Sri Navadvipa-mandala is supreme among all holy places of the world. Like Sri Vrndavana, it covers an area of thirty-two square miles, and is shaped like an eight-petaled lotus flower. The center of that lotus is Sri Antardvipa, the core of which is Sri Mayapura. To the north of Sri Mayapura is Sri Simantadvipa, where a temple of Sri Simantini Devi is situated. To the north of this temple is the village of Bilva-puskarini, and to the south lies Brahmana-puskarini. That area, which is located in the northern section of Sri Navadvipa is commonly referred to as Simuliya. 

At the time of Sri Mahaprabhu, Simuliya was the residence of many learned panditas. The father of Sacidevi, Sri Nilambara Cakravarti Mahasaya, had also lived in this village. Now, not far from where Nilambara Cakravati’s house still stood, lived a Vedic brahmana named Vrajanatha Bhattacarya. Vrajanatha had been brilliant from his childhood. He had studied in a Sanskrit school in Bilva-puskarini, and he had become such a superior scholar of the science of logic (nyaya-sastra) that his ingenious and innovative arguments embarrassed and intimidated all the renowned scholars of Bilva-puskarini, Brahmana-puskarini, Mayapura, Godruma, Madhyadvipa, Amraghatta, Samudra-garh, Kuliya, Purvasthali, and other places.

Wherever there was a gathering of panditas, Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana would set the assembly ablaze with a barrage of unprecedented arguments. Among these panditas was a cruelhearted logician named Naiyayika Cudamani, who was deeply mortified by the wounds he had received from the sharp blows of Vrajanatha’s logic. This logician resolved to kill Nyaya-pancanana using the occult knowledge described in the tantra-sastra, by which one can invoke another’s death through mystical incantations. To this end, he moved into the cremation ground in Rudradvipa and began to utter death mantras day and night.

It was amavasya, the night of the new moon, and dense darkness pervaded all the four directions. At midnight, Naiyayika Cudamani sat in the middle of the cremation ground and called out to his worshipable deity, “O Mother, you are the only worshipable deity in this Kali-yuga. I have heard that you become pleased simply by the recitation of a few mantras, and that you easily bestow benedictions upon your worshipers. O Goddess with a terrifying face, this servant of yours has undergone tremendous hardship in reciting your mantras for many days. Please be merciful upon me just once. O Mother, although I am plagued with many faults, you are still my mother. Please excuse all my faults and appear before me today.”

In this way, repeatedly calling out with cries of distress, Nyaya Cudamani offered oblations in the fire while uttering a mantra in the name of Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana. How astonishing was the power of that mantra! The sky immediately became overcast with a mass of dense, dark clouds. A fierce wind began to blow and deafening peals of thunder roared. Hideous ghosts and evil spirits could be seen in the intermittent flashes of lightning. With the help of the sacrificial wine, Cudamani summoned all his energy and called out, “O Mother, please do not delay another moment.”

Just then an oracle from the heavens replied, “Do not worry.  Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana will not discuss the nyaya-sastra for long. Within a few days, he will give up debating and remain silent.  He will no longer be your rival. Be peaceful and return home.”

When the pandita heard this oracle, he became satisfied. He repeatedly offered pranama to Mahadeva, the chief of the devas and author of the tantra, and then returned to his own home. 

Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana had become a dig-vijayi pandita (one who has conquered the four directions through scholarship) at the age of twenty-one. Day and night he studied the books of the famous logician, Sri Gangesopadhyaya, who had initiated a new system of logic known as navya-nyaya. Vrajanatha had found many faults in Kanaibhatta Siromani’s Didhiti, which was a celebrated commentary on Gangesopadhyaya’s Tattva-cintamani, and he had begun to write his own commentary. Although he never thought of material enjoyment, the word paramartha (spiritual reality) never so much as entered his ears. His single focus in life was to initiate logical debates using the concepts and terminology of nyaya, such as avaccheda (the property of an object by which it is distinguished from everything else), vyavaccheda (exclusion of one object from another), ghata (a clay pot), and pata (a piece of cloth). While sleeping, dreaming, eating, or moving about, his heart was filled with thoughts about the nature of objects, the nature of time, and the peculiarities of aqueous and terrestrial properties.

One evening, Vrajanatha was sitting on the bank of the Ganga, contemplating the sixteen categories propounded by Gautama in his system of logic, when a new student of the nyaya-sastra approached him. “Nyaya-pancanana Mahasaya,” said the student, “have you heard Nimai Pandita’s logical refutation of the atomic theory of creation?”

Nyaya-pancanana roared like a lion, “Who is Nimai Pandita? Are you speaking about the son of Jagannatha Misra? Tell me about his logical arguments.”

The student said, “A great person named Nimai Pandita lived in Navadvipa just a short time ago. He composed many innovative logical arguments related to the nyaya-sastra and thus embarrassed Kanaibhatta Siromani. During His time, there was no scholar equal to Him in mastery of the nyaya-sastra. Yet, even though He was so adept in the nyaya-sastra, He considered it quite insignificant.  Indeed, He regarded not only the nyaya-sastra, but the entire material world, as trifling. He therefore adopted the life of a wandering mendicant in the renounced order and traveled from place to place propagating the chanting of hari-nama. Present-day Vaisnavas accept Him as purna-brahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they worship Him with the sri-gaura-hari-mantra.  Nyaya-pancanana Mahasaya, you must look into His dialectical arguments at least once.”

After hearing such praise of Nimai Pandita’s logical reasoning, Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana became quite curious to hear His arguments. With difficulty, he was able to collect a few of those arguments from various sources. Human nature is such that when one develops faith in a particular subject, he will naturally feel regard for the teachers of that subject. Moreover, for various reasons, common people do not easily develop faith in exalted personalities who are still living, whereas they tend to develop great faith in the activities of mahajanas who have passed away.  Nyaya-pancanana developed unshakable faith in Nimai Pandita by studying his logical thesis.

Vrajanatha would say, “O Nimai Pandita, if I had been born during Your time, there is no telling how much I could have learned from You. O Nimai Pandita, kindly enter my heart just once. You are truly purna-brahma, for otherwise how could such extraordinary logical arguments have come from Your mind? You are undoubtedly Gaura-Hari, for You have destroyed the darkness of ignorance by creating such remarkable arguments. The darkness of ignorance is black, but You have removed it by becoming Gaura (fair-complexioned). You are Hari because You can steal the minds of the entire world. You have stolen away my heart with the ingenuity of Your logic.”

Repeatedly speaking in this way, Vrajanatha became somewhat frantic. He called out loudly, “O Nimai Pandita! O Gaura-Hari!  Please be merciful to me. When will I be able to create logical arguments like Yours? If You are merciful unto me, there is no telling how great a scholar of the nyaya-sastra I may become.”

Vrajanatha thought to himself, “It seems to me that those who worship Gaura-Hari must also be attracted to Nimai Pandita’s scholarship in nyaya, just as I am. I should go to them and see whether they have any books that He has composed on nyaya.”Thinking like this, Vrajanatha developed a desire to associate with the devotees of Gauranga. By constantly uttering the pure names of Bhagavan such as Nimai Pandita and Gaura-Hari, and by desiring to associate with the devotees of Gaura, Vrajanatha earned tremendous sukrti.

One day, while Vrajanatha was taking a meal with his paternal grandmother, he asked, “Grandmother, did you ever see Gaura-Hari?” Upon hearing the name of Sri Gauranga, Vrajanatha’s grandmother nostalgically remembered her childhood, and said, “Aha! What an enchanting form He had! Alas! Will I ever behold His beautiful, sweet form again? Can anyone who has seen that captivating form ever engage her mind in domestic affairs again?  When He performed hari-nama-kirtana, absorbed in ecstatic trance, the birds, beasts, trees, and creepers of Navadvipa would completely lose consciousness of the external world due to intoxication of prema. Even now, when I contemplate these thoughts, an incessant flow of tears streams uncontrollably from my eyes and soaks my breast.”


Vrajanatha inquired further, “Do you recall any pastimes that He performed?”

Grandmother replied, “I certainly do, my son! When Sri Gauranga would visit the house of His maternal uncle with Mother Saci, the elderly ladies of our house fed Him saka (spinach) and rice. He would praise the saka very highly and eat it with great prema.”

At that precise moment, Vrajanatha’s own mother placed some saka on his plate. Seeing it and appreciating the serendipity of the moment, Vrajanatha became overjoyed. “This is the beloved saka of the logician Nimai Pandita,” he said, and ate it with the utmost reverence.

Although Vrajanatha was completely lacking in transcendental knowledge of absolute reality, he became extremely attracted to Nimai Pandita’s brilliant scholarship. Indeed, the intensity of his attraction could not be estimated. Even the name of Nimai was a delight to his ears. When mendicants came to beg alms uttering, “Jaya Sacinandana,” he received them warmly and fed them. He would sometimes go to Mayapura, where he would hear the babajis chanting the names of Gauranga, and he would ask them many questions about Gauranga’s triumphant activities in the field of scholarship and learning.

After a few months of these activities, Vrajanatha was no longer his former self. Previously, Nimai’s name had pleased him only in connection with His scholarship in nyaya, but now Nimai pleased him in all respects. Vrajanatha lost all interest in studying and teaching nyaya, and no longer had any taste for dry arguments or debate. Nimai the logician no longer had any standing in the kingdom of his heart, for Nimai the devotee had usurped all authority.

Vrajanatha’s heart would begin to dance when he heard the sound of mrdanga and karatalas, and he would offer pranama within his mind whenever he saw pure devotees. He displayed great devotion toward Sri Navadvipa, respecting it as the birthplace of Sri Gaurangadeva. When rival panditas saw that Nyaya-pancanana had become soft-hearted, they were very pleased at his condition.  Now they could openly step out of their houses without fear.  Naiyayika Pandita thought that his worshipable Deity had rendered Vrajanatha inactive and there was no longer any need to be afraid.

One day, while Vrajanatha was sitting in a secluded place on the bank of the Bhagirathi, he thought to himself, “If such a profound scholar of the nyaya-sastra as Nimai could renounce logic, and adopt the path of bhakti, what fault would there be if I should do the same? While I was obsessed with nyaya, I could not apply myself to the cultivation of bhakti, nor could I bear to hear the name of Nimai. In those days, I was so immersed in the nyaya-sastra that I could not even find time to eat, drink, or sleep. Now I see things in quite the opposite way. I no longer contemplate the topics of the nyaya-sastra; instead, I always remember the name of Gauranga. Still, even though the ecstatic devotional dancing of the Vaisnavas captivates my mind, I am the son of a Vedic brahmana.  I was born in a prestigious family and I am highly respected in society. Although I truly believe that the behavior and conduct of the Vaisnavas is excellent, it is inappropriate for me to adopt their ways outwardly.

“There are many Vaisnavas in Sri Mayapura at Khola-bhangadanga, where Chand Kazi broke the mrdanga to stop the sankirtana, and at Vairagi-danga, the place of Vaisnava asceticism. I feel happy and purified at heart when I see the radiance of their faces. But amongst all those devotees, it is Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji Mahasaya who completely captivates my mind. When I see him, my heart fills with sraddha. I would like to be by his side continuously and learn the bhakti-sastras from him. It is said in the Vedas:

atma va are drastavyah srotavyo mantavyo nididhyasitavyah

Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.5.6)

One should see, hear about, think of, and meditate on the Supreme Absolute Truth.

In this mantra, the word mantavyah means ‘to be thought of, to be considered or examined, to be admitted or assumed, to be approved or sanctioned, or to be called into question.’ Although this word suggests that one should acquire brahma-jnana by studying the nyaya-sastra, the word srotavya (to be heard or learned from a teacher) implies the necessity for something greater. So far, I have spent much of my life in useless arguments and debate. Now, without wasting any more time, I long to dedicate myself to the feet of Sri Gaura-Hari. It will therefore be most beneficial for me to go after sunset and take darsana of Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji Mahasaya.”

Vrajanatha set out for Sri Mayapura at the close of day. The sun was rapidly vanishing below the western horizon, but its crimson rays were still dancing amidst the treetops. A gentle breeze blew from the south and birds flew in various directions, returning to their nests. The first few stars were gradually appearing in the sky.  As Vrajanatha arrived in Srivasangana (the courtyard of Srivasa Thakura’s house), the Vaisnavas began sandhya-arati in worship of Bhagavan, chanting and singing with sweet voices. Vrajanatha took his seat on a platform beneath a bakula tree. His heart melted as he heard the arati-kirtana of Gaura-Hari, and when it ended, the Vaisnavas joined him on the platform.

At that time, the elderly Raghunatha dasa Babaji Mahasaya came and took a seat on the platform, chanting “Jaya Sacinandana, Jaya Nityananda, Jaya Rupa-Sanatana, Jaya Dasa Gosvami.” As he did so, everyone rose and offered him dandavat-pranama, and Vrajanatha also felt compelled to do the same. When the aged Babaji Mahasaya saw the extraordinary beauty of Vrajanatha’s face, he embraced him and requested him to sit by his side. “Who are you my son?” asked Babaji.

Vrajanatha replied, “I am one who is thirsting for the truth, and I long to receive some instruction from you.”

A Vaisnava seated nearby recognized Vrajanatha, and said, “His name is Vrajanatha Nyaya-pancanana. There is no scholar of nyaya equal to him in all of Navadvipa, but now he has developed some faith in Sacinandana.”

Hearing of Vrajanatha’s vast erudition, the elderly Babaji said courteously, “My dear son, you are a great scholar and I am a foolish and wretched soul. You are a resident of the holy dhama of our Sacinandana, and we are therefore objects of your mercy. How can we instruct you? Kindly share with us some of the purifying narrations of your Gauranga and pacify our burning hearts.”

As Babaji Maharaja and Vrajanatha conversed in this way, the other Vaisnavas gradually arose and dispersed to resume their respective services.

Vrajanatha said, “Babaji Mahasaya, I was born in a brahmana family, and as a result I am very proud of my learning. Because of my egoism of high birth and knowledge, I think this earth is within the grip of my hand. I have no idea how to honor sadhus and great persons. I cannot say by what good fortune I have awakened faith in your character and behavior. I wish to ask you a few questions; please answer them, understanding that I have not come to you with any ulterior motive.”

Vrajanatha then asked Babaji Mahasaya fervently, “Kindly instruct me: What is the jiva’s ultimate goal of life (sadhya), and what is the means (sadhana) to attain that goal? While I was studying the nyaya-sastra, I concluded that the jiva is eternally separate from Isvara, and that the mercy of Ísvara is the only cause of the jiva’s obtaining mukti. I have understood that the particular method by which the mercy of Isvara may be obtained is called sadhana. The result that is achieved through sadhana is known as sadhya. I have probed the nyaya-sastra many times with the inquiry as to what are sadhya and sadhana? However, the nyaya-sastra remains completely silent on this point. It has not supplied me with the answer. Please tell me your conclusions regarding sadhya and sadhana.”

Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji was a disciple of Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, and he was not only an erudite scholar, but also a self-realized saint. He had lived for a long time at Radha-kunda under the shelter of Sri Dasa Gosvami’s lotus feet, and every afternoon he had heard from him the pastimes of Sri Caitanyadeva.  Raghunatha dasa Babaji would regularly discuss philosophical truths with Krsnadasa Kaviraja Mahasaya, and whenever some doubt arose, they resolved it by inquiring from Sri Dasa Gosvami.  After both Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami left this world, Sri Raghunatha dasa Babaji came to Sri Mayapura and became the principal pandita-babaji in Sri Gaudamandala.  He and Premadasa Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya of Sri Godruma often discussed topics of Sri Hari, absorbed in prema.  Babaji: Nyaya-pancanana Mahasaya, anyone who studies the nyaya-sastra and then inquires about sadhya and sadhana is certainly blessed in this world, because the chief aim of the nyayasastra is to compile axiomatic truths through logical analysis. It is a waste of time to study the nyaya-sastra just to learn how to engage in dry argument and debate. If one does so, his study of logic has produced an illogical result; his labor is futile, and he has spent his life in vain.

Sadhya means the truth (tattva) that is attained by undertaking a specific practice. The practice is called sadhana and it is the means that one adopts to obtain that sadhya (goal). Those who are bound by maya view different objects as the ultimate goal of life according to their individual tendencies and qualifications. In reality, however, there is only one supreme goal.

There are three goals that one may try to attain, and different individuals will choose one or the other according to their tendency and adhikara (eligibility). These three goals are bhukti (material enjoyment), mukti (liberation), and bhakti (devotional service).  Those who are ensnared in worldly activities, and who are distracted by desires for material pleasure, take bhukti as their goal.  The sastras are compared to a cow that fulfills all desires (kamadhenu), for a human being can obtain whatever object he desires from them. The sastras dealing with karma-kanda have explained that material enjoyment is the sadhya (goal) for those who are eligible to engage in fruitive action, and these sastras delineate all varieties of material pleasure that one could possibly strive to attain in this world. Having accepted material bodies in this world, the jivas are particularly fond of sensual enjoyment. The material world is an abode to facilitate enjoyment through the material senses. The pleasure one enjoys through the senses from birth until death is known as enjoyment pertaining to this life (aihika-sukha). 

There are many different types of sensual pleasures that one may enjoy in the state one attains after death, and these are called amutrika-sukha (enjoyment pertaining to the next life). For example, the pleasures of the celestial sphere include residing in Svarga (the higher planets) or Indraloka (the planet of Indra) and witnessing the dancing of the celestial society girls known as apsaras; drinking the nectar of immortality; smelling the fragrant flowers and seeing the beauty of the nandana-kanana gardens; seeing the wonder of Indrapuri; hearing the melodious songs of the gandharvas; and associating with the celestial damsels known as vidyadharis.

Above Indraloka in succession are the planets of Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and finally Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the material universe. The sastras give fewer descriptions of Maharloka and Janaloka than of the celestial pleasures in Indraloka, and fewer descriptions still of Tapoloka and Brahmaloka.  In contrast, the sensual pleasure of this earth planet, Bhurloka, is extremely gross. The rule is that the higher the planetary system, the more subtle are the senses and their objects.  This is the only difference between these realms; otherwise, the happiness available on all these planets is merely the pleasure of the senses, and there is no happiness other than this. Spiritual happiness (cit-sukha) is absent on all these planets, for the happiness found in such places is related to the subtle body – which consists of the mind, intelligence and ego – and is merely a semblance of pure consciousness. The enjoyment of all these types of pleasure is called bhukti, and the sadhana for the jivas trapped in the cycle of karma consists of the activities they adopt to fulfill their aspirations for bhukti. It is said in the Yajur-Veda (2.5.5):

svarga-kamo ‘svamedham yajeta

Those who desire to attain the heavenly planets should perform the  asvamedha-yajna.

The sastras describe many different types of sadhana to obtain bhukti, such as a particular type of fire sacrifice called agnistoma; oblations offered to a certain class of devatas; digging wells, building temples and performing similar beneficial works for others; and ceremonies performed on the days of the new and full moon. Bhukti is the object of attainment (sadhya) for those who aspire for material enjoyment.

Some of those who are oppressed by the miseries of material existence consider the fourteen planetary systems, which are the abodes of all material enjoyment, worthless. These people therefore desire to become free from the cycle of karma. They consider that mukti is the only sadhya, and that bhukti is simply bondage.

Such people say, “Those whose inclination for material enjoyment

has not yet waned may realize their goal of bhukti by following

karma-kanda. However, Bhagavad-gita (9.21) states:


ksine punye martya-lokam visanti


When their pious credits have been exhausted, they again enter the planets of mortality.


“This sloka establishes clearly and indisputably that bhukti is perishable and not eternal. Whatever is subject to decay is material, not spiritual. One should undertake sadhana only to obtain an eternal objective. Mukti is eternal, so it must certainly be the sadhya for the jivas. Mukti can be obtained by four types of sadhana. These are: discriminating between eternal and temporary objects; renouncing enjoyment of the fruits of this world and the next; developing six qualities, such as control of the mind and senses; and cultivating the desire for liberation. These four activities are the true sadhana.”

This is the viewpoint of those who regard mukti as the object of attainment, and the sastras propounding jnana-kanda present this analysis of sadhya and sadhana.

The sastras are kama-dhenu, and they arrange different situations for the jivas according to their adhikara (level of qualification).  Mukti is generally understood to be the cessation of the individual ego. However, if the jivas retain their individual existence and identities when they attain it, mukti cannot be the final attainment. This means that the jivas can only take mukti up to the limit of annihilation of the individual self (nirvana), but the jivas are eternal, so they cannot really be annihilated. This is confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.13):

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam

He is the supreme eternal being amongst all the eternal living beings, and He is the supreme conscious entity amongst all conscious entities.

This and other Vedic mantras establish that the jiva is eternal, and that annihilation of his individual existence (nirvana) is therefore impossible. Those who accept this conclusion understand that the jiva continues to exist as an individual after he attains mukti. Consequently, they do not accept bhukti or mukti as the ultimate goal. Rather, they consider that bhukti and mukti are actually extraneous goals which are foreign to the nature of the jiva.

Every endeavor has a goal and some means to attain it. The result that one strives to attain is known as sadhya, and the practice one adopts to bring about that result is known as sadhana. If you reflect deeply, you will see that the goals of the living entities and the means that they adopt to attain them are like successive links in a chain. What is a sadhya (goal) now becomes the sadhana, the means to obtain the next sadhya later on. If one adopts this chain of cause and effect, one eventually comes to the final link in the chain. The effect, or sadhya, that is attained at that final stage is the highest and ultimate sadhya, which does not become a sadhana (means) for anything else because there is no other sadhya beyond it. When one crosses all the links in this chain of sadhya and sadhana, one eventually reaches the final link, which is known as bhakti. Bhakti is therefore the highest sadhya, because it is the jivas’ eternal state of perfection (nitya-siddha-bhava). 

Every action in human life is a link in the chain of sadhana and sadhya, or cause and effect. The karma section of this chain of cause and effect consists of many links joined together. When one progresses beyond this, a further series of links form another section known as jnana. Finally, the bhakti section begins where the jnana section ends. The final sadhya in the chain of karma is bhukti, the final sadhya in the chain of jnana is mukti, and the final sadhya in the chain of bhakti is prema-bhakti. If one reflects upon the nature of the jivas’ perfected state, one must conclude that bhakti is both sadhana and sadhya. Karma and jnana are not the final sadhya or sadhana, for they are only intermediate stages. 


Vrajanatha: There are many prominent statements in the Upanisads that do not establish that bhakti is supreme, or that it is the ultimate sadhya of attainment. It is said in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.5.15 and 2.4.24), kena kam pasyet: “Who should see?  Whom will they see? And by what means?” It is also stated in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (1.4.10), aham brahmasmi: “I am brahma.”It is said in the Aitareya Upanisad (1.5.3), prajnanam brahma: “Consciousness is brahma.” And in the Chandogya Upanisad (6.8.7) it is said, tat tvam asi svetaketo: “O Svetaketu, you are that brahma.” Considering all these statements, what is wrong in regarding mukti as the supreme sadhya?

Babaji: I have already explained that there are many different types of sadhya according to different tendencies. One cannot accept the validity of mukti as long as one has any desire for bhukti, and many of the statements in sastra are written for people on that level. For instance, the Apastamba Srauta-sutra (2.1.1) states, aksayam ha vai caturmasya-yajinah: “Those who observe the vow of caturmasya obtain perpetual residence in heaven.” Does this mean that mukti is a worthless goal? The karmis desire only sense gratification. They cannot discover the recommendations from sastra for mukti, but does that mean that mukti is not described anywhere in the Vedas? A few of the rsis who recommend the path of karma maintain that renunciation is only prescribed for those who are incompetent, and that those who are competent should perform karma. This is not actually true; these instructions are given for people on lower levels of spiritual advancement in order to promote their faith in their respective positions. 

It is inauspicious for jivas to neglect the duties for which they are responsible. If one carries out one’s duties in full faith that they are appropriate for one’s present level, one easily gains access to the next level of qualification. Consequently, prescriptions in the Vedas promoting this type of faith have not been condemned.  On the contrary, if one condemns such prescriptions one is liable to fall down. All jivas who have attained elevation in this world have done so by strictly adhering to the duties for which they were qualified.

Jnana is actually superior to karma because it yields mukti. Nonetheless, the sastras that discuss competence for karma praise karma most highly, and do not substantiate the pre-eminence of jnana. Similarly, where the sastras discuss competence for jnana, we find all the mantras that you have mentioned which praise mukti. However, just as eligibility for jnana is superior to that for karma, the eligibility for bhakti is superior to that for jnana. Mantras such as tat tvam asi and aham brahmasmi praise impersonal liberation, and they strengthen the faith of those who seek it to follow the path for which they are qualified. For this reason, it is not wrong to establish the eminence of jnana. However, jnana is not the ultimate sadhana, and the sadhya of jnana, namely mukti, is not the ultimate sadhya. The Vedic mantras establish the final conclusion that bhakti is the sadhana, and prema-bhakti is the sadhya.


Vrajanatha: The mantras that I quoted are principal statements of the Vedas, known as maha-vakyas. How can the sadhya and sadhana that they put forward possibly be extraneous?

Babaji: The Vedic statements you quoted just a moment ago are not described as maha-vakyas anywhere in the Vedas, nor have they been described as superior to other statements. Teachers of jnana have proclaimed that these statements are maha-vakyas in order to establish the pre-eminence of their own doctrine, but in reality, pranava (om) is the only maha-vakya. All other Vedic statements relate only to particular aspects of Vedic knowledge. 

It would not be incorrect to refer to all the statements of the Vedas as maha-vakyas. However, it is dogmatic to single out one particular statement of the Vedas as the maha-vakya, and to label all others as ordinary. Those who do so are committing an offense to the Vedas. The Vedas describe many extraneous goals and the means to attain them, so they sometimes praise karma-kanda, and sometimes mukti, but in the ultimate analysis, the Vedas conclude that bhakti alone is both sadhana and sadhya.

The Vedas are like a cow, and Sri Nanda-nandana is the milkman.  In the Bhagavad-gita (6.46-47), He has revealed the purport of the Vedas regarding their ultimate aim:

tapasvibhyo ‘dhiko yogi jnanibhyo ‘pi mato ‘dhikah

karmibhyas cadhiko yogi tasmad yogi bhavarjuna

yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana

sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah


O Arjuna, a yogi is greater than all types of ascetics, fruitive workers, and those who cultivate impersonal knowledge aiming at liberation. Therefore, become a yogi. And I consider that the greatest of all yogis is one who is attached to Me with firm faith, and who constantly worships Me with full expression of the heart.


It is said in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.23):

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau

tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah


All the confidential purports of the Vedas are fully revealed to that great soul who has the same para-bhakti for his Gurudeva as he has for Sri Bhagavan.


It is said in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad, Purva-vibhaga (2.2):

bhaktir asya bhajanam tad ihamutropadhi-

nairasyenaivamusmin manasah kalpanam

etad eva ca naiskarmyam


Bhakti performed for the pleasure of Sri Krsna is known as bhajana. This means to give up all desires for enjoyment in this world and the next, to dedicate one’s mind unto Krsna, and to develop a feeling of complete unity with Him because of an overwhelming sense of prema. This bhajana also entails freedom from all result-oriented activity.

It is said in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (1.4.8):

atmanam eva priyam upasita

One should worship the Supreme Soul, Sri Krsna, as the dearest object of one’s affection.

In the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.5.6) it is also said:

atma va are drastavyah srotavyo

mantavyo nididhyasitavyah


O Maitreyi, one should see, hear about, think of and meditate upon the Supreme Absolute Truth Paramatma.       

When one studies these Vedic statements carefully, it is clear that bhakti is the best form of sadhana.

Vrajanatha: The karma-kanda section of the Vedas gives instructions to perform bhakti to Isvara, who bestows the results of all action. In the jnana-kanda section we also find instructions to satisfy Hari by performing bhakti through the medium of the four types of sadhana known as sadhana-catustaya. So how can bhakti be the sadhya if it is the means to obtain bhukti and mukti? Since bhakti is the means, it ceases to exist when it produces bhukti or mukti. This is the general principle. Please educate me on this question.

Babaji: It is true that performing the regulated practices (sadhana) of bhakti in karma-kanda gives material enjoyment, and bhaktisadhana performed in jnana-kanda gives mukti. One cannot achieve any result without satisfying Paramesvara, and He is only satisfied by bhakti. He is the reservoir of all potencies, and whatever potency is found within the jivas, or within inert matter, is only an infinitesimal display of His potency. Karma and jnana cannot satisfy Isvara. Karma and jnana give a result only with the help of bhagavadbhakti.  They are incapable of producing a result independently.  Therefore, it is seen that there is an arrangement for some performance of a semblance of bhakti in karma and jnana. However, this is not suddha-bhakti. Rather, it is only bhakty-abhasa.  Accordingly, the bhakti seen in karma and jnana is a mere semblance of devotion, not suddha-bhakti, and it is this bhakty-abhasa that is instrumental in bringing forth the results of those pursuits. 

There are two types of bhakty-abhasa: suddha bhakty-abhasa (pure) and viddha bhakty-abhasa (adulterated). I shall describe pure bhakty-abhasa later, but for the present, you should know that there are three types of adulterated bhakty-abhasa. These are bhakty-abhasa adulterated with fruitive action, bhakty-abhasa adulterated with monistic knowledge, and bhakty-abhasa adulterated with both fruitive action and monistic knowledge.

While a person is performing a yajna, he may say, “O Indra, O Pusana (the devata of the sun), please be merciful and give us the results of this yajna.” All activities exhibiting a semblance of Bhakti adulterated with this type of desire are known as a semblance of bhakti adulterated with fruitive action. Some magnanimous souls have referred to this type of adulterated bhakti as devotion mixed with fruitive action (karma-misra-bhakti). Others have described it as activities to which the symptoms of bhakti are indirectly attributed (aropa-siddha-bhakti).


Another person may say, “O Yadunandana, I have come to You out of fear of material existence. I chant Your name, Hare Krsna, day and night. Please grant me liberation. O Supreme Lord, You are brahma. I have fallen into the trap of maya. Please deliver me from this entanglement and let me merge in oneness with You.” These sentiments are a semblance of bhakti adulterated with monistic knowledge. Some magnanimous souls have described this as devotion mixed with monistic knowledge (jnana-misra-bhakti), and others as activities to which the symptoms of bhakti are indirectly attributed (aropa-siddha-bhakti). These adulterated forms of devotion are different from suddha-bhakti. 

It is said in the Gita (6.47), sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah, “I consider that one who worships Me with faith is the best of all yogis.” The bhakti to which Sri Krsna is referring in this statement is suddha-bhakti, and this is our sadhana. When it is perfected, it is prema. Karma and jnana are the means to obtain bhukti and mukti respectively. They are not the means by which the jiva can obtain his nitya-siddha-bhava, or eternal constitutional position of divine love.

When Vrajanatha had heard all these conclusive truths, he was unable to make further inquiries that day. Instead, he reflected within himself, “The examination and discussion of all these subtle philosophical truths is superior to the dialectical analysis of the nyaya-sastra. Babaji Mahasaya is vastly learned in these matters. I will gradually acquire knowledge by inquiring from him about these topics. It is quite late, so I should return home now.”

Thinking thus, he said, “Babaji Mahasaya, today by your mercy, I have received essential superior knowledge. I would like to come to you from time to time to receive this type of instruction. You are a deeply realized scholar and a great teacher; please be merciful to me. Kindly permit me to ask you just one more question today, since it is already late, and I will return home when I have heard your answer. Did Sri Sacinandana Gauranga write any book in which all of His instructions can be found? If He did, I am anxious to read it.”

Babaji Mahasaya replied, “Sriman Mahaprabhu did not write any book of His own, but His followers wrote many books on His order. Mahaprabhu personally gave the jivas eight instructions in the form of aphorisms, named Siksastaka. These are like a necklace of jewels for the bhaktas. In these eight slokas, He has imparted the instructions of the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Upanisads, and the Puranas in a concise and confidential manner, as if keeping a vast ocean in a single pitcher. Based on these confidential instructions, the bhaktas have composed ten fundamental principles known as Dasa-mula. This Dasa-mula succinctly describes both sadhya and sadhana with reference to the topics of sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana. You should understand this first.”

“Whatever you order, it is my duty to fulfill,” said Vrajanatha.  “You are my siksa-guru. I will come tomorrow evening and take instruction from you on Dasa-mula.”

Vrajanatha then offered dandavat-pranama to Babaji Mahasaya, who embraced him with great affection. “My son,” said Babaji, “you have purified the brahmana lineage. It will give me great pleasure if you come tomorrow evening.”






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