Śrīla Prabhupāda is Very Dear to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī (02/21/06)
Dear R_____ Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
I have read your comments on the song Śrīla Prabhupāda Līlā-Smaraṇa Maṅgala Stotram’ and I thank you. At the end of this email I have given the purport of the song which was first published along with the song in 1991.
In addition to the purport I would like to say a few words here: First of all, you have asserted that I have unequivocally stated that Śrīla
Prabhupāda is a gopī in kṛṣṇā-līlā. Of course, I would venture to say that at least half or more of the practicing Vaiṣṇavas in the world today would agree with that, since virtually all our sampradāya ācāryas since the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu were indeed either gopīs or mañjarīs. There is no exception to this fact.
However, I have not stated in my composition that Śrīla Prabhupāda was a gopī. I have written, Dāki nija priya dāsa.’ Priya dāsa’ means dearmost servant and as for the gender of dasa’ it is mostly taken as male, although in the generic sense, such as in nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa’ it means either male or female. So I have referred to Śrīla Prabhupāda as priya dāsa’ and not as priya dāsī’ as you have concluded.
From bona fide Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literature we learn that priya dāsa (dear servants) of Rādhārāṇī are not always gopīs. They also include cowherd boys, such as in the case of Gopa Kumāra who in Bṛhat-bhāgavatāmṛta was summoned by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and instructed by Her to go to the world and deliver a certain brāhmaṇa.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja did indeed speak from time to time what might be the rasa of Śrīla Prabhupāda and he often indicated that Prabhupāda showed an affinity to sakhya-rasa but ultimately stated that Śrīla Prabhupāda may have couched his madhurya sentiments in favor of sakhya-rasa due to his being empowered by Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu.
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja also encouraged us that if we can raise our glance a little higher that we will see that our Gurudeva is the representative of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, he is the embodiment of Her divine mercy. That is the meaning of the words ‘Sākṣad-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair’ found in the Gurvāṣṭakam by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.
In Jaiva Dharma by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura we are shown that one disciple may see his guru in sakhya-rasa and yet another disciple may see that same guru in madhurya-rasa. This then turns out to be indicative of the disciple’s inherent rasa.
In modern Vaiṣṇava circles it mostly holds true that devotees see Śrīla Prabhupāda as being in either sakhya-rasa or mādhurya-rasa. But in any case, it goes without argument that Śrīla Prabhupāda was very dear (priya) to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. And I cannot forget that Prabhupāda’s father, Gaura Mohana De, always asked the sadhus to bless his son so that he would become a great devotee of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Śrīla Prabhupāda made special mention of this.
It should also be mentioned that the guru’s prākṛta-līlā, his movements in this material world, should not be seen as independent but as in harmony with his aprākṛta-līlā (his eternal position of servitude to the Supreme Lord). Thus it is indicated throughout Śrīla Prabhupāda’s life that he has an intrinsic and intimate connection as the dear most servant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Observing the connection between his prākṛta-līlā and aprākṛta-līlā is the second step toward understanding his eternal position. The first step is to accept a qualified siksa-guru to guide us in such matters. That is parampara.
I chose to write ’priya dāsa’ so that the song might be more widely appreciated by all devotees, but the facts are also still in very strong
support of mādhurya-rasa. The weight of evidence falls in favor of Śrīla Prabhupāda having his status in mādhurya-rasa. Because the līlā of Kṛṣṇa is infinite, it is not easy to nail everything down, as we so tend to do in this material world. But as I have mentioned above, all our sampradāya ācāryas since the time of Mahāprabhu have indeed been in mādhurya-rasa. We (Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas under Caitanya Mahāprabhu) are in fact a mañjarī-sampradāya and this is irrefutable. For this reason we are called rūpānugas, the followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī who leads us in kṛṣṇa-līlā as Rūpa Mañjarī.
I do not want to criticize you, but you have written, “In my presentation of Śrīla Prabhupāda in the Sampradāya Ācārya paper, I have made it abundantly clear that I am presenting my personal thoughts and opinions, coming from my position as a conditioned soul.”
With all due respect this is a very weak position and according to what we have understood in Krishna consciousness when writing as a conditioned soul, one should stick to exact quotes and references and not give vent to one’s personal thoughts and opinions.’ Śrīla Prabhupāda always said that we should write according to our realization.
If it is troubling that I or any godbrother or godsister may have realizations (realizations different from yours or new to you) then I would
humbly suggest that you rethink your position. If indeed a disciple has no realizations after 30 or 40 years of following a bona-fide guru, if a
sannyāsī has no realizations after a lifetime of sannyāsa, then either he is a fallen disciple who does not have the mercy of his guru, or his guru is bogus. These are the only two possible conclusions.
Without realization, a disciple is of no substantial credit to his guru. Simply to chant ”Jaya Prabhupāda, Jaya Prabhupāda” is only giving lip
service to the guru. Without realization we cannot actually become the eternal servant of our spiritual master. Without strong faith (guru-niṣṭhā) and śaraṇāgati (full surrender) there will not be any depth of realization, only lip service.
What does that mean in the practical sense? It means, take sannyāsa and dedicate your life (body, mind, words, and soul) to the service of Mukunda. This is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mandate to all his male disciples once they have crossed the age of fifty. But he said many times that they will not do it. They will remain monkey jumping until death.
Our realization is that Śrīla Prabhupāda is very dear to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and without recognizing that Śrīla Prabhupāda is very dear to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, it is doubtful that we will ever know even the slightest drop of Her mercy.
Hoping this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasingha