Gaudiya Vaisnavism vs. Sahajiyaism
Introduction by Devarsirat das, followed by a morning lecture given by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja in June, 1997, at the ISKCON New Mayapura Farm Community in France.
He requested that this lecture below to be distributed, in order to check the disease of sahajiyaism in the world.
Dear devotees, a few days ago I visited a certain website and was amazed to find so many subtle and open statements to discredit Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, especially in regard to his teachings and personal life. This is indeed very unfortunate, because the devotees who are propagating this false and untrue picture of this genuine pure devotee of Lord Krishna who is so dear to our Srila Prabhupada, will sooner or later have their appointment with Lord Yamaraja, no matter if they are acting themselves as Gurus or are just simple rank and file devotees .
In the past, devotees such as Giriraja Maharaja, Sivarama Maharaja, Tamal Krishna Maharaja and others like Satsvarupa Maharaja, have all openly declared Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja as a pure devotee. They have visited Him and had the greatest admiration for Him. I find it strange that they where not able to identify Him then, as unwanted association, since they where advertising them selves at the time as pure spiritual masters?
Clearly a pure devotee must be able to immediately realize that He is accepting teachings from a beginner. It means for me only two things, one is that neither of the above Gurus where advanced enough to see that they where associating with a pretender and allowed themselves to be cheated for several years and the other is that because of their advancement they realized that Srila Narayan Maharaja is indeed someone who could help them to advance further and therefore they where seeking His association.
Please also read H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja Glorifies Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
I rather think that the above personalities where advanced enough to see the reality of Srila Narayana Maharaja being a real life maha bhagavad devotee of the Lord, otherwise if the other was true it would not look very good for those Gurus and would reduce their spiritual status to the one of Kanistha adhikari, because a kanistha devotee might just fall for a charming personality, because He does not know the symptoms of an advanced devotee.
A advanced devotee can see into the heart of others and know everything about them, even a madhyam devotee would not be cheated by a pretender. So I assume that they where giving in to pressure from above for what ever reason.
Since Sivarama Maharaja and some others recently visited Srila Narayana Maharaja to beg forgiveness for past offenses I assume that at least under cover and in private, some of the leading devotees in Iskcon have different ideas about Srila Narayana Maharaja and are only defeated by a majority of votes, that's all. I think this, because if Narayana Maharaja was really a Sahajiya, what would be the need for these above devotees to go and apologize to Him ? That's surely not Iskcon style.
For me the worst thing is, that the new comer to Krishna Consciousness, immediately upon arrival (Unless he is treated like Lord Buddha in his father's castle) will be confronted with our quarreling, quotes and counter quotes, and offenses, the war of words. From this point of view we are achieving absolutely nothing at present.
Confused souls come and want to surrender and upon arrival get even more confused by a totally disunited vaisnava community, how sad. We do not attract many devotees, because the preaching spirit becomes suffocated in politics. I do not know what the motives are to character assassinate a pure devotee but the underlying motive could be " if anyone surrenders to the Gaudiya Math, we lose potential collectors" paranoia, followed by vaisnava aparadha to prevent sincere seekers from making their own choice in finding a genuine guru. In reality everyone should be happy that someone has found a spiritual master that inspires him or her to chant the holy name and makes progress on Krishna Consciousness.
Since some unfortunate devotees are so eager to confuse other devotees about Srila Narayana Maharajas personality and teachings I thought that the following class by Srila Narayana Maharaja will clear up some of the misconceptions spread systematically by some. Especially because I can personally confirm and so can many other Prabhupada disciples, that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is one of the greatest vaisnavas that have walked this planet in this century, His association is as good as having the association of the Lord Himself, since the real guru should be seen as good as God, but then everyone will see Him according to their own realizations, like when Krishna came into the arena to kill Kamsa, Kamsa saw Him as personified death, the devotees saw Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cow heard boys saw Him as their best friend and so on. So here are the teachings of Srila Narayana Maharaja on Sahajiyaism and by the way, Srila Narayana Maharaja does practice what He preaches.
Gaudiya Vaisnavism vs. Sahajiyaism
Part I - Real & Unreal Siddha Deha
The following is a morning lecture given by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja in June, 1997, at the ISKCON New Mayapura Farm Community in France.
He requested that this lecture be distributed, in order to check the disease of sahajiyaism in the world.
Once, a very little boy of three years, sitting naked on the lap of his mother, put his arms around her neck and said with love and affection, "Mother, Mother, I want a very beautiful wife. She should be very golden in complexion, with curly hair and beautiful eyes. She should not be stronger than me, otherwise she will be able to chastise me; and she should also be more lean and thin than me. Also, I want to have two sons and one daughter very soon after our marriage. Quickly Mother, you should arrange for a very beautiful lady." The boy's mother began to laugh. "Yes, I will certainly search everywhere for a good wife for you, but first you must become fatter and stronger. Then, when your sikha becomes long and thick, I will very quickly arrange your marriage." This story indicates a phenomena which is spreading everywhere among so-called devotees nowadays. They don't want to chant many rounds, nor do they make an effort to develop a devotional mood towards Krishna. They don't want to remember Krishna, and they don't want to enter into a deep understanding of siddhanta. They can't chant all day and all night like Haridasa Thakura. In fact, they can't even chant one round of the Hare Krishna mantra with their minds absorbed in Krishna. They have many requirements for the body and for those things which relates to the body-such as name, fame and fortune. Although they are full of lust and other worldly desires, they still expect their siddha-deha to manifest.
Jumping Into Goloka
Although their minds cannot concentrate on Krishna's pastimes, they want siddha-deha-as if it was an Indian rasagulla. If someone has money he can easily purchase two, three or four rasagullas. Similarly, these so-called devotees think that they can attain their siddha-deha just as easily as one buys a rasagulla. This philosophical misconception has very, very dangerous consequences. Neophytes expect to immediately jump into Goloka Vrindavana and serve Krishna better than Srimati Radhika. They proudly say, "Radhika? Who is this Radhika? Who is this Lalita? Who is this Visakha?" However, if a beautiful young lady or man were to come, practicing his or her false, so-called devotional life with similar misconceptions, the two will fall down together in a moment. There are thousands and thousands of such so-called devotees. Although they are not mature in their bhakti, they artificially think, "I have now achieved my siddha-deha; I am Lalita or Visakha, and I am a better sakhi than Rupa Manjari. Rupa Manjari was not as qualified as I am." As a result of this offensive thinking such persons must go to hell in a very short time-in a day or two. These people also think, "Oh, the Gaudiya Math has deviated from the ancient parampara. The previous acaryas used to think and act like us. Rupa Gosvami and all of the other acaryas used to do as we do. From the beginning stage of their devotional lives they remembered their siddha-deha, and in their siddha-deha they served Krishna." Such speculations are quite wrong. Our acaryas, headed by the six Gosvamis, never acted like this. They are not ordinary persons, but associates of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna Themselves, who have descended to this world only to give their mercy and teachings; and they set the example for the conditioned souls by beginning from sraddha in their own lives and devotional activities.
For Advanced Devotees
In his book Jaiva-dharma Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described all the principles and practices of bhakti, up to the attainment of one's siddha-deha. There he explained eleven items of perfection (siddha-deha): siddha-sambandha, siddha-vayasa, siddha-nama, siddha-rupa, siddha-yutha, siddha-vesa, ajna, siddha-vasa, seva, parakashthasvasa and palya-dasi-bhava.
He discussed this, however, in the next to the last chapter-not in the beginning. One of the principle personalities in Jaiva-dharma is Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji, the spiritual master of Vijaya-kumara. Sri Babaji taught these principles to Vijaya-kumara when his disciple was advanced in Krishna consciousness and free from all anarthas and material desires.
Vijaya-kumara had been chanting and remembering Krishna twenty-four hours a day on the shore of the ocean at Jagannatha Puri. In fact the ocean reminded him of Krishna, the ocean of rasa. Vijaya-kumara had understood and realized the meaning of bhava, anubhava, sattvika and vyabhicari. He also realized in what proportion they should be mixed with one's sthayi-bhava (eternal mood of service to Krishna) to become bhakti-rasa. He had become truly humble-trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna, amanina manadena, and he was on the stage of bhavavasta (bhava-bhakti). Even Apsaras, celestial goddesses, like Menaka and others who are more beautiful than any earthly women, can not disturb the Krishna consciousness of a person like Srila Haridasa Thakura. Yet, even Srila Haridasa Thakura himself was not engaged in the advanced practices of devotees in the Gosvami line like Vijaya-kumara. We have never seen or heard in any scriptures that he was engaged like this. Only devotees like Srila Rupa, Srila Sanatana and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvamis were following all of these principles, and, following them, our entire line of disciplic succession has continued in the same way down to the present day.
A devotee must become mature in bhakti before he can fully follow our disciplic acaryas. He must come to the stage of sraddha, then sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha nivritti, nishtha, ruci, and asakti. At the stage of bhava when there is no scent of desire for sense gratification, when he is quite free from all material thoughts and habits, his siddha-deha will automatically manifest.
The Eight Stages of Devotional Service
When will siddha-deha come? Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained this in his book Bhajana-rahasya. There he discusses Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Sikshashtakam which expresses the eight stages of maturity in devotional service. He writes that first one will have to do bhajana of ceto-darpana-marjanam: ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam sreyah-kairava-candrika-vitaranamvidya-vadhu-jivanam anandambudhi-vardhanamprati-padampurnamritasvadanam sarvatma-snapanamparamvijayate sri-krishna-sankirtanam
"Let there be supreme victory for the chanting of the holy name of Sri Krishna alone, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence.
Sri-krishna-sankirtana diffuses the soothing moon rays of bhava which causes the white lotus (kumudini) of good fortune for the jivas to bloom. The holy name is the life and soul of transcendental knowledge, which is here compared to a wife (vadhu). It continuously expands the ocean of transcendental bliss, enabling one to taste complete nectar at every step.
The holy name of Sri Krishna thoroughly cleanses and cools the self (atma), one's nature (svabhava), one's determination (dhriti), as well as the body both internal and external." This sloka of Sri Sikshashtakam is actually realized after the stage of asakti.
The next sloka is namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis:
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrisi tava kripa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrisam ihajani nanuragah
"O Bhagavan! Your holy name bestows all auspiciousness upon the living entities. Therefore, for the benefit of the jivas, You eternally manifest Your innumerable names, such as Rama, Narayana, Krishna, Mukunda, Madhava, Govinda, Damodara, and so on. You have invested those names with all the potencies of Your various personal forms. Out of causeless mercy, You have not imposed any restrictions on the chanting and remembrance of such names in regards to any specified time, such as sandhya-vandana (evening prayer).
In other words, at any time of the day or night, the holy name can be chanted and remembered. This is the regulation which You have established. O Prabhu! This is Your causeless mercy upon the living entities. Nonetheless, on account of committing offenses (nama aparadha), I am so unfortunate that although Your holy name is so easily accessible and bestows all good fortune I have not awoken any attachment toward it." This sloka represents the stages of sadhu-sanga and anartha-nivritti-removal of anarthas by association with devotees. At present our chanting of Krishna's name is not pure. It may sometimes be namabhasa or namaparadha. Pure nama will appear on our tongue when we becomes pure ourselves. At that time the quality of trinad api sunicena taror api sahishnuna manifests automatically:
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
"Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone's feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari." This sloka represents nishtha-firm faith, when one's chanting will not be just for "show". The next stage is to realize na dhanamna janamna sundarim:
na dhanamna janamna sundarim
kavitamva jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
O Jagadisa! I do not desire wealth, followers such as wife, sons, and relatives; or mundane knowledge described in poetic language. My only desire, O Pranesvara, is that in birth after birth I may have ahaituki-bhakti unto Your lotus feet.
This sloka represents ruci, a taste for bhajana.
When we properly practice in good association, everything will develop automatically. We will then realize the fifth sloka:
ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
kripaya tava pada-pankaja-
"O Nanda-nandana! Please be merciful upon me, your eternal servant who has fallen in the dreadful ocean of material existence as a result of my fruitive actions. Like a particle of dust affixed to Your louts feet, kindly accept me forever as your purchased servant." It is at this stage that one's siddha-deha begins to manifest. This sloka represents asakti, or attachment to Krishna. After the stage of asakti, when tears flow continuously, one feels purva-raga, the intense mood of separation experienced before meeting Krishna. As the devotee chants he will think, "O Krishna, I cannot live without You; O Srimati Radhika, I cannot live without You. When will you give me your darsana?" Then, when he is weeping twenty four hours daily, rolling on the earth, then nayanamgalad-asru-dharaya:
pulakair nicitamvapuh kada,
tava nama-grahane bhavishyati
"O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy names?" This sloka represents the stage of bhava-at which time the siddha-deha manifests automatically. From where does this siddha-deha come? It is in our svarupa, our original spiritual form. Our siddha-deha does not come from anywhere outside ourselves. In our svarupa everything is perfect. To realize this, we simply require a connection with svarupa-sakti. When that connection is made, siddha-deha automatically manifests and all spiritual sentiments of love appear in our heart.
Krishna Will Manage Everything
Krishna will manage everything; but one should not become mad and imitate this stage artificially, otherwise he will find himself outside this spiritual Gaudiya Vaisnava line; and then he will be ruined. One can only pray, "O Krishna! O Gurudeva! When will I have siddha-deha, siddha-nama? O Srimati Radhika, when will I be your maidservant, Your palya-dasi? When will I reside near Govardhana and Radha-kunda? When will I attain that position?" An aspiring devotee must be patient. In the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Narayana appeared to Sri Narada Muni for a moment, and then He disappeared. Sri Narada immediately became very upset and lamented, "Oh, Lord Narayana has gone; what shall I do?" When he began to weep loudly, a voice from the sky called to him, "Don't worry. You will have to wait, because no one can see Me in his material body. By My mercy I showed you My svarupa, but now you must wait. Continue chanting My names and remembering Me twenty four hours daily wherever you are, and preach My hari-katha to others. One day death will come. At that time you will put your feet on the head of death and quickly give up your material body."
prayujyamane mayi tam
"Having been awarded a transcendental body befitting an associate of the Personality of Godhead, I quit the body made of five material elements, and thus all acquired fruitive results of work [karma] stopped." [BBT] At the time of death, when Sri Narada Muni left his pancabhautikah (material body), his siddha-deha appeared and he realized himself as an associate of Bhagavan. When did his siddha-deha come? Not in the beginning. It came at the most advanced stage of his Krishna consciousness.
It is very helpful to long for the day that our siddha-deha appears.
However, we should not imagine that we have our siddha-deha before it has actually manifested. One can pray, "O Krishna, I want to be eternally in Vrindavana, in a transcendental body." We should always have that as our objective, and we should hanker to attain service to Radha and Krishna. But we should not imagine that we are Lalita, Visakha, or any sakhi. Otherwise we will be ruined. We cannot expect to attain our siddha-deha before we understand all siddhantas. If one does not know them, then he will say, "This fire (the activities of artificial siddha-deha) is my mahaprasada;" he will eat it and he will be finished. This misconception is called sahajism, and there is a great difference between sahajiyas and Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami were not sahajiyas. They were practically following the correct process of bhakti. 'Siddha' means that a man must first become a siddha devotee. How will siddha-deha manifest when our body is still material? In our Gosvamis' books, especially in the books of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, the bona fide process for achieving perfection is explicitly given. One must first pray for this perfection. "O Krishna! O Gurudeva! When will that day come when I will realize siddha-deha and siddha-nama?" One must become mature in understanding all kinds of siddhanta. He must first understand Prahlada Maharaja in the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and then Citraketu Maharaja in the Eighth Canto. Then he must understand the first part of Tenth Canto, especially how Krishna manifested His Damodara-lila, and he must remember all these pastimes. His devotion must mature, so that seeing a beautiful young lady or young man will not disturb him or her. Then, when he has no worldly desires at all, and when he is qualified to be always in Vrindavana and Radha-kunda under the guidance of a self realized soul, a tattvajna, rasika bhakta, at that time he can attain his siddha-deha.
Spreading Like A Plague
There are so many sahajiya babajis-men and women-in Radha-kunda, Vrindavana, Kamayavana and many other places in Vraja. They are devotees in name only.
Coming to Govardhana and Mathura to beg money in all the shops and other places, and then spending the entire night counting how much money they collected, how then will they have time to chant and remember Krishna and practice bhakti? They say their guru gave them siddha-deha, but they do not even know how to clean themselves after passing stool. They do not know the ABC of siddhanta, and yet they imagine that they have been given siddha-deha. This is very dangerous. Not only in India, but all over the world there is a lack of understanding and good association, and this has created a very serious disease which is spreading like a plague among neophyte devotees. We must try to save ourselves from this. Nowadays even brand new devotees are reading Krishna-karnamrita and saying, "Oh, very good". They are reading Govinda-lilamrta and thinking, "The Gaudiya Math does not know all these things. They cannot taste rasa. Oh, we are always in rasa." We should not follow them. Instead of following this very dangerous path, we should try to pursue the bona fide process laid down by our acaryas like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. At our present stage we should not buy or read Govinda-lilamrta and Krishna-bhavanamrita. We must first engage in very good sadhana- bhajana and become mature in bhakti. Until then, we don't require to read these books any more than the three-year-old boy required a young and beautiful wife. If we follow sincerely, Krishna will automatically send a realized soul to help us. He may send Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, or Srila Rupa Gosvami may come himself. We should therefore follow only this bona fide process.
Our aim And Objective
First we must know the aim and objective of our sadhana, and then we should know how to begin from sraddha:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrittih syat
tato nishtha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
pradurbhave bhavet kramah (1) By hearing the sastras, paramarthika (transcendental suddha-sraddha) appears. The word sraddha here implies firm belief in the meaning of the bhakti-sastras such as Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, and so forth. (2) Upon the appearance of such sraddha, one again obtains sadhu-sanga and, in their company, begins to receive instructions regarding the methods for executing bhajana. (3) Thereafter, one takes up the practices of bhajana (bhajana-kriya) beginning with sri-guru-padasraya, and so on. (4) By constant engagement in bhajana, anarthas gradually disappear (anartha-nivritti). (5) This elimination of anarthas takes place in successive stages. As one becomes progressively freed from anarthas, he attains nishtha and freedom from all distractions (vikshepa). At that stage ekagrata (one-pointedness) and nairantaryamayi (incessant striving) arise in the pursuit of bhajana. (6) Thereafter, ruci (taste) or, in other words, an intense hankering (lalasa) for bhajana develops. (7) When ruci becomes very deep it is called asakti. The difference between nishtha and asakti is that nishtha involves application of the intelligence, whereas asakti is spontaneous. In the stage of nishtha, even if the mind is not attracted, by one's intelligence one remains devoted to the performance of bhajana.
However, when one comes to the stage of asakti, the sadhaka has no more dependence on any kind of reasoning by the faculty of the intelligence. At that stage he is deeply immersed in the performance of bhajana in a spontaneous manner. (8) After the stage of asakti, bhava or rati makes its appearance. (9) At the final stage prema manifests. This is the order of the stages leading to the appearance of prema within the heart of the sadhaka.
(Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu-bindu) We must understand all of these truths, and then adopt the correct process. At the same time we should not think that there are no devotees who are qualified to remember their siddha-deha. There are certainly pure devotees in this world, and we should not try to disturb them by criticizing them. They will not be disturbed, of course, but we will be. It will not profit us to try to drag them down artificially to our level. There may be thousands and thousands of devotees who are qualified for this perfection, and who are acting according to that perfection at the present moment. Our aim and objective should be the same as theirs, but we should not imitate them. We must be patient, and engage sincerely in sadhana and bhajana, then we will gain all spiritual perfections automatically.
Great Relish For Kirtana
Have you heard of nama-gane sada ruci? This is one of the symptoms of those who have achieved bhava-bhakti.
nama-gane sada ruci, laya krishna-nama
"Due to having great relish for the holy name, one is inclined to chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra constantly. "[Madhya-lila 23.32] Do you know who is the best kirtaniya in the entire world-from ancient times to present day? Do you know who sings the most powerful and sweet kirtanas? It is not necessarily the person who is expert at playing violin, harmonium, tabla, and vina. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami is the best kirtaniya; all our acaryas are the best kirtaniyas, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja are also the best kirtaniyas. Understand this deeply, and try to become kirtaniyas like our acaryas. Do not think that you are unqualified if you do not know how to play the harmonium or if your voice is not very flexible for singing ragas. Even if you have a very raspy voice, this is not an impediment.
Simply chant with feeling, "He Krishna, He Krishna." It is the spiritual qualification to describe the pastimes of Krishna that makes one the most high-class kirtaniya-not a very fine voice. A person with a beautiful voice can fall down at any time, and in fact he may already be fallen. Those who perform kirtana thinking, "Are the people in the audience inspired or not? Are they pleased with my kirtana?", are not actually doing kirtana. Kirtana is that process by which the transcendental sound of Krishna's name and glories enters the ears and purifies the heart. This is the actual meaning of kirtana. If we have to glorify a person, or if we have to give him rupees, dollars or francs before he will sing, then he is not truly a kirtaniya. Money and reputation cannot touch the real kirtaniya. We should try to be like that: melting others hearts, melting our own hearts, and always weeping for Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. The hari-katha of such a kirtaniya touches everyone's hearts, and anyone who is sincere is bound to follow him.
vaco vegammanasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo vishaheta dhirah
sarvam apimamprithivimsa sishyat
A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a self-controlled person. (Sri Upadesamrita 1) Such a person is guru, and his hari-katha is the most powerful cure for our original disease, which is that we have forgotten Krishna.