~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

The conjugal rasa is completely transcendental

"Srngara-rasa is totally devoid of even an iota of materialism. The transcendental jiva, in order to enjoy and exchange rasa, becomes a transcendental gopi, rendering devotional service to the transcendental personalities of Sri Radha and Sri Krsna in the transcendental realm of Vrndavana. The slightest tinge of the mundane man-woman relationship is non-existent there. Only the purest and most ideal conception of conjugal love is manifest as the transcendental mellow. And knowledge of this is available only from a pure devotee spiritual master. Other than by his grace, this inconceivable truth cannot be discovered. It is beyond the realm of speculation and pedantic scrutiny and its understanding is extremely rare.

The transition from smarana-dasa to apana-dasa

"Complete perfection remains elusive unless one enthusiastically performs sufficient sadhana to elevate himself from the stage of smarana-dasa to apana-dasa. The confidential process of apana-dasa is ineffable and devoid of any ostentations like jnana, karma or yoga. Externally, the devotee engages himself fully in chanting the holy name and leads a simple renounced life. Internally, he keeps the splendorous flames of rasa burning with pure intensity all the time. Those sadhakas who are prone to a pompous external display of devotion, or who fail to steadily and properly direct their internal spiritual aspirations, are unable to elevate themselves from the platform of smarana to apana-dasa. Thus the sadhaka may , unaccomplished, through many lifetimes of devotional practice.

"This path of worship or bhajana is the simplest; but if the purity of the bhajana is in any way disfigured by a tinge of the contaminated desires for recognition, distinction or reverence, then the sadhaka is thrown off the path of vraja-sadhana, or bhajana in the mood of Vraja. One must approach the spiritual master with simple humility and learn this pure process properly.

Two methods of sadhana: vaidhi and raganuga

"Here is how perfection is most easily obtained: the jiva is pure spirit soul, part and parcel of the Absolute Whole. He has a transcendental original form that is all-perfect. He has forgotten his perfect spiritual state and come under the clutches of maya. He is offensive to Lord Krsna and is inebriated with the false mundane designations of his gross body. If, by the mercy of a pure devotee spiritual master, he regains knowledge of his actual origin, then the rediscovery of his original identity can quickly be accomplished.

"There are two methods of sadhana-bhakti: one is vaidhi (under rules and regulations), and the other is raganuga (spontaneous). In the beginning, these two methods appear to be contradictory, but upon comprehension of their esoteric purpose, the differences between them are dissolved. The vaidhi method of sadhana is a product of scriptural demands and concessions. Raganuga sadhana is born out of an intense attraction for the activities of the residents of Vraja. The first method is for the general mass of people, whereas the second is extremely rare and confidential.

To the stage of apana-dasa via vaidhi-sadhana

"Every mood and thought of the vaidha-bhakta during his meditation and remembrance upon Krsna must be cross-checked with scriptural injunctions. Gradually, his sraddha leads to nistha (firm faith), then to ruci (taste or attraction), then asakti (attachment). When he reaches the first stage of spontaneity tinged with bhava, he discards his dependence upon scriptural logic, knowing it to be an impediment to his progress. After this, he is elevated to the stage of apana-dasa.

To the stage of apana-dasa via raganuga-sadhana

"In the smarana-dasa stage of raganuga-sadhana, the sadhaka first remembers the eleven sentiments of the gopis. These sentiments must adorn his emotions before he can remember the asta-kaliya-lila. There are five levels of development in smaranadasa. Initially, his remembrance will not be steady; this level is called smarana. Sometimes he remembers the sentiments, his position and his service, but at other times he forgets. But by steady practice of smarana, gradually he reaches permanency of remembrance; this state is known as dharana. As one meditates on every aspect of the subject of remembrance, part by part, minutely, dharana develops into fixed meditation—this is dhya-na. When dhyana becomes continual, it is called anusmrti; following anusmrti is the fifth level of remembrance, samadhi, when the devotee has no interest in anything other than perfect absorption in the pastimes of Lord Krsna.

"From the samadhi level of smarana-dasa, the crucial ascension to apana-dasa or the stage of application takes place. For one who is not adept, elevation through the five stages of smarana-dasa to apana-dasa may require many yugas of effort. For a dexterous sadhaka, reaching apana-dasa is accomplished quickly.

"In the apana-dasa stage, identification with the psychophysical body is reduced to insignificance, and his spiritual identity becomes predominant. Intermittently, his spiritual identity or syarupa manifests, and he experiences sublime in rendering devotional service to Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. These experiences develop until he spends long periods of time in Vraja interacting with others in his vraja-svarupa, seeing the dhama and the transcendental pastimes within.

"In this elevated stage, constant bhajana and nama will inevitably bring about a face-to-face meeting with the blessed Lord Syamasundara. By the Lord's merciful will, all trace of the devotee's subtle body of mind, intelligence and false ego will be extinguished with the demise of the gross body of five elements.

"This is when the devotee's pure spiritual form fully manifests, minus all material coverings. In the mood of pure bhava, he takes up his eternal service to Sri-Sri Radha-Krsna in the transcendental dhama. He thus becomes a sadhana-siddha or a perfected conditioned soul who is now reinstated in his svarupa through sadhana and bhajana. He now serves the Lord in the company of nityasiddhas, the eternal associates of the Lord who were never conditioned.