The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vraja-dhama


Krishna Fluting for Radha
Bikaner 18th c.

Aug 08, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 172.

In our final segment on Vraja-dhama, we continue today with chapter thirty-two of Jaiva Dharma, in which the Gosvami is instructing Vijayaj-kumara as to the glorious nature of Vraja. Inquiring as to how many different kinds of beautiful girls are there in Vraja, the Gosvami explains:

    "There are three kinds: sadhana-para (persons who became gopis by performing sadhana-bhakti), devi (demigoddesses who became gopis) and nitya-priya (eternally dear gopis)."

We have already covered many of the descriptions of the variagated qualities and service demonstrated by the various gopis in Vraja, but there is one more unique aspect provided here in chapter thirty-two:

    "Vijaya-kumara: Which sages in this way took birth in Vraja?

    Gosvami: Some sages found that even after dutifully worshipping Lord Gopala, they still could not attain their desired perfection. However, when they were able to personally see the glorious handsomeness of Lord Ramacandra, they diligently performed sadhana-bhakti in order to attain their desire. As a result they attained ecstatic love (bhava) and they took birth in Vraja as gopis. This is described in the Padma Purana. In the Brhad-Vamana Purana it is said that some of these gopis attained their desires perfection at the beginning of the rasa dance.

    Vijaya-kumara: How did the personified Upanisads take birth as gopis?

    Gosvami: When they saw the gopis' good fortune, the intelligent Upanisads became filled with wonder. They faithfully performed austerities, and as a result were born in Vraja as gopis filled with spiritual love (premavati)."

In chapter thirty-eight Vijaya-kumara asks, what are the different kinds of prakata pastimes the Lord enjoys in Vraja?

    "Gosvami: The Lord's prakara pastimes in Vraja are of two kinds: 1 nitya (regular) and 2 naimittika (for some special occasion). The Lord's asta-kaliya-lila (pastimes in the eight periods of the day) in Vraja are His nitya pastimes. Other pastimes, like His killing Putana and other demons, and His going far away on a journey are His naimittika pastimes."

As mentioned many times over the course of this series, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's most essential point in Jaiva Dharma is his conveyance of the Truth about the highest levels of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In chapter thirty-two this is described as part of the narration on the service of the Gopis of Vraja:

    "In your meditation, you should serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna as the fortunate gopis of Vraja do. If you cannot think of yourself as a gopi married to someone other than Krsna, then you will not be able to attain the parakiya rasa. To think that they are married to someone less is the nature of the gopis in Vraja. Srila Rupa Gosvami has written (Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Krsna-vallabha-prakarana 19):

      "The Vraja-gopis never meet with their husband, nor do their husbands even feel jealous, for the gopis husbands are all creations of Yogamaya."

    The gopis' weddings and husbands are both creations of Yogamaya. The gopis never had any husband but Krsna. Still, in the eternal present (nitya-vartamana) that is the feature of time in the spiritual world, the gopis eternally think that they are married to someone other than Krsna. If this were not the case, then the wonderful rasas where the beloved in contrary, unattainable, surrounded by obstacles, and forbidden, would not be possible. It is because she refuses to accept parakiya rasa that Goddess Laksmi in Vaikuntha cannot become one of Krsna's beloved in the rasas of Vraja."

In chapter thirty-nine, the author begins to bring this essential point to a conclusion, as the Gosvami explains to Vijaya-kumara how he can enter into Lord Krsna's pastimes:

    "Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has revealed the way in these words (Manah-siksah 2):

      "Mind don't do the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Intently serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Always remember that Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda and my spiritual master is most dear to Lord Mukunda."

    Don't perform the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas. Reject this past of the Vedas and instead earnestly engage in raganuga-bhakti. Again and again serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja. If you ask, "Who will teach me how to serve the Lord according to the rasas of Vraja?", then I will tell you. Please listen. Sridhama Navadvipa, where Lord Caitanya appeared in Saci-devi's womb is a manifestation of Vrndavana. Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself, Krsna the son of Nandisvara's king. Lord Caitanya is not different from Krsna. Thinking that Lord Krsna has descended to Navadvipa to enjoy pastimes as Lord Caitanya, one should not reject the worship of Lord Krsna as the amorous hero of Vraja and instead worship Lord Caitanya as the amorous hero of the young girls in Navadvipa. Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna Himself. Still, one should not criticise the devotees who worship Him with different mantras and meditate on Him separately. In the path of the rasas one should worship only Krsna, the beloved of Radha, and Lord Caitanya one should worship as the spiritual master of the rasas of Vraja. One should meditate on Lord Caitanya's pastimes and on Lord Krsna's asta-kaliya pastimes. One should not think that one's spiritual master is not a sakhi or a yuthesvari in Vraja. By worshipping in this way one will be able to enter Lord Krsna's pastimes in Vraja."

And finally, in chapter forty, the Thakur urges his readers to surrender to the highest form of devotional service:

    "…Vijaya-kumara asked, "What do the words 'kuryad vasam vraje sada (a devotee should always live in the land of Vraja) mean?

    Gosvami: Srila Jiva Gosvami explains "To place one's body in the circle of Vraja means to place it in the circle of the Lord's pastimes. If one is not able to place his physical body in Vraja, one can meditate on living in Vraja. By this meditation one attains the final goal. Then one becomes the follower of a particular sakhi, one serves that sakhi in the forest, and one always meditates on that sakhi and her particular kind of love for Lord Krsna. Thus you should engage your gross material body in the activities of vaidhi-bhakti, which begin with hearing and chanting and also, with the eleven bhavas, you should meditate on the pastimes of a liberated sakhi in Vraja. In this way you should engage in devotional service. Thus you should engage your material body in the activities of vaidhi-bhakti. When your spiritual body becomes manifest, you will become averse to all that is not related to Vraja.

    Vijaya-kumara: Please clearly describe this path.

    Gosvami: The word "vraja-vasa" means to avoid the company of materialists". One should chant a certain prescribed number of holy names of Lord Hari and also meditate on the Lord's asta-kaliya pastimes. Do not think of your material body as an enemy. Rather, use it and all in relationship with it in favourable service to the Lord."


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