Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, August 19, 2013

Raganuga bhakti is a natural extension of vaidhi

I liked these answers so much I thought I should make it part of my blog post. If you have already read it elsewhere, you can ignore this post. Two quotes by Prabhupada come to mind related to this question, they are something like "first deserve then desire", and then "work first samadhi later". The work he was referring to was preaching Krishna consciousness.

H.H.Hridayananda Maharaja very nicely captures the elongation of vaidhi bhakti into raganuga bhakti. I like the way he categorically states his points in bullets, gives way for easy read. When we see vaidhi and raganuga as two distinct aspects of bhakti then we are missing the point. A degree in phd cannot be separated from undergraduate studies. Phd is simply a continuation of undergraduate studies and both exist symbiotically. Similarly raganuga bhakti is a natural growth of vaidhi bhakti. Therefore by strictly practicing the instructions of our spiritual master, Krishna will award us the mercy towards spontaneous devotion unto Him. Of this, there should be no doubt!!

Please continue to read the answer given by Maharaj.

Question: It is mentioned in Jaiva Dharma that without practicing raganuga bhakti (which specifically refers to following the vrajavasis in our siddha deha and not sadhaka deha) one cannot go back to Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrindavan but one can go to Dwaraka. According to my understanding from reading Srila Prabhupada’s and other devotee’s books, I believe to serve and surrender to the Guru’s mission in the sadhaka rupa is as good as performing raganuga bhakti. I do not consider it separate although Aindra Prabhu condemns this type of approach and mentions that it needs to be cultivated separately. So I would appreciate if you can please enlighten me on this subject and let me know if we can still go back to Goloka Vrindavan to assist the servants of the servants of the vrajavasis in this lifetime just by serving in the Guru’s mission in sadhaka rupa or whether we need to separately endeavor to practice raganuga bhakti.

Answer by Hridayananda das Goswami:

1. Srila Prabhupada states many times that his faithful disciples who assist his mission will go back to Vrindavana.

2. In fact, those who devote themselves to Prabhupada’s service, and seriously practice bhakti-yoga, are coming to the stage of raganuga-bhakti. I am not doing my service because there is a rule to do it. My service to Prabhupada and Krishna is my life and I desire no other life. I find that I can easily understand Krishna’s Vraja Lila, and I am realizing myself more and more as Krishna’s eternal servant.

3. Preaching itself is raganuga-bhakti, not an inferior activity as some foolishly think. In the course of preaching, we realize great spiritual bliss and gain extraordinary insight into Krishna Lila. Most preachers I know are becoming more and more attached to Vrindavan, not Mathura or Dvaraka. That attachment comes from Krishna and indicates a devotee’s future destination.

4. The Bhagavatam does not explicitly state that we must practice a separate Raga-bhakti. Lord Caitanya stated that the Bhagavatam contains all Vaishnava-siddhanta. Therefore the requirement of practicing Raga-bhakti is not a siddhanta, a fundamental principle, but rather a detail as outlined in Chapter 6 of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. And details are variable, as stated by Rupa Goswami.

5. Bhaktivinoda Thakura perfectly spoke for his time. Then Krishna sent Prabhupada to make a full presentation to the world. Are we really to believe that Krishna will deny His Vraja-dhama to those who give their lives to His pure devotee, Prabhupada? That would be a ludicrous conclusion.

6. Aindra Prabhu did great service. He also wrote a book in which he seems to insult all the preachers of the world and place himself above them as their teacher. That’s what I read. I never heard an Aindra kirtana in which he first chanted the pranama prayers to his guru, Prabhupada. It is unusual to never begin kirtan by thanking and honoring your own guru, who happens to be a nitya-siddha devotee. In his book Caitanya-Caritamrta, Krishnadasa Kaviraja offers great respect to his predecessor gurus, as does Prabhupada in his books and kirtanas. If it were the case that simply chanting in Vrinavana, one could spread the sankirtana movement, why did Prabhupada leave Vrindavana to save all of us?

7. I suggest you read the Bhagavatam 6.17.28, which states that those actually devoted to the Lord do not worry about where they are going. They simply want to serve Krishna and they know that Krishna will reciprocate with their desire. Krishna clearly states in Bhagavad-gita 4.11 that He perfectly reciprocates with all souls. So if you are serving Prabhupada and you long to go to Vrindavana, why would Krishna send you somewhere else? Why would He deprive those who are most selfless, who think only of service, and who faithfully follow the pure devotee Prabhupada, not caring for their own bliss?

8. The essence of Vrindavana is selfless service, not trying to relish Krishna Lila. The essence of Vraja is forgetting any personal desire, including the desire to relish bliss, and rather doing whatever will please Krishna. We learn about what Krishna wants from His pure devotee Prabhupada. Those who think of nothing but fulfilling Krishna’s desires, as revealed by Prabhupada, are the real Vraja-vasis.

With best wishes,

Hridayananda das Goswami

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita

The pure devotee does not have to worry about the material necessities of life; he need not be anxious, because when he removes the darkness from his heart, everything is provided automatically by the Supreme Lord, who is pleased by the loving devotional service of the devotee. This is the essence of the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā. - SP Purport BG 10.11

My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being – he certainly comes to Me. - BG 11.55

Anyone who wants to approach the supreme of all the Personalities of Godhead, on the Kṛṣṇaloka planet in the spiritual sky, and be intimately connected with the Supreme Personality, Kṛṣṇa, must take this formula, as stated by the Supreme Himself. Therefore, this verse is considered to be the essence of Bhagavad-gītā. - SP purport BG 11.55

Hare Krishna

Friday, August 2, 2013

Inequality is a natural product of material society

When we talk about God as our creator, maintainer and provider, people scorn at the idea calling it primitive, unscientific and even dogmatic. In fact, people "hate" such talk in public.

In the past 200 years, say...since the beginning of industrialization, powerful leaders took upon themselves to lead the society and their respective countries to promising futures sustainable not only for them but for generations to come. Consumer capitalism (economy driven by market forces) was seen as an ideal strategy by leaders as it reinforced the idea of democracy, freedom and expression of individual creativity. In other words, every one begins with a level playing field to compete in this grand modern day race of "rising to the top" (economically, politically, and socially). America as a country captured the spirit of this ideology and led the world as the "Land of Opportunities".

Meanwhile, on my conversation about God, according to the Bhagavad Gita, a society without God in the center will disintegrate in time. The Gita states that any work done purely to satisfy one's self without Krishna or God is a cause of bondage and misery. The reasoning behind this is that God is the Master and we (living beings) are supposed to "cooperate" with one another to honor the Master. In this spirit of cooperation and honor, God nourishes our body, mind and soul.

Now, back to consumer capitalism, it is an economic model where the modus operandi is to "compete" and "not cooperate" to survive. Such competition can give rise to greed leading to suppression of the weak. As a result, today, more than ever, 4 out of 5 Americans are in poverty and top 1% of the population holds more money than all people put together. No more is it a level playing field where equal opportunities are promoted. The wealthy and powerful have a pole position. As a result the rest are left behind - the very backbone of democracy and freedom is put into question as a result of such lopsidedness.

Therefore we have to bring God back into society as the creator, maintainer and provider. By cooperating with one another in a mood of service and by putting God in the center we can practically realize a spiritual society free from inequalities.


Hare Krishna