Raganuga and Vaidhi Bhakti

Anuraga Das - January 13, 2014 10:41 pm
Sorry for bothering you all just have a question.

I dont know if this is the right place to post this but there is a discussion on a post by Vaisnavacharya Chandan Goswami on Raganuga and Vaidhi Bhakti. He stated that

"Those who practice Vaidhi Bhakti cannot get Raganuga in any way. Those who claim that they get Raganuga by Vaidhi are baseless.

"The paths of Vaidhi and Raganuga are known to be separate from each other. Engagements in these two forms of sadhana certainly awaken two distinct varieties of bhav." (Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu 1.3.7)"

From there many people began respond and some of them quoted Bhaktivinoda Thakur and other things with Chandan Maharaj quoting Visvanatha Chakravarti back. I personally went back and listened to one of the lectures a few months ago where Guru Maharaj talked about Raganuga and Vaidhi Bhakti and Bhaktisiddhanta's view on Raganuga. I also read a Q&A (http://swamitripurari.com/1999/06/learn-to-think-differently/). I see the different understanding given by Bhaktivinoda Thakur on this.

I want to know why is there an apparent difference in this aspect or is it simply a difference in detail where we can harmonize on it?

Also here is the fb post. Hopefully you can see it.

Swami B. A. Ashram - January 13, 2014 11:19 pm

Anuraga, I don't think anyone here would consider your query a bother at all. That's precisely why we have this site. I haven't seen Goswamiji's comments or the thread you refer to yet. But here's something from Swami Tripurari's commentary on Bg. 12.10 that may shed light on (or complicate) this question:

If a devotee cannot sit regularly in devotional yoga practicing fixing his mind on Krsna, he should keep his external senses busy in Krsna's work. He should open temples for Krsna, plant the sacred Tulasi so dear to Krsna, serve his advanced devotees, and so on. He should absorb himself in Krsna's work, putting aside all other considerations. This devotional work is so potent that even without conquering the mind a person engaged in it can attain perfection by Krsna's grace. Otherwise, the mind of a person doing Krsna's work will naturally come under control, and gradually he will be able to practice remembering Krsna constantly leading to spontaneous meditation. When he engages in Krsna's work and the rituals related to this work with a view to tread the path of love, he will gradually advance to the point of being eligible for internal service on the path of love. Although the path of ritual has its own end wherein a devotee attains love of God steeped in a sense of his majesty, it can also be engaged in with a view to attain love of Krsna in intimacy. When one engages in vaidhi-bhakti with a desire to progress to the direct culture of raganuga-bhakti, centering his devotional culture on chanting the name of Krsna, his success is sure. In this regard, in his song Krsna-nama dhare kata bala, Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings, vidhi-marga-rata-jane svadhinata-ratna-dane raga-marge karan pravesa: "That person who is fixed in following vaidhi-bhakti attains the jewel of independence (through the grace of Krsna nama), by which he is placed on the path of raganuga bhakti." In the same song, Bhaktivinoda Thakura clearly explains that experience of one's internal spiritual form (svarupa) required for the culture of raganuga-bhakti proper is revealed by the grace of Krsna nama:
isat vikasi punah dekhaya nija rupa guna
citta hari laya krsna pasa
purna vikasita hana vraje more jaya lana
dekhaya nija svarupa vilasa
"When the name is even slightly revealed it shows me my own spiritual form and characteristics. It steals my mind and takes it to Krsna's side. When the name is fully revealed, it takes me directly to Vraja, where it shows me my personal role in the eternal pastimes."
Swami B. A. Ashram - January 13, 2014 11:55 pm

Dulal Chandra prabhu posted this link to an article by our Swami:


Swami B. A. Ashram - January 14, 2014 12:03 am

And I posted this preliminary response to Chandan Goswami's (I don't know if Maharaja is the proper way to refer to him; Goswami is his family name, common to caste goswamis) assertions:

Goswamiji, those who have read Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu with any care are aware that the paths of vaidhi bhakti and raganuga bhakti are distinct forms of sadhana, with different sadhya. One is that what my guru maharaja A. C. Bhaktivdanta Swami Prabhupada teaches is raganuga bhakti. Some participants here are missing a couple of things. Someone asked above about the qualifications for vaidhi sadhana bhakti and for raganuga sadhana bhakti. Srila Rupa Goswami explains the qualifications for the two paths quite clearly in Brs., in the chapter on sadhana bhakti. Those eligible for vaidhi sadhana bhakti are more or less qualified according to their understanding of and faith in shastra (Brs. 1.2.16-19). Those eligible for raganiga sadhana bhakti are described later in the same chapter, starting with vs. 270. Whereas eligibility for vaidhi sadhana bhakti is based on faith in shastra and the order of the guru, eligibility for raganuga sadhana bhakti is based on a greed for following the kind of bhakti found in the Vrajavasis (vs. 291). So the motive and the goal of each are different. And the practice is also different, to some extent. Raganuga bhakti will include some internal practices not found in vaidhi bhakti. However, raganuga bhaktas will externally perform more or less the same angas of sadhana bhakti described in the section of the chapter outlining the 64 main angas of vaidhi sadhana bhakti. The external behavior of the raganuga sadhakas and vaidhi sadhakas may appear nearly identical. Sri Rupa says in verse 295,

seva sadhana rupena siddha-rupena catra hi
tad-bhava-lipsuna karya vraja lokanusaratah
"Following the inhabitants of Vraja, one should perform service in one's physical body and in one's siddha body, with a desire for a particular bhava."

Visvanatha explains that such sadhakas should cultivate an internal siddha rupa following those residents of Vraja whose bhava they want to share and engage in external service following the examples of Rupa and Sanatana, observing the appropriate vidhi. The vidi, or rules of scripture, are not the motive for raganuga bhaktas, but they don't ignore the vidhi wholesale, either. Some particular vidhi may not favor the particular bhava they are cultivating, but they'll still observe ekadasi and other such angas of bhakti externally.

Essentially, he's correct in drawing the distinction between the two paths of sadhana; they generally have distinct goals: Vaikuntha for the vaidhi sadhakas, and Vraja for the raganuga sadhakas. I'm not really clear on the distinction he draws between attaining Goloka and Gokula. I'll have to explore that a little. And I don't have a citation for Jiva Goswami's explanation that those who don't yet have that greed, haven't yet attained ruci, may follow the vidhi, the rules for the vaidhi sadhakas, under the guidance of a raganuga bhakta, with an eye to attaining raganuga proper. He calls such sadhakas ajata-ruci raganuga sadhakas. I'll have to see if I can borrow Swami's Bhakti Sandarbha to find that, so I can cite it.

I have other things I need to do, so I may not be able to participate much until later. Perhaps Swami and/or others can shed more light on this for us.

Swami - January 14, 2014 11:31 pm

Sometimes the word vaidhi is used to refer to ajata-ruci raganuga bhakti. Also, the standard practices of vaidhi bhakti are participated in on the raga marg. Only the motivation is different. Prabhupada did not teach or inspire his disciples to attain Vaikuntha, but rather Vraja-loka. It is the inspiration to attain the Vraja-lila that is central to raganuga sadhana bhakti.


Ajata-ruci raganuga bhaktas cannot meaningfully adopt all the practices of raganuga sadhana. While it is true that purity is not a prerequisite for practicing raganuga sadhana, it is also true that purity is prerequisite for smaranam. And smaranam is central to the practice of raganuga sadhana. So this practice within raganuga sadhana requires more adhikara. Thus the ajata ruci raga bhakta engages in those practices of raga bhakti that he is eligible for and fortifies his budding eagerness for raga with hearing, chanting, etc. all of which are part of vaidhi sadhana. However, he does these practices not with a view to attain Vaikuntha and aisvarya bhava, but with a view to develop more adhikara for raganuga sadhana, that he may be able to effectively embrace all of its practices in due course. Thus the practice of a raganuga sadhaka in the stage of anistha bhajana kriya will be different to some extent that those of the sadhaka in the stages of ruci or asakti. First it will be ajata ruci then it will be jata ruci.


Chandana Goswami misses such subtle points altogether. And he is implying that the guru must give the disciple his or her siddha deha for the disciple to practice raganuga sadhana. He initiates. He should be asked if that is what he does when he initiates, and if so, where he gets them from. Our method is to engage the devotees such that their affinity will increase and take a particular shape in due course. We instruct them accordingly. Everything will come in due course and it comes simply by following sri guru.


I looked over that thread. All I got out of it was that CG wants followers.

Swami B. A. Ashram - January 15, 2014 1:04 am

I concur entirely in your conclusion. That seems to be the thrust of his behavior when he travels. I did what I could to blunt both his criticism and the devotees' responses. I don't know how effectively I did so.