The world we live in is extremely complex. The Srimad Bhagavatham says that there are 0.4 million species amongst human beings. This necessarily refers to the levels of consciousness that exist among the human species. A very miniscule percentage of this population is categorized under the devotees of Lord Krishna. Amongst these devotees the ones executing Bhakti proper is almost negligible. The major reason is the onslaught of time and circumstances which affect the mind and consciousness of people executing Bhakti and the state of spiritual oblivion that one is in.
Usually amongst the devotees, the Bhakti process may be instinctual rather than being a conscious move. Owing to the sukriti (prior conscious or unconscious devotional activities), pious work and mercy of Vaishnavas many of the devotees have taken up devotional activities as per inspiration. Over and above that there have been innumerable shades of Bhakti refuge that is made available by time. In this current age of Kali, the movement of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the most prominent. Yet there are innumerable shades of the base philosophy that has been attracting people all over the world. The people taking up Bhakti are fighting the forces of Maya and trying to submit themselves to Bhakti options as mentioned above, more instinctually. This landscape of Bhakti is however very lop-sided and hence we may not say for certain that people have taken to the best option. It is very clear that options are naturally available based on the natural maturity of the living entity. This is the sweet arrangement of the divine. However it also goes without saying that the Divine provides all types of superior and inferior options for the jeeva and attracts a “conscious” living entity towards the higher evolutionary process, thereby providing an alternative of saving invaluable time in the process of higher consciousness evolution.
The living entity especially the human species is one that looks at suitability of a particular situation or event based on its own comfort level rather than trying to be adaptable to a situation that allows higher growth. This is rather true in the case of Bhakti. It is very clear in the Dharma Shastras that the goal of man is to serve God even at the cost of surrendering one’s assumed position at the feet of the Lord. Lord Krishna beautifully explains this position to Arjuna starting from Karma Yoga and consummating his divine explanations with the Science of perfect renunciation, where the jeeva has no other activity other than serving the Lord. Sri Krishna then practically executed this philosophy coming back as Sriman Mahaprabhu in Kaliyuga and trained His associates, the Six Goswamis and the other Acaryas of the Gaudiya Parampara, equipping them with a blue-print in the form of Raganuga Sadhana.
Having established such a great philosophy such a Raganuga Bhakti, devotees continue to grope in darkness having accepted the genre of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s teachings. A major reason for such gross misrepresentation of the movement of Sriman Mahaprabhu is the dilution and pollution of the original teachings of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavana to suit one’s whimsical and wayward tendencies and then packaging a new philosophy thus pegging it under the name of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Vaidhi Bhakti is a philosophy that existed ages before Sriman Mahaprabhu’s arrival and technically can never be mixed with the Raganuga philosophy. (Spontaneous Devotion). There are specific methodologies included in the Raganuga mode where the jeeva has to first decide his goal. The goal or Prayojana is already defined by the framework of Raganuga Sadhana which is attainment of service at the feet of Srimati Radharani, nothing short of that. It is the greed and laser sharp intention of the sadhaka which serves as the booster for performing the Sadhana process. When a sincere aspirant burns with this single pointed desire, the Sadhana framework of Raganuga will work wonders and the sadhaka is immediately relieved from the bondage of material life and the Lord immediately takes over the life of the Sadhaka and places him at the feet of Praneswari (Srimati Radhika). Although the process is simple, it is not easy considering the multifarious engagements of the living entity and its various strings attached with the material world.
The living entity who takes the position of a devotee wants to enjoy both the material and spiritual. Most living entities are scared of the material world itself without staunch faith on Krishna as one’s protector. They make excuses of fulfilling material responsibilities. What they miss to do is offer prayers to Krishna dedicatedly of being freed from Maya in all respects. A consistent and deep prayer of this kind shall relieve the jeeva. Krishna says “I will take you, if you only want me alone”. This is the pre-condition. Hence devotees take to subsidiary options like satisfaction of the self-centred desires, peace or hope that someday Krishna may fully accept them and in that mood do some Bhajana Kriya. One should know that the single most important aspect of Sadhana and Bhajana is heavily loaded intention and greed for the Lord. It is only then that the Mantra Sadhana will take shape in relieving the Sadhaka. Taking to other systems which discount the Raganugiya mode of service rendered to the Lord will only gather some spiritual merit and not lead one to the eternal land of Goloka. Unless there is intense desire to quit the material world and single-pointed service to Srimati Radhika, nothing substantial will happen in the life of a devotee. A devotee who performs Bhajana with intensity will see that Lord Hari will automatically free him from the shackles of the material world. Lord Hari is ever keen to locate a sadhaka who is ready to forsake everything for Him. Such an attitude can only be the rudimental basis for Raganuga Bhakti. Bhakti is not adjustment for the sake of the Lord but forsaking one’s heart at the feet of the Lord, it is a prayer for release from the shackles of material bondage.
A lot of devotees have spiritual masters. Yet there is little interaction between the master and the disciple. This goes to show that it is just a social fulfilling of one’s spiritual status and nothing more than that. When a devotee takes his spiritual status lightly, it is also an “apradha” at the feet of the Lord. There are people who discuss Guru on a general platform without actually studying themselves and finding out ways to purify the heart. Even these things are done unconsciously. Since man is defined in the textbooks as a social animal, devotees appear in huge groups for so-called spiritual gatherings. The Status Quo of one’s consciousness will change only when one hits upon a God-realized master and learn from him the science of looking inward. Only then will serious spiritual life start in the real sense.