Srila Rupa Goswami said that one must associate with devotees to cultivate faith. So how does that faith happen in association? In devotee association, one hears about Krishna. When one hears about Krishna constantly, his or her desire or taste to Krishna and His devotees (Krishna katha) goes on increasing. What is the result of one whose taste to hear about Krishna increases? His faith on Krishna increases. What is the symptom of such a faith on Krishna?
The symptom of faith on Krishna (bhakti) is twofold. This was told by Sage Kavi (one of the nine yogendras) to King Nimi. Sage Kavi said direct experience of the Supreme Lord (pareśānubhava) and detachment (virakti) from worldly things simultaneously occur to one who is in pure Krishna consciousness. This is a good litmus test to see if truly we are making progress in spiritual life.
Detachment from worldly things or virakti means one’s understanding, enthusiasm, loyalty and faith upon the people, things and relationships of this world gradually reduce and eventually die out completely and instead be replaced with increased understanding, enthusiasm, loyalty and faith of Krishna and His pure devotees. Both has to happen simultaneously. To lose faith in the confidence of people of this world (including our well-wisher, friend and family) is our true test to faith in Krishna. Because both cannot go hand in hand.
When we make that transition of faiths, truly our journey back home back to Krishna is set, in other words, we would have attained mukti from material entanglement.
Today is the merciful appearance of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivinod Takur. He was born 178 years ago in India to spread the mission of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is called the 7th Goswami because he re-established Mahaprabhu’s movement in Mayapur in an authentic manner strictly adhering to the principles of suddha bhakti as enunciated by the Six Goswamis.
His core principle was twofold (1) nama ruchi (2) jiva doya. In fact, this is the core value of all our sampradaya acharyas. There is no contradiction in these two principles.
Nama ruchi or attachment (spiritual taste) to chanting the Holy Names of God is the primary principle where the fallen soul re-establishes his lost relationship with God and is on-track to the spiritual kingdom.
Jiva doya or compassion to the fallen soul is the second principle where one is encouraged to show compassion to the lost souls in this world by helping them connect back to God through His names.
Srila Bhaktivinod Takur dedicated his whole life in spreading these two core ideas to the bigger world followed by his son and by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Following in the enlightened path of these great masters, on this day, I humbly seek the blessings of His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivindor Takur!
Sandesh is a Bengali recipe made by using simple ingredients such as milk, sugar and cardamom powder. Below is how i did it.
Milk - 1/2 gallon
Lemon - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 1/2 to 1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Almond nuts - optional as topping
Place the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and bring it to a boil. As the milk comes to a boil, slowly pour the lemon juices. The acid in the juice will curdle the milk and in less than 30 seconds, the milk fat will separate from the liquid to form paneer cheese. Empty the milk whey (the liquid) with the paneer in a colander layered with cheesecloth. You can use the whey for other cooking purposes as well.
Remove the cheesecloth holding the paneer and place something heavy on the paneer cheese so whatever remaining liquid is in the paneer will drain. After about 15 minutes, remove the weight and place the paneer on a dry surface and bray the paneer. Braying is a process where you press the paneer till all the granular nature of paneer becomes smooth and binding like a dough. For the braying process, I used the stand mixer with the flex-edge beater. After about 5 minutes of beating, the granular hard paneer became smooth and dough like. During this beating process, I added 3/4th cup of powdered sugar and the cardamom.
Remove the smooth paneer and place it on a pan in the lowest possible heat and gently warm the paneer to remove its raw nature. After about 5 minutes, when the paneer looks shiny, remove it from the pan and let it cool. Once cool, press it to form a ball and place ghee fried almond pieces as seen in the picture above.
In Bhakti yoga or Krishna consciousness, we practice our sadhana in a mood of shelter. When we chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra, we don't simply chant like the mayavadis or at least this is not how it should be done. Mayavadis chant in a ritualistic manner like in repeating names, thats all. Externally it may look the same but pure devotees are not repeating names, they are calling out names of Krishna in a mood of shelter, "Oh Lord, I am so fallen, please give me shelter at your Lotus Feet." This feeling of helplessness and dependency purifies our consciousness of false-pride and invokes instead a sense of humility.
The more we feel dependent the more we will not struggle in this world to exist. The less we struggle, the more peaceful we become. The more peaceful we become, the happier we become. This is the difference. A devotee always approaches Krishna in a sense of dependency and shelter.
The Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta is unique like no other in the sense it highlights the aspect of divine love that is experienced in separation from the beloved. Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is Krishna in the mood of Radha exhibited this specific aspect of prema or love. In India worship of Krishna or Vishnu is a universal concept. In fact, it is said that once the entire planet earth worshipped Krishna or Vishnu. So worship of Vishnu or Krishna is not anything new. However, Mahaprabhu introduced this confidential aspect of prema or divine love in separation through His own mood when He was present on earth 500 years ago. Ever since, Mahaprabhu’s followers consider this specific aspect of love as summum bonum of religion or dharma.
Mahaprabhu externally speaking, took up this mood at a specific time in His earthly pastimes in line with Madhavendra Puri. In other words, it was Madhavendra Puri who first displayed this aspect of love in separation. Madhavendra Puri took initiation from Lakshmipati Tirta in the line of Madhvacharya who preached dualism. Prema in madurya rasa was a foreign idea or one can say suppressed idea for Madhva followers or tattvadis. This can be proven by the fact that Mahaprabhu Himself introduced prema in this unique way to tattvadis when He went to Udipi.
So although Gaudiyas follow Madhvacharya line, the traditional tattvadis do not fully acknowledge or recognize this spontaneous love in separation as summum bonum. Strict Madhva followers still adhere to the aishwarya aspect of Godhead.
The verse that Madhavedra Puri prayed to externally show his mood of separation is this ;
ayi dīna-dayārdra nātha he mathurā-nātha kadāvalokyase hṛdayaṁ tvad-aloka-kātaraṁ dayita bhrāmyati kiṁ karomy aham O My Lord! O most merciful master! O master of Mathurā! When shall I see You again? Because of My not seeing You, My agitated heart has become unsteady. O most beloved one, what shall I do now? – CC Madhya Lila 4.197
One can say this verse is the foundational verse that the entire mood of Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta is set on. Mahaprabhu just by reciting this verse would fall to the ground in ecstasy and thus began His display of fantastic emotions of love of Krishna in separation from Krishna.
This verse unlocks one’s own feelings of separation from Krishna. While one must follow in the footsteps of great souls, meditating on this verse will give insights into the mood of Vraja. Sripad Madhvendra puri was the first person to express this pure feeling of love and Lord Chaitanya who is Krishna Himself by getting initiated in Madhvendra Puri’s line sanctions this prayer for all time to come.