An important clarification to a great misconception spread by pseudo-Gaudiyas —
A) In the path of ‘raagaanugaa-bhakti’, four-faceted knowledge or ‘anubandha-catushtayaatmaka-jnaanam’ is the first required factor. Later will follow the greed or ‘lobha’ which will arise from the contemplation on the Vraja-leelaa of Nandanandana. When such greed arises in the association or ‘sanga’ of a raagaanuga-guru, then the ‘yogyataa’/’adhikaarittva’ or eligibility to deserve entrance into the ‘raaga’ path is, automatically, had.
So, the concocted principle of ‘first deserve & then desire’ is inapplicable to raaga-maarga.
Rather, the principle of ‘first know, then desire, and finally, deserve’ is the sole applicable process here.
(I) “shree-moortter maadhureem veekshya tat-tal-leelaam nishamya vaa…..naatra shaastram na yuktim ca tal-lobhotpatti-lakshanam” (originally from Bhakti-rasa-amrita-sindhuh of Shreela Roopa Gosvaamipaada quoted again in Raaga-vartma-candrikaa by Shree Vishvanaatha Chakravarttipaada + in Raaganugaa-vivrittih by Shreela Roopa Kaveeshvara.). The gist is that without acquiring the knowledge or jnaanam about Vraja-leelaa, such ‘lobha’/’laulyam’ or greed cannot arise. Jnaanam indicates knowledge and the subsequent ‘lobha’ indicates greedful desire.
(II) “krishna-bhakti-rasa-bhaavitaa-matih kreeyataam yadi kuto’pi labhyate / tatra moolyam api kevala laulyam janma-koti-sukritair na labhyate //” (from Padyaavalee by Shreela Roopa Gosvaamipaada). The gist is that without obtainment of such ‘lobha’/’laulyam’ or intense greedy desire, the eligibility/deserving on the raaga-maarga doesn’t arise. ‘janma-koti-sukritair na labhyate’ means that even after practice of vaidhee-bhakti in billions of births, it doesn’t give rise to the greedy desire needed to deserve entrance into the raaga-maarga. This is further substantiated in the following verse composed by Shreela Jeeva Gosvaamipaada for instructing Shreela Gadaadhara Bhatta of Raamaanujeeya Shree-vaishnava Sampradaaya who was the follower of vidhi-maarga and a resident of Shree-rangam in the initial years of his life —
(III) “anaaraadhya raadhaa-padaambhoja-yugmam/renum anaashritya vrindaataveem tat-padaankaam / asambhaashya tad-bhaava-gambheera-cittaan kutah shyaama-sindhoh rasasya avagaahah? //”
O Gadaadhara Bhatta! (later known as Gadaadhara Bhatta Gosvaamee of Gaudeeya Vaishnava Sampradaaya) Without worshiping the foot dust of the lotus-like feet of Raadha + without taking shelter of the sacred land of Vraja containing the imprints of Raadhaa’s feet + without communicating with the Vraja-rasikas/connoisseurs whose hearts are deeply absorbed into the Vraja-bhaava — how can one dare to consider himself as being inundated into the ocean of the mellows of devotion for Shyaama-sundara Krishna? (Since, Gadaadhara Bhatta, while following vidhi-maarga of Raamaanuja Sampradaaya and whilst residing in Shree-rangam, had composed one poetic stanza in Vraja-bhaashaa stating that he was inundated by Vraja-rasa. As a reaction, Shree Jeeva sent him the above composed Sanskrit verse. Later, Gadaadhara Bhatta took refuge of Shree Jeeva.)
Basically, the whole philosophy of first deserve and then desire is inapplicable here. First know, then desire and then, deserve is the sole authentic process in raaga-maarga.
B) Taste of chanting Harinaama won’t arise till the direction and objective of saadhanaa/practice is set first. Direction and objective cannot be set without acquiring the anubandha-catushtaya-jnaanam or the four-faceted knowledge (vishaya/adhikaaree, sambandha, abhidheya & prayojana). Otherwise, Harinaama is taken even by Advaitins, karma-maargees, yoga-maargees, vaidhi-bhaktas etc.
C) The principle of getting before sunrise in the braahma-muhoortta is a general principle of the average/common (not exceptional) Vedic lifestyle. It has, nowhere, been enumerated among the 64 actual limbs of either vaidhee-bhakti or even raaga-bhakti — in Bhakti-rasa-amrita-sindhuh. In contravention to the above mentioned common Vedic lifestyle principle (and not the limb of bhakti), many bhajanaanandee saadhakas of conventional classical Gaudeeya Vaishnava Sampradaaya have remained awake till the end of night (nishaacara kaala) to perform the ashtayaama-maanasee sevaa through their siddha-dehas — as recorded in their biographies.
D) ‘Increase the chanting of Harinaama from 32-64 and then talk about higher philosophy’ — again a severe misconception.
There are two types of saadhakas in Gaudeeya Vaishnavism. Those primarily dedicated to naama-saadhanaa and those secondarily dedicated to naama-saadhanaa. The former will qualitatively increase their quantity of chanting. The latter will take Harinaama with a fixed suitable minimum quantity allowing them to perform other limbs of bhakti as well. This is the reason we see that in mainstream books like Bhakti-rasa-amrita-sindhuh, no mention of sole emphasis on 16-32-64-128-192 rounds has been given. Only in naamashrayaa-bhakti-pradhaana-granthas, emphasis on naamaashrayaa bhakti finds room. Apart from Haridaasa Thaakura and the delivered Jagaai/Maadhaai hai etc., no other contemporaneous associates of Caitanyadeva have been depicted as solely and primarily dedicated to naamaashrayaa bhakti, though all had certain fixed number rounds as part of their daily ritualistic practice.
While commenting on one of the 64 limbs of bhakti mentioned in Bhakti-rasa-amrita-sindhuh, Shreela Jeeva Gosvaamipaada, in his Sanskrit commentary Durgama-sangamanee, asserts while emphasising the importance of go-sevaa (service to cows) that go-sevaa is the bestower of the most cherished object of heart for the raagaanugaa bhaktas (parama-abheeshta-pradaa). So, it is not that chanting is the only means, though chanting needs to accompany all other limbs of bhakti executed in Kali-yuga as it is a yuga-dharma and as described by Shreela Jeeva in his Bhakti-sandarbhah.
E) ‘First do saadhanaa and then delve deep into Vraja pastimes’ — again a misconception. If the Vraja pastimes are understood in a proper philosophical perspective from a raagaanuga-guru, such assimilation of Vraja-leelaa is the primary cause of uprooting the disease of heart, the mundane lust. Do refer to Shree Vishvanaatha’s Sanskrit commentary Saaraartha-darshinee on the following verse from Shreemad-bhaagavat-mahaapuraana —
“vikreeditam vraja-vadhoobhih idam ca vishnoh…. “.
F) Utterance of ‘Raadhe’ is advocated directly advocated by the Six Gosvaamees —
“hey raadhe! vraja-devike ca lalite…”
(from Shad-gosvaamy-ashtakam by Shreela Shreenivaasa Aacaarya)
— Bhakti-rasa-vedaanta-peethaadhishvara Gurupaadaacaarya