TLC 28 (1968)
Relationship with the Supreme Lord
The reason Lord Chaitanya rejected the statement of the Vishnu Purana made by Ramananda Roy is that He thus rejected a class of philosophers who are called Karmamimsat. Karmamimsat philosophers accept God as being subject to one's work. If one works nicely, God is bound to give them good results: that is their conclusion. Therefore, from the statement of the Vishnu Purana as enunciated by Ramananda Roy, the meaning is sometimes drawn that Vishnu, the Supreme Lord, has no independence. He is bound to award a certain kind of result to the worker. Such a non-independent Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes subjected to the worshipper, and the worshipper accepts the Supreme Lord as he wishes, both impersonal and Personal, although they give more or less stress to the impersonal Feature of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
Lord Chaitanya did not like this idea of impersonalism, and therefore He rejected it. He said: "Tell Me if you know of something beyond this conception of the Supreme Absolute Truth."
Therefore Ramananda Roy stated that it is better to give up the result of fruitive activities. Ramananda Roy understood the purpose of Lord Chaitanya. He quoted a verse from Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ninth Chapter, 37th verse. The Lord says there that, whatever one does, whatever one eats, whatever one sacrifices, whatever one gives or whatever austerity one undergoes for a certain achievement—everything should be dedicated to the service of the Supreme Lord. Srimad Bhagwatam also, Eleventh Canto, Second Chapter, 36th verse, has a similar passage, in which it is stated that one should submit everything, the result of his fruitive activities, either by his body, by his speeches, by his mind, by his senses, by his intelligence, by his soul, or by his practical natural modes of Nature—everything should be surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayan.
Lord Chaitanya rejected this second statement of Ramananda Roy, and He said, "If you know something higher, state it." The instructions of the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagwatam, to offer everything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a better proposal than the impersonal idea of the Supreme Lord, and making the Supreme Lord subject to our work. But it is still short of surrendering activities to the Supreme Lord. The worker's identification with material existence is not changed without proper guidance. Such activity of the fruitive worker will continue his material existence. He is simply instructed here to offer the fruitive result of his work to the Supreme Lord, but he has no idea of how to get out of the material entanglement. Therefore Lord Chaitanya rejected this proposal.
After this second rejection by Lord Chaitanya, Ramananda proposed that one should forsake his occupational activities, and by such detachment rise to the transcendental plane. This is, in other words, renunciation of one's worldly life. In this connection Ramananda Roy gave two evidences from the Shastras: in the Srimad Bhagwatam, Eleventh Canto, Eleventh Chapter, the Lord says, "In the religious Scriptures I have described ritualistic principles, and how one becomes situated in devotional service. That is the highest perfectional stage of religiousness." Similarly, in the Bhagavad Gita, Eighteenth Chapter, 67th verse, the Lord says: "You give up all kinds of religiousness. and just surrender unto Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I shall protect you from all sinful reactions, and you have nothing to be aggrieved over."
On hearing this from Ramananda Roy, Lord Chaitanya rejected it again. By rejecting Ramananda Roy's third proposal, Lord Chaitanya wanted to demonstrate that simple renunciation is not sufficient. There must be positive engagement. Without positive engagement the highest perfectional stage cannot be attained. Generally, in the renounced order of life, there are two kinds of philosophers: the goal of one is Nirvana, and of the other, the impersonal quality of the Brahman effulgence. They cannot conceive that they can reach beyond, or that there is a Spiritual Sky with Vaikuntha Planets. Because such mentalities cannot have any conception of the Spiritual Planets and activities, therefore Lord Chaitanya rejected the proposal of renunciation.
Ramananda Roy then gave evidence from Bhagavad Gita, Eighteenth Chapter, 54th verse, wherein the Lord says as follows: "When a person realizes himself as not different from the Supreme Absolute Truth by cultivation of knowledge, he becomes joyful and freed from all kinds of lamentation and material desires. At that time he perfects his Brahman realization by looking at everyone on the same spiritual level. This stage of Brahman realization can elevate one to the transcendental stage of devotional service." The purport is that Ramananda Roy first suggested devotional service with renunciation of fruitive results from one's work; but better than that stage of life is devotional service with full knowledge and spiritual realization.
Lord Chaitanya again rejected this proposal because in that stage of simply renouncing material results in Brahman realization there is no realization of the Spiritual World and the spiritual activities. Although in the Brahman realization stage there is no material contamination, yet, because there is no positive engagement in spiritual activity, it is not perfectly cleansed. It is still on the mental plane, and therefore external. The pure living entity is not liberated unless he has the complete spiritual idea and is engaged in spiritual activity. When one is absorbed in impersonal thought, or void thought, then his entrance into eternal life, blissful life, and life of knowledge is not complete. When spiritual knowledge is not complete, people will hinder you in your attempt to vacate the mind of all material variegatedness. lmpersonalists are hindered in such attempts to make the mind void by artificial meditation. It is very difficult to make the mind void of material conceptions. In the Bhagavad Gita it is stated that those who indulge in such voidness or impersonal meditation make very difficult spiritual advancement, and what they attain is not complete liberation. Therefore Lord Chaitanya rejected it.
After rejection of this fifth proposal, Ramananda Roy said that devotional service without any attempt at cultivation of knowledge or mental speculation is the highest stage of perfection. In this connection he gave evidence from Srimad Bhagwatam, Tenth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, in which Lord Brahma says to the Supreme Personality of Godhead: "My dear Lord, one should give up monistic speculation and the cultivation of knowledge altogether. He should begin his spiritual life in devotional service by receiving the information of the activities of the Lord from a realized devotee of the Lord. If one prosecutes his spiritual cultivation by following these two principles and keeping himself rightly in the honest path of living, then, although Your Lordship is never conquerable You become conquered by him by such a process."
When this prescription was presented by Ramananda Roy to Lord Chaitanya, the Lord at once said, "Yes, this is right." In other Words, the mission of Lord Chaitanya is as follows: In this age there is no possibility of acquiring spiritual knowledge by renunciation, or by mixed devotional service, or by fruitive results in mixed devotional service, or by the culture of knowledge. Because the people are not so advanced, and in fact most of them are fallen, and because there is no time to elevate them in a general process, the best thing, Lord Chaitanya prescribed, is to let them remain in whatever condition they are—but let them be engaged in hearing about the activities of the Lord, as they are explained in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam. Such messages should be received by aural reception from realized souls. By this principle a person may live in whatever condition he is in, and still make progress in spiritual advancement. He will advance surely and certainly, so much so that he will be a fully realized soul of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Chaitanya accepted these principles, but He requested Ramananda Roy to go further in advanced devotional service. Lord Chaitanya gave Ramananda Roy a chance to develop gradually the advancement from the principles of Varnashram Dharma (caste and the four orders of spiritual life); and, further, offering the results of all fruitive activities. Then he recommended discussion of spiritual knowledge. Lord Chaitanya rejected all of these, because in the field of executing pure devotional service there is very little use for such principles. Artificial methods of devotional service without self-realization cannot be accepted as pure devotional service. Self-realized pure devotional service is completely different from all other kinds of transcendental activities. The highest stage of transcendental activities is always free from all material desires and fruitive activities, and speculative attempts at knowledge. The highest stage concentrates on a simple, favorable execution of pure devotional service.
Ramananda Roy could understand the motive of Lord Chaitanya, and therefore he stated that attainment of pure love of Godhead is the highest perfectional stage. There is a very nice verse in Padya Vali which is understood to be composed by Ramananda Roy himself. The purport of the verse is: "So long as there is hunger within the belly and one has a feeling for eating and drinking—so long, by taking anything eatable, one becomes happy. Similarly, there may be much paraphernalia for worshipping the Supreme Lord, but when that is mixed with pure love of Godhead, it becomes an actual source of transcendental happiness." There is another verse in that connection composed by Ramananda Roy, in which it is stated that even after millions and millions of births one cannot achieve a sense of devotional service. But if, somehow or other, one becomes desirous of achieving the stage of devotional service, the association of a pure devotee will help such a strong desire for serving the Lord to become prominent. One should try to have such a strong desire to become engaged in devotional service, if it is available from any source. In these two verses, Ramananda Roy has described first the regulative principles, and, second, the developed love of Godhead. Lord Chaitanya wanted to bring him up to this stage of developed love of Godhead, and to speak from that basis. Therefore, the discussion between Ramananda Roy and Lord Chaitanya will now proceed on the basis of love of Godhead:
If love of Godhead becomes elevated to personal affinity, that is called Prema Bhakti. In the beginning of Prema Bhakti there is no establishment of a particular relationship between the Supreme Lord and the devotee, but when this stage of Prema Bhakti develops further, there is manifested, in different transcendental flavors, a relationship with the Supreme Lord. The first stage is called servitude—to accept the Supreme Lord as the Master, and the devotee as the eternal servitor. When Lord Chaitanya accepted this process, Ramananda Roy described the relationship of the servitor and the Master. As cited in the Srimad Bhagwatam, Ninth Canto, Fifth Chapter, Durbasamuni was a great mystic Yogi and considered himself to be very elevated. Yet he envied Maharaj Amburish, who was known as the greatest devotee of the time. Durbasamani wanted to harass Maharaj Amburish, and as a result he met with great catastrophe, and Durbasamani was defeated by the Sudarsan Chakra of the Lord. The Yogi admitted his fault and said, "For pure devotees who are always engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, nothing is considered impossible to obtain, because they're engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, hearing Whose very Name is sufficient for liberation."
Yamunacharya has composed various verses in his book, Strotraratna. In this Strotraratna, Yamunacharya writes a nice verse, the purport of which is as follows: "My Lord, persons who are keeping themselves independent of Your service are helpless. They're working on their own account, and they have no support from superior authority. Therefore I long for the time when I shall be fully engaged in Your transcendental loving service, without any desire for material satisfaction or hovering over the mental plane. When I shall be engaged in such unalloyed devotional service I shall enjoy actual spiritual life."
On hearing that statement of Ramananda Roy, the Lord requested him to go still further.