Published on May 8th, 2023 | by Harmonist staff0
Progressing Toward Fulfillment of the Heart
By B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami
In his talks with Ramananda Raya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu repeatedly says, eho bahya, age kaha ara: “Go further, go deeper, go higher!” There are so many who consider their position to be the highest, who, achieving a particular stage, stop there. But we find in Sanatana Goswami’s Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam how Gopa-kumara, beginning from the lowest stage of devotion, gradually makes progress through different levels, and at last comes to the Krishna conception in the mellow of friendship, sakhya rasa. There it is described how he gradually eliminates one stage and makes further progress to the highest stages of devotion.
As he progresses from one level to the next, everyone seems to be very helpful to him, but gradually, their company seems to him to be stale. At that time, a higher chance is given to him through an agent of divinity, and, leaving that plane behind, he goes to a new and higher plane. In this way, the progress of dedication is shown in Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam.
Just as in the tangible world there is the sun, the moon, and so many other planets, in the world of faith there is a gradation of planetary systems. We have to scrutinize the scriptures, take advantage of the guidance given by saints, and understand how the progress of faith to the highest plane is achieved by eliminating the lower planes. And whenever there is any doubt, we should consult with some higher agent in order to make progress.
Spiritual reality is eternal existence, complete consciousness, and ecstasy. Mere existence cannot fulfill us. Even our inner hankering and feeling, consciousness, is not sufficient. We require rasa and ananda, ecstasy, to give us fulfillment.
Spiritual realization is also of different types. We have to distinguish between different spiritual conceptions, and our choices improve as we dive deeper and deeper into reality. We must die to live. And the consideration of death is also deep, deeper, and deepest. The gradation of higher and lower is always there. If we are to progress, there must be elimination and new acceptance. The duties that we find ourselves in the midst of may be left for higher duties.
In this way, we must progress, while always consulting the saints and scriptures. They will guide us in the ocean of faith. Otherwise, the spiritual world is unknown and unknowable. The Absolute Truth is known and knowable to a particular section, and they have given us direction. If we take advantage of that, then by the guidance of saints and scriptures we shall gradually eliminate our faults.
First, we must eliminate this mortal existence. Then, we must satisfy our reason, our consciousness. And finally, we must satisfy our heart. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that the heart is the most important thing within us. We should follow the direction of the heart. The highest fulfillment is the fulfillment of the heart, not the fulfillment of consciousness, or the attainment of eternal existence. Eternal existence has no meaning if it is not conscious, and consciousness has no meaning if it does not give any fulfillment. So sat, eternal existence, cit, consciousness, and ananda, fulfillment, ecstasy, are the three principles of our ultimate destination. And considering these as our goal, we shall progress further and further in our spiritual life. In the Manu-samhita it is stated:
vidvadbhih sevitah sadbhir
yo dharmas tam nibhodhata
We can feel within our heart whether we are gainers or losers. That tasting machine is within us. As we progress in Krishna consciousness, our karma, our connection with this material world, will evaporate in no time, and spacious knowledge will come to satisfy us. At that time, we shall feel the object of our life everywhere (mayi drste ‘khilatmani). When we can see that the fulfillment of life has embraced us, we shall see that everything within the environment is helping us, everything is sympathetic to us from all sides. In that spiritual domain, everyone shall take interest in loving us. We may be careless about our own interest, but the environment there is more favorable and affectionate to us than we can even estimate, just as a child cannot estimate the extent of his mother’s affection. In this way, friends and home comforts will surround us, and with this realization, we shall go back to God, back to home.