Clearing a Few More Misconceptions about Rāgānugā Sādhana.

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Clearing a Few More Misconceptions about Rāgānugā Sādhana.

There seems to be a lot of interest in my previous article on the subject, and some discussion has cropped up, which makes me realize there are many other misconceptions about Rāgānugā-Sādhana that gradually have to be addressed before anyone can gain a clear, confident, and wise understanding of Śrī Rūpa’s blessings to the world.

No Rules

The biggest misconception is that Vaidhi follows rules, but Rāgānugā doesn’t. That’s just wrong. BRS 1.2.296 and 1.2.101 prove that it is a misconception. The difference between the two sādhanas in this regard is simply that Vadhi is motivated by the desire to follow God’s rules, where Rāgānugā is motivated by desire to love God in a very intimate way – and it utilizes rules and methodologies as tools to attain that intimate love.

Any so called bhakti that doesn’t follow śāstra is “bogus-bhakti”, not ”rāgānugā-bhakti.”

”Spontaneous”

A similar misconception is that the execution of rāgānugā is “spontaneous” (and therefore doesn’t follow rules).

It is true that rāgānugā is svabhāvikī (natural, spontaneous). But it is bhāva-bhakti which begins to be svabhāvikī in execution. Rāgānugā-bhakti is svabhāvikī (spontaneous) in its motivation, not in its execution. This is proven by BRS 1.2.291 and 292 as well as by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti’s explanation of ŚB 3.25.32.

“Spontaneous motivation” specifically means that you have a natural, undeniable interest in pursuing a specific type of intimate relationship with Krishna. You don’t get this interest because you theoretically know its a good thing to have, or because someone says you are supposed to have it – you just have it naturally (as a result of having heard a particularly beautiful līlā which awakens your specific attachment to the love demonstrated in that līlā)

One should note carefully that all the original archetypes of rāgānugā-sādhana — for example the six goswāmīs — rigidly observed vratas and vidhis, like counting a certain number of recitations of mahāmantra on beads daily, daily offering a certain number of praṇām to people, limiting very strictly their sense-gratification, and so on. ”saṁkhya pūrvaka nāma… Not that they just did whatever they wanted whenever they felt spontaneously inspired to do it.

Rāgānugā is just About the Motivation

Rāgānugā is based on spontaneous motivation, but it also differs from vaidhi-sādhana in the ways described in BRS 1.2.294 and 295: that the focus is on the internal significance of ones external deeds.

Basically, in vaidhi-sādhana we see the external deed as the whole package. “OK I did 16 rounds today.” Or, “OK I offered the chapattis to Krishna.” But in rāgānugā-sādhana we are mainly focused on the internal significance of the deeds. While chanting 16 rounds we are praying to become freed from our imperfections that keep us from attaining a specific intimate loving relationship with Krishna. Externally we may be sitting in front of an altar with marble deities, but internally we are sitting in our rooms, behind locked doors with mother-in-laws and husbands blocking all the exits so that we cannot leave and answer the flute’s call, so we are chanting the name, because that is all we have, and the fire the name ignites in us, will burn the impurities that cause us to be so blocked.

Or we may be meditating that Rādhā and Krishna have come to sit privately with us and hear us privately express our love for them by reciting their names with attention and focus. In this way, whatever the specifics, there is some internal significance to the external deed, and the internal significance is nourishing to the particular mood one aspires for. These are example of Rāgānugā relevant to mādhurya-rati. Every individual Rāgānugā-sādhaka will have different internal significance in their external practices. But the key is that the rāgānugā-sādhaka is focused FIRST of all on the internal aspect, and the external aspect is facilitating the internal meditation.

Kāmānugā is the variety of Rāgānugā inspired by the the hope of attaining a love for Krishna like the gopīs have. Sambandhānugā is the variety of Rāgānugā that is inspired by the hopes of attaining other relationships. So, one inspired by the hope of attaining a motherly relationship with Krishna could offer capatis to the deity just like any vaidhi-bhakta, but the internal activity going on which externally offering chapatti on an altar may be that she has taken chapati that Rādhārāṇī cooked on Yaśodā-devī’s request, and is carrying it into the dining area where Krishna is seated with his father and brother and some of their friends, and is serving the chapati to them as they joke, etc.

So, Rāgānugā is not just about having a spontaneous motivation to attain a particular loving relationship with Krishna, it is also about practicing the vidhis in a way that facilitates achieving that relationship.

Rāgānugā Sādhana Naturally Happens When You Are Purified by Vaidhi

I think this is a useful thing to explain to someone who is overly zealous to imitate rāgānugā-sādhana when factually they have no inclination to love Krishna in any mood, but are only inclined to be loved and adored by others. It is useful because it puts the person “in his place” and makes him focus on more honest bhakti. However it is not an objective philosophical fact that Vadhi leads to Rāgānugā.

The objective fact is that Vaidhi-sādhana leads to vaidyottara-bhāva-bhakti which blossoms as maryāda-prema. On the other hand rāgānugā-sādhana leads to rāgottara-bhāva-bhakti which blossoms as kevala-prema. The two paths don’t cross at any time.

If you don’t have spontaneous inspiration to love Krishna in a particular way, and you want to get it, you won’t get it by “following vaidhi-sādhana — but you can get it by following BRS 1.2.296, which means to adopt an approach to rāgānugā-sādhana which relies very heavily on the vidhis common to vaidhi-sādhana but under the guidance of a rāgānugā-guru who aims your vidhi towards exposure to kīrtan of the nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā of Krishna in a genuine, pure way. By that exposure we soon get the initial spark of spontaneous inspiration, and then be able to proceed more towards BRS 1.2.294 and 295.

This is exactly the system our Guru, Śrīla Prabhupāda, set up as the ideal for ISKCON, but a lot of his followers seem not to understand it, and mistake his program as vaidhi-bhakti.

As shown in BRS 1.2.309 the ultimate cause is the mercy of Krishna’s devotee who has some spontaneous love, or aspiration for spontaneous love, at least. For its really only when we hear kīrtan of the nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā by someone who really loves Krishna that we stand any chance of any of that love inspiring us to attain something similar.

Thus we are very fortunate to have Śrī Bhāgavata (spoken by Śuka, who is full of prema), and we are very fortunate to have explanations of the Bhāgavata by the Goswāmīs and their followers. We are very fortunate that Śrī Bhaktivinoda prepared the way for sharing this loving access to Krishna-līlā with the modern, Westernized world. And we are very fortunate that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupāda have furthered that work. Especially we are lucky for all the writings Śrīla Prabhupāda left for us. Because its by hearing about Krishna from someone who really loves Krishna that we hope to catch the spark of spontaneous inspiration to also love Krishna.

We should always be looking everywhere and anywhere for someone who can speak about Krishna with genuine love. Finding such person we should open our ears wide! I am most fortunate to have been able to meet pure devotees in this very lifetime, and to hear from them with open ears. I don’t know how this was possible.

You Can Understand Rāgānugā by Debating About it

The “cool” and “advanced” club is well outside the umbrella of pure devotional service, and far below the feet of even the simplest sincere vaidhi-bhakta. You can’t get anywhere near Vṛndāvana Krishna by feeling smarter, better, more advanced than other people.

The person who debates more forcefully or with more bravado then the next, is not the person we want to align ourselves with, unless we want to follow them into their karmic spiral.

As your servant and a mere sweeper in the gutter of the Gauḍiya Paramparā, I offer whatever feeble services I can to any and all who request or avail of it. There is no need to debate with hotheaded people who already feel convinced they know everything there is to know. Better to sign a document consenting defeat to such persons, and assemble sincere seekers of Krishna in a private place, and carefully discuss the teachings of our guides and exemplars.

To purify myself I have taken this opportunity to discuss the wonderful subject of Rāgānugā Sādhana. Holding to my chest and on my head the stones from the places where followers of Śrī Rūpa have walked, I tend to remain a fool.

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8 Comments

  1. So in short, would be correct to say this?:

    In vaidhni bhakti devotee serves rules, and in raghanuga bhakti rules serve devotee.

    Here is a commentary quote that I’m basing this on:

    “After considering with intelligence, one should select activities conducive to one’s own sentiments for Krishna, and not those activities which are contrary to one’s sentiments. Though worshipping Rukmini, meditation on Dvaraka, performing mudras and nyasas, or identifying oneself with the Lord and worshipping oneself, should be rejected. The scriptures also say that, on the path of bhakti, there is no fault in omitting some of the procedures” BRS, Visvantha Cakravarti commentary on verse 1.2.296, Bhanu Swami translation, pg 272.

    So the idea is that greed qualifies one for raganuga bhakti, and that greed may utilize some rules in accordance to one’s inclinations but it is not bound by rules and there is no imperative for having to follow all rules, especially those unfavorable to one’s inclinations.

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    1. I think you can express it that way, yes. But don’t take it as seriously as you would take an actual definition from an ācārya.

      The quote you are talking about is practically the same as what VCT comments on BRS 1.2.296. He says that the rāgānugā-sādhaka doesn’t have to follow rules in a way that contradicts the internal significance of following the rule. For example, we don’t have to make mudras while offering food to Krishna, because how is that congruent with any type of internal significance in emulating a Vṛndāvana mood??? Mother Yaśodā doesn’t show mudra’s to Krishna. =)

      While there is no imperitive to have to follow all rules, one cannot act independently of the śāstra. And the rules that one does not follow are not arbitrary or whimsically selected by the individual. They should be selected by the guru.

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      1. Thanks for your reply 🙂

        Since sastra plays such a vital role in what one should or should not do – and how one should go about practicing, then perhaps you can clarify what is meant by “sastra”.

        The simple definition is that it’s revealed scripture as recognized by tradition. But it seems that there is a lot of wiggle room there:

        1) How does the writing of a devotee become “sastra”?
        2) Is there only one “right” way to understand “sastra”?
        3) Are all revealed scripture “sastra”? If so, then why is sastra of one tradition more valuable or given preference to another?

        BRS is not in alignment with any previous sastra because it’s new revelation about the bhakti process.

        4) Can new sastra be created?

        If Rupa and Jiva Goswami can create “sastra” then why can’t other “Goswamis” too?


        Since so much rides on what is or is not in accordance to “sastra”, I would be very interested to read your thoughts on this topic.

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  2. Dear Vraja Kishor das!

    Dandavat pranams.

    Thank you for this excellent essay. You really did a wonderful job.
    Raganuga-bhakti is very much misunderstood nowadays and a sincere sadhaka in raganuga-bhakti is easily categorized as a “sahajiya” or whatever defamation one may want to use.

    I admire your courage. Here in this essay you make really awesome points.

    I too run a little blog and I too wrote quite some articles on the topic of raganuga-bhakti.

    Since I am a blabbermouth, I humbly ask for your permission to address some of your points. Please feel free to delete anything you find deletable.


    No Rules

    We should note that all the parts of bhakti mentioned in vaidhi-bhakti are useful in Raganuga bhajan also.
    Srila Rupa Goswamipad mentions this in the verse –

    “shravanot-kirtanadini vaidha-bhaktyuditani tu,
    yanyangani cha tanyatra vigneyani manishibhih.”
    – (B.R.S.)

    Here hearing and chanting also includes accepting the shelter of Sri Gurudev’s lotus feet and other fundamentals of bhakti as well. We should realize that all the rules of bhakti that we have already mentioned, and they are the parts of vaidhi-bhakti – we should stick to them in Raganuga bhajan also. If we do not obey the instructions of the Vrajavasi Goswamis such as Sri Rupa Goswami, Sanatan Goswami etc., how can we say we are surrendered unto them? Then how can we follow in their footsteps? The serious devotees should practice only those rules that are in accordance with their bhava and never do what is contrary to it – such as aham grahopasana, mudra, nyas, meditating on Dwaraka, worshiping Sri Rukmini etc. Although the agam-shastras mention these processes of bhakti, a Raganuga sadhaka should not perform them.

    Raga Vartma Chandrika, TEXT 11:

    prathamatah krishnam smaran iti smaranasyatra raganugayam mukhyatvam ragasya manodharmatvat. preshtham nija bhavocita lila vilasinam krishnam vrindavanadhisvaram. asya krishnasya janam ca kidrisam nija samihitam svabhilashaniyam sri vrindavanesvari lalita visakha sri rupa manjaryadikam. krishnasyapi nija samihitatve’pi tajjanasya ujjvala bhavaika nishthatvat nija samihitatvadhikyam. vraje vasam iti asamarthye manasapi. sadhaka sarirena vasas tu uttara slokarthatah prapta eva. sadhaka rupena yathavasthita dehena. siddha rupenantas cintitabhishta tat sakshat sevopayogi dehena. tad bhava lipsuna – tad bhavah sva preshtha krishna vishayakah sva samihita krishna janasrayakasca yo bhava ujjvalakhyas tam labdhum icchata. seva manasaivopasthapitaih sakshad apyupasthapitais ca samucita dravyadibhih paricarya karya. tatra prakaram aha vraja lokanusaratah sadhaka-rupenanugamyamana ye vrajalokah sri rupa gosvamyadayah ye ca siddha-rupenanugamyamanah vrajalokah sri rupa manjaryadayas tad anusaratah. tathaiva sadhaka-rupenanugamyamana vrajalokah prapta krishna-sambandhino janas candrakantyadayah dandakaranya-vasi munayas ca brihad-vamana prasiddhah srutayas ca yathasambhavam jneyah. tad anusaratas tat tad acara drishtyety arthah. tad evam vakya-dvayena smaranam vrajavasam ca uktva sravanadinapy aha – sravanotkirtanadiniti. guru padasrayanadini tvakshepa labdhani. tani vina vrajalokanugatyadikam kim api na sidhyed ity ato manishibhir iti manishaya vimrisyaiva sviyabhava samucitany eva tani karyani na tu tad viruddhani.

    “First of all, through the words ‘remembering Krishna’ (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.294), it is indicated that remembrance (smarana) is the main item of raganuga bhakti. Raga is a special feature of the mind. The beloved is the Lord of Vrindavana, Sri Krishna, who enjoys pastimes suitable to His own feeling. With ‘His people also’ is meant: His beloved eternal associates in Vraja, that transcendental personality that the practising devotee favours, like Vrindavanesvari Sri Radhika, Sri Lalita, Visakha, Sri Rupa Manjari, and so on.

    Although they are Krishna’s favorites, they are also more favorite to those devotees who desire to enter into the brilliant erotic relationship with Krishna. If one can not live in Vraja physically, one must at least mentally do so.
    But the next verse (1.2.295) clearly explains how one must live in Vraja physically. Living with the sadhaka rupa means in the physical body of the practising devotee, and the siddha rupa means one’s own desired mentally conceived spiritual body, that is suitable for direct transcendental service to Sri Krishna. tad bhava lipsuna means: being eager to attain the brilliant erotic feelings towards Krishna of one’s favorite devotees in that feeling, like Sri Radhika and the gopis. How to serve? With paraphernalia that are collected either mentally or physically. How to follow in the footsteps of the people of Vraja? In one’s physical body one follows in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami and other saints that lived in Vraja and in the mentally conceived spiritual body one follows in the footsteps of Srimati Rupa Manjari and other eternal associates of Krishna.

    The people of Vraja that should be followed in the sadhaka rupa, such as Candrakanti, the sages of the Dandaka-forest, whose story is related in the Brihad Vamana Purana, as well as the srutis (Upanishads), have attained their spiritual relationship with Krishna. One should act like these Vrajavasis. In this way the first two verses described smarana and living in Vraja and the third verse (1.2.296) describes practices such as hearing about Krishna’s pastimes. All other limbs of devotional practice, such as taking shelter of the feet of the guru, are attained through the practice of hearing and chanting. Without hearing and chanting one’s allegiance to the people of Vraja will be unsuccessful, hence the word manishibhih was used. This means that intelligent persons will, with the help of their sense of discrimination, practise those limbs that are favorable to one’s own devotional feelings and not those that are opposed to that. ”


    Rāgānugā Sādhana Naturally Happens When You Are Purified by Vaidhi

    The practice of devotion is divided into two distinct paths.

    vaidhi raganuga ceti sa dvidha sadhanabhidha || (brs 1.2.5)

    “Practice is of two kinds, namely vaidhi and raganuga.”

    The word “vaidhi” is derived from the Sanskrit word “vidhi”, referring to the commandments of the scriptures. The word “raganuga” is a compound of two words, namely raga, “loving attachment”, and anuga, “following in the wake of”. The general characteristics of these two paths are explained as follows:

    vaidhi-bhaktir bhavet sastram bhaktau cet syat pravartakam |
    raganuga syac ced bhaktau lobha eva pravartakah || (rvc 1.3)

    “When devotion is caused by scriptural injunctions, it is called vaidhi-bhakti, but when its cause is spiritual greed alone, it is called raganuga-bhakti.”

    yatra raganavaptatvat pravrittir upajayate |
    sasanenaiva sastrasya sa vaidhi-bhaktir ucyate || (brs 1.2.6)

    “That devotion which knows no attachment or greed, but which is prompted by the commandments of the scriptures, is called vaidhi-bhakti.”

    virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi-janadishu |
    ragatmikam anusrita ya sa raganugocyate || (brs 1.2.270)

    “The devotion which is clearly present in the associates of the Lord in Vraja is called devotion filled with loving attachment (ragatmika-bhakti), and devotion following in the wake of this ragatmika-bhakti is called raganuga-bhakti.”

    As one desires to approach the Lord, so the Lord will approach the aspirant. (bg. 4.11) Whatever one remembers at the time of death, that he will attain without fail. (bg. 8.6) Reflecting on these famous words of the Bhagavad Gita, one can easily understand that varieties of goals are attained in accordance with one’s desires. It is not that all paths lead to the same goal.

    vaidhi-raganuga-marga-bhedena parikirtitah |
    dvividhah khalu bhavo’tra sadhanabhinivesajah || (brs 1.3.7)

    “The paths of vaidhi and raganuga are known to be separate from each other.
    Engagement in these two forms of practice certainly awakens two distinct varieties of bhava.” The goals of these two paths of devotion in practice are understood as follows:

    vidhi-bhaktye parshada-dehe vaikunthete yaya || (cc 2.24.87)
    “Through vidhi-bhakti, one will attain the form of an associate in
    Vaikuntha.”

    aisvarya-jnane vidhi-bhajana kariya |
    vaikunthake yaya catur-vidha mukti pana || (cc 1.3.17)

    “Those who worship according to scriptural commandments, being aware of the Lord’s superhuman prowess, attain the four kinds of liberation in Vaikuntha.”

    raga-bhaktye vraje svayam-bhagavane paya || (cc 2.24.85)

    “Through raga-bhakti, one will attain the Lord Himself in Vraja.”

    raganuga-marge tanre bhaje yei jana |
    sei-jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana || (cc 2.8.221)

    “He who worships on the path of raganuga will attain Vrajendranandana (Sri Krishna) in Vraja.”

    In the realm of Vraja, the sweet and intimate human-like pastimes of God prevail. Only in such an atmosphere love can attain its pinnacle. Love which is filled with awareness of the Lord’s almight is of an inferior quality. As stated by the Lord Himself:

    sakala jagate more kare vidhi-bhakti | vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti || aisvarya-jnanete saba jagat misrita |
    aisvarya-sithila-preme nahi mora prita || (cc 1.3.15-16)

    “Everyone in this world worships Me through vidhi-bhakti. Vidhi-bhakti has no power for attaining the feelings of Vraja. The devotion of the world is mixed with knowledge of My divine prowess. I do not delight in love diluted with prowess.”

    It is thus evident that there is a need to deeply reflect on the nature and practice of raganuga-bhakti for anyone who desires to perfect his loving faculty in relationship with God. There is no other means for tasting the ambrosial sweetness of the Vraja-pastimes of the Lord!

    karma, tapa, yoga, jnana, vidhi-bhakti, japa, dhyana |
    iha haite madhurya durlabha ||
    kevala ye raga-marge, bhaje krishne anurage |
    tare krishna-madhurya sulabha || (cc 2.21.119)

    “Sweetness is very difficult to attain through fruitive activities, austerity, yoga, intellectual speculation, vidhi-bhakti, recitation of mantras or meditation. The sweetness of Sri Krishna is easily attainable only for the one who affectionately worships Him on the path of raga.”

    I love this resuméé from Srila Satyanarayana das Babaji:

    “Thus Śrī Kapila defines bhakti as activities of the senses in relationship to Bhagavān, with no motive other than pleasing Him, and without being obscured by non-essential activities suited to the pursuit of jñāna or karma, executed according to the injunctions stated in the bhakti literature by a person who has accepted a mantra from a spiritual teacher.
    This bhakti has two divisions, vaidhī and rāgānuga bhakti. In the beginning, as sādhana, vaidhībhakti lacks in intensity and is asvābhāvikī — practiced externally, without natural inclination to it. When this practice attains successful maturity, however, it becomes natural ( svābhāvikī) at the perfect stage (sadhya) as vaidhī-bhāva-bhakti.
    If from the beginning, this bhakti is practiced with a natural inclination and a sense of relationship to Kṛṣṇa, even if only imperfectly or not very intensely, it is called rāgānuga sādhana bhakti. When it attains successful maturity, it becomes rāgānuga bhāva bhakti. This distinction between vaidhī bhāva bhakti and rāgānuga bhāva bhakti is also described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
    From this explanation of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, it is very clear that vaidhī bhakti andrāgānuga bhakti are two separate classes of bhakti from their very inception, and they continue to remain separate even in their mature state. Confusion arises because vaidhī bhakti does lead to asvābhāvikī bhakti which has something in common with rāgānuga bhakti — natural inclination. However, practice of vaidhī bhakti does not automatically lead to rāgānuga bhakti. The seeds ofvaidhī and rāgānuga are separate and yield separate results. Although the same terminology is used for both of them, namely sādhana bhakti, bhāva bhakti and prema bhakti, one must know that these three divisions of bhakti relating to vaidhī and rāgānuga are completely distinct. This is very clearly stated in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.1 and 1.2.5-6.”

    http://jiva.org/the-two-divisions-of-pure-bhakti-part-2/


    You Can Understand Rāgānugā by Debating About it (YOUR BEST POINT!!!)

    TEXT 5:
    tatra lobho lakṣitaḥ svayaṁ śrī rūpa gosvāmī caraṇair eva –
    tat tad bhāvādi mādhurye śrute dhīr yad apekṣate
    nātra śāstraṁ na yuktiṁ ca tal lobhotpatti lakṣaṇam (B.R.S. 1.2.292)

    vrajalīlā parikarastha śṛṅgārādi bhāva mādhurye śrute dhīr idaṁ mama bhūyāt iti lobhotpatti-kāle śāstra yukty apekṣā nā syāt satyāṁ ca tasyāṁ lobhatvasyaivāsiddheḥ. nahi kenacit śāstra dṛṣṭyā lobhaḥ kriyate nāpi lobhanīya vastu prāptau svasya yogyāyogyatva vicāraḥ ko’py udbhavati. kintu lobhanīya vastuni śrute dṛṣṭe vā svata eva lobha utpadyate.

    “Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has personally given the following definition of lobha (sacred greed) in Śrī Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu: ‘When the heart yearns for the sweetness of the mutual feelings of Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates in Vraja, and one is not dependent on scriptural injunctions or logical arguments, then that is the definition of ‘the cause of sacred greed’. If one thinks: ‘Let me attain such sweet feelings also’, after hearing about feelings such as the transcendental erotic feeling towards Kṛṣṇa of His associates (the gopīs) in Vraja, then one need not wait for favorable sanctions from the revealed scriptures or logical arguments. If such impetuses (scriptures and arguments) are there, then it can not be justly called ‘sacred greed’. This greed never arises in anyone on such bases, nor does the candidate ever consider whether he is qualified for this path of rāgānugā bhakti or not. Rather, simply after hearing about the desired subject matter, or seeing it, that sacred greed will arise in him.


    “As your servant and a mere sweeper in the gutter of the Gauḍiya Paramparā, I offer whatever feeble services I can to any and all who request or avail of it. There is no need to debate with hotheaded people who already feel convinced they know everything there is to know. Better to sign a document consenting defeat to such persons, and assemble sincere seekers of Krishna in a private place, and carefully discuss the teachings of our guides and exemplars.”

    I see myself in the same position and please bless me to become as humble as a real sweeper.
    I couldn´t express this any better. It really hits the nail on the head.


    Forgive me for stepping in here, but I think it is very necessary to spread the glories about raganuga-bhakti.

    In the end, only this counts:

    krsna-tad-bhakta-karunya-matra-labhaika-hetuka \
    pusti-margataya kaiscid iyam raganugocyate
    || BRS 1.2.309 ||

    “The mercy of Krsna and His devotees is the only cause of attaining
    raganuga-bhakti . Some call this type of devotion pusti-marga.”

    Srila Vishvanatha Cakravartipada also wites in his Raga Vartma Chandrika that the mercy of an advanced raganuga-sadhaka is the only important thing.

    sa ca bhagavat kripa hetuko’nuragi bhakta kripa hetukas ceti dvividhah. tatra bhakta kripa hetuko dvividhah praktana adhunikas ca. praktanah – paurva bhavika tadrisa bhakta kripotthah, adhunikah etaj janmavadhi tadrisa bhakta kripotthah. adye sati lobhanantaram tadrisa guru caranasraya­nam. dvitiye guru caranasrayanantaram lobha pravrittir bhavati. yad uktam:

    krishna tad bhakta karunya matra lobhaika hetuka
    pushti margataya kaiscid iyam raganugocyate

    “There are two causes for the appearance of the aforementioned sacred greed: The mercy of God or the mercy of another anuragi devotee. There are again two kinds of mercy bestowed by a devotee: praktana and adhunika. praktana means mercy bestowed by a raganuga bhakta in a previous life, and adhunika is mercy bestowed in the present birth. The praktana-devotee takes shelter of the lotus feet of a raganuga guru after the sacred greed has arisen in him, the adhunika will get that sacred greed only after having surrendered to the feet of such a guru. It is said (in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu): “The only causes of the appearance of sacred greed is the mercy of Krishna or His devotee. Therefore some call the path of raganuga bhakti also pushti marga (the path of grace).”

    Best of all is to be in the shelter of a raganuga-Gurudeva who teaches you the process according to the teachings of the Goswamis of Vrindavana.

    Thank you again for your nice essay.

    Here are my humble essays on raganuga-bhakti:

    http://flowingnectarstream.wordpress.com/?s=raganuga

    Jay Sri Radhe

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