Reflecting on Unique Aspects of Srila Prabhupada's Preaching and Teaching
A Glorification of theTranscendental Life and Precepts of Srila Prabhupada
Written for the occasion of Srila Prabhupada's Appearance Day, 26th Febuary 1970
by Sri Srimad Bhakti Srirupa Siddhanti Goswami Maharaja
His Internal Bhajana
We notice two prominent aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s supramundane pastimes.
The first is his internal (antaranga) bhajana, which is comprehended only by those of his
disciples whose anarthas have been eradicated. This principle is indicated in the following
pastime. The damsels of Vraja, who were afflicted with pangs of separation from Krishna,
the embodiment of all nectarean rasa, met Him at Kurukshetra. There, by attracting Him
and bringing Him to their very own place, Sri Radha-kunda, they tried to arrange His meeting with Sri Radha during the midday pastimes. These pastimes take place on the pretext of performing Surya-puja, the internal, profound purpose of which cannot be understood by outsiders. In the same way, many unfortunate persons like myself, could not comprehend that on the surface of Srila Prabhupada’s pastime of teaching about antaranga-bhajana was another pastime, which was one of deception.(Srila Prabhupada’s desire was to teach every one about antaranga-bhajana, but not everyone was qualified for that. With the aim of freeing them from anarthas and qualifying them for such bhajana, he enacted the pastime of introducing many external (pancaratrika) activities, such as constructing temples, performing deity worship, making exhibitions, collecting bhiksha and farming. Noting only these external activities, sahajiyas who wanted to jump into antaranga-bhajana without the proper qualification, kept a distance from him.They thought, “If we go to Prabhupada, he will simply engage us in these external activities instead.” In this way they were deceived. But those who dedicated themselves to these ‘external’ services under his guidance eventually, by his mercy, became freed from anarthas, and thus became qualified to perform antaranga-bhajana.
Also, by his hari-katha, Srila Prabhupada mostly refuted impersonalism and sahajiyism, but this alone was not his real purpose. One who exclusively considers these external activities to be his real preaching is deceived. Srila Prabhupada himself said that he has not come to this world to cut the jungles of misconceptions, but he had to plough the land of the hearts of the people so that the seed of pure devotion could be planted and watered and thus grow there without hindrance.)
Among Srila Prabhupada’s instructions we find: “Our supreme engagement is to serve the Vrajavasis, who are distraught in separation from Krishna after He has gone to Mathura.” Sri Caitanya-caritamrita describes the mood manifested by Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who nourished vipralambha-rasa upon seeing Jagannatha. At that time He was absorbed in the bhava of Sri Radha in Her pastimes of transcendental madness born of separation from Krishna.
ye kale karena jagannatha darasana
mane bhavena, kurukshetre paiyachi milana
ratha-yatraya age jabe karena nartana
tanha ei pada matra karaye gayana
“sei ta’ parana-natha painu
jaha lagi madana-dahane jhuri’ genu”
ei dhuya gane nace dvitiya prahara
krishna laiya vraje jai – ei bhava antara
ei-bhave nritya-madhye pade eka sloka
sei slokera artha keho nahi bujhe loka
“yah kaumara-hara cetah samutkanthate”
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took darsana of Lord Jagannatha, He would think, “I have been able to meet with Krishna at Kurukshetra.”
When He danced before the chariot during Rathayatra,
He would simply sing this stanza:
“I have attained that very Lord of My life, for whom I was burning in the fire of Cupid.”
He would sing this song and dance during the second part of the day, imbued with the ecstatic mood: “I
am taking Krishna back to Vraja.”
In this way, while dancing He would recite one verse, the meaning of which no one could understand:
“yah kaumara-hara … cetah samutkanthate.”
Sri Caitianya-caritamrita (Madhya-lila 1.53–56)
In his anubhashya of these verses Sri Srila Prabhupada writes: “Absorbed in the bhava
of Srimati Radharani, and adorned with the mood of experiencing an extremely long
separation from Krishna, who has gone to Mathura, Sri Mahaprabhu has made it known
that the cultivation of vipralambha-rasa (a mood of separation from Krishna), which
constantly nourishes sambhoga (meeting with Him), is the only sadhana of the jiva.
“The eighty-second chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam’s Tenth Canto describes how the vraja-gopis residing in Gokula, who were anxious for Krishna’s darsana, went to Kurukshetra on the occasion of the solar eclipse (Syamanta-pancaka) and manifested the moods of their hearts. The second occurrence of these moods was when Sri Gaurasundara would take darsana of Jagannatha, the Lord of Nilacala.
“In Kurukshetra, the gopis [by their very presence] removed Krishna’s opulence and
made an effort to bring Him to Gokula so He could relish its sweetness. Similarly,
Gaurahari took Krishna, in the form of Jagannatha-deva, from the Nilacala temple
(which is likened to Kurukshetra) to Gundica (or Vrindavana, the place of His parakiyalilas).
Sri Gaurasundara, in the mood of Srimati Varshabhanavi, sang the sentiments in Her heart
in front of the chariot as it moved towards Vrindavana (the Gundica-mandira).”
Those who had the fortune to witness with their own eyes Sri Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes of feeling separation – while he was on the islands of Madhyadvipa and Godrumadvipa in Sri Radha’s forest (Navadvipa) having sphurti of the midday pastimes at Radha-kunda; as the Sun-temple at Konarka stimulated within him the mood of Surya-puja; and at Surya-kunda, when he would go there at midday and exemplify absorption in the
eternally perfect moods of the midday pastimes – have been exceedingly blessed.
His Mercy upon the Jivas
The second aspect of Sri Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes was his endeavour to free the jivas from their aversion to Krishna and attract them to Him. The jivas have invented,are inventing and will invent many paths on which to run towards maya at an intense pace. And Srila Prabhupada, as the non-different form of Baladeva, devised equally as many means to attract these jivas to perform bhajana of Sri Hari. This aspect is clearly revealed in his pastime of purifying the whole world.
Vraja-mandala Revealed in Navadvipa
Our Sri Srila Prabhupada instructed us: “Only by service to Sri Gaurahari can one attain Vraja. Gaura is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, and therefore, taking shelter at His lotus feet is identical to serving Krishna. They are aspects of the same tattva. One need not consider superior and inferior aspects of a single substance. Gaurasundara’s compassion is supreme and Krishnacandra’s sweetness is beyond compare.”
Srila Prabhupada, who is Sri Gaura’s personal associate, has informed us that superior to Vaikunthais Madhu-puri, that is, Sridhama Navadvipa-Mayapura. Higher than that is Srivasa-angana, the rasa-sthali of Gaura-lila. Superior to that is Sri Caitanya Matha, which represents Govardhana, and even greater than that is Sri Radha-kunda, or Vraja-pattana. (Vraja-pattana is located within Sri Caitanya Matha, where Sri Radha-kunda is situated.)
He has revealed to us that on the banks of Vrajapattana Sri Radha-kunda are the groves of Sri Radha’s priya-sakhis. Furthermore he has informed us of the speciality of the rupanuga conception concerning Sri Radha-Govinda’s midday pastimes. In regard to Vrajamandala and Vraja-pattana, by defining the word tadvana from the Talavakara Upanishad, Srila Prabhupada revealed that the twelve forests of Vraja-mandala
represent the twelve rasas, and the nine forests [islands] of Navadvipa, pertain to the nine types of bhakti. And in explaining the mantra “tad-vanam-ity-upasitavyam” he has acquainted us with the worship of Kamadeva. His special position as the dear associate of Sri Gaura is thus illuminated.
His All Auspicious Being
Srila Prabhupada’s name, figure, qualities, his speciality as an associate [of Bhagavan], and his pastimes – all reveal his position as an eternal confidante of Sri Radha.
For example: his name (sri nama) – Varshabhanavi-dayita dasa; his transcendental form (rupa), which fulfilled the innermost desire of Sri Rupa; his qualities (guna), which afford him the exclusive qualification of performing the highest service to Sri Guna-manjari (Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja); his speciality as an associate [of Sri Radha] in serving the grove of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s teachings; and, in his eternal service to Sri Kundesvari, his extremely magnanimous pastime of manifesting perpetual hari-kirtana at Svanandasukhada-kunja, which is situated in part of the kunda of Sri Lalita, the dear most friend of Sri Kundesvari.
Realisation of One’s Svarupa
Srila Prabhupada further told us that, just as according to pancaratrika considerations, one becomes twice born after receiving pancaratrika diksha, a raga-marga sadhaka’s reali sation of his eternally perfect spiritual body (svarupa siddhi) in conjugal love (madhura-rati) by the mercy of Sri Guru is in fact his very birth from the womb of a gopi. When a person relinquishes his purushabhimana, or mentality of being the enjoyer, his eternally perfect transcendental attachment to Krishna in conjugal love manifests. At that time he becomes aware of his own transcendental nature and form, which are suitable for service, and thus he serves Krishna under the guidance of a transcendental gopi. Srila Prabhupada explained that without being born from the womb of a gopi, an understanding of Sri Radha’s three baths – tarunyamrita, karunyamrita and lavanyamrita [as explained in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya-lila 8.168–9)] – does not come.
Srila Prabhupada has explained to us that being in the group of Sri Radha, who is Krishna’s foremost servant, is unlimitedly greater than being in the party of Sri Krishna, or even being neutral. It is more favourable to the service of the master to be part of the servant’s group than it is to be part of the master’s group.
His Aprakrita Gifts in terms of Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana
Srila Prabhupada informed us of the gifts of sambandha by telling us about the realm of Absolute Reality, which is adhokshaja, or beyond direct sense perception. He further informed us of the supra mundane (aprakrita) realm, which exists for those whose adhikara, or level of consciousness, is even higher than that of the adhokshaja realm.
Srila Prabhupada, the intimate associate of Sri Gaura, revealed the superiority and
speciality of the aprakrita gift received in sri svaruparupanuga- bhaktivinoda’s line as compared with the adhokshaja gift of Sri Vishnu Svami and Sri Sridhara Svami (who is in Sri Vishnu-svami’s sampradaya); Sri Ramanuja; Sriman Madhvacarya (who is the guru of the tattvavadis); Sri Nimbarkacarya, and other previous acaryas. The gift bestowed by the previous acaryas pertains to the lower division of the spiritual sky. However, the gift of the higher part, the aprakrita (transcendental) realm, can be attained only by the exclusive mercy of Sri Rupa Gosvamipada and his intimate associates. Only Sri Rupa Gosvami bestows the nectar of the bhakti-rasa of Sri Gaurasundara, who accepted the mood of Srimati Radhika, the acarya of ujjvala-rasa. For this reason, our Sri Srila Prabhupada would always sing this prayer before us:
Clasping a straw between my teeth, I repeatedly beg to become the dust of the lotus feet of Srimad Rupa Gosvami birth after birth.
Srila Prabhupada has also informed us about the speciality of the gift related to abhidheya (the process to attain the goal). Some propagate the following to be abhidheyas: enjoyment and performance of fruitive acts (bubhuksha); the cultivation of renunciation and knowledge (mumuksha or mayavada); and the performance of ashtanga-yoga (siddhi-vancha). The result of these processes, however, is merely self deception.
The jiva must engage everything of this world exclusively in the service of Bhagavan. It is not within his right to enjoy or renounce; the sole enjoyer of the entire creation is Vrajendranandana. The jiva’s constitutional occupation is to place his very self in the guidance of the asraya-vigraha, and engage everything of this world in the service of the vishaya, supreme enjoyer. That supreme enjoyer is,in fact, thoroughly embraced by the asraya, or repository of love for Him. This eternal occupation of the jiva is abhidheya, or bhakti. It is of two types: vaidhi and raganuga. The performance of this abhidheya-bhakti is characterised by hearing, chanting and remembering nama, or the transcendental message.
In relation to vaidhi-bhakti, Srila Prabhupada always reminded us of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s instruction to take shelter of yukta-vairagya. And to indicate how we should practise raganuga-bhakti, he informed us of the words that emanated from the mouth of SrimanMahaprabhu: “para-vyasanini nari vyagrapi griha-karmasu – a woman
attached to someone other than her husband performs her household duties more attentively.”
Sri Gaurasundara has apprised us about the paths of bhagavad-bhakti:
pancaratra and bhagavata, in His instructions to Srila Rupa Gosvami. Srila Prabhupada has spiritually harmonised both of them in an unprecedented manner. To construct temples, worship sri-vigraha and enhance the grandeur of worship all belongs to the pancaratra patha. On this path there is always some impediment, and therefore ritualistic services cannot be performed incessantly.
In the bhagavata-patha, however, one can constantly hear, chant and remember Sri Hari’s names, form, qualities, associates, pastimes and so on in vipralambha-rasa. “Bahu-bhir militva yat kirtanam tadeva sankirtanam – kirtana that is performed when many people assemble together is called sankirtana”; and “param vijayate sri-krishna-sankirtanam – may srikrishna-sankirtana be ever victorious”.
Srila Prabhupada taught that these statements of Sri Guru and Gauranga are the Sri Gaudiya Matha’s very object of worship. For the gradual auspiciousness of the jivas, he encouraged the pancaratrika process as an aid in the worship of the fire of sankirtanayajna.
This sankirtana-yajna has seven flames, such as ceto-darpana-marjana, which were ignited
by Sri Gaurasundara, the very embodiment of Sri Krishna-sankirtana. By harmonising pancaratra and bhagavata paths in an unexcelled way, Srila Prabhupada demonstrated how to perform arcana in pursuance of kirtana. By this he also showed how one who is a follower of the pancaratrika path should always aim to aspire for the service and guidance of the asraya-vigraha (Sri Radha), the source of hladini, that is, kirtana.
The speciality of Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of prayojana, the goal, is also unparalleled and without a second. Goals are of two types – false and genuine. The bestowal (dana) of that goal that is rooted in motives for dharma, artha, kama and moksha is full of deception. Srimad-Bhagavatam and the previous Vaishnava acaryas have explained this. Such benefaction is completely condemned by Sri Gaurasundara and his followers, the Gosvamis.
Our Srila Prabhupada flew the victory flag of bhagavata-dharma, which is free from all deception, throughout every region in both eastern and western countries. He did so in a yuga when enjoyment is accepted as bhakti, gratifying the senses as prema, the insignificant jiva as Narayana, the body as the atma, the philosophy of
considering and tending to the body as the self as service, duplicity (or cheating) as truth, selfishness as generosity and deception of the masses as the emblem of religion. Furthermore, he did so in an age when the deceptive philosophy that there are as many paths as there are opinions has gained international renown and made immense and extensive impact on the minds of men who are averse to devotion. Through both his conduct and precepts he has communicated that our sole object of worship is the happiness that is identical to the happiness of the asraya.(In this context asraya refers to that repository of love for Krishna whom we worship, that is, Sri Radha, and also Her dear most sakhis and manjaris under whose guidance we perform service to Him.) Experience of this happiness will vary according to the bhava of the asraya. When there is a stimulus between
the asraya and vishaya, Their mutual desire to meet with each other appears. The happiness we aspire for comes from performing service in the guidance of the sakhis and manjaris, who are instrumental in bringing about Their meeting, thus causing rasa to arise in Them.
From the introduction to the Vedanta-sutra of Sri Srimad Bhakti Srirupa Siddhanti Goswami Maharaja
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
Published in English for the first time in Rays of The Harmonist No. 16 Karttika 2006