Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: Madhya-lila
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
kesagra-sateka-bhaga punah satamsa kari
tara sama suksma jivera ’svarupa’ vicari
kesa-agra—from the tip of a hair; sata-eka—one hundred; bhaga—divisions; punah—again; sata-amsa—one hundred divisions; kari—making; tara sama—equal to that; suksma—very fine; jivera—of the living entity; sva-rupa—the actual form; vicari—I consider.
"The length and breadth of the living entity is described as one tenthousandth part of the tip of a hair. This is the original subtle nature of the living entity.
jivah suksma-svarupo ’yam
sankhyatito hi cit-kanah
kesa-agra—of the tip of a hair; sata-bhagasya—of one hundredth; sata-amsa—a hundredth part; sadrsa—equal to; atmakah—whose nature; jivah—the living entity; suksma—very fine; sva-rupah—identification; ayam—this; sankhya-atitah—numbering beyond calculation; hi—certainly; cit-kanah—spiritual particle.
" ’If we divide the tip of a hair into a hundred parts and then take one of these parts and divide it again into a hundred parts, that very fine division is the size of but one of the numberless living entities. They are all cit-kana, particles of spirit, not matter.’
This is quoted from the commentary on the portion of Srimad-Bhagavatam wherein the Vedas personified offer their obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (15.7). Mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah: “The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts.”
Lord Sri Krsna personally identifies Himself with the minute living entities. Lord Krsna is the supreme spirit, the Supersoul, and the living entities are His very minute parts and parcels. Of course, we cannot divide the tip of a hair into such fine particles, but spiritually such small particles can exist. Spiritual strength is so powerful that a mere atomic portion of spirit can be the biggest brain in the material world. The same spiritual spark is within an ant and within the body of Brahma. According to his karma, material activities, the spiritual spark attains a certain type of body. Material activities are carried out in goodness, passion and ignorance or a combination of these. According to the mixture of the modes of material nature, the living entity is awarded a particular type of body. This is the conclusion.
satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneya
iti caha para srutih
bala-agra—the tip of a hair; sata-bhagasya—of one hundredth; sata-dha—into one hundred parts; kalpitasya—divided; ca—and; bhagah—minute portion; jivah—the living entity; sah—that; vijneyah—to be understood; iti—thus; ca—and; aha—have said; para—chief; srutih—Vedic mantras.
" ’If we divide the tip of a hair into one hundred parts and then take one part and divide this into another one hundred parts, that ten-thousandth part is the dimension of the living entity. This is the verdict of the chief Vedic mantras.’
The first three padas of this verse from the Pancadasi Citradipa (81) are taken from the Svetasvatara Upanisad (5.9).
suksmanam apy aham jivah
suksmanam—of the minute particles; api—certainly; aham—I; jivah—the living entity.
" ’Among minute particles, I am the living entity.’
The living entity is one with and different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As spirit soul, the living entity is one in quality with the Supreme Lord; however, the Supreme Lord is bigger than the biggest, and the living entity is the smallest of the small. This quote is the third pada of a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.16.11).
aparimita dhruvas tanu-bhrto yadi sarva-gatas
tarhi na sasyateti niyamo dhruva netaratha
ajani ca yan-mayam tad avimucya niyantr bhavet
samam anujanatam yad amatam mata-dustataya
aparimitah—unlimited in number; dhruvah—eternals; tanu-bhrtah—who have accepted material bodies; yadi—if; sarva-gatah—all-pervading; tarhi—then; na—not; sasyata—controllable; iti—thus; niyamah—regulation; dhruva—O Supreme Truth; na—not; itaratha—in another manner; ajani—have been born; ca—and; yat-mayam—consisting of which; tat—that; avimucya—without giving up; niyantr—controller; bhavet—may become; samam—equal in all respects; anu-janatam—of those who follow this philosophical calculation; yat—that; amatam—not conclusive; mata-dustataya—by faulty calculations.
" ’O Lord, although the living entities who have accepted material bodies are spiritual and unlimited in number, if they were all-pervading there would be no question of their being under Your control. If they are accepted, however, as particles of the eternally existing spiritual entity-as part of You, who are the supreme spirit whole-we must conclude that they are always under Your control. If the living entities are simply satisfied with being identical with You as spiritual particles, then they will be happy being controllers of so many things. The conclusion that the living entities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are one and the same is a faulty conclusion. It is not a fact.’
This verse, which is also from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.30), was spoken by the personified Vedas.
tara madhye ’sthavara’, jangama’--dui bheda
tara madhye—among the living entities who are conditioned within the material world; sthavara—immovable; jangama—movable; dui bheda—two divisions; jangame—among the living entities who can move; tiryak—the living entities who can move in the air (the birds); jala—or living entities who can move within the water; sthala-cara—living entities who can move on land; vibheda—three divisions.
"The unlimited living entities can be divided into two divisions-those that can move and those that cannot move. Among living entities that can move, there are birds, aquatics and animals.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is giving clear instructions on how the living entities live under different conditions. There are trees, plants and stones that cannot move, but still they must be considered living entities, or spiritual sparks. The soul is present in bodies like those of trees, plants and stones. They are all living entities. Among moving living entities such as birds, aquatics and animals, the same spiritual spark is there. As stated herein, there are living entities that can fly, swim and walk. We must also conclude that there are living entities that can move within fire and ether. Living entities have different material bodies composed of earth, water, air, fire and ether. The words tara madhye mean “within this universe.” The entire material universe is composed of five material elements. It is not true that living entities reside only within this planet and not within others. Such a conclusion is completely contradictory to the Vedas. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (2.24):
acchedyo ’yam adahyo ’yam
akledyo ’sosya eva ca
nityah sarva-gatah sthanur
acalo ’yam sanatanah
“This individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.”
The soul has nothing to do with the material elements. Any material element can be cut to pieces, especially earth. As far as the living entity is concerned, however, it can neither be burned nor cut to pieces. It can therefore live within fire. We can conclude that there are also living entities within the sun. Why should living entities be denied this planet or that planet? According to the Vedas, the living entities can live anywhere and everywhere-on land, in water, in air and in fire. Whatever the condition, the living entity is unchangeable (sthanu). From the statements of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Bhagavad-gita, we are to conclude that living entities are everywhere throughout the universes. They are distributed as trees, plants, aquatics, birds, human beings and so on.
tara madhye manusya-jati ati alpatara
tara madhye mleccha, pulinda, bauddha, sabara
tara madhye—among all such living entities; manusya-jati—entities born as human beings; ati—very; alpatara—small in quantity; tara madhye—among the small quantity of human beings; mleccha—uncivilized men who cannot follow the Vedic principles; pulinda—unregulated; bauddha—followers of Buddhist philosophy; sabara—the lowest of men (the hunter class).
"Although the living entities known as human beings are very small in quantity, that division may be still further subdivided, for there are many uncultured human beings like mlecchas, pulindas, bauddhas and sabaras.
veda-nistha-madhye ardheka veda ’mukhe’ mane
veda-nisiddha papa kare, dharma nahi gane
veda-nistha-madhye—among persons who are followers of the Vedas; ardheka—almost half; veda—Vedic scriptures; mukhe—in the mouth; mane—accept; veda-nisiddha—forbidden in the Vedas; papa—sins; kare—perform; dharma—religious principles; nahi—not; gane—count.
"Among human beings, those who are followers of the Vedic principles are considered civilized. Among these, almost half simply give lip service while committing all kinds of sinful activities against these principles. Such people do not care for the regulative principles.
The word veda means “knowledge.” Supreme knowledge consists of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead and our relationship with Him and acting according to that relationship. Action in accordance with the Vedic principles is called religion. Religion means following the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic principles are the injunctions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Aryans are civilized human beings who have been following the Vedic principles since time immemorial. No one can trace out the history of the Vedic principles set forth so that man might understand the Supreme Being. Literature or knowledge that seeks the Supreme Being can be accepted as a bona fide religious system, but there are many different types of religious systems according to the place, the disciples and the people’s capacity to understand.
The highest type of religious system is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6) thus: sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. The highest form of religion is that by which one becomes fully conscious of the existence of God, His form, name, qualities, pastimes, abode and all-pervasive features. When everything is completely known, that is the perfection of Vedic knowledge. The fulfillment of Vedic knowledge is systematic knowledge of the characteristics of God. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (15.15): vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. The aim of Vedic knowledge is to understand God. Those who are actually following Vedic knowledge and searching after God cannot commit sinful activities against the Supreme Lord’s order. However, in this Age of Kali, although men profess to belong to so many different kinds of religion, most of them commit sinful activities against the orders of the Vedic scriptures. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says herein: veda-nisiddha papa kare, dharma nahi gane. In this age, men may profess a religion, but they actually do not follow the principles. Instead, they commit all kinds of sin.
dharmacari-madhye bahuta ’karma-nistha’
koti-karma-nistha-madhye eka jnani’ srestha
dharma-acari-madhye—among persons who actually follow the Vedic principles or religious system; bahuta—many of them; karma-nistha—attracted to fruitive activities; koti-karma-nistha-madhye—among millions of such performers of fruitive activities according to Vedic principles; eka—one; jnani—wise man; srestha—the chief.
"Among the followers of Vedic knowledge, most are following the process of fruitive activity and distinguishing between good and bad work. Out of many such sincere fruitive actors, there may be one who is actually wise.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura states that the word karma-nistha refers to one who aspires to enjoy the results of his good work and pious activity. Some followers of Vedic principles offer everything to the Absolute Truth and do not aspire to enjoy the results of their pious actions. These are also considered among the karma-nisthas. Sometimes we see pious men earn money with great hardship and then spend the money for some pious cause by opening public charities, schools and hospitals. Whether one earns money for himself or for the public benefit, he is called a karma-nistha. Out of millions of karma-nisthas there may be one who is wise. Those who try to avoid fruitive activity and who become silent in order to merge into the spiritual existence of the Absolute Truth are generally known as jnanis, wise men. They are not interested in fruitive activity but in merging into the Supreme. In either case, both are interested in personal benefit. The karmis are directly interested in personal benefit within the material world, and the jnanis are interested in merging into the existence of the Supreme. The jnanis maintain that fruitive activity is imperfect. For them, perfection is the cessation of work and the merging into the supreme existence. That is their goal in life. The jnani wants to extinguish the distinction between knowledge, the knower and the aim of knowledge. This philosophy is called monism, or oneness, and is characterized by spiritual silence.
koti-jnani-madhye haya eka-jana ’mukta’
koti-mukta-madhye ’durlabha’ eka krsna-bhakta
koti-jnani-madhye—out of many millions of such wise men; haya—there is; eka-jana—one person; mukta—actually liberated; koti-mukta-madhye—out of many millions of such liberated persons; durlabha—very rare; eka—one; krsna-bhakta—pure devotee of Lord Krsna.
"Out of many millions of such wise men, one may actually become liberated [mukta], and out of many millions of such liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krsna is very difficult to find.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that due to their poor fund of knowledge, the jnanis are not actually liberated. They simply think that they are liberated. The perfection of knowledge culminates when one comes to the platform of knowing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. The Absolute Truth (satya-vastu) is described as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Knowledge of impersonal Brahman and the Supersoul is imperfect until one comes to the platform of knowing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is therefore clearly said in this verse: koti-mukta-madhye ’durlabha’ eka krsna-bhakta. Those who search after the knowledge of impersonal Brahman or localized Paramatma are certainly accepted as liberated, but due to their imperfect knowledge they are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as vimukta-maninah. Since their knowledge is imperfect, their conception of liberation is imperfect. Perfect knowledge is possible when one knows the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is supported in Bhagavad-gita (5.29):
jnatva mam santim rcchati
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.”
Research is going on for the karmis, jnanis and yogis, but until the search is complete, no one can attain peace. Therefore Bhagavad-gita says, jnatva mam santim rcchati: one can actually attain peace when he knows Krsna. This is described in the next verse.
krsna-bhakta--niskama, ataeva ’santa’
krsna-bhakta—a devotee of Lord Krsna; niskama—actually desireless; ataeva—therefore; santa—peaceful; bhukti—of material enjoyment; mukti—of liberation from material activities; siddhi—of perfection in yogic performance; kami—those who are desirous; sakali—all of them; asanta—not peaceful.
"Because a devotee of Lord Krsna is desireless, he is peaceful. Fruitive workers desire material enjoyment, jnanis desire liberation, and yogis desire material opulence; therefore they are all lusty and cannot be peaceful.
The devotee of Lord Krsna has no desire other than serving Krsna. Even so-called liberated people are full of desires. Fruitive actors desire better living accommodations, and jnanis want to be one with the Supreme. Yogis desire material opulence, yogic perfections and magic. All of these are lusty (kami). Because they desire something, they cannot have peace.
The peace formula is given by Krsna in Bhagavad-gita:
jnatva mam santim rcchati
If one can understand that the only supreme enjoyer is Krsna, one will perform all kinds of sacrifices, penances and austerities in order to attain Krsna’s devotional service. Krsna is the Supreme Being, the proprietor of all the material worlds; therefore throughout the entire universe He is the only enjoyer and beneficiary. He is the only friend who can actually do good to all living entities (suhrdam sarva-bhutanam). If one understands Krsna, he immediately becomes desireless (niskama) because a krsna-bhakta knows that his friend and protector in all respects is Krsna, who is able to do anything for His devotee. Krsna says, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: “O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” Since Krsna gives this assurance, the devotee lives in Krsna and has no desire for personal benefit. The background for the devotee is the all-good Himself. Why should the devotee aspire for something good for himself? His only business is to please the Supreme by rendering service as much as possible. A krsna-bhakta has no desire for his own personal benefit. He is completely protected by the Supreme. Avasya raksibe krsna visvasa palana. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that he is desireless because Krsna will give him protection in all circumstances. It is not that he expects any assistance from Krsna; he simply depends on Krsna just as a child depends on his parents. The child does not know how to expect service from his parents, but he is always protected nevertheless. This is called niskama (desirelessness).
Although karmis, jnanis and yogis fulfill their desires by performing various activities, they are never satisfied. A karmi may work very hard to acquire a million dollars, but as soon as he gets a million dollars he desires another million. For the karmis, there is no end of desire. The more the karmi gets, the more he desires. The jnanis cannot be desireless because their intelligence is unsound. They want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, but even though they may be raised to that platform, they cannot be satisfied there. There are many jnanis or sannyasis who give up the world as false, but after taking sannyasa they return to the world to engage in politics or philanthropy or to open schools and hospitals. This means that they could not attain the real Brahman (brahma satyam). They have to come down to the material platform to engage in philanthropic activity. Thus they again cultivate desires, and when these desires are exhausted, they desire something different. Therefore the jnani cannot be niskama, desireless. Nor can the yogis be desireless, for they desire yogic perfections in order to exhibit some magical feats and gain popularity. People gather around these yogis, and the yogis desire more and more adulation. Because they misuse their mystic power, they fall down again onto the material platform. It is not possible for them to become niskama, desireless.
The conclusion is that only the devotees who are simply satisfied in serving the Lord can actually become desireless. Therefore it is written: krsna-bhakta niskama. Since the krsna-bhakta, the devotee of Krsna, is satisfied with Krsna, there is no possibility of falldown.
muktanam api siddhanam
kotisv api maha-mune
muktanam—of persons liberated or freed from the bondage of ignorance; api—even; siddhanam—of persons who have achieved perfection; narayana—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; parayanah—the devotee; su-durlabhah—very rare; prasanta-atma—completely satisfied, desireless; kotisu—among many millions; api—certainly; maha-mune—O great sage.
" ’O great sage, out of many millions of materially liberated people who are free from ignorance, and out of many millions of siddhas who have nearly attained perfection, there is hardly one pure devotee of Narayana. Only such a devotee is actually completely satisfied and peaceful.’
This verse is quoted from Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.14.5). The narayana-parayana, the devotee of Lord Narayana, is the only blissful person. One who becomes a narayana-parayana is already liberated from material bondage. He already possesses all the perfections of yoga. Unless one comes to the platform of narayana-parayana and passes over the platform of bhukti-mukti-siddhi, he cannot be fully satisfied. That is the pure devotional stage.
silanam bhaktir uttama
One who has no other desire but Krsna and who is not influenced by the process of jnana-marga (cultivation of knowledge) actually becomes free from ignorance. A first-class person is one who is not influenced by karma (fruitive activity) or yoga (mystic power). He simply depends on Krsna and is satisfied in his devotional service. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.17.28): narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati. Such a person is never afraid of anything. For him, heaven and hell are the same. Not knowing the situation of a narayana-parayana, rascals become envious. By the grace of Narayana, a devotee is situated in the most opulent position in the material world. Rascals are envious of Narayana and His devotee, but the devotee knows how to please another devotee of Narayana because he knows that by pleasing Narayana’s representative, one directly pleases Lord Narayana. Therefore a devotee offers the best facilities to his spiritual master because he knows that by pleasing Narayana’s representative, he can please Lord Narayana. Outsiders who have no knowledge of Narayana are envious both of Narayana and of His devotee. Consequently when they see that Narayana’s devotee is opulently situated, they become envious. But when the devotee of Narayana asks such foolish people to come live with him in the same comfortable situation, they do not agree because they cannot give up illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. Therefore the materialist refuses the company of a narayana-parayana, although he is envious of the devotee’s material situation. In Western countries when ordinary men-storekeepers and workers-see our devotees living and eating sumptuously and yet not working, they become very anxious to know where they get the money. Such people become envious and ask, “How is it possible to live so comfortably without working? How is it you have so many cars, bright faces and nice clothes?” Not knowing that Krsna looks after His devotees, such people become surprised, and some become envious.
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
brahmanda bhramite—wandering in this universe; kona—some; bhagyavan—most fortunate; jiva—living being; guru—of the spiritual master; krsna—of Krsna; prasade—by the mercy; paya—gets; bhakti-lata—of the creeper of devotional service; bija—the seed.
"According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.
When we speak of brahmanda, we refer to the whole universe, or to the cluster of many millions of universes. In all universes, there are innumerable planets and innumerable living entities upon those planets in the air and in the water. There are millions and trillions of living entities everywhere, and they are engaged by maya in suffering and enjoying the results of their fruitive activity life after life. This is the position of the materially conditioned living entities. Out of many of these living entities, if one is actually fortunate (bhagyavan), he comes in contact with a bona fide spiritual master by Krsna’s mercy.
Krsna is situated in everyone’s heart, and if one desires something, Krsna fulfills one’s desire. If the living entity by chance or fortune comes in contact with the Krsna consciousness movement and wishes to associate with that movement, Krsna, who is situated in everyone’s heart, gives him the chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master. This is called guru-krsna-prasada. Krsna is prepared to bestow His mercy upon all living entities, and as soon as a living entity desires the Lord’s mercy, the Lord immediately gives him an opportunity to meet a bona fide spiritual master. Such a person is fortified by both Krsna and the spiritual master. He is helped from within by Krsna and from without by the spiritual master. Both are prepared to help the sincere living being become free from this material bondage.
How one can become this fortunate can be seen in the life of Srila Narada Muni. In his previous life he was born of a maidservant. Although he was not born into a prestigious position, his mother was fortunately engaged in rendering service to some Vaisnavas. When these Vaisnavas were resting during the Caturmasya period, the boy Narada took the opportunity to engage in their service. Taking compassion upon the boy, the Vaisnavas offered him the remnants of their food.
By serving them and obeying their orders, the boy became the object of sympathy for the Vaisnavas, and, by the Vaisnavas’ unknown mercy, he gradually became a pure devotee. In the next life he was Narada Muni, the most exalted of Vaisnavas and the most important guru and acarya of Vaisnavas.
Following in the footsteps of Narada Muni, this Krsna consciousness movement is rendering service to humanity by giving everyone a chance to come in contact with Krsna. If one is fortunate, he becomes intimately related with this movement. Then, by the grace of Krsna, one’s life becomes successful. Everyone has dormant krsna-bhakti-love for Krsna-and in the association of good devotees, that love is revealed. As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.107):
nitya-siddha-krsna-prema ’sadhya’ kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
Dormant devotional service to Krsna is within everyone. Simply by associating with devotees, hearing their good instructions and chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, dormant love for Krsna is awakened. In this way one acquires the seed of devotional service. Guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija.
mali hana kare sei bija aropana
sravana-kirtana-jale karaye secana
mali hana—becoming a gardener; kare—does; sei—that; bija—seed of devotional service; aropana—sowing; sravana—of hearing; kirtana—of chanting; jale—with the water; karaye—does; secana—sprinkling.
"When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout.
To live with devotees or to live in a temple means to associate with the sravana-kirtana process. Sometimes neophyte devotees think that they can continue the sravana-kirtana process without worshiping the Deity, but the execution of sravana-kirtana is meant for highly developed devotees like Haridasa Thakura, who engaged in the sravana-kirtana process without worshiping the Deity. However, one should not falsely imitate Haridasa Thakura and abandon Deity worship just to try to engage in sravana-kirtana. This is not possible for neophyte devotees.
The word guru-prasada indicates that the spiritual master is very merciful in bestowing the boon of devotional service upon the disciple. That is the best possible gift the spiritual master has to offer. Those with a background of pious life are eligible to receive life’s supreme benefit, and to bestow this benefit, the Supreme Personality of Godhead sends His representative to impart His mercy. Endowed with the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master distributes the mercy to those who are elevated and pious. Thus the spiritual master trains his disciples to render devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called guru-krpa. It is krsna-prasada, Krsna’s mercy, that He sends a bona fide spiritual master to the deserving disciple. By the mercy of Krsna, one meets the bona fide spiritual master, and by the mercy of the spiritual master, the disciple is fully trained in the devotional service of the Lord.
Bhakti-lata-bija means “the seed of devotional service.” Everything has an original cause, or seed. For any idea, program, plan or device, there is first of all the contemplation of the plan, and that is called bija, or the seed. The methods, rules and regulations by which one is perfectly trained in devotional service constitute the bhakti-lata-bija, or seed of devotional service. This bhakti-lata-bija is received from the spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. Other seeds are called anyabhilasa-bija, karma-bija and jnana-bija. If one is not fortunate enough to receive the bhakti-lata-bija from the spiritual master, he instead cultivates the seeds of karma-bija, jnana-bija, or political and social or philanthropic bija. However, bhakti-lata-bija is different from these other bijas. Bhakti-lata-bija can be received only through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one has to satisfy the spiritual master to get bhakti-lata-bija (yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah). Bhakti-lata-bija is the origin of devotional service. Unless one satisfies the spiritual master, he gets the bija, or root cause, of karma, jnana and yoga without the benefit of devotional service. However, one who is faithful to his spiritual master gets the bhakti-lata-bija. This bhakti-lata-bija is received when one is initiated by the bona fide spiritual master. After receiving the spiritual master’s mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called sravana-kirtana-hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kirtana). This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (2.41): vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit to chant or preach the cult of devotional service. One has to water the bhakti-lata-bija after receiving instructions from the spiritual master.
upajiya bade lata ’brahmanda’ bhedi’ yaya
’viraja’ ’brahma-loka’ bhedi’ ’para-vyoma’ paya
upajiya—being cultivated; bade—increases; lata—the creeper of devotional service; brahmanda—the whole universe; bhedi’-penetrating; yaya—goes; viraja—the river between the spiritual world and the material world; brahma-loka—the Brahman effulgence; bhedi’-penetrating; para-vyoma—the spiritual sky; paya—attains.
"As one waters the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually increases to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Viraja River between the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence, and, penetrating through that stratum, it reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vrndavana.
A creeper generally takes shelter of a big tree, but the bhakti-lata, being the creeper of spiritual energy, cannot take shelter of any material planet, for there is no tree on any material planet that the bhakti-lata creeper can utilize for shelter. In other words, devotional service cannot be utilized for any material purpose. Devotional service is meant only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes men with a poor fund of knowledge maintain that bhakti can be applied to material things also. In other words, they say that devotional service can be rendered to one’s country or to the demigods, but this is not a fact. Devotional service is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is beyond this material range. There is a river, or causal ocean, between the spiritual and material natures, and this river is free from the influence of the three modes of material nature; therefore it is called Viraja. The word vi means vigata (completely eradicated), and rajah means “the influence of the material world.” On this platform, a living entity is completely free from material entanglement. For the jnanis who want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, there is brahma-loka. Bhakti-lata, however, has no shelter in the material world, nor has it shelter in brahma-loka, although brahma-loka is beyond the material world. The bhakti-lata increases until it reaches the spiritual sky, where Goloka Vrndavana is situated.