LettersMīrābāi - A Bahiraṅga-Bhakta (04/03/01)
LettersMy Heart is Only Disturbed (04/22/01)

Do Not Neglect Deep Study and Practice (04/18/01)

A______ Dāsa,

Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Guru Mahārāja, I’m reading Follow The Angels now, and I have trouble understanding a particular concept. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja said something along the lines of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas keeping mādhurya-rasa high above our heads, and accepting a role closer to that of a servant, such as Prahlāda Mahārāja. That is not difficult to understand, but I was thinking about Prahlāda Mahārāja as He compares to the gopīs.

We can discuss your question at length when we meet. But for now I will give a brief answer.

Prahlāda Mahārāja is a vaikuṇṭha-bhakta. But he marks the beginning of pure devotion (surrender). His Lord is Nārāyaṇa (Bhagavān of Vaikuṇṭha). He is not a kṛṣṇa-bhakta. He does not give access to vraja-bhāva (devotion in the mood of the residents of Vṛndāvana), yet his standing in pure devotion is not to be overlooked.

If those in mādhurya-rasa are to strive for that mood, the mood like Prahlāda Mahārāja, then my question is what is distinguishing the gopīs from Prahlāda Mahārāja? Aren’t the gopīs also striving only to serve?

Before coming to the higher plane, we must first strive to become situated firmly on the path of surrender. Prahlāda is the threshold of surrender and pure devotion. This was accepted by Mahāprabhu in His talks with Rāmānanda Rāya. (see Caitanya-caritāmṛta)

Personally Prahlāda Mahārāja is a śānta-rasa bhakta of Vaikuṇṭha. Superior to Prahlāda is Hanumān who has a relationship with Bhagavān Rāma as servant. Superior to Hanumān are the five Pāṇḍavas who have a friendly relationship with Dvārakā Kṛṣṇa. Uddhava is superior to the Pāṇḍavas – he is a friend of Kṛṣṇa with a tinge of parental and conjugal love. His relationship with Kṛṣṇa takes him to Vṛndāvana and after returning, he prays to become a blade of grass in Vṛndāvana. He worships the lotus feet of the gopīs as holding the highest ontological position in the realm of pure/spontaneous devotion.

Is there some qualification that I have overlooked that the gopīs (and other pure devotees in mādhurya-rasa) possess that Prahlāda Mahārāja does not? Are they equally qualified?

The only similarity between Prahlāda and the gopīs is jñāna-śūnya-bhakti (knowledge-free devotion). In both cases, there is no material calculation or calculation based on knowledge. The plane of Prahlāda is adhokṣaja (transcendental) but the plane of the gopīs is called aprākṛta-rasa, it is above even transcendental. Yet it once again bears a similarity to the mundane‹, yet has no connection to the mundane. The mundane love is a perverted reflection of the highest aprākṛta-rasa of Goloka Vṛndāvana.

Prahlāda and the gopīs are not equal. Prahlāda only possesses a fragment of the qualifications of the gopīs. So then what to speak of us‹, the devotees practicing Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this world‹ – what qualifications do we have?

Please forgive me if this question seems muddled and confused, but that is the unfortunate nature of my mind.

It is not the mind – it is a lack of siddhānta. You must read and study more deeply the books and other material that I have given you. Your questions were good – that is the main process to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but do not neglect the deep study and then put to practice what you learn (surrender). Then comes realisation.

With Affection,

Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha

LettersMīrābāi - A Bahiraṅga-Bhakta (04/03/01)
LettersMy Heart is Only Disturbed (04/22/01)