Radha Baba (1913-1992) was a devotee of Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna who lived in Gorakhpur. Born in a Vaishnav Brahmin family in Gaya, he became an Advaitin sannyasi, but later took the path of Braj devotion. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar, the founder of Gita Press, was his inseparable spiritual companion. It is said that Radha Baba spent fourteen years performing a very strict maun vrat, during which he kept complete silence, without even using gestures to communicate. During this period he was completely absorbed in Braj Lila. Several beautiful books were written by him, including Keli Kunj, Satsang Sudha and Mahabhaga Brajdeviyan. The following excerpt is taken from his book Easy Steps to Eternal Vrindavan, translated into English by Lakhpat Rai, M.A. It appears to be out of print, but the original Hindi edition, Prem Satsang Sudha Mala, is still available from Gita Press, as are his other works.
You should not feel disappointed. Someday or the other such an incident will happen in an instant that you will just be carried away in that ocean of bliss. There is no rule that you must slowly rise higher and higher. Someday, suddenly there will arise such a storm of grace that lifting you up into the air, nay, removing you altogether from the ground it will throw you down right in the middle of the ocean of bliss from where it will be impossible to return. But if you remain on the shore, you may perhaps even return; the gale will blow so far away that you will not be able to see even the land’s end.
Three means are prescribed in the Srimad Bhagwatam:
- One should continue to wait for such grace. It is going to happen just now, it is going to happen just now, it will happen now, it will happen tomorrow, it is bound to happen this month, it is sure to happen this year, it will certainly happen – in this way, at every moment, one should go on burning to ashes everything one has in the hope of obtaining God’s grace, just as a poor bankrupt person awaits the cast of a favorable dice and goes on striking bets. For the sake of the Lord’s Love, sacrificing all things, one should await his grace. In the gamble of this world one may not win, but his grace is sure to come. In this gamble of God’s grace, victory is assured.
2. Whatever pain or pleasure comes to one’s lot, one should accept it with great delight, thinking it to be the result of one’s own deeds.
3. One should continue to bow down to the Lord constantly with one’s mind, speech and body.
One who passes life in this manner attains God’s Love. He does get liberation too, but as a mere side effect.
जब श्री बनवास मिल्यो सजनी
तब तीरथ आन गए न गए
जब लाड़िलि लाल कौ नाम लियौ
तब नाम न आन लए न लए
पदकंज किसोरिहि चित्त पग्यो
तब पायन आन नए न नए
जब नैन लगे मन मोहन सों
तब औगुन आन भए न भए
jab shri banwaas milyo sajani, tab teerath aan gaye na gaye
jab laadili laal ko naam liyo, tab naam na aan laye na laye
padakanj kisorihi chitt pagyo, tab paayan aan naye na naye
jab nain lage man mohan so, tab augun aan bhaye na bhaye
There was a very eminent saint in Braj, Shri Lalit Kishoriji. This is his pada (song). The loving devotees develop such faith as this. The purport of the song is: if you have got the good fortune to live in Shri Priyaji’s bower – to live in Vrindavan – it is immaterial whether or not you go to other places of pilgrimage. It is all the same whether you go or don’t go. The fruit of all the sadhana you have already obtained in the shape of dwelling in Vrindavan. What is the need of going to other places of pilgrimage? Secondly, when the Name of the Divine Couple, Shri Ladli-Lal has escaped your lips, it is immaterial whether other names and other words escape you or not. There is no need at all.
Thirdly, when the mind becomes respectuflly engrossed in the lotus feet of Shri Priyaji – becomes dyed in the colour of her love – it is just the same whether you bow down or not at anyone else’s feet. Fourthly, when your glance is set on Manmohan – when your eye is set on Shri Krishna, it is then all the same whether you have any other vice or not. It is considered to be a great vice for a woman to set eyes on another man [other than her husband], but when that very eye is set on the nectarean moon in the form of Shri Krishna, the vice is transformed into a supreme virtue.
In this way, a seeker of love for Shri Krishna moves forward keeping just four objects before him (Krishna’s Name, form, virtues and lilas). He moves forward throwing away all the worldly cares to the winds. He does not pay a bit of attention to what people say. Turning his face away altogether and absolutely from the world and all propriety, he takes delight in the Name, form, virtues, lilas and abode of the most beloved Lord; only in these things. Howsoever his external life may be, he should constantly maintain only one atmosphere, only one subject of speech through practice. If he gets an opportunity to listen to the lilas, he should do so. Otherwise, he should read them, dwell on them. The mind should just take delight in those very things.
What is the condition of the love of the blessed Gopis? Nobody can describe it at all in writing. By seeing an electric light, one who has never seen the resplendent light of the sun cannot even imagine how brilliant it is. Just so, whatever talks you listen to, they can give you no proper idea at all of the real nature of the Gopis’ love. Like the sun’s rays, it is like an extremely brilliantly-lit object; it is beyond intellect. Only by seeing it one can understand its nature, and that happens only through their unlimited compassion.
One can experience – can imagine only a part of it by constantly praying to them and weeping at their feet. Therefore, read the lilas, listen to them, offer prayers, go on begging constantly for their compassion and as far as possible, try to keep the mind away from worldly affairs.
Sitting in a lonely spot, weep, sitting at the feet of the Divine Couple in their presence. If the weeping is not sincere, it does not matter. Even if it is insincere, weep with whatever sentiments you can muster up – O Lord! Make this dull heart of mine sweet. Fill my dry heart by bestowing a particle of your love. O Lord! Do this because of your grace alone.
Take it for certain that an often-repeated prayer never goes in vain. He can make even an insincere prayer real through his grace.
© Translated by Lakhpat Rai, M.A.
(With light editing by Vrindavan Today)
Published in 1981 by Sahitya Sansthan
Part of Gita Vatika, Gorakhpur