Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Gaurangasundarsundar dasa

A few notes for Narayan Maharaja and other so called Raganuga followers.

For a correct understanding of the standard rule for hearing rasa-katha one should examine the preaching of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, Srila Sarasvati Thakura and that of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. A few note worthy examples are sited here as follows:

"According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the chapters of the Srimad-Bhagavatam describing the Rasa-lila are not meant for ordinary persons; they are meant for liberated persons only. Therefore these descriptions of the Rasa-lila should not be described to ordinary people. Those who are advanced devotees, liberated from material contamination, can try to understand Krsna’s Rasa-lila. One must not try to imagine the Rasa-lila of Radha and Krsna in mundane terms. (A Second Chance, Chapter 16)

"The specific attraction of His pastimes with the gopis should never be misunderstood. The Bhagavatam relates these transcendental pastimes in the Tenth Canto. And in order to reach the position to understand the transcendental nature of Lord Krsna’s pastimes with the gopis, the Bhagavatam promotes the student gradually in nine other cantos." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.28 purport)
Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada issue this warning in his purport to Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 8.255:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, ‘Out of all topics people listen to, which is best for all living entities?’
Ramananda Raya replied, ‘Hearing about the loving affairs between Radha and Krsna is most pleasing to the ear.’
…Unless one is liberated, he should not try to hear about the loving affairs between Radha and Krsna. If one is not liberated and listens to a relation of the rasa dance, he may remember his own mundane activities and illicit connections with some woman whose name may also be Radha…."

Srila Prabhapada is making two important points
1) Higher lila not meant for ordinary people and therefore should not be described to them.
2) Higher lila meant for one who is liberated.

It is a fact that one should hear hari-katha from a bona-fide spiritual master, but the nature of that hari-katha depends on one's qualification. The necessity to hear does not imply that everyone, (specifically the unqualified) must hear rasa-katha. We find no examples of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura speaking on confidential topics to open assemblies of unqualified persons.
The rasika camp mentioning some non-confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna that have been discussed in private conversations by our acaryas has presented a handful of examples. However, there are no examples found that support the thesis advocating the hearing of rasa-katha by any and all audiences, irregardless of one's qualification or disqualification. The examples sited by the rasika camp are actually isolated examples and do not represent the standard rule.
Srila Sarasvati Thakura explains, "The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunderstand." How can this be interpreted in any other way?
As emphasized by Sarasvati Thakura, anartha-nivrtti is essential to enter that plane.
The followers of the rasika camp claim that the only qualification necessary is lobha (greed). This is true, but it must be actual lobha, which is not a cheap thing. One must be cautious to not mistake mere enthusiasm to hear the confidential lilas as actual lobha. Immitation of lobha does not mean that one actually has lobha
"The awakening of greed (lobha) which qualifies one for raganuga bhakti is not to be taken cheaply, as if easy to attain."
One who actually has real greed for hearing hari-katha will reject all mundane activities and engage solely in bhajana. It has been observed, however, that a vast majority of the modern day practitioners of raganuga-sadhana are not inclined to give up their many mundane attachments and enjoying mentality. Rather than dedicating themselves to a surrendered life of seva (service), we find that their hearing of hari-katha is done in a mood of enjoyment, for their own pleasure, and is irregularly performed. When there is the occasional arranged program they come, otherwise material life goes on.

Futhermost Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada explains that only after the chanting of the Holy Names purifies one’s mind and intelligence can one hear about Krsna's form, qualities, associates, and finally, pastimes. One who has not yet reached the stage of ruci, or taste for devotional service, may prematurely go to a pretender guru to take initiation and instruction in raganuga-bhakti, without first making an effort to chant the Holy Name offenselessly. Such a person may make a pretense of relishing Krsna's lila while still affected by materialistic contamination, but such an attempt will not succeed in bringing him love for the divine couple and service for Them in the spiritual abode.
We have seen on numerous occasions where, in the attempt to cultivate raganuga bhakti the proper measure of discretion has been neglected. Sadly, in the rasika assemblies the unqualified persons are being encouraged to unhesitatingly ask questions about highly confidential subject matters. Unfortunately, in some of these so-called rasika assemblies the love pastimes of Radha-Krsna are sometimes being discussed even up to the point of nudity in the lila. This is indeed a gross violation of the confidentiality of the Supreme Lord's pastimes.
The confidentiality of Radha Krsna-lila is never to be breached. If it is, as is done by the pseudo-rasikas, then a great offense is committed. Qualified devotees never discuss the Lord's confidential lilas in a public forum. That is the Gaudiya-sampradaya standard.
Although in many of his works, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written in great detail on the necessity of engaging in raganuga-sadhana, he has also stipulated what are the qualifications to do that as follows:
ei rupa sabhaa ami taha vyakti karile anadhikarir pakse visesa amangala haite pare / ucchisthita satya-samuha ucchapadasta na haile labhya hay na / yemata samasta vijnanasa stre kramasah ucchajnaner udaya haya, tadrupa bhakti-sastrer u ucchadhikara-krame gudha-tattve prapti haiya thake /
"If I explain this topic in the assembly, it could be harmful for the unqualified devotees. Higher truths cannot be attained unless one is situated on a higher platform. Just as higher knowledge gradually arises in all scientific literature, likewise, confidential truths are attained in devotional literatures by proper qualification." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Prema Pradipa — Tenth Ray)
sajatiyasaya-snigdha sad-gosthi vyatita rasa-vilapa kariben na / vaisnava jagat-samrddhi sambandha bhakta-sanga vyatita janya sanga kariben na /
"One should not discuss topics of rasa with anyone except highly qualified persons on the same level of spiritual advancement." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksamrta —Chapter 3. Part 2)
itara visaye vairagya prapta jata-prema lokerai rasadhikari / yahara ekhana paryanta suddha-rati u jada-vairagya labha kare nai, tahara rasadhikara janya — viphala cesta karite gele rasake sadhana baliya kadacare pravrtta haibe / jataprema puruser ye bhava sahajei haiyacche, tahai rasa / rasa-vicara kevala ei rase ki ki bhava kiprakare samyojita acche, tahara vivrtti matra / rasa sadhananga naya, ataeva yadi keha balen, aisa tomake rasa-sadhana siksa dei, se kevala tahara durttata va murkhyata matra /
"Those who have attained the level of prema and are completely detached from worldly pleasure are qualified for rasa. Those who have not attained pure rati and sense control make futile attempts to become qualified for rasa by practicing rasa. That taste which arises naturally in a person on the level of prema is called rasa. The discussion of rasa is only a description of how the various elements combine in the different rasas; it is not a part of sadhana. Therefore, if anyone says that he will teach you the sadhana of rasa, he is an impostor or a fool." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, Chapter 7, Part 1)
ei raser anadhikari ke? anadhikarike hari-nama dana kara yerupa aparadha ei rasa-visaya tahar nikata vyakhya karau tadrupa aparadha /
"Who is not qualified to thus taste the nectar of the transcendental rasa? As it is an offense to give the Holy Name to an unqualified person, so it must also be an offense to explain the rasas to an unqualified person." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 28)
ei dainandini aprakrta radha-krsna-nitya-lila patha karibar sakaler adhikara nai / iha paramad-bhuta rahasya — visedha gopane rakha kartavya / yini ihar adhikari nana, tahake ei lila sravana karana ihabe na / jada-bandha-jiva ye paryanta cinta-tattve raga-marge lobha prapta na hana, se paryanta tahara nikata ihate ei lila-varnana gupta rakha kartavya / nama-rupa-guna lilar aprakrta-tattva arthat suddha-cinmaya-svarupa ye paryanta hrdaye udita na haya, se paryanta ei lila sravaner adhikara haya na / anadhikari-gana ei lila patha kariya kevala mayika-bhave jadiya stri-purusa-sangamadi dhyana karatah apagati labha kariben / pathaka mahasaya-gana savadhana ihaya narader nyaya aprakrta srnga-rasamskara-labha kariya ei lilaya pravesa kariben /
"Not everyone is qualified to read the daily pastimes of Radha and Krsna. It is esoteric knowledge of great wonder which must be kept secret. One should not let those who are not qualified hear these topics. As long as the soul has not attained greed for the spiritual world on the path of raga, the description of these pastimes must be kept hidden from him. As long as the person has no realization of the pure spiritual nature of the transcendental Name, form, qualities and pastimes of Krsna, he has no qualification for hearing these pastimes. Hearing these pastimes, the unqualified person will simply meditate on material relationships of male and female, under the influence of maya, and by this he will become degraded. The reader, with great care should attain initiation into the srngara-rasa like Narada, and then he can enter the pastimes." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, Chapter 6, Part 5)
ye sakala vyakti sthuladehagata ye sakala vyakti sthula-dehagata sukhake bahumanana karatah cinmaya dehagata ei sakala ananda-vaicitrya avagata hana nai, tahara e saba kathar prati drstipata, manana u alocana kariben na / kenana, taha karile ei sakala varnanake mamsacarasmagata kriya mane kariya haya aslila baliya ninda kariben, naya adara kariya sahajiya-bhave adhah patana labha kariben /
"People who have strong attraction for gross material pleasure and cannot understand these topics should not read, think of, or discuss these topics of rasa, because they will think that these are all material activities and criticize them. If they do appreciate them at all, they will become degraded as sahajiyas.' (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, Chapter 7, Part 7)
madhur bhakti-raske mukhya bhakti-rasa balen / jada-rasa-asrita buddhi isvara-parayana haile nivrtti —dharma labha kare, avara ye paryanta cidraser adhikari na haya, se paryanta tahader pravrtti santave na / sei sakala loker ei rase upayogita nai / madhura-rasa svabhavatah duruha / adhikari sahaje paoya yaya na baliya e rasa gudha rahasya-rupe gupta rakha ucita / etanibandhana ei sthale madhur rasa svabhavatah vistrtanga haile u sanksepe varnana karibe/
"A person who is not renounced in this way is not qualified to understand the spiritual rasas. Therefore the people in general are not qualified to understand the madhura-rasa. Madhura-rasa is very difficult to understand. It is not easy to find a person qualified to understand it. This rasa is very confidential. Therefore it is appropriate to keep it hidden from general view." (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 30)
adhikara-hina-jana-mangala cintiyakirtana korinu sesa kala vicariya
'Considering for the benefit of those who have no qualification for hearing about such things, I have thus ended my kirtana here.' (Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kalyana Kalpa-taru 4.5-8)

In the following letters, appearing in the book Prabhupader Patravali, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura clearly defines the path to attain raga-marga:
"I was extremely glad to see in your letter the very gist of all the sayings of sastra! After deliberating over the matter nicely in your heart you will find out that precocious thinking born of laziness can bear no real fruit. We are tiny jivas, traversing the path of vidhi, yet we are not inimical to raga. Raga-katha is high, but in our small mouth it doesn't look nice. Hearing such high words from our little mouth, devotees whose life and soul is bhajana will laughingly push us away.
Having no idea of Who is Krsna, one's trying to raise oneself up onto the path of raga exposes his laziness; Mahajanas proclaim this on every step.
Sri Bhagavan and the Name of Bhagavan are one entity. One who has conditioned perception of difference between nama and nami is utterly required to serve devotees accomplished in bhajana for rectification of one's anarthas; to demonstrate this, the eternal associates of Sri Gaurasundara have described the kind of bhajana such devotees engage in. If we go to repeat it like parrots, people will designate us as 'prakrta-sahajiyas' and thus bear down our self-assurance. But if we want to show all these prakrta-sahajiyas mired in their misconceptions the real glory of raganuga-bhakti, we have to learn the art of bhajana ourselves and only then try for others' eternal benefit.
So try to carefully understand what is written. 'Bhajana' is nothing external nor any means for showing off. Loudly call out nama, then the spirit of enjoyment in the form of laziness won't be able to swallow us."
"I have noted your letter dated the 24th. The asta-kaliya-lila about which you have heard from the Vaisnavas in Vrndavana should be highly regarded no doubt. But the way in which these pastimes are conceived of in the contaminated state is totally corrupt. Some fortunate individuals are capable of knowing these things after chanting for a long time, for that is the identity of the true self. But it can only be known after one is freed of mental contaminations. With the awakening of this spiritual identity, one automatically has constant cognition of his spiritual form. Those who say that they can teach or reveal this identity are practicing a kind of deception; it cannot be done. On the other hand, if a devotee receives some inspiration after sincerely chanting for a long time, he should go to the sad-guru or advanced devotees and ask for it to be confirmed and purified by them. The spiritual identity has eleven aspects (eka-dasa-bhava). There are many cases of unscrupulous gurus who artificially force-feed these designations on unqualified practitioners, but we cannot call this the mark of spiritual perfection. Those who have achieved the perfection of being fixed in their spiritual identity (svarupa-siddhi) have attained such a realization through internal revelation and the spiritual master's only involvement in these matters is to help the further advancement of a disciple. As a practitioner progresses toward spiritual perfection, all these things are revealed naturally within the heart that sincerely seeks service."
"We should constantly pray to the Holy Name for His mercy. One who is still in a contaminated state should not engage in smarana of the daily cycle of the Lord's pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila). When we engage in chanting the Holy Names, we are simultaneously engaged in hearing and the opportunity for remembering is included in that. One should not engage in asta-kaliya-lila-smarana on false premises."

"There is no point in making a separate effort to artificially remember the Lord's form, qualities and pastimes. The Lord and His Name are one and the same. This will be understood clearly when the coverings in our hearts are removed. By chanting without offenses you will personally realize that all perfections come from the Holy Name."
According to Srila Sarasvati Thakura line of thought, even if one engages in bhajana but is not highly qualified, it is improper to enter into discussions on rasa. Srila Sarasvati Thakura has expressed this very clearly in such works as Bhai Sahajiya, Prakrta-rasa Sata-dusani and many other essays. Nevertheless, even today there are many unqualified persons who are given to studying the portions of Jaiva Dharma containing the analysis of rasa. According to Srila Sarasvati Thakura understanding, this is detrimental.
In his introduction to Professor N. K. Sanyal's book, Sree Krishna Chaitanya, Srila Sarasvati Thakura writes as follows:
"One who presumes to instruct others without himself realizing the nature of the course of loving devotion, or who, although himself cognizant of the nature of the path of devotion, instructs the disciple regarding the same without due consideration of the aptitude of the latter, is the pseudo-guru. It is necessary by all means to renounce the guidance of such a guru."
"Those who, falling into the clutches of the pseudo-guru by neglect of the proper exercise of their judgment, deceive themselves by consenting to adopt the higher grade of worship to which they are not entitled, fall under the category of the third class of offenders described above. But those who, even after becoming aware of their unfitness, persist in practicing the higher method of worship, hoping thereby to gain honour and wealth for themselves, commit the offense of religious hypocrisy. Until this defect is discarded, there can be no appearance of the principle of spontaneous liking for Krsna. These hypocrites only deceive the world by the display of the external insignia of sectarianism and pseudo-renunciation. Those persons who choose to show their regard for these arrogant persons in consideration of the external marks exhibited by them, failing to attain the favour of Krsna, only prove to be thorns in the sides of the people of this world."

The pseudo-rasika-gurus and their followers often quote the famous vikriditam verse of Srimad Bhagavatam (vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh 10.33.42) to support their engagement in hearing the rasa-lila pastimes of Radha-Krsna. The assumption of the so-called rasika camp is that even if they are contaminated with lusty desires within their hearts they will nonetheless be able to relish the Lord's rasa-lila if they simply hear from a so-called rasikacarya.
Although these rasikas have presented their arguments in an apparently scholarly manner they nonetheless grossly neglect the mood of our acaryas.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has written further as follows:
"It is not empiric wisdom that is the object of quest of the devotee. Those who read the scriptures for gathering empiric wisdom will be pursuing the wild goose chase. There are not a few dupes (duplicates or imitators) of their empiric scriptural erudition. These dupes have their admiring under-dupes (followers). But the mutual admiration society of dupes does not escape, by the mere weight of their number, the misfortunes due to the deliberate pursuit of the wrong course in accordance with the suggestions of our lower selves." (The Harmonist, December 1931, vol. XXIX No.6)
Deliberating upon the vikriditam verse (vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh) Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada writes in his Anubhasya commentary to Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 5.45:
ye vyakti srimad bhagavata-varnita krsnera aprakrta rasadi-madhura-lila nijera aprakrta-hrdaya-dvara visvasa kariya varnana karena va sravana karena, tahara prakrta manasija kama sampurna-rupe ksina haiya yaya / aprakrta krsna-lilara vakta va srota aprakrta-rajye-i nijera astitva anubhava karaya prakrtira guna-traya tahake parabhuta karite samartha haya na / tini jade parama nirguna-bhava-visista haiya acancala-mati evam krsna-sevaya nijadhikara bujhite samartha / prakrta-sahajiya-ganera nyaya ei prasange keha yena e-rupa mane na karena ye, "prakrta-kama-lubdha jiva sambandha-jnana labha karibara parivartte prakrta-buddhi-visista haiya nija-bhogamaya rajye vasa karata sadhana-bhakti parityaga-purvaka krsnera rasadi aprakrta vihara va lilake nija-sadrsa prakrta-bhogera adarsa janiya, tahara sravana o kirtanadi karile-i tahara jada kama vinasta haibe' / iha nisedha karibara janya-i mahaprabhu "visvasa'-sabda-dvara prakrta-sahajiya-ganera prakrta-buddhi nirasana kariyachena /
"A person who hears or describes the rasa-lila and other such pastimes as found in the Bhagavatam, living them in his transcendental heart, then finds the material desires for sensual pleasure wane to nothingness. Because Krsna's pastimes are transcendental, one who hears or speaks about them enters into that transcendental domain where the material qualities can no longer influence him. Even while in contact with matter, he is unaffected; his mind remains calm and steady. He is able to understand his own qualifications to serve Krsna. No one should think, as do the prakrta-sahajiyas, that an ordinary living entity will overcome lust by hearing and chanting these pastimes if he is filled with contaminations like lust and greed, if he avoids accumulating the appropriate knowledge of the relationships between matter, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, if he remains fixed in a subjective world centered on his own sensual pleasures, if his intelligence continues to be permeated with material conceptions, if he neglects all the purifying activities of devotional service in practice, and especially if he takes the spiritual love affairs of the Supreme Lord to have the same kinds of sensual motivations that he himself experiences. For this reason, Mahaprabhu emphasized the word 'faith' (visvasa) in order to forestall such sahajiya arguments." (Anubhasya, Cc. Antya 3.45).

There are three chapters of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur did not allow his disciples to enter into, including the discussions with Ramananda Raya, to a certain extent. Where the Lila portion of Radha-Govinda is mentioned, the disciples had no entrance into that Lila. Of course when consecutive chanting of the whole book was going on, they read but without giving any particular attention to the Lila of highest order of raga. That was barred: "Don't try to come into details there. That will come automatically when the time will be. Do not make it a discussion of the public. Do not take it in the public eye."
So much so that the following incident happened in Vrndavana. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur had a friend there from his childhood, an attorney, who came to see him, so Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur went to give a return visit to this friend from his boyhood. He was told, "He is upstairs." He went there and saw that a Goswami was explaining the Rasa-lila section of Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur just bowed down his head and came away. Immediately he came away. Then his friend also came down, leaving that Rasa-lila discussion, and said, "Yes, the Rasa-lila explanation is going on, but you did not take your seat at all. You just bowed down your head and came down. What is the matter?"
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur replied, "Our Guru's order is such that, 'If you attend Rasa-lila explanation you will commit offense'. That will be offense to attend Rasa-lila explanation, so I had to come back. This is my Guru's order. To attend Rasa-lila explanation is aparadha. "
Another time the Guru Maharaja of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta , Srila Gaura Kisora Babaji, was in a hut near the Ganges. Another disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta , leaving Srila Bhaktisiddhanta went to imitate Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s Gurudev, Gaura Kisora Babaji, and constructed a tiny hut nearby and imitated his bhajan, Harinam and the discussion of Narottam Thakura -- all this things -- and observed strict vairagyam in his physical life. Gaura Kisora Babaji remarked one day that only by entering a labor room and imitating some pain of giving a birth to a child, a child will not come by that imitation of the sound. Many important previous events are necessary, then a child will come. Only imitation will not give birth to a child.
Imitation and premature hearing, reading and discussing of such elevated topics will only increase the anarthas. If and when one is qualified the holy name will reveal everything.

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