Can Vaidhi Bakthi lead one towards Raganuga bhakti? (ie, Can the devotional rules make us Perfect Devotees?)?
Actual Question from Roshini Dubey:
“Hare Krishna Prabhuji ! Since I have studied BRS one question is walking in my mind Does Vaidhi bhakti leads to Raganuga bhakti ? Please help me to to sort out this.”
I have to thank you for this question. Because, this answer gives me an opportunity to explain how Raganuga bakthi is possible through Vaidhi bakthi. This is the advanced level of discussion about the devotion to Krishna. This reply may help the devotees to think of their elevation to the next stage of their devotion. I have tried my best to simplify this concept that can be understood by a normal devotee.
Vaidhi bakthi or Vidhi Bakthi involves sadhanas like chanting that we are doing now.
There are two contrary opinions about this matter. Some say – No. Some say – Yes.
The voters of NO say that the the Vaidhi bakthi originates admiring the power of Lord whereas the the Raganuga bakthi originates enjoying the sweetness of Krishna.
The refutation given by the voters of YES is that Vaidhi Bakthi can be TRANSFORMED into the Raganuga Bakthi.
Though the Vaidhi bakthi has more admiring of the powers of Lord, it can be later transformed to the stage of enjoying the sweetness of Lord when the devotee continuously develops purity and ruchi to the lilas of Krishna.
What is my vote? I vote for YES because I belive in Krishna’s mercy who makes anything possible if the devotee aims.
In the devotion to Krishna, we can attain any stage if we have determination and willingness. Krishna is ready to take us even to His kingdom. Then, why can’t He help us to attain the stage of Raganuga devotees?
No devotee can be a pure devotee in the initial stage. Only because he has faith in Krishna, he follows the devotional practices like chanting. So, Krishna will have no objection if that devotee later likes to come to the stage of Raganuga bakthi.
Nothing is prohibited in the devotion to Krishna. Therefore, we need not play with the magical terms like Raganuga bakthi, Prema Bakthi, Vaidhi bakthi, etc.
If we desire to advance in the devotion to Krishna, He is ready to elevate us to any stage. How can He put a curtain in our march towards perfection in devotion? He would never like to do so.
In one way, it is possible to attain the stage of Raganuga bakthi through Vaidhi bakthi.
How? Let us see. It requires your serious willingness to attain that stage.
Yes. It is possible ONLY IF we follow the Vaidhi Bakthi with love on Krishna. But, Vaidhi bakthi is not a precondition to attain Raganuga bakthi. There is a process for that. Read this reply further.
Bakthi can be identified in many forms. These are a few:
(i) Vaidhi bakthi or Sadhana bakthi
(ii) Ragatmika bakthi
(iii) Raganuga bakthi
Ragatmika bakthi means the spontaneous development of attachment to Krishna. The people of Vrindavana are the best example. They never followed any rules. The attachment to Krishna was spontaneous without any force or practice.
Raganuga bathi means developing a spontaneous love and attachment with Krishna as followed by the people of Vrindavana.
Blind following of Vaidhi bakthi alone does not take one towards Raganuga bakthi.
Ragatmika bakthi comes naturally if the devotee is free from material contaminations. This is the only condition.
When Ragatmika Bakthi of the people of Vrindavana is taken as an example to follow, our devotion becomes Raganuga bakthi.
Raganuga bakthi is possible only if we come out of anarthas like material desires, lust, etc. Otherwise, there may be some devotion, but, it will not be the spontaneous devotion.
If one attains the stage of Raganuga bakthi, he can not think of any other thing except Krishna. That is why, the people of Vrindavana were always thinking of Krishna SPONTANEOUSLY.
Who taught them love towards Krishna?
No one did it. And, no one can teach bakthi. Bakthi itself should be spontaneous.
We will follow the devotional rules that are also called Devotional services, since they are done to please Krishna without expectation for our benefits.
There are some devotees who say that Vaidhi bakthi is not required to attain prema or Raganuga Bakthi.
It is true because rules are not the conditions to attain Raganuga bakthi. It is spontaneous.
However, following the devotional rules, ie, Vaidhi bakthi can be taken to the stage of Raganuga bakthi.
During the initial stages of Vidhi bakthi, we may not have a taste in devotion. It may appear like a mechanical process.
However, when we sincerely follow the vaidhi bakthi, with the mercy of Krishna, we will be getting purified stage by stage from material contaminations.
With the decline of material contaminations (attachments), we will develop emotions towards Krishna and then advance further in developing love to Krishna that further leads to the stage of Raganuga bakthi.
If we are attached to materials, we can not love Krishna, because we are loving the materials also.
When we skip the attachments to materials, our only focus will be Krishna. So, we can develop love to Krishna.
When we develop emotions (this stage is called BHAWA BAKTHI) and love (this stage is called PREMA BAKTHI) towards Krishna, it will further go towards a stage of perfection in our devotion and we will always be in the thoughts of Krishna spontaneously.
At this stage, the devotional rules will not be required. Since we will always be in the spontaneous thoughts of Krishna, there will be no need for rules like chanting, going to the temples, etc.
So, Raganuga bakthi can not be attained through Vaidhi bakthi unless we develop love while following Vaidhi bathi.
Just a mechanical following of devotional rules will not bring love towards Krishna. The purification stage will take long period.
So, if we follow the Vaidhi Bakthi with sincerity and love, the purification will be faster.
Once we are purified, we develop uncontaminated love towards Krishna.
When this love becomes spontaneous, we forget all the rules. We are attached towards Krishna naturally that leads to Raganuga bakthi.
Sri Caitanya Caritamruta Madhya Lila (23.14–15) says about the stages of Vidhi bakthi or sadhana bakthi:
“In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krishna consciousness.”
Now, we have developed the love to Krishna. When we practice to follow this love spontaneously like the people of Vrindavana, we go to the stage of Raganuga bakthi.
So, in bakthi. We can not fix any specific rules. Bakthi is beyond the rules. If there are rules, they are meant to purify the devotees and to take them to the next stage of love to Krishna.
The devotional rules like chanting, worshiping, etc, are just to get purified from our contaminations. Once we get rid of these contaminations, love to Krishna begins.
When this love is made spontaneous, we get raganuga bakthi that can not be contained in a description or a rule.
In a capsule form: Raganuga bakthi can be reached by gradually advancing and purifying through Vaidhi Bakthi. But, Vidhi bakthi is not the pre condition to attain the stage of raganuga bakthi.
Vaidhi Bakthi helps in our purification without which we can not develop love to Krishna. After purification, all the other things follow taking us to Raganuga Bakthi.
Hope you are clear now.