The Meaning of the Sannyasa Ashram
Section 3 – Line of Śrī Rūpa
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: Now we will read The Line of Śrī Rūpa from Śrī Guru and His Grace by Śrīdhara Mahārāja.
The impersonalist transcendentalists say that once we are independent of the flesh connection, the consciousness of the human soul is the highest thing and that no finer, higher thing can exist. But the scripture say that the Supersoul, or Paramātmā, is superior in existence to the individual soul, and that the Bhagavān conception, the personal conception of God, is even higher. This begins with the Vāsudeva conception: Kṛṣṇa alone.
The Nārāyaṇa conception is again higher. The Kṛṣṇa conception again the highest, and even in the Kṛṣṇa conception there are divisions. Dvārakā, Mathurā, and Vṛndāvana. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam assert that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead: Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam.
The Vṛndāvana conception of Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Entity is the highest because beauty is above all. Beauty is above all grandeur and power. Neither physical, mental, or intellectual power, nor and other power, but beauty and love is the ultimate controlling power. Absolute good is absolute beauty, and that is the absolute controller. Mercy is above justice.
Generally, we cannot conceive that anything could be greater than justice; we think that justice must be the highest principle. But we are told that mercy is above justice. And who can show mercy? Not any ordinary person, but only a king. One who can compensate for the loss in justice can give mercy. And the highest court is able to compensate everything. Such a realm exists. And there, the Lord is engaged in pastimes with His paraphernalia of equal quality. There is such a law, a provision beyond the sense of justice in our puppy brain. Uddhava is recognized as the principle devotee of the Lord, and his statement about mercy is found in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.23)
aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ
jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-ucitāṁ tato ’nyaṁ
kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema
He says, “We else should I surrender? How can I surrender to anyone more merciful than Kṛṣṇa, when I find that the demoness Pūtanā in the garb of maternal affection went to kill Kṛṣṇa, but instead received such a wonderful benediction that she was given a higher post as one of Kṛṣṇa’s mothers? My Lord is so kind, so benevolent. Where else should I surrender? Her poisoned breast was put into the mouth of the infant child Kṛṣṇa, and she was blessed with such a high and affectionate post! So, how can we measure His grace, His infinite mercy? His ways and mercy are beyond all expectations.” Rather than treating her with justice we find just the opposite, He showed magnanimous behaviour towards His greatest enemy. So, beyond justice there is mercy and such a high degree of mercy, such a quality and intensity of mercy that it cannot be measured. Uddhava prays, “Where should I find such a standard of grace as this? I must fall flat at the divine feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Why should any man of intelligence not run to fall flat at the feet of such a magnanimous personality as Kṛṣṇa? His nature is that of the highest love.
We, the finite, should approach the infinite with this spirit: “If justice is applied, I have no hope. I omit that department. I have come only to seek my fortune in the department of mercy, where there is no calculation of right or wrong, or merit or demerit. I have come to that department, my Lord, because I do not know what is within me. When I analyse and study my own heart, I find that I am unknown to my own self. I am also helpless and wretched that I don’t want any decision based on justice.”
Only by Mercy
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: Not by qualification. Only by mercy – we want only mercy. That is our highest necessity. We may try to qualify ourselves in so many ways but ultimately everything depends on Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. We may have to face that fact that even a high standard of rules and regulations is not the all in all. The rules of sādhana are there to give us some foundation, but rules and regulations alone cannot conquer Kṛṣṇa. We require Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and that mercy comes to us via the devotee. Therefore, we must surrender to Kṛṣṇa’s devotee. If we can surrender to Kṛṣṇa’s devotee, then we are guaranteed Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. But how to surrender and what is the meaning of surrender?
“I surrender. You may do whatever you like with me. I am the worst of sinners. What to do with me now is in your hands. You, Saviour, I have come to you. If there is any possibility – save me. This is my open appeal, my one-sided appeal.” This sort of self-abnegation will automatically cleanse our hearts. But this attitude of śaraṇāgati, or surrender, we invite the greatest attention from above. Śaraṇāgati, surrender, is the only way to be reinstated in our lost prospect. At present, we are disconnected form the prospect of divine love which we cherish in the innermost quarter of our hearts. If we want to have that privilege very easily and very quickly, we must approach the Lord with plain speaking, and with a naked body and mind, with everything exposed. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.154) has written:
mat-tulyo nāsti pāpātmā nāparādhī ca kaścana
parihāre ’pi lajjā me kiṁ bruve puruṣottama
My Lord, I feel ashamed. How shall I offer You so many pure things like flowers? Generally, pure things are offered to you, but what about me? I have come with my most filthy thing to offer You. I feel ashamed. I have come to You, with only my shame, to beg for mercy. There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. It is very difficult even to speak about the characteristics of my heinous sins and crimes. Still, Your nature, existence, fame, and benevolence cannot but attract me. You can save me. You can purify me. Hoping against hope, I have come to You. And I have only one solace, that I am the real object of Your mercy. Your tendency is to purify the meanest. Those who are the most needy and the meanest of the mean. This is my only qualification, my only hope to attract Your attention and appeal to You magnanimity.
Rūpa Gosvāmī says in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.153) that still there is some sort of subconscious element within him:
yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā
mano ‘bhiramate tadvan mano me ramatāṁ tvayi
Just as a young boy feels attraction for a young girl, I want that sort of attraction towards You. I want to be engrossed in You, forgetting all material paraphernalia. And be sincere surrender, at once, our progress begins. And the development of that kind if attraction takes up to the topmost rank. I want that intimate connection with You, my Lord. I am the neediest of the needy, but at the same time I have this ambition: I am so disgusted with the world outside that I want the most intense and comprehensive relationship with You. With this attitude, the surrendering process begins and rises step by step. I want that standard of divine love, of intimacy with You. I want to dive deep within You.
Go to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī
Rūpa Gosvāmī has asked, “I want that connection with You, give me that divine live for You, that thing I am begging.” But Kṛṣṇa is saying, “Do you want an intimate relationship with Me?”
govinda-vallabhe rādhe prārthaye tvām ahaṁ sadā
tvadīyam iti jānātu govindo māṁ tvayā saha
This prayer is found in the Arcana Paddhati, which comes from Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī’s edition of the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa. From there it had sprung in the śāstra, which is an eternal flow of a particular current of knowledge. Everything is eternal in Vaikuntha and Goloka. Just as the sun comes up and goes down, appears and disappears, the thought is eternal and sometime appears and disappears. In this verse, govinda-vallabhe rādhe, there is a sudden turn. Kṛṣṇa says to His devotee, “Oh, do you want an intimate relationship with Me? It is not to be found within My department. You will have to go to another department. Go to the department of Rādhikā.” Then, at once, the devotee’s thought is transferred towards that side. All his energy is monopolized there. It is Her monopoly. “Your inner quest is not to be found within My department,” Kṛṣṇa says. “You’ll have to go elsewhere and file a petition there.”
And with this inspiration, at once the devotee puts his petition to Rādhārāṇī: govinda-vallabhe rādhe: “O, Śrī Rādhe, Your master and sustainer is Govinda. He is the Lord of Your heart.” Govinda means, “He who can give fulfilment to all our senses.” With our senses we can fell perception as well as knowledge. Govinda is the master who gives fulfilment to all our channels of perception. Govinda is Your Lord. But just the opposite is also true. You are Mistress of the heart of Govinda, the Supreme Master. Is it not? You are Queen of the heart of Govinda. I have been directed to come to You with my petition. Please enlist my name in Your department and admit me as a servitor in Your group.
rādhe vṛndāvanādhīśe karuṇāmṛta-vāhini
kṛpayā nija-pādābja-dāsyaṁ mahyaṁ pradīyatām
“O Rādhe, O Queen of Vṛndāvana, You are like a flowing river filled with the nectar of mercy. Please be kind upon me, and bestow upon me some small service at Your lotus feet. You are the queen of the whole management of ecstasy.”
Rādhārāṇī Reveals Kṛṣṇa
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa says, “It is not with Me. What you want cannot be gotten with Me. You will have to go elsewhere and there you will have to file your petition.” One may surrender to Kṛṣṇa and approach Kṛṣṇa, then when we are most fortunate Kṛṣṇa directs us to the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. It is a great blessing to receive this kind of internal guidance from Kṛṣṇa.
Some devotees want a relationship with Kṛṣṇa directly. They do not realize the importance of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Actually the fulfilment of their hearts desire will be found in the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. The real petition should be for Her grace, and not to have a direct relationship with Kṛṣṇa. It is considered to be a great benediction when Kṛṣṇa transfers one’s focus in that way, to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Halo of Rādhārāṇī
In the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness we must have some śraddhā, faith. That faith is the essence of the hlādinī–śakti. Faith is the halo of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Faith alone can reveal the position of Kṛṣṇa. Faith is greater than knowledge, greater than material calculation.
Faith leads us to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Surrender or śaraṇāgati is the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. When we approach Kṛṣṇa through faith and surrender He reveals our service relationship with Him. When our faith and surrender are most intense, Kṛṣṇa reveals to us the camp of His most confidential servants, the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Our real interest lies there in the department of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Now we come to the department of Rādhārāṇī. But is there a prospect beyond that? Is there any place from which we might get even a drop more attention in the way of mercy? Is there anything more beneficial for us? Yes, there is. And that position one may achieve by the grace of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
Who is Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī?
Who is Rūpa? Rūpa Mañjarī. Generally, the hierarchy in the spiritual world is eternal. New recruit can occupy a particular rank of mañjarī, assistant, in mādhurya-rasa. And the leader of the mañjarīs is Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī. What is the special feature in the mañjarī camp which is not found among the sakhīs, girlfriends of Kṛṣṇa? First there is Rādhārāṇī, then the cam p of her right-hand personal attendant, Lalitā. Then, under Lalitā, there is Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī. What is the unique position of the followers of Śrī Rūpa? The new recruits can attain to that status. Now, the privilege of this mañjarī class we are to conceive most respectfully and attentively.
When Rādhā and Govinda are in secrecy, in a private place, the sakhīs, who are well-versed in the art of that kind of play, because they are a little grown-up, do not like to approach there to disturb their confidential mixing. If the more grown-up sakhīs, enter there, both Rādhā and Govinda will feel shy. So, their presence may create some disturbance. But the younger can enter there, and then Rādhā and Govinda have no hesitation in fee mixing. So, in that highest stage of the mixing of Rādhā-Govinda, the free play of Rādhā-Govinda, these mañjarīs, the younger girls, can have admission. But the grown-up sakhīs cannot have admission there. New recruits may come up to the mañjarī class. And the mañjarīs have that sort of special advantage under the leadership of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī. So they get the best advantage there; the most sacred type of pure service, which is not open even to the sakhīs, is open to the mañjarīs. That is found in Rādhārāṇī’s camp. So, the position of the rūpānugas, the followers of Śrī Rūpa, is the most profitable position. That has been given out by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That had been shown by Him, and that is fixed as the highest limit of our fortune in Kṛṣṇa’s concern. This is unexpectable, undesignable and beyond hope, but our prospect lies there in that subtle camp of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, Rūpa Gosvāmī.
So, the camp, the sampradāya of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as the rūpanuga sampradāya. There our fate and our fortune is located. Now we have to conduct ourselves in such a way that naturally we can connect with that highest, purest spiritual conception, from here. We must not allow ourselves to be satisfied with anything less that this highest ideal. That should be the highest goal of our life. And we must adjust our approach from our present position.
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: With this conception we can approach the highest meaning of the sannyāsa āśrama. It is not external but most internal – to come up to the divine service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the camp of the mañjarīs. That position has also been shown by Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī and it has been accepted by the followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as the highest aspiration in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya.
In this connection Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja used to tell the following story; (from The Loving Search for the Lost Servant)
No Interest in Kṛṣṇa
Once, the Diwān of Bhāratpur had come on a pilgrimage with his family to the holiest of places, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the holy lake of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He and his family were circumambulating Rādhā-kuṇḍa. They would fall flat on the ground, offering obeisance’s lying down with their arms outstretched. Every time they bowed down in this way they would mark the spot where their fingertips touched the earth. Then they would slowly rise, step forward to where that spot had been marked, and again fall flat, offering their obeisances with great respect and adoration. In this was they were circumambulating the entire Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Upon seeing such intense worship, Paramānanda Prabhu, an intimate disciple of our Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura, intimated to Prabhupāda that the Diwān and his family must have great respect for Rādhārāṇī to circumambulate the Rādhā-kuṇḍa in such a fashion.
At that time Prabhupāda said, “Their angle of vision towards Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Rādhārāṇī is different from ours. They recognize and revere Kṛṣṇa. And because Rādhārāṇī is Kṛṣṇa’s favourite, they also have some reverence for Rādhā-kuṇḍa. But our vision is just the opposite. Our concern is with Rādhārāṇī. And only because She wants Kṛṣṇa do we have any connection with Him.”
And so, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas know only Rādhārāṇī. They are concerned only with Her, and Her duties, Her necessities. They are ready to serve her in all respects, and cannot contemplate any service without Her. That is the special feature of Mahāprabhu’s party, and that was announced by Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī in his Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (102):
āśā-bharair amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathañchit
kālo mayātigamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi
tvañ chet kṛpāṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me
prāṇair vrajena cha varoru bakāriṇāpi
This verse is a direct prayer to Rādhārāṇī. It expresses a particular type of hope that is so sweet and reassuring that it is compared with an unlimited ocean of nectar. He says, “There is a hope which is sustaining me and nurturing my existence. With that hope I am somehow passing my days, dragging my life through these tedious times. That nectarine ocean of hope is attracting me and keeping me alive. But my patience has reached its end. I can’t endure it any longer. I can’t wait any more. At this moment if You do not show Your grace to me, I am finished. I shall lose my prospect forever. I shall have no desire to continue my life. It will all be useless. Without Your grace, I can’t stand to live another moment. And Vṛndāvana, which is even dearer to me than my life itself – I am disgusted with it. It is painful; it is always pinching me. And what to speak of anything else, I am even disgusted with Kṛṣṇa. It is shameful to utter such words, but I can have no love even for Kṛṣṇa unless and until You take me within Your confidential camp of service.” This is the prayer of Raghunātha Dāsa.
When Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda would begin to explain this verse, his figure would become transformed. He would become full of emotion; his face would become like that of a phantom.
In this verse, Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, taking an extreme risk says, “O, Rādhā, if I do not get Your favour, I don’t want anything. I want You and You alone. To have an independent relationship with anyone else, eliminating You is impossible in my life. You must be first, and then others. Within You, we can never ever think of a separate relationship with Kṛṣṇa.”
Narasiṅgha Mahārāja: In the beginning of this initiation program we heard how Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa. He became mad after Kṛṣṇa. However, we also heard that the devotees became mad after Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One devotee, the father of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, began to chant, “Caitanya! Caitanya! Caitanya!” and nothing else. He became mad after Mahāprabhu.
It is said, śrī kṛṣṇa-caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya, that is, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined. Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa Himself, Rasa-rāja, and He is Rādhā, Mahā-bhāva. Rasa-rāja-Mahā-bhāva is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is Kṛṣṇa coming in the mood of Rādhārāṇī.
Mahāprabhu took His sannyāsa mantra from Keśava Bhāratī after giving the proper Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava conception, “I am His, I am Kṛṣṇa’s, and Kṛṣṇa is mine.” A most suitable mantra for Mahāprabhu. Why? Because He is in the mood of a devotee, in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. But later, when the Gauḍīya sampradāya developed through the line of the Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, many esoteric aspects of consideration manifested.
From the time of the Six Gosvāmīs until now, the sannyāsa mantra given to the tridaṇḍi sannyāsīs has been different than the mantra received by Mahāprabhu. The mantra given at present was first given be Sanātana Gosvāmī. However, until the time of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the tridaṇḍi sannyāsa of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line was not visible. In 1918 Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura took sannyāsa from a photo of Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta is known as a self-made sannyāsī, a self-manifest sannyāsī.
It was Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta who organised the present standard of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī, the dress, the daṇḍa, etc. Everything was done by him. The mantra which he gave was the same as the one given by the bābājī class such as Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. This same mantra is presently being given to all the sannyāsīs in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line.
I Am Her Servant
So that everyone present here today may have a correct idea of the mantra, I shall explain the following – the mantra to be given here is not the same mantra that was given to Mahāprabhu i.e., tat tvam asi, with the conception or purport the “I am His.” Rather it is a different mantra which has been prepared, and it’s meaning is “I am Her servant” i.e. rādhā–dāsyam. Not, “I am His.” “I am His,” means I surrender myself to Kṛṣṇa, He is my Lord and master. But in the sannyāsa mantra the meaning comes “I am Her servant,” rādhā–dāsyam. “I aspire for the service of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.”
The mantra of Mahāprabhu is of a different conception because He is Kṛṣṇa in the mood of Rādhārāṇī searching for Himself. In this connection it is said that Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja has taken from the stem of the lotus flower of Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet, the sweet taste of Rādhārāṇī’s bhāva for Kṛṣṇa. He worships that. And he adores that.
The topmost devotees of Mahāprabhu see the mood of Rādhārāṇī in Him, not the mood of Kṛṣṇa. Not Rasa-rāja, but Mahā-bhāva or Rādhārāṇī, who is experiencing the greatest ecstasy of service to Kṛṣṇa. So the sannyāsa followers of Mahāprabhu have focused on that. For them to chant a mantra that means “I am His,” is unacceptable. Just like Mahāprabhu could not live with the conception “I am that.” Absolutely not! No! “I am His.” Similarly, the followers of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, from the Six Gosvāmīs until now, all accept the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī as the highest goal of life. Exclusive dedication to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is their heart and soul.
The Gauḍīya sampradāya focuses exclusively of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. This concept we find living in our guardians, in our spiritual masters, in our great preceptors. And we try to serve that. A question may arise here – “What will be our service to Rādhārāṇī in this mundane world?”
Saṅkīrtana Līlā Means Rāsa-Līlā
In the conditioned state of material existence, it is not possible to directly serve Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Again our focus comes – that we will serve Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī by serving Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī. Our service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is to serve the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu. And what is that service to Mahāprabhu? That is the saṅkīrtana ,ovement of Mahāprabhu, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa and the preaching of Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. Service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī means preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world.
In the days of Śrīla Prabhupāda, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Mahārāja, he used to say at the time of giving sannyāsa to his disciples, “Now you must preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world.” And in the days of Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja he would sometimes tell at the time of giving sannyāsa, “Now service to Kṛṣṇa is finished and service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī begins.” Preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are synonymous at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The saṅkīrtana of Mahāprabhu means the rāsa–līlā of Rādhā-Govinda. It is their most intimate rasa! Thus we will find our highest fulfilment, our highest aspiration in serving the saṅkīrtana movement of Mahāprabhu, coupled with this meditation that we are the servants of the servants of the servants of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is dear most servant of Lord Govinda.
Sweetness of Her Service
Kṛṣṇa finds so much sweetness in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī that when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī excused Herself from the rasa dance, which included millions of gopīs, Kṛṣṇa could not find any madhu – any mādhurya or sweetness in the rāsa–līlā. The service offered by millions of other gopīs could not equal even a drop of the sweet service and love that comes from Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Our vision is that She alone is the topmost servant of Kṛṣṇa. Any service to Kṛṣṇa, which is going to be pleasing to the Lord, must come through Her agency.
Representative of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī
This raises an interesting point regarding the spiritual master. The spiritual master may be perceived differently according to the adhikāra or the position of the devotee in terms of his spiritual advancement. This is similar to how one may perceive the position of the sun according to one’s position on earth. Someone is sitting here in India and he sees the sun rising. If we go towards the east and find someone sitting in Hong Kong, he will say that the sun is at twelve o’ clock. And yet further to the east in Hawaii, at the same moment, one will see that the sun may be perceived at different places in the sky. Similarly, according to the adhikāra of the devotee, the spiritual master is perceived differently.
The neophyte, the kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, perceives the spiritual master as non-different from God. Therefore, he may think that if the spiritual master miss-spells a word, the dictionary should be changed. The madhyama–adhikārī sees the spiritual master as being an empowered representative of Lord Nityānanda or Baladeva, the original spiritual master. In the uttama stage of devotion on sees the spiritual master as directly representing the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. That is the uttama vision. That is considered the first class, the highest conception of the spiritual master – that he represents a particular refined group of servitors within the divine līlā of Kṛṣṇa. And in the case of the Gauḍīya sampradāya, cent percent the ācāryas are seen as being representatives of the camp of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. That is our line.
Like that, the meditation in our sampradāya comes to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and in the prayer of Raghunātha Dāsa it is so exclusive, that he says, “I don’t even care for Kṛṣṇa.” That without Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī I have no hope. My only interest in Kṛṣṇa is because She is interested.” And Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he told that also.
Not for The General Public
This is not a topic of discussion meant for the general public. When we go out preaching the saṅkīrtana movement, we are not preaching rādhā–dāsyam directly, but we are preaching kṛṣṇa–dāsyam, service to Kṛṣṇa. First surrender to Kṛṣṇa. The high prospect of rādhā–dāsyam that we are discussing is not conceivable by the beginners. It is revealed by Kṛṣṇa to those who are most surrendered and most fortunate. That is the special grace of Kṛṣṇa to His devotees. It is not for the general public. It is for the internal group of the Lords most intimate devotees.
It is said that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura was such a great devotee of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and yet he never spoke of Her publicly. One day however, at a public program, a man stood up and minimized the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura could not tolerate this. Then again, he did not want to speak publicly about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. What to do? Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s name had been minimized in some way, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura then began to speak of the super excellent position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in order to establish Her true glory. While speaking about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura became so emotional, so absorbed in remembrance, and so immersed in his exclusive dedication to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, that he lost connection with the external world and fell unconscious. Such was the profound dedication of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.