śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 12, Special Online Edition
Posted: 19 December 2019
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Somehow, Absorb Your Mind in Kṛṣṇa
a letter from Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
All Glories to Śrī Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga
Śrī Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha
Tegharipāḍā, Navadvīpa (Nadīyā)
11 July, 1976
Dear object of my affection, Umā
Even if you have nothing, no wealth, no education or intelligence, as long as you have your mind and your life, it will do [to allow you to serve]. The inclination to serve (sevā-vṛtti) does not depend on an exchange of any material object. It is perfect in itself and independent. You cannot use any mundane object as currency to gain the inclination for bhakti. Mind, intelligence and ego – each have their topmost [or transcendental] potential (vidvat-rūḍhī). However, someone [with a material mind, intelligence and ego] may be seen imitating the eight external symptoms of transcendental ecstasy (aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra), such as trembling, horripilation, tears and so on. Considering all this, the sādhaka or sādhikā must tread the path of bhajana with great care. We must be cautious not to condone prākṛta-sahajiyā-vāda1, karma-jaḍa-smārtta-vāda2, or cid-jaḍa-samanvaya-vāda3 and thus secretly end up idealizing various mentalities antagonistic to bhakti.
1 To be distinguished from genuine self-realized souls, or aprākṛta-sahajiyās, the infamous sahajīyā cults of medieval Bengal draw on Buddhist, Vaiṣṇava and Islamic mysticism, or tantra, to ritualize the sexual act as a hasty means of enlightenment, recklessly blurring necessary distinctions between the divine and the mundane, reality and fantasy, and ultimately, pure love and the mundane exploitation of the sexual act, thereby causing havoc in civilized society. –Ed.
2 Brahmin ritualists, who worship five main Hindu deities in a thoroughly impersonal manner, drawing their conceptions from smṛti-śāstra, or recorded liturgy, are fully confined to performing ritualistic activities as a means to rather materialistic ends. –Ed.
3 A doctrine rampant in many new so-called religions lack solid philosophical foundation and which seek to homogenize spirit and matter. –Ed.
What is the state of liberation? The freedom from all bondage of mundane existence? It is within worldly calamity that the soul have the greatest opportunity to accept Śrī Bhagavān’s holy name. And only there [in a calamitous state] do they become exclusively focused, impatient, and overwhelmed with angst. In this world, in whatever situation we find ourselves in, we have to strive for the welfare of our souls “yena kenāpyupāyena manaḥ kṛṣṇa niveśayet – one way or another, by any means, absorb your mind in Kṛṣṇa.”
Feigning being a sinner and a fallen person will not make you a worthy recipient of mercy. If true and genuine humility comes, you will receive causeless mercy and compassion. That is what Śrīman Mahāprabhu has expressed by uttering “na prema gandho ’sti.…” [I do not have even a scent of prema in Me]. It would be a mistake to include what is but an inherent oversentimental predisposition among the eight transcendental ecstatic symptoms (aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra). Rather, it ultimately reveals itself to be nothing more than arrogance.
As long as the mind remains absorbed in contemplating mundane sense gratification in the form of [associating with] men or women, where is the possibility of transcendental rati, or divine love, arising? Then again, there are those who externally carry on obeying worldly customs and conventions (laukika-vyāvāharika) even after attaining a state in which they are fully overwhelmed by transcendental bhāva. If you study the third section of Jaiva-dharma and also, if you study Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta thoroughly, you will be able understand all these topics. It is just a matter of realization and experience.
If you keep getting sent there to improve your health, you ought to pay more attention to that issue. Your mother is devoted to bhajana and wants what is best for you. If unintentionally you are at fault or make some mistakes in dealing with her, she will certainly forgive you. Therefore, it would have been fine for you even if you had not accepted your self-imposed punishment to leave home. However, accepting any punishment your seniors give you to improve yourself can only result in auspiciousness, not inauspiciousness.
Even from afar, by mind and mood, you should string together ornaments of flowers for Mahāprabhu and send them to Him. He will accept them. Once the Guṇḍicā of the heart is thoroughly cleansed, Śrī Jagannātha Kṛṣṇacandra happily finds a place to settle there. Mādhurya-rasa maintains its superiority to that of aiśvarya, as Śrī Jagannātha-deva journeys to Śrī Vṛndāvana from Dvārakā or Kurukṣetra; this is the purpose of Ratha-yātrā. “Varaja-vipine sakhi-sātha / sevana karabũ, rādhānātha – In the forests of Vraja, I will serve with my girlfriends, O Lord of Rādhā. Kusume gā̃thabhũ hāra / tulasī-maṇi-mañjarī tāra – I will string flowers together to make a garland, with tulasī-mañjarīs for gems.”
As long as the heart is not raised to this transcendental state, one will not catch any glimpse of all these things. Carry on, day in and day out, maintaining your service and vows. This will satisfy Śrī Bhagavān and He will shower profuse blessings upon you. Try to be content with whatever situation He has put you in. What more can I say? Know that you have my affectionate blessings. Thus I conclude,
your eternal well-wisher,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
Translated from the compilation of letters (Patrāvalī) of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja