Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha were impressed when they heard the deliberation concerning vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti. They became firmly convinced that one must accept hari-nama and diksa from a siddha-mahatma (great perfected soul) in order to enter the supreme abode. They therefore decided to accept diksa from Siddha Babaji Maharaja the very next day, so as not to lose any time.
Vijaya Kumara had already received diksa-mantra from his family guru in his boyhood. Vrajanatha, however, had not received any diksa-mantra other than the Gayatri mantra. They had both clearly understood from the revered Babaji’s instructions that the jiva goes to hell if he chants mantras received from a guru who is not a Vaisnava; therefore, according to the regulations of sastra, when proper discrimination has awakened, he should again take diksa from a suddha-vaisnava guru. Particularly, one can achieve perfection in the chanting of his mantra very quickly by accepting the mantra from a siddha-bhakta. Thinking like this, they both decided that they would go to Mayapura the next morning, bathe in the Ganga, and then take diksa from the most revered Babaji.
The next morning, they bathed in the Ganga and applied tilaka to the twelve places on their bodies. They then arrived before Raghunatha dasa Babaji and offered prostrated obeisances at his lotus feet. Babaji Maharaja, being a siddha-vaisnava, understood their minds, but as a matter of etiquette he said, “Why have you come here today so early in the morning? What is the matter?”
Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha humbly replied, “O Master, you know that we are very lowly and destitute of spiritual wealth, so kindly take pity on us.”
Babaji Mahasaya was very pleased to hear them speak in this way. He called them into his kutira separately, and bestowed upon them the mantra consisting of eighteen syllables. On receiving and chanting the mantra, they both became intoxicated with mahaprema, and started dancing, crying out, “Jaya Gauranga! Jaya Gauranga!” Around their necks they wore three strands of tulasi beads, the beautiful sacred thread was draped about their bodies, which were marked with tilaka in twelve places; their faces were charming; they exhibited some sattvika-vikara (transformations of ecstasy); and tears flowed incessantly from their eyes. When Babaji Mahasaya saw such beautiful forms, he embraced them, and said, “Today, you have sanctified me.”
Again and again, they relished the dust from Babaji’s lotus feet and rubbed it on their heads and on all their limbs. At that time, in accordance with Vrajanatha’s previous arrangement, their two servants arrived with a large quantity of food offerings (bhoga) for Sriman Mahaprabhu. With folded hands Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha requested that the bhoga preparations should be offered, and the venerable chief among the bhaktas of Srivasaangana instructed the pujari to offer the bhoga to the Deities of Sri Sri Panca-tattva.
Conch-shells and bells sounded, and the Vaisnavas took up cymbals, karatalas and mrdangas and began to sing the bhoga-arati song before Sriman Mahaprabhu. Many Vaisnavas gathered, and the bhoga offering was accomplished with great ceremony. Arrangements were then made for distributing prasadam in the natyamandira (dancing hall). Hearing the loud sounds of hari-nama, all the Vaisnavas assembled together, bringing their lotas with them. Then they loudly chanted the glories of maha-prasada and began to honor prasada. Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara did not want to sit down immediately, because they were waiting for maha-mahaprasada (the remnants of the guru and the Vaisnavas). However, the foremost of the respected Babajis made them sit down, saying, “You are grhastha Vaisnavas. We will be blessed by offering prostrated obeisances unto your lotus feet.”
Kumara and Vrajanatha said humbly with folded hands, “You are great renounced Vaisnavas. We will be very fortunate if we can partake of your ambrosial remnants, and it will be an offense if we sit with you.”
The Vaisnavas replied, “So far as Vaisnavism is concerned, there is no difference between a householder and a renunciant. Vaisnavas are compared only according to their devotion; the more advanced Vaisnava is simply the one who has the deeper devotion for Sri Krsna.”
They all sat together conversing in this way, and honoring prasada, but Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha waited quietly, faithfully keeping their prasada in front of them. Some of the Vaisnavas who were respecting prasada noticed this and, understanding their motive, said to Raghunatha dasa Babaji, “O chief of the Vaisnavas, please be kind to your faithful disciples, otherwise they will not take prasada.”
When the elderly Babaji heard the Vaisnavas’ request, he gave some of his prasada to Vijaya and Vrajanatha. They accepted his remnants with great faith, uttering sri gurave namah, and began to honor prasada. While the bhaktas were taking prasada, some would call out, “Sadhus savahana, be very careful not to overeat!” and “All glories to the greatness of the prasadam!”
Oh! What unprecedented splendor arose in the natya-mandira of Srivasa-angana at that time! Everyone perceived Sri Saci-devi, Sita and Malini-devi bringing prasada, while Sriman Mahaprabhu sat and lovingly took that prasada with His dear associates. Seeing this, the Vaisnavas forgot to take their own prasada. They all watched, motionless, while tears of great joy gently trickled from their eyes, and their hands, which were in the act of bringing prasada to their mouths, remained fixed for as long as this lila was manifest. After a short time, the lila disappeared from their sight, and they gazed at one another and wept. Then the sweet taste of that prasada defied description. As if with a single voice all of the bhaktas said, “These two sons of brahmanas are recipients of Gaura Hari’s mercy. For this reason Sriman Mahaprabhu has manifested His lila in this festival today.”
Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara wept and said, “We are worthless, wretched and destitute. We know nothing at all. We could only see all these things today by the causeless mercy of our guru and the Vaisnavas. Today our taking birth has become meaningful.” When Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha had honored prasada, they took permission of the Vaisnavas and returned home. From that day on, they bathed daily in the Ganga, and then offered dandavat-pranama at the feet of their preceptor. They would then take darsana of the Deity forms of Sri Krsna in the mandira, and circumambulate Tulasi. In this way, they accepted some kind of instruction every day. After four or five days had elapsed, they presented themselves one evening at Srivasa-angana. Sandhya-arati and nama-sankirtana were already over, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji sat in his kutira, softly chanting sri-nama in a sweet voice. They both offered dandavat-pranama at his lotus feet, and he lovingly placed his lotus hand on their heads, seated them, and inquired about their welfare.
Vrajanatha saw this as an opportunity and said, “Master, by your mercy we have properly understood vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti. Now we are very anxious to understand raganuga-bhakti, so kindly instruct us about this.”
Babaji was extremely pleased to hear this, and said, “Sri Gauracandra has taken both of you as His own, so there is nothing that should not be given to you. Listen very carefully as I explain
“First, I offer my dandavat-pranama again and again at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Gosvami, whom Sriman Mahaprabhu liberated from the association of the Muslims, and to whom he instructed rasa-tattva at Prayaga. I then take shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who is like a black bee, tasting the nectar of that vraja-rasa. The supremely merciful Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu liberated him from the bottomless pit of gross materialism. Then, by entrusting him within the hands of Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, He bestowed all perfection upon him.
Vrajanatha: But I would first like to know what is raga.
Babaji: When materialistic people are in contact with the objects of the senses, they naturally become deeply attached to an endless variety of material sense enjoyment. This intense attachment in the heart is called visaya-raga. When they glance upon some beautiful object, the eyes become restless, and in the heart, there is an attraction (ranjakata) towards the object of beauty and attachment (raga) to it.
Raga-bhakti is the state in which Krsna becomes the sole object of raga. Srila Rupa Gosvami has defined the word raga in the following way:
iste svarasiki ragah paramavistata bhavet
tan-mayi ya bhaved bhaktih satra ragatmikodita
Raga is the unquenchable loving thirst (prema-mayi trsna) for the object of one’s affection, which gives rise to spontaneous and intense absorption (svarasiki paramavistata) in that object. Ragamayi bhakti is the performance of seva, such as stringing garlands, with such intense raga.
Raga is the absolute (parama) and undivided (svarasiki) absorption (avistata) in one’s own particular object of worship. When devotion to Krsna comes to the stage of ragamayi, it is called
ragatmika-bhakti. In summary, it can be said that intense hankering for Krsna that is saturated with prema (prema-mayi) is called ragatmika-bhakti.
It is auspicious that a person in whose heart such raga has not arisen should strive to cultivate such bhakti by behaving according to vidhi (the rules and regulations of sastra). The principles at work in vaidhi-bhakti are fear, respect and reverence, whereas the only principle at work in ragatmika-bhakti is lobha, or greed, in relation to Sri Krsna’s lila.
Vrajanatha: Who has the adhikara (qualification) for ragamayi
Babaji: Vaidhi-sraddha bestows the adhikara for vaidhi-bhakti, and similarly, lobhamayi sraddha (faith imbued with greed for Krsna’s vraja-lila) bestows the adhikara for ragamayi bhakti. The bhava of the vraja-vasis towards Krsna is the supreme example of ragatmika-bhakti. One who has the great fortune to have greed (lobha) to obtain the same bhava (sentiment ) as the vrajavasis have towards Krsna has the adhikara for raganuga-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: What are the symptoms of such lobha?
Babaji: When one hears about the intensely sweet bhavas of the vraja-vasis, one’s intelligence (buddhi-apeksa) begins to consider how one may enter into those dealings. That desire (apeksa) is the symptom that lobha has awakened.
A person who has the adhikara for vaidhi-bhakti tests everything on the platform of intelligence, knowledge of sastra, and reasoning; and when he hears krsna-katha, he only accepts it if these three support it. However, there is no such consideration in raga-marga, for intelligence, knowledge of sastra, and reasoning are not desired on this path. All that is needed is the greed for the sentiments of the vraja-vasis: “What are the sweet bhavas of the vraja-vasis towards Krsna? Is it possible for me to obtain such bhavas? How can this be obtained?” This intense yearning is the symptom of greed, and one who does not have it does not have the adhikara for raganuga-bhakti. This you should understand.
Vrajanatha: What is the process of raganuga-bhakti?
Babaji: The sadhaka who has developed greed towards the beautiful service mood (seva) of a particular vraja-vasi always remembers and meditates on his seva to that personality. He is absorbed in the mutual pastimes of his beloved Sri Krsna with that vraja-vasi, and he constantly resides in Vraja, either physically or within the mind, having a greed to obtain his or her bhava. He follows that vraja-vasi’s example, and always renders seva in two ways: Externally, he serves as a practicing sadhaka; and internally he renders seva with the bhavas (bhavana-purvaka) of his siddha-deha. This is the process of raganuga-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: What is the relationship between raganuga-bhakti and the angas of vaidhi-bhakti?
Babaji: The angas of vaidhi-bhakti – sravanam, kirtanam, and so on – are also included in the raganuga-sadhaka’s practice. The sadhaka follows the eternal residents of Vraja, and consequently he tastes the eternal bliss of service. At the same time, he observes the angas of vaidhi-bhakti with his external body.
Vrajanatha: Please explain the glories of raganuga-bhakti.
Babaji: Raganuga-bhakti very quickly bestows that fruit which one cannot obtain even by observing the angas of vaidhi-bhakti with firm faith (nistha) for a long time. Devotion on the vaidhi-marga is weak, because it depends on rules and regulations; whereas raganuga-bhakti is naturally strong, because it is completely independent.
When one adopts the spiritual conception of following in the footsteps of a loving resident of Vraja, raga is awakened which always involves following the process of sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, pada-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam and atmanivedanam. Ruci for following in the footsteps of the vraja-vasis is only awakened in those whose hearts are nirguna (beyond material attributes). This is why the greed for raganuga-bhakti is supremely rare and the root of supreme auspiciousness. There are as many types of raganuga-bhakti as there are of ragatmikabhakti.
Vrajanatha: How many kinds of ragatmika-bhakti are there?
Babaji: There are two kinds of ragatmika-bhakti: that which is based on transcendental lust to satisfy Krsna (kama-rupa), and that which is based on relationship (sambandha-rupa).
Vrajanatha: Please explain the difference between kama-rupa and sambandha-rupa.
Babaji: It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.1.30-31):
kamad dvesad bhayat snehad yatha bhaktyesvare manah
avesya tad-agham hitva bahavas tad-gatim gatah
gopyah kamad bhayat kamso dvesac caidyadayo nrpah
sambandhad vrsnayah snehad yuyam bhaktya vayam vibho
Many people have attained the Supreme by complete absorption of the mind in devotion through lusty desires (kama), envy (dvesa), fear (bhaya), or affection (sneha), and by giving up the faulty aspects of those sentiments. The gopis have attained the Supreme by fixing their minds on Krsna through kama; Kamsa by bhaya; Sisupala and other kings by dvesa; the Yadus by family relationships (sambandha); you (the Pandavas) by affection (sneha); and we sages (Narada and other rsis) by bhakti.
Six principles are mentioned here, namely, kama (lust), bhaya (fear), dvesa (envy), sambandha (family relationship), sneha (affection), and bhakti (devotion). Two of these – bhaya (fear) and dvesa (envy) – should not be imitated because they are unfavorable sentiments. Now, there are two kinds of sneha. The first is associated with sakhya-bhava and is included in vaidhi-bhakti. The second kind is related to prema and has no application in the field of sadhana. Therefore, sneha has no place in the practice of raganugasadhana- bhakti.
The words bhaktya vayam (in the sloka 7.1.31) mean that ‘we’ –Narada and other sages – have attained the Supreme by bhakti. The word bhakti here should be understood to mean vaidhi-bhakti, and may refer either to the vaidhi-bhakti practices of the sages such as Narada, or to devotion mixed with jnana. The words tad-gatim gatah mean that many people have attained the Supreme. It is important to have a clear understanding of this sentence. A single ray of sunlight (kirana) and the sun itself are one and the same substance (vastu). Similarly, brahma and Krsna are also one and the same substance; brahma is simply Krsna’s bodily effulgence. The jnani bhaktas merge into that brahma existence, and so do Krsna’s enemies when He has personally killed them. Some of them obtain sarupyabhasa (a semblance of sarupya, or having a form similar to Bhagavan’s) and remain immersed in the bliss of brahma. According to the Brahmanda Purana, they stay in Siddhaloka, the liberated world beyond the material world.
Two kinds of jivas reside in Siddhaloka: those who have attained perfection through the cultivation of knowledge (jnana-siddha), and asuras who have been killed by Sri Bhagavan. Amongst these jnana-siddhas, some who are extremely fortunate become the asraya of raga (abode of attachment for Krsna), and they worship His lotus feet and thus obtain the ultimate aim of krsna-prema. In this way, they gain entry into the group of Krsna’s dear associates.
As the sunrays and the sun are considered one substance, similarly there is no difference between Krsna’s bodily effulgence known as brahma and Krsna Himself. The words, tad-gatim mean attaining tat, i.e., Krsna (krsna-gati). The jnanis and the asuras achieve sayujya-mukti and both attain brahma, which is the rays of Krsna’s effulgence (krsna-kirana). The suddha-bhaktas develop prema, and attain service to Krsna, who is the root of all existence. Now, by removing bhaya, dvesa, sneha, and bhakti from the above- mentioned list of six characteristics, we are left with kama and sambandha. Therefore, kama and sambandha are the only bhavas that are applicable in raga-marga. Thus, there are two types of ragamayi bhakti: kama-rupa and sambandha-rupa.
Vrajanatha: What is the svarupa (intrinsic characteristic) of kamarupa
Babaji: The word kama signifies sambhoga-trsna (the desire for sambhoga with Krsna). This sambhoga-trsna changes into ragatmikabhakti, and from this, causeless loving behavior arises. In other words, priti-sambhoga is to satisfy Krsna’s desires. All one’s endeavors are made solely for Krsna’s happiness and prosperity, without any desire for one’s own happiness. Even if there is an effort for one’s own pleasure, it is in accordance with Krsna’s happiness.
This unprecedented love is only found in the female residents of Vraja. The gopis’ prema is endowed with a particular wonderful sweetness (madhurya), and gives rise to many playful sports and pastimes. That is why learned scholars refer to this unique condition of love as kama (lust), although in reality the gopis’ kama is aprakrta (transcendental) and completely bereft of even the slightest trace of fault. The kama of the conditioned souls is full of fault and contemptible, whereas the love of the gopis is so transcendentally pure and attractive that even such dear bhaktas as Uddhava also desire to attain it. Nothing can compare with the gopis’ kama; it can only be compared with itself. Kama-ruparagatmika-bhakti is found only in Vraja, and nowhere else. Kubja’s kama in Mathura is not really kama, but merely rati. The kama that I am describing has no relation with that of Kubja.
Vrajanatha: What is sambandha-rupa-bhakti?
Babaji: Sambandha-rupa-bhakti is devotion to Krsna in which one assumes an abhimana (conception and identity) such as “I am Krsna’s father” or “I am Krsna’s mother.” In Vraja, the devotion of Nanda Maharaja and Mother Yasoda are examples of sambandharupa bhakti.
One can attain one’s inherent svarupa in unalloyed prema by developing the bhavas of either kama-rupa or sambandha-rupa. Therefore, both these bhavas are the shelter of nitya-siddha-bhaktas. These have only been mentioned in the analysis of raganuga-bhakti. Now, you can see that there are two types of raganuga-sadhanabhakti:
kamanuga and sambandhanuga.
Vrajanatha: Please explain the nature of kamanuga in raganugasadhana-bhakti.
Babaji: Kamanuga is the desire to follow kama-rupa-bhakti, of which there are two types: sambhoga-icchamayi and tat-tad-bhavaicchamayi.
Vrajanatha: What is sambhoga-icchamayi?
Babaji: Sambhoga-icchamayi means the desire to engage in playful sportive pastimes (keli) with Krsna. Krsna’s transcendental sportive pastimes with the gopis are called sambhoga.
Vrajanatha: What is tat-tad-bhava-icchamayi?
Babaji: Tat-tad-bhava-icchamayi is the desire to experience the sweet bhavas that the gopis of Vraja have towards Krsna. Vrajanatha: How do these two kinds of raganuga-sadhana-bhakti arise?
Babaji: When a bhakta sees Sri Krsna’s beautiful Deity form and hears Sri Krsna’s madhura-lila-katha (sweet pastimes), an intense hankering arises in his heart to experience those bhavas, and he then engages himself in the sadhana of kamanuga and sambandhanuga raganuga-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: Sri Krsna is male (purusa) and the gopis are all female (prakrti). As far as I understand, only females can have the adhikara for kamanuga raganuga-bhakti, so how can a male obtain this bhava?
Babaji: Jivas in this world are the abodes of five different types of relationships – santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya – according to their own inherent svabhava. Of these five, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya are found in the residents of Vraja. Dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya with fatherly instincts are male bhavas, and those who are so inclined serve Krsna in male spiritual forms. The two rasas in which the female bhava is intrinsic are vatsalya with motherly instincts, and srngara-rasa or madhurya-rasa (the mellow of amorous love), and those who are of this nature engage in Krsna’s service as females. These two kinds of svabhava exist both in Sri Krsna’s eternal associates and in sadhakas who are in their anugatya (following).
Vrajanatha: How do those who have a male form practice raganugasadhana with the bhava of the vraja-gopis?
Babaji: Those who have developed ruci for srngara-rasa according to their adhikara may be male outwardly, but their spiritual body (siddha-sarira) has a female form. In that siddha-sarira, they engage in Krsna’s service, following in the footsteps of a particular gopi according to their ruci and inherent svabhava. Padma Purana describes males who possessed this kind of bhava. When the sages of Dandakaranya saw Sri Ramacandra’s unparalleled beauty, they performed bhajana with a desire to get Him as their husband. Later, they attained gopi forms in Gokula lila and engaged in Sri Hari’s service by kama-rupa-ragamayi-bhakti.
Vrajanatha: We have heard that the women of Gokula are nityasiddhas, who appear in Vraja in order to give nourishment to Krsna’s pastimes. If this is true, how is it consistent with the description of the Padma Purana?
Babaji: Those who were nitya-siddha gopis easily participated in the rasa dance with Sri Krsna. Others had taken birth as gopis after attaining siddhi through kamarupa-sadhana-bhakti. According to the sloka ta varyamanah patibhih pitrbhir bhratr-bandhubhih1
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.8), they attained their aprakrta-svarupa by rendering manasa-seva to Krsna. These were mainly the maharsis of Dandakaranya.
1 ta varyamanah patibhih pitrbhir bhratr-bandhubhih
govindapahrtatmano na nyavartanta mohitah (SB 10.29.8)
Even though the (nitya-siddha) gopis were forbidden by their husbands, fathers, mothers, and brothers, they did not stop, because they were enchanted, their hearts already having been
stolen by Sri Govinda. In this regard, Srimad-Bhagavatam
(10.23.20) is also worth studying.
Vrajanatha: Will you please explain who are the nitya-siddha gopis and who are the sadhana-siddha gopis?
Babaji: Srimati Radharani is Sri Krsna’s svarupa-sakti, and the eight principal sakhis are Her first kaya-vyuha (bodily expansions). The other sakhis follow behind as Her further kaya-vyuha. All these sakhis are nitya-siddha; they are svarupa-sakti-tattva, not jiva-tattva. The general sakhis of Vraja – who attained perfection by performing sadhana – follow Srimati Radharani’s eternal associates (parikara), and they are known as sadhana-siddha jivas. Having been imbued with the potency of hladini-sakti, they attained salokya (residence in vraja-aprakrta-lila) with the nityasiddha sakhis of Vraja. Jivas who attain perfection by the path of raganuga-sadhana in srngara-rasa are included amongst the sadhana-siddha sakhis.
Those who only serve Krsna according to the principles of the vidhi-marga, with the riramsa (desire) to enjoy with Krsna for their own pleasure, gain entry into the group of Krsna’s queens in Dvaraka. One cannot become a follower of the vraja-gopis through the vidhi-marga alone. However, those who behave externally according to the principles of vidhi-marga, but who internally practice the sadhana of raga-marga, also obtain vraja-seva.
Vrajanatha: How can one fulfill the desire for enjoyment (ramana) or riramsa?
Babaji: Those who have the mood of Krsna’s queens (mahisi-bhava) towards Him desire to give up the quality of shamelessness (dhrstata), and engage in Krsna’s service just as a housewife (grhini). They do not want to serve like the beautiful vraja-sundaris. because they were enchanted, their hearts already having been stolen by Sri Govinda. In this regard, Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.23.20) is also worth studying.
Vrajanatha: Please explain this subject more clearly.
Babaji: Mahisi-bhava is the sadhana-seva in which one cherishes the spiritual self-conception that Krsna is one’s own husband. The relationship that is established with Sri Krsna when one attains this mahisi-bhava is known as svakiya (marital love). Those who have mahisi-bhava in the stage of sadhana do not experience the parakiya-rasa (paramour mellow) of the gopis of Vraja, and this is why they cannot follow the gopis in parakiya-bhava. Therefore, the only way to attain vraja-rasa is to practice raganuga-sadhanabhakti in the parakiya-bhava.
Vrajanatha: By your mercy, I have understood up to this point. Now, please explain the difference between kama and prema. If the two are non-different, then can’t prema-rupa be used instead of kamarupa? The word kama sounds somewhat harsh.
Babaji: There is some difference between kama and prema. Prema is the same as sambandha-rupa ragamayi-bhakti; there is no difference between those two. In sambandha-rupa-bhakti, there is no kama, in other words, no desire for sambhoga; it is prema without playful sporting pastimes (keli). Prema becomes kama-rupa-bhakti when it is combined with the desire for sambhoga. Kama-rupa-bhakti is not present in any other rasa; it is found only in the srngararasa of the vraja-devis. Kama in this material world takes the form of sense gratification, and it is quite different from aprakrta-kama. The kama of this material world is only a perverted reflection or transformation of the faultless aprakrta-kama. Even Kubja’s bhava cannot be called direct kama, although it is directed towards Krsna.
Jadiya-kama (lust in relation to inert, lifeless matter) is based on sense gratification, and it is only a transformation of misery. It is worthless and contemptible. In contrast, kama based on prema is full of ananda, and it is supremely valuable and always joyful. Since prakrta-kama (worldly lust) is insignificant and abominable, you should have no hesitation in using the word aprakrta-kama (transcendental lust).
Vrajanatha: Now please explain raganuga-bhakti that is based on relationship (sambandha-rupa).
Babaji: Sambandhanuga bhakti has the mood of being related to Krsna, and this relationship may be one of three types: in dasya (servitude), in sakhya (friendship), or in vatsalya (parental). ‘I am Krsna’s servant, and Krsna is my master’; ‘I am Krsna’s friend’; ‘I am Krsna’s mother or father’ – all these moods are called relationship. Sambandhanuga bhakti is pre-eminently displayed only in the inhabitants of Vraja.
Vrajanatha: How does one cultivate raganuga-bhakti in the mood of a servant, friend or parent?
Babaji: One who has awakened ruci for dasya-rasa follows Krsna’s eternal servants such as Raktaka and Patraka, and serves Krsna by following their particular mood of service, imbued with madhurabhava. One whose ruci is towards sakhya-rasa serves Krsna by following the bhava (sentiment) and cesta (endeavors) of one of Krsna’s priya-sakhas such as Subala. One whose ruci is towards vatsalya-rasa engages in Krsna’s service by following the bhava and activities of bhaktas such as Nanda and Yasoda, who have a parental relationship with Him.
Vrajanatha: What does it mean to follow (anukarana) the cesta and bhavas?
Babaji: According to one’s eternal inherent nature (siddha-bhava) towards Krsna, some specific bhavas and cesta (endeavors) arise, and vyavahara (activities) are also manifested along with them. A sadhaka performing sambandhanuga bhakti engages himself in Krsna’s service by following these bhavas, cesta and vyavahara. For instance, Nanda Maharaja has the mood of paternal affection towards Krsna, so one should follow all the endeavors that he makes to please Krsna, guided by the mood of paternal affection, but one should never consider that he himself is Nanda, Yasoda, Subala or Raktaka. Rather, one should simply follow the bhavas of these great bhaktas according to one’s own ruci; otherwise, it will be an offense.
Vrajanatha: Which type of raganuga-bhakti do we have the adhikara to adopt?
Babaji: My son, you should scrutinize your own svabhava, and then you will see the corresponding type of devotion for which you are qualified. A particular ruci will awaken according to your inherent svabhava, and you should pursue the rasa that is indicated by that ruci. In order to cultivate that rasa, you should follow one of Krsna’s eternal associates who is perfect in it. To determine rasa, it is only necessary to examine your own ruci. If your ruci is towards the path of raga, then you should act according to that ruci; and as long as inclination has not awakened for the path of raga, you should simply execute the principles of vaidhi-bhakti with firm faith.
Vijaya: Prabhu, I have been studying Srimad-Bhagavatam for a long time, and I listen to krsna-lila whenever and wherever I find the opportunity. Whenever I deliberate on krsna-lila, a strong bhava arises within my heart to serve the Divine Couple as Lalita-devi does.
Babaji: You need not say any more. You are a manjari (young maidservant) of Lalita-devi. Which service do you like?
Vijaya: I desire that Srimati Lalita-devi should grant me permission to string garlands of flowers. I shall string lovely garlands of beautiful delicate flowers, and place them in Lalita Sakhi’s lotus hands. She will look upon me with an infinitely merciful, love laden glance, and then she will place the garlands around the necks of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna.
Babaji: I give you my blessings that you may attain perfection in the goal for which you are undertaking your sadhana. When Vijaya heard Babaji Mahasaya’s affectionate benediction, he fell at the lotus feet of his preceptor and wept. Seeing his emotional state, Babaji said, “Go on continually practicing raganuga-sadhana-bhakti with this same feeling, and externally follow the conduct laid down according to the rules of vaidhisadhana-bhakti, in a regular way.”
When Vrajanatha saw Vijaya Kumara’s spiritual wealth, he folded his hands and humbly said, “My master, whenever I meditate on Sri Krsna’s pastimes, a desire arises in my heart to serve Him by following in the footsteps of Subala.”
Babaji: Which service do you like?
Vrajanatha: When the calves wander far off to graze, I would very much like to bring them back in the company of Subala. When Krsna sits in a place to play upon His flute, I will take the permission of Subala to let the cows drink water, and then I will bring them to Bhai (Brother) Krsna. This is my heart’s desire.
Babaji: I give you the benediction that you will attain Krsna’s service as a follower of Subala. You are eligible to cultivate the sentiment of friendship (sakhya-rasa).
It is wonderful that from that day on, within Vijaya Kumara’s mind, the feeling began to sprout that he was a maidservant (dasi) of Srimati Lalita-devi, and he began to look upon Srila Babaji Maharaja as the personification of Sri Lalita-devi.
Vijaya: Oh master! What more remains to be known about this subject. Please give your order.
Babaji: Nothing more remains. You need only know the name, form, dress and so on, of your siddha-sarira. Come to me alone at another time and I shall tell you all these things.
Vijaya Kumara offered dandavat-pranama at the feet of his preceptor and replied, “As my master pleases.”
From that day on, Vrajanatha began to look upon Babaji as the personification of Subala. Babaji said to Vrajanatha, “You also come to me alone at another time and I will tell you the name, form, dress and ornaments of your spiritual body.”
Vrajanatha offered dandavat-pranama and said, “As my master pleases.”
Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara acknowledged their great good fortune, and from that day on, they happily engaged in their spiritual practice of raganuga-sadhana. Externally, everything remained as before, but their inner emotions had changed. Externally, Vijaya Kumara behaved only as a man, but internally he was imbued with the female nature (stri-bhava), while within Vrajanatha appeared the inherent svabhava of a cowherd boy.
The night was far advanced. Both of them returned home, chanting on their japa-mala the maha-mantra that they had received from their preceptor – Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. It was midnight, and the lovely moonlight appeared like a shower of whitish silver upon the earth. An intoxicating breeze blew from the Malayan Mountain, creating a very pleasant sensation for the mind. They sat down together beneath an amvala tree in a beautiful secluded place near Laksmana Tila, and began a discussion.
Vijaya: Vrajanatha, our hearts’ desires have been fulfilled. We shall certainly be blessed with Krsna’s mercy by the grace of the Vaisnavas. Let us now decide our future course of action. Tell me frankly what you want to do. Do you want to marry, or do you want to become a mendicant? I don’t want to put any pressure on you; I just want you to let me know your real intention, so that I can communicate it to your mother.
Vrajanatha: Uncle, I regard you very highly, and besides that, you are an erudite scholar and a Vaisnava. You have been my guardian since my father passed away, and I am prepared to act according to your order. I am nervous about marriage because I don’t want to become entangled in the material world and fall down from my realization of the supreme spiritual reality. What is your opinion?
Vijaya: I don’t want to impose anything on you. You have to decide for yourself.
Vrajanatha: It will be proper for me to receive Gurudeva’s instruction, and act accordingly.
Vijaya: That’s a good idea. Tomorrow we shall take Prabhupada’s decision on this subject.
Vrajanatha: Uncle, what is your consideration? Will you remain as a grhastha or become a mendicant?
Vijaya: My son, like you, I am also undecided. I sometimes think of giving up grhastha-dharma and becoming a mendicant; and sometimes I think that if I do so, my heart may become dried up, so that I am deprived of bhakti-rasa as well. I think it is appropriate to take Sri Gurudeva’s order in this regard, and act accordingly. I shall do as he instructs me.
Realizing that the night was far advanced, uncle and nephew returned home chanting hari-nama, then after honoring prasada, they took rest.
THUS ENDS THE TWENTY-FIRST CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,