From the lecture series called Ramananda Samvad
(the Conversation Between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Raya Ramananda)
Jagannatha Puri, India: August 8, 2004
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
nanyatha kalpate kvacit
["My dear Lord, sometimes great saintly persons go to the homes
householders, although these householders are generally low-minded.
saintly person visits their homes, one can understand that it is for
other purpose than to benefit the householders. (Caitanya-caritamrta
Great souls (mahat) travel here and there, and they meet with those
household (grhastha) life and who are entangled in the noose of their
fruitive activities. Fixed in one place, householders have no opportunity
to go here and there to meet with sadhus, and sadhus therefore, travel
meet with them. Nanda Maharaja said in a very humble mood, The
consciousness of us householders is very low.
Brahmacaris, vanaprasthas and sannyasis go door to door and beg alms
householders. Householders give donations that support and nourish
in the renounced orders of life, and therefore, some Puranas conclude
the grhastha ashram is the best. If there were no grhasthas, where
the sadhus go? Where would the brahmacaris beg alms? Where would Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu stay when He travels?
It must be noted, however, that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed with
grhasthas who are like Nanda baba. He would accept alms only from
exemplary and saintly householders. As previously mentioned, Nanda
Maharaja told Gargacarya, I know you do not come to the house
householder for food or donations. The real reason you come is that
fallen. You have come in order to bestow upon us the eternal benefit
spiritual well being. As Nanda Maharaja spoke in this very humble
Sri Raya Ramananda is speaking to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The teaching here is that unless one feels oneself to be utterly
insignificant, it is not possible to receive the mercy of the visiting
Great souls have one-pointed faith, determination, enthusiasm and
conviction in the service of Lord Krsna; and they want to distribute
to others. But who can receive such mercy? Only those who feel themselves
to be utterly insignificant. Those who receive the mercy of Vaisnavas
become successful in their life and realize the service of the Lord.
Without the mercy of Vaisnavas this is not possible, and therefore,
mercy is absolutely essential.
Why have I called you all here from all corners of the world? I have
called you only for your benefit.
There is a parallel verse to this, which is also in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
was spoken by Yudisthira Maharaja to Mahatma Vidhura, who, after traveling
on pilgrimage, came to Yudisthira Maharajas palace and gave
tirtha-bhutah svayam vibho
[My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places
personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your
heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage. (Srimad-Bhagavatam
Yudisthira Maharaja said, Great Maha-bhagavata Vaisnavas like
personally holy tirthas (sacred places of pilgrimage), but you are
moving tirtha. You travel and visit the holy places, to purify those
places by your presence. On the excuse of taking bath in the many
places, you purify them and bestow mercy upon the residents
and villagers who live there.
You are svantah-sthena gadabhrta. The general meaning
of the word
gadabhrta is that personality who carries the club. Narayana,
Supreme Personality of Godhead, holds that club. In this connection,
however, the confidential meaning of gada is not club, but flute.
person who always carries within his heart that very Syamasundara
Krsna who plays sweetly upon His flute is called a mahat or great
In this verse it is stated, Not for any other reason but to
to others. Is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu mahat or Mahabhagavata?
He is God
Himself. If those who are sadhus travel here and there to bestow benefit
upon others, and they are so powerful that they can inspire others
their Krsna consciousness, then what to speak of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu,
who is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.
If you do not understand what I am saying, you can ask questions.
an isthagosthi (meeting for the purpose of understanding).
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Raya Ramananda very sweetly spoke to
other, and sometime later a brahmana approached Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
and extended an invitation for Him to take lunch in his house.
Mahaprabhu accepted the invitation, took bath, and then went to the
of that brahmana. Then, in the evening, as he had arranged with Raya
Ramananda, He went back to that solitary place and sat there waiting
him to come. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet He was
very eagerly for Raya Ramananda to come there.
This time Ramananda Raya did not come as before. He had previously
like a king surrounded by his entourage, but this time he wore only
simple dhoti and brought only one servant. Then, as soon as he arrived,
told the servant to sit at a distance. Alone, he sat down in the solitary
place with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, so that they could converse about
prabhu kahe,--pada sloka sadhyera nirnaya
raya kahe,--sva-dharmacarane visnu-bhakti haya
[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Ramananda Raya, Recite a verse
revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life. Ramananda
replied, If one executes the prescribed duties of his social
awakens his original Krsna consciousness. (Caitanya-caritamrta
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at once asked Sri Raya Ramananda, O
Raya, please quote a verse from sastra which defines sadhya, the goal
life. Here, Sriman Mahaprabhu and Ramananda Raya are setting
when sadhus meet together they dont speak about mundane subjects.
go and meet with a sadhu at any time, we should not bring up any mundane
topics. If sadhus meet you they will ask, How is your bhajana?
is your material life? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu thus posed this
Please quote a verse from sastra which defines sadhya, the goal
The word sadhya means objective in life, and the practice by which
obtain the objective we have selected is called sadhana. So sadhya
which can be attained by sadhana, and sadhana is that by which one
attain the sadhya, or particular objective.
There are many types of objectives, and corresponding to the many
objectives there are many types of processes to achieve them. All
sadhana or practices do not lead to the same objective, and all types
objectives do not have the same process for attaining them. The goal
life for all living entities is a transcendental subject matter.
Therefore, the conditioned soul cannot ascertain either the goal or
method to attain it. It is quite impossible.
As stated in Mahabharata: Acintya kalaye bhava na tansta te
that which is transcendental and inconceivable cannot be ascertained
Every transcendental subject has a common symptom, and the common
is that it is acintya, completely inconceivable. The material mind
think about it. It is therefore inappropriate to apply ones
and power of material discrimination to ascertain anything transcendental.
In the scripture known as the Rg Veda, four types of purusartha (objectives)
mentioned, namely dharma, artha, kama, and moksa. Dharma is the
performance of prescribed duties recommended by the Vedic scriptures.
Specifically, this comes in the form of observing the rules and
regulations of varna and asrama (the social and spiritual orders).
follows dharma carefully, the result is that he will get artha. Artha
means economic development, security in this world, many servants
followers, etc. When one acquires economic prosperity, he can go to
next objective, kama. One who is materially successful can try to
his material desires (kama). The fourth objective is called moksa,
liberation. Dharma, artha and kama are not actually goals of life,
those who attain these goals do not find happiness. Rather, they simply
Purnam api janana, purnam api marana. Again and again
they take birth in
this material world and rotate in the endless cycle of birth and death.
Without exception, all living entities in this world are unhappy.
beings, animals and other species are all unhappy. They dont
know how to
find happiness. They dont know the path to become free from
All their activities simply result in pain, and if they get any happiness,
it is mixed with suffering. The result of that happiness is more
suffering. This is the condition of the living entities in this world.
Liberation or mukti has been defined as, adyanta dukha nivrtti,
complete and absolute cessation of all types of suffering.
One type of mukti is called sayujya-mukti. This means that the atma
merge or enter into the impersonal effulgence (nirvesesa brahma) of
Lord, which has no qualities, no attributes, no shape, no form and
personality. In this condition there is complete cessation of all
suffering, and also all happiness that is beyond material nature.
mukti is one type of goal of life, but it cannot be called
parama-purusartha, the supreme goal of life. Dharma, artha, and kama
not goals of life. Moksa may be called so, but it cannot be called
Devotional service is rasa-svarupa, the embodiment of all ecstatic
transcendental mellows. By constitution the living entity is a servant
Sri Krsna, and therefore the happiness he experiences in this service
directly related to his constitutional position. The happiness which
directly related and natural to the constitution of the living entity
called bhagavata-seva, service to the Supreme Personality
In this there are two principles. First of all, there is a particular
of relationship between the object of service, the Supreme Personality
Godhead, and His servant.
Secondly there is a very intense desire to give happiness to the Supreme
Lord by rendering Him service. This has been defined by Srila Rupa
anyavilasa sita sunyam jnana karmady anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanu silanam bhaktir uttama
The continuous, unbroken cultivation of all endeavors of the
words and loving feelings of the heart, under the guidance of the
guru, which is meant exclusively for both the happiness and benefit
Krsna, which is completely untouched by even the slightest smell of
type of other external desire, and which is not covered by karma,
yoga. This is called uttama-bhakti.
This uttama bhakti is rasa-mayi; it is full of ecstatic mellows. This
is the real
transcendental happiness, and this is the supreme goal of objectives
of life (parama-purusartha).
atmaramas ca munayo
nirgrantha apiy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukim bhaktim
[I am different varieties of atmaramas [those who take pleasure
or spirit self], especially those established on the path of
self-realization, though freed from all kinds of material bondage,
to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead.
This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore
can attract everyone, including liberated souls. (Srimad Bhagavatam
Those who are self-satisfied (atmarama) dont need anything
in this world.
They are self-satisfied. They are liberated from the clutches of the
material energy and are situated on the platform of eternity. They
astonished when they hear about the wonderful, transcendental qualities
Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When they hear about
astonishing characteristics, an intense greed awakens in their hearts
serve Him. When self-satisfied personalities like Srila Sukadeva Gosvami
and the four Kumaras Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat Kumara hear
Sri Krsna, intense greed to serve Him awakens in their hearts.
Liberated personalities want bhakti, and therefore, bhakti is the
goal for them. Those who are already liberated can become attracted
devotional service and understand that it is far higher than liberation,
whereas those who are conditioned in this world cannot. Therefore,
ascertainment of the goal of life is impossible for conditioned souls.
is for this understanding that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Ramananda
Raya, Please quote a verse from the sastra which defines the
life. Sastra is authority, sastra gives perfect knowledge.
Lord Krsna stated in Bhagavad-gita (16.23):
yah sastra vidhim utsrjya
na sa siddhim avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim
[He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according
to his own
whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme
Those who dont accept the conclusions of sastra, and therefore
follow it in their lives, cannot have happiness or success in their
Therefore, one should accept the conclusions of sastra with regard
understanding the goal of life and the method to attain it. If one
not follow sastra, one is bound to follow his mundane, contaminated,
material intelligence. Material intelligence will mislead him and
will be ruined. He will not be able to discover any happiness. Therefore,
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to Ramananda Raya, Please quote
scriptures to support your presentation of the goal of life.
There are many different types of scriptures: Veda, Vedanta, Upanisad,
Purana, Srimad Bhagavatam and others. Among all of the different types
scriptures, Srimad Bhagavatam is best. Srimad Bhagavatam pramanam
amalam. It is immaculate evidence regarding the ultimate goal
In the beginning of their conversation, when Caitanya Mahaprabhu
posing these questions, Raya Ramananda quoted from various scriptures
as Visnu Purana and Bhagavad Gita. Each time, however, Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu replied, This is external; tell Me something more.
until Sri Ramananda Raya began to quote from Srimad Bhagavatam that
Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to be satisfied with his answers. This
acceptance by Mahaprabhu is also evidence that the Srimad Bhagavatam
the crest jewel of all scriptural evidence.
We see that in the impersonal light of brahman there is complete
absolute cessation of all suffering. There is some happiness; this
true. But in this type of liberation there is some obstacle, some
impediment, to progress. If one wants to attain this as a goal of
one will have to adopt the conception that everything is one.
By adopting the conception that everything is one, the mood of service
completely destroyed. This is a very critical obstacle. Only service
Sri Krsna can give the highest happiness. In uttama-bhakti, which
embodiment of all happiness (rasa-svarupa), two principles are presented:
the relationship between the object of service and the servant is
the first, and
the second is the desire to render service. These are the two prominent
ingredients of rasa-mayi bhakti.
Leaving sayujya-mukti or impersonal liberation aside, there are other
types of mukti: salokya, sarsti, samipya and svarupya, to
reside on the same planet as the Supreme Lord, to have opulences like
the Supreme Lord,
to reside close to the Supreme Lord, and to have a form that is similar
the associates of the Supreme Lord. These are related to service to
Narayana in Vaikuntha. In these four types of liberation there is
relationship between the object of service and the servant. Here,
Narayana is the object of service and Laksmi devi, Narada Rsi of
Vaikuntha, Garuda and others are all His servants. The conception
service is present, but there is also some obstacle. Those who desire
type of liberation have some desire for their own happiness, (svasukha).
Here we see that all suffering is gone and there is happiness, but
something is missing. The desire to render service is contracted,
restricted, and confined. It cannot totally flourish and mature.
Pure devotional service is exclusively for the happiness and welfare
Sri Krsna. For those who have one-pointed desire to give happiness
Krsna, their own happiness is automatic. Their happiness lies in the
happiness of Krsna, and therefore their desire to serve is intense
exclusive. It is not contracted or restricted by any desire for personal
happiness or separate desires.
Therefore the goal of life of the four types of liberation is also
supreme goal of life. Srimad Bhagavatam says in its second verse
dharma 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 krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat
[Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially
motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which
understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The
truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all.
truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled
by the great sage Vyasadeva (in his maturity), is sufficient in itself
God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon
attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this
culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.]
This Srimad Bhagavatam unequivocally kicks out all types of cheating
religion; that is, any religious or so-called spiritual practices
are contaminated by material or self-centered motivation. Any activity
mentality with any selfish motivation has been rejected by Srimad
The conclusion is that above the four types of liberation in Vaikuntha
there lies Goloka Vrndavana. In Goloka Vrndavana, all the residents
service is exclusively for the happiness of Krsna. This is their highest
happiness, and this is pure and transcendental to the utmost degree.
For this reason, prema, love for Lord Sri Krsna in Goloka Vrndavana,
is the supreme objective of all living entities. *[see
endnote] Srila Baladeva Vidyabusana explains in his commentary
of Vedanta Sutra: Muktanam api lilaya vigraham krtva bhagavtam
bhajante. Those who are liberated from this world meditate internally
upon their own constitutional form (siddha-deha) their spiritual body.Externally
living in this world, they meditate internally on their spiritual
form, and by their spiritual form they render service to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
* endnote - The supreme objective of all living
entities is pure and transcendental to the utmost degree. Thus whatever
objective one desires to attain in Vaikuntha, really it is completely
present and included already in Goloka Vrndavana.
Editorial advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha
Translator: Sripad Aranya Maharaja
Transciber: Vrnda dasi
Typist: Jaya Sri dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi