AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER FOUR
Our Life-line of Devotional Practice
naham tisthami vaikunthe
The Lord said, "I am not living in Vaikuntha, and I am not living in the heart of the yogis, but I remain where My devotees are singing My glories." So, Krishna can be found wherever His glories are being chanted by His devotees. So the main thing in our life is that we need association of the devotees. Therefore, wherever there is a regular devotional programme continuing by His devotees with chanting, we should try to attend. It is within viddhi-marga, and if we follow viddhi—a regulated devotional programme—it will give some adjustment in our life.
Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur preached:
matala harijana kirttana-range
This is inscribed above the front entrance of the nat-mandir here at Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, and later a picture relief has come out above it illustrating its meaning. Gaurava-bhange means that there are some rules and regulations. From afar we shall worship the raga-patha, the path of spontaneous affectionate service, while we ourselves live within the Vedic guide-line.
If we think that we have become a Gopi, that is not the real feeling. But if we think that we want to become a servant of the Gopis, that is the real thing. The process is sravanam and kirttanam. When we have established ourselves in the plane of full dedication, from there we shall start our real bhajan life under guidance of a sadhu.
Question: So, what is the actual meaning of gaurava-bhange?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: Gaurava means viddhi. Narayan is the gaurava Deity. But gaurava-bhange means the honourable guide-line of the Scriptures, and from that position we are always to give honour from afar to that raga-marga. Raga-marga is a very high plane. Why? Because in that plane there is only affectionate attachment with Krishna. That is the plane of affectionate service.
Question: In this verse what is the reference to gaurava-bhange? In what way is that verse referring to viddhi?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: Matala harijana kirttana-range. And—pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange: this is our life's goal. Kirttan is the first stage and also the last stage. Kirttana can take us from the lowest level to the highest level, raga-marga. We start our practising life through kirttan.
Yajanti means bhajanti: worshipping Mahaprabhu by the process of chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and following His sankirttan movement.
Question: I have always understood that the verse, matala harijana kirttana-range, means that our highest ideal is raga-marga, and, keeping it above us, we worship it from afar.
Srila Govinda Maharaj: The correct idea is that we must always think it to be above us, otherwise we shall go down to the sahajiya line. If we say that someone is a Gopi, it is perfect sahajiyaism—perfect imitation. That is real sahajiyaism. But if we say that someone looks like a Gopi, that is not sahajiyaism. We have some idea of what a Gopi looks like, so if we think that a particular lady looks like a Gopi, that will not be sahajiyaism. But we have no right to say it actually, otherwise immediately we shall be on the mundane platform.
No doubt someone is qualified to say so, but we shall not think that we ourselves have the right to even take the name of the Gopis. Throughout the whole of Srimad- Bhagavatam Srila Sukadeva Goswami did not once mention the name of Srimati Radharani. This is because he tried to guard his discourse from sahajiyaism. During that meeting with Maharaj Pariksit, many were present who would not have been able to understand properly if Sukadeva Goswami had mentioned the name of Radharani and Her associates.
If someone does not have the proper capacity to understand these topics, they will immediately go to sahajiyaism. For their protection Sukadeva Goswami did not take the Name of Srimati Radharani, and the Gopis such as Lalitadevi, Visakha, etc. Their identity was shown by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur in his writings. He gave some light by mentioning, "This verse was spoken by Srimati Radharani, this one by Lalitadevi, etc." So, we must worship the raga-patha from afar, and our duty at present is to serve that rank of the devotees and to engage in the congregational chanting of the Mahamantra in the association of the devotees. This is the safe and actual process for us to make advancement in our Krishna conscious practising life.
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
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