Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara returned to Vrajanatha’s home before noon. Vrajanatha’s mother was waiting for them, and lovingly served them sumptuous prasadam. On completion of the meal, uncle and nephew had affectionate discussions, and Vrajanatha gradually explained to his respected maternal uncle all the instructions that he had previously heard from Babaji Maharaja.
When Vijaya Kumara heard these nectarean instructions, he became blissful and said, “You are most fortunate. Sat-sanga is obtained only by great fortune. You have obtained the very rare association of a great saint like Babaji Mahasaya, and he has given you substantial instructions about the highest goal of life (paramartaha). One who hears bhakti-katha and hari-katha certainly attains good fortune and well-being, but if these topics are heard from the mouth of a great personality, then good fortune comes especially quickly. You are learned in all the sastras, and your scholarship in nyaya-sastra is especially unparalleled. You were born in a Vedic brahmana family, and are not without wealth. All these opulences now appear as your ornaments. The reason for this is that you have taken shelter of the lotus feet of Vaisnavas, and acquired a taste for Sri Krsna’s lila-katha.”
As they discussed the supreme goal of life in this way, Vrajanatha’s mother entered and said to Vijaya Kumara, “Brother, it is so long since you were here. Please encourage Vrajanatha to become a grhastha (householder). From his behaviour, I am afraid that he may become some kind of sadhu. Several people have come with proposals for marriage, but he has taken a vow not to get married. My mother-in-law has also endeavored in this regard, but he was not convinced.”
After listening to his sister Vijaya Kumara replied, “I will stay here for about fifteen days, and reflect carefully on this matter, and then inform you of my decision. Now please go inside the house.”
Vrajanatha’s mother left, and Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha again engaged in talks about the supreme goal of life. The whole day passed like this. The following day, when they had taken their meal, Vijaya Kumara said, “Vrajanatha, this evening let us both go to Srivasangana and hear from Babaji Maharaja the explanation of the 64 angas of bhakti given by Sri Rupa Gosvami. He Vrajanatha! May I achieve association like yours birth after birth. Now, Babaji Mahasaya has described two paths of sadhana-bhakti: vaidhi-marga and raga-marga. Frankly speaking, we are actually qualified for vaidhidharma. Thus we should understand vaidhi-marga thoroughly and begin to practice sadhana before hearing instructions on raga-marga. During his last talk Srila Babaji Maharaja gave us instructions about the nine-fold (navadha) process of bhakti, however, I do not understand how I should begin navadha-bhakti. Today we should understand this subject more deeply.”
As they continued on in this way, it became evening. The sun’s rays had left the earth, and were playing with the high branches of the trees. Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha left home, and arrived at Srivasangana again. There they offered their dandavat-pranama to the assembled Vaisnavas and then entered the elderly Babaji’s kutira.
Seeing how eager the bhaktas were to learn, Babaji became very pleased. With great love, he embraced them and offered them each an asana. They both offered their dandavat-pranama to Babaji Mahasaya’s feet and sat down.
After they had chatted for a short time, Vijaya Kumara said, “Prabhu, we are certainly giving you much trouble, however you mercifully accept it because of your affection for the bhaktas. Today we would like to hear from you about the 64 different angas of bhakti that Sri Rupa Gosvami has described. If you think that we are qualified, kindly tell us, so that we can easily realize suddhabhakti.” Babaji smiled and said, “First listen attentively. I will recite the 64 angas of bhakti, as described by Sri Rupa Gosvami, the first ten of which are the basic, preliminary angas:
1. Taking shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Guru (guru-padasraya);
2. Taking initiation and instructions from Sri Guru (gurudiksa and siksa);
3. Serving Sri Guru with faith (visvasa-purvaka guru-seva);
4. Following the path outlined by sadhus;
5. Inquiring about sad-dharma or the procedures of bhajana;
6. Renouncing all enjoyment of sense objects for Krsna’s sake;
7. Residing in dhamas such as Dvaraka, and near to holy rivers such as the Ganga and Yamuna;
8. Accepting only as much money and other facilities as are required to sustain one’s life;
9. Respecting Ekadasi, Janmastami and other days related to Hari;
10.Offering respects to the asvattha, amalaki and other sacred trees;
The next ten angas take the form of prohibitions:
11.Abandoning all association of those who are averse to Krsna;
12.Not accepting unqualified people as disciples;
13.Renouncing pretentious endeavors, such as pompous festivals, etc.;
14.Refraining from reading and reciting many books and making novel interpretations of sastra;
15.Avoiding miserly behavior in practical dealings;
16.Not being influenced by emotions such as lamentation;
17.Not disrespecting or blaspheming the devatas;
18.Not harassing any jiva;
19. Abandoning fully offenses in seva (seva-aparadha) and in the chanting of sri-hari-nama (nama-aparadha);
20.Not tolerating blasphemy of Bhagavan and His bhaktas.
You should understand these 20 angas to be the entrance to the temple of bhakti, and the
first three – taking shelter of the lotus feet of sri-guru, taking diksa and siksa from guru,
and serving him with faith – are the main activities. After this are the following:
21.Adopting the outward signs (such as tilaka) of a Vaisnava;
22.Wearing the syllables of sri-hari-nama on one’s body;
23.Accepting the remnants of garments, garlands and so on that have been offered to the Deity;
24.Dancing in front of the Deity;
25.Offering dandavat-pranama to Sri Guru, Vaisnava and Bhagavan;
26.Respectfully rising from one’s seat on having darsana of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas, and greeting them;
27.Following the Deity in procession;
28.Visiting the temples of Sri Bhagavan;
29.Circumambulation (parikrama) of the temple;
30.Performing Deity worship (puja and arcana);
31.Serving Sri Krsna like a king (paricarya);
33.Performing congregational chanting of Sri Krsna’s
34.Performing japa of the gayatri-mantras at the three sandhyas, after first performing acamana;
35.Offering submissive prayers or entreaties;
36.Reciting bhajanas or mantras in praise of Sri Krsna;
38.Drinking sri-caranamrta (the nectar that has washed Sri Krsna’s lotus feet);
39.Smelling the fragrance of incense, garlands and so on that have been offered to Sri Krsna;
40.Touching the Deity;
41.Viewing (darsana) sri murti with devotion;
42.Having darsana of arati and festivals, etc.;
43.Hearing about the names, forms, qualities, pastimes, etc., of Sri Hari;
44.Always anticipating Krsna’s mercy;
45.Contemplating (smaranam) Sri Krsna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes;
50.Offering one’s own very dear items to Krsna;
51.Incessantly performing activities for Krsna’s pleasure;
52.Full self-surrender (saranagati) unto Sri Krsna’s lotus feet;
54.Respecting Srimad-Bhagavatam and other bhakti-sastras;
55.Hearing and singing the glories of Sri Hari’s dhama and His appearance places, such as Mathura, and circumambulating them;
56.Serving the Vaisnavas;
57.Celebrating festivals related to Sri Krsna in gatherings of sadhus, according to one’s means;
58.Observing the vow of caturmasya and especially niyama-seva in the month of Karttika;
59.Celebrating the festival of Sri Krsna’s Appearance Day;
60.Sraddhaya sri-murtir sevana – serving the Deity with faith;
61.Bhagavat-sravana – relishing the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in association with rasika Vaisnavas;
62.Sadhu-sanga – associating with bhaktas who are of the same mood, affectionate, and more advanced than oneself
63.Nama-sankirtanam – loud congregational chanting of Sri Krsna’s Nama;
64.Mathura-vasa – residing in dhamas like Mathura and Vrndavana.
Although the last five angas have been described at the end, they are nonetheless the most important. They are also referred to as pancanga-bhakti (five-fold devotional service). All these angas are to be followed with body, senses and the inner faculty (mind, heart and soul) in the worship of Krsna.
Vijaya: Prabhu, please give us some detailed instructions regarding
Babaji: When the disciple has become qualified for undivided krsna-bhakti, he should take shelter at the feet of Sri Guru, and by coming close to the qualified guru, he will learn krsna-tattva. The jiva becomes qualified for krsna-bhakti only when he is faithful. By the influence of pious activities (sukrti) performed in previous births, he hears hari-katha from the mouths of sadhus, and a strong faith in Krsna arises in him. This is called sraddha. Together with sraddha, the mood of taking shelter (saranagati) also appears to some extent. Sraddha and saranagati are almost the same tattva. The disciple is qualified for undivided (ananya) bhakti if he has developed the strong faith: “Krsna-bhakti is certainly the best and highest attainment in this world. Thus I will accept krsna-bhakti as my duty and to that end I will do whatever is favorable for it, and reject all activities that are unfavorable. Krsna is my sole protector, and I accept Him as my exclusive guardian. I am very poor, wretched and destitute, and my independent desire is not beneficial for me. Thus following Krsna’s desire exclusively is beneficial for me in all ways.” When the jiva attains that qualification, he becomes anxious to hear instructions on bhakti, and accepts shelter at the lotus feet of the sad-guru. That is to say, he becomes his disciple, and accepts instructions (siksa) on bhakti.
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12)
In order to obtain knowledge of that bhagavad-vastu (the absolute truth concerning Sri Bhagavan), one should approach sad-guru, carrying fire wood for sacrifice. The qualification of sad-guru is that he is well versed in the Vedas, absorbed in the Absolute Truth (brahma-jnana) and devoted to the service of Bhagavan.
acaryavan puruso veda
Chandogya Upanisad (6.14.2)
He who takes shelter of sad-guru comes to know that parabrahma.
The qualities of a sad-guru (bona fide guru) and the sat-sisya (bona fide disciple) are given in detail in the Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa (1.23.64). The essence is that only a person with pure character and sraddha is qualified to become a sisya and only that person who is endowed with suddha-bhakti, who knows bhakti-tattva, and is of spotless character, simple, without greed, free from Mayavada philosophy, and expert in all devotional activities is qualified as sad-guru.
A brahmana adorned with these qualities, and who is honored by the whole society, can be guru of all the other varnas. If there is no brahmana, the disciple can accept a guru who is situated in a higher varna than himself. Apart from these considerations of varnasrama, the principal consideration is that whoever knows krsna-tattva can be accepted as guru. If a person born in one of the higher varnas – brahmana, ksatriya and vaisya – finds the above- mentioned qualities present in a person born of a brahmana family and accepts him as guru, then he can get some facilities and favors in a society that respects the higher varna. Factually, though, only a worthy bhakta can be guru. The rules for testing the guru and disciple, as well as the determination of time, are given in the sastras. The purport is that the guru will bestow his mercy upon the disciple when the guru perceives the disciple to be qualified, and when the disciple has faith in the guru, understanding him to be a suddha-bhakta.
There are two kinds of guru: diksa-guru and siksa-guru. One has to accept diksa from the diksa-guru; at the same time, one also has to take siksa concerning arcana (Deity worship). There is one diksaguru, but there can be several siksa-gurus. The diksa-guru is also competent to act as siksa-guru.
Vijaya: Since the diksa-guru is not to be given up, how will Gurudeva give siksa if he is not competent of giving sat-siksa?
Babaji: Before accepting a guru, one should examine him to see that he is expert in the tattva spoken in the Vedas and has realized para-tattva. If he is, then he will certainly be capable of giving all kinds of instructions about the Absolute Truth. Normally, there is no question of giving up the diksa-guru. There are two circumstances, however, in which he should be abandoned. First, if the disciple accepted the guru without examining the guru’s knowledge of the Absolute Truth, his Vaisnava qualities, and his other qualifications, and second, if after initiation, the guru does not perform any function, he should be given up. Many passages in sastras give evidence for this:
yo vyaktir nyaya-rahitam anyayena srnoti yah
tav ubhau narakam ghoram vrajatah kalam aksayam
He who poses as an acarya, but gives false instructions that are opposed to the sattvata-sastras, will reside in a terrible hell for an unlimited period of time, and so will the misguided disciple who mistakenly listens to such a false guru.
guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate
Mahabharata Udyoga-parva (179.25)
and Narada-pancaratra (1.10.20)
It is one’s duty to give up a guru who cannot teach the disciple what he should do and what he should not do, and who takes the wrong path, either because of bad association or because he is opposed to Vaisnavas.
avaisnavopadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet
punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh
One goes to hell if he accepts mantras from an avaisnavaguru, that is, one who is associating with women, and who is devoid of krsna-bhakti. Therefore, according to the rules of sastra, one should take mantras again from a Vaisnava guru.
The second circumstance in which one may reject the guru is if he was a Vaisnava who knew the spiritual truth and principles when the disciple accepted him, but who later became a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas by the influence of asat-sanga. It is one’s duty to give up such a guru. However, it is not proper to give up a guru whose knowledge is meager, if he is not a Mayavadi or an enemy of the Vaisnavas, and is not attached to sinful activity. In that case, one should still respect him as guru, and with his permission, one should go to another Vaisnava who is more knowledgeable, and serve that Vaisnava and take instructions from him.
Vijaya: Please tell us about krsna-diksa and siksa. (#2)
Babaji: One should accept siksa about the process of arcana (Deity worship) and pure devotional service from Sri Gurudeva, and one should then perform krsna-seva and krsna-anusilanam with a simple mood. We will consider the angas of arcana in more detail later. It is essential to take siksa from Sri Gurudeva regarding sambandha-jnana (one’s relationship with Krsna), abhidheya-jnana (the process of devotional service), and prayojana-jnana (the ultimate goal).
Vijaya: What does it mean to perform guru-seva with faith? (#3)
Babaji: One should not consider Sri Gurudeva to be a mortal or
an ordinary jiva. Rather, one should understand him to be the
representative of all the devatas (sarva-devamaya). One should
never disobey him, and one should always know him to be
Vijaya: What does sadhu-marganugmanam (to follow the path of saints) mean? (#4)
Babaji: Sadhana-bhakti may be described as the means one adopts to fix one’s mind on Krsna’s feet, but it is one’s duty to follow the path that the previous great personalities (mahajanas) have followed, because this path is always free from misery and hard labor, and is the cause of all auspiciousness.
sa mrgyah sreyasam hetuh panthah santapa-varjitah
anavapta-sramam purve yena santah pratasthire
No one person can perfectly define the course or path of devotion that one should follow, but the previous mahajanas, following each other in succession, have made this path of bhakti-yoga clear and simple, step by step. They have made it easy, and have removed all the obstacles, great and small, so we can follow it fearlessly. Therefore, it is one’s duty to depend only on that path. Even if one is performing single-pointed, undivided bhakti of Sri Hari, his bhakti can never bring any good fortune if he is violating the rules of sruti, smrti, the Puranas and the Pancaratras. One should understand that such unauthorized bhakti will only be the cause of confusion and disaster.
aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate
Brahma-yamala, quoted in
Vijaya: Please tell us clearly how unauthorized hari-bhakti can be the cause of disaster.
Babaji: Single-pointed and undivided consciousness in suddhabhakti is only obtained by depending on the path given by the previous mahajanas. One cannot attain single-pointed consciousness if one leaves the path of the previous mahajanas and creates another path. Consequently, Dattatreya, Buddha and other teachers who were not able to understand suddha-bhakti accepted a shadow of this mood, and propagated the very insignificant paths of mayavada-misra (bhakti mixed with mayavada) and nastikatamisra (bhakti mixed with atheism). They designated these as singlepointed hari-bhakti, but in reality, the paths that they put forward are not hari-bhakti at all; they only create immense confusion and spiritual disaster. Now, in the bhajana of spontaneous devotion (raga-marga), there is no regard for the rules of sruti, smrti, purana, pancaratra and so on. The only concern the followers of this path have is to follow the inhabitants of Vraja, but sadhakas who are qualified for vidhi-marga must depend only on the path of bhakti shown by Dhruva, Prahlada, Narada, Vyasa, Suka and other mahajanas. That is why vaidhi-bhaktas have no alternative but to follow the way of the sadhus.
Vijaya: What is the meaning of being inquisitive about sad-dharma and the procedures of bhajana? (#5)
Babaji: Sad-dharma means real dharma or the dharma of real sadhus, and one should inquire enthusiastically to understand it.
Vijaya: What does it mean to give up enjoyment for Krsna’s sake?
Babaji: Material enjoyment (bhoga) means enjoying happiness from the pleasure of eating and so on. That bhoga is usually opposed to bhajana, so bhajana becomes easy when one gives up such enjoyment for the purpose of krsna-bhajana. A person who is attached to material enjoyment is just like a person who drinks alcohol, for he’s so much attached to the objects of his senses that he is unable to perform suddha-bhakti. Therefore, we should not enjoy material food; rather, we should only honor and serve bhagavatprasada. One should protect the body that we use in service, and also give up all kinds of enjoyment on Ekadasi, Janmastami, Phalguni Purnima, Nrsimha Caturdasi, and similar days.
Vijaya: What does it mean to reside in dhamas such as Dvaraka, and places near the Ganga and other holy rivers? (#7)
Babaji: Faith and steadiness in bhakti (bhakti-nistha) arise in the places where Bhagavan’s blessed appearance and other pastimes took place, and near pious rivers such as the Ganga and Yamuna.
Vijaya: Thus if one resides in Sri Navadvipa-dhama, one becomes purified. Is the Ganga the cause of this, or is there another cause as well?
Babaji: Aho! One receives all the benefits of residing in Vrndavana if one resides anywhere within the 16 krosas of Sri Navadvipa, and especially if one resides in Sri Mayapura. Ayodhya, Mathura, Gaya, Kasi, Kanci, Avantika and Dvaraka are the seven holy places that give liberation, but among them Sri Mayapura is the most important dhama. The reason is that Sriman Mahaprabhu has caused His eternal abode Svetadvipa to descend here. Four centuries after Sriman Mahaprabhu’s appearance, this Svetadvipa will become the most important dhama, above all the other dhamas on earth. By residing in this dhama, one becomes free from all kinds of offenses and attains suddha-bhakti. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati has accepted this dhama as non-different from Sri Vrndavana. In fact, in some places he has shown that it is even more glorious. Vijaya: What does it mean to adopt appropriate means to sustain one’s life for practicing bhakti? (#8)
Babaji: It is said in the Naradiya Purana:
yavata syat sva-nirvahah svikuryat tavad artha-vit
adhikye nyunatayam ca cyavate paramarthatah
A wealthy person should accept as much wealth as he requires to follow the rules and rituals that sustain his bhakti. Accepting more or less than necessary is the cause of falling down, even from the highest level.
One who is qualified for vaidhi-bhakti may earn his livelihood by some proper means according to varnasrama-dharma. It is beneficial to accept wealth according to one’s necessity. Accepting more than necessary results in attachment, which gradually destroys one’s bhajana. It is not beneficial either to accept less than necessary, because the resultant scarcity will also weaken one’s bhajana. Therefore, as long as one is not qualified for complete detachment (nirapeksa), one should accept wealth and so forth to maintain one’s life and to follow suddha-bhakti.
Vijaya: How does one observe hari-vasara? (#9)
Babaji: The term hari-vasara refers to pure or unbroken (suddha) Ekadasi. Mixed (viddha) Ekadasi must be given up. In cases where Dvadasi is Maha-dvadasi, Dvadasi should be observed instead of Ekadasi. One should observe celibacy on the previous day, and then spend the day of hari-vasara fasting without taking water. One should stay awake the whole night, incessantly engaged in bhajana, and on the next day one should observe celibacy and break the fast at the proper time. This is proper observance of hari-vasara. It is not possible to observe nirjala fasting (i.e. fasting without drinking water) without giving up maha-prasada. If one does not have the ability or strength to observe hari-vasara properly, there is a provision for alternative arrangements (anukalpa).. According to Hari-bhakti-vilasa, a representative may fast on one’s behalf.
upavasetv asaktasya ahitagner athapi va
putran va karayed anyan brahmanan vapi karayet
If a sagnika-brahmana is unable to fast, he may arrange for brahmanas or his sons to fast on his behalf.
The method of fasting through havisyanna and so on is described as follows:
naktam havisyanna-manodanam va
phalam tilah ksiram athambu cajyam
yat panca-gavyam yadi vapi vayuh
prasastam atrottaram uttaran ca
Vayu Purana, quoted in
In the evening, instead of grains, one should take other foodstuffs (havisyanna), such as fruits, sesame, milk, water, ghee, pancagavya and air. In this list, each item is better than the one before.According to Mahabharata (Udyoga parva):
astaitanya-vrataghnani apo mulam phalam payah
havir brahmana-kamya ca guror vacanam ausadham
The following eight items do not destroy one’s vrata (vow):water, roots, fruits, milk, ghee, the desire of a brahmana, the words of the guru, and herbs and medicines.
Vijaya: How does one offer respects to trees such as the asvattha and amalaki? (#10)
pujitah pranata dhyatah ksapayanti nrnam agham
All of one’s sins are destroyed if one remembers to perform puja and offers obeisances to the amalaki and pippala trees, Tulasi, the cows, brahmanas and Vaisnavas.
One who is qualified for vaidhi-bhakti must maintain his journey in life while staying in this world. To do this, he is obliged to worship, meditate on, take care of, and offer obeisances to useful and shade-giving trees such as pippala, to fruit-bearing trees such as the amalaki, to worshipable trees such as Tulasi, to cows and other useful animals, to brahmanas who protect society by giving instructions on dharma; and to Vaisnavas. The vaidhi-bhaktas protect the world by performing these activities.
Vijaya: Please tell us in detail about giving up the association of people who are averse to Krsna. (#11)
Babaji: When bhava appears, bhakti becomes very strong and deep, but so long as bhava has not risen, it is necessary to give up the association of people who are opposed to bhakti. The word sanga (association) indicates attachment; sanga does not just mean being near other people and holding conversations with them. Sanga takes place when there is attachment in that proximity and conversation. It is quite wrong to associate with people who are averse to Bhagavan. After bhava has arisen, one never has any desire to associate with such people. Consequently, those with the adhikara for vaidhi-bhakti should always stay away from such association. The creeper of bhakti (bhakti-lata) becomes dried up by aversion to Krsna, just as polluted air and too much heat destroy trees and plants.
Vijaya: Who are those people who are averse to Krsna?
Babaji: There are four kinds of people who are averse to Krsna:
those who are devoid of krsna-bhakti and are attached to sense enjoyment (visayi); those who are attached to associating with women (stri-sangi); those whose hearts are polluted by Mayavada philosophy and atheism; and those who are entangled in karma. One must give up the association of these four kinds of people.
Vijaya: What should we know about not accepting unqualified people as disciples? (#12)
Babaji: It is a great fault to accept many disciples in order to gain wealth. To make many disciples, one must also accept those who do not have sraddha, but it is an offense to accept unfaithful people as disciples. Only those who have sraddha are qualified to be disciples; others are not.
Vijaya: What is the significance of giving up pretentious efforts in arranging festivals and so on? (#13)
Babaji: Briefly, one must perform bhagavad-bhajana, and maintain one’s life at the same time. If one engages in extensive material activities, he becomes so attached to them that he cannot fix his mind in bhajana.
Vijaya: What about giving up studying, teaching and interpreting various kinds of books? (#14)
Babaji: The sastras are just like the ocean. It is good to study with discrimination books on the subject in which we require to take instruction, but we will not get full knowledge on any subject by reading fragments of numerous books. Especially, intelligence related to sambandha-tattva will not arise if one does not fix his mind in studying attentively the bhakti-sastras. Be careful to take only the direct meaning of the sastras, for indirect interpretation (speculation) leads to the opposite conclusion.
Vijaya: What does it mean to give up miserly behavior? (#15)
Babaji: We must collect suitable items for food and shelter during our sojourn in this life. There is difficulty if we fail to obtain these items, and also if we obtain them, and then lose them again. Therefore, we should not be perturbed when such miseries occur; instead, we should keep remembrance of Bhagavan within our minds.
Vijaya: How can one be saved from lamentation, anger, etc.? (#16)
Babaji: If one’s consciousness is full of sorrow, fear, anger, greed and madness, Sri Krsna’s sphurti (manifestation) will not appear. It is natural to feel sorrow and illusion when one is separated from friends, or when obstacles prevent us from fulfilling our desires, but it is not proper to remain under the sway of this sorrow and illusion. One will certainly feel separation when separated from a son, but one must remove this sorrow through remembrance of Sri Hari. In this way, one should practice fixing the mind on Sri Bhagavan’s lotus feet.
Vijaya: You have said that one should not disrespect the devatas. Does that mean that we should perform their puja? (#17)
Babaji: We must have undeviated bhakti towards Sri Krsna, who is the root devata of all the devas. One should not worship any other devatas, thinking them to be independent of Sri Krsna. At the same time, one should not be disrespectful to others who offer puja to these devatas. One should respect the devatas, understanding them to be all servants of Sri Krsna, but one should always only remember Krsna. Undeviating bhakti will not rise in the jiva’s heart until it is free from material qualities. One whose consciousness is covered by the gunas – sattva, rajah and tamah – will perform puja of the devata of the particular guna by which he is influenced, and he will have a particular faith (nistha) according to his qualification. Therefore, one should be respectful towards the worshipable devatas of different persons. By the mercy of these devatas, the consciousness of these worshipers will gradually become free from material qualities. Vijaya: Please explain about not giving anxiety to other living entities. (#18)
Babaji: Sri Krsna is very quickly satisfied with one who maintains a compassionate mood towards other jivas, and who does not give them any kind of anxiety through his body, mind and words. Compassion is the main dharma of the Vaisnavas.
Vijaya: How does one abandon offenses in seva (seva-aparadha) and
in chanting sri-hari-nama (nama-aparadha)? (#19)
Babaji: One must very carefully give up the seva-aparadhas in Deity worship (arcana) and nama-aparadha in general bhakti. There are thirty-two kinds of seva-aparadha, including entering the temple wearing shoes or sitting in a palanquin; and there are ten kinds of nama-aparadha, including blaspheming saints and disrespecting sriguru. One must certainly abandon these two categories of aparadhas.
Vijaya: You have said that we should not tolerate hearing blasphemy of Bhagavan and His bhaktas. Does that mean that we should fight with the blasphemer? (#20)
Babaji: Those who blaspheme Sri Krsna and the Vaisnavas are opposed to Sri Krsna, and their association should be given up in any way possible.
Vijaya: You mentioned that these twenty angas of bhakti are especially significant. What is their connection with the other angas?
Babaji: The remaining forty-four angas are included within the twenty angas that I have just described. They have been presented as different angas in order to explain them in detail. The thirty angas from item 21 (accepting the symbols of a Vaisnava) to item 50 (offering one’s dearest possessions to Krsna) are included in the path of Deity worship (arcana):
21.Accepting the symbols of a Vaisnava means wearing a necklace of tulasi beads around the neck, and applying tilaka on twelve parts of the body.
22.Wearing the letters of Sri Krsna Nama means writing the names Hare Krsna or the names of the Panca-tattva on the main parts of the body with sandalwood pulp (candana).
23.Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.6.46) recommends that we accept the Deities’ remnants (nirmalya):
ucchista-bhojino dasas tava mayam jayema hi
Wearing the remnants of garlands, sandalwood paste (candana), clothes and jewellery that You have worn, and taking the remnants of Your food, we Your servants will certainly be victorious over Your maya.
24.Dancing before the Deity of Krsna;
25.Offering prostrated obeisances (dandavat-pranama);
26.Standing up when one sees sri vigraha coming (abhyutthana).
27.Following behind the Deity in procession (anuvrajya).
28.Going into the temple of Krsna;
29.Parikrama means to circumambulate the Deities at least three times keeping Them on one’s right side.
30.Arcana means performing worship (puja) of the Deity
(sri-murti) with different articles;.
31.Paricarya means performing seva for Sri Krsna just as for a king.
paricarya tu sevopakaranadi-pariskriya
tatha prakirnaka-cchatra-vaditradyair upasana
This paricarya is of two kinds one is to clean the paraphernalia and to perform worship; and the other is to perform seva with a camara, to hold an umbrella, to play musical instruments and so forth.
There is no need to explain the next few angas separately in any detail.
33.Congregational chanting of sri-hari-nama;
34.Humbly expressing one’s mind in words (vijnapti);
35.Chanting japa and mantras with acamana, three times a day;
36.Reciting slokas (stava-patha) that glorify Sri Krsna;
37.Accepting and respecting foodstuffs offered to Sri Krsna
38.Tasting with devotion the water that has bathed Sri
Krsna’s lotus feet;
39.Relishing the fragrance of incense and garlands that have been offered to Sri Krsna;
40.Taking darsana of sri-murti;
42.Seeing the performance of the arati ceremony;
43.Hearing the glories of Sri Krsna’s nama, rupa, guna, lila, and katha;
44.Experiencing Sri Krsna’s mercy everywhere and in all circumstances;
45.Contemplating Sri Krsna’s nama, rupa, guna and lila, within the mind;
46.Thoroughly meditating on Sri Krsna’s nama, rupa, guna and lila, and offering service in the mind (manasi-seva). These few angas are quite clear.
47.There are two kinds of servitorship (dasyam): offering the results of one’s activities, and being a servant.
48.There are two kinds of sakhyam: that which is based on faith (visvasa), and that which is based on an attitude of friendship (maitri).
49.The significance of the word atma-nivedanam comes from the word atma. From this come the two principles of egoism of the embodied soul, namely, attachment to the dehi (possessor of the body) in the form of ahamta (I-ness) and attachment to the deha (body) in the form of mamata (my-ness). Atma-nivedanam means to offer these two principles to Sri Krsna.
Vijaya: Will you please explain these two terms more clearly: the
egoism of the embodied jiva (dehi-nistha ahamta), and attachment
to the body and to things connected to the body (deha-nistha
Babaji: The jiva within the body is called dehi (embodied) or aham (self). Acting with the false consciousness of “I” is called dehi-nistha ahamta (the egoism of the embodied jiva); and the consciousness of possessing the body or things that are related to the body is called deha-nistha mamata (attachment to things connected with the body). These two principles of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ are both to be offered to Sri Krsna. Atma-nivedanam means to relinquish the consciousness of ‘I’ and ‘mine,’ and to take care of the body with the consciousness, “I am Krsna’s servant, I take Krsna’s prasada, and I use this body in Krsna’s service.”
Vijaya: How should we offer to Krsna things that are dear to us? (#50)
Babaji: When we accept the things of this world that are very pleasing to us, we should first offer them to Krsna. This is what Srila Rupa Gosvami means by offering the dearmost things to Krsna.
Vijaya: How should we perform all endeavors for Krsna’s sake? (#51)
Babaji: Performing all endeavors for Sri Krsna’s sake means that
one should perform all material activities and all activities in
regulated devotional service that are favorable for service to Sri
Vijaya: How can one accept shelter in every way? (#52)
Babaji: Taking full shelter (saranagati) means to express the mood, “O Bhagavan, I am Yours!” (he bhagavan tavaivasmi!) and “O Bhagavan! I am taking shelter of You!” (he radhe! he krsna! tavaivasmi) in the mind, and out loud.
Vijaya: How does one perform service to Tulasi (tulasi-seva)? (#53)
Babaji: There are nine ways of performing tulasi-seva: having darsana of Tulasi, touching Tulasi, remembering Tulasi, performing kirtana of Tulasi, offering obeisances to Tulasi, hearing the glories and pastimes of Tulasi, planting Tulasi, looking after Tulasi, and perform regular daily worship (nitya-puja) of Tulasi.
ijaya: How should one respect the sastras? (#54)
Babaji: The sastras that establish bhagavad-bhakti are the real sastras. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the best of all these sastras, because it is the essence of all Vedanta. Those who taste its nectarean mellows have no ruci for any other sastra.
Vijaya: What are the glories of Krsna’s birthplace, Mathura? (#55)
Babaji: All desires are fulfilled by performing the following activities in relation to Mathura: hearing, chanting and remembering, desiring to go there, seeing (darsana), touching, residing there, and serving. You should know that Sridhama Mayapura is also of exactly the same nature as Mathura.
Vijaya: What is the purport of serving the Vaisnavas (vaisnavaseva)? (#56)
Babaji: Vaisnavas are very dear to Bhagavan, so when we serve the Vaisnavas, we obtain bhakti towards Bhagavan. It is said in the sastras that worshiping Sri Visnu is greater than worshiping all the devatas, but greater than the worship of Visnu is worshiping the Vaisnava, who is His servant (sevaka).
Vijaya: What is the meaning of observing festivals according to one’s means? (#57)
Babaji: Mahotsava really means collecting articles according to one’s means, and using them in Bhagavan’s service and in His temple for the service of pure Vaisnavas. There is no greater festival than this in this world.
Vijaya: How should we respect the month of Karttika? (#58)
Babaji: The month of Karttika is also called Urjja. Respecting Urjja means performing seva of Sri Damodara by following the angas of bhakti, such as sravana and kirtana, in a regulated way during this month.
Vijaya: How should one observe Krsna’s Birth Day? (#59)
Babaji: Sri Janma-yatra means observing the festivals of Krsna’s Appearance Day on Krsna-astami in the month of Bhadrapada, and of Mahaprabhu’s Appearance Day on the full moon day (Purnima) of the month of Phalguna. Surrendered bhaktas must certainly observe these festivals.
Vijaya: How should one faithfully serve and worship (paricarya) sri-murti with opulence suitable for a king? (#60)
Babaji: Loving enthusiasm is very necessary in the service and worship of sri-murti. Krsna gives not only the insignificant fruit of mukti, but also the great fruit of bhakti, to those who perform seva-puja of sri-murti with great enthusiasm.
Vijaya: What does it mean to relish Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of rasika-bhaktas? (#61)
Babaji: Srimad-Bhagavatam is the very sweet rasa of the desire tree of the Vedas. By associating with people averse to rasa one will be unable to taste the rasa of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the result will be aparadha. One must taste the rasa of the slokas of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of those who are rasa-jna, who are conversant with, and are drinking that rasa, and who are qualified for suddha-bhakti. Speaking or hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam in general assemblies will not award pure bhakti.
Vijaya: What is the association of bhaktas who are of the same mood (svajatiya) and affectionate (snigdha)? (#62)
Babaji: Associating with abhaktas (non-devotees) in the name of sat-sanga will not bring elevation in bhakti. The goal that bhaktas desire is to obtain service in Krsna’s aprakrta (unmanifest) lila, and one who has this desire should be known as a bhakta. Elevation in bhakti comes from associating with members of this group of bhaktas who are superior to oneself. Without this sanga, the development of bhakti stops, and one acquires the nature of the class of people with whom one has sanga. In relation to sanga, Hari-bhaktisudhodyaya (8.51) says:
yasya yat-sangatih pumso manivat syat sa tad-gunah
sva-kularddhye tato dhiman sva-yuthany eva samsrayet
Just as a jewel reflects the colors of objects around it, similarly, a persons nature becomes like that of those with whom he associates.
Therefore, one only becomes a pure sadhu by the association of pure sadhus. Sadhu-sanga (the association of advanced bhaktas) is beneficial in every way. Where sastra gives advice that we should be free from mundane companionship, the purport is that one should associate with sadhus.
Vijaya: What is meant by nama-sankirtana? (#63)
Babaji: Nama is aprakrta-caitanya-rasa (a transcendental living mellow), and within nama there is not any scent of mundane consciousness. When the devoted jiva becomes purified through bhakti and renders service to sri-hari-nama, sri-nama personally manifests on his tongue. Nama cannot be accepted with material senses. This is how one should incessantly perform nama-sankirtana, either alone or with others.
Vijaya: By your mercy we have already understood something about mathura-vasa (living in Krsna’s birthplace, Mathura). Now please explain the essence of these instructions. (#64)
Babaji: Amongst the 64 angas, these last five are the most exalted. If one establishes even a slight connection with them and keeps aloof from offenses, then the state of bhava will arise by their unlimited wonderful influence.
Vijaya: Kindly tell us if there is something more that we should know in relation to this process.
Babaji: The sastras sometimes describe some intermediate fruits of these angas of bhakti, in order to create ruci for bhajana in those who are extroverted and impious. However, the main fruit of all these angas is to develop attachment to Krsna. All the activities of one who is knowledgeable and expert in bhakti must be within the angas of bhakti, and not within the angas of karma. The practice of knowledge (jnana) and renunciation (vairagya) may sometimes assist somebody to enter within the temple of bhakti, but jnana and vairagya are not angas of bhakti, because they make the heart hard, whereas bhakti is very soft and tender by nature. Bhaktas accept the jnana and vairagya that manifest of their own accord through the practice of bhakti, but jnana and vairagya cannot be the cause of bhakti, and bhakti easily awards results that knowledge and renunciation cannot give.
Sadhana-bhakti gives rise to such ruci for hari-bhajana that even very strong attachment to sense objects decreases and vanishes. The sadhaka must always practice yukta-vairagya, and always stay away from the spirit of deceitful renunciation (phalgu-vairagya). Yukta-vairagya means to accept all paraphernalia, according to need and in a detached mood, knowing it to be related to Krsna. If things are actually related to Sri Hari, it is artificial to renounce them as worldly because of greed for mukti; this is called phalgu- vairagya. Therefore, adhyatmika-jnana and phalgu-vairagya should be given up.
Sometimes bhakti is displayed to acquire wealth, disciples and so on, but this is far from pure bhakti. In fact, such a show of bhakti is not actually an anga of bhakti at all. Discrimination (viveka) and other qualities are also not angas of bhakti; they are qualities of the practitioner of bhakti. Similarly yama, niyama, good conduct, cleanliness, and so on are naturally present in people who are favorable towards Krsna, so they are also not angas of bhakti. Qualities such as inward and outward purity, austerity and sense control take shelter of Krsna’s bhaktas of their own accord; the bhaktas do not have to endeavor for them separately. Some of the angas of bhakti that I have mentioned are principal angas, and one will attain perfection by firmly performing sadhana of any of these principal angas, or of several of them. I have explained everything about vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti in a very brief way. Now you should understand this clearly, take it to heart, and practice it with full force.
When Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara heard these instructions from Babaji, they offered sastanga-dandavat-pranama and said, “Prabhu, please deliver us! We are trapped in the deep trench of pride.”
Babaji Mahasaya replied, “Certainly Krsna will bestow His mercy upon you.”
That night uncle and nephew returned home very late.
THUS ENDS THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,