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February 18, 1999   VNN3087  

With The Help Of The Demons, Continued


EDITORIAL, Feb 18 (VNN) — (from Sanga wfd@efn.org) (Part 1) Bhara-vahi Vaishnavas must become 'sara-grahi' Vaishnavas, or essential Vaishnavas. They must give up the heavy load of anarthas that is holding them back from love of Godhead. In Sri Krishna Samhita, Bhaktivinoda has elaborately described the eighteen demons of vraja-lila symbolically. Each of the demons represent anarthas within the hearts of the sadhakas, which must be eliminated if the sadhakas are to advance to bhava and ultimately prema-bhakti. With less elaboration, he has emphasized the same in his Sri Caitanya Siksamrta thus:

"The conduct of Sri Krishna is twofold, i.e. eternal and occasional. In Goloka, eternal conduct and astakaliya-lila exist at all times. In Bhauma Vrindavana that astakaliya-lila is mixed with the occasional lilas. Going from Vraja and returning and killing asuras are occasional lilas... For aspirants, occasional lilas, which are adverse to eternal lila, have been manifested for instruction. Aspirants should pray that those lilas will destroy their own evil."

Putana: The False Guru

The first appearance of the pure religious ideal in one's heart is characterized by the distancing of oneself from all varieties of pseudoreligion. Such pseudoreligion is represented by Putana, the personification of the false guru. False gurus teach pseudoreligion aimed at material enjoyment and liberation. Thus Sri Krishna killed Putana in his infancy, as will the jiva reject false doctrines when Krishna makes his first appearance in the heart.

Shakatasura: The Heavy Burden

Those who do not understand the essence of the Vedas and simply identify with the outer meaning of scriptures without understanding the importance of raga-marga are troubled by Shakatasura. They who only intellectually identify with the scriptures are also bhara-vahis. Sakata-bhanga, breaking the cart and getting relief from this heavy burden, is accomplished by good association with a siksa guru who unsettles the sadhaka with strong preaching, causing him to go beyond his stereotypical conceptions of spiritual life.

Trnavarta: The Whirlwind of Circular Reasoning

Logic is inconclusive, tarko 'pratishthah. Mental conjecture gives rise to Buddhist and Mayavada conclusions, which, like tornadoes, block the sun and cut paths that reap only havoc. Those desiring to tread the straightforward, self-illumined path of bhakti should avoid useless scholarship and dry reasoning, knowing them to be breeding grounds for demoniac philosophies. Sri Krishna is moved by the humble devotees who carefully try to avoid this fault. For such devotees he takes the air out of false arguments and establishes his devotees on the firm ground of 'acintya-bhedabheda-tattva'.

Keshi: The Male Horse of False Pride

The cultivation of devotion brings with it many results. Among these is the realization that one is in a better position than others, especially common people. Due to this, a devotee may feel himself to be superior to others, thinking, "I am a great devotee." If this mentality is not harnessed, the stampede of Keshi will disturb Krishna, and such unnecessarily proud devotees will fall from devotional practice. Gentle dealings and humility are always the standard of the Vaishnava.

Pralambasura: The Lust of Puja, Labha, and Pratishtha

Even advanced devotees are attacked by these subtle desires for worship, profit, and position, which cling to them (pralamba) in an attempt to bring them down. These desires are great obstacles on the path of bhakti. He hangs on even in advanced stages of devotion. Pralambasura even tries to carry away the guru from Krishna by such desires. But Sri Baladeva, the personification of servitor Godhead (sri guru), removes these obstacles by appearing in the heart of the sincere and humble devotee, reminding him that he is accepting worship only on behalf of Krishna and that all honor is meant for the Lord alone.

Vatsasura: The Personification of Restlessness

Youthful wanderlust must be curtailed in order to advance in devotion.

Although this is natural for adolescents and should not be checked, if we want our bhakti to mature, Vatsasura, the misplaced calf of innocence must be slain. Youthful restlessness should not be artificially suppressed by instructing adolescents to forgo such so that in the future thay can enjoy their maturity. Suppressing sensuality for the sake of enjoying it better in the future is demoniac. Such approaches to parenting generally result in ensuring misbehavior in youth as well. Rather youths should be reminded of the youthful lilas of Govinda. In remembrance of these lilas, both the greed-based restlessness of youth in general and that which appears in the sadhaka are destroyed.

Clutches of Varuna: Intoxication

The beautitude of bhajana is not enhanced by any form of intoxication.

Nanda Maharaja's seizure by the servants of Varuna teaches us that intoxication will take us far from devotion and attempt to drown the sadhaka in misconception. Coming to one's senses, giving up this vice, one realizes that if intoxication could give one Krishna, it would be more worshippable than Krishna himself. Varuna thought himself very powerful, but Sri Krishna surprised him, demanding the release of Nanda Baba. Varuna thus released Krishna's father and worshipped Nanda-nandana Krishna.

Prema-bhakti is the highest form of intoxication maddening one as it does.

Prema puts all other forms of intoxication to shame.

Davagni: The Forest Fire of Inner Hatred

The flames of disregard for the methods of worship and conception of God held by other communities can consume the sadhaka. One must understand the virtues of raga-marga bhakti and often point out the shortcomings of other paths for the benefit of others. One must also sing the virtues of Sri Krishna exclusively to intensify one's own bhajana. Yet one must also think that others who worship other conceptions of God are worshipping Sri Krishna in one of his many forms. Demigods like Shiva, Brahma, Ganapati, and avataras such as Vishnu, Rama, Narasingha, Varaha, and others are all manifestations of the Lord for either specific functions or the experience of emotional states in reciprocity with various devotees. Sri Krishna swallows the forest fire of inner hatred concealed by external worship of himself. Thus he saves those unaware of the extent of his glories from burning in the fire of sectarianism.

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