Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
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The enlightening hymns of Chandyogya have impressed us that he who can surpass all conceptions of limitation knowing the indestructible Personality of the Absolute, is alone not a kripana but is a brahmana. So the Supreme Lord asked Ramananda to explain his knowledge of transcendence in order to shake off the popular crippled view of ascertaining him by the outward phase. We have surveyed the different aspects of knowledge that are commonly known to people who draw their decision out of their present knowledge derived through the medium of senses.
The comparative merits of pious seekers of virtue against the fallen creatures who have entangled themselves in sinful acts, have been delineated as the stepping-stone of the staircase of Religion. The second step is known as maintainer of the neutrality of virtue and sin, practitioner of the neutral phase of distinctive temporal specification in dismissal of manifestation, and finally the rejector of the three aspects of observer, observation and observed against the enjoying mood of the religionist. The third step inculcates the process of devotion as the medium free from the indirect method of negation of temporary phenomena. Then comes the fourth step where the ambitious fruits targeted by elevationists and salvationists are not traceable. The supreme teacher admits the claim of loving devotion against the non-loving substratum of clouded and unclouded gains which are in other words rupturous and void of love. We deal here with the different perspective phases of devotional love which has very little to do with the synthetic situation of the numerous shareholders.
The object of devotion has no co-sharer to dissuade the ambition of a true targetor. The unalloyed free soul has an innate volcanic activity known as love for the one object and he is never to be expected to pick up anything for his own which would rouse up jealousy of birds of the same feather, but to achieve the only success of vesting all interests from their contending activities to the one. This one is not to be supposed to discourage any loved with his particular phase of loving service.
To determine the object of eternal love by the eternal true servitor, no foreign element is to be tentatively introduced to have a distraction from the Absolute Truth. Love may be effected in the five successively different stages by the lover to the loved. The very embodiment of love has the sole entity of inviting the eternal loved through their five different ratis innate in them. Whenever love is attempted from a lower level it has a necessary tinge of reverence. Love is the principal entity of uniting tie between the two. In mundane phenomena love is described as ephemeral and non-eternal. But when the lover and the loved are both eternally reciprocated, such love is not to be confused with our present experience of denominating the mundane love. The subtle gaseous form, when condensed, is liquefied in the language of the scientist, and the liquid in its turn is solidified in the gradual development. From transcendental non-relativity love is traced to change its subtle form, ta king the shape of unalloyed loving service to loving friendship and then to confidential loving friendship. The love becomes purer to concentrate itself to the filial object and reaches the acme in the object of consort. The tone is not changed, but the magnitude of service is augmented gradually step by step.
Ramananda, in describing the loving nature of devotion, cited a verse composed by him which showed the gradual increase of felicity in things which are eatable and drinkable as per the degree and quantity of hunger and thirst. This has analogy to adding more sauce to our serving mood of true love, which brings more enthusiasm. Ramananda went on to cite another verse which was also his composition which purported to disclose the fact that no luck arising out of our action could be compared with the intense aptitude for having a service to Krishna and this is the exchanged value to secure in return for the ripe and soft relishing quality of Krishna's devotion and this should be secured at all costs when it could be had. Such a disposition is incomparable, with earned fortunes. This is spoken of as the base of prema bhakti.
To this the Supreme Lord expressed His approval and asked him to elucidate further. Service with loving temper has got a conspicuous aspect as distinct from the mere base. In this world we invite the objects to serve us and we have got the inner inclination of approving the adaptability of being served by others, as we are quite unaccustomed to find out the All-love Who has concealed Himself from us through our sensuous activities. So Rama-nanda exhibited the glaring phase of the pure service to the Personality of Godhead as the most interesting piece of function of the soul. The soul, now lying in a dormant condition, has delegated powers to the mind in order to take over the charge of meddling with the external world by lording it over mundane entities. But the temporal activity can have the permanent function if the loving aptitude is directed towards the All-love Who is the one without a second. As regards the aspects they will be dealt later on along with our ameliorating function s of love. To support his statement Ramananda culled a passage of the Bhagavatam (9 Sk., 16 ch., 16 sl.) together with a passage from the hymns of Yamunacharya, "Nothing remains unavailable by the servitors who are purified by the aural reception of the transcendental Name of the very entity of holiness". Alavandar, in his lyrics, gave vent to the expression, "When will that day come when I will be in a position to please my Master, considering myself as an eternal unswerving slave, having dispelled all sorts of designs by my innate serving mood constantly."
The Supreme Lord approved this version of unalloyed service and solicited further progressive elucidation. Ramananda's answer was to target confidential service of a friend to the Personality of Godhead being the highest aim of a devotee. The question of neutrality is amplified in concerning the integral Absolute and the infinitesimal potency in the same line. In support of his statement Ramananda culled a passage from the tenth skanda of the Bhagavatam (12th Chapter, 11th sloka) which ran to disclose the comparative situation of the unexpected fortune that is received by the cowherd-friends of Krishna which have excelled that of the ordinary servitors of the Absolute, the object of the transcendental ecstatic felicity realized by the sojourners of the tract of knowledge.
The Supreme Lord was showing His approval when He heard of the confidential loving service superior to menial service from the lips of Ramananda. When the normal stage is exceeded it was approved not with toleration but with definite and positive assertion. But the Supreme Lord said, "The confidential service is no doubt better than that of the service-holders. Still you are to advance a little more."
So Ramananda had to disclose his heart more in speaking out filial love for Krishna which is higher and nobler than the confidential friendship. To bear testimony to his assertion he culled two more verses from the tenth chapter of the tenth skandha of the Bhagavatam, "The glory achieved by the parents in serving the Absolute Personality of Godhead exhibited the two incidents of comparative fortune of the parents. What led Nanda and Yasoda to avail the parental situation of the Son-God and what were the incidents that led the unparalleled luck of Yasoda which induced the Son-God to suck her breast ?" The fortune that was not available to the four-faced Brahma, five-faced Siva, the generating and the destroying entity of the Absolute, nor to His spouse Laksmi who has such unprecedented favor, was received by the milk-maid from the dispenser of liberation. The Supreme Lord approved this disclosure with great sympathy, but asked him to proceed to the climax.
Ramananda in response to His query gave out that love of consort predominates over all other aspects of devotion. He recited two verses from the tenth skandha of the Bhagavatam to espouse the glorious position of the milkmaids who are the best of His subservients.
The love for the consort excels that of all loving servitors or loving parents. The intensity of affinity is the greatest in the milk-maids serving their consort. The ecstatic displays that are found in ladies towards their husbands, the temporal but incessant love of the goddesses towards their gods, the strongest affinity of the Laksmis towards Narayana, cannot be compared with the ecstatic enthusiasm that was enjoyed by the milk-maids at the rasa pastime when every one of them were in the arms of each of variegated entities of Krishna. When the Gopis were cast into the depths of the ocean of grief by the conspicuous absence of Sri Krishna, He suddenly appeared before them with a smiling face wearing the yellow apparel, garlanded with flowers. His beautiful appearance was so overwhelmingly attractive that the most sublime beauty completely vanquished the very entity of aesthetic culture.
The combination of hasya, adbhuta, karuna rasas added to the delicious taste of madhurya which could not be compared with any other representation of the kind. There are various means by which the services of Krishna are attained and these variegated aspects can be judged with their respective merits. A servitor is to select, by his predilection, the acme of the function of his soul. But there is a distinctive reference of comparative study if we are not guided by a definite principle. A comparative scrutinization would certainly give us to know the additional qualities, as we find in examining ether, etc., augmented by successive additional attributes and reach the climax with the association of the five in the solid representation. The Personality of Godhead can only be had to accept our unalloyed loving service through love alone and not by reverential procedure. Sri Krishna being the very fountain-head of all resorts of rasa, He is ever prepared to welcome every ser vitor whoever he and whatever his serving procedure may be.
But if the object is distorted like our confusing Jehovah with Moloch and Moloch with Jehovah, we would certainly miss the kindly feelings of Krishna. This conception in scrutinizing ourselves will lead us astray from the true object. Our eternal functions and activities if misdirected will give us troubles and if we fall to determine Krishna, Who is the sole attractor of the unalloyed entities of souls, we will certainly miss to apprehend the process inculcated by Ramananda. Our wrong and erroneous promulgation will never enable us to get the best benefit that can be had by us if we fail to single out loving tenor to Krishna against Dharma, artha, kama and moksha, i.e., by our limited propensity of limited elevation and salvation.
Ramananda, being further asked to subjoin the fullest reciprocity of madhurya rasa, advanced to delineate the counter reciprocal moiety of the whole by fixing the object in Sri Radhika. The highest step of devotion is displayed to serve the Pair and to utilize the full independence of the servitor to espouse the cause of the predominating aspect of the counter-whole by associating oneself in Her company. Ramanananda was found to describe the situation of the paraphernalia and the transcendental duties congenial to confidential service of attending maids of Sri Radhika which completed the full narration of the manifestive position of amorous Pair.