People often pray to God by saying, “O God, give me bread and butter.” One’s prayer to God should not be done this way, not like this. One might also say, “O God, give me a very beautiful wife,” or, “Give me a very handsome husband.” “Give me very good children, wealth, reputation and so on.” One should be very careful to not pray like this. These things will come of their own accord based on the impressions of your past lives, so don’t be worried for these desires. These desires are anarthas and problems, which hinder our progress towards attaining pure bhakti. I have briefly explained during our morning walk the difference between sins and offenses. Sin is related to body and mind but an offense is very much related to the soul. So if you will commit an aparādha, apa rādha, rādha means affection, so when one commits an aparādha, love and affection towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa will go out. Apa means to go out. This way our śraddhā and bhakti will be uprooted. So we should be very careful to not commit an aparādha.
If one has not committed any aparādha, he still may have many anarthas. Anartha means, ‘na artha iti anartha’. What is the meaning of artha?
Śyāmarānī dīdī: Benefit.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes. What do we want, obtaining which we will be happy? I don’t want to be in this miserable material world full of sufferings and false ego. So those particular obstacles that impede one’s quest and attempts of fulfillment towards one’s ultimate well-being are designated as anarthas. Anarthas tend to exist even if there is no aparādha.
So I explained aniṣṭhitā bhakti yesterday, including the six kinds of anarthas like utsāha-mayī, ghana-taralā and so forth. Four kinds of anarthas are still present despite these anarthas having gone away and within these four, another four prominent anarthas exist. After these anarthas are subdued, śraddhā ripens to niṣṭhā and then one performs the limbs of niṣṭhitā bhakti.
Navina Kṛṣṇa Prabhu will explain the four kinds of anarthas. Try to listen carefully. Once you are aware of these anarthas and henceforward strive to eliminate them, then your bhakti will be bona fide. The gate of the realm of bhakti will be open to you and you can enter. Otherwise you will be in the same position, struggling to cope with these anarthas. So you should listen and strive to subdue the anarthas.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: You have just heard previously from Gurudeva’s lotus mouth about the difference between sin and offense. Sins are related to body and mind and offense is related to the soul. Śrīla Gurudeva explained during the morning walk how dangerous vaiṣṇava-aparādha is. It completely uproots the creeper of bhakti, so we must be very careful to not commit it. Gurudeva also explained today the ten kinds of nāma-aparādha. Why is guru avajñā not stated as the first offense and instead sādhu-nindā is stated as the first? The reason is that we think of ourselves as Vaiṣṇavas and in such a conception, complacency and carelessness arises and we joke with one another and might even neglect and criticize each other, so there is so much chance of committing a vaiṣṇava-aparādha here. We have a sense of awe and reverence towards Gurudeva, so a chance to commit an offense at his lotus feet doesn’t arise as much as it does towards the Vaiṣṇavas. There is a rare chance to commit an offense towards Gurudeva, although sometimes we neglect to carry out his orders. So we have to be wary of this aparādha. Gurudeva explained yesterday what aniṣṭhitā bhakti is, Gurudeva also explained the terms utsāha-mayī, ghana-taralā etc. After these anarthas there are more anarthas and they are laya, vikṣepa, apratipatti, kaṣāya and rasāsvāda.
Laya means the tendency to sleep while executing the limbs of bhakti. Kīrtana, śravaṇa, and smaraṇa are the three main limbs of bhakti, so during kīrtana we are very joyous and active, it seems as though we are jumping on a trampoline and at the same time we are singing, ‘Nitāi Gaura Haribol’. So here, there is no chance for one to sleep at all. But during class, we hear Gurudeva telling someone, “Don’t go to sleep! Listen to hari-kathā most attentively; māyā is everywhere all around this world. Māyā is present with her attendant—laziness. If you don’t listen carefully and you take shelter of the wall, then māyā will come and arrest you with sleep and laziness.” So during kīrtana, the chance to fall asleep doesn’t arise as much it does when one is listening to class. The chance for one to fall asleep during śravaṇa is magnified.
The next limb of bhakti is smaraṇa. Gurudeva often tell us to not think of this material world while chanting our Gāyatrī mantras. He tells us to fully engage our minds in the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu, but during smaraṇa, sleep comes easily. So sleep gradually increases as the limbs of bhakti progress from kīrtana to śravaṇa and then to smaraṇa. This is laya, one kind of anartha.
The next anartha is vikṣepa. When Gurudeva is giving a lecture, we think within ourselves, “I want to hear and follow totally.” But the person sometimes listens and sometimes is unable to listen. Sometimes the mind of a person wanders during class. Vikṣepa, vi-kṣepa, vi means specially, and kṣepa means obstacle. This way a person cannot follow the lecture properly. Sometimes Gurudeva asks a devotee, “Can you tell me what I have just explained?”
The devotee replies, “O Gurudeva, I can’t say.”
Gurudeva replies, “Why not?”
The devotee replies, “I could not listen attentively.”
This is called vikṣepa.
The third anartha is ‘apratipatti’, here there is a strong desire to execute the limbs of navadhā bhakti: śravaṇa, kīrtana, smaraṇa, pūjana, vandana, paricaryā, dāsya, sakhya, ātma-nivedana, and to also perform the five primary limbs of bhakti:
sādhu-saṅga nāma-kīrtana bhāgavata-śravaṇa Mathurā-vāsa śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.129
[One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, reside at Mathurā and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.]
Especially when heard from Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, but one is unable to do as told. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda has explained in the Nectar of Devotion how a person, who is simple and has not committed any offense, can achieve bhāva-bhakti by performing these limbs of bhakti. We listen to Gurudeva’s order and try to perform kīrtana and smaraṇa. We have a strong desire to do so, yet we cannot properly follow. This is called apratipatti, a desire to perform bhakti is there, but one is of irresolute intelligence when it comes to executing the limbs of bhakti.
Kaṣāya means fault. Here one thinks he is doing bhajana, but other extraneous desires are coming in his mind. This is called kaṣāya. Nārada Ṛṣi in his first life was the son of a maidservant. After his mother’s death, Nārada Ṛṣi went to the forest to propitiate Kṛṣṇa. But his desire to satisfy Kṛṣṇa at any cost was not strong. Nārada Ṛṣi had a desire to stay in the forest and do bhajana of Kṛṣṇa, but his desire was not strong. So this is one kind of kaṣāya. You all know that a city is of the mode of passion, a forest is of the mode of goodness, and a temple where Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas reside is transcendental. Living in the temple under the guidance of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas is ‘nirguṇa vāsa’. Nārada Ṛṣi wanted to do sāttvika ‘vana vāsa’, so this is one kind of kaṣāya. Kṛṣṇa’s darśana to Nārada Ṛṣi lasted for the same time as that of a lightning flash. When Nārada was bitterly lamenting an aerial voice consoled him, “This lifetime you cannot have any further darśana of Me as you have some kaṣāya.” kaṣāya means fault, so one has to be free of this kaṣāya.
Rasāsvāda means the agitation caused by material tastes when one is engaged in śravaṇa, kīrtana, and smaraṇa. When we chant our Gāyatrī we may think, “Oh, I need to go to a shop and purchase some commodities.” Gurudeva has given us mantras but when chanting them we are agitated by these material desires. This is rasāsvāda; material tastes which afflict us when we practice the limbs of devotion.
After these anarthas are surpassed, there are four more anarthas. The anarthas are gross and thick when utsāha-mayī and ghana-taralā etc. are there, they are subtle and thin when laya, vikṣepa etc. are there and more subtle and thin anarthas are conspicuous by their presence when these anarthas are checked. So the subtlest anarthas are sukṛti-uttha anartha, duṣkṛtī-uttha anartha, bhakti-uttha anartha and aparādha-uttha anartha. Sukṛti-uttha anarthas are those caused by performance of pious activities, duṣkṛtī-uttha anarthas are those caused by impious activities, bhakti-uttha anarthas are those caused by the performance of bhakti and aparādha-uttha anarthas are those caused by committing offenses. Now I will gradually explain these different kinds of anarthas.
Sukṛti-uttha anarthas are caused by pious activities we have performed in our past lives. Examples of pious activities are the digging of wells and ponds, the opening of hospitals, schools etc. Due to these pious activities, a sādhaka is enjoying so many things, thus leading to sukṛti-uttha. The fruits of these pious activities hamper a sādhaka from fixing his mind on bhakti with resolute intelligence.
Duṣkṛtī-uttha anarthas are those arising from performing impious activities from one’s past lives. We have done so many bad activities from which we may suffer from diseases. A child may be born blind, a person may have physical or mental limitations, and this is due to the performance of impious activities. When we are doing bhajana, our mind is disturbing us and we are unable to focus on our bhajana, this is due to duṣkṛtī-uttha anartha.
Bhakti-uttha anarthas are those that arise before our practice of pure bhakti. We commit offenses while practicing bhakti, and due to these offenses name, fame, and reputation comes before us. If we think, “This is due to my bhakti, my own merit,” when we have this mentality, bhakti goes far away from us. When name, fame, and reputation comes we should reconcile and think, “This is due to my aparādha bhakti and not śuddha-bhakti.” Gurudeva is the true receptacle for name, fame, and reputation, and not us. One should think, “Due to the influence of Guru-pāda-padma, this is coming before me, I am not the enjoyer of this name and fame, Gurudeva is the enjoyer and what he can do what he likes. I am not qualified for this, if I am involved then I have to go far away from devotion.”
Aparādha-uttha anarthas arise from offenses we commit even unwillingly. Sometimes a Vaiṣṇava may come and we may criticize him, “Oh, he is a very bad person.” I may never have even associated with the Vaiṣṇava but circumstantially I have criticized him and this leads to aparādha-uttha anarthas.
So we have to beware of these anarthas. Niṣṭhā (steadfastness in the practice of bhakti) will come if by the mercy of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas we can overcome these anarthas. So we have to pray regularly to the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, Vaiṣṇavas, Śrī Girirāja Govardhana, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Kṛṣṇa, and His associates. We should pray like Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has prayed in Śrī Manah śikṣā. By the effort of our prayers and practice, we can overcome these hurdles and advance in our devotion. Niṣṭhā, ruci, and āsakti will await us when we have crossed these anarthas. Now we will hear from Śrīla Gurudeva. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Gurudeva: We have heard about nāma-aparādha, sevā-aparādha and the eight kinds of anarthas. They are all very dangerous. Nāma-aparādha is most dangerous and sevā-aparādha and the anarthas which follow are dangerous but not as dangerous as nāma-aparādha. We should try to avoid all these things. Niṣṭhā comes after we have crossed these stages. Niṣṭhā means to be one pointed in kṛṣṇa-bhakti. In our sādhana we sometimes are of irresolute intelligence and think, “Should we do this or not?” If this niṣṭhā matures, automatically ruci (taste) will come.
Ruci is of two kinds. If the Deities are well decorated and ornamented one will think, “Oh, how beautiful the Deities are.” If the Deities are not decorated and are naked and dirty, then one may think, “Oh, Ṭhākurajī is not good. We should go to that temple where the golden Deity is there and we should see the golden thrones, ornaments, and golden everything. The Deities are glittering so nicely! So let us go there.”
In Vṛndāvana nowadays, not many go to see the bona fide Deities like Śrī Govinda, Gopinātha, and Madana-mohana. They go to the temples that are so nicely decorated; where everything is golden, and glittering lights amaze them. Ṭhākurajī is feeling hot by such lighting and other ostentatious displays but we neglect Ṭhākurajī and bring many people along with us like our relations and wonder staring at the decorations of the temple.
Another instance is when kīrtana is going on, but the singer’s voice is not so sweet and his playing of musical instruments like the mṛdaṅga is not so rhythmic, at that time one may think, “Kīrtana is not good, we should go to a temple where the instruments are played very nicely and the singing is very sweet. We should go to such a bona fide kīrtana.” All the cheaters may have collected in such a place ready to cheat all with their artificial displays. They sometimes may even smoke cigarettes. They may go inside and take wine and come out and dance most beautifully with their long, wavy hair swinging to and fro. At that time one may think, “This is very good kīrtana, a bona fide kīrtana.” The performers may not have adorned their foreheads with tilaka, their necks with kānti-mālā, and they are not pure devotees, but then too their display is appreciated so much.
On the other hand, there may be a pure devotee, a mahā-bhāgavata doing kīrtana. But he has no sweet voice and no instruments to accompany his kīrtana. The mahā-bhāgavata is doing kīrtana and weeping and trembling. But one may say, “Oh, he is a cheater.” The mahā-bhāgavata is not a cheater, but one may think he is a cheater because he has no sweet voice. His pure devotion eludes the perceiver. So these are two kinds of ruci (tastes).
One may go to a place where there are artificial displays and when the same person goes to a place surcharged with pure devotion, the person may cheat himself by trying to judge the performance by the exercise of his senses. He will not hear the pure devotee’s kīrtana. So we should be careful in our considerations. Ruci for kīrtana should be like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s. Mahāprabhu heard someone singing the Gīta-govinda and He was at once captivated.
jaya jaya deva hare
When Mahāprabhu heard this singing, He was most overcome with bliss. But who was singing? A deva-dāsī of Śrī Jagannātha-deva was singing. She was singing very far away, in a jungle. The path to the jungle was beset with thorns. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ran towards the origin of the voice, totally forgetting His identity, not considering whether He was a male or female, and crying and saying, “O Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, where are You?” Mahāprabhu was running so fast that none could pursue Him. Śrī Govinda Prabhu ran behind and said, “O Mahāprabhu, a lady is singing, You should not touch her, otherwise I know that You will jump in the sea, so please hear me.”
But Mahāprabhu was not listening. Sensing the danger of Mahāprabhu’s atonement, Govinda Prabhu very loudly said, “What are You doing, a lady devotee is singing, You should not embrace her.”
Hearing Govinda Prabhu’s plea, Mahāprabhu at once stopped and said, “O Govinda! You have saved Me; otherwise, if I would have touched the lady I would have at once jumped in the sea and given up My life.”
Once, during the dead of night, someone was singing Śrī Gīta-Govinda written by Śrī Jayadeva Gosvāmī very sweetly, very far away from the Śrī Jagannātha temple. Listening to this kīrtana, Jagannātha-deva came out of His temple and crossed the five sealed gates and ran towards the direction of the kīrtana. In His ecstatic love filled trance, Jagannātha-deva was oblivious of the thorns that were present on the path and the thorns scratched His body and tore His clothes. When the priests opened the seal and entered Jagannātha’s room in the early morning, they saw how Jagannātha was scratched all over His body and His clothes were torn. The priests asked each other as to why this happened and they became so worried. They went to the king and informed him and told him that this must have been because of some aparādha and wrongdoing. The king offered many stava-stutis and when he slept, Jagannātha-deva appeared in his dream and told him, “Someone was singing Śrī Gīta-Govinda, listening to which I was unable to control Myself. I ran to embrace the person and the path was beset with thorns, that is why My clothes are torn and I have been scratched.” The king awoke and announced in the kingdom that none should sing this kīrtana anywhere outside the precincts of the temple, especially during the night.
What is this? If kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is going on irrespective of kīrtana being sung with the sweetest of melodies or not, a bona fide devotee will listen to the name of Kṛṣṇa and at once fall flat on the ground. So we should carefully know all these things and try to have ruci. Even if there is no tāla or svara (sweet melody) in the kīrtana of a devotee who has ruci, we should respectfully listen to his kīrtana.
When ruci matures, āsakti (attachment) comes. Āsakti is also of two kinds; āsakti to bhajana and āsakti to bhajanīya (Kṛṣṇa and His asscociates). First āsakti to the process of devotional service comes. One who has this āsakti is of the conviction that, “Without sādhana-bhajana I cannot remain alive.” His life and soul is bhajana. After that, the attachment is transferred to Kṛṣṇa and His associates. We should know and try to follow all these things and as a result, śuddha-bhakti will come and we will progress accordingly.