Late the next afternoon, at the time of go-dhuli (when the air is thick with dust-clouds raised by the cows returning to the go-sala), Vrajanatha arrived at Srivasangana. He sat on the raised platform under the dense foliage of the bakula tree, and waited for the elderly Babaji Maharaja. Babaji was waiting in his bhajanakutira, and for some unknown reason, vatsalya-bhava had arisen in his heart towards Vrajanatha. As soon as a slight sound outside indicated Vrajanatha’s arrival, Babaji came out and, lovingly embracing him, took him into his kutira, which was situated at one side of the courtyard in an arbour of kunda flowers. There he offered him a seat and sat beside him.
Vrajanatha took the dust of Babaji Maharaja’s feet on his head. Feeling blessed, he said humbly, “O great soul, yesterday you told me that you would instruct me on Dasa-mula, the fundamental principles of Nimai Pandita’s teachings. Kindly bestow this knowledge upon me now.”
When Vrajanatha asked this wonderful question, Babaji Mahasaya became very happy and said affectionately, “My son, I shall first explain to you the sutra sloka of Dasa-mula, wherein the ten ontological truths of Dasa-mula are set out in a condensed form. You are a scholar, so by proper deliberation you will be able to comprehend the true meanings of this sloka.
amnayah praha tattvam harim iha paramam sarva-saktim rasabdhim
tad-bhinnamsams ca jivan prakrti-kavalitan tad-vimuktams ca bhavad
bhedabheda-prakasam sakalam api hareh sadhanam suddha-bhaktim
sadhyam tat-pritim evety upadisati janan gauracandrah svayam sah
1. Pramana: The teachings of the Vedas received through guru-parampara are known as amnaya. The infallible evidence of the Vedas, of the smrti-sastras headed by the Srimad-Bhagavatam, as well as evidence such as direct sense perception (pratyaksa), that concur with the guidance of the Vedas, are all accepted as pramana (evidence). This pramana establishes the following prameyas (fundamental truths):
2. Parama-tattva: Sri Hari alone is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
3. Sarva-saktiman: Sri Krsna is the possessor of all potency.
4. Akhila-rasamrta-sindhu: He is the ocean of nectarean mellows.
5. Vibhinnamsa-tattva: Both the mukta (liberated) and baddha (conditioned) jivas are His eternally separated parts and parcels.
6. Baddha-jivas: Conditioned souls are subject to the control and covering of maya.
7. Mukta-jivas: Liberated souls are free from maya.
8. Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva: The entire universe, consisting of the conscious (cit) and unconscious (acit), is Sri Hari’s acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa, that is to say, it is His manifestation which is inconceivably both different and non-different from Him.
9. Suddha-bhakti: Pure devotional service is the only practice (sadhana) to attain perfection.
10. Krsna-priti: Transcendental love and affection for Krsna is the one and only final object of attainment (sadhya-vastu).
Svayam Bhagavan Sri Gaurangadeva has herein instructed ten distinct tattvas (fundamental
truths) to the faithful jivas. The first of these is pramana-tattva, and the remaining nine are
prameyatattva. First you should understand the meaning of pramana. That subject which is
established by pramana (evidence or proof) is known as prameya (that which is proved); and that
by which prameya is proved is known as pramana.
These ten fundamental tattvas (dasa-mula-tattva) are set out in the sloka that I have just recited. The next sloka will be the first actual sloka of the Dasa-mula, and it elaborates on the first of the dasa-mula-tattvas, namely the authoritative Vedic literature (amnaya or pramana-tattva). From the second to the eighth sloka sambandha-tattva is described. The ninth sloka describes abhidheyatattva, which is the sadhana for attaining the ultimate goal; and the tenth sloka describes prayojana-tattva, which is the sadhya (goal) itself.
When Vrajanatha had heard the meaning of the sloka, he said, “Babaji Maharaja, I do not have anything to ask now. If any question occurs to me after hearing the next sloka, I will submit it at your lotus feet. Now kindly explain the first sloka of the Dasamula.”
Babaji: Very good. Now listen attentively.
svatah-siddho vedo hari-dayita-vedhah-prabhrtitah
pramanam sat-praptam pramiti-visayan tan nava-vidhan
tatha pratyaksadi-pramiti-sahitam sadhayati nah
na yuktis tarkakhya pravisati tatha sakti-rahita
The self-evident Vedas, which have been received in the sampradaya through the guru-parampara by recipients of Sri Hari’s mercy such as Brahmaji and others, are known as amnaya-vakya. The nine prameya-tattvas are established by these amnaya-vakyas with the help of other pramanas that follow the guidance of these sastras, such as evidence obtained by direct sense perception (pratyaksa). Reasoning that is only based on logic is always lame in the matter of evaluating inconceivable subject matters, since logic and argument have no access in the realm of the inconceivable.
Vrajanatha: Is there any evidence within the Vedas to show that Brahmaji gave instruction through disciplic succession?
Babaji: Yes, there is. In the Mundaka Upanisad (1.1.1) it is stated:
brahma devanam prathamah sambabhuva
visvasya kartta bhuvanasya gopta
sa brahma-vidyam sarva-vidya-pratistham
atharvaya jyestha-putraya praha
Brahmaji, who is the creator of the entire universe, and the protector of the worlds, was the first deva to appear. He gave complete instructions on brahma-vidya, the basis of all knowledge, to his eldest son, Atharva.
It is also stated further on in Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.13),
yenaksaram purusam veda satyam
Brahma-vidya is knowledge that reveals the true svarupa of para-brahma, the indestructible Purusottama.
Vrajanatha: Do you have any evidence that the rsis who compiled the smrti-sastras have given the correct explanation of the Vedas in them?
Babaji: Evidence for this is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.3-4), the crest jewel of all sastras.
kalena nasta pralaye vaniyam veda-samjnita
mayadau brahmane prokta dharmo yasyam mad-atmakah
tena prokta sva-putraya manave purva-jaya sa
tato bhrgv-adayo ’grhnan sapta brahma-maharsayah
Sri Bhagavan said, “By the influence of time, the Vedas containing My instructions on bhagavata-dharma were lost when the cosmic devastation occured. At the beginning of the next brahma-kalpa at the time of creation, I again instructed Brahma in that same Veda. Brahma instructed his son Manu in the Vedic knowledge, and Manu in turn instructed the same science to the seven Brahmarsis, headed by Bhrgu.”
Vrajanatha: What is the necessity for a sampradaya?
Babaji: Most people in this world accept the shelter of Mayavada philosophy, and follow that inauspicious path which is devoid of bhakti. Consequently, if there were no separate sampradaya for those who practice suddha-bhakti that is untainted by the faults of Mayavada, it would be very difficult to attain genuine sat-sanga.
Therefore, it is stated in the Padma Purana,
sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te viphala matah
sri-brahma-rudra-sanaka vaisnavah ksiti-pavanah
Vaisnava acaryas in the four sampradayas—namely Ramanujacarya in the Sri-sampradaya, Madhvacarya in the Brahma-sampradaya, Visnusvami in the Rudra-sampradaya, and Nimbaditya in the Catuhsana-sampradaya—purify the whole universe. Diksa mantras not received from the acaryas in one of these four sampradayas will be fruitless.
Of these four, the Brahma-sampradaya is the most ancient and has continued through the disciplic succession until the present day. These sampradayas adhere to the system of guru-parampara and they have brought the Vedanta and other supremely auspicious literatures unchanged from the most ancient times, and by the potency of the system of parampara, there is not the slightest chance that they have made any change or eliminated any portion. There is, therefore, no reason to doubt the literature that the sampradaya has authorized. Sampradaya is an effective and indispensible arrangement, and for this reason, the sat-sampradaya system is continuing amongst saints and sadhus from the most ancient times.
Vrajanatha: Are the names of all the acaryas in the sampradaya available in order of succession?
Babaji: Only the names of the most prominent acaryas who have appeared from time to time are mentioned.
Vrajanatha: I would like to hear the guru-parampara of the Brahmasampradaya.
para-vyomesvarasyasic chisyo brahma jagat-patih
tasya sisyo narado ‘bhud vyasas tasyapa sisyatam
Brahma, the master of the universe, is the disciple of Paramesvara Sri Narayana, and Naradaji became the disciple of Brahma. Vyasadeva became the disciple of
suko vyasasya sisyatvam prapto jnanavarodhanat
vyasal labdho krsna-dikso madhvacaryo mahayasah
Sri Sukadevaji became the disciple of Sri Vyasadeva in order to check the spread of impersonal jnana. The celebrated Madhvacarya also received krsna-diksa from Sri Vyasadeva, Narahari became the twice-born sisya of Madhvacarya.
tasya sisyo naraharis tac-chisyo madhavo dvijah
aksobhyas tasya sisyo ‘bhut tac-chisyo jayatirthakah
Madhva-dvija became the disciple of Narahari. Aksobhya was Madhva-dvija’s disciple and accepted Jayatirtha as his disciple.
tasya sisyo jnanasindhus tasya sisyo mahanidhih
vidyanidhis tasya sisyo rajendras tasya sevakah
Jnanasindhu became the disciple of Jayatirtha, Mahanidhi became Jnanasindhu’s disciple and accepted Vidyanidhi as his disciple, and Rajendra became the disciple of Vidyanidhi.
jayadharmo munis tasya sisyo yad-gana-madhyatah
srimad-visnupuri yas tu bhakti-ratnavali krtih
Jayadharma Muni became the disciple of Rajendra, and one of his followers named Sri Visnu Puri, who composed Bhakti-ratnavali, was a prominent acarya.
jayadharmasya sisyo ‘bhud brahmanyah purusottamah
vyasa-tirthas tasya sisyo yas cakre visnu-samhitam
Jayadharma’s disciple was Brahmanya Purusottama, who in turn accepted Vyasa-tirtha, the author of Visnu-samhita, as his disciple.
srimal-laksmipatis tasya sisyo bhakti-rasasrayah
tasya sisyo madhavendro yad-dharmo ‘yam pravartitah
Sri Laksmipati became the disciple of Vyasa-tirtha, and Madhavendra Puri, who was the epitome of bhakti-rasa, and who propagated bhakti-dharma, was the disciple of Laksmipati.
Vrajanatha: In the first sloka of Dasa-mula, the Vedas are accepted as the sole evidence (pramana); whereas the other pramanas, such as pratyaksa (direct perception), are accepted as evidence only when they follow the Vedas. However, philosophies such as nyaya and sankhya have accepted further types of evidence. Well-versed readers of the Puranas have accepted eight types of pramana: pratyaksa (direct perception), anumana (inference based on generalized experience), upamana (analogy), sabda (revealed knowledge), aitihya (traditional instruction), arthapatti (inference from circumstances), sambhava (speculation), and anupalabdhi (understanding something by its non-perception). Why are there so many opinions regarding pramana? And if direct perception and inference based on experience are not counted among the perfect pramanas, how is it possible to get real understanding? Kindly enlighten me.
Babaji: Pratyaksa and other types of evidence depend on the senses, but since the senses of the conditioned jiva are always subject to bhrama (illusion), pramada (error), vipralipsa (cheating), and karanapatava (imperfection of the senses), how can the knowledge acquired through the senses be factual and faultless? The fully independent possessor of all potencies, Sri Bhagavan Himself, personally manifested as perfect Vedic knowledge within the pure hearts of great maharsis and saintly acaryas who were situated in full samadhi. Therefore, the Vedas, which are the embodiment of svatah-siddha-jnana (self-manifest, pure knowledge) are always faultless and fully dependable as evidence.
Vrajanatha: Please help me to understand clearly each of the terms bhrama, pramada, vipralipsa and karanapatava.
Babaji: Bhrama (illusion) is the baddha-jiva’s false impression of reality resulting from faulty knowledge gathered through imperfect senses. For example, in the desert, the rays of the sun sometimes produce a mirage, which creates the impression of water.
This fault of making errors and mistakes is called pramada. Since the material intelligence of the baddha jiva is by nature limited, mistakes are inevitably present in whatever siddhanta his limited intelligence discerns in relation to the unlimited para-tattva.
Vipralipsa is the cheating propensity. This is manifest when one, whose intelligence is limited by time and space, is suspicious and reluctant to believe in the activities and authority of Isvara, who is far beyond time and space.
Our senses are imperfect and ineffective, and this is known as karanapatava. Because of this, we cannot avoid making mistakes in everyday circumstances. For example, when we see an object suddenly, we may mistake it for something else and draw faulty conclusions.
Vrajanatha: Do pratyaksa and other pramanas have no value at all as evidence?
Babaji: What means do we have to gain knowledge of this material sphere, except through direct perception and other pramanas? Nonetheless, they can never give knowledge about the spiritual world (cit-jagat), for they cannot enter into it. That is why the Vedas are certainly the one and only pramana for gaining knowledge about the cit-jagat. The evidence gained from pratyaksa and other pramanas is only worth considering when it follows the guidelines of the self-evident Vedic knowledge; otherwise its evidence can be discarded. That is why the self-evident Vedas are the only evidence. Pratyaksa and other pramanas can also be accepted as evidence, but only if they are in pursuance of the Vedas.
Vrajanatha: Are literatures such as the Gita and the Bhagavatam not counted as pramana?
Babaji: The Bhagavad-gita is called an Upanisad (Gita Upanisad), because it is the vani (instructions) of Bhagavan; hence, the Gita is Veda. Similarly, Dasa-mula-tattva is also bhagavat-vani because it is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions, so it is also Veda. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the crest-jewel of all the pramanas because it is the compilation of the essence of the meaning of the Vedas.The instructions of different sastras are authoritative evidence only as long as they follow the Vedic knowledge. There are three types of tantra-sastras: sattvika, rajasika and tamasika. Of these, the Pancaratra and so on are in the sattvika group, and they are accepted as evidence because they expand the confidential meaning of the Veda.
Vrajanatha: There are many books in the Vedic line. Which of these may be accepted as evidence and which may not?
Babaji: In the course of time, unscrupulous and untruthful personalities have interpolated many chapters, mandalas (sections and divisions) and mantras into the Vedas, in order to fulfill various self-interests. Those parts that were added at a later time are called praksipta (interpolated) parts. It is not that we should accept any and every Vedic text as reliable evidence. Those Vedic granthas (sacred books) that the acaryas in the sat-sampradayas have accepted as evidence are definitely Veda and are authoritative evidence, but we should reject literature or parts of literature that they have not recognized.
Vrajanatha: Which Vedic granthas have the acaryas of the satsampradayas accepted?
Babaji: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhad-aranyaka and Svetasvatara—these eleven sattvika Upanisads are accepted, and so are Gopala Upanisad, Nrsimha-tapani and some other tapanis that are helpful in worship. The acaryas have also accepted brahmanas and mandalas as Vedic literature, as long as they expand the Vedas, following the guidance of Rg, Sama, Yajuh and Atharva. We receive all the Vedic literatures from the acaryas in the sat-sampradayas, so we can accept them as evidence from a bona fide source.
Vrajanatha: Is there any evidence in the Veda to show that logic cannot enter into transcendental subject matter?
Babaji: There are many famous statements in the Vedas, such as, naisa tarkena matir apaneya, “O Naciketa! Whatever intelligence you have gained regarding atma-tattva should not be destroyed by logic (tarka)” (Katha Upanisad 1.2.9); and the statements from Vedanta-sutra, such as, tarkapratisthanat, “Arguments based on logic have no foundation and cannot be used to establish any conclusions about the conscious reality, because a fact that someone establishes
by logic and argument today can be refuted tomorrow by someone who is more intelligent and qualified. Therefore, the process of argumentation is said to be unfounded and baseless”
Furthermore, it is stated:
acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet
prakrtibhyah param yac ca tad acintyasya laksanam
Mahabharata, Bhisma-parva (5.22)
All transcendental tattvas are beyond material nature, and are therefore inconceivable. Dry arguments are within the jurisdiction of material nature, so they can only be applied in mundane subject matters. They cannot even come close to transcendental tattvas, what to speak of grasping them. As far as inconceivable conceptions are concerned, the application of dry arguments is undesirable and useless.
This sloka of the Mahabharata establishes the limits of logic, and Srila Rupa Gosvami, the acarya of bhakti-marga, has therefore written in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Eastern Division 1.1.32):
svalpapi rucir eva syat bhakti-tattvavabodhika
yuktis tu kevala naiva yad asya apratisthata
One can comprehend bhakti-tattva when one has gained even a little taste for sastras that establish bhakti-tattva, such as Srimad-Bhagavatam. However, one cannot understand this bhakti-tattva by dry logic alone, because logic has no basis, and there is no end to arguments.
Nothing genuine can be ascertained by logic and argument, as this ancient statement proves:
yatnenopadito ‘py arthah kusalair anumatrbhih
abhiyuktatarair anyair anyathaivopapadyate
Any logician can clearly establish any subject matter using arguments, but someone who is more expert in argument can easily refute him. You use logic to establish one siddhanta today, but a more intelligent and qualified logician will be able to refute it tomorrow, so why should you rely on logic?
Vrajanatha: Babaji, I have fully understood that the Veda, which is to say, knowledge that is svatah-siddha (self-evident), is pramana. Some logicians argue against the Vedas, but their efforts are fruitless.Now please be merciful and explain the second sloka of Dasamula-tattva.
haris tv ekam tattvam vidhi-siva-suresa-pranamitah
yad evedam brahma prakrti-rahitam tat tv anumahah
paratma tasyamso jagad-anugato visva-janakah
sa vai radha-kanto nava-jalada-kantis cid-udayah
Indeed Sri Hari, to whom Brahma, Siva, Indra and other devatas continuously offer pranama, is the only Supreme Absolute Truth. Nirvisesa-brahma that is devoid of sakti is Sri Hari’s bodily effulgence. Maha-Visnu, who has created the universe and who has entered into it as the indwelling Supersoul of all, is simply His partial manifestation. It is that Sri Hari alone, the very form of transcendental reality (cit-svarupa), whose complexion is the color of a freshly formed thunder cloud, who is Sri Radha-vallabha, the beloved of Sri Radha.
Vrajanatha: The Upanisads describe brahma, which is transcendental to affiliation with matter, to be the supreme truth, so what argument or evidence has Sri Gaurahari used to establish brahma as Sri Hari’s bodily effulgence?
Babaji: Sri Hari is certainly Bhagavan, whose true nature has been ascertained in the Visnu Purana (6.5.74):
aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos caiva sannam bhaga itingana
Bhagavan is the Supreme Absolute Truth endowed with six inconceivable qualities: complete opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation.
Now, there is a mutual relationship amongst these qualities of body (angi) and limbs (anga). The question may arise, which of these qualities is angi, and which are angas? The angi (body) is that within which the angas (limbs) are included. For example, a tree is angi, and the leaves and branches are the angas; the body is angi, and the feet and hands are its angas. Therefore, the principal quality (angi-guna) represents the body and to that quality all the other qualities (anga-gunas) are arranged as its limbs.
The angi-guna of Bhagavan’s transcendental form is His resplendent beauty (sri); and the three qualities – opulence (aisvarya), strength (virya) and fame (yasa) – are His angas (limbs). The remaining two qualities – knowledge (jnana) and renunciation (vairagya) are the effulgence of the quality of fame, because jnana and vairagya are only attributes of a quality, and not original qualities in their own right. Thus, jnana and vairagya are actually nirvikara-jnana, which is the intrinsic, constitutional form of the nirvisesa-brahma, and that brahma is the bodily effulgence of the spiritual world. The changeless, inactive, nirvisesa-brahma, which exists without body, limbs and so on, is not in itself a complete tattva; rather, it depends on the transcendental form of Bhagavan. Brahma is therefore not a supreme vastu (entity) that exists in its own right; it is a quality of the vastu. Bhagavan is indeed that vastu, and brahma is His quality, just as the light of a fire is not a complete and independent tattva, but only a quality that depends on the fire.
Vrajanatha: The impersonal, nirvisesa qualities of brahma are described in many places in the Vedas, and at the end of these descriptions, the mantra ‘om santih santih, harih om’ is always used to describe the supreme truth, Sri Hari. Who is this Sri Hari?
Babaji: That Sri Hari is in fact cit-lila-mithuna (the combined form of Radha and Krsna), who performs divine pastimes.
Vrajanatha: I will inquire into this subject later. Now kindly tell me, how is Paramatma, the creator of the universe, a partial manifestation of Bhagavan?
Babaji: Pervading everything by His qualities of aisvarya and virya (power), and creating all the universes, Bhagavan enters every universe by His amsa (partial manifestation), Visnu. Every amsa of Bhagavan always remains complete; none of them are ever incomplete.
purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate
Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (5.1) and Isopanisad (inv.)
The avatari-purusa (the origin of all avataras) is complete and perfect. Because He is completely perfect, all avataras emanating from Him are also complete. All that emanates from the Supreme Complete is complete. Even if the complete is subtracted from the complete, He still remains complete. In no way does that Paramesvara experience any diminution.
Therefore, that complete whole, Visnu, who enters the universe and controls it, is certainly the indwelling Supersoul, Paramatma. That Visnu has three forms: Karanodakasayi Visnu, Ksirodakasayi Visnu and Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Karanodakasayi Visnu, who is a partial manifestation of Sri Bhagavan, situates Himself on the Causal Ocean, or the Viraja River, which extends between the cit and mayika worlds. From there, He glances over maya, who is situated far away, and by this glance the material world is created. Bhagavan Sri Krsna has described the creation of the material world in Srimad Bhagavad-gita (9.10):
mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram
Under My superintendence, My illusory energy creates the universe full of moving and non-moving beings.
Then it is said, sa aiksata, “That Paramatma glanced.” (Aitareya Upanisad 1.1.1)
Sa imal lokan asrjat, “That Paramatma created the universe of moving and non-moving entities after glancing over His maya.” (Aitareya Upanisad 1.1.2)
Karanodakasayi Visnu’s power of glancing, which enters maya, becomes Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the localized atoms in the rays of the transcendental glance of that Maha-Visnu are the conditioned souls; and in the heart of every jiva, Isvara is situated as a thumbsized expansion of Ksirodakasayi Visnu, also known as Hiranyagarbha. Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.6) states, dva suparna sayuja sakhaya, “The jiva and Paramatma are in the heart of the jiva, like two birds on the branch of a tree. One of these birds is Isvara, who awards the results of fruitive activity, and the other bird is the jiva, who is tasting the fruits of his actions.” Sri Bhagavan has expressed this tattva as follows in the Gita Upanisad (10.41):
yad yad vibhutimat sattvam srimad urjitam eva va
tat tad evavagaccha tvam mama tejo‘msa-sambhavam
You should understand that all opulence, existence, splendor and potency have come from a tiny part of My opulence. Therefore, Arjuna, what is the necessity of understanding all of My attributes separately? Simply understand that by an expansion of Myself I have created this entire creation, and I thereby pervade it fully.
Therefore, the attributes of God, such as being the creator and maintainer of the universe, are manifested in Paramatma, the partial manifestation (amsa-svarupa) of parama-purusa Bhagavan. Vrajanatha: I understand that brahma is Sri Hari’s bodily effulgence, and that Paramatma is his part. However, what evidence is there that Bhagavan Sri Hari is Krsna Himself?
Babaji: Sri Krsna Bhagavan is eternally manifest in two features, one of aisvarya (opulence and majesty) and the other of madhurya (sweetness). The feature of aisvarya is Narayana, who is the master of the spiritual sky, Vaikuntha, and the origin of Maha-Visnu. Sri Krsna is the complete embodiment of the madhurya feature. This Sri Krsna is the utmost limit of complete sweetness; indeed, His sweetness is so great that its rays completely cover His aisvarya. From the perspective of siddhanta or tattva there is no difference between Narayana and Krsna. However, when we consider the degree of rasa to be tasted in the spiritual world, Krsna is not only the foundation all rasa, but He Himself, being the very form of rasa, is also parama upadeya-tattva, the supremely pleasing Being. We find evidence in the Vedas, Upanisads, and Puranas that Sri Krsna is Svayam Bhagavan Sri Hari. For example, the Rg Veda (126.96.36.199) states:
apasyam gopam anipadyama nama
ca para ca pathibhis carantam sa-sadhricih
sa visucir vasana avarivartti-bhuvanesv antah
I saw a boy who appeared in the dynasty of cowherds. He is infallible and is never annihilated. He wanders on various paths, sometimes near and sometimes very far. Sometimes He is beautifully adorned with varieties of garments, and sometimes He wears cloth of only one color. In this way, He repeatedly exhibits His manifest and unmanifest pastimes.
In addition, in the Chandogya Upanisad (8.13.1) it is stated:
syamac chabalam prapadye sabalac chyamam prapadye
By rendering seva to Syama, one attains His transcendental abode, which is full of spiritual bliss and astonishing, variegated lilas; and within that cit-jagat, one attains the eternal shelter of Syama.
Another understanding of this sloka is that the word syama refers to Krsna, and the word Syama or Krsna, meaning black, describes the nirguna-para-tattva, which like black, is colorless, while the word sabala, meaning gaura, refers to one who is endowed with variegated colors. In other words, when para-tattva, is endowed with all transcendental qualities, He is called gaura. The secret meaning of this mantra is that one attains Gaura by performing krsna-bhajana, and one attains Krsna by performing gaurabhajana. This and other mantras describe the activities of the liberated and perfected jivas even after the stage of mukti.
We read in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28):
ete camsah kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
Rama, Nrsimha, and the other avataras are all portions (amsas) or plenary portions (kala) of the Supreme Personality, Sri Bhagavan, but Sri Krsna is that original Bhagavan Himself.
In the Gita Upanisad (7.7), Sri Krsna Himself says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: “O Arjuna, there is nothing superior to Me,” and it is also said in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad (Purva 2.8):
eko vasi sarva-gah krsna idyah
eko ’pi san bahudha yo ’vabhati
Sri Krsna is the all-pervasive, non-dual para-brahma who controls everything. He is the only worshipable object for all the devatas, for mankind, and for all other life-forms. Although He is one, through His acintya-sakti He manifests many forms and performs many varieties of lilas.
Vrajanatha: But how can Sri Krsna be all-pervading if He has a medium-sized, human-like form? If we accept that He has form, it means He can only stay in one place at a time, and that gives rise to so many philosophical discrepancies. The first is that He cannot be the all-pervading tattva if He has a form and body. Secondly, if He has a body, He will be limited by the material modes of nature, so how can He be independent and have limitless and absolute authority? How can this be reconciled?
Babaji: My dear son, you are now thinking like this because you are bound by the qualities of maya. As long as the intelligence remains bound by material qualities, it cannot touch suddha-sattva. If such conditioned intelligence attempts to exceed its own limitations trying to understand suddha-tattva, it superimposes mayika forms and qualities on suddha-tattva, and thus conceives of a material form of Transcendence. After some time, the intellect rejects this form as being temporary, mutable, and subject to the material modes, and then it imagines the nirvisesa-brahma. That is why one cannot gain an understanding of the Supreme Absolute Truth through the intelligence.
Whatever limitations you are inferring about the transcendental, medium-sized form are completely unfounded. Formlessness, immutability, and inactivity simply comprise the material conception of what is opposite to our conception of material qualities, so they are themselves a type of material quality. However, Sri Krsna also has qualities that are of an altogether different nature: for example, His beautiful, blossoming, smiling face; His lotus eyes;His beautiful lotus feet, which bestow fearlessness and peace uponHis bhaktas; and His spiritual form, which is the pure embodiment of transcendence, with limbs and body just suitable for varieties of playful sports. The ‘medium sized’ sri-vigraha, that is the very basis of these two types of qualities (form and all pervasiveness), is supremely pleasing. The Narada-pancaratra describes His extreme attractiveness to the mind, and this description is replete with all siddhanta:
niscetanatmaka-sarira-gunais ca hinah
sarvatra ca svagata-bheda-vivarjitatma
Sri Krsna’s transcendental body is composed of eternity, consciousness
and bliss, without even a trace of material qualities. He is not subject to
material time or space. On the contrary, He exists fully at all places and
in all times simultaneously. His form and existence are the embodiment
of absolute nonduality (advaya-jnana-svarupa-vastu).
Direction (space) is an unlimited entity in the material world. By material estimation, only a formless object can be unlimited or all-pervading; an entity with a medium-sized form cannot. How-ever, this conception only applies in the material world. In the spiritual world, all objects and their intrinsic natures and attributes are unlimited, so Sri Krsna’s medium-sized form is also allpervading. Medium-sized objects in this material world do not have this quality of all-pervasiveness, but it is charmingly manifest in Sri Krsna’s medium-sized vigraha. That is the supra-mundane glory of His transcendental vigraha. Can such glorious attributes be found in the conception of the all-pervading brahma? Material substances are always limited by time and place. If an entity who is naturally beyond the effects of time is compared to the all-pervading sky, which is limited by time and space, then is not that entity, beyond the influence of time, incomparably greater?
Sri Krsna’s vraja-dhama is none other than the Brahma-pura which is mentioned within the Chandogya Upanisad. This vrajadhama is a completely transcendental reality, and is comprised of all types of transcendental variety. Everything in that place—the earth, water, rivers, mountains, trees, creepers, animals, birds, sky, sun, moon and constellations—is transcendental and is devoid of material flaws or shortcomings. Conscious pleasure is present always and everywhere, in its fullest form. My dear son, this Mayapura-Navadvipa is that self-same spiritual abode. You are unable to perceive it, however, because you are bound in maya’s snare. But when, by the mercy of saints and sadhus, spiritual consciousness arises in your heart, you will then perceive this land as the spiritual dhama, and then only will you achieve the perfection of vraja-vasa (residence in Vraja).
Who has told you that there must be material merits and faults wherever there is medium-sized form? You cannot realize the actual glories of the transcendental medium-sized form as long as your intelligence is bound up in material impressions.
Vrajanatha: No intelligent person can have any doubts about this point. However, I would like to know when, where and how Krsna’s spiritual vigraha, dhama, and lila are manifested within material limitations, since Sri Radha-Krsna’s vigraha and bodily complexion, and Their lilas, associates, houses, pastime-groves, forests, secondary forests and all the objects in the spiritual world are transcendental.
Babaji: Sri Krsna possesses all potencies, so even that which appears to be impossible is actually possible for Him. What is astonishing in this? He is the all-potent Personality (sarva-saktiman purusa), the fully independent supreme controller who is completely autocratic and imbued with lila. Simply by His desire, He can appear in this material world in His self-same spiritual form, along with His spiritual abode. How can there be any doubt about this?
Vrajanatha: By His desire, He can do everything, and He can manifest His purely spiritual form in this material world—that much is clear. However, materialistic people tend to think that Sri Krsna’s own transcendental abode that is manifest here is simply a part of this material universe, and they perceive His vraja-lila to be just like ordinary mayika activities. Why is this? Why can’t worldly people see Krsna’s self-manifest, spiritual form as sac-cid-ananda when He mercifully appears in this world of birth and death?
Babaji: One of Krsna’s unlimited transcendental qualities is His bhakta-vatsalya (affection for His bhaktas). Because of this quality, His heart melts, and through His hladini-sakti, He bestows upon His bhaktas a type of spiritual potency that enables them to have direct darsana of His self-manifest form and His transcendental pastimes. However, the non-devotees’ eyes, ears, and other senses are made up of maya, so they can see no difference between Bhagavan’s spiritual pastimes and the mundane events in human history.
Vrajanatha: Then does this mean that Bhagavan Sri Krsna did not descend to bestow mercy upon all jivas?
Babaji: Bhagavan certainly descends to benefit the whole world. The bhaktas see His descent and lila as transcendental, whereas the non-devotees perceive them as ordinary human affairs, which take place under the influence of material principles. Even so, these lilas have the power to bestow a type of spiritual merit (sukrti), and as this sukrti gradually accumulates, one is nourished so that one develops one-pointed sraddha towards krsna-bhakti. That is why Bhagavan’s descent certainly benefits all the jivas in the universe, because jivas who possess such sraddha and perform ananyabhakti-sadhana (unalloyed devotional service) will one day be able to see Bhagavan’s transcendental form and lila.
Vrajanatha: Why is krsna-lila not distinctly described throughout the Vedas?
Babaji: The pastimes of Sri Krsna are described here and there in the Vedas, but in some places they are described directly, and in other places indirectly.
Two types of expressions or tendencies determine the meaning of words in a text: the direct, or literal sense (abhidha); and the indirect, or secondary sense (laksana). These are also called mukhyavrtti and gauna-vrtti, respectively. The literal sense (abhidha-vrtti) of the mantra, syamac chabalam prapadye, in the last section of the Chandogya Upanisad, describes the eternality of rasa and the service attitude of the liberated jivas towards Krsna according to their respective rasa. The indirect meaning of the words is called gaunavrtti (secondary significance). In the beginning of the conversation between Yajna-valkya, Gargi and Maitreyi, Krsna’s qualities are described by means of indirect presentation (laksana-vrtti), and at the end, the super-excellence of Krsna is established by means of direct presentation (mukhya-vrtti). The eternal pastimes (nityalila) of Bhagavan are sometimes indicated in the Vedas by the direct expression of the words, and in many places, the indirect approach describes the glories of brahma and Paramatma. In fact, it is the pledge of all the Vedas to describe Sri Krsna’s glories.
Vrajanatha: Babaji Mahasaya, there is no doubt that Bhagavan Sri Hari is para-tattva, but what is the position of the devatas such as Brahma, Siva, Indra, Surya, and Ganesa? Please be merciful and explain this to me. Many brahmanas worship Mahadeva as the highest brahma-tattva. I took birth in one such brahmana family, so I have been hearing and saying this from my birth until now. I want to know the actual truth.
Babaji: I shall presently describe to you the respective qualities of the ordinary living entities, the worshipable devatas and devis, and of Sri Bhagavan. Through the gradation of their respective qualities, you can easily understand the truth regarding the supreme object of worship.
ayam neta su-ramyangah sarva-sal-laksananvitah
ruciras tejasa yukto baliyan vayasanvitah
These are the qualities of Sri Krsna, the supreme hero. He is: 1) endowed with delightfully charming bodily limbs; 2) endowed with all auspicious characteristics;
3) beautiful; 4) radiant; 5) strong; and 6) eternally youthful;
vividhadbhuta-bhasa-vit satya-vakyah priyam-vadah
vavadukah su-pandityo buddhiman pratibhanvitah
7) conversant with many kinds of astonishing languages;
8) truthful; 9) a pleasing speaker; 10) eloquent; 11) intelligent;
12) learned; 13) resourceful;
vidagdhas caturo daksah krta-jnah su-drdha-vratah
desa-kala-supatra-jnah sastra-caksuh sucir vasi
14) expert in relishing mellows; 15) clever; 16) expert; 17) grateful; 18) very firm in His vows; 19) an astute judge of time, place and circumstance; 20) a seer through the eyes of sastras; 21) pure; 22) self-controlled;
sthiro dantah ksama-silo gambhiro dhrtiman samah
vadanyo dharmikah surah karuno manya-mana-krt
23) steadfast; 24) forebearing; 25) forgiving; 26) inscrutable;
27) sober; 28) equipoised; 29) munificent; 30) virtuous;
31) chivalrous; 32) compassionate; 33) respectful to others;
daksino vinayi hriman saranagata-palakah
34) amiable; (35) modest; 36) shy; 37) the protector of surrendered souls; 38) happy; 39) the well-wisher of His bhaktas; 40) controlled by prema; 41) the benefactor of all;
pratapi kirtiman rakta-lokah sadhu-samasrayah
nari-gana-manohari sarvaradhyah samrddhiman
42) the tormentor of His enemies; 43) famous; 44) beloved by all; 45) partial to the side of the sadhus; 46) the enchanter of women’s minds; 47) all-worshipable; 48) all-opulent;
variyan isvaras ceti gunas tasyanukirtitah
samudra iva pancasad durvigaha harer ami
49) superior to all; and 50) the controller. These fifty qualities are present in Bhagavan Sri Hari to an unlimited degree like the unfathomable ocean.
They are present to a minute degree in the jivas, whereas they are fully represented in Purusottama Bhagavan. Another five of Krsna’s qualities are present in Brahma, Siva and other devatas, but not in ordinary jivas:
sada svarupa-sampraptah sarva-jno nitya-nutanah
51) He is always situated in His svarupa; 52) He is omniscient;
53) He is ever-fresh and new; 54) He is the concentrated form of existence, knowledge and bliss; and 55) He is served by all mystic opulences.
These fifty-five qualities are partially present in the devatas.
athocyante gunah panca ye laksmisadi-vartinah
atmarama-ganakarsity ami krsne kiladbhutah
Laksmipati Narayana has an additional five qualities: 56) He possesses inconceivable potencies; 57) innumerable universes are situated within His body; 58) He is the original cause or seed of all avataras; 59) He awards gati (a higher destination) to those whom He kills; and 60) He can attract even those who are atmarama (satisfied within the self).
These additional five qualities are not present in Brahma or Siva, but they are wonderfully present in Sri Krsna in their most complete form. Besides these sixty qualities, Sri Krsna Himself has four extra qualities, namely:
61) He is like a vast ocean teeming with waves of the most
stonishing and wonderful lilas; 62) He is adorned with incomparable
madhurya-prema, and thus is auspiciousness personified for His beloved bhaktas, who also have unparalleled prema for Him; 63) He attracts the three worlds with
the marvelous vibration of His murali (flute); and 64) the resplendent rupa (beauty) of His transcendental form is unparalleled, charming and astonishing to all moving and non-moving entities in the three worlds.
lila premna priyadhikyam madhurye venu-rupayoh
ity asadharanam proktam govindasya catustayam
Sri Krsna’s sixty-four qualities and symptoms have been described,
including lila-madhuri, prema-madhuri, venu madhuri and rupa-madhuri.
These are four extraordinary qualities that He alone possesses.
These sixty-four qualities are fully and eternally manifest in Sri Krsna, who is the embodiment of sac-cid-ananda. The last four qualities are present only in Sri Krsna’s svarupa, and not in any of His other pastime forms. Apart from these four qualities, the remaining sixty qualities are brilliantly situated in their complete and fully conscious state in Sri Narayana, who is the embodiment of Transcendence. Setting aside the last five of these sixty qualities, the remaining fifty-five are present to some extent in Siva, Brahma and other devatas, and the first fifty qualities are present to a very limited degree in all jivas.
The devatas such as Siva, Brahma, Surya, Ganesa and Indra, are endowed with Bhagavan’s partial qualities in order to run the affairs of the material universe. They have received a special measure of Bhagavan’s opulences to do this, so they are considered one type of special incarnation. The inherent and constitutional nature of all these devatas is that they are Bhagavan’s servants, and many jivas have obtained bhagavad-bhakti through their mercy. Since they are so much more qualified than other jivas, they are also considered to be among the worshipable deities of the jivas, depending on the jivas’ qualification and level of consciousness. Performing their puja is therefore considered a secondary limb of the rules and regulations of bhagavad-bhakti. They are always worshiped as the gurus of the jivas, for they mercifully bestow upon them one-pointed krsna-bhakti. Mahadeva, the Isvara of all the devas, is so complete in bhagavad-bhakti that he is perceived as nondifferent from bhagavat-tattva. This is the reason that the Mayavadis worship him as the supreme brahma-tattva.
THUS ENDS THE THIRTEENTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
“PRAMANA & THE COMMENCEMENT OF PRAMEYA”