Mar 01, 2015 CANADA (SUN) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's English introduction to "Srimad-Gaurangalila-Smaranamangal Stotram", in eight parts.
We now proceed to explain his precepts to those who are not acquainted with them. This little book and the commentaries contain such of his holy principles as are prominent.
Chaitanya teaches us in the first place that the rational attributes of men are not capable of approaching the Divine sphere of spirit. Jukti as he styles reason, is quite incompetent in such a matter. Ruchi as he styles the religious sentiment in man, even in a very small quantity, has the power to comprehend it. It is inspiration which can alone give light to spiritual matters. Inspirations coming down from Heaven through purified and blessed souls have exhibited themselves in the form of the Vedas.
The Vedas, together with their explanatory notes, the Puranas, are therefore the only evidence in matters of spirit and are eternal in nature. Vedic truths should, therefore, be accepted as the only truth in higher matter. Reason, while sincerely helping the inspired truth, may be acceptad as auxiliary evidence. The Vedas teach us according to Chaitanya, nine principal doctrines, that is;—
(1) Hari (the Almighty) is one without a second.
(2) He is always vested with infinite power.
(3) He is ocean of Rasa.
(4) The soul is His Vibhinnangsha or separated part.
(5) Certain souls are engrossed by Prakriti or His illusory energy.
(6) Certain souls are released from the grasp of Prakriti.
(7) All spiritual and material phenomena are Bhedabhed-prakasha of Hari the Almighty.
(8) Bhakti is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence.
(9) Prem in Krishna is alone the final object of spiritual existence.
We must explain these points one by one:—
1) Hari the Supreme Being is one without a second. In Aryan theology the creative principle of the Deity is personified in Brahma and the destructive principle in Shiva. Indra is the head of some lower elements of adminstration. Hence they are not the Almighty Himself but are differnt representations of different attributes. They have obtained their powers from an original Fountainhead. Hence they are subordinate beings in the service of Hari or Bhagavan. Then again there are three distinct philosophical ideas of the Deity i.e. (i) the idea of the negative Brahma of the Pantheistic school, (ii) the idea of an universal soul, Paramatma of the yoga school and (iii) the idea of a personal Deity with all His majesty, might, glory, beauty, wisdom and supremacy combined in the person.
The ideas of Bramha and Param¬atma are therefore included in the idea of Bhagavan. Spiritually, therefore, Bhagavan is Hari the Supreme Being. Human ideas are either mental or spiritual. The mental idea is defective as it has relation to the created principle of matter. The spiritual idea is certainly the nearest approach to the Supreme Being. Then again the spiritual idea of Bhagavan is of two sorts. In one sort, the person of the Deity is overpowered by His own majesty, and in the other, the personal beauty overpowers all His majesty. The first idea is represented in the great Narayan of Vaikuntha, who is the Lord of Lords and God of Gods. The second is represented in the All-beautiful Krishna with Radhika, the representative of His Hladini or superior ecstatic energy. Krishna appears as man amongst men and is again generally accepted as God above Gods. Krishna attracts, loves, and produces ecstacy in all souls. His person and personal attachments are all purely spiritual and have no relation to the material world. The material senses of man can not approach Him. It is the spirit in man which can see Him direct and commune with Him.
The soul fettered in matter, has from its own degradation lost its right to see Krishna and his spiritual lila in the spiritual world, but Krishna out of His own Supreme Power and prerogative may appear with all His Vrindavan lila before the eyes of all men. The rational man can hardly conceive and believe Krishna and His lila. As his spiritual essence improves, he sees Him and loves Him with all his heart. In our small compass, we can hardly treat this subject fully and exhaustively. We, therefore, leave this point to our readers with these words. "Give up the shackles of matter slowly. Cultivate your spirit inwards. Give up prejudices which you have acquired from the so-called rational thinkers who deny the existence of spirit. Be humble in yourself and learn to respect those who work towards spiritual attainments. Do these with your heart, mind and strength in the company of spiritual people alone, and you will see Krish¬na in no time."
Krishna is not an imaginary Being, nor you have a right to think that He is a material phenomenon fancied to be the Supreme Being by the fools. Krishna is not understood by the process of distinguishing the subjective from the objective, nor He is to be accepted as an imposition on the people set up by designing men. Krishna is eternal, spiritually true, reflected on the human soul when relieved of all pressure of gross matter and is the subject of love which proceeds from the soul. Accept Him as such and you will see Him in your soul's eye. Words fail to describe that transcendental Being. The highest, best and most spiritual ideal of the Divinity is in Krishna. To bring arguments against Him is simply to deceive one's self and deprive himself of the blessings that God has kept in store for man. Hence all descriptions of His name, person, attributes and lila should be accepted spiritually, giving up the material portion which words must necessarily convey.
2) Hari is always vested with infinite powers. By infinite powers must be meant powers which know no bounds either in space or in time; as His powers alone created space and time. His powers are identified with His person. In material objects, there is a difference between the person and its powers, between the thing and its attributes, its name, its form and action; but it is a spiritual truth that in spirit the thing is identical with its name, form, attributes and action. This truth can not be subjected to dry reason which deals with gross matter alone. Krishna is Supreme Will in Himself and He exercises His supreme power at His pleasure, which submits to no law, because all law has proceeded from His Will and Power. Power is known from its exercise. In this world we have experience of only three of the attributes of His power.
We see the material phenomena and we understand that His power has the attribute to create matter. This attribute is styled in the Vedas as Maya-shakti. We see man and we understand that the Supreme power has the attribute to produce limited and imperfect souls. The sastras call that attribute as Jiva-shakti. We conceive of One who is spiritual and supreme in his realm of eternal spirits. We understand that His power has an attribute to exhibit perfectly spiritual existences. The Vedas call that attribute by the name of Atma-shakti or Chit- shakti. All these attributes together form one supreme power which the Vedas call as Para-shakti. In fact power (shakti) is not distinguishable from the person of that Being. Still the powers are separately exhibited in their separate actions. This is styled Achintya-bhedabhed prokash or inconceivable simultaneous existence of distinction and non-distinction. Hari being Will above law, exercises His infinite powers, while He Himself remains unaffected. This is not understood, but felt in the soul as an intuitive truth.
3) He is the ocean of rasa. Rasa has been defined to be that ecstatic principle which comprehends sthayi bhab, bibhab, anubhab, satvik and sanchari. Bibhab is divided into Alambana and Uddipana. Alambana is subdivided into Vishaya and Asraya. Asraya is that person who has in himself the principle of sthayi-bhab and vishaya is that person to whom the sthayi-bhab directs itself. Sthayi-bhab has been explained to be rati or tendency of the pure spiritual heart. By a connection of Asraya and Visha¬ya the sthayi-bhab arrives at its stage of action. When it obtains its active stage, certain signs are exhibited in the person which are called the Anubhabs. These are thirteen in number (vide Sanskrit commentary to 79th sloka). Eight other bhabs exhibiting on the mind are styled satvik-bhab such as tears, shivering, etc. Thirty three other bhabs such as harsha, vishad, etc. have been shewn to be sanchari-bhabs. These combined in soul form the rasa. This process of exhibition of rasa relates to exhibition of Rasa in man still enthralled in matter. But Rasa itself is an eternal principle identified with the Supreme Hari. Hari is the ocean of Rasa and in the human soul a drop of the ocean could only be conceived. Rasa naturally is spiritual but in man subjected to Maya the progenitor of matter, it has been identified, in a perverted state, with the sensual pleasure of man in connection with material objects, the soul losing itself in mind and the mind acting through the senses enjoying the perverted Rasa in five different objects of the five senses. This is the soul's going abroad with avidya or ignorance of the spiritual self.
When the soul looks inward, it obtains its spiritual Rasa and the perverted Rasa wanes off in proportion to the development of the spiritual Rasa. In spiritual Rasa the souls towards each other and all towards the All-beautiful, have their unfettered action in Vrindavan, rising above material time and space. Hari or Infinite Supreme Free Will has eternal ecstacy in His spiritual power or chit-shakti. The Hladini attribute of chit-shakti gives Him infinite pleasure. The sambit attribute of 'chit-shakti' ( spiritual wisdom ) produces all bhabs, relations and affections. The sandhini attribute of 'chit-shakti' produces all existence (other than the free will) including the dhams (abodes), individualities and other substances in connection with the action of the spiritual Rasa. All these exhibitions are from 'chit-shakti' or the spiritual power. The Mayik or material creation including time, space and gross objects, has no place in chit-jagat or the spiritual world which is all the same as Vrindavan. 'Maya-shakti' is a perverted reflection of the 'chit-shakti'. Hence the particularities in the 'Mayik' (material) world have semblance with the particularities in the 'chit-jagat' or (spiritual universe), but are not substantially the same. The 'chit-jagat' is the model of the 'Mayik-jagat' but they are not identical. We must guard ourselves against the idea, that man has imagined 'chit- jagat' from an experience of the 'Mayik-jagat'. This idea is pantheistic and it may also be styled atheistic. Reason, not spiritualized, has a tendency to create such a doubt, but one who has a wish to enjoy spiritual love must give it up as misleading.
The eternal Rasa of Krishna exists spiritually in 'chit-jagat". To us who are in the nether world there is a screen which intervenes between our eyes and the great spiritual scene of Krishnalila. When by the grace of Krishna that screen is drawn up, we have the privilege to see it, and again when it pleases the Almighty to drop the screen the great Vrindavan lila disappears. Taste the subject and your conviction will be the same as mine. Brethren! do not give up such an important subject without due and liberal examination.