Three Stage Bhakti Schools

By the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu this material world has fortunately become a school of Bhakti. There are many organizations all over India and the world which preach the gospel of devotion to Krishna. The Supreme Lord has mercifully been divided into three distinct classes of Bhakti Yoga. Although the summum bonum of Bhakti is Krishna Seva Prapti or Unalloyed Service to Radha Krishna in the spiritual domain ,  based on the consciousness of people inhabiting this world there are three classes of devotional milieu that exist. In the Gaudiya parlance, there are world-wide institutions that promote these milieus through divine arrangement.

SpontaneousDevotionThe basic class of Bhakti managed by these great organizations are for general populace who are internally bogged down by material nature; seekers who want permanent relief. These are people who are essentially outward focussed and themselves controlled by materialistic attitudes. People who are thus oblivious of the Lord are graciously guided by organizations who follow the Gaudiya Vaishnavic path and impart the basic teaching of knowing and understanding one’s position through the age-old science of Self-realization; enabling one to engage one’s outward focussed senses to the service of the Lord; imparting knowledge about the Lord and His energies; introducing the facets of Bhakti and enabling the living entities to look beyond material nature through the medium of devotional activities. The organizations engage individuals in various temple activities and help curb the senses by means of engaging them with serious activities related to Sri Krishna. However these organizations only serve as a basic platform; since they are part of a massive world-wide movement, they fall well short of enabling advancement in the devotees. One who wants to attain higher moods of service to the Lord, especially in the direction of freeing oneself from the six vices that contaminate the heart; one finds it difficult to get pointed assistance under the auspices of these organizations.

There are another set of spiritual organizations that focus extensively on the rigor of Bhakti in the Gaudiya Vaishnavic path , which focuses mainly on individual seriousness in service to the divine couple ; engaging oneself seriously in following the principles of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. These organizations lay tremendous emphasis on the philosophy of Sriman Mahaprabhu and encourage its followers to dedicate oneself internally to the cause of Sriman Mahaprabhu through focussed “Seva” and Vaishnava “Sadachar”. Although these set of organizations promote the superior mood of Gaudiya Vaishnavic thought, it still does not promote fully the higher moods of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as propounded by Sriman Mahaprabhu which is Raganuga Bhakti. The two types of organizations mentioned in this article primarily promote the Vaidik mood of service which constitute service to the Lord in awe and reverence and are devoid of spontaneity in Service.

One can acquire the mood of spontaneous service to the Lord only through the association of Sadhus who have transcended material nature and those whose hearts are perennially engaged in the service of Sri Sri Radha Krishna having accepted the mood of “audarya” (magnanimity) of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Though organizations aid Bhakti through various processes, one cannot attain the summit of Bhakti without Uttama Sadhu Sanga (Sadhus engaged in Ekanta Bhajana in the land of Vraja). The Gaudiya Vaishnavas Parivaras of Radha Kunda who are authorized representatives of Sriman Mahaprabhu Himself impart the deepest secrets of Bhajana in the divine couples’ mood of conjugal love. Associating with the elevated Sadhus of the Parivara is perhaps the only option open to the sadhakas who are greedy to follow the most confidential path of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana and thus attain perfection.

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