Vrajanatha’s grandmother completed all the arrangements for his marriage, and in the evening she explained everything to him. Vrajanatha simply took his meal in silence and made no reply that day. He lay awake on his bed late that night, deep in thought about the state of the pure spirit soul. Meanwhile, his elderly grandmother was busy trying to find ways of convincing him to agree to the marriage.
Just then, Vrajanatha’s maternal cousin, Veni-madhava, arrived. The girl that Vrajanatha was supposed to marry was Venimadhava’s paternal cousin, and Vijaya-Vidyaratna had sent him to finalize the arrangements.
Veni-madhava inquired, “What’s the matter, Grandmother? Why are you delaying in arranging brother Vraja’s marriage?” The grandmother replied in a rather anxious voice, “My son, you are an intelligent boy. Perhaps he will change his mind if you speak to him. All my efforts have been in vain.” Veni-madhava’s character was clearly proclaimed by his short stature, small neck, black complexion, and his eyes, which blinked frequently. He liked to pry into everything that was going on, rather than taking care of his own business, but his involvement in others’ affairs was never particularly useful. After listening to the old lady, he frowned slightly, then boasted, “This is no problem. I just need your permission. Veni-madhava can accomplish anything. You know me quite well. I can make money just by counting the waves. Let me discuss this with him just once. And if I succeed, then you’ll treat me to a nice feast with puris and kacoris?” “Vrajanatha has taken his meal, and he’s asleep now,” said Grandmother.
“All right, I’ll come in the morning and put things in order,” replied Veni-madhava, and returned home.
The next day, he returned early in the morning carrying a lota in his hand, and completed his morning ablutions. When Vrajanatha saw him, he was a little surprised, and said, “Brother! How have you come so early in the morning?”
Veni-madhava answered, “Dada, you have been studying and teaching nyaya-sastra for a long time now. You are the son of the Pandita Harinatha Cudamani, and you have become famous all over the country. You are the only surviving male member of the house, and if you don’t have any heirs, who do you suppose will take care of this big house of yours? Brother, we have a request. Please get married.” Vrajanatha replied, “Brother, don’t give me unnecessary trouble. Nowadays I’m accepting the shelter of Sri Gaura-sundara’s bhaktas, and I don’t have any desire to get involved in worldly affairs. I feel real peace in the company of the Vaisnavas in Mayapura, and I don’t find any attraction for this world. I will either accept sannyasa, or spend my life in the shelter of the Vaisnavas’ lotus feet. I have expressed my heart to you because I know that you are my close friend, but don’t disclose this to anyone else.”
Veni-madhava understood that nothing but trickery could change Vrajanatha’s mind, so he cleverly curbed his feelings, and in order to create a particular impression he said, “I have always remained your assistant in whatever you have done. I used to carry your books when you were studying in the Sanskrit school, so I will carry your staff and water-pot when you accept sannyasa.”
It is difficult to understand the minds of wicked people; they have two tongues, and they say one thing with one, and exactly the opposite with the other. They are bandits in the garb of saints, carrying the name of Sri Rama in the mouth, and a knife under the armpit.
Vrajanatha was a simple person. Warming to Veni-madhava’s sweet words, he said, “Brother, I have always regarded you as my dear friend. Grandmother is just an old woman, and she doesn’t understand serious matters. She is very enthusiastic to drown me in this ocean of worldly affairs by getting me married to some girl. It will be a relief if you can change her mind and somehow dissuade her; I will always be indebted to you.”
Veni-madhava replied, “No one will dare to oppose your desire as long as Sharmarama is living. Dada, you will see what I am capable of. But just let me know one thing, why have you developed such hatred towards this world? Who is advising you to cultivate such feelings of renunciation?”
Vrajanatha explained about his renunciation, and said, “There is one elderly and experienced babaji called Raghunatha dasa Babaji in Mayapura. He is my instructor, and I go every day after dusk to the shelter of his feet to find relief from the burning fire of this material world. He is very merciful to me.”
The evil Veni-madhava started thinking, “Now I understand brother Vraja’s weakness. He has to be brought back to the right track by deception, force or skill.” Outwardly he said, “Brother, don’t worry. I am going home now, but I will gradually change Grandmother’s mind.”
Veni-madhava pretended to take the road that led to his home, but instead he took another way, and reached Srivasangana in Mayapura. There he sat on the raised platform under the bakula tree and began to admire the opulences of the Vaisnavas. “These Vaisnavas are actually enjoying the world. They have such beautiful houses and lovely kunjas. This is such a nice dias in a wonderful courtyard.” In each of the kutiras, a Vaisnava sat chanting hari-nama on his beads. They seemed quite content, like the bulls of religion.The women of the neighboring villages, who came to bathe in the Ganga, of their own accord supplied the Vaisnavas with fruits, vegetables, water and various eatables. Veni-madhava thought, “The brahmanas have systematized karma-kanda to receive these facilities, but instead these groups of babajis are enjoying the cream. All glories to Kali-yuga! These disciples of Kali are having a wonderful time. Oh! My birth in a high brahmana family is useless! No one even cares about us any more, what to speak of offering us fruits and water. These Vaisnavas even condemn learned brahmanas, and abuse and insult us by calling us lowly and foolish. Brother Vraja fits this description quite well though; although he’s such a well-educated man, he seems to have sold himself to these sly loin-cloth people. I, Veni-madhava, will reform Vrajanatha and these babajis as well.”
Thinking like this, Veni-madhava entered one of the kutiras, which happened to be the one in which Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji was sitting on a mat made of banana leaves, chanting his hari-nama.
A person’s character is evident from his face, and the ageing babaji could understand that Kali personified had entered in the form of this son of a brahmana. Vaisnavas consider themselves lower than a blade of grass. They offer respect to those who insult them, and they pray for the well being of an opponent, even if he tortures them. Accordingly, Babaji Maharaja respectfully offered Venimadhava a seat. Veni-madhava had no Vaisnava qualities at all, so after sitting down, he offered his blessings to Babaji Maharaja, considering himself above all Vaisnava etiquette.
“Baba, what is your name? What brings you here?” inquired Babaji Mahasaya informally. Veni-madhava became furious by being addressed informally, and he said angrily, “O Babaji, can you become equal to the brahmanas just by wearing a kaupina (loincloth)? Never mind! Just tell me, do you know Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana?
Babaji: (understanding the reason for his annoyance) Please excuse this old man; don’t become offended by my words. Yes, Vrajanatha comes here sometimes, by his own mercy.
Veni-madhava: Don’t think that he’s a simpleton. He comes here with ulterior motives. He is being polite at first, to gain your confidence. The brahmanas of Belpukura are extremely annoyed at your behavior, and they have consulted with each other and decided to send Vrajanatha to you. You are an old man. Just be careful. I will keep coming from time to time, to inform you how their conspiracy progresses. Don’t tell him about me; otherwise you will run into even deeper trouble. I will take leave for today.
So saying, Veni-madhava got up and returned to his home. Later that afternoon, while Vrajanatha sat on the verandah after his meal, Veni-madhava suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, sat next to him, and struck up a conversation. “Brother, I went to Mayapura for some business today,” he began. “There I saw an old man, maybe Raghunatha dasa Babaji. We were talking about things in general, and then the conversation turned to you. The things he said about you! I have never heard such repulsive things being spoken about any brahmana. In the end he said, ‘I will bring him down from his high brahminical status by feeding him leftovers from many low-caste people.’ Fie on him! It is not proper for a learned man like you to associate with such a person. You will ruin the high prestige of the brahmanas if you act like this.”
Vrajanatha was astounded to hear Veni-madhava say all this. For some unknown reason, his faith and respect for the Vaisnavas and old Babaji Maharaja only doubled, and he said gravely, “Brother, I am busy at present. You go now; I will hear everything from you tomorrow, and make a decision then.”
Veni-madhava went away. Vrajanatha now became fully aware of Veni-madhava’s two-tongued nature. He was well versed in the nyaya-sastra, and although he had a natural dislike for wickedness, the thought that Veni-madhava would help him on the path to sannyasa had induced Vrajanatha to be friendly towards him. Now, however, he understood that all Veni-madhava’s sweet words had been for a particular motive. After further thought, Vrajanatha realized that Veni-madhava was acting deceitfully because he was involved in the marriage proposal. That must be why he had gone to Mayapura – to sow the seed of some secret plot. He prayed in his mind, “O Bhagavan! Let my faith in the lotus feet of my Gurudeva and the Vaisnavas remain firm. May it never be reduced by the disturbance of such impure people.” He remained absorbed in these thoughts until evening. Then he started out for Srivasangana, arriving there deep in anxiety.
Back in Mayapura, after Veni-madhava had left, Babaji thought, “This man is certainly a brahma-raksasa.
raksasah kalim asritya jayante brahma-yonisu
Taking shelter of Kali-yuga, raksasas take birth in brahmana families.
“This statement of sastra certainly holds true for that person. His face clearly shows his pride in his high caste, his false ego, his envy of Vaisnavas, and his religious hypocrisy. His short neck, his eyes, and his deceptive way of talking actually represent his internal state of mind. Ah, this man is a complete asura by nature, whereas Vrajanatha is such a sweet-natured person. O Krsna! O Gauranga! Never give me association of such a person. I must warn Vrajanatha today.”
As soon as Vrajanatha reached the kutira, Babaji called out to him affectionately, “Come, Baba, come!” and embraced him. Vrajanatha’s throat choked with emotion, and tears started flowing from his eyes as he fell down at Babaji’s feet. Babaji picked him up very affectionately and said gently, “A black-complexioned brahmana came here this morning. He said some agitating things and then went away again. Do you know him?”
Vrajanatha: Prabhu, your good self told me earlier that there are different kinds of jivas in this world. Some of them are so envious that without any cause, they find satisfaction in troubling other jivas. Our brother, Veni-madhava, is one of the leaders in that category. I will be glad if we don’t discuss him further. It is his very nature to criticize you to me and me to you, and to cause disputes between us by manufacturing false accusations. I hope you didn’t pay any attention to what he said.
Babaji: Ha Krsna! Ha Gauranga! I have been serving the Vaisnavas for many days now, and by their mercy, I have received the power to tell the difference between a Vaisnava and a non-Vaisnava. You don’t need to say anything to me about this.
Vrajanatha: Please forget all this and tell me how a jiva can become free from the clutches of maya.
Babaji: You will get your answer in the seventh sloka of Dasa-mula:
yada bhramam bhramam hari-rasa-galad-vaisnava-janam
kadacit sampasyan tad-anugamane syad ruci-yutah
tada krsnavrttya tyajati sanakair mayika-dasam
svarupam vibhrano vimala-rasa-bhogam sa kurute
When, in the course of wandering amongst the higher and lower species in the material world, a jiva is able to behold a Vaisnava absorbed in the flowing rasa of sri-hari-bhakti, taste arises in his heart for following the Vaisnava way of life. By chanting sri-krsna-nama, he gradually becomes free from his conditioning. Step by step, he then gains his intrinsic, cinmaya-svarupa (transcendental form), and becomes qualified to taste the pure and spiritual rasa of direct service to Sri Krsna.
Vrajanatha: I would like to hear some evidence from the Vedas to verify this.
Babaji: It is said in the Upanisads,
samane vrkse puruso nimagno
’nisaya socati muhyamanah
justam yada pasyaty anyam isam
asya mahimanam eti vita-sokah
The jiva and the indwelling Paramatma both reside in the body, like two birds in the same tree. The jiva is sunk in the bodily conception of life because of his attachment to material sense enjoyment. Bewildered by maya, he cannot find any means of deliverance, and thus he laments and falls down. When the jiva has darsana of the other person within his heart – namely the Supreme Lord, who is served eternally by His unalloyed bhaktas – he witnesses Krsna’s uncommon glories. He then becomes free from all lamentation, and attains his glorious position as Krsna’s servant. (Mundaka Upanisad 3.1.2 and Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.7)
Vrajanatha: This sloka states that when the jiva sees the worshipable Lord, he becomes free forever from all anxieties, and directly perceives His magnificence. Does this imply liberation? Babaji: Liberation means to be released from the clutches of maya. Only those who have the association of saintly people attain this liberation, but the real subject of research is the glorious position that one receives after attaining liberation.
muktir hitvanyatha-rupam svarupena vyavasthitih
The jiva in his original, constitutional form is a pure servant of Krsna. When he falls down into the darkness of nescience, he has to accept gross and subtle material bodies. Liberation means to abandon these extraneous forms completely and to be situated in one’s original, spiritual svarupa.
This half sloka explains that liberation means to abandon these other forms and to be situated in one’s svarupa. Attaining one’s constitutional position is the necessity for the jiva. The work of liberation is complete the moment the jiva is released from the clutches of maya. Then, so many activities begin once he attains his natural, constitutional position. This is the fundermental necessity of attainment, mula-prayojana of the jiva. Freedom from intense misery can be called liberation, but following liberation there is another stage, in which a person achieves spiritual happiness (cit-sukha). That state is described in the Chandogya Upanisad (8.12.3):
evam evaisa samprasado ‘smac charirat samutthaya
param jyoti-rupa-sampadya svena rupenabhinispadyate
sa uttamah purusah sa tatra paryeti jaksan kridan ramamanah
When the jiva achieves liberation, he transcends the gross and subtle material bodies and is situated in his own nonmaterial, spiritual state, complete with his spiritual effulgence. He then becomes transcendentally situated. In that spiritual atmosphere, he becomes absorbed in enjoyment (bhoga), activities (krida) and bliss (ananda).
Vrajanatha: What are the symptoms of those who are liberated from maya?
Babaji: They have eight symptoms, which Chandogya Upanisad (8.7.1) describes as follows:
ya atmapahata-papma vijaro vimrtyur visoko ‘vijighatso ‘pipasah
satya-kamah satya-sankalpah so ‘nvestavyah
The liberated soul has eight qualities: He is freed from all sinful activity, as well as the addiction to sinful activities that arises because of the nescience of maya; he is not subject to the miseries of old age; he always remains young and fresh, and has no tendency to decay; he never comes to an end, or dies; he is never morose; he has no sensual desires; he has a natural inclination towards serving Krsna, with no other desires; and all of his desires become realized. These eight qualities are absent from the baddha-jiva.
Vrajanatha: It is said in the Dasa-mula sloka, “The good fortune of the jiva who is wandering aimlessly in the material world arises when he meets a rasika Vaisnava who relishes the nectar of Hari.“ One might raise the objection that one could eventually attain hari-bhakti by performing pious activities, such as astanga-yoga and cultivating brahma-jnana.
Babaji: These are Sri Krsna’s own words:
na rodhayati mam yogo na sankhyam dharma eva ca
na svadhyayas tapas tyago nesta-purttam na daksina
vratani yajnas chandamsi tirthani niyama yamah
yathavarundhe sat-sangah sarva-sangapaho hi mam
Sri Bhagavan said, “I am not controlled by those who perform yoga, study sankhya philosophy, perform religious duties and pious activities, study the Vedas, perform penances and austerities, practice renunciation or accept sannyasa, perform sacrifice and welfare activities, give donations in charity, practice fasting and other vows, perform yajna, chant confidential mantras, go on pilgrimage, and follow all the rules and regulations for spiritual life. However, one who accepts sat-sanga, which destroys all material attachments, can control Me. How much can I say? Astanga-yoga can slightly satisfy Me indirectly, but sadhu-sanga controls Me completely.”
It is also stated in Hari-bhakti-sudhodhaya (8.51):
yasya yat-sangatih pumso manivat syat sa tad-gunah
sva-kularddhyaitato dhiman sva-yuthany eva samsrayet
Just as a jewel or crystal reflects the color of the object with which it is in contact, so a person develops qualities according to the company he keeps.
Therefore, by keeping association with pure sadhus, one can become a pure sadhu. Thus the association of pure sadhus is the root cause of all good fortune.
In the sastras, the word nihsanga means ‘to live in solitude.’ This implies that we should only live in the association of bhaktas.
Nihsanga means to leave all other association and to take the association of bhaktas. Even unintentional association with saintly people brings good fortune for the jiva.
sango yah samsrter hetur asatsu vihito ’dhiya
sa eva sadhusu krto nihsangatvaya kalpate
The association of materialists is the cause of bondage in the material world, even though one may not know that this is so. Similarly, association with saintly people, even if it happens by chance or unknowingly, is called nihsanga.
It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.32):
naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
niskincananam na vrnita yavat
The lotus feet of Urukrama, who is glorified for His uncommon activities, destroy all anarthas in the heart. However, those who are very materialistic cannot be attached to His lotus feet until they smear their bodies with the dust from the lotus feet of great souls who are absorbed in bhagavatprema and who are completely freed from material attachments.
And Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.48.31) states:
na hy am-mayani tirthani na deva mrc-chila-mayah
te punanty uru-kalena darsanad eva sadhavah
One is purified by the holy places where rivers such as the Ganga flow and by the stone and clay deities of devatas only after rendering them reverential service over a long period of time. However, when one has darsana of a suddha-bhakta, he is purified immediately.
That is why Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.51.53) also says:
bhavapavargo bhramato yada bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samagamah
sat-sangamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
paravarese tvayi jayate matih
O infallible Lord! The jiva has been wandering in this world of birth and death since time without beginning. When the time comes for him to leave this cycle of life and death, he associates with Your suddha-bhaktas. From the moment that he achieves this association, his mind becomes firmly fixed on You, who are the sole and supreme shelter of the surrendered bhaktas, the controller of all, and the cause of all causes.
Baba, since time without beginning the jiva who is eternally bound by maya has been moving in the universe, taking birth according to his karma, sometimes as a deva, and sometimes in the various animal species. From the time that he attains the association of saintly people because of his past pious activities (sukrti), he fixes his mind very strongly on Krsna, the controller of all. Vrajanatha: You have said that the association of suddha-bhaktas is achieved by sukrti. What is sukrti? Is it karma or knowledge?
Babaji: The sastras say that there are two types of auspicious karma (subha-karma) that are in accordance with Vedic injunctions. One causes the appearance of bhakti, while the other gives irrelevant, inferior results. Performance of pious activities such as nitya and naimittika-karma, studying sankhya, and cultivating jnana all give irrelevant results. The only auspicious activities that give bhakti as an end result (bhakti-prada-sukrti) are associating with suddhabhaktas and with places, times and things that bestow bhakti.
When enough bhakti-prada-sukrti has been accumulated, it gives rise to krsna-bhakti. The other type of sukrti, however, is consumed after one enjoys its results, so it does not accumulate to give any permanent result. All the pious deeds in the world, such as charity, only result in achieving the objects of sense gratification. The sukrti of impersonal speculation results in impersonal liberation. Neither of these kinds of sukrti can give devotional service to Sri Bhagavan.
Activities such as sadhu-sanga and observing Ekadasi, Janmastami, and Gaura-purnima all help to develop one’s saintly qualities. Tulasi, maha-prasada, sri mandira, holy places, and articles used by sadhus (sadhu-vastu) are all auspicious; touching them or obtaining their darsana are pious deeds that give rise to bhakti.
Vrajanatha: Can a person obtain bhakti if he is tormented by material problems and takes shelter of Sri Hari’s lotus feet in full knowledge to become relieved of his problems? Babaji: The jiva, harassed by the afflictions of the goddess of illusion, may somehow understand through discriminating intelligence that worldly activities are simply troublesome, and that his only solace is Krsna’s lotus feet and the feet of His suddhabhaktas. Knowing this, he takes shelter of His lotus feet, and the first step in this process of surrender is to accept the shelter of suddha-bhaktas. This is the principal, bhakti-prada-sukrti, through which he obtains the lotus feet of Bhagavan. Whatever renunciation and wisdom he had originally were just a secondary means of obtaining bhakti. Thus, the association of bhaktas is the only way to attain bhakti. There is no other recourse.
Vrajanatha: If karma, jnana, renunciation and discrimination are
secondary ways of achieving bhakti, what is the objection to calling
Babaji: There is a strong objection: they bind one to inferior, temporary results. The performance of karma has no permanent result, but it binds the jiva to the objects of sense gratification. Renunciation and empirical knowledge can only lead the jiva as far as knowledge of brahma, and this conception of an impersonal supreme principle prevents him from attaining Bhagavan’s lotus feet. Consequently, these cannot be called bhakti-prada-sukrti. It is true that they sometimes take one to bhakti, but that is not the usual course of events. Sadhu-sanga, on the other hand, definitely does not award any secondary benefit, but forcibly brings the jiva towards prema. It is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25):
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati
In the association of suddha-bhaktas, the recitation and discussion of My glorious activities and pastimes are pleasing to both the heart and the ears. By cultivating knowledge in this way, one becomes established on the path of liberation and progressively attains sraddha, then bhava,and finally prema-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: I understand that sadhu-sanga is the only sukrti that gives rise to bhakti. One has to listen to hari-katha from the mouths of sadhus, and thereafter one obtains bhakti. Is this the proper sequence to progress in bhakti?
Babaji: I will explain the proper way of progressing in bhakti. Listen attentively. Only by good fortune does the jiva who is wandering throughout the universe achieve the sukrti that gives rise to bhakti. One of the many limbs of pure bhakti may touch a jiva’s life.For example, he may fast on Ekadasi, or touch or visit the holy places of Bhagavan’s pastimes, or serve a guest who happens to be a suddha-bhakta, or have the chance to hear hari-nama or hari-katha from the lotus mouth of an akincana-bhakta. If someone desires material benefits or impersonal liberation from such activities, the resultant sukrti does not lead to devotional service. However, if an innocent person performs any of these activities, either unknowingly or out of habit, without desiring material sense gratification or impersonal liberation, these activities lead to the accumulation of bhakti-prada-sukrti.
After accumulating such sukrti for many births, it becomes concentrated enough to give faith in pure bhakti, and when faith in bhakti is undivided, one develops a desire to associate with suddhabhaktas. By association, one gradually becomes engaged in performing sadhana and bhajana, and this leads to the removal of anarthas, in proportion to the purity of chanting. When anarthas are removed, the previous faith is purified further to become nistha (firm faith). This firm faith is also purified to become ruci (spiritual taste), and by the saundarya (beauty) of bhakti, this ruci is strengthened and takes the form of asakti (transcendental attachment). Transcendental attachment matures into rati or bhava. When rati combines with the appropriate ingredients it becomes rasa. This is the step-by-step progression in the development of krsna-prema.
The principal idea is that when people with sufficient sukrti have darsana of suddha-bhaktas, they develop an inclination to proceed on the path of bhakti. One associates with a suddha-bhakta by chance, and this leads to initial sraddha, whereupon he gets the association of the bhaktas a second time. The result of the first association is sraddha, which can also be termed surrender (saranagati). The initial sadhu-sanga is brought about by contact with holy places, auspicious times and paraphernalia, and recipients of Sri Hari’s grace, all of which are beloved by Him. These lead to faith in His shelter. The symptoms of the development of such faith are described in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66):
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
Here the words sarva-dharman imply worldly duties (smartadharma), astanga-yoga, sankhya-yoga, jnana and renunciation. jiva can never achieve his ultimate spiritual goal by practicing all these dharmas, which is why the instruction here is to give them up. Sri Krsna says, “My form of pure and condensed sac-cid-ananda appearing as Vraja-vilasi (the performer of wonderful pastimes in Vraja) is the only shelter for the jivas. When one understands this, he gives up all desire for bhukti (material sense enjoyment) and mukti (impersonal liberation), and with undivided attention, takes shelter of Me.” This is known as pravrtti-rupa-sraddha (the exclusive tendency to engage in Krsna’s service). When such faith dawns in the jiva’s heart, with tears in his eyes he resolves to become a follower of a Vaisnava sadhu. The Vaisnava of whom he takes shelter at that point is the guru.
Vrajanatha: How many types of anarthas does a jiva have?
Babaji: There are four types of anarthas: 1) svarupa-bhrama (being in illusion about one’s spiritual identity); 2) asat-trsna (thirst for temporary material enjoyment); 3) aparadha (offenses); and 4) hrdaya-daurbalya (weakness of the heart).
The jiva’s first anartha, namely svarupa-bhrama occures when he forgets the understanding that, “I – the pure, spiritual spark – am Krsna’s servant,” and is carried far away from his original, spiritual position. When the jiva considers that he and his dead material possessions are ‘I’ and ‘mine’, he develops three types of asat-trsna. These are the desire for a son, for wealth, and for celestial pleasures. There are ten types of aparadha, which I will discuss later. The jiva is grief-stricken because of hrdaya-daurbalya. These four types of anarthas are the naisargika-phala, the fruit of nisarga, or the aquired nature of the jiva who has been caught by ignorance, and they are removed gradually by cultivating Krsna consciousness in the association of suddha-bhaktas.
The four-fold path of yoga consists of withdrawal from sense objects (pratyahara), self-control (yama), following various rules and regulations (niyama)’ and renunciation (vairagya). This process is not the proper means to free oneself from material anxiety, for it is difficult to attain perfection, and there is always a strong risk of falling down. The only way to become free from all anxiety is to cultivate pure Krsna consciousness in the association of suddha-bhaktas. Thus the jiva is freed from maya’s stranglehold and his constitutional position is revealed to the extent that anarthas have been removed from his heart.
Vrajanatha: Can people with no trace of anarthas be termed liberated people?
Babaji: Please consider the following sloka:
rajobhih sama-sankhyatah parthivair iha jantavah
tesam ye kecanehante sreyo vai manujadayah
prayo mumuksavas tesam kecanaiva dvijottama
mumuksunam sahasresu kascin mucyate sidhyati
muktanam api siddhanam narayana-parayanah
sudurlabhah prasantatma kotisv api maha-mune
He Bhagavan! There are as many jivas in this material world as there are grains of sand. Only a few of these are human beings, amongst whom only a few direct their efforts in search of a higher goal. Of those who are endeavoring for a higher goal, only a few rare individuals seek liberation from this world, and out of thousands of such people, hardly one is actually able to achieve siddhi (perfection) or mukti (liberation). Out of millions of perfected liberated souls, it is difficult to find a single peaceful, great soul who is fully dedicated to seva of Sri Narayana. Therefore, Narayana’s bhaktas are very rare.
A person free from all anarthas is known as a suddha-bhakta. Such bhaktas are very rare; indeed, even among millions of muktas, one can hardly find a single bhakta of Sri Krsna. Therefore, no association in this world is more rare than the association of Krsna’s bhaktas.
Vrajanatha: Does the word Vaisnava imply a bhakta who has renounced family life?
Babaji: A suddha-bhakta is a Vaisnava, whether he is a grhastha (householder) or sannyasi (renunciant), a brahmana or a candala (dog-eater), rich or poor. A devotee is a krsna-bhakta to the degree that he has suddha-krsna-bhakti (pure devotion for Krsna).
Vrajanatha: You have already said that there are five types of jiva in maya’s stronghold, and you have also said that bhaktas performing sadhana-bhakti and bhava-bhakti are under maya’s control. At what stage are bhaktas maya-mukta (liberated from maya)?
Babaji: One is freed from the clutches of maya from the very beginning of his devotional service, but vastu-gata-mukti, or complete liberation from the two material bodies (gross and subtle), is only obtained when one reaches the stage of full maturity in bhaktisadhana. Before this, a person is liberated to the extent that he is svarupa-gata, aware of his constitutional position. The jiva achieves vastu-gata-maya-mukti, complete freedom from maya, only when he is completely disassociated from the gross and subtle bodies. The stage of bhava-bhakti dawns in the jiva’s heart as a result of practicing sadhana-bhakti. When the jiva is firmly established in bhava-bhakti, he gives up his gross body and after that he gives up the subtle body and becomes established in his pure spiritual body (cit-sarira). Consequently, the jiva is not fully free from maya’s control even in the beginning stage of bhava-bhakti, because a trace of the conditioning of maya always remains as long as the jiva is performing sadhana-bhakti. The authorities in our line have carefully considered sadhana-bhakti and bhava-bhakti, and have included bhaktas practicing both these stages amongst the five stages of conditioned souls. The materialists and the impersonalists are definitely included amongst the five categories of conditioned souls.
The only path of deliverance from the clutches of maya is bhakti for Sri Hari. The jiva has been put under maya’s control because he is offensive, and the root of all offense is forgetting that ‘I am 413 Krsna’s servant.’ The offenses can only be eradicated if one has Krsna’s mercy; only then can one be freed from maya’s control. The impersonalists believe that one can gain liberation from maya by cultivating knowledge, but this belief has no basis; there is no possibility of becoming free from maya without His mercy. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32-33):
ye ’nye ’ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah
O lotus-eyed Lord! Those who proudly think that they are liberated, but do not render devotional service unto You, certainly have impure intelligence. Although they perform severe austerities and penances, and rise up to the spiritual position of impersonal realization of brahma, they fall down again because they have no respect for devotional service to Your lotus feet.
tatha na te madhava tavakah kvacid
bhrasyanti margat tvayi baddha-sauhrdah
tvayabhigupta vicaranti nirbhaya
O Madhava, Your dearmost bhaktas, who have true love for Your lotus feet, are not like those proud jnanis, for they never fall down from the path of devotional service. Since You protect them, they move about fearlessly, stepping on the very heads of those who obstruct their path, so that no obstacle can check their progress.
Vrajanatha: How many different types of jivas are liberated from
Babaji: Two kinds of jivas are free from maya’s control: 1) nitya-mukta (the jivas who were never under maya’s control), and 2) baddha-mukta (those who were once under maya’s control, but are now free). The nitya-mukta-jivas are divided again into two categories: 1) aisvaryagata (those who are attracted by Bhagavan’s feature of opulence and majesty), and 2) madhurya-gata (those who are attracted by His feature of sweetness). Those jivas who are attracted by Krsna’s aisvarya are personal associates of Sri Narayana, the Master of Vaikuntha. They are particles of spiritual effulgence emanating from Sri Mula-Sankarsana, who resides in Vaikuntha. Those who are attracted by Bhagavan’s madhurya are personal associates of Sri Krsna, the Master of Goloka Vrndavana. They are particles of spiritual effulgence manifesting from Sri Baladeva, who resides in Goloka Vrndavana. There are three kinds of baddha-mukta-jivas: 1) aisvarya-gata (those who are attracted to Bhagavan’s features of opulence and majesty), 2) madhurya-gata (those who are attracted to Bhagavan’s feature of sweetness) and 3) brahma-jyoti-gata (those who are attracted to Bhagavan’s impersonal effulgence). Those who are attracted to His opulence during their period of regulated service become eternal associates of Sri Narayana, the master of the spiritual sky, and they achieve salokya-mukti (the opulence of residing on His planet). Jivas who are attracted to Sri Krsna’s sweetness during their period of sadhana attain direct service to Him when they are liberated in the eternal abodes of Vrndavana and other similar abodes. Jivas who attempt to merge into the impersonal effulgence during their period of sadhana attain sayujya-mukti when they are liberated. They merge into His effulgence, and are thus completely destroyed in the form of brahma-sayujya.
Vrajanatha: What is the ultimate destination of the unalloyed bhaktas of Sri Gaura-Kisora (Caitanya Mahaprabhu)?
Babaji: Sri Krsna and Sri Gaura-Kisora are non-different in their tattva (absolute nature). They are both shelters of madhurya-rasa. However, there is a slight difference between Them because madhurya-rasa has two prakosts (chambers). One is the mood of madhurya (sweetness), and the other is the mood of audarya (mag- nanimity). Sri Krsna’s svarupa is manifest where madhurya is prominent, and Sri Gauranga’s form is manifest where audarya is prominent. Similarly, the transcendental Vrndavana also has two prakosts (divisions): Sri Krsna’s abode and Sri Gaura’s abode.
The nitya-siddha and nitya-mukta associates who reside in Sri Krsna’s abode are attracted first to madhurya, and then to audarya. The nitya-siddha and nitya-mukta associates who reside in Sri Gaura’s abode are blissfully absorbed in audarya, and then madhurya. Some of them reside in both abodes simultaneously by expansions of the self (svarupa-vyuha), while others reside in one spiritual form in only one abode, and not in the other.
Those who only worship Sri Gaura during their period of sadhana, only serve Sri Gaura when they achieve perfection, while those who only serve Sri Krsna during their period of sadhana serve Sri Krsna on achieving perfection. However, those who worship the forms of both Sri Krsna and Sri Gaura during their period of sadhana manifest two forms when they attain perfection and reside in both abodes simultaneously. The truth of the simultaneous oneness and difference of Sri Gaura and Sri Krsna is a very confidential secret.
When Vrajanatha had heard all these teachings about the state of the jivas who are liberated from maya, he could no longer keep his composure. Brimming with emotion, he fell down at the elderly Babaji’s lotus feet. Crying profusely, Babaji Mahasaya picked him up and embraced him. It was already quite late in the night. Vrajanatha took leave of Babaji Mahasaya and went home, totally engrossed in meditating on Babaji’s instructions.
When Vrajanatha reached home, he took his meal, and while doing so, he warned his grandmother sternly, “Grandmother, if you people want to see me here, stop all this talk about my marriage and do not keep any sort of contact with Veni-madhava. He is my greatest enemy and from tomorrow, I will never speak with him again. You should also neglect him.”
Vrajanatha’s grandmother was very intelligent. Understanding Vrajanatha’s mood, she decided to postpone any question of marriage. “From the kind of sentiments that he is displaying,” she thought, “if he is forced too much, he might leave for Vrndavana or Varanasi. Let Bhagavan decide as He will.”
THUS ENDS THE SEVENTEENTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
“PRAMEYA:THE JIVAS FREE FROM MAYA”