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If brahm were formless, then He wouldn't have become like the anjan (kajal or collyrium) in the eyes of the Gopis of Braj and followed them like an eager beloved. Even great yogis and gyanis dance to the tune (remain under the control of) Krishna's external power, Maya. The same Krishna Himself (becomes so helpless before the selfless bhakti (love) of the Gopis) that He happily dances in the lanes of Braj to the tune of the Gopis' clapping hands. Oh, gyanis! Why are you searching in vain to find brahm in the verses of the Vedas? You can find supreme brahm tied to an ukhal (pot for pounding rice) in the courtyard of Mother Yashoda. If you doubt my words, go to Braj and see for yourself.
Krishn Himself summarizes the teachings of the Gita in one verse and says,
“O Arjun! You are very dear to Me. So, for your own good, I am telling you the greatest secret of the Divine world. Listen carefully. If you or any soul of the world desires to come to Me and be with Me forever, the easiest path is that he should worship Me, love Me, remember Me all the time and dedicate his life for Me. Then surely he will come to Me. It’s My promise.”
Although the Bhagwatam also teaches selfless bhakti to God, but the Divine Bliss that it describes is something very special and has no compare. It amazed the foremost gyanibhakt Saint of his time, Uddhao, who was a friend of Krishn in Mathura and had closely experienced the Blissfulness of Krishn’s almighty glory which is especially seen in Vaikunth abode. Now see what happens to Uddhao. Uddhao comes to Braj, sees the Gopis, and receives their greetings as he had come from their beloved Krishn. During the conversation he recognizes the Divine warmth of Krishn love in the behavior of the Gopis which he had never felt before, although he had loved his friend Krishn very dearly. In a while, Uddhao is seen drowned in the excitedness of such a Krishn love which is overflowing from the heart of everyone around him. In such a state, he deeply desires for a favor from the Gopis so that he could also taste the real sweetness of Krishn love; and, with the Grace of Gopis, Uddhao begins to perceive the unsurpassing blessedness of Braj in which the leela Bliss of Krishn love is permeated everywhere. Uddhao begins to sing the glory and the greatness of Gopis’ love and says,
“The Bliss of Krishn’s intimate Divine love, which Gopis received during maharas, was so special and limitlessly sweet and charming that even Maha Lakc◊hmi, the eternal consort of Maha Vishnu and the goddesses of the celestial abodes, could not receive that; then what to talk of the others.” Uddhao further says, “I adore the footdust of the Gopis and put it on my forehead. They are so Divinely great that the songs of the Krishn leelas and the Krishn love which they have sung purify the whole world.” This is the Bliss of the Bhagwatam which is the essence of all the Divine Blissfulnesses. The Bhagwatam contains the substance of all the philosophies, Divine and devotional, along with the description of Krishn love whose lusciousness surpasses all the Divine experiences. This is the reason that after tasting the sweetness of the charming leelas of Krishn love as described in the Bhagwatam, the dry philosophies and other Divine descriptions become tasteless. The Bhagwatam explains that there are many, many confused aspirants who try to find God in their own way and devote years and years and years in isolation, transcending inside into samadhi and trying to find God in their hearts. They are called yogis and
gyanis. They fail. But Krishn, the supremely charming and loving personality of God, says, “A devotee who is not trying to find Me with his intellect, but rather he is trying to dedicate himself, the one that knows that his soul and I are not just closely related, but that we are eternally closely related, that our relationship is not a formed relation, but it is an internal and eternal relation that can never die, he experiences Me as his Divine Beloved and tries to find Me, not with any demand or request. He only wants Me to love, that is all. Such a devotee or such a disciple or such a bhakt, I take care of Him even during his devotional period, and I don’t let him fall in the worldly mire. I protect him. Slowly as his divine love consciousness increases, he feels Me closer and closer, and in the end he finds Me.”
Thus Gyanis by gyan yog experience Brahm-anand - of the advait- the non dual , but that is just nirvana or mukti from all the sufferings but not the ultimate bliss, So yogis – mystics are better then them who experience some bliss by their mystical practices experience Ishwar-Paramatman himself – who dwells in all – in every atom or living being but both of them fail to sustain or even reach these stage without the grace – Bhagwad Krupa of Bhagwan Shri Krishna, and so the best among them are BHAKT – selfless devotee of Shree RAADHE -KRISHNA who don’t care for nirvana or mukti , by their devotion for Bhagwan – PARA BRAHMA himself , by his GRACE – Bhagwad Krupa – get the eternal bliss of Bhakti RASA – which is the fruit of their devotion in itself.
Inspirational Quotes in Sanskrit: What is God
Below is a selection of inspirational quotes in Sanskrit from Hinduism on the nature of supreme God -- as God is unlimited, this is by no means a comprehensive list!
True happiness is synonymous with God and that is eternal, unlimited, infinite, permanent and immeasureable. (Chandogya Upanishad) Once divine bliss is attained, it is attained forever. (Vedas)
God is bliss (ananda). From bliss all beings are born, in bliss all beings are sustained, and into bliss all beings will merge at the time of complete dissolution of the universe. (Taitariya Upanishad) God is omniscient (all-knowing). He Himself is the form of knowledge. (Mundak Upanishad, 1/2/9)
He is God, the supreme divine personality who is the governor of Maya (material energy). He is the one in whom the material universe exists and from whom the material universe evolves. Within Him the material universe is established, and due to His inspiration the material universe is produced. (Bhagwatam, 10/18/4)
God does exist, and He can be experienced. When you have complete faith in Him, you receive God's grace fully, and due to this you are liberated from Maya forever. (Vedas)
God is omniscient and omnipotent. The individual soul has limited powers. Due to Maya, he is in ignorance and attached to the sense objects of the world. Both God and the souls are eternal. Apart from these two there is a third eternal existence: Maya. God is supreme. He enlivens Maya through His grace, and with this inspiration, Maya creates this universe. God is not the direct creator of this world. (Vedas)
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, "I am the ultimate goal of the all the souls. I am their protector. I grace them with divine knowledge and love. I am their loving supreme God. I am the observer of the actions of the souls. All the souls reside in Me; I am their ultimate refuge when they humbly surrender to Me." (Bhagavad Gita, 9/18)
God is one. He resides in the hearts of all the living beings. He is omnipresent. He is the supreme soul of all the souls and graciously observes all their actions as an eternal witness. He is absolute bliss, which is beyond all mayic (material) qualities. (Shvetashvatar Upanishad)
Bhakti Shatak is the gem of the knowledge of the Upnishads, Gita and the Brahm Sutra called prasthan trayi which has been consolidated into one hundred couplets along with the devotional theme of the Bhagwatam which is proclaimed as the final authority on the spiritual matters by the Vaishnav acharyas and also Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhuji. Shree Maharajji has himself delineated the meanings of these couplets, and detailed the devotional philosophy contained in it. Thus, it becomes a most valuable asset for the devotees of Radha Krishn. These couplets describe the complete philosophy of soul, maya, God and the realization of Krishn love. General meaning of the Bhakti Shaktak couplets The Upnishads are revered and contain great Divine knowledge, but the soul of the Divinity of that knowledge is Divine love (prem tattva), which is Krishn Himself. Thus, without Krishn love, all the knowledge is despairing and keeps such scholars wandering in the vast cosmic ocean of maya. That’s why Ved Vyas, the revealer of all the scriptures including the Upnishads, says in the Bhagwatam that ‘the knowledge’ which induces affinity for your beloved God, Krishn, is the ‘true knowledge’ (“Sa vidya tanmatiryaya.) The Vedas proclaim that God and the souls are eternally related, where God is the Soul of every soul. Thus, a devotee says, “O Beloved of my soul, Krishn, You were mine, You are mine, and You will remain mine. You are called adham udharanhar which means that You lift every fallen soul; then why have You forgotten me. Please lift me up and make me Your own forever.” The forms of one single God, which are described in the Upnishads and the Puranas in many ways, are explained in these couplets in a very convincing manner. Ved Vyas defines that supreme God Krishn has His three Divine forms which are called brahm, paramatma and bhagwan. Brahm is such an aspect of God where all the virtues and powers of (sachchidanand) God remain absolutely dormant. So, it is called nirgun nirakar brahm. The form of God where the absolute Blissfulness of His Divine ‘name,’ ‘form’ and ‘abode’ is revealed is called paramatma (which is the supreme Almighty power of God, and its related Divine abode is called Vaikunth). (Bhagwan is a common word, which is generally used for all the personal forms of God, but, in this verse of the Bhagwatam, (1/2/11) it refers to the Divine love power of God,
and thus:) The form of God, where the absolute charm of His loving Blissfulness, along with all of the Divine virtues, is fully revealed in the form of His intimate loving leelas of all kinds, is called bhagwan. (Its related Divine abodes are Saket, Dwarika, Golok and Vrindaban.) Divine Vrindaban abode is the personal glory of Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani’s supreme absoluteness. Substantially, the absolute sweetness of Krishn love resides in the intoxicating absoluteness of Radha’s love, called madan mahabhao by Roop Goswami (Ujjwal Neelamani, 14/219). So it is said that Radha’s other form is Krishn, and thus, They are Both one. A brief description of devotional philosophy in Bhakti Shatak The human mind and the world, both are the creations of maya. This is the reason that the worldly things and worldly attachments are always pleasing and appealing to the mind. The mayic energy is extremely potent. Without the Grace of Krishn its effects on the mind can never be reduced or removed, and that Grace (according to the Gita) is received by selflessly surrendering to Krishn. There are several ways and styles of doing spiritual practice, e.g. doing good karmas, studying vedant, doing yog or austerities etc. But, all of them, without the true loving devotion (bhakti) to God, are in vain like a body without a soul. So, a person should do his devotions with true longing for God under the guidance of a Divine personality and fully purify his heart. Then, with the Grace of his Divine Spiritual Master he will receive God realization. If his Spiritual Master is a true rasik Saint only then he will receive the true Divine love of Krishn.
Bhakti Shatak Bhakti Philosophy - Verses 1 to 100
Advitiya ik tatva hai, Radha tatva pradhan. Yako dujo roop hai, svayam Krishna Bhagavan. The absolute supreme Divinity is Shri Radha, Who is the absolute essence of Divine love. Her other form is Krishna, Who descended on this earth 5,000 years ago, at the end of the age of dwapar.
Joi Radha soi Krishna hain, in men bhed na man. Ik hain hladini shakti aru, shaktiman ik jan. Whatever is Radha, the same is Krishna. Do not differentiate between them. Radha is the supreme ahaladini shakti or Divine love power, Krishna is shaktiman, the base in which the power resides.
Shaktiman ki shaktiyan, aganit yadapi bakhan. Tin mahan 'maya', 'jeev' aru, 'para', trishakti pradhan. Supreme God, Shri Krishna, who is shaktiman has uncountable powers. Out of these, His three main powers are: maya, the souls, and para shakti, His own personal power.
Jeev tatastha shakti par, maya kar adhikar. Vastutastu yah das hai, Swami Nandkumar. The soul energy or jeev shakti belongs to tatastha shakti (Krishna's neutral power), but since eternity all the souls are under the control of maya. However the soul's true identity is that he is an eternal servant of Krishna.
Krishna bahirmukh jeev kahan, maya karati adhin. Tate bhoolyo apu kahan, banyo vishay ras meen. Since eternity the soul has been facing away from his true Lord, Krishna, and because of this he has come under maya's influence. Thus, forgetting his true Divine nature, he identifies himself with the material body and has become deeply attached to worldly pleasures.
Antarang hai para jo, sarva samarth kahay. Ati vichitra gati para ki, maya-patihun nachay. This para shakti, supreme personal power of Krishna, is capable of accomplishing anything and everything. It can turn any impossibility into possibility. Although it resides in Krishna, sometimes it overpowers even all-powerful Krishn (as seen in the loving leelas or pastimes of Braj).
Maya hai jad shakti pai, gyanihun par na paya. Yako karan svayam Hari, yako prerak aya. In reality, maya is lifeless, but even the greatest self-realized gyanis can't overcome it on their own. The main reason is that maya is a power of Krishna and it functions only with His inspiration.
Karma, yoga, aru gyana, sab, sadhana yadapi bakahan. Pai binu-bhakti sabai janu, mritak deh binu pran. Although the scriptures describe the paths of karma, yoga and gyan, if these are without devotion, these paths are like a dead body with no soul.
Pratham sadhana bhakti karu, tab man nirmal hoya. Milai vishuddha bhakti tab, Guru anukampa toya. A devotee has to practice devotion wholeheartedly to purify his heart. Then, with the grace of his Guru, he will receive divine bhakti (divine love).
Sab sadhan janu deh sam, roop dhyan janu pran.
Khat geedh aru svan janu, kamadik shav man. All spiritual practices for attaining Shri Krishna such as gyan, karma, yoga, austerities, and rituals are like a dead body without a soul if they are done without roop dhyan - the loving remembrance of Krishna's form.
Jag mahan sukh dukh dou nahin, as ur dhari le gyan. Sukh mane dukh milat hai, sukh na jagat mahan man. Firmly understand that there is no joy or sorrow in this world. If you believe worldly objects are a source of happiness, in their absence you will feel sorrow. Accept the fact that there is no true happiness in the world.
Jag virag ho titnoi, jitnoi Hari anurag. Tab ho hari anurag jab, Guru charanan man lag. After surrendering to the lotus feet of a true Guru, and with his grace, a devotee begins to experience true bhakti in the form of affectional affinity (bhav or love) for Krishna. The degree of his detachment to the world is proportional to his attachment to Krishna.
Jag so vimukh hoya jab, sancho sadguru paya. Karat satat satsang tab, hari sanmukh hwai jaya. After finding and receiving the grace of a true Guru, a devotee becomes detached from worldly attractions. Through continuous association of the Guru, and proper regular devotion, the devotee will begin to feel true affinity for Krishna.
Hari anurag virag jag, apuhin apu na hoya. Man te bhajan kiye bina, bhakti na pave koya. Attachment to Krishna and detachment from the world do not happen automatically. To receive this, one must do singled-minded and wholehearted devotion to Radha Krishn.
Sancho das na kabahun caha, panchahun mukti balaya. Chahai yugal seva sada, tin sukh sukhi sadaya. A true devotee of Krishn does not want any of the five kinds of liberation. His only desire is to serve Radha Krishna all the time and be happy in Their happiness.
Jo swami son chahai kachu, so nahin das kahaya. Sou swami na kahay jo, dasahin as lagaya. That servant is not a true servant who desires something from his Master. That Master is not a true Master who hopes for something from his servant.
Hari ko nam roop gun, harijan nitya nivas. Sabai ek hari roop hain, sab men sab ko vas. Krishna's name, form, virtues, abode and Saints are all one, and all eternally reside in each other.
Sabai shakti hain nam men, man! Nishidin aradh. Pai nahin shaktin labh tin, kiye nam aparadh. Oh mind! All of Krishna's powers reside in His anme, therefore remember and sing His name all the time. but be careful not to commit spiritual transgressions (which obstruct your ability to experience the bliss of the divine name.
Bandhan aur mokch ka, karan manahi bakhan. Yate kauniu bhakti karu, karu man te Hari dhyan. The cause of bondage as well as liberation from maya is only the mind. Thus, it is important the mind is absorbed in loving remembrance of Krishna while doing any kind of devotion.
Ram nam sab satya kah, jab laun jat masan. Lautat hi puni jagat kahan, satya man dhani gyan. In India, "Ram nam satya hai" (Lord Ram's name is the only truth)is repeated by
those who accompany a dead body for cremation. As soon as they return home, they feel the world is the only truth. What kind of understanding is this?
Teen roop Shri Krishna ko, Ved Vyas bataya. Brahm aur paramatma, aru bhagwan kayaa. Ved Vyas Ji has described three forms of supreme God Krishna in the Bhagwatam: (1) brahma, (2) paramatma, (3) bhagwan.
Sarv-shakti sampann ho, shakti vikas na hoya. Sat chit anand roop jo, brahm kahave soya. The form of God in which all the divine powers are present, but are totally dormant, and which is merely a divine existence is called sat-chit-anand brahm (sat is active, but chit and anand are dormant).
Sarv-shakti sanyukt ho, nam roop gun hoya. Leela parikar rahit ho, paramatma hai soya. Almighty God who has an all-beautiful divine personal form, who has every divine power, and who also has uncountable names, forms and virtues, but who does not perform divine leelas (pastimes), and who has no intimate divine associates is called paramatma.
Sarv-shakti prakatya ho, leela vividh prakar. Viharat parikar sang jo, tehi bhagawan pukar. The form of God in whom every divine power is fully manifested, whose allbeautiful divine form has unlimited names and virtues, and Who is always performing all-loving leelas with His intimate divine associates in His divine abode is Bhagwan Krishna.
Brahm-prapti-path gyan hai, paramtma-path yog. Krishna-prapti-path bhakti hai, adhikari sab log. The path to attain brahm is called jnana, the path to attain paramatma is yoga, and the path to attain Krishna (bhagavan) is bhakti or devotion. Everyone is qualified to practice bhakti.
Gyani aru yogi lahain, nij swaroop ko gyan. Hari swaroop jane nahin, maya mahin bhulan. Jnanis and yogis (who don't add devotion to their practice), even after receiving the ultimate attainment on their path, can't be liberated from Maya because they have only gained self-realization (knowledge of the soul, which is under the bondage of Maya). They have no practical knowledge of paramatma, the personal form of God whose grace breaks the bondage of Maya.
Gyani aru yogi jabai, krishna-bhakti ur an. Krishna kripa te hi tabai, paven brahm gyan. Jnanis and yogis are able to attain divine knowledge (jnana) by practicing devotion and receiving God's grace. Otherwise, their worshipped form of brahm is a non-doer, so doesn't bestow the grace that liberates a soul from Maya.
Kotin gyanin madhya kou, prem-sudha-ras paya. Jimi Sankadi Shukadi man, braj-ras rahe dubaya. Out of millions of jnanis, one fortunate jnani receives divine love. Jnanis like Shukdev Paramhans and the four Sankadik were drowned in braj ras, the bliss of the loving leelas of Radha Krishna.
Krishna kripa binu jay nahin, maya ati balvan. Sharanagat par ho kripa, yah Gita ko gyan. Maya is so powerful that it can't be eliminated without shaktiman Krishna's grace. That grace is received only by selflessly surrendering to Him. This is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita's teachings.
Jimi ho sheet nivritt tin, jin dhing agini sidhar. Timi ho kripa tinahin jin, man jaye Hari dwar. Just as your feelings of cold disappear the closer you come to a fire, so those who come close to Shri Krishna by surrendering to Him and lovingly establishing their minds in Him receive His grace.
Man main ko mat chod tu, das jod de aur. Mera bhi rakh sath men, so rasikan sirmor. Oh my mind, don't try to remove your feeling of "I". Instead think, "I am a servant of God.? Don't remove your feeling of "mine". Instead think, "Krishna, the crest jewel of Rasik Saints, is mine."
Samujh! Samujh son Shyam ko, samujh saka nahin koy. Samujh milai jab Shyam ki, samujh sakai bas soy. "Oh my intellect! Understand that you can't understand Krishna on your own strength. When you are graced by Krishn to receive His intellect, then you could understand Him.
Shyam samujh se Shyam ko, samujh sakai sab koya. Shyam samujh tab milai jab, samujh samarpit hoya. After receiving Krishna's divine intellect you will understand Him. Knowing this, you should surrender your intellect at His lotus feet.
Jaise prakrit deh ki, atma "jeev" bakhan. Aise hi ya jeev ki, atma "Shyam" sujan. Just as the life aspect of your material body is the soul, similarly the life aspect of your soul is Krishna.
Satya ahinsa adi man! Binu hari bhajan na paya. Jal te ghrit nikalai nahin, kotin kariya upaya. Pure satvik virtues like truthfulness, nonviolence and so on are only achieved through selfless devotion to Krishna. Just as it's impossible to extract butter by churning chalky water, similarly, it's impossible to receive pur satvik qualities by doing any amount of spiritual practice that doesn't include devotion to Krishn.
Man maya te hi banyo, maya te sansar. Yate man bhavat sada, yah sansar asar. The mind is made of Maya and this world is also made of Maya. That is why the world is pleasing and attractive to the mind.
Kou kah taju sab kam kou, kah bhaju Sundarshyam. Haun kah dou ik sang karu, tab no puran kam. Some say that one should renounce all worldly desires, others say to do only Krishna devotion. Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj says that both are naive. Renunciation and Krishna devotion should be practiced together. 38.
Kam krod mad lobh kahan, man murakh! Mat chod! Rasik shiromani Shyam dhing, de in ko mukh mod. Oh foolish mind, don't try to renounce desire, anger, pride and greed. Instead relate these to Shri Krishna. (For example: if you get angry, get angry at your own shorcomings; feel pride that you belong to Krishna, etc.)
Sab sadhan sampann kahn, poochat sab sansar. Sadhan-heen prapann hahn, poochat Nandkumar. Worldly people love those in the world who have wealth and prestige. But, Nandkumar Krishna loves and takes care of those who are humble and destitute.
"Main", "mera", donon bahe, gyanin gyan majhar. "Main", "mera", donon rahe, premin ke darbar. In the path of jnana, one has to completely eliminate the feeling of "I" and "mine".
But in the path of bhakti, the awareness of "I" and "mine" ("I" belong to Krishna, He is "mine") always remains.
Deshkal nahin niyam kachu, nahin kachu shishtachar. Saral hriday nahin chal kapat, prem panth balihar. I adore the path of devotion where there are no rules for the time and place of practice, nor are there any ritualistic or social formalities. Just sincerely love Krishna with a faithful heart.
'Jivu', 'maya', dui shaktiman Bhagavan. Shaktihin bhed abhed bhi, shakti man jan. The soul and Maya are powers of God. It is considered that the soul and Maya maintain their own separate existence, and also are one with God. Thus they have a simultaneous relationship with God of being absolutely one with Him and also separate from Him.
Atma bich paramatma, karat nivas saday. Yate kahun kahun atma, paramatma kahlay. God as paramatma, eternally resides in each and every soul. That is whay in some places in the scriptures, the soul (atma) has been referred to as paramatma.
Lakhat rahat nit bhakti mukh, karma, yoga, aru gyan. Ati swatantra hai bhakti path, Ved Puran bakhan. The paths of karma, yoga and jnana need the support of devotion to be complete. Devotion doesn't need the support of any other path. It is independent and complete in itself. This has been said in the Vedas and Puranas.
Brahm lok paryant sukh, aru muktihun sukh tyag. Tabai dharahu pag prem path, nahin lagi jaihain dag. Abandoning all desires for pleasures and luxuries up to Brahma's abode and the desire for the five kinds of liberation, immerse yourself in the ocean of devotion. Otherwise, the purity of devotion will be blemished by the stain of worldly desires.
Sevak seva hi chahai, sevya Shyam ruchi jan. Tin sukh mahan rah sukhi nit, ur na kamana aan. A true devotee only desires to selflessly serve his Master, Shri Krishna. He should find pleasure in whatever gives his Master pleasure. He should feel happy in the happiness of his Divine beloved.
Gyan bina ho bhagati pai, bhagati bina nahin gyan. bhagati bina ho gyan jo, lavat ur abhiman. Bhakti doesn't need jnana to be complete, but for jnana, devotion is is absolutely necessary. Without devotion, jnana produces a false sense of spiritual pride. This makes attaining liberation completely out of the question.
Binu Hari kripa na jati yah, maya ati balvan. Gyanin brahm na kachu kar, puni kimi kar kalyan. Without Krishna's grace Maya can't be ended, because Maya is an extremely strong power. This grace is also required by jnanis because the brahm who the jnanis worship is a complete non-doer (and doesn't bestow grace).
Binu Hari kripa na pai sak, gyanihun brahm gyan. Brahm akarta Ved kah, sochahun manahin sujan. With the grace of the personal form of God, jnanis can't receive divine knowledge of formless brahm. The Vedas say that brahm doesn't perform action. This being the case, there is no possibility He will bestow grace.
Sant sang satsang kar, tin sevahun din rat. Shraddha, rati aru-bhakti, sab, apuhin tehi mili jat.
Surrender to a true Rasik Saint. Through his continuous satsang, and in this order, faith, love and devotion for Krishna will automatically develop.
Brahm vrihatvat as bada, jako adi na ant. Bada brinhatvat as, auran kare anant. The word 'brahm' has two meanings. (1) Vrihatvat brahm - the one who is the greatest. (2) Brihanatvat brahm - the one who makes others great.
Brahm ek madhur roop hai, ek bhramar unman. ek roop ras det hai, ek apu kar pan. Blissful brahma has two forms: (1) the bliss, (2) the enjoyer of bliss. One is like honey, the other is like a bee. With one form He Himself enjoys bliss, with the other form He also makes the souls enjoy bliss.
Karan cahat alingan, apuhin apu nihar. Jan-man-mohan hi nahin, nij man-mohan har. The bliss of Shri Krishna's beauty is so amazing that even when He sees Himself, He falls in love and wants to embrace Himself. Thus, He not only charms the hearts of those who are His own, but also charms His own heart.
Chitvat chit karshat jitai, chit samadhi mahan laya. Auran ki ka bat kah, Shiva gopi tanu paya. Through one love-filled glance of Krishna, great yogis and paramhansa forget about their samadhi. What to say of these paramhansas - even Lord Shiva took the form of a Gopi to experience the bliss of Krishna's love.
Shrishti poorva Hari dekhat, sochat mridu muskat. Sagun roop sakar nit, Ved vidit vikhyat. Some innocent followers of nondualism say that brahm (supreme God) is formless and without qualities, and that after the creation of this universe, the concept of the personal form of God came into some people's minds. But before creation it was the personal form of God who looked, smiled and thought, "Let the universe come into creation." This proves that the personal form of God eternally exists.
Karan Hari avatar ko, kripa akaran jan. Apar jite karan kahe, tinahin gaun kari man. All the reasons for Krishna's descension that are described in the scriptures are correct, but the foremost reason is only to causelessly grace the souls.
Hari Harijan ke karya ko, karan kachu na lakhaya. Paru updar swabhav vash, karat karya jag aya. There is only one reason why God or Saints perform any action: to causelessly grace the souls. Their very nature is only to uplift and spiritually benefit others.
Hari harijan ke acharan, mayamaya mat jan. Unke charit alaukik, maya krida man. Never think that the actions and behavior of Shri Krishna and His divine Saints are material. Their actions aren't inspired by Maya, they are inspired by Yogamaya, thus they are divine.
Hari harijan ke atpate, charit na budhi lakhi paya. Ati vichitra gati duhun ki, rasikahin samujhi sakaya. The actions of God and Saints are very unusual. Even the greatest jnani can't understand them. Only the Rasik Saints and Krishna Himself could understand them.
Dui maya ik vidya, apar avidya tat. jati avidya gyan te, vidya bhaktihin jat. There are two kinds of Maya: (1) Vidya Maya, (2) Avidya Maya. Out of these two, avidya maya could be eliminated through jnana (knowledge of the self). But Vidya Maya (the original veil of Maya) is only eliminated through bhakti and God's grace.
Gyan marai dai mukti pad, karma marai dai swarg. Amar rahai ik bhakti hi, chah na swarg apavarg. After a practitioner of jnana attains absolute liberation (mokch), his brahm jnana ends. After a karmi attains the celestial abode, his good karmas end. But devotion bestows immortality, which is eternal. Thus a bhakta (devotee) doesn't desire liberation or celestial luxuries.
Panch tatva aru aham ka, bhedan kari de gyan. Pai binu bahkti na kari sakai, bhedan parkriti mahan. A self-realized jnani through his jnana (knowledge) is able to break the binding mayic sheath of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space). He may also break the sheath of ahankar, ego. Two more barriers remain that he can't cross: (1) mahan, (2) prakriti (Maya). Out of these two, prakriti or Maya is the most powerful. It can only be eliminated through devotion.
Ati virakt kahan gyan hai, ati asaktahin karma. Jeev-matra kahan bhakti hai, yah adhikari marma. The one who is completely renounced is qualified to follow the path of jnana. The
one who is very worldly is qualified to follow the path of karma. But everyone is qualified to follow the path of bhakti (devotion).
Karma, gyan aru yoga ko, jo bhi phal shruti gaya. Anayas binu mange, bhagat saka phal paya. Whatever outcomes are described in the scriptures for the paths of karma, jnana and yoga, are received without even asking through devotion.
Sakal dharma ko mook hain, ek Krishn Bhagavan. Mool taje sab shool hain, karma, yoga, aru gyan. The root of all dharmas is supreme God Krishna. The paths of karma, yoga and jnana are like the branches. If you cut the root, they can't survive. They will die.
Jo Hari seva hetu ho, soi karm bakhan. Jo Hari bhagati badhave, soi samujhiya gyan. Only those actions done to please Krishna are true actions. Whatever knowledge increases love for Krishn is true knowledge.
Hari nimitt jo pap kar, sou punya kahaya. Hari taji jo kar punya to, ap pap bani jaya. If an unrighteous action is done for Krishna's sake, it becomes righteous. If a righteous action is done without feelings of devotional love for Krishna, then even a righteous action becomes a sin.
Punya det phal nashvar, pap narak lai jaya. Doun taji jo hari bhaje, soi param pad paya. Through good actions you receive the temporary attainment of the celestial abode. Through bad actions you attain hell. Leaving both of these, the one who does selfless devotion to Krishna attains the divine abode.
Bhagati ek aishvarya aru, ik madhurya kahaya. pai niras aishvarya ras, braj rasikan na suhaya. There are two kinds of devotional bliss: (1) almighty bliss, (2) divine love bliss. Almighty bliss has not sweet, loving leelas, so it is not desired by Rasik Saints.
Sabai saras ras Dwarika, Mathura aru Braj mahin. Madhur, madhuratar, madhuratam, ras braj ras sam nahin. The Bliss of Dwarika, Mathura and Braj are abodes of divine love, because they are abodes of Krishna, who is an ocean of divine love. Even so, the bliss of Mathura is sweeter than the bliss of Dwarika, a nd the bliss of Braj is the sweetest of all.
Jimi jalnidhi mahan jal kahat, aru jalnidhi jal roop. Timi Hari madhi anand aru, Hari anand swaroop. In the same way that people say there is water in the ocean, and also that the ocean is a huge reservoir of water, similarly the scriptures say that there is bliss in God, and also that God Himself is bliss.
Soch sanch upkar nij, soch na par upkar. Kari le pyar Muruari te, taji de apar vichar Think about your own spiritual welfare, and don't think about gratifying others. Leaving aside all other thoughts, just love Krishna. (It is only after God realization that you can truly help other souls.)
Brahm Shyam hain surya sam, jeev kiran anuhar. Daivi maya gunmayi, janu roop andhiyar.
Shri Krishna is like the sun and the souls are like the rays of the sun, and Maya is like darkness.
Sau batan ki bat ik, dharu Muralidhar dhyan. Badhavahu seva-vasna, yah sau gyanan gyan. The essence of all the divine philosophies is to attach your mind with love to Shri Krishna with a growing desire to serve Him. This is the ultimate scriptural knowledge.
Man Manmohan bhajan kar, sajan sanehi man. Binuhin bulaye aihain, jag virag aru gyan. Oh mind, considering Shri Krishna to be your everything, do His wholehearted devotion. Renunciation from the world and true divine knowledge will follow automatically.
Prakrit man te hot hai, gyanin prakrit dhyan. Bhaktan man Hari kripa te, hot divya sach man. The mind is material. So the meditation of the gyanis, which is the product of a material mind, is material. But a devotee (bhakta) with Krishna's grace receives divine power, through which his mind becomes divine. So the meditation of realized Bhakta Saint is always divine.
Hari virahi virhag te, panchkosh jari jaya. Trigun, trikarm, tridosh sab, aapuhin jaya nasaya. In the fire of the feeling of separation from Krishna, all the defects of a devotee's mind are automatically burned up, including panch kosh, the five material sheaths, trigun, the three mayic qualities - satvik, rajas, tamas, trikarm, the three kinds of actions (sanchit-past accumulated, prarabdh, fate of this life, kriyaman, new actions of life) and tridosh (the bodily humors described in Ayurved - vat, pit, kaph).
Hari sanyog viyog mahan, bado viyog bataya. Karan yah ki viyog mahan, kan-kan Shyam lakhaya. Between sanyog, the feeling of loving association with Krishna, and viyog, the feeling of separation from Him, viyog is considered superior. Because in separation, Krishna is see everywhere in the world (and in association He is seen in only one place).
Mayadheen maleen man, hai anadi kaleen. Hari virahanal dhoya jal, karu nirmal bani deen. The mind has eternally been under the influence of Maya, that is why it is extremely impure. Now wash the mind by shedding selfless tears of love for Shri Krishna, and make it pure.
Radhey Radhey bol nit, karu Radhey ko dhyan. Aihain nij golok taji, bhajat Shyam sujan. Lovingly remember Shri Radha all the time, and wholeheartedly sing Her name and virtues. Through this bhakti (loving remembrance), Shri Krishna will leave His abode and come running, without even being called. He has this much love for Shri Radha's name.
Tum mere the, rahoge, yah shruti vachan tihar. Adham udharan Nath puni, kahe mohin bisar. A devotee humbly says, "Oh Krishna, You have said Yourself in the Vedas that since eternity You were mine and You will be mine forever. Oh Lord, uplifter of fallen souls, then why have You forgotten me?"
Haun manat haun sada ko, haun patak avatar. Adham udharan virad par, tum to karahun vichar. Oh Krishna, I admit that since eternity I have committed uncountable sins. But please remember Your own promise that You uplift all the fallen souls.
Nam patit pavan suni, nirbhaya hwai kiya pap. Yamen dosh batau mam, doshi to hain aap. Oh Krishna, having heard that you are patit pavan, the purifier of fallen souls, I have been committing all kinds of sins without any fear or hesitation. Now please tell me what my fault is? According to Your name, You are supposed to purify my sins.
Man Hari men tan jagat men, karmayoga tehi jan. Tan Hari men man jagat men, yah mahan agyan. True karma yoga is when your mind is absorbed in Krishn love and you are performing your duties with your body. If your mind is attached in the world, and physically you are doing devotional formalities, then you are extremely ignorant (because it is only karma, not karma yoga).
Yadyapi Hari guru ek hain, ek gyan anand. Tadapi srishti kar keval, brahm sacchidanand. Although there is no difference between God and a God realized Saint, the work of creating the universe is only done by God.
Hari sut kahan Hari dasi, jad maya dukh det. Bad acharaj pitu lakhat nit, tabahun na sut sudhi let.
Maya is an eternal servant of Krishna. The soul is the son of Krishna. The servant, maya, is creating misery for the son, the soul, since eternity. The Divine Father has been watching the soul suffer through this, but He is not gracing the soul.
Haridasi hain mukti sab, sabai jeev Haridas. Mahamoodh jo swamiji taji, kar dasi ki aas. All the types of liberation are Shri Krishna's servants, and all the souls are His eternal servants. That servant (the soul) who leaves his Master and desires another servant (liberation) is extremely foolish.
Vandaniya hai Upanishad, yamen gyan mahan. Shyam prem binu gyan so, pranheen tanu jan. The Upanishads are like another form of God, therefore they are to be respected. They contain unlimited Divine knowledge, but their knowledge doesn't develop love for Shri Krishna. Thus, such knowledge is like a body without life.
Milan paya Piya virah bhaya, virah paya nahin chain. Duhun bhanti as divya dukh, pav rasik din rain. Even while he is enjoying Shri Krishna's association, a Rasik Saint feels worried and anxious about being separated from Him, and when he is separated from Krishna, he naturally experiences sorrow. Thus in both these situations, the Saint experiences a sweet pain of Divine love.
Adham udharan nam suni, ur asha badhi jat. Bhakti vashya suni nam pai, man mahan ati darpat. Oh Krishna! Hearing that you are patit pavan, the purifer of sinful souls, I feel hope, because I am sinful. I may also receive Your grace. But when I hear Your names of 'bhakt vatsal' and 'bhakti vashya', (the one who becomes dependent to his loving Saint because of that Saint's love) I feel scared (because I have no such qualities in me that would inspire You to do this).
Kahe khojat brahm ko, shtrutin richan bharmaya. Yashumati kar ukhal bandhyo, dekhahun braj mahan jaya. Oh, gyanis! Why are you searching in vain to find brahm in the verses of the Vedas? You can find supreme brahm tied to an ukhal (pot for pounding rice) in the courtyard of Mother Yashoda. If you doubt my words, go to Braj and see for yourself.
Brahm niranjan jani bhano, sunahu kholi nij kan. Anjan bani dolai sada, pache braj banitan. Oh gyanis! Don't say that brahm is only formless and without qualities. Listen very carefully. If brahm were formless, then He wouldn't have become like the anjan (kajal or collyrium) in the eyes of the Gopis of Braj and followed them like an eager beloved.
Jo nahin jat bulayehu, Shuk Sankadik dhyan. Binuhin bulaye jat soi, ghar ghar braj banitan. That supreme personality of God, Krishna, doesn't enter the impersonal meditation ( samadhi) of great paramhansas like Shukdev and the Sankadik, even though they try their hardest. Yet the same supreme brahm as Shri Krishna rushes to the houses of the Gopis, even though uninvited. How extremely surprising!
Jake aganit gunan ko, gavat Ved richan. 'Dari ke', gari sunan, soi chedat sakhiyan. The four Vedas tirelessly sing the uncountable glorious virtues of Krishna. The same Krishna purposely teases the Gopis of Braj so they will reproach Him by saying "Dari ke" (a sweet insult of Braj). Hearing that, Krishna feels very happy.
Jako kahi nirlep as, puni puni Ved pukar. Jakar dekhahu madhupuri, soi Kubja ko yar. The Vedas repeatedly say that supreme brahm Krishna is desireless and detached from everything. Go and see the same supreme brahm in Mathura where He is behaving like the fully devoted husband of Kubja.
Jake bhay bhayabheet ho, mahakal barjor. Jarasandh ke bhay soi, bhaji banyo Ranchor. Even the god of death is afraid of Krishna, but the same all-powerful and almighty Krishna ran away out of fear of the demon Jarasandh, took shelter in Dwarika. This is how He got His name "Ranchor" - the one who ran away from the battlefield.
Jako atmaram kahi, Ved richan bakhan. Soi Gopin sang ras kar, gopihun Ved richan. The richas (verses) of the Vedas describe brahm Shri Krishna as self-contented, self-complacent, and self-relishing. The same Krishna loving did the pastime of maharaas with the Gopis in Braj, and the most astonishing thing is that the same richas of the Vedas took part in that pastime in the form of Gopis.
Jako kaha aj soi braj, Nandanandan bani aya. Gwalan joothan khat lakhi, vidhi budhi gai bharamaya. Brahm, who is described in the Vedas as eternally unborn, has appeared as the son of Nandababa (Krishna) in Braj. Not only that, but He playfully shared His food with His illiterate Gwalbal playmates, which utterly confused the mind of Brahma (who witnessed this childhood leela).
Jaki yachat sharan sab, Vidhi Hari Har unman. Soi Yashumati ki god hit, lotat rodan than. Even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva desire the refuge of supreme God Krishn. The same Krishna, Who is the refuge of all the forms of God, is crying and rolling on the ground in Braj to take refuge in the lap of His mother, Yashoda.
Jaki maya te nache, yogi yatee mahan. Nache soi kartal pai, Brajveethin banitan. Even great yogis and gyanis dance to the tune (remain under the control of) Krishna's external power, Maya. The same Krishna Himself (becomes so helpless before the selfless bhakti (love) of the Gopis) that He happily dances in the lanes of Braj to the tune of the Gopis' clapping hands.
Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj
Jnana Yoga Realization is Incomplete Without Bhakti
That gyani who has received the stage of self realization (atma jnana) has not yet attained divine realization (brahm jnana). This state of partial attainment is called "brahm-bhoot". A jnani is unable to cross the final stages two stages of Maya on the base of his own strength or quality of spiritual practice. His spiritual development is stopped at this point, within the pure satvik quality of the mayic field. This means that he is still under the influence of Maya and he could lose his spiritual accomplishments due to a wrong mayic association or from his own sanskars (conditioned mental reflexes of the past) that could deviate his mind towards materiality.
The Yogshikopanishad explains how much effort was involved in actually arriving at the stage of nirvikalpa samadhi: "It takes many lifetimes of continuous practice to establish 'jnana' in the mind, the stable understanding of the illusiveness of mayic happiness and the divinity of the soul. Further, it takes hundreds of lifetimes of continuous practice of samadhi in jnana yoga to enable a yogi to receive liberation." Even after arriving at the stage of nirvikalpa samadhi, the jnani or yogi is still in danger of losing everything. Veda Vyas explains in the Bhagwatam (10/2/32): "Diverting their minds with utmost difficulty from mayic attractions, the few yogis who reach the final stage of yoga, after crossing the five material barriers (koshas) begin to believe they have crossed the ocean of Maya completely. They are mistaken. Because of this mistake, they may be attracted to the world and fall back into the field of attachment. A yogi must know that the ocean of Maya can only be crossed with the grace of Krishna." As Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita (7/14), "The bondage of My three-fold Maya (consisting of tamas, rajas and sattva) will end only when you surrender to Me." In other words, absolute liberation will not and cannot happen through jnana yoga. The only way to attain absolute liberation is when jnana is transformed into jnana yoga. Krishna clarifies this point in the Bhagavad Gita (18/54): "In the state of atma-jnana or self realization (called brahm-bhoot) a jnani is impartial to all. He has no material desire and experiences no pain on being separated from any material object or person, yet he has not attained divine knowledge of God (brahm jnana). Because of this he can still fall from his spiritual height." Krishna explains the atma jnani secures and perfects this knowledge only through bhakti (devotion) and grace (Gita 18/55): "Only through bhakti to Me and with My Grace does an atma jnani know Me and attain divine realization. He attains the full knowledge of what was only partially understood." Through devotion and grace, an atma jnani becomes a brahm jnani, a realized and true knower of the impersonal aspect of divinity.
Your Nature is to Love
Imagine a dirty cloth. If we wish to clean it and we put it in a bucket of muddy water, the cloth will become more dirty. Solution? Wash it in clean water! Simple! If we wash the material mind in material attachment, the result will only increase the materiality of the mind. This creates a thicker layer of maya that is of our own doing. Similarly, as mentioned in an earlier section, the mind has an adoptive quality. When heat is applied to wax, it melts. In that melted state, you can add anything to it. When it hardens, that becomes a permanent part of the wax.
Similarly, in the heat of emotion generated by our mental attachment, the mind "melts". In that state it adopts the material qualities of what it is attached to. These qualities permeate the mind and reside there. This "addition" adds layers of denseness to our material bondage. Amazingly, the solution is not to stop forming attachment. We should continue to love, and increase that love thousands of times. We have a heart and we were born to love. The only thing we lack is the understanding of who and what and where to love. If we love material beings or material objects, we will receive a material consequence. If we love divine beings (God or Saints), we will receive a divine consequence. Our quest is not to stop loving, but to place our affection where we can fulfill our ultimate aim for eternal, unending divine love. The first step in changing our attachment is changing our understanding. Firmly understand your ultimate aim can't be fulfilled through any material situation. The ultimate happiness you seek is not part of maya. You will never find perfect happiness in the world, but you have every chance of finding perfect happiness in God. In bhakti yoga meditation, we support our natural tendency to form attachment by guiding it to divine subjects. By redirecting our affectionate nature from maya, we still follow the natural flow of the mind. The same emotional investment we made in the material field, could have unending dividends if applied in the divine field.
In bhakti yoga, we meditate from the emotional mind or heart.
At the heart of bhakti yoga meditation is devotional remembrance, called roop dhyana (roop=form, dhyana=meditation). It is rich with visualizaion and affectional emotion that is directed towards the divine beloved. Although intellectual processes of meditation demand the cessation, elimination or observation of thought, the heart-based process of bhakti is simply single-minded love and unconditional dedication. As you will discover in reading the section on jnana yoga, even if your aim is to realize the goal of thoughtless meditation (nondual enlightenment), practicing bhakti to receive God's grace is still a must for any kind or type of divine realization.
When we feel emotion, the mind is adoptive. In other words, it is deeply influenced by the object that is being meditated upon with feeling. That emotion could be either positive (affection) or negative (animosity)
For example, if you melt wax and add dye to it, the dye can't be extracted. When the wax hardens, the dye becomes a permanent feature of the wax. Similarly, the mind "melts" when emotional, and the qualities of the object that inspired that feeling enter the mind. Your mind then adopts and retains the qualities of that object. If you meditate deeply on an object for a long time, the quality of your mind becomes identical with the quality of the meditated object. Instead of trying to remove thoughts from the mind, in bhakti yoga meditation we learn how to meditate using this adoptive quality to transform the mind. By increasing your devotional thinking you use the emotional quality of the mind for God realization. By uniting your mind with a divine subject and saturating your heart with devotional feeling, your mind purifies. This increases your capacity to receive divine grace. Through grace you attain God realization, enlightenment in the bhakti tradition.
Through grace your mind is transformed into a vessel that is capable of 'holding' divine bliss. This purification happens easily if we know how to meditate and our practice is correct. Although bhakti yoga is a heart-based practice, intellectual understanding plays an extremely important role, because the intellect guides the affectionate nature of the mind. The metaphor of a chariot describes the crucial role that the intellect and intellectual understanding play. By understanding we need perfect happiness, we can develop our feelings of love God, knowing that He is the source of divine happiness. If we know we want perfect love, great Rasik Saints have refined our goal even more and have told us to love Radha Krishna, the form of divine love. Both the intellect and the heart are essential in bhakti meditation. The intellect governs our progress at every stage of devotion with right understanding and helps us to discern the difference between limited nature of material happiness, and the unlimited greatness of God's divine bliss. When we learn how to to meditate and begin to experience devotional happiness through our practice, our heart confirms this understanding naturally.
Vedanta Philosophy of Jagadguru Shankaracharya
Shankaracharya (509-477 BCE) was the originator and main teacher of advaita vedanta or (non-dualism). His philosophy forms the basis for the teachings of the path of jnana. Shankaracharya was the very first or "Adi" Jagadguru. In all his writings he stated that the soul and maya are not separate powers. The soul is God.
He described God as formless, without attributes, a non-performer of action and without any kind of internal or external distinctions. God has only one kind of nature. He is eternal and pure existence, unlimited knowledge and Divine bliss. The world is just an indescribable illusion. The individual soul is the radiance or reflection of God and is also the same as God. In the state of ignorance, the soul is the combined effect of brahm (God) and maya (illusion). After the soul attains liberation, it realizes its original nature as brahm.
To illustrate the soul's relationship to God, he used the example of the space in a clay pot. If the space inside a pot represents the soul, the space outside the pot represents God. If the pot is broken, the internal space merges with the external space, and the distinguishing and separating characteristics of the mind end. At this point the soul becomes God. To attain this nondual realization, he advised reflecting on "Tatvamasi" - A Vedic mantra which means, "You are that (God)." According to his teachings, true understanding of this comes from listening to (shravan) and repeatedly reflecting on this statement (manan) and absorbing oneself in meditation through its practical experience (nididhyasan). Eventually, in the ultimate stage of gyan, this evolves into "Aham brahmasmi," or "I am God." His philosophy became the base for the philosophy and teachings of the path of jnana, and also were the preceding proposition for the other Jagadgurus to reveal a more complete and reconciled description of God, soul and maya.
Inconceivable Dual-Nondualism Philosophy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's philosophy of inconceivable dual-nondualism was written by his disciple, Jeev Goswami. Mahaprabhu Ji (1485-1533 CE) appeared in West Bengal and graced this earth for 48 years before ascending to his divine abode, Vrindaban. He was a direct descension of Shri Radha. He established the greatness of bhakti through his mission of nam-sankritan (chanting of the divine name). He freely bestowed the bliss of Radha Krishn love, the divine bliss of the highest perfection, explained the stages of devotion that are achieved through selfless remembrance of the divine name, and showed through his own example that the essence of the teachings of all the Jagadgurus is that a person should relinquish all false pride and surrender to Krishna, the supreme personality of God. The last five years of his life he constantly remained absorbed in ecstatic stages of 'Radha Bhav'. This was the first time in history that these divine expressions were revealed before human eyes. One day he went to the Shri Jagannath Ji Temple, and in an ecstatic state of consciouness ran to embrace the deity of Jagannath Ji (Shri Krishna). He disappeared into the deity and entered into his divine abode. This occurred in 1533 when he was 48 years of age. Although he lectured extensively throughout India, Mahaprabhu Ji didn't write his own philosophy on vedanta. Veda Vyas, who revealed all the prime scriptures of Hinduism, declared the Bhagwatam to be the essence of all the vedantas, and if the theme of the Bhagwatam were understood, it would not be necessary to undergo further scriptural studies. On the base of this, Mahaprabhu Ji accepted the Bhagwatam as the final authority on vedanta.
Mahaprabhu Ji did impart a brief teaching on the science of devotion that was comprised of eight Sanskrit verses. These were recorded and called "Shikchashtak" ('shikcha'teaching, 'ashtak'- eight). His disciples, Sanatan Goswami, Roop Goswami and Jeev Goswami, explained in their writings the secrets of the divine and divine love that were revealed to them by Mahaprabhu Ji. Apart from the Bhagwatam, "Bhakti Rasamrit Sindu" and "Ujjwal Neelamani" written by Roop Goswami are considered the main authoritative books on the philosophy and ecstatic stages of divine love. "Shat Sandarbh", written by Jeev Goswami, is an elucidation of the Mahaprabhu Ji's achintya bhedabhedvad (inconceivable dualnondualism) philosophy. The events from his divinely miraculous life were recorded in a number of biographies written by his disciple-Saints. One of the most prominent is "Chaitanya Charitamrita" written by Krishna Das.
Shikchastak of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Below is a selection of Sanskrit quotes by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on the stages of devotional development from sadhana bhakti (preliminary devotion) to bhava bhakti (natural devotion) to siddha bhakti (the realized state of divine love). "Shikcha" means teaching and "ashtak" means eight. This very brief teaching is the essence of the deepest devotional philosophy. Verse 1
"Oh supreme God, Who is the creator and protector of this world, I desire You! I do not
desire luxuries or wealth. I do not desire children, students or disciples. I do not desire prestige or adulation. I don't want recognition as an artist, poet or great writer. I only desire to remain in the consciousness of Your selfless love in every lifetime." Verse 2
"Oh Krishna! I have become a slave to my own ambitions and desires. I have fallen in the worldly mire of sensual gratification. Oh my Lord, I cannot reach your, but You can reach me. I am helpless and You are all powerful. So, remembering me as a speck of dust which has fallen beneath Your lotus feet, please pick me up and grace me with Your love." Verse 3
"My beloved Krishna! You have imbued Your personal powers in Your name, and have made no physical rules for its remembrance. Your Grace is great and my ill-luck is also of the extreme limit -- that is why my heart finds no pleasure in remembering Your name." Verse 4
A bhakta (devotee) should not seek praise or compliments, but rather have respect for others. He must be humble as a blade of grass and as forgiving as a tree. Living like this, a devotee should always chant Krishna name with feelings of love, while also remembering His leelas, grace and kindness. Verse 5
"Oh Krishna! I am longing for that day when tears of love will flow from my eyes while I remember Your name. In Your remembrance my body will feel a divine thrill and while singing Your name, my voice will choke with emotional feelings of love. When will that time come that while remembering Your name divine expressions of love will appear in my heart and body?" Verse 6
"My dearest beloved, Krishna! I am Yours forever and I know You are mine. I love You just to please You. I desire You to express my love and I desire You to know what wish of Yours I could fufill. You know that I cannot cease loving You even if You turn Your face against me. You may hug me with all Your love. You may be cruel to me and crush my feelings by all possible means, behaving adversely. You may reject me, telling me that You will not show Your face to me for my whole life. Even then, You will remain my
only Beloved. Whatever You wish to do with me, do it. You know there is no one who could come into my life except You." Verse 7
"Oh, my beloved Krishna, You are the Master of my soul and the desire of my heart. How can I forget You? Now I experience that my soul is not only related to You, but You are the Life of my soul. Material relations may end because they are inconstant, but Your relationship is a reality. It will remain forever. They why haven't You come to me? You know that I cannot live without You."
Verse 8 "The chanting of Krishna name purifies the mirror of the heart, subsides the agonizing fire of the material mind, develops the cool effulgence of divine love, brings forth Divine knowledge, and sprouts the bliss of Krishna's divine love that brings complete divine contentment at every step of life. Such an experience of Krishna's love exceeds all the blissful experiences of all the other divine abodes."
Nondualism: The Nature of Impersonal Realization
Nondualism leads to an realization of the impersonal aspect of God or absolute truth. A jnani desires to experience an aspect of divine happiness called "brahm-ananda" (brahm God, ananda - bliss). How this is accomplished:
A jnani purifies his mind through meditation and devotion When this purification is complete, and with God's Grace, his mayic bondage ends and he attains full realization of the bliss of the formless aspect of God
Mayic bondage for a jnani is in the form of his material senses, mind and intellect. Yet the presence of our material senses, mind and intellect are what enables us to know and experience. Liberation or moksha means to be free of one's personal Maya in the form of all of these. If a jnani loses his material faculties for experiencing and knowing, how does he experience bliss?
In nondualism, when a jnani attains liberation from Maya, he gains the capacity to experience the impersonal bliss of absolute truth by retaining a faint remnant of the material mind called lesh-avidya. "Lesh" means just a trace, and "avidya" means Maya.
If you poured melted butter in a bowl, and then poured the butter into another container, the thin layer of oil that would remain in the bowl could be called "lesh" -- a faint trace. It is on the base of this faint remnant of maya that a brahm jnani is able to experience the bliss of impersonal divinity. According to his physical destiny, at the time of his death, this trace of material mind and his material body end. Now, as pure soul energy that has been released from all material ties, he merges into the divine field of absolute truth.
Interestingly, although it is said that the soul of the realized jnani merges into brahm, the truth is that the soul retains its discrete individuality. It doesn't melt, dissolve or disappear when it enters the absolute, like an aspirin tablet would in water. Instead that jnani's faculties of experiencing and knowing (the senses and mind) are terminated forever. At this stage there is no one who knows, is known or has any faculty of knowing. There is also no more material bondage or suffering. This is moksha or absolute liberation and realization on the path of nondualism. What is known to the jnani about the bliss of brahm is only known while he is in the body; after this, he has no experience of divine bliss at all, forever.
Liberation from Maya or Attainment of Happiness?
Regardless of who we are and the type of actions we perform, we all work because of some inner motivation. You know from your own experience that whatever inspires you
to action always changes. Plus, what inspires you to act changes from one minute to the next. This same inner motivation inspires our spiritual journey. The fact is there is one universal aim for all of us, regardless of belief, culture, language, gender or any of our other distinguishing factors. We are searching for happiness and happiness alone in everything that we choose to do. This is our true aim and the hidden motivation behind all actions. In the Vedic tradition, this aim is addressed in the Darshan Shastras, six schools of theistic philosophy. In Hinduism, a scripture is described as theistic if it is based on the principles of the Vedas and Upanishads. Five of these schools (Poorva Mimansa of Jaimini, Nyaya of Gautum, Vaishaishik of Kanad, Sankhya of Kapil and Yoga of Patanjali) state that our deepest desire is freedom from suffering. Suffering has three main forms: 1. Physical and mental suffering 2. Suffering inflicted upon us by others 3. Suffering caused by the environment Happiness, according to these systems, is achieved when one is liberated from suffering, and this happens when one is completely free from Maya. As we have been discussing in this section, this is the aim of jnana yoga. The sixth school of philosophy, the Brahma Sutra by Ved Vyas, takes a different position. This philosophy is the most extensive and the most important of all the theistic systems. Jagadgurus and Saints have written extensive commentaries on this scripture, and they give two perspectives on its spiritual meaning. The first perspective describes the ultimate divine reality as a nondual, impersonal, absolute existence. This is realized through jnana yoga. As you learned earlier in this section, this school of philosophy is referred to as advaita vedanta or nondualism. The second perspective describes the ultimate divine reality is dual, meaning there are two. You and God are two, and you realize the truth of this relationship through bhakti yoga. There is you, God and the process of experiencing Him with your mind and all your senses. You can see Him, serve Him and love Him. This school of philosophy has a few variations, but in general they could be referred to as dvaita vedanta or dualism. The original philosophy of advaita held that our ultimate aim was to attain absolute liberation from Maya, and realize and merge into the bliss of nondual divinity through jnana yoga.
The Saint philosophers who revealed dvaita took this one step further and described a realization beyond liberation and nondual bliss: the attainment of God realization and the bliss of the personal form of God. Isn't liberation from Maya and the absence of material suffering and limitation the same as the eternal attainment of bliss? The answer is no. However, the attainment of bliss includes liberation from suffering. Even in your own life the absence of sorrow does not equate to the presence of happiness. If someone is standing on your foot, while that pressure is being applied, you feel pain. If they remove their foot, you may refer to the relief you feel as 'happiness', but it is really just the absence of pain.
A more true definition of happiness for us corresponds to joy... after your foot feels better, you see your dear friend and from that meeting you feel your heart is bursting with joy. This is more like it! Similarly, in a spiritual sense, absolute liberation from Maya and the experience of nondual bliss is a divine accomplishment. In contrast to mayic bondage, this is unlimitedly blissful. Amazingly, there is still a more enriched and permanent experience of divine bliss beyond this attainment related to the personal form of God. By attaining liberation, you don't automatically receive this bliss, but by attaining God realization, not only do you receive this bliss, but you are also automatically liberated from Maya and all mayic suffering.
What is Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti or devotion holds a very unique and important place on the path to God. It's very common that all the yoga traditions are described as spokes of a wheel that all lead to the same hub (spiritual enlightenment). Generally, four yoga traditions are described (with the remainder falling into subgroups of these), and the type of temperament that is attracted to that tradition: 1. 2. 3. 4. Jnana (or Gyan) Yoga - philosophical and intellectual temperament Bhakti Yoga - emotional temperment Raja Yoga - mystical and scientific temperament Karma Yoga - active temperament
In actual fact, there are many paths of heart and mind purification expressed through many types of physical and mental practices, but there is only one path to God - the path of grace or bhakti. If a path or practice is to have a divine outcome, it must include or culminate in bhakti. Although it is natural to think your temperament or inclination determines the right path for you, in actual fact each path has "eligibility requirements". For example, there are very specific guidelines for those who wish to practice nondual meditation or jnana yoga, just as there are for those who wish to begin a practice of bhakti yoga. A more correct relationship of all the paths would look like this:
The style of your realization will be determined by your previous practice, whether that was to experience God's love and beauty or to merge into absolute truth, but reaching that perfected state is only through the grace of the personal form of God. Through bhakti yoga we join our heart and mind with God through devotion to receive divine grace. Grace is the power that enlightens us with spiritual realization; bhakti is the means by which we attain grace.
Bhakti yoga for the attainment of divine love
When you hear the word "bhakti" you may think of a feeling, but bhakti is a divine power. Bhakti is also called divine love. It is such an astonishing power that when great Jnani Saints absorbed in absolute truth come into contact with it, their bliss of impersonal divinity and state of divine samadhi is forcibly replaced by the sweetness of divine love. This is because bhakti is the supreme personal power of God. We can understand its greatness in comparison to other divine powers (power is shakti). According to the Vedic scriptures, there are three eternal existences:
Swaroop Shakti - the power related to God's own personality, also called 'chit shakti' or 'antaranga shakti' or the most intimate power of God Jeev Shakti -- all the individual souls who are dominated by maya, also called 'tatastha shakti' or the marginal power of God Maya Shakti -- the material power between the souls and God; also called 'bahiranga shakti' or the external power of God
Both the souls and maya are dependent powers of God. Plus, one supreme God has countless names, forms and powers that are related to His own personal power, swaroop shakti.
Swaroop shakti has three aspects: existence (sat), knowledge (chit), and bliss (ananda). These three qualities are God's personality. This is detailed in the diagram below:
Each of these qualities or aspects also has a power associated with it:
• • •
Existence (sat) is related to the power of creation (sandhini shakti); Knowledge (chit) is related to the power of omniscience (samvit shakti); Bliss (ananda) is related to the power that imparts bliss (hladini shakti)
Hladini shakti, the power of bliss, is the sweetest and most potent divine power. It is due to this power that even though God creates uncountable worlds populated by uncountable souls who are performing uncountable actions, and He is keeping an account of those actions every moment, He still remains ever-blissful. Hladini shakti also includes within itself the other two powers. For example, if you say, "the big black horse", "big" and "black" are adjectives that describe "horse". Similarly, "sat" and "chit" describe "ananda". God's bliss or ananda is eternal and unlimited. As sat and chit are included within ananda, the powers of sandhini and samvit are included within hladini, the power of bliss. Further, hladini shakti has an essence that is called 'bhakti', 'siddha bhakti' and also 'divine love'. This divine bhakti is synonymous with supreme God in the form of Radha Krishna. The spiritual enlightenment of divine bhakti is received through your practice of devotional bhakti or bhakti yoga. In other words: 1. You do devotional bhakti (preparatory or sadhana bhakti), then, 2. You receive divine bhakti (siddha bhakti) with God's grace after your heart has become completely purified through devotional bhakti.
your spiritual attainment is a result of these • •
The method of meditation you practiced The intended goal of your meditation
Self-realization or atma-jnana is knowledge of the spiritual self or soul. The bliss of self realization relates only to the satvik quality of maya. This bliss is much greater than ordinary material happiness, but relates only to the self (soul) not the supreme Soul, (God). Therefore, although it is more blissful than ordinary worldly happiness, it is not a full realization of the divine. Practitioners of this style are jnanis and yogis who follow the precepts of nondual meditation or ashtanga yoga. Beyond this is the full realization of the impersonal bliss of formless divinity or absolute truth known as brahm-ananda (the bliss of brahm or absolute truth). Jnanis and yogis who perfect the nondual meditation of gyan or ashtanga yoga are in the category. Superior to this is the experience of the bliss of perceiving the beauty of God's eternal divine form called bhagavad-ananda or the bliss related to almightiness. Superior to this is the bliss of divine love called prem-ananda. In this realization God is experienced with relational intimacy as a divine friend, child or beloved. This is the most intimate, enriched and intensified experience of divine bliss possible for a soul. Bhaktas or devotees who perfect bhakti yoga or devotion are in this category. As explained earlier, every power in the divine world has a personal form. The personal form of God related to the divine love power is Radha Krishna. So there are three types of true spiritual Gurus who relate to three different states of realization:
Jnani Saint/Yogi Saint -- impersonal aspect of divinity (nondual bliss or absolute truth) Bhakta Saint -- perception of the beauty of God's form (almighty bliss) Rasik Saint -- perception of beauty and affectionate closeness of God's form (Divine love bliss)
Spiritual Enlightenment is of Many Kinds
Spiritual enlightenment or realization is the attainment of a particular divine power. That attainment becomes a constant blissful experience of the divine for the enlightened practitioner. A by-product of this realization is that the limiting effect of his material or mayic bondage ends forever.
What is a divine power? In the material world, powers are formless. Electricity is generated by the movement of electrons, but what does it actually look like? What is the form of electricity? We only see its effect when we plug an appliance into an electrical outlet. Hinduism elaborates in great detail on the nature of divine powers. Contributions to and verifications of this body of knowledge come from enlightened Saints' experience of God. What we can understand from our limited perspective is that divine powers are exactly the opposite of material powers in one important way. All divine powers have a form. There are different qualities of divine bliss that relate to the different forms of God whose names appear in the scriptures. Some of these names include Lakchmi Vishnu, Durga, Kali, Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Sita, Rama, Radha and Krishna. The bliss of nondual spiritual enlightenment is related to the impersonal or formless aspect of God called nirakar brahm. Oftentimes understood to be the ultimate divine state, formless divinity is actually dependently established in the personal form of God (called sakar brahm). If every divine power has a form, what is this formless aspect?
For example, the sun is the source of two formless energies, heat and light. Either heat or light could be considered to be an independent power, but if we take away the sun, both would cease to exist. So both are dependently established in the sun. Similarly, the formless aspect of divinity is like a divine blissful effulgence or radiance that is dependently established in its origin, the personal form of God. Although this effulgence is intrinsically related to God's form, it is also realized separately by jnanis and yogis. Although God is one absolute, indivisible existence, because of these unique characteristics, the divine existence appears to have many contradictory facets.
If you look at a diamond from a particular angle, it will seem to have a certain appearance. If you turn the same diamond so it faces the light differently, it will have a different sparkle and luster.
It's appearance may look so different it may seem like a separate stone, but you are only seeing a different facet of the same object. Similarly, according to the Hindu scriptures, when God is expressing a particular divine power (just as you are positioning a diamond to face the light in a certain way) He manifests a unique form. Form and power are one. That form changes when a different power is expressed. Spiritual enlightenment or divine realization means to attain ONE divine power. This refinement of your spiritual goal focuses your efforts and ensures success in your spiritual practice.
The impersonal realization of nirakar brahm (formless aspect of God) reveals an experience of nondual bliss called brahm-anand. As the diagram above illustrates, it is like the branch of a rose plant minus the sweet flower and its perfume. A feeling of relationship with God begins with the realization of sakar brahm (the form of God) as Mahalakchmi-Mahavishnu and the attainment of almighty bliss (aishwaryaananda). Through this realization God's divine form, divine beauty, proximity is perceived, not His loving intimacy. Like the rosebud above, beauty begins here, but the full expression of the flower is still concealed. Beyond this there is a modified experience of almighty bliss mixed with divine love bliss in the form of Sita Ram. A feeling of intimacy begins from this realization. This is like the partially bloomed-rose above. Some inner beauty is now visible, as well as a hint of the rose's beautiful perfume. Beyond this is the realization of Radha Krishna or pure divine love bliss (prem-ananda). This is the most enriched, most proximate, and most intimate experience of God a soul
could experience in an enlightened state. This love is like the fully-bloomed rose, where the charm and attraction of the flower is at its greatest - full perfume, full beauty.
For example imagine a person is observing the earth planet from a distant galaxy. The earth may at best appear as a pinpoint of light. As he comes within range of the moon, he can now see much more detail - clouds, land masses, water. When he penetrates the earth's atmosphere, space is left behind and only land appears. When he reaches the surface of the earth and exits his craft, he can now feel the loving association and joyous embrace of the local residents. Similarly, although it is a class of spiritual enlightenment, from the point of view of divine loving intimacy, the experience of nirakar brahm (impersonal divinity) is the most distant experience of the divine. Beyond this is the experience of almighty power (aishwarya-ananda). This is like being close to the moon and seeing the earth - there is a clear perception of God and the experience of divine beauty, but no divine intimacy. Entering the earth's atmosphere is like the modified form of Sita-Ram, which is a mixture of almighty and divine love powers. Some expression of loving closeness is now present. But it is only when our visitor lands and feels a close embrace that he has the sweetest experience of his journey. Similarly, the realization of Radha Krishna or divine love power (prem-ananda) is the realization of the sweetest, most charming, most intimate quality of God's bliss. Just as the earth planet remained the same for our traveler, whether he was distant or near, so God remains one in all His divine forms and expressions of divine power. It is our choice which aspect of divinity we wish to approach, but the science of God realization is we must choose just one aspect as our spiritual goal. The quality of your experience of divine bliss is determined by this. The knowledge of the personal form of God is essential in all aspects of bhakti yoga meditation practice.
The Definition of Grace- BHAGWAD KRUPA
The definition of grace in bhakti yoga philosophy is very extensive and exact, and this is a testament to its importance. In the world, we know that the greater the effort, the greater the result. In other words, you get out of something what you what you put into it. Using this logic, if we exert a limited effort, we will get a limited result. So what kind of effort is required to attain an unlimited supreme divine power? Based on our experience of other accomplishments, it would have to be an unlimited effort. How can a limited human being produce an effort to achieve what is unending or unlimited? It's not possible for us to match the unlimitedness of God with our material and limited efforts. Through the definition of grace we begin to understand how to resolve this.
Our mayic limitations: Material senses, mind, intellect, Body
The definition of grace is clarified in hundreds of scriptural verses. For example, both the Kath Upanishad and Mundak Upanishad (3/2/3)say: "God cannot be understood through study, debating, intellectual application or mere listening. When a soul surrenders to God wholeheartedly, he receives God's grace, and with God's grace, he attains God." In the Bhagavad Gita (11/53-54), Krishna revealed His divine form of almightiness to Arjuna, then He explained, "Arjuna, the divine vision of My form that you just experienced is not the result of studying the Vedas or performing the austerities from the paths of jnana and yoga, it not the result of performing good actions, Vedic rituals or following religious rules and regulations." "This is only the result of My grace, which you receive when you have exclusive devotion for Me." The expression for exclusion devotion is 'ananya bhakti' or single-mindedness. At the very end of the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita, after Krishna had explained the gist of the entire philosophy of the Upanishads, what did Arjuna declare? "Krishna, my ignorance has ended. I have attained knowledge... through Your Grace." The Shvetashvatar Upanishad states, "God can be known only through His grace."
In the Ramayana, Goswami Tulsidas states, "It may be possible to produce butter by churning water or to extract oil from sand, but it would still be impossible to cross the ocean of maya without God's grace." The Ken Upanishad explains, "Subtler than the material senses are sense perceptions of this material world. Subtler than sense perceptions is the material mind. Subtler than the mind is the material intellect. Beyond the intellect is the Divine soul. Beyond the soul is maya. Beyond maya is God." This means that God, who is Divine and unlimited, is absolutely beyond maya. Although the soul is also divine, it is under the control of maya in the form of material senses, mind and intellect. Our material faculties cannot grasp what is divine, our mind cannot detect what is divine, our intellect cannot imagine what is divine. We can't use our material faculties to surmount their own materiality. So, at the base of the necessity for God's grace is our great incapacity: As material beings we simply cannot produce an unlimited and perfect effort in any area of spiritual practice to receive an unlimited attainment. The only thing we can do perfectly and unlimitedly is STOP DOING. Doing nothing is another name for surrender -- the state that evokes God's grace, which is the goal of bhakti yoga practice.
Definition of Grace and Surrender
Without a correct understanding of the definition of grace, we will forever "do something and get nothing" from a spiritual point of view. If you wish to find God, attain God, see God, experience God's bliss, unite with God -- if you have any kind or class of divine desire, your understanding must be "do nothing and get everything". What exactly is surrender? As long as a newborn baby does nothing for himself, his mother does everything for him. As soon as the child becomes more self-sufficient, the mother begins to reduce her direct care-taking. When the child is independent and does everything for himself, then the mother does nothing for him. Similarly, as long as we use our own mental motivation to plot a course to action, we are bound by the consequences of our actions. We are within the field of "divine observation" (all of the consequences are being noted), but we are not yet in the field of "divine care" or grace.
When 'doing' truly comes to an end, this is surrender. God takes complete responsibility for and care of the soul who becomes fully surrendered to Him. God becomes the giver of grace. In actual fact, grace is always present; through surrender we enable our capacity to receive and experience it. It is important to note that this grace doesn't appear as bigger paychecks, a better relationship, or any of the other countless demands we have for our physical happiness. According to the definition of grace this takes the form of:
Liberation from maya, the qualities of maya, and the three kinds of suffering and the five material sheaths; Attainment of supreme divine bliss and divine peace, forever
So key to this idea is that the mind has to be surrendered to God. We attain the consequence of whatever our mind is attached to, not what we are physically doing. If the mind remains fully surrendered to God, we receive no karmic consequence for our physical actions; we receive only a Divine benefit. This is our goal in bhakti yoga meditation and was exemplified in the relationship between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. True surrender is surrender of the mind. Attachment of the mind to the Divine field is called bhakti yoga or devotion, and attachment of the mind to the material field is called materiality.
The Divine Soul
The soul is one of two energies that make up a human being. You are made up of two separate energies, one material, the other divine.
Material energy (maya) = body, senses, mind, intellect Divine energy = soul or atma
The divine soul resides within the human body near the physical heart. It is life itself. Just as a small candle spreads its light throughout a dark room, so the soul's radiance enlivens the body, senses, mind and intellect and inspires them to function. Although the soul is in the human body (as it is in all life forms), this divine energy can't be detected by material senses or understood by the material mind. We can only infer it's existence in two ways - first, we are alive, secondly, we desire happiness.
The soul is a part of God
There are hundreds of Sanskrit verses that explain that the divine soul is a part of God. Consequently it has an unbreakable relationship with Him. The Vedas say, "The soul is a child of God." It can be said that the souls reside in God, and also that God resides in the soul. He is the origin and the ultimate refuge of all the souls.
God is described in the Vedas as vibhu chit, absolute and unlimited Divinity. The soul is anu chit, an infinitesimal fraction of Divinity. God is also anshi, the origin of the soul's existence. The soul is ansh, a part of that whole. The soul's size is described in the Shvetashvatar Upanishad. If you took one human hair and divided it lengthwise 100 times, and if you took one of those divisions and again divided it 100 times, the soul is more subtle than that. This means it is inconceivably small. The soul resides within the body, but due to its divine nature, the soul is eternal and indestructible. Physical changes that we see in the body such as birth, growth, deterioration, aging and death do not affect the soul. Its individual existence remains pure and unchanged. The science of reincarnation describes how the eternal and divine soul has entered countless births since eternity.
Every part has a natural love for what it originates from. Imagine you are holding a lump of earth in your hand. When you release it, it falls immediately to the ground. That small portion of earth has a natural attraction to what it belongs to - the earth itself. Likewise, the soul being a part of God has a natural attraction to God. Any desire we have for happiness is actually an unknown desire to find God, because God is perfect happiness.
An ansh is also a natural servant of its anshi. A tree has branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit. These are the parts of the tree. Whatever nutrition and water the roots receive or whatever sunlight is received by the leaves serves the tree. The nature of every part is to serve the whole.
Similarly, the divine soul as a part of God is a natural servant of God. Our ultimate aim is not just to receive God's bliss but also to ultimately serve Him.
The Soul is not God
Although there is a qualitative similarity between the divine soul and God, the soul is not the same as God. If you, the soul, were the same as God, you would experience yourself as omnipresent, omniscient and blissful. Instead, you are reading this in one place at a particular time. You are not simultaneously reading it omnipresently. When you keep losing your car keys and misplacing your ATM card, you know you are not all-knowing. You also know you live more in the hope of happiness, than in the continuous experience of happiness.
The Soul is apart from God
What is blocking our ability to recognize our spiritual self and to know God is the material power called maya.
If you throw a pebble in a pond, it creates a distortion. The ripples that form make it impossible for you to see your reflection clearly. Although you are a soul and you have an eternal, unbreakable relationship with God, you don't know or experience this. At this point, it's just a theory. Maya creates this distortion. Due to maya, a divine soul is in ignorance. Sometimes ignorance is referred to as 'illusion'. But this is incorrect. Ignorance is an experienced fact. We experience the effect of material ignorance in two ways:
We have forgotten who we actually are (soul) We are strongly attracted to the material world
Material ignorance causes us to think, "I am the body", and, "The happiness I desire will come from the material world around me." Yet, great Saints affirm the opposite of this. They declare, "You are the soul. You belong to God. He is yours, and you are His. You desire divine happiness."
The Soul desires God
This situation is incredibly easy to rectify with a little help. Due to maya's influence, we are simply facing away from the source of true happiness. Through your inner conscience, the soul is continuously inspiring you to keep searching. As described earlier - this is your quest! True balance is recognizing your spiritual need, and while living in the world, fulfilling it. If you only ate vitamins and no minerals, what kind of state would your health be in? Similarly, without nourishing the soul by giving it divine association, you don't address the source of your need for happiness. By simply reversing your orientation and turning to God in the right way, not only could your material ignorance be eliminated, but your pure and original self could be known, and your eternal relationship with God and His unlimited divine bliss could also be realized forever. This is accomplished through bhakti yoga meditation.
Philosophy of Intellect
The Upanishads use the metaphor of a chariot to explain the importance of the human intellect.
On a chariot there is a driver and a passenger. The passenger has no knowledge or control of the chariot's journey, nor does he interact directly with the driver. In the driver's hands are reins attached to the bridles of several horses. With the reins, the driver is guiding the direction of the chariot, which is continuously moving on a path. The chariot is a metaphor for the human body. On the chariot (body) is a passenger, who represents the the soul. The driver is the intellect. The soul doesn't have knowledge or control over the decisions the intellect is making, but due to the presence of the soul, the intellect has life energy and is active. The reins and bridles represent the mind. The horses represent the senses, which are constantly gathering sense impressions in the world. The path represents our human life.
This metaphor is a recurrent theme in Hindu philosophy. Our senses are constantly gathering impressions of the external environment. These are transferred to the mind. The mind then transfers them to the intellect for analysis. A decision is made if something serves our self-interest or not, if it is desirable or detrimental, good or bad. Accordingly the intellect decides to move in a particular direction. Like the charioteer, the intellect controls the direction of our life through its understanding and decisions. What role does the soul play? In Hindu philosophy, we learn that apart from enlivening all our material "machinery" (body, sense, mind and intellect), the soul is also giving a message to the driver (intellect). The soul has a natural and continuous desire for divine unity. It expresses this longing every moment. A reflection of this enters the intellect in a distorted form. The intellect simply feels: "Something is missing." This subtle discontent and need for something more, combined with its current understanding, causes the intellect to direct the chariot of our existence in a particular direction to find happiness. On its own, the intellect doesn't understand the source of this inner discontentment. This is one of the greatest unsolvable riddles of human existence. Knowledge of the source of and also the solution to our inner discontentment has to be explained to us. The answer lies in spiritual knowledge found in Hindu philosophy -- because the origin of our longing is spiritual and divine. The source of and the remedy for this longing is described by true Saints who have realized divine happiness. Three factors have to come into alignment for true spiritual progress: 1. The soul's longing 2. A true Saint's knowledge 3. Your intellect's understanding When we join our intellect with the intellect of a true Guru, we can properly guide the chariot of our life on a path to divine happiness.
Stages of Bhakti
The below stages of bhakti are detailed in the writings of Rasik Saints. For the purposes of our spiritual practice, we can understand that bhakti has two main stages: 1. Sadhana bhakti or preliminary bhakti meditation practice; 2. Siddha bhakti or perfect divine love (a power of God) Through preliminary bhakti (devotion) we prepare ourselves to attain divine bhakti (divine love). So through practicing one bhakti we attain another bhakti. Ten kinds or stages of bhakti have been described:
Sadhana Bhakti Bhav Bhakti
Divine and realized stages:
• • • • • • • •
Prema Bhakti Sneh Bhakti Maan Bhakti Pranaya Bhakti Raag Bhakti Anuraag Bhakti Bhavavesh Bhakti Mahabhav Bhakti
The eight divine stages are attained through the grace of Radha Krishna and a Rasik Saint.
Stages of bhakti: Preparatory devotion or sadhana bhakti
Sadhana bhakti is the preliminary stage of bhakti yoga or devotion. This is the introductory stage of understanding the importance of devotional remembrance. However, it may still be difficult to keep the mind focused during your meditation practice. You will feel a pull both towards your practice and also towards the field of your attachments in the world. This is a period of continuously reviewing the knowledge received from the Guru about proper practice and service, the true relationship of the soul with God, and the greatness of divine love. Eventually this understanding is retained in the mind. On the base of your firm determination, consistent efforts and Guru's grace, your heart and mind purify and your devotion becomes natural.
Stages of bhakti: Natural devotion or bhava bhakti
Bhava bhakti is a natural emotional stage of bhakti yoga or preparatory devotion. This is the beginning of a true and spontaneous longing for Radha Krishna. It may initially appear as tears of longing and then manifest in sweeter and sweeter forms. This inner devotional development becomes evident as:
• • • • • • • •
Willingness -- a feeling of being truly related to Radha Krishna and a longing to meet Them; Valuing Time -- a realization that time is limited and an avoidance of activities that don't support your practice; Detachment -- an emotional detachment while still maintaining harmony in all your relationships; Indifference -- a lack of interest in acquiring worldly accomplishments and praise; Hope -- an optimistic feeling that one day you will see Radha Krishna with your own eyes; Excitement -- a thrill as if Krishna or Radha were actually physically close to you, but as yet unseen; Delight -- joy in every aspect of your practice, especially in kirtan or chanting of the divine name; Attachment -- an increasing attachment to all of Radha Krishna's qualities (Their beauty, sweetness, kindness, graciousness)
In this evolved state of consciousness, you experience different types of devotional emotions (called bhava), which are of varying strengths and may appear in different forms. These relate to the feeling that Radha Krishna are actually close to you (called "milan"), or to the feeling of being separated from Radha Krishna (called "virah"). The emotional heat that is produced from both the feeling of separation and the excitement of meeting burns up the devotees accumulated impurities and purifies his heart, just a strong fire will melt and purify gold. Madhusudan Saraswati wrote in the "Bhakti Rasayan", "When the heart of a devotee melts in the heat of the feeling of separation, it acquires the qualities of divine love. Such a melted heart becomes saturated with Krishna's love and from this starts a natural and unbroken remembrance of Krishna (bhava bhakti)." As a devotee's heart becomes more purified through devotional remembrance, whether in waking state, during meditation or in any other state, he remains continuously absorbed in these loving emotions of bhava bhakti.
Stages of bhakti: Spiritual enlightenment or siddha bhakti
This is the final enlightened stage of bhakti yoga. The heart of the disciple is now completely pure, and the evidence of this is his Guru (the Rasik Saint) graces him with spiritual enlightenment. The Bhagwatam describes this experience:
"At this stage, the heart and mind of a devotee become one with Krishna. They cease to be material and become a form of Krishna's divine love. His veil of maya is destroyed, just as the germinating power of a grain is destroyed when it is roasted. He attains Krishna's eternal association, and with Krishna's grace, he experiences divine love and divine beauty." From this point, the practitioner becomes a Saint, he sees the true form of Radha Krishna and experiences the always-new experience of the ever-increasing bliss of divine love, forever.
The richas (verses) of the Vedas describe brahm Shri Krishna as selfcontented, self-complacent, and self-relishing. The same Krishna loving did the pastime of maharaas with the Gopis in Braj, and the most astonishing thing is that the same richas of the Vedas took part in that pastime in the form of Gopis. That supreme personality of God, Krishna, doesn't enter the impersonal meditation ( samadhi) of great paramhansas like Shukdev and the Sankadik, even though they try their hardest. Yet the same supreme brahm as Shri Krishna rushes to the houses of the Gopis, even though uninvited. How extremely surprising!