miércoles, 11 de enero de 2012

Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta - First Chapter First Shower

Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta - First Chapter First Shower

Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta
Śrī Sri Rādhā kṛṣṇābhyāṁ namaḥ

First Chapter


I begin this composition of Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta, by first offering my respectful obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Who is the bestower of Bhakti for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. By Him all varieties of conflicting and incomplete philosophies, which originate from miscalculation and delusion are perfectly reconciled.

Three types of objects

In this world, there are three types of objects or Vastu’s. First there is the Supreme Lord (Īśvara). Second, there are conscious entities (cetana). Third, there are those material objects (jaḍa), in which there is no desire (Icchā-śakti), or are inert or jaḍa.

suparṇāv etau sadṛśau sakhāyau
yadṛcchayaitau kṛta-nīḍau ca vṛkṣe
ekas tayoḥ khādati pippalānnam
anyo niranno ’pi balena bhūyān
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.11.6)

“In the tree of this material world it appears to external vision that by chance, two birds reside together. They are friends and are of a similar nature. One of them, however, is eating the fruits of this banyan tree, whereas the other, who even though he is not eating the fruits, remains strong due to his own potency.”

Earth, stone, water, fire, air, ether, houses, wood, cloth, and bodies are material objects. Thus they are devoid of desire. Living entities such as human beings, beasts, birds, worms, and insects are conscious. Within these, the power of discrimination and desire are found. The level of discrimination in human beings is not found in any other conscious object. It is for this reason that humans have gained sovereignty over all conscious and inert objects.

sṛṣṭvā purāṇi vividhāny ajayātma-śaktyā
vṛkṣān sarīsṛpa-paśūn khaga-dandaśūkān
tais tair atuṣṭa-hṛdayaḥ puruṣaṁ vidhāya
brahmāvaloka-dhiṣaṇaṁ mudam āpa devaḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.9.28)

“By expanding His own illusory potency, (Māyā-śakti) the Supreme Person created innumerable species of life for the conditioned souls. However even after creating trees, reptiles, animals, birds and so on, the Lord was not satisfied. Then He created human beings, who have the intelligence to perceive the Absolute Truth, and He became pleased.”

The Original Creator of the Universe

The Supreme Lord or Īśvara is the creator of all types of conscious and unconscious objects. Because He does not have a material body, we are unable to perceive Him with material eyes. He is a complete entity, possessed of pure consciousness. He is our creator, maintainer, and controller.

sthity-udbhava-pralaya-hetur ahetur asya
yat svapna-jāgara-suṣuptiṣu sad bahiś ca
dehendriyāsu-hṛdayāni caranti yena
sañjīvitāni tad avehi paraṁ narendra
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.3.35)

“Even though He is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, He Himself is without cause. He eternally exists, and remains as a witness throughout the stages of wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep, and also in the final stage of self-realisation (Samādhi). It is He who propels the body, senses, life airs and consciousness. It is He by whose strength others gain their own power and can thus perform their individual varieties of work. It is He who gives life to all life forms. Hey Nārada! He is the Absolute Truth.”

Through His desire we attain auspiciousness, and by His desire we can also lose everything. In His original form (Svarūpa) as Bhagavān, He eternally resides in the spiritual abode of Vaikuṇṭha. He is the controller of all other controllers, and it is only by His desire that the entire material and spiritual creation functions.

The body of the Supreme Controller (Īśvara) is not material

Bhagavān does not have a material body like ours. Thus, we are unable to perceive Him with our gross material senses. It is only due to this reason, that the Vedas have described Him to be without form (Nirākāra).

The spiritual form (Cinmaya-svarūpa) of Bhagavān

As every single object has its intrinsic nature (svarūpa) the Supreme Controller (Īśvara) also has His own nature (Svarūpa).

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraṁ jaganti
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Brahma-saṁhitā 5.32)

“I worship that original personality, Śrī Govinda. His divine form is composed of eternity, cognisance and bliss, and is therefore exceptionally effulgent. Each and every limb or sense of His transcendental body is inherently endowed with all the functions of all the other senses. He eternally sees, maintains and regulates an infinite number of universes, both spiritual and mundane.”

The svarūpa of a material object must be composed of matter. The svarūpa of any conscious object must be composed of spirit (Cinmaya). We are all conscious objects, yet covered by an inert, material body. Therefore, our spiritual forms (Cinmaya-svarūpa) are covered by physical, material bodies. The Īśvara is a completely pure and transcendental truth (tattva). Therefore, He has no other type of Svarūpa other than His Cinmaya or spiritual Svarūpa.  His body or form is His actual Cinmaya-svarūpa. We are only able to perceive this form through our pure spiritual eyes or eyes that are full of pure unalloyed devotion (Bhakti). We will never see Him by material eyes.

Atheistic Nature

Those who are unfortunate have no faith in Īśvara, the Supreme Being. The reason for this is that their eyes of knowledge are closed. Because they are unable to see the body of the Supreme Lord with material eyes, they think that there is no such being as Īśvara or God. Just as a person who is blind since birth is unable to see the sunlight; similarly, an atheistic person does not have faith in Īśvara.

pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca janā na vidur āsurāḥ
na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate

asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ kim anyat kāma-haitukam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā 16.7–8)

“Those who are demoniac do not comprehend virtue, nor indeed how to abstain from vice. Cleanliness, proper conduct and truthfulness are not found in them. They describe the world as unreal, without basis and godless. They say it is the product of sexual union, or that it is self-generated. Not only this, they even say that it is the result of selfish desires.”

All mankind naturally has faith in God. Only those who have learned faulty logic through poor association since childhood, and are thus controlled by such evil impressions do not accept the existence of the Supreme (Īśvara).

In this regard there is only loss for such people, and what is the loss for Īśvara?

The spiritual abode of Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma is attained by Bhakti

It is improper to think of Vaikuṇṭha as a material place. All places such as Chennai, Mumbai, Kashmir, Kolkata, London, and Paris are composed of matter, and in order to arrive at these places we have to cross the borders of so many material regions. In addition, traveling by boat or train takes time, but by transporting this material body, we may reach there. However, the spiritual world of Vaikuṇṭha is unlike these material places. It is unique, completely beyond the material world, composed of spirit, eternal, and free from fault.

śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpa-taravo
drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇi-gaṇa-mayī toyam amṛtam
kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priya-sakhī
cid-ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca

sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca sumahān
nimeṣārdhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
bhaje śveta-dvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ
vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye
(Śrī Brahmā-saṁhitā 5.56)

“I worship that supreme abode of Śvetadvīpa, where the beloved heroines are a host of transcendental goddesses of fortune and the Supreme Personality Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only lover; where all the trees are spiritual desire-trees, and the earth is made of transcendental wish-fulfilling Cintāmaṇi jewels; where the water is nectar, natural speaking is a melodious song and walking to and fro is an artful dance; where the flute is the dear-most friend; where light is full of knowledge and bliss, and the supreme spiritual substance that comprises all things is relishable; where a vast transcendental ocean of milk is always flowing from millions upon millions of Surabhī cows; and where time is not subject to passing away, even for half the blink of an eye, because it is not divided into past and future, but remains in the undivided eternal present. That divine abode, which is practically unknown in this world, is known by the name of Goloka by only a few, rare saintly persons.”

One is unable to see that divine abode through the material eyes or to think of that place by the material mind. In that inconceivable abode, the Supreme Controller of everything, Parameśvara resides. If we are able to satisfy Him, then by His mercy we will be able to go there and engage in His eternal service.

The material world and suffering

What we call happiness in this material world is not eternal; rather, it remains for a moment and then disappears. In this material world everything is composed of misery. Taking birth is distressing, and full of suffering. Upon taking birth, the body must be nourished by eating and other such activities. If there is a shortage of foodstuffs, water, etc., then it gives rise to suffering. Disease and pain are constantly present. There are many difficulties in the form of heat and cold, etc. In an attempt to avoid these causes of unhappiness, we undergo great bodily inconvenience in order to accumulate wealth. We construct a residence in order to live comfortably. After marriage, we must raise sons and daughters, yet in old age, we cannot take pleasure in anything. Not only that, but by quarreling with others, we undergo many different types of suffering. The essence of all this is that there is no such happiness called ‘unalloyed or exclusive happiness’ in this material world. Ordinary persons can understand the temporary cessation of unhappiness and the scarcity of happiness, and how troublesome it is for us to remain within this material world. After attaining the Supreme abode of Parameśvara, known as Vaikuṇṭha, the soul or jīva will no longer experience temporary happiness and distress, only eternal bliss. Therefore, satisfying the Supreme Lord is our only duty.

When knowledge is awakened, worship of the Supreme Being (Īśvara) is essential

As soon as mankind develops knowledge, the desire to please Īśvara begins to awaken. This is for his ultimate benefit:

kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam

yathā hi puruṣasyeha viṣṇoḥ pādopasarpaṇa
yad eṣa sarva-bhūtānāṁ priya ātmeśvaraḥ suhṛt
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.6.1–2)

“Even though the human form of life is rarely attained and can be destroyed at any moment, still it is only in this birth that one can pursue spiritual attainment. Therefore an intelligent person should cultivate this way of life (Bhāgavat-dharma) from childhood. All souls must engage in devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu because He is the most beloved of all, the Master of the soul and the well-wisher of all living beings.”

Some think: “Now we will enjoy material life, and when we attain old age we will worship Īśvara!” However, thinking like this, they will achieve nothing. Time is extremely precious. When knowledge of our real duty awakens, it is necessary to begin to worship Bhagavān immediately, because the human form of life is especially rare and transitory.

labdhvā sudurlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte
mānuṣyam arthadam anityam apīha dhīraḥ
tūrṇaṁ yateta na pated anu mṛtyu yāvan
niḥśreyasāya viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.9.29)

“After many births we have attained this rare human form; therefore before death comes, we should immediately engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the perfection of human life."

No one can say when death will come. One should never think that they cannot perform service to the Lord (Bhajana) or worship of Parameśvara in childhood. We see in the Vedic histories that Dhruva and Prahlāda attained the mercy of Bhagavān at a very young age.

Is there any doubt that one can achieve anything if he or she set their mind to it?

If we practice an activity from childhood, then that action will gradually become natural.

Four reasons for endeavouring in devotional service

There are four types of situations described, from which mankind begins to endeavour to satisfy Parameśvara: fear, material desire, a sense of duty and attraction (Rāga).

tuṣṭe ca tatra kim alabhyam ananta ādye
kiṁ tair guṇa-vyatikarād iha ye sva-siddhāḥ
dharmādayaḥ kim aguṇena ca kāṅkṣitena
sāraṁ juṣāṁ caraṇayor upagāyatāṁ naḥ

dharmārtha-kāma iti yo ’bhihitas tri-varga
īkṣā trayī naya-damau vividhā ca vārtā
manye tad etad akhilaṁ nigamasya satyaṁ
svātmārpaṇaṁ sva-suhṛdaḥ paramasya puṁsaḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.6.25–26)

“Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied the Supreme Person, who is the cause of all causes and the original source of everything. The Lord is the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities.

For devotees, who are transcendental to the modes of material nature, what is the use of following the principles of religiosity (Dharma), sense enjoyment (Kāma), economic development (Artha) and liberation (Mokṣa), the results of which are all automatically obtainable under the influence of the modes of nature?

Religion, economic development and sense gratification are described in the Vedas as three ways to salvation (Tri-varga). Within these three categories are education and self-realisation; ritualistic ceremonies performed according to Vedic injunction; logic; religious principles and their enforcement; and the various means of earning one’s livelihood.  These are the external subject matters of study in the Vedas and therefore I consider them material. However, I (Prahlāda Mahārāja) consider surrender to the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu to be transcendental.”
BBT Translation

Whoever worships Bhagavān due to fear of hell, poverty, pain or death is inspired to do so by that fear. Others perform devotion (Hari-bhajana) being desirous of improving their material situation. Impelled by material aspiration, they pray for material prosperity and enjoyment from Bhagavān. However, in the service of Bhagavān, there is such a degree of ecstasy and happiness, that many who, even though they began Bhajana being motivated by these first two causes, namely fear and material desire, have abandoned material prosperity and enjoyment for the blissful performance of pure devotion or Śuddha-bhakti.

Thirdly, there are those who worship the Creator out of a sense of gratefulness, and being inspired by this sense of duty, perform Bhagavat-bhajana. However, those who are not inspired to worship Bhagavān out of feelings of fear, desire or duty, naturally taste the ecstasy of Bhagavat-bhajana; something else inspires them, and that is Rāga (attachment) or Prema (love). Rāga is that intelligence, which, without any previous deliberation, inspires one to run and attain an object, simply upon seeing it. That person whose heart is inspired to perform the Bhajana of Parameśvara, which awakens simply by thinking of Him, is performing Bhajana by Rāga.

The nature and identity of Rāga-bhajana

The Bhajana or worship of Parameśvara, when inspired by fear, material aspiration or a sense of duty, is not so pure.

gopyaḥ kāmād bhayāt kaṁso
dveṣāc caidyādayo nṛpāḥ
sambandhād vṛṣṇayaḥ snehād
yūyaṁ bhaktyā vayaṁ vibho
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.1.31)

“Many have attained the Supreme by complete absorption of the mind in devotion through lusty desires (Kāma), envy (Dveṣa), fear (Bhaya) or affection (Sneha) and by giving up the faulty aspects of those sentiments. The gopīs have attained the Supreme by fixing their minds on Kṛṣṇa through lust; Kaṁsa by fear; Śiśupāla and other kings by envy; the Yadus by family relationships; you (the Pāṇḍavas) by affection and we sages (Nārada and other ṛṣis) by Bhakti.”

A factual practitioner (Sādhaka) is one who worships the Lord on the path of natural attraction (Rāga). There is and very thick and deep relationship between Bhagavān and the individual soul (jīva). One can understand the character of this relationship once Rāga awakens within the heart. Even though this relationship is eternal, it remains covered or hidden from the jīvas who are bound by matter. Only upon receiving a favourable opportunity does this relationship reveal itself. In a similar manner, as fire manifests from the friction caused by the striking of a matchstick, this relationship manifests during the performance of practice (Sādhana). By performing devotion (Bhajana) motivated by fear, material desire or a sense of duty, this relationship has awoken for many people. Dhruva is an example of someone who had previously performed Hari-bhajana desiring to attain a kingdom; however, during the course of his practice of Sādhana and upon the awakening from within his heart of this pure Rāga or attachment, born from his relationship with the Lord, he no longer desired any material benediction from Śrī Bhagavān.

Vaidhī-bhajana rooted in terms of performance or non-performance of duty

Fear and material aspiration are extremely insignificant. If the Sādhaka uses his intelligence, he abandons fear and material desire as the impetus for Bhajana. In such a situation, feelings of duty then become prominent within him. As long as spontaneous attraction (Rāga) toward Bhagavān has not awoken within the Sādhaka then he remains unable to abandon feelings of this sense of duty (Kartavya-buddhi). From these feelings of obligation two considerations arises: one is respect for the Vaidhī or rules and regulations and secondly is Avaidhī, the rejection of activity not in compliance with the rules and regulations. Vaidhī is the prescription that the previous liberated devotees (Mahat-puruṣas), after thorough deliberation, have established in the scriptures concerning the appropriate methods used for the worship of Bhagavān.

ei ta sādhana-bhakti—dui ta’ prakāra
eka ‘vaidhī bhakti’, ‘rāgānugā-bhakti’ āra

rāga-hīna jana bhaje śāstrera ājñāya
‘vaidhī bhakti’ bali’ tāre sarva-śāstre gāya
 (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.108–109)

“There are two types of devotional practices (Sādhana-bhakti). One is regulative devotional service (Vaidhī-bhakti) and the other is spontaneous devotional service (Rāgānugā-bhakti). All the scriptures have concluded that those who have not attained the platform of Rāga or spontaneous attachment to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, should perform Vaidhī-bhakti under the guidance of the Vedic scriptures.

dāsa-sakhā-pitrādi-preyasīra gaṇa
rāga-mārge nija-nija-bhāvera gaṇana
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.161)

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa has many types of devotees: servants, friends, parents and conjugal lovers. Those who are situated in one of these devotional moods are considered to be on the path of Rāgānuga-bhakti.”

na karhicin mat-parāḥ śānta-rūpe
naṅkṣyanti no me ’nimiṣo leḍhi hetiḥ
yeṣām ahaṁ priya ātmā sutaś ca
sakhā guruḥ suhṛdo daivam iṣṭam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.25.38)

“Oh peaceful one!

My devotees are never destroyed. They are never touched by My wheel of time. Those for whom I am their beloved, soul, son, friend, spiritual master, well-wisher, worshipful deity and Lord, they perform My Bhajana with deep attachment by the process of Rāgānuga-bhakti, and I Myself become the object of their devotion, according to their Rasa, and appear before them.”

The performance of Bhajana due to feelings of duty and the Bhajana motivated by respect of the scriptures is the same, and both are included within Vaidhī-bhakti.

Faith in Īśvara and Bhajana

Upon studying the differences in terms of the histories and behaviour of the diverse peoples of the world, it becomes clear that belief in Bhagavān is common for all. Even uncivilised tribal people – who maintain their lives like animals, on the flesh of beasts – still worship and fully offer their respects to the sun and the moon, to large mountains, rivers and trees, considering them to be their maintainers and controllers.

What is the cause of this?

Although, the individual spirit soul is still very tightly bound by material nature, to that degree his consciousness is not completely covered, he will manifest his nature of a conscious being (Cetana-dharma).  To some degree a belief in God reveals this nature.

kālena naṣṭā pralaye vāṇīyaṁ veda-saṁjñitā
mayādau brahmaṇe proktā dharmo yasyāṁ mad-ātmakaḥ

tena proktā sva-putrāya manave pūrva-jāya sā
tato bhṛgv-ādayo ’gṛhṇan sapta brahma-maharṣayaḥ

tebhyaḥ pitṛbhyas tat-putrā deva-dānava-guhyakāḥ
manuṣyāḥ siddha-gandharvāḥ sa-vidyādhara-cāraṇāḥ

kindevāḥ kinnarā nāgā rakṣaḥ-kimpuruṣādayaḥ
bahvyas teṣāṁ prakṛtayo rajaḥ-sattva-tamo-bhuvaḥ

yābhir bhūtāni bhidyante bhūtānāṁ patayas tathā
yathā-prakṛti sarveṣāṁ citrā vācaḥ sravanti hi

evaṁ prakṛti-vaicitryād bhidyante matayo nṛṇām
pāramparyeṇa keṣāñcit pāṣaṇḍa-matayo ’pare
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.14.3–8)

The Supreme Person said:

“Hey Uddhava! At the time of annihilation, by the influence of time, the Vedic knowledge was lost. In the Vedas was the description of the souls inherent attraction to Kṛṣṇa (Bhāgavat-dharma).Therefore, at the beginning of the subsequent creation, I spoke the Vedic knowledge again to Brahmā. Lord Brahmā first instructed his eldest son, Manu in this Vedic knowledge, and Manu instructed the seven great sages headed by Bhṛgu Muni (Aṅgirā, Marīci, Pulaha, Atri, Pulastya and Kratu). From these saints appeared many children and descendants, such as demigods, demons, human beings, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyādharas, Cāraṇas, Kindevas, Kinnaras, Nāgas, Kiṁpuruṣas and so on, who accepted the same Vedic knowledge. From the three modes of material nature many different natures and desires were generated. Therefore, because of the different characteristics of the living entities, and those maintained by them, came many different conceptions. Thus, according to the great variety of desires and natures among them, there arose different philosophies. Thus due to these differences in natures of the individuals there are many varieties of conceptions within human society. Some of these are handed down through disciplic succession and others propagated by atheistic philosophies.”

Three types of atheistic philosophy

When mankind becomes civilised, he begins to study varieties of knowledge. However, because of fallacious arguments and logic, his consciousness becomes covered and he then takes shelter of atheism or Abheda-nirvāṇa-vāda, the theory of monism (non-existence). We should understand these untrustworthy doctrines to be simply symptoms of enfeebled, weak souls. Between the stage of being totally uncivilised, and the stage of possessing beautiful and complete faith in Īśvara (or the devotional stage), there are three secondary stages of a human being. In these three stages, namely civility, the scientific stage and the moral stage– the painful theories of scepticism, atheism, materialism and nirvāṇa (Nihilism) become obstacles to the human being’s progress in life, these false theories lead some completely in the opposite direction. It is not that all will be overcome these theories, but those who are pained by these diseases –yet remain in their clutches – cannot acquire the qualification to make their lives successful. Uncivilised tribal people can very quickly come to the standard of following the system of Varṇāśrama-dharma (the system of four social and four spiritual orders), by cultivating civilised manners, proper conduct and education. Upon following this Varṇāśrama, they can attain a devotional life, favourable for the cultivation of Bhagavat-Bhajana. This is the natural sequence for mankind to attain perfection. However, the presence of these obstacles gives rise to a most unnatural stage in life.

The difference in the bodies and minds of humans

The language and nature of the different people in different countries and continents are varied. Even though the primary quality (faith in Īśvara), is common to all, still we see that the secondary natures of everyone are quite different. Even though the primary characteristic is the same, still we cannot find two people within the entire creation whose secondary characteristics are equal in all respects.

Even two brothers who have taken birth from the same womb have differences in their body and behaviour, so how can all those who have taken birth in different countries be the same in all ways?

Different countries have diversity in water, air, terrain, flora and fauna. Because of this, people will naturally also have variations in physique, nature, behaviour, clothing and food. The mentality of people born in each of these countries will also differ. Thus, even though their primary feelings toward the Supreme will be the same, their secondary qualities, in terms of how that understanding manifests, will be quite different.

Therefore, after crossing the uncivilised stage, human beings will gradually pass through the three stages of civility, science and morality, and then finally come to the stage of devotion. Thus according to the differences in language, development, foodstuffs, and mentality respectively, we will find differences in the system of worship of the Supreme Lord. In considering all of this from a position of neutrality, it becomes clear that even though there may be many differences in the secondary sense, there is no loss for us at all in accepting these differences. It is only by having a united conception of our object of worship that we will, at the time of perfection, remain untouched by fault. Therefore, it is the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that we worship Bhagavān, who is possessed of a pure transcendental eternal form (Viśuddha-sattva-svarūpa), but we must not criticise the system of worship of those having a different qualification.

Five differences amongst the various religions

Amongst the diverse religious practices throughout the world, there are five types of differences due to the above-mentioned factors. These five differences are:

1.            Differences in teachers (Ācārya-bheda).
2.            Differences in the mentality and realisation of the worshipers.
3.            Differences in the method of worship.
4.            Differences in the mood and actions regarding the object of worship.
5.            Differences in names and descriptions due to variations in language.

1. Difference in teachers

Due to differences in teachers or ācāryas, respect is given to the saints and sages in some countries; while in others, they respect preachers such as Muhammad, and in others, they respect Jesus and the saintly persons in that tradition. In various countries, they give special respect to certain greatly learned persons. People residing in all of these places are duty-bound to give the appropriate respect to such great teachers. However, even though someone may be speaking in terms of their own faith and belief, it is improper for them to preach in another country that the teachings given by the ācārya of their faith or country are superior to the teachings of the ācāryas of all other places, as this conception gives rise to divisiveness. There is no benefit for the world in this at all.

2. & 3. Diverse systems of worship due to differentiation in the conception and realisation of the worshipers

Due to differentiations in the nature and realisation of the worshipers, there are different systems of worship. In some countries, they sit on a mat or āsana and worship by means of gestures of the hands and fingers (Nyāsa) and breathing exercises (Prāṇāyāma). In other countries, they wear a cloth wrapped around the waist (lungī), and facing their major place of worship they pray five times daily by repeatedly bowing down. In other places they manifest their humility by kneeling down, and with clasped hands, they glorify the qualities of the Lord and honour Him in their house of worship. In addition, there are variegated local considerations, such as in the wearing of special clothing during worship, in eating and behaviour, and in rules pertaining to cleanliness and impurity in particular circumstances.

4. Differences in worship due to varieties of activities and mood

After seeing the modes of worship in different religions, one will be able to see the differences in the systems or processes of worship. Regarding the different varieties of the object of worship, one can also see their different moods and activities. Some, overcome with devotion in their hearts, establish a shadow likeness of the form of the Lord (Śrī-mūrti), in their soul, in their mind and finally in the external world. The worshipers develop the mood of absorption with the object of their devotion (Tādātmya), seeing it to be directly Bhagavān Himself, and worship that. In other religions, because of the prominence of logic and argument, they simply form a conception of Īśvara in their mind, and worship that. They do not accept an external form of the Lord, yet upon factual consideration, we see that everyone, in some way or other, worships the Lord (Śrī-mūrti). 

arcāyāṁ sthaṇḍile ’gnau vā
sūrye vāpsu hṛdi dvijaḥ
dravyeṇa bhakti-yukto ’rcet
sva-guruṁ mām amāyayā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.27.9)

“A twice-born person should worship Me, his worshipable Lord, without deceit, offering appropriate paraphernalia with loving devotion (Bhakti), to My Deity form or to a form of Me appearing in earth, in fire, in the sun, in water or within the worshiper’s own mind.”

śailī dāru-mayī lauhī
lepyā lekhyā ca saikatī
mano-mayī maṇi-mayī
pratimāṣṭa-vidhā smṛtā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.27.12)

“The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight varieties: stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind and jewels.”

5. Due to differences in language, different terms describe Bhagavān

Following the diversity in various languages, people remember Parameśvara by different names and denominate their religions differently. At the time of worship, there is diversity in all of the aforementioned details.

Remaining free from criticising and spite toward other secondary systems of worship

Due to these five types of differences, there are many variations between the religious groups throughout the world. This is completely natural. However, to quarrel because of these differences is improper and a cause of great loss. If one is present where another form of worship is being undertaken, it is proper to think that:

“Just as I do, they are worshiping my Lord through another process. However, because of my different impressions and education, I am unable to completely understand their process. But by this experience, I am deepening my appreciation for my own system of worship. The Absolute Truth is indeed only one. To this form of my worshipful Lord that I am seeing here, I give my most respectful obeisances and I pray to my Lord, who assumes many forms, that He may increase my Prema toward that form of His which is understood and dear to me.”

Śrī Hanumān has stated:

śrī nāthe jānakī nāthe cābhede paramātmani
tathāpi mama sarvasvaḥ rāmaḥ kamalalocanaḥ
(Śrī Prema-bhakti-candrikā, verse 28)

“I know that the Lord of Lakṣmī (Śrī Kṛṣṇa), and the Lord of Jānakī (Śrī Rāma) are non-different, but the lotus eyed Śrī Rāma is everything to me.”

Abandon blasphemy and spite

Whoever does not accept this point-of-view and whoever criticises or has envy, violence or spite toward other religious methods is extremely ignorant. They are giving more attention to useless argument than to attaining their own perfection.

The necessity of abandoning the methods propounded by false or temporary Dharmas (religious principles)

There is one point worthy of deliberating upon in this regard. To criticise the process of another’s worship is ignorance and worthless; however, if there is really a fault or lack in a particular system of worship then one is never able to respect that.

vidharmaḥ para-dharmaś ca ābhāsa upamā chalaḥ
adharma-śākhāḥ pañcemā dharma-jño ’dharmavat tyajet

dharma-bādho vidharmaḥ syāt para-dharmo ’nya-coditaḥ
upadharmas tu pākhaṇḍo dambho vā śabda-bhic chalaḥ

yas tv icchayā kṛtaḥ pumbhir ābhāso hy āśramāt pṛthak
sva-bhāva-vihito dharmaḥ kasya neṣṭaḥ praśāntaye
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.15.12–14)

“There are five branches of irreligion, appropriately known as irreligion (Vidharma), religious principles for which one is unfit (Para-dharma), pretentious religion (Ābhāsa), analogical religion or that which is a semblance of religion (Upadharma) and cheating religion (Chala-dharma). One who is aware of real religious life must abandon these five as irreligious. Religious principles that obstruct one from following one’s own religion are called Vidharma. Religious principles introduced by others are called Para-dharma. A new type of religion created by one who is falsely proud and who opposes the principles of the Vedas is called Upadharma and interpretation by one’s jugglery of words is called Chala-dharma.”
BBT Translation

However, upon correcting the fault by the application of the correct medicine, there will be auspiciousness for all jīvas. Thus, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu brought Jains, Buddhists and impersonalists (Nirviśeṣa-vādīs) onto the true path by discussion. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s followers should always attempt to emulate His personal character as the ideal example.

Many types of Apa-dharmas or false religions

There are religious processes in which unwanted tendencies are present. These appear in the form of atheism (Nāstikya-vāda), scepticism (Sandeha-vāda), materialism (Jaḍa-vāda), the theory that there is no soul (Anātma-vāda), literally to follow one’s own conditioned nature (Svabhāva-vāda) and impersonalism (Nirviśeṣa-vāda) are present. This is understood by the devotees to be not religion or Dharma. Rather, it is Vidharma (heresy), Dharmābhāsa (pretentious religion), Chala-dharma (cheating religion) or Adharma (irreligion). The devotees understand the position of these worshipers to be very lamentable and will endeavour to protect the innocent Sādhakas from these unwanted things.

Love for Īśvara is indeed the eternal religion (Nitya dharma)

Pure, spotless love (Vimala-prema) is the eternal religion (Nitya-dharma) of the individual soul.

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.8)

“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labour if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Person.”

Even though we see the above-mentioned five types of differences between the various religions, that religion where the inner intention is Vimala-prema (pure devotion), is factual religion. It is improper to simply argue about the external differences, if the intention of the religion is pure then everything about it is also auspicious. All the theories previously mentioned: atheism, scepticism, and materialism, literally following one’s own nature, the theory that there is no soul or belief in fruitive action and impersonalism are intrinsically opposed to Prema or pure love. We will speak about this further on.

The nature (Dharma) of Kṛṣṇa-prema

Love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa-prema is truly unblemished pure love (Nirmala-prema).

bhakti-yogena manasi samyak praṇihite 'male
apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ ca tad-apāśrayam

yayā sammohito jīva ātmānaṁ tri-guṇātmakam
paro 'pi manute 'narthaṁ tat-kṛtaṁ cābhipadyate

anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje
lokasyājānato vidvāṁś cakre sātvata-saṁhitām

yasyāṁ vai śrūyamāṇāyāṁ kṛṣṇe parama-pūruṣe
bhaktir utpadyate puṁsaḥ śoka-moha-bhayāpahā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.7.4–7)

““Upon fixing his pure mind in full devotional absorption (Samādhi), Śrīla Vyāsadeva saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person. He also saw the external energy, Māyā, which was under His full control, at a distance from the Lord and under His shelter, as she was not independent from Him. This external energy was but a shadow of the fully spiritual potency which is always situated within the complete Svarūpa of the Lord, being non-different from Him. He also saw the infinitesimal living entity, which is manifested from the Jīva-śakti of the Lord, which is superior to the inferior illusionary potency of Māyā. Being bewildered by Māyā, the jīva considers himself composed of matter and a product of the three modes of material nature. He also saw that performing Bhakti-yoga to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is Adokṣaja, being beyond the purview of the gross material senses, is the only means to be delivered from the clutches of Māyā. The most learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature, for the benefit of ignorant people. Whoever hears this Śrīmad Bhāgavatam will develop devotion for the Supreme Lord and be forever free from lamentation, illusion and fear.”

The special quality of Prema is that it takes shelter of one entity, and takes another as its object. Pure Prema cannot exist without Āśraya (shelter) and Viṣaya (object). The hearts of the jīvas are the Āśraya of this Prema. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only Viṣaya or object of that Prema. After the complete awakening of pure Prema in the heart, the features of Nārāyaṇa, Īśvara and the impersonal Brahma, within the worshipful object of service, will all be resolved within the Svarūpa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. After reading this book in its entirety, the reader will clearly understand to what degree Prema should be cultivated, and accordingly, God will be experienced.

Whoever uselessly argues as to why the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa should be given to the Supreme, will be unable to understand the actual reality or tattva described. That is because such arguments are worthless. That which the name indicates is itself the real object to search for and that is desirable for the jīvas.

The factual eternal Dharma is described only in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam

The crest jewel of all scriptural works, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has described the tattva of the character of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Vyāsadeva, the most learned of personalities, realised it in His devotional trance, Bhakti-samādhi. By the mercy of the transcendental Śrī Nārada, Śrī Vyāsadeva saw the Svarūpa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and described what he had seen for the benefit of the jīvas. In this way, pure Prema-bhakti – which is free from all material designations, lamentation, illusion and fear – can awake toward that Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Understanding through conception with appropriate knowledge (Vidvat-pratīti) and conception without appropriate knowledge (Avidvat-pratīti)

By hearing or reading of the character of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the jīvas will have two types of understanding according to their different qualification. The names of these two types of understanding are Vidvat-pratīti and Avidvat-pratīti. At the time when Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared in this material world, those jīvas who saw Him and His pastimes with appropriate knowledge – in other words the learned devotees – had the first type of understanding or conception, Vidvat-pratīti. While those who were not learned (the non-devotees), having material intelligence only, had Avidvat-pratīti or conception without appropriate knowledge. One may completely understand the topics of Vidvat-pratīti and Avidvat-pratīti by carefully and completely studying such books as the Ṣaṭ-sandarbha, the Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta or the Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā and by following their teachings under the guidance of an appropriately qualified person. It is not possible to give a comprehensive explanation of the subject matter here. We can briefly say that the understanding that arises from the shelter of the Vidyā-śakti (knowledge potency) of Bhagavān is actual Vidvat-pratīti, while the understanding that awakens by the shelter of the Avidyā-śakti (illusionary potency of Bhagavān), is called Avidvat-pratīti.

Only Vidvat-pratīti is necessary

In examining the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa without proper knowledge or understanding, much controversy will arise. In hearing about His pastimes with proper knowledge, there will be no such dissension.

na cāsya kaścin nipuṇena dhātur
avaiti jantuḥ kumanīṣa ūtīḥ
nāmāni rūpāṇi mano-vacobhiḥ
santanvato naṭa-caryām ivājñaḥ

sa veda dhātuḥ padavīṁ parasya
duranta-vīryasya rathāṅga-pāṇeḥ
yo 'māyayā santatayānuvṛttyā
bhajeta tat-pāda-saroja-gandham
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.37–38)

“The jīva is very foolish because his intelligence is limited. Thus no jīva is able to understand the pastimes of the creator by the expertise of his intelligence. Just as an actor by adopting varieties of different names, forms and artistic abilities is unable to be recognised by an ignorant person as He remains beyond the reach of their mind or speech. Then in the same way, Bhagavān’s pastimes are beyond the understanding of the jīva bound by matter. Only those who continuously serve the divine fragrance emanating from the lotus feet of Bhagavān without duplicity are able to understand the tattva of the most heroic Supreme Controller, who carries a disk (or chariot wheel) in His hand.”

Those who desire transcendental gain, endeavour for the attainment of this Vidvat-pratīti or experience through appropriate knowledge. To argue from the basis of Avidvat-pratīti is worthless.

vidyāvidye mama tanū viddhy uddhava śarīriṇām
mokṣa-bandha-karī ādye māyayā me vinirmite

ekasyaiva mamāṁśasya jīvasyaiva mahā-mate
bandho ’syāvidyayānādir vidyayā ca tathetaraḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.11.3–4)

“O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of Māyā, are expansions of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance are without beginning, and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings. O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity (jīva) is intrinsic to Me, but due to ignorance, he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge however, he can be liberated.”
BBT Translation

I am hereby endeavouring to give some illumination into what is proper understanding or Vidvat-pratīti. Those who have crossed beyond material thinking have a factual understanding of Cit-tattva or that which is beyond matter. It is possible for such people to have this Vidvat-pratīti, or conception with appropriate knowledge. With transcendental eyes, they see the form of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa. With transcendental ears, they listen to topics of the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and with their transcendental tongue, they taste everything of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. All the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are transcendental and beyond the touch of matter. By His inconceivable potency (Acintya-śakti), Śrī Kṛṣṇa can reveal Himself to the material eyes; however, without His mercy, all the dull material senses such as the eyes, ears etc., are unable to perceive Him directly. Whatever vision one has of Śrī Kṛṣṇa with material eyes during the time of His manifest pastimes without this Vidvat-pratīti, cannot bear the same fruit that one would attain by His direct and complete darśana. Most commonly, we see people possessed of Avidvat-pratīti.

The fruit of Avidvat-pratīti gives realisation of Nirviśeṣa-tattva

By this Avidvat-pratīti, generally people inadvertently see Śrī Kṛṣṇa as temporary. They imagine that He takes birth, grows old and dies. This Avidvat-pratīti is the sole cause of misunderstanding that the impersonal feature of the Lord is the reality, and that His personal manifestation-endowed with form, qualities and pastimes is material. Thus even though they accept the uniqueness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they consider Him to be material.

The ineffectiveness of material logic

What is Para-tattva or the Supreme Truth?

One is unable to understand this using logic and argument.

How much can a human being, of limited intelligence, understand an immeasurable entity?

Therefore, the Parama-tattva (the Supreme Truth) can only be understood and experienced by those jīvas who have a tendency to perform Bhakti (devotional service). Bhakti is the term for the initial stage of Vimala-prema or pure love. Without the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Vidvat-pratīti cannot awaken, because it is only by His grace that His Vidyā-śakti (knowledge potency) assists the jīvas.

Kṛṣṇa is the only object of Prema

Of all the conceptions in this world that are related to the Supreme Truth, the concept of the Svarūpa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is most suitable in regards to pure and spotless Prema. It is not possible for this Prema to be experienced with Allah, the object of worship in the Koran. Even the dear friend of the Lord, Prophet Mohammed, could not directly see the Svarūpa of the Lord, because even though the Lord understands the friendly sentiments of the worshipper towards Him, He remains far from the worshiper who has feelings of great reverence. The ‘God’ of the Christians similarly remains a very distant entity or tattva.  The formless Brahman aspect, and even the incarnation Nārāyaṇa is not the object of the natural Prema of the jīvas. Only Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is always residing in His transcendental abode of Śrī Vṛndāvana, is the direct object of this pure Prema.

anyābhilāṣitā śūnyaṁ jñāna-kārmādy anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11)

“The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (Nirmala-prema), which is not covered by Jñāna (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and Karma (reward-seeking activity) and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called Uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.”

The eternal abode (Dhāma) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa

The abode of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is composed of bliss. Even though complete Aiśvarya (opulence) is present, it has no influence there.

tasmād arthāś ca kāmāś ca dharmāś ca yad-apāśrayāḥ
bhajatānīhayātmānam anīhaṁ harim īśvaram

nālaṁ dvijatvaṁ devatvam ṛṣitvaṁ vāsurātmajāḥ
prīṇanāya mukundasya na vṛttaṁ na bahu-jñatā

na dānaṁ na tapo nejyā na śaucaṁ na vratāni ca
prīyate ’malayā bhaktyā harir anyad viḍambanam

tato harau bhagavati bhaktiṁ kuruta dānavāḥ
ātmaupamyena sarvatra sarva-bhūtātmanīśvare
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.7.48, 51–53)

“The four principles of advancement in spiritual life – Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa – all depend on the disposition of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, my dear friends follow in the footsteps of devotees. Without desire, fully depend upon the disposition of the Supreme Lord; worship Him, the Supersoul, in devotional service. My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by becoming perfect Brāhmaṇas, demigods or great saints or by becoming expert in etiquette or vast learning. None of these qualifications can awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is simply a show. My dear friends, O sons of the demons, in the same favourable way that one sees himself and takes care of himself, take to devotional service to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present everywhere as the Supersoul of all living entities.”
BBT Translation

In that Supreme abode of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, everything is composed of sweetness (Mādhurya) and its Svarūpa is composed of eternal ecstasy (Nityānanda). Flowers, fruits and twigs are the wealth there and herds of cows are the citizens. The cowherd boys are His friends and the gopīs His associates. Milk, yogurt and butter are His foods. Pure Kṛṣṇa-prema saturates all the forests and sub-forests. Śrī Kṛṣṇa attracts the river Yamunā to His service. The entire spiritual atmosphere is His maidservant. Elsewhere, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as Para-brahma (the Absolute Truth), accepts the worship and respect of all people, but in Vraja that same Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the most beloved, is simply the very life of all. Sometimes it appears that His associates are equal to Him and sometimes it even appears that He is subordinate or inferior to them.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa – not lessened by feelings of awe and reverence – is the only object of Prema.

If it were not like this, then how would it be possible for the insignificant jīva to have loving exchanges with the Absolute Truth?

That Parama-tattva, who is full of pastimes and is possessed of independent desire, is desirous of the Vimala-prema (pure devotion) of the jīva.

He who is the natural Lord of everything, who is the Supreme Controller, will He be anxious, like an ordinary human being, to receive worship, and is He satisfied by being worshiped and thus feel pleased with Himself?

No, He is complete within Himself in every way. Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, the support and basis of the most astonishing nectar that emanates from His pastimes (Līlā-rasa), has covered His complete opulence (Aiśvarya) by His own sweetness (Mādhurya) and accepts equality and inferiority with those jīvas qualified for this Rasa, in the transcendental (Aprākṛta) abode of Śrī Vṛndāvana and by doing so, He Himself tastes bliss.

Those who accept spotless and complete Prema as their only goal, can they choose anyone else other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the final object of their Prema?

Although there may be a difference in language and use of unfamiliar terms (such as Vṛndāvana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, gopa, gopī, Yamunā and kadamba), still the pure Sādhaka of Prema, wherever he may be, will definitely accept these names, forms, qualities and paraphernalia according to their characteristic symptoms – even if it is described in a different language and style. Thus, apart from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, there is no one else who is the object of pure love (Viśuddha-prema).

Until Rāga (spontaneous attraction) has awoken, it is essential to follow Vaidhī or regulative devotional practices

Until pure spontaneous attraction (Viśuddha-rāga or Prema) has awoken, the Sādhaka should continue cultivating the performance of the primary and secondary rules and regulations of devotion, in a regulated manner with a spirit of duty (as explained in the Second Shower).

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Bhajana by the paths of Rāga (attraction) and Vaidhī (duty)

Scripture has mentioned two paths, Vaidhī and Rāga, for the attainment of Kṛṣṇa-prema. Upon deep consideration, one can see that there are only these two paths. It is the main duty of all mankind to follow the path of Vaidhī until Rāga awakens. Rāga is exceedingly rare, but upon the awakening of Rāga, one is no longer dependent on rules and regulations (Vaidhī). Only a special, fortunate and highly qualified Sādhaka is able to follow this path. The path of Rāga is completely independent and there are no special rules or conditions governing it. Therefore, only a systematic description of the daily practice on the path of Vaidhī is described here.

Morality, rooted in faith in God, is actual morality

Even unfortunate people who do not believe in God follow certain rules and regulations so that they can maintain themselves. These rules can also be called moral principles. That morality where there is no arrangement for the remembrance of Bhagavān, even though it may seem beautiful from all angles of vision and ideal, is wholly external and is unable to make the lives of humans perfect and successful. Whereas morality, where there is faith, and a sense of duty toward Bhagavān inherent within it, contains the most successful guidance for mankind. There are two types of regulations: primary and subsidiary.

Primary and secondary regulations

The attainment of love for God should be one’s primary goal in life. Whatever rules directly point one toward the attainment of this objective, without diversion, are called Mukhya-vidhi or primary rules; while those rules which accept some diversion, but have the same intention – in that they also approach the same goal, but in a more round-about manner – are called Gauṇa-vidhi or secondary rules. An example of this secondary rule is that one should take bath daily. By doing so, the body remains clean and free from disease. As a result, the mind becomes steady. When the mind is steady, one is able to worship Bhagavān. Here, the service to Bhagavān, which is the main goal of life, is a secondary result of taking bath. Rather, the immediate result of taking bath is that the body becomes clean and healthy. If one accepts that to cleanse the body is the main result of taking bath, then one also must accept that one cannot attain the result of worshiping Bhagavān just by taking bath. Any other result standing in the way of the fruit of the worship of Bhagavān is an obstacle. Here, obstacles remain, and with such intervening agents, there is the possibility of obstruction in the attainment of the main goal.

Identifying the primary and secondary rules

The direct result of the primary rules is the worship of Bhagavān.

neha yat karma dharmāya
na virāgāya kalpate
na tīrtha-pada-sevāyai
jīvann api mṛto hi saḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.23.56)

“Anyone whose work is not meant to elevate him to religious life, anyone whose religious ritualistic performances do not raise him to renunciation and anyone situated in renunciation that does not lead him to devotional service to the Supreme Person, must be considered dead, although he is breathing.”
BBT Translation

In this, the secondary fruit should not come between the rule and the worship. One may say that hearing Hari-kathā or performing Hari-kīrtana is the Mukhya-vidhi or the primary rule, because the direct result of it is the worship of Bhagavān. Even though Hari-bhakti is the main rule (Mukhya-vidhi), still, unless one also follows the secondary rules then one cannot maintain one’s life in a proper manner and if one cannot maintain one’s life properly, one may even die. If one cannot live, then it will be impossible to cultivate the Mukhya-vidhi, which is Hari-bhajana. The simple intention of the gauṇa or secondary regulations is that the so-called ornaments of human life, namely material education, technology, industry, civilisation, order, perseverance, bodily, mental and social rules are all accepted. In addition, one should engage oneself simply and naturally in the service of the feet of the Lord, by adhering to these regulations. By following the primary rules (Hari-bhakti) through the mercy of our presiding goddess (Śrī Rādhā) and by tasting the nectar of Her lotus feet, human beings achieve supremely blissfulness in the stage of practice (Sādhana) and at the stage of perfection (Siddha).

The many stages of human life

Even though we see that there are many levels of human life – from primitive life, civilised life, life equipped with material sciences, atheistic moral life, theistic moral life, life endowed with Vaidhī-bhakti, and life endowed with Prema-bhakti – actually real human life begins with a theistic moral outlook.

Life without devotion is animalistic

Life without theism or devotion, no matter how developed it may become in terms of civilised manners, material development or morality, can never become superior to the life of animals. As human life begins from the point of acceptance of the rules and prohibitions of moral theism, this book has begun its deliberation from this point, living a life of moral theism.

Civilisation, the wealth of materialistic science and morality are the main ornaments of a moral theist’s life. How to make life successful, living as a moral theist, with all of these ornaments and coming to the life of a devotee, has all been deliberated upon within this book. Jaiva-Dharma or the religion or function of the soul is the very life of the jīva itself. In the human stage of life, Jaiva-Dharma is called Mānava-dharma or the religion of mankind. That religion is of two types: Mukhya (primary), otherwise known as Svarūpa-gat (pertaining to one's spiritual identity) and gauṇa (secondary); otherwise, known as Sāmbandhika (in relation to this world). This secondary type of Dharma is material and takes shelter of the three modes of material nature and has its relationship with matter.

The Mukhya-dharma is the factual Jaiva-Dharma or religion of the soul. The secondary type of Dharma emanates from the material modes of nature. It is nothing but a material transformation of the primary Dharma, mixed with material nature. When freed from the modes of nature, this Jaiva-Dharma is supremely pure and becomes the primary Dharma. This Gauṇa-dharma may also be said to be Sa-upādhika, or with material identity or designation. Again, when freed from those designations, it becomes Mukhya-dharma.

The secondary rules and prohibitions, in other words, the performance of pious activities and the avoidance of sinful activities, are both within this secondary Dharma. The soul cannot reject this secondary Dharma; rather, in the stage of freedom from the material modes of nature, this secondary Dharma becomes transformed into mukhya or primary Dharma. In the stage of material consciousness, the Mukhya-dharma, by an unnatural transformation appears as this Gauṇa-dharma. By a positive transformation, this Gauṇa-dharma again manifests as the Mukhya-dharma.
The secondary rules and prohibitions, the primary rules and prohibitions and finally the perfected stage of the Jaiva-Dharma, namely Prema-bhakti, will be discussed.

The names Īśvara, Bhagavān and Kṛṣṇa

In this chapter, first the word Īśvara (Supreme Controller), then Bhagavān, and finally Kṛṣṇa are used. The good reader should understand that the terms Īśvara, Bhagavān and Kṛṣṇa are not referring to separate individuals.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.11)

““The knowers of tattva describe the Absolute Truth as Advaya-jñāna (non-dual). The first phase is formless Brahma, the Paramātmā (endowed with form) is the second phase and Bhagavān Himself (endowed with pastimes) is the third phase of this tattva. The one truth has three names in three positions.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the one and only Svarūpa-tattva (complete Supreme reality) and the only object of the pure Prema of the jīva. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the fullest, sweetest manifestation of Bhagavān (God). When we consider Śrī Kṛṣṇa in relation to other objects, at such a time we can see Him in the form of the Supreme Controller, and thus we use the word ‘Īśvara.’ Therefore, in this chapter we have discussed these three categories as subject matters and often used
  • Rama Kānta Dāsa Continued

    The names Īśvara, Bhagavān and Kṛṣṇa

    In this chapter, first the word Īśvara (Supreme Controller), then Bhagavān, and finally Kṛṣṇa are used. The good reader should understand that the terms Īśvara, Bhagavān and Kṛṣṇa are not referring to separate individuals.

    vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
    brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate
    (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.11)

    ““The knowers of tattva describe the Absolute Truth as Advaya-jñāna (non-dual). The first phase is formless Brahma, the Paramātmā (endowed with form) is the second phase and Bhagavān Himself (endowed with pastimes) is the third phase of this tattva. The one truth has three names in three positions.”

    Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the one and only Svarūpa-tattva (complete Supreme reality) and the only object of the pure Prema of the jīva. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the fullest, sweetest manifestation of Bhagavān (God). When we consider Śrī Kṛṣṇa in relation to other objects, at such a time we can see Him in the form of the Supreme Controller, and thus we use the word ‘Īśvara.’ Therefore, in this chapter we have discussed these three categories as subject matters and often used the term Īśvara instead of Kṛṣṇa, because we have been discussing in particular His role with regard to His creation. The term Īśvara is referring to none other than the Supreme reality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and is describing Him in terms of His natural and perfect feature of controlling everything. In extensive analysis of philosophical ideas or tattvas, the term Īśvara is most commonly used– for example, Cit (conscious entity), Acit (matter) and Īśvara (the controller of both).

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