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  • Darsanas with Srila Maharaja

Simple-heartedness: The Key Differentiator

[The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of a darśana with Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on February 10, 2014 in Jagannath Puri. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.​]

Sundar Gopala Prabhu [Jaipur]: It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam [2.3.10]:

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena yajeta puruṣaṁ param

[A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.] BBT

[So according to Srimad Bhagavatam] Even if one has other desires, one must engage in bhakti.

However, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says in the Jaiva dharma, chapter seventeen, that if while having material desires, one comes in sādhu-sanga or performs any limb of bhakti, he will get neither sukṛti nor bhakti, only some temporary, material benefit will be achieved. [Endnote 1]

[According to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura] Say an individual is performing sādhana and bhajana*, but has material desires in his heart. In that case, he acquires neither sukṛti nor bhakti.

[So how to reconcile between the words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in the ‘Jaiva-dharma’?]

Śrīla Mahārāja: It is said, ‘tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena...' Tīvreṇa [with great intensity]

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: So, if one performs bhakti with great intensity, still [if the practitioner has material desires] how do we reconcile this with the words of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura?

Śrīla Mahārāja: It can be reconciled in this way: If you are simple hearted, then you can do akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā... [perform bhakti, even if you have material desires]

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: Like you mention from the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī explains the nature of Krsna:

āmi — vijña, ei mūrkhe ‘viṣaya’ kene diba? sva-caraṇāmṛta diyā ‘viṣaya’ bhulāiba

[‘Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.’] Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 22.39

Śrīla Mahārāja: Bhagavān will do this [take away material prosperity and enjoyment] only in case of those who are simple-hearted.

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: So, this verse is for those who are simple-hearted?

Śrīla Mahārāja: Yes. However, for those who maintain anyābhilāṣa [desires other than those for the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa], while practicing the different limbs of bhakti, this indicates that they have some ulterior motive. Therefore, such individuals will not progress [in bhakti]. Thus, the statement of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as well as whatever is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has to be deeply deliberated.

An example of this is Dhruva Mahārāja. Even he had a desire.

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: So, the verse, ‘akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā’, became applicable to Dhruva.

Śrīla Mahārāja: Dhruva Mahārāja was a mere child, he ventured out [into the forest] considering his desire to be topmost. However, [in reality] that was not the case. So Bhagavān -by showing him viṣaya [an object of the senses] - removed the desire for that object.

Bhagavān: “Here, take this – you came with the determination to fulfill your desire, now why aren’t you accepting what I am offering to you?”

Dhruva Mahārāja: “Yes, it is true that I approached You with a desire. However, now I have found You.”

Bhagavān: “So what has changed by meeting Me?”

Dhruva Mahārāja: “You are deva-munīndra-guhyam [difficult to achieve even for great demigods, saintly persons and kings].”

Bhagavān: “I may be difficult to attain for the devatas, but not for you. In fact, I am giving you what you desired.”

Dhruva Mahārāja: “No. I was searching for a piece of glass, which only glitters. However, now I have found divya-ratnaṁ [a most valuable jewel].

That is, why O my dear Lord, I am very grateful to You. I do not desire any benediction.”

That is why it is said:

āmi — vijña, ei mūrkhe ‘viṣaya’ kene diba? sva-caraṇāmṛta diyā ‘viṣaya’ bhulāiba

[‘Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.’] Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 22.39

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: For them [the devotees who have an ulterior motive] another statement is given by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, where he explains, ‘bhukti mukti diyā...

Śrīla Mahārāja:

kṛṣṇa yadi chuṭe bhakte

bhukti mukti diyā

kabhu prema-bhakti nā

dena rākhena lukāiyā

[If a devotee wants liberation or material sense gratification from the Lord, Kṛṣṇa immediately delivers it, but pure devotional service He keeps hidden.] Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi-līlā 8.18

Mādhavpriya Prabhu: What does Bhagavān do for those who are disguised as devotees but maintain desires for objects of their sense enjoyment or impersonal liberation? He immediately fulfills their desires and runs away: ‘Ok, they want this — let Me give and quickly get away, why waste time?’

Hare Kṛṣṇa!


Endnote 1:

[Vrajanātha: I understand that sādhu-sanga is the only sukṛti that gives rise to bhakti. One has to listen to hari-kathā from the mouths of sādhus, and thereafter one obtains bhakti. Is this the proper sequence to progress in bhakti?

Bābājī: I will explain the proper way of progressing in bhakti; Listen attentively. Only by good fortune does the jīva who is wandering throughout the universe achieve the sukṛti that gives rise to bhakti. One of the many limbs of pure bhakti may touch a jīva’s life. For example, he may fast on Ekādaśī, or touch or visit the holy places of Bhagavān’s pastimes, or serve a guest who happens to be a suddha-bhakta, or have the chance to hear hari-nāma or hari-kathā from the lotus mouth of an akīncana-bhakta. If someone desires material benefits or impersonal liberation from such activities, the resultant sukṛti does not lead to devotional service. However, if an innocent person performs any of these activities, either unknowingly or out of habit, without desiring material sense gratification or impersonal liberation, these activities lead to the accumulation of bhakti-prada-sukṛti.]

*Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta [Madhya 22.42]

sthānābhilāṣī tapasi sthito ’haṁ tvāṁ prāptavān deva-munīndra-guhyam kācaṁ vicinvann api divya-ratnaṁ svāmin kṛtārtho ’smi varaṁ na yāce

[When he was being blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Dhruva Mahārāja said:] ‘O my Lord, because I was seeking an opulent material position, I was performing severe types of penance and austerity. Now I have gotten You, who are very difficult for the great demigods, saintly persons and kings to attain. I was searching after a piece of glass, but instead I have found a most valuable jewel. Therefore, I am so satisfied that I do not wish to ask any benediction from You.’


* sādhana - the method one adopts to obtain a specific goal

bhajana - service as well as spiritual practices like hearing and chanting

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