19850923 Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya Lila.11.104-118 The Path Of Spotaneous Love Atlanta
19850923 CAITANYA CARITAMRITA MADHYA LILA 11. 104-118 THE PATH OF SPONTANEOUS LOVE, ATLANTA Verse 104 onwardsto 112:
So there are the two paths – one is vidhi marga and the other is raaga marga. Vidhi marga is the basis of standard rules and regulations everyone follows the vidhi marga. But then raaga marga is where one has spontaneous devotion, spontaneous attraction for serving the Lord, that takes the priority. Just like everyone has to follow the rules and regulations in the country. But if you are a senator or governor, then if it is some duty then you have a pilot police car with a red light and there is no speed limit. If there is no emergency and you break the speed limit then you will come under criticism. But if the emergency is there then you can break the speed limit because of your higher relationship with the government. If the devotee has got a special relationship with the government then these minor rules and regulations, they can be superceded by a more direct instruction of the Lord. Similarly, Srila Prabhupad he had actually shown how we should daily retain our regulative life. At the same time sometimes there would be preaching engagement where he would be personally preaching in India, in the Lilamrita Prabhupad one time was even though sick there was some preaching engagement and he started to preach and he went on preaching after midnight. Then he came back and told the devotees, now I am hungry, give me prasadam. Prabhupad would never take prasadam at midnight otherwise but he had been preaching so he said give me some prasadam, I am hungry and if I can talk for Krishna, that is my life. The more you give me opportunity to talk for Krishna, you will extend my life. So sometimes when some preaching opportunity would come up then Prabhupad would forget all other problems like physical he might have and would become so enlivened that would give him more and more energy when people were interested to hear about Krishna. So that spontaneous attraction to discuss about Krishna, to preach to people, that is a higher raaga marga activity which Srila Prabhupad had exhibited. When that opportunity is not there of course then one shouldn’t artificially neglect the rules and regulations. In this way here we find that the devotees they came as they were spontaneously attracted to see Lord Caitanya. They directly ran. Otherwise they would normally go shave up, take a bath in the river, take darshan of Jagannath and then you take prasad. Instead they directly ran to see Lord Caitanya without going through all these rituals. Lord Caitanya offered them prasad and they immediately accepted. We may think why didn’t they go through the rituals? It is not that there is a double standard but there is a difference. Usually those who are situated in the vidhi marga, who are absorbed in rules and regulations they can never understand what is going on, why the other devotees don’t follow the step by step rituals? The problem is you see most people don’t have a spontaneous attraction to Krishna. Even most devotees their attraction would be more say for the prasadam or other activity. So therefore it is necessary that they may be even more attracted not to the prasadam but materialistic activity, so for them they should become purified then they can have a proper attitude of service when they see the Lord, when they take prasadam. But if a person is already spontaneously attracted to the Lord, to His devotees then it is a different situation. Just like when Prabhupad would come somewhere the devotees would be so spontaneously attracted, they would run to hear him and run to see him. That type of spontaneous devotion – there is a difference you see, one is a rule book – this is the rule, you must do it and people are doing it mechanically because it is a rule. I have to do it, it is my duty. Another thing is where one from inside feels a natural spontaneous attraction, feels an inner desire, just beyond and above the call of duty, it is enthusiastic. So that spontaneous devotion is something which brings us closer to Krishna unlimitedly, more rapidly than the vidhi marga. So these two things have to be adjusted. If a devotee shows some signs of spontaneity in worshipping the Lord, receiving the spiritual master and doing some devotional service, it’s a very good sign. In the Nectar of Devotion, it mentions that first one is told to follow rules and regulations and they do that. Then the next stage is that it becomes second nature to follow the regulative principles. One doesn’t have to push one to follow those regulative principles but they do it spontaneously. Then higher level than that is where one has actually got a natural attraction, not that it is a rule or regulation whether it is a rule or not the person is attracted. You don’t have to force the person; the person is naturally attracted to the devotional activity. That is considered to be the higher level or raaganuga. So there is a difference and the people who live in the holy dham they are considered to be basically on the raaganuga platform. This is mentioned by Prabhupad in the Caitanya Caritamrita in his different purports. Sometimes people go to visit the holy dham and there they see how the residents are sometimes kind of dealing casually with Krishna because they are so confidential and intimate with Krishna that they can’t but well think about Krishna in so many various ways. But someone who is in a more mechanical vidhi marga vision, they think that this is offensive and they start to criticize the residents of the holy dham and thus they become guilty of vaishnava aparadh. Therefore, it is said that people should only visit the holy dham for three days. They shouldn’t stay too long because they are not going to be able to accommodate the relationship of the dham vaasis with the Lord. It’s a bit too difficult for them to understand. They are more in kind of awe and reverence platform rather than raaganuga platform. These things are mentioned in the scriptures. But if you try to tell that to someone who is on the vidhi marga they cannot understand. In fact they become offensive. So it is a very difficult situation to accommodate. Now Maharaja Prataparudhra would be similarly making this mistake but Saarvabhauma Bhattacharya who himself was a very strict vidhi margi before, now he has come to understand that there is higher level of spontaneous devotional service and he could recognize that. These symptoms are mentioned in the Caitanya Caritamrita known as anubhaavas. Someone should see those anubhaavas. If a person has got those anubhaavas of spontaneous devotional service, then he can be recognized as such. Just like one of them is a person, he never - he is idle. A material person or a person in the vidhi marga, if they get the opportunity they may mix it around and start to waste time in certain ways. They may talk about unrelated subjects. So there is a rule that we have to talk about Krishna, so then they have to be engaged. But someone in the raaganuga platform or in the platform of bhava, upper echelons of stages of advancement in bhakti they automatically, they won’t be able to be idle from Krishna’s service even for a moment. They will start to become anxious. This is one of the symptoms. You won’t have to ask them to do something, they themselves will be wanting to do some devotional service, if they don’t have any they will get anxious, like what service can I do next? So this is one of the qualities, like that there are other qualities, 8 or 9 anubhaavas are there. So leaders in the Krishna consciousness movement have to become expert whether they are on the vidhi marga or on the raaga marga to recognize his anubhaavas. If they can see the anubhaavas, this is more important to recognize which stage another devotee is on. If a person is showing a natural inclination towards sense gratification, if he is showing an inclination towards materialistic activities then it means that the person should be very strict with the vidhi marga so that he can purify himself because he has got the spontaneous attraction to the material world which is a normal situation. To counteract that we follow vidhi marga and then gradually our spontaneous attraction for the material world is cut, it is stopped and then gradually it transfers over and becomes spontaneous attraction to Krishna. But if one is showing a spontaneous attraction to Krishna then Krishna gives that devotee a little leeway in terms of how to apply the devotional service. Just like this example where the devotees are wanting to see Lord Caitanya and Lord Caitanya offers them prasadam, doesn’t force them to go through the normal rituals of going down, bathing in the ocean, shaving their head. Alright you have come so far away from Bengal, you can all sit down and take prasadam – when they get the direct order from the Lord, how can they refuse? So these two things are there, this is a common thing that relative to the other vaishnavas in India Prabhupad has set up many things in Iskcon much more on the raaga marga which even our Iskcon devotees they can’t understand that. Some of the Gaudiya matts and some of the other matts they consider that what Iskcon is doing is not strictly following the minute rules and regulations. Like in the rainy season some strictures are there I don’t know exactly where but they claim that there are some rules – don’t take eggplant, don’t take beans, don’t take gourds, don’t take there are about ten different vegetables, by the time you finish it all, the only thing you can take are potatoes. So what happened like Prabhupad said these are not very important. And of course the main things we don’t take is spinach in one month, we don’t take yogurt this month, next month we don’t take milk and then the final month we don’t take urad dal. These are the more important which are mentioned quite prominently. The other, might be some rules are there, they must be following some sort of stricture but Prabhupad said that it is more important to offer nice prasadam to Krishna and for preaching. They didn’t stress on this particular point. Or some temples in the rainy season, they don’t cut their hair. But they eat everything else, I mean some of them don’t even follow these four things we follow, no milk, no yogurt, they take the milk and yogurt but they don’t eat the eggplants. So what is the big deal? But like this sometime people think this is some kind of breakage of the rule. This type of difference of opinion exists from one spiritual master to the next in terms of applying the devotional principles. Prabhupad applied in many aspects a raaganuga principle where for preaching’s sake he streamlined or he took just took out what was the essence or what preserved the inner mood and then those things which were too cumbersome or impractical for the common day then those things he had that vision to know which was more grave and which was less grave. So these things are there even between Iskcon and other centres and within Iskcon it is necessary that, just like when a party is going on a travelling sankirtan, they may think that well I am doing sankirtan, I am not able to attend mangala arati in the temple, therefore I shouldn’t go on travelling sankirtan. But no for preaching it is more important, so then even if one gets up and just does a small ceremony in the back of the van or chants some japa or little whatever they can do to have a morning program whey they are travelling even though it may not be the same as going to the whole temple program still for the sake of travelling and preaching to so many different souls scattered here and there it is a higher priority. So like these things have to be accommodated. But then if one is actually for the purpose of preaching if one is doing but then again within the temple community they should not whimsically ever neglect any kind of rules and regulations that would create a bad habit.
Next verse recited.
It reminds me one time I was then on a mission to find the birthplace of Krishnadas Kaviraj for doing some development work there. And as such I went to the temple of Gadhaadhara das, the brother of Gadaadhara Prabhu and he is also considered the effulgence of Radharani. There was a temple of Lord Caitanya established by Raghunandan Thakur, one of the original temples made for Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So I asked the Mahanta there if he could give a disciple to guide me as Krishnadas Kaviraj’s birthplace there was no road, you had to go about ten miles on dirt roads into the villages and it was a very backward place, you had to cross over a river and our jeep we had to put on a bamboo boat and just somehow balance it and walk on the side of the boat while we took the jeep over on the other side, it was one of the most backward places I had seen in Bengal apart from the Sundarbans where the tigers are. So I requested and he said I will give you someone to guide you but you should take prasadam. I said no, I have to go and do this work for Lord Caitanya. I have to go and find this place and do some development work there. He said that you are doing Lord Caitanya’s work but as a pujari on behalf of Lord Caitanya, when you come to His house then it is Lord Caitanya, as it is your duty to serve Lord Caitanya, it is His desire to serve you and therefore I am ordering that you have to take prasad. Are you going to refuse the mercy of the Lord? So like that you know. He put it so heavy, he was blackmailing me, he wouldn’t give me anybody unless I took prasad. So it just happened like a special festival ahead and there were about five different spinaches, saags, and about 12 no 15 different vegetables, it was really nice, wonderful prasad. We were not even thinking of taking any prasad or anything, it was quite a distance we had to go from Mayapur and get back to Mayapur that night. It was almost about a 100 miles drive all total, so with those kind of roads it takes a long time. So we took the prasad as the mercy of the Lord. That way Krishna Himself, He is always trying to take care of His devotees, and the devotees they are trying to take care of the Lord’s instructions. In this way there is like a spiritual competition. Here the devotees of Lord Caitanya came and we see how Lord Caitanya dealt with them.
Verse recited by guru maharaj..
Lord Caitanya is giving out prasad Himself, but no, I will fast, who will do something like that?
Verse recited by guru maharaj...
People wonder, how is it possible that the devotees, one person asked me how they are able to just chant on their bead bags in public when people staring and everything and they we don’t care. They know that by chanting Hare Krishna they can feel, for them chanting is more important than what people think. Rather maybe let people think, they may be able to get some association by that. Actually yesterday when we went to a quaker program they received us quite cordially, they invited us to come in though we did not know at this point about the program but we could see the opportunity to go and to put on some kind of exhibition and perform at such places, they have actually time that they have set aside for that kind of a program. We prepared a kind of Food for Life activity that we do in America and Australia, in different parts of the world, in India, we prepared, you know we have our movies, we could go and show videos, show the movie Super 8 and explain something about Krishna consciousness. And according to the group that is there from the Food for Life angle or in a general way. In this way gradually the kind of opinion that people have about the Krishna consciousness movement due to lack of exposure more than anything else, the only exposure they get is occasionally when some horrible thing is published in the newspaper. Generally, the newspapers especially in Atlanta, they hardly publish anything good. I mean in New York they had on the front page in New York Times, the Ratha Yatra! Similarly, in Los Angeles, they do have good press releases come out. But in Atlanta I don’t think I have ever seen, hardly you know, very occasionally is there a good press release that comes out and if anything it is just you know something bad that comes out. Usually nothing comes out at all and they get some strange idea that what are these people, they dress funny, they look funny, they act funny. So they can’t really relate, so we had some more exposure with these people if they were able to gradually start to relate, what is the Krishna consciousness movement. In fact we saw this class last night, actually about 40 to more than half I would say, actually chanted the one round even though it was their first visit. So in this way it shows that the people themselves are not bad at heart, they are innocent, but they just have got some inborn kind of prejudices, this kind of fear of anything which is new or unknown. Hardly in that respect the South East is a little more conservative because it is more cosmopolitan. But since Atlanta is the undisputed, commercial centre of the South East, second largest airport, now you can fly directly to London and a few places in Europe. So the people here should become little more open minded and we should help them by opening their minds, presenting to them some Krishna consciousness. In this way they can see, alright they may not hundred per cent observe all the social customs of the Americas because we are coming from a different Vedic culture but since here also Martin Luther King respected Gandhi and Gandhi used to read the Bhagavad Gita every day. In the Gandhi movie they had the Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram at least at the closing minutes. I mean people should be a little more receptive here, we should take advantage of the different ethnic groups and different people that are here and try to introduce Krishna consciousness to them. When we start to use our brain and start to think how can I deliver the people here in Georgia, how can I deliver the people in the South East like actually Jagatguru Swami, he came all the way down, at that time he was in Chicago, and he attended the Festival of India program about a year and half ago in Birmingham and we are sitting here and we didn’t even though there was a program going on. And they distributed thousands of plates of prasadam and book distribution. This is the kind of thing that if the devotees become more and more absorbed and actually take advantage of every opportunity then actually there are so many opportunities we could take advantage of. We could get an exposure to Krishna consciousness, we could gradually start to change the public opinion and create a positive public opinion. In Calcutta because of the ratha yatra festival as Mukunda das explained yesterday, just because of the very positive effect of that Ratha Yatra the people’s consciousness was turned around. Maybe it is not so easy in America to just have one festival and be able to create that kind of an effect. But whether it is by one big festival or by gradual chipping away of the mountain, eventually we can definitely create a very positive opinion. There was a negative opinion in Los Angeles, now I understand even the municipality in their brochure advertising LA for tourists, they have a picture of the Ratha Yatra there. It is one of the landmark festivals or attractions that people visiting LA can see. So like this in different parts people’s attitude has changed, like in Cleveland I believe it was, the government had approved the 20,0000 dollars. So these kind of things are there where we are getting a good response. People are starting to appreciate what we are doing in different ways. Here Maharaja Prataparudhra he cannot understand why they are not following the Vedic social customs. What to speak of you know, even if we strictly follow Vedic social customs we cannot understand what we are doing. So we need to be educated and introduced some more into at least the Vedic customs and then they can appreciate how this Krishna consciousness is providing a whole other service and cultural venue for the people.
GM: Generally, that is what a person should do. Sometimes Krishna might inspire in the heart. Just like if there is an opportunity to preach it is very hard to tell someone in the raaga marga to actually take rest from 7 o clock or 8 o clock and get up at 2.30 and chant japa before mangala arati when there is no opportunity to preach before that. But there are some people who are rigid that they could just do that, they could just walk out when many people sit there who have come to hear about Krishna, and they can maintain their schedule. Obviously some people have to do that because they are doing puja and things. Those two things somehow have to be accommodated. That’s a general thing one should not disturb anyone’s faith. One should follow the normal vidhi as an example for others. Sometimes if some opportunity comes for preaching then there will be a different way that the two types of devotees will be attracted. One will be spontaneously attracted to telling people about Krishna as Prabhupad was and others will be spontaneously attracted to just following the rules and regulations and let those people go to hell.
Sadhana bhakti is a broad category which includes vidhi, bhakti. We all perform sadhana. Sadhana bhakti includes vidhi marga and the spontaneous vidhi marga, both. It is like in the beginning someone is told to get up for mangala arati but they don’t do it. We have to set off an atomic bomb by the side of their bed before they get up! They get angry. They come but with great duress. And then there is a person who spontaneously gets up, attends all the programs, follows the rules and it becomes like second nature to him. So that is considered a stage where the rules and regulations themselves become spontaneous. But even such persons, although they are very spontaneous in following the rules and regulations they may not have a spontaneous attraction say for preaching or some other activities like that. They just spontaneously follow the rules and regulations. When they become spontaneous directly when rendering devotional services then it is actually considered the full raaganuga. Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s god brother was on the raaganuga platform, much higher, highest level. And his other disciples could never understand his activities, so he restricted them from actually seeing them.
We should try to encourage people’s faith but this is the problem, just like when those devotees came to Jagannath Puri they forgot about everything and just ran to see Lord Caitanya and that is the kind of nature devotees on a more spontaneous platform when a particular devotional service actually they are just being inspired by Krishna in the heart that they forget all these other considerations.
Transcribed by: Jayaraseshwari devi dasi 18 May 2016