This is a humble tribute to our Guru Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary. In the last two editions we have discussed the significance of the first two verses of his arati composed by himself. This month we shall proceed to the third verse. The verse goes:
करें निगमागम समन्वय ललाम।
श्यामा-शयाम नाम, रूप, लीला, गुण, धाम,
बांटि रहे प्रेम निष्काम बिनु दाम।
हो रही सफल काया नारी नर की,
गावो मिलि आरती रसिकवर की॥
bhakti yog-rasa-avatar abhirām
karen nigamāgam samanvaya lalām
shyāmā śhyām nām rūp lilā guņa dhām
bañți rahe prem nishkām binu dām
ho rahi saphala käyä närī nara ki,
gavo mili ärati rasikavara ki
gavo gavo mili ärati rasikavara ki.
The title of “bhakti yog-rasa-avatar was conferred upon Maharajji by the Kashi VIdvat Parishad, an esteemed group of 500 Vedic scholars who collectively represented the seat of spiritual learning and recognized him as “Jagadguruttam”(the best of all the Jagadgurus). This implies that Maharajji’s soul was a veritable descension of devotional nectar. He had the power to please God. According to the scriptures, the only energy that can please God, is the “hladini shakti” which is the energy of Radha Rani. It follows from here that Maharajji was an avatar of the blissful Radha Rani herself.
Kripalu Ji Mahaprabhu also effectively reconciled the apparent contradictions contained in all the Scriptures (karen nigamāgam samanvaya lalām). Maharajji’s philosophy of bhakti is derived from the Vedas and is supported by veda mantras. He regards Vedas as the Supreme source of divine knowledge. Even if God defies the Vedas, which is unlikely and has been said to emphasize the importance of the scriptures, one must adhere to the Vedas alone. Maharajji was against those pandits who misinterpreted the Vedas and taught the scriptures in a manner that facilitated their selfish practice. Many empty rituals like the sacrifice of cows and horses is one such practice.
Maharajji believed that Itihas (history), in the form of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the Puranas comprise the fifth Veda. Vedvyas, the revered composer of the Srimad Bhagvatamwas also of the same opinion.
Maharajji not only integrated the contradictory notions of the sakar(wth a tangible form)and nirakar (formless) God but also resolved the age-old debate between dualism, propounded by Jagadguru Madhvacharya and non-dualism, proposed by Jagadguru Shankaracharya, between jiv(soul) and paramatma (God). He opined that God is both sakar and nirakar and endorsed Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s view of Achintya Bhedabhed. He writes in his Bhakti Shatak that JIv and Maya are two energies of God while God is the energetic. As a result Jiv is both one and discrete from God.
Jiv maya dui shakti hai
Shakti hai Ved Abhed bhi
Shaktiman te jan. (Bhakti Shatak)
To understand the philosophy with more clarity, one may conceive of Jiv as rays of the sun while God is the sun itself. However, that doesn’t imply that Jiv is a direct part of God. In that case, Jivwould be as perfect as God is. But souls are a part of God’s Jiv shakti (soul energy) and thus divine.
The next line goes on to describe how Maharajji selflessly and freely distributes the names, attributes, forms, abodes, pastimes and selfless love of Shree Radha Krishna, thereby inspiring people of the world to lead a successful human life. This line refers to the gigantic oeuvre of devotional literature written by Maharajji to aid devotees in sadhan bhakti. He wrote the Bhakti Shatak, a concise philosophy of the Upaniṣats, Gītā, Brahma sūtras and the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in an easy to understand style. The Radhey Govind Geet is written in two volumes, with eleven thousand one hundred and eleven couplets of Radha Krishna Leelas. Braj Ras Madhuri in four parts, comprises hundreds of kirtans dedicated to Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, and others. In Shyama Sham Geet, Maharajji infused 1008 devotional couplets with the all-enchanting sentiment of divine love. Prem Ras Siddhant is his philosophy of Divine love, and Prem Ras Madira consists of 1008 songs (“pads”) of Radha-Krishna Leelas, devotional philosophy and humility. Through his verses and philosophy, Maharajji explained the philosophy of the Sanatan Vedic Dharma in simple language and inspired souls to follow the path of selfless devotion.