The Jagadguru’s Arati delineates the glorious personhood of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Maharajji had written the Guru arati on the request of his devotees so that they could worship and contemplate on the names, attributes, pastimes, and philosophy of their beloved Guru. The devotional import of the first three stanzas of the arati has been explored in the last three issues of Sumiran. Let us now foray into the concluding stanza, which goes:
लली लाल लीला का सलोना सुविलास,
छाया दिव्य दृष्टि बिच प्रेम का प्रकाश |
वैसा ही विनोद वही मंजु मृदु हास.
करें बस बरबस उच्च अट्टहास |
झूमि चलें चाल वही नटवर की,
गावो मिलि आरती रसिकवर की ||
lalī lāl līlā kā salonā suvilās
chāyā divya driṢati bica prem kā prkāśa
waisa hī vinod wahi mamnju mridu hās
Karem bas barabas ucca atthās
hhūmi chalem cāl wahī natvara kī
gāvo mili āratī rasikavara kī
The opening line “lalī lāl līlā kā salonā suvilās” identifies the form of Maharajji as that of Radha and Krishna in their “yugal” form. He seems to have descended to perform divine pastimes for the benefit of fallen souls. It is believed that Maharajji was Brahm(God) Himself who took avatar in order to liberate fallen souls. Seeing his divine form, one cannot help thinking that Radha and Krishna have together assumed this form of his in order to grace devotees. Shining with divinity, his eyes are always filled with love and grace. His humor is divine, as is his gentle and beautiful smile. His hearty laughter forcibly steals the heart of his devotees. His intoxicating gait immediately reminds one of the mischievous Krishna.
The philosophies of Maharaj Ji and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the veritable form of Radha and Krishna, are also very similar. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed the path of divine love and Maharajji made details of Radha Krishna bhakti manifest in his teachings. He emphasized and elaborated on these essential aspects of divine love: Nishkam, Nitya, and Ananya Bhakti. To distribute the knowledge of these inner attributes of devotion, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu descended in the form of Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj.
In Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sampradaya, external ritualistic practices like mala jap, kanthi dharan and strict observance ekadashi began to be considered essential to God-realization. It is believed there that chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra alone can liberate the soul. However, Maharajji went deeper into Mahaprabhu’s philosophy by devising the technique of ‘Roop Dhyan’ as a means to purify the mind. He held that suffering is not in the world. It is merely our illusion. What troubles us is the internal world that pervades our minds. The external world cannot be faulty because it is a creation of God and is therefore non-different from Him. The Isopanishad says,
ईशा वास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।
Tr. Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord.
Therefore, the world is not to be blamed. One must understand that suffering is due to one’s own internal impurities and to cleanse the mind one needs to contemplate on the names, attributes, pastimes, and abodes of Radha and Krishna. Saints have lived in the same world and have found divine bliss in it. So, one needs to purify their internal world. Then, the external world cannot affect them. Bathing in the Ganga does not purify us, cleansing the mind does. It is said, “Man changa toh kathoti me Ganga”. When God resides in the mind, the worldly sufferings are automatically replaced, and then the external world too becomes blissful. One can take it further by doing Chintan, that is, contemplating on Hari and Guru and increasing longing for them. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came in the form of Maharajji 500 years later to propagate this philosophy.
The lines which follow help us contemplate the nature of our Maharajji. Despite being a great scholar of Vedic literature, he behaved as innocently as a child. His moods and lilas were varied and he entertained his devotees with them. He was as mischievous as Shyamsundar and was known for his ‘natkhat’, entertaining, ‘vinodi sabhav’, just like Shyamsundar. He had an alluring smile “manju mriduhas” and he laughed from the heart “uccha attahas”, undeterred by worldly appearances. He used to walk so gracefully that even an elephant with its charming gait, was embarrassed before his divine gait which was exactly like that of Shyamsundar.
Maharajji was Rasikvar—the relisher of divine bliss. He was ‘Satchidanand’. The bliss(ras) of God is of two kinds— brahmanand (bliss of a formless God) and premanand (bliss of the forms of God). In brahmanand, the sweetness of premanand is missing. One can contemplate on roop madhuri, murli madhuri, braj ras, and so on, in premanand. In premanand one can contemplate on God as one’s own child, friend, or beloved. It was this ras (bliss) that Maharajji distributed and graced his devotees with. As devotees, we must understand the significance of the Grace of our Guru and measure its extent. We must internalize the philosophy and implement it in our lives. Let us do samarpan (complete surrender), and follow the path of nishkam, nitya and ananya bhakti as given by Maharajji in his siddhant.