The first annual function at r Indrapraha Gauya Maha, Delhi, a branch of r Gauya Sagha founded by r rmad Bhakti-sraga Gosvm Mahrja was held on 29th/30th January 1964, with great celebration. On this occasion, an assembly of learned religious scholars gathered in the evening of the January 30th under the presidency of the Chief Commissioner of Delhi, r Dharmaviraj. After brief speeches by the founder-crya of r Gauya Sagha and r Dharmaviraj, the following tridai-sannyss and scholars made their respective speeches: (1) Tridai Svm rmad Bhakti-saurabha Bhaktisra Mahrja, (2) Tridai Svm rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja, (3) Tridai Svm rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Mahrja, (4) Tridai Svm rmad Bhakti-kamala Parvata Mahrja, (5) Dr. r R.V. Josh M.A., Ph.D., Delete (Paris), (6) Dr. r K.D. Bhardawaja M.A., Ph.D., str-purcrya Vidysgara.

 

The first annual function of

r Indrapraha Gauya Maha

 

 

 

Tridai Svm rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Mahrja (speaking), Tridai Svm rmad Bhakti-saurabha Bhaktisra Mahrja (seated on left side), Tridai Svm rmad Bhaktivednta Svm Mahrja (seated in the center), Tridai Svm rmad Bhakti-sraga Gosvm Mahrja (seated on right side).


[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font (available here)
for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English]

 

 

 

This is the lecture given in that auspicious assembly

by r rmad Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja.

 

Nitya-dharma

by r rman Bhaktivednta Nryaa Gosvm Mahrja

 

The Story of Indra and Virocana

 

The words nitya-dharma (eternal religion) automatically presuppose the inherent and unavoidable object of that nitya-dharma, he who performs it. This is due to the inseparable connection between dharma and dharm (the practitioner of religion). The example is given of the inseparable relationship between water and liquidity or between fire and warmth. Before considering the dharma of any entity, it is essential to first reflect on the tattva of that entity. Thus, first we consider what tattva I actually is. The Chndogya Upaniad narrates the story of Indra and Virocana by which this tattva of the soul can easily be understood.

 

At the beginning of Satya-yuga, the entire universe was divided into two camps, the demigods and the demons. The head of the demon party was King Virocana, and the leader of the demigods was Devarja Indra. They rivaled for the attainment of unparalleled happiness and enjoyment. Thus bearing envy and spite towards each other, they approached Prajpati Brahm, the father of the universe, and asked him how they could fulfill their desires.

 

Prajpati Brahm said: One is able to easily attain all the enjoyment available in all the worlds and to satisfy ones every desire when one knows the soul. That soul is free from sin, old age, death, lamentation, hunger and desire, and he is satya-kama and satyasakalpa that is, his every endeavor and resolve is truthful and just.

 

To realize the soul both Indra and Virocana resided with Brahm and practised celibacy for thirty two years. They then prayed to Prajpati to tell them about the soul. Prajpati said, That person (self) you are now seeing with your eyes is the soul, and he is fearless and immortal.

 

They enquired further, Is the soul that person (self) seen in water or in a mirror?

 

Prajpati told them to look into separate clay pots filled with water. He asked them, What do

you see?

 

Upon seeing their reflections in the water they said, O Lord, we see the whole soul just as it is, from the hair on his head down to his toenails. Prajpati then asked them to cut their nails and hair and decorate themselves with ornaments. He again requested them to look into the clay pots. Now what do you see?

 

We see that the two persons in these reflections have also been cleaned and decorated in very beautiful clothes and ornaments, just as we have; and thus they resemble us perfectly.

 

Prajpati said, This is the soul and he is fearless and immortal.

 

Hearing this Indra and Virocana departed with satisfied hearts. Upon reaching the abode of the demons, Virocana, who now understood the body to be the soul and the object of worship and service, declared: O demons, he who worships his body as the soul attains this world as well as the upper planets. All his desires are fulfilled and he attains full enjoyment.

 

But Indra deliberated upon this on his journey home. This body takes birth, dies, undergoes transformations, is subject to disease and so forth. How, then, can this be the immortal soul who is without birth, death, distress and fear?

 

Although halfway home, Indra now returned to Prajpati and told him about his doubt. Prajpati made Indra live in celibacy for another thirty-two years and then said to him, That person who is understood to be I within a dream is the soul, and he is fearless and immortal.

 

Hearing this, Indra left with a peaceful heart; but upon his journey home he again began to reflect. He thought: When someone is awake his body may be blind, yet in a dream his body will not be blind. Someones body may be diseased, yet in a dream that person may remain free from disease. But suppose that within a dream the person identified with as the self is beaten or killed. He still fears and cries, and upon awakening that self ceases to exist. Thus, the form seen in a dream cannot in fact be the soul.

 

Thinking like this Indra returned to Prajpati. After practising celibacy for another thirty-two years, Prajpati instructed him as follows: The soul lies in that state of deep sleep where there is no vision or even the experience of dreaming.

 

But as before, Indra began to contemplate Prajpatis words on his way home. In the condition of deep sleep, he thought, there is no understanding of who one is, nor is anyone else being perceived. This condition is therefore a type of destruction.

 

Thinking like this, Indra returned to Prajpati once again. This time, after five years of celibacy, Prajpati instructed him anew. Indra, the physical body, which is naturally subject to death, is only the abode of the soul. The tm is attached to the body, just as a horse or bull remains harnessed to a cart. In reality it is the person who has desires such as I shall look who is the soul. For this task there are senses, like the eyes. He who desires I shall speak is the soul, and for the act of speaking there is the tongue. He who wills I shall hear is the soul, and for the act of hearing there are ears. He who desires to think is the soul, and the mind carries out that thinking for him.

 

From this tale it is clear that the soul has three abodes, just as a peanut has three elements (the shell, the skin and the nut itself). The souls abodes are (1) the gross body consisting of five mundane elements; (2) the subtle body which possesses a semblance of consciousness;

and beyond these, (3) the pure body of the soul. Each of these bodies has its own separate dharma. The gross and subtle bodies are both impermanent. Thus their respective dharmas are also temporary. The soul, however, is eternal and everlasting. This is the established doctrine of Veda, Vednta, the Upaniads and the Puras. Therefore the dharma of this soul is indeed nitya-dharma or santana dharma (eternal function). It is also called Vedic dharma or bhagavat-dharma.

 

The Souls True and Acquired Natures

 

That which is called dharma should be understood. The word dharma is formed from the root syllable dh, which means dhraa, to retain. Therefore, dharma means that which is retained. The permanent nature or quality that is retained by a being is that beings nitya-dharma. When, by the desire of the Lord, any being is created, that beings eternal nature (svabhva) also becomes evident simultaneously. This nature or quality is that being's nitya-dharma. If a transformation later takes place within that entity, incidentally or because of any connection with another object, then that entitys eternally present nature becomes transformed or distorted. Gradually the distorted nature becomes steady and it appears to be eternal and pure like his previous nature. Yet this transformed nature is not his actual nature. This nature is called nisarga (acquired nature), and it is temporary.

 

This acquired nature takes prominence over a persons true nature, and begins to assert its own identity as the real nature. Water is a substance whose dharma is fluidity; but when water solidifies into ice its dharma, or nature (i.e. fluidity), also transforms and

becomes hardness. This quality of hardness has become the nisarga, distorted nature, of the water and it now acts in place of the waters true nature of fluidity. Nisarga, however, is not permanent; it is temporary. Because it has come about by some cause or force, when this force is removed the nisarga itself is removed and the true nature manifests once more, just as ice again becomes liquid when placed near heat.

 

The Nature of the Infinitesimal Jva

 

To understand this subject of the soul properly it is essential to understand the tattva and eternal nature of the jva. By this knowledge one can very easily understand nitya-dharma (the living entities eternal function) and naimittika-dharma (the living entities temporary

function).

 

Bhagavn r Ka the creator, maintainer and annihilator of the universe, the origin of all and the cause of all causes is the undifferentiated Absolute Truth. He is not formless (nirkra) or devoid of features (nirviea); these are only his partial manifestations (ika-bhva). In reality He possesses a transcendental form. He is the inconceivable possessor of all power and He is endowed with six opulences. By the influence of His inconceivable aghaana-ghaanaakti, the potency that makes the impossible possible, the supreme tattva, r Ka, manifests in four aspects as svarpa, tad-rpa-vaibhava, the jva and pradhna.

 

To help us understand this, these four can be compared to the sun, the surface of the sun globe, the atomic particles within the suns rays, and a reflection of the sun, respectively. rla Jva Gosvm states:

 

ekam eva parama-tattva svbhavvikcintya-akty

sarvadaiva svarpa-tad-rpa-vaibhava-jva-pradhna-rpea

caturdhvatihate sryntar-maala-stha-teja iva

maala tad-bahirgata-tad-rami-tat-praticchavi-rpea

 

The Absolute Truth is one. His unique characteristic is

that He is endowed with inconceivable potency,

through which He always manifests in four ways: (1)

svarpa (as His original form), (2) tad-rpa-vaibhava

(as His personal splendor, including His abode and

His eternal associates, expansions and avatras), (3)

the jvas (as individual spirit souls), and (4) pradhna

(as the material energy). These four features are

likened to the interior of the sun planet, the surface of

the sun, the sunrays emanating from this surface, and

a remotely situated reflection, respectively.

 

rla Jva Gosvm further states that if we liken Ka, the complete conscious entity (purna-cit-tattva), to the sun, the jvas may be compared to the localized particles of the sun's rays. The description of the jvas svarpa is found in Bhagavad-gt (15.7): mamaivo jva-loke jva bhta santana the eternal jvas in this material world are certainly My separated parts and parcels. It is found in the Bhadrayaka Upaniad (2.1.20): yathgne kudr visphulig vyuccarnti innumerable jvas emanate from para-brahma just as tiny sparks emanate from a fire. It is found in the vetvatara Upaniad (5.9): blgraata- bhgasya atadh kalpitasya ca, bhgo jva sa vijeya sa cnantyya kalpate one should know that the jva is the size of one ten-thousandth of the tip of a hair. It is also found in r Caitanya-caritmta (Madhya 20.109): srya-kiraa, yena agni-jvlcaya like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire.

 

These quotes confirm that the jva is the separated part of the transformation of sarva-saktimn r Kas marginal potency. The vetvatara Upaniad (6.8) states: parsya aktir vividhaiva ryate a single supreme potency of r Ka manifests as numerous powers (aktis), of which three are prominent namely, cit, jva and my. By the Lords desire, the

jva-akti, being situated between the cit- and myaktis, manifests innumerable insignificant, atomically conscious jvas. These jvas are spiritual entities (cidvastu) by nature and are capable of wandering throughout the spiritual or the material worlds. For this or marginal potency, and the jvas themselves are called tatah-dharm-jvas, jvas who are neutral by nature.

 

The Relationship Between Ka and the Jva

 

akti-aktimat or abheda. According to this aphorism from Vednta-stra, Ka and Ka's akti are non-different from each other. Therefore Ka and the transformation of His akti, the jvas, are also non-different. But this oneness is only from the perspective of their being equal as spiritually conscious beings (cidvastu). Ka, however, is the complete conscious being and the master of my, while the jvas are atomically conscious. Because of their marginal nature, the jvas are capable of becoming subject to my even in their pure state. Ka is the possessor of all power and the jvas are devoid of power. Thus there is an eternal difference between Ka and the jvas.

 

From the philosophical perspective this difference and non-difference is beyond human intelligence, and is therefore called the doctrine of acintya-bhedbhedatattva, the science of inconceivable difference and nondifference. r Ka Caitanya Mahprabhu, who is Svayam Bhagavn, completely harmonised the contextual doctrines of the Vedas with those of the previous Vaiava cryas. He took r Rmnuja cryas viidvaita doctrine, r Madhvcryas uddha-dvaita doctrine, r Viusvms uddhdvaita doctrine and r Nimbditya cryas bhedbheda doctrine and revealed their synthesis the acintya-bhedbheda doctrine, which is the universal, absolute understanding of the Vedas.

 

Thus, Ka is ai, the source of all expansions, and the jvas are His vibhinna-tattva, or separated parts and parcels. Ka is the attractor and the jvas are the attracted. Ka is the object of service and the jvas are the performers of service. Service to the completely conscious being, r Ka, is the real nature (svabhva) of the atomically conscious jvas. This service is indeed called aprakta prema-dharma, the transcendental religion of unalloyed love for r Ka. Thus, this service to Ka, this ka-prema, is the constitutional nature (nitya-dharma) of the jva. Jvera svarpa haya kera nitya dsa the constitutional nature of the jva is to be an eternal servant of r Ka (r Caitanya-caritmta, Madhya 20.108).

 

But if that jva, whose nature is marginal, and who is atomically conscious, becomes adverse to the service of Ka, then Kas my-akti covers that pure jvas atomic, conscious nature with the subtle and gross material bodies. My thus causes these jvas to habitually

wander throughout the 8,400,000 species of life.

 

When the jvas are reinstated in their service to Ka, they are released from their bodies imposed by my. As long as the jva fails in his inclination to serve Ka he will continue to be scorched by the threefold miseries. At this time the jvas pure svarpa is covered by the curtains of my, and his nitya-dharma, eternal nature, is also covered or perverted. This perverted nature is the jvas occasional function (naimittikadharma), just as water becomes solid when transformed into ice. This temporary dharma is of many types according to the time, place and recipient.

 

Divisions of Dharma

 

All the varieties of dharma in this world can be divided into three general categories: nitya-dharma, naimittika-dharma and anitya-dharma. Anityadharma is that dharma which does not accept the existence of the Lord and the eternality of the soul. Naimittika-dharma is that dharma which accepts the eternality of the Lord and the jvas, but only prescribes temporary means to attain the Lords mercy. And nityadharma is that dharma which endeavors by the

means of pure love to obtain the servitorship of Ka. This nitya-dharma is one, although different countries, castes and languages identify it by various names. This is the supreme occupation of all jvas.

 

In India this dharma is presented as vaiavadharma. Vaiava-dharma is eternal and the highest ideal of supreme dharma. In the performance of occasionally prescribed duties there is no direct execution of nitya-dharma. Rather it indirectly aims at nityadharma. Thus it is of very little use. Those processes that make up anitya-dharma are devoid of nityadharma and are described as the function of animals. They are fit to be rejected.

 

hra-nidr-bhaya-maithuna ca

smnyam etat paubhir narm

dharmo hi tem adhiko vieo

dharmea hn paubhi samna

 

Hitopadea (25)

 

Human beings are equal to animals in the matter of

eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. Yet the quality of

religion is unique to human beings. Without religion,

they are no better than animals.

 

That dharma in which the nature of the self (the soul) is not cultivated; in which endeavors are made to increase eating, sleeping, mating and defending; and in which enjoyment of the temporary sense objects is supported as the ultimate objective of human life, is the dharma of animals. In this so-called dharma, it is in fact completely impossible to escape all sorrow and

attain pure happiness, which is the goal of human life. Therefore, it has been stated in the rmad- Bhgavatam (11.3.18):

 

karmy rabhamn

dukha-hatyai sukhya ca

payet pka-viparysa

mithun-cri nm

 

All men in this world are inclined to perform karma

for the purpose of becoming liberated from sorrow

and attaining happiness. But the opposite results are

seen. In other words, sorrow is not dispelled and happiness

is not attained.

 

For this reason rmad-Bhgavatam gives the highest instruction for all people of the world:

 

labdhv su-durlabham ida bahu-sambhavnte

mnuyam artha-dam anityam apha dhra

tra yateta na pated anu-mtyu yvan

nireyasya viaya khalu sarvata syt

 

rmad-Bhgavatam (11.9.29)

 

After wandering throughout 8,400 000 species of life

one achieves the rare human form of life, which,

although temporary, affords one the opportunity to

attain the highest perfection. Thus, a sober human

being, without wasting even a moment, should

endeavor for the ultimate welfare of life as long as

his body, which is always subject to death, has not

fallen down and died.

 

Some persons accept karma, while others accept jna or yoga to be the means to attain ultimate prosperity. But this is refuted in rmad-Bhgavatam (1.5.12):

 

naikarmyam apy acyuta-bhva-varjita

na obhate jnam ala nirajanam

 

rmad-Bhgavatam (1.5.12)

 

Knowledge of self-realization, even though free from

all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a

conception of the Supreme Lord.

 

rmad-Bhgavatam (11.14.20) further states:

 

na sdhayati m yogo

na skhya dharma uddhava

na svdhyyas tapas tygo

yath bhaktir mamorjit

 

O Uddhava, yoga, skhya, study of the Vedas, austerity

and giving in charity cannot overpower Me as

does the intense bhakti performed solely for Me.

 

The meaning of this verse is that bhagavad-bhakti is the only means by which one can attain his ultimate benefit. This instruction is also given in the rutis: bhaktirevaina nayati bhaktiravaina darayati bhaktirvao puruo bhaktireva bhyas It is Bhakti that reveals Bhagavn to the jvas. That Supreme Person is controlled by this bhakti only. Therefore bhakti is superior to all other practices and is the nityadharma of the jva. In rmad-Bhgavatam (11.14.21) Ka also says: bhaktyham ekay grya I can be attained by bhakti alone.

 

The Nature and Science of Bhakti

 

What is the svarpa of bhakti? ailya-stra states: s parnuraktirvare bhakti is supreme

attachment or love for the Lord; moreover, since it has the propensity to control the supreme controller, its nature is immortal. rla Rpa Gosvm describes the intrinsic nature of bhakti as follows:

 

anybhilit nya jna-karmdy-anvtam

nuklyena knulanam bhakir uttama

 

Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu (1.1.11)

 

Uttam-bhakti, pure devotional service, is the cultivation

of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure

of r Ka in other words, the uninterrupted

flow of service to r Ka performed through all

endeavors of body, mind and speech, and through

the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhvas).

It is not covered by jna (knowledge aimed at

impersonal liberation) and karma (reward seeking

activity), yoga or austerities; and it is completely

free from all desires other than the aspiration to

bring happiness to r Ka.

 

Bhakti has two stages: the stage of practice and the stage of perfection. The stage of practice is called sdhana-bhakti and the stage of perfection is called sdhya-bhakti or prema-bhakti. Eternally perfect love for Ka is sdhya-bhakti, and it is the jvas only eternal religion

(nitya-dharma or svarpa-dharma). This sdhya-bhakti, although eternally perfect, remains covered in those jvas who have fallen into materialism. When a person in this state attempts to uncover this ka-prema by the practice of bhakti through his present senses, it is called sdhana-bhakti. This sdhana-bhakti is also nitya-dharma. It is the immature state of

nitya-dharma, whereas sdhya-bhakti is said to be the fully matured and ripened state of nitya-dharma. Thus, although nitya-dharma is one, it has two stages.

 

Sdhana-bhakti is also of two types: vaidh and rgnug. Until a spontaneous attachment and taste for Ka appears in the heart of a sdhaka, he follows the regulative activities and rules prescribed in stra. In this way, by observing the discipline of stra, he engages in ka-bhakti. Performance of such sdhana-bhakti is called vaidhsdhana-bhakti. By contrast, one is engaged in rgnug-sdhana when a spontaneous attachment (rga) and taste arises in the

heart; when, without regard to the rules and regulations of stra, one becomes intensely eager to possess the moods of the vrajavss, which are full of attachment for Ka; and when one performs sdhana to follow those vrajavss.

 

The Glories of Sakrtana

 

Generally there are sixty four limbs of this sdhana-bhakti. After taking shelter of the lotus feet of r guru (gurupdsraya) the prominent limbs are hearing (ravaam), chanting (krtanam),

Remembering (smaranam), offering prayers (vandanam), worshipping (arcanam), rendering service (dsyam), friendship (sakhyam) and offering ones very self (tma-nivedanam). Of these nine limbs, the three limbs of hearing, chanting and remembering are superior to the others; and of these three, hari-krtana is supreme. All the limbs of bhakti are fully included in harinma-sakrtana.

 

According to tattva, Ka and Kas names are non-different from each other. The glories of harinma are found in profusion throughout stra. Especially in Kali-yuga, harinma-krtana is the sole dharma or refuge:

 

harer nma harer nma harer nmaiva kevalam

kalau nsty eva nsty eva nsty eva gatir anyath

 

Bhan-nradya Pura

 

In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of

deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord.

There is no other way. There is no other way. There is

no other way.

 

rmad-Bhgavatam (6.3.22) also states that harinma-sakrtana is the only supreme dharma of the living beings:

 

etvn eva loke smin

pus dharma para smta

bhakti-yogo bhagavati

tan-nma-grahadibhi

 

Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society.

 

The Development from raddh to Prema

 

The sequential progression of the cultivation of nitya-dharma as revealed by rla Rpa Gosvm is surely unparalleled and most wonderful in this world:

 

dau raddha tata sdhu-sago tha bhajana-kriya

tato nartha-nivtti syattato nih rucistata

athsaktis tata bhvstata premabhyudacati

sdhaknmaya premna prdurbhave bhavet krama

 

Bhakti-rasmta-sindhu (Eastern Division 4.11)

 

In the beginning, faith in bhakti will arise in a very fortunate person due to the accumulated result of sukti, previous transcendental pious activities. This faith is the seed of the bhakti creeper. Thereafter comes the association of sdhus and guru, and under their guidance one performs bhajana. As a result of performing bhajana, anarthas are destroyed. One thus attains nih and then ruci, sakti and bhva. Bhva is said to be the sprout of prema. When the fully matured state of bhva becomes condensed it is called prema. This prema alone is the nitya-dharma of the jvas. This is also the advice of the Supreme Lord Himself, r Ka Caitanya Mahprabhu. It is the most confidential, established subject matter of Veda, Vednta, stra, the Upaniads and the Puras.

 

True Dharma and Cheating Religions

 

In the world today the majority of dharmas are, in the words of rmad-Bhgavatam,

kaitava-dharma, cheating religion. r Caitanya-bhgavat also states: pthivte dharma nme yata kath cale, bhgavata kahe th paripra chale all worldly ideas that go by the name of religion are, according to rmad-Bhgavatam, nothing more than a deception.

 

Anitya-dharma is that dharma in which prayer for bread and butter is the highest form of worship of the Lord; in which one changes his moral conduct from that of a Hindu to that of a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Christian and a Hindu once again; and in which one attempts to rid oneself of bodily diseases, considering his body to be his soul (self) and his soul to be the Lord. Feeding the people kichar with the misconception that they are poor; constructing hospitals and godless educational centers believing this to be the topmost service to God; thinking that nitya-dharma, anityadharma and all other varieties of dharma are one; neglecting

nitya-dharma and propagating secularism; sacrificing harmless animals and birds in the name of love for the world; and serving man and nation, are all anitya-dharma. None of these activities ever brings permanent welfare to the world.

 

However, if we consider nitya-dharma to be like a temple in other words, to be our highest objective we may accept these other dharmas partially, but only as steps to reach this temple of nitya-dharma. Wherever these other dharmas contradict, cover or dominate nitya-dharma, they should be completely abandoned. Morality, humanity or worldly love that are devoid of nitya-dharma are meaningless and unworthy of any glorification. The real objective and only purpose of humanity and morality is to attain ka-prema, love for Ka.

 

If there is just one true performer of this nitya-dharma who keeps the fire of hari-sakrtana ablaze, then his nation, caste and society can never be ruined even after that nation is oppressed and kept dependent by another country and has its treasures looted, its scriptures burned to ashes, and its culture and prosperity destroyed. This sakrtana makes possible the eternal welfare of the world and of ones country, society, caste and self.

 

I complete my lecture by repeating the final instruction of r Ka, the founder of

dharma, as found in the Gitopaniad (18.66):

 

sarva-dharmn parityajya

mm eka araa vraja

aha tv sarva-ppebhyo

mokayiymi m uca

 

Completely abandon all varieties

of dharma relating to your body

and mind, and just surrender

fully unto Me. I shall deliver

you from all sinful reactions.

Do not fear.

 

[Translated from r Bhgavata-patrik 9/9]

RAYS OF THE HARMONIST No. 12 Gaura Purnima 2003

 


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