Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada
Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj
Akinchan Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj
Avadhuta Ramesh Babaji Maharaj
Memories of Srila Prabhupada
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(C) 1995 by Richard S. Brown
All rights reserved.
Manasa Seva: Service In Mind
By Richard Shaw Brown
Dandavats! Vande gurun isha bhaktan!!
First let me state that I am a fallen soul with no idea about my spiritual identity. But still my eternal identity is there, as my true svarupa. It does not need to be concocted or created from nothing.
Some devotees who are still stuck within the material concept (prakrita bhaktas) may have been given some 11 fold siddha-pranali information to meditate on. But that doesn't mean they have realized the information as their self. It is only academic and perhaps a mental concoction. So the following 3 points are required in order to actually realize our nitya svarupa who''red until we pass beyond prakrita buddhi.
Fully familiarize your selves with the asta-kaliya-lila that Paramahansa Srila Bhakti Vedanta Goswami Prabhupada allowed me to put into the sloka 10 translation of Sri Upadesamrita or his Nectar of Instruction.
1) A SIKSHA GURU CAN BE SIDDHA-PRANALI GURU: The aspirant to self (svarupa) realization must not limit them self to only one external manifestation of Guru-tattva in his search for the realized soul, Guru-shakti, who can actually see through our material covering and thereby inform us of our true identity. ("antaryami bhakta-srestha aay dui rupa" CC) ---Therefore, "Vande Gurun."
2) KNOW & PRACTICE: This knowledge is then to be cultivated by manasa-seva, within the bona fide confines of our Gaudiya "asta-kaliya-lila" information which Srila Prabhupada himself told me is the REAL NITYA-LILA DETAIL. The details of these possible to enter lila's are given by Srila Kaviraj Goswami and others, and they constitute the absolute truth. By using our revealed svarupa information we can imagine or visualize the spiritual world as it is for the Gaudiya bhaktas or Goloka Vraja-dhama. One then pictures (her) self as taking part. In this meditation there is no limit to the items and service which can be performed under the guidance of our dearly beloved siddha-pranali guru and the other revealed nitya-parishad's within this initially mental domain.
3) ATTRACTION MAKES PERFECT: This type of mental service cannot be maintained with out a natural attraction to that mental domain combined with intense concentration. If concentration is not 100% then the whole scene becomes hazy and can disappear. But luckily this is spiritual life so the domain and service can be regained instantly with a further plunge into one's 100% concentration mode. I used to do this while chanting in Vraja. Each session got better and more clear and I was no longer counting my rounds, just chanting non-stop. Concentration on the bona fide lila's combined with active mental service will bring about attachment to that manasa or mental domain and a growing attraction to participate in one or more of the 8 Nitya-lila periods will be natural.
Srila Vana Maharaj, for example, eternally resides as Kunda Latika Manjari within the Divine Couples "pratham-yam" (1st part) early morning lila*. (Srila Vana Maharaja's nitya-sambandha is revealed as being directly under Kamala-Nayana Manjari (Srila Saraswati Prabhupada), Kamala Manjari (Srila Bhaktivinode) and Rupa/Rati under Srimati Lalita Sakhi. He is fixed and fully satisfied with that part of the lila only**. But with no material limits the satisfaction of serving in even one period can (and will) be ever-fresh and ever increasingly blissful. Such mental service is fully accepted by Radha Krishna, even more than service done with the material body (like dressing the Deities in the temple here in Maya) because it requires bona fide and total concentration or 'dira-caitanya'. This sincere practice (but not to gain pratista!?) will simply expand and grow until IT becomes more attractive and less of a hassle that action performed by the body in this jada-samsara. It grows into firmness to operate within, then taste, attachment, bhava, and finally prema when the devotee has no desire to leave his manasa-seva state of Krishna consciousness.
Of course this special bhajan is only meant for devotees who have over come unwanted material or mental obstacles. Also, too much association of the prakrta bhakta's will pull one down from such ever-increasing attachment to service within meditation. And having once tasted such bona fide mental service, one can experience discomfort in the association of the prakrita bhakta's, who will promote material duality and drag one back into karma-misra-bhakti.
Dear devotees, I have never spoken about this before, so please don't take it as sahajia, i.e., those who think they are already liberated without even a clue of their spiritual self identity. I most certainly DO NOT know my eternal Sthayi-bhava soul-identity' and I do NOT think myself even remotely freed from Maya. I am completely in ignorance!
But I HAD once tasted an atom of a drop of pure-bhakti rasa by the mercy of my SadGuru Srila Bhakti Hridaya Vana (Bon) Maharaj, Ph.D., D.D.; so I say, try now before death so that your understanding of Nitya-lila and serving without a material body will have already become attractive to your heart and you will simply enter at death a state of consciousness which you are already familiar with and even attracted too.
Once, on the order of Srila Vana Maharaj, Akinchan Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj picked out a stone from Govardhan and handed it to me. Later, while worshipping that shila, I was starting to practice 'manasa-seva' (mental service) while offering bhoga. I was NEVER given any kind of siddha-pranali information, rather I was told by Srila Vana Maharaj not to try and visualize myself; rather just visualize the bona fide lila descriptions of the Divine Couple. As for my seva I was told to only "visualize my delicate hands" when performing service, and otherwise be an observer of the bona fide revealed Lilas.
After about 6 months of this practice, one day a Vrindavana monkey came into my room during my chanting/meditation and knocked the Govardhan shila onto the floor. Srila Vana Maharaj was perturbed to hear about this accident, and he ordered me to immediately place the shila into the temple. And I stopped trying for manasa-bhajan while in my prakrita-bhakta condition which continues even now.
Still, we should KNOW
Fully familiarize your selves with the asta-kaliya-lila that Paramahansa Srila Bhakti Vedanta Goswami Prabhupada allowed me to put into the sloka 10 translation of Sri Upadesamrita or his Nectar of Instruction. That is the only place you will find it positively mentioned in the his VedaBase.
*Pratham-yama-kirtanam : Chanting during the first period: (3:22 a.m. to 5:46 a.m.)---By Paramahansa Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami:
ratryante trastavrnderita bahuviravaibedhitau kirasari- paghairrhrdhyairapi sukhasayana dunthitau tau sakhibhih/
drstau hrstau tadatvoditarati-lalitau kakkhatigih sasamkau radha-krishnau satrsnavapi nija-nijadhamnyapta talpau smarami//
ratryante --at the close of night; trasta --afraid; vrnda --vrndadevi; irita urged; bahuviravai --with many chirping tunes; bodhitau --awakened; kira saripaghai --by poems of parrots and mynas; api --also; sukhasayanat --from happy sleep; utthitau --got up; tau --they both; sakhibhih by female friends; drstau --seen; hrstau --happy; tadatva --of that time; udita-rati-lilatau --attractive on account of profound love; kakkhati-gih-sasamkau --suspicious about the voice pronounced by a she-monkey; radha-krsnu --Radha and Krishna; api --also; satrsnau --having desire; nija-nija-dhamni --in Their respective residences; apta-talpau --occupying the beds; smarami --I remember.
"I remember Radha and Krishna at the close of night. Vrnda, who was attending Them, was not happy at that moment, knowing that before dawn the Divine Couple would separate Themselves. However, she did her duty.
She prompted the parrot and the myna to sing many pleasing songs. These songs awakened Radha and Krishna, who rose from Their bed of bliss.
Their female friends observed Them looking very charming because of the deep love and affection They shared at that time. Both were suspicious about the voice of a she-monkey, and although They desired to continue Their mutual association They left that place for Their own residences, where They occupied Their own beds."
Om Tat Sat