Anarth Nivritti (part 5) | Sri Vinod Babaji Maharaj

There are four types of practitioners of Bhakti. Sthul, Pravartak, Sadhak and Siddha. Sthul means the one who is largely attached to the body, worldly things and the material pleasures of the world. He is attached to his wife, children and family, and accumulating wordly things for the pleasure of his family is the only definition of Dharma for him. He is happy in their happiness and sad in their sadness. He is not interested in knowing whether there is anything above and beyond this. (He is performing external actions of Bhakti like puja and arati, but all his actions are performed for material pleasures only, and is not interested in actual devotion to Krishna). When this Sthul bhakta gets the association of a highly enlightened sadhu, his life changes. He understands what a big mistake he has committed. For eternity, he has been captured in the cycle of life and death, burning in the fire of material pleasures, drinking the poison of material pleasures thinking them to be nectar, mistaking pain to be happiness and doing all kinds of evil and wrong actions in search of this so-called 'happiness'.


 Who knows what kind of actions we have done through all these innumerable births? We have made a grave mistake. First, this body is temporary and second, the world is void of happiness. In Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta, Krishna says, O Arjun, this world is Anityam (temporary) and Asukham (void of happiness). The devotee realises this through satsanga, but is unable to detach himself from material desires. The fight between the material and the spiritual has begun. The devotee sometimes performs actions of Bhakti with great enthusiasm, and sometimes procrastinates thinking he would complete his rounds the next day. The next day he still procrastinates the daily rounds to the 'next' day. This way sometimes he does bhajan, sometimes he doesn't (because there was such and such problem in life). But he has some interest in devotion to Krishna. This is called Pravartak.


In the beginning of this state of Pravartak, the Dushkriti jata Anarthas create hurdles in the path of the devotee. People around him feel he is not taking care of them so much as before, or they wonder why he is not excited about the material pleasures he was mad about before. The endless problems and demands of material life angers him and he deepens his bhajan as he becomes indifferent to them. Sometimes, they might lose hope and enthusiasm, and think 'let them do bhajan, whoever wants to. I am tired of this.' This way the devotee gets disillusioned sometimes. But one who is devoted to the lotus feet of Sri Gurudev does not lose hope. Sri Gurudev inspires the disciple to accept all challenges and continue progressing in the path of Bhakti with all their mind, body and speech focused.


Then comes the stage of Sadhak. When the devotee becomes more and more indifferent to the worldly matters, he realises that this world is full of miseries and it is not possible to get into deeper bhajan or become detached from friends and relatives while living amidst materialistic people. Then he naturally starts getting irritated when people want to talk about material matters with him. The friends and relatives who seemed so near and dear once, they seem like enemies and hurdles of Bhakti now. The material things that gave pleasure once, seem like poison now. In this way, he becomes more and more detached from the world and starts praying for living in Braj Dham, in association of sadhus and other devotees. He yearns to forsake everything and live in Braj, eating a couple of Chapatis as Madhukari from the Brajwasis and performing bhajan in solitude.


When such a Sadhak bhakta progresses in bhajan and purifies his soul to achieve the divine love and eternal service of Krishna, he is called a Siddha bhakta.


Different types of anarthas come to Sthul, Pravartak, Sadhak and Siddha bhaktas. Sthul and Pravartak bhaktas experience Dushkriti Jata Anartha. When the sadhak leaves Grihastha ashram to live in Braj Dham, he experiences Sukriti Jata Anartha. Maya devi thinks that this sadhak could not be bound in worldly illusions or problems, so let's bind him in comfort and satvik pleasures, fame and glory, money and power (like that of a Mahant of an ashram). Deluded by Maya, the sadhak's body performs devotional activities but mentally, he resides in worldly pleasures. Actually, in numerous births we have done good deeds but with the desire of receiving mundane happiness, fame and glory. Now, though you have become a devotee with the desire of achieving divine love for Radha Krishna, the fruits of those actions will come to you to enjoy, whether you want them or not. Since a jivatma is naturally attracted to enjoyment, he might get trapped in the snare of these comforts, fame and glory, which are only hurdles in the path of Bhakti. Only few sadhaks who are earnestly devoted to Guru and Radha Krishna and don't desire material pleasures at all, can overcome these Anarthas. 99.9% sadhaks get trapped in comforts and pleasures. The mind which should be devoted to the contemplation of Radha Krishna gets trapped in worries about building religious institutions and temples, collecting money for their administration, bringing fame and glory to such institutions, etc. Eating fine preparations of food, wearing nice clothes, sleeping on soft bed, not able to endure even a mosquito bite, how can one immerse oneself in contemplation of Radha Krishna?


A Siddha bhakta is one who has attained Prem bhakti. It is the stage where the bond between Prakriti and the Vishuddha satva (the supreme stage of purified consciousness) has broken and the qualities of Prakriti can not manifest in the devotee anymore. But a little before this stage, when the devotee experiences divine manifestations of love like crying, shaking, getting goose bumps, etc, Bhakti Jata Anartha comes to push him off track. A devotee tries to hide them from public, but overwhelming waves of love make him helpless. But the materialistic people cannot understand the storm of divine love and emotions happening in the devotee's heart. At the same time, the eight kinds of Siddhis (divine powers) and other Dev Maya (attempts by Devtas to deter the devotee by illusive methods) come to tempt the devotee. So, at one hand, the devotee is offered divine powers like whatever he says would come true, he could grant people their desires by will, etc, and on the other hand, people plead to him to save them from all kinds of problems and bless them to enjoy comforts and good health. Since it sounds like social welfare and is satvik in nature, the devotee (who is naturally compassionate in nature) might get trapped in this Dev Maya. Actually, everyone experiences fruits of their own actions and the devotee should not interfere with the natural system of justice created by Sri Bhagavan. Sometimes, they pray to Radharani for others' welfare and the divine powers (which really belongs to Radha Krishna) serve of themselves. But a devotee should never dare to use them according to himself.


The selfish materialistic people think if this Baba makes me his disciple, all my sorrows and problems will go away. A person with a difficult disease thinks if Baba blesses me, my health will be restored. If Baba sets foot in my factory, I will become rich. The Baba has not been worshipping Radha Krishna and facing all kinds of hurdles for this! But the selfish people don't see anything other than their selfish motives. Then there are sadhaks who think that if Baba blesses me, I will be able to achieve a high stage of consciousness and Bhakti without any trouble. All these people are really lazy people who want to avoid trouble. They neither have real faith in sadhus nor are earnest seekers of Prem Bhakti. If the compassionate devotee makes them his disciples, they will only harass him with pleads and prayers. He doesn't want anything from them, neither did he call anyone to show his high consciousness, but since his Bhakti became publicly known, he experiences such Bhakti Jata Anartha. They don't let him immerse in the contemplation of Radha Krishna or do bhajan.


This is why devotees should take great care to hide their Bhakti. They should not let anyone know how much love they feel for their Ishta. Also, they must hide any manifestations of divine experiences or emergence of loving traits like crying, shaking, getting goosebumps, etc. Many sadhus act like normal materialistic people or even deceptive people to hide their Bhakti.


One such highly enlightened sadhu was Shri Ramdas Kathiya Babaji Maharaj. He lived in Vrindavan. His disciple who later came to be known as Shri Sant Das Kathiya Babaji Maharaj, was a lawyer in the High court of Kolkata. With the mercy of Radha Krishna, he became detached from the material world and wanted to find only a Siddha sant to accept him as his Guru. Once, he visited the Kumbh Mela at Prayag and enquired the devotees and sadhus about who was a really Siddha bhakta. Many people told him about Shri Vijay Krishna Goswami ji. When he met Goswamiji, they developed friendship like childhood friends. Though he knew Goswamiji was a Siddha bhakta but could not think of him as his Guru. So he asked Goswamiji about whom he should accept as Guru. Goswamiji took him to Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba, who was sitting on his Mahant seat in his tent. After offering him his obeisance, Sant Das Baba talked with the other disciples of Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba. They told him that Baba has now decided not to give initiation anymore. Sant Das Baba was very sad and heartbroken to hear this. He started lamenting in his mind "Who will give me initiation? Will I never find a Guru in this life? Will this life go waste? Is there nobody to give me shelter and guidance?" Suddenly, he heard Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba (who was looking straight ahead) saying, "No, no, if I find an earnest disciple, I can still give initiation. Do not worry." Sant Das Baba was amazed. Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba seems to answer his question. How did he know what he was thinking in his mind? Only a Siddha sant can know another person's thoughts. Then he thought it was not the right place (other people might also ask for initiation but Baba wanted to give initiation to only a selected few), he should wait and meet him in Vrindavan. Again, Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba (still looking straight ahead) said, "Yes, yes, come and meet me in Vrindavan. I will give initiation there. That would be best." Sant Das Baba was still more amazed. He became certain that he had reached the right person and need not look any further for a Guru.


After the Kumbh Mela, Ram Das Kathiya Babaji Maharaj went back to his ashram in Vrindavan. Sant Das Baba, still a lawyer, went to meet him there. But on reaching his ashram, he saw the scene was totally different from that of Kumbh Mela. Shri Ram Das Kathiya Baba would sit with thieves, dacoits and the most materialistic kind of people in his ashram and smoke (Chilam) from dawn to dusk. He would talk only of money and criticise expressly those who didn't offer him any money. If anyone came to ask any spiritual questions, he would scare them away. He would lament, "The businessman who came today was useless. The one who came yesterday was good, atleast gave me 25 paise. These disciples of mine are all useless devils. They don't earn and bring a single paisa for me, only sit and eat. Prices of things are increasing everyday. How will I run my ashram? I am so worried!"


Sant Das Baba was shocked and thought he had definitely been deceived at Kumbh Mela. This sadhu is not at all a Siddha bhakta and talks nothing about Bhakti whatsoever. He even ignores the sadhus who visit him occasionally and talks animatedly with the thieves and sinners. Heartbroken, he returned to Kolkata without meeting or talking with Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba at all. At night, lying down on a cot on his house's terrace, he thought, "It is the fault of my lack of fortune. What should I do? Will I never find my Guru?" At that instant, he saw two spheres of light in the sky. They were becoming bigger and bigger. After sometime, two illuminated figures could be seen in their place. As they came nearer, Sant Das Baba saw Shri Vijay Krishna Goswami ji Maharaj and Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba. On reaching the terrace, but still standing in the space, Shri Ramdas Kathiya Baba said, "Do you believe in me, now? Do you have anymore doubts? Come to Vrindavan soon. I will give you initiation." Such a Siddha bhakta and such a behaviour like a deceptive person to hide himself!


There was another devotee from Ranbari who acted like this. He would seldom talk or meet with anyone. I sometimes visited his kutir with a box of sweets or something to offer. Once, I was going to his kutir when a Brajwasi mother asked me if I was going to that Baba. I said yes. She said, "Oh, he is a very dangerous baba." I asked her why she said so. She said, "He makes the villagers quarrel with each other. The other day, one villager went to pay his obeisances to him, and the Baba told him that another villager had come to him and said many wrong things about him (the villager). He was furious to hear so and immediately went to that villager to ask him why he had said such wrong things about him. The other villager was surprised and told him he hadn't said anything of the kind. Both of them went back to the Baba to ask who was saying the truth. Baba was standing at the gate of his kutir with a stick and saying, 'Don't you dare come to me. Go away!' Such is his behaviour. That's why we don't go to him anymore." The sadhu led a very austere life. He wore only Kaupin, whether it was summer or winter. If I offered him a cloth, it would disappear after five minutes and he would remain bare bodied with only Kaupin. He kept a broken radio and a box of cigarettes with him. If anybody came to see him thinking he was a good sadhu and ask spiritual questions, he would tell them to sit and then he would light a cigarette and smoke while searching endlessly for a radio station (it was broken, so it would only make buzzing noises). Most people would lose faith and leave, believing him to be a fraud. (Siddha bhaktas know who is an earnest seeker of the path of Bhakti. Unfortunately, many people have the habit of visiting sadhus and asking them spiritual questions, while doing no bhajan at all. The devotees don't want to waste their time on such people who don't have respect for the time and hard earned spiritual experience of a sadhu. But they would certainly bless a sadhak who is hungry for spiritual enlightenment.)


This is how the four kinds of Anarthas pester the devotee in the path of Bhakti. Only one who is devoted to the Lotus feet of Guru and Radha Krishna, and is able to overcome his material desires and inclinations, progress in the path of Bhakti and attain Prem Bhakti. Most of the Dushkriti Jata Anartha are experienced in the Anartha Nivritti stage of a sadhak. The rest continue to pester him right till he attains Prem Bhakti and the bond between Prakriti and the Vishuddha satva is broken. Siddha bhaktas, sometimes, accept the difficult Anarthas of their devoted disciples and other devotees out of compassion and to further hide their Bhakti. That's why we can see many Siddha bhaktas suffering disasters and incurable diseases, but actually they don't affect their immersion in the nectar of the pastimes of Radha Krishna.

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