The Pushti Marg saints: Chapter 2: Krishna Bhat — Part 5
On another occasion, the Vaishnavas of Ujjain discussed amongst each other thus: “How can one please Sri Thakurji?” One of them said, “Brother, so-and-so is a great and accomplished Vaishnava. Let us go and ask him.” So they all went to that Vaishnava’s house. Meditating upon Sri Krishna, they asked him, “Brother! How can Sri Thakurji be pleased?”
That Vaishnava answered, “Brother! Sri Thakurji is pleased when one one serves Him according to proper etiquette and with pure feeling; and if one serves Him according to what is written of the traditions established Sri Acharyaji and Sri Gusainji, the various offerings to be made at various times [of the day and year], and so forth. Sri Thakurji accepts all those services through his respect for the Path established by Sri Acharyaji Mahaprabhu and Sri Gusainji.”
Then they inquired from that Vaishnava, “How can one know that Thakurji has accepted one’s seva?”
He replied, “There are four signs. The first is that a Vaishnava suddenly comes to one’s house. One should honour them to the best of one’s ability.
“Secondly, on the sight of his svarupa, the deity form in the temple, one becomes full of Bliss, thinking, “See this Son of Nanda is directly accepting the food preparations I have cooked and drinking from this pot of water out of respect for the Path of Sri Acharyaji Mahaprabhu.
“Third, the Lord grants one a vision of Himself wearing the same clothes and adornments that one has lovingly dressed Him in.
“Fourth, one offers food to Sri Thakurji according to Sri Acharyaji Mahaprabhu’s established etiquette, and after He enjoys it, various new flavours manifest in the food. And the plate of prasad does not become empty [despite the Lord’s taking food from it]. These are four signs that Sri Thakurji is pleased with one’s seva.”
Then that Vaishnava took another by the arm and the five of them went to another Vaishnava’s house. Meditating upon Sri Krishna, they asked that Vaishnava, “Brother! How can Sri Thakurji be pleased?”
That Vaishnava said to the other five Vaishnavas, “Brother! Know that Sri Thakurji is pleased when Sri Svamini grants Her Grace and becomes pleased. When Sri Svaminiji has mercy on a person, and speaks to Sri Thakurji [on their behalf], then we can understand that Sri Thakurji is pleased with that person.”
Then the five Vaishnavas further inquired from him, “How can we know if Sri Swaminiji is pleased?”
Then that Vaishnava said to the other five Vaishnavas, “One can understand that Sri Svwaminiji is pleased with one when one attains firm faith; when one attains unswerving one-pointedness. One experiences equal Love for Sri Acharyaji, Sri Gusainji, Sri Nathaji and Sri Swaminiji. Then one can understand that Sri Swaminiji is bestowing Her Grace upon that soul. This is the path of Sri Svaminiji’s Grace alone. Thus, this is Sri Swaminiji’s path. When Sri Swaminiji is pleased [with someone], then Sri Thakurji lets them know through some divine experience. Then we can understand that Thakurji is pleased.”
After that, the Vaishnavas decided amongst themselves, “Brothers! Let us go see Krishna Bhat. He is a very accomplished Vaishnava. Let us inquire from him about this. Let us see what he says.”
So the Vaishnavas all went to Krishna Bhat. At that time Krishna Bhat was serving Sri Thakurji. Krishna Bhat placed Sri Thakurji’s lunch plate before Him and came out of the temple; then, meditating upon Sri Krishna, the Vaishnavas sat down by Krishna Bhat. He asked them, “What brings all of you here today?”
They humbly presented their question to Krishna Bhat: “Bhatji! How can one please Sri Thakurji?”
Krishna Bhat asked the Vaishnavas, “You have asked two others; what did they tell you?”
The Vaishnavas said, “One told us to serve Sri Thakurji according to the established way, and Sri Thakurji will be happy. The other said that if Sri Swaminiji grants her mercy then Thakurji becomes pleased and lets one know through some kind of divine experience.”
Krishna Bhat then said to those Vaishnavas, “These two answers are mentioned in the books. But Sri Thakurji and Sri Swaminiji are always absorbed in their own Bliss. There is no room for them to perceive anything else, because they are immersed in the lila and in their own svarupas. But there is one very intimate Sakhi who eternally resides with them. When that Sakhi becomes pleased, then she recounts much praise about that devotee to them. Then Sri Thakurji and Sri Swaminji become very pleased and grant that devotee their heart’s desire.
“But They have one other Sakhi. That Sakhi does all the services outside and this Sakhi maintains the Beloveds’ personal forest bowers. She takes care of the Beloveds’ bed, their clothes and all of their jewellery. And that Sakhi stands at the door of the bower singing in her sweet voice. She sings the glorious qualities of the Divine Couple. The soul should humbly supplicate this Sakhi. Then she conveys this [on the soul’s behalf] to her Swamini, and when that intimate Sakhi feels inspired and when Sri Thakurji and Sri Swaminiji are in a jovial mood, she informs them about the devotee and asks them [to bestow their grace on] them. Then Sri Thakurji becomes pleased with that devotee.”
Then Sri Krishna Bhat referenced Sri Gusainji’s Vijïapti. The verse reads thus:
no manute nija-maṁgalam ahaha kathaṁ tatra kiṁ kurmaḥ ||
He recited this verse.Therefore one should always be humble before accomplished Vaishnavas who are always experiencing Sri Thakurji in everything. And when we please the servants of Sri Acharyaji and Sri Gusainji, then Sri Acharyaji and Sri Gusainji are pleased.
In this way, Krishna Bhat explained the tradition of the Path, and those Vaishnavas’ doubts were put to rest. They were very pleased by what they heard [from Krishna Bhat]. Then Krishna Bhat removed Sri Thakurji’s plate, and said to the Vaishnavas, “Go and see him.” Then at Krishna Bhat’s insistence, they took maha-prasad. Thereafter, totally absorbed in thoughts of Sri Krishna, the Vaishnavas left Krishna Bhat’s house and returned to their own homes. Thus Krishna Bhat is a blessed and accomplished Vaishnava.
Bhavaprakasha: Just as a lady who is desirous of meeting a man may make the arrangements for such through a female messenger, so here also the accomplished Vaishnava can fulfill the role of a female messenger. When they are happy they will unite a Soul with the Beloved Lord. In the Shiksha-patra (1.19) it is written, “Keep the same sentiment for Sri Acharyaji’s followers as for him himself. A man desirous of a woman always respects his lover’s confidential messenger because she will facilitate his desire, so you should deeply respect Sri Acharyaji’s accomplished devotees.”
Sri Harirayji has expanded on this in the following Pada: