Thakurji’s Tests : Beware of Bhakta Aparadhe
Baba Sri, Evening lecture, 6. 1. 2011

Story from Bhaktamal, Sivabiharidevaji

Biharidevaji was a great devotee who belonged to the Swami Haridas sect. One day he was sitting on the bank of the river Yamuna and he was doing his niyamavrata sevas but he was so absorbed in his meditation on Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa that he became completely aloof from his body. From morning to evening he was performing this sādhana with his attention only on the divine couple.

Sanātana Goswami, noticing his situation had sent prasadam by his priest of Madana Mohanaji, and because Biharidevaji was in trance, Sanatan told the priest to say aloud that this prasadam belongs to Swami Haridāsaji. When the priest said the name “Swami Haridāsaji”, Bihariji came to consciousness.

On a later occasion when Swami Biharidevaji was doing the seva of Bankebihariji, a brahmana named Mocana, who belonged to a village of Brajabhumi, used to come to see him and Swamiji handed over the seva of Bihariji to that brahmana. From that time the people from his dynasty are doing the seva of Bihariji even up to the present day. Thakuraji, the great artist performed many pastimes during this time.

One day Thakurji was playing with His sakhās and He approached Sri Biharidevaji who was sitting in meditation. The sakhās asked Sri Kṛṣṇa, “Oh Kanai, who is sitting here with his eyes closed?” Kṛṣṇa said, “We should not disturb him, he is doing bhajan.” But the sakhās said, “No, we want to talk to Him a little bit.” Then Shyamasundara came near to Biharidevaiji and He called loudly, “Bābā, bābā, bābā, please open your eyes!” Three times He called his name but Swami Biharidevaji did not respond. Then all the sakhās, all the cowherd boys called his name, then with closed eyes, he asked. “Who are you?” Sri Kṛṣṇa replied, “Whom are you meditating upon? I am the same person who you are meditating upon and my sakhās are also here.” Then Swami Biharideva asked, “Is Swami Haridas also present with you?” Sri Kṛṣṇa said, “No”. Biharideviji said, “Whose heart you have stolen, you should go to him. I am the worshiper of yugala Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Without Them I don’t like the group of cowherd boys.” After this he saw that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were sitting in the lap of Swami Haridasji.

Now Sri Biharidevaji was 98 years old. He was the worshiper of sharghara rasa and mādhurya rasa and the great saints of Vrndavana, Harinama dasji and Druva dasji have described how Sri Biharidevaji would live in Vṛndāvana. His bhajans are sung even today especially in the place where the followers of the Haridas sampradāya live.

Now there are the stories in the Bhaktamal of devotees who were totally detached from this materialistic world such as, Jayadeva, Paramānanda, Raghu, and Uddhava. There are many of which Goswami Nabhaji classified as completely aloof from all material identification.

This world is like a tree. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam canto 10 chapter 2 it is said; there are the two fruits of this world, pleasure and sorrow, the 3 modes are the roots, dharma, arthaḥ, kāma, and mokṣa are the various others, the 7 dhātus, and the 8 branches. From the mouth down to the genital organ there are 9 holes, and the two birds seated on this tree are the soul and the Lord. The lustful persons consume the fruit, which is full of sorrow, and those who are detached consume the fruit of ānanda, bliss and happiness.

Goswami Nabhaji says “I am the purohjit, the worshipper, of  these detached devotees. They are my yajaman. Through such a relation, livelihood is maintained, similarly they give me life in their association.” In chapter 246 of Bhaktamal, Sri Nabhaji has said, such devotees can become the inhabitants of the nikunja, the holy dhama.

There is the story of Uddhavaji, one of these care free devotees, who was different from the Uddhava of Dwapara-yuga. In his Thakurji seva he had a beautiful lutia, a small jug from which he would offer water to Thakurji. Some saint came to him and said; “Please give this jug to me.” He gave it to him and offered a new one to the Lord but Thakurji suddenly became angry and threw the new lutia aside and said; “When you have no love for me, why do you offer this jug to me.” Then Uddhavaji replied, “If I do not offer water to you, you will also become angry for not being offered water. Oh Maharaj, why become angry? A sadhu has brought a similar jug and you accepted one in the past.” Thakurji said, “Why did you give the jug to the saint when he asked, why did you give him my jug and then offer me another one?”

This was the lila of Thakurji. In reality He was testing him, otherwise for the sake of a small jug Krsna cannot be angry. Thakurji then said,  “I don’t like this new small jug! I will not drink water in this jug. You should not offer me any bhoga, you should not bother feed me, you should just feed that saint instead.” Then Uddhavaji replied, “Mahārāj you need not be angry. One saint came and gave a lutia and another one came and took it away. I want to satisfy the saint, whether you are pleased upon me or not.”

It appeared as if it was a drama but it was not a performance. This is the principle: Kṛṣṇa does not pay attention toward offenses to Himself or is concerned with his personal pleasure, He exists only for to the pleasure of His devotees, and will not tolerate offenses to them (Bābā starts singing )

“Uddhava says that if you consider a saint to be greater than God, then you attain real devotion.”
It is said in the Rāmacarita mānasa; The spiritual master of Indra, Bṛhaspatiji says to him; “Oh Indra you should meditate on the example of Lord Rama; God is never angry if one commits an offense to Himself, but if someone offends His devotee, then His anger will burn that person. Oh Indra you should listen to me, Rāma loves His devotees so much, if someone does seva to His devotee, the Lord becomes so happy. If someone has enmity with His devotee, then that person in turn becomes His enemy.”

(end of singing)
If you please the devotee, then the Lord will be happy and if you have animosity to the devotee then the Lord will never be satisfied.

In SB it is said 4th canto 31st chapter text 21 Nārada
says to the Pracetās;
na bhajati kumanīṣiṇāḿ sa ijyāḿ
harir adhanātma-dhana-priyo rasa-jñaḥ
śruta-dhana-kula-karmaṇāḿ madair ye
vidadhati pāpam akiñcaneṣu satsu

The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes very dear to those devotees who have no material possessions but are fully absorbed in the devotional service of the Lord. Indeed, the Lord relishes the activities of such devotees. Those who are puffed up with material education, wealth, aristocracy, and fruitive activity are very proud of possessing material things, and they often deride the devotees. Even if such people offer the Lord worship, the Lord never accepts them.

Then why do people insult saints for the Lord will not accept their offensive devotion? This is all due to arrogance. They have false ego, thinking no one can harm them. They are proud of their material opulence, and even if someone is greatly educated, very wealthy, coming from a high dynasty or good family, he may insult devotees: “Oh get out from here.” Now if he has done some good actions in the past he may think, “You see, I have given so much in charity, I have served so much.” Through pious activity a great false ego can arise, then he insults poor but desire-less pure devotees thinking, “What harm can you do to me?”

So we should never have enmity with the pure devotees of the Lord. I have experienced this; In Maan Mandira, there was a sadhu named Keśava das. Everyone knows him, he had a very healthy body and he had memorized the entire Bhagavad Gita, but what can the gita do for one who offends the devotees. When I read this śloka, then I remembered this sadhu.

A person is destroyed from the root when he commits an aparādhe to devotees. That sadhu had a very good body, he had memorized the Gita and he had great faith in me, but one day he performed a cruel act. He had beaten up a poor Brajabāsī boy, due to the commotion I came down from upstairs; he had greatly hurt this boy. This was egotism; out of arrogance a person forgets mercy and compassion. I was full of sorrow that he had become so cruel; definitely he had committed a major offense. To be cruel is the greatest aparādhe, without kindness, one falls down in life.

Later there were two or three sādhus who said to Keśava das, “You should come with us outside of Vraja to a Gita conference.” So he said to me “Bābā I am going outside for a Gita conference.” How can I prevent someone going to the outside? I was thinking “Why did this happen?” Then he went to the outer function, gave a lecture and stayed there for some days. He returned back and said to me, ” Bābā, early every morning there, they have hot potato parathas with so much butter on them. Here in Brajabhumi there are only dry roṭis.” Also vegetable was not available at that time. He was fond of the buttered paratha and these things took him away from here. He also liked giving lectures, so he began to live outside to speak.

One time he came to me and said, “Your Braja yatra is starting, please take some money for it.” Considering that he had collected so much money I said, “Oh Keśava das, why should I take money from you, just because I have taught you.” I did not say this out of superiority, but because he was a small child before me and how could I take money from him.

He was very fearless. One day he went to Nandagaon, near Aseshvara temple. He slept over there. The Brajabāsīs knew he had money, because he was preparing to leave. Some person gave him poison and he died. He was a good sadhaka, but due to aparādhe to another devotee, he was destroyed.

When I read this śloka of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then I remember that sādhu. One can do so much seva to the Lord, but He doesn’t accept that seva when one commits Vaiṣṇava aparādhe. I had said to that sādhu that no one should be beaten. To beat Vaiṣṇavas is a great aparādhe. The Lord has said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that if My arm beats any devotee, then I will cut that arm off.

In SB 3.16.6 it is said;
sadyaḥ punāti jagad āśvapacād vikuṇṭhaḥ
so ‘haḿ bhavadbhya upalabdha-sutīrtha-kīrtiś
chindyāḿ sva-bāhum api vaḥ pratikūla-vṛttim

Anyone in the entire world, even down to the caṇḍāla, who lives by cooking and eating the flesh of the dog, is immediately purified if he takes bath in hearing through the ear the glorification of My name, fame, etc. Now you have realized Me without doubt; therefore I will not hesitate to lop off My own arm if its conduct is found hostile to you.

And SB 3.16.7
yat-sevayā caraṇa-padma-pavitra-reṇuḿ
sadyaḥ kṣatākhila-malaḿ pratilabdha-śīlam
na śrīr viraktam api māḿ vijahāti yasyāḥ
prekṣā-lavārtha itare niyamān vahanti

The Lord continued: Because I am the servitor of My devotees, My lotus feet have become so sacred that they immediately wipe out all sin, and I have acquired such a disposition that the goddess of fortune does not leave Me, even though I have no attachment for her and others praise her beauty and observe sacred vows to secure from her even a slight favor.

Simply by hearing My glories, My kathā, all this world is purified, even if one is a candala. Those who give this kathā are blessed. My glory is prevailing in this world because of My devotees. If someone makes an offense to such a devotee, then I will even cut my own arm. In this section of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there are many ślokas like this.

Therefore that sadhu Keśava not only lost residence in Braja but he lost his life because of this bhakta aparādhe, offense to the Lord’s devotees is such a serious thing.

There are sixth kinds of offenses towards devotees. In my life I have never seen anyone flourish in their life when they have committed Vaiṣṇava aparādhe.

Kṛṣṇa can tolerate anything but he cannot tolerate it when someone commits aparādhe to His devotees.
There was a great saint who was narrating the kathās of Bhaktamala. One was a bhajan that I have written in my diary;

(Bābā starts singing )
“You should never be proud toward the devotees of the Lord. If someone becomes arrogant with devotees, that aparādhe will cause his downfall…even from a very elevated position; he will go to hell.”

(Bābā stops singing)
This bhajan is very long. In Nandagaon a Goswamiji told me this. Someone came and beat a devotee who was speaking kathā in Nandagaon. Within a month this offender lost an arm.

Suradasji also has sung;
maman bhakthan so baran karut hai

“If someone commits an offense to His devotee, Śrīpati, the Lord, becomes very saddened. If someone has enmity toward my devotee, and he wants spiritual perfection from Me, then it is not possible. The Lord declares this in Vaikuṇṭha to all the inhabitants; “How can I bestow mercy upon such persons who are worshiping My lotus feet, but who are cutting off my head?” This bhajan Suradasji has composed; that the Lord is very much pained if one commits an offense to His devotees;

“If someone has enmity towards my devotees and He is even continuously chanting My holy name 24 hours a day, even though He is constantly doing my bhajan, he will go to hell. ”

(end of bhajan)
I have seen such devotees who were chanting 6 million holy names a day, but with this attitude their future became dark.

So this is a very serious topic that Uddhavaji is discussing with his dear Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. When Thakurji said to Uddhavaji that “You don’t love Me because you gave my lutia, my jug to another saint,” this was a test from the Lord. When another jug was offered, it was rejected, “Where is my old small jug? I will not drink water in this new one. Don’t offer anything to Me, go to that bābājī and offer it to him”.

The Lord was making a drama as if an ordinary person, but Uddhavaji was very firm. He said to Thakurji that; “You need not be angry because one saint gave one jug and another took it. What was wrong? That jug did not belong to You, it was received from another saint. I only want to please the saints, whether you be angry with me or not, I don’t care.” This is firm faith, so much reliance on the devotees, despite the anger of the Lord, Uddhavaji just wanted to please the saints. Then Thakurji chuckled and after laughing said, “Ok you are right, bring another small jug for Me.”

One day at his āśrama, so many saints came and he washed their feet, but when he saw in his kitchen, there was nothing to prepare for prasadam to offer them. By the Lord’s order a beautiful woman came there and she replenished the stock of food and disappeared. Then tears flowed down from Uddhavaji’s eyes and he reflected; “Oh this lady was my mother Sītāji!” He was a worshiper of Lord Rāma and he concluded that his real Mother had come to render service.

In this world people are concerned for their yoga-kṣema, how their livelihood can be maintained, but a devotee doesn’t care about maintaining such bodily needs.
In the Gita, 2.45, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says;

trai-gunya-visaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna
nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-ksema atmavan

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.

Niryoga-kṣema; we should be devoid of worrying about our yoga-kṣema. We are worried for our maintenance. We think, “I should collect money for one year or two years or three years.” Therefore we have no real experience of God. We should totally give up yoga-kṣema. What is yoga-kṣema? Yoga means what is needed for life and kṣema means the security in such arrangements.