Devotees aspire for that same nectar (vāñcchitam amṛtaṁ) aspired for by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī. What is that nectar and how one should aspire for it are questions producing diverse answers amongst Vaiṣṇavas, a subject of some controversy.
The truth lies deep within the line of faith which we must draw through our affectionate guardians (ācāryas). Our spiritual wealth lies in strict adherence (obedience) to this line. Instructions vary according to necessity, but the essence remains the same, to follow and to propagate purely the sublime message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. For many devotees this line of faith extends only to their guru, whose instructions provide everything, as they should. Those with a deep vision see the entire line of faith represented in their guru and his instructions.
Our Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda, showed a mood of uncompromised preaching, with strong emphasis on differentiating ourselves from and avoiding the contaminated presentations of the māyāvādīs, misdirected material scientists and caste brāhmaṇas. He did not leave out the sahajiyās either, carefully instilling caution in his young disciples.
Our Affectionate Guardian Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja has been declared the Guardian of Devotion (Bhakti Rakṣaka) by his beloved gurudeva, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, and continues to be held in high esteem by many senior Vaiṣṇavas. Known for his erudite learning of the Vaiṣṇava scriptures and profound realization, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja distributed nectar freely, but with every ounce of nectar he gave a pound of caution, carefully explaining the proper approach to the highest realms of devotional service.
Of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, our parama-guru, it has been written rūpānugā-virudhāpasiddhānta-dhvānta-hāriṇe, that he does not tolerate any statement against the teachings of devotional service enunciated by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. His bold preaching fulfilled the necessity of the time, to counter the strong sahajiyā section, who had distorted the highly refined and invaluable inner wealth of the Vaiṣṇavas, and covered it with an outer layer of immorality and inappropriate practices. Sarasvatī Ṭhākura preached boldy, pushing back the wall of illusion, touching the hearts of so many sincere Vaiṣṇavas.
We find interwoven amongst the lives of the prominent personalities in our line of faith, a strong intolerance of apasiddhānta and a strong focus on the inner wealth distributed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s most intimate disciples. It is indeed intolerable to any sincere Vaiṣṇava to hear a distorted expression of Mahāprabhu’s inner mood. Just as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was protected by Svarūpa Dāmodara from hearing rasābhāsa, apasiddhānta and other inappropriate things, so we see the same mood in our ācāryas, who protect the line of devotion from misrepresentation. If the pure line of devotion, as understood by our prominent ācāryas, is not upheld and delineated carefully and strongly, then it will be diluted, distorted and confused by sahajiyās and kaniṣṭhas. Indeed, this book itself has been written due to the overwhelming philosophical confusion found amongst modern-day practitioners of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism.
Even so, this mood is not appreciated by all Vaiṣṇavas; some wish ‘controversy’ would just go away, others wish that everyone else, except those who agree with them, would go away, and a good share are hopelessly confused. Sincere Vaiṣṇavas seek the truth and the chance to hear clear and precise explanations which dissipate the cobwebs of illusion and misdirected teachings. Those who do not look very hard for the truth will not find it.
No less, we find this mood of intolerance toward apasiddhānta, sahajiyāism, and any other teachings or activities not favorable to the inner mood of our ācāryas, and the protective mood of Svarūpa Dāmodara, personified in our dear godbrother, Śrīpāda Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja. It has been written of him,
vāñcchitam amṛtaṁ yattu śrī rūpa-raghunāthayoḥ
taddāne truṭi leśam yaḥ sahate no narasiṅghakaḥ
“Śrīpāda Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja does not tolerate even the slightest deviation in the distribution of that sublime nectar which is aspired for by Śrīla Rūpa and Raghunātha.”
The truth is not always pleasant, satyaṁ bruyat priyaṁ bruyat. However, it is the duty of all honest devotees to illuminate the truth, satyaṁ, even though it may not be priyaṁ, palatable. Indeed, it is written in śāstra that a sādhu cuts away the māya with strong words. To tell the truth and expose improprieties is seen by some as disturbing and undesirable, yet they delude themselves by thinking that to proceed in illusion is better.
In Prakṛta-rasa Araṇya Chedinī, Śrīpāda Narasiṅgha Mahārāja presents a collection of articles carefully enunciating various Vaiṣṇava truths, exposing improper conceptions and dissipating erroneous, yet popular misconceptions. We sincerely feel that the Vaiṣṇava community will benefit greatly from Prakṛta-rasa Araṇya Chedinī.
Svāmī Bhakti Bhāvana Viṣṇu
Rāsa Pūrṇimā, Kārttika Māsa, 2003
Gaurābda 516, 21 October 2002