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The Authorized Shri Chaitanya-Saraswata Parampara
By Swami B.G. Narasingha
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Dedication ........................................................................................ vii
Preface ............................................................................................... ix
Introduction ..................................................................................... xiii
Refuting the Anti-Party -----------------------------------------------Part One
1. Siksa Parampara............................................................................ 1
2. Eternally Liberated ................................................................ 19
3. The Benign Authority ............................................................. 37
4. The Process of Initiation ....................................................... 57
5. Monarchs of Mantra Diksa .................................................... 73
The Practice of Pure Devotional Service-------------------------- Part Two
6. Preaching is the Essence ......................................................... 89
7. Rasika or Sahajiya ................................................................... 95
8. Sadhana Bhakti ...................................................................... 105
9. Raganuga Bhakti ................................................................... 115
10. Siddha Deha Revealed .......................................................... 121
11. Vaishnava Aparadha ............................................................... 131
12. Rupanuga Bhajana ................................................................ 145
A Few Words of Guidance---------------------------------------- Part Three
13. Pastimes and Instructions ................................................... 153
14. Bhajana-Real and Apparent .............................................. 169
15. Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread ....................... 187
16. Delusion and Divinity of the Devotee ................................. 201
17. Heart and Halo ........................................................................209
Pronunciation Guide....................................................................... 215
Verse Index .................................................................................... 217
We humbly dedicate this book to that revered transcendental personality Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, whose beautiful lotus feet are cherished by millions and millions of the purest and most qualified devotees, who is the most competent personality to preach the recognized process of devotional service for this era, who shines forth as the natural leading monarch within the extremely advanced devotee's camp, whose lion-like roar causes the envious to tremble and quickly flee, whose tender lotus feet gracefully bestow the ultimate benefit for the innocent, who has widely spread the glories of Shri Gauranga's holy abode, Shri Mayapur-dhama, whose graceful personality has planted the lotus of Shri Gaurahari's holy feet in the hearts of his deserving servitors, who is the eternal refuge of Shri Gauranga's devotees, who is dedicated to serving his spiritual master Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaj Maharaja, who is a careful servant of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose intense magnitude of devotion allows him a glorious position within the intimate group of Shrila Raghunatha dasa, Shrila Sanatana, and Shrila Rupa Goswami, whose happy and elevated philosophical conceptions have crowned and seated him along with that esteemed personality, Shrila Jiva Goswami, who has a friendly relationship with Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami and Shri Narottama dasa, as dear to them as their very own lives, whose loving disposition is more affectionate than even a father to the followers of Lord Gauranga, whose purity attracts even the great administrative demigods, and who is the keeper of life's highest wealth, pure love for Shri Shri Radha Govinda.
We humbly offer our most respectful obeisances unto the charming effulgence that shines forth from the radiant lotus toe-tips of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
It is perhaps the ultimate irony that the sublime process of Krishna consciousness, which is comprised of the deepest and most profound philosophical cohesiveness and which demands the greatest self-sacrifice and renunciation or self-denial, has once again fallen into a pit of misconception. This is in spite of, after having been manytimes clearly enunciated and painstakenly delineated by the Lord and His pure representatives. All practitioners will heartily agree that the process is faultless and the goal certain, but just what the attainment (prayojana) is and how to reach it (abhidheya) raises severe differences of opinion amongst the devotees. The entire process is perfect and pure, precisely engraved in the Vaishnava literatures and precisely enunciated by the Lord's pure agents. The fault lies entirely in the practitioners. As a lens on a camera filters everything according to it's capacity, we find in this troubled age that some of the neophyte devotees of the Lord have taken to filtering the process of bhakti and applying it according to their own desires and necessities. Real devotion is a life of divine slavery, saranagati-full surrender to that which is recognized as the highest necessity. Pure devotion-jnana-karmady-anavrtam, necessitates the abandonment of prior conceptions and necessities-sarva-dharman-parityajya, otherwise we are guilty of karma-misra-bhakti (devotional service tainted with fruitiveness). So many divergent opinions and impure alternatives have arisen, due to our failing or inability to adhere strictly to the essential core necessities of the process. Mayavadism arises out of our false ego-our impure desire to lord it over all as the supreme enjoyer, rather than surrender to the pure Lord. Sahajiyaism arises due to our desire to enjoy the result now, without paying the price of purity, thus cheapening the process. Materialism, or the spirit of enjoyment, must be sacrificed in the fire of surrender-in recognition of our factual constitutional position as eternal servants of Krishna.
It matters not what our fertile brains may think, speculate or desire, the Absolute Truth remains unchanged, in spite of our fallen condition. Our greatest necessity remains to recognize properly and serve the Absolute Truth according to His desire. According to the intensity of our surrender to the unillusioned and full divine conception of the Supreme Absolute Truth, we validate for ourselves His substantial position and our relationship with Him. The Bhagavad-gita warns us that the fruits of demigod worship are limited and temporary, yet many pursue this path. Similarly, the taste of immediate sense gratification-the desire to enjoy Krishna consciousness now, or that now we must concentrate on our own advancement at the cost of the serving disposition, captures our intelligence and deflects us from the true path of suddha-bhakti.
Krishna is the enjoyer, not ourselves, yet we put ourselves first, cheating ourselves of the ultimate fruits and husk empty paddy.
shri-gauranumatam svarupa-viditam rupagrajenadrtam
rupadyaih parivesitam raghu-ganair-asvaditam sevitam
jivadyair abhiraksitam suka-siva-brahmadi-sammanitam
shri-radha-pada-sevanamrtam aho tad-datum iso bhavan
What was sanctioned by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by His descent, was intimately known only to Shri Svarupa Damodara Goswami. Sanatana Goswami, the elder brother of Shri Rupa, was attentive to that divine truth, and Rupa Goswami himself served that very thing with his own hands to the devotees. Raghunatha dasa Goswami tasted its sweetness and also added something of his own to its flavor. What was distributed by Rupa and tasted by Raghu-natha dasa was protected by Shri Jiva Goswami, who lent support to it's divinity with scriptural evidence. The taste of that divine truth is aspired after by Shri Sukadeva Goswami, Lord Siva, and Lord Brahma, who regard it with the highest respect from a distance. What is that inconceivable ambrosia? O Bhaktivinode Thakura, within this world, you fully possess the ability to give us that extraordinary nectar.
The Authorized Shri Chaitanya-Saraswat Parampara completely focuses our conception, bringing us in line with the Lord's desires. Swami B. G. Narasingha Maharaja has done an admirable job and most valuable service of pointing out the true path of devotion-clearly explaining the many constituent essential teachings and practices. The real value of this book is that the cheating of the deviant sects are exposed for what they are, so that the intelligent discerning devotees may more easily avoid their pitfalls and more clearly recognize the very precise line of Gaudiya Vaisnavism-as enunciated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and brought to the contemporary world by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.
Most readers of this book are dedicated practitioners, so we heartily recommend that you drink deeply and contemplate the contents. We sincerely hope that it will help us tread the path of pure devotion.
Swami Bhaktibhavana Vishnu
The words "Shri Chaitanya-Saraswata Parampara" indicate the disciplic succession (parampara) which was handed down from the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to that of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. This parampara is a disciplic succession of divine knowledge (divya jnanam), also known as the Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya or the Bhagavata-parampara.
Brahma-Madhva indicates the preceptors from Lord Brahma to Shri Madhvacarya who carried the parampara in ancient times. The use of the term Bhagavata-parampara indicates the preceptorial line of the principles contained in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The Bhagavata-parampara itself began at the outset of this universe wherein Shri Krishna spoke the Shrimad-Bhagavatam in four nutshell verses to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma then spoke those four essential verses of Shrimad-Bhagavatam to his disciple Shri Narada Muni who in turn taught those verses to Shri Vedavyasa who in turn, upon his mature realization, compiled the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (in twelve cantos) as we know it today. Vyasa's disciple was Shri Madhvacarya. From Madhvacarya the disciplic succession came to Shri Madhavendra Puri the fifteenth preceptor in the line. Madhavendra Puri's disciple was Shri Isvara Puri who became glorious as the spiritual master of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
It is indeed the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and its principles therein which figure most prominently in the Bhagavata-parampara. The Vedas have been compared to a kalpataru (desire tree) and the mature fruit of that tree is Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
"O expert and thoughtful men, relish Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Shri Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls." (Bhag. 1.1.3)
The Shrimad-Bhagavatam contains ten divisions of principles regarding the Absolute Truth.
atra sargo visargas ca
sthanam posanam utayah
nirodha muktir asrayah
"In Shrimad-Bhagavatam there are ten divisions of statements regarding the following: the creation of the universe, subcreation, planetary systems, protection by the Lord, the creative impetus, the change of Manus, the science of God, returning back to Godhead, liberation, and the very summum bonum (asrayah)." (Bhag. 2.10.1)
The summum bonum of Shrimad-Bhagavatam is found in the tenth canto wherein the transcendental pastimes of Shri Krishna with the Vraja gopis are described. This section is the foremost asraya-tattva of the Bhagavatam.
Prior to the advent of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all ten principles of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam were explained by previous acaryas like Shri Madhvacarya. The conception of these acaryas however was that Narayana is the asraya-tattva. The revelation that Shri Krishna is the asraya-tattva had remained undisclosed to any acarya since the advent of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam-waiting for the reappearance of Krishna in the form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to become fully manifest. Indeed it was this conclusive truth that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to distribute-which had never been distributed before.
anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-shriyam
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandana
"May that Lord, who is known as the son of Shrimati Sacidevi, be transcendentually situated in the innermost core of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has descended in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before-the most elevated mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love." (C.c. Adi-lila 1.4)
namne gaura-tvise namah
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Shri Gaurangadeva, whose divine complexion is a radiant golden hue and who possesses the qualities of the most benevolent incarnation because He distributes what no incarnation ever distributed before, pure love for Krishna (Krishna prema). He is none other than Vrajendra-nandana Krishna known in Kali-yuga as Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." (Rupa Goswami)
One might argue that pure love for Krishna, being the purport of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, was surely realized to some extent by previous acaryas but that such love reaches its highest and fullest expression in the personality of Shrimati Radharani is clearly only revealed through the parampara after the appearance of Shri Chaitanya Maha-prabhu. It was Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers such as Shri Rupa and Raghunatha dasa Goswamis who announced that Shrimati Radharani is the supreme shelter (asrayah) of all living entities. This is the `asrayah' of which the Shrimad-Bhagavatam ultimately speaks. This conception of Shrimati Radharani as the supreme asraya-tattva was unknown to any Vaishnava parampara prior to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance and such a conception is still only accessable through His bona fide succession.
Based on the instruction of Shrimad-Bhagavatam Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the sankirtana movement (the chanting of the holy names of God) as the prime benediction for humanity at large-for by such chanting the living entities can be delivered from the darkness of material ignorance.
tam namami harim param
"Krishna's holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Let us all bow down to him." (Bhag. 12.13.23)
Similary, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught the esoteric principles of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (asraya-tattva) to His most confidential devotees, thus enabling them to enter into the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord in spontaneous love of God.
From Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the parampara came through Swarupa Damodara Goswami, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunatha dasa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami to Narottama dasa Thakura, to Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, to Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, to Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta Saraswati Thakura.
However, after the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from the eyes of this mortal world many deviant paramparas (sahajiyas) immediately began to manifest. In numerous ways the sahajiyas attempted to monopolize the treasure chest of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's gift of divine love, thus causing a great confusion in the minds of innocent people. By the end of the 19th century the line of divinity established by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had almost disappeared from sight. The situation was dismal-rascals and cheaters had destroyed the pure principles of the Bhagavata-parampara and in turn they propagated the lowest standard of sinful behavior in the name of pure spontaneous love, raganuga-bhakti.
For a long time the sahajiyas had continuously misrepresented the principles of pure devotional service under the false practices of raganuga-bhakti and that for which the Shrimad-Bhagavatam stood became tarnished and eventually covered. These sahajiya communities are described by Bhaktivinoda Thakura as the Aula, Baula, Kartabhaja, Neda, Daravesa, Sani-sahajiya, Sakhibheki, Smarta, Jata-gosani, Ativadi, Cudadhari and Gauranga-nagari. They had become so degraded that the very word `Vaishnava' was spoiled in Bengal. Without going into detail it will suffice at this point to say that under the patronage of the above mentioned sahajiya communities `Vaishnavaism' had become known as a religion or occupation of women hunters, drunkards and beggars. Seeing this situation was intolerable for the pure hearted devotees of the Supreme Lord.
At that time the Supreme Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sent two of His most confidential servants to take birth in this world. These two confidential servants were Svarupa Damodara and Shri Gadadhara Pandita who appeared as Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Bhaktivinoda Thakura respectively. These two great personalities became the shelter of all sincere followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during their time. (See chapter seventeen for a detailed explanation).
The intimate disciple of both Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Saraswati Thakura appeared in this world as the fourth son of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and from his childhood to his old age he dedicated his entire life to removing the clouds of misconception that covered the pure religion of the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Once our spiritual master, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, was asked by a young devotee to say something about Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. In reply he said, "What can I say to you-he was a Vaikuntha man." Here the meaning of `Vaikuntha' must be taken in its most fundamental sense, as indicating beyond material conception. Indeed, in a word, this is a most fitting description of Shrila Saraswati Thakura, beyond material conception-beyond the reaches of our material calculations. He was cent per cent a man of the upper world whose eternal associates are none other than the Supreme Lords own dearmost servants. Shrila Saraswati Thakura descended to this world from the inner circle of the Lord's domain and his philosophical conceptions (siddhanta) were wholly that of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu-one could not trace mundanity in him at any time in his career. Saraswati Thakura appeared in this world on the prayer of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura with a mission to remove the misconceptions that covered the living entities pure consciousness and to illuminate the path of pure devotional service.
vilastu hrdi nityam bhaktisiddhanta-vani
"With his first step, he cut to pieces the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he crushed the speculation of scholars of salvation and liberation. With his third, he softened vaidhi-bhakti with a touch of divine love (raga-marga). Taking us beyond Vaikuntha, he has introduced us to the highest worship of Shri Radha and Govinda. With the softness of Vrndavana within, and the hardness of a devastator without, he created havoc in the world-fighting with one and all. Single-handedly fighting against the whole world, and cutting everything to pieces-that was his external attitude. And his second attitude was to stop the boasting research of the scholars and doctors of different schools of thought; the third, to minimize and slacken the grandeur of the worship of Narayana, and establish the service of Radha-Govinda as the highest attainment. He caused the domain of love to descend into this plane, with the service of Radha-Govinda, establishing the flow of divine love from the heart as all in all. That was his history-the real existence of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. May his divine teachings, Bhaktisiddhanta-vani, dance eternally within the core of our hearts." (Shrila B.R. Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja)
The Shri Chaitanya-Saraswata Parampara is indeed a bona-fide disciplic succession of pure devotees of the Supreme Lord which has existed since the most ancient times, yet in modern times the eternal flow of the divine knowledge of that parampara was obstructed by unqualified persons. Unqualified persons posing as spiritual masters had made a mockery of the esoteric principles of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam by a cheap show of imitating the higher sentiments of divine love. At that very peak of degradation in Gaudiya Vaishnavaism Shrila Saraswati Thakura appeared and recovered the principles of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam from the hands of the rogues and resurrected the path of the Bhagavata-parampara.
Unlike many so-called paramparas of his day the parampara of Saraswati Thakura was not simply the succession of bodies wherein dead mantras are passed on from guru to disciple despite their obvious disqualification. Nor was the parampara of Saraswati Thakura the disciplic succession of merchants who make a trade of mantras in exchange for money. Nor was the parampara of Saraswati Thakura a disciplic succession of cheaters who compromise the regulative principles of purity by keeping illicit connection with women claiming that such is not a disturbance to the performance of ones bhajana. The parampara of Saraswati Thakura was however the descent of the highest principles of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam exhibited in both deed and concept.
Shrila Saraswati Thakura appeared in this world at a time when the storehouse of the proper conception regarding Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's nectarine teachings had been sealed tight by pseudo-Vaishnavas. Saraswati Thakura reopened that storehouse and showed the way of bona-fide access to the highest plane of divinity by his personal example. Saraswati Thakura preached strongly against the abominable practices and concepts of the sahajiyas (imitationists). Within his own movement as well he kept a vigilant eye out against any potential for imitation of pure devotion. His language was strong and he made it clear to his disciples and followers that real devotion was not a cheap sentiment. Devotion he said means submission to shri guru, self-discipline, self-sacrifice, and wholehearted effort to render devotional service. Saraswati Thakura stressed that without going through all the stages of regulated practice (vaidhi-bhakti) one cannot come to the platform of spontaneous love (raganuga-bhakti).
The dress associated with the eternal associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (babaji-vesa) had become identified with the lowest men in society. To save the dignity of the highest order of Vaishnavas (paramahamsas) Saraswati Thakura introduced the saffron colored cloth and the triple staff belonging to the ancient order of renunciates known as tridandi-sannyasa. This of course raised considerable controversy at the time and many dishonest persons criticized Shrila Saraswati Thakura for concocting unauthorized means of devotional service. However, Saraswati Thakura had not actually concocted any practices of devotional service-indeed he had reestablished the authorized practices for attaining the lotus feet of Krishna, as authorized by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Seeing this illuminating personality standing in the midst of many dark clouds, the honest and sincere Vaishnavas of the time gathered in support of Saraswati Thakura and assisted him in carrying forth the purely theistic principles of the Bhagavata-parampara.
The tenth canto of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the prayojana-tattva (the highest truth) through which one can taste the eternal nectar of divine love. As such the sahajiyas are extremely fond of hearing the tenth canto, although they consistently neglect the first nine cantos. It is the first nine cantos of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam which qualify the bona-fide candidate for actually entering into the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Yet, the sahajiyas prefer to jump over the first nine cantos to the tenth canto in the name of `getting the nectar.' In the opinion of Saraswati Thakura a neophyte devotee should never have access to such topics as the intimate pastimes of the Lord, because if one prematurely enters the realm of Krishna's pastimes that will bring more harm than good. If one is not situated above the propensity for sense gratification yet indulges in hearing or meditating on the intimate pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, one's enjoying spirit will only increase. One must be fully aware of the Lord's transcendental nature before entering into discussions or meditations on the Lord's divine pastimes with His hladini-sakti. Saraswati Thakura did not encourage newcomers to read the tenth canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He also disapproved of indiscriminate displays of paintings of Radha-Krishna lila. His standards were high because the goal was high-he did not allow a mockery of the highest conception to be made at any time.
To establish the principles of pure devotional service Saraswati Thakura wrote many articles in The Harmonist magazine, the Gaudiya magazine and the Nadiya Prakash newspaper exposing the false practices of the imitationists. Following in the footsteps of Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, Shrila Saraswati Thakura established a printing press which he called the `Brhad-mrdanga.' In the transcendental vision of Saraswati Thakura the printing press belonged to the category of raganuga-bhakti and he stressed book distribution and preaching in the same light. A logo for the Gaudiya Matha was designed by Shrila Saraswati Thakura in which a circle was drawn and various symbols representing the bona fide processes of devotional service were depicted within that circle. The circle was naturally divided into two sections. On the left side the symbols representing vaidhi-bhakti were placed-such as the Pancaratric literature and Laksmi-Narayana representing worship in the mood of awe and reverence according to regulative principles. On the right side of the circle were placed the symbols representing raganuga-bhakti-such as the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Shri Shri Radha-Krishna indicating worship in spontaneous love (raga-marga). The symbols of the mrdanga and printing press were also placed in the raga-marga section.
In the beginning of the book Shri Chaitanya Mangala by Locana dasa Thakura it is mentioned that in the future there will appear a senapati (a great general) who would cause an inundation of Krishna consciousness throughout the world. Greatly learned scholars and pure devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who know the purport of the scriptures have understood the `senapati' to have been Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura-who between 1918 and 1936 caused a wave of preaching Krishna consciousness to swell up in Bengal that would indeed inundate the whole world. The sound of the kirtana raised by Saraswati Thakura conquered in all ten directions silencing the atheist non-believers, the impersonalist speculators, and the imitationist, sahajiya sections of pseudo-Vaishnavas.
Saraswati Thakura orchestrated a great preaching movement for eighteen years, awarding the triple staff of renunciation to his disciples and then sending these sannyasis to preach throughout India and eventually to western countries. Before passing away from this world Saraswati Thakura commented that he desired to spend at least ten years preaching Krishna consciousness in the western countries-this Saraswati Thakura was unable to do before his disappearance in 1936. However, through his intimate disciple Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada we see that Shrila Saraswati Thakura's last desire for preaching Krishna consciousness in the west was fulfilled. Hence the work of the senapati foretold by Locana dasa Thakura was continued by Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and the same continues up to the present day in the form of Saraswati Thakura's numerous disciples and grand disciples.
In the presence of Shrila Saraswati Thakura the anti-parties were either silenced or defeated, but now six decades later the anti-parties are again making their propaganda against the Shri Chaitanya Saraswata Parampara. This time, however, the anti-parties have a plan to establish their deviant practices in the western world. By the blessings of Shrila Saraswati Thakura the road to the western countries for preaching Vaishnavaism was gloriously opened by Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada but now many anti-party spokesmen are also traversing on that road. The anti-parties all claim a monopoly on the process of pure devotional service based on bodily successions and caste consciousness. Rather than following the processes established by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for the attainment of love of God, the anti-parties prefer a `short cut to perfection' via the process of concocted initiations and mental speculations. Such `short cuts to perfection' are a dead end in spiritual life. Indeed the anti-parties are misrepresenting the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and are again making a mockery of the sentiments of divine love.
Part One of this book, The Authorized Shri Chaitanya-Saraswata Parampara, entitled Refuting the Anti-party, deals with the false propaganda that the parampara of Saraswati Thakura is not a bona- fide disciplic succession. This misconception is strongly refuted in the opening five chapters with historical and scriptural evidences, which were originally written and published on the internet in response to direct anti-party criticism of Shrila Bhaktivinoda and Shrila Saraswati Thakura. Part Two, The Practice of Pure Devotional Service, presents the bona fide practice of pure devotional service in spontaneous love of Krishna, raganuga-bhakti. These articles have been written according to the opinion of previous acaryas and supported by scriptural evidences. In Part Three, A Few Words of Guidance, some relevant instruction by Shrila B.R. Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja and Shrila B.P. Puri Goswami Maharaja are given to protect the bona-fide devotees from falling prey to imitation of the highest divine mellows of love of God. In particular Shrila Shridhara Maharaja, in the fourteenth chapter, cautions that if one is negligent to protect one's self against the imitation tendency, one will regrettably be given the inspiration to live in a `fools paradise,`' thinking that he has now achieved the higher standard of devotion.
Our readers are requested to make a careful study of this book with a view to establish the principles of pure devotional service throughout the world and to crush the numerous anti-party misconceptions, which if allowed to prosper will eventually spoil the sankirtana movement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed that would be an intolerable loss for the whole of humanity.
Swami B. G. Narasingha
Refuting The Anti-Party
Siksa Parampara ---- Chapter 1
"Full fledged theism is not always manifest-it sometimes goes underground like a stream and again reappears. When it is underground in the unmanifest quarter we are not concerned with the parampara which simply upholds the formal tradition, the bodily succession.....We should be solely concerned with the substance and always seek out pure devotion wherever it appears and accept that on our heads."
It so happens that from time to time over the centuries the movement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has come under strong criticism and ridicule by those who are either uninformed about the actual practice of pure devotional service or by those who are envious of the Supreme Lord and His pure devotees-the anti-party.
During the 1920s and 30s as well as recently as 1998 the anti-party has revived a certain propaganda that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura is not in the parampara of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. It is the suggestion of the anti-party that Saraswati Thakura had no guru connection with Shrila Bhaktivinoda whatsoever. Since Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was the diksa-guru (one who gives guru-mantra to gopala-mantra and kama-gayatri) of Saraswati Thakura-his parampara, they say, should be traced to the Adwaita parivara (disciplic succession in the family of Adwaita) and not to Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, whom they say is in the Nityananda parivara. It is also their thinking that Bhaktivinoda Thakura did not regard Jagannatha dasa Babaji as his substantial guru (siksa-guru).
Furthermore it is the contention of the anti-party that since Saraswati Thakura did not receive siddha-pranali from Bhaktivinoda Thakura he should not be considered his true follower. One who does not receive siddha-pranali, they say, cannot attain Vraja bhakti. The anti-party is so strong on this point that they even go so far as to say that Bhaktivinoda Thakura was not pleased with Saraswati Thakura due to Saraswati Thakura having wholesale rejected Bipin Bihari Goswami, the diksa-mantra, pancaratrika-mantra-guru of Bhakti-vinoda Thakura. Therefore they say that Bhaktivinoda did not give siddha-pranali to Saraswati Thakura, as if rejecting him.
It is a fact that Bhaktivinoda sent Saraswati Thakura to Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji for initiation and it is universally accepted that Babaji Maharaja was a siddha-mahatma. The fact that Bhaktivinoda did send Saraswati to Gaura Kisora is proof that he saw in the Babaji a higher conception than he found in his own diksa-guru-otherwise he could easily have corrected Saraswati and sent him to Bipin Bihari Goswami, but he didn't.
The anti-party draws their line of disciplic succession from Bipin Bihari Goswami to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, to Lalita Prasada Thakura (the brother of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura) to Gadadhara-prana and a few others.
The word "anti-party" has been chosen by Saraswati Thakura and his disciples to best describe the so-called disciplic succession going under the name of siddha-pranali because of their actually being in direct opposition to the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There is such a thing as siddha-pranali and Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has described siddha-pranali in his commentary to Krishna-karnamrta. He says that both siddha-pranali and chanting the holy name are bona-fide, but Kaviraja Goswami concludes by saying that of the two-the process of taking the name of Krishna is superior. One becomes pure by chanting the name without offense and the holy name itself reveals the astakaliya-lila (eight-fold pastimes), being nondifferent from Krishna and His lilas. (This reference available at Chaitanya Research Institute, Calcutta)
The first doubt raised by the anti-party is that the actual guru of Bhaktivinoda Thakura was Bipin Bihari Goswami and not Jagannatha dasa Babaji. They say that to consider Jagannatha dasa Babaji as the guru of Bhaktivinoda is an offense. They consider this so because Bhaktivinoda Thakura accepted diksa from Bipin Bihari Goswami in 1881 and he never received any such initiation from Jagannatha dasa Babaji. Thus the anti-party wishes to discredit the parampara line as shown by Saraswati Thakura in his song Guru Parampara and simultaneously they wish to establish their own line as the true parampara of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura went on pilgrimage to Vrndavana in 1881 at which time he met Jagannatha dasa Babaji. The Thakura received many spiritual instructions from Babaji Maharaja and the Thakura accepted him as his substantial guru (siksa-guru). Bhaktivinoda has referred to Jagannatha dasa Babaji as vaishnava-sarvabhaumah, the most revered and worshipable Vaishnava:
gauravirbhava-bhumes tvam, nirdesta saj-jana-priyah
vaishnava-sarvabhaumah, shri-jagannathaya te namah
"I offer my most respectful obeisances to Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja who is respected and worshipped by the entire Vaishnava community and who discovered the birth place where Shri Chaitanya-deva appeared."
This raises another interesting point: With the help of Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was able to discover the place of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu`s appearance. Simultaneously it was declared that the so-called Yogapitha at Navadvipa on the other side of the Ganges was false. Many caste goswamis objected to the site at Shri Mayapur being the original site. Bipin Bihari Goswami at that time rejected Bhaktivinoda Thakura for preaching an untruth (mithyapracara) and he even published his rejection of Shrila Bhakti-vinoda's preaching in a small newspaper of his own called Gauranga-sevaka Patrika in 1919. One could say at this point-that at the very least they did not see eye to eye or that their feelings for placing distance in their relationship with each other was mutual-indeed a difficult relationship to maintain between "guru and disciple." (The Gaurangasevaka Patrika and article available at Chaitanya Research Institute, Calcutta.)
Therefore Bhaktivinoda turned over the Yogapitha at Mayapur to Saraswati and noone else, because he knew that only he had the strength, realization and sastric pramana (evidence) to hold the sacred ground against the sahajiya and brahmana community. It is also interesting to note that although Bipin Bihari Goswami rejected the idea that Yogapitha was in Mayapur-the modern day followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura, nonetheless, accept Yogapitha in Mayapur and not the so-called Yogapitha in Navadvipa.
Saraswati Thakura saw the exchanges between Jagannatha dasa Babaji and Bhaktivinoda at times when the two lived together at Svananda-sukhada-kunja in Nadia for many years. We do not find any association of Bhaktivinoda Thakura with Bipin Bihari Goswami except for a short time in the village of Narail, East Bengal and this does not include any reference to the latter instructing Bhaktivinoda in the matter of pure devotional service.
It is true, as the anti-party says, Saraswati Thakura did not have very high regard for Bipin Bihari Goswami-he certainly did not consider him to be the guru of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Saraswati Thakura as a small child (7 years old) was present when Bhaktivinoda Thakura received diksa mantras from Bipin Bihari Goswami and from the outset Saraswati Thakura was critical of the Goswami. When Bhaktivinoda offered his obeisances to the Goswami-the Goswami attempted to place his foot on the head of the Thakura-the child remarked, "Do you think that you have such spiritual power that you can put your foot on the head of Shrila Bhaktivinoda?"
There is another short story: Once a celebrated sahajiya came to see Shrila Bhaktivinoda at his residence. The sahajiya was a gentleman but nonetheless a sahajiya. Saraswati Thakura was a young boy at the time. When he saw his father (Bhaktivinoda) talking with that gentleman he simply offered obeisances at a distance and got up and went away. Seeing this the gentleman inquired, "Was that your son-why does he offer obeisances and go away?" Bhaktivinoda replied in a happy style, "He has taken a vow not to come within one hundred meters of a sahajiya."
We must mention here that both Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Saraswati Thakura have been accepted by many great devotees and scholars as liberated souls who appeared in this world by the divine arrangement of Krishna. They were not a pair (father and son) of this world as the mundane bhaktas (prakrta-sahajiyas) think-rather they were eternal residents from Goloka Vrndavana; namely Kamala-manjari and Nayanamani-manjari respectively. Therefore, from the beginning of their lives they both showed exceptional qualities and characteristics which are to be attributed only to pure devotees and liberated souls.
For example, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was preaching the process of pure devotion; writing and printing books such as Krishna-samhita and Kalyana-kalpataru (both revered devotional works) before he even met his so-called guru, Bipin Bihari Goswami-something which is highly unusual, even unheard of-unless that is, one is already a liberated soul. Similarly, Saraswati Thakura manifested himself as a pure Vaishnava from his earliest childhood. He was quick to catch the essence of the scriptures and he especially showed a keen ability to distinguish between real bhajana and that of the sahajiyas (imitationists). We will not go into greater detail regarding their many transcendental pastimes, for many biographies have been written on this subject-it will suffice to say that both Bhaktivinoda and Saraswati Thakura were liberated souls who came down to this world from Krishna's personal entourage to establish the essence of pure devotional service.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura did for sometime show formal respect to Bipin Bihari Goswami but when the Goswami disrespected Shrila Raghunatha dasa Goswami, the Thakura distanced himself even more from Bipin Bihari. In essence, the details of this incident show that like many caste goswamis in Orissa, Bengal, Vrndavana and Radha-kunda-Bipin Bihari Goswami also thought that he could give blessings to Raghunatha dasa Goswami, the prayojana-acarya, because dasa Goswami was from a "lower caste" or so he mistakenly thought. It appears that Lalita Prasada Thakura overlooked the stressful relation that had evolved between Bhaktivinoda and Bipin Bihari over the issue of Yogapitha being at Mayapur and also that of Raghunatha dasa Goswami, in favor of the formal arrangement of diksa. It does not appear, in spite of his vast learning, that he was able to catch the essence of the teachings of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
It is also known that Bipin Bihari mixed very freely with the degraded sections of Bengal society and associated with anti-Vedic philosophers like the Brahma Samaja. Even after his return to Vais-navism he continued bad habits like smoking etc.-thus Saraswati Thakura, who was himself very strict in principles, saw this as a sign of lower Vaishnava adhikari (kanistha-adhikari), although Bhakti-vinoda Thakura remained somewhat unspoken on the issue.
In 1911 there was an assembly of scholars held in Medinpur (Bengal) wherein the topic of debate was to be "Brahmanas and Vaishnavas." Bipin Bihari Goswami was present at that assembly and, as already known, he would side with the brahmana community in the platform that brahmana Vaishnavas were automatically superior to non brahmana Vaishnavas, due to a brahmana being born in a higher caste. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was also invited to attend that assembly. The conflict between he and Bipin Bihari was destined. Bhaktivinoda Thakura-not wanting to take the position of confronting and attempting to defeat his "diksa-guru" in a public forum declined to attend the meeting on the plea of bad health. In his place he sent Saraswati Thakura (age 37) to represent pure Gaudiya Vaishnava siddhanta in the line of Shri Rupa and Raghunatha dasa Goswami, as per the teachings of Mahaprabhu.
In that assembly Saraswati Thakura prevailed in the debate and established to the satisfaction of the majority of that assembly that a pure Vaishnava, regardless of his birth, was the topmost human being, due to his unalloyed love for Godhead. The news of this was very pleasing to Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The lecture (Brahmana O Vaisnavera Taratamya Visayaka Siddhanta-The Conclusion Concerning the Comparison of Brahmanas and the Vaishnava) was published in a book in English called Brahmanas and Vaisnavism. (Also available at Chaitanya Research Institute, Calcutta)
One might ask why Bhaktivinoda Thakura took initiation from Bipin Bihari Goswami in the first place, for the question naturally arises whether or not the Goswami was actually a pure devotee (perfected soul)?
During those days in India all the "recognized Gaudiya Vaishnavas" were initiated into one of the main parivaras such as Adwaita and Nityananda parivaras. Everyone was expected to wear tilaka and neck beads corresponding to his particular parivara. Since he had not taken initiation in any such parivara, Bhaktivinoda did not wear the external markings of a Gaudiya Vaishnava. It so happened that some persons who had no real eyes to see him would sometimes consider Bhaktivinoda to be a materialist and so forth and thus commit vaishnava-aparadha. Seeing this situation Bhaktivinoda considered accepting the external markings of a Vaishnava, which he must receive from a guru. He longed to meet a bona-fide guru who could inspire him, but as Bhaktivinoda later wrote, "I did not obtain one." Later in a dream the Thakura received some direction from Mahaprabhu and he accepted Bipin Bihari Goswami.
The followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura contend that this is proof that Bipin Bihari was a perfected soul, otherwise Mahaprabhu would not have given direction to Bhaktivinoda to accept him as guru. At this point the anti-party suggests that "could Mahaprabhu have made a mistake?"-thus they wish to indicate that Bhaktivinoda Thakura received a siddha-guru (sad-guru) by the arrangement of Mahaprabhu Himself and not simply a formal connection for decorum's sake. We couldn't disagree more.
Mahaprabhu Himself took sannyasa in the mayavadi sampradaya for the same reason-for decorum's sake only. And after that the Lord continued His preaching mission of nama-sankirtana. The situation of Bhaktivinoda was similar-his mission was to preach-he had come down to this world with that purpose.
At the time of his initiation Bhaktivinoda received the pancaratric mantras; guru-mantras, gopala-mantra, and kama-gayatri. It is interesting to note here that Bhaktivinoda received those mantras, which are offered as a samskara in place of the Vedic diksa-samskara and which are primarily meant for Deity worship following the system of panca-samskara (tapa, pundra, nama, mantra, and yaga). It is clear also in studying the life of Bhaktivinoda Thakura through his writings that he did not imbibe any of the conceptions of Bipin Bihari Goswami. Factually the two, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bipin Bihari were distanced from each other from the very beginning-although it can be said that Bhaktivinoda did continue to show the Goswami formal respect. Of course the anti-party says that Bhaktivinoda received siddha-pranali (ekadasa-bhava) from Bipin Bihari Goswami. Nonetheless, this does not establish the anti-party's procedure of giving siddha-pranali to the unqualified.
Such respect for the Goswami was not so visible in Saraswati Thakura. In fact in later years Saraswati Thakura re-initiated (hari-nama, mantra-diksa, and sannyasa) a prominent disciple of Bipin Bihari Goswami, who became know as Bhaktivivek Bharati Maharaja. There is no hiding the truth-Saraswati Thakura totally rejected the idea that Bipin Bihari Goswami was a spiritual preceptor of Bhaktivinoda and we are also accepting the same conclusion. The brother of Saraswati Thakura (Lalita Prasada Thakura) however accepted just the opposite.
After the disappearance of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Saraswati Thakura and Lalita Prasada Thakura started a mission together in Calcutta called Bhaktivinoda Asan at Ultadanga St. In a very short time their difference in conception/vision about Bhaktivinoda arose and they parted ways. Saraswati Thakura used to say, "My brother sees Bhaktivinoda as Babu (father) but I see him as the delegation of Radha." This statement reveals that Saraswati Thakura obviously considered that Lalita Prasada Thakura placed more importance on form than on substance and that he also had no proper conception of the eternal divinity of Bhaktivinoda.
The disciples of Lalita Prasada Thakura have said that their guru has written extensively on the differences between he and Saraswati Thakura, but none of those manuscripts have ever been printed. On the other hand Saraswati Thakura wrote long and printed his manuscripts to spread the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. This reflects a seemingly distinct character difference between the two brothers-one was prone to fault the other, while the other dedicated his life solely for the service of Mahaprabhu.
Although Saraswati Thakura did receive mantra-diksa from Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja (1900) he also accepted Bhakti-vinoda Thakura as his substantial guru. It should be mentioned here also that Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave mantras for worshipping the Deity in 1881 and harinama-diksa to Saraswati Thakura in 1886. The following is a letter (1910) from Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Saraswati Thakura wherein Bhaktivinoda gives Saraswati essential spiritual instructions, thus demonstrating that he was indeed his substantial (siksa) guru.
People of this world who are proud of their own aristocratic birth cannot attain real aristocracy. Therefore they attack the pure Vaishnava, saying, `They have taken birth in low-class families because of their sins.' Thus they commit offenses. The solution to the problem is to establish the order of daiva-varnasrama-dharma-something you have started doing; you should know that to be the real service to the Vaishnava. Because pure devotional conclusions are not being preached, all kinds of superstitions and bad concepts are being called devotion by such pseudo sampradayas as sahajiya and ativadi. Please always crush these anti-devotional concepts by preaching pure devotional conclusions and by setting an example through your personal conduct.
Please make great effort so you can start parikrama of Shridhama Navadvipa as soon as possible. It is by those actions that everyone in this world will receive Krishna bhakti. Please try very hard to make sure that the service to Shri Mayapur will become a permanent thing and will become brighter and brighter every day. The real service to Shri Mayapur can be done by acquiring printing presses, distributing devotional books, and sankirtana-preaching. Please do not neglect to serve Shri Mayapur or to preach for the sake of your own reclusive bhajana.
When I am not present any more, please take care to serve Shri Mayapur Dhama which is so dear to you. This is my special instruction to you. People who are like animals can never attain devotion; therefore never take their suggestions. But do not let them know this directly or indirectly.
I had a special desire to preach the significance of such books as Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Sat-Sandarbha, and Vedanta Darsana. You have to accept that responsibility. Shri Mayapur will prosper if you establish an educational institution there. Never make any effort to collect knowledge or money for your own enjoyment. Only to serve the Lord will you collect these things. Never engage in bad association, either for money or for some self-interest.
signed Kedarnatha Datta Bhaktivinoda
This letter shows that the innovator was Bhaktivinoda and the implementer was Saraswati Thakura. Although the anti-party gives prostrate obeisances to Bhaktivinoda they are nonetheless dead against the sannyasa order introduced by Saraswati Thakura. From the above letter it is clear that Bhaktivinoda introduced the daiva-varnasrama. Bhaktivinoda licensed Bhaktisiddhanta to implement sannyasa-such that persons could actually attain the raga-marga adhikari and tread the path.
Although the alleged story is that Bhaktivinoda Thakura did give "siddha-pranali" to Lalita Prasada it is also a known fact that Bhaktivinoda advised Lalita Prasada Thakura to chant Krishna nama. Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself gives a warning in Bhajana Rahasya that to attempt meditation on gopi-svarupa without proper adhikari will be detrimental:
adhikara na labhiya siddhadeha bhave
viparyaya buddhi janme saktira abhave
"If one thinks of his siddha-deha (siddha-pranali) without achieving the adhikari his intellect gets bewildered."
In time it came to pass that siddha-pranali was being given out by imitationists to unqualified persons, therefore Saraswati Thakura also wrote one hundred verses called Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini giving warning to the followers of the imitation siddha-pranali system.
Some verses from Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini follow:
sevaya unmukha ha'le jada-katha haya na
natuva cin-maya katha kabhu sruta haya na
"When one is enthusiastic for constantly rendering unalloyed devotional service, there is never any possibility for becoming distracted by idle talks related to the mundane world. Otherwise, if one is not enthusiastic, then confidential topics about the all-conscious spiritual world should never be heard."
The warning here is that only those who are enthusiastic should enter into talks and so forth on higher topics (such as siddha-deha). The characteristic of enthusiasm he says is that one should not be interested in any mundane talk. This of course includes mundane activities and also such things as illicit sex, etc. If one still has attraction for this level of existence then he does not have the proper adhikari for siddha-pranali.
samagrira amilane sthayi-bhava haya na
sthayi-bhava-vyatireke rase sthiti haya na
"In the absence of the necessary constituent elements of the bhakti process (such as anartha-nivrtti, nistha, ruci, etc.) one can never become fixed up in their own eternal sthayi-bhava (one of five principle mellows). In the absence of sthayi-bhava and its necessary elements, one can never become situated in their eternal rasa (siddha-deha)."
rati age sraddha pache rupanuga bole na
krama patha chadi' siddhi rupanuga bole na
"The followers of Shrila Rupa Goswami never preach that transcendental attachment is reached before one develops pure faith. The rupanugas never teach that the perfection of devotion (siddhi) can be reached by abandoning the consecutive order of developmental stages on the path."
anartha thakara kale lila-gana kore na
anartha-nivrtti-kale nama jada bole na
"While still contaminated with anarthas, one should never sing songs about the Lord's confidential pastimes. After these impediments are purified (anartha-nivrtti), one never speaks of the holy name of Krishna as if it were a mundane sound vibration."
anarthake `artha' boli' ku-pathete laya na
prakrta-sahaja-mata aprakrta bole na
"One should never mistakenly call material obstacles `useful for devotional service,' thereby following the wrong path. One should never say that the mundane opinions of the prakrta-sahajiyas (cheap materialistic impostors) are aprakrta (transcendental)."
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."
Siddha-pranali (revelation of one's eternal perfected spiritual form, siddha-deha) is actually effected by the grace of the guru for one who purely chants the holy name of Krishna without offense. The grace of sad-guru is required and also that of harinama (the holy name) which appears when one purely chants the name in a deep penetrating mood of divine love.
The so-called siddha-pranali meditation of the anti-party amounts to mental speculation at best. Siddha-pranali cannot be effected in the mind of a conditioned soul, because such a mind is actually one of the eight material elements. One is required to transcend the mundane mind and come to the platform of suddha-sattva-then from the subjective plane of reality the revelation of one's siddha-deha can be realized-otherwise not.
Yes, we are saying that there is such a process as siddha-pranali, but that the imitation process is being offered by the anti-party-not the authentic siddha-pranali. The line of Saraswati Thakura is bona-fide and authentic because it recognizes both the ajata-rati-raganuga-sadhana (raganuga before bhava) and the jata-rati-raganuga-sadhana (raganuga after bhava). The anti-party wants to meditate on their so-called gopi-deha with dress, activities and residence (ekadasa-bhava) etc. while still conditioned with anarthas. They do not favor preaching, sankirtana, distribution of Bhagavata literature and so forth-thinking that these things are not ajata-rati-raganuga-sadhana but of a lower conception-that is their mistake. These services are nondifferent from ajata-rati-raganuga-sadhana and will contribute to the purification of one's heart, enabling one to fix the mind on the lotus feet of Rupa Goswami and gradually come to the stage of bhava and thus jata-rati-raganuga-sadhana wherein one will glimpse the lotus feet of Shri Rupa Manjari.
The anti-party wants to say, "let us meditate on gopi-svarupa as the activity of the ajata-rati-raganuga-sadhana," but we strongly disagree-and so have our many acaryas. Otherwise what is the use of the Gita, Bhagavatam, Sat-sandharbhas, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and a host of other essential literature for all sadhakas desiring pure devotional service?
The anti-party contends that the giving of ekadasa-bhava (siddha-pranali) at the time of diksa is supported in Bhakti-sandarbha by Jiva Goswami in the following verse:
divyam jnanam hy atra shrimati mantre bhagavata-svarupa-jnanam
tena bhagavata sambandha-visesa-jnanam ca.
"The term `divine knowledge' here refers to the knowledge of the specific form of the Lord contained in the holy syllables of the mantra and knowledge of a specific relationship with the Lord." (Bhakti-sandarbha, 283)
The anti-party then jumps to the conclusion that "divyam jnanam" (divine knowledge) means ekadasa-bhava (siddha-pranali), the knowledge of one's form as a gopi, dress, residence, etc. How-ever, this divine knowledge revealed by the guru at the time of giving diksa (as stated in Bhakti-sandarbha) is actually a reference to receiving proper understanding of the mantras for worship such as upanayana-samskara (brahma-gayatri), guru mantra and gayatri, gaura-mantra and gayatri, gopala-mantra, and kama-gayatri. There is no suitable support for ekadasa-bhava found in the above quoted verse. For a thorough understanding of this subject (revealing the meaning of the mantra-receiving divyam jnanam) one should read the book Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika published by Gosai Publishers.
It is in one sense ironic that the anti-party dares to even show their face in the Vaishnava world of Shrila Saraswati Thakura's movement to preach their misconceptions. The persons who are doing this mischief were once all devotees of iskcon, who leaving our Guru Maharaja Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the 1970's to go for siddha-pranali initiation, eventually fell down and were unable to even maintain the four basic regulative principles, what to speak of the meditation on their eternal form and relationship with Krishna. In this way these men became reject disciples. Of course at least one of them feels himself qualified to give siddha-pranali initiation and has misled a number of newcomers. In an attempt to rationalize their existence, these ex-iskcon devotees have taken to the study of many books-became scholars and after acquiring some theoretical knowledge of raganuga-bhakti and siddha-pranali, they have tried to establish themselves as the actual followers of Mahaprabhu and Bhaktivinoda Thakura-while at the same time they try to discredit the authority and qualifications of Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Other than that, since the disappearance of Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura in 1914, they have done nothing to spread the cause of Mahaprabhu `s mission to the world. Their only work is to try to disprove the parampara of Saraswati Thakura. In Bengal the anti-party is no match for the Gaudiya Matha who are highly learned in all these matters historically and according to sastra. The anti-party is only able to spread their misconception to a few less fortunate devotees from the West who are of weaker faith and beginners knowledge.
It is important to know that the parampara which Saraswati Thakura mentioned in his parampara song is a siksa sampradaya and not a diksa sampradaya. That is also to say that it is the bhagavata-parampara, which does not rely on any formality whatsoever but which draws completely on substance over form. The line shown by Saraswati Thakura is not the line of a bodily succession but the recognition of where (in which great Vaishnavas) the conception of pure devotion was manifest. The line of Saraswati Thakura is not at all concerned with the so-called "pedigree" diksa-parampara of the so-called "unbroken" succession.
The anti-party claims that Bhaktivinoda Thakura never made any reference to siksa-guru-parampara in his writing and therefore, how could there be a siksa-parampara? Unfortunately the anti-party only produces "evidence of convenience" and not the truth. They have thus conveniently overlooked the following sloka from Kalyana-kalpataru:
diksa-guru-krpa kori mantra-upadesa
koriya dekhan krishna-tattva nirdesa
siksa-guru-brnda krpa koriya apar
sadhake sikhan sadhaner anga-sar
"The initiating spiritual master (diksa-guru) shows his causeless mercy by giving his disciples instructions in chanting the mantra. By so doing, he points the disciples in the direction of the truths pertaining to the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna. I consider the numerous instructing spiritual masters (siksa-gurus) to be more important, for they show more mercy by training the sadhakas in all the essential aspects of sadhana-bhakti."
A classic example of how the anti-party is lost in their "pedigree" conception of diksa-guru becomes apparent in their disregard of Raghunatha dasa Goswami-going so far as to say that, "there is no diksa connection from Dasa Goswami to Bhaktivinoda." Does the anti-party wish to suggest that Bhaktivinoda in not in the line/parampara of Dasa Goswami simply because the diksa-guru of the Thakura was not in a diksa-parampara from Dasa Goswami? Yes, that is exactly what they want to say. We find such a mentality to be mundane, strictly form oriented, undernourished, and blind to revealed truth.
Full fledged theism is not always manifest-it sometimes goes underground like a stream and again reappears. When it is underground in the unmanifest quarter we are not concerned with the parampara which simply upholds the formal tradition, the bodily succession. Rather, Saraswati Thakura has demonstrated that we should be solely concerned with the substance and always seek out pure devotion wherever it appears and accept that on our heads. For that he taught a high measure of discrimination and caution.
The following is a quote from the Guardian of Devotion, Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami, supporting the above statements on accepting the essence and not simply the form:
The very gist of the guru-parampara, the disciplic succession, is siksa, the spiritual teaching, and wherever it is to be traced, there is guru. One who has the transcendental eye, the divine eye, will recognize the guru wherever he appears. One who possesses knowledge of absolute divine love in purity, he is guru. Otherwise the guru-parampara is only a body parampara: a succession of bodies. Then the caste brahmanas, the caste goswamis, will continue with their trade, because body after body, they are getting the mantra. But their mantra is dead. We are after a living mantra, and wherever we can trace the living tendency for a higher type of devotional service, we shall find that there is our guru. One who has that sort of vision awakened will be able to recognize the guru wherever he may appear. (Shri Guru and His Grace, p. 22)
The highest fulfillment of life (aprakrta-gopi-deha) the perfected form of an eternal maidservant of Shri Shri Radha Govinda is not a cheap achievement. The reality is that few are willing to pay the price-nonetheless Saraswati Thakura preferred not to lower the price-rather he showed by his own ardent example that the goal of life can be achieved by those honest seekers of truth who will not indulge in self deception (the imitation process of siddha-pranali).
Apart from all that I have said thus far, the fact that Saraswati Thakura's disciplic succession is the bona-fide succession of Bhakti-vinoda Thakura is self-evident in the fact that Bhaktivinoda Thakura turned over the world preaching mission and the birth site of Mahaprabhu (Yogapitha), along with his full blessings for success, to Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura. It was Saraswati Thakura who sent his disciples (particularly A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) out to preach the holy name all over the world and establish Gaudiya Vaisnavism and that is a fact. If you are reading this article you are doing so by the grace of Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura and the grace of his disciples-because it is they who have brought Krishna consciousness to the west.
Eternally Liberated -- Chapter 2
"The real ekadasa-bhava (siddha-deha) is revealed in proportion to one's conversion from the disease of the enjoying spirit to that of a healthy serving disposition. Our actual initiation into raganuga-bhakti is initiation into the conception of divine slavery."
Prior to writing the first chapter Siksa Parampara, I was shown correspondence from an anti-party representative who made specific derogatory statements about Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and his parampara. That is reproduced here as follows. The anti-party representative wrote:
What is the connection between Bhaktisiddhanta and Bhakti-vinoda Thakura that you speak about? Of course there was connection, they were father and son. But not guru and disciple. Bimala Prasada did not respect Shrila Bipin Bihari Goswami, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda was very unhappy about this show of disrespect. For this reason Bhaktivinoda didn't give Bimala Prasada diksa. Bhaktivinoda was also unhappy about Bimala Prasada's heavy critique of many Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
You say that Shrila Bhaktivinoda found the leading Vaishnava in Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji and not in his diksa- guru. This is false!!... Jagannatha dasa Babaji was his siksa -guru, but that doesn't mean that his position was higher than the diksa-guru. I happen to be initiated into the diksa-parampara of Shrila Bhaktivinoda, and therefore I know what the parampara is. Jagannatha dasa Babaji is not included in it.....There is no such thing as `siksa-parampara,' as something that is independent of diksa. In the other Vaishnava sampradayas the unbroken line of diksa is the guru-parampara. There is no `bhagavata parampara' there. In the Gaudiya line you won't find support for it either (outside of Gaudiya Matha, iskcon etc.). But this might be difficult to accept if you want to be a follower of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta's line.
It was this statement written by the anti-party which first caught my attention and fueled the first chapter (Siksa Parampara) as a response to their misconceptions. Rather than ignore the statements of the anti-party as simply being offensive to both Gaudiya Math and iskcon, as one might normally do when confronting foolish persons, I decided to answer their questions, counter their arguments and expose their misconceptions with reference to sastra and certain important histories in this regard. Now that the topic has come out in the open on the internet we feel that it is necessary to continue to expose all the misconceptions of the anti-party. There are no doubt hundreds of misconceptions in the anti-party and therefore our work may not be completed in this article or even in this lifetime.
After our first article appeared, the representative of the followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura wrote a few words rejecting our original article and then summed it up by stating, "With these words I have demonstrated the invalidity of Narasingha Swami's accusations and misconceptions."
We will not so easily concede this argument. The anti-party has failed to demonstrate anything substantial-nor have they countered any of our statements in the previous article wherein we have shown: 1- that the parampara of Saraswati Thakura is indeed drawn from Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Jagannatha dasa Babaji not Bipin Bihari Goswami, 2- that Bhaktivinoda Thakura took diksa, for decorum's sake only, from Bipin Bihari Goswami, 3- that Bipin Bihari Goswami did in fact reject Bhaktivinoda Thakura (printed in Gaurangasevaka Patrika in 1919) for the reason that the Thakura had preached what the Goswami considered an untruth regarding the birth site of Mahaprabhu being at Mayapur and not at Navadvipa, 4- that Bipin Bihari Goswami offended Raghunatha dasa Goswami by considering him as born in a lower caste, 5- that Saraswati Thakura defeated Bipin Bihari Goswami in the debate at Midinpur on Brahmanas and Vaishnavas, 6- that Bipin Bihari Goswami had the character of the lower Vaishnava adhikari, 7- that Saraswati Thakura re-instated a leading disciple of Bipin Bihari Goswami thus showing his complete disregard for the idea that the Goswami was the guru of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 8- that Bhaktivinoda was very pleased with the preaching of Saraswati Thakura and gave him his full blessings to defeat all types of philosophical misconception, to establish the birth site of Mahaprabhu at Mayapur and to establish the divine teachings of pure devotional service throughout the world (daiva-varnasrama), 9- that ekadasa-bhava as practiced by the followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura is mental speculation, 10- that harinama is a superior process to ekadasa-bhava as explained by Kaviraja Goswami in his commentary to Krishna-karanamrta, 11- that the siksa-parampara is the sad-guru-parampara and not simply the line of bodily succession (diksa-parampara), and 12- that one receives entrance into the process of raganuga-bhakti at the time of initiation into the parampara of Saraswati Thakura.
All these points were substantially made in our first article but the anti-party has failed to refute even one of them properly. Rather they have simply resorted to jumbling a few words here and there with the hope of saving face. Of course it is a hard lump for the anti-party to swallow but they have accepted an illusory parampara of bodies and dead mantras.
We would like to give further explanation to some additional points regarding the misconceptions of the anti-party about the parampara of Shrila Bhaktivinoda, Saraswati Thakura, and the bona-fide process to attain perfection in Krishna consciousness.
It is the opinion of the anti-party that Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a conditioned soul (nitya-baddha), who was thus bewildered by the three modes of material nature and subject to the reactions of sinful activities in the beginning of his life. The anti-party states as their main source of reference on this point a short autobiography called Svalikhita Jivani wherein Bhaktivinoda describes in brief the events of his life in chronological order up to his retirement. In that book scarcely anything is mentioned regarding pure devotional service. The book was originally a letter written by Bhaktivinoda to his son Lalita Prasada when the boy was just 15 years old. Much is given to describe the Thakura's previous life style and habits before fully manifesting his mission and reason for descent. There, Bhaktivinoda describes his old habits of eating non-vegetarian food, his having been a mayavadi, etc. This the anti-party claims is evidence that the Thakura was a conditioned soul prior to meeting Bipin Bihari Goswami.
The anti-party continues their line of thought and concludes that it was by the mercy of Bipin Bihari Goswami that the Thakura became a liberated soul-one qualified to receive Vraja bhakti. This point they further try to prove by quoting the Navadvipa-bhava-taranga wherein Ananga Manjari takes Shrila Bhaktivinoda (Kamala Manjari) and introduces him to Rupa Manjari as a nava-dasi (a newcomer).
shri-rupa-manjari-prasne isvari amara
bolibe e nava-dasi sakhi lalitara
krpa kori' deho ebe raga-marge gati
"Being questioned by Shri Rupa Manjari, my mistress Ananga Manjari will reply: `This new dasi will be engaged in Lalita Sakhi's service. Her name is Kamala Manjari, and she is very devoted to Shri Gauranga. Please be merciful now and give her entrance into the flow of spontaneous devotional service to our Lordships.'"
The anti-party says that this verse proves that Bhaktivinoda was not a nitya-siddha (eternally liberated) soul, otherwise he would not have referred to himself as a nava-dasi. They further conclude that the Thakura, having been introduced to Shri Rupa Manjari by Ananga Manjari, further demonstrates that the parampara of Bhaktivinoda is coming in the line of the Nityananda parivara-from Jahnavi Devi to Bipin Bihari Goswami in an unbroken diksa parampara. Jahnavi Devi is Ananga Manjari in Krishna lila and thus they say that this demonstrates that it was by the grace of Bipin Bihari Goswami that the Thakura got entrance into the eternal pastimes of Radha Krishna via Ananga Manjari.
The conception of Saraswati Thakura however is diametrically opposed to that of the followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura. Saraswati Thakura considered Bhaktivinoda Thakura as nitya-siddha, eternally liberated. He never for a moment considered Bhaktivinoda as father-what to speak of considering Bhaktivinoda a conditioned soul. Saraswati Thakura always considered Bhaktivinoda as guru (sad-guru-eternal guru). In fact he always saw and spoke of Bhakti-vinoda as being in the highest plane of guru-tattva-as the delegation or representative of Shri Radhika.
As already mentioned in our first article, Lalita Prasada Thakura thought of Bhaktivinoda as "Babu" (father). The fact that Lalita Prasada Thakura saw Bhaktivinoda as "Babu" is evident at the beginning of Svalikhita Jivani where he writes:
My honorable father ordered me not to misuse whatever was written to me by him. Such was his instruction to me. That is the reason that I cannot give this book to ordinary persons. Only one who has complete love and faith in my father can read this work. If anyone reads this volume and makes his own commentary that is against my father, then he alone is responsible, not I.
Saraswati Thakura on the other hand did not consider Bhakti-vinoda Thakura as "father"-he only saw him as guru. Nor did he see any so-called mundane thing about the life of Bhaktivinoda to be an indication that the Thakura was ever a conditioned soul. Thus Saraswati Thakura gave no importance whatsoever to the book Svalikhita Jivani.
The quotation from Navadvipa-bhava-taranga wherein Ananga Manjari takes Bhaktivinoda (Kamala Manjari) and introduces him to Rupa Manjari as a nava-dasi (a newcomer) does show however that Bhaktivinoda has an intimate friendly relationship with Ananga Manjari in eternal pastimes (aprakata-lila). His being referred to as a nava-dasi (newcomer) does not prove that he was previously a conditioned soul but rather the description of his being a nava-dasi is given in the mood of showing us how a member of our sampradaya in the stage of perfection (svarupa-siddhi) will be introduced into the divine pastimes of the Lord. Because they are victims of a faulty process and are averse to the practices of pure devotion (suddha-bhakti), the anti-party has no entrance into this understanding.
In any chronology of an author's works we would naturally expect that the latter works would reflect the authors deepest thought and development. In this regard we reference the last book written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in 1907, namely Sva-Niyama-Dvadasakam, 12 Verses of My Self-Imposed Regulative Principles. In the first verse Bhaktivinoda makes special reference to the line of Shrila Rupa Goswami (Rupa Manjari) and the devotees of his disciplic succession. There he says:
gurau shri-gaurange tad-udita-subhakti-prakarane
harer nami presthe hari-tithisu rupanuga-jane
suka-prokte sastre prati-jani mamastam khalu ratih
The third line; harer nami presthe hari-tithisu rupanuga-jane makes special reference to the line of Rupa Goswami and his followers, by the words rupanuga-jane. Bhaktivinoda prays in his mood of natural humility that whenever and wherever he may happen to take birth he simply desires that his loving affection and attachment will remain unshaken for the line of Rupa Goswami and his followers.
The anti-party however does not give serious consideration to the position of Shrila Rupa Goswami in the disciplic succession of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, despite Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu having personally appointed Rupa as the rasa-acarya. Rupa Goswami simply does not figure predominately in their thinking or understanding of the process of raganuga-bhakti. Prior to the appearance of Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, none of the anti-parties called themselves Rupa-nugas or followers of Shrila Rupa Goswami. This term "Rupanupa" was coined in our modern times by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The anti-party prefers to jump over 269 verses of Rupa Goswami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and immediately enter into the internal sadhana of raganuga, leaving the necessary practice of vaidhi-bhakti behind. This amounts to a spiritual dead end.
From the reading of the anti-parties literature one cannot glean even a particle of the proper conception necessary for raganuga-bhakti. One could read such books as Why Did Chaitanya Maha-prabhu Come and What Did He Come to Give and Navadvipa Vraja Madhuri from cover to cover without ever realizing that the life of divine love which Shri Chaitanya came to give is based on sacrifice! Enjoying the lilas of Radha Krishna "NOW," while one is still at the stage of bhajana-kriya (practice) and without proper qualification (anartha-nivrtti, nistha, and ruci), is the odor that the anti-party reeks of. Before one can enter the plane of higher topics one must first embrace a life of divine slavery-that was the conception of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. The real ekadasa-bhava (siddha-deha) is revealed in proportion to one's conversion from the disease of the enjoying spirit to that of a healthy serving disposition. Our actual initiation into raganuga-bhakti is initiation into the conception of divine slavery.
One must always keep the higher conception above and worship that from a little distance:
pujala ragapatha gaurava bange
mattala sadhu jana visaya range
This sloka was composed by Saraswati Thakura and it describes the particular type of posing which should be adopted by all sadhakas (devotees at the stage of practice). From a little distance and below we should offer our highest regard to the highest quarter. An imitative show of the higher sentiments of divine love will only bring about a negative result in the practicing life of a devotee. Imitation is always to be avoided. The ekadasa-bhava practiced by the anti-party certainly falls into the category of imitation. (The imaginary ekadasa-bhava process practiced by the anti-party consists of receiving the following eleven points of information about one's so-called eternal relationship with Krishna from a so-called guru; sambandha-relationship, vayasa-age, nama-name, rupa-form, yutha-group, vesa-dress, ajna-orders, vasa-sthana-residence, seva-service, parakastha-highest aspiration, and palya-dasi-bhava-the mood of a protected maidservant.)
To support their misconception of receiving ekadasa-bhava at initiation the anti-party quotes the following verse from Bhakti Sandarbha, Anuccheda 283, Text 20:
divyam jnanam hy atra shrimati mantre bhagavat-svarupa-jnanam
tena bhagavata sambandha-visesa-jnanam ca
The words "divyam jnanam" (transcendental knowledge) here refers to the descriptions of the Lord's transcendental form in sacred mantras. Chanting those mantras establishes a relationship with the Supreme Lord. The term "visesa-jnanam" here refers to specific knowledge of a specific relationship with that Lord. The anti-party interprets this however to mean receiving ekadasa-bhava. How from tena bhagavata sambandha visesa-jnanam ca is the ekadasa-bhava construed? It is only the stretch of their imagination. Ekadasa-bhava actually belongs to the prayojana-tattva (the highest stage of realization). The anti-party wants to cut off the word sambandha (the beginning stage of knowledge-fundamental knowledge) and establish their own interpretation thus making ekadasa-bhava a part of sambandha-jnana. They want to take up prayojana at the stage of vaidhi-bhakti leaving aside the abhidheya or means of attainment rather than undergo the real process of purification.
The followers of Saraswati Thakura are certainly not without divyam jnanam or visesa-jnanam. A significant proof of this fact is that the followers of Saraswati Thakura have penetrated into the meaning of the mantras, referred to by the above verse, such as brahma-gayatri, guru-gayatri, gaura-gayatri, gopala-mantra, kama-gayatri, and sannyasa-gayatri (the raga-marga mantra) to such depths that have never been revealed before. In the commentaries to these mantras, the followers of Saraswati Thakura, by his grace, have established the acme of divine truths regarding the worship of Shri Shri Radha Krishna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus they have demonstrated that their lineage is the divine succession of Vraja prema in the parampara of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Rupa Goswami. To satisfy our readers regarding this bold statement we invite you to read the book Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika, published by Gosai Publishers.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught sambandha-jnana to Sanatana Goswami (Rati/Lavanga Manjari) and abhidheya-jnana to Rupa Goswami (Rupa Manjari) but we do not find that Mahaprabhu gave ekadasa-bhava to either of them while imparting His general and specific instructions-as it is assumed by the followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura. Yet if one follows sincerely the instructions given to both Sanatana Goswami and Rupa Goswami, one will no doubt gradually come to the stage of prayojana (perfection), wherein ekadasa-bhava will be revealed.
Another interesting point to note here is that the verse quoted above from Bhakti Sandarbha appears in the section on Deity worship. There Deity worship is being recommended by Jiva Goswami for householders and a reference is given to the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda wherein it is recommended that for wealthy householders the path of Deity worship is most important.
While discussing the defects of imitating ekadasa-bhava it should also be noted here that the anti-party frequently recommends the practice of sadharani karon as a stimulus to ekadasa-bhava. This sadharani karon is the process of attending drama performances known as rasa-lilas. Here the anti-party enthusiastically recommends that by watching such lila dramas, one's eternal loving sentiments (bhavas) for Krishna in madhurya-rasa are aroused. This they say is achieved by identifying one's self with one of the actors and thus experiencing the sentiments being portrayed. Thus they sometimes make a show of shedding tears and manifesting other bodily symptoms of bhava. We point out here the obvious-their sadharani karon process is imitation. One may ask, "What is the harm if neophytes watch rasa-lila dramas?" The answer is that unless one is established in transcendence (nistha, ruci, or asakti) the viewing of rasa-lilas, will only arouse one's mundane sentiments of love which are sentiments of prema (divine love) covered by lust. When this happens the whole thing is spoiled and one may loose his highest prospect forever. What to speak of losing our highest prospect-those who are the eternal residents of the divine world will themselves block our entrance there, due to our having committed offenses. When there is imitation, only offenses will be created. Those offenses will be recorded in that circle of the examiners of the upper quarter, and they will give a stamp of disqualification that we are criminal and unfit. This will go against us and hamper our future progress.
Our Guru Maharaja Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, once commented to us in Vrndavana about this sadharani karon process wherein he said, "One who has already realized rasa-lila, he can go to see such performances-otherwise not." It is also a known fact that such lila dramas must be performed by pure devotees in order for the actual sentiments (bhavas) to manifest. This point the anti-party also overlooks and eagerly goes to attend the lila dramas performed by ordinary conditioned souls. Thus from start to finish it is a cheating process. A process of self-deception.
Some devotees in iskcon are willing to concede that there are two branches from the parampara of Bhaktivinoda. One being harinama and daiva-varnasrama as represented by the line of Saraswati Thakura and the other being ekadasa-bhava (siddha-pranali) as represented by Lalita Prasada Thakura. These devotees, for want of proper understanding, sometimes conclude that these are two parallel paths-one coming from Bhaktivinoda's diksa connection (Bipin Bihari Goswami) and one coming from his siksa connection (Jagannatha dasa Babaji). This idea, however, is completely rejected by the Gaudiya Matha. The siddha-pranali mentioned by Kaviraja Goswami in his commentary of Krishna-karnamrta is not the same as the siddha-pranali practiced by the followers of Lalita Prasada Thakura and thus the path of the anti-party is a rejected one.
The devotees should know that the anti-party, despite their sometimes quoting the books of the Six Goswamis to support their conception, is not in the rupanuga-parampara, the disciplic succession of Rupa Goswami (Rupa Manjari). The anti-party starts their parampara from Nityananda Prabhu to Jahnavi Devi down to Bipin Bihari Goswami. Thus, the Six Goswamis are not included in their parampara.
It is sometimes expressed by the anti-party that Saraswati Thakura was a maha-bhagavata, a great devotee. This they say for convenience sake when trying to work themselves out of a corner. What they really think of Saraswati Thakura is evident in the statement made by their spokesman, quoted at the beginning of this article.
When the anti-party seemingly shows respect to Saraswati Thakura by saying that he is a maha-bhagavata-it is actually a hidden criticism. The real meaning of what they say is that they only consider him a preacher of the yuga-dharma (harinama) and a devotee of the Narayana aspect of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu-not a member of the Vraja camp. In the conception of the anti-party, harinama is something different from raganuga-bhakti and thus they insinuate that Saraswati Thakura cannot give the proper conception of Vraja bhakti although he did preach yuga-dharma very nicely. Thus, they say, his followers can only attain Vaikuntha prema but not Krishna prema in Vraja. The anti-party stresses here that since Saraswati Thakura did not receive ekadasa-bhava from Bhaktivinoda that he was given entrance only to Vaikuntha.
By saying that Saraswati Thakura can only give Vaikuntha prema the anti-party indirectly insinuates that Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, a siddha-purusa and eternal resident of Vraja, Guna Manjari, did not bestow the conception of Vraja-bhakti upon his disciple Saraswati Thakura. It is here that the anti-party makes one of their biggest mistakes.
There is a nice story in this connection regarding Saraswati Thakura being a Vaikuntha Man and a man of Vraja as well:
Once a kanistha-adhikari Vaishnava spent some time at Mayapur in the association of Saraswati Thakura. After some days this man went to Navadvipa to be in the association of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Hearing that this man had come from Mayapur, Babaji was very happy and he inquired about Mayapur. The man replied that he would not go to Mayapur any more, because Saraswati and others there are Vaikuntha men. They are only interested in aisvarya mood-they are not in the Vraja mood. Hearing these words Babaji Maharaja was quite disgusted and he scolded that man for his foolishness and offense at the lotus feet of a pure Vaishnava. Babaji said, `It is ridiculous for a sparrow to attempt to cross the ocean. If you are serious about living in Vraja, then give up your criticism of pure devotees. Do you think that you will get information about Vaikuntha from hell? Saraswati is in Vaikuntha and he is in Vrndavana as well. You are presently in the lap of the witch Maya. How will you know the Saraswati of Vraja? You do not possess the eyes to see how Bhaktivinoda and Saraswati Prabhu have exemplified the performance of hari-bhajana with pure ecstatic emotion.
The highest ekadasa-bhava that one can achieve is that of a manjari maidservant in the camp of Shrimati Radharani. This was actually the bhava of Saraswati Thakura. There is a short anecdote in this connection which shows that Saraswati Thakura (Nayanamani Manjari) was indeed in manjari-bhava:
In Navadvipa there lived a very famous and revered Vaishnava saint named Vamsidasa Babaji Maharaja. Vamsidasa was accepted by all the Vaishnavas as a siddha-purusa (perfected soul). Vamsidasa had a special affectionate relationship with Shrila Saraswati Thakura. Saraswati Thakura sometimes visited Vamsidasa at his place of bhajana in Navadvipa-seeing Saraswati approaching Vamsidasa would shout in a very loud voice, "Oh, a manjari (Nayanamani Manjari) has come! Will Radha come also? She will come, she will come!
The anti-party considers both Bhaktivinoda and Saraswati Thakura to have been conditioned souls. Both these conclusions are thoroughly rejected by Gaudiya Matha and iskcon. The words of Vamsi-dasa alone are sufficient to verify the position of Saraswati Thakura in manjari-bhava-provided that is-that one has faith in the words of great saintly persons:
yasya deve para bhaktir, yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah, prakasante mahatmanah
"Only unto those great souls who have faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."
Our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhu-pada, used to say that Saraswati Thakura was "A Vaikuntha Man." The meaning of this statement is that Saraswati Thakura was beyond all mundane calculations and designations. He descended to this world at Shri Ksetra Jagannatha Puri to dispel the ignorance which covered the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and reveal the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. That is the meaning of the name which his father gave him, Bimala Prasada. Bimala Devi is the yogamaya potency of Lord Jagannatha and it is Bimala Devi who reveals the pastimes of Jagannatha. Thus Bimala Prasada means one who has descended by the arrangement of the internal potency (antaranga-sakti). It is their misfortune that the anti-party cannot see this truth.
The greatest defect of the anti-party is that they do not have complete faith that the holy name of Krishna can reveal one's siddha-svarupa (eternally perfected form). The anti-party actually lacks faith in the holy name of Krishna. Furthermore they consider that the attainment of divine consciousness is an ascending process. This is wrong-by practice alone one cannot attain divine consciousness. Divine consciousness is the super-subjective plane of reality and He reserves the right to reveal Himself to His devotee. It is a descending process. The real knowledge of ekadasa-bhava is not the so-called knowledge of relationship, rupa, nama, etc. imparted to a conditioned soul by a so-called guru, but the actual attainment of ekadasa-bhava is effected by the descent of the holy name-when one chants the name in pure unalloyed love and devotion without even the slightest trance of desire for kama (enjoyment) or moksa (liberation). This is the method of perfection recommended by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Siksastakam-param-vijayate shri-krishna-sankirtanam.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura has himself chastised the mind of those who want to jump to the higher plane-neglecting the auspicious process of chanting the holy name. We find the following verse in Kalyana-kalpataru, Song 18, Verse 4:
na manile su-bhajana, sadhu-sange sankirtan
ana korile nirjane smarana
na uthiya brksopari, tanatani phal dhori'
dusta-phal korile arjan
"But your idea, dear mind, is to neglect the best and most auspicious process for worshipping Krishna, namely the congregational chanting of His holy names in the association of purified devotees. And you don't even bother to try to remember Him in a lonely place. Your attitude is just like trying to pick fruits forcibly from a tree by jumping at them from the ground. Instead of climbing the tree to properly pick the sweet, ripened fruits from the top of the tree, you will simply get the sour, unripe fruits by such a jumping process."
Hundreds of articles defeating the anti-party and sahajiya misconceptions can be written, as Saraswati Thakura has given us the inspiration and courage to do so. He himself wrote hundreds of verses and gave thousands of lectures defeating all types of misconception, so that sincere souls could traverse the path of pure devotional service. This however the anti-party considered a lower platform of service to the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately it is they who are the losers-as Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji said, "They do not possess the eyes to see how Bhaktivinoda and Saraswati Prabhu have exemplified the performance of hari-bhajana with pure ecstatic emotion." That they do not possess the eyes to see, means that the anti-party is blind to self-manifest spiritual truths.
The real divine life of Saraswati Thakura is described in the following two verses:
namaste gaura-vani-shri-murtaye dina-tarine
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto you, who are the personified teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You are the deliverer of the fallen souls. You do not tolerate any statement which is against the siddhanta enunciated by Shrila Rupa Goswami."
vilasatu hrdi nityam bhaktisiddhanta vani
"With his first step, He cut to pieces the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he crushed the speculation of scholars of salvation and liberation. With his third, he softened vaidhi- bhakti with a touch of divine love (raga-marga). Taking us beyond Vaikuntha, he has introduced us to the highest worship of Shri Radha and Govinda.
"With the softness of Vrndavana within, and the hardness of a devastator without, he created havoc in the world-fighting with one and all. Single-handedly fighting against the whole world, and cutting everything to pieces-that was his external attitude. And his second attitude was to stop the boasting research of the scholars and doctors of different schools of thought; and third, to minimize and slacken the grandeur of the worship of Narayana, and establish the service of Radha-Govinda as the highest attainment. He caused the domain of love to descend into this plane, with the service of Radha-Govinda, establishing the flow of divine love from the heart as all in all."
"That was his history-the real existence of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada. May his teachings dance eternally within the core of our hearts."
The Benign Authority -- Chapter 3
"Anuraga means the plane of direct experience of the world of Absolute Divine Reality, and there the experience is itself the highest confirmation. The sastra is only pointing the way."
At the same time that the articles Siksa Parampara and Eternally Liberated appeared on the internet, there was simultaneously another attack on the Gaudiya Matha and iskcon parampara being conducted in Vrndavana-in the very midst of the annual Mayapur/Vrndavana festival. This time the attack against our parampara was coming from a young Indian scholar (once a member of iskcon)-who was representing the arguments and objections of the anti-party guru-a elderly Hindu scholar. As it turned out, in their opinion, not even Bhaktivinoda Thakura is bona-fide, what then to speak of Saraswati Thakura and his followers.
Shortly thereafter I received several emails from a fellow Vaishnava in Vrndavana informing me of the accusations against Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and their respective missions.
To get a confirmation regarding the Vrndavana anti-party's accusations against our guru-parampara we sent two brahmacaris to Vrndavana to seek an interview with the anti-party spokesman. We were successful in obtaining first hand information regarding the propaganda against our guru-parampara. It was no longer hearsay-the Vrndavana anti-party was on a campaign to disrupt the faith of innocent devotees who had taken shelter of our guru-varga.
The majority of the anti-party criticisms were aimed at Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and iskcon. Gaudiya Matha was lumped in here and there. The anti-party spokesman took serious objection as regards the preaching mission and siddhanta of Saraswati Thakura and also Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
In many instances the remarks of the Vrndavana anti-party were outrageous, in other instances they were based on logic or argument, and were often followed with scriptural references. Sometimes the arguments were even childish. However, in every instance one thing stood out the most-the objections lacked substance. The very essence of Krishna consciousness was lacking.
We are going to reproduce the main points of objection that the Vrndavana anti-party makes against our parampara and respond with our comments. We are doing this because we have been requested to do so by several concerned Vaishnavas who feel that the propaganda of the Vrndavana anti-party is an intolerable offense to our guru-parampara.
Before beginning the main topic of this article we would like to say a few words to clarify our position. Some of our readers may feel that we are speaking too harshly against the Vrndavana anti-party. If so we would like to point out that we have not attacked the persons of the Vrndavana anti-party but only that which we perceive as their offenses and misconceptions. We should also add that it is they that endeavor to find fault in the divine succession of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Saraswati Thakura and their followers-it is not we who have sought out our accusers with a view to offend their parampara. It is they who have attacked us, not we who have attacked them.
Nonetheless, we would like to vindicate some of the anti-party members to some degree for we feel that they alone are not to blame for their having arrived at their present position of offending our parampara. If we look closely at iskcon we will find that there are many devotees in iskcon who think and feel in a way which is conducive to the anti-party sentiments. This, we propose, is not the fault of the individuals but the fault of the institution in which they have taken shelter.
It is the concerned opinion of many older members of iskcon that since the disappearance of Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada the leadership in iskcon has not trained their students in the proper siddhanta and practice of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. It seems that the leaders have also over stressed the importance of external achievement at any cost, be it one's own sadhana or even the dignity of another Vaishnava, vaishnava-aparadha. This we feel is largely due as a result of the iskcon leaders having completely cut themselves off from the senior members of the Gaudiya Matha who are themselves living/realized representatives of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
It is also a fact that the Vrndavana anti-party spokesman and others of their camp have been poorly treated at times by iskcon leaders and they may naturally bear a grudge against iskcon and our parampara as a result of their bad experience. It is indeed unfortunate. I can sympathize with their plight to some extent but I cannot tolerate their propaganda against those who are very dear to Krishna. We do not hate the sinner-we hate the sin.
The following are ten points of criticism of our parampara by the Vrndavana anti-party:
1. Only sastra (scripture) is an authority-no human can be so in any circumstance. Even God follows sastra to show the example. Sastra is there to make sure that the independent "self-effulgent" personalities do not appear.
2. Bhagavata-diksa does not exist-there is no logical meaning of bhagavata-diksa.
3. Only Krishna is self effulgent-no jiva soul can be, because self effulgent means, in so many words, independent.
4. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada is a rebel against the parampara. He disregarded all the proper diksa lines and attempted to establish his own concocted line by picking famous names from the Gaudiya history.
5. Guru is sadhana siddha.
6. Mantra is a secret that must be revealed. It must be heard directly from the guru. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, if he ever received initiation, definite-ly did not receive brahma-gayatri and sannyasa gayatri. Since his mantras are not received in a bona-fide disciplic succession they will never bear fruit-sampradaya vihina ye, mantras te nisphala matah (Padma Purana).
7. mantra-diksa are not bona-fide. (This point is based on the idea that the mantras which the anti-party spokesman received from his guru in the Gadadhara parivara, are not the same as those given in iskcon and Gaudiya Matha).
8. Harinama initiation is a concoction. The idea of giving the holy name through diksa has no genuine origin.
9. Acceptance of brahma-gayatri (upanayana samskara) is only a part of the varnasrama system in the Vedic tradition, and has no place in the Gaudiya line."
10. Sannyasa is not to be given in the Gaudiya line, it is only an external necessity of the ritualistic varnasrama society.
With the blessings of our guru-varga we have taken up these points against our guru-parampara in this presentation, presenting counter arguments and clarifications.
I offer my humble-most pranamas to all the Vaishnavas who have assembled at the lotus feet of our guru-parampara to perform hari-bhajana and to broadcast the message of the Shri Krishna Sankirtana Movement. Param-Vijayate Shri-Krishna-Sankirtanam! Gaura Haribol!
In this section we will discuss the first point raised by the Vrndavana anti-party and briefly mention the second point as well.
The Vrndavana anti-party says: "Only sastra is an authority-no human can be so in any circumstance. Even God follows sastra to show the example. Sastra is there to make sure that the independent "self-effulgent" personalities do not appear.
The first point of the Vrndavana anti-party is groundwork for their attempt to establish that the guru-varga of Shrila A. C. Bhakti-vedanta Swami Prabhupada did not preach according to the sastra. The Vrndavana anti-party is of this faulty opinion for two reasons: 1- They themselves have not realized the purport of sastra, and 2- they fail to understand that the pure Vaishnavas are on equal footing with the sastra in all circumstances. Not only are the pure Vaishnavas on an equal footing with the sastra but they are sometimes on a superior footing as well. A pure Vaishnava can make adjustments to the sastra when and if necessary. This is of course possible only by the Lord's own direct arrangement, nonetheless it does happen. We will give some examples and evidence for this opinion as our article develops.
It is indeed imperative that the sastra be accepted as the benign authority in human society. Yet we see that only those with the divine vision can see what is hidden in the sastra-what it is that the sastra seeks to tell us. Other than to the pure devotees, the truth remains hidden. In fact it is almost without exception that the kanistha and madhyama-adikari devotees seldom (if ever) understand the real meaning, or the essence of the sastra. If nothing else, the history of Hinduism in India will bear testimony to that.
Here is an example of how the hidden truth in the sastra is only known through the devotees who have higher vision, the rasika-bhaktas. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the essence of revealed truth, we find no direct mention of the name of Shrimati Radharani. We are told that the Bhagavatam, from it's first verse to it's last verse, sings the glories of the service of Shrimati Radharani. Yet, we find no direct mention of Shri Radhika in Bhagavatam. So how are we to know these things? They are revealed through the writings and purports of realized souls. It is not by Sanskrit grammar alone that one can extract the essence of the Bhagavatam, otherwise millions of jnanis, smartas, brahmanas, mayavadins and others would have known this most secret of all secret truths long, long ago.
It is Krishna and His pure devotees alone who can extract the essence of the sastra. They can show us how Bhagavatam sings the glory of Shri Radhika, they can show us how the Bhagavatam is the purport of Brahma-gayatri, and they can show us that the purport of Brahma-gayatri is the Divine Service of Shri Radhika. They alone can trace all these things in the sastra and therefore the Vaishnava is the highest authority. Through him we can see and understand the sastra. Without the Vaishnava to guide us, the sastra is static. It becomes dynamic when revealed by a pure Vaishnava.
Whatever topics Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed with His decent, the Six Goswamis endeavored to give support to by quoting the sastra. Nonetheless only those fortunate souls with sraddha (faith) have accepted their evidences. On the contrary, many learned persons have rejected the works of the Six Goswamis, even going so far as to say that Shri Jiva Goswami was an outcast acarya or a rebel.
In the not so distant past some scholars (like Giridhara Lal Goswami) have criticized an acarya like Shri Jiva Goswami, considering that he had no proper understanding of the sastra. Similarly in this decade we find a few so-called scholars criticizing the validity of the works of acaryas like Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
The Vrndavana anti-party statement in point one is a direct attack on Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Saraswati Thakura for their having made revolutionary adjustments according to time, place, and circumstance in order to advance the cause of Krishna consciousness throughout the world. Since the Vrndavana anti-party discriminates between the book Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata they therefore conclude that these adjustments are against the injunctions of the sastra.
We strongly disagree with the anti-party on this point. It is the opinion of the followers of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's line that the actions and words of great acaryas (pure Vaishnavas) are themselves as good as the sastra and thus they are acceptable as an ultimate authority. As confirmed by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura: "saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair-all the sastras sing the glories of the acarya as being the direct non-different form of the Supreme Lord Shri Hari."
Indeed, Krishna Himself has said:
acaryam mam vijaniyan navanmanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruh
"One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in anyway. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods." (Bhag. 11.17.27)
What one hears from a bona-fide acarya can be accepted as good as the sastra. Just because the revelation of a pure Vaishnava is above our present understanding we should not disrespect or criticize him as the foolish and less intelligent persons may do. One in the lower position cannot give the certificate to the Vaishnava in the higher position. It is not the duty of the lower adhikari Vaishnava to instruct or criticize the higher adhikari Vaishnava. Also it is not the duty of an empowered representative of Krishna to ditto the plane of our limited understanding.
Those who cannot recognize the higher adhikari Vaishnava are either covered by ignorance, false pride, envy, aparadha (offenses) or all of the above. They violate the injunctions of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam which declares that the paramahamsa's activities are no longer ruled by the scriptures-avidhi-gocarah (Bhag. 11.18.28)
The difficulty with the anti-party is that they cannot see the divinity of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Saraswati Thakura, neither from their writings, from their personal conduct, or from their preaching missions. The anti-party cannot see that Bhaktivinoda and Saraswati Thakura had a higher transcendental vision of the necessity of their times or that they had a higher understanding of the purpose of the sastra. The anti-party is not prepared to accept that these two were divine personalities and that they were inspired by the Supreme Lord within. Therefore the Vrndavana anti-party rejects the contributions of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Saraswati Thakura.
Only Bhaktivinoda Thakura can save his critics from the darkness of ignorance-therefore we will now quote extensively from the words of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and allow the Thakura to directly explain to the Vrndavana anti-party the truth regarding revealed scriptures.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in Shri Tattva-sutra:
This Tattva-sutra is obtained and proved by the eternal realization. Therefore, it can be known as the very essence of the Vedas. This is originated from the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna-Chaitanya, and hence, is the origin of all the revealed scriptures. Only the reality has been accepted in this treatise.
The divine knowledge is characterized as the sun whereas all the scriptures (sastra) are rays of that sun. This saying reveals that no scripture can contain the divine knowledge to the fullest extent. The self-evident knowledge of the jivas is the source of all the scripture. This self-evident knowledge should be understood as God-given. The sages endowed with compassionate hearts have received this self-evident knowledge (axiomatic truths) from the Supreme Lord, and recorded the same in the scriptures for the benefit of all jivas. This recorded portion of this primeval knowledge (God-given to the jiva) has been manifested in the form of the Vedas.
The independent cultivation of the self-evident knowledge is always necessary. This is the important thing needed in understanding the truth along with the study of the scriptures. Since the knowledge (divine knowledge) itself is the origin of the scriptures, those who disregard the root and depend upon the branches cannot have any well-being. Now, it may be argued that, when all the scriptures have been derived of the self-evident faith, where is the need for honoring them? The answer is that, in the conditioned state of the jivas, the real knowledge is covered by the darkness of ignorance. In the devotional cultivation associated with retraction, when the hidden reality is gradually manifested in the state of bhakti-samadhi, the jivas will be realizing the self-evident knowledge.
Beginning from the time of cosmic creation until today, a great amount of knowledge about the reality has been discovered by the sages. Apart from that limitless knowledge dis-covered, still the sages are occasionally delivering many new facts about the reality, obtained in their devotional trance of samadhi. All these discovered principles may be called as the scriptures. By the help of a certain principle another one may be properly understood. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully record all these discovered principles of reality. Without following this process, the ultimate conclusions of the discovered principles can never be attained.
Shri Brahma, the original propounder of the scriptures enlightened Shri Narada with the principles of reality discovered by himself and advised him to develop the same by the further discovery of other divine principles.
All the discovered principles of the reality will get added to the scriptural knowledge and help the future developments of the same. Therefore, those who believe in the self-evident faith, they can never disparage the scriptures if at all they are intelligent in the study of them. But, those who are not endowed with the study of the principles of bhakti, which is the essential purport of the scriptures, their scriptural learning is only a waste of labor.
Therefore, the `essence-seekers' conclusion is that, all the principles will be decided by the help of self-evident knowledge. All the scriptures should be understood by the help of that unalloyed knowledge. But, this rule does not apply to those whose self-evident knowledge has been adulterated with the empirical knowledge. Hence the following aphorism,
`Scriptural ordinances are intended for the regulation of the ignorant human beings whereas those who are endowed with discretion and divine wisdom are not controlled by them.'
Similarly, Manu also has elaborately explained the importance of scriptures and finally stated the following:
In this way: in all the scriptures these two signs can be seen viz., 1- honor of the revealed scriptures in general, 2- secondary importance of the scriptures in comparison to the self-evident faith. But, the authors of the scriptures do not clearly indicate the lightness of the scriptures. The reason for such an attitude is that, the meritorious people who are authorized to discard the scriptural binding can naturally become independent of the scriptures by the help of the hidden indications of the scriptural authors and also by their own purified knowledge. Such meritorious persons can carry on the sinless activities by the help of their own intellect as well as by the advice of the scriptures. In that stage, the scriptures will not have any binding over them but only they serve as their guides. On the other hand those who are unable to understand their own spiritual path due to the lack of self-evident knowledge and due to ignorance who may not be able to ascertain their duties and fall into misery due to sensuality, for such people the scriptural ordinances are imperative. Such persons should not know that there is any way for them apart from the bindings of the scriptures. When they become authorized due to their advancement, they will be able to know this secret by the suggestions of the scriptures.
Since knowledge itself is the root of the scriptures the one who has attained that self-evident knowledge will not be ruled by the scriptures, but only they guide him with advice. In case of ignorant people, this is not so. They must be governed by the rules of the scriptures for their upliftment, if not they will have their inevitable downfall due to the sensual addictions. It is argued that, instead of governing by means of tedious rules, let the scriptures help the ignorant people by means of friendly advice. The reason for such an attitude is that the ignorant people do not understand their own good and bad due to the lack of knowledge. Due to the instinctual habits they will engage in wanton activities.
Since their nature is mostly inclined towards the gratification of the senses, for their spiritual betterment the scriptures try to reform them through many types of tricks, by applying coercion, and with skillfulness etc. Often the scriptures threaten the ignorant people with punishment of hell, at times they put forth the temptations of heavenly enjoyments. Again, they reform the human beings depending upon their inclinations. In many scriptures one may see the sanction of liquor, polygamy, killing of animals etc. All those are meant for the gradual control of the barbarian human beings by means of sanctioning some type of restricted activities according to their inclination. By their gradual reformation, the scriptures want to put them in the path of detachment. The many types of fruits mentioned along with those activities are only meant for attracting the attention of the ignorant followers.
An argument may arise in this regard that, this Tattva-sutra also being a scripture, why the secret purport of the scriptures has been openly given here? The answer is that, this book of Tattva-sutra has been published for the benefit of the self-realized Bhagavata devotees. They are authorized to know about all these thoughts. By the help of these aphorisms, their intellect will become favorable for the cultivation of divine love. Therefore, the author has openly declared here the scriptural secret.
Devotees of the Supreme Lord are not controlled by the scriptures since their activities are congenial to the divine wisdom.
Therefore, when the self-realized devotees ordain any new arrangement, they should be agreed with as a religious code, even if such new arrangements are not found in the scriptural dictums of the previous sages. (Shri Tattva-sutra, pages 191-204)
How can even a single thread of doubt remain regarding the proper understanding of the relationship between the pure Vaishnava and the sastra after hearing from Bhaktivinoda Thakura? If such doubts still remain in one's heart it is surely due to the Supreme Lord being dissatisfied with that person.
According to the Vrndavana anti-party the sastra should be taken as the basis of everything and the Vaishnava can never be considered an authority-that is, unless he dittos the sastra. This concept, however, is not the opinion of self-realized souls like Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, who has been accepted throughout the land of Gaudiya Vaishnavas as the Seventh Goswami. Our readers should not take it lightly that Bhaktivinoda Thakura has been called the Seventh Goswami. He was given this due respect not by the ignorant masses but by some of the most dignified and educated Vaishnavas of his time. Pandita Satkari Chattopadhyaya Siddhanta Bhusan and other respected gentlemen of his mark all accepted the divinity of Bhaktivinoda Thakura as the Seventh Goswami, and it was thus accepted by all of Bengal. Not only Bengal, but in recent times the Harvard Divinity School has commented that, "Bhaktivinoda Thakura has made the most significant contribution to theistic thought in this 20th Century."
A proper understanding of the point regarding the innovations of religious principles introduced by bona-fide acaryas is that one should accept those innovations to be as good as the sastra. This is especially true in relation to Saraswati Thakura having introduced the institution of sannyasa, and the giving of Brahma-gayatri as part of mantra-diksa. We discuss this topic at length in chapter four.
The actual basis of spiritual life or advancement in Krishna consciousness is sraddha, faith, and association with sadhus. Shrila Rupa Goswami has written: adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango `tha bhajana-kriya. In the beginning, at the basis of everything there must be sraddha, faith. Then comes sadhu-sanga and then in the association of sadhus one begins the study of the sastra, bhajana-kriya. Only to those who have this sraddha as the basis of their Krishna consciousness and the association with pure devotees are all the purports of the Vedas (sastra) revealed:
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Svetasvatara Up. 6.38)
This is a hard lump for the scholars to swallow, but faith alone is the sole necessity for advancement in Krishna consciousness-faith and faith in the Vaishnava. Scholarship alone can never reveal Krishna:
sabda-brahmani nisnato na nisnayat pare yadi
sramas tasya srama-phalo hy adhenum iva raksatah
"One may be expert in Vedic scholarship, but if he fails to understand the position of the Absolute Truth, all his study is a waste of time. His hard work will be his only reward, and his efforts will be like the labor of one who struggles to maintain a cow that has no calf and cannot produce milk." (Bhag. 11.11.18)
This is also confirmed in the Brahma-Samhita 5.33:
vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau
"The Lord cannot be understood by academic wisdom of the Vedas, but knowledge of Him is revealed to unalloyed devotees."
Like many scholars, anti-party members seem to have been overcome by the anartha of prayasa, or trying by one's own endeavor to acquire knowledge of the scriptures without proper guidance. The result of such prayasa is always the same, one fails to understand the purport of Vedic literature.
bahu-sastre bahu-vakye citte bhrama haya
sadhya-sadhana srestha na haya niscaya
"If one becomes a bookworm, reading many books and scriptures and hearing many commentaries and the instructions of many men, this will produce doubt within the heart. One cannot in this way ascertain the real goal of life." (C.c. Adi-lila 16.11)
The search for knowledge is certainly misleading in our ultimate quest for pure devotional service. In fact, although somewhat necessary in the beginning of devotional service, it nonetheless becomes the prerequisite for pure devotional service that one become free from knowledge, jnana-sunya-bhakti. By knowledge, it is meant the spirit of ascertaining the Absolute Truth with a calculative approach, the attempt to capture the infinite in one's fist. In the ultimate issue Krishna is unknown and unknowable. Sastra points the way, but only faith can reveal the higher plane. Jnana-sunya-bhakti is the plane of divine love which is free from any calculation and does not consider even the opulence and power of the Lord-jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. This is the standard of pure devotion of the eternal residents of Shri Goloka Vrndavana.
The mastery of knowing everything must be hatefully rejected if we are to approach the highest domain, jnana-karmady-anavrtam. It is not possible to "know" anything about the infinite, either in magnitude or quality. The infinite is a flow of autocracy, so what can we "know" of it? Whatever we "know" at present can all prove false in a moment simply by His will.
Krishna is the unconquerable, ajita, but He becomes conquered, jitah, by the love of pure devotees, not by the knowledge of scholars or the study of many books. The anti-party wants to become expert in logic and argument to besmirch the path of pure devotion, the bhagavata-marga, but this is all a waste of the valuable form of human life. For all their scholarship and learning the anti-party has simply become an educated combatant with the guru-parampara.
A good example of the higher position sometimes being given to a pure Vaishnava with regard to his being an agent of revealed truth is found in the Chaitanya-charitamrita, a sastra accepted by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. We find in the discussions between Shri Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya that there is a point where the sastra retires and the authority of the pure Vaishnava is taken as the final word.
Shri Chaitanya, at the beginning of the discourse with Ramananda requested Ramananda to speak about the ultimate goal of life and to support his statements with the sastra.
prabhu kahe, "pada sloka sadhyera nirnaya"
Shri Chaitanya said to Ramananda Raya, "Please recite a verse from the revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life." (C. c. Madhya-lila 8.57)
This is certainly the generally accepted rule in spiritual circles in India-one must support his statements with reference to the sastra, otherwise one will not be accepted as a spiritual authority.
sruti smrti puranadi pancaratra-vidhim vina
aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate
"Devotional service to the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literature like Upanisads, Puranas, Narada Pancaratra, etc. is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.101 and Brahma-Yamala)
Sruti means that which is given by the Lord and smrti means that which is spoken about the Lord by His devotees. In any case only the Mayavadins do not accept the smrti to be as good as the sruti. To the Vaishnavas, both the Lord and the Lord's pure devotee are authority.
After each and every statement by Ramananda Raya, Shri Chaitanya requested him to go further: age kaha ara, "Please go further." Thus the conversation between Shri Chaitanya and Ramananda progressed from one topic to another, step by step revealing the ultimate goal of life. At last the end of the discussions in madhurya-rasa culminating in the transcendental loving affairs between Radha and Krishna were discussed. All this was done by Ramananda by quoting sastra.
At that point Shri Chaitanya pleasantly surprised Ramananda Raya by saying:
eho haya, age kaha ara
"This is very nice. Now please tell me something more!"
Hearing this Ramananda replied:
iha va-i buddhi-gati nahi ara
yeba `prema-vilasa-vivarta' eka haya
taha suni tomara sukha haya, ki na haya
"There is another wonderful topic (prema-vilasa-vivarta) which you can hear from me but I do not know if you will be satisfied with what I say."
Here Ramananda Raya reveals before Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that there was a feeling in his heart which he was willing to express on the order of the Lord but that he would not be able to quote from sastra. As it is said, "dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam," the Absolute Truth is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person. (Mahab. V.P. 313.117)
Ramananda then spoke a verse which was his own composition. This verse begins with the words, pahilehi raga nayana-bhange bhela (C.c. Madhya-lila 8.194). In these words, Ramananda gave a hint about the divine appearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in whom both Radha and Krishna are combined.
For what Ramananda wanted to say, he had no sastra to quote. Nonetheless, when Mahaprabhu heard the composition of Ramananda He was very satisfied. Indeed Ramananda, by his own composition, revealed that which had never before been revealed in the sastra.
Ramananda Raya further said to Shri Chaitanya:
yei kahao, sei kahi vani
ki kahiye bhala-manda, kichui na jani
"I do not know what I am saying, but You have made me speak what I have spoken, be it good or bad. I am simply repeating that message." (C.c. Madhya-lila 8.198)
What we find here in the discussions between Shri Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya is a truth superior to that which the anti-party has attempted to establish in point number one. We do agree with all parties that indeed the sastra is important and is not to be vilified, but the proper siddhanta according to Kaviraja Goswami, the author of Chaitanya-charitamrita, is that the Lord speaks personally through His pure devotees.
According to Vaishnava acaryas such as Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, the stage of anuraga (in which Ramananda Raya was situated) is a stage of Krishna consciousness independent of the sastra. The sastra, Shrila Shridhara Maharaja says, is to give us a confirmation of what we feel in our heart. The real thing, he says, is to be realized in the heart. Anuraga means the plane of direct experience of the world of absolute divine reality, and there the experience is itself the highest confirmation. The sastra is only pointing the way. Furthermore, Shrila Shridhara Maharaja says that the sastras are the recorded experiences of those great personalities who have their special experience in the plane of infinite faith, sraddha.
Not only does Krishna speak through His pure devotees but He acts through them as well, for their every action is executed solely in conjunction with His will. Therefore the proper conclusion is that the socio-religious adjustments that Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Saraswati Thakura have made with regard to the preaching mission and especially with regard to the institution of sannyasa, are to be considered as an introduction of religious principles for the benefit of all mankind according to time, place, and necessity. These adjustments are exclusively meant for the preaching of the sankirtana movement, the prime benediction for humanity at large. This has also been confirmed by Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Shri Tattva-sutra, as quoted earlier in this chapter.
We also find the following statement by Yudhisthira Maharaja in the Mahabharata, Vana-parva, 313.117:
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
"The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person. Consequently, as the sastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the self-realized predecessors advocate."
Unfortunately the anti-party lacks the spiritual sense to recognize that the contributions of realized souls are the very essence of the sastra. It is also an obvious oversight of the anti-party that the sastra, although eternal, does not come to us independent of the Vaishnava.
The decent of the Absolute Truth which comes to us through the succession of pure devotees and which is the only life of a bona- fide (living) parampara, is called a bhagavata-parampara. Indeed the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the most essential scripture for all Gaudiya Vaishnavas, only comes to us via a siksa or bhagavata-parampara. Krishna spoke the essence of the Bhagavata to Brahma. Brahma spoke it to Narada, and Narada in turn taught it to Vyasa. Sukadeva, who was known not to have undergone any diksa samskara, learned its essence from Vyasa. Sukadeva spoke it to the Emperor Pariksit. At that time Suta heard it as well, and he in turn spoke it to Saunaka. This is the Bhagavata-guru-parampara, a siksa-parampara. This is also our answer to the second objection of the Vrndavana anti-party wherein they say, "Bhagavata-diksa and thus Bhagavata-sampradaya are bogus." In a nutshell, our response is that without the bhagavata-parampara (as mentioned above) there is no Shrimad-Bhagavatam! Here we might put a counter challenge to the anti-party: if you have no bhagavata-parampara then you have no parampara!
Truth is first revealed within the heart of Brahma:
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye
"Vedic knowledge was first imparted into the heart of Brahma, the original created being." (Bhag. 1.1.1)
Then, this transcendental knowledge is passed on to Narada and next to Vyasadeva who, in this millennium, is the compiler of the Vedas. And after Vyasadeva many perfected souls contributed to the sastra from their realizations. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself composed eight slokas which all Gaudiyas accept to be as good as sastra. The Lord then inspired and empowered his representatives in disciplic succession to also write books on the science of pure devotion, and He also empowered them to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.
If we trace the origin of all sastra we come to Vyasadeva, and then to his guru Narada who heard the essence of truth from his guru Lord Brahma in the form of the four nutshell verses of the Bhagavatam. We do not find anywhere that Narada received mantra-diksa from Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma had realized the ocean of truth after he performed meditation on the three-fold gayatri, OM, which had manifest from the Divine Flute of Shri Krishna. OM is indeed the seed of divya-jnanam, divine knowledge, the seed of all knowledge from which manifests the gayatri. Next the Veda, then the Vedanta, and then the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Although it is said that OM emanates from Krishna, it actually is emanating from Krishna's flute, and Krishna's flute is a nitya-parsada devotee eternally situated in santa-rasa. Krishna simply causes the flute to vibrate, when it comes in connection with His lotus lips. Krishna does not directly vibrate the sound OM, but He causes His flute to do so. In this way, from the very beginning the position of Krishna's devotee is conspicuous in the process of receiving divine knowledge. Either the devotee is imparting knowledge according to his realization or the Lord is directly speaking through him. In either case the message is transcendental.
In the last part of the anti-parties' first statement it is said, "Sastra is there to make sure that the independent self-effulgent personalities do not appear." I have not mentioned this point up to now in this article. Possibly they are trying here to make a twist on the siddhanta by playing on words. Anyway, the proper understanding should be that the sastra is there to help us recognize "self-effulgent" personalities if and when they do appear, not to restrict such personalities from appearing.
We have written here a few words with regard to the objections of the Vrndavana anti-party against our guru-parampara. Subsequent chapters will address further anti-party misconceptions.
The Process of Initiation -- Chapter 4
"Saraswati Thakura did not invent methods of devotional service or create his own parampara according to his whim. The real truth is that Saraswati Thakura simply uncovered bona-fide Vaishnava practices that had either been neglected or covered by selfish persons desiring to make a trade of, or a family affair of the process of pure devotional service."
Challenging the entire initiation process followed by iskcon and the Gaudiya Matha, the Vrndavana anti-party states as follows:
1. Harinama initiation is a concoction. The idea of giving the holy name through diksa has no genuine origin.
2. Acceptance of brahma-gayatri (upanayana samskara) is only a part of the varnasrama system in the Vedic tradition, and has no place in the Gaudiya line.
3. Sannyasa is not to be given in the Gaudiya line, it is only an external necessity of the ritualistic varnasrama society.
This article addresses the complaints of the anti-party with regard to the above statements and demonstrates how the practices of giving harinama initiation, brahma-gayatri, and sannyasa are all bona-fide processes for the attainment of the lotus feet of Krishna and that these processes are recommended by previous acaryas and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
To establish their criticism against harinama initiation the anti-party references a verse from the Chaitanya-charitamrita wherein it is stated that the holy name is independent of diksa. This verse is as follows:
diksa-purascarya-vidhi apeksa na kare
jihva-sparse a-candala sabare uddhare
"One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class (candala) can be delivered." (C.c. Madhya-lila 15.108)
Unfortunately the anti-party has taken the meaning of this verse out of context. The holy name is certainly independent of everything because the holy name is non-different than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna and His name are absolute and therefore both are supremely independent. Krishna does not require anything from His devotee; food, flowers or anything else-nonetheless when these things are offered to Krishna with love, He accepts them. Similarly the holy name is independent of initiation but this does not mean that the holy name will not be offered by the guru to a sincere disciple in an official ceremony.
The anti-party has not actually understood the meaning of the above statement from Chaitanya-charitamrita. We shall present here, the proper understanding of this verse, stating the independence of the holy name and it's practical application in the process of sadhana-bhakti (the stage of practice).
Independence of the holy name from "diksa," can be understood in two ways. The holy name is independent from the process of initiation as mentioned above, as well as being independent from the initiation into gayatri and mula mantras; mantra-diksa.
Mantra-diksa is of two types; upanayana and pancaratric. In upanayana mantra-diksa, the brahma-gayatri is offered to the disciple and in the pancaratric mantra-diksa, the gopala mantra and kama-gayatri are given.
The correct understanding of the verse we are discussing is that the holy name (maha-mantra) may be given to those who have not yet received mantra-diksa either upanayana or pancaratric. By the use of the words purascarya and vidhi this verse states that the holy name can be chanted even before one has undergone any previous samskara (ritual for purification) or begun to follow the regulative principles. From this verse we understand that everyone is eligible to immediately begin the culture of chanting the holy name.
The process of chanting the holy name that is followed in the parampara of Saraswati Thakura is strictly according to the above quoted verse from Chaitanya-charitamrita. In neither of these institutions do we find that the students are prohibited from chanting the holy name before receiving a particular initiation. So in effect the anti-party criticism on this point is without basis. The new students in both Gaudiya Matha and iskcon are immediately encouraged to chant the holy name even before moving into the temple. In fact it is almost always required that one has been chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra at home for some time before moving to the temple or matha. In particular it is an established rule in iskcon temples that the student must begin chanting at least 16 rounds of japa and attend all kirtanas from the very first day. Gaudiya Matha follows a similar process of requesting their members to chant 64 rounds a day but in either case both institutions encourage their students to immediately begin chanting the holy name. Once living in the temple or matha the students continue to chant the holy name and then begin following purascarya-vidhi.
Purascarya-vidhi means the preliminary rules and regulations to be practiced before receiving mantra-diksa (gayatri initiation). The holy name can be chanted even before having performed any of these preliminary purifications. From the lowest position of material conditioning one can begin the chanting of the holy name. In fact according to Hari-bhakti-vilasa 17.11,12 it is said that one has to chant the holy name before receiving mantra-diksa.
puja traikaliki nityam, japas tarpanam eva ca
homo brahmana-bhuktis ca, purascaranam ucyate
guror labdhasya mantrasya, prasadena yatha-vidhi
pancangopasana-siddhyai, puras caitad vidhiyate
"In the morning, afternoon and evening, one should worship the Deity, chant the Hare Krishna mantra, offer oblations, perform a fire sacrifice, and feed the brahmanas. These five activities constitute purascarya. To attain full success when taking initiation from the spiritual master, one should first perform these purascarya-vidhi processes."
After strictly following the purascarya-vidhi the serious students in Gaudiya Matha and iskcon are offered the shelter of the lotus feet of the spiritual master (first initiation-harinama) and this is followed up after an additional six months to one year, with mantra-diksa (second initiation). This is the system recommended in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 17.11-12 above.
As already stated, the holy name is to be considered independent of the process of diksa. Yet the necessity to chant the holy name under the guidance of a pure devotee (spiritual master) is a necessity. The process of receiving the shelter of the guru and instructions on how to chant the holy name successfully has come to be known as harinama-diksa (harinama initiation).
Shri Jiva Goswami in his Shrimad-Bhagavatam commentary on verses 7.5.24 & 25, has confirmed the importance of harinama initiation. There Shri Jiva says that, "Indeed, one can chant the holy name without initiation but in Kali-yuga it is necessary to chant the name under the guidance of a bona-fide spiritual master. One should receive the holy name from the spiritual master who is a bona-fide representative of Shri Hari." That is the opinion of Shri Jiva the tattva-acarya of all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. This is sufficient evidence as to why harinama initiation is offered in both Gaudiya Matha and iskcon. No further discussion is necessary, but to strengthen this conclusion some other references from scriptures and acaryas can be cited as follows.
Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has also made a similar statement in his commentary on the Shrimad-Bhagavatam sixth canto, with regard to the necessity of chanting the holy name under the guidance of the guru. There Shri Visvanatha comments that those who learn about the importance of guru, but keep on chanting the name without searching out sad-guru can never chant the holy name purely. Visvanatha says that their chanting is simply nama-aparadha or offensive chanting. He says that those who want to chant the holy name purely must do it under the guidance of sad-guru.
There are three stages of nama-bhajana or chanting the holy name. These are nama-aparadha, nama-abhasa, and suddha-nama. Those who chant the holy name without the shelter of guru will be in either the stage of nama-aparadha or possibly with some luck in the stage of nama-abhasa. Nama-aparadha means the stage of committing offenses while chanting the holy name and nama-abhasa means the clearing stage of chanting wherein freedom from sinful activities is achieved. At the stage of nama-abhasa one can be delivered from material existence. It is practical experience also that in India there are many pious people who utter the holy name without the shelter of a bona-fide guru but these persons usually remain in the lower stage of nama-bhajana (nama-aparadha). However, on rare occasion, some of them do achieve the stage of emancipation (nama-abhasa). But suddha-nama is only achieved when one has obtained the shelter of shri gurudeva.
Those who have a sufficient fund of knowledge never oppose the formal giving of harinama as a form of diksa. The example of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu may be taken in this regard also. The chanting of the holy name was indeed available here and there in Mahaprabhu's time but He did not formally begin His sankirtana movement until after He had received harinama with instruction from His spiritual master. Shri Isvara Puri, the spiritual master, while giving harinama to Mahaprabhu instructed Him as follows:
`krishna-mantra' japa sada,-ei mantra sara
"You must always chant the holy name of Krishna. This is the essence of all mantras or Vedic hymns." (C.c. Adi-lila 7.72)
It is the opinion of the anti-party that this verse does not indicate the holy name of Krishna, harinama, because the words `Krishna mantra' generally refer to kama-gayatri or gopala mantra. However, in the verses immediately following this one in the Chaitanya-charitamrita, wherein Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is explaining His initiation by Isvara Puri to the mayavadis at Benaras, we find that verses 73-97 qualify the meaning of Krishna mantra in verse 72, as indicating the holy name of Krishna, as in the maha-mantra.
All these verses 73-97 describe the supreme position of the holy name of Krishna, the potency of the holy name, the characteristics of the holy name, the effects of chanting the holy name, the necessity of chanting the holy name, and dancing in ecstasy while chanting the holy name. It is certainly very clear in verse 83 that the Krishna mantra which Isvara Puri instructed Mahaprabhu to always chant, japa sada, was indeed the maha-mantra.
krishna-nama-maha-mantre ra ei ta'svabhava
yei jape, tara krsne upajaye bhava
"It is the nature of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra (krishna-nama-maha-mantra) that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Krishna." (C.c. Adi-lila 7.83)
By orthodox standards in the Gaudiya line the nama-diksa is given to a disciple without an accompanying yajna (fire sacrifice). When our spiritual master Shrila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to the western world to spread Krishna consciousness he offered harinama very liberally. In fact it has been said that he distributed the holy name like water-such was his capacity to distribute grace. To impress the neophyte disciples who were taking harinama, with the importance of the step that they were taking in spiritual life, he also performed the ritual of a fire sacrifice at that time. Admittedly this was something of his own doing but it had just the effect that he desired it would. No disciple of His Divine Grace, hence forward, ever thought that the holy name could be successfully chanted without the shelter of the bona-fide guru.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also recommended the taking of the holy name under the guidance of a bona-fide guru in his article "Panca Samskara." There the Thakura lists five important items in the process of performing devotional service, of which harinama is the central pivot:
tapah pundram tatha nama mantro yagas ca pancamah
ami hi panca-samskarah paramaikanti-hetavah
"Tapa, pundra, nama, mantra, and yaga; these five items comprise panca-samskara. They are the cause of intense devotion to Lord Hari."
Tapah means performing austerities and professing one's self as a servant of Hari (Vishnu/Krishna). Pundra means applying tilaka marks (vertical lines drawn on the body), symbolizing the body as the temple of Hari. Nama means receiving the holy name from the spiritual master and chanting that name according to his direction:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Of the five elements of panca-samskara, it is nama which is given the most importance. In all the Vedic literature the holy name of Hari is glorified;
yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit
svado `pi sadyah savanaya kalpate
kutah punas te bhagavan nu darsanat
"To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him." (Bhag. 3.33.6)
Those who offenselessly chant nama are automatically imbued with all good qualities. One who chants the holy name of Hari (Vishnu/Krishna) thus becomes qualified on the strength of the holy name to receive Vedic mantras, the fourth of the panca-samskara. Mantra here means mantra-diksa or receiving the brahma-gayatri (upanayana) and the pancaratrika-mantras. After receiving mantra-diksa, the sadhaka is engaged in the worship of Shri Murti under sastric (scriptural) regulations and this is called yaga. These are the five processes for purification called panca-samskara and these should be performed under the guidance of sad-guru.
In accordance with the above information it must be concluded that the offering of harinama-diksa is indeed a bona-fide process and not a concocted one as the anti-party has suggested.
The next statement of the anti-party that we shall discuss is as follows:
Acceptance of brahma-gayatri (upanayana samskara) is only a part of varnasrama in the Vedic tradition, and has no place in the Gaudiya line.
Here again the anti-party has taken their liberties, but without proper knowledge. The brahma-gayatri although chanted by the brahmanas in the system of varnasrama and offered to young brahmana boys in the upanayana ceremony, should not be considered as simply a part of varnasrama. Varnasrama in Kali-yuga has become only a mundane system of social management based on one's tendencies to perform work. The brahma-gayatri however is a transcendental sound vibration (sprung from the flute of Shri Krishna) known as sabda-brahman or divya-jnanam. According to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, brahma-gayatri is the Mother of the Vedas; Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the purport of Vedanta, is an explanation of brahma-gayatri and therefore it must always be held in transcendental regard. It is not simply a part of varnasrama as the anti-party has suggested.
pranavera yei artha, gayatrite sei haya
sei artha catuh-slokite vivariya kaya
"The meaning of the sound vibration omkara is present in the gayatri-mantra. The same is elaborately explained in the four slokas of Shrimad-Bhagavatam known as catuh-sloki." (C.c. Madhya-lila 25.94 and Chandogya Upanisad 6.8.7)
A similar description is found in the Garuda Purana wherein it is said that the purport of brahma-gayatri is to be found in Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
artho `yam brahma-sutranam bharatartha-vinirnayah
gayatri-bhasya-rupo' sau vedartha-paribrmhitah
"The meaning of the Vedanta-sutra is present in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gayatri is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge." (Garuda Purana and C.c. Madhya-lila 25.144)
The meaning of the gayatri mantra must be in the line of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. If we analyze how this is possible, we shall uncover the steps leading the gayatri-mantra to the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Here the rupanuga acarya Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja has explained gayatri in the following way:
What is the meaning of gayatri? The word gayatri is a combination of two Sanskrit words: ganat (what is sung) and trayate (gives deliverance). This means, "A kind of song by which we can get our salvation, relief, emancipation. Gayatri is known as veda-mata, the mother of the Veda. If we examine the Vedic conclusion from it's most condensed aphorism to its most extensive expression, we shall find that it begins with omkara, the Vedic symbol om. That truth is expressed as the gayatri mantra, then it appears in the form of the Vedas and there after as the Vedanta-sutra. Finally, the Vedic conclusion is given its fullest expression in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Since the meaning, the purpose of Vedic knowledge progresses in this line, the gayatri-mantra must contain within it the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam-that is, that the Krishna conception of Godhead is the highest.
Both Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja and Shri Jiva Goswami have explained the purport of brahma-gayatri to indicate Radha dasyam or the Divine Service of Shrimati Radharani. The basis of their commentary is Shrimad-Bhagavatam. That is summed up as follows:
"Gayatri, which has emanated from the flute sound of Shri Krishna, only sings the glories of Shrimati Radharani."
When the very goal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism is to attain shelter in the serving group of Shrimati Radharani, it is hardy imaginable that one could then say that the mantra for worshipping Her (brahma-gayatri) is simply meant for varnasrama. Indeed it is foolish to even think such a thought.
It is also a fact that this practice of giving brahma-gayatri to the sadhakas or devotees is not exclusive to only Gaudiya Matha and iskcon. This practice was in effect even before the time of Saraswati Thakura. It so happens that the followers of Syamananda Prabhu (the spiritual master of Rasikananda Prabhu) are an excellent example of this. From the time of Syamananda Prabhu until the present day the brahma-gayatri is given to the new initiates in the Syam-ananda sampradaya at the time of diksa. Brahma-gayatri is offered to the initiates along with other raga-marga mantras and a fire yajna. Does the Vrndavana anti-party wish then to suggest that the Syamananda parivara is also not a bona-fide Gaudiya sampradaya?
The fact of the matter is that Saraswati Thakura did not invent methods of devotional service or create his own parampara according to his whim. The real truth is that Saraswati Thakura simply uncovered bona-fide Vaishnava practices that had either been neglected or covered by selfish persons desiring to make a trade of, or a family affair of the process of pure devotional service. This revival of authorized Vaishnava practices-incorporating them into the sankirtana movement, is indeed Saraswati Thakura's welcome contribution to the cause of Mahaprabhu.
Possibly the most valuable contribution of Saraswati Thakura among the followers of Mahaprabhu was the revival of the order of tridandi-sannyasa. This now brings us to the third anti-party objection:
Sannyasa is not to be given in the Gaudiya line, it is only an external necessity of the ritualistic varnasrama society.
Mahaprabhu Himself was a sannyasi. Therefore, even if one were to admit that sannyasa was merely part of the varnasrama system, it would still be fair to say that sannyasa was indeed a part of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, based on the example of Mahaprabhu, who was after all a "Gaudiya".
One may argue that the sannyasa of Mahaprabhu was mayavada sannyasa, since He took it from Kesava Bharati and therefore it is not acceptable as an example of Gaudiya sannyasa. This however is only argued by those who do not have proper knowledge of the sannyasa pastime of Mahaprabhu.
Before taking mantra and vesa (dress) from Kesava Bharati, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu initiated Kesava Bharati with the sannyasa mantra, "tattvamasi." Mahaprabhu knew that Kesava Bharati would give Him the mantra, "tattvamasi," but Mahaprabhu did not like that. The mayavada conception of that mantra is, "I am that. (I am God.)" This thought was not acceptable to Mahaprabhu. Although Mahaprabhu was taking sannyasa for decorum's sake, for preaching His sankirtana movement, He nonetheless could not accept a mantra with mayavada-siddhanta.
Mahaprabhu approached Murari Gupta and explained the perplexity of the situation. After careful deliberation Murari Gupta informed Mahaprabhu that there was a Vaishnava conception to the mantra, tattvamasi, that is, "You are His." Hearing this Mahaprabhu was very happy and He approached Kesava Bharati and informed him, "I had a dream and in the dream you gave me a mantra. I was wondering if this is actually the mantra that you will give me."
Hearing this, Kesava Bharati said, "Oh, what mantra did I give you in Your dream?" As Kesava Bharati leaned forward, Mahaprabhu pronounced the mantra "tattvamasi" in his ear. At that very moment Kesava Bharati was completely converted into a pure Vaishnava by the potency of Mahaprabhu. Then the mantra was given. And the sannyasa name also came from Kesava Bharati, but not any of the ten names generally given to a sannyasi in the mayavada school. The name was given, "Krishna Chaitanya."
This example also demonstrates the potency of a mantra when uttered with higher conception. It is not the mantra alone which is the cause of liberation but it is the conception which accompanies the mantra which has the real potency.
After taking sannyasa and wandering for some days in Bengal, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started for Jagannatha Puri. On the way Mahaprabhu fell unconscious in a state of ecstasy by the side of a river. At that time Shri Nityananda Prabhu picked up the eka-danda (single staff) of Mahaprabhu and broke it into three pieces. Nityananda Prabhu did this to demonstrate to all the devotees present that indeed Mahaprabhu had taken tridandi (Vaishnava) sannyasa.
Those who are rasika-bhaktas, who know the inner meaning of Mahaprabhu's pastimes, have concluded that Mahaprabhu was indeed a Vaishnava sannyasi.
After taking sannyasa Mahaprabhu also uttered the mantra from Shrimad-Bhagavatam again and again:
etam sa asthaya paratma nistham
adhyasitam purvatamair maharsibhih
aham tarisyami duranta-param
"I shall cross over the insurmountable ocean of nescience by being firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Krishna. This was approved by the previous acaryas, who were fixed in firm devotion to the Lord, Paramatma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Bhag. 11.23.57 and C.c. Madhya-lila 3.6)
Again it must be pointed out here that those who are actually learned in the science of pure devotion and the pastimes of Maha-prabhu, acknowledge that the uttering of this verse again and again by Mahaprabhu is the authorization to accept the order of sannyasa as a bona-fide method to attain the lotus feet of Krishna.
While describing the pastime of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepting sannyasa in Chaitanya-charitamrita, the author Shrila Kaviraja Goswami has written a verse explaining the purpose of sannyasa.
mukunda-sevaya haya samsara-tarana
"The real purpose of accepting sannyasa is to dedicate oneself to the service of Mukunda. By serving Mukunda, one can actually be liberated from the bondage of material existence." (C.c. Madhya-lila 3.8)
By uttering the verse beginning with etam sa asthaya paratma-nistham, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has authorized the taking of sannyasa and Kaviraja Goswami has confirmed this by explaining the meaning of sannyasa in the verse beginning with paratma-nistha-matra. If there were no such thing as sannyasa in the Gaudiya line, as the anti-party suggests, then Kaviraja Goswami would not have taken the trouble to explain its meaning. This argument is based on simple logic and supported by sastra.
The sannyasa of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu should be sufficient evidence to support the authenticity of sannyasa in the Gaudiya line-indeed it is, but it is not the only evidence.
After Mahaprabhu accepted sannyasa many of his followers did the same. Some of them like Svarupa Damodara and others took sannyasa vesa (dress) from the mayavadis at Banaras while others like Rupa and Sanatana self-adopted the short white cloth.
Sometimes it is said that the Six Goswamis were babajis and not sannyasis but this is only a partial truth. The anti-party says that there is no direct mention of the word "tridandi" anywhere in the writings regarding the pastimes of Mahaprabhu and therefore there cannot be any such thing as "tridandi-sannyasa." However, it also happens that there is no mention of "babaji" anywhere to be found either. In this way the anti-party (who favor babaji over sannyasa) are defeated by their own argument.
However, the real fact of the matter is that both the babajis and tridandi-sannyasis are bona-fide renunciates. The babaji is actually a bhajananandi or one who devotes his life to secluded chanting of the holy name and the other, the tridandi-sannyasi, is actually a gosthyanandi or one who devotes his life to the service of the holy name by spreading the holy name in every town in village. In either case these are actually birds (paramahamsas) of the same feather because the goal of their respective duties in renunciation is to develop Krishna prema.
Whatever has been stated in this article concerning the authenticity of harinama initiation, brahma-gayatri, and tridandi-sannyasa in the parampara of Saraswati Thakura has been represented with logical argument and scriptural evidence-therefore it should be accepted as conclusive.
Monarchs of Mantra Diksa -- Chapter 5
"Devotees should not become discouraged thinking that there are many criticisms against our parampara. In fact it may be said that these criticisms are a kind of recognition of our preaching success. Like the Bhagavatam, the preaching mission of Saraswati Thakura was started to create a revolution in the minds and hearts of the misguided and unfortunate."
At present, most of the criticisms of our parampara are being aimed at Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura for what his critics have labeled as "introducing concocted methods of devotional service." In the chapters Siksa Parampara, Eternally Liberated, The Benign Authority, and Process of Initiation, we have answered some of the main criticisms against our parampara and shown that for reviving and propagating pure devotional service at the beginning of this century Saraswati Thakura was indeed empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and that all of his so-called innovations were actually supported by scripture and previous Vaishnava tradition.
Up to this point there remains only one outstanding criticism against the parampara of Saraswati Thakura which we have not yet mentioned. This last criticism is coming from certain individuals among the brahmana and caste goswami anti-party in India. I say, coming from certain individuals in this community, because not all caste brahmanas or goswamis objected to the organized preaching efforts of Saraswati Thakura. Indeed many of the caste brahmanas and goswamis in India greatly appreciated Saraswati Thakura who initiated thousands of sincere individuals into the process of Krishna consciousness.
Those who begrudged Saraswati Thakura for having accepted the position of acarya and having spread Krishna consciousness on a wide scale, faulted him in the following manner:
A sannyasi should not initiate (give diksa)! Only the grhastha- brahmanas should be allowed to give diksa.
Here the anti-party makes this criticism of Saraswati Thakura with utter disregard for the instruction of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei `guru' haya
"Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi or a sudra-regardless of what he is-he can become a guru if he knows the science of Krishna." (C.c. Madhya-lila 8.128)
Neglecting this instruction of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that the qualification to become guru is that one should know the science of Krishna, the anti-party has concocted their own standard by which they say that only the grhasthas (householder devotees) can give mantra-diksa. Ignoring the above verse, the anti-party tries to claim that as Mahaprabhu gave charge of sambanda-jnana to Sanatana Goswami, and abhidheya-jnana and rasa-tattva to Rupa Goswami, he also gave exclusive rights over the initiation process to the brahmana-grhastha community, by giving the following instruction to the Kurma brahmana-a grhastha.
yare dekha, tare kaha `krishna'- upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa
"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Shri Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become guru and try to liberate everyone in this land." (C.c. Madhya-lila 7.128)
Thus the anti-party concludes that the position of giving mantra-diksa is exclusively the right of a grhastha-brahmana. This verse however does not mention mantra-diksa at all. The verse actually states, "kaha `krishna' upadesa," tell everyone you meet about `krishna' upadesa, the instructions of Krishna. "Upadesa" means instructions and giving instruction means siksa. Thus the proper translation of this verse leads to the understanding that the parampara which Mahaprabhu Himself advocated was a siksa-parampara. The verse in no way gives the position of mantra-diksa exclusively to the grhastha-brahmana community.
There are several variations of this claim being made against the bona-fide followers of Mahaprabhu. Some sections of the anti-party stress brahmanaism, stating that one must be born a brahmana and be a grhastha in order to give mantra-diksa. Another section says that if one is not a grhastha and a brahmana by birth, one should first enter the renounced order before giving mantra-diksa. In case after case the anti-parties differ from one another in their conclusions on such matters-this is so because not only are they envious of Saraswati Thakura and his mission but they are also envious of each other. Each anti-party seeks to establish itself as the exclusive monarchs of mantra-diksa.
To further try and support their claim against the sannyasis in the Gaudiya line for giving mantra-diksa the anti-party quotes the following verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
na sisyan anubadhnita, granthan naivabhyased bahun
na vyakhyam upayunjita, narambhan arabhet kvacit
This verse (Bhag. 7.13.8) describes precautionary measures for a sannyasi. The anti-party stresses, "na sisyan-he should not make sisyas or disciples!" This they conclude means that only the grhasthas (householders) should initiate or give mantra-diksa.
However if we continue to understand this verse in the same way as the anti-party has understood the meaning of "na sisyan," then the second segment would mean that the sannyasi should not read books (granthan na), and the third segment of this verse would mean that a sannyasi should not talk or preach (na vyakhyam). In this way the whole verse becomes massacred due to self motivated interpretation. A correct understanding of the verse, as given by our acaryas is as follows:
A sannyasi must not present allurements of material benefits to gather many disciples, nor should he unnecessarily read many books or give discourses as a means of livelihood. He must never attempt to increase material opulence unnecessarily.
Rather than an admonishment to sannyasis who accept disciples in the course of their preaching Krishna consciousness, this verse is a chastizement to anyone (sannyasis or otherwise) who allure disciples by material means, read many books to become famous as a scholar, or maintain a livelihood by speaking the Bhagavatam (bhagavata-saptaha or bhagavata-katha).
The words vyakhyam upayunjita refer to maintaining one's livelihood by speaking the Bhagavatam. This is strictly prohibited in this verse, na vyakhyam upayunjita - na means not. One should not maintain a livelihood by such means.
The fact is that Gaudiya sannyasis do not speak the Bhagavatam as a way to maintain their livelihood. In particular Shrila A.C. Bhakti-vedanta Swami Prabhupada (a leading disciple of Saraswati Thakura, who spread Krishna consciousness around the world) underwent such hardships to speak and spread the messages of Shrimad-Bhagavatam that he would sometimes go without food or even a proper place to sleep at night. It can hardly be said that he preached Bhagavatam as a livelihood. It is also true that such great personalities as Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, the guru of Saraswati Thakura, completely despised the professional recitation of Bhagavatam.
Once when the Shrimad-Bhagavatam was recited by a professional speaker near the cottage of Gaura Kisora, Babaji Maharaja requested his servant to go there and purify the place with cow dung. The servant replied that since the Bhagavatam had been recited at that spot, what need was there to again purify the place with cow dung? Babaji Maharaja replied, "Oh, you have heard the Bhagavatam? I could not hear the Bhagavatam-I only heard that man say, `Rupee, rupee, rupee.'
Among the sannyasis in the Gaudiya line we do not find any instance where one is speaking the Shrimad-Bhagavatam simply to earn a livelihood. On the other hand there are many so-called followers of Mahaprabhu among the brahmana and grhastha communities who speak Bhagavatam in the public, collect donations, and after returning home spend those donations for family maintenance or even for sinful activities like smoking, drinking and maintaining prostitutes.
For further authentication of the policy of a Vaishnava sannyasi giving mantra-diksa, one can cite the examples of Shri Ramanuja-carya and Shri Madhvacarya who were both sannyasis and who both gave mantra-diksa. However, it is a well known fact that the main spokesman for the anti-party claims that Ramanuja and Madhva were hypocrites for initiating as sannyasis. Indeed this attitude alone demonstrates the ignorance of the anti-party.
From the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya there are many examples of sannyasis giving mantra-diksa-these occur even before the time of Saraswati Thakura. A foremost example is that of Madhav-endra Puri (a sannyasi) who initiated Shri Adwaitacarya.
tanra thani mantra laila yatana karina
calila daksine puri tanre diksa dina
"Shri Adwaitacarya begged to be initiated by Shri Madhavendra Puri. After initiating Him, Madhavendra Puri started for South India." (C.c. Madhya-lila 4.111)
It should be noted here that Adwaitacarya was a brahmana by birth and a householder-what to speak of His being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maha Vishnu, yet He received mantra-diksa from Madhavendra, a sannyasi.
We also find in Chaitanya-charitamrita that Madhavendra Puri initiated brahmanas (Vrajavasis) at Govardhan Hill.
sakala brahmane puri vaishnava karila
sei sei seva-madhye saba niyojila
"All the brahmanas present on that occasion were initiated by Madhavendra Puri into the Vaishnava cult, and Madhavendra Puri engaged them in different types of service." (C.c. Madhya-lila 4.87)
In order to elevate those brahmanas to the status of Vaishnavas, Madhavendra Puri initiated them into Vaishnava mantra. It should be pointed out here that not only did Madhavendra Puri initiate as a sannyasi but he initiated brahmanas who were residents of Shri Vrndavana-dhama and by his giving them initiation they became Vaishnavas. This is quite significant. According to the Padma Purana one cannot become a Vaishnava without being initiated into a Vaishnava mantra.
grhita visnudiksako visnu-pujaparo narah
vaisnavo `bhihito `bhijnairitaro `smadavaishnavah
"One who is initiated into the Vaishnava-mantra and who is devoted to worshipping Lord Vishnu is a Vaishnava. One who is devoid of these practices is not a Vaishnava." (Hari-bhakti-vilasa, 11 quoted from Padma Purana)
Similarly, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also received mantra-diksa from Shri Isvara Puri who was a sannyasi. About Isvara Puri, Mahaprabhu has said:
prabhu kahe-isvara haya parama svatantra
isvarera krpa nahe veda-paratantra
"Both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Isvara Puri are completely independent. Therefore the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Isvara Puri is not subject to any Vedic rules and regulations." (C.c. Madhya-lila 10.137)
This is indeed a most profound statement. If one is a qualified spiritual master, he is certainly qualified to give mercy. In the opinion of Mahaprabhu the bona-fide spiritual master is not subject to any Vedic rules and regulations. Mahaprabhu made this statement to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in relation to Isvara Puri having accepted a disciple who was a sudra by caste.
Actually one is not qualified to become a guru based on caste or any other material designation. The proper conclusion is that one becomes qualified to give mantra-diksa if one knows the science of Krishna. Mahaprabhu has said:
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krishna-tattva-vetta sei `guru' haya
"Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi or a sudra-regardless of what he is-he can become a guru if he knows the science of Krishna." (C.c. Madhya-lila 8.128)
This verse was directly spoken by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and as such it can be taken as the ultimate authority to defeat the anti-party propaganda that only a grhastha can give mantra-diksa. Nonetheless we have also cited some other interesting evidence for the satisfaction of our readers.
In a last ditch-effort to confuse the modern day followers of Saraswati Thakura, the anti-party spokesmen often make reference to the incident of a man called Ananta Vasudeva. In his early career Ananta Vasudeva was a very close disciple of Saraswati Thakura. After the disappearance of Saraswati Thakura this Ananta Vasudeva took sannyasa and became a leading acarya in the Gaudiya Matha. After sometime, however, Ananta Vasudeva rejected his sannyasa and his diksa connection with Saraswati Thakura. Accompanied by another scholarly devotee named Sundarananda Vidyavinoda, these two left the Gaudiya Matha.
After leaving the Gaudiya Matha Ananta Vasudeva declared that Saraswati Thakura was a conditioned soul who had simply concocted unauthorized means of devotional service. Ananta Vasudeva went to Vrndavana where he and Sundarananda Vidya-vinoda traded their connection with Saraswati Thakura for siddha-pranali-diksa which they took from a certain member of the caste goswami families. The anti-party likes to state this as their crowning evidence against Saraswati Thakura and his mission, to show that even his own disciples realized it was bogus. It so happens that not less than three different anti-party factions in Vrndavana claim that Ananta Vasudeva rejected Saraswati Thakura for siddha-pranali in their line. Each of these anti-party factions likes to claim that Ananta Vasudeva took siddha-pranali in their camp because they consider him to be a great trophy-trophy or symbol of shamelessness?
What the anti-party does not like to state however is the immoral character of Ananta Vasudeva both before and after he had departed from the Gaudiya Matha. As an acarya, Ananta Vasudeva had become proud of his position (as did the infamous Romaharsana Suta of the Bhagavatam) and he began to lord it over his fellow Godbrothers causing them many unnecessary inconveniences and troubles. This resulted in vaishnava-aparadha, which led to Ananta Vasudeva even criticizing his own guru and eventually engaging in illicit activities. These illicit activities led to the birth of an illegitimate child from a local prostitute. It was at this point, after his moral character and deviations from the siddhanta of Saraswati Thakura were exposed, that he decided to leave the Gaudiya Matha.
Ananta Vasudeva then associated with certain goswamis and babajis at Vrndavana who do not consider illicit sex or even homosex as an impediment to Krishna consciousness. It is shocking, but many groups of babajis and goswamis consider sex life, in whatever form, to be the same as passing stool or urine-therefore they do not consider it an impediment. They consider it a normal and harmless bodily function. Thus they sometimes engage in sex life as frequently as they pass stool. No mere wonder then that the anti-party lack sufficient brain substance to understand siddhanta.
Ananta Vasudeva had come to Vrndavana with his prostitute and thus he found the association of those babajis and goswamis encouraging. In such association he could continue his attachment to illicit life, something which was not possible for him in the Gaudiya Matha.
The anti-party with whom Ananta Vasudeva joined had previously been throughly defeated by the Gaudiya Matha in the time of Saraswati Thakura. But now with Ananta Vasudeva among their ranks the anti-party found renewed strength to propagate their old arguments. This attempt to divert the flow of the Chaitanya- Saraswata parampara, however, failed miserably because the sincere disciples of Saraswati Thakura, like their illustrious guru, were fully conversant with the conclusions of sastra and they could not be shaken in their guru-nistha.
Nonetheless the anti-party published three books in which they attempted to refute the siddhanta of Saraswati Thakura. This attempt was indeed formidable due to the scholarly mode of presentation, but the publications, referred to as the "Trident Against Gaudiya Matha," only bolstered the already existing misconceptions of the anti-party members-despite their scholarship and determination, the anti-party could not penetrate with their misconceptions to the heart of Gaudiya Matha.
After some years Ananta Vasudeva met an inauspicious end in life by committing suicide. As for Sundarananda Vidyavinode he simply vanished into the shadows.
For the most part, the devotees from western countries do not know all these unpleasant stories in detail. Therefore the anti-party tries to mislead them by using the example of Ananta Vasudeva-stating that Ananta Vasudeva was a highly qualified Vaishnava and that he rejected the institution of sannyasa because he realized that sannyasa and the siddhanta of Saraswati Thakura were bogus. But really, what is bogus is the story that the anti-party tells.
In 1959 our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote a prayer (Shri Viraha Astakam) on the anniversary of the disappearance of Shrila Saraswati Thakura wherein we find a reference to the disciples who had rejected their guru. Shrila Prabhupada wrote:
One of your closest disciples whose cup you lovingly filled to the brim with the deathless nectar of your instructions has ungratefully thrown away that chalice. And his regrettable preference for infectious poison has resulted in an epidemic of sahajiyaism. It seems that the prize valiantly acquired by the triumphant lion has at present been unscrupulously stolen by the jackal. The oppressive forces of nescience have reduced everyone to tears. And it appears that each of the young lions is again becoming a mouse.
The sad events surrounding Ananta Vasudeva and Sundarananda Vidyavinode indeed brought tears to the eyes of many of the dedicated disciples of Shrila Saraswati Thakura-but it did not deter them in their own faithful service to their Divine Master. The grace of the guru always flows to the sincere and dedicated disciple. Shrila Saraswati Thakura had many sincere and highly qualified disciples; Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Shrila B.R. Shridhara Maharaja, Shrila B.P. Puri Maharaja, Shrila B.D. Madhava Maharaja, Shrila B.S. Goswami Maharaja, and Shrila B.P. Kesava Maharaja, just to name a few.
The devotees in the west, often think and speak of Gaudiya Matha as a complete failure but this is not a fact. There were indeed troubled times after the disappearance of Saraswati Thakura but his sincere disciples struggled through those times and in the end gloriously spread Krishna consciousness around the world and continue to do so up to the present moment. We see that the coverings of maya also enveloped many leading disciples in iskcon after the disappearance of our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In due course of time we see that some of those individuals have hatefully rejected the instructions of Shrila Prabhupada, others have sunk to the lowest levels of immorality, while others have even ended their lives in a most inauspicious way. Maya takes advantage of the disappearance of great personalities and tries to again cover the path shown by the previous acarya-but indeed the sincere disciples again manifest the path of pure devotional service. An institution can go astray at any moment, be it iskcon, Gaudiya Matha, or whatever-we are not concerned with the relativity of the parampara, the institution or society, we are to concern ourselves with the substance, the Absolute, the siddhanta. It is this parampara that continues decade after decade, century after century, and millennium after millennium-the bhagavata-parampara.
Devotees should not become discouraged thinking that there are many criticisms against our parampara. In fact it may be said that these criticisms are a kind of recognition of our preaching success. Like the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the preaching mission of Saraswati Thakura was started to create a revolution in the minds and hearts of the misguided and unfortunate people of Kali Yuga.
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany anantasya yaso `nkitani yat
srnvanti gayanti-grnanti sadhavah
"On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world's misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest." (Bhag. 1.5.11)
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was indeed a powerful personality and it is historical fact that in his life no one was ever able to defeat his sound sastric evidence supporting the activities of the Gaudiya Matha. His power was in his purity-not in word jugglery or wealth or any such things of this world. He spoke with such conviction, backed by sastric reference, that his critics were afraid to stand before him. For the most part the envious persons who opposed Saraswati Thakura simply barked from the back-they had no courage to oppose him directly. The kirtana of Saraswati Thakura was so grand that the sounds of the barking dogs were simply drowned in an ocean of ecstacy.
In the absence of Saraswati Thakura and his stalwart disciples, the barking sounds of the anti-party can again be heard. But those who are intelligent and pious will embrace the missionary spirit of totalitarian war against illusion started by the senapati, the great general among Vaishnavas, Shrila Saraswati Thakura, and join in his illustrious line which is sanctioned by the Supreme Lord and by Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
Revolution means opposition or controversy and it is this controversy that helps us to increase our faith and attachment for Lord Krishna.
siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa
iha ha-ite krsne lage sudrdha manasa
"A sincere student should not neglect the discussions of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one's mind becomes attracted to Shri Krishna." (C.c. Adi-lila 2.117)
The Practice of Pure Devotional Service
Preaching is the Essence -- Chapter 6
"One who has got life, he can preach. Preaching (kirtana) is actually real bhajana-not simply sitting idle-at least that was the opinion of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and our Guru Maharaja."
In the later pastimes of our Guru Maharaja, Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Astottara-sata-shri Shrimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada he manifested many divine instructions in the presence of those who served his lotus feet with great love and affection.
Although Shrila Prabhupada, from an external point of view, may have appeared to be suffering physically due to his deteriorated bodily condition-His Divine Grace always remained absorbed in the plane of transcendence-remembering the lotus feet of his most worshipable Deities, Shri Shri Gaura Nitai, Shri Shri Krishna Balarama, and Shri Shri Radha Syamasundara.
One day, seeing that it was with great difficulty that Shrila Prabhupada continued to speak into the tape recorder-translating the verses of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and giving his Bhaktivedanta purports-Shrila Prabhupada's secretary (Shripada Tamala Krishna Goswami Maharaja) asked him why he continued to translate and preach at this advanced stage of life-when in fact Shrila Prabhupada had already written so many books and preached all over the world. The secretary suggested that Shrila Prabhupada's daily working on the Bhagavatam was not necessary at this time.
Shrila Prabhupada replied very humbly by telling us the story of the "Good Soldier." Shrila Prabhupada said, "Even if a good soldier (who serves in the army of the King) is struck down on the battlefield and his head is severed from his shoulders-still even if he is lying on the ground in such a condition-if he is a good soldier he will try to wave his sword in the air with the hopes that he will somehow strike the enemy." "Similarly," Shrila Prabhupada said, "I am a servant in the army of my Guru Maharaja and as long as I have life I must preach-even in my present condition (and he waved his hand about in the air as if waving a sword)."
Then, shortly before departing from this world, Shrila Prabhu-pada gave a blessing to the devotees present. He said, "Live long and preach."
It was indeed a favorite saying of Shrila Prabhupada (and also of Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura) that, "Prana arthe yanra sei hetu pracara-One who has got life, he can preach." Preaching (kirtana) is actually real bhajana-not simply sitting idle-at least that was the opinion of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and our Guru Maharaja. In the logo of the Gaudiya Matha, which was designed by Saraswati Thakura and which Shrila Prabhupada had painted on the left and right sides of the main gate at iskcon Mayapur (still existing), we find that the mrdanga drum and the printing press are located in the section of the logo under raganuga-bhakti. Certainly this is a contrast of thought to those that think that kirtana (preaching and book distribution) is a lower form of bhakti-the higher form of bhakti being to always discuss gopi-rasa.
Is preaching the essence? Preaching is something more-Preaching is the highest form of bhajana life. Just consider the following:
Kirtana, book publishing, and thus distribution also have been accepted by Saraswati Thakura and other great acaryas as service in the line of raganuga (also rupanuga). To write about the Lord is also kirtana and similarly to preach (to assert and convert others) is also kirtana (when our preaching is performed for the pleasure of Krishna and His pure devotees it is kirtana).
In his song Vaishnava Ke? (Who is a Vaishnava?) Shrila Saraswati Thakura says,
kirtana prabhave, smarana haibe
se kale bhajana-nirjana sambhava
"Internal rememberance (smarana) can occur by the power of kirtana, and only then is solitary (nirjana) service possible."
The Guardian of Devotion, Shrila B.R. Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja has said,
So also, to be engaged in (preaching) answering the questions of the environment, automatically demands concentration, which is very rare in this age. When one is doing kirtana, he automatically cannot but give all concentration and attention. He cannot speak independently; intuitively, he must be all-attentive. For this reason, kirtana (preaching) has been recommended as the highest form of bhajana, especially in the age of Kali. (Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion, Ch 2, Bhajan-Real and Apparent, pp. 24)
Of course we must raise the question, here, "Preaching about what and printing books about what? And what is the conception in kirtana? Surely if such things are in raganuga-bhakti they must have some distinguishing characteristics.
To answer my own question I must say-certainly every musical sound made with a mrdanga, kartalas, and shouting the name is not really kirtana. Kirtana which is performed for gaining prestige and fame-which is filled with the false ego of being the enjoyer and does not carry the proper service attitude-is not really kirtana (suddha-nama) and thus it cannot be raganuga. Similarly, to preach with the view to become a world acarya and to do good to the people is also not pure devotion, due to being tinged with the false ego that I am the doer. Thus, every book published under the banner of "we are preaching" does not actually come under the category of raganuga-bhakti. Even when such books seemingly only speak about prema, gopis, manjaris, and other such lofty topics, this does not mean that such books are automatically raganuga. We should remember that the sahajiya section also publishes books on such topics. Real raganuga necessitates higher backing-from above (the subjective plane) the inspiration to preach and write must come down to us-then it is transcendental-then that may be considered raganuga.
Sometimes devotees like to read many unauthorized books with a view to deepen their understanding of raganuga, but unfortunately the unauthorized attempt to enter into aprakrta-lila never attains success. What then to speak of reading books, etc. that are simply concerned with varieties of mundane topics such as; vegetarianism, social politics, the "Big War," ghost busting, worshiping crystals, alien beings, New Age prophecies, etc. (I say this because it is a fact that devotees these days tend to not only absorb themselves in reading unauthorized books but in publishing them as well.) Such books are certainly not raganuga because they are lacking the sense of serving disposition in the inner plane of divine service to the Supreme Lord. Although such topics may sometimes be beneficial from a mundane point of view, they are not aprakrta-katha, transcendental topics of conversation and thus they cannot help us to advance in Krishna consciousness (towards Krishna prema).
Before one can attain prema they must acquire the necessary qualifications. Without proper progress in the right line, it will all be imagination-a madman's feat. Shrila Shridhara Maharaja used to say,
One must gradually reach the plane of truth, suddha-sattva. There are so many planes to cross-Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and she has to cross all these planes. (Sermons, vol. 2, pp. 29)
upajiya bade lata brahmanda bhedi yaya
viraja brahmaloka bhedi paravyoma paya
tabe yaya tad upari goloka-vrndavana
krishna-carana-kalpa-vrkse kare arohana
"The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja river and the Brahman plane, and reaches to Vaikuntha, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Krishna's lotus feet." (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.153-4)
But the pseudo-devotees do not want to cross these planes-they want everything cheaply. They want to go on uttering the names of gopis, but in their next life they will attain the bodies of mundane women-bewildered by the three modes of material nature-they will not attain the aprakrta-gopi-deha, the form of a gopi in the transcendental land of Vraja.
Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja used to say with regard to those who think they can enter the higher plane simply by imitating the higher devotees;
If a lady enters into a maternity ward, she cannot produce a child only by imitating the sounds and symptoms of labor. Many things are necessary before that. Only by imitation, bhajana cannot be effected. One must have connection with suddha-sattva, the real plane, and then all the higher symptoms may appear. Otherwise, only those speculative antics will manifest.
Even a liberated soul, aprakrta-jiva, should externally take constant shelter of kirtana (chanting harinama)-that is the advice of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Internally, such a liberated soul (in the eternally perfected form as a gopi) should render service to Shrimati Radharani while deeply meditating on Shri Krishna's eight-fold daily pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila). In other words, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says this is the culmination of bhajana for devotees who have taken shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lotus feet. The deep meditation on Shri Krishna's eightfold daily pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila) is not possible for those who are filled with material desire, misconceptions, and the likes of which that come with being a neophyte.
So how can one think that preaching (kirtana) is something inferior to meditation (remembering Krishna's pastimes) when even the aprakrta-jivas are advised to take shelter in kirtana? Such thinking is certainly due to a lack of proper knowledge (sambandha-jnana). Those who have no real sambandha-jnana are not fit for entering into the higher plane of Krishna consciousness. They are also not fit to preach the message of Mahaprabhu, because they cannot impart to others the proper method by which the living entity attains the ultimate goal of life.
Indeed, at present there are certain parties of devotees around the world who are at serious odds with each other over the "preaching" issue (even to the point of physical outbursts)-we wonder how well either parties have grasped the "essence?" One thing is for certain-they all became devotees because of preaching.
Rasika or Sahajiya -- Chapter 7
"To determine who is actually a rasika-bhakta is not always possible simply by observing external behavior....There are internal standards, however, and one who knows those standards of the rasika-bhakta can never be misled."
During my last visit to Shridhama Mayapur I had the great fortune of getting the darsana of Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja, age 100, an affectionate friend and Godbrother of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja and Shrila Prabhupada. Shrila Puri Maharaja joined the mission of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in 1922 and has been an active preacher of Lord Chaitanya's sankirtana movement ever since. We discussed many transcendental topics with Shrila Puri Maharaja and we were very happy to see his mood of extreme reverence for Shrila Shridhara Maharaja and Shrila Prabhupada, the holy name, the Vaishnavas, and the teachings of Mahaprabhu. Most of all we were very touched at heart by his deep humility and gentle dealings.
One evening as we sat at Shrila Puri Maharaja's lotus feet hearing about what it means to be a genuine Vaishnava we were astounded when suddenly Shrila Puri Maharaja said, "There is a wave of sahajiya-ism coming to the western world and you must preach against this misconception."
What did he mean, "a wave of sahajiyaism is coming to the western world?" Sahajiyaism we know, means to imitate-imitate ecstasy, imitate the behavior of exalted Vaishnavas, to take things cheaply by not following the four regulative principles and the recommended process of devotional service, etc.-all these practices are sahajiya. We have read about these things in Shrila Prabhupada's books and we are no doubt aware of the shortcomings of sahajiya tendencies-or are we?
If a man comes to your temple or your house dressed in a sari, wearing a nose-ring, chanting Hare Krishna and rolling on the ground with tears of ecstasy in his eyes, well-you will probably recognize his sahajiya tendencies and reject his association. But beyond these gross manifestations of sahajiyaism-do we actually understand what a sahajiya is and how to avoid sahajiya tendencies? Apparently not or Shrila Puri Maharaja would not have mentioned it so strongly.
Further discussions with Shrila Puri Maharaja revealed what he meant when he exclaimed, "a wave of sahajiyaism is coming." Not only will the Caste Goswamis, Gaurnagaris, Aula, Baula, Siddha-dehas, Siddha-pranalis, Sakhi-bhekis, Daravesas, Sani, Smartas, Ativadi, Cudadhari, Sahajiya and many other worthless schools of imitation come to spread their nonsense in the west, he said, but members of your own community, persons from within our own sampradaya, are coming to demonstrate sahajiyaism. They are doing this in the name of raganuga-bhakti.
Raganuga-bhakti, the topic for the 90's-what is it and how do you do it? Shrila Puri Maharaja stressed that if a devotee, a sannyasi or a brahmacari, thinks that he has become a raganuga-bhakta or a rasika and he wants to hear about the confidential lila of Krishna and the gopis without first having the proper qualifications-then he runs the risk of becoming a woman with a mundane body in his next life! Unfortunately, there are many senior disciples of Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja who are trying to approach the higher subjective world of Krishna lila by practice and meditation with the mind. According to Shrila Puri Maharaja, however, none of them have the authorization of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura! Even if one has the necessary adhikari, it is not the process which has been shown by Saraswati Thakura or our previous acaryas and gurus such as Shrila Prabhupada or Shrila Shridhara Maharaja.
To guide us in our approach to the upper world Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta Saraswati Thakura has composed a nice verse which recommends that the highest aspirations in our bhajana life be kept overhead or within:
pujala ragapatha gaurava bange
mattala sadhu jana visaya range
"The path of divine love is worshipable to us and should be held overhead as our highest aspiration"
And to protect us from the sahajiya misconception Saraswati Thakura has written a small book called Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini, in which he mentions one hundred defects of the sahajiya school. There are thousands of defects in the sahajiyas which disqualify them, but Saraswati Thakura has only mentioned a few of their defects in his book.
To exemplify this idea of keeping the highest ideals above our heads, Shrila Shridhara Maharaja told how Shrila Saraswati Thakura wanted to reside at Govardhana rather than at Radha Kunda. "I am not fit to live in Radha Kunda. So I shall live in a lower position, but my gurus-Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and others-are fit to serve there. So I shall go and serve them there in Radha Kunda, and then return to a little lower position, in Govardhana. There I shall stay."
But what is our actual position? Shouldn't we aspire for the highest knowledge, the highest truth? It is a tricky question. We must move in the direction of truth, we must have proper knowledge-yet at the same time we must exercise great caution, fools rush in where angles fear to tread. To want to know everything about Krishna lila is a defect and that will cause us to fall down. It is to our advantage to always seek a lower position. That is the proper tactic to maintain a subjective position in the subjective world.
As Shrila Shridhara Maharaja once said, "Otherwise, if we think that we are in the highest quarter, that higher reality will vanish from us. Only from a little lower position shall we view that higher plane with respect."
Once we have been given proper connection with the higher world by the guru we should worship that conception on the altar of our heart. We should show the highest respect for those who are a part of Krishna's intimate lila and for those who have come here to represent that quarter.
Above all, the esoteric lilas of Krishna and the gopis are never to be discussed in an open assembly-among unqualified persons. Nor should paintings of intimate lilas nor other such displays such as rasa-lila drama be shown to the public. The ordinary people will consider Krishna lila with the gopis as mundane sex relations and the neophyte devotees will also not be able to understand these topics. Therefore, it is an offense to disclose such topics in their presence.
First deserve, then desire. To discuss confidential topics about Krishna nama and Krishna's rasa-lila in the presence of persons who do not have the required adhikari or qualification constitutes an aparadha, an offense;
asraddadhane vimukhe `py asrnvati
Offenses of this type must certainly be avoided by one who wants to progress in Krishna consciousness. Of course the higher subject matters may be discussed-they are not forbidden altogether. But there must be a qualified speaker and a qualified listener. Actually these things are reserved for liberated souls and to hear about such things without qualification is itself sahajiyaism. In the lives of our acaryas, especially Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura-the founder of the preaching mission of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this modern age, we find that he was extremely reserved in discussing esoteric topics. In this manner, both Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja were also perfect examples of the standards he set.
I have observed throughout my career as a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that even though Shrila Prabhupada was internally relishing the confidential truths regarding Gaudiya Vaisnavism he was nevertheless very, very discrete about openly discussing such truths-even amongst his most qualified disciples. Although outwardly not discussing the esoteric pastimes of Krishna, it is a fact that internally Shrila Prabhupada was fully conscious of the sublime mellows of love of God. Like his spiritual master Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura-outwardly Shrila Prabhupada worshipped the way of divine love with grandeur, awe, and reverence, but his object was actually that of the simple and beautiful, divine love of Vrndavana, and his temperament in establishing the Krishna consciousness movement in the world was just like that of a lion.
A devotee who internally relishes the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna is called a rasika-bhakta, one who takes transcendental pleasure in remembering the mellow sweetness of love of Godhead. It is a fact that one will have to approach such higher devotees sooner or later, but at present we are posed with a problem-how to tell the difference between a rasika-acarya and a sahajiya?
I think it is safe to say without objection from my readers that Shrila Prabhupada was a rasika-acarya. As such we can further learn about the proper approach to the higher subject matter by observing his mood of presentation. Although keeping everything within-not allowing his ecstasy to manifest on the external plane-the depth in which Shrila Prabhupada relished Krishna consciousness would sometimes become revealed in something he did or said. For the most part, however, his internal mood was couched within his dress as a world acarya, as jagad-guru, as that of a humble servant of his spiritual master and as a preacher of Bhagavad-gita As It Is. In this way Shrila Prabhupada was constantly engaged in kirtana and preaching for the benefit of the fallen conditioned souls. To understand the internal workings of a rasika devotee is not an easy matter-if at all possible. But we must try if we are to make progress.
One example of Shrila Prabhupada keeping the mood of esoteric topics within and not disclosing them openly or publicly can be cited in relation to the verse dehi pada pallavam udaram from Gita Govinda by Jayadeva Goswami. This verse is regarded by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas as being amongst the highest and most revered verses ever spoken. Yet Shrila Prabhupada is only known to have raised this verse in preaching twice after his coming to the western world. It is a most relishable subject for the pure devotees but they do not like to discuss such things amongst the conditioned souls. Only the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by His grace, can understand anything of the substance of this verse. It contains within it the highest aspiration of the Gaudiya Vaishnava, Radha-dasyam.
Dehi pada pallavam udaram. This verse was spoken by Lord Krishna to Shrimati Radharani in the course of their intimate conversations. Here Krishna has expressed Himself openly-with great urgency and necessity, He begs for the pardon of Shrimati Radharani, "Please forgive Me and place Your lotus feet on My head." This is a most high and esoteric concept-that Krishna Himself is declaring the exhaulted position of Shrimati Radharani as the supermost worshipable object. This kind of thinking is not possible for beginners-the neophytes cannot conceive of such an exaulted position. How is it possible? The whole world is searching after Krishna; all the yogis, munis, and sages; even Brahma, Siva and Vishnu desire the darsana of Krishna, but Krishna is begging for the mercy of Shrimati Radharani. Just see how great She is!
Shrila Prabhupada only once discussed this intimate matter before his western disciples and that was while instructing one of the BBT artists, Shrimati Jadurani devi dasi, sometime in 1967.
Shrila Prabhupada narrated the incident to his disciple that while writing the Gita Govinda and describing the love affairs between Radha and Krishna these words came to the mind of Jayadeva, dehi pada pallavam udaram. When this happened Jayadeva was astonished, "What is this! How has such a thought entered my mind? I cannot write such a thing. How is it possible?"
Jayadeva could not conceive of such a thing. How could Krishna the Supreme Lord ask for the feet of Shrimati Radharani to be placed on his head? Jayadeva had great devotion and love for Krishna as the topmost Supreme Entity, therefore it was not appropriate for Krishna to utter such words. Jayadeva could not bring himself to write such a verse. He began to tremble and the pen fell from his hand.
Feeling somewhat disturbed Jayadeva decided to go to the Ganges for bath. He informed his wife. "Oh good wife, I shall go to the Ganges for bath. Please prepare my prasadam and have it ready when I return." To which his good wife replied, "Yes, my respected husband, everything shall be done as you have requested."
Jayadeva then left the house and started for the Ganges. A short time later Jayadeva returned to the house and requested his wife to immediately serve prasadam, as he was very hungry. Jaya-deva's wife then served her husband, after which Jayadeva returned to his study and began writing.
As is the custom in India, Jayadeva's wife then sat down after her husband had eaten and began to take her prasadam. Suddenly Jayadeva appeared at the doorway of his house and began to call for his wife requesting her to serve prasadam, as he was very hungry. Astonished to hear such a thing, Jayadeva's wife informed her husband, " My most respected husband, upon returning from the Ganges you have already taken your meal and in turn after you, I have already taken my prasadam. After that you went to your study and continued your writing. I have seen you do all this, so why do you now say that you are very hungry and that you want to take prasadam?"
Hearing this, Jayadeva was bewildered and he could not understand the strange behavior of his wife. Upon entering his study Jaya-deva became even more astonished when he saw that the verse that he had hesitated to write, was now written in his own handwriting on the paper he had left. Krishna Himself had come to complete the verse. Krishna had wanted Jayadeva to disclose this most inconceivable truth but he hesitated-so Krishna did it Himself.
smara garala khandanam mama shrirasi mandanam
dehi pada pallavam udaram
jawalati mayi daruno madana kadana runo
haratu tadu pahita vikaram
"O Shri Radhe, Your holy lotus feet are very kind and generous. The burning poison of Kamadeva, which is always pressing Me, will be finished if You place Your lotus feet on My head. Only You can save Me."
When Shrila Prabhupada uttered this verse he himself began to feel great ecstatic emotions within but he checked himself for the benefit of his disciple. Shrila Prabhupada never again uttered this verse during the remaining ten years of his preaching mission until 1977 when he spoke the same verse dehi pada pallavam udaram in the course of chastising a film producer who came to get Shrila Prabhupada's blessing for producing a film on "Krishna lila." Shrila Prabhupada was outspoken and firm-he had no intention of ever blessing such a project. And his reasons were obvious-"who will understand your film production?"
To determine who is actually a rasika-bhakta is not always possible simply by observing external behavior. Externally a rasika-bhakta may even appear not to be relishing rasa. Externally he may even have a common appearance. There are internal standards, however, and one who knows those standards of the rasika-bhakta can never be misled.
One very important standard of a rasika-bhakta is that he cannot tolerate rasabhasa (inconsistency or opposing mellows in rasa) or the fact that unqualified persons try to enter into confidential subject matters. Shrila Prabhupada often showed this example of being totally intolerant toward such topics. In all cases Shrila Prabhu-pada never failed to heavily stress that the confidential rasa-lilas of Krishna and the gopis were "only for liberated souls" and it was not at all possible for conditioned souls or neophyte devotees to understand these topics.
Shrila Prabhupada was unrelenting on this point. He would often become angry when unqualified persons raised such confidential topics and he would chastise them, "My point is that for ordinary discussion, ordinary show these things are not meant for ordinary persons. These things are for liberated souls! That is my point."
As for outward displays of ecstacy by a rasika-bhakta one can refer to Pundarika Vidyanidhi of Chaitanya lila. Whenever Pundarika Vidyanidhi happened to hear the topics of Krishna lila he would become overwhelmed with ecstasy and exhibit all the bodily transformations of love of God-trembling, faltering of the voice, shedding tears, fainting, rolling on the ground, and speaking like a madman, etc. Only by seeing these extraordinary bodily manifestations of love of God could one actually understand the exalted position of Shrila Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Outwardly he appeared very ordinary, but inwardly he was a devotee of the highest caliber. Of the highest caliber-to say the least-he was the incarnation of King Vrsabhanu, the father of Shrimati Radharani.
Actually both of these examples which I have given, one of Shrila Prabhupada and the other of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, are factual characteristics of a rasika-bhakta, however, of the two examples we are to concern ourselves more with the example of Shrila Prabhupada, rather than that of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Why? Because cheaters often imitate the behavior of devotees like Pundarika Vidyanidhi but they almost never imitate the preachers like Shrila Prabhupada. For example, in Vrndavana there is a certain mayavadi sannyasi, who, upon hearing the name of Radharani falls into "trance" and sheds tears of "ecstasy." But when I asked him so many questions regarding Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's philosophy he had nothing to say. He had no philosophy and therefore he was exposed.
The actual rasika-bhaktas are masters of rasa-tattva or the philosophy of rasa. This rasa-tattva is not simply a matter of book learning but it is the intrinsic truth about transcendental love affairs between Radha and Krishna manifest in the hearts of pure devotees. It is the superior truth about transcendental love affairs, acquired due to their full surrender and deep attachment to the lotus feet of Krishna. Because rasa-tattva is intrinsic in the hearts of pure devotees, it cannot so easily be imitated by the pseudo swamis, yogis and gurus.
Our conclusion is that we should make the goal of our life the pleasure of Krishna's dearest servants. That will automatically qualify us for the higher plane but if we become intruders of Krishna lila, if we try to jump ahead without proper qualification, then we will certainly be cast down.
It is the duty of all the disciples and especially the sannyasis of Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja to preach against the advances of sahajiyaism in the Vaishnava community here in the western world. That will be a great service to Shri Chaitanya Maha-prabhu's movement. The standards for preaching and bhajana have already been established for this movement by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura and as Shrila Puri Goswami Maharaja has recently requested-we should take inspiration from Saraswati Thakura and do the needful.
Sadhana Bhakti -- Chapter 8
"As followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the line of Shri Rupa Goswami Prabhupada we are called rupanugas, followers of Shri Rupa. We may neglect the teaching of so many saints like Patanjali, Buddha, Jesus, Sankara, even Ramanujacarya and Madhvacarya."
Devotee: How can we practice Krishna consciousness?
Narasingha Maharaja: When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu met Shrila Rupa Goswami at Prayaga the Lord instructed him in the science of Krishna consciousness.
krishna-tattva, bhakti-tattva, rasa-tattva-pranta
saba sikhaila prabhu bhagavata-siddhanta
"Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught Shrila Rupa Goswami the ultimate limit of the truth about Lord Krishna, the truth about devotional service and the truth about transcendental mellows, consummating in conjugal love between Radha and Krishna. Finally, He told Rupa Goswami about the ultimate conclusions of Shrimad-Bhagavatam."
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave confidential instructions to Shrila Rupa Goswami and He also empowered him with the ability to distribute it widely. Later on, Shrila Rupa Goswami compiled the essense of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings in his book, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
In the second wave (chapter two) of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu Shrila Rupa Goswami has listed sixty-four items of practicing Krishna consciousness, which are to be followed by all the devotees of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shri Shri Radha Govinda. They begin with:
visrambhena guroh seva sadhuvartmanuvartanam
"The following are the indespensible parts of sadhana-bhakti: 1- Taking shelter of the lotus feet of the guru; 2- receiving initiation and training from the guru; 3- serving the guru with affectionate zeal, and 4- following in the footsteps of the great devotees." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Eastern Division, Second Wave, Txt. 74)
In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Shrila Sanatana Goswami, the manifold aspects of practicing Krishna consciousness have already been mentioned, but Shrila Rupa Goswami comments that he has selected only the more important angas of bhakti-haribhakti-vilase'sya bhakterangani laksasah, kintu tani prasiddhani nirdisyante yatha mati.
Guru-pada-asraya-thus the foremost principle of practicing Krishna consciousness is stated first-take shelter at the lotus feet of shri gurudeva, the bona-fide spiritual master. Asraya means shelter. shri gurudeva is the asraya-vigraha or the shelter giving principle of the Supreme Godhead. Under his care, his guidance, we can learn the actual process of becoming Krishna conscious.
Without the shelter of shri gurudeva the so-called practice of Krishna consciousness is a mental concoction or simply mundane. Actual Krishna consciousness is situated in the supra-mental, supra-mundane plane and cannot be attained simply through our mental speculations. One becomes Krishna conscious via Krishna's grace received through the descending process-guru to disciple. Krishna's grace will surely descend to us when we have proper connection. Therefore, our first business in a practicing life of Krishna consciousness is to take shelter of shri gurudeva.
tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam brahmany upasamasrayam
"My dear king, he who desires to know the ultimate goal of life must surrender completely to the guru. The guru is always an unalloyed devotee of the Supreme Godhead. The guru is always free from the duality of material existence such as attraction and aversion to sense objects. The guru has fully realized the purport of sabda-brahmani, the revealed bhakti scriptures, and he is always engaged in para-brahmani, chanting the holy name and singing the glories of the Lord's transcendental pastimes." (Bhag. 11.3.21)
In Goloka Vrndavana Krishna is surrounded by His eternal associates, the nitya-parikara. These eternal associates like Patraka, Shridama, Nanda and Yasoda, and Shrimati Radharani are the chief asraya-vigrahas. The nitya-parikara devotees are not in the category of the jiva souls but are known as the ragatmikas, the Eternal Counter-Whole Manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. All the nitya-parikara devotees in madhurya-rasa like Lalita, Visakha, and even Candravali are the expansions of the serving temperament of Shrimati Radharani. In the remaining rasas all the nitya-parikara devotees like Nanda, Yasoda, Shridama etc. are manifest from the serving mood of Shri Baladeva. These devotees are not jiva souls or marginal entities, nor should they be confused with the visnu-tattva category. The jiva soul can never become a ragatmika. In the highest stage of perfection the jiva soul can come to the stage of being an eternal servant, of the servant, of the servant of Lalita, Visakha, and Shrimati Radharani or Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda.
Shri gurudeva is known as the principle of asraya-vigraha which has extended itself to the world of conditioned souls to meet their ultimate necessity of receiving the shelter of the ragatmikas. The guru, being the most merciful devotee of Shrimati Radharani or Shri Baladeva, is always prepared to shelter the submissive and sincere disciples and to guide them in matters concerning their spiritual upliftment.
Shelter means to surrender-saranagati. Without surrender to the guru, the transaction between guru and disciple never takes place. One should be careful not to approach the guru with an argumentative mentality. Submissive behavior in front of the guru is essential. We are suffering in the mundane world due to our rebellious attitude against the Supreme Authority of Krishna. Therefore, to oppose the words of shri gurudeva will not help us.
The guru is also not an inquiry office. Shall we come to the guru, put forward our inquiry, take some knowledge and then go away? If so we will not gain anything spiritual. The knowledge of shri gurudeva is not for our selfish purpose. We must surrender at the lotus feet of shri guru. His knowledge will defeat us, destroy all our doubts, and reveal to us the wealth that is within us. We must pledge ourselves as a slave of shri gurudeva. We should never try to make the knowledge of shri gurudeva an ornament of our false prestige. "See what I know. See how advanced I am." Such false pride will surely check the disciples advancment in Krishna consciousness. We have been purchased by shri gurudeva and he has every right to dispense with us according to his wish. After surrendering to shri gurudeva we should not withdraw our energy for our personal enjoyment or out of fear that we are being exploited. We must keep our faith, sraddha, in shri gurudeva. Such full surrender and faith is the only price to pay if we want to go forward in Krishna consciousness.
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
"Only unto those great souls who have faith in shri gurudeva and the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna are all the imports of Vedic knowledge revealed."
To support the necessity of the second anga (diksa and siksa) Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada has cited another verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
tatra bhagavatan dharman siksed gurv-atma-daivatah
amayayanuvrtya yais tusyed atmatma-do harih
"The guru should be served with all sincerity in the consciousness that he is as dear as one's very self. One should consider the guru as God-in-person. So considering the guru, the disciple should receive instructions from him in the esoteric meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the related bhakti literatures. Such meaningful behavior of the disciple greatly pleases the Supreme Lord." (Bhag. 11.3.22)
Initiation-harinama and mantra diksa, are offered to the disciple on the threshold of bhakti. Initiation means the beginning. One who has received proper initiation in the parampara system is in the position to receive the descent of Krishna's grace. If we cannot find a qualified devotee to whom we can surrender and from whom we can accept initiation, then with great earnestness we must continue our search. "Seek and ye shall find." If, however, even after continuing our search we cannot find any qualified person, then we must accept that the defect is within us. If we cannot get the shelter of shri gurudeva then we are not actually sincere. Krishna will not neglect our sincere search and according to our earnestness we will receive the divine connection with shri gurudeva.
Guru is not a fashion. Once Shrila Prabhupada, A.C. Bhakti-vedanta Swami Maharaja asked a group of his disciples, "Who needs a guru?" to which a disciple replied, "Everyone needs a guru!" Much to everyones surprise Shrila Prabhupada said, "No! Not everyone needs a guru. Only one who wants to put an end to the miserable conditions of material existance-he needs a guru, not everyone. Guru is not a fashion."
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained the process of initiation as the system called Panca Samskara-tapa, pundra, nama, mantra, and yaga. First, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, the student must approach the guru with an attitude of tapa, repentence for his past sinful activities. Then the guru will instruct the student in pundra-marking the names of Godhead on the twelve locations of the body. Seeing the willingness of the student to reform, the guru will then offer nama and the sincere student becomes an initiated disciple. By the strength of the holy name of Krishna all ones sinful activities are destroyed and the disciple realizes his eternal nature as that of servant of Krishna.
Next the guru gives his disciple mantra. The mantra, usually the kama-gayatri-mantra, helps the disciple to refine his taste or to develop a particular mellow sweetness (rasa) in the chanting of Krishna nama. Then the guru gives instruction (siksa) to the disciple in yaga or Deity worship. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that without Deity worship it is very difficult for the conditioned soul to make progress in Krishna consciousness. Actually the holy name of Krishna alone can reveal the highest truth, but because the neophyte devotee cannot purely utter the name of Krishna due to either anarthas or aparadha, he requires purification via the process of Deity worship, arcana.
All the items of Panca Samskara have been included in the sixty-four angas of sadhana-bhakti established by Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada. To support the third anga of bhakti, service of the guru, he again cites a verse from Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.17.27;
acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruh
"Know the acarya or guru to be My Very Self. Never think of him as an ordinary man. Never disrespect him. Never find fault with him. The guru is the embodiment of all the demigods."
Once when asked about the guru, Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja told, "The guru is not jiva-tattva." The devotees present were a little shocked to hear this, because according to their present understanding, the guru was not God or visnu-tattva, therefore he was jiva-tattva or a spirit soul. This is true, but the correct understanding of the position of the guru is that he belongs to the guru-tattva category. The guru is not considered as a jiva-tattva nor does the disciple find any mundane qualities about his guru. Whatever the guru does or says will be seen as divine by the disciple, because the disciple is seeing the descent of Krishna in shri gurudeva. Where Krishna comes down to embrace the devotee-that point is shri guru-deva. Because the guru is non-different than Krishna Himself, he is most worthy to be served by the disciple.
Krishna is attracted by the service of his pure devotee. By his complete surrender and willingness to please Krishna by any and all means the pure devotee is able to attract the Lords affection-so much so that the Lord Himself then desires to render service to His pure devotee. The pure devotee however or shri gurudeva is always cautious not to accept service from Krishna. Therefore, there remains an unfulfilled desire in Krishna's heart-to serve shri gurudeva. When the sincere disciple renders service to the guru with affectionate zeal this gives Krishna great satisfaction because his innermost desire is being fulfilled.
Here there is a particularly fine point about shri gurudeva to which we should pay special attention. Krishna is served by his dear- most confidential devotee, shri gurudeva.
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh shri-caranaravindam
"The guru is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of shri gurudeva."
Shri gurudeva is the most confidential servitor of Krishna. But who is that most confidential servitor? In the words of Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, "If we raise our heads a little and search, then we shall find that it is Shrimati Radharani." It is Shrimati Radharani, the dearest servitor of Krishna, who is behind the function of shri gurudeva. If we search earnestly and give full attention to the teaching of our beloved guru we shall find Shrimati Radharani in shri gurudeva. That is the highest, most revered vision of our guru. We are told that Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura saw Shrimati Radharani in Bhaktivinoda and that Raghunatha dasa Goswami saw Shrimati Radharani in his beloved gurus, Shrila Rupa and Sanatana Goswami. That is the ultimate vision of shri gurudeva and that is the meaning of kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya.
The first three angas of devotional service specifically pertain to the guru; his shelter, his instruction, and his service. The fourth anga is to follow in the footsteps of the great devotees, sadhu-vartmanuvartanam. To support this anga Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada quotes a verse from the Skanda Purana;
sa mrgyah sreyasam hetuh panthah santapa-varjitah
anvaptasramam purve yena santha pratasthire
"The best way to search for the truth is to follow the path that has been previously gone over by saintly persons and devotees and by which they have attained the supreme goal of life. Such a path is always free from all kinds of obstacles and hindrances to our progress and one very quickly attains the desired result."
Actually there are many avataras (incarnations), many saints and many prescribed methods of spiritual and material achievement mentioned in the Vedas but we are not interested in them. In this connection I once heard a story from Shripad Govinda Maharaja-Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada had written one very difficult sloka in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which says, "I do not care for Baladeva, and I do not care for Rukmini or Satyabhama, but I must do my service. That type of ego I have." Here we find such apparent extreme neglect being expressed, that a neophyte will imagine it to be offensive. How can one neglect Baladeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Rukmini and Satyabhama the eternal queens of Lord Krishna at Dwaraka? We cannot even think of such a thing, so how is it possible that Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada has written it?
Unable to understand the meaning of this sloka, some very important scholars once came to Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maha-raja at Navadvipa-dhama to ask his opinion. The great scholars could not understand the hidden meaning of this sloka and so they came to Shrila Guru Maharaja knowing him to be of superior internal understanding and not simply a scholar of the outward dress. Shrila Guru Maharaja said that, "Rupa Goswami composed this sloka with some purpose: to show what is the target of the devotee; O, Baladeva, O, Rukmini, O Satyabhama, You are all most worshipable to me, but please do not interfere with me now. I know that you are all superior servitors of Lord Krishna, but I am your servitor's servitor; I have my duty to perform. So please, do not interfere here, but go and be seated over there and I shall worship your lotus feet." After hearing Shrila Guru Maharaja's explanation all the scholars were very much satisfied and went away in a happy mood.
In this way we may also pray, "My dear Lord Krishna you are the absolute king of love and you always sport in the groves of Shri Vrndavana with Shrimati Radharani as your eternal companion. I have heard this from my guru and the Vaishnavas and I have now become hopeful and enthusiastic. Therefore, please do not cheat me by attempting to capture my mind with your expansions of opulence and grandeur. I will not be satisfied with that. I want only to hear about your wonderful Vrndavana pastimes and to see your transcendental form standing by that of Shrimati Radharani. I cannot accept anything less than this as the ultimate goal of my life."
As followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the line of Shrila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada we are called rupanugas, followers of Shri Rupa. We may neglect the teaching of so many saints, like Patanjali, Buddha, Jesus, Sankara, even Ramanujacarya and Madhvacarya can be neglected, what to speak of neglecting so many social duties to family, country, etc. prescribed under the varnasrama-dharma system. All can be neglected to the extreme degree if one surrenders at the lotus feet of Vrndavana-Krishna;
sarva-dharman parityaja, mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva papebhyo, moksayisyami ma sucah
"In the eternal land of Vraja, you will experience the whole conception of beauty. Dismiss all other engagements and prospects, and come to Me alone. Your inner hankering will be fulfilled beyond your expectation. You will find such dignity in Me, that you will be beyond reaction and repentance." (Bhagavad-gita 18.66)
We are first interested in the line of the Vrndavana saints, such as Ramananda Raya, Svarupa Damodara, the six Goswamis and their disciples. We should not allow ourselves to become attracted even by Vaikuntha, Ayodhya, or Dwaraka. Nor should we be interested to read many books from other sampradayas, describing their conceptions of reality. Reality for us is Krishna the beautiful. That is the actual standard of raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous loving devotion. Our sole interest should flow toward the Vrndavana section, excluding all other conceptions.
On the path previously treaded by the great devotees of the Lord there is surely success. The only thing which can mar our attempt is vaishnava-aparadha and nama-aparadha. All obstacles may easily be conquered by chanting the holy name of Krishna and sadhu-seva, service to the guru and the saints, but if we make offense to the holy name of Krishna, or to the guru and the saints then we will surely fall from the path. Therefore, we must be careful to avoid any offense by always offering our most humble obeisances to shri gurudeva and the Vaishnavas, and by constantly chanting harinama.
If we give thorough attention to these first four angas of sadhana-bhakti our progress in Krishna consciousness is assured.
Raganuga Bhakti -- Chapter 9
"Somehow the idea has come about that raganuga-bhakti means to exclusively perform solitary bhajana and not to preach or at least not to preach very enthusiastically. That is not correct thinking. Everything we can understand correctly from the viewpoint of Chaitanya lila-audarya-lila, i.e. the distribution of the highest mellows of spontaneous love of God."
Devotee: It is sometimes said that your Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, taught his disciples vaidhi-bhakti and not raganuga-bhakti. Is this true?
Narasingha Maharaja: No. That is a misunderstanding. Actually our spiritual master engaged his disciples in raganuga-sadhana following the line of Shrila Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami and Ragunatha dasa Goswami. Vaidhi-bhakti is of a lower order. Devotion that is performed according to the rules and regulations found in the Vedic scriptures such as those used by the Ramanuja sampradaya, characterized by awe and reverence, that is vaidhi-bhakti. This vaidhi-bhakti we find in Vaikuntha but not in Vrndavana. Raganuga, exclusive spontaneous dedication, is unique to the Vrndavana devotees.
Shrila Rupa Goswami was chosen by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the most fit person to distribute raganuga-bhakti. The rules and regulations our spiritual master gave us are found in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (The Nectar of Devotion) compiled by Shrila Rupa Goswami. Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is the handbook of bhakti-yoga or sadhana-bhakti. Sadhana-bhakti has two divisions or categories, vaidhi and raganuga. They are in one sense separate, while at the same time inseparable-in that they are complimentary components of the same substance i.e., sadhana-bhakti.
Saranagati-full surrender and twenty four hours engagement in the service of Radha Govinda was the sum and substance of all that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada spoke of and of every action he performed. Unfortunately, due to offenses to the holy name and to the Vaishnavas some of our godbrothers have fallen from the path of pure devotion and others have been captured by the grandeur, the glamour and have divorced themselves from the inner spirit or truth.
Somehow the idea has come about that raganuga-bhakti means to exclusively perform solitary bhajana and not to preach or at least not to preach very enthusiastically. That is not correct thinking. Everything we can understand correctly from the viewpoint of Chaitanya lila. Chaitanya lila is audarya-lila, i.e. the distribution of the highest mellows of spontaneous love of God, following in the footsteps of the cowherd maidens of Vrndavana. This audarya is the result of the most advanced stage of prema i.e., mahabhava. Tasting the mellows of ecstatic love for Krishna in the ecstatic mood of the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu becomes like a madman and wishes to distribute the mellow taste of that love in all directions. In other words raganuga-bhakti is not exclusive of preaching, rather raganuga is where real preaching begins.
It was in the divine flow of tasting the drops of nectar that fell from the lotus feet of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that Shrila Prabhupada carried on his campaign of distributing love of Krishna all over the world. In fact, his program of engaging everyone in spontaneous devotion was so dynamic that his rule of thumb was, "Krishna consciousness now-rules and regulations later," as taught by Rupa Goswami:
yena tena prakarena manah krsne nivesayet
sarve vidhi-nisedha syur etayor eva kinkarah
"An acarya should devise a means by which people may somehow or other come to Krishna consciousness. First, they should become Krishna conscious, and all the prescribed rules and regulations may later be introduced gradually."
Due to our Shrila Prabhupada's following this prescribed method of spreading Krishna consciousness, some less advanced Vaishnavas used to criticize him. For example, in the beginning of Shrila Prabhu-pada's movement his sannyasa disciples carried the tridanda (staff) that was at least one foot taller than the particular sannyasi. Once at Mayapur some persons complained, "Their dandas are too big!" The regulation for the danda is that it should be the same height as the sannyasi. But this detail was being overlooked. When Shrila Prabhupada heard of this criticism he laughed and said. "That is because we are big preachers."
It is true to some extent that, in the days of Shrila Prabhupada, his students could not always catch the deepest meaning of everything. All the devotees were for the most part working very hard doing whatever Shrila Prabhupada asked. Many devotees made great personal sacrifices to try and fulfill the orders of His Divine Grace. Those that did certainly received his mercy.
Shrila Prabhupada was very cautious about discussing certain confidential areas of Krishna lila, specifically madhurya-rasa. His caution was to save us from the sahajiya section-a fate a thousand times worse than hell. The unintelligent have falsely concluded that he had no standing in the madhurya conception. That is a diseased way of thinking.
There is hidden reason for Shrila Prabhupada not speaking at length or in great detail about certain subjects such as Radha dasyam, the divine service of Shrimati Radharani, and her manjari class, i.e., the confidential assistants of Shrimati Radharani. That reason is similar to why Sukadeva Goswami has not directly mentioned the name of Radha in Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
It has been stated by renowned acaryas in the Gaudiya sampradaya that had Sukadeva spoken the name of Shrimati Radharani directly he would have entered avista-citta, a state of trance, and become inert for six months. Thus Pariksit Maharaja would not have been able to hear the Shrimad-Bhagavatam in seven days. Similarly, had Shrila Prabhupada entered into deep discussions with his disciples about the intimate love affairs of Radha Govinda Sundara and Their confidential associates, he would not have been able to carry on his world wide preaching activities. Therefore, for the benefit of the world he checked his deeper interests and emotions, in order to stay in connection with us.
In this line of thinking there is a narrative of how once while having to speak about Shrimati Radharani in a public place Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura lost his external consciousness and fell from the chair in which he was sitting. Such was his deep devotion for Shrimati Radharani.
Many devotees now want to know about all the confidential subjects of madhurya-rasa and to collect some knowledge and to show their learnedness on the subject they run here and there talking to everyone and anyone and reading everything and anything. After that they want to produce some rasa literatures. This is also a faulty process. The madhurya-lila is most confidential and just by acquiring categorical knowledge of the subject one does not actually enter into that realm of consciousness. One can only know the super subjective plane of intimate lilas of Radha Govinda by submissive inquiry and service at the lotus feet of one who is himself situated in that realm.
The confidential lilas of Krishna are never knowable by the primary students of Krishna consciousness. The proof that one has no standing there, even after examining so much knowledge on the subject, is that we utter the holy name of Shrimati Radharani but we remain absorbed in kanaka, kamini, and pratistha: money, women, and name and fame. The fact that we talk about such confidential matters and still remain conscious is proof that we have no devotion of that type. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to say that the proof of his not having any love for Krishna was the fact that He did not die immediately.
When the sun sets, darkness follows. Similarly, after the disappearance of Shrila Prabhupada, maya or darkness once again overcame many devotees. In the presence of the spiritual master we may find our way in Krishna consciousness more easily due to his illuminating presence. But after his departure from this world we will be put to test. Maya will try to cover our faith and impede our progress.
The sudden departure of Shrila Prabhupada from this world created a great need or necessity in the hearts of his sincere disciples. Just to increase their attachment to him, Krishna had called the very life of their life back to His eternal abode. The spiritual master had returned to the supreme realm of Radha Govinda to engage in eternal lila but the direction in which he had gone and in which his disciples should follow somehow became unclear. Many were again lost and others prayed earnestly for help from above. Krishna fulfilled the prayers of the earnest devotees and met their necessity in the hour of their greatest need by manifesting once again before them in the form of His Divine Grace Bhakti Raksaka Shridhara Maharaja.
It is a long story but Shrila Shridhara Maharaja helped many devotees in many different ways. Most importantly he inspired us to carry on in the line of pure devotion, following in the footsteps of our Shrila Prabhupada.
So, by the grace of these two renowned agents of Krishna; Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Shridhara Maharaja we have imbibed a proper conception of raganuga-bhakti and the ultimate goal of the Gaudiya sampradaya. That is our good fortune.
Siddha Deha Revealed -- Chapter 10
"First they must cross the Viraja, Brahman, and even Vaikuntha conceptions before they can reach Goloka Vrndavana. But they are not ready to pay the price of surrender and purification."
Devotee: There is a book entitled Why Did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Come and What Did He Come to Give. Could you kindly comment on this book in light of our parampara system.
Narasingha Maharaja: The book and the author which you have mentioned both belong to the imitationist school, siddha-pranali. Their thinking will not be of any assistance or help to those devotees actually desiring to make advancement on the path of raganuga-bhakti, spontaneous love of Krishna.
Question: The author strongly supports his statements and conclusions with many scriptural references from the bhakti school and extolls raganuga-bhakti as the highest path of devotion, so how can it not be helpful for our progress? What is the fault in it?
Answer: Firstly, the whole of the imitationist school has been disqualified in their attempt, because they do not want to pay the price which Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has insisted upon. Mahaprabhu has said,
upajiya bade lata brahmanda bhedi yaya
viraja brahma-loka bhedi paravyoma paya
tabe yaya tad upari goloka vrndavana
krishna-carana-kalpavrkse kare arohana
"The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja river and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally reaching to embrace the wish yielding tree of Krishna's Lotus Feet." (C.c. Madhya 19.153,4)
The imitationists ignore this instruction of Mahaprabhu and take the whole process very cheaply. From the brahmanda, the physical and mental plane, the imitators speculate to try and enter Goloka Vrndavana. They do not care to purify themselves or elevate themselves beyond the scope of matter. First they must cross the Viraja, Brahman, and even Vaikuntha conceptions before they can reach Goloka Vrndavana. But they are not ready to pay the price of surrender and purification first. In the words of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "The imitators want the fruits without taking the trouble to climb the tree, so what sort of fruits can be expected. Their fruits will be ruined or rotten." Without proper progress, as stated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, their so-called progress is imaginary-a sort of self-deception. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura has written a poem, Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusini, in which he has given a hundred defects in the imitationists conception. Their defects are numerous, but Saraswati Thakura has listed only one hundred. Namely he says that the imitators want everything cheaply.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disciples such as Rupa, Sanatana and Raghunatha dasa Goswami after receiving direct instruction from Him were instructed to write many books outlining the progressive steps toward raganuga-bhakti. Thus in their writings Shrila Sanatana Goswami has established sambandha-jnana, the process of re-establishing our relationship with Krishna, and Shrila Rupa Goswami has given us the directions by which one actually engages in a service relationship with Krishna and he also gives us the knowledge of rasa or intimate mellows of divine love reciprocation, abhidheya-tattva. Raghunatha dasa Goswami, our prayojana-tattva-acarya-the topmost example of perfection in the Chaitanya school, has given us the concept of the highest aspiration of service-the maid servants service to Shrimati Radharani. However, eliminating Rupa and Sanatana, the imitators try to jump to the stage of Raghunatha dasa Goswami by the agency of the mind. The imitators factually misunderstand the position and instructions of the exalted devotees and by the process of imitation they unfortunately develop a hellish mentality.
Under the guidance of a so-called guru the imitators receive some mantra and in a secluded place they go on mentally identifying themselves with the name of a particular sakhi of Krishna lila, her age, her duty, her place of service, her dress and so on. They try to imitate the highest plane of spiritual reality from the lowest plane of material existence. In this way, however, real bhajana cannot be effected. We do not see that any of the Six Goswamis of Vrndavana or any of the previous acaryas who have come to represent Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, engaged in this process of imitation anytime in their career. Actually we see just the opposite. Even though many of our previous acaryas were nitya-siddha, or eternally perfected souls who descended to this world on the order of Krishna, we see that they practised self-forgetfulness to the extreme degree. Although they were gopis in Krishna lila they did not wander about Vrndavana meditating on their form and identity as a gopi. They completely forgot their spiritual identity and cultivated the feelings of intense separation, vipralambha. Not only our acaryas but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself also was in a state of self-forgetfulness and whenever anyone reminded Him of His real identity He closed His ears and ran away. These are vivid examples which the imitators ignore or avoid by some word jugglery.
In the words of Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, "The imitator is like a woman who enters the maternity ward and simply by producing the sounds of labor thinks that she can produce a child. Many things are required before that." In other words one must first become qualified by transcending all lower stages of material and spiritual existence before one can enter the plane where ones eternal form and intimate relationship with Krishna are revealed. This means that one must first transcend the material mind and senses. But the imitationists do not care to take this trouble. They misunderstand the process and while still being conditioned by the mind and the modes of material nature they try to bring the supramundane lila of Krishna within the quantum of their speculative process. The result of their imitation is zero-it is worse than zero-they likely will be hurled down to hell, losing the prospect of devotional service for many thousands of lifetimes.
The pure-hearted ecstatic devotees of Lord Chaitanya, who are always absorbed in the intimate loving pastimes of the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radhika Madhava Sundara, consider the imitationists as a class of offenders. Such offenders are never the recipients of the mercy of the confidential devotees of Godhead and without the blessings of such higher Vaishnavas it is not possible for them to progress in the line of raganuga-bhakti.
As in the case of the author of the book which you have mentioned, it is an unfortunate history but he and two others who first came in connection with our spiritual master Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Jagadguru Shri Shrimad A.C. Bhakti-vedanta Swami Prabhupada, later on rejected the order of Shrila Prabhupada and took initiation from the siddha-pranali section. It was during Shrila Prabhupada's lifetime and in his very presence that these men greatly displeased him. In this way these men became reject disciples and their advancement in spiritual life came to an end. In an attempt to rationalize their existence they have taken to the study of many books and after acquiring some categorical knowledge of raganuga-bhakti and a misconceived siddha-pranali conception, they have tried to establish themselves as the actual followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu-while at the same time they are trying to discredit the authority and qualifications of our Shrila Prabhupada and of Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. It is sad to say, but they are simply increasing their offenses and paving their way to a darker and darker material existence.
Devotee: Although many of our western godbrothers and godsisters have only recently become aware of the siddha-pranali misconception and are now having to defend the line of pure devotion and our parampara-am I correct to assume that this issue is not a new one but that it perhaps was something which our param gurus had to deal with?
Answer: Yes, it is a fact that the imitators have been creating or at least trying to create a disturbance in the teachings of Lord Chaitanya for the last four hundred and fifty years. Almost immediately after the disappearance of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the weeds of the imitationist sahajiyas, such as the Nityananda vamsas, began to sprout up. The Nityananda vamsas were the family descendents of Lord Nityananda Prabhu and they claimed a heritary right to the performance of devotional service and to holding the exclusive position of guru. There were other sahajiya groups, many of which were immoral and poorly behaved also.
By the time of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura the imitators had almost completely ruined the name of the Chaitanya Vaishnavas. At that time, the general public's opinion of a Chaitanya Vaishnava was that he was a free mixer with loose women and begged from door to door in the dress of a holy man just to fill his belly. Bhaktivinoda Thakura, by his untiring service and uncompromising dedication to the pure precepts of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, after much difficulty brought dignity and respect once again to the Chaitanya Vaishnavas. He wrote many books, commentaries, and songs eliminating false conceptions and establishing the truth, Vaishnava siddhanta.
After the disappearance of Bhaktivinoda Thakura the imitators entered the line of Bhaktivinoda as the siddha-pranali concept but fortunately were detected and exposed by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was highly revolutionary in his approach to eliminate the imitators from the preceptorial line of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. For example Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura accepted sannyasa and the red color dress which was previously not accepted by the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's disciples, the Six Goswamis. Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura accepted Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja as a real babaji-paramahamsa but rejected all others in his time as pretenders. He declared that we shall hold a lower position as tridandi-sannyasis, or parivrajakacaryas and give dignity to the real paramahamsas. Actually Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was a paramahamsa-parivrajakacarya as were many of his followers and a significant proof of this is the fact that he gave the paramahamsa-babaji mantra to his disciples at the time of giving them sannyasa. That mantra is also the principle mantra of the raganuga-madhurya-bhajana. We have explained this in two small booklets entitled, The Meaning of the Sannyasa Asrama and the Sannyasa-gayatri-vakhya.
In a tactical maneuver to discredit Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta, the siddha-pranali section then declared that Shrila Saraswati Thakura was not an actual follower of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and that he did not represent or fulfill the desires of Bhaktivinoda. This is a difficult accusation to substantiate.
Within our thinking and experience such a statement is totally weak, inaccurate and even foolish, since it was Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura who upheld the pure doctrines of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and exposed the many upstarts who attempted to equate the supra-mundane lila of Shri Krishna and the gopis with the lusty affairs of mundane men and women. Further Shrila Saraswati Thakura showed us the proper standard of a sincere follower of the teachings of Mahaprabhu by always keeping the highest aspirations of service above our heads and by keeping the lotus feet of Rupa and Ragunatha as our most worshipful object, pujala ragapatha gaurava bange mattala sadhujana visaya range.
It is also a historical fact that the renowned disciple of Saraswati Thakura namely our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, on the order of his guru spread raganuga-bhakti as taught by Lord Chaitanya all over the world in its truest and most perfect form, param vijayate shri-krishna-sankirtanam. Sankirtana-lila means rasa-lila.
And at this time it is the disciples of Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and those of other branches of Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta Saraswati Thakura's disciplic succession who are continuing the parampara system, giving great pleasure to Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So, how one can say that Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura was not the successor to Bhaktivinoda Thakura is unthinkable-at least to any sane person.
Question: What then should be our final position? Should we understand that all this talk about siddha-deha is false and therefore we should just continue with our service and the chanting of Krishna nama?
Answer: The siddha-deha of the living entity is not false, it is real. It is the highest stage of reality for the liberated souls who have entered the world of prema-bhakti. Only the process is being falsely practiced. One should therefore show interest and study this subject in great detail under the guidance of pure devotees who are themselves free from all kinds of material contamination-the tendencies toward exploitation and self-deception.
The path of raganuga-bhakti is in fact the process leading to ones siddha-deha. That stage comes after the devotee enters into the realm of bhava-bhakti, the stage of awakening of emotions prior to prema-bhakti, the stage of unalloyed spontaneous love of Krishna. However, one must come to the stage of prema-bhakti by gradual purification and development. What is that ? Adau sraddha, sadhu sanga, bhajana kriya, anartha-nivrtti, nistha, rucih, asaktih, then bhava, then prema-bhakti.
First one must have some faith or sraddha. Sraddha has been described as the halo of Shrimati Radharani. Only Radharani can reveal Krishna to the devotee and Her good-will appears in the fortunate living entities as sraddha. That sraddha will lead one to associate with pure devotees, sadhu-sanga. In the association of pure devotees one will hear the holy name of Krishna and holy talks about Krishna. Gradually one will come to inquire about making spiritual advancement and how to render devotional service. That is the stage of bhajana-kriya. In bhajana-kriya, initiation or diksa is offered to the devotee who has taken shelter under the lotus feet of the spiritual master. By the acceptance of diksa the devotee is given a proper acquaintance with the goal of Krishna consciousness and he or she is sent in the direction of Krishna lila.
After receiving diksa we can say that the devotee has begun the process of developing his spiritual body or siddha-deha. At that time all knowledge and services required for advancement are given to the disciple by the guru and one simply has to carry out those services in proper knowledge according to the directives given by the six Goswamis headed by Rupa, Sanatana and Ragunatha dasa Goswami.
Then comes the stage of anartha nivrtti, the clearing of unwanted things from the core of one's heart. This means purification. Then nistha, firm faith develops, at which time one is not easily shaken from the path. One in the stage of nistha becomes steady in devotional service and does not waste time in idle talks or in matters that do not concern Krishna.
Then comes the stage of ruci or a sweet taste for hearing the transcendental glories of the Supreme Lord, His name, His abode, His devotees, and His lila. When ruci increases it becomes asakti or intense attachment. When attachment for hearing and chanting the holy name of Krishna increases it becomes bhava-bhakti, the awakening of transcendental emotions of love. These emotions which, when mature, are called prema, are the feelings that make up the spiritual body of a liberated devotee. This stage is also called svarupa-siddhi, or the plane where the Divine Couple manifest Their transcendental pastimes.
Once the devotee has reached the stage of svarupa-siddhi and acquired the status of siddha-deha then one takes direct instruction from Shrimati Radharani, Lalita devi and Visakha devi. At that time all the details about ones eternal form and service are revealed. To want to know these things in the premature stage of devotion is maya-material desire. The standard of pure devotion as taught by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers is that the desire for such knowledge should be rejected. It may come to the devotee and it certainly does in due course but it is never the desire of the pure devotees to want to know such things prematurely.
When the realized devotees give up their bodily connection with this material world they are immediately transferred to Gokula Vrndavana within the universe where Krishna has manifest his lila. There in the company of the eternal asociates of the Divine Couple, the devotees receive a spiritual body corresponding to their rasa or mellow of service and all matters and details concerning their siddha-deha are revealed. Everything is automatically revealed to the devotee at that time and he need not make any mental endeavors to understand his position. When again the Lord manifests His lila in another universe, at that time the devotee is transferred to Goloka Vrndavana, the vastu-sakti or the portion of lila which always remains unmanifest. This is explained in Brahma-samhita and the purports of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, text 2 and 55. All that is necessary for the devotees to achieve complete perfection is faith and full surrender to Krishna.
The svarupa-siddhi has also been described as the extended self of Shrimati Radharani. This is a most exulted stage of Krishna consciousness, not to be cheaply achieved or imitated. We cannot jump to our siddha-deha by some artificial proclamation "Now you are a gopi." That is not possible.
So long as one still has a material body one should receive direction from Rupa, Sanatana, and Raghunatha dasa, while serving and taking shelter under a bona-fide spiritual master who knows the science of Krishna consciousness. If we follow the process in this way then our success is assured. But if we want the cheaper method then we are lost.
Our parampara is not in want of anything, as wrongly conceived by the imitators and some caste goswamis. Actually Ragunatha dasa Goswami has given us so many things. He has given us the divine service of Shrimati Radharani, the highest aspiration within the infinite lila of Krishna. He has given us Shri Radha Kunda, the highest place of service. He has given us Govardhana Hill, the place of our eternal residence. He has given us the aspiration for joining the highest group of Shrimati Radharani's servitors under the shelter of Lalitadevi and Rupa Manjari and He has given us the hope that one day we will be accepted into the group of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's most intimate associates as an insignificant servant. The imitators, misunderstanding all these things, are now bereft of the most valuable opportunity in this human form of life.
Our humble position is to go on uttering Krishna nama and rendering pure devotional service, free from exploitation and renunciation, at the lotus feet of our spiritual master, in the association of like-minded pure devotees. That is our eternal spiritual identity and there is nothing higher than this for the devotees to aspire for.
Vaishnava Aparadha -- Chapter 11
"The pure devotee cannot recognize an offense against himself and therefore the only way to get free from an offense committed to a pure devotee is to fall in the dust of his lotus feet and beg forgiveness. Shrila Visvanatha says that the dust at the feet of the pure devotee remembers the offense that one has committed and therefore only the dust can give forgiveness."
Devotee: It is said that a Vaishnava is fearless. Is this actually a fact or does the Vaishnava also have some fear?
Narasingha Maharaja: Yes. A Vaishnava is fearless in all circumstances because he knows that Krishna will always protect him. Yet, if we examine the mood of the great souls, the sadhus and the acaryas, we can detect that a Vaishnava is fearful of only one thing-vaishnava-aparadha. Not only a Vaishnava, but the Supreme Lord Himself is also afraid of vaishnava-aparadha, not for Himself but for the benefit of His devotees, and He therefore cautions His devotees accordingly.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu descended to this world to bestow the greatest boon of love of Krishna upon all living entities. While instructing and empowering Shrila Rupa Goswami at Prayaga to distribute the mellows of bhakti-rasa the Lord cautioned against offenses committed at the lotus feet of a Vaishnava.
yadi vaishnava-aparadha uthe hati mata
upade va chinde tara sukhi yaya pata
"If the devotee commits an offense at the feet of a Vaishnava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service in the material world, his offense is compared to a mad elephant that uproots the creeper and breaks it. In this way the leaves of the creeper are dried up." (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.156)
There are many incidents of vaishnava-aparadha recorded in the revealed scriptures, as a reminder to all aspiring devotees about the serious consequences of offenses committed at the feet of a pure Vaishnava. When a non-devotee makes an offense against a pure Vaishnava, as in the case of Gopala Capala, who offended Shrivasa Pandita by placing the paraphernalia for worshipping the Goddess Bhavani outside his door-the usual reaction is that the offender is stricken with a horrible disease such as leprosy or even death.
Gopala Capala was a brahmana, but he was envious of Shrivasa Pandita, a great devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Gopala Capala's offense was envy-envy of the Vaishnavas. Greater than the sin of killing a cow; greater than the sin of killing a brahmana, a woman, or even killing children, is the sin of envying a Vaishnava. That is the ultimate sin.
In the case of Gopala Capala, he was immediately stricken with leprosy due to his offense to Shrivasa Pandita and his face and other extremities of his body began to melt away. After sometime he met Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu along the way to the Ganges and he begged the Lord to please forgive him and deliver him from his miserable condition. Hearing the man's plea to be delivered, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became furious with anger, "You sinful wretch!" said the Lord, "Why do you blaspheme the Vaishnavas? All the living entities in material existence are My friends. However, I am completely inimical to one who is envious of a Vaishnava. Even after suffering for ten thousand lifetimes still you won't be released from your offense against a Vaishnava. I can forgive an offense against Myself, but a fool who commits violence to a Vaishnava is lost forever. Such an envious sinner goes straight to hell. O most sinful man, you will never see the end of your suffering."
That man did not die immediately but continued to suffer for many years and was eventually delivered, when at last he fell in the dust of the lotus feet of Shrivasa Pandita and begged for his mercy. The Lord easily forgives an offense against Himself, but he never forgives an offense committed against His pure devotee. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura says that the pure devotee cannot recognize an offense against himself and therefore the only way to get free from an offense committed to a pure devotee is to fall in the dust of his lotus feet and beg forgiveness. Shrila Visvanatha says that the dust at the feet of the pure devotee remembers the offense that one has committed and therefore only the dust can give forgiveness.
The non-devotee offender certainly suffers miserable disease and even death as a result of his offense to a Vaishnava but there are examples also where even a great devotee, a pure devotee, accidentally committed some offense to another Vaishnava. Knowing that if one Vaishnava offends another Vaishnava, the offender can never experience love of Krishna, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu becomes very anxious that the offense be removed, so that His devotee can taste Krishna prema.
An example of this is Mother Saci, the mother of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mother Saci was thinking that due to the influence of Adwaitacarya her eldest son Visvarupa had left home, taking up the renounced order of life. Mentally, Mother Saci harbored this apprehension about Shri Adwaitacarya, thinking that He might similarly be a bad influence on her younger son Nimai. She never said anything directly to Adwaitacarya, she only thought like that.
Being the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew the mind of Mother Saci. Thus considering the exalted position of Adwaitacarya the Lord proclaimed that Mother Saci had made vaishnava-aparadha to Adwaitacarya. Mahaprabhu then called for Adwaitacarya who could hardly believe his ears when he was informed that Mahaprabhu had declared that Mother Saci had made vaishnava-aparadha against him. On the way to Mother Saci's house Adwaitacarya incessantly chanted the glories of Mother Saci. To conceive that Saci had made an offense to him was not within Adwaita's thinking capacity, he was so devoted to Saci Devi.
When Adwaitacarya entered the house of Mother Saci he fell to the floor in a faint of love of God. Mahaprabhu knew that the Acarya would never allow Saci to touch his feet, therefore when Adwaita lay on the floor in a faint He requested His mother to touch Adwaitacarya's lotus feet. Mother Saci did this and got release from the offense. She was then able to taste the pure nectar of Krishna prema.
We should consider-if vaishnava-aparadha was possible even for Mother Saci then what about me. "I am the king of fools. What offenses I must have committed against the Vaishnavas-knowingly or unknowingly. What is my position? How shall I redeem myself with the Lords devotees?"
Only our sincerest humility, mixed with the dust of the Vais-nava's lotus feet, can help us to be forgiven for our offenses and avoid vaishnava-aparadha in the future. Our best safeguard against vaishnava-aparadha is humility. Not a calculation of humility, "O here is a Vaishnava. Let me be careful-I shall be humble and show respect to him." No. Not a show of humility by calculation. That will not help us much. What is required is a flow of real humility from the heart-which is free from envy. Not that I envy the Vaishnavas and therefore I am calculative in all my dealings with them. Envy means calculation and this certainly leads to offenses.
We have seen that sometimes a neophyte devotee tries to see the words and deeds of a venerable Vaishnava in a calculative way. Thinking that the Vaishnava poses a threat to his position or reputation, the neophyte begins a slander campaign against the pure Vaishnava. The venerable Vaishnava is always the well wisher of the aspiring devotees in Krishna consciousness, but when the neophyte allows his previous material conditioning of fear, duplicity, apprehension, and envy to adulterate his vision, he calculates that the Vaishnava has become his enemy. In that state of consciousness the neophyte unfortunately makes many offenses to the pure devotee. Unless by the grace of God, the offender comes to his senses and surrenders to the dust of the Vaishnava's lotus feet, unfortunately his Krishna consciousness is destroyed.
In the second verse of Siksastakam Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has written,
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah
"O My Lord, in Your holy names there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names such as Krishna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offense while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting."
Even though we may have embraced the chanting of the holy name of Krishna for millions of lifetimes, if there is offense, and especially if there is offense to a Vaishnava, we cannot develop attachment for the holy name. This, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu indicates, is due to offenses. In the next verse of Siksastaka the Lord indicates the proper way of chanting which will help one to avoid vaishnava-aparadha.
trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
"One who thinks himself lower than a blade of grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor, yet is always prepared to give all respect to others, can very easily constantly chant the holy name of the Lord with attachment."
The Chaitanya-charitamrita advises that we should wear this verse of Siksastaka-trnad api sunicena, strung on the thread of the holy name, around our neck for continuous remembrance. It is so important to maintain proper humility-without humility we will not be able to have offenseless dealings with the Vaishnavas.
Our humility must be genuine. We must be really sincere in our vision of the Vaishnavas. What is that? The Vaishnavas are my masters. I am their servant and the servant of their servants. The Vaishnava is not my servant. He is not my order supplier. I should not think that if he does not satisfy me I will become angry with him. Such thinking will always put us in an offensive mentality. It is always better to conceive of one's self as the servant, of the servant, of the servant, of the Vaishnava. That is our true position according to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
gopi bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa dasanudasah
"Our position is that of the servant, of the servant, of the servant, of the followers of the Vaishnavas (gopis)."
By uttering "gopibhartuh" Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has indicated the topmost devotees and the prescribed mood of worship in which we should follow in order to understand His conception. Amongst all the Vaishnavas the gopis are the topmost. Mahaprabhu has stated this and Shrila Sanatana Goswami has shown this in his Brhad-bhagavatamrta. The topmost servants in love of Godhead are the cowherd girls of Vrndavana. And among the cowherd maidens of Lord Krishna at Vrndavana, Shrimati Radharani stands supreme. This is proclaimed by the Bhagavatam in the verse "anaya radhito nunam" in which Shri Candravali has said, "no one but Radharani can fully satisfy Krishna."
From the word aradhitam the name of Radharani is understood just as in the verse spoken by Lord Siva to Parvati in Padma Purana, aradhanam sarvesam visnor aradhanam param the word aradhanam, the best worshiper, indicates Radharani. So, it may also be conceived that aparadha, an offense, means that which is displeasing to Shrimati Radharani. Love for Krishna is not possible without the grace of Shrimati Radharani and therefore if one commits offenses to the Vaishnavas it is not possible to get Her grace.
Shrimati Radharani is the original devotee. In the words of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, "Krishna is the Supreme Predominating Moity and Shrimati Radharani is the Supreme Predominated Moity of the Absolute Truth." All devotional service to Krishna must first pass through Shrimati Radharani. In the words of Shrila Prabhupada, "Shrimati Radharani is the Mother of Devotion." Mother means one who gives birth. So the energy of devotion is born from Shrimati Radharani. It is not the energy of the living entity, jiva-tattva, which serves Krishna directly. There must be a connection with the source of the devotional flow, Shrimati Radharani, then the jiva can perform his normal and natural function in relationship to Krishna.
The venerable Vaishnavas are the representatives of Shrimati Radharani and as such no one can get Her blessings without first satisfying the Vaishnavas. Therefore our siksa-guru Shrila B.R. Shridhara Maharaja gave much stress to the service of the Vaishnavas. The Vaishnavas are like the kalpavrksa, the wish fulfilling trees of Goloka Vrndavana who can fulfill all our spiritual desires. By the grace of a Vaishnava all our cherished deires to serve Shri Shri Radha and Krishna will be fulfilled or by their displeasure all is lost.
Vaishnava-aparadha is such a grievous thing, yet we are so unfortunate that we deal with the Vaishnavas in a most ordinary way, as though they were common street people or worse. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (7:3):
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam kascin mam vetti tattvatah
"Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth."
The devotee of Krishna is so rare-no one is more dear to Krishna on this earth than the pure devotee. Our Guru Maharaja, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, stressed this point literally hundreds of times-beware of vaishnava-aparadha-"it is most grievous." Perhaps our greatest defect as Westerners is that we come to deal with the highest conceptions of divinity, with the Supreme Lord and His dearest devotees, but we bring with us our mundane pride and our arrogance.
During the lifetime of Shrila Prabhupada he earnestly requested the Vaishnava community in India to kindly accept his disciples as genuine Vaishnavas and sannyasis. And by his grace we were accepted. However, regrettably, after the departure of Shrila Prabhupada we foolishly began to consider that, "our guru was the only guru and we in turn are the only Vaishnavas." Thus, many unnecessary offenses were committed against humble and venerable Vaishnavas in India. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is a fact. Many offenses have been committed against some of Krishna's dearest devotees-many have had to suffer on account of that. Should we have learned our lesson by now? One would think so, but again, regrettably the offensive mentality toward the Vaishnavas still exists in many of us today. We are so unfortunate.
As neophytes we may sometimes wrongly consider, "My guru is the topmost devotee of Krishna and by his grace I have become advanced in Krishna consciousness and am preaching all over the world. Therefore, I can do anything and everything and nothing can check me." This is a grave mistake. In the name of my guru I may also commit vaishnava-aparadha-if so, even he may not be able to save me from the reaction.
By accepting the service of a liberated soul and taking shelter at his lotus feet one very quickly becomes qualified in Krishna consciousness. But, due to vaishnava-aparadha, one may again fall down into illusion and material suffering. Once upon a time there lived a devotee by the name of Rupa Kaviraja (not to be confused with Rupa Goswami) who had taken shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Krishna-charana Cakravarti (the param-guru of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and who was Ranga Manjari in Krishna lila). Due to the association and blessings of his guru, Rupa Kaviraja became celebrated as a great devotee, advanced in the mellows of Vraja bhakti and very learned in the bhakti-sastras. Later on, after the departure of his guru, envy of the Vaishnavas manifest in the heart of Rupa Kaviraja and he fell down.
At Radha-kunda this Rupa Kaviraja used to recite the Shrimad-Bhagavatam and many respectable Vaishnavas would come to hear him. One day a certain Vaisnavi named Shrimati Krishna-priya Thakurani came to sit and listen to the discourses on Krishna consciousness. Krishna-priya Thakurani was very dear to all the devotees because she constantly chanted the holy names of Krishna in a humble state of mind. While listening to Rupa Kaviraja deliver his discourse the lips of Krishna-priya Thakurani ever so softly vibrated the holy names.
Suddenly, Rupa Kaviraja stopped speaking and addressed Krishna-priya Thakurani, "How is it that you are able to do two things at once. I am speaking the Bhagavatam and you continue your chanting. Have you no respect?" Krishna-priya Thakurani replied, "It is not that I chant purposefully but my tongue and lips uncontrollably chant the holy name of Krishna even without my wanting to do so." When Rupa Kaviraja heard this reply he became furious with Krishna-priya Thakurani and angrily chastised her in the assembly of Vaishnavas. Everyone was very sad to hear his cruel words hurled upon the humble person of Krishna-priya Thakurani.
Rupa Kaviraja immediately fell down from his position and he lost all potency to speak the Bhagavatam. People stopped attending his discourses and soon he was stricken with leprosy. He left Vrndavana and tried to get shelter in other Vaishnava communities elsewhere in India but the news of his having grievously offended a pure Vaishnava spread to wherever he tried to hide. Lastly he died in exile somewhere in Orrissa.
What could be done? Rupa Kaviraja had a guru of the highest caliber, but due to envy of a pure devotee, he unfortunately committed vaishnava-aparadha and was vanquished forever. Even having such a high type of guru could not save him from the reaction to his misdeed. This unfortunate incident is mentioned in the biography of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura.
Another example of offenders is that of Jagai and Madhai. These two fallen souls from a brahmana family lived in Navadvipa town during the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mostly we have heard that they were drunkards and were delivered by Mahaprabhu, but they were much more than just drunkards. The Chaitanya-bhagavata by Shrila Vrndavana dasa Thakura states that these two brothers were so sinful that it is not possible to account for the unlimited sins they had committed. Not only were they drunkards but they were murderers of cows, brahmanas, and even women. No one could count the number of innocent persons that they murdered. They were so mean and nasty that everyone in Navadvipa was deathly afraid of them.
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave His order to take the holy name of Krishna to every home in Navadvipa the Lords chief assistants said that as long as Jagai and Madhai were present it would not be possible, as these two brothers repeatedly stopped the chanting of the holy names and threatened to kill the devotees. The Lord then organized a sankirtana party and in a joyous mood he led the sankirtana party to the house of Jagai and Madhai who were fallen down in a drunken stupor.
After sometime the brothers were awakened by the tumultuous sound and the banging of drums and the ringing of kartalas. What is this they thought, "Who dares to disturb our peaceful sleep? Catch them! Catch them!" Picking up clubs to beat the devotees the two brothers ran to the street where they saw the Lord amidst his favorite devotees; Nityananda Prabhu, Adwaitacarya, Murari, Mukunda Datta, and many others dancing and chanting the holy names of Krishna in great ecstasy. With nasty words and in an angry tone Jagai and Madhai tried to rebuke Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees but when all else failed the brothers became completely mad and in a frenzy of anger they struck Lord Nityananda in the head with a piece of earthen pot.
Seeing this, Mahaprabhu summoned His sudarsana cakra which then sped toward Jagai and Madhai to cut their heads from their shoulders. Lord Nityananda, the most merciful to the fallen souls, stopped the sudarsana cakra and petitioned Lord Chaitanya to kindly show these sinners His mercy by delivering them. The scene of Lord Nityananda pleading with Lord Chaitanya to spare the two brothers, melted the stonelike hearts of Jagai and Madhai.
Later, Jagai and Madhai came before the Lord with folded hands. Lord Chaitanya then requested the brothers to give the Lord a tulasi leaf saying, "I will take your sinful reactions. Give them all to Me." At first the brothers refused saying, "O Lord, You do not know how sinful we are. We cannot do it." The brothers reminded the Lord that they had killed many cows, brahmanas, women, and given trouble to countless innocent persons. But the Lord insisted and finally it was done. When Lord Chaitanya received the sins of Jagai and Madhai the Lord lost his golden complexion and He immediately became black. At this moment the Lord said, "Whoever offends a Vaishnava will have to accept the sinful reactions of Jagai and Madhai." The Lord then resumed His origional golden color. This story is narrated in the Chaitanya-bhagavata and the Chaitanya-mangala.
So we are to deal with the Lords devotees in a most sincere and humble way. We should not allow a trace of envy or pride or duplicity to enter our dealings with the Vaishnavas. Among all the living entities, the Vaishnava and especially one who broadcasts His message, is the most dear to Lord Krishna.
na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad anyah priyataro bhuvi
"There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he who preaches this message to the devotees, nor will there ever be one more dear." (Bhagavad-gita 18.69)
There is no consideration about a Vaishnava's birth, caste, nationality, gender, age, or race. These are all external designations of the material body and these should not be considered as very important when trying to understand who is a Vaishnava. Similarly, it is of little consequence as to what spiritual society a Vaishnava does or does not belong to. When approaching a Vaishnava, if we allow our consciousness to focus on so many external designations, then we are sure to make offenses at his lotus feet. Actually, it is a fact that excessive consideration about the society a pure Vaishnava belongs to or doesn't belong to, has perhaps become the single greatest cause of committing vaishnava-aparadha since the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is also a fact that instead of preaching love of Krishna all over the world and glorifying the Lords dearmost servants, we all too often fall prey to preaching society consciousness and sometimes oppose the pure devotees, thus perpetuating an offensive mentality in the minds of the newcomers in Krishna consciousness.
Once Shrila Prabhupada was asked how we can tell who is a pure devotee of Krishna, to which he replied, "It takes one to know one." So, in the meantime let us try to remember the Lords instruction to always remain in a humble state of mind while constantly chanting the holy names of Krishna. The Vaishnavas are krpa-sindhu, an ocean of mercy, and we the fallen souls are in great need of coming in contact with that ocean of mercy. The Vaishnavas are the only saviours for the down-trodden and fallen souls of this material world (patita-pavana). Therefore, all unhealthy mentalities leading to vaishnava-aparadha should be totally abandoned and given up immediately.
With the following prayer let us bow our heads in the dust of our gurus' lotus feet and always beg to remain as a humble servant of the Vaishnavas, and to always be gentle and gracious in our dealings with all those Vaishnava devotees of the Lord who have embraced the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and who are the only shelter and life-giving nectar for the surrendered souls.
vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah
Rupanuga Bhajana -- Chapter 12
"We have to conduct ourselves in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception, from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less than this highest ideal."
Devotee: What is Rupanuga Bhajana?
Narasingha Maharaja: There is a Bengali verse sung by Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta Saraswati Thakura which goes as follows:
mahaprabhu shri-chaitanya, radha-krishna nahe anya,
rupanuga janera jivana
"Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya, who is nondifferent from Radha and Krishna, is the very life of those Vaishnavas who follow Shrila Rupa Goswami."
The followers of Shrila Rupa Goswami are known as rupanugas. Rupa Goswami was the chief disciple of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and it was he whom Mahaprabhu chose to head the future generations of devotees of Radha and Krishna.
Once while living at Puri, Shrila Rupa Goswami composed a verse and after writing it on a palm leaf he went to bathe in the ocean. At that time Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the residence of Rupa Goswami and saw the verse written on the leaf:
priyah so `yam krishnah sahacari kuru-ksetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprhayati
"My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Krishna on this field of Kuruksetra. I am the same Radharani and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but I would still like to go to the bank of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within the forest of Vrndavana." (C.c. Antya-lila 1.79)
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu read this verse and was overwhelmed by ecstatic love. When Shrila Rupa Goswami returned, Mahaprabhu slapped him mildly and said, "My heart is very confidential. How did you know my mind in this way?" After saying this the Lord firmly embraced Rupa Goswami.
Mahaprabhu then inquired from Svarupa Damodara, "How could Rupa have understood My heart?" Svarupa Damodara replied, "I can understand that you have already bestowed Your causeless mercy upon him, otherwise it would not be possible for Rupa to have understood your mind." Thereupon, Mahaprabhu was very pleased and requested Svarupa Damodara to kindly give futher instruction to Rupa Goswami in the matter of transcendental mellows, rasa-tattva.
After sometime, Mahaprabhu again visited Rupa Goswami accompanied by Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya and others. Mahaprabhu requested Rupa Goswmi to read a number of the verses that he had composed. Being very humble and shy by nature Rupa Goswami remained silent. Svarupa Damodara then read the previous verse compiled by Rupa which was so much liked by Mahaprabhu and the tunde tandavini ratim verse:
tunde tandavini ratim vitanute tundavali-labdhaye
karna-kroda-kadambini ghatayate karnarbudebhyah sprham
cetah-prangana-sangini vijayate sarvendriyanam krtim
no jane janita kiyadbhir amrtaih krsneti varna-dvayi
"I do not know how much nectar the two sylllables `krs-na' have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert." (C.c. Antya-lila 1.99)
Hearing these verses compiled by Rupa Goswami all the Vaishnavas became jubilant. Ramananda Raya especially showed interest in what Rupa Goswami had written. Being very pleased with him Ramananda Raya began to praise the qualities of Rupa as if He had a thousand mouths. Ramananda Raya said, "This is not a poetic presentation; it is a continuous shower of nectar. Indeed, it is the essence of all ultimate realizations. The wonderful descriptions of Rupa Goswami are superb arrangements to express transcendental loving affairs of Radha and Krishna. Hearing these verses will plunge the heart and ears of everyone into a whirlpool of supreme transcendental bliss."
The significance of the praises of Rupa Goswami offered by Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya may be considerably more meaningful to the audience when we take into account the who's who in the ontological hierarchy of the spiritual world. According to Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, the author of Chaitanya-charitamrita, Ramananda Raya was the gopi in Krishna lila named Visakha and Svarupa Damodara was the gopi named Lalita Sakhi. Both Lalita and Visakha are eternally the very intimate associates of Shrimati Radharani. Lalita and Visakha are considered the personal expansions of the serving mood of Shrimati Radharani, thus they are the two chief assistants in the madhurya love affairs between Radha and Krishna.
Directly serving under Lalita Sakhi in the madhurya-rasa are the manjaris (younger cowherd girls). This manjari group of servitors mainly consists of new recruits to the madhurya-rasa and due to their young age they have been given the most sacred type of pure service to Radha and Krishna. Our acaryas have recommended that we should conceive of the manjari class most respectfully and attentively.
When Radha and Krishna are in secrecy, in a private place, the older sakhis do not like to approach the Divine Couple at that time for fear of causing a slight disturbance. Radha and Krishna may feel some shyness in the presence of the older sakhis at that time. But the younger gopis, the manjaris, can enter there without disturbing the free mixing of Radha and Krishna. This manjari group of servitors in the madhurya-rasa is headed by the gopi named Rupa Manjari. To perform their service, the manjaris headed by Rupa Manjari, sometimes go to that place where Radha and Krishna are intimately engaged in divine love dalliances. Such a high and intimate scope of service is available to no other group of servitors than that of the manjaris. Rupa Manjari who leads the manjari group has appeared in Gaura lila as Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given him the supreme position as head of the Gaudiya sampradaya (Rupanuga sampradaya).
As our beloved siksa-guru, Shrila Bhakti Raksaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, used to say, "The camp, the sampradaya of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is known as the Rupanuga sampradaya. There our fate and our fortune is located. Now we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception, from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less than this highest ideal. That should be the highest goal of our life."
So, the real meaning of Rupanuga bhajana is nothing less than that-the highest ideal of the highest spiritual conception. Following in the footsteps of Shrila Rupa Goswami; ever desiring his mercy; falling prostrate at his lotus feet and praying again and again and again to be enlisted in his group of servitors. That is Rupanuga bhajana.
This concept has been expressed most perfectly in a song by Narottama dasa Thakura called, Shri Rupa Manjari Pada-the topmost bhajana sung by the followers of the Rupanuga line.
shri-rupa-manjari-pada, sei mora sampada
sei mor bhajana-pujana
sei mora prana-dhana, sei mora abharana,
sei mor jivanera jivana
sei mora rasa-nidhi, sei mora vancha-siddhi,
sei mor vedera dharama
sei brata, sei tapa, sei mora mantra-japa,
sei mor dharama karama
anukula habe vidhi, se-pade hoibe siddhi,
nirakhibo e dui nayane
se rupa-madhuri-rasi, prana-kuvalaya-sasi,
praphullita habe nisi-dine
tuwa adarsana-ahi, garale jaralo dehi,
ciro-dina tapita jivana
ha ha rupa koro doya, deho more pada-chaya,
narottama loilo sarana
"The feet of Shri Rupa Manjari (Rupa Gosvami's eternal form as a gopi of Vraja) are my real wealth. They are the object of my bhajana and puja. They are the treasure of my heart, and they are my ornaments and the life of my life.
They are the reservoirs of all rasa for me and the fulfillment of all my desires. They are the conclusion of the religion of the Vedas for me and are the goal of all my vows, austerities, and the chanting of my mantra. They are the purpose of all my religious activities.
By the power of those feet my activities will become favorable to devotion, spiritual perfection will be achieved, and with these two eyes I will be able to actually see. The exquisite beauty of Shri Rupa Manjari's divine feet will shine like the brilliant moon upon the lotus of my heart both day and night, thus giving relief to my afflicted soul.
By the venom of the snake of separation from you, my soul has wasted away and my life is ever afflicted and distressed. O Rupa Manjari, please be merciful and give me the shade of your lotus feet. Narottama dasa has taken refuge."
A Few Words of Guidance
In "A Few Words of Guidance," we present some very special talks by two leading disciples of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada, further elucidating the proper Gaudiya conception.
Chapter thirteen, "Pastimes and Instructions," is a talk given by Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja in honor of the 124th Vyasa Puja celebration of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
Chapters fourteen thru seventeen, "Bhajana-Real and Apparent," "Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread," "Delusion and Divinity of the Devotee" and "Heart and Halo" are talks by Shrila Bhakti Raksaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja given at Shri Chaitanya Saraswat Matha, Koladwipa, Navadwipa-dhama.
Pastimes and Instructions -- Chapter 13
"Shri Shrila Prabhupada, on noticing any deviance to the doctrine of pure devotion, would be prompt to refute all such opposing arguments. He had the unusual ability to still all opposition with his witty, fiery replies in accordance with the conclusions of scriptures.."
The most auspicious event of the 124th birthday anniversary of my spiritual master (now in his eternal pastimes), Om Vishnupada 108 Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakura, will be on February 16th, Shri Krishna Pancami, the month of Magha (Jan-Feb). This festival will be celebrated by all the mathas in a grand way. The advent of my spiritual master is called Vyasa Puja. The other commonly known `Guru Purnima' day is in the month of June-July. This is the day of the advent of Lord Vedavyasa. The servitors of the Gaudiya Matha, knowing the spiritual master as non-different in truth from Lord Vyasa, every year celebrate his advent as `Vyasa Puja.' Lord Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu first established this worship of `Vyasa Puja' through Shri Nityananda Prabhu in Shrivasa Angana, Mayapur.
The word Vyasa means to divide, or in another sense, to expand. The complete Vedas were divided into four parts by Him: Rg, Sama, Yajur, Atharva, and also works like Mahabharata and the Puranas were extended by the Muni Shri Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa. The spiritual master similarly performs this work of Shri Vyasadeva in delivering this knowledge to the conditioned living entities. For this reason, the adorations offered to him on his advent are called Vyasa Puja. The Vyasa Puja pastime of Shriman Mahaprabhu has been explained by Shri Shrila Prabhupada in the Gaudiya Journal.
The scriptures say that the moment one feels detachment, from that time, freeing himself from the lures of material sense enjoyments, he relishes the taste for devotional service to the Lord without any consideration for the proper time in doing so. Then, being completely renounced from sense gratification, he takes to the shelter at the lotus feet of the spiritual master. Many refer to this acceptance or surrender at the lotus feet of the spiritual master as `Vyasa Puja'.
This `Vyasa Puja' is required to be performed in all the four stages of life with more emphasis on the renounced order. The other meaning of `Vyasa Puja' is in offering everything to the service of the spiritual master, in doing works conducive to the fulfillment of his wishes. Our predecessor spiritual master, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, in his offering has humbly prayed:
shri-chaitanya-mano-'bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam
"When will Shri Rupa Goswami, who has established within this world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Chaitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet"
The Vyasa Puja worship of Vyasadeva ultimately means the same mood of surrender and faith to the predecessor spiritual masters.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada, even in his youth, was very attached to the chanting of the holy Name. When Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the deputy magistrate at Rampure, he was a student of the 7th class in high school. Observing his avid absorption in the practice of service to the Lord, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave tulasi beads, and awarded him the initiation of the harinama and Narasimha mantra. In the year 1881, in Calcutta, during the construction of their house there named `Bhakti Bhavan', a Kurmadeva Salagrama Sila (Deity) was discovered in the earth. His intense desire for such worship, even though he was only 8 years old at that time, made his father teach him the proper method of worship, complete with the worship mantras. Shri Shrila Prabhupada always executed such Deity worship very rigidly while maintaining his code of conduct. I myself had the good fortune to see with my own eyes the Deity that was once worshipped by Shri Shrila Prabhupada in that house.
Once Shrila Prabhupada was standing at the entrance of the Shri Chaitanya Matha temple room and was viewing the Deities of Shri Shri Guru-Gauranga-Gandarvika-Giridhari. The doorway to the inner sanctorum was rather small and he was not having his spectacles at that time. A dearmost disciple, who was standing by his side, was thinking his spiritual master was not able to get a good view of the Deities from outside because of the small doorway. On hearing this, Shrila Prabhupada gave a chuckle and for the benefit of all, replied: "Do not attempt to see the Deities with these mundane, visual senses; instead try to obtain the necessary pure devotional qualifications so that the Supreme Lord will Himself manifest to us in person, for this type of meditation is superior."
atah shri krishna-namadi na bhaved grahyam-indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah
"The Name, Form, Qualities and Pastimes of Shri Krishna are transcendental and cannot be relished through the material senses. But to one who performs pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord, beginning with the tongue, by chanting the holy Name purely, the Lord will personally manifest to such a devotee." (Padma Purana)
The glories of pure devotion have been declared in the holy scriptures, for it is the only way by which one can reciprocate lovingly or have the actual vision of the Supreme Lord.
Another day, Shri Shrila Prabhupada and his disciples were walking to Shri Yogapitha from Shri Chaitanya Matha. On the way, some of his very dear disciples, smelling the foul odors from the sides of the track, began to tie some cloth over their noses.
It appeared as if they could not breathe properly and Shri Shrila Prabhupada, noticing this, started to laugh and commented: "This is a transcendental land full with absolutely pure spiritual scents, but your noses detect only the bad odors of this material world. Do not try to view this transcendental land with your material intelligence, this is non-different from the Supreme Lord."
In mid-February of 1930 at Shridhama Mayapur, Shri Shrila Prabhupada held a spiritual exhibition called the Shridhama Navadvipa-Mayapur exhibition, for a period of approximately one month. Many corrugated tin huts were temporarily constructed for this occasion and were unveiled ceremoniously by Sir P.S. Ray on his auspicious arrival. For the whole period of the exhibition, the sky remained clear by the inmeasurable mercy of Lord Gaurasundara and His dear associate, the spiritual master. At the end of the exhibition, heavy winds erupted and tore those tin structures apart, hurling them away at a considerable distance. One such tin structure in its obituary flight, hit one of the domes of the Deity of Shri Ramanuja adjacent to the main sanctum and after shattering the concrete dome, fell on the side of the temple where a tube well was stationed. After the tempest had calmed down, Shri Shrila Prabhupada, examining the broken dome, commented that for the dome of one of our main spiritual masters to be broken, especially being the foremost acarya of our Deity worship, could only be due to some grave offense in the Deity worship. True to his word, after an inquiry was conducted, it was discovered that the priest had commited a major offense in the Deity worship. He was immediately replaced and the broken dome renovated. Whenever there were incidents like theft from the temple, or when Shrila Prabhu-pada himself appeared unsound in health or even when disciples were experiencing some major disturbance from the norm, Shri Shrila Prabhupada would especially caution his disciples not to commit offenses against the Deity. The offenses to the Name, the holy dhama (like Mayapur) and the established Deities were the basis of Shri Shrila Prabhupada's repeated warnings of caution to his disciples.
On the 23th of October 1936, Shri Shrila Prabhupada assigned the task of propagating the divine messages of Lord Chaitanya in Europe and America to the late Shriman Bhakti Saranga Prabhu, one of his stalwart disciples. On the eve of his start for his first rendevouz in London, Shrila Prabhupada instructed him to worship the Deities of Govardhana, Salagrama and Gomati daily whilst there. The same day, at the temple hall of Bagh Bazaar Shri Gaudiya Matha, Shri Shrila Prabhupada, addressing a large crowd, delivered a fiery speech, enthusiastically extolling the preaching mission of Bhakti Saranga Prabhu and showering his mercy upon him for his successful campaign-the mercy potency of Lord Gauranga. Shri Shrila Prabhupada had firm conviction that only in the wide spread propagation of Lord Chaitanya's teachings via spiritual initiation and instruction, could the living entities ultimately attain their eternal welfare. Consequently, with untiring vigor, he began to preach accordingly, together with exhibiting model personal conduct.
Some time before, from March 1933 up to 1935, his disciples Shrimad Bhakti Pradipa Tirtha Maharaja and Shrimad Bhakti Hrdaya Bon Maharaja had been in London and Germany. There, at various locations, by the holding of public speeches and letter correspondences, they were able to inspire many elite, educated people to become interested in the message of Lord Chaitanya. With the consent of Shri Shrila Prabhupada, gradually the first London Gaudiya Mission Society was formed and simultaneously the Gaudiya Matha became established there. The chairman of the Society, Lord Zetland, used to discuss in his weekly meetings, the teachings of Lord Chaitanya as inspired by Shrila Prabhupada. The preaching excursion to Burma resulted in a Matha being established in Rangoon in 1935. However, the preaching was curtailed due to the political turmoil in Burma at that time. In many densely populated cities and holy places in India, Shrila Prabhupada personally, or through the media of his disciples, established Gaudiya temples replete with Deity services. The doctrine of devotion of Mahaprabhu was taught and the importance of personal conduct was also stressed in the course of one's devotion. Altogether sixty-four temples were established in India which were all listed in the weekly `Gaudiya' periodical.
It was his innate desire to establish pedestals for the footprints of Lord Chaitanya in at least 108 holy places where Shriman Maha-prabhu had traversed by foot previously. This was to awaken rememberance of the Supreme Lord, Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu. During Shrila Prabhupada's presence, eight of such footprints became established and after his departure many more.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada used to participate personally in the circumbulation of the holy lands of Vraja and Navadvipa. In Puri-dhama specifically, he would hold excursions to all the main holy spots. Every year, the 16 krosa circumbulation of Navadvipa was performed by him and to this day his disciples faithfully observe this regularly as a limb of devotional service. Shrila Prabhupada used to remark that in the circumbulation of the transcendental land, five main limbs of devotion are performed in conjuction with it, namely: chanting of the holy name, association of devotees, hearing the holy scriptures, residence in the holy land, as well as worship to the Deity form of the Lord. The fact that opportunities are presented to perform all these devotional practices together is the reason why he stressed that the circumambulation be performed with proper care and effort.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada became hard like a thunderbolt in seeing actions contrary to the principles of devotion and in favorable practices, he appeared soft like a rose.
In the engrossed hearing of the loving separation pastime exhibited by Shrimati Radharani in Mathura, he became overwhelmed with such agonizing separation that tears flooded from his eyes. His attraction for hearing about the pastimes of the Lord was phenomenal. He would continue in such discussions hour after hour, so much so that when reminded of meal-times, he would become annoyed. He would often remark of the famine existing due to lack of nectarine discussions on the Supreme Lord. As every expert physician requires to be consulted to give the proper diagnosis, similarly he would complain that his disciples did not give him enough opportunity to speak about the Supreme Lord's pastimes. Thus, when questioned "how are you?" he would reply: "I am alright but these people do not indulge me in spiritual discussions, therefore I am unwell."
Congregational chanting of the Holy Name was always relished by Shri Shrila Prabhupada but not from the lips of pseudo devotees whose songs contradicted spiritual conclusions (rasabhasa). His real mood was revealed in the self-composed song he used to sing:
prana ache tara se hetu pracara
pratisthasa hina krishnagatha saba
shri dayita dasa kirtanaete asa
kara ucchaih svare harinama-rava
"The real life of the devotee is exibited in self-surrender to the Lord, devoid of all sense of false prestige."
The songs of those not surrendered and intoxicated with false prestige, are like a dead body without consciousness and thus should not be entertained. This was his verdict. Unauthorized discussions of high spiritual subjects were not at all approved by Shrila Prabhupada. To always remember Krishna at all times is productive of pure devotion. Love of Godhead is only attained by the pure chanting of the holy names, devoid of all offenses. Once that stage of offenseless chanting is attained, no other extra effort or purity is required in chanting the holy name. If one with all petty desires for gain, fame and prestige encompassing the mind, puts on a false show of spontaneous pure devotion that was only hypocrisy, it was extremely intolerable to him. He used to say:
madhavendra puri bhava-ghare curi
na karila kabu sadai janaba,
The famous words of the great souls tell us: vidhi marge braja-bhave paite nahi sakti. One cannot attain spontaneous devotion by mere practice of devotion (sadhana). The actual gift of spontaneous devotion is awarded only by the intense greed to receive it, coupled with the blessings of proximity to a genuine teacher who is a resident of the holy dhama. Pretentiously imitating the activities of realized souls is a disturbance to society, resulting in unqualified discussions. Premature attempts of spontaneous devotion are of no avail! The question may be asked from the context of the above verse as to what the real method of attainment is. The answer is revealed by Lord Gauranga when He informs His confidental associates to deeply imbibe the following verse:
nama sankirtana kalau parama upaya
iha haite sarva siddhi haibe "sabara"
"The holy name is to be taken shelter of in complete faith and this will ensure all perfection to the chanter."
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh
sraddhanvita `nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah
The word sraddhanvitah used in this context, specifically refers to the faith that leads to the attainment of spontaneous devotion. Shriman Mahaprabhu has stressed that the holy name is replete with all transcendental potency, being non different from the Supreme Person Shri Krishna. The holy name is pure, eternal, replete with all spiritual mellows and is like a wish-fulfilling tree. The process of attaining pure spontaneous devotion is by exclusive surrender to the lotus feet of the personified name, praying to Him with complete yearning and taking to the chanting with a fixed resolve. The cessation of offenses to the name produces final enlightenment in the aspirant.
Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti, in his commentary, explains the following verse:
ataeva sraddhanvitah iti sastra visvasinam
nama paradhinam premapi na angikarotiti bhavah
"The word sraddhanvitah is not applicable to the faithless or those who persist in commiting offenses against the holy name. The mellows of love are beyond the imagination of Goddess Laksmi. It is not by mere intelligence or discrimination that it can be obtained. The only sure way is the obediance to follow the path chalked out by the gopis of Vraja and not otherwise."
Shri Shrila Prabhupada never did approve of such intricate discussions by the unqualified, always giving priority to the chanting of the holy name. Similarly, Shri Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's song couplet is enlightening:
viddhi marga rata jane sva-adhinata ratna-dine
raga marge karana pravesh
Here this verse is extolling the glories of the rigid devotional service in practice, ultimately giving us natural entrance into spontaneous devotion. Shri Shrila Prabhupada has commented on the 7th verse of Upadesamrta, saying:
The characteristics of the holy name are compared to sugar candy, and ignorance is compared to jaundice (excess bile). As a jaundiced person is unable to relish the flavor of sugar candy, likewise the conditioned materialistic living entity is unable to taste the nectarean bliss of the holy name due to ignorance. In taking to the chanting of the holy name sincerely and endeavoring with right efforts, the sweetness of the name becomes apparent and eventually will lead to the dissipation of all unwanted desires.
Further on, the explanation of the 8th verse of `Upadesamrta' reads:
The lay aspirant should tame his mind, which is outgoing and restless, with the chanting of the holy name, pastimes, form and qualities of the Lord in a determined way. Side by side, hearing and remembering these attributes of the Lord should also be practised. The increased attraction for such activities as it blossoms, will automatically give one the qualifications to perform spontaneous devotion, gaining immortality. It is important to remember that premature practice of high devotion can lead to the upsurge of low and base instincts of the individual causing him to stray away from the spiritual path.
Common people, under the deception of trying to sing about the pure mellows of devotional service, are only creating opposing mellows (rasabhasa), which was detested by Shrila Prabhupada. Further, he sternly opposed those who eked out a livelihood by the reading of the holy scriptures like Shrimad-Bhagavatam, or the exhibition of installed Deities in order to collect their own maintenance.
Even though the ritualistic priests (smarta) may differ, Shrila Sanatana Goswami, a main leader in the Gaudiya Madhva line, has confirmed that all persons, irrespective of caste, can, by the process of spiritual initiation be elevated to perform the worship of the Deity of Salagrama Sila. Spiritual initiation involves five rites (tapa, pundra, nama, mantra, yaga). Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana has defined the yaga mentioned above as Deity worship in his holy treatise `Prameya Ratnavali.' It is interesting to note that many of Shriman Mahaprabhu's associates, although being from other castes underwent the ritual of `brahmana' initiation and had brahmana disciples.
Diksa vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam-actual brahmana hood is born from the spiritual initiation process (diksa). (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.12)
This is the foundation of the daiva-varnasrama system i.e. divisions of labor and class in one's stage of life only by the basis of devotion. The only criteria for actual qualification in this human life is devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Many vivid proofs are mentioned in scriptures regarding this. The low class dog-eater surrendered to Lord Hari with mind, body and speech is most superior, while a brahmana devoid of devotion to Lord Hari is considered fallen. (c.f. Bhag. 3.33.6) These statements confirm the efficacy of devotion. The natural function of the soul is to serve the Supreme Lord. Logically, one who engages in this natural function, is immediately elevated to the caste of brahmana and more. The fruitive workers who maintain their superiority through seminal birth, are rejected by the devotees of the Lord. Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja's famous verse in Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 4.66) reads:
nica-jati nahe krishna-bhajane ayogya
sat-kula-vipra nahe bhajanera yogya
yei bhaje sei bada, abhakta-hina, chara
krishna-bhajane nahi jati-kuladi-vicara
"The person who practices devotion intensely is more superior irrespective of caste or creed. To consider a devotee as belonging to some particular caste or creed is a hellish mentality."
"A person born in a low family is not unfit for discharging devotional service to Lord Krishna, nor is one fit for devotional service simply because he is born in an aristocratic family of brahmanas."
"Anyone who takes to devotional service is exalted, whereas a non-devotee is always condemned and abominable. Therefore in the discharge of devotional service to the Lord, there is no consideration of the status of one's family."
Once, a huge public debate was organized in Baligha, Midnapura, to decide the position of high caste brahmanas and Vaishnavas. Shri Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, appearing unsound in health, send his son to the meeting, empowering him to protect the dignity of the Vaishnavas. The meeting was presided by Shriman Madhusudana Goswami and Shri Visvambharananda. Shri Shrila Prabhupada, delivering an expressive, erudite lecture, explained both concepts in great detail, ultimately proving uncompromisingly the superiority of the Vaishnavas above the born brahmanas. He was thereby given a standing ovation and all the saintly people present there became greatly overjoyed in the confirmation of Shriman Mahaprabhu's teachings.
The printing press was an important tool utilized by Shri Shrila Prabhupada, for the wide publicity and propagation of spiritual literatures. He would refer to it as the big drum (brhad-mrdanga) whose sound could not only go a long way, but remained for some time. In his boyhood, while assisting his father Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his publications, Shrila Prabhupada gained much experience in proof reading and other works relating to the press. Consequently, with the establishment of many presses, he published many books and periodicals, i.e. the weekly Gaudiya, Bhagavad-gita with commentary, Jaiva Dharma, Chaitanya-charitamrita, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, etc...
Shri Shrila Prabhupada used to be vigilant in the proper service of Shri Dhama Mayapur, the transcendental birth place of Lord Gaura-hari. In Yogapitha and Shrivasa Angana, he experienced many divine experiences. He had the vision of Saraswati River in seeing the river Jalangi. Similar visions were perceived by Shri Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The confluence of the river Saraswati and Ganga in Shri Mayapur (Triveni) was especially dear to him. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had forecasted that an extraordinary temple would be constructed in Shri Yogapitha. To confirm the prediction of his father, Shrila Prabhupada, with the help of his wealthy disciples, constructed a huge temple there. During the excavation for the temple, a four handed Deity of Vishnu was discovered in the earth. Later, this Deity was identified as Adhoksaja Vishnu with Shri and Bhu potencies by him, according to different arrangements of weapons and symbols in the hands of the Deity. An expert archeologist, Shri Ram Prasad Chandra, verified the Deity as being very old. Shri Shrila Prabhupada commented later that this Deity was formally worshipped by Jagannatha Misra. This beautiful Deity is being worshipped at present in Shri Yogapitha, Mayapur.
To illumine and increase publicity about the holy land, Shri Shrila Prabhupada used to invite many eminent and dignified people to Mayapur time and again. Every year was highlighted with the Navadvipa parikrama, simultaneously followed by the birth anniversary celebrations of Mahaprabhu. Shri Shrila Prabhupada had planned that from Yogapitha to Candrasekara Bhavana in the North and up till Huloor Ghata at the extreme South, all the area of land be named actual Mayapur. His prophecy was that all this will be in future the locality of devotees of Shri Krishna and many temples of Lord Krishna will be constructed. The auspicious sounds of gongs, bells and drums would be a constant daily affair.
Shrila Prabhupada used to remark that Lord Gaurasundara was eternally performing congregational chanting and dancing with His associates in this holy land of Mayapur. Even today the mystical sounds of gongs and drums can be subtly heard all of a sudden by a very selected few. Shrila Prabhupada personally experienced this many times.
As discussed, Shri Shrila Prabhupada worked tirelessly to propagate the pure devotional messages of Shriman Mahaprabhu through books and journals. Primarily, through his four main printing presses and help of other presses, he printed over 100 books and different journals in English, Bengali, Oriya and Assamese languages. The propagation of devotion was not only through the length and breadth of India, but many disciples went to foreign countries to preach under his bidding. Unfailingly as a daily vow, he used to chant one lakh names of the Lord (64 rounds) and his instruction to all his disciples was to do likewise. Keeping this vow intact, he would allot his times incredibly to cover all his preaching schedules and literary work, being a source of inspiration to all who came in contact with him.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada, on noticing any deviance to the doctrine of pure devotion, would be prompt to refute all such opposing arguments. He had the unusual ability to still all opposition with his witty, fiery replies in accordance with the conclusions of scriptures. He posed as the awesome figure of non-compromise to pure devotional ideals. To adjust or compromise with concocted deviant philosophy or to show indifference when there was overlaping of mellows, was never tolerated by him. His strict code of behavior was always according to the instruction of Shriman Mahaprabhu: asat sanga tyaga-ei vaishnava acara-To completely avoid association of the materialistic sense-enjoyers and the non-devotees, atheists.
The absence of such a dynamic leader has caused the Gaudiya Vaishnava world to go through many troubled situations.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada had extraordinary knowledge about the secrets of the disciplic sucession. The compilation of Vaishnava Manjusa Samhita dictionary was begun regarding different varieties of knowledge about the devotees of Vishnu. However, only four editions were completed and published. His memory powers were astounding. The moment he would speak, many fresh and interesting ideas would be revealed, such that it would leave the audience spellbound. Previously, I would be trying to note all these ideas with a deft hand, still I would miss out on many points. Later, Shri Shrila Prabhupada personally would rectify such writings.
The very name `mayavadi' was quite unbearable for Shri Shrila Prabhupada to hear. Some people used to contend that Shri Prakas-ananda Saraswati, after receiving the mercy of Lord Gauranga, became known as Shri Prabhodananda Saraswati, who was the author of the famous devotional treatise Shri Shri Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi. This was vehemently rejected by Shrila Prabhupada. He explained that the spiritual master of Gopala Bhatta Goswami was his own uncle, Shrila Prabhodananda Saraswati. He used to stay at Shri Rangam and was the follower of Shri Ramanuja. He is not to be mistaken with the other Prakasananda who was from the Sankaracarya sect and staying in Benares.
At the close, before his entrance into his eternal pastimes, in the morning he requested Shri Shrimad Bhakti Raksaka Shridhara Maharaja to sing Shri Rupa Manjari Pada of Shri Narottama dasa Thakura, and Navin Krishna Prabhu to sing Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Tumi doya sagara tarayite prani. This was the commentary of the 2nd verse of the Siksastakam. After giving this instruction to sing, Shri Shrila Prabhupada began to repeat his famous counsel, already mentioned, previously (Dec. 23th): "Implicit obedience to the preceptors laid down by Shrila Rupa Goswami through the medium of the spiritual master is the wealth of our devotion."
In this instruction, he outlined the true method of our devotional practice as well as the real disciplic succession. Furthermore, in hearing the song of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura (tuya daya echana parama udara), Shri Shrila Prabhupada clasped his hands to his forehead and profuse tears of humility rolled down his cheeks. These personal gestures reminded us of our lamentable plight in not having any attraction for the holy name. The name has all potency and is not dependent on time or purity of the chanter. Faith and unnalloyed surrender only prevails. We acutely became conscious of all these facts by his gestures. He further reminded us again to follow Shri Shrila Rupa and Raghunatha's teachings through the medium of Narottama dasa Thakura.
Finally, Shri Shrila Prabhupada gave his blessings openly to all present as well as to those who were not present and advised them all to perform devotional service to the Supreme Lord and the service of pure devotees, specially by the method of propagation of his divine literatures.
Our most worshipable spiritual master Shri Shrila Prabhupada has bestowed his affectionate blessings not only to his disciples, but to his grand-disciples and all those who will in the future come to this line of disciplic succession. There is no cause for loss of hope or fear, for Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's line will never cease. This is the assurance of Shri Shrila Prabhupada, the world teacher. He is eternally present among us. He is my Lord birth after birth, he is my only source of strength and those following in his footsteps should take his merciful instructions on their heads by mutually cooperating with each other, with Jagat Guru Shri Shrila Prabhupada as the center, and try to fulfill his desires in serving the mission of Shrila Rupa Goswami. All perfection will be attained on pleasing Shri Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada.
Bhajana-Real and Apparent -- Chapter 14
"Promotion is inevitable if we always try to adhere to the lower duty. Eagerness for promotion is the enemy. That is for pratistha (renown), and that will undermine everything."
Devotee: I have heard that some acaryas hold that smarana, internal remembrance, is of prime importance as a devotional service to the Lord, above even kirtana or chanting; or is it subservient to kirtana?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: There are some who are of that opinion because smarana is exclusively connected with consciousness, or more concerned with the subtle part of our existence; so that should be the most effective form of sadhana, or means to the end. But our Guru Maharaja, and Shrila Jiva Goswami, and also Kaviraja Goswami Prabhu, laid stress on kirtana-especially for the beginners. Guru Maharaja says in his song Vaishnava Ke? (`Who is a Vaishnava?'):
kirtana prabhave, smarana haibe,
se kale bhajana nirjana sambhava
``Internal remembrance can occur by the power of kirtana, and only then is solitary service possible."
Nirjana-bhajana or smarana, exclusive solitary devotion unconscious of the environment is not at all possible for beginners. And Shrila Jiva Goswami says (Bhakti-sandarbha, sankhya 273):
yadyapy anya bhaktih kalau kartavya
"In this Kali-yuga, of the nine basic forms of Devotional Practices, the forms other than kirtana certainly should be practised, but they must be conducted subserviently to kirtana."
This is the principle of Mahaprabhu's preaching. Kirtana has its own special characteristic, particularly in Kali-yuga. Shri Suka-deva Goswami said:
kaler dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet
"O King, the age of Kali, the repository of all evils, has but one glorious characteristic: in this age, those who simply chant the holy name of Krishna are liberated and reach the Supreme Lord." (Bhag. 12.3.51)
Also, Shrila Madhvacarya has written in his commentary on Mundakopanisad:
dvapariyair janair visnuh pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena pujyate bhagavan harih
"In Dvapara-yuga, Lord Vishnu is exclusively worshipped by the people according to the principles of Deity worship delineated in the Pancaratra Scripture, but in Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord Hari is worshipped only by the chanting of His Holy Name." (quoted from Shri Narayana-samhita)
In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, when the incarnation of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is mentioned (Bhag. 11.5.32), the method by which the people will worship Him is also given: yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah. Here, yajnah means sacrifice, dedication, which is sankirtana-praya, or sankirtana-pradhana, which means `predominated by sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the Holy Name;' and this is performed by those endowed with sufficient piety. So, in this Age of Iron, kirtana has its own special privilege, granted by the Supreme Lord-Mahaprabhu's speciality is preaching, kirtana. He inaugurated and conducted Hari kirtana.
So kirtana has been accepted by our Guru Maharaja, Shrila Jiva Goswami, and others. To write about the Lord is also within the jurisdiction of kirtana. To preach is assertion-to take the message to others.
So also, to be engaged in answering the questions of the environment automatically demands concentration, which is very rare in this age. When one is doing kirtana, he automatically cannot but give all concentration and attention. He cannot speak independently; intuitively, he must be all-attentive. For this reason, kirtana has been recommended to be the highest form of bhajana, especially in the age of Kali.
bhajanera madhye srestha nava-vidha-bhakti
`krishna-prema,' `krishna' dite dhare maha-sakti
tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana
niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana
``Of all forms of divine service, nine forms are superior, which with great potency bestow upon the devotees love for Krishna, and their personal relationship with Him; and of the nine, the best is nama-sankirtana. By offenselessly taking the holy name, the treasure of love for the Lord is attained." (C.c. Antya-lila 4.70-71)
Mahaprabhu also accepted five principal limbs from the nine that are mentioned in the Bhagavatam as sravanam kirtanam, etc:
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, shri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
"Association with the pure devotee, chanting the holy name, hearing the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, residing in Mathura-dhama, and faith-fully worshipping the Deity."(C.c. Madhya-lila 22.128)
Of these five, Mahaprabhu has given nama-sankirtana the highest position. Nama-sankirtana is considered best of all by the acaryas. That was especially given by our Guru Maharaja, and the basis is supported by the sastra, scriptures. But if other acaryas have shown preference for smarana in any instance, that will be in the sense that kirtana may be in the relativity of the material environment, whereas smarana is independent of the material consideration. From that point of view, smarana may be recommended as the highest, but that is not accepted in a general way. It may be a special opinion.
In Chaitanya-siksamrta, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has clarified that there are two types of devotees in the stage just prior to attaining the highest plane of paramahamsa or uttama-adhikari. The devotees who cross the middle stage (madhyama-adhikari) and reach towards occupying the highest position are called devotees in the stage of premaruruksu. They are classified in two sections-gosthyanandi and viviktanandi (or bhajananandi). The first are always engaged in preaching, and the second take to smarana or nirjana-bhajana-a solitary life of worship, without mixing with the environment. It does not prove that one is superior to the other. The viviktanandis generally like secluded life and go on with smarana; and those who are of the gosthyanandi type go on with kirtana, preaching, and also attain the highest position without coming to the school of exclusive smarana. Those who have attained the highest plane are known as premarudha.
Guru Maharaja clearly said that when we are in a lower position, smarana is injurious. Rather, we should take to kirtana. Kirtana prabhave, smarana haibe, se kale bhajana nirjana sambhava. The Sahajiya school (imitationists) are more fond of smarana than kirtana. They are `followers' of smarana. They lead a secluded life, and mentally they go on identifying themselves with a particular sakhi of their own age, her duty, her place of attendance in a particular place of Vrndavana, in a particular lila, under the guidance of a particular sakhi, and so on. They are required to go on meditating on all these things by their so-called guru. That is the process amongst the Sahajiya school, but we do not admit that. We consider it all false and imaginary. They are not fit for the plane. They do not have real sambandha-jnana, knowledge of what is what. They only go on with the habitual repetition of a particular mental speculation, but anartha-nivrtti (purging of evils) or any other process based on it cannot be effected thereby. Their imagined achievement is sheer concoction. They are not aware of the facts-the ontological gradation from Viraja to Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha and Goloka. They are pukura-curiwale-'pond thieves.' To think one can steal a pond is self-deception. We think that kind of `smarana' to be something like self-deception.
For example, Shrila Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaja went on with smarana. Once, there was another babaji who constructed a kutir nearby, a small hut, and he went on imitating Gaura Kisora Babaji, doing madhukari (subsisting on alms), sitting and meditating, and wearing similar cloth. Then once Babaji remarked, "If a lady enters into a maternity ward, she cannot produce a child only by imitating the sounds and symptoms of labour. Many things are necessary before that!" So only by imitating the Paramahamsa Babaji, bhajana cannot be effected. One must have connection with suddha-sattva, the real plane, and then all the higher symptoms may appear. Otherwise, all those speculative antics will manifest.
na uthiya vrksopari, anatani phala dhari'
dusta-phala karile arjana
(Kalyana-kalpataru, Upadesa 18)
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that if one wants fruits without taking the trouble to climb the tree, what sort of fruits can he expect? The fruits will be ruined, or rotten. Without proper progression, it is all imagination-a madman's feat. One must gradually reach the plane of truth, suddha-sattva. There are so many planes to cross-Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satya-loka, Viraja, Brahmaloka. Mahaprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and she has to cross all these planes.
upajiya bade lata `brahmanda' bhedi' yaya
`viraja,' `brahmaloka,' bhedi' `paravyoma' paya
tabe yaya tad upari `goloka-vrndavana'
`krishna-carana'-kalpavrkse kare arohana
"The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja river and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Krishna's lotus feet." (C.c. Madhya lila 19.153-4)
But the pseudo-devotees do not care to know what is Paravyoma, what is Brahmaloka, what is Viraja, what is the Brahmanda. Without caring to know about these things, they approach any guru, receive some mantram, and go on meditating. But in such a stage, if one goes on meditating upon Radha-Govinda lila, instead of entering Radha-Govinda lila, he will rather entangle with the ladies and gents of this world. He will become entangled in the domain of lust and he will have to go to hell instead of going up to Goloka.
Carma-mamsamaya-kama, prema-cidananda dhama. The carnal appetite is lust, whereas love is the abode of divine ecstasy. So imitation is not success. It rather degrades. Imitation degrades. Imagination is only a mental exercise.
DEVOTEE: What if that mental exercise is done with faith?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Mind is separate. Sraddha is connected with soul, atma, and mind is matter. Mind is material: a part of material potency. This is also clarified in Gita 7.4:
bhumir apo `nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha
Mind is a product of the material potency, and the jiva is a product of parasakti, the principal potency; and svarupa-sakti, the Lord's personal potency, is higher than the jiva. The nature of the mind is mental speculation (manodharma). That has nothing to do with truth. That is drawn from the material world, the world of misconception. The mind is full of misconception (avan-manaso gocarah). Mind cannot reach the stage of feeling or perceiving truth proper. It is only related to mundane things or exploitation.
DEVOTEE: But isn't pure mind a product of sraddha?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Mind cannot be pure, just as a fossil cannot produce life. Similarly, mind cannot produce sraddha. Sraddha is original and fundamental. When the Supreme Lord appears in the heart, mind vanishes. Reality is just the opposite. Darkness cannot produce light-light comes, darkness vanishes. So truth appears when real pure consciousness appears, and mental speculation vanishes. The mind is concerned with misconception. It is an element of the aparasakti, the inferior potency. That potency is both subtle and gross. Earth, water, fire, air and ether are gross; mind, intelligence and ego are subtle; but they're all material. Soul is transcendental. And svarupa-sakti or the Lord's personal potency, bhajana or divine service, and Goloka-Vaikuntha are all supra-mundane and transcendental-on the other side of the soul, not on the lower side where the mind is located. Mind emerges from the ego, that is, the false ego, and it is made of the exploiting tendency. But Mahaprabhu says, mora mana-vrndavana: ``My speculation is on the other side-Vrndavana." That is not an element of this mundane plane.
DEVOTEE: So there is a pure mind?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Properly speaking, the word `mind' does not deserve to be used in this context at all, otherwise everything will be wrongly equated. The residents of Goloka also possess senses, etc., but the affairs of the mundane world are never one with that. The mundane mentality is a product of exploitation, sense-exploitation.
We need relief from this mind. We are surrounded by poisonous thought. In the narration of the tridandi-sannyasi in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, all the disciplines are common in that the mind should be checked.
danam svadharmo niyamo yamas ca
srutam ca karmani ca sad-vratani
paro hi yogo manasah samadhih
"Charity, constant and conditional prescribed duties, mental and sensual control, hearing the scriptures, holy vows and duties-all these are observed to gain subjugation of the mind. Mental control is known as the supreme yoga." (Bhag. 11.23.45)
DEVOTEE: You were talking about kirtana; I have read that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that japa (private chanting) is also related to kirtana (congregational chanting, or preaching), and also that Shrila Rupa Goswami says there are three types of japa, namely manasika or mental, vacika or vocal, and upamsu or whispered. Which is proper for us, and which is the most effective?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: In upamsu there is no sound, only movement of the lips; and in manasika there is no lip movement. You ask which is superior of the three types?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Whatever is internally real will be superior. Japa must be genuine, not imitative. Our attention should always be towards the negative side. If we can practice that in a real way, our promotion cannot be checked. But without qualification, if we are very eager to go upward, there will be a tendency to fall down. Dasyaya te mama raso `stu raso `stu satyam: "May I have the aspiration for servitude." For bhajana or internal service, such a temperament should always be followed. Tad dasa-dasa-dasanam dasatvam dehi me prabho.
Promotion is inevitable if we always try to adhere to the lower duty. Eagerness for promotion is the enemy. That is for pratistha (renown), and that will undermine everything. Shrila Prabhupada said that imitation arises from the attraction for pratistha or desire to hold the superior position and acquire a name for oneself. That is the great enemy. Don't fall prey to that pratistha, eagerness to hold the higher position. Rather, dainyam-humility, is the healthy sign of a devotee.
DEVOTEE: Maharaja, we see in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa that sometimes the glories of silent chanting are mentioned, and then in other places we see that the glories of chanting very loudly, as in the case of Haridasa Thakura, are extolled. So, what is the adjustment?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Only a theoretical understanding won't help you much. Try to catch the spirit of the thing. When backed by the sadhu, the guru of very high type, you can do anything. By the grace of his support, whatever kirtana, etc., you may do, will be effective. Meditating may have been praised as more efficient in a particular context, but if you venture to superficially try and chant in that way, the opposition will be so great you'll be nowhere-you will turn to be an atheist. It can happen if you don't have sufficient support to fight against the odds. Don't venture to attack the enemy when your position is weak. But when backed by the great generals and many munitions, you must march on. That will help us to engage in real kirtana.
The real factor is sadhu-sanga. It has association with the higher power. Otherwise, nothing has any value. The stand must be taken on the real plane-sadhu and sastra-we must cultivate the real thing. That is the all-important factor always-to keep up the reality of the bhajana. For the weaker devotee, the sadhaka or aspirant, the greatest necessity is sadhu-sanga, and the scriptures are necessary for knowledge. Sadhu-sastra-krpa. Then kirtana will be best.
Vrndavana dasa Thakura says that one feeds himself, another feeds thousands and feeds himself. Who's the greater? Kirtana is to cultivate oneself and help many others to cultivate at the same time. But when you have no capital of your own, if you go to preach you will meet such opposition, asat-sanga, that the ankura, the bud, will be nipped. In that case, if you are kanistha-adhikari, neophyte, don't go to attack others without vigorous backing. Kirtana means to preach, or to attack others in a sense. Don't venture, as kanistha-adhikari. You'll be turned into an atheist. Only after passing through the proper stages-sravana-dasa, varana-dasa, sadhana-dasa and prapana-dasa (the phases of hearing, acceptance, practice, and attainment)-then you can preach independently (apana-dasa). Otherwise, only with the help of someone in prapana-dasa can you go to preach.
We should have an immovable connection with reality, an absolute conception of reality. Such a stable position is necessary. Invulnerable. A sure position, what is what-sambandha-jnana. Then we shall be able to understand and harmonize the differences that we find in the writings of the acaryas; what applies where-under what circumstances a particular line has been advised to be taken up, and under what circumstances another has been advised. Practical knowledge.
DEVOTEE: Maharaja, this morning we were talking about humility. What is the perfection of humility for the kanistha-adhikari?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: It may vary for different persons. So one has to think out his own way. Humility means `to not encroach on the rights of others.' And also, it should not be such as to kill one's own self. It must be natural.
At the time of entering the present Bagh Bazaar Matha (of Shri Gaudiya Matha in Calcutta), there was a festival. From a rented house, the Deities were brought on a chariot in procession. There was chanting and dancing, and the Deities were installed in the new Temple. Maha-prasadam was distributed. At twelve or one o'clock that night we went to bed. My bed was just nearby the bed of one of my Godbrothers, a learned professor. He was very humble. In the morning, the professor said to me, speaking very slowly, ``Last night, I felt so much weakness that I thought I was dying. I thought that I would arouse you, but then again I thought, `No, why should I disturb the Vaishnava? He's so tired tonight, and having his rest, so let me wait;' and after waiting a little I gained some strength, so I did not have to disturb you. But I'm still very weak now." Very slowly, and soberly, he told these things. He was dying, and he did not arouse me, only for fear of disturbing my rest.
When I heard these things from his lips that morning, although of course he put it very gently, it struck me like thunder! I at once went to Prabhupada and informed him that such was the case: "A gentleman was almost dying last night-but he was too meek to disturb me." Prabhupada and the devotees also knew of our professor Godbrother's nature. They took the matter seriously and immediately called for a doctor.
Sometimes I think such humility to be dangerous. The disciple's life is a valuable property of his Guru Maharaja, not merely his own. He's not to be concerned with only his interest, but he should live in the interest of his gurudeva. I could not appreciate such humility.
Everything must be of a real characteristic-connected with reality. I am thirsty-perhaps I won't request any Vaishnava, "Please help me with a glass of water." Then my disease may continue, for the sake of penny-wise pound-foolishness. Common sense should be utilized always.
DEVOTEE: Just before Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja left the world, he was in Vrndavana. He was lying on the bed, unable to eat anything; his condition was so bad he could barely take even a glass of water. But I marked that when anyone visited him, he would, even in that condition, always say to the devotees, "Give them prasadam." He himself could not eat anything.
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Yes, he wanted to travel through the whole of Vrndavana and circumambulate Govardhana by bullock-cart. But Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja's help was sought, and he came and was somehow able to dissuade him from that plan. Despite his serious condition of health, Swami Maharaja wanted to go to all the places of lila like Radha-kunda and Govardhana, offer obeisances, and return.
So the fact is that anything in connection with God-all types of bhajana-all are good. We are not against anything of that type. But we must consider what will be most effective according to our capacity. At the same time we must not commit any offense by omission. If we say that smarana is superior and that the other types of bhajana like pada-sevana, etc., are of a lower order, how can we be so audacious as to condemn them in such a way? Still, we may distinguish very cautiously, but not merely to satisfy our curiosity. Only when the necessity arises shall we venture to establish the superiority of Laksmi over Sukadeva, or Ambarisa, and so on. But we must not venture to make light of such matters. These are all serious points.
To consider one Vaishnava over another is not a game, the points are very subtle. They are devotees, and we must not venture to place one above the other according to our crude necessity. It is not an academic exercise that as a professor we shall amass some theoretical knowledge to quote to the students. It should not be accepted in that line. We shall always be conscious of the practical side: "They are so great, and where am I? Who am I passing judgement over?" There should be some limit to our adventurous audacity.
DEVOTEE: My friend was relating last night that you once said `humility is accepting no position.'
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Yes. `No position,' because a servant has no independent position-his position is always on the command of the master. He's always situated within infinite possibility. But he's humble to his master, not to the goondas (rogues). His humility must be chiefly towards whom? "I am humble, the lowest of the low, to whom? Towards my master. I am humble towards the Lord's own, the Vaishnava. I am humble there." When it is necessary for Hanumanji to burn the golden city of Lanka, his humility is not disturbed. He is as humble as anyone can be in carrying out the order of Lord Ramacandra. He is fully given, wholly surrendered.
Humility, in other words, is surrendering. Humility means no opposition to the command of the master who is related to Vaikuntha, the upper section; not to the ordinary street zone, or tiger, or serpent. Humility does not drag them into the relativity of the serpent, tiger or jackal. Their real relationship is with the Vaishnava. That is the plane where the devotee takes his stand. He's concerned with the Vaishnava. And `humble' means that he does not resist his master's instruction. Without opposition, he carries out whatever order comes to him. He is humble. He possesses humility, sunicata. He is not sitting on a seat of prejudice. Generally we think of humility as pertaining to the outside world, but this is not the meaning. To the standard-thinking person, the members of the outside world are deluded-they are mad. Humility is not in the standard of madness, or catering to the mad people. A madman has no standard of his own. So humility means to have a standard from the standard world. Do you follow?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Prabhupada has defined humility as `that which is absent where there is a spirit of enjoyment.' Enjoying spirit, or exploitation, means aggression. There, there cannot be humility. Humility is only cent-per-cent service. There is no humility in exploitation, or renunciation either. These two are opposed to the normal nature of the world. They are totally misconceived. They are enemies. They are the challenging element to the normal reality. Do you understand?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: The spirit of exploitation and the spirit of renunciation-both are a revolt against the proper smooth working of the truth. So they are totally misconceived. And real humility must be in the relativity of the full aspect of the truth, not with the misconceived world. The standard is not of the misconceived, the madman.
DEVOTEE: Yes. What about spiritual aggression? Like competition. There's a competitive spirit between two persons who are doing the same thing. Then where's the place for humility there?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: There will be humility if it is really service, because it's object is the centre. The devotee feels his inspiration and direction from there, and cooperates accordingly. He is connected with the Absolute Centre, so competition may be arranged by yogamaya.
He is not responsible because his necessity is only for the center. As we discussed, the Absolute is designed that way, but not out of necessity. Aher iva gatih premnah, svabhava-kutila bhavet. It seems to be crooked, but it is not; it is the very nature of absolute dealings. It is necessary only for the variegatedness of the service of Krishna. It is designed from the upper quarter. The devotees are not responsible for that.
DEVOTEE: So we must not infringe on the property of others. There may be competition, but we should not infringe on the property of others?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Our duty will always be to dedicate ourselves more and more intensely-and we shall do that according to how we may be interfered with by the higher agency. We must always keep ourselves ready for that. Cent-per-cent we shall obey the handling from the upper house, without any hesitation. That is our duty. Whatever will be asked of us, we shall do.
On the battlefield, if the general asks a particular battalion to fight in the first battle, and they say, "Why shouldn't the second battalion be commanded to go? Why should we go first? We shall die, and they will rejoice the victory in the last battle? Why should we go first?" What do you say?
DEVOTEE: That is not dedication.
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: Of course. The military will shoot you then and there! "That is our consideration from above; it is not left to you whether Battalion 1, 2, 3 or 4 will go." Only the highest brains have command. Complaint against that high command means to die-to be done away with immediately.
DEVOTEE: So, Maharaja, Arjuna followed the instructions of Krishna without question-whenever Krishna ordered him to shoot, he did so. He faithfully followed whatever instructions he received. In one incident, Yudhisthira did not follow the instructions of Lord Krishna; but when the five Pandavas were on the mahaprasthana or voluntary journey to court death, Arjuna fell prior to Yudhisthira. Why did Arjuna have to fall?
SRILA GURU MAHARAJA: That is not the criterion of the highest devotion. Yudhisthira's achievement was a separate thing. Devotion proper is not connected there. That is some worldly affair of sattva-guna. Yamaraja, in the form of a dog, went on-but Arjuna had to fall, Bhima had to fall. The test was something else, connected with the mundane world. And they went to Svarga, Heaven.
That is not the highest attainment, but only a show of the outer case of the Pandavas. Really, the Pandavas are sakhas or friends of Krishna, but their going to Svarga is a separate outward affair. When the Pandavas reached Svarga, they saw that Duryodhana and others had already arrived there. Although the position of Duryodhana and company was much lower--they were the enemy camp-nonetheless, after death they all achieved their good and honoured position in Svarga.
Yudhisthira went with his old body of sattva-guna, worldly goodness. A ksatriya who dies on the battlefield is rewarded with life in Heaven. Yudhisthira went there, keeping his mortal body, although the others had to die first in order to take appropriate forms for that plane. But the plane was only that of sattva-guna, Svarga, and not the aprakrta or transcendental planes of Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, Mathura or Goloka.
Similarly, it is also mentioned in the story of the Kesavatara (Incarnations from hair) that Lord Vishnu gave a boon that a black and a white hair from his head would go and save the Earth from the horrors of the burden of sins she was suffering from. Those hairs are said to have taken the forms of Krishna and Balarama. They took up those two robes, but in that instance They are only Bhu-bhara-haranakari Avataras, or descents appearing to relieve the Earth of its burden, and not Svayam Bhagavan or the Supreme Lord in Person. The Lord as He is in Vrndavana is entirely distinct.
So also it has been seen in many instances that the outer case is one thing, the inner man is another. The lower personality is absorbed. Just as when the prime minister comes to the city, the state governor's function is absorbed in him, if he wishes. When the king comes to visit the colony, all the officers' powers really vanish in him. Whatever he does must automatically be done by them, their own respective personalities dead. So when the higher descends into the lower case, the lower case loses its value. Then, when it retires, the lower case remains and the higher case ascends.
Nitai Gaurahari bol! We pray to Nityananda Prabhu. We want to come to an adjusted, former position: "If I have committed any offense, aparadha, when dealing with so many subtle things about the great personages, please, Nityananda Prabhu, absolve me of that offense and restore me to my normal humble position."
sarva-vaisnavera pa'ye kari namaskara,
ithe aparadha kichu nahuka amara
Vrndavana dasa Thakura says, "I bow at the feet of the Vaishnavas; may there be no offense in my attempt to serve them."
When we deal with so many great things, such as trying to speak about great personalities of the highest order, we should beg Nityananda Prabhu to pardon us for our audacity. He is patita-pavana, saviour of the fallen souls. He is adosa-darsi-He generally does not take any offense.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread-where angels fear to tread, fools rush in. Like fools, we rush into the subtlemost realm of sentiments of the high order; so we must beg to be excused by the high personalities. Apasiddhanta or philosophical adulteration strikes very harshly. It was Svarupa Damodara's service to first examine any poems or writings for purity before they were taken to Mahaprabhu. If writings with apasiddhanta were offered to Maha-prabhu, He would be disturbed in a very cruel way. Appasiddhanta cruelly attacks the ideal of the higher-thinking persons.
There is a narration by Kalidasa about a king who required a palanquin carrier. At random he selected a man from the crowd, not knowing that the man was a learned man, a pandita. When bearing a corner of the palanquin, the man did not carry it steadily, due to his avoiding the ants on the road.
The king enquired, "Skandam kim badhati?" (Literally, "Do you shoulder [sic] hurt?"). The pandit replied, "Na tatha badhate skandam yatha badhati badhate"-My shoulder doesn't pain me as much as your `pain' (your grammatical misuse of badhati for badhate)!"
So, subtle beating is there in the higher sphere, in the higher sentiment. They may be offended. We shall, not with curiosity but with all humility and all respects to Them, try to enter into that garden without disturbing any plant or person roaming in that sphere. Otherwise our talks will be pure intellectualism, and not hari-katha.
Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread -- Chapter 15
"Guru Maharaja, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, preached exclusively this madhurya-rasa, but with great precaution. He had to spare, in his words, `gallons of blood' to establish what is not that madhurya-rasa."
Devotee: In Shri Brahma-samhita it is described that Shri Shri Radha and Krishna are seated on a divine throne, and the whorl of the lotus flower upon which They are seated is described as a hexagonal figure. What is the meaning of this hexagonal figure?
SrIla Guru Maharaja: I am sorry, but we are not to enter into the discussion of such higher and subtle position of the lila of Radha-Krishna. That is not to be brought into public, and that is the distinction between the Gaudiya Matha and the sahajiya section. The sahajiyas are trying to imitate all this things, but we have no faith in imitation. The higher lila will come in an individual case, and it will awaken in an irresistible way. When the program of the sadhana stage is finished it will come automatically, spontaneously. We are believers in that, and not to know the form already and then we will reach there-that is not the policy accepted by Guru Maharaja, Prabhupada: pujala raga-patha gaurava-bange.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also said, "Stick to the rulings of the class you are fit for, then you will see automatically."
yatha yatha gaura-padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta-punya-rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmad
(Shri Chaitanya-candramrta 88)
Strictly stick to Gaura lila, Mahaprabhu, and you will automatically find within your heart that Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi is flowing. Don't attempt directly to have it. It will come automatically, spontaneously. Not intellectually you shall approach that, for that will give you a bad prejudice. Not only that, but it will be harmful prejudice and you will have to expend more energy to do away with that layer of misunderstanding. So our Shrila Prabhupada did not allow these things. Do your duty in your plane, according to what you deserve, and that will come naturally. That is his instruction all through, not only temporarily, but all through. Don't do like that, for then you will get maya instead of yogamaya.
He knows it fully well, She knows it fully well, when you are to be taken into the confidential area, and that cannot be acquired by any other thing but His sweet will-the flow of Her sweet will, or His sweet will. Try to have the natural thing, not any thing of imitation or any reflection. Reflection and shadow, these two kinds of misconception may come there. Reflection is more dangerous.
In Harinama also it has been stated like that. On our way that sort of temptation may come, but we must not think that everything will come within the fist of our intellect.
acintyah khalu ye bhava
na tams tarkena yojayet
That which is inconceivable, don't take it under the jurisdiction of reason. When it will be extended to you, you will be astounded only to find a peep into that. Na tams tarkena yojayet: don't try to drag that into the zone of reason. This is autocratic in its nature. It may come in one shape to you, it may go in another shape to another gentleman. It is so expansive and so free in its nature. It is infinite. Rather, the Infinite is the base of those pastimes. Always prepare yourself. Hanker. But don't make it an object of your experience.
When Mahaprabhu talked about the higher lilas it was as if He was in a trance. As if in a trance He gave a description of His wonderful experience of Krishna lila. Several times we find that sort of deep lila-the higher lila of Krishna being related by Mahaprabhu Himself-the Govardhana lila and the Jalakeli lila when He jumped unconcious into the ocean and for hours was carried by the waves of the sea to Cakra-tirtha from Swargadwar. The Jalakeli of Krishna, he described how it is. Also at Chataka-parvata-there is no end to His lila. When His body was transformed like a pumpkin, then also He described a lila, but the nature of that description was not any book produced thing. It cannot be taken into black and white. It is such a thing. So we receive caution often, that: "Don't try. It will come automatically. Go on with the program that is given by the sastra and the guru and it will be. If you have such a possibility of fortune then it will come to you. It is not a natural experience that can be given to this and that. It is not to be tackled in such a way."
Yatha yatha gaura-padaravinde-engage your full attention in Gaura lila and that will come automatically within you. From the indirect way it will come to you from the higher domain. When it will be pleased it will come down for some time to give you experience, and you will simply be astonished, "What is this!" Then even when gone, withdrawn, you will have nothing to lament. A living thing. Try to come to get the whole. We cannot make it our object. Such higher thing. Such higher thing.
Even it is very hard to get an ordinary man's conduct with his intimate friends, and so it is with the lila of the Supreme Lord. How can we dare to enter into that, and especially publicly. It is not possible. Externally we can try to give some description of the outer possibilities, but not the actual thing. We won't venture to enter there.
Question: Can they draw something general, like the lotus flower?
SrIla Guru Maharaja: A lotus flower is representing the idea of beauty, softness, and such things. And different petals representing different platforms of rasam. In such a way we can take it-beauty, softness. No mundane ideas should be drawn there only distant similarity. But categorical difference should always be there.
Even we are not allowed by our master to read the books where They are described: Govinda-lilamrtam, even Stava-kusumanjali, even Ujjvala-nilamani. He did not allow us to study and to discuss it. Rather, he would be very much disturbed, disturbed if he heard that someone is interfering with the higher lilas in those books. He did not like it.
Dusta phala karibe arjjana-Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives warning that you will get only a bad result if you venture to cross the line, a bad effect will come to you. Aparadha. From the lower position, anartha, the steps are shown. Sraddha, sadhu-sanga, sravana, kirtana, then anartha-nivrtti-the undesirable things will vanish althogether. Then ruci, then asakti, then bhava-bhakti-the sprout of real devotion. Then prema-bhakti, and sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, mahabhava. By such steps we are to approach there.
Once Prabhupada remarked, though how you will take it I do not know; one gentleman, of course he was a senior, wanted to discuss these things with Prabhupada. He laid much stress on that, and ultimately he left the association of Prabhupada and lived a secluded life. Previously he did much service to the mission, that gentleman. Prabhupada remarked,"Oh, he has two lives. He is married with Krishna and she has got a child." Such remark was there that he was a man, but taking himself a gopi he wanted to culture about the life of the gopis-intimate connection of Krishna and gopis. In this way he wanted intensely, but Prabhupada remarked in that way: "Oh, he has turned into a lady, a gopi, and after coming in contact with Krishna she produced a child!"
Another time, the Guru Maharaja of Prabhupada, Shrila Gaura Kisora Babaji, was in a hut near the Ganges. Another disciple of Prabhupada, leaving Prabhupada went to imitate Prabhupada's guru-deva, Gaura Kisora Babaji, and constructed a tiny hut nearby and imitated his bhajana, harinama and the discussion of Narottama Thakura-all this things-and observed strict vairagyam in his physical life. Gaura Kisora Babaji remarked one day that only by entering a labor room and imitating some pain of giving birth to a child, a child will not come simply by that imitation of the sound. Many important previous events are necessary, then a child will come. Only imitation will not give birth to a child. Such was his remark to that gentleman.
So, suddha-sattva, pure goodness. You must come in connection with what is known as suddha-sattva first. Visuddha-sattva, the nirguna world. Suddha-sattva means nirguna. You must come in connection with nirguna, then only may you try to approach the subtle happenings or events there.
So, not to satisfy curiosity. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." With this spirit we must approach the whole thing. At the same time we may not be, by God's grace, a disbeliever by considering, "I shall judge the whole thing to the last details, then I shall accept what you say."
There are many things below, but the charm and reasonableness of the higher plane, that is enough to convince a person to come this side, and these high lilas should be left high above your head. Very cautiously we are to handle all this lila, especially madhurya-lila.
Just the other day I was thinking, about a year after joining the Mission, Prabhupada arranged for the full Karttika month to preach in Vrndavana. He asked the Maharaja, Bharati Maharaja at that time, to explain the Seventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam: the story of Prahlada, not the story of Krishna, Radha-Krishna, Yasoda or anything of Vrndavana, but, "Preach suddha-bhakti of Prahlada first. They are ripe in sahajiya. Just try to make them understand: `Enter the plane of bhakti; what to speak of Krishna lila, that is far, far above.'"
So, in Vrndavana the people rather wonder, "What is this? They are explaining Bhagavatam; but leaving the Tenth Canto they are explaining the Seventh Canto, the Prahlada lila, the lower portion of bhakti. That is wonderful and strange."
Again, I found later on that Shrila Prabhupada himself gave a lecture between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. There is a boundary line between the two. There he used to speak for a few days. The Upadesamrtam of Shrila Rupa Goswami was read by him and explained. He did not explain about Shrimati Radharani, nor about Krishna, but about that Upadesamrtam-the basis. His attention was always towards the basis, and the fruit will come of itself: "Pour water onto the root; pour water onto the root, and the fruit will come up itself."
He himself explained this while sitting in the middle between Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda. He explained not only Bhagavatam, but Upadesamrtam. Upadesamrtam is the substance of Mahaprabhu and the language of Rupa Goswami.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
And the last sloka:
krishnasyoccaih pranaya-vasatih preyasibhyo'pi radha
kundam casya munibhir abhitas tadrg eva vyadhayi
yat prestair apy alam asulabham kim punar bhakti-bhajam
tat premedam sakrd api sarah snatur aviskaroti
These topics were explained by Shrila Prabhupada and not even anything of Govinda-lilamrtam or Visvanatha Cakravarti's Shri Krishna Bhavanamrta-these things were left. So, our training was in this line.
Pujala raga-patha gaurava bange-that is always upon our head, that the prospect of our life's future, life after life, cannot be finished. We shall rather foster the hope, the pure hope that we may be taken in one day in that camp. With this idea.
Question: Sometimes in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Shrila Krishna dasa Kaviraja Goswami makes reference to Govinda-lilamrtam, Ujjvala-nilamani and other such confidential selected works. How are we to take that?
SrIla Guru Maharaja: There are three chapters of Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita that we were generally not allowed to enter into, including the discussions with Ramananda Raya, to a certain extent. Where the lila portion of Radha-Govinda is mentioned, we had no entrance into that lila. Of course when parayan (consecutive chanting of the whole book) is going on, we go on reading but without giving any particular attention to the lila of highest order of raga. That was barred: "Don't try to come into details there. That will come automatically when the time will be. Do not make it a discussion of the public. Do not take it in the public eye."
So much so, that the following incident happened in Vrndavana. Prabhupada had a friend there from his childhood, an attorney, who came to see him, so Prabhupada went to give a return visit to this friend from his boyhood. Shripad Paramahamsa Maharaja was with Prabhupada and they went to give the return visit. They were told, "He is upstairs." They went there and saw that a Goswami was explaining the rasa-lila section of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Prabhupada just bowed down his head and came away. Immediately he came away. Then his friend also came down, leaving that rasa-lila discussion, and said, "Yes, the rasa-lila explanation is going on, but you did not take your seat at all. You just bowed down your head and came down. What is the matter?"
Shrila Prabhupada replied, "Our guru's order is such that, `If you attend rasa-lila explanation you will commit offense.' That will be an offense to attend rasa-lila explanation, so I had to come back. This is my guru's order. To attend rasa-lila explanation is aparadha."
So, for us, such strict behaviour he has shown. And we also do that, especially myself. At so many other places they show the rasa-lila with dolls, but I never do that. Following what is true to my understanding of my gurudeva's will and his words, I do not make any show of jhulana-lila or rasa-lila or anything of that type. I find in my heart that this is not desirable to my Guru Maharaja. But in so many mathas I see at present, I hear also, that they are doing that, but I strictly abstain from that sort of showing. The jhulana-lila, the rasa-lila. That is too high for us, I considered. I must be true to my hearing of the words of my gurudeva if I want my realisation and not any position: the position of some sort of popularity. To attract people by such show, and to make money, or to make a favorable field for preaching, they may do like that, but I do not do. I do not want popularity nor any position of a higher acarya. I am a student.
Still I am a student. I consider myself to be student. A faithful student. What I heard from my gurudeva, I try my best to stick there, to keep my position there as I heard from him. I do not want to mutilate that in any way to suit to my purpose. I try not to do that. Of course for big propaganda they may take different ways as they think. They are now free. But I am not a member to do so-to go on in such way. I try.
When Prabhupada offered me to go to the West, I replied simply that I did not consider myself fit to go to the West, "I will not be able to show success there." I mentioned two defects. Then some sannyasins showed much reverence to me, "What is this? So many persons wish this opportunity. You are prepared to lose this chance? You neglect to take advantage of such a position, that you will be a world preacher. Do you have no hankering for that?"
I replied, "Yes, Maharaja, I have no hankering to have such a position. My only humble ambition is that I may be reckoned as a sincere devotee of Mahaprabhu, Shri Chaitanyadeva. No other ambition I have in my mind such as to become a world preacher and so on. "
In my nature I am such. I want truth, and hope and crave for the mercy of the Vaishnavas and you all, that I may not have that ambition, but to be the humblest, the most humble servant of the Lord, that I may not be misguided.
I may engage myself in the lowest form of service. Tad dasa-dasa-dasanam dasatvam dehi prabho. My faith may be so firm and may be of such quality that the least offer of His service, of divine service, may satisfy me. I may not get the chance there in the higher officer class. With my lowest connection with the divinity I may go on satisfied with my life.
Mahaprabhu says, "Just consider myself a speck of dust at Your feet, Krishna."
ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
"O Nandanandana, son of King Nanda, although I am Your eternal servitor, I have fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence due to the fructification of my own deads (karma). Please graciously consider me to be a particle of dust at Your lotus feet."
That may be our guidance, "Consider me to be one of the specks of dust that are at Your feet." That is too much! Our faith should come to such a grade in quality that we may be satisfied to become a speck of dust at His feet. Then by His sweet will, anything may happen. But our humble aim should be to have even the least connection of the divinity real. Not a concocted Krishna.
Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bange-very sweet. The raga-patha is on the head. We are servants of the raga-patha. We are in vidhi-marga, under sastric rule. We must live and move under sastric rule, and always keep the raga-patha upon our head.
Once an incident happened while our Shrila Prabhupada was at Radha Kunda. A panda in his talk made a side remark that, "We are brahmanas in Vraja. We can bless Raghunatha dasa Goswami." Prabhupada was perturbed by such a haughtly remark, "Dasa Goswami is our highest acarya in our camp, in the Gaudiya Camp. And that fellow, he says that he is able to bless Dasa Goswami, and I am to hear that?" He stopped taking food, and remarked, "If I was an ordinary babaji I would not care. I would leave the place. But I am running with a motor car here as an acarya. I have responsibility. I am moving here in the pose of an acarya that I shall protect the sampradaya. I shall brush the dust of undesirability from the sampradaya. How can I tolerate such a remark against my guru?"
He left his food: "Until any pratikar (any suitable objection and correction, cure) is given to me, I won't take any food. I cannot take any food."
I think I did something to give vent to the feeling of my guru-deva today! I did something today to clarify his position. Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bange-this is enough.
Tad dasa-dasa-dasanam dasatvam dehi me prabho... This is not a figurative thing, this is not mere poetry, Mahaprabhu says:
naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vana-stho yatir va
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah
"I am not a priest, a king, a merchant, or a labourer (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra); nor am I a student, a householder, a retired householder, or a mendicant (brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasi). I identify myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, the Lord of the gopis, who is the personification of the fully expanded (eternally self-revealing) nectarean ocean that brims with the totality of divine ecstasy."
This is not only an ornamental thing. It is reality. This is reality. To feel ourselves to be actually mean, is really to become eligible for the higher service. So much selflessness, so much self-abnegation is necessary for a unit here of the lowest order to enter into that domain. So much self-abnegation is necessary, then we can come into that plane. There is a plane of undercurrent, an undercurrent plane. and if we really want to contact with that, we shall have to manifest the finest of the fine in ourselves, and with no demand. In this negative way we are to transform ourselves, then we can have a touch of that plane where we can go.
The least tinge of exploiting, any speck of the ambitions life, will not take us there-that is another thing: pratistha. Pratistha is self-establishing, to be stable, to be immortal, to be invincible-it is not self-giving, but it is the self-establishing tendency: "I must stay. I must live." But, if necessary I must die for the interest of Krishna.
marobi rakhobi - yo iccha tohara
nitya-dasa prati tuwa adhikara
"Slay me or protect me as You wish, for You are the master of Your eternal servant."
A suicidal soldier! For the cause of the country, if necessary I must die. I must efface myself. I may be effaced. If it is necessary my very existence may be effaced for the satisfaction of Krishna.
"My very existence may be effaced if it is necessary." Such temperament, such selflessness, of such degree is necessary to find that plane. So much subtleness. Let us be blessed by Prabhupada Shrila Saraswati Thakura. All glory to Guru and Gauranga. All glory to Guru and Gauranga!
(To the devotees gathered there...) You are helping me to take out from my inner heart so many beautiful and so many valuable things. It is through your help that these old memories are coming again fresh to me. I am forced to take out those things of the inner nature of my previous life which I got from my gurudeva as wealth. Again I have the chance of seeing that treasury. I am given the opportunity by this recapitulation of what I heard from the divine feet of gurudeva.
This is our education, what I got from the divine feet of guru-deva. I just sincerely put it to you all. It is such.
Pujala raga-patha gaurava-bange-He instructed that we must not go to live in Radha Kunda. One day near Lalita Kunda, the Swananda Sukhanda Kunja is there, and there is a single-story building. He said, "A second story is necessary, but I will not be able to live there."
I asked,"If you will not live on the first floor, who will live there? What is the necessity of further construction?"
"No. You don't know. Better persons will live there: Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, Gaura Kisora Babaji Maharaja. They will live there, and we shall stay on the ground floor and we shall serve them."
Again he said, "I shall live in Govardhana. Radha Kunda is the highest place-the place of our Guru Maharaja, our gurudevas. They will live here in closer connection with lila, but we are not fit to live there. We shall live in Govardhana, just a little far away. Because we shall have to come and serve our gurudeva, we must be near, but we must not live in closer connection with them. We are not fit."
Pujala raga-patha gaurava bange-The whole tenor of his life was such: "That is high, high. And from below we are to honour that." We are to establish in the whole world this sort of posing: the proper regard of that higher lila: "That is too high."
One day in Allahabad-perhaps it was that very year Shripad Swami Maharaja was initiated-while speaking in a park Shrila Saraswati Prabhupada said, "I am out to give a challenge to fight with any person to show that the highest position is occupied by my gurudeva, by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and by Mahaprabhu. Let anyone come to fight with me to decide. I am ready. I am ready to give that challenge to anyone and everyone. Let them come to fight with me. I am ready to establish the throne in the highest place-my gurudeva."
Pujala raga-patha gaurava bange. "Guru Maharaja, Shrila Bhakti-siddhanta Saraswati Thakura, preached exclusively this madhurya-rasa, but with great precaution. What is not that thing, he used perhaps 90% of his energy to point out the negative side-"This is not madhurya-rasa"-and clear away the negative side. He had to spare, in his words, `gallons of blood' to establish what is not that madhurya-rasa."
Delusion and Divinity of the Devotee -- Chapter 16
"We have to walk there on our head, not on our feet. All are guru; the soil is guru, the entire paraphernalia is guru, superior. I am made of a lower stuff, and that plane is of higher substance, so it is impossible to enter there at my sweet will."
Devotee: Maharaja, if a devotee falls down and becomes disconnected, is that worse than if he becomes a sahajiya?
SrIla Guru Maharaja: Which is worse, a poor man or a thief? One had money and lost it; the other is imitating that he is wealthy, by commiting wrong. One who is disconnected may be reconnected again soon; but sahajiya means either that he had a real connection with the truth, became disconnected, then chose a wrong path, or that already he is engaged in the wrong path. So which is the better position: not to get the real thing, or to get the wrong thing? Which is superior?
In Shrimad Bhagavad-gita it is mentioned that in tamo-guna, the lowest position, one thinks `A' to be `B'. In rajo-guna, there is doubt whether this is real, or that is real. He cannot ascertain what is true; but to think that `A' is `B,' and `B' is `A,' that is the worst kind of error. They are misguided; sahajiya means misguided. They are accepting matter as consciousness, so their position is more detrimental than that of those who have nothing, or who have lost their connection with the real thing. In a similar way, the conclusion of the mayavadi section who think that `merging' into formless brahma is the highest end, is more dangerous, because "a half truth is worse than a lie."
se du'yer madhye visayi tabu bhalo
mayavadi sanga nahi magi kona kala
"Association with those who are out-and-out sense enjoyers can never be so detrimental to one's spiritual welfare as is the company of an impersonalist." (Saranagati 27.3)
If one man admits "I have no money," and another, who really has no money, shows some counterfeit currency and claims "this is money," then his condition is worse because he is engaged in falsehood.
So to become a sahajiya is worse. He is deceived, his attention is captured by, engrossed in, a wrong conception, One person had some conception for some time and became disconnected, but he may again easily reestablish his connection, but the other has become captivated by a wrong conception, so to convince him of the truth is more difficult because his mind is possessed and captured by that prejudice. The first person has no engagement; the engagement he had is gone. But the second has mistaken one thing for another. He has taken matter to be divine, and that is worse.
Once, in my childhoood, I heard this example from my teacher in school. He said that in America there is a school of music, and if anyone had some knowledge of music, to attend that school he had to pay double the normal fee, but those who had no musical knowledge only had to pay the standard fee. That is because they do not know anything, so they can be taught easily; but the others who had some knowledge of music had to pay double, because everything which they had previously learned would first have to be forgotten, and only then would they be allowed to start learning in the proper way. They had to be taught first to forget their previous prejudices, their misconceptions of musical science, so for them there was a double charge. It is something like that. In one case, no bhakti, no devotion; and in the other, in the name of devotion, some non-devotional thing has captured the man. That is imitation, and worse, it is offensive. Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura said it is vancanam, to ridicule the devotees-Mahaprabhu, Rupa, Sanatana-it is to ridicule them, because it confuses what is prema and what is kama. They are at opposite ends; and to accept kama in the name of prema is not only heinous and injurious to oneself, but it contaminates the whole atmosphere. So Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says:
kame preme dekho bhai, laksanete bheda nai,
tabu kama `prema' nahi hoy,
tumi ta' barile kama, mithya tahe `prema'-nama
aropile kise subha hoy
keno mana, kamere nacao prema pray
carma-mamsa-maya kama, jada-sukha abirama,
jada-bisayete sada dhay
"Just give your attention to this, my brother: lust and love, their symptoms may appear as similar; still, lust is not love. But you have accepted lust in place of love, and if you give the certificate, that `this is prema,' by this mistake you only cheat yourself. By mistaking one thing for another in this way, you will never get anything auspicious. Lust is concerned with flesh and blood, but love is in the highest position of spiritual existence." (Kalyana Kalpataru 18-19)
So they are opposites, like the South Pole and the North Pole. One is concerned with this body, the other, with the Supersoul; a great gulf lies between them! There is the ocean of dedication, and the highest point of that dedication is gopi-prema. It only exists where Krishna is, and here there is only imitation.
koti-mukta-madhye `durlabha' eka krishna-bhakta
"Out of many millions of liberated persons, a pure devotee of Krishna is very difficult to find." (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.148)
We must consider all these things. Such dedication is possible only in the highest position of spiritual existence, the conscious area which is all-spiritual, and is not in any way concerned with flesh and blood. It is not concerned with the body.
The most heinous thing is that one will play the part of Krishna and a lady will play the part of a gopi and they will unite, and in that way they will enjoy. To think this to be that, it is impossible. Any ordinary moral man will hate this. What to speak of the higher devotees, even an ordinary moral man will hate it. The steps are shown to us as:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango' tha bhajana-kriya
tato' nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah
(Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.4.15)
In the beginning is faith, then association with devotees, en-gagement in service, purging of faults, attainment of steadiness in devotion, spiritual taste, firm attachment, transcendental emotion and pure love of Krishna. These are the steps. And from another standpoint:
vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala chinmaya
"The earth, water, fire, air and ether of Vaikuntha are all spiritual." (C.c. Adi-lila 5.53)
We must always remember this: "I am the offspring of tatastha-sakti, the marginal potency; that is where I was born, and I must go through svarupa-sakti, which is higher than me. There the soil is of higher stuff than that of which I myself am made. The earth, the air, the water, the trees, birds, everything there is superior to me, And I am to enter there? It is not a small thing, not an easy thing. It is not within the power of the person who wants to go there to enter, rather it is completely dependent on the grace of his superiors: guru-krpa, vaishnava-krpa.
We have to walk there on our head, not on our feet. All are guru; the soil is guru, the entire paraphernalia is guru, superior. I am made of a lower stuff, and that plane is of higher substance, so it is impossible to enter there at my sweet will. To approach that direction as far as mukti, liberation, may be easy, but thereafter we can only be drawn by their grace; it is not a matter of right that anyone can enter that realm. It is only the wholesale, cent-per-cent grace of a child of that soil which can take us there. Just as a guarantee for the subject, so some agent of that soil must take responsibility for me, and at his risk, I can go. Vaishnava and guru, children of that soil, they will take the risk and bring me there. So without their grace, vaishnava-krpa, guru-krpa, bhagavata-krpa, we cannot enter there.
No right-all grace. That grace can take me there. From our side, we have no right. I am a child of the marginal potency, but there the whole substance, everything, is made of a higher stuff than my own existence. I have my existence as a person, and there they are also all persons, but all there are of an existence superior to me. How then can this person stand on the head of those? Only for their service; otherwise, it is inconceivable and impossible. Even to accept this principle is most difficult, what to speak of entering there:
bahunam janmanam ante, jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti, sa mahatma sadurlabhah
"After many births, one who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me (Vasudeva) realizing that it is I who am both the source and substance of all that be. Such a great soul is extemely rare." (Bhagavad-gita 7.19)
And Shrimad-Bhagavatam states:
muktanam api siddhanam narayana-parayanah
sudurlabhah prasantatma kotisv api maha-mune
"O great sage, out of many millions of souls who are liberated and free from ignorance, and out of many millions of siddhas who have nearly attained perfection, there is hardly one pure devotee of Narayana. Only such a devotee is completely satisfied and peaceful."
It is easy to think of, but hard to attain! No right can be established there; it is not as a matter of right that we can go there, so the `right-seeker' will be totally frustrated. We must be prepared for "all risk, no gain." But if somehow we can reach there, it will be "all gain, no risk!"
So to become a Vaishnava proper is almost impossible. It is only as a matter of grace from that level that we can go there; there is nothing we can do from our side. Only with complete surrender, complete self-forgetfulness, complete dedication to the interest of that place, can we hope to be taken there:
vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala chinmaya
mayika bhutera tathi janma nahi haya
"The earth, water, fire, air and ether of Vaikuntha are all spiritual. Material elements are not found there." (C.c. Adi-lila 5.53)
Uddhava is a devotee of such quality that he prays: "If I can be a creeper there, I shall consider my fortune to have reached its highest extent." In Vrndavana the creeper is such a valuable thing that Uddhava-about whom the Lord says "you are my most favorite devotee; I love you even more than my own self"-he is aspiring to take such a birth that will give him that position there. This is not mere hyperbole. When Uddhava is aspiring to be a shrub, to be some grass there, then how are we to prepare ourselves, that we shall walk over that place? I shall have to walk over the head of Uddhava? So how much higher a conception must that place be?
And the sahajiyas-ridiculous! By imitation, here in the plane of flesh and blood, they think they will achieve that. They are the worst enemies, because by imitating in this way not only are they themselves going to hell but they are attracting so many many others there also. They are not conscious of the facts, of what is what. So they have got their hated position in society; the general society has got hate for them, those `babajis.'
But we have to put faith in our Guru Maharaja who said, "It is my misfortune. I could not find a single Vaishnava in this great, holy place of Vraja-mandala." Pressing his hand to his forehead he said, "It is my misfortune that I could not find a single Vaishnava in this great, holy place of Vraja-mandala." That was his conclusion.
And after he had performed Vraja-mandala-parikrama, he said about one babaji who was generally recognized as the best of the sahajiya `Vaishnavas'-as their leader-"He is a kanistha-adhikari. He may be considered as a beginner, to have admission into the infant class." That man was considered unanimously as a siddha-babaji, to have attained the highest position among them, but Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura said, "He has got admission into the primary class." In writing, in the Gaudiya-patrika newspaper, he stated this. And we are trained accordingly and consciously, not with blind faith. He explained to us what is what; we tried to follow his directions, and we have also come to such conclusions.
Step by step we must approach the highest point. It is not mental concoction, imitation. Imitation is the worst. It is hateful, filthy. If in the name of that higher love we represent this fleshy connection with the body and the mind-then that is the most hateful thing. We must try to avoid it with our utmost will and energy.
Shrila Kaviraja Goswami describes: vaikunthera prthivy-adi sakala chinmaya-that the elements of that Vaikuntha world are all-spiritual and the scientific survey of that land is possible to our soul's eye. We must understand that, how it is true. And for that we must first understand what is the tatastha region; what is viraja, what is brahmaloka.
But we are in such a material position that we cannot even understand this lower process:
indriyani parany ahur, indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir, yo buddheh paratas tu sah
What is our soul? We can't follow, we can't understand what our own soul is! There is the world; we conceive it, we perceive it through our senses, so they are higher. The mind receives experience of the world through the senses, above that is the soul proper. And then we approach the Supersoul area; through viraja, brahma-loka, eventually we reach Vaikuntha. There are so many layers to cross, but who is to cross? Our own soul-we cannot even find him! We are far away from that conception, in a hopeless position, and we say that the highest conception of the Paramatma world is in our fist! That is foolish.
First, we must feel our own soul, what is our real existence and identity in the spiritual position; then that soul will have to go higher and higher; by crossing more and more valuable planes he must go up. But he must feel his own identity.
So, the sahajiyas, the imitationists, should be considered as the enemy. Like Quisling (an enemy collaborator during World War II), they are jana-satru, the enemy who has sprung up at home, the enemy within. This kind of imitation is the worst. Ordinary imitation may be bad, but imitation of the highest reality is completely repugnant and must be rejected because what is Supreme is being exploited in such a low, mean way. That is sahajiya.
We cannot see our own soul! That is our position. Absorbed in this gross matter of exploitation, we cannot even know what is our mind, of what substance it is made. Then, how can one understand what is the intelligence, buddhi, the faculty of judgment within us; or beyond that, the soul; or ultimately, the realm of the Supersoul? But we are living in this mundane world and imagining: "I have got the Lord of my dreams!"
Heart and Halo -- Chapter 17
"I see my gurudeva as Guna-manjari, and in that manjari form he has some partial representation of Radharani. But if I attempt to look more deeply, I find him identified fully with Her."
The prejudice of our past experience, caught within us in a subtle form, has covered, like dust, the eye of our soul. Our inner vision is densely covered with the dust of many different misconceptions of separate interest, causing us to ignore the universal interest.
This mental cover is made up of the prejudices of local and provincial interest, and it keeps us from seeing reality: visaya-dhulite kemane se paratattva paiye dekhite. How will a person be able to read the universal wave when his mind is fully engrossed with local interest of different kinds? How can one detect the universal interest, the universal wave? Only one who has fully eliminated all kinds of local interest, and is eager to understand the universal wave, can see it clearly.
Arthesv abhijnah svarat: what is the purpose of the movement of this world? The answer is clear: "For Itself." Reality is for itself: not to satisfy many, but to satisfy One. All the waves are meant to satisfy that One, and if we can put ourself on that level we can understand the truth; otherwise we are all cheaters.
We are far from the truth when we cannot see that everything, all waves are flowing towards the satisfaction of One, Svayam Bhagavan. We are laboring under a deception; we are deceivers who are not just deceiving ourselves but the world also. We are guilty of misunderstanding everything and of carrying that false knowledge to others. Everyone, all the baddha-jivas, are more or less cheaters. That is our position and we must be relieved of such misunderstanding, such deception of our own self as well as of the environment, if we are to be placed in our proper position.
Then we can go there and find that universal wave and see it-darsana. Darsana means `to see,' and how to see, that must be learned. What to see, how to read what is going on, in myself and outside, that is proper understanding and proper education. A proper understanding of one's own self and also of the environment is proper education. Education must be Vedic. The standard must be drawn from outside this area of maya, misunderstanding; it must be drawn from the perfect realm through Veda, revealed truth.
We must accept revealed truth and bid farewell to so-called scientific knowledge and other kinds of perceptions, which are all erroneous, based on false experience and false information. "It belongs to me; it belongs to him; it belongs to them," this calculation is all false. So we have to be relieved, we have to get wholesale relief from this mania, this misconception. And not only must we get relief from the misconception, from misunderstanding the external waves, but we must attain a positive position, to learn to understand the wave, the vibration of Goloka. Goloka is the most universal, most fundamental plane, and if we can harmonize ourself with that plane we will be led to Vrndavana, or Navadvipa, and there we shall see things as they are.
Some are more attached to Krishna lila, others more towards Navadvipa lila, and others have an inclination to be accomodated in both places. In Krishna lila also, some are attracted to Radharani's camp, some to Krishna's camp and some are holding the middle position. We find this sort of division, and that is necessary for the lila, by the arrangement of yogamaya. So, in the highest plane, we find two kinds of pastimes, Krishna lila and Gaura lila, and they are of the same value. In one there is transaction within a `limited' camp and in the other there is transaction, along with a tendency towards distribution to others. But they are of the same value. That which is being distributed, and that which is being enjoyed are of one and the same value of ecstacy, sweetness, love and beauty. Some are more attracted to the one lila, some to the other.
Within Gaura lila also, we find those like Narahari Sarakara and his followers, who were more given to Krishna than Gauranga, and others who are more inclined towards Gauranga than to Krishna. This is all by the grant of the Lord, the Supreme will-His lila.
In Gaura lila, Gadadhara Pandita is holding the helm, everything belongs to him; still he has to admit he's dispossessed, that Gauranga has taken everything! He is exhaustively dedicated to Gauranga. So Shrila Kaviraja Goswami says: tenho laksmi-rupa, tanra sama keha nai, that he represents the main potency of Gauranga, and no one is to be compared with him. This is the conclusion of Shrila Kaviraja Goswami about Shri Gadadhara. He is gaura-prema-maya, the embodiment of Shri Gaura's love.
Gadadhara dasa represents the halo of Shrimati Radharani, but Gadadhara Pandita represents Her mood, Her nature-Her heart. It is as if Mahaprabhu has taken away Gadadhara Pandita's soul, and the body is still standing! That is the position of Gadadhara Pandita; he is quite empty, and following Mahaprabhu. He is not full in himself. Something, the most important thing, his heart, has been taken by Mahaprabhu, so he has no other alternative but to follow Him. He is wholly given to Mahaprabhu. Gadadhara Pandita's position, the part he played, was something like that of Radharani, Her heart stolen by Krishna, the empty body still standing. Radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krishna-svarupam: He was fully engrossed in the conception of Shri Gauranga. Gauranga had taken everything from him, so he had no other alternative; he was fully engrossed, captured completely by Him.
We find his activity throughout his whole life was like this. Of the other devotees, some were ordered to go to Vrndavana, and some were allowed to go there, but although Gadadhara Pandita wanted to visit Vrndavana with Mahaprabhu Himself, he was denied: "No, you won't go." When Jagadananda Pandita asked to go there, Maha-prabhu, with hesitation, granted him permission, "Yes, go there, but move always under the guidence of Rupa and Sanatana." He also gave him some special instructions: "Do this, and this, and don't do that." But Gadadhara Pandita was not allowed to go there.
He was the representation of Shrimati Radharani Herself, yet his particular position was such: the Queen of Vrndavana, but now transferred to Navadvipa. His position had become just the opposite; he could not enter Vrndavana! He prayed for permission, but Maha-prabhu did not give it. He said "No, stay and live here." And he had to do so. Shri Gadadhara Pandita represents the predominated Moeities, and he represents the predominated half. He is one half of the Absolute Truth.
In the teachings of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose preaching was inspired by Shri Gadadhara Pandita and Shriman Mahaprabhu, we also find all the substance that is present in that plane of vibration. These two personalities, Shri Gadadhara Pandita and Shrila Bhakti-vinoda Thakura, are our great gurus, our guides, and by offering our worship to them we can sow the seed of our highest benefit. By the grace of that great Guru Maharaja Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, we have been able to understand this.
And Bhaktivinoda Thakura, though generally he has his own position, as understood from the consideration of the disciple, Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura has seen Shrimati Radharani in him-a `relative' vision. He once said that Radharani represents the full play of asta-nayika, the eight characteristics of the heroine; we see that they are all perfectly represented in her. In other places we may find partial representations of them, but we find them fully manifest only in Her.
He said "I see my gurudeva as Guna-manjari, and in that manjari form he has some partial representation of Radharani. But if I attempt to look more deeply, I find him identified fully with Her; the eight kinds of qualities displayed in the service of Krishna (asta-nayika) are to be found there. If I look at him with my head a little more erect, I can see that he is one with Radharani. Acaryam mam vijaniyat: know the acarya as Myself. If I give more attention to this sastric rule and try to search out the meaning, I find that Radharani comes to take Her place there, in the position of my gurudeva." In this way he has seen in Bhaktivinoda Thakura the fullest representation of the cult of Shri Gauranga.
This realization is expressed in his poem where he says that he saw Svarupa Damodara Goswami in Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, and Shri Gadadhara Pandita in Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In one place he has written: gadadhara-din dhari' paiyacche gaura-hari, that he has accepted the day of the disappearance of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura to be identified with that of Shri Gadadhara Pandita. In another place, in his poem at the conclusion of his Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita commentary, he has written: "Here, in Navadvipa-dhama, the eternal pastimes are going on continuously; only those who have got that deep vision can perceive it.
gadadhara mitra-vara, shri svarupa damodara,
sada kala gaura-krishna yaje
jagatera dekhi' klesa, dhariya bhiksuka-vesa,
aharahah krishna-nama bhaje
shri gaura icchaya dui, mahima ki kava mui,
prakata haiya seve, krishna-gaurabhinna-deve,
aprakasya katha yatha tatha
He says, "It is very difficult to perceive the sweet will of Shri Gauranga, but if we can lift ourselves to that level, we see that Svarupa Damodara Goswami and Shri Gadadhara Pandita are always engaged in their service here in Navadvipa. Sometimes it is suppressed and sometimes it is appearing on the surface. In that plane all is going on by the sweet will of Shri Gauranga, without any restriction. But now I find that those two have appeared on the surface as Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. I have seen it with my own eye of divine service but this is not to be advertized, not to be given publicity anywhere and everywhere; people will laugh at it. But this is my heartfelt conclusion." He has written this in his poem concluding Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita.
So Gadadhara Pandita was identified with Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. That was the vision of our gurudeva, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. He could see in them the same identity. He considered siksa-guru parampara to be the most substantial thing. Eliminating the sahajiya-vada which gives much importance to the outer cover, try to look within, and see things more deeply. Try to understand the deeper vibrations of the outside environment, and see within yourself also. Dive deep, and you will find the plane of the finest vibration which will carry that news to you, and you will see that truth.
acaryam mam vijaniyan ................................ 43, 110
acintyah khalu ye bhava ..................................... 188
adau sraddha tatahsadhusango ........................... 204
adhikara na labhiya siddhadeha ........................... 11
anarthake `artha' boli'............................................ 12
anartha thakara kale lila-gana .............................. 12
artho `yam brahma-sutranam ............................... 65
asakta komala-sraddhe .......................................... 13
asraddadhane vimukhe `py .................................... 98
ataeva sraddhanvitah iti sastra ............................ 161
atah shri krishna-namadi .......................................... 155
atha angani-guru-padasrayastasma ................... 105
ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram ................................. 195
bahunam janmanam ante ................................... 205
bahu-sastre bahu-vakye ......................................... 50
bhajanera madhye srestha ................................... 171
bhumir apo `nalo vayuh ....................................... 174
danam svadharmo niyamo .................................. 176
dharmasya tattvam nihitam .................................. 54
diksa-guru-krpa kori .............................................. 16
diksa-purascarya-vidhi ........................................... 57
diksa vidhanena dvijatvam .................................. 162
divyam jnanam hy atra .................................... 14, 26
dvapariyair janair visnuh ..................................... 170
eho haya, age kaha ara .......................................... 52
etam sa asthaya paratma nistham ........................ 69
gadadhara mitra-vara .......................................... 213
gauravirbhava-bhumes tvam ................................. 3
gayatri-muralista-kirtana ...................................... 66
gopi bhartuh pada-kamalayor ............................. 136
grhita visnudiksako ................................................ 78
gurau shri-gaurange ................................................ 24
guru-padasrayastasmat ....................................... 105
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna ......................................... 63
iha va-i buddhi-gati nahi ara ................................. 52
indriyani parany ahur .......................................... 208
jagatera dekhi' klesa ............................................. 213
kaler dosa-nidhe rajan ......................................... 170
kame preme dekho bhai ....................................... 203
keno mana, kamere nacao ................................... 203
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi ....................................... 74, 79
kirtana prabhave, smarana ............................ 91, 169
koti-mukta-madhye ............................................. 203
krishna-mantra' japa sada ........................................ 61
krishna-nama-maha-mantre .................................... 62
krishnasyoccaih pranaya-vasatih .......................... 192
krishna-tattva, bhakti-tattva ................................... 105
madhavendra puri bhava ..................................... 159
mahaprabhu shri-chaitanya .................................... 145
manusyanam sahasresu ...................................... 137
marobi rakhobi - yo iccha .................................... 197
muktanam api siddhanam ................................... 205
na ca tasman manusyesu .................................... 141
naham vipro na ca nara-patir ............................. 196
na manile su-bhajana ............................................ 33
nama sankirtana kalau ........................................ 160
namaste gaura-vani-shri-murtaye .......................... 34
namnam akari bahudha ...................................... 135
na sisyan anubadhnita ........................................... 75
na uthiya brksopari ........................................ 33, 173
nica-jati nahe krishna-bhajane ............................... 163
nikhila-bhuvana-maya ........................................... 34
paratma-nistha-matra ........................................... 69
prabhu kahe, pada sloka ........................................ 51
prabhu kahe-isvara haya ..................................... 78
prakata haiya seve, krishna-gaurabhinna ............. 213
prana ache tara se hetu ....................................... 159
pranavera yei artha, gayatrite ............................... 65
priyah so `yam krishnah .......................................... 145
pujala ragapatha gaurava bange ..................... 26, 97
puja traikaliki nityam, ca ...................................... 59
rati age sraddha pache na....................................... 12
sabda-brahmani nisnato ........................................ 49
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana ................................. 171
sakala brahmane puri ............................................ 78
saksad-dharitvena ................................................ 111
samagrira amilane sthayi-bhava na ..................... 12
sa mrgyah sreyasam ............................................ 112
sarva-dharman parityaja ..................................... 114
sarva-vaisnavera pa'ye ......................................... 184
se du'yer madhye visayi ....................................... 201
sevaya unmukha ha'le na ...................................... 11
siddhanta baliya citte ............................................. 84
smara garala khandanam .................................. 102
shri-chaitanya-mano-'bhistam ................................ 154
shri gaura icchaya dui ............................................ 213
shri-rupa-manjari-pada ......................................... 148
shri-rupa-manjari-prasne ........................................ 22
sruti smrti puranadi ............................................... 51
tad-vag-visargo janatagha ..................................... 83
tanra thani mantra laila ........................................ 77
tapah pundram tatha ............................................. 63
tasmad gurum prapadyet ..................................... 106
tatra bhagavatan dharman .................................. 108
tene brahma hrda ya .............................................. 55
trnad api sunicena ................................................ 135
tumi ta' barile kama ............................................. 203
tunde tandavini ratim .......................................... 146
upajiya bade lata brahmanda ........................ 121, 93, 174
vaco vegam manasah ........................................... 192
vaikunthera prthivy-adi ................................ 204, 206
vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ...................................... 143
vedesu durlabham adurlabham ............................. 49
viddhi marga rata jane ......................................... 161
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir .................................. 160
yadi vaishnava-aparadha ....................................... 131
yadyapy anya bhaktih .......................................... 169
yan-namadheya ...................................................... 63
yare dekha, tare kaha ............................................. 74
yasya deve para bhaktir ................................ 32,49,108
yatha yatha gaura ................................................ 187
yeba `prema-vilasa-vivarta .................................... 52
yei kahao, sei kahi vani .......................................... 53
yena tena prakarena manah ................................ 116