Friday, August 11, 2017

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

Part I, Part II.




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

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




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

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

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

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

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


(FN1) Determined acceptance


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

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

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


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




Ascertaining the obstacles to this bhajan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



The stage of appropriation


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

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

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

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


The process by which the conditioned soul attains bhāva


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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



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

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


The progress of the regulative devotee


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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


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

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


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


Five Kinds of Remembering

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

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

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


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


The arising of the appropriation stage

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

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


The practitioner’s state of being at that time


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


The fruit of perfection through practice

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

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

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

Perfection through chanting the Holy Name

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

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

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

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

A summary of the progression

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

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

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

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

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

The company of the saintly, peaceful seclusion and determination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Lord’s command


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here concludes the Hari-nāma-cintāmaṇi.

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