Imaginary Perfection is Self-deception

by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja

Guru Maharaja (Srila Saraswati Thakur) clearly said that when we are in a lower position, smarana is injurious. Rather, we should take to kirtanaKirtana prabhave, smarana haibe, se kale bhajana nirjjana sambhava. Sahajiyas (members of the imitationist school) are fonder of smarana than kirtana. They are ‘followers’ of smarana. They lead a secluded life, and mentally they attempt to identify themselves with a particular sakhi of their own age.

They pretend to perform her duties, to occupy her place of service in a particular place of Vrndavana, in a particular lila, under the guidance of a particular sakhi, and so on. They are required to meditate on all these things by their so-called guru.

That is the process amongst the Sahajiya school, but we do not accept that. We consider it all false and imaginary. They are not fit for the plane. They do not have real sambandha-jnana, knowledge of Reality. They only practice the habitual repetition of a particular mental speculation, but anartha-nivrtti (removal of contamination) or any other process based on it cannot be effected thereby. Their imagined 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–imagining their residence at Radha Kunda. To think one can steal a pond is self deception. We consider that kind of ‘smarana‘ to be self-deception.

The Death Blow to the Sahajiyas

The Sahajiyas propagate that without directly receiving siddha-pranali (revelation of one’s internal identity as a gopi) spiritual perfection is incomplete. Let them do so. Our Guru Maharaja wrote several poems, one of which is Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani, ‘A Hundred Defects in the Sahajiya Conception.’ The defects are innumerable, but our Guru Maharaja put forward a hundred of the defects in their process of ‘advancement.’ Mainly they take spiritual advancement very cheaply; they are not prepared to pay the real price. But the death blow to them is this:

upajiya bade lata ‘brahmanda’ bhedi’ yaya
‘viraja,’ brahmaloka, ‘ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ paya
tabe yaya tad upari ‘goloka-vrndavana’
‘krsna-carana’-kalpa-vrkse kare arohana
“As one waters the devotional creeper, the seed sprouts, and it gradually grows until it penetrates the walls of this material universe and goes beyond the Viraja River, which divides the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, and then reaches the paravyoma, the spiritual sky, and then reaches the foremost spiritual planet Goloka Vrndavana. Rooted in the heart and watered by sravana-kirtana, the bhakti creeper grows until it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krsna in the topmost region of the spiritual sky.”
(C.c. Madhya-lila 19.153-4)

One must first cross the different gross and subtle layers of the brahmanda (mundane universe); then Viraja, the extremity of the jurisdiction of Maya, or misconception; then the Brahman conception, the halo of the real or transcendental world; then, Vaikuntha, which is Paravyoma, a sphere of consciousness.

The jiva comes from tatasthaloka, the marginal position or the abscissa, and must go through higher planes where even the soil is more valuable than the infinitesimal spirit soul. Vaikunthera prthivyadi sakala cinmaya. What is Vaikuntha? There the soil, earth, water, everything is of purer consciousness than the person who is going to enter there.

Entering the Land of Gurus

It is a land of gurus. There, they are all guru, they are all of superior value by nature; yet, we have to pass over them. As an example, consider that it may be necessary for our service to momentarily place a foot on the throne of the Lord (perhaps to place His crown on His head, etc.). But afterwards we come back down, offer our obeisances, and then come out from the Deity room. In the same manner we must enter and remain in a soil that is made of a stuff more valuable than our own selves. When serving the emperor, a slave may come near his bed, where even his near and dear cannot go, or hesitate to go. The slave can approach, but only for service. So it is only for the divine service, for the necessity of the Highest, that we can pass through that soil. It is not an easy thing; it is inconceivable. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala cinmaya. We must understand the conception properly. The jiva has emerged from the tatastha-sakti or marginal potency. He is a part of the marginal potency, and he must enter the higher plane. This gross world is of gross potency, aparasakti; the jiva, although marginal, is of a potency superior to this gross world, or para-sakti. Above both is the Internal Potency, or antaranga-sakti. We have to enter the plane of antaranga-sakti. This marginal potency is to enter the plane of antarangasakti – Paravyoma, and the highest quarter, Vrndavana, Goloka. It is not a trivial matter.

Cheap Imitators and Pseudo Devotees

Srila Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaja practiced smarana in a hut near the Ganges. Another Babaji constructed a kutira nearby, a small hut, and went on imitating Gaura Kisora Babaji, performing madhukari (subsisting on alms), sitting and meditating, and wearing similar cloth. Babaji remarked, “If a lady enters into a maternity ward, she cannot produce a child only by imitating the sounds and symptoms of labor.

“Many things are necessary before that!” Only by imitating the paramahamsa babaji, bhajana cannot be practiced. One must have a connection with suddha-sattva, the real plane, and then all the higher symptoms may appear. Otherwise, only speculative antics will manifest.

na u hiya vrksopari, ana ani phala dhari’
dus a-phala karile arjana

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura asks in Kalyana-kalpataru, Upadesa 18: “If one wants fruits without taking the trouble to climb the tree, what sort of fruits can one expect?” The fruits will be ruined, or rotten. Without proper progression, it is all imagination, a madman’s feat. One must gradually reach the plane of truth,suddha-sattva. There are so many planes to cross: Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satya-loka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and our devotion must cross all these planes (C.c. Madhya-lila 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 mantra, and go on meditating. But if one meditates upon Radha-Govinda-lila in such an ignorant state, instead of entering Radha-Govinda-lila one will become entangled with the ladies and gentlemen of this world. One will become entangled in the domain of lust and will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka.

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