bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

How does one receive bhakti? Does it happen by chance or do we need piety to receive it, does practicing austerity help us in receiving bhakti, does one need knowledge to get bhakti?

Bhakti is independent

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains in detail in his book Madhurya Kadambini that bhakti is independent, like Krishna, bhakti is not dependent on any material cause whatsoever for it’s appearance. Then with very sound reasoning and evidence from scriptures Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura proves that bhakti does not come by performing pious activities, nishkama-karma, jnana, purity, etc. He explains that such a claim will make bhakti dependent on some material cause, even though pious, to manifest. One may wonder how then does one get bhakti. By Krishna’s causeless mercy?

Krishna does not give bhakti directly !

One may say that we get bhakti by the causeless mercy of Krishna. But Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that in such a case Krishna would be blamed for showing favoritism in bestowing bhakti, since we can see that His causeless mercy does not fall upon everyone equally. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna is indeed partial to His devotees but Krishna shows that partiality by giving protection to His devotees. So how else does one receive bhakti?

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā -bhakti comes from bhakti

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura quotes the below verse from Srimad Bhagavatam to prove that bhakti comes from bhakti.

marantaḥ smārayantaś ca mitho ’ghaugha-haraṁ harim
bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum

The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualized bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end.

(SB 11.3.31)

Mercy of Krishna flows via His devotees

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura finally concludes that the causeless mercy of devotees is the actual cause of devotion or bhakti. He adds that someone may say that devotees, like Krishna, should be equal to all. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura clarifies that it is specifically the preacher, madhyama adhikari, the middle level devotee, who practices discretion in distributing his mercy. He quotes from Srimad Bhagavatam to give us a glimpse of the nature of such a middle level devotee.

An intermediate or second-class devotee, called madhyama-adhikārī, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(SB 11.2.46)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna becomes subservient to such a devotee, and He bestows His mercy in accordance with His devotee’s mercy! And the devotee is distributing what is already there in his heart – Bhakti! bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā – Hence bhakti is coming from bhakti only.

Why only a madhyama adhikari?

An uttama adhikari, or topmost level of devotee, sees Krishna in everyone’s heart. He sees that everyone is serving Krishna, except himself, and hence they do no need mercy. A kanishta adhikari, on the other hand, sees himself as a pure devotee, but even though he worships the deity of Krishna but he fails to behave properly with other devotees and the general public.

In this way Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura very scrutinizingly proves that it is the madhyama adhikari who gives mercy to the innocents. Krishna also openly declares in Bhagavad Gita that a preacher is very dear to Him.

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.

(Bg 18.68-69)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krishna personally shows special mercy to such a devotee by giving him His own independent power to bestow mercy to others. So the preacher, who is always dependent upon Krishna, prays to Krishna to bestow His mercy and Krishna readily agrees!

Magic happens when an Uttama adhikari comes downs to preach!

One may ask why would an uttama adhikari, the topmost of devotees, like to ‘come down’ to this material world?

Devotional service is so enchanting that even the first-class devotees (uttama-adhikaris) also come down to the second platform to preach and render service to the Lord for the benefit of the whole world.

(CC Madhya 24.205p)

One may also wonder why does a topmost devotee needs to ‘step down’ to the level of a middle level devotee to preach?

Unless one comes to the madhyama-adhikara, he cannot preach. Because in the uttama-adhikari there is no need of preaching, because uttama-adhikari, he sees everything good. He does not think anyone is lacking Krishna consciousness. He says everyone is Krishna conscious, “Simply I am not Krishna conscious.”

(Lecture, 4th Nov. 1972, Vrindavana)

Such an unalloyed devotee, who comes down from the topmost level to the middle level to preach, is carrying Krishna’s lotus feet in his heart. A heart which is sold out to fulfill Krishna’s desires. When such a devotee prays to Krishna for us, ordinary people, then magic happens! What was very difficult to achieve even by great yogis in the past becomes very easy to achieve even by a common man.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains ‘Krishna’s mercy is manifested in the Lord’s bestowal of His own kripa- shakti to His devotee, who then gives it to the fallen souls’.

He is someone very special

Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuṇṭha to this material world to teach, by their personal example, how to become a devotee. The living entities in this material world can take lessons from such nitya-siddha devotees and thus become inclined to return home, back to Godhead. A nitya-siddha devotee comes from Vaikuṇṭha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment….. A pure devotee, therefore, is a practical example for all living entities, including Lord Brahmā.

(SB 7.10.3p)

So which Nitya-siddha ‘came down’ and prayed for all of us?

Let’s hear some words pouring out from the heart of a premi bhakta

boro-kṛpā kaile kṛṣṇa adhamer prati
ki lāgiyānile hethā koro ebe gati

My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me.

āche kichu kārja taba ei anumāne
nahe keno āniben ei ugra-sthāne

But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place?

rajas tamo guṇe erā sabāi ācchanna
bāsudeb-kathā ruci nahe se prasanna

Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vāsudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it.

tabe jadi taba kṛpā hoy ahaitukī
sakal-i sambhava hoy tumi se kautukī

But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible because You are the most expert mystic.

ki bhāve bujhāle tārā bujhe sei rasa
eta kṛpā koro prabhu kori nija-baśa

How will they understand the mellows of devotional service? O Lord, I am simply praying for Your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about Your message.

tomāra icchāya saba hoy māyā-baśa
tomāra icchāya nāśa māyār paraśa

All living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion.

taba icchā hoy jadi tādera uddhār
bujhibe niścai tabe kathā se tomār

I wish that You may deliver them. Therefore if You so desire their deliverance, then only will they be able to understand Your message.

(Markine-Bhagavata Dharma by Srila Prabhupada)

Bhagavad gita was there, temples were there, devotees were also there but it took a premi bhakta like Srila Prabhupada to come down from the spiritual world to transform and transplant bhakti in the hearts of millions of people all across the planet. Krishna sent him for mass liberation of conditioned souls.

Desires of such a Nitya-siddha

In Vṛndāvana there is a place where there was no temple, but a devotee desired, “Let there be a temple and sevā, devotional service.” Therefore, what was once an empty corner has now become a place of pilgrimage. Such are the desires of a devotee.

(SB 10.13.50p)

bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā, bhakti comes from bhakti. But this one comes from the heart of a pure unalloyed devotee, an eternal associate of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Shastra explain that there are different kinds of devotees, some devotees are very merciful but they do not have much potency and some devotees have potency but they are not so merciful upon others but Srila Prabhupada is a very special devotee, he is both – extremely merciful and extremely potent.

How to remain a continuous recipient of bhakti from Srila Prabhupada?

There could be many answers. But one very direct and sure way is given in the last para of the above poem by Srila Prabhupada himself.

bhāgavater kathā se taba avatār
dhīra haiyā śune jadi kāne bār bār

The words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are Your incarnation, and if a sober person repeatedly receives it with submissive aural reception, then he will be able to understand Your message.

So if we daily, and submissively, read Srimad Bhagavatam, then gradually our heart will be purified and soon it can become the resting place of the lotus feet of Vrajendra Nandana Krishna, Krishna of Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada wishes to bestow bhakti for this very special Krishna upon us, the highest, the most secret & the most sweetest form of Krishna.

Wherever there is Vrajendra Nandana Krishna, there is Radharani, there is Govardhan, there are gopas and gopis, there is Yamuna, Vrindadevi is there, whole Vrindavan descends with Him. Can we even imagine such a state for our heart! bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā.

The appearance of the form of Krishna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhäma. Dhäma refers not only to Krishna’s form, but to His name, His form, His quality and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.

(SB 10.2.18p)

That is why we address Srila Prabhupada as His Divine Grace, or Krishna Kripa murti in Hindi, because Krishna’s mercy, in the form of His Kripa-shakti, is flowing in his heart. We can access it via his vani, his books, his instructions, his disciples and his ISKCON. It is up to us take advantage of it. bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā. Bhakti resides forever in the heart of such an unalloyed devotee, we have to simply dovetail our consciousness with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings to make our good fortune.

At the ardha kumbha mela, the one that I was talking about, one devotee, after hearing Srila Prabhupada’s class, he asked a question. “You said by taking devotional service, you’ll cross through so many preliminary stages of yajnas, tapasyas and pious activities, but when I look back at my life, I don’t see any of that. I was simply engaged in materialistic activities, so how did I receive devotional service?” Prabhupada exclaimed forcefully, “I have made your good fortune for you!” 

(HH Jayapataka Swami, 6th Sept. 2015)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Secret appearance of Vrajendra Nandan Krishna!

Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam are two most important scriptures for Kali Yuga, they have specifically manifested for us kali yugians. If we sincerely try to serve these two transcendental scriptures then we can unlock many hidden gems. Let us take a look at the famous verse from Bhagavad gita

जन्म कर्म मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः

त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

(Bg 4.9)

As we read the above verse it looks too simplistic, as if Krishna is simply encouraging everyone to accept His shelter by holding a big carrot in front of us! Rather, coming out from the lotus like mouth of Krishna, every single verse of Bhagavad Gita is Absolute and so is its conclusion and promise. Srila Prabhupada further declares in his purport –

He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation.

(Bg 4.9p)

The above statements may baffle us, especially devotees. We already know that Krishna is the Supreme personality of Godhead, we know about Krishna’s transcendental appearance and activities but liberation seems a bit far. But then how much do we even really know Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, Krishna of Vrindavan.

Both the verse and its purport are ‘packed’ and we can unpack then in multiple ways. Today, however let us unpack it from the angle of Krishna’s birth, how and where exactly did Vrajendra Nandan Krishna appeared.

Scriptures say that Svayam Bhagavan, Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, does not take one step out of Vrindavan. Many of us may have read the pastime when Akrura came to invite Krishna and Balaram to Mathura, the two brothers he took with him to Mathura were a little different then whom he assumed accompanied him.

Vrajendra Nandan Krishna

Nanda Maharaj returned to Vrindavan without Krishna and Balaram. He was accompanied only by the cowherd boys and men. It was certainly a very pathetic scene for the gopis, Mother Yashoda, Srimati Radharani and all the other residents of Vrindavan. Many devotees have tried to make adjustments to Krishna’s being away from Vrindavan because, according to expert opinion, Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never goes even a step out of Vrindavan. He always remains there. The explanation of expert devotees is that Krishna was actually not absent from Vrindavan; He came back with Nanda Maharaj as promised.

When Krishna was starting for Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were blocking the way, Krishna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed and in this way pacified them. But when He failed to come back with Nanda Maharaj, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise. Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krishnawas neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krishna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaj and stayed with the gopis and Mother Yashoda in His bhäva expansion. Krishna and Balaram remained in Mathura not in Their original forms but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sakarshana. The real Krishna and Balaram were in Vrindavan in Their bhäva manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krishna. Externally, however, They were absent from Vrindavan.

(Krishna Book, chapter 46)

Now a natural question may arise that if Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never takes even a step out of Vrindavan then how did He take birth in Mathura?

Let us try solve this mystery by seeing it from the eyes of our acharya and the scriptures.

Thereafter, exactly when Vasudeva, being inspired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to take the newborn child from the delivery room, Yoga-māyā, the Lord’s spiritual energy, took birth as the daughter of the wife of Mahārāja Nanda.

Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura discusses that Krishna appeared simultaneously as the son of Devaki and as the son of Yashoda, along with the spiritual energy Yoga-māyā. As the son of Devaki, He first appeared as Vishnu, and because Vasudeva was not in the position of pure affection for Krishna, Vasudeva worshiped his son as Lord Vishnu. Yashoda, however, pleased her son Krishna without understanding His Godhood. This is the difference between Krishna as the son of Yashoda and as the son of Devaki. This is explained by Vishvanath Chakravarty on the authority of Hari-vaśa.

(SB 10.3.47+p)

What Srila Prabhupada is disclosing above is simply astonishing! Prabhupada is divulging to us that Krishna appeared simultaneously in two places- as the son of Devaki and as son of mother Yashoda, in Vrindavan.

Let us read the exact commentary of Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura, which Srila Prabhupada quoted above.

In the Hari Vamsa is says that that in the eighth of her pregnancy Devaki and Yashoda gave birth at the same time to their Children. But here in Bhagavatam it is stated that that Yashoda gave birth after Devaki. How to correlate the two contradictory statements? Exactly when Devaki gave birth to Krishna, Yashoda also gave birth to Krishna. After that, as described in this verse, Yashoda birth to Yagamaya. Yashoda gave birth to two children at different times. This is confirmed in SB 10.4.9, for when Yogamaya falls from the hands of Kansa, she is called younger sister of Krishna. But when Krishna was born to Yashoda it is not stated that he had four hands. It is understood that He was born from Yashoda with two hands.

(Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura purport to SB 10.3.47)

Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura is revealing to us that mother Yashoda gave birth to two kids. A son, Krishna, was born at the very same time when Lord Vishnu appeared as the son of Devaki. (Hence Krishna’s birth is rightly celebrated as Janamashtami everywhere and not on Nandotsava as some devotees tend to suggest.) Second child, as we know, was Yogamaya, Krishna’s ‘younger’ sister.

How can the umbilical cord be still intact if kids were exchanged in the night!

Srimad Bhagavatam itself gives us a hint about this secret while describing how Nanda Maharaj celebrated Krishna’s ‘Jata-Karma’ ceremony, cutting of the umbilical cord connecting the child and placenta.

nandas tv ātmaja utpanne jātāhlādo mahā-manāḥ
āhūya viprān veda-jñān snātaḥ śucir alaṅkṛtaḥ 

vācayitvā svastyayanaṁ jāta-karmātmajasya vai
kārayām āsa vidhivat pitṛ-devārcanaṁ tathā 

Sukhdeva Gosvami said: Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation. Therefore, after bathing and purifying himself and dressing himself properly, he invited brahmanas who knew how to recite Vedic mantras. After having these qualified brahmanas recite auspicious Vedic hymns, he arranged to have the Vedic birth ceremony celebrated for his newborn child according to the rules and regulations, and he also arranged for worship of the demigods and forefathers.

(SB 10.5.1-2)

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :

The jāta-karma ceremony can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut. However, since Krishna was brought by Vasudeva to the house of Nanda Maharaj, where was the chance for this to happen? In this regard, Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura desires to prove with evidence from many shastra that Krishna actually took birth as the son of Yashoda before the birth of Yoga-maya, who is therefore described as the Lord’s younger sister.

(SB 10.5.1-2p)

Srila Rupa Gosvami also gives away the secret!

preshthanandair vraje tais tair atmano ‘pi vimohanaih

lilollasair vilasati shri-lila-purushottamah

Because He enjoys many happy pastimes, delighting His dear associates, and even enchanting Himself, Lord Krishna is called “lila-purushottama” (the most playful person).

asamordhvena bhagavan vatsalyena vrajesayoh

sutatvenaiva sa tayor atmanam vetti sarvada

Because the parental love of Vraja’s king and queen has no equal or superior, Lord Krishna eternally thinks Himself their son.

kecid bhagavatah prahur evam atra puratanah

vyuhah pradurbhaved adyo griheshv anakadundubheh

goshthe tu mayaya sardham shri-lila-purushottamah

In ancient times some devotees have said that the Lord appeared in His Vasudeva feature in the home of Maharaja Vasudeva, and at the same time He appeared, along with Yogamaya, in His original form as Sri Krishna in the village of Vraja.

gatva yadu-varo goshtham tatra suti-griham visan

kanyam eva param vikshya tam adayavrajat puram

pravisad vasudevas tu shri-lila-purushottamam

When Maharaja Vasudeva arrived in Vraja, he entered the maternity room, saw (Yashoda’s, daughter and, taking her with him, returned to Mathura. The Vasudeva expansion (Maharaja Vasudeva carried with him, then merged in the body of Sri Krishna.

etac cati-rahasyatvan noktam tatra katha-krame

kintu kvacit prasangena sucyate shri-sukadibhih

Because this pastime is very confidential, it was not related in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nevertheless, Sukadeva Gosvami and other great devotees have indirectly described it in some of their writings.

Srila Rupa Gosvami then quotes below four verses from Srimad Bhagavatam which specifically describe Krishna as son of Nanda Maharaj.

“Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation.”

(SB 10.5.1)

“Nanda Maharaj was very liberal and simple. He immediately took his son Krishna on his lap as if Krishna had returned from death.”

(SB 10.6.43)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Mother Yashoda, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.”

(SB (10.9.21)

“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the son of Maharaj Nanda, who is standing before me with conchshell earrings and peacock feather on His head. His face is beautiful, He is wearing a helmet, garlanded with forest flowers, and He stands with a morsel of food in His hand. He is decorated with cane, flute, and a bugle made of buffalo horn. He stands before me with small lotus feet.”

(SB 10.14.1)

tatha shri-yamala-vacanam samudaharanti

“krishno ‘nyo yadu-sambhuto yah purnah so ‘sty atah parah

vrindavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati

The different between Krishna’s appearance in Vrindavan and His appearance in Mathura and Dvaraka is described in, Yamala Tantra:

“The Krishna known as Yadukumara is Vasudeva Krishna. He is different from the Krishna who is the son of Nanda Maharaj. Yadukumara Krishna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krishna the son of Nanda Maharaj never at any time leaves Vrindavan.

(Laghu-bhagavatmrta 1.5.452-461)

The above verse has also been quoted in Caitanya Caritamrta, it was spoken by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to … who else…. Srila Rupa Gosvami!

Caution- One should not misunderstand that there are multiple Krishnas! This verse is showing that Vrindavan Krishna, Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, is the original personality of Godhead and rest all are His various plenary expansions/ incarnations. Vrajendra Nandan Krishna is the original source.

pūrṇa bhagavān kṛṣṇa vrajendra-kumāra
goloke vrajera saha nitya vihāra

Lord Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is the Supreme Lord. He eternally enjoys transcendental pastimes in His eternal abode, Goloka, which includes Vrajadhama.

(CC Adi 3.5)

I hope we got a little taste of sweet undercurrents flowing via, seemingly, straight verses of Bhagavad Gita, and also Srimad Bhagavatam, if we simply serve these two scriptures by studying them regularly, then, by the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, many intricate aspects of Absolute Truth, Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, can manifest in our heart.

He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krishna to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed.

(BG 4.9p)

 

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita
srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pum-artho mahan
sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaj, is worshiped along with His transcendental abode Vrindavan. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrindavan. Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything and pure love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

(Caitanya-matta-manjusa by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura)

 

Wish you all a very happy New Year Year. Here is a short clip to welcome, sing and welcome the new year by welcoming and accepting Vrajendra Nandan Krishna as Lord of our heart ! Press here

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa