Once, a landlord brāhmaṇa came to see Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. His friend spoke the following words about the brāhmaṇa to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja:
“He has attained bhāva. He cannot walk on his own; he is always trembling in ecstasy. He can only go from one place to another when I am by his side. Although he has much wealth, he is completely detached from it. Fifteen days before, a thief broke into his house and stole forty-five thousand rupees. Yet, my friend was not disturbed because he knew well about the impermanence of material wealth. He has devotedly come for your darśana. He has abandoned asat-saṅga completely, and he only associates with me.
“He once asked me some questions about the conversation that took place between Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda Prabhu and Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but I told him, ‘Only Śrī Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja can answer your questions.’ I pray to you, that you may mercifully speak on the conversation between Rāya Rāmānanda and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and enlighten us. Thus, you should cool his scorched heart.’ ”
Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “Before understanding the confidential truths of Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda, this person should abandon the association of hypocrites and seek shelter at the lotus feet of a one-pointed sādhu. Thus, he should read the Caitanya-caritāmṛta a hundred times in the association of a sādhu. And while doing so, he should continuously weep and beg for the mercy of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s devotees—only then will he able to realize the confidential truths of Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvāda. Now all the devotees wish to do kīrtana; there is no time to speak further.”
After hearing Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s words, all the assembled devotees started a loud kīrtana of the mahā-mantra. The landlord brāhmaṇa and his associate then returned to their residence.
After sometime, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja spoke the following words to the assembled devotees, “Except the absence of the desire for obtaining the objects of this world, I didn’t see any transcendental mood in the landlord brāhmaṇa who came from so far while being simultaneously absorbed in bhāva. I understood by listening to a few words of his that his consciousness is not absorbed in hari-bhajana in the least. Hari-bhajana cannot be ‘measured’ and speculated on by ordinary people. If even a drop of hypocrisy is present in hari-bhajana, then although detachment, renunciation, and moods of so-called bhāva are exhibited, such renunciation is not real nor is it bhāva-bhakti. Such artificial renunciation will immediately vanish whenever there are testing times. Renunciation is always looking for the opportunity to seek the shelter of a person whose consciousness is infused with rati, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead. Devotees of this caliber will not show their bhāva to us. Rather, they will practice their devotion in such a way that their transcendental attachment and absorption in hari-bhajana will always be growing. Although a person doesn’t possess such pure anurāga, he will express his detachment in more than a hundred ways. But such duplicitous endeavors will not attract the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. On the contraty, He will distance Himself even further. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself will run to be in the association of an anurāgī-bhakta, a devotee who has spotless anurāga.
“A person whose heart is full of desires for sense enjoyment doesn’t possess even a scent of such spotless anurāga, yet he will dress himself in various ways to express his ‘anurāga.’ But the more he acts as such, the more Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy cheats such a pretender. A devotee possessing transcendental love towards Śrī Hari may externally become afflicted by a disease, still, Śrī Kṛṣṇa will remain attracted to the fragrance emanating from his transcendental limbs that are always engaged in transcendental service.
“If we continuously chant harināma while refraining from eating anything, and if we weep at every moment while praying to attain the service of Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, then the wealth of Śrī Rādhā’s life, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, will easily be attained. But we must be careful to not display our emotions in public.”
The Process of Meditating on the Eightfold Pastimes According to the Line of the Rūpānugas
Once, a caste gosvāmī from Śrī Sundarānanda Ṭhākura’s appearance place came to see Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and prayed to him that he instruct him on aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā bhajana (meditation on the eightfold pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa) and siddha-praṇālī (the process to achieve entrance into those pastimes). After being silent for sometime, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I have no time today.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja gave the same answer the next day when the gosvāmī again prayed to be instructed on this extremely confidential subject. Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja gave that same answer to the gosvāmī every single time. He only said, “I have no time today. I will tell you when I have time.”
The gosvāmī then left Navadvīpa, being disappointed and upset. On the evening of the day the gosvāmī left, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja spoke the following words to the devotees who were sitting around him, “A person who almost loses his life when he realizes that he has lost a penny, desires to be instructed on aṣṭa-kālīya-bhajana and siddha-praṇālī. Aṣṭa-kālīya-bhajana can be read from a book, but will one’s siddha-deha, perfect spiritual body, be attained in this way? No one can realize one’s siddha-deha by reading a book. A person cannot attain his siddha-deha even if he memorizes all the ślokas of Śrī Govinda-līlāmṛta. Siddha-deha cannot be realized by reading a book. The world will be greatly harmed if merchant-like people speak about these confidential aspects of devotion in an open marketplace. The problems of this world have only increased because of describing such confidential aspects in ordinary books. These people wear sārīs and climb to another floor of their supposed śrī kṛṣṇa-bhakti, but they only pass stool there. In the name of rendering kuñja-sevā to Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, these people only desire to pollute the kuñja of their heart. They only foster this desire. The merchant guru and the merchant disciple, who are like unripe jackfruits that are useless, engage in the business of giving and receiving siddha-praṇālī. Such transactions are causing great harm.
“So many people have come to me, but all of them only desire to cheat me. A person who desires to be instructed on aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā should completely renounce asat-saṅga and continuously chant harināma in sādhu-saṅga. He should also be careful to not artificially chant harināma in a solitary place. By acting according to the whims of the mind, the witch of Māyā will easily catch one. By being in sādhu-saṅga, the holy name will manifest the Lord’s form, qualities, and pastimes. Although an unfortunate person has no faith in the Holy Name, he will want to separately be instructed on aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. By nourishing such desires, a person only brings inauspiciousness upon himself.”
Upon hearing these words of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, the merchant gurus and disciples (who are like useless unripe jackfruits) became unhappy, as Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja only spoke śreya-kathā, or kathā that brings eternal auspiciousness. He never spoke preya-kathā, or kathā that results in temporary gratification.
In Sanātana-śikṣā, Śrīman Mahāprabhu spoke the following words to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī:
dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa
sei-kāle kṛṣṇa tāre kare ātma-sama
sei deha kare tāra cid-ānanda-maya
aprākṛta-dehe tāṅra caraṇa bhajaya
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya 4.192–193
At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts him to be as good as Himself. When the devotee’s body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord.
The siddha-deha manifests when there is sarvātmā-samarpaṇa, complete submission of the self, and perfection of divya-jñāna, transcendental knowledge. The material body can never become transcendental, because matter can never become spiritual, but the svarūpa-deha, or innate spiritual body, will manifest upon perfection in one’s spiritual practices.
There are some who decorate the material body, which is fit to be eaten by dogs and jackals, and present themselves as ‘sakhīs.’ This practice is known as sakhī-bekhī. A person may immaturely consider himself to be a sakhī, but such speculation is completely unfavorable to bhagavat-sevā. Similarly, the practice of artificially dressing the body as a sakhī is completely unfavorable to bhagavat-sevā. Such practices only yield material enjoyment. The act of superimposing the spiritual body on the material body and mind can never be accepted as one’s eternal, spiritual body, which is suitable for kṛṣṇa-sevā.
The Difference between Prema and Kāma
One day, a scholar who had inherited the title ‘gosvāmī’ started speaking on Bhramara-gīta in Kuliyā Navadvīpa. The Bhramara-gīta consists of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s conversations with a bumblebee. After two or three days of such discourses, someone told Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, “This explanation of Bhramara-gīta that is being spoken in Navadvīpa right now is unparalleled. No one has ever heard such explanations before.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja told that person, “You should not go and listen to such explanations of Bhramara-gīta again. When there is rainfall, grasses immediately grow everywhere and seeds that were carefully sown will also sprout in due course of time. Yet, many seeds that have sprouted dry up quickly. If a devotee is constantly absorbed in the service of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the platform of pure goodness will appear in his heart. Thus, that devotee will have no desire other than pleasing the senses of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. By listening to such intimate pastimes from the lips of a devotee who is free from all anarthas (unfavorable desires), the seed of prema sprouts in the heart. But if a person in whose heart the seed of lust is present, speaks such pastimes, then the speaker and listener will have to taste an undesirable fruit. The result will be that the lustful desires in their heart exponentially increase.
“The consciousness of the conditioned souls is naturally covered by lust. Therefore, they consider the transcendental pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa to be like the exchanges between ordinary lovers. Even those who think that they have faith in Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes think of such transcendental pastimes as mundane. Yet, because of Māyā’s influence, they cannot understand how attached they are to lust. A person may express by words that the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are transcendental and that he has faith in them, yet still he can not be addressed as a transcendental personality who has deep faith in the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.”
After hearing these words of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, a person said, “I saw with my own eyes that many of those who were listening to the explanations of Bhramara-gīta were experiencing the symptoms of divyonmāda (transcendental madness). Some were even loudly crying, while some were lamenting and saying, ‘Ha Rādhe ! Ha Kṛṣṇa !’”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “What you saw was not divyonmāda, but kāmonvāda (expression of one’s lust). You were able to identify their prema merely by their weeping? How can a person who doesn’t have prema for Bhagavān identify the symptoms of prema by māyā-darśana? You should make all those persons who have ‘prema’ leave their homes and bring them to the bank of the Gaṅgā. You should tell them to renounce all their material relationships and sincerely take shelter of bhajana. After some years we shall see how restless they were in listening to the Bhramara-gīta—that is, if they remain absorbed in their bhajana.”
The Way to Identify a Vaiṣṇava
One day, a person asked Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, “We have read about the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other scriptures, but we see that these symptoms are not present in some whom we address as ‘Parama-vaiṣṇava.’ Also, symptoms that are opposite to the symptoms stated in the scriptures are seen in these ‘Vaiṣṇavas.’ Therefore, please instruct us in this regard, so we will be able to identify the real Vaiṣṇavas and we will not be doubtful anymore.”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “When the desire of the Vaiṣṇava combines with the inspiration of Kṛṣṇa, then the supremely compassionate bhagavat-vaiṣṇava will become anguished by the sorrow experienced by the conditioned souls. Thus, to redeem these fallen souls, he will reveal himself in a particular caste, place, and time, and manifest his wealth of prema-bhakti. He will attract the conditioned souls towards him and thus make them the recipients of kṛṣṇa-bhakti.
“Seeing how magnanimous His devotee is, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra thinks, ‘All these conditioned souls are surrendering themselves at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava who is dearer to Me than life itself. It is very difficult for Me to requite the debt that I have towards these souls. My consciousness will become subordinate to these souls who have unconditionally surrendered themselves unto the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava. Thus, they will control Me according to their desire.’
“Because of this, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra hides the qualities of a Vaiṣṇava from the eyes of ordinary people. He examines the conditioned souls and sees how strong their attachment is towards the Absolute Truth. As a result, He strengthens the conditioned souls’ resolve in their search for the Absolute Truth. By the influence of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s māyā-śakti, the anyabhilāṣī-jīva will not see the qualities of a Vaiṣṇava in a pure devotee. Conversely, he will speculate that the pure devotee has mundane qualities.
“Therefore, without the consent of the supremely independent and compassionate Vaiṣṇava, a conditioned soul cannot receive the qualification to perceive the svarūpa of a Vaiṣṇava—regardless of him seeing the qualities of a Vaiṣṇava in the pure devotee. It is also important to know that even if a conditioned soul sees the Vaiṣṇava qualities mentioned in the scriptures, he may still not be able to perceive the pure devotee’s transcendental standing.
“It is seen many times that a Vaiṣṇava will offer much respect to those who are averse and in this way distance himself from their association. To avoid the association of such conditioned souls, the Vaiṣṇava hides his qualities. Even if the Vaiṣṇava apparently accepts a conditioned soul as his disciple, becomes subservient to him, consults him in many ways, and accepts his service—he may still hide his real qualities from such a disciple.
“I will relate an incident that I saw with my own eyes. A bhajanānandī Vaiṣṇava of Vraja used to reside in a village that was situated North of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He used to intently do bhajana in this village. Many people, having many deficiencies, would come to see him and when they did, he would pray to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and instill faith in them. He would assure them that their bodily and mental anguish would soon disappear. Gradually, he became adored by many. Ordinary people would address him as siddha-bābā and disturb him day and night.
“This Vaiṣṇava was exemplary in his renunciation; he was devoid of any desire for wealth, women, and prestige. He was very compassionate towards all the jīvas and would not find fault in anyone. But when this Vaiṣṇava’s fame spread in all four directions, more and more people would come and disturb him. Seeing no other solution, he collected some money that was given to him every month by a wealthy individual, and arranged for a young woman to sit in front of his bhajana-kuṭīra. She would be there the whole day. Consequently, everyone started to find faults in the Vaiṣṇava. They said that he illicitly associated with this woman and that he craved wealth. They started to criticize him in every way and lost hope that they could have their material desires fulfilled by this siddha-bābā. Thus, they stopped going to see him. Yet, this Vaiṣṇava
was a pure devotee.
“When the śuddha-vaiṣṇava mercifully reveals himself, the faithful sādhaka, who has a great yearning to attain pure bhakti, will become attracted to his compassion. As a result, he will surrender himself to the lotus feet of that śuddha-vaiṣṇava. He will submit his self. Only then will the faithful sādhaka attain the factual darśana of the śuddha-vaiṣṇava. He will know who the Vaiṣṇava really is. Only a greatly fortunate soul will not be cheated of the Vaiṣṇavas’ service and mercy. Else, the śuddha-vaiṣṇava will employ many means to hide himself.
“To recognize the śuddha-vaiṣṇavas, the sādhakas must sincerely and one-pointedly pray at the lotus feet of Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu. By the causeless compassion of Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu, one’s heart will become free of pride. Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu will then manifest the real svarūpa of a Vaiṣṇava in such a spotless heart,
that is, in a heart overflowing with the waves of humility.
“The Vaiṣṇavas will then make such a sincere sādhaka attain the lotus feet of Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda. And Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu will make the same sādhaka attain the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. They will make the sādhaka duly qualified to identify the Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has said:
dui bhāi hṛdayere kṣāli’ andhakāra
dui bhāgavata-saṅge karāna sākṣātkāra
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 1.98
These two brothers, Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityānanda, dissipate the darkness of the inner core of the heart, and thus They help one meet the two kinds of bhāgavatas—the grantha-bhāgavata and the pure devotee.
Downfall Is Imminent if One Imitates a Mahā-bhāgavata
A brāhmaṇa-brahmacārī once came to Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and started exhibiting a great desire to perform hari-bhajana. After just a few days passed, ordinary people started respecting him. Receiving this respect, the brahmacārī thought, “I will also stay in a kuṭīra and do bhajana like how Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja does.”
The brahmacārī secretly collected some wealth and had a kuṭīra built for himself on the banks of the Gaṅgā. He then desired to enter his kuṭīra after receiving permission from Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, but Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, the indwelling witness of everyone’s actions, spoke the following words before the brahmacārī could
“Brahmacārī Mahāśaya, you desire to do bhajana. This is very good, but don’t fall into the pit of Māyā by entering Māyā’s home. Rather than residing in a kuṭīra, you should do bhajana under a tree.”
A person who held the conception of being Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s follower, asked the following question:
“Before you said that we should close the door of our home and chant harināma, yet now you are saying we should sit under a tree and do bhajana. Why is this?”
Exhibiting the pastime of anger, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja said, “I have rightly said that this body is a home and our two eyes are its doors. Although a person may close the door of his home that is made of wood and stone, he will imitate the Vaiṣṇavas by seeing their actions with his eyes, which are also like doors. Therefore, it is to be understood that he has not closed the doors of his home at all. The only auspicious recourse for such a person is to sit under a tree and do bhajana.
“The sādhaka’s ultimate auspiciousness is assured if he follows the instructions of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. If the sādhaka has faith in their instructions, he will receive the qualification to follow them, but by imitating Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the sādhaka’s downfall
After the brahmacārī left, Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja reiterated what he had just said: “Just see ! The intelligence of some is so wicked. To receive adoration, the brahmacārī has had a kuṭīra built on the bank of the Gaṅgā. After some days, the brahmacārī will desire to acquire wealth. Although the brahmacārī doesn’t have a trace of the qualification that is required to do bhajana-sādhana, he wishes to imitate the paramahaṁsa Vaiṣṇavas.”
The brahmacārī then returned to his home after a few days. A simple-hearted person asked Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja, “Why did the brahmacārī become overcome by Māyā even though he was in sādhu-saṅga? Will he not receive the fruit of sādhu-saṅga?”
Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja replied, “Just by pretending to be in sādhu-saṅga one is not really in sādhu-saṅga. A person will be cheated of the fruit of sādhu-saṅga if he abandons such saṅga even before the fruit of such association has ripened. Now the brahmacārī will only desist from eating meat and fish. He will only follow some external practices, but he will not be able to enter into hari-bhajana.”
The Real Identity of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja
It seemed from an external perspective that Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was a viviktānandī, a personality who did solitary bhajana, but he was not averse to associating with like-minded devotees. Śrī Gaurasundara engaged in His saṅkīrtana-līlā with His innumerable associates. In the same way, the associates of Śrī Gaura, along with their followers, always strive to bring pleasure to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s senses. Only Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, the most prominent of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds, has the absolute qualification to engage in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s solitary service. Except Her, no one else does. By expanding Herself into the kāya-vyūha—that is, Her confidantes who are Her bodily expansions—She serves Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is millions of times dearer to Her than Her own life.
The word dhīmahi has been stated in the gāyatrī-mantra and in its commentary, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This word embodies the glories of the services rendered by āśraya-tattva. Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja’s bhajana was seen to be solitary, but the ignorant can commit a mistake when they try understanding the real significance of Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja’s solitary bhajana. Just as Śrīman Mahāprabhu, who is millions of times dearer to Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāja than his own life, engaged in relishing saṅkīrtana-rasa with all the devotees, similarly, along with all the svajātīya-snigdha-bhaktas, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would always serve viṣaya-vigraha Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In this context, the following incident is described:
A person who held the conception of being Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s disciple published an essay called ‘My Guru-pūjā’ for Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s vyāsa-pūjā. Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura expressed his displeasure when he came across the very first sentence of the essay. Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “By saying, ‘My Guru-pūjā,’ one does not only convey one’s arrogance, but in addition dismisses the presence of all the other servants of śrī guru. This person doesn’t consider Śrī Gurudeva to be a yūthapati, or spiritual group leader. Only an eternal associate of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, who is one-pointedly devoted to the lotus feet of Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, can use the singular tense, for the usage of such a tense conveys the associate’s attachment to the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet. However, although such a devotee may use a singular tense, he will still realize how Śrī Gurudeva is a yūthapati.”
Srila Gaura Kishora das Babaji ki Jaaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Four Rupanuga Vaisnava Acaryas of the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya”. For future availability contact: firstname.lastname@example.org )