The difference between executing ordinary religious activities and devotional service is very great. By executing religious rituals one can achieve economic development, sense gratification or liberation (merging into the existence of the Supreme), but the results of transcendental devotional service are completely different from such temporary benefits. Devotional service of the Lord is ever green, and it is increasingly transcendentally pleasing. Thus there is a gulf of difference between the results derived from devotional service and those derived from religious rituals. The great spiritual energy known as jadadhisthatri, or mahamaya, the superintendent of the material world, and the material departmental directors, the demigods, as well as the products of the external energy of the Supreme Lord, are but perverted reflections of the opulence of the Supreme Lord. The demigods are actually order carriers of the Supreme Lord, and they help manage the material creation. In Brahma-samhita it is stated that the workings of the supremely powerful superintendent, Durga, are but shadowy indications of the workings of the Supreme Lord. The sun works just like the eye of the Supreme Lord, and Brahma works just as the reflected light of the Supreme Lord. Thus all the demigods as well as the external energy herself, Durgadevi, and all the different departmental directors are but servants of the Supreme Lord in the material world.
In the spiritual world, there is another energy, the superior spiritual energy, or internal energy, which acts under the direction of yogamaya. Yogamaya is the internal potency of the Supreme Lord; she also works under the Lord's direction, but she works in the spiritual world. When the living entity puts himself under the direction of yogamaya instead of mahamaya, he gradually becomes a devotee of Krsna. Yet those who are after material opulence and material happiness place themselves under the care of the material energy, mahamaya, or under the care of material demigods like Lord Siva and others. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is found that when the gopis of Vrndavana desired Krsna as their husband, they prayed to the spiritual energy, yogamaya, for the fulfillment of their desire. In the Sapta-sati it is found that King Suratha and a merchant named Samadhi worshiped mahamaya for material opulence. Thus one should not mistakenly equalize yogamaya an d mahamaya.
Because the Lord is on the absolute platform, there is no difference between the holy name of the Lord and the Supreme Lord Himself. There are different names for the Supreme Lord, and these names have different purposes and meanings. For instance, He is known as Paramatma, the Supersoul, Brahman the Supreme Absolute, Srstikarta the creator, Narayana the transcendental Lord, Rukminiramana the husband of Rukmini, Gopinatha the enjoyer of the gopis, and Krsna. In this way the Lord has different names, and these names indicate different functions. The aspect of the Supreme Lord as the creator is different from the aspect of the Lord as Narayana. Some of the names of the Lord as the creator are conceived by materialistic men. One cannot fully realize the essence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by understanding the name of the creator because this material creation is a function of the external energy of the Supreme Lord. Thus the conception of God as the creator includes only the external feature. Similarly, when we call the Supreme Lord Brahman, we cannot have any understanding of the six opulences of the Supreme Lord. In Brahman realization, the six opulences are not realized in full; therefore Brahman realization is not complete understanding of the Supreme Lord. Neither is Paramatma realization, realization of the Supersoul, full realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the all-pervading nature of the Supreme Lord is but a partial representation of His opulence.
Even the transcendental relationship experienced by a devotee of Narayana in Vaikuntha is incomplete in that it is not realization of a relationship with Krsna in Goloka Vrndavana. The devotees of Krsna do not relish devotional service to Narayana because devotional service to Krsna is so attractive that Krsna's devotees do not desire to worship any other form. Thus the gopis of Vrndavana do not like to see Krsna as the husband of Rukmini, nor do they address Him as Rukminiramana. In Vrndavana Krsna is addressed as Radhakrsna, or Krsna, the property of Radharani. Although the husband of Rukmini and Radha's Krsna are on the same level in the ordinary sense, still, in the spiritual world, the names indicate different understandings of various aspects of Krsna's transcendental personality. If one equalizes Rukminiramana, Radharamana, Narayana or any other name of the Supreme Lord, he commits the fault of overlapping tastes, which is technically called rasabhasa. Those who are expert devotees do not accept such amalgamations which are against the conclusions of pure devotional service.
Although Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, embodies all superexcellence and beauty, when He is amongst the damsels of Vraja, He is known as Gopijanavallabha. The devotees cannot relish the beauty of the Supreme Lord more than the damsels of Vraja. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.7) it is confirmed that although Krsna, the son of Devaki, is the last word in superexcellence and beauty, when He is amongst the gopis it appears that He is a sublime jewel set amongst divine golden craftsmanship. Although Lord Caitanya accepted this as the highest realization of the Supreme Lord as conjugal lover, He nonetheless requested Ramananda Raya to proceed further.
Upon hearing this request, Ramananda Raya remarked that this was the first time that he had been asked to go further than the gopis in an attempt to understand Krsna. There is certainly transcendental intimacy between the damsels of Vraja and Krsna, Ramananda pointed out, but out of all the relationships, the relationship between Radharani and Krsna in conjugal love is the most perfect. No common man can understand the ecstasy of transcendental love between Radharani and Krsna, nor can he understand the transcendental flavor of the transcendental love between Krsna and the gopis. Yet if one tries to follow in the footsteps of the gopis, he may become situated in the highest stage of transcendental love. Thus one who wants to be elevated to the transcendental stage of perfection should follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja as an assistant maidservant of the gopis.
Lord Caitanya exhibited the mode of Srimati Radharani when She was contacted from Dvaraka by Sri Krsna. Such transcendental love is not possible for any common man; therefore one should not imitate the highest perfectional stage exhibited by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If, however, one desires to be in that association, he may follow in the footsteps of the gopis. In the Padma Purana it is stated that just as Radharani is dear to Krsna, similarly the kunda known as Radhakunda is also very dear to Him. Radharani is the only gopi who is dearer to Krsna than all the other gopis. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.30.28) it is also stated that Radharani and the gopis render the highest perfectional loving service to the Lord and that the Lord is so pleased with them that He does not wish to leave the company of Srimati Radharani.
When Lord Caitanya heard Ramananda Raya speak of the loving affairs between Krsna and Radharani, He said, "Please go further. Go on and on." The Lord also said that He was enjoying with great relish the descriptions of the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopis. "It is as if a river of nectar is flowing from your lips," He said. Ramananda Raya continued to point out that when Krsna danced amongst the gopis He thought, "I am not giving any special attention to Radharani." Because amongst the other gopis Radharani was not so much an object of special love, Krsna stole Her away from the area of the rasa dance and showed Her special favor. After explaining this to Lord Caitanya, Ramananda Raya said, "Now let us relish the transcendental loving affairs between Krsna and Radha. These have no comparison in this material world."
Ramananda Raya thus continued his descriptions. During one performance of the rasa dance, Radharani suddenly left the area, as if She were angry that no special attention was being shown Her. Krsna was desirous of seeing Radharani in order to fulfill the purpose of the rasa dance, but not seeing Radharani there, He became very sorrowful and went to search Her out. In Gita-govinda there is a verse which states that the enemy of Kamsa, Krsna, also wanted to be entangled in love affairs with women and thus simply took Radharani away and left the company of the other damsels of Vraja. Krsna was very much afflicted by Radharani's absence and, being thus mentally distressed, began to search Her out along the banks of the Yamuna. Failing to find Her, He entered the bushes of Vrndavana and began to lament. Ramananda Raya pointed out that when one discusses the purport of these two special verses of Gita-govinda (3.1-2), he can relish the highest nectar of Krsna's and Radha's loving affairs. Although there were many gopis to dance with Krsna, Krsna especially wanted to dance with Radharani. In the rasa dance Krsna expanded Himself and placed Himself between every two gopis, but He was especially present with Radharani. However, Radharani was not pleased with Krsna's behavior. As described in Ujjvala-nilamani: "The path of loving affairs is just like the movement of a snake. Amongst young lovers, there are two kinds of mentality-causeless and causal." Thus when Radharani left the area of the rasa dance out of anger at not receiving special treatment, Krsna became very sorrowful to see Her absent. The perfection of the rasa dance was considered to be complete due to Radharani's presence, and in Her absence Krsna considered the dance to be disrupted. Therefore He left the arena to search Her out. When He could not find Radharani after wandering in several places, He became very distressed. Thus it is understood that Krsna could not enjoy His pleasure potency even in the midst of all the gopis. But in the presence of Radharani He was satisfied.
When this transcendental love between Radharani and Krsna was described by Ramananda Raya, Lord Caitanya admitted, "I came to you to understand the transcendental loving affairs between Krsna and Radha, and now I am very satisfied that you have described them so nicely. I can understand from your version that this is the highest loving state between Krsna and Radha." Yet Lord Caitanya still requested Ramananda Raya to explain something more: "What are the transcendental features of Krsna and Radharani, and what are the transcendental features of the reciprocation of Their feelings, and what is the love between Them? If you kindly describe all this to Me, I will be very much obliged. But for you, no one can describe such things."
"I do not know anything," Ramananda Raya replied in all humility. "I am simply saying what You are causing me to say. I know that You are Krsna Himself, yet You are relishing hearing about Krsna from me. Therefore please excuse me for my faulty expression. I am just trying to express whatever You are causing me to express."
"I am a Mayavadi sannyasi," Lord Caitanya protested. "I have no knowledge of the transcendental features of devotional service. By the greatness of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya My mind has become clear, and I am now trying to understand the nature of devotional service to Lord Krsna. Bhattacarya recommended that I see you in order to understand Krsna. Indeed, he said that Ramananda Raya is the only person who knows something about love of Krsna. Therefore I have come to you upon the recommendation of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Please, then, do not hesitate to relate to Me all the confidential affairs between Radha and Krsna."
In this way Lord Caitanya actually took the subordinate position before Ramananda Raya. This has very great significance. If one is serious about understanding the transcendental nature of Krsna, he should approach a person who is actually enriched with Krsna consciousness. One should not be proud of his material birth, material opulence, material education and beauty and with these things try to conquer the mind of an advanced student of Krsna consciousness. One who thus goes to a Krsna conscious person, thinking that he would be favorably induced, is deluded about this science. One should approach a Krsna conscious person with all humility and put relevant questions to him. If one goes to challenge him, such a highly elevated Krsna conscious person would not be available for any service. A challenging puffed-up person cannot gain anything from a Krsna conscious man; he would simply remain in material consciousness. Although Lord Caitanya was born in a high brahmana family and was situated in the highest perfectional stage of sannyasa, He nonetheless showed by His behavior that even an elevated person would not hesitate to take lessons from Ramananda Raya, although Ramananda appeared as a householder situated in a social status beneath that of a brahmana.
Thus Lord Caitanya clearly showed that a sincere student never cares whether his spiritual master is born in a high brahmana family or ksatriya family, or whether he is a sannyasi, brahmacari or whatever. Whoever can teach one about the science of Krsna is to be accepted as guru.
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