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terça-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2012

The Glories of Sadhu-Sanga

[Excerpted from Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's "Pinnacle of Devotion"]

Come along with me to Vrndavana. Here, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami used to write in the solitary atmosphere of the Radha-Damodara Mandir in Seva Kunja. Seva Kunja is a place of perfection (siddha-sthali), because it is here that Krsna came to serve Srimati Radhika. He played here, and the foot dust of all the gopis is here. Most importantly, Srimati Radhika's footdust is here. Krsna also served Srimati Radhika at Vamsi-vata and Nidhuvana. At these places, Krsna, Radha, and the gopis are controlled by prema personified. We do not aspire for Krsna, but we aspire for krsna-prema. Kamsa, Jarasandha, Sisupala, and other demons wanted Krsna, but they did not possess prema, or affection, for Him.

krsna, guru, bhakta, sakti, avatara, prakasa
krsna ei chaya-rupe karena vilasa

Lord Krsna enjoys by manifesting Himself as the spiritual masters, the devotees, the diverse energies, the incarnations, and the plenary portions. They are all six in one. [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.32]

Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja is explaining that Krsna manifests Himself in this world in six features: Krsna Himself, two kinds of guru, bhakta, sakti, avatara, and prakasa. I will try to explain it very briefly in order to complete the Third and Fourth chapters of Caitanya-caritamrta during my visit in Australia. The Third and Fourth chapters explain the purpose for which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the acaryas in our parampara have come. But this background information, understanding Krsna's manifestations, is necessary first.

Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja begins by explaining:

mantra-guru ara yata siksa-guru-gana
tanhara carana age kariye vandana

I first offer my respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master and all my instructing spiritual masters. [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.35]

Mantra-guru means diksa-guru. The siksa-guru teaches us how to serve Krsna, who we are, what is bhakti, what is jiva-tattva, and how a jiva, a conditioned soul, can achieve bhava-bhakti and then prema-bhakti. Real bhakti is prema-bhakti, pure service to Krsna. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu [1.11] Srila Rupa Gosvami states:

anukulyena krsnanu-silanam bhaktir-uttama

One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation.

That is called pure devotional service.

The duty of a person wanting to attain bhakti is to remember this sloka, and to repeat it once daily. He should try to enter deeply into its meaning and practice developing it. Such a practice is called sadhana-bhakti 1. When, by practicing with the senses, a spiritual mood manifests, it is called bhava-bhakti, and this bhava-bhakti soon blossoms into prema-bhakti. According to a devotee's level he will be eligible to perform sadhana-bhakti, bhava-bhakti, or prema-bhakti. A person can be called a sadhaka, or one who is performing sadhana-bhakti, only when his practice is aimed at attaining bhava-bhakti and ultimately prema-bhakti.

A guru who is not realized in sadhana-bhakti, bhava-bhakti, and prema-bhakti cannot give bhakti, although he may appear to do the work of a guru.

This is supported by all sastras, including Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Upanisads, and by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Krsna Himself. We should understand this principle:

tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
brahmany upasamasrayam

Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken complete shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters. [Bhag. 11.3.21]

In order to achieve real bhakti to Krsna, have real happiness, and realize who you are and how you can progress in this life, go to a self-realized soul and hear his realizations from him. He will surely help you.

There are three symptoms of a bona fide guru. The first is sabde pare ca nisnatam. What is the meaning of sabde? He is perfect in his knowledge of Veda, Upanisads, Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc.

However, knowledge of sastra and the ability to argue based on that knowledge is not enough to qualify him as a guru.

If one has no realization of Krsna, if he is not absorbed in bhajana, if his bhakti is not very developed, then he is not a guru.

The second symptom is that he is detached from worldly desires (upasamasraya).

These first and second symptoms are external. The svarupa, or internal symptom of the bona fide guru is pare ca nisnatam brahmany. Who is pare brahman? Krsna Himself. He is param-brahman, purna-brahman, sanatana-brahman. A guru should have some internal realization of this, otherwise he may fall down. If he only knows sastric arguments, but he is not absorbed in bhajana, it is not sufficient to keep him from falling down.

One may also know all the arguments to support the sastric viewpoint, and sometimes be outwardly performing some kind of devotional practice. Yet, if he is not detached from material desires and objects, he will fall down. If the guru falls, it causes a big problem for the disciple, disturbing his whole life.

Therefore we should be very cautious to approach devotees who will not fall.

So Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja has written: mantra-guru ara yata siksa-guru-gana.

What has Swamiji written? You should all hear this very carefully. It is very important.

Devotee reads: Text: I first offer my respectful obeisances at the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master, and all my instructing spiritual masters.

Purport: Srila Jiva Gosvami in his thesis Bhakti-sandarbha (202) has stated that uncontaminated devotional service is the objective of pure Vaisnavas, and that one has to execute such service in the association of other devotees. By associating with devotees of Lord Krsna one develops a sense of Krsna consciousness and thus becomes inclined towards loving service of the Lord. This is the process of approaching devotional service, approaching the Supreme Lord by gradual appreciation of devotional service. If one desires unalloyed devotional service one must associate with devotees. [C-c, Adi-lila, 1.35]

Srila Maharaja:
Yes. Mark these words. If you want unalloyed devotional service, you must associate with Vaisnavas. Otherwise you will get asat-sanga (association with materialists). This will be the result.

So try to follow Swamiji's line of thought. I am following the same line as Swamiji. A person who says that I am not in the same line as Swamiji, is himself not in that line. I will never speak anything different from that which was spoken by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Swamiji.

If you want unalloyed devotional service to Krsna you should boldly follow the directions and instructions which we have mentioned. If your preference is for making money, and you see that this will be hampered by associating with high class Vaisnavas, then you will not be inclined to follow these instructions. If you aspire to be like Prahlada Maharaja, then you should associate with the statements in Swamiji's purports. Read the last line again and continue.

Devotee reads:
If one desires unalloyed devotional service, one must associate with devotees of Sri Krsna. For by such association only can a conditioned soul achieve a taste for transcendental love, and thus revive his eternal relationship with God in a specific manifestation and in terms of a specific transcendental mellow or rasa that one has internally inherent in him.

Srila Maharaja:
If you follow this instruction to associate with pure devotees, Krsna will manage everything for you. Don't fear.

Krsna has created you. He is the Supreme Controller, so why should you have any fear? All problems will be solved by following this instruction, and Krsna will manage everything.

If you want unalloyed service to Krsna, have courage in your heart, be bold and make an effort to associate with qualified Vaisnavas. Its importance is stressed not only once, but three times: sadhu-sanga, again sadhu-sanga, again sadhu-sanga.

sadhu-sanga sadhu-sanga-sarva sastre kaya
lava matra sadhu sanga sarva siddhi haya

The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success. [C-c, Madhya-lila: 22.54]

What is the meaning of this verse? It is that unalloyed service to Krsna can be attained through sadhu-sanga, and following this instruction is our first duty. Go on.

Devotee reads:
The secret is that one must submissively listen to those who know perfectly the science of God and one must begin the mode of service regulated by the preceptor or teacher. A devotee already attracted by the name, form, qualities, etc. of the Supreme Lord, may be directed to his specific manner of devotional service. He need not waste time by approaching the Lord through logic.

Srila Maharaja:
Yes. Don't try to achieve Krsna through the method of logic. Logic itself is insufficient. If it is the type of logic which is presented in sastras, like Srimad-Bhagavatam or Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, and which is predominated by devotion, then it may be accepted, otherwise it should not be.

Devotee reads:
The expert spiritual master knows well how to engage his disciples' energy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus he engages a devotee in a specific devotional service according to his special tendency.

Srila Maharaja:
One symptom of a bona fide siksa or diksa-guru is that each of his disciples feels such affection coming from the guru, that he thinks his guru loves him the most. When coming into the guru's presence, all Vaisnavas, even those who are not disciples, feel that the guru loves them the most. I have seen this quality in my Guru Maharaja, and also in Swamiji. I think that so many disciples of Swamiji have also experienced this.

We have heard from the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada that everyone, from small children to superiors, used to think, "I am loved so much by my Guru Maharaja." This symptom of a bona fide guru is experienced by the disciples because he does not desire material profit from them. He only wants to reside in their hearts, and inject them with krsna-prema.

Unless he is perfect in his own realization of krsna-prema, he cannot give it. The guru never takes the heart of the disciple as his own property.

Rather he makes it soft, sweet, and fragrant-suitable to be offered to the Divine Couple. The disciple first offers his heart unto the lotus feet of his beloved gurudeva, who will in turn give it to his gurudeva, and so on, until it is placed at the lotus feet of Rupa manjari. She will give it to Lalita and Visakha who will offer it at the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. Srimati Radhika will then engage that person in service to Krsna and Herself.

If a guru does not have this symptom, then his disciple may humbly request the guru to allow him to take the association of an elevated soul who does. The guru, without envy, and admitting that he cannot satisfy his disciple, will direct him to take shelter of Vaisnavas who are of the caliber of Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, or Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. He will not complain that the disciple is taking shelter of a superior Vaisnava. A sad-guru (self-realized guru) never desires worldly gain. If he does, he is not actually guru. Syamananda Prabhu was instructed by his diksa-guru, Hrdaya Caitanya of Kuliya Gram to journey to Seva Kunja, Vrndavana and take shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Jiva Gosvami. "He will make you qualified to serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna." Apparently Srila Jiva Gosvami had no sisyas (disciples), but actually he gave his siksa (instructions) to all the inhabitants of this world.

This is the symptom of a real gurudeva.

Devotee reads:
A devotee must have only one initiating spiritual master, because in the scriptures acceptance of more than one is always forbidden. There is no limit, however, to the number of instructing spiritual masters one may accept.

Generally a spiritual master who constantly instructs a disciple in spiritual science becomes his initiating spiritual master later on.

One should always remember that a person who is reluctant to accept a spiritual master and be initiated, is sure to be baffled in his endeavor to go back to godhead. One who is not properly initiated may present himself as a great devotee, but in fact he is sure to encounter many stumbling blocks on his path of progress towards spiritual realization with the result that he must continue his term of material existence without relief. Such a helpless person is compared to a ship without a rudder, for such a ship can never reach its destination. It is imperative therefore that one accepts a spiritual master if he at all desires to gain the favor of the Lord.

If there is no chance to serve him directly, a devotee should serve his spiritual master by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between his instructions and he himself.

In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple. If one thinks that he is above consulting anyone, including his spiritual master, he is at once an offender of the Lord. Such an offender can never go back to Godhead. It is imperative that a serious person accepts a bona fide spiritual master in terms of the sastric injunction. Srila Jiva Gosvami advises that one should not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary, social and ecclesiastical convention. One should simply try to find a genuinely qualified spiritual master for actual advancement in spiritual understanding.

Srila Maharaja:
It is clear that Swamiji is a follower of Srila Jiva Gosvami. To have such a fully qualified guru is very rare, very rare.

If, in this life, due to some spiritual piety (sukrti) we have accepted even a kanistha-adhikari-guru, some impressions of Vaisnavism are made on the heart.

Then, in our next birth, we may then have the qualification to choose a bona fide guru. And how do we choose? We surrender ourselves at the lotus feet of the caitya guru (Krsna in the heart), and pray to Him. Residing in our heart He will hear our plea. He will always hear. If one prays, "O Krsna, I sincerely desire to become your servant. Please direct me to the lotus feet of a qualified guru," Krsna will surely arrange this. One who neglects such prayer, and has confidence in his own ability to select and examine his guru, will be disturbed in his spiritual life. Krsna says:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. [Bg.18.66]

Krsna will arrange a guru for one who surrenders sincerely, without desire for material gain. So be like that. Then we can easily receive the mercy of that rare guru. Everything depends on Krsna.

A bona fide guru is rare in this world and sastra describes that more rare than him is a bona fide disciple who surrenders fully, as Arjuna or Sudama Vipra did to Krsna. The Vedas, Upanisads and Puranas cite many examples of the ideal guru and the ideal disciple, but the examples of Srila Jiva Gosvami, and his full surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Srila Sanatana Gosvamis are the most exalted.

Who is the guru of Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gos vami? Srila Rupa Gosvami had prayed to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the mangalacarana of each of his books. But when did Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiate Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana? Have we heard of a fire sacrifice being performed for their initiation, and mantras being given to them?

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instilled everything in their heart. They accepted him as guru within their heart. This is most important-to follow gurudeva internally and externally. If our heart is given very naturally at a Vaisnavas' lotus feet, this means he is our guru-regardless of whether or not mantras are given, or whether or not a fire yajna is done. These are external and not as important as the surrendering of one's heart. Srila Jiva Gosvami has given some examples of this in his books.

There are two kinds of disciples, and therefore there are two kinds of diksa, initiation-anustaniki and vidvat ruddhi.

Anustaniki means the external formality of a fire yajna and the giving of diksa (gayatri) mantras. If one thinks, "I have sacrificed so much, my head is shaven, and I have received my mantras; I am now initiated," this is external. Of course, formal initiation is essential, but it is not complete without vidvat ruddhi.

Vidvat ruddhi refers to an internal initiation wherein the disciple gives his heart at his guru's lotus feet, knowing that the guru will make him qualified to serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Sri Guru gives all kinds of knowledge (divya-jnana) about krsna-tattva, guru-tattva, vaisnava-tattva, and prema-tattva.

The guru also teaches what is maya. He teaches that under the spell of the illusory energy one sees a man or woman as a source of one's own sense gratification. Such consciousness has created many problems between husband and wife, especially in Western countries.

People are sometimes married and divorced several times, and there is no concern for the children. Marriage means that both are together for life, and small problems should not cause divorce. The guru will teach his followers to be neither attached nor detached, but to perform their duty, and in this way to see themselves, their wives and their children as Krsna's servants. He will teach them their duty in such a way that they develop their Krsna consciousness.

The guru instructs us how to practice bhakti, and how to develop our honor, affection and service for Krsna. This is divya-jnana. Guru also destroys our sinful reactions: divyam jnanam yato dadyat, kuryat papasya sanksayam, tasmad dikseti sa prokta, desikais tattva-kovidaih. "By diksa one gradually becomes disinterested in material enjoyment and gradually becomes interested in spiritual life." [Bhakti-sandarbha 283] Kuryat papasya sanksayam. Material life means the problems arising from attachment to worldly affairs. In material life one is full of lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion and envy, and thinks himself to be the enjoyer. Sri gurudeva destroys the four stages of sin:

1. prarabdha-fructified karma-the reactions to previous actions which are presently being suffered and enjoyed.

2. kuta bija-sins which have not yet been performed, but the tendency to perform them is in the heart.

3. aprarabdha-those reactions which will fructify in our next body.

4. avidya-ignorance whereby one forgets Krsna and thinks himself to be the enjoyer. From this ignorance, all problems arise.

If our diksa-guru is not of such a caliber that he is capable of doing this for us, then we should accept a siksa-guru who is more advanced. Pray to Krsna and gurudeva to help you solve your difficulties. A bona fide guru will advise you to seek shelter of advanced Vaisnavas who are of the caliber of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. If the guru is showing jealousy or envy that his disciples are associating with a siksa-guru, or if he is opposed to Vaisnavas and their teachings, then the disciple should consider giving him up.

sri rupa sanatana bhatta raghunatha
sri jiva gopala bhatta dasa raghunatha
ei chaya guru-siksa guru ya amara
tan sabara pada-padme koti namaskara

The instructing spiritual masters are Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

These six are my instructing spiritual masters, and therefore I offer millions of respectful obeisances unto their lotus feet. [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.36-37]

Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami first prays to his siksa-gurus. In this section of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta he has explained so many things about guru. Who are his siksa-gurus? Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. There is one point that we should consider here.

Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja has not mentioned the name of his diksa-guru. He has taken siksa directly from both Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and at the end of each chapter he offers special pranamas to them. Some say his diksa-guru is Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, but I have not seen any evidence of this.

I have never read in any sastras about the identity of his diksa-guru. But I have drawn the conclusion that both he and his brother took diksa during their household life, before he finally left his family and went to Vrndavana, and at that time he received the name Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja. Without diksa he would not have received the name Krsnadasa. For some reason or other he has not revealed the name of his diksa-guru, but has only named the six Gosvami associates of Mahaprabhu as his siksa-gurus. In their forms in Vraja-lila, Srila Rupa Gosvami is Rupa manjari, Srila Sanatana Gosvami is Labanga manjari, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta is Raga manjari, Srila Jiva Gosvami is Vilasa manjari, Srila Gopala Bhatta is Guna manjari, and Srila Raghunatha dasa is Rati manjari. They each have two eternal forms, one as an associate of Krsna and the other as an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

If anyone has direct association with a bona fide siksa-guru he will surely become a bona fide disciple. Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja is proud to be a disciple of the six Gosvamis. Tan' sabara pada-padme koti namaskara [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.37] He offers innumerable dandavat pranamas at their lotus feet and he then prays to the bhaktas (devotees), like Srivasa Pandita, who in Krsna's lila is in the form of Narada Muni.

bhagavanera bhakta yate srivasadi pradhana
tan sabara pada-padme sahasra pranama

There are innumerable devotees of the Lord, of whom Srivasa Thakura is the foremost. I offer my respectful obeisances thousands of times unto their lotus feet. [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.38]

There are two kinds of bhaktas-the realized soul and the sadhaka. In his former life Narada was a sadhaka-bhakta, and then he became a realized bhakta, a premi-bhakta. Here Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja is referring to all realized bhaktas: Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Sikhi Mahiti, Madhavi-devi, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, etc.

There are six prominent siksa-gurus (the six Gosvamis), and they are all realized bhaktas as well. They are all direct manifestations of the Supreme Lord. Sri Advaita Acarya is the plenary incarnation of Mahavisnu. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is svarupa prakasa. Gadadhara Pandita (who is Srimati Radharani) and Jagadananda Pandita (who is Srimati Satyabhama) are sakti. Why was it that Gadadhara Pandita was in such a humble service mood to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? After all he was Sri Radhika, chief of all the left wing gopis who freely express their transcendental anger (mana) towards Krsna?

The answer is that in the form of Lord Caitanya, Lord Krsna stole Srimati Radhika's mood and color, and Gadadhara Pandita was simply always watching, simply taking the role of a teacher, to see if He was playing the part of Srimati Radhika correctly. If Krsna, as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu made a mistake, then Gadadhara Pandita would immediately correct Him. For example, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu first met Sri Nityananda Prabhu in the house of Nandanacarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was weeping and He recited this sloka from the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam:

barahapidam 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

The gopis began to see Sri Krsna within their minds. Accompanied by his cowherd boyfriends, Sri Krsna entered the charming forest of Vrndavana. His head was decorated with a peacock feather. He wore yellow karnikara flowers over His ears, a golden-yellow garment on His body, and a beautiful, fragrant vaijayanti garland about His neck. Sri Krsna exhibited His supremely captivating appearance, just like the best of dancers performing upon a stage. He filled up the holes of his flute with the nectar of His lips. The cowherd boys followed behind Him singing His glories which purify the entire world. In this way, the forest of Vrndavana manifested even greater splendor than Vaikuntha, due to being beautified by the marks of Sri Krsna's lotus feet. [Bhag.10.21.5]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu described the beautiful form of Krsna, yet He could not completely respond in the way that Sri Radhika would have, when She recited the same sloka. There was something lacking.

Therefore, from behind a curtain, Gadadhara Pandita recited the sloka, playing the role of Srimati Radhika marvelously, weeping loudly with tears running down his cheeks, and melting everyone's heart. He did this in such a manner that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was playing the role of Srimati Radhika, understood that He had not played the part correctly.

Finally, after explaining Krsna's others manifestations, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja describes Sri Caitanya as Krsna Himself, Svayam Bhagavan:

sri krsna caitanya prabhu svayam bhagavan
tanhara padavinde ananta savarane
prabhure kariya namaskara
ei chaya tenho yaiche-kariye vicare

Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Personality of Godhead Himself, and therefore I offer innumerable prostrations at His lotus feet.

Having offered obeisances unto the Lord and all His associates, I shall now try to explain these six diversities in one.

[C-c, Adi-lila: 1. 42-43].

Thus, Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja has described the six manifestations of Krsna:

yadyapi amara guru-caitanyera dasa
tathapi janiye ami tanhara prakasa

Although I know that my spiritual master is a servitor of Sri Caitanya, I know Him also as a direct manifestation of the Lord. [C-c, Adi-lila: 1.44]

Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastraih. The deep meaning of hari-tvena is that he possesses the quality of Krsna, but he is not visaya Krsna 4. He is Krsna dasa.

Gurudeva is the embodiment of Krsna's quality of mercy, but it is incorrect to consider gurudeva to be visaya Krsna.

Even the karmis, jnanis, and tapasvis, consider gurudeva to be non different from Krsna, but we should not superimpose our incorrect concept upon guru, supposing him to be God. This superimposition, in Sanskrit, is called aropa. For instance to present a young mango tree as one that gives sweet fruit is not correct. But if we say that it will give fruit in time, then this is correct. If we suppose the unreal to be real, we are incorrect, and this is called aropa.

In regard to developing our bhakti however, we need to perform aropa. This is essential and it is technically called aropa-siddha-bhakti. The beginner practices it in the following way. The Deity is non-different from Krsna. He is Krsna Himself. In our conditioned state we see the Deity as a stone statue, and yet we superimpose this correct concept that He is Krsna. We cannot serve Him as if He were Krsna Himself, but as our affection for Him increases, we will perceive the Deity in the same way that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did: saksad vrajendranandana vigraha (the direct personal form of Vrajendranandana). The Deity will reveal His actual nature to us.



1 Sadhana-bhakti is of two kinds-vaidhi and raganuga. When uttama-bhakti is accomplished through the medium of the senses of the baddha-jiva (conditioned soul), it is called sadhana-bhakti. That bhakti which is accomplished through the function of the senses, and by which bhava-bhakti is obtained, is called sadhana-bhakti. . . . In this connection the characteristics of sadhana-bhakti have been described in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.2). In this verse, sadhana-bhakti is referred to as sadhya-bhava. In other words, the sadhana or practice of bhakti by which bhava-bhakti is attained is called sadhya-bhava.


2 Bhajana is a complete internal and external absorption in the spiritual practices of worshipping Krsna-such as sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, etc. with a mood of intense affection and attachment.

3 It is tradition in the Gaudiya Matha that all acaryas and sannyasis refer to one another by their given sannyasa names. Because Srila Prabhupada's sannyasa name is "Swami," Srila Narayana Maharaja refers to him as such, adding the suffix "ji." "Ji" denotes great regard, as well as intimacy and affection. Prior to Srila Prabhupada's coming to the West, they related with one another in Vrndavana as intimate friends.

Also, as they have both taken sannyasa from the same guru, they have a Godbrother relationship as well.

Sometimes Srila Narayana Maharaja refers to Srila Prabhupada as Swamiji, and sometimes as Swami Maharaja, sometimes as Prabhupada, and sometimes as Srila Prabhupada.

4 The living entity is asraya, always subordinate, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is visaya, the supreme objective, the goal of life. [Bhag.

7.10.6 pp]

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Guru Position Paper

Dear devotees,

Please accept our dandavat pranams. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

Since the departure of our beloved Gurudeva, Nitya-lila pravista Om Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, the Sannyasa Council in consultation with the members of the Bhakti Trust International, senior math commanders and eminent preachers, has begun the process of developing and codifying the principles and aims of our sanga, known as the International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society. Sri Guru is always present in his instructions and within the hearts of sincere disciples. We pray fervently that Srila Gurudeva guide us in our humble attempts to fulfill his mano bhista. Our discussions thus far have resulted in two papers that are being presented for your consideration.

Our Society, as envisioned by Srila Gurudeva, has many responsibilities and yet has a distinctive inclination towards encouraging individual initiative and decision making on the local level. The institution or society has as its primary responsibility, the preservation and teaching of the eternal spiritual principles conveyed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu through our guru-parampara . The form that our society takes and any guidelines and bylaws that we may adopt, are meant to follow and uphold those principles.

Thus you will see in the two papers that are presented, that there is little in the way of rules and regulations. The topic is mostly guru-tattva and how we are responding to the complexities of that issue now that there are multiple devotees taking on that role within the same society. The emphasis is to clarify our spiritual relationships and our mutual goals. The processes by which we achieve these may be adjusted according to time, place and circumstance, as long as the original principles remain fixed as our guiding beacon.

The first paper on guru-tattva was written to be presented at the Vraja-mandala Parikrama of 2011. There were some issues that had not yet been discussed by the international body of sannyasis and senior devotees. We waited for those meetings to be concluded so that a summary of those discussions could be given at the same time. These meetings addressed the practical application of the guru-tattva paper based on the experiences gained and input received from members of the world-wide sanga over the last 9 months. The second paper is a summary of the meetings held in Govardhana during the parikrama in November, 2011.

These papers will certainly stimulate discussion and responses from devotees around the world. That is a good thing. Please keep the discussions philosophical and respectful. The discussions may center around guru-tattva or they may explore other areas of personal and sanga development. This is a challenging and exciting time. Let your voices be heard.

Aspiring for the service of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas,

Swami BV Vaikhanas