Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
[On this most auspicious day of Shrila Rupa Gosvami’s Tirobhava Tithi, Disappearance Day, under the guidance and by the unlimited and causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga we are allowed the opportunity to present this nectarean harikatha spoken by the sweet, lotus lips of our beloved Gurudev, Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Vana Gosvami Mahajara on January of 2013 during his preaching mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.]
Yesterday evening we glorified Shri Rupa Gosvami and this morning we also discussed Shrimad-Bhagavatam. There are many lilas taking place, different kinds of sweet pastimes between Radha-Govinda. I also mentioned yesterday how we should chant the holy names – by giving up all kinds of offences. Today is a very auspicious day as it is the Disappearance day of Shrila Rupa Gosvamipada, who is not an ordinary personality, he is nearest and dearest of Shrimati Radhika.
Yesterday I also mentioned a lila in which there was an offence, vaishnava–aparadha. I spoke on the pastime of when Khanja Krishnadasa arrived at the cottage, during the time Rupa Gosvamipada was completely absorbed in his trance.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Hey Rupa…”:
yadi vaiṣṇava-aparādha uṭhe hātī mātā
upāḍe vā chiṇḍe, tāra śukhi yāya pātā
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.156)
[If the devotee commits an offence at the feet of a Vaishṇava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service in the material world, his offence is compared to a mad elephant that uproots the creeper and breaks it. In this way, the leaves of the creeper are dried up.]
If you commit vaishnava-aparadha, offences to the lotus feet of Vaishnavas, then you will lose everything. A conditioned soul has no idea what vaishnava-aparadha is. Even a kanishtha-adhikari, does not know what offences towards Vaishnavas are.
A kanishtha-adhikari means a neophyte devotee’s activities resemble that of an uttama-adhikari. Thus, an uttama-Adhikari is always absorbed with his trance, and the kanishtha-adhikari is simply imitating. He thinks, “I have now reached a very high level.” But this is not actually true. For this regard, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains how a kanishtha-adhikari has no shastra-jnana, knowledge of the scriptures.
śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne dṛḍha, śraddhāvān
madhyama-adhikārī sei mahā-bhāgyavān
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 22.67)
[One who is not very expert in argument and logic based on the revealed scriptures but who has firm faith is considered a second-class devotee. He also must be considered most fortunate.]
A madhyama-adhikari has knowledge of scriptures, shastra-jnana, but an uttama-adhikari is a high class, exalted devotee.
śāstra-yuktye sunipuṇa, dṛḍha-śraddhā yāṅra
uttama-adhikārī sei tāraye saṁsāra
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 22.65)
[One who is an expert in logic, argument and the revealed scriptures and who has firm faith in Krishna is classified as a topmost devotee. He can deliver the whole world.]
Who is an uttama–adhikari? One who has vast knowledge of the shastras. One day, I asked my Gurudeva (Shrila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja), “How many shlokas do you know?” He answered, “Even if I recite shlokas continually for seven days and seven nights, I would still not finish.”
Due to this, all Gaudiya Vaishnavas refer to him as a dictionary. On his appearance days, Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja glorified Shrila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja many times. So, an uttama–adhikari means one who possesses a vast knowledge of shastra, shastra–jnana, in other words, one who knows many shlokas. If one has an expansive knowledge of shastra, no one can defeat him in philosophical and spiritual debates.
Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Vallabhacharya
For example, just as Jiva Gosvamipada. Who can compare with Jiva Gosvamipada? At the time, Vishvanatha Chakravartipada cut all mayavadi philosophies, as did Jiva Gosvamipada; impersonalists cannot even come to stand in front of him. Both, Jiva and Rupa Gosvamipada have extensive knowledge of shastra.
Today, I will glorify both, Rupa and Jiva Gosvamipada. Once, Rupa Gosvamipada was in Vrindavana writing a grantha, at that moment, one very learned and scholarly person arrived. The name of this pandita was Vallabhacharya. Vallabhacharya was very proud of his knowledge, and would even sometimes, in front of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, speak his own glorifications. He would proudly boast, “Oh, I have cut the conceptions of Shridhara Svami’s philosophy.”
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu simply smiled and said:
prabhu hāsi’ kahe, svāmī nā māne yei jana
veśyāra bhitare tāre kariye gaṇana
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya 7.115)
[Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu smilingly replied, “One who does not accept the svāmī [husband] as an authority, I consider a prostitute.”]
One who one does not accept her husband is called a prostitute. Do you understand this? You do not understand. This means you would not be able to cut the philosophy of Shridhara Gosvamipada. However, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu only chastised him very gently. The Lord said, “How is it possible for you to cut the philosophy of Shridhara Svamipada?” Another day, Vallabhacharya arrived and told Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “I have written a commentary on krishna-nama. There, I have provided many explanations and various commentaries on krishna-nama.” Then, Mahaprabhu replied:
prabhu kahe, kṛṣṇa-nāmera bahu artha nā māni
śyāma-sundara, yaśodā-nandana, ei-mātra jāni
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya 7.85)
[Lord Shri Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “I do not accept many different meanings for the holy name of Krishna. I know only that Lord Krishna is Shyamasundara and Yashodanandana. That’s all I know.]
Mahaprabhu said, “I do not know the many meanings of krishna-nama, he is the son of Yashoda. I know that krishna-nama just means the son of mother Yashoda, Yashodanandana and Shyamasundara. How is it possible that you are explaining so many different meanings of krishna-nama?” In this way, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu destroyed all of Vallabhacharya’s pride.
Once, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu praised His entire entourage – Advaita Acharya, Nityananda Prabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Rupa Gosvamipada, Sanatana Gosvamipada and Gadadhara Pandita. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to glorify them, one by one. Only then could Vallabhacharya see how great they really were and finally realized, “Oh, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is mercifully showing me how qualified they truly are.” Instantly, all of Vallabhacharya’s pride was destroyed and he took shelter at the lotus feet of Gadadhara Pandita.
One time, Vallabhacharya came to Rupa Gosvamipada while he was manifesting a grantha. Vallabhacharya was slightly older than Rupa Gosvamipada, only by a few years . So, Vallabhacharya approached Rupa Gosvamipada and asks, “Rupa. Which grantha are you writing?” Very humbly, Rupa Gosvamipada said “Prabhu, I am writing Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu.” Vallabhacharya then said, “This is a very nice grantha. The name is very nice. Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu! The Ocean of the Nectar of Devotion. A very nice and beautiful grantha, the name is also very nice!” “Which shloka in particular are you writing?” asked Vallabhacharya. “Currently, I am writing this shloka,” answered Rupa Gosvami.
piśācī hṛdi vartate
katham abhyudayo bhavet
(Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.22/Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.176)
[The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.]
Pure Devotional Service and Krishna-prema
How is it possible for shuddha-bhakti to manifest in the hearts of those who perform their bhajana and sadhana while maintaining desires to merge in Brahman or enjoy sense gratification? Shuddha-bhakti means pure devotional service. Meaning, devotional service which is completely free from all kinds of material sense gratification, where all activities are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Krishna. This is the definition of shuddha-bhakti:
(Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11/Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.167)
[One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desires for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.]
The cultivation of activities which are meant exclusively for the pleasure and gratification of Krishna’s senses; the heart is not covered by jnana, karma, yoga or tapasya and is free from all kinds of material sense gratification, that is called anyabhilashita. Anukulyena krishnanu-shilanam means all of one’s endeavours are aimed at giving pleasure exclusively to Krishna. And what does bhakti mean? To serve Krishna incessantly, without stop or interruption, and one’s heart cannot be cover by jnana, karma, yoga or tapasya; to serve to Krishna, you must also express some sentiments or bhava. Hence, this is called uttama-bhakti, the highest form of devotional service to Krishna, also known as shuddha-bhakti.
If you practice bhakti, but in your heart is a little desire for bhukti or mukti – still has the desire for sense gratification or maintains the desire to merge in Brahman – then you will only lose your bhakti. Krishna is very tricky, He will not give bhakti.
kṛṣṇa yadi chuṭe bhakte bhukti mukti diyā
kabhu prema-bhakti nā dena rākhena lukāiyā
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 8.18)
[If a devotee wants liberation or material sense gratification from the Lord, Krishna immediately delivers it, but pure devotional service, He keeps hidden.]
Krishna will hide prema, He will not easily give it away. Krishna hides prema and instead, gives one who performs bhajana and sadhana to Him, mukti and bhukti, sense gratification or liberation.
You can practice your bhajana and sadhana for thousands upon thousands of lives, yet, hari-bhakti will not easily manifest in your heart. Due to this, bhakti is also called sudurlabha. Sudurlabha means very, very rare. Shuddha–bhakti is not so simple to obtain.
Becoming a one pointed bhakta, especially one with a vraja–bhakti mood like dasya (servitude) , sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental) or madhurya (conjugal) is not easy. Gopi–prema is very, very rare to obtain. Brahma, Shiva and Narada, all high class, exalted personalities cannot attain this. How is it possible that a conditioned soul will attain this? ‘This’ means radha–dasyam, becoming the maidservant of Shrimati Radhika, which is very, very rare and extremely difficult to attain.
A new question may arise- Why am I performing bhajana and sadhana for a goal which is beyond of my eligibility? Why are you practicing these things? Why do you do this? You may ask yourself this question. The truth is, this goal is very, very rarely attained. Brahmaji, Shivaji, Narada, they are very exalted devotees and they could not reach it.
How will it be possible for you to achieve? What is your goal? What is your hope? Try to understand this.
How do we compare to the stories we have heard of the sadhana and bhajana performed by previous acharyas such as Prahlada or Dhruva? How can we compare their many austerities? We are not that proficient in carrying out austerities or our bhajana and sadhana. Therefore, how is it possible for us to attain the extremely rare position of becoming the maidservant of Shrimati Radhika? Radha–dasyam. Dhruva Maharaja performed hard austerities, six months of hard austerities; we can never do this. We could not even observe a fast for one Ekadashi, before noon we take breakfast. Gurudeva would say, “On Ekadashi you should not even drink water until twelve o’clock.” Try to understand this.
Everything being considered, how is it possible for one to attain the highest prema – radha–prema or gopi–prema?
Uddhavaji arrived in Vraja and witnessed Radharani’s and the gopi’s prema. Even by incessant hankering, it is still not possible to receive a sprinkle of the mood of Shrimati Radhika. In spite of this, Uddhava still performs hard austerities on the bank of Kusuma-sarovara in hopes of reaching this objective. In the same way, when you hear the lilas of previous acharyas like Brahma, Shiva and Narada – how despite them being high classed devotees, they could not attain radha–dasyam – what is your hope? How is achieving this possible?
Your only hope is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Gaurasundara. In this Kali-yuga, Shachinandana Gaurahari, He is called the embodiment of munificence and magnanimity. If you completely and absolutely surrender to Shachinandana Gaurahari, then He will grant you the highest prema. This shloka states:
yatha yatha gaura-padaravinde
vindeta bhaktim krta-punya-rasih
tatha tathotsarpati hrdy akasmad
(Shri Chaitanya-chandramrita 88)
[As a pious soul fortunately attains pure devotion to Gauranga and becomes absorbed in rendering service to His lotus feet, the nectar ocean of devotional ecstasy flowing from the lotus feet of Shri Radhika gradually arises without any material cause and floods his heart.]
If you completely surrender to Shachinandana Gaurahari, by His causeless mercy, you will attain radha-prema. Otherwise, there is no hope. How do we surrender to the lotus feet of Shachinandana Gaurahari? Narottama dasa Thakura explains, one who is the nearest and dearest of Shachinandana Gaurahari is fully surrendered. Prabhodananda Sarasvatipada also glorifies those who are the nearest and dearest of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then, by the causeless mercy of Gauranga you will take birth in Navadvipa-dhama and all of your offenses, aparadha, will be destroyed. Only by the causeless mercy of Shachinandana Gaurahari can one be able to enter in Vrindavana-dhama. This is the process.
gaura-prema-rasarnave, se tarange jeba dube,
(Gaurangera Du’ti Pada, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura)
[One who dives into the waves of the ocean of gaura-prema becomes a confidential associate of Shri Shri Radha-Madhava.]
Thus, the highest prema is radha-prema, radha-dasyam. Gopi-prema is not inexpensive, only by the mercy of Shachinandana Gaurahari and his dhama does one obtain it. In this Kali-yuga there is no another hope, there is only one hope – how to surrender to Shachinandana Gaurahari.
aradhitam nava-vanam vraja-kananam te
naradhitam nava-vanam vraja eva dure
aradhito dvija-suto vraja-nagaras te
naradhito dvija-suto na taveha krishnah
(Navadvipa Shataka 78, Prabhodananda Sarasvati)
[If you worship Navadvipa, then you also worship the forest of Vraja. If you don’t worship Navadvipa, then the forest of Vraja is far away. If you worship Lord Chaitanya, then you also worship Shri Radha and Krishna in Vraja. If you don’t worship Lord Chaitanya, then you cannot worship Shri Radha and Krishna.]
One who worships Vrindavana along with Navadvipa-dhama, can attain Vrindavana. This is the essence of this shloka – how to surrender to Shachinandana Gaurahari and to His dhama, Gaura-dhama. One speciality of gaura-nama and Gaura-dhama is they do not consider any offenses, aparadha.
kṛṣṇa-nāma’ kare aparādhera vicāra
kṛṣṇa balile aparādhīra nā haya vikāra
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 8.24)
[There are offenses to be considered while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Therefore, simply by chanting Hare Krishna one does not become ecstatic.]
caitanya-nityānande nāhi e-saba vicāra
nāma laite prema dena, vahe aśrudhāra
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 8.31)
[But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offenses. Thus, as soon as he chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.]
Do you know the meaning of – ‘kṛṣṇa-nāma’ kare aparādhera vicāra’. If you chant krsna-nama, you have to consider ten offences to the holy name, nama-aparadha. The first nama-aparadha is criticism of Vaishnavas. The second offence is thinking krishna-nama equals shiva-nama. The third nama-aparadha is dishonoring Guru; Guru refers to both diksha-guru and siksha-guru.
caitanya-nityānande nāhi e-saba vicāra
nāma laite prema dena, vahe aśrudhāra
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 8.31)
[But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offenses. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.]
If you chant gaura–nama, there are no offences to be considered; just chant ‘Gaura Gaura Gaura’ and you will attain the highest prema and when you visit Gaura-dhama, all your offences will be destroyed.
As previously mentioned, your only hope to attain this highest prema, radha–dasyam, becoming the maidservant of Shrimati Radhika, is Shacinandana Gaurahari. Therefore, always remember Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He is our ishtadeva. Who is our ishtadeva? Shachinandana Gaurahari. Then, under the guidance of Gauranga, we worship Radha-Krishna. For this reason, we are chanting our gaura-mantra and gaura-gayatri–mantras. Without Shachinandana’s gaura–mantra and gaura-gayatri, you will not attain krishna-prema. First, you must chant these mantras everyday.
Returning to the original subject, Vallabhacharya asked Rupa Gosvamipada, “What grantha are you writing?” Rupa humbly replied, “I am writing Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu.” “Which shloka are you writing?” asked Vallabhacharya.
piśācī hṛdi vartate
katham abhyudayo bhavet
(Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.22/Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.176)
[The material desire to enjoy the material world, and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.]
If you serve for bhukti, sense gratification and mukti, desire for liberation – how is it possible for shuddha–bhakti to manifest? After hearing the verse, Vallabhacharya said, “Rupa, your shloka is very beautiful and so nice. But, in this shloka you compare mukti, liberation, to a witch. Jnanis perform hard austerities by following many rules and regulations. Are you saying jnanis and mukti are like witches? Is this not a good example?”
Rupa Gosvamipada is incredibly humble, he is the embodiment of ‘trinad api sunicena’.
With great humility, Rupa Gosvamipada answered, “Prabhu, you are a learned scholar. In front of you, I am nothing. You are like the sun and I am like a small candle. So, if you see any defect in my shloka, you can edit it as you like.” Then, Vallabhacarya told him, “Yes! I can edit your shlokas. Now it is too late, about midday tomorrow I have to bathe in the Yamuna, maybe after I will come and edit your grantha. I will correct any faults or defects I find in anything you have written.”
If you write a grantha, many defects will come. Perhaps, there will be some mistakes in siddhanta or possibly some shlokas are incorrect. These things will occur, this is true. We cannot manifest a perfect grantha.
Many Sanskrit shlokas contain some doubt or something, this is the nature. I recall the story of when Ishvara Puripada came to the house of Jagannatha Mishra. During the time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was performing His lila as Nimai Pandita – a very learned and scholarly person. Ishvara Puripada had written a grantha, Shri-Krishna-lila grantha and on that occasion he asked Nimai, “You are a very learned scholar and everyone calls you Nimai Pandita. Please edit my grantha, if you find any mistakes or faults, please correct them.”
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answered, “You are Ishvara Puripada! How can I possibly find any faults in your grantha?” Mahaprabhu never edited the grantha written by Ishvara Puri.
Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Vallabhacharya (cont.)
Coming back, Vallabhacharya was very proud of his scholarly knowledge, so he said, “Okay, tomorrow I will come and edit your grantha.” At that time, Rupa Gosvamipada’s disciple… How many disciples did Rupa Gosvamipada have? One disciple! What was his name? Jiva Gosvamipada. Jiva Gosvamipada became very angry, he was very upset with Vallabhacharya. Disciples have so much loyalty towards their Gurudeva and so much faith, nishtha, which led Jiva Gosvamipada to become extremely irate. He was thinking, “My Gurudeva manifested these shlokas. How could he try to find any faults? How is this possible?”
Being a disciple means having so much loyalty with Guru. Jiva Gosvami heartedly believed, “My Gurudeva has written this, so this is one hundred percent perfect.” At the time, Jiva who was still a small boy, still, he became very angry. Yet, in front of his Guru he could not mention anything.
After Vallabhacharya left to bathe in the Yamuna, Jiva Gosvamipada told his Guru, “Gurudeva, today there is no water in the kitchen, I have to go to fetch some water from the Yamuna.” Rupa Gosvamipada told him, “Okay, go and bring water.”
As Vallabhacharya was bathing in the Yamuna, Jiva Gosvamipada arrived at the same spot. Then, Jiva Gosvamipada started to speak on Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, and what the essence of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu is, summarizing the topics his Gurudeva wrote. After discussing this with Vallabhacharya, Jiva Gosvamipada asked, “How is it possible you will edit my Gurudeva’s grantha?” After hearing this, Vallabhacharya said, “No, your Guru, Rupa Gosvami compares mukti, liberation, with a witch and this is not good.” Jiva Gosvami told him, “No, my Gurudeva is not saying these things, you must read it properly. ‘Bhukti mukti sprha’. Sprha means desire – meaning, desire is compared to a witch’.
In this way, Jiva Gosvamipada, in a grammatical way, very nicely established what his Gurudeva wrote was perfect, Vallabhacharya did not need to edit it. Afterwards, Vallabhacharya realized what Jiva was saying is true; Vallabhacharya immediately went from the Yamuna directly to the cottage of Rupa Gosvamipada. Simultaneously, Jiva Gosvamipada was returning from the Yamuna. Upon his arrival, Vallabhacharya asked Rupa Gosvami, “Who is this small boy?”
Rupa Gosvamipada replied, “I have two relationships with this boy. He is my nephew because his father is my brother and he is also my disciple. Vallabhacharya then said, “Your disciple is very intelligent and he defeated me quickly. He truly has a vast knowledge of the scriptures – Vedas, Puranas, Upanishadas, everything. You have manifested perfect shlokas, I cannot edit them because your disciple has defeated me. How could it be possible that I now edit your books? This is impossible for me.” Rupa Gosvamipada remained silent as Vallabhacharya exited the cottage.
Externally, angry with his disciple, Rupa Gosvamipada told him, “Hey Jiva, you are not qualified to stay close with me. What are the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”
tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya 20.21)
[One who thinks himself lower than the blade of grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor, but is always prepared to give all respect to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.]
“What are the teachings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Always give respect to others. If one is very proud, let him go to hell, still, offer him respect. Although Vallabhacharya was very proud of his scholarly learning, when he came, you did not show proper respect towards him and you defeated him. How is it possible that you will now chant? You can leave and go anywhere, as you like,” said Rupa Gosvami. What was the fault of Jiva Gosvamipada? Who can explain? Rupa Gosvamipada seemed very angry and was telling him strictly, “Get out here!” After which, Jiva Gosvamipada lamented, “Oh Gurudeva is not pleased with me. What will I do now?”
Jiva Gosvamipada decided, “I will give up my body.” He went to the bank of Yamuna, where the crocodiles reside, to throw himself in. After one day passing, some Vrajavasis were asking Rupa, “Where is your disciple, Jiva?” Nevertheless, Rupa Gosvamipada did not offer any answer. Then, someone told Sanatana Gosvamipada that one Vrajavasi saw a boy on the bank of Yamuna, living in the hole of a crocodile. After, Sanatana Gosvamipada went and saw Jiva weeping bitterly and chanting the holy names.
Sanatana very humbly said, “Jiva come with me.” He then brought Jiva in front of Rupa Gosvamipada. Sanatana was a very prominent scholar, everyone would offer him respect . Accordingly, when Sanatana Gosvamipada arrived at Rupa’s cottage, Rupa was very humble and paid his obeisance to the lotus feet of his elder brother. Then, Sanatana Gosvamipada asked his younger brother, “What is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Jive-daya paro dharmo. Mahaprabhu said give mercy to the all living entities.” Rupa answered, “Yes, this is true. Give mercy to all the fallen living entities, this is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.”
Sanatana said, “You have shown mercy to every person performing bhajana and sadhana that came to you. How is it possible that you are not giving mercy to him (Jiva Gosvami)? This is the teaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Jive-doya! You have to give the mercy to all the jivas and he is jiva. You must accept him as your disciple again.” Subsequently, Rupa and Jiva Gosvamipada meet together once again and upon meeting they embraced and began shedding many tears.
Always Glorify Guru
Some questions may arise – why was Rupa Gosvamipada angry with his disciple? And, what was the fault of Jiva Gosvami? Externally, Rupa Gosvamipada was angry with him. Here, Rupa Gosvamipada was trying to teach his disciple, “Give respect to others, let him have his name, fame and reputation.” And Jiva Gosvamipada was saying, “No, I have to give heavy punishment to anyone who criticizes my Guru. There are many shlokas which state – if anybody criticizes my Guru, I have to give him heavy punishments.”
Shastra actually says one should remove the tongue of a person who criticizes one’s Guru; but these are very heavy shlokas. One interpretation of the meaning behind this shloka is to cut his philosophy (not tongue), but, if you have no knowledge of shastra, shastra-jnana, simply never see his face again. Then, bathe in the Yamuna or Ganges and purify the spot where the offense occurred with water from the sacred rivers. What does being a disciple mean? Understanding that if my Guru is perfect or bona fide, I will never give up Guru nor give up harinama.
mannatha sri jagannatha madguru sri jagadguru madatma sarvabhutatma tasmai sri gurave namah
[My Lord is the Lord of the Universe. My Guru is the Guru of the whole world. My soul is of all beings, therefore I offer pranamato that Shri Gurudeva who has shown me this.]
My Gurudeva, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja would always repeat this verse.
Sometimes, I also slightly chastise – is Guru like your boyfriend and girlfriend? One day, you have a boyfriend, the next day you give him up and another day, another boyfriend. Guru is not to be treated in this manner. Guru’s relationship with you is eternal and transcendental, sambandha-jnana.
You may change other things, but you cannot change your Guru. If Guru is bona fide, then you cannot abandon him under any circumstance. There are many shlokas which state the various kinds of offences resulting from committing these types of sinful activities and all state – there is absolutely no kind of atonement for one who abandons a bona fide Guru. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami received diksha from Yadunandana Acharya and he took shiksha from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Sanatana Gosvamipada, and even from Rupa Gosvamipada. However, he only glorifies only his Guru, Yadunandana Acharya.
nama-sreshtham manum api shachi-putram atra svarupam
rupam tasyagrajam uru-purim mathurim goshthavatim
radha-kundam giri-varam aho radhika-madhavasham
prapto yasya prathita-kripaya shri gurum tam nato ‘smi
(Shri Mukta-carita, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami)
[I am fully indebted to Shri Gurudeva. Why? He has given me so many things – the highest conception of the holy name of Krishna; the highest form of sound, which contains the highest form of thought, inspiration, ideal everything. And he has given me the service of our great saviour Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his dearmost associate Shri Svarupa Damodara. He has brought me in connection with Shri Rupa, who was ordered to distribute the heart’s innermost dealings, the highest form of devotional love, raganuga-bhakti.
Gurudeva has given me Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, who gives us sambandha-jnana, proper understanding of our relationship with Shri Krishna, and he has given me Mathura-mandala, which will help me in my remembrance of Radha and Govinda wherever I shall cast my glance. By his grace, Gurudeva has revealed the super excellent position of Radha-kunda, the favorite place of Radha and Govinda for Their pastimes and this Giriraja Govardhana. Lastly he has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Shri Shri Radhika and Madhava. I have been given all these assurances by my Gurudeva, so I bow my head with respects to his lotus feet.]
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami glorified his diksha-guru, Yadunandana Acharya by saying, “If you think, ‘My Gurudeva is perhaps, less intelligent and I am of higher intelligence,’ then you can receive diksha from him and accept shiksha from any other bona fide Guru.” Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains you can give up your Guru only if three faults are present in him – if your Guru is an impersonalist, mayavadi, if your Guru is always criticizing Vaishnavas or committing vaishnava–aparadha, and third, if your Guru illicitly associated with ladies or becomes married. If any of these three faults are found in Guru, then give up that nonsensical Guru and take shelter at the lotus feet of a bona fide Vaishnava Guru; there should be no concessions in this regard. Did Mahaprabhu give any concessions to Chhota Haridasa?
If your Guru is a genuine Vaishnava, then there are absolutely no circumstances in which you can abandon him. Once, a devotee inquired, “Oh Gurudeva, if the cow does not give milk, what shall I do?” The actual meaning behind this question is – if your Guru has not given the highest prema–bhakti, what shall you do? Shrila Gurudeva, in his morning walk, was also asked this question and the response can be found in his book, Walking with a Saint. So I ask – what shall you do if your Guru is not giving you the highest prema–bhakti?
If according to your knowledge you conclude, “This is not a high-classed Guru,” – what are you to do? If the cow does not provide milk – what will you do? Some people may think to cut the cow and eat its meat, this mode of thinking is especially prevalent in western philosophies. There they’ll simply decide to send the cow to a slaughterhouse so they can consume its meat. Gurudeva has never said anything of this sort. Instead, Gurudeva would instruct, “If the cow is not giving milk, keep it and then you can bring another cow.” This is the standard in our Indian culture. If your cow is no longer providing milk, you can never discard that cow. Rather, you continue to lovingly care for the cow and bring another cow which can provide milk.
In the same way, if your Guru is not able to give the highest prema to you, you should not abandon that Guru. What should you do? You can accept dikhsa from him and take shiksha from another bona fide Guru. You can do as Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara, who both took diksha from one Guru and then in Jagannatha Puri, they accepted shiksha from Babaji Maharaja. Still, they never gave up their diksha-guru. Or as Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who did not abandon his Guru Yadunandana Acharya, yet, took shiksha from Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda and even from Rupa Gosvami. This is the process.
So, in the story of Jiva and Rupa Gosvamipada Sanatana Gosvamipada said “Hey Rupa, Jiva has no fault. He only established the tattva–siddhanta you wrote is perfect. How is it possible for this scholarly person to cut your philosophy?”
Once, an impersonalist mayavadi visited Mathura. During his stay, the mayavadi had a discussion with Parama-Gurudeva, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja on whether the jiva is Brahma. At that time, Shrila Gurudeva, Narayana Gosvamipada Maharaja was sitting nearby. Then, Shrila Gurudeva said, “Krishna did not only lift Giriraja Govardhana, but He also drank the forest fire.”
In other words, Shrila Gurudeva was implying, “ So, are you Brahma?’” The mayavadi responded, “Yes, all of you are Brahma, you are Brahma and I’m Brahma. Everyone is Brahma.” Afterwards, Parama-Gurudeva retorted, “Now bring me one burning stick and put it in his mouth, since he is Brahma.” Thus, Shrila Gurudeva brought a burning stick and the mayavadi had no choice but to leave.
Are you Krishna? If someone says, “I am Brahma.” Tell them, “Okay, come here. Krishna is Bhagavan Brahma, so if you are Brahma, both are equal. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is written that Krishna drank the forest fire, so you must also consume the fire.”
Gurudeva would say during the time Parama-Gurudeva was residing at the temple, many mayavadis visited and he would defeat them all. In a similar manner, Jiva Gosvamipada’s argument was perfect, “How is it possible for there to be any defect in what my Gurudeva has written? His shlokas are one hundred per cent perfect. There are no defects nor any faults in what my Gurudeva wrote.” Sometimes, you may not understand some things Guru says, this is a completely different scenario. Try to understand, whatever Guru says is perfect.
These are some of the underlying teachings of this lila between Rupa and Jiva Gosvamipada. Jiva Gosvamipada manifested many granthas , especially Six Sandarbhas, Tattva-sandarbha, Bhagavat-sandarbha, Paramatma-sandarbha, Krishna-sandarbha, Bhakti-sandarbha and Priti-sandarbha, which all cut the misconceived mayavadi philosophies and properly established krishna–bhakti.
Bolo Jiva Gosvamipada ki Jay!
Rupa Gosvamipada ki Jay!
Jaya Jaya Shri Radhe!
Transcriber: Ratna Prabha Didi (Brazil)
Original Editor and slokas: Madan Mohini Didi (UK)
Second Editor: Sanatan Das (USA) and Divya Premamayi Didi (Slovakia)