Let’s progress firmly in Krishna consciousness

Hare Krishna.

7th Feb, 2016. Vrindavana.

Radha Govind Devji Jaipur

Sambandh, abhidheya and prayojana.

“The Vedic literatures give information about the living entity’s eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa, which is called sambandha. The living entity’s understanding of this relationship and his acting accordingly is called abhidheya. Returning home, back to Godhead, is the ultimate goal of life and is called prayojana.
 
“Devotional service, or sense activity for the satisfaction of the Lord, is called abhidheya because it can develop one’s original love of Godhead, which is the goal of life. This goal is the living entity’s topmost interest and greatest wealth. Thus one attains the platform of transcendental loving service unto the Lord.
 
“When one attains the transcendental bliss of an intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he renders service to Him and tastes the mellows of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

                                                                                                                                                          — CC Madhya 20.124-126

The whole Vedas are divided into three states. Sambandha: what is our connection with God? That is called sambandha. And then abhidheya. According to that relationship we have to act. That is called abhidheya. And why do we act? Because we have got the goal of life, to achieve the goal of life. So what is the goal of life? The goal of life is that to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is goal of life.

                                                                                                — Srila Prabhupada, Lecture, Madras, 2nd  Jan, 1976

..the Vedānta-sūtra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jñāna, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. “The living entity is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme God.” (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sādhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jñāna). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead.

                                                                                                                                                              — CC Adi 7 106p

I was hearing a lecture by HH Bhakti Vidyapurna Maharaj on the same topic and Maharaj explained  these three terms in a simpler way as well the relation between them.

Sambandha : attraction, what draws the mind.
Prayojana : attachment.

Both the above are moods, they create feelings but there is no activity.

Abhidheya : This is the actual expression of the above two.

So we become attracted towards Krishna and then due to that attraction we become attached to Krishna and then we want to do something. The real meaning comes with service.

We say mind has three functions: thinking, feeling and willing.

If something is attractive we think about it,  if we are not attracted then we won’t think about it. Feeling is when we get attached to it. Then..willing.. we actually do something about it. So we see Krishna, we become attracted to Krishna then we become attached to Krishna and then we finally want to serve Krishna.

So it is in abhidheya that we understand the knowledge, contemplate on it and then practice that knowledge. It is application. How we are related to Krishna and what we want to achieve, what is it’s purpose.

Abhidheya is the most important and critical part among the three and I am sharing some nectar, which I heard in last few months, on how we, as aspiring devotees, can traverse this wonderful and exciting journey,  making it more enriching and less painful (for us and those around us!)

Who am I and what is my eternal duty?

My real identity is that I’m a servant of Krishna and my duty is to serve Krishna.

My current role as a father, mother, husband, wife, daughter, doctor, businessman, artist, etc. is the ‘service’ Krishna has given me. I have to perform all these ‘services’ but I’m none of these.

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’

“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.”

                                                                                                                                         — CC Madhya 20 108

As aspiring devotees we  must drill it in our head that

Krishna is the controller and Krishna is the supreme enjoyer.

Hence, I am not the controller, I am not the enjoyer. (we should practice to remember this when we face challenging situations at home, and everywhere else in our life)

And I’m not even the doer. I can only desire. And Krishna may or may not fulfill all my desires, knowing well what is good for us at this stage.

More importantly, as an aspiring devotee, I should be very conscious of what are my desires ( at least my conscious desires, I have no control at our stage on my subconscious desires, but those too are are changing while I sincerely practice Krishna consciousness). I should daily read scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritāmṛta or vaishnava prayers and then note down on a piece of paper or a writing pad what should be my desires.

I should then practice to pray for these right kind of desires. It is a very nice sublime and enriching practice to speak and express such desires in front of our deities at home. It is an amazing experience. It also brings a lot of humility as we regularly (if not daily!) realise our helplessness as we fail despite our best intentions. It also acts as a catalyst for urgency and significance of  mercy from above. We realise the minuteness of everything we thought will hold us good in this world, my intelligence, my willpower, even my good intentions…

I can also practice to be more sensitive and contemplate regularly what is happening around me (my circumstances)  and then sincerely beg Srila Prabhupada and Krishna for guidance as to what I have to learn from changing, and challenging, circumstances in my life. This may help me learn without Krishna having to put a bomb under me to wake me up ! Become a conscious cooperator. And I should  be ready to ‘walk the talk’ and face any kind of ‘music’ which may crop up to get me out of my present groove.

Chanting attentively, which means trying to chant Nama conscious and Nama pleasing rounds, will ensure that I am sincerely seeking shelter of the spiritual energy of the Lord.

And in the meantime, whatever be my present ashram or situation, I have to sincerely try hard to practice the culture of Love, and not culture of lust. Every single challenge is training ground for us to progress in Krishna consciousness. I have to aspire and live the ‘madhyam’ culture in my daily life.

All this would definitely be a big struggle but this struggle for Krishna will help me develop my ‘weakened’ spiritual muscles. And this struggle is a very sweet struggle because I’m struggling for Krishna. And there is reciprocation in this struggle, it is NOT one sided, with me acting merely like a puppet. It is a dynamic relationship. It takes two to tango, ashraya and vishaya, subject and the object.

The whole journey is like a child who is learning to walk. He falls down and trips and sometimes gets hurt too. But the child remains enthusiastic, determined and endeavors hard to learn how to walk. And His parents are there to help him. The child too has the confidence that they will protect him. Yet sometimes to a child it may look cruel that even as he is trying hard to walk, the child tries to hold on to a support, struggling to even stand properly, the parent pushes that support a little further away from him. In reality the parent do that because they know it will help the child to learn to walk and gain some confidence in his own ability, even at a slight risk of child falling down on the ground and getting hurt a bit, but they are always next to the child to protect him. As a grown up, the child will always look back and be nothing but grateful to his parents for all their patience to help him walk, realising that they had no selfish interest other than his own benefit.

Same is the case of the beautiful relationship that develops between an aspiring devotee and Krishna. And it is just the beginning of the sweetest relationship a soul can ever taste.

A Note of caution. All these words may help me’understand’ it all this a bit but I will ‘realise’ it only when I practice it in my daily life, this knowledge is for application. And the best time to start practicing is… TODAY!

( As we struggle to implement all the above steps in our life it might be good idea to take shelter of Srila Rupa Goswami (by praying to him, reading his books & going to his samadhi) and praying to Sri Govind Devji (picture above), our acharaya and Deity of abhideya respectively)

Here is a short video of one of the most sweet mangal artis I have ever attended, at Radha Govind Devji temple, Jaipur.

Radhe Govind… Bhajo Radhe Govind, Paar Lagaa Dey Govind,

Jay Sri Radhe Krishna, pyaare Krishna…

राधे गोविन्द  भजो राधे गोविन्द  पार लगादे गोविन्द !!

जय श्री राधे कृष्णा प्यारे कृष्णा…

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana.

Hare Krishna.

2nd Oct., 2015. Gurgaon.

Radha Gopinath, Jaipur

(Sri Radha Gopinatha closeup)

According to the Vedic principles, there are three stages of spiritual advancement, namely, sambandha-jñāna, abhidheya and prayojana. Sambandha-jñāna refers to establishing one’s original relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, abhidheya refers to acting according to that constitutional relationship, and prayojana is the ultimate goal of life, which is to develop love of Godhead (premā pum-artho mahān). If one adheres to the regulative principles under the order of the spiritual master, he very easily achieves the ultimate goal of his life. A person who is addicted to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very easily gets the opportunity to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. ( CC Adi 7.73P)

Sri Govindaji acts exactly like the siksa-guru. He is the original preceptor, for Govindaji gives us instructions and an opportunity to serve Him. The diksa-guru is a personal manifestation of the Sri Madana-mohana vigraha. Both of these Deities are worshiped at Vrindavana. Srila Gopinatha is the ultimate attraction of spiritual realization.” (CC Adi 1.47p.)

Sambandha

(Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Karauli)

Srila Sanatana Goswami is the acharya of sambandha, the process of understanding our relationship with Lord Krishna.  The deity for Sambandha is Madan Mohan.

By receiving the mercy of the Radha-Madana-mohana Deity, and by studying the writings of the sambandha-acharya Srila Sana­tana Gosvami, a devotee will attain sambandha-jnana, or knowledge of one’s spiritual identity and his eternal relationship with Sri Krishna. Srila Prabhupada states, “Madana-mohana, Sanatana Gosvami’s Deity, helps us progress in Krishna consciousness. In the execution of Krishna consciousness, our first business is to know Krishna and our relationship with Him, which we can learn by worshiping the Madana-mohana vigraha.”

Abhidheya

(Sri Radha Govind Devji, Jaipur)

Srila Rupa Goswami is the acahrya of abhidheya and he reveals how to execute devotional service. His Deity of Radha-Govindaji accepts service and gives inspiration for increasing surrender on the path of bhakti-yoga. By writing many books Srila Rupa Gosvami has very kindly established the scientific basis of bhakti. “Everyone should read this book, Nectar of Devotion, very attentively, because all the conclusive statements about the Kingdom of Bhakti are contained in this transcendentally valuable book. It is the essence of all Vedic scriptures enlightening about Krishna consciousness. If anyone reads this Nectar of Devotion very carefully, he will have all guidance in the Bhakti Cult.” (Srila Prabhupada lecture 6/27/70)

Prayojana

(Sri Radha Gopinatha, Jaipur)

Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami is our prayojana acharya. The Gopinatha Deity is Krishna as master and proprietor of the gopis, the totally surrendered devotees . The Gopinatha Deity represents the prayojana-tattva (truth about life’s ultimate goal”pure love of Krishna. Srila Raghu­natha dasa Gosvami accepts the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami as his highest aspiration. He thus reveals the way to attain the perfection of one’s loving relationship with Sri Krishna. Through humble prayers and service to the Radha-Gopinatha Deity, and by imbibing the teachings and mercy of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, a devotee can quickly advance in devotional service and ultimately attain the goal of life, prema-bhakti. (MNS)

“The Gaudiya Vaisnavas who follow strictly in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu worship the Divinity by chanting transcendental sounds meant to develop a sense of one’s transcendental relationship with the Supreme Lord (sambandha), and reciprocation of mellows of mutual affection (abhidheya), and ultimately, the achievement of the desired success in loving service (prayo­ja­na). These three Deities (Madana-mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha) are worshiped in three different stages of one’s development. The followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu scrupulously follow these principles of approach.” (CC Adi 1.19p.)

In a seminar on bhakti culture HG Srimati Mataji shared three most beautiful verses to describe our relationship with Lord at above three stages, they are most practical for an aspiring devotee. We can recite these verses daily, also before our japa and even during the middle of our japa when the attentiveness seems to slip away. I am trying, and struggling, to follow the same but still reaping some benefits inspite of all my handicaps.

On Sambandha:

caitanyera dāsa muñi, caitanyera dāsa

caitanyera dāsa muñi, tāṅra dāsera dāsa

“I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, a servant of Lord Caitanya. I am a servant of Lord Caitanya, and a servant of His servants.” (cc Adi 6.86)

On Abhidheya:

daśa aparādha yena hṛdaye nā paśe
kṛpā kara mahāprabhu maji nāma rase

O Mahäprabhu, please be merciful to me so that the ten offenses never touch my heart, and I can always remain absorbed in the rasa of the Holy Name. (Harinäma Chintamani 13.59 Bhaktivinoda Thäkura)

On Prayojana:

“prema-dhana vinā vyartha daridra jīvana

‘dāsa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana”

“Without love of Godhead, My life is useless. Therefore I pray that You accept Me as Your servant and give Me the salary of ecstatic love of God.” (cc Adi .20.37)

As I write this blog, a verse which Krishnadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, wrote, comes to my memory

vande caitanya-devaṁ taṁ bhagavantaṁ yad-icchayā
prasabhaṁ nartyate citraṁ lekha-raṅge jaḍo ’py ayam

I offer my respects to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, by whose desire I have become like a dancing dog and suddenly taken to the writing of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, although I am a fool. (cc Adi 8.1)

I humbly seek forgiveness for any mistakes in compiling on this topic.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.