Krishna group in Hawaii
Date: October 11, 2007 06:55PM
Prema Prayojan das brahmachari a disciple of Narayana Maharaja wrote a response.
My dear brothers and sisters of the Caitanya Mission,
Please accept my humble obeisances. Sri Sri Guru-Gaurangau jayatah!
I am writing this letter in response to the many e-mails which we are currently receiving from various members of the Caitanya Mission such as Acarya das, Madan Mohan dasa, Sukadeva dasi, Gopala dasi Tamayo, Yogesvar dasa, Lalita Gopala dasi and Paramahamsa dasa to name but a few. The purpose of the letter is to clarify some misunderstandings which have arisen regarding the alleged "canvassing" and "re-initiation" of Mahabhava Dasa. I hope that any unnecessary sectarian sentiments which are the enemies of spiritual progress can be abated and that all concerned can derive something positive from this apparently unfavourable incident.
CANVASSING: First of all, allow me to present the facts pertaining to the "canvassing" of Mahabhava Dasa. In December of last year, my paramaradhyata gurupadapadma, om visnupada sri srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja visited the island of Cebu in the Philippines with a few disciples, including myself, to be in a quiet solitary place while translating and writing a commentary on the Sri Bhajana Rahasya by Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura. We stayed together in a remotely situated private resort on the coast for almost a month, rarely setting foot outside the residential complex. During this time, I was sitting alone in my room engaged in translating Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's masterpiece,"Jaiva Dharma" on the order of my Gurudeva. There was a knock at the door, then a person I had never seen before tip-toed in, offered his obeisances and humbly begged to ask some philosophical questions. I said that I was busy but could spare a little time. After answering his questions for half an hour, I begged to continue with my service and he left. Twenty minutes later he came back again with more questions. He seemed very polite and serious, so I did not mind spending some time with him. Of course, you may have guessed that this person was Mahabhava Dasa. WE DID NOT GO TO HIM. He came a long way, alone and of HIS OWN ACCORD. He said that he had also come last year, that he had been reading all the books and lectures of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja on the internet FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS and that he wanted to buy all the new books which had recently been printed. He had many questions. He was polite but very persistent. Despite all of these circumstances those who are ignorant of the actual facts are wrongly accusing Srila Narayana Maharaja and his followers of canvassing for Mahabhava, but nothing could be further from the truth.
WHY DID MAHABHAVA APPROACH SRILA NARAYANA MAHARAJA? Instead of making false accusations against Srila Narayana Maharaja and his followers it would be more honest to ask oneself why did Mahabhava prabhu approach Srila Narayana Maharaja. Most of you know Mahabhava prabhu very well. He is very sober, thoughtful, sincere and dedicated. That is why he was given so many responsibilities within your organization and why he is held in high esteem and great affection by all the devotees. Here is a case of an intelligent individual with an ardent desire to enter deeply into the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers such as Srila Rupa Gosvami, Raghunatha Das Gosvami, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Gaudiya Vedantacarya Baladeva Vidyabhusana and others. Is such a desire legitimate or not? Srila Prabhupada has written in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta:
1) "Sri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Brhad-bhagavatamrta is very famous; ANYONE who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krsna MUST READ THIS BOOK." (Adi-lila: Chapter Five, Text 203, Purport)
2) "Sanatana Gosvami also wrote a special commentary on the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam known as the Dasama-tippani which is so excellent that by reading it one can understand very deeply the pastimes of Krsna in His exchanges of loving activities." (Adi-lila: Chapter Five, Text 203)
3) "Similarly, other false devotees think that studying books of the previous acaryas is unadvisable, like studying dry empiric philosophies. But Srila Jiva Gosvami, following the previous acaryas, has inculcated the conclusions of the scriptures in the six theses called the Sat-sandarbhas. False devotees who have very little knowledge of such conclusions FAIL TO ACHIEVE PURE DEVOTION for want of zeal in accepting the favorable directions for devotional service given by self-realized devotees." (Adi-lila: Chapter Two, Text 117, Purport)
4) "'When shall I become very eager to study the books left by the six Gosvamis? Then I shall be able to understand the conjugal pastimes of Radha and Krsna.' Caitanya Mahaprabhu directly empowered Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. Following in their footsteps, the other six Gosvamis understood Sri CAITANYA Mahaprabhu and His MISSION." (Madhya-lila: Chapter Twenty-five, Text 271, Purport)
From this we can conclude that it is not only legitimate to be eager to study the books of the gosvamis but actually it is ESSENTIAL. If the opportunity to fulfil this necessity is actually available in your organization then why did Mahabhava prabhu approach Srila Narayana Maharaja and his disciples? This is simply a matter of COMMON SENSE.
May I humbly ask who in your organization has studied the books of the six Gosvamis under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master who has himself directly studied all these texts from his spiritual master? Such an undertaking involves a lifetime of careful study with the help of several spiritual masters. Yet the modern fashion is to immediately become a spiritual master after the disappearance of one's first guru, even though one is not sufficiently educated in the vast conceptions of Rupanuga vaisnavism. This is not condoned in the Srimad Bhagavatam: "The sages said: Respected Suta Gosvami, you are completely free from all vice. YOU ARE WELL VERSED IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES famous for religious life, and in the Puranas and the histories as well, for YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH THEM UNDER PROPER GUIDANCE and have also explained them." (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter One, Text 6)
ONLY ONE GURU! The members of the Chaitanya Mission have objected to the fact that Mahabhava prabhu has accepted Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja as his diksa and siksa guru on the grounds that it is tantamount to declaring that Jagad Guru is not bona fide and that the Chaitanya Mission is not bona fide. They have expressed the idea that having more than one guru implies that your first guru is not qualified and also that a disciple with more than one guru must be unchaste and unsurrendered. If this is actually the case then, what to speak of Mahabhava prabhu, our whole guru-parampara must also be guilty of unfaithfulness and a lack of surrender.
a) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura received harinama and Kurma mantra from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Later he received mantra diksa from Srila Gaura-kisora Das Babaji Maharaja.
b) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura received diksa from Sri Vipina Bihari Gosvami. Shortly afterwards he took full shelter of Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaja as his siksa-guru.
c) Narottama Das Thakura received initiation from Lokanath Das Gosvami yet he studied all the Gosvami literatures under the guidance of his siksa guru, Srila Jiva Gosvami.
d) Raghunath Das Gosvami received initiation from Sri Yadunandana Acarya. Shortly afterwards he accepted Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami as his siksa guru. When Sri Svarupa Damodara disappeared he took shelter of Sri Gadadhara Pandita. When Gadadhara Pandit disappeared he accepted Sri Sanatana Gosvami and finally Sri Rupa Gosvami as his siksa gurus.
e) Srinivas Acarya accepted the shelter of Sri Gadadhara Pandit as his siksa-guru. Later he received diksa from Sri Gopal Bhatta Gosvami. Finally he became the siksa disciple of Sri Jiva Gosvami.
In fact when we study the lives of every genuine acarya, we find that they had several gurus. Therefore in the introduction to Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Srila Prabhupada quotes the verse "vande'ham sri guroh ("guroh" is singular, meaning diksa guru) sri yuta pada kamalam sri gurun ("gurun' is plural indicating several siksa gurus) vaisnavams ca." Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada himself received harinama and diksa from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, yet he claimed that Srila Bhaktiraksaka Sridhara Maharaja was his siksa-guru, as is evident from Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada's own words in the following quotations:
"Then, there are long history, it will take time, but I had the opportunity of associating with His Holiness [Srila Bhaktiraksaka Sridhara Maharaja]. For several years I had the opportunity. KRSNA AND PRABHUPADA [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura] LIKED IT TO PREPARE ME. Sridhara Maharaja lived as a...
Sridhara Maharaja: (indistinct)
Prabhupada: (laughs) ...in my house, some may say, a few years, so naturally we had very intimate talks and he was my good adviser. I TOOK HIS ADVICE, HIS INSTRUCTION VERY SERIOUSLY, because from the very beginning I know he's a pure Vaisnava and devotee, and I wanted to associate with him, and try to help him also in so many ways. He also tried to help me, so our relationship is very intimate. After the breakdown of the Gaudiya Matha, I wanted to organize another organization, making Sridhara Maharaja head." (Room Conversation, Mayapur, March 17, 1973)
"So if you are actually serious to take instructions from a siksa guru, I can refer you to one who is most highly competent of all my god-brothers. This is B.R. Sridhara Maharaja, whom I consider to be even my siksa guru, so what to speak of the benefit that you can have from his association." (Letter to Hrsikesa, 69-01-09)
In addition to this, Srila Prabhupada was also initiated into gopi-bhava mantra from his sannyasa guru, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, who also happens to be the diksa-guru and sannyasa guru of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. The first two words of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta are "vande gurun"(plural) meaning: "I pray to my GURUS." So I cannot imagine where the members of the Chaitanya Mission have learnt this idea that to have more than one guru is unchaste or unsurrendered or that it implies that one's other gurus are not qualified. This conception is certainly not found anywhere in sastra or in the lives of our acaryas.
SPECIALIZATION. In their letters some devotees of the Chaitanya Mission (such as Sukadeva dasi, Sonia Alutaya and Siddha das Bernardo) who visited the preaching centre of the Gaudiya Matha in Manila objected to one analogy given by Sriman Brajanath dasa, a disciple of Srila Narayana Maharaja, during our discussion. He compared gurus to doctors saying that doctors who specialize in various fields can help patients according to their particular field of expertise. The objection raised was that there is only one disease, the disease of materialism. Therefore you only need one guru and if you go to another guru then it means that the first guru is not qualified. At this point I appeal to the patience and discerning faculty of my respectable readers to consider this very beautiful and famous prayer of Srila Narottama Das Thakura, Gauranga Bolite Habe.
ara kabe nitaicander karuna hoibe samsara vasana mora kabe tuccha habe: "When will Nityananda Prabhu be merciful to me so that all my material desires will become insignificant."
Nityananda Prabhu is Lord Balarama Himself, the original guru-tattva, by whose mercy one is cured from the disease of materialism. All qualified gurus are the direct representatives of Lord Balarama/Nityananda. However to be free from the disease of materialism is not enough. But if one wants to enter the service of Sri Radha-Krsna in Vrndavan then the help of a specialist will be required. Nityananda Prabhu is Balarama, yet because He is Krsna's older brother, Krsna cannot meet with Srimati Radhika in His presence. Both of them would become embarrassed. Therefore in the next verses Srila Narottama Das Thakura prays: rupa-raghunatha pade hoibe akuti kabe hama bhujabo se yugala piriti: " O when will I be eager to follow Rupa Gosvami and Raghunath Das Gosvami. Only then will I be able to realize the love and affection of Sri Radha and Krsna."
Here we are informed that Rupa Gosvami and Raghunath Das Gosvami are the specialists. In Krsna's pastimes they are actually the close maidservants of Srimati Radharani known as Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari. They can help us realize those confidential things to which even Lord Balarama has no access due to His being situated in a relationship with Krsna other than that of the gopis. At the same time it would be absurd to suggest that Balarama is not a qualified guru.
In conclusion, at various stages of our spiritual life, different gurus are sent by Krsna to help us in different ways according to their different specialities. Taking help from one guru does not at all imply that another guru is not qualified. To think so is just an irrational type of paranoia.
ALLEGED REINITIATION FALSE ALARM: From the flood of e-mails we are receiving and from personally conversing with the devotees of the Chaitanya Mission it becomes apparent that they are of the opinion that diksa means to receive harinama from the guru and that if someone later receives Gopal mantra and Kama-gayatri from another guru then that person has been reinitiated. Many have expressed the idea that to make a difference between hari nama initiation and mantra diksa is "hair-splitting" (Acharya dasa) and even that harinama initiation is sufficient and mantra-diksa is a formality. O gentle vaisnavas! Those who have genuine love for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will try to understand the truth by referring to the authentic books of our acaryas and not by listening to the opinions of those who have never studied them under the guidance of diksa and siksa gurus. We shall have to verify all these ideas on the testing stone of sastra. Surely anyone who has a taste for the truth will become enlivened by hearing all these excellent philosophical conclusions.
In the Bhakti Sandarbha of Srila Jiva Gosvami diksa has been clearly defined.
divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya sanksayam tasmad dikseti sa prokta desikais
divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya sanksayam tasmad dikseti sa prokta desikais tattva-kovidaih
divyam jnanam hy'atra srimate mantra bhagavat svarupa jnana tena bhagavat sambandha visesa jnanam ca
"Those who are learned in the siddhanta conclude that diksa is a process whereby all sins are removed and divya jnana is imparted. Divya jnana consists of knowledge of the svarupa of one's worshipable Deity and of one's own individual relationship with the Lord which is imparted in the form of a mantra." (Bhakti Sandarbha 283)
This mantra diksa is absolutely essential. The hare krsna maha-mantra is "sambodhana", directly addressing Sri Radha-Krsna, whereas diksa mantras establish "sambandha", our relationship with the deity of the mantra. It is the deliberate opinion of all acaryas and sastra that a conditioned soul may chant harinama, but unless he is established in the sambandha-jnana arising from his diksa-mantras, his chanting will never be pure (suddha-nama). He will never become free from nama-aparadha and anarthas. Thus although all perfection is obtained by chanting harinama, one must follow the correct process ordained by our previous acaryas in order to chant harinama purely. By guru-mantra and guru-gayatri one becomes acquainted with the transcendental form of one's guru. By Gaura-mantra and Gaura-gayatri one becomes acquainted with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By Gopal mantra one's transcendental relationship with Sri Sri Radha-Krsna yugal is awakened and by the power of Kama-gayatri one can enter into the confidential pastimes of the divine couple. Quoting the verse "harer nama harer nama harer nama eva kevalam", several members of the Chaitanya Mission have presented the idea that harinama is sufficient to attain success and that this mantra diksa is not necessary. At this point I humbly implore the readers to ask themselves;
If mantra initiation is not necessary then: a) Why did Srila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and all previous acaryas give mantra-diksa to their disciples? b) Why did Krsna Himself initiate Lord Brahma into Kama-gayatri? c) Why did Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura want to commit suicide when he was unable to understand the meaning of Kama-gayatri? d) Why did Srimati Radharani personally appear to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in a dream and instruct him in the meaning of Kama-gayatri? e) Why did Sri Raghunatha Das Gosvami write in Sri Manah Siksa : sva mantre sri namni vraja yuva dvandva sarane: "O my dear mind, please develop unprecedented love and affection for your harinama and also for your diksa mantras"? f) Why did Ramananda Raya instruct Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: kama-gayatri kama bija yanra upasana "Krsna is worshiped by kama-gayatri mantra with the spiritual seed klim"? (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 8.138)
If harinama and diksa are the same then why has Sri Rupa Gosvami explained that one should honour the person who chants harinama within one's heart but one should also physically bow down to that person who has received mantra diksa?
"One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Krsna, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation [diksa] and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others." (Sri Upadesamrta text 5)
And why has Sri Rupa Gosvami written in Sri Padyavali (text 29)
"no diksam na ca sat-kriyam"
that harinama can be received whether one has diksa or not?
A VITALLY IMPORTANT ASPECT OF DIKSA. Of course, if someone chants the Gopal mantra and kama-gayatri for many years and does not realize the actual potential of the mantra, namely to see Sri Radha-Krsna, then that person may lose faith and invent a new philosophy in which diksa is not considered to be very important. This may occur because sometimes a guru gives mantra-diksa to his neophyte disciple who then thinks, "I am initiated. Now I can give diksa to others." The foolish disciple has no idea that diksa does not occur in one day. It is a process that may take years or even lifetimes. The process begins when the disciple receives mantra-diksa, but to attain siddhi (perfection) in the mantra the disciple will need to receive siksa from a siksa-guru about the process to attain that mantra siddhi, about mantrartha-cintan, prapati and other secrets which a guru will only tell to his most dear and qualified disciples:
bruyuh snigdhasya sisyasya guruvo guhyam apy uta (Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1: Chapter One, Text Cool
"Because you are gentle and submissive your spiritual MASTERS (guruvo-plural) have imparted to you all secrets (guhyam)."
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has commented in his essential text "Sri Bhakti-tattva Viveka"(chapter 2): "Even for vaisnavas who are duly initiated into the genuine sampradaya, the illumination of one's eternal identity arising from their DIKSA MANTRAS which were received from their diksa-guru will not appear until they receive svarupa-jnana by the mercy of a siksa-guru. Due to ignorance of such knowledge they cannot enter the realm of pure bhakti and hence only bhakti-abhasa (a semblance of devotion) is visible in them."
Therefore according to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, those who have not realized the potential of their diksa-mantras must avail themselves of the association of a siksa-guru otherwise they cannot make any substantial progress.
This topic has also been discussed in detail in Srila Sanatana Gosvami's own commentary on Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta. Might I be so bold as to inquire whether or not the members of Chaitanya Mission had studied this book before daring to write letters giving advice about diksa to Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja who has studied this book for 54 years?
As Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has ordered:
"Sri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Brhad-bhagavatamrta is very famous; ANYONE who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krsna MUST READ THIS BOOK. " (Adi-lila: Chapter Five, Text 203)
The genuine followers of Srila Prabhupada will try to carry out such important orders under the guidance of qualified and experienced teachers. On the other hand..
"A prakrta, or materialistic devotee does not purposefully study the sastra and try to understand the ACTUAL STANDARD of pure devotional service. Consequently HE DOES NOT SHOW PROPER RESPECT TO ADVANCED DEVOTEES. He may, however, follow the regulative principles learned from his spiritual master or from his family who worships the Deity. He is to be considered on the material platform, although he is trying to advance in devotional service. Such a person is a bhakta-praya [neophyte devotee], or bhaktabhasa, for he is a little enlightened by Vaisnava philosophy." (Madhya-lila: Chapter Twenty-two, Text 74)
IN CONCLUSION it is clearly seen that reinitiation has not occurred in the case of Mahabhava prabhu. Rather, after accepting harinama (maha-mantra) in a rtvik initiation from Tusta Krsna Prabhu on behalf of Jagad Guru Siddha Svarupananda, Mahabhava prabhu has now accepted diksa (gopal-mantra, kama-gayatri etc.) from Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja by which he can gradually become qualified to enter the service of Sri Radha-Krsna. Without these mantras it is forbidden by scripture to worship deities of Sri Radha-Krsna or even offer foodstuffs to Them. Thus this incident is thoroughly auspicious and supported by all sastra and all acaryas.
MAHABHAVA SHOULD HAVE ASKED PERMISSION. Now we arrive at perhaps the last category of contention. Why did Mahabhava prabhu suddenly disappear in the middle of the night without informing anyone, including his guru? It would be fair to say that he thought that his colleagues would not understand his intentions. The turmoil and confusion which ensued is a testimony to the validity of that apprehension. (At least one of his godbrothers has threatened to resort to physical violence against him.)
But surely he should have informed his guru? To understand this we will have to pray and take shelter of the lotus feet of Srila Raghunath Das Gosvami. Srila Raghunath Das Gosvami also ran away from home in the middle of the night without informing anyone, including his diksa-guru, Sri Yadunandana Acarya. Yet his activity has been glorified by all. Even his gurudeva, Sri Yadunandana Acarya, was delighted by the sudden departure of the young Raghunath Das because Raghunath Das went to Jagannath Puri and came under the guidance of Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Sri Yadunandana Acarya was certainly a pure devotee, a competent guru and an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Still, Sri Svarupa Damodara was his senior because he is the incarnation of Srimati Radhika's dearmost friend, Lalita Sakhi. Therefore, Sri Yadunandana Acarya, being free from envy and possessiveness, was happy to know that his disciple was in good hands.
It is a matter of vaisnava etiquette. The guru never thinks that any disciple is his property. He is simply serving Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by helping that soul love Sri Radha-Krsna. If any other vaisnava who is senior, more learned or experienced also helps that soul, then he becomes very pleased. If he reacts in any other way then it is understood that there is something lacking in his vaisnavata (devotional conception). According to vaisnava etiquette the senior vaisnava is always RESPECTED and given PRECEDENCE. For example, in the third canto, fourth chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam we find that Vidura approached Uddhava and wanted to accept him as his spiritual master. However, seeing that Maitreya Rsi was nearby and that Maitreya was an elderly vaisnava, Uddhava recommended that Vidura should take instructions from Maitreya Rsi. This is proper vaisnava et iquette.
In the situation under discussion any impartial observer will conclude that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is far senior in all respects to all the devotees concerned. Thus it is an offense even to offer advice to such a vaisnava: "It is also an offense to consider an empowered vaisnava an object of disciplinary action. It is offensive to try to give him ADVICE or to correct him. One can distinguish between a neophyte Vaisnava and an advanced Vaisnava by their activities. The advanced Vaisnava is always situated as the spiritual master, and the neophyte is always considered his disciple. The spiritual master must not be subjected to the advice of a disciple, Nor should a spiritual master be obliged to take instructions from those who are not his disciples." (Nectar of Instruction, text 6)
>From the nature and tone of many of the letters we have been receiving, we can only conclude that their authors must be quite ignorant of who Srila Narayana Maharaja is, and therefore we are including some brief history here. The fact is that Srila Narayana Maharaja is a highly respected member of the Gaudiya community. He has been chanting at least 64 rounds (and at times many more) daily for many decades.
Srila Narayana Maharaja has been chanting harinama since the 1920s. He received diksa in 1947 from Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. This was the same great personality from whom Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada also accepted sannyasa in 1959. For the past fifty-three years Srila Narayana Maharaja never chanted less than sixty-four rounds a day, sometimes one hundred and twenty eight, and sometimes, following in the footsteps of Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura, one hundred and ninety two rounds. During this time he has served, satisfied and received the blessings of all the prominent disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. From these considerations alone, it is obvious that Srila Narayana Maharaja's Krishna consciousness is in another dimension from our own.
It was in the year 1947 that he first met Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada. (from hereon Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada will be referred to affectionately as simply "Srila Prabhupada") From that time, on the order of his diksa guru, he began to serve Srila Prabhupada as his siksa guru. Thus Srila Narayana Maharaja is the FIRST DISCIPLE of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada. In 1952, Srila Narayana Maharaja accepted sannyasa from his diksa guru. Thus he is the sannyasa godbrother of Srila Prabhupada, having received sannyasa seven years before Srila Prabhupada from the same guru.
On the occasion that Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa, it was Srila Narayana Maharaja who made the sannyasa danda, applied tilak on the twelve parts of Srila Prabhupada's body with his own hand, and performed the actual fire ceremony under Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja's direction. Devotees who were staying in the Math at the time recall that when Srila Prabhupada stayed there he was very grave in his dealings, but he would visit Srila Narayana Maharaja in his room and they would laugh and joke together.
When Srila Prabhupada first went to America he kept in contact with Srila Narayana Maharaja, who went to great lengths to help Srila Prabhupada in many ways. He regularly sent large shipments of books by freight and used to go to Delhi to carry out Srila Prabhupada's banking business. He also sent him many other devotional paraphernalia such as mrdangas, karatalas, tilak, pictures, Deities, japa mala, clothing, harmonium, pera (a sweet) etc.
We can understand the love which Srila Prabhupada had for Srila Narayana Maharaja by reading the letters which he sent him:
"Our relationship is certainly based on spontaneous transcendental love. That is why there is no chance of us forgetting one another. By the mercy of Guru and Gauranga may everything be auspicious for you. This is my constant prayer. From the first time I saw you I have been your constant well-wisher. At his first sight of me, Srila Prabhupada also saw me with such love. It was in my very first darsana of Srila Prabhupada that I learned how to love." (Letter from Srila Prabhupada 28th September 1966)
"Because in all Gaudiya Mathas, I think that you are the real guru-sevaka, so I always correspond with you and I always give my full love and affection to you.
"If I was not thinking like this and putting so much trust in you, I would never have sent you my key and my money. I have so much faith and love for you." (Letter from Srila Prabhupada, New York, May 17th 1967)
"Please offer my obeisances to Srimad Narayana Maharaja. I have not heard from him in a long time. Please request him to find out a large piece of land perhaps with a house, between Mathura and Vrndavana, for purchasing." (S.P. letter 26/7/'70)
Until the time he passed from this mortal world, Srila Prabhupada maintained a very close and intimate connection with Srila Narayana Maharaja. Srila Prabhupada asked him to GUIDE HIS DISCIPLES in his physical absence by teaching them the concepts of Srila Rupa and Raghunath das Gosvamis. Before leaving this world, Srila Prabhupada entrusted Srila Narayana Maharaja with the great honour and responsibility of putting his transcendental body into samadhi. After Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, when his sons tried to stage a take-over bid of the ISKCON assets, from morning to evening for days, Srila Narayana Maharaja tirelessly testified on behalf of ISKCON in the Bombay courts. This was all done selflessly to help the disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
Thus we can conclude on the basis of Srila Prabhupada's own statements that Srila Narayana Maharaja is his intimate associate with whom he is eternally and transcendentally related. Therefore we appeal to the devotees of the Chaitanya Mission to be benefited by trying to understand the perfect activities of Srila Narayana Maharaja, instead of being ruined by trying to give him advice.
INSTITUTIONALISM VS. VAISNAVISM We have not come to this world to be the members of any institution. We have come to attain Krsna-Bhakti-Rasa.
krsna bhakti rasa bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto'pi labhyate: "Krsna bhakti rasa can be obtain only by paying one price -that is the intense greed to obtain it. If it is available ANYWHERE, one must purchase it WITHOUT DELAY. " (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila 8.70)
In order to develop greed the only method is to hear the sweet pastimes of Sri Radha-Krsna directly from the lips of a raganuga vaisnava. It is not available by chanting, preaching, distributing books or hearing thousands of lectures about how we are not the body and that we should surrender to Krsna. Don't misunderstand this point. We should do all of these things, but without also directly hearing from and associating with the rasika vaisnavas who are always absorbed in the moods of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Raghunath Das Gosvami, Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur and others, then our devotion will be called VAIDHI BHAKTI. This regulative devotional service will eventually take us to Vaikuntha where all worship Krsna as God. But Krsna is not really satisfied by the love of those who know that he is God
"Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me." (Caitanya caritamrta Adi 3.16).
Moreover, vaidhi bhakti has no power to take us to Vrndavana: "Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vrajabhumi." (Caitanya caritamrta Adi 3.15).
In Vrndavan, by the influence of Yogamaya, no-one even suspects that Krsna is God. They have the only kind of love that makes Krsna really happy, that is natural love as His friends, parents and beloveds. Only raganuga-bhakti leads to Vrndavan. There is no other way. So when the opportunity arises to associate with a raganuga vaisnava then we must take that opportunity. By such association a greed may come and one can enter the path of RAGANUGA BHAKTI. It is not true that vaidhi bhakti eventually turns into raganuga bhakti. Raganuga bhakti arises only by association, so please don't be angry with Mahabhava prabhu. What he did was the fruit of many years hard service and a great deal of courage. You can be proud of him.
We are all in one family, the family of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, so there should not be any fear or animosity between us. I hope that in the future we will all cooperate together in the Mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to deliver all the conditioned souls from the misery of maya and situate them in their constitutional positions as eternal loving servants of Krsna. The MISSION of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is similar to an education system which has facilities for kindergarden, primary school, secondary school, college, university and post graduate students. All departments are not the same but their purpose is the same, to educate one and all. Similarly in Krsna consciousness, at first we have to learn, at least theoretically that we are not this body. Then if we actually want to realize it we will have to learn the teachings of Bhagavad-gita,Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Jaiva Dharma, Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvalanilamani, and also follow them practically in our lives. After that we should progress in raganuga bhakti under the guidance of experienced Rupanuga Acaryas and realise the loving moods of the Gosvamis as expressed in Sri Lalita Madhava, Sri Vidagdha Madhava, Stava-mala, Sri Vilap-Kusumanjali, Sri Krsna Bhavanamrta and others. Under the guidance of our diksa gurus and siksa gurus we should progress swiftly and smoothly on the path of devotion, without getting trapped on the same level for years and years.
If anyone would like to correspond with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja or his disciples on any of the subjects mentioned in this letter, we will try our level best to answer any doubts or queries.
If I have offended the sensibilities of anyone by my words or deeds then I beg for forgiveness. I hope that the overall result will be beneficial and ultimately auspicious for all concerned.
Prema prayojan brahmacari