Prema Pradipa – Fourth Ray

Accompanying Yogi Bābājī, Mallik Mahāśaya and the two Bābus go to the Govardhana cave, and they hear a song on the way

The day was almost over. The heat of the sun had reduced. A soft western breeze was blowing. Many people were out on pilgrimage. Some lady pilgrims were singing the following song as they walked along:

tyaja re mana hari-vimukha loka-saṅga
jāka saṅga hi, kumati upajatahi
bhajana hi paḍata vibhaṅga.

satata asat patha, lei yo yāyata
upayāta kāminī-saṅga
śamana dūta, paramāyu parakhata
dūra hi nehārata raṅga.

ataeva se hari-nāma sāra parama madh
upāna karaha choḍi ḍhaṅga, kaha mādha-hari-caraṇa
saroruhe māti rahu janu bhṛṅga

“O dear mind, please give up the company of those averse to Hari. Their company gives birth to wicked thoughts, and one’s devotion is spoiled. Such association always leads one towards materialistic life and the association of women. Yamarāja’s servants enjoy seeing those people’s duration of life diminishing. Therefore give up all hypocrisy and drink the supreme nectar of the holy names. Stay absorbed in Lord Hari’s lotus feet as the bee is absorbed in the lotus flower.”

While listening to the song, Mallik Mahāśaya cast a sidelong glance at Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu and their minds slightly changed. Naren Bābu somewhat jokingly said, “From today we’ll not deride Vaiṣṇavism. I don’t see any difference between Vaiṣṇavism and Brahmoism; only I can’t understand the meaning of idol worship.” On hearing this no one replied. They all proceeded forward. Yogi Bābājī said, “Let us also sing as we go.” Bābājī started singing, and they all followed:

hari hari! kabe vṛndāvana-vāsī
nirakhiba nayane yugala-rūpa-rāśi

tejiyā śayana-sukha vicitra pālaṅka
kabe vrajera dhūlāte dhūsara habe aṅga

ṣaḍ-rasa bhojana dūre parihari
kabe yamunāra jala khāba kara puri

narottama dāse kaya kari parihāra
kabe vā emana daśā haibe āmāra

“O Hari! When will I become a resident of Vṛndāvana and always see the beautiful forms of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa? Giving up the enjoyment of sleeping in wonderful beds, when will my body be covered with the dust of Vraja? When will I give up the six kinds of tasty foods and drink the waters of the Yamunā with my two hands? Narrotama dāsa says, when will I give up these things and come to the state?”

They almost all felt like dancing while singing this prayer. Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu had often danced in the Brahmo’s nagara-kīrtana in Calcutta, so they didn’t see anything wrong in dancing with Yogi Bābājī in that mood. Only when Bābājī sang yugala rūpa-rāśi (the beautiful forms of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa), they sang aparūpa rūpa-rāśi (the beautiful form of the formless Lord). As they chanted, a beautiful scene was created. One was a genuine Bābājī, one was a worldly Vaiṣṇava with no śikhā, and the other two were wearing shoes and glasses. As the proceeded, many people were eagerly watching them thinking, “Is Bābājī delivering Jagāi and Mādhāi?”

The two Vaiṣṇavas and two Bābus in Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s āśrama

Swimming in the ocean of kīrtana ecstasy, they arrived at Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s āśrama. When Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī and the other Bābājīs heard the kīrtana, they approached the party, offered obeisances, and joined in the ecstatic chanting. The kīrtana ended after about one hour of the night had passed.

After everyone sat in the maṇḍapa, Mallik Mahāśaya took the dust of the Bābājīs’ feet and smeared it all over his body. He then smeared the bodies of his two companions with his hands saying, “Let all your doubts be dispelled.” They replied, “Anyone can take the dust of other’s feet, but today we’ve had a new feeling in our hearts—just as one feels purified after morning bath. But we’re afraid that if we continue like this we may become idol worshipers. To tell the truth, we’ve chanted and seen many kīrtanas with the Brahmos, but we’ve never experienced such prema as we have experienced now with the devotees. Let us see what formless Hari has in store for us.”

On hearing their talk, Premadāsa Bābājī and Haridāsa Bābājī became somewhat astonished and asked, “Where do they come from?” When Yogi Bābājī told everything about them, Premadāsa said, “There is no doubt that Gauracandra has attracted these two great souls through you.”

Yogi Bābājī asks Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī how one can attain rasa-samādhi and rāga-sādhana without practicing yoga

Everyone was seated happily in the maṇḍapa. One lamp dimly flickered in the corner. Most of those present were counting harināma on tulasī-mālā in their japa bags. Yogi Bābājī said to Paṇḍita Bābājī, “Your instruction has dispelled much of the darkness in my heart. But I have one doubt. It is this: if we don’t recognize and practice prāṇāyāma, dhyāna, and dhāraṇā of the yoga path, then how can we attain rasa-samādhi? In order to awaken one’s constitutional position within the heart, one is required to execute sādhana. What is the sādhana for arousing rāga, or spontaneous attachment?”

On hearing the question, everyone expectantly looked toward Paṇḍita Bābājī’s grave, auspicious face. Mallik Mahāśaya became a little astonished. Perhaps he had believed that Yogi Bābājī was the greatest Vaiṣṇava. On Yogi Bābājī’s inquiry, Mallik Mahāśaya understood that Yogi Bābājī respected Paṇḍita Bābājī like his guru. He then looked on Paṇḍita Bābājī with great respect.

Paṇḍita Bābājī’s reply: The difference between material attachment and spiritual attachment, and attaining renunciation without performing Vaiṣṇava sādhana or attaining spiritual attachment by yoga practice is impossible

Paṇḍita Bābājī began to speak, “It is difficult for the conditioned soul to act on the spiritual platform with pure spiritual attachment. It is this pure spiritual attachment which is pervertedly transformed into material attachment. As material attachment increases, spiritual attachment proportionately decreases. As spiritual attachment increases, material attachment proportionately decreases. This is the natural characteristic of the living entity. It is not that subjugating material attachment awakens one’s spiritual attachment. Many people take shelter of renunciation just to subjugate material attachment, but they don’t try to increase their spiritual attachment. This ends in misfortune.

“Thought and practice like dhyāna, pratyāhāra, and dhāraṇā are advised for attaining the end result of awakening one’s spiritual attachment. And many people practice these. But they don’t sufficiently discuss how to attain spiritual attachment. That is why yogis often become captivated by yogic opulence and ultimately fail to attain spiritual attachment. On the other hand, Vaiṣṇava practices are superior.

“You see, any sādhana is just a special activity. One may develop attachment to whatever activities are required to be performed in human life, and one may only think and labor hard while endeavoring to achieve the Absolute Truth. Are those who work in this way able to quickly awaken spiritual attachment? If the sādhaka keeps his attempts to develop spiritual attachment as a separate activity in his life, then he will be pulled by material attachment on one hand and spiritual consciousness on the other. In that case, his life will follow whichever attachment is greater. A boat moves by the strength of oars, but when the water’s current carries away the boat, the oars are defeated. In the same way, as the sādhaka tries to cross the ocean with the boat of the mind and various oars like dhyāna, pratyāhāra, and dhāraṇā, sometimes the current of attachment quickly carries him into sense gratification.”

Analysis of the superiority of devotional service in spontaneous love over yoga practice and cultivating impersonal knowledge

“Devotional service to Viṣṇu is executed with spontaneous love. The sādhaka certainly achieves spiritual attachment in no time through spontaneous devotional service. One should know what the current of attachment is. Whatever the heart of the conditioned soul naturally likes and whatever pleasing things he accepts for his maintenance are all material attachments in human life. After consideration, it is observed that among these attachments there are five kinds connected with the five sense organs. Being attracted to the sense objects, the mind runs towards them. One eats with the tongue, smells with the nose, hears with the ears, feels with the skin, and sees with the eyes. The mind of the conditioned soul is always attached to some sense object. What power can detach the mind from the objects of the senses? Though dry impersonal speculation could be helpful to some extent in this matter, still, due to the passive nature of impersonal Brahman, the worshiper is unable to get complete strength. Therefore the yogis and jñānīs face so many difficulties. In devotional service there are no difficulties. The lives of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees are not separated from Brahman. Material attachment and spiritual attachment in this path are non-different. When the mind wants to see the sense object through the eyes, good—let it see the indescribable beauty of the Deity. In this case material enjoyment and spiritual enjoyment are the same. You want to hear? Then hear the songs and talks which glorify Kṛṣṇa. Do you like to eat palatable dishes? Then offer all types of tasty dishes to Lord Kṛṣṇa and accept the prasāda. To smell—there is the tulasī and sandalwood pulp which was offered to the Lord. Like this, all objects are spiritualized for the practitioner of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One who executes Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always merged in spiritual existence. All of his activities enhance his spiritual attachment. For him, the activities of the senses are not impediments, rather they are the means of attaining love of God. I’ve briefly explained the relation between spiritual attachment and other spiritual paths. You are a great Vaiṣṇava. Now I’m finished speaking. Please forgive me if I made any mistake.”

Everyone was enchanted by Paṇḍita dāsa Bābājī’s explanation, and Naren and Anand Bābu grow doubtful about Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya

Everyone was amazed by listening to Paṇḍita Bābājī’s speech. Different persons had different feelings arise. Although Yogi Bābājī was adept in the field of yoga, still, he was fully qualified in Vaiṣṇava mellows. He was now free from doubt and relished the dust particles of Paṇḍita Bābājī’s feet. Paṇḍita Bābājī embraced him with love and affection. Mallik Mahāśaya’s feelings could not be understood by anyone.

Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu considered for some days the basic truths about Deity worship. Yogi Bābājī gave them Śrī Caitanya-gītā to study. After studying and considering the various aspects, they more or less understood the purport, but still had no faith. They heard the grave, devotionally pregnant instructions of Paṇḍita Bābājī and they discussed together: “Alas! We are enchanted with foreign knowledge! We don’t know what priceless jewels our own country has!”

Naren Bābu said, “Anand Bābu! What education made Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya neglect the science of Deity worship? Perhaps he was somewhat mistaken on this subject! Rājā Rāma Mohan Rāya can make a mistake? I’m afraid to say this! This Rāma Mohan Rāya made us believe that our Vyāsa and Nārada were mistaken, so today how will we say that he is wrong?”

Anand Bābu said, “Why fear? For the sake of truth we can reject even Rāma Mohan Rāya.”

Yogi Bābājī tactfully chants while taking his three companions back to the kuñja

It was late in the night. Yogi Bābājī started moving with his three companions. Returning to the kuñja, they sang the following song on the way:

kena āra kara dveṣa, videśī-jana-bhajane
bhajanera liṅga nānā, nānā deśe nānā jane
keha mukta kacche bhaje, keha hāṇṭu gāḍi pūje
keha vā nayana mudi, thāke brahma-ārādhane
keha yogāsane pūje, keha saṅkīrtane maje
sakale bhajiche sei, eka mātra kṛṣṇa-dhane
ataeva bhrātṛbhāve, thāka sabe susadbhāve
hari-bhakti sādha sadā, e-jīvane vā maraṇe

“Why are you envious of those who follow a different process of worship? There are different persons in different countries. Someone worships dressed in a loincloth, and someone worships while stooping. Someone worships Brahman with his eyes closed. Someone worships while sitting in yogic posture, while some are absorbed in saṅkīrtana. But everyone worships Him, Kṛṣṇa, the abode of wealth. Therefore in the mood of brotherhood, everyone should live in full cooperation. Always execute devotional service to Lord Hari in this life or in death.”

While singing, Anand Bābu and Naren Bābu felt embarrassed to sing kṛṣṇa-dhane and sang bhagavāne instead. This immediately caught Yogi Bābājī’s attention, but that night he didn’t say anything to them.

With devotion, they all honored some prasāda and took rest.