I thought I'd post this translation, which is a revision of Kushakratha's version.
Sampatti-vichar: The Greatest Good Fortune
Vijaya Kumar decided that by hearing about the Lord’s pastimes in Vraja, one gradually attains the greatest good fortune. Thinking in this way, he posed a question.
Vijaya Kumar: O master, I would like to know how many stages there are between first hearing about the Lord and finally reaching full identity with the spiritual form.
Goswami: There are five stages: 1. zravaNa-dazA (the stage of hearing), 2 varaNa-dazA (accepting), 3 smaraNa-dazA (remembering), 4 bhAvApana-dazA (full assimilation) and 5. prema-sampatti-dazA (the stage of full possession of love).
Vijaya Kumar: Please describe the stage of hearing.
Goswami: It must first be stated that as soon as a jiva develops faith in hearing about Krishna, his indifference to Krishna disappears and he yearns to hear more and more about Him. Such a soul intently hears about Krishna from a devotee more advanced than himself, as is described in Srimad Bhagavatam (4.29.40)—
pIyUSa-zeSa-saritaH paritaH sravanti
tA ye pibanty avitRSo nRpa gADha-karNais
tAn na spRzanty azana-tRD-bhaya-zoka-mohAH
“In a place where pure devotees live, the vibrations of Krishna’s pastimes flow all around like rivers of nectar. Whoever drinks of this nectar through intent ears never again feels thirst, O King, and will never again be touched by hunger, thirst, fear, lamentation or illusion.”
Vijaya Kumar: Sometimes people not interested in devotional life hear about Krishna. What is the nature of such activity?
Goswami: There is a great deal of difference between the hearing of a person who is still in the stage of indifference to spiritual life and that of one who is introspective and interested in such life. The former takes place purely accidentally, while the latter takes place as a result of faith. The accumulation of devotional piety (bhakty-unmukhI sukRti) leads to the awakening of faith after many lifetimes. One attains the stage of hearing only after listening to talk of Krishna from the mouths of great devotees. The zravaNa-dazA is of two kinds, one that follows the appropriate sequence (krama-zuddha), and that which does not (krama-hIna).
Vijaya Kumar: Tell me what is meant by the stage of hearing out of sequence.
Goswami: When one listens to Lord Krishna’s pastimes in a manner without a sense of personal connectedness (asaMlagna-bhAve), that is called hearing out of sequence. When those who have no resolute determination hear about Krishna’s pastimes, they are said to have no sense of personal connectedness. One does not see their interconnectedness of all the pastimes and so does not experience rasa.
Vijaya Kumar: What is the stage of hearing according to the proper sequence.?
Goswami: When a determined individual hears Krishna’s pastimes with a sense of personal connectedness, then it is capable of eliciting the experience of rasa. Hearing according to the proper sequence means listening to Lord Krishna’s aSTa-kAliya-nitya-lIlA (regular pastimes in the eight periods of the day) and His birth pastime and other naimittika-lIlA (occasional pastimes) separately.
When one reaches this particular level of spiritual advancement, it is absolutely necessary to listen to Hari katha in the proper sequence. By so doing, the beauty of Krishna’s pastimes becomes evident and the tendency to engage in raganuga bhakti arises in the heart of the hearer. He then thinks, “Oh! How wonderful is Subala’s mood of friendship with Krishna.
I would like to serve Krishna in the same mood as he!” This tendency is called lobha (greed or intense desire). Worshiping Krishna by greedily following the mood of the residents of Vraja is called raganuga bhakti.
The example I have given is of such devotion in the mood of friendship; however, the same raganuga tendency can be followed in each of the four rasas begining with servitude. By the mercy of our Lord Chaitanya, you are qualified for the mood of romantic love. This means that you have developed a yearning to become like the beautiful gopis of Vraja after seeing the kind of service they perform. This yearning alone has brought you to the path that leads to the attainment of one’s spiritual identity. In fact, on this particular spiritual path, the stage of hearing really means the conversation that takes place between the spiritual master and the disciple.
Vijaya Kumar: How does one attain the perfection of the hearing stage?
Goswami: When one realizes Lord Krishna’s pastimes’ eternal nature and feels their charm arising out of their pure transcendental character, one becomes agitated with the intense desire to enter those pastimes. The spiritual master then reveals to the disciple the eleven bhavas appropriate for his practice that we spoke about previously. When the disciple’s mental state is brought into harmony with his preferences for particular pastimes, then the stage of hearing is complete. With great enthusiasm, he moves on to the accepting stage.
Vijaya Kumar: O master, what is the accepting stage?
Goswami: The eagerness of the mind is given order by the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity and fixed in the divine pastimes. Weeping, the disciple falls before his spiritual master’s feet. The spiritual master’s original form as a sakhi manifests to the disciple, as well as the disciple’s form as her maidservant. The cowherd girls are all anxious to serve Krishna, and the spiritual master is one of these beautiful ladies of Vraja who has attained her highest aspiration in that service.
The disciple then speaks words that follow Srila Raghunath Das Goswami’s mood in the PremAmbhoja-marandAkhya-stava-rAja (11-12):
sva-dAsyAmRta-sekena jIvayAmuM suduHkhitam
na muJcec charaNAyAtam api duSTaM dayAmayaH
ato gAndharvike hA hA muJcainaM naiva tAdRzam
“Please bring back to life this very unhappy person, who is bowing down before you with straw in her mouth, by sprinkling her with the nectar of your servitorship.
“O Gandharvika! A truly compassionate person will not reject even a rascal if he surrenders to him. Please, therefore, never abandon this person, who is likewise surrendered to you.
In other words, “O beloved friend of Radharani! I am a most miserable creature, yet I have fallen down before you with straw between my teeth to beg you to sprinkle me with the ambrosia of your service and bring me back to life. A merciful person does not abandon one who has taken shelter of him. Since I am surrendered to you, please do not abandon me, for I wish to serve the Divine Couple of Vraja under your direction.”
This stage of acceptance takes exactly this form. Then, in his form as a sakhi, the spiritual master bestows residence in Vraja on his disciple and orders him to take shelter of Krishna’s holy name and meditate on His pastimes. The spiritual master then encourages the disciple, saying, “Soon you will attain what your heart desires.”
Vijaya Kumar: What is the remembering stage?
Goswami: Srila Rupa Goswami describes this stage in the Bhakti-rasAmrta-sindhu (1.2.294-6):
tat-tat-kathA-rataz cAsau kuryAd vAsaM vraje sadA
sevA sAdhaka-rUpeNa siddha-rUpeNa cAtra hi
tad-bhAva-lipsunA kAryA vraja-lokAnusArataH
zravaNotkIrtanAdIni vaidha-bhakty-uditAni tu
yAny aGgAni ca tAny atra vijJey
“Remembering Krishna and one of His dearest and closest devotees, one should constantly remain absorbed in hearing about their loving relations. In this way, one should make one’s permanent residents in Vraja.
“The devotee desiring intensely to attain the ragatmika mood of one or the other of Krishna’s Vrajavasi associates should engage in the practices of devotional service in his external body as a sadhaka and serving the Divine Couple internally in his spiritual body, in both cases following in the footsteps of the residents of Vraja.
“The wise say that the limbs of vaidhi bhakti, which include hearing and chanting, are also to be performed in the practice of raganuga.”
After hearing these verses, Vijaya Kumar asked: What do the words kuryAd vAsaM vraje sadA (“one should make one’s permanent residents in Vraja”) mean?
Goswami: Srila Jiva Goswami explains, “One should reside in the circle of Vraja, that is, the circle where the Lord performed His pastimes. If it is impossible for the devotee to live there in his physical body, he can get the same result by living there in his mind. Then, as one has become the follower of a particular sakhi, one should fix oneself in the identity of being her servant in the Vrindavan forest and always meditate on her and Krishna. Meanwhile, in the gross body, one should go on practicing the limbs of vaidhi bhakti, such as hearing and chanting, while at the same time, within one’s meditation on the divine pastimes, engaging in the maidservant’s duty that was established as one of the eleven aspects of the spiritual identity. One should maintain the material body in an honest fashion, according to the rules of one’s station, while nourishing the spiritual body according to the divine emotions. If you follow these instructions, you will naturally become averse to all that is not related to Vraja.
Vijaya Kumar: Please describe this system to me a little more clearly.
Goswami: The word vraja-vAsa means to live in a secluded place in the company of the transcendental mood. You should chant a certain prescribed number of Holy Names and at the same time meditate on the Lord’s ashta-kaliya pastimes. In order that your bodily maintenance does not become an obstacle to your spiritual life, try to do everything in such a way that it harmonizes with your inner spirit of service..
Vijaya Kumar (after thinking deeply on the matter): O master, I have quite understood what you have told me, but tell me how I can steady my mind [and fix it on my spiritual identity and service]?
Goswami: At the time it attains raganuga bhakti, the heart naturally becomes steady, because if the mind is inclined to Vraja due to having even the slightest spontaneous attraction for it, even in the absence of such spontaneous attraction, it will no longer be attracted to material things. Nevertheless, if you are worried that you will stray from the path, then at first follow the gradual path. When you become steady, there is no longer any chance that you will be bothered by distractions.
Vijaya Kumar: Please describe this gradual procedure.
Goswami: Every day for a certain amount of time, one should chant the Holy Names in isolation with feeling, avoiding all material interruptions. Gradually increase the you spend in this way. When you finally spend all your time in this way, you will feel an amazing mood, which will cause the disruptions themselves to dread coming to bother you.
Vijaya Kumar: For how long should one practice in this way?
Goswami: For as long as you are not completely free of all disruptions, or at least until the possibility of transcending all such disruptions arises.
Vijaya Kumar: Please clarify what it means “to remember the Holy Name with feeling..
Goswami: First chant the Holy Name with enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of ownership to this enthusiasm. Then add a feeling of intimacy to thi
s sense of ownership. Then, as your attitude becomes purified, you will come to the stage where you fully appropriate the eleven aspects of your spiritual identity, or bhAvApana-dazA. Throughout the stage of remembering, one has only superimposed the spiritual identity on himself. At the stage of appropriation, however, pure identification with the spiritual body is attained. This is the progression relative to the worshiper of the highest love of God. Besides this, there is also another progression relative to the object of worship.
Vijaya Kumar: What is this progression relative to the object of worship?
Goswami: If you wholeheartedly yearns to attain prema, then you should honor this advice given by Srila Raghunath Das Goswami (ManaH-zikSA, text 3):
yuva-dvandvaM tac cet paricaritum ArAd abhilaSeH
svarUpaM zrI-rUpaM sa-gaNam iha tasyAgrajam api
sphuTaM premNA nityaM smara nama tadA tvaM zRNu manaH
“O Mind! If you desire to reside in Vraja with spontaneous enthusiasm, and if you aspire to directly serve the ever-youthful Divine Couple birth after birth, then you must always lovingly remember Srila Svarupa Damodar Goswami, Srila Rupa Goswami and his elder brother, Srila Sanatan Goswami, bow down before them and then, listen to them!”
In other words, if you desire to reside in Vraja with spontaneous enthusiasm, and if you aspire to directly serve, birth after birth, the ever-youthful Divine Couple who are engaged in Their eternal parakiya pastimes where They have no legal married attachments whatsoever, then you must always remember Srila Svarupa Damodar Goswami, Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis with clear love. Think of them as your guru-rupa sakhis and bow down before them. The idea is that if you cultivate the svakiya rasa, then you will attain the result of love in the compromising mood (samaJjasA rati), which will reduce the possibilities in serving the Divine Couple. Therefore, follow the pure conception of parakiya rasa as taught by Svarupa, Rupa and Sanatan. Even during the time of superimposition of the siddha deha, you should only follow the parakiya mood. By superimposing love in the parakiya mood, you will attain an identity in accordance with the parakiya mood and thus taste the delights of the parakiya rasa. This is the eternal flavor of the unmanifest, eternal pastime of the Lord.
Vijaya Kumar: Is there a gradual purification process in the ashta-kaliya pastimes?
Goswami: Try to understand what Rupa Goswami said after completely describing all the various rasas in the ashta-kaliya lila (Ujjvala-nIlamaNi 15.259):
spRSTaM paraM taTasthena rasAbdhi-madhuro mayA
“Because it has neither bottom nor opposite shore, this ocean of rasa is unfathomable. I have merely stood on its shores and touched just one drop of its sweetness.”
In other words, the ocean of rasa is fully spiritual and therefore without bottom and without limit. For people in the material world, this ocean is bottomless, because it is impossible for them to transcend the mundane concepts of this world to enter that pure and transcendental reality. It is said to have no other shore because the transcendental rasa is so variegated and all-pervading that no one can ever find its limits. And even if someone who has himself attained that transcendental nature tries to describe it from the level of spiritual perfection, his description would inevitably be both impure and incomplete because of the limitations imposed by the words themselves. Even if the Supreme Lord Himself describes it, its hearers and readers would still have a faulty understanding due to the defects that the material world impresses on them. Therefore, because the ocean of rasa cannot be fathomed, Rupa says he can merely stand at its shore and reveal a single drop of it.
> O master, if this is so, then how can we ever hope to attain the spiritual rasas?
Goswami: The madhura rasa is shoreless, peerless, and unfathomable. Indeed, all Lord Krishna’s pastimes are like that. However, our Lord Krishna has two transcendental qualities that give us hope: He is all powerful and He can do whatever He likes. Therefore, even though the ocean of rasa is peerless, shoreless and unfathomable, Lord Krishna can easily bring it into the narrow confines of this material world. If Krishna wishes He can bring His supremely glorious rasas to this material world, even if it is small and insignificant. Thus, He mercifully descends to the material world, bringing His pastimes centred on His loves with the gopis with Him. His transcendental and spiritual abode of Mathura also descends into the material world. One cannot ask how this abode descends or how it remains spiritual in the world, because the limited intelligence of humans or even the gods can never comprehend the workings of the Lord’s inconceivable potencies. We in this world have come to know of Krishna’s Vraja pastimes, the highest aspect of His unlimited pastimes in the spiritual world, as they were manifested in the material world, but this is not something we should lament about.
Vijaya Kumar: But if the Lord’s prakaTa (manifested) and aprakaTa (unmanifested) pastimes are identical, then why do you say there is a progression from one to the other?
Goswami: These two kinds of pastimes are identical. Of this there is no doubt. Whatever pastimes appear in this world exist in their fullness in the transcendental world. However, the prakaTa pastimes are experience at first in the marginal stage of remembering, but as one matures in the stage of remembering, this perception becomes clearer. When one reaches the stage of appropriation, this experience of the lila becomes completely pure.
Vijaya, I can disclose this secret to you because you are qualified to hear it. After a long engagement in devotional practices in the stage of remembering, and making a sustained effort in the type of practices that lead to the appropriation of the spiritual identity, the stage of appropriation develops out of the stage of remembering. When one is completely cleansed of all contaminated attitudes in the smaraNa-dazA, one comes to the bhAvApana-dazA. Pure devotion herself mercifully appears in the heart of the practitioner on the stage of remembering to the extent that he goes on engaging in the appropriate practices leading to such pure devotion. Only pure devotion attracts Krishna, so by Lord Krishna’s mercy, whatever impurities remain in the practitioner’s heart are gradually eliminated on the smaraNa-dazA. This is described by the Supreme Lord Himself in these words (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.26):
tathA tathA pazyati vastu sUkSmaM
“To the extent that the soul is cleansed through hearing and chanting the pious narrations of My glories, he gains the ability to see subtle things, just as a diseased eye treated with medicinal ointment recovers its power to see.”
In other words, to the degree that the seer’s ability to see is purified through contact with the divine substance, i.e., by hearing and chanting and meditating on Krishna’s pastimes, he is able to clearly see that which he wishes to see, the true form of Krishna’s transcendental pastimes.
The same example is given in the Brahma-saMhitA (5.38):
santaH sadaiva hRdayeSu vilokayanti |
yaM zyAmasundaram acintya-guNa-svarUpaM
govindam Adi-puruSaM tam ahaM bhajAmi ||
“I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Shyamasundar, situated within the heart of the devotee.”
A person who has attained the stage of bhAvApana-dazA attains spiritual sight and has a vision of both his sakhi (Lalita) and his yutheshwari (Radha). Even though he may also have a vision of Lord Krishna, the master of Goloka, until his subtle material body is at last dissolved and he attains the sampatti-dazA (“the stage of full possession”) he does not experience Him at every moment. When he attains bhAvApana-dazA, the pure soul has complete control over his gross and subtle material bodies. However, only when he attains Lord Krishna’s complete and full mercy will the soul attain the final spiritual goal, where he completely breaks off all relationship with the material world of five elements. bhAvApana-dazA is also called “identity perfection” (svarUpa-siddhi), while sampatti-dazA is also called “concrete perfection” (vastu-siddhi).
Vijaya Kumar: When one attains vastu-siddhi, in what way will he see Lord Krishna’s name, form, qualities, pastimes and abode?
Goswami: I cannot answer. When I myself attain vastu-siddhi and see what I see, I will be able to tell you. Similarly, you will only be able to understand when you yourself attain the sampatti-dazA. Then, of course, you will have no need to attempt to understand anything, because when you see it right in front of your eyes, you will not need to ask any questions. Similarly, the soul need not bother describing what he sees at the stage of svarUpa-siddhi or bhAvApana-dazA, because the ordinary person cannot understand even if he hears.
Srila Rupa Goswami describes the signs of someone situated in svarUpa-siddhi is described by in these words (Bhakti-rasAmrta-sindhu 1.3.59 and 1.4.17):
jane cej jAta-bhAve’pi vaiguNyam iva dRzyate
kAryA tathApi nAsUyA kRtArthaH sarvathaiva saH“If you see imperfections in a person even after he has reached the stage of bhAva-bhakti, you should not find fault with him, for he has attained the highest success in life.”
dhanyasyAyaM navaH premA yasyonmIlati cetasi
antarvANIbhir apy asya mudrA suSThu sudurgamA“One in whose heart ecstatic love for Krishna has newly awakened is the most fortunate person. Even those who are greatly learned in the scriptures cannot always appreciate his activities and character.”
In other words, simply knowing scripture does not mean that someone will be able to recognize the workings of ecstatic love in a pure devotee.
Vijaya Kumar: If this is so, then why do the Brahma-saMhitA and other scriptures attempt to describe the world of Goloka?
Goswami: When the great authorities attain the stage of svarUpa-siddhi, or when Brahma and the demigods are given visions by the Lord’s mercy, they sometimes recite prayers in which they describe what they have seen. Nevertheless, because of the limitations placed on them by human language, these descriptions are brief and always seem inadequate to the conditioned souls. Still, there is no need for the devotees to understand all these points. You can worship the Lord according to the pastimes He manifested in this world. By doing that you will attain all perfection. The committed practitioner will quickly have visions of Goloka within Gokula. Whatever is found in Gokula is also found in Goloka, because in principle the two are not different places. All the material dross that is present in the material manifestation of Gokula disappear when you reach the stage of svarUpa-siddhi. Be happy with what you can see according to your level of qualification and continue chanting the Holy Name. This is Krishna’s order. If you follow His directions, He will bless you and your vision will eventually become pure and perfect.
Vijaya Kumar was now free from doubt in all of these matters. In his little cottage by the seashore, he patiently meditated on Lord Krishna’s pastimes, ver
y nicely fitting his own spiritual identity in its eleven aspects into them. In this way, he constantly tasted the sweetness of divine love.
In the meantime, Vrajanath’s mother fell sick with cholera and died there in Puri. Vrajanath and his grandmother returned home to Bengal. Vrajanath’s heart was pure and love for Krishna in the mood of friendship arose in it. He passed his days among the Vaishnavas by the Ganges shore in Sridham Nabadwip.
Vijaya Kumar renounced household life and accepted the kaupin of a sannyasi. He lived by taking a little maha prasad he obtained begging from house to house. He meditated on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna during the eight periods of the day. At night he briefly slept. He honored a little prasadam. While he was awake he served the Divine Couple in ways appropriate to the particular time of day. His japa beads were always in his hand. Sometimes he would dance, sometimes he wept, and sometimes he would laugh aloud while looking at the waves in the ocean. Who could understand the secrets of his devotional life?
He went publicly by the name Nimai Das Babaji. He would neither hear nor speak gossip. He was very humble, his actions were pure and he was fixed in his bhajan. If anyone offered him maha prasad or cloth for a kaupin or bahirvas, he would only take what he really needed and nothing more. While chanting the Lord’s holy names, tears would stream from his eyes, his voice would become choked, and the hairs of his body would stand erect. It was not long before his bhajan was perfected and Krishna mercifully gave him the right to enter His aprakaTa pastimes. Then the body in which he had engaged in that bhajan was buried in the sand by the sea, like that of Hari Das Thakur. Haribol.