Hare Krsna to All
Glories to Srila Prabhupada
By the mercy of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Prabhupada we have laboriously typed up this following paper taken from a chapter of the Thakurs book entitled Sri Bhaktyaloka-Illuminations on Bhakti.
Prabhupada wanted us to inspect the Acarys teachings from all angles of vision so that we may properly understand all these highly important topics.
This particular paper delves into devotee association and non devotee association and how to prepare oneself for it. That being said, we are again inviting everyone receiving this note to please attend Sri Gaura Purnima Mahotsava on March 19th Saturday-2pm here in Sedro Woolley Wa.
Damaghosa das (also please forgive the many typos within)
Sanga tyaga-giving up non devotee association
There are two types sanga-association an attachment. Association is of two types-with non devotees and with women. Similarly attachment is also two types-attachment for prejudices and attachment for assets.
Those matahmas who wish to attain perfection in Devotional service should carefully give up sanga in the form of association and attachment, otherwise this sanga will gradually ruin everything.
Now let us consider sanga in the form of attachment. Attachments are of two kinds-attachment for prejudices and attachment for assets. First I will discuss the attachment for prejudices. There are two type of prejudices-ancient and current. The conditioned living entity has been performing fruitive activities and endeavoring for knowledge since time immemorial and the prejudices that have developed in his subtle body as a result are called ancient prejudices. Those prejudices are known as ones nature. As stated in BG—the embodied spirit master of the city of his body does not create activities nor does he induce people to act not does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature.”Srila Baladev Vidyabhusana comments-The primordial material desire that is active since time immemorial is called ones nature. Due to such a desire the living entity is supplied with material bodies and other paraphernalia. False identification with the bodies causes one to act and causes others to act although this is not the pure souls real constitution or nature.” Regarding the bondage of prejudices of knowledge the BG says (14.6) O sinless one the mode of goondess being purer than the others is illuminating and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge. Srila Baladev comments-“I am wise, I am happy”. By this pride the living entity is bound by goodness.
Peoples association with karma and jnana is the result of attachment born from the prejudices of ones nature that are produced from past karma and jnana.
From ancient prejudices one develops association with karma and jnana Association with these ancient prejudices is inevitable. Despite all attempts up to suicide one cannot give up ones prejudices.
The prejudices or attachments for good and bad attained in this life due to association are called modern prejudices. Everyone in the world is under the control of these two kinds of prejudices. When a living entity is not bound by maya then by nature he is a servant of Krsna. Being bound by maya a living entity cannot give up ancient and modern wicked prejudices. At that time ancient wicked prejudices become his second nature. Only sadhu sanga can reform the attachment to prejudices. Sadhu sanga is the only remedy for this disease. Unless one reforms his attachments to prejudices, one cannot attain perfection in Devotional service by any means.
SB (3.23.55) states Association for sense gratification is certainly the path of bondage. But the same type of association performed with a saintly person leads to the path of liberation, even if performed without knowledge.”
Due to association with materialistice people the living entity is bound up in the cycle of birth and death. Even if one unknowingly associates with a materialist, the result must come. And if one unknowlingly associates with a real sadhu he attains freedom from material association.
In SB 11.12.1-2 it says-The Supreme Personality of Godhead said My dear Uddhava by associating with my pure devotees one can destroy ones attachment for all objects of material sense gratification. Such purifying association brings Me under the control of My devotee…..”
Association with prejudices is very dangerous. By affectionately associating with pure devotees of the Lord ones association with prejudices in the form of karma and jnana is destroyed. Due to this association with prejudices a living entites propensity for ignorance and passion becomes stronger. Whatever propensities for goodness passion and ignorance are seen in peoples eating sleeping and sensual activites are all due to association with prejudices. Karmis and jnanis disrespect Vaisnvavas only due to this attachment for prejudices. Until the attachment for prejudices is destroyed the ten offenses in chanting will not be uprooted.
One should never associate with materialistic persons for by doing so all ones assets are lost and he falls from his position.
It has been seen that many fortunate souls have given up attachment for prejudices by association of pure Vaisnvas. From the scriptures it is well know that by the association of Narada muni the hunter mrgari and Rathakara (Valmiki) attained auspiciousness. The foremost instruction of Ramanujacarya is this-If you cannot purify yourself by any endeavor whatsoever then just sit with the Vaisnavas and you will achieve all auspiciousness. By observing the pure characteristics of a devotee in a very short time a persons mind is changed and his attachment for sense enjoyment decreases and the seedling of bhakti sprouts in his heart.
By observing a Vaisnavas quality of not uselessly wasting time many people have easily given up anarthas such as laziness, oversleeping, useless talk, urge of speech, etc. We have also seen that by associating with Vaisnavas for sometime someones cheating propensity and desire for fame have been destroyed. We have seen with our own eyes that by associating with Vaisnavas with a little affection all other association such as attachment for prejudice has been vanquished. Those who are attached to winning fights, those who are expert at attaining dominion those who are eager to accumulate great wealth, all such types of people have attained Devotional service by being purified in the association of Vaisnvas. Without the association of Vaisnvas there is no alternative for rectifying the attachment for prejudices.
One should carefully give up attachment for material assets. People in general have spontaneous attachment for house household paraphernalia- clothes ornaments, wealth, wife, and childrens health. their own health, eatables, trees, and animals. Some people are so addicted to smoking ,chewing pan, eating fish , and drinking alcohol that their practice of spiritual life is obstructed. Many people do not respect the Lords remnants out of great attachment to eating things like fish. Because of the desire to contstantly smoke many peoples study of devotional scriptures, relish for hearing and chanting , and remaining long in the temples, is obstructed. Attachment for these things is averse to the constant practice of Devotional service.. Attachment for these things is easily destroyed by the association of devotees. Still one should try to destroy these petty attachments by fully engaging in Devotional service. By observing vows approved in Devotional service those attachments are vanquished.
By properly observing Hari vasara, ekadasi and the appearance days of the Lord those attachements are vanquished. The rules of such vows are the provisions for diminishing ones attachments.
One of the limbs of a vrata is to diminish the devotees propensity for enjoyment One thinks “today somehow or other I will renounce but tomorrow I will enjoy profusely”, then the purpose of the vow will not be successful /. The reason is that vows have been prescribed to give up the association of such items by gradual practice. Vows are usually for three days. First by practicing vows for three days then by practicing for one month then by practicing for four months-in this way gradually one should completely uproot the attachment for sense gratifying items and leave them forever.
For those who desire to attain pure devotional service, the association of non devotees and women is mean to be given up It is extremely necessary for them to associate with sadhus in order to give up the attachments for prejudices. They must follow all vows meant for Vaisnvas in order to give up the attachment for material objects. One should not be negligent in these practices. One should follow these instructions with great care and respect. If one does not follow carefully then cheating in the form of duplicity renders the whole endeavor useless. For those who do not have respect in this regard attaining devotion to Sri Hari becomes very rare even after hearing form many births.
What is association and what is giving up association? Many people have doubts about these. Doubts may be there for if just by coming close to materialist or a material object is considered associating with them then there is no way to give up such association. As long as the material body is there how can one give up such proximity? How can a grhastha Vaisnava give up his family members? One cannot give up the association of deceitful person even if they are renunciates. One will have to come across materialists in ones life whether one is a grhastha or a renunciate. Therefore the limit for giving up the association of materialist is prescribed in Upadesamtrta.
“Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts revealing ones mind in confidence inquiring confidentially accepting prasada and offering prasada are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee to another.”
O sadhakas one must accept proximity with both good and bad people as one passes his life. This applies equally to householders and renunciates. Proximity must be there, but nevertheless one should avoid mundane association. When the activities of giving and accepting charity, exchanging confidential talk, and exchanging foodstuffs are performed with love they are called sanga or association. Giving some foodstuffs to a hungry person and accepting some charity from a pious men are performed out of duty not out of love. Even if one engages in these activities with materialists that exchange is not considered association . But if one egages in these activities with pure devotees they are performed out of love. And when these activities are performed out of love that is association Therefore giving charity to pure Vaisnvas and accepting items or wealth from them become sat sanga. Giving charity to a materialist or accepting charity from one if done out of love become asat sanga. When a materialist approaches you whatever is required to be done should be done only out of duty. One should not speak confidentially with a materialist. Generally there is some love involved in confidential speaking therefore it is association. While meeting a materialistic friend one should speak only what is extremely necessary. At that time it is better not to exhibit heartfelt love. But if that friend is a proper Vaisnvaa then one should accept his association by speaking to him with love. This type of behavior with relatives and friends creates no hostility.
There is no association in ordinary talk. One should behave with ordinary people as one externally behaves with a stranger while buying something in the market. If one is obliged to feed hungry people, needy people, and teachers, he should do so as a host dutifully cares for his guest. There is no need to exhibit love. Care for them but not out of love. One should feed pure Vaisnavas with love and when required accept the remants given by them with love. If one can behave in this way while giving in charity accepting charity, speaking confidentially, feeding and accepting food with ones wife, children, servants, maidservants, strangers, and whoever else one meets there will be no unholy association, only good association. There is no hope of achieving devotion to Krsna until one give up unholy association in this way.
A grhastha Vaisnava should accept prasada grains and drinks in the house of another grhastha who has pure character. One should always be cautious about taking prasada in the house of a non devotee and one with bad character. There is no need to speak further abou this. Due to their pious activities those who have developed faith in Devotional service have a little intelligence by the mercy of Krsna Due to that intelligence they can easily understand essence of the acaryas instructions. Therefore only a few words are needed to instruct them. Those who have no pious credits have no faith. Even if they are given volumes of instructions they will not understand a thing. Therefore Rupa Goswami has given only a few words of instructions in Sri Upadesamrta.