Nomenclature of the Absolute


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Feb 24, CANADA (SUN) — Excerpt from "Shri Chaitanya's Teachings" by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani), c. 1900-1936.

We should attain first to this, that we are in need of receiving the Divine boon, our own boon of the self. As we are now in the human frame, we can have the opportunity of knowing the face of transcendence. Inanimate beings are not known as sentient. They are deprived of the function of audition of the transcendental Sounds. We cannot communicate to them all that we are in need of in future. But since we have got a human life, we are in a predicament that allows us to hear through the medium of transcendental Sound a good response to our desire for the best thing that one could crave.

We have experienced finitude in our previous birth and in this life too by our empirical activities. We have come across many things and we have come to the conclusion that we should seek for the best; and, in order to do so, we are called upon to pay sufficient attention to our own acquisition, eternal acquisition; and this is based on the opportunity offered to us.

When we think that we are conditioned souls we always look at the outer side of our existence, that is, the external body we have; and then we come to inspect the inner aspect which we call our astral body; and both these come and go, so that they have no eternal references associated with us. But as our souls are eternal, we cannot consider that the futile external body as well as the internal temporal body are identical with the soul. They are incorporated later on by abuse of our independent will. When we abuse that free will, or when we show our diffidence to serve the Absolute, the Over-soul, we think we are to dominate our Nature and Natural Phenomena. But these things, so to say, have only a temporal level. The eternal self should never be considered as identical with the mind who is but an agent of the soul to meddle temporarily with the external world. We are but part and parcel of the Over-soul, that is, of Paramatma. We are all human souls. We must not become confused by the simile of the breaking of the jar, compared to the material bodys, and we should not come to the conclusion that we have no other situation but to be identical with the Over-soul. For that is not the case. We are measurable cavities like that of the pot. Simply by the breaking of the external frame, we cannot think that we will be turned immeasurable. We are decidedly always measurable things. This measurement or the very platform of finitude is quite sufficient for us not to consider ourselves to be the Oversoul. A finitude cannot consider that the very finiteness can ever claim that he is the Infinite. So, Shri Krishna Chaitanya has told us that in your entity you are no other than Karshnas, or Vaishnavas. You have no other eternal function than to serve Shri Krishna.

We require a solution for the various problems of our life. We are liable to be interrupted and troubled by foreign relations and potential discussions and also to meet different contending ideas and thoughts from outside. So we require Divine instruction for our purpose. We are assured by the song of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, "Sarvadharmaan parityajya" etc. [1]. The essence of this declaration is 'Depend on Me'. "You will not have to repent for such submission. Whatever you have acquired up to this time, leave aside and come up to Me; I will dictate to you what course you should adopt". But lest we should not feel assured by this, and lest we should think that we are going to be deceived by such persuasive dictation and so try to follow some other source of instruction, Shri Krishna has already sung another song to assure us: Yehpyanya-devataa bhaktaa yajante [2]. The Lord says, "If you take the initiative to suggest a course you are liable to be instructed by such sources which will prove to be ineffective in the long run because I am immanent in the universe and there is no possibility of avoiding Me. I am the source of all existence. I am full of knowledge, I am endowed with the infinity of bliss". We can have no better instruction from elsewhere, which can give a more dependable and complete idea of the real goal. The whole thing, the exact entity, could not be realized if we took a course different from what Shri Krishna has dictated. Shri Krishna is the Fountainhead of all energies; all sorts of energies - even the opposite and conflicting energies - are stored in Him. He is "Akhilarasamritamoorty". We have heard His song, Ye yathaa Mam prapadante. [3] We are actuated by the influence of Rasa, We require pleasant sensation. But we should see that our particular predilection is directed to a definite purpose. Shri Krishna is the emporium of everything. In the Gita we are given a clearly marked and exact situation of the human soul and its relation to the phenomenal existence of His Prakriti. We have seen that there are two prakritis Para and Apara. Jivas are known as Para Prakriti. But Jivas, being infintesimally small, can come under the clutch of Apara Prakriti - can be overpowered by the deluding potency. Jivas can also dissociate themselves from this undesirable situation. How can this be? We have got the solution as to how to get rid of this shackle in the shloka Mameva ye prapadyante" etc. [4] By the use of the word "Mam" we see the object is singular - the personality is fixed. The Lord sings, "I can set you free from the clutches of the present activity of measuring things through the senses. I can show Myself fully to you when there will be no necessity of exercising your senses. I have set the engine of the three 'gunas' for the purpose of entrapping the less intelligent people. But when they listen to My dictation they see that they can easily manage to get rid of this trouble by submitting to Me, to Me alone." There is no other alternative for getting rid of our measuring temperament. We are now equipped with senses which are incapable of leading us to the Truth. We are liable to be deluded by the influence of Maya, and Maya is but a trap. If we want to avoid that trap, we are to submit to Him unconditionally. So 'Prapatti' is the essential thing which means full submission. We can exercise our senses but such exploits will not do any good to us in the long run unless we submit to Him leaving aside whatever we have acquired up to this time. We are simply to surrender to Him. When we simply depend on Him, He will give us such facilities as will enable us to make quick progress. We are assured that we need not take the empirical course through our senses. Though we have the inclination to acquire knowledge through our senses, our attempts are often frustrated. Our empirical activities often fail to make much progress, for we see that whatever we have acquired by our empiricism calls for more and more additions or subtractions when we pass along the rolling tide of time. We think we have acquired a good deal of knowledge in our thirtieth year, but soon we find that knowledge inadequate when we reach the fortieth year. Again if we live for ten years more, we will have to revise our knowledge again. In this way living for any number of years will not serve our purpose, it will not make us wise. We come to the inevitable conclusion that all sorts of empirical knowledge is quite useless for the purpose of gaining the whole truth. We should, therefore, be 'prapanna'. We should simply submit, and that submission should be attended with everything we have acquired. Whatever we have acquired must be given up considering that we will be helped by Him. But if we have no such confidence in Him, we cannot part with our acquired things. We will be making a sad mistake if we conjecture that the Lord, in the long run, may have nothing to confer on us, and that by giving up what we have acquired we will get into trouble. We forget that He is the Absolute. He is the emporium of everything. We need not be doubtful of His assurance that He will never fail us. We have got a free will which we can exercise. But we are not expected to imagine that we are independent. We are bound to accept that we are dependants. If we make a careful enquiry into the nature of phenomenal objects and sift them, we will fail to get anything which can give us that sort of satisfaction, relief and poise which the Fountain-head of all things can give us. So the Gita tells us that submission to the Supreme Authority, Shri Krishna, is the only thing wanted; and by such submission our desired ends will be fully and duly fulfilled. The question is how in spite of the measuring temperament which stands against our purpose that submission is to be effected.

After Sambandha comes Abhidheya which signifies how to reach our coveted place, what course one should adopt for the purpose of achieving our objects. That is Abhidheya, and Abhidheyas are a good deal in number. They are classed by some authorities as 64, by some as 9, and by some others as 5. Though there are multifarious courses to adopt by means of which we can love the All-love, the Absolute, these methods are classified into 64 or 9 or 5 divisions. Of the 64 divisions, 5 are the principal ones, and with these five divisions we are to deal. These are: (1) Bhagavata shravan, Bhatgavata Kirtana, Bhagavata Smaran, (2) Shri Hari's Anghri-Sevanam, (3) Mathuravas, (4) Satsanga, company of sadhus and (5) Shri Harinama Sankirtana.

Mathuravas implies having our eternal abode in Mathura, the holy place where all knowledge is permanent. Shri Harinama Sankirtana is chanting ceaselessly the Transcendental Name. Archan is done in 5, 16, and 64 upacharas for which purpose we are given some Archa in the form of Vigraha, (Painting, Figure or Icon) and we have to worship this Archa with some mantras. All material things are spiritualised by the influence of dedication. When we dedicate worldly things to the Object of our worship, we need not think that they have got any material value to be enjoyed by us. All sorts of mundane temporary associations have to be eliminated before anything can be offered to the Object of worship. This is called Bhutashuddhi. The Object of worship being spiritual, spiritual things are to be offered by a spiritual actor through spiritual activity. Material things are not welcome by the spirit and we should not bring any material thing before Him. If we do so, we would be considering Godhead as one of Nature's products, but that is not the case. He should not be considered as an object in the ordinary phenomena. All the objects of worldly phenomena serve our purpose, but Godhead is not an Object meant to serve us. He is the only Object of adoration, or worship, and all services are to be offered to Him. We should not demand anything from Him, even as we obtain cheques or notes which can be cashed at need in our Banks, for our purpose. He is not our servitor. It is we who are His eternal servitors, and we are to offer our service to Him without expectation of getting anything in return. If we demand anything in lieu of our services that would be considered as a bartering deal. When we got to a bania shop we get some articles for which we pay some price. That sort of transaction is out of place with the Absolute. With the non-Absolute we can have such transaction; but it is ridiculous to import such transactions in our association with the Absolute. Banik-vritti is not necessary. We should be always offering our services to Him and not receiving any service from Him. We are not to expect Godhead to serve us in any capacity. He need not come to us as worldly parents do. We find that such demands as Dhanam dehi, rupam dehi, jayam dehi, dvisho jahi etc." are made often by a class of people who style themselves as Shakteyas. Our prayers should not be to that end. We should not pray: "Give us this day our daily bread." We must not expect Godhead to attend to our call. Throughout the whole world we find such wrong ideas. Devotion should be our principal aim, and not karma or jnana. There is another injunction in the Sermon on the Mount, "Don't take God's name in vain". Yes, we should not take God's Name for the purpose of gaining some end. If we merely wish to serve Godhead and implore Him to receive our services, that would in no way infringe any such rules as were dictated by Christ. He has forbidden us to take God's Name in vain. That is true. We should not ask Him for anything just as we ask our suppliers to furnish things for our use. We have simply to submit. He is the best judge how to look after us. We do not know how good will come to us. We cannot examine the merits and demerits of things by our present acquisitions. It is not possible. We should always be ready to submit to Him unconditionally. All other ideas except this are not regarded as Bhakti by true religionists. In the Gita we find three divisions. The first six chapters are for karmins, the last six chapters are for the Jnaanins and the intermediate six chapters are for bhaktas. So the middle portion is the principal part of the book. The Karmakanda and Jnanankanda are not the real essence of the book, they are but its accessory paraphernalia and not its heart. So bhakti or devotion to Godhead should be the principal object of all religions. Bhakti should be considered nitya, that is permanent and constant. "The Supreme Lord is unconquerable." Our strenuous efforts or empirical knowledge cannot give us the facility of bringing Him within our sense-perception. The devotees have no faith in either of these processes, yet they can, by their devotion, manage to accommodate Him within their hearts. We are to throw off all exertions for acquiring knowledge, and leave aside all our explorations of knowledge. We should not mind giving up all that is not wanted. We need not pose ourselves as intellectual giants. But we should always be energetic in our devotional purpose. We are not to have any confidence in the two systems of karma and jnana, or accept the results derived by these two methods. We should be devotees. Aural reception should be sufficient for our purpose. We should hear from the lips of the adepts who are constantly busy in offering their services to the Absolute. They have the power to guide us into channels leading to the love of the All-Love.

The Absolute is ever ready to receive His servitors, and His servitors have no other engagement but to serve Him. Devotees do not think that they have any other course to be adopted. They need not have any other engagements. They are always engaged in pleasing their Master. There cannot be any difference of interest between the Master and His servitor, nor does it happen that when the Master is wanting one thing the servitor is supplying another thing. Whatever is wanted by the Master that should be supplied by the servitor, that constitutes real service. We should always be ready to serve according to the whims and predilections of the Master. This is devotion. It is not for us to offer to the Master anything according to our own taste, which may not have His approval. He is the Fountainhead of all potency. He is the Predominating Agent and we are the predominated agents. We have no other duty but to attend to the wishes of the master. Our duty should be to serve Him as a devoted spouse and not as husband. The Master should not be the spouse. The devotion to a single wife such as we find in society is not be applied always to the Transcendental. Sri Ramachandra has been restricted to one wife, whereas in the case of Shri Krishna there are millions of Gopis; but this love is on a Transcendental plane where Shri Krishna, the Supreme Autocrat rules over all souls. We need not restrict Him. He is the Proprietor of everything and everything is within His range. We need not put Him under the clutch of restriction as if He is Nature's product and not nature one of His products. We should always abide by the rules of civic discipline otherwise some restlessness or disturbance may arise in society. We are to remember such maxims as, "Do unto others what you wish others to do unto you" in the transactions with our friends. But the case is different in our relation to the Absolute. The Absolute lays claim to everything as Proprietor and therefore all properties are meant for His service only and not for the service of any one else. Since we are dependants, we should be restricted in every way, but we need not for this reason try to put restrictions on the Master. We have got some independence, but that independence should not be indulged in such a way as to restrict the Master. We are allowed some definite things for our purpose, whereas He has sway over all. So we must not think of Him as we do about His created beings. When the Absolute wants something, we are morally bound to offer our services to Him and to attend to His needs. If He thinks that He is the Husband, all should be His wives. The soul should attire her body according to the taste of her Husband; she should apparel herself in such a way as to please her Master. We are not to think that Godhead should be a predominated agent to serve our purpose. We cannot lord it over Him, We are not allowed to do so. We are incapable of doing so. Being infinitessimally small, we have not the power to have Him as our dependent. We ought not to think that He should be our parent and serve us, as we find our worldly parents doing from the beginning of our lives. We should serve and worship Bala Krishna, Child Krishna, as His parents. "I need not go through the Vedas, I need not read the dharmashastras and Mahabharata for the amelioration of my troubles. Let persons who are too much afraid of worldly troubles read Vedas and so on. I am not at all afraid of all these. I do not think that the pessimistic trend of my mind should engage me in reading these books. These are lifeless transactions. I want a living thing. I see that Nanda, as father, has got the privilege of nurturing and fostering Child Krishna from the very beginning. So it is better for me that I should have Nanda as my preceptor instead of all these Shastras." The Child Krishna is found to be crawling in the corridor of Nanda's house. I am also going to worship Him as His parent servitor. Therefore, the parent servitor should be my preceptor. I should not ask Him to be my friend, but instead, I should befriend Him, i.e., I should render my services to Him as a friend. I should also like to be termed as His confidential friend and not a reverential friend. Flatterers are used to flattering their masters posing themselves as friends. I should not be His flattering friend. I should like to be His confidential friend. I won't hesitate to offer Him any food which I have already tasted before to see whether it is relishable or not. If I find the food to be nice, then only shall I place it before the Supreme Lord, whereas our reverential friend would not allow such conduct which is quite contrary to ideas of the reverential worshippers of the Lord. Even Shri Ramanuja followed the rules of reverential worship. But Shri Krishna Chaitanya has told us that we should be His confidential friends instead of posing ourselves as friends in a reverential mood. The reverential mood puts a sort of screen before us. Shaanta-rati is the neutral mood. The Absolute has the right of receiving the different services rendered by His servitors. The Lord says, "He is ever ready to receive service from His servitors in whatever manner it is offered.'

Ordinary people do not understand what religion is. Most people injure the cause of service, excepting the school of Devotion. Jnanins want to merge in the Personality of Godhead. Buddhists think that they can get rid of all miseries by annihilating themselves. Henotheists think that they will, in the long run, reach a state where there is no manifestive or designative feature. Devotees call such people non-devotees, atheists, sceptics, etc. There are Karmins or Karma-virs who are capable of doing many things. They declare they have got a definite object for which they work, otherwise they would be called frantic or mad people. They are all wage-earners or contractors, and do their work in order to get something in return. Agnostics on the other hand do not trouble themselves with such things; they want to lose themselves, they want to commit suicide. These people are not devotees. The idea of a devotee is quite different from the ordinary idea of men in general. The devotional school is always looking after the interest of the Absolute. They do not class themselves as Karmakandins or Jananakandins - they do not join these two parties. They are quite different.

We all should aspire to be Mathura people. We should have a proper conception of spiritual Mathura instead of the mundane Mathura which is the place of enjoyment of people with very low aspirations. Our Sahajiyaa brothers think that they can have access to Mathura by paying the railway fare. It is by surrendering ourselves to the Preceptor's Feet that we can have an abode in Mathura. Otherwise we cannot get an entrance into the transcendental region. We should approach the Guru Who will confer on us the eight things i.e., Name, Mantra, etc. The Name is the Transcendental Sound and Mantras are incantations. The Name is identical with the Namee. The Mantra is required in order to reach that situation in which the Name can be properly chanted. The son of Shachi is the Supreme Lord Himself. Damodar Swarup is the head of the Gaudiyas who are the transcendental servitors of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Rupa and Sanatana were sent to Mathura by Shri Krishna Chaitanya to diffuse transcendental knowledge there. There are several Puris which can give salvation and among them Mathura is the most supreme. Gosthavati signifies the place where Shri Krishna was feeding His cows. (The sound "Go" has various meanings such as - Knowledge, the senses, the animal cow, etc.). Another holy spot is Radhakunda is a tank where Shri Krishna got rid of the sin He had incurred by killing a cow named Aristanemi. He killed Aristotelianism or the rationalistic process of reasoning of this imperfect world. When Krishna wanted to join hands with Radhika, Aristanemi came forward to disturb Him, because Radhika was thought by many people to be the wife of a milkman named Abhimanyu. This Aristanemi was the incarnation of mundane knowledge, and Krishna killed him, for that act He expiated by taking a dip in the Radhakunda. This kunda is the mental speculation of Radha. The eternal land of our abode should be Radhakunda. By the border of Radhakunda we should have our groves. There are millions of groves on the banks of Radhakunda.

This world is a perverted reflection of the original which is our real home. Instead of passing our time here, we want to go back to our eternal abode. We are now very busily engaged in pursuing pleasant sensations gained by our senses from the Phenomenal objects. We should make it a point to eradicate the root cause which has brought us to this world of delusion, apparent pleasures, miseries and troubles. The mind is the root of all evils and the root of all pleasure-seeking inclinations. So the mind should be subjugated first i.e., it should not be allowed to take initiative in anything. Ordinarily the mind controls our senses and the soul is lying in a dormant condition. The soul has delegated its power of transacting with the external world to the mind, and the mind has five ministers to help in the administration of the phenomenal world. But the mind is not a dutiful agent of the soul. It always tries to injure the interest of the soul. The soul has come down here and, while doing so, it has incorporated two envelopes, one subtle and the other gross. Consequently the soul is now in a drowsy condition. It cannot exactly compel the mind to look after its interest. At this crisis, the ever-merciful Lord Shri Krishna sends His messengers with the Transcendental Sound. This Transcendental Sound is meant to regulate the five senses which are engaged in a wrong way to foster the cause of the mind and to injure the cause of the eternal soul. So aural reception is the first thing we should seek from the Agent, the deputed Messenger from the transcendental plane. The transcendental Sound is transmitted through the lips of the Messenger in the shape of a Mantra and in the shape of the Name. The very Name of the Transcendent can regulate the senses. "Go on chanting the Name, constantly repeat the Transcendental Nomenclature, and you will find that energy is being injected into you. But this Name should come to you from a good source, from a transcendental source, and not from any mundane source. The name should not be confused with the other sounds of this world. The Transcendental Sound regulates the senses and does not submit to the senses for scrutiny. When the Supreme Lord Shri Chaitanya Deva met Shri Rupa at Allahabad, He first of all transmitted something into the entity of Shri Rupa which empowered him to receive the Transcendental Sounds from Him, and then He imparted those Transcendental Sounds to him with all explanations.

Mantra is the Name in the dative case. The Supreme Lord, being Adhokshaja, does not allow anybody to see Him. But people are impatient to see Him first, and that is a wrong process.

There cannot be more than one Guru. Guru is only one without a second. We should first of all make a searching enquiry throughout the world to single out the proper person from whom we can get the process for our adoption. We should rely on him fully and have our confidence (Shradha) in Him. He will dictate to us what sort of engagement or bhajan we should perform for the welfare of our souls. As a result of this engagement or Bhajanakriya, we will be set free from all sorts of troubles and all our acquisitions and empiric activities will be regulated. That is, all undesirable elements which have crept into our activities will be eliminated. This is called anartha-nivrithi. Then comes Nishthaa. We should resolve that we will not deviate from our only object which is to serve the Absolute, to be constantly attached to Him. We should have some sort of predilection or taste for our bhajanakriya, the continuity of which should not be disturbed. When we transcend Saadhan-bhakti, we are placed in the Bhaava-bhakti region where we will find that 'rati' is the cardinal point, the principal thing. When we were passing through Saadhan-bhakti, Shraddhaa was the index; here, in Bhaavabhakti, rati is the index. Rati has five different aspects, shaanta, daasya, sakhya, vaatsalya and madhura. Rati is the Medulla Oblongata or the substratum which lies between Saadhan-bhakti and bhaava-bhakti. Rati is supplied by four different ingredients known as vibhaava, anubhaava, saatvika, and saanchaari. Vibhaava includes aalambana and uddipana. In aalambana we find vishaya and aashraya. There is activity of vishaya for aashraya and of aashraya for vishaya. The Vishaya is one without second, but aashrayas there are many. Krishna is the only Vishaya, and Karshnas (devotees) are the ashrayas. Rati is associated with Vishaya and is developed by the influence of uddipana. When we designate ourselves as ashrayas, we have only one Vishaya Who is always eager to confer mercy on us, i.e., assign a proper engagement for us; at the same time we should have the same inclination to have connection with Vishaya. Anubhava is regulated bhava, just following vibhava. Then comes sattvika and sanchari. The former are eight in number and the latter thirty-three in number. Sattvika indicates ecstasy. The ecstatic or enlivened features of Sattvika are displayed, developed and nurtured by the 33 sanchari bhavas. So rati is associated with 4 ingredients vibhava, anubhava, sattvika and sanchari. When they are mixed up, we find a palatable drink, rasa. Rasa is formed by the composition of these four ingredients with rati. Then we come to prema-bhakti, where rasa is indicatory. In bhava-bhakti rati is the cardinal point. The Vishaya and the ashraya both drink this rasa. We have now come to prayojana-tattva. Ashrayas taste Krishna-rasa and Krishna tastes Ashraya-rasa. The development of bhava-bhakti leads to prema-bhakti, and in prema-bhakti we find rasa. People need not confuse chit-rasa with jara-rasa. Chit-rasa is tasted in a region where no imperfection can possibly reach. Jara-rasa, such as we find in stories like Nala-damayanti etc., should not be carried to that region. The domain of rasa is Bhagavata. The book is dedicated to rasikas and bhavukas and not to anybody else. Krishna-prema is the only prayojana or need. This is the final stage.

There are some people who with their hallucinative ideas think that bhoga should be the final goal, and there are some perverse people who think that tyaaga should be the final destination. But these ideals are not congenial for our propagatory work. We are not to confine ourselves to the ideas of bhogaor tyaaga. Parama-dharma is not temporary religion associated with the retention of temporary things. We must not think that Parama-dharma is on the same line with Itara-dharma. Parama-Dharma or Sanatana-dharma is meant for our eternal purpose. Our soul being eternal, this Sanatana-dharma is to be adopted, but not the pseudo-sanatana Dharma advocated by the karmins and jnanins. We should be very careful not to accept the agnosticism of the pantheists. We should also be careful not to accept the enjoying mood of the karma-kandins who are very eager to have us as followers of their gluttonous desires. So true devotion should be defined first. In order to do so, the second shloka of the Bhagavata reading "Dharmah projjhita- etc." has come to us. Projjhita means 'from which all pretensions have been uprooted'. Persons who have already transcended the mundane regions are known as sadhus, and the religion of the sadhus is inculcated in the Bhagavata. Matsarata is the combination of the five obstacles viz., Kaama, Krodha, Lobha, Mada and Moha. By indulging in these passions we acquire matsarata (jealousy). Sadhus are free from jealousy. Vaastava -- Vastu means positive entity. We should have access to the positive entity and not the negative side of the dreamy representations of the objects. By the reverential study of the Bhagavata the threefold tapas (miseries) viz., aadhyaatmik, aadhidvik and aadhibhoutik, are completely eliminated.

Krishna-prema-rasa should be our desired end. We should be rasikas and bhaavukas and never become devoid of rasa.


[1] G. XVIII 66

[2] G. IX.23

[3] G. IV.11

[4] G. VII.14


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