Radhanath swami explains Faith is the base in which we perform our activities:
In order to achieve supreme spiritual peace Krishna in this beautiful Sloka through Bhagavad Gita is describing the most fundamental and important attribute that must be integral within our nature and that is Çraddhä or faith. Srila Rupa Goswami is explaining his description of how we advance in Krishna consciousness,
Ädau çraddhä tataù sädhu-
Saìgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyä
Begins with faith ädau çraddhä, at the very beginning, generally it is due to faith which is developed in previous life that brings us due to association of devotees in this life. Faith is the principle. When it becomes pure, then there is no separation between the Jivatma and Paramatma or Krishna. The great enemy of doubt is separating us from the Supreme Personality of Godhead since time immemorial and to the degree we have faith it is actually to that degree that we advance in spiritual life. Faith is not something that is cheap, faith is something that is given by Krishna. Krishna explains in Gita, according to a particular person’s consciousness and the desires that a person has, Krishna give them a particular type of faith.
Krishna directs according to our faith:
If people want material benediction then Krishna gives that person a particular type of faith in a particular Demi-god by which worshiping they can achieve material ambition. If a person is more atheistic and wants some gross or subtle material satisfaction and Krishna will give you a particular type of faith in a university or in a teacher or a process by which we can achieve that. But whatever type of faith we have is given by Krishna. And Srila Prabhupada in one beautiful purport explains how every class of men have their; what they may call Guru’s. To some scientist who wants to just enjoy unrestrictedly and teach such a system or there is no need for the god then they have faith in the theories and doctrines of Darwin, he becomes like their guru, through their faith in him they have completely erroneous conception of the world and of life. Others who are thieves they have faith in previous great thieves and the particular methods that they used to used to steal and they have faith in their own abilities.
So whatever we do in this world we are motivated by a particular type of faith. When we eat we have faith that food is going to gives us energy and gives life, everything at every moment that is done in this world by everyone is based on a particular type of faith and Krishna is supplying everyone a particular type of faith according to how they approach Him,
Ye yathä mäà prapadyante
Täàs tathaiva bhajämy aham
As we approach Krishna, He reveals us according by rewarding us a particular faith. So if we want to achieve the perfection of pure devotional service we have to have complete faith that simply by discharging process of devotional service we will achieve the highest perfection of life. It is also explained,
Yasya deve parä bhaktir
Yathä deve tathä gurau
That one who has implicit faith in the spiritual master and in Krishna to such a person all the knowledge and all these conclusions of the Vedas are revealed automatically by God. But do we have implicit faith in Guru and in Krishna? If we do, we are pure devotees! but we do not and that is our greatest defect. In fact Srila Prabhupada at the very beginning days of the Hare Krishna movement, one day he was sitting with some of his followers and he asked them, this were his senior most leaders. He said, “Are you convinced, that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead?” And of course when we talk to each other it’s easy to say, “yes, I am convinced.” But when Srila Prabhupada asks you and his eyes are piercing right through your gross and subtle existence to the very heart of your soul, you know that you have to be honest and not a single person was able to say ‘yes, I am convinced.’
Srila Prabhupada said, “You must become convinced that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” And he said, “If the few number of devotees we have now,” and this was back in the early 1970’s, he said, “if the few devotees that we have now who are just convinced about Krishna, then we could take over the entire world in eighteen days and everyone would become Krishna consciousness chanting the holy names Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare.” So in whatever stage our faith may be there is a process by which we can purify and develop that faith and that is by executing the nine principles of devotional service,
çravaëaà kértana, smaraëa, vandana,
päda-sevanam däsya re,
Govind Das abhilashi re
It begins by hearing by regularly hearing with a submissive heart from the proper person, from the proper scripture, as it is coming down through the great Acaryas that message when heard properly increases faith and nourishes faith within our hearts and that is very essential. Because especially in this age of Kali Yuga, there are so many enemies to this faith, everywhere we go whatever you see, whatever we hear is directly opposing our faith, that the goal of life is service to Krishna. Anytime there is any object of the senses that is tempting you to enjoy it, that very thing is subjecting your faith that you are the servant of Krishna that you are meant for Krishna’s enjoyment. So in order to remain strong and counteract the opposition to our faith and the words of Krishna and the words of Guru we must be hear regularly, we must not associate intimately with those forms or those person that are not encouraging our faith.
Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He was asked, what the way of becoming pure devotee is, Krishna consciousness, Mahaprabhu replied “Always associate with sincere devotees of the Lord, hearing and chanting amongst them and avoid as far as possible the association of those who are non devotees as well as those who are true materialistic.” If we simply follow those principles and chant the holy names in very quickly without restriction faith in Guru and faith in Krishna awakens and that faith is so powerful because in faith in God, God manifest Himself within our life. In the Christian scripture Lord Jesus said, “if you have even the faith that is size of mustard seed and you tell the mountain to move into the ocean, the mountain must move into the ocean that is the power of God.” That is why it is said faith can move mountain because according our degree of faith in Krishna to that degree Krishna is there to empower us and of course you cannot have faith in Krishna unless we also have faith in the representatives of Krishna, the spiritual master and the Vaishnava. So this is our philosophy and this faith must be cultivated by Sat-saang, by good Sadhana, by living a pure life. Faith is not a matter of lipsaid, real faith is proven and tested by how we are willing to pursue the words of Guru and Krishna even in difficult and worse conditions of life. Krishna will always test our faith and if we pass the test our faith increases by His grace because we show Him that’s what we want and if we fail the test then our faith diminishes by His grace.
To deepen our faith Krishna will test our faith by Radhanath Swami:
Firm Faith By Pralhad on words of mother and Guru:
It is not a question of any material knowledge, wisdom or abilities; even a child who simply has faith in Krishna can achieve the ultimate perfection. Prahlad was only five years old but he had such faith and how his faith was tested, he heard from his Guru Dev that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead that Krishna always protects His devotees and he had faith in those words of spiritual master and because of faith in those words he was able to stand up against the most powerful forces of universe and be unharmed. When he was being thrown into pits of dangerous poisonous serpents he had faith that Guru Maharaj has told me that Krishna always protects His devotees. So what can these serpents do to me and it was because of that faith that Krishna in heart of those serpents welcomed him and created a comfortable sitting place, they would not bit him. When he was put into the fire with his, what was it? His aunt, even though she had a great benediction that she could not be burnt by fire, he gladly sat on her lap there was no problem because he had faith; Shri Narada Muni told him that Krishna is the supreme controller of all controllers and He protects His devotees. Faith in those words of his guru, he knew that fire cannot harm me and even if it does what does it matter if I am remembering Krishna I will go back to Godhead, so he was not afraid. Ultimately she was burnt to ashes and he was protected and even when his father gave him deadly, deadly poison, he knew that if I offer this fruit to Krishna, my Guru Maharaj has told me to offer everything and that prasäda is good. So he didn’t hesitate to eat it because he had faith in the words of his guru,
na me bhaktaù praëaçyati
Krishna says I always protect My devotees, do we have that faith in the words of previous Acarya’s. Is our faith ever been tested like Prahlad’s was tested but it will tested. According to our capacity Krishna will test our faith. If we remain loyal and true to what we have heard in the association of devotees, then we will advance in spiritual life. Krishna will reveal Himself in the most miraculous way in our life. Also little Dhruva, he was only four five years old and his mother who was his Siksha Guru, she told him that whatever you want to attain will be attained if you worship Krishna and I have heard that people go to find him in the forest.
So he went, five year old child, he went into the forest alone; wild animals, mosquito’s, poisonous snakes where will he eat, where will he sleep, but he had faith that if I go to the forest I am going to find Krishna and because of that faith in mothers words Krishna became so pleased that he sent His most empowered representative Narada Muni to further strengthen that faith and purify it and Narada Muni tested him also. Then Narada told him that you always fixed your mind and your consciousness in the chanting of the holy name of the God, he gave him the Mahamantra of Satya Yuga, oà namo bhagavate väsudeväya and he told him to go to Vrindavan Madhuvan on the bank of Yamuna and there to perform Tapasya. What type of Tapasya that little five year old child performed, because he had faith that my Guru Dev told me like this that I will see Krishna if I do like this. On the basis of that faith, he gave up eating, he gave up drinking water, he gave up sleeping, he even gave up breathing, on the base of faith of what he had heard and because of that faith and because you acted, he didn’t just say I have faith but he acted Krishna revealed Himself within just a few months and awarded him the perfection of life.
Wonderful name ‘Nimai’ was given to Lord Caitanya by Sita Thakurani
In the Lila of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there is also a beautiful example of young five year old boy who had such unflinching faith in the supreme position of Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Does anyone remembers who that child was? Gopal Bhatt Goswami, Jiva Goswami, but I would like to speak briefly about another such exalted soul, he is the son Advaita Acarya and Sita Thakurani, his name is Achyutananda. When Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu after He was initiated by Ishvara Puri and He came to the Holy land of Navadwip, at that time He was manifesting His Bhava of Srimati Radharani and preaching to everybody about the glories of the chanting of the holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare. He was revealing His own heart about the intense separation He was feeling from Lord Shri Krishna, exhibiting so many genuine symptoms of divine ecstasy.
At that time Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu called for Advaita Acarya and his good wife Sita to come and Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was first born just a few days after Sita Thakurani the consort of Shri Advaita Acarya who is the incarnation of Mahavishnu, Sadä Shiva. She decided to go to worship that child and bring gifts; she went as it was the custom in those days for respectable ladies in covered palanquin. It is the tradition that when respectable lady leaves the house, no ordinary man should see them even the sun was not allowed to see them, they would travel in the palanquin carried by four men.
She went to the Shri Mayapur Dham and there she presented to the beautiful little child, beautiful golden bracelets and necklaces and anklets with jewels and nice golden silver coins and she also presented so many auspicious articles for Yajna and to give him blessings like Turmeric, unbroken rice paddy and like that. When she saw this child, she was so intoxicated with love to see every particular limb of his body, so beautifully formed that she was thinking in her heart that the beautiful Lord of my life Gopal Krishna has now appeared in this most wonderful golden form. Because He was so beautiful and so auspicious and the love of her heart was swelled up so inconceivably upon seeing Him, in motherly affection she prayed for His protection that inauspicious beings like ghost will not disturb Him. So she gave Him the name Nimai because He was born under a Neem tree and because it is said that inauspicious beings cannot come to close to a neem tree so by giving Him that name He would be protected. So that same Sita Thakurani after giving her blessings and then she offered her respects to Jagannath Mishra and Saci Devi for having such a wonderful child and then they gave her their respects, she returned to Shantipur.
But by the arrangement of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu during His youth He did not display the symptoms of a devotee or of God; it wasn’t until after He was initiated because He wanted to show by His example that without faith in a spiritual master no one attains love of God.
Unflinching faith of Achyutananda made his father happy:
He called for Advaita Acarya and Advaita came with his recently born son Achyutananda who is just a Baby and Sita they all went to Navadwip. When little Achyutananda saw his father and his mother respectfully worshiping the Lord in great love he began to cry in ecstasy. This is how parents can be perfect in their responsibility, if a child sees the parent genuinely and sincerely worshiping the Lord and associating with Vaishnav’s and chanting the holy names then that child is so deeply influenced and affected by that association. So Achyutananda he was not ordinary being, he was weeping and crying upon seeing Lord Caitanya. Some years later Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left Navadwip, He went to katva and there He accepted Sanyaas at the house or at the math of Keshava Bharati Maharaj.
So just after the Sanyaas of Lord Gaur Sunder a Sadhu came to the home of Advaita Acarya, at that time Achyutananda was five years old, was same age as Prahlad and Dhruva. The Sadhu was welcome by Advaita, he gave him a sitting place and he was preparing prasäda for him. Advaita said, “what alms can I give you? You have come to my home.” he said the alms that I want from you is that you answer my question. Advaita Acarya said, we have plenty time to answer question, now you kindly take prasäda; he said “No, first you give the alms of answering my question.” So Advaita Acarya said, “What is your question?” “I want to know who Keshava Bharati is? And what his relationship with Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is?” Advaita was thinking, ‘There are two ways to answer this question. There is a spiritual way and a material way. Spiritually Lord Caitanya is the Jagad Guru. He is the guru of all Gurus but materially in His Lila Keshava Bharati is His Guru. Just as Krishna is the supreme father of everyone that exist, ahaà béja-pradaù pitä but He is also known as Devakinandan because in this world Devaki is His mother. So better that I begin my discussion with him by explaining the material side.’ So he said “Keshava Bharati is Lord Caitanya’s Guru.”
As soon as he said that little tiny Achyutananda who is only five years old, he came running into the room and he was dressed only with the four direction and his body was covered with dust and he was very angry, he was laughing sarcastically but very angry. He said, “My father what did you just say? Do you know what you said, Do you mean that? Say that again! I cannot believe that I have heard those words from your tongue; you are under the influence of Vishnu’s Maya. You have said that Lord Caitanya has a Guru. Lord Caitanya is the supreme cause of all causes, He is the guru of all Guru. It is Lord Caitanya who when He exhales all the universes are created and it is that Lord Caitanya who when He inhales all the universes go on to the pores of His body. And it is that Lord Caitanya who playfully created a lotus flower that grew from His naval and it was on that lotus flower that Lord Brahma was born. Brahma the supreme father within this universe he was bewildered, he did not know who he was, where he was or what he should do; at that time the Lord instructed him to perform Tapasya and he performed Tapasya. Then it was Lord Caitanya who is non-different than Krishna who instructed Brahma and empowered him to create everything within this universe and it was Lord Caitanya that instructed him in all Vedic knowledge. In turn Lord Brahma taught Sanata Kumar, Narada and other great sages and from them they thought all knowledge to the whole world to all time to come. Lord Caitanya is the supreme source of all realizations, of all knowledge of everything that exists and He is the supreme Guru of all Gurus and you are suppose to be my father, you are my Siksha Guru and you are speaking these things, you should never speak these false lies again.”
Advaita Acarya heard the faith of his little five year old son in the supreme position of Lord Caitanya, he became ecstatic, he began to weep and just twinkle his little boys body with his tears, his limbs were trembling in ecstatic love and he said, “My child you have become my father, I am today your son because you have spoken to me the truth.” He said, “Please I beg forgiveness; I will never say such untrue things again as long as I live.” Little Achyutananda he became very embarrassed and his head was down as his father was praising him. Sadhu upon seeing this, he just started offering his prostrated obeisance to this little five year old son of Advaita Acarya and he said “Just as the father is great faithful devotees of the Lord similarly his son Achyutananda is of the same caliber. Such implicit faith and wisdom in a tiny child, is only by the supreme grace of Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” Then after taking blessings from this little Boy the Sadhu left that place chanting the holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare.
Advaita Acarya he was just so happy and overjoyed that he started to take the dust from all the limbs of little Achyutananda’s body and just rubbing it all over his body to get purified and he was embracing his son. We learn from this that this is really that the father should take joy in, when the father sees the child developing devotional attributes and faith in God this should give real pleasure and ecstasy to a father or mother not that they get good grades in school that’s good. They need that for some material purpose or may be for some service but if they don’t have faith in Krishna it’s all useless. We can be a little proud of our children get good grades in school, we can be a little proud if they get some award for their athletics or whatever but we should be ecstatic joy when we see that they are just exhibiting faith in Mahaprabhu Krishna, faith in the holy name and faith in Guru and the Vaishnava because that is the perfection of a parent’s life.
Achyutananda got mercy of Lord Caitanya:
Just at that time Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared at the house of Advaita Acarya at that very moment. Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to embrace Advaita, now he was a Sanyaasi and Nityananda prabhu was there and Advaita Acarya would greet them and they were exchanging so many intimate ecstatic loving reciprocation and just then little Achyutananda he ran up and he offered his prostrated obeisances at the feet of Lord Caitanya. When Lord Caitanya saw this little boy who had such implicit faith in Him that Lord Gaura Sunder picked him up and embraced him with such affection and from the beautiful lotus like eyes of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tears of love began to fall upon embracing Achyutananda and his tears literally was like an abhishek bathing the little child. The little child just never wanted to let go of the chest of Lord Caitanya and Lord Caitanya could not let go from embracing the child and they were both weeping and crying as was little boy was being embraced by the merciful arms of the Lord.
When all of the devotees saw this they all began to weep in ecstatic love and they were all feeling that there is no one more dear to Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu than little Achyutananda, Nitai Gaur Premanande, Haribol!
Sita thakurani Appearance day:
Later just the next year when Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu invited everyone to Jagannath puri to Ratha Yatra. There were seven kirtan parties and there was a lead singer and a lead dancer in each party and one of the party was the residence of Shantipur. Achyutananda was the lead dancer of that party and he was only six year old and he was the lead dancer amongst the entire great Mahatma’s and Nityasidddha’s saintly persons in Lord Caitanya’s Lila. He became the most favorite disciple of Gadhadar Pandit, when he grew up a little more, he spent many years living in Jagannath Puri, Lord Caitanya personally called him to live with him in Jagannath Puri and he lived at the Tota Gopinath temple along with Gadhadar Pandit who was initiated there.
So today is the appearance day of the mother of Achyutananda Sita Thakurani and we are thinking that there is no greater way to give pleasure to Sita Mataji than to glorify her most beloved and illustrious son Shri Achyutananda. Sita was prominent in Gaudiya Vaishnavism that in many of the songs by the great Acaryas they actually addressed Advaita as the husband of Sita. What is that song?
doyä koro sétä-pati adwaita gosäi
tava kåpä-bale päi caitanya-nitäi
hari guru vaiñëaba bhägavata gétä
She is considered one of the great Acaryas of our line.
One should hear sublime knowledge from those who have faith:
So as Krishna is explaining here in this wonderful Sloka of Bhagavad Gita. It is very important by hearing this wonderful Narrations that we develop faith and we must from those who have faith. Professional reciters don’t necessarily have faith, I remember in my own early life from my young age I made the decision that I want nothing but realization of God in my life and without understanding of God there is no purpose and I will do anything to receive that knowledge understanding and realization. So I was studying religion and philosophy in college and there were this entire great, great PhD professor but I saw that they have no faith in what they are teaching. So what do I want to hear from them for? I have to find people who have faith and learn from them, it is natural, it obvious and because Srila Prabhupada spoke with such conviction, he had absolute faith that he was able instill faith in our heart.
What we association with we become, we must association and seek out the association of those who have faith in Krishna, those who have faith in the disciplic succession of Krishna’s devotees and we must hear from them and we must serve them and then naturally that faith is given by Krishna’s grace in our heart. Even if you are five year old child you can attain the supreme perfection, how Achyutananda receive the most intimate loving exchange with Lord Caitanya.