krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yaj˝aih sankirtana-prayair bhajami kali-pavanam (1)
nijatve gaudiyan jagati parigrhya prabhur-iman
hare krsnety evam ganana-vidhina kirtayata bhoh
iti prayam siksam carana-madhupebhyah paridisan
saci-sunuh kim me nayana-saranim yasyati padam (2)
By the sacrifice of the congregational chanting of the holy name, I worship the deliverer of the living entities of Kali-yuga, Sri Gaurangadeva, who constantly sings the name of Krsna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krsna Himself. He is accompanied by His angas (bodily limbs in the form of Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu), upangas (parts of limbs like Srivasa Pandita), astra (weapon in the form of the holy name), and parsada (associates like Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Gadadhara, and Govinda).
When will the son of Sacimata appear within the path of my eyes? He has accepted the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, who are like bees at His lotus feet, as His personal associates. Like a father, He gave them instructions to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra counting a fixed number of rounds.
The Supreme Absolute Truth, Sri Hari, has manifested His golden form in Navadvipa to deliver the living entities of Kali-yuga. Along with His associates, He has given the treasure of love of God by introducing the chanting of the holy names of the Lord the religious practice for the age of Kali. Congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord is an eternal activity of the living entity. All other religious activities are meant to help one attain perfection in chanting the holy names.
It is said in the Visnu-rahasya:
yad abhyarcya harim bhaktya
krte kratu-satair api
phalam prapnoty avikalam
kalau govinda-kirtanat (3)
Whatever fruit can be obtained in Satya-yuga by devotedly worshiping Sri Hari through the performance of hundreds of sacrifices, that same result can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by Govinda kirtana.
While chanting, other methods of atonement are prohibited. In the Brhad-visnu Purana it is stated:
namno 'sya yavati saktih
tavat kartum na saknoti
patakam pataki janah (4)
Simply by once chanting the holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit.
There is no atonement equal to chanting the holy names. Therefore, intelligent persons give up all other occupational duties mentioned in the Vedas.
In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, there is the following quote from the Vaisnava-cintamani on the superiority of kirtana:
aghacchit smaranam visnor
kirtanan tu tato varam (5)
Remembrance of Visnu, which destroys all sins, is attained by great efforts, but the glorification of Visnu just by vibrating the lips is superior to this remembrance. (The reason being that even by namabhasa, or reflection of chanting, the bondage to the material world is cut.)
By performance of austerities, remembrance of the Lord is difficult to attain. However, simply by moving one's lips one can easily perform kirtana. Even without moving the lips one may remember the holy names. By such chanting and remembering of the holy names one can achieve all perfection. Therefore, all the sastras have established that chanting and remembering the holy names is superior to the process of arcana.
The Hari-bhakti-vilasa states:
yena janma-sataih purvam
tan mukhe hari-namani
sada tisthanti bharata (6)
O best of the Bharatas! The holy name of Hari can be always present in the mouth of only one who has perfectly worshiped Vasudeva for hundreds of previous births.
In the sixteen word Hare Krsna mantra there are eight pairs of names. Corresponding to these eight pairs, Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recited the eight slokas of the Siksastaka.
The first pair of names Hare Krsna signifies the subduer of ignorance and the performance of nama-sankirtana with faith. The second pair Hare Krsna means Krsna's names are invested with all potencies. One should have attachment for bhajana by taking shelter of the holy names in the association of sadhus. Gradually by performing bhajana, anarthas (unwanted contaminations) are destroyed. As anarthas are removed, nistha (firm faith) develops. The third pair Krsna Krsna indicates the company of pure devotees and becoming fixed in firm faith throughout the day and night. By the fourth pair Hare Hare unmotivated devotion is awakened along with a taste for nama-sankirtana.
The fifth pair Hare Rama represents the taste for pure service along with rememberance of the holy names as prescribed in the Siksastaka. In the sixth pair Hare Rama chanting in the beginning stage of transcendental emotion leads to material detachment and complete attachment to Krsna. The seventh pair Rama Rama awakens attachment for the mellow of conjugal rasa, the shelter of Radha's lotus feet, and feelings of separation. The eighth pair Hare Hare leads to attainment of the goal of life loving service to Radha and Krsna following in the mood of the gopis of Vrndavana throughout the eight divisions of day and night (asta-kala).
In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is said:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyuda˝cati
sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah (7)
Certain pious activities Such pious activities as unknowingly serving or hearing krsna-katha from a devotee (aj˝ata-sukrti) lead to bhakti. >, which lead to bhakti, generate faith. One then becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter, one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krsna consciousness.
While chanting at the stage of nistha, anarthas are destroyed and one attains taste for the holy name. Then as more anarthas are destroyed, one comes to the stage of attachment. Gradually as the stage of bhava, or rati, is attained, almost all anarthas are destroyed.
In this development, if the desire for fame arises due to the company of nondevotees, it leads to kutinati (diplomacy), which then results in one's falldown. Therefore, one should carefully abandon the company of nondevotees and at the same time he should always chant the Lord's name in great ecstasy.
The Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu quotes the following verse from the Katyayana-samhita:
It is better to accept the miseries of being encaged and surrounded by burning flames than to associate with those bereft of Krsna consciousness. Such association is a very great hardship.
In the Visnu-rahasya it is stated:
alinganam varam manye
na sangah salya-yuktanam
One should prefer to embrace a snake, a tiger or an alligator rather than associate with persons who are worshipers of various demigods and who are impelled by material desire.
In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is said that even namabhasa destroys all sins and bestows liberation.
tam nirvyajam bhaja guna-nidhe pavanam pavananam
sraddha-rajyan-matir atitaram uttamah-sloka-maulim
prodyann antah-karana-kuhare hanta yan-nama-bhanor
abhaso 'pi ksapayati maha-pataka-dhvanta-rasim (10)
O reservoir of all good qualities, just worship Sri Krsna, the purifier of all purifiers, the most exalted of the personalities worshiped by choice poetry. Worship Him with a faithful, unflinching mind, without duplicity, and in a highly elevated manner. Thus worship the Lord, whose name is like the sun, for just as a slight appearance of the sun dissipates the darkness of night, so a slight appearance of the holy name of Krsna can drive away all the darkness of ignorance that arises in the heart due to greatly sinful activities performed in previous lives.
As one executes devotional practices according to the instructions of the Siksastaka, the pastimes of Krsna gradually manifest within his heart.
In the beginning, one should perform bhajana according to the first sloka of Siksastaka Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura states in his commentary on the Siksastaka, the Sanmodana-bhasya, that the word param in the first verse indicates that after sraddha and sat-sanga, that is, at the stage of bhajana-kriya one engages in the chanting of the holy name.> for some days. By this practice one should then become mature Mature means one should carefully try to avoid namaparadha as indicated by the word durdaivam, then one is able to properly glorify the holy name, form, attributes, and pastimes of the Lord.> as described in the second verse.
Gradually one should concentrate on bhajana according to the third and fourth sloka. The third verse of Siksastaka describes the qualities of the sadhaka which manifest after he is free from offenses. In the fourth verse, the words na dhanam na janam na sundarim indicate the marginal qualities of the pure devotee, who is free from all material desires.> According to the fifth sloka one should accept his spiritual body In the fifth verse, the word kinkaram means the living entity is eternally the servant of Krsna, but due to his past misdeeds he is drowning in the material ocean.> (siddha-deha). After accepting siddha-deha one should begin bhajana under the shelter of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani and gradually make progress.
Bhajana performed according to the sixth sloka indicates almost all anarthas have disappeared In the sixth verse the external symptoms of bhava are described. At this stage the sadhaka has already overcome almost all anarthas.> and one therefore has the required adhikara (qualification) for attaining siddha-deha. If one thinks of his siddha-deha without achieving the adhikara his intellect gets bewildered.
One should carefully accept the sequence as given in the Siksastaka if he wants to attain perfection. By observing the activities of sadhus one can attain a pure intellect. On achieving siddha-deha, as one continues bhajana he can easily enjoy service throughout the day and night.
One should remember Siksastaka and practice smarana and kirtana accordingly, then gradually asta-kala service will be awakened in the heart. At that time all unwanted contaminations, including religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation will appear insignificant, and one will achieve the treasure of love.
By chanting the holy name the mirror of one's heart is cleansed. As stated in the Siksastaka (1):
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam (11)
Glories to the Sri Krsna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years together. Thus the fire of conditioned life, of repeated birth and death is extinguished. This sankirtana movement is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge, it increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it helps to have a taste of the full nectar for which we are always anxious.
By performing congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, one can destroy the sinful condition of material existence, purify the unclean heart, and awaken all varieties of devotional service. The result of chanting is that one awakens his love for Krsna and tastes transcendental bliss. Ultimately, one attains the association of Krsna and engages in His devotional service, as if immersing himself in a great ocean of love.
In Rupa Gosvami's Namastaka (7) the holy name is described as the personification of bliss and knowledge.
nama gokula-mahotsavaya te
krsna purna-vapuse namo namah (12)
O Hari-nama! O Krsna! You destroy the miseries of those who take Your shelter. For Your devotees You are very charming and delightful. Your form is the personification of knowledge and bliss, and therefore You are a festival for the residents of Gokula. I bow down again and again before You, whose form is fully spiritual like Vaikuntha.
Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna, one can be freed from all undesirable habits. This is the meaning of awakening all good fortune and initiating the flow of love of Krsna.
Astanga-yoga is always full of fear. As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.6.35):
tathatmaddha na samyati (13)
It is true that by practicing restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust, but this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this (satisfaction) is derived from devotional service to Mukunda, the Personality of Godhead.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (1.5.12) condemns karma and j˝ana in the following words:
naiskarmyam apy acyuta-bhava-varjitam
na sobhate j˝anam alam nira˝janam
kutah punah sasvad abhadram isvare
na carpitam karma yad apy akaranam (14)
Knowledge of self-realization, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception (variegated pastimes) of the Infallible (God). What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilized for the devotional service of the Lord?
The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.14.4) has further condemned the nondevotional path in these words:
sreyah-srtim bhaktim udasya te vibho
klisyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye
tesam asau klesala eva sisyate
nanyad yatha sthula-tusavaghatinam (15)
My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the best path for self-realization. If someone gives up that path and engages in the cultivation of speculative knowledge, he will simply undergo a troublesome process and will not achieve his desired result. As a person who beats an empty husk of wheat cannot get grain, one who simply speculates cannot achieve self-realization. His only gain is trouble.
By chanting the holy names the blazing fire of material existence is totally extinguished. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (6.2.46) it is said:
natah param karma-nibandha-krntanam
na yat punah karmasu sajjate mano
rajas-tamobhyam kalilam tato 'nyatha (16)
Therefore one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form, and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance.
It is further said in the Uttar Khanda of the Padma-Purana:
harir ity aksara-dvayam
moksaya gamanam prati (17)
One who has uttered the name of Hari even once, easily achieves firm determination to attain liberation.
The chanting of the holy name disseminates the moon-light which blossoms the lotus of all transcendental auspiciousness. In the Prabhasa Khanda it is said:
madhura-madhuram etan mangalam mangalanam
sakrdapi parigitam sraddhaya helaya va
bhrgu-vara nara-matram tarayet krsna-nama (18)
This hari-nama is the most auspicious of all auspiciousness, sweeter than the sweetest, and it is the eternal transcendental fruit of the creeper of Vedic knowledge. O best of the Bhrgus, the holy name awards liberation if chanted even once without offense, whether with faith or negligence.
The holy name is the life of all transcendental knowledge. In the Garuda Purana it is said:
yad icchasi param j˝anam
j˝anad yat paramam padam
kuru govinda-kirtanam (19)
O best of Kings, if you want to achieve the highest knowledge by which you may attain the supreme abode, then perform Govinda kirtana with firm faith.
The demigods give the following statement in the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.5.40):
dhatar yad asmin bhava isa jivas
tapa-trayenabhihata na sarma
atman labhante bhagavams tavanghri-
cchayam sa-vidyam ata asrayema (20)
O Father! O Lord! O Personality of Godhead! The living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by the three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them.
Again in the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.29.49) it is said:
sa vidya tan-matir yaya (21)
Our education should be such that we can become elevated to Krsna consciousness.
The transcendental knowledge through which one's consciousness is absorbed in the lotus feet of Krsna is the actual or real vidya which cuts the knots of avidya. Krsna's holy name is the life of that wife, Vidya, who fixes the mind on the lotus feet of Krsna.
Chanting of the holy names increases the ocean of bliss. The following evidence is found in the Srimad Bhagavatam (8.3.20):
ekantino yasya na ka˝canartham
va˝chanti ye vai bhagavat-prapannah
aty-adbhutam tac-caritam sumangalam
gayanta ananda-samudra-magnah (22)
Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction.
Chanting of the holy name enables one to taste full nectar at every step. In the Padma Purana this is stated as follows:
tebhyo namo 'stu bhava-vari-dhi-jirna-panka
krsneti varna-yugalam sravanena yesam
anandathur bhavati narttitaroma-vrndah (23)
The devotees are filled with bliss and their bodily hairs stand erect when they hear the name, Krsna. I bow down to the feet of those devotees, who are expert in liberating the people drowning in the material ocean.
By chanting, the heart is bathed in transcendental bliss. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (12.12.48):
sankirtyamano bhagavan anantah
srutanubhavo vyasanam hi pumsam
pravisya cittam vidhunoty asesam
yatha tamo 'rko 'bhram ivati-vatah (24)
When people properly glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead or simply hear about His power, the Lord personally enters their hearts and cleanses away every trace of misfortune, just as the sun removes the darkness or as a powerful wind drives away the clouds.
Under the shelter of Sri Krsna's name the mirror of the heart is cleansed and the living entity gets krsna-prema very quickly.
The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful, the embodiment of transcendental mellows. In the Namastaka(8) it is said:
tvam krsna-nama kamam sphura me rasane rasena sada (25)
O Krsna-nama! You infuse life in Narada Muni's vina, and the sweetness which flows from You is the personification of the essence of waves of nectar. Therefore I pray that You always manifest on my tongue with transcendental rasa.
According to the Namastaka (2), the holy name is worshiped by liberated souls, as even namabhasa destroys all types of miseries.
jaya namadheya muni-vrnda-geya
tvam anadarad api manag udiritam
nikhilogra-tapa-patalim vilumpasi (26)
O Hari-nama! Great sages always glorify You. You have kindly manifest as transcendental sound to increase the attachment of people for the Lord and bestow auspiciousness. If someone utters You even with negligence, You destroy his severe material miseries. This is Your mighty power.
Therefore the Vedas describe the truth of the holy name in these words, from the ßg-veda:
om ity etad brahmano nedistam nama yasmad uccaryamana
eva samsara-bhayat tarayati tasmad-ucyate tara iti (27)
om asya jananto nama cid-viviktan mahaste visno
sumatim bhajamahe om tat sat (28)
tato 'bhut trivrd-omkaro yo 'vyakta prabhavah svarat
yat tal-lingam bhagavato brahmanah paramatmanah (29)
One who chants om, which is the closest form of Brahman, approaches Brahman. This name liberates one from the fear of the material world, therefore it is known as tarak brahma.
O Visnu, your self-manifest name, om, is the eternal form of cognizance. Even if my knowledge about the glories of reciting this name is incomplete, still, by the practice of reciting this name I will achieve that perfect knowledge.
He who has unmanifested potencies and is fully independent, manifests the vibration omkara, which indicates Himself. Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan are the three forms He manifests.
The three letters comprising omkara a, u, m specifically represent the three names Hari, Krsna, and Rama respectively. The name Hari is nondifferent from Hari Himself. His eternal form, svarupa, is known as vacya, and the transcendental name of Hari is known as vacaka. These two forms, vacya and vacaka, fulfill all kinds of desires.
Therefore in the Caitanya-bhagavat it is stated:
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare (30)
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, While counting the number, all of you chant this maha-mantra which I have given you. Everyone will achieve all perfection from this chanting. No other rules and regulations are there, except that one should always chant.
The Naradiya Purana, as quoted in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, states:
yesam nirbandhini matih
acirad eva sarvarthah
siddhaty esam abhipsitah (31)
Those who are strongly attached to understanding the Absolute Truth, quickly attain the perfection amongst all desirable objects.
Those who chant the name of Krsna with strong attachment achieve the fruit of love of God very soon.
In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa it is said:
tulasi kastha ghatitair manibhir japamalika
sarvakarmani sarvesam ipsitartha-phala-prada
gopucchasadrsi karya yad va sarpakrtih subha
tarjanya na sprsat sutram kampayen na vidhunayet
angustha-parva-madhya-stham parivarttam samacaret
na sprset vama-hastena kara-bhrastam na karayet
bhuktau muktau tatha krstau madhya-mayam japet sudhih (32)
Japa beads made out of tulasi or precious stones fulfill all desires. Those made in the shape of the tail of a cow or serpent offer even more auspicious results. One should not touch the mala with the second finger. Nor should one shake or swing his beads. One should change the direction of the beads on the thumb joint with the middle finger. One should never touch the beads with his left hand. Beads should not fall down from the hand. Those who are desirous of liberation, material enjoyment, or advancement of knowledge chant on the middle finger.
Rules for chanting are described in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa as follows:
manah samharanam saucam
To be attentive, purification of the heart is required. This means keeping silence that is, avoiding unfavorable talking. While chanting, one must affectionately remember the meaning of the mantra. Steadiness, patience, and attachment to chanting are all treasures of chanting.
Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami explains the meaning of the name in these words:
vij˝apya bhagavat-tattvam cid-ghanananda-vigraham
haraty avidyam tat karyam ato harir iti smrtah
harati sri-krsna-manah krsnahlada-svarupini
ato harety anenaiva sri-radha parikirtita
anandaika-sukha-svami syamah kamala-locanah
gokulanandano nanda-nandanah krsna iryate
vaidagdhi sara-sarvasvam murti-liladhidaivatam
radhikam ramya-nityam rama ity abhidhiyate (34)
The Personality of Godhead, who has a form of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, has manifested Himself in the form of His name. Because He takes away ignorance and its activities, the devotees remember Him as Hari. Sri Radha, who is the Lord's own pleasure potency, steals the mind of Krsna. She is therefore praised as Hara. The vocative form of Hara is Hare.
Sri Krsna is the eternal beloved of Radha, who is bliss personified. The beautiful dark son of Nanda, with eyes like lotus petals, is the only source of bliss for the residents of Gokula. He is therefore known as Krsna. Therefore the names Hare and Krsna mean Radha and Krsna and are full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.
That Sri Krsna, who is the chief amongst those expert in loving affairs and the worshipable Deity of amorous pastimes, always enjoys Radha. He is therefore called Rama (Radharamana Rama).
The chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is glorification of Radha and Krsna. While continuously chanting, one should remember Their sublime pastimes.
Therefore the Brhan-naradiya Purana states:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha (35)
In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.
Give up all other religious practices and all fruitive activities, for the holy name is the only essential practice. In Kali-yuga, there is no other worthy goal.
The Bhagavat-nama-kaumudi quotes the Puranas as follows:
naktam diva ca gatabhir jita-nidra eko
nirvinna iksitapatho mita-bhuk prasantah
yady acyute bhagavati sva-mano na sajjen-
namani tad rati karani pathed vilajjah (36)
If your mind is not fixed in rememberance of Krsna, then chant those principal names (such as Krsna and Govinda) which increase one's attachment to Him. Chant day and night without fear or shame, conquer sleep, be detached from worldly affairs, eat frugally, and in a tranquil mood always seek the path of spiritual truth.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (6.3.22) states:
etavan eva loke 'smin
pumsam dharmah parah smrtah
Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of Krsna, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society.
Remembering Krsna's pastimes: At the end of night if one remembers the ku˝ja-bhanga-lila (when Radha and Krsna separate after pastimes in the forest groves), he then relishes the intimate pastimes of Radha and Krsna. The Govinda-lilamrta states:
ratryante trastavrnderita bahu-vira-vaibodhitau kirasari
padyair-hrdhyair api sukha-sayanad-utthitau tau sakhibhih
drstau hrstau tadatvoditarati-lalitau kakkhatigih sasankau
radha-krsnau satrsnav api nija-nija dhamnyapta talpau smarami (38)
At the end of night, Vrnda, being afraid of the approach of day break, prompted the parrot and the myna to awaken Sri Sri Radha and Krsna from Their sleep. Although the birds sang sweetly, the songs were not pleasing, as they woke Radha and Krsna from Their sleep. The sakhis watched from a distance as the Couple awoke, looking very charming because of the deep love and affection They shared at that time. Being suspicious of the voice of the she-monkey, Kakkhati, and desirous to continue Their association, They gazed longingly at each other. Radha and Krsna then reluctantly departed for Their respective homes where They quietly lay down on Their own beds.
I worship Radha and Krsna by remembering this pastime. Remember this pastime and sing Krsna's names, then you will get the treasure of krsna-prema and Krsna's dhama.
Thus ends the Prathama-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
There is no question of an auspicious or inauspicious time for chanting the holy names. The holy names are invested with all potencies as described in the Siksastaka (2):
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah (1)
My Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names, such as Krsna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting.
Because people vary in their desires, You have mercifully distributed various holy names. Regardless of time or place, one who chants the holy name, even while eating or sleeping, attains all perfection. You have invested Your full potencies in each individual holy name, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment for chanting Your holy names.
The following prayer for attaining attachment for the holy name is given in the Namastaka (5):
kamalanayana gopicandra vrndavanendrah
pranata-karuna-krsnav ity aneka-svarupe
tvayi mama ratir-uccair-vardhatam namadheya (2)
O killer of the demon Agha! O son of Yasoda! O son of Nanda! O lotus-eyed one! O moon of the gopis! O lord of Vrndavana! O merciful to the submissive! O Krsna! You have mercifully manifested in various forms. May my attachment for You be greatly increased.
Krsna has invested full potencies in His holy names. According to Skanda Purana:
dana-vrata-tapas-tirtha-yatradinam ca yah sthitah
saktayo devamahatam sarva-papa-harah subhah
akrsya harina sarvah sthapitah svesu namasu (3)
Whatever potency to award auspiciousness and destroy sin may be found in the performance of charity, penances, austerities, visiting holy tirthas, worshiping demigods, performing Rajasuya or Asvamedha sacrifices, or the attainment of knowledge related to the soul, that potency has been invested in the holy name of Sri Hari.
The Vaisvanara Samhita confirms that there are no hard and fast rules regarding time or purity while chanting the holy names:
param sankirtanad eva
rama rameti mucyate (4)
There is no restriction regarding place or time, nor is there consideration of purity or impurity; simply by the performance of sankirtana chanting Rama Rama, or the Hare Krsna mantra one can achieve the highest liberation.
The symptoms of misfortune are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.9.7) as follows:
daivena te hata-dhiyo bhavatah prasangat
sarvasubhopasamanad vimukhendriya ye
kurvanti kama-sukha-lesa-lavaya dina
lobhabhibhuta-manaso 'kusalani sasvat (5)
O my Lord, persons who are bereft of the all-auspicious performance of chanting and hearing about Your transcendental activities are certainly unfortunate and are also bereft of good sense. They engage in inauspicious activities, enjoying sense gratification for a very little while.
Being distressed because of their inability to get even a bit of happiness from sense gratification, and overwhelmed by greed, they engage in inauspicious activities. Such people make no effort to engage in chanting and hearing Your glories.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (1.7.4-6) further says:
samyak pranihite 'male
apasyat purusam purnam
mayam ca tad-apasrayam
yaya sammohito jiva
paro 'pi manute 'nartham
bhakti-yogam adhoksaje (6)
Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service (bhakti-yoga) without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under His full control. Due to this external energy, the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries. The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service.
Krsna, the potency of Krsna, and the living entity, together constitute the Absolute Truth. Illusioned by maya, the living entity is bound by her. This is known as anartha. When the minute conscious living entity performs bhakti-yoga, all anarthas are destroyed and he attains krsna-prema. This truth has been realized by Vyasadeva by his full absorption in the Lord's name etc. He thereafter revealed the process of bhakti-yoga in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
In the Ómnaya-sutra, four types of misfortune or anarthas are described:
j˝eyo 'narthas catur vidhah
'sat-trsna tattva-vibhramah (7)
The living entity attracted by maya is attributed with four types of anarthas: hrdaya-daurbalya (weakness of the heart), aparadha (all kinds of offenses), asat-trsna (material desires), and tattva-vibhrama (illusion about spiritual knowledge).
These anarthas lead to material bondage, which leads to miseries.
Illusion about spiritual knowledge is of four types:
sva-tattve para-tattve ca
tattva-bhramas catur-vidhah (8)
Sva-tattva bhrama (illusion about one's own identity), paratattva-bhrama (illusion about the Supreme Personality of Godhead), sadhya-sadhana-bhrama (illusion about the processes of sadhana and prema-bhakti), and virodhi-visaya-bhrama (illusion regarding subjects unfavorable to Krsna consciousness) are the four kinds of illusion found in conditioned souls.
Material desires are of four types:
trikesu caisana 'subha
bhuti-va˝cha mumuksa ca
hy asat-trsnas catur-vidhah (9)
Desire for material objects, desire for heavenly comforts, desire for mystic powers, and desire for liberation are the four types of material desires.
Offenses are of four types:
j˝eya budha-ganair nityam
aparadhas catur-vidhah (10)
Offenses towards the name, offenses toward the form of the Lord, offenses towards the devotees, and offenses towards other living entities are the four kinds of offenses.
Weakness of the heart is of four types:
mat saryam sva-pratisthata
hrd-daurbalyam budhaih sasvaj
j˝eyam kila catur-vidham (11)
Intelligent persons know the four kinds of weakness of the heart as follows: attachment to objects not related to Krsna, deceitfulness or fault-finding, enviousness, and desire for fame.
These anarthas give birth to six enemies kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, and matsarya that is, lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride, and envy. These anarthas also beget six waves soka, moha, ksut, pipasa, jara, and mrtyu that is, distress, illusion, hunger, thirst, old age, and death.
The creeper of devotion can never grow as long as one cannot give up these anarthas.
All anarthas, however, go far away by the performance of nama-sankirtana. As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.14):
apannah samsrtim ghoram
yan-nama vivaso grnan
tatah sadyo vimucyeta
yad bibheti svayam bhayam (12)
Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krsna, which is feared by fear personified.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.37) further states:
bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma (13)
When the living entity is attracted by the material energy, which is separate from Krsna, he is overpowered by fear. Because he is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the material energy, his conception of life is reversed. In other words, instead of being the eternal servant of Krsna, he becomes Krsna's competitor. This is called viparyayah asmrtih. To nullify this mistake, one who is actually learned and advanced worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his spiritual master, worshipful Deity, and source of life. He thus worships the Lord by the process of unalloyed devotional service.
One who desires to achieve Krsna's mercy should take shelter of a bona fide guru. When he engages in undivided devotional service under the guru's direction, he ultimately attains Krsna.
The characteristics of bhakti-yoga are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.12 and 1.2.7) as follows:
tac chraddadhana munayo
pasyanty atmani catmanam
janayaty asu vairagyam
j˝anam ca yad ahaitukam (14)
The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes the Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedanta-sruti. By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.
After receiving the mercy of the sadhu, as one chants the holy name with faith, he becomes averse to material conceptions and realizes his eternal constitutional position. This is known as the highest platform of bhakti-yoga. As one gradually advances through the different stages of bhakti, one achieves this stage of perfection.
The circumstances favorable for bhakti are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (2.9.36):
etavad eva jij˝asyam
yat syat sarvatra sarvada (15)
A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.
There are two ways for becoming free of anarthas directly, by following the rules, and indirectly, by following the restrictions.
The means of getting freed from the three anarthas material desires, weakness of the heart, and offenses are described beginning with the following verses from the Upadesamrta.
The six urges which are unfavorable in bhakti are listed in the first verse:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat (16)
A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger, and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.
The above mentioned urges disrupt one's bhajana. Therefore, one must make repeated efforts to control these urges. After controlling these urges one should worship Radha-Krsna in a secluded place.
The six obstacles to advancement in bhakti are given in the second verse:
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati (17)
One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required, (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain, (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters, (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically, (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness, and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
The six kinds of association which nourish bhakti are described in the fourth verse:
guhyam akhyati prcchati
bhunkte bhojayate caiva
sad-vidham priti-laksanam (18)
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one's mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting food, and offering food are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.
These six kinds of association, when exchanged between devotees, increase one's devotion. But, if this association is shared with nondevotees, one's devotion diminishes.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has prohibited one from even seeing a materialistic sense enjoyer or a woman with the mood of enjoyment in the following words from Sri Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka:
param param jigamisor bhava-sagarasya
sandarsanam visayinam atha yositam ca
ha hanta hanta visa-bhaksanato 'py asadhu (19)
Alas, for a person who is seriously desiring to cross the material ocean and engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord without material motives, seeing a materialist engaged in sense gratification or seeing a woman who is similarly interested is more abominable than willingly drinking poison.
Offending sadhus is prohibited. It is offensive to see a Vaisnava according to material conceptions. In the Upadesamrta (6) it is said:
drstaih svabhava-janitair vapusas ca dosair
na prakrtatvam iha bhakta-janasya pasyet
gangambhasam na khalu budbuda-phena-pankair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nira-dharmaih (20)
Being situated in his original Krsna conscious position, a pure devotee does not identify with the body. Such a devotee should not be seen from a materialistic point of view. Indeed, one should overlook a devotee's having a body born in a low family, a body with a bad complexion, a deformed body, or a diseased or infirm body. According to ordinary vision, such imperfections may seem prominent in the body of a pure devotee, but despite such seeming defects, the body of a pure devotee cannot be polluted. It is exactly like the waters of the Ganges, which sometimes during the rainy season are full of bubbles, foam, and mud. The Ganges waters do not become polluted. Those who are advanced in spiritual understanding will bathe in the Ganges without considering the condition of the water.
The devotees situated in transcendence do not commit sinful activities. Even if some sins remain within the devotee, they will soon vanish.
According to the Manah-siksa (7), one should give up one's mischievous mentality in the form of desire for fame and deceitful fault-finding:
pratisthasa dhrsta svapacaramani me hrdi natet
katham sadhu-prema sprsati sucir-etan-nanu manah
sada tvam sevasva prabhu-dayita-samanta-matulam
yatha tam niskasya tvaritam iha tam vesayati sah (21)
O mind, a shameless, low-born prostitute who eats dog meat is flagrantly dancing in my heart in the form of desire for fame. How then can pure love of Krsna ever find a place in my heart? Just serve the devotees of Krsna, who are His dear unparalleled commanders, so they can drive out this prostitute and enthrone pure love within my heart.
The Manah-siksa (6) further says:
areh cetah prodyat kapata kutinati bhara-khara-
ksaran-mutre snatva dahasi katham atmanam api mam
sada tvam gandharva giridhara-pada-prema-vilasat
sudhambhodhau snatva svam api nitarat ma˝ca sukhaya (22)
O mind, why are you scorching us both by bathing in the prominent defects of deceit and fault-finding? These arise out of duality and are like the oozing urine of a donkey. You should always bathe in the nectarine ocean of prema-bhakti arising from the lotus feet of Sri Sri Gandarvika Giridhari, and thus give us both endless pleasure.
One should endeavor to give up duplicity and the desire for fame. Only then can one get strong attachment for chanting the holy name.
The ten offenses in chanting the holy name must be given up. They are described in the Padma Purana, Svarga-khanda:
satam ninda namnah paramam aparadham vitanute
yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tad-vigarham
To blaspheme the great saintly persons who are engaged in preaching the glories of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is the worst offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. One should not criticize a preacher of the glories of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. If one does so, he is an offender. The Nama-prabhu, who is identical with Krsna, will never tolerate such blasphemous activities, even from one who passes as a great devotee.
The second namaparadha is described as follows:
sivasya sri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam
dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu hari-namahita-karah
In this material world, the holy name of Visnu is all-auspicious. Visnu's name, form, qualities, and pastimes are all transcendental absolute knowledge. Therefore, if one tries to separate the Absolute Personality of Godhead from His holy name or His transcendental form, qualities, and pastimes, thinking them to be material, that is offensive. Similarly, to think the names of demigods such as Lord Siva to be as good as the name of Lord Visnu or, in other words, to think Lord Siva and the other demigods to be other forms of God and therefore equal to Visnu is also blasphemous. This is the second offense at the lotus feet of the Lord.
guror avaj˝a sruti-sastra-nindanam
tathartha-vadah hari-namni kalpanam
The third offense at the lotus feet of the holy name is to consider the spiritual master to be material and therefore envy his exalted position. The fourth offense is to blaspheme Vedic literatures, such as the four Vedas and the Puranas. The fifth offense is to consider the glories of the holy name to be exaggerations. Similarly, the sixth offense is to consider the holy name of the Lord to be imaginary.
The seventh offense is described as follows:
namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih
To think that since the Hare Krsna mantra can counteract all sinful reactions one may therefore go on with his sinful activities and at the same time chant the Hare Krsna mantra to neutralize them is the greatest offense at the lotus feet of hari-nama.
The eighth offense is stated thus:
subha-kriya-samyam api pramadah.
It is offensive to consider chanting the Hare Krsna mantra to be a religious ritualistic ceremony. Performing religious ceremonies, following vows, practicing renunciation and sacrifice are all materialistic auspicious activities. The chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra must not be compared to such materialistic religiosity. This is an offense at the lotus feet of the Lord.
The ninth offense is described as follows:
asraddadhane vimukhe 'py asrnvati
yas copadesah siva-namaparadhah
It is an offense to preach the glories of the holy name among persons who have no faith in the subject matter.
Such people should be given the chance to hear the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, but in the beginning they should not be instructed about the glories of the holy name. By constant hearing of the holy name, their hearts will be purified, and then they will be able to understand the transcendental glories of the holy name.
The tenth offense is as follows:
srute 'pi nama-mahatmye yah priti-rahito narah
aham-mamadi-paramo namni so 'py aparadha-krt (23)
If one has heard the glories of the transcendental holy name of the Lord but nevertheless continues in a materialistic concept of life, thinking, I am this body and everything belonging to this body is mine (aham mameti), and does not show respect and love for the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, that is an offense.
O brother, sincerely try to give up these offenses and chant the holy name with intelligence.
One is prohibited from false renunciation. In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is stated:
vairagyam phalgu kathyate (24)
When persons eager to achieve liberation renounce things related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking them to be material, their renunciation is called phalgu, or incomplete.
One who has attained the qualification for chanting the holy name gives up all fruitive activities. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.5.41) it is said:
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya kartam (25)
One who has given up all material duties and taken full shelter at the lotus feet of Mukunda, who gives shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind, or even one's departed forefathers.
According to the Padma Purana, one should give up niyamagrahah and yet follow the essence of niyama.
smartavyah satatam visnur
vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur
etayor eva kinkarah (26)
Visnu, or Krsna, should always be remembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should be servants to these two principles.
One should refrain from atonement in relation to karma and j˝ana. The Padma Purana gives the following statement:
harer apy aparadhan yah kuryad dvi-pada-pam salah
namasrayah kadacit syat taraty eva sa namatah
namno 'pi sarva-suhrdo hy aparadhat pataty adhah
namaparadha-yuktanam namany eva haranty-agham
avisranta prayuktani tany evarthakarani ca (27)
The lowest of human beings who commit offenses at the lotus feet of Sri Hari will certainly cross the material ocean if they somehow take shelter of the holy name. However, those who commit offenses against the holy name, the well-wisher of all, certainly fall down. They are freed from their offense only by continually chanting the holy name. Indeed, one can attain all types of perfection by continuous chanting.
<%-3>One should try to achieve knowledge of both Krsna and oneself. One first attains knowledge of Krsna's form, then attributes, and then pastimes as stated in Catuh-sloki Bhagavatambegining with (2.9.33):
aham evasam evagre
nanyad yat sad-asat param
pascad aham yad etac ca
yo 'vasisyeta so 'smy aham (28)
Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who existed before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.
The personification of transcendental truth, Sri Krsna, is eternal and ever-existing. All other manifestations, spiritual and material, are the result of His various potencies. Lord Krsna, who is like the transcendental sun, remains as the eternal truth after the universal destruction. This is the basis of the philosophy of acintya bhedabheda tattva.
Knowledge of the form of maya-sakti and jiva-sakti is found in the Srimad Bhagavatam (2.9.34):
rte 'rtham yat pratiyeta
na pratiyeta catmani
tad vidyad atmano mayam
yathabhaso yatha tamah (29)
O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.
The energy of Krsna known as maya-sakti is simultaneously one with and different from Krsna. Maya-sakti arises from, but is different from, the internal energy (cit-sakti). Maya-sakti, the shadow of the internal energy, acts through the three modes of nature, which are the cause of this material world. In the material world the ignorant living entities are bound by temporary activities.
Even though the spirit soul and this material world are simultaneously one with and different from Krsna, still, Krsna in His eternal form exists separately. The Srimad Bhagavatam (2.9.35) states:
yatha mahanti bhutani
tatha tesu na tesv aham (30)
O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.
Knowledge of the form of Krsna's name is given in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
'bhinnatvan nama-naminoh (31)
The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna's name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna's name is not contaminated by the material qualities, and there is no question of its being involved with maya, Krsna's name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical.
The Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu further says:
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah (32)
Because Krsna's form, qualities pastimes, etc. are all on the absolute platform, material senses cannot therefore appreciate them. When a conditioned soul is awakened to Krsna consciousness and renders service by using his tongue to chant the Lord's holy name and taste the remnants of the Lord's food, the tongue is purified and one gradually comes to understand who Krsna really is.
According to the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.21.2), one should practice chanting the holy name according to his qualification.
sve sve 'dhikare ya nistha
sa gunah parikirtitah
viparyayas tu dosah syad
ubhayor esa niscayah (33)
Steadiness in one's own position is declared to be actual piety, whereas deviation from one's position is considered impiety. In this way the two are definitely ascertained.
Qualifications for chanting the holy name are given in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.20.27/8):
veda duhkhatmakan kaman
parityage 'py anisvarah
tato bhajeta mam pritah
jusamanas ca tan kaman
duhkhodarkams ca garhayan (34)
Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee remains happy and worships Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities.
One should try to attain the six qualities favorable for performing bhajana. These qualities are given in the Upadesamrta (3):
utsahan niscayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati (35)
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam hearing, chanting, and remembering Krsna), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.
One must strive to achieve the association of pure devotees. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.25.25) it is said:
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati (36)
In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. He then gradually attains sraddha (attachment), rati (bhava), and bhakti (prema-bhakti).
How to associate with devotees is mentioned in the Upadesamrta (5):
krsneti yasya giri tam manasadriyeta
diksasti cet pranatibhis ca bhajantam isam
susrusaya bhajana-vij˝am ananyam anya-
nindadi-sunya-hrdam ipsita-sanga-labdhya (37)
One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Krsna, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation (diksa) and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others.
Such a pure devotee sees everyone as the eternal servant of Krsna.
One should pass his life in the mood of yukta-vairagya and chant the holy name. As stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
yuktam vairagyam ucyate (38)
When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (7.11.32) further says:
hitva sva-bhava-jam karma
sanair nirgunatam iyat (39)
If one acts in his profession according to his position in the modes of nature and gradually gives up these activities, he attains the niskama stage.
One should live free from sin and take shelter of the holy name.
This art of living is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.7.39):
j˝anam yatha na nasyeta
navakiryeta van-manah (40)
A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one's higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one's speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization.
One should live in such a way that he can avoid useless activities. In this way one should give up the propensity for material sense enjoyment. One should nourish himself in such a way that the tongue and mind do not deviate from yukta-vairagya.
One should be especially careful regarding his association. The Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (2.13) gives the following reason:
yasya yat sangatih pumso
manivat syat sa tad gunah
svakularddhyai tato dhiman
svayuthany eva samsrayet (41)
As the qualities of a nearby object are reflected in a crystal, one similarly takes on the qualities of a person with whom he associates. Therefore, a wise person should take shelter of those sadhus who are more advanced, affectionate, and have the same temperament.
One should carefully follow the path of the mahajanas as described in the Skanda Purana:
sa mrgyah sreyasam hetuh
yena santah pratasthire (42)
One should strictly follow the easy path which the previous mahajanas have accepted. That path bestows great auspiciousness and is devoid of all misery.
The path given in the Vedas is the real path of bhakti. As stated in the Brahma-yamala:
aikantiki harer bhaktir
utpatayaiva kalpyate (43)
Devotional service to the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas, Narada-pa˝caratra, etc., is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.
One can easily progress by accepting the path given by the mahajanas. One who acts according to his own ideas will meet with disturbance and ruin. If one makes no effort to become free from anarthas he will meet with misfortune, being unable to receive the mercy of the holy name. Without receiving the mercy of the name, one will be unable to remove his anarthas despite repeated attempts. But, if one cries sincerely at the lotus feet of the name, then within a few days all anarthas will vanish. After giving up anarthas, one should fully engage in hearing and chanting, taking complete shelter of the holy name.
The endeavors of one performing resolute bhajana are described in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa:
evam ekantinam prayah
kirtanam smaranam prabhoh
krtyamanyan na rocyate
bhavena kenacit prestha
sri-murter anghri sevane
sva-rasenaiva tad vidhih
vihitesv eva nityesu
pravartante svayam hi te
sarvanartha-bhuvas ca te
yatnam asparsane varam
prabhate cardharate ca
kirtayanti harim ye vai
na tesam anya-sadhanam (44)
The devotees whose minds are fixed on hearing and chanting Krsna's glories in pure love have no taste for other activities. Serving their beloved Deities with their diksa mantras stimulates their taste for svarasiki bhajana (worship according to their particular rasa). The activities of such a raganuga bhakta arise out of spontaneous devotion for Krsna. Still, his activities are never contrary to sastric injunctions.
Even if one can give up all material desires, the desire for fame is very difficult to give up. This desire for fame, which is compared to stool, is the root cause of all anarthas. Therefore, one should carefully avoid touching this stool in the form of desire for fame.
In the early morning, at dawn, midday, and midnight, one who gives up his anarthas and engages in hearing and chanting, easily obtains the mercy of Lord Krsna. Those who chant the holy name with full faith in the association of devotees are freed from anarthas and reach the stage of nistha.
Remember Krsna's eternal pastimes in the morning, and gradually you will attain bhava. In the Govinda-lilamrta it is said:
radham snata-vibhusitam vrajapayahutam sakhibhih prage
tad-gehe vihitanna-paka-racanam krsnavasesanam
krsnam buddham avapta-dhenu-sadanam nirvyudha-go-dohanam
susnatam krta-bhojanam saha-caraistam catha tam casrye (45)
I take shelter of Srimati Radharani. After finishing Her ablutions and ornamenting Her body, Radharani is called early in the morning by Mother Yasoda. Radha, along with Her girl friends, then goes to the house of Mother Yasoda and prepares varieties of delicious foodstuffs which are offered to Krsna. Radharani then takes Krsna's remnants. During this time Radha occasionally gets the chance to meet Krsna.
I also take shelter of Krsna. After awakening from His bed early in the morning, Krsna first goes to the cowshed to milk the cows. Following His daily routine, Krsna then returns home, and after taking bath, He takes His meals in the company of His cowherd friends.
Remember this pastime in the morning, and overwhelmed with love, chant the holy name in the association of devotees. Then within a short time, bhava (transcendental emotions) will be awakened.
Thus ends the Dvitiya-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
The qualification and procedure for performing nama-kirtana is stated in the Siksastaka (3) as follows:
trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih (1)
One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give all respect to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.
O Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, hear from Me the symptoms of how one should chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to awaken very easily one's dormant love for Krsna. Although he is very exalted, he thinks himself lower than the grass on the ground, and like a tree, he tolerates everything in two ways. When a tree is cut down, it does not protest, and even when drying up, it does not ask anyone for water. The tree delivers its fruits, flowers and whatever it possesses to anyone and everyone. It tolerates scorching heat and torrents of rain, yet it still gives shelter to others. Although a Vaisnava is the most exalted person, he is prideless and gives all respect to everyone, knowing everyone to be the resting place of Krsna.
The six symptoms of surrender according to Vaisnava-tantra are:
goptrtve varanam tatha
sad-vidha saranagatih (2)
The six divisions of surrender are the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Krsna will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as one's guardian or master, full self-surrender, and humility.
The Mukunda-mala-stotra (37) says one must first give up his identification with the material body:
idam sariram sata-sandhi-jarjaram
pataty avasyam parinam-apesalam
kim ausadham prcchasi mudha durmate
niramayam krsna-rasayanam piba (3)
One should give up the false identification with the material body which is made of five material elements and has hundreds of joints which will wear out. One day this body will fall dead with the result that it will be turned to ashes or an insect's stool. At that time everyone will see the body as despicable, therefore it is unwise to have attachment for this body. O mind, hear my truthful words! The powerful medicine to cure this material disease is to continually drink the nectar of Krsna's name.
One should become tolerant like a tree and compassionate to all living entities. As stated by Lord Brahma in the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.9.12):
aradhitah sura-ganair hrdi baddha-kamaih
nana-janesv avahitah suhrd antar-atma (4)
My Lord, You are not very much satisfied by the worship of the demigods, who arrange for Your worship very pompously, with various paraphernalia, but who are full of material hankerings. You are situated in everyone's heart as the Supersoul just to show Your causeless mercy, and You are the eternal well-wisher, but You are unavailable for the nondevotee.
The act of giving respect to the devotees is glorified in these words from the Mukunda-mala-stotra (35):
srnvan sato bhagavato guna-kirtanani
dehe na yasya pulakodgama-roma-rajih
notpadyate nayanayor vimalambu-mala
dhik tasya jivitam aho purusadhamasya (5)
If one hears glorification of Krsna's name, form and qualities from the mouth of a devotee and even then his hairs do not stand erect nor do tears of ecstasy flow from his eyes, then what is the use to maintain such a life?
Knowledge of Krsna's glories is given in Mukunda-mala-stotra (43):
krsno raksati no jagat-traya-guruh krsno hi visvambharah
krsnad eva samutthitam jagad idam krsne layamgacchati
krsne tisthati visvam etad akhilam krsnasya dasa vayam
krsnenakhila sad-gatir-vitarita krsnaya tasmai namah (6)
May the spiritual master of the three worlds, Sri Krsna, protect us all. Krsna is also known as Visvambhara, for He maintains this world after He Himself manifests it and, in time, destroys it. The entire creation is situated in Krsna, and we are therefore all His servants. The wealth of the world is distributed by Him. Let us offer our obeisances with full faith unto Sri Krsna, who awards one the ultimate goal.
You have taken birth for the purpose of performing devotional service to Krsna. Indeed, everything in this world other than devotional service to Krsna is false.
Eagerness for Krsna-bhakti is also described in the Mukunda-mala-stotra (33):
adyaiva visatu me manasa-raja-hamsah
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te (7)
My Lord Krsna, I pray that the swan of my mind may immediately sink down to the stems of the lotus feet of Your Lordship and be locked up in their network; otherwise at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up with cough, how will it be possible to think of You?
In such a condition, Your holy name will not manifest on my tongue. If I leave my body then without remembering You, how will I attain You?
One should practice humility as described in the following six verses from Stotra-ratna:
na dharma-nistho 'smi na catma-vedi
na bhaktimams tvac-caranaravinde
aki˝cano 'nanya-gatih saranya
tvat-pada-mulam saranam prapadye (8)
O Hari! I have no faith in religious principles, and I have no knowledge of the soul. Furthermore, I have no devotion to Your lotus feet. I am utterly destitute, a rogue with no idea of the goal of life. In this way I always cheat myself. You however, are the deliverer of the fallen, and I am an insignificant fallen soul. Therefore, You are the only goal of my life. Having achieved Your lotus feet I take shelter of You, for You are my eternal Lord, and I am Your servant.
na ninditam karma tad asti loke
sahasraso yan na maya vyadhayi
so 'ham vipakavasare mukunda
krandami sampraty agatis tavagre (9)
There is no sin in this world which I have not committed thousands and thousands of times. The results of those sinful activities are now beginning to fructify, and they are churning me in this material ocean. O Mukunda! Seeing no other path, I am crying again and again before You. Punish me as You think fit, because You are the giver of punishment, and You are my Lord.
ciraya me kulam ivasi labdhah
tvayapi labdham bhagavann idanim
anuttamam patram idam dayayah (10)
O Ananta! O Hari! I have been drowning in this material ocean since time immemorial. I have been swimming and swimming, but I have not found the end of this great and fathomless material ocean. While drowning, I cried out in distress, Help! Someone rescue me! . At that time You came, and, as I understood Your lotus feet as the shore of this ocean, a seed of hope arose in my heart. O Hari, You are the most compassionate! In me You have certainly found the most appropriate recipient for Your mercy.
bhavantam evanucaran nirantarah
praharsayisyami sanatha-jivitam (11)
By serving You constantly, one is freed from all material desires and is completely pacified. When shall I engage as Your permanent eternal servant and always feel joyful to have such a fitting master?
O Hari, being evil-minded and seeing no other refuge, I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet. I have now come to know that You are my Lord. You are the Lord of the universe and I am Your eternal servant. When will that day come when I will realise myself as Your eternal servant? When will my material desires be completely destroyed so that I will spontaneously serve You to Your satisfaction?
agatim saranagatam hare
krpaya kevalam atmasat-kuru (12)
O Hari! I am an offender, and therefore I am always punishable. I have all bad qualities, and I am guilty of committing thousands and thousands of offenses. I am drowning inside this terrible, turbulent ocean of material existence. I have lost my way, and I desire to find the right path. O Hari, I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet out of fear. Please accept me as Your own. O Lord, Your vow is that You will definitely liberate anyone from material bondage who takes shelter of You.
na mrsa paramartham eva me
srnu vij˝apanam ekam agratah
yadi me na dayisyase tada
dayaniyas tava natha durlabhah (13)
O Hari! Let me submit one humble request before You. Be merciful and kindly hear my words. This is not a meaningless request, but it is confidential, having come from my heart. I am wretched, and You are most merciful. Therefore, You are the most capable person to bestow mercy. As You confer Your mercy unto one who is very fallen, I am a suitable candidate for Your mercy. If You ignore me, then it will be very, very difficult to find a more suitable candidate for Your mercy.
Humility free from the desire for honor is described in the following verse from Stotra-ratna:
amaryadah ksudras cala matir asuya-prasava-bhuh
krtaghno durmani smara-para-vaso va˝cana-parah
nrsamsah papisthah katham aham ito duhkha-jaladher
aparad uttirnas tava paricareyam caranayoh (14)
I am always transgressing the injunctions of the Vedas. I am degraded, fickle-minded, always envious, ungrateful, proud and sinful. I am controlled by lust and always engaged in cheating. In this condition how will I cross this ocean of material suffering and engage in the service of Your lotus feet?
Respect for devotees is described in Stotra-ratna:
bhavanesv astv api kita-janma me
itaravasathesu ma sma bhud
api me janma catur-mukhatmana (15)
Performing activities according to the Vedic injunctions, the living entities take birth again and again within this material world. Similarly, I may also take birth again according to my past activities, or by Your will. O Purusottama, kindly hear this one request! I pray that if I again take birth, let it be in the house of Your servant even as a worm and I will be satisfied at heart. I have no desire to take birth with the opulence of Lord Brahma in the house of one averse to You. With folded hands I am offering You this humble prayer.
Humility out of self-surrender is also described in the Stotra-ratna:
vapur-adisu yo 'pi ko 'pi va
gunato 'sani yatha-tatha-vidhah
tad aham tava pada-padmayor
aham adyaiva maya samarpitah (16)
In this world there are bodily distinctions such as man and woman, and there are four different varnas and four asramas divided according to the three modes of nature goodness, passion and ignorance. In this way there are countless varieties of bodies. O Lord of my life! Whatever body I must reside in and whatever condition doesn't matter, for I now surrender myself at Your lotus feet. From now on I have nothing left that I consider mine.
Sincere humility is described in the Krsna-karnamrta (30):
nibaddha-murddha˝jalir esa yace
daya-nidhe deva bhavat kataksam
daksinyalesena sakrn nisi˝ca (17)
With folded hands this rascal cries, and without hesitation, sincerely offers his prayers to You. In a sobbing voice I pray, O merciful Lord, please be kind to me! Just once cast Your merciful glance on me and thus save my life.
Gradually one can perform kirtana taking shelter of the conjugal rasa. The following statement is found in the Krsna-karnamrta (29):
mayi prasadam madhuraih kataksair
tvayi prasanne kim iha parair nas
tvayaprasanne kim iha parair nah (18)
O Lord, kindly bestow upon me mercy in the form of Your side-long glance followed by the sweet sound of Your flute. When You are pleased with me, even if others are displeased, it doesn't matter. But when You are displeased with me, even if others are pleased, then what is the benefit for me?
In this way, by performing kirtana with firm faith, one soon attains the stage of ruci (transcendental taste), and then gradually he attains prema.
One should remember the purvahna (forenoon) pastime while chanting. The following description is given in the Govinda-lilamrta:
purvahne dhenu-mitrair vipinam anusrtam gostha-lokanuyatam
krsnam radhapti-lolam tad abhisrti-krte prapta-tat-kunda-tiram
radham calokya krsnam krta-grha-gamanam aryayarkarcanayai
distam krsna-pravrtyai prahita-nija-sakhi-vartma-netram smarami
I remember Sri Krsna, who in the forenoon goes to the forest followed by the cowherd boys and the cows. Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda and other Vrajavasis also follow along. Being anxious to meet Radharani, Krsna leaves the cowherd boys and cows behind and comes to the banks of Radha-kunda.
I also remember Srimati Radharani, who returns to Her home from Nanda-grama after She has caught a glimpse of Krsna's signal indicating Their future meeting. Her mother-in-law, Jatila, orders Her to worship the sun-god. Radharani casts Her eyes down the pathway by which Her sakhis will return with information about Krsna's location which She eagerly awaits.
Thus ends the Trtiya-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
One who chants the holy names has no desire other than unalloyed devotion to Krsna. This is confirmed in the Siksastaka (4) as follows:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi (1)
O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth, materialistic followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is unmotivated devotional service to You.
Home and paraphernalia, disciples, wealth in the form of animals and grains, wife, sons, servants, maidservants, relatives, fruitive activities described in flowery words, and beautiful women are all considered important objects in the material world. I, however, have no desire to obtain these things. O Krsna, I aspire only for Your mercy in the form of pure devotion for You. The natural symptom of love is that a devotee who has love of Godhead thinks, I do not have even a scent of love for Krsna.
According to Srimad Bhagavatam (3.9.6), materialistic wealth is an impediment to devotion:
tavad bhayam dravina-deha-suhrn-nimittam
sokah sprha paribhavo vipulas ca lobhah
tavan mamety asad-avagraha arti-mulam
yavan na te 'nghrim abhayam pravrnita lokah (2)
O my Lord, the people of the world are embarrassed by all material anxieties they are always afraid. They always try to protect wealth, body, and friends; they are filled with lamentation and unlawful desires; and they avariciously base their undertakings on the perishable conceptions of my and mine . As long as they do not take shelter of Your safe lotus feet, they are full of such anxieties.
Krsna is the Lord of lords. By worshiping Him, all the demigods are also simultaneously worshiped. As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.31.14):
pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam
tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya (3)
As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, and twigs, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality.
The unalloyed devotees have no activity other than serving Krsna. In the Padma Purana it is said:
harir eva sada radhyah
navaj˝eyah kadacana (4)
Krsna, or Hari, is the master of all demigods, and therefore He is always worshipable. But this does not mean that one should not offer respect to the demigods headed by Brahma and Siva.
Under the pretext of preaching one should not initiate unqualified disciples simply to increase his number of followers. It is said in the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.13.8):
na sisyan anubadhnita
granthan naivabhyased bahun
na vyakhyam upayu˝jita
narambhan arabhet kvacit (5)
A sannyasi must not present allurements of material benefits to gather many disciples, nor should he unnecessarily read many books (nondevotional) or give discourses as a means of livelihood. He must never attempt to increase material opulences unnecessarily.
One who has a taste for the holy name does not want such things.
Unalloyed, uninterrupted devotional service is recommended in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.14):
tasmad ekena manasa
bhagavan satvatam patih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca
dhyeyah pujyas ca nityada (6)
Therefore, with one-pointed attention, one should constantly hear about, glorify, remember, and worship the Personality of Godhead, who is the protector of the devotees.
Engage in hearing and chanting Krsna's name, form, and attributes with undivided attention, and at the same time try to destroy your anarthas. Then the creeper of devotion will quickly bear fruit.
According to the Padma Purana, one should not be agitated by scarcity or loss of desired objects:
alabdhe va vinaste va
harim eva dhiya smaret (7)
The mind of one who has taken shelter of the holy name is undisturbed even if food and clothes are not easily obtained or if they are obtained but then lost. Leaving behind all material attachments, he takes complete shelter of Govinda.
The procedure for giving up grief is explained in the Padma Purana:
akrantam yasya manasam
katham tasya mukundasya
sphurttih sambhavana bhavet (8)
Within the heart of one who is full of anger or pride, or lamentation on the state of his wife or sons, there is no possibility of Krsna being manifest.
One should accept only those things necessary for his devotional life, as stated in the Naradiya Purana:
yavata syat sva-nirvahah
svikuryat tavad arthavit
cyavate paramarthatah (9)
If the devotee accepts those things necessary for the maintenance of his life, it does not mean he is a sense enjoyer. The devotee neither accepts too much nor too little, for that hampers his progress towards his goal.
Symptoms of the development of unalloyed devotion are given in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.42):
bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra caisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam (10)
Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way as pleasure, nourishment, and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite for a person engaged in eating.
As one progresses in this way he offers prayers similar to Prahlada Maharaja's in the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.39):
naitan manas tava kathasu vikuntha-natha
sampriyate durita-dustam asadhu tivram
tasmin katham tava gatim vimrsami dinah (11)
My dear Lord of the Vaikuntha planets, where there is no anxiety, my mind is extremely sinful and lusty, being sometimes so-called happy and sometimes so-called distressed. My mind is full of lamentation and fear, and it always seeks more and more money. Thus it has become most polluted and is never satisfied in topics concerning You. I am therefore most fallen and poor. In such a status of life, how shall I be able to discuss Your activities?
O Krsna! How will I get attachment for topics concerning You? And how will I meditate on Your pastimes?
The Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.40) explains how a living entity attracted to sense objects such as form and taste is completely vanquished:
jihvaikato 'cyuta vikarsati mavitrpta
sisno 'nyatas tvag-udaram sravanam kutascit
ghrano 'nyatas capala-drk kva ca karma-saktir
bahvyah sapatnya iva geha-patim lunanti (12)
My dear Lord, O infallible one, my position is like that of a person who has many wives, all trying to attract him in their own way. For example, the tongue is attracted to palatable dishes, the genitals to sex with an attractive woman, and the sense of touch to contact with soft things. The belly, although filled, still wants to eat more, the ear, not attempting to hear about You, is generally attracted to useless talks. The sense of smell is attracted to yet another side, the restless eyes are attracted to scenes of sense gratification, and the active senses are attracted elsewhere. In this way I am certainly embarrassed.
O son of Nanda, in this state how will I be able to remember Your pastimes?
The devotee prays to obtain the association of the Vrajavasis as spoken by Lord Brahma in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.14.30):
tad astu me natha sa bhuri-bhago
bhave 'tra vanyatra tu va tirascam
yenaham eko 'pi bhavaj-jananam
bhutva niseve tava pada-pallavam (13)
My dear Lord, I therefore pray to be so fortunate that in this life as Lord Brahma or in another life, wherever I take birth, I may be counted as one of Your devotees. I pray that wherever I may be, even among the animal species, I can engage in devotional service to Your lotus feet.
O Lord, if I take birth in this land of Vrndavana or in any other universe, or if I take birth as a bird or animal anywhere within Your creation, my only desire is that I may be able to serve You in various ways in the association of Your devotees.
One should consider the four goals of life (dharma, artha, kama, and moksa) insignificant. Uddhava explains this in the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.4.15):
ko nv isa te pada-saroja-bhajam
sudurlabho 'rthesu catursv apiha
tathapi naham pravrnomi bhuman
O my Lord, devotees who engage in the transcendental loving service of Your lotus feet have no difficulty in achieving anything within the realm of the four principles of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. But, O great one, as far as I am concerned, I have preferred only to engage in the loving service of Your lotus feet.
One should try to develop pure unalloyed devotion, as stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.5.18):
tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah
tal labhyate duhkhavad anyatah sukham
kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa (15)
Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet (Brahmaloka) down to the lowest planet (Patala). As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.9.10), Dhruva Maharaja says that unalloyed devotion makes the desire for liberation appear insignificant:
ya nirvrtis tanu-bhrtam tava pada-padma-
dhyanad bhavaj-jana-katha-sravanena va syat
sa brahmani sva-mahimany api natha ma bhut
kim tv antakasi-lulitat patatam vimanat (16)
My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that it is far beyond the stage of brahmananda, wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme. Since brahmananda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time? Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time.
The glories of hearing the holy name from the mouth of a sadhu are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.20.24):
na kamaye natha tad apy aham kvacin
na yatra yusmac-caranambujasavah
vidhatsva karnayutam esa me varah (17)
My dear Lord, I therefore do not wish to have the benediction of merging into Your existence, a benediction in which there is no existence of the nectarean beverage of Your lotus feet. I want the benediction of at least one million ears, for thus I may be able to hear about the glories of Your lotus feet from the mouths of Your pure devotees.
In the eyes of a devotee, the heavenly planets, the planet of Lord Brahma, sovereignty over the earth or the lower planets, and attainment of the eight or eighteen mystic perfections are all insignificant. This is confirmed in the following statement by Vrtrasura in the Srimad Bhagavatam (6.11.25):
na naka-prstham na ca paramesthyam
na sarva-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
sama˝jasa tva virahayya kankse (18)
O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahma resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet.
This is my sincere resolve.
By taking shelter of the holy name, attachment develops. The symptoms of this attachment are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29.34):
cittam sukhena bhavatapahrtam grhesu
yan nirvisaty uta karav api grhya-krtye
padau padam na calatas tava pada-mulad
yamah katham vrajam atho karavama kim va (19)
Until today our minds were absorbed in household affairs, but You easily stole both our minds and our hands away from our housework. Now our feet won't move one step from Your lotus feet. How can we go back to Vraja? What would we do there?
In this condition all good qualities and peacefulness manifest in the devotee. This is explained by Prahlada Maharaja in the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.18.12):
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty aki˝cana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih (20)
All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavor of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord's external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a person?
According to the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.11.30), the process of bhakti-yoga completely destroys the false ego in the form of identifying the body with the self.
tvam pratyag-atmani tada bhagavaty ananta
bhaktim vidhaya paramam sanakair avidya-
granthim vibhetsyasi mamaham iti prarudham (21)
Regaining your natural position and rendering service unto the Supreme Lord, who is the all-powerful reservoir of all pleasure and who lives in all living entities as the Supersoul, you will very soon forget the illusory understanding of I and mine .
Again the Srimad Bhagavatam (4.22.39) says:
karmasayam grathitam udgrathayanti santah
tadvan na rikta-matayo yatayo 'pi ruddha-
sroto-ganas tam aranam bhaja vasudevam (22)
The devotees, who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, can very easily overcome hard-knotted desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the nondevotees the j˝anis and yogis although trying to stop the waves of sense gratification, cannot do so. Therefore you are advised to engage in the devotional service of Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.
An introduction to madhyahna-lila (midday pastime) is given in the Govinda-lilamrta:
madhyahne 'nyonya samgodita vividha-vikaradi-bhusapramugdhau
vamyotkanthatilolau smaramakha lalita dyali-narmaptasatau
radha-krsnau satrsnau parijana-ghataya sevyamanau smarami (23)
I remember Radha and Krsna, who enjoy each other's company at midday. They are both decorated with different types of ecstatic symptoms such as asta-sattvika and vyabhicari. Their eyes show symptoms of opposition, then eagerness, as They become unsteady in Their loving affairs. They are pleased by the jokes of Lalita and the other sakhis, and surrounded by these friends, They become eager to engage in sports like swinging, roaming in the forest, playing in the water, hiding Krsna's flute, love-making, drinking honey and worshiping the sun-god.
In this way I meditate on Radha and Krsna, who are served on all sides by Their associates.
Thus ends the Caturtha-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
The characteristic of one who chants the holy name and his prayer as the eternal servant of Krsna are given in the Siksastaka(5):
ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
sthita-dhuli-sadrsam vicintaya (1)
Oh, my Lord, O Krsna, son of Maharaja Nanda, I am Your eternal servant, but because of my own fruitive acts, I have fallen in this horrible ocean of nescience. Now please be causelessly merciful to me. Consider me a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.
I am Your eternal servant, but I forgot Your Lordship. Now I have fallen in the ocean of nescience and have been conditioned by the external energy. Be causelessly merciful to me by giving me a place with the particles of dust at Your lotus feet so that I may engage in the service of Your Lordship as Your eternal servant.
The stage of bhava is gradually attained by the mercy of Krsna and regular chanting of the holy names without offenses. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.17-19) it is said:
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati (2)
Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.
By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.
As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire, and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy.
Such a devotee prays for Krsna's mercy as stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.14.8):
tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhu˝jana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak (3)
My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words, and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.
One who is situated in this condition attains supreme spiritual peace, as confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.43):
ity acyutanghrim bhajato 'nuvrttya
bhaktir viraktir bhagavat-prabodhah
bhavanti vai bhagavatasya rajams
tatah param santim upaiti saksat (4)
My dear King, the devotee who worships the lotus feet of the infallible Personality of Godhead with constant endeavor thus achieves unflinching devotion, detachment, and experienced knowledge of the Personality of Godhead. In this way the successful devotee of the Lord achieves supreme spiritual peace in the form of prema.
The nine types of bhakti are listed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.5.23/24):
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam (5)
Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia, and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.
As the stage of bhava arises, attachment for service is spontaneous. The following prayer of Vrtrasura is given in Srimad Bhagavatam (6.11.24):
aham hare tava padaika-mula-
dasanudaso bhavitasmi bhuyah
manah smaretasu-pater gunams te
grnita vak karma karotu kayah (6)
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be able to serve Your eternal servants, who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship.
The living entity is the enjoyed and Krsna is the enjoyer. Therefore by regularly discharging devotional service, the hope for achieving the service of the ever-blissful Sri Radha gradually increases. At that time one's feelings for serving in the mood of the gopis manifests. The mood of the gopis is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29.38):
tan nah prasida vrjinardana te 'nghri-mulam
prapta visrjya vasatis tvad-upasanasah
taptatmanam purusa-bhusana dehi dasyam (7)
Therefore, O vanquisher of all distress, please show us mercy. To approach Your lotus feet we abandoned our families and homes, and we have no desire other than to serve You. Our hearts are burning with intense desires generated by Your beautiful smiling glances. O jewel among men, please make us Your maidservants.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29.39) tells how to take shelter of the perfect mood of the gopis:
viksyalakavrta-mukham tava kundala-sri-
dattabhayam ca bhuja-danda-yugam vilokya
vaksah sriyaika-ramanam ca bhavama dasyah (8)
Seeing Your face encircled by curling locks of hair, Your cheeks beautified by earrings, Your lips full of nectar, Your smiling glance, Your two imposing arms, which take away our fear, and Your chest, which is the only source of pleasure for the goddess of fortune, we must become Your maidservants.
The superiority of parakiya-bhava in this stage is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29.33):
kurvanti hi tvayi ratim kusalah sva atman
nitya-priye pati-sutadibhir arti-daih kim
tan nah prasida paramesvara ma sma chindya
asam dhrtam tvayi cirad aravinda-netra (9)
Expert transcendentalists always direct their affection toward You because they recognize You as their true Self and eternal beloved. What use do we have for these husbands, children, and relatives of ours, who simply give us trouble? Therefore, O supreme controller, grant us Your mercy. O lotus-eyed one, please do not cut down our long-cherished hope to have Your association.
The necessity for taking shelter of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani is described in the Sri Sva-sankalpa-prakasa-stotra of the Stavavali in these words:
anaradhya radha-padambhoja renum
anasritya vrndatavim tat padankam
asambhasya-tad bhava-gambhira cittan
kutah syama-sindho rasasyavagahah (10)
How is it possible to immerse oneself in the ocean of Syama rasa (love for Krsna or the madhurya rasa) without worshiping the dust of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, or without taking shelter of Vrndavana, which is decorated with Her footprints, or without serving Her devotees, whose grave hearts are always absorbed in love for Her?
The pride of Radha's maidservant is described in the following words:
abhimanam parityajya prakrtavapur-adisu
sri krsna-krpaya gopi-dehe vraje vasamy aham
radhikanucari bhutva parakiya-rase sada
radha krsna vilasesu paricaryam karomy aham (11)
After giving up the pride of falsely identifying the material body with the self, by the mercy of Krsna, I reside in Vraja as a gopi. As Radharani's maidservant, I always take pleasure serving Radha and Krsna in Their parakiya-rasa pastimes.
Giving up all other engagements for the service of the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani is described in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (33):
durad apasya svajanan sukham-artha-kotim
sarvesu sadhana-varesu ciram nirasah
varsantam eva sahajadbhuta-saukhya-dharam
sri radhika carana renum aham bhajami (12)
Abandoning attachment for family and friends, material pleasures, wealth, and all other spiritual paths, finding them distasteful, I take on my head and worship the dust of the lotus feet of Sri Radhika, which is a shower of wonderful, transcendental bliss.
A prayer to achieve the service of Radharani within the ku˝jas of Vrndavana is given in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (198):
asasya dasyam vrsabhanu-jayas
tire samadhyasya ca bhanujayah
kada nu vrndavana ku˝ja vithisv
aham nu radhe hy atithirbhaveyam (13)
O Radha, O Vrsabhanunandini, when, by Your mercy, will I stay on the banks of the Yamuna and wander on the paths within the groves of Vrndavana as I engage in Your service as a maidservant?
In the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (259) there is the following prayer to be always engaged in seeking Krsna by the performance of sankirtana in the mood of Radha-dasya (as a maidservant):
dhyayantam sikhi-piccha-mauli-manisam tan nama-samkirtayan
nityam tac caranambujam paricaran tan-mantra-varyam japan
sri radha padasyam eva paramabhistam hrda dharayan
karhi syam tad anugrahena paramadbhutanuragotsavah (14)
By always remembering Krsna, who wears a peacock feather in His mukut, by performing sankirtana and engaging in the service of His lotus feet, by chanting the best of mantras, and by remembering the most cherished service of the lotus feet of Radha within my heart, when will I relish the most amazing festival of attachment to Radha?
A prayer for attaining the service of Srimati Radharani birth after birth is given in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (40):
kainkaryam eva mama janmani janmani syat (15)
May I attain the service of Vrsabhanunandini birth after birth. She is the personification of the essence of the transcendental mellows of divine sports. With a form of the most wonderful transcendental bliss, She is the supreme goddess of fortune. Her lotus feet are difficult to attain even for the demigods headed by Lord Brahma.
Searching Radhanatha (Krsna) while engaged in the service of Srimati Radharani is described in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (142):
radha nama sudha rasam rasayitum jihvas tu me vihvala
padau tat padakanksita sucaratam vrnda-tavivithisu
tat karmaiva karah karotu hrdayam tasyah padam dhyayatam
tad bhavotsavatah param bhavatu me tat prana nathe ratih (16)
May my tongue be overwhelmed by relishing the nectar of Radha's name, may my feet be engaged in wandering the paths of Vrndavana which are marked by Radha's footprints, may my hands be engaged in the loving service of Radharani, and may my mind be engaged in meditation on the lotus feet of Radha. By attaining the festival of ecstatic love for Radha, may I attain firm attachment for the lotus feet of Her beloved, Sri Krsna.
In Vilapa-kusuma˝jali (8) the lotus feet of Sri Radha are described as the ultimate goal of life. :
devi duhkha kula-sagarodare
duyamana mati durgatam janam
tvat krpa pravala naukayadbhutam
prapaya svapada-panka-jalayam (17)
O Goddess, please rescue this unfortunate person drowning in the ocean of unhappiness. Place me in the strong boat of Your mercy and carry me to the shore of Your lotus feet.
Exclusive affinity for achieving attachment for the service of Sri Radha is described in Vilapa-kusuma˝jali (16):
padabjayos tava vina vara-dasyam eva
nanyat kadapi samaye kila devi yace
sakhyaya te mama namo 'stu namo 'stu nityam
dasyaya te mama raso 'stu raso 'stu satyam (18)
O most beautifully resplendent Goddess! I shall never ask You for anything other than the service of Your lotus feet as a maidservant. Again and again I offer my obeisances from a distance to the desire of becoming Your sakhi (companion on an equal level). Again and again I desire to relish the sweet nectar of Your service as a maidservant.
A sincere solicitation in Radha-dasya is given in the Gandharva-samprarthanastakam of the Stava-mala:
ha devi kaku-bhara-gadgadayadya vaca
yace nipatya bhuvi danda-vadudbhatartih
asya prasadamabudhasya janasya krtva
gandharvike tava gane gananam vidhehi (19)
O Devi! In great distress I fall to the ground offering You obeisances and prayers with a voice choked with emotion. O Gandharvike! Please bestow Your mercy on this pauper and count me amongst Your own associates.
A prayer to achieve attachment for the service of Srimati Radharani, who attracts the mind of Sri Krsna, is given in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (39):
venum karan nipatitam skhalitam sikhandam
bhrasta˝ca pita-vasanam vraja-raja-sunoh
tam radhikam paricarami kada rasena (20)
When will I delight in the service of Srimati Radharani? Struck by the arrow of Her side-long glance Krsna faints, His flute falls from His hands, the peacock feathers on His head become loosened and His yellow scarf slips from His neck.
An introduction to the characteristics of one who has attained rati for Radha-dasya is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.6.46):
tava mayam jayema hi (21)
Simply by decorating ourselves with the garlands, fragrant oils, clothes and ornaments that You have already enjoyed, and simply by eating the remnants of Your meals, we, Your (maid) servants, will indeed conquer Your illusory energy.
An introduction to aparahna-lila (afternoon pastime) is given in the Govinda-lilamrta:
sri radham prapta-geham nija-ramana-krte klrpta nanopaharam
susnatam ramya-vesam priya-mukha-kamalaloka-purna-pramodam
sri krsnam caivaparahne vrajam anucalitam dhenu-vrindair vayasyai
sri radhaloka-trptam pitr-mukha-militam matr-mrstam smarami (22)
I remember Srimati Radharani, who in the afternoon returns to Her home and prepares many sweets like amrtakeli and karpurakeli for Her beloved Sri Krsna. After taking Her ablution and dressing in beautiful clothes and ornaments, She is filled with ecstasy seeing the lotus face of Her beloved Sri Krsna when He returns from the forest to the cowshed.
I also remember Sri Krsna, who is returning home in the afternoon to Nanda-grama along with His cows and cowherd boy friends. As they arrive on the path, He feels satisfied glancing at Srimati Radharani. After meeting with Nanda and other elderly people, He is then bathed and dressed by Mother Yasoda.
O mind! Remember this pastime in ecstasy.
Thus ends the Pa˝cama-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
The external symptoms of perfection are given in the Siksastaka (6):
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavisyati (1)
My dear Lord, when will my eyes be beautified by filling with tears that constantly glide down as I chant Your holy name? When will my voice falter and all the hairs on my body stand erect in transcendental happiness as I chant Your holy name?
Without love of Godhead, my life is useless. Therefore I pray that You accept me as Your servant, and give me the salary of ecstatic love of God.
The form of bhava is stated in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
bhava ity abhidhiyate
satvikah svalpa-matrah syuh
The first stage of prema is known as bhava, where the eight sattvika vikaras (bodily transformations) such as standing of the hairs on end and crying, slightly manifest.
The characteristics of sthayi-bhava (permanent ecstasy) are described in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu as follows:
nama-gane sada rucih
ity adayo 'nubhavah syur
jata-bhavankure jane (3)
When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Krsna fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one's behavior: tolerance, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment for glorifying the qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides that is, a temple or a holy place like Vrndavana. These are all called anubhava, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.
If love for Krsna in a seedling state has fructified in one's heart, one is not agitated by material things. Not a moment should be lost. Every moment should be utilized for Krsna or connected with Him. In the material field, people are interested in material enjoyment, mystic power and sense gratification. However, these things do not appeal to the devotee at all. Although a pure devotee's standard is above all, he still considers himself to be in the lowest stage of life. A fully surrendered devotee always hopes that Lord Krsna will be kind to him. This hope is very firm in him. This eagerness is chiefly characterized by an ardent desire to attain the mercy of the Lord. Due to having great relish for the holy name, one is inclined to chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra constantly. At this stage of bhava, a devotee has awakened the tendency to chant and describe the transcendental qualities of the Lord. He has attachment for this process. A devotee absorbed in ecstatic emotion for Krsna always has affection for residing in a place where Krsna's pastimes were performed. These are the symptoms of a person who has developed attraction (bhava) for Krsna.
The various anubhavas which manifest when bhava is nourished are listed in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
nrtyam viluthitam gitam
hunkaro jrmbhanam svasa-
lalasravo 'ttahasas ca
ghurna hikkadayopi ca (4)
Dancing, falling down and rolling on the ground, singing and crying very loudly, bodily contortions, loud vibrations, yawning, deep breathing, disregard for others, frothing of saliva, mad laughter, spitting, hiccups and other similar symptoms are called anubhavas.
The asta-sattvika vikaras are also given in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
svara-bhedo 'tha vepathuh
ity astau sattvikah smrtah (5)
The eight symptoms of bhava are, being stunned, trembling, perspiring, standing of hairs on end, fading away of color, weeping, choking and devastation.
The living entity in his siddha-deha is the eternal servant of Krsna. Therefore, when his attachment for service manifests, his false identification with the material body is diminished. In Padyavali the following statement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is found:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah (6)
I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. His is always existing with brilliance.
In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu it is stated that the devotee in raga-marga is simultaneously fixed in two kinds of service in his sadhana-deha and in his siddha-deha.
siddha-rupena catra hi
The advanced devotee who is inclined to spontaneous loving service should follow the activities of a particular associate of Krsna in Vrndavana. He should execute service externally as a regulative devotee as well as internally from his self-realized position. Thus he should perform devotional service both externally and internally.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indicates the mood and public behavior of the devotee in raga-marga in the following words (quoted from Cc. 2.1.211):
tad evasvadayaty antar
If a woman is attached to a man other than her husband, she will appear very busy in carrying out her household affairs, but within her heart she is always relishing feelings of association with her paramour.
In this state of raga-marga, the condition of one's mind is exhibited by affection for staying in a place dear to Krsna. As described in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
namani tava kirtayan
racayisyami tandavam (9)
O Lord Pundarikaksa, while chanting Your holy name with tears in my eyes, when shall I dance in ecstasy on the bank of the Yamuna?
The living entity in his eternal form is the servant of Krsna. In the conditioned state, the living entity is covered by ignorance. By serving Krsna favorably one easily revives his original consciousness. One's duty is to serve Krsna favorably without duplicity. Excluding those who are actually desirous of krsna-prema, the emotions exhibited by those who are hard-hearted because of offenses are impure and therefore artificial. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam (2.3.24):
tad asma-saram hrdayam batedam
yad grhyamanair hari-nama-dheyaih
na vikriyetatha yada vikaro
netre jalam gatra-ruhesu harsah (10)
Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one's chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.
The Krsna-karnamrta (107) says the youthful form of Krsna easily manifests as one's attachment for the holy name develops:
bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad
daivena nah phalati divya-kisora-murtih
muktih svayam mukulitanjalih sevate 'sman
dharmartha-kama-gatayah samaya-pratiksah (11)
If I am steadily engaged in devotional service unto You, my dear Lord, then I can easily perceive Your transcendental youthful form. And as far as liberation is concerned, I think that liberation stands at my door with folded hands waiting to serve me and all the material conveniences of dharma, artha and kama stand with her.
The favorable cultivation of chanting the holy names in the association of pure devotees at the stage of attachment is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.3.30/31) as follows:
mitho ratir mithas tustir
nivrttir mitha atmanah
smarantah smarayantas ca
mitho 'ghaugha-haram harim
bhaktya sa˝jataya bhaktya
bibhraty utpulakam tanum (12)
One should learn how to associate with the devotees of the Lord by gathering with them to chant the glories of the Lord. This process is most purifying. As devotees thus develop their loving friendship, they feel mutual happiness and satisfaction. And by thus encouraging one another, they are able to give up material sense gratification, which is the cause of all suffering.
The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away everything inauspicious from them. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end.
Sometimes the pure devotees, free from pride, wander throughout the world chanting and preaching love for the holy names of the Lord. As stated by Narada Muni in the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.6.26):
namany anantasya hata-trapah pathan
guhyani bhadrani krtani ca smaran
gam paryatams tusta-mana gata-sprhah
kalam pratiksan vimado vimatsarah (13)
Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I travelled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.
And again from the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.3.32):
kvacid rudanty acyuta-cintaya kvacid
dhasanti nandanti vadanty alaukikah
nrtyanti gayanty anusilayanty ajam
bhavanti tusnim param etya nirvrtah (14)
Having achieved love of Godhead, the devotees sometimes cry out loud, absorbed in thought of the infallible Lord. Sometimes they laugh, feel great pleasure, speak out loud to the Lord, dance or sing. Such devotees, having transcended conditioned life, sometimes imitate the unborn Supreme by acting out His pastimes. And sometimes, achieving His personal audience, they remain peaceful and silent.
Attachment to seeing the beautiful form of the Deity is described in these words from the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.23.22):
syamam hiranya-paridhim vanamalya-barha-
vinyasta-hastam itarena dhunanam abjam
His complexion was dark blue and His garment golden. Wearing a peacock feather, colored minerals, sprigs of flower buds, and a garland of forest flowers and leaves, He was dressed just like a dramatic dancer. He rested one hand upon the shoulder of a friend and with the other twirled a lotus. Lilies graced His ears, His hair hung down over His cheeks, and His lotuslike face was smiling.
Again from the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.5):
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih (16)
Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the best of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories.
When the holy name blossoms, the devotees' emotions manifest, and they feel enchanted with the Deity, who is Himself enchanted by His own beauty. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.2.12), Uddhava says to Vidura:
yan martya-lilaupayikam sva-yoga-
maya-balam darsayata grhitam
vismapanam svasya ca saubhagarddheh
param padam bhusana-bhusanangam (17)
The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yoga-maya. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes are wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. Thus His (Sri Krsna's) transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments.
The sweetness of Krsna attracts the hearts of all. While having darsana of Krsna, the devotees condemn the creator for making eyelids which momentarily block their vision of Krsna. This is explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.24.65) as follows:
nityotsavam na tatrpur drsibhih pibantyo
naryo naras ca muditah kupita nimes ca (18)
Krsna's face is decorated with ornaments, such as earrings resembling sharks. His ears are beautiful, His cheeks brilliant, and His playful smiling is attractive to everyone. Whoever sees Lord Krsna enjoys a festival. His face and body are fully satisfying for everyone to see, but the devotees are angry at the creator for the disturbance caused by the momentary blinking of their eyes.
The proficiency of the creator in making the form of Krsna is glorified in the following words of the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.2.13):
yad dharma-sunor bata rajasuye
niriksya drk-svastyayanam tri-lokah
kartsnyena cadyeha gatam vidhatur
arvak-srtau kausalam ity amanyata (19)
All the demigods from the upper, lower and middle universal planetary systems assembled at the altar of the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by Maharaja Yudhisthira. After seeing the beautiful bodily features of Lord Krsna, they all contemplated that He was the ultimate dexterous creation of Brahma, the creator of human beings.
The results of seeing the Deity in the stage of attachment are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.2.14) in these words:
vraja-striyo drgbhir anupravrtta-
dhiyo 'vatasthuh kila krtya-sesah (20)
The damsels of Vraja, after pastimes of laughter, humor and exchanges of glances, were anguished when Krsna left them. They used to follow Him with their eyes, and thus they sat down with stunned intelligence and could not finish their household duties.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (3.2.21) describes how Sri Krsna, the personification of sweetness, is the abode of all opulences.
svayam tv asamyatisayas tryadhisah
balim haradbhis cira-loka-palaih
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the master of the three worlds and the three principal demigods (Brahma, Visnu and Siva). No one is equal to or greater than Him. By His spiritual potency, svarajya-laksmi, all His desires are fulfilled. While offering their dues and presents in worship, the predominating deities of all planets touch the lotus feet of the Lord with their crowns. Thus they offer prayers to the Lord.
The cause of Krsna's mercy is inconceivable, that is, His mercy is causeless. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.16.36):
kasyanubhavo 'sya na deva vidmahe
yad-va˝chaya srir lalanacarat tapo
vihaya kaman su-ciram dhrta-vrata (22)
O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya has attained this great opportunity of being touched by the dust of Your lotus feet. For this end, the goddess of fortune performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and taking austere vows.
The topmost devotion of the gopis of Vraja is glorified in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.47.60) as follows:
nayam sriyo 'nga u nitanta-rateh prasadah
svar-yositam nalina-gandha-rucam kuto 'nyah
rasotsave 'sya bhuja-danda-grhita-kantha-
labdhasisam ya udagad vraja-vallabhinam (23)
When Lord Krsna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, the gopis were embraced by the arms of the Lord. This transcendental favor was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or other consorts in the spiritual world. Indeed, never was such a thing even imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, whose bodily luster and aroma resemble the lotus flower. And what to speak of worldly women who are very beautiful according to material estimation?
Other devotees hanker after the mood of the gopis. Evidence is found in the following statement by Uddhava from the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.47.61):
asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam
vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam (24)
The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.
From the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.47.58) it is understood that even Lord Brahma is agitated seeing the devotion of the gopis.
etah param tanu-bhrto bhuvi gopa-vadhvo
govinda eva nikhilatmani rudha-bhavah
va˝chanti yad bhava-bhiyo munayo vayam ca
kim brahma-janmabhir ananta-katha-rasasya (25)
Among all persons on earth, these cowherd women alone have actually perfected their embodied lives, for they have achieved the perfection of unalloyed love for Lord Govinda. Their pure love is hankered after by those who fear material existence, by great sages, and by ourselves as well. For one who has tasted the narrations of the infinite Lord, what is the use of taking birth as a high-class brahmana, or even as Lord Brahma himself?
Devotees attracted by the opulences of the Lord also desire the devotion of the gopis. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.44.14) the ladies of Mathura speak as follows:
gopyas tapah kim acaran yad amusya rupam
lavanya-saram asamordhvam ananya-siddham
drgbhih pibanty anusavabhinavam durapam
ekanta-dhama yasasah sriya aisvarasya (26)
What austerities must the gopis have performed! With their eyes they always drink the nectar of Lord Krsna's form, which is the essence of loveliness and is not to be equaled or surpassed. That loveliness is the only abode of beauty, fame, and opulence. It is self-perfect, ever fresh, and extremely rare.
An introduction to sayam-lila (evening pastime) is given in the Govinda-lilamrta:
sayam radham sva-sakhya nija-ramana-krte presitaneka-bhojyam
sakhyanitesa-sesasana mudita hrdam tam ca tam ca vrajendrum
susnatam ramya-vesam grham anu-janani lalitam prapta-gostham
nirvyudho 'sralidoham svagrham anu punar bhuktavantam smarami (27)
In the evening Sri Radha sends Her girl friends with many exquisite sweet preparations for Her beloved Krsna. When Her friends return with Krsna's remnants, Radha becomes very happy tasting those remnants.
Vrajendra Krsna takes His bath at home and He is then very nicely dressed. Mother Yasoda lovingly attends Him. Krsna then goes to the cowshed, and after milking the cows He again returns home to take His meals in great happiness. I remember these pastimes with great affection.
Thus ends the Sastha-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
The internal symptom of devotion in the stage of perfection is that one worships Krsna in the mood of separation (vipralambha When the lover and the beloved meet, they are called yukta (connected). Previous to their meeting, they are called ayukta (not connected). Whether connected or not connected, the ecstatic emotion arising due to not being able to embrace and kiss each other as desired is called vipralambha.>). The Siksastaka (7) describes this mood as follows:
sunyayitam jagat sarvam
govinda-virahena me (1)
My Lord Govinda, because of separation from You, I consider even a moment a great millennium. Tears flow from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I see the entire world as void.
In my agitation, a day never ends, for every moment seems like a millenium. Pouring incessant tears, my eyes are like clouds in the rainy season. The three worlds have become void because of separation from Govinda. I feel as if I were burning alive in a slow fire.
In the mood of vipralambha, purva-raga When attachment produced in both the lover and beloved before their meeting by seeing, hearing and so on becomes very palatable by the mixture of four ingredients, such as vibhava and anubhava, this is called purva-raga.> and pravasa Pravasa is a word used to indicate the separation of lovers who were previously intimately associated. This separation is due to their being in different places.> are especially favorable in the execution of one's bhajana.
Purva-raga is described in the following five verses. In this verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.9), the gopis praise the good fortune of the flute, which drinks the nectar of Krsna's lips:
gopyah kim acarad ayam kusalam sma venur
damodaradhara-sudham api gopikanam
bhunkte svayam yad avasista-rasam hradinyo
hrsyat-tvaco 'sru mumucus taravo yatharyah (2)
My dear gopis, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed to enjoy the nectar of Krsna's lips independently and leave only a taste for us gopis, for whom that nectar is actually meant! The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure just as persons who are advanced in knowledge take pleasure to see their descendants engage in the service of the Lord. His mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, feels jubilation, and therefore her blooming lotus flowers are standing like hair on her body.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.11) describes how the does and bucks worship Krsna and attain good fortune after hearing the sound of Krsna's flute:
dhanyah sma mudha-gatayo 'pi harinya eta
ya nanda-nandanam upatta-vicitra-vesam
akarnya venu-ranitam saha-krsna-sarah
pujam dadhur viracitam pranayavalokaih (3)
Blessed are these deer. Though merely dumb animals, they have approached Maharaja Nanda's son, who is gorgeously dressed and is playing on His flute. Indeed, both the does and the bucks worship the Lord with looks of love and affection.
It is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.15) that by the sound of Krsna's flute, the rivers stop flowing and worship Krsna's lotus feet with lotus flowers:
nadyas tada tad upadharya mukunda-gitam
alingana-sthagitam urmi-bhujair murarer
grhnanti pada-yugalam kamalopaharah (4)
When the rivers hear the flute-song of Krsna, their minds begin to desire Him, and thus the flow of their currents are broken and their waters are agitated, moving around in whirlpools. Then with the arms of their waves the rivers embrace Murari's lotus feet and, holding on to them, present offerings of lotus flowers.
Govardhana Hill becomes jubilant by the touch of the feet of Rama and Krsna and worships Them with various offerings. As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.18):
hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa pramodah
manam tanoti saha-go-ganayos tayor yat
Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows, and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.
By hearing the sound of Krsna's flute the animate entities become inanimate and the inanimate entities become animate. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.19) it is said:
ga gopakair anu-vanam nayator udara-
venu-svanaih kala-padais tanu-bhrtsu sakhyah
aspandanam gati-matam pulakas tarunam
niryoga-pasa-krta-laksanayor vicitram (6)
My dear friends, as Krsna and Balarama pass through the forest with Their cowherd friends, leading Their cows, They carry ropes to bind the cow's rear legs at the time of milking. When Lord Krsna plays on His flute, the sweet music causes the moving living entities to become stunned and the nonmoving trees to tremble with ecstasy. These things are certainly very wonderful.
O friend, by not obtaining Krsna my heart is breaking. When will providence give me Krsna's association?
Pravasa is described in the next four verses. In this state Radharani's emotions are most relishable for the devotees. One should read such passages as Bhramara-gita (Radharani's talks with the bumblebee). Radharani's emotional outburst is expressed in the following words of Sri Madhavendra Puri:
ayi dina-dayardra natha he
dayita bhramyati kim karomy aham (7)
O my Lord! O most merciful master! O master of Mathura! When shall I see You again? Because of my not seeing You, my agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved one, what shall I do now?
The gopis blame Providence on their separation from Krsna in these words of the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.39.19):
aho vidhatas tava na kvacid daya
samyojya maitrya pranayena dehinah
tams cakrtarthan viyunanksy aparthakam
vikriditam te 'rbhaka-cestitam yatha (8)
The gopis said: O Providence, you have no mercy! You bring embodied creatures together in friendship and love and then senselessly separate them before they fulfill their desires. This whimsical play of yours is like a child's game.
Separation from Krsna for even a moment is unbearable, as stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.39.29):
nitah sma nah ksanam iva ksanada vina tam
gopyah katham nv atitarema tamo durantam (9)
When He brought us to the assembly of the rasa dance, where we enjoyed His affectionate and charming smiles, His delightful secret talks, His playful glances and His embraces, we passed many nights as if they were a single moment. O gopis, how can we possibly cross over the insurmountable darkness of His absence?
The overwhelming emotions experienced by Radharani in separation from Krsna are described in the Hamsaduta as follows:
yada yato gopi hrdaya madano nanda-sadanan-
mukundo gandhinyasta-nayam anurundhan madhu-purim
ragadhayam radhamayapayasi radhavirahini (10)
When the Cupid of the gopis' hearts, Krsna, left the house of Nanda Maharaja and accompanied Akrura to Mathura, Srimati Radharani's mind was disrupted. She became almost mad because of separation from Krsna, and She drown in the deep whirlpools and waves of a fathomless river of anxiety.
Ten symptoms of separation are given in the Ujjvala-nilamani as follows:
pralapo vyadhir unmado
mohomrtyurdasa dasa (11)
There are ten stages of lamentation due to separation: anxiety, wakefulness, mental agitation, thinness, uncleanliness, talking like a madman, disease, madness, illusion, and death.
Radharani is overwhelmed by these symptoms and feeling extreme misery.
Feeling sharp pangs of separation, Radharani reproaches Krsna in the following verse from the Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka:
prema-ccheda-rujo 'vagacchati harir nayam na ca prema va
sthanasthanam avaiti napi madano janati no durbalah
anyo veda na canya-duhkham akhilam no jivanam vasravam
dvi-trany eva dinani yauvanam idam ha-ha vidhe ka gatih (12)
Our Krsna does not realize what we have suffered from injuries inflicted in the course of loving affairs. We are actually misused by love because love does not know where to strike and where not to strike. Even Cupid does not know of our weakened condition. What should I tell anyone? No one can understand another's difficulties. Our life is actually not under our control, for youth will remain for two or three days and soon be finished. In this condition, O creator, what will be our destination?
One sakhi says to Radha, Be patient. Why are You becoming so anxious? What is the benefit of this anxiety? Your beloved, the best of heroes, will come soon.
Radha replied, O sakhi, I don't see any way He will come. The disease caused by Our loving affairs is simply increasing, for He has not come from Mathura to save Me. Love does not know where to strike and where not to strike. Krsna is hard-hearted in His loving affairs, therefore I am most bewildered. On top of that, Cupid has pierced Me with his arrows. They don't understand My suffering and this life is flickering, with youth lasting for only a few days. My dear friend, please tell Me, will that jewel amongst heroes return to Vraja? O fate, where will I find solace?
A description of Radharani's agitation due to separation from Krsna is given the Krsna-karnamrta (42):
kim iha krnumah kasya brumah krtam krtamasaya
kathayata kathamanyam dhanyam aho hrdayesayah
krpana-krpana krsne trsna ciram vata lambate (13)
Alas, what shall I do? To whom shall I speak? Let whatever I have done in hopes of meeting Krsna be finished now. Please say something auspicious, but do not speak about Krsna. Alas, Krsna is lying within My heart like Cupid, therefore how can I possibly give up talking of Him? I cannot forget Krsna, whose smile is sweeter than sweetness itself and who gives pleasure to My mind and eyes. Alas, My great thirst for Krsna is increasing moment by moment!
The hope for attaining Krsna has taken residence within My heart. But unfortunately that pitiable hope seems impossible to fructify.
Radharani's delirious talk in separation from Krsna is given in the Krsna-karnamrta (41):
amuny adhanyani dinantarani
hare tvad-alokanam antarena
ha hanta ha hanta katham nayami (14)
O My Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O friend of the helpless! You are the only ocean of mercy! Because I have not met You, My inauspicious days and nights have become unbearable. I do not know how I shall pass the time.
Therefore, please tell this maidservant how to meet You.
Longing to see beloved Krsna is described in the Krsna-karnamrta (40):
he deva he dayita he bhuvanaika-bandho
he krsna he capala he karunaika-sindho
he natha he ramana he nayanabhirama
ha ha kada nu bhavitasi padam drsor me (15)
O My Lord! O dearest one! O only friend of the universe! O Krsna, O restless one, O ocean of mercy! O My Lord, O My enjoyer, O beloved to My eyes! Alas, when will You again be visible to Me?
Meeting with Krsna unfolds as explained in the Krsna-karnamrta (68):
marah svayam nu madhura-dyuti-mandalam nu
madhuryam eva nu mano-nayanamrtam nu
veni-mrjo nu mama jivita-vallabho nu
krsno 'yam abhyudayate mama locanaya (16)
My dear friends, where is that sweetly effulgent Krsna, Cupid personified, who is sweetness itself, the nectar of My eyes and mind, He who loosens the hair of the gopis, who is the supreme source of transcendental bliss and My life and soul? Has He come before My eyes again?
Seeing Krsna come before My eyes has returned life to My body. All My miseries have gone far away. O friend! My heart is now comforted for I have regained My lost treasure.
The direct darsana of Krsna is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.32.2):
tasam avirabhuc chaurih
saksan manmatha-manmathah (17)
Then Lord Krsna, a smile on His lotus face, appeared before the gopis. Wearing a garland and a yellow garment, He directly appeared as one who can bewilder the mind of Cupid, who himself bewilders the minds of ordinary people.
The mood of Vraja is glorified in the Lalita-madhava. While meeting Krsna in Nava-vrndavana in Dvaraka, Radha requests Him:
cirad asa-matram tvayi viracayantah sthira-dhiyo
vidadhyur ye vasam madhurima gabhire madhupure
dadhanah kaisore vayasi sakhi tam gokulapate
prapadyethas tesam paricayam avasyam nayanayoh (18)
O Krsna, persons with fixed minds have hoped for a long time that You will return to Madhupuri, which is filled with intense sweetness. O Lord of Gokula, please go there in Your youthful form and perform Your sweet pastimes before their eyes. This is My only request.
Feeling separation, Radha wishes to take Krsna back to Vrndavana, which is filled with ever-sweet memories. Again from the Lalita-madhava:
ya te lila-rasa parimalodgari-vanya-parita
dhanya ksauni vilasati vrta mathuri madhuribhih
samvitastam kalaya vadanollasi-venur-viharam (19)
O Krsna! Within Mathura-mandala is the most fortunate forest of Vrndavana. It is surrounded by forests ornamented with the fragrance of the sweet mellows of Your pastimes, which You perform within Your inconceivable energy. In the congenial atmosphere of that transcendental abode You would enjoy different sports with us gopis, whose hearts are overwhelmed with love for You. O son of Nanda, we desire to again enjoy pastimes there with You as You play on Your flute.
Feeling intense separation, the gopis rebuke the creator of their eyelids as they gaze at Krsna. The following statement from the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.82.39), describes the gopi's state while meeting Krsna at Kuruksetra:
gopyas ca krsnam upalabhya cirad abhistam
yat-preksane drsisu paksma-krtam sapanti
drgbhir hrdi-krtam alam parirabhya sarvas
tad-bhavam apur api nitya-yujam durapam (20)
While gazing at their beloved Krsna, the young gopis used to condemn the creator of their eyelids, (which would momentarily block their vision of Him). Now, seeing Krsna again after such a long separation, with their eyes they took Him into their hearts, and there they embraced Him to their full satisfaction. In this way they became totally absorbed in ecstatic meditation on Him, although those who constantly practice mystic yoga find such absorption difficult to achieve.
The great eagerness of the gopis to achieve Krsna in their own residence (their hearts) is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.82.48) as follows:
ahus ca te nalina-nabha padaravindam
yogesvarair hrdi vicintyam agadha-bodhaih
geham jusam api manasy udiyat sada nah (21)
Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshiped and meditated upon by great mystic yogis and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs.
O Krsna! We are cowherd girls. We are not yogis, nor are we materialists. All our activities are dedicated to You. Our hearts are nondifferent from Vrndavana, so please keep Your lotus feet there and thus fulfill our desire.
Krsna's amorous conversation with the gopis at Kuruksetra is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.82.40):
bhagavams tas tatha-bhuta
prahasann idam abravit (22)
The Supreme Lord approached the gopis in a secluded place as they stood in their ecstatic trance. After embracing each of them and inquiring about their well-being, He laughed and spoke as follows.
Seeing the love between Krsna and the gopis, the Lord's consorts from Dvaraka are astonished.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.82.44), Krsna says the living entities' affection for Him is always auspicious, and by that affection they ultimately attain Him:
mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam
distya yad asin mat-sneho
bhavatinam mad-apanah (23)
Rendering devotional service to Me qualifies any living being for eternal life. But by your good fortune you have developed a special loving attitude toward Me, by which you have obtained Me.
This prema-bhakti you have for Me is the supreme nectar. Under the control of this affection I am always engaged in your service.
The following is an introduction to pradosa-lila (late evening pastimes) from Govinda-lilamrta:
radham saliganantam asitasitanisa-yogya-vesam pradose
krsnam gopaih sabhayam vihita-guni kalalokanam snigdha matra
yatnadaniya samsayitam atha nibhrtam prapta-ku˝jam smarami (24)
I remember Sri Radha in the late evening. She dresses Herself in clothes suitable for the dark and light fortnight for the pleasure of Krsna. (She wears black clothes on the new moon day and white clothes on the full moon day.) In accordance with Vrnda's advice, She takes shelter in a secluded bower on the banks of the Yamuna in the company of Her sakhi messenger.
I also remember Krsna sitting in an assembly of cowherd boys and watching their various feats. His affectionate mother, Yasoda, brings Him home and attempts to put Him to sleep. Remembering the company of Radha, He soon quietly slips out of bed and leaves for the forest bower.
I remember Radha and Krsna engaged in this pastime.
Thus ends the Saptama-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
The nistha, or firm faith of a devotee who has achieved perfection in pure devotion, with complete dependence on Krsna, is described in the Siksastaka (8) as follows:
aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah (1)
Let Krsna tightly embrace this maidservant, who has fallen at His lotus feet. Let Him trample me or break my heart by never being visible to me. He is a debauchee, after all, and can do whatever He likes, but He is still no one other than the worshipable Lord of my heart.
I am a maidservant at the lotus feet of Krsna. He is the embodiment of transcendental happiness and mellows. If He likes He can tightly embrace me and make me feel oneness with Him, or by not giving me His audience, He may corrode my mind and body. Nevertheless, it is He who is the Lord of my life.
The state of one who remembers Krsna's pastimes is that, like Krsna, his body is also sac-cid-ananda. Therefore the Vaisnava's body is not different from Krsna's. Krsna explains this to Uddhava in the following words from Srimad Bhagavatam (11.29.34):
martyo yada tyakta-samasta-karma
niveditatma vicikirsito me
mayatma-bhuyaya ca kalpate vai (2)
A person who gives up all fruitive activities and offers himself entirely unto Me, eagerly desiring to render service unto Me, achieves liberation from birth and death and is promoted to the status of sharing My own opulences.
Such a devotee enters into the Lord's pastimes and enjoys with Him.
The devotee's bhajana nistha is described in the Manah-siksa in these words:
na dharmam nadharmam sruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru
vraje radha-krsna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanu
saci-sunum nandisvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam
mukunda-presthatve smara paramajasram nanu manah (3)
O my dear mind, please do not perform the religious activities prescribed in the Vedas or the sinful activities prohibited in the scriptures. Just stay in Vraja-dhama, which is manifest on this material plane, and fully engage in the service of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Always remember Sri Gaurahari, the son of Mother Saci, is nondifferent from Sri Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda. And always remember that Sri Gurudeva is the dearmost associate of Mukunda. These feelings are your transcendental wealth.
The devotee's humility is described by Sanatana Gosvami in the next verse, quoted by Srila Rupa Gosvami in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. One who has achieved the stage of rati (bhava) and has firm hope that Krsna will be kind to him prays as follows:
na prema sravanadi-bhaktir api va yoga 'thava vaisnavo
j˝anam va subha-karma va kiyad aho saj-jatir apy asti va
hinarthadhika-sadhake tvayi tathapy acchedya-mula sati
he gopi-jana-vallabha vyathayate ha ha mad-asaiva mam (4)
O my Lord, I do not have any love for You, nor am I qualified for discharging devotional service by chanting and hearing. Nor do I possess the mystic power of a Vaisnava, knowledge, or pious activities. Nor do I belong to a very high-caste family. On the whole, I do not possess anything. Still, O beloved of the gopis, because You bestow Your mercy on the most fallen, I have an unbreakable hope that is constantly in my heart. That hope is always giving me pain.
The devotee's introduction to his siddha-deha (spiritual form) is described in the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (53):
dukulam vibhranamatha kucatate ka˝cukapatam
prasadam svaminyah svakara-tala-dattam pranayatah
sthitam nityam parsve vividha-paricaryaika-caturam
kisorim atmanam catulaparakiyam nu kalaye (5)
I am a maidservant (ma˝jari) of Radharani in my siddha-deha. With deep affection Srimati Radharani has bestowed on me Her mercy in the form of clothing which She has worn. Wearing this clothing, I will see myself as an adolescent young girl always remaining near Srimati Radharani, and ready to cleverly serve Her in different ways. In this way I will abandon my husband, and day and night serve the lotus feet of Radha in the groves of Vrndavana.
The method of bhajana and place of residence for one who has attained the above mentioned contemplation is stated in the Upadesamrta (8):
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tistan vraje tad-anuragi-jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram (6)
The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time twenty-four hours a day in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja (Goloka Vrndavana-dhama) and serve Krsna under the guidance of His beloved Vrajavasi associates. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.
The devotee's process of bhajana is described in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Under the guidance of the spiritual master, a raganuga devotee should always perform his own cherished eternal service:
krsnam smaran janam casya
kuryad vasam vraje sada (7)
A raganuga devotee should always reside in Vraja by constantly remembering Krsna with His dearmost associates according to his own rasa. If one is not able to physically live in Vraja, he should at least live there mentally. Those persons who are ignorant and always engaged in material sense gratification are never capable of residing in Vraja. However, the maha-bhagavats, who may not be residing in Vraja by external vision, are actually always living only in Vraja.
The devotee's external behavior the symptoms and activities of one situated in prema is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.40):
jatanurago druta-citta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi rauti gayaty
unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah (8)
By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.
The devotee's firm faith in Vraja-lila is found in this verse, recited by Caitanya Mahaprabhu from the Kavya-prakasa, and quoted in Padyavali:
yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate (9)
That very personality who stole my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.
In the Padyavali, Srila Rupa Gosvami has elucidated the previous sloka in the following words:
priyah so 'yam krsnah sahacari kuru-ksetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprhayati (10)
My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Krsna on this field of Kuruksetra. I am the same Radharani, and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but I would still like to go to the bank of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vrndavana.
There are no pastimes equal to the pastimes performed in Vrndavana. These pastimes are unknown in other abodes beginning with Vaikuntha. In Vraja these pastimes have two divisions known as vicheda (separation) and sambhoga (meeting). Always enjoy these two transcendental mellows, as they are supremely blissful.
The various pastimes performed during the meeting of Radha and Krsna are described in the Ujjvala-nilamani as follows:
te tu sandarsanam jalpah sparsanam vartma rodhanam
madhu-panam vadhu-vesa-dhrtih kapata suptata
bimbadhara-sudhapanam-samprayogadayo matah (11)
When Radha and Krsna meet the following sports usually occur: 1) Sandarsana (looking at each other), 2) Jalpa (talks and making false arguments between each other), 3) Sparsa (touching each other), 4) Vartma-nirodhana (obstructing the path), 5) Rasa-lila, (rasa dance), 6) Vrndavana-krida (sporting in the forests of Vrndavana), 7) Yamuna-khelana (sporting in the water of the Yamuna), 8) Nauka-khela (sporting in a boat), 9) Lila-chaurya (stealing the flute, clothes, flowers, etc.), 10) Dana-ghata-lila (pastime of charging tax at the ghata), 11) Ku˝jadi-linata (hiding in groves), 12) Madhupana (drinking honey), 13) Vadhu-vesa-dharana (dressing like a newly wed girl), 14) Kapata-nidra (pretending to sleep), 15) Dyuta-krida (playing chess), 16) Vastrakarsana (snatching each other's cloth), 17) Cumba (kissing), 18) Aslesa (embracing), 19) Nakharpana (scratching), 20) Bimbadhara-sudhapana (relishing the nectar of each other's lips) 21) Samprayoga (conjugal meeting). These are the different types of pastimes when Radha and Krsna meet.
Decorating Radha-Krsna is described in the Stavavali, Seva-sankalpa-prakasa-stotra (9):
sphuran-mukta gu˝ja mani sumanasam hara-racane
mudendor lekha me racayatu tatha siksana-vidhim
yatha taih samkanthaptair dayita-sarasi madhya-sadane
sphutam radha krsnavayam api jano bhusayati tau (12)
May Indulekha, who is my guru, instruct me in the art of making beautiful garlands of pearls, jewels, gu˝ja and different flowers, so that I can charmingly decorate Sri Sri Radha and Krsna within the jeweled mandira in the middle of Radha-kunda.
In the mood of separation, the Gopi-gita should be read. The gopis declare therein, Srimad Bhagavatam (10.31.9), that one who distributes the nectar of krsna-katha is the most munificent person.
tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah (13)
The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the messages of Godhead are most munificent.
One is introduced to the gopis' deep affection for Krsna by hearing of the great sorrow they experience while thinking of Krsna wandering throughout the forests of Vraja. They express their sorrow in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.31.11):
calasi yad vrajac carayan pasun
nalina-sundaram natha te padam
sila-trnankuraih sidatiti nah
kalilatam manah kanta gacchati (14)
Dear master, dear lover, when You leave the cowherd village to herd the cows, our minds are disturbed with the thought that Your feet, more beautiful than a lotus, will be pricked by the spiked husks of grain and the rough grass and plants.
Without seeing Krsna's beautiful face, decorated with curly hair, a moment appears like a hundred yugas for the gopis. This is expressed by the gopi's in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.31.15):
atati yad bhavan ahni kananam
truti yugayate tvam apasyatam
kutila-kuntalam sri-mukham ca te
jada udiksatam paksma-krd drsam (15)
When You go off to the forest during the day, a tiny fraction of a second becomes like a millennium for us because we cannot see You. And even when we can eagerly look upon Your beautiful face, so lovely with its adornment of curly locks, our pleasure is hindered by our eyelids, which were fashioned by the foolish creator.
The topmost position of gopi-bhava is meant only for Krsna's pleasure. An example of the gopi's bhava is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.31.19):
yat te sujata-caranamburuham stanesu
bhitah sanaih priya dadhimahi karkasesu
tenatavim atasi tad vyathate na kim svit
kurpadibhir bhramati dhir bhavad-ayusam nah (16)
O dearly beloved! Your lotus feet are so soft that we place them gently on our hard breasts, fearing that Your feet will be hurt. Our life rests only in You. Our minds, therefore, are filled with anxiety that Your tender feet might be wounded by pebbles as You roam about on the forest path.
An emotional outburst in sambhoga is described in the Krsna-karnamrta (12):
kim api vahatu cetah krsna padambujabhyam (17)
Let my heart attain indescribable pleasure from the lotus feet of Krsna, which are the abode of the most sweet ever-sportive pastimes of Srimati Radharani, who is the goddess of fortune of all transcendental planets. His lotus feet defeat the pride of clusters of lotus flowers and they are highly esteemed due to their providing safety for the Lord's devotees.
Again in the Krsna-karnamrta (18) it is said:
tarunaruna karunamaya vipulayata nayanam
mama khelatu mada-cetasi madhuradharam amrtam (18)
May the nectar of Krsna's sweet lips intoxicate my heart by sporting within. His wide youthful eyes, reddish like the rising sun, are full of compassion seeing the fatigued condition of His beloved Srimati Radharani. Out of happiness, His hair is standing on end from the touch of the pitcherlike breasts of Kamala (Radharani). The sound of His flute is melting the hearts of the sages, which thus become soft like the lotus flower, and the already lotus-soft hearts of the gopis who have undertaken a vow of silence due to anger or shyness are further softened.
The Ujjvala-nilamani describes in the following words the various services performed within the mind of one situated in his eternal form:
mithah prema-gunotkirttis tayor asakti-karita
abhisara-dvayor eva sakhyah krsne samarpanam
chidra-samvrtir etasyah patyadeh pariva˝cana
siksa-sangamanam kale sevanam vyajanadibhih
tayor dvayor upalambhah sandesa-presanam tatha
2 nayika prana samraksa prayatnadyah sakhi-kriyah (19)
In the conjugal pastimes of Krsna, Krsna is the hero (nayaka), and Radhika is the heroine (nayika). The first service of the gopis is to chant the glories of both the hero and the heroine. Their second service is to gradually create a situation in which the hero may be attracted to the heroine and vice versa. Their third service is to induce both of Them to approach one another. Their fourth service is to offer Radharani to Krsna, the fifth is to create a jovial atmosphere, the sixth to give Them assurance of Their meeting, the seventh to dress and decorate both hero and heroine, the eighth to cleverly inspire Radha and Krsna to express Their minds, the ninth to conceal the faults of the heroine, the tenth to cheat their respective husbands and relatives, the eleventh to give instruction, the twelfth to enable both hero and heroine to meet at the proper time, the thirteenth to fan both hero and heroine, the fourteenth to sometimes reproach the hero and heroine, the fifteenth to send messages, and the sixteenth to protect the heroine by various means.
In Stavavali, Vraja-vilasa-stava (38) it is said:
vrndaranya-mahesvarim priyataya yas tosayanti priyah
prana-prestha-sakhi-kulad api kilasankocita bhumikah
keli-bhumisu rupa-ma˝jari-mukhas ta dasikah samsraye (20)
By offering Them betel nuts, massaging Their feet, bringing Them water, arranging Their secret meetings, and by performing many other services, many maidservants affectionately please Radharani, the supreme controller of the Vrndavana forest. When the Divine Couple enjoy Their conjugal pastimes, these maidservants are not at all shy and they move freely without hesitation, even more than the prana-prestha-sakhis (such as Lalita and Visakha). I take shelter of those maidservants, who have Rupa-ma˝jari as their leader.
Pride in one's service is found in these words of the Gosvamis:
navyam divyam kavyam svakrtam atulam nataka-kulam
praheligudharthah sakhi-rucira vina-dhvani gatih
kada snehollasair lalita-lalita-prerana balat
salajjam gandharva sara-sama-sakrc-chiksayati mam (21)
When will Srimati Radharani, at the request of Lalita, teach me in delighted affection and modesty the incomparable dramas She has composed, along with new poems with deep meanings and charming ragas for the vina.
Acceptance of Visakha-sakhi, whose voice defeats the singing of the cuckoo, as a guru for learning the art of music is given in the Stavavali, Prarthana:
kuhukanthi-kanthad api kamala-kanthi mayi punar
visakha ganasyapi ca rucira-siksam pranayatu
yathaham tenaitat yuva-yugalam ullasya saganal
labhe rase tasman mani-padaka haran iha muhuh (22)
I pray that Visakhadevi, whose voice is more enchanting than the cuckoos, may teach me the art of singing sweetly. By singing during the rasa dance songs learnt from her, I may please the youthful Divine Couple with Their associates. I will thus receive gifts such as Their jeweled lockets and necklaces.
The ecstasy of rasa-lila is described in the Gita-govinda. Sri Krsna along with the damsels of Vrndavana always enjoy the pastime of rasa dance.
visvesam anura˝janena janayannanandam-indivara-
sreni syamala-komalair upanayann angair anangotsavam
1 svacchandam vraja-sundaribhir abhitah pratyangam alingitah
srngarah sakhi murttiman iva madhau mugdho harih kridati (23)
My dear friends, just see how Sri Krsna is enjoying the season of spring! With the gopis embracing each of His limbs, He is like Cupid personified. He enlivens the gopis and the entire creation with His transcendental pastimes. With His soft bluish-black limbs, which resemble blue lotus flowers, He has created a spring festival for Cupid.
In the sweet land of Vrndavana, during the season of Vasanta, the bumble bees become mad and they come in a line to obtain nectar from the beautiful flowers. The most sweet king of transcendental rasa, Sri Krsna, enjoys the rasa dance with the sweetest nectarean sports along with the sweet gopis, who are expert at dancing. The sweet sounds of the karatalas and other instruments are heard as Krsna sweetly engages in dancing with the gopis. Vidyapati has come to know this sweet song which is full of mellows.
The happiness of seeing Krsna is described in the Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka. The gopis therein express their great appreciation for meeting Krsna after separation from Him.
yada yato daivan madhu-ripur asau locana-patham
tadasmakam ceto madana-hatakenahrtam abhut
punar yasminn esa ksanam api drsor eti padavim
vidhasyamas tasminn akhila-ghatika ratna-khacitah (24)
If by chance the transcendental form of Krsna comes before my path of vision, my heart, injured from being beaten, will be stolen away by Cupid, happiness personified. Because I could not see the beautiful form of Krsna to my heart's content, when I again see His form I shall decorate the phases of time with many jewels.
An introduction to ratri-lila (night pastime) is given in Govinda-lilamrta:
tav utkau labdha-sangau bahu-paricaranair vrndayaradhyamanau
presthalibhir lasantau vipina-viharanair gana-rasadilasyaih
1 nana-lila-nitantau pranaya-sahacari vrnda-samsevyamanau
radha-krsnau nisayam sukusuma-sayane prapta-nidrau smarami (25)
I remember Radha and Krsna, who at night are anxious for each other's company. After They meet, Vrndadevi serves Them in various ways as They roam throughout the forest. Radha and Krsna appear very charming with Their sakhis as They sing and dance in Their rasa pastimes. Becoming fatigued from Their sportive activities, They are served by Their many loving friends (ma˝jaris). As the night ends, They lie on a bed of flowers where They sleep. The sakhis drown in an ocean of ecstasy as they observe these pastimes.
O mind, remember and worship with a desire to enter into this pastime of Radha and Krsna's sleeping.
One gradually attains perfection by always remembering the treasure of these eight-fold daily pastimes while engaged in devotional service. That sadhaka who attains the stage of svarupa-siddhi while practicing gopi-bhava relishes these asta-kala pastimes while residing in Vraja manifested in the material world. After achieving Krsna's mercy, when he leaves his material body, such a devotee attains the service of Radha and Krsna as Their associate within Vraja of the spiritual world.
In that state there is no perception of the gross or subtle material bodies. By chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra in this state of eternal liberation, one easily achieves complete ecstatic love.
O brother, the holy name never loses potency either at the stage of practice or perfection. Therefore, chant the holy name and consider it your sole objective. Don't consider any other means of sadhana.
Thus ends the Astama-yama Sadhana of the Sri Bhajana-rahasya.
[Source: Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences ]