2.2 Become My Devotee — Two examples of real sadhakas

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    The discussion on this thread is on the first part of Chapter Two of Nectar of Govinda-lila, pages 22 to 29 in the fourth edition.

    Click here to read this section online.

    Or click here to download the pdf of the second chapter.

    #2575 Reply

    madhukar das

    From pg. 22

    Although he (Bilvamangala Thakura) had some merit from his previous lives, some specific desires for enjoyment still remained in his heart. He kept company with the prostitute Cintamani, who after some time became exclusively interested in Krsna and therefore rejected Bilvamangala. After this he crossed the river to her palace using a dead body for flotation, and used a snake to climb up to her window. She rebuked him, and after that he became renounced. Now having a great desire to meet Krsna, he left his home and began heading towards Vrndavana. Perhaps five days later he stopped at a well to get some water where he saw a young girl, who gave him some water to drink. But he forgot about drinking the water and began gazing at her.

    I read in a conversation by Srila Prabhupada that Bilvamangala Thakura, in his previous life, had reached the stage of bhava just before prema. In his current life he was born in a rich, South Indian brahmana family and he had become so attached to this prostitute that, at the time he went to see her as explained above, he was also supposed to be performing his father’s sraddh ceremony. How is it that a devotee who had reached such a high level, could fall down so low and have such deep anarthas?

    From page 27

    After His forty-eighth year Mahaprabhu left this world. In separation from Him, Raghunatha dasa gave up eating altogether. Day and night he was crying. This is sadhana, and someone who lives like this can be called a sadhaka.

    When there is feelings of separation, then one really begins to advance in their sadhana. The separation of devotees who have a deep relationship with Srila Gurudeva increase more and more in his absence. In an Rays of the Harmonist article entitled Viraha-bhajana, Srila Gurudeva said:

    Those fortunate enough to have taken shelter of a rūpānuga-guru during his manifest presence, experience a constant increase in their attachment to serving him. And after his disappearance, their attachment to him continues to increase many times over. Consequently, the fire of separation from him intensifies day by day; by this alone one’s bhajana remains ever-fresh.

    So we see how important it is for one’s sadhana to have this mood of separation. But what if one is not feeling any separation? Does that make that person hopeless in their sadhana? How can one get this mood?

    #2599 Reply

    Anita dasi

    Reharding Bivalamangal Thakura, I no so disturbed that he was at the stage of bhava and became sinful again in his next birth. Sin is small and temporary compared to aparadha. But what concerns me is he is the only example I have heard of a sadhaka who made it. I poking out one’s eyes the levels we have to go to to make?

    #2600 Reply

    madhukar das

    Haha! That is really scary! Doesn’t give me much hope. I’m sure not ready to poke my eyes out. But I guess that shows us how bhakti is no cheap thing. Bilvamangal Thakura had reached bhava in his previous life, so for him it was possible to make such sacrifice.

    Regarding the second question, I came across a really nice quote from the editorial in an issue of Rays of The Harmonist:

    Why is it so important for a sādhaka to experience separation? In order to give motion to any substance within the material world some energy is needed. For example, with the help of excessive combustion, rockets can carry a space shuttle across all the layers of the atmosphere. Similarly, in the stage of sādhana, the sādhaka will only make advancement when the fire of separation from guru and Kṛṣṇa is present. If properly ignited and blazed in the heart, this fire of separation can even take the jīva beyond the many layers of this material creation to the spiritual world. When the sādhaka associates with a devotee who is already experiencing the intense fire of separation, that fire is ignited within his own heart.

    So what I learn from the last sentence is if I’m not feeling any separation, then I have to associate with devotees who are feeling separation. Their fire of separation will light my fire of separation.

    In my own experience, I find that the time when I really start to feel something on Gurudeva’s disappearance day is when I hear from devotees who have a deep relationship with Srila Gurudeva. Like if I can properly tune in, then their mood begins to affect me.

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