Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
January 15, 2003
Hilo, Hawaii

[This transcribed kathā is based on the sound file: 20030115_HILO_ENG_PM_ASHAKTIRATI
Based on the hundreds of lectures that we have heard over the years, and the questions we have asked Śrīla Gurudeva directly, we have slightly edited the transcription for clarity.]

ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhāva-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ
śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam 1

[Let there be supreme victory for the chanting of the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana diffuses the soothing moon rays of spiritual ecstasy (bhāva) that cause the living entity’s white lotus of good fortune to bloom. The holy name is the life and soul of transcendental knowledge, which is here compared to a wife. It continuously expands the ocean of transcendental bliss, enabling one to taste complete nectar at every step. The holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa thoroughly cleanses and cools the self, one’s nature and one’s determination, as well as the body, both internally and externally.]

We have discussed ruci. After ruci comes āśakti. This is almost the fifth stage of the “ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam” verse. The first stage of the verse is ‘ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam - cleansing the mirror of the heart’. When is our heart clear? When anyone is in sādhu-saṅga, takes harināma and dīkṣā initiation and then has any transcendental relation and with that relation follows the third verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam then ‘ceto darpaṇa mārjanaṁ’ will come, otherwise not.

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam 3

[Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass that has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being pride less and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.]

This is the process. If anyone has not taken dīkṣā or śikṣā initiation, has no relation with Kṛṣṇa and Vrajavāsīs and all malicious things have not gone away from the heart then there will be no ‘ceto darpaṇa marjanam’. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained this.

In the second stage of the ceto-darpaṇa-marjanam verse - ‘bhāva-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ - extinguishing the blazing forest fire of material existence’ all kinds of unwanted things go away. There is no worry of ‘bhāva-mahā-dāvāgni – the cycle of coming and going and feeling the fire of material desires’ because it is extinguished. Īrṣya (malice/envy) cannot be used in bhakti. Lobha (greed), kāma (lust), krodha (anger), and moha (absorption) can be used in bhakti; like lobha for kṛṣṇa-kathā. [Note 1] But malice can never be used in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A devotee must first give up all these things.

If anyone is beating you or giving you any problem then try to be like Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura and Prahlāda Mahārāja. They prayed to Kṛṣṇa that those who were giving them problems should be liberated by saying, "O Prabhu, don't take their offense. It is not their fault but it is my fault." We should try to be humble like this. Do not forget this.

Then ‘śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ - spreading the moonlight of spiritual ecstasy bringing to bloom the living entity’s white lotus of good fortune’ – all kinds of favorable things will come and unfavorable things will gradually go away.

Fourth is ‘vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam – the life and soul in the form of transcendental knowledge, like a wife’. What is that? Vidyā is para-śakti Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Here, vidyā-vadhu is Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself and “vidyā vadhū jīvanam” is “the most beloved of Rādhikā”. At that time, he can realize what his real relationship is– not just by words, but by realizing his actual transcendental relationship with Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa's mother and father, Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s father and mother. Then he cannot say Vrndā-maiyā, Mother Tulasī or Yamunā-maiyā. In the stage of āśakti he will realize his relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

In āśakti he will be in a stage where he will sometimes utter pure nāma. He will see that ‘This is my relationship to Kṛṣṇa'. At that stage sometimes he can remember the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa performed in the eight divisions of the day (aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā) and not before this. Before āśaktidon't go and touch these pastimes, only offer praṇāmas. Aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā is really our goal, but in the initial stages one cannot remember this. If you are remembering aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā, where Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are meeting in a secluded place in the groves at midnight, and They are kissing and embracing each other, then what will happen? What will you think? You will only think of worldly lust. So you are not qualified for that now. You cannot think beyond this. You cannot think about aprākṛta prema i.e. transcendental love. Even a sādhaka in the first stage of madhyama-adhikārī has lust. Wait until this āśakti in the second stage comes. You should think that this is my ultimate goal. Try to chant and give up all your unwanted things and then this stage will come.

Then ‘ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ - expanding the ocean of transcendental bliss’ – you will always play on the waves of love and affection in Vṛndāvana, in the Yamunā. After that you will sink down. What is that stage? After āśakti, the stage of rati will come. That is when you are playing on the waves of that love and affection. You cannot come out of those waves. They are very powerful. They can take you in the middle of the ocean and play like this.

After that, transcendental prema will come and you will totally sink down in the ocean of love and affection forever and you can come out in Goloka Vṛndāvana. This is the process. In āśakti some semblance of that prema (rati) comes. Then you are qualified to do all these things. Be careful and don’t do bogus and silly things. Wherever I go some devotees ask me about thinking about aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. I tell them, "Please offer praṇāma and don't try to think about aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā prematurely." It will come in the stage of āśakti automatically.

When āśakti is matured then what will happen? Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has said:

prema-suryāṁśa sāmyabhāk
rucibhiś cittamāsṛṇya
kṛdāsau bhāva ucyate
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.3.1)

["Bhāva-bhakti (bhāva-rūpa-kṛṣṇānuśīlana) is a special manifestation of śuddha-sattva. In other words the constitutional characteristic of bhāva-bhakti is that it is a phenomenon entirely constituted of śuddha-sattva. It is like a ray (kiraṇa) of the sun of prema and it softens the heart by various tastes (ruci).]

What is rati or bhāva? It is śuddha-sattva. The world is full of material things. Those who have deviated from Kṛṣṇa are all sinking and are very far away from transcendental things. In this world we are all in worldly sattva, material sattva. We know we are the body and we want to have worldly desires and we are bound. Then higher than that is miśra-sattva. When we feel we are not the body but an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa then it is miśra-sattva – sometimes here and sometimes there.

Śuddha-sattva comes in the stage of rati. After āśakti is matured sometimes pure name comes and then so much attachment and mamatā (possessiveness) comes for Kṛṣṇa. At that time Kṛṣṇa becomes very merciful and He adopts that devotee thinking, "He is Mine and I must be merciful to him." Then He sends His para-śakti and by that mercy something comes on your heart on your sattva, pure heart. That sattva that comes from Śrīmatī Rādhikā is prema, transcendental love.

Śrī Guru has planted so many types of plants on the bank of the Ganges. The same water is used to water all the seeds – tamarind, mango, bamboo and bubble, having thorns. You plant these seeds on the bank of the Ganges and give the same water, atmosphere, sunshine and rain to all. Yet, still tamarind seeds produce tamarind, mango seeds produce mangoes, bubble trees give thorns. So this is natural and no one can change this. By sādhu-saṅga our natural relationship to Kṛṣṇa cannot be changed. It can only be developed. It is written:

kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-
bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā
nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya
prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.2)

["Sādhana-bhakti is the engagement of the mind and senses in the aṅgas of bhakti for the purpose of attaining bhāva-bhakti. This bhāva is a potentiality which eternally exists in the heart of the jīva and is manifested in the heart purified by sādhana (through the mercy of a nitya-siddha, a living sad-guru).]

Our relationship with Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and cannot be changed. Mother Yaśodā cannot change her mood other than motherly love. She knows that her son is controlled by the gopīsbut she cannot be a gopī like Śrīmatī Rādhikā and others. Kṛṣṇa's friends also know to stay far away when Kṛṣṇa wants to meet with the gopīs. So the gopīs are the most beloved. Uddhava went to Vraja and he saw the glory of the gopīs but he never became anything of Vraja. He could not change his relationship with Kṛṣṇa and similarly we cannot change ours. Only by sādhu-saṅga and by guru karana, accepting guru, that śuddha-sattva from Śrīmatī Rādhikā will come and our eternal relationship to Kṛṣṇa will be revealed.

There are three things – sat, cit and ānanda. Sat is the existence potency (sandhinī or sattva), citis the knowledge potency (samvit) and ānanda is the pleasure potency (hlādinī).

Baladeva Prabhu is the adhiṣṭhātrī-devatā, predominating deity, of sat. Kṛṣṇa is the adhiṣṭhātrī-devatā of cit (that is, both jñana and bhāva together) and Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the adhiṣṭhātrī-devī of hlādinī.

What is the meaning of śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā?

Samvit means all kinds of knowledge, but not dry knowledge. It includes bhāva (moods) which are very soft and sweet. That is the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is samvit. Understand? The mood of Rādhikā serving in prema, sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva, mahā-bhāva, ruddha, adi-ruddha and up to mādanākhya-bhāva are the essence of that samvit. When She realizes Kṛṣṇa by serving Him with deep moods, a very high class of ānandacomes. This is hlādinī.

śrī-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva-
svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah
saukhyam casya mad-anubhāvatah kidrsam veti lobhat
tad-bhāvadhyah samajani saci-garbha-sindhau harinduh
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi-līlā (1.6)

["Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhāraṇī's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean."]

Saukhyam casya’ What happiness is Śrīmatī Rādhikā feeling in Her heart? She feels so happy that She becomes mad. This is hlādinī.

Śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā is the mixture of samvit and hlādinī on the platform of sandhinī, the existence potency. That is the essence of that mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and His pleasure on the platform of the heart of sādhaka who is in the stage of rati. [Note 2]

I have told this but I know it is very difficult to understand. I know that you are not qualified, but still I am telling this. You should try to come in the stage of even ruci and āśakti and then gradually progress.

If you are not engaging all your senses – mind, tongue and everything – in the service of your Gurudeva and Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu you cannot feel like this. I may tell you this thousands of times, but you have to follow and practice. Unwanted things will go away first and then gradually you will come into ruci and āśakti and then you can practice.

I have called you all for this. I have not come to marry ladies and males. I have not come for this. I have not come to give you worldly pleasure. Swāmījī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and his parikāra's and also myself have come only to give this. This is the wealth that the guru-vargacomes and gives. Only a fortunate person can take this, otherwise they will be quarreling for worldly things and material desires. Give up all this nonsense and come hear from me and hear the words of our guru-paramparā especially Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and be successful in your life.

For this we go to Vṛndāvana but in Vṛndāvana what are we thinking? Not about aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā or spiritual things but what is happening in my country, how are my mother, father and children. Try to forget all of this.

Devotee: Of these two verses of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī one is describing sādhana-bhakti–‘kṛdāsau bhāva ucyate’ – with these bodies and senses we are performing actions under the guidance of Śrī Guru to attain a bhāva. Then we go to bhāva-bhakti, śuddha-sattva. In the stage of practicing sādhana to attain that bhāva should we try to aspire for that bhāva or should we try to think we are in that bhāva while we are practicing in our mind? Or should we hold that ideal? At what point should we have the mood of our bhāva?

Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Do not think that you are in bhāva. Our real position should be there. We will pray to be qualified that Kṛṣṇa should be merciful to take us like His. Then mercy will come and śuddha-sattva will come. You should also know that there is no practice for bhāva because anarthas are gone. Mamatā (mineness) has come. Still there is some smell of anartha. That is in mūrcchita-kaṣāya (those in whom a trace of material contamination still lies dormant). There is sādhana up to āśakti. Then sādhana stops. The first stage of rati, bhāva, is matured āśakti. After that there is no sādhana. There are two things – kṛpā- apekṣā- mercy of Bhagavān and bhagavatguru-kṛṣṇa prasāde pāya’

It has been told vividly in Jaiva-dharma [Note 3]. You should be qualified for that thing. Up to āśakti there is some process, sādhana, and after that only kṛpā-siddhabhakta-prasāda and bhagavan-prasāda. Bhagavān here refers to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa together and Their mercy has come together in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu which is more powerful than Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa alone. Bhagavat-kṛpā is the mercy of one who is under the guidance of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One who has made his life Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is an uttamā-bhāgavata. They will sprinkle Their mercy. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Nārada Muni can do this. They will say that kṛṣṇa-prema should come at once and it will come. At once you should dance and sing in kṛṣṇa-prema and it will come.

In Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta it has been told in the story of Gopa-kumāra that a Mathura brāhmaṇa, Jana Śarma, had all kinds of knowledge but he could not weep like his gurudeva Svarūpa [previously known as Gopa-kumāra]. Śrī Kṛṣṇa came in the shape of Svarūpa to teach Jana Śarma. He heard everything even about gopī-prema. Then Svarūpa blessed him that kṛṣṇa-prema should come. Then Jana Śarma saw that he was going to Goloka Vṛndāvana. This is the process.

Devotee: Here our ācāryas describe that we should be careful of sahajiyā. Anyone who imitates this is in a premature stage.

Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: That is why I told that we should give up all these things before the time of niṣṭhā. In the stage of ruci, anarthas have gone away. If we follow the process step by step then sahajiyā-bhāva will not come. We should be careful and try to follow and realize what I am telling. These are very precious things. I think nowadays it is very rare in this world for someone to explain all these things to you. You are very fortunate to attend this festival. This will be the fruit if you can take something from this mahotsava (festival).

Devotee: A sādhaka should practice very sincerely and always stay in the association of high class Vaiṣṇavas and then śuddha-sattva may come.

Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja:: True. 100% true.

Devotee: If we see some devotees explain these things or sing songs and they start to cry and become very emotional what should we think?

Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: If he is weeping or anything and after that he is absorbed in material things, then we should think he is a sahajiyā and give up his association. If he is not absorbed in material things, then we should know that now he is going from a madhyama to an uttama-adhikārī and respect him.

Devotee: You were telling us that we should not try to prematurely hear the aṣṭa-kālīya-līlāpastimes of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa because of mundane identification. At the same time if we go on Vraja-mandala parikramā and go to the pastime places of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa we are hearing various pastimes from various parts of their aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā.

Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I am telling at that time to create some greed that we should know that this is the goal of our life. It is not that you should practice at once. Otherwise, if you think like that in an immature stage then lust is bound to come and after some time you will give up your renounced order and be in family life and will be the maidservant of any lady. She will kick you like a donkey. So we should be careful.

We can take the examples of devotees, of what stage they are in. What I have told you is the barometer to examine who is in what stage. We can see this in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Dhruva was a bhakta and had darśana of Nārāyaṇa but really he is not a pure devotee – he has worldly desires to have a better and bigger kingdom than his father. Sanātana Gosvāmī has told that there are various stages of bhakti and various gradations of devotees. There are five gradations of devotees – jñani-bhaktas, śuddha-bhaktas, premi-bhaktas, premapara-bhaktas and then premātura-bhaktas. Gopīs are not among these but above all of these.

From tomorrow we will discuss something.

We should not be a burden to anyone. We are all having some money so why are we not helping. You should give something to the organizers of this festival. This festival is successful. I never thought so many good and sincere devotees will come. So I am happy to come here. Then I will happily go to Honolulu, like Vṛndāvana on the bank of Yamunā and I will write something.

Gaura Premanande!

Note 1
kāma krodha moha lobha mada mātsarjya dambha-saha
sthāne sthāne nijūkta kariba
ānanda kari hṛdaya ripū kari parājaya
anāyāse govinda bhajiba
Śrī Prema Bhakti-candrikā (2.09)

I will engage lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy and pride in their proper places. In this way, I will defeat the enemies and with ecstasy in my heart, I will worship Govinda without difficulty.

kṛṣṇa sevā kāmārpane krodha bhakta-dwesi-jane
lobha sādhu-saṅge hari-kathā
moha iṣṭa-lābha-bine mada kṛṣṇa-guṇa-gāne
nijūkta kariba jathā tathā
Śrī Prema Bhakti-candrikā (2.10)

I will engage my lust in eagerness to serve Kṛṣṇa and I will use my anger against those who are envious of the devotees. I will be greedy to hear the topics of Hari in the association of the devotees. I will be illusioned if I fail to achieve my worshipable Lord and I will feel proud to chant the glories of Kṛṣṇa. In this way, I will engage them in their respective duties.

Note 2
The constitutional nature of bhāva-bhakti is śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā, which means it is fully comprised of śuddha-sattva. Śuddha-sattva refers to the self-manifest cognitive function of Bhagavān’s svarūpa-śakti known as samvid-vṛtti, the function of divine cognizance. When the word viśeṣa is added to śuddha-sattva, it indicates hlādinī, another great potency of svarūpa-śakti. One should understand from this that mahābhāva, which is the highest state of hlādinī, is included within śuddha-sattva-viśeṣa. Hence śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā is that supreme function of svarūpa-śakti which is possessed of desire favourable to Bhagavān, which is the essence of the combined samvit- and hlādinī-śaktis, and which is situated in the hearts of Bhagavān’s eternal associates. It is one with the mood of their hearts (tādātmya-bhāva). In simple words, the eternally perfect moods situated within the eternal associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are called śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmā. The constitutional nature of bhāva-bhakti is śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmāand, because it is likened to the first ray of the sun of prema-bhakti, it is also called the sprout of prema.
Śrī Bhajana-rahasya 6.2 Bhajana Rahasya Vṛtti

Note 3
Jaiva-dharma Chapter 22
Vrajanātha: What is bhāva arising from the mercy of Kṛṣṇa or His bhakta (prasāda-ja-bhāva)?
Bābājī: Bhāva arising from the mercy of Kṛṣṇa or His bhakta (prasāda-ja-bhāva) is bhāva that occurs spontaneously, without the performance of any kind of sādhana.
Vrajanātha: Please explain this further.
Bābājī: Kṛṣṇa’s mercy is bestowed in three ways: 1) by words (vācika), 2) by granting vision (āloka-dāna), and 3) by grace manifest in the heart (hārda). Suppose that Kṛṣṇa bestows His mercy upon some brāhmaṇa by saying, “O best of the twice-born, may supremely auspicious, blissful, and uninterrupted bhakti arise within you.” Simply by such words, vācika-prasāda-ja-bhāva arises within the heart.
The ṛṣis residing in the forest had never previously seen Kṛṣṇa, but when they attained His darśana, bhāva arose within their hearts. Such is the power of Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. This is an example of bhāva arising due to Kṛṣṇa’s granting His vision (āloka-dāna).
Bhāva that arises within the heart due to mercy is called hārda-bhāva, and this is observed in the life history of Śukadeva Gosvāmī and other bhaktas. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa descended as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, there were many instances of these three kinds of bhāva arising from His mercy. One cannot count the number of people who were filled with bhāva when they saw Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Jagāi and Mādhāi are examples of those who obtained bhāva because of the Lord’s words, and Jīva Gosvāmī obtained bhāva from within his heart (hārda-bhāva), by Śrī Gaurāṅga’s mercy.
Vrajanātha: What is bhāva arising from the mercy of a bhakta?
Bābājī: Dhruva and Prahlāda obtained bhāva for Bhagavān by Nārada Muni’s mercy, and bhāva-bhakti arose in the hearts of innumerable people by the mercy of Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana and other associates (pārṣada) of Kṛṣṇa.

Editor: Syamarani dasi
Submitted: June 4,2021