Another side of Bhaktivinoda Thakur 4: Attaining Siddhi

To review our discussion so far, Bhaktivinoda Thakur has outlined five stages of sadhana in the matter of cultivating our siddha manjari svarupa with the ekādaśa-bhāva, which we receive from our diksha guru. The first three stages of śravaṇa, varaṇa and smaraṇa-daśā have already been examined briefly in chapters two and three. Now in this chapter we will discuss the culminating stages of āpana- and sampatti-daśā:

āpana-sādhane smṛti yabe haye vratī |
acire āpana-daśā haya śuddha ati ||82||
nija śuddha-bhāvera ye nirantara smṛti |
tāhe dūra haya śīghra jaḍa-baddha-mati ||83||
As one becomes purified by performing līlā-smaraṇa on a daily basis, āpana-daśā will come in the course of time. For the constant meditation on one's siddha gopi svarupa seva [coupled with nama japa] will cleanse all of one's material contamination. (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 15.82-83)
Bhaktivinoda Thakur comments: "Those who cannot concentrate internally, who desire profit, name and fame, etc., will never attain āpana-daśā. Although this sadhana isn't difficult, if other desires creep in, our Vraja bhajan will not progress."

So how can we free ourselves from material contamination? That he states here:

jaḍa-baddha jīva bhuli’ nija siddha-sattva |
jaḍa abhimāne haya jaḍa-dehe matta ||84||
tabe yadi kṛṣṇa-līlā kariyā śravaṇa |
lobha haya pāibāre nija siddha-dhana ||85||
tabe bhāva-tattva-smṛti anukṣaṇa kare |
bhāva yata bāḍe tāra bhrānti tata hare ||86||
Materialistic people are engrossed in their material bodily identity and hence they have no idea about their siddha deha. But when one hears Krishna lila and develops lobha for attaining their nitya svarupa in that lila, they can then gradually become free from material bondage. Because the more one transfers their thoughts to serving in the siddha-deha, to that extent their material conditioning diminishes. (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 15.84-86)
It is at this point that Bhaktivinoda Thakur introduces the five stages of smaraṇa, which are smaraṇa, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, dhruvānusmṛti and samādhi. [These have been discussed by Jiva Goswami in Bhakti-sandarbha.] He comments:

"During smaraṇa's first stage, the sadhaka will try to conceive his manjari svarupa according to his ekādaśa-bhāva and perform Radha Krishna's ashtakala mānasi seva. But sometimes their mind will go astray. Dhāraṇā is the stage when we can fix our mind on mānasi seva for greater lengths of time. Dhyāna is when our meditation lasts for longer periods of time, when we can see more clearly Radha, Krishna and the sakhis and what they are doing. Dhruvānusmṛti is smaraṇa that continues almost constantly. Then when we can actually see Radha-Krishna, the sakhis and our own manjari svarupa in sakshat darshan, this is called samādhi.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur goes on: "The inexperienced sadhaka may take many lifetimes to attain samadhi, but one who expertly strives by the right means can attain siddhi in a short time."

Sampatti daśā means samādhi, so Bhaktivinoda Thakur goes on to say,

samādhi svarūpa smṛti ye samaye haya |
bhāvāpana daśā āsi ha-ibe udaya ||94||
sei kāle nija siddha-deha-abhimāna |
parājiyā jaḍa-deha habe adhiṣṭhāna ||95||
takhana svarūpe vraja-vāsa kṣaṇe kṣaṇa |
bhāvāpane sva-svarūpe heri vraja-vana ||96||
"When smaraṇa of our manjari svarupa seva reaches samadhi, bhava awakens. Then our consciousness in the siddha deha will conquer over our material bodily consciousness. From moment to moment then we will see with spiritual vision our siddha svarupa and the transcendental land of Vraja." (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 15.94-96)
sevā-bhaṅga āra tāra kabhu nāhi haya |
parama ujjvala rase satata mātaya ||99||
nāma se parama dhana nāmera āśraye |
eta siddhi pāya jīva śuddha-sattva haye ||100||
"From that stage one never loses sight of their nitya-svarupa seva as they become ever intoxicated by ujjvala-bhakti rasa. This is the fruit which comes from taking shelter of nama-japa – one attains siddhi as the Lord's suddha sattva shakti enters their heart." (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 15.99-100)
Bhaktivinoda Thakur concludes this discussion in Harināma-cintāmaṇi's last chapter saying,

sādhu-saṅga sunirjana nija dṛḍha-bhāva |
ei tina bale labhi mahimā svabhāva ||103||
"To attain siddhi in a short time we require three things:
  1. ideal sādhu-saṅga, the association of other bhaktas who desire to attain siddhi,
  2. sunirjana, an ideal secluded place (preferably in the Dham) where one can fully concentrate,
  3. dṛḍha-bhāva, a firm vow. (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 15.103)
Rasa Analysis

We can remember that Bhaktivinoda Thakur recommends that one chant three lakhs of nama japa daily (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 12). Although for those who are adept in this art, chanting three lakhs won't take up the entire day. So what will one do then? With this consideration in mind, Bhaktivinoda Thakur goes on to say that nama japa should not stop but should be continuously performed for the following reason:

aviśrānta nāme nāma aparādha yāya |
tāhe aparādha kabhu sthāna nāhi pāya ||56||
divā-rātra nāma laya anutāpa kare |
tabe aparādha yāya nāma phala dhare ||57||
aparādha gate śuddha nāmera udaya |
śuddha nāma bhāva maya āra prema maya ||58||
For one who constantly chants nama japa, nama aparadhas won't have the chance to enter. Therefore, perform nama japa day and night with a feeling of deep humility, so the fruit of the name can be attained. When our aparadhas depart, then the pure name, the suddha nama, will appear to awaken bhava and prema in one's heart. (Harināma-cintāmaṇi 13.56-58)
Now let's combine this instruction with Bhaktivinoda Thakur's previous siddhanta:

pūrṇa prasphuṭita nāma kusuma sundara |
aṣṭa-kāla nitya-līlā prakṛtira para ||24||
"The beautiful flower of the nama fully blossoms in Radha Krishna's ashtakala nitya lilas which lie far beyond our material world." (Harināma-cintāmaṇi  15.24)
So as one chants nama japa continuously, lila smaraṇa and mānasi seva in one's mentally conceived manjari svarupa should also go on, and here we can discover the essence of all the instructions found in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

ata eva gopī bhāva kari aṅgīkāra
rātri dina cinte rādhā kṛṣṇera vihār
siddha dehe cinti kare tāhāi sevana
sakhī bhāve pāya rādhā kṛṣṇera caraṇa
Therefore accept the mood of the gopis and contemplate the pastimes of Sri Rädhä and Krishna both night and day. Thus while meditating on your gopi siddha deha and performing mānasi seva, you will attain Rädhä and Krishna's caraṇa seva as a manjari sakhi. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta 2.8.227-8)
The author's submission

Those who are preaching to spread Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's sankirtan movement are assisting the Lord in his external mission, namely to uplift the fallen jivas in Kali Yuga. This is a great task, no doubt, since the whole world is filled with fallen conditioned people who are really in need of help.

But if Mahaprabhu's teachings are assimilated progressively step by step, there should come a time when a transformation takes place in our hearts, when lobha awakens the desire to take up raganuga bhakti sadhana. Then as we understand who we want to become in Gaura Lila and Krishna Lila, bhakti will take on its real form. Then we can devote the rest of our lives to bringing about this goal.

From Bhaktivinoda Thakur's teaching in Harināma-cintāmaṇi, we learn that one can progress from śravana-daśā to sampatti-daśā and attain siddhi in a short time. That is, if we can perform the sadhana expertly with a firm vow. And Bhaktivinoda Thakur also recommends the association of other Vaishnavas who strongly desire to attain siddhi. But if such exalted sadhu sanga is not available, then what will we do?

Since this is usually the case, mānasa-sanga is the ideal solution. Mānasa-sanga means that we associate with great, spiritually perfected persons in the mind. What we are stating here is actually what raganuga bhajan is all about: that we enter the madhura Vraja lila in our smaraṇa by envisioning it and serving the nitya-siddhas and sadhana-siddha parshads of the Lord who take part in the pastimes that we wish to attain. And when combined with continuous nama-japa, such bhajan becomes very potent. Because by properly executing this process, one can advance by leaps and bounds in a short time. Then vidvad-anubhava will awaken in one's heart the insight to see what goes on in the lila, along with the awareness of how to properly serve the Lord, his close associates, and one's manjari parampara members. Though with vidvad-anubhava one becomes eligible to receive mahat-kripa, the mercy of those nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha parshads, which can bring about sakshat darshan of the lila that one beholds in the mind.


Prem Prakash said…
Jagadananda dass, you must think highly of Gadadhar Pran's work to offer it such a prominent place on your blog. Can you offer your insights on his writing?

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