Open Letter to Muralidhar Das

by Puru Das Adhikari

Dear Prabhus,

Hare Krsna. Please accept my dandavat pranams at the feet of any sincere reader of this letter of reply to Murlidhar das.

Murlidhar. . . All glory to Sri Guru and Gauranga

Hare Krishna! My name is Muralidhar das and I am a disciple of Srila B R Sridhar Maharaj, the founder-Acharya of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math at Nabadwip Dham, India.

Puru. . . My name is Puru Das Adhikari, and I am a disciple of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness, and the siksa disciple of Srila B.V. Narayana Maharaja, the vice-president of the Kesavaji Guadiya Matha, Mathura U.P.

Concpicuous by its absence in your post is any obeisances or respects to the assembled vaisnavas you are writing to.

Any real follower of Srila Sridhar Maharaj would not indulge his mind in the Vaisnava aparadha that you have manifest..

Your recent article on VNN on the disappearance day of one of our great acaryas, the siksa guru and beloved godbrother of my diksa gurudeva was highly inappropriate. Instead of glorifying Srila Sridhar Maharaj you wrote a politically oriented piece about the appointment of Govinda Maharaj as the president acarya of the matha. You said little if nothing in glorification of Srila Sridhar Maharaja, and your article was dissapointing to anyone looking for praise or information regarding Srila Sridhar Maharaj himslef, or his transcendental position in our guru varga.

Whatever disagreement Govinda Maharaj has with Srila Narayan Maharaj is best left between them. The matter they took issue on, (a Rathaytra in Nabadwipa, and subsequent newspaper ciriticsm of the Caitanya Saraswath Mathaís lake, which is fished) is an event long in the past. We could elaborate on it here but to no avail. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thaura advises us to "forget he past that sleeps."

Brahmanas are supposed to give up their anger and not hold grudges over decades.

Muralidhar. . ." I am writing to devotees around the world because I want to make it known to devotees everywhere that the teachings and misconceptions of Bhaktivedanta Narayan Maharaj are totally different from the teachings of Srila Sridhar Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada."

Puru. . . You cannot prove this. If anything the opposite is true. If you read Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Bhagavad gita it is apparant that he is a rasika Vaisanva of the highest order and clearly understood the raga marg of our line and the fact the madhurya rasa is clearly indicated by Lord Krsna in his instruction to Arjuna to surrender. If you take the time to read your own spiritual master's book,

"Subjective Evolution of Consciousness", his explanations of the four catur sloka of the gita clearly indicates his understanding and your lack of the same. Please do not presume to speak on Srila Sridhar Maharaj's or Srila Prabhupada's behalf in this or any regard until you understand the essence of what they were also teaching.

Muralidhar. . ."In the eyes of some inexperienced people, Narayan Maharaj's teachings seem to be in line with the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhar Maharaj. In the past two years, Narayan Maharaj's followers have created confusion in the minds of some junior disciples of Srila Sridhar Maharaj and his successor Srila Govinda Maharaj. Narayan Maharaj's teachings are very illusory for the neophyte devotees, and now we are seeing that many neophyte devotees have fallen under the spell of his illusion".

Puru. . . Envy of another vaisanava of higher realization is discussed in Srila Narahari Sakara Thakura's Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta. Another shastra you might read to gain some understanding. Consider these verses and in particular read text 38-39 and 46. We have seen this phenomenon in iskcon, and now we see it from your camp as well. His Divine Grace Srila Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj, the president acarya of the Shree Caitanya Gaudiya Matha was just in New York City for one week We spoke beifly with him about how iskcon Miami advised its member not to attend Srila Narayan Maharajís sanga or hear from him, during his recent U.S. tour. His reply was that if anyone seeks to love Lord Krsna then " he should love his parts and parcels. Lord Krsna's devotees are very dear to Him. No one should offend viasnavas. It is a very dangerous business." He was refering directly to the iskcon members who refuse to allow Sila Narayan maharaj to speak in their mathas. Since you are indulging in the same tac we can assume Srila Ballabh tirtha Maharj will be similarly displeased with your behavior, as will Lord Krsna Himself.

Your vain effort to please your gurudeva at the expense of senior devotees will only end for you in the same way that Asvatthams' vain attempt to please Duryodhana back fired on him. He killed the sleeping sons of Draupadi and offered their heads to his senior, who was dying on the battlefield, lying in ignomy with broken thighs. Even Durydhana did not approve of his dastardly deed and when he was offered the heads as those of the Pandvas he quickly crushed them in his hands and knew they were not the skulls of his "cousin enemies." He was not pleased. Similarly I am certain that whatever differences may be there between your gurudeva and my beloved siksa guru, they are best left between them, and you and I need not interfere. I am certain that Srila Govinda Maharaj will not be pleased by your effort any more than Duryodana was by Asvatthamas. If he sanctions your offensive behabior then he can also be rejected on the basis of Naraharai Sakara Thakura's recommendation in sloka 64 of the Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta.

We take seriously the advice of Srila Narahari Sakara Thakura,and will not intefere with anyone's faith in their guru. I suggest to you to cease and desist with your smear campaign and do the same. Many things could be said about Srila Govinda Maharaj as well. What good is accomplished by such behavior?

Sri Krsna Bhajanamrta of Srila Naraharai Sakara Thakura Verse 38
One should never engage in criticizing a Vaisnava or neglecting a Vaisnava even in joking. For Vaisnavas are so glorious that there is nothing to regret even if one sacrifices ones life for their benefit.

Verse 39
No one should find fault with a Vaisnava for his activities or behavior. What person is free from the influence of Kali Yuga or has perfect pure behavior and action?

Verse 46
If one's initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master are of small spiritual potency, or in other words, if they do not poses a special power to give spiritual instruction on worship for devotional service, then one may listen from the mouth of other great advanced Vaisnavas and understand the special instructions.

However, thereafter, the disciple must go to his spiritual master for his confirmation or instructions.

Puru. . . Here are other verses from the Bhajanamrta that you should read and consider so you can better understand how to behave amongst the devotee community at large.

Verse 29
It is certainly true that all Vaisnavas are on the same transcendental platform. However, although amongst Vaisnavas there may be a difference in spiritual strength, how will the less intelligent materially attached sense-gratifiers, who become afraid justly seeing the horrifying appearance of beggar mendicants, ascertain the actual strength of a saintly person? Since they cannot distinguish between a lesser spiritual force and a greater spiritual force, they do not know how to deal appropriately with different saintly persons.

Therefore they treat every one the same. Since they don't know how to distinguish the specific character of greater spiritual personalities from lesser spiritual personalities rather than risk their destruction for neglecting a potentially spiritual personality they treat everyone on the same level.

Verse 30
However all those practicing Vaisnavas progressing on the path of devotional service, who have heard and understood the conclusion of the revealed sastras and are therefore endowed with special intelligence are able to recognize who is more spiritually powerful and who is less spiritually powerful. Those who are expert in the science of devotional service can understand in whose body what quantity of Krsna's spiritual potency is present. Being able to understand who has less spiritual potency and who has more spiritual potency, they offer special treatment considering the scriptural injunctions in this regard.

Verse 31
If one can distinguish between the greater or lesser spiritual strength of a person but does not accordingly offer respect, then that person shall be held guilty for that offense.

Verse 32
For the reason mentioned before, if two Vaisnavas come at the same time, one of greater strength, one of lesser spiritual strength, first one has to offer respect to the Vaisnava of greater strength then offer to the Vaisnava of lesser strength.

Verse 33
Should the respect due to a Vaisnava of greater strength or to a Vaisnava of lesser strength be offered at the same level if they come at a different time? Equal respect should not be offered to both even if they are not present at the same time.

Verse 34
If a volcano type of fire is burning, the wise man will not first put out.......first one has to be able to extinguish the volcano fire then a candle of deep light can easily be extinguished. Similarly if one is able to appropriately receive and respect Vaisnavas possessed of great spiritual force to their satisfaction, then on shall easily be able to satisfy those Vaisnavas of lesser potency.

Verse 35
If a person of small spiritual advancement sees a great devotee endowed with considerable spiritual potency being worshipped and given respect, should the less advanced person become angry upon seeing this? For this offence against the more advanced person's spiritual position the foolish offender will ruin whatever spiritual potency he possesses. Subsequently, in the future, such angry persons simply plan how they can punish those who have participated in such worship.

Verse 36
Those who are well-versed in all of these matters, having heard properly from authorities, those Vaisnavas who are enthusiastically engaged in worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead and all those transcendentalists who are practicing the spiritual path, know the truths in regard to these matters. However, in spite of knowing these truths, if they do not appropriately offer worship, then they will be spiritually ruined. However, if they consider the respective spiritual strength or lack of strength and accordingly offers respect then they will certainly advance in Krsna Consciousness.

Verse 37
For those who take shelter of the great Sumeru mountain what can others do to harm them? Others should offer them worship as devotees with respect and service.

Verse 38
One should never engage in criticizing a Vaisnava or neglecting a Vaisnava even in joking. For Vaisnavas are so glorious that there is nothing to regret even if one sacrifices ones life for their benefit.

Verse 39
No one should find fault with a Vaisnava for his activities or behavior. What person is free from the influence of Kali Yuga or has perfect pure behavior and action?

Verse 40
Because the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord are always meditating on Lord Sri Krsna the contamination of sinful activities cannot come upon them. Because a Vaisnava's body has the fire of Krsna Consciousness within it, even if they are fallen, this fire of Krsna Consciousness will burn up to ashes any material contamination.

Verse 41
However, those who are not able to understand the respective levels of spiritual potency may take shelter of this example. As in the Ganges there are many waves, and some of these waves are larger then other waves but all of the waves are considered to be sacred, one wave being not considered more holy than another wave, similarly, all types of Vaisnavas, those who are spiritually strong and those who are not so strong, can be offered equal worship. Considering this perspective in such circumstances that can be accepted as perfect worship. Here completes the conclusion in this regard.

Verse 42
All Vaisnavas are considered as guru or spiritual master.

Verse 43
Amongst all of the Vaisnavas the initiating guru (diksa-guru) and instructing guru (siksa-guru) are special.

Verse 44
It is proper to offer these two special respect.

Verse 45
Amongst all of the other spiritual masters these two (diksa-guru and siksa-guru) spiritual masters' orders are to be followed.

Verse 46
If one's initiating spiritual master and instructing spiritual master are of small spiritual potency, or in other words, if they do not poses a special power to give spiritual instruction on worship for devotional service, then one may listen from the mouth of other great advanced Vaisnavas and understand the special instructions.

However, thereafter, the disciple must go to his spiritual master for his confirmation or instructions.

Puru. . .If your gurudeva rejects the siksa from other Vaisnavas who are in our line, and preaching according to the line of Srila Rupa Goswami, then he is also subject to scrutiny and may be evaluated by any sincere sadkhaka according to sloka 60 (which follows) and then 64,otherwise not. You should be very careful not to misrepresent him in such matters., or over step your bounds as a siksa follower and imitate.

Verse 47
One should not disobey the order of the spiritual master.

Verse 48
Just as a faithful son may go out for earning money and subsequently brings to his father the wealth gained, later the son may ask for some allowance from the father and whatever he receives from the father he is entitled to spend for his own enjoyment. Similarly, a disciple may hear some instructions from another advanced Vaisnava but after gaining that good instruction he must bring it and present it to his own spiritual master. After presenting them, he should hear the same teachings again from his spiritual master with appropriate instructions.

Verse 49
If the son earns money but does not give it to the father and instead, directly enjoys the wealth, he is considered to be a fallen son and a sinful person. Similarly a disciple who listens to the words of other Vaisnavas, even if their instructions are proper and true, but does not reconfirm these teachings with his own spiritual master and instead directly personally accepts these instructions, is considered a bad disciple and a sinner.

Verse 50
For this reason, in all circumstances all Vaisnava are offered respect like one offers respect to one's spiritual master. However, with body, mind and words one serves one's own spiritual master.

Verse 51
Even if the performance of one's devotional activities one has disobeyed the spiritual master, still one should not give him up, but should remain faithfully with him, because all authorities say that the shelter of one's own spiritual master is best and perfect (even if another spiritual master is more powerful).

Verse 52
Kindly understand this example:

Just as one respects one's father as a guru, his (the father's) older and younger brothers are also similarly respected, but nonetheless, the father is worthy of the most respect. Not withstanding the above, if the father's guru, even if he is family related, comes, one should double the respect, as he is the spiritual father of the father, or the guru of the guru. He is offered twice the puja or respect.

This behavior if recognized as appropriate by all authorities.

Verse 53
Just as if, during daily life, the brothers (older or younger) of the father criticize him, still one takes shelter of one's father, similarly, one remains under the shelter of one's own spiritual master, even if he is criticized by his older or younger god brothers. Just as one depends upon one's father for one's livelihood, one must depend upon the strength of the spiritual master for advancing in devotional service.

Verse 54
If a father or spiritual master or husband are not possessed of outstanding qualities even then they are always worshipable.

Verse 55
Taking shelter of the above-mentioned persons one may even disagree with those senior to oneself.

Verse 56
In this world, what kind of person is there who can remain alive at the expense of his father's or guru's defamation or disgrace?

Verse 57
Everyone considers that if their spiritual master is very powerful then he himself is powerful but that if his spiritual master is less powerful, then he is, therefore weaker, and according to the attitude of the spiritual master the disciple gains the same attributes. Those disciples who are intelligent can understand the desires of the spiritual master directly through their intelligence. Other disciples, who are less intelligent understand by directly hearing instructions from the spiritual master. These activities are being practiced since time immemorial.

Verse 58
Learned Vaisnava authorities say that these instructions are the perfection of religiosity.

Verse 59
If the spiritual master commits a wrongful act breaking Vaisnava regulatative principles then in that case one should in a solitary place, confront him for his rectification using logic and appropriate conclusions from sadhu, sastra and guru references, but one is not to give him up.

Verse 60
One should not be hesitant or fearful because one is confronting or challenging a spiritual master. "For it has been prescribed that one must appropriately discipline even a spiritual master who is:

* bewildered about what he should or shouldn't do;
* who is inexperienced or ignorant:
* who has deviated from the Krsna conscious path;
* or if he is bewildered by false pride.
Verse 61
This statement of the revealed scriptures is applicable at all times and under all circumstances.

Verse 62
The natural behavior of the Vaisnava devotees is to take complete refuge of Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, accepting Him as their principal and real shelter. The very life of the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord is singing the glories of Lord Sri Krsna, describing and expanding the fame of Lord Sri Krsna, and discussing the nectar of His transcendental pastimes.

Verse 63
The authorized course of action is to continue, as before, with one's prescribed devotional service. One may take guidance through or instructions from the Vaisnavas, as all Vaisnavas are considered guru or "spiritual master," or one may use one's own intelligence,duly considering the relevant instructions from sadhu, sastra andguru. In all cases one should continue in one's devotional service.

Verse 64
However, if the spiritual master:

* acts envious towards 'isvarebrantah', that which is connected with the Supreme;
* is bewildered regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead;
* is averse to expanding the fame of Lord Krsna;
* personally refuses to accept hearing or chanting about the glorious pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna;
* has become totally bewildered, listening to the false praise of ignorant persons and day by day is more materially contaminated and fallen then the spiritual master must be renounced.
Verse 65
Under those circumstances one should not doubt, "How can I give up my spiritual master?" With a strong desire for achieving spontaneous devotional service and attaining the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee accepts the shelter of a spiritual master, if that spiritual master takes on "asuric" qualities or a demoniac mentality then it is one's duty to reject such a demon "asura" guru and in his place accept a Krsna conscious spiritual master and worship him.

Verse 66
By taking shelter of the strength of the Krsna conscious spiritual master's devotional service the ill effects or contamination of the demoniac previous spiritual master is counteracted and destroyed. These activities are recommended by all Vaisnava authorities as the authorized conclusions of the sastra.

Verse 67
During the pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu there have been many practical examples of the above.This concludes the deliberation and final conclusions of sadhu , sastra on guru on the spiritual master and related matters.

Puru. . .If Srila Govinda Maharaj does not want his disciples to hear from Srila Narayan Maharj then they must be faithful to their gurudeva's instructions, unless they have realization that he is also acting inapproriately. Then they can act according to their conscience and sloka 64 of the Bhajanamta, otherwise not.

Verse 64
However, if the spiritual master:

* acts envious towards 'isvarebrantah', that which is connected with the Supreme;
* is bewildered regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead;
* is averse to expanding the fame of Lord Krsna;
* personally refuses to accept hearing or chanting about the glorious pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna;
* has become totally bewildered, listening to the false praise of ignorant persons and day by day is more materially contaminated and fallen then the spiritual master must be renounced.
Murlidhar. . .Narayan Maharaj is also taking advantage of the confusion felt by many ISKCON devotees after the falldown of their initiating Gurus.

Puru. . . This is not true. Your fault finding poison concering Srila Narayan Maharaj's motives are extremely unfortunate for you.

Be very careful. These aparadhas will kill your bhakti creeper.

Murlidhar. . .. Narayan Maharaj's followers are encouraging devotees to leave ISKCON.

Puru. . . ISKCON does enough on its own to discourage any of Sila Prabhupada's actual disciples to bother participating or looking for association there. This is explained by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakura in his Bhakti-tattva viveka. More suggested reading for you.

This is also not true. ISKCON is rejecting anyone who folows the Cc. Adi lila 1.35 and accepts any siksa guru, . If your matha is going to be as close minded we will reject your association as well.. Iskcon leaders falsely accused and offended Srila Sridhar Maharaj of many things when he would not compromise the highest standards of Vaisnava understanding for their political agenda. Ironic you are implicating his matha in similar behavior.

Murlidhar. . . and take initiation from their guru, while Narayan Maharaj is also advertising himself as a "pure devotee" and telling everyone he meets that he intimately understands the "rasa" pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Govinda.

Puru. . .Now you have done it baba. You are in trouble More blatant un truth and Vaisanva aparadha monumental Who are you to judge Srila Narayana Mahraj's position? Srila Prabhupada asked Srila Narayan Maharaj to assist his disciple., to place him in samadhi, etc. We have already been though all this nonsense with Ravindra and Badri . There is no need to re write to you to counter the same offense. I suggest you read Jnana das's article "Shouting like Hell" yourself.

Buddahra Prabhu and Aghraya have also written comprehensive papers on this subject. When you are prepared to read them let me know and I will send you their web locations.

Murlidhar. . . In fact, Narayan Maharaj goes one step further and tells his new disciples to constantly meditate on the pastimes of Krishna with the Gopis, in direct opposition to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhar Maharaj that only very advanced devotees should contemplate these pastimes.

Puru. . . This is also not true. I have spent considerable time with Srila Narayana Mahraj. his preaching is perfect for time and circumstance and the mentality of the audience. He presents more tattva and siddhanta lectures than rasa consistantly when he tours. His rasika orientation is not shared by you and your gurudeva, fine. But do not criticise based on such poor fund of knowlege. Perhaps you should read His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's book, Krsna Book. All these lilas are discussed in vivid detail there, as well as in the Ramananda Samvad of the Cc. Madhya lila. This topic was also written upon by His Divine grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. The topic is not illegal, but reserved for advanced devotees. Any acarya bold enough to understand how to present the Lords' eternal pastimes in form digestable by the jiva souls who are conditioned here is doing so by Lord Krsna's plan and desire.

We can only conclude that your reluctance to hear and chant about he Supreme Lord's glories is a symptom of a diseased envious mentality. Envy of Krsna, turned into envy of Sri Guru. Why else did the Supreme Lord reveal His eternal pastimes, 5,000 years ago in Vraja, if not for us to hear and chant about them? This sravanam- kirtanam must be under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. If your gurudeva feels you are not ready to hear such lila then you shouldn't. But you should not ciriticise others for such bona fide hearing and chanting due to your own immaturity.

Muralidhar. . .This "preaching" of Narayan Maharaj that newcomers should meditate on the "rasa" pastimes of Sri Krishna with the Gopis is the central issue dealt with in the article at http://www.mandala.com.au/rupanuga/

Puru. . . I may look at this article but am not too inclined to take it seriously let alone waste any time responding to such. Any response would just give such fallacious misrepresentation more credit than it deserves.

Muralidhar. . .Please excuse my offences if you consider this unsolicited email an intrusion.

Puru. . .Better you apologize to Srila Narayan Maharaj for your fault finding foolishness in an effort to accomlish what I cannot say. Also to everyone you have mistakenly sent your poisonous letter of admonition to as well.

You should not imitate your gurudeva. Leave such admonitions, up to him and for his disciples alone, if he sees fit. Such matters are also more discretely kept private. Did Srila Govinda Maharaj ask you to embark on this suicidal campaign of aparadha on the internet? I doubt it very seriously.

Let me conclude with some remarks from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, who you purport to follow:

"So, the absolute and the relative are two different classes of interest. And we find more importance in the absolute interest. We must be sincere to our own creed. The form is necessary to help me in a general way to maintain my present position. At the same time, my conception of the higher ideal will always goad me to advance, to go forward, and wherever I do, I must follow the greater model, the greater ideal. Spiritual life is progressive, not stagnant. We are in the stage of sadhana, and we want to go ahead, not backwards. The formal position will help me to maintain my present status, and my extraordinary affinity for the ideal will goad me towards the front. The search for Sri Krsna is dynamic and living, so adjustment and readjustment is always going on. And we should also change our present position accordingly, so that we may not have to sacrifice the high ideal for which we have come. Einstein had to leave Germany and go to America for his high ideal of life. And so many similar instances may be found in the world. The ideal is all in all. The highest ideal in a man is his highest jewel. Our most precious gem is our ideal.

. . .What to speak of ordinary things, even the guru, may have to be abandoned. One may even have to give up one's own spiritual guide, as in the case of Bali Maharaja, or one's relatives, as in the case of Vibhisana. In the case of Prahlada, his father had to be given up, and in the case of Bharata Maharaja, it was his mother. In the case of Khatvanga Maharaja, he left the demigods, and in the case of the yajna patnis, (the wives of the brahmanas ) they left their husbands in the endeavor to reach the Absolute Personality.

We need society only to help us. If our affinity to the society keeps us down, then that should be given up, and we must march on. There is the absolute consideration and the relative consideration. When they come into clash, the relative must be given up, and the absolute should be accepted. If my inner voice, my spiritual conscience decides that this sort of company cannot really help me, then I will be under painful necessity to give them up, and to run towards my destination, wherever my spiritual conscience guides me. Any other course will be hypocrisy, and it will check my real progress. If we are sincere in our attempt, then no one in the world can check us or deceive us; we can only deceive ourselves (na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati ) [Bg. 6.40]. We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere." (Sri Guru and His Grace)

So you undertsand we reject sectarianism wherever it comes from, be it iskcon or the gaudiya matha, or supposedly the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math . When institutionalism rears its ugly head then we remember the words of our own gurudeva in the Cc. Adi lila Ch. 12.8

"Therefore, we do not belong to any faction.'

Your recent efforts will only serve to further divide the vaisnava community. If you think that this is a good thing, then perhaps you should re consider the effect your ill conceived and poorly executed "warnings" will have.

Those of us who value sadhu sanga will not be affected by your zealous fanatacism. The ritvik camp does not disturb our resolve either. Neither does the iskcon gbc. You will definately make points with them, but you will not please Lord Krsna or even your own gurudeva, who I am sure must have better discrimination in such matters.

Your servant,

Puru Das Adhikari

Curator of the Bhaktivedanta Memorial

N.B. This preface to "The Nectar of Instruction," written by His Divine Grace A.B. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is very clear on what the direction and emphasis of our gaudiya line is about. You should kindly read it carefully.

Preface

The Krsna consciousness movement is conducted under the supervision of Srila Rupa Gosvami. The Gaudiya Vaisnavas, or Bengali Vaisnavas, are mostly followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, of whom the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana are direct disciples. Therefore Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung:
rupa-raghunatha-pade ha-ibe akuti
kabe hama bujhaba se yugala-piriti
"When I am eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvamis, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Radha and Krsna." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in order to bestow upon human society the benediction of the science of Krsna. The most exalted of all the activities of Lord Krsna are His pastimes of conjugal love with the gopis. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the mood of Srimati Radharani, the best of the gopis. Therefore, to understand the mission of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and follow in His footsteps, one must very seriously follow in the footsteps of the six Gosvamis--Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta and Dasa Raghunatha.

Sri Rupa Gosvami was the leader of all the Gosvamis, and to guide our activities he gave us this Upadesamrta (The Nectar of Instruction) to follow. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left behind Him the eight verses known as Siksastaka, Rupa Gosvami gave us Upadesamrta so that we may become pure Vaisnavas.

In all spiritual affairs, one's first duty is to control his mind and senses. Unless one controls his mind and senses, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guna, by following the instructions of Rupa Gosvami, and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed.

Advancement in Krsna consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower. A follower of the Krsna consciousness movement should become a perfect gosvami. Vaisnavas are generally known as gosvamis. In Vrndavana, this is the title by which the director of each temple is known. One who wants to become a perfect devotee of Krsna must become a gosvami. Go means "the senses," and svami means "the master." Unless one controls his senses and mind, one cannot become a gosvami. To achieve the highest success in life by becoming a gosvami and then a pure devotee of the Lord, one must follow the instructions known as Upadesamrta, which have been given by Srila Rupa Gosvami. Srila Rupa Gosvami has given many other books, such as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Vidagdha-madhava and Lalita-madhava, but Upadesamrta constitutes the first instructions for neophyte devotees. One should follow these instructions very strictly. Then it will be easier to make one's life successful. Hare Krsna.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Visvarupa-mahotsava
Krsna-Balarama Mandira
Ramana-reti
Vrndavana, India

[Originally published 08/18/99 on VNN]


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