Naren Bābu receives the Brahmo preceptor’s letter and the result
For a few days there was no rain, so the sun’s rays were very hot. After taking prasāda, Yogi Bābājī brought the Bābus to sit under the pañcavaṭī. There was a soft breeze blowing. As they were discussing various topics, a mailman brought two letters. One of the letters was for Naren Bābu, and the other was for Mallik Mahāśaya.
Naren Bābu carefully read his letter before the others. The letter, written by a Calcutta Brahmo preceptor, was:
I haven’t received a letter from you since almost ten days. The sacred Brahmoism has great expectations from you. You should try to deliver the Vṛndāvana youths’ minds from the pit of idol worship. The Vaiṣṇavas have nothing good to offer except their sweet kīrtanas. If you can learn some new tunes within a short time, then Harendra Bābu can compose some Brahmo songs with those melodies. Please send your weekly report on your preaching of Brahmoism. I would also like to inform you both that your small monthly donations are pending.
Your brother at heart,
Naren Bābu read the letter, slightly smiled, and slowly said, “Let us see what happens. Perhaps the Brahmos should not expect a small monthly donation from me anymore.”
Mallik Mahāśaya receives Nityānanda Bābājī’s letter
After Naren Bābu’s letter was read, Mallik Mahāśaya, with a joyful face, began reading his letter.
From Ahiri-tola, Nityānanda dāsa Bābājī wrote:
Abode of all auspiciousness,
I’m eagerly awaiting news of your spiritual well-being. Last night in a dream I saw you in Vaiṣṇava dress dancing in a kīrtana party. If that is true, then I’m not surprised because you have the holy association of Yogi Bābājī. As a result there is no doubt that you have certainly received the seed of the devotional creeper.
As Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja has written,
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“Out of all living entities wandering throughout the entire universe, one who is fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”
I know, however, that you are particularly eager to practice yoga. But don’t practice dry yoga alone. Although Bābājī is a yogi, still he is a rasika. Take some lessons on rasa-tattva from him. If possible, with Bābājī’s consent, see the most worshipable Paṇḍita Bābājī. But unfortunately your association is not good. Brahmos, Christians, and Moslems are very fond of speculation and argument. Association with them makes the storehouse of a rasika’s heart go dry. Simply knowing that God is the all-powerful Lord and everyone should worship Him—this is not sufficient. Worship is of two kinds—antaraṅga, or internal, and bahiraṅga, or external. External worship is controlled by speculation. It arises from prayer, hymns, gratitude, and duty. There is no such mood in internal worship, but the activities of internal worship are executed naturally out of an indescribable, confidential attraction of the soul.
I hope you will accept the suggestion of this wretched Vaiṣṇava and act accordingly. I close here today.
Śrī Nityānanda dāsa
Hearing the letter’s contents, the two Bābus condemn themselves
Naren Bābu listened to the letter with special attention. He sighed and said, “Fie on this dry speculative philosophy! Whatever Bābājī has written is completely true. Anand Bābu, alas! Why for so many days we didn’t talk with Nityānanda dāsa Bābājī? Bābājī used to come to Mallik Mahāśaya and we would leave due to considering him bad association. If the Supreme Lord Hari takes us again to Calcutta, then we will beg forgiveness for our offenses.”
Two bāula Bābājīs enter doing kīrtana
Before Naren Bābu finished speaking, two bāula Bābājīs arrived there. In their hands they held waterpots and gopī-yantras, one-stringed musical instruments. They had moustaches and beards, their hair was bound up like a crown on their heads, and they were dressed in kaupīna and outer cloth. The two Bābājīs arrived while singing the following song:
āre! guru-tattva jene kṛṣṇa-dhana cinle nā
dhruva-prahlādera mata emana bhakta āra habe nā
dekha cātaka nāme eka pakṣa, tārā kṛṣṇa-nāme haya dakṣa
kevala mātra upalakṣa, bale phaṭika jala de’ nā
tārā nava ghana vāri vine, anya vāri pāna kare nā
dekha sarva aṅge bhasma mākhā, āra sarvadā śmaśāne thākā
gāṅjā bhāṅga dhuturā phāṅkā, bhāva-rase haya maganā
se ye tripurāri, prema-bhikhārī, kṛṣṇa-pada vai jāne nā
mahā-bhāvete niṣṭha, kare iṣṭha sādhanā
tāra mana ye cāṅgā, kāṭuyāya gaṅgā, gaṅgāte gaṅgā thāke nā
“Alas! Not understanding guru-tattva, you didn’t appreciate the treasure of Kṛṣṇa. Such devotees as Dhruva and Prahlāda will not be found today. There is a bird named cātaka which is expert in chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name. But actually it’s a pretense, for it’s only asking for clear water. They don’t drink any water except from a new cloud. See! His limbs are smeared with ashes, and he always stays in the crematorium. He smokes gāñjā and takes bhāṅg and dhaturā and becomes absorbed in ecstasy. He is Tripurāri (Śiva) who begs for prema and knows only the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Muci Rāmadāsa is the greatest lover of God, though he’s from a wretched caste. He’s fixed in mahābhāva while serving his worshipable Lord. His mind is pure, so he doesn’t need to go to the Gaṅgā—he finds the Gaṅgā in his waterpot.”
The bāulas are actually monists
After finishing the song, they took a little rest and then proceeded west on Yogi Bābājī’s order.
Anand Bābu inquired, “Who are they?”
Bābājī said, “They are Bābājīs from the bāula-sampradāya. Their philosophy is different from ours. Although they glorify Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s name, we will not call them fellow Vaiṣṇavas. The reason is that they’ve taken shelter of their own concocted philosophy which is detestable. In reality they are monists.”
The unity and oneness of the philosophies of the four ācāryas of the four sampradāyas
Naren Bābu humbly asked, “Bābājī Mahāśaya, how many main sects are there in Vaiṣṇavism? On what topics do their philosophies agree?”
Bābājī said, “In Vaiṣṇavism there are actually four sampradāyas, or sects. The names are: Śrī-sampradāya, Madhva-sampradāya, Viṣṇusvāmī-sampradāya, and Nimbārka-sampradāya. Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, and Nimbārkācārya are the original preachers of these four philosophies. They were all born in South India. All the sampradāyas agree on the following points:
(1) The Supreme Lord is one without a second. He possesses all transcendental potencies and controls all laws.
(2) The Supreme Lord has an exquisitely beautiful, all-auspicious spiritual form. That form is transcendental to all laws of the material world. In Him all contradictions are wonderfully reconciled. Though He has a form, He is all-pervading. Though He is beautiful, mundane senses cannot perceive Him. Though situated in one place, He is simultaneously fully present everywhere.
(3) Both the animate and inanimate are born from His energies. He is the creator, maintainer, and destroyer of time, place, and law.
(4) The living entity’s constitution is spiritual, but by the Lord’s desire he is conditioned by material nature and thus enjoys or suffers under those laws. By the process of devotional service, however, he is freed from material bondage.
(5) The paths of jñāna and karma are full of hardship. When jñāna and karma serve the purpose of bhakti, there is no fault. But, unlike karma and jñāna, bhakti is fully independent.
(6) The living entity’s duty is to associate with sādhus and discuss devotional service.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu belonged to the Madhva-sampradāya. Neḍā, daraveśa, sāṅai are all dharmadvajīs and non-devotees
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu considered Himself a member of the Madhva-sampradāya. We therefore belong to that sect. The philosophies of the bāulas, sāṅais, neḍās, daraveśas, karttābhajās, and atibāḍis are those of non-devotees. Their instructions and activities are most incoherent. Many people lose respect in Vaiṣṇavism by discussing their philosophies. Actually Vaiṣṇavism cannot be held responsible for the defects of all those hypocrites.
“Mahāprabhu’s preaching of Vaiṣṇavism is prominent in Bengal. It is the teachings of the Gosvāmīs that are accepted there, not the teachings of the bāulas.”
Mahāprabhu’s teachings are purely presented in the Gosvāmī’s books
At this point Naren Bābu asked, “Are Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s teachings recorded in some particular book?”
Bābājī said, “No, Mahāprabhu did not write any book. His teachings are purely presented in the books of His associates. Śrī Sanātana, Śrī Rūpa, Śrī Jīva, and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa—the books of these four saintly associates of Lord Caitanya are highly honored.”
Naren Bābu asked, “Bābājī, which books have they written? And where are they available?”
Bābājī said, “They’ve written many books. It would take a long time to name them all. I am mentioning the names of a few. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī wrote the Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas. The science of devotional service is particularly explained in these books. All the subjects of bhakti are contained in these books.”
There is certain knowledge present in all subjects and sciences, but the science of bhakti is the best
“There is some knowledge in every subject of the world. The sciences of electricity, water, smoke, life, and music all have some knowledge in them. Unless these sciences are discussed well, one cannot have true knowledge about them. Among all subjects of the world, the science of bhakti is the most serious. If bhakti was not scientific, how could it be discussed? The science of bhakti is not found in modern religions. Sanātana-dharma is evolved from Āryan culture, and Vaiṣṇavism is the best part of sanātana-dharma. Therefore the science of bhakti is only possible in Vaiṣṇavism. In Jīva Gosvāmī’s Ṣaṭ-sandarbha and Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the science of bhakti is particularly expounded. These two books are being printed somewhere. I especially request you to study these two books.”
Bhakti is not awakened by reading devotional literatures and argument
Naren Bābu said, “I’ve now understood that those who don’t know devotional literatures have meager devotion.”
Bābājī said, “Naren Bābu! I don’t say like that. Bhakti is the constitutional nature of the living entity and is therefore easy to perform. It is not born out of any book. All devotional literatures are born from bhakti. It is not seen that one will get bhakti simply by reading devotional literature. Rather, a fool’s faith will generate bhakti, while much argument will not. Every living entity has the seed of bhakti. One has to take the role of a gardener to develop that seed from a sprout into a tree. Activities like discussing devotional literature, worshiping the Supreme Lord, associating with devotees, and living where devotees are engaged in service are required to be done. As the seed of bhakti sprouts the gardener must clean the earth of all thorns and foreign matter. All these things can be nicely done if one properly understands the science of bhakti.”
Thinking Kṛṣṇa an ordinary person, Naren asks about the Supreme Lord’s nature
Naren Bābu said, “Bābājī Mahāśaya! I have a major doubt. Can you please dispel it? It is best for the living entity to offer devotion to the Supreme Lord. If it is offered to Kṛṣṇa, how can that be proper? Is Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Lord? We’ve heard that Kṛṣṇa took birth at a particular time, He engaged in various activities, and at last He gave up His life at the hands of a hunter. So how can rendering service to Kṛṣṇa be devotion to the Supreme Lord? Can it be called devotional service if someone worships an ordinary person? If someone gives up worshiping Kṛṣṇa to serve Lord Caitanya, I consider he’ll be greatly benefited, because Lord Caitanya was able to associate many times with the Supreme Lord due to His saintly qualities.”
Although one, the Supreme Lord manifests differently to the karmis, jñānīs, and bhaktas
Bābājī said, “Naren Bābu! If Kṛṣṇa is rejected, then what is the glory of Vaiṣṇavism? There are many religions based on monotheism, but there is no rasa, or loving mellows, in them because Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the summon bonum, is absent. In sādhana there are three subjects: the sādhaka, or the worshiper; the sādhana, or the worship; and the sādhya, or the object of worship. In the execution of devotional activities the proper qualification of the devotional sādhaka, sādhana, and sādhya are required. In the pursuit of the Absolute Truth, sādhana has three divisions: karma, jñāna, and bhakti. In the path of karma, the sādhaka is very attached to his duty or the fruits. In this case the work itself is sādhana. One may perform work with desire or without desire. In this path the sādhya is the Supreme Lord, who awards the fruits of work. In the path of jñāna, the sādhaka is meditative, the sādhana is meditation, and the sādhya is Brahman—the object of troublesome meditation. In the path of bhakti, the sādhaka is full of love, and the sādhya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A sādhaka is qualified for whichever path he has taste for. We are sādhakas in the path of bhakti, so we have nothing to do with Brahman and Paramātmā. All our activities are only in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should not think, however, that Paramātmā, Brahman, and Bhagavān are different truths. The sādhya is one only, but manifest differently by different sādhanas. Neither should one think that Bhagavān has various gradations. The Supreme Absolute Truth is one substance and independently devoid of material conditions. But the Supreme Lord manifests to the sādhakas differently according to their eligibility. If you give this special thought then you will understand.”
Naren Bābu said, “Bābājī Mahāśaya. Please explain this subject a little more clearly. I understand something, but ultimately I’m somewhat confused.”
Discussion on the different features of Paramātmā, Brahman, and Bhagavān
Bābājī said, “Paramātmā, Brahman, and Bhagavān are one substance with three features. Paramātmā is the creator, maintainer, and destroyer of the world, the controller of all living entities, and the manifestation of the Lord’s supreme energy. Paramātmā and Parameśvara are identical manifestations. Paramātmā is realized by one who has attained higher spiritual vision. Brahman is an indescribable manifestation—transcendental to the material world. Brahman is changeless and all-pervading, still everything rests in Brahman. This manifestation is the second stage in the living entity’s understanding. That person whose nature is different from matter and the living entities, who possesses all energies, who performs inconceivable activities, and who has a supremely sweet and opulent form is Bhagavān. His energy in the form of Paramātmā enters the world and in the form of Brahman He is fully transcendental, yet still He has a body and activities.”
Naren Bābu thought very deeply and said, “Now I’ve understood your ideas. I see it’s not a product of speculation, but the truth. Today I’ve tasted transcendental bliss. Vaiṣṇavism is most magnanimous. It embraces the philosophies of all sampradāyas and outshines the illumination of all other knowledge.”
Anand Bābu said, “Naren Bābu! Let the nectar flow from Bābājī’s lips. As I drink this nectar through my ears, I’m becoming mad with ecstasy.”
Naren Bābu said, “From today I bid goodbye to Paramātmā and Brahman. Bhagavān will be my heart’s only Lord. I will be satisfied with Him only.”
Bhagavān’s opulence and sweetness; Naren and Anand Bābu’s natural attraction for sweetness
Bābājī said, “There is more to be said. I’ve already mentioned that Bhagavān is full of aiśvarya, or opulence, and mādhurya, or sweetness. Therefore devotees of the Lord are of two types. Some serve the Lord of opulence and some love the Lord of sweetness. Naren Bābu, which type of sādhaka do you wish to be?”
Naren Bābu said, “I have some doubt in this matter. If we consider the Lord without opulence, then where will His supremacy be? But when I hear the word mādhurya, I become maddened. I don’t understand why.”
Bābājī said, “Both aiśvarya and mādhurya are found in the Lord. When mādhurya is intensified, the whole world becomes mad.”
Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu both said, “We’re fond of mādhurya.”
Bābājī said, “In that case you are natural devotees of Kṛṣṇa. When Bhagavān’s mādhurya is increased, the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is manifest. This is nicely explained in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the sweet moon in all fine arts. Let Him fully manifest in the lotus of your hearts.”
Yogi Bābājī’s words can never be fruitless. After discussing both subjects a little deeply, Naren
Bābu and Anand Bābu said, “From today, we are Kṛṣṇa’s servants. With flute in hand and complexion like a newly arrived cloud, may Kṛṣṇacandra be comfortably seated in our hearts.”
Bābājī said, “You see, to whom can a mādhurya-bhakta go besides Kṛṣṇa? Can the aiśvarya–bhakta fearlessly display loving affection for Nārāyaṇa? Had Kṛṣṇa not been the Supreme Lord, then could we offer sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa, and the topmost mādhurya-rasa unto Him?”
Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu took the dust of Bābājī’s feet on their heads and felt fulfilled. They said, “From today, please give us lessons on Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.”
Seeing his two friends mood, Mallik Mahāśaya became jubilant and thought, “Nothing is impossible for magnanimous Gurudeva.”
On the instructions of Bābājī, the two Bābus discuss Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta
Bābājī said, “Though you have acquired much understanding of English, you haven’t studied Sanskrit. Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is a Sanskrit book, so you won’t be able to quickly understand it. For the time being you should study Caitanya-caritāmṛta.”
On Bābājī’s instruction a disciple brought a copy of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu took the book and began deeply studying it in a kuṭira. Whatever doubt they had was dispelled by Bābājī. Anand Bābu and Naren Bābu took a vow not to leave the kuñja until they had completed the book.
Anand Bābu and Naren Bābu sat inside one kuṭira, and Mallik Mahāśaya practiced kumbhaka in another. Many listeners came and sat with Anand Bābu and Naren Bābu, and together they would chant the verses of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Hearing that reading was very sweet.
The natural result of reading Caitanya-caritāmṛta—tears of love, dancing, and chanting
In this way after about ten days they finished the book. While reading some passages, tears of love flowed from their eyes. Sometimes their hair would stand on end, and they would set the book aside and dance while chanting the following prayer:
‘gaurāṅga’ bolite habe pulaka-śarīra’
hari hari’ bolite nayane ba’be nīra
āra kabe nitāi-cāṇda karuṇā haibe
saṁsāra-vāsanā mora kabe tuccha ha’be
viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha’be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-vṛndāvana
rūpa-raghunātha-pade hoibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhava se yugala-pirīti
rūpa-raghunātha-pade rahu mora āśa
prārthanā karaye sadā narottama-dāsa
“When will that day come when simply by uttering Lord Caitanya’s name there will be shivering on my body? Then, as I chant `Hari Hari,’ or `Hare Kṛṣṇa,’ there will be pouring of tears from my eyes. When will that day come when Lord Nityānanda will be merciful upon me so that my desire for material enjoyment will become insignificant? When will my mind be freed from the contamination of material enjoyment and I shall be purified? Then it will be possible for me to understand Vṛndāvana. When I shall be eager to study the teachings of the Gosvāmīs from Rūpa Gosvāmī to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī? Then I may be able to understand the pastimes or loving affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Let my only desire be to attain the lotus feet of the Gosvāmīs from Rūpa Gosvāmī to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura always offers his prayers in this way.”
Many Vaiṣṇavas would sit and listen to Naren Bābu’s sweet chanting. There was a lot of discussion on the confidential topics discussed between Lord Caitanya and Rāmānanda Rāya, Rūpa, and Sanātana. After reading Caitanya-caritāmṛta twice, they began to read Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Often Bābājī would happily give instructions.
Naren Bābu and Anand Bābutake shelter of the holy name
One day Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu offered obeisances at Bābājī’s feet and said, “Prabhu! We will be indebted if you give us the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.” Bābājī had them clean themselves externally by taking bath and internally by devotion, then without delay he gave them the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. They then began to constantly chant hari-nāma on tulasī beads. One day they asked, “Prabhu! Shall we mark our forehead with tilaka?” Bābājī answered, “Do as you like. I don’t insist on external formalities.”
The two Bābus accept Vaiṣṇava dress
Although Bābājī showed indifference to external formalities, still, by the Bābu’s association with the Vaiṣṇavas, they developed a desire to wear Vaiṣṇava dress. When Mallik Mahāśaya saw Anand Bābu and Naren Bābu with tilaka and mālā the next morning, he thought, “Kṛṣṇa can do anything.”
From that day Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu gave up their beards and moustaches and packed away their foreign shoes. They completely accepted the dress of gṛhastha Vaiṣṇavas.
The two Bābus develop compassion for others
In the evening, Naren Bābu and Anand Bābu sang a song composed by Naren Bābu. Bābājī was in ecstasy by hearing that song.
kabe vaiṣṇavera dayā āmā prati ha’be
āmāra bāndhava varga kṛṣṇa-nāma la’be
śuṣka yuktivāda ha’te haibe uddhāra
brahma chāḍi’ kṛṣṇe mati haibe sabāra
sakalera mukhe guru-kṛṣṇa-nāma śuni’
ānande nāciba āmi ka’re hari-dhvani
prabhu gurudeva-pade prārthanā āmāra
mama saṅgīgaṇe prabhu karaha uddhāra
“When will the Vaiṣṇavas be kind to me? When will my friends chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa? Then they will be freed from the influence of dry speculation, and they will give up their attachment for Brahman and become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Hearing everyone chant the glories of guru and Kṛṣṇa, I’ll dance in ecstasy and chant the name of Hari. My prayer at the feet of the Lord and the spiritual master is, `O Lord, please deliver my associates.’”