by Nisikanta Sanyal | 1933 | 274,022 words | ISBN-10: 818919500X
The present work is an attempt to offer a theistic account in the English language of the career and teachings of Sri Chaitanya (representing the Absolute Truth in His full manifestation). Sri Chaitanya came into this world to make all people understand that in reference to their eternal existence they should have nothing to do with non-Godhead. A...
From Chandpur, Thakur Haridas came to the village of Fulia on the Ganges near Santipur, the home of Sri Advaita Acharyya. Haridas was thereby enabled to associate with Acharyya Gosain who roared with delight on gaining the company of Haridas. Haridas, remarks Thakur Brindavandas, floated on the ocean of the mellow quality (rasa) of Govinda (Cowherd Krishna) by obtaining the society of Advaita.
The last sentence mentions an important truth. The philanthropic sensualists (prakrita sahajiyas) affect to believe that Thakur Haridas had no access to the Amorous Pastimes of Sri Krishna, being exclusively devoted to the chanting of the Name. this shows ignorance of the real Nature of the Holy Name as well as of the transcendental amour. It is repeatedly declared by the Shastras that the Name of Krishna is identical with His Form, Quality, Activity and Servitorship. The Bhagavatam (11-2-40) bears out the statement of Sri Rupa (Bh. R. Sindhu P. L.: 3-11) that liking for the chanting of the Name is the conclusive sign of the first appearance of spiritual amour. Those, who are addicted to sensuous pleasures, have no liking for the Name of Godhead. Those pseudo-ascetics, who do not chant the Name of Krishna, are really indifferent to the service of Godhead. Thakur Haridas could possess such an overpowering inclination for chanting the Name of Krishna by reason of his real love for the Lord and consequent real detachment from the pleasures of the world. Thakur Haridas, who was acquainted with the mellow quality of the Name of Krishna, is the greatest of teachers as he is alone authorized to admit one to the meaning of the Shastras treating of spiritual amour. The mellow quality of amorous love for Krishna is realized as the effect of the chanting of the Name of Krishna by the method that is free from offense against the Name. The philanthropists are effectively shut out from all access to the experience of the real nature of the spiritual quality of amorous love by their offensive taking of the Name of Krishna. By reason of their excessive addiction to sensuous enjoyment, which is aggravated by chanting the Name without trying simultaneously to avoid committing such offense, the philanthropists fall into the most heinous blunder of supposing that the spiritual amour is identical with gross sensuality. The only way of getting rid of the lust of the flesh is by chanting the Name of Krishna by avoiding the ten offenses against the Name.
These particulars should enable the unbiased reader to realize the nature as well as the cause of the misunderstanding that is commonly entertained by both liberationists and elevationists in regard to the efficacy of the chanting of the Holy Name. Those who believe in the superiority of fruitive work and empiric knowledge, or, in other words, the average men of the world, find it impossible to sympathize with those philanthropists who teach by their preaching and practice that the taking of the Name Krishna, without really giving up or endeavoring to give up the life of worldliness, is the highest and only duty of all persons. The philanthropists have forfeited the sympathies of all honest well-wishers by leading a dissipated life of idleness and debauchery which is bound to result from taking the Name without abstaining from the commission of offenses against the Name. The philanthropists are opposed to those restrictive injunctions of the Scriptures that endeavor to put down immorality and worldliness. They find it convenient to suppose that it is possible to approach the Presence Divine with a heart deliberately bent upon sinfulness. They are profane enough, as the result of such habitual commission of offenses, under the guise of piety, against the Name, to dare attribute even carnal desires to Sri Krishna and His eternal Consorts against the gravest and clearest warnings of Sri Rupa Goswami who is admitted by all as the Divinely authorized exponent of the nature of spiritual amour. We shall return again and again to this all-important subject as the narrative develops.
The life that was led by Thakur Haridas while he was living in the cave at Fulia, is described as follows by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami and it forms the authoritative refutation of the practices and arguments of the philanthropists. Haridas kept constantly walking along the bank of the Ganges chanting aloud the Name ‘Krishna’. Haridas surpassed all ascetics in his aversion to the pleasures of the world. All praise to his holy mouth which was ever full of the Name of Krishna. He did not experience a moment’s disinclination to the Name of Govinda. His appearance underwent a constant and novel transformation under the influence of the mellow quality of devotion. Sometimes he danced all by himself. Sometimes he made a sound like that of a maddened lion. There were times when he cried in grief with a loud voice. Sometimes he would indulge in a mighty laughter that was haughty and deliberate. At times he shouted forth ejaculations of sorrow with a deep voice. Sometimes he would lie prostrate in a swoon. He would sometimes shout forth, in the hearing of the people, sounds that belonged to another world and would then explain the same in the most excellent manner. Shedding of tears, horripilation, laughter, swooning, sweating—the spiritual perturbations that are expressive of devotion to Krishna—manifested themselves all together in his holy form the moment Thakur Haridas entered the dance. The flow of the stream of joy was such as to drench all limbs. Even the worst of atheists (pashandas) experienced a great pleasure on beholding the same and the wonder of the series of the beauteous horripilation of which the sight is coveted even by Brahma and Siva. All the Brahmana residents of Fulia witnessed with rapture those holy manifestations. A deep faith took possession of the minds of all those people. In this manner Thakur Haridas lived on at Fulia. After bathing in the Ganges he rambled all over the place, chanting with a loud voice the Name of Hari.
The activities of the devotees of Godhead are perfectly incomprehensible to the material mind of man for the simple reason that they do not target anything of this world. The mind cannot understand super mundane activities. It supposes that it has a right to be able to understand every occurrence that comes within the range of its perception. Thakur Haridas appeared to the people of that time as a man living among men. He appeared to them to possess a physical body and senses. He was being fed in the ordinary way everyday at Advaita acharyya’s. He used his senses apparently in the same way as any other man. He might have probably been supposed to be a good man and as comparatively indifferent to the comforts of the body. But he did not as a matter of fact also really neglect anything that is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of life. There was nothing super-mundane about all this. Would it be proper to regard such a person on such testimony as a supernatural being? Even if we choose to consider him as supernatural on such evidence would we not be led from one mistake to another by such untenable concession to superstition? Would it not be a still greater folly to try to follow the life and conduct of such a person and ask others to do the same under such a notion? Is it feasible to follow with a, clear conscience a person of whose conduct the true meaning is not at all possible for us to understand?
It would be both possible and useful to accept the mode of life of another person if by doing so our own existing interests and convictions would have a prospect of being demonstrably improved instead of being wholly suppressed. If all persons began all of a sudden to chant the Name of Hari night and day and to depend on others for the supply of food which is necessary for them for being able to perform the said function, would not such course tantamount to an idle and suicidal folly?
The life of the devotee should have no value if it is not capable of helping us to perform our ordinary duties in a better way. The life must not only be practicable in itself but a distinctive and intelligible improvement on the one that it is to be allowed to replace. The life of Thakur Haridas as depicted above seemed to satisfy neither of these essential conditions.
As a matter of fact we shall see subsequently that Sri Chaitanya was regarded as an unbalanced sentimentalist by even the leading Vedantist Scholar of Benares, the recognized head-quarters of Shastric culture of that day and this. Persons who devote their intellect to the study of the Shastras in a systematic way, need not thereby be rendered devoid of ordinary common sense. The absence of common sense is the usual charge that is brought by utilitarian thinkers against such scholasticism. The empiricists accept without reservation physical Nature, as it appears to their senses, as the Reality in its immediately available form to be understood for the purpose of deducing conduct that is proper for us to adopt in regard to the world. If the knowledge that is acquired has an evident likelihood of making ourselves unsuccessful in the struggle for physical existence the utilitarian have no patience for such knowledge.
The error of Vedantism, or rather of its interpretation by Sri Sankaracharyya, from the point of view of the utilitarians, consists in this that it does not really provide for the needs of the life that one and all are under the necessity of actually leading in this world as the basis of all possible activities. It may not be possible for the utilitarians to refute the position of Sankara by means of metaphysical arguments. But it is their contention that the theoretical strength of Sankara’s position is no refutation of its practical weakness. A Sankarite cannot himself be in love with the life that he recommends others to live. This is too grave a defect to be overlooked. It is even necessary to oppose Sankara in the interest of everybody including his followers. One must be forced to live, and live efficiently, against every other consideration to the contrary. The arguments of Sankara consequent,” are appreciated by the utilitarians but only as a speculative theory of existence that was never intended to be acted upon in practice. Are we required to have a similar attitude towards Thakur Haridas also? Are we to suppose that what is perfectly proper and natural for Thakur Haridas is perfectly improper and unnatural for every other person? The path of devotion followed by Thakur Haridas is, however, not merely a beautiful conception of the human brain to be admired from a distance but which cannot and must not be followed in practice. Thakur Haridas actually led the life which he tells us is not only practicable but whose full acceptance is the only thing needful for its own sake.
Love for Krishna is the one thing needful. Amorous love is the highest form of such love. The realized practice of love for Godhead is the only natural function of the free soul. It is possible for all souls to attain to it. Whoever possesses this spiritual love towards Krishna must be offered, as being a most loyal servant of the Lord, our unconditional homage. It is, however, not possible for the mind of man in the fallen state to understand the real nature of spiritual activities. This is the point of departure of the teaching of Thakur Haridas from that of Sankara, or rather from the current interpretation of the system of Sankara.
It is, says Thakur Haridas, practicable for a person in the state of sin to attain to the spiritual plane by the Grace of the Holy Name of Krishna, but he Grace of the Name can be gained only by serving the Name in the proper manner. It is at once easy and difficult to understand how the Name is to be served. The Name is Krishna Himself. He Appears on the tongue of His devotee in the form of the Transcendental Sound. Listening to the Holy Name from the lips of a sadhu is the way in which He is to be served. The Name does not Appear on the tongue of a person who is not a sadhu. A sadhu benefits all by his chanting of the Name. One must be a sadhu in order to be able to serve Krishna by chanting the Name for the benefit of all.
The only way in which it is possible for a sinful man to become a sadhu is by serving the Name by his ear. The Name Appears in the form of the Transcendental Sound on the tongue of His devotee. This sound is identical with Godhead, the only object of our worship. The mode of worship of the Name consists in listening to the Transcendental Sound by means of the spiritual ear, because the fleshy ear cannot hear the transcendental sound.
The spiritual ear belongs to the soul, but in the case of the conditioned soul it is in the dormant state. Its function is then delegated to the material ear. But the soul should like to resume his own function if he likes and he is also likely to like to do so when he understands that it is necessary in his own interest to do so. In the state of willful transgression the soul is forgetful of himself and his natural function. The sadhu (i.e., the pure soul in his natural state) possesses the power, delegated to him for the purpose by Krishna Himself, of making the transcendental sound be heard by the forgetful soul. As soon as the fettered soul hears the transcendental sound the function of his spiritual ear is reawakened and the enlightened soul is then fit to serve the Name by his opened spiritual ear by the method of submissive spiritual hearing.
It is, therefore, necessary to submit to hear the Holy Name from the lips of the sadhu on his own conditions. Till this duty is properly performed we can have no access to the plane of the activities of the real devotee. Sankara is silent about all these details which really matter. His so-called followers are as a rule opposed to all spiritual activity. It is our function to introduce the reader to the nature of the spiritual activities of the soul in course of this narrative. Our Hero is Sri Gaursundar, the Supreme Lord Himself. He is at once the only Source and the only Object of all worship. We have seen that the Divine Master and Lover appears in Gaursundar in the role of His Own Servant and Mistress to teach us how to love Him by making the experience available to us by Himself tasting the Love for Himself.
But up to the point of His career that has yet been reached, the Lord has not set up openly as teacher of the Religion. Sri Gaursundar, to the eyes of His contemporaries of this world, was as yet no more than a dutiful and learned Brahmana householder, assiduous in the performance of all those duties that ordinarily fall to the lot of a God-fearing Brahmana. There was as yet nothing unusual or extraordinary about Him. Had His career terminated at this point He might have been regarded as having confirmed by His conduct the mode of life led by the Brahmana householders of Nabadwip of that period. We now know that this was by no means His purpose. But His real purpose had not yet been divulged to anyone. That purpose was not understood, even when it was subsequently fully divulged, by most of His contemporaries.
The reason of such misunderstanding is plain. Sri Gaursundar’s Life can be understood only if we submit to be spiritually enlightened. Thakur Haridas is the teacher, authorized by Sri Gaursundar Himself, from whom we have to learn how in this Iron Age we are to receive spiritual enlightenment. The purpose of Sri Gaursundar is not to teach personally the method that is to be followed in this Age, by those souls who are in the state of bondage, for attaining the spiritual life. That function is not directly exercised by Sri Gaursundar or Sri Krishna. It is the function of Nityananda, but not even his main or direct function. Nityananda or Baladeva is the second Self of Sri Krishna (or Gaursundar) and they represent the Supreme Lord in His aspect of the possessor of all-majesty, all-power and all-grandeur. Baladeva is the Source of all service of the Divinity in the outer hemisphere of the transcendental world. It is the indirect function of one of Baladeva’s secondary selves to direct the service of the Lord in this lower, phenomenal world. This particular secondary self is sty-led Maha Vishnu in the Scriptures.
But even Maha Vishnu does not come in direct contact with the material mind or anything mundane. That function is delegated to Vishnu who is a secondary self of Maha Vishnu. Vishnu Himself also is located outside this mundane world. All the secondary selves of the Supreme Lord, issuing ultimately from Sri Baladeva or Nityananda, are absolutely spiritual in all their Divine activities.
The connection between the two planes, viz., the spiritual and material, is established by Siva whose nature is most difficult to understand. It is a mixed one being both Divine and non-Divine. Brahma, the first progenitor of all the creatures of this phenomenal world, is associated with Siva in carrying out the will of Vishnu, who is the direct Divine Master of this phenomenal world.
It is the object of both Siva and Brahma, who are the servants of Vishnu, as their highest function to divert the minds of fettered souls to the service of Vishnu. Brahma appears in the transcendental Pastimes of Sri Gaursundar in the form of Thakur Haridas who is delegated the function of promulgating the Dispensation of the Age, viz., the chanting of the Name of Krishna. This function which belongs ultimately to Sri Gaursundar, is exercised directly and fully by Thakur Haridas as his authorized function.
The function thus Divinely Delegated to Thakur Haridas is by no means an unimportant one. It is, on the other hand, the one thing needful not only for souls in the state of bondage but for all souls. It is the only function of all souls who of course vary in their degree of its realization. There is no higher function than love for Krishna. Thakur Haridas teaches how the conditioned soul may attain to the love of Krishna in this Age of sophistry by chanting without offense the Holy Name of Krishna. The life of Thakur Haridas presents us with the career of a pure soul who practices the chant of the Holy Name of Krishna without offense. The life of Thakur Haridas at Fulia, described by Thakur Brindavandas in a few pregnant words, is for this reason one of the most important parts of the present Narrative in as much as it introduces the reader, if it is rightly understood, to the true meaning of the other parts.
It will be our endeavor to establish, by the grace of Thakur Haridas, the truth of the proposition that the method of chanting the Holy Name of Krishna, in the manner that is free from offense, is the only perfect service of the Lord having the unique quality of being both the means and the object of all spiritual endeavor. As means the Name is accessible to the worst of atheists especially to that stubborn species that belongs to the present Age who are fortified against the spiritual function by all manner of sophistries. Access to the Name is closed to none who are prepared to recognize the name of Krishna as identical with Krishna Himself and not as a mere passing sound of the mundane atmosphere; and that the Name does not, therefore, manifest Himself on the material tongue of the physical body which cannot serve the Divinity. The Name can be served when He manifests Himself on the spiritual tongue as the Transcendental Divine Sound. The spiritual service is possible only on the Appearance of the Name, in the Form of the Sound, on one’s tongue. The Name first Appears to the listening ear of a person who submits to receive Him as He Appears on the lips of a sadhu.
The Name of Krishna appearing on the tongue of a sadhu as transcendental sound is not a figment of the imagination. He is the only reality, being the absolute person Himself. If the Name is served by the method of perfect submission under the direction (of a sadhu, by such service love for Krishna is obtained. By no other method one may be enabled to realize the love for Krishna. It is for this reason that the Name is the Highest and Only Means. It is quite in keeping with the conclusions of our unbiased reason that Krishna in His Own Form can also be the only Means of His highest service.
But against this if it be urged that as the Form, Quality, Activity and Servitorship of Krishna are also identical with Krishna how may the Name be regarded as the only means? This is true. But to the soul who happens to be under the thralldom of matter the Name alone is accessible. The Form, Quality, Activity and Servitorship, are attainable in the order of enumeration by the method of taking the Name without offense. This is not against reason because the Holy Name alone is least liable of being wholly misunderstood by the fettered soul who submits to receive Him from the lips of a sadhu for the purpose of serving Him in the manner that is free from offense.
It is for this reason that the question as to what constitutes the act of offense against the Name, becomes all-important. The philanthropists who confound the soul with the material mind necessarily imagine that the Name and the sadhus are also phenomena of this world and, therefore, they are as a matter of course comprehensible by the material mind. This attitude of virtual refusal to recognize the Divine Nature of the Holy Name makes the recital of the Name of Krishna by the philanthropists a meaningless mundane process which bears only an external resemblance to the service of the Holy Name by the devotee. The difference is of course not perceptible to the material mind but it is, and must be, necessarily self-evident to the pure soul who has access to the Substantive Reality.
It is also for this reason that philanthropists, who profess to be Vaishnavas, suppose that everyone has a right ab initio of realizing the Form, Quality and Activity of Krishna and his own distinctive relationship to Him as His servitor. On this supposition they engage in gross and sensual idolatry under the persuasion that it is identical with the religion enjoined by the Shastras and sanctioned by the actual practice of the most eminent devotees. From this error, if it has already taken a deep root, it is very difficult to extricate the offending soul. All the gross immoralities that are practiced in the name of religion in different parts of the world by certain classes of people, who are very anxious to keep their activities screened from the view of those who do not belong to their secret brotherhoods, are due to their neglect to chant the Holy Name of Krishna, heard from the lips of a real sadhu in the manner that is free from offense and under the direction of sadhus.
The chanting of the Transcendental Name is the only admissible form of religion to fettered souls as He is not capable of being grossly misrepresented. It is of course also possible to chant the Name of Krishna in the offensive manner. But once we are put on our guard against the deliberate commission of such offense we would naturally be unwilling to honour a person as a real sadhu unless he fully satisfied, at any rate to our judgment enlightened by the chanting of the Name, this crucial test of sainthood. The offense against the Name is nothing short of willful misapprehension. We must not understand that the Name or hearing or chanting of the Name is a material phenomenon. We must insist on being fully satisfied that it is not really a material process that is being offered to us by any person wearing the external garb of a sadhu. We must always refer to the texts of the Scriptures which uphold the spiritual view in the most uncompromising manner. Thus fortified it should be possible for a sincere soul to detect every form of mischievous attempts of the cheats and hypocrites.
A person has to thank only himself for being a victim to pseudo-sadhus. A person is similarly to blame only himself if he fails to find the real sadhu, or neglects to seek for him. When once a person attains the condition that entitles him to sing the Name of Krishna in the manner that is free from offense, he finds that all his wants have been automatically fulfilled. For example he is freed from all anxiety on his own personal account. He realizes that he is not any limited entity and that he is located beyond the jurisdiction of birth, death and wants. He obtains the vision which is capable of distinguishing between the real and the apparent. But as those, who either belong to a lower level of the spiritual plane or do not belong to the spiritual plane at all, have not his perfect vision, they naturally fail to understand the true bearing of his activities.
The activities of Thakur Haridas can be properly understood only by perfectly self-realized souls. All that we may affirm in reward to them at this place, is that they show an utter forgetfulness of his material surroundings and an overpowering attachment to the Holy Name of Krishna. We have already seen that he was absolutely free from sexual weakness and was thoroughly versed in the principles of the Shastras. The idea regarding the real nature of his personality will be further elucidated by a careful consideration of the different aspects of the event that we are just going to describe.
The Kazi or Moslem priest under the employ of the State, who was both priest and judge and looked after the Moslem religion, soon began to take an interest in the doings of Thakur Haridas. Being apprised of his antecedents and present behavior he considered it necessary to bring the matter to the notice of the local Governor. The Kazi went personally to the Governor and told him everything about Thakur Haridas concluding with the request that as Thakur Haridas was guilty of the offense of living as a Hindu, although he is a Muhammedan born, he should be dealt with in a decisive manner.
“The Governor,” writes Thakur Brindavandas, “who was himself also of a worldly disposition, on the representations of the misguided Kazi, ordered Thakur Haridas to be seized and brought before him at once. Haridas voluntarily offered to accompany the men despatched to seize his person by violence and to appear before the Governor.” “By the Grace of Krishna, Thakur Haridas,” says the author of the Chaitanya Bhagavata, “was not afraid of death not to speak of the Moslem ruler. Thakur Haridas, with the chant of the Name of Krishna on his lips, set out immediately and presented himself before the Governor. All the good people of Fulia, apprehending the worst, were filled with sorrow and dismay on being thus suddenly and violently deprived of his happy companionship.”
And now an incident occurred which throws much light on the true personality of Thakur Haridas. As soon as the tidings of the seizure of Haridas reached the prison of the Governor, the leading persons of all those parts, who were confined in the jail at that time, experienced a great joy in the core of their hearts at the news. “They thought,” writes Thakur Brindavandas, “that as Thakur Haridas was the greatest of Vaishnavas. The miseries of their captivity were sure to end by the sight of him. They accordingly persuaded their keepers to afford them an opportunity of obtaining a glimpse of the great devotee as he passed by the prison house. Those captives awaited the arrival of Thakur Haridas with their eyes fixed to the path by which he was to pass. Thakur Haridas came to the spot and on catching sight of the prisoners he mentally cast the glance of mercy on them. The prisoners fixing their eyes to the feet of Thakur Haridas remained in the posture of obeisance. They saw that Thakur Haridas was surpassingly handsome. His hands reached down to the knee. His eyes were like the lotus flower. His incomparable moonlike face was, however, the most beautiful of all.
All the prisoners bowed with a natural and loyal impulse of submissive devotion. They at once underwent the spiritual perturbations of devotion to Krishna. Lord Haridas noticed the devotional activity of them all and finding that they were in chains broke into a smile of mercy. “May you continue to remain in your present condition,” said Thakur Haridas. He began to laugh merrily after pronouncing this veiled benediction. The prisoners failing to comprehend the real meaning, which is, indeed, very difficult to understand, were somewhat depressed on hearing these words.
Haridas Thakur was thereby moved to the mood of pity and at once proceeded to explain clearly the import of his words. “I have indeed conveyed my concealed benediction to you all by means of those words. You feel dejected because you do not understand this. I never bless amiss. You will understand this If you give my words your close consideration. May the minds of all of you remain constantly turned towards Krishna as they actually are just now. May all of you from now jointly chant the Eternal Name of Krishna and think only of Him. There is now no malice, no thought of oppressing any creature, in your hearts. May you meditate on Krishna by taking His Name with all humility. If you go into the world once more you run the risk of forgetting Him again by mixing with the worldly people. Love for Krishna cannot co-exist with any form of worldliness. Know it for certain that from one who is of a worldly disposition Krishna is always very far off. The mind, that is engrossed with the pursuit of the objects of this world, is a great nuisance. Wife, sons and all worldly objects are the toils of delusion. All these are ‘death’. It is by Providential contrivance that any fortunate person gains real contact with the pure devotees of Godhead and, being thereby enabled to give up his attachment for the world, is in a position to devote himself to the service of Krishna. All those offenses that are now absent from your minds will once more be committed when you mix with the worldly people. It is the nature of this world. This is the gist of all that you require to be told for your benefit. Give it your most attentive hearing. I pronounced this great benediction which you misunderstood. It is not my desire that you may continue to remain in this state of captivity. Forget the world and take the Name of ‘Hari’ night and day. I pronounced this only benediction in a disguised form. Feel no dejection, no, not even for a moment. I see all persons who are really in the fetters of this world with the eye of pity. May all of you attain to firm devotion to Krishna. Have no anxiety. I assure you that you will be freed from your captivity in the course of two or three days. Whether you engage in ordinary worldly pursuits, or wherever you be, never forget your present resolve by any means.” Having sought to promote the true well-being of the prisoners in the above manner Thakur Haridas proceeded on his way and duly presented himself before the Governor of the District.
The advice to the prisoners makes the position of Thakur Haridas clearer. It is necessary to chant the Name of Krishna, to mediate on Krishna, instead of being engrossed in worldly pursuits. For this purpose the state of captivity is more favourable than the state of bodily freedom, provided one is really inclined towards Krishna. It is very difficult to remember Krishna in the midst of the thousand and one pre-occupations of the worldly life, Krishna and worldliness having no connection with one another, the two being perfectly incompatible. It is never possible to serve both. A worldly-minded person can have nothing to do with Krishna. It is never possible to worship Krishna in the intervals of worldliness. The slightest inclination to worldliness should be impossible to a person who is at all inclined to Krishna. It is necessary to understand clearly that as long as the least inclination for worldliness persists in our minds there can be no love for Krishna. The society of worldly people has this tendency of making us wholly forget Krishna. Wife and children are cited as instances of the deadly traps that are laid by the Delusive Energy for encompassing our ruin. The attachment for wife and children and other worldly objects can be overcome only by association with the sadhus. In the company of the sadhus our attachments are deflected towards Krishna. Therefore, Haridas properly enough exhorts the prisoners to forget the world completely and chant the Name of Krishna night and day.
The function of the soul, who is anxious to be restored to his natural condition of loving devotion to the Lotus Feet of Krishna, is very simple. One must willingly turn his thoughts and activities towards Krishna. He can do so most naturally by association with the devotees of Krishna. The devotees of Krishna always serve Krishna and do nothing else. By adopting their life under their direction love for Krishna is gradually aroused in the fettered soul. Attachment for the world is automatically dispelled by the dimmest apprehension of such inclination, as darkness is dispelled by the glow of the reflected light that harbingers the approach of Sunrise.
The cultivation of association with the devotees is the only method of attaining to the natural function of the soul, viz., unalloyed love for Krishna. This inclination for the society of sadhus, which is inherent in every soul, is liable to be rendered ineffective by association with worldly people. Pure devotees and worldly people and worldly objects generally present themselves simultaneously and claim our service, as rivals. We cannot choose both. If we choose one of them we completely lose sight of the other. They are related to one another as darkness and light. The light of this phenomenal world imperceptibly shades off into darkness, so that it is not possible to fix a line of real demarcation between the two. But the darkness of the non-spiritual state has a definite line of demarcation. Until this line is passed we can have absolutely no idea of the spiritual state. A better analog from this point of view is furnished by the case of life and death. Death is not an attenuation of life. It is the complete cessation of life. We cannot have both simultaneously. It is not possible to mix up the two. It is also possible to ascertain perfectly the dividing line between the two. A dying person is a living person to the last moment that he retains his animation in however attenuated a form. When he dies he passes completely out of life. The smallest fraction of a second makes a complete rupture, not merely a graduated difference. A dead man cannot also come into life again.
This is the reason why the acceptance of a person as disciple by the spiritual guide has been called the second birth. The seminal birth does not give the spiritual life. One is spiritually dead till the second birth. One is born a third time on receiving the full enlightenment of dîksha. The first is the seminal birth, the second is initiation or admission for enlightenment, the third birth is brought about when one attains to the state of actual enlightenment. The first is the condition of spiritual death, the second is the quasi-living state, the third is the normal living condition. One who has any real experience of life and death cannot prefer death to life; neither can he plead for an unnatural and impossible mixture of the two.
We must not suppose that we are asked to accept anything blindly when we are told to accept the life that was actually led by Thakur Haridas. If any one shouts the Name of Krishna three or any number of lakhs of times everyday and abstains from open debauchery or detectable forms of gross worldliness, he cannot thereby mechanically attain to the spiritual plane. It is not mechanical, nor even mental, activities and attitudes, that we are asked to adopt. As soon as the Name of Krishna manifests Himself to our spiritual ear we obtain the power of vision that can distinguish between the substance and the shadow. The shadow now no longer stands in the way of our dealings with the substance. Those, who are under the misapprehension that the shadow is everything and behave and think accordingly, cannot at all understand the ways of the devotee of Godhead.
The very idea of service is incomprehensible to the material mind. The material mind is connected by the relationship of the deluded pseudo-enjoyer to the objects that lie exposed to the physical senses. It misconceives certain forms of such enjoyment to be ‘service’. It thinks that its very existence is dependent on and consists of such enjoyment. Therefore, whenever it finds anybody behaving on a different principle it judges him, consistently enough, to be in the wrong and his course as suicidal. While the real Truth is that the judge himself is all the time pursuing the course that leads to death while the sadhu has his face eternally turned towards the Life Eternal.
How can one live at all unless one eats and tries to procure food, clothing and shelter? Thakur Haridas also, it is supposed, required all these ‘necessaries’ of life. Once this is admitted it follows that one must lead the worldly life as a matter of course. But Thakur Haridas says that nothing is necessary except taking the Name of Krishna. If he is asked why he himself eats, drinks, sleeps and does other kinds of work in the same way as another person, he simply replies that he does nothing of the kind. The objection may prefer to believe the testimony of his senses and consider Thakur Haridas to be a shameless liar. It is of course, perfectly open to him to do so. But even by disbelieving Haridas he does not establish the Truth of his own contention. All that is proved is that if both of them are assumed to tell the Truth their points of view must be admitted to differ widely. This brings us back to a re-examination of the bases on which they take their respective stand. If we do so without bias we should be impressed by the conviction that the method of Thakur Haridas may lead us to the Truth, but the method of the mentalist can never do so.
True, we may pretend to stick to that course into which we suppose we have been born by the Will of Godhead. But what right have we to suppose that the phenomena of birth and death themselves may not be as deceptive as any other similar phenomenon? So the question cannot be solved if we choose merely to stick to the testimony of our deluding senses on the ground that it happens to be so. If it be our fore-gone conclusion to adopt that course which seems more likely to enable us to exploit for our transitory pleasure the questionable socalled facilities offered by this world, we do not admittedly approach the issue for the impartial purpose of finding out the Truth before our conclusion is declared. If by taking the Name of Krishna in the manner that is free from offense the senses themselves are transformed why should it be still necessary for us to obey the dictates of the old, non-spiritual faculties? If I actually can see that it is Godhead Himself Who always feeds and clothes me, why should I still consider it my duty to maintain it is I who feed and clothe myself? If I clearly realize my blunder, why should it still be my duty to stick to it? One, who tries to mechanically imitate Thakur Haridas, without possessing his vision and purpose, should find it impossible and inconvenient to imitate his whole conduct, as will be evident from the incident that we are going to describe just now.
After endeavoring to compass the good of the prisoners Thakur Haridas made his way to the presence of the Governor. The Governor was fascinated by the extraordinary charm and force of personality of Thakur Haridas. He accordingly offered him a seat with the greatest respect. The ruler of the mulk himself then questioned him. The questions of the Governor have been preserved by Thakur Brindavandas in his account of Sri Chaitanya. The Governor said in effect, ‘Brother, what is the cause of this peculiar disposition in you? It is no small good fortune whereby you have been born a Yavana. Why then do you incline to the practices of the Hindus? We don’t touch our food if we but chance to see a Hindu. Why do you give up the superiority that accrues to you by your birth in our great race? You behave unnaturally by transgressing against your race and religion. You cannot hope to escape the dire consequences of such gross offense, at any rate in the next world. The malpractices, of which you have been guilty through ignorance, are a sin against Godhead. By all means do get absolved form these heinous offenses by uttering the formula (qalma) of the faith.’
Thakur Brindavandas comments on the speech of the Governor as proceeding from a person whose judgment was stupefied by the deluding energy of Godhead. Haridas only burst into a loud laughter, “Lo, the Deluding Power of Vishnu!” said he, and then began to reply in a sweet manner. “Listen, dear one, there is only one Godhead and He is the Lord of Everything. It is the mere concocted name that makes all the difference between ‘Hindu, and ‘Yavana’. The Veda and the Koran alike declare the summum bonum to be one and the same for all. The one eternal entity, free from all defect, indivisible and indestructible, occupies fully the seat of heart of everyone. All the worlds function exactly in the way in which the one Supreme Lord guides the minds of His servitors. It is the Name and Quality of the Selfsame Lord on Whom all persons discourse in conformity with the declarations of their respective Scriptures. He, Who is Godhead, takes cognizance of the disposition that prompts the utterances of all persons. Whence I am doing exactly that very thing to which Godhead directs my mind. It is analogous to the conduct of a person who, being a Brahmana and born in the Hindu community, is sometimes found to become a Yavana by his own free choice. What can even being a Hindu avail such a person? The deeds of every person are entirely his own concern. What is the good of killing a person who has himself committed suicide? Good sir, judge my case accordingly. If there be no real lapse on my part, do by all means punish me for my offense.”
These wholesome and true words of Thakur Haridas satisfied all the Yavanas who heard them. There was, however, one solitary exception. An ecclesiastic (kazi), who was a great offender against Godhead, now tendered quite different advice to the Governor. He said to the Governor, “Punish this person. This wicked one will lead many others into his folly. He will bring low the prestige of the Yavana race. For this reason let him be punished in all seriousness. As an alternative let him recite his own Scriptures.”
On this the Governor spoke once more to Haridas,”Dear brother, profess your own Shastra and be relieved of all anxiety. If you do not do so all the ecclesiastics will band together and punish you. You yourself will also say your own Shastra in the long run. Then what is the good of your choosing to be lowered in the estimation of the people?”
Haridas said, “No one can do anything else than what Godhead makes him do. Know it as certain that it is Godhead Who awards the punishment that is the fruit of offense committed by ourselves. If my body be hacked to pieces, if life itself desert me, even then I will not give up the Name of Hari.”
The ruler of the place, on hearing his words, put the issue to the ecclesiastics, “What will you do to him now?” The Moslem ecclesiastic (kazi) gave his verdict, “Let him be whipped at the twenty-two market-places. Take his life without any hesitation. If he survives the beating at the twenty-two markets, then I should he prepared to admit the truth of what the sages have declared.”
I have tried to reproduce the actual wording of Sri Brindavandas’s account of the famous trial of Thakur Haridas. We should now try to put ourselves into the attitude of the saintly narrator in order to be able to understand the real meaning of his words.
But before we proceed to do so it is necessary to offer a few remarks as regards the canon by which the authenticity of a statement is to be tested. It is not the practice in the conventional history to use the method of direct narration unless the words actually spoken can be reproduced verbatim, and even in such case it is very rarely, indeed, that recourse is had to this direct method. In the Biographies of Sri Chaitanya penned by Thakur Brindavandas and other contemporaries and followers the method of recording the speeches of the actors has been used very frequently and the followers of the Lord accept the version of the Biographies as the actual language used by Sri Chaitanya Himself.
The value of the actual words used by the speaker is even greater in the case of theistic history than in secular narrative. In theistic history only the actual words of the devotees convey the furl meaning intended by them. The words are living entities. This is the reason why these authors are so careful to give us the actual words of the devotees whose views they record. In this connection we should remember that the method that is being followed in the compilation of the present work is not the empiric method of induction-cum-deduction but that of manifestation of the Truth in the Form of the articulated Transcendental Sound. In this method the value of every single word, actually spoken by the devotee, is worth preserving and the original text is therefore all-important.
It is possible for the devotee of Godhead to supply us with the actual words of the Divinity. The slightest deviation from the Divine Language is also for the same reason detectable by the devotee. The language in the form of direct narration is, therefore, not a departure from the Truth in this case, but the closest adherence to Him. In the form of indirect narration the writer’s personality is the obtruding and dominating factor. In theistic history the personal equation should be non-existent; and, therefore, its indirect narration should also be acceptable in proportion as it approximates the direct form. This is also the reason why quotations of actual texts are so much esteemed in the theistic method of narration. Sri Jiva Goswami Prabhu has tried to clothe his highest conclusions in the language of the Scriptures. The method of Sri Jiva Goswami is a part and parcel of his function as the real exponent of the Absolute.
If it be urged why it is necessary also to preserve the actual words of the opponents of the devotees, as has been done in this case, the explanation is that the words of a person, who is adverse to Godhead, when directed to the devotee of Godhead even by way of opposition, do no longer point to the mundane objective and for this reason acquire special value for the instruction of novices. Nothing can purely express one’s personality except the words spoken by the person himself. The indirect method of narration is due to the inability of the writer to understand the real character of a person with sufficient distinctness. There need be no categorical distinction between the dramatic or conversational form and that of indirect narration which has found so great favour, by reason of its very insufficiency, in all so called serious compositions of these days. The indirect narration is suitable as medium of expression in the case of inanimate objects or when the narrative is intentionally converted into a monologue. Either of these, if properly used in place of the other, would be a deviation from the Truth, and would, therefore, be inadmissible, unless required for the purpose of expressing the Truth.
To proceed with our narrative, the issue, that was put before the Governor by the Kazi and used by him in punishing Thakur Haridas, is by no means so crude and unimportant as it may appear to a moderner to whom religious toleration is supposed to be ‘as the very breath of his nostrils’. The Kazi said that as the Moslem community are upholders of the Truth, Who can be but One, they have a right to convert others to their faith by any method, even by force, for the good of all parties. In case of extreme perversity the true believer has also the benevolent right, on the same principle, of even putting an end to the earthly existence of a person who sets himself in opposition to the Truth, for vindicating the supreme necessity, on the part of all lovers of the Truth, of supporting the cause of the Truth at all costs to prevent any misunderstanding. If cognizance is to be taken at all of any lapse from the Truth no sentence. that will not maintain the claim of the Truth to our fullest allegiance under all circumstances, can be a true verdict.
Those, who do not profess to be the exclusive servants of the Absolute Truth, need find no difficulty in practicing the duty of tolerating untruth without losing their self complaisance. But the real lover of the Absolute cannot hasten to make terms with untruth in order to satisfy the tendency of aversion to Truth that is eternally inherent in the very nature of the dissociable particles of the Divine Essence, viz., the jiva souls. The uncompromising and even violent or impatient opposition of a lover of the Truth to all suggestions of the lower self, who is always whispering into his ears the counsels of disloyalty, may appear to be intolerable to one who is complacently disposed towards the pernicious tendency, but should not be justified on this ground by those who are not also themselves disloyal.
Thakur Haridas did not blame the Kazi and the Governor for their intolerance of untruth but for their hallucination which led them to mistake their own disloyalty to the Truth for the undoubtedly good quality of uncompromising loyalty. Intolerance, said Thakur Haridas, is impossible for one who is really a lover of Godhead. Such a person can naturally blame nobody excepting himself when he finds anything to be wrong. There can be no activity on any plane except by the will of Godhead. If any activity is blamed or praised it shows the disposition to judge the doings of Godhead Himself. Any thought against any person is nothing short of malice against Godhead Himself. The Scriptures themselves are also not really different from one another, if they are rightly understood. Those who do not understand their real meaning are alone disposed to differentiate between the Scriptures and revealed forms of worship which are all directed to the One Godhead.
The question of religious toleration is a matter of the highest practical importance. Those who maintain the doctrine of intolerance of untruth can only be properly answered by the higher doctrine of the realization of the Hand of the Supreme Lord in everything, except in the matter of the individual judgment. The soul can really do no wrong. Godhead is solely responsible for all activities of the world. The soul can be deluded and, in the state of delusion only, he can imagine right and wrong. This deluded condition is full of misery for the soul himself; and for this he should be an object of pity. The deluded soul is, however deluded also by the Will of Godhead. Therefore, the delusion cannot be blamed. The cause of the deluded state is inherent in the jiva soul as the necessary condition of his dissociable individual existence.
It is, no doubt, necessary to get rid of the deluded state. But it is not possible to bring this about by a policy of violence. As soon as one is disposed to be violent he is subjected by his own activity to the delusion that he, or anybody else except Godhead, is responsible for the ordering of this world. And if one persists in acting under such delusion he is himself deluded by his own acts. This is the meaning of the Koran. Those who imagine that the delusion is cured by putting the unbeliever to death, are themselves deluded. The only way, in which one can help both oneself and others, is by trying to avoid falling under the delusion that anybody except Godhead can do anything either good or bad. There is nothing good or bad but our disloyal thinking makes it so.
The policy of real toleration is not inconsistent with, but on the other hand indispensable for, the relation of the true service of Godhead. The toleration, that is disposed to dally with untruth is inconsistent with loyalty, is really due to aversion to the Truth, and is, therefore, more disastrous in its consequences than intolerance of untruth which it pretends to condemn.
The policy of sincere intolerance of untruth, although it is better than disloyal tolerance of untruth, is thus itself a mischievous delusion. The chaste and loyal wife may consider it her duty not only to cut off the connection with all unchaste women but to revile and punish them for their misconduct. But if those unchaste women could be reclaimed by a policy of milder firmness their husbands would have real cause to thank this loyal wife of another person for her benevolent and really kind disposition. This would certainly be no neglect of her duty towards her own husband.
We crave the kind indulgence of the reader to tolerate an unhappy metaphor to elucidate the position of the loyal servant of Krishna which cannot be fully explained by our defective vocabulary. The unchaste wives, in the case of spiritual service. have really also no other husbands than Krishna. They are, therefore, the co-wives of the loyal matron. It should, therefore, be a duty of the chaste wife towards her Husband to try her best to reclaim the unchaste ladies. If the chaste wife does not do this she is herself proved to be disloyal to her Husband to that extent.
Krishna is not pleased by the malice of loveless fanatics any more than by the covert disloyalty of pseudo-latitudinarians. Fanaticism is due to ignorance of the Perfect Nature of Krishna and of our common relationship with Him. It is also a proof of our want of faith in the Dispensation of the Supreme Lord. It is of course absolutely necessary to keep wholly aloof from all unbelievers in the matter of loyalty to Krishna. But this should be coupled with the desire to benefit the deluded souls by trying to win them over to the service of Krishna.
This duty, as the present episode shows, cannot be neglected with impunity without producing the most tragic results. The fanatical Kazi could dupe those who were maliciously disposed like himself to join with him in practicing terrible oppression on a devoted servant of Godhead, on the strength of a narrow interpretation of certain texts of the Koran condemnatory of association with unbelievers. Those passages, if rightly understood, are a condemnation of disloyalty to Godhead. But malice towards any creature, as Thakur Haridas took care to point out, is malice against Godhead Himself and such disloyalty is not less condemnable than any of the other more familiar forms of that pernicious tendency.
Loyalty to Krishna necessarily means perfect toleration, nay perfect positive good will, towards all creatures good and bad. Nothing less than this can satisfy Krishna. But perfect toleration or good-will towards the misguided soul need not be perversely supposed to mean either toleration or sympathy for the motive that lies behind the conduct of such a person. There can be no toleration of the tendency to untruth. There must be perfect toleration of the activities of misguided persons as Krishna does not cherish any ill-will against them, nay permits those activities with the object of effecting their reclamation thereby. Loyalty to Krishna should express itself by serving the perfect goodwill of Krishna towards all creatures and realizing the Mercy of Godhead in the activities, as distinct from the motive, of even those persons who are most averse to Krishna. Those, who find fault with the activities of unbelievers from malice, forget that those activities are possible only by the Sanction of Krishna and that by one’s malicious opposition of those activities it is Krishna against Whom our malice is really directed. That this must be so is proved by the fiendish persecution that was now launched against Thakur Haridas.
Therefore, the excuse that, as it is not possible to distinguish between a believer and unbeliever except by conduct and profession and as it is our duty to Krishna to discourage disloyalty to Him by all means in our power, the persecution of Haridas can be defended as being due to a strong sense of loyalty to Godhead, is wholly untenable. Krishna can be properly served only when we possess the knowledge of His Real Nature. Krishna does not want us to discourage disloyalty to Him by hypocritically or maliciously opposing His wise and benevolent method for the reclamation of disloyal persons. In other words, fanaticism is the result of culpable ignorance due to a radically disloyal and unserving disposition. Recourse to violence, either physical, mental or spiritual, is directly opposed to the Purpose of Krishna, because violence is powerless against the soul who, being the essence of Krishna, possesses His perfect freedom of will. The freedom of will of the soul is indestructible. He can be reclaimed only by an appeal to his judgment and free will. Those, who advocate the policy of violence, are far away from Krishna and perfectly ignorant of the nature of their own selves.
Faith in Krishna is the natural attitude of the pure soul. Fanaticism is the hypocritical and malicious caricature of spiritual faith by the soul in the state of utter delusion. Fanaticism, being essentially an attitude of opposition to Krishna, is also necessarily intolerant of all loyal servants of the Supreme Lord. It is not by accident that the fanatics crucified Jesus. The fanatics can never tolerate the good-will of Krishna towards all His creatures. They pretend to show their love (?) for Krishna by hating His loved ones.
The fanatics are bound to hate everybody because they really hate the Supreme Lord Himself. They, therefore, also hate those who are averse to Krishna. not from a sense of loyalty to Krishna but, because they themselves are unmindful of the service of Krishna and want everybody to serve them. Fanaticism always kindles counter-fanaticism in those of its victims who happen to be equally averse to Krishna. But it is powerless to move the servant of Godhead to thoughts of malice against his deluded oppressors.
By command of the Governor wicked ruffians laid violent hands on Thakur Haridas. They beat him most ferociously from market to market to put an end to the least sign of life. Haridas remembered to repeat the Name of Krishna. There was no manifestation of bodily pain by the bliss of the Name. All good men experienced boundless grief on witnessing the utmost severity of the beating that was inflicted on the person of Haridas. Some apprehended the ruin of the whole kingdom from such treatment of a good person in view of the people. Others openly expressed their indignation against King and Minister. There was some display of actual violent opposition also. Intimidation was combined with the offer of bribes to soften the harshness of those ruffians. But all was to no purpose. They beat him severely from market to market. Haridas did not experience the least bodily pain by the Grace of Krishna, even under such ferocious castigation. Thakur Brindavandas compares his condition to that of the great devotee, the child Prahlada, who passed unscathed through all hurt inflicted by the atheists (asuras). The writer assures his readers that inasmuch as one, who remembers Haridas, is thereby delivered completely from the possibility of all bodily pain, it is no wonder that Haridas himself was also perfectly immune from all such pain on this occasion.
Those, who suppose that the above is the exaggerated version of a petty incident, or may be disposed to minimize or explain away its real significance, are perfectly free to do so. It is not also impossible to adduce instances of the marvelous powers of endurance of the worst of criminals under deserved chastisement. The story of Prahlada may itself be dismissed as a concoction of the fertile imagination of writers who find a senile pleasure only in praising deeds of transcendental performances. The sedulous cultivation of a taste for the super-natural is also supposed to be that unfortunate trait in the Indian character that distinguishes the Hindus even in the twentieth century from the saner peoples of every other part of the world. It is for this reason that foreign writers, who are really well-disposed towards the Indians, find themselves at the end of their resources to invent a suitable apology for this favourite defect of the narrators of the Indian spiritual traditions that are cherished with the utmost tenacity and reverence by this strange people.
If instead of allowing ourselves to be obsessed by our indigenous or foreign prejudices we stop to consider seriously the version of the event from the pen of the contemporaneous writer in order to arrive at the truth that he is anxious to impress on our minds, we should not fail to be struck by certain very remarkable points in the above narrative. In the first place it is evidently not the intention of the writer to arouse animosity against the Yavanas. Had this been his real object he would not have taken the trouble of insisting on the point that Haridas actually suffered no pain. Neither could it also be the object of the writer to praise Haridas for his courage or power of endurance. In fact he does not want to praise any worldly merit or condemn any worldly demerit. He is wholly indifferent to such issues which alone possess any interest for the secular historian.
Thakur Brindavandas is trying to understand the experiences of Haridas in terms of his own. What he means to say in effect is this: ‘I, who have been immune from all bodily pain by the mere recollection of Haridas, am in a position to testify to the fact that neither he nor Prahlada can ever really be subject to bodily pain’. So it is necessary to understand what the writer really means. If it be asked why others are not similarly relieved of their sufferings by the mere recollection of Haridas? Why were not those people, who had an opportunity of actually witnessing all these events, instantly relieved of all anxiety on his account by the very sight of him, which should not be regarded as less than recollection?
Thakur Brindavandas could realize that the devotee of Krishna is not a convict who is put in the prison of this world of three dimensions like ordinary worldly people. The difficulties of three dimensions are automatically solved on the plane of four dimensions although this may pass the understanding of those who are privileged to have a view of events on the plane of four dimensions from their platform of three dimensions without being able to dive into their real meaning. By taking the Name of Krishna one is relieved from all worldly sufferings. If one chooses to stick to his platform of three dimensions he cannot, merely by uttering the word Krishna, avoid the sufferings of this world. The sufferings of the body are a part and parcel of the phenomenal world. The soul does not belong to the phenomenal world and is, therefore, not subject to bodily sufferings. This is logical. But how can this be actually realized in practice? It can be realized in this world by only one method, viz., by uttering constantly the spiritual Name of Krishna. This is Divinely ordained as there cannot be any mere logical way out of this insuperable difficulty.
The devotee of Krishna is relieved from all bodily and mental suffering by the realization of his natural condition, viz., that of the soul. The tree is to be judged by its fruit. If by uttering the Name of Krishna one is not wholly relieved from all worldly trouble he cannot claim to have succeeded in taking the Holy Name. It is only the pure soul who can really utter the Name of Krishna. It is only by uttering the name of Krishna, by listening to the same from the lips of a devotee, that one can attain to one’s natural spiritual condition when alone he is fit to take the Name of Krishna. It is only by getting out of the sphere of three dimensions or any dimensions that all unwholesomeness can be finally, logically and naturally eliminated.
Those, who pray to Godhead to give them the power of endurance under trial; commit a great blunder. Those, who pray to be permitted to serve Godhead on the plane of the Absolute by His causeless grace, alone pray truly. Prayer means unconditional reliance on the Grace of Godhead. The Grace of Godhead is perfectly wholesome and need not be reminded of our wrong aspirations by the method of selfish, criminal insistence for their dire fulfillment. Those who pray in order to gain any object of their present ambition, do not pray at all in the Scriptural sense. The Grace of Godhead will revolutionize our limited outlook and impart other ambitions than those that are giving us such interminable and unrelievable trouble.
Those ruffians and on-lookers, who were interested in the fate of Haridas, were all of them equally misguided in supposing that a devotee is subject to bodily sufferings like themselves. It is to prove by his teaching as well as conduct that he is not subject to any worldly suffering, that Thakur Haridas was displaying those activities in order to induce them to believe in the absolute Truth of what he taught. He, who has himself attained to real immunity from all suffering, is the proper person to be approached as a teacher of the true method for attaining to the free state. Those ruffians and on-lookers were apparently innocent of any such purpose, except a very few who were led to reflect seriously on the real meaning for themselves of those events.
So the mere sight of a Vaishnava under the impression that he is only a mortal, or the mere recollection of a Vaishnava viewed as a mortal, are properly speaking not seeing or recollecting him at all. The Vaishnava can be really seen and recollected only on the plane of the Absolute by the pure eye of faith possessed by the soul in the state of Grace. The recollection of such a sight has the efficacy of freeing from all difficulties. The endeavour to attain such sight and recollection is the spiritual practice available to the novice by the grace of the spiritual teacher. The process of spiritual novitiate under a pure devotee is not ignored by the words of Thakur Brindavandas. The novitiate itself being also spiritual in character cannot be attained in this Iron Age except by the method of perfect submission to the teachings of Thakur Haridas and of those who are privileged to see as well as remember him as he really is. He is the Acharyya of this Age of Evil. By following his teaching and practice one can be easily freed from every difficulty. There is no other way of our final and true liberation.