[This class is a continuation of Srila Maharaja's
discussion of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's book, Sri Bhagavata Arka
Badger, California: June 17, 2005 (Part 2)
Dandavat pranama. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
Friday, September 16, 2005, is the Appearance Day of Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura. Over the last couple of months you have been receiving Srila
Naranya Maharaja's lectures on the subject of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's
book, Sri Bhagavata Arka Maricimala. In glorification of Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura, we are sending you another such class today:]
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is telling us about sadhana-bhakti, in
both vaidhi-bhakti and raganuga-bhakti. What is vaidhi-bhakti? *[See
At the time of sadhana-bhakti, one follows these principles:
utsahan niscayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
[There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional
service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence,
(3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such
as sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam [SB 7.5.23]-hearing, chanting
and remembering Krsna], (5) abandoning the association of non-devotees,
and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These
six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional
service. (Nectar of Instruction, verse 3)]
Always have enthusiasm in bhakti. Never be neutral unenthusiastic.
Never be neutral.
Regarding raganuga-bhakti suppose you are hearing a class on
Srimad-Bhagavatam, and this subject matter came up: Krsna was very
naughty, stealing butter here and there, and so many complaints came
against Him. Mother Yasoda wanted to control Him. Who? The Supreme
Lord. She took her stick and began to chastise Him, saying, You
are a 'friend of the monkeys.' Although Krsna began weeping,
she was not satisfied. She thus bound Him to a grinding mortar and
His weeping increased. Who was weeping? The Supreme Personality of
Godhead. Was He pretending to weep, or was He really weeping? He is
really weeping. By hearing His name, fear personified also becomes
fearful; but in this situation He Himself was weeping.
Hearing this pastime someone may think, Mother Yasoda is controlling
Sri Krsna in such a wonderful way. I also want Krsna as my son. I
also want to control Him. Mother Yasoda is a ragatmika-parikara,
an eternal associate of Krsna, and those who want to be like her are
Or, someone might hear that Sri Krsna was playing with Srimati Radhika
and all the sakhis. Radhika defeated Krsna and all the sakhis were
clapping. Srila Rupa Gosvami prays, When will a time come that,
when Sri Krsna is defeated by Srimati Radhika and all the gopis are
happy, I will also be happy to witness that?
That devotee may then hear that if Krsna defeats Srimati Radhika,
the sakhis will not be happy, although Vrnda or Kundalata may be happy.
Hearing this, he may want to be in the gopis' assembly. He may think,
When will I serve them? In that connection, Lalita and
Visakha are ragatmika, serving Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Those who
have some greed to serve Krsna in this way are raganuga, and they
are very, very fortunate. So, as stated in the afore-mentioned verse
three of Nectar of Instruction, always be enthusiastic. Be confident
Now I have explained something about vaidhi-bhakti and raganuga bhakti,
and the following history reveals something further:
During the Rajasuya sacrifice held by Maharaja Yudhisthira, one of
the important procedures was that the most exalted personality in
the assembly should be first offered worship. After all arrangements
were made for the sacrifice, the next consideration was who should
be worshiped first in the ceremony.
When the matter remained undecided, Sahadeva began to speak in favor
of Lord Krsna. He said, Lord Krsna, the best amongst the members
of the Yadu dynasty and the protector of His devotees, is the most
exalted personality in this assembly. Krsna is present as the Supersoul
in every living being, and if we can satisfy Him, then every living
being automatically becomes satisfied.
In the meantime, Sisupala, the friend of the demons Kalayavana, Jarasanda,
Kamsa and Dantavakra, began to criticize Lord Krsna over and over
again. He criticized Him one hundred times. Bhima and all others were
ready to kill him, and Baladeva Prabhu became grave and wanted to
crush him at once with his plough.
Lord Krsna said, Remain calm; please be calm. Then, when
Sisupala criticized Him one-hundred and one times, Krsna personally
took His cakra in His hand and severed the head of Sisupala from his
body. A light at once came from his body and entered Krsna's lotus
Yudhisthira Maharaja then asked Sri Narada, who was present in the
assembly, How wonderful this is! Sisupala criticized Krsna so
much, and still he attained the same liberation that rsis and munis
attain after performing very severe austerities for millions of years.
He attained that goal very easily.
Narada Muni replied, O Maharaja Yudhisthira, there are two kinds
of absorption in Sri Krsna. One is called raga (strong attachment)
and the other is dvesa (envy). In this connection, raga is favorable
absorption whereas envy, anger and fear are unfavorable. Kama (transcendental
lust), sneha (transcendental affection) and sambandha (a family relation)
are favorable and they are called raga. Envy is opposite to raga although
it is also absorption of the heart and mind. Envy denotes: I
will kill him.
gopyah kamad bhayat kamso
dvesac caidyadayo nrpah
sambandhad vrsnayah snehad
yuyam bhaktya vayam vibho
[My dear King Yudhisthira, the gopis by their lusty desires,
Kamsa by his fear, Sisupala and other kings by envy, the Yadus by
their familial relationship with Krsna, you Pandavas by your great
affection for Krsna, and we, the general devotees, by our devotional
service, have obtained the mercy of Krsna. (Srimad-Bhagavatam
In general, all these six are raga-mayi (full absorption in Sri Krsna).
Kamsa's fear was also raga-mayi, but with envy. Sisupala and Dantavakra
were also like that. Kamsa was totally absorbed in Krsna out of fear,
day and night. While he slept, he was always dreaming about Krsna.
He was always afraid, thinking, When Krsna comes, I will kill
So Kamsa attained complete absorption by fear, Sisupala out of envy,
and the Vrsni dynasty (the Yadavas) by sambandha (family relation).
The members of the Vrsni dynasty considered Krsna as their brother,
son, grandfather or uncle. All the Yadavas thought in those ways,
and their wives were also in those relationships. Sri Narada Muni
also cited the example of the Pandavas, who had both sambandha and
sneha (affection) - a very high class of sneha.
Referring to himself and others like him, Narada said, Our bhakti
is vaidhi-bhakti. However, we see that Narada's bhakti is so
high. In one form he is a gopi, so we cannot imagine how high his
bhakti is. In another form Narada is Madhumangala [Krsna's brahmana
cowherd friend who assists in many of his pastimes with the gopis].
So, he is a very high class devotee, but here he is speaking in a
Out of the six kinds of absorption in Sri Krsna, we should not accept
fear, envy and anger. In the other three, that is lust, relationship
and affection, raga-bhakti or transcendental attachment is there.
In these three, transcendental lust (kama) refers to the gopis, and
sambhanda and sneha refer especially to Nanda Baba and Yasoda. But
the Pandavas also have sambandha and they also have sneha, as do others
like them. We can follow them. Those who follow all these associates
are performing sadhana-bhakti. Sadhana-bhakti is of two kinds, but
here Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura refers to raganuga sadhana-bhakti.
Those who follow that will engage in:
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
[Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental
holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu,
remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the
Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering
prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's
best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words,
serving Him with the body, mind and words)-these nine processes are
accepted as pure devotional service. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23)]
They will engage in:
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
[One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of
the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the
Deity with faith and veneration. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya
The gopis' lust is not lust, but actually the highest
class of prema. Their total absorption in Krsna, their complete attachment
to Him, was attained through the medium of their transcendental lust
or prema. This is raga. To consider what is our duty or responsibility
in krsna-bhajana is called vaidhi-bhakti, whereas the practice sadhana
by following in the footsteps of the gopis is raganuga-bhakti.
The nine processes of devotional service are practiced in both vaidhi-bhakti
and raganuga-bhakti, but the mood is different. In all respects there
is a difference in the moods and topics of hearing, chanting and so
on. The vaidhi-bhakti sadhaka's (devotional practitioner's) hearing
will be so much different from the hearing of those who hear pastimes
of Sri Krsna in raganuga-bhakti. Outwardly it may appear that both
are the same, but actually there is so much difference just
as there is a difference between lust and prema although externally
they are seen as the same. If Sri Krsna is embracing Srimati Radhika
or kissing Her, it may seem like mundane lust, but there is so much
difference between the two.
Raganuga sadhana-bhajana is more powerful then vaidhi sadhana. I have
told you so many truths about this topic, and about the sweet pastimes
of Krsna and Srimati Radhika. I have explained to you Caitanya-caritamrta;
that is, Raya Ramananda Samvad, Rupa-siksa, Sanatana-siksa and so
many other topics. You should understand that all these topics are
raganuga. If you are sincere, loyal to Guru and our scriptures like
Srimad-Bhagavatam and others, and have no envy towards anyone, you
can very quickly achieve this path of raganuga.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in his book, Bhagavata-arka-marici-mala,
First I will first explain vaidhi-bhakti, and then raganuga-bhakti.
He quotes the following verse:
nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha
[The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically
obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement.
This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having
the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality
of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering
all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human
life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the
killer of his own soul. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.20.17)]
In this verse Srila Sukadeva Gosvami is indicating to Maharaja Pariksit,
Katvanga Maharaja attained Krsna-bhakti and went to Vaikuntha
in only twelve minutes. You have seven days left to live, and so you can achieve
more than he did.
In this human form of life you can fulfill all your desires. Although
it is very rare to attain this human form, we now have it. Plavam
to cross a river or ocean, a very strong boat is needed, and
this human form is compared to that well-constructed boat. Guru
karnadharam if you are sitting on a boat that is without
a captain, you will drown in the ocean. You have received a very elevated
Guru, like Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, like our guru-parampara,
like Srila Rupa Gosvami and others. Sri Guru is very expert in sailing
the boat and giving directions, telling us where to go. He will say,
Our goal is radha-dasyam. Our boat will go there. Mayanukulena
if there are favorable winds and the boat has good sails, and
if the boatman is very expert, we will cross the river or ocean in
I have given you very high sadhu-sanga. Having all these facilities
and favorable situations, if you do not take advantage, you will be
hurled into the cycle of endless birth and death coming, going,
coming, going for many future births. Despite having all these
facilities, if you are envious, if you are quarrelling with others,
criticizing others and always searching for some hole in others; if
you are not seeing what you yourself are doing wrong, you will be
committing spiritual suicide. You will be the killer of your own soul,
and others' as well.
puman virajyeta vina pasughnat
[Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed
in the parampara system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master
to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested
in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation.
Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned
soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease
hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who
is killing his own self? (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.1.4)]
This verse has the same meaning. Nivrtta-tarsair refers to those who
are detached from worldly desires, and who are tattva-jna (knowing
all philosophical truths), like Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Here in this
verse Pariksit Maharaja is addressing Sukadeva Gosvami: You
are tattva-jna and rasika (knowing all rasas). You have nothing to
take from anywhere, and no need to wear any garment.
Your hari-katha is the infallible medicine. It gives immediate
comfort. It will cure everyone of their material disease and it is
also very pleasing to the heart. How beautiful, how sweet are the
pastimes of Sri Krsna! If one is not hearing, or if hari-katha is
being spoken and one's mind is here and there, then he is a killer
of his own soul and of others'.
If there is something lacking in your spiritual life, then go at once
to Guru, the captain of the strong boat of this human existence:
tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
[Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must
seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation.
The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the
conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince
others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken
shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations,
should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters. (Srimad-Bhagavatam
Go to Guru at once. Why? In order to inquire, What is my ultimate
benefit? Please tell me. To whom should you go? Sabde pare ca
nisnatam. The Guru knows sastra and logical evidence, and he can remove
all doubts, but this is secondary. One may know all sastra, but he
may be not realizing anything (paranisnata). In that case his hari-katha
will not be affective. The Guru should be detached (upasamasrayam)
from worldly things, as Sukadeva Gosvami is detached. Sukadeva Gosvami
is very rasika, knowing all tattvas (truths) and realizing them. This
is because he is sriya-suka, the parrot of Srimati Radhika. You should
take shelter and surrender totally (prapadyeta), without holding back
and without delay. You should sincerely tell him, Now I am yours.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung:
manasa deha, geha, jo kichu mora
arpilu tuwa pade, nanda-kisora
[Mind, body, family, everything I own I offer at Your lotus
feet, O Nanda-kisora! (Manasa, deha, geha, verse 1)]
This should be followed; not only by words, but by action. If you
are hiding something from your Gurudeva - your dearest friend - this
means you are killing yourself. Don't do that. Prapadyeta means that
in every respect you should be surrendered to Gurudeva - if you want
to perfect your human form of life.
You should learn from your Gurudeva what is told in Srimad-Bhagavatam
about the relationships with Lord Krsna called dasya (servant), sakhya
(friend), vatsalya (parent) and madhurya (lover). Such a Guru is called
bhagavata, for he can open the lock of the (book) bhagavata. *[See
Don't have any duplicity. Don't try to hide anything from Gurudeva.
Totally surrender to him. All your actions should be to please that
perfect Guru. The real Guru is not an ordinary human being, like so-called
gurus here and there. If one opens his heart to that bona fide Guru,
without hiding anything, he will then open his own heart; he will
give everything to that surrendered disciple. On the other hand, to
those who try to hide something, that Guru, who has learned everything
from tricky Krsna, will also be very tricky.
Sri Guru has two forms. One is God, Krsna, and one is Krsna's devotee.
Krsna is most rasika and has all other unfathomable qualities.
acaryam mam vijaniyan
[One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as
I am, said the Blessed Lord. Nobody should be jealous
of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because
the spiritual master is the sum total of all demigods. Srimad-Bhagavatam
Have a strong belief in this principle, and have such faith in Guru.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has collected this verse, beginning nr-deham
as above-mentioned, from the 11th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
There was once a young rsi (sage) who travelled everywhere naked.
He was very beautiful and had very strong health. He never knew where
he was going, and he was always very, very happy. Sometimes he was
chanting kirtana, sometimes rolling on the ground, and sometimes laughing.
He used to live in this way.
A king named Yadu Maharaja saw him and thought, He looks extremely
happy. He asked him, Who are you, and where have you learned
all these things? The young rsi replied, I have twenty-four
Who these gurus were, I will tell you tomorrow.
raga-hina jana bhaje sastrera ajnaya
`vaidhi bhakti' bali' tare sarva-sastre gaya
[Those who have not attained the platform of spontaneous attachment
in devotional service render devotional service under the guidance
of a bona fide spiritual master according to the regulative principles
mentioned in the revealed scriptures. According to the revealed scriptures,
this kind of devotional service is called vaidhi bhakti. (Caitanya-caritamrta,
yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
[If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, he said,
you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him.
You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus
feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.(Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Proof-reader: Krsna-kamini dasi