April 4, 1999 VNN3505
Q&A: Smaranam: From Nama To Lila
BY SWAMI B.V. TRIPURARI
EDITORIAL, Apr 4 (VNN) (from Sanga email@example.com)
I have heard that Srila Prabhupada often said "don't try to see Krishna, try to chant Hare Krishna in a way that Krishna will want to see you."
I have also heard that the acaryas recommend that one begin to contemplate Krishna's pastimes and begin to place himself into those pastimes within his mind like the brahmin who burnt his finger while making Krishna sweet rice.
What is your experience in this matter? - Anon.
The spirit of Srila Prabhupada's instruction follows the famous Svetasvatara Upanisad verse:
nayam atma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahudha srutena
yam evaina vaeute tena labhyas
tasyaina atma vivaeute tanua svam
Here, the sruti says that revelation is required for knowing God and this is his perogative. 'Na medhaya na bahuda srutena', not by means of reasoning and scriptural study, but to he, whom the Lord chooses, is he revealed. We can not go there with our shoes on. Krishna prema is 'nitya siddha' (eternally existing in perfection) and 'sadhya kabu nay', not something to attain, nor a product of sadhana. It already exists, and it awakens (karaye udoy) in the purified heart (suddha citte) of one who engages in hearing and chanting about Krishna (sravanadi). So we should be concerned first with cleansing our heart (ceto darpana marjanam), for only in the pure heart will Krishna and our relationship with him appear.
Meditation on Krishna's lilas requires a pure heart. Even a superficial reading of Bhagavad Gita makes clear that meditation requires such. When the sadhaka's heart is purified from lust and greed, attaining 'nistha' (firm faith), then 'ruci' (taste), he can consider doing serious bhajan.
When his own 'svarupa' (individual spiritual nature) arising from his ruci, makes its appearnace at the stage of 'asakti' (spiritual attatchment for the object of devotion), the sadhaka has reached the final stage of sadhana.
At this stage he can effectively meditate on Krishna lila, placing himself (his svarupa) with a purified mind in the particular lilas of Krishna that he is qualified to participate in. In the course of this kind of sadhana, the practitioner attains 'bhava bhakti' and continues to cultivate his 'siddha deha' or svarupa in ecstacy, gradually attaining prema. It is not for beginners. I have detailed this practice in the last chapter of my book 'Aesthetic Vedanta: The Sacred Path of Passionate Love'.
Regarding the example of the brahmana whose finger burnt when tasting his mentally cooked sweet rice offering to Vishnu, this serves to illustrate that service done in the mind is tangible. He did this in the context of 'seva-dhyanam', meditation on seva, as opposed to 'lila-dhyanam' or 'lila smaranam'. One should try to do 'nama smaranam' in the form of japa. If one has no taste for nama and cannot chant attentively, how can he do lila smaranam effectively?
The lila of Krishna is within his name. Do kirtana, as this will be effective whether one can be mentally attentive or not, and it will capture the mind and purify the heart. Then do japa (nama smaranam) This can be followed by 'rupa', 'guna', and ultimately 'lila smaranam'. In terms of Krishna lila, one should acquaint oneself fully with Krishna's pastimes as they are described in Srimad Bhagavatam's tenth canto and commented upon by our acaryas. This is also a form of smaranam.
Swami B.V. Tripurari
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