Sahajiyā is a word I have been researching lately, trying to come up with a clear understanding of its meaning, and to better understand why Srila Prabhupada has warned us to ‘avoid the association of Sahajiyā’s and Māyāvādīs, and not to become Sahajiyā’. So the following post is the beginning of our research.
Dr. Patel: What is sahajiyā?
Prabhupāda: Sahajiyā… Sahaj means easy. Easy-going. They will smoke cigarette at the same time they will play rasa-līlā. This is sahajiyā. This is sahajiyā. They will do all nonsense; still, they will become God, imitation of God. (Morning Walk Excerpts; May 1, 1974, Bombay)
…One thing, on the invitation card you have written All Glories to Our Guru Maharaja. This is impersonalism. As soon as we offer obeisances to guru, the name should be there. We are strictly personalists. The sahajiya’s, they write Glories to Guru. Why you are learning this impersonalism, who has taught you? Daily I am offering obeisances to my Guru by vibrating his real name, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, otherwise it is impersonal. (Letter to: Bhavananda London 14 July, 1972)
Prabhupāda: These sahajiyās will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Mahārāja’s disciples, so many sahajiyās came. These are called sahajiyās. Very easily they capture thing. So my Guru Mahārāja used to say, “When my disciples will be sahajiyā, it will be more dangerous.”
Lecture on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Sixth Canto, Chapter One, Text 45
Los Angeles, June 11, 1976
yena yāvān yathādharmo
dharmo veha samīhitaḥ
sa eva tat-phalaṁ bhuṅkte
tathā tāvad amutra vai
So, one has to suffer or enjoy. There are two things. So that is according to our activities. That we can practically experience. If one is educated, naturally, he gets a good position, and if one is criminal, he gets another position. There is no difficulty to understand. So there are two things, dharma and adharma. Religiosity and irreligiosity. Religiosity means to abide by the orders of God and irreligiosity means to disobey the orders of God. That’s all. Simple thing. But in this connection we must know what is the order of God, what is God, how He orders, how to execute, how we become fit for executing orders. These things—these questions are there, but God is speaking personally, “This is My order,” in the Bhagavad-gītā. You’ll find, very simple thing.
What Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā? First of all, He establishes Himself that “I am the Supreme Lord.” Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg. 7.7]. So, the Māyāvādīs, they also think that “I am also Kṛṣṇa. I can also speak.” No, that you cannot do. Just like we are singing this song daily, gopī-jana-vallabha giri-vara-dhārī. It is… Kṛṣṇa is playing with the gopīs. The sahajiyās, they take it very easily. But giri-vara-dhārī, oh, that is very difficult thing. He raised the whole Govardhana Hill in His finger; that nobody is imitating. But gopī-jana-vallabha, very easy. “You are gopī, I am Kṛṣṇa. Let us enjoy.” This is sahajiyā. This is sahajiyā. That is going on. Parakīyā-rasa. All rascaldom is going on. But one should understand that here is Kṛṣṇa. He can dance with the gopīs and He can lift the Govardhana Hill also, simultaneously. That is also for pleasing the gopīs. When there was incessant rainfall, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana became so disturbed, and they had no other friend than Kṛṣṇa. So they appealed, “Kṛṣṇa, do something!” “Yes!” Immediately, He raised the whole hill as umbrella. “Come on under this.” So that is Kṛṣṇa. So don’t imitate Kṛṣṇa, but hear Kṛṣṇa, what says, then our life is successful. We cannot imitate God. We have to simply follow His order. That is dharma. And if you imitate Kṛṣṇa, that is adharma. Don’t try to imitate. There are two words in Sanskrit, anukāraṇa, anusaraṇa. Anukāraṇa means imitation, and anusaraṇa means follow. We have to execute anusaraṇa, follow. Tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya. Tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya [SB 10.33.29].
The Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired that “Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇa, He came to establish dharma, but it appears that He danced with other’s wife or other’s daughter.” According to Vedic civilization you cannot mix with any other woman except your wife. That is not allowed. So, according to the Vedic conception of life, it was not right thing that Kṛṣṇa danced with other’s wife or other’s daughter. This question was put. Parīkṣit Mahārāja said that Kṛṣṇa, because He is God, He cannot do anything wrong. Just like in England, the constitution says, “The king can do no wrong.” King cannot be subject to any law. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa danced with the gopīs, it has got a deep meaning. Because they are all devotees, they did not know except Kṛṣṇa, and they prayed to the Kātyāyanī, although they are married, they prayed to Kātyāyanī before they were married, that “Let Kṛṣṇa become our husband.” Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful. Naturally there is attraction. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. So… And they were not ordinary women. They are eternal consorts or associates of Kṛṣṇa. Ānanda-cin-māyā-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ. They are expansion of Kṛṣṇa; they are not ordinary women. Expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtiḥ hlādinī-śaktiḥ asmād. The gopīs, Rādhārāṇī, they are expansion of the spiritual energy of Kṛṣṇa. Don’t think they are ordinary women. They are Kṛṣṇa. Śaktiḥ śaktimator abhedaḥ. They are not different from Kṛṣṇa. But to give Kṛṣṇa pleasure, Kṛṣṇa expands Himself by His spiritual energy, ānanda hlādinī, spiritual energy, sandinī hlādinī. That is the expansion of His pleasure potency. It is not that to imitate gopīs. That is sahajiyā. That is sahajiyā. They are ānanda-cin-māyā-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto [Bs. 5.37]. When Kṛṣṇa wants pleasure, He is full spiritual, His pleasure is full spiritual. There is no question of material.
It has been very broadly described by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī. Read all this. Don’t try to imitate. That is sahajiyā. We should know the position of Kṛṣṇa. His expansion of pleasure potency. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s līlā is put into the middle of the Tenth Canto. First of all, try to understand Kṛṣṇa from the very beginning. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. What is Kṛṣṇa? Vāsudeve, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. So what is Vāsudeva? Janmādy asya yato. Here is the original source of everything. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate [Bg. 10.8]. First of all, try to understand Kṛṣṇa. So therefore Vyāsadeva has dedicated full nine cantos for understanding Kṛṣṇa. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye [Bg. 7.3]. [break]…siddhis, they think of gopīs. That is recommended in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, siddha-deha. Where is siddha? And siddha-deha means there is no more any material lusty desires. That is siddha-deha. Yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravinde nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne. So long we shall think of nārī-saṅga, association, unity with woman, we must consider this is material body. Not siddha body. Siddha body means anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Brs. 1.1.11]. All material desires, zero. That is siddha body. So therefore it is very confidential. But to clear it, that “How Kṛṣṇa accepted to dance with so many gopīs,” this was for clearance.
In that question, you’ll find, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has answered that unless one is liberated, he should not think of it even. Should not think of it. And he has given the example that, you have read, that Lord Śiva, when there was churning, the poison came out, he took it and kept it. But if we imitate Lord Śiva, that “He kept, he also drunk, so let me drink also, let me smoke gañja,” no. You cannot do. Tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya [SB 10.33.29]. The example is given: those who are very, very powerful, they are not contaminated. Just like the sun. Sun is so powerful that it can soak water from the urine, or from the stool, but it still is sun. But if you imitate sun and you… Nowadays, it is going on. The urine is turned into water and they drink. And from stool they are getting fat. So these things are going on. But we should not try to imitate. The sum and substance is Kṛṣṇa cannot be contaminated. Apāpa-viddham. In the Īśopaniṣad, you’ll find. Tejīyasām. Just like sun is never contaminated. From the whole universe, the sun is soaking water from any filthy place. But the filthy place is becoming purified by the sun rays. That is possible by the sun.
So similarly, we cannot imitate Kṛṣṇa. That is pāpa, adharma. Dharma is to abide by the orders of Kṛṣṇa. That is very simple. And if we do that then we become qualified to go back to home, back to Godhead. Very simple thing. It doesn’t require much education. Simply it requires a purified mind, that “I shall execute it honestly.” That much qualification is sufficient. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. This is Kṛṣṇa’s law and order. Kṛṣṇa does not say anything which is very difficult to execute, because we cannot do it. Kṛṣṇa asks from you very simple thing. Not that Kṛṣṇa is asking from you very things which we cannot supply. No. We can supply. Anyone, any poor man, any illiterate man, any poor man or any rich man. Everyone, it is open to everyone. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye ‘pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not forbidden to anyone, even pāpa-yoni.
mām hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye ‘pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyas tathā śūdras
te ‘pi yānti parāṁ gatim
Kiṁ punar brāhmaṇāḥ puṇya bhaktā rājarṣayas tathā [Bg. 9.33]. Bhajasva mām. This is Kṛṣṇa’s instruction. Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī: “Simply always think of Me.” This is the law and order. Who cannot think of Kṛṣṇa? Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Very easy. Where is the difficulty? This is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā, bhava mad-bhakto. And unless one is devotee, he cannot spend time in that way, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa.” Only the devotees can do. And mad-yājī, to worship Kṛṣṇa. So if somebody says, “I am very poor man. I cannot construct such a nice temple or offer Kṛṣṇa so many nice foodstuffs,” Kṛṣṇa says, “No, no need.” Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]. “Come on.” You do not require. If you have money, then spend it for Kṛṣṇa, as much as you can. Then if you don’t spend, if you think, “Kṛṣṇa wants patraṁ puṣpam; the money I shall keep in the bank for my pleasure,” then Kṛṣṇa will cheat you also. If you want to cheat Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is the greatest cheater. Then you’ll be cheated. Don’t be cheater. Simply, fervently, very honestly, obey the orders of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mām. Four things. And what is the result? Mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśayaḥ: [Bg. 18.65] “Without any doubt, you’ll come back to Me.” What do you want more? That Kṛṣṇa is so nice.
So spread this movement all over your country. Your country is… By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, everything is there. And the first qualification is that you are not poverty-stricken. So take the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and be happy. Open similar temples all over your country. Your country is not poor. You can establish such temples, hundreds and thousands. And similarly assemble, hear Kṛṣṇa’s instruction, and see how happy you’ll become.
Thank you very much. (end)
Morning Walk Excerpts
May 1, 1974, Bombay
Dr. Patel: What is sahajiyā?
Prabhupāda: Sahajiyā… Sahaj means easy. Easy-going. They will smoke cigarette at the same time they will play rasa-līlā. This is sahajiyā. This is sahajiyā. They will do all nonsense; still, they will become God, imitation of God.
Letter to: Bhavananda
London 14 July, 1972
My dear Bhavananda,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated July 5 and July 8, 1972, and I have noted the contents carefully. So far the speakers for Rathayatra are concerned, that is all right, but it is also a good idea to offset their nonsense by our own speakers. Yes, we should stand in our position and defy all nonsense propositions. Our math in Mayapur is not for Bengalis, the math is for you foreigners, to give you facility for offering respects to Lord Caitanya.
I have notified Karandhara to send you the ten Krsna Books as you have requested, but in future I want at least two signatures to be there. One thing is, I have heard that Jayapataka is requesting Giriraja that Bombay should send maintenance allowance to Mayapur monthly. But I instructed in the beginning that Calcutta should maintain Mayapur. Also, you are not sending your collections regularly to Bombay, so how they can support you? If Bombay is maintaining, what are others doing, eating and sleeping? Why does Jayapataka want allowance? Anyone who cannot collect money, they should go to Mayapur and live there and simply eat and sleep, like women and widows. I shall arrange for their eating and sleeping. But in cities, those should live who can collect and earn. The widows are not earning in Hindu society, they eat and sleep at others’ expense. So if you are not able to earn in Calcutta, better all go to Mayapur and eat and sleep and I shall accommodate all widows, women, and others at Mayapur and Vrindaban. Otherwise why should we maintain such large establishment in Calcutta simply for eating and sleeping and spending. These two places will be reserved for those who cannot collect. For them I am making provision. Only the active members who can collect, they shall live in the city. Eating, sleeping members, they shall live in Mayapur, that’s all.
As soon as the first residence is finished, no more cash will be sent, only books. Therefore, you must work very hard to sell the books. Not that money will come from somewhere and we shall eat and sleep and so-called chanting. We must work hard like karmis, but not for sense gratification but for Krishna.
One thing, on the invitation card you have written All Glories to Our Guru Maharaja. This is impersonalism. As soon as we offer obeisances to guru, the name should be there. We are strictly personalists. The sahajiya’s, they write Glories to Guru. Why you are learning this impersonalism, who has taught you? Daily I am offering obeisances to my Guru by vibrating his real name, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, otherwise it is impersonal.
Formerly, I told that Calcutta should support Mayapur. So whoever can take charge of both, he should be President. You should discuss these things amongst yourselves. Simply taking title of President will not help. Why there are no letters from Tamala Krishna, why he is not taking active part in Mayapur? I originally entrusted him with responsibility for Mayapur, but he does not even write what is the situation there, nor does he co-sign for money to be sent.
Whether you can deal with so many problems? I am receiving so many letters daily from Calcutta. The temple officers are appointed to minimize my time, not increase it with so many letters. Best to stop expanding, or if you cannot raise funds there, close up the Calcutta center. It is not that the officers should be expert in one field only, they should be expert in everything.
I have written one letter to Syamasundara. Mallik, and I am glad that the preparations are going on nicely for the Rathayatra Festival in Calcutta.
Hoping this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupāda: These sahajiyās will come out of so many devotees. What can be done? From my Guru Mahārāja’s disciples, so many sahajiyās came. These are called sahajiyās. Very easily they capture thing. So my Guru Mahārāja used to say, “When my disciples will be sahajiyā, it will be more dangerous.” He used to say like that. Take things very easily. You know that Puruṣottama, supposed to be my Godbrother?