Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,
Today is the divine appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of our dear Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was born in Sri Jagannatha Puri on 6 February 1874 as the son of Srila Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was a great Vedic scholar, a revolutionary preacher and was popularly known as ‘lion guru’. He preached extensively against casteism, impersonalism and deviant philosophies in the name of Gaudiya Vaisvanism. I am sharing below part of a very illuminating conversation Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura with a visitor which ends with a spiritually enlivening definition of what is the meaning of bhajan (our whole sadhana). The copied portion starts in the middle of the conversation.
Śāstrī: Why do we have such a nature?
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Our independence alone causes it.
Śāstrī: From where did the dependent living entities get such independence?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Because we are minute spiritual particles of the supremely independent God, we contain within us a minute portion of His complete qualities. Kṛṣṇa has full independence, and so the living entities have limited independence.
Śāstrī: When do covering and throwing potencies (maya) act on the living entities?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: As soon as the living entities become indifferent to serving God, the time for covering and throwing (maya) begins.
Śāstrī: What is that indifference?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Indifference means to remain neutral. Neutrality can pull human beings in one direction or another. It can attract us toward the Lord’s service or to become averse to that service. We call that state “marginal.”
Neutrality is achieved after all material objects are eliminated, at the stage called brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu (Bg 18.54). In that stage, if one is not attracted toward transcendental devotional service, then he is captured by aversion to God.
Aversion can be of two types: the inclination for material enjoyment, and the inclination for renunciation. There are two paths: the path leading to the kingdom of material enjoyment, and the path leading to the kingdom of spiritual pastimes. Therefore, the neutral state is very dangerous. Living entities cannot remain in a state of neutrality; they will either go toward māyā or toward serving God.
Śāstrī: Then how can we avoid being covered and thrown?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: If one worships the Supreme Lord constantly with love and devotion, he will never be covered or thrown by māyā. But the worship has to be continuous. If there is a little gap in the continuity, then māyā’s covering potency takes advantage of it and covers us.
Śāstrī: What do you mean by bhajana?
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Bhajana is the tie of love between the all-lover and the all-loved.
( from the book -Uncommon dialogues, conversation eight, Oct. 30, 1928 )
All glories Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.