A brief look into the history and essential meaning of the ISKCON and Gauḍīya Maṭha paramparā.
Prior to writing the first article, Sarasvatī Prabhupāda Paramparā, I was shown a correspondence from Premānanda Dāsa to Aghrāya Prabhu wherein the anti-party representative (Premānanda Dāsa) made specific derogatory statements about Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and his paramparā. That is reproduced here as follows.
Premānanda Dāsa wrote:
“What is the connection between Bhaktisiddhānta and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura that you speak about? Of course there was connection, they were father and son. But not guru and disciple. Vimala Prasāda did not respect Śrīla Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda was very unhappy about this show of disrespect. For this reason, Bhaktivinoda didn’t give Vimala Prasāda dīkṣā. Bhaktivinoda was also unhappy about Vimala Prasāda’s heavy critique of many Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.”
You say that Śrīla Bhaktivinoda found the leading Vaiṣṇava in Śrīla Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī and not in his dīkṣā-guru. This is false!!… Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī was his śikṣā-guru, but that doesn’t mean that his position was higher than the dīkṣā-guru. I happen to be initiated into the dīkṣā-paramparā of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda, and therefore I know what the paramparā is. Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī is not included in it. There is no such thing as ‘śikṣā-paramparā‘, as something that is independent of dīkṣā. In the other Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas the unbroken line of dīkṣā is the guru-paramparā. There is no ‘bhāgavata paramparā‘ there. In the Gauḍīya line you won’t find support for it either (outside of Gauḍīya Maṭha, ISKCON etc.). But this might be difficult to accept if you want to be a follower of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s line.”
It was this statement written by the anti-party which first caught my attention and fuelled the first article (Sarasvatī Prabhupāda paramparā) as a response to their misconceptions. Rather than ignore the statements of the anti-party as simply being offensive to both Gauḍīya Maṭha and ISKCON, as one might normally do when confronting foolish persons, I decided to answer their questions, counter their arguments and expose their misconceptions with reference to śāstra and certain important histories in this regard. Now that the topic has come out in the open on VNN we feel that it is necessary to continue to expose all the misconceptions of the anti-party. There are no doubt hundreds of misconceptions in the anti-party and therefore our work may not be completed in this article or even in this lifetime.
After our first article appeared here on VNN the representative of the followers of Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura wrote a few words on the VNN forum rejecting our original article and then summed it up by stating, “With these words I have demonstrated the invalidity of Narasiṅgha Svāmī’s accusations and misconceptions.”
We will not so easily concede this argument. The anti-party has failed to demonstrate anything substantial – nor have they countered any of our statements in the previous article wherein we have shown;
1) That the paramparā of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is indeed drawn from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī not Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī.
2) That Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura took dīkṣā, for decorum’s sake only, from Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī.
3) That Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī did in fact reject Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura (printed in Gaurāṅga Sevakā Patrikā in 1919) for the reason that the Ṭhākura had preached what the Gosvāmī considered an untruth regarding the birth site of Mahāprabhu being at Māyāpura and not at Navadvīpa.
4) That Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī offended Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī by considering him as born in a lower caste.
5) That Sarasvatī Ṭhākura defeated Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī in the debate at Midinapur on brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas.
6) That Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī had the character of the lower Vaiṣṇava adhikāra.
7) That Sarasvatī Ṭhākura reinitiated a leading disciple of Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī thus showing his complete disregard for the idea that the Gosvāmī was the guru of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
8) That Bhaktivinoda was very pleased with the preaching of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and gave him his full blessings to defeat all types of philosophical misconception, to establish the birth site of Mahāprabhu at Māyāpura and to establish the divine teachings of pure devotional service throughout the world (daiva–varṇāśrama).
9) That ekādāśa-bhāva as practiced by the followers of Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura is mental speculation.
10) That hari-nāma is a superior process to ekādāśa-bhāva as explained by Kavirāja Gosvāmī in his commentary to Kṛṣṇa-karnāmṛta.
11) That the śikṣā-paramparā is the sat-guru-paramparā and not simply the line of bodily succession (dīkṣā-paramparā).
12) That one receives entrance into the process of rāgānuga-bhakti at the time of initiation into the paramparā of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
All these points were substantially made in our first article but the anti-party has failed to refute even one of them properly. Rather they have simply resorted to jumbling a few words here and there with the hope of saving face. Of course it is a hard lump for the anti-party to swallow but they have accepted an illusory paramparā of bodies and dead mantras. We would like to give further explanation to some additional points regarding the misconceptions of the anti-party about the paramparā of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda, Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and the bona-fide process to attain perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is the opinion of the anti-party that Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was a conditioned soul (nitya-baddha), who was thus bewildered by the three modes of material nature and subject to the reactions of sinful activities in the beginning of his life. The anti-party states as their main source of reference on this point a short autobiography called Svālikhita Jīvanī wherein Bhaktivinoda describes in brief the events of his life in chronological order up to his retirement. In that book scarcely anything is mentioned regarding pure devotional service. The book was originally a letter written by Bhaktivinoda to his son Lalitā Prasāda when the boy was just 15 years old. Much is given to describe the Ṭhākura’s previous life style and habits before fully manifesting his mission and reason for descent. There Bhaktivinoda describes his old habits of eating non-vegetarian food, his having been a māyāvādī, etc. This the anti-party claims is evidence that the Ṭhākura was a conditioned soul prior to meeting Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī.
The anti-party continues their line of thought and concludes that it was by the mercy of Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī that the Ṭhākura became a liberated soul – one qualified to receive vraja-bhakti. This point they further try to prove by quoting the Navadvīpa-bhāva-taraṅga wherein Anaṅga Mañjarī takes Bhaktivinoda (Kamala Mañjarī) and introduces him to Rūpa Mañjarī as a nava-dāsī (a newcomer).
śrī-rupa-mañjarī-praśne īśvarī āmāra
balibe e nava-dāsī sakhī lalitāra
kṛpa kari deha ebe rāga-mārge gati
“Being questioned by Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, my mistress Anaṅga Mañjarī will reply, ‘This new dāsī will be engaged in Lalitā Sakhī’s service. Her name is Kamala Mañjarī, and she is very devoted to Śrī Gaurāṅga. Please be merciful now and give her entrance into the flow of spontaneous devotional service to our Lordships.’”
The anti-party say that this verse proves that Bhaktivinoda was not a nitya-siddha (eternally liberated) soul, otherwise he would not have referred to himself as a nava-dāsī. They further conclude that the Ṭhākura having been introduced to Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī by Anaṅga Mañjarī further demonstrates that the paramparā of Bhaktivinoda is coming in the line of the Nityananda parivāra – from Jāhnavī Devī to Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī in an unbroken dīkṣā-paramparā. Jāhnavī Devī is Anaṅga Mañjarī in kṛṣṇa-līlā and thus they say this demonstrates that it was by the grace of Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī that the Ṭhākura got entrance into the eternal pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa via Anaṅga Mañjarī.
The conception of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura however is diametrically opposed to that of the followers of Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura. Sarasvatī Ṭhākura considered Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as nitya-siddha, eternally liberated. He never for a moment considered Bhaktivinoda as father – what to speak of considering Bhaktivinoda a conditioned soul. Sarasvatī Ṭhākura always considered Bhaktivinoda as guru (sat-guru – eternal guru). In fact, he always saw and spoke of Bhaktivinoda as being in the highest plane of guru–tattva – as the delegation or representative of Śrī Rādhikā.
As already mentioned in our first article, Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura thought of Bhaktivinoda as ‘Bābā’ (father). The fact that Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura saw Bhaktivinoda as ‘Bābā’ is evident at the beginning of Svālikhita Jīvanī where he writes:
“My honorable father ordered me not to misuse whatever was written to me by him. Such was his instruction to me. That is the reason that I cannot give this book to ordinary persons. Only one who has complete love and faith in my father can read this work. If anyone reads this volume and makes his own commentary that is against my father then he alone is responsible, not I.”
Sarasvatī Ṭhākura on the other hand did not consider Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as ‘father’ – he only saw him as guru. Nor did he see any so-called mundane thing about the life of Bhaktivinoda to be an indication that the Ṭhākura was ever a conditioned soul. Thus Sarasvatī Ṭhākura gave no importance whatsoever to the book Svālikhita Jīvanī.
The quotation from Navadvīpa-bhāva-taraṅga wherein Anaṅga Mañjarī takes Bhaktivinoda (Kamala Mañjarī) and introduces him to Rūpa Mañjarī as a nava-dāsī (a newcomer) does show however that Bhaktivinoda has an intimate friendly relationship with Anaṅga Mañjarī in eternal pastimes (aprākṛta-līlā). His being referred to as a nava-dāsī (newcomer) does not prove that he was previously a conditioned soul but rather the description of his being a nava-dāsī is given in the mood of showing us how a member of our sampradāya in the stage of perfection (svarūpa–siddhi) will be introduced into the divine pastimes of the Lord. The anti-party has no entrance into this understanding because they are victims of a faulty process and they are averse to the practices of pure devotion (śuddha–bhakti).
In any chronology of an author’s works we would naturally expect that the latter works would reflect the authors deepest thought and development. In this regard we reference the last book written by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in 1907, namely Sva-niyama Dvādaśakam, 12 Verses of My Self-Imposed Regulative Principles. In the first verse Bhaktivinoda makes especial reference to the line of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī (Rupa Mañjarī) and the devotees of his disciplic succession. There he says:
gurau śrī-gaurāṅge tad-udita-subhakti-prakaraṇe
śacī-sūnor līlā-vikasita-sutīrthe nijamanau
harer nāmni preṣṭhe hari-tithiṣu rūpānuga-jane
śuka-prokte śāstre pratijani mamāstāṁ khalu ratiḥ
The third line, harer nāmni preṣṭhe hari-tithiṣu rūpānuga-jane makes special reference to the line of Rūpa Gosvāmī and his followers by the words rūpānuga-jane. Bhaktivinoda prays in his mood of natural humility that whenever and wherever he may happen to take birth he simply desires that his loving affection and attachment will remain unshaken for the line of Rūpa Gosvāmī and his followers.
The anti-party however does not give serious consideration to the position of Rūpa Gosvāmī in the disciplic succession of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Rūpa Gosvāmī simply does not figure predominately in their thinking or understanding of the process of rāgānuga-bhakti. The anti-party jumps over 269 verses of Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and tries to immediately enter into the internal sādhana of rāgānuga leaving the necessary practice of vaidhi–bhakti behind. This amounts to a spiritual dead end.
From the reading of the anti-parties literature one cannot glean even a particle of the proper conception necessary for rāgānuga–bhakti. One could read such books as, Why Did Caitanya Mahāprabhu Come and What Did He Come to Give and Navadvīpa Vraja Madhuri from cover to cover without ever realising that the life of divine love which Śrī Caitanya came to give is based on sacrifice! Enjoying the līlās of Radha Kṛṣṇa NOW while one is still at the stage of bhajana-kriyā (practice) and without proper qualification (anartha-nivṛtti, niṣṭhā and ruci) is the odour that the anti-party reeks of. Before one can enter the plane of higher topics one must first embrace a life of divine slavery – that was the conception of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. The real ekādāśa-bhāva (siddha-deha) is revealed in proportion to one’s conversion from the disease of the enjoying spirit to that of a healthy serving disposition. Our actual initiation into rāgānuga-bhakti is initiation into the conception of divine slavery.
One must always keep the higher conception above and worship that from a little distance:
pūjala rāga-patha gaurava bhaṅge
mātala sādhu-jana viṣaya raṅge
This śloka was composed by Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and it describes the particular type of posing which should be adopted by all sādhakas (devotees at the stage of practice). From a little distance and below we should offer our highest regard to the highest quarter. An imitative show of the higher sentiments of divine love will only bring about a negative result in the practicing life of a devotee. Imitation is always to be avoided. The ekādāśa–bhāva practiced by the anti-party certainly falls into the category of imitation. (The imaginary ekādāśa-bhāva process practiced by the anti-party consists of receiving the following eleven points of information about one’s so-called eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa from a so-called guru – sambandha (relationship), vayasa (age), nāma (name), rūpa (form), yūtha (group), veśa (dress), ājñā (orders), vāsa-sthāna (residence), sevā (service), parākāṣṭhā (highest aspiration), and pālya-dāsī-bhāva (the mood of a protected maidservant.) To support their misconception of receiving ekādāśa-bhāva at initiation the anti-party quotes the following verse from Bhakti Sandarbha, Annucheda 283:
divyaṁ jñānaṁ hy atra śrīmati mantre bhagavat svarūpa-jñānaṁ
tena bhagavatā sambandha-viśeṣa-jñānaṁ ca
The words divyaṁ jñānaṁ (transcendental knowledge) here refers to the descriptions of the Lord’s transcendental form in sacred mantras. Chanting those mantras establishes a relationship with the Supreme Lord. The term viśeṣa-jñānaṁ here refers to specific knowledge of a specific relationship with that Lord. The anti-party interprets this however to mean receiving ekādāśa-bhāva. How from tena bhagavatā sambandha-viśeṣa-jñānaṁ ca is the ekādāśa-bhāva construed? It is only the stretch of their imagination. Ekādāśa-bhāva actually belongs to the prayojana–tattva (the highest stage of realisation). The anti-party wants to cut off the word sambandha (the beginning stage of knowledge – fundamental knowledge) and establish their own interpretation thus making ekādāśa–bhāva a part of sambandha–jñāna. They want to take up prayojana at the stage of vaidhi–bhakti leaving aside the abhidheya or means of attainment rather than undergo the real process of purification.
The followers of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura are certainly not without divyam jnanam or viśeṣa-jñānaṁ. A significant proof of this fact is that the followers of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura have penetrated into the meaning of the mantras, referred to by the above verse, such as Brahma-Gāyatrī, Guru-Gāyatrī, Gaura-Gāyatrī, Gopāla-Mantra, Kāma-Gāyatrī, and Sannyāsa-Mantra (the rāga-mārga mantra) to such depths that have never been revealed before. In the commentaries to these mantras the followers of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, by his grace, have established the acme of divine truths regarding the worship of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus they have demonstrated that their lineage is the divine succession of vraja–prema in the paramparā of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. To satisfy our readers regarding this bold statement we invite you to read the book Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā published by Mandala Publishers.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught sambandha-jñāna to Sanātana Gosvāmī (Ratī Mañjarī) and abhidheya-jñāna to Rūpa Gosvāmī (Rūpa Mañjarī) but we do not find in either case that Mahāprabhu gave ekādāśa-bhāva to either of them while imparting His general and specific instructions as it is assumed by the followers of Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura. Yet if one follows sincerely the instructions given to both Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī one will no doubt gradually come to the stage of prayojana (perfection) wherein ekādāśa–bhāva will be revealed.
Another interesting point to note here is that the verse quoted above from Bhakti Sandarbha appears in the section on Deity worship. There Deity worship is being recommended for householders and a reference is given there to the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa wherein it is recommended that for wealthy householders the path of Deity worship is most important.
While discussing the defects of imitating ekādāśa–bhāva it should also be noted here that the anti-party frequently recommends the practice of sādhāraṇi kāron as a stimulus to ekādāśa–bhāva. This sādhāraṇi-kāron is the process of attending drama performances known as rāsa-līlās. Here the anti-party enthusiastically recommends that by watching such līlā-dramas one’s eternal loving sentiments (bhāvas) for Kṛṣṇa in mādhurya-rasa are aroused. This they say is achieved by identifying one’s self with one of the actors and thus experiencing the sentiments being portrayed. Thus they sometimes make a show of shedding tears and manifesting other bodily symptoms of bhāva. We point out here the obvious – the sādhāraṇi-kāron process is imitation. One may ask, “What is the harm if neophytes watch rāsa-līlā dramas?” The answer is that unless one is established in transcendence (niṣṭhā, ruci, or āsakti) the viewing of rāsa–līlās will only arouse one’s mundane sentiments of love which are sentiments of prema (divine love) covered by lust. When this happens the whole thing is spoiled and one may lose his highest prospect forever. What to speak of losing our highest prospect – those who are the eternal residents of the Divine World will themselves block our entrance there due to our having committed offences. When there is imitation, only offences will be created. Those offences will be recorded in that circle of the examiners of the upper quarter, and they will give a stamp of disqualification that we are criminal and unfit. This will go against us and hamper our future progress.
Our Guru Maharaja Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda once commented to us in Vṛndāvana about this sādhāraṇi-kāron process wherein he said, “One who has already realised rāsa-līlā he can go to see such performances – otherwise not.” It is also a known fact that such līlā-dramas must be performed by pure devotees in order for the actual sentiments (bhāvas) to manifest. This point the anti-party also overlooks and eagerly goes to attend the līlā-dramas performed by conditioned souls. Thus from start to finish it is a cheating process. A process of self-deception.
Some devotees in ISKCON are willing to concede that there are two branches from the paramparā of Bhaktivinoda. One being hari–nāma and daiva–varṇāśrama as represented by the line of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and the other being ekādāśa–bhāva (siddha–pranālī) as represented by Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura. These devotees for want of proper understanding sometimes conclude that these are two parallel paths – one coming from Bhaktivinoda’s dīkṣā connection (Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī) and one coming from his śikṣā connection (Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī). This idea, however, is completely rejected by the Gauḍīya Maṭha. The siddha–pranālī mentioned by Kavirāja Gosvāmī in his commentary of Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta is not the same as the siddha–pranālī practiced by the followers of Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura and thus the path of the anti-party is a rejected one. The Gauḍīya Maṭha does not consider the path shown by Lalitā Prasāda Ṭhākura to be bona fide, thus the conclusion of the followers of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura should be that there is only one authentic line coming down from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and that is the line of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. This is the opinion of all the disciples of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura; our Guru Maharaja A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhakti Daitya Mādhava Mahārāja, and Śrīla Bhakti Pramoda Purī Mahārāja – just to name a few. Thus the disciples and followers of the above mentioned disciples of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura should strictly follow the line of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and not be deviated by the flowery words of the anti-party and the short cut to ‘nectar.’
The devotees should know that the anti-party, despite their sometimes quoting the books of the Six Gosvāmīs to support their conception, is not in the Rūpanuga paramparā, the disciplic succession of Rūpa Gosvāmī (Rūpa Mañjarī). The anti-party starts their paramparā from Nityānanda Prabhu to Jāhnavī Devī down to Vipina Vihāri Gosvāmī. The Six Gosvāmīs are not included in their paramparā.
It is sometimes expressed by the anti-party that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was a mahā-bhāgavata, a great devotee. This they say for convenience sake when trying to work themselves out of a corner. What they really think of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is evident in the statement by Premānanda Dāsa quoted at the beginning of this article.
When the anti-party seemingly shows respect to Sarasvatī Ṭhākura by saying that he is a mahā–bhāgavata – it is actually a hidden criticism. The real meaning of what they say is that they only consider him a preacher of the yuga–dharma (hari–nāma) and a devotee of the Nārāyaṇa aspect of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu – not a member of the Vraja camp. In the conception of the anti-party, hari–nāma is something different from rāgānuga-bhakti and thus they insinuate that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura cannot give the proper conception of vraja–bhakti although he did preach yuga-dharma very nicely. Thus, they say, his followers can only attain vaikuṇṭha–prema but not kṛṣṇa–prema in Vraja. The anti-party stresses here that since Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did not receive ekādāśa–bhāva from Bhaktivinoda that he was given entrance only to Vaikuṇṭha.
By saying that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura can only give vaikuṇṭha-prema the anti-party indirectly insinuates that Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī, a siddha–puruṣa and eternal resident of Vraja, Guṇa Mañjarī, did not bestow the conception of vraja-bhakti upon his disciple Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It is here that the anti-party makes one of their biggest mistakes.
There is also a nice story in this connection regarding Sarasvatī Ṭhākura being a Vaikuṇṭha Man and a man of Vraja as well.
Once a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī Vaiṣṇava spent some time at Māyāpura in the association of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. After some days this man went to Navadvipa to be in the association of Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī. Hearing that this man had come from Māyāpura, Bābājī was very happy and he inquired about Māyāpura. The man replied that he would not go to Māyāpura any more, because Sarasvatī and others there are Vaikuṇṭha men. They are only interested in aiśvarya mood – they are not in the Vraja mood. Hearing these words Bābājī Mahārāja was quite disgusted and he scolded that man for his foolishness and offence at the lotus feet of a pure Vaiṣṇava. Bābājī said, “It is ridiculous for a sparrow to attempt to cross the ocean. If you are serious about living in Vraja, then give up your criticism of pure devotees. Do you think that you will get information about Vaikuṇṭha from hell? Sarasvatī is in Vaikuṇṭha and he is in Vrndavana as well. You are presently in the lap of the witch Māyā. How will you know the Sarasvatī of Vraja? You do not possess the eyes to see how Bhaktivinoda and Sarasvatī Prabhu have exemplified the performance of hari-bhajana with pure ecstatic emotion.”
The highest ekādāśa–bhāva that one can achieve is that of a mañjarī maidservant in the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. This was actually the bhāva of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. There is a short anecdote in this connection which shows that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura (Nayana-maṇi Mañjarī) was indeed in mañjarī–bhāva –
In Navadvīpa there lived a very famous and revered Vaiṣṇava saint named Vaṁśī Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. Vaṁśī Dāsa was accepted by all the Vaiṣṇavas as a siddha–puruṣa (perfected soul). Vamsi Dāsa had a special affectionate relationship with Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Sarasvatī Ṭhākura sometimes visited Vaṁśī Dāsa at his place of bhajana in Navadvipa – seeing Sarasvatī approaching Vaṁśī Dāsa would shout in a very loud voice, “Oh, a mañjarī (Nayana-maṇi Mañjarī) has come! Will Rādhā come also? She will come, she will come!”
The anti-party considers both Bhaktivinoda and Sarasvatī Ṭhākura to have been conditioned souls. Both these conclusions are thoroughly rejected by Gauḍīya Maṭha and ISKCON. The words of Vaṁśī Dāsa alone are sufficient to verify the position of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura in mañjarī-bhāva – provided that is – that one has faith in the words of great saintly persons:
yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā-deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ
“Only unto those great souls who have faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”
Our Guru Maharāja A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda used to say that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was ‘A Vaikuntha Man.’ The meaning of this statement is that Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was beyond all mundane calculations and designations. He descended to this world at Śrīkṣetra Jagannātha Purī to dispel the ignorance which covered the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and reveal the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. That is the meaning of the name which his father gave him, Vimala Prasāda. Vimala Devī is the Yogamāyā potency of Lord Jagannātha and it is Vimala Devī who reveals the pastimes of Jagannātha. Thus Vimala Prasāda means one who has descended by the arrangement of the internal potency (antaraṅga-śakti). Due to a poor fund of knowledge the anti-party cannot see this truth.
The greatest defect of the anti-party is that they do not have complete faith that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa can reveal one’s siddha–svarūpa (eternally perfected form). The anti-party actually lacks faith in the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Furthermore, they consider that the attainment of divine consciousness is an ascending process – By practice alone one cannot attain divine consciousness. Divine consciousness is the super-subjective plane of reality and He reserves the right to reveal Himself to His devotee. It is a descending process. The real knowledge of ekādāśa–bhāva is not the so-called knowledge of relationship, rūpa, nama, etc. imparted to a conditioned soul by a so-called guru but the actual attainment of ekādāśa–bhāva is effected by the descent of the holy name – when one chants the name in pure unalloyed love and devotion without even the slightest trance of desire for kāma (enjoyment) or mokṣa (liberation). This is the method of perfection recommended by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Śikṣāṣṭakam – param-vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam.
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has himself chastised the mind of those who want to jump to the higher plane – neglecting the auspicious process of chanting the holy name. We find the following verse in Kalyāṇa Kalpataru, Song 18, Verse 4:
nā mānile su-bhajana, sādhu-saṅge saṅkīrtana
anā karile nirjane smaraṇa
nā uṭhiyā vṛkṣopari, tānāṭāni phala dhari
duṣta-phala karile arjana
“But your idea, dear mind, is to neglect the best and most auspicious process for worshiping Kṛṣṇa, namely the congregational chanting of His holy names in the association of purified devotees. And you don’t even bother to try to remember Him in a lonely place. Your attitude is just like trying to pick fruits forcibly from a tree by jumping at them from the ground. Instead of climbing the tree to properly pick the sweet, ripened fruits from the top of the tree, you will simply get the sour, unripe fruits by such a jumping process.”
We can write hundreds of articles defeating the anti-party and sahajiyā conceptions as Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has given us the inspiration and courage to do so. He himself wrote hundreds of verses and gave thousands of lectures defeating all types of misconception so that sincere souls could traverse the path of pure devotional service. This however the anti-party considered a lower platform of service to the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, it is they who are the losers – as Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī said, “They do not possess the eyes to see how Bhaktivinoda and Sarasvatī Prabhu have exemplified the performance of hari-bhajana with pure ecstatic emotion.”
They do not possess the eyes to see means that the anti-party is blind to self-manifest spiritual truths.
The real divine life of Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is described in the following two verses:
namaste gaura-vāṇī-śrī-mūrtaye dīna-tāriṇe
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto you, who are the personified teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You are the deliverer of the fallen souls. You do not tolerate any statement which is against the siddhānta enunciated by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.”
vilasatu hṛdi nityaṁ bhakti-siddhānta-vāṇī
“With his first step, He cut to pieces the whole plane of exploitation, and with his second, he crushed the speculation of scholars of salvation and liberation. With his third, he softened vaidhi-bhakti with a touch of divine love (rāga-mārga). Taking us beyond Vaikuṇṭha, he has introduced us to the highest worship of Śrī Rādhā and Govinda. With the softness of Vṛndāvana within, and the hardness of a devastator without, he created havoc in the world – fighting with one and all. Single-handedly fighting against the whole world, and cutting everything to pieces – that was his external attitude. And his second attitude was to stop the boasting research of the scholars and doctors of different schools of thought; and third, to minimise and slacken the grandeur of the worship of Nārāyaṇa, and establish the service of Rādhā-Govinda as the highest attainment. He caused the domain of love to descend into this plane, with the service of Rādhā-Govinda, establishing the flow of divine love from the heart as all in all. That was his history – the real existence of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda. May his teachings dance eternally within the core of our hearts.”