Questions and Answers on the Paramparā (03/28/02)
I am happy to read your other email in which you have stated that you have “no doubt” about the paramparā of Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and his disciples and grand disciples.
I will now briefly reply to some of your questions below.
In the paramparā, why is Śrīla Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāja’s name above that of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura in the paramparā? The reason for this question is that Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura’s guru was Śrī Lokanātha Gosvāmī. And Lokanātha Gosvāmī had only one disciple, i.e. Narottama. Kṛṣṇa Dāsa was a contemporary of Lokanātha, the guru of Narottama. Narottama was not a direct disciple of Kṛṣṇa Dāsa as some people may thing. Kṛṣṇa Dāsa was however a disciple of Raghunātha Dāsa who was a disciple of Śrī Rupa. But all this goes in the line of bhāgavat-paramparā. Who the guru of Lokanātha was, nobody knows actually. Some say it was Mahāprabhu, but this can only be established in the bhāgavat system because it is universally accepted that Mahāprabhu did not give mantra-dīkṣā to anyone. But Lokanātha is the guru of Narottama and this everyone accepts. Therefore we must accept the bhāgavat system (but many sahajiyās reject the bhāgavat system). Also, Narottama had a disciple called Gaṅgā-nārāyaṇa Cakravartī, who had a disciple called Kṛṣṇa Caraṇa, who had a disciple called Rādhā Ramaṇa Cakravartī, whose disciple was Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Therefore, my question is why does Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura’s name appear above Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in the paramparā?
Again we are not mentioning every personality initiated under a great ācārya or the names of those persons in between one great ācārya and another. Only the prominent personalities have been mentioned
Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa was initiated by Rādhā-Dāmodara Gosvāmī. He also studied the Ṣaṭ Sandarbas of Jīva Gosvāmī at his feet. Only on the order of Rādhā-Dāmodara Gosvāmī did Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa take instruction from Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
Yes, and under that instruction, Baladeva achieved his final perfection. That is true in the case of many Vaiṣṇavas who had many gurus, particularly many śikṣā-gurus. Śikṣā is more important than dīkṣā in the bhāgavata-paramparā. Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī had nine or more gurus, but it is taken that Śrī Rūpa was his most important guru. Dāsa Gosvāmī did not receive dīkṣā from Śrī Rūpa - he only received śikṣā from him.
Also, Jagannātha Dāsa Bābājī had a disciple called Bhagavat Dāsa Bābājī. Why is he excluded from the paramparā?
He is not “excluded from the paramparā” however, certainly not everyone need be mentioned who was in our paramparā. Generally only prominent personalities are mentioned in a paramparā those who carried the line or made a prominent contribution. Otherwise the list of names would run on for pages and pages.
Actually Gaura Kiśora took bābājī initiation from Bhagavat Dāsa Bābājī. Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī is not a disciple of Bhaktivinoda as some people think. His guru was Bhagavat Dāsa. Gaura Kiśora also used to hear from Bhaktivinoda, but he also gave Bhaktivinoda bābājī initiation.
Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has accepted both Bhaktivinoda and Gaura Kiśora as his gurus. Our paramparā, for the most part, is pretty straight after that. But in time it will again appear as before, in a slightly crooked manner.
Should a paramparā line not be one of dīkṣā, as in the scriptures it is stated that one can have only one dīkṣā-guru, but any amount of śikṣā-gurus?
Dīkṣā may be there as a paramparā, but ultimately śikṣā is superior. Sometimes both dīkṣā and śikṣā are there together and sometimes they are separate.
Is it true that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura took sannyāsa initiation from a picture of Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī. How can this be correct if even Lord Caitanya took sannyāsa initiation from a māyāvādī?
Mahāprabhu did not take sannyāsa from a māyāvādī. Mahāprabhu first converted Keśava Bhāratī to the Vaiṣṇava conception and then accepted initiation from him. Keśava Bhāratī was the incarnation of Akrūra from kṛṣṇa-līlā so ultimately he was never a māyāvādī. Mahāprabhu only accepted the outer dress of a māyāvādī from Keśava Bhāratī, but He accepted the sannyāsa-mantra from him with Vaiṣṇava conception.
Rāmānujācārya, the first tridaṇḍi-sannyāsī in recent history, took sannyāsa himself in front of the Deity of Viṣṇu in Kanchipuram. He did not take sannyāsa from a sannyāsī. Sarasvatī Ṭhākura discussed this matter in Sriperumbudur with the jīyār (sannyāsī) at the Rāmānuja Maṭha and later followed a similar consideration and took sannyāsa from the ‘photo’ of his guru (Guru and Kṛṣṇa are non-different).
These of course are only brief explanations to your questions but if you will read the Paramparā Book, more details can be found there.
I hope this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha