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32. Appendices

SG 32a: Excerpts from Shrila Prabhupada's Letters

Excerpts from Shrila Prabhupada's Letters

I requested Satyabrata (Moskowitz) to publish Lord Chaitanya's Teachings which is ready with Satsvarupa. Thakur Bhaktivinode's book Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu may be printed in thousands and distributed... [67-11-1 to Rayarama. Note: The references following quotations correspond to the numbering system employed in the five volume book: Letters From Shrila Prabhupada.]

"So far as reading is concerned you may read any one of the books you have mentioned-Introduction to Shrimad Bhagavatam, Professor Sanyal's book, Shrila Bhaktivinode's book Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Life and Precepts or English translation of Shri Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Best thing is to take any one of the abovementioned books and finish it, from beginning to end. You can do that with Shrila Bhaktivinode's book, that would be very nice." [68-3-15 to Mahapurusa]

"The statements of Thakur Bhaktivinode are as good as scriptures because he is a liberated person. Generally the spiritual master comes from the group of such eternal associates of the Lord; but anyone who follows the principles of such ever-liberated persons is as good as one in the above-mentioned group. The gurus from nature's study are accepted as such on the principle that an elevated person in Krishna consciousness does not accept anyone as a disciple, but he accepts everyone as expansion of his guru. That is very high position, called mahabhagavata. Just like Radharani sometimes thinks a subordinate of hers as her teacher, to understand devotion of Krishna. A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake..." [68-4-18 to Janardana]

"...I am so pleased upon you that you are showing the example of an ideal householder. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur was also a householder, but he lived in such perfect Krishna consciousness that he is better than many sannyasis like us. So far as I am concerned, I could not live like Bhaktivinode Thakur because I was disgusted with my family members and I was obliged to give up my family life ... we take it for granted that we have dedicated our life for Krishna's service in three ways, namely, in our body, in our mind, and in our words. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur has sung in a poetry that 'my mind, my body and my home is surrendered unto You'. So a grhastha or householder like you, you are also tridandi [a renunciate]." [68-8-35 to Rupanuga]

"So you should try to understand these principles of married life and use your discretion. You should not imitate great personalities like Bhaktivinode Thakur, but you must follow His footprints. But it is not always possible to have the same success as great personalities like Bhaktivinode Thakur achieved. So in all circumstances you should try to follow the footprints of authorities but never to imitate them." [68-9-24 to Satsvarupa]

"So it is not slavish when one agrees to become the slave of Krishna and His representative, [because] this is the liberated position, liberated from being slave to the senses. Yes, Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur said, 'My dear Vaishnava Thakura, spiritual master, let me become your dog, and I shall remain at your door, and I shall guard against any nonsense persons trying to enter, and whatever food you will give me, I shall eat, and I shall remain as your dog.'" [68-11-14 to Sivananda]

"Thank you very much for your endeavor and all blessings of Thakur Bhaktivinode and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati will be bestowed upon you because you are trying to push on their lifelong mission. Thakur Bhaktivinode, in the year of my birth, first attempted to introduce these missionary activities in McGill University and the same attempt is being renovated by your combined efforts. I am sure that Lord Chaitanya and His eternal Associates, Bhaktivinode Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, will be pleased to bestow their mercy upon you. Please try to continue this attempt and I am sure you shall be successful." [68-11-47 to Hayagriva]

"...I expressed my desire that during the ceremony a special home for the EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN BRAHMACARIS MAY BE ESTABLISHED AT MAYAPUR. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Shrila Prabhupada desired that such American and European devotees may live at Mayapur for studies of Shri Chaitanya philosophy, and now the time is ripe when many American, European and Japanese students working as my disciples are ready to go there for this purpose... [Referring to a disheartening letter from a God-brother:] This is most discouraging and against the will of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Shrila Prabhupada Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. I therefore request you to give me a plot of land within the precincts of Shri Chaitanya Math to construct a suitable building for my European and American students ... who may go in numbers to visit the site of the birthplace of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." [69-2-20 to B. V. Tirtha Maharaja]

"Thakur Bhaktivinode was not official Spiritual Master of Gour Kishore dasa Babaji Maharaja. Gour Kishore dasa Babaji Maharaja was already renounced order, Paramahansa, but Thakur Bhaktivinode, while He was even playing the part of a householder, was treated by Gour Kishore dasa Babaji Maharaja as Preceptor, on account of His highly elevated spiritual understanding, and thus He was always treating Him as His Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master is divided into two parts; namely, siksa-guru and diksa-guru. So officially Bhaktivinode Thakur was like siksa-guru of Gour Kishore dasa Babaji Maharaja." [69-5-1 to Dayananda]

"NB: Enclosed is a few nice poems by Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur which you may hand over to Mandali Bhadra for translation into German and to be submitted for publication in German Back To Godhead." [69-5-25 to Ananda]

"Regarding New Vrindaban, immediately there is no program for investing in New Vrindaban until Hayagriva transfers the property in the society's name. But there is another program: Bhaktivinode Thakur desired that American disciples would come to Mayapur to take advantage of the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." [69-7-30 to Brahmananda]

"So far as the quotation from Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur you have cited, that is quite all right. In this age, chanting of this Hare Krishna Mantra is the prime business of the devotee, and preaching of this Hare Krishna Mantra by outdoor Sankirtana and propagation of literature is our more important business. Side by side, Deity worship is recommended, but when there is a question of accepting one of them, we shall prefer to accept chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra first." [69-9-6 to Hamsadutta]

"Achyutananda should be encouraged to do this translating work. He is translating poems of Bhaktivinode Thakur, and that is very nice." [69-10-34 to Brahmananda]

" far as initiating disciples is concerned, anyone who is qualified can do this. For example, Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur was householder and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was staunch brahmacari, yet they both were qualified for initiating disciples." [69-11-3 to Krishna devi]

"Generally, if one can remain a brahmacari, it is very convenient, and from brahmacari one can take sannyasa. But in this age of Kali, Bhaktivinode T'hakur recommends that it is better to cultivate Krishna consciousness as a householder." [69-11-4 to Mandali Bhadra]

"I am especially interested in the land which I asked from you within the vicinity of Chaitanya Math. This is in pursuance of the desire of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur and Shrila Prabhupada. It is not for my personal use or satisfaction of personal whims." [69-12-12 to B.V Tirtha Maharaja]

"Regarding the song by Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur, the transliteration is as follows:

manasa deha geha yo kichu mora

arpilun tua pade nandakisora

maravi rakhavi yo iccha tohara

nitya dasa prati tua adhikara

"The translation is 'My mind, my body, my home, or whatever I have got in my possession I surrender unto Your Lotus Feet, O my dear Lord, Son of Nanda Maharaja (Krishna). Now if you like, you can kill me, or if you like you can give me protection. Whatever you like you can do. I am your eternal servitor. You have got every right to deal with me in any way as you please."' [69-12-20 to Nandakisora]

"Regarding Mayapur land, practically my jurisdiction of preaching work is covered mostly in these Western countries; and because Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur wanted it that the American and European devotees should come to Mayapur, therefore I am trying for it. If you kindly help me in this connection it will be a great assistance." [70-1-32 to Madhava Maharaja]

"...Maya is covering all the material energies. Therefore one who is materially advanced, covered with riches, covered with learning, covered with fame or covered with any material opulences, is understood to be covered by Maya. Shrila Bhaktivinode says, jada vidya saba mayar baibhava-'The material opulences are expansions of Maya's influence [70-31 to Bhagavan]

"Now everything is there and you are also experienced, therefore go on opening branches as many as possible and preach Sankirtana Movement to your best capacity. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur entrusted the responsibility to my Guru Maharaja, and He also in His turn empowered us to do the work. Similarly, I am requesting you, all my European and American students, to spread this movement city to city and village to village and make all people of the world happy." [70-3-24 to Hamsadutta]

"...Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur said that materialistic knowledge is another expansion of the influence of Maya. The result of material education is that the living entity forgets his own identification and takes to the business of a particular type of body which is given to him by the grace of Maya." [70-5-37 to Hayagriva]

"You have asked [for] some specific mantra; there is no other greater mantra than Hare Krishna. Shrila Bhaktivinode says, 'When I chant Radha Krishna or Hare Krishna all my dangers are gone immediately.' So which other mantra can be more effective than Hare Krishna?" [70-5-42 to Upendra]

"Our Temple is meant for our men, and we may have our own discussions amongst ourselves, no outsider needed. It is definitely concluded that we have not got to learn anything from any outsider beyond the jurisdiction of Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy. Our philosophy is established on sound ground of the conclusion arrived at by Vyasadeva down to Jiva Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti, Bhaktivinode Thakur, etc." [70-5-45 to Tamal Krishna Maharaja]

"Wherever we may be, if we are engaged in Krishna's service, that is our success. Bhaktivinode Thakur [has] sung, praying to the Lord, that he would prefer to take His birth as an ant in the house of a devotee than to take birth as powerful as Brahma without any devotional service." [70-11-53 to Gargamuni]

"...So far, until now, my God-brothers have regularly not cooperated with me and [yet] by the grace of my Spiritual Master, things are still going ahead. ... it is the desire of Bhaktivinode Thakur to preach the Chaitanya cult all over the world and in 1875 he predicted that someone would come very soon who would individually preach this cult all over the world. So if his benediction is there and my Guru Maharaja's blessings are there, we can go ahead without any impediment but all of us must be very sincere and serious." [71-2-31 to Jayapataka Maharaja]

"Our acarya Bhaktivinode Thakur was the perfect householder and we should take his example. What a nice householder He was and what nice children he produced; one of them is my Guru Maharaja. That is the example. So follow it and become successful in Krishna consciousness." [71-6-15 to Svarupa]

[In reference to Mayapur:J "Regarding your proposal of a Rathayatra festival as Bhaktivinode Thakur suggested, you may kindly send me a note telling in which book the above statement is. I shall be very glad to see the article you have written in this connection and if it is ready please send it to me immediately." [71-8-7 to Acyutananda]

"...Whenever our men go to visit Lalita Prasad Thakur they must take some presentation, cash or kind, worth not less than Rs. 50/- at least. Some nice presentation should always be given. Not that you go empty-handed. It is customary to make a presentation to the Deity and Spiritual Master. Lalita Prasad Thakur is son of Bhaktivinode Thakur and younger brother of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati so he is considered my spiritual master." [71-9-8 to Jayapataka Maharaja]

"I am very anxious to know whether we are going to have our Mayapur function? I want very much to hold this function this year with all of my students, and I ask you to kindly serve me by making this possible. It is a very important day and it will be a great service to Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur and to His son Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur." [72-1-19 to Jayapataka Maharaja]

"The whole day spent at your Temple on Thursday was so pleasant and happy that all my disciples felt celestial blessings in your association. Personally, I am so much encouraged by you, that I appreciate this as the blessings of Bhaktivinode Thakur through his living representative. [72-3-3 to His Divine Grace Lalita Prasad Thakur]

"You can write, but one cannot take it very seriously. If any Vaishnava is writing song about Krishna, that should be from one who himself has realized Krishna, just like our great saints and acaryas like Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya, Rupa Gosvami, Six Gosvamins, Bilvamangala, Bhaktivinode Thakur, like that. They are self-realized souls, therefore if they write something-a song about Krishna, that is perfectly from the transcendental platform, without any tinge of mundane influence or nonsense imagination. Unless someone comes in the category of these great leading Vaishnava personalities, his manufacturing some songs will be misleading to himself and to others. And unless his writing of poems and songs can be accepted as gospel, as Vedas or the Absolute Truth, such writing is diverting the attention from the subject matter only and should not be regarded very seriously... No one should write songs of Krishna unless he is self realized soul, that will spoil the value of the whole thing." [72-3-9 to Billy Reyburne]

[Referring to a plan to help develop the birthplace of Thakur Bhaktivinode:] "So far as our relationship is concerned, even though we keep independent of one another, there will be no misunderstanding, because the central point is Bhaktivinode Thakur. Our only ambition is that the birthsite of Bhaktivinode Thakur must be gorgeous and attractive so that people may come to see it from all parts of the world. Bhaktivinode Thakur is no longer localized. His holy name is being expanded along with Lord Chaitanya's. So let them understand this point. They are occupying the place for more than 50 years and none of their men could fulfill the desire of Bhaktivinode Thakur in the matter of preaching in foreign countries... I can understand also that Lalita Prasad Thakur is very much favourable in giving us the concession but his assistants may be hesitating unnecessarily." [72-5-42 to Jayapataka Maharaja]

"Now you be in charge of our Mayapur Center. Practically speaking you were my first disciple, and I think it is Bhaktivinode's desire that my first disciple shall go to Bengal and revive Krishna Consciousness there." [72-6-4 to Acyutananda]

"...I have just now got a letter from Achyutananda Maharaja from Mayapur, and his plan is to photograph all of the original manuscripts of Bhaktivinode Thakur which are held by his son, Lalita Prasad Thakur, in Birnagar. This is very, very important work, so I think you are just the right man for going there with Achyutananda to make photos of each and every page of the old manuscripts as they are in very bad condition." [72-6-27 letter to Yadubara]

"Yes, that is nice, you may continue to photograph all of the manuscripts of Bhaktivinode Thakur and other great acaryas in our Vaishnava line, but for now do not photograph any of Lalita Prasad's manuscripts. When I go there I shall see. First of all let us see Bhaktivinode Thakur's works, then we shall see further." [72-7-42 to Yadubara]

"Regarding Bhaktivinode Thakur's manuscripts, immediately we do not have any program for printing them. You keep them carefully and when I return I shall consider the matter. The translating work can be done both by Ramananda and Niranjana in Benares." [72-8-3]

"Regarding your questions, Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur never took formal sannyasa. He was babaji, living in seclusion away from wife and family as Paramahamsa. One can have as many children as Bhaktivinode Thakur as long as one is as good as Bhaktivinode Thakur." [72-14-14 to Candravali]

"So always think of the Lotus Feet of Shri Krishna and you will find no difficulties in executing the tasks allotted to you by Krishna. Bhaktivinode Thakur used to say all difficult tasks he had to execute for Krishna were considered as great pleasure for him." [73-8-31 to Satsvarupa]

"...I understand that in the past you were visiting Lalit Prasadji and that you may also be planning to continue to visit him when you return to India. This is not approved by me and I request you not to go to see him any more. He holds a grudge against my Guru Maharaja and even if it is transcendental it will gradually appear mundane in our eyes. Whatever is to be learned of the teachings of Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur can be learned from our books. There is no need whatsoever for any outside instruction." [73-12-40 to Guru Krpa and Yasodanandan Maharajas]

"Your good family has great interest in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and especially your grandfather Mahatma Sisir Kumar Ghose was a great friend of Bhaktivinode Thakur. So we are coming down in disciplic succession from Bhaktivinode Thakur and you are coming in family succession from Mahatma Sisir Kumar Ghose, so if we combine together in preaching the message of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, it will be a great benediction to human society for the mitigation of all kinds of problems of material existence." [74-3-9 to Tarun Kanti Babu]

"You complain that as a householder it is very difficult. Especially you want to preach. There are examples of great preachers who were householders, such as Bhaktivinode Thakur, although we cannot hope to imitate him." [74-4-17 to Raghunatha]

"Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung: 'Krishna sei tomara, krishna dite para, tomara sakati ache. Ami ta'kangala, krishna krishna boli, dhai tava pache pache.' 'Krishna is yours and you have the power to give Him to anyone you wish. I am poor and wretched and running behind you shouting, Krishna, Krishna!' Krishna is unlimited, no one can catch Him, but if someone follows the parampara, He agrees to be captured." [76-8-7 to Residents of New Dvaraka]

"...You may use Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur's translation of the Siksastakam..." [76-9-68 to Pancaratna]

"I am in due receipt of your letter dated Nov. 30, 1976, accompanied by your translation of Shrila Bhaktivinoda's songs. Thank you very much. You have done nicely." [76-12-35 to Jayasacinandana]

SG 32b: Excerpts from the Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Excerpts from the Books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

1. Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita

1. Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita

THE direct disciple of Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, who accepted Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti as his servitor. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura accepted Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, who initiated Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who in turn initiated Shrila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji, the spiritual master of Om Vishnupada Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, the divine master of our humble self. (Cc. Adi Ch. 1, introduction)

We should be prepared to do anything and everything to please the Lord, even at the risk of violating the Vedic principles or ethical laws. That is the standard of love of Godhead ... Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura warns us in this connection that we should not mistakenly think that the idea of giving up everything implies the renunciation of duties necessary in relation to the body and mind. Even such duties are not sense gratification if they are undertaken in a spirit of service to Krishna. (Cc. Adi 4.170 purport)

In this verse the words tomara prabhave ("Your influence") are very important. Unless one is spiritually advanced he cannot influence an audience. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, suddha-bhakata-carana-renu, bhajana-anukula: "Unless one associates with a pure devotee he cannot be influenced to understand devotional service." (Cc. Adi 7.105 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains, "In the Vedanta-sutra of Shrila Vyasadeva it is definitely stated that all cosmic manifestations result from transformations of various energies of the Lord. Sankaracarya, however, not accepting the energy of the Lord, thinks that it is the Lord who is transformed. He has taken many clear statements from the Vedic literature and twisted them to try to prove that if the Lord, or the Absolute Truth, were transformed, His oneness would be disturbed. Thus he has accused Shrila Vyasadeva of being mistaken. In developing his philosophy of monism, therefore, he has established vivarta-vada, or the Mayavada theory of illusion." (Cc. Adi 7.121 purport)

... Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura warns against artificial displays of the bodily symptoms called ashta-sattvika-vikara. That is also another offense. One should seriously and sincerely continue to chant the Panca-tattva names shri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu nityananda shri-advaita gadadhara shrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda. All these acaryas will bestow their causeless mercy upon a devotee and gradually purify his heart. When he is actually purified, automatically he will experience ecstasy in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. (Cc. Adi 8 introduction)

At present, however, by the grace of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His cult is being propagated all over the world, and it is most probable that in the future history of Lord Chaitanya's movement, Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Americans, Asians and people from all over the world will be celebrated as devotees of Lord Chaitanya. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has already constructed a big temple at Mayapur, Navadvipa, which is being visited by devotees from all parts of the world, as foretold by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and anticipated by Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura. (Cc. Adi 10.122 purport)

Therefore, we do not belong to any faction. But because the two parties, busy dividing the material assets of the Gaudiya Matha institution, stopped the preaching work, we took up the mission of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura to preach the Cult of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world, under the protection of all the predecessor acaryas, and we find that our humble attempt has been successful. (Cc. Adi 12.8 purport)

In this connection, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya gives this short note: "Shri Advaita Acarya is one of the important trunks of the bhakti-kalpataru, or desire tree of devotional service. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as a gardener, poured water on the root of the bhakti tree and thus nourished all its trunks and branches. But nevertheless, under the spell of maya, the most unfortunate condition of a living entity, some of the branches, not accepting the gardener who poured water on them, considered the trunk the only cause of the great bhakti-kalpataru. In other words, the branches or descendants of Advaita Acarya who considered Advaita Acarya the original cause of the devotional creeper, and who thus neglected or disobeyed the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, deprived themselves of the effect of being watered and thus dried up and died. It is further to be understood that not only the misguided descendants of Advaita Acarya but anyone who has no connection with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu-even if he is independently a great sannyasi, learned scholar or ascetic-is like a dead branch of a tree." This analysis by Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, supporting the statements of Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, depicts the position of the present so-called Hindu religion, which, being predominantly conducted by the Mayavada philosophy, has become a hodgepodge institution of various concocted ideas. (Cc. Adi 12.73 purport)

A jealous person in the dress of a Vaishnava is not at all happy to see the success of another Vaishnava in receiving the Lord's mercy. Unfortunately in this age of Kali there are many mundane persons in the dress of Vaishnavas, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described them as disciples of Kali. He says, kali-cela. He indicates that there is another Vaishnava, a pseudo-Vaishnava with tilaka on his nose and kunti beads around his neck. Such a pseudo-Vaishnava associates with money and women and is jealous of successful Vaishnavas. Although passing for a Vaishnava, his only business is earning money in the dress of a Vaishnava. Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore says that such a pseudo-Vaishnava is not a Vaishnava at all but a disciple of Kali-yuga. A disciple of Kali cannot become an acarya by the decision of some high court. Mundane votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaishnava acarya. A Vaishnava acarya is self-effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgment. A false acarya may try to override a Vaishnava by a high-court decision, but Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that he is nothing but a disciple of Kali-yuga. (Cc. Madhya 1.220 purport)

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu warned all His followers not to become independent or impudent. Unfortunately, after the disappearance of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, many apa-sampradayas (so-called followers) invented many ways not approved by the acaryas. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described them as: the aula, baula, karttabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani, ativadi, cudadhari and gauranga-nagari. The aula-sampradaya, baula-sampradaya and others invented their own ways of understanding Lord Chaitanya's philosophy without following in the footsteps of the acaryas. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself indicates herein that all such attempts would simply spoil the spirit of His cult. (Cc. Madhya 1.271 purport)

In this connection, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the sannyasa order and recommended the determination of the Avantipura bhikshu to engage in the service of Mukunda. He accepted the brahmana's version due to his determination to serve Mukunda. The sannyasi dress is actually an attraction for material formality. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not like such formality, but He wanted the essence of it-service to Mukunda. Such determination in any condition is paratma-nishtha. That is required. The conclusion is that the sannyasa order depends not on the dress but the determination to serve Mukunda. (Cc. Madhya 3.8 purport)

Bhaktivinoda Thakura annotates that this Gopala Deity was originally installed by Vajra, the grandson of Krishna. Madhavendra Puri rediscovered Gopala and established Him on top of Govardhana Hill. This Gopala Deity is still situated at Nathadvara and is under the management of descendants of Vallabhacarya. The worship of the Deity is very luxurious, and one who goes there can purchase varieties of prasada by paying a small price. (Cc. Madhya 4.1 purport)

In our disciplic line we have the example of a perfect householder paramahamsa-Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In his book Saranagati, Bhaktivinoda Thakura stated: ye dina grihe, bhajana dekhi', grihete goloka bhaya (Saranagati 31.6). Whenever a householder glorifies the Supreme Lord in his home, his activities are immediately transformed into the activities of Goloka Vrindavana, spiritual activities taking place in the Goloka Vrindavana planet of Krishna. (Cc. Madhya 7.69 purport)

In his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that this spiritual potency is the essence of the pleasure potency and the eternity potency. By these two potencies, one is empowered with devotional service. Lord Krishna Himself, or His representative, the unalloyed devotee, can mercifully bestow these combined potencies upon any man. Being thus endowed with such potencies, one can become an unalloyed devotee of the Lord. Anyone favored by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was empowered with this bhakti-sakti. Thus the Lord's followers were able to preach Krishna consciousness effectively by divine grace. (Cc. Madhya 7.99 purport)

This is the beginning of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's description of Shrimati Radharani's transcendental body. This description is based on the book known as Premambhoja-maranda by Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami's descriptions in verses 165-181 are based on this book. A translation of the original Sanskrit as described by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura reads as follows:

"The love of the gopis for Krishna is full of transcendental ecstasy. It appears to be a brilliant jewel, and enlightened by such a transcendental jewel, Radharani's body is further perfumed and decorated with kunkuma. In the morning Her body is bathed in the nectar of compassion, in the afternoon in the nectar of youth, and in the evening in the nectar of luster itself. In this way the bathing is performed, and Her body becomes as brilliant as the cintamani jewel. Her dress is composed of various kinds of silken garments, which may be compared to Her natural shyness. Her beauty is more and more enhanced, being decorated with kunkuma, which is compared to beauty itself, and with blackish musk, which is compared to conjugal love. Thus Her body is decorated with different colors. The kunkuma is red, and the musk is black. Her ornaments embody the natural symptoms of ecstasy-trembling, tears, jubilation, stunning, perspiration, faltering of the voice, bodily redness, madness and dullness. In this way the entire body is bedecked with these nine different jewels. Over and above this, the beauty of Her body is enhanced by Her transcendental qualities, which hang as a flower garland on Her body. The ecstasy of love for Krishna is known as dhira and adhira, sober and restless. Such ecstasy constitutes the covering of Shrimati Radharani's body, and it is adorned by camphor. Her transcendental anger toward Krishna is embodied as the arrangement of the hair on Her head, and the tilaka of Her great fortune shines on Her beautiful forehead. The earrings of Shrimati Radharani are the holy names of Krishna, as well as the hearing of His name and fame. Her lips are always reddish due to the betel nut of ecstatic affection for Krishna. The black ointment around Her eyes is Her tricky behavior with Krishna brought about by love. Her joking with Krishna and gentle smiling is the camphor with which She is perfumed. She sleeps in Her room with the aroma of pride, and when She lies down in Her bed, the transcendental variety of Her loving ecstasies is like a jeweled locket in the midst of Her necklace of separation. Her transcendental breasts are covered by Her sari in the form of affection and anger toward Krishna. She has a stringed instrument known as a kacchapi-vina, which is the fame and fortune that actually dries up the faces and breasts of the other gopis. She always keeps Her hands on the shoulder of Her gopi friend, who is compared to Her youthful beauty, and although She is highly qualified with so many spiritual assets, She is nonetheless affected by the Cupid known as Krishna. Thus She is defeated. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami offers his respectful obeisances to Shrimati Radharani, taking a straw in his mouth. Indeed, he prays, 'O Gandharvika, Shrimati Radharani, just as Lord Krishna never rejects a surrendered soul, please don't reject me.' (Cc. Madhya 8.166 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura suggests that during the time of enjoyment, the attachment might be compared to Cupid himself. However, during the period of separation, Cupid becomes a messenger of highly elevated love. This is called prema-vilasa-vivarta. When there is a separation, enjoyment itself acts like a messenger, and that messenger was addressed by Shrimati Radharani as a friend. The essence of this transaction is simple: loving affairs are as relishable during separation as during enjoyment. When Shrimati Radharani was fully absorbed in love of Krishna, She mistook a black tamala tree for Krishna and embraced it. Such a mistake is called prema-vivarta-vilasa. (Cc. Madhya 8.194 purport)

In his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states: "Shrimati Radharani is the creeper of love of Godhead, and the gopis are exactly like twigs, flowers and leaves. When water is sprinkled on the creeper, the twigs, flowers and leaves indirectly receive the benefits of the creeper itself. However, water sprinkled directly on the twigs, leaves and flowers is not as effective as water sprinkled on the creeper's root. The gopis are not as pleased when they directly mix with Krishna as when they serve to unite Shrimati Radharani with Krishna. Their transcendental pleasure lies in uniting Them." (Cc. Madhya 8.210 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that according to the Buddhist cult there are two ways of understanding philosophy. One is called hinayana, and the other is called mahayana. Along this path, there are nine principles. (1) The creation is eternal; therefore there is no need to accept a creator. (2) This cosmic manifestation is false. (3) "I am" is the truth. (4) There is a repetition of birth and death. (5) Lord Buddha is the only source of understanding the truth. (6) The principle of nirvana, or annihilation, is the ultimate goal. (7) The philosophy of Buddha is the only philosophical path. (8) The Vedas are compiled by human beings. (9) Pious activities, showing mercy to others and so on are advised. [There follows a refutal of these principles.] (Cc. Madhya 9.49 purport)

This is the process of surrender. As Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings:

manasa, deha, geha, yo kichu mora

arpilun tuya pade nanda-kisora!


When one surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Lord, he does so with everything in his possession-his house, his body, his mind and whatever else he possesses. If there is any obstruction to this surrendering process, one should immediately give it up without attachment. If one can surrender with all his family members, there is no need to take sannyasa. However, if the surrendering process is hampered by so-called family members, one should immediately give them up to complete the surrendering process. (Cc. Madhya 10.55 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that serving Vaishnavas is most important for householders. Whether a Vaishnava is properly initiated or not is not a subject for consideration. One may be initiated and yet contaminated by the Mayavada philosophy, but a person who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly will not be so contaminated. A properly initiated Vaishnava may be imperfect, but one who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly is all-perfect. Although he may apparently be a neophyte, he still has to be considered a pure unalloyed Vaishnava. It is the duty of the householder to offer respects to such an unalloyed Vaishnava. This is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's instruction. (Cc. Madhya 15.111 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in clarifying verses 171-179 [Lord Chaitanya's talks with Vasudeva Datta Thakura], states that the meaning of theses stanzas is very simple but that the purport is a little difficult to understand. Generally, conditioned souls forget Krishna when they are enticed by the material, external energy. Consequently they are called krishna-bahirmukha-bereft of their relationship with Krishna. When such a living entity comes under the jurisdiction of the material energy, he is sent into one of the innumerable material universes created by the material energy to give a chance to conditioned souls to enjoy their desires in the material world. Being very eager to enjoy the fruits of their activities, conditioned souls become involved in the actions and reactions of material life. Consequently one has to enjoy and suffer the results of karma. However, if a conditioned soul becomes Krishna conscious, the karma of his pious and impious activities is completely destroyed. Simply by becoming a devotee, one is bereft of all the reactions of karma. Similarly, simply by the desire of a devotee, a conditioned soul can attain liberation and transcend the results of karma. If everyone is liberated in this way, one may conclude that according to the sweet will of the devotee, the material world exists or does not exist. Ultimately, however, it is not the sweet will of the devotee but the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who, if He so desires, can completely annihilate the material creation. There is no loss on His part. The owner of millions of cows does not consider the loss of one she-goat. Similarly, Lord Krishna is the proprietor of both material and spiritual universes. The material world constitutes only one-fourth of His creative energy. If, according to the desire of the devotee, the Lord completely destroys the creation, He is so opulent that He will not mind the loss. (Cc. Madhya 15.179 purport)

When one takes kshetra-sannyasa, he leaves his household life and goes to a place of pilgrimage devoted to Lord Vishnu. Such places include Purushottama (Jagannatha Puri), Navadvipa-dhama and Mathura-dhama. The kshetra-sannyasi lives in these places alone or with his family. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura considers kshetra-sannyasa to be the preferable vanaprastha situation in this age of Kali. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya lived in this way, and he has been called a kshetra-sannyasi-that is, a sannyasi living in Jagannatha Puri. (Cc. Madhya 16.130 purport)

Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that during the Mohammedan reign in Bengal, there was a secretariat entitled visvasa-khana. The office of visvasa-khana was a secretariat office in which only the most reliable people were employed. They were elected from the kayastha community, a community that is still very expert in managing business and government affairs. The secretariat, or visvasa-khana, is generally a very reliable and faithful servant. Whenever some confidential service was needed, these officers were employed. (Cc. Madhya 16.175 purport)

Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, Shrinivasa Acarya, Shri Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, Shri Bhagavan dasa Babaji Maharaja, Shrila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and later Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura of Calcutta always engaged in nama-bhajana and certainly did not live anywhere but Vrindavana. Presently, the members of the Hare Krishna movement throughout the world live in materially opulent cities, such as London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Zurich and Stockholm. However, we are satisfied with following in the footsteps of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and other acaryas. Because we live in the temples of Radha-Krishna and continuously hold hari-nama-sankirtana-the chanting of Hare Krishna-we consequently live in Vrindavana and nowhere else. We are also following in the footsteps of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by attempting to construct a temple in Vrindavana for our disciples throughout the world to visit. (Cc. Madhya 16.281 purport)

A krishna-bhakta has no desire for his own personal benefit. He is completely protected by the Supreme. Avasya rakshibe krishna visvasa palana. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that he is desireless because Krishna will give him protection in all circumstances. It is not that he expects any assistance from Krishna; he simply depends on Krishna just as a child depends on his parents. The child does not know how to expect service from his parents, but he is always protected nevertheless. This is called nishkama (desirelessness). (Cc. Madhya 19.149 purport)

In his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that anubhava can be divided into thirteen categories: (1) dancing, (2) rolling on the ground, (3) singing, (4) yelling, (5) jumping, (6) making loud noises, (7) yawning, (8) heavy breathing, (9) not caring for public opinion, (10) discharging saliva, (11) roaring laughter, (12) unsteadiness and (13) hiccupping. These are the symptoms of anubhava. (Cc. Madhya 19.180 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions that the qualities of beauty, humility, mercy, merit, patience and expert intelligence are brilliant qualities, and when they are exhibited in the person of Narayana, one should know that they are bestowed upon Narayana by Krishna. Good behavior, mildness and magnanimity are found only in Krishna. Only Krishna performs welfare activities for the whole world. (Cc. Madhya 21.121 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains this point. Is this bhagya (fortune) the result of an accident or something else? In the scriptures, devotional service and pious activity are considered fortunate. Pious activities can be divided into three categories-pious activities that awaken one's dormant Krishna consciousness are called bhakty-unmukhi sukriti. Pious activities that bestow material opulence are called bhogonmukhi, and pious activities that enable the living entity to merge into the existence of the Supreme are called mokshonmukhi. These last two awards of pious activity are not actually fortunate. Pious activities are fortunate when they help one become Krishna conscious. The good fortune of bhakty-unmukhi is attainable only when one comes in contact with a devotee. By associating with a devotee willingly or unwillingly, one advances in devotional service, and thus one's dormant Krishna consciousness is awakened. (Cc. Madhya 22.45 purport)

This verse is from Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.47). Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that one who has full love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who maintains a good friendship with the Lord's devotees is always callous to those who envy Krishna and Krishna's devotees. Such a person is to be considered an intermediate devotee. He becomes a first-class devotee when, in the course of advancing in devotional service, he feels an intimate relationship with all living entities, seeing them as part and parcel of the Supreme Person. (Cc. Madhya 22.74 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura summarizes the growth of love of Godhead as a gradual process. A person becomes interested in devotional service by some good fortune. Eventually he becomes interested in pure devotional service without material contamination. At that point, a person wants to associate with devotees. As a result of this association, he becomes more and more interested in discharging devotional service and hearing and chanting. The more one is interested in hearing and chanting, the more he is purified of material contamination. Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivritti, indicating a diminishing of unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service. If one actually develops the devotional attitude, he must be freed from the material contamination of illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. These are the preliminary symptoms. When one is freed from all material contamination, his firm faith awakens in devotional service. When firm faith is developed, a taste arises, and by that taste, one becomes attached to devotional service. When this attachment intensifies, the seed of love of Krishna fructifies. This position is called priti or rati (affection) or bhava (emotion). When rati intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. This love of Godhead is actually life's highest perfection and the reservoir of all pleasure.

... In this way one becomes firmly fixed and gradually develops a taste for devotional service. The more the taste grows, the more one desires to render service to the Lord. In this way one becomes attached to a particular mellow in the Lord's service-santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura. As a result of such attachment, bhava develops. Bhava-bhakti is the platform of purified goodness. By such purified goodness, one's heart melts in devotional service. Bhava-bhakti is the first seed of love of Godhead. This emotional stage is there before one attains pure love. When that emotional stage intensifies, it is called prema-bhakti, or transcendental love of Godhead. (Cc. Madhya 23.13 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given the following summary of verses 107-111. Transcendentalists on the path of philosophical speculation can be divided into two categories-the pure worshiper of impersonal Brahman and he who wishes to merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman. When one is fully absorbed in the thought that one is not different from the Supreme Absolute Truth, one is said to be a worshiper of the impersonal Brahman. The impersonal worshipers of Brahman can again be divided into three categories-(1) sadhaka, those who are nearing perfect execution of the process of Brahman realization; (2) those who are fully absorbed in meditation on Brahman; and (3) those who are on the brahma-bhuta platform and have no relationship with material existence. Even though the worshiper of impersonal Brahman can be highly advanced, he cannot attain liberation without discharging devotional service. Anyone who has realized himself as spirit soul can engage in devotional service. This is the verdict of Bhagavad-gita:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma

na socati na kankshati

samah sarveshu bhuteshu

mad-bhaktim labhate param

"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and is fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." (Bg. 18.54)

To attain the platform of pure devotional service, one has to become spiritually pure and attain the brahma-bhuta platform, which is beyond material anxiety and material discrimination. When one approaches pure devotional service after realizing Brahman, one becomes attracted by pure devotional service. At such a time, by rendering devotional service, one gets a spiritual body with purified senses.


tat-paratvena nirmalam

hrishikena hrishikesa

sevanam bhaktir ucyate

When one's senses are pure, one can render loving devotional service to Krishna. A pure devotee can only remember Krishna's transcendental qualities. Remembering them, he fully engages in the loving service of the Lord. (Cc. Madhya 24.111 purport)

When a touchstone touches iron, it turns iron to gold. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura said that the position of a Vaishnava can be tested by seeing how good a touchstone he is-that is, by seeing how many Vaishnavas he has made during his life. A Vaishnava should be a touchstone so that he can convert others to Vaishnavism by his preaching, even though people may be fallen like [a] hunter. (Cc. Madhya 24.277 purport)

In his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura confirms that one has to learn from a bona fide spiritual master about religious principles, economic development, sense gratification and ultimately liberation. These are the four divisions of regulated life, but they are subjected to the material platform. On the spiritual platform, the four principles are jnana, vijnana, tad-anga and tad-rahasya. Rules, regulations and restrictions are on the material platform, but on the spiritual platform one has to be equipped with transcendental knowledge, which is above the principles of religious rituals. Mundane religious activity is known as smarta-viddhi, but transcendental devotional service is called gosvami-viddhi. Unfortunately many so-called gosvamis are on the platform of smarta-viddhi, yet they try to pass as gosvami-viddhi and thus the people are cheated. (Cc. Madhya 25.121 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore sung, tumi ta' thakura, tomara kukkura, baliya janaha more (Saranagati 19). He thus offers to become the dog of a Vaishnava. There are many other instances in which the pet animal of a Vaishnava was delivered back home to Vaikunthaloka, back to Godhead. Such is the benefit of somehow or other becoming the favorite of a Vaishnava. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also sung, kita-janma ha-u yatha tuya dasa (Saranagati 11). There is no harm in taking birth again and again. Our only desire should be to take birth under the care of a Vaishnava. (Cc. Antya 1.24 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains the Gaura-gopala mantra in his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya. Worshipers of Shri Gaurasundara accept the four syllables gau-ra-an-ga as the Gaura mantra, but pure worshipers of Radha and Krishna accept the four syllables ra-dha krish-na as the Gaura-gopala mantra. However, 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 Krishna are on the same level. (Cc. Antya 2.31 purport)

A Vaishnava should study the commentaries on Vedanta-sutra written by the four sampradaya-acaryas, namely Shri Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Vishnusvami and Nimbarka, for these commentaries are based upon the philosophy that the Lord is the master and that all living entities are His eternal servants. One interested in studying Vedanta philosophy properly must study these commentaries, especially if he is a Vaishnava. These commentaries are always adored by Vaishnavas. The commentary by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati is elaborately given in the Adi-lila, Chapter Seven, text 101. The Mayavada commentary Sariraka-bhashya is like poison for a Vaishnava. It should not be touched at all. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura remarks that even a maha-bhagavata, or highly elevated devotee who has surrendered himself unto the lotus feet of Krishna, sometimes falls down from pure devotional service if he hears the Mayavada philosophy of Sariraka-bhashya. This commentary should therefore be shunned by all Vaishnavas. (Cc. Antya 2.95 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura remarks that after one adopts the renounced order and accepts the dress of either a sannyasi or babaji, if he entertains the idea of sense gratification, especially in relationship with a woman, the only atonement is to commit suicide in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna. Only by such atonement can his sinful life be purified. If such a person is thus punished, it is possible for him to attain the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Without such punishment, however, the shelter of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very difficult to regain. (Cc. Antya 2.166)

A devotee on the topmost platform of devotional service always humbly thinks that he is not rendering any devotional service. He thinks that he is poor in devotional service and that his body is material. On the other hand, those known as the sahajiyas foolishly think that their material bodies are transcendental. Because of this, they are always bereft of the association of pure devotees, and thus they cannot behave like Vaishnavas. Observing the defects of the sahajiyas, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung as follows in his book Kalyana-kalpa-taru:

ami ta'vaishnava, e-buddhi ha-ile

amani na haba ami

pratishthasa asi', hridaya dushibe

ha-iba niraya-gami

nije sreshtha jani', ucchishtadi-dane

habe abhimana bhara

tai sishya tava, thakiya sarvada

na la-iba puja kara

"If I think I am a Vaishnava, I shall look forward to receiving respect from others. And if the desire for fame and reputation pollute my heart, certainly I shall go to hell. By giving others the remnants of my food, I shall consider myself superior and shall be burdened with the weight of false pride. Therefore, always remaining your surrendered disciple, I shall not accept worship from anyone else." (Cc. Antya 4.173 purport)

As stated by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya some people, usually very rich men, dress like Vaishnavas and give charity to brahmanas. They are also attached to Deity worship, but because of their attachment to material enjoyment, they cannot be pure Vaishnavas. Anyabhilashita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavritam. The pure Vaishnava has no desire for material enjoyment. That is the basic qualification of a pure Vaishnava. (Cc. Antya 6.198 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says in his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya that when a man and woman are married, they beget children and are thus entangled in family life. Talk concerning such family life is called gramya-katha. A person in the renounced order never indulges in either hearing or talking about such subjects. He should not eat palatable dishes, since that is unfit for a person in the renounced order. He should show all respect to others, but should not expect respect for himself. In this way, one should chant the holy name of the Lord and think of how to serve Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana. (Cc. Antya 6.237 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that there are three varieties of invitations-those in the mode of goodness, those in passion and those in ignorance. An invitation accepted from a pure devotee is in the mode of goodness, an invitation from a person who is pious but materially attached is in the mode of passion, and an invitation accepted from a person who is materially very sinful is in the mode of ignorance. (Cc. Antya 6.279 purport)

At Purushottama-kshetra, or Jagannatha Puri, there is a temple of Tota-gopinatha. If one goes from there to the sea, he can discover the tomb of Haridasa Thakura still existing ... At the same place three Deities of Nityananda, Krishna Chaitanya and Advaita Prabhu were established about one hundred years ago ... Near this temple and the tomb of Haridasa Thakura, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura constructed a small house, called Bhakti-kuti. (Cc. Antya 11.101 purport)

In his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura advises that one avoid remaining in Vrindavana for a very long time. As the saying goes, "Familiarity breeds contempt." If one stays in Vrindavana for many days, he may fail to maintain proper respect for its inhabitants. Therefore those who have not attained the stage of spontaneous love for Krishna should not live in Vrndavana very long. It is better for them to make short visits. (Cc. Antya 13.39 purport)

Commenting on the word parama-vaishnava, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that anyone who desires to merge into the existence of the Lord cannot be a pure Vaishnava, but because Ramadasa Visvasa was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra, he was almost a Vaishnava. In those days, no one could distinguish between a pure Vaishnava and a pseudo Vaishnava. Therefore Ramadasa Visvasa was known as a Vaishnava because he worshiped Lord Ramacandra. (CC Antya 13.92 purport)

Many other methods of worshiping Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have also been introduced, but they have all been rejected by stalwart devotees like Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The groups practicing such unauthorized worship have been listed by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

bhaja, neda, daravesa, sani

sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani

ativadi-cudadhari, gauranga-nagari

Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami witnessed Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's activities firsthand, and they recorded them in two notebooks. Therefore, without reference to these notebooks, one cannot understand the activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Anyone inventing some new method for worshiping Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is certainly unable to understand the Lord's pastimes, for he is bereft of the real process of approaching the Lord. (Cc. Antya 14.7 purport)

2. Shrimad-Bhagavatam

2. Shrimad-Bhagavatam

Many devotees of Lord Chaitanya like ... Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura, Shri Locana dasa Thakura, Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Shri Kavikarnapura, Shri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Shri Jiva Gosvami, Shri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and in this later age within two hundred years, Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Shri Syamananda Gosvami, Shri Narottama dasa Thakura, Shri Bhaktivinoda Thakura and at last Shri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the sastras like the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized acaryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India's glory and the message of love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the acaryas in the chain of disciplic succession. (SB introduction vol. 1)

Our spiritual master, who also took his birth in a Vaishnava family, got all inspirations from his great Vaishnava father, Thakura Bhaktivinoda. That is the way of all lucky Vaishnava families ... The life history of many such devotees is almost the same because there is always symmetry between the early lives of all great devotees of the Lord. (SB 2.3.15 purport)

Thus one who is actually in the confidence of a pure devotee like Narada or Sukadeva Gosvami and thus is empowered by one's spiritual master, as Narada was by Brahmaji, can not only deliver himself from the clutches of maya, or illusion, but can deliver the whole world by his pure and empowered devotional strength ... A true representative of the Lord like Narada, Sukadeva Gosvami, Lord Chaitanya, the six Gosvamis and later Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, etc. can deliver all people by their empowered devotional service. (SB 2.8.5 purport)

Kardama Muni desired to beget a child who would be a ray of the Supreme Personality of Godhead ... Great householders pray to God to send His representative so that there may be an auspicious movement in human society ... In the same order as Kardama Muni, about one hundred years ago, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also wanted to beget a child who could preach the philosophy and teachings of Lord Chaitanya to the fullest extent. By his prayers to the Lord he had as his child Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, who at the present moment is preaching the philosophy of Lord Chaitanya throughout the entire world through his bona fide disciples. (SB 3.22.19 purport)

As expressed in a song by Thakura Bhaktivinoda, Lord Chaitanya says, jiva jaga, jiva jaga. The Lord asks every sleeping living entity to get up and engage in devotional service so that his mission in this human form of life may be fulfilled. This awakening voice comes through the mouth of a pure devotee. A pure devotee always engages in the service of the Lord, taking shelter of His lotus feet, and therefore he has a direct connection with the saffron mercy-particles that are strewn over the lotus feet of the Lord. Although when a pure devotee speaks the articulation of his voice may resemble the sound of this material sky, the voice is spiritually very powerful because it touches the particles of saffron dust on the lotus feet of the Lord. As soon as a sleeping living entity hears the powerful voice emanating from the mouth of a pure devotee, he immediately remembers his eternal relationship with the Lord, although up until that moment he had forgotten everything. For a conditioned soul, therefore, it is very important to hear from the mouth of a pure devotee, who is fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord without any material desire, speculative knowledge or contamination of the modes of material nature. (SB 4.20.25 purport)

The living entity within the body can struggle up to the limit of a hundred years with good luck, but after that it is not possible to prolong the struggle. Thus the living entity submits and falls victim. In this regard, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung: vriddha kala aola saba sukha bhagala. When one becomes old, it becomes impossible to enjoy material happiness. Generally, people think that religion and piety come at the end of life, and at this time one generally becomes meditative and take to some so-called yogic process to relax in the name of meditation. Meditation, however, is simply a farce for those who have enjoyed life in sense gratification. (SB 4.27.17 purport)

Among Vaishnavas there may be some difference of opinion due to everyone's personal identity, but despite all personal differences, the cult of Krishna consciousness must go on. We can see that under the instruction of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja began preaching the Krishna consciousness movement in an organized way within the past hundred years. The disciples of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja are all Godbrothers, and although there are some differences of opinion, and although we are not acting conjointly, every one of us is spreading the Krishna consciousness movement according to his own capacity and producing many disciples to spread it all over the world. As far as we are concerned, we have already started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and many thousands of Europeans and Americans have joined this movement. Indeed, it is spreading like wildfire. The cult of Krishna consciousness, based on the nine principles of devotional service (sravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam pada-sevanam/ arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam), will never be stopped. (SB 4.28.31 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a responsible officer and a householder, yet his service to the cause of expanding the mission of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is unique ... The devotees in the Krishna consciousness movement move within this material world, but because their senses are fully engaged in the service of the Lord, they are always aloof from the material world. They are always living in a transcendental position. (SB 5.1.17 purport)

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the land of Bharata-varsha, specifically in Bengal, in the district of Nadia, where Navadvipa is situated. It is therefore to be concluded, as stated by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, that within this universe, this earth is the best planet, and on this planet the land of Bharata-varsha is the best; in the land of Bharata-varsha, Bengal is still better, in Bengal, the district of Nadia is still better, and in Nadia the best place is Navadvipa because Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared there to inaugurate the performance of the sacrifice of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. (SB 5.19.24 purport)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung:

narada muni, bajay vina


nama amani, udita haya,


amiya-dhara, barishe ghana,

sravana-yugale giya

bhakata jana, saghane nace,

bhoriya apana hiya

madhuri-pura, asava pasi',

mataya jagata-jane

keho va kande, keho va nace,

keho mate mane mane

panca-vadana, narade dhori',

premera saghana rol

kamalasana, naciya bole,

'bolo bolo hari bolo'

sahasranana, parama-sukhe,

'hari hari' boli' gaya

nama-prabhave, matilo visva,

nama-rasa sabe paya

shri-krishna-nama, rasane sphuri',

pura'la amar asa

shri-rupa-pade, yacaye iha,


The purport of this song is that Narada Muni, the great soul, plays a stringed instrument called a vina, vibrating the sound radhika-ramana, which is another name for Krishna. As soon as he strokes the strings, all the devotees begin responding, making a very beautiful vibration. Accompanied by the stringed instrument, the singing seems like a shower of nectar, all the devotees dance in ecstasy to the fullest extent of their satisfaction. While dancing, they appear madly intoxicated with ecstasy, as if drinking the beverage called madhuri-pura. Some of them cry, some of them dance, and some of them, although unable to dance publicly, dance within their hearts. Lord Siva embraces Narada Muni and begins talking in an ecstatic voice, and seeing Lord Siva dancing with Narada, Lord Brahma also joins, saying, "All of you kindly chant 'Hari bol! Hari bol!'" ...In this way, by the influence of the transcendental vibration of the holy name of God, the whole universe becomes ecstatic. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "When the universe becomes ecstatic, my desire is satisfied. I therefore pray unto the lotus feet of Rupa Gosvami that this chanting of harer nama may go on nicely like this." (SB 6.5.22 purport)

The mind is always agitated by acceptance and rejection, which are compared to mental waves that are constantly tossing. The living entity is floating in the waves of material existence because of his forgetfulness. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore sung in his Gitavali: miche mayara vase, yaccha bhese', khaccha habudubu, bhai. "My dear mind, under the influence of maya you are being carried away by the waves of rejection and acceptance. Simply take shelter of Krishna." Jiva krishna-dasa, ei visvasa, karle ta' ara duhkha nai: if we simply regard the lotus feet of Krishna as our ultimate shelter, we shall be saved from all these waves of maya, which are variously exhibited as mental and sensual activities and the agitation of rejection and acceptance. (SB 7.15.53 purport)

Bali Maharaja, having been perfectly educated in devotional service by his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja, knew how things are to be done. He was never to be misguided by anyone, even by a person who happened to be his so-called spiritual master. This is the sign of full surrender. Bhaktivinoda Thakura said:

marabi rakhabi-yo iccha tohara

nitya-dasa-prati tuya adhikara

When one surrenders to Lord Vishnu, one must be prepared to abide by His orders in all circumstances, whether He kills one or gives one protection. Lord Vishnu must be worshiped in all circumstances. (SB 8.20.11 purport)

This is the influence of a pure devotee. If there is one pure devotee, his association can create hundreds and thousands of pure devotees. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said that a Vaishnava is meritorious in proportion to the number of devotees he has created. A Vaishnava becomes superior not simply by jugglery of words but by the number of devotees he has created for the Lord. (SB 9.21.18 purport)

The easiest way to attain spiritual elevation, to be liberated from this material world, and to go back home, back to Godhead, is recommended by Bhaktivinoda Thakura: krishnera samsara kara chadi' anacara. One should give up all sinful activities and remain in the family of Krishna. Then one's liberation is guaranteed. (SB 10.6.40 purport)

3. Other Books of Shrila Prabhupada

3. Other Books of Shrila Prabhupada

We have many experiences in the past of Mayavadi rascals' deluding their followers by posing themselves as Krishna in order to enjoy rasa-lila. In many instances they were checked by the government, arrested and punished. In Orissa, Thakura Bhaktivinoda also punished a so-called incarnation of Vishnu who was imitating rasa-lila with young girls. There were many complaints against him. At that time, Bhaktivinoda Thakura was magistrate, and the government deputed him to deal with that rascal, and he punished him very severely. (Krishna Ch. 32)

Full self-surrender, therefore, means not only surrendering one's self as spirit soul, but also surrendering one's mind and body to the service of the Lord. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung a nice song in this connection. While offering himself as a fully surrendered soul, he said, "My mind, my household affairs, my body, whatever is in my possession, my dear Lord, I offer to you for Your service. Now You can do with them as You like. You are the supreme possessor of everything, so if You like You can kill me, or if You like You can give me protection. All authority belongs to You. I have nothing to claim as My own." (Nectar of Devotion Ch. 11)

In this verse Shrila Rupa Gosvami advises the devotee to be intelligent enough to distinguish between the kanishtha-adhikari, madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari. The devotee should also know his own position and should not try to imitate a devotee situated on a higher platform. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given some practical hints to the effect that an uttama-adhikari Vaishnava can be recognized by his ability to convert many fallen souls to Vaishnavism. One should not become a spiritual master unless he has attained the platform of uttama-adhikari. A neophyte Vaishnava or a Vaishnava situated on the intermediate platform can also accept disciples, but such disciples must be on the same platform, and it should be understood that they cannot advance very well toward the ultimate goal of life under his insufficient guidance. Therefore a disciple should be careful to accept an uttama-adhikari as a spiritual master. (Nectar of Instruction Text 5, page 58)

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in this connection that Shri Radha-kunda is the most select place for those interested in advancing their devotional service in the wake of the lady friends (sakhis) and confidential serving maids (manjaris) of Shrimati Radharani. Living entities who are eager to return home to the transcendental kingdom of God, Goloka Vrindavana, by means of attaining their spiritual bodies (siddha-deha) should live at Radha-kunda, take shelter of the confidential serving maids of Shri Radha and under their direction engage constantly in Her service. This is the most exalted method for those engaged in devotional service under the protection of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. (Nectar of Instruction Text 11, pages 90-91)

Excerpt from a Lecture

Excerpt from a Lecture

"If we are at all interested in spiritual science, we must follow the Vedic instruction as given through the disciplic succession. By worshiping the Lord and the acarya one can gain spiritual knowledge. So on this day we should adore and worship Bhaktivinoda Thakura, because in the modem age he reintroduced the disciplic succession from Lord Chaitanya. Two hundred years after Lord Chaitanya's disappearance, the disciplic succession had deteriorated, and Bhaktivinoda reestablished the purity of this movement. So our adoration, worship of Bhaktivinoda Thakura should be so that he may bless us to make peaceful progress in Krishna consciousness; for simply by the blessings of the acaryas, we can make rapid advancement." (London 9/23/69)