সাধনে অনর্থ আছে রসোদয় হয় না
ভাবকালে নামগানে ছলরস হয় না ॥২৫॥
sādhane anartha āche, rasodaya haya nā
bhāva-kāle nāma-gāne chala-rasa haya nā (25)
Rasa will not dawn in one if anarthas remain in the stage of sādhana. A deceptive mentality cannot be present when the Holy Name is chanted at the stage of bhāva.
সিদ্ধান্তবিহীন হৈলে কৃষ্ণে চিত্ত লাগে না
সম্বন্ধহীনের কভু অভিধেয় হয় না ॥২৬॥
siddhānta vihīna haile kṛṣṇe citta lāge nā
sambandha-hīnera kabhu abhidheya haya nā (26)
When one is bereft of proper philosophical conceptions, the consciousness cannot be truly fixed upon Kṛṣṇa. If one is devoid of the knowledge of one’s relationship with the Lord (sambandha), there can be no proper abhidheya (performance of devotional activities).
সম্বন্ধবিহীন জন প্রয়োজন পায় না
কুসিদ্ধান্তে ব্যস্ত জন কৃষ্ণসেবা করে না ॥২৭॥
sambandha-vihīna jana prayojana pāya nā
ku-siddhānte vyasta jana kṛṣṇa-sevā kare nā (27)
One who is devoid of sambandha-jñāna can never attain the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). One who is bewildered by philosophical misconceptions is not performing devotional service to Kṛṣṇa.
সিদ্ধান্ত-অলস জন অনর্থ ত ছাড়ে না
জড়ে কৃষ্ণ ভ্রম করি’ কৃষ্ণসেবা করে না ॥২৮॥
siddhānta-alasa jana anartha to’ chāḍe nā
jaḍe kṛṣṇa bhrama kari’ kṛṣṇa-sevā kare nā (28)
One who is idle in understanding philosophical conclusions can never become free from anarthas. One who considers Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa), 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 Kṛṣṇa (sambandha) it is not possible to serve Kṛṣṇa (abhidheya) and without serving Kṛṣṇa one cannot attain the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has personally taught the principles of sambandha to Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and the principles of abhidheya to Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī. To understand prayojana one should closely examine the Prīti-sandarbha of Jīva Gosvāmī and the writings of Śrī Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī. Without proper philosophical understanding and following in the footsteps of the Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana it is not possible to get prema-prayojana (the perfection of love of Kṛṣṇa) simply by shedding tears and putting on theatrical performances for the public.
Those who are lazy to understand proper siddhānta (philosophical conclusions) or who maintain improper philosophical understandings (apa-siddhānta) can never be free from anarthas and thus can never progress properly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such persons often think that simply by serving the institution of the guru that they are serving Kṛṣṇa 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 Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī does not agree with such thinking. Without proper philosophical understanding one cannot get free from material contamination, nor can one properly perform devotional service.
Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī states that one should not avoid philosophical controversy out of laziness.
siddhānta baliyā citte nā kara alasa
ihā haite kṛṣṇe lāge sudṛḍha mānasa
“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 Śrī Kṛṣṇa.” (Cc. Ādi. 2.17)
Our spiritual master A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda was adamant that his disciples 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The most prominent philosophical misunderstanding among such institutionalized devotees is probably their misconstrued idea that they are the only bona-fide representatives of Kṛṣṇa on planet Earth and that only through their institution can a jīva be liberated from material bondage. Such institutionalized devotees are also of the opinion that the living entities found in this material world (baddha-jīvas) originally fell down from their position in the spiritual world, from being eternally liberated (nitya-mukta-jīvas). These, and other such misconceptions, are due to a range of anarthas and principally arise from a lack of philosophical understanding of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta.
কৃষ্ণনামে ভক্ত জড়বুদ্ধি কভু করে না
অনর্থ না গেলে নামে রূপ দেখা দেয় না ॥২৯॥
kṛṣṇa-nāme bhakta kabhu jaḍa-buddhi kare nā
anartha nā gele nāme rūpa dekhā deya nā (29)
A devotee never has materialistic notions about the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. One will never attain a glimpse of the Lord’s form through the Holy Name if anarthas are not eliminated.
অনর্থ না গেলে নামে গুণ বুঝা যায় না
অনর্থ না গেলে নামে কৃষ্ণসেবা হয় না ॥৩০॥
anartha nā gele nāme guṇa bujhā jaya nā
anartha nā gele nāme kṛṣṇa-sevā haya nā (30)
If anarthas are not removed, then the Holy Name will never produce knowledge of the divine qualities of Kṛṣṇa. If anarthas are not destroyed by the chanting of the Holy Name, one will never engage in service to Kṛṣṇa.
In Caitanya-sikṣāmṛta and Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā of Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda, the main anarthas (obstacles) to devotional service have been described in relation to their appearance as demons killed by Kṛṣṇa and sometimes as demigods like Brahmā, Varuṇa and Indra.
Pūtanā represents the pseudo-guru who teaches false conceptions, causing the death of the creeper of devotion.
Śakaṭāsura represents the burden of old habits and the burden of following the rules of śāstra simply for formalities sake.
Tṛṇāvarta represents the obstacle to worshiping Kṛṣṇa that manifests in the form of pride of learning, the use of false arguments and dry logic.
The destruction of the Yamala Arjuna trees represents the removal of the pride stemming from great wealth, which breeds violence, illicit sex and addiction to alcohol, loose speech and shameless brutality to other living beings.
Kṛṣṇa’s having killed Vatsāsura represents vanquishing the obstacle of greed and the sinful activities caused by greed.
Bakāsura represents the system of cheating religions. When one foolishly accepts a pseudo-guru and engages in the process of worship that is meant for exalted devotees he is cheated. Until such cheating propensities are destroyed spiritual advancement is checked.
Intolerance, violence and cruelty are personified in the demon Aghāsura in the form of a giant serpent. The basis of compassion for the living entities and devotion to Kṛṣṇa is the same. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa killed the Aghāsura demon to save the devotees from this anartha.
Although Lord Brahmā was certainly not a demon he was however put into illusion by Kṛṣṇa. Brahmā’s disregard for the sweetness of Kṛṣṇa, being overcome by the flowery words of the Vedas, represents skepticism and doubt that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Dhenukāsura represents ass-like or gross discrimination (caste, color, creed and institutional consciousness). Dhenukāsura means ignorance of one’s own spiritual identity (svarūpa), the identity of the Holy Name and the identity of Kṛṣṇa. Furthermore, Dhenukāsura cannot eat the sweet palm tree fruits, and he opposes others’ attempts to eat them. The purport is that the previous ācāryas of the authorized sampradāyas have written many spiritual literatures, which people with gross discrimination neither understand nor allow others to see. Ass-like devotees who are simply interested in the regulative principles and under the control of gross discrimination are unable to attain a higher platform. Without endeavoring to understand the science of attachment to Kṛṣṇa one is comparable to an ordinary karmī (fruitive worker). Therefore, until this ass-like conception represented by Dhenukāsura is killed, one cannot advance in the science of Vaiṣṇavism.
Pride, deceit, harming others and cruelty are enemies of anyone desiring to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, these anarthas must be driven out of one’s heart. The Kāliya serpent being banished from Vṛndāvana by Kṛṣṇa is a clear indication that without eliminating pride, deceit and cruelty from one’s heart one cannot expect to become a resident of Vraja.
Sectarianism or thinking one’s society to be the only means of attaining pure devotional service is the anartha represented by the forest fire. This sectarian thinking keeps one from associating with exalted devotees of Kṛṣṇa and impedes advancement. Thus extinguishing the fire of sectarian consciousness is most important.
Pralambāsura represents lust for women, greed, desire for worship and position. Even if one is a householder it is necessary to give up lusty desire and even if one is a guru one should not be desirous of being worshipped or receiving great honors or being recognized as a rasika-ācārya.
The wives of the yajñika-brāhmaṇas were blessed by Kṛṣṇa, whereas their husbands were not so fortunate. The brāhmaṇas were indifferent to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma due to identifying with the varṇāśrama system and attachment to karma-khaṇḍa activities. The varṇāśrama system and karma-khaṇḍa have both been rejected by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore, His followers should diligently do the same.
Defeating Indra by lifting Govardhana Hill is Kṛṣṇa’s direct instruction to His devotees that the worship of minor demigods for material gain is unnecessary and an obstacle.
Deluded by madness, some devotees fall victim to intoxication thinking that wine, ganja, LSD and other such intoxicants are helpful in advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. However, the happiness in Vraja, known as nanda, cannot be enhanced by any external or material supplement. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s saving Nanda Mahārāja from the court of Varuṇa, who symbolizes intoxication, is to discourage such practices among the devotees.
The snake which attempted to swallow Nanda Mahārāja represents a devotee’s inclination in ecstasy to merge with Kṛṣṇa. As a Vaiṣṇava’s happiness continually increases in the process of worship, one sometimes loses consciousness. At that time the feeling of merging may overcome one. This feeling of merging with the Lord is the snake that swallowed Nanda Mahārāja. A practitioner who remains free from this snake will become a qualified Vaiṣṇava.
Śaṅkhacūḍa symbolizes the desire to acquire fame and women through the practice of bhakti. This abominable activity is quite common among pseudo-devotees but real Vaiṣṇavas always avoid the association of such despicable persons.
Ariṣṭāsura the bull demon symbolizes disregard for bhakti and attraction for cheating religion. Weak hearted show-bottle devotees give up the path of vaidhi-bhakti and try to enter the path of rāgānuga-bhakti but when they are unable to realize rasa, they behave like Ariṣṭāsura by cultivating perverted material activities. These unfortunate persons will meet Kṛṣṇa in the form of death and not in the form of the affectionate cowherd boy of Vraja.
The illusion of being a great devotee or a great ācārya, is represented by the Keśi demon who appeared in Vraja as a horse. Keśi personifies the practitioner’s conception of being more expert than others in devotional service, lording it over others and material pride. When he comes to Vraja he creates a great disturbance. As a Keśi-like devotee gradually begins proclaiming his own superiority, a mentality of disrespect for the Lord arises and the devotee falls from his position. Therefore, it is most important to prevent this evil mentality from entering the heart. Even if one is expert in devotional service, a Vaiṣṇava will never give up the quality of humility.
The demon Vyomāsura represents stealing others property and speaking lies. Both these habits are contrary to the development of pure devotional service and therefore such should be strictly avoided.
Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda summarizes as follows:
“Here is the secret of vraja-bhajana. Dhenukāsura represents the bad mentality that carries heavy loads. Pralamba represents lust for women, greed and desire for worship and position. The devotee must remove these obstacles by his own efforts with the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Dhenukāsura means ignorance of ones own spiritual identity (svarūpa), the identity of the Name and the identity of Kṛṣṇa. With great endeavor the devotee himself removes these obstacles. Pralamba represents lust for a man or a woman, greed for material objects, endeavor for material enjoyment, pride, desire for worship and position. Understanding these to be very detrimental to progress, the devotee should make great effort to remove them. If his humility is true, certainly Kṛṣṇa will be merciful. Then Baladeva will make his appearance, and all the obstacles will be destroyed in a second. Then, step-by-step, progress in the cultivation of bhakti will take place. As this process is by nature very esoteric, the devotee, being spotless in character, should learn it from a qualified guru.’
“Those who want to happily serve Kṛṣṇa in the pure mood of Vraja should carefully destroy the above mentioned obstacles. Some of these obstacles should be destroyed by a person’s own endeavor and purity, and some should be destroyed by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. If the devotee prays humbly to Kṛṣṇa to remove all the obstacles in the heart that are represented by the demons he killed, he will certainly do so. Other obstacles have to be removed by the devotee’s own endeavor. A living entity is able to personally destroy the obstacles that are found under the shelter of religious duties through samadhi known as savikalpa. The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam explains that these obstacles personified by Dhenukāsura and Pralambāsura are actually destroyed by Baladeva. But it is also described that the obstacles that are destroyed by taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa are actually destroyed by Him. Swanlike persons with subtle discrimination should carefully discuss these topics.”
It may also be good to point out at this time that most of the demons killed by Kṛṣṇa were disposed of before the pastimes of rasa-līlā began. This includes the illusion of Brahmā and defeat of Indra. Those dealt with before the rasa-līlā were Pūtanā, Śakaṭāsura, Tṛṇāvarta, the Yamala Arjuna trees, Vatsāsura, Bakāsura, Aghāsura, the illusion of Brahmā, Dhenukāsura, Kāliya, the forest fire, Pralambāsura, the yajñika-brāhmaṇas, Indra and Varuṇa. Certainly one should be free from the anarthas represented by the above personalities before one thinks one’s self to be qualified for rāgānuga-bhakti.
Furthermore, the demons Śaṅkhacūḍa, the snake swallowing Nanda Mahārāja, Ariṣṭāsura, Keśi and Vyomāsura were dispensed with after Kṛṣṇa began His rasa-līlās. Therefore it should be understood that even an advanced devotee should be mindful not to allow the anarthas represented by the demons killed after the start of Kṛṣṇa’s mādhurya pastimes to raise their head and enter his heart.
রূপ-গুণ-লীলা-স্ফূর্ত্তি নাম ছাড়া হয় না
রূপ-গুণ-লীলা হৈতে কৃষ্ণনাম হয় না ॥৩১॥
rūpa-guṇa-līlā-sphūrti nāma chāḍā haya nā
rūpa-guṇa-līlā haite kṛṣṇa-nāma haya nā (31)
The revelation of Kṛṣṇa’s form, qualities, and pastimes can never appear without the presence of the Holy Name. Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name can never be separated from His form, qualities or pastimes.
রূপ হৈতে নাম-স্ফূর্ত্তি গুরু কভু বলে না
গুণ হৈতে নাম-স্ফূর্ত্তি গুরু কভু বলে না ॥৩২॥
rūpa haite nāma-sphūrti, guru kabhu bale nā
guṇa haite nāma-sphūrti, guru kabhu bale nā (32)
The spiritual master never says that the revelation of the Holy Name is separate from the Lord’s form. The spiritual master never says that the revelation of the Lord’s Holy Name is separate from His divine qualities.
লীলা হৈতে নাম-স্ফূর্ত্তি রূপানুগ বলে না
নাম-নামী দুই বস্তু রূপানুগ বলে না ॥৩৩॥
līlā haite nāma-sphūrti, rūpānugā bale nā
nāma-nāmī dui vastu, rūpānugā bale nā (33)
A rūpānugā (a follower of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī) never says that the revelation of the Holy Name is separate from His pastimes. The rūpānugās never say that the Holy Name and Kṛṣṇa Himself are two separate entities.
It is the undisputed conclusion of all bona-fide śāstras and ācāryas that the nāma (Holy Name), guṇa (qualities), rūpa (form) and līlā (pastimes) of Kṛṣṇa are non-different from Kṛṣṇa Himself. That is to say that the Name of Kṛṣṇa, being non-different from Kṛṣṇa, is also non-different from Kṛṣṇa’s form, qualities and pastimes.
Considering that Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name is different from His qualities, form and pastimes, the prākṛta-sahajiyās minimize the chanting of kṛṣṇa-nāma and substitute such with invented novel practices, most notably siddha-praṇālī or ekadaśa-bhāva. It should also be remembered that the ekadaśa-bhāva, which is sometimes force-fed to unqualified practitioners by unscrupulous gurus, is not to be confused with the ekadaśa-bhāva described in Jaiva-dharma, chapter 39, by Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda.
To further clarify this topic of ekadaśa-bhāva, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī comments as follows, and one should pay very close attention to what the great ācārya has said.
“Those who have achieved the perfection of being fixed in their spiritual identity (svarūpa-siddhi/ekadaśa-bhāva) have attained such a realization through internal revelation and the spiritual master’s only involvement in these matters is to help the further advancement of the disciple. As a practitioner progresses toward spiritual perfection, all these things are revealed naturally within the heart that sincerely seeks service.” (Letter to a disciple, Nov. 17th 1930)
Unfortunately, many pseudo-devotees claim to have advanced to the stage of svarūpa-siddhi and to have realized their ekadaśa-bhāva. Some such persons even claim to have received siddha–praṇālī (as a mañjarī or sakhī) in a dream from their spiritual master. Such devotees are indeed eccentric in their behavior and easily dupe innocent newcomers into believing in their dreams. However, the vast majority of these deluded persons, although claiming to have achieved siddha–praṇālī do not know the first things about the qualifications necessary to achieve such a high standard of pure devotional service as to realize their intrinsic spiritual identity. Nor do they properly understand the function of a mañjarī or sakhī in the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We consider such persons as sva-kuhaka – self-deceivers.
রস আগে রতি পাছে রূপানুগ বলে না
রস আগে শ্রদ্ধা পাছে গুরু কভু বলে না ॥৩৪॥
rasa āge, rati pāche, rūpānugā bale nā
rasaāge, śraddhā pāche, guru kabhu bale nā (34)
Rūpānugās never say that rasa precedes rati. The spiritual master never says that rasa precedes śraddhā.
রতি আগে শ্রদ্ধা পাছে রূপানুগ বলে না
ক্রম-পথ ছাড়ি’ সিদ্ধি রূপানুগ বলে না ॥৩৫॥
rati āge, śraddhā pāche, rūpānugā bale nā
krama patha chāḍi’ siddhi rūpānugā bale nā (35)
Rūpānugās never say that rasa is attained before one develops śraddhā. Rūpānugās never say that perfection can be attained by rejecting the various stages on the spiritual path.
মহাজন-পথ ছাড়ি’ নব্য-পথে ধায় না
অপরাধ-সহ নাম কখনই হয় না ॥৩৬॥
mahājana-patha chāḍi’ navya-pathe dhāya nā
aparādha-saha nāma kakhana-i haya nā (36)
Rūpānugās never reject the path of the mahājanas and to run and follow a new path. By making offenses one can never realize the Holy Name.
নামে প্রাকৃতার্থ-বুদ্ধি ভক্ত কভু করে না
অপরাধযুক্ত নাম ভক্ত কভু লয় না ॥৩৭॥
nāme prākātārtha-buddhi bhakta kabhu haya nā
aparādha-yukta nāma bhakta kabhu laya nā (37)
A devotee never gives a mundane interpretation to the Holy Name. A devotee never chants the Holy Name in an offensive way.
নামেতে প্রাকৃতবুদ্ধি রূপানুগ করে না
কৃষ্ণরূপে জড়বুদ্ধি রূপানুগ করে না ॥৩৮॥
nāmete prākṛta-buddhi rūpānugā kare nā
kṛṣṇa-rūpe jaḍa-buddhi rūpānugā kare nā (38)
Rūpānugās do not attribute mundane qualities to the Holy Name by means of material intellect. Since the rūpānugās do not possess materialistic mentality, they never consider Kṛṣṇa’s form as material.
কৃষ্ণগুণে জড়বুদ্ধি রূপানুগ করে না
পরিকর-বৈশিষ্ট্যকে প্রাকৃত ত জানে না ॥৩৯॥
kṛṣṇa-guṇe jaḍa-buddhi rūpānugā kare nā
parikara-vaiśiṣṭyake prākṛta to’ jāne nā (39)
Rūpānugās do not look upon Kṛṣṇa’s qualities with mundane intellect. The rūpānugās do not consider the attributes of the Lord’s eternal associates to be material.
কৃষ্ণলীলা জড়তুল্য রূপানুগ বলে না
কৃষ্ণেতর ভোগ্য-বস্তু কৃষ্ণ কভু হয় না ॥৪০॥
kṛṣṇa-līlā jaḍa-tulya rūpānugā bale nā
kṛṣṇetara bhogya-vastu kṛṣṇa kabhu haya nā (40)
The rūpānugās never compare Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes to mundane activities. Kṛṣṇa can never become an object of material sense pleasure that is inferior to Himself.
জড়কে অনর্থ ছাড়া আর কিছু মানে না
জড়াসক্তি-বশে রসে কৃষ্ণজ্ঞান করে না ॥৪১॥
jaḍake anartha chāḍā āra kichu māne nā
jaḍāsakti-baśe rase kṛṣṇa-jñāna kare nā (41)
One should never consider anything except that dull matter is an anartha that is fit to be rejected. Knowledge of Śrī Kṛṣṇa can never be obtained through any rasa that is founded upon attachment to matter.
It is easy to call one’s self a rūpānuga, a follower of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, but without acquiring the qualities of a rūpānuga such claims are simply a formal declaration. The aprākṛta-svarūpa (spiritual form) of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī is that of Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī in Vraja. Being a follower of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī is synonymous with being a follower of Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī, but qualification is necessary. The qualifications of a rūpānuga are described by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī in his Caitanya-candrāmṛta as follows:
āstāṁ vairāgya-koṭir bhavatu
vā vaiṣṇavī bhakti-koṭiḥ
koṭy-aṁśo ‘py asya na syāt tad api
guṇa-gaṇo yaḥ svataḥ-siddha āste
“Persons who are attached to the rays of the effulgent nails on the toes of the lotus feet of the beloved and dear devotees of Lord Caitanya are by themselves fully qualified with all transcendental qualities. Even powerful renunciation, equanimity, sense control, fortitude, meditation, and similar other great qualities that are found in the devotees of Viṣṇu do not compare to even one-millionth of a part of their transcendental attributes.” (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 127)
The position of a rūpānuga is further described by Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja in Śrī Guru and His Grace as follows:
“The rūpānuga-sampradāya, the followers of the line of Śrī Rūpa, are those who have the unique taste of service in the camp of Rādhārāṇī. In that plane, there is no entrance of any mundane exploitation or renunciation, and not even legalized śāstrika devotion. The highest kind of devotion is not controlled by any law. It is spontaneous and automatic. Sacrifice to the highest degree is only possible in that camp. The highest kind of divine sentiment is distributed from the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and that can never be compared with any attainment hitherto known even in the eternal factor of time and space.’
“Then, there is another stage for which we should be prepared. Why should we try to enter into the camp of Rādhārāṇī? Should we think that there, in that better atmosphere, we shall have Kṛṣṇa’s presence more confidentially? Should we think, “I will have contact with Kṛṣṇa very intimately,” should we want to enter into that camp? No — we want to avoid the connection of Kṛṣṇa, but concentrate on the service of Rādhārāṇī. Why? What more benefit is possible there in the service of Rādhārāṇī? If we approach Kṛṣṇa directly to give service to Him, we shall be losers. Rādhārāṇī’s service to Kṛṣṇa is of the highest order in every way. If we devote our energy to help Rādhārāṇī, our energy will be utilized in Her service. In this way, She will serve Kṛṣṇa with Her service more enhanced. Then the reciprocation will pass to us through Her as our reward. That will be devotion of the highest type (mahā-bhāva).’
“So, the general inclination of the sakhīs, the confidential maidservants of Rādhārāṇī, is not to come in direct connection with Kṛṣṇa. They avoid that. But still, it is the benevolent and generous nature of Rādhārāṇī to connect them with Kṛṣṇa on some plea at some time or other. But their innate nature is always to avoid Kṛṣṇa and concentrate on the service of Rādhārāṇī.
rādhāra svarūpa–kṛṣṇa-prema kalpalatā
sakhī-gaṇa haya tāra pallava-puṣpa-pātā
“By nature, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is just like a creeper of love of Godhead, and the gopīs are the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper.” (Cc. Madhya 8. 209)
“Eternally the twigs, flowers and leaves sprout from the creeper of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is the trunk, and they are branches. This is their relationship.’
“Yet still, there is another, higher thing. We are known as rūpānuga, the followers of Śrī Rūpa. Why? The service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī eliminates everything, even Nārāyaṇa, to go to Kṛṣṇa. There is the Kṛṣṇa of Dvārāka, the Kṛṣṇa of Mathurā, and the Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana. Then again in Vṛndāvana, where there is free mixing without hesitation in other camps, Rādhārāṇī’s camp is the highest. Eliminating all other camps, direct service to Rādhārāṇī is considered to be the highest. Still, there is another point.’
“Who is Rūpa? Rūpa-mañjarī. Generally, the hierarchy in the spiritual world is eternal. New recruits can occupy a particular rank of mañjarī, assistant, in mādhurya-rasa. And the leader of the mañjarīs is Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī. What is the special feature in the mañjarī camp that is not found among the sakhīs, girlfriends of Kṛṣṇa?’
“First there is Rādhārāṇī, then the camp of Her right-hand personal attendant, Lalitā. Then, under Lalitā, there is Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī. What is the unique position of the followers of Śrī Rūpa? The new recruits can attain to that status. Now, the privilege of this mañjarī class we are to conceive most respectfully and attentively.’
“When Rādhā and Govinda are in secrecy, in a private place, the sakhīs, who are well-versed in the art of that kind of play, because they are a little grown-up, do not like to approach there to disturb Their confidential mixing. If the more grown-up sakhīs, enter there, both Rādhā and Govinda will feel shy. So, their presence may create some disturbance. But the younger girls can enter there, and then Rādhā and Govinda have no hesitation in free mixing.’
“So, in that highest stage of the mixing of Rādhā-Govinda, the free play of Rādhā-Govinda, these mañjarīs, the younger girls, can have admission. But the grown-up sakhīs cannot have admission there. New recruits may come up to the mañjarīclass. And the mañjarīs have that sort of special advantage under the leadership of Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī. So, they get the best advantage there, the most sacred type of pure service, which is not open even to the sakhīs, is open to the mañjarīs. That is found in Rādhārāṇī’s camp.’
“So, the position of the rūpānugas, the followers of Śrī Rūpa, is the most profitable position. That has been given out by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That has been shown by Him, and that is fixed as the highest limit of our fortune in Kṛṣṇa’s concern. This is unexpectable, undesignable and beyond hope, but our prospect lies there in that subtle camp of Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī, Rūpa Gosvāmī.’
“So, the camp, the sampradāya of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as the rūpānuga–sampradāya. There, our fate and our fortune are located. Now we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception, from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less than this highest ideal. That should be the highest goal of our life. And we must adjust our approach from our present position.”
The most common misunderstanding among neophyte devotees concerning the mañjarī class of gopīs is the thinking that the mañjarīs also enjoy with Kṛṣṇa. This type of thinking definitely shows that such persons have not received proper guidance in such matters from their guru and that they are certainly not qualified to engage in or hear about the amorous pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. To support our statements, we quote Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda below.
“You are a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and your eternal service is to render loving devotional service unto Her. Sometimes, out of necessity, She may send you to be alone with Śrī Kṛṣṇa in a solitary place, and at that time, Kṛṣṇa may express His desire to enjoy with you. However, you should never agree to His proposals. You are a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and you should never independently serve Kṛṣṇa for His pleasure without Her permission. You should have equal loving attachment for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, but still you should maintain greater earnestness for Her loving service than for Kṛṣṇa’s. This is the meaning of service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Your service is to care for Rādhārāṇī’s comfort and pleasure in all the eight-fold pastimes.” (Jaiva-dharma, ch.39)
In this same light A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda writes about the mystery of the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in The Search for the Ultimate Goal of Life, page 74, as follows:
“The activities of the sakhīs are very wonderful. They do not desire any personal enjoyment with Śrī Kṛṣṇa but become happy only by uniting the Divine Couple. By uniting Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the sakhīs enjoy a thousand times more happiness than they would derive by direct contact with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is another mystery of the transcendental pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.’
“Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the desire creeper embracing the desire tree of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the sakhīs are the leaves, twigs, and flowers of that desire creeper. So naturally when the desire creeper is watered at the root by the nectarean water of the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa the leaves and twigs and flowers of the desire creeper are automatically nourished. The sakhīs therefore do not require any separate arrangement for their enjoyment. On the other hand, the happiness of the flowers and leaves is greater than the original creeper. This is explained in the Govinda-līlāmṛta, 10.16 as follows:
sakhyaḥ śrī-rādhikāyā vraja-
nicayair ullasantyām amuṣyāṁ
adhikaṁ santi yat tan na citram
“There is no utility in watering the leaves and flowers of a tree without watering the root of the tree. The leaves and flowers are automatically nourished by watering the root of the tree. Similarly, without the unity of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, there is no happiness for the sakhīs. When Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are united, the happiness of the sakhīs is thousands and thousands of times greater than when they are personally associating with Kṛṣṇa.”
কৃষ্ণনাম কৃষ্ণরূপ কভু জড় বলে না
কৃষ্ণগুণ কৃষ্ণলীলা কভু জড় বলে না ॥৪২॥
kṛṣṇa-nāma, kṛṣṇa-rūpa—kabhu jaḍa bale nā
kṛṣṇa-guṇa, kṛṣṇa-līlā—kabhu jaḍa bale nā (42)
One should never say that Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name and Kṛṣṇa’s form are material. One should never say that Kṛṣṇa’s qualities and pastimes are mundane.
জড়রূপ অনর্থেতে কৃষ্ণ ভ্রম করে না
কৃষ্ণনামরূপগুণে জড়বুদ্ধি করে না ॥৪৩॥
jaḍa-rūpa anarthete kṛṣṇa-bhrama kare nā
kṛṣṇa-nāma-rūpa-guṇe jaḍa-buddhi kare nā (43)
One should not become deluded by the anartha of material forms and mistake Śrī Kṛṣṇa also to be material. One should never try to comprehend Kṛṣṇa’s names, forms, and qualities with materialistic intelligence.
To make it clear to his readers and to anyone claiming to be a follower of Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī it is being said here again and again that before one can properly relish the higher stages of bhakti one must first come to the stage of anartha-nivṛtti, being freed from material contamination. The real work in vaidhi-bhakti is to become free from anarthas. One who fails to achieve this is doomed. Ninety percent of our work should be to eliminate the unwanted anarthas and then the other ten percent will come quite easily. Any endeavor to achieve the ten percent without eliminating the ninety percent is simply living in a fool’s paradise.
It has been said that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī spent ninety percent of his energy to teach what is not mādhurya-rasa, the negative side. He had to spare in his words, “gallons of blood” in order to teach that which is not rasa.
Some foolish persons make light of these statements of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and ignoring his cautions dive head long into the topics of higher līlā. Such persons should be understood as not being followers of the great ācārya and their association should be rejected.
নামরূপগুণলীলা জড় বলি’ মানে না
জড়নামরূপগুণে কৃষ্ণ কভু বলে না ॥৪৪॥
nāma-rūpa-guṇa-līlā jaḍa bali’ māne nā
jaḍa-nāma-rūpa-guṇe kṛṣṇa kabhu bale nā (44)
One should never regard any of the Lord’s Names, forms, qualities or pastimes to be material. One should never say that any material Name, form or quality belongs to Kṛṣṇa.
জড়শূন্য অপ্রাকৃত নাম ছাড়া বলে না
জড়শূন্য অপ্রাকৃত রূপ ছাড়া দেখে না ॥৪৫॥
jaḍa-śūnya aprākṛta nāma chāḍā bale nā
jaḍa-śūnya aprākṛta rūpa chāḍā dekhe nā (45)
Nothing else should be spoken except the spiritual Names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa that are uncontaminated by matter. Except for the purely divine form of Kṛṣṇa which is free from all matter, nothing else should be seen.
জড়শূন্য অপ্রাকৃত গুণ ছাড়া শুনে না
জড়শূন্য অপ্রাকৃত লীলা ছাড়া সেবে না ॥৪৬॥
jaḍa-śūnya aprākṛta guṇa chāḍā śune nā
jaḍa-śūnya aprākṛta līlā chāḍā seve nā (46)
Nothing else should be heard except for the transcendental qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa that are free from mundane contact. Other than the divine pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that are free of all mundane contamination, nothing else should be served.
Everything about Kṛṣṇa is purely spiritual and thus everything connected to Kṛṣṇa is divine. The following conversation between Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya is supremely instructive to all devotees in this matter.
Lord Caitanya questioning and Ramananda answering:
Q: What is the essence of learning in the field of educational activities?
A: There is no superior quality of learning than the knowledge pursued in regard to devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Q: What is the highest fame?
A: The highest fame of a living being is a reputation of being a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Q: What is the most valuable possession of life among all the assets of the world?
A: One who has transcendental love for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is to be considered the richest person in the world.
Q: What is the most grievous type of sorrow among all the sorrows and distresses of life?
A: There is no greater type of sorrow than the unhappiness created by separation from devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Q: Who is most perfectly liberated among all the liberated souls of the universe?
A: One who has transcendental love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the greatest of all liberated souls.
Q: What is the best song that a person can sing?
A: The essence of all songs is the singing of the transcendental glories of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Q: What is the highest benefit of life that a person can seek?
A: There is no greater gain in life than the association of devotees engaged in the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Q: Who is to be remembered constantly by the living being?
A: One should always think of the transcendental Name, fame, and qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Q: What should the living being meditate on?
A: The most perfect type of meditation is to meditate upon the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Q: Where should the living being reside exclusively, leaving all other residential quarters?
A: One should live in Vṛndāvana, where the transcendental pastimes of rasa-līlā are perpetually performed.
Q: What should the living entity hear about, leaving aside all other topics?
A: The reciprocal loving pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are the only subject matter for aural reception by the living entity.
Q: What is the most worshipable object among all those to be worshiped?
A: The topmost worshipable object is the combined names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Q: Where do persons go who aspire after liberation or sense enjoyment respectively?
A: The first person attains a body that is immovable (such as a stone or mountain), and the other attains a celestial body.
The above questions and answers contain the essence of all transcendental knowledge confirmed in the authoritative scriptures.
অনর্থ থাকার কালে জড়রূপে মজে না
অনর্থ থাকার কালে জড়গুণে মিশে না ॥৪৭॥
anartha thākāra kāle jaḍa-rūpe maje nā
anartha thākāra kāle jaḍa-guṇe miśe nā (47)
While anarthas, continue to remain, one should not become allured by mundane forms. While anarthas remain, one should never mix with material qualities.
অনর্থ থাকার কালে জড়লীলা ভোগে না
অনর্থ থাকার কালে শুদ্ধনাম ছাড়ে না ॥৪৮॥
anartha thākāra kāle jaḍa-līlā bhoge nā
anartha thākāra kāle śuddha-nāma chāḍe nā (48)
While anarthas remain, one should never enjoy mundane pastimes. While anarthas remain, one should never give up chanting the pure Name of Kṛṣṇa.
অনর্থ থাকার কালে রসগান করে না
অনর্থ থাকার কালে সিদ্ধিলব্ধ বলে না ॥৪৯॥
anartha thākāra kāle rasa-gāna kare nā
anartha thākāra kāle siddhi-labdha bale nā (49)
While anarthas remain, one should never sing rasika songs. While anarthas remain, one should never state that one has attained perfection.
অনর্থ থাকার কালে লীলাগান করে না
অনর্থনিবৃত্তিকালে নামে জড় বলে না ॥৫০॥
anartha thākāra kāle līlā-gāna kare nā
anartha-nivṛtti-kāle nāma jaḍa bale nā (50)
While anarthas remain, one should never sing songs about the Lord’s confidential pastimes. At the stage of anartha-nivṛtti, one should never speak of the Holy Name as mundane.
While anarthas still remain, a devotee should remain stedfast on the path of vaidhi-bhakti and not venture ahead least he risk ruination. Not understanding the necessity of purification from anarthas, pseudo-gurus sometimes recommend that their disciples sing elevated songs glorifying the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, or even worse the pseudo-guru sometimes instructs his disciples to sing mundane songs about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa such as those composed by the Rajasthani princess, Mirabai. The pure devotee never engages his disciples in such a way.
Furthermore, some unqualified devotees who think that they have attained rasa begin to write books in which they imagine fictious pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in their fertile brain and then discource about such imaginary pastimes as though they were advanced in rasa. Such persons should be known as self-deluders and cheaters.