Sri Sikshastakam Seminar at SJMKL
Posted by iskconklnews on January 12, 2009
By Bhakta Gautam
Hare Krishna to all the dear devotees of the Lord,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Sri Gouranga.
First of all, I would like to humbly thank, on behalf of all the devotees who attended the seminar, HG Gaura Chandra Prabhu and HG Upendra Prabhu for such an inspiring and insightful session on the Sri Sikshastakam on Monday the 29th of December. The seminar took place in the seminar halls of SJKML from 11 am till 1 pm for the pleasure of Their Lordships and Their devotees. It was divided into two parallel sessions. One was in English, presided by HG Gaura Chandra Prabhu, and the second was in Hindi, led by HG Upendra Prabhu. The only fees or qualification required to attend the session was to have the sincerity to learn, make advancement in spiritual life and then preach to others.
Both the seminars had very good attendance and covered the following topics:
* Significance of Sri Sikshastakam in Gaudiya Vaishnava Literature
* Overview: spiritual evolution as explained in the Sikshastakam
* Focus on the first four verses
* Practical Application: what’s in it for me?
* Q & A
In brief, we learned in the session that the eight verses of the Sikshastakam are the only documented verses directly compiled by Sri Krishna Chaitanya. They have very deep meanings and traverse through the different stages of devotional service, as very beautifully expressed by Sri Krishna Chaitanya Himself. Indeed, they are the epitome of love in separation from Sri Krishna, as felt by the Gopis of Vrindavan.
HG Gaura Chandra Prabhu, as always with his broad base of practical spiritual knowledge, presented the seminar very nicely and motivated all of us who attended to make steadfast progress on this path full of eternal bliss. HG Upendra Prabhu, as always, enchanted his audience with very nice stories relevant to understanding this highest knowledge. All the devotees looked blissful after the seminar and were in the mood of going over what was spoken to learn from it in a practical manner.
The seminar helped me personally to see where I stand in my spiritual life and how to advance by following the process of devotional service to achieve the ultimate goal of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. It boosted my energy by putting emphasis on what is on the road ahead and how to constantly improve by engaging in devotional service and Harinam Sankirtan wholeheartedly in the association of devotees. It reassured me that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is our only savior and if we follow in the footsteps of Vaisnavas, the highest goal of life is achievable. This also allowed me to clearly understand the mood of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and His eternal associates.
I would like to thank HG Krishna Chandra Prabhu who organized this seminar for the spiritual welfare of the one and the all. HG Uttama Prabhu and HG Vishnu Chaitanya Prabhu also restated the resolve to continue the Vaishnava Training Academy in the new year.
Please find below a summary of the seminar for the pleasure of the devotees
· These only verses written by Lord Chaitanya are found in CC Antya Lila Chapter 20 (the final chapter of the highest book).
- Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur summarizes Lord Chaitanya’s philosophy thus:
aradhyo bhagavan vrajeca-tanayas tad-dhama vRndavanaμ
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-varge√a ya kalpita
crimad-bhagavataμ prama√am amalaμ prema pum-artho mahan
cri-caitanya-mahaprabhor matam idaμ tatradaro na˙ para˙
The supreme object of worship is Bhagavan Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna.
The supreme abode is Sri Vrindavana-dhama.
The most excellent devotees of Krishna are the Gopis of Vraja.
The highest achievement of life is Krishna prema.
The most perfect and spotless proof or scripture of this is the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
This is the opinion of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We have the supreme regard for this
conclusion. We have no inclination or respect for any other cheating opinions.
- Sri Sikshastakam was addressed to Ramananda Raya and Swarupa Damodara Goswami. Mahaprabhu would experience ecstatic emotions by reciting and remembering these verses. Bhaktivinode Thakur offers a benediction that if anyone recites or hears these eight verses of instruction by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, his ecstatic love and devotion for Kṛiṣhṇa increase day by day.
Verse 1: shraddha, sadhusanga, bhajan kriya (What is the best Sadhana? – Harinama Sankirtan)
- Understanding the glories of the Holy Name and Harinama Sankirtana; story of the jewel;. Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam
- Samyak + kirtan = complete kirtana
- Seven tongues of the flame of sacrifice of the Sankirtana Movement; seven benefits and seven progressive stages
- Seven stages of progressive advancement in Nama Sadhana:
- Ceto Darpan marjana
- Consciousness is the mirror of the nature of the soul
- Covered by layers of dust makes it difficult to see reflection
- Types of dust: lust, anger, envy, greed, mukti, siddhi
- Bhava maha davagni nirvapanam
- Forest fire cannot be extinguished by material fire brigade e.g Australian forest fire
- Fire of three types of miseries burns in the heart; more fuel increases the fire
- What keeps us in the fire is our desire to remain in it. That is Maya.
- Only the rain of mercy of the Holy Name can extinguish it
- Kleshaghni and Shubhada
- Sreyah kairava chandrika vitaranam
- The negative has been eliminated and now the positive begins
- Moon (Krishna/Holy Name) and Lotus (soul) are the two most beautiful things in the world. When the moonshine touches the lotus it blooms. That is the most wonderful interaction!
- The soul blooms and gives fragrance of good qualities and we understand our spiritual relationship with Krishna
- When that relationship develops it can take form of one of the 5 rasas
- Vidya vadhu jivanam
- Vidya Vadhu is spiritual knowledge resulting in surrender to the Lord
- The degree we surrender to, that degree we feel ecstasy
- The soul is always surrendering, either to material energy or spiritual energy
- When true knowledge dawns upon the soul, automatically it surrenders. This happens by the mercy of the Holy Name
- Anandambudhi vardhanam
- When we surrender, and become dasanudas, Krishna places us in an ocean of bliss
- Material happiness is like a drop in front of ocean of bliss in bhakti.
- Rupa Goswami warns not to see Govinda. Yamunacharya curls his lips in distaste.
- When we realize we are not the body, we do not take material enjoyment seriously. It is clearly useless.
- Pratipadam purnamrita svadanam
- Allows one to taste rasa continuously
- Ocean of bliss in Holy Name. Rupa Goswami wants millions of mouth and ears to taste
- Sarvatma snapanam
- Completely purifies us from any desire for personal enjoyment. The weeds are completely uprooted.
- Is it Ok to enjoy in Kirtana because it purifies.
- Ceto Darpan marjana
Verse 2 anartha nivritti (How easy it is to take to this process?)
- Holy Name is all powerful: Accessible from lowest to highest
- Karma, yoga and jnana require consideration of time, place and performer, whereas bhakti does not need these.
- No attraction to Holy Name because of offenses
- Feeling repentant and unqualified is very important to beg for mercy
Verse 3 nishtha (How to chant the Holy Name?)
- Humbler than a blade of grass (Feeling oneself low and insignificant)
- More tolerant than a tree (Not reacting when offended, but rather offering service in return)
- Not expecting any respect from others
- Giving all respect to others
- Only if the above 4 are followed can one chant the Holy Name constantly and gradually rise to stage of Ruci (taste)
Verse 4 ruci (What is the desire of the sadhaka?)
Verse 5 asakti (What is the spiritual form of a sadhaka?)
Verse 6 bhava (What are the external symptoms of perfection?)
Verse 7 bhava and prema (What are the internal symptoms of perfection?)
Verse 8: Prema (Steadiness in Perfection, mood of separation). If my unhappiness gives happiness to Krishna then that unhappiness is my greatest happiness.
Hence Sikshastakam is like a map showing us the path back to Godhead and the milestones along it.