Why Did Haridasa Thakura Take The Risk

[Haridasa Thakura]“After thus instructing the prostitute about the process of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, Haridasa Thakura stood up and left, continuously chanting ‘Hari, Hari.’” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 3.138)

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एत बलि’ तारे ‘नाम’ उपदेश करि’
उठिया चलिला ठाकुर बलि’ ‘हरि’ ‘हरि’

eta bali’ tāre ‘nāma’ upadeśa kari’
uṭhiyā calilā ṭhākura bali’ ‘hari’ ‘hari’

“There are so many rules for the sannyasi. This is the person in the renounced order of life, officially recognized, as such. Sannyasa is the last of the four ashramas, translating to old age, in a sense. A person takes birth. As a youth they enter school. Then they might get married. Old age precedes the final end.

“There is no guarantee of reaching old age, as time operates in a way that baffles and bewilders. This means that not every person will reach the stage equating to sannyasa, though of course someone can accept the renounced order at a much younger age, such as with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

“Getting back to the rules, I think they are there to protect the sannyasi, more than anything else. Don’t eat too much. No stocking up for a rainy day. Accept whatever you can find in charity. A little milk and fruit is enough. We have the example of Sanatana Gosvami begging for a little flour, which was then mixed with water and baked in a makeshift oven. That was enough food for the day.

“The biggest restriction is on mixing with women. Try to avoid that association, as best as possible. Never, under any circumstances, should a sannyasi be alone with a woman. Even if the other person happens to be the mother, the daughter, or the sister, there is a risk of contamination due to bodily attachment.

“How would you explain the famous story involving Haridasa Thakura, then? He delivered a prostitute who was specifically sent to bring him down from the respected position of spiritual leader. Haridasa is the acharya of chanting the holy name. If a woman could bring him down, that would set an example that the holy name perhaps isn’t as purifying as purported. Maybe bhakti-yoga does not live up to the hype.

“We know that the woman was saved, simply through association. Because she waited patiently and heard the holy names chanted by Haridasa, she eventually changed her mind. She regretted her initial motivations. She begged for mercy, and Haridasa showed her the way towards liberation.”

Shri Hanuman was in a similar predicament while searching for Sita Devi in Lanka. He was looking for a woman he had not previously met. He needed to conduct sight recognition. In order to recognize something, you have to look at it.

This meant that Hanuman had to gaze upon women. Sometimes, they were not expecting it. Hanuman had to search within palaces. This was where the women were. He could look upon each one and see if their image matched the description of Shri Rama’s beloved wife.

मनो हि हेतुः सर्वेषामिन्द्रियाणां प्रवर्तने।।
शुभाशुभास्ववस्थासु तच्च मे सुव्यवस्थितम्।

mano hi hetuḥ sarveṣāmindriyāṇāṃ pravartane।।
śubhāśubhāsvavasthāsu tacca me suvyavasthitam।

“It is certainly the mind that is instrumental in causing the senses to act in ways that lead to either auspicious or inauspicious conditions. And my mind right now is positively situated.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 11.41)

[Shri Hanuman]Hanuman noticed that his mind was not negatively affected. He rightly concluded that it is the impact on the mind which is the ultimate determining factor. We find a similar principle put forward in Bhagavad-gita.

यस्त्वात्मरतिरेव स्यादात्मतृप्त‍श्च मानवः ।
आत्मन्येव च सन्तुष्टस्तस्य कार्यं न विद्यते ॥

yas tv ātma-ratir eva syād
ātma-tṛptaś ca mānavaḥ
ātmany eva ca santuṣṭas
tasya kāryaṁ na vidyate

“One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illumined in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated—for him there is no duty.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.17)

For the atmanandi, there is no work to perform. They take pleasure in the self. They have an intimate connection with the Supreme Self. Therefore, the rules and regulations are secondary, at least to them. Those rules are in place to hopefully elevate a person to the platform of atmanandi.

The rules were an afterthought to someone like Haridasa Thakura, but we see that he still took every risk to save another person. In the modern day, a mere photograph or two, snapped in secret, of a spiritual leader and woman alone in a secluded place would be enough to tarnish a reputation. It would be plastered everywhere and remain as a scar on the permanent record.

[Haridasa Thakura]Saintly people are so kind and compassionate that they will take such risks to help others. If they must accept negative consequences, they are willing to tolerate. If at least another person will be rescued in the process, if their path is made easier, if they find the shelter of the lotus feet of the all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead, then the effort is worth it.

In Closing:

All risks taking,
For spiritual welfare making.

If one other shelter to find,
And keeping Krishna in mind.

Then effort worth the trouble,
Whether prominent or in a bubble.

Like Haridasa the prostitute to save,
With instruction of chanting gave.

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2 replies

  1. This post nicely explains how to rise above our basic senses and not get trapped in a whirlwind that may cause harm. The examples of HARIDASA THAKURA and Hanumanji are excellent examples of those who have been able to control their senses.Hare Krishna 🕉🙏

  2. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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