Dhanurdhara Swami July 14th, 2005
The Glories of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami Part IV
Lesson 38: A Vaisnava is quite satisfied to be the servant of the servant of the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord.
“Raghunatha dasa never even spoke a word before the Lord. Instead, he informed the Lord of his desires through Svarupa Damodar Goswami and Govinda.” Antya-lila 6.230
Lesson 39: Although a Vaisnava is humble and will gladly, if necessary, takes his main instructions from others, even from advanced god-siblings, it is not wrong to want to hear directly from spiritual master, as one’s strongest faith usually rests there.
Although on the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunatha dasa accepted instructions from Svarupa Damodara Goswami, and thus did not place his questions directly before the Lord, still on one occasion he did:
“The next day, Svarupa Damodara Goswami submitted to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘Raghunatha dasa has this to say at Your lotus feet. I do not know my duty or the goal of life. Therefore please personally give me instructions from your transcendental mouth.'” Anyta-lila 6.232
Lesson 40: A sannyasi’s devotional practices and their renunciation should be exemplary
Sri Caitanya answers Raghunatha’s inquiry about his duty:
“‘Do not talk like people in general or hear what they have to say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely. Do not expect honor, but offer respects to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Krishna, and within your mind render service to Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana.” Antya-lila 6.236-237
Lesson 41: To get taste for chanting one must be humble.
After instructing Raghunatha dasa about the duties of sannyasa, He gives him one final instruction:
“‘One who thinks himself Lower than grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.'” Antya-lila 6.239
Lesson 42: If one pleases the devotees, one’s heart becomes fertile for the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
When the devotees from Bengal returned from Puri, Raghunatha dasa’s father asks about the welfare of his son. Sivananda Sen informs him through his servant that Raghunatha dasa is renowned for his devotion and strict sannyasa, and that he is indeed the life of all the devotees. Srila Krishna das Kaviraja notes that a similar description of Raghunatha is found in the Sri Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka of Kavi-karnapura.
“Because he is very pleasing to all the devotees, Raghunatha dasa Goswami easily became like the fertile earth of good fortune in which it was suitable for the seed by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be sown. At the same time that the seed was sown, it grew into a matchless tree of the love of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and produced fruit.” Antya-lila 6.264 [Sri Caitanya-cadrodaya-nataka (10.4)]
Lesson 43: If one collects money from materialist people even for the service of the Lord, there is certainly a danger of contamination. As a result one may use that money for the enhancement of one’s reputation in the guise of devotional service.
Raghunatha dasa used money sent by his father to feed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Vaisnavas, but then suddenly stopped inviting the devotees fearing that it would be contaminating and not pleasing to the Lord.
“‘My consciousness is impure because I accept all these goods from people who are interested only in pounds, shillings, and pence. Therefore by this kind of invitation I get only some material reputation.'” Antya-lila 6.275
Comment: In his commentary on this verse, Srila Prabhupada explains that this verse is a warning to not accept the invitations of materialistic people who only invite Vaisnavas to their home to increase their reputation. Not only do such programs not give the host the benefit of serving the devotees, but it potentially contaminates the honored Vaisnavas attending as well. Srila Prabhupada explains, however, that “If one engages for the service of the Lord whatever one has honestly earned, that is spiritual service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas.”
Lesson 44: One engaged in serious spiritual practices has to be careful in accepting food cooked by the materially attached. It will adversely affect one’s consciousness.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu hears that Raghunatha das Goswami has stopped inviting the devotees for prasadam as it was sponsored by materialistic people He is very pleased and explains why:
“When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one’s mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Krishna properly.” Antya-lila 6.278
“When one accepts an invitation from a person contaminated by the material mode of passion, the person who offers food and the person who accepts it are both mentally contaminated.” Antya-lila 6.279
Lesson 45: A Vaisnava should be neutral in his dealings.
When Govinda informs Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the reason why Raghunatha dasa is no longer begging at the Simha-dvara, the Lord inquires about this from Svarupa Damodar:
“Svarupa Damodar replied, ‘Raghunatha dasa felt unhappy standing at the Simha-dvara. Therefore he is now going at midday to beg alms from the charity booth.’ Hearing this news, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, ‘He has done very well by no longer standing at the Simha-dvara gate. Such begging of arms resembles a prostitute.'” Antya-lila 6.283-284
Comment: A Vaisnava’s dealings with others should be on the basis of serving them, not materially benefit from others, otherwise their neutrality is compromised. Sri Caitanya thus aptly describes begging as resembling prostitution which also fosters partiality in relationships based only on money.
Lesson 46: A qualified Vaisnava may worship a Govardhana Sila as the transcendental form of the Lord.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Raghunatha dasa, ‘This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krishna. Worship the stone with great eagerness.'” Antya-lila 6.294
Lesson 47: Proper Deity worship must be done in the mode of goodness.
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, ‘Worship the stones in the mode of goodness like a perfect brahmana , for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love of Krsna without delay.'” Antya-lila 6.295
Comment: Passion means attachment, doing things for some result. Worship, however, must be done out of love, not for some result. Worship, or devotional activities, must therefore be done as much as possible in the mode of goodness, without attachment.
Lesson 48: Success in spiritual life is based on the rigid execution of the order of the Spiritual Master.
“Raghunatha dasa spent more than twenty-two hours out of every twenty-four chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra and remembering the lotus feet of the Lord. He ate and slept for less than an hour and a half and on some days that was also impossible.” Antya-lila 6.310
“Topics concerning his renunciation are wonderful. Throughout his life he never allowed his tongue sense gratification.” Antya-lila 6.311
Comment: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Raghuanatha dasa to be an exemplar of Vaisnava sannyasa. He thus took that as his service. His example is thus of the strict adherence to the order of the spiritual master more than the example of performing tapasya. This is described by Kaviraja Goswami in later verses when he describes Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s reaction when he heard that Raghunatha was eating only the inner portion of decomposed rice:
“He never touched anything to wear except a small torn cloth and a patchwork wrapper. Thus he rigidly executed the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” Antya-lila 6.312
Lesson 49: A devotee is humble and naturally magnifies his own faults.
Kavairja Goswami describes Raghunatha dasa Goswami’s self reproach in eating even the simple food distributed from the charity booth.
“If one’s heart has been cleansed by perfect knowledge and one has understood Krishna, The Supreme Brahman, he then gains everything. Why should a person act like a debauchee by trying to maintain his material body very carefully?” Anty- lila 6.314
Comment: Natural humility is not a psychological aberration akin to a lack of self esteem, for a devotee values their position of humble servant and feels self worth in being in relation to God.
Lesson 50: There is nothing the Lord enjoys more than the love of his devotees.
Raghunatha dasa had renounced even begging at the charity booths. He was just eating Jagannatha prasadam that had been thrown before the cows at the simha-dvara gate by the Puri shopkeepers after decomposing.
“Sri Caitanya Mahprabhu said, ‘Of course everyday I eat varieties of prasadam, but I have never tasted such nice prasadam as that which Raghunatha was eating.'” Antya-lila 6.324
Comment: The decomposed prasadam that Raghunatha dasa was eating represented the height of Raghunatha dasa Goswami’s renunciation for the pleasure of Sri Caitanya. As it represented Raghunatha’s faith and love in Sri Caitanya, it was naturally very delectable for Him.