In order to be really comprehensive the whole system of knowledge about human being should be based on the premise that man is not his body, but consciousness, i.e. living energy, capable of self-awareness and that possesses mind and memory. Body is merely a transient habitat of man’s consciousness. And throughout his personal evolution every person moves in and out of those habitats, dropping off his old body and entering a new one.
Materialists and adepts of primitive religious sects do not believe this. On the other hand God has been telling us about this through Krishna, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Huang Di, Babaji, Sathya Sai and other numerous Divine Teachers and prophets.
One may or may not believe in this. Small and weak consciousness, which associates itself with contaminated and sick body, is generally unable to switch from blind faith (or lack of it) to the knowledge. But one can experience this if one starts to develop oneself as consciousness. This process is also known as walking the Spiritual Path.
It is this process of development of consciousness, both qualitatively and quantitatively that constitutes the meaning of man’s life, as well as of lives of virtually all living beings.
But what is all this for, one may ask? The answer is — in order to merge with God, thus enriching Him with oneself. All material Universe, including our planet and everything on it, exists only for that purpose: to ensure the possibility of development of individual consciousness on material mediums.
Evolution of any individual soul starts as follows. On the lattices of growing minerals the processes of formation and growth of the first rudiments of initially diffusive energy (called protopurusha in Sanskrit) begin. Subsequently the tiny amount of energy formed in this way gets incarnated into bodies of plants, where it continues to grow, then it moves into animal bodies and finally into human ones. The soul grows from one incarnation to another.
One can observe some primitive emotional reactions and motor reflexes even in the vegetative forms of life. Evolutionary advanced animals have a wide variety of emotions and feelings and, in some instances, even possess a developed intellect.
At the human stage evolution of the soul implies, but is not limited to, getting an understanding of these fundamental principles of consciousness’ development as well as taking an active part in this process. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not do this, mainly due to the ignorance in philosophical and religious fields that currently prevails on our planet.
These terms are translated as ”effort and relaxation” or “exertion and rest”. This stage consists in mastering fundamental ethic and psycho-hygienic rules of a spiritual seeker’s life.
The first rule is called ahimsa — harmlessness. It means trying not to injure, as far as possible, any living being in deeds, words, thoughts or emotions.
This also includes the principles of ethically correct nutrition that we have discussed above and, which is no less important, getting rid of coarse emotions, which are the result of ill thoughts and often lead to rude words and actions.
Our ethical mistakes, including crimes, can be results of either our ignorance, lack of understanding of the Universal order and of our place and role in it, or of our indulging in emotions of spite, condemnation, resentment, anxiety, fear etc., which are manifestations of our lower self sticking out.
Destroying one’s lower self by way of merging it into the universal Highest Self of the Creator is one of the important tasks on the spiritual Path. This kind of work begins with the inner fight against all vicious manifestations of one’s lower self, first of all those that exist in the field of emotional reactions. Penitence is an important tool in accomplishing this task: the sincere repentance for ethical mistakes that one has committed, accompanied by the mental analysis of those problem situations and finding the best ways of resolving them.
Many people do not grasp the essence of the principle of non-condemnation. Condemnation in reality is an emotion, a form of anger. Identification and discussion of other people’s mistakes, as well as an intellectual analysis of them are not at all condemnation. Analysis is necessary since this is what helps us not to repeat someone else’s mistakes. But while performing this type of analysis one should be free from any kind of anger emotions.
Emotions are states of the energy of consciousness. They emanate beyond the body, thus creating energetic environment for surrounding people and other beings. People who live in coarse emotional states produce a destructive and pathogenic environment for those around them. Communicating with such people can cause severe energetic lesions and diseases, especially in children.
But people who live in refined states of love make everything around their bodies healthy, spiritualized and elevated; they heal with their mere presence. And the stronger their love and more powerful their consciousness — the larger space they spiritualize — up to a planetary scale.
A spiritual seeker can achieve a full control over his emotional sphere only through working with his chakras and other energetic structures and then through merging himself (as consciousness) with Consciousness of God. But he should start making efforts starting from the beginning of the Path.
Sathya (truthfulness) is a second rule of yama. Jesus Christ said about this concisely: “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” . We can deserve respect from people and from God only if we behave in this way.
But there are cases, where we cannot tell the truth, because this will harm someone. In such instances it is better to evade a question…
But if we lie, we become sinners before God and captives to our lies before people, since we will have to apprehend a disclosure and to live in anxiety, instead of state of steadfast pure peace.
The third rule is asteya — non-covetousness, renunciation of a desire to possess something that belongs to someone else. We should totally concentrate on the cognition of God. Craving for material objects, especially those belonging to others, is an utter perversion of the true orientation of consciousness, which at the same time leads to harming other people.
The fourth rule is aparigraha — limiting one’s possessions to necessary things. Unnecessary things only distract our attention from the essential: from being focused on attaining the state of Mergence with the Creator.
Brahmacharya — the fifth rule — literally means “acting in Brahman (the Holy Spirit)”. This implies renunciation of one’s “earthly” desires (except for attending to elementary needs of one’s body) and redirection of one’s attention to God, to searching for Him first with one’s mind and then with one’s developed consciousness.
This rule implies sincere renunciation of seeking earthly fame and honors, of accumulating the things that are unnecessary in the world of Brahman and of embellishment of the body.
Some people interpret Brahmacharya rule only as celibacy (sexual abstinence). But this is too narrow of an interpretation. Besides this, sexual continence is even unnecessary provided that one regards sex as a spiritual act. On the contrary, celibacy can lead to prostatitis in men, energetic “fading” of women and result in consciousness growing “callous” — in both. It really does not contribute to progress on the spiritual Path. What is important is not abstaining from sex, but freeing oneself from being obsessed with it and from sexual contacts with inadequate partners.
The sixth rule is — saucha — maintaining purity of the body. The main thing here is washing the whole body with warm or hot water and with soap — daily, if possible. This cleans one’s skin from deposits of perspiration salts, which upset normal functioning of the whole organism. Let us remember what we feel after taking a good bath, especially if we have not washed the body before that for a long time! This is the state of comfort that we can and should create for ourselves every day by washing up in the morning.
Saucha also implies brushing one’s teeth and so on.
There are also special therapeutic saucha techniques, such as enema or an abstersion of the nose and of the nasopharynx by drawing in salted water. There is no reason for using them regularly.
It is also not advisable for all people to practice cold water showers. This is beneficial as a tempering or a toning up procedure. But for those who at the moment need to establish themselves in peace and harmony it could do harm.
The seventh rule is mitahara — pure nutrition. This has already been discussed in detail above. Here we will mention only that one should take food in an emotionally favorable environment. In no circumstances should one eat on the background of conflict conversations or bitter arguments, as well as in presence of malicious or irritated people. One may perform a meditation before taking a meal in order to harmonize one’s inner state. An Orthodox prayer “Heavenly Father” suits this purpose very well. The prayers/mediations from book  that God granted to us can also help perfectly.
The eight rule — santosha — is constant maintaining of a positive emotional attitude. If we feel presence of the Lord and devote our lives to Him totally, if we do not act out of self-interest, if we know that He is constantly watching us, leading us, teaching us, that He creates difficulties for us so that we could learn and then Himself helps us to find solutions to the problems — why would we not live in a permanent joy?
“You are doing your job, I am controlling events”, — this is what He taught the author of this book once .
The ninth rule is svadhyaya — philosophical speculations, conversation and readings that make for a thorough comprehension of the meaning of one’s life and of the Path to Perfection.
“Direct your mind at Me…” — this is how Krishna defined the first steps that a man should take on his Path to God .
The tenth rule — tapas — implies any kinds of self-restraint and self-constraint for the sake of overcoming one’s vices. Among other things tapas teaches us a spiritual discipline as well as to follow the principle “it should be done!” as opposed to “I do only what I want!”
The eleventh rule is Ishvarapranidhana. This implies feeling that everything that exists is pervaded with Consciousness of the Creator (Ishvara), feeling of His constant presence inside and outside one’s body, bodies of other people and also material objects, seeing Him as the Teacher and a Witness of everything that one does and that happens to one.
There are also four very important rules:
kshama — tolerance to those who thins differently than one;
daya — mercy, kindness;
arjava — simplicity, lack of arrogance;
hri — humble thinking of oneself, also a lack of:
self-admiring, self-pride because of one’s actual achievements, and
conceit — self-praise on account of one’s imaginary virtues.
Sri Purushottam Dham has special significance for the followers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Long ago, Srila Vyasa Deva predicted that this would be the center from which devotion to Krishna would spread out to the four corners of the world – hy utkale puruSottamAt. For the disciples of the Gaudiya Math, this is true not only because Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spent half His life here relishing the Holy Name in divine ecstasy, but also because Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur took birth here. Srila Prabhupada himself founded the Purushottam Math in Gaurbat Sahi, next door to Tota Gopinath.
All the unique features of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were fully revealed in Puri Dhama. This is why the incarnation of Gauranga’s mercy, Srila Prabhupada, decided to begin his worldly pastimes in that holy place. Puri remained very dear to Srila Prabhupada’s heart throughout his life. His last visit to Puri took place not long before his disappearance. In fact, he only left the Sri Purushottam Math on the ocean beach in Puri on the morning of December 7, 1936, twenty-four days before concluding his pastimes.
In the years since his disappearance, many of his disciples and grand-disciples from all over the world have established maths and temples that beautify the town and increase its glories and the glories of the saints whose line they honor. In this chapter, we will name a few of them and, as far as possible, tell some of their history.
Monday February 6, 2006 is the divine Disappearance day of Sri Madhvacarya (1238-1317 AD), one of the four vaishnava sampradaya acaryas. To mark this auspicious day we are presenting a selection of quotes glorifying Sri Madhva Muni.]– “Srila Narayana Maharaja: Madhvacarya was a direct disciple of Vyasadeva. When Madhvacarya was living, about 4,000 years had passed since Vyasa disappeared from this world. However, Madhvacarya knew that Vyasadeva was still alive and that he is eternal. So he prayed to him in Badrikasrama, beseeching him, “I want to take your darsana and to be initiated by you.” And when he was praying, at once Vyasadeva personally came there, and Madhvacarya presented his wish to him that he should grant him initiation. And then after that Vyasa disappeared. ”
– “Srila Prabhupada: Srila Madhvacarya is the original acarya for those who belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.1.40.purport) “This Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is also known as the Brahma-sampradaya because the disciplic succession originally began from Brahma. Brahma instructed the sage Narada, Narada instructed Vyasadeva, and Vyasadeva instructed Madhva Muni, or Madhvacarya. ” (Krsna Book, Introduction).
– “Srila Narayana Maharaja: After Ramanuja came Madhvacarya. He established a certain portion of the Vedas, and his philosophy is called visuddhadvaita or dvaitadvaitavada. In this philosophical understanding there are five differences. You should explain the five differences.
Sada Goswami were six pundits of vaisnavism, adept in sanskrit. Sanatan, Rupa, Raghunath Das, Gopal Bhatta, Raghunath Bhatta and Jiva are called as sada goswami, or the Six Goswamins, by the Vaisnavas of Gauda. They were all more or less close to Chaitanyadev and contributed to the foundation of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Sanatan Goswami (c 1465-1555 AD) an expert in logic, was known as Amar in his family. He was born at Ramkeli village near Gauda and his forefathers were Deccan Karnataka Brahmins. He is believed to have lived at Fateyabad in Bakla Chandradwip, at Nabahatta or Naihati, and Ramkeli in Maldah. The logicianbasudev sarvabhauma and his brother Madhusudan Vidyavachaspati taught him logic. Sanatan is said to have learnt Arabic and Persian well since he had to work as revenue minister (sakar mallik) in the court of Hussain Shah.
Although employed by the state, he was greatly influenced by the spirit of renunciation. He left his job after meeting Chaitanyadev at Ramkeli when the sage was on his way to Vrindavan (probably in 1515 AD) and became a follower of Shri Chaitanya. From then on, he became known as Sanatan.
Sri Chaitanya stayed at Kashi for two months on his way to Nilachal. He entrusted Sanatan with four assignments: writing prayer books, preaching devotion and rites, discovering holy sites, and worshipping the image of deities. Sanatan stayed at Vrindavan from then on and worked to give Vaisnavism a sound philosophical footing. He wrote several books in Sanskrit which include Brhat-Bhagavatamrta, Brhat-Vaisnavatosini (commentaries on Shrimadbhagavata), Lilastava, Haribhaktivilasa and Digdarshani (commentary).
Rupa Goswami (c 1470-1559 AD) was the younger brother of Sanatan. Although he was christened as Santos, he is better known as Rupa, as the name given to him by Sri Chaitanya. He also worked in the court of Hussain Shah as dabir khas (principal secretary) to Sultan.
From his boyhood, Rupa was a devotee of Krishna. He met Chaitanyadev at Prayag when he was on his way to Vrindavan. He took some lessons in devotional lore from Chaitanyadev. Later, he set out for Vrindavan at his bidding and discovered the lost holy site and an image of Govinda. He wrote many important books such as Hangsaduta (Duck messenger), Uddhava-Sandesha, Vidagdha-Madhava, Lalita-Madhava, Danakeli-Kaumudi, Bhaktirasamrta-Sindhu (Sea of Devotion), Ujjvalanilamani (Brilliant Lapis Lazuli), Natakachandrika, Vilapa–Kusumanjali, Upadeshamrta (Advice), Govinda-birudavali, Astadashalila, Radhakrsna-Ganoddesha etc. Among the Goswamins, Rupa was the most famous for his poetical talent and erudition.
Raghunath Das (c 1490-1577 AD) born at a place called Haripur in Saptagram, received education from the house priest Balaram Acharya. He showed signs of asceticism in his childhood. Impressed by the personality and devotion of Haridas Thakur, he offered his services to Haridas and earned his patronage. Hearing about Chaitanyadev at this time, he left for Nilachal and put himself at Chaitanyadev’s service. Chaitanyadev then put Swarup Damodar in Raghunath’s custody. This is why he is also known as ‘Swarup’s Raghu’.
He lived at Nilachal for sixteen years. After the death of Sri Chaitanya and Swarup Damodar, he took the shelter of Rupa and Sanatan at Vrindavan. Raghunath adhered to the philosophy of the Vaisnava way of life closely and the practice of prasad (offering to deities) during his stay at Nilachal and Vrindavan. He discovered Radhakunda and Shyamakunda. After restoring Radhakunda, he lived there till his death. As he came to the last part of his life, he began abstaining from food and sleep; he used to sit by Radhakunda and chant the name of radha. The extremely ascetic way of life he led is unusual even among Goswamins. His books include Muktacharita (Life of a pearl), Stavavali (Praise), Danacharita Ba Shridanakelichintamani, Manahshiksa, Suravali, Shiksapatala, Shrinamacharita etc.
Gopal Bhatta (c 1500-1585 AD) was originally from South India. According to murari gupta, on his way to the Deccan, Chaitanyadev stayed at the house of Goapl Bhatta when he was a young boy. Seeing Gopal’s devotion to Chaitanyadev, his father Trimalla Bhatta, or Venkaka Bhatta in another account, offered her son’s service to Chaitanyadev. Chaitanyadev blessed Gopal Bhatta, who after growing up, went to Vrindavan and met other Goswamins. Sri Chaitanya sent his loin-cloth and a wooden seat for him. The seat made of wood, placed at Radharaman Temple, is still worshipped in Vrindavan. Gopal was buried in a place located behind this temple.
Gopal was well versed in Sanskrit and philosophy. He wrote Shrikrisnaballabha, a commentary, on the play called Krisnakarnamrta. He wrote an explanation of the book called Satsandrarbha in an aphoristic form after discussing its philosophy with Rupa and Sanatan. Another of his book named Satkriyasaradipika has descriptions of fourteen rituals of a wedding. The book also lays out rules for dresses and conduct. The sanskrit sahitya parisat library has a puthi called Danabhatta (No. 427) by Gopal Bhatta. Some scholars believe that the book called Haribhaktivilasa was written by Gopal Bhatta; but it could be that the context of a book originally written by Sanatan was expanded by Gopal.
Raghunath Bhatta (c 1506-1580 AD) played an important role in restoring the holy sites of Vrindavan and founding images of deities. In addition, he also played a role in demarcating the forests stretching along the 84 kroshas (168 miles) which present-day Vaisnava devotees must traverse.
Raghunath’s father was Tapan Mishra. Sri Chaitanya, on his tour of the eastern Bengal, stayed at the house of Tapan Misra on the bank of the padma. Chaitanyadev then indoctrinated Raghunath. Raghunath earned a name for himself because of his erudition after mastering the faith at Kashi. He witnessed the lila (play) of Chaitanyadev at Nilachal. After his parents’ death, he left for Vrindavan and met Rupa and Sanatan there. He became famous as the greatest reciter of the Bhagavata.
Jiva Goswami (c 1514-1609 AD) nephew of Rupa and Sanatan, was also born at Ramkeli. After receiving his primary schooling in Gauda, he went to Navadwip to meet Nityananda who directed him to study diverse various subjects with Pandit Madhusudan Vachaspati at Kashi. He met his uncles Rupa and Sanatan there. Rupa Goswami endeavoured him in Vaisnavism. Jiva learnt many things in the company of Rupa and Sanatan. After their deaths, Jiva led the Gaudiya Vaisnava community at Vrindavan. He endorsed the worship of the image of krishna along with an image of Radha placed at its left.
Jiva was devoted to Sri Chaitanya from his childhood; his devotion further deepened after his indoctrination. He wrote several volumes on Vaisnavism, tantra (service books) and commentaries and annotations. His Satsandarbha is a famous philosophical treatise. In the six chapters of the book, he discussed different philosophical beliefs.
Other books by him are Harinamamrtavyakarana, Sangkalpakalpadruma, Sarasanggraha, Gopalachampu, Dhatusutramalika and Madhavamahotsava. In addition, he wrote commentaries on and annotations to Ujjvalnilamani, Bhaktirasamrtasindhu, Gopalatapani and annotation of Bhagavata. [Basanti Choudhury]