Transformation of our Hearts and Minds

In this post we are continuing our series about the verse vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ cha Viṣṇoḥ from the Temple of Love and Affection.
Thus far we have presented a condensed form of the meaning of vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir according to the conception of the verse expressed by Sriman Mahaprabhu to Pradyumna Misra in his glorification of Srila Ramananda Ray as well as explanations of this verse by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur . Now we are presenting an excerpt from the book Religion of the Heart in which Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj discusses the points both Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur made in relation to vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ cha Viṣṇoḥ.

From Chapter Four of Religion of the Heart

Devotee: Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupad published the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in a summary form as the Krishna books. There he described the Pastimes of Krishna with the gopis. He says if someone reads these Pastimes, or hears about them from a bona fide authority in Krishna consciousness, all that is lusty in his heart will disappear. Could you please explain how this is possible?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes. The shloka you are referring to is this:
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam cha vishnoh
shraddhanvito ’nushrinuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrid-rogam ashv apahinoty achirena dhirah

(Srimad-Bhagavatam: 10.33.39)

“Anyone who with faith hears or describes the Lord’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrindavan will attain the Lord’s pure devotional service. Thus he will quickly become sober and conquer lust, the disease of the heart.”
But there is a serious condition given in this shloka and Srila Prabhupad has explained what that condition is: that it is necessary to hear about Krishna consciousness from a bona fide authority in Krishna consciousness. And when one hears from a bona fide authority, that authority will not at first explain Krishna-lila but will start by trying to turn you into a good “receiver” of those Pastimes. He will prepare you so you can properly receive and understand those Pastimes. When you become a good receiver, or when you are qualified to hear those Pastimes, that authority will explain the Pastimes of Krishna with the gopis. Otherwise you will not be able to understand that supramental theory. It will not come to you in a proper way.
When one receives transcendental knowledge from his Guru and is firm in his faith to his Guru, that person will begin to practice Krishna consciousness…

When one begins to practice Krishna consciousness all his anarthas, or impurities, will leave him. Then he will be able to understand the Pastimes of Lord Krishna. But first his Guru must consider him a qualified candidate, then that spiritual authority will describe the Pastimes of Radha and Krishna—not before. If we hear those Pastimes without being qualified they will destroy our spiritual bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of the creeper of devotion. They will kill us—that is they will destroy our spiritual life of devotion and we will fall into the hellish garbage of sahajiyaism, or imitationism.

There is another shloka in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.30) that describes how Lord Siva can digest an ocean of poison:
naitat samācharej jātu
manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ

vinaśyaty ācharan mauḍhyād
yathārudro ’bdhi-jaṁ viṣam

If one does not hold such a powerful position as Lord Shiva and drinks an ocean of poison, he will be destroyed. The play of the Sweet Absolute is like that, it is beyond the lustful plane of this world. Since we live in the lustful plane it is necessary to cross that plane by our practices. Then we will be able to understand the Pastimes of Radha and Krishna, and transcendental consciousness will appear in us.

Since these are higher level topics, before we can approach them, it is necessary to change our consciousness from material to spiritual consciousness. It is necessary to pass through all the stages and varieties of material consciousness and come to the brahma-bhutah stage and we can do that by devotion. Then we will become qualified to hear the Pastimes of Radha and Krishna and transcendental consciousness will appear within us. If anything wrong remains within us in that plane it is known as a shadow of lust. This will be quickly demolished and very soon we will get clean Krishna-prema, or love, affection and service to Krishna. When our enjoying mood and spirit disappears we will become qualified for the service of the Vraja-gopis. The Srimad-Bhagavatam has given us this caution but one phrase is very important in the above shloka and that is, “the qualified spiritual master.”…

Devotee: My experience is that the lust within me is not disappearing. At times it is suppressed but again it comes back. I think it hasn’t actually disappeared. Is this correct?
Srila Govinda Maharaj:
Yes. It will completely disappear if we can keep ourselves in the plane of service; and the stage by stage process for doing that is given in the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.4.15–16):
adau shraddha tatah sadhu-sango ’tha bhajana-kriya
tato ’nartha-nivrittih syat tato nishtha ruchis tatah

Lust will remain with us up to the plane of ruchi. Ruchi means “taste.” Lust will disappear from our hearts when we become firmly situated in the plane of ruchi. When a special kind of attraction or taste for service to the Lord appears, I will be promoted to that plane of service. Then lust will leave and ruchi will develop. Lust will exist below the standard of ruchi. Sometimes it will come and sometimes it will go, and sometimes it will be suppressed.

Lust has a very sweet name. It is called mano-bhava. Mano-bhava means it takes birth in the mind; it appears in the mind. If the mind is clear, lust will automatically go to Krishna. Lust will not come to your mind…Everyone can understand this if they will try. In the primary stage it is necessary to control lust; and in the final stage it will not appear because Krishna is Reality the Beautiful. All attachment, attraction and service will automatically go to Krishna. Love, affection and everything will go to Krishna and lust will disappear. It will not come again. Before that it will come and go. But don’t be fearful—it will be removed; it will be removed by dharma-buddhi. Lust can be removed by dharma-buddhi, and dharma-buddhi means religious intelligence.

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