Saranagati

Bhaktivinoda_Thakur_youngBy Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami , from The Search for Sri Krishna: Reality the Beautiful.

In his book, Saranagati, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has explained the Namastakam, eight prayers in glorification of the holy name, written by Rupa Goswami. The whole thing is described there very beautifully.

He writes, “My heart is just like a desert, hot with the rays of the sun. This is my internal mental condition. The desire for mortal things cannot satisfy me because by nature they are death-producing. And not one or two, but thousands of such death-producing desires have taken shelter in my mind. So, my subconscious region is always burning. This is my condition.

“But somehow, by the grace of the sadhu and guru, the holy name of Krishna with its infinite prospect has entered through the holes of my ears and reached the plane of my heart. And there, with some peculiar hope, with infinite, auspicious possibilities, it touched my heart with a new kind of nectar.

“New hope is aroused by that sound. Then by force, it comes from the heart towards the tongue. Not that by the endeavor of my tongue I am producing that sound—no. What came from the heart of a saint through my ear, entered my heart, and that forcibly appeared upon my tongue, and began to dance. That is the holy name proper. It descends from above. It cannot be produced by the material form of this tongue. Its source is above.

“And through an agent of the absolute it comes through the ear to the heart. From the heart it gathers some sympathy, then the holy name of Krishna forcibly appears upon the tongue, and begins to dance. With great force it comes to the end of the tongue, and that sweet sound begins its dancing.”

The real effects of the divine name have been described here. If it is a living and real name, the voice will be choked up, there will be shivering in the body, and the legs will be unable to stand. Sometimes tears will flow in a current on the body, and one’s hairs will stand on end. Sometimes changes of color will be found in the body, and we will be unable to find any trace of the mind or consciousness. We may fall in a swoon, the whole body and mind will appear as if it is being attacked, shivering, and influenced in different ways. Apparently it may seem that so many troubles are created in the body and the mind, but the real heart is overflowing with a particular kind of strange, sweet juice.

Sometimes one thinks, “I am in an ocean of nectar. My whole existence is within an ocean of nectarine liquid. I am beside myself. I can’t understand where I am. Where am I? What is this? What is all about me? It has almost made me mad. Am I a madman? Where is my past experience, my seriousness, my gravity, where are they? What am I?

“I have been converted wholesale by a foreign thing. I am a doll in the hands of a great force, which is also so affectionate to me. I can’t ascertain how it is possible that by my faith I have entered this great, unknown environment, unexperienced before.

“And at last I find that I am captivated. My entire being, within and without, has been captured by a particular sweet force. I can’t help being prey to such a sweet power. I can’t give any proper description of this. I came to take shelter under Him and accept Him as my guardian; now at His hand I am being dealt with in such a merciless and despotic way. Still, I feel that everything is very pleasing, beyond my experience. What is this?

“I can’t resist anymore. I am fully captured. Let my fate go anywhere. I can’t come out. I am a captive in the hand of a sweet friend; my whole independence is gone. There is no way left to me but to surrender. I am unable to describe my real position. I find that He’s an autocrat. Whatever He likes to do, He will do. Since it is not possible for me to give any resistance, I must surrender. Let me also cooperate with whatever He is pleased to do. Otherwise, what can I do? I am helpless.

“Sometimes I find that the sweetness of the name is condensed like a blossoming flower, and very wonderful streams of sweet current are flowing from it. The holy name contains so many sweet variegated forms of current within Him, and He is wonderfully expressing Himself in different ways. Sometimes He emanates a peculiar type of color and figure, and disappears.

“So many charming aspects are shown as if to my eyes within, and He forcibly takes me to surrender at the foot of that altar. He shows Himself in His full-fledged form, in Vrndavana, in His Vraja lila, with Radharani, and He takes me there. I find that I am in the midst of His peculiar, very sweet and loving paraphernalia. And He says, ‘You see! I have so many wonderful things. This is your home. I am not merely imagination, but concrete reality. You will find here that the environment is very favorable and sweet. You are to live here.

“I see there that He is dealing in different ways with His associates, in different rasas. And I find that I have another body that has emerged from my previous one, and that has a permanent place here in His service. Such a new life I find here. And then I find ultimately that all consideration of my past life and experience has vanished. And it is true: my real life is here. This is proper, and that was a sham, that life has vanished.

“Then I find that chanting the holy name gives me new encouragement, a new prospect, and new hope. Whatever we want, whatever is our internal demand, it is supplied by the name. If we take the name, all our internal hankerings will be fulfilled. It is eternal, it is the purest of the pure, and it is full of ecstasy. Now I find I have been completely converted.

“Now, my innermost hankering is this: let whatever is against this sweet name vanish eternally from the world. If anything is in opposition to this sweet life, let it vanish, and if necessary, I will give my life to make it disappear from the world forever. Then others will be able to enjoy it at their free will. No hindrance should come to that fulfillment of life. It has no other second. So, everyone may come here, and if necessary, I will sacrifice myself to finish any opposition, so that all can smoothly, peacefully, and without any danger, enjoy this absolute, sweet, and blissful life.”

This is the statement of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in the final song of his book, Saranagati (Surrender).


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