Srila Bhaktvinoda Thakura
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We now proceed to explain His precepts to those who are not acquainted with them. This little book and the commentaries contain such of His holy principles as are prominent.
Sri Chaitanya teaches us in the first place that the rational attributes of men are not capable of approaching the Divine sphere of spirit. Yukti, as He styles reason, is quite incompetent in such a matter. Ruchi as He styles the religious sentiment in man, even in a very small quantity, has the power to comprehend it. It is inspiration which can alone give light to spiritual matters. Inspirations coming down from Heaven through purified and blessed souls have exhibited themselves in the form of the Vedas. The Vedas together with their explanatory notes, the Puranas, are, therefore, the only evidence in matters of spirit and are eternal in nature. Vedic truths should, therefore, be accepted as the only truth in higher matter. Reason, while sincerely helping the inspired truth, may be accepted as auxiliary evidence. The Vedas teach us, according to Sri Chaitanya, nine principal doctrines that is :—
(1) Hari (the Almighty) is one without a second.
(2) He is always vested with infinite power.
(3) He is ocean of Rasa,
(4) The soul is His Vibhinnamsa or separated part.
(5) Certain souls are engrossed by Prakriti or His illusory energy.
(6) Certain souls are released from the grasp of Prakriti.
(7) All spiritual and material phenomena are Bhedabheda prakas of Hari, the Almighty.
(8) Bhakti is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence.
(9) Prem in Krishna is alone the final object of spiritual existence.
Krishna is One without a Second
We must explain these points one by one :
1. Hari, the Supreme Being, is one without a second. In Aryan theology, the creative principle of the Deity is personified in Brahma and the destructive principle in Siva. Indra is the head of some lower elements of administration. Hence, they are not the Almighty Himself but are different representations of different attributes. They have obtained their powers from an original Fountainhead. Hence, they are subordinate beings in the service of Hari or Bhagavan. Then again, there are three distinct philosophical ideas of the Deity, i.e. (i) the idea of the negative Brahman of the pantheistic school,(ii) the idea of a Universal Soul Paramatma of theYoga school and (iii) the idea of a Personal Deity with all His Magesty, Might, (Glory, Beauty, Wisdom and Supremacy combined in the Person. The ideas of brahman and Paramatma are, therefore included in the idea of Bhagavan. Spiritually, therefore, Bhagavan is Hari. the Supreme Being. Human ideas are either mental or spiritual. The mental idea is defective, as it has relation to the created principle of matter. The spiritual idea is certainly the nearest approach to the Supreme Being. Then again, the spiritual idea of Bhagavan is of two sorts. In one sort, the Person of the Deity is overpowered by His Own Majesty, and in the other, personal Beauty overpowers all His Majesty. The first idea is represented in the great Narayana of Vaikuntka, Who is the Lord of lords and God of gods. The second is represented in the All-Beautiful Krishna with Radhika, the representative of His Hladini or superior ecstatic energy. Krishna appears as Man amongest men and is again generally accepted as God above gods. Krishna attracts, loves and produces ecstasy in all souls. His Person and Personal Attachments are all purely spiritual and have no relation to the material world. The material senses of man cannot approach Him. It is the spirit in man which can see H im direct and commune with Him. The soul fettered in matter has, from its own degradation, lost its right to see Krishna and His spiritual lila in the spiritual world, but Krishna out of His Own Supreme Power and prerogative may appear with all His Vrindavan lila before the eyes of all men. The rational man can hardly conceive and believe Krishna and His lila. As his spiritual essence improves, he sees Him and loves Him with all his heart. In our small compass, "we can hardly treat this subject fully and exhaustively. We, therefore, leave this point to our readers with these words : "Give up the shackles of matter slowly. Cultivate your spirit inwardly. Give up prejudices which you have acquired from the so-called rational thinkers who deny the existence of spirit. Be humble in yourself and learn to respect those who work towards spiritual attainments. Do these with your heart, mind and strength in the company of spiritual people alone and you will see Krishna in no time. Krishna is not a n imaginary Being, nor have you a right to think that He is a material phenomenon, fancied to be the Supreme Being by the fools. Krishna is not understood by the process of distinguishing the subjective from the objective, nor He is to be accepted as an imposition on the people set up by designing men. Krishna is eternal, spiritually true, reflected on the human soul when relieved of all pressure of gross matter, and is the subject of love which proceeds from the soul. Accept Him as such and you will see Him in your soul's eye. Words fail to describe that Transcendental Being. The highest, best and most spiritual ideal of the Divinity is in Krishna. To bring arguments against Him is simply to deceive one's self and deprive himself of the blessings that God has kept in store for man. Hence, all descriptions of His Name, Person, Attributes and Lila should be accepted spiritually, giving up the material portion which words must necessarily convey.
Infinite Powers of God
2. Hari is always vested with infinite powers. By infinite powers must be meant, powers which know no bounds either in space or in time, as his powers alone created space and time. His powers are identified with His Person. In material objects, there is a difference between the person and its powers, between the thing and its attributes, its name, its form and action; but it is a spiritual truth, that in spirit the thing is identical with its name, form, attributes and action. This truth cannot be subjected to dry reason which deals with gross matter alone. Krishna is Supreme Will in Himself and He exercises His supreme power at His pleasure which submits to no law, because all law has proceeded from His Will and Power. Power is known from its exercise. In this world we have experience of only three of the attributes of His Power. We see the material phenomena and we understand that His power has the attributes to create matter. This attribute is styled in the Vedas as Maya sa kti. We see man and we understand that the Supreme Power has the attribute to produce limited and imperfect souls. The Sastras call that attribute as jiva sakti. We conceive of One Who is Spiritual and Supreme in His realm of eternal spirits. We understand that His power has an attribute to exhibit perfectly spiritual existences. The Vedas call that attribute by the name of Atma-sakti or Chit sakti. All these attributes together form One Supreme Power which the Vedas call as Para-sakti. In fact Power (shakti) is not distinguishable from the Person of that Being. Still the powers are separately exhibited in their separate actions. This is styled 'Achintya-Bhedabheda Prakas' or inconceivable simultaneous existence of distinction and non distinction. Hari, being Will above law, exercises His infinite power while He Himself remains unaffected. This is not understood, but felt in the soul as an intuitive truth.
Ocean of Rasa
3. He is the ocean of rasa. Rasa has been defined to be that ecstatic principle which cornprehends sthayi bhav, vibhav, anubhav, sattvik and sanchari. Vibhav is divided into alamban and uddipan Alamban is subdivided into vishaya and asraya. Asraya is that person who has in himself the principle of sthayi bha,. and vishaya is that person to whom the sthayi bhav directs itself. Sthayi bhav has been explained to be Rati or tendency of the pure spiritual heart. By a connection of asraya and vishaya, the sthayi-bhav arrives at its stage of action. When it obtains its active stage, certain signs are exhibited in the person which are called the anubhavas. These are thirteen in number. Eight other bhavas exhibiting in the mind are styled sattvikbhavas such as tears, shivering, etc. Thirty-three other bhavas such as harsha, vishada, etc. have been sho wn to be sanchari bhava. These combined in soul form the rasa. This process of exhibition of rasa relates to exhibition of rasa in man still enthralled in matter. But rasa itself is an eternal principle identified with the Supreme Hari. Hari is the ocean of rasa, and in the human soul a drop of the ocean could only be conceived. Rasa naturally is spiritual, but in man subjected to Maya, the progenitor of matter, it has been identified in a perverted state with the sensual pleasure of man. In connection with material objects, the soul losing itself in mind and the mind acting through senses, enjoying the perverted rasa in five different ob]ects of the five senses. This is the soul's going abroad with avidya or ignorance of the spiritual self. When the soul looks inward, it obtains its spiritual rasa and the perverted rasa wanes off in proportion to the development of the spiritual rasa. In spiritual rasa, the soul s, in their relation to each other and all, in their relation to the All Beautiful, have their unfettered action in Vrindavan, rising above material time and space. Hari of Infinite Supreme Free Will has eternal ecstasy in His Spiritual Power or Chit sakti. The hladini attribute of chit-sakti gives Him infinite pleasure. The samvit attribute of chit sakti (spiritual wisdom) produces all bhavas, relations and affections. The sandhini attribute of chit sakti produces all existence (other than the free will) including the Dhamas (abodes), individualities and other substances in connection with the action of the spiritual rasa. All these exhibitions are from chit sakti or the spiritual power. The mayik or material creation including time, space and gross objects has no place in chit-jagat or the spiritual world which is all the same as Vrindavan. Maya-sakti is a perverted reflection of the chit sakti. Hence, t he particularities in the mayik (material) world have semblance with the particularities in chit jagat or spiritual universe, but are not substantially the same. The chit-jagat is the model of the mayik jagat, but they are not identical. We must guard ourselves against the idea that man has imagined chit-jagat from an experience of the mayik jagat. This idea is pantheistic and it may also be styled atheistic. Reason, not spiritualized, has a tendency to create such a doubt, but one who has a wish to enjoy spiritual love must give it up as misleading. The eternal rasa of Krishna exists spiritually in chit jagat. To us who are in the nether world, there is a screen which intervenes between our eyes and the great spiritual scene of Krishna lila. "When by the grace of Krishna that screen is drawn up we have the privilege to see it and again, when it pleases the Almighty to drop the screen, the great Vrindavan lila disappears. Taste the subject and your conviction will be the same as mine. Brethren, do not give up such an important subject without due and liberal examination!
4. The soul is His vibhinnamsa or separated part. By soul are meant all sorts of souls whether animal, human or celestial. It must be understood that Mahaprabhu believed in the very liberal theory of transmigration of the soul. Certain readers may reject the idea on the ground that certain forms of faith do not support that theory. It is not liberal to reject a theory, because it is in antagonism with the dogmas of certain sectarian creeds. Indeed, it is a matter which reason cannot dare to meddle with. Candidly examining, we do not see any strong reason to disbelieve the theory of transmigration. On the other hand, our un-prejudiced mind is inclined to stand for it. The belief that the human soul has only one trial in life is evidently illiberal, unjust and contrary to the belief that God is All Good. When our spiritual sentiment supports the theory, and the Vedas, the receptacles of inspirations, have taught us the fact of continual existence of the soul in different stages in creation, we cannot but give up the idea of disbelieving in the theory of transmigration of the soul. However educated and scientific a man may be, be is always liable to a creeping error. That which holds good regarding a man holds good also regarding a nation or a sect.
The soul, according to Sri Chaitanya is an atomic part of the Divine Soul. It is a sort of God's power to produce beings who are spiritual in essence but liable to be enthralled by 'Maya', when they forget their position as eternal servants of the Deity. God here is compared with the sun and the souls are said to be the atomic portions of that sun's rays unable to stand freely, unless they are protected by another competent attribute of God's power. By the word part is not meant to be portions cut out of a piece of stone by the axe, but is meant to be like one lamp lighted from another, or gold produced from an alchemist’s stone as believed by the ancients. The souls are also compared with separate atomic emanations of the burning fire. Each soul has drawn from its Fountainhead a proportionate share of the attributes and consequently a small proportion of the free will. These souls are naturally located between the chit jagat, and mayik jagat. Those who chose to serve t heir God were protected from fall by the interference of the hladini attribute of the Supreme chit sakti. They have been admitted as eternal servants of the Deity in various ways. They know not the troubles of maya and the karma-chakra or the rotative principles of mayik action and its result. Those who wanted to enjoy were grasped by maya from the other side. They are in maya’s karma-chakra, ending only when they again see their original position as servants of the Deity. These souls, whether liberated from maya or enthralled by her, are separate responsible beings depending on the Deity. Hari is the Lord of maya, who serves Him at His pleasure. The soul or jiva is so constructed as to be liable to be enthralled by maya in consequence of want of power when unassisted by the hladini-sakti of the Deity. Hence, there is a natural and inherent distinction between God and jiva which no pantheistic maneuver can annihilate. P lease avoid this misleading question, "When were these jivas created and enthralled?" The mayik time has no existence in spiritual history, because it has its commencement after the enthrallment of jivas in matter, and you cannot, therefore, employ mayik chronology in matters like these.
5. Certain souls are engrossed by prakriti or illusory energy. Prakriti, God's maya, pradhan, prapancha and avidya are different names of the same principle on account of its different phases and attributes. Maya is not an independent sakti from the supreme svarup-shakti. She is simply a reflected and outward phase of the Supreme Power, serving God in executing His penal orders on those who became ungrateful to Him. In fact maya is in charge of God's house of correction. Those jivas who, in abusing their free will forgot that they were eternal servants of the Deity and thought of enjoying for themselves, were grasped by maya for their penal servitude and correction. Maya has three attributes satva, rajas and tamas. Those attributes are just like chains used to tie up the ungrateful souls. Maya then applied a double case on the spiritual form of the soul. The double case is described by the words linga and sthul. The mayik existence has twenty-four substances:—the five elements : the earth, the water, the fire, the air and the firmament; the five properties : the sound, the touch, the sight, the taste and the smell; and ten Indrias i.e., the five senses ; the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue and the touch and five working organs such as hands, legs etc. These twenty form the sthul or outer case. The mana, the buddhi, the chitta and the ahamkar, i.e., the mind, the understanding, the attention and the perverted ego compose the linga deha or the inner case. Then after encasing the spiritual form of the soul, Maya employs the fallen souls to work. Mayik work is composed of karma, akarma and vikarma. Karma is conventionally good action done to obtain punya or virtue, such as performance of duties enjoined by the varnasram dharma of the smartas. Akarma is omission to do duty . Vikarma is sin or crime. Karma procures heavenly elevations up to the Brahmalok. Akarma gives an unpleasant state on earth. Vikarma, hurls down souls to hell. The fallen souls travel from body to body with their linga-deha doing karma or vikarma, rising up to the heavens and again coming down at the exhaustion of their virtues, going down to hell and after suffering punishment again rising up to the platform of work. Thus the state of the fallen souls is deplorable in the extreme. There, they ,enjoy and suffer massacre and murder and go on in this state, sometimes smiling as princes and sometimes crying as sufferers. The world is, therefore, a prison or a house of correction, and not a place for enjoyment as some people assert.
Release of Souls
6. Certain souls are released from the grasp of prakriti. Jivas are travelling in the path of mayik existence from time out of mind experiencing all sorts of pleasure and pain. How to get rid of this unpleasant state of existence? No dharma (performance of duty) yoga (development of powers of the sthul and the lingo) samkhya. (or the division of substances under their categories) and simple knowledge (that one is a spiritual being) and vairagya (abnegation, giving up all enjoyments in the world ) are the proper means by which one can actually get what he wants. When a man comes in contact with a vaishnava whose heart has been melted by Hari bhatki-rasa, it is then that he loves to imbibe the sweet principle of bhakti by following his holy footsteps by constant study of Krishna-bhakti. He slowly washes off his mayik condition and in the end obtaining his true nature he enjoys the sweetest unalloyed rasa w hich is the ultimatum of the soul. Satsanga or the company of the spiritual people is the only means to obtain the ultimate object of man. Bhakti is a principle which comes from soul to soul, and like electricity or magnetism in gross matter, it conducts itself from one congenial soul to another. The principle of bhakti is sincere and entire dependence on the Deity in every act of life. The principle of duty is no part of Bhakti, as it acts as gratitude for favor obtained and it works like an obligation which is contrary to natural love. The principle of morality in the mortal world, though good in its own way, does scarcely give spiritual consequence in the end. Faith in the Supreme Beauty of the Deity, a desire for the eternal unselfish service of that Being and a consequent repulsion of every other thought of pleasure or self-aggrandizement are the three principles which constitute sraddha or actual hankering after Bhakti. Bhakti by nature is ananya or exclu sive. Is it chance then which brings Bhakti? No, sukriti or good work is the prime moving principle. Good work is of two classes: one class, passing as morals includes those works which bring virtue and aggrandizement; the other class of good work includes all acts which have a tendency to bring spiritual culture. This latter class of good work or sukriti brings one in contact with a sincere vaishnava, from whom the man at first imbibes sraddha or faith in spirit and, being then capable of receiving Bhakti, obtains a flash of that principle from the vaishnava who is the actual Guru of the man.
Achintya Bhedabheda Principle
7. All spiritual and material phenomena are achintya bhedabheda-prakas of Harii the Almighty. Metaphysical discussions are perfectly useless. The Vedas go sometimes to establish that jiva is distinct from the Deity, and sometimes that jiva is the same as the Deity. In fact the Vedas always tell the truth. Jiva is simultaneosly distinct from and identical with God. This is not understood by the rationalist. Hence, it must be said that in exercise of His powers beyond human comprehension, God is distinct from jiva and the world, and again identical with them at all times. The Vedanta teaches us the sakti parinamvada and not the erroneous vivartavada of Sankaracharya. Sankar's teachings are explained in different ways. Some say that the world and jiva have emanated from God, and others establish that jiva and the world are but developments of the Godhead. Sankar, in order to avoid brahma parinam, i.e., transformation of the Godhead into the world, establishes that Vyasa teaches us vivartavada which is this: that God undergoes no change whatever, but it is maya which covers a part of the Deity, (just as a pot encloses a part of the firmament) creates the world; or that God is reflected on avidya or ignorance, while in fact nothing else than God has yet come to existence. These are worthless and abstruse arguments. It is plain that the Vedanta teaches us that God is unchangeable and is never subject to modifications. His power alone creates jiva and the material world by its own parinam (modification). The example is in the action of the alchemist's stone, the power of which comes in the form of gold while the stone remains unchanged. Thus chit sakti goes in the form of the chit jagat with all its particularities of eternal rasa, and jiva sakti goes in the form of innumerable jivas, some staying in vaikuntha as parshadas or angels and others moving in this world in various shapes and forms and under very different circumstances. Maya sakti creates numerous worlds for the habitations and entertainment of the fallen souls. Vivartavda is no doubt in error and is quite opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. Now 'Sakti parinamvada' alone is true and supports facts that spiritual love is eternal. If vivartavada were true the natural consequence would be to declare spiritual love to be a temporary principle.
8. Bhakti is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence. Karma as it is, cannot directly and immediately produce spiritual result. When it does, it does by means of Bhakti. Hence Bhakti is independent, and karma and jnana are dependent principles. Jnana or the knowledge that man is a spiritual being cannot directly bring the ultimate object. When it does it does with the assistance of Bhakti. Bhakti therefore is the only means to obtain the ultimatum. Bhakti is thus defined:— Bhakti is cultivation of a friendly sentiment for Krishna, free from all desires other than those for its own improvements, unalloyed by such other ingredients as karma and jnana, etc. It will be seen that Bhakti is itself both a feeling and an action. Bhakti has three stages vis., sadhana bhakti, bhava-bhakti and prema bhakti. Sadhana bhakti is that stage of culture when the feel ing has not yet been roused. In bhava bhakti the feeling awakes, and in prema bhakti the feeling is fully set to action. Bhakti is a spiritual feeling towards the spiritual Object of love. Sadhana bhakti is of two sorts, one is called the vaidhi-sadhana bhakti and the other is Raganuga Sadhana bhakti. The word 'vaidhi' is from vidhi or rule. Where bhakti is to be roused by the rule of the Sastras, there the vaidhi bhakti works as long as the feeling is not roused. Where one out of natural tendency loves Krishna, there is a principle called raga which is no other than a strong desire to serve the Lord of the heart. One who is tempted by the beauty of this process to follow Him, has a tendency to cultivate his feeling for Krishna. This is raganuga sadhana-bhakti. This latter class of sadhana is stronger than the vaidhi-sadhana.
Forms of Bhakti
Cultivation of the friendly feeling for Krishna is performed in nine different forms: -
1. To hear of the spiritual Name, Form Attribute and Lila of Krishna.
2. To utter and sing all those.
3. To meditate on and reiterate all those.
4. Service of His Holy Feet.
6. Bowing down.
7. Doing all that pleases Him.
Sri Murti Worship vs. Idolatry
Of all these forms, kirtan or singing the Name etc., of Krishna is the best. Humble knowledge is necessary in these forms of worship and fruitless discussions must be avoided. There are some who start at the theory of worshipping Sri Murti. "Oh." they say, "it is idolatry to worship Sri Murti. Sri Murti is an idol framed by an artist and introduced by no other than Beelzebub himself. Worshipping such an object -would rouse the jealousy of God and limit His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence!" We would tell them, "Brethren ! candidly understand the question and do not allow yourself to be misled by sectarian dogmas. God is not jealous, as He is without a second. Beelzebub or Satan is no other than an object of imagination or the subject of an allegory. An allegorical or imaginary being should not be allowed to act as an obstacle to bhakti. Those who believe God to be impersonal simply identify Him with some power or attribute in nature, though, i n fact, He is above nature, her laws and rules. His holy wish is law, and it would be sacrilege to confine His unlimited excellence by identifying Him with such attributes as omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience— attributes which may exist in created objects such as time, space etc. His excellence consists in having in Him mutually contradicting powers and attributes ruled by His Supernatural Self. He is identical with His All-Beautiful Person, having such powers as Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence the like of which cannot be found elsewhere. His holy and perfect Person exists eternally in the spiritual world and at the same time existing in every created object and place in all its fullness. This idea excels all other ideas of the Deity. Mahaprabhu rejects idolatry as well, but considers Sri Murti worship to be the only unexceptionable means of spiritual culture. It has been shown that God is Personal and All-Beautiful, Sages like Vyasa and others have seen that Beauty in their so uls' eyes. They have left us descriptions. Of course, word carries grossness of matter. But truth still is perceivable in those descriptions. According to those descriptions, one delineates a Sri Murti and sees the great God of our heart there with intense pleasure. Brethren ! is that wrong or sinful ? Those who say that God has no form either material or spiritual and again imagine a false form for worship are certainly idolatrous. But those who see the spiritual form of the Deity in their souls' eyes, carry that impression as far as possible to the mind, and then frame an Emblem for the satisfaction of the material eye for continual study of the higher feeling are by no means idolatrous. While seeing a Sri Murti, do not even see the image itself but see the spiritual model of the Image and you are a pure theist. Idolatry and Sri Murti worship are two different things ; but my brethren, you simply confound one with the other out of hastiness. To tell the truth, Sri Murti worship i s the only true worship of the Deity, without which you cannot sufficiently cultivate your religious feelings. The world attracts you through your senses as long as you do not see God in the objects of your senses; you live in an awkward position which scarcely helps you in procuring you your spiritual elevation. Place a Sri Murti in your house. Think that God Almighty is the Guardian of the house. The food that you take is His prasadam. The flower and scents are also His prasadam. The eye, the ear, the nose, the touch and the tongue-all have a spiritual culture. You du it with a holy heart and God will know it and Judge you by your sincerity. Satan and Beelzebub will have nothing to do with you in that matter. All sorts of worship are based on the principle of Sri Murti. Look into the history of religion and you will come to this noble truth. The Semitic idea, of a patriarchal God both in the pre-Christian period of Judaism and post Christian period of Christianity and Mohammedani sm, is nothing but a limited idea of Sri Murti. The monarchic idea of a Jove amongst the Greeks and of an Indra amongst the Aryan karma kandis is also a distant view of the same principle The idea of a force and jyotirmaya brahman of the meditators and a formless energy of the shaktas is also a very faint view of the Sri Murti. In fact the principle of Sri Murti is the truth itself differently exhibited in different people according to their different phases of thought. Even Jaimini and Comte who are not prepared to accept a creating god have prescribed certain phases of the Sri Murti, simply because they have been impelled by some inward action from the soul! Then again, we meet with people who have adopted the Cross, the salgram sila, the lingam and suchlike emblems as indicators of the inward idea of Sri Murti. Furthermore, if the Divine compassion, love and justice could be portrayed by the pencil and expressed by the chisel, why should not the personal beauty of the Deity embracing all other attributes be portrayed in poetry or in picture or expressed by the chisel for the benefit of man ? If words could impress thoughts, the watch could indicate time and sign could tell us a history, why should not the picture or figure bring associations of higher thoughts and feeling with regard to the transcendental beauty of the Divine personage ?
Sri Murti worshippers are divided into two classes, the ideal and the physical. Those of the physical school are entitled, from their circumstances of life and state of the mind to establish temple institutions. Those who are, by circumstances and position, entitled to worship the Sri Murti in mind have with due deference to the temple institutions, a tendency to worship usually by sravana and kirtana and their church is universal and independent of caste and color. Mahaprabhu prefers this latter class and shows worship in His Shikskastakam printed as an appendix to this book. Worship then without intermission, with a feeling of resignation. and in a very short time you will be blessed with prema.
9. Prema (love for God) is the final object of spiritual existence. The karma-margis declare that enjoyment in this world and in the heavens hereafter is all that a man requires. Karma or action is of two sorts, i.e. Karma done with a view to obtain a material result and Karma done with a view to please God. With the Karma-margis, both sorts of Karma have the object of procuring enjoyment. God is worshipped simply to grant enjoyment. Here is the line of demarcation between bhakti and karma. Bhakti aims at procuring the principle of priti or prema bhakti as the final result of all action., while karma aims at self-enjoyment as the ultimatum of action. The jnana-margis, on the other hand, cultivate jnana or spiritual knowledge to obtain mukti or salvation as the final aim of such cultivation. Mukti is defined to be of two sorts. In one sort of mukti, total absorption of the soul in God is effected, i.e., the annihilation of the separate existence of the soul from God. In the other sort of mukti, the soul stands eternally separate from God and when salvation ensues, the soul goes to chit-jagat, obtaining salokya or residence in the chit region of the Deity, samipya or residence close by the Deity, sarupya or attainment of spiritual form like that of God Himself, and sarshti or attainment of powers similar to the powers of God. The latter class of mukti is inevitable, when it pleases the Almighty to grant us that state. But then, after obtaining that mukti, we serve God with priti or pure love. The first sort of mukti is rejected by the bhaktas as not worth taking, in consequence of its tendency to annihilate the highest principle of love. The second class of mukti cannot be the ultimate object as it acts like an intermediate condition of the soul, priti there acting as the ultimatum. Mukti therefore, must be treated as an intermediate result of our spiritual disenthralment. Besides that, a hankering after mukti spoils the action of spiritual cultivation, being a strong desire for something else than the improvement of Bhakti. It has a tint of selfishness which is not in keeping with the unselfish principle of pure bhakti. We must therefore, cultivate bhakti, being always free from the two contending principles, i.e. a desire for bhukti or selfish enjoyment and a desire for mukti or salvation. We must depend on Krishna to give us mukti or not as it pleases Him. We must pray for continual development of our religious sentiment Bhakti alone. Priti or pure love is the final object of our own existence.
Phases of Prema
Rati, as explained above is the unit of principle of pure spiritual love for Krishna. Mixed up with ullas (zeal) it becomes priti. Priti creates exclusive love in Krishna, and repulsion for things and persons other than Krishna and His connections. When the idea that Krishna is my own is added to priti, it becomes prema. Here commences the idea, that God is my own Lord and I am His servant. Add confidence to prema and it becomes pranaya. Here arises the relation of friendship with Krishna. In pranaya the idea of respect loses its hold. Add to pranaya the idea that Krishna is my exclusive and dearest object of love, and it curiously turns out into mana. Krishna with all His greatness and power exhibits a sort of submission to it. Excessive melting of the heart being added, prema turns out to be sneha. Here ensues the relation of a son and parents, between Krishna and the worshipper. In this stage, too, mu ch weeping for Krishna, want of satiety with communion and desire to watch the interest of Krishna naturally occur. Desire added to sneha is raga. In this stage, a moment's separation is unbearable. Here commences the relation of husband and wife between Krishna and the worshipper. Distress attending upon want of mutual interview is happiness. Raga again, seeing its object as new at every moment and being itself new at every moment, converts itself into anuraga. In this stage, reciprocal subjection and a strong desire to accompany the lover everywhere are the principal features. Anuraga, infinitely rising in an astonishing state amounting, as if, to madness, becomes mahabhav. This is indescribable ! From Rati to mahabhava, the whole principle is what we have called sthayibhava. Added to vibhava, awubhava, sattvik, and sanchari, the sthayibhava becomes Krishna-prema rasa, the eternal Ecstasy or Beatitude.
We have a perverted picture of this noble rasa in human life, as human life in the thraldom of maya is but perverted reflection of the spiritual life. When the soul alone acts towards its proper object, the Spiritual Hero Krishna, the rasa is pure; when the mind and the senses act upon a wrong object, rasa is degraded and becomes hate-able. The preverted rasa gives clue to the idea of the noble spiritual rasa to man in general, hence, these arguments and descriptions have been attempted in words, which correspond with words directly meaning the features of the perverted rasa. We ask our readers to take care to make a nice distinction between Spirit and gross matter, otherwise a fall is inevitable.
Scope of Reason
One who studies the Name, Forms, Attributes and the Lila of Krishna as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam with a sincere heart, mind and strength, in the company of one who has realized the Spirit, is expected to know it by the influence of bhakti. One who is apt to rationalize everything closely, does scarcely acquire the truth in matters of Spirit, as by law of God, reason in its present state can never reach the sphere of the Spirit.
It is needless to go further on this subject. Those who will have the opportunity to go as far as we have stated, will make a further enquiry from their heart, and the All-Beautiful Lord will then help them to realize the spirit, and to rise higher and higher in its realm. But as long as the mind is confounded with Spirit, there is no way to rise beyond matter and its relations. The great mistake that most of the western philosophers have generally made, is to identify the mind, the perverted ego (ahamkar) with the soul or Spirit. We are sorry for that.
Constitution of Man
To summarize, man in his present state has three different principles in him (i) one sthul principle or gross matter composing his body, (ii) the linga principle or sublimated matter appearing in the form of mind; attention, rationality and the perverted ego by which one confounds oneself with the material world. This state has been caused by the influence of maya or the illusory energy, with the object of correcting the soul in his wrong intention to enjoy in consequence of forgetfulness of his nature as God's servant. (iii) Man in fact is solely independent of maya and her connections. The only way to get rid of the present difficulty is the influence of pure bhakti imbibed from a true bhakta. Bhakti as a means, elevates the man up to the All-Beautiful Krishna, and again as an end, maintains him with eternal Krishna prema.
Duties of Man
While located in the mayik world, man must live peacefully with object of cultivating the Spirit. In his society; he must lead a pure life, avoid sins and do as much good as he can to his brother man. He must be himself humble, bearing difficulties of life with heroism, must not brag of any goodness or grandeur he has, and must treat every one with respect due to him. Marriage with a view to peaceful and virtuous life, and with a view to procreate servants of the Lord, is a good institution for a vaishnava. Spiritual cultivation is the main object of life. Do everything that helps it, and abstain from doing anything which thwarts the cultivation of the Spirit. Have a strong faith that Krishna alone protects you and none else. Admit Him as your only Guardian. Do everything, which you know that Krishna wishes you to do, and never think that you do a thing independent of the holy wish of Krishna. Do all that you do with humility. Always remember that you are a s ojourner in this world and you must be prepared for your own home. Do your duties and cultivate bhakti, as a means, to obtain the great end of life, Krishna priti. Employ your body, mind and spirit in the service of the Deity. In all your actions, worship your Great Lord.
Life and Teachings of Mahaprabhu Summarized
Thus, we have laid before our English knowing readers a summary of Mahaprabhu's life and precepts. If it be necessary, we shall try to supply more information treating these subjects in English in a short time.
Our gentle readers will now find that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached pure monotheism and chased out idolatry. "We have shown that He makes a nice distinction between Sri Murti worship and idolatry. He tells us that idolatry is the worship of things and persons that are not God Himself. When the Sannyasis of Benares addressed Him as the God Almighty, Mahaprabhu told them that it was the -worst of sins to address a jiva as God. And again He has several times denounced the worship of a form or image other than the true image of God (after which man was created). Its representative emblems are to be used in worship as offering the true image of the Deity. God is One without a second. "There is none to vie with Him"—is the motto of Mahaprabhu's religion.
It will also be seen, that Mahaprabhu showed in His character and preached to the world, the purest morality as an accompaniment of spiritual improvement. Morality, as a matter of course, will grace the character of a bhakta. If it is not seen in the character of one who presents himself as a Krishna-bhakta, his sincerity may be doubted.
There are four classes of thoughts, viz., atheistic, pantheistic, indifferent and theistic. Sri Chaitanya's religion rejects the first three as inimical to religion. He preaches pure theism alone, and advises men to avoid the three others.
He preaches that varnasram-dharma, including the institution of caste, is simply a social institution introduced by the rishis to do good to man in society. They should be allowed to decorate the Aryans as long as they do not oppose spiritual improvement. By sending Pradyumna Misra, a rigid Brahmin, to Ramananda Rai for spiritualization, He has shown that one who is aware of Kriskna-tattva may be a Guru, be he a sudra, brahmin or sannyasi.
He preaches equality of men in the enjoyment of the spiritual aggrandizement. He preaches universal fraternity amongst men and special brotherhood amongst vaishnavas, who are, according to him the best pioneers of spiritual improvement. He preaches that human thought should never be allowed to be shackled with sectarian views. He tells us that a man should earn money in a right way and sincere dealings with others and their masters, but should not immorally gain it. When Gopinath Pattanaik, one of the brothers of Ramananda Rai, was being punished by the Raja for immoral gains, Sri Chaitanya warned all who attended upon Him to be moral in their worldly dealings.
In His Own early life, He has taught the grihasthas to give all sorts of help to the needy and the helpless, and has shown that it is necessary for one who has power to do it, to help the education of the people, specially the Brahmins who are expected to study the higher subjects of human knowledge.
The religion preached by Mahaprabhu is universal and not exclusive. The most learned and the most ignorant are both entitled to embrace it. The learned people will accept it with a knowledge of sambandha tattva as explained in the categories. The ignorant have the same privilege by simply uttering the Name of the Deity and mixing in the company of pure vaishnavas. The principle of kirtana invites as the future church of the world, all classes of men without distinction of caste or clan to the highest cultivation of the Spirit. This church; it appears, will extend all over the world and take the place of all sectarian churches, which exclude outsiders from the precincts of the mosque, church or the temple.
Sri Chaitanya. as a Teacher, has taught men both by precepts and by His holy life. There is scarcely a spot in His life which may be made the subject of criticism. His sannyas, His severity to junior Haridas and suchlike other acts have been questioned as wrong by certain persons, but as far as we understand, we think, as all other independent men would think, that those men have been led by a hasty conclusion or party spirit.
Sri Chaitanya was an undaunted Hero in the execution of His resolution. When He was told by some malicious Brahmins that the Emperor had been sending an army against Him, He said He wished that the reigning Prince should take cognizance of what He was doing. He was amiable to every body and stern in the discharge of His duty. Brahmananda Bharati, a religious brother of Kesav Bharati, His Guru appeared to Him in a tiger's skin. He would not bow down to him until he gave up the skin-dress and wore a linen kaupin and bahirvas. He said that the person before Him was not the Bharati. How is it that His Guru should put on an animal's skin? The sannyasis should not support the killing of beasts for the sake of their use. Bharati understood that Sri Chaitanya did not like that and changed his apparel; and Sri Chaitanya bowed down to him in showing His respect to His Guru's brother!
Sri Chaitanya pressed on His disciples to enter into the spirit of the sastras without confining in the words themselves. Pandit Devananda did not understand the spirit of bhakti while reading the Bhagavata, but when he understood the spirit, Sri Chaitanya embraced him and pardoned him for all that the Pandit had done before.
Sri Chaitanya was a jolly Being throughout His life. Though descended from the Eastern Bengal people, He joked with them while a Young Boy in such a manner that they became angry with Him. While Vallabha Bhatta (a Pandit of great renown) brought an improved commentary of the Bhagavata to show Him, and said that he would not submit to Swami (Sridhar Swami), the Lord said, it was an unchaste woman who alone disregarded her swami (husband). This was a taunt which mortified the Pandit, and dissuaded him from uttering disrespectful expression about Sridhar Swami, the commentator of the Bhagavata.
We leave it to our readers to decide how to deal with Mahaprabhu. The vaishnavas have accepted Him as the great Lord Krishna Himself. Some have considered Him as a bhakta avatar. It is at the request of some vaishnavas that we have composed the Smarana Mangal verses in the form of a prayer for daily recitation at the time of worship. Those who are not prepared to go with them may accept Nimai Pandit as a noble and holy Teacher. That is all we want our readers to believe. Readers! if you are inclined, after a study of these pages, to identify Sri Chaitanya with Krishna we would beg you not to accept Him as God-incarnate, for we think that God need not be in a carnal coil like the fallen men. His Supreme Power can bring Him down to the nether world with all His glory and particularities without the assistance of the lower energy, maya, who has created the material coil. If we believe otherwise, we would commit the sin of lowering His Spiritual Power.
We make no objection if we do not believe His miracles, as miracles alone never demonstrate Godhead. Demons like Bavana and others have also worked miracles which do not prove that they were Gods. It is unlimited prema and its overwhelming influence which would be seen in none but God Himself.
Noble readers! pardon us for intruding on you with these pages. As servants of Sri Chaitanya it was our duty to propagate His Supreme Teachings, and in doing a duty, we are entitled to pardon for any trouble we have given you. We are natives of Bengal, and in couching our words in a foreign language, we might have been liable to mistakes for which you will please forgive us.
In conclusion, we beg to say, that we should be glad to reply to any questions, which our brethren would like to address us on these important subjects. We feel great interest in trying to help our friends to seek in the way to Spiritual Love.
The Lord's Shikshastakam
cheto darpana marjanam
May the chanting of the Holy Name of Sri Krishna be glorified, which (i) sweeps of all the dirts from the mirrors of our hearts, (ii} extinguishes the great forest fire of suffering from the cycle of births and deaths. (iii) sheds moonlight upon the lily of eternal Good. (iv) is the very Life of bride of Real Learning, (v) swells the Ocean of Ecstatic Bliss, (vi) gives the full taste of Pure Nectar at every utterance of the Holy Name and ( vii ) bathes i.e. purifies and refreshes the whole self including body mind and soul in Divine Bliss. (1)
nam namkari vahudha nija sarva shakti
0 Almighty Supreme Lord , Thou hast out of thy Infinite Mercy, given to the world a multiplicity of Thy Names, endowed Each of the Names with all Thy Potencies and made no restrictions as to the time, place etc., of their recitations and remembrance. But alas! such is my luck that I have no love for chanting thy names (2)
trinad api sunicena
He, who is humbler than a blade of grass, is more forbearing than a tree and honors others, yet without any desire of honoring himself, is ever worthy of chanting the Holy Name. (3)
na dhanam na janam na sundaram
No riches, no friends or relatives, no beautiful muses do I pray Thee for, but may my heart ever cling to Thee, 0 Supreme Lord, out of selfless devotion and love, whenever and wherever I may he born.(4)
ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram
0 Son of Nanda! graciously count me Thy servant, as a particle of dust of Thy Lotus Feet, fallen as I am in the terrible ocean of this world. (5)
nayanam galad asrudharaya
"When will my eyes, 0 Lord, at the chanting of Thy Name, be filled with flowing tears, my voice become choked and the hair of my body stand up in ecstasy?(6)
The Separation from my Beloved Govinda makes an instant, i.e., the twinkling of an eye, seem to me to be an aeon, my eyes are turned into the rainy season itself and the whole world appears to me a void. (7)
ashlisya va pada ratam pinastu mam
Whether Krishna, my Beloved, hugs me in His sweet embrace or tramples me under His Feet, or torments me by keeping Himself away from me, gratifying His Amours in whatever manner He likes. He and none else is the Lord of my life. (8)