Friday, August 18, 2017

A big beautiful wall!

This gives a partial view of the property that was occupied. The area was cleared of underbrush and two tin shacks put up, which were dismantled. Being next to the pukkur, it will perhaps make a nice spot for a bhajan kutir or two.

Good news! Those who are interested in the situation at the Bhaktivinoda Thakur Janma Sthan in Birnagar will be happy to know that on Janmashtami, the boundary wall around the Dwadash Mandir property was completed and the encroachers evicted from the disputed section.

Sri Hari Gopal Das Babaji Maharaj.

Last week, Harigopal Dasji and a group of about twenty important members of the Birnagar community approached the new municipal vice-chairman, Govinda Poddar, about the situation. He gave a favorable response and a decision was taken to repossess the disputed portion of the land and to build the wall, despite the fact that the court has yet to make a decision.

The next day, the Member of the Legislative Assembly and Superintendent of Police sat down with Harigopal Dasji and Shri Poddar to discuss the situation. When they were convinced that the legal rights belonged to Dwadash Mandir, they said that they would not intervene. The case may be in the court, but the longer the encroachers are squatting there, the more they have a de facto case. They had occupied the land without any court decision, so we could reoccupy it in the same way, they said.

The big, beautiful wall. Babaji Maharaj wants to put a footpath around the perimeter of the property for people to take their morning walk, doing parikrama of the temple and birthsite shrine.
Another view of the property.

On Monday, a group of about 25 citizens and a number of workers walked in and started the work, to the accompaniment of Harinam, and the wall was completed on Nandotsav.

Harigopal Dasji has led this fight with great determination and it is to his credit that so many members of the local community have given their support to Dwadash Mandir. They recognize that it is a great treasure for the town and its continued existence is a great positive for everyone here. Bhaktivinoda Thakur's name and his writings are being spread around the world. As such, he is one of the most distinguished citizens to have taken birth here. Every resident of Birnagar can take pride in this piece of heritage.

Harigopal Dasji says that he was perfectly happy living in Radha Kund, doing bhajan and daily Govardhan Parikrama for the last 35 years. But when members of the Bhaktivinoda Goshthi approached him to tell him that situation here had become troublesome: the management was falling apart and starting to sell off some of the temple land in order to keep Radha Madhava and Gaur Gadadhar's seva going, he came out of a sense of duty to Sri Guru.

He clearly is the man for the job and everyone is very eager that he stays on, some saying that he achieved the impossible with this latest challenge.

Many improvements are being made around the temple -- the ten Shiva temples are being fixed up, painted and given new functions -- such as housing a Shadbhuja murti of Mahaprabhu, etc. The goal is to get the work done so it will be completed by August 28, when the annual festival in commemoration of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthday takes place. The main day is celebrated on Bengali Bhadra 18 = Sept. 4, 2017. Everyone is welcome, of course.

Pujari Banshi Das Babaji in front of the only remaining Shiva linga in the ten Shiva temples.

The Shiva temples are getting painted and a bit of plastering for the first time in 250 years. The steps and insides are also getting marble covering and inside tile and paint.
The idea is to put different murtis in all of them. This is Lakshmi-Nrisingha.

Harigopal Dasji has asked me to join him here permanently and give him support by preaching and that is what I have been doing for the last couple of months -- giving classes here at the temple and in the surrounding area. People are showing an interest and I have already given numerous lectures in Birnagar and the surrounding towns, with good response.

This area has a fairly strong Vaishnava presence and so there is good reason to be optimistic. What we need to do is start publishing books so that people will have a better idea of the glories of this site.

I would be amiss if I did not solicit for donations. There are a lot of projects that were started and never finished that need to be completed for the temple complex to look presentable and not a jumble of bricks to nowhere. A couple of guest rooms have been built and will need to be completed, along with bathrooms, etc. At festival time, a lot of people come and have to sleep on the verandah, or any other place they can find some shelter. There are few actual rooms where they can stay.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Ula Birnagar ki jaya !!

This shows the inside of the veranda area, which as you can see has nice arches. The marble floor, tiles and painting are complete. Only the wiring needs to be redone. Probably hadn't been done in fifty years, except for the ad hoc upgrades dangling everywhere and gathering cobwebs. Pictures will also be hung. No picture here, but Prabhu's room has also been painted along with tile and marble flooring.
This gives another view from the front. The very ill-conceived addition on the left covers a part of the old design. This used to be the Durga temple. Now that it is being fixed up it seems a shame that this is not being used as a temple.
Here you can see more of that very ill-conceived addition that was made, covering the old temple arches. Real strip-mall architecture. Very unfortunate. It will cost a lot to repair.
More Birnagar links:

Update from Birnagar.
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part I
Status of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's birthplace Part II

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Index to Hari-nama-cintamani related posts

For some reason I got it into my head to post all this stuff from my Hari-nama-cintamani translation. Now I forget why... I will tell you when I remember.

How Much Power is there in the Holy Name?

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-I.

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-II.

Harinama-Chintamani, Chapter-15 Part-III.

Siddhi Lalasa, Part I

Siddhi Lalasa, Part I (Songs 4-6)

Siddhi Lalasa, Part III (Songs 7-10)

Explanations of the Maha Mantra

The-bhava-marg-in-hari-nama-cintamani

This is my introduction to the translation, which is intended for readers who are in the Gaudiya Math.

One comment: Although I don't have too much complaint about what I wrote in this intro, the "first deserve, then desire" statement with which I ended is something I have never been very comfortable with. It can be parsed in various ways. I mention in this article that desiring is what makes you deserving. But of course, desire cannot arise unless you have some qualification. The desire itself can be said to be the sign of qualification, which then requires you to up your game. The Bhagavata itself says that jnana and vairagya are the byproducts of bhakti, i.e., the desire to attain Krishna.

At any rate, the article is worth reading for the Gaudiya Math perspective on raganuga bhajan.

Somewhat reduced glossary from HNC.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

100 Useful Terms from Hari-nama-cintamani

abhidheya—Literally “what is to be defined.” The second of three aspects of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology: what must be done. One who understands the principles of sambandha (q.v.) experiences a moral imperative to act on that knowledge. This is devotional service in all its aspects, or as in HNC 3.18, nāmānuśīlana, “the cultivation of the Holy Name.” (ch. 2)

adhikāra—(1) aptitude, inclination or tendency; (2) qualification; (3) rights, ownership, entitlement; (4) authority (HNC 15). The adhikāra for devotional service is explained in Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.14-15.

adhikārī—(1) One qualified for a particular spiritual path. (2) A person authorized to act on behalf of someone else.

ājñā—“order, permission”; The seventh of the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity. From Jaiva Dharma, p. 592: “Orders are of two kinds: nitya (regular) and naimittika (occasional). The merciful sakhi orders you to engage in a certain regular (nitya) service, which you must execute without fail whenever needed throughout the day. Sometimes, the sakhi may tell you to perform some other service according to needs that may arise at the moment. These are naimittika orders. These too should be carefully carried out.”

ālambana—Literally “prop, support.” One of the fundamental ingredients for rasa; a subcategory of the vibhāvas. In traditional Sanskrit poetics, it refers to the persons in the play or poem who are the beloved object (viṣaya) and the character whose love is the principal subject of description (āśraya). In devotional rasa, it refers to Krishna as the object, and the devotee as subject.

anartha—“contamination, obstacle”. The term derives from artha “value”, i.e., a “non-value.” I have often left this word untranslated. On the fourth stage of devotional advancement, the various obstacles to spiritual progress, such as one’s past karma, other desires, etc., manifest. These are fully explained in Bhajana-rahasya 2.7ff.

anusmṛti—constant recollection; also elsewhere called dhruvānusmṛti. Jiva Goswami refers to Ramanuja’s commentary on Vs. 1.1.1. HNC 15.93.

āpana-daśā—The stage of appropriation. The stage in bhāva-sādhana where one makes the spiritual identity one’s own. Also called bhāvāpana-daśā and svarūpa-siddhi. From Jaiva Dharma (602): “First chant the Holy Name with enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of ownership to this enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of intimacy to this sense of ownership. Then, as your attitude becomes purified, you will come to the stage where you fully appropriate the eleven aspects of your spiritual identity, or bhāvāpana-daśā. Throughout the stage of remembering, one has only superimposed the spiritual identity on himself. At the stage of appropriation, however, pure identification with the spiritual body is attained.”

artha-pravṛtti—A term used by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur to mean a positive engagement in meditation on Krishna, in distinction to anartha-nivṛtti, which is the work one does on eliminating the obstacles and negative elements of one’s character in devotional practice.

asat-tṛṣṇā—“hankering for the impermanent.” One of the anarthas described in HNC 3.13 and Bhajana-rahasya 2.9: “Inauspicious desires for this-worldly or next-worldly pleasures, mystic powers and liberation are the four kinds of asat-tṛṣṇā.”

āśraya-tattva— An eternal associate of the Lord who is the divine shelter principle for the conditioned souls. The jiva must take shelter of a rāgānugā devotee in his specific rasa to enter the eternal pastimes of the Lord.

āśraya-vigraha—Radharani, the ultimate source of all devotion and therefore the original “reservoir of love” for Krishna.

aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā—“pastimes in the eight parts of the day; the Lord’s daily cycle of pastimes; or circadian pastimes.” According to Bhaktivinoda Thakur, this is one of the aspects of bhāva-tattva. Outlines of this līlā can be found in the Sanat-kumāra-saṁhitā, which is quoted in full in Jaiva Dharma and Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, and in the Smaraṇa-maṅgala-stotra, which is given as the last verse of each chapter of Bhajana-rahasya, and in Saṅkalpa-kalpa-druma.

audāsīnya—“indifference, apathy” The first of the three kinds of carelessness in chanting. See HNC 12.

bahirmukha—Literally, “face outside.” Used for one who is “facing away from” or has “turned his back” on Krishna. Other translations: disinterested, estranged, excluded, worldly minded, extroverted, etc. Synonym, vimukha. The opposite is antarmukha (“introverted”) or –unmukha (“turned towards”), as in kṛṣṇonmukha, bhajanonmukha, sevonmukha, etc.

bhajana—This is often translated as “worship,” but this translation is fairly inadequate. It in fact indicates direct devotional service, but particularly as manifest through meditative chanting of the Holy Names.

bhajana-naipuṇya— “Expertise in bhajan means quickly removing anarthas by diligent practice and through the blessings of the spiritual master.” (sādhana-yogenācārya-prasādena ca tūrṇaṁ tad-apanayanam eva bhajana-naipuṇyam, Āmnāya-sūtra 75).

bhakti—Devotion; the affective path to realizing the Supreme Truth; the constitutional function of the living being to serve Krishna. Bhakti is of three types: sādhanā-bhakti, bhāva-bhakti and prema-bhakti (q.v.).

bhāva—(1) state, condition; (2) emotion, feeling, mood; (3) the first level of spiritual perfection, at which stage one’s relation with Krishna is firmly established (bhāva-bhakti); (4) the different attitudes in relation with Krishna (sthāyi-bhāvas, q.v.) as well as some of the other ingredients in the makeup of rasa (vyabhicāri-bhāvas, sāttvika-bhāvas, q.v.) (HNC 15.28); (5) the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha (ekādaśa-bhāva, q.v.). (6) “thought” = bhāvanā.

The word bhāva derives from the verb “to be or become”; its basic meaning is thus “state.” Since this can be a state of being or a state of emotions, the word can also be translated as “feeling” or “emotion.” This is the usual understanding when we talk about reaching the spiritual level called bhāva (Bhajana-rahasya 1.3.1), at which stage one is said to first experience involuntary ecstatic symptoms (sāttvikas). Thus some translate bhāva as ecstasy. However, when Bhaktivinoda Thakur speaks about the bhāva-mārga (q.v.) or bhāvāpana-daśā or bhāva-sādhanā, or nija-bhāva (“one’s own bhāva”), he is refering to the eternal spiritual identity. There is a clear connection between these two:

The stage of bhāva is clearly identified with rati by Rupa Goswami. Thus, attaining one’s spiritual identity in svarūpa-siddhi is (i.e. āpana-daśā is simultaneously bhāva.). Thus bhāva-sādhanā means the specific cultivation of one’s spiritual identity.

bhāva-mārga—“the path of cultivating one’s spiritual identity” (Others have translated as “the path of ecstasy, or ecstatic love”). In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (p.314), Bhaktivinoda also uses the term bhāvanā-mārga, “the path of contemplation” where he defines bhāvanā as siddha-deha-bhāvanā: “While still in this body, the practitioner serves in Krishna’s daily pastimes in his mind and, upon arriving at the point of svarūpa-siddhi, identifies completely with this spiritual identity.” He then goes on to explain how to think of that body. Synonym: bhāva-sādhanā, “cultivating the spiritual identity.”

bhāvāpana-daśā—See āpana-daśā.

bhāva-sevā—“mental service.” HNC chapter 14.

bhāva-tattva—Bhaktivinoda Thakur divides into two categories : the sādhaka’s ekādaśa-bhāva and kṛṣṇa-līlā. The first of these is related to the process, the latter to the goal.

dhāraṇā—(1) The sixth of the eight parts of the Patanjali yoga system. (2) The second of the stages of smaraṇa on the bhāva-mārga. “self-reminding.” On this stage one works at attaining steadiness in remembering. HNC 15.93.

dhruvānusmṛti—See anusmṛti.

dhyāna—“meditation.” The sixth of the eight parts of the Patanjali yoga system and third of the five stages of smaraṇa on the bhāva-mārga. See HNC 15.93.

ekādaśa-bhāva—The eleven aspects of the devotee’s spiritual form, in which she performs mental service to the Divine Couple. These are described in chapter 15, and are originally found in a verse in Gopal Guru Goswami’s Paddhati. For supplementary descriptions, one can look to Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, p. 315ff.

guṇa—“quality”; (1) the three qualities or modes of material nature: passion (rajas), goodness (sattva) and ignorance (tamas). (2) the virtues or qualities of the Lord, which are progressively revealed to the sadhaka through the Holy Name. (3) In Jaiva Dharma (p. 592), Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives this as an alternative to the sixth bhāva of the ekādaśa bhāva: “In order to perform your specific service, you will need expertise in various skills and talents, as well as appropriate personal qualities and garments. The spiritual master will indicate to you what these are.”

hṛdaya-daurbalya—“weakness of heart.” One of the four kinds of anartha mentioned in HNC 3.13 and Bhajana-rahasya 2.11. Includes trivial attachments, fault-finding, envy, and the desire for personal aggrandizement.

jāḍya—“lethargy, sloth.” One of the three categories of inattentiveness. See HNC 12.

jāta rati = bhāva daśā. I have translated as stage of ecstasies. Prema as stage of ecstatic love. Stage of spiritual emotion.

jīve dayā—Compassion for all living beings. Bhaktivinoda wrote about his initiation. “When my spiritual master came and performed the initiation rituals, I became cheerful. From that day on the sin of meat eating vanished from my heart and I began to feel a little compassion toward all beings.”

kaivalya—“aloneness, perfect isolation; absolute unity.” The name given by the Jains and yogis to the state of liberation (see Yoga-sūtra 2.25, 3.50, 3.55). It refers to the state of the individual soul when separated from all material conditioning and situated in perfect isolation (svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā—Yoga-sūtra 4.34).

kāma—(1) “desire, lust”; (2) Eros, Cupid, the god of love; (3) sensual pleasure, i.e. the third of the four goals of human life (See puruṣārtha.). This term is usually limited to material sensual or sexual desire, but is also used to refer to the transcendental erotic love manifested in Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes, where love only takes the appearance of lusty desire. (See Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.285.)

kaniṣṭha adhikārī—A person on the lowest level of eligibility for devotional service; “one whose faith is weak” (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.19).

kaniṣṭha vaiṣṇava—A neophyte on the devotional path. One who has a purely sectarian mentality, whose accepts the need to serve Krishna, but is unable to recognize His devotees or discriminate between them and non-devotees. See SB 11.2.47 and HNC 4, note 19.

krama—step, in the sense of a step-by-step program. “procedure, gradual path” krame krame means “gradually.”

laukikī śraddhā—“conventional faith.” i.e. faith that is grounded in social convention rather than knowledge of the scriptures, etc. See HNC 3.57.

līlā-smaraṇa—the practice of remembering Krishna’s pastimes, especially in their aṣṭa-kālīya form.

liṅga-deha—“The subtle body.” Liṅga literally means “characteristic sign.” The subtle body contains the subtle aspects of the individual being—his desires and conditioning as well as his accumulated karma. It undergoes changes and evolves, and does not dissipate with the death of the gross body, only coming to an end when the soul’s material condition comes to an end.

lobha—“greed, intense longing, yearning.” This, rather than intellectual conviction or sense of obligation, is the qualification for engaging in rāgānugā bhakti. Jaiva Dharma (599): “When one reaches this particular stage of spiritual advancement, it is absolutely necessary to listen to Hari katha in the proper sequence, hearing the nitya-līlā separately from the naimittika. By so doing, the beauty of Krishna’s pastimes becomes evident and the tendency to engage in rāgānugā bhakti arises in the heart of the hearer. The hearer then thinks, ‘Oh! How wonderful is Subala’s mood of friendship! I would like to serve Krishna in the same mood as he!’ Such a tendency is called lobha.”

madhyama adhikārī—One with the intermediate qualifications for devotional practice, i.e. “one who has limited knowledge of the scriptures, but nevertheless possesses faith.” (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.18).

madhyama-vaiṣṇava—“the intermediate Vaishnava” described in SB 11.2.44: characterized by four behaviors: love for God, friendship with devotees, compassion for the suffering innocent, and indifference to the atheistic. See HNC chapter 4. Note 20.

mañjarī—lit. “flowerbud.” The name given to a class of Radharani’s friends or sakhis, whose affection for Radha exceeds their devotion to even Krishna, who pride themselves in serving Radharani and organizing and elaborating the loving pastimes of the Divine Couple. They are somewhat younger than Radharani’s other friends, usually between 10 and 12 years old. Rupa Manjari is chief amongst them.

mantra-dhyāna-mayī—Krishna’s pastimes when manifested as a “still picture,” where Krishna and His intimate associates assemble. See HNC 15.45.

markaṭa-vairāgya—“monkey renunciation”; the false renunciation of someone who adopts the dress of a monk while still harboring desires to enjoy sense gratification. The monkey wears no clothes, has no home and eats only fruits and roots, yet it seizes any chance to engage in sexual activity or other sense gratificatory activity. This is the source of the term. See HNC 4.28 and 9.35. From CC 2.16.278.

nāma—Lit. “name.” (1) The Holy Name; (2) One’s name in the siddha-deha, i.e. the third of the eleven aspects of that identity. In Jaiva Dharma, Gopal Guru Goswami states: “After hearing about the activities of the gopis, you develop an attraction for a particular service. The name of the maidservant who is perfectly suited to that service is your name. The name your spiritual master gives you after examining your tendencies is your name eternally. The beautiful girls of Vraja will delight in addressing you by that name.”

nāmābhāsa—Namabhasa. “the semblance”facsimile of the Holy Name” An ābhāsa is like a blurred image. Other translations include “shadow” and “reflection” of the Holy Name. These two words, however, have closer corresponding words in Bengali, chāyā and pratibimba, both of which are used to describe particular kinds of nāmābhāsa. Therefore “semblance” is the best translation. Sarvabhavana has also translated as “the unclarified name.” It is of four kinds, saṅketa, parihāsa, stobha and helā (q.v.), which progressively weaken the effects of the Holy Name. See HNC 3.38 and Jaiva Dharma, chapter 25.

pālya-dāsī—The last of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. According to Dhyana Chandra, this refers to the sense of complete surrender to Lalita or another of the intimate friends of Radharani. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 594), Bhaktivinoda Thakur cites Vraja-vilāsa-stava (29) as an example of this bhāva: “May Lalita Devi, who is flooded with the juices of intense love, who has developed a mood of boldness and confidence out of deep affection, who daily assists her beloved Radha and Krishna, who are dearer to her than life itself, in meeting at their place of rendez-vous, and who with great expertise always teaches her girlfriend Radha the art of loving pique, accept me within her own group.”

pañcarātra—“five nights.” One of the two principal approaches to worshiping Vishnu or Krishna, based on ritual and Deity worship.

parākāṣṭhā—“highest aspiration.” The tenth of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. It refers to the dream of the manjari to receive a particular special grace from the Divine Couple. In Jaiva Dharma, Bhaktivinoda refers to Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 100 and 102 as examples of parākāṣṭhāśvāsa, e.g.: “O Lord! O nectar moon of Gokula! Your cheerful face is like a blooming lotus flower, O sweetly smiling one, melting with compassion! Please lead me to the place where You and Your beloved enjoy Your delightful loving pastimes.” (100)

parihāsa—jokingly, jest or ridicule. One of the four kinds of nāmābhāsa (q.v.). See HNC 3.38.

pratibimba-nāmābhāsaPratibimba means reflection. Bhaktivinoda Thakur uses this term to signify a chanting of the Holy Name that is rooted in a false or distorted faith, i.e. an understanding of God as an impersonal truth. See HNC 3.56ff.

rāgānugā bhakti—Devotion that is impelled by natural desire rather than by logical argument or external pressure. Such devotion is usually characterized by the desire to follow specific eternal associates of the Lord.

rāgānuga-krama—In the smaraṇa-daśā (q.v.), meditation on the circadian pastimes of the Divine Couple impelled by desire rather than out of a lesser motivation. Not to be confused with rāgānugā bhakti itself, as smaraṇa of the type being discussed there is an anga of rāgānugā bhakti.

rasa—Lit. “juice, sap, nectar” or “taste, flavor,” this word has a long history in Sanskrit poetics. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur innovated “mellows” as a translation and this usage has become current through the widespread publications of Bhaktivedanta Swami. It has usefulness as a totally new usage of the word “mellow” and as such there can be no objection to its use. Scholars often translate the word as “sentiment” or “aesthetic experience.” Some other devotees use “sacred rapture.” All of uses are possible according to the context, but I have prefered to use the original word rasa where the specific devotional experience specific to a particular relationship with Krishna is concerned. The word is not to be confused with rāsa, as in Krishna’s rāsa dance. As a technical term, rasa means the aesthetic or spiritual experience that develops out of a combination of various ingredients, the basis of which is a feeling of love for Krishna. See HNC 15.7 with footnote.

rasika—One who seeks and relishes rasa. The term is used of both the mundane and the transcendental rasas.

rati—Lit. “love”; especially erotic love. The term has specific meaning in aesthetics, however, meaning the same as sthāyi-bhāva (q.v.).

ruci—“taste or inclination,” as in “to have a taste for something” (not like rasa, which means the flavor itself.) (1) Bhaktivinoda defines this as “the tendency that arises out of the merit one has accumulated in the present and previous lives.” In modern terms this would mean the tendencies coming out of one’s religious actions, both through nature and nurture. (2) This is also the name of a state of spiritual advancement, following dedication and preceding attachment, when one starts to experience spontaneous enthusiasm for devotional activities. According to Jiva Goswami (Bhakti-sandarbha 312-314), rāgānugā bhaktas who have not attained the stage of ruci are advised to practice a mixture of rāgānugā (q.v.) and vaidhi bhakti (q.v.), i.e., devotion that is motivated by the positive desire to attain direct service in a particular rasa, or devotion that is motivated by scriptural injunctions and logical arguments.

sahaja—“easy or natural.” See Bhajana-rahasya, Chapter 6.

sahajīyā—(1) A heterodox sect that considers Tantric sexual practices to be the real purport of the Vaishnava scriptures describing the activities of the Divine Couple. Sometimes called Prakrita Sahajiyas. (2) A term used more widely to include all those who have a mundane concept of Krishna’s divine romantic pastimes, or who think that they can attain them without the requisite moral purification.

sahṛdaya—“one who has heart”; the appreciative audience of Sanskrit poetry or dramatic works. The sahṛdaya is a person who has the education and culture to appreciate the subtleties of such works and is also situated in the mode of goodness and thus able to concentrate on what is being said, thus allowing the full force of rasa to manifest in him. (See HNC 15.32 fn.)

sambandha—Literally “relation.” (1) A more accurate translation would be “theology,” “dogma,” or “orthodox doctrine.” Since these words all have strong connotations related to Christianity and its history, we prefer to leave it untranslated. The word is used in a special way by Gaudiya Vaishnavas to include all aspects of metaphysics and general theology and anthropology; i.e. the nature of God, creation and man. In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, sambandha is the first of the three divisions of devotional theology, the other two being abhidheya and prayojana (q.v.). According to Jaiva Dharma (590), “Sambandha is the foundation of all spiritual attainment. One attains a specific final goal based on the relationship one establishes with Krishna.” (2) The first of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha.

sampatti-daśā—“stage of full possession or fulfilment.” Also called vastu-siddhi. Sampatti means possession, prosperity, welfare, good fortune, success, accomplishment, fulfilment, etc. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 598), prema-sampatti-daśā.

saṅketa—as a name, signal. “when one utters Vishnu’s name but has a material concept of the Lord, or when one uses Vishnu’s name to indicate some other person or thing” (HNC 3.39-42); One of the four kinds of Namabhasa (q.v.). Other translations given are “hint” and “unintentionally.” The latter is erroneous. Saṅketa happens when one uses Krishna’s name to indicate something else, like another person, as happened when Ajamila named his son Narayan.

sevā—“Service.” This is the ninth of the eleven aspects of the siddha-deha. See also bhāva-sevā. “You are a follower of Srimati Radharani. Your service is to serve Her. If she sends you to a secluded place where you meet Krishna, and if He proposes making love to you, you should refuse His proposal. You are Radha’s maidservant, and without Her permission you cannot serve Krishna on your own. Though you love both Radha and Krishna, your love and service to Radha are more important to you than your love and service to Krishna. That is the meaning of the word seva. Serving Sri Radha through the eight periods of the day is your service.” (Jaiva Dharma, 592-3).

śraddhā—faith. The point of entry into devotional life. Divided into pāramarthika and laukika (q.v.).

śikṣā guru—The spiritual teacher in more general terms. There are different kinds of instructing spiritual masters, including those who first show the aspirant the way (vartma-pradarśaka) and those who give more advanced instruction to one who has already been initiated and has embarked on the way (bhajana-śikṣā-guru).

smaraṇa— “remembering, meditation.” (1) One of the nine principles activities of devotional practice. (2) One of the five modes of the smaraṇa-daśā (q.v.), which are described in Bhakti-sandarbha 278. Jiva says “even the briefest seeking out of the object of meditation.” See HNC 15.93: “Simple remembering is the stage where one recalls his spiritual identity in its eleven aspects and its relationship to his service in the circadian pastimes of the Divine Couple. At this point, there is still no constancy in such remembrance, as sometimes one remembers, while at others is distracted.”

smaraṇa-daśā—The third stage of bhāva-sādhanā. This is the essential stage where the practitioner cultivates his identification with spiritual form by meditating on it and his service to the Divine Couple in that form. According to Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (306): “There are five modes of remembering: smaraṇa, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, dhruvānusmṛti and samādhi [q.v.]. At the stage of remembering, one progresses from Krishna’s name to His form; at the meditational stage (dhyāna), at the dhāraṇā stage one progresses to Krishna’s qualities; at the stage of firm and constant recollection, one remembers Krishna’s pastimes. Then at the stage of trance one enters Krishna’s pastimes and is completely immersed in rasa. This is the stage of āpana-daśā.” Narottam Das Thakur writes in Prema-bhakti-candrikā: smaraṇe bhābibe jāha siddha-dehe pāibe tāhā—“You will achieve at the time of perfection whatever you have been thinking of during your meditation.” Bhaktivinoda Thakur divides remembering into the vaidha-krama and rāgānuga-krama (q.v.).

sphūrti—This word should literally be translated as “hallucination” or “vision.” Other possible translations are “theophany” or “epiphany.” It refers to the sudden appearance or experience of the object of worship to the worshiper. (See HNC 15.37 fn).

śraddhā-nāma—The Holy Name chanted with faith, even by someone who is afflicted by anarthas. HNC 3.47.

śravaṇa-daśā—The first stage of the bhāva-mārga, where one hears the bhāva-tattva from a qualified guru. In Jaiva Dharma (599-600), Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives a wider understanding of the hearing stage as starting with hearing about Krishna. In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (305-6): “The joyful stage that comes about when one hears about the spiritual practices and their goal from a qualified teacher is called śravaṇa-daśā. On this stage, one hears all about how to chant the Holy Name without offenses, the process for chanting (praṇālī) and the qualifications to practice it.”

stobha—One of the four kinds of nāmābhāsa (q.v.). Bhaktivinoda explains as “mocking” use of the Holy Name. Vishwanath glosses as meaningless uttering of the Holy Name, i.e., as in making sounds in a song. See HNC 3.37. Sometimes incorrectly given as stoma.

svārasikī līlā—Lit. “coming out of one’s personal taste.” Used as a term to refer to the “moving picture” or “flowing” pastimes of the Lord as they change over the course of the day.

svarūpa-siddhi—“identity perfection,” i.e. full identification with the spiritual body given by the spiritual master. Jaiva Dharma (606): “A person who has attained the stage of bhāvāpana-daśā attains spiritual sight and has a vision of both his sakhi (Lalita) and his yūtheśvarī (Radha). Even though he may also have a vision of Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka, until his subtle material body is at last dissolved and he attains the sampatti-daśā (“the stage of full possession”) he does not experience Him at every moment. When he attains bhāvāpana-daśā, the pure soul has complete control over his gross and subtle material bodies. However, only when he attains Lord Krishna’s complete and full mercy will the soul attain the final spiritual goal, where he completely breaks off all relationship with the material world of five elements.” (HNC 15; Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, 317)

tattva-bhrama—The first of the four anarthas, “erroneous understanding.” It is of four kinds: of one’s own true identity, that of the supreme, of the means and end of spiritual life, and of what opposes spiritual attainment. (Bhajana-rahasya 2.8)

tattva-vyavadhāna—a “discontinuity of understanding,” i.e., between what the object is and what one thinks it is.

uttama adhikārī. One who knowns the scriptures well, has firm faith and clear determination to practice devotional service. (Bhajana-rahasya 1.2.17).

vaidha-krama—The process leading to perfection followed by a devotee not entirely motivated by spontaneous desire.

vaiṣṇavābhāsa or vaiṣṇava-prāya—“almost a Vaishnava” or “not quite a Vaishnava.” Spoken a little disparagingly of the neophyte devotee. (See kaniṣṭha-vaiṣṇava)

varaṇa-daśā—“The accepting stage.” The second stage of bhāva-sādhana, when after hearing about the spiritual body, one accepts it. See Jaiva Dharma (600-601). In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta (306): “When one has become worthy, he receives a japa mala that has been imbued with the Holy Name and ecstatic love from the spiritual master; in other words, the stage where the disciple with great satisfaction accepts the pure method of chanting from the spiritual master and is empowered by him to follow it is called varaṇa-daśā.”

vāsa-sthāna—“place of residence.” One of the eleven aspects of the siddha form. It usually refers to a particular kunj by Radha Kund, such as Svananda-sukhada Kunj in the case of Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself. In Jaiva Dharma, p. 592, Goswami says, “Eternal residence in Vraja is called vāsa. You will take birth as a certain gopi in a certain village within the land of Vraja and be married to a certain gopa in another village. Nevertheless, you will be attracted by the sound of Krishna’s flute and go off to follow one of the sakhis to Radha Kund, where you will have a cottage in her personal forest grove. The residence which is established by your spiritual ego-consciousness is your eternal residence.”

vastu-siddhi—“concrete perfection” (Cś 318) After the material body has passed away while one is at the stage of āpana-daśā. Also called sampatti-daśā. The expression sampatti-siddhi is also found in Jaiva Dharma. Ref. to Bhajana-rahasya 1.3.29 and 1.4.12.

vayas—age. The second of the eleven bhāvas or aspects of the siddha-deha. In Jaiva Dharma (p. 591), Gopal Guru Goswami says, “As your relationship with Krishna awakens, a wonderful spiritual form also manifests. In your case it is that of a beautiful girl in Vraja, which will be of an age appropriate to your service. This means adolescence or kaiśora, which is the age between ten and sixteen. It is also known as vayaḥ-sandhi, or the juncture between childhood and adulthood. Thus as you advance in service, your age will increase from ten up to sixteen. Infancy, childhood and old age do not exist for the beautiful girls of Vraja. Therefore you should think of yourself in a spiritual form in the kaiśora age.”

veṣa—apparel, clothing. One of the eleven bhāvas or aspects of the siddha-deha.

yoga-pīṭha—Lit. “The seat of union.” The place where Radha and Krishna meet in Vrindavan and are united with all their friends. The site of the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan.

yūtha—“group, cohort.” See yūtheśvarī. This is one of the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity.

yūtheśvarī (yūtheśvarī)—The different gopis who compete for Krishna’s affection, each of whom have a yūtha, or coterie of sakhis. Of all the yūtheśvarīs, Radharani is the most important. Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis belong to her group, even though they have the qualities that make them capable of acting as competitors for Krishna’s love.




The bhava marg in Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi

I did the translation of Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi some fifteen years ago on behalf of the Gopinath Gaudiya Math, i.e., the disciples and followers of Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj. I nevertheless dared to write my own introduction, but I did so speaking to a Gaudiya Math audience and with respect for Puri Maharaj. I think that it is still a fair summary of the situation. I haven't bothered with the footnotes. My apologies.

Going through the document again, I think I would perhaps rework the section on ruci and nishtha near the end. But otherwise I think the article makes a good and workable synthesis.




The subject matter of the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi is Nāma-bhajana, worshiping the Holy Name. The book contains fifteen chapters: the first gives a brief summary of Vaishnava theology, the second introduces the subject of the Holy Name, distinguishing the pure Name from its facsimile (Nāmābhāsa) and offensive chanting (Nāmāparādha). The next ten chapters discuss each of the ten offenses to the Holy Name, in the course of which description many details of Vaishnava philosophy and behavior are explained. The fourteenth chapter contains a brief overview of offenses incurred in worshiping the Deity and the fifteenth and final chapter contains a summary of the bhāva-mārga, the “end game,” as it were, of the practice of chanting the Holy Names.

Of the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi’s fifteen chapters, the last is certainly the one that has caused the most trouble to previous translators and the one that raises the most questions about devotional practice: the bhāva-mārga is not widely practiced and is considered somewhat esoteric by many devotees. It is furthermore controversial, as it concerns an aspect of devotional life in which the siddhānta of Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s lineage coming through Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati seems to differ in important ways from that found in the rest of the Gaudiya Vaishnava world, as indeed His Divine Grace Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj intimates in his Preface. As such, it is necessary for devotees who follow in the footsteps of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati to understand properly how he envisioned the practice of bhāva-mārga and what is the eligibility of a devotee for it.

The Holy Name is the religious process for the age of Kali, but in this special Age of Kali, in which the Divine Couple of Vrindavan incarnate in a single body as Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Holy Name contains special powers to bestow the highest and most effulgent experience of the personal Godhead. Chanting it gives a taste of the immortal nectar for which we are always anxious, pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanam. The first taste of the Holy Name instills us with greed for the eternal association of the Supreme Lord. As such, it may be said that the rāgānugā spirit, devotion motivated by spontaneous desire rather than scriptural injunctions or rational analysis, is inherent in the Holy Name Itself. Anyone who accepts the leadership of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Rupa Goswami is thus naturally destined for the rāgānugā bhakti path.

Thus, as Bhaktivinoda Thakur states in the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi (15.21), the Holy Name is the bud of the flower of transcendental rasa. As this flower blossoms in the heart of the devotee, he or she progressively realizes the Supreme Lord, His form, qualities and pastimes, along with her own personal spiritual form and characteristics.

īṣat vikaśi punaḥ dekhāya nija-rūpa-guṇa
citta hari laya kṛṣṇa pāśa
pūrṇa vikaśita hañā vraje more jāya lañā
dekhāya nija svarūpa vilāsa
When the Name is even slightly revealed, it shows me its own spiritual form and characteristics. It steals my mind and takes it to Krishna’s side. When the Name is fully revealed, it takes me directly to Vraja, where it shows me my personal role in the eternal pastimes. (Kṛṣṇa-nāma dhare kata bala?)

Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Maharaj says something similar, though he speaks about the dīkṣā mantra:

To get the mantra from a sat guru, a genuine guru, means to get the internal good will or real conception about the Lord. The seed of a banyan tree may be a small seed, but the great big banyan tree will come out of that seed. The will with which the particular sound is given by the guru to the disciple is all-important. We may not trace that at present, but in time, if a favorable environment is there, it will express itself and develop into something great.

Despite this faith in the unlimited power of Krishna nāma and the Krishna mantra to bestow the highest good without the aid of any other practice, Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas like Rupa Goswami and Krishna Das Kaviraj have described the practice of rāgānugā bhakti, a kind of sādhanā based on smaraṇa, or remembering, in which one cultivates one’s siddha form and its service to the Divine Couple in Vrindavan.

In the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi, Bhaktivinoda Thakur has specifically used the term bhāva-mārga to refer to this process of remembering. He does this in order to distinguish the motivations (rāgānugā) for service from the actual practice (bhāva-mārga). The Thakur calls the instructions given to an aspirant in these spiritual practices bhāva-tattva. Such instruction has two aspects, aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā, i.e., Krishna’s pastimes through the eight periods of the day, and ekādaśa-bhāva, the eleven aspects of the practitioner’s spiritual identity or siddha-deha. He does not, however, associate entry into bhāva-mārga with Pāñcarātrika dīkṣā. In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, he uses the term bhajana-dīkṣā to refer to the entry into bhāva-mārga, but rather than being a formal process, he sees it as an informal exchange between the aspirant and his bhajana-śikṣā guru.

According to Saraswati Thakur, the devotional path based primarily on the chanting of the Holy Name is also known as the Bhāgavata-mārga, and it is driven by taste and spiritual attraction from the very beginning. Reason and logic on the one hand and respect for the scriptures on the other have a necessary secondary role to play, when because of the presence of anarthas one’s taste for chanting and attraction to service are weakened. Thus, Jiva Goswami speaks of mixed rāgānugā and vaidhī bhakti.

On the other hand, the Pāñcarātrika path gives priority to arcana, which though mentioned in the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi’s fourteenth chapter and elsewhere throughout the Vaishnava scriptures, only plays a subsidiary role in the Bhāgavata-mārga practices. In view of this, anyone who thinks that a person engaged in chanting the Holy Name is on the vidhi mārga has a misunderstanding of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s intentions.

All these considerations are important for us to understand the reforms of Gaudiya Vaishnava practice instituted by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and which are now followed by all branches of the Gaudiya Math. In his book Brāhmaṇa o Vaiṣṇava, Saraswati states that “the Pāñcarātrika Vaishnava principles of medieval South India have to some extent entered within the current practices of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Descendants of the Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas have become more or less attached to the path of archan, like the followers of the Pañcarātras, and though they have sometimes spread subordination to Mahaprabhu in a pure form, they have more often spread a perverted form of His teachings.”

In particular, Saraswati criticized the understanding of rāgānugā bhakti that made it dependent on a series of formal practices specifically connected to Pāñcarātrika initiation. Saraswati Thakur condemns the practice of giving ekādaśa-bhāva to devotees in whom the spiritual identity had not arisen as a result of practical realization:
In the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya nowadays, some immature traders in Pāñcarātrika mantras present imaginary material names and forms as the goal of life and the path of perfection (siddha-praṇālī). In this way they gratify the minds of their disciples while disclosing their own foolishness and ignorance of the Vaishnava literatures.  
In a letter to one of his disciples, Saraswati Thakur explained how he envisioned the development of the spiritual identity in the practitioner:
The aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā described by the Vaishnavas in Vrindavan should no doubt be highly regarded. However, these pastimes cannot be perceived in their true form by one who is still in a contaminated state. Some fortunate individuals become capable of knowing them after chanting for a long time, for it is part of the identity of the true self. But it can only be known after one is freed of mental contaminations. With the awakening of this spiritual identity, one automatically has constant cognition of his spiritual form.

Those who say that they can teach or reveal this identity are practicing a kind of deception; it cannot be done. On the other hand, if a devotee receives some inspiration after sincerely chanting for a long time, he should go to the sat guru or advanced devotees and ask for it to be confirmed and purified by them.

The spiritual identity has eleven aspects (ekādaśa bhava). There are many cases of unscrupulous gurus who artificially force-feed these designations on unqualified practitioners, but we cannot call this the mark of spiritual perfection. Those who have achieved identity perfection (svarūpa-siddhi) have attained such a realization through internal revelation. The spiritual master’s only involvement in these matters is to help the further advancement of a disciple. As a practitioner progresses toward spiritual perfection, all these things are revealed naturally within the heart that sincerely seeks service. 
Saraswati Thakur thus follows the process described in Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi (15.69-75) where Bhaktivinoda Thakur states that the disciple and guru discuss the taste and maturity of the disciple. The svarūpa is never manufactured by the guru, but rather, as the disciple overcomes the major part of his anarthas, he actually experiences something positive like resolve (niṣṭhā) for devotion to a particular form of Krishna. This resolve is the first glimmering of his siddha deha, the form to which this taste for service in a particular mood inevitably leads. At this time, the disciple approaches the guru for personal guidance in refining his conception of the various ingredients of rasa. The guru also directs the disciple toward certain lilas and discusses the prototype of the disciple’s siddha deha with him as a vantage point from which to meditate on and ultimately enter the lila. All of the guru’s directions will, of course, be based in the scriptures of the Goswamis, including the Gaura-govindārcana-dīpikā of Dhyana Chandra, which Bhaktivinoda Thakur has quoted in detail in works like Jaiva Dharma and Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta.

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Krishnadas translates the first verse of the Śikṣāṣṭaka as follows:

saṅkīrtana haite pāpa saṁsāra nāśana
citta śuddhi sarva-bhakti-sādhana udgama
kṛṣṇa-premodgama premāmṛta āsvādana
kṛṣṇa-prāpti sevāmṛta samudre majjana
From sankirtan comes the destruction of sin and material entanglement, the purification of the mind and heart, as well as the arising of all the other practices of devotional life. It then leads to the awakening of love for Krishna, the relishing of the flavors of that love, and then to the attainment of Krishna, where one plunges into the nectarean ocean of service to the Lord. (CC 3.20.13-14)
The expression sarva-bhakti-sādhana udgama, “the arising of all the other practices of devotional life” indicates that the Name or sankirtan does not necessarily directly give the final result of devotion, but that it does so incrementally by leading one to those practices and associations that will come naturally when one’s state of advancement make one ready to progress into the finer realms of Nāma bhajan. To attempt practices before one is ready means inevitable disappointment.

Anartha-nivṛtti is necessary for the bhāva-mārga

According to some, anartha-nivṛtti or self-purification is not a necessary precondition to engaging in bhāva-mārga sādhanā, because this path not based on prior accomplishments but on desire (lobha) alone. The fact of the matter is that unless the heart is purified, or unless one has accumulated an inordinate amount of sukṛti, or causeless blessings from highly advanced devotees of Krishna, it is impossible for genuine lobha to manifest there. Therefore the Thakur clearly states in Bhajana-rahasya

adhikāra nā labhiyā siddha-deha bhāve
viparyaya buddhi janme śaktira abhāve
sāvadhāne krama dhara yadi siddhi cāo
sādhura carita dekhi śuddha-buddhi pāo
siddha-deha peye krame bhajana karile
aṣṭa-kāla sevā-sukha anāyāse mile
If anyone tries to meditate on his spiritual body without having this qualification, his understanding will be turned topsy-turvy due to a lack of spiritual strength. If you want success in bhajan, then carefully follow the step-by-step process. Purify your intelligence by observing the activities of saintly devotees. If you engage in bhajan after attaining your spiritual body, in keeping with the progressive path, you will easily enjoy serving the Divine Couple through the eight periods of the day and night.
Nevertheless, despite Saraswati Thakur’s insistence that the practitioner must purify his life and become free of anarthas, he ultimately exhorted his disciples to engage in the positive culture of the bhāva-mārga and instructed them to hear and chant about these more elevated topics. During the Braj Mandala parikrama in 1932, Saraswati lectured his disciples:
Until now, we have not arranged for the public singing of līlā-kīrtana. The reason for this is that it is a very confidential treasure. However, this is the ultimate object of our practice. However, lest anyone make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivṛtti is our only goal and that it is not necessary to engage in a positive cultivation of our true object, I have started these ashta kaliya līlā-kīrtana performances.

I know that you are not all ready to hear such kirtan, but I want you to know that such a transcendental ideal exists within the realm of devotion, which is the reason that you must engage in anartha-nivṛtti.

After anartha-nivṛtti comes artha-pravṛtti, or the real world of service to the Divine Couple. If we do not know that this is the goal, all our efforts may become transformed into impersonalism. Anyone who has been chanting the Holy Names for fifteen or twenty years should take note of this. All those who are just beginners have no need to listen to these kirtans. They will get the wrong idea of what is being sung. These kirtans are only for those who are sevonmukha, who are eager for service, and not for everyone.

Don’t think that the aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā smaran is the exclusive property of the Sahajiyas. In fact, it belongs to us. We have to recover it from all these cheaters. My Gurudeva heard all these things from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. That is why he most confidentially repeated them to me again and again, in so many ways.

In the same article, while discussing Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Bhajana-rahasya with some disciples, Srila Prabhupada said,

Do not let your days pass in trying only for anartha-nivṛtti. The positive cultivation of the spiritual goal, artha-pravṛtti, is also necessary. It is necessary to make efforts to eliminate the contaminants and obstacles—the anarthas—but only until one has begun artha-pravṛtti. Once that becomes prominent, anartha-nivṛtti becomes a secondary consideration.

Continuing to exhort his disciples to enter into the deeper aspects of the bhāva-mārga, Srila Prabhupada said that simply becoming a scholar and instructing others is insufficient. It is necessary to go forward and become a practitioner of non-duplicitous bhajan oneself.

These instructions by Saraswati Thakur are very significant for devotees in his line who seem to believe that if one only chants, everything will be revealed and think that the positive cultivation of the bhāva-mārga, i.e. hearing and chanting about the Lord’s pastimes and engaging in smarana in the siddha-deha is not necessary. Thus while Saraswati Thakur holds that a premature and artificially imposed spiritual identity is counterproductive, he never thought that one should expect full revelation of one’s spiritual identity simply by chanting the Holy Name without any positive cultivation of the bhāva-mārga, or artha-pravṛtti.

Is sannyāsa a necessary precondition for the bhāva-mārga?

Another source of confusion about rāgānugā bhakti, or bhāva-mārga sādhanā, is exactly when does a practitioner become qualified to engage in such cultivation. In the line of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, the sannyāsa-mantra is specifically related to taking shelter of the mood of the gopis, and therefore some feel that only those in the renounced order of life are eligible to follow the bhāva-mārga. However, from Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s teachings and personal example, it does not seem that he felt one had wait to until one was a sannyāsī or had completely renounced all vestiges of sexual life before meditating on his siddha-svarūpa.

It is evident that Bhaktivinoda Thakur himself was already engaged in following the practices of the bhāva-mārga not long after his initiation in 1880, while he was still a householder at the height of his working life. He mentions his svarūpa as Kamala Manjari in 1893 in Gīti-mālā, when he was still a householder, though well past his procreating years.

Furthermore, he repeatedly states that this is not a consideration. In Caitanya-śikṣāmṛta, for instance, he states that the disciple should stay with the spiritual master for a certain period of time when first establishing his ekādaśa-bhāva, but that afterwards, he can go on doing his bhajan in his own home (sva-sthāne sthita.

Some people place inordinately high standards on the practitioner before permitting any discussion of aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā or bhāva-mārga sādhanā. There is little doubt that Saraswati Thakur felt strongly about premature entry into these topics, but as we have seen, he stated that it was possible when one has become free from the principal anarthas, specifically the offenses to the Holy Name. If one at this stage of niṣṭhā becomes attracted to the practices of the bhāva-mārga, for such a person this ruci is the equivalent of lobha. One can thus say with some safety that rāgānugā sādhanā can begin at the stage of ruci.

It is rather easy to show that those who feel one must be at a higher stage are wrong: certainly bhāva is on the stage of sādhya-bhakti, or the goal of devotional practice. The bhāva-mārga still falls within the realm of devotional service in practice. Part of this is a result of a misunderstanding of the word bhāva, which can have many meanings. These have been explained in part in the glossary at the end of this volume.

Srila Jiva Goswami clearly talks about two kinds of rāgānugā bhaktijāta-ruci and ajāta-ruci. Here ruci does not mean taste in a general sense, but to the specific stage of achievement known as ruci. Evidently, then, one can be engaged on the bhāva-mārga without having reached this elevated stage of devotional service in practice. Jiva there says that as long as one has not yet attained the ruci stage, one may engage in the bhāva-mārga practices but motivating himself with scriptural injunctions and rational arguments, as is appropriate for a vaidha bhakta. There is thus no justification for identifying rāgānugā with bhāva bhakti and vaidhi mārga with sādhanā.

This is not to minimize the importance of beginning one’s devotional life by chanting free from anarthas before jumping ahead after a false analysis of one’s own capacities. Saraswati Thakur calls it spiritual laziness to try to enjoy the fruits of spiritual practice without undergoing the requisite purification.

After deliberating over the matter nicely in your heart you will find out that precocious thinking born of laziness can bear no real fruit. We are tiny jivas, traversing the path of vidhi, yet we are not inimical to raga. Talk of raga is very elevated, so it does not look particularly nice in our tiny mouths. Devotees whose life and soul is bhajan will mockingly dismiss us if they hear lowly souls like ourselves speaking on such elevated topics.

If one has no understanding of who Krishna is, then pretending to have the elevated qualifications necessary for the path of raga simply exposes his laziness. The Mahajans proclaim this at every step.

The Lord and His name are one entity. One who has conditioned perception of difference between the Name and the Named is utterly required to serve devotees accomplished in bhajan for rectification of his anarthas. The eternal associates of Sri Gaurasundar have described the kind of bhajan such devotees engage in. If we go around merely repeating such things like parrots, people will designate us as prakrita sahajiyas and thus bear down our self-assurance. But if we want to show all these prakrita sahajiyas mired in their misconceptions the real glory of rāgānugā bhakti, we have to learn the art of bhajan ourselves and only then try for others’ eternal benefit. So try to carefully understand what is written. Bhajan is nothing external, nor is it a means for showing off. Loudly call out the Holy Name, then the spirit of enjoyment in the form of laziness won’t be able to swallow us.

We should constantly pray to the Holy Name for His mercy. One who is still in a contaminated state should not engage in smaran of the daily cycle of the Lord’s pastimes (aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā). When we engage in chanting the Holy Names, we are simultaneously engaged in hearing and the opportunity for remembering is included in that. One should not engage in aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā smaran on false premises.

Saraswati Thakur’s final word, like Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s, is “deserve, then desire.”

There is no point in making a separate effort to artificially remember the Lord’s form, qualities and pastimes. The Lord and His name are one and the same. This will be understood clearly when the coverings in our hearts are removed. By chanting without offenses you will personally realize that all perfections come from the Holy Name.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Siddhi Lālasā (Part 3, Songs 7-10)

Siddhi Lālasā, Part I (songs 1-3)
Siddhi Lālasā, Part II (songs 4-6)

[7] --- The Glories of Sri Radha Kund

শ্রী রূপ মঞ্জরী কবে মধুর বচনে
রাধাকুণ্ড মহিমা বর্ণিবে সংগোপনে (১)

śrī rūpa mañjarī kabe madhura bacane
rādhākuṇḍa mahimā barṇibe saṁgopane (1)

When will Sri Rupa Manjari speak with such sweet words
explaining to me in private the glories of Radha Kund?


এ চৌদ্দ ভুবনোপরি বৈকুণ্ঠ নিলয়
তদপেক্ষা মথুরা পরম শ্রেষ্ঠ হয় (২)

e caudda bhubanopari baikuṇṭha nilaẏa
tad-apekṣā mathurā parama śreṣṭha haẏa (2)

"Beyond these fourteen worlds is the spiritual abode of Vaikuntha.
But greater than is Mathura, is the topmost and supreme abode.

মথুরমণ্ডলে রাসলীলা স্থান যথা
বৃন্দাবন শ্রেষ্ঠ অতি শুন মম কথা (৩)

mathura-maṇḍale rāsa-līlā sthāna yathā
bṛndābana śreṣṭha ati śuna mama kathā (3)

"Within the region of Mathura is the place where the rāsa-līlā took place,
That is Vrindavan, which is the best of all, listen as I tell you.

কৃষ্ণলীলাস্থল গোবর্ধন শ্রেষ্ঠতর
রাধাকুণ্ড শ্রেষ্ঠতম সর্বশক্তিধর (৪)

kṛṣṇa-līlā-sthala gobardhana śreṣṭhatara
rādhā-kuṇḍa śreṣṭhatama sarba-śakti-dhara (4)

"Superior amongst the places Krishna performs His pastimes is Govardhan.
And the best place there is Radha Kund, which possesses all potencies.


রাধাকুণ্ডমহিমা ত করিয়া শ্রবণ
লালয়িত হয়ে আমি পড়িব তখন (৫)

rādhā-kuṇḍa-mahimā ta kariẏā śrabaṇa
lālaẏita haẏe āmi paḏiba takhana (5)

"Whenever I hear the glories of this sacred Radha Kund,
I am immediately seized with such eager yearning that I may faint."


সখীর চরণে কবে করিব অকুতি
সখী কৃপা করি দিবে স্বারসিকী স্থিতি (৬)

sakhīra caraṇe kabe kariba akuti
sakhī kṛpā kari' dibe svārasikī sthiti (6)

When will I beg insistently to one of the sakhis
to mercifully bestow upon me my permanent, natural situation?




Rupa Goswami's verse, on which this is based:

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra pāṇi ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ |
rādhā kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ ||9||

The holy place known as Mathurā is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathura is the transcendental forest of Vrindavan because of Krishna's rāsa līlā pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrindavan is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Ṣrī Krishna and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Ṣrī Rādhā Kund stands supreme, for it is flooded over with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Ṣrī Krishna. Where, then, is that intelligent Person who is unwilling to serve this divine Rādhā Kund, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill? (Upadeśāmṛta 9)



[8] A description of the Thakur's Siddha-deha (ekādaśa bhāva)

বরণে তড়িত, বাস তারাবলী,
কমল মঞ্জরী নাম
সাড়ে বার বর্ষ, বয়স সতত,
স্বানন্দসুখদধাম (১)

baraṇe taḏita, bāsa tārābalī,
kamala mañjarī nāma
sāḏe bāra barṣa, baẏasa satata,
sbānanda-sukhada-dhāma

My complexion is like lightning, my dress is covered in stars.
My name is Kamala Manjari.
My age is twelve-and-a-half, never changing 
and I reside in my home at Svananda Sukhada Kunj.

কর্পূর সেবা, ললিতার গণ,
রাধা যূথেশ্বরী হন
মমেশ্বরী-নাথ, শ্রী নন্দ-নন্দন,
আমার পরাণ ধন (২)

karpūra sebā, lalitāra gaṇa,
rādhā yūtheśbarī hana
mameśvarī-nātha, śrī nanda-nandana,
āmāra parāṇa dhana (2)

I render the service of preparing the camphor within the assembly of Lalita Sakhi, of whom Sri Radha is the leader and the center of all their activities. And the Lord of my mistress Radha is the delightful Son of Nanda Maharaja, Who is also the treasure of my life.

শ্রী রূপ মঞ্জরী, প্রভৃতির সম,
যুগল সেবায আশ
অবশ্য সে-রূপ, সেবা পাব আমি,
পরাকাষ্ট সুবিশ্বাস (৩)

śrī rūpa mañjarī, prabhṛtira sama,
yugala sebāya āśa
abaśya se-rūpa, sebā pāba āmi,
parākāṣṭha subiśvāsa (3)

I always desire to execute conjugal service similar to that which is rendered by Sri Rupa Manjari and her associates. Thus I will certainly get utmost conviction and faith.

কবে বা এ দাসী, সংসিদ্ধি লভিবে,
রাধা-কুণ্ডে বাস করি
রাধা-কুণ্ড-সেবা, সতত করিবে,
পূর্ব স্মৃতি পরিহরি (৪)

kabe bā e dāsī, saṁsiddhi labhibe,
rādhā-kuṇḍe bāsa kari
rādhā-kuṇḍa-sebā, satata karibe,
pūrba smṛti parihari (4)

When will this maidservant thus attain such complete spiritual perfection, living by the banks of Sri Radha Kund? I will eternally serve Radha and Krishna, and all of my previous memories will be automatically forgotten.



Again, this is a direct summary of the eleven characteristics of the siddha-deha as given in the parampara of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and which he received from his Gurudeva at the time of his initiation. The name Kamala Manjari was also given to him at that time. In Hari-nāma-cintāmani, chapter 15, the Thakur makes it clear that one receives these eleven characteristics from the guru, and he also reveals his own identity there, as he does here.

sādhite ujjvala-rasa āche bhāva ekādaśa
sambandha vayasa nāma rūpa |
yūtha veśa ājñā-vāsa sevā parākāṣṭhāśvāsa
pālya-dāsī ei aparūpa ||58||
Needed to cultivate the most brilliant love for Krishna are eleven characteristics:
relationship, age, name, physical appearance, membership in a group, specific dress,
a mission, an address, a specific service, the aspiration for an ultimate goal,
and the inner identification as a protected maidservant. (HNC 15.58)

Bhaktivinoda Thakur's comment: One whose natural tendency is to cultivate the conjugal rasa should definitely adopt the female form and attitude of a gopi in Vrindavan. No living entity can enter the conjugal mood of Vraja in a masculine mood or body. Only when one has adopted the identity of a gopi can she truly worship Krishna. This identity is composed of eleven aspects. Thus only one who has adopted these eleven attitudes can be said to have taken a gopi identity. They are:

1. sambandha (a specific relationship with Radharani in Vrindavan),

2. vayas (age, such as 12 years, 6 months, 10 days),

3. nāma (a name, such as Kamala Manjari),

4. rūpa (bodily appearance, usually expressed in terms of bodily hue, such as the color of lightning),

5. yūtha-praveśa (entry into a particular group under the command of one of Radharani’s intimate friends, such as Lalita),

6. veśa (a dress of a particular style and color, such as a blue cloth covered in stars),

7. ājñā (a specific instruction),

8. vāsa-sthāna (a place of residence, such as Svananda-sukhada Kunj),

9. sevā (a specific service, such as providing the Divine Couple with camphor),

10. parākāṣṭhā (the ambition to attain a particular blessing, such as being directly asked to do something by Sri Rupa Manjari),

11. pālya-dāsī-bhāva (the mood of a completely dependent maidservant, under the tutelage of one of Radharani’s sakhis).

Whatever one’s identity in this world, one should internally adopt a spiritual identity in these eleven aspects and worship Radha and Krishna directly in that form.



[9] The Mood of a Manjari

বৃষভানু-সুত-চরণ সেবনে,
হইব যে পাল্য-দাসী
শ্রী রাধার সুখ, সতত সাধনে,
রহিব আমি প্রযাসী (১)

bṛṣabhānu-suta-caraṇa sebane,
ha̮iba ye pālya-dāsī
śrī rādhāra sukha, satata sādhane,
rahiba āmi prayāsī (1)

For serving the lotus feet of the charming daughter of
King Vrsabhanu, I will become a sheltered maidservant of Her
maidservant. Indeed, I will live only for the happiness of
Sri Radha, and I will always endeavor to increase Her joy.


শ্রী রাধার সুখে, কৃষ্ণের যে সুখ,
জানিব মনেতে আমি
রাধাপদ ছাড়ি, শ্রীকৃষ্ণ সঙ্গমে,
কভু না হইব কামী (২)

śrī rādhāra sukhe, kṛṣṇera ye sukha,
jāniba manete āmi
rādhā-pada chāḏi', śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅgame,
kabhu nā ha̮iba kāmī (2)

That Krishna feels happiness only when Radha is happy,
I will understand within my heart.
I will thus never, ever desire to abandon Radhika's lotus feet
to enjoy with Krishna alone.


সখী-গণ মম, পরম সুহৃত্,
যুগল-প্রেমের গুরু
তদনুগা হোয়ে, সেবিব রাধার,
চরণ কলপতরু (৩)

sakhī-gaṇa mama, parama suhṛt,
yugala-premera guru
tadanugā hoẏe, sebiba rādhāra,
caraṇa kalapataru (3)

All the sakhis are my best friends,
and they are my gurus in Radha and Krishna's love.
Following them, I will serve the lotus feet of Radha,
which are just like desire-fulfilling trees.


রাধা-পক্ষ ছাড়ি, যে জন সে জন,
যে ভাবে সে ভাবে থাকে
আমি ত রাধিকা-পক্ষপাতি সদা,
কভু নাহি হেরি তাকে (৪)

rādhā-pakṣa chāḏi, ye jana se jana,
ye bhābe se bhābe thāke
āmi ta rādhikā-pakṣapāti sadā,
kabhu nāhi heri take (4)

Whoever abandons Radha's side, whoever she is
may do as she pleases, that is not my business.
As for me, I am forever partial to Sri Radhika
and will never even look upon such people.




[10] The Ultimate Perfection

শ্রী কৃষ্ণ-বিরহে, রাধিকার দশা,
আমি ত সহিতে নারি
যুগল-মিলন সুখের কারণ,
জীবন ছাড়িতে পারি (১)

śrī kṛṣṇa-birahe, rādhikāra daśā,
āmi ta sahite nāri
yugala-milana sukhera kāraṇa,
jībana chāḏite pāri (1)

Whenever Radhika suffers in separation from Krishna,
I am unable to tolerate her condition.
But when they meet, that is the one source of my happiness
I could simply die from all the joy.


রাধিকাচরণ, ত্যাজিয়া আমার,
ক্ষণেকে প্রলয় হয়
রাধিকার তরে, শত-বার মরি,
সে দুঃখ আমার সয় (২)

rādhikā-caraṇa, tyājiẏā āmāra,
kṣaṇeke pralaẏa haẏa
rādhikāra tare, śata-bāra mari,
se duḥkha āmāra saẏa (2)

If I am separated from Sri Radhika's lotus feet,
I become completely devastated in that very moment.
For her sake, I am ready to die hundreds of times,
I will tolerate such distress for her sake.


এ হেন রাধার চরণযুগলে,
পরিচর্য্যা পাব কবে
হাহা ব্রজজন, মোরে দয়া করি,
কবে ব্রজবনে লবে (৩)

e hena rādhāra caraṇa-yugale,
paricaryyā pāba kabe
hāhā braja-jana, more daẏā kari,
kabe braja-bane labe (3)

When will I be able to serve such a divine pair of lotus feet as Radha's? Alas, I beg you all, oh residents of Vraja, please be merciful to me now! When will you take me int the transcendental forests of Vrindavan?

বিলাস মঞ্জরী, অনঙ্গ মঞ্জরী,
শ্রী রূপ মঞ্জরী আর
আমাকে তুলিয়া, লহ নিজ পদে,
দেহ মোরে সিদ্ধি সার (৪)

bilāsa mañjarī, anaṅga mañjarī,
śrī rūpa mañjarī āra
āmāke tuliẏā, laha nija pade,
deha more siddhi sāra (4)

Oh Vilasa Manjari! Oh Ananga Manjari! Oh Rupa Manjari!
Please lift me up and bring me close to your own lotus feet,
thus bestowing upon me the quintessence
of eternal spiritual perfection!




Again Vilasa Manjari and Ananga Manjari are the siddha identities of Bipin Bihari Goswami and Jahnava Mata, respectively.

Siddhi Lālasā (Part 2, Songs 4-6)

I am dividing the Siddhi Lālasā, though consisting of only ten songs, into three parts:

Siddhi Lālasā, Part I (songs 1-3)
Siddhi Lālasā, Part III (songs 7-10)


[4] Trained up by the Sakhis

পাল্যদাসী করি, ললিতা সুন্দরী,
আমারে লইয়া কবে
শ্রী-রাধিকা-পদে, কালে মিলাইবে,
আজ্ঞাসেবা সমর্পিবে (১)

pālya-dāsī kari', lalitā sundarī,
āmāre la-iẏā kabe
śrī-rādhikā-pade, kāle milāibe,
ājñā-sebā samarpibe (1)

Fostering me as her own maidservant,
when will Lalita Sundari take me
and bring me to Radhika, introduce me and
offer me up to serve at her command?


শ্রী রূপ মঞ্জরী, সঙ্গে যাব কবে,
রসসেবা-শিক্ষা তরে
তদনুগা হয়ে, রাধাকুণ্ড তটে,
রহিব হর্ষিতান্তরে (২)

śrī rūpa mañjarī, saṅge yāba kabe,
rasa-sebā-śikṣā tare
tad-anugā haẏe, rādhā-kuṇḍa taṭe,
rahiba harṣitāntare (2)

When will I go into Sri Rupa Manjari's company
to learn how to serve the Divine Couple tastefully.
Following behind her to the banks of Radha Kund
I will overflow with inner delight.


শ্রী বিশাখাপদে, সঙ্গীত শিখিব,
কৃষ্ণলীলা রসময়
শ্রী রতি মঞ্জরী, শ্রী রস মঞ্জরী,
হইবে সবে সদয় (৩)

śrī biśākhā-pade, saṅgīta śikhiba,
kṛṣṇa-līlā rasamaẏa
śrī rati mañjarī, śrī rasa mañjarī,
ha-ibe sabe sadaẏa (3)

I will learn to sing from Vishakha Devi,
who will teach me songs of Krishna's sweet pastimes.
Sri Rati Manjari and Sri Rasa Manjari
will always look upon me with kindness.


পরম আনন্দে, সকলে মিলিয়া,
রাধিকা চরণে রব
এই পরাকাষ্ট, সিদ্ধি কবে হবে,
পাব রাধাপদাসব (৪)

parama ānande, sakale miliẏā,
rādhikā caraṇe raba
ei parākāṣṭa, siddhi kabe habe,
pāba rādhā-padāsaba (4)

All of us together, in supreme joyfulness,
will remain at Sri Radhika's feet.
When O when will I attain this highest perfection
and drink the honey flowing from those feet?




[5] Ecstasy at Sri Radha Kund

চিন্তামণি-ময়, রাধা-কুণ্ড-তট,
তাহা কুঞ্জ শত শত
প্রবল বিদ্রুম-ময় তরুলতা,
মুক্তাফলে অবনত (১)

cintāmaṇi-maẏa, rādhā-kuṇḍa-taṭa,
tāhā kuñja śata śata
prabala bidruma- maẏa taru-latā,
muktā-phale abanata (1)

The banks of Radha Kund are made of thoughtstones
and surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of groves.
All the trees and creepers are made of coral and rubies,
and their branches bend low with the gems' weight.


স্বানন্দ-সুখদ, কুঞ্জ মনোহর,
তাহাতে কুটীর শোভে
বসিয়া তথায়, গাব কৃষ্ণ নাম,
কবে কৃষ্ণ-দাস্য হবে (২)

svānanda-sukhada, kuñja manohara,
tāhāte kuṭīra śobhe
basiẏā tathāẏa, gāba kṛṣṇa nāma,
kabe kṛṣṇa-dāsya habe (2)

There lies Svananda Sukhada Kunj, an enchanting grove
where a cottage shines beautifully --
when will I dwell there and sing the names of Krishna,
finally attaining his service.


এমন সময় মুরলীর গান,
পশিবে এ দাসী-কানে
আনন্দে মাতিব, সকল ভুলিব,
শ্রীকৃষ্ণবাংশীর গানে (৩)

emana samaẏa muralīra gāna,
paśibe e dāsī-kāne
ānande mātiba, sakala bhuliba,
śrī-kṛṣṇa-vāṁśīra gāne (3)

At such a time, the music of Krishna's flute
will suddenly enter this maidservant's ear.
Being intoxicated with that bliss, I will forget everything
and hear only
his flute song.

রাধে রাধে বলিঽ, মুরলী ডাকিবে,
মদীয়া ঈশ্বরী নাম
শুনিয়া চমকি, উঠিবে এ দাসী,
কেমন করিবে প্রাণ (৪)

rādhe rādhe bali', muralī ḍākibe,
madīẏā īśbarī nāma
śuniẏā camaki, uṭhibe e dāsī,
kemana karibe prāṇa (4)

His flute will call out "Radhe. . . Radhe. . ."
the name of my only worshipable Goddess!
Startled with wonder on hearing it, this maidservant will rise.
Who can describe how my heart will flutter?




[6] A First Chance for Seva

নির্জন কুটীরে, শ্রী রাধাচরণ,
স্মরণে থাকিব রত
শ্রী রূপ মঞ্জরী, ধীরে ধীরে আসি,
কহিবে আমায় কত (১)

nirjana kuṭīre, śrī rādhā-caraṇa,
smaraṇe thākiba rata
śrī rūpa mañjarī, dhīre dhīre āsi,
kahibe āmāẏa kata (1)

In my solitary cottage, I will constantly remain
absorbed in meditation on Sri Radha's lotus feet.
Sri Rupa Manjari will slowly approach me
and recount to me so many things.


বলিবে ও সখি! কি কর বসিয়া,
দেখহ বাহিরে আসি
যুগল মিলন-শোভা নিরুপম,
হইবে চরণ দাসী (২)

balibe o sakhi! ki kara basiẏā,
dekhaha bāhire āsi
yugala milana-śobhā nirupama,
ha-ibe caraṇa dāsī (2)

She will say, "Oh sakhi! My dear friend, what are you doing sitting here?
Just come outside here and see for yourself 

the incomparable beauty of the Divine Couple together:
you will become the servant of their lotus feet.


স্বারসিকী সিদ্ধি, ব্রজ-গোপী ধন,
পরম-চঞ্চল সতী
যোগীর ধেয়ান, নির্বিশেষ জ্ঞান,
না পায় এখানে স্থিতি (৩)

svārasikī siddhi, braja-gopī dhana,
parama-cañcala satī
yogīra dheẏāna, nirviśeṣa jñāna,
nā pāẏa ekhāne sthiti (3)

"You will attain natural perfection in the lila, the wealth of the Braja gopis,
being both supremely fickle and chaste.
The meditation of the yogis and impersonal knowledge of the philosophers
have no standing in this place.


সাক্ষাৎ দর্শন মধ্যাহ্ন লীলায়,
রাধাপদ-সেবার্থিনী
যখন যে সেবা, করহ যতনে,
শ্রী রাধা-চরণে ধনী (৪)

sākṣāt darśana madhyāhna līlāẏa,
rādhā-pada-sebārthinī
yakhana ye sebā, karaha yatane,
śrī rādhā-caraṇe dhanī (4)

"Seeing them directly during their midday pastimes
you should pray for the service of Sri Radha's lotus feet.
When you get the opportunity for any service
whatever, do it with great care
and thus become rich with the treasure of her lotus feet."


Hari-nama-cintamani, Chapter 15, Bhajana-pranali, Part III

Part I, Part II.




(FN1) The use of the term bhāva throughout this section is significant. Bhāva is a multivalenced term. Bhāva is said to be the first stage of love of Godhead. More significantly for our understanding of rasa, however, is that it is the basis for experiencing rasa. According to Rupa Goswami’s conception then, bhāva is self-realization in the sense of establishing one’s spiritual identity or sthāyi-bhāva. Rupa Goswami describes the sthāyi-bhāvas in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 2.5. He speaks there of a preliminary state of the sthāyi-bhāva, known as śuddhā, i.e., undeveloped or without any particular characteristics (2.5.8). This preliminary stage of the sthāyi-bhāva is divided into three subcategories—sāmānyā, svacchā and śānti. The first of these is the undeveloped attitude to Krishna, such as that of a child or general admirer, the second that of a devotee whose association is mixed and whose attitude to the Lord changes with the company he keeps; the third is an admiring attitude that nevertheless lacks any personalized attachment. This last attitude usually develops into śānta-rasa. These preliminary, undeveloped attitudes to Krishna must solidify through association and the cultivation of particular preferences for worshiping Him in a specific mood in order for one to be able to experience prema or rasa. The cultivation of these preferences is then deepened through the giving of a specific siddha deha that corresponds to the aspirant’s tastes. The essence of prema is possessiveness (mamatā). One who feels like an outsider may develop some sentiment for Krishna, but only the establishment of a relationship through the spiritual master makes prema possible.

ananya-mamatā viṣṇau mamatā prema-saṅgatā |
bhaktir ity ucyate bhīṣma-prahlādoddhava-nāradaiḥ ||
Devotion, according to the great authorities like Bhishma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada, is a feeling of exclusive possessiveness toward Krishna, combined with a feeling of love for Him. (Pañcarātra).
Thus an aspirant to any of the devotional relationships may cultivate them without the specific imprimatur of the spiritual master, but he will certainly not be impeded by knowing that this relationship has been recognized and approved. Even if due to some misfortune a devotee forgets or loses interest in the relationship he has been given, it remains like a seed, waiting for the water of devotional association to sprout and grow.




One should reveal one’s siddha-bhāva to the gurudeva

ei rūpe guru śiṣya saṁvāde ghaṭane |
nija-siddha-bhāva sthira ha-ibe ye kṣaṇe ||74||
śiṣya guru-pade paḍi karibe minati |
māgibe bhāvera siddhi kariyā kākuti ||75||

After the guru and disciple have thus discussed the matter,
and the disciple’s spiritual identity is finally settled,
he should fall down at his spiritual master’s feet and entreat him,
begging him for success in attaining this spiritual mood.

kṛpā kari gurudeva karibe ādeśa |
śiṣya sei bhāve tabe karibe praveśa ||76||

Then the spiritual master will mercifully give his order
and the disciple enters into that spiritual identity.


(FN1) Determined acceptance


śrī-guru-caraṇe paḍi balibe takhana |
tavādiṣṭa bhāva āmi karimu varaṇa ||77||
e bhāva kakhana āmi nā chāḍiba āra |
jīvane maraṇe ei saṅgī ye āmāra ||78||

The disciple should then fall down at the feet of his guru and say,
“I wholeheartedly accept the identity you have given me.
Never again shall I give up this mood;
it shall accompany me forevermore, in life or in death.”

Whatever identity the sādhikā may have accepted previously in opposition to her deep-seated true inclinations can be compared to the husband to whom a girl has been given in an arranged marriage. (FN1) On receiving her genuine identity in service to Krishna from a pure spiritual master, in accordance with her true preferences, then that is the “illicit relationship” (pārakīya rasa) that takes spiritual precedence. Without such an “illicit relationship,” no one can experience rasa completely. The glory of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching is that the identity of the devotee as a woman involved in an extra-marital affair is constant throughout both Krishna’s manifest and unmanifest pastimes. The śṛṅgāra-rasa is totally devoid of even a jot of materialism. The spiritual jiva, in order to enjoy and exchange pure rasa, becomes a spiritual gopi and renders devotional service to the spiritual personalities of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna in the spiritual realm of Vrindavan. There is not the slightest tinge of the mundane man-woman relationship in Vrindavan; the pure ideal or archetype of sexual love is manifest in the perfected spiritual identity of the soul. Knowledge of this identity can only be had from a pure devotee spiritual master. Without his grace, no one can discover this inscrutable truth, for it is beyond the realm of mundane speculation and extremely rare.


(FN2) The identity “in opposition to one’s true inclinations” can mean either one’s material identity in relation to this world, or a spiritual identity received from the guru. In either case, the transgression of secondary religious or legal injunctions in order to follow one's true inner spiritual inspiration is the essence of the pārakīyā-bhāva.




Ascertaining the obstacles to this bhajan


nija siddha ekādaśa bhāve vratī haye |
smaribe sudṛḍha-citte nija-bhāva-caye ||79||

Once one is committed to the eleven aspects of her spiritual identity,
she should meditate on them with a determined heart.

smaraṇe vicāra eka āche ta sundara |
āpanera yogya-smṛti kara nirantara ||80||

In the process of remembering, there is one beautiful consideration:
one should constantly meditate on that which is befitting to her.

āpanera ayogya smaraṇa yadi haya |
bahu yuga sādhile-o siddhi kabhu naya ||81||

If she meditates on things that are beyond her state of readiness,
she will never attain perfection, despite practicing for ages and ages.

The aspirant has to engage in her devotional practice in a way that her spiritual identity, upon which she meditates in the stage of remembering, can be factually assimilated in the stage of attainment. No efforts on the paths of works, philosophical speculation, yoga, or anything else can help one attain this ineffable perfection of worship. The successful devotee appears externally to be engaged in chanting the Holy Name while leading a renounced and simple life, but internally she is constantly experiencing the splendors of the greatest rasa. On the other hand, the practitioners who are externally engaged in elaborate displays of devotional activity but do not take care to stabilize their minds will never be able to take their meditation to the next level of āpana-daśā, or “the stage of attainment.” Thus they may practice for many lifetimes without success.


[FN3] The bhajan described here is a natural process, but if it becomes contaminated by false identities, it is diverted and becomes a means to something other than Vrindavan. One should approach a pure devotee spiritual master and learn from him what is pure bhajan and what are the false accretions to such service. Such discernment will equip one to perform bhajan properly.



The stage of appropriation


āpana-sādhane smṛti yabe haye vratī |
acire āpana-daśā haya śuddha ati ||82||

As one advances in one’s personal practice, engaging in meditation,
one will quickly attain the very holy stage of appropriation.

nija śuddha-bhāvera ye nirantara smṛti |
tāhe dūra haya śīghra jaḍa-baddha-mati ||83||

By constantly remembering one’s pure spiritual identity
the remnants of identification with matter will quickly be effaced.


The process by which the conditioned soul attains bhāva


jaḍa-baddha jīva bhuli’ nija siddha-sattva |
jaḍa abhimāne haya jaḍa-dehe matta ||84||

The soul conditioned by matter forgets his own perfected state
and in identification with matter remains absorbed in his material body.

Here Hari Das is explaining how the process of attaining perfection is indeed an easy and natural process. The jiva is a particle of pure conscious energy. The soul possesses a spiritual body that is integral to his eternal spiritual identity. When the spiritual being forgets his own perfect spiritual nature, he comes under the influence of the illusory energy and becomes offensive to Lord Krishna. In this condition, he identifies with matter and becomes completely absorbed in the false designations of his gross body. If one is able to regain knowledge of his true spiritual identity through the blessings of the spiritual master, it becomes a natural and simple process to attain it.

From this point, the step-by-step process through which this identity is concretely realized is described as follows. For the conditioned soul, this process is found in the culture of devotion. There are in fact two procedures, one called “regulative” (vaidha-krama), the other “spontaneous” (rāgānuga-krama).

In the beginning, the vaidha and rāgānuga procedures appear different, but once one attains the bhāvāpana stage (the stage of appropriating one’s natural spiritual mood, relation or identity), this distinction ceases to exist. The regulative process begins when one accepts the scriptural discipline, whereas the spontaneous path has its beginnings in the yearning to participate in the activities of the Lord’s personal associates in Vraja. As such, the first of these two processes is more common, whereas the latter is rare.

tabe yadi kṛṣṇa-līlā kariyā śravaṇa |
lobha haya pāibāre nija siddha-dhana ||85||

If one is fortunate enough to hear Krishna’s pastimes being described,
he begins to yearn once again to appropriate this perfected state.

tabe bhāva-tattva-smṛti anukṣaṇa kare |
bhāva yata bāḍe tāra bhrānti tata hare ||86||

He constantly fixes his mind on his spiritual identity and Krishna lila,
and as his identification with the spiritual increases, all erroneous concepts dissipate.


The ordained and spontaneous approaches to the stage of remembering and the need for the latter


smaraṇa dvividha vaidha rāgānuga āra |
rāgānugā smṛti yukti-śāstra haite pāra ||87||

Remembering is of two kinds: ordained and spontaneous(FN4)
Spontaneous remembering is beyond both reason and scriptural injunctions.


(FN4) Someone may ask how remembering one’s siddha deha can fall within the “ordained” (vaidha) category. In fact, any action at any time can be done either because one is directed by the head or by the heart. Thus, even though the original motivation for a general direction may be based on the heart, as long as one is a conditioned soul one inevitably finds one’s enthusiasm waning. Those whose impulse to remembering their siddha form persistently continues to arise spontaneously rather than out of a sense of obligation will attain perfection more quickly, even though strictly speaking both are following the rāgānugā path. Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu discusses the terms jāta-ruci and ajāta-ruci devotees on the rāgānugā path in Bhakti-sandarbha 312-314. There, those rāgānugā bhaktas who have not attained the stage of ruchi (see Glossary) are advised to practice a mixture of rāgānugā and vaidhī bhakti. In his commentary to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.6), Jiva also says even when sādhana bhakti is based on a longing for rāga, such sādhana may be functioning within the limits of scriptural injunctions and thus be partially vaidhī bhakti.



mādhurya ākṛṣṭa haye karaye smaraṇa |
acirāte prāpta haya daśā bhāvāpana ||88||

Remembering out of attraction for the sweetness of the divine romance,
quickly leads one to the state of appropriation, bhāvāpana-daśā.


The progress of the regulative devotee


vaidha-bhakta smṛti-kāle sadā vicāraya |
anukūla yukti-śāstra yakhana ye haya ||89||

While engaged in meditation, the regulative devotee reviews
the various texts that give favorable rationales for his practice.

bhāvāpane haya bhāva āvirbhāva-kāla |
śāstra-yukti chāḍe tabe jāniyā jañjāla ||90||

When he reaches the state of bhāva-bhakti,
through full appropriation of his identity,
then he gives up the scriptural arguments,
knowing them to be superfluous.

śraddhā niṣṭhā rucy-āsakti-krame yei bhāva |
āpana samaye tāhā haya āvirbhāva ||91||

This devotee progresses through faith, commitment, taste, and attachment.
Then at the time of appropriation, he attains bhāva.

“At the time of appropriation” means “upon arriving at the stage of appropriating his own spiritual identity.” (FN5)


(FN5) Bhaktivinoda Thakur is clarifying his use of the word bhāva, distinguishing it here as that bhāva that comes in the progressive development through śraddhā, etc., as described in the Bhakti-rasamṛta-sindhu, from the way he has been using it over the last section, as the spiritual identity, as in the bhāvāpana-daśā.



At the stage of appropriation, there is no difference between regulative and spontaneous devotees


bhāvāpane rāgānugā vaidha-bhakta bheda |
nāhi thāke kona mate gāya smṛti veda ||92||

All scriptures agree that with the appropriation of the spiritual identity,
any distinction between vaidha and rāgānugā devotees disappears.(FN6)


(FN6) Once again, Bhaktivinoda is using the terms rāgānugā and vaidha somewhat differently from their classical usage. Typically, vidhi bhakti and rāgānugā-bhakti are said to not lead to the same results. Many scriptural texts clearly state this (e.g. CC 2.8.219-230). But texts such as this are themselves prescriptive in nature and present a rationale for engaging in rāgānugā bhakti. When the practitioner’s enthusiasm flags, he may turn to such scriptural texts to motivate himself to engage in smaraṇa, which is the real stage of cultivation or practice of rāgānugā bhakti. At the stage of perfecting this practice, there is no longer any need for any motivational discourse, since the attainment of identity as a Vraja gopi means, by definition, being enthusiastically absorbed in the Divine Couple's pastimes and service.


Five Kinds of Remembering

smaraṇa dhāraṇā dhyāna anusmṛti āra |
samādhi e pañcavidha smaraṇa prakāra ||93||

Simple remembering, self-reminding, meditation,
trance are the five kinds of smaraṇa.

Simple remembering is the stage where one recalls her spiritual identity in its eleven aspects and its relationship to her service in the circadian pastimes of the Divine Couple. At this point, there is still no constancy in such remembrance, as at times one remembers, while at others is distracted. As one progresses, one comes to the stage of self-reminding (dhāraṇā), in which one attempts to attain steadiness in meditation. When one concentrates on all aspects of the object of meditation, that is called dhyāna or meditation. When one meditates at every moment, the state is called “constant recollection” or anusmṛti. When the meditation is perfect and uninterrupted, and one thinks only of Lord Krishna’s pastimes and nothing else, that state is called samādhi. By meditating in samādhi in this way one attains āpana-daśā. People who are not expert may require many lifetime to pass through these five stages of remembering, but one who is adept will be able to pass through them quickly and attain āpana-daśā. (FN7)


(FN7)These five stages of remembering (smaraṇa) are explained in detail by Jiva Goswamipada in Bhakti-sandarbha, 278.


The arising of the appropriation stage

samādhi svarūpa smṛti ye samaye haya |
bhāvāpana daśā āsi ha-ibe udaya ||94||

When one’s meditation on one’s identity becomes fixed in samādhi,
then the stage of full appropriation of that identity comes about.


The practitioner’s state of being at that time


sei kāle nija siddha-deha-abhimāna |
parājiyā jaḍa-deha habe adhiṣṭhāna ||95||

At that time, identification with one’s spiritual form,
entirely overcomes the influence of the material body.

In the stage of appropriation, one’s sense of identity with the external material body is abandoned and one’s identification with the spiritual identity and form takes over.

takhana svarūpe vraja-vāsa kṣaṇe kṣaṇa |
bhāvāpane sva-svarūpe heri vraja-vana ||96||

On achieving this state, one is present at every moment in her form in Vraja,
where she sees the Vraja forests through the form she has made her own.

At this stage, one mentally resides constantly in Vraja in one’s original spiritual form. As one is now engaged in serving Sri Sri Radha and Krishna in that identity, one experiences the dawning of a great pleasure. As such, one remains absorbed in visions of Vrindavan Dham, one feels completely fixed in the spiritual identity and has visions of the Divine Couple’s transcendental pastimes as if they were actually taking place in front of her.


At the time of appropriation, one attains identity perfection; with the disintegration of the subtle body, concrete perfection


āpane svarūpa-siddhi labhe bhāgyavān |
liṅga-bhaṅge vastu-siddhi sampatti vidhāna ||97||

In the appropriation stage, the fortunate soul attains identity perfection;
when the subtle body disintegrates, concrete perfection and full possession.

By worshiping the Holy Name in this way, the devotee inevitably meets Lord Krishna face to face. Then, when his gross body suddenly dies by the Lord’s will, the subtle material body is also destroyed. In other words, with the death of the gross body made of five elements, the subtle material body of mind, intelligence and false ego also falls away. At this point, the soul’s pure spiritual form is manifested without any coverings and she can serve the Divine Couple in the spiritual world. (FN8)


(FN8) “Identity perfection” = svarūpa-siddhi; “concrete perfection” = vastu-siddhi; “full possession” = sampatti-daśā.


The fruit of perfection through practice

ha-iyā sādhana-siddhā nitya-siddhā saha |
samatā labhiyā kṛṣṇa-seve aharahaḥ ||98||

Souls who have attained perfection through practice also attain equality
to the eternally perfect souls, as both serve Lord Krishna night and day.

At this point, those perfected through practice (sādhana siddha) and the eternally perfect (nitya siddha) devotees all reside together in the same spiritual abode. [There is no distinction made between them at this point.]

Perfection through chanting the Holy Name

sevā-bhaṅga āra tāra kabhu nāhi haya |
parama ujjvala rase satata mātaya ||99||

At this stage, the devotee’s service to Krishna is never again interrupted
and she remains constantly intoxicated by thetaste of the divine romance.

nāma se parama dhana nāmera āśraye |
eta siddhi pāya jīva śuddha-sattva haye ||100||

The Holy Name is her greatest wealth: the Holy Name her shelter.
Situated in pure being, she attains all perfections.

A summary of the progression

ata eva bhakty-unmukha-jana sādhu-saṅge |
nirjane karibe nāma kramera abhaṅge ||101||

Therefore, the person interested in devotion, in the company of devotees,
will take up chanting in seclusion, without skipping any of the steps.

krame krame alpa-kāle sarva-siddhi haya |
kusaṅga varjiyā sādhu-saṅge phalodaya ||102||

Following this process, he will attain perfection in a short time.
If he shuns bad company and associates only with devotees, he will reach the goal.

For someone who has devotion born of an exclusive faith that rejects karma, jñāna, yoga or any other non-devotional process, the worship of the Holy Name is a treasure that is easily obtained. Worshiping the Holy Name through the stages described above, the devotee will find it much easier than any of the other limbs of devotional service and will successfully realize all his goals. The only expertise required is in avoiding non-devotees and chanting the Holy Name in the association of devotees. Ecstatic love of Krishna is like a special transcendental blade that can pierce a saintly devotee’s heart, whereas the impious heart repulses it. Prema cannot easily enter the heart of one who does not keep the company of pure devotees. Devotees and non-devotees are like good and bad conductors of electricity. Electricity is a particular material energy, while prema is a transcendental energetic force, but they are similar in that they can either be carried by a superconductor or have their transmission completely blocked by a non-conducting material.

The company of the saintly, peaceful seclusion and determination

sādhu-saṅga sunirjana nija dṛḍha-bhāva |
ei tina bale labhi mahimā svabhāva ||103||

The company of the saintly, peaceful seclusion and a determined attitude—
one attains his natural glory on the strength of these three things.

One who desires to attain the result brought by chanting the Holy Name must do these three things. That is, he must associate with saintly devotees, stay in a secluded place, and be determined.

āmi hīna kṣudra-mati viṣaye vibhora |
sādhu-saṅga vivarjita sadā ātma-cora ||104||

I am a fallen, small-minded and absorbed in the material sense objects.
I never associate with devotees. I am a thief who has robbed his own soul.

Hari Das Thakur is an eternally-perfect personal associate of the Lord. Still, he is humble. Humility is one of the ornaments bestowed on the devotee by prema.

ahaitukī kṛpā kabhu kariyā vistāra |
bhakti-rase gati deha prārthanā āmāra ||105||

O Lord, if ever You expand your causeless mercy,
then I pray You to allow me to relish the flavors of devotion.

The words ahaitukī kṛpā mean “blessings given for no reason.” Hari Das is saying, “I have performed no pious deed that would qualify me for Lord Krishna’s mercy. Therefore if He should decide to be merciful to me, it will not be because of any merit I have; it will be causeless mercy.”

Srila Hari Das Thakur is famous for his dedication to chanting and his teachings on the glories of the Holy Name. Yet, as the recipient of Lord Chaitanya’s special mercy, he is also an authority on the subject of rasa, which he also taught. This can be seen in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya 1), where he participated with Lord Chaitanya, Sri Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya in discussing Lalita-mādhava and Vidagdha-mādhava in the courtyard of his bhajan kutir. At that time, Hari Das suddenly recited Rupa’s verses glorifying the transcendental taste of the Holy Name (tuṇḍe tāṇḍavinī ratiṁ vitanute tuṇḍāvalī-labdhaye, etc. See Appendix 2).

eta bali haridāsa preme acetana |
śrī-gaurāṅga pade kare deha samarpaṇa ||106||

With these words, Hari Das fell unconscious, overcome with ecstatic love,
surrendering his body to Lord Gauranga’s lotus feet.

preme gadgada prabhu tāṅhāre uṭhāya |
āliṅgana diyā citta-kathā bale tāya ||107||

The Lord too was overcome with ecstasy and lifted him up, embraced him
and spoke His innermost thoughts in a voice choked with love:


The Lord’s command


śuna haridāsa ei līlā saṁgopane |
viśva andhakāra karibeka duṣṭa jane ||108||

Listen Hari Das, when these pastimes of Mine become invisible to the world,
wicked people will again plunge it back into darkness.

Who are these wicked people? It seems that the Lord is here referring to those such as the Sahajiyas, Bauls, and other preachers of various erroneous doctrines that covered the pure teachings about the Holy Name that He gave in His Śikṣāṣṭaka.

sei kāle tomāra e caramopadeśa |
avaśiṣṭa sādhu-jane bujhibe viśeṣa ||109||

When that happens, these final instructions you have given
will still be there to inspire the saintly people who remain.

The words “final instruction” mean that to which no other instruction is superior. The ultimate instruction was that one should cultivate chanting the Holy Name in the company of devotees.

ei tattva nāmāśraye niṣkiñcana jana |
nirjane basiyā kṛṣṇa karibe bhajana ||110||

The devotee who has nothing but Krishna will take shelter of this teaching
and the Holy Name, and sitting in a secluded place, will worship the Lord.

A devotee who has no possession but Lord Krishna and who is expert at tasting nectar will always taste the nectar of the holy names Hare Krishna with ecstatic love. (FN9)


(FN9) Bhaktivinoda Thakur here quotes a Bengali hymn glorifying the Maha Mantra. Since this song resembles other explanations of the Maha Mantra by Gopal Guru Goswami and Raghunath Das Goswami, it has been placed in Appendix 1, as one of the Explanations of the Maha Mantra


nija nija bhāgya-bale jīva pāya bhakti |
bhakti labhibāre sakalera nāhi śakti ||111||

Every jiva attains devotional service through his own good fortune,
but not everyone has the power to attain such devotion.

sukṛti janera bhakti dṛḍha karibāre |
āilāma yuga-dharma nāmera pracāre ||112||

In order to make firm the devotion of the pious,
I appeared in this age to preach the chanting of the Holy Name.

Someone may ask: “If individuals attain devotional service as a result of their past pious deeds, then what is the point of preaching to them?” To this question, the Lord replies: “It is true that faith in Krishna’s holy name comes to the individual soul as a result of his past pious acts, but I still came to preach that chanting the Holy Name is the yuga dharma, the religious practice of this age, so that individual souls will have faith in order to make their devotion strong. In fact, the chanting of the Holy Name is the sole eternal religion for all souls in every age.”


Hari Das Thakur is the Lord’s assistant in preaching the Name


tumi ta sahāya mora e kārya sādhane |
tava mukhe nāma-tattva śuni e kāraṇe ||113||

“You are My helper in achieving this purpose and that is why
I have made you speak on the doctrine of the Holy Name.”

harināma cintāmaṇi...akhila amṛta khani
kṛṣṇa-kṛpā bale ye pāila |
kṛtārtha se mahāśaya...sadā pūrṇānanda-maya
rāga-bhāve śrī-kṛṣṇa bhajila ||114||

This touchstone of the Holy Name is an unlimited mine of nectar;
the fortunate soul who finds it through Krishna’s blessings
is fulfilled by it. He always experiences the fullness of joy,
for it leads him to worship Krishna in spontaneous love.

tāṅhāra caraṇa dhari...sadā kākuti kari
kāṅde ei akiñcana chāra |
e amṛta-rasa-leśa piyāiyā avaśeṣa
kara sāra ānanda vistāra ||115||

Taking hold of Hari Das’s feet, this worthless and dispossessed person
makes an earnest plea, over and over again:
“After you have finished drinking the nectar of Name,
leave just a drop and thus spread divine bliss to everyone.”

Here ends the fifteenth chapter of Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi
named “Bhajan Pranali.”

Here concludes the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi.