Conclusion

Download this in PDF format here:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/e3717aola66h1d8/True_History_of_Bhaktisiddhanta.pdf

CONCLUSION:

If you have read this far, you are probably fully convinced by now that the “parampara” created by Bhaktisiddhanta is wrong and thus useless, and are convinced of the need to take diksa in a real authentic Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara.

You may ask, where do I find such a real guru parampara? There are plenty of bonafide Gaudiya Vaisnava gurus in Radha Kund, and in Vrindavan, and also in Navadweep (NOT Mayapur).

I wish you all success and hope that you are able to absorb yourself in Radha-Krishna lila meditations, as that is the essence of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

JAI SRI RADHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More evidence that Bipin Bihari Goswami rejected Bhaktivinod as his disciple

The latest scholarly essay written by Nitai das about this subject:

https://www.academia.edu/8288602/Vipinavihari_Gosvami_and_Bhaktivinoda

 

Vipinavihari Gosvami and Bhaktivinoda

In 1879 the Deputy Magistrate and Deputy Collector of Yasohara-Nadail, Kedaranatha Datta, received initiation from him. With Kedaranatha’s help he founded a religious journal called the Sajjana tosani (“Pleasing to Good People”). In that journal he published many essays on Vaisnava scripture and his translation of the Visnusahasranama (“Thousand Names of Visnu”). In 1886 through Vipinavihari’s efforts the Gosvamins of Baghnapara bestowed the title of Bhaktivinoda on Kedaranatha.

Though Bhaktivinoda was very dear to Vipinavihari and they cooperated with each other on a number of projects and endeavors, their relationship ended on a sour note. Bhaktivinoda sometime before his passing in 1914 asked his guru Vipinavihari to endorse and broadcast Bhaktivinoda’s claim that the Muslim habitation of Navadvipa known as Miyapura was the original site of Mayapura where Sri Caitanya was born. Vipinavihari refused to do so. Instead, for his promotion of false ideas and practices Bhaktivinoda was rejected by Vipinavihari. Vipinavihari revealed this to the Vaisnava world in a letter published in 1919 in the Asvina (September-October) issue of the journal Gauranga-sevaka.

Bhaktivinod Thakur was a collaborator with the British

Bhaktivinod Thakur was a collaborator with the British

We are all familiar with the story of Bhaktivinod Thakur and how he arrested the yogi Bisakisena. ISKCON claims that Bhaktivinod arrested Bisakisena because he had been using his yogic powers to seduce other men’s wives and have sex with them. But is this true?

From Krishna.com’s official biography of Bhaktivinod, we learn the following:

http://www.krishna.com/life-srila-bhaktivinoda-thakur

“Bisakisena declared he’d drive off the British from ruling Orissa and would himself become king. He published such statements, which were circulated all around Orissa. The British thought him a revolutionary for speaking out against the British rule, so the district governor of Bengal drew up arrest orders.”

After Bhaktivinod arrested him, “The fearless Bhaktivinod tried Bisakisena in Puri. The trial lasted 18 days… Bhaktivinod pronounced the man guilty and sentenced him to 18 months for political conspiracy.”

Note the last part, “sentenced him to 18 months in jail for POLITICAL CONSPIRACY”. NOT for “having sex with other men’s wives”. Bhaktivinod persecuted an innocent person simply for having anti-government political views.

Bhaktivinod was a British collaborator, and a traitor to India. The British committed unspeakable atrocities in India, which you can read about here:

http://www.rense.com/general53/brith.htm

If the British were evil people and Bhaktivinod was a high ranking magistrate in their government, a collaborator with the British, is it incorrect then to say that Bhaktivinod was also an evil person?
Bhaktivinod was also rejected by his guru Bipin Bihari Goswami for falsifying evidence in order to claim that Mayapur was the real birthsite of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which you can learn about in the following book called “The True History of Bhaktisiddhanta”:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/e3717aola66h1d8/True_History_of_Bhaktisiddhanta.pdf

Also noteworthy is that Bhaktivinod was eating meat, fish, eggs, and using opium.

The “parampara” of Bhaktivinod, Bhaktisiddhanta, and Bhaktivedanta is invalid and not bonafide because they have no connection to any real Gaudiya Vaisnava parampara. The two leading scholarly disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta named Ananta Vasudeva and Sundarananda realized this after Bhaktisiddhanta had passed away and because of their preaching, they convinced at least 50 percent of the Gaudiya Math to reject Bhaktisiddhanta and go take sheler of the bonafide Gaudiya Vaisnava paramparas. Sundarananda even wrote a book where he refuted all of Bhaktisiddhanta’s wrong ideas, and you can read it online here (it is in bengali and has not yet been translated into English yet):

http://www.mediafire.com/view/gthnm1dafl4v15w/guru_svarupa_sundarananda.pdf

If you are actually serious about attaining Radha and Krishna, you will have to accept a bonafide Gaudiya Vaisnava guru coming in an unbroken diksa line from the time of the Six Goswamis. Plenty of such gurus exist even to this day in both Vrindavan and Navadwip, so you can find them there.

PS. Prabhupada mentioned that the word “Hindu” never appeared in the Vedas and was a word created by the Muslim invaders, that they could not pronounce the “S” in the word “Sindhu” and so they called it “Hindu” instead.

The following link is a scholarly article written by Dr. Murlidhar H. Pahoja and he gives evidence that the word “Hindu” has been in use since at least 500BC. Remember, the Muslims invaded India in the 8th century AD, so that totally discredit’s Prabhupada’s claim about the original usage of the word Hindu.

http://b-i-f.com/hindu.pdf

Bhaktisiddhanta’s bogus teachings about raganuga bhakti

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Qualification For Raganuga Bhakti
DOES ONE NEED TO BE A ‘PURE DEVOTEE”
TO START RAGANUGA PRACTISE?
raganuga bhakti means allegiance to the eternally perfect ragatmika-devotees of Vraja. Such is the teaching of Srila Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.271):
virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi janadishu
ragatmikam anusrita ya sa raganugocyate
Before we speak of ragatmika bhakti and raganuga bhakti we must first know what is raga. Raga is that deep natural loving thirst which causes us to become completely absorbed in our beloved deity:
ishte svarasiki ragah paramavishtata bhavet
tanmayi ya bhaved bhaktih satra ragatmikodita
(Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.272)
Srila Jiva Gosvami has defined raga and raganuga as follows:
tatra vishayiah svabhaviko vishaya samsargecchatisayamayah prema raga yatha cakshuradinam saundaryadau tadrisa evatra bhaktasya sri bhagavatyapi raga ityucyate………….yasya purvokte raga-viseshe rucir eva jatasti na tu raga-visesha eva svayam tasya tadrisa raga-sudhakara karabhasa samullasita hridaya sphatika-maneh sastradi srutasu tadrisya ragatmikaya bhakteh paripatishvapi rucir jayate. tatas tadiyam ragam rucyanugacchanti sa raganuga tasyaiva pravartate (Bhakti Sandarbha 310).
“Raga means the strong and natural desire of a sense-enjoyer for his beloved sense-objects. The senses, like the eyes, are naturally attracted to their objects, such as beautiful forms, and they need no encouragement in this. In the same way, when a devotee’s heart is naturally attracted to the Lord and he has a deep thirst for the Lord then this is called raga. When a mere ray of the nectar-moon of such raga falls on the crystal-like hearts of those devotees who only have some taste for a particular raga but do not possess that raga itself yet, then the heart rejoices and as a result of hearing from the scriptures and saints taste will awaken within the heart of such a devotee for the devotional expertise of a ragatmika bhakta. This means that ruci (taste) will awaken within the heart when we hear about the loving devotional expertise of a ragatmika vraja-bhakta from the scriptures or from the mouth of a saint whose heart is pure, that is, free from lust, anger and envy. The devotion which follows the raga of a ragatmika Vraja-devotee along with ruci is called raganuga bhakti”.
Both the vidhi-devotee and the raga-devotee may therefore begin, simultaneously, with the path of devotion, from the stage of anartha nivritti, cessation of unwanted habits, progressing through the stages that have been described by Srila Qualification for raganuga bhakti
2 October 27, 2013

Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.4.15-16 (adau sraddha tatha sadhu sango’tha bhajana kriya). The difference between them lies not in personal purity, but in their mood. In other words, raganuga bhakti runs parallel with vaidhi bhakti, and not only sequentially. Srila Rupa Gosvami writes in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.291):
ragatmikaika nishtha ye vrajavasi janadayah
tesham bhavaptaye lubdho bhaved atradhikaravan
“Those who are anxious (‘greedy’) to attain the mood of the eternal, exclusively fixed-up Ragatmika Vrajavasis, are eligible to enter into Raganuga Bhakti.” The raga devotee is under the divine illusion that Krishna is equal or inferior to him, following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vraja (vrajalokanusaratah, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu), whose attitude of intimate, spontaneous love, free from awe and reverence, is described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavata.
raganuga bhakti is not only for perfected souls beyond the stage of anartha nivritti
It is not a fact that raganuga bhakti comes after the stage of sadhana bhakti (devotion in practise). First of all, what is sadhana bhakti? Srila Rupa Gosvami says in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.2: kriti-sadhya bhavet sadhya bhava sa sadhanabdhidha – “That goal of bhava bhakti is to be attained through practise with the senses (kriti). This is called sadhana.“ Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.5 then declares: vaidhi raganuga ceti sa dvidha sadhanabhidha – “There are two kinds of sadhana — vaidhi and raganuga” Nowhere it is said that raganuga bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi bhakti. C.C. Madhya 22,108 confirms this—
ei sadhana bhakti dui to prakara; eka vaidhi bhakti—raganuga bhakti ara:
“There are two kinds of devotion in practise. One is called vaidhi bhakti and the other raganuga bhakti.” Different acaryas that follow Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati claim that raganuga bhakti commences at the stage of nishtha, ruci or even bhava, but there is not a word of evidence for that in the authorised scriptures on the topic, like Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu or its commentaries, Bhakti Sandarbha, Madhurya Kadambini or Raga Vartma Candrika. Caitanya Caritamrita (Adi 4, 231-232, 235-237) declares:
e sob siddhanta gudh – kohite na juway; na kohile keho anta nahi pay
ataeva kohi kichu koriya nigudh; bujhibe rasik bhakta na bujhibe mudh
…………
abhakta ushtrera ithe na hoy pravesh; tabe cite hoy mora ananda visesh
ye lagi kohite bhoy, se yadi na jane; iha boi kiba such ache tribhuvane
ataeva bhaktagane kore namaskara; nihsanke kohiye tar hauk camatkara
“All these topics are confidential and shouldn’t be discussed, but if they were not discussed then no one would be able to find out about them. Hence I will disclose some confidential matters now, which will be understood by rasika devotees, but not Qualification for raganuga bhakti
3 October 27, 2013

by the fools…..If the camel-like non-devotees cannot grasp such topics then I will be in ecstasy. What greater joy could there be in the three worlds if they, for whom I fear to speak out, will not know of this? Therefore I offer my respects to the devotees and speak out fearlessly. Let the devotees be astonished about what I am about to disclose!” Srimad Bhagavata (10.33.36) declares:
anugrahaya bhutanam manusham deham asthitah;
bhajate tadrisih krida yah srutva tat-paro bhavet
“Sri Krishna performed the Rasa-lila out of compassion for all conditioned souls and anyone who hears of this becomes His devotee.”
Sri Jiva Gosvami comments in his Vaishnava Toshani-comment on this verse:
ataeva tadrisa bhakta prasangena tadrisih sarva cittakarshiih krida bhajate, yah sadharanair api srutva bhaktebhyo’nyo’pi janas tatparo bhavet. kim uta rasa lila rupam imam srutvetyarthah vakshyate ca—vikriditam vrajavadhubhir idam ca vishnoh (S.B. 10.33.39) ityadi. yad va manusham deham asritah sarvo’pi jivas tatparo bhavet martyaloke sri bhagavad avatarat tatha bhajane mukhyatvacca manushyanam eva sukhena tac chravanadi siddheh.
“Krishna performs this all-attractive pastime for His devotees, but even ordinary people are attracted to this game by hearing about it. Even they thus become exclusively devoted to the Lord. This will be further explained in verse 10.33.39. The words manusham deham asritah also indicate that the jivas that attained a human form are able to hear of this pastime and thus become devotees. The Lord descends on the human planets and it is here that the worship of the Lord assumes its most important form. Hence human beings can blissfully attain perfection by hearing of this pastime.” Srimad Bhagavata 10.33.39 declares that the senses do not become sexually agitated by hearing or reading of the Rasa-lila, but rather that they become freed from lust.
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca vishnoh
sraddhanvitam nu’srinuyed atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavatim pratilabhya kamam
hrid rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhiram
“Anyone who faithfully hears and describes the pastimes of Lord Vishnu (Krishna) with the ladies of Vraja (the gopis) will attain supreme devotion to God and will soon become free from the heart’s disease of lust.”
Sri Jiva Gosvami comments as follows on this verse:
sraddhaya visvasenanvita iti. tad viparitavajna rupaparadha……bhaktim prema lakshanam param sri gopika premanusaritvat sarvottama jatiyam. pratikshaam nutanatvena labdha hrid roga rupam kamam iti bhagavad vishayah kama visesho vyavacchinnah tasya parama prema rupatvena tad vaiparityat……anyatra sruyate (sri gita 18.54) brahma bhuta prasannatma na socati na kankshati samah sarveshu bhuteshu mad bhaktim labhate param. ityatra tu hrid rogapahanat purvam eva parama bhakti praptih tasmat parama balavad evedam sadhanam iti bhavah Qualification for raganuga bhakti
4 October 27, 2013

“sraddhanvita means hearing with faith. This word is used to avoid the offence of disbelieving or disregarding the scriptures — that is contrary to the principles of hearing and chanting……The highest devotion is that of the gopis and hearing and chanting of their devotion is so powerful that this supreme devotion appears in the heart even before the heart’s disease of lust is chased out of it……This despite verse 18.54 of the Gita, that shows an opposite sequence. This shows that hearing and chanting of the Rasa-lila is the most powerful sadhana in existence.”
Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti, in his commentary on the same verse, condemns those who do not believe this statement of the Bhagavata, that prema comes before the cessation of lust, as nastikas, or atheists, and murkhas, or fools— dhirah pandita iti hrid roge satyapi katham prema bhaved ityanastikya lakshanena murkhatvena rahita…The word yah is very significant. It means anyone who hears and describes this with faith. First the lamp (of pure love) is kindled, and then the darkness (of lust and ignorance) is destroyed. raganuga bhakti, devotion following one’s sacred passion, is therefore not necessarily only meant for the most advanced, purified souls. The distinction between practitioners of vidhi bhakti (compulsory devotion) and raga bhakti (passionate devotion) is made because of their mood and attitude, not because of their possible different levels of purity. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pointed out to Vyenkata Bhatta (in Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 9) that the goddess of fortune performed many purifying austerities to attain the position of the gopis, but that she could still not attain it because she lacked their sweet intimate attitude towards Him.
ei lagi sukha bhoga chadi ciro-kala;
vrata niyam kori tapa korilo apara
“Just to associate with Krishna, Lakshmi gave up all sense enjoyment for long and performed severe austerities, following many regulative principles” (C.C. Madhya 9, 113) rasa na pailo lakshmi, sastre iha suni — “Lakshmi did not attain the Rasa dance, I have heard from the revealed scriptures” (C.C. Madhya 9, 120)
vrajendra nandana boli’ tare jane vrajajana;
aisvarya jnane nahi kon sambandha manana
vraja-lokera bhave yei koroye bhajan;
sei jana paya vraje vrajendra nandana
“The people of Vraja know Him as the son of Vrajendra, and they consider that there can be no relationship with Him in awe and reverence. Those who worship Krishna in the mood of the people of Vraja, will attain that Vrajendra-nandana in Vraja.” (C.C Madhya 9,130-131)
Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada writes in chapter 1 of Madhurya Kadambini:
bhaktes tu ‘vikriditam vrajavadhubhih’ ityadau— bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam hrid rogam asvapahinotyacirena dhirah (bhag. 10.33.39) ityatra ‘ktva’ pratyayena hrid rogavatyevadhikarini paramaya api tasyah prathamam eva pravesas tatas tayaiva parama svatantraya kamadinam apagamas ca. tesham kadacit Qualification for raganuga bhakti
5 October 27, 2013

sattve’pi ‘api cet suduracaro bhajate mam’ iti ‘badhyamano’pi mad bhakta’ ityadibhis ca tadvatam na kvapi sastreshu ninda leso’pi.
“Although lust is also considered a fault on the path of bhakti, one can still enter the devotional path, despite being still afflicted by lust and other material desires. Srimad-Bhagavata (10.33.39) says:
“A person who faithfully hears or describes the Lord’s pastimes of rasa-lila with the gopis of Vraja attains supreme devotion of the Lord. He quickly becomes steady and conquers over the senses, giving up lust, the disease of the heart.”
In this text “after attaining supreme devotion” is an unfinished act, showing that bhakti can be attained even though one has lusty desires. This shows the most independent nature and power of bhakti to destroy lusty desires. Sometimes lusty desires exist even while practicing devotion. From verses like, “If the most sinful person worships Me exclusively…” (Gita 9.30) and “Though my devotee is afflicted by lusty desires…” (S.B. 11.14.18) it is clear that though lusty desires may exist in a devotee, still he is not condemned even slightly.”
There is no guarantee that someone who practises vaidhi bhakti is automatically promoted to raganuga bhakti, rather Srila Rupa Gosvami says in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.309): krishna tad bhakta karunya matra labhaika hetuka “Only by the grace of Krishna and His devotees this path of raganuga bhakti is attained.” Srila Rupa Gosvami says in Padyavali:
krishna bhakti rasa bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam janma koti sukritair na labhyate
“No ten million lifetimes of following regulative principles will give you taste for Krishna-bhakti. The only price is greed! Purchase it as soon as it is available anywhere!” It is on sale where the rasika bhaktas speak about Radha-Krishna. In connection with the above sloka, to use the saying “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread” is an offence to Sri Rupa Gosvami’s followers, calling them fools. This ‘fools rush in’ is a mundane saying which applies to mundane impulsive people and their actions. Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada teaches in Raga Vartma Candrika (1.5): napi lobhaniya vastu praptau svasya yogyayogyatva vicarah ko’py udbhavati: “No candidate ever considers whether he is qualified for this path of raganuga bhakti or not”. 1
1 HAVING SAID ALL THIS, My Guru Sadhu Baba, Krishnadas Madrasi Baba, Rohinindranath Mitra and Madanmohan Das Babaji, all great souls, told me, independently from each other, it is better not to read rasa sastra when one is too lusty. I understood that is because when one is an emotionally and physically active lover one will identify with the lila of Radha-Krishna and that is an offence called ahangropasana, meditating on oneself as the deity. Srila Jiva Gosvami says in Bhakti Sandarbha (276) that smarana (even just of the holy name, let alone Radha-Krishna’s intimate lila) requires a pure heart – nama smaranam tu suddhantah-karanatam apekshate. Sri Jiva Gosvami has also written (Bhakti Sandarbha 275): atha saranapattyadibhih suddhantah karanas cet….nama sankirtanaparityagena smaranam kuryat “When the mind is purified by the process of surrender, one should practise the devotional item of recollection without giving up nama sankirtana.” kintu rahasya-lila tu paurusha-vikaravad indriyaih……nopasya “But the intimate pastimes should not be meditated upon by (those Qualification for raganuga bhakti
6 October 27, 2013

whose) senses are affected by masculine transformations.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 338) When one is less heated one can read these books, and the topic will work as a medicine, as has been promised by the Bhagavata in the final verse of the Rasa lila-narration (10.33.39). There are subtle desires, called vasana, cherished by people who actually control their outer senses. That can be there, OK, and one can still read rasa sastra, but to be grossly active in sex and read rasa sastra, is not something approved by the mahatmas I knew. Srila Jiva Gosvami said in Gopala Campu (purva 23.1): tad etad govinda vraja vijana kantanuvacanam dadhadbhir yogyasya sravasi paramapyam na sadasi ‘This confidential Rasa-lila topic is to be heard by qualified people who carry Govinda in their hearts, not in a public assembly.”
So who IS then unqualified to hear it?
This is also explained by Srila Jiva Gosvami in his commentary on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhuh (3.5.2), which deals with madhura rasa: (nivrittanupayogitvad duruhatvad ayam rasah) – nivritteshu prakrita sringara rasa samya drishtya sri bhagavatad apyasmad virakteshvanupayogitvad ayogyatvat “Because of lack of qualification of those who are without taste for this rasa related to the Lord, caused by their equating it with material love.”
In other words, mistaking this rasa to be an ordinary mundane affair disqualifies one from entering into raganuga bhajana.
One cannot learn vidhi bhakti from the guru and then just learn raganuga bhakti from books, because your guru did not teach you raganuga bhakti. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says: asambhashya tad bhava gambhira cittan kuto syama sindho rasasyavagahah “How can one enter into the Syama-ocean without having conversed with a devotee whose heart is steeped in love for Radha?” Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti writes in his Raga Vartma Candrika (1.6).
sa ca bhagavat kripa hetuko’nuragi bhakta kripa hetukasceti dvividhah. tatra bhakta kripa hetuko dvividhah praktana adhunikasca. praktanah paurvabhavika tadrisa bhakta kripotthah adhunikah etajjanmavadhi tadrisa bhakta kripotthah. adye sati lobhanantaram tadrisa guru caranasrayanam. dvitiye guru caranasrayanantaram lobha pravrittir bhavati.
“There are two causes for the appearance of sacred greed: The mercy of God or the mercy of an anuragi devotee. There are again two kinds of mercy bestowed by a devotee: praktana and adhunika. praktana means mercy bestowed by a raganuga bhakta in a previous life, and adhunika is mercy bestowed in the present birth. The praktana-devotee takes shelter of the lotus feet of a raganuga guru after the sacred greed has arisen in him, the adhunika will get that sacred greed after surrendering to the feet of such a guru.”
Srila Rupa Gosvami gives the following definition of pure devotion in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.1.17)
klesaghni subhada moksha laghutakrit sudurllabha
sandrananda viseshatma sri krishnakarshini ca sa Qualification for raganuga bhakti
7 October 27, 2013

“1. It destroys all grief and suffering, meaning sins, including the cause of sin, 2. it bestows auspiciousness, 3. it lightens the importance of liberation, 4. it is rare 5. it is deeply blissful and 6. it attracts Sri Krishna.”
In his commentary, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti spells out: tatra sadhana bhaktih klesaghiti subhada rupa ca – “The symptoms of sadhana bhakti are the first two items – destroying grief, or sin, and bestowing auspiciousness.”
The same Visvanatha Cakravarti writes in his Madhurya Kadambini (2.2):
….sva-sparsena sparsamanir iva karana vrittir api prakritatva-lohatam sanais-tyajayitva cinmayatva suddha jambunadatam prapayantyah kandalibhavante samudgacchantyah sadhanabhikhye dve patrike vivriyete. tayoh prathama klesaghni dvitiya subdhadeti. dvayor api tayor antas tu lobha pravartakatva lakshana-caikkanyena ‘yesham aham priya atma sutas ca.’ ityadi suddha sambandha snigdhataya ca praptotkarshe dese raga namno rajna evadhikarah. bahis tu ‘tasmad bharata sarvatma’ ityadi sastra pravartakatva lakshana-parushyabhasena priyadi suddha sambandhabhavat svata evati snigdhatanudayena purvatah kincid apakrishte dese vaidha namno’ parasya rajnah. klesaghnatva-subhadatvabhyantu prayasuyorna ko’pi viseshah.
“Like a touchstone, this creeper of bhakti eventually transforms the iron-like material nature of the senses into the most pure transcendental gold. Gradually the sadhana-bhakti creeper sprouts and unfolds two leaves. The first is called klesaghni, destroyer of material sufferings, and the second is called subhada, giver of all auspiciousness. The inner surface of the two leaves is the domain of the king called raga (divine passionate devotion), and is very smooth, the sign of its being born out of spontaneous greed. It is superior due to its appearance from the pure affectionate relation with the Lord as described in the Bhagavata (3.25.38), “I am their dear one, very life, son,…” The outer surface of the leaves is ruled by another king known as vaidha (regulative devotion) and slightly rough in nature, the sign of its being born from the injunctions of the scriptures. It is somewhat inferior and slightly rough due to the lack of pure affectionate relation with the Lord. Srimad-Bhagavata (2.1.5) says, “Therefore, persons desiring fearlessness should worship the Lord, the Supersoul.” However, both raga and vaidhi, almost equally manifest the symptoms of klesaghni and subhada. “
Here it is again proven that raganuga bhakti is, like vaidhi bhakti, a sadhana that starts from the beginning of bhakti-practise. raga is the inner leaf and vaidhi the outer.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti’s commentary on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.292-
tat-tad-bhavadi-madhurye sri-bhagavatadi-prasiddhavatara-lila-varnanamaya-sastra-samanye srute sravana-dvara yat kincid anubhute sati yacchastram vidhi-vakyam napekshate | yuktim ca na kintu pravartata evety arthah | tad eva lobhotpatter lakshanam anumapakam tadrisa-hetu-jnanad eva lobhotpattir anumiyate ity arthah | na tv atra lakshanam lobhotpatteh svarupam iti vyahyatum sakyam sastra-yuktapekshabhavasya svarupatvabhavat
Srila Jiva Gosvami’s tika of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.292 – Qualification for raganuga bhakti
8 October 27, 2013

tat-tad-bhavadi-madhurye sri-bhagavatadishu siddha-nirdesa-sastreshu srute sravana-dvara yat kincid anubhute sati yacchastram vidhi-vakyam napekshate | yuktim ca kintu pravartata evety arthah | tad eva lobhotpatter lakshanam iti
The meaning of both the above texts is identical – “When one has got even a slight (yat kincit) feeling for the sweet moods of Krishna and His devotees through hearing their descriptions in texts describing the ultimate spiritual goal, such as the Bhagavata, [the raganuga sadhaka] no longer waits for the injunctions of scripture or for logical reasons to do so, but simply takes up [the raganuga devotional path]. This is the characteristic of lobha.”
The words yat kincit prove that initial lobha is not an all-consuming fire.
*
In his book “Sri Guru Parampara – Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Heir to the Esoteric Life of Kedaranatha Bhaktivinoda”, Tripurari Swami says that “in Bhakti-sara-pradarsini (his commentary on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, ed.), Visvanatha tells us that in order to practice raganuga bhakti one must have attained the stage of nishtha.”
Response:
ragatmikaika nishtha ye vrajavasi janadayah
tesham bhavaptaye lubdho bhaved atradhikaravan (B.R.S. 1.2.291)
is the verse referred to here. The words eka nishtha (exclusively fixed, loyal) have been mistranslated to refer to the adhikaravan, the jiva-candidate, and have confused it for the high stage of bhakti called nishtha, but it refers instead to the nitya siddha rolemodel, the Vrajavasis, and means ‘exclusive fixation’ and not the stage of nishtha that sadhakas must go through. This is what Visvanatha Cakravartipada writes in his Bhakti Sara Pradarsini-commentary on this verse – ragatmika bhaktau eka nishtham yesham tesham vrajavasinam sri krishne yo bhavas tat sajatiya bhavaptaye lubdha ityarthah. The word-for-word translation of this commentary runs as follows: ragatmika bhaktau = in ragatmika bhakti (of the nitya siddha vrajavasis, described in verse 270) eka nishtham = exclusively fixed. yesham = of them, tesham = of exactly these same ones. vrajavasinam= of the Vrajavasis. sri krishne = towards Sri Krishna. yah = whatever. bhavah = feelings. tat = that. sajatiya = like-minded. bhava = feeling. aptaye = for the sake of attaining. lubdha = greedy. iti = thus. arthah = the meaning.
Here is that definition of the ragatmika bhakti of the nitya siddha Vrajavasis –
virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi-janadishu |
ragatmikam anusrita ya sa raganugocyate || (B.R.S. 1.2.270)
“The devotion which is clearly present in the associates of the Lord in Vraja is called devotion filled with loving attachment (ragatmika-bhakti), and devotion following in the wake of this ragatmika-bhakti is called raganuga-bhakti.” Qualification for raganuga bhakti
9 October 27, 2013

As one desires to approach the Lord, so the Lord will approach the aspirant – ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamyaham (B. Gita 4.11) Reflecting on these famous words of the Bhagavad Gita, one can easily understand that varieties of goals are attained in accordance with one’s desires. It is not that all paths lead to the same goal.
vaidhi-raganuga-marga-bhedena parikirtitah
dvividhah khalu bhavo’tra sadhanabhinivesajah (BRS 1.3.7)
“The paths of vaidhi and raganuga are known to be separate from each other. Engagement in these two forms of practice certainly awakens two distinct varieties of bhava.” This automatically shows that raganuga bhakti is not per se a post graduate phase of vaidhi bhakti. The goals of these two paths of devotion in practice are understood as follows:
vidhi-bhaktye parshada-dehe vaikunthete yay (C.C. 2.24.87)
“Through vidhi-bhakti, one will attain the form of an associate in Vaikuntha.”
aisvarya-jnane vidhi-bhajana koriya
vaikunthake yaya catur-vidha mukti paya (C.C. 1.3.17)
“Those who worship according to scriptural commandments, being aware of the Lord’s superhuman prowess, attain the four kinds of liberation in Vaikuntha.”
raga-bhaktye vraje svayam-bhagavane pay (C.C. 2.24.85)
“Through raga-bhakti, one will attain the Lord Himself in Vraja.”
raganuga-marge tare bhaje yei jana
sei-jana paya vraje vrajendra-nandana (CC 2.8.221)
“He who worships on the path of raganuga will attain Vrajendra-nandana (Sri Krishna) in Vraja.”
In the realm of Vraja, the sweet and intimate human-like pastimes of Krishna prevail. Only in such an atmosphere love can attain its pinnacle. Love which is filled with awareness of the Lord’s almight is of an inferior quality. As stated by the Lord Himself:
sakala jagate more kore vidhi-bhakti
vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti
aisvarya-jnanete saba jagat misrita
aisvarya-sithila-preme nahi mora prita (C.C. 1.3.15-16)
“Everyone in this world worships Me through vidhi-bhakti. Vidhi-bhakti has Qualification for raganuga bhakti
10 October 27, 2013

no power for attaining the feelings of Vraja. The devotion of the world is mixed with knowledge of My divine prowess.I do not delight in love diluted with prowess.”
It is thus evident that there is a need to deeply reflect on the nature and practice of raganuga-bhakti for anyone who desires to perfect his loving faculty in relationship with God. There is no other means for tasting the ambrosial sweetness of the Vraja-pastimes of the Lord!
*
SMARANAM AND THE SIDDHA DEHA –
The siddha deha does not just come falling out of the sky, but must be formed gradually, from the point where one is pure enough to start meditating, by mental practise. In his translations of Caitanya Caritamrita (Madhya 8,229; Madhya 22, 155-158) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami repeatedly suggests that to meditate on the siddha deha one needs to be ‘self-realised’, while such a word cannot be found in the original verses. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura explains that meditation on the siddha deha is a sadhana:
sadhane bhavibe yaha, siddha dehe pabe taha
raga marge ei sei upaya
“Whatever you think of during your sadhana, you will attain in your siddhi-body. Those are the ways of raga marga.(Prema Bhakti Candrika 57)”
sadhane ye dhana cai, siddha dehe taha pai,
pakkapakka matra se vicara
“The treasure I covet during my sadhana I will receive in my siddha body. The only difference between the two is being ripe and unripe. (Prema Bhakti Candrika 56)”
This means that the difference between the struggling practitioner and the siddha is only in quantity and not in quality. That the siddha deha does not come from out of the blue, but must be formed through constant meditation is also confirmed in Bhagavad Gita 8,6—
yam yam vapi smaran bhavan tyajantyante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad bhava bhavita
“Whatever one contemplates throughout life is what one attains when one leaves the body.”
kitah pesaskritaruddhah kudyayam tam anusmaran
samrambha bhaya yogena vindate tat svarupatam Qualification for raganuga bhakti
11 October 27, 2013

“The caterpillar imprisoned by a wasp in (its nest on) a wall, and constantly thinking of the latter through intense hate and fear, attains the form of the wasp.” [Srimad Bhagavata 7.1.27] Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.295—
seva sadhaka rupena siddha rupena catra hi;
tad bhava lipsuna karya vraja lokanusaratah
“A person who desires loving attraction to His beloved deity Sri Krishna in Vraja must serve in allegiance to the people of Vraja, both in the current practitioner’s body as well as in the spiritual, mentally conceived body, which is fit for serving the beloved deity.” Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti: tathaca siddha-rupena manasi seva sri radha-lalita-visakha sri rupa manjaryadinam anusarena kartavya. sadhaka rupena tu kayikyadi seva tu sri rupa sanatanadi vrajavasi jananam anusarena kartavyetyarthah – “Mental service must be rendered in the spiritual body in allegiance to Sri Radha, Lalita and Rupa Manjari and service in the current physical body must be rendered in allegiance to Vraja-people like Sri Rupa and Sanatana.”
The Bengali translation of the above sloka in ‘Caitanya Caritamrita’ (Madhya 22,154-155) is:
bahya antara ihara dui to sadhana;
bahya — sadhaka dehe kore sravana kirtana
mane — nija siddha deha koriya bhavana;
ratri dine kore vraje krishnera sevana
“There are two kinds of devotion in practise — external and internal. In the external practitioner’s body devotional practices of hearing and chanting Krishna’s glories are performed, and internally, in the mentally conceived spiritual body, one renders mental service to Krishna in Vraja day and night.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s translation is as follows:
SYNONYMS
bahya—externally; antara—internally; ihara—of this spontaneous love of Godhead; dui—two; ta’—indeed; sadhana—such processes of execution; bahye—externally; sadhaka-dehe—with the body of an advanced devotee; kare—does; sravana-kirtana—hearing and chanting; mane—the mind; nija—own; siddha-deha—eternal body or self-realized position; kariya bhavana—thinking of; ratri-dine—night and day; kare—executes; vraje—in Vrindavana; krishnera—of Lord Krishna; sevana—service.
TRANSLATION
“There are two processes by which one may execute this raganuga bhakti—external and internal. When self-realized, the advanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the sastric injunctions, especially those concerning hearing and chanting. But within his mind, in his original, purified, self-realized position, he serves Krishna in Vrindavana in his particular way. He serves Krishna twenty-four hours a day, all day and night.” Qualification for raganuga bhakti
12 October 27, 2013

Though one indeed needs to be fairly advanced to meditate on one’s siddha deha, as Jiva Gosvami has said in Bhakti Sandarbha smaranam tu suddhantahkaranatam apekshate – “Smaranam requires a pure heart”, the term ‘self realised’ is a bit too extreme for a description of sadhana (this verse appears in the sadhana bhakti chapter of Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu).
Discrepancies between A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s Nectar of Devotion and the teachings of the foundational acaryas:
“Persons desiring to follow in the footsteps of such eternal devotees of the Lord as the Vṛṣṇis and Vṛndavana denizens are called raganuga devotees, which means that they are trying to attain to the perfection of those devotees. These raganuga devotees do not follow the regulative principles of devotional service very strictly,…”
However, Srila Rupa Goswami teaches in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.296) –
sravanotkirtanadini vaidhi bhaktyuditani tu
yanyangani ca tanyatra vijneyani manishibhih
“The discriminating practitioners should accept the items which were mentioned in vaidhi-bhakti such as hearing and chanting as the items of raganuga-bhakti.”
Commentary by Visvanatha Cakravartipada:
sravanotkirtanadini | guru-padasrayanadini tvakshepa-labdhani | tani vina vraja-lokanugatyadikam kim api na siddhyed ity arthah | manishibhir iti manishaya vimrisyaiva sviya-bhava-samucitany eva tani karyani | na tu tad-viruddhani | tani carcana-bhaktav ahangrahopasana-mudra-nyasa-dvaraka-dhyana-rukminy-adi-pujanani agama-sastra-vihitany api naiva karyani
“Along with hearing and chanting, items such as surrendering to the lotus feet of guru should be understood as favorable. Without those favorable items how can one accomplish following after the eternal inhabitants of Vraja? After considering with intelligence, one should select activities conducive to one’s own sentiments for Krishna, and not those activities which are contrary to one’s sentiments. Though prescribed in the scriptures, activities of deity worship such as worshipping Rukmini, meditation of Dvaraka, performing mudras and nyasas, or identifying oneself with the Lord and worshipping oneself, should be rejected.”
No acarya mentions any other rules of vaidhi-bhakti which can be scrapped by a raganuga devotee.
QUOTE Nectar of Devotion ch.16 – Eligibility for Spontaneous Devotional Service: Qualification for raganuga bhakti
13 October 27, 2013

“We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivrtti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination. Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas or unwanted habits……… When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopis, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in him.”
Response: In his Raga-vartma-candrika (1.8) however, Visvanatha Cakravarti explains that lobha is not a black-and-white matter, that it is either absolute and complete, or there is none. Lobha is not necessarily a burning, all-consuming passion:
sa ca lobho raga vartma vartinam bhaktanam guru-padasraya lakshanam arabhya svabhishta vastu sakshat prapti samayam abhivyapya “yatha yathatma parimrijyate’sau mat punya gatha sravanabhidhanaih tatha tatha pasyati vastu sukshmam cakshur yathaivanjana samprayuktam ” iti bhagavad ukter bhakti hetukantah karana suddhi taratamyat prati dinam adhikadhiko bhavati.
“It is described that the devotees on the raga-path gradually progress from the initial surrender to the feet of Sri Guru up to the stage of directly attaining the object of their desires. ‘When the eye is smeared with medicinal ointment, its ability of perception becomes more and more refined, and accordingly it is able to perceive more and more subtle objects; similarly, according to the degree of the mind’s having become purified by hearing and chanting of My purifying pastimes, all the subtle truths of reality become manifest in the heart of the sadhaka.’ From these words of the Lord (S.B. 11.14.26) it is known that through sadhana-bhakti the consciousness of the sadhaka becomes more purified every day, and he gradually becomes more and more greedy.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “In the stage of devotional service where regulative principles are followed, there is no necessity of discussing this love, for it must develop of itself at a more advanced stage.”
Response: This is not corroborrated by Rupa Gosvami.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja (Vrindavana) is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivritti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination. Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas, or unwanted habits. It has been seen that a so-called devotee proclaims himself a follower of Nanda, Yasoda or the gopis, while at the same time his abominable attraction for mundane sex life is visible. Such a manifestation of divine love is mere imitation and has no value. When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopis, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in his character. Qualification for raganuga bhakti
14 October 27, 2013

Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of devotional service, according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the footsteps of the devotees in Vrindavana.”
Response: Rupa Gosvami teaches: vaidhi raganuga ceti sa dvidha sadhanabhidha (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.5) – there are two kinds of sadhana (after first explaining that sadhana bhakti means practise with the senses, by souls that are still conditioned)— vaidhi and raganuga, and nowhere it is said that raganuga bhakti is a post graduate state of vaidhi bhakti. Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti states in his Raga Vartma Candrika (2.7) –
atha raganuga-bhakti – majjanasyanartha-nivritti-nishtha-rucy-asakty-antaram prema-bhumikarudhasya sakshat svabhishta-prapti-prakarah pradarsyate
“Then it will be described how the one, who has progressed on the path of raganuga-bhakti through the cessation of the evils (anartha-nivritti), firmness (nishtha), taste (ruci), and attachment (asakti) all the way to the attainment of ecstatic love (prema), will directly come to attain his desired object.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “In this connection, we should be careful about the so-called siddha-pranali. The siddha-pranali process is followed by a class of men who are not very authorized and who have manufactured their own way of devotional service.”
Response: That will include Bhaktivinoda Thakur, whom A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami himself has made world-famous as an acarya? Bhaktivinoda preaches siddha-pranali in his books Hari-nama cintamani, Bhajan Rahasya and Jaiva-dharma.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “They imagine that they have become associates of the Lord simply by thinking of themselves like that.”
Response: Yet, this is what the acaryas say:
Srila Jiva Gosvami in Bhakti Sandarbha (286) –
tatra bhuta-suddhir nijabhilashita bhagavat sevaupayogika tat parshada deha bhavana –
“Bhuta suddhi means that one meditates on one’s own desired siddha deha which is fit for serving the Lord”.
Krishnadas Kaviraja in Caitanya Caritamrita – mone nija siddha deha koriya bhavan, ‘Think of your own desired siddha deha as a sadhana (ei sadhana bhakti dui to prakara, Madhya 22.155-6)
Rupa Gosvami in that very same Nectar of Devotion – siddha rupena catra hi – “Serve in the siddha deha also”, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.295,
plus this verse’s tikas by Jiva Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti – siddha-rupena antas cintitabhishta tat sevopayogi dehena – “With the siddha deha” means serving in a mentally conceived body which is fit for service.” Qualification for raganuga bhakti
15 October 27, 2013

Narottama das Thakur – sadhane bhavibe yaha, siddha deha pabe taha (Premabhakti Candrika) – “Whatever siddha deha one thinks of during one’s sadhana is what one attains in siddha stage.”
Krishnadas Kaviraja’s Saranga Rangada tika of Krishna Karnamrita (3):
raganuga marge anutpanna rati sadhaka bhaktair api svepsita siddha deham manasi parikalpya – ‘On the raganuga-path even a sadhaka bhakta who has no rati yet can think of his own desired siddha deha.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “This external behavior is not at all according to the regulative principles. The so-called siddha-pranali process is followed by the prakrita-sahajiya, a pseudo sect of so-called Vaishnavas. In the opinion of Rupa Gosvami, such activities are simply disturbances to the standard way of devotional service.”
Response:
1] Where does Rupa Gosvami say this in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu?
2] Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who elaborately preached siddha pranali, is a pseudo Vaishnava called prakrita sahajiya? Why some then call him the 7th Gosvami?
In his writings, Swamiji persistently presents a vaidhi bhakta as a neophyte and a raga bhakta as an advanced devotee. He explains the two-fold division of sadhana into vaidhi and raganuga as follows (Nectar of Devotion, chapter 2):
“Now this sadhana-bhakti, or practice of devotional service, may also be divided into two parts. The first part is called service according to regulative principles: one has to follow these different regulative principles by the order of the spiritual master or on the strength of authoritative scriptures, and there can be no question of refusal. That is called vaidhi, or regulated. One has to do it without argument. Another part of sadhana-bhakti is called raganuga. Raganuga refers to the point at which, by following the regulative principles, one becomes a little more attached to Krsna and executes devotional service out of natural love. For example, a person engaged in devotional service may be ordered to rise early in the morning and offer arati, which is a form of Deity worship. In the beginning, by the order of his spiritual master, one rises early in the morning and offers arati, but then he develops real attachment. When he gets this attachment, he automatically tries to decorate the Deity and prepare different kinds of dresses and thinks of different plans to execute his devotional service nicely. Although it is within the category of practice, this offering of loving service is spontaneous.”
Response: Following such reasoning, the siddha-associates of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha, who are vaidhi bhaktas, would have to be woken up for mangalarati? This argument shows that raga bhakti is not to be translated or presented as ‘spontaneous devotion’ because the siddha vaidhi bhaktas in Vaikuntha surely need not be prodded into their service. Qualification for raganuga bhakti
16 October 27, 2013

Swamiji comments on Srimad Bhagavatam 3.5.4:
“…The bhakti process, as performed under the regulative principles of vaidhi-bhakti, or devotional service following the prescribed rules and regulations, is defined by the revealed scriptures and confirmed by great acaryas. This practice can help the neophyte devotee to rise to the stage of raga-bhakti, in which the Lord responds from within as the caitya-guru, or the spiritual master as Superconsciousness.”
Response: Here again Swamiji suggests that raga bhakti is some kind of post-graduate stage of vaidhi bhakti. That would mean that accomplished vaidhi bhaktas like Prahlada, Bhishma and Narada did not have communion with the caitya guru or Supersoul?
Concluding: Both the vaidhi-sadhaka and the raganuga-sadhaka pass through the various stages delineated in the adau sraddhah-verses on their respective paths. Vaidhi-sadhana and raganuga-sadhana are not two subsequent stages of one path, but two different paths leading to separate goals.
Further discussions on raganuga bhakti:
Bhakta: “Some say that it is more humble to become a servant of Mother Yasoda at a respectful distance than to be right up front as a manjari with Radha-Krishna.”
Advaitadas: ‘No one can reach the spiritual sky without being totally humble. If there is any pride left you can simply not enter into that realm, be it as a manjari, servant of Mother Yasoda, associate of Lord Narayana or what have you. This suggestion is a purely artificial, mental construction which is not at all based on rasa vicara, lobha (devotional greed) or on any acarya’s teaching. Manjari bhava is superior in flavour or quality but not in quantity. In quality there are 4 kinds of flavours – dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya, in quantity there is but one – full surrender. Manjari bhava is based on sheer attraction and not on ambition or pride. Manjaris are neither more proud nor more humble than mother Yasoda’s servants. That is not the point of manjari bhava. The siddhanta of ‘the more surrender, the higher the rasa” is a myth.”
Bhakta: “What about Vaikuntha as a stopover to Goloka? Can one get further promotion to Goloka after first attaining Vaikuntha?”
Advaitadas: “Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and Caitanya Caritamrita speak of two parallel paths, that have different symptoms of progress (bhava, prema) and different final destinations – vaidhi bhakti leads to Vaikuntha and raga bhakti leads to Vraja. (See quotes on page 9) Gopa-kumara’s progressive course in Brihad Bhagavatamrita does not apply to regular sadhakas. He is widely regarded as a model rather than a prototype sadhaka. In Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya lila, chapter 14, there was a Qualification for raganuga bhakti
17 October 27, 2013

debate between Srivasa Pandit, who fought the corner of the aisvarya-vision, and Svarupa Damodara, who fought the madhurya-corner. That debate was unsolved – Srivasa was not converted. Murari Gupta and Vallabha were Ram-bhaktas and none other than Mahaprabhu Himself and Rupa-Sanatana preached to them to become Krishna-bhaktas, but they were not converted either. It was simply their sthayi bhava. If Vaikuntha is a stopover, where is there a question of sthayi-bhava then?”
Bhakta: “Why it always has to be manjari bhava, why not gopa bhava (serving Krishna as a cowherd boy) or so?”
Advaitadas:
1. “The fact that there are elaborate systems of sadhana and entire societies built up around manjari bhava, and none (that I know) around gopa bhava (of which there is very scant scriptural description and virtually no social support on the ground) should not be seen as coincidence, but a clear sign that Mahaprabhu really wants us to practise this (manjari bhava).”
2. The entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya is initiated into the kama gayatri, which is a mantra worshiping Krishna as the transcendental youthful Cupid (Madana Gopala) of Vraja – that is wholly incompatible with loving Krishna as a child or a friend, is it not? Is any Gaudiya Vaishnava initiated with a mantra worshipping Krishna as a child or a friend?
3. The entire Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya sings the Gurvashtakam by Sripada Visvanatha Cakravarti, in which he clearly depicts Gurudeva as an assistant of the gopis to perfect the amorous pastimes of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna – nikunja yunoh rati-keli siddhyaih ya yalibhir yuktir apekshaniya
4. In that same Gurvashtakam, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti describes how the Guru is always eager to relish the endless sweetness of the pastimes, attributes, forms and names of Sri Radhika and Madhava, not of Krishna with the cowherd boys or His parents – sri radhika madhavayor apara madhurya lila guna rupa namnam pratikshanasvadana lolupasya…”
Bhakta 2: We see in Caitanya Caritamrita that Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraja Goswamipada has written, cari bhava diya prabhu nacaimu jagate, that Sriman Mahaprabhu has given four bhavas, cara-vidha braja-bhava, and with these He has made the world dance. And you say Mahaprabhu really wants us to practise this manjari bhava, can you comment please?
Advaitadas:
1. Yes, in principle these four bhavas are given, but practically you see huge systems having been built around manjari bhava (Gutika, siddha pranali, yogapitha, maps, what have you) whereas none of these things are in place for practising gopa bhava anywhere (to my knowledge).
2. The Gaudiya Vaishnava-scriptures are predominantly about madhurya rasa, to the extent that Rupa Gosvami, when coming to that subject in Bhakti Rasamrita Qualification for raganuga bhakti
18 October 27, 2013

Sindhu, cut it short and referred to an entire separate book he was to write about it, Ujjvala Nilamani, which is about as big as the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu itself.

3. The opening verse of Caitanya Caritamrita (also composed by Rupa Gosvami), anarpita carim cirat karunaya avatirna kalau samarpayitum unnatojjvala sva bhakti sriyam reveals the predominance of madhurya rasa (unnata ujjvala rasa).”

Bhaktisiddhanta’s bogus ideas about caste and varnasrama

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Who or what is a Brahmana?
Q: Can a sudra or a mleccha become a brahmana in this birth?
A: In the Gaudiya Vaishnava missions that operate in the western countries we see everyone ultimately receiving brahmana-initiation. But which varnasrama-society has only brahmanas? Qualities and birth are non-different— karanam guna sango’sya sad asad yoni janmasu (Bhagavad Gita 13.22). “The cause of birth in either a good or a bad species is one’s attachment to a certain psychological quality (culture, habit).” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught His followers trinad api sunicena “One must consider oneself lower than a blade of grass”, not a mleccha claiming to be equal to a brahmana. Caste is for life, just as one cannot change one’s biological father and mother during this lifetime. Once born a European one cannot suddenly, during this lifetime, become an Asian or African. One cannot change ticket mid-flight. A human being can and should not launch one’s own varnasrama dharma, for it is created by God Himself, and He is the highest authority— catur varnyam maya srishtam (Bhagavad Gita 4.12) “The four castes are created by Me (God, Krishna)”, and not by a human being, who wishes to ‘reform’ society, however elevated he may have been. In Srimad Bhagavata (7.15.14) human concoctions about varnasrama dharma are called abhasa dharma, or fallacious religion – yas tvicchaya kritah pumbhir abhaso hyasramat prithak: “That which has been created by man according to their own whim, separately from the established asramas, is called abhasa.” Finding fault in a brahmana or trying to usurp his position will cost you dear, for Sri Krishna Himself says in the Bhagavata (10.64.41-42):
vipram kritagasam api naiva druhyata mamakah
ghnantam bahu sapantah va namaskuruta nityasah
yathaham praname vipran anukulam samahitam
tatha namata yuyam ca ye’nyatha me sa danda-bhak
“O My relatives! Do not harm a brahmana, even if he mistreats you! Even if he is a sinner, abuses you or abundantly curses you, you should always bow down to him. Even I bow down to the brahmanas. Whoever acts otherwise is punishable by Me!”
The best example is Indra, who had to suffer severely for killing the brahmana Vritrasura, even though he was a demon.
If the river Ganga is considered pure in spite of all dirt, if Go is considered worshipable and inviolable even if it comes to kill, the brahmana must also be considered worshipable right from birth despite his faults. Just like gotva, it is the brahmanatva which is glorified. This brahmanatva is by birth, just as the gotva of the cow is by birth.
The Lord further tells Srutadeva –
brahmano janmana sreyan sarvesham praninam iha
tapasa vidyaya tushtya kim u mat kalaya yutah
dushprajna aviditvaivam avajananantyasuyavah; gurum mam vipram atmanam Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
2 December 31, 2013

“The brahmana is superior to all living beings by birth. Let alone when he is austere, learned, content and devoted to Me…..”
“Men of crooked understanding, who do not know this, disrespect a brahmana and are envious of him, who is identical with Me and their very self.” (Srimad Bhagavata (10.86.53, 55)
In his commentary to verse 53, Sri Sanatana Gosvami says: janmana jati matrena – “janmana means, just by jati, caste.”
Nanda Maharaja told Garga Muni:
tvam hi brahma-vidam sreshthah samskaran kartum arhasi
balayor anayor nrinam janmana brahmano guruh
(Srimad Bhagavata 10.8.6)
“You are the greatest knower of the Vedas, so you are qualified to perform this rite on my sons. A brahmana is Guru by birth.”
Jiva Goswami Vaishnava comments in his Toshani tika–janmana jatyeva kim punar jnanadinetyarthah – He is Guru by caste, what to speak of by knowledge and so?
Jiva Goswami Brihad Vaishnava Toshani – janmana janma matrenaiva kim punar jnanadinetyarthah “janmana means only by birth, what to speak of knowledge and so?”
Jiva Goswami Krama Sandarbha – janmana jatyeva “By birth means by caste only.”
The Bhagavata (7.11.13) declares that a brahmana must first be born in a family that has always, throughout the generations, followed all the samskaras for the brahmanas—
samskara yad avichinnah sa dvijo’jo jagada yam
“A twice born brahmana is he in whose family the (16) purificatory rites have been performed in unbroken succession and whom Lord Brahma has denominated as such.”
Sripada Sridhara Svami comments on this verse:
sudram tu na mantravat samskara yuktam jagada na copanayanavantam ato nasau dvijah….ato vivaha vyatirikta samskaranavasyakatvat upanayanasya tu sarvatha nishedhat na tasya dvijatvam
“The sudra is not to be invested with mantras nor with the sacred thread, hence he is not a dvija.” “Other than marriage there is no samskara for the sudra, therefore the sacred thread ceremony is forbidden for him in all respects and he cannot be a dvija.” 1
1 prabhu hasi kohe – svami na mane yei jana; vesyara bhitore tare koriye ganana (C.C. Antya 7.115) Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu smilingly replied, “One [a wife] who does not accept the svami (husband or Sridhara Svami in this context) as an authority I consider a prostitute.” Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
3 December 31, 2013

What to speak then of a person who is born entirely outside of varnasrama?
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments on this verse:
samskara mantravanto garbhadhanadayo yasmin sa dvijah. vichinna samskaro dvijabandhur ityarthah. ajo brahma yam jagadeti brahma srishtyarambhata eva pravrittayam dvija jatau visuddha mata pitrikam janmaiva mukhya lakshanam
“A dvija is a person whose parents have gone through purificatory rites like the garbhadhana samskara. When there is no unbroken succession of samskaras the brahmana is called dvija bandhu. This practise is going on since the creation by the unborn Brahma. The main symptom of the twice-born caste is merely birth from a pure father and mother.”
Those who preach mere meritocracy often quote this verse from Srimad Bhagavata (7.11.35):
yasya yallakshanam proktam pumso varnabhivyanjakam
yad anyatrapi drisyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiset
“If what has been declared as a feature of the grade of society of a man is perceived even in another (person belonging to another caste), the latter should be particularly called by that very denomination (caste).”
Sridhara Svami comments on this verse:
samadibhir eva brahmanadi vyavaharo mukhyah na jati matrad ityaha yasyeti. yad yadi anyatra varnantare’pi tad varnantaram tenaiva lakshana nimittenaiva varnena vinirdiset na tu jati nimittenetyarthah
“One is not just a brahmana by birth – the main symptom is good behaviour like self-control. If such virtue is found elsewhere, in another caste, this determines the person’s varna, not just birth.”
However, Sridhara Svami does not say here that non-brahmanas can receive the sacred thread. If he did, then he would contradict his commentary of verse 13.
This verse from the Mahabharata (Anusasana Parva chapter 163) is often quoted –
na yonir napi samskaro na srutam na ca santatih
karanani dvijatvasya vrittam eva tu karanam
“Neither birth, purificatory ceremonies, nor learning, nor progeny, but one’s mode of life alone is the cause for dvijatva.” Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
4 December 31, 2013

The meaning of this is that, if a brahmana leads his whole life in a manner that is not conform to how a brahmana must live (as per sastras), in his next life, he will attain that mode in which he led his life. In the same mode often the Vajra Sucika Upanishad is quoted, but this Upanishad says nothing about giving brahmana-threads to mlecchas or sudras, nor does it say that one should not be first born a brahmana to be considered qualified.
Sripada Bhaktivinoda explains in his Jaiva Dharma (Chapter 6):
“Cudamani: “One must take birth in a brahmana-family to perform yajnas and other such activities, and even one who is born in a brahmana-family must be purified by the ceremony of investiture with the sacred thread before he is eligible to perform the duties of a brahmana. Similarly, a candala may have become purified by the chanting of harinama, but he is still not eligible to perform yajnas until he acquires a seminal birth in a brahmana-family. However, he can perform the limbs of bhakti which are infinitely greater than yajnas.”
Cudamani: “What kind of conclusion is that? That a person not qualified for an ordinary thing can be qualified for an exalted thing! What is the clear proof for that?”
Vaishnava dasa: “There are two types of human activity: material activities that relate to practical existence (vyavaharika); and spiritual activities that relate to the ultimate truth (paramarthika). A person may have attained spiritual qualification, but that does not necessarily qualify him for particular material activities. For example, one who is a Muslim by birth may have acquired the nature and all the qualities of a brahmana, so that he is a brahmana from the spiritual point of view, but he still remains ineligible for certain material activities, such as marrying the daughter of a brahmana.
Cudamani: “Why not? What is wrong with that?”
Vaishnava dasa: “If one violates social customs, one is guilty of secular impropriety, and members of society who take pride in their social respectability do not condone such activities. That is why one should not perform them, even if he is spiritually qualified.”
Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami writes in his Sri Manah siksha:
gurau goshthe goshthalayishu sujane bhu-sura-gane
sva-mantre sri-namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-smarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitaram
aye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrita-padah ||1||
“O mind, I grasp your feet and beg you with sweet words: please cast away hypocrisy at all times and have unprecedented love for my Guru, Vrajabhumi, the people of Vraja, the Vaishnavas, the brahmanas, the mantras given by my Guru, the holy name and the fresh young couple of Vraja.”
Here he uses two words, sujana (vaishnavas) and bhu-sura-gana (brahmanas). If Vaishnavas are automatically brahmanas in every respect, then there is no need to give two categories. Giving two categories means each is unique and yet both have something in Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
5 December 31, 2013

common. If a brahmana is to be worshipped only if he is a Vaishnava, then there is no need to specifically mention brahmana and Vaishnava.
Srimad Bhagavata (3.33.6) states:
yan-namadheya-sravananukirtanad yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit
svado ’pi sadyah savanaya kalpate kutah punas te bhagavan nu darsanat
“O Lord! By occasionally hearing and chanting Your divine names, bowing to You or even remembering You, a pariah (a dog-eater) becomes instantly worshipable as a Brahmin that performs a Soma-sacrifice. Who can then imagine the benefit of seeing You directly?”
However, Srila Jiva Gosvami comments on Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.1.22, which is Sri Rupa Gosvami’s comment on this verse:
tasmad durjatir evetyatra savanayogyatve’pi karanam iti tad-yogyata pratikula-papamayity arthah. na tu tad-yogyatvabhava-matra-mayiti. brahmananam saukre janmani durjatitvabhave’pi savana-yogyatvaya punya-visesha-maya-savitra-janmapekshatvat. tatasca savana-yogyatva-pratikula-durjaty-arambhakam prarabdham api gatam eva kintu sishtacarabhavat savitram janma nastiti brahmana-kumaranam savana-yogyatvabhavavacchedaka-punya-visesha-maya-savitra-janmapekshavad asya janmantarapeksha vartata iti bhavah. atah pramana-vakye’pi savanaya kalpate sambhavito bhavati na tu tadaivadhikari syad ity abhipretam vyakhyatam ca taih sadyah savanaya soma-yagaya kalpate. anena pujyatvam lakshyata iti
“Therefore bad birth itself is here the cause of being unqualified for Soma-sacrifice and that means possessing sin that is antagonistic to qualification for that, not merely having an absence of qualification for that. Even though there is an absence of bad birth in being born from the seed of brahmanas there is still the necessity for a surya-birth [ie sacred thread initiation] which possesses the merit suitable for qualifying one for Soma-sacrifice. Therefore though the prarabdha that caused the bad birth that is antagonistic to suitability for soma-sacrifice is gone, like brahmana-boys who because of absence of cultured practice have no surya-birth and must await a surya-birth that possesses the merit that can cut to pieces their absence of suitability for Soma-sacrifice, he (the dog-eater who chants the names of Krishna) must await another birth. This is the position. Therefore, in the statement of authority (S.B. 3.33.6) the words savanaya kalpate, “he becomes fit for Soma sacrifice,” are intended to mean he becomes respected or honored, but not that he has actually become qualified then and there (to perform that sacrifice).”
Sridhara Svami comments on Srimad Bhagavata 3.33.6: anena pujyatvam lakshyate – “This verse just describes how the chanting dogeater is worshipable.”
Sri Jiva Goswami comments on this verse and Sridhara Swami’s comment in Bhakti Sandarbha (128): tasmat pujyatva matra tatparyam ityabhipretya tika-kridbhir apy uktam Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
6 December 31, 2013

anena pujyatvam lakshyata iti – “The only purpose of Sridhara Swami’s commentary on this verse is to show how the chanting dog-eater is worshipable (not that he literally becomes a Brahmin).”
Sri Sanatana Gosvami repeats that point in his Dig-darsini tika to Hari bhakti vilasa:
brahmana-kumaranam saukre janmani yogyatve saty api savitra-daikshya-janmapekshavat. savitradi-janmani tu sad-acara-prapter iti savane pravrittir na yujyate. tasmat pujyatva-matre tatparyam ity abhipretya tika-kridbhir apy uktam anena pujyatvam lakshyata iti
“Just as even though there is the eligibility in the son of a brahmana through seminal birth, there is still the dependence on the birth through savitra-diksha (initiation into gayatri mantra), birth through savitra-diksha is but attained through sad-acara and thus, performing soma yaga is not suitable. Therefore, the purport here is only pujyatva (being worshipable) and thus the commentator (Sridhara Svami) too has said “anena pujyatvam lakshyata”.
In his Bhagavata tika named Krama Sandarbha Jiva Gosvami says:
tatra yogyatayam labdharambho bhavatity arthah. tad-anantara-janmany eva dvijatvam prapya tad-ady-adhikari syad
„It just means that there is a beginning made with qualification – he only becomes really qualified by taking a brahmana-birth in the next life.”
From this huge amount of authorised evidence it must be clear that the phrase guna karma vibhagasah, “divided according to quality and activity”, which is often quoted from Bhagavad-Gita 4.12 to prove that mere qualification at this very instant is enough to qualify as a brahmana, refers to previous births’ accumulation of a certain attitude (guna) and activities (karma) that cause one to take birth in a certain caste in the present life. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana comments on Bhagavad Gita 18.41 that svabhava, or nature, is formed by impressions from previous births – svabhavah praktana-samskaras. You cannot reform the laws of karma, nature and subsequent reincarnation.
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada has elaborated further on this point to some degree, stating that since such sacrificial activities are lower on the spiritual hierarchy than direct service to Krishna, they are not to be taken up even by brahmana Vaishnavas. Sanatana Gosvami says in Brihad Bhagavatamrita (2.2.57):
esham yajnaika nishthanam aikyenavasyake nije
jape ca sad guruddishte mandyam syad drishta sat phale
“Maharshis offered Gopa Kumara the status of a brahmana, but he thought to himself: “If I accept the position of a brahmana, I will surely slacken in my practise of the mantra Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
7 December 31, 2013

that I received from the bonafide guru, and that is certainly not good. brahmanas are only engaged in yajnas and are not engaged in other matters.”
Second initiation or mantra-initiation is not brahmana-initiation
The brahmana-thread is only for practising the Brahma Gayatri, not for the Vaishnava-diksha-mantras like Gopala mantra and Kama Gayatri. Only the last two are mentioned in Hari Bhakti Vilasa as Gaudiya Vaishnava diksha-mantras. Proof that brahmana-initiation and mantra initiation are two different things is shown in Hari Bhakti Vilasa (2.3-4):
dvijanam anupetanam sva-karmadhyayanadishu
yathadhikaro nastiha syaccopanayanad anu
tathatradikshitanam tu mantra devarcanadishu
nadhikaro’styatah kuryad atmanam siva samstutam
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami quotes this verse in his commentary on Caitanya Caritamrita (Madhya 15.108) and translates it as follows:
“Even though born in a brahmana family, one cannot engage in Vedic rituals without being initiated and having a sacred thread. Although born in a brahmana family, one becomes a brahmana after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony. Unless one is initiated as a brahmana, he cannot worship the holy name properly.”
This is, however, not a correct translation. The proper translation is:
“Just as an anupanita vipra (born brahmana who is not yet initiated with the brahmana thread) does not yet qualify to study the Vedas, but does so after getting the upanayana (sacred thread) samskara, similarly an uninitiated person does not qualify for the Lord’s arcana (temple worship). Hence one should take diksha (siva samstutam iti dikshitam).”
Noteworthy are the words tatha (also) and atra (here), ‘here’ meaning “in practise of arcana”, showing that this verse is a comparison between brahmana-hood on the one hand and Vaishnava-diksha on the other, and that these are two separate things, not one and the same.
A brahmana is called dvija, or twice born. How can you have the second birth (upanayana samskara) without having had the first one (saukra or seminal birth)? brahma gayatri investment is done by the father of a brahmana-boy when he is 11 years old. The boy should not see the sun for many days (since the brahma gayatri is a solar mantra) and is locked up into a room with the windows shut, given only havishyanna (porridge without salt, spices or sugar) to eat. Initiation into Krishna-mantra is a separate initiation which is only given to active Vaishnava-brahmanas. For instance, Mahaprabhu already wore His thread when He received krishna mantra from Isvara Puri and Advaita Prabhu had been doing brahma gayatri for decades when He received Krishna-mantra from Madhavendra Puri. And what if the ‘qualified’ brahmana falls down and starts drinking and engaging in illicit sex? Then we take his sutra away and give it back to him as soon as he follows the principles Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
8 December 31, 2013

again? Isn’t this bizarre? Has this ever been shown in any Vedic scripture? We are seeing that western Vaishnava organizations, which have a 100% ‘brahmana’-population, also have the highest divorce rate in the world, women have children from different men – in India even the sweepers’ wives don’t do that. Some ‘qualified brahmanas’ keep dogs in their houses, again something even the sweepers in India won’t do – where is the qualification then?
“Qualified brahmanas” drink beer and “qualified brahmanis” wear bikini.
Considering the dvijatva in the Haribhakti Vilasa-verse that says –
yatha kancanatam yati kamsyah rasa vidhanatah
tatha diksha vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrinam
“As bell metal is turned into gold through the process of alchemy, similarly a human being attains twice born status through the process of diksha.”
In his commentary Sanatana Gosvami confirms that dvijatva means viprata for everyone (sarvesham eva dvijatva viprata), and this seems a justification for turning everyone into a brahmana. However,
1) This does not mention the brahma gayatri, this statement deals with Vaishnava diksha.
2) If this referred to brahma gayatri, then that would contradict Sridhara Svami’s and Jiva Gosvami’s verdict that this is not attainable for non-brahmanas in their current births.
3) In his Bhakti Sandarbha [298] Srila Jiva Gosvami has quoted this verse under the heading atharcanadhikari nirnayah – ‘Now follows the designation of eligibility for deity Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
9 December 31, 2013

worship.” Then he proceeds by quoting scripture on the eligibility of all castes and genders for deity worship, ending with yatha kancanatam. This is the context in which this verse appears.
4] None of Mahaprabhu’s nitya siddha associates, like Advaita or Nityananda, Gadadhara, Srinivasacarya, Narottama, Syamananda, nor any of Their disciples or grand-disciples have ever put such a ‘brahmana-initiation’ into practise, involving the Brahma Gayatri in the process. mahajano yena gata sa pantha — One must follow in the footsteps of the mahajanas. All the mahajanas have considered such a practise to be an utpata, or social disturbance. Before 1918, 350 years after the compilation of Haribhakti Vilasa, no one has ever given ‘brahmana-initiation’. Shall we assume that Sripad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati knew it better than the Panca Tattva, the Six Gosvamis, and all their successor acaryas?
5] In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.62) Rupa Gosvami quotes the Kasi-khanda —
antyaja api tad-rashtre sankha-cakranka-dharinah
samprapya vaishnavim diksham dikshita iva sambabhuh
“In that country even the outcastes wore conch and disc signs. They received Vaishnava diksha and thus becames just like sacrificial priests.”
Visvanatha Cakravarti comments: dikshita yajnika iva sambabhur – “dikshita means just like sacrificial priests.” iva means ‘just like’, not that they actually became sacrificial priests.
Gaudiya Matha-followers try to dismiss or play down the authority of the Haribhakti Vilasa by writing (as Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta did in his purport of Caitanya Caritamrita. Madhya 1.35:)
“According to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the regulated principles of devotional service compiled by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami do not strictly follow our Vaishnava principles….It is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami’s opinion, however, that to follow the Hari-bhakti-vilasa strictly is to actually follow the Vaishnava rituals in perfect order. He claims that the smarta-samaja, which is strictly followed by caste brahmanas, has influenced portions that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected from the original Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is therefore very difficult to find out Vaishnava directions from the book of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.”
However, when Sriman Mahaprabhu outlines the contents of Haribhakti Vilasa, he assures Sanatana Gosvamipada; yabe tumi likhiba krishna korabe sphurana, “Krishna will reveal to you what to write.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 24, 340)
It was not written under pressure of smartas but through the inspiration of Sri Krishna. That is an offence to Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and even to Lord Sri Krishna Himself, who has revealed the text to Sanatana Gosvami. Sanatana Gosvami clarifies in the very first verse of Haribhakti Vilasa that he has written this book for the Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
10 December 31, 2013

pleasure of the Vaishnavas (and not for smartas and bodily conscious people) – caitanya-devam bhagavantam asraye sri-vaishnavanam pramude’njasa likhan. To say that certain statements of Sanatana’s are for the appeasement of a certain class would be like saying that Sanatana Gosvami is not an acarya at all. This is the biggest aparadha. If indeed, he did appeasement, why did not Gopala Bhatta Gosvami clarify it in the Dig-darsini-tika written on those verses of Haribhakti Vilasa? Why both Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami are silent on this issue both in Haribhakti Vilasa and in Dig-darsini? Jiva Gosvami clarifies in the beginning of his Locana-rocani-commentary on Ujjvala Nilamani that svecchaya likhitam kincit kincit likhitam parecchaya or “Some statements I have written according to my own desire, whereas some statements are written keeping into mind the desire of others”. But, any such statement from the two authors themselves i.e. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami – have not been issued in the case of Haribhakti Vilasa and its commentary.
Srimad Bhagavata 1.7.43 –
uvaca casahanty asya bandhananayanam sati
mucyatam mucyatam eṣa brahmaṇo nitaram guruḥ
“Draupadi could not tolerate Asvatthama’s being bound by ropes, and being a devoted lady, she said: Release him, for he is a brahmaṇa, our spiritual master.”
The text brahmano nitaram guruh actually means ‘brahmanas are always Guru’. This clearly shows that Asvatthama was still referred to as a brahmana despite his heinous act. He did not get demoted to a sudra or less because of his sinful behavior. Even a dvija-bandhu must be treated differently from others even if he commits the most grievous sins and is an atatayi; he must never be killed – sri-bhagavan uvaca—brahma-bandhur na hantavya. The Lord said: “One should not kill a fallen brahmana.” (Srimad Bhagavata 1.7.53) Thus respect shown to brahmanas is real and a must.
The Bhagavata teaches respect for Guru-families as well, as in this statement by Draupadi (Srimad Bhagavata 1.7.46)-
tad dharmajna maha-bhaga bhavadbhir gauravam kulam
vrijinam narhati praptum pujyam vandyam abhikshnasah
“O knower of dharma! You should not cause suffering to the family of your guru, because they are always praiseworthy and worthy of worship.”
Sridhara Swami and Visvanatha Cakravarti both gloss gaurava as guroh kulam, the family of the Guru.
Drona: He was a brahmana but took to the life of a kshatriya due to his warlike disposition. Was he then referred to thereafter as a kshatriya? No. Anyone who has read the Mahabharata can tell you that the text continued to refer to him as a brahmana. Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
11 December 31, 2013

Arjuna: He demonstrated a propensity towards renunciation when he declined to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He was ready to renounce everything and just live by begging. Did Lord Krishna accept it? No. He argued that Arjuna was a kshatriya and should fight the battle despite his brahminical disposition.
These examples refute the point of view that one’s varna changes on the basis of his “mentality.” Finally, let us quote other sastric evidence that further refutes this point of view:
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.41
brahmana kshatriya visam sudranam ca parantapa
karmani pravibhaktani svabhava prabhavair gunaih
“Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes, o chastiser of the enemy.”
The acaryas wrote the following commentaries –
Sridhara Swami – svabhavah purva-janma-samskarah – “svabhava means the cultivation from previous birth.”
Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti – svabhavenotpattyaiva prabhavanti pradurbhavanti ye gunah – “The gunas of the four varnas appear due to svabhava, utpatti (utpattya) or birth.”
Iskcon’s own translations of utpattya –
utpattya — from the beginning of His appearance; SB 5.4.1 utpattya — because of my birth (in a demoniac family); SB 7.10.2 saha utpattya — by our very birth; SB 10.16.56 utpattya eva — simply by birth; SB 11.21.24
Baladeva Vidyabhushana – svabhavah praktana-samskaras – “svabhava means cultivation from previous birth”.
All acaryas here confirm varna is by birth, not merely by quality.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.47
sreyan sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmat sv-anuṣṭhitat
svabhava-niyatam karma kurvan napnoti kilbiṣam
“It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly. Duties prescribed according to one’s nature are never affected by sinful reactions.”
Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana’s commentary to 18.47:
nanu kshatriyadi-dharmanam rajasaditvat teshu ruci-sunyaih kshatriyadibhih sattviko brahma-dharma evanushtheya iti cet tatraha sreyan iti. sva-dharmo vigunah nikrishto’pi samyag-anushthito’pi va para-dharmad utkrishtat svanushthitac ca sreyan atiprasashto vihitatvat. Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
12 December 31, 2013

“If it is said by someone that, only sattvika brahmana dharma must be conducted by those kshatriyas that have no taste for the dharmas of kshatriyas and others because of their being in rajas, it is said, sreyan svadharmo-vigunah – it is better to practice one’s own dharma imperfectly than another’s dharma perfectly….”
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.59
yad ahankaram asritya na yotsya iti manyase
mithyaiṣa vyavasayas te prakṛtis tvam niyokṣyati
“If you do not act according to My direction and do not fight, then you will be falsely directed. By your nature, you will have to be engaged in warfare.”
Why did Lord Krishna say it was Arjuna’s nature to fight? And that too despite Arjuna offering to give up everything and take to begging? Because Arjuna was born a kshatriya and he was obligated to follow kshatriya dharma. Arjuna did not get promoted to brahmana status because of his compassion for his family.
Someone may argue:
janmana jayate sudrah samskarat bhaveddvijah
veda-pathad bhaved viprah brahmajanatiti brahmanah.
“The meaning of who is a brahmana is very clear – one who knows brahman. Hence, all scriptural statements that apply to a brahmana can only apply to one who has realised brahman and is completely free of faults such as kama, krodha etc and does not depend on considerations of one’s birth.”
Refutation: The scriptural statements applicable to a brahmana apply only to that person who has directly realised brahman and is completely devoid of kama, krodha, lobha etc. Then, when it comes to practicality the following points are to be considered:
a) Those who directly experience brahman and are free from all six faults are very, very rare. One in a million. So what happens to all the injunctions in the sastras meant for brahmanas? Are they to be done by anyone at all or wait only for those extremely rare personalities to do whenever they become qualified by realising brahman? If they are not done by the millions of so called brahmanas citing disqualification, it then leads to destruction of dharma. A result which will be contrary to the purpose of those injunctions.
b) Once one becomes a true brahmana, what interest does he have in performing the activities in the sastras for all of them are laukika and he will have no laukika sraddha, having directly realised brahman? He practically is a non-starter and these activities will never be performed by anyone at all. If he can do it only after he attains such realisation, it is known that such realisation comes by years of sadhana? What activities does he do till he Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
13 December 31, 2013

gets such realisation? Anything that he pleases or his svadharma? If he does anything that he pleases, there are numerous statements in all scriptures including bhakti-sastras that stand against him. Thus he must only follow his svadharma according to his birth.
So far no source reference is given for the above sloka. Acarya Vamsidhara writes in his tika of Srimad Bhagavata 1.1.2 – adhunikair vipra dvidbhis tu ‘janmana jayate sudrah’ iti pathah kalpitah. sa canadaraniya eva – “Modern quotes by brahmana-haters like ‘janmana jayate sudrah’ are concocted reading, which should be disregarded.” If the meaning is taken literally as “by birth one is born a sudra” and is taken to apply to every human being born on earth, then this contradicts numerous other statements which mention about a brahmana that he is a brahmana right from birth.
Q.: There are numerous non-brahmanas who became brahmanas in the same life. If brahmana-hood is by birth then how did they become brahmanas?
A: It is true that there were non-brahmanas who became brahmanas in the same life, but these were exceptions, not the rule. The scriptures themselves question these exceptions and answer them. For example, in the Mahabharata, Anusasana parva (3.1-2) –
brahmanyam yadi dushprapam tribhir varnair naradhipa
katham praptam maharaja kshatriyena mahatmana
visvamitrena dharmatman brahmanatvam nararshabha
srotum icchami tattvena tan me bruhi pitamaha
‘If, O prince, brahmana-hood is so hard to attain by the three classes (Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and sudras), how then did the high souled Visvamitra, though a Kshatriya (by birth), attain the status of a Brahmana? I desire to know this, O sire. Therefore, relate this matter to me in truth please.”
The description continues wherein, sage Ricika, a son of sage Bhrigu married Satyavati, a princess. Please with her nature, he blessed her that she will have a brahmana-son. Satyavati’s mother, wife of King Gadhi also wanted a child. On Satyavati’s request, sage Ricika gave both of them 2 carus (payasa) along with instructions to embrace two different trees. The mother and daughter exchanged their carus and the trees. Hearing this, sage Ricika explained that he had infused the potency of an effulgent brahmana in the caru meant for Satyavati and that of a fiery kshatriya in the caru meant for her mother. But since they exchanged the carus and also embraced the trees meant for the other, Satyavati would give birth to a fiery kshatriya, though a brahmana by birth and her mother an effulgent brahmana, though a kshatriya by birth. On account of Satyavati’s pleas, he agreed to make her grandson instead of son with the nature of a fiery kshatriya. The grandson was Parasurama. The kshatriya who was actually a brahmana was Visvamitra. Thus Visvamitra became a brahmana because of the grace of sage Ricika. In chapters 28 and 29 of Anusasana parva, Bhishma-deva explained through the story of Matanga that it is not possible to become a brahmana in the same birth even through the fiercest of penances. Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
14 December 31, 2013

In his purport to Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya lila 1, 63, Swami A.C Bhaktivedanta says:
“Sri Rupa, Sri Sanatana and Sri Haridasa were prohibited from entering the Jagannatha Mandir and Lord Caitanya did not approve of such dogmatic prohibitions. To avoid unnecessary turmoil, however, these great personalities would not enter the Jagannatha temple.”
The Caitanya Caritamrita text says, however:
haridasa thakura ara rupa-sanatana
jagannatha-mandire na yana tina jana
“Haridasa Thakura and Rupa and Sanatana, these three men, did not go to the Jagannatha Mandir.”
From this it is clear that they voluntary, out of sheer humility, did not enter the Jagannatha Mandir, not grudgingly, due to prohibition or to avoid turmoil. There is no mentioning anywhere in this Bengali text that they wanted to avoid turmoil, that they were prohibited to enter or that they protested or resisted such prohibitions. If that were so, then why did Sanatana Gosvami prefer to have his foot-soles scorched over having to touch Lord Jagannatha’s pujaris? If Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to overthrow the caste system He could have done so easily. Prataparudra Maharaja was at His feet:
prabhura nikate ache joto bhakta-gana; mora lagi’ ta-sabare koriho nivedana
sei sab doyalu more hoiya sadaya; mora lagi’ prabhu-pade karibe vinaya
ta-sobara prasade mile sri-prabhura paya; prabhu-kripa vina mora rajya nahi bhaya
yadi more kripa na koribe gaurahari; rajya chadi’ yogi hoi’ hoibo bhikhari
In a letter King Prataparudra requested Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, “Please appeal to all the devotees associated with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and submit this petition to them on my behalf. If all the devotees associated with the Lord are favorably disposed toward me, they can submit my petition at the lotus feet of the Lord. By the mercy of all the devotees, one can attain the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Without His mercy, my kingdom does not appeal to me. If Gaurahari, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, will not show mercy to me, I shall give up my kingdom, become a mendicant and beg from door to door.”
With such influence Mahaprabhu could have easily told the king to lift the ban on non-Hindus entering the Jagannath Mandir so that Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami and Haridas Thakur could enter, but there is no evidence from any sastra that He never did that.
During Advaita Prabhu’s feast in honor of Mahaprabhu, when He had just taken sannyasa, Srila Haridas Thakur humbly said:
mui papishtha adhama, bahire eka mushti pache korimu bhojan
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 3.63) Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
15 December 31, 2013

“I am a fallen sinner – I will eat a handful later, outside.”
When Rupa Gosvami’s dramas were about to be read to the Lord, Rupa and Haridas humbly sat at the base of the platform where the other devotees were seated:
rupa haridasa dunhe bosila pindatale; sabara agre na uthila pindara upare
(Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 1.111).
When the brahmana Kalidasa glorified his sudra-friend Jhadu Thakura, stating that a low-caste devotee is greater than a non-devotee brahmana, Jhadu Thakura did not say: “Yes, you see I am greater than or equal to you!” Rather, he said:
suni thakura kohe – sastre ei satya hoy; sei nica nahe – yate krishna-bhakti hoy
ami – nica jati, amar nahi krishna-bhakti; anya aiche hoy, amay nahi aiche sakti
“The scriptures speak the truth, a low caste person is not low if he/she has devotion for Krishna. I, however, am low-born and I have no devotion for Krishna. This may apply to others, but I do not have such a power.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 16, 28-29)
These are perfect examples of maryada-palana, maintaining the etiquette.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was NOT AGAINST THE CASTE SYSTEM. When He heard that Sanatana Gosvami had burned his footsoles to avoid touching Lord Jagannatha’s pujaris, He praised him, saying (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 4, 129-132):
yadyapi tumi hao jagat pavan; toma sparse pavitra hoy deva muni-gana
tathapi bhakta svabhava – maryada rakshana; maryada palana hoy sadhura bhushana
maryada langhane loka kore upahasa; iha loka, para loka – dui hoy nasa
maryada rakhile, tushta hoy mora mana; tumi aiche na korile kore kon jana?
“Although you are the purifier of the whole world and the demigods and sages are purified by your mere touch, still it is the nature of a devotee to follow the social protocol. Maintaining the social protocol is the ornament of a sadhu. When a Vaishnava violates the social protocol people will ridicule him and he will perish in this birth and in the next. By keeping the social standard you have pleased My mind. Who else but you could do such a thing?”
By saying: ‘Although you are the purifier…’, Mahaprabhu acknowledges the spiritual superiority of a Vaishnava, but then He immediately warns that the external social protocol must be maintained. These are two separate worlds, one spiritual and the other material.
On the other hand, a person who violates the social protocol can expect Mahaprabhu’s wrath: maryada langhana ami sohite na pari (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 4.166) “I cannot tolerate violation of the protocol.”2
2 Although the direct context of this statement is Jagadananda Pandit’s treatment of Sanatan Gosvami, Mahaprabhu spoke this as a general statement, applying to all circumstances and relationships. Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
16 December 31, 2013

When Sriman Mahaprabhu travelled Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Ramananda Ray wanted to take a brahmana with Him – He would not eat grains from non-brahmanas:
ama dunhara mone tabe boro sukh hoy; ek nivedana yadi dhara, dayamaya
‘uttama brahmana’ ek sange avasya cahi ; bhiksha kori bhiksha dibe jabe patra bohi
banapathe jaite nahi ‘bhojyanna’ brahmana; ajna koro – sange coluk vipra ekjan
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.10-12)
“We would both be very happy if you could heed our plea, O merciful One! You should definitely travel with one topmost brahmana, who can beg alms for You, serve You these alms and carry your vessels. When You traverse the forest path You will have no brahmana with You who will cook and serve Your grains. Order us to send a brahmana along with You.”
ye grame rohen prabhu tathaya brahmana; panca sat jan asi kore nimantrana
keho anna ani dey bhattacarya sthane; keho dugdha dadhi keho ghrita khanda ane
jaha vipra nahi taha ‘sudra mahajana’; asi sabe bhattacarye kore vanya vyanjana
bhattacarya paka kore vanya vyanjana; vanya vyanjana prabhura anandita mana
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.58-60)
“In whatever village the Lord stayed five to seven brahmanas invited Him. Some gave grains to Bhattacarya, others gave milk, yoghurt, clarified butter or rock candy. Wherever there were no brahmanas the great devotee-sudras came and gave Bhattacarya forest-vegetables to cook for the Lord. Prabhu was very happy to eat these vegetables cooked by Bhattacarya.”
Note here that the Lord accepted only vegetables from the sudra-devotees.
In Caitanya Caritamrita (Antya 10.139-141):
acarya-ratna, acarya-nidhi, nandana, raghava; srivasa-adi joto bhakta, vipra sab
eimata nimantrana koren jatna kori; vasudeva gadadhara, gupta murari
kulina-grami, khandavasi, ara joto jan; jagannathera prasada ani koren nimantrana
“Devotees like Acarya-ratna, Acarya-nidhi, Nandana, Raghava and Srivasa were all brahmanas and they invited the Lord for meals. Vasudeva, Gadadhara, Murari Gupta and the villagers from Kulina and Khanda (who were not brahmanas) brought prasada from Lord Jagannatha.” And later on in that chapter (verses 154-155):
gopinathacarya, jagadananda, kasisvara; bhagavan ramabhadracarya, sankara, vakresvara
madhye madhye ghara bhate kore nimantrana; anyera nimantrana prasade kaudi dui pana Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
17 December 31, 2013

“Gopinathacarya, Jagadananda, Kasisvara; Bhagavan Ramabhadracarya, Sankara, Vakresvara (who were all brahmanas) cooked for the Lord in their homes while others bought prasada for Him for (a price of) 2 kaudis.”
srivasadi joto prabhura vipra bhakta-gana; prabhuke bhiksha dite hoilo sobakara mana
“(When the Lord took His first alms in Advaita Prabhu’s house just after taking sannyasa) Srivasa and all the other brahmana-devotees of the Lord wanted to invite the Lord for a meal.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 3. 168)
Caitanya Caritamrita (Adi 7.45-46):
kasite lekhak sudra candra-sekhara;
tar ghare rohila prabhu svatantra isvara
tapana misrera ghare bhiksha nirvahana……
“When in Benares, the independent Lord (Mahaprabhu) stayed in the house of the scribe Candrasekhara, who was a sudra, but He took His meals in the house of Tapan Misra (who was a brahmana)…”
Also in Caitanya Bhagavata (Antya 9.118-119) it is described that Mahaprabhu ate only from brahmanas –
tatha bhiksha amara, ye hoy lakshesvara; suniya brahmana sab cintita antara
vipragana stuti kori bolen gosai; lakshera ki day sahasreko karo nai
“I will invite invitations only from those who have one lakh. Hearing this, the brahmanas were all worried. The vipras said ‘O Lord, what to speak of a lakh, we don’t have even a thousand.”
It is also very clear from all these quotations that no one in Mahaprabhu’s entourage was initiated as a brahmana without being born one first, otherwise the above distinction would not have been made.
Although Mahaprabhu played the pastime that a brahmana and sannyasi can be enlightened by a sudra and a grihastha like Ramananda Raya, who, in Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya lila chapter 8, took Him to the limit of Vaishnava teachings as a siksha guru (kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene noy ye krishna tattva vetta sei guru hoy), Mahaprabhu would not accept meals from him. First He humbly submitted (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.43):
ei jani – kathin mora hridaya; sodhite sarvabhauma kohilen tomara milite
“I know that My heart is hard, hence Sarvabhauma told Me to meet you.”
But then He did follow the maryada, or external protocol – Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
18 December 31, 2013

heno kale vaidika eka vaishnava brahmana; dandavat kori koilo prabhura nimantrana
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.45)
“At that time a Vedic Vaishnava brahmana came and invited Mahaprabhu.” This proves that external protocol and spiritual appreciation are two separate worlds, which should not be mixed.
Sri Krishna proclaimed in Bhagavad-Gita (3.21-24) that He follows the rules, otherwise the worlds would go to ruin. Indeed, even in the ashtakaliya lila Krishna followed the external protocol –
tungi subhadra janani jananiti vijna vijnapita vrajapaya parivesanaya;
bhojyam kramat parivivesa sarohinika vipratmaja svadhava devara putrakebhyah
(Govinda Lilamrita 20.45)
“Subhadra’s mother Tungi was expert in etiquette and serving, so on mother Yasoda’s request and with Rohini’s help she served. First she served the brahmanas, then her husband, then her brothers-in-law and then the boys (including Krishna).”
Krishna was the last to get prasada. If the Supreme Lord can be that humble, should not sudras and mlecchas follow suit by simply accepting the fact that they do not belong to the upper class?
kim punar brahmanah punya bhakta rajarshayas tatha
(Bhagavad Gita 9.33)
“(If the women, vaisyas and sudras can attain the Supreme Destination) What to speak then of the brahmanas, the virtuous and the saintly kings?”
One may challenge here: “But what about these verses then, that are quoted in the Gosvamis’ books?”
sudram va bhagavad bhaktam nishadam svapacam tatha
vikshate jati-samanyat sa yati narakam dhruvam
“A votary of the Supreme Lord may be born a sudra, or nishada, nay, even a dog-eater, but anyone who views such a votary according to pedigree or caste, most certainly percipitates his fall to the infernal regions.” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10,119 ), or:
arcye vishnau sila-dhir gurushu nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhih….yasya vai naraki sah Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
19 December 31, 2013

“Those who consider the deity of Vishnu to be a mere stone, one’s superiors to be mere human beings and the Vaishnava to belong to a certain caste…..are surely hellish persons.” (cited in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s ‘Padyavali’, 114)
To that the response is: These verses are glorifications of the Vaishnavas, that caution us not to treat lower born Vaishnavas with disdain or contempt and urge us to keep them in honour. As in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s ‘Upadeshamrita’ (5)- krishneti yasya giri tam manasadriyeta dikshasti cet pranatibhih, “Mentally honour anyone who says Krishna, and bow down if someone has received initiation”, and the following verse –
drishtaih svabhava janitair vapushas ca doshair
na prakritatvam iha bhakta janasya pasyet
gangambhasam na khalu budbuda phena pankair
brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nira-dharmaih
“Though a devotee may have bad habits or a faulty body he should not be seen (judged) in this mundane way, just as Ganges-water is considered a divine substance though it may be covered with bubbles and foam.”
However, in practical Vaishnava-life we see that distinction is being made. Mahaprabhu would not eat grains from non-brahmana Vaishnavas, including Ramananda Raya (see pages 14-16), and Vaishnavas were mentioned with their caste-adjectives – certainly that wouldn’t make Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu a ‘hellish person’. Examples –
misrera sakha tenho prabhura purva dasa
vaidya-jati, likhana-vritti, varanasi-vasa
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.92)
“Candrasekhara was a friend of Tapan Misra and a former servant of the Lord. He was of a Vaidya-caste. His profession was writing and he lived in Benares.”
heno kale ailo vaishnava ‘krishnadasa’ nama
rajaputa-jati,—-grihastha, yamuna-pare grama
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 18.82)
“Just then a Vaishnava arrived named Krishnadas. He was of the rajaput-caste, a householder who lived in a village on the other bank of the Yamuna.”
sudra vishayi-jnane upeksha na koribe
amara vacane tanre avasya milibe
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 7.63) Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
20 December 31, 2013

“Please do not neglect him, thinking he belongs to a sudra family engaged in material activities. It is my request that You meet him without fail.”
yahan vipra nahi tahan ‘sudra-mahajana’
asi’ sabe bhattacarye kore nimantrana
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.60)
“Wherever there were no brahmanas – nonetheless, great sudra saints came and extended invitations to Balabhadra Bhattacarya.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had His Raghunathas – one was Raghunatha Vaidya, one was Raghunath Bhatta and one was Raghunath Das – all named according to jati.
Even Nityananda Prabhu, who is considered most liberal, had himself served by brahmanas during the chipped rice festival in Panihati –
ara tina kundikaya avasesha chilo; grase-grase kari’ vipra saba bhakte dilo
pushpa-mala vipra ani’ prabhu-gale dilo; candana aniya prabhura sarvange lepilo
“There was food remaining in the three other big pots of Lord Nityananda, and a brahmana distributed it to all the devotees, giving a morsel to each. Then a brahmana brought a flower garland, placed the garland on Nityananda Prabhu’s neck and smeared sandalwood pulp all over His body.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 6.95-96).
All members of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s entourage followed the social protocol. Sri Gadadhara Pandit was once forced by Vallabha Bhatta to hear his devotional explanations (bhatta jay, tabu pode kori balatkar, Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 7.96), although no one in Puri would hear them because they had already been rejected by Mahaprabhu (prabhur upekshay sab nilacaler jan; bhattera vyakhyan kichu na kore sravan, 7. 91). Thus Gadadhara ended up in a dilemma (sankate podilo pandit, koroye samsoy, 7.95). Nevertheless, because Vallabha Bhatta was of a high birth Gadadhara did not forbid him to speak his rejected theories (abhijatye pandit korite nare nishedhan, 7.97). He followed the protocol, though he risked scorn by his fellow Mahaprabhu-followers because of it, and actually received it too (tathapi prabhur gan kore pranaya rosha, 7.99).
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is the raganuga acarya pur sang, but he too kept the protocol, however transcendental raganuga bhakti is to the external world and even to compulsory devotion (vidhi bhakti). Though in the second verse of his Manah Siksha (teachings to the mind) he warned na dharmam nadharmam srutigana niruktam kila kuru “Do not engage in either religious or irreligious activities mentioned in the Vedas” and thus showed himself as being aloof from the world, still in the opening verse, yes even in the Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
21 December 31, 2013

opening line of Manah Siksha he said: gurau goshthe goshthalayishu su-jane bhu-sura gane “Oh mind, worship the Guru, Vraja-bhumi, the Vrajabasis, the saints and the brahmanas.”
In short, there is the internal world of bhakti and there is the external world of maryada (respect, protocol). The 12th Canto of the Bhagavata predicts a decay of Vedic society and the 6 Gosvamis have read the Bhagavata very well and commented upon it as well. They were therefore aware of what was going to happen later on in Kali yuga and could have created an artificial new caste system if they had wanted to, or, as they are puppets in Mahaprabhu’s hands, if Sriman Mahaprabhu had wanted to. But they did not do that and later acaryas should respect that and not speak before their turn.
Who or what is a Guru?
Q: Can a non-Hindu become a Guru in this life?
A: Non-Indian Vaishnava Gurus are falling down from Vedic and Vaishnava principles much more often than their Indian counterparts do. The Vaishnava scriptures show us why. Proponents of casteless Gurus quote this verse from Caitanya Caritamrita (Madhya 8,128):
kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene noy; yei krishna tattva vetta – sei guru hoy
“Whether someone is a brahmana, a sannyasi or even a sudra – whoever knows the thruth about Krishna is a Guru.”
However, the context in which this verse was spoken is as follows: Although Himself a brahmana and a sannyasi, Caitanya Mahaprabhu considered the sudra and grihastha Ramananda Raya to be His siksha guru, since He was on the receiving end of all the enlightenment passed on by Ramananda Raya. In the preceding verses Caitanya Mahaprabhu said about His personal asrama-status:
mayavadi ami to sannyasi; bhakti tattva nahi jani mayavade bhasi
sarvabhauma sange mora mon nirmala hoilo; krishna bhakti tattva koho, tahare puchilo
tiho kohe ami nahi jani krishna kotha; sabe ramananda jane; tiho nahi etha
tomara thai ailam tomara mahima suniya; tumi more stuti koro sannyasi janiya
“I am a mayavadi sannyasi, hence I don’t know about bhakti. I was purified in Sarvabhauma’s company, so I asked him: ‘Tell Me the truth about devotion to Krishna.” He (Sarvabhauma, although he was a brahmana) said: “I don’t know about Krishna. Ramananda knows all, but he is not here.” So I have come here after hearing of your greatness, but you praise Me because I am a sannyasi.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.124-127)
And then Mahaprabhu speaks the famous verse, in this context – kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene noy; yei krishna tattva vetta sei guru hoy – Ramananda Raya never gave Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
22 December 31, 2013

diksha to Mahaprabhu. The context of this verse is a personal one, and there is no question here of diksha. The word guru in this verse means siksha guru. The words yei krishna tattva vetta (“Whoever knows the truth about Krishna”) clearly show that this verse refers to the qualification of a siksha guru. After the famous kiba vipra-verse Mahaprabhu continues:
sannyasi boliya more na koro vancana; krishna radha tattva kohi’ purna koro man
“Don’t deprive Me because I am a sannyasi; fulfil My desire my speaking of Krishna and Radha.”
Indeed, throughout the lengthy conversation between Ramananda Raya and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu there is no mentioning of diksha anywhere!
Many westerners, who are not acquainted with Vedic culture, think that this idea of ‘brahmana by quality alone’ has always been the Vedic norm, but, in his comment on Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.128, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami himself confirms that it was introduced by Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati:
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore introduced the sacred thread ceremony for all Vaishnavas according to the rules and regulations.”
In the Haribhakti Vilasa (chapter 1), Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Gopala Bhatta Gosvami state that the first choice of a qualified guru should be a born brahmana — vipram pradhvasta kama (1.29) avadatanvayah suddhah svocitacara tatparah (1.32) “He must be from a spotless dynasty and dedicated to proper conduct.” brahmanah sarvakalajna (1.36). varnottame’tha ca gurau (1.37) These traits are not secondary requirements of a Guru. They are listed under the heading viseshatah sri guror lakshana – ‘Special characteristics of Sri Guru’. Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s commentary on Haribhakti Vilasa 1.32 –
avadatah suddhah patityadi dosha rahito’nvayo vamso yasya sad vamsa jata ityartha. suddhah svayam api patityadi dosha rahitah.
“The word avadata means that his family is free from the faults of being fallen. That means he comes from a good family. The word suddhah means that he himself is also not fallen.”
Monier Williams’ Sanskrit dictionary translates patita as: “fallen, dropped, descended, alighted, fallen upon or from, fallen (morally), wicked, degraded, out-caste…”
In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana (Krishna Janma Khanda 83.42) it is also said:
jati hinad guror mantrah grihniyan na kadacana
“Never take mantra from a casteless guru.” Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
23 December 31, 2013

If a qualified brahmana cannot be found, a qualified kshatriya must be sought, and so on downwards:
tad abhavad dvija sreshtha santatma bhagavanmayah
bhavitatma ca sarvajnah sastrajnah sat kriyaparah
siddhi traya samayukta acaryatve’bhishecitah.
kshatra vit sudra jatinam kshatriyo’nugrahekshamah
kshatriyasyapi ca guror abhavad idriso yadi
vaisyah syat tena karyasca dvaye nityam anugrahah
sajatiyena sudrena tadrisena mahamate
anugrahabhishekau ca karyau sudrasya sarvada
“In the absence of a qualified brahmana Guru, one can take a kshatriya Guru, who is filled with God consciousness, peaceful, knows all about the diksha ritual, knows scripture, is conversant with all rites, has the three siddhis (perfection in practise of mantra, worship of the Guru and the demigods, attained through practises like purascarana). Such a kshatriya-Guru can give diksha to his fellow kshatriyas as well as to vaisyas and sudras. Similarly sudras can always give diksha to their fellow sudras.” (Haribhakti Vilasa 1.47)
Furthermore, these verses of Haribhakti Vilasa say that one should not give pratiloma diksha, viz. a low caste Guru giving diksha to a high caste disciple — pratilomyam na dikshayet (1.52). Srila Narottama Das Thakura was an exceptional case – he gave diksha to high caste persons, but at the end he rose from the dead and his body melted like milk into the Ganga. This is not something that every non-brahmana that gives diksha to brahmanas can imitate.
There has never been a prohibition by the Vaishnava Acaryas or the scriptures to calling householder-acaryas ‘Gosvami’.
On the contrary, Sri Narottama Thakura Mahasaya sang: doya koro sitapati, advaita gosai, addressing the householder-Guru, the husband of Sita, Advaita Prabhu as gosai. Advaita is also repeatedly called gosvami in Kavi Karnapura’s ‘Caitanya Candrodaya Natakam’, and in Gaura Ganoddesa Dipika (76) he writes: sa evadvaita gosvami caitanyabhinna vigrahah “He, Advaita Gosvami, is non-different from Lord Caitanya.” To see the ‘caste-‘ Gosvamis as different from the Lords – Nityananda and Advaita – that they directly descend from in family line is an offence to Nityananda and Advaita, for the Vedas teach us atma vai jayate putrah — “So father, so son”, or: “The child is the image of the father.” (CC. Madhya 12.56) Lord Balarama said in Srimad Bhagavata (10.78.36): atma vai putra utpanna iti vedanusasanam; tasmad asya bhaved vakta “O worshipable sages, the Vedas declare that one’s own self is reborn as the son, therefore let Romaharshana’s son recite the Puranas to you!” pituh putro yena jata sa eva sah (S.B. 9.20.21): “The son belongs to the father. Indeed, the son is the father.”
Staying with family-succession, it is not true that one can/should not be initiated by one’s parents: Hemalata Thakurani, guru of Yadunandana Thakura, took initiation from her father Srinivasacarya, Krishna Misra took initiation from his mother Sita-devi and Virabhadra Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
24 December 31, 2013

Prabhu took intiation from his co-mother Jahnava-devi. Virabhadra was a son of Nityananda Prabhu, but according to ‘Advaita Prakasa’ he went to Advaita Prabhu for diksha. Advaita Prabhu, however, sent him back to his own family to take diksha there, which confirms that it was the wish of Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu that these family-guru paramparas would be created.
Family gurus (‘caste Gosvamis’) are sometimes rejected by pointing at Sri Jiva Gosvami’s Bhakti Sandarbha (210) tad etat paramartha gurvasrayo vyavaharika gurvadi parityagenapi kartavyam “One should give up a mundane guru and take a spiritual guru”, but this ‘mundane guru’ refers to a marriage-priest, village elder or parent, not to a family guru, for in Haribhakti Vilasa (4.141) the Brahma Vaivarta Purana is quoted:
upadeshtaram amnayagatam pariharanti ye
tan mritan api kravyadah kritaghnan nopabhunjate
“Even the vultures will not eat the dead corpse of the ungrateful one who abandons the amnayagatam guru.”
In his commentary to this verse Srila Sanatana Gosvami writes: amnayagatam kula kramayatam— This amnayagata guru means a guru who has come in a family succession.” For example, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was initiated by the family-guru Yadunandana Acarya, but he did not leave him to take diksha from, for example, Sri Rupa Gosvami. On the contrary, in Mukta Caritra [4] he acknowledged that he had gotten everything from his family Guru Yadunandana Acarya –
nama sreshtham manum api saci-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru purim mathurim goshtha-batim
radhakundam girivaram aho radhika madhavasam
prapto yasya prathita kripaya sri gurum tam nato’smi
“I bow down to my blessed Sri Guru (Yadunandana Acarya), by whose grace I have received the greatest name in existence, the holy name of Krishna, the 18-syllable Gopala-mantra, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the son of Mother Saci, Svarupa Damodara, Rupa Gosvami, his elder brother Sanatana Gosvami, the great city of Mathura, the pastures of Vraja, Radhakunda, the best of mountains Govardhana, and the hope of attaining Radhika and Madhava…..”
With ‘Sri Guru’ he could not have meant anyone else but Yadunandanacarya, for he lists all his other possible ‘gurus’ like Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara and Rupa Gosvami as his great gifts.
Who or what is a sannyasi?
Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments on the famous Bhagavad Gita verse sarva dharman parityajya (18.66), refuting Sankaracarya’s explanation that ‘giving up all dharma’ means that Arjuna should have taken Sannyasa: parityajya sannyasyeti na vyakhyeyam Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
25 December 31, 2013

arjunasya kshatriyatvena sannyasanadhikaran… ”Completely giving up dharma cannot mean sannyasa for Arjuna, for as a kshatriya he had no right to take sannyasa.”
This confirms the Vedic teaching that only brahmanas are eligible for sannyasa, what to speak of sudras or mlecchas?
Srimad Bhagavata (11.17.38) clearly says that sannyasa is only for brahmanas – pravrajed va dvijottamah.
Preaching is not a ground to give sannyasa – a vow of lifelong celibacy – to young westerners. The western audience is anyway not impressed nor does it respect saffron cloth, like Indians. They simply know nothing about it! Indeed, all devotees who opened the temples in America and Europe were white-clad householders!
Who or what is a spouse?
Due to air travel everyone mixes nowadays – Africans marry with Eskimos, Latinos with Chinese and Brahmins with Russians. Spiritual oneness and equality is transported down to the physical plane, with the slogan ‘we are all spirit souls anyway’. If we are all only spirit souls, with no subtle cultural coverings at all, then – 1) Why marry at all, because we are not at all this body (why even dress then?) 2) Why not marry a fly or a pig? They are also spirit souls. Despite spiritual equality there are huge cultural and economic differences between all the peoples that become Vaishnavas – the result of genetically mixing them up is confused children who are part of neither parents’ ethnicity or culture. This is called varna sankara, or a mixed race, in Bhagavad Gita (1.41-43). Spouses from poor countries (especially Indian men) exploit their rich spouses (usually naive gullible western girls). After they flattered them into sending them a plane ticket to the rich west they call them prostitutes and abandon them to start businesses in the west. For material relationships one must follow material rules. Srimad Bhagavata says: (11.17.39) griharthi sadrisim bharyam „A brahmacari who wants to marry should seek a bride like him.” sadrisim (like him) is glossed by Sridhara Swami as savarna, ‘of the same caste’. A marriage CAN be spiritual, as a side effect, but it is never the root cause of marriage. “I want sex, but only with a devotee girl/boy.” But the first motive is sex, not bhakti.
About respect in general
From Caitanya Caritamrita (Antya 4. 135-169) we learn that junior devotees should not instruct senior devotees. In this narration we see that Jagadananda Pandit advised Sanatana Gosvami to go to Vrindavana, but when Mahaprabhu heard that he was very angry, because Jagadananda Pandita was junior to Sanatana not just vyavahare, materially, by being younger in age, but also paramarthe, spiritually, because Sanatana Gosvami was like his Guru (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 4.159, vyavahare paramarthe tumi – tara guru tulya). Mahaprabhu thus set the standard for devotees of all time to act according to maryada, or protocol. He will be very angry when junior devotees instruct senior ones – Who and what is a brahmana? A Guru? Or a sannyasi?
26 December 31, 2013

maryada langhana ami sahite na pari (Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 4.166) “I cannot tolerate breach of the protocol.”
One should note, however, that if a devotee senior in age is inferior in spiritual advancement one need not heed the instructions of such a senior devotee-by-age-only. After all, Mahaprabhu said of Sanatana Gosvami:
kaha tumi – pramanika, sastre pravina; kaha jaga – kalikara batuya navina
(Caitanya Caritamrita Antya 4.167) “Where are you, expert in the scriptures and a great authority, and where is Jagadananda in comparison, a new student?” Sanatana Gosvami was not just superior in age.…….
Giving a ‘brahmana’-thread is meant to give respect to aspirants and flatter them into becoming your follower. It does not change the quality of your semen into brahmana-semen.
Without humility one cannot enter into the kingdom of God, and Vaishnava leaders that encourage their followers in thinking that they are equal to or even higher than brahmanas thus throw up serious barriers for them. Sriman Mahaprabhu kindly gave the keys to the kingdom of God with this formula:
trinad api sunicena taror iva sahishnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada harih
“Lower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree.
Expecting no honour for yourself, always giving honour to others.
In this way Hari is always to be glorified.”
maryada palana, or observing the protocol, is the way to get there.

Why a real unbroken diksa guru-parampara is absolutely necessary

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http://www.mediafire.com/view/e3717aola66h1d8/True_History_of_Bhaktisiddhanta.pdf

Why is a Guru-parampara Indispensable?

A guru parampara is an uninterrupted succession of devotees who have surrendered to

their guru. Without such surrender there is no Krsna –

yasya prasadad bhagavatprasado – yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto’pi

(Gurvastakam – 8)

Krsna cannot be approached directly; Krsna will not accept anyone unless he accepts the

attitude of a servant of His devotee in the form of the guru.

The Srimad Bhagavata (10.14.29) states:

athapi te deva padambujadvayaprasadalesanugrhita eva hi

janati tattvam bhagavanmahimno na canya eko’pi ciram vicinvan

[Moreover, Lord, one who has been blessed with a tiny bit of the mercy of your lotus feet

knows the truth of the your greatness, O Blessed One. Not some other one pondering it

over for a long time. -Ed.]

and

diksa-kale bhakta kore atma-samarpana

“At the time of initiation the devotee surrenders himself.”(C.c., Antya, 4.184)

Srila Rupa Gosvami teaches in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.74) that the first of the 64

means of devotion is sriguru-padasraya, surrender to a bona fide guru, as well as krsnadiksadisiksanam,

“initiation and teaching in Krsna-bhakti.”

The Bhagavata (11.21.15) states mantrasya ca parijñanam – “the mantra is purified by the

right knowledge.” A mantra without explanation is powerless, and Sri Visvanatha

Cakravarti writes in his commentary on this verse that one cannot just take mantras or

their purports from books to reach the same effect –

sadgurumukhat yathavat parijñanam mantrasuddhih

“The mantra is really pure when it emanates from the mouth of a bona-fide guru.”

guruvaktrad visnumantro yasya karne visatyayam

tam vaisnavam mahaputam pravadanti manisinah

(Brahmavaivarta Purana, Krsnajanma-khanda, 83.34)

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“The wise call those persons in whose ears the Visnu-mantra enters, as it emanated from

the guru’s mouth, greatly sanctified Vaisnavas.”

Sri Narahari Cakravarti writes about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s receiving diksa mantra

from Sri Isvara Puri:

nija diksa mantra tañre karnete kohiya

loilena mantra bhumi pori pranamiya || (Bhaktiratnakara, 5.2103)

“Sri Isvara Puri spoke his own diksa mantra into the ear of Nimai, who then fell on the

ground in obeisance.”

Furthermore, in verse 2109 of the same chapter it is said:

sampradaya-nivista hoile karya siddhi hoy

anyatra diksita mantra nisphala niscoy

“Success is achieved after entering a sampradaya (official tradition), otherwise the mantra

in which one is ‘initiated’ certainly won’t bear fruit.”

Success cannot be had by practising a mantra attained from a book. Such accumulation of

book knowledge is an offence to the guru (guror avajña), which is the third offence to the

chanting of the holy name. Thus people who consider initiation unnecessary cannot get

the full benefit of chanting Hare Krsna. It is also an insult to the vaisnava – pariprasnena

sevaya (Gita, 4.34). One should accumulate knowledge through submissive inquiry from

the saints and by serving them, otherwise Krsna will never be pleased. Hence the mantra

should also be received in an uninterrupted diksa-parampara, which is at the same time

an unbroken siksa-parampara. The argument ‘the holy name is transcendental and

therefore not dependent on all these external rituals’ will not work, for on the path of

bhakti everything depends on a service attitude, particularly towards the guru. The

argument that ‘only the siksa parampara or bhagavata parampara matters’ is also invalid,

for Haribhakti-vilasa (2.4) quotes this statement of Lord Siva from theVisnu-yamala:

adiksitasya vamoru krtam sarvam nirarthakam

pasuyonim avapnoti diksavirahito janah

“All activities of a non-initiated person are in vain. A person who is without initiation will

take birth as an animal.”

The Brahmavaivarta Purana, (Krsnajanma-khanda, 93.79) states:

na gurur mantradat parah –

“No guru is greater than the mantra-guru.”

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Sri Advaita Prabhu told His son Krsna Misra Gosvami in Advaita Prakasa (21.153-154):

vaisnavera madhye yei sampradaya hine sampradayi madhye yei gauraga na mane

krsna bahirmukha sei korimu niryasa

“Again, amongst the Vaisnavas, I consider those who have no sampradaya (and those who

do have a sampradaya but do not recognise Gauranga) averse to Sri Krsna and I will oust

them.”

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An ex-ISKCON devotee’s personal experience in embracing true Gaudiya Vaisnavism

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MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

by

Radhapada Das

Jaya Radhe!

My name is Radhapada Das, formerly known as Rati Das. After spending 20 years in

ISKCON (more or less, in good times and bad) I received diksa from the Mahanta of

Radhakunda, Baba Sri Ananta Das Pandit.

One may ask what prompted me to do it? Basically, I did it because I didn’t see any light

coming from the end of the ISKCON tunnel. In other words, I didn’t see even a ray of

hope for discovering my spiritual identity (spiritual svarupa), nor did I get any guidence

in geniune raganuga-bhakti.

(Bhakti that takes as its model the passionate love for Krsna of the people of Vraja, that is, the close

servants, friends, parents, and lovers of his youthful days in the land of Vraja)

Now, some may say, and especially those who knew me as Rati Das, that I was too

impatient. I should have given it more time. More than anything, I should get more strict

and serious about spiritual life as given to devotees in ISKCON by Srila Prabhupada. In

answer to them I say that I gave it plenty of time. Second there are those a thousand

times more serious and strict than me in ISKCON, whom I don’t see as having attained

any profound level of spiritual advancement or as being able to teach the techniques of

  1. raganugabhajana. Don’t get me wrong, there are advanced devotees in ISKCON, but only

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by ISKCON standards. There are many who have a taste for chanting the Holy Name in

kirtan or in japa and others that can give great talks on the philosophy and the pastimes.

There are many who can perform austerities like nirjal ekadashi´s and relish deity

worship, and also there are devotees who simply like to talk about Krsna Of course, we

cannot forget the great souls who have taken the message of Krsna a to the farthest and

most remote regions of the world. Certainly they all are worthy of my deepest respect and

veneration. Yes, there are quite a few dedicated devotees serving in a selfless manner.

However, I really don’t believe that there are devotees of this institution or of the

Gaudiya Mataha that are having revelations like those described in the biographies of the

great siddha-s and in the Goswami grantha-s [writings]. In my own personal life, I have

felt a vivid transformation of consciousness after taking diksa from my Gurudeva in

Radha Kunda. It is said that diksa is the process by which transcendental knowledge is

transmitted into the heart and obstacles are destroyed. I can honestly say that this was

what I experienced after diksa. The many years of hearing and chanting the songs and

teachings of Narottama Dasa Thakura and Bhaktivinoda finally cystalized in my

consciousness. No longer were these teachings some mysterious puzzle that I would solve

only after death. They were manifesting themselves to me directly. These teachings were

slowly being unpacked out of the mystery box and becoming tools for bhajan [personal

worship]. The teachings of the Goswamis were becoming more meaningful to me. In

addition, it became more and more apparent that what I had been practicing before was

not the real bhakti-sadhana [the practice of bhakti] of a follower of Sriman

Mahaprabhu’s sampradaya [community].

I must admit that after twenty years of hearing Vaisnava aparadha [offensive language or

behavior directed at Vaisnavas] of the devotees of true sampradaya-s, I was a little

skeptical about the authencity of the Gaudiya Vaisnava guru-pranali [lineage of teachers],

known to most devotees in ISKCON as the Babajis. When I first used to visit

Radhakunda during the month of Kartik, I had no connection with what was going on

there, other than hoping that one day, I would attain some krpa [mercy] from Sri Radha

by bathing there at Sri Kunda, doing parikrama [circumambulation] and listening to

Krsna lila [pastime] lectures by an ISKCON sannyasi’s [renunciant] there. The world of

the Gaudiya Vaisnava-s seemed alien to me. I could not relate to the austere appearances

of the devotees and places there, especially when I had been hearing for years that

everyone there is a dreaded sahajiya However, just before and after my wife and I

became truly initiated, as we began to become familiar with the Vaisnavas and the

environment, we began to discover a richness there undescribable by words, but available

through experience. Behind the hard, austere appearances of the devotees that we met,

we noticed very blissful personalities among them. Sometimes they appeared to me to

possess intoxicated feelings of inner bliss that I had not seen in ISKCON or Gaudiya

Matha devotees. My experience in ISKCON was that despite the opulent surroundings of

devotees, many appear morose, uptight or anxious. After some time in ISKCON, I began

to seriously consider that I joined a religious society that promised to free one from the

problems of life, viz. birth, death, old age and disease, but that failed to give to many even

65

basic satisfaction or peace of mind. Moreover, the lives of many of these devotees were

plagued with the ongoing, tumultuous problems raging within the ISKCON society itself.

My wife and I became acquainted with a German lady named Anuradha initiated by

Prana Krishna Baba of Radhakunda. We would visit her often in her humble room in

front of Radhakunda. One day, when we came to visit her, there was a devotee there

from Switzerland whom I knew from before, who had just received diksa from Ananta

Das Pandit. When she announced that he received diksa, something came over me. I had

this incredible urge to take diksa also and I began to ask what is being offered there

regarding spiritual life. They explained to me:

siddha-pranali, (This is the same as guru-pranali, the lineage of one’s gurus going back to the

immediate associates of Sri Caitanya, except that one is taught their siddha or eternal names and

identities in Krsna’s sport).

manjari-svarupa (Manjari-svarupa Is the most common identity adopted by the members of the

Caitanya tradition. It is the identity of a younger female friend of Radha. The manjari combines

feelings of friendship and desire for service towards Radha. They thus often have access to the most

confidential interactions between Radha and Krsna).

and manasi seva (This is service performed, or rather visualized, in the mind. This is the major

method of learning and cultivating the identity of the manjari in Caitanya Vaisnavism).

Then I began to consider things more carefully. I knew about these things before, having

read books by O.B.L. Kapoor and Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but now I had encountered

devotees who were practicing it. In a few days we were introduced to Ananta Das Pandit

and we began to visit him regularly and ask many questions. I was encouraged to read his

translated commentary on Ragavartma-candrika by Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada,

which when I began reading I couldn’t put down. I was blown away by the combination of

the deep philosophy of Visvanatha and Ananta Das Pandit’s explanation of the verses

regarding raganuga-bhakti. I was convinced. My wife also read the book and she was

eager to take diksa, too.

At that time, I was not so sure about the break in the disciplic succession of

ISKCON/GM. I had heard something previously, but it was not clear to me. I was not

very interested in the subject either. My main concern was to step up into higher

education and become ”specialized” in learning about manjari-bhava upasana [the

method of worshiping with the feelings of a manjari], which I was convinced one cannot

get in ISKCON/GM. I had had enough of the ”work now samadhi [realization] later”

philosophy. My membership in ISKCON was already casual. I had lost faith in

gurus/GBCs and the teachings that went with them. Going back home, ”back to

Godhead” by becoming a dedicated ISKCON career member had lost its appeal for me

years ago. In the temple where my wife was from in Slovenia, the leading book distributer

once gave a Srimad Bhagavata lecture and said that a person who chanted the Holy

Name all day was a sahajiya. I even heard that in one kirtan there, while a devotee was

singing the names of Sri Radha, another devotee plugged his ears with his fingers and

sung out: ”Jaya Visnupada, Jaya Visnupada” (the name of his guru back then). So I had

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had enough of the un-Gaudiya Vaisnava, offensive environment of ISKCON. I was

hoping deep in my heart for something better to come my way. However, the issue about

leaving my ISKCON guru still disturbed me a bit. I even remember crying one night

before I took diksa. Still, I felt that moving on was the proper thing to do. And you know

something, after I did it, I never ever regreted it!

One problem we faced was that my wife and I were working as Gurukula teachers in the

ISKCON temple in Vrindaban. Our main concern was how we were going to receive

diksa without letting anyone know. We wanted to stay in Vrindaban, and I liked teaching;

we didn’t want to get kicked out. So the solution was — don’t tell anybody. We were

undercover for over two years. Then slowly, slowly, we started letting our guard down, till

eventually we were discovered. We saw it as Sri Radharani’s krpa telling us it is time to

move on, to be true to ourselves, and to stop hiding.

In the recent year I have come to terms with the Bhaktisiddhanta issue, that is, his not

getting diksa from Gaurakisora Das Baba. I must admit it was depressing to have the big

bubble pop regarding the things we were taught about Bhaktisiddhanta, Bhaktivedanta

Swami, ISKCON/GM. I felt misled. Discovering that one had spent twenty years living

and telling others about things that were not a part of real Gaudiya Vaisnavism can be

disheartening. On the other hand, if it were not for ISKCON, I would never have heard

about Sri Caitanya, Radha-Krsna, Vraja Dhama, the Goswamis, and so forth. So I owe

ISKCON a great deal for pointing me in the right direction. I think that I was probably

not ready for real bhajan back then, that I needed the institutional teachings and facilities

to prepare me for the path of following the Goswamis.

Sometime ago someone presented me with this premise: ”Try to stretch your imagination.

What if a manjari from the spiritual world, Nayana Manjari (supposedly the manjari

svarupa of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati) decided to come down to this world and start

his/her own lineage?” Could it be possible? The first problem with that idea is why would

a nitya-siddha, an eternal associate from Vraja Dhama, descend to this world without the

Lord’s association?

se saba sangir sange je kaila vilasa

se-sanga na paiya kande narottama dasa

Being unable to obtain the association of Lord Gauranga, accompanied by all of these

devotees in whose association He performed His pastimes, Narottama Das simply weeps.

It is generally observed that the nitya-siddha-s accompany the Lord when He descends to

enact pastimes. If a parsada (eternal associate) of the Lord did descend after God had

wound-up his pastimes in this world, then for what purpose? Surely, it would be to teach

something to the world, especially to the devotees of the Lord. It would be greatly

appreciated, glorified, and remembered for all time to come by the Vaisnava community.

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However, from a historical point of view, that was not the case with Bhaktisiddhanta

Saraswati. Except for among his followers, he was not accepted within the mainstream of

Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Furthermore, he heavily critized the Babajis and caste Goswamis,

the standard followers of Mahaprabhu. At least in my opinion, it doesn’t seem likely that

an eternal associate of God, who embodies transcendental emotions and sattvika

qualities [qualities of peacefulness and goodness] would start a war with other devotees

of the Lord.

This was one of the issues I had sorted out regarding my previous connection with

ISKCON/Gaudiya Math. I became convinced, after objectively analyzing the evidence

available, that Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati did not take diksa from Gaurakisora Dasa

Babaji, as claimed by ISKCON/GM. The result is a spiritual practice within these

institutions that does not empower its followers to relish and experience the topmost

spiritual flavors of the Vrajabhakti that Sriman Mahaprabhu has kindly brought down

into this world, as documented and savoured by the Lord’s confidential associates

themselves, the Goswamis of Vraja. When we speak of ”a follower of Mahaprabhu” it

means a loyal adherent to the teachings and conclusions written down by the revered

Goswamis. It is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta that Sriman Mahaprabhu praised the

writings of Rupa Goswami, and He therefore blessed him and asked all the other

associates to bless Rupa Goswami with the power to describe bhakti. Similarly, the Lord

blessed Sanatana Goswami, Raghunatha Das Goswami and so forth. There is no

entrance into the kingdom of madhurya-rasa [the experience of sweetness or erotic love

for Krsna] in Vraja without accepting their teachings, because they are Sriman

Mahaprabhu’s instruments for the propagation of bhakti. Sriman Mahaprabhu is the

combined form of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in Vraja. Their confidantes, the manjaris,

descended in male forms as the Six Goswamis of Vraja.

As I mentioned earlier, I was discovered in ISKCON Vrindaban to have taken initiation

from Ananta Das Pandita Baba. This was one reason for our leaving our service as

teachers there, although we were not kicked out. Actually, the administrative heads there

were very kind to us throughout our service there, as well as when our inner life and

connection with the Radhakunda Vaisnavas was discovered. Our main consideration for

leaving was financial. It is tough to live in Vrindaban as grhastha [householder]

foreigners. We also anticipicated some trouble from diehards within ISKCON. That was

another reason for our leaving. I have probably disrupted relationships with devotees in

ISKCON and lost my status as an older devotee and kirtan singer in the society.

However, I gained other friends, and especially the merciful glances of some of the

Gaudiya Vaisnava residents of Radhakunda. I did lose opportunities to lead kirtan in

ISKCON, but I got the opportunity to lead them with the Gaudiya Vaisnavas near Sri

Radha’s Lake. In addition, I received a very deep bhajan process, techniques in

remembering and worshiping Radha-Krsna. It is a genuinely fulfilling and real internal

experience. This bhajan is not dependent on a hierarchical system of managerial leaders

who may acknowledge your contributions or not, or on enjoying the thrill of big festivals.

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It is the path of a life spent inwardly cultivating your loving relationship with Sri Radha-

Krsna, guided mercifully by a true guru.

My humble advice is this for those who are hesitant to traverse the path of bhajanas

taught by the Goswamis, starting with diksa in a bona-fide sampradaya: put aside the

deep-rooted misconceptions implanted by the ISKCON/GM teachings against Babajis,

the siddha-pranali, smarana, etc., and with a sincere heart, see if you really want to be a

true follower of the great Mahajans [saints]. Spend some time reading the Goswami

grantha-s [books] and associate with devotees who have taken diksa in the authentic

Gaudiya Vaisnava lines.

Jaya Sri Radhe!