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APPENDIX: THE STANDARD FOR HIGHER LILA
by Svami B. B. Visnu ana Svami B. V. Giri
In recent controversies amongst some Gaudiya Vaisnavas, those who present isolated ana unusual examples of preaching as the rule, rather than as the exception to the proper Gaudiya conception, have simply increased the level of confusion. In particular the subject of the necessity of proper aSh.ika.ra (qualifications) for hearing higher confidential topics regarding the Lord's Ilia has been greatly minimized by trying to establish the exception as the rule.The 'rasikas have written, "The highest good can be obtained by anyone who faithfully hears krishna-kathd from a bona-fide rasihdcarya." They then cite Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura in an attempt to justify the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified: "A person averse to hearing these lilas will never attain perfection. I refuse to hear his name." What they fail to state, however, is that Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, does not say that one who is unqualified to hear such pastimes must hear, or should hear such pastimes. Being averse to hearing the Lord's lilas ana being properly qualified to hear the Lord's pastimes are two completely different things. One rejects hearing the lila of krishna due to the preference of being engaged in mdyd, illusion, while the latter is concerned with proper qualifications before hearing the Lord's confidential pastimes so as not to make any offense.In this regard, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has stated:
paramdtma-tattva-jnanai prema-rupa prayojana, taha krsria-caritre dui prakare askita haiyacche I saksat rasasvada anvayarupe dainanaina nitya-lilaya pdibe I tahai asta-kaliya lila I asura-mdranadi-lilaya vyatireka-rupe krishna-tattva jana yaya / putana-vadha ihdte drambha haiyd kamsa-vadha paryanta asura-vadha-lila / sei sab lila vyatireka-rupa vraje u nirguna goloka-lilaya abhimdna mdtra-svarupe dchhe I vastutah tdhdrd tathdya nai evam thdkiteu pare na I vyatireka lila pdthe rasika suddha-bhava haiya anvayalila-rasa dsvadana karite karite gohka darsana pdiben I esthale sanksepatah ei paryanta balilam I visesa yatna'purvaka sddhaka u prema-ruruksu purusa ihd anuiilana kariyd bujhiyd laiben /
"The highest knowledge is prema. This is revealed in two ways in the activities of krishna. Directly it is obtained through the daily eight-fold pastimes (asta-kdliya lila). Inairectly it is obtained through the pastimes of killing the demons, from the killing of Putana to the killing of Kamsa. These pastimes exist symbolically in Vraja ana only as impressions in Goloka. Actually they are not founa there, ana cannot exist there. Reading the inairect pastimes, the devotee can purify himself; being purified, he can taste the direct pastimes ana perceive Goloka. If the aspirant for prema very carefully cultivates in this way, he will unaerstana all these matters." (Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta, Chapter 7, Part 7)
It is a fact that one should hear hari-kathd from a bona-ficde spiritual master, but the nature of that hari-kathd depenas on one's qualification. The necessity to hear does not imply that everyone, (specifically the unqualified) must hear rasa-kathd. We fina no examples of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta SvamI Prabhupadla, Srila B. P. Purl Maharaja, Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja, Sriia B. P. Kesava Maharaja, Srila B. D. Madhava Maharaja, Srila B. S. Gosvami Maharaja ana other stalwart disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta SarasvatI Thjlkura speaking on confidential topics to open assemblies of unqualified persons.A hanaful of examples have been presented by the rasika camp mentioning some non-confidential pastimes of Radha ana krishna, that have been discussed in private conversations by our dcdryas. However, there are no examples founa that support the thesis advocating the hearing of rasa-kathd by any ana all audiences, irregardless of one's qualification or disqualification. The examples sited by the rasika camp are actually isolated examples ana do not represent the stanaard rule.For a correct unaerstanaing of the stanaard rule for hearing rasa-kathd one should examine the preaching of Srila SarasvatI Thakura ana that of his prominent disciples. A few note-worthy examples are sited herein:"Pujala rdga-patha gaurava bhange Always keep the path of rdga above one's head, at a respectful distance. Don't be bold enough to approach directly. My Guru Maharaja's whole life in a nutshell is expressed in this, his own expression. Pujala rdga-patha, the very nature of our sampraddya is this." (Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Aug. 14, 1981)
"Pujalaraga'pathagauravabhange. This is Bhaktisiddhanta-vani, the real existence of Bhaktisiddhanta is there." (Srila Sridhara Maharaja, video-recording 1982)As members of the Caitanya Sarasvata parampara, we are all followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. As such, we cannot neglect his teachings ana we must view the teachings of the previous acaryas in light of his teachings ana example. This differentiates us from the sahajiyds, who only use quotes of Srila Visvanatha CakravartI Thakura ana the Gosvamis to advocate their unauthorized path."We must unaerstana the commentary of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura through the medium of Srila Prabhupada ana we must give prominence to Srila Prabhupada's commentary.' (Acdrya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, His Life ana Teachings, chapter 4)."Srila Gurudeva especially manifested guru-nistha during a discussion of tattva-siddhdnta with Parama Pujanlya Yatiraja Srila Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja. On that occasion, he said, "I don't recognize the path of the previous Gosvamis. I simply accept Jagadguru Srila Prabhupada's line of thought as unerring truth, ana I will try to know ana unaerstana the previous Gosvamis through Srila Prabhupada's vision. I will first accept the excellence of his explanations ana commentaries. Acdryera jei mata sei mata sara. 'The order of the guru is the active principle in spiritual life.(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 12.10). Ana any a ara jatat mata jauka chardkhdra.
This is my conception." (Acdrya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, His Life ana Teachings, chapter 4, p. 336).In his lecture, Suddha 0 Viddha Bhakti, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has commented:atyanta guhyadapi guhya rdi-kanura rasa-ganera paddvali yadi dmddera mata lampata-vyakti hdte-bdjdre ghdte-vate-mdthe ya'ra-td'ra kace gana vd varnana kare, tabe ki uhd-dvdrd jagaj-janjdla upasthita haya nal bahya-jagatera pratiti prabala thdkite dmard ye ydjana karitece baliya abhimdna kari, tdha nirathaka / amdra ki leSa-mdtra-o bhagavdnera janya anurdga haiydcche? ekbdra niskapate antaratmdke jijnasd karile bujhd yaya I ihd dvdrd bald haitecche na ye, bhajanera kriyd chddiya dite haibel bald haitecche ye, adhikdranu-ydyi krama-pathdnusdre agrasara hake haibe /"The songs of Rai-Kanu's dealings with Each Other (rasa) are the greatest secret of all secrets. If those who are lascivious as ourselves go to sing or describe them in markets ana bazaars, ghdtas, roads ana fields to each ana everybody, won't it bring nothing to the world but unwanted rubbish? Whatever worship we boast of while our perception of the external world is still strong, is useless. 'Have I acquired a drop of at least anurdga for Bhagavan, genuine desire to give pleasure to His senses?' This question we should ask our inner self at least once ana without deceit, then everything will become clear. By that it is not intenaed to say that we are to give up bhajana-kriyd for good. It is intenaed to say that one should follow the gradual path of progress according to one's adhikdra (qualification)" (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Suddha o Viddha Bhakti, April 20, 1926).
"All these days we have not spoken about lila. Why? Because this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya (perfection). But, one should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivrtti (overcoming impediments such as lust ana greed) is the prayojana (goal of life). One thinking like this will never enter into artha-pravrtti (acquiring one's actual need). For this reason, I will begin speaking about asta-kdliya-lila. I know that you are not ready to hear it. But we should know such a transcenaental ideal exists within the realm of devotion. This is why anartha-nivrtti is essential. After the realm of anartha-nivrtti is artha-pravrtti, pure conjugal service to Radha ana krishna. This is transcenaental reality. If we do not know of this transcenaental realm, then all of our efforts may ena in nirvisesa-vdda (impersonalism). Do not let your day pass in trying for anartha-nivrtti. Artha-pravrtti is also necessary. Anartha-nivrtti is necessary until artha-pravrtti has started. When artha-pravrtti is present then anartha-nivrtti becomes unimportant —artha-pravrtti becomes prominent.""Those who have chanted hari-nama for fifteen or twenty years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunaerstana. These topics are for certain audiences, not for all. Also, it is said, apana bhajana-kathd, na kahibe iathd-jathd, 'One should not reveal one's bhajana to others.' If we disregard this instruction of our previous acaryas then there may be a permanent fall from the realm of devotional service." (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, from an article in The Gaudiya, 1934)
It is clear from this statement of Sarasvati Thakura that one should hear high topics; inaeed, one must hear such topics. But one must be qualified first, as stated clearly by Srila Sarasvati Thakura, by "fifteen or twenty years of (purely) chanting the Holy Name" —ana most of his disciples were required to chant 64 rounas every day. Furthermore, Srila Sarasvati Thakura explains, "The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunaerstana." How can this be interpreted in any other way?Devotees should know such a transcenaental ideal exists within the realm of devotion ana as emphasized by Sarasvati Thakura, anartha-nivrtti is essential to enter that plane.The followers of the rasika camp claim that the only qualification necessary is lobha (greed). This is true, but it must be actual lobha, which is not a cheap thing. One must be cautious to not mistake mere enthusiasm to hear the confidential lilas as actual lobha. Imitation of lobha does not mean that one actually has lobha. Srila B. P. Purl GosvamI comments:"The awakening of greed (lobha) which qualifies one for rdgdnugd-bhakti is not to be taken cheaply, as if easy to attain." (Art of Sddhana. Chapter 14.)Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also makes a similar statement:"On the path of rdga, however, it is necessary to avoid imitation or deception. If that occurs, it produces disturbance ana obstacles, though the person may think that his corrupted rdga is real rdga. Finally, material association turns that rdga into material attraction ana causes falldown of the jiva." (Dasa-mula Tattva)
One who actually has real greed for hearing hari'kathd will reject all munaane activities ana engage solely in bhajana. It has been observed, however, that a vast majority of the modern day practitioners of rdgdnugd-sadhana are not inclined to give up their many munaane attachments ana enjoying mentality. Rather than dedicating themselves to a surrenaered life of sevd (service), we fina that their hearing of hari-kathd is done in a mood of enjoyment, for their own pleasure, ana is irregularly performed. When there is the occasional arranged program they come, otherwise material life goes on.Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura further explains real lobha as follows:"On attaining greed for the mood of the vrajavdsis, no other attraction remains. When that greed arises, the practitioner immediately becomes completely disinterested in sinful action, piety, social duty, neglect of duty, forbidden actions, speculation, ana dry renunciation." (DaAa-mula Tattva)
"In the vaidhi-bhahti process, following this gradual method, attainment of bhdva takes a long time. However, if greed for the mood of the vrajavdsis develops, the material desires are quickly destroyed, since no other desires have a place. Along with greed for krishna simultaneously arises bhdva." (Dasa-mula Tattva)Srila B. P. Purl Gosvami quotes Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in this regard:
"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada explains that only after one's mina ana intelligence are purified by the chanting of the Holy Names can one hear about krishna's form, qualities, associates, ana finally, pastimes. One who has not yet reached the stage of ruci, or taste for devotional service, may prematurely go to a pretenaer guru to take initiation ana instruction in rdgdnuga-bhakti, without first making an effort to chant the Holy Name offenselessly. Such a person may make a pretense of relishing krishna's hid while still affected by materialistic contamination, but such an attempt will not succeed in bringing him love for the Divine Couple ana service for Them in the spiritual abode." (Art ofSddhana, Chapter 14.)We have seen on numerous occasions where, in the attempt to cultivate rdgdnuga-bhakti, the proper measure of discretion has been neglected. Sadly, in the rasika assemblies the unqualified persons are being encouraged to unhesitatingly ask questions about highly confidential subject matters. Unfortunately, in some of these assemblies the love pastimes of Radha-krishna are sometimes being discussed, even up to the point of nudity in the lila. This is inaeed a gross violation of the confidentiality of the Supreme Lord's pastimes.The confidentiality of Radha-krishna lila is never to be breached. If it is, as is sometimes improperly done, then a great offense is committed. Qualified devotees never discuss the Lord's confidential Mas in a public forum. That is the Gaudiya sampraddya stanaard.
Although in many of his works, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written in great detail on the necessity of engaging in rdgdnugd-sddhana, he has also stipulated what are the qualifications to do that as follows:erupa sabhdy ami tdhd vyakti karile anadhikdrir pakse viSesa amangala hake pare I ucchisthita satya-samuha ncchapadasta na haile labhya haya na / yemata samasta vijnana'Sastre kramasah ucchajnaner udaya haya, tadrupa bhakti-sastrer u ucchadhikara'krame gudha-tattve prdpti haiyd thdke "If I explain this topic in the assembly, it could be harmful for the unqualified devotees. Higher truths cannot be attained unless one is situated on a higher platform. Just as higher knowledge gradually arises in all scientific literature, likewise, confidential truths are attained in devotional literatures by proper qualification." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Prema Pradipa, Tenth Ray)
sajatiyasaya-snigdha sad-gosthi vyatita rasalapa kariben na \ vaisnavajagat
samrddhi sambanaha bhakta-sanga vyatita janya sanga kariben na
"One should not discuss topics of rasa with anyone except highly qualified persons on the same level of spiritual advancement." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta —Chapter 3. Part 2)itdra visaye vairdgya prdpta jdta-prema lokerdi rasadhikdri / ydhdrd ekhana paryanta suddha-rati u jada-vairdgya labha kare nai, tdhdra rasadhikdra janya —viphala cesta karite gele rasake sddhana baliyd kaddcdre pravrtta haibe I jdta-prema puruser ye bhdva sahajei haiydcche, tdhdi rasa I rasa-vicdra kevala ei rase ki ki bhdva ki prakdre samyojita deche, tdhdra vivrtti mdtra / rasa sddhananga nay a, ataeva yadi keha balen, disa tomdke rasa~sddhana iiksd dei, se kevala tdhdra durttata vd murkhatya mdtra I"Those who have attained the level of prema ana are completely detached from worldly pleasure are qualified for rasa. Those who have not attained pure rati ana sense control make futile attempts to become qualified for rasa by practicing rasa. That taste which arises naturally in a person on the level of prema is called rasa. The discussion of rasa is only a description of how the various elements combine in the different rasas; it is not a part of sddhana. Therefore, if anyone says that he will teach you the sddhana of rasa, he is an impostor or a fool." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta, Chapter 7, Part I)
ei raser anadhikari ke? anadhikarike hari'nama dana kara yerupa aparadha
ei rasa-visaya tahara nikata vyakhya karau tadrupa aparadha \
"Who is not qualified to thus taste the nectar of the transcenaental rasa? As it is an offense to give the Holy Name to an unqualified person, so it must also be an offense to explain the rasas to an unqualified person." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 28)ei dainanaini aprdkrta rddhd'krishna'nitya'lila pdtha karibdr sakaler adhikdra nai I ihd paramddbhuta rahasya —vi&esa gopane rdkhd kartavya / yini ihdra adhikdri nana, tdhdke ei lila sravana kardna ihabe na I joda-banaha-jiva ye paryanta cinta-tatwe rdga-mdrge lobha prdpta na hana, se paryanta tdhdra nikata ihate ei lila-varnana gupta rdkhd kartavya I nama-rupa-guna lilar aprdkrta-tattva arthdt suddha-cinmaya-svarupa ye paryanta hrdaye udita na hay a, se paryanta ei lila sravaner adhikdra haya na / anadhikdri-gana ei lila pdtha kariyd kevala mdyika-bhdve jadiya stri-purusa-sangamddi dhydna karatah apagati labha kariben I pdthaka mahd&aya-gana sdvadhdna ihayd narader nydya aprdkrta irngd-rasamskara-ldbha kariyd ei lilaya pravesa kariben /"Not everyone is qualified to read the daily pastimes of Radha ana krishna. It is esoteric knowledge of great wonaer which must be kept secret. One should not let those who are not qualified hear these topics. As long as the soul has not attained greed for the spiritual world on the path of rdga, the description of these pastimes must be kept hidden from him. As long as the person has no realization of the pure spiritual nature of the transcenaental Name, form, qualities ana pastimes of krishna, he has no qualification for hearing these pastimes. Hearing these pastimes, the unqualified person will simply meditate on material relationships of male ana female, unaer the influence of mdyd, ana by this he will become degraded. The reader, with great care should attain initiation into the srngdra-rasa like Narada, ana then he can enter the pastimes." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta, Chapter 6, Part 6)ei madhura rasa-vicdre ami adhika pramdna samgraha kari nail kenana ydhard ihdte pravesa karibdr adhikdra pdiben, tdhdrd ei raser sakala katha s'ri ujivala-nilamani granthe evam jaiva-dharme dekhiyd laiben /"These topics are more elaborately described in Ujjvala-nilamani ana ]aiva Dharma. By consulting those books the qualified person can realize their nature. For fear of offense by unqualified persons nothing more will be said here." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta, Chapter 7, Part 7)
ye sakala vyakti sthula-dehagata ye sukhake bahumdnana karatah cinmaya dehagata ei sakala dnanaa-vaicitrya avagata hana nai, tdhdrd e saba kathdr prati drstipdta, manana u alocana kariben na / kenana, tahd karile ei sakala varnanake mdmsa-cdramagata kriyd mane kariyd haya asiila baliyd ninad kariben, nay a ddara kariyd sahajiyd-bhdve adhah patana labha kariben I"People who have strong attraction for gross material pleasure ana cannot unaerstana these topics should not read, think of, or discuss these topics of rasa, because they will think that these are all material activities ana criticize them. If they do appreciate them at all, they will become degraded as sahajiyds.' (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksdmrta, Chapter 7, Part 7)madhura-bhakti-raske mukhya bhakti-rasa balen / jada-rasa-as'rita buddhi iivara-paraydna haile nivrtti-dharma labha kare, dvdra ye paryanta cidraser adhikdri na haya, se paryanta tdhdder pravrtti sambhave na / sei sakala loker ei rase upayogita nai / madhura-rasa svabhdvatah duruha I adhikdri sahaje pdoyd ydya na baliyd e rasa gudha rahasya-rupe gupta rdkhd ucita / etannibanahana ei sthdle madhura-rasa svabhdvatah vistrtanga haile u sanksepe varnana karibel A person who is not renounced in this way is not qualified to unaerstana the spiritual rasas. Therefore the people in general are not qualified to unaerstana the madhura-rasa. Madhura-rasa is very difficult to unaerstana. It is not easy to fina a person qualified to unaerstana it. This rasa is very confidential. Therefore it is appropriate to keep it hidden from general view." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 30)
kirtana horinu sesa kala vicariya
'Considering for the benefit of those who have no qualification for hearing about such things, I have thus enaed my kirtana here.' (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kalyana Kalpataru 4.5-8)In the biography of Srila Gaura-kisora Dasa Babajl Maharaja, the following is written:" Whoever's heart is free from the modes of material nature, such that no type of material lust can come, is the only person who is always engaged in determined devotional service unto the Vaisnavas. This type of person, free from all impediments in devotional service, in their hearts the sprout of love of Godhead can actually take place, by hearing about the pastimes of the Lord. But those who have some materialistic desires within their hearts, if they hear pastimes of Radha ana krishna, then as a result of that, within their hearts, the seed of material lust will manifest. Acting as if they are hearing the pastimes of Radha ana krishna, their material lust simply only grows ana grows." (Sri Sri aura-kisora lilamrta-laharf)"When there is rain, weeds grow very quickly. Carefully planted seeds can also grow, but some are destroyed prematurely by a heavy downpour. By hearing a discourse about krishna ana His pastimes, the seeds of love for krishna bud forth in the heart of those persons who are pure, devoid of material desires ana sincerely dedicated to the service of the spiritual master ana the Vaisnavas. Those in whom the seed of lust is founa, however, will immediately become lustful upon hearing of the sportive pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-krishna. By pretentiously hearing the pastimes of Radha-krishna, their lust becomes inflamed. The consciousness of the conaitioned living being is covered by lust, ana thus they take the transcenaental pastimes of Radha-Govinaa to be the libidinous exploits of a munaane hero ana heroine. Those who assume that, because they have faith in the pastimes of Radha ana krishna, they are able to experience the transcenaental nature of those pastimes, are unaware of their own carnal desires, being overwhelmed by the illusory energy. You cannot unaerstana from their utterances whether the pastimes are transcenaental or whether they have proper regard for the pastimes." (^Sri Sri Gaura-kiiora lilamrta-lahari)Also Srila Sridhara Maharaja explains in Follow the Angels:"Our Guru Maharaja wrote several poems, one of which is Prdkrta-rasa Sata-dusim, A Hunared Defects in the Sahajiya Conception.' The defects arc innumerable, but our Guru Maharaja put forward a hunared points of the defects in their process of 'advancement.' Mainly they are very easy purchasers. They are not prepared to pay the real price."A few important excerpts from Prdkrta-rasa Sata-dusini are presented here:
anartha thakara kale rasa'gana kore na
anartha thakara kale siddhi'labdha bole na
"While still contaminated with anarthas, one should never sing songs glorifying transcenaental mellows. As long as these impediments remain, one should never state that siddhi has been attained."
anartha thakara kale lila'gana kore na
anartha-nivrtti-kale nama jada bole na
"While still contaminated with anarthas, one should never sing sGngs about the Lord's confidential pastimes. After these impediments are purified (anartha-nivrttt), one never speaks of the Holy Name of krishna as if it were a munaane souna vibration."
adhikara avicdra rupanuga kore na
anartha'anvita dase rasa'Siksa deya na
"The followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami are never neglectful in assessing anyone's spiritual qualifications. The followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami never instruct a servant who is engrossed in material impediments about the science of intimate devotional mellows."
asakta komala-sraddhe rasa-katha bole na
anadhikarire rase adhikara deya na
"A devotee should never speak on the topics of devotional mellows to one who has weak, pliable faith. A devotee should never attempt to bestow the qualification for rasa upon one who is unqualified to receive it."
vaidha-bhakta-jane kabhu raganuga jane na
komala-sraddhake kabhu rasika to' jane na
"Devotees who are still on the platform of following regulated scriptural injunctions (yaidha'bhaktas) cannot yet unaerstana anything about the exalted stage of the raganugds, practitioners of spontaneous devotional service. Those who possess weak faith cannot yet unaerstana the realm of the rasikas, relishers of pure transcenaental mellows."
svalpa sraddha-jane kabhu jata-rati mane na
svalpa-iraddha-jane rasa upadesa kore na
"Those who possess little faith are never recognized as being highly developed in loving devotional attachment. Those who possess little faith are never to be instructed in topics concerning transcenaental mellows."
anartha-visista sisye rasa'tattva bole na
"The disciple who is still contaminated with these impediments (anarthas) is never taught the science of intimate devotional mellows (rasa-tattva)."
jata-rati prauda-sraddha'Sanga tyaga kore na
komala-iradahere kabhu rasa diya seve na
"When spiritual attachment (rati) is manifest, one never leaves the company of those enaowed with advanced faith. If immature devotees with pliable faith are presented with a devotional mellow, they will never be able to properly serve it."
nama krpa na korile lila suna jaya na
"Without first receiving the mercy of the Holy Name, one should never listen to recitations of krishna's confidential pastimes."
vyavahita lila-gane kama dura haya na
aparadha-vyavadhane siddha-deha paya na
"One who is covered by offenses may sing the pastimes of the Lord, but this will never do away with the lust burning in his heart. By the blockage of offenses, one's eternal spiritual body (siddha'dehd) will never be attained."In the following letters, appearing in the book Prabhupdder Patravali, Srlla Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura clearly defines the path to attain rdga'mdrga:
apnara pdtre Sastra-sdra-sangraha darsana kariyd badi dnanaa labha karilam. ei sakala kathd cinte bdla kariyd dlocana karilai jdnite pdriben yej dlaya haite jdta trancade pdkd'buddhi prakrta prastdbe phala-praddne asamartha haya / dmard ksudra jiva, vidhi-pather pathik; tabe rdger virodhi nahi I rdger kathd bada, tabe dmdder mukhe uhd iobha pdya na I chota mukhe bada kathd sunile bhajananurdgi-gana hdsya kariyd uddiyd diben /krishna ki vastu, tdhd ydhdra upalabdhi haya nai, tdhdra anurdga-pathe unnatadhikdra prdptir cestd-dlasya jnapak; ihdi mahdjana-gana pade pade boliyacen /sri bhagavdn-nama u bhagavdn eki vastu / ydhdder nijer banaavicare nama-namite bheda buddhi dcche, tdhdder anartha-nivrttir janya bhajana-kusala janer sevd kard nitasta dva&yka; ihd dekhdibdr janya sri gaurasunaarer pdrsad'bhakta'gana tdhd varnana karen / totdpdtkir nydya dmard yadi uhd duddyite ydi, tdhd haile loke dmddigke 'prakrta' sahajiya baliya nirdesa purvaka dmdder atmastaritd kdmdiyd dibe I prakrta sahajiyd-gana ei rupa durgatipakse duriyd giydcche baliya sei sakala 'panke gauriva sidati' dalke rdgdnugd-bhaktir mahimd pradars'ana karite haile svayam bhajanacatura haiya apararer mangala vidhdna karite haya I sutardm likhita kathdguli dpani bhdlo kariyd bujhibdr yatna kariben / 'bhajana' bahirer vd loka dekhdibdr vastu nahe / ucchaihsvare hari-nama kariben, tdhd haile dlasyarupa bhoga dmddigke grdsa karite paribe na /"I was extremely glad to see in your letter the very gist of all the sayings ofsdstral After deliberating over the matter nicely in your heart you will fina out that precocious thinking born of laziness can bear no real fruit. We are tiny jivas, traversing the path of vidhi, yet we are not inimical to raga. Raga-kathd is high, but in our small mouth it doesn't look nice. Hearing such high words from our little mouth, devotees whose life ana soul is bhajana will laughingly push us away.Having no idea of Who is krishna, one's trying to raise oneself up onto the path of raga exposes his laziness; Mahdjanas proclaim this at every step.
Sri Bhagavan ana the Name of Bhagavan are one entity. One who has conaitioned perception of difference between noma ana nami is utterly required to serve devotees accomplished in bhajana for rectification of one's anarthas; to demonstrate this, the eternal associates of Sri Gaurasunaara have described the kina of bhajana such devotees engage in. If we go to repeat it like parrots, people will designate us as 'prahrta-sahajiyds' ana thus bear down our self-assurance. But if we want to show all these prahrta-sahajiyds mired in their misconceptions the real glory of ragdnugd-bhakti, we have to learn the art of bhajana ourselves ana only then try for others' eternal benefit.So try to carefully unaerstana what is written. Bhajana is nothing external nor any means for showing off. Loudly " call out nama, then the spirit of enjoyment in the form of laziness won't be able to swallow us."dpnara 24se tdrikher patra paiyd samacdra jnata hailam / dpni vrnadvane giya vaisnava-ganer nikata ye asta-kdliyaAild'Smaranadir visaya jnaniydchen, uhd ddaraniya, sanaeha nai / kintu yebhdve e sakala visaya anarthamayi avastdya dhdrana kara haya, visayati serupa none I sri hari-nama gmana karite karite se'Sakala visaya vyaktivisesa jnanite par en, uhdi svaruper paricaya I anartha-nivrtti haile svarupa uddhudh haya / svaruper udbodhane nityapratiti apnate dsiya upasthita haya I uhd keha kdhdkeu kapatatd kariya iiksa deya na vd nirnaya kariya deya na / tabe niskapatacite pracur hari-nama karite karite ye upalabhdir visaya haya, tdhd sadhu-gurur pdda-padma nivedana kariya sei visayer dhdrana suddha u samartana kariya lite haya I uhdi eka-da$a prakdra svaruper paricaya / nana sthdner avivecaka guru-gana ye-sakala kathd ayogaya sddhaker upara krtrimabhdver cdpdiyd dena,uhdke siddhir paricaya bald jdya na I jini svarupa'Siddhi labha karen, tini e sakala paricaye svatah siddhi paricita hana evam iri-gurudeva sei sakala visaye bhajanaonntir sahdya kariya thdken mdtra / dmdra ei visaye adhika vaktdvya nai I sddhaker siddhir unnatikrame ei sakala kathd svdbhdviki bhdve akapata sevonmukha hrdaye prakds'ita haya I
"I have noted your letter dated the 24th. The asta-kdliya-lila about which you have heard from the Vaisnavas in Vrnaavana should be highly regarded no doubt. But the way in which these pastimes are conceived of in the contaminated state is totally corrupt. Some fortunate inaividuals are capable of knowing these things after chanting for a long time, for that is the identity of the true self. But it can only be known after one is freed of mental contaminations. With the awakening of this spiritual identity, one automatically has constant cognition of his spiritual form. Those who say that they can teach or reveal this identity are practicing a kina of deception; it cannot be done. On the other hana, if a devotee receives some inspiration after sincerely chanting for a long time, he should go to the sad-guru or advanced devotees ana ask for it to be confirmed ana purified by them. The spiritual identity has eleven aspects (ekd'dasa'bhdva^. There are many cases of unscrupulous gurus who artificially force-feed these designations on unqualified practitioners, but we cannot call this the mark of spiritual perfection. Those who have achieved the perfection of being fixed-in their spiritual identity ^svarupa-siddhi) have attained such a realization through internal revelation ana the spiritual master's only involvement in these matters is to help the further advancement of a disciple. As a practitioner progresses toward spiritual perfection, all these things are revealed naturally within the heart that sincerely seeks service."jahate iri-namer krpa hay a, sarvatobhdve sri-namer nikata bdhdi prdthana kariben / asta-kdla-lila smarana prabhrti anartha'bukta avasthdr krtya nahe I kirtana-mukhai Havana haya evam smaraner suyoga upasthita haya I sei kdhi asta-kdla-lila-sevdr anubhuti sambhava I krtrim-vicdre asta-kdla smarana karite nai /"We should constantly pray to the Holy Name for His mercy. One who is still in a contaminated state should not engage in smarana of the daily cycle of the Lord's pastimes (asta-kdliya-lila).
When we engage in chanting the Holy Names, we are simultaneously engaged in hearing ana the opportunity for remembering is included in that. One should not engage in ta-kdliya-lila-smarana on false premises."Sri noma grahana karite karite anartha apasdrita haila sri named rupa,gua, u lila dpna haite sphurti haibe I cestd kariyd krtrim bhdve rupa, guna, u hid smarana karite haibe na I
"There is no point in making a separate effort to artificially remember the Lord's form, qualities ana pastimes. The Lord ana His Name are one ana the same. This will be unaerstood clearly when the coverings in our hearts are removed. By chanting without offenses you will personally realize that all perfections come from the Holy Name."It is also interesting to note that in an old copy of ]aiva-dharma published by the Gaudlya Vedanta Samiti, in 1953 Srila Kesava Maharaja writes tn the introduction:Srila prabhupader vicara-dhdrd anusare, bhajane kificit unnat-adhikdra Idbh na kara parjanta l rasa-vicar e kdhdra-o praveia kard ucit nahe I srila prabhupdda 'bhdi sahajiya , 'prdkrta-rasa'Sata'dusani 0 anydnya bdhu prabanahddir madhye ihd suspastabhave vyakta kariydchen/ athaca etadin jdvat anadhikdri byaktir nikate-o rasa-vicdra-sambalita ei 'jaiva-dharma''grantha-khdni samarpana karite haiydche/ ihd srila prabhupader vicdra-dhdrdr anukul nahe/ daivdt tdhdr aikdntika prerana'krame tdhdra-i mano'bhista purana-kalpe, srila thakura bhaktivinoder krpd'katdksa'ldbhdsdy, tdhdr nija-janer preranay ihd tin-badge vibhakta haiydche/ 'rasa-vicara-millak' trtiya khanaa dmrd anadhikdri sddhdraner nikata arpan karite icchd kari na/ tajjanya, atyanta durmmulyer batsare sdmdnya pac-ti mudra grahana kariyd-i l-m,o 2-ya khanaa ekatre pradatta haibe/"According to Srila Prabhupada's line of thought, even if one engages in bhajana but is not highly qualified, it is improper to enter into discussions on rasa. Srila Prabhupada has expressed this very clearly in such works as Bhdi Sahajiya, Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini ana many other essays. Nevertheless, even today there are many unqualified persons who are given to studying the portions of Jaiva Dharma containing the analysis of rasa. According to Srila Prabhupada's unaerstanaing, this is detrimental. Being the worthy recipient of Srila Bhaktivinoda
Thakura's merciful glance, ana being destined with an increasingly intense desire to fulfill his innermost wishes, he has divided the book into three sections for his followers. According to his desire we will not be selling the third volume, viz. rasa-vicara to the unqualified public. The first two volumes will be available for a symbolic price."In his introduction to Professor N. K. Sanyal's book, Sree Krishna Chaitanya, Srila Sarasvati Thakura writes as follows:"One who presumes to instruct others without himself realizing the nature of the course of loving devotion, or who, although himself cognizant of the nature of the path of devotion, instructs the disciple regarding the same without due consideration of the aptitude of the latter, is the pseudo-guru. It is necessary by all means to renounce the guidance of such a guru.""Those who, falling into the clutches of the pseudo'guru by neglect of the proper exercise of their judgment, deceive themselves by consenting to adopt the higher grade of worship to which they are not entitled, fall unaer the category of the third class of offenaers described above. But those who, even after becoming aware of their unfitness, persist in practicing the higher method of worship, hoping thereby to gain honour ana wealth for themselves, commit the offense of religious hypocrisy. Until this defect is discarded, there can be no appearance of the principle of spontaneous liking for krishna. These hypocrites only deceive the world by the display of the external insignia of sectarianism ana pseudo-renunciation. Those persons who choose to show their regard for these arrogant persons in consideration of the external marks exhibited by them, failing to attain the favour of krishna, only prove to be thorns in the sides of the people of this world."Those who are proclaimed as rasika-gurus as well as their followers, often quote the famous vikriditam verse of Srimad Bhagavatam (vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh 10.33.42) to support their engagement in hearing the rdsa-lila pastimes of Radha-krishna. The assumption of these rasika camps is that even if they are contaminated with lusty desires within their hearts, they will nonetheless be able to relish the Lord's rasa-lila if they simply hear from a rasikacarya.Although these rasikas have presented their arguments in an apparently scholarly manner, they nonetheless grossly neglect the mood of our acaryas ana especially that of Srila Bhakisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has written further as follows:"It is not empiric wisdom that is the object of quest of the devotee. Those who read the scriptures for gathering empiric wisdom will be pursuing the wild goose chase. There are not a few dupes (duplicates or imitators) of their empiric scriptural erudition. These dupes have their admiring unaer-dupes (followers). But the mutual admiration society of dupes does not escape, by the mere weight of their number, the misfortunes due to the deliberate pursuit of the wrong course in accordance with the suggestions of our lower selves." (The Harmonist, December 1931, vol. XXIX No. 6)
Deliberating upon the vikriditam verse, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada writes in his Anubhdsya commentary to Caitanya' caritdmrta, Antya-Uld 5.45:ye vyakti Srimad bhagavata-varnita krsnera aprakrta rasadi-madhura' lila nijera aprakrta-hrdaya'dvard visvdsa kariyd varnana karena vd Sravana karena, tdhdra prdkrta manasija kama sampurna'rupe ksina haiyd ydya / aprakrta krishnaAildra vaktd vd irotd aprakfta-rajye-i nijera astitva anubhdva kardya prakrtira guna-traya tahake parabhuta karite samartha hay a na I tini jade parama nirguna'bhdva'vUista haiyd acancala-mati evam krsruX'Sevdya nijddhikara bujhite samartha I prdkrta-sahajiyd'ganera nydya ei prasange keha yena e-rupa mane na karena ye, "prdkrta'kdma'lubdha jiva sambanaha-jnana Idbha karibdra parivartte prdkrta'buddhi-vis'ista haiyd nija'bhogamdyd rdjye vdsa karata sddhana'bhakti paritydga-purvaka krsnera rdsddi aprakrta vihdra vd lilake nija-sadrs'a prdkrta-bhogera ddarsa jdniyd, tdhdra iravana o kirtanadi karile'i tdhdrajada kama vinasta haibe I ihd nisedha karibdra janya-i mahdprabhu "visvdsa'-Sabda'dvard prdkrta-sahajiyd'ganera prdkrta-buddhi nirasana kariydchena I
"A person who hears or describes the rdsa-lila ana other such pastimes as founa in the Bhdgavatam, living them in his transcenaental heart, then finas the material desires for sensual pleasure wane to nothingness. Because krishna's pastimes are transcenaental, one who hears or speaks about them enters into that transcenaental domain where the material qualities can no longer influence him. Even while in contact with matter, he is unaffected' his mina remains calm ana steady. He is able to unaerstana his own qualifications to serve krishna. No one should think, as do the prdkna-sahajiyds, that an ordinary living entity will overcome lust by hearing ana chanting these pastimes if he is filled with contaminations like lust ana greed, if he avoids accumulating the appropriate knowledge of the relationships between matter, the inaividual soul ana the Supreme Lord, if he remains fixed in a subjective world centered on his own sensual pleasures, if his intelligence continues to be permeated with material conceptions, if he neglects all the purifying activities of devotional service in practice, ana especially if he takes the spiritual love affairs of the Supreme Lord to have the same kinas of sensual motivations that he himself experiences. For this reason, Mahaprabhu emphasized the word 'faith' (visvdsa) in order to forestall such sahajiyd arguments." (Anubhdsya, Cc. Antya 3.45).
The members of the rasika camp have taken exception to our statement that one must "first come to the stage of anartha-nivrtti" before hearing rasa-kathd. However, our statement is supported by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada's definition of s'raddhdnvitah. In the word for word translation to Caitanya'Caritdmrta, Antya 3.45, SarasvatI Thakura has said that s'raddhdnvitah means 'aspiring for service with an unflinching purified heart', 'iraddhdya aprdkrta'Suhrt visvdsena yuktah sevonmukhah son.'It should also be mentioned that Srila SarasvatI Thakura has stressed that the word dhira refers to one who has mastered the six urges of the senses, 'sad'Vegajayiacaficalahrdgdnugdhgosvdmi.' Srila Sridhara Maharaja also confirms this as follows:"In his writings, Srila Jiva Gosvami has laid stress on the word dhira, meaning self-controlled. To hear these elevated subjects, one must enter into the culture of sense-control, otherwise he will be destroyed." (The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute, verse 10.10 commentary)Srila B. P. Purl Gosvami Maharaja further explains his Guru Maharaja's teachings on this point:"In Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's commentary to the above verse (yikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh) from the rdsa-lila, it is written:
ata eva Sraddhanvita iti Sastravtivasinam namaparadhinam premapi
nahgikarotiti bhavah... ayam Sri-rasah srir api napa yam/
sastra-buddhi-vivekadyair api durgamam iksyate
gopinam rasa-vartmedam tasam anugatir vina
"The word iraddhdnvitah inaicates that ecstatic love for krishna does not come to those who do not believe the scriptures or who persist in committing offenses against the Holy Name. Thus even Laksmi cannot enter into this rasa-dance. Without exclusively following in the footsteps of the gopis, even those who believe in the scriptures ana the very intelligent cannot enter onto this most difficult path of sacred rapture chalked out by the gopis.""For this reason, our most revered Srila Prabhupada never approved of open discussion by the unqualified of the divine rasa, which is beyona the attainment of even Brahma, Visnu ana Siva, ana always gave priority to the chanting of the Holy Name.""The unique characteristic of Srila Prabhupada's preaching was that even though he often spoke about the highest realms of devotional perfection, he always took care that none of his disciples got ahead of themselves ana skipped necessary intermediate steps in the stage of practice to engage in anadhikdra-carcd (discussion of matters for which one is not qualified). If one attempts the cultivation of rdga-mdrga prior to gaining the proper qualifications for such a practice ana at the same time pays less attention to the chanting of the Holy Names, he is like a person who tries to pick the fruit without climbing the tree. He will only get the damaged fruit that has fallen to the grouna. Prabhupada characterised those who engaged in such anadhikdra'carca as prakrta-sahaiiyds ana rebuked them for their entering into realms for which they were not qualified." (Of Love ana Separation, Chapter 3)Elaborating on the word varnayet (performing sankirtana following the path of the rupanugas, viz. the Holy Name, then qualities, then pastimes etc.), Srila Purl Maharaja explains in several articles "In Bhakti-sanaarbha, Srila Jiva Gosvami outlines the process to spiritual realization:prathamam namnah Sravanam antahkararui-s'uddhydrtham apeksyam I Suddhe cdntah'karane rupa-sravanena tad-udaya-yogyata bhavad / samyag-udite ca rupe gunanam sphuranam sampadyate / sampanne cagunanam sphurane parikara-vais'istyena tad-vais'istyam sampadyate I tatas tesu nama-rupa-guna-parikaresu samyak sphuritesu lilanam sphuranam susthu bhavad /"First it is expected that one should hear the Lord's Names in order to purify the heart. Once the mina ana intelligence have been purified in this way, one can hear about krishna's form, through which one's qualification to visualize it is obtained. When the form of the Lord has been clearly visualized, one can experience His qualities. Once these have been clearly unaerstood, one develops one's own inaividual spiritual characteristics through the particular characteristics of the Lord's associates.
Thus, once the Name, form, qualities ana associates of the Lord have been realized, a clear realization of krishna's activities will follow." (Krama-sanaarbha commentary to Bhag. 7.5.18)"Some unscrupulous characters take this verse (yikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idarn ca visnoK) ana others like it to mean that they can neglect the chanting of the Holy Names ana spena their time in hearing ana discussing the erotic pastimes of the Lord such as His rasa-lila. These misguided souls think that by hearing about krishna's rdsa-lila, in a state of material contamination, they can become purified ana thus qualified for rdganuga practice. However, if one does not seek the mercy of the Holy Name first, but artificially tries to appropriate the right to engage in such practices, he is like a pumpkin that ripens too quickly ana bursts —he inevitably falls down." (Article from Caitanya-vdni 18.11, Feb. 1978)"krishna's pastimes with the gopis are incomprehensible to someone who depenas on scriptural injunctions ana logical arguments to engage in devotional service; one has to follow the transcenaental path of the gopls themselves. These are the inaications founa in the Bhdgavata in the verse beginning with vihiditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh, 10.33.42.""The most merciful ana worshipable Srila Prabhupada was so kina that he advised conaitioned souls like ourselves, whose hearts are filled with all kinas of unwanted desires, to avoid prematurely getting involved in discussing such topics ana to simply throw ourselves at the mercy of the Holy Name. The idea is that one should harbor the powerful desire to attain that goal (on the theory that one attains the perfection one seeks —yadrii bhdvana yasya siddhir bhavati tadrsi) ana chant the Holy Name according to the spiritual master's instruction.""If we cannot follow Srila Prabhupada's instruction to chant 100,000 Names every single day without offenses, even a fourth of that amount has a positive effect ana quiets the mina. Ana yet there are those who do not even chant that amount ana still think that they can engage in discussions of the Lord's divine pastimes in the hope of being able to relish them. This is pure arrogance!" (Of Love in Separation — Meditations on My Divine Master)"Our most worshipable spiritual master Srila Prabhupada often quoted Jiva GosvamI from the Bhakti Sanaarbha: 'First it is expected that one should hear the Lord's Names in order to purify the inner self (prathamam namnah sravanam antahkararw-s'uddhydrtham apeksyam)."
"Prabhupada explains that only after one's mina ana intelligence are purified by the chanting of the Holy Names can one hear about krishna's form, qualities, associates, ana finally, pastimes. One who has not yet reached the stage of ruci, or taste for devotional service,may prematurely go to a pretenaer guru to take initiation ana instruction in ragdnuga-bhakti, without first making an effort to chant the Holy Name offenselessly. Such a person may make a pretense of relishing krishna's lila while still affected by materialistic contamination, but such an attempt will not succeed in bringing him love for the Divine Couple ana service for Them in the spiritual abode.""The sddhya-sddhana-tattva is fully expained in the teachings of Ramananaa Raya, but it is clear from the words of Srila Prabhupada mentioned above that the practices that lead to the supreme goal of service to the divine couple, are only possible through the purificatory process of chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord. The Lord Himself has confirmed this statement when He said 'iha haite sarva-siddhi haibe sabara: From the chanting of the Holy Names all perfections will come to everyone. "All perfections" refers to perfections of spiritual life. Even though the love of the inhabitants of Vraja described by Ramananaa Raya is the most secret treasure of the Vedic storehouse of knowledge, the impossible feat of winning this great prize can be accomplished by the mercy of the Holy Name; it can achieve miracles. Mahaprabhu stated to Tapana Misra, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami's granafather: "The object ana the means to attain it are founa through the chanting of the Holy Names," ana "As you repeatedly practice the chanting of the Holy Names the seedling of love will sprout ana you will then know both the goal of life ana the means to attain it."
"Great authorities teach that one should remember the pastimes of the Lord according to the eight times of the day in relation to the eight verses of the Slksastiika. In his Bhakti Sanaarbha Jiva Gosvami states that in Kali-yuga any type of devotional service must be done in conjunction with the chanting of the Holy Names (yadyapi anya bhaktih kalau kartavya tada kirtanakhy-bhakti-samyojanenaiva). One should not give up klrtana to engage in smarana." (Art ofSddhana, Chapter 14.)Srila Sridhara Maharaja reveals his stance on rasa-kathd in the following statements:"Once Prabhupada arranged to preach in Vrnaavana for the full month of Karttika. He asked Bharati Maharaja at that time to explain the Seventh Canto of Srimad Bhdgavatam, the story of Prahlada. He did not ask for narrations about krishna, Radha, Yasoda or anything of Vrnaavana. 'Preach suddha-bhakti of Prahlada first. People are ripe in sahajiyd, imitation of devotion. Just try to make them unaerstana, to enter the plane of bhakti. That is great; what to speak of krishna-lila —that is far, far above.' There in Vrnaavana the people wonaered, 'What is this? They are explaining Bhdgavatam, but leaving aside the Tenth Canto. They are explaining the Seventh Canto, the Prahlada-lila, the lower portion of bhakti. That is wonaerful ana strange.'""I founa later on that Srila Prabhupada himself spoke for several days on the bounaary line between Radha-kunaa ana Syama-kunaa. He read ana explained the Upadesdmrta of Srlla Rupa Gosvaml. He did not speak about Srlmati RadharanI or about krishna, but about Upadesdmrta —the basic teachings. His attention was always focused on the basics, because the fruit will come naturally. 'Pour water onto the root ana the fruit will come up by itself.'"
"Sitting between Radha-kunaa ana Syama-kunaa he explained not Bhdgavatam, but Upadesdmrta. Upadesdmrta contains the substance of Mahaprabhu's teaching in the language of Rupa Gosvaml. Srlla Prabhupada explained these topics ana not anything of Govinaa-llldmrta or Visvanatha Cakravartl's Sri krishna'bhdvanamrta. The higher topics of mddhurya lila, Radha-krishna's amorous pastimes, were left aside."Our master did not allow us to read the books where the highest Mas are described: Govinaa-lilamrta, Stava-kusumanjali, Ujjvala-nilamani. He did not allow us to study ana to discuss them. Rather, he would be very much disturbed if he heard that someone was interfering with the higher [lias in those books. He did not like it. There are three chapters of Sri Caitanya-caritdmrta that we were generally not allowed to discuss fully, including the conversations with Ramananaa Raya. Where the lila portion of Radha-Govinaa is mentioned, we were not to delve. Of course when pardyana (consecutive chanting of the whole book) was taking place, we were to go on reading those sections, but without giving any particular attention to the lila of the highest order of raga. That was barred: "Don't try to come into details there. That will come automatically when it is time. Do not make it a public discussion. Do not place it in the public eye." (Follow the Angels, Chapter two)Srlla Sridhara Maharaja speaks further:Sridhara Maharaja: "Yes, Govinaa-lilamrta is there, with asta-kdliya-lilas, the eight-fold lila of Radha-Govinaa. This is for the higher students."Devotee: "But in Jaiva Dharma Srlla Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions some of the asta-kdliya-lilas."Sridhara Maharaja: "Yes, but he has given everything in jaiva Dharma with much caution. Here Jlva Gosvaml explains, you must listen from a real source. So he will get there the real thing. It is not like lust, just the opposite of lust. So with that attitude you are to approach, dhira. Master of his own senses. He only is qualified to try to accept or listen, to enter into this flavor, not those that are not master of their own senses. Ana if he does:
naitat samaearej jatu manasapi hy-anisvarah
vinasyaty-acaran maudhyad yatharudro 'bdhi-jam visam
'One who is not a great controller should never imitate the behavior of ruling personalities, even mentally. If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behavior, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink an ocean of poison.' (Bhdg. 10.33.30)"Due to ignorance, anyone may venture to enter into this domain due to ignorance, even in mina, even mentally, vinasyati —he will be doomed. If he is not Siva, if he takes the poison, he is sure to die. Ana Siva took the poison ana then ornamental thing came in his throat, nila-kanta. By the folded palm, Siva drank the poison, but it was an ornament to his throat But if one who is not Siva, if he takes poison, he is sure to die. So one who is not dhira ana who has got no qualification to enter into this domain, he is sure to die. The warning is given in Bhdgavatam by Sukadeva Gosvami. It is nectar but still properly you must come to it There is a possibility of mistaking it for your awkward enjoyment. Then you will be doomed forever." (Room Conversation, Nov. 12, 1981)'"Dusta phala karibe drjjana'— Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura warns that we will get only a bad result if we venture to cross that line. It is aparadha. From the lower position, the steps are shown: srcuMhd, sddhu-sanga, Sravana, kirtana, then anartha-nivrtti, when the unaesirable things vanish. Then comes ruci, then dsakti, then bhdva-bhakti, the sprout of real devotion. Then prema-bhakti, ana sneha, mana, pranaya, rdga, anurdga, bhava, mahdbhdva—by such steps we are to approach the highest plane.""Our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, asked that we keep Radharani in great reverence, 'On your head, over your head— don't be bold enough to approach directly: Pujala rdga-patha gaurava bhange. Try to keep Her ana Her group at a respectful distance, above your head. Don't rush towards that position. It is not that cheap.'"
"The whole tenor of Guru Maharaja's life was such: "That is high, very high, ana from below we are to honor that' We must establish this conception, the proper regard for that higher Ma, throughout the entire world: 'That is too high'""Prabhupada has ordered such strict behavior, ana we also follow that. At so many other places they show the rdsa-lila with dolls, but I never do that. Following what is true to my unaerstanaing of my Gurudeva's will ana his words, I do not make any show of jhulana-lila or rdsa-lila or anything of that nature. I fina in my heart that this is not pleasing to my Guru Maharaja. But in so many mathas (temples) I see at present, I hear also, that they are doing that, but I strictly abstain from showing jhulana-lila ana rdsa-lila. That is too high for us.""I must be true to the words of my Gurudeva if I want my realization ana not just some sort of popularity. Some may discuss the higher lilas to attract people, to make money, or even to develop a favorable field for preaching, but I do not do this. I do not want popularity or any recognition as a higher dcdrya. I am a student.""Still I am a student. I consider myself to be a student, a faithful student. What I heard from my Gurudeva, I try my best to stick to that, to keep my position there as I heard from him. I do not want to mutilate that in any way to suit my purpose. I try not to do that. Of course for big propaganaa some may adopt different ways, as they see fit. They are now free. But I am not one to do so, to go on in such a way. I try to follow my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada." (Follow the Angels. Chapter 2)
"Pujala rdga-patha gaurava bhange. The whole tenor of our Guru Maharaja, of the nature of his service is herein. Not only for him, but he has extenaed the banner to all. Come unaer the banner of such nature of thought about the divinity, an initiation will be safely secured. This verse is the inner life of my Guru Maharaja." (Sept. I, 1981)This verse, pujala raga-patha gaurava bhange, was repeatedly glorified ana emphasized by Srlla Srldhara Maharaja as the embodiment of his Guru Maharaja's mood that of extreme respect for this higher path.When confronted with the obvious differences between the stanaards of our bona-fide acaryas ana those of the 'rasika-gurus the unaer dupes simply side-step the issue entirely by saying, "Oh, you just don't unaerstana the inner mood of the acaryas."Although rasika-gurus claim that they alone know the inner mood of our acaryas, the present sevaite'dcdrya of the Sri Caitanya Sarasvata Matha strongly disagrees:
"In my forty two years with Srlla Guru Maharaja (Srlla Srldhara Maharaja) I never once heard him give permission for that (hearing ana describing the intimate pastimes of Radha ana krishna) to us. It was the desire of Guru Maharaja to tell something about the pastimes of krishna, of RadharanI, ana others, so we heard from him, but always he told us in a very cautious way. Never did he tell us to read Ujjvah'nilamani or similar books, but some things he told us, ana I know many slokas from Ujjvala-nilamani, Vidagdha-madhava, Lalita-madhava ana others. That is, Guru Maharaja had me study kavya (Sanskrit composition), ana it is necessary to read these verses to unaerstana the many varieties of Sanskrit metre, language, beauty, alankdra, etc. But I can say it is a special case, it is not for all.
These books are no doubt the supreme books of our sampraddya, but they are not for all ana everyone's reading. If anyone will read these books then they will become prakrtasahajiyd, ana what will be for them?" (Sripada Bhakti Sunaara Govinaa Maharaja, Lonaon, Oct. 26, 1993)Srlla Purl Maharaja commented on the development of the sahajiyd party in western countries as follows:
"In your foreign countries a party of sahajiyds has appeared. Ana it is not a matter of inventing something —what they speak is there in I Oth Canto, in the works of the Gosvamls, Srlla Visvanatha CakravartI Thakura. But the very fact of their speaking such higher topics to unprepared audiences, ignoring the glories of the Holy Name, who is the only real path to this higher lila, is namdparddha. Mahaprabhu never did like this. He was relishing these topics with a few of his antaranga-bhaktas, ana He was inspiring the masses to perform nama-sankirtana, ana Himself performed sankirtana with great numbers of devotees. Pracara should be nama'pracdral" (Room conversation 7th Feb. 1996. Sridhama Mayapura. Sri Goplnatha Gaudlya Matha)"If I spoke here on Bhramara-gitd, Gopi-gita ana other such high topics, I would fill this room (laughs). This room would be full. But these topics are very high not for everyone. Snla Prabhupada never spoke like this inpublic —these confidential topics. Mahaprabhu only spoke these things with four ana a half devotees. Not every devotee." (Srila Purl Maharaja, Room conversation, Sridhama Mayapura, Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha, 1994)
"Lust can be conquered through chanting ana this chanting should be done sincerely. Unless we attain the eligibility, we cannot go into these very esoteric pastimes of krishna. Even Caitanya Mahaprabhu through His own example was relishing this rasa literature of Canaidasa, Govinaa Dasa, Vidyapati, the rdsaAilas with a very select few. He never went into public to discuss this. Because these pastimes of the Lord, these relationships with the Lord, with His devotees, are very esoteric ana have to be unaerstood in that manner.""So we are followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ana as such, we have to acquire through chanting, the eligibility to come to that platform where we can openly discuss or even discuss with one another, these intimate pastimes with the correct conception. It has to be done with an eager mina, wanting, even hankering, to unaerstana how we can get rid of our lust, anger —rather than discussing this as an entertainment, which is so often done. So chanting means without offences. The ten offences are there, they have been enumerated, so chanting means only when we get rid of our offences. Then gradually this eligibilty may come when the six enemies begin to subside.""When one comes to that level of consciousness, when the mina is unaisturbed by the material influence, at that time, he can actually begin to start to serve purely. Ana then all the pastimes can also be meditated upon properly.""However, one should not consider chanting to be something very simple —something which is given to the beginners to keep them quiet, or to think that it is not the principle limb of pure devotion. In fact, this is the very basis of pure devotion, because without having proper attachment to the Holy Name or proper unaerstanaing of the Holy Name, there is no question of going any further! The only thing that can give you prema is pure chanting. There is no other process that can bring you to the level of prema."
"You may feel sometimes a certain attraction, but if this is not steady, you cannot interpret it as lobha, which is so rare. You cannot just fina it anywhere."(Srila Puri Maharaja, Lecture, Vrnadvana 11th Nov.1994)In a recent barrage of essays, the rasika camp has cited some examples in an attempt to support the idea that our Guru Maharaja, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta SvamI Prabhupada spoke of higher topics to the unqualified. The examples presented in those essays were of an exceptional nature, not stanaard. Actually our Guru Maharaja never spoke in public about rasa-katha only to a very few inaividuals did he ever raise such topics ana those too were not of a confidential nature. Our Guru Maharaja's main preaching was always from Bhagavad-gitd, basic funaamental Gaudiya philosophy. Here are a few statements by our Guru Maharaja on this topic:"Thoroughly study Bhagavad-gitd, ana after studying Bhagavad-gitd, if you are fortunate enough to unaerstana what is krishna, then, krishna says, surrenaer. That is the beginning of unaerstanaing krishna. Don't try to unaerstana the pastimes of krishna with the gopis." (Class on Co. Adi 1.6, March 30, 1975)"But as far as possible, very cautiously ana very rarely we shall present. Caitanya Mahaprabhu's life we see that in public He never discussed about krishna's lila with the gopis. That was very confidential discussion amongst His own circle, Raya Ramananaa, Svarupa Damodara, like that. Ana He inquired... Even a learned scholar, He discussed about the philosophy, that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. But when there was a great devotee like Ramananaa Raya, He relished gopis,' I mean to say, intimate behavior with krishna. So we should remember this, that public may misunaerstana this. Therefore we have to present these things very cautiously, not very openly. They may misunaerstana." (Discussion with BTG staff, Dec. 24th, 1969)"We cannot unaerstana the affairs of the spiritual world on the basis of our experience in the material world. The Lord's pastimes with the gopis are therefore misunaerstood by munaane scholars ana word-wranglers. The parakiyd-rasa of the spiritual world should not be discussed, except by one who is very advanced in pure devotional service. The parakiyd-rasa in the spiritual world ana that in the material world are not comparable." (Cc. Madhya 13.24, purp.)
"Although krishna is the purest of the pure, munaane people, thinking of krishna's pastimes that appear immoral, themselves become polluted. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore never publicly discussed krishna's dealings with the gopis. He used to discuss these dealings only with three confidential frienas. He never discussed rdsa-lila publicly, as professional reciters do, although they do not unaerstana krishna or the nature of the audience. However, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged the public chanting of the Holy Name on a huge scale for as many hours as possible." (Cc. Madhya 4.134, purp.)The 'rasika-gurus claim that A. C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada wanted to give this rasa-kathd to everyone. This is clearly not a fact, especially when we take into consideration the lack of adhikdra of his audience. All the close disciples of our Guru Maharaja who were present during his dcdrya-lila will confirm that he never spoke on confidential subject matters to mixed audiences, as implied by the rasika camp. Rather, he warned against this. Our Guru Maharaja was a strict follower of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvatl Thakura ana as such he never strayed from his instruction.We also fina the same advice, as given by our Guru Maharaja, being given by his godbrother, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja in his Sri Ddmodardstakam-tikd as follows:"namo'nanta Maya' vdkye, sddhdranatah ydhdra lilar anta nai, sei anantdmaya-lila bhagavdn M krishna kei namaskdra bujhdya / kintu s'rila sanatana gosvami satyavrata munir antarnihita uddesyer prati drsti kariyd evam nija bhdvdnusdre ukta vdkyer ekati nigudh-artha nirnaya kariydchen / yatha -'sri rdsa-lilakei namaskdra' / 'ananta'-sabde-ydhdra anta nai vd Sesa nai; arthdt nitya, a$esa vd asahkhya ityddi / 'lilaya'-sabdati 'lila'-Sabder caturthira ekavacana (namah-sabda-yoge) / evam 'lila'-sabder vyutpatti ei ye, 'li'+'W = 'Ilia' I 'Id - sabder artha - alingana kara —(li-dhdtu kvip-bhdve 'li') evam 'ld-sabder artlm grahana kara (la-dhdtu u = la) /
sutaram 'Ilia'-sabder dvdrdi gopi-ganer alingana gmana kara haya ydhdte sei rdsa-kridddi lilakei namaskdra bujhditechen / ei janyai 'dnanta-lilayd balite, tlkdra —"gokula visayikd sarvdpi Ulodistd asye ca noma iti 'bhdvah'" I likhiyd Sri sanatana gosvdml nijeu 'madhurena samapayet' —vakyer sdrthakatd kariydchen Idrau ekati visaya esthdle visayabhdve laksya kara prayojana / damodardstaker antim sloke Srila, gosvdmipddajdnaitechen yei sri krsner rdsa-kridddi lila sarvdpeksd srestha haile u tdhd 'parama-gopatvena anarbhivdncayana.. .kincideva samkete nodisan pranamati' —ihdra tdtparya ei ye, rdsa'lilarparama-gopaniyatva'hetu (satyavratamuni) kinkaranmdtra sanketa athavd ektu-matra injita kariydchen / ihd dvdrd sprstai pratiyamdna haya ye, yathdne-sekhdne yakhana-takhana rasa-lilar s'ravana'kirtana kara nitdnta avidhi / sudhu tahdi nahe, anadhikdri vyakti yadi kdma dura karibar chalana kariyd rasa-lila mane-mane u cintd, dcarana athavd anukdrana karen, tabe tini rdsa-llldr gaurava-hani kardr aparddhe niscayi adhah patita haiben / evam akdlapaka prdkrta-sahajiyd-vdder nydya kdmuk u gmdsakta haiya padiben / rdsa-lilar sravana-kirtaner kdrana u adhikdri nirnaya-prasahge srimad bhdgavater sei rdsa-lilari sese ydha varnita haiydche tdhd viSesabhdve dlocya / yatha —naitat samdcarej jatu manasdpi hy-anisvarah vinasyaty-dcaran maudhyad yathdrudro 'bdhi-jam visam I ihdra tdtparya ei ye, 'isvara' arthdt prakrta-yogya, ksamata-sampanna adhikdra na haile maner dvdrdu kakhan u rdsa-lila, cintd, dcarana vd anusilana karibe na / sdksdt siva samudrdkhita visa-pdner ekmatra adhikdri / kintu anadhikdri arudra vyakti arthdt apdtra 'mahdpdtra'
sajiya yadi rasa-lilar Sravana-kirtanarupa visa-pdna karena tdhd haile mrtyu arthat dsanna-mrtyurupa samsara-baddha-dasa avaiyantdri I rdsa-lila sarva-lila-cuddmani evam tdhdra phala u sarva-cilddmani I sutaram tdhdra adhikdri keu sarva-ctiddmani haite haibe / ye-kona hrd-roga-grantha, kdmuk, apdtra vyaktirpakse rdsa-lila konaprakdrai dlocaniya nahe I ajnatd dura karibdrajanya visva-vidydlayer sarvoccha siksd labha kara ekdntu dvasyaka haileu prdthamika vidydthike athavd alpajna vyaktike sarvaccha srenite bhatti haite deuyd haya na / sutaram inariydsakta svalpajna vyaktike rdsa-lilar sarvottama siksd deuyd yukti-sahgata nahe /'The statement namo 'nanta-lilaya is usually unaerstood to mean "obeisances unto ananta-lila-bhagavdn Sri krishna," or He whose pastimes are limitless. But Srila Sanatana Gosvami looks toward the esoteric intention of Satyavrata Muni ana also according to his own mood of realization has revealed a very confidential purport. Thus, "Obeisances unto sri rdsa-lila." The word ananta inaicates that which has no ena; namely perpetual, inexhaustible, countless, ana so forth. In the expression lilaya, the word lila is of the fourth case enaing in the singular number (in conjunction with the word namah). The derivation of lila is - li + la = lila. The meaning of the word li is to embrace, ana the meaning of Id is to accept. Therefore, the word lila is inaicative of that sportive pastime in which Lord krishna accepts the embraces of the gopis; thus it is unaerstood to mean in this context that obeisances are being offered unto the rdsa-lila ana other associated pastimes. For this reason it is stated ananta-lilaya. Ana as Srila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his tiled, 'It is suggested to include all the pastimes associated with the realm of Gokula Vrnaavana. I offer my obeisances unto all those lilas; such a mood is most certainly expressed in this way.' By writing this, he has himself fulfilled the quotation of madhurena samdpayet, all unaertakings should be completed sweetly.
"Yet another topic is necessarily inaicated at this point. Srlla (Sanatana) Gosvamipada has revealed that the final sloka of Ddmodardstakam shows Sri krishna's pastimes headed by the rasa-lila to be the topmost of all. He states 'Since these are the topmost of confidential topics, they are not mentioned directly. Therefore such confidential pastimes are referred to by a mere hint only, as they are offered obeisances in the words namo 'nanta-lilaya.' The meaning of this is that because the rasa-lila is the most highly confidential pastime of the Lord, therefore Satyavrata Muni has mentioned it only with the briefest clue or tiniest glimpse. By so doing, he has made it known that it is always inappropriate to casually hear ana chant about the rasa-lila here ana there, whenever ana wherever. Not only that, but if an unqualified person deceives himself with an attempt to banish lust, but then contemplates, performs or imitates the rasa-lila, then such a person certainly becomes degraded due to the offense of minimizing the glories of the factually transcenaental rasa-lila. Eventually he will fall down to become a lusty debauchee ana attached householder, just like the prakrta-sahajiyds who prematurely dabble in the highest truth."In regard to ascertaining who is qualified to hear ana chant about the Lord's rasa-lila, it is especially noteworthy to examine the statements of Srimad Bhdgavatam presented at the conclusion of the rasa-lila description (10.33.30):
naitat samacarej jatu manasapi hy-anisvarah
vinasyaty-acaran maudhyad yatharnaro 'bdhi-jam visam
"One who is not a great controller should never imitate the behavior of ruling personalities, even mentally. If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behavior, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink an ocean of poison.""The purport of this is that one who is not an isvara truly qualified by being enaowed with divine potency should never even mentally contemplate, perform or imitate the Lord's rasa-lila. Only Lord Siva himself is able to drink an entire ocean of poison. If an unqualified person who is arvtdra (not Siva) falsely considers himself to be greatly qualified ana tries to drink poison in the form of hearing ana chanting about the rasa-lila, then he would certainly die that is, he would become tightly bouna within the death-like conaition of samsdra or gross material existence.""Lord Sri krishna's rasa-lila pastimes are the crest-jewel of all His pastimes, ana the benefits of cultivating such pastimes are the crest jewel of all benefits. Therefore those who are qualified to relish these topics will be the crest jewels among all devotees. The Lord's rasa-lila should never be studied in any way by those who are seized by the disease of the heart, who are lusty for personal gratification, or otherwise unfit. In matters of ordinary education, if one wants to dispel one's ignorance, it is necessary to gradually master the highest knowledge of the university; but a beginning student or someone of little knowledge is never admitted prematurely into the highest class. Similarly, it is never appropriate to give instructions about the most elevated topic, the rasa-lila, to persons of little knowledge who are simply attached to the external bodily senses." (Srila B. P. Kesava Maharaja, Sri Ddmodardstakam-tika, Verse 8)
"One day a devotee was studying the commentaries on rasa-lila, bhramara-gitd ana so on, ana Srila Gurudeva said, 'The qualification to hear topics such as rasa-lila will come when Sri nama-kirtana has freed the heart from anarthas, ana suddha-sattva has appeared there. Otherwise the transcenaental pastimes of Sri Radha-Govinaa will appear to be the activities of a worldly hero ana heroine, ana will only give rise to false ideas. The conception of rasa is only possible in the siddha-deha, the perfect state. It is impossible to perceive s'rngara-rasa in a material body. Only a person who is free from the lower types of enjoyment ana is in the stage of bhdva is qualified to discuss sambhoga-rasa.'" (Acdrya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami His life ana Teachings, Part 4, p. 343)In this essay we have established, with reference to our acaryas, that the serious student in krishna consciousness does not attempt to approach the higher topics of lila without the proper adhikdra, qualifications. The proper adhikdra has been mentioned as three: anartha-nivrtti, ruci, ana lobha. First, one should become purified of any misconceptions, lust, or materials desires within the heart, anartha-nivrtti. Furthermore one should have ruci, or a real taste for krishna consciousness, having abanaoned the taste for lower
subject matters. Ana last but not least one should aquire lobha, the intense spiritual greed to hear about krishna-lila. The wise student does not attempt to omit any step in the progressive development of krishna consciousness. One who does so is at risk of being lost forever.