I will always contemplate and serve the lotus feet of Śrī Yugala-Kiśora with anurāga, loving attachment. Whatever I contemplate during the time of sādhana, will be attained at the time of perfection in a spiritual body (siddha-deha). This is the method of rāga-marga. Txt.8

Without the mercy of our Guru-varga how can one understand how to perform sādhana and what to meditate on? Therefore, Śrīla Narottama Ṭhākura has composed the following verse with rāgānuga-sādhaka in mind:

gaura-prema rasārṇave se taraṅge yebā dūbe

se rādhā-mādhava-antaraṅga

Prārthanā 13324

Gaura-prema is an ocean of rasa. Those who submerge themselves in the waves of that ocean emerge in the waves of the confidential and intimate service of Rādhā-Mādhava.

Our Guru-varga explain that, one should relish the pastimes of kṛṣṇa-līlā through the medium of gaura-līlā by remembering and following in the footsteps of the eternal associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This means one should certainly follow all the limbs of bhakti that were shown by them.

śravaṇa-kīrtana bāhye sādhaka-śārīre

siddha-dehe vrajānuga-sevā abhyantare

One who has intense hankering to attain rāgātmikā-bhakti follows in the wake of the Vrajavāsīs, like the Six Gosvāmīs who are devoted to the path of rāga-mārga. With his sādhaka body he should chant and hear according to the method of rāgānuga-bhakti, and with his internally contemplated siddha-rūpa bestowed upon him by his Gurudeva, he should do service.

In other words, with the external body one should serve like Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātana. With an intense hankering to obtain the moods of Kṛṣṇa’s dear associates one should do mānasī-sevā following the Vraja-devīs. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructed Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī He said:

kona bhagye kona jīvera ‘sraddhā’ yadi haya

tabe sei jīva ‘sādhu-sanga’ ye karaya

sadhu-sanga haite haya ‘śravaṇa-kirtana’

sadhana-bhaktye haya ‘sarvānartha-nivartana’

anartha-nivṛtti haile bhaktye ‘niṣṭha’ haya

niṣṭha haite śravaṅādye ’ruci’ upajaya

ruci haite bhaktye haya ‘āsakti pracura

āsakti haite citte janme kṛṣṅe prity-ankura

sei ’bhava’ gadha haile dhare ‘prema’-nāma

sei prema— ’prayojana’ sarvānanda-dhāma

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.9-13

If by good fortune the living entity develops faith (sraddhā), he begins to associate with saintly person (sadhus), and in that association he begins hearing and chanting. By following the practice of sādhana-bhakti he becomes free from all unwanted contaminations (anarthas) and progresses with firm faith (niṣṭhā) whereby taste (ruci) awakens for hearing and chanting and so on. After taste, then attachment (āsakti) comes, and from deep attachment the seed of affection (prīti) is born in the heart which is also known as bhāva. When that bhāva condenses, it is called pure love of God, (prema). This love of God is the ultimate goal of life and the abode of all bliss.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has taught this as well, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-sanga ‘tha bhajana-kriyā. Without following this sequence it is impossible to enter the realm of bhakti. Our ācāryas have explained that, “vidhi-mārga rata jane svādhīnatā ratna-dāne rāga-mārga korāna praveśa—Kṛṣṇa eventually bestows the jewel of independence unto those persons who are attached to the path of rules and regulations, thereby allowing them entrance into the path of spontaneous loving service.Those who want to attain the pure loving sentiments of the Vraja-vāsīs while neglecting the limbs of vaidhī sādhana-bhakti have no relation at all with śuddha-bhakti. They do not follow scripture.

sādhya-vastu sādhana vinā keha nāhi pāya

kṛpā kari kaha rāya pābāra upāya

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.197

Srī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: The goal of life, sādhya-vastu, can never be attained unless one performs sādhana. Be merciful upon Me and please explain by what means this goal can be achieved.

Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says:

sādhane bhāviba yāhā siddha-dehe pāba tāhā,

rāga-pathera ei se upāya

Whatever I contemplate during the time of sādhana will certainly be received upon attaining the perfection of one’s siddha-deha. This is the method of the rāga path.

Our Guru-varga teach us that without accepting our fallen position, humility cannot enter the heart.

ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ

patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau

kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-

sthita-dhūli-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya

O Nanda-nandana, I am Your purchased servant! I have fallen into this dreaded ocean of material existence, therefore please bestow Your mercy upon me and consider me to be just like a speck of dust at Your lotus feet.

When deep attachment awakens in the heart, one will begin to perform sādhana while maintaining the conception of being a maidservant of Śrī Rādhā.

sthūla-dehādite ātma-buddhi parihari ’

kṛṣṇa-kṛpa-āśraye nitya-gopī-deha dhari’

kabe āmi pārakīya rase nirantara

rādhā-kṛsna-sevā-sukha labhiba vistara

After giving up false identification of the gross body, I will take shelter of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and obtain the body of a gopī, as a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. When will I serve and attend Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, who are always enjoying pastimes of pārakīya-rasa?

Our Guru-varga explain in this regard that, “In the spiritual world, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only male and all living beings are feminine or śakti. In the actual structure of the living entity’s heart, male and female attributes do not exist; yet, when accepting a material body the jīva naturally identifies as being a male or female. The living being attains a pure spiritual body through sādhana-bhajana. A person who has an inclination towards mādhurya-rasa will execute sādhana and bhajana under the direction of rasika devotees and, according to his own desire stemming from his eternal nature, he will attain his spiritual body, which will be in the form of a gopī. Yogamāyā makes all arrangements for the bhaktas service in a specific rasa by the aghaṭana-ghaṭana paṭīyasī śakti, the potency that makes the impossible possible. The mañjarīs are the most fortunate because they perform service in the secluded kuñjas without any hesitation. Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays in Vraja-vilāsa-stava:

tāmbūlārpaṇa-pāda-mardana-payodānābhisārādibhir

vṛndāraṇya-maheśvarīṁ priyatayā yās toṣayanti priyāḥ

prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhī-kulād api kilāsaṅkocitā bhūmikāḥ

kelī-bhūmiṣu rūpa-mañjarī-mukhās tā dāsikāḥ saṁśraye

Vraja-vilāsa-stava 38

I take shelter of the kiṅkarīs of Śrīmatī Rādhikā of whom Rūpa Mañjarī is primary. Unlike the prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhīs, they can render any service without hesitation. They always affectionately satisfy Śrīmatī Rādhikā by their different types of services, such as bringing tāmbūla, massaging Her feet, bringing Her water and arranging Her rendezvous with Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will I offer Her betel-nut? When will I massage Rādhā’s feet and serve Her in many other ways like offering Her various drinks and arranging for Her tryst with Kṛṣṇa? When will I surrender at the lotus feet of Śrī Lalitā-Viśākhā who are the paramapreṣṭha sakhīs of the queen of Vṛndāvana Śrīmatī Rādhārānī? When will I come under the guidance of the lotus feet of the mañjarīs headed by Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī? When will I always be there for Rādhā’s service in the kuñja-kutīras? When will I help the mañjarīs perform their services to Śrī Yugala-Kiśora? They will then definitely engage me in Their service as well.”

Ṭhākura Mahāśaya has explained how the sādhaka should follow the footsteps of the Gosvāmīs and nourish his greed. This is our sādhana. Anything a sādhaka does independently is not right. Our sādhana is to follow the process of the Gosvāmīs. The Guru-varga will offer us at the lotus feet of the Gosvāmīs. Kṛṣṇa has said in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.66):

sarva-dharmān parityajya

mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo

mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ328

Kṛṣṇa takes all responsibility for one who surrenders unto Him, and He protects such a person against all sinful reactions. Kṛṣṇa said, “I will give you liberation. Do not worry.”

But the Guru-varga tells us, “You should offer yourself at the lotus feet of the Gosvāmīs.”

By offering ourselves, we will engage in continuous service. The rāgātmika Vrajavāsīs’ hearts will then melt, and the flow of their anurāga will inundate our hearts. It is not possible for Kṛṣṇa to give this anurāga. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa sends the sincere devotee near the Vraja-devīs. Śrī Rāmacandra sent the śruti-cārī, Upaniṣadacari, and the Daṇḍakāraṇya Ṛṣis to Vraja-maṇḍala. It is possible to attain vraja-prema by being under the guidance of the Vraja-devīs. Otherwise, it is not possible to control Kṛṣṇa without gopī-bhāva. Mundane people have many separate desires. It is not possible for them to be one-pointed. Mahāprabhu’s followers possess priceless wealth, because of the moods they have received.

A Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sādhaka is always engaged in remembering aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā (the eightfold pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa). In his Bhakti-sandarbha, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has described how remembrance of vraja-līlā can be attained. The heart and soul of the Gauḍīyas is to remember vraja-līlā. A rasika-bhakta is always engaged in rāgānugā-sādhana. He doesn’t waste any time. The rasika-bhakta is always under the guidance of the Vraja-devīs and the mañjarīs. The rasika-bhakta is always remembering their names and serving under their guidance. In his siddha-form, the bhakta follows the Vraja-devīs, and enters many kuñjas. Some of those kuñjas are Vilāsa-kuñja, Lalitānanda-kuñja, and Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. The Vraja-devīs never leave their kuñjakutīras. This is our Gauḍīya line.

bāhya, antara — ihāra dui ta’ sādhana

‘bāhye’ sādhaka-dehe kare śravaṅa-kīrtana

‘mane’ nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana

rātri-dine kare vraje kṛṣṅera sevana

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.156-157329

Rāgānugā bhakti is performed in two ways: outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly, in the body of a practitioner, the devotee executes hearing and chanting. In his mind, by his internally conceived, spiritual body, he serves Kṛṣṇa in Vraja day and night.

The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas always do śravaṇakīrtana by their sādhaka bodies. They do śravaṇakīrtana of vraja-līlā. They engage in anurāgamayibhajanasādhana. They don’t discuss ordinary histories. Vraja-līlā and mañjarī-bhāva is not available anywhere. It is not possible for anyone to give these moods. How can vraja-sevā and Vraja-vasa be attained without these moods? How can a relation with Vraja-bhūmi be achieved?

By hearing vraja-līlā from vraja-rasa-rasika Vaiṣṇavas, a greed will arise to obtain the transcendental sentiments of the vraja-parikāras. At that time one will no longer depend on the logic of the scriptures that explain vaidhī-bhakti. He will follow the method of bhajana found in scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Rāga-vartma-candrika. There are five kinds of sādhana in rāgānuga-bhakti:

Svābhīṣṭabhāva-maya—composed of one’s aspired mood— when hearing and chanting other limbs of bhakti are saturated with one of the sthayi-bhāvas (dāsya, sakhya, vatsālya, or mādhurya), they nourish the creeper of the devotees future prema.

Svābhīṣṭabhāva-sambandhī—in relation to one’s aspired mood—the limbs of devotion including śrī-guru-padāśraya, mantra-japa, smaraṇa, and dhyāna, are called as bhāva-sambandhī-sādhana. Because observing the vows on holy days such as Ekādaśī and Janmāṣṭamī aid the performance of smaraṇa, it is considered in some way to be also bhāva-sambandhī.

Svābhīṣṭabhāva-anukūla—favorable to one’s aspired mood—wearing tulasī beads, tilaka, and other outward signs of a Vaiṣṇava, serving tulasī, doing parikramā, paying obeisances, and so forth, are bhāva-anukūla.

Svābhīṣṭabhāva-aviruddha—neither against nor incompatible with one’s aspired mood—serving cows, the banyan tree, the myrobalan tree, and brāhmaṇas are limbs that contribute to the development of bhakti, and are therefore called bhāva-aviruddha.

Svābhīṣṭabhāva-viruddha—inimical to one’s aspired mood— nyāsa mental assigning different deities to various parts of the body), mudrā (particular signs made from intertwining the fingers), dvārakā-dhyāna (remembering Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Dvārakā), and other such limbs should be rejected during the practice of rāgānuga-bhakti because they are unfavorable to the achievement of one’s desired bhāva.

Some apa-sampradayās or ignorant people conclude from the verse of Narottama Ṭhākura—sādhane bhāviba jāhā siddha-dehe pāiba tāhā rāga pathera ei se upāya—that the siddha-deha of the jīva is not fixed but is achieved by meditating during the time of sādhana. They say that siddha-praṇālī is necessary for manifesting the svarūpa of jīva and therefore they cheaply distribute the ekādaśa-bhāvas of the eternally perfected Vraja-devīs to anyone they fancy. By this practice of meditating, “I am Lalitā” or, “I am Viśākha,” the jīva commits uncountable offenses to the lotus feet of the eternally perfected vraja-gopīs.

Our Guru-varga have given strong arguments and logic refuting such bogus ideas. This subject matter has discussed by our ācāryas. They have brought up many points from śāstra supporting the fact that the the svarūpa of the jīva is eternally latent within the ātmā itself and that sādhu-saṅga only assists in manifesting that eternal form from its latent seed-like state.

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.107) it is said:

nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema sādhya kabhu naya

śravaṇādi śuddha-citte karaye udaya

Kṛṣṇa-prema is an eternally perfected reality; it does not come about by any sādhana. It automatically appears in the heart of a purified devotee by the execution of the various limbs of devotion such as hearing and chanting and so on.

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, (Pūrva-vibhāga 2.2) it states:

kṛti-sādhyā bhavet sādhya-bhāvā sā sādhanābhidhā

nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā

Sādhana-bhakti is the practice by the senses of śuddha-bhakti by which bhāva is attained. The final goal, or sādhya-bhāva, is eternally present in the heart and is therefore nitya-siddha. In other words, it is an eternal reality, but sādhana is that means by which it can be manifested from within the heart.

Therefore it is inconsistent to think that the svarūpa of the jīva manifests according to the type of sādhu-saṅga one has. One cannot achieve svarūpa-siddhi by speculative meditation. Real progression and perfection of the soul cannot be attained by these duplicitous methods. Growth of the soul will only take place in the association of rāgatmikā-vrajavāsīs. Sādhana-bhakti, śravaṇa and kīrtana in their association is called rāga-sādhana and only by this sādhana will the svarūpa of the sādhaka be manifest. Vaidhi-sādhana-bhakti performed outside the association of Vrajavāsīs will not touch the soul.

Here it is said, ‘nitya-siddha-prema’ meaning that this relation of love to Śrī Kṛṣṇa within the jīva’s heart is eternal and fixed, it is and was always present and it cannot change at any time. During the stage of bondage and sādhana it is not manifest, but once a sādhaka is under the shelter of and following rāgātmikā bhaktas, then from their hearts that flow of anurāgamayisevā will touch the soul of the sādhaka. Then through the sweet relation with that bhakta, one’s own siddha-svarūpa and siddha-bhāvamayisevā will quickly manifest.

The svarūpa of the jīva will not change. When perfection is achieved that eternal form will be revealed. When the sun rises all darkness disappears and everything can clearly be seen. Other forms of light can never be compared to the light of the sun. If one uses a blue or red light to see in the darkness then everything he sees will seem to be blue or red. But this is an illusion; it is caused by a temporary artificial light. Once the sun arises the true color and nature of this world will automatically be seen. A sādhaka attaining svarūpa-siddhi is like the rising of the sun—prema suryaṁsu samyabhak. At that time everything, including the spiritual form and identity of the soul can be witnessed clearly. Yet before the sun of svarūpa-siddhi arises in the heart of the sādhaka, he may, according to his association, develop many attractions and identify himself with these attachments.

But these attachments and identities are temporary and stem from mundane conditioning. They are not the true identity of the soul, for that is fixed and can never change. This is seen in the life of Gopa Kumāra. He went to so many places and took shelter of many different personalities, being attracted and impressed by all of them. But these attractions were eventually transcended when he finally attained his eternal identity as a sakhā of Kṛṣṇa. At that time he became fully and eternally satisfied.

Before svarūpa-siddhi all identities are temporary and incomplete. According to karma of the jīva, he is born into one of the eighty-four lakhs species of life. Life after life he thus continues to change his body and be thrown about in this cycle of birth and death. These bodies and the identities that accompany them are not eternal. In Bhagavadgītā (8.6) it is described:

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram

taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

Whatever state of mind one is in when he quits his body he will attain that state in his next birth. This is illustrated in the life of Mahārāja Bharata. He became excessively attached to a baby deer. At the time of death he only thought of that deer. As a result he received the body of a deer in his next life. But this vicāra is only valid in this realm of birth and death. It can never be applicable in the realm of transcendence. In this material world, regardless of which birth one receives in his next life, it is simply a temporary covering over the eternal soul. Therefore this vicāra of Ṭhākura Mahāśaya should not be misunderstood, “bhajana bhāvibe jāhā siddha-deha pāibe tāhā”, one should not parallel this with the statement of Gītā: yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ. One should understand very clearly that the svarūpa of the jīva can never change, it is not created and cannot be given or received. Just as the jīva himself is eternal without beginning or end, in the same way his siddha-svarūpa is also eternal and constitutionally invested within him. The jīvas eternal form is always present, yet due to conditioning it becomes covered. The process of uncovering this identity is called sādhana. Therefore, understand that the svarūpa is revealed, it is not given or changed.

Now what is the process for revealing that svarūpa? Any sādhana that is not in relation to the rāgātmikāanurāgijana does not have the power to reveal the svarūpa of the jīva. The purity of one’s sādhana can be determined based on what fruits are produced by that sādhana. Real sādhana will result in all favorable results. If real sādhana is performed then all bhāvas will manifest. Vibhāva, anubhāva, vyabhicārī, and sattvika-bhāva will all combine and then bhakti-rasa will be tasted. Once even one drop of this rasa is tasted, the sādhaka can never be attracted anywhere else. This is svarūpa-siddhi. It will come in this process automatically and spontaneously. There is no need to imagine anything about one’s eternal form. It is above anything material. Mental concoctions cannot touch that svarūpa.

The svarūpa is only attained by sādhana which is full of prārthanā. It is only revealed by anugatya. Dāsa Gosvāmī has shown the proper prārthanā in his Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (16) to receive an eternal position in Vraja:

pādābjayos tava vinā vara dāsyam eva

nānyat kadāpi samaye kila devī yāce

sākhyāya te mama namo ‘stu namo ‘stu nityaṁ

dāsyāya te mama raso ‘stu raso ‘stu satyam

O Rādhikā! I never want anything but the best loving service unto Your lotus feet. If You want to grant me the position of your sakhī, like Lalitā and Viśākhā etc. then I offer my obeisance again and again to that position from a distance. I do not actually want that position but rather I want the humble position of becoming Your palya-dasī. I am begging only to have steady loving attachment in Your service.

Hearing this then Śrīmatī Rādhikā will situate me in that position for which I am praying. She grants this sevā adhikāra. So this siddha-deha is revealed by the process of anugatya, not by the process of imagination. 334

Therefore the sādhaka’s sole focus is to pray for absorption in this sevā and to come under the anugatya of rāgātmikā Vrajavāsīs and to serve them. This is sādhana. When we get qualification for that sevā we are jīvanamukta. The power of this yearning and guidance will give rise to realization of one’s svarūpa, and at this time svarūpaanubandhi prema will come. This cannot be fully expressed through words or given as an instructional process. This is natural self-manifesting svarūpaanubhandi prema.

It has thus been established that the svarūpa of the jīva is eternally inherent and unchangeable. It should be clearly understood then what Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is saying here. Sādhana bhāvibe jāhā siddha dehe pāibe tāhā rāga pathera ei se upāya. Here he is telling the process for those on the path of rāgabhakti. For the rāgabhakta, meaning that sādhaka who has attained this stage of spontaneous love, it is recommended that he meditate on his spiritual form. But this form is real, it has been gradually and naturally revealed through Guru-pāda-padma and by the strength of rāgasādhana. Actually the activities of those who have this rāga cannot be called sādhana. The acts they perform are spontaneous and stem from natural love within their hearts. It is not practice; it is never done by force or according to rules and regulations.

This love cannot be taught. No one teaches a wife how to love her husband. This relationship is evolved naturally. If a wife were to say to her husband, “I do not know how to love you; better that I go to other men, I can learn and experience love with them then I can come back and love you properly.” This means she has no love at all for her husband and on the contrary she is quite unchaste. Similarly the siddha-deha or eternal form of the jīva is revealed automatically when one reaches this stage. There is no question of imagination in that stage.

Everything is natural and factual and attained at the appropriate time when the sādhaka matures. For example, no one teaches a mother how to show affection to her son. No one can teach a mother cow how to fill her udders with milk. This is a spontaneous phenomenon. Milk and affection will come naturally when a baby calf is present. No one can stop this or change it, nor will milk come before this time. In the same way the siddha-svarūpa will be revealed naturally when one comes to the platform of rāgabhakti and not before. Anything before this will only be imagination and completely artificial.

When boys and girls are very young they can mix and play together freely with no sense of lust or attraction. But when they come of age then naturally there will be attraction. Lust will develop and this innocent mood will not be possible. So in the stage of sādhana-bhakti before one attains bhāvadaśā, there is no genuine connection to siddha-svarūpa. No understanding or mood has developed of that transcendental world.

Here Ṭhākura Mahāśaya is saying “sādhana bhāviba jāhā”, at the time of sādhana one can meditate on their eternal form. This is referring to rāgasādhana: “rāga pathera ei se upāya.” This is not speaking of ordinary sādhana. There are two types of sādhana, the path of vaidhīsādhana and the path of rāga. Those who are practicing vaidhīsādhana are bound by the rules and regulations prescribed in śāstra. They have no taste or strong relation therefore they must adhere to set rules and boundaries so they may stay in line. How can this sādhaka have any idea of his siddha-deha? He is not eligible. He cannot receive siddha-praṇālī at this stage because he has no connection, he does not have the capacity to understand or see. This is like a young boy in a kindergarten class attending and attempting to learn in the class of paṇḍitas. It is only a charade. Nothing will be retained. So meditation on siddha-deha is not recommended for neophyte sādhakas for it is only pretentious. He is only eligible once he enters the path of rāga-mārga. Then his love is spontenous and he is no longer bound by rules of vaidhī-bhakti. It has been described, vidhi-mārga rata jane svādhīnatā ratna-dāne rāga-mārga korāna praveśa. One who is bound and attached to the laws and rules of vaidhī-bhakti, may mercifully be gifted the jewel of spontenous love. That rāga frees him form the restrictions of forced practice and he becomes eligible to meditate on siddha-deha. Rāga-vaśavartī haiyā pārakīya bhāvāśraye labhe jīva kṛṣṇa-premāveśa – that person, overcome by spontaneous attachment to the Lord, takes shelter of the parakīya mood and goes on to become absorbed in love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.5.132), Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined the word rasa in the following manner:

vyatītya bhāvanā-vartma

yaś camatkāra-bhāra-bhūḥ

hṛdi sattvojjvale bāḍhaṁ

svadate sa raso mataḥ

That which has an extraordinary taste and is experienced only in the heart which is illuminated by śuddha-sattva, or the appearance of the sthāyibhāva, is called rasa.

When consciousness rises above this mundane plane and attains divine nature then one can taste rasa or begin to glimpse siddha-deha. In this stage there is no imagination for one’s consciousness is purified: Hṛdi sattvojjvale bāḍhaṁ. One is connected to śuddha-sattva. What is the source of that connection? It is coming from the hearts of rāgātmikā Vrajavāsīs. At this bhāvadaśā the sādhaka is constantly remembering and meditating on the rāgātmikājana. Some are meditating and worshipping Yasoda Mātā, others Śrīdāma and the sakhās and others Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Her associates. Due to the intensity of bhajana and desire of the sādhaka, these rāgātmikājana open their heart to the flow of rāgabhakti. Then they will reveal everything to that sādhaka. By their mercy his form and name and service will be revealed. At this time the sādhaka will constantly meditate on this form and identity that has been revealed to him. This is, “Sādhanabhāviba jāhā siddha-deha pāibe tāhā.” That sādhaka will then continue to meditate and perform mānasī-sevā with this identity and more and more will be revealed until vastu-siddhi is attained. Then he is no longer a sādhaka, he becomes perfected. This is Ṭhākura Mahāśaya’s description in this verse.

We can understand in a simple way that this genuine type of siddha-dehasmaraṇa will result in attainment of one’s perfected body and that imagination of one’s siddha-deha before one is eligible results only in degradation. They have opposite effects. So the authenticity can be determined easily by seeing the fruits of each.

iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ paramāviṣṭatā bhavet

tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ sātra rāgātmikoditā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.272

Rāga is the quenchless loving thirst for one’s Iṣṭa-deva, the object of one’s affection, which leads to natural and extreme absorption in that object. Bhakti that is rendered with such rāga is known as rāgātmikā-bhakti.

This is absolutely natural, it cannot ever be attained by our own endeavor in sādhana, what to speak of through our imagination. The only sādhana to attain it is to never be apart from the lotus feet of anurāgijana. This is the best and only sādhana. This method is very simple and easy; in all situations remain tadanurāgijanānugāmi.

Mahāprabhu tried to change the heart of Murāri Gupta, and Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs tried to convince their younger brother Anupama to perform kṛṣṇa-bhajana, but they were not successful. Both are considered eternal associates of Rāmacandrajī. So we can see from this that not even the association of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates could change them.

From the example of Mahāprabhu’s pastime meeting with Śrī Vyeṅkaṭa Bhaṭṭa, Śrī Prabodhānanda, and so forth in Śrī Raṅgam it becomes clear that sādhu-saṅga assists in manifesting the svarūpa of the jīva, but sādhu-saṅga cannot change the svarūpa.

In Śrī Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛtam, we see that Śrī Nārada Muni, Uddhavajī, Hanumānjī and others, could not change the natural sakhya-bhāva of Gopa Kumāra, just as it is also not possible that their own svarūpa can ever be changed. It is not that by association one’s svarūpa is born or changes, but rather when māyā gradually recedes by the mercy of Gurudeva one’s svarūpa begins to manifest and become evident.

If one plants different types of seeds like a mango seed, jackfruit seed, neem seed, and so forth on the bank of the Gaṅgā and although they get the same water, air, and sunlight, they all mature differently and different fruits grow. From this we can understand that each seed has its own inherent nature and will manifest a particular tree and fruit according to its constitution. This is always the case and can be accepted as an eternal law. In the same way, the jīva has its own constitutional name, form, body, and nature. By Gurudeva’s mercy, whatever constitutional form the jīva has begins to manifest itself. A prema-anurāgi-bhakta distributes only premarasa, and by this rasa the soul’s svarūpa manifests.

When rain falls during the stellar constellation known as Svāti-nakṣatra, the raindrops produce different substances according to the objects it falls on. Rain drops on an oyster produce a pearl; on a banana tree, camphor; on a serpent, a precious jewel; on an elephant, the elephant pearl; on the hoof of a cow, gorocanā; on a deer, musk, and when they fall on a bamboo tree then vaṁsilocana is produced. Also when it falls on a young boy’s head he will become a king, and on a girl’s head then she will be like Mahā-lakṣmī. The water is the same but different substances are manifested because of the different receptacles. Similarly, when different jīvas come to the shelter of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, they manifest service moods and varieties of spiritual perfection in different rasas even though they are all influenced by the same association.

We should understand that as long as there are anarthas in the heart, the svarūpa of the living being remains hidden. But when one starts to perform sādhana-bhajana and his unwanted habits begin to disappear, his inherent bhāva becomes evident in the form of some particular ruci. Śrīla Gurudeva, like a desire-tree, makes the siddha-deha appear at that time within the heart of his dear disciple. He helps the disciple realize his siddha-deha by acquainting him with it through the ekādaśa-bhāva. He then also attains the five daśās.

The ekādaśa-bhāvas, eleven moods given by Gurudeva are: (1) sambandha, relationship; (2) vayasa, age; (3) nāma, name; (4) rūpa, own form; (5) yūtha, group; (6) veśa, dress; (7) ājñā, specific order; (8) vāsa, place of residence; (9) sevā, personal service; (10) parākāṣṭhāśvāsa, the utmost limit of spiritual sentiment, which is one’s very life breath; and (11) pālyadāsī-bhāva, the sentiment of a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

Narottama das Thakura ki Jaya! (excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika”, available from: [email protected] )

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