In Harinama Cintamani the philosophy of nama-bhajana has been described somewhat, and further elaborations are also found in Jaiva Dharma. So what is the speciality and what is the necessity of this Bhajana Rahasya? Though Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained the outline of the process of bhajana in his other books, here in Bhajana Rahasya he has explained specifically how he himself has performed bhajana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has written in his introduction, I saw how my father would take rest at 10 and get up at midnight. In the middle of the night he would chant harinama and he would relish the nectar of these verses of Bhajana Rahasya. Sometimes, being completely absorbed in a state of transcendental bewilderment, after rising he would wrap his dhoti like a veil. And sometimes he would cook puris in the middle of the night because he was experiencing the pastimes of Radha and Krsna and he felt the necessity to prepare something for Them. He would sit and chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Sometimes he would stop for a moment and then he would recite a verse:
asasya dasyam vrsabhanu-jayas'Hey Radhe! Hey Vrsabhanu-nandini! When will I, as Your unexpected guest, waiting for You, sit beside the path in the courtyard of Your kunja on the bank of Yamuna in Vrndavana? At that time I will hold my prana within, only on the strength of the hope that You will accept me as Your maidservant.' Then again he would continue to chant while relishing the waves of the loving sentiments within the verse. In this way, he would recite the verses of this Bhajana Rahasya, and become completely absorbed in his siddha-deha.
tire samadhyasya ca bhanujayah
kada nu vrndavana kunja vithisv
aham nu radhe hy atithirbhaveyam
(Radha-Rasa-Sudha-Nidhi 198, Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati)
Therefore, the speciality of Sri Bhajana Rahasya is that here Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained his own internal spiritual life. He has opened this up for us so that we can follow him. Before reading this book, it is important to take shelter of the introduction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, wherein he elaborates on the meaning of the title of the book, Bhajana Rahasya. Before entering into this book, by the mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, we should have a clear idea of what is bhajana and what is rahasya. First of all, there is navada-bhakti, nine angas of bhakti, and among them one anga is called arcana. But this book is not talking about any one anga; this book is explaining samagra bhajana, complete bhajana-complete and perfect bhajana. There is a great difference between samagra bhajana and the bhajana anga, that is, arcana. We think that If I am chanting and remembering, this is bhajana. No! It may only be arcana-one's chanting of harinama may be considered in the category of arcana. Why? Because bhajana and arcana have their laksana, their characteristics. Arcana means the devotee is engaging in the angas of bhakti, but he has dehatma-buddhi, identification with this external material body and internally, the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego.
Therefore, before doing any chanting or seva, one must first do bhuta-suddhi, clear the consciousness. The bhuta-suddhi mantra is:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudroI am not brahmacari, grhastha, sannyasi or vanaprastha. I am not brahmana, vaisya, sudra or ksatriya. I am none of these things. Who am I? I am only the servant of the servant of the servant, dasanusa, dasi anudasi anudasi of Radha-Gopinatha, Gopi-Jana-Vallabha. This is the soul's identity. This is called visesa sambandha-jnana. The devotee may be doing some devotional activity but if he has dehatma-buddhi, then he is sambandha-jnana rahita, devoid of realization of his relationship. He has heard from Guru, You should aspire to follow this particular mood, but has no realization. Why? Because he is covered by anartha. As a consequence of this he serves his beloved Lord with aisvarya-jnana yukta maryada-buddhi, being under the control of etiquette and rules and regulations, due to some fear of his istadeva because of being absorbed in the conception of aisvarya-jnana.
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vana-stho yatir va
kintu prodyan nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
Thus, when the devotee is offering to his deity, to his Lord, the substances of this world, material paraphernalia (prapancika-vastu, jagatika-vastu), this is called arcana. When he has this idea, when all these symptoms are together, or any of these symptoms are present, this is called arcana. His chanting, remembering and everything is arcana. This arcana is for the kanistha-adhikari, but not even the beginning or ordinary kanistha-adhikari, it is for the kanistha-adhikari who has a little steadiness-he has some faith and he is trying very hard. This arcana arrangement has been made for him to gradually make his citta suddha, to purify his consciousness.
And what is bhajana? Bhajana is the opposite of this. Dehatma-buddhi is very far away. Those who are doing bhajana have no identification at all. Bhajana is not done by the external senses of the body. Bhajana is done by the senses of the soul's body. So he has no dehatma-buddhi, because he is established in sambandha-jnana, realized knowledge of his identity. And he has no aisvarya-jnana. Rather, he has lokika-sadbandhu-vat-sambandha-he has a relationship with his istadeva-a natural, loving, family-type of relationship. This is the platform and basis of all asta-kaliya-lila smarana. Lokika sambandhu-vat-sambandha-with no aisvarya-jnana or maryada-buddhi. Furthermore, his offerings are not the things of this world-jagatika- or prapancika-vastu-no. He does bhava-mayi seva, serving by moods, offerings of moods. When all these sypmtoms are present, that cultivation is called bhajana.
So, there are two things-one is bhajana and one is rahasya. What does rahasya mean? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that rahasya refers to that confidential knowledge which can only be understood by a person who has very strong faith, and that knowledge is instructed, given to him by his guru-diksa guru or siksa guru who is a qualified Vaisnava. This is called rahasya. This confidential knowledge given by the Guru is mentioned among the angas of bhakti:
guru-padasraya, diksa, gurura sevanaGuru-padasraya-unconditional surrender at the lotus feet of sad-guru. Receive diksa mantra. Gurura-sevana: render service to sad-guru. Sad-dharma prccha: inquire; then siksa: this instruction has a platform on which to rest. All are not qualified. Therefore, rahasya-the confidential knowledge is the phala-svarupa, the embodiment of the fruit of guru-seva. For those who day and night, 100 percent, have given their life and soul to their Gurudeva, what is the phala-svarupa? The embodiment of the fruit of this guru-seva is this rahasya, confidential knowledge. Guru gives this to the disciple-how he can enter into bhajana rajya, the realm of real bhajana.
(CC Madhya 22.115)
So this grantha is very important because today there is so much confusion about what is bhajana and how to enter into it. You can go to any sahajiya babaji and they will tell you, In Gaudiya Math there is no bhajana-pranali, no process. They are not giving gopis' mood-eleven bhavas, eka-dasa-bhava. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is not the disciple of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and where did this red cloth come from, and why do they give sannyasa? Rupa and Sanatana, the six Gosvamis, were not sannyasis. So they are not rupanuga.
Give up Gaudiya Matha and come to us. And after only one or two days-I know devotees here have had this experience-devotees sitting here, now. After one or two days, babaji will tell them, Okay, tomorrow morning I will give you bhajana-pranali, eka-dasa-bhava. And the next morning, he comes and hears, Your name is Rasagulla Manjari. And your service is this, your sakhi is this, your vesa is this, and your village is this. And after a few days, he goes back and sees babaji maharaja drinking tea. Then he thinks, Oh, maybe he is not qualified, and his faith or rather laukika sraddha, mental conviction, is broken.
So he leaves that babaji and goes to another babaji, and serves him for a few minutes and gives a little donation-Tomorrow morning come to me. I will give you siddha-pranali. Then he comes the next morning. Your name is Gulabjamun Manjari. Babaji gives eleven moods, but everything different. The first one gave eleven moods, and now this babaji gives another name, different seva, different age, different residence, everything different. Then he saw after a few days, babaji maharaja is putting tilaka on his female disciple's body with his own hand, and his so-called faith is broken again. Then he leaves that babaji. He thinks, The first babaji was in Nityananda vamsa, but maybe this Nityananda vamsa is not so good. Then he goes to the Advaita parivara. After some time he thinks, Advaita Acarya is Maha Visnu. This parivara is not so good. Maybe I should go to Gadadhara parivara. After all, Sri Gadadhara Pandita is directly Radhika so it must be the best.
So he goes to a babaji in the line of Gadadhara Pandita. Babaji tells him, Tomorrow morning come to me and I will give you siddha-pranali. He comes and babaji tells him, Your name is Kachori Manjari Eleven moods-all different again. And babaji maharaja gives some process of meditation on siddha-deha. This process is bona fide. It is described by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Harinama Cintamani and in Jaiva Dharma. This is in our line completely. It is there, but at what stage is it given? Not in this beginning stage. If it will be given in the beginning stage when the devotee is covered by anartha, he cannot meditate properly. He begins to chant and remember: atmanam cintayet tatra, tasam madhye manoramam. I meditate on my soul. I am a beautiful, sweet, young sakhi in the company of my Lalita, Visakha and everyone. But then his car comes in his mind, Did I put any gasoline in my car? Then again he is remembering, I am now preparing tambula. Did I lock the front door of my house before I came out? Oh, where is my passport? In this way so many obstacles come. After a little time he is so overpowered by obstacles that he loses all enthusiasm and gives up his practices completely. He wanted to be in rasa-lila and now he is going to the discotheque. It happens like this-in a moment.
Therefore, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has warned us in Sri Bhajana Rahasya:
adhikara na labhiya siddha deha bhaveIf you attempt to meditate on your soul's form before acquiring the necessary adhikara, namely asakti, then instead of becoming attached to seva, the opposite effect will come. You will gradually reawaken the spirit of material enjoyment due to being insufficiently powerful enough to digest the subject of your meditation. A day will come when you will be qualified. But until that time Srila Rupa Gosvamipada tells us, Dhairyat. Please be patient.
viparyaya buddhi janme saktira abhave
So we should try to know what is actually the teaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Have we seen anywhere that this bhajana-pranali is given in the beginning-anywhere?
apani karimu bhakta-bhava angikareKrsna Himself said, I am coming to this world and I am going to teach everyone the path of bhakti, the path of suddha bhajana, so that they can come to My eternal Goloka-Vrndavana Dhama and serve Radha and Krsna. I will show them by My own example.
apani acari' bhakti sikhaimu sabare
(CC Adi 3.20)
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went from Navadvipa to Gaya and came to the lotus feet of Srila Isvara Puripada and served him. And what did Srila Isvara Puripada give Him? Eka-dasa bhava? No. What did he give Him? He gave Him the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and Gopala-mantra, dasaksara gopala-mantra-only this. Mahaprabhu, chanting dasaksara gopala-mantra and harinama, had darsana of Krsna and became like a mad person. On returning to Navadvipa, He tried again and again but the three desires that impelled Him to appear were not completely fulfilled. When He came some years later on the bank of Godavari in the presence of Raya Ramananda, Raya Ramananda clearly explained His mood to Him. What is His mood? According to naravat-lila, human-like pastimes, what is Mahaprabhu's siddha-deha? Radhika. He wants to realize Radhika's mood. So at that time Ramananda Raya explained to Him Radhika's age. What is Her age? Karunyamrta, tarunyamrta, lavanyamrta; vayasandhi, vyakta yauvana and purna yauvana. Radhika's dress, ornaments and everything He took from Raya Ramananda in that stage.
So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsna Himself, came to teach us how to enter into the path of bhajana. Well, He didn't do a very good job! He made a big mistake. Why? He didn't get eka-dasa-bhava from Isvara Puri on the first day. So He must have taught us in a wrong way. The sahajiya babajis say, We don't follow Gaudiya Matha. We know the real way. But if they are right, then Mahaprabhu must be wrong. Is it possible?
No, we should understand Mahaprabhu by His own example. He is showing us what is the real process. First, one receives harinama and diksa mantra and performs guru-seva. Thus the heart becomes clear of anarthas and one becomes established in sambandha-jnana. At that time when he is chanting, the abhasa of cit-svarupa comes in his heart by guru's mercy automatically. When this happens, he comes to his guru-sad-dharma-siksa-prccha-and reveals his heart to Gurudeva. Then Gurudeva gives upasya pariskrti. This eka-dasa-bhava is upasya pariskrti, refinement of the conception of the worshiper. He has realization but just to refine it, make it very clear and perfect, Gurudeva gives some confirmation and some help. In this way he can go from rati-abhasa, the stage of asakti, into suddha rati. This is real bhajana, real bhajana pranali.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was very qualified. He was in the association of Yadunandana Acarya, Haridasa Thakura and others. And when he was somewhat grown up, he met with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He had been running away from home again and again and had no worldly attachment at all. And when Mahaprabhu saw him, what did He say?
antare nistha kara, bahye loka-vyavaharaDid He give him eka-dasa-bhava? No. He told him, Try to have nistha, firm faith in your heart. Remembering Krsna, come in the sage of nistha. Where is nistha? After anartha-nivrtti. First comes nistha, and then ruci and asakti. This is the instruction that Mahaprabhu gave to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Years later, when he was in Puri and was very advanced, he came to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu told him at that time:
acirat krsna tomaya karibe uddhara
(CC Madhya 16.239)
amani manada hana krsna-nama sada la'beThis was His introduction, paricaya, for his meditation on siddha-deha-in that stage. What stage was Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in then? He was not an ordinary person. He was very bhajana-sila, very dedicated to cultivating his bhajana. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and all our acaryas have shown the real path by their own lives. Thus there should be no confusion in this regard.
vraje radha-krsna-seva manase karibe
(CC Antya 6.237)
Then we come to Upadesamrta. Srila Gurudeva said that this Upadesamrta is an atom bomb for sahajiyas. Why? There are two verses:
syat krsna-nama-caritadi-sitapy avidya-What is this verse? You are covered by avidya, ignorance. You don't know your identity. You are covered by anartha, and therefore this name of Krsna is not so flavorful; it has no taste. So what should you do? Syat krsna-nama-caritadi-sitapy avidya-everyday chant Krsna-nama, rupa, guna and lila. Anudinam-everyday, adarad-with so much honor and respect for the names. What will happen? Anartha will clear; the disease of jaundice, avidya, will go away and ruci, some taste, will come. When that taste has come and anarthas are cleared, then what?
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocika nu
kintv adarad anudinam khalu saiva justa
svadvi kramad bhavati tad-gada-mula-hantri
tan-nama-rapa-caritadi-sukirtananu-Tad-anuragi jananugami What is the meaning of this? Seva sadhaka-rupena siddha-rupena catra hi. Serving by siddha-deha. This is the meaning of tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami. For those whose avidya has gone away, whose taste has awakened, they will serve by siddha-deha. So in these two verses, there are two types of sadhana. First sadhana in ajata rati sadhana-those who have no rati should hear, chant and remember with honor and affection carefully Krsna's nama, rupa, guna and lila. Then for those in whom some taste has come and their avidya has cleared-tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami. They can remember siddha-deha. Now they are qualified by the mercy of guru, due to guru-seva, and their heart is cleansed by remembering Krsna-nama, rupa, guna and lila. Such persons can do this raganuga bhajana.
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
Rupa Gosvami is giving two verses for two types of sadhana-one for the sadhaka who has no rati and one for the sadhaka in whose heart some rati has manifested. In our Gaudiya Math we are following completely Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta. And those who are sahajiya babajis prescribe meditation on siddha deha as the sadhana to get from adau sraddha through bhajana-kriya/anartha nivrtti up to nistha-but this sadhana is the sadhana for those who are in the stage of asakti. This is an example of sadhana/sadhya virodhi bhrama, a complete mistake and misunderstanding of what is the goal and what is the process to attain that goal.
All of these things are mentioned by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in this Bhajana Rahsaya and explained elaborately in the new commentary of my Gurudeva, sri rupanugacarya om visnupada astottarasata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. It is an absolutely essential and perfect book. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said:
barane tadit, basa taravali,Who is he? In that world she has a complexion like lightning, and her cloth is covered with sparkling stars. She is Kamala Manjari, rendering service in Svananda-Sukhada-Kunja. Now Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is there in the form of Kamala Manjari, serving the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna under the guidance of Sri Rupa Manjari in the association of Ananga Manjari.
kamala manjari nama
sade bara barsa, bayasa satata,
(Gita Mala, Siddhi-Lalasa, Song 8)
And here in Bhajana Rahasya Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given the process, the pranali, the channel, how to go from here, where we are today, to that place where he is now. If we will follow it sincerely, we can meet with him and serve under the guidance of Kamala Manjari, Nayana Manjari, Vinoda Manjari and her dearest forever. This is the perfection of our life.
krpa sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
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