|Madhya-līlā||Chapter 25: How All the Residents of Vārāṇasī Became Vaiṣṇavas|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 25.121
'dharmādi' viṣaye yaiche e 'cāri' vicāra
sādhana-bhakti — ei cāri vicārera pāra
dharma-ādi — of religious activities and so on; viṣaye — in the subject matter; yaiche — just as; e cāri vicāra — there is a consideration of four principles, namely the person, country, time and atmosphere; sādhana-bhakti — of devotional service; ei — these; cāri — four; vicārera — to the considerations; pāra — transcendental.
"'As far as religious principles are concerned, there is a consideration of the person, the country, the time and the circumstance. In devotional service, however, there are no such considerations. Devotional service is transcendental to all such considerations.
When we are on the material platform, there are different types of religions — Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and so on. These are instituted for a particular time, a particular country or a particular person. Consequently there are differences. Christian principles are different from Hindu principles, and Hindu principles are different from Muslim and Buddhist principles. These may be considered on the material platform, but when we come to the platform of transcendental devotional service, there are no such considerations. The transcendental service of the Lord (sādhana-bhakti) is above these principles. The world is anxious for religious unity, and that common platform can be achieved in transcendental devotional service. This is the verdict of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When one becomes a Vaiṣṇava, he becomes transcendental to all these limited considerations. This is confirmed by Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
māḿ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
"One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."
The devotional activities of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are completely transcendental to material considerations. As far as different faiths are concerned, religions may be of different types, but on the spiritual platform, everyone has an equal right to execute devotional service. That is the platform of oneness and the basis for a classless society. In his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura confirms that one has to learn from a bona fide spiritual master about religious principles, economic development, sense gratification and ultimately liberation. These are the four divisions of regulated life, but they are on the material platform. On the spiritual platform, the four principles are jñāna, vijñāna, tad-ańga and tad-rahasya. Rules, regulations and restrictions are on the material platform, but on the spiritual platform one has to be equipped with transcendental knowledge, which is above the principles of religious rituals. Mundane religious activity is known as smārta-viddhi, but transcendental devotional service is called gosvāmi-viddhi. Unfortunately many so-called gosvāmīs are on the platform of smārta-viddhi, yet they try to pass as gosvāmi-viddhi, and thus the people are cheated. Gosvāmī-viddhi is strictly explained in Sanātana Gosvāmī's Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, wherein it is stated:
yathā kāñcanatāḿ yāti kāḿsyaḿ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaḿ jāyate nṛṇām
"By chemical manipulation, bell metal is turned into gold when touched by mercury; similarly, when a person is properly initiated, he can acquire the qualities of a brāhmaṇa."
The conclusion is that devotional service is open for everyone, regardless of caste, creed, time and country. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is functioning according to this principle.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness