Braj Ras: Bhukti Mukti Baikunth, Dwarika na de Mathura bhi na de, Vrindaban pahuncha de
A wise devotee requests Shri Radha Krishna to bless him with the bliss of Vrindaban. You may wonder, what is so special about the bliss of Vrindaban, when Happiness can be found in other places as well. Yes that is true. Happiness can be found at other places as well. In fact, happiness spans across multiple levels, which can be primarily divided into the following 6 categories:
1. Bhukti – Material happiness, starting from the planet earth and extending up to the celestial abodes. Bhukti is the other name for sensual pleasures and is fleeting in nature. The material world is created by Maya, which is endowed with three modes (Tamas, Rajas and Sattvic); hence material pleasures are also of 3 kinds. a. Tamas: anger, passion, greed, alcoholism, non-vegetarianism, violence etc. are the chief qualities of Tamas mode of Maya. This mode of Maya is predominant in demons. b. Rajas: Living a comfortable life, enjoying rich vegetarian food like kheer, puri, rasgulla etc. not inflicting harm to others for no reason, i.e. leading a modest life are the main characteristics of Rajas mode of Maya. This mode of Maya is predominant in human beings. c. Sattvik: Love, sympathy, mercy, generosity, religiousness and charity etc. are the qualities of Sattvik mode. These qualities of goodness are common in celestial beings. Till such time as a human being is under the control of Maya, all these qualities will dominate the person, but the extent of dominance of each mode, may vary from person to person.
2. Mukti – Superior to Bhukti is liberation from Maya, called Mukti. This is the state in which the soul, a. elevates itself from the transient pleasures of Maya; b. attains true knowledge of the formless God; c. is released from the sufferings of the world forever and d. is freed from the captivity of material body, mind and intellect. Upon attaining Mukti, the pure soul merges into the Supreme Being for eternity and becomes one with Him forever. However, even though the soul attains freedom from the miseries of Maya, it still does not enjoy the ever new, ever increasing bliss of God. So a wise person does not run after the aim of attaining Mukti.
3. Baikunth – Superior to Mukti is attaining the divine abode of Baikunth. An even wiser person rejects the happiness of Mukti to attain the goal which qualifies him to attain divine bliss. Thus he achieves both objectives – freedom from Maya and attainment of divine bliss. He can now enjoy the unlimited divine beauty of Baikunth Nath, the four armed Lord Vishnu and His divine association. He can also enjoy His divine attributes and blissful majesty of His abode. The form of Narayan also called Maha Vishnu is a majestic form of Shri Krishna, who dwells in Baikunth Lok.
4. Dwarika – Superior to even Baikunth is the divine abode of Dwarika. Shri Krishna dwells there in a human form and depending on the need or occasion, reveals His majestic powers. The residents of Dwarika worship Shri Krishna as their king; hence there is a mixture of majesty in this form, thus this is also not desirable for seekers of divine love bliss. Premanand – The kingdom of love starts from the area of Braj. Within Braj there are several levels of Premanand.
5. Mathura – The bliss of Mathura is superior to the bliss of Dwarika. Lord Krishna appears here as an ordinary being, hiding His majestic form, at most times, but sometimes, though rarely, his majesty manifests itself. Thus the rasiks do not aspire for this bliss either.
6. Vrindaban – The bliss of Vrindaban is the sweetest of all, where there is not even an iota of majesty. He never allows His Majesty (aishwarya) to be manifested in Braj. According to his promise, येयथा माांप्रपद्यन्तेताांस्तथैव भजाम्यहम। Lord Krishna dwells in Vrindavan, in the form of an ordinary cowherd boy and reciprocates the relationship with each individual soul, in the same form and intensity as that of the individual soul. Furthermore, he drenches everyone with the sweet nectar of love. The individual beings of Braj establish one of the following 4 relationships with God: a. Dasya Bhav (servitude) – God is my Master, I am His servant b. Sakhya Bhav (friendship) – God is my Friend, I am His friend c. Vatsalya Bhav (parental) – God is my Son, I am His Mother/Father d. Madhurya Bhav (beloved) – God is my beloved, I am His lover Using His inner potency, Yogmaya, God makes Himself forget His Godliness. Under the influence of Yogmaya, when His Supremacy is completely forgotten, He reciprocates the feelings of His devotee in much the same manner as worldly beloved/lover, parent/son, master/servant and friends do. One very important point to note here is that God does not pretend. He feels, behaves and reciprocates his devotee’s feelings in reality, for if an individual soul were to get the feeling that God does not really love them, rather merely puts on an act, nobody would ever want to attain God! The same power of Yogmaya, makes the soul forget that it is an infinitesimally miniscule part of the almighty God. In this unique situation, when both parties forget their true identities, both Shri Krishna and the individual soul meet at par. It is in this situation, when His cowherd friends treat Him like a friend and fight with him, Mother Yashoda loves Him like her child, scolds him, ties Him with a rope, threatens Him with a stick and the milk maidens of Braj, consider Him their Beloved. That is the uniqueness of the nectar of Vrindaban. All the powers of God are personified. His Majestic power (Aishwarya Shakti) is not permitted inside the boundary of Vrindaban, yet she occasionally secretly enters. She, like a true servant, is always faithful and vigilant. Whenever she perceives Shri Krishna to be in danger, she rushes to protect Him. For example, the Gopis would often visit Nand Baba’s house with the hidden agenda of seeing Him, but the outward pretext was always to complain about His pranks. Maiya Yashoda would get upset by their constant complaints. Once when she heard Balram also complain against
Him, saying that He had eaten dirt, Mother Yashoda decided that it was time for Him to be disciplined. Since numerous warnings didn’t seem to work, she picked up a stick to beat Him up. Seeing the stick waving in Maiya’s hands Shri Krishna got really scared and His small frame started trembling in fear and tears started rolling down His big eyes. This is the miracle of Love. Love makes God forget His Godliness and makes Him reciprocate the feelings of His devotee. Maiya Yashoda challenged Him saying, “You say that you have not eaten mud, but all others including your brother tell me otherwise. Why should I believe you over them?” Little Krishna started making excuses like Dau (older brother) is lying, all friends are lying, they want to take revenge because I did not listen to them today, yesterday they lost in the game and had to pay the wager hence they decided to lie and get me in trouble etc. But mother rejected every single one of His excuses. Seeing that Maiya was not buying into any of his excuses, He came up with an ingenious plan. He thought if I ask Maiya to check my mouth, she would believe my innocence and I will be safe. He was positive that Maiya would not ask Him to open His mouth. But to His utter disappointment and shock, Maiya demanded that He open His mouth and prove His innocence. Now, Thakur Ji was in a big predicament. If He opened His mouth, He would be caught lying and if He didn’t, Maiya would know that He was lying. In this great dilemma, He decided that it was best for Him not to open His mouth and let Maiya cane Him. However, to avoid the sight of the cane hitting Him, He closed His eyes tightly but inadvertently opened His mouth. Sensing that Shyam Sundar would get beaten up today, His Aishwarya Shakti”, which is forbidden from entering Braj, decided to step in and protect her Lord. As soon as Maiya looked inside Shyam Sundar’s open mouth, she saw infinite cosmic universes. Seeing that, Maiya started trembling in fear and the cane fell from her hands. She could no longer hold herself up and sat down sweating on the floor. Unaware of what happened, Thakur Ji’s eyes were still closed, waiting for the cane to hit Him. When He did not get hit for what seemed like a very long time, He started wondering why Maiya hasn’t hit Him yet. Is she still holding the stick or has she decided to spare Me today. After a long wait, He opened one eye slightly and saw Maiya’s state. He immediately understood that it was the doing of His Aishwarya Shakti, but by that time Aishwarya Shakti had already fled the scene, having done her job of protecting her Lord. Similarly, Aishwarya Shakti had intervened numerous times when demons caused disruption in Braj, but she was not allowed to stay inside Vrindaban. Only the power of sweetness, Madhurya Shakti is permitted to stay inside Vrindaban. That is why the nectar of Vrindaban is considered to be of the highest class. This is the land where the most intimate and highest bliss of love is showered on deserving souls. There are many levels of Vrindaban Ras as well. The highest level of Vrindaban Ras is the nectar of Madhurya Bhav. In Madhurya Bhav, the nectar of Samartha Rati is the highest. Further within Samartha Rati, the nectar of Kunj Ras is the Highest. In Kunj Ras, the nectar of Nibhrit Nikunj Ras is the highest. The deserving souls of Samartha Rati are called Gopis and they attain Maharaas Ras by the grace of Shri Radha. The highest bliss attainable by a soul, once bound by Maya, is the bliss of Maharaas. Maharaas is attained by the exclusive grace of the divine couple Shri Radha Krishna, by someone who considers Shri Krishna as their beloved, Shri Radha Rani as their swamini and who exclusively serves the divine couple with the intent of pleasing Them, with no desire for self-happiness. Since the highest bliss is available only in Vrindaban, the devotee wishes to attain the nectar of Vrindaban, showered by the Divine Couple on the full moon night of Sharad Poornima. All glories to the Lord of Vrindavan!!!
Remember God Part of Shri Maharaj Ji’s lecture delivered on Dec 21, 2012:
A philosopher is telling his mind, “O mind! Remember Shyam Sundar constantly”. Now the question arises 1. why is he addressing the mind only, 2. why is he asking the mind to remember only and 3. finally why is he asking the mind to remember God constantly. There are 3 entities in this world; individual beings, Maya and God. We, the individual beings, Jeev are sentient and an inseparable part of God. God is Happiness. Being a part of that infinite happiness, we constantly strive to attain happiness. However, being away from God since eternity, we have never attained happiness and continue to wander in the endless cycle of death and birth. The Geeta says, Nobody can be inert even for a moment. We all want to be eternally free from the miseries of the world and be happy. And to that effect, we are constantly busy doing things with the sole aim of eliminating miseries and attaining happiness. We continue to look for happiness in material objects and material beings, using our material mind. However despite our best efforts, we have not attained our goal. So, it appears that even though our objective is correct, the area in which we are looking for happiness is not right. Consider the example of someone who is very hungry and buys a loaf of bread to satisfy his hunger. After he is finished eating, he’d say that he is full, satisfied and happy. But just within few hours he will start feeling hungry again. Despite fulfilling the same physical and mental desires each day, those desires repeatedly cause misery and unrest. Anger, passion, greed, jealously etc. are terrible mental diseases. Can any amount of money get rid of anger, passion avarice etc.? A billionaire sleeps on an expensive bed worth a million dollars and a beggar sleeps on the footpath after a whole day of labor. Is there any difference in the mental state of a billionaire and a beggar in the state of deep sleep? Does the billionaire remember the monetary value of his expensive bed in his deep sleep? Our personal experiences prove that any amount of material achievements do not make us happy. Each of us has held the position of Indra, the king of heaven numerous times, yet we are unhappy. This is because we do not realize that there is no happiness anywhere in the material realm. Material pursuits grant sensegratification only and that is also fleeting. Striving to attain material objects is not the path to attaining everlasting, ever increasing happiness. So, where is true happiness? God our merciful father answered this question at the time of creation. He revealed His laws in the form of the Vedas. In the Vedas, He declares that there are two areas: the area of God and the area of Maya. God says, if you want freedom from miseries of this world, come to Me alone. I will grant you freedom, at no charge. If you desire pain and suffering, go towards Maya. There you will have to toil for attaining those fruits and those fruits are dissatisfaction, thirst for more, and discontentment. We have been granted 5 organs of action (hands, legs, vocal chords, excretory organs and reproductive organs), 5 cognitive sense organs (eye, ear, tongue, skin and nose) and a mind. All these ten sensory organs and the objects of these senses remain under the control of Mind. The sensory organs do not perform any action themselves. The mind is their governor. For e.g. you are sitting idle and suddenly a thought comes to your mind to go to Mumbai to meet your friends. Your mind thinks, ‘I have to go to Mumbai.’ How would I go? Let me take a flight.” After pondering on it, the mind orders the body to get ready. The mind orders the hands to call the travel agent, buy a ticket and then go to the airport to catch the flight. After all these efforts you reach Mumbai.
But to attain bliss you don’t have to do any of this. Just contemplate in your mind, “O Shri Krishna! You alone are mine. Please grant me Your darshan.” This firm resolution will lead you to God, the ocean of Bliss. Sumiran means rememberance. Just remember Him, and He will take care of the rest. Due to ignorance, we do everything else except remembering Him. We use our hands to perform worship, legs to visit the temple, ears to listen to the discourses from the scriptures and eyes to see the Idols (moortis). Yet the mind is attached to the world and the result is that we continue to become more and more miserable. So God wants us to attach our mind completely to Him. That is why it said here Sumiran kara le mana! O mind remember God alone.”