Free will,the ability to choose and desire

In his audio comments on Rāga-vartma-candrikā 11, quoting Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.294 Advaita Dāsa says: 
“Following the Vrajavāsīs of “your choice” is an empty shell. There’s a principle of bestowal. Anarpita-carīṁ cirāt. Mahāprabhu came especially to GIVE this amorous love for Kṛṣṇa. If it is given or placed in the heart by mercy of Lord Caitanya or Śrī Guru, we cannot say it is our own choice.”
Also he explains:
“Free will seems another Christian insertion into Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy so popular with western rationalists. There is Anādi karma (Vedānta-sūtra 2.1.35) and there is no question of free will when there is Anādi-karma. The entry into Bhakti is not due to free will.
The Jīvātma has Kartṛtva (power to act), but that Kartṛtva is granted by God only. It is limited Kartṛtva. An object in darkness cannot get into the sunlight unless the sunlight falls on it. Free will is like the will to see. The eyes can see – that much capacity is there. But the eyes can see only that which is within its field of vision. If the eyes are in darkness, they can only see darkness. They cannot see light. Bhagavān prompts the Jīva according to his Svabhāva, Karma, Saṁskāras etc. 
The Jīva always has the capacity to will, feel and act, but what he wills, feels and does is restricted by his own Karma, Svabhāva and the Lord’s sanctions. By free will, one who is under Bahiraṅgā-śakti cannot come under Antaraṅga and vice-versa. His free will under Bahiraṅga-śakti is restricted to acting within Bahiraṅgā-śakti.
Sanātana Goswāmī says there is freedom for the Siddhas in Vaikuṇṭha, but that is freedom compared to this material world – freedom from the Bahiraṅgā-śakti, but not freedom to leave/fall from Vaikuṇṭha. The Jīva is then under the Antarāṅgā-śakti and it will be impossible for him to fall. The Mamatva (possessiveness) has changed from a dead body to Parama-saccidānanda-vastu. It will be impossible for Mamatva to change again. Siddhi is Siddhi – otherwise it is not Siddhi – perfection.
Therefore, the Jīva’s free will is within the limits of his freedom as granted by Īśvara and is bound by his own Karma. If minute independence is not there, then the Jīva would become like Jaḍa (dead matter). Then all scriptural injunctions will become useless and the defect of not following them will come to the Lord. 
But that independence is no way called free will. That is not there in the Jīva’s Svarūpa. It is a dependent independence. Like a bird able to fly inside a zoo. And the bird is a turkey or a hen. Not a peacock, eagle or dove”

——- By Advaita Das complied by Prahladesa Das.


What is ‘Naam’ (Name)?

Srimat Jiva Goswamipad has written in Sri Bhakti-Sandarbha –

“Naam is a sound used to identify certain object.”
Shabda-Kalpa-Droom (a Sanskrit dictionary) says –
Sound is of two types – That which cannot be pronounced (just as a thunder or rustling of leaves) and that which can be pronounced
Of course, a name is something we can pronounce. Whenever we want to talk about an object we say its name. For example a thirsty person says “Please give me water”. Immediately we think of a liquid substance that quenches thirst. In this manner every person, object, concept or idea has a name that distinguishes it from others.
Naamiis the object (e.g. the object ‘water’) to which the name belongs. ‘Naam’ is simply the word (e.g. ‘water’ in English), while ‘naami’ is the object itself. The only function the naam serves is to denote the object – it has no quality of the object whatsoever. Had it not been so, we would have quenched our thirst simply by uttering “water” – there would have been no need to actually drink water. If nâm and nâmi would have been non-different, naam would have had all the power of naami.
Shabda-Shakti-Prakashika 1 says – Names are of two types –
We give names to various worldly destructible objects; they are just words
and do not have any characteristic of the said objects. Such names are

However in the divine world there are names that have existed since eternity and will remain forever. So we call them ‘eternal’.
Amongst these names, the names of God almighty are non-different from Him. They contain all His qualities. The saints and scriptures clearly state that Sri Bhagavân and His names are non-different – we must always
remember this fact.

Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj


Understanding Tad-bhavecchatmika bhakti

Tad-bhavecchatmika bhakti is defined as a type of devotion that is saturated with the desire to realize the fullness of the sweet mood which succeeds in winning the interest of the lover and his beloved, because it finds extreme joy in helping Radha and Krsna’s other leading ladies enjoy erotic dalliances with him and takes pleasure in seeing their fulfillment. This mood (bhava) is also called the mood of the girlfriends (sakhi-bhava).

Sakhi-bhava means unqualified love for the leading lady or yuthesvari. That love is without limit and is free from even the slightest touch of selfishness, to the extent that the sakhi thinks that the leading lady is dearer to her than her own life or her own self.

The essence of sakhi-bhava is trust, or visrambha, which Jiva Gosvamin has further defined as meaning a feeling of mutual identity.(Sri Jiva on BRS 3.3.106) As a result of maintaining this intimate trust, the sakhis are able to understand the nayika spontaneously, without her having to say anything, or make the slightest hint or gesture.

Kavi Karnapura has also defined the sakhi in the following way:
“Those who are dedicated with an untainted love, who feel happiness and distress in accordance with the moods of the nayika, and who are similar to her in age and temperament, and are thus able to know her heart, are called sakhis.”(AK 5.279)

Rupa Gosvamin’s definition is found in Ujjvala-nilamani:
Those who sincerely feel greater love for each other than they do for even themselves, who have intimate confidence in one another, and who are equal in age, dress, talent, beauty and temperament, are known as sakhis.(UN 7.70)

In the chapter treating the subject of the sakhi in the same book, Rupa writes:
The sakhis are the perfect expanders of the loving affairs and intrigues of the Divine Couple and are veritable treasure chests of the rare and valuable secret jewels of faith and trust.(UN 8.1)

The nayika’s mood is one of desiring to give pleasure to her lover (nayaka) by serving him with every limb of her own body. The sakhi’s mood is one of desiring especially for the union of the lover and his mistress, the nayaka and the nayika. The nayika is her friend and by giving her pleasure in this way, she achieves her own plenitude and perfection. This is the difference between the two types of gopis participating in the creation of erotic sacred rapture.

The worshipable object of srimati Radharani and the other leading lady-loves of the Lord is sri Krsna alone and no other. On the other hand, the sakhis have the feature of wanting to see Krsna with srimati Radharani (or some other nayika, as the case may be). As Narottama Das Thakur has put it, “My life and soul are the Divine Couple, Radha and Krsna.”

The purpose of this work is to explain sakhi-bhava specifically where the nayika is srimati Radharani.

From Manjari Swarupa Nirupana by Srila Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaj

HDG A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami on raganuga and vaidhi bhakti

Unless one follows in the footsteps of the gopīs, he cannot attain the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. If one is overcome by knowledge of the Lord’s opulence, he cannot attain the Lord’s lotus feet, even though he is engaged in devotional service. CC, 2.8.230

Srila Prabhupada’s Purport:

One can worship Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa by the process of vidhi-mārga, worshiping the Lord with regulative principles according to the instructions of the śāstra and the spiritual master. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, cannot be directly worshiped by this process. The dealings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs are devoid of the opulences of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa.

The process of vidhi-mārga, following the regulative principles, is utilized in the worship of Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, whereas the process of spontaneous service — following in the footsteps of the gopīs, who are the denizens of Vṛndāvana — is transcendentally more advanced and is the process whereby Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are worshiped.

One cannot attain this elevated position while worshiping the Lord in His opulence. Those attracted by the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa must follow in the footsteps of the gopīs. Only then is it possible to enter into the Lord’s service in Goloka Vṛndāvana and directly associate with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.


A neophyte devotee who follows the Vedic instructions that regulate those who lack pure love of Godhead may superficially seem more exalted than a devotee in spontaneous love of Godhead.

But in fact such spontaneous pure love (Rāga Bhakti) is far superior to regulated devotional service (Vaidhī Bhakti).

Such pure love of Godhead is always glorious in all respects, more so than reverential devotional service rendered by a less affectionate devotee.”

(Śrīla Prabhupāda – CC Ādi 4.26)


“Those who are strictly following the rules and regulations of Vaisnava activities, they are promoted to Vaikuntha Lokas. But those who have developed a spontaneous love for Krsha (Raga Bhakti), they are promoted to the Krsna Loka.”

(Srila Prabhupada – Letter to Rupanuga – Montreal 3 July, 1968)

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