Sahajiya

Misunderstanding :

The word SAHAJIYA  is very widespread in the vaishnava world. Normally we tend to call all others sahajiya who are not following the rules and process of our institution . The current trend is to call all babajis sahajiya. But the word sahajiya is widely misunderstood.
It is clear that the general understanding of some neophyte devotees is that babajis are people who pose as sadhus and enjoy women, at least two or three of them, and that these babajis have nothing to do with spirituality or devotion to Krsna.
Even many devotees who have occupied the position of a Guru in some institutions claim those who trend to the path of Raganuga Bhakti before attaining higher stages are sahajiyas based on some comments made by HDG A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Sahajiyas .The last concern is already addressed in the section “Qualification for raganuga sadhana”.


 

Contribution of other acharyas in removing sahajiya influence:

Srila Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaj and Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj have made a great contribution in removing sahajiya tendency from the heart of people and reducing their influence in Vrindavan. But the name of Srila Prabhupada needs special mention as he fought boldly against sahajiyaism and preached it to his western followers.

We would first discuss what is sahajiya and who are babajis before analysing the comments of  Srila Prabhupada on this issue and what he actually meant in order to remove the misconceptions. He is a great acharya and renowned scholar. He can’t be wrong.  So it is vital to understand exactly what he actually meant.


Who actually are babajis:

There are two types of renounced sadhus in India who are called sannyasis and vairagis. Sannyasis wear saffron dress, are usually addressed as ‘Swami’. Vairagis, however, wear white cloth and are addressed as babajis.
The ceremony of accepting the white cloth of a renunciant is generally called taking vesa or dress. In Bengal it is called bheka. “Babaji” is an honorable word for such renounced people which means grandfather in Hindi as well as in Vraja-bhasa, the language spoken in the Vraja area. It is also a general term used respectfully for sadhus all over India

In Jaiva Dharma of Bhaktivinoda Thakura the babajis are not depicted in bad light but as sadhus and acaryas . Moreover, even if the founders condemned all babajis at a specific time, it would be unreasonable and inappropriate to apply that universally for all time in the past or future. It may be that they did not consider some of the contemporary babajis as worthy of association because of their connection with women. This, however, does not mean that all babajis were debauchees and would continue to be of such low character for all time. Nor does it mean that they all had a practice of associating with women.

It also should be noted that babajis are not always elder Indian gentlemen with beards . They may also have shaven heads; it is a matter of convenience and personal preference. There is a tradition of doing Govardhana parikrama on the day of Sanatana Gosvami’s disappearance in his honor because he is the one who popularized parikrama. This particular day is called “Mudia Puno”. The word “mudia” is derived from the Vraja-bhasa word “moond” which means shaven head. Sanatana Gosvami had a shaven head and therefore he was addressed as “Mudia Baba” by the local Vraja-basis. When he left his body, to honor him, the Vraja-basis shaved their heads and performed Govardhana parikrama. This has since become a tradition which continues till today. Although we call them Gosvamis, the Vraja-basis addressed them as babajis.

From this we can understand that “babaji” is a traditional Indian word of honor for renounced sadhus and that it has no connotation of a person having illicit relations with women. This can also be known by studying the local culture .


What is actual Sahajiya:

We call any deviation to be sahajiya but fail to understand what actually is sahajiya. First we have to understand that every deviation from proper siddhanta is a deviation but every deviation is not called sahajiya.

The word sahajiya is derived from the Sanskrit word sahaja which literally means born with or natural (saha + ja, saha = with, ja = born). The sahajiya theory consists of two premises namely, (1) krsna-prema is dormant in the heart and (2) this prema can be awakened by practicing love with a female partner. It should be also noted here that a practicing sahajiya has only one female partner, not two or three.

Authenticated Gaudiya Vaisnava babajis do not accept either of these two premises. Associating with women is not part of their practice but is instead warned against. It is considered a deviation from one’s spiritual practices and is reprehensible.
There was a Buddhist sect called Sahajayana, besides the Mahayana and Hinayana sects, which was popular in the Eastern part of India before the appearance of Mahaprabhu. They followed the Tantric practice of trying to elevate their consciousness or raise the Kundalini with the help of a female partner. The purpose was not to enjoy sex as is misunderstood by many. Some sects of Tantra still practice this and it has unfortunately become the popular understanding of the Tantra practiced in the West.

When Mahaprabhu became popular in Bengal and Orissa, many of these Sahajayanis took to Gaudiya Vaishnavism being influenced by Mahaprabhu. They subsequently mixed their Sahajayana practice into the philosophy of Mahaprabhu. They believed that Goloka Vrndavana exists in the physical body and love of Krsna is dormant within the atma. This love can be manifested in the most natural way (sahaja) in the association of a female, especially a woman who is not one’s wife (parakiya) as the male mind is naturally attracted to women other than one’s wife.

Sahajiyas consider Caitanya-caritamrta as one of the most important books of their school and claim that even Caitanya Mahaprabhu had a female partner. According to them, the daughter of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Sathi, was Mahaprabhu’s partner. This was the reason behind Sathi’s husband, Amogha, being upset with Mahaprabhu when He came to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya’s house to take lunch prasad. (CC Mad 15.245-248). But it is not the truth.

Similarly, in their books the sahajiyas give the names of the female partners of all the Gosvamis of Vrindavan. They consider this knowledge to be very esoteric. Therefore most of their literature has never been printed.


 

Sahajiyas do not follow any angas of vidhi bhakti:

It is also to be noted that many Sahajiyas wears tulsi beads on their neck but at the same time indulge in meat eating.They do not follow Ekadashi or any regulative principles. Some times many sahajiyas dress externally as a gopi and think themselves as an eternal associate of Lord. However it is to be understood ALL those who dress externally are not sahajiyas. We have a tendency to call any deviation from normal to be sahajiya . They might have deviated from the footsteps of the goswamis and the acharyas(they never dress externally in gopi bhava) but that is another deviation but not sahajiya.


Cheap mindset of sahajiyas: 
The sahajiyas directly engage in reading very erotic pastimes of Krishna and gopis and imagine themselves to be directly having sex with Krishna.This is a clear deviation from what the Goswamis have preached and has nothing to do with Raganuga bhakti.

“Raganuga bhajan comprises of two practices – external and internal. Externally, we should hear and chant, while we should meditate on our siddha deha and serve Sri Radha-Krishna in Vraja-dham all day and night.” – (C.C. Madhya.22.89-90)
“One should meditate on oneself in a form that is a female associate of the sakhis, engaged in services on their command, decorated by Her ornaments.”(PBC 58)

Here meditation is done in siddha deha not to pose externally as a gopi and display to the outer world.

“Those in whom such taste (ruci) has not awakened, but who have a special interest for it, should engage in a mixture of raganuga and vaidhi. For the sake of establishing an example for the people of the world, the one in whom such ruci has awakened will do the same. Therefore, as appropriate, raganuga should be performed together with vaidhi.” (Jiva Goswami Bhakti-sandarbha 312).


 

Following favorable anagas of vidhi bhakti is part of Raganuga bhajan 

So following the favourable important angas of Vaidhi Bhakti is a must for the practitioners of raganuga bhakti also . Just for an example Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is 94(2014) years old now but he still follows all the regulative principles including Ekadashi(not mandatory beyond 80 as per scriptures) just to teach his disciples and followers the importance of following rules . The whole world knows that he is one of the greatest living raganuga guru who strongly preaches raganuga bhakti and everyone is aware of his spiritual position . His act shows the importance of following rules.


 

Gaudiya vaishnava acharyas forbids the act of displaying the symptoms of bhava and prema. Refer to the section “Hide your love“.


 

No Sex in raganuga bhakti

Gaudiya vaishnavas who practice raganuga bhakti in madhurya rasa never ever think themselves as Krishna , Radharani or Asta Sakhis. Even the practicing devotees aspiring to be Radharani’s sakhis “not manjaris” do not imagine having sex with Krishna in meditation. This is highly offensive . They are totally surrendered to Radharani and the asta askhis and take pleasure in serving Radharani under anugatya of one of the asta sakhis.Though they can take the position of nayika if Radharni desires they do not act for their own sense gratification but for the pleasure of krishna.But still the sadhaka ignore this part in their meditation and focus on their seva. The vaishnavas practicing as Manjaris are Radharani’s servant so there is no question of sex. So sex is out of the scene of authenticated Gaudiya Vaishnava raganuga sadhakas.


 

External dressing as gopis is not a part of raganuga bhakti:

Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj states in his commentary to Ragavartma Chandrika :

There are two kinds of practice: External and internal. Externally one practises hearing and chanting within one’s physical sadhaka-body, and internally one meditates on one’s own siddha-body, in which one serves Krisna in Vraja day and night.
Without practising limbs of bhajana such as hearing and chanting within the external sadhaka body the sadhaka can not attain perfection in either destroying maya, becoming free from vices in his own bhajana or in his allegiance to the people of Vraja. With hearing and chanting is meant following as much as possible the 64 items of bhajana, starting with taking shelter of a guru, that Srimat Rupa Gosvami has mentioned in his Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu grantha. Some people imitate the gopi deha with the sadhaka deha, dressing and ornamenting the physical body like women do, but this is not approved of by the Vaisnavacaryas like Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami. An intelligent sadhaka should use his discriminating intelligence and follow the items of bhajana properly. He should not act contrary to his own feelings, for that will cause obstructions to his attainment of prema.


 

Now  let us analyze some statements made by HDG A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami  to understand what he actually meant.

Statement 1: “The class known as prakrta-sahajiya, who consider the transcendental pastimes of Lord Krsna something like the behavior between a man and a woman in the material field, artificially think that hearing the rasa-lila will help them by diminishing the lusty desires of their diseased hearts. But because they do not follow the regulative principles but instead violate even ordinary morals, their contemplation of rasa-lila is a futile attempt, which sometimes results in their imitating the dealings of the gopis and Lord Krsna. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya lila 5:45-46 purport)

Analysis: Here Srila Prabhupada stresses on the fact that sahajiyas do not follow the regulative principles that is why  their attempt for purifying themselves by hearing Rasa Lila is a futile effort. Regulative principles is followed by the genuine practitioners of raganuga bhakti.So there is no problem with Prabupada’s statement.


 

Statement 2: “In this connection it should be noted that a class of so-called devotees (known as prakrta-sahajiya) follow their own concocted ideas and, representing themselves as Krsna and Radha, indulge in debauchery. Such devotional service and attachment are false, and those so engaged are actually gliding down a hellish path. This is not the standard of ragatmika, or devotion. The prakrta-sahajiya community is actually cheated and very unfortunate.” (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 13)

Analysis: Here Srila Prabhupada stresses on sahjiyas imagining themselves as Radha Krsna and indulge in sex. This is not as per the teachings of Goswamis on raganuga bhakti.


Statement 3: “The transcendental symptoms of ecstasy certainly are auspicious, but they are not for advertising to others. One should not advertise directly or indirectly that one is feeling like this. They should be checked. Otherwise one will gradually become sahajiya or one who takes spiritual advancement as something materially manifest. Srila Prabhupada Letter to Makhanlal, 06-03-70

Analysis: Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Narottam Das Thakura  by their personal example and teachings showed that prema is to be kept hidden and they are not meant for public display. Strict followers of raganuga bhakti follows these instructions.Refer to section “Hide your love”


 

Statement 4:  WITHOUT SERVING KRSNA ACCORDING TO THE VIDHI-MARGA REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES OF THE PANCARATRIKA-VIDHI, UNSCRUPULOUS PERSONS WANT TO JUMP IMMEDIATELY TO THE RAGA-MARGA PRINCIPLES. SUCH PERSONS ARE CALLED SAHAJIYA. There are also demons who enjoy depicting Krsna and His pastimes with the gopis, taking advantage of Krsna by their licentious character.(SB 4.24.45-46)

Analysis:
“Raganuga bhajan comprises of two practices – external and internal. Externally, we should hear and chant, while we should meditate on our siddha deha and serve Sri Radha-Krishna in Vraja-dham all day and night.” – (C.C. Madhya.22.89-90).
Externally in sadhaka deha one need to follow the rules and regulations and justly condemed by Srila Prabhupada for the sahajiyas. However one  should not misunderstand that Srila prabhupada is criticizing those who follow raganuga bhakti. His comment is specifically focused towards those who don’t follow the important angas of bhakti .


 

Statement 5:  EVEN IN SUCH A SACRED PLACE AS VRNDAVANA, INDIA, UNINTELLIGENT MEN PASS OFF THIS RECTAL AND GENITAL BUSINESS AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY. SUCH PEOPLE ARE CALLED SAHAJIYA. ACCORDING TO THEIR PHILOSOPHY, THROUGH SEXUAL INDULGENCE ONE CAN ELEVATE ONESELF TO THE SPIRITUAL PLATFORM. FROM THESE VERSES OF SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM, HOWEVER, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE DESIRES FOR SEXUAL SATISFACTION ARE MEANT FOR THE ARVAK, THE LOWEST AMONG MEN.(SB 4.29.14)

Analysis: As we have already mentioned that there are sahajiyas even in Vrindavan and Srila Kunjabihari Das babaji, Srila Ananta Das babaji and others have been fighting and have successfully reduced their influence and turned them into minorities. Sex is out of question for genuine practitioners of raganuga bhakti. The statement is aimed at only the sahajiyas not all vrajvasis who practice raganuga bhakti as understood by the ignorant neophyte devotees.


 

Statement 6:  Some material sahajiyas who cannot actually understand the pastimes of Radha and krsna manufacture their own life-styles without referring to authority. Such sahajiyas are called sakhi-bheki, and sometimes they are called gaura-nagari. THEY BELIEVE THAT THE MATERIAL BODY, WHICH IS FIT TO BE EATEN BY JACKALS AND DOGS, IS ENJOYABLE FOR KRSNA. CONSEQUENTLY THEY ARTIFICIALLY DECORATE THE MATERIAL BODY TO ATTRACT KRSNA, THINKING THEMSELVES SAKHIS. BUT KRSNA IS NEVER ATTRACTED BY THE ARTIFICIAL GROOMING OF THE MATERIAL BODY. AS FAR AS SRIMATI RADHARANI AND HER GOPIS ARE CONCERNED, THEIR BODIES, HOMES, DRESSES, ORNAMENTS, ENDEAVORS AND ACTIVITIES ARE ALL SPIRITUAL.(Madhya 8.204-205)

Analysis:  One has to refer to authority and abide by their teachings.Here Srila Prabhupada has comdemned those who artificially (externally)dress as gopis . Many of the sahajiyas dress externally but not all those who dress externally is a sahajiya though that is also a deviation and not recommended. Gauri Nagari Bhava was practiced by Sri Lochanananda Das Thakura , Sri Narahari Sarkar Thakura who  are eternal associates of Sriman mahaprabhu but it  is not a  recommended practice for gaudiya vaishnavas. However though the practice of gaur nagari is a deviation not recommended  it does not fall in the category of sahajiya .


 

Statement 7:  THE PRAKRTA-SAHAJIYAS DO NOT CONSULT THE VEDIC LITERATURE, AND THEY ARE DEBAUCHEES, WOMAN-HUNTERS AND SMOKERS OF GANJA. SOMETIMES THEY GIVE A THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE AND CRY FOR THE LORD WITH TEARS IN THEIR EYES. Of course, all scriptural conclusions are washed off by these tears.(Madhya 1.34)

Analysis: Sahajiyas have their own self created literature as stated in the beginning which is not as per the authority.They do not follow the regulative principles and search for another man’s wife for parakiya sex. This is not as per actual teachings.


 

Statement 8: THE SIDDHA-PRANALI PROCESS IS FOLLOWED BY A CLASS OF MEN WHO ARE NOT VERY AUTHORIZED AND WHO HAVE MANUFACTURED THEIR OWN WAY OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE. THEY IMAGINE THAT THEY HAVE BECOME ASSOCIATES OF THE LORD SIMPLY BY THINKING OF THEMSELVES LIKE THAT. This external behavior is not at all according to the regulative principles. The so-called siddha-pranali process is followed by the prakrta-sahajiya, a pseudosect of so-called Vaisnavas. In the opinion of Rupa Gosvami, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service. SRI RUPA GOSVAMI SAYS THAT LEARNED ACARYAS RECOMMEND THAT WE FOLLOW THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES EVEN AFTER THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPONTANEOUS LOVE FOR KRSNA. (Nectar of devotion chapter 16)

Analysis:  Siddha pranali is an authenticated process and have been recommended by previous acharyas. Please refer to the section of Siddha pranali and Gurudeva reveals the siddha deha and harinaam perfects it in our process . So why did srila Prabhupada made such harsh comment ? Was he ignorent of the Siddha pranali ? Let us see.

This excerpt from a private conversation with Hrsikesa dasa, an early disciple of Srila Prabhupada, in Mayapura India, (circa 1973), reveals very telling facts about Srila Prabhupada’s actual position on this subject:

ACBSP: So what you have learned in Vrndavana?

HD: About Nitya-lila, Gurudev.

ACBSP: And?

HD: Siddha-pranali, asta-kaliya-lila-smaranam. Right, Gurudev!?

ACBSP: YES, but who is siddha?
HD: One out of millions of seekers (quoted the verse Bhagavad Gita, manusyanam sahasreu…” But isn’t this (nitya-lila) our goal , Gurudev?

ACBSP: Yes, we are the followers of Rupa-Raghunath. This is the highest understanding, to be dasanudas in Radha-Krsna’s lila.

HD: But what about siddha-pranali? How to qualify? Who will give?

ACBSP: Guru will give. You just chant Hare Krsna.

Here srila Prabhupada recognized the authenticity of Siddha Pranali. Examining these statements carefully and the statement in Nectar of devotion  reveals that Srila Prabhupada’s harsh attack primarily has to do with these people (specifically males)  dressing up as gopis (he mentioned external behavior in his statement), which we know is not a valid part of raganuga- bhakti, and is therefore outside of that which is taught and approved by the acaryas. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada justly  criticized them and is in sync with his other comments on sahajiyas.

So from the statements of Srila Prabhupada we see that whom he criticized are those people about whom we have discussed in the beginning in the sahajiya section and it has nothing to do with the genuine practicionars of raganuga bhakti.


 
Conclusion:
We do not want to deviate one from their sadhana process or to take initiation from Babajis. Nor we are promoting Sri Ananta Das Babaji maharaj as diksha guru .Each soul will be guided to his guru based on his previous samskaras. The article is intended only to prevent vaishnava from committing  severe vaishnava aparadha by criticizing other authenticated sampradayas and vrajvasis specially those who perform raganuga bhajan and for those Vaishnavas who are ignorant of actual sahajiya community and their teachings.


 

References:

Some portion taken from blog  of Sri Satyanarayana Das  Babaji Maharaj

http://www.jiva.org/babajis-sahajiyas-and-apasampradayas/

http://www.jiva.org/sahajiyas-tapasvis-and-rasa/

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Being a follower of Srila Prabhupada | Gaudiya Vaishnava Rasa Sudhanidhi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,828 other followers

%d bloggers like this: