Occasional Religion Should Melt Away
A Lecture on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Namo bhaktivinodaya saccidananda namine gaura-sakti svarupaya rupanuga
[I offer pranama unto Saccidananda Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura who is the
foremost of rupanugas and the embodiment (prakasa) of Sri Gauranga
Mahaprabhu's sakti, Sri Gadadhara Pandita.]
One should understand the proper relationship between guru and disciple, as
exemplified by Sannyasi Thakura and Premadasa Babaji. One should understand
how Sannyasi Thakura followed and served his Gurudeva. One day, in the early
morning, as the reddish sun rays first appeared, the solor orb yet resting
below the earth, Paramahamsa Premadasa Babaji was chanting harinama on his
tulasi beads, sitting in the sacred kunja named Madhavi-mandapa.
Madhava is Krsna, and Madhavi is Radhika. For transcendental remembrance, a
high class of Vaisnava like Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Santana Gosvami
will replicate Vrndavana, as they did when they lived in Ramakeli. There
they excavated two ponds, Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda, and they also made
many kunjas for doing bhajana. In Mayapura, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura also developed Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda, and
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura created Svananda Sukhada Kunja in Godruma.
Similarly, in order to help in always remembering Radha and Krsna, Premadasa
Babaji made Madhavi-mandapa. The flowers and creepers there were very
fragrant, mild and sweet madhavi-lata, and bumblebees used to come there to
sing and take madhu (honey) from those flowers.
While Premadasa was chanting, he first offered pranama to nisanta-lila (the
end of night pastimes) of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then he remembered
Radha-Krsna's nisanta-lila and kunja-bhanga-lila [when Radha and Krsna have
to leave the kunja]. These sweet pastimes are the object of our life.
Service in asta-kaliya-lila is the objective of our bhajana, and the first
lila is nisanta-lila. All the sakhis, like Lalita, Visakha, Rupa Manjari,
Rati Manjari, and so many others were together with Radha and Krsna in a
kunja, sweet pastimes were transpiring, and Premadasa Babaji was remembering
those pastimes. A high class of devotee divides the 24-hour day into eight -
three hours in the night, three in the day, three the evening, three in the
morning - and they always chant and remember accordingly.
As Premadasa Babaji remembered that nisanta-lila, he heard an old monkey of
Radhika call out, "Jatila! Jatila is coming to reward You! O greatest lampat
(debauchee), she is very soon coming to reward you. Wait a little. She is
coming just now." Radhika and Krsna became alert and prepared to return to
their houses. All the sakhis were very, very, concerned and Sri Radhika
became like a mad person. She asked her sakhis, "Who am I? Where am I going?
What should I do?"
Extremely upset, the sakhis asked, "Why did this old monkey have to come and
disturb us?" At that time Sri Vrnda told the manjaris, or Rupa Manjari may
also sometimes tell them, "Make that monkey silent, please. Make him silent.
This disturbance is ruining everything." In the meantime, Yogamaya arranged
that Srimati Radhika could quickly, in minutes, enter Her house in Yavat.
In his internal gopi form, Premadasa Babaji was serving both Radha and
Krsna, with a leaning toward Radhika. Radhika was unhappy, thinking, "Where
am I? Where am I going?" She had forgotten everything in that deep mood of
anticipated separation. Premadasa Babaji was in a faint, weeping, in the
line of Rupa Gosvami. This is our object as well, but as far as we are
concerned, we waste so much of our time and energy in maintenance. Though we
are devotees, our whole time is entangled and we have no time for
remembering and chanting. We think, "If we give our whole time to devotional
activities, our business will fail. How, then, will we be able to maintain
ourselves?" We have no belief in Krsna, and we have no belief that He will
continue our maintenance. He is the main root of our maintenance. We think,
"I maintain myself. If I will give my whole energy to krsna-bhajana as this
Babaji did, then who will maintain my wife, my children, and my
paraphernalia?" This worry is endless.
Babaji was totally engaged in bhajana. He forgot that he was Paramahamsa
Babaji, and instead he was thinking, "I am the maidservant of Rupa Manjari."
He was able to see those nearby, like Sannyasi Thakura, but at the same time
he remained in that transcendental mood and called out, "O Ramana Manjari,
you should stop that old monkey." He pointed to the sannyasi and addressed
him, "O, Ramana Manjari!"
The Thakura thought: "My Gurudeva has indicated my constitutional form. I
firmly believe his words. I am a servant of Radhika. This is my
transcendental position. This is my form. Now I shall remember these
He still had no tilaka, no mala, and no Vaisnava dress, but internally he
was totally surrendered. We are not like that. We wear very big tilaka, and
big, big neck beads. Our japa mala is not less than 5 kilos, and we can even
spend $1000 to steal the mala of Haridasa Thakura from Puri. Someone once
thought, "If I can take that mala, my bhajana will be very high." He somehow
gave $1000 to a greedy Orissan pujari in Srila Haridasa Thakura's samadhi,
and the pujari later on claimed that someone had stolen them. This was a
Someone else thought, "The very small beads that my Gurudeva has given will
not do." He therfore told his Gurudeva, "Gurudeva, a monkey has taken my
beads," or "I forget where I kept my beads. Oh, please, I brought very good
mala from Vrndavana. The price was $100." They think that simply having big
mala will suffice, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself used to count His names
on knotted cloth.
Pointing to the sannyasi, Premadasa Babaji said, "O sakhi, you should
silence that monkey." At that time Sannyasa Thakura became realized. A guru
will give his disciple that realization when he is free from all kinds of
unwanted and unfavorable habits, when he has nothing else to do, when he has
forgotten everything, when his heart is totally pure, and when he is serving
his gurudeva completely. In this way, Sannyasi Thakura's Gurudeva revealed
to him his real self.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has clearly written in the third part of Jaiva
Dharma that those who take vesa (saffron or white cloth of a renunciate),
danda, and copin in an immature stage, will give it up and fall down after
some time. The mantra of sannyasa and that of babaji-vesa is the same. The
mantra is to help the devotee do bhajana in a gopi mood. One should not
give, and one should not take, these things in an immature state.
When the devotee has complete greed to serve Radha-Krsna, he will be at
least in the stage of asakti or ruci. He will jump at once in this stage of
ruci. There will be no need of his first coming in sraddha, anartha-nivrtti,
and so on. Anartha-nivrtti is already accomplished. That devotee has passed
anartha-nivrtti. He has no anarthas. Sannyasi Thakura had become free from
anarthas at the time of attaining brahma-jnana, and now he was on the
platform of remembering Radha and Krsna's sweet pastimes.
You should know all these truths and try to develop like in this way - not
jumping beforehand and reading Govinda Lilamrta and Krsna Bhavanamrta. I
stand at a distance in awe, and fold my palms and offer pranama to both
books, but I know that all of you keep three or four copies of each. I am
waiting for my maturity. Some of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja's
disciples once came to me asking, "Please help us! Please give us
siddha-pranali." I replied, " I cannot help myself. How can I help you?"
These disciples then went to the sahajiya babajis at Radha Kunda. Those
sahajiya babajis then gave them 'siddha pranamli' for five anna paisa,
although they never knew the meaning of siddha-pranali. Real siddha-pranali
has been explained by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I was searching for these new
babajis, and I have now heard that they are married. Don't be like them. Be
disciples like Sannyasi Thakura. A disciple like this Sannyasi Thakura will
never fall down.
Premadasa Babaji Maharaja then became silent, and from that very day this
sannyasi became known as 'Vaisnava dasa.' He was now chanting and
remembering Radha and Krsna and the eight parts of Their day.
One day Vaisnava dasa fell at the lotus feet of Premadasa Babaji Maharaja,
and asked a question. It was not actually a question, but a jijnasu. What is
the difference between a question and jijnasu? Jijnasu means 'humble
inquiry'. The disciple addresses his guru, "If I am qualified to hear the
answer, please tell me; and if I am not qualified to hear, I don't want to
hear. Please warn me not to ask such questions until I'm qualified." This is
the etiquette of a pure disciple. He does not say, "You must answer my
question, otherwise I will give you up." This is not the mood of a devotee.
Babaji Maharaja replied, "You are actually qualified. I will try to answer
your question according to my knowledge."
Vaisnava dasa said, "Prabhu, this is my question: I have heard for a long
time about dharma, religion. Dharma is glorified in all circles. All
cultures say that without religion, one is like an animal - like a dog, a
hog, or a pig. All scriptures and all religious books teach, "Dharma is
everything. We are doing everything for dharma. We can shoot the whole world
for dharma. Buddhists, Christians, Shaivites, Hindus, and Vaisnavas all say
that without religion a person is like an animal. However, their
explanations of dharma are different. If dharma is one, the explanation of
dharma should be one. But I am very worried that what I have heard from
various persons about the glorification, explanation, and meaning of dharma
are all different. There is so much difference in them. I cannot imagine
why, since if dharma is one, why are the meanings differ among various kinds
of religious persons. If dharma is one, then why do they not give one
What is the difference between sunyavada and sankaravada? Sankara's guru was
Gaurapada and his paramaguru was Govindapada. Gaurapada and Govindapada were
both totally Buddhist, and Sankara was a nirvisesa brahmavadi. He
established the Vedas with a brahmavada interpretation. Sarvam kalvidam
brahma. He said there is nothing 'dual' at all. Everything is God. He
preached the idea that the appearance of many different things is due to
maya. We ask the followers of this idea, "From where has this second thing
known as maya come? Sankara preached sat-asat anirvachaniya-tvat. The
Ultimate Truth is neither sat nor asat. It is neither existent nor
non-existent. It cannot be defined or expressed in words. It cannot be
contemplated. But this is also ultimately zero, just as is preached in
Buddhism. Nowadays Buddhism is flourishing. It is increasing very rapidly
because his friend Kali-yuga is helping so much.
And what is the Muslims' idea of dharma? They say that Allah has no shape,
no qualities, and no mercy. Then what is the use of Allah if he cannot
speak, he cannot realize our pain and worry, and he has no mercy, no form,
and no ears to hear. Their conception of Allah is the same as brahmavada or
Sankara philosophy. It is the same thing.
So, "Bhagavata kahe taha pan purna cale" Srimad-Bhagavatam (SB1.1.2) states
that all kinds of cheating religious systems are kicked out." This verse is
translated into Bengali:
prthivite yaha kichu dharma name cale
bhagavata kahe taha paripurna chale
" According to Bhagavata, whatever is going on throughout the whole world in
the name of religion is all cheating."
[Sripad Pundarika prabhu reads from Jaiva Dharma:] Nature arises from the
elementary structure of an object.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Any object, however created, receives its
intrinsic nature at the time of its creation. That inherent nature naturally
present with that object since its creation.
dharmah projjhita-kaitavo tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmulanam srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah sadyo hrdy avarudhyate tra krtibhis susrusubhis tat-ksanat
"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially
motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is
understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest
truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such
truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by
the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God
realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one
attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this
culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart."
Srimad Bhagavatam revealed the eternal truth, not only five thousand years
ago, but before creation. Srimad Bhagavatam is transcendental. It never
changes. Like Krsna, it is eternal. Everything is there in Srimad
Bhagavatam. Those who say, "There is no God, or if there is God, He has no
form, no attributes, no quality, and no power," are propounding the same
falsity as Sankara did, or as Gaurapada claimed on behalf of Buddhism.
Vaisnava philosophy is real. There is one God, Krsna, and He has unlimited
manifestations like Rama, Nrsimha, and Vamana. He has so many vibhutis -
powers, like the demigods, but they are not brahma. They are servants of
Krsna, as are all goddesses. All truths are included in Vaisnavism. There
are so many new religions, and their proponents present so many books. When
Communism appeared, it spread everywhere like a forest fire, and after some
time it collapsed. All modern religions are like this. In India, Sikhism
originally began to protect Hindu or Vaisnava dharma, but now it is in full
motion as a totally separate thing.
Having heard the question of Vaisnava dasa, Babaji Maharaja offered pranama
to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Radha and Krsna. He prayed,
"He krsna karuna sindhu, dina bandhu jagat pate
" and then he began, "Vande
ham sri guru sri yuta pada kamalam
" He then told Vaisnava dasa, "You are
most fortunate to have a question like this. You have reminded me of the
entirety of krsna-tattva, and in this tattva exists radha-tattva and all
[Srila Narayana Maharaja speaks Hindi and Sripad Pundarika Prabhu
translates:] An object is called a 'vastu' and is eternal nature is known as
its nitya-dharma, or eternal religion. By Krsna's desire, when an object is
formed, a particular nature is inherent in that structure as an eternal
concomitant factor. This very nature is the nitya-dharma, or 'eternal
religion' of the object.
Premadasa Babaji explained that the nature of an object becomes altered or
distorted when a change takes place within it, either by force of
circumstance or due to contact with other objects. With the passing of time,
this distorted nature becomes fixed and appears to be permanent, as if it
were the eternal nature of that object. This distorted nature is not the
svabhava, or true nature. It is that nature which is acquired through
long-term association. This temporary condition occupies the place of the
factual nature, and becomes identified as the svabhava.
For example, water is an object, and its svabhava or nature is liquidity.
When water solidifies due to certain circumstances, it becomes ice. The
acquired nature of solidity takes the place of its inherent liquid nature.
In reality, this acquired nature is not eternal. Rather, it is occasional or
temporary, arising because of certain external causes. When this external
cause is no longer effective, this acquired nature vanishes automatically. On the other hand, the svabhava is eternal. The object's core nature is not
distorted. It may appear distorted, but it still remains inseparably
connected with its object. The original nature will certainly become evident
again when the proper time and circumstances arise. The living entity's
eternal nature is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because
of a certain cause or circumstances, he has forgotten his eternal nature or
duty - the service to the Supreme Lord. When the fortunate living entity
receives sadhu-sanga, in that association his eternal nature can again be
If you will understand these first two chapters, you can then understand the
whole book. The fundamental basis of the entire book depends on these two
chapters. The other chapters are comparatively very easy, and these two are
the most essential. You should not think, "What is the need of this
philosophy? We will distribute books, and very easily we will remember
asta-kaliya-lila. What is the use of these bogus things? It is too hard a
subject, and it is without rasa. It is a dry subject."
Premadasa Babaji Maharaja is now concluding his explanation of vastu. We
will have to know this subject matter one day. Your arcana and other
devotional activities will not help you if you do not know these facts from
your siksa-guru. One day you will have to become realized, surely, so why
not now? Why not today? You should try to begin, today, to realize these
truths. If you do not understand your transcendental nature, then your book
distribution, your reading, and even your sannyasa will not help you.
Sravanam is first. First hear.
The svabhava, true nature, of an object is its nitya-dharma. What is that
true nature? We are soul, coming from eternal Krsna. "Jivera svarupa hoya
nitya Krsna-dasa." This is our intrinsic nature. We are all Krsna dasa or
Krsna dasi, in any form. This is transcendental. It cannot be changed. This
physical body may be changed, but that never changes.
The aquired nature or nisarga is its nimittika-dharma or occasional religion
or function. What is occasional and what is transcendental? If one knows
this difference, he can do real bhajana and serve Krsna. It is therefore
essential to know these truths. We should not think, "I am the wife of that
person," "I am husband of that person," "I am from Nigeria," "I am from
England," "I am Christian," "Hindu," "Vaisnava." This will not do. Somehow
we must know these truths. Try to know. Even if you have no taste there is
no harm. Still you should try. Even if you have no taste in the name, still
you should chant. Even if you have no taste in hearing all these topics you
"I will be here, somehow or other, even if I have to take chili powder. I
must hear. I will go, again and again."
If one does not know what is the transcendental nature of the jiva, and what
is occasional, temporary, one is bound to think, "What I am now, this is
real." No one can help such a person. Krsna sometimes comes in the form of
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rama, and others, and He sends His own associates -
sometimes Hanuman, sometimes Bhima, and sometimes Ramanuja and others. He
sends our Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami
Maharaja, and my Gurudeva. He sends such help to the conditioned souls.
Somehow that occasional religion should melt and go away, and the real
transcendental, intrinsic nature, to serve Krsna, should manifest. Try to
think, try to read, and try to follow. If you do not understand, again and
again serve your Gurudeva. Serve, and then inquire. Don't inquire without
serving. By that seva, Guru will be satisfied, and like a cow he will give
milk. His milk is hari-katha. You cannot have this without serving, and
therefore you should always remember this Gita principle.
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from
him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can
impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth." (Bg.4.34)
That Guru should be tattva-darsi, a realized soul. If he is not a realized
soul, he cannot fully express all these truths to you. By his causeless
mercy, the bona fide guru will inspire you. He will give you the power to
understand and realize all these truths. Surrender to a soul like that.
Transcriber: Srimati Krsna Mayi devi dasi and Srimati Vasanti devi dasi
Editor: Sripad Rsabhadeva dasa Adhikari
Ass't editor: Srimati Syamarani dasi
Typist and proofreader: Srimati Radhika devi dasi