall go Brajadham.” After Krishnadas had spent sometime in serving the Guru, Hridaychaitanya gave him permission to go to Vrindavan.

Dukhi Krishnadas went to Navadweep and from there proceeded to Vrindavan. There he met another Krishna-this was Krishnadas Kaviraj. Dukhi Krishnadas took refuge at the feet of Jiv Goswami. What more could be have asked for! Jiv Goswami began to teach him the scriptures. With the light of knowledge, the darkness of Krishnadas’ ignorance began to melt away.

One morning Dukhi Krishnadas was walking down a lonely path lined with the trees. His forehead was adorned with Gopichandan tilak (tilak of sandalwood), he had prayer beads in his hands and he was singing the praises of Gouranga. While walking thus, he suddenly stopped on the path. A golden anklet was lying on the path. Krishnadas eagerly picked up the anklet, pressed it to his forehead and then held it in his breast with both his hands. After a while he saw a young maiden coming up the path, searching for something on the ground.

“Devi, have you lost something?” asked Krishnadas politely in a soft voice. The maiden looked up, startled. She saw a handsome and dignified young man standing before her. She said, “Yes, something is lost, but it does not belong to me, but to my dear friend”.

“What?”

“The anklet was on my friends’ left foot”. The maiden added a bit more : “Last night while dancing, the anklet had loosened, which is why while returning home, it fell off on the way.” “Please, see if this is the same one.” Krishnadas took out the anklet, which he was keeping close to his heart.

The maiden held out her hand. Before she had said a word or had wanted anything the anklet on its own fell in her hand.

Was it magic? Or was it mirage? The girl disappeared that very instant. Krishnadas fainted and fell to the ground.

When he regained consciousness, Dukhi Krishnadas found that he was lying near Jiv Goswami. Jiv said: You are a blessed soul, you have held on your breast the anklet which adorns the feet of Srimati Radhika, the Goddess of Rasa dance. You have also seen her dear friend Lalita. Having got back her anklet Srimati is definitely delighted and so is her beloved Shyamsundar. From today, let your name be Shyamananda. Shyamananda sat up. “And look”, said Jiv Goswami, “as you had held the anklet to your forehead, a tilak in the shape of the anklet has emerged on your forehead. From today, let your tilak also be in the shape of an anklet, and let this tilak be called Shyamanandi Tilak.”

News reached Hridaychaitanya that Krishnadas had taken initiation anew from Jiv Goswami and has also adopted a new tilak. When Shyamananda returned to Kalna and Hridaychaitanya noticed the new tilak in place of the old one, he became very angry. He renounced Shyamananda.

“I had fixed the form of your tilak. But you have erased it. In its place you have adopted a new form. This disrespect is unbearable. I renounce you. Leave this ashram this very moment.” Said Hridaychaitanya.

Eyes filled with tears, Shyamananda looked on silently. Perhaps Hridaychaitanya felt a bit sorry for him. He said: “If you wash away that tilak and put on the old one once again, I can withdraw my order.”

But how could Shyamananda wipe out the anklet form of tilak form his forehead? It emerges spontaneously as soon as he touches his forehead.

Shyamananda left the ashram and went away. He stayed on the bank of the Ganga without having taken any food.

The idol in the temple could not remain quiet any longer. He appeared before Hridaychaitanya in his dream and said: “What have you done? Have you not banished my joy? It is the sign of my anklet that is on his forehead. It is my anklet that Radhika wears.”

The whole incident was revealed through the dream. Hridaychaitanya realized his mistake. He ran all the way to the riverbank and picked up Shyamananda on his lap. He asked: “Who is your Guru ?” “My Guru is Hridaychaitanya Prabhu”. There were no more doubts. The rapprochement between the Guru and the disciple was complete.

It was in Vrindavan that Shyamananda had befriended Thakur Narottam and Acharya Srinivas. These three remained loyal to Sri Virachandra and planted the victory flag of Vaisnavism in Bengal and Orissa. They released a great flood of love and devotion.

After the holy texts had been plundered at Vishnupur, Srinivas sent Shyamananda to Kheturi. He was present at Kheturi Mahotsav – the great festival at Kheturi. After receiving the information that the plundered texts had been recovered, Shyamananda returned to Kalna. From there he traveled towards Orissa. In a village called Rohini on the banks of the river Subarnarekha, the village chief Achyuta and his son Rasiknanda became the disciples of Shyamananda. Devotion is supreme, devotion is the ultimate-this was what he preached and it drew to him many disciples. Gradually, a large following collected around Shyamananda and thus grew up the Shyamanandi family.

Damodar was a yoga practicing Vedantist. Shymananda defeated him in a debate. He filled the emptiness of his heart with the nectar of devotion. Having become the disciple of Shyamananda, Damodar began to weep with the words ‘Nitai-Chaitanya’ on his lips.

Shyamananda emancipated a Pathan named Sher Khan at Dharenda. His disciple Rasikananda also preached love and devotion and thus transformed many wicked persons into devotees. The land became mad with Shyamananda. The whole of Orissa and Dharinda, Nrisinhapur, Balarampur, Gopiballavpur etc. became the centre of Preaching of love and devotion by Shyamananda and his chief and dearest disciple Rasikananda. The news arrived that Hridaychaitanya had passed away. Shortly after that, Shyamananda installed Rasikananda as the Mahanta of the Sripat had handed over the responsibility of the Shyamanandi sect to him. Then Shyamananda entered into the world of eternal Leela.



Translated from original Bengali by Sukhvinder and
Pabitra Kumar Ghosh
The Harmonist

THE RATHA YATRA OF PURI

OM VISHNUPAD 108 TRIDANDI SWAMI SRI SRIMAT BHAKTI SRAVAN TIRTHA GOSWAMI

Shree Shree Jagannath is the beloved deity of the Vast sea of humanity -, of one and all. ‘Jagat’ means ‘Universe ‘ and ‘Nath’ means ‘Lord’. Hence, the name, ‘Lord of the Universe’ or ‘Lord Jagannath’.
Lord Jagannathis considered to be the Supreme God, head of the pantheon of Indian deities and his abode ‘Puri’ is considered to be the most sacred of all four ‘dhamas’ – places of pilgrimage. He is also said to be the ‘Uttam-Purusha’ meaning ‘the best and highest of mankind’ or, ‘Purushottam’. Puri is also named as ‘Purushottam Kshetra’ or ‘Sri Kshetra’.
The wooden image of Lord Jagannath is unique in the sense that all religions seem to have some sort of affinity and irresistible attraction, spiritual experience and a great reverence for this particular ‘God-head’. This can be confirmed from the texts of ‘Dadavya-Bhakti’, where one comes across the devotions of saints, religious leaders and even the commonest of common men and women. Amongst three names which are specifically mentioned often and well known are Sant Guru Nanak Dev (Sikh), Bhakta Salbeig (Muslim), Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Of the Nadia Cult of Krishna Chaitanya).
There are hundreds of commonest names of men that immediately come to mind. The names are those of Raghu Behera, Doma Bource, Bandhu Mohanty, Jagannath and Balaram Das and others. Jains and Buddhists too have a great reverence for Lord Jagannath.
Lord Jagannath, being the Lord of the Universe, is the epitome of Sanatana Dharma – That Dharma which attracts and embraces the whole of mankind. In Hindu philosophy, since time immemorial, often reference is made to the four main ‘Centres of Pilgrimage’ – Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Dwaraka and Puri.
Puri Dham is, as we have mentioned, known by several names – Neelachal Dham, Niladribihar, Neelachal Kshetra and Shree Kshetra. The exact point of time during which Jagannath Dham came into existence is known only to Sree Niladri Bihari or Lord Jagannath Himself – although the historians try to give a lot of interpretation about it.
In various Puranas, dating back to very ancient times, one finds the date of existence to be …….. ‘since time immemorial’. For instance, in Rig Veda, the reference is made –
‘From very very ancient times, lending to infinity, a divine log of wood (Daaru) has been floating far and wide in the vast oceans, yet untouched by men’.
The uniqueness of Jagannath Dhaam is that unlike Badrinath, Rameshwaram, and Dwaraka, it has its own unique culture – Jagannath Culture. He is the supreme and beloved deity of every Oriya household and He is treated as a very special person – as Purushottam.
‘Rath Yatra’ or the ‘Car Festival’ of Lord Jagannath is unique to the Jagannath Cult. This world-famous festival takes place sometime in the month of July and finishes after the Snana Utsav (or Snana festival). Before, the Rath Yatra, the ‘Netro Utsav’ takes place, where the two infinite eyes of Lord Jagannath are worshipped, and then the deities are ready for the Rath Yatra. This annual festival has lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country as well as from outside India.
The use of ‘Rath Yatra’ or ‘Chariot’ is not a new phenomenon. It has been in use in Hindu mythology for a long long time. For example, there is reference to ‘Ratha’ in the Upanishads, Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and others. The Konark temple is architecturally modeled as a Chariot or Rath.
According to the Hindu calendar, the Rath Yatra takes place on Asada Shukla Paksha 2nd (Duliya) soon after the most auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, when the construction of three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra starts.
The construction of the three chariots as a matter of tradition from time immemorial is carried out in front of the Palace of the King of Puri.
It may be noted that the previous year’s wood used for the chariots is not used in the subsequent year, but after a few days from the festival being over, they are sold out by auction by the temple authorities and those who take part in the auction are mainly great devotees of Lord Jagannath. They vie with each other for a block of wood in order to possess the same in their homes as an auspicious and sacred wood from the sacred chariot of Lord Jagannath.
Hence, each year, new block of wood are used for the construction of the Chariots. However, the images of the spiritual trinity along with Sudarshan are not altered. The same wooden images are used.
The Rath Yatra is one of the oldest and most important festivals of the spiritual trinity at Puri. Lakhs of people from all over India and even from different parts of the world come to see the festival.
Some historians are of the view that this festival has its origin from the Buddhist religion. But in the Brahma Purana it is said that whilst the devoted King Indradyumna was in prayer and in deep meditation on Lord Vishnu, whom he wanted to see in his most resplendent form, Lord Vishnu visited the Gundicha temple.
However, the Skanda Purana says that Lord Vishnu incarnated himself, whilst Indradyumna was performing Ashwamedha Yajna.
Today, as per the Skanda Purana, the chariots are made at the place where the Lord incarnated Himself.
The Sanidha, Purana names this festival of chariots as Naba Yatra, Gundicha Yatra, Nandi Ghosha Yatra, Patita pabana Yatra and Mahabedi Utsav.
On the day of Ratha Yatra, the pooja starts early in the morning and after the ‘Pahandi’, the images are brought out one by one from the temple. The statues of Ram-Krishna and Madan Mohan also are brought to the chariots. The entire range of pooja requisites such as deeps, dhoop, vessels, belts, cloths jewelleries, camphor etc, are kept inside a box and carried to the chariots. Each deity has its own range of pooja requisites. On the chariots, the three deities are dressed, bedecked and adorned with their respective jewelleries and a great abundance of various types of flowers and garlands are placed on their respective images.
Here, the ‘Tulsi’ (or Basil) leaf garland and bouquets of the leaves in great abundance are placed round the three deities and particularly on the idol of Lord Jagannath.
Lord Jagannath and Tulsi leaf are inseparable from each other and Tulsi is the symbol of the goddess Vrindavati
When the three deities are ready on these chariots after their respective adornments and poojas, it is time for the King of Puri to come and sweep each of the three chariots. The King comes with his retinue of orderlies on horseback and then climbs the chariot of Lord Jagannath first, with a golden broom in his hands. This custom of sweeping each of the three chariots is known as ‘CHEERA PAHANRA’.
This ritual symbolizes the King’s humility and subjugation to the Lord of the Universe – coupled with a sense of deep-rooted devotion and tremendous respect for Lord Jagannath.
After this ritual, the King himself performs his worship or pooja of the three deities and thereafter, when this ‘Pooja’ is over, the ‘Sarathi’ or Charioteer of the Rath climbs the steps of the Rath and into the main platform of the Rath, and commands the horses, which are made of wood and attached to the Rath to start pulling the chariot forward.
There are series of very thick coir ropes tied to each of the front extremes of the Chariot and on the slightest signal of the Sarathi, the devotees who are all around the chariots in thousands, start pulling the same – thus the great festival of Rath Yatra begins.
The movement of the three chariots heads towards the Gundicha Temple.
Now and then the chariots stop on the way, and especially the chariot of Lord Jagannath, who has to be lovingly coaxed and entreated to continue HIS YATRA and then suddenly, as if responding to the entreaties of His devotees, His chariot suddenly starts to roll.
History has several authenticated accounts, such as ‘Bhakta Salbeig’ who as one of His most ardent devotees, implored Him not to start His Yatra till he reached His chariot, and the Lord responded and stopped His journey till Bhakta Salbeig reached His chariot and had His darshan.
Lord Jagannath is lovingly and affectionately addressed by the Oriyas as ‘Manua’ which is Oriya means ‘Moody’. Hence what ‘He’ chooses in his infinite wisdom He does. However, there are innumerable occasions when devotees in distress prayed to Him and He immediately responded by rushing to their aid and by the intervention of His divine Grace rescued them.
When the three chariots reach the Gundicha Temple the three deities including Sudarshan, (who is in the chariot of Lord Jagannath) are kept in the open overnight.
The next day, the three trinity images are taken to the Gundicha Temple where they stay for seven days and are worshipped. They are then bedecked with clothes, ornaments and flowers and are once again taken to their respective chariots.
Then the return journey of Yatra, known as the BAHUDA YATRA, starts. On the day of the ‘Bahuda Yatra’ the chariots of Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra return to the main temple of Puri. From the Singha Dwara, their images are taken inside.
However, the chariot of Lord Jagannath stays on near the MASIMA temple and here sweets are offered to Him. Then Lord Jagannath’s chariot is pulled by the devotees upto the palace.
The image of Devi ‘Mahalaxmi’ on the CHAHANI MANDAP looks down towards Lord Jagannath on the Rath and then enters the Rath and sits beside Lord Jagannath.
This is where Laxmi and Narayana meet each other. Then the chariot is drawn upto the Singha Dwara. On the 10th day of the Rath Yatra, the Gods adorn the Raja Vesha. Then, after some poojas and rituals, on the 12th day, the images are taken back to the Ratna Bedi.
Before we conclude this article on Rath Yatra, it will not be fair if we do not make any reference to the chariots of the deities, which are magnificent in themselves. The wood for these chariots are procured in a special way which we are not referring in this article as it has a long and a special procedure. The chariot of Lord Jagannath is known as NANDIGHOSHA and Garuda Dhwaja or Chakra Dhwaja. It is the name given by Lord Indra – the God of Rain. It is made of 832 blocks of wood and is 33 hands in height (one hand measured 1½).
The Guardian of this chariot is Garuda, the eagle like bird. The flag of the chariot has as its emblems – Sree Hanuman and the weapons like the Chakra (Discus) and the Conch Shell or Shankha.

THE CHARIOT OF DEVI SUBHADRA

It is said that the chariot of Subhadra Devi is given by the gods and the height of the chariot is 31 hands and is made of 593 blocks of wood and has twelve wheels. It is named as Devadalan. Shakarcharya has said that it reflects Shiva-Shakti Yuktoji known as the Ishta Devi (main sanor) of the rath. The feet of the chariot has as its emblem Tripura Sundari and the weapon depicted is – Padma Kalhara. The canopy of the rath alternates between red and black colours running from top of the rath to the base and the presiding deity of the top position of the chariot is known as Bhakti Sarmedha. The “chamara Seva” is done by Devi Sumedha – and the presiding deities depicted on the sides of the rath are goddess Bimala, Chamunda, Bhadrakali, Hara Chandika, Mangala, Barali, Katyayani, Jai Durga and Kali.

The name of the sarathi or charioteer of the rath is Arjuna and the protector of the rath is Ugra Chandra.
There are four horses attached to the rath, two on each side, in a galloping position and names of the four horses are – Rochika, Mochika, Jeta and Aparajeeta. The rope of this chariot is supposed to be made in the form of a king cobra and out of coir and is called Swarna Chuda and it is supposed to pull Subhadra Devi’s chariot. The front position of the chariot is known as Bramarata.
The other goddesses of the rath are Sree and Birihu. The two Gandharva’s names are Ha and Hi, and the rath chakra’s name is king Javalika. The rath’s Garbhadiswars are Sakti, Sapta, Jaya, Bijaya, Ghora, Aghora, Gukhmat, Gyasi. On the down position of the rath are the rishis, carved and pasted, namely Bhrigu, Suprabha, Bajra, Grangi, Dhuba and Ulika.
The Kumbhas of the top position are known as Amrita, Jiva Kaya and Hing Biga. The Dwadasa Barnas are Bhubaneswari, Ganga, Jamuna and Swarapalika and the neta’s name is Nadambika.
The construction of the chariot begins on the day of Vaishakha Shukla Tritiya and it takes about ½ months for the construction of the chariots to be done in all respects, including the filling of the canopy, horses, wheels etc. In the Skanda Purana, [Utkalakhanad, the 33rd and 35th chapter], the details of how the wood is procured from the forest is given.
Once the chariots are ready, the ratha yatra starts and the deities are taken to the “Guadicha Mandir” which is situated to the north of the main temple within a distance of 2½ to 3 kms. This mandir is also known as the Mahavedi, Yajna Mandap, Janakpuri and Gundicha Mandap. The legend says that a great king Indradyumna had constructed a “Vedi” here to perform the ‘Ashwamedha Yagna’ hence the name Mahavedi or Gundicha Mandap.
The canopy of the chariot is a combination of bright red and yellow – appearing alternatively one after another lengthwise from top to bottom. The top portion is called Kalyan-Sundar. On each of the four sides of the chariot are the emblems neatly carved and painted, of the mythological Hindu gods and goddesses, namely Hanuman, Ram Laxman, Narayan, Krishna, Gobardhan, Chintamani, Raghava and Narasimha. Of four horses which are carved out of wood two are attached on each side of the chariot, in the galloping position. They are named Sarkha, Balahara, Sweta and Hari Das.
The name of the Sarathi or charioteer is known as Daruka. The rope attached to the chariot is known as Sankhachuda and face of the Rath is known as Nandi Mukha. The goddess of the rath is know as Jogmaya and the Rath’s Bhairava is known as Akapada. The Rathas are ___________ Nam and Kubera. The Jakhya of the Rath is Hadrakhya and the Rath’s Garbhadhiswar is Hiranya Garbha.
The shakti of the rath is goddess Bimala. The Urdhasanis are – Kriya, Yoga, Agya, Anugya, Pragya and Medha.
Towards down below the rath, are painted wooden images of Narada, Debala, Vyasa, Suha, Prasana, Vashista, Viswamitra, and Rudra – These are the eight Rishis from whom the Hindu race originated.
The main Kumbha is called Harijawaju and the Dwarapals or guardians to the entrance of the Rath are two in number and are known as Joyo and Bijoya.


CHARIOT OF LORD BALABHADRA

The name of Lord Balabhadra’s Rath is Tala Dhwaja and this name has its origin from the Tala-Bara, given by the gods to Lord Balabhadra. The height of this rath is 32 hands and ten fingers, and made of 763 blocks of wood. It has 14 wheels.
The protector of this rath is Vasudeva as the colour of the canopy of cloth from the top to bottom, alternate between red and green colours, in broad stripes.
On the flag of the rath are the weapons Hala (ploughshare) and Musala. On the side of the rath are the gods of the Hindu pantheon of deities – Prapanbari, Chandratakoni, Harihara, Traiyambaka, Basudeva, Nalambara, Aghora, Tripura and Rishabha. The name of the Sarathi is Matali. The keepder of the rath is named as Vaskara and the name of the six horses, three attached on either side of the rath, in galloping position, are Teebro, Ghora, Dirgha, Srama, Swarna and Nana.
The rath’s kshetrapal, the Gandharva’s name is Ha. The flag that flutters on top of the ratha is known as Unanni.
The story behind the Ratha Yatra is that Lord Jagannath himself had directed the king and his associates, ---
“On this day, along with Subhadra and Balabhadra, take me in the Rath to the Gundicha Mandap, the place where I was born and where the AswamedhaYagna was performed. This is my birthplace and I was there worshipped for a long time. That is why, I have a great attachment and affection for that place. (Skanda purana, Utkalakhanda 29th Chapter)
In the Skanda purana itself, mention is also made that Lord Jagannath wished to visit His birthplace every year for seven days.
This festival, which covers a period of 9 days, when the three deities alongtwith Sudarshan visit Gundicha Mandap and then return to the main temple, is known as the Ratha Yatra.
In the Gundicha Mandap Lord Jagannath has the “Dasavatar Vesa” and that is why the Ratha Yatra is also known as the “Dasavatar Yatra”.
The total yatra is divided into three parts – the first part “Parbayatra”, the second part is “Gundicha Mandap” and the third part is “Bahida Yatra”.
Lord Jagannath is worshipped as “Narayan” on the “Ratnavedi” in the main temple, as “Gajanana Vesa” during the “Snana Purnima” and in the chariot he is worshiped as “Sun” or “Vamana”.
It is believed by the Hindus that if you have a darshan of Lord Jagannath as the ‘Vaman Avatar’ in the chariot then you are free from the cycle of birth and death.
That Yatra is also considered to be the symbol of unity. People of different caste, class, colour, belief, faith and religion come together to have the darshan of Lord Jagannath.