nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta svamin iti namine
namaste sarasvate deve gaura-vani pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine
This paper is a response to an article entitled "Hearing from A Rasika Acarya" published by Swami B. G. Narasingha through his Krsna Talk e-newsletter.
There are many good statements therein. His article also expresses his sincere point of view regarding the hearing of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. It seems, however, that our Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas have a different point of view on this particular subject.
This unqualified servant of Nitya-lila-pravista Om Visnupada Astottara-sata Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Dhrstadyumna das, begging his mercy as well as that of all my guru-varga (line of teachers), now presents this paper in an inadequate yet heartfelt attempt
For fairness and thoroughness, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas entire article is being presented as is in its original sequence; albeit, broken into separate sections entitled "Statement by Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja".
Each "Statement ." is then followed by a "Response". In some cases, emphasis has been added in bold type to highlight a major point or issue. The reader may refer to the Endnotes to review the source materials for all quoted statements. In Microsoft Word 97 and later, highlighting the Endnotes number with the cursor will cause the Endnote to appear. And also in some internet browser versions, the reader can also click or double-click the number to toggle back and forth between the main body of this paper and its corresponding Endnote.
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev Goswami: "Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura has mentioned that one should first come to the stage of anartha-nivrithi1 before attempting to hear the rasa-lila topics."
As a preamble to, and theme for, his article, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja attributes this quote, which is isolated from its larger context, to Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Gosvami Maharaja.
Therefore, I pray, that after reading all these Responses to follow, the dear reader will:
Question: Is it true that to make advancement in Krsna consciousness one should hear from a rasika-acarya (a spiritual master advanced in relishing mellows of pure devotion) on the level of Viswanatha Cakravarthi Thakura?
Answer: One who has lived in either Vrindavana or Navadwip for some time knows that the sahajiya section is quite fond of this sort of explanation. But such emphasis is not entirely fact.
Of course, different types of advancement in Krsna consciousness can be made in so many ways, but if one wants to realize Vraja-lila of Radha-Krsna, it is absolutely essential to hear rasa-lila katha from a bona-fide, fully-rasika devotee. As Srila Narottama dasa Thakur sings in his prayer, Sri Radha-nistha:
"A person who stays in the company of the devotees who are always discussing the sweet, nectarean pastimes of the rasa dance (rasa-lila prema katha) is sure to attain Ghanasyama, who is dark like a monsoon raincloud. A person averse to hearing these lilas will never attain perfection. I refuse to hear his name."4
The word rasika is not a bad word and is certainly not synonymous with sahajiya. Both Srila Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami and Srila Vyasadeva use the word rasika:
.ataeva kahi kichu karina nigudha
bujhibe rasika bhakta, na bujhibe mudha .
"All these conclusions are unfit to disclose in public. But if they are not disclosed, no one will understand them. Therefore I shall mention them, revealing only their essence, so that loving devotees (rasika bhaktas) will understand them but fools will not. Anyone who has captured Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda Prabhu in his heart will become blissful by hearing all these transcendental conclusions. All these conclusions are like the newly grown twigs of a mango tree; they are always pleasing to the devotees, who in this way resemble cuckoo birds."(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 4, Texts 231-234)5
It is interesting to note that only rasika bhaktas can understand the full meaning of the conclusions given by Srila Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami.
"O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3)6
Here, the word rasika is translated in the synonyms as "those who are full in the knowledge of mellows".
The word rasa is also not a bad word. It can mean different things according to the context in which it is used. As we learn from Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a primary meaning is that rasa is one's relationship with Krsna:
"Therefore Bhagavad-gita is best understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjunas. That is to say he must be a devotee in a direct relationship with the Lord. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he also has a direct relationship with the Lord. That is a very elaborate subject matter, but briefly it can be stated that a devotee is in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five different ways:
1. One may be a devotee in a passive state; (santa rasa)
2. One may be a devotee in an active state; (dasya rasa)
3. One may be a devotee as a friend; (sakhya rasa)
4. One may be a devotee as a parent; (vatsalya rasa)
5. One may be a devotee as a conjugal lover. (madhurya rasa)
Arjuna was in a relationship with the Lord as friend. Of course there is a gulf of difference between this friendship and the friendship found in the material world. This is transcendental friendship, which cannot be had by everyone. Of course everyone has a particular relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. But in the present status of our life, not only have we forgotten the Supreme Lord, but we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being, out of the many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarupa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa, and that stage is called svarupa-siddhiperfection of ones constitutional position." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Introduction)7
So here at the beginning of his paper, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja has made an attempt to align the concept of rasika-acarya with sahajiyaism in the minds of his readers. It is inappropriate to cast aspersions on a philosophical conclusion merely on the grounds that it is supported by the sahajiya community. Most of the basics of our bona-fide Gaudiya philosophy are similar to theirs. The differences lie in certain aspects of interpretation and application.8
And throughout his article, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja uses such words as, " not entirely fact" that leave him room to maneuver in case he becomes hard-pressed to defend his thesis.
acaryera mata yei, sei mata sara tanra ajna langhi cale, sei ta asara
"The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless." (Adi-lila, 12.10)
Devotees who know the science of Krsna consciousness have accepted the above verse as conclusive. This verse states the active principle in spiritual life, the key to spiritual advancement. If one pleases the spiritual master then one very quickly advances in Krsna consciousness, but if one displeases the spiritual master by neglecting his order then one becomes asara or useless.
Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita verse vyavasayatmika buddhir / ekeha kuru-nandana (2.41) states that it is the duty of a disciple to strictly follow the orders of his spiritual master. Viswanatha writes as follows: "The instructions that my gurudeva has given me about sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, pada-sevanam, etc. of Sri Bhagavan are my very sadhana, my very sadhya and my very life. I am unable to relinquish them in either the sadhana stage or in sadhya. My single desire and only engagement is to follow them. Besides this, I have no other desire or engagement, even in my dreams. There is no loss for me, whether by following these instructions I attain happiness or misery, or whether my material life is destroyed or not." (As published by Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti)
This is the open secret of success for advancement in spiritual life. One must have firm faith in the orders of the spiritual master and follow his orders wholeheartedly. The Vedas also confirm:
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
"To one who has staunch faith in the words of the spiritual master and the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the secret of success in Vedic knowledge is revealed."
We offer our dandavat pranams to these truths. And, in a lecture delivered by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada at Radha-kunda during Vraja-mandal parikrama in 1932, which was printed in The Gaudiya in 1934, His Divine Grace gave these orders:
"All these days we have not spoken about lila. Why? Because this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya (perfection). But, one should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivrtti (overcoming impediments such as lust and greed) is the prayojana (goal of life). One thinking like this will never enter into artha-pravrtti (acquiring ones actual need). For this reason, I will begin speaking about astakaliya-lila.
"I know that you are not ready to hear it. But we should know such a transcendental ideal exists within the realm of devotion. This is why anartha-nivrtti is essential. After the realm of anartha-nivrtti is artha-pravrtti, pure conjugal service to Radha and Krsna. This is transcendental reality. If we do not know of this transcendental realm, then all of our efforts may end in nirvisesa-vada (impersonalism). Do not let your day pass in trying for anartha-nivrtti. Artha-pravrtti is also necessary. Anartha-nivrtti is necessary until artha-pravrtti has started. When artha-pravrtti is present then anartha-nivrtti becomes unimportant artha-pravrtti becomes prominent.
"Those who have chanted hari nama for fifteen or twenty years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunderstand. These topics are for certain audiences, not for all. Also, it is said, apana bhajana-katha, na kahibe jathatatha, One should not reveal ones bhajana to others. If we disregard this instruction of our previous acaryas then there may be a permanent fall from the realm of devotional service.
"By removing the clothes of the gopis, Krsna obtained happiness; this is Krsnas sense gratification. If we are to ask, "Why is He a sense enjoyer? Let us see Krsna display the behavior of controlling the senses. We cannot ask like this, because Krsna will not become a slave to our desires. Krsna, by his own will, can show us sense restraint He did show it in his form as Gaurasundara. By that example, He is informing us that no one except Krsna has the right to remove the clothes of the gopis. Our duty is to cultivate devotional service.
"Do not think that astakaliya-lila smaranam is the property of the sahajiyas. Actually it is our affair. It has to be retrieved from the hands of the sahajiyas ."
These are also the orders of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. If we do not follow them, as Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja has mentioned, we will become asara, useless.
It appears that many devotees are now confused about the process of advancement in Krsna consciousness and think that simply by hearing rasa-lila from a so-called rasika-guru that all their troubles will vanish. Perhaps this is an attractive proposal for those who are merely sentiment mongers, but the serious candidate in Krsna consciousness should know that sooner or later such discussion of rasa-lila in an unqualified assembly certainly leads to full-fledged sahajiyaism.
After implying that the terms "sahajiya" and "rasika" are synonymous, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja now changes the theme of his dissertation to "Hearing from A So-Called Rasika Acarya".
Still, his statement above is true, if the rasika-guru is so-called. However, if he is real, then the result will be different.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is not a so called rasika-guru. He is an actual rasika-guru. He is one of the most prominent Vaisnava acaryas of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya. Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada often quotes his commentaries in his own Bhaktivedanta purports. In delineating the 64 limbs of bhakti in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes:
Rasika-saha sri bhagavatarthasvadah
(Tasting the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of Rasika Vaisnavas)
"The delightfully sweet essence (rasa) of the wish-fulfilling tree of Vedic literature is Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the association of persons who are estranged from that rasa there can be no tasting of the rasa of Srimad-Bhagavatam; rather there can only be aparadha. One should taste the rasa of the slokas of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees who are thoroughly versed in understanding the rasa of the Bhagavatam and who are possessed of deep yearning to taste the rasa of Krsna-lila. Suddha-bhakti does not arise by hearing or reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam in an assembly of ordinary persons." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, Ch. 4, Anga 61)9
Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada isSripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas diksa-guru and definitely not a sahajiya. Yet, he writes in his "Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead":
"Discussion of the rasa-lila among people in general is not recommended because they are affected by the Mayavada philosophy, but if one who is advanced explains and people hear from him, certainly the hearers will be gradually elevated to the position of Krsna consciousness and liberated from materially contaminated life .Sukadeva Goswami concludes this episode of rasa-lila by pointing out that if a person hears from the right source the pastimes of Krsna, who is Visnu Himself, and the gopis, who are expansions of His energy, then he will be relieved from the most dangerous type of disease, namely lust. In other words, one who actually hears the rasa-lila will become completely freed from the lusty desire of sex life and elevated to the highest level of spiritual understanding. The conditioned soul should hear the rasa-lila dance from an authorized spiritual master and be trained by him so that he can understand the whole situation; thus one can be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life; otherwise one will be implicated. Material lust is a kind of heart disease, and to cure the material heart disease of the conditioned soul, it is recommended that one should hear, but not from the impersonalist rascals. If one hears from the right sources with right understanding, then his situation will be different."10
Again, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada defines sahajiyaism:
"So here it is said that yad uttamasloka-gunopalambhaka. We have to... Just like there are some sahajiyas. They think that, Krsna's rasa-lila is very nice, but Krsna's fighting with the demons and killing of the demons, that is not very nice. But they do not know the Absolute Truththat Krsna is as good in any circumstances, either He is enjoying the company of the gopis or He is killing the demon. That is the Absolute Truth. So these things should be understood."11
And, in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.30, he describes the correct understanding:
"The Lord is so merciful that He Himself descends to take the fallen souls back home to the Kingdom of Godhead where the erotic principles of Godhead are eternally relished in their real form, distinct from the perverted sexual love so much adored and indulged in by the fallen souls in their diseased condition. The reason the Lord displays the rasa-lila is essentially to induce all of the fallen souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. A person who actually understands what is rasa-lila will certainly hate to indulge in mundane sex life"12
Not only rasa-lila, but all topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam, namely the parts about Dhruva Maharaja, Lord Visnu, Sri Prahlada, Lord Narasingha, and Lord Brahma are all best heard from the lips of rasika-acaryas.
In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 4.34, Srila Krsna dasa Kaviraja Goswami quotes from Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.36:
anugrahaya bhaktanam manusam deham asritah
bhajate tadrsih krida yah srutva tat-paro bhavet
"In order to show mercy upon the devotees as well as the conditioned souls, Sri Krsna manifests his human-like form and performs such extraordinary pastimes (rasa-lila) that anyone who hears them becomes exclusively devoted to them."13
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes in his purport to the above verse:
" The rasa dance is arranged by Krsnas internal potency yogamaya, and it is beyond the grasp of the materially affected person. Trying to throw mud into transcendence with their perversity, the sahajiyas misinterpret the sayings tat-paratvena nirmalam and tat-paro bhavet. By misinterpreting tadrsih kridah, they want to indulge in sex while pretending to imitate Lord Krsna. But one must actually understand the imports of the words through the intelligence of the authorized gosvamis. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, in his prayers to the Gosvamis, has explained his inability to understand such spiritual affairs:
rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akuti
kabe hama bujhabo se yugala-piriti
When I shall be eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvamis, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental love affairs of Radha and Krsna.
In other words, unless one is trained under the disciplic succession of the Gosvamis, one cannot understand Radha and Krsna " (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 4, Text 34, Purport)14
In the above purport, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is writing that one must hear, but not from those who will misinterpret. One must hear from those on the level of the six Gosvamis, and they are all rasika-acaryas.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates the next verse, as follows:
"Here the use of the verb "bhavet," which is in the imperative mood, tells us that this certainly must be done. Noncompliance would be abandonment of duty." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 4, Text 35)15
Srila Jiva Gosvamis comments in his Vaisnava Tosani on the above quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam verse from rasa-lila (10.33.36):
"tatra loke'dhisthatrtvena krsnakhya narakara parabrahmanah sri gopair anubhutatvut evam bhaktanugrahartham tat kridety abhipretam. aptakama tve'pi bhaktanugraho yujuate. visuddha sattvasya tatha svabhavat. yad bhava bhavite canyatra drsyate 'sau. tatha rahugananugrahake sri jada bharata carite, yatha va bhagavad anugrahake mayiti ca. tatra bhakta sabdena braja devyo braja janas ca sarve kala-traya sambandhino 'nye ca vaisnava grhitambraja devinam purva-ragadibhir braja jananam janmadibhir anyesan ca bhakta darsana sravanadibhir apurvatva sphuranat. ataeva tadrsa bhakta prasangena tadrsih sarva cittakarsinih krida bhajate, yah sadharanir api srutva bhaktebho 'nyo 'pi janas tatparo bhavet. kimuta rasa lila rupam imam srutvety arthah. vaksyate cavikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idan ca visnoh (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39) ityadi. yad va, manusam deham asritah sarvo 'pi jivas tatparo bhavet, martya loke sri bhagavad avatarat tatha bhajane mukhyatvac ca manusyanam eva sukhena tac chravanadi siddeh. bhutanam iti pathe nijavatara karana bhakta sambandhena sarvesam eva jananam visayinam mumuksunam muktanan cety arthah. iti parama karunyam eva karanam uktam. tathapi bhajana sambandhenaiva sarvanugraho jneyah. anyattaih. tatra bahirmukhanapiti tatparyantatvam vivaksitam, parama prema parakastha mayataya sri sukasyapi tad varnanatisaya pravrtteh gopinam ity asyarthantare tv evam vyakhyeyam.
"The words anugrahaya bhaktanam manusam deham asritah indicate that the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appears in His original human-like form and performs various pastimes in order to bestow favor upon His devotees. Therefore, although Sri Krsna is satisfied in Himself (aptakama), His display of kindness toward the devotees is quite appropriate. This is the distinctive characteristic of visuddha-sattva (pure goodness). The Lord is always prepared to reward the devotees with a result consistent with their performance of bhajana. The favor shown toward King Rahugana by Sri Jada Bharata and the Lords favor toward Sukadeva Gosvami illustrates this.
"In the verse under discussion, it is said that the Lord manifests His form and pastimes in order to bestow favor upon His devotees. The word bhakta used here refers to the Vraja-devis (the gopis), the Vrajavasis (residents of Vraja) and all other Vaisnavaspast, present and future. In order to bestow favor upon the vraja-devis, Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krsna lovingly executes such pastimes as purva-raga (the attachment in anticipation of meeting Krsna prior to their union). To bestow mercy upon all the residents of Vraja, He enacts His birth and other pastimes, and by all His activities, He bestows favor upon past, present and future devotees through the medium of hearing lila-katha.
"Sri Krsna manifests all these pastimes to benefit the devotees. By so doing, even ordinary persons (other than the devotees) who hear even the more common of the Lords pastimes become fully intent upon the Lord. Therefore, by hearing the supremely ambrosial rasa-lila, ordinary persons will certainly become exclusively devoted to the Lordof this there can be no doubt. This fact will be elaborately discussed in subsequent verses such as vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39).
"The words manusam deham asritah may also indicate that those jivas who have attained the human form of life are able to hear all these pastimes, and thus they become exclusively devoted to the Supreme Lord. This is so because the Lord incarnates exclusively on the earthly planets (martya-loka), and it is here only that worship of the Lord takes on its predominant form. Consequently, the human beings residing on the earthly planets may easily hear these narrations of the Lords pastimes.
"The word bhaktanam appears in this verse. But in some other editions, the word bhutanam is found in its place. In that case, the purport would be as follows: the Lord incarnates only for the sake of the devotees. As a result, the devotees are the root cause of the Lords appearance. The Lord also appears in His original human-like form in order to bestow His favor upon the liberated souls (muktas), the aspirants for liberation (mumuksus), sense enjoyers (visayis), and all living entities in accordance with their relationship with the devotees. The Lords compassion is therefore said to be the cause of His appearance. Nevertheless, it must be understood that the Lords favor toward other living entities is due only to their relationship with His devotees. In other words, the Lord bestows favor upon jivas only because of their connection with devotees."16
"In his Bhagavatam commentary known as Bhavartha-dipika, Srila Sridhara Svami has written that, what to speak of the devotees, even materialistic persons are freed from their material absorption by hearing the Lords pastimes, and thus they become exclusively fixed on Him."17
Regarding 10.33.36, beginning "anugrahaya bhaktanam", Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has commented:
Bhaktanam anugrahaya tadrsih kridah bhajate yah srutva manusam deham asritah jivah tatparas tad visa yakah sraddhavan bhaved iti kridantar ato vailaksanyena madhurya rasamayah asyah kridayas tadrsi mani-mantra-mahausadhanam iva kacid atarkya saktir astity avagamyate.
"The Lord performs varieties of pastimes to show favor to His devotees. Having adopted the human form of life, living entities who hear these pastimes become exclusively devoted unto the Lord. In other words, they develop firm faith in hearing the narrations of the Lords activities. What more shall I say about the importance of hearing lila-katha? And this rasa-lila, being fully imbued with madhurya-rasa, is eminently distinguished even from the Lords other pastimes. Like a jewel, a mantra, or a powerful medicine, this rasa-lila is endowed with such indisputable, astonishing potency that by hearing it, all persons in the human form become devoted to the Supreme Lord. Therefore all varieties of devotees who hear the descriptions of these pastimes will be successful and obtain supreme pleasure. Can there be any question of doubt in this regard?"18
To support their claims of righteousness in hearing rasa-lila, the so-called rasika-gurus of the sentiment mongers like to quote the following Bhagavatam verse in support of their speculation:
"A transcendentally sober person who, with faith and love continuously hears from a realized soul about the activities of Lord Krsna in His rasa dance with the gopis, or one who describes such activities, can attain full transcendental devotional service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus lusty material desires, which are the heart disease of all materialistic persons, are for him quickly and completely vanquished."19
The statement made here, sraddha anvitah is that one who has full faith will attain the Lord's pure devotional service by hearing and chanting the Lord's pastimes with the young gopis. While commenting on this verse Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura has mentioned that one should first come to the stage of anartha-nivrithi before attempting to hear the rasa-lila topics. It is sometimes taken that sraddha anvitah or full faith means anartha-nivrithi, the stage of being free from misconception and unwanted disturbances in the heart. In that stage one achieves bhaktim param bhagavati, pure devotional service and hrd-rogam the disease of the heart is vanquished forever.
This verse is found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter 33, Text 39. Now the heart of this topic is arrived at.
The gentle reader is entreated to carefully and patiently understand the vast difference between the interpretation of the words sraddha-anvitah given by Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja, and the explanations given in the writings of the acaryas.
Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja states that to hear rasa-katha, one must "first come to the stage of anartha-nivrtti", which he defines as "freedom from anarthasmisconceptions and unwanted disturbances in the heart".
According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his Madhurya Kadambini, anartha-nivrtti is a stage that actually begins in bhajana-kriya when anarthas start to be eradicated. This process of eradication has five gradationslimited or partial (eka-desa-vartini), pervasive (bahu-desa-vartini), almost complete (prayiki), complete (purna), and absolute (atyantiki).20
There is a common misconception that anartha-nivrtti is completed and then one enters the stage of nistha. This idea is completely wrong. The stage of anartha-nivrtti extends in various forms even past the stage of rati or bhava into prema.21
It is therefore unclear at which point in the stage of anartha-nivrtti Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja feels the aspirant becomes qualified to hear rasa-lila.
Anyway, at whatever point in anartha-nivrtti he means, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas conception is:
He cites Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura as his authority, but without presenting the actual Sanskrit commentary (called Sarartha Darasini Vrtti) and its English translation.
On the other hand, both are presented here now. And this will show conclusively that Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that one must hear rasa-lila katha from pure rasika Vaisnavas in order to even attain the stage of anartha-nivrtti.
ktva pratyayena hrd-rogavaty apy adhikarini pratham ataeva premnah pravesas tatas tat prabhavenaivacirato hrd roga nasa iti premayam jnana yoga iva na durbalah paratantras ceti bhavah .
" The suffix ktva has been used in the formation of the verb pratilabhya (obtained) as follows: prati+labh+ktva according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, when the suffix ktva is applied to a verbal root with a prefix, it is replaced by yap. Then the letter P is dropped and thus the final form of the word pratilabhya is obtained. The suffix ktva is applied to the first of the two verbs performed by the same agent to show successive action (i.e., having attained prema he relinquishes all lusty desires in the heart). In this case the first action is pratilabhya (the attainment of prema) and the second action is apahinoti (renunciation of lusty desires of the heart).
"Therefore the suffix ktva in the verb pratilabhya indicates that although lust and other evils still remain within the heart, prema bhakti first enters the heart and by its extraordinary influence destroys all vices to the root. In other words, hearing and reciting rasa lila possesses such astonishing power that the lust in the heart of the faithful sadhaka is destroyed and he attains prema. Though these two take place simultaneously, the influence of prema manifests first, and through its effect, all lusty desires of the heart are dissipated.
"Thus as a result of hearing and chanting the narrations of the Lords pastimes, one first attains prema for the Lords lotus feet and thereafter ones heart is liberated from lusty desires and all other contamination. In other words, he becomes perfectly pure because prema is not feeble like the process of jnana and yoga. Bhakti is omnipotent and supremely independent."22
Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja states: "It is sometimes taken that sraddha anvitah or full faith means anartha-nivrithi, the stage of being free from misconception and unwanted disturbances in the heart."
Firstly, it would be helpful if Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja would inform his reader who is the anonymous "it" who has "sometimes taken" this meaning that the reader is being asked to accept. If "it is sometimes taken" one way, does that mean that "it is sometimes taken" another equally valid way, or even ways also?
It may be that some Vaisnava has spoken like this in an informal context. However, this form of vague reference to an unacknowledged authority without scriptural support or context is not appreciated in the field of philosophical journalism.
Secondly, sraddha (faith) is the first stage on the path leading to prema (adau sraddha ; again, please refer to Endnote 1). If Srila Sukadeva Gosvami wanted to refer to the stage of "anartha-nivrithi, the stage of being free from misconception and unwanted disturbances in the heart", as Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja has pointed out, then he could have used the word, nistha, or anartha-nivrtti, or ruci, or bhava. As shown earlier, anartha-nivrtti doesn't necessarily mean one is free yet. However, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has only used the word sraddha because his meaning is something quite distinct from the conception of Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja. This is unequivocally confirmed by the commentaries of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Sridhar Svami and other prominent acaryas.
Srila Jiva Gosvami states:
"Sraddhanvita means to hear with firm faith. This word has been used to prevent the offence which results from mistrust (avisvasa) or disregard (avajna) of the statements of sastrain complete opposition to the principle of hearing with faith. It has also been used to promote constant hearing ."23
In other words, it is not necessary for the hearer to be completely anartha-nivrtti, but the hearer must have the deep conviction that, "No matter how fallen I may be, the narration of Sri Sri Radha-Krsnas rasa-lila is so powerful that by hearing from the proper source, transcendental vraja-bhakti in the mood of the gopis will surely manifest in my heart." This opinion is upheld by the commentaries of our acaryas, which are being presented in both Sanskrit or Bengali, (in most cases24) and English throughout these Responses.
Again, Srila Narottama das Thakura, who is accepted on the same level of rasika-acarya as Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura by all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, writes, and Gaudiya Vaisnavas sing daily:
prema-bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa jate
"The bona-fide guru gives prema-bhakti, and by that avidya, ignorance, is destroyed."25
There are at least 11 full or partial references to this verse by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Here is a sampling. In one case, he appears to contradict himself in his explanation of this verse. A humble attempt will be made herein to present evidence that reconciles this apparent contradiction.
And the listener can also be bona-fide, even with lusty desires still in the heart:
Again, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada does not state that one who has anarthas should not hear. Rather, he states that one should not hear from mayavadis and professional reciters:
According to the aforementioned Statement V of Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja, these quotes qualify Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as a "so-called rasika-guru of the sentiment mongers." Does he really believe this?
Of course, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada does issue this warning in his purport to Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 8.255:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, Out of all topics people listen to, which is best for all living entities?
Ramananda Raya replied, Hearing about the loving affairs between Radha and Krsna is most pleasing to the ear.
Unless one is liberated, he should not try to hear about the loving affairs between Radha and Krsna. If one is not liberated and listens to a relation of the rasa dance, he may remember his own mundane activities and illicit connections with some woman whose name may also be Radha ."30
So what are we to do? Reject one set of statements and accept the other? This is exactly what Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja is doing by selectively presenting interpretations that promote caution, or even, forbid aspiring devotees from giving aural reception to rasa-lila katha.
Those who have a clear understanding of the subject matter can never subscribe to this classic case of arddha-kakkuti-nyaya, half-hen logic. The proper thing to do is to reconcile the apparently contradictory statements without committing the mistake of minimizing or invalidating any of the instructions of our respected acaryas.
How can we reconcile Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas statements above?
Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada himself provides the clue in his Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 32, "Conclusion" in his summary of, and commentary to, the same verse in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 8.255 referred to above:
"Actually when the pastimes of Radha and Krsna are heard from the right source, one at once attains liberation. Unfortunately it sometimes happens that people do not hear of these pastimes from a person who is a realized soul. Thus people are sometimes misguided. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.39) that one who hears of the pastimes of Krsna with the gopis will attain the highest platform of devotional service and will be freed from the material lust which overwhelms everyones heart in the material world. In other words, by hearing the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, one can get rid of all material lust."
Yes, the conditioned soul should not "try to hear" rasa-lila katha without proper guidance. This katha descends mercifully from the spiritual world through the medium of a rasika Vaisnava. If the liberated soulinternally inspired by the mercy potency of Krsnachooses to speak rasa-lila katha, then it is of the highest benefit to all conditioned souls who happen to be present as a result of their past sukrti (devotional credits). In other words, all cautionary or prohibitory statements given by our acaryas in this regard are only to prevent independent attempts to enter into rasa-katha. As alwaysanugatya, the principle of being under constant guidance of liberated Vaisnavas, is the essential factor to be extracted from this discussion.
When Krsna kills a demon, that demon gets liberation and whenever Krsna performs His pastimes of love, the perverted form of love, namely lust in the heart of the living entity, is also vanquished.
How will Krsnas pastimes of love vanquish the "lust in the heart of the living entity" if, according to Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja, the living entity cant hear those pastimes until the lust in his/her heart has been vanquished?
Here, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja seems to reverse his thesis (until his next statement) and come more into line with Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas Introduction to Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, a book which has been distributed in the millions since 1970 to (among others) meat-eaters, illicit-sex mongers, drug addicts, and atheists:
"The pleasure potency is called Srimati Radharani. The attraction of loving affairs on the basis of sex feeling is the original feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We, the conditioned souls, being part and parcel of the Supreme, have such feelings also, but they are experienced in a perverted minute condition. Therefore, when those who are after sex-life in this material world hear about Krsnas pastimes with the gopis, they will relish transcendental pleasure although it appears to be materialistic. The advantage will be that they will gradually be elevated to the spiritual platform. In the Bhagavatam it is stated that if one hears the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis from authorities, with submission, then he will be promoted to the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and the material disease of lust within his heart will be completely vanquished. In other words, such hearing will counteract material sex-life."
And again, in 1968, in Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas lecture to relatively new devotees on the Appearance Day of Srimati Radharani, the Lords pleasure potency:
"So we have described about the Radha-Krsna loving affairs in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya in page 264. If you have got this book, you can read it, how the reciprocation of loving affairs of Radha-Krsna is there, transcendental."31
Does Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja accept these statements of his diksa-guru or not?
Yet hearing the rasa-lila of Krsna and His intimate love affairs with the gopis is never recommended as a method of practice (sadhana) by anyone who actually knows the science of Krsna.
Now Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja goes on to state directly that hearing of the rasa-lila is sadhana by anyone who actually knows the science of Krsna."
Never? Anyone? Actually? At last some strong, unambiguous termsthat are totally disproved by Srila Jiva Gosvami. Here is the full statement of Srila Jiva Gosvami in his commentary, Vaisnava Tosani.
Anyatra sruyate (sri gita, 18.54) brahma bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati, samah sarvesu bhutesu mad bhaktim labhate param. Iti atra ty hrd-rogapahanat purvam eva parama bhakti praptih tasmat parama balavadevedam sadhanam iti bhavah.
"In Bhagavad-gita (18.54) it is said: One who is situated in the transcendental position beyond the contamination of the three modes of nature (brahma-bhuta), who is fully satisfied in the self, who neither laments nor hankers for anything, and who looks impartially upon all living beings, attains para-bhakti unto Me.
"In this Gita verse it is said that one attains para-bhakti only after the disappearance of the diseases of the heart, but in the above verse (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39) it is said that one attains para-bhakti even before their departure. Consequently, it is understood that hearing and chanting of rasa-lila is one of the most powerful forms of sadhana (parama balavadevedam sadhanam)."32
Is Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja inferring that Srila Jiva Gosvami doesnt know the science of Krsna?
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakuras commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.59) is also relevant to this discussion:
tanmajjananam mahot karse bhaktireva karanam natu tapo jnanadikam. saca bhaktih svayam sanotkrstapi sarvaloka prabhisthitatvena sanotkrstopi sthalena tisthati. sarvalokavigitatrenatinikrstopi sthale tisthati sthitva ca tadeva svaspadam sanotkrstam. sarvapujyam sarvadurlabhapadavikanta karoti savismayam saromancamaha kreti dvabhyam
"There it is stated that bhakti is the only cause of superior qualities being found in any individual. Austerities, learning, knowledge, and so on are not the cause of superior qualities. Although bhakti is itself of the highest excellence, it does not appear only in the most exceptional individuals endowed with all good qualities. On the contrary, it may manifest or remain even in the most condemned and vile persons. Furthermore, it causes thoroughly wretched and fallen persons to attain all good qualities, to become worthy of the respect of all, and to attain the highest and most rare association.
"For this reason, the opinion that Bhakti-devi enters the heart only after all anarthas, aparadhas, lust, and other diseases of the heart have been eradicated, is not appropriate. On the contrary, by the mercy of the Supreme Lord or the devotees, or by faithfully executing sadhana and bhajana, this rare bhakti enters the heart first, and then all anarthas are automatically dissipatedthis condition is thoroughly agreeable.
"Therefore, only faithful sadhakas with firm belief in the statements of sastra, guru and Vaisnavas are eligible to hear the lila-katha of Srimad-Bhagavatam which are saturated with rasa. And conversely, those who believe that only sadhakas who are completely free from all anarthas are eligible to hear the above-mentioned pastimes, will neither become free from anarthas nor obtain eligibility to heareven after millions of births."33
The reader is requested to discern for him/her self whose opinion is most valid.
Krsna killed many demons before He manifested His pastimes of love with the gopis. According to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, the demons killed by Krsna represented various demoniac tendencies in the hearts of the living entities. Trnavarta represented the personification of argument; Vatasura represented the form of boyhood offenses; Bakasura represented the personification of cheating religion; Aghasura represented the form of cruelty; Dhenukasura represented the ass of blunt judgement; Kaliya represented the personification of malice and Pralambasura represented the personification of impersonalism. All these demons were killed by Krsna. Therefore, one should first rid one's heart of those demoniac tendencies before attempting to hear the love affairs (rasa-lila) of Radha and Krsna. It is only logical.
Again, it would be helpful to know where Srila Bhaktivinodas analysis leaves off and Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas commentary begins.
Moreover, since Bhagavad-gita was spoken after rasa-lila, does this mean that we should not read Bhagavad-gita until we have realized the rasa-lila? Does this mean we cannot hear the killing of Sankhacuda, Aristasura, Kesi, Kamsa, etc., because they follow the rasa-lila descriptions in the Srimad-Bhagavatam? Is this really the point Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is making here? Is this logical?
Actually, the Absolute Truth is beyond such logic. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote:
"Another secret of success is that when one is very much sexually disturbed, he should think of Krsnas pastimes with the gopis, and he will forget his sex urge."34
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada agrees one should not hear from sahajiyas, but he doesnt say not to hear from pure devotees who are self-realized souls. Rather, he says that such hearing will dispel demoniac tendencies.
"Don't take... Just like sahajiyas. They take the Radha-Krsna prema just like ordinary lusty affairs in this material world. But that is not the fact. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is a verse that the loving affairs of gopis and Krsna, Visnu, it is not ordinary thing. If one can hear from the proper source, and if he understands the real fact of rasa-lila, then the result will be that his heart, which is full with lusty desire, that will vanish. There will be no more lusty desires. Pranaya-vikrtih, this pranaya-vikrtih hladini. So if anyone understands this pranaya-vikrtih, the loving affairs, transformation of different feelings, if one can understand, then his material lusty desires will vanish. This is the result. Hrd-roga-kaman apasya apahinoti dhirah. He becomes dhira."35
And in his Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, he further comments about anugatya, always being under guidance:
"The conditioned soul should hear the rasa-lila dance from an authorized spiritual master and be trained by him so that he can understand the whole situation; thus one can be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life; otherwise one will be implicated. Material lust is a kind of heart disease, and to cure the material heart disease of the conditioned soul, it is recommended that one should hear, but not from the impersonalist rascals. If one hears from the right sources with right understanding, then his situation will be different. One must hear from disciplic succession. Anu means following, and anu means always. So one must always follow the disciplic succession and not hear from any stray professional reciter, Mayavadi or ordinary man. Anusrnuyat means that one must hear from an authorized person who is in the disciplic succession and is always engaged in Krsna consciousness."36
All the acaryas in our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, especially from Srila Rupa Gosvami, are uttama mahabhagavatas. Because they have the fully clear understanding, they can impart that right understanding.
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has mentioned in his Bhagavatam commentary (2.2.12) that unless one is freed from material sex desire, one should not read or hear topics past the second canto of Bhagavatam. Srila Prabhupada writes as follows:
"So purification means getting free gradually from sex desire, and this is attained by meditation on the person of the Lord as described herein, beginning from the feet. One should not try to go upwards artificially without seeing for himself how much he has been released from the sex desire. The smiling face of the Lord is the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and there are many upstarts who at once try to begin with the Tenth Canto and especially with the five chapters that delineate the rasa-lila of the Lord. This is certainly improper. By such improper study or hearing of Bhagavatam, the material opportunists have played havoc by indulgence in sex life in the name of Bhagavatam. This vilification of Bhagavatam is rendered by the acts of the so-called devotees; one should be free from all kinds of sex desire before he tries to make a show of recital of Bhagavatam. Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura clearly defines the import of purification as cessation from sex indulgence. He says, yatha yatha dhis ca sudhyati visaya-lampatyam tyajati, tatha tatha dharayed iti citta-suddhi-taratamyenaiva dhyana-taratamyam uktam.
"And as one gets free from the intoxication of sex indulgence by purification of intelligence, one should step forward for the next meditation, or in other words, the progress of meditation on the different limbs of the transcendental body of the Lord should be enhanced in proportion to the progress of purification of the heart. The conclusion is that those who are still entrapped by sex indulgence should never progress to meditation above the feet of the Lord; therefore recital of Srimad-Bhagavatam by them should be restricted to the First and Second Cantos of the great literature. One must complete the purification process by assimilating the contents of the first nine cantos. Then one should be admitted into the realm of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam."
Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas initial statement is misleadingwhether by intent or poor paraphrasing. In regard to being free from sex desire, in the purport to this verse Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada refers to"those who recite", notthose who "read or hear", as Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja claims.
Besides this, the words in the original Sanskrit, visaya-lampatyam tyajati, translated as intoxication of sex indulgence, means gross sex indulgence, not just desire. One must certainly be free of this in order to recite past the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
In the above paragraph Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas use of the words, improper study or hearing, means hearing from an improper source. The proper source, a self-realized speaker in the disciplic succession, will naturally teach his hearers what to hear, how to hear properly, and how to properly follow.
This is also confirmed as follows in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, Chapter 12, Verse 44:
"Whether we hear the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Lord or we hear about the character, reputation and activities of His devotees, they are all one and the same. Neophyte devotees simply try to understand the pastimes of the Lord and are not very interested in hearing about the activities of His devotees, but such discrimination should not be indulged in by any real devotee. Sometimes less intelligent men try to hear about the rasa dance of Krsna and do not take care to hear about other portions of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which they completely avoid. There are professional Bhagavata reciters who abruptly go to the rasa-lila chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam, as if other portions of Srimad-Bhagavatam were useless. This kind of discrimination and abrupt adoption of the rasa-lila pastimes of the Lord is not approved by the acaryas. A sincere devotee should read every chapter and every word of Srimad-Bhagavatam, for the beginning verses describe that it is the ripened fruit of all Vedic literature. Devotees should not try to avoid even a word of Srimad-Bhagavatam."37
It was also told to us by Srila B.P. Puri Goswami Maharaja that his Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, was very strict about reading or hearing even the baby pastimes of Krsna, what to speak of reading or hearing the amorous pastimes of the Lord with the gopis. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura as a method of practice never recommended such. Therefore, we find that the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura never indulged in such matters in the course of their preaching activities. Higher topics were always reserved for the most qualified devotees of the Lord. The pastimes of Radha Krsna were never taken to the public or to the ears of the neophyte devotees.
Our dandavat pranams to nitya-lila-pravista omvisnupada paramahamsa astottara-sata Srila B. P. Puri Gosvami Maharaja, a pure devotee of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the Divine Couple.
However, again, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja uses an apparently paraphrased, isolated bit of anecdotal reference as evidencewithout any context (time, place, circumstances and audience)to support his thesis. He himself knows how easily, and painfully, this type of "evidence" can become misrepresented to many devotees spiritual detriment. Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadas comments in a letter to Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu dated April 28th, 1974 concerning Srila B. R. Sridhar Maharaja and other Godbrothers, which was widely circulated in ISKCON and used without regard to otherand laterstatements to the contrary, is a well-known example.38
Therefore, these types of anecdotal references are not the proper way to present evidences in a serious sastric discussion.39
Our Response III shows that Sripad B.G. Narasingha Maharajas statement here, "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura as a method of practice never recommended such" is, at best, exaggerated. The patient reader is reminded of this with an excerpt from that portion:
"All these days we have not spoken about lila. Why? Because this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya (perfection). But, one should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivrtti (overcoming impediments such as lust and greed) is the prayojana (goal of life). One thinking like this will never enter into artha-pravrtti (acquiring ones actual need). For this reason, I will begin speaking about astakaliya-lila. I know that you are not ready to hear it ."40
Furthermore, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja reminds us of the following stricture in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.33.30:
"In other words, those who are not isvara, the Supreme Lord, who are powerless and subjected to karma, should never imitate the Lords pastimes even within their minds. If anyone foolishly imitates Lord Siva by drinking the poison generated from the ocean, he will certainly be destroyed."41
Then he summarizes the acaryas commentaries as follows:
"The gist of Srila Jiva Gosvamis and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakuras commentaries on this verse is that living entities who are subservient to the material body and who are anisvarabereft of the controlling potency of the Supreme Lordshould never behave in such a way even within their minds. What to speak of actually performing such activities, one should not even desire to do so. In other words, such acts performed by God in transgression of religious codes should not be contemplated even within the mind.
"The word samacarana (behavior), when divided into its constituent parts (samyak + acarana), indicates complete behavior. Here it has been used to indicate total prohibition of such activity. Therefore, the purport is that such behavior should not be adopted even to the slightest extent. What to speak of performing such activities through speech or the senses, one should not even mentally conceive of such activities.
"The word hi indicates that this certainly must not be done. If one were to behave in that way, he would be completely destroyed. The significance of the word maudhyad (stupidity) is that if anyone, being ignorant of the Lords omnipotence and his own incompetence, foolishly adopts such behavior, he will be utterly ruined. Just as if anyone other than Lord Siva were to foolishly consume deadly poison, instantaneously he would be destroyed. But Lord Siva, in spite of drinking poison, is not destroyed; to the contrary, he attains even greater fame and splendor as Nila-kantha, he whose throat turned blue from drinking poison.
"Here in this verse, imitation of such behaviour has been prohibited, yet in the verse to come (S.B.10.33.36.)yah srutva tat-paro bhavetit is evident that not only devotees but even others who faithfully hear these pastimes will become fully devoted to the Supreme Lord. This has been further explained in the verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.39.)..."42
Why does Srila Sukadeva Gosvami bring up this prohibition (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.30) after he has already described the rasa dance to Maharaja Pariksit, in response to Maharaja Pariksits concerns about its morality (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.26 and 27)?
Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in his Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, elaborately describes many reasons. He explains that one should hear with faith and honor from a qualified speaker; but that after hearing, one should never imitate externallyor imagine internallyoneself to be in the position of Krsna.
If only those who are already anartha-nivrtti can hear rasa-lila, what is the necessity for giving them a warning after the fact? According to Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja their hearts are already pure. And, it is accepted that unqualified speakers and unqualified hearers ignore this warning and indulge themselves in illicit fantasies anyway. So who is this prohibition for? The answer can only be sincere hearers who are not yet fully purified.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms this in his commentary to Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.26-27:
Pariksit Maharaja said: O brahmana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the universe, has descended to this earth along with His plenary portion to destroy irreligion and reestablish religious principles. Indeed, He is the original speaker, follower and guardian of moral laws. How, then, could He have violated them by touching other mens wives?43
Commentary by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura:
Atha pariksit sabhoparistanam vividhavasanavatam karmi jnani prabhrtinam
Hrdaye sandeha samudbhutamalaksya taducchedartham prcchati-samsthupanayeti
Translation of the Commentary:
As Sukadeva Gosvami was speaking, King Pariksit noticed that some persons seated in the assembly on the bank of the Ganges were harboring doubt about the Lords activities. These doubtful persons were karmis, jnanis and others who were not devotees of the Lord. To clear up their doubts, King Pariksit asks this question on their behalf."44
Here it is clearly proven that Srila Sukadeva Gosvami spoke rasa-lila to those who were:
Has Srila Sukadeva Gosvami violated his own statement in Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39? According to Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas interpretation, he has.
One might now humbly ask the following questions of Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja:
If neither of these requirements is fulfilled, then one should be very careful how one airs ones own opinion in public, lest one become criticized in the community of learned Vaisnavas.
According to ones sukrtis (pious activities) and samskaras (impressions on the heart from past and present pious and impious activities), one will have taste for hearing from the right or wrong source. Or, one will have no taste at all. As described in the Brhad Naradiya Purana and quoted in Srila Sanatana Gosvamis Hari-bhakti-vilas, "this sadhu-sanga is not obtained coincidentally. It is the result of sukrti or pious activites accumulated over many, many lifetimes".45
"Bhakti becomes manifest by the association of the Lords devotees. The association of devotees is obtained by previous accumulated piety."46
From the above verse one can understand that if a person has an opportunity to hear from a bona-fide speaker, that opportunity is afforded one by dint of ones qualifications, which have come from ones past sukrtis and samskaras. Therefore there is no question of a bona-fide speaker having an audience that is unqualified to hear what Sri Krsna, within his heart, is inspiring him to speak.
There is actually no difference between purely chanting Hare Krsna and the pastimes of Radha Krsna save and except that chanting the holy name is the safer position. Therefore it is advised that one should hear the holy name of Krsna. Srila B.P. Puri Goswami Maharaja was also fond of saying, "Take full shelter of the holy name of Krsna and there will be less commotion and more promotion." Just consider. If while still subject to sex desire one tries to hear the pastimes of Radha and Krsna but fails to control the mind and at that point allows some unwholesome thought to enter, then a great offense will be committed. We have heard from Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja that when such an offense is committed against the lila of the Supreme Lord, the guardians of that plane will take note and the offender may be barred from entering there forever. Certainly this should be taken very seriously. To save us from such an unfortunate end, the recommended process to achieve purification is Krsna-Kirtan (chanting the holy name) and not smaranam (the process of remembrance of lilas). Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Jiva Goswami, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, our Prabhupada and many other stalwarts have all given stress to kirtan as the most effective process for this age.
"The age of Kali, the repository of all evils, has but one glorious characteristic; in this age, those who simply chant the holy name of Krsna are liberated and reach the Supreme Lord." (Bhag. 12.3.51)
"Krishnas holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Let us all bow down to Him." (Bhag. 12.13.23)
"Of all forms of divine service, nine forms are superior, which with great potency bestow upon devotees love of Krsna, and their personal relationship with Him; and of the nine, the best is nama-sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the holy name. By offencelessly taking the holy name, the treasure of love for the Lord is attained." (CC. Antya 4.70,71)
Not only is the process of kirtan recommended by sastra (scripture), all other forms of devotional practice are subservient to kirtan.
"In the Kali-yuga, of the nine basic forms of devotional practices, the forms other than kirtan certainly should be practiced, but they must be conducted subserviently to kirtan." (Bhakti-sandarbha, Sankhya 273)
This is a classic straw-man argument; and, the fault of visaya-antara, deviating from the point in contention.
Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas original topic is whether one who is not "free from unwanted disturbances in the heart" should hear rasa-lila katha from a rasika-acarya. But now he is discussing whether the neophyte should put stress on kirtana or smarana.
Since it is accepted by all acaryas, of all times, that kirtana is prominent and that smarana is only achieved through the medium of kirtana, this is not the point in contention. But it is also a fact that pure kirtana cannot be achieved without proper sravana which is the whole point of this discussion.
It may be argued that unless the holy name is chanted purely it will not have any effect whereas the pastimes of the Lord are immediately relishable and purifying. But this is a faulty argument. Even before the holy name is chanted purely it has a purifying effect. Nama-bhasa is the stage of chanting before suddha-nama (pure chanting) is reached. Continuous chanting during the stage of nama-bhasa gradually gives us promotion to suddha-nama.
The sastra warns clearly that continuous chanting during the stage of namabhasa (dim reflection, semblance, or shadow of the holy name) will result eventually in falling down or impersonalismunless one avails oneself of the fruit of chanting namabhasa in the form of sadhu-sanga.
This is confirmed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Sri Sanmodana Bhasyam, his commentary on Sri Siksastaka. In the first verse, he explains that one may chant hari-nama, but the seven excellent results of chanting beginning with "ceto-darpana-marjanam " will not occur unless one regularly hears hari-katha from the lips of self-realized souls. This is a direct quote from his commentary for the pleasure of the reader:
"Even if one of these two types of sraddha arises, suddha-bhakti can develop only by continuous engagement in suddha-hari-katha in the form of sravana and kirtana in the association of unadulterated pure devotees. If one does not regularly engage in such hari-katha in the association of saintly persons, his sraddha will gradually dwindle and then vanish altogether."47
In other words, even is one is chanting the holy name, if one does not continually hear pure hari-katha from pure Vaisnavas; eventually one loses all faith in pure krsna-bhakti. Thus, one becomes attracted to sense gratification, impersonalism, or any of the various types of bhakti-abhasa.
Srila Jagadananda Pandita, a personal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, has written in his Prema-vivarta:
"It is not possible to chant Krsnas name in the company of those who are not sadhus. Simply the external sound of the letters of Krsnas name may be chanted, but never the real name . One will simply continue to chant nama-aparadha (chanting with offensives to the holy name), or occasionally namabhasa (chanting a semblance of the holy name). If you want to chant suddha-nama you must be in sadhu-sanga."48
In sadhu-sanga one will inevitably hear the pastimes of Krsna. This hearing of the pastimes of Krsna nourishes the sambandha-jnana (deep knowledge of ones intimate relationship with the Supreme Lord) of the sadhaka (practitioner of sadhana); and thus, a very thick relationship with Krsna is established in ones heart. Only then will the pure name manifest on ones tongue.
And as Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada cautions (paraphrasing Sanatana Gosvamis reference to the Padma Purana in his Hari-bhakti-vilas):
"We have seen it practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it. The chanting should be heard, however, from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effect can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of a nondevotee should be avoided, as much as milk touched by the lips of a serpent causes poisonous effect."
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25), the Lord has said:
"In the association of saintly persons, one has the opportunity to hear rasayanah kathah which is very pleasing to both the ear and the heart."
Again, independent endeavors to realize bhakti either by chanting hari-nama or by remembering krsna-lila have been thoroughly condemned. All attempts to attain perfection that circumvent the unconventional guidance of a rasika-acarya must meet with abject failure.
The pastimes of the Supreme Lord are supra mundane and cannot be understood or relished by the mundane mind and senses which are covered with lust. Thinking of Radha and Krsna when one is still a conditioned soul, what to speak of when one is suffering from sex desire, is more or less a dreamy thing. That is to say that such so-called neophyte meditation has no actual touch with the plane of reality in which Radha and Krsna are situated. In other words, coming in contact with the lila of Radha and Krsna is not a thing of this world. One must cross many lower planes before coming to the transcendental platform.
"The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Viraja River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuntha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vrndavana, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Krsna's lotus feet." (CC Madhya 19.153,4)
This is the death-blow to the sentiment mongers. They want rasa-lila which is situated in the highest plane of divinity, but they want that experience through intellectual adjustment, not by paying the actual price. In the language of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura such persons are known as pukura-curiwale, pond thieves.
But what is that price? And who is dreaming?
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives us the real answers to both these questions:
"The Hare Krsna mantra chanting means keeping Krsna always within your heart. This is not... It is not expensive at all. You havent got to make a very exalted throne for Krsna. You can imagine that In my heart I have placed now a very diamond throne, and Krsna is sitting. That is accepted. It is... Actually it becomes. Even within the mind you think that I have kept one diamond throne, very costly throne, because Krsna is coming. He will sit down here, that is not false. That is a fact. So you create such situation within your heart. Now Krsna has seated. Let me wash His feet with the Ganges water, Yamuna water. Now I change His dress to a first-class costly garments. Then I decorate with ornaments. Then I give Him for eating. You can simply think of this. This is meditation. Svantah-sthena gadabhrta. It is so nice thing. Anywhere you can sit down and think that Krsna is sitting in your heart and you are receiving in so nice way. They are not false. They are also fact. It is so easy."50
It is interesting to hear Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada himself describe how he took the name for his "International Society for Krsna Consciousness" from the description of raganuga-bhakti (spontaneous devotional service in love) given in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta:
"In another poetry51 Rupa Gosvami says, krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto pi labhyate. our this Krsna consciousness, I have taken this from this word krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih. This is actual translation in Sanskrit .... krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih. So Rupa Gosvami advises that, Krsna consciousness, if it is possible, please purchase. Dont delay. Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam. Purchase immediately! Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto pi.
Where it is available? It is very nice thing.
Yes, it is available. You can purchase. The movement is going on. And what is the price?
It is such a nice thing; you have to pay price. Yes, there is price.
What is that?
Tatra laulyam ekalam mulyam: "Simply your eagerness. That is price. This price you have to pay." Then you get Krsna. Immediately. Krsna is not poor. And the Krsna-seller, the Krsna devotee, he is also not poor. He can distribute Krsna free. And hes doing that. Simply you have to purchase by your eagerness. That is wanted. Tatra laulyam.
'Oh, eagerness? I have got eagerness.'
'Oh, it is not so easy. Tatra laulyam ekalam mulyam janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate: This eagerness cannot be achieved even by pious activities for millions of births.'
If you simply go on doing pious activities... Because without being pious, you cannot approach Krsna. So if you go on doing simply pious, janma-koti-sukrtair... Sukrti means pious activities, simply pious. Still, this eagerness is not awakened.
So this eagerness is very important thing. But it can be awakened by the association of devotees. Therefore we are giving chance to everyone to invoke that eagerness. Then you will see God eye to eye. It is not difficult. Tac chraddadhana munayah. Those who have developed that eagerness, faith, that I must see Krsna in this life... This life is meant for seeing Krsna. It is not meant for becoming dogs and hogs. Unfortunately, the whole civilization is going on, they are being trained to become dogs and hogs. It is the only institution that is teaching people how to see Krsna. This is the only institution, this Krsna consciousness movement. It is so important."52
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja has given all sincere devotees further hints on how we can develop that greed, even when we are not qualified:
" .Another point to consider is that if this argument is accepted (that one has to be free of anarthas before hearing lila-katha), then we sadhakas who are still affected by anarthas, although possessing faith, could never read nor hear the sacred books of rasika Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas like Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Under such a circumstance, we would be forever deprived of the extremely confidential and elevated truths of bhakti expressed by these acaryas. There would be no possibility that the sprout of greed for raganuga-bhakti would ever be awakened in our hearts. Thus we would be forever cheated from that which was not previously given, the prema-rasa of the most munificent Sri Saci-nandana, the bestower of krsna-prema. What then would distinguish the Sri Gaudiya Vaisnavas who have taken shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu from Vaisnavas of other sampradayas?
"A third point to consider is this. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 8.70) the following verse is quoted from Padyavali:
"Here, the words laulyam api mulyam ekalam (indeed the only price is greed) indicate that this supremely rare greed cannot be aroused even by pious activities accumulated over millions and millions of births. Then how can this greed be obtained? The words krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih indicate one whose intelligence or perception has been awakened toward krsna-bhakti-rasa. Here, the implication is that by faithfully hearing the narrations of Sri Krsnas pastimes saturated with rasa from the lips of rasika Vaisnavas in whom krsna-bhakti-rasa has arisen, or by faithfully and attentively studying the literatures related to the pastimes of Sri Krsna composed by them, this greed may be obtained. Besides this, there is no other means.
"Another argument, that at present there is no sadhaka who is completely free from anarthas and, therefore, no one is eligible, nor in the future will anyone be eligible, is completely illogical. Freedom from lust and all other anarthas in and of itself is not the qualification for entrance into raganuga-bhakti.
"On the contrary, greed awakened towards the Lords madhurya (sweetness) is the sole qualification for entrance into raganuga-bhakti. Nor is there any certainty that, by routine observance of the limbs of vaidhi-bhakti alone, greed toward raganuga-bhakti will automatically awaken. There is no evidence of this anywhere.
"Therefore, our highest obligation is to follow the purport of the commentaries of the previous acaryas to the above-mentioned verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam."53
We find that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would sometimes become absorbed in thoughts of the lila of Krsna. When the Lord came in contact with that plane of consciousness He manifested ecstatic symptoms such as trembling, faltering of the voice, and becoming unconscious. He would sometimes sweat blood, and His limbs would sometimes contract within His body. The Lord manifested these symptoms as a result of coming in connection with the transcendental plane.
Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva Goswami Maharaja used to say; "Only we are to conjecture the ideal. But if we think that we have got that, it is finished. We have got something else. It is such a thing, adhoksaja. Any force of our mind or intelligence can never catch it. Avan manasa gocara. It exists transcending our mental speculation and also the consideration of our judiciousness. But still it exists."
Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja has written marvelously, in our guru-varga (line of teachers). He is a bona-fide speaker, and he is training his actual followers how to hear.
He is quoted first as saying: "Only we are to conjecture the ideal."
In other words, it is necessary for us to conjecture, or conceive of, that ideal spiritual realm. And only by hearing from pure devotees are we able to conjecture.
Then: "If we think that we have got that, then it is finished. We have got something else."
By such hearing we can remember the pastimes of Krsna and His associates. However, if we artificially imagine that we are already perfect, that we are already in the lilas ourselves, then our attempt to attain that ideal realm is finished. That is sahajiya. If we imagine we are already gopis, and our bodies are spiritual and therefore meant for enjoyment, then "we have got something else."lust. And well go to hell"it is finished."
And finally: "It is such a thing, adhoksaja (transcendental). Any force of our mind or intelligence can never catch it. Avan manasa gocara. It exists transcending our mental speculation ."
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also quotes the words avan manasa gocara several times. In one example, he says:
".... So therefore Krsna is giving you the knowledge. That you have to hear. Knowledge which you cannot experience by your senses at the present moment, you have to hear from the authority. Avan manasa-gocara. Which is beyond your mind and intelligence, you have to hear from the authority."54
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada further differentiates between proper and improper conjecturing:
"According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the chapters of the Srimad-Bhagavatam describing the rasa-lila are not meant for ordinary persons; they are meant for liberated persons only. Therefore these descriptions of the rasa-lila should not be described to ordinary people. Those who are advanced devotees, liberated from material contamination, can try to understand Krsnas rasa-lila. One must not try to imagine the rasa-lila of Radha and Krsna in mundane terms.
"But even though ordinary hearers of Srimad-Bhagavatam do not know the deep significance of Krsnas rasa-lila, because they hear about Krsnas pastimes they become purified. And if they hear from authorized sources, they will be promoted to the transcendental devotional platform. The disease within the heart is lust, the desire to enjoy, and by hearing from authorized sources about Krsnas pastimes of loving exchanges with the gopis, the deep-rooted lusty desires in the heart will be completely eradicated.
"Unfortunately, most people do not hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam from authoritative sources. They hear only from professional reciters. Therefore they remain materially diseased, full of lusty desires. Some become sahajiya, pretending to be Krsna and Radharani and Her gopi friends. In this way they behave as if they were the supreme enjoyer."55
The above sastric quotations support our previous acaryas, as amply demonstrated in these Responses. It is quite different to what appears to be Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas unstated perspective here of Srila B. R. Sridhar Maharajas quoted statement.
Purification of the mind and senses is required if we want to progress to the transcendental plane and that purification is most substantially achieved by taking shelter of the holy name of Krsna. That was the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
"Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living beings. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Krsna expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step."
Our dandavat pranams to the Supreme Personality of GodheadLord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhuand to His Siksastakam. And again, our repeated sastang pranams to Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and the essence of all their advice as found in the 8th verse and purport of The Nectar of Instruction (Sri Upadesamrta):
"The essence of all advice is that one should utilize ones full timetwenty-four hours a dayin nicely chanting and remembering the Lords divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging ones tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vrndavana dhama] and serve Krsna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lords beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service."
" .Again Srila Rupa Gosvami states in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.295):
"In the transcendental realm of Vraja (Vraja-dhama) one should serve the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, with a feeling similar to that of His associates, and one should place himself under the direct guidance of a particular associate of Krsna and should follow in his footsteps. This method is applicable both in the stage of sadhana (spiritual practices executed while in the stage of bondage) and in the stage of sadhya (God realization), when one is a siddha-purusa, or a spiritually perfect soul.
"Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has commented as follows upon this verse:
One who has not yet developed interest in Krsna consciousness should give up all material motives and train his mind by following the progressive regulative principles, namely chanting and remembering Krsna and His name, form, quality, pastimes and so forth. In this way, after developing a taste for such things, one should try to live in Vrndavana and pass his time constantly remembering Krsnas name, fame, pastimes and qualities under the direction and protection of an expert devotee. This is the sum and substance of all instruction regarding the cultivation of devotional service."56
Some gentleman has written in a recent publication that anyone who says that we should not listen to the narration of Krsna-lila with the gopis is certainly an atheist. But if we were to follow that line of thinking then even the Mahajanas (great devotees) would have to be considered atheistic. The fact is that those with high regard for Divinity always deal with Divinity with the greatest caution, such that offense should not be committed.
While Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja does not specify which "gentleman" or "publication" he is referring to, such a statement is found in Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's Introduction to the second publishing57 of his Venu-Gita, page xvi. What Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja failed to recognize in his own statement above is that this is the direct translation from Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Sarartha Darsini commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.33.39 ("vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah") as mentioned before in Response V. Here is the original Sanskrit of the quote in question:
Dhirah pandita iti hrd roge satyapi katham prema bhaved ity anastikya laksanena murkhatvena rahita ity arthah. Ataeva sraddhanvita iti sastravisvasinam namaparadhinam premapi nangikarotiti bhavah.
[Anastikya means atheist, murkhatvena means fool, sastravisvasinam means disbeliever in sastra, and namaparadhinam means offender to the holy name.]
Here is the translation of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakuras quote above:
"The word dhira means pandita, or one who is learned in the sastra. One who refuses to accept the claim of this verse and thinks, As long as the disease of lust remains in the heart, prema cannot be obtained, is said to possess an atheistic temperament. One who is free from such a foolish, atheistic demeanor is known as pandita or sober person (dhira). Consequently, only those who have firm faith in the sastra are known as dhira. Those who have no faith in the statements of the sastra are atheistic and offenders to the holy name. Such persons can never attain prema."58
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja comments as follows:
"Consequently, in the heart of the sadhakas who firmly believe in the statements of the sastra, faith arises by hearing rasa-lila and other narrations. Only in the hearts of such faithful devotees does prema manifest its influence as a result of hearinglila-katha. Thereafter, lust and all evils present within the heart of the devotees are destroyed to the root."59
By Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharajas own line of reasoning, it is not at all possible for any Mahajanas to differ from Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, or vice versa. Does he think that Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is an ordinary "gentleman" who has failed to exercise "caution, such that offense should not be committed"?
The neophytes should therefore not concern themselves with the narration of the lilas of Krsna as much as they should concern themselves with the holy name of Krsna. One should first surrender to the holy name. And if one is a disciple of a bona-fide spiritual master he should first concern himself/herself with the instructions of that spiritual master. That is the way of advancement in Krsna consciousness.
In this and his previous statement, Sripad B. G. Narasingha Maharaja has oscillated between "great devotees" and "neophytes" so that he appears to be:
If perchance he was actually quoting/paraphrasing some other authority without acknowledgment, then it would be helpful if he would clarify his interpretation of their statement within the larger context of that authoritys full discussion.
And, when he follows this with the words, " as much as they should concern themselves with the holy name of Krsna .", does this mean that he actually thinks it may be all right for the neophytes to "concern themselves with the narration of the lilas of Krsna" now and then?
And if so, under what conditions? Perhaps all the ones that have been delineated in these Responses?
Therefore, on the grounds of concrete scriptural evidence, it is established that
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga! Gaura Premanande Hari Hari Bol!
Vaisnava dasanudas, Dhrstadyumna das
*The author resigned from Bhakti Trust International on November 22, 2005. This article was submitted earlier when he was an active participant.
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