Srila Gurudev-Morning walk. Guru tattva, Jiva tattva, necessity to advance and more.

[Badger, California: June 17, 2006]

[Devotee:] Because of Gurudeva, by his kind mercy, we are able to receive Krsna consciousness. At the time of death, should we think about Gurudeva or should we think about Krsna?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] At the time of death, Sri Krsna. Gurudeva and the entire world are there in Krsna. Do you understand? The entire world, Gurudeva, all Sri Krsna's associates, and everything else are in Krsna. Remember Sri Krsna but also His power � both the gopis and Srimati Radhika. This was told to us by Srila Rupa Gosvami.
krsnam smaran janam casya
prestham nija-samihitam
tat-tat-katha-ratas casau
kuryad vasam vraje sada
["The devotee should always think of Krsna within himself and should choose a very dear devotee who is a servitor of Krsna in Vrndavana. One should co nstantly engage in topics about that servitor and his loving relationship with Krsna, and one should live in Vrndavana. If one is physically unable to go to Vrndavana, he should mentally live there."
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 22.160)]
Remember Sri Krsna, His associates and Sri Vrndavana. [Srila Narayana Maharaja and the devotees continue walking & chanting]

[Devotee:] It is stated in the scripture:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathitahy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah
[�Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.�
(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)]
Krsna's holy name is non-different from Krsna. So does it follow that we should have the same faith in the name of Gurudeva?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You can, but here in this verse, "Yasy a deve para-bhaktir, yatha deve tatha gurau," this has been told for the Supreme Lord and Guru. The holy name has no mention here, but you should always chant with great attraction, affection and attachment for the holy name.

[Brajanath dasa:] Gurudeva, he is saying, that since Krsna's holy name is non-different from Krsna, can we think of 'deve' (God) as 'nama' (His name).

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You can think in that way, but it is not stated in this verse.
[Devotee:] How can we increase our faith in Guru and Krsna?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I am telling so much � so much � about this in my classes. First become detached. Be in the renounced order (sannyasa). Not only be in the renounced order, but follow what I am telling in these classes [June 14-18, 2006]. Remember all the examples (of the twenty-four siksa-gurus) that were told by Dattatreya. Give up everything � all worldly desire for wife, children and everything else. Give your heart, mind and everything you possess to Guru and Krsna. Then everything will be alright.

[Jayanta Krsna dasa:] Some have the opinion that there is always prema in the jiva, and some say there is initially no prema, but the seed or potentiality to develop and receive prema is there. What is the established philosophical truth?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Prema is there, but like a seed.

[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Not manifested, but in a latent position.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Just as everything about a tree is present in its seed � the tree, its flowers, its leaves and everything else � so krsna-prema is present in the soul of the living entity, but in a latent position. That prema will first appear as sraddha (initial faith), then nistha (firm faith), then ruci (relish), and in this way it will gradually grow.

[Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja:] Krsna says in the Gita:
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
[Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
(Bhagavad-gita 9.25)]
Here, Krsna is indicating that one goes to the place of the object of ones worship. So if someone worships a pure devotee of Sri Krsna, what will be his result? Suppose his bhakti towards Sri Krsna is not very developed.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Sometimes, the mercy of sadhu-sanga (association with a self-realized soul) is superior to the mercy of Sri Krsna Himself. I have told you that it is the madhyama-adhikari (intermediate devotee) who comes to us. He realizes our position � that we are suffering. Lord Krsna is not aware of this, because He is always drowning in the ocea n of prema. The uttama-bhagavata (topmost devotee) also does not know whether or not we are suffering. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami will not be aware. However, a madhyama-adhikari � Gurudeva � is here in this world. He knows about us and his sadhu-sanga is for us.

[Devotee:] The residents of Goloka have no consciousness towards the suffering of the jivas (living entities). You said that only a madhyama-adhikari can understand the suffering of the jivas in the material world. Can we then understand that the uttama-bhagavata associates (nitya-siddhas) *[see endnote 1] come here for preaching, and here he acts like a madhyama devotee and is aware of our suffering? Or, do only sadhana-siddha or krpa-siddha *[see endnote 2] devotees come here from the spiritual world to act like madhyama-adhikaris?

[Madhava Maharaja:] Srila Rupa Gosvamipada is an eternal associate in Gokoka-Vrndavana. Does he not come? Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada does not come? They do not preach here?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They may come when Lord Krsna comes, and sometimes Krsna sends them or Srimati Radhika sends them. She sent Her associate Gopa-kumara.
An example of a sadhana-siddha devotee is Sri Narada Gosvami. He had realized the nature of this world after some births, and now he has become Sri Krsna's associate. So he knows; he can come and help us. Otherwise, how could he have initiated Dhruva, Prahlada, Valmiki, Vyasa and so many others?

[Raghunatha Bhatta dasa:] So should the disciple see Sri Guru as nitya-siddha, sadhana-siddha or krpa-siddha?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They should think he is siddha � an nitya parikara (eternal associate). Even if he is madhyama-adhikari, the disciple should regard him as he regards Krsna: yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23) Always remember this.

[Madhava Maharaja:] Otherwise they cannot advance.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] If you see like this, Krsna will help you.

[Devotee:] Lord Krsna and His paraphernalia are non-different. He and His maha-prasada are non-different. Yet, I have heard that krsna-prasadam can become affected by a living entity's karma or consciousness? How is it possible? For example, I've heard that if we eat prasadam from the plate of another conditioned soul, we can be affected by the second person's karma or consciousness. How is that possible that prasada � which is Krsna Himself � can be contaminated in that way?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Padmanabha, what is your idea about what he is saying?

[Padmanabha Maharaja:]
maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani vaisnave
sv-alpa-punyavatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate
"Persons who are not very highly elevated in pious activities cannot believe in the remnants of food of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor in Govinda, the holy name of the Lord, nor in the Vaisnavas."
If a person doesn't have enough svalpa-punya, meaning pious activities from previous lives, he will not have full faith in maha-prasadam. In Jagannatha Puri, devotees understand there that Lord Jagannatha's maha-prasadam is completely transcendental, even if it is touched by the mouth of a dog and it falls on the ground. If a person properly understands maha-prasadam, he will not hesitate to eat those remnants. It depends on the person's faith. I can give an example. There was a disciple of our Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja who liked to eat maha-prasadam that was three or four days old. He didn't want to throw anything away. And not only that; he was also forcing the other devotees to eat it. He wrote a letter about this to Prabhupada and Prabhupada replied that it is a matter of faith. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had the highest faith. He was taking the maha-prasadam that even th e cows wouldn't eat because it was so rotten. He was washing it and eating that, but he was tasting it as nectar. In fact, Mahaprabhu Himself came and stole that from his hand, and He was overwhelmed in ecstasy by eating it. So it depends on the person's actual deep faith.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Another example is Sri Narada Rsi. In his previous birth he once took the prasadam remnants of the Four Kumaras with their permission � from their leaf plates � and after that, all his impurities were washed away. He said, "I received rati (transcendental ecstasy) at once."

[Sugata dasa:] During our Prabhupada's time, we had farm projects all over the country . He wanted us not only just to live in our asrama, but to grow our own food, make our own cloth, and use bullock carts instead of cars and tractors. That was a long time ago, and things have changed. What is your vision for the New Vraja village community in the long run? Do you want the devotees there to have a modern life with modern jobs and modern things, or should they go back to simple, old village life, and not be dependent on the Western civilization?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] A bullock cart will not do. You cannot preach here and there by bullock cart. If Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and I would have used only bullock carts, could we have come?

[Devotees:] No

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also said that we should take advantage of what the scientists are inventing and engage those things in preaching.

[Sugata dasa:] Yes, but this is a different thing. Our Srila Prabhupada said the same thing you are saying � to use things for Krsna. But he also had a long term vision of communities engaging in an old, traditional lifestyle, with activities like making ones own food, cloth and milk, and being self-sufficient.

[Srila Narayan a Maharaja:] How much will you do? If you are going to be cultivating the field for making grains and making your cloth, when will you do bhajana?

[Sugata dasa:] Srila Maharaja, sometimes at Gita-Nagari where I did service, our bhajana was just farming � from four in the morning until twelve midnight. But for our Srila Prabhupada this was preaching. It was daivi-varnasrama. This was his preaching.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] He did this for those who were not so qualified. It was for them.

[Sugata dasa:] Yes, this is the thing.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They can go to the grhastha-asrama (they can be householders), they can cultivate the land, they can make their cloth and they can perform other activities of that nature. But when they will advance by sadhu-sanga, they will think that this is a waste of time. We should not waste a moment. Better to beg something and spend the entire day like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

[Sugata dasa:] So preaching is the essence; preaching is the important thing.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes.

[Devotee:] My parents are both Prabhupada's disciples, and it seems that the older they get, the further they seem removed from Krsna. I was wondering if there is something you can tell me � something that I can do to help them come back.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is due to lack of sadhu-sanga � association with pure devotees. If your parents would have come here, they would have been inspired again. I think it will be best if they associate with sadhus and hear hari-katha. You can make arrangements that sadhus may go to your house and speak hari-katha. Or, your parents can go to that place where hari-katha is going on.

[Rasasindhu dasa:] We have heard from you about many renounced persons, including Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. When young Raghunatha wanted to leave his family, Mahaprabhu told him, "Na hao vatula � don't be crazy." And then He said, "krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula."

[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:]
sthira hana ghare yao, na hao vatula
krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula
[Be patient and return home. Don't be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence.
(Caitanya-caritamrta 16.237)]
[Rasasindhu dasa:] It seems that the path of bhakti is very gradual and slow, but we see that Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami left his family very soon � a short time after receiving Mahaprabhu's instructions. How is it possible?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] He is a nitya-siddha parikara, an eternal associate of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He is eternally Rati-manjari, so for him it was possible. Mahaprabhu also left His own house and everything connected with it. He is the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself. What is possible for the Lord and His pure devotee i s not possible for you and others.
Mahaprabhu had told him, "First be qualified, and then give up material activities." This is the purpose of varna-asrama. If you have given up household life without being qualified to do so, you will again remember the same thing and return there. So we should first be qualified and then give up the grhastha-asrama. Be qualified while in grhastha-asrama. All the verses in Sri Upadesamrta have been told for grhasthas. After practicing bhakti according to the verses therein, you will become renounced. This is the process.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
[�A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind�s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.�
(Sri Upadesamrta, verse 1)]
[Sripad Srauti Maharaja:] Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that if we put our Gurudeva in our heart, have him travelling and walking and sitting there, then the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear there also. So what is the process of putting Guru in the heart?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Gurudeva is always with you. So you can�

[Sripad Srauti Maharaja:] But he is outside.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It is very hard to keep Krsna in the heart because we have not seen Him. We have never had His association. We are simply serving Him according to what we know from Gurudeva. But Gurudeva is personally coming to you. You see him walking�

[Sripad Srauti Maharaja:] How can we put Guru in the heart? Once, when I had just arrived from Europe to attend your Vyasa-puja festival in Alachua, I opened the door of your car. I was very happy and I told you, "Oh Gurudeva, you see? I have come to see you ." And you said, "You should put me in your heart."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes

[Sripad Srauti Maharaja:] So how to do it?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You can always remember him, his mercy and his glorification. I can remember how my Gurudeva is so glorious. I can continually remember his qualities.

[Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja:] Suppose Gurudeva gives sannyasa to some person, knowing that the person was not so qualified, but he wanted to utilize the person for his mission. An example of this is our Srila Prabhupada AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. He gave sannyasa to so many persons, knowing that they were not qualified.
He even said on one occasion, "I am giving you sannyasa even though you are unqualified. Actually it is like in war time. I am giving you battle commission. I am giving you this, and it is possible that in the future you may fall down." And then our Prabhupada said, "Bu t it will be a glorious death." On the battle field, when a soldier dies it is a glorious death, because he tried. Now some persons are using this argument and saying, "Oh, Gurudeva gave sannyasa to this person, and then he fell down. Since he wasn't qualified, there is no harm that he fell down and gave up his sannyasa.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No, no, no. This is not good. You should not think like this. Gurudeva has kindly, mercifully, given that person a chance, and that person should utilize the chance. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also gave a chance without a person's qualification, and Gurudeva also sometimes does this. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja gave sannyasa to so many. He knew that most of them were not qualified, and that is why he did not give any of them Vedic sannyasa names.

[*Endnotes 1 and 2: In Vaisnava philosophy there are three ways for perfection-namely, sadhana-siddha, perfection attained by executing devotional service according to the rules and regulations; nitya-siddha, eternal perfection attained by never forgetting Krsna at any time; and krpa-siddha, perfection attained by the mercy of the spiritual master or another Vaisnava. Kaviraja Gosvami here stresses krpa-siddha, perfection by the mercy of superior authorities. (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, 8.5)]

Historical and philosophical conclusions by Bhaktivinod Thakur from his introduction of Krishna Samhita book.


chaitanyatmane bhagavate namah

There are two types of literatures—those which bestow artha, or material results, and those which bestow paramartha, or spiritual results. Geography, history, astrology, physics, psychology, ayurveda, microbiology, mathematics, language, poetry, music, logic, yoga, religion, law, architecture, and weaponry are all included in the first category. Every book aims at revealing a particular subject—that is its artha, or result. When all results compliment each other and ultimately yield the supreme result, in the form of the soul's ultimate destination, that is called paramartha. The literatures that discuss the attainment of this supreme result are called paramarthic shastra, or spiritual literatures.
Many spiritual literatures have been compiled in India and abroad. In India many sages from time immemorial have compiled various spiritual literatures after duly considering the spiritual topics. Among them, Shrimad Bhagavatam is the topmost. This book consists of 18,000 verses. In this book, the ten principal subject matters of this world1 have been discussed in some places as direct instructions and elsewhere as history. Among these ten subjects, the last, ashraya, is the paramartha-tattva, or spiritual subject. The ashraya-tattva, or summum bonum, is very confidential and unlimited. Although ashraya-tattva is sponteneously manifested to the living entities, in people's present conditional state that transcendental subject is very difficult to comprehend. That is why the compiler of Shrimad Bhagavatam was compelled to compassionately and clearly discuss the other nine truths2.
Such a matchless book has not been properly explained till now. The people of India and other countries can be divided into two categories—the asslike and the swanlike. Among these two, the asslike are in the majority. The swanlike are in the minority. Swanlike people abstract the purport of the scriptures for their own advancement and thus benefit themselves. That is why the real purport of Shrimad Bhagavatam has not yet been clearly revealed. I had a great desire to translate Shrimad Bhagavatam in this proper swanlike way, but I have no time to translate this huge work. For this reason I am now extracting the main purport of this great literature and presenting it in the form of this Shri Krishna-samhita. As I was not satisfied after writing the verses of this book, I translated them into Bengali. I hope learned people will always scrutinizingly discuss this book in order to ascertain the spiritual subject matters.
Everyone has the right to discuss spiritual topics. Yet people are divided into three categories according to their qualifications3. Those who do not possess independent power of discrimination are in the first category and are called neophytes, or those with soft faith. They have no alternative to faith. If they do not accept whatever the compilers of the scriptures write as the order of the Lord, then they fall down. They are qualified only for understanding the gross meanings of the science of Krishna; they have no qualification for understanding the subtle meanings. Until they gradually advance by good association and instruction, they should try to advance under the shelter of faith. Those who have not yet succeeded in connecting faith with argument are second grade, or madhyama-adhikari. And those who are expert in connecting these two are perfect in all respects. They are able to attain perfection by utilizing material resources in their independent endeavors. They are called topmost, or uttama-adhikari. Among these three, it is necessary to ascertain who is the proper candidate for studying this book. The neophytes are not qualified, but they can gradually become qualified by attaining a higher stage through good fortune. The expert topmost persons have no direct need for this book other than to strengthen their own conclusions. Still, they should discuss this book with due respect in order to benefit the madhyama-adhikaris. Therefore it is the madhyama-adhikaris who are the proper candidates for studying this book. All the above-mentioned three categories of people are qualified to study Shrimad Bhagavatam, yet most of the commentaries on this matchless book are composed for the benefit of the neophytes. The commentators were all swanlike persons, and they have exhibited more compassion towards the neophytes than towards the madhyamas. Whenever they discuss jnana, they are referring to brahma-jnana, or the impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth. Therefore modern speculators are not benefited. Nowadays many people of our country discuss foreign literature and science with a desire to scrutinize its significance. They quickly become faithless after observing the indirect presentations4 by the writers of the scripture and the scriptural commentaries that are appropriate for the above-mentioned neophytes. They then either adopt a different religion or become famous by introducing a new one. The danger with this is that such people uselessly waste their time inventing a new level of understanding while leaving aside the previous mahajanas' perfect path, which automatically uplifts one from a lower qualification to a higher one. If there were some literatures appropriate for the madhyama-adhikaris to discuss, then no anarthas, or unwanted things, in the form of sub-religion, cheating religion, or irreligion would have entered India. The principal purpose of this book is to fulfill the above-mentioned requirement. Actually this book will directly and indirectly benefit all three types of persons—the uttama, madhyama, and kanishtha. Therefore they should all respect this book.
Sectarianism is a natural byproduct of the Absolute Truth. When acaryas first ascertain and instruct the Truth, it is not polluted with sectarianism. But the rules and regulations received through disciplic succession regarding the goal and the method of achieving it are changed in due course of time according to the mentality and locale of the people5. A rule that is followed by one society is not necessarily accepted in another society. That is why one community is different from another. As a community gradually develops more respect for its own standards, it develops hatred towards other communities and considers their standards inferior. These sectarian symptoms are seen in all countries since time immemorial. This is prominent amongst neophytes and found to some extent amongst madhyama-adhikaris. Amongst uttama-adhikaris, however, there is no trace of sectarianism. Adherence to a particular standard is the prominent symptom of a society. There are three types of standards—alocakagata, alocanagata, and alocyagata. Alocakagata is when sectarianists accept some external signs. Examples of alocakagata are tilaka, neckbeads, saffron robes, as well as the baptism practiced abroad. The different activities practiced in the process of worship are called alocanagata. Examples of alocanagata are sacrifices, austerities, fire sacrifices, vows, studying scriptures, deity worship, constructing temples, respecting the purity of various trees and rivers, dressing like sannyasis, acting like acaryas, dressing like brahmacaris or grihasthas, closing one's eyes, respecting particular types of books, rules and regulations in eating, and respecting the purity of particular times and places. The examples of alocyagata are attributing personalism or impersonalism on the Supreme Lord, installing deities, exhibiting the mood of an incarnation of the Lord, speculating on heaven and hell, and describing the future destination of the soul. The different forms of these spiritual activities create divisions of sectarianism. Differences that arise from places, times, languages, behaviors, foods, dresses, and natures of various communities are incorporated within their spiritual practices and gradually make one community so completely different from another community that even the consideration that everyone is a human being may cease to exist. Due to these differences there is disagreement, cessation of social intercourse, and fighting, even up to the point of killing one another. When an asslike mentality becomes prominent within the kanishtha-adhikaris, then they certainly indulge in these things. But if they develop a swanlike mentality, then they do not take part in quarrels, rather, they endeavor to attain a higher level. Madhyama-adhikaris do not quarrel so much about external standards, but they are always attacked by philosophical disagreements. Sometimes they condemn the standards of neophytes and establish their own standards as superior. They condemn the neophytes' deity worship in order to establish the worshipable Lord as formless6. In such cases, they are also considered asslike people. Otherwise, if they had a swanlike mentality and a desire to attain a higher level, they would respect others' practices and inquire about higher topics. Contradictions actually arise only due to asslike mentality. Swanlike persons consider the necessity for different practices according to one's qualification, so they naturally become detached from sectarian quarrels7. In this regard, it should be known that both asslike and swanlike people are found amongst the kanishtha-adhikaris and madhyama-adhikaris. I do not expect that asslike people will accept this book with respect. If neophytes and madhyama-adhikaris become completely indifferent in regard to the contradictions found in various practices and try to advance further, then they become swanlike persons. Then they are our respectable and dear friends. Although swanlike personalities may accept a particular practice from birth or childhood according to instructions they have received, they nevertheless remain indifferent and nonsectarian.
The religious principles that will be explained and established in this book are very difficult to name. If these principles are given a particular sectarian name, then other sects will oppose them. Shrimad Bhagavatam has therefore established sanatana-dharma as satvata-dharma, or religious principles related with the Absolute Truth8. Another name for these religious principles is Vaishnava-dharma. Asslike Vaishnavas fall into the categories of Shaktas (followers of Durga), Sauras (followers of the sun-god), Ganapatyas (followers of Ganesha), Shaivites (followers of Shiva), and Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu). But swanlike Vaishnavas are nonsectarian and, therefore, rare. These five types of above- mentioned spiritualists, as found in India, are named according to their respective qualifications. Human beings have two types of tendencies—arthic, or material, and paramarthic, or spiritual. Material tendencies include maintaining the body, constructing a house, marrying, begetting children, studying, earning wealth, material science, factory work, acquiring and maintaining assets, and accumulating piety. Although there are some similarities between the activities of humans and animals, the material endeavors of humans are nevertheless superior to the natural tendencies of animals. If after executing their material activities human beings do not take shelter of their constitutional activities, then they are called two-legged animals. The constitutional activities of a pure soul are called one's sva-dharma, or prescribed activities. The sva-dharma of a living entity is prominently manifested in his pure state of existence. In the pure state of existence this sva-dharma is present in the form of spiritual activities. All the above-mentioned material tendencies become successful when dovetailed with spiritual activities, otherwise they cannot independently help one attain the highest goal9. From engagement in material activities up to the awakening of spiritual activities is called the preliminary stage of God consciousness. From this preliminary stage up to the uttama-adhikari stage there are innumerable levels10. Inquiring about the truth of the material world is called Shakta-dharma, because the predominating deity of the material world is goddess Durga. All behavior and practice instructed in Shakta-dharma is helpful only in the preliminary stage. Such behavior and practice is meant to bring one closer to spiritual life, and materialistic people may be attracted by this only until they begin to inquire about the Supreme Absolute Truth. Shakta-dharma is the living entities' initial spiritual endeavor, and it is extremely essential for people of that level. When the preliminary stage is further strengthened, one attains the next level. One then considers the energy of work and the superiority of heat over dull matter, and he therefore accepts the sun-god, who is the source of heat, as his worshipable deity. At that time, Saura-dharma is awakened. Later, when one considers even heat as dull matter and animal consciousness as superior, then the third stage, Ganapatya-dharma, is attained. In the fourth gross stage, Lord Shiva is worshiped as the pure consciousness of the living entities, and Shaiva-dharma manifests. In the fifth stage, the consciousness of the living entity worships the supreme consciousness, and thus Vaishnava-dharma is manifest. Generally there are five types of paramarthic dharmas, or spiritual duties, that have been known by different names in different countries at different times. If one considers all the different dharmas that are current in India and abroad, one can see that they certainly fall within these five categories. The religious principles taught by Mohammed and Jesus Christ are similar to the religious principles taught by Vaishnava sects. Buddhism and Jainism are similar to Shaiva-dharma. This is a scientific consideration of truths regarding religious principles. Those who consider their own religious principles as real dharma and others' religious principles as irreligion or subreligion are unable to ascertain the truth due to being influenced by prejudice. Actually, religious principles followed by people in general are different only due to the different qualifications of the practitioners, but the constitutional religious principles of all living entities are one. It is not proper for swanlike persons to reject the religious principles that people in general follow according to their situation. Therefore, with due respect to the religious principles followed by people in general, we will now discuss the living entities' constitutional religious principles.
Satvata-dharma, or nonsectarian Vaishnava-dharma, is the living entities' constitutional, or eternal, religious principles11. But the Vaishnava-dharma that is found in the Mayavada-sampradaya is only an indirect imitation of those principles. When such sectarian Vaishnava-dharma becomes transcendental, that is, when it is freed from impersonalism, then it becomes Satvata-dharma, or religious principles related with the Supreme Truth. The different sampradayas, namely dvaita (dualism), dvaitadvaita (simultaneous oneness and difference), shuddhadvaita (purified oneness), and vishishtadvaita (specific monism) that are found in satvata-dharma are nothing but wonderful varieties of sentiments within the Vaishnava science. Actually the various sampradayas are not the result of differences in the basic truth. Impersonalism is diametrically opposite to the science of bhakti. Those Vaishnavas who have accepted impersonalism are not pure Vaishnavas.
It is our duty to consider when and how Vaishnava-dharma has manifest in this country [India]. Before we consider this subject, however, there are many other subjects that have to be resolved. Therefore we will first resolve the dates, according to modern considerations, of the main events of India. Later we will ascertain the dates of the esteemed scriptures. As soon as the dates of the scriptures are ascertained, then I will explain, according to modern opinion, the history of Vaishnava-dharma that is explained in those scriptures. Although we ourselves consider the dates of the scriptures according to ancient methods, I will now follow contemporary methods for the benefit of modern people.
The very ancient history of India is covered by the dense darkness of forgetfulness, because there is no proper sequence in its ancient history. I will establish with a bit of conjecture whatever I can on the information I have acquired through the four Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. In the beginning, the Aryans lived in a small country named Brahmavarta, which was situated between the two rivers—Sarasvati and Drishadvati. The present name of Drishadvati is Kagara12. By discussing the meaning of the name “Brahmavarta” it is assumed that the Aryans came from another country to reside therein. We cannot ascertain exactly where they came from, but it is believed that they came from some northwest country13. When they came, they were relatively civilized according to the time. There is no doubt about this. Being proud of their own civilization, they used to disregard the local natives. It is said that when the Aryans disregarded the local natives, the natives' king, Rudradeva, showed the Aryans his prowess by accepting in marriage the hand of Sati, the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, thus making an alliance with Daksha. Nevertheless the Aryans were so proud that after the marriage of Sati, they did not respect her or her husband. That is why Sati hated herself and gave up her body in Daksha's sacrificial arena and thereafter Shiva with his followers began to heavily torture the Aryans. The brahmanas were later forced to make an alliance with Shiva by allowing him a share in the sacrifice. Still, in order to maintain their superiority, the Aryans placed Shiva's seat in the northeastern corner of the sacrificial arena.