The Harmonist
Or Shree Sajjanatoshani
September 1931

The Exhibition of Theistic Education Part 1

(Organised by the Gaudiya Math of Calcutta from the 6th- 23rd September, 1931)

A large number of stalls, aggregating no less than eighty-five have been set up for visualising, in a concrete and easily intelligible form, many of the most fundamental principles of the revealed Religion. The following account has been compiled to afford the visitor to the Exhibition some ideas of the subject matters demonstrated by the arrangements of the separate stalls in their serial order.

1. The Ten Avataras of Vishnu (Successive Descents into this World of Ten Specific Personal Divinities)

The cyclical Appearance of Vishnu, the Personal Absolute, in this world in Infinite Forms corresponds to the stages of gradual progress of the Theistic disposition among His eternally associated servants in different Vaikunthas. These Appearances and their respective specific Forms are capable of being described in terms of the stages and their corresponding physical forms of evolution, on the mundane plane, of the physical organism. The process of growth of the physical organism is the perverted reflection of the graduated progress of the serving spiritual disposition. The spiritual forms and processes of the Absolute Realm are pervertedly reflected in those of the mundane world. But the two must not be supposed to be similar in any sense that is at all substantially conceivable to our limited understanding. The analogical argument, which may help us in cautiously accepting this interpretation of different texts of the Scriptures bearing on this topic, is that there can be no form of existence, either physical or mental i.e. gross or subtle, in this world which is not to be found in their whole-some spiritual inconceivable forms in the original Substantive Realm of the Absolute of which the mundane world is the distorted perverted reflection. All the spiritual principles are analogously, but inconceivably to our empiric judgment, represented by the forms and figures of this mundane world. It is, therefore, possible for those who have access to the Transcendental Realm to describe the distinctive forms and figures of that world in terms of their corresponding unwholesome shadowy images that are familiar to us. The empiricists suppose they understand the meaning of the Scriptures by ignoring the all-important reservation that the limited under-standing cannot penetrate through the analogy offered by the terms of mundane language, to the Substantive Reality to which they point. In trying to understand the Scriptures by means of the limited understanding the empiricists and psylanthropists arrive at opposite, but equally absurd, conclusions. The empiricists hold that the Absolute Realm described in the Scriptures is a very bad and absurd speculation about the Reality, derived from erroneous observations of the phenomena of this world. They ascribe the supposed defects of the Scriptural account to the undeveloped nature of empiric thought in the early stages of material civilization to which period the Scriptural account is supposed by them to belong historically. The psylanthropists insist on the absolute truth of the Scriptural account in its literal mundane sense. It is necessary to avoid both these wrong assumptions in order to attain the perfectly rational point of view indicated above which is supplied by the Scriptural record itself.

The Avataras of Vishnu are Infinite by the analogy of mundane numerical computation. The ten Avataras are representative of the series as a whole. Each Avatara has His Own Eternal Absolute Realm in which He is eternally served by the infinity of His devotees who have spiritual forms that correspond to the stage of their devotional progress. The mundane phraseology, let the caution be again repeated, must not be assumed to mean anything that is conceivable, even analogically, by the limited understanding. The real meaning of the Scriptures becomes accessible to the conditioned soul only by a course of training under the transcendental teacher, the agent of Vishnu for saving us from the bondage of limited existence.

The ten Avataras are, in the chronological order of Their Appearance, - (1) the Divine Fish (Shree Matsya), (2) the Divine Tortoise (Shree Kurma), (3) the Divine Boar (Shree Varaha), (4) the Divine Man-Lion (Shree Nrisingha), (5) the Divine Dwarf (Shree Vamana), (6) Rama with the Axe (Shree Parashu Rama), (7) Rama Son of Dasaratha (Shree Dasarathi Rama), (8) Rama Son of Rohini (Shree Bala-Rama), (9) Shree Buddha, (10) Shree Kalki.

The ten Avataras represent the Appearances of the Personal Absolute Godhead Vishnu with Forms and Functions corresponding to the following graduated stages of evolution of the devotional disposition. The Transcendental Activities of all the ten Avataras are described in the Bhagabatam.

2. Epistemology of Absolute Knowledge. Empiric processes of Deduction and Induction from concepts and precepts versus the process of Submissive Service of the Absolute for receiving Enlightenment through the Transcendental Sound

The Epistemology, or the Science of knowledge, of the Absolute is necessarily different from that of the non-Absolute. It is different from the method in which the piece-meal, essentially hypothetical and tentative knowledge of the limited temporary entities of this phenomenal world is sought to be picked up, assorted and applied. The process of the attainment, retention and application of the knowledge of the Absolute is also itself transcendental and belongs to the realm of the Absolute Persons who study and teach the Scriptures by the empiric process do not attain to, nor impart the knowledge of the Absolute. This must also be fully known to all empiric students and teachers of the Scriptures. But the surprising fact is that they should still have the assurance to represent their method as a means of attaining the knowledge of the Absolute. Those teachers and students may sometimes cherish the deluded conviction that they can really understand and teach the subject. The Deluding Energy of Vishnu prevents them from understanding their patent error. The Scriptural epistemology of the Absolute forbids us to start from sense-experience either deductively from the concept or inductively from the percept. By following the empiric deductive and inductive processes one will be deprived of the knowledge of the Absolute. The positive process for attainment of the knowledge of the Absolute consists in lending one’s submissive ear to the bonafide teacher of the Absolute. In this case also it is the spoken sound that enlightens. But the medium through which the transcendental Sound makes His Appearance is different from the empiric teacher. The teacher of the Absolute is also transcendental. He is the whole-time servant of the Absolute on the transcendental plane. The Absolute Sound appearing on the lips of the transcendental Guru reveals His Transcendental Nature to the transcendental ear of the listener who attends to the Sound with the object of rendering Him exclusive, unconditional service.

The empiric process seeks to work up from the known (i.e. experienced perceptually by the senses) to the unknown, to assimilate a new percept to those previously experienced and retained by the process of conceptual integration. The empiric method is as utile in regard to the Absolute as the vain attempt to see the Sun at night by means of the most powerful electric lamps. Attainment of spiritual enlightenment by the Scriptural method of submissive listening to the Absolute Sound is comparable to the Sunrise by which the room kept wide open towards the Sun is fully illuminated by the light of the Sun itself.

3. Stairs built by Ravana, the type of the Aggressive Empiricist, for Reaching the Absolute

The efforts of the empiricists have given birth to numerous futile systems of speculative philosophy that have the common characteristic of breaking down utterly in the midst of their imaginary progress towards the Reality. These resemble the masonry stairs that were built by Ravana to scale the realms of the Absolute but collapsed in mid-air for sheer want of any kind of support.

4. The Dwarf Absolute Shree Vamana Deva, Lord of the Three Energies, in the Role of Beggar, begs his all from Bali King of the Demons

King Bali was the grandson of Prahlad. He became very powerful and conquered Swarga and reigned over heaven and earth. The mother of Indra, the dispossessed King of heaven and of the Devas, prayed to Vasudeva for the restoration of her son to the rule of heaven. In response to her prayers the Absolute Godhead was born as the Dwarf Shree Vamanadeva. Then Shree Vamanadeva repaired to the place where King Bali had inaugurated the Aswamedha Sacrifice and, on being received with great respect by King Bali and, at his prayer, begged from him as gift as much space as would be covered by three of His Foot-steps.

Shukracharya, the Pseudo-Guru, attempts to prevent King Bali from surrendering his all to the Dwarf Absolute Shree Vamanadeva

Shukracharya, the pseudo-preceptor, who was Guru of King Bali and by whose advice the king had engaged in the series of the Aswamedha sacrifices, intervened at this stage. He told King Bali not to give anything to the Dwarf Who was Narayana Himself and Who had asked for his gift in order to restore Indra by depriving him of his possessions.

King Bali ignores his Pseudo-Guru’s Wrong and Malicious Advice and Surrenders his all to the Dwarf Absolute, Lord of the three Energies

King Bali paid no heed to the warning of his atheistical preceptor. In the company of his Queen Bindhyabali the King washed the Feet of Shree Vamanadeva and received His Feet-wash with the greatest reverence on their heads. Shree Vamanadeva then manifested His Cosmic (Virata) Form and with two strides encompassed the whole Earth and Heaven and demanded the portion of the promised gift that was still due. King Bali prayed to Shree Vamanadeva to mercifully place His Foot on his head as he had sincerely promised to give Him what He had asked for. King Bali was deprived of his rule of heaven which was restored to Indra. But Bali was made ruler of the under-world (Patala) and Godhead Himself armed with the club accepted the office of guarding the gate of his royal mansion.

5. Four classes of persons are utterly averse and apathetic to the transcendental message of the Personal Absolute Godhead viz. (a) sensual persons (b) ambitious persons, (c) stupid persons and (d) ignorant pedants.

The above is the substance of a famous text of the Bhagabatam. Worldly ambition is deprecated as showing an abnormal attachment for essentially unwholesome objects that require to be carefully discarded, instead of being coveted. The camel loves to chew thorny substances although they prick into its tongue and lips and yield it no nourishment.

6. Three kinds of the Process of Initiation (Diksha)

The word ‘initiation’ does not fully convey the sense of ‘Diksha’ which means ‘the process which frees the conditioned soul from sinfulness and at the same time confers on him the knowledge of the transcendental.’ The service of Krishna is a spiritual function. Empiricists have no access to it. The eligibility for the worship of Krishna has, therefore, to be conferred on the conditioned soul who is sincerely desirous of serving Krishna on the transcendental plane by complete renunciation of all empiric activity. Such a wish, if it be really genuine, implies the causal working of Krishna’s mercy in its latent form. The mercy of Krishna directs the steps of the sincere seeker of the service of the Absolute Truth in the above sense to His own pure devotee for receiving at his hands transcendental enlightenment by the Scriptural process. After he has been so enlightened he becomes eligible for the performance of the spiritual worship of Krishna revealed in the Scriptures. The study of the Veda under the bonafide Acharya is not to be confounded with the method by which knowledge of a mundane subject is imparted to a student by his teacher in the academies of the empiricists. The knowledge of the transcendental is indivisible and is not impartable piecemeal. The study of the Veda, before the attainment of enlightenment, has, therefore, only a prospective and more or less negative value. The study of the Scriptures after enlightenment rests on a different footing and is part and parcel of actual spiritual service of Krishna. So in neither stage the study of the Scriptures under the Acharya enjoined by the Scriptures on the twice-born, has anything in common with the empiric process of receiving knowledge. The process of imparting spiritual enlightenment laid down by the Scriptures is of three kinds viz., the Vedic the Pauranic and the Pancharatric.

Vedic Process of Initiation (Diksha)

The purity of seminal birth from twice-born lineage is insisted upon as the pre-condition of eligibility for admission to the study of the Scriptures. But even in the Vedic period, as we learn from the account of Satya-Kama in the Chhandogya Upanished, sincerity of disposition was considered as the real test of eligibility of the candidate for admission to the study of the Vedas.

A candidate descended from undoubted twice-born lineage is invested with the sacred thread (Upanayana Sanskara) by the Acharya and is thereby made eligible for the study of the Vedas under the absolute direction of the Acharya.

The pupil who is found by the Acharya to possess the genuine disposition for the transcendental service of Vishnu receives from him spiritual enlightenment by the process of Vedic initiation (Diksha). The initiated becomes eligible for the actual performance of Vedic rites and ceremonials.

Pauranic Process of Initiation (Diksha)

This process is similar to the Vedic. The Acharya invests with the sacred thread, i.e. admits to the study of the Vedas, candidates belonging to the three higher varnas forming the group of the twice-born. After a course of training under the absolute direction of the Acharya, candidates who are judged by the Acharya as eligible, are imparted spiritual enlightenment by the Acharya and become fit for the actual performance of Vedic rituals and ceremonies.

Dhruba belonging to the Kshatriya group of the twice-born was initiated by Shree Narada by the above process.

Pancharatric Process of Initiation (Diksha)

This method is recommended by the Scriptures and ought to be accepted in the Kali-Yuga when there are reasonable doubts regarding unbroken unadulterated purity of legitimate lineal descent from twice-born parentage, as well as, in regard to actual possession of genuine Theistic propensities by most persons. Any candidate irrespective of high birth can be given spiritual enlightenment (Diksha) by this method. The candidate is first given initiation (Diksha) and is there-after invested by the Acharya with the sacred thread (Upanayana Sanskara) which makes him eligible for the study of the Vedas. Shreela Rasikananda Murari, the accredited preceptor of the whole of southern Bengal, was initiated by this method by the Acharya, Shreela Shyamananda Prabhu.

7. Predilections and Temperaments of the People on the eve of The Advent of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya

Diverse forms of non-Theistic activities were in high favour with the people who were ignorant of the method of Bhakti (unalloyed devotion) to Shree Krishna, before the Advent of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya Who for the first time made known to the world the true nature of the highest service of Shree Krishna practised by the spiritual denizens of Braja, of which the essential feature is full confidential reliance on the Absolute Personal Divinity.

The ordinary forms of non-Theism prevalent at the time of Shree Chaitanya are described in Shree Chaitanya Bhagabat. They were as follows:-

Selfish Attachment to and Absorbing Occupation of Worldlings in Domestic Pursuits

The marriage of sons and daughters was the greatest event of the domestic life. Immense sums were spent on it and even the poorest person grudged no expense for this purpose. Rich men spent fabulous sums on the marriage of their pet animals. The sums spent on the worship of a large number of gods and goddesses, on the worship of the Basuli and Manasa (Serpent-goddesses), and on pious observances with the view of securing the boons of sons, daughters and wealth also mounted to a huge total. People kept up whole nights in Bacchanalian revels which were an indispensable part of the popular worships. Wine was copiously drunk at these ceremonies. Goats and other animals were sacrificed and their meat was eaten with high relish as sacrament. Women were also in request for secret purposes in some of the ceremonials. The dramatic performances and dances that were associated with all these worships were traditionally especially obscene in character. Rank, fame, wealth, learning, beauty of body, sons and daughters, were the engrossing topics of all person everywhere. In a word advancement of one’s family and pride of lineage were the sources of all activities of the people.

This is by no means a rare event even today. The centre of all activities of not a few persons is the epicurean home. This has more or less the support of many persons who pass as preachers of religion. The engrossing care of one’s family, however, tends most effectively to stifle one’s spiritual disposition. The family is a temporary environment which fastens itself upon the soul by the physical union of man and woman. It is a purely mundane encumbrance which may be made to serve the spiritual purpose, but is not itself spiritual.

8. Controversial Disputes among Irreligious Pandits arising from Misinterpretations of Scriptures

The Shastras, secular literatures as well as Spiritual Scriptures, were studied with great assiduity at numerous centres of learning of which Nabadwip was the most famous at that period. The Pandits delighted in controversial disputes with one another. The greatest ambition of the erudite Pandit was to defeat in open controversy all other Pandits of his day. The subject that was studied with the greatest care at Nabadwip was New Logic whose subtleties furnished a capital weapon for these barren contentions. These hair-splitting disputations were of a most disorderly and violent character and were indulged by every person who had crossed the threshold of a Grammar School. They were never intended to produce any tangible results. These circumstances put a premium upon clever misinterpretations of the Scriptures for serving sordid ends. Excessive cultivation of the art of abstract polemics produced an atmosphere of cock-sure assurance and shameless arrogance as the only passports for obtaining popular recognition as a great scholar. The only original books which were produced were intricate and long-drawn rejoinders and counter-rejoinders for the display of the logical acumen of avowed partisans. Not a single scholar cared seriously for the Absolute Truth.

The Shastras establish the supreme excellence of the transcendental service of Shree Krishna. This is inconceivable to those who try to understand it by dint of their empiric scholarship. The real meaning of the Shastras can be obtained only by the method of absolute submission to the feet of the pure devotee of Krishna, by the process of spiritual enlightenment by grace of Krishna. Those who submit to the feet of the true devotee obtain enlightenment without and independently of the necessity of empiric study. Spiritual enlightenment is altogether different from empiric erudition. On the contrary the one is actually incompatible with the other.

9. Dissembling Tendency of Abstract Meditationists

The Chaitanya Bhagabat has drawn the picture of a dissembling religious peeping through his closed eyes at females bathing in the river. Nabadwip being the holiest tirtha (sacred place) of Bengal even at that period, was thronged by a vast army of yogins who were engaged in abstract meditation. These idle persons haunted the premises of the Temple and the cool shades of trees planted on the river-side at the bathing ghats. Even the author of the Chaitanya Bhagabat did not fail to mention that these meditationists were not unmindful of paying their close attention to the charms of females who frequented the Temples and the bathing Ghats. They were found to evince no outward interest in any worldly affairs, but were internally the slaves of their senses.

Those Yogins who aim at merging in the Supreme Soul by the method of meditation are bound to turn into dissemblers. It is never possible to get rid of the desire of the flesh by the method of empiric mediation. Such endeavour only whets the carnal appetite of its victims. This is corroborated by the historical fact that the most unchecked sensuality has been found to prevail among those religionists who affect to be wholly occupied in abstract meditation.

10. Rigid Austerities of Pseudo-Ascetics

The pseudo-ascetics were also to be found in Nabadwip in very large numbers. These people were engaged in the practice of austerities in diverse forms. The familiar practices were those of exposing themselves to the fierce heat of the sun and of blazing fire during the day in summer and to the intense cold of the wintry night. They would also remain in the same almost impossible postures standing for days on their heads, on one leg, on the support of one hand etc., etc. They had recourse to such and many other methods which were sometimes of a most brutal character for mortifying their flesh.

This method is equally futile and cannot check the carnal appetites. The stoics are in their hearts more sensuous than people who indulge their appetites in a moderate and regulated measure.

11. Vishnu is Absolute Personal Godhead

Vishnu is unalloyed Existence, Cognition and Bliss. He is Absolute Perfection. The Brahman of the Upanishads as interpreted by exclusive monists is the indistinctive conception of the transcendental greatness of Vishnu. The Paramatman or Supreme Soul is a partial realisation of His function in reference to the phenomenal world only. The Parabyom Vaikuntha or the Absolute Realm, - the eternal Abode of Vishnu, - transcends this phenomenal world of three dimensions. The Divine Functions of Vishnu belong to Parabyom and also become periodically visible in this mundane sphere. Their real nature cannot be perceived by the limited senses. All wrong conceptions of Vishnu are due to the defect of our angle of vision.

Personality of Vishnu implies His eternally identical Name, His eternally identical Form, His eternally identical Qualities and His eternally identical Activities. To acknowledge and to submit to the Personality of the Absolute is the sine qua non of Theism or bhakti.

Since the NAME of Vishnu is eternally identical with Himself those who acknowledge and submit to the NAME are Theists or bhaktas. Those who do not do so are atheists or abhaktas.

Prakashananda Challenges and Assails the Personality of Vishnu

Prakashananda was a contemporary of Shree Krishna Chaitanya. He was the greatest leader of the ascetics (Sannyasis) of the Sankara School in Benares. He was different from Prabodhananda, Preceptor of Shree Gopal Bhatta and brother of Venkat Bhatta, a resident of Sri Rangam in the Tamil country. It was in 1505 A.D. that the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya, while He was still residing at Nabadwip, condemned the interpretation of the Vedanta by Prakashananda which was in conformity with the theory of Indistinctive Exclusive Monism propounded by Shree Sankaracharya. Shree Chaitanya met the family of Venkat Bhatta in 1511 during His pilgrimage to the South. Shree Chaitanya defeated and converted Prakashananda at Benares in 1517. There is no ground for supposing that Prabodhananda was the name of Prakashananda after his conversion.

Prakashananda was the preacher of Pantheism which is supported by the Indistinctive Exclusive Monism of Sankara. The Pantheists hold that Vishnu and other gods worshipped by them are only a fiction devised to help their worshippers to realise the impersonal Absolute, by merging in the One. Sankara is the leading exponent of this extreme form of Monism as contra-distinct from Mono-theism, Vaishnavism or Bhakti. He maintains that the Absolute is devoid of any distinctive name, form, quality and function.

11a. The Supreme Lord Sree Krishna Chaitanya, in the Role of World-Teacher Expressed His Anger before Murari Gupta His Devotee, at the Blasphemous Activities of Prakashananda at Benares

The true interpretation of the Veda, contained in the Vedanta, is re-established by Godhead by His Descent in the Form of the Holy Boar (Shree Varahadeva) whenever the Deluge of atheism threatens to obliterate all knowledge (Veda) of the Divinity. Shree Krishna Chaitanya appeared in the Form of the Divine Boar to Murari Gupta at Nabadwip (in 1505) and told him that Prakashananda was blaspheming Him by his teaching of the false interpretation of the Vedanta and that he had accordingly been punished with deformity by leprosy which was dissolving his physical body limb by limb for the offence of denying the distinctive Form of Godhead, but even this terrible punishment did not bring him proper sense and compunction.

11b. Pantheistic mood of the Exclusive Monistic School

Pantheistic or Henotheistic worship of the five chief gods was also most prevalent at that period. These gods wee worshipped by elaborate ceremonials which were described in manuals that had been prepared by writers belonging to the cult who borrowed much of their materials from the spiritual Scriptures. These manuals had in course of time come to be regarded by the followers of the different cults as part and parcel of the revealed Scriptures themselves. The Pantheistic worship consists in offering food, necessaries and luxuries to images of particular gods worshipped on particular occasions for limited periods. After the image has been made, usually of clay, the particular god represented by it is invoked by means of suitable mantras to be present in the image. When the inanimate image has been made alive by this process it is worshipped for a period which is usually not more than a day. The image is then thrown away and is no more worshipped. A new image is made when the next occasion for the worship of the god arrives in due course. The image is regarded as a fictitious symbol devised for the convenience of the worshipper the real object of whose worship is the Impersonal Absolute. So no indignity is offered to the real object of worship according to Pantheists by consigning the image to the water after the ceremony of worship is over. The purpose of worshipping the fictitious image is to be enabled by means of the symbol to concentrate on the inconceivable Absolute and ultimately to merge in the One. This mode of worship was practised by the Brahmans and the cultured classes of society under the lead of the Pandits at the time of the Appearance of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya.

The study of the Vedanta by Sannyasins of the Exclusive Monistic School, who aim at merging in the Indistinctive Brahman by the process, only pampers their impotent vanity by strengthening their conviction that they are identical with the Brahman. This Godless attitude effectively prevents them from seeking in a spirit of humility enlightenment from the Absolute. The exclusive Monist is the willing victim of his ignorant empiric arrogance. His show of worship of different devatas is also an exhibition of innate arrogance and is altogether hypocritical.

12. Shree Chaitanya Deva and Sreedhar

Shree Chaitanya Deva while He was displaying in Navadwip the Lila of leading the Life of a House-holder as Professor of His Academy, used to take away forcibly the plantain, plantain bark, radishes etc., from the poor Brahman Shreedhar who eked out a scanty living by selling those products of his own labour. Shreedhar agreed to supply the pick of his garden products free of cost to Nimai Pandit on the conviction that it was special mercy on the part of the revered Brahman to take those things from him by force as otherwise he would never think of giving them to him of his own accord. Shreedhar did not suppose that he was any worse by giving them to the Brahman but a great gainer in as much as they were accepted by the Brahman who was part and parcel of Vishnu Himself. The gist of the philosophy of this poor Brahman of Nadia is that no degree of poverty is any plea for withholding the offering of one’s best possessions for the service of Vishnu. The Supreme Lord delighted in dining on the garden-products of Shreedhar and had His meals served on the plantain barks of Shreedhar’s garden.

13. Kala Krishnadas, Shree Chaitanya’s Attendant during His Tour of the South was Rescued by the Lord from the Clutches of Sirenical Females of the Bhattatharis

Kala Krishnadas was a simple Brahman who was accepted by the Supreme Lord as His only attendant during His Pilgrimage to the Southern countries. The Bhattatharis are the priests of the orthodox Nambudri Brahmans of Malabar. They have been traditionally regarded as capable of capturing the minds of people by their magical (Tantrik) arts. Kala Krishnadas was led astray by the Bhattatharis who effected his ruin by means of beguiling women. The Supreme Lord, however, rescued him from the den of the Bhattatharis.

14. Expiation for Sin (1) Wrong and Fruitless Process (2) Right Process

The case of Subuddhi Rai, contemporary of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya, an official of the King of Gauda, presents us with the right solution of the problem. Sultan Hussain Shah, King of Gauda, was formerly the servant of Subuddhi Rai. After Hussain Shah became king he was induced by his queen to force Subuddhi Rai to drink desecrated water in retaliation of former ill-treatment towards himself. Subuddhi Rai went to Benares and besought the Pandits to prescribe the proper expiation for the sin of having swallowed forbidden drink. The Pandits recommended suicide by drinking boiling ghee as the fitting expiation. But as the Pandits were not unanimous among themselves Subuddhi Rai sought the advice of Shree Chaitanya Deva Who was then at Benares. The Supreme Lord advised Subuddhi Rai to proceed to Brindaban and there engage in the constant service of the Name of Krishna remarking that the appearance of the dim reflection of the Name will drive away all his sin, no other form of expiation possessing any real and lasting efficacy. It is only by the apprehension of our relationship with the Absolute as the Sole Object of our worship that the sinful disposition can be got rid of. Sinfulness is nothing but aversion to the service of the Absolute. Unless the cause of the disease is removed the effect cannot cease.

15. The Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya, in the Role of the Gardener, Distributing the Highest Love of Krishna to One and All

Shree Krishna Chaitanya, in the role of the World-Teacher by His own example and teaching, is like the gardener who practises tending the tree of love of the Personal Absolute Shree Krishna by protecting it from all damaging influences and, when the fruit of love ripens, makes a free gift of the fruit to all persons without any distinction for making them acquainted with its sweet taste in order to induce them to plant and grow the tree of love of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna on their own account after learning the art from Him.

The Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya, Who is Krishna, is Divine Magnanimity Himself. He is the Bestower of the love of Krishna and is also the Teacher of the process by His own example by which we can ourselves learn to grow in our hearts the tree of love and also give away the ripe fruits thereof to others. He holds back nothing from us but bestows His Full Gift indiscriminately on all. The recipients of the mercy of Shree Krishna Chaitanya are the only and the best friends of all. They are authorised by Him to give away the love of Krishna to even the most undeserving.

16. Bestowal of the Love for Krishna in Jharikhanda on Birds, Beasts, and Shrubs by the Supreme Lord Sree Krishna Chaitanya on His way to Brindaban

The transcendental Sound has power to move everything both animate and inanimate to spiritual love for the Absolute. Everything in the natural state is a particle of the Perfectly Conscious Potency. The pure conscious state is liable to be more or less completely eclipsed by the force of the Deluding Potency due to the abuse of freedom of choice by the individual soul by cultivating aversion to the service of the Absolute.

17. The Tulasi Grove

Krishna abides eternally in the transcendental Tulasi grove. The Tulasi, the Ganges, the Name and the Archa (visible Form) are the four-fold manifestation of the Spiritual Potency in a visible form on the mundane plane. Krishna is always present with His devotee. But the Tulasi grove is His particularly favourite haunt.

18. Different Platforms of Service. Different Grades of Service-holders. Different Faces of the Recipient of Service

The progressive development of the instinct of pure devotion is described in the Bhagabatam in terms of the nature of the worshipper, his environment and of the Recipient of his worship.

The environment or the platform is divided into the mundane world limited by space and time (Brahmanda) and the Absolute Realm free from all disruptive limitation (Vaikuntha). The mundane world is separated from the Absolute realm by the stream of the Biraja which is devoid of all distinctive features both mundane and spiritual.

The mundane sphere is graded into fourteen worlds disposed in a serial order, bounded by the stream of the Biraja, above and below the world in which we live, which occupies the central position in the scheme, there being seven higher and seven lower worlds, extending respectively above and below our world.

On the further side of the Biraja lies the radiant outer belt of the Absolute Realm called Brahmaloka. Above this belt of pure light there is an infinite gradation of spiritual realms rising one above another. The Realm of the Absolute is divided into (1) the Spiritual Hemisphere which is called Vaikuntha and (2) the complete Sphere called Goloka.

Goloka is the highest platform of the pure loving service of Shree Radha-Krishna.

The denizens of Brahmanda (the mundane sphere) are averse to the service of Krishna. But they are capable of attaining to the platform of Divine service by help from the Absolute. Mankind who is found only in our world of the mundane sphere, is endowed with special aptitude for the attainment of the pure service of Krishna.

In the higher as well as in the lower worlds of the mundane sphere there are beings who are endowed with very much greater physical and mental powers than man. But they are also less fitted for the service of Krishna. The human life is thus the highest form of all mundane existence.

The average man aspires after greater powers for a good or for a bad purpose. By his aspirations for greater powers of goodness he is elevated to the higher worlds of the mundane sphere. By his unethical aspirations for greater powers he is sunk into the lower worlds. Goodness and badness denote correlated mundane prospects which are attainable within the mundane scope. By either kind of aspirations man falls, upward or downward, from his highest mundane estate. It is, however, possible for man to follow a third alternative viz., to aspire to the service of Krishna on the plane of the Absolute which is free from all mundane reference. This aspiration is implanted in the hearts of fortunate persons by the mercy of the agent of Krishna viz. the Guru, who comes down into the mundane sphere for imparting to conditioned souls the inclination for the pure service of Krishna. This inclination is strengthened by following the guidance of the Guru and fructifies into the service of Krishna on the highest platform of Goloka by uninterrupted progressive development under the fostering care of the same transcendental agency.

Shree Chaitanya Charitamrita contains a famous description of the gradual growth of the creeper of pure devotion from a seedling towards the Feet of Krishna across the Brahmanda, the stream of the Biraja, the Brahmaloka and the Infinity of the Hemispheres of Vaikuntha.

In the Brahmanda the object of covetousness (miscalled worship) is a desirable state of the worshipper conceived in terms of mundane felicity. In the stream of Biraja the conditioned soul is purged of all mundane hankering, both ethical and unethical; but there is no spiritual hankering. In Brahmaloka the soul finds no specific object of worship but receives the first clear indications of the possible existence of a super-mundane distinctive existence.

Passing through Brahmaloka the soul actually finds the distinctive spiritual realm where Shree Lakshmi-Narayana are the Object of universal worship by the methods of reverence, by absolutely pure souls. Passing beyond the realm of Sree Narayana the soul is enabled to obtain the sight of Goloka, identical with Shree Brindaban where he is privileged to serve Shree Shree Radha-Krishna by the methods of perfectly confidential intimate service.

19. Punishment of a Sensual Pseudo-Ascetic (Vairagi)

The bona-fide ascetic engages in the whole-time service of Vishnu and for this purpose openly renounces the world i.e., enjoyment of the pleasures of the senses. If such a person is found to engage in sensual activities his conduct is thereby rendered wholly unpardonable. One who is not really desirous of the whole-time service of Shree Krishna should not rashly renounce the world. In renouncing the world one should be fully guided by the advice of the Sat-Guru who is no other than the whole-time servant of Shree Krishna.

22. The bewildered person led by the senses

A person who relies on his senses is guided by the six impulses and appetites, viz., (1) vain prattling and meaningless silence, (2) ire, (3) avarice, (4) gluttony, (5) adultery and (6) mind.

23. The Goswamin who has subdued the six sensuous impulses

The six sensuous impulses that are automatically overcome by the pure devotee of the Absolute, viz., the Goswamin who alone is also fit to be the teacher of the revealed words (Sruti), are the impulse of worldly talk, the speculative impulse of the mind, the impulse of anger, the impulse of good eating, the impulse of gluttony and the impulse of sexuality. All these impulses are completely under the control of the bona-fide Goswamin and are employed by him to serve the exclusive pleasure of the transcendental Absolute godhead Vishnu.

24. Vishnu maya (the deluding energy of Vishnu) fascinates and bewilders even Shiva the God of destruction

This refers to the Appearance of Vishnu in the Form of the most fascinating female, Mohini, at the time of the quarrel between the Devas and the Asuras over the sharing of ambrosia that was obtained by the churning of the ocean by their joint labours. Both the Devatas and the Asuras were so enamoured of Mohini that She could easily persuade them to entrust Her with the distribution of ambrosia. She gave it all to the Devas who were Her devotees. Shiva prayed to Vishnu to show him His Female Form. Vishnu appeared to Shiva in the Form of Mohini. Shiva was so completely fascinated by Her charms that he ran wildly after her, wooing Her to be his consort, utterly forgetful of his own proper consort Parbatee who failed to dissuade him from such astounding behaviour.

Shiva receives the mercy of the Absolute

In this crisis Vishnu was pleased to withdraw His Female Form from the view of Shiva and restore to him his natural immunity from all carnal passions. Vishnu now appeared before Shiva in His Male Form and told him that Shiva should never again pray for the sight of the Female Form of the Absolute as it was sure to bring him to trouble by making him seek to dominate over and enjoy the Absolute. Such unnatural hankering would be an offence against the Absolute.

25. Thakur Haridas, the transcendental messenger of the Absolute Truth, Reciter of the Name of Krishna, and the courtesan

Thakur Haridas lived in a solitary cell in the forest of Benapole and recited the Name of Krishna three lakhs of times during every night and day in the manner that is free from offence. Thakur Haridas recited the Name with a loud voice. This became intolerable to Ramachandra Khan, the powerful land-owner of Benapole. He engaged a beautiful courtesan for bringing about the ruin of the youthful sadhu. The courtesan presented herself before the cell of Thakur Haridas on the approach of evening and used all her arts for diverting the attention of Thakur Haridas and proposed to be favoured by his intimate society. Thakur Haridas bade her wait at the entrance of his cell and promised to fulfil her wishes after he had completed telling one crore times the Name of Krishna in course of the month which was drawing to its close.

26. The courtesan listening to the repeated recital of the Name of Krishna by Thakur Haridas

The courtesan being assured of the fulfilment of her immoral wishes continued to sit at the entrance of the cell of Thakur Haridas, listening to the recital of the Name of Krishna from the lips of Thakur Haridas. The whole of that night was passed in this fashion. She returned the next evening and took her seat at the entrance of the cell and listened to the recital of the Holy Name through the night. The harlot came thither on the third evening bent upon carrying out the design of Ramchandra Khan, and persevered in listening to the chant of the Name of Krishna.

27. The All-purifying fire of the Name of Krishna consumes completely the sins of the listening courtesan who bows low to the feet of Thakur Haridas. The courtesan is turned into a saint

As the third night of her vigil drew to its close the mind of the courtesan cleared of its sinful propensity and she experienced the complete change of her life. The name of Krishna on the lips of the pure devotee is no earthly sound. Krishna’s Name is identical with Krishna. Krishna entered the attending ear of the courtesan and His Presence burnt up completely all the sins of the courtesan, bringing into play the perfectly pure aptitude of the heart of the soul. This change flowed from her heart to the external organs and caused the courtesan to fall prostrate at the feet of her saviour to express the gratitude of her soul for the causeless mercy of the pure devotee. Thakur Haridas bade her give up her life of shame and in response to her prayer for being saved, imparted to her the Transcendental Name of Krishna. Thakur Haridas then made over his cell to his disciple and left Benapole. The courtesan was turned into a saint. She abandoned sinning, renounced the world and devoted herself whole heartedly to the recital of the Name of Krishna being free from all offence by the grace of Thakur Haridas. She was numbered among the greatest of saints and was revered by all the people.

28. The sinner abandons sinning and is saved by the mercy of the Absolute’s own

Empiric morality is the result of human effort by the assertive direction of the human judgment for the attainment of any enjoyable worldly existence. It has, therefore, no connection with the soul. Empiric immorality is also the result of the same process directed by a more or less identical motive. Both empiric morality and empiric immorality belong to the category of offence against the Absolute. From this double plight the repentant sinner is delivered only by the causeless mercy of the agent of the Absolute viz., the Sadhu. A person who is sunk in the slough of physico-mental existence can never be delivered from sin by empiric efforts for the reason that such efforts aim at the opposite result viz., the attainment of a desired worldly existence.

29-30. Balabhadra Bhatta the silly attendant of the Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya is misguided by popular rumour (vox populi) into mistaking the fisherman on the Kaliya Lake for Shree Krishna (Blasphemous error of Apotheosis)

The Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya was accompanied by Balabhadra Bhatta on His Pilgrimage to Shree Brindaban. While the Supreme Lord was still at Brindaban the rumour went rife that Shree Krishna had re-appeared in Brindaban and was exhibiting during night His Leela of quelling the Kaliya Serpent on the Kaliya Lake. Balabhadra Bhatta was carried off his legs by this baseless rumour and proposed to the Supreme Lord that he might be allowed to witness the Leela of Shree Krishna. It was afterwards discovered that the rumour was due to a mistake of the spectators who had imagined the black forms of fishermen fishing in the Lake on their boats at night, for Shree Krishna.

The Supreme Lord Shree Krishna Chaitanya solves the doubt of His foolish attendant by Scriptural Evidence (Vox Dei)

The Supreme Lord expressed His indignant surprise at the easy acceptance of such blasphemous error by His attendant reminding him that the evidence of the Scriptures is definite on the point that Krishna does not manifest His Appearance in the Kali-Yuga. It is a most important point, and its significance should be noted by all persons who sincerely believe in the testimony of the Scriptures as final, that the Scriptures mention no Avatara (Descent) of Godhead during the Kali Age although this has not prevented many persons from accepting, on the evidence of vox populi men and women who announce themselves as the Avataras of Godhead. There have been many such pseudo-Avataras of Godhead in Bengal within the memory of living persons. No created or mortal or relative being should be worshipped as identical with the Creator Immortal Absolute Personal Godhead.

31. Empiricists have in all Ages been Violent and Tyrannical to Theists i.e., Devotees of Vishnu, the Absolute Truth; But the Non-violent Theists are found to Win Ultimately

The opposition of non-theists to the followers of the Absolute Truth is the subject-matter of the history of religion in this world. This opposition is spontaneous and eternal, but has been laboriously misrepresented by the empiric literatures of the world.

32. The Soul on attainment of freedom from worldly hankering, praying for the mercy of Vaishnava

Any show of submission to the Guru, the pure devotee, by the conditioned soul with affinity for the enjoyable things of this world, is a caricature of the constant natural attitude of unconditioned serving submission to the Absolute manifested by the soul in his natural state of perfect freedom from all worldly hankering. This spiritual aptitude makes its automatic appearance as the natural function of the soul on being delivered from the bondage of the world by the inseparable graces of the Supreme Lord and of His pure devotee viz. the bonafide spiritual guide (Shree Gurudeva).

33. In The Satya age Prahlad, the Absolute’s own, suffers incalculable tortures by orders of his father, Hiranya-Kasipu (Arch-Fiend King of hostile empiricists); and every time non-violent Prahlad comes out unhurt, rescued by his Trust in the Absolute

This is not a myth as empiricists want us to believe. These events are eternally enacted on the plane of pure cognition. They also manifest their visible appearance on this mundane plane by the Will of Krishna, at the appointed periods. But these spiritual events must not be confounded with any transitory occurrences of this world. The Scriptures, which have handed down the account, forbid us to regard them as earthly events. Scepticism may be covertly supported by empiricists in defiance of the principles of pure reason but it cannot cease to be the stupid Godless attitude that it really is in spite of a certain measure of general support which it has undoubtedly always received from worldly people. The sceptic affects to believe in the testimony of his erring and limited senses. But when this testimony is forthcoming in favour of the Absolute he hypocritically rejects the same on the ground that he cannot believe what is opposed to general experience. But how can the Transcendental be an object of general experience on the mundane plane? Scepticism is affected stupidity for denying with the appearance of thoughtless levity the possibility of the knowledge of the Absolute.

Prahlad is thrown into the fire

By orders of his father Hiranya-Kasipu for refusing to give up his uncompromising Trust in Vishnu. He is protected by Vishnu Who renders him immune from the effects of any earthly fire.

As a matter of fact Prahlad is the eternal servant of Vishnu and as such is never subject to the laws of physical Nature. But the Deluding Energy of Vishnu makes him appear as if possessing a physical body to the view of worldly people when He chooses to descend to this mundane plane and become visible to mortal eyes by the will of Godhead for the disillusionment of conditioned souls.

34. Prahlad is hurled down from the peak of a hill

By orders of Hiranya-Kasipu but lands unhurt into the Arms of Shree Hari.

35. Prahlad is thrown into the sea

But is not drowned and comes safely to the shore.

36. Prahlad is incarcerated in a solitary prison-cell

But is visited there by Shree Krishna.

(to be Continued)