Bhakti comes from bhakti or how bhakti ENTERS into our hearts

The crystal clear conclusion from this video is that bhakti starts with the receiving of the bhakti lata bija [and bhakti is not already “there” in the heart”].

The situation

tad evam ananta eva jīvākhya taṭasthaḥ śaktayaḥ. tatra tāsāṁ varga dvayaṁ. eko vargaḥ anādita eva bhagavad unmukhaḥ anyas tu anādita eva bhagavat parāṅmukhaḥ svabhāvataḥ tadīya jñāna bhāvāt tadīya jñānābhāvāc ca

“There are innumerable spirit souls and they are the marginal potency of God. There are two classes of them: one class is favorable to God from beginningless time, and the other class is turned away from God from beginningless time. The first class is naturally full of knowledge and the other is without knowledge.”
[Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, Paramatma Sandarbha (44)

In Paramatma Sandarbha (28), Sri Jiva Gosvami explicitly says that the self is devoid of knowledge, although conscious by nature, and it lacks bliss although free of any material misery. In other words, it has the potential (svarupa yogyata) to get knowledge and bliss but not yet the functionality (phalopadhayi yogyata).
[check Paramatma Sandarbha and Tattva Sandarbha for more references]
Like a lightbulb has the capacity to spread light, but someone has to give the lightbulb electricity to function properly. In the same way, bhakti is not ALREADY “there” in the heart of the jiva. Bhakti is GIVEN and the heart then is made a suitable place for bhakti to descend and develop into bhava-bhakti and finally prema-bhakti. Continue reading

…to hold on to the lotus feet of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī

No one but Dāsa Gosvāmī is so fixed in that desire for Śrī Rādhā’s service!
That should be our target! Such sincere eagerness cannot be found anywhere else!

Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is an eternally liberated maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, so he is the greatest authority, the ācārya of the (Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava) sampradāya (tradition) and by following in his footsteps one will surely attain this service. He gave the perfect example to the practising devotees with his sādhana-maya jīvana, his life, that was full of devotional practice.
“I want to think of myself as a follower of the Gosvāmīs like Rūpa and Raghunātha dāsa. What can I do to accomplish that?”

Hearing and chanting of the mahā vāṇī (great words) of Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī will awaken that identification as follower of Rūpa and Raghunātha.
His very powerful words are even greater than the words of the Ṛṣis of yore,
for these words are filled with the līlā-rasa of the most confidential Vraja nikunjas to which even the great sages did not have access.

The kiṅkarīs know even better how to attain Rādhārāṇī’s foot-service than Rādhārāṇī Herself! The six Gosvāmīs are all eternally perfect maidservants from the groves of Vraja, therefore it is required to follow in their footsteps. Śrī Raghunātha’s love can be understood through this Vilāpa. For this reason we are discussing Vilāpa Kusumāṣjali.
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays:
“Hā devi! Please give me the excellent service of Your lotus feet!”

This service is so excellent because it is completely free from shame and reverence, and it is very luscious. Such service cannot be found anywhere, but now it is given as a special token of mercy of Śrī Gaurasundara. Raghunātha dāsa is a nitya siddha kiṅkarī and the guru of the (Gauḍīya) sampradāya. The beautiful and sweet service of Śrī Rādhā is also most dear to us. Of all kinds of servanthood the servitude of Śrī Rādhā is the greatest.
[Śrīla Ānanda Gopāla Gosvāmī]

Śrīmat Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmīpāda is Vraja’s eternally perfect ‘Rati Manjarī’or ‘’Tulasī Manjarī’.

In Śrī-Śrī Gaura Govindārcana Paddhati Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s dear associate Śrīla Gopāla Guru Gosvāmī has written-

ratyambujākhya kuṣje’stīndulekhā kunja dakṣiṇe
tatraiva tiṣṭhati sadā surūpā rati manjarī
tārāvalī dukūleyaṁ taḍit tulya tanu-cchabiḥ
dakṣiṇā mṛdvikā khyātā tulasīti vadantī yām
asyā vayo dvimāsāḍhya hāyanāstu trayodaśa
pitāsyā vṛṣabhaṁ kānto divākhyaṁ śāradā prasūḥ
śvaśrūś ca sannikā proktā cāmara sevanānvitā
iyaṁ hi raghunāthākhyaṁ prāptā gaura rase kalau

“In the kunja known as Ratyambuja (the lotus of Rati), south of Indulekhā’s kunja, the beautiful Rati Manjarī always resides. Her dress is decorated with a cluster of stars and her body shines like lightning. She has a mild, submissive nature and is nick-named ‘Tulasī’. She is 13 years and two months old. Her father is Vṛṣabha, her husband Diva, her mother is named Śāradā and her mother-in-law Sannikā. Her service is fanning. In the age of Kali she has descended as Raghunātha dāsa.”

He descended to the mundane world along with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to give the best example to the world of how to practise manjarī bhāva through his own bhajana.

On the one hand he gave the world the example of how to perform loving devotion, how to renounce the world and how to be fixed in one’s worship, on the other hand he showed how he was similarly always immersed within his self esteem as a manjarī within his spiritual body – thus he gave the example of how to be greatly eager and anxious for attaining the personal loving service of Śrī Rādhā.

The extraordinary renunciation, superhuman loving devotional conduct and unbroken absorption in the siddha svarūpa of Śrī Raghunātha, who is a mine of countless jewel-like attributes, is a new subject altogether within the history of worship in the spiritual realm. When he resided in Nīlācala (Jagannātha Puri), Śrīman Mahāprabhu was very pleased by seeing his extraordinary love-scented renunciation and rewarded him with the gifts of His very dear string of guṣjā beads and His sacred rock from Mount Govardhana.

Śrī Raghunātha then understood the Lord’s secret intentions – śilā diyā gosāi more samparpilā govardhane guṣjā-mālā diyā dilā rādhikā caraṇe. (C.C.)

“By giving me the sacred rock the Lord offered me to Mount Govardhana and through the string of guṣjā-beads He offered me to the lotus feet of Rādhikā.”

After the disappearance of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrīpāda went to reside at Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, at the base of Śrī Girirāja, the place the Lord had bestowed upon him. Here, by Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s grace, his mind became immersed in the recollection of divine pastimes and he became greatly agitated with divine emotions.

There, on the shore of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, Śrīpāda composed the scripture named Stavāvalī. In this collection of hymns the surge of Śrīpāda’s divine sentiments flow like a pure creek, as if it continually runs towards a boundless ocean of divine flavours.

Wherever we look in the world of literature, we can find that such lovely poetry,
so gracious, deep with feelings and decorated with sweetness, is very rare indeed.
The river of Śrīpāda’s rasika poetry is agitated with ever-fresh waves of beauty and sweetness and illuminated and enlarged by the tender rays of the moon of ever-fresh feelings, so that it has become relishable for both the loving devotee and the sensitive connoisseur of poetry! But only the one-pointed rasika devotees can perceive and relish the amazing high- and ebb-tide of separation and meeting that surge in a self-incited way in his heart’s outbursts of divine passion in the Ganges-river of his poetry.

Within Vilāpa Kusumāṣjali an abundance of such feelings are seen. Here Śrīpāda’s unbroken absorption in manjarī bhāva is surely extremely astonishing! This is such a great example of the practise of manjarī bhāva, that by hearing, chanting and recollecting it hundreds and hundreds of practitioners of manjarī bhāva will be enlivened by this sky-high ideal and can be blessed with the practise of manjarī bhāva – of this there is no doubt.
[Śrī Ananta dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja]

The most wonderful mood of Rādhikā´s kiṅkarīs

The mood of the maidservants is identical with Rādhārāṇī’s mood.

Just as Rādhikā is the personification of full mahā bhāva, so Her maidservants are the personifications of sevā rasa (the flavour of service).

Their svarūpas (intrinsic conditions) are made of this service-flavour. No one understands Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s wishes as well as they do, that’s why they suffer so much when they are deprived of their devotional service. No one else is as qualified to understand, to catch experience of what are Svāminījī’s innermost feelings but them, not even Svāminī’s own girlfriends (sakhīs)!

One day Svāminī is angry with Śyāma and Kṛṣṇa comes to Her kuñja, dressed as a girl, trying to please Her, but Svāminī gives a hint to Tulasī to kick Him out of the kuñja:

śaṭho’yaṁ nāvekṣyaḥ punar iha mayā māna dhanayā
viśantaṁ strīveśaṁ subala-suhṛdaṁ vāraya girā
idaṁ te sākūtaṁ vacanam avadhāryocchalita-dhīs
chalāṭopair gopa pravaram avarotsyāmi kim ahaṁ
(Utkalikā Vallarī 59, Rūpa Gosvāmī)

“I will not look at this cheater anymore! I will keep the wealth of My honour! Subala’s friend (Kṛṣṇa) has entered My kuñja, disguised as a girl! Stop Him!” O Rādhe! When can I, after hearing these anxious words of Yours, stop that best of cowherds from entering?”

Tulasī then tells Kṛṣṇa: “O rogue! There are no demons here that You can delude in this enchanting dress like Mohinī! We are Rādhā’s kiṅkarīs, we can understand all Your tricks! Realize Your own deceitfulness and get out of this kuñja!”

iṅgite bujhibo sob kāj
(Narottama Dāsa Thākura):

‘I will understand all my duties simply on Their hints.’

The kiṅkarīs understand everything naturally! They can understand what Svāminī needs during Her pastimes with Kṛṣṇa and they know what pastimes will be played, so they go ahead of the Divine Couple and decorate the kuñja accordingly before They get there. They make a bed for only one person to lie on, with one pillow – they know by experience what pastime will be performed! The sakhīs know that the kiṅkarīs have entrance into the intimate pastimes, they engage them accordingly:

lalitā ādeśa pāiyā, sevana koribo jāiyā,
priya sakhī saṅge harṣa mone
(Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura)

“Receiving the order from Lalitā I will blissfully go to do my service along with my dearest girlfriends.”

The mood of the maidservants is identical with mahā bhāva. Śrī Rādhārāṇī consists of mahābhāva; She is the very Cintāmaṇi-jewel that fulfills all of Kṛṣṇa’s desires:

sei mahā-bhāva hoy cintāmaṇi sāra;
kṛṣṇa vāñchā pūrṇa kore – ei kārya yāra
(C.C.)

“This mahā-bhāva is the quintessence of the Cintāmaṇi-gem of love of God, and it serves to fulfill all of Kṛṣṇa’s desires.”

The maidservants are like the Cintāmaṇi-stones that fulfill the desires of both the Couple, therefore Kṛṣṇa pitifully prays to them for Rādhārāṇī’s indescribable mercy.

yasyās te bata kiṅkarīṣu bahuśaś cāṭuni vṛndāṭavī
kandarpaḥ kurute tavaiva kim api prepsuḥ prasādotsavam
(Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhiḥ – 94)

“O beautiful daughter of king Vṛṣābhanu! Vṛndāvana’s transcendental Cupid (Kṛṣṇa) always flatters Your maidservants in so many ways, desiring the festival of Your indescribable mercy!”

In the same way Rādhārāṇī takes also shelter of the kiṅkarīs, who are nondifferent from Her in heart, when She desires to meet Kṛṣṇa. Within Their minds Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava praise the wonderful expertise of those kiṅkarīs in their service.

Radhakund Mahanta Sri Srimat Ananta das Babaji

No taste for leadership – manjari bhava

tā vidyud udyuti jayi prapadaika rekhā vaidagdhya eva kila mūrtibhūtas tathāpi
yūtheśvarītvam api samyag arocayitvā dāsyāmṛtābdhim anusasnur ajasram asyāḥ

“Each line on these mañjarīs’ toes defeats the bright splendour of the lightning.
They are cleverness personified and although they are qualified to be yūtheśvarīs (gopī-group-leaders) they have no taste for this at all.
They are always immersed in the nectar-ocean of Śrī Rādhikā’s service.”
[Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta’, 3.2]

pādābjayos tava vinā vara dāsyam eva
nānyat kadāpi samaye kila devi yāce
sakhyāya te mama namo’stu namo’stu nityaṁ
dāsyāya te mama raso’stu raso’stu satyam

“O Goddess! I shall never pray to You for anything else but the excellent service of Your lotus feet! I offer my constant obeisances to the idea of becoming Your friend, but I really relish the idea of becoming Your maidservant!”

[Śrī -Śrī Vilāpa Kusumāñjali, verse 16, Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī]

 

Chant and be happy? Yes…but…

Question:

Dear Tarun Ji, sharing about “spiritual” things is wonderful, but what about sharing about material obstacles that block or hinder my path through bhakti.

I am very afraid to share these things because I think many will say that this is just maya [illusion].

Answer:

In regards to „material“ issues or problems a sadhaka (devotee) may face during his journey through bhakti:

When I was in ISKCON / GM (1989 – 2001), I met quite a few devotees suffering from mental problems either caused by material circumstances or already slumbering inside the person…
Usually, the treatment was: “Chant Hare Krishna and be happy. Everything will be cured.”

Unfortunately, this idea is absolutely wrong and unfortunately, I witnessed personally HOW wrong such a “therapy” can be when applied to suffering souls with SEVERE personal problems.

It is true however that the Holy Name and BHAKTI Herself can perform miracles…but is the recipient READY to receive such miraculous mercy? Is a severely disturbed person able to practice BHAKTI in a proper way?

After what I witnessed, I have to say: NEVER. It will not work. This is not diminishing the glories of BHAKTI or the Holy Name. It is about the soul being able to embrace the mercy and thus progress nicely.

I remember a schizophrenic devotee who one day loved BHAKTI, sadhu sanga, prasadam, etc… and the next day he blasphemed whatever came his way…

How can such a soul REALLY progress? It really CANNOT.

We need to face our “material” issues properly. And, depending on the seriousness of the personal problem/issue, I am talking about professional help.

Sometimes professional therapy is the ONLY way to be able to continue or even start properly with BHAKTI.

Not every doctor or therapist or psychologist is “automatically” a demon or a rascal.

I know many good-hearted professionals in the matter “out there” and not just a few are even devotees themselves.

“Sit down and chant.” This is well-intended and very nice… but depending on the problems of a person, he might not be able to even SIT DOWN…

Sripad Sadhu Maharaja was the first guru I met who clearly voted for addressing the problem at hand and not just say: “Bah…that is just material. Go and chant and serve.”

Material problems must always be addressed, and a solution must be found to be able to properly practice BHAKTI.

If we are always under guidance of Sri Gurudeva and our dear brothers, we need to embrace every help we can.

We have a body, a mind and we ARE the soul…

Every part must be taken care of.
If we neglect one part, the trinity (body, mind, soul) will not work.

You cannot cure a broken leg with the Holy Name either. You need a doctor for that.
[Advaita das Ji].

Ultimately, Guru kripa will HEAL everything, but we have to be in the right frame of mind to be able to accept this kripa.

A broken vessel cannot receive and keep ANY liquid.

In my humble opinion, it is VERY necessary to be able to share about EVERYTHING that concerns our journey through bhakti.

We just must know with WHOM.

When you approach Sripad Sadhu Maharaja for example, he will never say:

“Oh…this is just MAYA!!!”

It depends to whom you reveal your personal life.

You can reveal these things only to people you trust and love and to those who trust you and love you.

Also, it is very good if there are some senior or more advanced devotees you share your personal issues with and best of all, share them with your Gurudeva.

A genuine sadhu will always see the “big picture” and he will help you in every way.

Tarun

Thoughts about a balanced life here in this world

I can say from my own experience that a mind too critical, and in my case, too judgmental, is like a curse.

I honestly have to say that as the time now went by, I observed many things within Gaudiya Vaishnavism that shocked and disgusted me, and I always was very quick to judge and condemn or to take side of a certain “party”. It made me really think many times about one deep question:

Do I really want to live in a spiritual family, Gaudiya Vaishnavas, when there is so much fighting going on and so many other troubling things…until I realized ONE THING: It has NOTHING to do with ME…

I need to be critical with MY OWN person and I should not bother anymore about OTHERS.

For an arrogant person like me, this is not very easy. But every day I pray for this strength and slowly results are coming in. Continue reading

The unique reward for the mañjarīs

For those who have been wondering why ALL our purva-acaryas are mañjarīs  – Here is why.
😀

Śrīmatī Rūpa Mañjarī has accomplished the meeting of Rādhikā and Śyāmasundara in a solitary cave of Govardhana Hill, and she secretly looks through a hole in that cave to witness Their sweet love-pastimes.

Rādhā and Śyāma are both intoxicated by Each other’s presence.
How expertly are They playing Their pastimes! At the end of these pastimes Śyāmasundara bites Śrīmatī’s lips, leaving a mark there.

The relationship between Rādhikā and Rūpa Mañjarī is so pure that all the signs of Kṛṣṇa’s lovemaking on Śrī Rādhikā’s body, such as His bitemarks on Her lips, become manifest on Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī’s body also. Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī is beside herself of ecstasy, so she’s not aware of this reflection.
Then she thinks to herself: “Aha! My sakhī Tulasī Mañjarī (Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī) has not seen these sweet pastimes! Where is she? Alas, I should bring her here and show this to her!”, so she leaves the window and starts searching for Tulasī.

When Tulasī meets Rūpa Mañjarī, she notices Kṛṣṇa’s bite marks on her lips and jokingly asks her: “My dear friend Rūpa Mañjari! You never look at the faces of other men! You’re famous in Vraja for your chastity! But, despite the fact that your husband is not at home, I see that your lips have been bitten! Has some great parrot maybe done this?”

If anyone considers the words śuka puṅgavena to indicate that Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī was enjoyed by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then that would contradict the definition the ācāryas have given of the mañjarīs within their books.     Continue reading