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Title: Replies to Imp Questions
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2005-03-16 14:37:22
Q. Shrila Prabhupada states: "Vaishnavas consider Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu nondifferent from Radha-Krishna (shri-krishna-chaitanya radha-krishna nahe anya). Therefore *ONE WHO CHANTS THE MANTRA "GAURANGA" and ONE WHO CHANTS THE NAMES OF RADHA AND KRSNA ARE ON THE SAME LEVEL." (Shrila Prabhupada in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya-lila 2.31 purport). Please throw some more light on this most important statement by Shrila Prabhupada.
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
Shrila Prabhupada says that one who chants the Gauranga Mantra and one who chants the Holy Names of Radha Krishna in the form of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra are on the same level. This statement is a confirmation of the fact that Shri Radha Krishna have combined in the golden form of Shri Gauranga. So both the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and the Gauranga Mantraraja are the Holy Names of the same Lord Gauranga Krishna and have equal potency.
Those who give more importance to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and reject or belittle the Gauranga Mantraraja are accepting one form (Radha Krishna) of the Lord and rejecting the other form (Gauranga) of the same Lord and vice versa is also true. This amounts to the philosophy of accepting only half of the hen i.e. the back part of the hen which gives the egg and rejecting the front part which has to be fed. If one cuts the hen into two, then one looses the eggs also. Similarly if one does not have full faith in Lord Gauranga and the chanting of His Holy Name, then one will never be able to attain pure love of God even if one chants the Holy Names of Shri Shri Radha Krishna in thr form of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra with full faith for millions of lives. Similarly, one may chant the Holy Name of Lord Gauranga with full faith but if one does not accept that Gauranga is actually Radha Krishna combined then one will not achieve success in the chanting of Gauranga's Name.
When Shri Shri Radha Krishna have Themselves combined in the form of Lord Gauranga to taste that love, one can imagine how sweet the Holy Name of Gauranga is actually is. It is verily the supreme combined nectar essence of Radha and Krishna. That is why Shrila Prabhupada clearly states that Gauranga Mantra chanters are on the same elevated spiritual level as Hare Krishna chanters or Radha Krishna chanters. Only those who understand this spiritual truth of Kali Yuga can factually succeed in the offenseless chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra by the causeless mercy of Lord Gauranga and His Holy Name. Shrila Prabhupada being the confidential associate of Lord Gauranga, is fully aware of this truth about the non difference of the Holy Name of Gauranga from the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Q. Someone may argue, "Ok, agreed that Gauranga Mantra is on the same level as the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, but since Shrila Prabhupada personally did not chant the Gauranga Mantra at least externally, I am not so interested in the Gauranga Mantraraja."
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
Though hardly any devotee may have seen Shrila Prabhupada chanting the Gauranga Mantraraja externally, Shrila Prabhupada is certainly chanting the Gauranga constantly, in his spiritual form in the eternal spiritual abodes of Navadvipa and Puri to worship Lord Gauranga just like he is constantly chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in his eternal spiritual form in Vrindavana to worship Shri Shri Radha Krishna. This is exactly what Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura meant when he said that the souls have two spiritual bodies in Gauranga's pastimes and Krishna's pastimes respectively.
It is mentioned in Jaiva Dharma that every conscious particle in Navadvipa is constantly chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga. As described in Prema Vivarta, Shrila Shukadeva Goswami, in the form of a parrot, would not stop chanting the Holy Name of Gauranga in Navadvipa even though Lord Gauranga Himself asked him to chant the Holy Names of Radha Krishna instead thus immensely pleasing Lord Gauranga internally.
Shrila Shivananda Sena who is an incarnation of two gopies of Shri Shri Radha Krishna in madhurya rasa (conjugal love) would not have chanted the Gauranga (Gaura Gopala) Mantraraja if the Gauranga Mantra was not a madhurya rasika mantra on the topmost platform. He was factually worshiping both Shri Shri Radha Krishna and Shri Gauranga within his heart by the constant chanting of his most worshipable ista Gauranga Mantraraja.
Q. "Shrila Prabhupada is saying the chanting the Gauranga Mantra and chanting the the Hare Krishna Mahamantra are on the same level. He is just making a theoretical and philosophical point, that's all. There is no reason to take this statement so seriously and start chanting the Gauranga Mantra."
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
Shrila Prabhupada is not just theoretically stating that the Gauranga Mantra chanting is on the same level as the chanting of the Holy Names of Radha Krishna which include the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Some may consider that this quote is only for academic purposes and thus not given serious attention to the Gauranga Mantraraja. Then they stand to loose.
When Shrila Prabhupada is stating that the Gauranga Mantra chanting is on the same level as chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, it is clear that Shrila Prabhupada is not only authorizing the chanting of the Gauranga Mantraraja but also recommending it.
Q. "Then why did Shrila Prabhupada not personally, directly and openly tell devotees to chant the Gaura Gopala Mantraraja?"
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
The simple answer is that Shrila Prabhupada has said that everything which he wanted to instruct was in his books. Sometimes an Acharya being an independent devotee of the Lord may not directly implement all the instructions which he gives in his books. But all his instructions are absolute and can be universally applied. If some devotee of Shrila Prabhupada accepts the above instructions of chanting the Gauranga Mantra along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra as his life and soul and wants to practically implement it for the benefit of all the offensive conditioned souls of Kali Yuga, then it is the direct service of Shrila Prabhupada.
The conditioned souls who are struggling in a loosing battle against Maya in the most formidable ten offenses in the chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna have very little chance to succeed unless they take very regular shelter of the Holy Names of Nityananda Gauranga or if they constantly chant at least 64 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. The second option is very difficult for any person in this age due to a lack of time and interest.
Q. "Why should Gauranga Mantra chanters be given equal respect by Hare Krishna chanters and not offended in any way?
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
As per the above statement of Shrila Prabhupada in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, followers of Shrila Prabhupada who understand it, should give equal respect to the devotees chanting the Gauranga Mantraraja along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It is easily understood that someone on an equal level should be given equal respect not criticized or rejected. In addition the Nityananda Gauranga Mantra chanters are chanting the the Hare Krishna Mahamantra also as per the instructions of all the Acharyas so there is absolutely no reason to look down upon them by anyone in creation.
Shrila Prabhupada respected anyone who was chanting a bonafide Holy Name of God irrespective of the external group or religion that person belonged to so what to speak of that personality who is chanting "Gauranga" the most merciful and offenseless Holy Name of the Lord along with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes, "Unadulterated or non sectarian Vaishnavism is the natural religion. In other words, it is the eternal function of the soul."
Q. "Why did Shrila Prabhupada reveal this great mission of chanting and spreading the Holy Name of Gauranga only in one commentary of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita and not publicly to one and all?"
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
We find in the great scripture Shri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya that Shripada Ramanujacharya wanted to spread the Holy Name of Gauranga in the whole universe and make all the three worlds into Gauranga Bhaktas when he heard the Holy Name of Gauranga from the lotus mouth of Lord Jagannatha Himself in Shri Puri Dhama.
But Lord Jagannatha who is Lord Gauranga Himself forbade him to do so because the proper time had not come to fulfll this topmost mission. Lord Jagannatha said that after I advent as Lord Gauranga in Kali Yuga and complete My pastimes, after that a time will come when My Holy Name of Gauranga will spread all over the world. So the Acharyas are fully aware that Gauranga's Holy Name will be chanted and spread all over the world but they also know that the Gauranga Nama Prabhu has to be revealed only at the appropriate time which the Lord chooses.
Just like Shripada Ramanucharya was instructed by the Lord to preach Vishishta Advaita philosophy for the time being, the Acharyas complete the mission which was given to them by the Lord and may empower their future followers to complete the future mission of Lord which they themselves do not undertake directly even though they are well aware of it. The direct mission of Lord Nityananda of spreading the glories of chanting Gauranga's Holy Name can be considered in such a context. Shrila Prabhupada may have not directly undertaken this mission but he laid the solid foundation for his followers to take it up by solidly establishing tbe chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and the philosophy of Krishna consciouness.
After people understand who are Shri Shri Radha Krishna, then they can better understand who is Shri Gauranga. This was Shrila Prabhupada's intention. Even Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami in Shri Chaitanya Chariyamrita explains the glories of Shri Krishna first for the purpose to solidly establish the glories of Lord Gauranga. Thus Shrila Prabhupada followed the footsteps of Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami in this regard.
We are not saying that all followers of Shrila Prabhupada should compulsorily undertake this mission of spreading Lord Gauranga's Name around the world but if some of his followers want to do it based on his teachings and their realizations and imspirations of his teachings then their endeavors should be accepted, highly respected and supported in every way.
Q. "Shrila Prabhupada has given us the Pancha Tattva Mantra which includes the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga so why do we need to chant the the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas? I am anyway chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga a few times a day in the form of the Pancha Tattva Mantra?" "
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
Shrila Prabhupada most mercifully gave us the most beautiful Pancha Tattva Mantra but on the same hand he told us not to chant the Pancha Tattva Mantra more than three times in the kirtana and and also not as japa on beads and instructed us to only chant it at the beginning of our japa. This is probably because there is no mention in any scriptures about regular chanting of the Pancha Tattva Mantra on beads as japa by any of our Acharyas like we have the scriptural descriptions for chanting the most authorized Gauranga (Gaura Gopala) Mantraraja as japa and kirtana. Just like Harinama is the Hare Krishna Mahamantra likewise Gauranama is the Gauranga (Gaura Gopala) Mantra.
Shrila Prabhupada says in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita that the chanting of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Holy Name is more essential than chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is Kali Yuga and also he states that without "very regularly" chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga, no one should try to visit Shri Vrindavana Dhama because one will commit offenses there.
So let us try to understand what is meant by Shrila Prabhupada's statement of chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda Gauranga "very regularly". In Shrila Prabhupada's opinion, very regular chanting of Harinama means the daily chanting of 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra which is equal to 16 (rounds) x 108 (mantras in each round) x 16 (names in one mantra) = 27,648 times the Holy Names of Hare Krishna daily. So it is logically understood that chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga "very regularly" means to chant Them at least a few thousands of times daily if not 27,648 times like the Holy Names of Hare Krishna. If the chanting of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Holy Name is more essential than the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, should it be performed only 10 to 20 times daily by chanting the Pancha Tattva Mantra or thousands of times daily just like we do for the Hare Krishna Mahamantra? The second option sounds more logical and it is surely a better understanding of Shrila Prabhupada's statements in this regard. Of course those who do not want to chant the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas in addition to the the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and the Pancha Tattva are free to continue as they are doing, but it should be understood that in the words of Shrila Prabhupada, one may not get the full desired result unless one takes very regular shelter of the Holy Names of Nitai Gaura because of the stringent ten offenses in the chanting of Hare Krishna.
Q. "Why are you saying ten offenses, ten offenses, ten offenses...? Just forget them and chant. Don't think of them and they will go away."
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
This is a foolish argument. If the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra were just going to go away on their own, then it does not make sense why Shrila Namacharya Haridasa Thakura has described them in so much detail in Shri Hari Nama Chintamani on the request of the Supreme Lord Gauranga Himself and told us to conscientiously avoid the ten offenses at all costs and at all times while chanting the Holy Names. Why are the ten offenses mentioned in the Padma Purana is we do not need to know about them and avoid them with all our effort. The ostrich which was being chased by the cheetah tried to put the neck and head into the sand on becoming tired and tried to imagine that the cheetah has gone away. But the cheetah grabbed the ostrich and devoured it. So simply ignoring to accept the great dangers of the ten offenses is not going to free us from them. One has to find a way to destroy them and that is the chanting of the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga.
Q. "Ok, all your replies are making a lot of sense, but why did Shrila Prabhupada not openly give Diksha in the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas to one and all if They are so important for Kali Yuga?"
A. by Swami Gaurangapada:
We have already explained that Shrila Prabhupada being a self-effulgent independent Acharya may not directly implement all the instructions he has given in his books and may leave some for his followers to implement depending on what the Lord instructs him to do at that time. Every Acharya has a specific mission laid out by the Lord for him.
Gauranga Mantra Acharya Shrila Shivananda Sena was chanting the Gauranga Mantra constantly as his Ishta Mantra so he must have received Gauranga Mantra Diksha from a Guru and he must have imparted Gauranga Mantra Diksha to his disciples, even though this fact is not mentioned in the scriptures. There are so many pastimes which may not be directly mentioned in the scriptures to avoid making them too voluminous. For those who accept it, there is also the description about Lord Advaita Acharya initiating the mother and father of the Supreme Lord Himself in the Gauranga Mantera before the Appearance of the Lord. So the sublime process of Gauranga Mantra Diksha has been practiced by our Acharyas in the past and can be revived in the present times by the mercy and desire of our whole Guru Parampara.
Shrila Prabhupada states in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita that a Guru can choose a Mantra for his disciples depending on the disciples' ability and qualification to chant different Mantras. Also he says that an expert devotee can invent novel ways and means from the scriptures for the purpose of injecting Krishna consciousness into the mass of the people.
What better way is there to inject offenseless and pure Krishna consciousness in the mass of the people, other than preaching the chanting of the most magnanimous Holy Names of Nityananda Gauranga. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura confirms that without the regular chanting of the Holy Name of Gauranga, the offensive and fallen Kali Yuga souls cannot be delivered either invidually or collectively.
Though the chanting of Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna do not depend on initiation, and can be chanted by anyone and everyone who can vibrate one's tongue, without taking the Holy Vow of Gauranama Diksha of chanting a fixed number of Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga daily in front of Guru and the Holy Names, one cannot easily become steadily fixed in chanting Gauranga's Holy Names just as one requires Harinama Diksha to becomes steadily fixed in chanting 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra daily. Just like Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura states, "ekaki amara nahi paya bala harinama sankirtane.."O Gurudeva without your mercy, I do not have the strength to chant the Holy Names on my own."
Shrila Prabhupada may have given the Hare Krishna Mahamantra Diksha directly but we have to understand that he was dircctly empowered by Lord Gauranga to take the ten offenses of his disciples and destroy them. Even then, we see so many thousands of his disciples have lost taste in chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra due to the stringent ten offenses which are considered by the Holy Name of Lord Krishna.
Also there is a big spiritual danger for the Guru in initiating people directly in the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in the normal case. The ten offenses committed by the disciple after receiving Diksha in the Holy Name of Krishna, may block and destroy the devotion of the Guru himself if the Guru does not have very strong sadhana (spiritual practice) of his own. In such a case, only a very powerful Guru may be able to protect himself and burn up the ten offenses of the hundreds and thousands of disciples. So this risk should be considered seriously by all Gurus whether they are powerful or not unless they are specifically empowered by the Lord to directly give Diksha in the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on a massive scale like Shrila Prabhupada and his own Gurudeva Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada.
One may ask why the Guru has to suffer for the ten offenses committed by the disciples. It is just like the punishment inflicted by the King on the royal treasurer for giving the rubies in the royal treasury to an unworthy monkey who does not understand the value of the rubies and thus crushes them into powder. If the treasurer has considered the eligibility of the recepient before distributing the rubies, and thus not given them to the unqualified in the first place, then this offense would never have occured. So the majority of the blame for this offense falls on the treasurer.
Similarly, the Diksha in the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas does not require any special qualification (just the qualification to accept and start chanting the Holy Names), because the ten offenses are not considered in the chanting of the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas. But Diksha in the Hare Krishna Mahamantra requires the disciple to have full offenseless faith in the chanting of Hare Krishna Mahsmsntra because the ten offenses are considered in the chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna.
So if the disciples chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra without adequately taking shelter of the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas, then they will not get the desired result according to Shrila Prabhupada himself. The Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga destroy all the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and make the disciple qualified to properly approach the Hare Krishna Mahamantra without the fear of offenses.
The Nityananda Gauranga Mantra Diksha makes the spiritual position of the disciple as well as the Guru safe, and since the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas destroy the ten offenses of the disciple in the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, the Guru and the disciple both will remain spiritually unaffected by the offenses which may be committed by the disciple in the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and disciple advances rapidly in the science of the offenseless chanting of the Holy Names and the resultant realization of God understand the guidance of the Guru.
So the Nityananda Gauranga Mantra Diksha in the most crucial strategic plan by the Guru in Kali Yuga in order to give the disciple the best chance of succeeding in the offenseless chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Those Gurus who decide to give the Hare Krishna Mahamantra directly to disciples without instructing them to adequately chant the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga have to instruct their disciples to strictly chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra constantly in multiples of 64 rounds daily just like the instruction of Shrila Haridasa Thakura to the prostitute. Because constant chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra beginning with at least 64 rounds daily is the only other way to curb the ten offenses, though the constant chanting may be very difficult to consistently perform for the souls of Kali Yuga who are totally immersed in materialistic activities day and night.
Also as per Hari Nama Chintamani, sometimes it is possible that a devotee may be chanting 64 rounds (100,000 Names) daily of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra for many lives but still not get any taste in the Holy Names due to the formidable ten offenses. Thus the Holy Names of Nityananda and Gauranga are the easiest and surest remedy for destroying the ten offenses and elevating the disciple to the stage of chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra constantly. This explains the paramount importance of Nityananda Gauranga Diksha in the spiritual lives of the disciple as well as the Nama Guru before accepting Initiation in the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.