sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 7, Special On-line Edition Dedicated to Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Posted: 15 December 2014
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada
Inspired by and under the guidance of
sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!
Year 7, Special On-line Edition
Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
There is no place for malice and envy
on the path of spiritual practice
by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja
śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅgau jayataḥ
C/O – Śrī Amūlya-ratana gaṇa
PO – Jāramuṇḍi
(Sā̃otāla Paragaṇā) Bihāra
Dated 28 August 1974
Object of my affection,
Our debt to śrī guru and the Vaiṣṇavas for their unlimited compassion and supra-mundane affection can never be repaid. When a person performs hari-bhajana, he gets an understanding and appreciation of that debt, and his life becomes blessed. The living entity’s qualification is proven solely by his ability to perform bhagavad-bhajana. If the jīva is able to love Śrī Bhagavān, who is the topmost object of prema, he attains success in his life. If one attains a genuine inclination to perform sādhana-bhajana, then he becomes reverentially disposed towards amānī-mānada-dharma – that is, not expecting any respect or honour for oneself and giving respect and honour to others. Considering himself to be unworthy and degraded, he comes to a state of humility. Only by this does the qualification for a particle of the mercy of guru and Vaiṣṇavas come.
By witnessing the mood of service and the aggrievement in the acts of bhakti performed by others, it is natural for everyone hankering for bhakti to progressively and persistently gain enthusiasm for it. In the dharma of transcendental servitude, there is both patience (dhairya) and excitation (uddīpanā), but there is no room for violence in the form of envy. Since envy is invalid on the path of bhakti, it has been relinquished in every respect. Sādhakas and sādhikas of bhakti become blessed solely by attaining the delight of transcendental servitude.
* * *
Vaiṣṇavas always reside only in aprākṛta (transcendental) Vṛndāvana, no matter where they are, even if they are seemingly situated within the material world, and that Śrī Vraja-dhāma is certainly the most supreme abode of attainment. For this reason Śrīla Narottama Ṭhākura Mahāśaya has sung, “yathāya vaiṣṇava-gaṇa, sei-sthāna vṛndāvana, sei-sthāne ānanda aśeṣa – Wherever the Vaiṣṇavas are, that place is truly Vṛndāvana. And there, at that place, is unlimited joy.”
Sādhus, who are seers with equal vision (sama-darśī) and who remain submerged in transcendental emotions (aprākṛta bhāva), perceive and accept any circumstance and any environment as favourable for their bhajana. Such a temperament is attained only by extraordinary good fortune. At that time, one is actually delivered from worldly solitude and duplicity.
Learning from you of your sorrowful news reminded me of a common proverb: “the operation was successful, but the patient died.*”
* This common proverb was written in English in the original Bengali letter.
By chanting śrī nāma in the prescribed way, performing pūja-arcana (deity worship), studying scriptures, and hearing harikathā from the mouths of sādhus, all of the living entity’s anarthas are dispelled. But in your case, since that is not happening, my analysis is that it is your inner lacking. Abhyāsa-yoga (constant and repeated discipline, especially of the mind) is not perfected quickly. Its perfection comes in due course of time. For that reason one must be steady, unperturbed and patient like the Himalaya Mountains.
Dependence on the mercy of Śrī Bhagavān has been described as the key characteristic in the realm of śaraṇāgati. Mental discipline in chanting the gāyatrī-mantra thrice daily as well as realization of its meaning surely come through abhayāsa-yoga (constant and repeated discipline). One who can understand their own faults and shortcomings perseveres in rectifying them within a very short time. Auspiciousness occurs only when someone under proper guidance studies the words emanating from the lotus mouths of guru and Vaiṣṇavas. This has been explained in the Vedānta-sūtra (4.1.1): “āvṛttir asakṛt upadeśāt – it is repeated many times, for that is the teaching.” This has also been echoed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the natural commentary on Vedānta-sūtra, in the verse:
vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito ‘nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ
“A sober person who in the beginning faithfully and continuously hears from his guru the narrations of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s unprecedented rāsa dance with the young brides (gopīs) of Vraja, and later describes those pastimes, very soon attains parā-bhakti, or prema-bhakti (supreme loving devotion), for the Supreme Lord, and thus becomes competent to quickly dispel the heart disease of lust.”
One who stays in the shelter of śrī guru and Vaiṣṇavas has no fear. He shall never become an atheist professing to know everything. We must always pray to the dhāma-vāsis for mercy. Their dedication to service is exemplary. Only by the power of their mercy does one attain perception of the transcendental reality of the dhāma and that of the Lord of the dhāma.
* * *
It is exceedingly difficult for living entities that are greatly enamoured by mundane objects to become detached from those objects. Essentially, those who foolishly identify the body as the self need instructions and saintly association. When in adversity, even the multitude of demigods headed by Brahmā seek out the shelter of Śrī Bhagavān, the one true companion of all souls. Only in this human form is the jīva capable taking up the search for bhagavat-tattva via direct and indirect perspectives. For this reason it has been described in the scriptures that the human form is the foundation of bhajana.
Having come under the control of material desires, the jīva submits to the demigods, who fulfil those desires. Therefore, he is oppressed by the tribulations of the threefold miseries* and as a result malice, envy and the like arise in him. In the absence of the teachings of Śrī Caitanya, restless living entities obtain the propensities of bhogīs (those who chase after sense objects) or tyāgīs (those who run away from sense objects) and crave peace. Without tolerance, our auspiciousness will never arise.
* The threefold miseries refer to (1) misery caused by our own body and mind (adhyātmika), (2) misery caused by other living beings (adhibhautika), and (3) misery caused by natural disasters, or in other words the demigods (adhidaivika).
The symptom of a sādhu is the desire for auspiciousness for oneself and others. Selfishness makes the living entity impatient and incapable of tolerating or forgiving. All things in Śrī Bhagavān’s creation are instruments to be used in service to Him. Unless one reaches this understanding, there is no chance of achieving auspiciousness.
The living entities who indulge in mundane enjoyment – who consider the material world an object meant for their enjoyment – are deceived and ruined. Hari-bhajana is not possible without being tolerant like a tree. For this reason, Śrīman Mahāprabhu instructed us through His verse, “tṛṇādapi sunīcena…” that one should become more humble than a blade of grass and as tolerant as a tree.
By accepting those sense objects that are essential for maintaining one’s life, the mind does not become disturbed. “yathā-yogya bhoga, nāhi tathā roga anāsakta sei, ki āra kahaba – When there is acceptance of only those sense objects necessary to maintain the body, there is no illness [of material attachment]. What else can be said about such detachment?” This is the form of renunciation in the spirit of devotion (yukta-vairāgya) that is approved by the mahājanas.
Men who are devoid of bhakti and who are under the control of arrogance, desire Lordship over the universe. Their way can never be the path to true well-being (śreya). And restless minded people who have been subjugated by the five sense-objects want peace and happiness, but because they are controlled by the senses, they fall into the greatest misfortune. After attaining deliverance from the natural impetus of the body and mind, it is necessary to endeavour to become self-realized. If one becomes an enjoyer of the ease and comforts of their mundane body and home, one cannot engage in the service of Bhagavān and accept sense objects only in the spirit of detachment. For that reason, we find this instruction: “yathā-yogya viṣaya bhuñja’ anāsakta hañā – accept without attachment whatever sense objects are necessary for your maintenance” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 16.238).
Thus I conclude.
Wishing your eternal welfare,
Śrī Bhaktivedānta Vāmana
This letter was written to Śrī-yukttā Umā didi
Translated from Śrīla Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja Patrāvalī