Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Book Compilation
By His Holiness Jayapatākā Swami Mahārāja on 22nd January 2021 in
Śrīdhāma Māyāpur, India
mūkaṁ karoti vācālaṁ paṅguṁ laṅghayate girim
yat-kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande śrī-guruṁ dīna-tāraṇam
paramānandaṁ mādhavaṁ śrī caitanya iśvaram
hariḥ oṁ tat sat
Introduction: Today we are continuing with the compilation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya book, today chapter entitled
Rāmānanda Rāya Explains About Devotional Service in Practice
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.54
prabhu yāi’ sei vipra-ghare bhikṣā kaila
dui janāra utkanṭḥāya āsi’ sandhyā haila
Translation: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then went to the house of the brāhmaṇa who had invited Him and took His lunch there. When the evening of that day arrived, both Rāmānanda Rāya and the Lord were eager to meet each other again.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.55
prabhura pratyaha tinabāra snāna, sandhyāya prabhusaha rāyera milana :—
prabhu snāna-kṛtya kari’ āchena vasiyā
eka-bhṛtya-saṅge rāya mililā āsiyā
Translation: After finishing His evening bath, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat down and waited for Rāmānanda Rāya to come. Then Rāmānanda Rāya, accompanied by one servant, came to meet Him.
Purport: A Vaiṣṇava who is supposed to be advanced in spiritual understanding — be he a householder or a sannyāsī — must bathe three times a day: morning, noon and evening. When one is engaged in the service of the Deity, he must especially follow the principles of the Padma Purāṇa and take regular baths. He should also, after bathing, decorate his body with the twelve tilakas.
Jayapatākā Swami: So, the twelve tilakas are called ūrdhva-puṇḍra and so one should learn how to wear the tilaka and chant the respective mantras. Śrīla Prabhupāda was saying that applying tilaka without chanting mantras is like aborigines wearing war paint!
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.56
rāyera praṇāma, prabhura āliṅgana :—
namaskāra kaila rāya, prabhu kaila āliṅgane
dui jane kṛṣṇa-kathā kaya rahaḥ-sthāne
Translation: Rāmānanda Rāya approached Lord Śrī Caitanya and offered his respectful obeisances, and the Lord embraced him. Then they began to discuss Kṛṣṇa in a secluded place.
Purport: The word rahaḥ-sthāne, “in a secluded place,” is very significant. Talks about Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes — especially His pastimes in Vṛndāvana and His dealings with the gopīs — are all very confidential. They are not subject matter for public discussion because those who have no understanding of the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes always commit great offenses, thinking Kṛṣṇa to be an ordinary human being and the gopīs ordinary girls. Following the principle of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who never discussed the dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs publicly, devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are enjoined not to discuss the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana in public. For the general public, saṅkīrtana is the most effective method to awaken Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If possible, one should discuss the principles enunciated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu followed this principle very strictly and discussed the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gītā with learned scholars like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī. However, He taught the principles of the bhakti cult to students like Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī, and He discussed with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya the topmost devotional dealings between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. For the general populace, He performed saṅkīrtana very vigorously. We must also follow these principles in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world.
Jayapatākā Swami: So, it is very important that we engage people in chanting saṅkīrtana and avoid discussing confidential matters in the public. Bhagavad-gītā, spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa and the first nine cantos of Śrīmad-bhāgavatam can be discussed in public. But discussing the pastimes of Vṛndāvana, with one who does not understand the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa then one can commit offence.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.57
prabhu rāmānanda-saṁbāda; prabhukarttṛka sādhya-sādhana jijñāsā; rāyera uttara-(ka) sādhana-(abhidheya) stara—
(1) ādau daiva-varṇāśrama-rūpa svadharma-pālane seśvara-naitika vā dharmajīvanārambha :—
prabhu kahe,—”paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya”
rāya kahe,—”sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya”
Translation: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Rāmānanda Rāya, “Recite a verse from the revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life.”
Rāmānanda replied, “If one executes the prescribed duties of his social position, he awakens his original Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Purport: In this connection, Śrī Rāmānujācārya states in the Vedārtha-saṅgraha that devotional service is naturally very dear to the living entity. Indeed, it is life’s goal. This devotional service is supreme knowledge, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and it brings detachment from all material activity. In the transcendental position, a living being can perfectly acknowledge the superiority of serving the Supreme Lord. The devotees attain the Supreme Lord only by devotional service. Having such knowledge, one engages in his occupational duty, and that is called bhakti-yoga. By performing bhakti-yoga, one can rise to the platform of pure devotional service.
A great saint, the father of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Parāśara Muni, has specifically mentioned that devotional service to the Lord can ultimately be awakened in human society by the discharge of duties in accordance with the varṇāśrama system. The Supreme Personality of Godhead instituted varṇāśrama–dharma to give human beings a chance to return home, back to Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known in the Bhagavad-gītā as Puruṣottama — the greatest of all personalities — personally came and declared that the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma was founded by Him.
As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13):
cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
Elsewhere in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.45-46) the Lord says:
sve sve karmaṇy abhirataḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ labhate naraḥ
yathā vindati tac chṛṇu
yataḥ pravṛttir bhūtānāṁ
yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya
siddhiṁ vindati mānavaḥ
Human society should be divided into four divisions — brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra — and everyone should always engage in his occupational duty. The Lord says that those engaged in their occupational duty can attain perfection simply by rendering loving devotional service to the Lord while executing their particular duty. Actually, the modern ideal of a classless society can be introduced only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Let men perform their occupational duty, and let them give their profits to the service of the Lord. In other words, one can attain the perfection of life by discharging one’s occupational duty and employing the results in the service of the Lord. This method is confirmed by great personalities like Bodhāyana, Taṅka, Dramiḍa, Guhadeva, Kapardi and Bhāruci. It is also confirmed by the Vedānta-sūtra.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.58
daiva-varṇāśramarūpa svadharma-pālanei viṣṇura tuṣṭi :—
viṣṇupurāṇa (3/8/8) parāśarokti —
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
Translation: “‘The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas.’”
Purport: This is a quotation from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9). As stated by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, “The purport is that one can realize life’s perfection simply by satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
This is also confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.13):
ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
“O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.”
Every man should perform his occupational duty in the light of his particular tendency. According to his abilities, one should accept a position in the varṇāśrama institution. The divisions of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra are natural divisions within society. Indeed, everyone has a prescribed duty according to the varṇāśrama-dharma. Those who properly execute their prescribed duties live peacefully and are not disturbed by material conditions. The spiritual orders — brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa — are called āśramas. If one executes his prescribed duty in both the social and spiritual orders, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied. If one neglects his duties, however, he becomes a transgressor and a candidate for a hellish condition. Actually we see that different people are engaged in different ways; therefore there must be divisions according to work. To attain perfection, one must make devotional service the center of life. In this way one can awaken his natural instincts by work, association and education. One should accept the varṇāśrama divisions by qualification, not by birth. Unless this system is introduced, human activities cannot be systematically executed.
The brāhmaṇas are the intellectuals who can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are always engaged in the cultivation of knowledge. It does not matter whether one is born in India or outside India. Those who are naturally very heroic and who tend to rule over others are called kṣatriyas. Those who tend to produce food by agricultural methods, protect cows and other animals and engage in trade are called vaiśyas, or merchants. Those who are not sufficiently intelligent to be brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas or vaiśyas are required to serve a master and are called śūdras. Thus everyone can engage in the service of the Lord and awaken his natural Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If a society does not function according to such natural divisions, the social orders become degraded. The conclusion is that the scientific method of varṇāśrama-dharma should be adopted by society.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.59
(2) bhagavāne karmārpaṇarūpā karmamiśrā bhakti śuddhabhakti nahe :—
prabhu kahe,—”eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe, ”kṛṣṇe karmārpaṇa—sarva-sādhya-sāra”
Translation: The Lord replied, “This is external. You had better tell Me of some other means.”
Rāmānanda replied, “To offer the results of one’s activities to Kṛṣṇa is the essence of all perfection.”
Jayapatākā Swami: So, Lord Caitanya by asking Rāmānanda Rāya, is going to the finer and finer points. So, he states that the varnāśrama is external and He wants to know something more internal.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.60
bhogalipsu karmīke kṛṣṇe karmārpaṇa-janya ādeśa :—
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
Translation: Rāmānanda Rāya continued, “‘My dear son of Kuntī, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give in charity, and whatever austerities you perform, all the results of such activities should be offered to Me, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’”
Purport: The Lord has said that the varṇāśrama-dharma is not properly executed in this Age of Kali; therefore He ordered Rāmānanda Rāya to go further into the matter. Rāmānanda replied with this verse from the Bhagavad-gītā (9.27), which instructs that while remaining in the system of varṇāśrama-dharma one may offer the results of his activities to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa in loving service. Naturally Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was asking Rāmānanda Rāya about the execution of devotional service. Rāmānanda Rāya first enunciated the principle of varṇāśrama-dharma in consideration of materialistic people. However, this conception is not transcendental. As long as one is in the material world, he must follow the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma, but devotional service is transcendental. The system of varṇāśrama-dharma refers to the three modes of material nature, but transcendental devotional service is on the absolute platform.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu belongs to the spiritual world, and His methods for propagating the saṅkīrtana movement are also imported from the spiritual world. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana, rati na janmila kene tāya. This states that the saṅkīrtana movement has nothing to do with this material world. It is imported from the spiritual world, Goloka Vṛndāvana. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura laments that mundane people do not take this saṅkīrtana movement seriously. Considering the position of devotional service and the saṅkīrtana movement, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu deemed the system of varṇāśrama-dharma to be material, although it aims at elevation to the spiritual platform. However, the saṅkīrtana movement can raise one immediately to the spiritual platform. Consequently it is said that varṇāśrama-dharma is external, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested Rāmānanda Rāya to proceed deeper into the matter and uncover the spiritual platform.
Sometimes materialists consider Lord Viṣṇu a material conception. Impersonalists think that above Lord Viṣṇu is the impersonal Brahman. The impersonalists misunderstand the worship of Lord Viṣṇu. They worship Lord Viṣṇu to merge into His body. In order that viṣṇu-ārādhana not be misunderstood, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu requested that Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya proceed further and clear up the issue. Rāmānanda Rāya quoted the verse from the Bhagavad-gītā stating that the results of one’s occupational duty may be offered to Lord Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.8) it is also said:
dharmaḥ sv-anuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
“If one executes the occupational duties of varṇāśrama-dharma but does not cultivate his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his activities are futile. His occupation simply becomes unnecessary labor.”
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.61
(3) kevala phalabhoga-tyāga vā naiṣka ramya śuddhabhakti nahe :—
prabhu kahe,—”eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe,—”svadharma-tyāga, ei sādhya-sāra”
Translation: “This is also external,” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said. “Please proceed and speak further on this matter.”
Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “To give up one’s occupational duties in the varṇāśrama system is the essence of perfection.”
Purport: A brāhmaṇa may renounce his family and accept sannyāsa. Others — kṣatriyas and vaiśyas — may also give up their families and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such renunciation is called karma-tyāga. By such renunciation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied.
In contrast, the process of renouncing the results of one’s activities by offering these results to Kṛṣṇa is not considered uncontaminated, because, although such a process implies that one recognizes Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Person, it still involves one in activities on the material platform. Since such activities are within the material universe, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu considered them external. To correct this, Rāmānanda Rāya recommended that one take to the renounced order of life in order to transcend material activities. This is supported by the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.11.32).
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.62
varṇāśramarūpa svadharma-tyāga kariyā haribhajana —
ājñāyaivaṁ guṇān doṣān
mayādiṣṭān api svakān
dharmān santyajya yaḥ sarvān
māṁ bhajet sa ca sattamaḥ
Translation: Rāmānanda Rāya continued, “‘Occupational duties are described in the religious scriptures. If one analyzes them, he can fully understand their qualities and faults and then give them up completely to render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a person is considered a first-class man.’
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.63
Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā (18.66) —
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
Translation: “As stated in scripture [Bg. 18.66], ‘After giving up all kinds of religious and occupational duties, if you come to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and take shelter, I will give you protection from all of life’s sinful reactions. Do not worry.’”
Purport: In this connection, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī instructs in his book Manaḥ-śikṣā (2):
na dharmaṁ nādharmaṁ śruti-gaṇa-niruktaṁ kila kuru
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pracura-paricaryām iha tanu
He has thus enjoined that we should not perform religious or irreligious activities as prescribed in the Vedas. The best course is to engage always in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī. That is the perfection of everything in this life. Similarly, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.29.46) it is said by Nārada Muni:
sa jahāti matiṁ loke
vede ca pariniṣṭhitām
“When one actually takes to the loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he gives up all duties in the material world, as well as all duties prescribed by the Vedic literatures. In this way one is fixed in the service of the Lord.”
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.64
(4) jñānamiśrā bhakti śuddha-bhakti nahe :—
prabhu kahe,—”eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe, ”jñāna-miśrā bhakti—sādhya-sāra”
Translation: After hearing Rāmānanda Rāya speak in this way, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu again rejected his statement and said, “Go ahead and say something more.”
Rāmānanda Rāya then replied, “Devotional service mixed with empiric knowledge is the essence of perfection.”
Jayapatākā Swami: So, Lord Caitanya is going deeper and deeper of what is purely transcendental.
Purport: Devotional service mixed with non-Vedic speculative knowledge is certainly not pure devotional service. Therefore Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī in his Anubhāṣya preaches that self-realization following the execution of ritualistic ceremonies is in the neutral stage between liberation and conditioned life. It is a place beyond this material world, in the river Virajā, where the three modes of material nature are subdued or neutralized in the unmanifest stage. However, the spiritual world is a manifestation of spiritual energy and is known as Vaikuṇṭhaloka, “the place where there is no anxiety.” The material world, known as brahmāṇḍa, is the creation of the external energy. Between the two creations — the material creation and the spiritual creation — is a river known as Virajā, as well as a place known as Brahmaloka. Virajā-nadī and Brahmaloka are shelters for living entities disgusted with material life and inclined to impersonal existence by way of denying material variegatedness. Since these places are not situated in the Vaikunṭḥalokas, or the spiritual world, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu proclaims them to be external. In the Brahmaloka and Virajā-nadī, one cannot conceive of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Brahmaloka and Virajā-nadī are also attained after difficult austerities, but in these realms there is no understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His transcendental loving service. Without such spiritual knowledge, simple detachment from material conditions is but another side of material existence. From the spiritual point of view, it is all external. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected this proposal, Rāmānanda Rāya suggested that devotional service based on philosophy and logic is a more advanced position. He therefore quoted the following verse from the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54).
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.65
sambandha-jñāna-labdha brāhmaṇai kṛṣṇa-bhajanaphale vaiṣṇava :—
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
Translation: Rāmānanda Rāya continued, “According to the Bhagavad-gītā, ‘One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.’”
Purport: In this verse from the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that a person who accepts the theory of monism — being always engaged in empiric philosophical discussions about spiritual life — becomes joyful and is relieved from all material lamentation and hankering. At that stage, one is equipoised. He sees all living entities as spiritual beings. After attaining this elevated stage, one can attain pure devotional service. The conclusion is that devotional service mixed with ritualistic fruitive activity is inferior to spiritual service based on empiric philosophic discussion.
Jayapatākā Swami: So, Rāmānanda Rāya was going step by step into the different levels of devotion.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.66
(5) jñānaśūnyā bhaktii śuddhabhakti-śabdavācya :—
prabhu kahe, ”eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe,—”jñāna-śūnyā bhakti—sādhya-sāra”
Translation: After hearing this, the Lord, as usual, rejected it, considering it to be external devotional service. He again asked Rāmānanda Rāya to speak further, and Rāmānanda Rāya replied, “Pure devotional service without any touch of speculative knowledge is the essence of perfection.”
Jayapatākā Swami: So, previously Rāmānanda Rāya had presented Bhakti, devotional service mixed with empiric philosophy, but now he is saying pure devotional service without any speculative knowledge.
Purport: In his Anubhāṣya commentary, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that this stage — devotional service mixed with speculative knowledge — is also external and not within the jurisdiction of pure devotional service as practiced in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. As soon as there is some conception of materialistic thought — be it positive or negative — the service is not spiritual. It may be free from material contamination, but because there is mental speculation the devotional service is not pure and freed from the contamination of material life. A living entity who wants to be completely pure must be above this material conception. The negation of material existence does not necessarily mean spiritual existence. After material existence is negated, spiritual existence — namely sac-cid-ānanda — still may not be manifested. Until one comes to the stage of actually understanding one’s eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, he cannot enter into spiritual life. Spiritual life means becoming detached from material life and engaging in the loving service of the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore asked Rāmānanda Rāya to explain something transcendental to devotional service mixed with speculative knowledge. A pure devotee is completely surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord, and only by his love does he conquer Kṛṣṇa, who cannot be conquered by anyone. Kṛṣṇa always stands victorious over everything. No one can conquer Him. One can attain the stage of pure devotion simply by fully surrendering. This is next corroborated by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.3), wherein Lord Brahmā, defeated by the potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, fully surrendered unto the Lord.
Jayapatākā Swami: So, just to negate the material existence does not get them to the spiritual world, someone is still in the middle place. So one has to develop natural love and affection for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.67
kṛṣṇera sampūrṇa śaraṇāgata janai kṛṣṇabaśakārī śuddhabhakta :—
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām
Translation: Rāmānanda Rāya continued, “Lord Brahmā said, ‘My dear Lord, those devotees who have thrown away the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth and have therefore abandoned discussing empiric philosophical truths should hear from self-realized devotees about Your holy name, form, pastimes and qualities. They should completely follow the principles of devotional service and remain free from illicit sex, gambling, intoxication and animal slaughter. Surrendering themselves fully with body, words and mind, they can live in any āśrama or social status. Indeed, You are conquered by such persons, although You are always unconquerable.”
Jayapatākā Swami: So, we can see that His Divine Grace Abhay Caran Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda was giving the process of pure bhakti, which naturally is transcendental to everything material. So, one can find this path of devotional service may be in any status, even one may be a brahmacārī, gṛhastha vānaprstha or sannyāsī, and in this way one will be completely surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa and thus Kṛṣṇa will be conquered, although He is unconquerable.
Thus ends the chapter, Rāmānanda Rāya Explains About Devotional Service in Practise.