Haridasa Thakur: Namacarya

Namacarya isa compound of two Sanskrit nouns. Nama is used in connection with the holy name of the Lord, Sri Krsna, and acarya means one who teaches by example. So one who is considered the spiritual master of the holy name of Krsna is called namacarya. Lord Caitanya, the Supreme Godhead, awarded this title to one of His intimate disciples, Haridasa Thakur.

Little is known about the birth of Haridasa Thakur except that by the will of Godhead he appeared in the late 1400’s in a village of Buddan as the child of a family of Mohammedans. History does not relate to us any of the childhood pastimes of Haridasa’s life, but it is understood that at an early age he must have received the mercy of a pure devotee of Krsna because in his teens, to the dismay of his kinsmen, he renounced all conventions of Mohammedan religion and society. With shaved head and the simple clothing of a mendicant, Haridasa left the home of his parents for good and resumed his eternal position as a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.

Haridasa’s renunciation of the Moslem faith in favor of devotional service to the Lord Sri Krsna, who is often mistaken by sectarians to be the Supreme Deity of the Hindu faith, is significant because if we are to come to an understanding of the purity of Haridasa’s activities, we must first note the difference between mundane religious activities and transcendental loving service to God. Those who are engaged in the process of religion may be classified in three groups, according to their realization of the presence of the Supreme Lord. First, there are those who are kanistha-adhikaris. Next, above them, are the madhyama-adhikaris. And finally there are the uttama-adhikaris. The kanistha-adhikari is characterized by the activities of going to a place of worship such as a church, temple or mosque and performing a particular type of religious function determined by an established formula. This type of religious person considers one type of religion to be better than another. The madhyama-adhikari is characterized by four principles: 1) He sees first of all the Supreme Lord. 2) He sees next the devotees. 3) He sees next the innocent, those who have no knowledge of the Lord. 4) Lastly, he sees the atheists. The madhyama-adhikari behaves differently toward each of the above four persons. He adores the Lord and desires the association of the devotees of the Lord. He tries to inform the innocent about the Lord, and he completely avoids the atheists.

If we were to try to explain Haridasa’s change of heart in terms of the kanistha-adhikari level of religious activity, then quite probably we would come to the conclusion that Haridasa thought that the practices of the Mohammedans were not as cogent as those of the brahmanas. This reasoning, however, is not substantiated by the activities of Haridasa after his renunciation. Although he left the association of his fanatical elders and took up the life of a brahmana, Haridasa did not adhere strictly to the separate line of the brahminical order. In fact, many of the brahmanas hated the sight of him. “Haridasa does not follow the principles of sastra,” they said, “nor does he take part in any of our philosophical discussions. He simply idles away his time in a secluded cave muttering the same thing over and over. Besides, he was born in a family of untouchables.” We will learn later that it was just these caste brahmanas who tried to plot the defeat of Haridasa Thakur.

The activities of Haridasa Thakur were not on the kanistha-adhikari level. Nor will the activities of Haridasa permit us to explain away his renunciation on the principles of the madhyama-adhikari stage of consciousness. Haridasa, of course, adored the Supreme Lord, but he did not make a formal practice of associating exclusively with devotees or preaching this love solely to the innocent. Haridasa would associate with whomever chanced his way, and no matter who that person was, devotee or demon, Haridasa would at once engage him in talks about Krsna, the Supreme Lord. We find a description of the mentality of Haridasa, called the uttama-adhikari level, in the sixth verse of Sri Isopanisad:

yas tu sarvani bhutany
atmany evanupasyati
sarva-bhutesu catmanam
tato na vijugupsate

“A person who sees everything in relation to the Supreme Lord and sees all entities as His parts and parcels, and who sees the Supreme Lord within everything, never hates anything nor any living being.”

Haridasa left the home of his kinsmen not out of religious sentiment nor out of disgust for their ignorance of spiritual matters. He left wholly out of love for the Supreme Lord because that was his natural position. Haridasa displayed in full the consciousness of an uttama-adhikari. He felt equally at home in the company of devotees and in the company of demons. The uttama-adhikari does not see any difference between a vastly learned brahmana and a dog. He realizes that both are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and his love for them is equal because of this knowledge of the spiritual identity of both. So Haridasa’s renunciation cannot be classified as an ordinary change of faith, as we so often experience in our limited spheres of activity. Haridasa simply realized his true position in relation to the Supreme Lord and did his utmost to behave according to sanatana-dharma.

The Eternal Religion

Sanatana-dharma means eternal religion. This sanatana-dharma or loving service to Godhead cannot be taken away from the living entities, just as light and heat cannot be taken away from fire. When we speak of the living entities, we should try to understand that they have an eternal position called sanatana-dharma. It is accepted as a scientific fact that matter contains an immeasurable quantity of potential energy because of the arrangement of its parts. When this energy becomes manifest, it is called kinetic energy. An example is that light and heat are present within the wood, as potential energy, but when they come out it is called kinetic energy. Sanatana-dharma is there within the living entity, and when it comes out, it is called devotional service. Haridasa’s only activity, then, was to chant loudly the names of his most beloved Lord. He would most often be found in his secluded cave on the bank of the Ganges near the city of Fulia, attending to his duty of chanting the names 300,000 times each day.

Haridasa was well visited by all pious persons, and whenever they chanced upon him he would be displaying the bodily symptoms of anubhava. These symptoms of anubhava are described by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu as follows: 1) dancing, 2) rolling on the ground, 3) singing loudly, 4) stretching the body, 5) crying loudly, 6) yawning, 7) breathing heavily, 8) neglecting the presence of others, 9) drooling, 10) laughing like a madman, 11) reeling the head, and 12) belching. (These twelve items are discussed in Chapter Twenty-seven of The Nectar of Devotion, a summary study of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.) The great saints who came to that spot would at once fall into an ecstatic trance upon seeing the person of Haridasa laughing like a madman, rolling upon the ground or loudly crying. At all times he completely displayed the symptoms of one whose mind was merged in transcendence. In the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna asks about the characteristics of a person whose mind is merged in transcendence. Lord Krsna replies that one who finds satisfaction in the self alone, who is free from attachment, fear and anger, and who renounces engagements with sense objects is just such a person. Lord Krsna further declares, “One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.” (Bg. 2.61) The purport is that material desires are very strong because the senses need engagements. One should, however, overcome sense desires by thinking of Krsna. When one has a taste for Krsna consciousness, he automatically loses his taste for sense enjoyment because of its inferior nature. This is exactly what was constantly being displayed in the person of Haridasa.

The great saint Haridasa passed some time in this way on the bank of the Ganges, and his popularity grew and was spread to all parts of the country. Great holy men came from all quarters just to gain sight of him. The caste brahmanas, however, became very jealous of Haridasa’s reputation, and they began to complain to the local magistrate of the government. (At this time Bengal was under the rule of the Mohammedans.) The Kazi took notice of the activities of Haridasa, and he decided that he should report them to the Governor of the province. Since Haridasa was born a Mohammedan but was acting as a lower-caste Hindu, the Governor, upon hearing of Haridasa, ordered his immediate arrest and dispatched a band of soldiers to fetch him. Haridasa offered to return peacefully with the soldiers since he had no fear of death. But all the good people who enjoyed the association of Haridasa became terrified for his life.

The Hindu leaders of the time were being kept in prison, and when they heard that Haridasa had been arrested, they became anxious to catch sight of him. They thought that simply by seeing the great saint, their troubles would be vanquished. When Haridasa entered the prison, he saw the prisoners in their state of consciousness and said to them, “May you all remain in this present condition.” Confusion covered their faces, so Haridasa explained, “My veiled benediction is rightly meant, for all of you just now are thinking of Krsna. Your minds should always be fixed on His lotus feet. If you return into the world, your minds may become distracted from Krsna, and you may become worldly-minded once again. I do not wish for you to remain in your present state of captivity, but just chant the name of Krsna always and never forget Him, no matter what may happen to you.” After blessing the prisoners in this manner, Haridasa presented himself before the Governor.

The Governor was amazed at Haridasa’s personal beauty, and with great respect he offered him a nice seat and kindly questioned him: “My dear brother, why do you act in such a way? By God’s grace you have been born a Mohammedan, but now you have renounced this birth for a lesser position. Please accept once more the religion of your kin and ask for God’s forgiveness.” Haridasa burst into loud laughter and said that the governor was speaking as one who is deluded by material nature. Differences between Mohammedan and brahmana exist in name only. God Himself stands apart from such party feelings. He only requests through the agency of different scriptures that one should develop love for Him. “So,” Haridasa said, “I am acting in accordance with all religions in declaring this love of God as the highest aim of all. If there is anything amiss in my conduct, then please by all means punish me.”

His Immortal Words

These sweet words pleased the ecclesiastics who heard him, except for one, who was of a demoniac disposition. He said to the Governor, “Punish this evil person before the good name of our race falls into ruin.” So the Governor tried once more to convince Haridasa to accept the religion of his birth and denounce his present activities. Haridasa answered with the immortal words that stand as a pinnacle of determination for chanting the holy name: “No one can do anything else than what Godhead directs. If my body be hacked to pieces, if life itself shall desert me, still I will not give up the practice of chanting the holy name.” The assembly was quick to the verdict: “Let Haridasa be whipped at the twenty-two marketplaces of the city.”

The Beating

Strong deputies seized Haridasa and carried him into the streets. The beating began, and all saintly people were shocked. They begged for the release of Haridasa, who was still chanting sweetly the names of Krsna. From one marketplace to another they beat him, but the name of Krsna never left Haridasa’s lips. One deputy would do the whipping until he was exhausted, and then another would take over until he also was exhausted. In this way the punishment continued until the twenty-second marketplace was reached. The deputies, in dismay, said, “Haridasa, you will be the death of us. We beat you until our arms are exhausted, and still you do not die. But what’s worse, from time to time you even smile.”

On hearing these frustrated statements, Haridasa simply replied, “If my presence on this earth is all that’s troubling you, then I’ll leave at once.” Haridasa then fell into an ecstatic trance, immersed in love of Krsna. The deputies thought that he was dead, and they approached to dispose of his body. They thought that Haridasa should not be awarded a burial, so they decided to throw him in the river. Haridasa’s body was thereupon thrown in the sacred Ganges, and soon he regained consciousness and found himself on shore. A crowd of saintly people surrounded him with chanting of the holy name, and Haridasa began to dance as everyone sang the holy name of Krsna.

It is worthwhile to note that all through the terrible beatings, Haridasa never showed signs of suffering pain. Only signs ecstatic love for Krsna manifested themselves on his face. Verse nine of Chapter Six of Bhagavad-gita says, “A person is still further advanced when he regards all—the honest well-wisher, friends and enemies, the envious, the pious, the sinner, and those who are indifferent and impartial—with an equal mind.” Haridasa never for a moment felt at all hostile toward those who had brought this seeming calamity upon him because he understood that everything happens by the will of God. The only feeling Haridasa had toward his punishers was compassion for them. He considered them to be deluded men with no knowledge of the real self.

The question may be raised that if Haridasa was such a great devotee of Krsna, why then did Krsna permit such a mishap? First of all, it may be replied, the pastimes of Haridasa are not to be considered part of this mortal world. It is stated in the Narada-pancaratra that by concentrating one’s attention on the transcendental form of Krsna, who is all-pervading and beyond time and space, one becomes absorbed in thinking of Krsna and then attains the happy state of transcendental association with Him. Because of his constant remembrance of Krsna, Haridasa never had to go through the tribulations of this mundane existence. He was always completely absorbed in the transcendental atmosphere where material sufferings have no juristdiction. In this material world, if a king sends his representative to an unfriendly state and that representative is insulted, the king receives the insult as malice against his own self. Likewise, when Krsna’s pure devotee is affronted, this is blasphemy against the Supreme Lord Himself. It is understood that those wicked deputies who beat the body of Haridasa were beating the Supreme Lord Himself. Some days elapsed after the beating of Haridasa, and he met with the fortunate opportunity to gain association with the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya. The Lord appeared before Haridasa and displayed on His beautiful person countless cuts and bruises. Haridasa became confused, so Lord Caitanya explained to him, “Because you are My pure devotee, I have accepted all of the pain of your whipping.” Haridasa immediately fell on the ground mortified, but Lord Caitanya smiled very pleasingly.

Above The Sectarian

Haridasa lived up to the standard of a namacarya, so we should follow his great example and renounce all mundane sectarian views. God does not claim that He is Hindu, that He is Christian or that He is Moslem. God stands above all the subtlety of mundane concoction. He is interested in our love for Him, which requires no mundane qualification. Simply by following the example of namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakur, anyone can gain the greatest benefit of developing love for God.

Yugalastakam di Srila Jiva Goswami.

Yugalastakam di Srila Jiva Goswami.

1. Radha è fatta di puro amore per Krsna, e Hari è fatto di puro amore per Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

2. Radha è il tesoro di Krsna, e Hari è il tesoro di Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

3. Radha pervade la forza vitale di Krsna e Hari pervade la forza vitale di Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

4. Radha Si fonde totalmente in Krsna e Hari Si fonde totalmente in Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

5. Radha è situata nel corpo di Krsna e Hari è situato nel corpo di Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

6. Radha pervade il cuore di Krsna e Hari pervade il cuore di Radha – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

7. Radha indossa un vestito di colore blu e Hari indossa un vestito di colore giallo – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

8. Radha è la Signora di Vrndavana e Krsna è il Signore di Vrndavana – nella vita o nella morte Radha e Krsna sono il mio eterno rifugio.

1. krsna-prema-mayi radha – radhe prema-mayo harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

2. krsnaya dravinam radha – radhaya dravinam harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

3. krsna-prana-mayi radha – radha-prana-mayo harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

4. krsna-drava-mayi radha – radha-drava-mayo harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

5. krsna-gehe sthita radha – radha-gehe sthito harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

6. krsna-citta-sthita radha – radha-citta-sthito harih
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

7. nilambara-dhara radha – pitambara-dharo harih
jivane nidhane nituam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

8. vrndavanesvari radha – krisno vrndavanesvarah
jivane nidhane nityam – radha-krsnau gatir mama

Saragrahi Vaisnava by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Alas for those who spend their days
In festive mirth and joy.
The dazzling, deadly, liquid forms
Their hearts fore’er employ.
The shining bottles charm their eyes
And draw their heart’s embrace;
The slaves of wine can never rise
From what we call disgrace.
Was man intended to be
A brute in work and heart?
Should man, the Lord of all around,
From common sense depart?
Man’s glory is in common sense
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven’s embrace.
The flesh is not our own alas;
The mortal frame a chain;
The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.
Why then this childish play in that
Which cannot be our own;
Which falls within a hundred years
As if a rose ablown.
Our life is but a rosy hue
To go ere long for naught;
The soul alone would last fore’er
With good or evil fraught.
How deep the thought of times to be!
How grave the aspect looks!
And wrapt in awe become, O, we,
When reading Nature’s books.
Man’s life to him a problem dark –
A screen both left and right;
No soul hath come to tell us what
Exists beyond our sight.
But then a voice, how deep and soft;
Within ourselves is left;
Man! Man! Thou art immortal soul!
Thee Death can never melt.
For Thee Thy Sire on High has kept
A store of bliss above,
To end of time, thou art Oh! His –
Who wants but purest love.
O Love! Thy power and spell benign
Now melt my soul to God;
How can my earthly words describe
That feeling soft and broad.
Enjoyment, sorrow – what but lots
To which the flesh is heir?
The soul that sleeps alone concludes
In them it hath a share.
And then, my friends, no more enjoy
Nor weep for all below;
The women, wine, and flesh of beasts
No love on thee bestow.
But thine to love thy brother man
And give thyself to God,
And God doth know your wages fair –
This fact is true and broad.
Forget the past that sleeps and ne’er
The future dream at all
But act in times that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.
But tell me not in reasoning cold,
The soul is made alone
By earth’s mechanic lifeless rules
And to destruction prone.
My God who gave us life and all
Alone the soul can kill
Or give it all the joys above
His promise to fulfill.
So push thy onward march, O soul,
Against an evil deed
That stands with soldiers Hate and Lust –
A hero be indeed.
Maintain thy post in spirit world
As firmly as you can
Let never matter push thee down –
O stand heroic man.
O Sharagrahi Vaishnava soul
Thou art an angel fair;
Lead, lead me on to Vrindaban
And spirit’s power declare.
There rests my soul from matter free
Upon my Lover’s arms
Eternal peace and spirits love
Are all my chanting charmsLyrics
Guai a coloro che trascorrono le loro giornate
In allegria festosa e la gioia.
Gli abbaglianti, mortali, forme liquide
I loro cuori fore’er impiego.

Il bottiglie fascino splendente loro occhi
E disegnare abbraccio del loro cuore;
Gli schiavi di vino non possono mai salire
Da quello che noi chiamiamo disgrazia.

È stato l’uomo destinato ad essere
Un bruto nel lavoro e nel cuore?
L’uomo dovrebbe, il Signore di tutto,
Dal senso comune partono?

La gloria dell’uomo è nel senso comune
Noi dettando la grazia,
Che l’uomo è fatto per vivere e amare
L’abbraccio beauteous del Cielo.

La carne non è la nostra ahimè;
La struttura mortale una catena;
L’anima confinato per gli ex torti
Dovrebbe cercare di rialzarsi.

Perché allora questo gioco infantile in quel
Che non può essere il nostro;
Che rientra cento anni
Come se una rosa ablown.

La nostra vita non è che una tonalità rosa
Per andare ere a lungo per nulla;
Solo l’anima sarebbe durato fore’er
Con bene o male pieno.

Quanto è profondo il pensiero di volte per essere!
Come tomba l’aspetto sembra!
E rapito in soggezione diventano, o, noi,
Durante la lettura di libri di natura.

La vita dell’uomo per lui un problema scuro –
Uno schermo sia a sinistra che a destra;
Nessuna anima ha venuto a dirci che cosa
Esiste oltre la nostra vista.

Ma poi una voce, quanto profondo e morbido;
All’interno di noi stessi è di sinistra;
Uomo! Uomo! Tu sei l’anima immortale!
Te La morte non può mai sciogliersi.

Per te il tuo Sire su High ha mantenuto
Un negozio di beatitudine sopra,
Alla fine del tempo, tu sei Oh! Il suo –
Chi vuole ma più puro amore.

O amore! Tuo potere e magia benigna
Ora fondere la mia anima a Dio;
Come possono le mie parole terrene descrivere
Quella morbida e ampia.

Piacere, dolore – cosa ma un sacco
Al che la carne è erede?
L’anima che dorme da solo, conclude
In essi si hath una quota.

E poi, i miei amici, non più godere
Né piangere per tutte al di sotto;
Le donne, vino e carne delle bestie
Nessun amore su di te elargire.

Ma la tua amare tuo fratello uomo
E te dare a Dio,
E Dio sa il tuo salario equo –
Questo fatto è vero e ampio.

Dimenticare il passato che dorme e ne’er
Il futuro da sogno a tutti
Ma agire in tempi che sono con te
E il progresso te ne chiamerà.

Ma dimmi, non nel ragionamento freddo,
L’anima è fatto da solo
Con meccanico regole senza vita della terra
E alla distruzione prona.

Mio Dio che ci ha dato la vita e tutto
Solo l’anima può uccidere
O dare tutte le gioie di cui sopra
La sua promessa di adempiere.

Quindi spingere la tua marcia in avanti, o anima,
Contro una cattiva azione
Che sta con i soldati odio e Lust –
Un eroe sia davvero.

Mantenere il tuo posto nel mondo degli spiriti
Per quanto fermamente, come si può
Lasciate che mai questione spingere te giù –
O stare in piedi uomo eroico.

O anima Sharagrahi Vaishnava
Tu sei una fiera angelo;
Piombo, mi portano a Vrindaban
E il potere dello spirito dichiarare.

Ci riposa l’anima mia dalla materia gratis
Al momento le braccia di mia Lover
Eterna pace e spiriti d’amore
Sono tutto il mio fascino cantano

Incessantly accept the shelter of sri nama and pray for the mercy of sri nama

Incessantly accept the shelter of sri nama and pray for the mercy of sri nama If one can chant the holy name in the association of a pure devotee who is attached to chanting, all his offences will be dispelled and nama-tattva will quickly manifest in his heart. Our prayer at the lotus feet of Sriman Mahaprabhu is that by incessantly chanting the holy name in the association of a suddha-bhakta we may soon experience the sweetness (rasa) of sri nama. We pray for nothing other than the mercy of sri nama.

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