25th of December, 2004 - 6:31
Meeting Govardhan
24th of December, 2004 - 16:27
Festival of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaja
23rd of December, 2004 - 17:36
22nd of December, 2004 - 20:08
A foggy day at Yamuna
21st of December, 2004 - 20:21
The garden of rasa
20th of December, 2004 - 17:25
Siddha Madhusudan Das Baba's festival at Surya-kunda
19th of December, 2004 - 18:38
The lake of Sri Chaitanya
18th of December, 2004 - 18:44
In Vrindavan
17th of December, 2004 - 16:58
At Radha-Roman's house
16th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Today Delhi going
15th of December, 2004 - 17:30
Inquiries on bhajana
14th of December, 2004 - 20:01
A crash and Radha-Krishna katha
13th of December, 2004 - 18:14
A fairly uneventful day
12th of December, 2004 - 19:31
Publicity in the whole universe
11th of December, 2004 - 18:05
On bad deeds and good character
10th of December, 2004 - 16:50
Disappearances and instructions
9th of December, 2004 - 16:59
8th of December, 2004 - 17:49
Festival of Narahari Sarakara
7th of December, 2004 - 17:54
Back to Radha-kunda
6th of December, 2004 - 21:42
Visiting Vrindavan
6th of December, 2004 - 15:49
Half-way around Govardhan
5th of December, 2004 - 16:09
Electric outage
5th of December, 2004 - 15:04
Vrindavan Art
4th of December, 2004 - 17:17
Thoughts on our bhajana-marga
3rd of December, 2004 - 17:32
Meeting friends all day long
2nd of December, 2004 - 23:51
The second day in Vraja
2nd of December, 2004 - 17:39
Meeting Baba
2nd of December, 2004 - 0:20
From New Delhi to Vraja
1st of December, 2004 - 19:33
Giridhari's flute busted!
1st of December, 2004 - 7:30

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Thoughts on our bhajana-marga
Posted: 3rd of December, 2004 - 17:32

A peculiar insect I found next to our door in the morning.
This morning we slept in to recover from the travel. The previous day we'd been keeping too busy to take much rest at all. Anyhow, as we got up, we discovered that the electricity was out, and that we were out of water as well. Eventually the electricity came back, but the electric pump was off limits because the hand-pump downstairs was in use. And it was in use for a good while there. The laundry-lady helped us out with a stack of laundry left over from our previous trip to Vraja, she was washing much of that, as well as some pots and laundry for the downstairs folks, Bul Bul and the family. It must have been well beyond mid-day before we finally got around to taking bath.

Eventually Krishna Das, the bookstore-wallah, popped in for a brief moment of tech support. We explored the wonders of double-clicking and sorted out a misplaced toolbar issue. Soon enough a devotee from Russia came over for a visit with Yugal. He had sent me a letter a good while back, which had for one reason or another gone unanswered. We had a long discussion on a number of topics covering raganuga-bhakti and our bhajan-marga.

Three manjaris at Radha-kunda
Someone had told him that when we attain siddhi, we will be like atoms or cells in the spiritual body of a nitya-siddha manjari in Vraja-dhama. This concept is errant, however, being a variety of ahangrahopasana that is shunned by bhakti-sadhakas. There are people who will tell you the strangest philosophies, please do not hesitate to ask them to refer to the shastra if you are in doubt over an explanation you hear. Some people should do less speculating and more study of shastra.

Towards the end of the second chapter of the first division of his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Sri Rupa Goswami has explained the two varieties of of "imitational bhakti" (anuga-bhakti), or bhakti that closely follows the example of the nitya-parshadas of Radha and Krishna. Commenting on verse 1.2.306, Sripad Visvanatha clarifies the concept:

bhagavad-abhedopAsanAvat teSu tad-anaucityAt | subalAdau sAyujya-prAptiH sakhyAdi-bhaktau |

[Identifying with nitya-siddha parikaras] is inappropriate as much as identifying totally with God Himself. [Those who do so] in the case of sakhya-bhakti will merge into the being [sayujya] of Subala [or whichever friend of Krishna they identify with].

Both Jiva and Visvanatha emphatically declare the concept erroneous. Therefore, it is improper to conceive of oneself as merging into the being of a nitya-parshada. Rather, we are all to attain unique, individual siddha-svarupas in the service of Sri-Sri Radha-Shyama. This is at the root of the Gaudiya bhajana-marga.

We also discussed the erroneous concept some entertain over the matter of vaidhi and raganuga. Some Gaudiyas go so far as to declare that they are preachers of vaidhi-bhakti, being disqualified from the practice of raganuga-sadhana. At the root of this idea is the misconception that raganuga only refers to the spontaneous, advanced stages of bhakti. However, the very core of what Sri Chaitanya has brought is the love of the Vraja-vasis for Sri Krishna. Aspiration for such raga, such loving attachment, is called raganuga, or following in the wake of the Vrajavasis' love. Regarding the immature stages of raganuga-bhakti, Sri Jiva has explained the following in his Bhakti-sandarbha (312):

ajAta-tAdRza-rucinA tu sad-vizeSAdara-mAtrAdRtA rAgAnugApi vaidhI-saMvalitaivAnuSTheyA | tathA loka-saMgrahArthaM pratiSThitena jAta-tAdRza-rucinA ca | atra mizratve ca yathA-yogyaM rAgAnugayaikI kRtyaiva vaidhI kartavyA ||

"Those in whom such taste (ruci) has not awakened, but who have a special interest for it, should engage in a mixture of raganuga and vaidhi. For the sake of establishing an example for the people of the world, the one in whom such ruci has awakened will do the same. Therefore, as appropriate, raganuga should be performed together with vaidhi."

The ajata-ruci-raganuga-sadhakas should therefore perform their daily sadhana regardless of the presence or absence of spontaneous taste and inspiration, just like vaidhi-bhakti-wallahs do. Having attained the stage of ruchi, one may engage in sadhana twenty-four hours straight without a feeling of fatique, and consequently there is little concern there over whether he will engage in the practices of sadhana or not. However, for the smooth progress of those not yet on such a level, sadhana must be performed regardless. Both of these stages are included under the umbrella of raganuga-sadhana. (For a further study of vaidhi and raganuga, please refer to Raganuga.Org.)

Sun setting behind the Mahaprabhu-mandir
As the sun began to set, our visitor made his way back to Vrindavan. Traveling during the dark hours is not a very wise idea, especially on the road between Radha-kunda and Chatikara (which is the road you generally take when you head for Vrindavan). Take the Mathura-road if you need to travel after the sunset.

In the evening, we left for some shopping at the bazaar, then heading for Vrajananda Ghera for Baba's darshan. However, Baba had just left for a walk at that time, so we decided to just come again tomorrow instead of staying back and waiting. Fortunately we met him on the way to our house, and exchanged a couple of brief thoughts there. He is always concerned for our welfare.
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