Dvesa (Enmity): The Enemy of Bhakti

by Puru Das Adhikari

First let me offer my humble prostrated obeisances at the divine feet of my beloved diksa gurudeva, His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and at the divine feet of my siksa gurudeva His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, at the divine feet of my beloved departed most senior godbrother and shastra guru Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj, and to all my other siksa gurus and our entire guru varga. Without their mercy it is not possible to discuss the science of devotional service.

We see a considerable amount of anger and criticism of Vaisnavas in cyberspace. If such enmity came from materialistic persons we would not be surprised. After all, in attempting to offer us an opportunity to water our bhakti creepers, Vaisnavas preach about the importance of sense control and learning to cultivate detachment from gross and subtle sense gratifications. Transcendental conceptions shake the very foundation of modern materialistic so-called civilization and we are not surprised if a strong reaction to the candid observations of sadhus results from materialists.

However, when criticism and fault finding of the followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura come from camps that claim to be Vaisnavas we are dismayed and disappointed. In light of such unfounded criticisms a study of dvesa (enmity) and why it rears its ugly head can be helpful to us. Self righteousness, pratistha (a desire for name and fame), a low adhikara (spiritual status), envy and confusion about sadhu-sanga can all contribute to the sad mentality that forces any jiva who aspires to be a devotee to criticize Vaisnavas. This first offense in chanting (blaspheming devotees who have dedicated their lives to spreading the glories of the holy name) can irreparably harm if not trample our devotional creeper.

We can take information and assistance as to what to do in the face of such an unfortunate mentality from our predecessor acaryas. They have explained why envy is often directed at pure devotees. They have also advised us what to do in the face of such Vaisnava aparadha (offenses).

His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in connection to Duryodhana's offenses against his uncle Vidura, a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krsna.

"Vidura was a great friend and philosophical advisor to Dhrtarastra. Duryodhana knew very well that Vidura was a great soul and well-wisher, but unfortunately he used strong words to hurt his innocent uncle. Duryodhana not only attacked Vidura's birth, but also called him an infidel because he seemed to support the cause of Yudhisthira, whom Duryodhana considered his enemy. He desired that Vidura he immediately put out of the palace and deprived of all his possessions. If possible, he would have liked him caned until he was left with nothing but his breath. He charged that Vidura was a spy of the Pandavas because he advised King Dhrtarastra in their favor. Such is the situation of palace life and the intricacies of diplomacy that even a faultless person like Vidura could be charged with something abominable and punished. Vidura was struck with wonder at such unexpected behavior from his nephew Duryodhana, and before anything actually happened, he decided to leave the palace for good."

We are similarly struck with wonder when our so-called god brothers and others levy undue criticism directed at our siksa gurudeva, Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja. They falsely accuse him of deviating from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's mood and directions Actually their concerns about Srila Narayana Maharaja's preaching are unfounded and based on concocted statements of misinformation. Since they do not accept Srila Narayana Maharaja in their guru varga they rarely actually hear from him themselves. Relying on hearsay or remarks taken out of context, as well as their own misunderstanding of suddha bhakti, they see fit to find fault with his presentation of Krsna Consciousness. They make futile attempts to make false distinctions between what Srila Narayana Maharaja preaches and what our other gaudiya-acaryas have taught. Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) said in l936:

"There does not arise any question of discriminating my guru from yours or anyone else's. There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me and all others..."
HDGACBSP1936 Bombay Gaudiya Matha

The sectarian attitude that does not acknowledge this conception concerning guru-tattva is unfortunate. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has written:

"While Inquiring into the Absolute Truth, we cannot remain steady in one conclusion after hearing the various opposing statements of the many acaryas, sages and scholars. Considering the weakness of the audience, the instructing acarya often does not have the opportunity to disclose many subjects. Some of them, however accept parts of all subjects and thus cultivate the path of maryada, or awe and veneration. Hence, they neglect to cultivate the path of madhurya or sweetness.

"When the absolute Truth mercifully exhibits a portion of His supreme opulence,in the form of omnipotency, then most people being unable to understand this feature, fall into mundane conceptions. The platform of madhurya is situated higher than that of aisvarya those who cannot understand this are to be considered followers of the path of maryada. But when the Absolute Truth who is the basis of aisvarya and mudhurya, exhibits his audarya, or magnanimous, pastimes, then nonduplicitous persons who are freed from material conceptions and void of considerations of enjoyment and renunciation not only understand the differences between madhurya, aisvarya and audarya pastimes and become self-realised, but in their constitutional position and through their pure vision they also see the eternal variegated pastimes of the Lord."
Introduction to Gaudiya-bhasya (commentary on Sri Caitanya Bhagavata)

So if we observe some external differences between the presentation of one acarya to another we are not bewildered by their individuality. When some of Srila Sarasvati Thakura s disciples or grand disciples have expanded our exposure to certain topics including the reasons for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu s appearance, and His discussion with Raya Ramananda that is not illegal. Our own gurudeva left un-published an essay he wrote on the Ramananda Samvad entitled, In Search For the Ultimate Goal of Life. His Divine Grace wrote this essayright after he took sannyasa (third initiation) in 1959. In the words of the publisher we read:

"Because the talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya had already been published by His Divine Grace in The Teachings of Lord Caitanya and his Caitanya-caritamrta purports, we hesitated to publish the manuscript, thinking that Srila Prabhupad had already published what he wanted to say on the subject. However, by the grace of Srila Prabhupada, I was inspired to read the manuscript again and again until finally I realized that my beloved gurudeva had expanded on some very confidential points in his original manuscript, which he did not fully reveal in either The Teachings of Lord Caitanya or the Caitanya-caritamrta purports.

"The style of Srila Prabhupad's writing in the manuscript is revealing. [....] Taking his readers to the realm of divinelove, Srila Prabhupada extensively and freely reveals madhurya-prema the amorous love affairs of Srimate Radharani and Her cowherd girlfriends with Sri Krsna, the absolute King of Love, in the groves of Vrndavana---as the topmost platform of spontaneous love of Godhead...

"The talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya constitute the acme of all theistic conceptions, and thus are held in the highest regard by all Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas. The conversation between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya reveals the most esoteric truth about Vaisnava philosophy, allowing the reader to enter into the inner identity of the Lord and the purpose of His appearance. These talks are an important topic of GaudiyaVaisnava siddhanta for all aspiring devotees. Srila Prabhupada s writing on this topic just after his accepting sannyasa is evidence of the special importance of these discussions for people in the renounced order of life. That he did not venture to publish it immediately is further evidence of the highly confidential and esoteric nature of this essay.

"Because the topic is a highly confidential subject matter, one may ask, 'What is the need to publish it, thus making it available to even neophyte devotees?' The answer is that although Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested that Ramananda Raya not disclose this topic but keep it a secret, Srila Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami in his Caitanya-caritamrta openly reveals the details of the Lord s talks with Ramananda and encourages all the devotees to enter deeply into their inner meaning.

"Srila Prabhupada calls the discussions between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya, In Search for the Ultimate Goal of Life and requests his readers to enter into the essence of transcendental romance and pure love of Godhead by sincerely hearing his humble narration. Therefore, we felt if we did not publish this manuscript, the worldwide community of devotees would be deprived of a most valuable gift."
Swami B.G. Narasingha

We have heard that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura did not allow many of his disciples to even read certain sections of the Caitanya-caritamrta. Yet some of his disciples are exposing us to the material. We can only hope that in the same spirit of increasing the volume of the ocean of transcendental knowledge that when the third part of Jaiva Dharma is printed and released by Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja the publishers of In Search for the Ultimate Goal of Life will be generous. They have already pointed out in their unfortunate article "Who Is Following Who?":

"According to Srila Prabhupada's line of thought, even if one engages in bhajana but is not highly qualified, it is improper to enter into discussions on rasa. Srila Prabhupada has expressed this very clearly in such works as Bhai Sahajiya, Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini and many other essays. Never the less, even today there are many unqualified persons who are given to studying the portions of Jaiva Dharma containing the analysis of rasa. According to Srila Prabhupada's understanding, this is detrimental. Being the worthy recipient of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's merciful glance, and being destined with an increasingly intense desire to fulfill his innermost wishes, he has divided the book into three sections for his followers. According to his desire we will not be selling the third volume, viz. Rasa-vicara to the unqualified public. The first two volumes will be available for a symbolic price."
Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti
Maghi Purnima, Hugli,
Bhakti Prajana Kesava
We hope they will not continue to find fault with Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja for presenting material his gurudeva chose not to, as they also have done.

We are also aware that Srila Krsnadas Kaviraj Gosvami had his own doubt about writing these 3rd and 4th sections of the Madhya-lila of the Caitanya-caritamrta. He knew that the devotees were too lusty to actually understand and appreciate such intimate topics about Radha and Krsna. Therefore he wrote about theconversations between Raya Ramananda and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in codes that only highly realized rasika Vaisnavas can truly understand. Otherwise these ideas would have been lost forever. He hoped that one day there would be some devotees who could appreciate these discussions and truly understand them. What harm if we are exposed to these teachings as they are presented from the lips or pen of any sad guru, and heard or read with faith in Sri Krsna as the supreme enjoyer? Srila Prabhupada has written in the conclusion of his summary of the Cc., Teachings of Lord Caitanya as follows:

"Lord Caitanya then passed ten nights with Ramananda Raya, enjoyed his company and discussed the pastimes of Krsna and Radha. The discussions between them were on the highest level of love for Krsna. Some of these talks are described, but most of them could not be described. In Caitanya-caritamrta this has been compared to metallurgic examination. The metals compared arediscussed in the following sequence: first copper, then bronze, then silver, gold and at last touchstone. The preliminary discussions between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya are considered to be like copper, and the higher discussions are considered to be like gold. The fifth dimension of theirdiscussions, however, is considered to be like touchstone. If one is eager to attain the highest understanding, he must begin with an inquiry into the differences between copper and bronze, then silver and gold and so on.

"....The discussions between Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya deal with the most concentrated form of devotional service. By hearing these discussions one can understand the pastimes of Sri Radha and Krsna as well as the confidential role played by Lord Caitanya. If one is actually fortunate enoughto have faith in these discussions, he can enter into the transcendental association of Radha and Krsna."

And he has similarly written in: In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life:

"Only the faithful can enter into the intricacies of these topics, an faith is the basic principle for making progress in the supramental state of transcendental love in separation. The lila of Radha and Krsna is transcendental and confidential. One who has faith in Lord Caitanya and His recommended process for spiritual upliftment can enter into the confidential service of the Divine Couple, which is all-attractive for the pure devotees,

"It must be understood that the talks between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya are not a creation of mental speculators who are not in the transcendental chain of disciplic succession and who are always doubtful about he Absolute Truth. Nobody whose basic tendancy is to engage in mundane arguments can enter the precincts of these topics. They are above such a materialistic approach. Because the subject matter is supramundane, it is therefore not possible to understand it without having reached the supramental state.

"Nobody need try to understand these transcendental topics by strenuous academic manipulation of the brain and mind, because both the mundane brain and mind are useless when attempting to reach this supramental state. Only service to Godhead and His agents can help one to experience the revelation of the truth. Mental speculation, which produces only pseudo results, simply creates a disturbance

"The transcendental domain discussed by Sri Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya is solely the property of those faithful devotees of Sri Krsna who have a record of service in devotional life."
In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life

Ironic that Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami's wonderful article about Raya Ramananda was printed twice by critics who seem to take offense when Srila Narayana Maharaja discusses the same subject matter. We take note that in SB 1.1.6 in the purport His Divine Grace writes in regard to the Vedic scriptures: "To hear and explain them is more important than reading them." We cannot believe that Srila Prabhupada would object to any qualified Vaisnava repeating what he or Srila Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami has written to a suitable audience of interested listeners, even if they may be "neophyte", by the estimation of others. We also note that not everyone in the "devotee community" is running to hear from Srila Narayana Maharaja. Only those who are sajatiya (like-minded) and have faith in his presentation are fortunate enough "to hear" him with rapt attention. Krsna Himself says in the Bg. That He is directing the wanderings of the jivas who are seated on the machine of the external energy.

When we are mercifully exposed to the Raga marga of our line and the teachings of Srila Rupa Gosvami concerning the glory of madhurya rasa, we are not bewildered into thinking such topics are illegal or inappropriate for discussion in a Vaisnava forum, an assembly of devotees. For those who have little realization of rasa-tattva there may be an aversion to hearing on the topic from a more highly realized Vaisnavas than themselves. Such aversion is apasiddhanta and actually against the real mood of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsavati Thakura. This aversion to sadhu-sanga is born of envy and lack of sukrti.

Originally there were only four catur slokas of Srimad Bhagavatam, and they have been expanded to a much larger shastra. Expansion and illumination does not equal deviation, but is in our line explicitly. Nitya lila pravishta Srila Raksak Sridhar Maharaja has said in Sri Guru and His Grace:

"For our own interest, whatever we find which is akin to what was given to us by our guru Maharaja, whatever we find that will enlighten us further, and whatever will help us to understand more clearly what we heard form our guru Maharaja must be accepted.

"Otherwise, what have I taken in the prison-house of my mind, through my scholarship? God is not a finite thing. He is infinite. And as much as in the cell of my brain I have imprisoned Him, shall I stick only to that? What is this? Is my realization a living thing, or is it dead? Is there any growth? What I have received form my spiritual master can it grow? Or is it finished? Have I reached the infinite standard where I canprogress no further."
Srila Sridhar Maharaja

If I am too busy pretending to be sad-guru without the qualification then perhaps I have no time or inclination totake sadhu-sanga and hear from those with superior adhikara or realization than myself. Or perhaps I have falsely concluded I do not need any living siksa guru. I speculate that I am fine without anugatya (guidance) because my diksa guru gave me everything. I will also advise my disciples to avoid such sadhu-sanga and tell them not to take hear explanations of the sampradaya mantra or take siksa from Vaisnavas more advanced than myself. In this way I will cheat. I will ignore the clear advise of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura who has written:

"Even for Vaisnavas who are duly initiated into the genuine sampradaya the vastu-prabha, or illumination of one s eternal identity arising from their diksa mantra which they received fromtheir diksa-guru, won t appear until they receive this svarupa-jnana by the mercy of a siksa guru. Due to ignorance of svarupa-jnana, svarupa-siddha bhakti remains covered and henceonly bhakti abhasa is visible."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Bhakti-tattva-viveka pp. 49

The intelligent and fortunate disciples of bhogus gurus may eventually reject their bad advise and leave their bad association. They will recognize the dvesa (enmity) of such pretenders and learn to practice upeksa (neglect). We have seen several examples of this phenomenon and they are likely to increase as time goes on.

I will leave a more detailed defense of Srila Narayana Maharaja'spreaching style to other more stalwart devotees. They have more capacity to explain the intricacies of this matter than myself. For example, Atul Krsna Prabhu has written a concise and thorough, direct rebuttal to the Chakra article "Who is Following Who?": The Wave Of Sahajiyaism.

I am primarily concerned in this article with the motive and appropriate response to unjustified criticisms of Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja's preaching. Trying to develop a taste for hearing about the glories of Radha Krsna conjugal, is not forbidden fruit, but rather an important part of our sadhana and attempts to perform bhajana.

In his Jaiva Dharma Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives some idea why devotees of a low adhikara reject higher association. He writes:

"The third characteristic of the madhyama Vaisnava is his bestowal of mercy upon the ignorant. The word balisa refers to people who are ignorant of spiritual truth, bewildered or foolish. Materialistic people who have not received any genuine guidance in spiritual matters who have not been contaminated by unauthorized doctrines such as mayavada, who are not accustomed to envying devotees and bhakti, yet who, due to a prominence of mundane egoism and attachment are prevented from developing faith in the lord, are known as balisa.

"The kanistha-adhikarai prakrta-bhakta, although standing at the doorway of bhakti, has not attained suddha-bhakti due to being ignorant of the principles of sambhanda-jnana. Until such a person comes to the platform of suddha-bhakti, he is also regarded as a balisa. When he becomes acquainted with the truth of sambandha-jnana and awakens a taste for suddha harinama in the association of pure devotees, his ignorance will be dissipated and he will attain the status of a madhyama Vaisnava.

"....A diseased person cannot cure himself. He must be under the care of a physician. Just as the anger of a diseased person is pardonable, the improper behavior of the ignorant should also be excused. This attitude is known as mercy. The ignorant have many misconceptions, such as faith in karma-kanda, occasional inclination toward jnana, worshiping the Deity with ulterior motives, faith in yoga, indifference toward the association of pure Vaisnavas, attachment to varnasrama, and many other things. By association, mercy and good instructions, these misconceptions can be dispelled and the kanistha-adhikari can quickly become a madhyama-adhikari suddha-bhakta."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Jaiva Dharma
Chapter. Eight, Vaisnava Behavior

However if someone will not take higher association and only criticizes the preaching of such a Vaishnava how will he ever be cured of his anarthas? Raghunatha Das Gosvami explains in his Manah Siksa that pratistha (the desire for name and fame) refuses to acknowledge itself. While thinking he is giving good direction, a less potent guru may actually be guilty of giving incorrect advise to his own sisyas concerning Vaisnavas who are of higher adhikara than himself. Because of his own attachment to a personal agenda, by becoming a sadhu-ninda, he will go backwards and actually harm the development of his own bhakti creeper, even if he thinks he is a guru himself.

Nitya lila pravistha Srila Promode Puri Gosvami Maharaja has written in this connection inHeart of Krishna concerning the seriousness of committing Vaishnava aparadha:

"THE ETYMOLOGICAL development of the word aparadha is radhat arthat aradhanat-apagatah, which means 'to be distanced from worship.' Offenses committed at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas, the Devotees, distance one from devotional service to the Supreme Lord. But in a higher sense it means to be removed from the service of Sri Radha. All divine service to Krishna is being conducted under her direction. To offend her servitors is to make one unfit for her divine service. The whole aim of Krishna consciousness is radha-dasyam, the divine service of Sri Radha, and offenses at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas make one unfit for such service.

"The Lord is overly protective of his devotees (bhakta-vatsala). He cannot tolerate any offenses against them. They have bhakti (devotion), and they can awaken it within us. Bhakti is the sole means to attract Krishna, who is a slave of devotion. The same is true of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Caitanya-Bhagavata states:

'A person can attain the shelter of Mahaprabhu only by the grace of a higher Vaishnava. Religious practices and even chanting the Holy Name without devotion is useless.'

"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada writes in his commentary:

'Without developing a spirit of service, chanting the Holy Name is vain. Real devotion can only be cultivated when one receives the blessings of an unalloyed devotee.'

"Bhakti means devotion. Vrndavana dasa Thakur says:

'If a person commits an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaishnava, even though he may have received Krishna's mercy, he will never attain divine love, prema.' (Chaitanya-bhagavata Madhya-lila 22.8)

"Srila Prabhupada (SBSST)writes:

'Even if one is a Vaishnava, if he commits offenses to the Holy Name, he becomes unfit to render pure devotion.'

'Although it may appear that he is still being shown favor by the Lord as he continues to make a show of chanting without difficulty, the Lord is actually very displeased with him because of his antagonism toward devotees.'

"Therefore, to give up nama-aparadha we must first give up sadhu-ninda or finding fault with devotees.

"Regarding the phrase krsna krpa hoileo ('even though he may receive Krishna's mercy'), Srila Saraswati Thakurcomments:

"'People may think that because an offender appears to continue to chant without difficulty, the Lord must still favor him, but they are wrong. The Lord is not even slightly moved by their sham devotion.'"
Srila Promode Puri Gosvami
Heart of Krsna

In Sri Guadiya Kantahara, Seventeenth Jewel, Nama-tattva we find ten verses in connection with Vaisnava aparadha. I won't offer them all for your examination but kindly examine these two:

nascaryam etad yad asatsu sarvda mahad-vininda kunapatma-vadisu
sersyam mahapurusa-pada-pamsubhir nirasta-tejahsu tad eva sobhanam

"It is not wonderful for persons who have accepted the transient materialbody as the self to engage always in deriding great souls. Such envy onthe part of materialistic people is not very good because that is the waythey fall down. They are diminished by the dust of the feet of greatpersonalities.

My beloved spiritual master has written in his translation and purport of this sloka:

nascaryam etad yad asatsu sarvada
mahad-vininda kunapatma-vadisu
sersyam mahapurusa-pada-pamsubhir
nirasta-tejahsu tad eva sobhanam

na--not; ascaryam--wonderful; etat--this; yat--which; asatsu--evil;sarvada--always; mahat-vininda--the deriding of great souls;kunapa-atma-vadisu--among those who have accepted the dead body as theself; sa-irsyam--envy; maha-purusa--of great personalities;pada-pamsubhih--by the dust of the feet; nirasta-tejahsu--whose glory isdiminished; tat--that; eva--certainly; sobhanam--very good.

It is not wonderful for persons who have accepted the transient material body as the self to engage always in deriding great souls. Such envy on the part of materialistic persons is very good because that is the way they fall down. They are diminished by the dust of the feet of great personalities.

Everything depends on the strength of the recipient. For example, due to the scorching sunshine many vegetables and flowers dry up, and many grow luxuriantly. Thus it is the recipient that causes growth and dwindling. Similarly, mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhisekam: the dust of the lotus feet of great personalities offers all good to the recipient, but the same dust can also do harm. Those who are offenders at the lotus feet of a great personality dry up; their godly qualities diminish. A great soul may forgive offenses, but Krsna does not excuse offenses to the dust of that great soul's feet, just as one can tolerate the scorching sunshine on one's head but cannot tolerate the scorching sunshine on one's feet. An offender glides down more and more; therefore he naturally continues to commit offenses at the feet of the great soul. Offenses are generally committed by persons who falsely identify with the impermanent body. King Daksa was deeply engrossed in a misconception because he identified the body with the soul. He offended the lotus feet of Lord Siva because he thought that his body, being the father of the body of Sati, was superior to Lord Siva's. Generally, less intelligent men misidentify in that way, and they act in the bodily concept of life. Thus they are subject to commit more and more offenses at the lotus feet of great souls. One who has such a concept of life is considered to be in the class of animalslike cows and asses.

17.81 (Sri Gaudiya Kantahara)
nindam kurvanti ye mudha vaisnavanam mahatmanam
patanti pitrbhih sardham maharautava-samjnite
hanti nindati vai dvesthi vaisnavan-nabhi-nandati
krudhyate yati no harsam darsane patanani sat

"A fool who blasphemes Vaisnavas goes to the worst kind of hell along with generations of his ancestors. One who kills a devotee, as well as one who blasphemes devotees, or one who is envious of devotees, or who who fails to offer obeisances to Vaisnavas upon seeing them, or one who becomes angered at a Vaisnava, or who does not become joyful upon seeing aVaisnava --- these six classes of men are all considered to be candidates for falling down into hell."
(Skanda Purana)

Here, for the respected reader, are some statements by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He has made some very concise remarks concerning criticism of another stalwart Vaisnava in our Gaudiya line, Sri Vrndavana Das Thakura.

"There is no scarcity of ill-motivated people ready to attack the good qualities of Thakura Mahasaya. Some such envious parsons said that Vrndavana das Thakura and his followers exhibited a great deal of negligence toward the nondevotees and were thus unable to attract less intelligent people to the banner of taror api sahisnuna and trnad api sunicena, as taught by Lord Caitanya. In answer to this, the followers of Sri Vrndavana das reply that it is very unfortunate that in the course of such criticism these people maintain an inimical mentality, which is averse to the process of devotional service, and cheat others by sitting on the back of morality in the dress of writers. Due to a lack of piety one dares to disregard the guru and the Vaisnavas. The indiscriminate coordinators who want to unite the universally beneficial principles of love of God with their opposing principles put forward many unreasonable arguments that are most fallacious and born from envy."
Life Sketch of the Author Srila Vrndavna Das Thakura
Sri Caitanya Bhagavata

"Unless the community of short sighted litterateurs, who are full of indiscretion, become completely qualified to understand the purport of the descriptions in this book, they will not be able to respect this book. As long as their eyes are blinded by the darkness of ignorance, those who are wise will continue to doubt their awakening of good fortune. Due to a lack of appreciation for devotional service of the Lord, a person will develop a tastefor self-worship and material enjoyment, which will obstruct his path towards perfection. If one considers himself a liberated pure servant of Krsna, he will certainly engage in the service of Sri Caitanya. Therefore unless one takes shelter of the lotus feet of the liberated devotees of Gaura one cannot enter into the depths of Sri Caitanya-bhagavata. As a result, the living entities are unable to hear about the names, forms, qualities,pastimes and associates of Gaura."
Sri Caitanya Bhagavata

Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) touches on the topic of envy in his purport to Cc. Madhya-lila:

TEXT 218

dui jane prabhura krpa dekhi' bhakta-gane
'hari' 'hari' bale sabe anandita-mane
dui jane--unto the two persons; prabhura--of the Lord; krpa--the mercy; dekhi'--seeing; bhakta-gane--all thedevotees; hari hari--the holy name of the Lord; bale--chant; sabe--all; anandita--cheerful; mane--in the mind.

When all of the devotees saw the mercy of the Lord upon the two brothers, they were very much gladdened, andthey began to chant the holy name of the Lord, "Hari! Hari!"

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava seva nistara payeche keba: unless one serves a Vaishnava, he cannot be delivered. The spiritual master initiates the disciple to deliver him, and if the disciple executes the order of the spiritual master and does not offend other Vaisnavas, his path is clear. Consequently Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested all the Vaisnavas present to show mercy toward the two brothers, Rupa and Sanatana, who had just been initiated by the Lord. When a Vaishnava sees that another Vaishnava is a recipient of the Lord's mercy, hebecomes very happy. Vaisnavas are not envious. If a Vaishnava, by the mercy of the Lord, is empowered by Him to distributethe Lord's holy name all over the world, other Vaisnavas become very joyful--that is, if they are truly Vaisnavas. One who is envious of the success of a Vaishnava is certainly not a Vaishnava himself, but an ordinary mundane man. Envy and jealousy are manifested by mundane people, not by Vaisnavas. Why should aVaishnava be envious of another Vaishnava who is successful in spreading the holy name of the Lord? An actual Vaishnava is very pleased to accept another Vaishnava who is bestowing the Lord's mercy. A mundane person in the dress of a Vaishnava should not be respected but rejected. This is enjoined in the sastra (upeksa). The word upeksa means neglect. One should neglect an envious person. A preacher's duty is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, make friendships with Vaisnavas, show mercy to the innocent and reject or neglect those who are envious or jealous.There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaisnavas in this Krsna consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a Vaishnava. When Narottama dasaThakura says chadiya vaisnava seva nistara payeche keba, he is indicating an actual Vaishnava, not an envious or jealous person in the dress of a Vaishnava.
Cc. Madhya lila 1.218

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives similar advice in his Jaiva dharma and also recommends upeksa (to avoid or neglect) with regard to the inimical.

"The fourth characteristic of the madhyama is neglect of those who are inimical. It is necessary to define here what is meant by the inimical, and to describe their different types. Dvesa, enmity is a particular attitude which is also known as matsarata, envy. That attitude which is exactly the opposite of love is known as dvesa. The supreme Lord is the only object of love. The attitude a person bears toward the Lord which is in direct opposition to love is known as dvesa. This dives is of five different types: absence of faith in God; the belief thatGod is nothing more than a natural potency which brings about the results of all action; the belief that God has no particular form; the belief that the jivas are not eternally subordinate to the Lord; and the absence of mercy.

"Individuals whose hearts are contaminated by these inimical attitudes are absolutely bereft of suddha-bhakti Haridas Babaji said. They are destitute of even prakrta-bhakti, the rudimentary devotion represented by the neophyte devotee's worship of the Deity, which is the doorway to suddha bhakti. The five types of enmity just described are found to co exist with attachment of material sense enjoyment....How should a suddha-bhakta behave toward such inimical people? The should avoid them.

"....Spiritual association means to meet together for the purpose of spiritual advancement, to discuss topics of eternal truth, and to render reciprocal service and welfare which awakens one s devotional sentiments. To avoid the association of people with whom such types of exchanges are not possible is called upeksa.

"When an inimical person who has adopted divergent opinions hears glorification of suddha bhakti, or virtuous instructions regarding bhakti, he will immediately retort with some futile argument, beneficial neither for you nor for him. One should avoid such fruitless arguments and interact with such people only so far as routine social dealings are concerned. If you say it would be best to include inimical people among the ignorantand bestow mercy upon them, then far from helping them, you will only harm yourself. Benevolence should be applied but it should be done with caution.

"Madhyama-adhikari suddha-bhaktas should certainly carry out these four types of behavior. Any negligence on their part in this regard makes them guilty of improper behavior and failure to do that for which they are qualified. This is considered as a serious defect."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Chapter Eight, Vaishnava Behavior
Jaiva Dharma

We caution the critics of Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja to take instruction from the words of our predecessor acaryas and stop making futile attempts to divorce him from the mood and intent of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasavati Thakura. Just recently in Badger, California at the function for Giriraj Govardhana Srila Maharaja was heard to say to all present:

If anyone is going to Giriraja Govardhana and doing parikrama Govardhana will give him anything he wants. He can fulfill all desires. Those who have worldly desires bind the branch of a tree with some cloth and pray, "I want to marry a very beautiful girl," or, "I want a very handsome husband."Govardhana will quickly answer this prayer. If you want ahouse with many stories, even 130 or 160 stories, you shouldpile up some bricks and stones that you find there, one on topof another. However high you make it, Giriraja Govardhana willeasily give this to you. However, devotees do not ask foranything and only perform kirtana, singing, 'Govardhana jayaGiridhari, Giridhari jaya Govardhana, Giridhari jaya Govardhana"and "Radhe jaya jaya Madhava dayite', Govardhana will bevery happy. For such persons Govardhana can give his heart.What is his heart? His heart is the love and affection of Krsna.He will give his heart very carefully, however. He will nevergive it to lusty persons who engage in sense gratification.

"Nowadays this has become very cheap. I don't want to makethis subject cheap. This is the most confidential treasurewhich must be kept only in our hearts. So many times I havetold my devotees, my sannyasis, brahmacaris, and preachers,'Be very careful about this. This is not a thing to be given inthe fish market or airport or any other such place. Keep itsecret.' If a woman has love for someone other than herhusband, will she tell this fact to her father, mother, husband,or any friend? Try to conceal this, as Mahaprabhu has advised.Otherwise, we will lose what we are getting and lust will comein its place. This is what is going on at the present time.

"Now I see that the Iskcon devotees have translated GovindaLilamrta, Krsna Bhavanamrta, and books that are still moreconfidential than these. They have translated so many booksand they are reading them. It is a very strange phenomenon,and now the same thing is going on here. I want to warn you.Be like Govardhana who concealed everything. He became astone, and that is why Radha and Krsna and all the gopis haveno shame at all in front of him. They have no shame in front ofhis mountains, hills, and rivers. These entities have life, butthey will not disclose anything to others. If you are naked infront of a mirror, is there any harm or any shame? No. This isbecause a mirror has no life. Similarly, Giriraja becomes like this mirror. He never tells what he has seen of the confidentialpastimes of Radha and Krsna to anyone. I therefore requestmy devotees that they should not broadcast all thesehigh-class subjects. If they are fortunate to hear something,they should keep that in their hearts.

"Be like Sri Raya Ramananda, Sri Svarupa Damodara, SrimatiMadhavi devi and others. Even Srila Rupa Gosvami and SrilaRaghunatha dasa Gosvami were not at the Gambhira. We, onthe other hand, have made these topics very, very cheap. Wedistribute them everywhere in the market. I don't want this.By doing this you will become very lusty. At this stage, don'tread all these confidential books. Rather, you should try tofollow vaidhi-bhakti and read Caitanya Caritamrta. Read all the prescribed books, especially those of Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, like Upadesamrta and Manah Siksa. You can also read the books of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Srila Prabhupada (SBSST) was very much against revealing all these topics in public. He knew all these subjects, and he knew that these are the best of subjects, but for beginners they are to be hidden."
The Secrets Of Govardhana Hill

Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja has presented many, articles and lectures to combat apasiddhanta misconceptions and fight the plague of sahajiyaism. We take note that the most recent vilification of Srila Narayana Maharaja to appear on Chakra, "Who is Following Who" concerning his harikatha, was not even signed. Name withheld by request. This is a foolish attempt to denigrate Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja's ability to adequately discriminate the adhikara of his audience. It also misrepresents the importance of sravanam of the Lord's pastimes from the lips of sad guru. Such spurious misrepresentation of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Mission will be countered more directly by others. We offer our pranams to all the words emanating from the lotus lips of Srila Sarasvati Thakura. We worship his directions and take them and those of his successors as our life and soul We only regret the misuse of his divine instructions concerning lila-katha by ill motivated and self serving agendas. I am only trying to offer some suggestion as to why such articles appear in cyberspace and why we should ignore and neglect those who "cheat others by sitting on the back of morality in the dress of writers."

The author of this little gem of sadhu-ninda "Who is Following Who" has also quoted more than twenty anonymous sources with similar criticisms. Why he has not signed his article or identified the sources of the many quotes that vilify Srila Narayana Maharaja? Perhaps exposure of WHO has said WHAT will only serve to inform the devotee community too well. Then they could discriminate for themselves the efficacy of those whoderide preachers of the glories of Srila Rupa and Sanatana.

This same article also serves as a front for the personality who is actually behind the criticism of Srila Narayana Maharaja and his followers. We see this kind of duplicity in mundane politics, but expect better from the devotee community. Generals cover for presidents with such plausible deniability. Hardly correct behavior for sadhus. Duplicity of this kind is not Krsna conscious, but a symptom of something else.

We also take note that in the past other demons have sent their henchmen to do their dirty work. Kamsa sent so many demons to attack Sri Krsna, because he was incapable of entering Vraja himself, due to the chastisement of Yogmaya. Ravana sent Marici to assist him in diverting Lord Rama from Sita's side. This kind of cowardice is as reprehensible as the anonymous criticisms of Vaisnavas itself. One wonders if opponents of this campwrote the Chakra article in an effort to discredit the alleged source.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states in his introduction to to Sri Krsna Samhita:

"....Those who have not yet succeeded in connecting faith with argument are second grade persons, or madhyama-adhikaris. And those who are expert in connecting these two are perfect in all respects. They are able to attain perfection by utilizing material resources in their independent endeavors. They are called topmost persons, or uttama-adhikaris.... Sectarianism is a natural byproduct of the Absolute Truth. When acaryas first ascertain and instruct the Truth, it is not polluted with sectarianism. But the rules and regulations received through disciplic succession regarding the goal and the method of achieving it are changed in due course of time according to the mentality and locale of the people. A rule that is followed by one society is not necessarily accepted in another society. That is why one community is different from another. As a community gradually develops more respect for its own standards, it develops hatred towards other communities and considers their standards inferior. These sectarian symptoms are seen in all countries since time immemorial. This is prominent amongst neophytes and found to some extent amongst madhyama-adhikaris. Amongst uttama-adhikaris, however, there is no trace of sectarianism."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Introduction Sri Krsna Samhita

So, in light of this understanding, there may be some validity to the disciples of uttama Vaisnavas discussing or debating philosophical points and said gurus staying out of the frey. However when such "debates" take place the participants should have the integrity to identify themselves, and not take cheap anonymous shots from behind the false veil of anonymity.

Prahlada Maharaja explained to his father, the demon Hiranyakasipu:

"sri-prahrada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

"iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttama

"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."
SB 7.5.23-24

Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) writes in the purport of this sloka with regard to sravanam (hearing):

"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following explanation in his Tathya. The word sravana refers to giving aural reception to the holy name and descriptions of the Lord's form, qualities, entourage and pastimes as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and similar authorized scriptures. After aurally receiving such messages, one should memorize these vibrations and repeat them (kirtanam).[....]Hearing from the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam is considered the most important process of hearing. Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of transcendental chanting of the holy name, and therefore the chanting and hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam are transcendentally full of mellows. [....]The best course is to hear of the holy name, form and so on from a pure devotee of the same standard as oneself. In other words, one who is attached to Krsna should chant and hear from other pure devotees who are also attached to Lord Krsna. The same principle applies for devotees attracted by Lord Rama, Lord Nrsimha and other forms of the Lord. Because Krsna is the ultimate form of the Lord (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam), it is best to hear about Lord Krsna's name, form and pastimes from a realized devotee who is particularly attracted by the form of Lord Krsna. In Srimad-Bhagavatam, great devotees like Sukadeva Gosvami have specifically described Lord Krsna's holy name, form and qualities. Unless one hears about the holy name, form and qualities of the Lord, one cannot clearly understand the other processes of devotional service. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that one chant the holy name of Krsna. param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam. If one is fortunate enough to hear from the mouth of realized devotees, he is very easily successful on the path of devotional service. Therefore hearing of the holy name, form and qualities of the Lord is essential."
SB 7.5.23-24 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Purport

We also know that Srila Sukadeva Gosvami achieved perfection by reciting Srimad Bhagavatam, and Pariksit Maharaja and the other sages assembled with him on the banks of the Ganges by hearing his message. They all heard Srila Sukadeva Gosvami recite the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Who will say that this sravanam-kirtanam was inappropriate because the divine pastimes of Radha and Krsna were part of the topic of recitation?

It was ultimately for the purpose of revealing these lilas that Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who was formerly the parrot of Srimate Radhika, was left on this planet when the Divine couple departed for Their own abode. Our acaryas are revealing these pastimes and hearing them from a qualified source, a sad guru, is the medicine that will cure our hard hearts and free us from lust, anger and greed. Srila Prabhupada writes in the introduction to his Krsna Book:

"The pastimes of the Lord are generally heard and relished by liberated souls. Those who are conditioned souls are interested in reading fictional stories of the material activities of some common man. Narrations describing the transcendental activities of the Lord are found in Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Puranas. But, the conditioned souls still prefer to study ordinary narrations. They are not so interested in studying the narrations of the pastimes of the Lord, Krsna. And yet, the descriptions of the pastimes of Lord Krsna are so attractive that they are relishable for all classes of men. There are three classes of men in this world. One class consists of liberated souls, another consists of those who are trying to be liberated, and the third consists of materialistic men. Whether one is liberated or is trying to be liberated, or is even grossly materialistic, thepastimes of Lord Krsna are worth studying."

If they are worth studying, then they are certainly worth hearing. Srila Prabhupada (HDGACBSP) also writes:

"The Puranas are also parts of the Vedas. And histories like the Mahabharata or Ramayana are also parts of the Vedas. The acarya or the gosvami must be well acquainted with all these literatures. To hear and explain them is more important than reading them. One can assimilate the knowledge of the revealed scriptures only by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called sravana, and explaining is called kirtana. The two processes of sravana and kirtana are of primary importance to progressive spiritual life. Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject."
SB 1.1.6 Purport

Anarthas that afflict aspiring devotees are described by Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharaja in his explanation of anartha nvrtti:

IV) ANARTHA-NIVRTTI:Cessation of the obstacles and the defects that cloud Bhakti. These obstacles are four:---
(1) Obstacles arising out of impious thinking and wrong doings, as well as fivefold miseries, which are---
i)Avidya-to mistake a changeable and transitory object for an eternal entity.
ii) Asmita--to misidentify one's own self with one's gross physical body and one's subtle body (mind, intelligences and ego);
iii) Raga--attachment to objects of sense-experiences viz. form,(rupa),taste (rasa), smell (gandha),touch (sparsa) and sound (sabda) corresponding to fire, water earth, air and ether;
iv) Dvesa-anger against opposition to the enjoyment of the senses;
v)Abhinivesa-to misconceive one as dead when the physical body and the phenomenal objects of physical enjoyments are destroyed.
(2) Obstacles arising out of pious actions done either in this life or in previous births, which offers enjoyment here in this world or hereafter in heaven (svarga). Enjoyment in this world or in heaven as a result of pious deeds are obstacles to the attainment of Bhakti--they are like deep clouds that cover the Moon of Bhakti.
(3) Obstacles arising out of ten offences done to the Name of Krsna and thirty-two offences comitted in the services of Arcana i.e. worship of the Deities in the temple. One should know them in detail so that spiritual practices of Bhakti might no be overclouded.
(4)Obstacles arising out of Bhakti itself, that is, from a non-rigid state of sadhana bhakti. It is possible that one is carried away by the desires for Bukti, i.e. for enjoyment of pleasures of heaven as a minor god, or desire for Mukti (Sayujya-Mukti), i.e. self-annihilation by way of a desire to merge into the Absolute Brahman, or be desires for worldly gains, name and fame, etc. One has got to be very careful about these subtle temptations that may lead one astray from unalloyed Bhakti.
After there is a complete cessation of the above-mentioned fourfold possible obstacles, there are five impediments to the practices of elementary Bhakti for a Sadhaka-a devotee in bondage, viz.
i)Laya-to feel ever increasing drowsiness while singing listening to and remembering the glories of the Godhead;
ii)Viksepa-to maintain mundane associations while practising even the external forms of Bhakti;
iii)Apratipatti-disinclination for Bhajana or spiritual endeavors even when realising one's Laya and Viksepa
iv)Kasaya-instinctively prone to anger, avarice, vanity, etc;
v)Rasasvada- to think of sensual enjoyments and worldly pleasure while engaged in Bhajana practices of Bhakti.
To be completely freed from all the above-stated obstacles, whichovercloud unalloyed Bhakti is Anartha-Nivrtti.
Srila Hrydaya Bon Maharaja
It would appear that a combination of several of these problems could result in any sadhaka complaining about the harikatha of pure devotees. His inimical attitude toward those who recite such loving pastimes for the benefit of the bhadda jivas could also be due to his own lack of realization. He may simply not understand the importance of hearing the recitation of such topics. His inability to chant the glories of the Lord's lila's with the same bhava could simply turn to jealousy and mundane envy. We reject such association; who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord?

Anyone who display an aversion to the process of hearing Lord Krsna's pastimes in the assembly of devotees from the lips of any sad-guru betrays his own envy of the Lord. Pure devotees never offer lila katha without sufficient tattva and siddhanta so the topics of these pastimes can be properly appreciated and understood. Pure devotees of Lord Krsna only speak to glorify the Divine Couple and increase our love for Them. They are not professional reciters with any agenda or material motive. They do not present in mixed public assemblies unsuitable subject matter from certain books written by the Six Gosvamis. NEVER! Why someone has a problem appreciating their recitations?

In Srimad Bhagavatam itself we can read in Canto One, Chapter One:


ko va bhagavatas tasya
suddhi-kamo na srnuyad
yasah kali-malapaham
kah--who; va--rather; bhagavatah--of the Lord; tasya--His; punya--virtuous; sloka-idya--worshipable byprayers; karmanah--deeds; suddhi-kamah--desiring deliverance from all sins; na--not; srnuyat--does hear; yasah--glories; kali--of the age of quarrel; mala-apaham--the agent for sanctification.

Who is there, desiring deliverance from the vices of the age of quarrel, who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord?

The age of Kali is the most condemned age due to its quarrelsome features. Kali-yuga is so saturated with vicious habits that there is a great fight at the slightest misunderstanding. Those who are engaged in the pure devotional service of the Lord, who are without any desire for self-aggrandizement and who are freed from the effects of fruitive actions and dry philosophical speculations are capable of getting out of the estrangements of this complicated age. The leaders of the people are very much anxious to live in peace and friendship, but they have no information of the simple method of hearing the glories of the Lord. On the contrary, such leaders are opposed to the propagation of the glories of the Lord. In other words, the foolish leaders want to completely deny the existence of the Lord. In the name of secular state, such leaders are enacting various plans every year. But by the insurmountable intricacies of the material nature of the Lord, all these plans for progress are being constantly frustrated. They have no eyes to see that their attempts at peace and friendship are failing. But here isthe hint to get over the hurdle. If we want actual peace, we must open the road to understanding of the Supreme Lord Krsna and glorify Him for His virtuous activities as they are depicted in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
SB 1.1.16

Without accepting the inconceivable, unlimited potencies of the Lord, one cannot understand that Lord Krsna is the Supreme Soul. By His unlimited potencies, He performs unlimited pastimes also, and no one can describe them in full nor can anyone know them all. Suta Gosvami, speaking Srimad-Bhagavatam before the sages ofNaimisaranya, headed by Saunaka Rsi, gave his verdict in this connection as follows.

Great sages, please understand that the transcendental pastimes of Lord Krsna are all eternal. They are not ordinary narrations of historical incidents. Such narrations are identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Anyone, therefore, who hears such narrations of the Lord's pastimes becomes immediately freed from the contamination of material existence. And those who are pure devotees enjoy these narrations as nectar entering into their ears. Such narrations were described by Sukadeva Gosvami, the exalted son of Vyasadeva, and anyone who hears them, as well as anyone who describes them for the hearing of others, becomes Krsna conscious. And it is only the Krsna conscious persons who become eligible for going back home, back to Godhead.

Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Eighty-fifth Chapter of Krsna, "Spiritual Instruction for Vasudeva, and the Return of the Six Dead Sons of Devaki by Lord Krsna."


The self is thoroughly cleansed by bathing in the holy name, as is stated in the hari-bhakti-vilasa (11.359) quoting from Srimad Bhagavatam (112.12.48)

sankirtyamano bhagavan anantah
srutanubhavo vyasanam hi pumsam
pravisya cittam vidhunoty asesam
yatha tamo rko bhram ivati-vatah
By describing the transcendental characteristics or pastimes of Bhagavan Sri Hari or by hearing of His glories, the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna enters within the heart (as hari-katha) and drives away all ignorance (andhakara) exactly as the sun drives away darkness. And as a powerful wind blows away a mass of clouds, the hearing of lila-katha eradicates all the sufferings of material existence. The word andhakara refers to the various contaminations of the heart such as anarthas and aparadha.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has composed the following Bengali verse in this connection (Bhajana-rahasya 1.24):

sruta anubhuta yata anartha samyoga
sri krsna kirtane saba haya ta viyoga
je rupa vayute megha surya tamah nase
citte prvesiya dosa asesa vinase
krsna namasraye citta darpana marjana
ati sghra labhe jiva krsna prema-dhana
All varieties of anarthas that have ever been heard of or experienced are destroyed by chanting the holy name of Sri Krsna. As the wind disperses the clouds or as the sun dissipates the darkness, the Supreme Lord, through the medium of hearing HisTranscendental pastimes, enters the heart and completely destroys the extensive material contamination. By taking shelter of the name of Sri Krsna, the mirror of the heart is cleansed and very quickly the jiva attains the treasure of krsna-prema.
Sri Siksastaka
Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja

The solution for us then is to follow Srila Rupa Gosvami's 62nd anga of bhakti and take Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's advice in how to apply it. We read in his tika (commentary) on Sri Rupa's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu, the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu:

(62) Sajatiya-snigdha-mahattara-sadhu-sangah
(Association of like-minded, affectionate advanced devotees)

There can be no progress of bhakti by associating with non-devotees who have merely adopted the designation of sat-sanga , The devotees only aspiration is to obtain the service of the aprakrta-lila of Sri Krsna. Those who have such a desire can be called bhaktas. The development and growth of bhakti takes place in such devotees by associating with devotees who are more advanced than themselves. By failing to do so, the advancement of bhakti is checked and one s disposition or nature will be of the exact same level as those devotees whose association one keeps.

....To associate with saintly devotees who are more advanced than oneself, who are of the same disposition (sajatiya), who taste the meaning of rasa (rasika), and who areaffectionate (snigdha), is what is signified by this anga of bhakti. Sadhu-sanga is the root cause of krsna bhakti. This has already been stated previously. But what kind of sadhu sanga should a sadhaka take? A specific description of this is given here.

....Although a sadhu may be of the same spiritual disposition, one should associate with those sadhuswho are affectionately disposed to oneself (snigdha). The word snigdha refers to those who are affectionate (snehaka), well-wishing, and rasika not those who are harsh, unsympathetic or indifferent. The esoteric mysteries of bhajana and genuine instruction regarding the method of performing bhajana cannot be obtained from sadhus who are indifferently disposed or who are not affectionate. Therefore to associate with saintly devotees who are soft-hearted and affectionate is of the greatest utility.

Even though a devotee may be sajatiya and snigdha, one should associate with those devotees who are more advanced in terms of steadiness in bhajana, direct experience and realization of the Lord, and in knowing the confidential mysteries of the sastras---in other words, who are superior to oneself in all respects. By associating with devotees possessing all of the above-mentioned qualities, a sadhaka can make steady and gradual advancement on his path.

Your servant,
Puru Das Adhikari

For further reference you can read:

To Hear or Not to Hear
[ http://www.bvml.org/SBNM/thonth.htm ]

Gaudiya Vaisnavism vs. Sahajiyaism Part One
[ http://www.bvml.org/SBNM/gvvs1.htm ]
[ http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET9909/ET21-4769.htm ]

Gaudiya Vaisnavism vs. Sahajiyaism (Part 2)
[ http://www.bvml.org/SBNM/gvvs2.htm ]
[ http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET9909/ET23-4789.htm ]

About The Author
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja

[ http://www.vnn.org/authors/narayan_maharaja.htm ]

or consult other articles listed at:

The Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library
[ http://www.bvml.org ]

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