After the disappearance of Sriman Mahaprabhu and His eternal associates who had taken up residence in Vraja, the current of suddha-bhakti was flowing by the influence of three great personalities: Srinivasa Acaraya, Narottama Thakura, and Syamananda Prabhu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was fourth in the line of disciplic succession coming from Srila Narottama Thakura.
One disciple of Srila Narottama Thakura Mahasraya was named Sri Ganga-Narayana Cakravarti Mahasaya. He lived in Balucara Gambhila within the district of Mursidabada. He has no sons and only one daughter, whose name was Visnupriya. Srila Narottama Thakura had another disciple named Ramakrsna Bhattacarya form the brahmana community of Varendra, a rural community of West Bengal. The youngest son of Ramakrsna Bhattacarya was named Krsna-carana. Sri Ganga-Narayana accepted Krsna-carana as an adopted son. The disciple of Sri Krsna-carana was Radha-ramana Cakravarti, who was the spiritual master of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
In his commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam entitled Sarartha-darsini, at the beginning of the Rasa-pancadhyaya, five chapters describing Sri Krsna’s rasa-lila, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written the following verse:
sri rama-krsna-ganga-caranan natva gurun urupremnahIn this sloka the name Sri Rama refers to the spiritual master of Visvanatha Cakravarti Takura, Sri Radha-ramana. The word Krsna refers to his grand-spiritual master, parama-gurudeva, Sri Krsna-carana. The name Ganga-carana refers to his great grand spiritual master, paratpara-gurudeva, Sri Ganga-carana.. The name Narottama refers to his great-great grand-spiritual master, parama-paratpara-gurudeva, Srila Narottama Thakura, and the word natha refers to the spiritual master of Srila Narottama Thakura, Sri Lokanatha Gosvami. In this way, he is offering obeisances unto his guru-parampara up to Sriman Mahaprabhu.
srila narottama natha sri gauranga prabhum naumi
The daughter of Srinivasa Acarya, Hemalata Thakurani, was extremely learned and a great Vaisnavi. She expelled an estranged disciple named Rupa Kaviraja from the Gaudiya Vaisnava community. Since then Rupa Kaviraja was known as atibadi in the Gaudiya Vaisnava community. He established his own concocted doctrine, opposed to the Gaudiya Vaisnava conclusions, that only a person in the renounced order of life could act as acarya. He claimed that it was not possible for a householder to become a spiritual master. Completely disregarding the path of devotional rules and regulations (viddhi-marga), he propagated the path of spontaneous attraction (raga-marga) in an unrestrained and undisciplined manner. His opinion was that raganuga-bhakti could be practiced by smarana (remembrance) alone, abandoning the practices of sravana and kirtana (hearing and chanting).
Fortunately, Srila Cakravarti Thakura was present at that time. In his Sarartha-darsini commentary on the third canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, he refuted these false conclusions. The householder disciples in the disciplic succession of Nityananda Prabhu’s son, Virabhadra, and those who are descendants of the rejected sons of Advaita Acarya award and accept the title of gosvami. Such action is completely improper according to he line of acaryas. Sri Cakravarti Thakura refuted this idea of Rupa Kaviraja. He proved that it was not incompatible for a qualified grhastha descendant of an acarya to act as a spiritual master. But for unfit descendants of acarya families who are greedy for disciples and wealth to adopt the name of gosvami is unlawful and contrary to the statements of sastra. This he also proved. Therefore, although acting as an acarya, he never used the title gosvami with his name. He did this just to instruct the foolish and unfit descendants of acarya families of modern times.
When Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was very old, he spent most of the time in a semi-conscious state, deeply absorbed in bhajana. At that time in the state of Jaipur, a debate broke out between the Gaudiya Vaisanvas and other Vaisnavas who supported the doctrine of svakiyavada (marital love).
Jaya Singh II was the king of Jaipur. The Vaisnavas of the antagonistic camp led Jaya Singh to believe that the worship of Srimate Radhika along with Sri Govinda Deva was not supported by sastra. Their contention was that Srimate Radhika’s name was not mentioned anywhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam or the Visnu Purana and that She was never legally married to Krsna according to Vedic rituals. Another objection was that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas did not belong to a recognized line of disciplic succession or sampradaya. There are but four lines of Vaisnava disciplic succession which have descended from time immemorial: the Sri sampradaya, Brahma sampradaya, Rudra sampradaya, and Sanaka (Kumara) sampradaya.
In the age of Kali the principal acaryas of these four sampradayas are respectively: Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnusvami, and Sri Nimbaditya. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas were thought to be outside of these four sampradayas and were not accepted as having a pure lineage. In particular the Gaudiya Vaisnavas did not have their own commentary on the Brahma-Sutra. Therefore, they could not be accepted as a bona fide line of Vaisnava disciplic succession.
At that time Maharaja Jaya Singh, knowing the prominent Gaudiya Vaisanva acaryas of Vrndavan to be followers of Srila Rupa Goswami, summoned them to Jaipur to take up the challenge with the Vaisnavas from the line of Sri Ramanjua. Because he was very old and immersed in the transcendental bliss of bhajana, Sri Cakravarti Thakura sent his student, Gaudiya Vaisnava vedantacarya maha-mahopadhyaya (the great one among great teachers), pandita-kula-mukuta (the crown of the assembly of learned scholars), Sripada Baladeva Vidyabhusana to Jaipur along with his disciple Sri Krsnadeva, in order to address the assembly.
The caste gosvamis had completely forgotten their connection with the Madhva sampradaya. In addition to this they were disrespectful to the Vaisnava Vedanta and created a great disturbance for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Srila Baladeva Vidhyabhusana, by his irrefutable logic and powerful sastric evidence, proved that the Gaudiya sampradaya was a pure Vaisnava sampradaya coming in the line of Madhva. The name of this sampradaya is the Sri Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya. Our previous acaryas like Srila Jiva Gosvami, Kavi Karanapura, and others accepted this act. The Sri Gaudiya Vaisanavas accept Srimad-Bhagavatam as the natural commentary on the Vedanta-Sutra. For this reason no separate commentary of Vedanta-Sutra was written in the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya.
In various Puranas the name of Srimate Radhika is mentioned. She is the personification of the hladini (pleasure-giving) potency and the eternal beloved of Sri Krsna. In several places of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and specifically in the tenth canto in connection with the description of Vraja-lila, Srimati Radhika is mentioned in a very concealed manner. Only rasika and bhavuka bhaktas who are conversant with the conclusions of sastra can understand this confidential mystery.
In the learned assembly in Jaipur, Baladeva Vidyabhusana refuted all the arguments and doubts of the opposing party. He solidly established that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas were following in the line of disciplic succession descending from Madhva, as well as the authenticity of the worship of Radha-Govinda. The opposition was silenced by his presentation. Nonetheless, because the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya did not have a commentary on Vedanta-Sutra, the contesting party did not accept them as being a pure line of Vaisnava disciplic succession.
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana then wrote the famous Gaudiya commentary on the Brahma-Sutra named Sri Govinda Bhasya. Once again the worship of Sri Radha-Govinda began in the temple of Sri Govinda Deva, and the validity of the Sri Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya was accepted. It was only on the authority of Sri Cakravarti Thakura that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu was able to write the Sri Govinda Bhasya and prove the connection of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas with the Madhva sampradaya. There should be do doubt in this regard. This accomplishment of Sri Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura done on behalf of the sampradaya will be recorded in golden letters in the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes a very striking event in his own book entitled Mantratha-dipika. Once while reading Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, he came upon the verse quoted below (Madhya-lila 21.125), which describes the meaning of the kama-gayatri-mantra.
kama-gayatri-mantra-rupa, haya krsnera svarupa,The kama-gayatri mantra is identical with Sri Krsna. In this king of mantras there are twenty-four and a half syllables and each syllable is a full moon. This aggregate of moons has caused the moon of Sri Krsna to rise and fill the three worlds with prema.
sardha-cabbisa aksara tara haya
se aksara 'candra' haya, krsne kari' udaya,
trijagat kaila kamamaya
It is proved by the evidence of this verse that the kama-gayatri-mantra is composed of twenty-four and a half syllables. But in spite of considerable thought, Sri visvanatha Cakravarti could not ascertain which syllable in the kama-gayatri was considered a half-syllable. Although he carefully scrutinized grammar books, the Puranas, the Tantra. The sastras dealing with drama (natya) and rhetoric (alankara), and other scriptures, he found no mention anywhere of a half-syllable. In all these satras he found mention of only the vowels and consonants which make up the fifty letters of the alphabet. He found no evidence anywhere of a half-syllable.
In the Sri Harinamamrta-vyakarana, the grammar system composed by Sri Jiva Gosvami, he found mention of only fifty letters in the section dealing with the names of the various groups of vowels and consonants. (sanjnapada). By the study of the arrangement of letters (matrka) in the Matrkanyasa and other books, he found no mention anywhere of a half-syllable. In the Radhika-sahasra-nama-stotra found in the Brhan-Naradiya Purana, one of the names of Vrndavanesvari Srimate Radhika is given as Pacasa-varna-rupini (one whose form is composed of fifty syllables).
Seeing this, his doubt only increased. He began to consider whether Kaviraja Gosvami might have made mistake while writing. But there was no possibility of him committing nay mistake. He was omniscient and thus completely devoid of the material defects of mistakes, illusion, and so on. If the fragmented letter ‘t’ (the final letter of the kama-gayatri–mantra) is taken as a half-syllable, then Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami would be guilty of the fault of disorder, for he has given the following description in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 21.126-128):
sakhi he, krsna-mukha----dvija-raja-rajaIn these lines, Sri Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami has described the face of Sri Krsna as the first full moon. His two cheeks are both considered as full moons. The dot of sandalwood on the upper portion of His forehead is considered as the fourth full moon, and the region of the forehead below the dot of sandalwood is the moon of astami or, in other words, a half moon. According to this description, the fifth syllable is a half-syllable. If the fragmented ‘t’, which is the final letter of the mantra is taken as a half-syllable, then the fifth syllable could not be a half syllable.
krsna-vapu-simhasane, vasi' rajya-sasane,
kare sange candrera samaja
dui ganda sucikkana, jini' mani-sudarpana,
sei dui purna-candra jani
lalate astami-indu, tahate candana-bindu,
sei eka purna-candra mani
kara-nakha-candera hata, vamsi-upara kare nata,
tara gita muralira tana
pada-nakha-candra-gana, tale kare nartana,
nupurera dhvani yara gana
Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura fell into a dilemma because he could not decipher the half-syllable. He considered that if the syllables of the mantra would not revel themselves, then neither would it be possible for the worshipful deity of the mantra to manifest to him. He decided that since he could not obtain audience of the worshipful deity of the mantra, it would be better to die. Thinking thus, he went to the bank of Radha-Kunda at night with the intent of giving up his body.
After the second period (prahara) of the night had passed, he began to doze off when suddenly, Sri Vrsabhanu-nandini, Srimati Radhika, appeared to him. . She very affectionately said, "O Visvanatha! O Hare Vallabha! Do not lament! Whatever Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja has written in the absolute truth. By My grace, he knows all the inner sentiments. The kama-gayatri is a mantra to worship Me and My dear beloved (prana-vallabha). We are revealed to the devotee by the syllables of this mantra. No one is capable of knowing Us without My grace. The half syllable is described in the book known as Varna Gamabhasvat." After consulting this book, Sri Krsnadas Kaviraja determined the actual identity of the kama-gayatri. " You should examine this book and then broadcast its meaning for the benefit of faithful persons."
After hearing this instruction form Vrsabhanu-nandini Srimati Radhika Herself, Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura suddenly arose. Calling out, "O Radhe! O Radhe!" he began to cry in great lamentation. Thereafter upon regaining his composure, he set himself to carrying out Her order.
According to the indication of Srimati Radharani regarding the determination of the half-syllable, the letter ‘vi’ which is preceded by the letter ‘ya’ in the mantra is considered as a half-syllable. Apart from this, all other syllables are full syllables or full moons.
By the mercy of Srimati Radhika, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura became acquainted with the meaning of the mantra. He obtained the direct audience of his worshipful deity, and by means of his internal perfected spiritual body (siddha-deha), he was able to participate in the Lord’s nitya-lila as an eternal associate. After this, he established the deity of Sri Gokulananda on the bank of Radha-Kunda. While residing there, he experienced the sweetness of the eternal pastimes of Sri Vrndavana. It was at this time that he wrote his Sukhavarttini commentary on Ananda-vrndavana-campu, a book written by Srila Kavi Karnapura.
radhaparastira-kutira-varttinahIn old age, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura spent most of his time in a semi-conscious state, deeply absorbed in bhajana. His principal student, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, took over the responsibility of teaching the sastras.
ananda campu vivrti pravarttinah
santo-gattir me sumaha-nivarttinnah
The full verse from Ujjvala-nilamani is as follows:
laghutvam atra yat proktam atat tu prakrta nayakeWhatever fault or impropriety has been pointed out (in other rasa-sastras) in regard to the love of paramours applies to ordinary worldly lovers and not to Sri Krsna, for He is the taster of the liquid essence of rasa and the source of all incarnations. (In other words, the Lord’s incarnations are the controllers of religion and irreligion and never subjected to their control. How then can Sri Krsna be subjected to such codes when He is the source of all incarnations?)
na krsne rsa niryasa svadartham avatarini
It is said that at the time of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura there were some panditas who opposed him in regard to the worship in the mood of parakiya. But by his deep scholarship and irrefutable logic he defeated them. On account of this, the panditas resolved to kill him. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura used to go out in the early morning before dawn to perform parikrama of Sri Vrndavana Dhama. They formulated a plan to kill him at that time in some dense, dark grove.
While performing parikrama, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura came upon the grove where the adversaries desired to kill him. But suddenly they looked and saw that he was no longer there. In his place, they saw a beautiful young Vrajavasi girl picking flowers along with two or three other friends. The panditas inquired form the girl, "Dear Child! Just a moment ago a great devotee was approaching here. Where did he go? Did you happen to see him?" The girl replied, "I saw him, but I don’t know where he went."
Seeing the astonishing beauty of the girl, her sidelong glancing, her graceful feminine manner, and gentle smiling, the panditas became captivated. All the impurity in their minds was vanquished and their hearts became soft. On being requested by the panditas to introduce herself the girls said, "I am a maidservant of Svamini Srimati Radhika. She is presently at Her mother-in-law’s home at Yavata. She sent me to pick flowers." Saying this, she disappeared, and in her place, they saw Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura once again. The panditas fell at his feet and prayed for forgiveness. He forgave them all.
Many such astonishing events are heard in the life of Sri Cakravarti Thakura. In this way he refuted the theory of svakiyavada and established the truth of pure parakiya. This work of his is of great importance for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura not only protected the integrity of the Sri Gaudiya Vaisnava dharma, but he also re-established its influence in Sri Vrndvana. Anyone who evaluates this accomplishment of his is sure to be struck with wonder by his uncommon genius. The Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have composed the following verse in praise of his extraordinary work:
visvasya hatharupa ‘sau bhakti vartma pradarsanatBecause he indicates the path of bhakti, he is known by the name Visvanatha, the Lord of the universe, and because he always remains in the assembly (chakra) of pure devotees, he is known by the name Cakravarti (he around whom a circle or assembly turns).
bhakti-cakre varttitatvat cakravartty akhyaya bhavat
In the year 1676 Sakabda, on the fifth day of the light phase of the moon of the month of Magha (January-February), at approximately one hundred years of age, while absorbed in an internal condition in Sri Radha-Kunda, he entered into aprakata (unmanifest) Vrndavan. Even today his samadhi can be found just next to the temple of Sri Gokulananda in Sri Dhama Vrndavana.
Following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Goswami, he composed abundant transcendental literatures about bhakti and thus established the inner heart’s longing of Sriman Mahaprabhu in this world. He also refuted various faulty conclusions, opposed to the genuine following of Sri Rupa Goswami (rupanuga). He is thus revered in Gaudiya Vaisnava society as an illustrious acarya and as an authoritative mahajana. He is renowned as a great transcendental philosopher, poet, and rasika-bhakta. A Vaisnava composer of verse named Krsna dasa has written the following lines at the conclusion of his translation of Srila Cakravarti Thakura’s book Madhurya-kadambini:
madhurya kadambini grantha jagata kaila dhanyaSrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has benedicted the whole world by writing the book Madhurya —kadambini. In reality, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the speaker of this book. He has spoken it through the mouth of Sri Cakravarti. Some people say that Sri Cakravarti Thakura is an incarnation of Srila Rupa Goswami. He is very expert in the art of describing extremely complex truths in an easily understandable manner. O ocean of mercy, Sri Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura! I am a great fool. Kindly reveal the mystery of your transcendental qualities in my heart. This is my prayer at your lotus feet.
cakravarti mukhe vakta apani sri krsna caitanya
keha kahena cakravarti sri rupera avatara
kathina ye tattva sarala karite pracara
ohe guna-nidha sri sisvanatha cakravarti
ki janiba tomara guna muni mudha mati
Among Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas, there are very few who wrote as many books as Srila Cakravarti Thakura. Even today the following proverb is quite famous amongst Vaisnavas regarding his three books:
Kirana-bindu-kana, ei tina niye viasnava pana
These three books, Ujjvala-nilamani-kirana, Bhakti-rsamrta-sindhu-bindhu, and Bhagavatamrta-kana, are taken by the Vaisnavas as their wealth.
A list is given below of his books, commentaries and prayers which form a storehouse of incomparable wealth of Gaudiya Vaisnava bhakti literature.
3. Prema-samputam (Khanda-kavyam–a poetic work which displays only partial characterisitcs or ornamentation of poetry),
5. Subodhini (commentary on Alankara-kaustubha),
6. Ananda-candrika (commentary on Ujjvala-nilamani)
7. Commentary on Sri Gopala Tapani,
8. Stavamrta-lahari (Waves of Nectarine Prayers, included in which are the following)
(a) Sri Guru-tattvastakam
(f) Sri Lokanathastakam
(g) Sri Sacinan-danastakam
(h) Sri Svarupa-caritamrtam
(i) Sri Svapna-vilas-amrtam
(j) Sri Gopala Devastakam
(k) Sri Madana-mohana-astakam
(l) Sri Govindastakam
(m) Sri Gopinathastakam
(n) Sri Gokulanandastakam
(p) Sri Radha-Kundastakam
(s) Sri Vrnda Devyastakam
(t) Sri Radhika-dhyanamrtam
(u) Sri Rupa-cintamanih
(v) Sri Nandisvarastakam
(w) Sri Vrndavanastakam
(x) Sri Govardhanastakam
(y) Sri Sankalpa-kala-drumah
(z) Sri Nikunha-virudavali (Virtu-kavya–laudatory poetry)
(bb) Sri Syama-Kund-astakam
(9) Sri Krsna-bhavanamrtam
(10) Sri Bhagavatamrta-kana
(11) Sri Ujjvala-nilamani-kirana
(12) Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu
(14) Aisvarya-kadambini (unavailable)
(15) Sri Madhurya-kadamvini
(16) Commentary on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu
(17) Commentary on Dana-keli-kaumudi
(18) Commentary on Sri Lalita-madhava-nataka
(19) Commentary on Brahma-Samhita
(20) Commentary on Brahma-Samhita
(21) Sarartha-varsini commentary on Srimad Bhagavad Gita, and
(22) Sararta-darsini commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam.
My most revered Sri Gurudeva, astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaj, was a guardian of the Sri Gaudiya sampradaya and founder-acarya of the Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti as well as the Gaudiya-mathas established under its auspices. Aside from publishing his own books, he republished the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other previous acaryas in the Bengali language. Today, by his heartfelt desire, enthusiastic blessings, and causeless mercy, Jaiva Dharma, Sri Caitanya-siksamrta, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhura Siksa, Sri Siksastaka, and other books have been printed in Hindi, the national language of India. Gradually other books are being published.
The present day head and acarya of the Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, my most revered godbrother, parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Maharaja, is deeply immersed in transcendental knowledge and is a very dear, intimate servant of the lotus feet of our Sri Guru. I humbly pray at his lotus feet that he may bless me by presenting this precious book, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, into the lotus hands of our Srila Gurudeva and thus fulfill his inner heart’s longings.
My special thanks and blessings are extended to Navadvipa das Adhikari for his fine work in producing the manuscript and to Prema-vilasa das Adhikari for his excellent layout work and design of the charts. I pray to Mahabhavamayi Srimate Radhika and Rasaraja Sri Krsna that They bestow Their mercy upon them for their advancement in Vraja bhakti.
I have complete faith that those who are possessed of yearning for bhakti and especially the sadhakas of raganuga-bhakti who are captivated by vraja-rasa will receive this book with great reverence. Faithful persons who study this book will obtain qualification to enter into the wealth of prema of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Finally I pray at the lotus feet of my most revered Srila Gurudeva, the condensed personification of the Lord’s compassion, that he may pour down a shower of abundant mercy upon me, by which I may obtain more and more eligibility to engage in the service of his inner heart’s longing. This is our humble prayer at his lotus feet which bestows Krsna-prema.
Aksaya Tirtya (Third day of the bright half of Vaisakha)
510 years after the appearance of Lord Gauranga (Gaurabda)
(1918 by the Indian calendar) 20th, April, 1996
An aspirant for a particle of mercy of Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas, humble and insignificant
Tridandi Biksu Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayan
This book is a translation of Srila Gurudeva’s Hindi edition. The subject matter has been enlarged still further by adding many portions from Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. The entire book has been arranged to fit the pattern of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, enabling the reader to see how the twenty-seven verses of Srila Cakravartipada’s book related to its source book. Thus the genius of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is revealed. He very succinctly summarized every wave of the four divisions of the original book. The twenty-seven slokas are easily identified in this book both from the table of contents and from the title pages which appear at the beginning of each of each of the four divisions of the book.. . ."
*Note from Puru Das: Reproduced here, so you can get a better appreciation of the subject matter inside this wonderful book, are pp. 29-41 from the
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavass tatah premabhyudancati **
1. By hearing the sastras, paramarthika or transcendental siddha-sraddha appears. The word sraddha here implies firm belief in the meaning of the bhakti-sastras such as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and so forth. (2) Upon the appearance of such sraddha, one again obtains sadhu-sanga and, in their company, begins to receive instructions regarding the methods for executing bhajana. (3) Thereafter, one takes up the practices of bhajana (bhajana-kriya) beginning with sri-guru-padasraya, and so on. (4) By constant engagement in bhajan, anarthas gradually disappear (anartha-nivrtti).
(5) This elimination of anarthas takes place in successive stages. As one becomes progressively freed from anarthas, he attains nistha and freedom from all distractions (viksepa)). At that stage ekagrata (one —pointedness) and nairantaryamayi (incessant striving) arise in the pursuit of bhajana. (6) Thereafter, ruci (taste) or, in other words, an intense hankering (lalasa) for bhajana develops. (7) Then ruci becomes very deep it is called asakti. The difference between nistha and asakti, is that nistha involves application of the intelligence, whereas asakti is spontaneous. In this stage of nistha, even if the mind is not attracted, by one’s intelligence one remains devoted to the performance of bhajana. However when one comes to the stage of asakti, the sadhaka has no more dependence on any kind of reasoning faculty of the intelligence. At that stage he is deeply immersed in the performance of bhajana in a spontaneous manner. (8) After the stage of asakti, bhava or rati makes its appearance. (9) At the final stage prema manifests. This is the order of the stages leading to the appearance of prema within the heart of the sadhaka.
Svarupa-brahma is also of four kinds: (svat-tattva or jiva svarupa brahma (illusion about one’s own spiritual identity), (2) paratattva-brahma (illusion about the spiritual identity of the supreme absolute truth), (3) sadhya-sadhana tattva brahma (illusion about sadhana-bhakti or the means of spiritual perfection and sadhya, the object to be obtained by such sadhana, or in other words prema-bhakti), and (4) maya-tattva-brahma (illusion about the Lord’s external energy–maya).
Asat-trsna–thirst for material enjoyment–is of four types
1. varieties of desires for material enjoyment in this world,Hrydaya-daurbalya–weakness of heart–is of four kinds:
2. desires for enjoyment in the higher planetary systems of svarga-loka.
3. desires for the attainment of the eight mystic siddhis and the nine divine jewels of Kuvera (padma, mahapadma, sankha, makara, kaccapa, mukunda, kunda, nila, and kharva), and
4. the desire for mukti
Aparadhas are of four kinds:
1. offenses toward Krsna,
2. offenses toward krsna-nama,
3. offenses toward krsna-svarupa (the Sri Vigraha form of the Lord), and
4. offenses toward the tadiya-citta-kana-jivas (living entities who are infinitesimal particles of spirit belonging to the Lord).
(1) tuccha-asakti (attachment of useless things),
(2) kurti-nati (deceitful behavior–the word kuti-nati may be broken down into the constituent parts of ‘ku’, bad or devil, and ‘na’ or nati, that which is forbidden. In that case it would mean doing wicked deeds or doing that which is forbidden,
(3) matsarya (envy), and
(4) sva-pratistha lalasa (desire for one’s own fame and prestige).
Aside from the above description, there are four additional varieties of anarthas:
1. duksrti-uttha (arising from past sins),
2. sukrti-uttha (arising from previous pious activities,
3. aparadha-uttha (arising from offenses), and
4. bhakti-uttha (arising in relationship to bhakti).
1. Duskrti-uttha–anarthas arising from past sinful activities refer to five types of klesa or distress:
(i) avidya–ignorance or forgetfulness of Krsna
(ii) asmita–the false egoism arising form the conceptions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ in relationship with the material body.
(iii) raga–attachment for the objects of sense gratification,
(iv) dvesa–hatred or aversion to unpleasant, disagreeable or adverse situations, and
(v) dur-abhinivesa–attachment for or absorption in sinful activities.
2. Sukrti-uttha–various kinds of material enjoyment arising from the pious activities of one’s previous birth.
3. Aparadha-uttha–suffering arising from namaparahda and other types of offenses.
4. Bhakti-uttha–desires for labha or material gain, puja or worship, and pratistha or prestige arising from the performance of sakama-bhakti or sopadiha-bhakti-conditional devotional service.
One should endeavor to uproot all these anarthas, otherwise nistha will not develop. ***
One further point should be clarified in regard to the appearance of prema. In the verse under consideration (adau sraddha) the word adau refers to the intial contact with devotees (sadhu-sanga). This sadhu-sanga is not obtained coincidentally. It is the result of sukrti or pious activities accumulated over many, many lifetimes.
Bhaktistu bhagavad bhakta sngena parijayateBhakti becomes manifest by the association of the Lord’s devotees. The association of devotees is obtained by previous accumulated piety.
Sat-sanga-prapyate pumbihih surktaih purvasancitaih
(Brihan Naradiya Purana 4.33; Hbv 10.279)
In the shastras, subha-karma, or pious activity, is called sukrti. Subha-karma is of two kinds–that which promotes bhakti and that which instigates some secondary result other than bhakti. Sukrti which begets ordinary fruits arises form such activities as service to one’s parents or husband, material welfare work, charity, execution of nitya-naimittika-karma (one’s daily and occasional duties), cultivation of sankhya and other types of jnana and so on.
Sukrti which gives rise to paramarthika or transcendental results, or in other words bhakti, arises from contact with places, such as a temple or holy place, times or holy days, or objects related to bhakti or sadhu-sanga. When heaps and heaps of sukrti which yields bhakti accumulate over countless lifetimes, bhakti makes its appearance through the via-medium of sadhu-sanga.
Laukika or material sukrti, after producing its desired fruits, is exhausted. The fruit of laukika-sukrti extends no further than the limit of material enjoyment. Sukrti which is rooted in brahma jnana produces its fruit in the form of mukti and is then dissipated. These two types of sukrti are thoroughly incompetent to produce the fruit of bhakti.
Sukrti giving rise to bhakti arises from association with vaisnava-sadhu bhaktas, observance of Ekadasi, Janmastami, Gaura-purnima and other occasions which produce a saintly attitude; seeing or touching tulasi, the sri mandira, Sri Vrdnavana and other holy places connected to the Lord or holy rivers like the Ganga or Yamuna; honoring mahaprasada, and other such activities. When these activities are preformed unknowingly, it is called sukrti. When, however, these activities are performed in the association of devotees and in full knowledge of their greatness, they become angas of bhakti. In the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya, 22.62) it is said:
‘sraddha’-sabde–visvasa kahe sudrdha niscayaSimply by performing bhakti unto Sri Krsna all obligations of this human form will be fulfilled. Such firm, decisive faith is called sraddha.
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya
Sraddha-tv-anyopaya-varjam bhakty-unmukhi citta-vrtti visesa (Amnaya-sutra 57)That particular disposition of the heart (citta-vrtti) which remains always inclined toward Sri Krsna alone, leaving aside all other methods of sadhana such as jnana, karma, and yoga, is called sraddha.
By the association of saintly devotees, sraddha, which is the seed of the creeper of devotion (bhakti-lata-bija), arises in the heart of the sadhaka. This is stated in various places in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
krsna-bhakti-janma-mula haya ‘sadhu-sanga’Sadhu-sanga is the root cause of krsna- bhakti. This sadhu-sanga waters the creeper of krsna-bhakti (sadhana-bhakti) through the medium of sravana and kirtana and thus transforms it into krsna-prema. When krsna-prema is awakened, sadhu-sanga becomes the most essential anga once again (C.c. Madhya 22.83)
krsna-prema janme, tenho punah mukhya anga
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jivaWhile continuously wandering throughout the innumerable material universes, some extremely fortunate jivas obtain the bhakti-lata-bija of sraddha by the causeless mercy of Sri Sri Guru and Krsna (C.c. Madhya 19.151)
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bhija
kona bhagye karo samsara ksayonmukha hayaWhen the material entanglement of the living entity who is wandering throughout this worldly existence begins to diminish, then he obtains sadhu-sanga by the causeless mercy of the Lord. By that sadhu-sanga, he obtains Krsna-bhakti successively in the stages of sraddha, Nissha, ruci, Asakita, and rati. (C.c., Madhya 22.45)
Sadhu-sange tabe, krsne rati upajaya
krsna yadi krpa kare kona bhagyavane
guru-antaryami-rupe sikhaya apane When Sri Krsna, who is an ocean of mercy, becomes causelessly merciful toward some fortunate jiva wandering throughout material existence, then inspiring him from within as caitya-guru and form without as the elevated siksa and diksa gurus, He personally gives him instructions about how to perform bhajana. (C.c. Madhya 22.47)
sraddhavan jana haya bhakti-adhkariDevotees are categorized in accordance with the degree of their sraddha. Those whose faith is the least are known as kanistha bhaktas; those whose faith is intermediate are known as madhyama-bhaktas, and those who faith is highly developed are known as uttama-mahabhagavatas. (C.c., Madhya 22.64)
‘uttama’, ‘madhyama’, ‘kankistha’–sraddha-anusari
sadhu-sange krsna-bhaktye sradha yadi hayaWhen a sadhaka-bhakta obtains faith in the association of soft hearted and affectionate (snigdha) rasika Vaisanvas who are more advanced than himself, who are thoroughly versed in all the conclusions of the revealed scriptures, and who are of the same disposition (svajatiya), he very quickly obtains prema-bhakti and his material entanglement is easily dissipated (C.c.,Madhya 22.49)
bhakti phala ‘prema’ haya, samsara yaya ksaya
mahat-krpa bina kona karme ‘bhakti’ nayaWithout the mercy of elevated devotees, bhakti cannot be obtained by any method. To say nothing of krsna-bhakti, one cannot even obtain freedom from repeated birth and death and material attachment (C.c. Madhya 22.51)
krsna-bhakti dure rahu, samsare nahe ksaya
Sadhu-sanga is the root of bhagavad-bhakti–krsna bhakti janma-mula haya sadhu-sanga (C.c. Madhya 22.83). I the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.20.8) the Surpeme Lord has said: yadrcchaya mad-kathadau jata-sraddhas-tu yah puman–"By virtue of the good fortune of their previous births, those in whom sraddha is awakened toward My lila-katha are eligible to take up bhakti."
Srila Jiva Gosvami, in defining the meaning of the word yadrcchaya (voluntarily, spontaneously, or by their own will) used in this sloka, has said: kenapi parama svatantra bhagavad-bhakta-sanga tat-krpajata parama-mangalodayena–"By the association of the Lord’s supremely independent devotees and as a consequence of the mercy obtained form them, one obtains great fortune–saubhagya. That saubhgya becomes the eligibility for bhakti."
The meaning of saubhagya is that by the contact of sadhus from one’s previous life and by the mercy obtained from them, a very deep impression or samskara is formed upon the mind or heart. When it is nourished again in the present life, it arises in the form of sraddha. This sraddha is the cause of the awakening of bhakti. In this connection, it is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.23.25)
satam prasangan-mama virya-samvidoIn the association of pure devotees, there are descriptions of my heroic deeds which are very pleasing to the ear and the heart. Such descriptions bestow real knowledge of my excellence. By regular hearing and contemplation of such topics, one is liberated from ignorance as a result of which one successively attains sraddha, rati (bhava-bhakti), and prema-bhakti toward Me.
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
sraddha ratir bhakti anukramisyati
According to the siddhanta previously mentioned, sadhu sanga is the passageway which brings one face to face with the Lord. By the influence of sadhu-sanga, the living entity who is averted from the Lord becomes turned toward the Lord. Furthermore, by that association, sraddha, rati, and prema arise one after another.
By the association of sadhus whose attention is not incessantly and exclusively drawn upon the Lord, and in whom sraddha, rati and prema has not arisen, the bahir-mukha-jiva cannot be turned toward the Lord, nor can sraddha, rati or prema develop in him. By the association of sadhus who are attached only to the rituals of proper conduct which are in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Vedas, bhagavad-unmukhata (attentiveness toward the Lord) and sraddha, rati and prema cannot arise.
Sadhu Sanga is of two types: the association of siddha mahapurusas, or perfected souls, who pursue the path of knowledge (jnana-marga) and the association of siddha-mahapurusas who pursue the path of bhakti (bhakti-marga). By the association of jnanis, sraddha , rati and prema cannot awaken. Although material attachments may be dissipated by the association of such persons, sraddha, rati and prema toward the personal form of the Lord does not arise in the jiva. Therefore their association is irrelevant.
Siddha-mahapurusas who pursue the path of bhakti are of three types: (1) bhagavat-paradea-deha prapt (those who have obtained perfected spiritual bodies as eternal associates of the Lord, (2) nirdhuta-kasaya (those who have thrown off all material impurities), and (3) murcchita kasaya (those in whom a trace of material contamination still lies dormant).
After giving up the gross material body, those who have perfected themselves through the practice of bhakti obtain sac-cit-ananda spiritual forms which are jus suitable for the service of the Lord as associates (parsadas). Such persons are the best of all uttama-bhagavatas.
Those who, although still residing within the gross material body made of five elements, have no trace of material desire (vasana) nor any material impressions (samskaras) within their hearts are called nirdhuta-kasaya (who have thrown off all material impurities). They belong to the intermediate class of uttama-bhagavatas.
Those siddha-mahapurusas pursuing the path of bhakti in whose hearts there remains a trace of desire (vasana) and impressions (samskaras) based on the material modes of goodness are know as murcchita-ksaya. Due to the influence of their bhakti yoga, these vasanas and samskaras remain in a dormant or unconscious state. As soon as there is a favorable opportunity, their worshipful object, Sri Bhagavan, somehow causes their desire to be consumed and attracts them to His lotus feet. Such elevated souls belong to the preliminary stage (kanistha) of uttama-bhagavatas.
Devarsi Narada is an example of the topmost uttama-bhagavata. Sukadeva Gosvami belongs to the intermediate stage of uttma0bhagavatas (nirdhuta-kasaya). Sri Narada in his previous birth as the son of a maidservant is an example of the preliminary stage of uttama-bhagavatas (murcchita-kasaya). The association and mercy of these three kinds of maha-bhagavatas is the cause of the production of sraddha. By discussing the gradations of bhakti of different categories of devotee, one can automatically understand the gradations of the effect of their association.
Some people think that there is no need to take shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual mater (guru-padasraya). Is their any harm in reading books by oneself and thus performing bhajan? Some persons accept diksa form their mother, father or other relatives, considering that there is no need to take shelter at the lotus feet of a sad-guru. Such persons think as follows, "Some elevated personalities appeared in our dynasty and we are their descendants. Therefore, we are already gosvamis or mahapurusas. Why should we accept diksa form any other person?" But Srimad Mahaprabhu has said in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya, 8.128):
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene nayaWhether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra, if he is learned in all the truths regarding Sri Krsna, then he is to be accepted as a guru.
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
It is also stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.3.21):
tasmad gurum prapadyetaHow can a person who is desirous of knowing what is duty and what is not duty obtain the topmost benefit? In order to understand this one must approach the lotus feet of a sad-guru. One who is expert in understanding all the conclusions of the revealed scriptures such as the Vedas, who has direct experience and realization of Bhagavan, and who is not influenced by any kind of material agitation is know as a sad-guru.
jijnasuh sreyah uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
The purport of this statement is that only a person who is situated in suddha-bhakti, who is learned in all the conclusions of the sastra, whose actions are pure, who is simple and honest, who is free from greed, who is free from deviant conclusions such as mayavada, who is expert in all functions related to the service of the Lord, who is free from lethargy, who is intently devoted to the holy name of the Lord is fit to become a guru. It doesn’t matter what family, race, social classification (varna) or stage of life (asrama) he may be in
Another consideration is that only a person who is free from lethargy, who is faithful, whose activities are pure, and who is desirous of bhagavad-bhakti is eligible to become a disciple. When the guru considers the disciple fit and when the disciple ascertains the guru to be a pure devotee of Krsna and thus reposes his faith in him, the spiritual master will then impart instructions unto the disciple.
There are two kinds of gurus: the diksa-guru and the siksa-guru (the sravana-guru and the siksa guru are here considered as one). One should accept initiation form the diksa-guru and take instructions regarding the process of worship (arcana). There is only one diksa-guru, but there can be many siksa-gurus. The siksa-guru gives instructions on how to perform bhajana. According to the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and other scriptures, one should not discriminate between the diksa and siksa-gurus–there is no difference between these two.
The diksa and siksa-gurus have been described respectively at bhagavad-rupa or prakasa (the external form or feature of the Lord) and bhagavad-svarupa (the internal identity or form of the Lord). This is clearly mentioned in the Caitanya-caritamrta. The diksa —guru has been described in the following words (Adi 1.45):
guru krsna-rupa hana sastrera pramaneAccording to the evidence of the revealed scriptures, the (diksa) guru is directly the outward form of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna (krsna-rupa). Krsna in the form of the spiritual master bestows mercy upon the devotee.
guru-rupe krsna krpa karena bhakta-gane
The siksa guru is described as follows (Adi 1.47)
siksa-guruke ta' jani krsnera svarupa
One should know the siksa-guru to be the internal form or identity of Sri Krsna (krsna-savrupa).
Jagad-Guru Srila Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura has given an elaborate explanation of these verses In his commentary to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
Without thoughtful consideration, some people take shelter at the feet of a mayavadi sannyasi or a prakrta-sahajiya * who is a Vaisnava in name only, or a family guru (kula-guru) who is ignorant in the matter of bhajana. Having taken shelter of such persons, they thin they have obtained a genuine spiritual master or sad guru. They think that there is no need for sadhana bhajana or for sadhu-sanga, but this kind of consideration is blind faith. Such a spiritual master simply hinders one’s attainment of prema.
After taking shelter of the lotus feet of a sad-guru and performing bhajana in a regular way, the disciple should discern whether or not his anarthas are going away. One can consult the books named Madhyurya-kadambini written by the same author, Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakura, for a detailed description of anarthas and the method to obtain freedom from them. Those who perform bhajan but make no endeavor to become free from anarthas cannot make any advancement in bhajana. Therefore, only by performing bhajana in accordance with the appropriate methods can the sadhaka make steady progress beginning form sraddha and culminating in one’s desired goal of prema.
*A prakrta-sahajiya is one who abandons the fundamental procedures of sadhana and imitates the symptoms of advanced devotees by a material display.
From the "Translation and Commentary" by Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu of
Srila Visvanatha CakravartiThakura -– "Sri Bindhu-vikasini-vrtti":
(3) Stages leading to the Appearance of Prema:
(Bhakti-rasmarta-sindhu-bindu pp. 29-41)
** Note from Puru Das: These are verses 15 & 16 from the
Eastern Division: Fourth Wave
of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriyaSrila Hrydaya Bon Maharaj has translated these verses and commented thusly:
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavass tatah premabhyudancati
TRANSLATION: The different stages of the appearance of PREMA: First Sraddha i.e. faith, next Sadhu-sanga or asociation with saints, after that Bhajana-kriya or spiritual practices, next to it is Anartha-nivrtti, i.e. cessation of all offences or obstacles, next to it is Nistha or firmness, which is followed by Ruci or taste, next is Asakti or attachment, after this is Bhava, and then appears PREMA. These are the different stages for the appearance of Prema in the heart of a person who undergoes spiritual practices.–15,16–
COMMENTARY: Sri Jiva Goswami points out that though there are manifold gradations in the appearance of Prema, yet here in two slokas one particular gradual stage of development in the appearance of Prema, which generally happens, has been mentioned by the author, ‘Adau’. ‘first’ means faith first created by listening to the Scriptures in the company of saints. This faith refers to faith in the infalliability of the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures regarding God, individual soul, the universe, Maya, and their inter-relationships and final conclusions. After the first association of Sadhus for creation of faith in the Scriptures, there should be a second association of such Sadhus for being taught in the practical application of spiritual practices in one’s life. Nistha here means one’s faithful adherence to an uninterrupted application of spiritual practices; ruci here means intelligent desire for a spiritual life and its actual appliances; asakti means a natural attraction for leading a spiritual life. This is how Sri Jiva explains the different stages in the unfolding of Prema from the first stage of faith.
Sri Mukundadas Gosvami comments that here ‘ adau’, first, means faith in Bhakti in Krsna aroused in the heart by an inexplicable fortune; next is the ‘association of Sadhus’ which means an earnest association with Sadhus in order to learn the various methods of spiritual practices to be applied in life; next is Bhajana-kirya, i.e. practice of spiritual life; after this is ‘Anartha-nivrtti’, which means destruction of all sins committed either in this birth or in previous births; this is followed by Nistha which means eager and earnest attempts repeatedly made in performing the spiritual injunctions as prescribed by the Scriptures; after this, is Ruci, i.e. realization of the sweetness of Bhakti or attainment of its taste after the very seed of all sins has been completely destroyed; then develops Asakti which means complete engagement of the mind in Lord Hari after complete cessation of Avidya, i.e. nescience. This is how the two slokas should be interpreted, says Gosvami Mukundadas.–15, 16--
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the Bhati-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, you can contact me at PuruDas@compuserve.com with a cc to: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can phone me at 718/961-7409.
For West Coast orders contact Upananda Prabhu at 1/800/900-0108 or Nanda Gopal Prabhu at (209)337-2448
You can also read very informative slokas and purports from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s translation of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila Ch.1 texts 31-47 with regard to the books written by the Six Gosvamis.
Here is just one verse and purport you can examine:
laghu-bhagavatamrtadi ke karu ganana
sarvatra karila vraja-vilasa varnana
In the daksina-vibhaga (southern division) there is a general description of the mellow (relationship) called bhakti-rasa, which is derived from devotional service. There are also descriptions of the stages known as vibhava, anubhava, sattvika, vyabhicari and sthayi-bhava, all on this high platform of devotional service. Thus there are five waves in the daksina-vibhaga division. In the western division (pascima-vibhaga) there is a description of the chief transcendental humors derived from devotional service. These are known as mukhya-bhakti-rasa-nirupana, or attainment of the chief humors or feelings in the execution of devotional service. In that part there is a description of devotional service in neutrality, further development in love and affection (called servitude), further development in fraternity, further development in parenthood, or parental love, and finally conjugal love between Krsna and His devotees. Thus there are five waves in the western division.
In the northern division (uttara-vibhaga) there is a description of the indirect mellows of devotional service--namely, devotional service in laughter, devotional service in wonder, and devotional service in chivalry, pity, anger, dread and ghastliness. There are also mixing of mellows and the transgression of different humors. Thus there are nine waves in this part. This is but a brief outline of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
The Vidagdha-madhava is a drama of Lord Krsna's pastimes in Vrndavana. Srila Rupa Gosvami finished this book in the year 1454 Sakabda (A.D. 1533). The first part of this drama is called venu-nada-vilasa, the second part manmatha-lekha, the third part radha-sanga, the fourth part venu-harana, the fifth part radha-prasadana, the sixth part sarad-vihara, and the seventh and last part gauri-vihara.
There is also a book called Ujjvala-nilamani, a transcendental account of loving affairs that includes metaphor, analogy and higher bhakti sentiments. Devotional service in conjugal love is described briefly in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, but it is very elaborately discussed in the Ujjvala-nilamani. This book describes different types of lovers, their assistants, and those who are very dear to Krsna. There is also a description of Srimati Radharani and other female lovers, as well as various group leaders. Messengers and the constant associates, as well as others who are very dear to Krsna, are all described. The book also relates how love of Krsna is awakened and describes the ecstatic situation, the devotional situation, permanent ecstasy, disturbed ecstasy, steady ecstasy, different positions of different dresses, feelings of separation, prior attraction, anger in attraction, varieties of loving affairs, separation from the beloved, meeting with the beloved, and both direct and indirect enjoyment between the lover and the beloved. All this has been very elaborately described.
Similarly, Lalita-madhava is a description of Krsna's pastimes in Dvaraka. These pastimes were made into a drama, and the work was finished in the year 1459 Sakabda. The first part deals with festivities in the evening, the second with the killing of the Sankhacuda, the third with maddened Srimati Radharani, the fourth with Radharani's proceeding toward Krsna, the fifth with the achievement of Candravali, the sixth with the achievement of Lalita, the seventh with the meeting in Nava-vrndavana, the eighth with the enjoyment in Nava-vrndavana, the ninth with looking over pictures, and the tenth with complete satisfaction of the mind. Thus the entire drama is divided into ten parts.
The Laghu-bhagavatamrta is divided into two parts. The first is called "The Nectar of Krsna" and the second "The Nectar of Devotional Service." The importance of Vedic evidence is stressed in the first part, and this is followed by a description of the original form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Sri Krsna and descriptions of His pastimes and expansions in svamsa (personal forms) and vibhinnamsa. According to different absorptions, the incarnations are called avesa and tad-ekatma. The first incarnation is divided into three purusavataras--namely, Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. Then there are the three incarnations of the modes of nature--namely, Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara (Siva). All the paraphernalia used in the service of the Lord is transcendental, beyond the three qualities of this material world. There is also a description of twenty-five lila-avataras, namely Catuh-sana (the Kumaras), Narada, Varaha, Matsya, Yajna, Nara-narayana Rsi, Kapila, Dattatreya, Hayagriva, Hamsa, Prsnigarbha, Rsabha, Prthu, Nrsimha, Kurma, Dhanvantari, Mohini, Vamana, Parasurama, Dasarathi, Krsna-dvaipayana, Balarama, Vasudeva, Buddha and Kalki. There are also fourteen incarnations of Manu: Yajna, Vibhu, Satyasena, Hari, Vaikuntha, Ajita, Vamana, Sarvabhauma, Rsabha, Visvaksena, Dharmasetu, Sudhama, Yogesvara and Brhadbhanu. There are also four incarnations for the four yugas, and their colors are described as white, red, blackish and black (sometimes yellow, as in the case of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu). There are different types of millenniums and incarnations for those millenniums. The categories called avesa, prabhava, vaibhava and para constitute different situations for the different incarnations. According to specific pastimes, the names are spiritually empowered. There are also descriptions of the difference between the powerful and the power, and the inconceivable activities of the Supreme Lord.
Sri Krsna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one is greater than Him. He is the source of all incarnations. In the Laghu-bhagavatamrta there are descriptions of His partial incarnations, a description of the impersonal Brahman effulgence (actually the bodily effulgence of Sri Krsna), the superexcellence of Sri Krsna's pastimes as an ordinary human being with two hands and so forth. There is nothing to compare with the two-armed form of the Lord. In the spiritual world (vaikuntha-jagat) there is no distinction between the owner of the body and the body itself. In the material world the owner of the body is called the soul, and the body is called a material manifestation. In the Vaikuntha world, however, there is no such distinction. Lord Sri Krsna is unborn, and His appearance as an incarnation is perpetual. Krsna's pastimes are divided into two parts--manifest and unmanifest. For example, when Krsna takes His birth within this material world, His pastimes are considered to be manifest. However, when He disappears, one should not think that He is finished, for His pastimes are going on in an unmanifest form. Varieties of humors, however, are enjoyed by the devotees and Lord Krsna during His manifest pastimes. After all, His pastimes in Mathura, Vrndavana and Dvaraka are eternal and are going on perpetually somewhere in some part of the universe.
(Cc. Madhya lila 1.41)
1975 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
If you are interested in His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's interest and regard for the writings of Srila Rupa Goswami you can also read The Nectar of Devotion, his summary study of the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Kindly examine his preface and see the commonality of purpose of all of our Gaudiya acaryas:
Lord Caitanya's principle is universal. Anyone who knows the science of Krsna and is engaged in the service of the Lord is accepted as being in a higher position than a person born in the family of a brahmana. That is the original principle accepted by all Vedic literatures, especially by Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. The principle of Lord Caitanya's movement in educating and elevating everyone to the exalted post of a gosvami is taught in The Nectar of Devotion.
Lord Caitanya met the two brothers Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika in a village known as Ramakeli in the district of Maldah, and after that meeting the brothers decided to retire from government service and join Lord Caitanya. Dabira Khasa, who was later to become Rupa Gosvami, retired from his post and collected all the money he had accumulated during his service. It is described in the Caitanya-caritamrta that his accumulated savings in gold coins equaled millions of dollars and filled a large boat. He divided the money in a very exemplary manner, which should be followed by devotees in particular and by humanity in general. Fifty percent of his accumulated wealth was distributed to the Krsna conscious persons, namely the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas; twenty-five percent was distributed to relatives; and twenty-five percent was kept against emergency expenditures and personal difficulties. Later on, when Sakara Mallika also proposed to retire, the Nawab was very much agitated and put him into jail. But Sakara Mallika, who was later to become Srila Sanatana Gosvami, took advantage of his brother's personal money, which had been deposited with a village banker, and escaped from the prison of Hussain Shah. In this way both brothers joined Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Rupa Gosvami first met Lord Caitanya at Prayaga (Allahabad, India), and on the Dasasvamedha bathing ghata of that holy city the Lord instructed him continually for ten days. The Lord particularly instructed Rupa Gosvami on the science of Krsna consciousness. These teachings of Lord Caitanya to Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada are narrated in our book Teachings of Lord Caitanya.
Later, Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada elaborated the teachings of the Lord with profound knowledge of revealed scriptures and authoritative references from various Vedic literatures. Srila Srinivasa Acarya describes in his prayers to the six Gosvamis that they were all highly learned scholars, not only in Sanskrit but also in foreign languages such as Persian and Arabic. They very scrutinizingly studied all the Vedic scriptures in order to establish the cult of Caitanya Mahaprabhu on the authorized principles of Vedic knowledge. The present Krsna consciousness movement is also based on the authority of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada. We are therefore generally known as rupanugas, or followers in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada. It is only for our guidance that Srila Rupa Gosvami prepared his book Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, which is now presented in the form of The Nectar of Devotion. Persons engaged in the Krsna consciousness movement may take advantage of this great literature and be very solidly situated in Krsna consciousness.
Bhakti means "devotional service." Every service has some attractive feature which drives the servitor progressively on and on. Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it. Driven by affection for his wife and children, a family man works day and night. A philanthropist works in the same way for love of the greater family, and a nationalist for the cause of his country and countrymen. That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder and the nationalist is called rasa, or a kind of mellow (relationship) whose taste is very sweet. Bhakti-rasa is a mellow different from the ordinary rasa enjoyed by mundane workers. Mundane workers labor very hard day and night in order to relish a certain kind of rasa which is understood as sense gratification. The relish or taste of the mundane rasa does not long endure, and therefore mundane workers are always apt to change their position of enjoyment. A businessman is not satisfied by working the whole week; therefore, wanting a change for the weekend, he goes to a place where he tries to forget his business activities. Then, after the weekend is spent in forgetfulness, he again changes his position and resumes his actual business activities. Material engagement means accepting a particular status for some time and then changing it. This position of changing back and forth is technically known as bhoga-tyaga, which means a position of alternating sense enjoyment and renunciation. A living entity cannot steadily remain either in sense enjoyment or in renunciation. Change is going on perpetually, and we cannot be happy in either state, because of our eternal constitutional position. Sense gratification does not endure for long, and it is therefore called capala-sukha, or flickering happiness. For example, an ordinary family man who works very hard day and night and is successful in giving comforts to the members of his family thereby relishes a kind of mellow, but his whole advancement of material happiness immediately terminates along with his body as soon as his life is over. Death is therefore taken as the representative of God for the atheistic class of men. The devotee realizes the presence of God by devotional service, whereas the atheist realizes the presence of God in the shape of death. At death everything is finished, and one has to begin a new chapter of life in a new situation, perhaps higher or lower than the last one. In any field of activity--political, social, national or international--the result of our actions will be finished with the end of life. That is sure.
Bhakti-rasa, however, the mellow relished in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, does not finish with the end of life. It continues perpetually and is therefore called amrta, that which does not die but exists eternally. This is confirmed in all Vedic literatures. Bhagavad-gita says that a little advancement in bhakti-rasa can save the devotee from the greatest danger--that of missing the opportunity for human life. The rasas derived from our feelings in social life, in family life or in the greater family life of altruism, philanthropy, nationalism, socialism, communism, etc., do not guarantee that one's next life will be as a human being. We prepare our next life by our actual activities in the present life. A living entity is offered a particular type of body as a result of his action in the present body. These activities are taken into account by a superior authority known as daiva, or the authority of God. This daiva is explained in Bhagavad-gita as the prime cause of everything, and in Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that a man takes his next body by daiva-netrena, which means by the supervision of the authority of the Supreme. In an ordinary sense, daiva is explained as forms; the choice does not depend on our selection, but is awarded to us according to our destiny. If our body at present is engaged in the activities of Krsna consciousness, then it is guaranteed that we will have at least a human body in our next life. A human being engaged in Krsna consciousness, even if unable to complete the course of bhakti-yoga, takes birth in the higher divisions of human society so that he can automatically further his advancement in Krsna consciousness. Therefore, all bona fide activities in Krsna consciousness are amrta, or permanent. This is the subject matter of The Nectar of Devotion.
This eternal engagement in bhakti-rasa can be understood by a serious student upon studying The Nectar of Devotion. Adoption of bhakti-rasa, or Krsna consciousness, will immediately bring one to an auspicious life free from anxieties and will bless one with transcendental existence, thus minimizing the value of liberation. Bhakti-rasa itself is sufficient to produce a feeling of liberation, because it attracts the attention of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Generally, neophyte devotees are anxious to see Krsna, or God, but God cannot be seen or known by our present materially blunt senses. The process of devotional service as it is recommended in The Nectar of Devotion will gradually elevate one from the material condition of life to the spiritual status, wherein the devotee becomes purified of all designations. The senses can then become uncontaminated, being constantly in touch with bhakti-rasa. When the purified senses are employed in the service of the Lord, one becomes situated in bhakti-rasa life, and any action performed for the satisfaction of Krsna in this transcendental bhakti-rasa stage of life can be relished perpetually. When one is thus engaged in devotional service, all varieties of rasas, or mellows, turn into eternity. In the beginning one is trained according to the principles of regulation under the guidance of the acarya, or spiritual master, and gradually, when one is elevated, devotional service becomes automatic and spontaneous eagerness to serve Krsna. There are twelve kinds of rasas, as will be explained in this book, and by renovating our relationship with Krsna in five primary rasas we can live eternally in full knowledge and bliss.
The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in the human beings. The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy. That missing point is Krsna, and The Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krsna and how to be situated in that position where we can enjoy our blissful life.
In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society; that loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Krsna. This theme is the sum and substance of The Nectar of Devotion, which teaches us how to love Krsna in five different transcendental mellows.
Our loving propensity expands just as a vibration of light or air expands, but we do not know where it ends. The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krsna. We have failed to create peace and harmony in human society, even by such great attempts as the United Nations, because we do not know the right method. The method is very simple, but one has to understand it with a cool head. The Nectar of Devotion teaches all men how to perform the simple and natural method of loving Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we learn how to love Krsna, then it is very easy to immediately and simultaneously love every living being. It is like pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying food to one's stomach. The method of pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying foodstuffs to the stomach is universally scientific and practical, as every one of us has experienced. Everyone knows well that when we eat something, or in other words, when we put foodstuffs in the stomach, the energy created by such action is immediately distributed throughout the whole body. Similarly, when we pour water on the root, the energy thus created is immediately distributed throughout the entirety of even the largest tree. It is not possible to water the tree part by part, nor is it possible to feed the different parts of the body separately. The Nectar of Devotion will teach us how to turn the one switch that will immediately brighten everything, everywhere. One who does not know this method is missing the point of life.
As far as material necessities are concerned, the human civilization at the present moment is very much advanced in living comfortably, but still we are not happy, because we are missing the point. The material comforts of life alone are not sufficient to make us happy. The vivid example is America: the richest nation of the world, having all facilities for material comfort, is producing a class of men completely confused and frustrated in life. I am appealing herewith to such confused men to learn the art of devotional service as directed in The Nectar of Devotion, and I am sure that the fire of material existence burning within their hearts will be immediately extinguished. The root cause of our dissatisfaction is that our dormant loving propensity has not been fulfilled despite our great advancement in the materialistic way of life. The Nectar of Devotion will give us practical hints how we can live in this material world perfectly engaged in devotional service and thus fulfill all our desires in this life and the next. The Nectar of Devotion is not presented to condemn any way of materialistic life, but the attempt is to give information to religionists, philosophers and people in general how to love Krsna. One may live without material discomfiture, but at the same time he should learn the art of loving Krsna. At the present moment we are inventing so many ways to utilize our propensity to love, but factually we are missing the real point: Krsna. We are watering all parts of the tree, but missing the tree's root. We are trying to keep our body fit by all means, but we are neglecting to supply foodstuffs to the stomach. Missing Krsna means missing one's self also. Real self-realization and realization of Krsna go together simultaneously. For example, seeing oneself in the morning means seeing the sunrise also; without seeing the sunshine no one can see himself. Similarly, unless one has realized Krsna there is no question of self-realization.
The Nectar of Devotion is specifically presented for persons who are now engaged in the Krsna consciousness movement. I beg to offer my sincere thanks to all my friends and disciples who are helping me to push forward the Krsna consciousness movement in the Western countries, and I beg to acknowledge, with thanks, the contribution made by my beloved disciple Sriman Jayananda brahmacari. My thanks are due as well to the directors of ISKCON Press, who have taken so much care in publishing this great literature. Hare Krsna.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Los Angeles, California
Copyright 1970 by
38 North Beacon Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02134
Om Tat Sat
Puru Das Adhikari
[Originally published 02/01/00 on VNN]