by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
ajata-ratike kabhu bhava-labdha bale na
raganuga sadhakere jata-bhava bale na
It should not be said that bhava has been achieved when rati has still not
yet developed. A raganuga-bhakta never says that sadhakas (neophytes) have
achieved the manifestation of bhava.
raganuga sadhakere labdha-rasa bale na
raganuga sadhya-bhava rati chada haya na
A raganuga will never say that neophytes have achieved the stage of rasa.
Sadhya-bhava (divine emotions that are the goal of raganuga-bhakti) is never
attained without first experiencing rati.
bhavankura-samagame vaidhi-bhakti thake na
rucike ratira saha kabhu eka jane na
Once the seed of bhava appears, vaidhi-bhakti is no longer present. One must
never consider ruci and rati to be the same thing.
raganuga balile-i prapta-rasa jane na
vidhi-sodhya jane kabhu raganuga bale na
Rasa can never be achieved simply by talking about raganuga-bhakti. One who
is still in need of being purified by following the scriptural injunctions
(vaidhi-bhakti) can never be said to be a raganuga devotee.
sadhanera purve keha bhavankura paya na
jade sraddha na chadile rati kabhu haya na
One can never experience bhava before performing sadhana-bhakti. One who
cannot reject faith in materialism can never attain rati.
jata-bhava na haile rasika ta’ haya na
jada-bhava na chadile rasika ta’ haya na
If bhava has not yet appeared, one can never become a rasika. One can never
become a rasika if mundane emotions are not abandoned.
Again and again in Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani the systematic development of the
stages of bhakti are being stressed and stern warning is given that there is
no alternative or short cut to this process. One must begin the process of
pure devotional service and follow it step by step. The ontological
development of pure devotional service is outlined in the following sloka of
Sri Rupa Gosvami.
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatha
athasaktis tato bhavas tatha premabhyudancati
sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah
“In the beginning there must be faith (adau sraddha). Then one becomes
interested in associating with pure devotees (sadhu-sanga). Thereafter one is
initiated by the spiritual master and follows the regulative principles of
devotional service under his orders (bhajana-kriya). Thus one is freed from
all unwanted habits (anartha-nivrtti) and becomes firmly fixed in devotional
service (nistha). Thereafter, one develops taste (ruci) and attachment
(asakti). This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the performance of devotional
service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify
(bhava), and finally there is an awakening of love (prema). This is the
gradual development of love of God for the devotee interested in Krsna
consciousness.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.4.15-16)
In the stage of vaidhi-bhakti one performs devotional service according to
rules and regulations. When the heart is free from anarthas, the devotee
becomes fixed in devotional service and begins to develop a taste for the
Holy Name of Krsna, for the service of Krsna and to all things related to
Krsna. The devotee’s taste develops into attachment to Krsna and when that
attachment matures it is sometimes called rati. Then follows bhava and prema.
When the need to be purified by following scriptural injunctions
(vaidhi-bhakti) still remains, a devotee cannot be said to be a raganuga.
Raganuga-bhakti necessitates that one has come to the stage of ruci. In other
words, one must first dispense with all anarthas in the heart before becoming
qualified to perform raganuga-bhakti.
The following is a quote from Thakura Bhaktivinoda:
“When a devotee following the path of vaidhi-bhakti abandons his various
material desires and executes bhajana according to the instructions of the
scriptures, the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas, then taste (ruci),
manifests in his bhajana. When ruci thus appears, he abandons the path of
vaidhi-bhakti and enters the plane of raganuga-bhakti.”
(Piyusa-varsini-vrtti commentary on Upadesamrta)
Those who do not wish to progress in Krsna consciousness step by step, but
instead prefer to jump ahead to rasa, are sometimes called
‘gatecrashers.’ It is also to be understood that simply by talking about
rasa does not mean that one has attained the stage of raganuga-bhakti. Talk
is cheap, whereas the actual qualifications for rasa are very rare. It is
also seen that the pseudo-guru claims himself to be a ‘rasika,’ when in
fact he still manifests the symptoms of kama, krodha, and lobha – lust for
wealth, anger toward anyone who does not blindly accept him as guru, and
greed to initiate anyone who crosses his path – even though such persons
may have already been duly initiated by a bona-fide spiritual master. Such
deluded persons think that they have attained raganuga-bhakti simply by
hearing the lilas of Krsna, but such persons should remember that krsna-lila
is also sometimes available in comic books in India.
It should not go without mention that many of the pseudo-gurus, past and
present, claiming to be on the platform of a rasika, display the classic
symptoms of narcissism. Narcissism is a material condition (a psychological
illness) wherein one suffers from: 1) a grandiose sense of self-importance,
2) a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance,
beauty, and ideal love, 3) a belief that he is special and unique and can
only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status
people, 4) a requirement for excessive admiration and worship, 5) a sense of
entitlement – unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment
or automatic compliance with his expectations, 6) a despotic mentality,
repressing and exploiting others, 7) a lack of empathy, unwilling to
recognize or identify with the feelings or needs of others, 8) envy of
others, also believing that others are envious of him, 9) an arrogant or
haughty attitude. Such persons are never truly rasika.
mula-dhana rasa-labha rati-vina haya na
gache na uthite kandi vrksa-mule paya na
It is not possible to attain the original treasure of rasa without first
attaining rati. When one does not climb the tree, one cannot collect the
In Kalyana-kalpataru, Thakura Bhaktivinoda says, “dusta-phale karile
arjana” – if one wants fruits without taking the trouble to climb the
tree, what sort of fruits can he expect? The fruits will be ruined or
rotten. Without proper progression, it is all imagination – a madman’s
In this light Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja has quoted the following verse
stating that it is the death-blow to the gatecrashers and sentiment mongers.
upajiya bade lata ‘brahmanda’ bhedi yaya
‘viraja’ ‘brahmaloka’ bhedi ‘paravyoma’ paya
tabe yaya tad upari ‘goloka-vrndavana’
“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the
universe. It crosses the Viraja River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to
the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally
reaching to embrace the wish yielding tree of Krsna’s lotus feet”. (Cc.
The implication of this verse is that real bhakti takes its birth in the
plane of vaidhi-bhakti and only after crossing all lower stages of
consciousness does it go beyond material conception and enter the
consciousness of Vaikuntha. But even there the creeper of devotion does not
yet yield fruit. The fruit of pure devotion is only yielded after having
attained the platform of spontaneous love, raga-marga, in Goloka Vrndavana.
Srila Sridhara Maharaja used to say that the neophyte’s engagement in
krsna-lila is simply a dreamy thing. The real raganuga-bhaktas are aloof from
such dreamy states because they are fully awake in the service or Hari, guru
sadhane anartha ache, rasodaya haya na
bhava-kale nama-gane chala-rasa haya na
Rasa will not dawn in one if anarthas remain in the stage of sadhana. A
deceptive mentality cannot be present when the Holy Name is chanted at the
stage of bhava.
siddhanta-vihina haile krsne citta lage na
sambandha-hinera kabhu abhidheya haya na
The consciousness cannot be truly fixed upon Krsna if one is bereft of the
proper philosophical conception. When there is no knowledge of ones
relationship with the Lord (sambandha), there can be no abhidheya
(performance of devotional activities).
sambandha-vihina-jana prayojana paya na
ku-siddhante vyasta-jana krsna-seva kare na
That person who is devoid of sambandha-jnana can never attain the ultimate
goal of life (prayojana). One who is bewildered by philosophical
misconceptions is not performing devotional service to Krsna.
siddhanta-alasa-jana anarthata’chade na
jade krsna bhrama kari’ krsna-seva kare na
That person who is idle in understanding philosophical conclusions never
becomes free from anarthas. One who considers Krsna as belonging to the
mundane platform can never render service to Him.
Proper understanding of pure devotional service can be divided into three
categories, sambandha (fundamental knowledge of one’s relationship with
Krsna), abhidheya (knowledge of the proper performance of devotional
activities), and prayojana (knowledge of the ultimate goal of life).
Without proper knowledge of one’s relationship with Krsna (sambandha) it is
not possible to serve Krsna (abhidheya) and without serving Krsna one cannot
attain the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
personally taught the principles of sambandha to Sri Sanatana Gosvami and the
principles of abhidheya to Sri Rupa Gosvami. To understand prayojana one
should closely examine the Priti-sandarbha of Jiva Gosvami and the writings
of Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami. Without proper philosophical understanding
and following in the footsteps of the Six Gosvamis of Vrndavana, it is not
possible to get prema-prayojana (the perfection of love of Krsna) simply by
shedding tears and putting on theatrical performances for the public.
Those who are lazy to understand proper siddhanta (philosophical conclusions)
or who maintain improper philosophical understandings (apa-siddhanta) can
never be free from anarthas and thus can never progress properly in Krsna
consciousness. Such persons often think that simply by serving the
institution of the guru, they are serving Krsna and thus will automatically
go back to home, back to Godhead. They judge the success of their endeavors
simply by measuring size, material opulence, temples, Deities, devotees, and
members, with no concern for proper philosophical understanding. But from the
above verses it is clear that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura does not
agree with such thinking. Without proper philosophical understanding, one
cannot get free from material contamination, nor can one properly perform
devotional service. Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami states that one should not
avoid philosophical controversy out of laziness.
siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa
iha haite krsne lage sudrdha manasa
“A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions,
considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind.
Thus one’s mind becomes attached to Sri Krsna.” (Cc. Adi. 2.17)
Our spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada was adamant that his
disciples should have a proper philosophical understanding and thus he wrote
many books in English for that purpose. Unfortunately many of his disciples
do not take advantage of their spiritual master’s books, do not study them
deeply, and thus they advance the lame purposes of society consciousness,
rather than the transcendental purposes of Krsna consciousness.
The most prominent philosophical misunderstanding among such
institutionalized devotees is probably their misconstrued idea that they are
the only bona-fide representatives of Krsna on Earth and that only through
their institution can a jiva be liberated from material bondage. Such
institutionalized devotees are also of the opinion that the living entities
found in this material world (baddha-jivas) originally fell down from their
position in the spiritual world, from being eternally liberated
(nitya-mukta-jivas). These, and other similar misconceptions, are due to a
range of anarthas and principally arise from a lack of philosophical
understanding of Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta.
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU LIKED OR DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
ORDER BOOKS AND DVDS
GOSAI.COM HOME PAGE
DEVAVISION DIGITAL VIDEO
SWAMI B. G. NARASINGHA - NARASINGHA.NET WEBSITE
SWAMI B. G. NARASINGHA MP3 LECTURES ONLINE
SWAMI B. G. NARASINGHA ARTICLES
SWAMI B. B. VISNU ARTICLES
KRSNA TALK ARTICLES & SUBSCRIPTION
KRSNA TALK RSS FEED [Set default browser RSS prefs before clicking]