The genuine approach for Radha Kunda Bath

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By Madhavendu das SSM (Vrindavan – IN) - 30.7 2018

The author of NOI, Srila Rupa goswami gave us Upadesamrta to guide our activities and following the instructions we can become pure Vaisnavas. Vaisnavas are otherwise known as Goswamis. Go-means “the senses”, and swami means “the master”. Unless one controls his senses and mind can’t become a Goswami. Also the devotees are referred to as acyuta gotra. The lord is called as Krishna never falls, thus, when we revive our spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness, we never fall again to material existence. Srila Prabhupada instructed us not to jump over the instructions of previous acharyas to Radha kunda bhava unless one is a liberated person. The first requirements is to be acyuta -not falling down from the standard of pure devotional service to the platform of mundane rasa. This is the import of the first instruction of Upadeshamrta.

Srimati Radhaka’s kunda is as precious to Krishna as Sri Radhika Herself, and, above all gopis, Sri Radha is Krishna’s most beloved. Her divine Kunda is described by great sages as similarly dear to Krishna. Once Srila Prabhupada gave assent and guidelines how to take bath in the Radha Kunda: with utmost reverence and respect. While devotees were taking bath, a number of them begun to sport, splash and behave frivolously. Seeing this, Srila Prabhupada became furious and banned his disciples from bathing in Radha Kunda. We can understand Srila Prabhupada’s anger had to do with the neophyte attitude of an enjoying spirit, offensive to Srimati Radharani. The conclusion is that we should adopt the serious, mature, reverential mood desired by the acaryas and visit Radha Kundafor our eternal, spiritual benefit.

Therefore we are called Rupanigas, following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. In the first Verse if NOI, he instructed us to become master of the senses as opposed to the servant of the senses. One should become a goswami and tolerate the urge to speak (vaco begam) the minds demands (manasah begam), the actions of anger (kridha begam) the urge of ttonge, belly and genitals (jihva, udar, upastha begam). This means one should engage all his senses, 24 hours a day in the loving devotional service of the Lord just like Maharaja Ambarish.

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami mentions

ätmendriya-préti-väïchä-täre bali ‘käma’ kåñëendriya-préti-icchä dhare ‘prema’ näma

The desire to gratify one’s own senses is käma [lust], but the desire to please the senses of Lord Kåñëa is prema [love].

When one is free from selfish motivation and is completely engaged just to satisfy the Lords senses bereft of all tinges and awe and reverence, then he is situated in pure love of God. Hence he is favorably situated to see Radha Kunda as it actually is. Otherwise one is not qualified and merely sees it as a body of water like any other rural Indian scene. The esoteric depths of Radha Kunda are easily underestimated in our conditional state. And if one tries to penetrate her mysteries without the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, it bears devastating results.

Even those following Bhakti, duly initiated and following the regulative principles as outlined by the Srila Prabhupada can’t truly inter into Radha Kunda unless they have proper Adhikara. What could be the answer why great sages like Narada Muni could not bath in her waters? Were they unable to work out an Indian bus timetable even though they can range beyond the precincts of the material univers? No, more that merely following the regulative principles (what to speak of not following the regulative principles) there is issue of the mercy of The divine couple, which can only be given by Their causeless mercy, since it is Their’s to possess, and never taken and attained by mere rules and regulations of other methods. It is only those fortunate souls that have received such mercy that can actually bathe in the water of Radha Kunda-pure unmotivated devotional service bereft of awe and reverence that is not even found in Vaikuntha. Even Goddess Laksmi was unable to enter in to the esoteric pastimes of Vrindavan after performing austerities for many thousands of years. We should seriously ask ourselves what is our qualification in light of the endeavors of such great personalities before we display some wet hairs on the head as evidence that we have bathed in Radha Kunda. It is due to this tendency for spiritual immaturity that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said that if one prematurely tries to enter into Radha Kunda, one will instead be entering into the understanding of Naraka Kunda.

Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami’s life is exemplary to living in Radha-Kunda. He was very strict in the matter of following the regulative principles. While he was staying in Radha Kunda, he was eating a little butter after two or three days. He was also a very rich man’s son, raised in an atmosphere bereft of any material inconvenience. Yet in the renounced life style he was living very frugally, and not only chanting prescribed number of rounds, but paying a prescribed number of obeisances, circumnutating Radha Kunda. Apart from having realized his svarupa as a manjari, he also had his mind and senses well under control.

This is the symptoms of receiving the mercy of the Lord as sung by Narottam das thakur. viñaya chäriyä kabe çuddha ha ‘be mana kabe häma herabo çré-båndäbana

When my mind is completely purified, being freed from material anxieties and desires, then I shall be able to understand Våndävana and the conjugal love of Rädha and Kåñëa, and then my spiritual life will be successful.

One who has even a slight trace of Visaya, sense gratifications is unable to enter in to the transcendental love between Radha and Krishna that Radha Kunda embodies. So, the questions arises will bathing in Radha kunda accelerate the peace of the aspiring Sadhaka’s spiritual love. Srila Narottam das Thakur gives further advice in this regard by telling us: ahaìkäre matta hoiyä, nitäi-pada päsariyä asatyere satya kori mäni nitäiyer koruëä habe, braje rädhä-kåñëa päbe dharo nitäi-caraëa du’khäni

Being maddened after false prestige and identification with the body, one is thinking, Oh, what is Nityänanda? What can He do for me? I don’t care. The result is that he is accepting something false to be truth. If you actually want to approach the association of Rädhä-Kåñëa, you must first achieve the mercy of Lord Nityänanda. When He is merciful toward you, then you will be able to approach Rädhä-Kåñëa. Therefore you should firmly grasp the lotus feet of Lord Nityänanda.

A realized understanding of the Lord Nityanada grants the aspiring Sadhaka the hope that one day they will be bereft of Ahankara, false ego. False ego is an automatic disqualifications for entering Vaikuntha, what to speak of Radha Kunda. Sei pasu bada duracar-under the influence of false ego one is just like an animal. In questioning our level of spiritual advancement we should ask ourselves have we received the mercy of Lord Nityananda, Do the sense objects agitate our senses?

The most common answer amongst souls who scrutinize themselves honestly will be “yes”. Understanding our position Srila Prabhupada has outlined a process for devotional service for all of us to follow. If physically taking bath in Radha-Kunda (which is as easy as negotiating a transport systems) grants all perfections why did Srila Prabhupada elaborate on the performance of so many rules and regulations and preaching engagements for his disciples? What is the value of Sadhana? The answer is that this is the means to get the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, by whose mercy our tendencies for sex, money and false prestige are annihilated and the path of devotional service turns into a never ending, feast that stokes the transcendental senses more and more.

Srila Prabhupada writes in the preface of Upadeshamrta, which is basically the purport for the first verse: “In all spiritual affairs, one’s first duty is to control his mind and senses. Unless one controls his mind and senses, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guëa, by following the instructions of Rüpa Gosvämé, and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed.”

This first verse of NOI is and an analysis of Sattva Guna, which enjoys a mundane classification. Srila Prabhupada explains however that sattva guna, practiced under the auspicious of Bhakti, reveals what the practitioner is required to do next in spiritual life. There is the analogy that to catch a plane one must first go to the airport. There is no value in trying to hail down the plane from the streets. Similarly one must first be situated on the platform of sattva to enter into Visuddha Sattva. This is the path of Sadhana siddhi as outlined by the acaryas. It may not be applicable to those who are Kripa Siddhas or nitya Siddhas, but then their numbers are exclusive. There is no question of “becoming” a nitya siddha (since they were never touched by the material energy to begin with) and those aspiring to be a Kripa siddha remain helpless in their desires unless they adopt a path to attain that mercy, which is where is the feet of the aspiring Sadhana Siddhi are situated.

On the path of Sadhana Siddhi one understands that there is no question of entering into purified goodness from passion and ignorance. Sattva Guna enables us to actually hear the instructions of Guru, Sadhu and Sastra. So for many of us it is not so much a questions of “who is going to give me Krishna prema” but perhaps ” who is going to give me anartha nivritti”, ” who is going to give me bhajan kriya” and maybe “who is going to give me Sadhu Sanga”. That is, “whao is going to give me the mercy to control my mind and senses?”

When the question of Adhikara arises, book knowledge will not help us.

One who is not prepared to practice injunctions prescribed in the sastras cannot be a good man simply by book knowledge.(purport-1.13.31)

The only question that Krishna will ask us at the time of death is how much attachment we have for Him (BG-8.6). All the austerities, rules and regulations and visiting tirthas is meant to further this aim of developing attachment to Krishna’s name form qualities and pastimes. The primary characteristic for such a state of mind is the ability to control his mind. That is, left to its own devices, where does the mind wander? If one comes away from Radha kunda without feeling a genuine awakening of attachment for Krishna, one should question where he actually was and if his mind and senses are under control as described in the first verse of Upadeshamrita. Is one a goswami level of spiritual advancement, particularly in regard to the mind and senses, and decide whether they will approach the bank of Radha Kunda reverentially, careful not place their feet within her sacred waters, while sprinkling a few drops on their head, or, does one have a confidence that they will not fall down from the standard of pure devotional service in any circumstances (acyuta), and bathe in her waters just like a gopi.

Hare Krishna!