by Srila Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhara Maharaja
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Nirjana-bhajan or smarana, exclusive solitary devotion unconscious of the environment, is not at all possible for the beginners. Guru Maharaj clearly said that when we are in a lower position, smarana is injurious. Rather, we should take to kirtana. Kirtana pra-bhava, smarane haibe, se kale bhajana nirjana smabhava. The sahajiya school are more fond of smarana than kirtana. They are “followers of smarana”.
They lead a secluded life, and mentally go on identifying themselves with a particular sakhi of their own age, her duty, her place of attendance in a particular place of Vrndavana, in a particular lila, under the guidance of a particular sakhi, and so on. They are required to go on meditating on all these things by their so-called guru. That is the process amongst the sahajiya school, but we do not admit that. We consider it false and imaginary. They are not fit to enter that plane of Radha-Govinda lila. They do no have real sambandha-jnana, knowledge of what is what. They only go on with the habitual repetition of a particular mental speculation, but anartha-nivrtti (purging of all evils) or any other process based on it cannot be effected. Their imaginary achievement is sheer concoction. They are not aware of the facts the ontological gradation from Viraja to Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha and Goloka. They are pukura-curiwale (pond thieves”. To think that one can steal a pond is self-deception. We think that kind of “smarana” to be something like self-deception.
One must gradually reach the plane of truth – suddha-sattva. There are so many planes, so many planets to cross over – Bhur, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and she has to cross all these planes.
upaniya bade lata ‘brahmanda’ bhedi yaya
‘viraja’, ‘brahmaloka’, bhedi’paravyoma’ paya
tabe yaya tad upari ‘goloka-vrndavana’
‘krsna-carana’ – kalpavrkse kare arohana
“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja river of passivity (the “causal ocean”) and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Krsna’s Lotus Feet.”
(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta, Madhya 19.153.4)
But the pseudo-devotees do not care to know what is Paravyoma, what is Brahmaloka, what is Viraja, what is the Brahmanda. Without caring to know about these things, they approach any guru, receive some mantram, and go on meditating. But in such a stage, if one goes on meditating on Radha-Govinda lila, instead of entering Radha-Govinda lila, he will rather entangle himself with the ladies and gents of this world. He will become entangled in the domain of lust and he will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka.
Carma-mamsamaya – kama, prema – cidananda-dhama. The carnal appetite is lust, whereas love is the abode of divine ecstasy. So imitation is not success, Rather, it degrades. Imitation degrades. Imagination is only a mental exercise.
Student: What if that mental exercise is done with faith?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Mind is separate from the soul. Sraddha, faith, is connected with the soul, atma, and mind is matter. Mind is a part of the material potency, maya. This is clarified in Gita:
bhumir apo ‘nalo vayur kham mano buddhi eva ca
ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha
“My deluding potency in this world is divided in eight ways: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego.”
Mind is a product of the material potency, and the jiva is a product of parasakti, the principal potency. The svarupa-sakti, the Lord’s personal potency, is a further higher potency, higher than the jiva. The nature of the mind’s is mental speculation (manodharma). That speculative thought has nothing to do with truth. The experiences of the mind are all drawn from the material world, the world of misconception. The mind is full of misconception (avan-manso gocarah). Mind cannot reach the stage of feeling or perceiving truth proper. It is only related to mundane things and selfish exploitation.
Student: But isn’t pure mind a product of sraddha?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Mind cannot be pure. Just as a fossil cannot produce life, so similarly, mind cannot produce sraddha. Sraddha is original and fundamental. When the Supreme Lord appears in the heart, mind vanishes, Darkness cannot produce light. Light comes, darkness vanishes. Truth appears when real pure consciousness appears, and mental speculation vanishes.
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