The Secret of the Destruction of Devakī's Six Unborn ChildrenThe Secret of the Destruction of Devakī's Six Unborn Children
Topics in Praise of Śrī Gaṅgā DevīTopics in Praise of Śrī Gaṅgā Devī


In 'Śrī Sarasvatī Saṅlāpa' (A Discourse by Śrī Sarasvatī Thākura') which was originally printed in the monthly Gauḍīya magazine, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura describes real and apparent gaura-bhajana, and states that by performing pseudo gaura-bhajana we actually install Satan rather than Mahāprabhu in our hearts. This article was translated by Swami B.V. Giri

(While Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda was residing in Lucknow at 19, Station Road on 7th November 1929, the retired District Sessions Judge of Una, Rāya Bahadur Basu directly came to meet Śrīla Prabhupāda. Seeing how Śrīla Prabhupāda was exclusively devoted to Śrī Gaurasundara, Rāya Bahadur Mahodaya told that his friend Mr. R. (the superintendent engineer) was a fully dedicated devotee of Mahāprabhu. When Mr. R’s only daughter became extremely ill, R. began to chant incessantly day and night, “Gaura! Gaura!” As his daughter’s condition further deteriorated, his chanting also increased. R. Bābu started to develop more affinity towards making more elaborate offerings and the frequency of his visits to his Gurudeva’s house increased – so much so that everyone was astounded at his amazing guru-bhakti. Yet, in spite of performing such devotion his only daughter died. On the day that she died, from early in the morning till about nine o’clock at night, his daughter suffered acute breathing problems until she finally gave up her life. Some days later, Raya Bahadur Basu went to meet his friend R. Bābu. Rāya Bahadur Basu Mahāśaya saw that R.’s love and steadfast devotion for Mahāprabhu and his faithful devotion had completely gone. Mr. R. told Raya Bahadur, “There is no ‘Mahāprabhu’! If Bhagavān truly exists, he would never cause His devotee to suffer so much! If He was really antaryāmī and actually resided in the heart of His devotee, then He would surely know of their anguish and He would have saved my daughter! His greatness as Bhagavān would have been preached much more in this world! The faith and devotion of Bhagavān’s devotees would have soared millions of times! The devotees of Bhagavān would have preached about His glories and brought others to worship Him! Faith and devotion to Mahāprabhu in all members of the family would have increased! And, regaining her life once more, the girl would have more love and attraction towards Bhagavān. Therefore due to their superstitious nature, people believe in the existence of God and recite the Name of Mahāprabhu. Thus it is much more practical and profitable to do any work pertaining to this world than simply chanting, “Gaura, Gaura!”)

In answer to these words, Śrīla Prabhupāda spoke thus –

“That Mahāprabhu that we have taken shelter of is not the Mahāprabhu of R. Bābu, whom he considers to be like his hired gardener. We have taken shelter of the Mahāprabhu of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita. That Mahāprabhu, who was so impressed with the love of Śrīvāsa, said–

putra-śoka nā jānila ye mohāra preme
hena saba saṅga muñi chāḍiba kemane

“How could I ever give up the association of one who did not lament for his son due to his love for Me?” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khaṇḍa 25.52)

We worship the Mahāprabhu of that Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita who said –

kalarava śuni yadi prabhu bāhya pāya
tabe āji gaṅgā praveśimu sarvathäya

“If the Lord regains his external consciousness by hearing your commotion, I will drown myself in the Gaṅgā.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khanda 25.36)

We worship Śrī Rūpa’s Mahāprabhu. It is Śrī Rūpa who says –

viracaya mayi daṇḍaṁ dīna-bandho dayāmī vā
gatir iha na bhavattaḥ kācid anyā mamāsti
nipatatu śata-koṭi-nirbharaṁ vā navāmbhaḥ
tad api kila-payodaḥ stūyate cātakena

“O friend of the poor, do what You like with me, give me either mercy or punishment, but in this world I have none to look to except for You, just as the cātaka bird always prays for the cloud, regardless of whether it brings rains or hurls a thunderbolt.” (Stava-mālā)

We worship that Mahāprabhu who manifested the lila of being the jagad-guru in order to instruct us –

āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ

“Kṛṣṇa may embrace me in love or trample me under His feet. He may break my heart by hiding Himself from me. Let that debauchee do whatever He likes, but He will always be the only Lord of my life.” (Śikṣāṣṭakam 8)

nā gaṇi āpana-duḥkha, sabe vāñchi tāṅra sukha
tāṅra sukha āmāra tātparya more
yadi diyā duḥkha, tāṅra haila mahā-sukha
sei duḥkha — mora sukha-varya

“I do not mind My personal distress. I only wish for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa, for His happiness is the goal of My life. However, if He feels great happiness in giving Me distress, that distress is the best of My happiness.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 20.52)

In order to perform bhajana of this Mahāprabhu, if I need to reject the detrimental things of this world millions of times, I am ready to do that wholeheartedly with all my senses, I am prepared for that. Taking shelter of His feet I accept those misfortunes with the understanding that He is protecting me and dragging me towards His feet – He is supremely merciful to expose my duplicity. He is not allowing me to add more fuel to my material senses. He is making me understand this – that there is no eternal object in this world to take shelter of other than His feet. We are bearing the heavy burden of our karmic reactions upon our shoulders due to our own previous activities. If I am able to tolerate these with a little endeavour, taking shelter at the lotus feet of the eternal Lord, then only will I attain some real auspiciousness.

If we belong to the school of material enjoyment, then when some obstacle hinders our enjoyment, we become angry. The school of renunciation says we should give up material enjoyment. Śrī Gaurāṅga’s devotees do not prescribe to any sort of enjoyment, nor do they prescribe to any sort of renunciation. They say, “It should be towards real objects – let the natural propensity of the jīvātmā be focused upon true transcendental knowledge of the non-dual Absolute.” Even if one accepts the three types of sufferings that continuously immerse us, it is of no advantage, and if one desires to artificially renounce, he cannot. Only one who offers his namaskāra to Bhagavān’s feet with his mind, body and words is the rightful heir to liberation. Whatever be the inconveniences one may have to face, he accepts them wholeheartedly as the Bhagavān’s kṛpā-avatāra (the descent of His mercy). It is not possible to estimate all the auspiciousness that Śrī Caitanyadeva has bestowed upon all of us. We are on the path of pleasure (preya), and in order to open our eyes He has meticulously arranged various problems amongst the objects of our material pleasure. He gave us poor health and, step-by-step, He also sent various dangers and gave a specific temporary nature to everything of this world in order that we would eventually tread the path of the highest benefit.

I remember one incident that happened many days before. Mr. Datta, a high court advocate, seeing his son lying on his deathbed, one day told to me, “You are a sadhu. Kindly restore my son’s life!” I told him, “I am not the master of bestowing life. But I can try to change the way that you think.” This person was a staunch follower of Comte. He said, “If your God really exists, then you should make Him cure my son.” I told him frankly, “I will not make a campaign against the desire of Bhagavān. I cannot support the philosophy of the Śaktas. Śrī Gaurasundara is most merciful, and this is shown by His decorating this world with hundred and hundreds of problems – that is His mercy!”

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-dayā karaha vicāra
vicāra karite citte pābe camatkāra

“If you consider the mercy of Śrī Caitanya-candra, by meditating on such deliberations you will find it most amazing.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 8.15)

It is not the duty of the jīva to live in this world in forgetfulness of Bhagavān. This place is not our eternal residence. In order to remind us of this, at every moment, He creates problems in our pursuit of material happiness. Śrī Kulaśekhara says –

nāsthā dharme na vasu-nicaye naiva kāmopabhoge
yad bhāvyaṁ tad bhavatu bhagavan pūrva-karmānurūpam
etat prārthyaṁ mama bahu-mataṁ janma-janmāntare ’pi
tvat-pādāmbho-ruha-yuga-gatā niścalā bhaktir astu

“O my Lord! I have no attachment for religiosity, or for accumulating wealth, or for enjoying sense gratification. Let these come as they inevitably must, in accordance with my past deeds. But I do pray for this most cherished boon: birth after birth, let me render unflinching devotional service unto your two lotus feet.” (Mukunda-Mālā Stotram 5)

nāhaṁ vande pada-kamalayor dvandvam advandva-hetoḥ
kumbhī-pākaṁ gurum api hare nārakaṁ nāpanetum
ramyā-rāmā-mṛdu-tanu-latā-nandane nābhirantuṁ
bhāve bhāve hṛdaya-bhavane bhāvayeyaṁ bhavantam

“O Lord Hari, it is not to be saved from the dualities of material existence or the grim tribulations of the Kumbhīpāka hell that I pray to your lotus feet. Nor is my purpose to enjoy the soft-skinned beautiful women who reside in the gardens of heaven. I pray to Your lotus feet only so that I may remember You alone in the core of my heart, birth after birth.” (Mukunda-Mālā Stotram 4)

A similar śloka has been recited by Śrī Gaurasundara –

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

“O Lord, I have no desires to accumulate wealth, followers, beautiful women, or salvation. My only prayer is for Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth.” (Śikṣāṣṭakam 4)

I will not fall into deception. Birth after birth I have sank into duplicity, I will not do so again. I will not involve you in the karmic reactions of my previous birth; that is because I have heard the instructions of the Śrīmad Bhāgavata at the lotus feet of Śrī Guru –

dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadaṁ tāpa-trayonmūlanam
śrīmad-bhāgavate mahā-muni-kṛte kiṁ vā parair īśvaraḥ
sadyo hṛdy avarudhyate ’tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhis tat-kṣaṇāt

“In this Bhāgavata Purana, where fraudulent religiosity and all other mundane goals of humankind have been utterly forsaken, the supreme spiritual duty (parama-dharma) has been expounded. That parama-dharma is pure bhakti-yoga, exemplified by those saints who are absolutely free from envy and full of compassion for all living beings. The Supreme Truth within uproots the three forms of misery and grants the highest form of bliss. When those with ample spiritual merit desire to listen to the message of this beautiful Bhāgavatam, which was authored by Maha-muni Śrī Narayana Himself, then the Supreme Lord Śrī Hari is immediately and permanently captured within their hearts. What is the need of any other message?” (Bhāg. 1.1.2)

My Śrī Gurudeva never accepted service from other people. When someone came to serve him he would curse that fourteen generations of that person’s family would be destroyed. He would tell them, “You want me to become your servant in your next life. You will make me your servant to repay your debt. But I will only become the servant of those who are devotees of Kṛṣṇa and no one else. Birth after birth I do not wish to be the servant of anyone apart from Śrī Rādhā Ṭhākurāṇī, because She does the maximum service to Kṛṣṇa.” He used to tell us, “Aspire only for things that are spiritual. You do not need to do anything else.” He could not write anything and was not a scholar of anusvara or visarga. Tears would pour from both his eyes and he would cry out loudly, ”By taking the Names of Gaura-Nityānanda I pray that we should not bring disgrace to their Names. Let us not desire such useless trash as dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa from Gaura-Nitāi. Many times he would ask us, “Please tell me what is written in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad Bhāgavata. I do not understand Sanskrit. I do not even know how to write.” We would reply, “What can we say? In your very character we are directly able to see whatever is written in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad Bhāgavata?”

R. Bābu took ‘shelter’ of Mahāprabhu as if to enrich Mahāprabhu. It is as if Mahāprabhu would be delivered by his mercy. He had complete attachment to matter, but not to Śrī Caitanya. Mahāprabhu revealed his duplicity. He did not examine the matter from the very beginning and could not come to the right conclusion anywhere. Not even for a moment did he deliberate upon the true form of Mahāprabhu. He considered the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurāṅga as nature’s product, or as some type of special medicine. To him, the material object which is medicine that will cure his daughter’s disease, is ‘Mahāprabhu’. The divine lotus feet of Gaura-Nitāi remove all anarthas and award kṛṣṇa-prema. They can give us Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and They are non-different from Their Names. That Gaura-Nitāi are not like some pir-fakir (magicians) or some good luck charm of this world. If he had actually received instructions from the lotus feet of a guru who was a genuine devotee of Gaura, then the Holy Name Himself would have shown mercy to him and his heart would have been elevated.

vaikuṇṭha-nāma-grahaṇam aśeṣāgha-haraṁ viduḥ

“One who chants the Name of the Lord is liberated from unlimited sins.” (Bhāg. 6.2.14)

However, taking the Name with a mood of materialism produces unlimited sins. He was committing nāmaparādha, and due to this he faced misfortune. The result of committing nāmaparādha is attaining dharma, artha and kāma or it may also be adharma, anartha and the non-attainment of kāma. He faced the result of non-attainment of his desire. When he genuinely and sincerely accepts shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurāṅga, then only will his nāmaparādha be nullified. Then gaura-nāma will melt his heart and tears will pour from his eyes, then he will understand the words of jagad-guru Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda –

pra-śabdena mokṣābhisandhirapi nirantaraḥ

“The word pra refers to the immediate rejection of the desire for liberation.”

Jñānī means a salvationist, or cinmātravādī, and karmī means elevationist, or jaḍavādī. Both are misguided. The Śrīmad Bhāgavata has uprooted all types of deception. If one takes shelter of that Mahāprabhu, who continuously stated that the Śrīmad Bhāgavata was the crest-jewel of pramāṇas, then no kind of cheating or detrimental desire can remain.

Śreyah (the highest benefit) tastes bitter like harītakī, and preya (temporary pleasure) tastes sweet. If a patient requests the doctor to make arrangements for him to consume lots of jaggery instead of harītakī, then the patient’s taking shelter of the doctor is simply a show. Similarly, it is the road to inauspiciousness if, in the name of taking shelter of Bhagavān, we endeavour to increase our disease by using Bhagavān.

If we remain apathetic to the teachings of Śrī Caitanya, then we will enthrone a Satan as a devotee of Caitanya or even as Caitanya Himself. When we do endeavour for material benefits, then our false gaura-bhajana will also retire! We worship that Mahāprabhu who was propitiated by Śrī Rūpa in the following mood –

namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ

“O most munificent incarnation! You are Kṛṣṇa Himself appearing as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You have assumed the golden colour of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and You are widely distributing pure love of Kṛṣṇa. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 19.53)

We worship that Mahāprabhu who was prayed to by Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī –

heloddhūnita-khedayā viśadayā pronmīlad-āmodayā
śāmyac-chāstra-vivādayā rasa-dayā cittārpitonmādayā
śaśvad-bhakti-vinodayā sa-madayā mādhurya-maryādayā
śrī-caitanya dayā-nidhe tava dayā bhūyād amandodayā

“O ocean of mercy, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu! Let there be an awakening of Your auspicious mercy, which easily drives away all kinds of material lamentation. By Your mercy, everything is made pure and blissful. It awakens transcendental bliss and covers all gross material pleasures. By Your auspicious mercy, quarrels and disagreements arising among different scriptures are vanquished. Your auspicious mercy causes the heart to jubilate by pouring forth transcendental mellows. Your mercy always stimulates devotional service, which is full of joy. You are always glorifying the conjugal love of God. May transcendental bliss be awakened within my heart by Your causeless mercy.” (Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka 8.10)

That Mahāprabhu that was prayed to by Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Prabhu –

kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate
durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate
viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate
yat kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ

“For those who have attained the merciful sidelong glance of Lord Caitanya, impersonal liberation becomes as palatable as going to hell, the heavenly cities of the demigods become as enticing as flowers imagined to be floating in the sky, the poisonous fangs of the untameable black snakes of the senses are broken, the whole world becomes full of joy, and Brahmā, Indra, and all the other great demigods become as insignificant as tiny insects. Let us glorify that golden-complexioned Lord Caitanya.” (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5)

strī-putrādi-kathāṁ jahur vivaṣayiṇaḥ śāstra-pravādaṁ budhā
yogīndrā vijahur –marun-niyama-ja-kleśaṁ tapas tāpasāḥ
jñānābhyāsa-vidhiṁ jahuś ca yatayaś caitanya-candre parām
āviṣkurvati bhakti-yoga-padavīṁ naivānya āsīd rasaḥ

“Now that the moon of Śrī Caitanya-candra has revealed the path of pure devotional service, the materialists have given up talking about their wives, children, and material affairs, the scholars have given up debating the scriptures, the yogis have given up the trouble to control the breath, the ascetics have given up their austerity, and the impersonalists have given up impersonalism. Now there is only the sweetness of pure devotional service. Now nothing else is sweet. (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 113)

Even after the teachings of Śrī Caitanya are preached, those that still do not delineate on those teachings are most unfortunate. Śrī Gaurasundara is not the object of our enjoyment. In spite of remaining amongst millions and millions of dangers and disasters, one must hear the words pertaining to Śrī Gaurasundara, perform kīrtana about Him, and preach about Him. All thoughts existing in this world, which existed in the past and will exist in the future, are all blind and bankrupt. We will be able to realise it only when we take shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurasundara without any deceit.

R. could not understand that Gaurasundara is fundamentally spiritual in nature, and only exhibited false bhakti through lip-service – he took shelter of Satan.

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

“May that Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī Devī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.4)

Gaurasundara came to the world to propagate unnata-ujjvala-rasa, the highest thing that has never been given before – and I will pray for stool, urine, bones, flesh, blood and pus! Those that consider Mahāprabhu to be Satan will pray to him for all these things.

rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam

“The loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself.”(Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.5)

Śrīmatī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī is Kṛṣṇa’s counter-whole, not His counter-part. Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s external bodily effulgence has completely surrounded the beauty of Śyāma; it has also covered His mind. Such is the intensity of Their embrace. They Both become inseparable. Śrī Gaurasundara is not simply Rādhikā, nor is He simply Kṛṣṇa – He is the intense embrace of Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa,

caitanya-candre prakaṭe yo dīno dīna eva saḥ

“Now that Śrī Caitanya-candra – the unlimitedly expansive ocean of the joy of divine love supreme – has made His gracious advent, anyone who remains destitute is surely a genuine pauper.” (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 36)

Rāya Bahadur Basu: Please give me one or two practical suggestions. There are many theoretical statements. How can one be protected from nāmaparādha?

Prabhupāda: Kindly study Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi.

Rāya Bahadur: But Mahāprabhu said that one should give the Holy Name even to a caṇḍāla.

Prabhupāda: Only one who is a nāmācārya can give the Name. Only a person who is free from nāmaparādha and nāmābhāsa, by the mercy of Mahāprabhu, can give the Holy Name to others.

Rāya Bahadur: Then what is the significance of the words, helāya śraddhāya vā (the Holy Name may be chanted with faith or inattention)?

Prabhupāda: It does not say that nāmaparādha should be chanted. Will nāmaparādha bestow auspiciousness on us?

Rāya Bahadur: Mahāprabhu does not say that there is something called ‘nāmaparādha’.

Prabhupāda: You should study the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and the Sandarbhas – the topic of nāmaparādha is mentioned throughout. Niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana (‘by chanting the Holy Name without any offence, one attains the treasure of prema’). One cannot receive the Holy Name from a pseudo-guru who is a nāmāparādhī. He must accept the shelter of a pure nāmācārya. Such a guru will bestow auspiciousness on the disciple. He will not think that he has achieved success by lording over his disciple. He will not be able to actually chant the Names of Gaura-Nityānanda while simultaneously taking shelter of the path of material sense pleasure. Those sections that are enjoyers of Gaura or inimical towards Gaura, are offenders to the Holy Name, thus we should be cautious in dealing with them.

Rāya Bahadur: If we just follow all these strict rules, will that be enough to properly chant the Holy Name?

Prabhupāda: Imitation chanting will not produce the Holy Name. The true Name will manifest Himself. He Himself will grant His mercy. Those that do not consider such things will commit aparādha. Chanting the Holy Name even once can produce auspiciousness.

Rāya Bahadur: How can I purely chant that Name at least once?

Prabhupāda: Adau guru-pādāśraya (‘first take shelter at the feet of a genuine guru)’.

Rāya Bahadur: The guru in human shape is very much limited. Even if I am able to accept someone as guru, what about those who are residing in Africa, America or from New Zealand or adhivāsīs (aborigines) – how will they be able to get such a nāmācārya?

Prabhupāda: They will also receive a guru according to their adhikāra, just as they received Christ. When their good fortune arises, and they sincerely search for a genuine guru (sad-guru), then after some births they will eventually receive one.

For the time being, stop and lend your submissive and regardful ear. I say to everyone in this world – leaving aside all your talks, kindly listen a little to the words descending from above. I always favour transcendental sound, I am not in favour of aparādha. I am not prepared to commit aparādha, neither am I prepared to make others commit aparādha. If I continue to carry in my head all the rubbish things that I have collected from here, then I cannot progress even an inch on the path towards Vraja. Those who are famous as the ‘giant-intellects ‘of this world should refrain from speaking anything for some time and submit to the aural reception of transcendental sound. Empiricism must never be the medium. Bhakti is not a suggestive thing. It is not guesswork. It is a positive and clear understanding of reality. Bhakti is understood as submission to the Personal Godhead.

avismṛtiḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ
kṣiṇoty abhadrāṇi ca śaṁ tanoti
sattvasya śuddhiṁ paramātma-bhaktiṁ
jñānaṁ ca vijñāna-virāga-yuktam

“For one who remembers the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, all inauspiciousness soon disappears, and one’s good fortune expands. In other words, one becomes free from all material contamination, one attains liberation from repeated birth and death, and one’s real spiritual life begins. As one’s heart becomes gradually purified, one’s devotion for the Lord within the heart awakens, and one realises the Paramātmā. Thus one gradually develops knowledge, realisation and renunciation.” (Bhāg. 12.12.55)

Ṭhākura Bilvamaṅgala has said –

bhaktis tvayi sthiratarā bhagavan yadi syād
daivena naḥ phalati divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ
muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate ’smān
dharmārtha-kāma-gatayaḥ samaya-pratīkṣāḥ

“O my Lord, if one engages in Your pure devotional service with determination, You become visible in Your original transcendental youthful form as the Supreme Lord. As far as liberation is concerned, she stands before the devotee with folded hands waiting to render service. Religion, economic development and sense gratification are all automatically attained without separate endeavour.” (Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 107)

At the beginning there was no need for us to form our mission. Only because people have gone the wrong way are we using the mission to render service to Bhagavān – to deliver human society from the wrong direction. In this manner even if we attain supremacy over this world crores of times, still we would discard it like stool and urine. May the human race be delivered from their wrong direction and be established at the lotus feet of Gaurasundara, who is the root of all auspiciousness. Our little endeavour is only for this purpose. If anyone deviates even minutely from the teachings of Śrī Caitanya-deva, whether he be Brahmā, Śiva, Vāyu, Varuṇa, a great religious preacher or a religious leader, he will encounter great difficulties.

First there is śraddhā (faith), then rati (attachment) Then after that comes bhakti. When sādhana has not begun, then śraddhā is required. When sādhana ends, then comes the stage of rati. When one is established in sādhya (the goal of one’s practice) then comes bhakti, or prema. Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda has said:

kṛpā kara vaiṣṇava ṭhākura
sambandha jāniyā bhajite bhajite
abhimāna hau dura

“Oh Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura, kindly bestow your mercy. Then only my false ego will be eradicated and I will be able to constantly worship the Lord, being aware of my relationship with Him.” (Kalyāṇa-kalpataru 3.2.1)

There is no way to gain auspiciousness other than serving one who performs real service to Viṣṇu. At this present time, we are engaged in a tie of love between finite things. We feel a necessity for things that actually have no real necessity for us.

yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ

“One who identifies his self as the inert body composed of mucus, bile and air, who assumes his wife and family are permanently his own, who thinks an earthen image or the land of his birth is worshipable, or who sees a place of pilgrimage as merely the water there, but who never identifies himself with, feels kinship with, worships or even visits those who are wise in spiritual truth — such a person is no better than a cow or an ass.” (Bhāg. 10.84.13)

Those that pull on their beads in the same way that one pulls on the reigns of an animal, who make a noise, yet do not see Kṛṣṇa and Gaurasundara directly in every utterance they make, are not fit to be associated by us. The acme of all scholarship is kṛṣṇa-sambandha (establishing a relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa).

varaṁ huta-vaha-jvālā-pañjarāntar-vyavasthitiḥ
na śauri-cintā-vimukha-jana-saṁvāsa-vaiśasam

“It is preferable to live in an iron cage in the midst of a blazing fire, than to associate with those who are averse to meditating upon Śauri (Kṛṣṇa), for such association is a great calamity.” (Kātyāyana-saṁhitā)

If my real intention is to serve Bhagavān, then I will look at the entire world as ingredients for His service. Then a painting by Raphael will not be able to captivate me. I will understand that the songs of Caṇḍī Dāsa and Vidyapāti should not be heard when one still has anarthas. If you go to Navadvīpa, you will see that – just like the tales of the heroes and heroines of Vidyā-sundara (a romantic poet of medieval Bengal), there are those who endeavour to enjoy the songs and poetry of Caṇḍī Dāsa and Vidyāpati. Although Śrīnivāsa Ācārya Prabhu started a musical tradition, it was not meant for nourishing and filling the burning hunger of people’s bellies, nor was it meant for the sense-enjoyment of people inflicted with anarthas. Those who do not understand this are struck down by the arrows of lust, like a deer who becomes charmed by the song of a hunter. As a result of this, such people become degraded to the level of animals and ghouls and sink into hell. They will be residents in the garden of hell – with such intelligence they are madly engrossed in sense-enjoyment and do not listen to sādhus. Śrīnivāsa Ācārya Prabhu and Śrī Vakreśvara Paṇḍita have created this method in order to deceive all those animals in human form.

I cannot understand how learned people have so much belief in such bogus things nowadays. Once, Ram Chandra Datta’s father, Nrsingha Prasad Datta, took Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to Madhu Ray Lane. Nrsingha Prasada Datta came to Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and said, “Please understand, we only know Mahāprabhu. But my son, Ram Chandra, has changed after associating with a māyāvādī! They are declaring Ramakrishna, an ordinary human being, as a new avatāra, a new Mahāprabhu! Kindly come to my house once and examine my son’s guru? Is he a sādhu or a sham? Whatever you say I will believe.”

Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was a very intimate friend of Nrsingha Prasad Datta. The day when Ramakrishna was supposed to come to his house, Nrsingha Prasad Datta brought Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to his house with great care and hospitality. Nrsingha Prasad Datta said to Ramakrishna, “One of my friends, who is a great Vaiṣṇava has come. Mahāprabhu is his very life.” At that time the Viśva-Vaiṣṇava Sabhā had been established. In that assembly, Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had been very elaborately reading and explaining the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Seeing Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Ramakrishna started singing, Yā’re dekhile nayana jhure, tā’rā du bhāi eseche re (‘The two brothers have come, seeing whom the eyes become fully satisfied’) and fell unconscious. Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was in another room. Ramakrishna was in that condition, lying on the verandah in front of that very room. After a while, some rasagullas were brought in front of Ramakrishna who ate them and other people ate his remnants. No one had the courage to offer any to Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. A little later, some impure foodstuffs were brought. At first Ramakrishna protested, but after a while he accepted it. All these activities were observed by Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. After returning from there, he scrupulously compared all these symptoms with the proper standards authorised in Śrīmad Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Referring to the words of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu he pointed out the deception and cheating of the impersonalist section, and the section that advocates non-discrimination and equality between spirit and matter.

The reflection (pratibimba) and the shadow of real rati (chaya-ratyābhāsa) are not the symptoms of prema. For those who have taken impersonalism as their highest ideal, their imitation of devotional practices is a mere deception. Those schools of thought that encourage material desires promote the position of such insignificant men in the minds of the general populace. This is known as ‘apotheosis’ (ascribing divinity to a mortal). The devotees of Gaura are not inclined to apotheosis. They do not worship human beings nor are they Kartābhajās (one of the 13 apa-sampradāyas that worship their guru as Kṛṣṇa). They are the eternal servitors of the viṣaya-vigraha (Kṛṣṇa) who is embraced by the āśraya-vigraha (Rādhārāṇī). This is the specialty of the teachings of gaura-bhajana

Related Articles

Further Reading

The Secret of the Destruction of Devakī's Six Unborn ChildrenThe Secret of the Destruction of Devakī's Six Unborn Children
Topics in Praise of Śrī Gaṅgā DevīTopics in Praise of Śrī Gaṅgā Devī

Share this article!

Avatar of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda appeared in this world in Jagannātha Purī in 1874. He was the son of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Learning Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy from his esteemed father, he took initiation from the renowned ascetic, Śrī Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābāji in 1900. After accepting the sannyāsa order in 1918, he founded the Gauḍīya Maṭha with 64 centres in India and 3 abroad. Travelling the length and breadth of the subcontinent propagating the teachings of Śrī Caitanya, he departed from this world in 1937. He was the guru of many stalwart Vaiṣṇava ācāryas such as Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī and Śrīla B.P. Purī Gosvāmī.
  • Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā

Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā

By |April 12, 2024|Tags: |

With the forthcoming observance of Śrī Rāma Navamī, we present 'Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā' written by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda from The Gaudīyā magazine, Vol 3. Issue 21/ In December 1924, after visiting Benares and Prāyāga, Sarasvatī Ṭhākura visited the birth-site of Śrī Rāmācandra in Ayodhyā.

  • Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection

Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection

By |March 29, 2024|Tags: |

In this article, "Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection" Kalki Dāsa highlights the importance of introspection in the life of a devotee and especially in relation to the worldly environment that surrounds us. He also explains how transcendental sound influences our capacity to introspect.

  • Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness)

Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness)

By |March 25, 2024|Tags: , |

This Bengali poem, ‘Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu,’ (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness) written by Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī, was first published in 1965 in Caitanya Vāṇī magazine, Vol.5, Issue 1. In this composition, Śrīla Purī Mahārāja gives advice to the fallen jīvas to sincerely accept Mahāprabhu's gift of the Holy Name. This poem was translated into English by Sanātana Dāsa and Parameśvarī Devī Dāsī.

  • Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā

Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā

By |April 12, 2024|Tags: |

With the forthcoming observance of Śrī Rāma Navamī, we present 'Prabhupāda Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Visit to Ayodhyā' written by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda from The Gaudīyā magazine, Vol 3. Issue 21/ In December 1924, after visiting Benares and Prāyāga, Sarasvatī Ṭhākura visited the birth-site of Śrī Rāmācandra in Ayodhyā.

  • Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection

Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection

By |March 29, 2024|Tags: |

In this article, "Ātma Samīkṣā – The Value of Introspection" Kalki Dāsa highlights the importance of introspection in the life of a devotee and especially in relation to the worldly environment that surrounds us. He also explains how transcendental sound influences our capacity to introspect.

  • Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness)

Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness)

By |March 25, 2024|Tags: , |

This Bengali poem, ‘Svasti No Gaura-vidhur Dadhātu,’ (May the Moon-like Gaura Bestow Auspiciousness) written by Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Gosvāmī, was first published in 1965 in Caitanya Vāṇī magazine, Vol.5, Issue 1. In this composition, Śrīla Purī Mahārāja gives advice to the fallen jīvas to sincerely accept Mahāprabhu's gift of the Holy Name. This poem was translated into English by Sanātana Dāsa and Parameśvarī Devī Dāsī.