lunes, 16 de enero de 2012

Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta - First Chapter Sixth Shower

Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta - First Chapter Sixth Shower

Sixth Shower

Discussion on Sādhana

So far we have discussed seven objects of proof (Prameyas) that were established by the system of bona fide evidence (Pramāṇa). We also discussed the relationship between the jīva and the Supreme Lord (Sambandha-tattva) from this knowledge of reality, we said that the jīva, by forgetting his eternal position as a servant of Kṛṣṇa, has fallen into the ocean of repeated birth and death and is suffering by being burnt in the fire of the three-fold miseries.

How can this unhappiness be mitigated?

By deliberating on this, it becomes apparent that by again establishing our relationship with Kṛṣṇa, all miseries will be dispelled and one will attain supreme bliss.

Mistaken identity or Vivarta-vāda

The jīva is an eternally perfect spiritual entity. There is factually no bondage or suffering for the jīva. Its only mistake is conceiving that the body is the true self (ātmā) and this illusory misconception in the form of Vivarta-vāda, occurs and torments the jīvas. The Māyāvādīs understanding of the two examples; seeing a rope as a snake or mother of pearl as silver, given in the Vedas of Vivarta, is flawed. Because of this error they have made the mistake of misidentifying the existence of the jīva as being Brahma (the supreme) who is under the grip of illusion. The Māyāvādīs say that the jīva is really Brahma and it is only because of illusion we see it as a jīva. However, if one attains the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master (Sad-guru), one can see the true path. One will understand that the example given here is not at all in relation to the topic of the existence or composition of the jīva; rather, this example is referring to the jīva mistaking the gross and subtle material bodies for his true self, thus being in the bodily conception of life (Dehātma-buddhi). In contrast to Vivarta, when an object assumes another form, this is called a transformation or Pariṇāma. By adding a transformative ingredient, milk becomes altered into yogurt; this is an example of Pariṇāma.

atattvo ‘nyathābuddhir vivartta ityudāhata
sattattvo ‘nyathā buddhir vikāra iti śabdyate

“However, when an object is mistaken as another, which is not present, this is called Vivarta-vāda. When it is changed into another substance then it is called a transformation (Pariṇāma- vāda).”

Just as when there is no snake present, but one wrongly thinks a rope to be a snake, or when there is no silver present, but one mistakenly considers the shine of mother of pearl found in an oyster shell to be silver. In both these situations, a mistake has been committed in the form of illusionary misidentification (Vivarta-bhrama). This is where one has incorrectly considered something to be a different object. The jīva is a pure, all-spiritual entity and factually is never bound by Māyā, but because of the powerful influence of perverted material intelligence in the form of this Vivarta-bhrama (illusionary misconception) the jīva imagines himself to be something which he is factually not, that is, this gross material body. The examples of Vivarta-vāda, such as mistaking a rope to be a snake or the oyster shell to be silver, may be utilised when the Baddha-jīva is found in such an misfortunate position.

sa eva yarhi prakṛter guṇeṣv abhiviṣajjate
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate

tena saṁsāra-padavīm avaśo ’bhyetya nirvṛtaḥ
prāsaṅgikaiḥ karma-doṣaiḥ sad-asan-miśra-yoniṣu
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.27.2-3)

“When the jīva comes out of the mother’s womb and becomes attached to the three modes of material nature, he becomes bewildered and thinks in terms of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and thinks of himself as ‘I am the doer.’”

“Because of being controlled by the false-ego, the soul perceives material happiness and attains material objects. Along with this, because of faults in action, sometimes he takes birth in a good species such as a Brāhmaṇa and sometimes in an inferior species such as a dog.”

The perversion of the intelligence by such Vivarta-vāda will be dispelled when one obtains pure instructions from a bona fide spiritual master. By this connection the self-conception that “I am a servant of Kṛṣṇa,” strengthens and becomes unflinching.

evaṁ gurūpāsanayaika-bhaktyā
vidyā-kuṭhāreṇa śitena dhīraḥ
vivṛścya jīvāśayam apramattaḥ
sampadya cātmānam atha tyajāstram
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam  11.12.24)

“As Bhakti in the form of worship of the spiritual master, thus a sober and learned person cuts down the subtle body by the axe of knowledge and attains the wealth of the soul. Then after abandoning the axe, one will attain Para-bhakti.”

Thus abandoning the desire for liberation and by performing devotional service to Kṛṣṇa (Bhakti), the Vivarta-vāda intelligence will easily be dispelled.  By desiring mokṣa or liberation, one cannot perform the Sādhana (means to achieve spiritual perfection) necessary to attain one’s constitutional service (Sva-dharma); rather, an indirect and negative cultivation of Sādhana is performed.

yastatu āśiṣa āśāste
na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.10.4)

“One is simply a merchant who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service.”

Thus it is seen that Bhakti is the one and only Sādhana or spiritual practice to be undertaken. In recent times uninformed people neglect Bhakti or they regard Jñāna or Karma as Sādhana (spiritual practice):

nālaṁ dvijatvaṁ devatvam ṛṣitvaṁ vā’surātmajāḥ
prīṇanāya mukundasya na vṛttaṁ na bahu-jñatā

na dānaṁ na tapo nejyā na śaucaṁ na vratāni ca
prīyate ’malayā bhaktyā harir anyad viḍambanam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.7.51-52)

“O sons of the demons! You cannot attain love of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by becoming perfect Brāhmaṇas, demigods or great saints or by perfect etiquette or vast learning. None of these are causes of attaining love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

“Not by charity, austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness or vows within the Karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas, can one satisfy Śrī Hari. The Lord is pleased by pure devotion. Without devotional service, everything is simply a show.”

It is true that Jñāna and Karma can assist Bhakti, but they are never to be considered the main focus of Sādhana.

śreyobhir vividhaiś cānyaiḥ
kṛṣṇe bhaktir hi sādhyate
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.24)

“Bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is attained by giving charity, following vows, performing austerities and fire sacrifices, by japa, study of Vedic texts, observance of regulative principles and by the performance of many other auspicious practices.”

(Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī explains the processes described here as follows. Dāna: donations given to Lord Viṣṇu and His devotees; Vrata: observing vows such as Ekādaśī; Tapas: renunciation of sense gratification for Kṛṣṇa’s sake; Homa: fire sacrifices dedicated to Viṣṇu; Japa: privately chanting the holy names of the Lord; Svādhyāya: study and recitation of Vedic texts such as the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad.)

Bhakti is the only process to achieve the Lord (Abhidheya)

kṛṣṇa-bhakti haya abhidheya-pradhāna
bhakti-mukha-nirīkṣaka karma-yoga-jñāna

ei saba sādhanera ati tuccha bala
kṛṣṇa-bhakti vinā tāhā dite nāre phala
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.17-18)

“Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is the principle function of the living entity. There are different methods for the liberation of the conditioned soul – Karma, Jñāna, Yoga and Bhakti – but all are dependent on Bhakti. Without devotional service, all other methods for spiritual self-realisation are weak and insignificant. Unless one comes to devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Jñāna and Yoga cannot give the desired results.”

kevala jñāna 'mukti' dite nāre bhakti vinā
kṛṣṇonmukhe sei mukti haya jñāna vinā
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.21)

“Speculative knowledge (Jñāna) alone, without devotional service, is not able to give liberation. On the other hand, even without Jñāna one can easily obtain liberation if one engages in Sādhana-bhakti.”

'kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa'—jīva tāhā bhuli' gela
ei doṣe māyā tāra galāya bāndhila

tāte kṛṣṇa bhaje, kare gurura sevana
māyā-jāla chuṭe, pāya kṛṣṇera caraṇa

cāri varṇāśramī yadi kṛṣṇa nāhi bhaje
svakarma karite se raurave paḍi' maje
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.24-26)

“The living entity is bound by the neck to the chain of Māyā because of forgetting that he is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. If someone engages in service to Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, he becomes free of the clutches of Māyā and obtains the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. If the followers of the Varṇāśrama system do not render transcendental service to Kṛṣṇa, they fall into hell.”

mukha-bāhūru-pādebhyaḥ puruṣasyāśramaiḥ saha
catvāro jajñire varṇā guṇair viprādayaḥ pṛthak

ya eṣāṁ puruṣaṁ sākṣād ātma-prabhavam īśvaram
na bhajanty avajānanti sthānād bhraṣṭāḥ patanty adhaḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.5.2-3)

“Each of the four varṇas (social orders) was born from the universal form of the Supreme Lord; the face (the Brāhmaṇas), the arms (the kṣatriyas), the thighs (the Vaiśyas) and the feet (the Śūdras). Thus the four āśramas (spiritual orders) were also generated. The Gṛhasthas came from the loins, the Brahmacārīs from the heart, the Vānaprasthas from chest and the Sannyāsīs from the forehead. One accepts a birth into the appropriate varṇa, corresponding to the particular mode of nature that is predominant within them.”

jñānī jīvan-mukta-daśā pāinu kari, māne
vastutaḥ buddhi 'śuddha' nahe kṛṣṇa-bhakti vine
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.29)

“The Jñānīs consider that they have reached the liberated platform (Jīvan-mukta); however, their intelligence is not purified without engaging in Kṛṣṇa's devotional service.”

Without Bhakti, other processes like Karma, Yoga and Jñāna are fruitless

Śrīman Mahāprabhu said that because Karma, Aṣṭāṅga-yoga (the eight-fold process of Yoga) and Jñāna are described as Sādhana in a few scriptures, people with small intelligence, not able to understand the inner intention of those scriptures, accept these as being the main Sādhana or Abhidheya. There are many different levels of qualification amongst human beings and they are of two principle varieties: Pravṛtta (inclined towards material enjoyment) and Nivṛtta (inclined towards renunciation). Whatever Sādhana is being practiced by those persons, with the intention of taking them to a higher position, is only a gauṇa or secondary Sādhana; it is not the real or main Sādhana or Abhidheya. The fruit of the practice of these secondary Sādhanas is just to elevate one to the next stage of development. Therefore, in terms of the greatness of the attainment of the Supreme (Bṛhat-tattva), the fruits given by these secondary Sādhanas are practically worthless and insignificant. Without having Bhakti as the goal, such paths as Yoga, Jñāna and Karma do not have the Śakti to independently give any results.

sarvā niyama-codanāḥ
tad-antā yadi no yogān
āvaheyuḥ śramāvahāḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.15.28)

“Even Yoga as a method of purification, is not a good arrangement, because all of the rules and inspiration towards Vedic rituals are performed only with the intention of controlling the five senses and the mind. So even if it is performed in a way that is favourable towards Bhakti, then such practice of Yoga is simply a troublesome burden and gives no result at all.”

If these various practices have the performance of Kṛṣṇa-bhakti as their ultimate intention, then they are able to bestow some secondary results. The practice of Jñāna alone cannot bestow Mukti or liberation. With the help of Bhakti, one obtains Sambandha-jñāna (knowledge about the relationship between Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality, and other living entities). Mukti (liberation) is a preliminary result of this Sambandha-jñāna.

Bhakti can easily give the secondary and insignificant fruit of Mukti within the practice of Jñāna. In relation to Karma, any activity mentioned in the scriptures, which is to be performed within the confines of the four varṇas and āśramas, is called Dharma. This can be called Trai-vargika dharma, as it deals with the three goals of life known as Dharma (religiosity), Artha (economic development) and Kāma (sense gratification). This topic will be more elaborately explained in the second chapter. In this regard, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has instructed that those inclined towards worldly enjoyment can get strength by practicing the principal rules of Vaidhī-bhakti, as well as easily maintaining the body and family. Therefore, those who are materially inclined and who follow the system of Varṇāśrama, with Kṛṣṇa-bhakti as their final goal, are qualified for Śuddha-bhakti.  However, those who are situated in the system of Varṇāśrama, but who do not practice Bhakti, then even though they follow their prescribed duties, go to hell.

There is a full discussion on the topic of Sādhana-bhakti in the third chapter. When Vaidhī-sādhana-bhakti becomes Śuddha-bhakti, then one becomes qualified for the practice of Sādhana-bhakti, which leads to the stage of Prema.

Prema is an eternally perfected substance

The Prema that the jīva has towards the Supreme is the naturally occurring Dharma of the jīva. That Prema is the factual ultimate attainment or Sādhya.

An argument may arise that if this ultimate attainment of Prema is an eternally occurring perfected substance, then how can it be a Sādhya?

With regard to this topic, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has said:

ebe sādhana-bhakti-lakṣaṇa śuna, sanātana
yāhā haite pāi kṛṣṇa-prema-mahā-dhana
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.104)

“My dear Sanātana, please now hear the symptoms of Sādhana-bhakti (devotion at the stage of practice). By this practice, one can attain Prema, the highest perfection and the most desirable treasure.”

śravaṇādi-kriyā—tāra 'svarūpa'-lakṣaṇa
'taṭastha'-lakṣaṇe upajaya prema-dhana

nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema 'sādhya' kabhu naya
śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.106-107)

“The spiritual activities of hearing, chanting, remembering and so forth are the internal characteristics of such Sādhana-bhakti. The marginal characteristic is that it awakens the wealth of Prema for Kṛṣṇa. Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is eternally established within the jīvas. It is not something to be gained from outside. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, it naturally awakens.”

The essence of these instructions by Śrīman Mahāprabhu is that Prema is a perfect substance. When the jīva is bewildered by the deluding potency of Māyā, the jīva may exhibit some secondary or external symptoms of Prema. At this stage, the internal symptoms have not yet awoken. The internal symptom (Svarūpa-lakṣaṇa) of Sādhana-bhakti is the performance of activities such as hearing, chanting and remembering the name, forms, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau bhaktiś cen nava-lakṣaṇā
kriyeta bhagavaty addhā tan manye ’dhītam uttamam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.5.23-24)

Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja said:

“The following nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service: hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu; remembering them; serving the lotus feet of the Lord; offering Him respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia; offering Him prayers; becoming His servant; considering Him one’s best friend; and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words.) One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”

By the gradual performance of this Sādhana-bhakti, the marginal symptoms (Taṭastha-lakṣaṇa) of that Prema will first manifest like concealed fire (as fire is always inherent within wood) and when one attains freedom from the subtle body, or upon the attainment of Vastu-siddhi (perfect, eternal spiritual form), the Svarūpa-lakṣaṇa or intrinsic qualities of Prema, will appear. Thus Prema is a perfected substance. It is never produced or created by the performance of Sādhana; rather, it is awakened within the purified heart by hearing and chanting. Therefore, it is clear that the performance of Sādhana is essential.

This Sādhana-bhakti is of two types: Vaidhī-sādhana-bhakti and Rāgānugā-sādhana-bhakti. Śrīman Mahāprabhu said:

ei ta’ sādhana-bhakti—dui ta' prakāra
eka 'vaidhī bhakti', 'rāgānugā-bhakti' āra

rāga-hīna jana bhaje śāstrera ājñāya
'vaidhī-bhakti' bali' tāre sarva-śāstre gāya
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.108-109)

“There are two processes of practical Sādhana-bhakti. One is regulative devotional service (Vaidhī-bhakti) and the other is spontaneous devotional service (Rāgānugā-bhakti). Those who have not attained Rāga for the feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa should perform regulative devotion (Vaidhī-bhakti).”


When the conditioned soul has a profound attraction for any object other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then in such a condition, the person who desires his own welfare should perform Bhajana to Kṛṣṇa according to the injunctions of the scriptures. This type of Bhajana is called Vaidha-bhajana. By accepting the words of scripture as authority and performing activities from the perspective of what they delineate as prescribed or forbidden, is the first step on the path of auspiciousness.  At this stage the stimulus for performing devotional service is faith in the instructions of the scriptures. At first, the Śraddhā is pliant or soft, then it becomes stronger, and finally it becomes unflinching and at that stage it gives the fruit of perfection. In the association of Sādhus, Śraddhā gradually becomes unflinching according to the following sequence: Niṣṭhā, Ruci, Āsakti and the stage of Bhāva. At this stage, Vidhi (regulative devotion) also assumes a most astonishing form and then the Sādhaka is able to understand that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only real object of constant remembrance and He should never be forgotten at any stage. All the other rules and prohibitions are there only to support these two principles.

smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇur
vismartavyo na jātucit
sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur
etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.113, quoted from Śrī Padma Purāṇa)

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa should always be remembered and never forgotten. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the śāstras are the servants of these two principles.”

At this point in the practice of Sādhana-bhakti, the devotee abandons Niyamāgraha (excessiveness or neglect in following the rules and prohibitions of Sādhana-bhakti) and according to his qualification rejects some of these rules and begins to follow some activities that were previously forbidden, but now assist in remembering these two essentials.

sve sve ’dhikāre yā niṣṭhā
sa guṇaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
karmaṇāṁ jāty-aśuddhānām
anena niyamaḥ kṛtaḥ
saṅgānāṁ tyājanecchayā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.20.26)

“It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure.”

Śrīman Mahāprabhu has mentioned the sixty-four limbs of Sādhana-bhakti in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 22.115–28) in the following manner:

(1) One should accept the shelter of the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master. (2) One should accept initiation from the spiritual master. (3) One should serve the spiritual master with great faith and devotion. (4) One should receive instructions and inquire from the spiritual master on the path of devotion. (5) One should follow in the footsteps of the great ācāryas (teachers) under the direction of the spiritual master. (6) One should be prepared to give up one’s material enjoyment for the satisfaction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and accept anything for His satisfaction. (7) One should reside in a sacred place of pilgrimage associated with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (8) One should accept only what is necessary to maintain one’s life. (9) One should observe the fasting days associated with Śrī Kṛṣṇa such as Ekādaśī. (10) One should offer respect to sacred trees like the Banyan and Dhātrī, worship the cows, Brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. (11) One should avoid offenses against devotional service and the holy name. (12) One should rigidly give up the association of non-devotees. (13) One should not accept too many disciples. (14) One should abandon partially reading and explaining too many different scriptures. (15) One should be equal in both gain and loss. (16) One should not be under the spell of lamentation in loss or jubilation in gain. (17) One should not worship or disrespect the demigods or other scriptures. (18) One should not tolerate blasphemy of Viṣṇu and the Vaiṣṇavas. (19) One should not listen to, or speak topics unassociated with the service of Śrī Hari, Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas. (20) One should not give suffering to other living entities, however insignificant, by mind or words. (21) One must hear topics of Śrī Hari. (22) One must chant the holy name of the Lord. (23) One must remember Him. (24) One must worship Him. (25) One must offer prayers to Him. (26) One must render personal service to the Deities.  (27) One must become His servant. (28) One must become His friend. (29) One must surrender everything including oneself to Him. (30) One must dance before the Deity. (31) One must sing before the Deity. (32) One must open one’s mind to the Lord. (33) One should bow down immediately upon seeing the Deity, the spiritual master or the Vaiṣṇavas. (34) One should immediately rise from one’s seat upon seeing them to offer respect. (35). One should follow them in procession. (36) One should visit a Viṣṇu temple and holy places of pilgrimage. (37) One must circumambulate the temple. (38) One should recite prayers. (39) One should chant the holy name softly (Japa). (40) One should perform congregational chanting of the name (Saṅkīrtana). (41) One should smell the flowers and garlands that have been offered to the Deity and the spiritual master. (42) One must eat the remnants of Mahā-prasāda (food offered to the Deities). (43) One must attend the Ārati and other special festivals of the Lord. (44) One should look upon the Deity. (45) One should offer one’s favourite possessions to the Deity. (46) One should deeply meditate on Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Bhagavān is very eager to see His devotees render service to Tadīya (that which belongs or is related to Him). These include the following four. (47) One should perform the service of Tulasi. (48) One should serve Vaiṣṇavas. (49) One should serve Mathurā. (50) One must hear about the Lord and His pastimes from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. (51) One should endeavour by all means to satisfy Lord Kṛṣṇa. (52) One should feel oneself to be the recipient of the mercy of the Lord. (53) During Janmāṣṭamī (the time of Kṛṣṇa's appearance in this world) and other such special days, one should observe a special ceremony with devotees. (54) One should fully surrender to the Lord in all respects. (55) One should follow the vows of Cāturmāsya and the month of Kārtika. (56) One should decorate the body with tilaka, which is the sign of the Vaiṣṇavas. (57) One should decorate the body with the syllables of the holy name. (58) One must accept the flower garlands offered to the Deity. (59) One should drink the Caraṇāmṛta (water from the bathing of the Deities). (60) One should associate with devotees who are considered more advanced than oneself, affectionate, and aspiring towards the same goal. (61) One should engage in Saṅkīrtana (congregational chanting) of the holy name of the Lord. (62) One should relish the meaning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with Rasika devotees. (63) One should live in the jurisdiction of the Dhāmas such as Vṛndāvana and Mathurā. (64) One should worship the Deity with great faith and devotion.

The last five of these limbs of devotion are considered the best of all of the sixty limbs of Sādhana-bhakti. If one performs even a small portion of these five limbs without offense then one attains Kṛṣṇa-prema.

Divisions of stages

Of these sixty-four limbs of devotion, the nine beginning with Śravaṇa, Kīrtana, etc., are considered prominent, while the others are included within them. The first ten limbs of Sādhana-bhakti are considered the gateways to devotion. The next five limbs are forbidden acts, which are unfavourable to Bhakti, and five more are the acceptance of that which nourishes Bhakti. Of these, limbs such as the service of cows, Brāhmaṇas, trees such as the Banyan and Dhātrī, are social requisites, which are favourable for the discharge of devotion in the beginning stages. The final five limbs of devotion are most important, which is why they have been mentioned twice, and according to one’s maturity in Sādhana, special emphasis will be given in their practice.

The secret of Sādhana

There is one secret concerning Sādhana. Knowledge in relation to Bhagavān, Bhakti and renunciation of sense objects, these three equally increase with one’s advancement in devotion.

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus
tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo ’nu-ghāsam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.2.42)

“With each morsel of food that a hungry person eats, he simultaneously experiences satisfaction, nourishment and relief from hunger. Similarly a surrendered devotee, who is engaged in the performance of Bhakti, simultaneously realises his worshipful deity, strengthens his relationship with that deity and becomes detached from this temporary world and material relationships.”

Where we see a break in this principle, then we must know for certain that there must be some defect in the performance of Sādhana.

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛnāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyamṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.5.41)

“One who has taken complete shelter of Bhagavān Mukunda and who is affectionate towards the surrendered is not indebted to the demigods, to his forefathers, to ordinary living entities or to relatives and guests. He is not subordinate to anyone other than Mukunda.”

At every stage, it is not possible to be saved from falling due to obstacles on the path, unless one receives the mercy of Guru and the association of the Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīman Mahāprabhu has said:

'eka' aṅga sādhe, keha sādhe 'bahu' aṅga
'niṣṭhā' haile upajaya premera taraṅga
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.134)

“When one is firmly fixed in one, or in many processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken.”

Some devotees practice one limb of Sādhana and others practice many limbs of Sādhana. Both types of devotees who practice with strong determination (Niṣṭhā) achieve the perfection of Prema. Śrīman Mahāprabhu has given the examples of those who follow only one limb of Sādhana, such as Parīkṣit Mahārāja (hearing or Śravaṇa), Śukadeva (chanting or kīrtana), Prahlāda (remembering or Smaraṇa), Lakṣmī (serving the lotus feet or Pāda-sevana), Pṛthu Mahārāja (worship or Arcana), Akrūra (offering prayers or Vandana), Hanumān (servitude or dāsya), Arjuna (friendship or sakhya) and Bali Mahārāja (complete self-surrender or Ātma-nivedana). An example of a Sādhaka who followed many limbs of devotion is that of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja.

A paramahaṁsa is not without regulation

As long as the heart of the Sādhaka is affected by desires to enjoy during the time of Sādhana, then he should remain dependent upon the system of Varṇāśrama-dharma. Those persons, who have completely rejected all material desires, in their performance of Sādhana, by following the rules of the scriptures, become intent on that Sādhana and become free from three types of debt.

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛnāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyamṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.5.41)

“One who has taken complete shelter of Bhagavān Mukunda, who is affectionate towards the surrendered, is not indebted to the demigods, to his forefathers, to ordinary living entities or to relatives and guests. He is not subordinate to anyone other than Mukunda.”

kāma tyaji' kṛṣṇa bhaje śāstra-ājñā māni'
deva-ṛṣi-pitrādigera kabhu nahe ṛṇī
(Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.136)

“If a person gives up all material desires and completely engages in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, as enjoined in revealed scriptures, he is never indebted to demigods, sages or forefathers.”

When a Sādhaka progresses from Vaidha-dharma (practice of devotion which is dependent upon the injunctions of the scriptures) to Niṣkāma-sādhana (spiritual practice free from material desires), the inclination to commit forbidden action is no longer present within the mind of such a devotee. In fact, it is impossible for a pure Sādhana-bhakta to perform sinful activity. However, if he inadvertently performs some sinful activity, then it is not necessary for him to perform atonement mentioned in the ritualistic process of Karma.

sva-pāda-mūlam bhajataḥ priyasya
tyaktānya-bhāvasya hariḥ pareśaḥ
vikarma yac cotpatitaṁ kathañcid
dhunoti sarvaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.5.42)

“It is not possible for those Premī-bhaktas who engage in Bhajana to the lotus feet of their most dear Śrī Kṛṣṇa with Ananya-bhāva, having given up all other thoughts, faiths and activities, to engage in sinful activities. However, if somehow or other they do, then by sitting in their heart, Śrī Hari cleans everything and makes their hearts pure.”

Knowledge (Jñāna) and renunciation (Vairāgya) are not limbs or stages of devotion

Some think that it is only proper to begin the practice of Sādhana after first acquiring knowledge and practicing renunciation, but this is incorrect.  Śrīman Mahāprabhu has stated that Jñāna and Vairāgya are not limbs of devotion:

jñāna-vairāgyādi—bhaktira kabhu nahe 'aṅga'
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.145)

“The path of speculative knowledge and renunciation is never a limb of devotional service.”

Bhakti is an independent activity. The activities of Jñāna and Vairāgya are likened to servants situated at a great distance from their mistress, the great queen named Bhakti-devī, the personification of devotion.

tasmān mad-bhakti-yuktasya
yogino vai mad-ātmanaḥ
na jñānaṁ na ca vairāgyaṁ
prāyaḥ śreyo bhaved iha
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.10.31)

“Therefore, for a devotee whose mind is fixed on Me and is engaged in My loving service, then neither Jñāna or Vairāgya are helpful in devotion.”

Good qualities like non-violence, morality and avoidance of sinful acts are naturally associated with Bhakti. It is unnecessary for any separate instructions or endeavours to attain them.


Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:

vaidhī-bhakti-sādhanera kahiluṅ vivaraṇa
rāgānugā-bhaktira lakṣaṇa śuna, sanātana

rāgātmikā-bhakti—'mukhyā' vraja-vāsī-jane
tāra anugata bhaktira 'rāgānugā'-nāme
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.148-149)

“O Sanātana! I have now described Vaidhī-bhakti. Now hear from Me about spontaneous devotional service (Rāgānugā-bhakti) and its symptoms. The eternal residents of Vṛndāvana such as Śrīdāma, Vasudāma, Śrī Nanda-Yaśodā and Śrī Lalitā-Viśākhā are attached to Kṛṣṇa spontaneously in devotional service, which is called Rāgātmikā-bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the service moods of these devotees of Vṛndāvana, his devotional service or Sādhana-bhakti is called Rāgānugā-bhakti.”

iṣṭe 'gāḍha-tṛṣṇā'—rāgera svarūpa-lakṣaṇa
iṣṭe 'āviṣṭatā'—taṭastha-lakṣaṇa kathana

rāgamayī-bhaktira haya 'rāgātmikā' nāma
ta-hā śuni' lubdha haya kona bhāgyavān

lobhe vraja-vāsīra bhāve kare anugati
śāstra-yukti nāhi māne—rāgānugāra prakṛti
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.151-153)

“The primary characteristic of this Rāga-bhakti is a deep thirst to serve one’s deity, namely Śrī Kṛṣṇa and deep attachment for Him is a marginal characteristic. Thus, devotional service that consists of Rāga (deep attachment) is called Rāgātmika-bhakti. If a Sādhaka, upon hearing of the services of these Rāgātmika-bhaktas and their attachment to Śrī Kṛṣṇa develops a greed to serve as they do within his heart, then he is considered to be most fortunate. Then he begins to follow in the footsteps of these Vrajavāsīs. The nature of such a Rāgānugā-sādhaka is that he does not depend on the injunctions or reasoning of śāstra.”

bāhya, antara,—ihāra dui ta' sādhana
'bāhye' sādhaka-dehe kare śravaṇa-kīrtana

'mane' nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana
rātri-dine kare vraje kṛṣṇera sevana
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 156-157)

“There are two processes of Sādhana by which one may execute this Rāgānugā-bhakti – external and internal. The external practice of such a Sādhaka is that with his physical body, he engages in hearing and chanting. However, within his mind, he performs “Abhyantara-sādhana” or the internal practice of thinking of his internally conceived spiritual body, and with this he serves Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His beloved eternal associates. Rāgānugā-sādhana requires the performance of both types of Sādhana.”

nijābhīṣṭa kṛṣṇa-preṣṭha pācheta' lāgiyā
nirantara sevā kare antarmanā hañā
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.160)

“Actually the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are very dear to Kṛṣṇa. If one wants to engage in spontaneous loving service, he must follow the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and constantly engage in devotional service within his mind.”

dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.162)

“Kṛṣṇa has many types of devotees – some are servants (Dāsya), some are friends (Sakhya), some are parents (Vātsalya) and some are conjugal lovers (Śṛṅgāra). The Rāgānugā-sādhakas who practice the above mentioned Sādhana, being situated in one of these four attitudes of spontaneous love; they achieve love for the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

ei mata kare yebā rāgānugā-bhakti
kṛṣṇera caraṇe tāṅra upajaya 'prīti'

prīty-aṅkure 'rati', 'bhāva'—haya dui nāma
yāhā haite vaśa hana śrī-bhagavān
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.164-165)

“If one engages in Rāgānugā-bhakti to the Lord, his affection for the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa gradually increases. The first sprout from the seed of affection is called Rati or Bhāva. This finally matures into the awakening of Prema. Śrī Kṛṣṇa comes under the control of such attachment.”

yāhā haite pāi kṛṣṇera prema-sevana
eita' kahiluṅ 'abhidheya'-vivaraṇa
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.162)

“That devotion by which one can attain loving service to the Lord is called Abhidheya. It is rarely attained.”

After showing the difference between Vaidhī-sādhana-bhakti and Rāgānugā-sādhana-bhakti, Śrīman Mahāprabhu concluded his discussion of Abhidheya (the process) or Sādhana-tattva. In the fourth chapter, Rāgānugā-bhakti will be described in a more expanded manner.

Sequential attainment is the path of auspiciousness

Those, whose knowledge of tattva has not matured, state that there is no necessity of Sādhana to achieve Bhakti. However there is evidence that such people either prefer the system of Varṇāśrama-Dharma or they fake artificial symptoms of Prema-bhakti (loving devotion). Yet, we see in the instructions to Bhakti, that a sequential advancement of one’s life is very fruitful. First a person should attain steadiness in good conduct and religiosity by practicing Varṇāśrama.  Then he must gradually progress to the next stage, which is the practice of Vaidhī-bhakti. Finally, with the attainment of Prema, one’s life will achieve completeness.

satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.25.25)

“In the association of pure devotees, there are powerful discussions that illuminate My heroic deeds and that are pleasing to both the ear and the heart. By hearing these narrations, one quickly proceeds along the path of the removal of ignorance (Avidyā-nivṛtti), which is the sequential development of Śraddhā, Rati and Prema-bhakti.”

According to the degree that an individual has achieved a superior qualification, then there must be some change in the position of their life and behaviour.

Fruitive activity (Karma) is not the Dharma of the soul

Some think that by following this progressive path of Bhakti they will actually become degraded. However, to say that the goal of a farmer, government worker, administrator, shopkeeper, clerk or a priest is to gradually become elevated, finally reaching the state of a Brāhmaṇa and then ultimately achieving the state of Brahma (liberation) along with Sannyāsa, is only cheating one’s self.

Such religious life only pertains to advancement on a material level. So even though it promises improvement for the soul, it is completely unable to do so. However, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has given instructions solely for going beyond such a mundane or earthly lie to easily obtain real spiritual life.

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.5.30)

“Materialistic persons, who are too much engaged in material enjoyment and who do not know anything beyond their material experiences, are carried by the whims of material nature. They live a life characterised by chewing the chewed and they are controlled by their uncontrolled senses. Thus they go down to the darkest regions of hellish life.”

Real improvement in life is only by Sādhana-bhakti

By following Varṇāśrama-dharma, the body is easily maintained. By Yoga, the mind is elevated; however, by Sādhana-bhakti the soul is elevated. If a Sādhaka does not become a great farmer, a expert businessman or a clever warrior, then still he can, according to his qualification, live a faultless life and become a perfect human being. In the same way, a king’s military advisor may not be expert at firing a rifle or cannon, but still he can make military arrangements for the soldiers; in the same manner, whoever is able to always see the superior position of a Sādhaka-bhakta, that person is factually intelligent. He has definitely attained the mercy of Bhagavān.

yadā yasyānugṛhṇāti
bhagavān ātma-bhāvitaḥ
sa jahāti matiṁ loke
vede ca pariniṣṭhitām
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.19.43)

“When Bhagavān (who is pleased by seeing the surrender and service of the jīva), blesses someone, then he can abandon worldly obligations and duties of this world, the materialistic ritualistic activities mentioned in the Karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas and all material attachment. He abandons dependence on society and scriptural regulations and because of being inspired in devotion, whatever he does, appears most beautiful.”

ye vā mayīśe kṛta-sauhṛdārthā
janeṣu dehambhara-vārtikeṣu
gṛheṣu jāyātmaja-rātimatsu
na prīti-yuktā yāvad-arthāś ca loke
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.5.3)

“Those persons who accept loving service towards Me, the Supreme Lord, as the supreme spiritual attainment, have no interest in talking with those who are busy maintaining their bodies, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They are not attached to their homes, which are filled with loving relatives, their children, wife, friends or wealth. They remain unattached to that which is related to the maintenance of their bodies.”

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