Mistery of Raganunga sadhan-bhakti

Sri Rupa Gosvami presents the basis of Raganuga sadhna in three principal slokas:1. Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu 1.2.294krishna smaran janam cāsya preshtam nija-samīhitamtat-tat-kathā-rataś cāsau kuryād vāsam vraje sadā“Remember Krishna with His very dear -krishna smaran ca asya preshtam(eternal) associates janam chosen by oneself (one prefere) nija-samīhitamAnd in this way -cāsau being attached -rataśto a certain type of loving pastimes tat-tat-kathāalways one should live sadā kuryād vāsam in Vrindavan vraje.Commenting on this sloka Sri Jiva Gosvami says:“To physically live in Vrindaban and Braja-mandala is best; but, if that is not possible one should alt least try to live there mentally.”Sriman Mahaprabhu (Sri Krishna Caitanya) said:“mora mona vridaban” – My mind is Vrindaban.Hence, wherever the Lord remained, Vrindaban was created by His absorption on Krishna’s Braja pastimes.Following in Sri Gouranga’s footsteps, every determined sadhak should try tho bild the transcendental Vrindavan in his mind, or learn the art of transferring the mind to Ananda-Vrindavan.Sri Rupa presents the formula for becoming a factual Brajavasi in the previoius sloka.Those able to both physically and mentally reside in Braja-mandala are most favorably situated because the atmosphere of the Dham (holly place) is ideal for arousing the proper divine sentiments.Sri Rupa therefore says:Alaukika padarthanam acinta saktiridtsiBhavam dad visayan capi ja sahiva prakasayet (Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu 1.2.244)“The supra-mundane entities of the transcendental realm (Goloka Vrindaban) possess such extraordinary powers that they can simultaneously uncover both bhava, and the object of bhava (i.e. Sri Krisna)"The meaning of Sri Rupa’s “kRSNaM smaran janaM casya” sloka, is re-confirmed in Srila Kaviraja Gosvami’s Bengali translation:nijābhīsta krsna-prestha pācheta' lāgiyānirantara sevā kare antarmanā hañā (Śrī Caitanya Caritāmrta Madhya 22.159)(The raganuga sadhak) should be hañā constantly nirantaraengaged kare in divine devotional service sevā within the mind antarmanāfollowing -pācheta' lāgiyā the dear associate of Krishna krsna-presthaof one's own choice nija-abhīsta.Bhaktas hankering to attain Braja-raja-nandan Krishna in dasya-rasa (see http://spirituality.forumup.de/viewtopic.php?p=670&mforum=spirituality#670 ) may “internally” serve following the moods of Raktaka, Patraka, and other household servants at Nandangram. These servants assist Mother Yashoda in Krishna’s bath, His dressing and His decorating or any other relative service pertaining to Krishna’s bodily needs and comforts. Such devotional attitude is characterized by a feeling of respect towards Krishna as the master.Those persons desiring to attain Gopal Krishna in sakhya rasa (see http://spirituality.forumup.de/viewtopic.php?p=692&mforum=spirituality#692) may do so by following in the footsteps of Krishna’s priya-narma-sakhas, such as Subala, Madhumangala, Ujjvalla and others. Here the feeling of regard for Krishna as a superior person is transcended. Treating Him as an equal, the sakhas serve Krishna, but also allow themselves to be served by Him.Bhaktas anxious for the nitya-seva of Yashoda-nandan Krishna, in vatsalya rasa can follow in the footsteps of Mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja. They shall attain a position like Ambhka, Kilimba and other lady-friends of Yadhoda who act as dhatris (nurses). Such persons also receive the privilege to offer their breasts milk to Krishna. In Vatsalya prema the sense of equality with Krishna is transcended. Such bhaktas feel themselves superior in power and intelligence, and regard Krishna as helpless child fully dependent on their care and ptotection.In madhura rasa intimacy with Krishna increases as the Gopis even offer their bodies for Krishna’s happiness. This prema remains unaffected by any form of social or religious dharma, fear, hesitation, or feelings of reverence.Therefore, madhura-prema subjugates Krishna the most.The vast majority of nowadays Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s bhaktas are Rupanunga followers, and therefore, hanker after Manjari-bhava, as this form of madhura rasa was preached by the Vrindavan School of the 6 Gosvamis and imposed by their followers as the only genuine one, and even denigrating some lines of teaching from Navadvip.To attain majari-bhava the sadhak should “internally” cultivate a similar mood like that of Radha’s maidservants headed by Rupa and Rati Manjari. This mood should first begin, however, by mentally following in the footsteps of one’s own Gurudeva; and in this connection Srila Vishvananth Cakrabarti has revealed the eternal occupation of the rupanunga guru in the sixth verse of his Gurvastakam:nikunjayuno ratikeli siddhyair jajalibhir juktiakeksnaiyatatratidadsyad ati vallabhasya vande guroh sir caranaravinda“Sri Sri Radha-nikunja-bhihari’s Jugala-milan (meeting of the divine Couple) and rati keli (pastimes of divine love) are only possible due to the clever arrangement and seva expertise employed by the sakhis and manjaris. Among these Gopis my Gurudevi is highly accomplished, and therefore very dear to Jugal-kishora. Thus, with care and attention I offer my obeisance unto her caran-padma.”Besides the meditation of the Guru’s Manjari-svarupa, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Acharyas also recommend that the sadhak conceive of his own siddha-svarup. It should be noted however, that his is an internal practice only having nothing to do with one’s outward dress.Commenting on Sri Rupa’s krsnam smaran janam cāsya verse, Sri Jiva Gosvami says:“The meditation of oneself (atma-dhyan) as an eternal Brajavasi is of two types:- alada rupa – separate form and- abheda manan – identical from.Abheda manna - mentally identifying oneself as being Lalita Sakhi, Rupa Manjari or any Braja associate is a grave offense that will lead the devotional practitioner to ruination being as offensive as thinking oneself to be Sri Krishna.Alada rupa - mentally identifying oneself as a separate exquisitely beautiful Braja-kishori maidservant of Rahda is the proper way.The alada Rupa is recommended in the next sloka 1.2.295 from Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu.
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  • very nice explanation


  • Aditional commentary to the second sloka pertaining Raganuga Sadhan Bhakti

    Krishna Das Kaviraj re-affirms Sri Rupa’s intention in Madhya 22.156-157:

    bāhya, antara, — ihāra dui ta' sādhana
    'bāhye' sādhaka-dehe kare śravaṇa-kīrtana
    'mane' nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana
    rātri-dine kare vraje kṛṣṇera sevana

    The words ratri-dine kore braje krsnera sebana, to mentally serve Krsna both day and night in Vraja, refer to the seva of Krsna's asta-kala-lila (the eightfold lilas that take place through day and night). These eightfold lila pastimes are eternally being manifest in Goloka Vrndavana. These are Krsna's original lilas from which all other lilas have their origin. These adi-lilas are mentioned in many places in the books of the Gosvamis, but are exclusively dealt with in three major works:

    (1) Sri Govinda-lilamrta by Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja
    (2) Sri Krsnahnika-kaumudi by Sri Kavi Karnapura
    (3) Sri Krsna-bhavanamrta by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti

    These three texts form the main bulk of material that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas use as authoritative sources for information concerning the practice of raganuga-sadhan- bhakti in context with lila-smarana and manasi-seva.
    The ten main sutras found within Govinda-lilamrta were written by Sri Rupa Gosvami.
    The commentary of these ten sutras, which forms the book, was written by Krsnadasa Kaviraja under his direction.

    Srila Krsnadasa has received this title of "kavi-raja" from Sri Jiva Gosvami, for he is indeed the "King of Poets" for both caitanya-lila as well as krsna-lila. Just as Caitanya-caritamrta is perhaps the most valuable book for understanding the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, similarly Sri Govinda-lilamrta is equally important to know for any person who is serious to understand the tattva of radha-krsna-lila.

    In the mangala-carana of Govinda-lilamrta the process of raganuga-bhakti-sadhana is focused on as follows:

    sri-radha-prana-bandhos carana-kamalayoh kesa-sesadyagamya
    ya sadhya prema-seva vraja-carita-parair gadha-lolyaika-labhya
    sa syat prapta yaya tam prathayitum adhuna manasim asya sevam
    bhavyam ragadhva panthair vrajam anucaritam naityikyam tasya naumi

    "The goal of prema-seva directed to the lotus feet of Radharani's heart's beloved, Sri Krsna, can never be attained by such big personalities as Brahma, Siva, or Ananta-sessa.
    That prema-seva can, however, be attained in today's world by the person who treads the path of raganuga-bhakti. The goal of this sadhana can only be achieved by great hankering applied to serving Sri Krsna, following in the footsteps of His associates in their daily pastimes by the process of manasi-seva.
    I offer my obeisances unto these asta-kala-lilas as they continually unfold in the land of Vrndavana."

    From this information we may conclude that raganuga-bhakti-sadhan essentially means
    - to apply one's mind internally to conceive of one's own spiritual form.
    - within that mentally conceived body, the sadhaka enters Vrndavana to perform manasi-seva to Radha-Krsna, in context with Their nitya-asta-kala-lilas.
    This manasi-seva should be done in submission to following the moods, mellows and orders of Krsna's eternal associates in Vraja.

    One's own guru-deva as well as the chain of initiating gurus,
    linked through the revelation of their own siddha-deha (perfect spiritual body) to the disciple,
    chain of gurus that goes up to an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya is the guru-parampara,
    that should also be understood to be amongst the eternal associates in Vrndavana,
    that belong to the same yutha (spiritual group, as for example the group of Lalita sakhi, Bhaktivinod Thakur is belonging to).
  • Second main Sloka describing Raganuga Sadhan bhakti

    2.Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu 1.2.295

    sevA sAdhaka-rUpeNa siddha-rUpeNa cAtra hi |
    tad-bhAva-lipsunA kAryA vraja-lokAnusArataH ||

    The devotional service should be done both -sevA cAtra hi
    in the body of practitioner (externally)- sAdhaka-rUpeNa
    and in the perfect (spiritual) body (internally) - siddha-rUpeNa
    Desiring to obtain a particular state of love - tad-bhAva-lipsunA , the most important (the essence) -sArataH is to follow -kAryA anu
    the residents of Vrindavan - vraja-loka

    Krishna Das Kaviraj re-affirms Sri Rupa’s statements in Madhya 22.156-157:
    bāhya, antara, — ihāra dui ta' sādhana
    'bāhye' sādhaka-dehe kare śravana-kīrtana
    'mane' nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana
    rātri-dine kare vraje krsnera sevana

    This (Raganuga bhakti) ihāra is really ta' a dual dui Practice sādhana – external bāhya (and) internal – antara
    Externally 'bāhye' in the trainee body sādhaka-dehe one does kare hearing and chanting śravaṇa-kīrtana
    In the mind 'mane' one does kariyā visualize (imagine) bhāvana one's own nija perfect body siddha-deha
    and day and night ratri-dine (in the mind!) one does kare servicesevana for Krishna krsnera in Vraja vraje.

    In his Ragavartma-candrika, Srila Vishwanath Cakrabarti says:

    prathamatah krishnam smaran iti smaranasyatra
    raganugayam mukhyetvam ragasyamanodharmatvat

    “As raga (attachment) is the occupation of the mind, so is smaran; therefore, smaran is the main limb of sadhan for the Raganuga practitioner.”

    Because the mind controls the body and its activities, and because the mind's nature is to be attached to something, lila-smaran (remembering Krişna's pastimes) based on attachment or the nitya-seva of Krishna and His Braja associates, form the best means to guide the various devotional activities that a sadhak may perform. In the following sloka Srila Vishwanath Cakrabarti more specifically describes the meaning of “sadhak-rupa” and “siddha-rupa” and devotional service as per Sri Rupa’s previous verse:

    Sadhakrupena jathabastitadehen siddha rupena
    antascintita-bhistatat sakhat servopajogidehen
    sadhakarupenanugayamanaje brajalokah srirupa
    goswamyadaya je ca siddharupenanugamyamanah
    brajalokah srirupa-manjaryaryadyastad anusaratah


    “Sadhak-rupena-seva means devotional service performed in the present body. Siddha-rupena-seva is contemplation of one’s antascintita-deha (mentally conceived form) suitable for perfoming direct seva to Krishna.
    A sadhak should perform the prescribed acarana (worship) exemplified by Sri Rupa Goswami in his sadhak-deha, and follow in Sri Rupa Manjaris’s footsteps in his antascintita-manjari svarupa. Because Rupa Goswami is the ideal Brajavasi following in his footsteps both externally and internally forms the ideal meaning of Braja-loka-anusaratah.”

    Sri Rupa Gosvami gives reference from Sanat-kumara-samhita of how one can meditate on one's siddha-svarupa as follows:

    atmanam cintayet tatra tasam madhye manoramam
    rupa-yauvana-sampannam kisorim pramadakrtim
    sakhinam sangini-rupam atmanam vasanamayim
    ajna-sevaparam tat tat krpalankara-bhusitam

    "The raganuga-sadhak should meditate on his/her own form to be that of a beautiful youthful kisori-gopi, who is most attractive to the mind of Krisna. This form is situated as a sangini, or constant companion, of Sri Lalita, Sri Visakha, Sri Rupa Manjari, Sri Rati Manjari, etc., and by their orders is enthusiastic to perform seva to Sri Radha-Madhava. This form, which is created from the desire of the sadhaka, should also be contemplated as being dressed and decorated similar to the other gopis, with the prasadi outfit and ornaments previously worn by Srimati Radharani."

    (This sloka is also found in the arcana-paddhatis of Sri Gopalaguru and Dhyanacandra Gosvami.)

    The siddha-deha meditated upon by the raganuga-sadhaka is called antascintita-siddha-deha, which means the preconceived siddha-deha, the spiritual identity which the practitioner desires to achieve and which he performs manasi-seva with at the stage of sadhana.
    At this level the sadhaka has not actually attained his svarupa (svarupa-siddhi). Only by the mercy of Radha-Krsna, when They fulfill the desire of Their devotee (to serve Them in Goloka Vrndavana as a manjari), does the jiva attain his eternal spiritual identity.
    Siddha-pranali or ekadasa-bhava, as explained by Srila Gopala-guru and Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur Baba, is the seed of the desired siddha-deha, which will grow and bear fruit at the time of attaining Radha-Krsna prema.
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