Sri Advaita Acarya And Vraja Prema

By Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaja

Recently there has been some discussion on VNN about the ability of Sri Advaita Acarya to give Vraja prema. One devotee asked Maharaja for his understanding. The following is his answer. Maharaja also wanted this to be posted on VNN as well to clarify the Rupanuga Siddhantha.

Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga Jayatah!

Dear Maharajas, Prabhus, and Didis,

First, allow me to offer my humble dandavat pranams to the lotus feet of my divine spiritual master, Gurupadapadma Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Vamana Goswami Maharaja. And please allow me to also offer my dandavat pranams to the lotus feet of my siksa guru Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja.

Please, my dear Prabhus, we are ordinary persons. Sri Advaita Acarya is Lord Visnu and most powerful. He is Maha Visnu and Sadha Siva - visaya vigraha. He is part of the Pancha Tattva and a disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puripada. By his most powerful call Sri Krsna appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He called Mahaprabhu that He should come and give pure love of God. What love of God is that? Vaikuntha Prema? Dwaraka Prema? What prema did Mahaprabhu come to distribute? Pure love - that supremely pure love found in the mood of the gopis of Vraja. This Vraja prema could only be given by Krsna after he accepted the mood and qualities of Srimati Radhika.

Even Krsna Himself was not giving this Vraja prema until He accepted the mood and qualities of Srimati Radhika. In the line of Srila Rupa Goswamipada the only Vraja prema accepted by Rupanugas is manjari-bhava, not any other rasa. But, how can we come to know this Vraja prema of the gopis? Only by the mercy of the Vaisnavas. If Sri Advaita Acarya, our Guru, had not called Krsna then how would we ever come to know about any of these things? We should therefore pray to him that he will bless us that we may come to Sri Rupa Goswami, that we will be given permission to serve him.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard the Lalita-Madhava and Vidgadha-Madhava by Srila Rupa Goswami He told all the Vaisnavas present, one of whom was Sri Advaita Acarya, to give their full mercy to Srila Rupa Goswami so that he will be successful.

So, without the mercy of Sri Advaita Acarya how will Krsna prema be possible?

One time even Mother Saci had said that Advaita Acarya is not advaita but dvaita, duplicitious, because she considered that he had encouraged Her Nimai to take sannyasa. Mahaprabhu took this as an offense and would not give bhakti to even her until she submitted herself to the feet of Sri Advaita Acarya for forgiveness.

So, we should be careful that we do not make any offense to him. This is because our need for mercy is first given by the Vaisnavas then by Sri Gurudeva. Then by the mercy of Sri Gurudeva we will come to understand who is my worshipable Lord and what is our goal.

In this way we should pray to Sri Adavaita Acarya and all the vaisnavas that they will give us permission to serve them and Sri Rupa Goswami. Then by the mercy of Sri Rupa Goswami we may come into the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Conjugal.

The mercy of Sri Rupa Goswami is needed because Vraja prema is ultimately Srimati Radharani's maha-bhava. Only her associates, viz., Vraja gopis and manjaris, have experienced this. They are Radhika's parikaras, intimate associates. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura wrote, in his commentary to Sri Ujjvala Nilamani, that the Dvaraka queens have raga-anuraga-bhava. But this, though very exalted, is not maha-bhava. This is not Vraja prema. This is full with opulence mood only - a different bhava. The associates in Dvaraka, the queens, could not give this pure love. Only Radhika's sakhis or manjaris can give.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took the mood of Srimati Radharani He was able to taste Her maha-bhava. Otherwise Sri Krsna could not understand the greatness of Her mood. When Mahaprabhu went to hear from Sri Raya Ramananda he then was able to taste this great bhava. There are many great associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu but all of them are not giving this Vraja prema. Only the rasika bhaktas, the associates of Radhika, can do so. Others are indeed tasting or have very intimate knowledge but they cannot give this prema. In their conversation Sri Raya Ramananda told Mahaprabhu (Cc Madhya 8.70);

krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih
kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate

If you find a rasika bhakta then you should take his shelter at once. Then he will give this Vraja prema. Otherwise one may do sadhana bhajan for thousands of lives finding it impossible to achieve.

While it is true that Sri Advaita Acarya can give raganuga bhakti he cannot give manjari-bhava, the service to Radhika. For this we need to take shelter of a manjari in the line of Rupa Manjari. Otherwise it is impossible. This is the only line to this bhava. And this is Mahaprabhu's mission.

Those devotees in the parivara, lineage, of Sri Advaita Acarya must take siksa from the line of Srila Rupa Goswami to experience this Vraja prema. Gopisvara Mahadeva and the four Kumaras have also tasted and knew everything about this bhava and could give blessings to attain it (for which we humbly pray) but they could not give it. Only one who has can give.

Vaisnava dasanudas,

Tridandi Swami Bhaktivedanta Tirtha Maharaja

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