Rules or Passion?

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There are two types of devotion – one type is pushed by the need to follow rules, the other is pushed by the need to love Krsna. The first is called vaidhi-bhakti, the second raganuga-bhakti.

The utility of vaidhi bhakti is very limited unless it is a smaller component within raganuga-bhakti. Vaidhi bhakti does not allow one to develop love for Krsna in Vrindavan, it instead allows one to develop love for a Narayana expansion of Krsna in Vaikuntha.

To push someone to follow a rule, simply out of the idea that following rules is a good thing, is therefore a relatively useless endeavor.

Ragabhakti (the passion to love Krsna) can be aquired by hearing about the extreme attractiveness of Krsna, it does not come by following or not following rules. It has nothing at all to do with rules. Hearing Krsna’s enchanting pastimes, hearing about his extraordinary qualities, observing his wonderful beauty, and participating in the singing of his lovely name – these are the things that give rise to the type of divine devotion that is not pushed by a need to observe rules and regulations, but is instead motivated passionately by a urge to love Krsna more and more directly.

All efforts should be directed towards this goal, there is no need to ask people to follow rules, especially arbitrary ones. We should instead ask people to hear and chant about Krsna. That is the best medicine for all ills. All the rules are regulations automatically and spontaneously follow a person who has sincere affection for Sri Krsna.

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  1. Vic this is not correct, sorry.
    1. It is the entry to raganuga bhakti which is free from rules, not the practise itself. This is explained by Visvanath Cakravartipada in Raga Vartma Candrika.
    2. To preach a practise free from rules to a western audience is to invite loads of sex-drugs-rock-n-roll into it because their detachment from these things is about as thin as their sarees and dhotis are.


    1. Dear Advaita das,

      Please accept my humble obeisances. It is a pleasure and honor to have your very respectable comment. I hope you will grace me with more comments from time to time.

      I am in full agreement with your two points. I don’t think this makes the denotation of what I wrote incorrect, though. It must be the connotation which some readers can affix which may be incorrect, and which you have rightly pointed out.

      To restate what I have said with that connotation in mind:

      P1: Two types of bhakt are differentiated primarily not by their form, but by their motive (what “pushes” them)

      a. Vaidhi bhakti is of limited use UNLESS it operates as a subpart of Raganuga bhakti.
      b. If that is not the case, it leads to Vaikuntha prema, but not to any flavor of Vraja prema.

      P3: To follow rules simply because one should follow rules is relatively inferior. [One should do whatever one does because of one’s passion to attain a state of being which is deeply pleasing to Sri Hari in a particular way.]

      a. Nor is it important to NOT follow rules
      b. To get this passionate push to please Krsna, one must HEAR about Krsna lila, rupa, guna and nama.

      P5: If one wants to benefit oneself and others the most, one should therefore try to induce others to hear about Krsna-namaadi. This is much more important than trying to get people to follow rules in and of themselves.

      Some people may be thin in their sincerity. They may be from any cultural background, in my opinion. Some of them will apply their shallowness to vaidhi-bhakti some to raganuga-bhakti, some to christianity, some to hinduism, some to yoga, some to partys and clubbing. It really all is almost the same to me – since it is all shallow. But I do believe that the best way to encourage myself out of this shallowness is not to flog myself to follow rules, but to push myself to hear the description of Krsna-nama-adi from the pens and mouths of those who really love Sri Hari.

      I hope you like this clarification of my initial post, and again I thank you for your comment.


  2. Vic allright. Perhaps it was best to have added your comment to the initial blog, that would have made it more clear. Because, unfortunately, cultural background does count when one preaches rule-less bhakti to a western audience, especially considering that most if not almost all western devotees have a liberal or hippie background. Personally I have seen a huge amount of misunderstanding and abuse [using the phrase ‘raganuga bhakti’ as a justification for loose behaviour] of the term and concept of raganuga bhakti [though that takes place in Bengal too, be it in a more subdued manner than in the west].


    1. Thanks again so much for your comments. You are very thoughtful, experienced, and learned – your comments are highly desired.

      A few thoughts from me, for my own sense of expression:

      – I can’t present an entire encapsulated delivery of tattva in a single post (probably I can’t even do it in a million posts, but certainly not in a single, short, easy-reading post). But hopefully my posts add up and leave a positive impression on readers which would please Sri Gaura-Hari’s great devotees.

      – I think in a sense, this original post does clearly show a “rule” – the rule is to always hear about Krsna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes. This is along the lines of smartavya satatam vishno, vismartavya na jatucit, *sarva vidhi nisheda syat, etarad eva kinkaro*

      – From my own personal experience over the years I have found – and this is just my personal subjective experience – that more harm has come from people stressing rules and routines and regimines and formulas, while giving relatively zero stress to avoiding sadhu-ninda and doing namaadi-shravana/kirtana. Since that is my personal experience, that’s why I speak from the angle I do, most likely (maybe).

      Enjoying your association and discussion with great reverence,

      Vraja Kishor das


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