sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Issue 1, Fortnightly Centennial Edition
Posted: 12 July 2021
In honour of the centennial appearance year of
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Dedicated to and Inspired by
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Real Darśana of Śrī Jagannātha-deva
Excerpts from the writings of
by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja
Presented in English for the first time
Śrī Jagannātha-deva is the possessor of all potencies and His form is saccidānanda
Sent by Bhagavān, the eternally perfected mahā-bhāgavatas, who are aggrieved by the sufferings of others, serve only the transcendental, personal aspect of Puruṣottama, who is beyond the senses. The nirviśeṣa-vādīs’ service of Bhuvaneśvara or their display of faith in Śrī Ananta Vāsudeva is not at all included in the category of service. Śrī Jagannātha’s servants are proprietors of the service of Pūrṇabrahma, the fullest expression of the Absolute Truth, the eternal vāstava-vastu or Absolute Reality. Rather than showing eagerness for temporary, fleeting, provisional methods of worship, they occupy themselves in the eternal service of Śrī Bhagavān. Although Śrī Jagannātha’s full limbs are not externally visible, to think He is incomplete or missing limbs is particularly detrimental and fosters offenses. He is the primeval Parambrahma, with a form composed of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. From Him alone, the whole sentient and non-sentient world, as well as the jaiva-jagat, or realm of souls, is created and manifested. It is His echo we hear in the Vedas and Upaniṣads: “yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante tad-vijijñāsasva tad eva brahma—one should seek to know that brahma alone who yields all these beings” [Taittirīya Upaniṣad 3.1.1]. Hence, He is beautifully resplendent in an unparalleled manner, whole and complete unto Himself, with the specialities of His eternal holy name, form, qualities, pastimes, and associates. Therefore, He cannot be described by any adjective that is connected to the filth of the material world’s distinguishing features or absence thereof (saviśeṣa-nirviśeṣa).
“Aṇoraṇīyān mahato mahīyān—He is the smallest of the small and greatest of the great.”
[Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.2.20]
“Na tat-samaś-cābhyadhikaś-ca dṛśyate—none are seen to be equal to or greater than Him.”
[Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8]
“Tamīśvarāṇāṁ paramaṁ maheśvaram—He is the Supreme Lord, the Great Lord.”
[Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.7]
The Vedas, Upaniṣads, Bhāgavatam, and other scriptures have provided general indications in the direction of His transcendental glory and refrained from going any further.
The advaya-jñāna-tattva’s acceptance of intimate service as the Lord of Nīlādri
As the Lord of the Gauḍīyas, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is identical to Vrajendra-nandana, was compelled by causeless mercy for the souls of the world and granted instructions on a process of sādhana-bhajana that is replete with the most immaculate ideology. He resided in Nīlācala, Śrī Kṣetra, and revealed His ultimate instructions on the practice of bhajana for the benefit of the world. Because the host of conditioned souls cannot identify or accept themselves as taking shelter of one-pointed, exclusive devotion, they are situated very far away from the kīrtana-yajña prescribed by Śrī Gaura. Śrī Bhagavān is, as advaya-jñāna-tattva—the non-dual Absolute Truth, Vrajendra-nandana. It is He who appears as Śrī Nīlādri-nātha and unreservedly grants His devotee servants the opportunity of serving Him. Accepting their intimate service thus, He presides there in full satisfaction.
Determining who is really worthy of gaining darśana of Bhagavān’s śrī vigraha
In Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s transcendental vision, darśana of Śrī Jagannātha is as follows: “pratimā naha tumi, sākṣāt vrajendra-nandana—You are not an idol; You are, before my very eyes, the son of the king of Vraja.” In the context of explaining this statement, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda has conveyed the following: “Śrī Jagannātha-deva is adhokṣaja-tattva, the Absolute Truth that exists beyond the grasp of our material senses. He is not an object to gratify anyone’s senses. We cannot behold Him by the power of our own wish and knowledge. Only if Śrī Jagannātha-deva showers His mercy on a person will he be worthy of beholding Him. Otherwise, if one goes to see Him with an ego of being the enjoyer, with a sense of enjoyment, then one will see Him without hands and feet. Individuals who are afflicted by the modes of passion and ignorance cannot have darśana of Bhagavān. As long as the jīva fails to abandon the enjoying mentality and become situated in viśuddha-sattva, the platform of superlatively pure existence, Bhagavān Śrī Vāsudeva’s manifestation will not appear in his heart.
“Even a personality like Brahmā, who is so much more exalted than us, was foiled in his attempts to measure Bhagavān with his own akṣaja-darśana or perception of his senses. Bhagavān saw his efforts and appeared before him, saying: “May you, by My grace, attain full realization of My constitutional measure and existence, as well as the specific form, qualities, and pastimes I possess.” The mention of “mad-anugrahāt—by My grace” is especially to be noted. If one is to attain vijñāna, or realized knowledge, of bhagavat-tattva, then the grace of Bhagavān is the only factor. Only if one becomes free from the enjoying mentality and strives for the darśanaof Bhagavān with one-pointed focus of the heart does one become qualified to attain Bhagavān’s grace. Without the grace of Bhagavān, one cannot comprehend the nature (svarūpa) of the advaya-jñāna-tattva, the non-dual Absolute Truth that is endowed with vijñāna (realized knowledge) and rahasya (esoteric truth). One cannot attain knowledge of Bhagavān by transgressing the śrauta-patha, the path of hearing from the bona fide source. For a person who is performing bhajana, the sign that he is attaining knowledge of Bhagavān dwells in his inclination to serve the object of bhajana.”
The purport and teaching of Ratha-yātrā
Darśana, or direct vision, and realization pertaining to the attainment of Bhagavān’s grace, as experienced by one who has taken shelter of the śrauta-patha, are never matters that can be grasped by individuals with material conceptions. Only those who are bathed in the nectarean ocean of bhakti-rasa stand on the shores of this ocean of material existence as witnesses under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa and comprehend the real significance of the grand Ratha-yātrā festival of Mahāprabhu, who is Śrī Jagad-bandhu, the well-wisher of the whole world. What this festival really signifies is the sampradāya under the guidance of Śrī Rādhā drawing the son of the King of Vraja with the ropes of love from the realm of majestic aiśvarya pastimes, Śrī Kṣetra Nīlācala, to the land of sweet mādhurya pastimes, Sundarācala Vṛndāvana. This sampradāya under the guidance of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, who accepted the moods and complexion of Vārṣabhānavī, do not make the same effort at the time of Ulṭā-ratha (the return journey) as they do during the first Ratha-yātrā, when they are taking [Jagannātha] to the place that is theirs. They do not preoccupy themselves with dragging the wealth of their own home to the door of another. The gopīs of Gokula, who were overwhelmed in separation, went to Kurukṣetra on the pretext of a pilgrimage for the occasion of a solar eclipse and were united with their Prāṇa Govinda (He who gives delight to their life and senses). That is what transpired for Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s devotees in this case. Separation or vipralambha is their bhajana. Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s visit or stay period at Alālanātha during anavasara-kāla [when Jagannātha is recuperating after Snāna Yātrā and not giving darśana] is particularly stimulative of vipralambha-bhajana. Śrī Gaurasundara would behold Śrī Jagannātha in this mood of the gopīs overwhelming separation. That darśana of Śrī Jagannātha, rather than fuelling Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s desire to enjoy meeting [in the mood of a gopī], would fuel His fire of separation, or His efforts to give pleasure to Śrī Kṛṣṇa in every respect.
Translated from Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja’s Prabandhāvalī
By the Rays of The Harmonist team