Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya: Grace and the Moral Law

tad astu me nātha sa bhūri-bhāgo
bhave’tra vānyatra tu vā tiraścām
yenāham eko’pi bhavaj-janānāṁ
bhūtvā niṣeve tava pāda-pallavam

O my Lord, please bestow this great fortune on me, that I may live amongst Your intimate devotees and serve Your lotus feet, either here in this life as Brahma or somewhere else in a different body, even if it be that of some lowly creature like that of a bird or beast. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.30)

Expanded translation: Lord Brahma prays for service to Krishna, knowing that such service can only come through His mercy: O Lord! O fulfiller of all desires! It seems to everyone that I am very fortunate, for I have attained the supreme position in this universe as its creator. Even so, I do not consider this to be my greatest good fortune. Though I am Your oldest son in this life, it does not matter in which species I am born, as long as I can have the chance to most perfectly serve any one of Your devotees, for it is through service to them that I will attain Your mercy—even if they are just new devotees merely beginning their practice. (Sanatan Goswami)

The Bhajana Rahasya continues with more reminders of the laws of material nature:

tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā

For this reason, a clever person should seek out that which cannot be found from one extremity of this material universe to the other. Whatever happiness is found here is automatically obtained in the same way that distress is—by the force of time, whose workings are inscrutable. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.18)

Expanded translation: Vyasa: “The scriptures prescribe sacrifices and other ritual activities as well as the performance of prescribed duties in order to reach the heavnely planets where one can enjoy sense pleasures. Yet you advise us to ignore all this and simply engage in devotional service to Krishna without calculating the cost.”

Narada, “Yes, this is true. For the intelligent person is not deceived by the statements in the scriptures. Those who are clever know that devotion to Krishna is not obtained like sense enjoyment, which exists in some form in every species from the lowest all the way up to Brahma himself. Happiness, like distress, comes to everyone as a result of their past actions.

As it is stated, “Distress comes to us even when we do not ask for it. The same is true for happiness. Therefore I consider Fate to be the most important element in the experience of happiness or unhappiness.” (Vishwanath)

Bhaktivinode Thakur—

vinā yatne duḥkhera ghaṭanā jena haya
sei rūpe kāla krame sukhera udaya
ataeva caudda-loke durlabha je dhana
sei bhakti janya yatna kare budha-gaṇa

In life, we are sometimes inflicted with distress, even though we make no effort to have it. Similarly, happiness also arises in due course of time, whether or not we seek it. Therefore we should look for the one prize that is hardest to find within the fourteen planes of material existence—the truly intelligent seek out devotional service to the Lord.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya: Humility and Grace

The third chapter of the Bhajana Rahasya is based on the tṛṇād api sunīcena verse. To elaborate on this verse, Bhaktivinode Thakur depends on Mukunda-mālā and Stotra-ratna, two hymns from the Sri Vaishnava tradition predating Ramanuja. Bhaktivinoda had translated many of these verses in his Gīta-mālā and he reuses those same translations here.
In view of the discussions of karma related to child abuse and so on, these verses may cause a bit of discomfort. Actually to think oneself a sinner, a fallen creature -- this goes against the militant humanism of our "enlightened" period of human civilization.

Certainly, one of the principal criticisms against cults is that they force-feed teachings that are meant to vitiate a person's self-esteem and thus make him more malleable by the "authorities."

In a traditional society, where the leaders themselves would have been trained in humility, and where they bowed down to sages who were completely disinterested in worldly achievements, it may have been conducive to the creation of a culture of peacefulness and cooperation. But the capitalist / consumerist culture prefers social disintegration and the illusory cult of the individual.

Now every fool thinks himself "the greatest" and a person like Donald Trump, the very opposite of the Vaishnava ideal, is glorified as an appropriate leader for human society.

So one may ask, how is an abused child, who has had his sense of self worth destroyed by abuse and by everything that accompanies it, especially in the context of such cultic training, going to be benefited by compounding his sense of guilt and responsibility for his own fate?

There are stages of grief which end with acceptance. Leave aside the abusers. It is unlikely they will ever be able to experience the honest humility to repent fully. What penances would a child sex abuser have to do in order to prevent lifetimes of suffering in response for his acts? Punished in this life or the next, the victimizer plays the victim and remains completely bound in the chains of his karma.

It may never be possible for an abused child to grow "normal" or to completely free himself of the stain of what he or she has experienced.

I honestly cannot say if it is possible, but Scott Peck wrote in "People of the Lie" that as a psychoanalyst he had encountered many cases where people who had suffered the worst injustices were able to rise above their experience and lead not only productive but inspiring lives. His answer was that there is something called "grace" that is undefinable and causeless, that is the only thing to which he could attribute this difference.

So if that is true, if grace is the only solution, then the path of grace, bhakti, is the key to the cure. And the key to grace is humility. And the key to humility is to accept that knowingly or unknowingly, we are responsible for our own condition in this world.

In fact, we are all unworthy of grace, but God pours his grace into the vessel that is purified by the cleansing process of chanting the Holy Name, which is made possible by thinking oneself to be lowly, by being tolerant of the sufferings imposed by external forces, by seeking no glory for oneself, but only for Guru and God. If one has the good fortune to associate with advanced, truly loving devotees -- not mere actors -- then the actions of Grace and the cure will be complete.

na ninditaṁ karma tad asti loke
sahasraśo yan na mayā vyadhāyi
so’haṁ vipākāvasare mukunda
krandāmi sampraty agatis tavāgre

There is no despicable sinful action in this world that I have not committed a thousand times [in this and in previous lives]. Now the time has come for me to be judged for these sins, O Lord Mukunda, "Giver of Liberation", and so I cry before You in my helplessness. (Stotra-ratnam 20)

Bhaktivinode Thakur—

hena duṣṭa karma nāi yāhā āmi kari nāi
sahasra sahasra bāra hari
sei saba karma phala peye avasara bala
āmāya piśiche yantropari
gati nāhi dekhi āra kāndi hari anibāra
tomāra agrete ebe āmi
jā tomāra haya mane daṇḍa deha akiñcane
tumi mora daṇḍa-dhara svāmī

There is no wicked deed that I have not done thousands and thousands of times. The reactions of those deeds have now becoming strong as the time comes for them to bear fruit and i am ground on the treadmill of karma.

I see no other refuge than You, O Lord, and so I am crying here before You without stopping. Punish this worthless soul as You think fit, for You are my master and You hold my fate in Your hands.

From Yamunacharya’s Stotra-ratnam (49)—

vapur-ādiṣu yo’pi ko’pi vā
guṇato’māni yathā-tathā-vidhaḥ
tad ahaṁ tava pāda-padmayor
aham adyaiva mayā samarpitaḥ

Whatever condition or identity I have accepted after taking different kinds of bodies according to my situation in the modes of nature, so be it. On this very day, I am surrendering this ego to your lotus feet.

Bhaktivinode Thakur—

strī-puruṣa-deha-gata varṇa ādi dharma jata
tāte punaḥ deha-gata bheda
sattva-rajas-tamo-guṇa āśrayete bheda punaḥ
ei rūpa sahasra prabheda

je kona śarīre thāki je avasthā guṇa rākhi
se ahaṁtā ebe tava pāya
saṅpilām prāṇeśvara mama bali ataḥ para
āra kichu nā rahila dāya

There are thousands of distinctions in the bodies we take—they may be male or female, in different varnas, or have other kinds of differences arising from their situation in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.

Even so, it does not matter in what body I reside or what situation I find myself. O Lord of my life! I now surrender my ego at Your lotus feet. From now on I have nothing left that I consider mine and I am not responsible for anything.

[You are my Lord. Whether you kill me or allow me to live, that is Your right, for I am Your slave. Bhaktivinode says, “May I always remain focused on Your service alone.”]


Bhaktivinoda Thakur continues with a verse from Bilvamangala. As I was doing this translation, I looked for other explanations or commentaries from the shastras to enrich the relish of the verses. This verse looks much like those from the Mukunda Mala and Stotra Ratna, but in this case, the commentary comes from Yadunandan Thakur's beautiful verse translations. What makes it delightful, in terms of the progression in Bhajan Rahasya, is that through Yadunandan we now get a vision of Radharani's humility in separation

Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (30)--

nibaddha-mūrdhnāñjalir eṣa yāce
dayāmbudhe deva bhavat-kaṭākṣa-
dākṣiṇya-leśena sakṛn niṣiñca

Folding my hands over my head, I beg You, speaking freely with the courage given me by a humility that has no other outlet: “O Ocean of Mercy! O Lord! Soak me just once with Your compassionate glance.”

Expanded translation: [Radharani says:] O Krishna! You who take joy in your dalliances with the cowherd girls! I fold my hands over my head according to the ritual etiquette of humility. I am your maidservant and I entreat you, loudly and clearly, with the following words. Please hear them, O Lord of my life!

If looking directly at me somehow interferes with your pleasure, then do not bother. Even a brief sidelong glances will drench me with nectar. Your glances are so soft, so generous that even a drop of that nectar will soak me and extinguish the flames of my unhappiness.

Listen, O friend, to this helpless person’s plea. Come back into the midst of the circle dance again, dressed as the best of dancing actors, and dance again with the cowherd girls. If I have offended you in some way, I know that you are still an ocean of compassion and will forgive me. So please return and let me see you once again in that form. (Yadunandan Thakur)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sruti Smriti Puranadi

This verse gets bandied about a lot. I noticed something in Jiva's commentary that helps clarify the meaning.

pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātayaiva kalpate

Exclusive devotion to Lord Hari which ignores the regulative principles outlined in the Sruti, Smriti, Puranas and Pancharatra scriptures will simply cause a disturbance. (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101)

Extended translation : Since the path taken by the great authorities has been canonized in the revealed scriptures, it is a flaw to ignore the edicts found in these texts. Vaishnavas should seek out the scriptures or sections of the scriptures that fit their level of qualification and inclination.
If someone out of deliberate faithlessness refuses to accept the scriptural directives, then even if they make a show of exclusive devotion, it will cause a disturbance. If one does not follow these injunctions out of ignorance or laziness, then the same degree of criticism does not apply. (Jiva Goswami)

The idea, I think, is that it would be impossible to follow all the directives, because many of them are contradictory, or are irrelevant. So it is possible to be selective and not be considered to act in opposition to the shastra.

Bhaktivinode Thakur's comment: The easiest path of spiritual realization to follow is the one shown by the previous Mahajans. A newly imagined process is a disturbance and leads to spiritual destruction. A person who never makes any effort to get rid of the anarthas will attain nothing but misfortune, and not the mercy of the Holy Name. Without the mercy of the Holy Name, one may make countless efforts, but the anarthas will never loosen their grip on him. On the other hand, if one sincerely takes shelter of the Holy Name, crying at the Name’s lotus feet, then the anarthas will quickly disappear. Give up all the anarthas and engage in hearing and chanting. Take shelter of the Holy Name with single-minded devotion.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya : The verse that got me

I am going through the Bhajan Rahasya for the nth time. I did the first version of the translation in 2002. I have been finalizing it for publication, which will be done by Gopinath Gaudiya Math.

The Bhajan Rahasya has an important place for me in my own spiritual life and as I start reading it again, I can remember back to the powerful effect it had on me way back when I first read it, before there were any translations. This would have been 1979.

It was one of the principal influences that led me to a closer relation with Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

I think that the following verses in Bhajana Rahasya were amongst those that captured my imagination. Up until this point near the end of the second chapter, it was more or less standard fodder, but this part suddenly made the desire for ekānta bhajana awaken in me.

prabhāte cārdharātre ce madhyāhne divasaṅkṣaye
kīrtayanti hariṁ ye vai na teṣāmanyasādhanam

The single-minded devotee who chants the Holy Names of the Lord in the morning, in the middle of night, at noon and at the end of the day, has absolutely no need for any other spiritual practice. (HBV 20.379)

evam ekāntināṁ prāyaḥ kīrtanaṁ smaraṇaṁ prabhoḥ
kurvatāṁ parama-prītyā kṛtyam anyan na rocate
bhāvena kenacit preṣṭha-śrī-mūrter aṅghri-sevane
syād icchaiṣāṁ sva-mantreṇa svarasenaiva tad-vidhiḥ
vihiteṣv eva nityeṣu pravartante svayaṁ hi te

Exclusive devotees engage in practically nothing other than chanting the Holy Name and remembering Krishna’s pastimes. Doing this with supreme love, they have no taste for any other activity. They may serve their beloved Deities according to their own particular mood, following their own desires and using their personal mantra. They also set the rules for this worship according to their personal taste. Regular duties (like bathing, etc.) are conducted automatically (i.e., without external prodding). (HBV 20.382-384)

Bhaktivinode: Exclusive devotees only engage in kirtan and smaran; they have no taste for any other spiritual practices and do not take them up. They engage in worshiping the Deity form with emotion and this leads to spontaneous remembrance of Krishna’s pastimes.

The exclusive devotees’ activities and moods are all born out of their love for Krishna. Even so, they do not go against the rules and regulations of scriptures.

Erase all wickedness from your heart and take shelter of the Holy Name in the morning, through the day and into the deep night. One who chants the Holy Name and remembers Krishna’s pastimes in this way quickly and easily crosses over the material nature.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Vaidhi-Raganuga Mentalities and ISKCON

My FB friend PamHo wrote a highly critical article of Bhakti Vikas Swami which he posted to Facebook: Martyr or Mother?
I have been thinking a little about the issues raised by Bhakti Vikas Swami in his book about women and the role of women in ISKCON, though not having read the book I haven't gone into any great depth. I do know him by reputation and from some articles I have read. I see him as the conservative pole of current ISKCON and Hridayananda Maharaj being at the other extreme, with the GBC navigating the middle.

I am not particularly supportive of either of those individuals nor their course, nor do I have any skin in the game of ISKCON's future direction. I find the issue of women's roles, etc., really something that cannot be subjected to a purely traditional scriptural rule of law. My position is that in the larger society, in the current context, women should be free to develop as individuals without being hampered by limitations imposed by male masters. But I am quite interested, in a disinterested way, to observe how this debate develops.

I will be a little bold and say that despite the above, I think that Varnashram Dharma deserves a shot. But I also think that a liberal Krishna Consciousness also deserves a shot. As long as people chant Hare Krishna I don't think either Prabhupada or Mahaprabhu would have much to complain about.

My personal feeling is that it is taking a lot of Hare Krishnas an awful long time to get to the point and in many ways it really is Prabhupada himself who is holding them back.

The centerpiece of Rupa Goswami's path of bhakti, the one that was followed by Krishnadas Kaviraj and Jahnava Mata and Narottam et al, is madhura rasa bhakti. This is meant to be the subject of
shravanam, kirtanam and smaranam.

It is the new starting point for philosophical debate in Krishna bhakti. That subject is prema, or Love, with a capital L.

As such, it embarks on a very new discourse about masculinity and femininity in the context of love.
It is, furthermore, a rejection of Varnashram Dharma, because it confines bodily identity to external factors to the soul and not a limitation on the soul.

It furthermore place Love at the very essence of devotional culture, and such love not only includes the male-female relationship, which is elevated to supreme status, but all the complexes of human relationships, the five kinds of rasa.

What are the implications of these ideas, which are at the center of the Vrindavan mood?

In my view, Srila Prabhupada deliberately kept his movement distant from this kind of idea, which is the ultimate goal of Chaitanya Vaishnavism and Vrindavan Vaishnavism.

I don't think that BVS -- being a sannyasi mired somewhere in a previous Indian millennium, a pre-Rupa Goswami millennium, not even a Bengali millennium -- will EVER be able to get outside of his vaidhi bhakti mentality.

And HDG is too buried in the Mahabharata on the Indian side (ironically) and external considerations, as well as being sufficiently orthodox (or afraid to go that far) to accept anything but a practical Prabhupadaism. But he probably is a Sahajiya just the same. He may be one in a vague undefined way, but does not really have the foggiest idea of what Sahajiyaism means as a sadhana. He strikes me a little too worldly and a little too clever.

But they -- and they are just ISKCON's extreme left and right wing -- are all being held back by Prabhupada. And that is, it is my firm belief, Prabhupada's intention. He "built a house that everyone can live in," but he put walls around it that only gopis can jump across.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya: Dealing with Vaishnavas

kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta
dīkṣāsti cet praṇatibhiś ca bhajantam īśam
śuśrūṣayā bhajana-vijñam ananyam anya-
nindādi-śūnya-hṛdam īpsita-saṅga-labdhyā

One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Krishna. One should offer his humble obeisances to the one who has undergone spiritual initiation [dīkṣā] and is engaged in worshiping the Deity. And if one encounters a pure devotee who is advanced in undeviating devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others, one should associate with and faithfully serve him, recognizing him to be the ideal spiritual companion.

Bhaktivinode Thakur's translation in Bhajana-rahasya:

If you hear someone sincerely chanting the Holy Name, then you should offer him respects in your mind, again and again.

If he has joined a devotional disciplic line (sampradaya) through initiation and is engaged in worshiping Krishna, then you should respectfully fall down and take the dust of his feet.

And if you meet a devotee who has no concept of anyone belonging to his or to an opposing group, and is simply engaged in undeviating devotion to Krishna, then serve him constantly.


There is a clear relationship of this verse with the divisions of kaniṣṭha, madhyama and uttama. But the correspondence is not exact in all cases. You have to adjust the qualities. This is why we sometimes go into kanishtha-kanishtha, madhyama-kanishtha and so on.


This article was a stub that I hadn't finished.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reflections on Bhajana Rahasya

As I go through the Bhajana Rahasya for hopefully the last time, I am still finding some verses for which no commentary was added. Sometimes this is understandable and has to be left aside, because giving explanations of something like vaco-vegam might take pages or even books in their own right.

In fact, too much explanation is the wrong way to go with Bhajana Rahasya. Someone who is ready for this summary by Bhaktivinode Thakur of how to enter into and take up ekanta raganuga bhajan, should already be pretty familiar with most of the concepts, which are being given in reminder fashion, rather than as narrowly focused guide to eliminating anarthas.

In the later sections where the verses summarizing the entirety of the sakhi kriyas or the different kinds of sambhoga, etc. are meant to indicate to the practitioner the _next_ level of study. The same is applicable to the Ashta-kala-lila sutras that come at the end of each chapter.

It is rather cool, actually, the way that Bhaktivinoda Thakur weaves the variants of the number eight: Eight pairs of names in the Maha Mantra, the eight verses of Sikshashtakam, the stages from shraddha to prema, the eight yamas of the Ashtakaliya lila,

In fact, it might be asked, if we are starting at the point of shraddha and going through anartha nivritti, before we can get to the "good stuff" then why is the first verses of the Smarana-mangala-stotra right there at the end of the first chapter, like a reward of rasa to relish after a hard slog through vidhi land.

Of course we need to remember the glories of the Holy Name, and if we understand the glory of the Holy Name we will know that the Name and the Lila are not different. The Name is "only as good" as the attitude we take, i.e, as clearly as we see the Name according to our devotional proclivity. It can just as easily become the vehicle for our sensual desires or any other desire anywhere on the ladder from the grossest to the subtlest material and spiritual desires without ever become madhura-rasa bhajan.

The first chapter of the Govinda-lilamrita is naturally the one that the serious raganuga sadhaka attempting to enter the svarasiki lila is going to come into contact with. And in many ways, Krishnadas Kaviraj is at his purest and most joyous, this is his "utsaha-mayi" stage. When we come to the picture of Radha and Krishna intertwined in loving fatigue, his black body intermeshed with her gold one, barely conscious they have to go home, the fear of moving and disturbing the other, is a beautiful mantramayi meditation that can go on for hours.

And each verse to some degree or another is like that. It is the way Sanskrit poetry works. Each verse tends to present a snap shot. It is like a film that has a strip of shots taken a second apart, time lapse photography. But as you go from one to the next, your mind learns how to fill in the spaces.

So really the first exercise of svarasiki lila smaran begins with Chapter one of Govinda Lilamrita, and it should take you a long time before you can really go on. Learn this chapter inside and out.

Then I should say we could proceed to chapter two, where we learn a little more about the indirect path, which unfortunately must be brought up. After all, you may be fooling yourself about your lobha, my friend, so make sure that you don't let yourself get distracted. You are probably not where you think you are, so get ready for some hard lessons.

But we will finish that chapter with another Govinda Lilamrita chapter. And we will go on in this way until we reach the culmination in Sambhoga, the Rasa Lila at night by the Yamuna. Then we can take a little rest.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya: Combatting anarthas

Bhajana Rahasya 2.16

The indirect process: combatting the anarthas

Weakness of heart, thirst for the impermanent, and offenses must be overcome through the indirect method. In other words, one must make an effort to avoid unproductive desires and activities. The methods recommended to overcome the first three categories of anartha will now be given, one by one. Rupa Goswami states there are six urges that create obstacles to devotional service:

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha vegaṁ
jihvā vegam udaropastha vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ
sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt

A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals can teach the entire world. (Upadeśāmṛta, 1)

Expanded translation: O Lord Hari! I have fallen into this world of five elements where I have no refuge. I see no shelter other than Your feet, which are the only recourse for the helpless, and so I have made You the essential truth in my life.

I have no pious deeds to my credit, nor knowledge, nor have I performed any sadhan or bhajan. You are all-compassionate and I am the most pitiful beggar; therefore, I beg You for Your causeless mercy.

The impulses of the speech and the mind, the urges to anger and to taste, the drive to fill the belly and serve the genitals, have combined to set me adrift on the ocean of samsar. This gives me the greatest distress.

Though I have made great efforts to do so, I have abandoned all hope of being able to conquer these impulses. O Lord of the destitute, I call out Your name, for now my only hope is You. (Śaraṇāgati)

Comment: When the grace of the guru gives him strength to realize his constitutional position as the servant of Krishna, the pious jiva starts to take up the devotional path. The venerable Rupa Goswami wrote the ambrosial precepts of the Upadeśāmṛta in order to benefit such a beginner in the devotional life.

The wise recognize that instructions differ, depending on whether they are intended for householders or renunciates. Though the instructions found here are primarily intended for householders, they also represent the most valuable wisdom for the renunciates.

The impulses of speech, the mind, anger, the tongue, belly and genitals can be most disconcerting. One who can tolerate the urges of these six impulses and take shelter of the Holy Name will conquer fear and become fit to teach the world.

Surrendering exclusively to Krishna is the essence of bhakti, but renouncing everything that is inimical to devotion is an important element of surrender. One can overcome the six urges through engaged renunciation (yukta vairāgya). If one also becomes free of the offenses to the Holy Name, then he will have no fear. (Bhaktivinode Thakur’s commentary on the Upadeśāmṛta)

Bhaktivinode Thakur—
vākya vega mano-vega krodha jihvā-vega
udara upastha-vega bhajana udvega
bahu-yatne nitya saba karibe damana
nirjane karibe rādhā-kṛṣṇera bhajana

A devotee’s bhajan is disrupted by the urge to speak, to let the mind wander, to be angry, to taste, to fill one’s belly, and to engage in sexual acts. One has to make great efforts to control these urges and should do so by worshiping Radha and Krishna in a secluded place.

Foolish talk (prajalpa) can mean any kind of gossip, but also engaging in useless arguments. Enthusiasm for various kinds of logical arguments and winning debates is a distraction from meditation on the Holy Name.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bhajana Rahasya excerpts (Introduction)

I first did the translation work on Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Bhajana Rahasya in 2002 on behalf of Mandala Publishers, which was the publishing arm of Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj and the Gopinath Gaudiya Math, the current Acharya of which is Sripada Bhakti Bibudh Bodhayan Maharaj.

They gave me a great opportunity to study this book again in depth, since this book played an important part in my own spiritual life and progress. Once again I have to show my great gratitude to the Gaudiya Math and its branches. As it happened, this book and Harinama-chintamani, which I also worked on at around the same time, were never published. Recently through the intercession of a couple of ISKCON sannyasis who had seen the earlier work on these books I had done, recommended to Srila Bodhayana Maharaj that he should publish them. Bodhayan Maharaj agreed and so for the past month I have been revising my work and upgrading it, and with Bhajana Rahasya especially making additions.

I thought that I would give a few samples so that the devotees can see the form that this new edition of Bhajana Rahasya will take. For the sake of those who do not know this book, I will start by giving my introduction. The actual book itself includes the Foreword to the first Gaudiya Math edition of 1927, written by Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, as well as the preface of Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj from the first Chaitanya Gaudiya Math edition (1994) and Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirth Maharaj's preface to the second CGM edition (1996). These prefatory remarks are all very important and should be read, but I will not post here.