The Creeper Of Devotion Grows - Part 2

(A lecture on Caitanya-caritamrta Madya-lila Chapter 19 - Sri Rupa Siksa)
(Toulouse, France: July 7, 2002 (Part 2)
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Audio: (starts at 11:00)

Gurudeva portrait[The following is the second of the two lectures in France that Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja especially requested to be published:]

When one’s creeper of devotion matures and one comes to the stage of an uttama-bhagavata [*see endnote 1] (the highest stage of devotional perfection), crossing bhava-bhakti and coming to prema-bhakti, at that time the devotee can go to Vraja (the highest abode of the Lord), and especially to Radha-kunda (the most confidential place of the Lord’s pastimes).

In bhava-bhakti sadhana, the devotee is still here in the material world. How is he tasting the fruits of his bhakti? He is engaged in asta-kaliya-cintana, meditation on the eight-fold daily pastimes of Radha and Krsna. He tastes all these pastimes in his heart. He has a strong desire: “When will I go to the place where the fruits of love of Godhead are situated?” Gradually he comes to the stage wherein he gives up this body, his siddha-sarira (spiritual body) manifests, and in a moment he goes there to serve under the guidance of the gopis.

What to speak of the sadhana-bhakti practices before the stage of bhava-bhakti, even if he is in bhava-bhakti, and he is about to complete bhava-bhakti, still there is chance that his anarthas may return. This is because from bhava-bhakti up to but not including prema-bhakti, one’s anarthas are sleeping (dormant). When prema manifests, at that time all anarthas will be destroyed. [*see endnote 2]

Don’t criticize any Vaisnava – but Vaisnava must be real. In fact, don’t criticize anyone, whether that person is wrong or right. Criticism will take time, that time will be wasted, and that person’s bad qualities will come in you. So, don’t criticize.

yadi vaisnava-aparadha uthe hati mata
upade va chinde, tara sukhi’ yaya pata

[“If the devotee commits an offense at the feet of a Vaisnava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service in the material world, his offense is compared to a mad elephant that uproots the creeper and breaks it. In this way the leaves of the creeper are dried up.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 19.156)]

“Hati mata” means “mad elephant.” If that elephant sees banana trees, or any other trees and plants, he will uproot them. He will pull them out of the ground from the root. Mad elephant refers to offenses to Vaisnavas. Do you know the ten offenses to chanting of the holy names? Try to know these maha-aparadhas, great offenses. [*see endnote 3] Do not commit them, even in a dream.

Let people do what they want to do. If you can help them, you should help. If they will not hear you, then give them up. Do not waste your time for them. That is why, at the time of sadhana, the devotee creates some fencing – so that aparadha (offences) will not come. What is that fencing? It is sadhu-sanga, association with pure devotees. Sadhu-sanga will save you; otherwise you are bound to do so many wrong things. Even in joking, you may offend someone. I see nowadays that it is very easy to commit offences. Even to hear offensive words is also an offence, so don’t hear offenses.

Ladies should try to maintain their chastity, not divorcing daily and marrying again and again. If you have already divorced, don’t marry again. Never, never, and never. One time is enough. This instruction is for men too. If your wife has divorced you, don’t marry again; don’t repeat that wrong thing. Otherwise, where is your bhakti? Make a determination, “I will not do so.” What new experience will be there with a new wife or husband? It will be the same thing that you have already tasted. This divorcing and re-marrying is like a burning fire. Oh, you will be burnt forever.

What is the meaning of asat-sanga?

asat-sanga-tyaga, – ei vaisnava-acara
’stri-sangi’ – eka asadhu, ‘krsnabhakta’ ara

[“A Vaisnava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women. [*See endnote 4] Vaisnavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Krsna.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.87)]

Don’t associate with those who are not chanting and remembering in the authorized process, those who are lusty, and those who are associating with lusty persons. Everyone should follow this instruction. If a lady or a man is always divorcing, don’t associate with them. Boycott them. Then bhakti will come; otherwise it will not.

kintu yadi latara sange uthe ‘upasakha’
bhukti-mukti-vancha, yata asaìkhya tara lekha

[“Sometimes unwanted creepers, such as the creepers of desires for material enjoyment and liberation from the material world, grow along with the creeper of devotional service. The varieties of such unwanted creepers are unlimited. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 19.159)]

Being “cruel,” try to cut out all worldly desires. If there are worldly desires – to marry again and again, and to make money, what should you do? Throw out those unwanted creepers, meaning weeds, from the field.

There are two kinds of unwanted creepers. One is joined to the main creeper, and one looks like the creeper, but is separate. Regarding the separate unwanted creeper, the weed, if water will be poured these weeds will grow. They will be showered with the water, and thus the main creeper will not be able to grow. So, they should be uprooted and thrown out. All worldly desires should be uprooted and thrown.

Coming from the root of the original creeper, there may be some branches that need to be trimmed, so trim them. Only the main, central creeper should remain, and all extra branches should be trimmed. What are those extra branches? Narayana-bhakti (devotion to Lord Narayana, Krsna’s expansion as the Lord of Vaikuntha), Mathuresa-bhakti (devotion to Krsna’s expansion as the Lord of Mathura), Dvaraka-bhakti (devotion to Krsna’s expansion as the Lord of Dvaraka), Rama-bhakti (devotion to Krsna’s expansion as Lord Ramacandra), and other types of bhakti. Being “cruel,” trim them.

What will remain? Vraja-bhakti. There are five “branches” in Vraja, but don’t cut or trim them; rather, keep them aside.

Have honor for all five branches, but cultivate only parakiya-bhava to serve Radhika and Krsna. Only this creeper should remain, and then you can go to Radha-kunda and serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna there. Your creeper of devotion will then reach Vrndavana, from Vrndavana it will go to Govardhana, and from Govardhana to Radha-kunda; the final point of destination. This is parama-purusotta-artha, the highest attainment of the living being. There is nothing beyond this goal, which can only be obtained by suddha-bhakti, or pure bhakti.

Question: You were saying [at the beginning of the class, which can be found in Part 1, sent out to the harikatha mailing list a week before Part 2] that one remains within the brahmanda (this material universe) even if he has a desire to be like the four Kumaras: Sanat, Sanak, Sanatana, and Sanandana?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You could not understand. Sanat, Sanatana, and so on, are present in the brahmanda. [From lower to higher, the planetary systems of the universe are] Bhu, Bhuva, Sva, Maha, Jana, Tapa, and above this, Sanat, Sanaka, Sananda, and Sanatana Kumaras reside in this higher realm where the fruits of mystic yoga, namely anima, mahima, and lagima, and so on can be tasted. [The four Kumaras are pure devotees. They have attained the perfection of yogic powers, but they themselves have no desire for them] You will have to give up the desire for all these things. Higher than those realms is Brahmaloka (the planet of Lord Brahma), then Viraja (the place in between the material and spiritual worlds), then the brahmajyoti (the area of impersonal light surrounding all the infinite Vaikuntha planets), and then Vaikunthaloka. It is not easy – not easy – to reach beyond all these realms.

First we should know the meaning of sadhana-bhakti. [*see endnote 5] The practices of bhakti performed by you are actually a semblance of bhakti, not pure bhakti. When your object will be to attain rati, or bhava-bhakti, then your sadhana will be true sadhana-bhakti.

The sadhana of Dhruva is not pure bhakti. Understand? It is sakama-bhakti, because he had worldly desires. Prahlada Maharaja’s bhakti was not so pure [in the sense that he is not a Vraja-bhakta. In this context, “pure” refers to “being devoid of the understanding of God’s godhood.” In this connection, “not so pure” does not mean that he had material desires.] There was a sense of opulence there – thinking that the Supreme Lord has all opulence. Prahlada’s bhakti is called jnana-bhakti, meaning bhakti mixed with the awareness (jnana) of the Lord’s majesty. Hanuman’s bhakti was very good – He was always serving Rama – but he cannot embrace Rama or give his food remnants to Rama. He cannot defeat Rama in mock fighting. So, there was some lacking of intimacy [Hanuman has less sense of the Lord’s godhood than Prahlada; but he always worships Rama in awe and reverence].

The Pandavas have more bhakti than Hanuman. Arjuna could sleep with Krsna, play with Krsna, and Krsna could give His sister in marriage to him. Still, some sense of Krsna’s opulence came to Arjuna [when Krsna revealed to him His Universal Form] and disturbed his bhakti; that time he trembled with fear. So, there is still some lacking in intamacy. Arjuna could give his remnants to Krsna, and he and Krsna can eat from the same plate; but his bhakti was not like that of Uddhava. Uddhava was with Krsna, as His friend, prime minister, guru, servant, and so on.

Superior to Uddhava are the Vrajavasis – Nanda Baba, Mother Yasoda (Krsna’s parents), and Dama, and Sridhama (Krsna’s cowherd friends). They can easily defeat Krsna. If there was something in their mouths, Krsna would take that from their mouths and eat it very happily. If He is defeated by His friends, then He becomes more happy than them. He always fears Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba. The cowherd boys have so much mamata (sense of “mineness” or “possessiveness”) toward Krsna, but not like that of Mother Yasoda. The cowherd friends were only playing with Him. They did not care if He ate anything or not, or slept or not. They were always playing, playing, playing. More mamata is present in vatsalya-bhava (the mood of a parent).

And still more mamata resides in the gopis. Krsna wants that Mother Yasoda should sleep at night, so that He can run away. Run away to where? To meet the gopis. Among all the gopis, Candravali and Radharani are most prominent, and within Radhika’s group, Lalita, Visakha, and Citra are like Radhika, but not in all respects. The gopis experience the advanced stages of love from sneha (heart melting), to maan (loving jealous anger), pranaya (a sense of oneness with Krsna), raga (deep attachment), anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava – rudha and adhirudha (further stages of unalloyed love) – but not madana. Madana (the highest stage of love) is only in Radhika, and to serve this Radhika is the ultimate goal of our life. There is nothing beyond this.

Among the various rasas (relationships with Krsna), you can have santa (a neutral relationship), dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendship), and vatsalya (parental love). You can serve Narayana (the opulent Lord of Vaikuntha), you can very easily go to Dvaraka (where Krsna lives as an opulent prince) if you like, and you can serve Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. There are so many goals and so many processes. It depends on you.

Actually it does not depend on you, but on the constitutional position of the jiva (your soul). Whatever mood is present in the soul, our relationship with Krsna can go up to that. Regarding those who are attracted to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and have somehow come in His line, we can believe that they have Vraja-bhakti. Such souls are very rare in this world. So, go on doing all these devotional activities.

Standing on the shore of the bhakti-rasa ocean, the ocean of the mellows of pure devotional service, I have explained something to you. Srila Rupa Gosvami tasted one drop of that ocean; I have not tasted anything. I have not tasted the nectar from that ocean, but a breeze from it came and touched me. My Gurudeva told us, “I have tasted that nectar; so if you want to taste it, then follow me.” I am trying to follow, and in the meantime the air came. I have tasted that air, which makes the heart cool, soft, and sweet. I want to give this to you, but be qualified.

Follow me totally. Give up whatever is not favorable for following, and accept only what is favorable. Be like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. He left his father, mother, wife, and society, and took shelter of the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave him to Svarupa Damodara, and his bhakti desires were fulfilled.

I explained this in brief, but try to follow. Don’t be weak.

Now it is time to take parana (breaking the ekadasi fast with some grain, etc). Be ready. Be neat, clean, and pay your dues. Make a booklet of these classes. Revise the text so there will be nothing wrong in it, and then publish it. Take this wealth in your pocket. Don’t forget it.

Transcribers: Janaki dasi and Radhika dasi
Editors: Syamarani dasi
Typist: Basanti dasi

Endnotes from the books and lectures of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja (not including the quote from Madhurya-Kadambini):

* Endnote 1: One who is expert in logic, argument and the revealed scriptures and who has firm faith in Krsna is classified as a topmost devotee. He can deliver the whole world. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 22.65)
The uttama-adhikari, or highest devotee, is one who is very advanced in devotional service. An uttama-adhikari is not interested in blaspheming others, his heart is completely clean, and he has attained the realized state of unalloyed Krsna consciousness. According to Srila Rupa Gosvami, the association and service of such a maha-bhagavata, or perfect Vaisnava, are most desirable. (Nectar of Instruction Text 5)

One who perceives [just like the gopis] his own bhagavad-bhava, ecstatic mood of attraction towards Sri Krsnacandra, in the hearts of all jivas and sees all beings within Sri Krsnacandra is an uttama-bhagavata. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.45)

*Endnote 2: Four types of anarthas have been mentioned, namely, those arising from previous sinful activity, from previous pious activity, from nama aparadha, and from cultivation of bhakti. They have five grades of anartha nivritti (nullification): limited to one anartha (ekadeshavartini), affecting many anarthas (bahudeshavartini), almost complete (prayiki), complete (purna), and absolute (atyantiki). Thus immediately after starting performance of devotional activities (bhajana kriya), there is nullification but it is limited, according to the famous logic: The town burned, the cloth is torn. In other words, when we hear that a town burned, we can imagine that some of it must still be existing, or if a cloth is torn, the pieces are still existing. By continued practice, with the appearance of nishtha, the eradication is pervasive (affecting many anarthas). With the appearance of rati or bhava, the eradication is almost complete. With the appearance of prema, the eradication is complete. With the attainment of the Lord's association, the eradication is absolute, with no possibility of their reappearance. Thus if one thinks that the following occasional episodes demonstrate anartha arising even after attaining the lotus feet of the Lord, by one's intelligence he should throw out that thought from his mind. (Madhurya-kadambini, Chapter 3)

* Endnote 3: The offenses against the chanting of the holy name are as follows: (1) To blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord. (2) To consider the names of demigods like Lord Siva or Lord Brahma to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Visnu. (Sometimes the atheistic class of men take it that any demigod is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. But one who is a devotee knows that no demigod, however great he may be, is independently as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can chant "Kali, Kali!" or "Durga, Durga!"and it is the same as Hare Krsna, that is the greatest offense.) (3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master. (4) To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version. (5) To consider the glories of chanting Hare Krsna to be imagination. (6) To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord. (7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. (It should not be taken that because by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be freed from all kinds of sinful reaction, one may continue to act sinfully and after that chant Hare Krsna to neutralize his sins. Such a dangerous mentality is very offensive and should be avoided.) (8) To consider the chanting of Hare Krsna one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (karma-kanda). (9) To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name. (Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name of the Lord, but in the beginning one should not be instructed about the transcendental potency of the Lord. Those who are too sinful cannot appreciate the transcendental glories of the Lord, and therefore it is better not to instruct them in this matter.) (10) To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter. (Nectar of Devotion 8)

*Endnote 4: “…for man the woman is woman, and for the woman the man is woman. Not that woman means a particular class. Woman means which are enjoyable. So in this material world, the man is enjoyable by the woman, and the woman is enjoyable by the man. For both of them, visayinam sandarsanm atha yositam. Yosit means enjoyable.” (Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam. Vrndavana, 10 September 1976)

*Endnote 5: Sadhana-bhakti is the engagement of the mind and senses in the angas of bhakti for the purpose of attaining bhava-bhakti. This bhava is a potentiality which eternally exists in the heart of the jiva and is manifested in the heart purified by sadhana (by the mercy of a nitya-siddha, a living sad-guru). Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.105

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