Chapter 8
Talks Between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya
The summary of the Eighth Chapter is given by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya.
After visiting the temple of Jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to the banks of the river Godāvarī, to a place known as Vidyānagara. When Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya went there to take his bath, they met. After being introduced, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya requested Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to remain in the village for some days. Honoring his request, Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed there in the home of some Vedic brāhmaṇas. In the evening, Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya used to come to see Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Rāmānanda Rāya, who was clothed in ordinary dress, offered the Lord respectful obeisances. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu questioned him on the object and process of worship and also asked him to recite verses from Vedic literature.
First of all, Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya enunciated the system of the varṇāśrama institution. He recited various verses about karmārpaṇa, stating that everything should be dedicated to the Lord. He then spoke of detached action, knowledge mixed with devotional service, and finally the spontaneous loving service of the Lord. After hearing Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya recite some verses, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the principle of pure devotional service devoid of all kinds of speculation. After this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked Rāmānanda Rāya to explain the higher platform of devotional service. Then Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya explained unalloyed devotional service, love of Godhead, and serving the Lord in the moods of pure servitude, fraternity and parental love. Finally he spoke of serving the Lord in conjugal love. He then spoke of how conjugal love can be developed in various ways. This conjugal love attains its highest perfection in Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī's love for Kṛṣṇa. He next described the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the transcendental mellows of love of God. Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya then recited a verse of his own concerning the platform of ecstatic vision, technically called prema-vilāsa-vivarta. Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya also explained that all stages of conjugal love can be attained through the mercy of the residents of Vṛndāvana, especially by the mercy of the gopīs. All these subject matters were thus vividly described. Gradually Rāmānanda Rāya could understand the position of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu exhibited His real form, Rāmānanda Rāya fell unconscious. After some days, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked Rāmānanda Rāya to retire from government service and come to Jagannātha Purī. These descriptions of the meetings between Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are taken from the notebook of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī.
sañcārya rāmābhidha-bhakta-meghe
gaurābdhir etair amunā vitīrṇais
taj-jñatva-ratnālayatāṁ prayāti
sañcārya—by empowering; rāma-abhidha—of the name Rāma; bhakta-meghe—in the cloudlike devotee; sva-bhakti—of His own devotional service; siddhānta—of conclusions; caya—all collections; amṛtāni—nectar; gaura-abdhiḥ—the ocean known as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; etaiḥ—by these; amunā—by the cloud known as Rāmānanda Rāya; vitīrṇaiḥ—distributed; tat-jñatva—of knowledge of devotional service; ratna-ālayatām—the quality of being an ocean containing valuable jewels; prayāti—achieved.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is known as Gaurāṅga, is the ocean of all conclusive knowledge in devotional service. He empowered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, who may be likened to a cloud of devotional service. This cloud was filled with the water of all the conclusive purports of devotional service and was empowered by the ocean to spread this water over the ocean of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself. Thus the ocean of Caitanya Mahāprabhu became filled with the jewels of the knowledge of pure devotional service.
jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
jaya jaya—all glories; śrī-caitanya—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; jaya—all glories; nityānanda—to Lord Nityānanda; jaya advaita-candra—all glories to Advaita Ācārya; jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda—all glories to the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
All glories to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! All glories to Lord Nityānanda! All glories to Advaita Ācārya! And all glories to all the devotees of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu!
pūrva-rīte prabhu āge gamana karilā
'jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha'-kṣetre kata-dine gelā
pūrva-rīte—according to His previous program; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; āge—ahead; gamana—going; karilā—did; jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha—of the name Jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha; kṣetre—at the place of pilgrimage; kata-dine—after some days; gelā—arrived.
According to His previous program, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went forward on His tour and after some days arrived at the place of pilgrimage known as Jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha.
The Jiyaḍa-nṛsiṁha temple is situated on the top of a hill about five miles away from Visakhapatnam. There is a railway station on the South Indian Railway known as Siṁhācala. The temple known as Siṁhācala is the best temple in the vicinity of Visakhapatnam. This temple is very affluent and is a typical example of the architecture of the area. In one stone tablet it is mentioned that formerly a queen covered the Deity with gold plate. This is mentioned in the Visakhapatnam Gazetteer. About the temple, there are residential quarters for the priests and devotees. Indeed, at the present moment there are many residential quarters to accommodate visiting devotees. The original Deity is situated within the depths of the temple, but there is another Deity, a duplicate, known as the vijaya-mūrti. This smaller Deity can be moved from the temple and taken on public processions. Priests who generally belong to the Rāmānuja-sampradāya are in charge of the Deity worship.
nṛsiṁha dekhiyā kaila daṇḍavat-praṇati
premāveśe kaila bahu nṛtya-gīta-stuti
nṛsiṁha dekhiyā—by seeing Lord Nṛsiṁha in the temple; kaila—did; daṇḍavat-praṇati—offering of obeisances, falling flat before the Deity; premāveśe—in ecstatic love; kaila—did; bahu—all kinds of; nṛtya—dancing; gīta—chanting; stuti—and offering of prayers.
After seeing the Deity of Lord Nṛsiṁha in the temple, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered His respectful obeisances by falling flat. Then, in ecstatic love, He performed various dances, chanted, and offered prayers.
"śrī-nṛsiṁha, jaya nṛsiṁha, jaya jaya nṛsiṁha
prahlādeśa jaya padmā-mukha-padma-bhṛṅga"
śrī-nṛsiṁha—Lord Nṛsiṁha with Lakṣmī; jaya nṛsiṁha—all glories to Lord Nṛsiṁha; jaya jaya—again and again glories; nṛsiṁha—to Nṛsiṁhadeva; prahlāda-īśa—to the Lord of Prahlāda Mahārāja; jaya—all glories; padmā—of the goddess of fortune; mukha-padma—of the lotuslike face; bhṛṅga—the bee.
" 'All glories to Nṛsiṁhadeva! All glories to Nṛsiṁhadeva, who is the Lord of Prahlāda Mahārāja and, like a honeybee, is always engaged in beholding the lotuslike face of the goddess of fortune.
The goddess of fortune is always embraced by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva. This is mentioned in the commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam written by the great commentator Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī. The following verse was composed by Śrīdhara Svāmī in his commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.1):
vāg-īśā yasya vadane
lakṣmīr yasya ca vakṣasi
yasyāste hṛdaye samvit
taṁ nṛsiṁham ahaṁ bhaje
"Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva is always assisted by Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, and He is always embracing to His chest the goddess of fortune. The Lord is always complete in knowledge within Himself. Let us offer obeisances unto Nṛsiṁhadeva."
Similarly, in his commentary on the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.1), Śrīdhara Svāmī describes Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva in this way:
śarad-indu-ruciṁ vande
pārīndra-vadanaṁ harim
"Let me offer my obeisances unto Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, who is always enlightening Prahlāda Mahārāja within his heart and who always kills the nescience that attacks the devotees. His mercy is distributed like moonshine, and His face is like that of a lion. Let me offer my obeisances unto Him again and again."
ugro 'py anugra evāyaṁ
sva-bhaktānāṁ nṛ-keśarī
keśarīva sva-potānām
anyeṣāṁ ugra-vikramaḥ
ugraḥ—ferocious; api—although; anugraḥ—not ferocious; eva—certainly; ayam—this; sva-bhaktānām—to His pure devotees; nṛ-keśarī—having the body of a human being and a lion; keśarī iva—like a lioness; sva-potānām—to her young cubs; anyeṣām—to others; ugra—ferocious; vikramaḥ—whose strength.
" 'Although very ferocious, the lioness is very kind to her cubs. Similarly, although very ferocious to nondevotees like Hiraṇyakaśipu, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva is very, very soft and kind to devotees like Prahlāda Mahārāja.' "
This verse was composed by Śrīdhara Svāmī in his commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.1).
ei-mata nānā śloka paḍi' stuti kaila
nṛsiṁha-sevaka mālā-prasāda āni' dila
ei-mata—in this way; nānā—various; śloka—verses; paḍi'-reciting; stuti—prayers; kaila—offered; nṛsiṁha-sevaka—the priest of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva in the temple; mālā—garlands; prasāda—and remnants of the food of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva; āni'-bringing; dila—offered.
In this way Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recited different verses from the śāstra. The priest of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva then brought garlands and the remnants of the Lord's food and offered them to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
pūrvavat kona vipre kaila nimantraṇa
sei rātri tāhāṅ rahi' karilā gamana
pūrva-vat—as previously; kona—some; viprebrāhmaṇa; kaila—made; nimantraṇa—invitation; sei rātri—that night; tāhāṅ—there; rahi'-staying; karilā—did; gamana—touring.
As usual, a brāhmaṇa offered Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu an invitation. The Lord passed the night in the temple and then commenced His tour again.
prabhāte uṭhiyā prabhu calilā premāveśe
dig-vidik nāhi jñāna rātri-divase
prabhāte—in the morning; uṭhiyā—rising; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; calilā—went; prema-āveśe—in great ecstatic love; dik-vidik—the right or wrong direction; nāhi—there was not; jñāna—knowledge; rātri-divase—day and night.
The next morning, in the great ecstasy of love, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu started on His tour with no knowledge of the proper direction, and He continued the whole day and night.
pūrvavat 'vaiṣṇava' kari' sarva loka-gaṇe
godāvarī-tīre prabhu āilā kata-dine
pūrva-vat—as previously; vaiṣṇava—devotees; kari'-making; sarva—all; loka-gaṇe—the people; godāvarī-tīre—on the bank of the river Godāvarī; prabhu—the Lord; āilā—arrived; kata-dine—after some days.
As previously, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu converted to Vaiṣṇavism many people He met on the road. After some days, the Lord reached the banks of the River Godāvarī.
godāvarī dekhi' ha-ila 'yamunā'-smaraṇa
tīre vana dekhi' smṛti haila vṛndāvana
godāvarī—the River Godāvarī; dekhi'-seeing; ha-ila—there was; yamunā smaraṇa—remembrance of the River Yamunā; tīre—on the banks; vana—the forests; dekhi'-seeing; smṛti—remembrance; haila—there was; vṛndāvana—Śrī Vṛndāvana.
When He saw the River Godāvarī, the Lord remembered the River Yamunā, and when He saw the forest on the banks of the river, He remembered Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma.
sei vane kata-kṣaṇa kari' nṛtya-gāna
godāvarī pāra hañā tāhāṅ kaila snāna
sei vane—in that forest; kata-kṣaṇa—for some time; kari'-performing; nṛtya-gāna—dancing and chanting; godāvarī—the river; pāra hañā—crossing; tāhāṅ—there; kaila—took; snāna—bath.
After performing His usual chanting and dancing for some time in this forest, the Lord crossed the river and took His bath on the other bank.
ghāṭa chāḍi' kata-dūre jala-sannidhāne
vasi' prabhu kare kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtane
ghāṭa chāḍi'-leaving the bathing place; kata-dūre—a short distance away; jala-sannidhāne—near the water; vasi'-sitting; prabhu—the Lord; kare—does; kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtane—chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
After bathing in the river, the Lord walked a little distance from the bathing place and engaged in chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.
hena-kāle dolāya caḍi' rāmānanda rāya
snāna karibāre āilā, bājanā bājāya
hena-kāle—at this time; dolāya caḍi'-riding on a palanquin; rāmānanda rāya—Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya; snāna—bath; karibāre—to take; āilā—came there; bājanā bājāya—accompanied by a musical band.
At that time, accompanied by the sounds of music, Rāmānanda Rāya came there on a palanquin to take his bath.
tāṅra saṅge bahu āilā vaidika brāhmaṇa
vidhi-mate kaila teṅho snānādi-tarpaṇa
tāṅra saṅge—with him; bahu—many; āilā—came; vaidika—following the Vedic principles; brāhmaṇabrāhmaṇas; vidhi-mate—according to ritualistic ceremonies; kaila—did; teṅho—he, Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya; snāna-ādi-tarpaṇa—bathing and offering oblations, etc.
Many brāhmaṇas, following the Vedic principles, accompanied Rāmānanda Rāya. According to the Vedic rituals, Rāmānanda Rāya took his bath and offered oblations to his forefathers.
prabhu tāṅre dekhi' jānila--ei rāma-rāya
tāṅhāre milite prabhura mana uṭhi' dhāya
prabhu—Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; tāṅre—him; dekhi'-seeing; jānila—could understand; ei—this; rāma-rāya—Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya; tāṅhāre—him; milite—to meet; prabhura—of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; mana—mind; uṭhi'-rising; dhāya—runs after.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu could understand that the person who had come to bathe in the river was Rāmānanda Rāya. The Lord wanted so much to meet him that His mind immediately began running after him.
tathāpi dhairya dhari' prabhu rahilā vasiyā
rāmānanda āilā apūrva sannyāsī dekhiyā
tathāpi—still; dhariya dhari'-keeping patient; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; rahilā—remained; vasiyā—sitting; rāmānanda—Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya; āilā—arrived; apūrva—wonderful; sannyāsī—renunciant; dekhiyā—seeing.
Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was running after him mentally, He patiently remained sitting. Rāmānanda Rāya, seeing the wonderful sannyāsī, then came to see Him.
sūrya-śata-sama kānti, aruṇa vasana
subalita prakāṇḍa deha, kamala-locana
sūrya-śata—hundreds of suns; sama—like; kānti—luster; aruṇa—saffron; vasana—garments; subalita—very strongly built; prakāṇḍa—big; deha—body; kamala-locana—eyes like lotus petals.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya then saw Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to be as brilliant as a hundred suns. The Lord was covered by a saffron garment. He was large in body and very strongly built, and His eyes were like lotus petals.
dekhiyā tāṅhāra mane haila camatkāra
āsiyā karila daṇḍavat namaskāra
dekhiyā—seeing; tāṅhāra—his; mane—in the mind; haila—there was; camatkāra—wonder; āsiyā—coming there; karila—did; daṇḍa-vat—like a rod; namaskāra—obeisances.
When Rāmānanda Rāya saw the wonderful sannyāsī, he was struck with wonder. He went to Him and immediately offered his respectful obeisances, falling down flat like a rod.
uṭhi' prabhu kahe,--ūṭha, kaha 'kṛṣṇa' 'kṛṣṇa'
tāre āliṅgite prabhura hṛdaya satṛṣṇa
uṭhi'-rising; prabhu—the Lord; kahe—said; uṭha—get up; kaha—chant; kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa—the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāre—him; āliṅgite—to embrace; prabhura—of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; hṛdaya—the heart; sa-tṛṣṇa—very eager.
The Lord stood up and asked Rāmānanda Rāya to arise and chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very eager to embrace him.
tathāpi puchila,--tumi rāya rāmānanda?
teṅho kahe,--sei haṅa dāsa śūdra manda
tathāpi—still; puchila—He inquired; tumi—you; rāya rāmānandaRāmānanda Rāya; teṅho kahe—he replied; sei haṅa—I am that; dāsa—servant; śūdra—belonging to the śūdra community; manda—very low.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then inquired whether he was Rāmānanda Rāya, and he replied, "Yes, I am Your very low servant, and I belong to the śūdra community."
tabe tāre kaila prabhu dṛḍha āliṅgana
premāveśe prabhu-bhṛtya doṅhe acetana
tabe—thereafter; tāre—him; kaila—did; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; dṛḍha—firm; āliṅgana—embracing; prema-āveśe—in ecstatic love; prabhu-bhṛtya—the servant and the master; doṅhe—both; acetana—unconscious.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then embraced Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya very firmly. Indeed, both the master and the servant almost lost consciousness due to ecstatic love.
svābhāvika prema doṅhāra udaya karilā
duṅhā āliṅgiyā duṅhe bhūmite paḍilā
svābhāvika—natural; prema—love; doṅhāra—of both of them; udaya—awakening; karilā—there was; duṅhā—both; āliṅgiyā—embracing; duṅhe—both of them; bhūmite—on the ground; paḍilā—fell down.
Their natural love for each other was awakened in them both, and they embraced and fell down on the ground.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya was an incarnation of the gopī Viśākhā. Since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, there was naturally an awakening of love between Viśākhā and Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the combination of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa. The gopī Viśākhā is a principal gopī assisting Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Rāmānanda Rāya and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced, since their natural love also was awakened.
stambha, sveda, aśru, kampa, pulaka, vaivarṇya
duṅhāra mukhete śuni' gadgada 'kṛṣṇa' varṇa
stambha—paralysis; sveda—perspiration; aśru—tears; kampa—shivering; pulaka—horripilation; vaivarṇya—paleness; duṅhāra—of both of them; mukhete—in the mouth; śuni'-hearing; gadgada—faltering; kṛṣṇa varṇa—Kṛṣṇa's name.
When they embraced each other, ecstatic symptoms-paralysis, perspiration, tears, shivering, paleness and standing up of the bodily hairs-appeared. The word "Kṛṣṇa" came from their mouths falteringly.
dekhiyā brāhmaṇa-gaṇera haila camatkāra
vaidika brāhmaṇa saba karena vicāra
dekhiyā—seeing this; brāhmaṇa-gaṇera—of the ritualistic brāhmaṇas; haila—there was; camatkāra—wonder; vaidika—followers of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; brāhmaṇa—the brāhmaṇas; saba—all; karena—did; vicāra—consideration.
When the stereotyped, ritualistic brāhmaṇas who were following the Vedic principles saw this ecstatic manifestation of love, they were struck with wonder. All these brāhmaṇas began to reflect as follows.
ei ta' sannyāsīra teja dekhi brahma-sama
śūdre āliṅgiyā kene karena krandana
ei ta'-this indeed; sannyāsīra—of the sannyāsī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; teja—bodily effulgence; dekhi—we see; brahma-sama—exactly like Brahman; śūdre—a śūdra, or worker; āliṅgiyā—embracing; kene—why; karena—does; krandana—crying.
These brāhmaṇas began to think, "We can see that this sannyāsī has a luster like the effulgence of Brahman, but how is it He is crying upon embracing a śūdra, a member of the fourth caste in the social order?"
ei mahārāja--mahā-paṇḍita, gambhīra
sannyāsīra sparśe matta ha-ilā asthira
ei mahārāja—this Rāmānanda Rāya, who is the Governor; mahā-paṇḍita—a very learned person; gambhīra—grave; sannyāsīra sparśe—by touching a sannyāsī; mattamad; ha-ilā—became; asthira—restless.
They thought, "This Rāmānanda Rāya is the Governor of Madras, a highly learned and grave person, a mahā-paṇḍita, but upon touching this sannyāsī he has become restless like a madman."
ei-mata vipra-gaṇa bhāve mane mana
vijātīya loka dekhi, prabhu kaila saṁvaraṇa
ei-mata—in this way; vipra-gaṇa—all the brāhmaṇas; bhāve—think; mane mana—within their minds; vijātīya loka—outside people; dekhi—seeing; prabhu—Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu; kaila—did; saṁvaraṇa—restraining.
While the brāhmaṇas were thinking in this way about the activities of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw those outsiders and restrained His transcendental emotions.
Rāmānanda Rāya was intimately related to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; therefore he can be accepted as a sajātīya, a person within the intimate circle of the Lord. The brāhmaṇas, however, were followers of the Vedic rituals and were not able to have an intimate connection with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Consequently they are called vijātīya-loka. In other words, they were not pure devotees. One may be a highly learned brāhmaṇa, but if he is not a pure devotee he is a vijātīya, an outcaste, one outside devotional service-in other words, a nondevotee. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya were embracing in ecstasy, the Lord restrained His transcendental emotions upon seeing the outsider brāhmaṇas.
sustha hañā duṅhe sei sthānete vasilā
tabe hāsi' mahāprabhu kahite lāgilā
su-stha hañā—becoming steady; duṅhe—both of them; sei—that; sthānete—in the place; vasilāsat down; tabe—then; hāsi'-smiling; mahāprabhuCaitanya Mahāprabhu; kahite—to speak; lāgilā—began.
When they regained their sanity, they both sat down, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu smiled and began to speak as follows.
'sarvabhauma bhaṭṭācārya kahila tomāra guṇe
tomāre milite more karila yatane
sārvabhauma bhaṭṭācārya—of the name Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya; kahila—has spoken; tomāra—your; guṇe—good qualities; tomāre—you; milite—to meet; more—Me; karila—made; yatane—endeavor.
"Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya spoke of your good qualities, and he made a great endeavor to convince Me to meet you.
tomā milibāre mora ethā āgamana
bhāla haila, anāyāse pāiluṅ daraśana'
tomā—you; milibāre—to meet; mora—My; ethā—here; āgamana—coming; bhāla haila—it was very good; anāyāse—without difficulty; pāiluṅ—I have gotten; daraśana—interview.
"Indeed, I have come here just to meet you. It is very good that even without making an effort I have gotten your interview here."
rāya kahe,--sārvabhauma kare bhṛtya-jñāna
parokṣeha mora hite haya sāvadhāna
rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; sārvabhaumaSārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya; kare—does; bhṛtya-jñāna—thinks of me as his servant; parokṣeha—in my absence; mora—of me; hite—for the benefit; haya—is; sāvadhāna—always careful.
Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya thinks of me as his servant. Even in my absence he is very careful to do me good.
tāṅra kṛpāya pāinu tomāra daraśana
āji saphala haila mora manuṣya-janama
tāṅra kṛpāya—by his mercy; pāinu—I have gotten; tomāra—Your; daraśana—interview; āji—today; sa-phala—successful; haila—has become; mora—my; manuṣya-janama—birth as a human being.
"By his mercy I have received Your interview here. Consequently I consider that today I have become a successful human being.
sārvabhaume tomāra kṛpā,--tāra ei cihna
aspṛśya sparśile hañā tāṅra premādhīna
sārvabhaume—unto Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya; tomāra—Your; kṛpā—mercy; tāra—of such mercy; ei—this; cihna—the symptom; aspṛśya—untouchable; sparśile—You have touched; hañā—becoming; tāṅra—his; prema-adhīna—influenced by love.
"I can see that You have bestowed special mercy upon Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Therefore You have touched me, although I am untouchable. This is due only to his love for You.
kāhāṅ tumi--sākṣāt īśvara nārāyaṇa
kāhāṅ muñi--rāja-sevī viṣayī śūdrādhama
kāhāṅ—whereas; tumi—You; sākṣāt—directly; īśvara nārāyaṇa—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kāhāṅ—whereas; muñi—I; rāja-sevī—government servant; viṣayī—materialist; śūdra-adhama—worse than a śūdra, or fourth-class man.
"You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa Himself, and I am only a government servant interested in materialistic activities. Indeed, I am the lowest amongst men of the fourth caste.
mora sparśe nā karile ghṛṇā, veda-bhaya
mora darśana tomā vede niṣedhaya
mora—of me; sparśe—by the touch; —not; karile—You did; ghṛṇā—hatred; veda-bhaya—afraid of the injunctions of the Vedas; mora—of me; darśana—seeing; tomā—You; vede—the Vedic injunctions; niṣedhaya—forbid.
"You do not fear the Vedic injunctions stating that You should not associate with a śūdra. You were not contemptuous of my touch, although in the Vedas You are forbidden to associate with śūdras.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (9.32) the Lord says:
māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim
"O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth-women, vaiśyas [merchants], as well as śūdras [workers]-can attain the supreme destination."
The word pāpa-yonayaḥ means "born of lower-caste women." The vaiśyas are merchants, and the śūdras or workers are servants. According to Vedic classifications, they belong to a lower social order. A low life means a life without Kṛṣṇa consciousness. High and low positions in society were calculated by considering a person's Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A brāhmaṇa is considered to be on the highest platform because he knows Brahman, the Absolute Truth. The second caste, the kṣatriya caste, also know Brahman, but not as well as the brāhmaṇas. The vaiśyas and śūdras do not clearly understand God consciousness, but if they take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, they do not remain in the lower castes (pāpa-yonayaḥ). It is clearly stated: te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim.
Unless one has attained the highest standard of life, one cannot return home, back to Godhead. One may be a śūdra, vaiśya or woman, but if one is situated in the service of the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one should not be considered strī, śūdra, vaiśya or lower than śūdra. Though a person may be from a lowborn family, if he is engaged in the Lord's service he should never be considered to belong to a lowborn family. The Padma Purāṇa forbids: vīkṣate jāti-sāmānyāt sa yāti narakaṁ-dhruvam. A person goes to hell quickly when he considers a devotee of the Lord in terms of birth. Although Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya supposedly took birth in a śūdra family, he is not to be considered a śūdra, for he was a great advanced devotee. Indeed, he was on the transcendental platform. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore embraced him. Out of spiritual humility, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya presented himself as a śūdra (rāja-sevī viṣayī śūdrādhama). Even though one may engage in government service or in any other pound-shilling-pence business-in short, in materialistic life-he need only take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a very simple process. One need only chant the holy names of the Lord and strictly follow the principles forbidding sinful activity. In this way one can no longer be considered an untouchable, a viṣayī or a śūdra. One who is advanced in spiritual life should not associate with nondevotees-namely men in government service and men engaged in materialistic activity for sense gratification or in the service of others. Such men are considered viṣayī, materialistic. It is said:
niṣkiñcanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya
pāraṁ paraṁ jigamiṣor bhava-sāgarasya
sandarśanaṁ viṣayiṇām atha yoṣitāṁ ca
hā hanta hanta viṣa-bhakṣaṇato 'py asādhu
"A person who is very seriously engaged in cultivating devotional service with a view to crossing the ocean of nescience and who has completely abandoned all material activities should never see a śūdra, a vaiśya or a woman." (Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka 8.23)
tomāra kṛpāya tomāya karāya nindya-karma
sākṣāt īśvara tumi, ke jāne tomāra marma
tomāra kṛpāya—Your mercy; tomāya—unto You; karāya—induces; nindya-karma—forbidden actions; sākṣāt īśvara—directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tumi—You; ke jāne—who can know; tomāra—Your; marma—purpose.
"You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself; therefore no one can understand Your purpose. By Your mercy You are touching me, although this is not sanctioned by the Vedas.
A sannyāsī is strictly forbidden to see the viṣayīs, the materialistic people. But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, out of His boundless and causeless mercy, could show favor to anyone, regardless of birth and position.
āmā nistārite tomāra ihāṅ āgamana
parama-dayālu tumi patita-pāvana
āmā nistārite—to deliver me; tomāra—Your; ihāṅ—here; āgamana—appearance; parama-dayālu—greatly merciful; tumi—You; patita-pāvana—the deliverer of all fallen souls.
"You have come here specifically to deliver me. You are so merciful that You alone can deliver all fallen souls.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings in his Prārthanā (39):
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-prabhu dayā kara more,
tomā vinā ke dayālu jagat-saṁsāre
patita-pāvana-hetu tava avatāra,
mo sama patita prabhu nā pāibe āra
"My dear Lord, please be merciful to me. Who can be more merciful than Your Lordship within these three worlds? You appear as an incarnation just to reclaim the conditioned, fallen souls, but I assure You that You will not find a soul more fallen than me."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's specific mission is to deliver fallen souls. Of course, in this Age of Kali there is hardly anyone who is not fallen according to the calculations of Vedic behavior. In His instructions to Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu described the so-called followers of Vedic religion in this way (Madhya 19.146):
veda-niṣṭha-madhye ardheka veda 'mukhe' māne
veda-niṣiddha pāpa kare, dharma nāhi gaṇe
So-called followers of Vedic principles simply accept the Vedas formally, but they act against Vedic principles. This is symptomatic of this Age of Kali. People claim to follow a certain type of religion, saying formally, "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am this or that," but actually no one follows the principles enunciated in religious scriptures. This is the disease of this age. But the merciful Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has simply advised us to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra: harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam. The Lord can deliver anyone and everyone, even though one may have fallen from the injunctions of revealed scriptures. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's special mercy. Consequently He is known as patita-pāvana, the deliverer of all fallen souls.
mahānta-svabhāva ei tārite pāmara
nija kārya nāhi tabu yāna tāra ghara
mahānta-svabhāva—the nature of saintly persons; ei—this; tārite—to deliver; pāmara—fallen souls; nija—own; kārya—business; nāhi—there is not; tabu—still; yāna—goes; tāra—his; ghara—house.
"It is the general practice of all saintly people to deliver the fallen. Therefore they go to people's houses, although they have no personal business there.
A sannyāsī is supposed to beg from door to door. He does not beg simply because he is hungry. His real purpose is to enlighten the occupant of every house by preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A sannyāsī does not abandon his superior position and become a beggar just for the sake of begging. Similarly, a person in householder life may be very important, but he may also voluntarily take to the mendicant way of life. Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī were ministers, but they voluntarily accepted the mendicant's life in order to humbly preach Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's message. It is said about them: tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tuccha-vat bhūtvā dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā kaupīna-kanthāśritau. Although the Gosvāmīs were very aristocratic, they became mendicants just to deliver the fallen souls according to the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should also consider that those who engage in the missionary activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness are under the guidance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They are not actually beggars; their real business is to deliver fallen souls. Therefore they may go from door to door just to introduce a book about Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that people can become enlightened by reading. Formerly brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs used to beg from door to door. At the present moment, especially in the Western countries, a person may be handed over to the police if he begs from door to door. In Western countries, begging is considered criminal. Members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement have no business begging. Instead, they work very hard to introduce some books about Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that people can read them and be benefited. But if one gives some contribution to a Kṛṣṇa conscious man, he never refuses it.
mahad-vicalanaṁ nṛṇāṁ
gṛhiṇāṁ dīna-cetasām
niḥśreyasāya bhagavan
nānyathā kalpate kvacit
mahat-vicalanam—the wandering of saintly persons; nṛṇām—of human beings; gṛhiṇām—who are householders; dīna-cetasām—low-minded; niḥśreyasāya—for the ultimate benefit; bhagavan—O my Lord; na anyathā—not any other purpose; kalpate—one imagines; kvacit—at any time.
" 'My dear Lord, sometimes great saintly persons go to the homes of householders, although these householders are generally low-minded. When a saintly person visits their homes, one can understand that it is for no other purpose than to benefit the householders.'
This verse is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.4).
āmāra saṅge brāhmaṇādi sahasreka jana
tomāra darśane sabāra dravī-bhūta mana
āmāra saṅge—with me; brāhmaṇa-ādibrāhmaṇas and others; sahasreka—more than one thousand; jana—persons; tomāra—of You; darśane—in seeing; sabāra—of all of them; dravī-bhūta—became melted; mana—the hearts.
"Along with me there are about a thousand men-including the brāhmaṇas-and all of them appear to have had their hearts melted simply by seeing You.
'kṛṣṇa' 'kṛṣṇa' nāma śuni sabāra vadane
sabāra aṅga--pulakita, aśru--nayane
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa—"Kṛṣṇa," "Kṛṣṇa"; nāma—the holy name; śuni—I hear; sabāra—of everyone; vadane—in the mouths; sabāra—of all; aṅga—the bodies; pulakita—gladdened; aśru—tears; nayane—in the eyes.
"I hear everyone chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone's body is thrilled with ecstasy, and there are tears in everyone's eyes.
ākṛtye-prakṛtye tomāra īśvara-lakṣaṇa
jīve nā sambhave ei aprākṛta guṇa
ākṛtye—in bodily features; prakṛtye—in behavior; tomāra—of You; īśvara—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; lakṣaṇa—the symptoms; jīve—in an ordinary living being; —not; sambhave—possible; ei—these; aprākṛta—transcendental; guṇa—qualities.
"My dear Sir, according to Your behavior and bodily features, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for ordinary living beings to possess such transcendental qualities."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's bodily features were uncommon. Indeed, His body was extraordinary in its measurements. The measurement of His chest and the measurement of His forearms were the same length. This is called nyagrodha-parimaṇḍala. As far as His nature is concerned, He was kind to everyone. No one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be kind to everyone. Therefore the Lord's name is Kṛṣṇa, "all-attractive." As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.4), Kṛṣṇa is kind to everyone. In every species of life (sarva-yoniṣu), He is the original father, the seed-giver (bīja-pradaḥ pitā). How, then, can He be unkind to any living entity? One may be a man, an animal or even a tree, but the Lord is kind to everyone. That is God's qualification. He also says in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.29), samo 'ham sarva-bhūteṣu: the Lord is equally kind to everyone. And He advises, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. This instruction is meant not only for Arjuna but for all living entities. Whoever takes advantage of this offer is immediately immune to all sinful activity and returns home, back to Godhead. While present on this planet, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu made the same offer.
prabhu kahe,--tumi mahā-bhāgavatottama
tomāra darśane sabāra drava haila mana
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; tumi—you; mahā-bhāgavata-uttama—the best of the topmost devotees; tomāra darśane—by seeing you; sabāra—of everyone; drava—melted; haila—became; mana—the heart.
The Lord replied to Rāmānanda Rāya, "Sir, you are the best of the topmost devotees; therefore simply the sight of you has melted everyone's heart.
Unless one is a first-class devotee, he cannot be a preacher. A preacher is generally a topmost devotee, but in order to meet the general populace, he has to come to distinguish between devotees and nondevotees. Otherwise, an advanced devotee makes no such distinctions. Indeed, he always sees that everyone is engaged in the service of the Lord. When one engages in preaching work, he must distinguish between people and understand that some people are not engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. The preacher then has to take compassion upon such innocent people who do not know how to worship the Lord. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.45), the symptoms of a topmost devotee are described as follows:
sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed
bhagavad-bhāvam ātmanaḥ
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany
eṣa bhāgavatottamaḥ
"The advanced devotee sees that all living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone is in Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is also within everyone. Such a vision is possible only for a person who is very advanced in devotional service."
anyera ki kathā, āmi--'māyāvādī sannyāsī'
āmiha tomāra sparśe kṛṣṇa-preme bhāsi
anyera—of others; ki kathā—what to speak; āmi—I; māyāvādī sannyāsī—a sannyāsī of the Māyāvādī sect; āmiha—I; tomāra—of you; sparśe—by the touch; kṛṣṇa—of Kṛṣṇa; preme—in love; bhāsi—float.
"Although I am a Māyāvādī sannyāsī, a nondevotee, I am also floating in the ocean of love of Kṛṣṇa simply by touching you. And what to speak of others?
ei jāni' kaṭhina mora hṛdaya śodhite
sārvabhauma kahilena tomāre milite
ei jāni'-knowing this; kaṭhina—very hard; mora—My; hṛdaya—heart; śodhite—to rectify; sārvabhaumaSārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya; kahilena—asked; tomāre—you; milite—to meet.
"Knowing this, in order to rectify My heart, which is very hard, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya asked Me to meet you."
ei-mata duṅhe stuti kare duṅhāra guṇa
duṅhe duṅhāra daraśane ānandita mana
ei-mata—in this way; duṅhe—both of them; stuti—praise; kare—offer; duṅhāra—of both of them; guṇa—qualities; duṅhe—both of them; duṅhāra—of both of them; daraśane—by the seeing; ānandita—pleased; mana—the minds.
In this way each of them praised the qualities of the other, and both of them were pleased to see each other.
hena-kāle vaidika eka vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa
daṇḍavat kari' kaila prabhure nimantraṇa
hena-kāle—at this time; vaidika—a follower of the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; eka—one; vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa—a brāhmaṇa following Vaiṣṇava principles; daṇḍavat—obeisances offered by falling flat; kari'-offering; kaila—made; prabhure—unto Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; nimantraṇa—invitation.
At this time a brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava following the Vedic principles came and offered obeisances. He fell flat before Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and invited Him for lunch.
nimantraṇa mānila tāṅre vaiṣṇava jāniyā
rāmānande kahe prabhu īṣat hāsiyā
nimantraṇa—the invitation; mānila—accepted; tāṅre—him (the brāhmaṇa); vaiṣṇava—a devotee; jāniyā—understanding; rāmānande—unto Rāmānanda; kahe—said; prabhu—Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; īṣat—a little; hāsiyā—smiling.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the brāhmaṇa's invitation, knowing him to be a devotee, and, slightly smiling, spoke as follows to Rāmānanda Rāya.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the invitation of the Vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇa. Even though one is a brāhmaṇa strictly following all the rules and regulations of brahminical culture, if he is not a devotee, a follower of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one should not accept his invitation. At the present moment people have become so degraded that they do not even follow the Vedic principles, to say nothing of Vaiṣṇava principles. They eat anything and everything-whatever they like-and therefore the members of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should be very cautious about accepting invitations.
tomāra mukhe kṛṣṇa-kathā śunite haya mana
punarapi pāi yena tomāra daraśana
tomāra mukhe—in your mouth; kṛṣṇa-kathā—talks on Kṛṣṇa; śunite—to hear; haya—there is; mana—My mind; punarapi—again; pāi—I may get; yena—if possible; tomāra—your; daraśana—interview.
"I wish to hear from you about Lord Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, My mind is inclined to desire this; therefore I wish to see you again."
TEXTS 51-52
rāya kahe, āilā yadi pāmara śodhite
darśana-mātre śuddha nahe mora duṣṭa citte
dina pāṅca-sāta rahi' karaha mārjana
tabe śuddha haya mora ei duṣṭa mana
rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; āilā—You have come; yadi—although; pāmara—a fallen soul; śodhite—to rectify; darśana-mātre—simply seeing You; śuddha nahe—not purified; mora—my; duṣṭa—polluted; citte—consciousness; dina—days; pāṅca-sāta—five or seven; rahi'-staying; karaha—kindly do; mārjana—cleansing; tabe—then; śuddha—pure; haya—it is; mora—my; ei—this; duṣṭa—polluted; mana—mind.
Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "My Lord, although You have come to correct me, a fallen soul, my mind is not yet purified simply by seeing You. Please stay for five or seven days and kindly cleanse my polluted mind. After that much time, my mind will certainly be pure."
yadyapi viccheda doṅhāra sahana nā yāya
tathāpi daṇḍavat kari' calilā rāma-rāya
yadyapi—although; viccheda—separation; doṅhāra—of both of them; sahana—toleration; —not; yāya—possible; tathāpi—still; daṇḍavat—obeisances; kari'-offering; calilā—departed; rāma-rāyaRāmānanda Rāya.
Although neither could tolerate the other's separation, Rāmānanda Rāya nonetheless offered his obeisances to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and departed.
prabhu yāi' sei vipra-ghare bhikṣā kaila
dui janāra utkaṇṭḥāya āsi' sandhyā haila
prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; yāi'-going; sei—that; vipra-ghare—to the house of the brāhmaṇa; bhikṣā—lunch; kaila—accepted; dui—two; janāra—of the persons; utkaṇṭhāya—in the impatience; āsi'-coming; sandhyā—evening; haila—appeared.
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went to the house of the brāhmaṇa who had invited Him and took His lunch there. When the evening of that day arrived, both Rāmānanda Rāya and the Lord were eager to meet each other again.
prabhu snāna-kṛtya kari' āchena vasiyā
eka-bhṛtya-saṅge rāya mililā āsiyā
prabhu—the Lord; snāna-kṛtya—the daily duty of bathing; kari'-finishing; āchena—was; vasiyā—sitting; eka—one; bhṛtya—servant; saṅge—with; rāyaRāya Rāmānanda; mililā—met; āsiyā—coming.
After finishing His evening bath, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat down and waited for Rāmānanda Rāya to come. Then Rāmānanda Rāya, accompanied by one servant, came to meet Him.
A Vaiṣṇava who is supposed to be advanced in spiritual understanding-be he a householder or a sannyāsī-must bathe three times a day: morning, noon and evening. When one is engaged in the service of the Deity, he must especially follow the principles of the Padma Purāṇa and take regular baths. He should also, after bathing, decorate his body with the twelve tilakas.
namaskāra kaila rāya, prabhu kaila āliṅgane
dui jane kṛṣṇa-kathā kaya rahaḥ-sthāne
namaskāra—obeisances; kaila—offered; rāyaRāmānanda Rāya; prabhu—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; kaila—did; āliṅgane—embracing; dui—two; jane—the persons; kṛṣṇa-kathā—talks about Kṛṣṇa; kaya—discussed; rahaḥ-sthāne—in a secluded place.
Rāmānanda Rāya approached Lord Śrī Caitanya and offered his respectful obeisances, and the Lord embraced him. Then they began to discuss Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place.
The word rahaḥ-sthāne, "in a secluded place," is very significant. Talks about Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes-especially His pastimes in Vṛndāvana and His dealings with the gopīs-are all very confidential. They are not subject matter for public discussion because those who have no understanding of the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes always commit great offenses, thinking Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary human being and the gopīs ordinary girls. Following the principle of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who never discussed the dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs publicly, devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are enjoined not to discuss the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana in public. For the general public, saṅkīrtana is the most effective method to awaken Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If possible, one should discuss the principles enunciated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu followed this principle very strictly and discussed the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gītā with learned scholars like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. However, He taught the principles of the bhakti cult to students like Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī, and He discussed with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya the topmost devotional dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. For the general populace, He performed saṅkīrtana very vigorously. We must also follow these principles in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world.
prabhu kahe,--"paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya"
rāya kahe,--"sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya"
prabhu kahe—Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said; paḍa—just recite; śloka—a verse from the revealed scriptures; sādhyera—of the aim of life; nirṇaya—an ascertainment; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; sva-dharma-ācaraṇe—by executing one's occupational duty; viṣṇu-bhakti—devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu; haya—there is.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Rāmānanda Rāya to recite a verse from the revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life. Rāmānanda replied that if one executes the prescribed duties of his social position, he awakens his original Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In this connection, Śrī Rāmānujācārya stated in the Vedārtha-saṅgraha that devotional service is naturally very dear to the living entity. Indeed, it is life's goal. This devotional service is supreme knowledge, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and it brings detachment from all material activity. In the transcendental position, a living being can perfectly acknowledge the superiority of serving the Supreme Lord. The devotees attain the Supreme Lord only by devotional service. Having such knowledge, one engages in his occupational duty, and that is called bhakti-yoga. By performing bhakti-yoga, one can rise to the platform of pure devotional service.
A great saint, the father of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Parāśara Muni, has specifically mentioned that devotional service to the Lord can ultimately be awakened in human society by the discharge of duties in accordance with the varṇāśrama system. The Supreme Personality of Godhead instituted varṇāśrama-dharma to give human beings a chance to return home, back to Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known in the Bhagavad-gītā as Puruṣottama-the greatest of all personalities-personally came and declared that the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma was founded by Him. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13):
cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
Elsewhere in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.45-46) the Lord says:
sve sve karmaṇy abhirataḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ labhate naraḥ
sva-karma-nirataḥ siddhiṁ
yathā vindati tac chṛṇu
yataḥ pravṛttir bhūtānāṁ
yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya
siddhiṁ vindati mānavaḥ
Human society should be divided into four divisions-brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra-and everyone should always engage in his occupational duty. The Lord says that those engaged in their occupational duty can attain perfection simply by rendering loving devotional service to the Lord while executing their particular duty. Actually the modern ideal of a classless society can be introduced only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Let men perform their occupational duty, and let them give their profits to the service of the Lord. In other words, one can attain the perfection of life by discharging one's occupational duty and employing the results in the service of the Lord. This method is confirmed by great personalities like Bodhāyana, Taṅka, Dramiḍa, Guhadeva, Kapardi and Bhāruci. It is also confirmed by the Vedānta-sūtra.
puruṣena paraḥ pumān
visṇur ārādhyate panthā
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
varṇa-āśrama-ācāra-vatā—who behaves according to the system of four divisions of social order and four divisions of spiritual life; puruṣeṇa—by a man; paraḥ—the supreme; pumān—person; viṣṇuḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; ārādhyate—is worshiped; panthāway; na—not; anyat—another; tat-toṣa-kāraṇam—cause of satisfying the Lord.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas."
This is a quotation from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9). As stated by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya: "The purport is that one can realize life's perfection simply by satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead." This is also confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.13):
ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
"O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve, by discharging his prescribed duties [dharma] according to caste divisions and order of life, is to please Lord Hari."
Every man should perform his occupational duty in the light of his particular tendency. According to his abilities, one should accept a position in the varṇāśrama institution. The divisions of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra are natural divisions within society. Indeed, everyone has a prescribed duty according to the varṇāśrama-dharma. Those who properly execute their prescribed duties live peacefully and are not disturbed by material conditions. The spiritual orders-brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa-are called āśramas. If one executes his prescribed duty in both the social and spiritual order, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied. If one neglects his duties, however, he becomes a transgressor and a candidate for a hellish condition. Actually we see that different people are engaged in different ways; therefore there must be divisions according to work. To attain perfection, one must make devotional service the center of life. In this way one can awaken his natural instincts by work, association and education. One should accept the varṇāśrama divisions by qualification, not by birth. Unless this system is introduced, human activities cannot be systematically executed.
The brāhmaṇas are the intellectuals who can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are always engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. It does not matter whether one is born in India or outside India. Those who are naturally very heroic and who tend to rule over others are called kṣatriyas. Those who tend to produce food by agricultural methods, protect cows and other animals and engage in trade are called vaiśyas, or merchants. Those who are not sufficiently intelligent to be brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas or vaiśyas are required to serve a master and are called śūdras. Thus everyone can engage in the service of the Lord and thus awaken his natural Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If a society does not function according to such natural divisions, the social orders become degraded. The conclusion is that the scientific method of varṇāśrama-dharma should be adopted by society.
prabhu kahe, "eho bāhya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe, "kṛṣṇe karmārpaṇa--sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho—this; bāhya—external; āge—ahead; kaha—say; āra—more; rāya kahe—Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya said; kṛṣṇe—unto Kṛṣṇa; karma-arpaṇa—offering the results of activities; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the essence of all means of perfection.
The Lord replied, "This is external. You had better tell Me of some other means." Rāmānanda replied, "To offer the results of one's activities to Kṛṣṇa is the essence of all perfection."
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
yat—whatever; karoṣi—you do; yat—whatever; aśnāsi—you eat; yat—whatever; juhoṣi—you offer in sacrifice; dadāsi—you give in charity; yat—whatever; yat—whatever; tapasyasi—you perform as austerity; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; tat—that; kuruṣva—just do; mat—unto Me; arpaṇam—offering.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, " 'My dear son of Kuntī, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give in charity, and whatever austerities you perform, all the results of such activities should be offered to Me, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.' "
The Lord has said that the varṇāśrama-dharma is not properly executed in this Age of Kali; therefore He ordered Rāmānanda Rāya to go further into the matter. Rāmānanda replied with this verse from the Bhagavad-gītā (9.27), which instructs that while remaining in the system of varṇāśrama-dharma one may offer the results of his activities to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa in loving service. Naturally Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was asking Rāmānanda Rāya about the execution of devotional service. Rāmānanda Rāya first enunciated the principle of varṇāśrama-dharma in consideration of materialistic people. However, this conception is not transcendental. As long as one is in the material world, he must follow the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma, but devotional service is transcendental. The system of varṇāśrama-dharma refers to the three modes of material nature, but transcendental devotional service is on the absolute platform. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu belonged to the spiritual world, and His methods for propagating the saṅkīrtana movement were also imported from the spiritual world. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana, rati na janmila kene tāya. This states that the saṅkīrtana movement has nothing to do with this material world. It is imported from the spiritual world, Goloka Vṛndāvana. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura laments that mundane people do not take this saṅkīrtana movement seriously. Considering the position of devotional service and the saṅkīrtana movement, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu deemed the system of varṇāśrama-dharma to be material, although it aims at elevation to the spiritual platform. However, the saṅkīrtana movement can raise one immediately to the spiritual platform. Consequently it is said that varṇāśrama-dharma is external, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested Rāmānanda Rāya to proceed deeper into the matter and uncover the spiritual platform.
Sometimes materialists consider Lord Viṣṇu a material conception. Impersonalists think that above Lord Viṣṇu is the impersonal Brahman. The impersonalists misunderstand the worship of Lord Viṣṇu. They worship Lord Viṣṇu to merge into His body. In order that viṣṇu-ārādhana not be misunderstood, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested that Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya proceed further and clear up the issue. Rāmānanda Rāya quoted the verse from the Bhagavad-gītā stating that the results of one's occupational duty may be offered to Lord Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.8) it is also said:
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
"If one executes the occupational duties of varṇāśrama-dharma but does not cultivate his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his activities are futile. His occupation simply becomes unnecessary labor."
prabhu kahe,--"eho bāhya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe,--"svadharma-tyāga, ei sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; eho—this; bāhya—external; āge—ahead; kaha—speak; āra—more; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; sva-dharma-tyāga—relinquishing one's occupational duties; ei—this; sādhya-sāra—the essence of all perfection.
"This is also external," Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said. "Please proceed and speak further on this matter." Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "To give up one's occupational duties in the varṇāśrama is the essence of perfection."
A brāhmaṇa may renounce his family and accept sannyāsa. Others also-kṣatriyas and vaiśyas-may also give up their families and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such renunciation is called karma-tyāga. By such renunciation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied. But this renouncing of one's activities to Kṛṣṇa is not uncontaminated and is therefore on the material platform. Such activities are considered within the material universe because, according to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they refer to the material universe and are therefore external. To correct this, Rāmānanda Rāya recommended that one take to the renounced order of life in order to transcend material activities. This is supported by the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.11.32).
ājñāyaivaṁ guṇān doṣān
mayādiṣṭān api svakān
dharmān saṁtyajya yaḥ sarvān
māṁ bhajet sa ca sattamaḥ
ājñāya—knowing perfectly; evam—thus; guṇān—qualities; doṣān—faults; mayā—by Me; ādiṣṭān—instructed; api—although; svakān—own; dharmān—occupational duties; saṁtyajya—giving up; yaḥ—anyone who; sarvān—all; mām—unto Me; bhajet—may render service; saḥ—he; ca—and; sattamaḥ—a first-class person.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, " 'Occupational duties are described in the religious scriptures. If one analyzes them, he can fully understand their qualities and faults and then give them up completely to render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a person is considered a first-class man.'
sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
sarva-dharmān—all kinds of occupational duties; parityajya—giving up; mām ekam—unto Me only; śaraṇam—as shelter; vraja—go; aham—I; tvām—unto you; sarva-pāpebhyaḥ—from all the reactions of sinful life; mokṣayiṣyāmi—will give liberation; —don't; śucaḥ—worry.
"As stated in scripture [Bg. 18.66], 'After giving up all kinds of religious and occupational duties, if you come to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and take shelter, I will give you protection from all of life's sinful reactions. Do not worry.' "
In this connection, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī instructs in his book Manaḥ-śiksā (2):
na dharmaṁ nādharmaṁ śruti-gaṇa-niruktaṁ kila kuru
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pracura-paricaryām iha tanu
He has thus enjoined that we should not perform religious or irreligious activities as prescribed in the Vedas. The best course is to engage always in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī. That is the perfection of everything in this life. Similarly, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.29.46) it is said by Nārada Muni:
yadā yasyānugṛhṇāti
bhagavān ātma-bhāvitaḥ
sa jahāti matiṁ loke
vede ca pariniṣṭhitām
"When one actually takes to the loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he gives up all duties in the material world, as well as all duties prescribed by the Vedic literature. In this way one is fixed in the service of the Lord."
prabhu kahe,--"eho bāhya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe,--"jñāna-miśrā bhakti--sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho—this; bāhya—external; āge—ahead; kaha—say; āra—more; rāya kaheRāya replied; jñāna-miśrā bhakti—devotional service mixed with empiric knowledge; sādhya-sāra—is the essence of perfection.
After hearing Rāmānanda Rāya speak in this way, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu again rejected his statement and said, "Go ahead and say something more." Rāmānanda Rāya then replied, "Devotional service mixed with empiric knowledge is the essence of perfection."
Devotional service mixed with non-Vedic speculative knowledge is certainly not pure devotional service. Therefore Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī in his Anubhāṣya preached that self-realization following the execution of ritualistic ceremonies is in the neutral stage between liberation and conditioned life. It is the place beyond this material world in the river Virajā, where the three modes of material nature are subdued or neutralized in the unmanifest stage. However, the spiritual world is a manifestation of spiritual energy and is known as Vaikuṇṭhaloka, "the place where there is no anxiety." The material world, known as brahmāṇḍa is the creation of the external energy. Between the two creations-the material creation and the spiritual creation-is a river known as Virajā as well as a place known as Brahmaloka. Virajā-nadī and Brahmaloka are shelters for living entities disgusted with material life and inclined to impersonal existence by way of denying material variegatedness. Since these places are not situated in the Vaikuṇṭḥalokas, or the spiritual world, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu proclaims them to be external. In the Brahmaloka and Virajā-nadī, one cannot conceive of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Brahmaloka and Virajā-nadī are also attained after difficult austerities, but in these realms there is no understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His transcendental loving service. Without such spiritual knowledge, simple detachment from material conditions is but another side of material existence. From the spiritual point of view, it is all external. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected this proposal, Rāmānanda Rāya suggested that devotional service based on philosophy and logic is a more advanced position. He therefore quoted the following verse from the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54).
brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
brahma-bhūtaḥ—freed from material conceptions of life but attached to an impersonal situation; prasanna-ātmā—fully joyful; na śocati—he does not lament; na kāṅkṣati—he does not hanker; samaḥ—equally disposed; sarveṣu—all; bhūteṣu—to the living entities; mat-bhaktim—My devotional service; labhate—achieves; parām—transcendental.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, "According to the Bhagavad-gītā, 'One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.' "
In the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54) it is said that a person who accepts the theory of monism-being always engaged in empiric philosophical discussions about spiritual life-becomes joyful and is relieved from all material lamentation and hankering. At that stage, one is equipoised. He sees all living entities as spiritual beings. After attaining this elevated stage, one can attain pure devotional service. The conclusion is that devotional service mixed with ritualistic fruitive activity is inferior to spiritual service based on empiric philosophic discussion.
prabhu kahe,--"eho bāhya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe,--"jñāna-śūnyā bhakti--sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho—this; bāhya—external; āge—ahead; kaha—speak; āra—further; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; jñāna-śūnyā bhakti—devotional service independent of logic and empiric philosophy; sādhya-sāra—the essence of the perfection of life.
After hearing this, the Lord, as usual, rejected it, considering it to be external devotional service. He again asked Rāmānanda Rāya to speak further, and Rāmānanda Rāya replied, "Pure devotional service without any touch of speculative knowledge is the essence of perfection."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in his Anubhāṣya commentary says that this stage-devotional service mixed with speculative knowledge-is also external and not within the jurisdiction of pure devotional service as practiced in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. As soon as there is some conception of materialistic thought-be it positive or negative-the service is not spiritual. It may be free from material contamination, but because there is mental speculation the devotional service is not pure and freed from the contamination of material life. A living entity who wants to be completely pure must be above this material conception. The negation of material existence does not necessarily mean spiritual existence. After material existence is negated, spiritual existence-namely sac-cid-ānanda-still may not be manifest. Until one comes to the stage of actually understanding one's eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, he cannot enter into spiritual life. Spiritual life means becoming detached from material life and engaging in the loving service of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore asked Rāmānanda Rāya to explain something transcendental to devotional service mixed with speculative knowledge. A pure devotee is completely surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord, and only by his love does he conquer Kṛṣṇa, who cannot be conquered by anyone. Kṛṣṇa always stands victorious over everything. No one can conquer Him. One can attain the stage of pure devotion simply by fully surrendering. This is next corroborated by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.3), wherein Lord Brahmā, defeated by the potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, fully surrendered unto the Lord.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyām
jñāne—in gaining knowledge; prayāsam—unnecessary endeavor; udapāsya—setting far aside; namantaḥ—completely surrendering; eva—certainly; jīvanti—live; sat-mukharitām—declared by great realized devotees; bhavadīya-vārtām—discussions about You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sthāne sthitāḥ—situated in their own positions; śruti-gatām—received aurally; tanu-vāk-manobhiḥ—by the body, words and mind; ye—those who; prāyaśaḥ—almost always; ajita—O my unconquerable Lord (beyond perception and unlimitedly independent); jitaḥ—conquered; api—indeed; asi—You are; taiḥ—by such pure devotees; tri-lokyām—within the three worlds.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, "Lord Brahmā said, 'My dear Lord, those devotees who have thrown away the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth and have therefore abandoned discussing empiric philosophical truths should hear from self-realized devotees about Your holy name, form, pastimes and qualities. They should completely follow the principles of devotional service and remain free from illicit sex, gambling, intoxication and animal slaughter. Surrendering themselves fully with body, words and mind, they can live in any āśrama or social status. Indeed, You are conquered by such persons, although You are always unconquerable.' "
prabhu kahe,--"eho haya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe, "prema-bhakti--sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho haya—this is all right; āge kaha āra—speak something more; rāya kaheRāya replied; prema-bhakti—ecstatic love in devotional service to the Lord; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the essence of all perfection.
At this point, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, "This is all right, but still you can speak more on the subject." Rāmānanda Rāya then replied, "Ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the essence of all perfection."
In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya says that after hearing Rāmānanda Rāya, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, eho haya, āge kaha āra. This means that this is the process accepted in devotional service, but there is something more than this. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested him to explain what was beyond. Simply executing the duties of all varṇas and āśramas is not as good as offering all the results of one's activities to the Lord. When one gives up all fruitive activity and fully surrenders to the Lord, he attains sva-dharma-tyāga, wherein he abandons the social order and takes to the renounced order. That is certainly better. However, better than the renounced order is cultivation of knowledge mixed with devotional service. Yet all these activities are external to the activities of the spiritual world. There is no touch of pure devotional service in them. Pure devotional service cannot be attained by empiric philosophy, nor can perfection be attained simply by good association. Devotional service by self-realization is a different subject matter. It is untouched by fruitive activity, for one surrenders the results of activities to the Lord, abandons prescribed duties and accepts the renounced order of life. Such devotional service is situated on a higher platform than that of empiric philosophical speculation with a mixture of bhakti. This is verified by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11):
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
"One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service."
Devotional activities, however, sometimes appear to be impure in the neophyte stage, but in the mature stage they are completely pure, or free from material activity. Therefore Rāmānanda Rāya replied after hearing the last statement of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: prema-bhakti-sarva-sādhya-sāra. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu actually accepted this verse (jñāne prayāsam) as the basic principle of perfection. One has to practice this principle in order to make further progress. When further progress is actually made, one comes to the platform of ecstatic loving service to the Lord. This first stage is technically called sādhana-bhakti, or devotional service in practice. The result of sādhana-bhakti must be ecstatic love, attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which is also called prema-bhakti. In the neophyte stage, sādhana-bhakti includes faith, association with devotees, and practicing devotional service. Thus one is freed from all unwanted things. One then becomes fixed in devotional service and increases his desire to act in devotional service. Thus one becomes attached to the Lord and His devotional service.
nānopacāra-kṛta-pūjanam ārta-bandhoḥ
premṇaiva bhakta-hṛdayaṁ sukha-vidrutaṁ syāt
yāvat kṣud asti jaṭhare jaraṭhā pipāsā
tāvat sukhāya bhavato nanu bhakṣya-peye
nānā-upacāra—by varieties of offerings; kṛta—performed; pūjanam—worshiping; ārta-bandhoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the friend of all distressed persons; premṇā—by ecstatic love; eva—indeed; bhakta-hṛdayam—the heart of a devotee; sukha-vidrutam—melted in transcendental bliss; syāt—becomes; yāvat—as long as; kṣut—appetite; asti—there is; jaṭhare—in the stomach; jaraṭhā—strong; pipāsā—thirst; tāvat—so long; sukhāya—for happiness; bhavataḥ—are; nanu—indeed; bhakṣya—eatables; peye—and drinkables.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, " 'As long as there is hunger and thirst within the stomach, varieties of food and drink make one feel very happy. Similarly, when the Lord is worshiped with pure love, the various activities performed in the course of that worship awaken transcendental bliss in the heart of the devotee.'
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā—absorbed in the mellows of executing devotional service to Kṛṣṇa; matiḥ—intelligence; krīyatām—let it be purchased; yadi—if; kutaḥ api—somewhere; labhyate—is available; tatra—there; laulyam—greed; api—indeed; mūlyam—price; ekalam—only; janma-koṭi—of millions of births; sukṛtaiḥ—by pious activities; na—not; labhyate—is obtained.
" 'Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price-that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.' "
The previous two verses are included in the Padyāvalī (13, 14), an anthology compiled by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Verse 69 refers to devotional service in faith, and verse 70 refers to devotional service rendered out of intense greed. The first is devotional service rendered in accordance with the regulative principles, and the second refers to spontaneous loving service of the Lord without extraneous endeavor. Henceforward the basic principle underlying the talks between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya will be spontaneous loving service to the Lord. The regulative principles according to the injunctions of the śāstras are necessary insofar as one's original dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not spontaneously awakened. An example of spontaneous action is the flowing of rivers into the ocean. Nothing can stop this flow of water. Similarly, when one's dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness is awakened, it spontaneously flows to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa without impediment. Whatever will be spoken henceforth by Rāmānanda Rāya based on spontaneous love will be agreeable to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and the Lord will ask him more and more about this subject.
prabhu kahe, "eho haya, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe, "dāsya-prema--sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho haya—this is all right; āge kaha āra—please speak more; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; dāsya-prema—spontaneous love in the humor of servitude; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the essence of perfection.
Hearing up to the point of spontaneous love, the Lord said, "This is all right, but if you know more, please tell Me." In reply, Rāmānanda Rāya said, "Spontaneous loving service in servitude-as exchanged by master and servant-is the highest perfection.
Spontaneous loving service to the Lord is called devotional service with an intimate attachment between the servitor and the served. This intimacy is called mamatā. Between the servitor and the served there is a feeling of oneness. This mamatā begins with dāsya-prema, service rendered to the master by the servant. Unless there is such a relationship, the loving affairs between the Lord and His devotee are not actually fixed. When the devotee feels "The Lord is my master" and renders service unto Him, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is awakened. This fixed consciousness is on a higher platform than simple cognizance of love of Godhead.
pumān bhavati nirmalaḥ
tasya tīrtha-padaḥ kiṁ vā
dāsānām avaśiṣyate
yat—of whom; nāma—of the name; śruti-mātreṇa—simply by hearing; pumān—a person; bhavati—becomes; nirmalaḥ—pure; tasya—of Him; tīrtha-padaḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose lotus feet are all places of pilgrimage; kim—what; —more; dāsānām—of the servants; avaśiṣyate—is remaining.
" 'A man becomes purified simply by hearing the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose lotus feet create the holy places of pilgrimage. Therefore what remains to be attained by those who have become His servants?'
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.5.16) and is an admission by the great sage Durvāsā Muni. Durvāsā Muni, a caste brāhmaṇa and great yogī, used to hate Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. When he decided to chastise Mahārāja Ambarīṣa through his yogic powers, he was chased by the Sudarśana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When things were settled, he said, "When the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is heard by any person, that person is immediately sanctified. The Supreme Lord is master of the devotees, and the devotees, under His shelter, naturally come to own His opulences."
bhavantam evānucaran nirantaraḥ
kadāham aikāntika-nitya-kiṅkaraḥ
praharṣayiṣyāmi sa-nātha-jīvitam
bhavantam—You; eva—certainly; anucaran—serving; nirantaraḥ—always; praśānta—pacified; niḥśeṣa—all; manaḥ-ratha—desires; antaraḥ—other; kadā—when; aham—I; aikāntika—exclusive; nitya—eternal; kiṅkaraḥ—servant; praharṣayiṣyāmi—I shall become joyful; sa-nātha—with a fitting master; jīvitam—living.
" 'By serving You constantly, one is freed from all material desires and is completely pacified. When shall I engage as Your permanent eternal servant and always feel joyful to have such a perfect master?' "
This is a statement made by the great saintly devotee Yāmunācārya in his Stotra-ratna (43).
prabhu kahe, "eho haya, kichu āge āra"
rāya kahe, "sakhya-prema--sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho haya—this is also right; kichu—something; āge—ahead; āra—more; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; sakhya-prema—transcendental loving service in fraternity; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the highest perfectional stage.
Hearing this from Rāmānanda Rāya, the Lord again requested him to go a step further. In reply, Rāmānanda Rāya said, "Loving service to Kṛṣṇa rendered in fraternity is the highest perfection.
As long as loving service is rendered to the Lord in the master-servant relationship, there is some fear, for the servant is always afraid of the master, despite the intimacy of self-interest. In this stage the servant is always afraid of the master and respectful of Him. When the devotee is further advanced, he has nothing to fear. He considers the Lord and himself on an equal level. At such a time, the devotee is fully convinced that Lord Kṛṣṇa is a friend and cannot at all be dissatisfied if the devotee lives with Him on an equal level. This understanding is called viśrambha, that is, devoid of a respectful attitude. When this attitude is chosen, it becomes sakhya-prema, or love of Godhead in friendship. On this stage there is developed consciousness of equality between the Lord and the devotee.
itthaṁ satāṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā
dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena
māyāśritānāṁ nara-dārakeṇa
sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ
ittham—in this way; satām—of persons who prefer the impersonal feature of the Lord; brahma—of the impersonal effulgence; sukha—by the happiness; anubhūtyā—who is realized; dāsyam—the mode of servitude; gatānām—of those who have accepted; para-daivatena—who is the supreme worshipable Deity; māyā-āśritānām—for ordinary persons under the clutches the of external energy; nara-dārakeṇa—with Him, who is like a boy of this material world; sākam—in friendship; vijahruḥ—played; kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ—those who have accumulated volumes of pious activities.
" 'Neither those who are engaged in self-realization, appreciating the Brahman effulgence of the Lord, nor those engaged in devotional service while accepting the Supreme Personality of Godhead as master, nor those who are under the clutches of Māyā, thinking the Lord an ordinary person, can understand that certain exalted personalities-after accumulating volumes of pious activities-are now playing with the Lord in friendship as cowherd boys.' "
This is a statement made by Śukadeva Gosvāmī (Bhāg. 10.12.11), who appreciated the good fortune of the cowherd boys who played with Kṛṣṇa and ate with Him on the banks of the Yamunā.
prabhu kahe,--"eho uttama, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe, "vātsalya-prema--sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord said; eho uttama—it is very good; āge—still further; kaha—speak; āra—more; rāya kaheRāya replied; vātsalya-prema—loving service to the Lord in the stage of paternal love; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the highest perfectional stage.
The Lord said, "This statement is very good, but please proceed even further." Rāmānanda Rāya then replied, "Loving service to the Lord in the parental relationship is the highest perfectional stage."
The stage of loving service to the Lord in paternal affection is an advanced stage of love in fraternity. In the fraternal relationship there is a sense of equality, but when that sense of equality is advanced in affection, one attains the platform of parental love. In this connection, the following verse is cited from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.46), wherein Śukadeva Gosvāmī voices his appreciation of Nanda Mahārāja's and mother Yaśodā's intense love for Kṛṣṇa.
nandaḥ kim akarod brahman
śreya evaṁ mahodayam
yaśodā vā mahā-bhāgā
papau yasyāḥ stanaṁ hariḥ
nandaḥNanda Mahārāja; kim—what; akarot—has performed; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; śreyaḥ—auspicious activities; evam—thus; mahā-udayam—rising to such an exalted position as the father of Kṛṣṇa; yaśodā—mother Yaśodā; —or; mahā-bhāgā—most fortunate; papau—drank; yasyāḥ—of whom; stanam—by the breasts; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Rāmānanda Rāya continued, " 'O brāhmaṇa, what pious activities did Nanda Mahārāja perform by which he received the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa as his son, and what pious activities did mother Yaśodā perform that made the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa call her "mother" and suck her breasts?'
nemaṁ viriñco na bhavo
na śrīr apy aṅga-saṁśrayā
prasādaṁ lebhire gopī
yat tat prāpa vimukti-dāt
na—not; imam—this (love of Godhead); viriñcaḥ—Lord Brahmā; na—not; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; na—nor; śrīḥ—the goddess of fortune; api—even; aṅga—on the chest of Viṣṇu; saṁśrayā—who is sheltered; prasādam—favor; lebhire—have obtained; gopī—mother Yaśodā; yat—which; tat—that; prāpa—obtained; vimukti-dāt—from the person who gives liberation.
" 'The favor mother Yaśodā obtained from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the bestower of liberation, was never obtained even by Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva, nor even by the goddess of fortune, who always remains on the chest of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu.' "
This is a statement from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.9.20). Kṛṣṇa agreed to be bound by mother Yaśodā after she had given up trying to bind Kṛṣṇa with ropes. This is another appreciation made by Śukadeva Gosvāmī in his narration of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa before Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
prabhu kahe, "eho uttama, āge kaha āra"
rāya kahe, "kāntā-prema sarva-sādhya-sāra"
prabhu kahe—the Lord replied; eho uttama—this is very good; āge—ahead; kaha—speak; āra—more; rāya kaheRāmānanda Rāya replied; kāntā-prema—loving service between husband and wife; sarva-sādhya-sāra—the highest perfectional stage.
The Lord said, "Your statements are certainly getting better and better one after the other, but surpassing all of them is another transcendental mellow, and you can speak of that as the most sublime." Rāmānanda Rāya then replied, "Conjugal attachment for Kṛṣṇa is the topmost position in love of Godhead.
In general, love of Godhead is devoid of the intimacy of ownership. In the case of love in servitude, there is a want of confidence. There is a want of increased affection in the fraternal relationship, but when this affection increases in the paternal relationship, there is nonetheless a want of complete freedom. However, when one becomes a conjugal lover of Kṛṣṇa, everything lacking in the other relationships is completely manifest. Love of Godhead lacks nothing in the conjugal stage. The summary of this verse is that paternal love of Godhead is certainly higher than fraternal love and that conjugal love is higher yet. It was when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested Rāmānanda Rāya to go further that he came to the point of the conjugal relationship, which is the highest perfectional stage of transcendental love.
nāyaṁ śriyo 'ṅga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ
svar-yoṣitāṁ nalina-gandha-rucāṁ kuto 'nyāḥ
rāsotsave 'sya bhuja-daṇḍa-gṛhīta-kaṇṭha-
labdhāśiṣāṁ ya udagād vraja-sundarīṇām
na—not; ayam—this; śriyaḥ—of the goddess of fortune; aṅge—on the chest; u—alas; nitānta-rateḥ—who is very intimately related; prasādaḥ—the favor; svaḥ—of the heavenly planets; yoṣitām—of women; nalina—of the lotus flower; gandha—having the aroma; rucām—and bodily luster; kutaḥ—much less; anyāḥ—others; rāsa-utsave—in the festival of the rāsa dance; asya—of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; bhuja-daṇḍa—by the arms; gṛhīta—embraced; kaṇṭha—their necks; labdha-āśiṣām—who achieved such a blessing; yaḥ—which; udagāt—became manifest; vraja-sundarīṇām—of the beautiful gopīs, the transcendental girls of Vrajabhūmi.
" 'When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was dancing with the gopīs in the rāsa-līlā, He put His arms around their necks and embraced them. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Nor was such a thing even imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, girls whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the lotus flower. And what to speak of worldly women who may be very, very beautiful according to material estimation?'
This verse (Bhāg. 10.47.60) was spoken by Uddhava when he visited Śrī Vṛndāvana to deliver a message from Kṛṣṇa to the gopīs. Uddhava remained in Vṛndāvana to observe the movements of the gopīs there. When he saw the ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa in separation manifested by the gopīs, he appreciated their supreme love and therefore expressed his feelings in this verse. He admitted that the fortune of the gopīs could not be compared even to the fortune of the goddess of fortune, to say nothing of the beautiful girls in the heavenly planets.
tāsām āvirabhūc chauriḥ
pītāmbara-dharaḥ sragvī
sākṣān manmatha-manmathaḥ
tāsām—among them; āvirabhūt—appeared; śauriḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa; smayamāna—smiling; mukha-ambujaḥ—with a face like a lotus flower; pīta-ambara-dharaḥ—wearing yellow garments; sragvī—garlanded with flowers; sākṣāt—directly; manmatha—of Cupid; manmathaḥ—the bewilderer.
" 'Suddenly, due to the their feelings of separation, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared among the gopīs dressed in yellow garments and wearing a flower garland. His lotus face was smiling, and He was directly attracting the mind of Cupid.'
This verse is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.2). When the rāsa dance was going on, Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappeared, and the gopīs became so overwhelmed, due to His separation and their intense love for Him, that Kṛṣṇa was obliged to appear again.
kṛṣṇa-prāptira upāya bahu-vidha haya
kṛṣṇa-prāpti-tāratamya bahuta āchaya
kṛṣṇa-prāptira—of achieving the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa; upāya—means; bahu-vidha—various; haya—there are; kṛṣṇa-prāpti—of achieving the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāratamya—comparisons; bahuta—various; āchaya—there are.
"There are various means and processes by which one may attain the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. All those transcendental processes will be studied from the viewpoint of comparative importance.
kintu yāṅra yei rasa, sei sarvottama
taṭa-stha hañā vicārile, āche tara-tama
kintu—nevertheless; yāṅra—of some devotees; yei rasa—whatever the mellow of exchanges of love; sei—that; sarva-uttama—the best; taṭa-stha—neutral; hañā—being; vicārile—if considering; āche—there is; tara-tama—lower and higher levels.
"It is true that whatever relationship a particular devotee has with the Lord is the best for him; still, when we study all the different methods from a neutral position, we can understand that there are higher and lower degrees of love.
In this regard, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that this verse does not advocate the whimsical invention of some methods of love of Godhead. Such inventions cannot be accepted as topmost. Indeed, such concoctions are not recommended in these verses. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has said in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.101):
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate
He clearly mentions in this verse that one must refer to the Vedic literature and other, supplementary literatures and follow the conclusion of the Vedas. An invented devotional attitude simply creates disturbances in the transcendental realm. If a person overly addicted to family life takes to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Kṛṣṇa consciousness to earn a livelihood, his activity is certainly offensive. One should not become a caste guru and sell mantras for the benefit of mundane customers, nor should one make disciples for a livelihood. All these activities are offensive. One should not make a livelihood by forming a professional band to carry out congregational chanting, nor should one perform devotional service when one is attached to mundane society, friendship and love. Nor should one be dependent on so-called social etiquette. All of this is mental speculation. None of these things can be compared to unalloyed devotional service. No one can compare unalloyed devotional service, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, to mundane activities. There are many unauthorized parties pretending to belong to the Śrī Caitanya cult, and some are known as āula, bāula, kartābhajā, neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅi, sakhībhekī, smārta, jāta-gosāñi, ativāḍi, cūḍādhārī and gaurāṅga-nāgari.
Moreover, there are those who take the caste gosvāmīs' opinions of such parties as bona fide, comparing these opinions to those of the six Gosvāmīs, headed by Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātana. This is simply another cheating process. There are also nondevotees who compose unauthorized songs, who establish different temples for money, who worship the Deity as priests for salaries, who accept caste brahmanism as all in all, and who do not know the value of a pure Vaiṣṇava. Actually the caste brāhmaṇas of the smārta community are opposed to the principles of the Sātvata-pañcarātra. Furthermore, there are many Māyāvādīs and those overly addicted to material sense enjoyment. None of these can be compared to a person who is purely engaged in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Every Kṛṣṇa conscious person is constantly endeavoring to utilize different transcendental devices in the service of the Lord. Such a devotee renounces all material enjoyment and completely dedicates himself to the service of his spiritual master and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He may be a perfect celibate, a restrained householder, a regulated vānaprastha or a tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī in the renounced order. It doesn't matter. The pseudo transcendentalists and the pure devotees cannot be compared, nor can one argue that a person can invent his own way of worship.
The purport in presenting this verse necessitates explaining the comparative positions of the transcendental mellows known as śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. All these rasas, or mellows, are situated on the transcendental platform. Pure devotees take shelter of one of them and thus progress in spiritual life. Actually one can take shelter of such spiritual mellows only when one is completely uncontaminated by material attachment. When one is completely free from material attachment, the feelings of the transcendental mellows are awakened in the heart of the devotee. That is svarūpa-siddhi, the perfection of
one's eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Svarūpa-siddhi, the eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, may be situated in one of the transcendental mellows. Each and every one of them is as perfect as the others. But by comparative study an unbiased person can realize that the mellow of servitorship is better than the mellow of neutrality. The mellow of fraternity is better than the mellow of servitorship. Similarly, the parental mellow is better than that of fraternity. Above all these mellows is the mellow of conjugal love. However, these are all spiritually situated on the same platform because all these relationships of perfection in love are based on a central point-Kṛṣṇa.
These mellows cannot be compared to the feelings one derives from demigod worship. Kṛṣṇa is one, but the demigods are different. They are material. Love for Kṛṣṇa cannot be compared to material love for different demigods. Because Māyāvādīs are on the material platform, they recommend the worship of Śiva or Durgā and say that worship of Kālī and Kṛṣṇa are the same. However, on the spiritual platform there is no demigod worship. The only worshipable object is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore although there is no difference between a devotee in śānta-rasa or dāsya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa or mādhurya-rasa, one can still make a comparative study of the intensity of love in these different transcendental positions. For example, it may be said that dāsya-rasa is better than śānta-rasa, yet transcendental love of God is there in both of them. Similarly, we can judge that love of Godhead in fraternity is better than love of Godhead in neutrality and servitorship. Similarly, love of Godhead in paternal affection is better than love in fraternity. And, as stated before, love of God in the conjugal rasa is superior to that in the paternal rasa.
The analysis of different types of love of Godhead has been made by expert ācāryas who know all about devotional service on the transcendental platform. Unfortunately, inexperienced and unauthorized persons in the mundane world, not understanding the transcendental position of pure love, try to find some material fault in the transcendental process. This is simply impudence on the part of spiritually inexperienced people. Such faultfinding is symptomatic of unfortunate mundane wranglers.
yathottaram asau svāda-
viśeṣollāsa-mayy api
ratir vāsanayā svādvī
bhāsate kāpi kasyacit
yathā uttaram—one after another; asau—that; svāda-viśeṣa—of particular tastes; ullāsa—pleasing; mayī—empowered with; api—although; ratiḥ—love; vāsanayā—by desire; svādvī—sweet; bhāsate—appears; api—someone; kasyacit—one of them.
" 'Increasing love is experienced in various tastes, one above another. But that love which has the highest taste in the gradual succession of desires manifests itself in the form of conjugal love.'
This verse is from Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.5.38), and it also appears in the Ādi-līlā, Chapter Four, verse 45.
pūrva-pūrva-rasera guṇa--pare pare haya
dui-tina gaṇane pañca paryanta bāḍaya
pūrva-pūrva—of each previous; rasera—of the mellow; guṇa—the qualities; pare pare—in each subsequent; haya—there are; dui-tina—two and then three; gaṇane—in counting; pañca—five; paryanta—up to; bāḍaya—increases.
"There is a gradual order of improvement in transcendental mellows from the initial ones to the later ones. In each subsequent mellow the qualities of the previous mellows are manifest, counting from two, then three, and up to the point of five complete qualities.
guṇādhikye svādādhikya bāḍe prati-rase
śānta-dāsya-sakhya-vātsalyera guṇa madhurete vaise
guṇa-ādhikye—by the increase of transcendental qualities; svāda-ādhikya—increase of taste; bāḍe—increases; prati-rase—in each mellow; śānta—of neutrality; dāsya—of servitude; sakhya—of fraternity; vātsalyera—and of paternal affection; guṇa—the qualities; madhurete—in the conjugal mellow; vaise—appear.
"As the qualities increase, so the taste also increases in each and every mellow. Therefore the qualities found in śānta-rasa, dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa and vātsalya-rasa are all manifest in conjugal love [mādhurya-rasa].
ākāśādira guṇa yena para-para bhūte
dui-tina krame bāḍe pañca pṛthivīte
ākāśa-ādira—of the sky, air and so on; guṇa—the qualities; yena—just as; para-para—one after another; bhūte—in the material elements; dui-tina—two and then three; krame—by gradations; bāḍe—increase; pañca—all five; pṛthivīte—in earth.
"The qualities in the material elements-sky, air, fire, water and earth-increase one after another by a gradual process of one, two and three, and at the last stage, in the element earth, all five qualities are completely visible.
paripūrṇa-kṛṣṇa-prāpti ei 'premā' haite
ei premāra vaśa kṛṣṇa--kahe bhāgavate
paripūrṇa—completely full; kṛṣṇa-prāpti—achievement of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; ei—this; premā—love of Godhead; haite—from; ei premāra—of this type of love of Godhead; vaśa—under the control; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; kahe—it is said; bhāgavate—in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
"Complete attainment of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa is made possible by love of Godhead, specifically mādhurya-rasa, or conjugal love. Lord Kṛṣṇa is indeed captivated by this standard of love. This is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
To explain the topmost quality of conjugal love, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī gives the example of the material elements-sky, air, fire, water and earth. In the sky (space) there is the quality of sound. Similarly, in air there are the qualities of sound and touch. In fire, there are three qualities-sound, touch and form. In water there are four qualities-sound, touch, form and taste. Finally, in earth there are all five qualities-sound, touch, form, taste and also smell. Now, one can see that the quality of the sky is in all-namely in air, fire, water and earth. In earth we can find all the qualities of material nature. The same can be applied to the rasa known as mādhurya-rasa, or conjugal love. In conjugal love there are the qualities of neutrality, servitorship, fraternity and paternal affection, as well as conjugal love itself. The conclusion is that through conjugal love the Lord is completely satisfied.
Conjugal love (mādhurya-rasa) is also known as śṛṅgāra-rasa. It is the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that in the complete combination of loving service to the Lord-namely in conjugal love-the Supreme Lord fully agrees to be under the control of the devotee. The highest form of conjugal love is represented by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; therefore in the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa we can see that Kṛṣṇa is always subjugated by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī's influence.
mayi bhaktir hi bhūtānām
amṛtatvāya kalpate
diṣṭyā yad āsīn mat-sneho
bhavatīnāṁ mad-āpanaḥ
mayi—unto Me; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; hi—certainly; bhūtānām—of all living entities; amṛtatvāya—for becoming eternal; kalpate—is meant; diṣṭyā—fortunately; yat—what; āsīt—there is; mat-snehaḥ—affection for Me; bhavatīnām—of all of you; mat-āpanaḥ—the means of getting My favor.
"Lord Kṛṣṇa told the gopīs, 'The means of attaining My favor is loving service unto Me, and fortunately you are all thus engaged. Those living beings who render service unto Me are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world and attain eternal life with knowledge and bliss.'
The fulfillment of human life is summarized in this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.82.44). There are two important words in this verse: bhakti (devotional service) and amṛtatva (eternal life). The aim of human life is to attain the natural position of eternal life. This eternal life can be achieved only by devotional service.
kṛṣṇera pratijñā dṛḍha sarva-kāle āche
ye yaiche bhaje, kṛṣṇa tāre bhaje taiche
kṛṣṇera—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; pratijñā—the promise; dṛḍha—firm; sarva-kāle—in all times; āche—there is; ye—anyone; yaiche—just as; bhaje—renders service; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; tāre—him; bhaje—reciprocates with; taiche—so for all time.
"Lord Kṛṣṇa has made a firm promise for all time. If one renders service unto Him, Kṛṣṇa correspondingly gives him an equal amount of success in devotional service to the Lord.
It is a completely mistaken idea that one can worship Kṛṣṇa in any form or in any way and still attain the ultimate result of receiving the favor of the Lord. This is a decision made by gross materialists. Generally such men say that you can manufacture your own way of worshiping the Supreme Lord and that any type of worship is sufficient to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Certainly there are different means for attaining different results in fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, mystic yoga and austerity. Crude men therefore say that if one adopts any of these methods one achieves the Supreme Personality of Godhead's favor. They claim that it doesn't matter what kind of method one adopts. A general example is given: If one wishes to arrive at a certain place, there are many roads leading there, and one can go to that place by any one of these roads. Similarly, these gross materialists say, there are different ways to attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They claim that one can conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Goddess Durgā, Goddess Kālī, Lord Śiva, Demigod Gaṇeśa, Lord Rāmacandra, Kṛṣṇa, the impersonal Brahman or whatever, and one can chant the Lord's name in any way and in any form. Such materialists claim that since ultimately all these names and forms are one, the result is the same. They also give the example that a man who has different names will answer if called by any one of them. Therefore, they claim, there is no need to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. If one chants the name of Kālī, Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa or anyone else, the result will be the same.
Such claims made by mental speculators are no doubt very pleasing to mental speculators, but those who are actually in knowledge do not admit such conclusions, which are against the authority of the śāstras. A bona fide ācārya will certainly not accept such a conclusion. As Kṛṣṇa clearly states in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):
yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām
"Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods, those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors, those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings, and those who worship Me will live with Me." (Bg. 9.25)
Only the devotees of the Lord can be admitted to His kingdom-not the demigod worshipers, karmīs, yogīs or anyone else. A person who desires elevation to the heavenly planets worships various demigods, and material nature may be pleased to offer such devotees their desired positions. The material nature gives a person his own nature, by which he increases affection for different types of demigods. However, the Bhagavad-gītā (7.20) says that demigod worship is meant for men who have lost all their intelligence:
kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ
prapadyante 'nya-devatāḥ
taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya
prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā
"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures."
Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, the results of such a benediction are limited:
anta-vat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ
tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām
devān deva-yajo yānti
mad-bhaktā yānti mām api
"Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet." (Bg. 7.23)
Being elevated to the heavenly planets or other material planets does not mean attaining an eternal life of knowledge and bliss. At the end of the material world, all attainments of material elevation will also end. Again, according to Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.55), only those who engage in His loving devotional service will be admitted to the spiritual world and return to Godhead, not others:
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
viśate tad-anantaram
"One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God."
Impersonalists cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore it is not possible for them to enter into the spiritual kingdom of God and return home, back to Godhead. Actually one attains different results by different means. It is not that all achievements are one and the same. Those interested in the four principles of dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa cannot be compared to those interested in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2) therefore says:
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śiva-daṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate 'tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt
"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, he becomes attached to the Supreme Lord."
Those who aspire after liberation attempt to merge into the impersonal Brahman. To this end they execute ritualistic religious ceremonies, but Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam considers this a cheating process. Indeed, such people can never dream of returning home, back to Godhead. There is a gulf of difference between the goal of dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa and the goal of devotional service.
The goddess Durgā is the superintending deity of this material world, which is made of material elements. The demigods are simply different directors engaged in operating the departments of material activities, and they are under the influence of the same material energy. Kṛṣṇa's internal potencies, however, have nothing to do with the creation of this cosmic material world. The spiritual world and all spiritual activities are under the direction of the internal, spiritual energy, and such activities are performed by Yogamāyā, the spiritual energy. Yogamāyā is the spiritual or internal energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are interested in being promoted to the spiritual world and engaging in the service of the Lord attain spiritual perfection under the control of Yogamāyā. Those who are interested in material promotion engage in ritualistic religious ceremonies and economic development to develop sense gratification. They ultimately attempt to merge into the impersonal existence of the Lord. Such people generally become impersonalists. They are interested in worshiping Lord Śiva or Goddess Durgā, but their return is one hundred percent materialistic.
Following the example of the gopīs, the devotees sometimes worship the goddess Kātyāyanī, but they understand that Kātyāyanī is an incarnation of Yogamāyā. The gopīs worshiped Kātyāyanī, Yogamāyā, to attain Kṛṣṇa as their husband. On the other hand, it is stated in the Sapta-śatī scripture that a kṣatriya king named Suratha and a rich vaiśya named Samādhi worshiped material nature in the form of Goddess Durgā to attain material perfection. If one tries to mingle the worship of Yogamāyā with Mahāmāyā, considering them one and the same, he does not really show very high intelligence. The idea that everything is one is a kind of foolishness indulged in by those with less brain substance. Fools and rascals say that the worship of Yogamāyā and Mahāmāyā is the same. This conclusion is simply the result of mental speculation, and it has no practical effect. In the material world, sometimes one gives an exalted title to an utterly worthless thing; in Bengal this is known as giving a blind child a name like Padmalocana, which means "lotus-eyed." One may foolishly call a blind child Padmalocana, but such an appellation does not bear any meaning.
In the spiritual world the Absolute Lord is always identical with His name, fame, form, qualities and pastimes. Such identity is impossible in the material world, where the name of a person is different from the person himself. The Supreme Lord has many holy names like Paramātmā, Brahman and "the creator," but one who worships the Lord as the creator cannot understand the relationship between a devotee and the Lord in the five types of transcendental mellow, nor can he understand the conception of Kṛṣṇa. One cannot understand the six transcendental opulences of the Lord simply by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead as impersonal Brahman.
Impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth is certainly transcendental, but this does not mean that one who has attained this realization can understand the sac-cid-ānanda form of the Lord. Similarly, Paramātmā realization-realization of the plenary expansion of the Absolute Truth within everyone's heart-is also an incomplete understanding of the Absolute Truth. Even a devotee of the Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa cannot actually understand the transcendental attractive features of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa who is attached to the sublime attractive features of the Lord does not consider Nārāyaṇa very important. When the gopīs sometimes saw Kṛṣṇa in the form of Nārāyaṇa, they were not very attracted to Him. The gopīs never addressed Kṛṣṇa as Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa. Kṛṣṇa's devotees in Vṛndāvana address Him as Rādhāramaṇa, Nandanandana and Yaśodānandana, but not as Vasudeva-nandana or Devakī-nandana. Although according to the material conception Nārāyaṇa, Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa and Kṛṣṇa are one and the same, in the spiritual world one cannot use the name Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa or Nārāyaṇa in place of the name Kṛṣṇa. If one does so out of a poor fund of knowledge, his mellow with the Lord becomes spiritually faulty and is called rasābhāsa, an overlapping of transcendental mellows. The advanced devotee who has actually realized the transcendental features of the Lord will not commit the mistake of creating a rasābhāsa situation by using one name for another. Because of the influence of Kali-yuga, there is much rasābhāsa in the name of extravagance and liberal-mindedness. Such fanaticism is not very much appreciated by pure devotees.
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante

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